WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JUNE 28-30

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Toy Story 4” $57.9 Million

2. “Annabelle Comes Home” $20.3 Million

3. “Yesterday” $17 Million

4. “Aladdin” $9.3 Million

5. “The Secret Life of Pets 2” $7 Million

6. “Men In Black: International” $6.5 Million

7. “Avengers: Endgame” $5.5 Million

8. “Child’s Play” $4.3 Million

9. “Rocketman” $3.9 Million

10. “John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum” $3.2 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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REVIEW: ANNABELLE COMES HOME (2019)

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ANNABELLE COMES HOME (2019)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

The third time is the charm, as the latest Annabelle flick is a haunted house roller coaster ride of scares, fun and thrills! The film starts off from the opening scene of The Conjuring with paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick WIlson) Warren, bringing the haunted doll home and placing it in their room of haunted and cursed objects, locked inside a blessed glass cathedral case. They have to go away overnight and leave their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace), who has inherited some of her mother’s psychic abilities, with pretty babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Mary Ellen’s feisty friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) comes over, too, and despite warnings, goes into the forbidden room of haunted and curse objects, in the hopes of contacting her dead father. Annabelle is released from her prison and a sleepover becomes a nightmare, as the demonic doll lets all the malevolent spirits loose with the three girls trapped inside the house.

This is how you make a haunted house movie! Gary Dauberman hits a grand slam his first time at bat as the writer and director of this threequel. He has written for The Conjuring Universe before, but shows he knows how to direct horror, too, with this delightfully old fashioned scare-fest. Dauberman uses some very atmospheric camera work, in-camera practical effects, some very well built tension and suspense, along with some outright goose-bump inducing scares, to deliver simply one of the best haunted house movies since Poltergeist..the 1982 original, that is. His script cleverly gets the adult Warrens out of the house and using some classic horror tropes turns an already spooky home in a nightmare for the three young ladies trapped inside. There are a few jump scares, but only to climax some expertly built tension while his camera turns every shadow into the potential hiding place for something evil. Anything could come from anywhere at anytime and it keeps one constantly on edge. The room of haunted objects is wisely a focus and Dauberman milks all the chilling tchotchke for all it’s worth. Despite conjuring some Carpenter level scares, it’s the emotional depth that really makes it work. The girls are all three dimensional characters. Judy is a very likable kid, who’s “spooky” parents have earned her outcast status at school, with Mary Ellen being her only real friend. Mary Ellen is a sweet and very endearing young lady and one who is very brave when tasked with protecting Judy. Her tenderness and protectiveness towards the Warren’s daughter really makes her someone whose wellbeing you care about. Daniela could have been a stereotype ‘bad girl”, but Dauberman gives her a sympathetic and sweet core under the mischievous veneer. Her inner pain over the death of her father gives her a very sympathetic and endearing quality, even if this mess is kinda her fault. Add to it all that, that the writer/director, having put you through a last act ringer, gives us a nice cool down with a very sweet climax that works far better than it should being this is a intense horror flick. Very Spielbergian.

The cast are wonderful here and really bring the scripted characters to life. Farmiga and Wilson are basically just there at the beginning and end, but have really locked these characters down. Regardless of what you think of the real Warrens, their cinematic counterparts are quite the likable duo. Mckenna Grace handles the lead like a pro. She really makes us feel Judy’s loneliness due to the reputation caused by her parents line of work and the emotional turmoil caused by inheriting her mother’s abilities. Obviously, the demonic spirit in Annabelle, targets her. Madison Iseman continues to impress as an actress. She takes the stereotypical babysitter and gives her a very endearing personality and imbuing her with a very natural sweetness in her caring for Judy. She’s also brave and resilient when Annabelle’s demonic entity unleashes all the other spirits, including a particularly spooky entity that sets it’s sights on the babysitter. Iseman has a natural girl-next-door presence and she really makes this character three dimensional. Same could be said of Katie Sarife as Daniela. Her character is more the mischievous bad girl, but Sarife really makes her a bit complex as inside she is in pain over the death of her father and it motivates some of the bad decisions she makes. She wants to talk to her father one last time. She is also very sweet at heart, especially when it comes to Judy. Makes for a very un-stereotypical classic character. All three young actresses share great chemistry, which makes their on-screen relationships gel realistically. Lastly, is Michael Cimino as Bob, a nice boy who has a crush on Mary Ellen. Their awkward and sweet conversation scene, when he comes over to the Warren’s to see her, has such a natural feel to it. A perfect example of a good script meeting a good cast.

