Archive | June, 2012

Review of Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

30 Jun

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005) is a straight-to-video horror/mystery/thriller film and the eighth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Rick Bota (Raising the Bar (2008 TV), The Vampire Diaries (2009 TV)), who also directed the previous three Hellraiser movies.

Written by Carl V. Dupre (Bone Chillers (1996 TV), Inkubus (2011)), based on the short story “Dark Can’t Breathe” by Joel Soisson.

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Doug Bradley, Henry Cavill, Katheryn Winnick, Khary Payton, Cristopher Jacot, Anna Tolputt and others.

Since this is another one from Rick Bota I didn’t have great expectations, the series was not in great shape before that, but he completely destroyed all the dignity it had left. Also you know he prefers quality over quantity, when he releases two movies of the same series in one year, both based on rewritten unrelated scripts.

We open with a funeral of some guy and we are introduced to his friends, who didn’t bother to dress up for a funeral. One of them is our future Superman – Henry Cavill. If Immortals made me enthusiastic about him being Superman, this kind of took the enthusiasm back a notch, although, you can’t blame him for anything in this movie.

It turns out all the friends and the dead guy play some shitty online computer game called “Hellworld”, which is based on the Hellraiser mythos. I don’t exactly understand, how this works, do all the previous movies exist in this universe? It is never made clear. So they play this incredibly shitty game and they all get invites to a Hellworld party in a mansion. Sounds like a great party.

They go to the mansion and this party is filled with hot goth people, all dancing and doing all the other stuff, the outgoing community of obscure online game players do. Also it’s hosted by Lance Henriksen. You can guess three times if he’s going to be the villain. For some reason he gives the five college kids a tour of the house. So what, is he showing it to all the guests? There’s like two hundred people there. He must have been doing this all day. The mansion is kind of cool, filled with babies in jars and other shit, everyone loves.

During the late 90’s, early 2000’s there were a lot of potentially dangerous video game related generic horror flicks and this is one of them in addition to being a total slasher movie, even having a group of one-note characters – “virginal girl, jock douchebag, black guy, slutty chick and sensitive guy”. They get separated and killed off one by one as well. It is irritatingly generic, just as most post-Scream slasher flicks.

Doug Bradley’s last movie as Pinhead, he appears from time to time and does things that he wouldn’t do, until it is later revealed it wasn’t actually him. Or was it? I don’t know, by the end they throw a couple of desperate twists at you, that make the movie make even less sense than it did before.

Overall, a pretty painful experience, since after the exposition they turn the blandness up to eleven and you kind of sit there, just watching the characters being confused about things. It’s a worthless piece of shit, not recommended.

Pictured: A single man, who longs to have some pickle-babies of his own.

Review of Orphan (2009)

28 Jun

Orphan (2009) is a thriller/mystery/horror film about a couple adopting a child who turns out to be not what they expected.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown (2011), House of Wax (2005)).

Written by David Johnson (Red Riding Hood (2011), Wrath of the Titans (2012)) and Alex Mace.

Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Vera Farmiga, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Aryana Engineer, Margo Martindale and others.

I put off watching this for a long time, because I’ve already heard the twist and felt no interest in seeing another generic evil children movie.

But from the first moments I was pleasantly surprised by some interesting shots and a clear tone. The movie looks great, it has this modern horror movie color corrected desaturized look, while not looking washed out and bland.

So there’s this couple, they’re all like “Boo-hoo, our baby died, let’s get a new one from the baby-pound… uh, I mean, orphanage.” and the orphanage-lady is like “Here’s our selection, take your pick. But choose wisely, you can take only one.” Yes, she is Prof. Oak from the Pokemon games. The husband decides to wander around the orphanage, because… who wouldn’t? He stumbles upon a girl all by herself painting in one classroom. She is good at it and speaks eloquently for her age. So they decide to take her home. It’s as easy as that.

