Tag Archives: spooky


An American Warewolf in London

Year: 1981
Directed by: John Landis
Rank: 6/10
Spooky Type: Werewolf/Comedy
Watch: YouTube Trailer

Plot: Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain and are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed but reverts to its human form, and the local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet at first but then finds that his friend and other recent victims appear to him, demanding that he commit suicide to release them from their curse, being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural deaths. –IMDB

Review: Ugh. I hate when sexism ruins a film. This film is a classic since it mixes humor with horror, and it has some great special effects. Since humor is involved the gore and spooks are never taken too seriously. Nor does the film rely on them to push the story forwards. I could keep praising the film for the star qualities, but that is well documented. It is the reason why this movie is a classic.

BUUUUUTT….. the humor is totally dated. Yes, you can tell a white cis-gender man wrote this script. The main character David has a frat boy attitude. He talks to his travel companion only about having sex with women, is rude to the police and hospital staff, and tries to insult the Queen and Prince by calling them queer. Sure it was insult at the time, but hard to swallow when there is so many other problematic bits of the film.

The love interest, Nurse Alex is a total bimbo and has no personality. I feel bad for Jenny Agutter to have to play such a dull role. The whole time she is just there to build sexual tension with David. Actually it is more like David sexually harasses her during her job, and she reacts in the way that men fantasize about (aka the lady actually likes it.) Then as we moves the story forwards, David starts to believe he is a werewolf, and still Alex still finds David attractive. It is so unbelievable.

Which then makes me hate what could of been a very funny premise- the werewolf showdown in a porno. There were jokes poking fun at the superficial plots of a pornographic films. But by the time this comes into play I was over all the sexist crap. The whole film became a boys only club, assuming that only men love horror films. Yes, horror films were targeted for boys, and yes, I’ve seen probably much more sexist films that are much closer to softcore porn (usually made in the 70s.) But over the years some of these films have gotten a female following, probably because the horror featured in the film are based on the awful treatment to women, and perhaps most women find that relatable and genuinely horrific. As the horror genre evolves, there is a growing number of women who openly say they love the genre. This movie has little to offer a female audience.

Overall: Boo sexism. Yey humor and special effects.


The Amityville Horror

Year: 1976
Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Haunted House
Watch: Hulu + YouTube Trailer

Plot: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away. –IMDB

Review: I remember when this movie was being remade in 2005. I didn’t care about the movie, but I remember basic cable channels were flooded with specials all about the movie. The story is suppose to be based off of the book The Amityville Horror, which is suppose to be based off of true events. I’ve always find real life haunting stories interesting and much more chilling than movies. Do I believe they actually happened? No, but they still freak me out. This story always caught my interest more than normal because this house is in the town that my Grandmother lives in. I’ve actually talked about this before on the blog.

Since the story takes place in a town that’s I’ve been to I had a harder time to let my imagination go wild. As I was watching I kept feeling like it didn’t LOOK like Long Island, and I knew very well that the house wasn’t the original. Turns out the movie was filmed in Tom’s River New Jersey. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal, except for the water is drastically different set up, and the property in the movie is HUGE! I joked with my husband that the price of the house in the movie was a steal, and joked they could just divide up the property and pay for the house that way (the real Amityville House sold recently for almost one million dollars FYI)

Oh, and mild spoiler alert- there is something terribly humorous that the portal to hell is on Long Island. Anyone who had to drive into Long Island probably felt like they were driving further and further into hell.

So I haven’t actually talked about the movie much. I have to say it wasn’t bad, but it was a little underwhelming. Since the movie is suppose to be based off of a real event, the flow of the story isn’t the greatest. The movie ends kind-of anti-climatically. And being a little bit of a ghost/occult movie fan, something didn’t make sense. Why is everything oozing? Why the flies? There is no reason why George Lutz (the new homeowner) would look like serial killer Ronald DeFeo (the murderer of the previous owners) either. I think the odd pacing is probably because the movie wanted to keep with the series of events from the book. The movie even keeps a countdown of what day it is since the family moved in.