This movie gave continual goose-bumps to a man who has literally been watching horror movies for half a century. It proves when a talented director pushes all the right buttons, and in the right ways, old tropes can become solid scares. We have a nice build to the story and given time to get to know some well-rounded and likable characters, all the while the tension is simmering with it. We are then thrown into a literal fun house of horrors, as all hell breaks loose in the last act. Along the way Dauberman proves subtle nuances can be just as scary as grotesque phantoms and nothing makes the scares stronger than a solid emotional center to all the supernatural hijinx. An incredibly impressive directorial debut from Gary Dauberman who delivers one of the scariest flicks in quite some time and yet one with some surprisingly sweet and sentimental moments that mix far better than one might expect. Evoking Carpenter and Spielberg at their best in your first flick is quite an accomplishment.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 4 (out of 4) Annabelles.

 

 

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIE ON THE RISE: MADISON ISEMAN

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIE ON THE RISE: MADISON ISEMAN

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features a fairly new face in horror, and she has made quite an impression in her first appearances. In only a few years, up and coming actress Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) has played the older sister/crush object in the Halloween set Ghost Squad, the classic role of the babysitter in Tales Of Halloween, made a resourceful heroine in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and most recently, joins “The Conjuring Universe” in Annabelle Comes Homewhere she’s in the classic babysitter role again! Hopefully this is only the beginning for this beautiful and talented actress!

(Click on the highlighted links to read reviews of the films that our Halloween Hottie has appeared in)

 

GHOST SQUAD (2015)

As girl next door crush Brandy

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TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015)

As babysitter Lizzy in the Sweet Tooth segment

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GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN (2018)

As big sister and resilient heroine Sarah

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ANNABELLE COMES HOME (2019)

as imperiled Mary Ellen

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Photo: IMDB

That’s four horror themed flicks in as many years and three of them set on Halloween! That’s why Madison Iseman certainly qualifies as one of MonsterZero NJ’s Halloween Hotties!

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And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties profiles…just click on the following link to head over to the Halloween Hotties listings!)

 

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: CHARLIE’S FARM (2014)

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CHARLIE’S FARM (2014)

If writer/director Chris Sun’s Boar was a homage to the nature run amok horrors inspired by Jaws than Charlie’s Farm is the Australian filmmaker’s nod to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and that which it inspired. Flick has four friends (Tara Reid, Allira Jaques, Dean Kirkright and Sam Coward) heading into rural country to find the supposedly haunted “Charlie’s Farm”. Local legends say that in the 1980s area townsfolk brought lethal justice to the murderous, cannibalistic Wilson family…all but their young, deranged son Charlie. Now he is said to “haunt” the area surrounding the farm, dispatching anyone who dares venture near. The four friends unfortunately find out there is some truth behind urban legends.

Flick is not perfect, but is a fun throwback/homage with former WWE Superstar Nathan Jones making an imposing Charlie along with some very gruesome kills. As Chris Sun is paying homage to flicks of this kind, don’t expect anything too original, but he seems to know his influences well enough. The rest of the cast are fine here with standouts being Sam Coward as fun, lovable lug “Donkey” and pretty Aussie Allira Jaques as spunky Melanie, who IMO would have been a better final girl than the by-the-numbers Reid. The violence can be brutal and while it isn’t much in the suspense department, the farm setting is creepy and effective and it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at only 88 minutes. Film also stars horror legends Bill Mosley, who is channeling “Otis” in flashbacks as cannibal patriarch John WIlson and Kane Hodder, as a friend who comes looking for the ill-fated campers and finds trouble himself. An amusing enough slasher.