I’d take that girl as well. Wait, that didn’t sound right. I mean, how often do you have the chance of getting a guaranteed intelligent child? Judging by the other kids these parents have, their genes produce a lot less brain than being annoying and deafness. Esther, the orphan girl, is pretty likable, so she’s an interesting villain. I would be ecstatic to have her as a child, sure, she’s a bit weird and acts like an asshole to most people, but she’s a fucking prodigy.

Soon it turns out, they’ve gotten a bad girl at the orphanage. Isabelle Fuhrman is brilliant in the role, I’d say she’s one of the most promising child actresses I’ve ever seen. She and Chloe Grace Moretz are currently my two favourites, they both have in common a screen presence way beyond their years. Also the little deaf girl does a good job. Jimmy Bennett is awful, I hated him.

Vera Farmiga is definitely very good here, she sells the most important part, Esther’s impact on the family, by portraying this complete psychological breakdown. Peter Sarsgaard kind of does ok in the role, it’s believable, but at the same time he doesn’t do very much. There is one scene where he is drugged and he looks kind of sleepy, but it seems like he’s been that way the whole movie.

The movie is like a mix of Good Son (which I liked, unlike most critics) and The Omen or Child’s Play. It’s a pretty sick and twisted movie if you think about a lot of the implications, I wish, I didn’t know the plot twist before seeing it, but I still enjoyed it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s a fun watch. I could illustrate by saying that the best quote of the movie is “I’m not your fucking mommy!”

Overall, it’s very entertaining, I enjoyed it a lot and if you don’t stupidly take it as some commentary on adoptions, you’re going to have fun. Recommended.

“Daddy, I can’t sleep, I have daddy issues!”
“That’s alright, Princess, I’ll just get undressed and I’ll come sleep next to you.”
“Yay, I’ll need therapy!”

Review of Hellraiser: Deader (2005)

25 Jun

Hellraiser: Deader (2005) is a straight-to-video mystery/thriller/horror film and the seventh film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Rick Bota (Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Harper’s Island (2009 TV)).

Written by Benjamin Carr (Super Hybrid (2010), Zarkorr! The Invader (1996)) and Tim Day (Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)).

Starring: Kari Wuhrer, Paul Rhys Doug Bradley, Marc Warren, Georgina Rylance, Simon Kunz and others.

We open up to  some chick waking up in a crack-den, then just walking out. Turns out she’s a well-known journalist. Obviously not well-known amongst crack-heads. She goes to some office and her boss shows her a snuff film of sorts, where a chick shoots herself in the head and then comes back to life. The journalist says “tell me it’s some kind of special effect”, but then, of course, she instantly abandons this idea and goes to Romania to investigate.

During her investigation she gets her hands on the puzzle box and soon bad shit starts happening, mostly to the viewer of this film. We are once again subjected to pointless hallucination/dream sequences, as she tries to find out more about this cultist sect called “deaders”.

She visits some guy who gives her various information, which he has acquired by being a leader of a gang that is an insult to Romania’s subway system. Because there is a whole metro train, he and other subculture euro-trash people are living in. I suppose you can have your own train, if you keep up with the schedule. However, it compliments the educational system by having everyone in Romania speak good English.

At first I thought that the movie was going for a certain tone, but then I realised that the tone is created by the combined blandness of digital video and a boring script.

It seems Rick Bota had chosen to make the Hellraiser series about people seeing things and nothing actually happening, because the previous one was like that, this one is like that and the next one is in a way also like that. Why did they let him do three movies? Why can’t they write scripts for the series and not rewrite unrelated ones? Why?

There is one cool scene, where a character wakes up in the night, to find a knife stuck in her back and tries to get it out. That was the only interesting scene in the whole movie. Pinhead appears a couple of times and delivers some words of wisdom and I was grateful that at least they didn’t make him the villain.

Overall, there’s some flashes of interesting choices, but it doesn’t hide it being a total mess, it’s really bad. Not recommended.