Historically this movie is pretty important to the horror genre. It is another case of a low budget horror film that became wildly popular. There is no doubt that Poltergeist‘s popularity was set up by this film. Since there are so many similarities between Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror, it adds to the underwhelming nature of the film. Compared to The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist is in hyperdrive. Overall, it wasn’t a bad movie, but it is fairly slow moving and a long movie (117 minutes- almost 2 hours.)

Overall: Recommended to old school horror fans


The Babadook

Year: 2014
Directed by: Jennifer Kent
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Monster
Watch: Netflix + Trailer

Plot: Amelia, who lost her husband in a car crash on the way to give birth to Samuel, their only child, struggles to cope with her fate as a single mom. Samuel’s constant fear of monsters and violent reaction to overcome the fear doesn’t help her cause either, which makes her friends become distant. When things can not get any worse, they read a strange book in their house about the ‘Babadook’ monster that hides in the dark areas of their house. Even Amelia seems to feel the effect of Babadook and desperately tries in vain to destroy the book. The nightmarish experiences the two encounter form the rest of the story. –IMDB

Review: Funny thing is that people chuckle when Jon and I watched Rosemary’s Baby during the pregnancy. I’ve seen many reviews and such talking about how it is the horror that makes them want to never have a baby. But I would argue that The Babadook is much more horrifying for parents. Let’s start off with Samuel. He is a little boy who’s activity levels are through the roof. “Horrible little shit” is an accurate title for him, and this instantly let’s the audience sympathizes with Amelia, the overworked single mother. Samuel’s behavioral problems stem from the families grief for their father who died in a car accident while driving Amelia to the hospital to deliver Samuel.

The movie is rich with metaphors and is filmed excellently. This is probably why the movie is loved by all critics. A quick search of “babadook reviews” will end up with many glowing reviews talking about the story and it’s great portrayal of grief with adults and children by using the metaphor of a monster destroying their lives.

What really strikes me about this film is that it falls into many tropes of the horror genre, the color scheme, skittery sounds, jump cuts, etc used in other horror films. But there is so many unique aspects of the film. For starters it is directed by a female director, which isn’t common for the film industry. It isn’t a normal monster story- in fact the monster is sort of blended with a ghost in it’s supernatural abilities. The end result is a truly haunting film that I would recommend to anyone who thinks that horror genre is dead.

Overall: Greatest modern horror film I’ve seen


Rosemary’s Baby

Year: 1968
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Occult
Watch: YouTube + Three Reason: Criterion Collection Preview

Plot: Horrifying and darkly comic, Rosemary’s Baby was Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut. This wildly entertaining nightmare, faithfully adapted from Ira Levin’s best seller, stars a revelatory Mia Farrow as a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her overfriendly elderly neighbors (played by Sidney Blackmer and an Oscar-winning Ruth Gordon) and self-involved husband (John Cassavetes) are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby. In the decades of occult cinema that Polanski’s ungodly masterpiece has spawned, it has never been outdone for sheer psychological terror. –Criterion Collection

Review: Okay, I am cheating just a little. I watched this over the summer, but I really love this film. I think it is one of the best prochoice films out there. Rosemary want to start a family and become a mother. But ever since she finds out that she is pregnant it seems everyone is controlling her decisions. She doesn’t take vitamins like everyone else, she takes special juices that her neighbor makes. Her doctor advises her to not read up on pregnancy- it would only worry her. She is quickly recommended to go a specific doctor. She is only a vessel to create this baby, and everyone makes sure everything is going according to plan.

I started to read the novel and it is scary how close Polanski keeps the script to the novel. Much of the dialogue is pulled from the novel. I dare say you could watch the movie and just skip reading the book, or vise-versa. That doesn’t mean Polanski doesn’t take a lot thought in how the film is shot. I love how he doesn’t pull many cheap editing techniques that make the viewer jump in their seats (IE abrupt cuts, going from low to loud sounds, etc) He lets the conspiracy unfold.

