The Legacy: the things we inherit

The Legacy (1978) directed by Richard Marquand (who also directed Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi) and starring Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott reminds us that inheritance isn’t always a good thing, especially when people keep dying because of it.

 

Maggie Walsh, an architect, gets hired by a mysterious person in England. Excited at the idea of traveling to England, she convinces her significant other, Pete Danner to go with her.  While traveling by motorcycle through the English countryside, they have an accident and end up having to stay at the estate with her new employer.

 

Featuring a Doctor Who cat/nurse, this movie is great with suspense and a cast of crazy-creepy characters and large, old English estate.  It also co stars a young Sam Elliott, who I believe, stole the show.  The ending also somewhat surprised me, choosing a lighter path than the darker, more sinister one I imagined.

 

Quick side note:  Katherine and Sam met and fell in love during the making of this film. They got married shortly after in 1984.

 

 

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What we do in the shadows or vampires make the worst roommates

If you’ve ever wonder about the daily lives of vampire and other night creatures, than this next vamp film is for you. From New Zealand, What We Do in the Shadow (2014), directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, moc-documents vampires as they go about their daily–or more accurately–nightly routine.

 

Deacon, Vladislav, Viago, and Petyr are all vampire roommates, and encounter typical roommate problems, such as washing the dishes and keeping the house clean.  The mockdoc gives audiences a glimpse into difficulties of being a vamp in the modern world.  The documentary builds up to the Unholy Masquerade–a ball for night creatures, where we meet various other creatures.

 

This film is full of laughs throughout as it paints an honest picture of the typical lives of vampires.

 

Turn sparkling vampires into glitter for that next craft project

While the modern vampire has put a foul taste in my mouth for vampire movies in general, there are a few that have reminded me that vampires can be fun dark beings to watch on the big screen.

Recently there have been two such films that reminded me that not all modern vamps are sparkling wimps. The first I’ll discuss this week is Blood Sucking Bastards (2015), directed by Brian James O’Connell. Starring Fran Kranz, who you might recognize from Cabin in the Woods, and many, many others, BloodSucking Bastards is Office Space meets Fright Night.

If you ever thought your work place was full of soul-sucking individuals cramped into tiny artificially lit cubicles, this is the movie for you. Unlike a movie series I will not name here, the vampires within this film do not sparkle. These vamps are not friendly or redeemable; however, there are still immensely fun.

This movie is full of great laughs and a clever storyline that will keep you entertained all the way through.

Side note: be prepared for tons of fantastic gore.

Candyman: sweets for the sweet

There is a horror movie about almost every holiday, even Labor Day.  For Valentine’s Day, we have the original My Bloody Valentine (1981) and the horrible update, My Bloody Valentine (2009)–sorry Jensen Ackles, not even you could save that feature.  There’s also the 1999 feature, Lovers Lane, which features a hook-wielding villain, and Valentine (2001), a stalker/slasher Valentine’s Day feature.

 

While these films are in their own ways entertaining, this Valentine’s Day the movie I’ll be watching is Candyman (1992).  Based on the story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, this movie looks into the power of urban legends with the Candyman legend, a darker urban legend than most.

 

Why Candyman on Valentine’s Day?  Besides the man behind the myth being killed for love, the main female character, while investigating the myth of the Candyman, discovers that her husband is cheating on her, and then she gets framed for murder. This is kind-of an ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day horror flick.

 

Did I mention that Tony Todd plays the Candyman? Yep, and he is 6’5” of awesomeness.  His  portrayal of the Candyman is both mesmerizing and terrifying. As far as villains go, Candyman is both mixture of victim and villain–one of the few slashers you feel for during the course of the film.

 

As far as slasher flicks go, this one doesn’t follow the typical plot device of the survival girl, screams, and loud score to indicate when to get scared. Philip Glass created the simple, hypnotic score for this flick, which gives no clues as to when the scares will occur.

 

If you haven’t checked out Candyman yet or if you haven’t seen it a while, I recommend giving it another go, perhaps this Valentine’s. It’s worth the scare.