“Ahh! It sucks that I can’t bend my neck, otherwise I could just let these chains slip over my head!”

Review of The Fearless Hyena (1979)

21 Jun

Xiao Quan Guai Zhao also known as The Fearless Hyena (1979) is a Hong Kong martial arts/comedy/action film.

Directed by Jackie Chan (Police Story (1985), Armour of God (1986)) and Kenneth Tsang (The Eternal Obsession (1976), Hoyat gwan tsoi loi (1991)).

Written by Jackie Chan (The Young Master (1980), Project A (1983)) and Wei Lo (Slaughter in San Francisco (1974), Tang shan da xiong (1971)).

Starring: Jackie Chan, James Tien, Dean Shek, Hui Lou Chen, Shi-Kwan Yen, Kun Li, Tien-chi Cheng and others.

Like Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow, Chan is basically an idiot in this one. Here even more so and he’s also a greedy, lazy dick, but he also knows how to fight right from the start.

His character lives with his grandfather, who trains him and also has a grey beard that poorly tries to cover up the fact that the grandfather looks like he’s no more than 20 years older than his grandson.

This is an odd movie, which doesn’t shy away from incredibly offensive scenes, like one where Chan pretends to be cross-eyed and mentally retarded, while fighting to the Pink Panther theme. It’s also kind of hilarious both in the wacky intended way and it’s offensiveness.

If you for some reason won’t find that scene odd enough, there’s another peculiar one, where Chan changes into a female kimono and make-up and fights a bit as a transvestite. However, it is less jarring, than the end of that fight scene. Chan knocks out a big guy by smashing an orange against his head, after he had smashed a brick on it just a minute ago with no difficulty.

After silly scenes like these you know what is going to happen. Something that will make Chan’s character take Kung Fu seriously. It’s a very similar movie to Drunken Master, released a year earlier.

The villain of course is this archetype I see in a lot of martial arts period pieces, a tall, older guy with long white hair and Fu-Manchu mustache, who kicks ass at literal ass-kicking.

Something bad happens and Chan starts his Rocky training montage, which is entertaining, but he’s had better ones. Chan, though, might be in his best shape possible, you can see his every muscle popping out as he trains.

The fights themselves aren’t very memorable, it relies more on the comedic aspects. There’s a lot of unnecessary comical sound effects and crotch hitting and the dress-up fights I already mentioned. There’s one cool „fight” scene, where Chan and his mentor fight for a piece of meat, using only chopsticks. And one bad ass 3-on-1 fight, where while two people are fighting, the rest don’t stand around, they actually attack at the same time, the choreography is impressive. At one point Chan just stabs a couple of guys and that’s just that. Feels a bit out-of-place.

They bring in this awful concept of „emotional kung fu”. The sorrow style is interesting to watch, but they all are just silly and gimmicky.

Overall, it’s a very cheesy kung fu comedy, if you don’t mind the over-the-top slapstick, I guess it’s worth checking out.

“You want some advice, Jackie?”
“Don’t get used to leading roles. I once used to play young guys too, then twelve years ago something happened, now I’m grandpa.”
“Oh… hey, you’re twelve years older than me!”
“Exactly, Jackie, exactly.”

Review of Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)

15 Jun

Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002) is a straight-to-video thriller/mystery/horror film and the sixth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Rick Bota (Hellraiser: Deader (2005), Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)).

Written by Carl V. Dupre (Detroit Rock City (1999), The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000)) and Tim Day (Hellraiser: Deader (2005), Roulette (2003 Short)).

Starring: Dean Winters, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley, Trevor White, Rachel Hayward, Michael Rogers and others.

The movie starts and we see that Ashley Laurence is back, that’s great, Hellraiser was at its best with her. She is in a car with her husband and they crash into the water. Why? Because they start kissing while driving a car, that’s not an accident, that’s suicide. Laurence drowns.