What makes this movie so scary is how relevant it still is with all the anti-abortion laws in the United States. White males are still telling women what they can and can not do with their bodies. Rape culture is still very prevalent, which probably contributes to many of the insane and ignorant reproductive laws. Nothing irks me more than John Cassavetes’ portrayal of Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s husband. World biggest scumbag. Funny thing is that I think John Cassavetes only plays skeezy guys.

Overall: One of the best horror films out there

Big bummer, my server deleted this post and so I have do it all over again. I mean that should be too hard to write up two reviews again. I totally forgot to write a review for Day of the Dead which I saw earlier in October. And then I watched The Brood on Halloween day. Overall we watched 14 horror films in the month of October which I thought was pretty good! And we have been watching plenty of Goosebumps, and Halloween cartoon episodes. I also was sick in October and didn’t want to watch anything that might make me feel queazy. Anyways, I hope you enjoy these last two reviews.


The Brood

Year: 1978
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Mutants
Watch: Hulu

Plot: A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist’s therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, while a series of brutal attacks committed by a brood of mutant children coincides with the husband’s investigation. –IMDB

Review: This is easily the best film I watched all month. I am not saying it is the best film of all time, just be best film that balances shock and gore with a great script/production. Apparently when the film first came out a lot of people thought it was complete trash, a cheap shot at the alternative mental health professionals. But the film is much more than that. It is about divorce and the difficulties children go through. 

At the time of the filming the director himself was getting out of a divorce with his then wife. During the divorce process it can be incredibly difficult for the child, and depending on how the adults act, can be a heavy weight into adulthood. I’ve heard petty stories of parents refusing to go to weddings if their ex is there as well. What the heck? To show the trauma, the lead characters Nola and Frank are separated, and Nola is getting mental help to try and save their marriage. During her sessions, we find out that her parents divorced as well, with both parents drunks, implying the damage seeped into Nola’s adult life.

Even with this heavy message, the movie has plenty of shocks. There is a kill fairly early in the movie, getting the momentum in the film going. And in Cronenberg’s style there is a great mutated body shock scene, so good that I am probably going to steal the idea for my next halloween costume. Since the movie is so trashy, but uses it to convey a message (and done in an excellent way) the movie makes it a perfect halloween film.

Overall: Perfect horror film, in my opinion.


Day of the Dead

Year: 1985
Directed by: George A. Romero
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Zombies
Watch: Hulu

Plot: Zombies rule the world, except for a small group of scientists and military personnel who reside in an underground bunker in Florida. The scientists are using the undead in gruesome experiments; much to the chagrin of the military. Finally the military finds that their men have been used in the scientists’ experiments, and banish the scientists to the caves that house the Living Dead. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker. –IMDB

Review: This was the first film by George A. Romero that I watched, and that was probably a mistake. Romero is known for his zombie themes, and this is the third film in the dead series. It has also been (loosely) remade in 2008. This film is known for being gory and the best special effects, but the tone is quite different. Yes there are zombies, but they aren’t really the scary part. The scary part is the tension between the military personnel and the scientists. This makes an interesting twist to the zombie genre so I have to give props to Romero for that.

But the film is really of the times. The clothing, hair, stereotypes, music, filming styles, everything is very 80s. It is not my favorite time period so I had to focus to ignore the stylistic choices. The idea is really interesting, but the execution didn’t match up. The characters were pretty flat, which is probably why the acting was lacking. Overall I found the film decent, and worth checking out if you like watching a lot of different films.

Overall: Not the best Romero film to start with

I love Halloween. I try to watch as many spooky movies that I can during October. Oh, and I also try and watch as many halloween themed TV episodes. I know my husband personally loves to watch the old Goosebumps series, but truthfully they are too painfully 90s kid for me. But the problem is that sometimes it is hard to filter through the horror reviews. As I flip through Netflix, I see such a large range of reviews, some giving 2 stars for movies that are pretty good! So I’ll be posting my reviews for the week of what I thought of the films I saw, and to give viewers a heads up about what they are jumping into. I think most “bad” reviews are because the viewer expects one thing, and gets another.


