FROM MONSTERZERO NJ!
(Click on the highlighted links or on the movie poster to read a review of Crawl, one of the most thrilling and fun flicks of this past summer!)
College swimmer Haley puts her skills to the test and goes on the offensive!
With more gators lurking outside and waters rising inside, will Haley and her dad escape?
Halloween haunt troubles.
(And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties by simply going to our Halloween Hotties main page!)
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An enjoyably silly plot concerns Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and female scientist Dr. Sandra Mornay’s (Lenore Aubert) plans to revive the Frankenstein monster (Glenn Strange) using baggage clerk Wilbur Grey’s (Lou Costello’s) child-like brain, with The Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr.), when in human form, in pursuit to stop them. Wilbur’s long-suffering friend/co-worker Chick Young (Bud Abbott) is along for the ride, playing the unbelieving straight man to the supernatural goings on…and there is plenty of spooky stuff going on right under his nose. Also in the mix is pretty insurance investigator Joan Raymond (Jane Randolph), who catches WIlbur’s eye and gets drawn into the monster mayhem and gruff Mr. McDougal (Frank Ferguson), whose house of horrors exhibit is responsible for bringing the monsters together on these shores.
Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein is a genuine classic in every sense of the word. Not only a hilariously funny slapstick comedy, but a delightfully spooky Halloween treat featuring the great Universal monsters together for the last time. It’s energetically directed by Charles Barton, who directed many flicks for the legendary comic duo, from a fun script by Frederic I. Rinaldo, John Grant and Robert Lees. All the elements of a classic Universal monster flick are present, mixed perfectly with Abbott and Costello’s brand of comic hi-jinx. The cast is also perfect, as is every other aspect of this timeless gem and it’s great to see Lugosi, Chaney and Glenn Strange on screen in their classic roles one more time. The castle set final act is a spooky fun good time! In all seriousness, this is a great example of a movie hitting all it’s marks. It accomplishes everything it sets out to do and does so very well. Not only a comedy masterpiece, but technically the last classic Universal monster flick, even though it’s not officially considered part of that series. One of the greatest horror/comedies of all time!
Some fun trivia…although despite being associated with the role all his life, this is only the second time Bela Lugosi played Count Dracula on film! Also, yes that is the voice of legendary horror icon Vincent Price as the Invisible Man in the film’s hilarious conclusion. The duo would go on to meet, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Boris Karloff, The Mummy and The Invisible Man in later adventures, but none of them had the gothic Universal series feel like Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.
…Oh, and just in case you thought he was left out, Abbott and Costello did meet the Creature From The Black Lagoon in a Colgate Comedy Hour sketch in 1954…
Forgoing the usual ‘out of 4’ rating to give this 5 mon-stars!
Flick has Don Koch (Phil Brooks, a.k.a. former WWE Superstar CM Punk) trying to right past wrongs for his pregnant wife, Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn) by buying an old house and renovating it. The house has a history, though, and there were acts committed in the former brothel that may come back to haunt Don and his family…literally.
Haunted house horror is effectively directed by Travis Stevens from a script and story by he, Paul Johnstone and Ben Parker. The flick is entertaining, though a bit uneven, which does hold it back a little. There are some nice subtle, spooky touches early on in the proceedings, some good gore and some amusingly bonkers stuff here and there that achieve more Evil Dead II level supernatural hi-jinx. There are also stretches that are a bit dull, the tone is a little uneven and it’s hard to feel concerned or sorry…not that we’re supposed to…for Don when he is such a jerk. Don cheats on his wife, he deceived his clients, he’s a liar, a drinker and just seems like a bit of an all around a-hole in general. It’s like he’s getting what’s coming to him, especially when dealing with the sexy, mysterious and troublesome Sarah (Sarah Brooks). As such, it’s hard to sympathize and be afraid for a guy meeting the karma train head on. By centering the film on an unlikable character, you get more apathy than empathy from your audience, whether his comeuppance is the point or not. The flick does switch focus to his far more likable wife in the last act and douche Don seems to disappear for quite some time, while his pregnant spouse then deals with the horrors of the house. The sudden switch of focus is s a little off-putting, but we do like and fear for Liz far more and it makes for a very effective last act.
On a production level, the flick looks great and the FX well rendered. Stevens also makes great use of the old house location. The cast are fine with Brooks doing a good job in a role that is often a one man (and dog) show at times and pretty Trieste Kelly Dunn doing strong work when she shows up in the last act and the house reveals all. Sarah Brooks (no relation to Phil) is both sexy and spooky as Sarah, Karen Woditsch is good as insightful neighbor Ellie and Travis Delgado is effective as Don’s fed-up friend Milo.
Overall, flick is definitely worth a watch. A few things hold it back from firing on all cylinders, but it is atmospheric, spooky and can be both effectively subtle and delightfully over-the-top when it needs to be. There is some good gore, a few novel twists added to the haunted house tropes and the cast are all solid. Travis Stevens could be a filmmaker to keep an eye on.