You start thinking „Oh, it’s a dream, no way they would just use her for five minutes and then her character dies. Right?” Wrong. During the whole movie she appears for like 10 minutes total.

After the crash, the husband wakes up in the hospital, gets sedated, wakes up during a brain surgery and then wakes up again, so the brain surgery was a dream. Or was it? It’s less than 10 minutes into the movie and I’m already confused, a great sign.

What is cool about the movie, is that it looks like it’s shot in the early 90’s and except for the scenes in the office, where the guy works, there’s not much that would make it seem like it’s not. Ok, there’s a CG eel that crawls out of the guy’s mouth at one point, but the CG is bad enough to not disrupt the 90’s feel.

Then this guy starts getting hallucinations every couple of minutes, so if anything weird happens, I instantly doubt if that’s real. And as the movie goes on it gets even more fucking confusing. 30 minutes into the movie, the guy just wakes up at work and I’m not sure if I’m just thrown back to the last time I saw him at work, like 15 minutes ago.  Did I just spend 15 minutes watching him dreaming?

You gradually understand that our hero is a cheating bastard and, as we know, in Hellraiser movies these don’t have the best of fates. Even more, the guy is just this total asshole and the only reason you sympathise with him, is that you’re forced to, since everyone around him are even bigger assholes.

Seriously, the movie is so fractured that when at one point the guy wakes up from a hallucination that turns into a dream, from which he wakes up to have another hallucination, I just gave up and stopped caring. How am I supposed to feel any suspense when I know that the movie spends a minute in reality and then it sinks into five minutes of some nightmare jumpscare world.  All the scene transitions are him waking up.

However, for an unrelated script, just like Inferno, this does play on the pleasure/lust/whatever else aspect of the series and the tone is even more similar to Inferno than the previous ones, but it’s still ridiculously hard to watch. It’s a psychological thriller both for the main character and the viewer trying to make sense of this mess.

Pinhead and some cenobites do appear briefly, but they’re both unimpressive and unimportant. Just thrown in there. Ashley Laurence appears again at the end in a plot twist, that isn’t awful, but I just didn’t care at that point.

Overall, visually decent, but terribly annoying to watch. It’s torture on your brain that is used to more or less cohesive films. It’s a stupid movie, not recommended.

Pictured: The influence of Hentai on Hollywood(‘s straight-to-video section).

Review of Blackmail (1929)

12 Jun

Blackmail (1929) is a British thriller/crime/drama film, based on the play of the same name by Charles Benett.

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Family Plot (1976), The Ring (1927)).

Written by Alfred Hitchcock (Juno and the Paycock (1930), Champagne (1928)) and Benn W. Levy (Waterloo Bridge (1931), The Old Dark House (1932)).

Starring: Anny Ondra, Charles Paton, Sara Allgood, John Longden, Donald Calthrop, Cyril Ritchard, Harvey Braban and others.

So here’s the first British “true” talkie, made by Alfred Hitchcock. You can feel that the silent film era hasn’t yet passed, but Hitchcock is realising the potential of people actually talking in movies.

It starts off with a long sequence, which is silent. Hey, come people enjoy one of the first talkies, yet no one is talking. Oh, ok, I don’t mind a good silent movie. No, it’s not a silent movie, because there are no intertitle cards. Well, this is confusing. Then like 10 minutes in, there’s suddenly dialogue, what a pleasant surprise.

The movie stars the very charismatic Anny Ondra, her acting is really good, considering it was the time actors had to transition from the very pantomime acting of silent cinema to talkies. Her voice was „dubbed” over by a British woman off-screen, because she had a thick accent. Which is odd, since there’s a clip on YouTube, where Hitchcock is teasing her and it didn’t sound so bad to me.

There’s a really cool long continuous shot, where characters are walking up multiple staircases and the camera follows vertically from the point of view of a wall, which is obviously filmed on a built set, but it doesn’t make it less cool.