The Awakening

Year: 2011
Directed by: Nick Murphy
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: Netflix

Plot: A surge of followers of the spiritualists movement has motivated Florence Cathcart to expose frauds. She becomes the expert in her field, even though she is a woman in the 1920s. She is contacted to help out with a ghost sighting in an all boys boarding school. It seems that Florence had wrapped up all the loose ends of the so called “ghost sightings” but something bothers her that keeps her at the school a little longer, giving the school enough time to expose it’s true colors.

Review: The Awakening‘s strong points are the visuals. The cinematography is beautiful, the tone is great, and everything is visually spectacular. Pretty much all the aesthetics are perfected, from sound, to editing. It is easy to fall in love with the movie because of this. Sadly the plot was a little lacking. Truthfully, ghost movies are hard to do, since they are one of the oldest horror genre. But there were enough red herrings in the film to distract the viewer and have a surprise ending, or rather an ending that you didn’t guess ALL OF the facts. There were lots of themes that seem to of been tossed into the story but had no real deep meaning, influenza and the World War. 

My other beef with the film was the historical aspect. Setting films into the past is a great way to remove ourselves from our connected world. It is so easy to get data, make a phone call in emergencies, research history, that sometimes it makes the plot too easy to solve by the protagonist. So having a movie take places in a huge mansion with little light and stone cold walls can make a creepy setting. Unfortunately if you know some things about history, you find errors. Florence’s character was a little too modern for the time period, which seems intentional, but a little too overdone. The historical inaccuracies aren’t glaring, but if you are a history buff, you might not want to watch the film.

Overall: It’s a good watch, and would recommend watching for a good ghost story.


The Omen

Year: 1976
Directed by: Richard Donner
Rank: 5/10
Spooky Type: Demon Child
Watch: Netflix

Plot: Robert Thorn is an American ambassador in Great Britain. His wife Katherine has a stillborn baby during childbirth. The hospital happens to have a healthy baby that had it’s mother die. So a priest suggests to Robert they switched the babies around. Katharine is unaware of the switch and raises her child as their own. Strange things start to happen that make the couple question where their child came from.

Review: I had pretty high hopes for this movie. It is considered a classic, almost every horror movie buff have seen it. I remember having a hard time finding someone to watch it with me. I figured it would be something I love. The Exorcist is awesome, 70s witchcraft based horror films are excellent, and Gregory Peck is a dreamboat. So it seems to make sense that this film would have it all.

But everything that I loved about those films were pretty much missing from The Omen. There wasn’t a mystery of trying to find out that the son was the devil. Spoiler alert, he is a demon child. Actually it isn’t a spoiler, all synopsizes say he is, so do trailers, and posters. You find out pretty much right away. Trouble follows as Robert Thorn tries to solve the problem, but it doesn’t have the stalking qualities that so many witch movies have. There are no hints of occult activities, or witchcraft. Just a boring kid, who doesn’t act evil or creepy.

So why is this a classic? I don’t get it. Maybe it was a product of the times, but wasn’t too gory or tacky to be dismissed by mainstream culture. The film is overall polished, great acting, direction, writing etc, but it doesn’t take the viewer to horrifying world. Some people present the argument that the viewer shouldn’t know if the characters are just paranoid, or if child is truly the devil. But I think the story presents too much evidence that would support the story that the child is the demon, especially since some of the evidence isn’t ever revealed to the Robert Thorn character. Lacking spooks, and lacking a deeper meaning.

Overall: Pass


The Orphan

Year: 2009
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Demon Child
Watch: Hulu Trailer

Plot: Kate and John are a married couple with two children. Their second child was born with a hearing complication, leaving her almost deaf. Their third child resulted in a still born, leaving the couple with the decision to adopt a child. At the orphanage, they meet Esther, a quiet girl who is exceptionally great at painting, has an old fashioned taste in clothing, and has excellent English despite being born in Russia. But Kate starts to notice trouble follows Esther around, leaving her to try and find out what Esther’s history is.