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1. “Joker” $18.9 Million
2. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” $18.5 Million
3. “The Addams Family” $11.7 Million
4. “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” $11.6 Million
5. “Countdown” $9 Million
6. “Black and Blue” $8.3 Million
7. “Gemini Man” $4 Million
8. “The Lighthouse” $3 Million
9. “The Current War: Director’s Cut” $2.7 Million
10. “Abominable” $2 Million
source: Box Office Mojo
Sequel to the indie Halloween set anthology flick 10/31 once again presents a horror movie marathon hosted by Malvolia, the Queen of Screams (Jennifer Nangle). It tells five tales, with some fun trailers this time, by a host of new indie filmmakers, all taking place on Halloween.
After opening with some amusing trailers, the best being Treaters from Zane Hershberger, and then an introduction by Malvolia, the show begins. We start out with A Samhain Liturgy written and directed by Tory van Buskirk. It’s a classic tale of a babysitter (Rhema Srihartiti) encountering peril and evil on Halloween night. The tale is a mash-up of more than one classic horror scenario, has some very disturbing moments and follows the classic tropes with a few twists. It can be gruesome at times and the make-up FX are well rendered. Lead Rhema Srihartiti makes a nice heroine as teen babysitter Holly and Devin Douglas, a very creepy kid as Tommy.
Second story is Dead Lift from director Stephen Wolfe. Story finds down on his luck rideshare driver Jeremy (Tim Robinson) picking up a very ominous passenger (William McCarthy). The segment is spooky and atmospheric, but also a bit talky and feels like it wears out it’s welcome long before it’s over. Dead Lift also stars Ashley Nief as Jeremy’s long suffering girlfriend Whitney. Does score points for trying to do something a little different and having a bit of a Phantasm vibe in spots.
Next up is the very comical and cheesy Apache Hatchet Massacre II from director Max Groah. Basically a story of a Halloween party being held in a cabin on an ancient Native American burial ground. There’s a lot of overacting and the segment comes across as very cheap looking and just plain silly. It doesn’t feel like it fits in with the rest of the stories, which take a more serious approach and look far better produced. It simply comes across as filler. Thankfully, AHM II is mercifully short.
Fourth story is Overkill from writer, director Drew Marvick and is an amusing tale of two serial killers (Aaron Strong and David E. McMahon) fighting over the same sexy babysitter (Anastasia Elfman) on Halloween night. Segment is amusing and features some good gore, but is another segment that seems like it’s a bit long for it’s one sentence scenario. On the plus side, the segment does feature some nice nudity from shapely Lauren Fogle (as “Hot Chick”), which is a rarity for this anthology series.
Fifth and final tale finds Tory van Buskirk back writing and in the director’s chair for Sister Mary, a story of a sexy nun with a dark and bloody secret. It’s an effective segment with some disturbing moments, plenty of blood and lead London Grace does a really good job as the disturbed, conflicted, tormented…and possibly haunted?…Mary.
Overall, this was another fun and spooky anthology from this indie franchise, featuring a different set of directors than the first flick. Like the original 10/31, the stories are a bit uneven, but the makers show potential and most stories have Halloween spirit 🎃 along with some great electronic scores from Rocky Gray! 10/31 Part II is available to stream on Amazon Prime!
Rated 3 (out of 4) jack-o-lanterns.
Sorry, this is as close to a trailer as I could find!
Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
Routine backwoods horror has five friends, Lorena (Luciana Faulhaber), Ted (Jeff Berg), Sebastian (Javier E. Gómez), Nicole (Lindsay Eshelman) and Alex (Curtis K Case) traveling to a remote house in the country for a holiday getaway. There are some twisted redneck neighbors (Jarrod Robbins and Hailey Heisick) they cross paths with and a masked psycho soon starts stalking and killing them one by one. You’d think, at this point, city folk would stop vacationing in rural farmhouses or cabins in the woods, but…nope.
Low budget horror is produced, directed and co-written, with Jessica Boucher and Danielle Killay, by star Luciana Faulhaber (The Night Crew). Story-wise there is definitely nothing new here, though following a classic horror storyline did seem more like the point. Film is low budget and has a bit of an amateur production feel, though Faulhaber does direct well enough and makes good use of the rural Plowville, Pennsylvania locations. The cast are fine, performances vary with Faulhaber giving her fiery Lorena some sex appeal and strength, though oddly Lorena takes a backseat to another character in the last few scenes. Robbins and Heisick are also amusing as the twisted rednecks who live on the property and the flick does take a while to let us know if they are the killers, or a red herring (redneck herring?). There is a last act twist that isn’t totally unexpected, but fits in with the familiar tropes this film embraces. Not a lot of suspense, but there is some intensity in the last act. There are some decent kills with a sufficient amount of gore and the flick doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at a scant 71 minutes long. Overall, it’s an amusing enough watch for the spooky season on Amazon Prime and if Luciana Faulhaber continues to hone her craft she might turn into a director to keep an eye on.