The whole thing is that Ondra’s character goes home with some artist she met and when they get to his apartment he attempts to rape her. Who said 20’s was an innocent time? She stabs him with a knife and leaves, as you might imagine, the rest of the movie is Ondra tortured by guilt, fear and blackmail (yes, there’s a reason the movie is called that).

I learned that a brick to the head is a nice old British way of killing a person, but knives are a big ‘no-no’.  There’s a clever scene using the newfound possibilities of sound cinema. A woman keeps talking, but to our heroine only the word „knife” is audible and the rest is just murmur.

You can already see that Hitchcock has a knack for thrillers and there’s even an interesting foot-chase, a bit lacking in action, but very interesting to see and especially in comparison to how he later perfected his use of suspenseful action.  It’s a short and well paced movie, but it does feel like an overlong Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode.

A really peculiar thing is how the murder that the whole movie revolves around is the most innocent crime, yet it all ends kind of ironic and no one involved is innocent.

Overall, it’s a decent little movie, but really, except for the first British talkie title (which is debatable), it has no significant place in cinema history. Hitchcock enthusiast could give it a chance, otherwise – skip it. Not recommended.

“Hey, you know what I just thought?”
“No, what?”
“What if years from now people watching this movie won’t even notice us, the main heroes, and will just look at our director over there.”
“Don’t be silly, no one cares about that fat fuck.”

Review of Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

10 Jun

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000) is a straight to video mystery/thriller/horror film and the fifth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)).

Written by Paul Harris Boardman (Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)) and Scott Derrickson (Land of Plenty (2004), Sinister (2012)).

Starring: Craig Sheffer, Nicholas Turturro, Doug Bradley, James Remar, Nicholas Sadler, Lindsay Taylor and others.

With this one the Hellraiser series dropped into the almost guaranteed shittiness, that the straight-to-video format brings. However, sometimes horror movies benefit from the lack of restraints of theatrical releases. Is it the case with this one? Yes and no.

We follow a crooked cop, who snorts coke and is good at chess. A three-dimensional character if there ever was one. He goes to a crime scene where a guy is ripped apart. He is not as familiar with a scene like that as we are. Of course there’s the puzzle box somewhere lying around.

The cop goes home and he has a wife and a young daughter. Oh, he’s a family man, that’s nice. Then he leaves and fucks a prostitute in a motel room. Him being this total sleazebag helps to create this mood of dreariness, lust, perversion. After banging the hooker, the bad lieutenant goes into the bathroom and opens the box.

I don’t get why every time the box works differently. This time the Pinhead doesn’t instantly come, he’s transported to a weird house, where there’s some cenobite chicks, and the upper  body half version of Chatterer. The cenobite effects are really good, they look creepy. He runs into Pinhead and… wakes up on the bathroom floor.

From then on various shit starts happening to the cop. People he knows start dying and by their dead bodies fingers of a child are left. He must investigate, because that’s what he does. That and being a dick.

Craig Sheffer is really good as the cop, you feel him slowly descending into paranoia and madness and his untrustworthy face is suited for the role, because he’s a good guy, who is also a total asshole. James Remar has an interesting role as a priest/psychiatrist.

Here the tone of the series also shifted dramatically, it’s not so much a horror movie, than a psychological thriller, although, both of the terms are kind of loose and often interchangeable. I didn’t mind it much, because at least this dark thriller encapsulates the themes of rage, sex, pain, pleasure and nightmares a lot better than Bloodline or even Hell On Earth. Also at some parts the detective starts talking in voice over, so the movie feels like film noir.

People have complained that Pinhead barely appears, but come on, he’s not a slasher movie villain, he’s this mysterious figure who does what he is told and not some one-liner whore. He is basically an angel of death, just a messenger.

There’s a peculiar scene, where the cop sees various people attacking him and one of them is his partner, who repeats „I trusted you!” and throws knives at him. Guess where he gets the knives from? His back! Clever or cheesy? I think both. The ending is really cool, although, a bit predictable.