Review: If you are looking for a scary movie with lots of gore and scares, I would recommend this movie. Within the genre of scary movies, I think this is really good. The ending is unexpected, I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen, and there were was an eerie atmosphere. But… the movie has it’s flaws, but not in ways that would take away from it’s fun horror gimmicks. Everyone did a great job acting, many small details are well paid attention to, and nothing seems super tacky. But if you picked up the script you would probably say it was a okay suspense film, most of the “horror” is built up by filming techniques.

The director gets too caught up in the style of editing, and sound production, making things “scary” when it makes no logical sense to. Spoiler Alert here- Esther makes enemies with a girl at school. So while the girl is playing on a jungle gym, there are editing styles that make the whole experience seem like the girl is on edge.. but why? Because Esther stared this girl down on the playground? If this were to happen in real life, the girl would have no reason to be scared, and I think the filming techniques should of reflected this.

Looking back at the story, most of the actions from the character are irrational, or over the top. And I get it, but it leaves me with the conclusion that this film is just a horror film. And that is okay. I think it is well produced for a late night scare. Though it is disappointing to not have a story with a deeper message about society. To put it this way, I liked this film, but I don’t think I would watch it again.

Overall: Good scary movie, but not a solid message.


The Others

Year: 2001
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: Netflix

Plot: Grace lives all alone in a mansion in Jersey with her two children. She hires three new house keepers as the previous staff got up and left mysteriously. The house is a strange one, there are strict rules about closing doors and locking them since her children are diagnosed with xeroderma pigmentosum, an extreme sensitivity to sunlight. The children start talking about people they see around the house. Grace first assumes they are just making up stories, but strange things start to happen making her believe them.

Review: This movie is very aware of it the tropes of a Haunted House film. Rules are put into place, all doors must be closed before entering the next room. Doors must be locked, curtains must always be closed. All for the sake of the children. Which made me think right away of House on Haunted Hill, or other haunted house films, there are always specific rules for the house. But unlike those films, messing up those rules doesn’t bring upon the ghosts. The story has been described as almost a remake of The Innocents.

Although I enjoyed the film, I think I “solved” the mystery halfway through, but then doubted myself, then knew I was right all along. Is it painfully predictable? Maybe if you are a huge ghost film fan, but anyone who is a general horror or movie fan might get stumped. That aside, I think the story is fairly solid, well researched for accuracies, and believable characters. I think the only thing that bothered me was the “backstory” of the maid who couldn’t speak. It really made no sense.

Oddly I remember this movie being a bust when it came out. I guess I just remembered the high profile divorce with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, which happened during the release of the movie. I think the movie got compared too often with The Sixth Sense, which was released two years earlier. So watching the movie today, out of context of pop culture really lets the viewer enjoy the movie.

Overall: Highly underrated ghost story. Great throw back to the old movies.


The Uninvited

Year: 1944
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Rank: 9/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: Youtube Trailer

Plot: Ray and his sister Ruth discover a beautiful abandoned house while vacationing in Maine. They are able to buy the house for a steal, but find the original owner odd. The owner’s granddaughter Stella befriends Ray and is excited to explore the home. But Stella seems to experience a panic attack in the house, and while they try and nurse her back to health, strange things happen around the house.

Review: As a horror film, this is much slower paced that what most modern viewers are use to. The movie tries to focus on the story and relationships between characters as the history of the house is revealed. And it is tempting to try and “guess the surprise ending” like with so many ghost/haunted house stories, but you really do need to focus on the dialogue, especially towards the end.

I loved this film and would recommend that viewers take a few notes of what to expect when watching. The film doesn’t pull a lot of hokey stuff, so I think it makes it very classic to watch. It isn’t like watching old Frankenstein films, where subtleties are ignored. But the film does take awhile to get the “spooky” ball rolling. There are some transitional things, crying in the house, spooked pets, etc, but no filming stylistic choices to get viewers at the edge of their seat. But what holds together the movie is the story, as you will find yourself wanting to solve the mystery of the house.

The special effects are actually quite good for the time. The ghost was pretty haunting, and pretty convincing. Pretty much this is the horror film for film fans, and fans of classic horror films. Yes it is a little melodramatic, but heck I love that. The merits of this film is well known, as it is part of the Criterion Collection.