Personal Note: I always support independent horror filmmaking and love the fact that Faulhaber didn’t sit around waiting for a movie role, she made her own movie! You can get your movies made, filmmakers!-MZNJ
(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)
1. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” $36 Million
2. “Joker” $29.2 Million
3. “Zombieland 2: Double Tap” $26.7 Million
4. “The Addams Family” $16 Million
5. “Gemini Man” $8.5 Million
6. “Abominable” $3.5 Million
7. “Downton Abbey” $3 Million
8. “Judy” $2.055 Million
9. “Hustlers” $2.05 Million
10. “It: Chapter Two” $1.5 Million
source: Box Office Mojo
In 2015 at a Halloween party in the town of Benton, N.Y., Patrick Weaver (Thom Niemann) or “Trick” goes crazy, killing five of his high school classmates and injuring several others, until stopped by pretty schoolmate Cheryl (Kristina Reyes). At the hospital, Trick makes a daring escape attempt while being questioned by Det. Mike Denver (Omar Epps) and Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair). He’s shot several times, falls out a second story window and wanders off collapsing into a nearby river. He’s presumed dead, but the body is never found and each Halloween after, a masked killer shows up in a nearby town on the river and kills a number of people before vanishing. As Trick starts to become famous as an internet Halloween boogeyman, Denver vows to hunt him down and stop him. With evidence leading to Trick’s return to Benton for Halloween 2019, Denver, Sheriff Jayne and Cheryl prepare to meet the killer head on.
Trick is written by My Bloody Valentine 2009 and Drive Angry duo Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier and directed by Lussier. The two were once involved with an official Halloween sequel that never got made and maybe this is the result of that disappointment. And Trick is a bit of a disappointment, as it is kind of a mixed bag of Halloween candy. The script has a number of plot holes and while most horror flicks do, these are a bit jarring, such as why no one in school remembers what Patrick Weaver looked like. It’s a weak contrivance so no one recognizes him when he’s among them and to try to add an air of mystery to him. Lussier directs this flick very by-the-numbers, too and the first hour of the flick seems rushed and devoid of any atmosphere as the story tries to quickly establish Trick as the new boogeyman of All Hallow’s Eve. In fact, it tries way too hard, and that forced approach doesn’t make Trick click. It follows the formula a bit too closely and thus seems more like a copy of Carpenter’s classic, early on, than a sincere effort. Things do settle down and Lussier does start to generate some tension and atmosphere once Halloween and Trick arrive in Benton, especially in a scene set in a haunted maze attraction. The last act goes a bit off the rails as the writers try to add a few twists during its hospital set conclusion and it takes the flick in a bit of a different direction, which may divide viewers as to whether it works or not. There is some really good gore along the way, though the film loses some points for some awful CGI blood for gunshot hits. The upstate New York settings were a refreshing change from the usual small Midwestern town and it’s too bad they couldn’t have infused the film with more of the Halloween spirit that the upstate New York area has this time of year. It’s a little flat in that department. Again, it tries too hard. Trick’s initial double-sided pumpkin mask and freaky knife are kinda cool, but the new Michael Myers, he sadly is not.
Cast is Good. Omar Epps actually does very well in the Dr. Loomis by way of Fox Mulder role. A veteran detective who is forced into retirement due to his obsession with Trick. Ellen Adair is Scully to Epps’ Mulder as the town sheriff that refuses, at first, to believe Trick is still alive and that this is anything more than a copycat killer. Kristina Reyes makes for a really solid heroine/final girl and it’s too bad it takes the film so long to focus on her. She’s strong, resilient and the actress has an endearing screen charm. Rounding out are supporting roles from Scream’s Jamie Kennedy as a doctor at the town hospital and the legendary Tom Atkins (Halloween III) as a diner owner.
Overall, not sure what happened, as My Bloody Valentine 2009 is gory, intense and fun, while Drive Angry is simply an all-out hoot. This flick could have used more of those movies’ intensity and over-the-top fun. Trick is not the new Halloween classic one hoped for, though is not a completely smashed pumpkin. It’s attempts to create a new horror icon are rushed and forced, though once Halloween night hits, Trick is an effective killer and there is some really gruesome carnage. The film follows the formula possibly too closely to start, then veers off in a different direction in its climactic scenes that may, or may not, work depending on the viewer. There are some bigger than usual plot holes, though it does have its moments. A bit of a disappointment from a duo who have made some bloody fun flicks, but certainly not the worst Halloween set horror out there. Might be the type of flick that grows on one with repeat viewings during the spooky season.
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) Trick masks.