It doesn’t feel like a Hellraiser movie, but for an unrelated script, it certainly hits most of the right themes and offers a lot more satisfying use of the mythos than the previous two movies.

Overall, a very atmospheric thriller, I enjoyed it quite a bit, definitely my favourite Hellraiser sequel, although Hellraiser II is very close. Recommended.

“Ah, yes, that’s the spot, yeah, scratch it, look, my leg is shaking!”

Review of Magnificent Bodyguards (1978)

7 Jun

Fei Du Juan Yun Shan also known as Magnificent Bodyguards (1978) is a Hong Kong martial arts/action film, it was the first Hong Kong movie filmed using 3D technology.

Directed by Wei Lo (Fist of Fury (1972), Dragon Fist (1979)).

Written by Lung Ku (The Magic Blade (1976), Butterfly and Sword (1993)).

Starring: Jackie Chan, Peng Cheng, Siu-Lung Leung, Kuo Chung Ching, Fang Fang, Yuen Hsu, Kuang Kao and others.

First scene of the movie I was really confused, they kept jumping and swinging sticks right in the camera. I thought “oh, this looks like it’s a 3D movie, what’s next? Am I going to get a yo-yo thrown in my face.” And then I found out it was an actual 3D movie. I wished I’d seen in 3D.

This is one of those few Chan movies, where he has long hair and I remember from my childhood that if I saw one of these on TV, I never quite understood what was going on in them and not surprisingly, since even now I found it terribly confusing, the bad English dub didn’t help either, I only could make sense of about half of what was said. So yeah, I didn’t get it as a kid and I don’t get it now, so I just watch it for the fight scenes.

Chan’s acting is unusual for him, he does play a cocky guy in other movies, but usually in a silly kind of way, here he is both an asshole, looks cool and kicks ass.

In some of the fight scenes there’s this over-the-top gore, which I like, but it seems a bit out-of-place, there’s a scene where a guy’s face is ripped off during a fight. The fights themselves are quite impressive, the choreography is tight. And it’s kind of weird, in some scenes people get stabbed and shit, it’s all serious and then there’s a scene where people just pick up boulders like in some cartoon and chuck them at other people.

The fighting sound effects are generally a lot more realistic than in other movies of this time. They all have some kind of echoing effect going on, so they have some sense of space and don’t feel just flatly put on in the editing room. Ok, they do, but less so than in, for example, Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow. Originally it had music from Star Wars used in its soundtrack, but my version of the movie sadly didn’t.

On a side note, one guy is wearing a pink robe. I wonder if in Hong Kong it doesn’t have these implications, but could he be a gay character?

I’m sure no one cares about the spoilers, so I’ll just go ahead and reveal the ending. It turns out that a short stocky woman was wearing a mask, pretending to be a tall, lean and strong white-haired man. She even fights the man she is impersonating, while in disguise. It makes very little sense.

Also the movie doesn’t really end, there’s a big fight scene with a lot of people and then another, smaller one in the woods and the fight doesn’t end, at one point it just freeze frames and the credits roll. I mean, I could kind of guess what happens next, but not really. Were they attempting an ambiguous ending? I’ll never know.

Overall, it’s confusing and the fight scenes after a while feel a bit repetitive. It’s a pretty bad movie. Definitely not recommended.

“You want me to stick this thing right into the camera?”
“Yes, that’s right!”
“As you say, Mr. Kha-Mer Uon.”

Review of A Nightmare On Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises

4 Jun

When people talk about slasher movies, unless, they are complete idiots there are only three titles that should be the first thing to pop up in your mind. If you think these titles are I Know What You Did Whenever, Scream or Wrong Turn movies, you probably are either a moron or 14 years old. The titles you should be thinking of are, of course, Friday the 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street. Not necessarily the best movies ever, far from it, but that is not the reason why they are what they are. They are the history of modern horror.