Overall: Watch, but be aware it is older and dialogue driven.


The Wicker Man

Year: 1973
Directed by: Robin Hardy
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Witches
Watch: Youtube Trailer

Plot: Sergeant Howie arrives on a small island in Scotland called Summerisle to investigate the death of a young girl, Rowan Morrison. Once at the island, no one seems to know who this girl is, which is perplexing since everyone seems to know each other in the town. When night falls, it seems all the locals are crazy, naked women crying at graves, orgies, singing (my god so much singing), and a women trying to seduce him. But as Howie finds out more about Rowan, the more lies are uncovered, leaving Howie racing to be the clock to discovering Rowan before it is too late.

Review: This is kind-of funny contrast to The Orphan. This is probably a movie that doesn’t fall very well into the “horror” genre, as there aren’t that many editing, visual, or sound choices that enhance the spooky environment. But there is a lot of theme going for the film. Xenophobia, classes, power struggles, lawlessness, and religion is scattered throughout the film, giving the viewer a lot of think about.

The story is well researched and thought out. Every scene has importance, and all stories are fairly true to wiccan practices. Sure somethings are played up, like all the sex, which is to manipulate Sergeant Howie. Some things are just done to make things more cinematic, like creating music to the wiccan chants. Unlike many witch stories during this time, there isn’t the feeling of supernatural stalking, though there is a big brother sort of watch by the community as a whole. In fact this much more realistic true to life feel gives a different creepy feel. There nothing unrealistic about anything that happens.

This is defiantly a horror film for a lover of story and conversations. It isn’t full of campy spooks, although here is plenty of nudity which is kind-of a given for any 70s horror. But if you are looking for a late night scare fest, this might not be the best film.

Overall: Great film, but a little predictable because of it’s prevalence in pop culture. Low on a the “spooky” factor, but the realism does add to the unnerving tone.



Another week went by. I went practically the whole week without sitting on the computer, and learning the joys of tablet using. (IE just browsing the internet!) Alexa stepped up and posted three times this week! Sweet. She had a bunch of posts that she has been working on, so she was glad to finally get them up.

I hope everyone is having a great time this October season. I’ve been watching a lot of horror films and drinking pumpkin beers with my husband. Forget pumpkin spice lattes, I am really into seasonal alcoholic drinks. So I just wanna take a moment to talk about scary movies. It is a love hate relationship. Horror films are known for being pretty weak, and mostly for thrills. So almost every year I get excited then annoyed at finding good horror films. Well, I really love Suspiria, the Italian horror directed by Dario Argento. So I watched the movie created after Suspiria, Inferno. Man. It was a mistake.


Visually the movie was pretty awesome, and has a lot of cool scenes. But the plot was confusing and all over the place. The basic story is about Rose who lives in an apartment in New York City. She discovers unsettling information about the building she lives in. She sends an letter to her brother about it. Not reading the whole letter, her brother Mark arrives in New York not knowing what is distressing his sister. Once he gets into New York, he can’t seem to find her, and stays in her apartment to figure out the mystery.

I am not sure why Mark is the main character since he seems to be the thickest and most easily prone to witchcraft compare to all the characters. The first hour has a formula of female finds out the secret of the building, they become frantic, they start to run, they get killed in a horrible way, Mark walks in a is terribly confused. But the story hardly follows Mark around, and hardly any personality was given to him.

The movie has some merits. I personally love movies from the 70s about witchcraft or the occult. The color is the film is amazing, more so than Suspiria. The underwater ballroom scene was a great way of building suspense. There are plenty of extravagant deaths in the film, which I found in some ways a negative, but if that is what you are like, this movie will be a gem. 

I normally wouldn’t go on about a movie, but it just left me with such a downer. I love Suspiria, and it is one of the film I watch every year for October. So I was expecting so much from Inferno. Anyone else have some Halloween movie suggestions? I would love to hear them! But moving on, I know you want to see my favorite reads.

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