 

 

The Woods: Lions and Tigers and Witches, Oh my!

As Glinda from Wizard of Oz asks Dorothy, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”  Like The Craft, this week flick seeks the answer to that question and tries to make a distinction between witches that might be ok and witches you shouldn’t mess with.

 

The Woods (2006), directed by Lucky McKee, makes my must-watch-list not only because it stars Bruce Campbell–love him!–but also because its story.

 

Set in the 60s, Joe Fasulo and his wife Alice Fasulo drive their troublesome daughter, Heather, to a private school out in the middle of nowhere. Joe, not knowing what else to do, hopes the school will be good for Heather while his wife just wants her daughter to be gone.

 

Heather, with her serious anger issues towards her mother, at first finds it hard to adjust to the strict structure of the school. But soon she makes a friend and starts to feel ok about the school. However, she cannot completely ignore the strange things she keeps hearing and seeing.

 

When a girl disappears from the school, everything begins to crumble around Heather.  Soon she discovers the school is more than it seems.

 

Unrated and not as recognizable as The Craft, The Woods is an enjoyable flick with some great characters and creepy setting.

 

 

The Craft times 3

There numerous movies about witches.  In some, witches are understood, often good intentioned like Practical Magic and The Good Witch.  In others, witches are creatures not to be messed with. They are dark and dangerous–things of nightmares like The Lords of Salem, Warlock, Drag me to Hell, Suspiria, and many more.

 

Somewhere in the middle of this is The Craft (1996) directed by Andrew Fleming.  This film has both the development of evil witches [played by Fairuza Balk–her second witch film–(American History X 1998, The Waterboy 1998, The Island of Dr. Moreau 1996, The Worst Witch 1986), Neve Campbell (Scream 1996, Wild Things 1998), and Rachel True (Half Baked 1998, Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys 2014, Sharknado 2: The Second One 2014)] and the reveal of the not-completely-good-not-completely-evil witch [played by Robin Tunney (End of Days 1999, The Zodiac 2005, The Mentalist 2008)]. Of course it is this witch or Wican that audiences identity the most with.  

 

Besides the incredible line up in this film, along with the actresses above we have Skeet Ulrich (Scream 1996, Jericho 2006), this film is a great teen horror flick from the 90s.  There’s the typical out-of-towner moving to a new place and, while trying to find a place to fit in, falls into a bad/misunderstood crowd. This plot line has been seen in countless teen films like Lost Boys, The Covenant, and Disturbing Behavior.  However, despite its repetition, I usually still enjoy them–especially the 90s features.

 

In The Craft, Sarah Bailey moves to new town where she meets three other girls who convince her to join their coven.  Having the Earth, Fire, Water, Air elements covered, the girls begin working magic. At first it’s innocent games but soon it evolves into darker, cruel magic. Will Sarah become enraptured by the evil and the power or will she be able to escape?

 

All the actress are great in this film but especially Fairuza Balk shines. She is on my top actors list to hopefully one day meet at Texas Frightmare Weekend or another horror convention.

 

This is definitely a movie to add to your list if you haven’t watched it yet and if you have, to revisit it.

 

Who can kill a child?: Yep, kids freak me out even more…

Originally titled Who Can Kill a Child? (1976), the American released Island of the Damned, directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, may at times be heavy-handed but is a reminder that children can be extremely creepy.  

 

It opens with several minutes of the horror that men do in war and how the silent victims of this is the children. If you can get past this, the film itself develops an interesting question: how would you handle an island full of psychic children?

 

While this is older than Children of the Corn (1984), it does follow Villiage of the Damned (1960). No doubt these films along with Omen (1976) help shape current evil children films like Sinister.

 

Who Can Kill a Child is a Spanish film about a couple that decides to vacation on a small remote island.  When they arrive, they discover the adults are missing, leaving all the children behind. What has occurred?  Why won’t any of children talk to them?  

 

The lesson I learned from this flick is if you choose to go to a remote place, and when you get there all you see is little darlings, leave immediately.

 

Be forewarned: Children do die in this film and quite graphically.