Since this is my 100th post here, I figured why not do something special. So what I’m going to do here is three lists of the movies in their respective franchises (excluding the remakes) in order of my least favourite to most favourite with some comments on why they take the place they do, the franchises are in the same order. I could have skipped the clumsy explanations of how the lists work and just let you figure it out by yourselves in a couple of seconds, but that’s not how I roll. So let’s do this.



8. Halloween: Resurrection (2002) – This abomination of the movie is not only the worst Halloween movie, but also the worst movie of all three franchises and the only one that I would count as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and not in a good way. It’s so bad, it’s bad.

7. Halloween II (1981) – I just really didn’t care for this one. After original Halloween this seemed incredibly bland and contradictory to the way I perceived Michael Myers in the first one. Don’t get me wrong, just because it is next to Resurrection, it doesn’t mean they are even comparable, this movie is so much better, but I can remember only two scenes from it and that’s what this movie is to me – forgettable.

6. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) – this movie is interesting in a way, but more in how they tried to twist and bend the Halloween mythos and less in an ‘interesting to watch’ way. It has its bright moments, but overall it’s a pretty dull movie.

5. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – That’s right. I debated whether even include this on the list. If I hated the movie, I probably wouldn’t have, but I found it a very enjoyable movie. Not really a Halloween movie, but still. It is silly and campy and whatever else, but it is also very atmospheric. Despite its absurdity it is a fun watch, more fun than most of the Halloween movies. But fun doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good horror or Halloween movie.

4. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) – It is a very solid movie, actually better than it had any right to be, however, I must say that 20 years later, it is feeling a bit stale. You can feel the weight of the series pulling it down, no matter how they tried to ignore the parts without Jamie Lee Curtis. This movie is just them saying: „Hey, we got Curtis back and avoided anything really stupid or interesting, hope you’re nostalgia kicks in.”

3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) – They tried to start fresh after the failure of Season of the Witch and we get some interesting stuff. A crippled and crazy Loomis, the amazingly cute Jamie Lloyd and an intriguing ending. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a decent watch.

2. Halloween 5 (1989) – I almost put this as number one. It’s hard to explain, but I found it very enjoyable. Loomis is utterly insane, Jamie is just as cute, but doesn’t speak and then there’s  the absurd character Tina, who I enjoyed even though she was so over-the-top. These are the only three characters I’ve ever cared about in a Halloween movie. The movie has a bunch of flaws, but it is entertaining. When most Halloween movies take themselves too seriously, making it seem like they don’t know what type of movie they are, this one hits the right balance.

1. Halloween (1978) – So here we are. This movie is considered a horror classic by most. And even though it isn’t in my favourite movie list, it’s influence on the horror genre is immense. What makes this one different from the rest of the Halloween movies? It’s actually a good movie. This is the only one, which deserves to take itself completely seriously and benefits from it. I don’t know what can I say, that hasn’t been said. It’s a good movie.


Friday the 13th

10. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) – This movie tried to execute an idea, that was destined to fail from the start and even the attempt wasn’t very good. Add some idiotic comedy, absurd characters and you get this thing. That’s just it, it’s a failure, a misstep on the filmmaker’s part.

9. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) – Again, almost the same case as Halloween II, the second part is just bland. I remember the guy in the wheelchair and Jason wearing a potato bag on his head. That’s basically it. And when I say I don’t remember a lot from it, remember that I have watched all these movies within the last year, so if it can stay in my memory for that long, then it’s not worth remembering.

8. Jason X (2001) – Jason in space. I don’t think I even have to say more, it’s just so ridiculous. The movie certainly has it’s moments, but overall it’s just too cheesy and just too hard to swallow. How could anyone think it’s a great idea? And Jason being located in outer space isn’t even the most absurd thing about it.

7. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) – This an odd movie. Again, it seems they didn’t learn anything after the fifth part. At this point people see these movie for Jason. I didn’t hate the movie itself, it’s just not a good Friday the 13th sequel. It has some really enjoyable performances, but other than that the whole concept is a downer.

6. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) – I enjoyed the part where Jason is in Manhattan, that is great, but the whole boat trip is kind of lame. And the ending sucked as well, if I had to talk about things I didn’t care to see in Friday the 13th movies, zombie Jason turning into a kid is definitely somewhere on that list.

5. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) – Jason vs. Carrie. I don’t know, I found this one pretty mediocre. I also felt let down after the sixth part, which I enjoyed quite a bit. It’s not bad, but it is also neither here or there.

4. Friday the 13th Part III (1982) – This is probably the outright campiest Friday the 13th movie. I mean watching it not in 3D, it is kind of absurd when you get a yo-yo, pot joint and popcorn stuck or thrown in the camera for no reason. But it is kind of fun when you see a head crushed so that an eye can jump out towards the camera. And the first time Jason looks like we know him. Stupid fun this movie is.

3. Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986) – This is what I’m talking about, Friday the 13th franchise at its best. Entertaining, well-paced, silly and Jason kicking ass after being resurrected.

2. Friday the 13th (1980) – This is where the endless copying of Halloween started. But this was interesting in its own right, the POV shots, the killer’s motivation, the killer itself, Kevin Bacon getting arrow-stabbed in the neck. Great stuff.

1. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) – I debated whether to put this as number one or two, but then I remembered Crispin Glover dancing and decided this must be number one for me. This one has it all. Comedy, gore, thrills, nudity, Glover, Jason-hunter, horror obsessed kid, “Ted, where the hell’s the corkscrew?” scene. Just great.


A Nightmare On Elm Street

7. A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989) – Why this is the last one? Because the few things I do remember about this is either really stupid special effects or something that is probably from Dream Master. It’s forgettable and stupid, not awful, just something you start forgetting while you’re watching it.

6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) – Also a very forgettable one. There’s some weird choices. Like Tuesday Knight replacing Patricia Arquette. And weird scenes, like that chick turning into a bug. It’s just a big whatever of a movie, which decides to bring back the characters from Dream Warriors and just throw them into the garbage bin.

5. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) – What can I say. Yeah, the homoeroticism was kind of odd, but, hey, what’s wrong with that? At least Freddy hadn’t turned into a caricature yet. This is psychological movie and it’s pretty good at that. But on the other hand the stuff with the S&M gym teacher is kind of jarring. Some wrong choices were made by some knowingly by others unintentionally, but the result is a weird sequel to A Nightmare On Elm Street, unique in its own way. Even if it’s not the best way.

4. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) – By this point I had accepted that Freddy is just this cartoon character and this movie completely embraces it, it doesn’t even attempt at being a serious movie. I mean, there’s a scene where Freddy plays a NES game using Power Glove. You can’t get more ridiculous than that. But at least the movie wasn’t bland. It’s more of a dark comedy than horror movie and if you take it that way, it’s not so bad.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) – This is where the asshole comedian Freddy began, yet wasn’t as over-the-top as he later became. Great special effects, interesting characters, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon. It’s very entertaining and cool. A favourite of a lot of people and for understandable reasons.

2. New Nightmare (1994) – Wes Craven came back and set it right. Freddy is creepy again, Langenkamp is back and there’s some meta stuff. Rarely the sixth sequel is a good movie, but this one is. It’s self-referential, yet restrained enough to not feel too gimmicky. A cool movie.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – Well, this one is no doubt a classic. Original, creepy, tense, sexual. It has so many memorable scenes. Robert Englund really brings something to the Freddy Krueger character, it’s a horror masterpiece. I love this movie. From all these 25 movies I’ve listed here, this is without a doubt my favourite one. Classic.

So here you go, my countdown of the big three of horror franchises. An arbitrary list since I’ve reviewed most of these movies anyway, but I wanted to do make clear my personal preferences. If you want to, let me know your list.