 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JUNE 21-23

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Toy Story 4” $118 Million

2. “Child’s Play” $14 Million

3. “Aladdin” $12.2 Million

4. “Men In Black: International” $10.7 Million

5. “The Secret Life of Pets 2” $10.3 Million

6. “Rocketman” $5.65 Million

7. “John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum” $4 Million

8. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” $3.7 Million

9. “Dark Phoenix” $3.6 Million

10. “Shaft” $3.55 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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HAPPY 61st BIRTHDAY, BRUCE CAMPBELL!

HAPPY 61st BIRTHDAY, BRUCE CAMPBELL!
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MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse wishes the legendary Bruce Campbell a very happy 61st birthday!…

 

…and as a special treat…your own MonsterZero NJ being strangled by Mr. Campbell himself at the 1992 Chiller Theater convention in Hackensack N.J.!…

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-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: BOAR (2017)

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BOAR (2017)

Australian nature run amok horror has a massive wild boar terrorizing the remote Australian countryside. A group of locals and a visiting family find themselves battling the monster, who is very hungry and will eat anything…or anyone…that wanders into it’s hunting ground.

Flick is a fun and delightfully gory monster on the loose flick from writer/director Chris Sun. The flick evokes the nature gone wild films of the 70s and 80s like Grizzly, Alligator and, of course, Razorback, that were themselves inspired by Jaws. Sun gives his monster boar a lot of menace and the creature FX are mostly good old fashioned prosthetics, and very effective ones at that. CGI is only used minimally for a few full body shots needing the big pig to move like a real animal. It’s quick and rendered well enough to work. There is plenty of blood, entrails and limbs flying all over the place, yet Sun doesn’t forget to give us some likable and endearing characters to root and fear for. As the writer/director is not afraid to have characters we like fall to the critter, it ads suspense, as anyone could end up a meal. A really fun and bloody as heck, old fashioned monster flick from down under. Boar stars Wolf Creek’s John Jarratt, horror legend Bill Moseley and former WWE Superstar turned actor Nathan Jones (Mad Max: Fury Road). Check it out on Shudder for a bloody good time!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972)

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THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Not sure where this cult classic 70’s docu-horror, from director Charles B. Pierce (The Town That Dreaded Sundown) and writer Earl E. Smith (who also wrote Sundown, gets it’s reputation from. The flick was far too campy, corny and cheesy to be remotely scary and doesn’t fare too well as camp, either. It’s Plan 9 -esque “So bad it’s good” charm can be amusing at first, but sadly wears out it’s welcome about halfway through and the flick just becomes tedious. Although, when the film stops dead for a musical ode to some guy named Travis Crabtree, there is much chuckling and eye rolling to be had. That, unfortunately, is also one of the film’s problems, aside from costing about $10. Too many times the flick averts it’s focus from the monster sightings to ramble on about Fouke, Arkansas, or the woods, or some local character. The “High School Warning Film” narration doesn’t help either. The final straw comes from getting a glimpse of the creature’s face toward the end and it’s a store bought Halloween ape mask. The scariest thing about this “G” rated flick is that people were frightened by it when it first came out. Ah, the 70’s…

 

Rated 2 (out of 4) rubber ape masks.

 

 

 

 

 

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES JUNE 14-16

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Men In Black: International” $28.5 Million

2. “The Secret Life of Pets 2” $23.8 Million

3. “Aladdin” $16.7 Million

4. “Dark Phoenix” $9 Million

5. “Rocketman” $8.8 Million

6. “Shaft” $8.3 Million

7. “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” $8.1 Million

8. “John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum” $6.1 Million

9. “Late Night” $5.1 Million

10. “Ma” $3.6 Million

 

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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