HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: INCIDENT IN A GHOSTLAND (2018)

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INCIDENT IN A GHOSTLAND (2018)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Story finds Beth (Emilia Jones), her sister Vera (Taylor Hickson) and their mother, Pauline (Mylène Farmer) moving into a creepy house they’ve inherited. That very night they are attacked by two deranged individuals (Rob Archer and Kevin Power) they encountered earlier on the road driving a candy truck. Vera is raped before mom savagely kills the intruders. The film picks up many years later with adult Beth (Crystal Reed) a wife, mother and now a famous horror author. One day she gets a panicked phone call from the emotionally damaged Vera (Anastasia Phillips), who still lives in the creepy old house with mom. Beth returns to the old home to check up on them and finds out there is still something very wrong going on in that house.

Disturbing flick is written and directed by Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) who certainly knows disturbing. It doesn’t quite reach Martyrs territory, but comes close with it’s brutal beatings and the swollen and bloody faces warn by our leads. It’s extremely effective, especially after we get our midpoint reveal, but also very unpleasant to sit through. It’s a tough film to watch as the sisters are continually abused by these two deranged individuals, dressed up like dolls, shackled and worse. It’s also set in a house that is very unsettling in itself, with it’s dark hallways and rooms filled with creepy toys. The design of the home and it’s furnishings is quite spooky and does give the film atmosphere. As for the sadistic and deranged intruders, they are given no background or motivation, other than Vera giving them the finger, for their attack on the family and we never even get names for them. The one listed in the cast as “Fat Man” (Archer) seems to be a bit of a perverted man-child, while his androgynous partner “The Candy Truck Woman” (Kevin Power) is the only one that talks and only when he/she has something disturbing to say. They work, but it seems to be all senseless brutality without some kind of character depth to give their vile behavior some weight or point.

Cast is small but effective with Crystal Reed giving her Beth a strength despite what she is going through and Anastasia Phillips evoking a lot of sympathy as the emotionally disturbed and abused Vera. As their younger selves, Emilia Jones and Taylor Hickson are also good. Mylène Farmer is solid as their mother, Pauline and is especially effective in the scenes where she protects her young daughters. Not much is known about our intruders, but Rob Archer and Kevin Power make them very effective and frightening.

Overall, much like Martyrs, it’s very effective though extremely unpleasant. It never gets quite as horrific as that movie, but has some brutal moments. The opening scenes are violent and effective and the mid-film reveal is startling, though not unexpected. By the last act, though, we are getting tired and numbed to all the unpleasantness and abuse and thankfully the film is a quick 90 minutes. While a well made film, not one which viewers can say they enjoyed. Also, not something one needs to watch again.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 creepy dolls (out of 4).

 

 

 

 

 

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10 PERFORMANCES THAT PROVE WOMEN RULED HORROR IN 2018!

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10 PERFORMANCES THAT PROVE WOMEN RULED HORROR IN 2018!

Horror was one of the first genres to provide strong roles for women. From Gloria Holden as Dracula’s Daughter to Jamie Lee Curtis as quintessential final girl Laurie Strode, women have always played a very important part. 2018 was no different, as there were a number of strong performances from the ladies in a variety of leading roles. Thusly, here are ten equally awesome performances by women in horror that proved that the ladies ruled the genre in 2018!…

(Just click on the highlighted titles to go to our reviews of these films for a more detailed description of the performances listed!)

#1 BRITTANY ALLEN as Jules in What Keeps You Alive

#2 HANNAH EMILY ANDERSON as Jackie in What Keeps You Alive

#3 NICOLE MUÑOZ as Leah in Pyewacket

#4 LAURIE HOLDEN as Mrs. Reyes in Pyewacket

#5 SCOUT TAYLOR-COMPTON as Alice in Feral

#6 TONI COLLETTE as Annie in Hereditary

#7 JAMIE LEE CURTIS as Laurie Strode in Halloween 2018

#8 TILDA SWINTON as Madame Blanc, Helena Markos and Dr. Josef Klemperer in SUSPIRIA 2018

#9 KATE SIEGEL as Theo Crain in The Haunting of Hill House

#10 DANA CHRISTINA as Allison in Extremity

HONORABLE MENTION

MADELINE BREWER as Lola/Alice in Cam

Hit the link HERE for a similar listing from 2014. Another banner year for female performances! While you’re there, find out which of these amazing ladies here also made that list in 2014!

-MonsterZero NJ

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES DEC 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. “Aquaman” $51.5 Million

2. “Mary Poppins Returns” $28 Million

3. “Bumblebee” $20.5 Million

4. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” $18.3 Million

5. “The Mule” $11.7 Million

6. “Vice” $7.8 Million

7. “Holmes and Watson” $7.3 Million

8. “Second Act” $7.2 Million

9. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” $6.5 Million

10. “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” $4.2 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2018!

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2018!

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features a new final girl on the block who appeared in her first horror flick in 2018 and made quite an impression! With the release of Stevan Mena’s long awaited Malevolence 3: Killer, we were introduced to this fresh face in the role of the film’s heroine, Ellie!…And this actress got our attention! Without further ado…MonsterZero NJ’s Halloween Hotties rookie of the year 2018 is…

KATIE GIBSON!

Katie Gibson is new to the horror movie scene, making her final girl debut in Stevan Mena’s Malevolence 3: Killer. While she had a vocal part in Mena’s Bereavement, this is her first starring role and she made a strong impression. Her Ellie was a very likable character, resilient, smart, compassionate and when serial killer Martin Bristol comes knocking, she responds with some knocks of her own. We can only hope that if Mena continues the franchise, Katie is along for the next installment…or Malevolence 3: Killer gets her enough attention for future roles in other projects. Attention she deserves! We can’t wait to see more of this talented and beautiful young actress!

KATIE GIBSON as ELLIE in MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER!

Malevolence 3: Killer‘s brave and strong-willed Ellie, unaware evil lurks close by!

Katie Gibson gets to try on a classic slasher trope as she watches her young neighbor!

Ellie finds out something is very wrong as Martin Bristol returns to his former home.

Ellie risking her own life to protect her young neighbor, Victoria (Victoria Mena).

Can Ellie turn the tables on a killer?

Katie’s got talent and a girl-next-door presence that made her a natural for this type of role. Mena has a gift for picking good final girls, as Alexandra Daddario served final girl duties in Bereavement and hot mom type Samantha Dark was a strong heroine in the original Malevolence. Hopefully actress Katie Gibson and director Stevan Mena will both be working on new projects soon!

-MonsterZero NJ

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And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties!

Head over to the Halloween Hotties listings! to read them all!)

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 FLICKS TO ADD A CHILL TO YOUR HOLIDAYS!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 FLICKS TO ADD A CHILL TO YOUR HOLIDAYS!

That “other” holiday season is here, the one that doesn’t involve jack-o-lanterns, witches and goblins, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some chills and thrills. I tried to add some variety here, so not all of them are classics and not all strictly horrors…though A Christmas Carol IS a ghost story after all. Here are ten flicks to add some chills and thrills to your ho ho holidays!

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REVIEW LINKS: click to read the corresponding review!

  1. Black Christmas
  2. Silent Night Deadly Night
  3. Christmas Evil
  4. Krampus
  5. A Christmas Carol
  6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  7. Gremlins
  8. Rare Exports
  9. A Christmas Horror Story
  10. Better Watch Out

-MonsterZero NJ

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES DEC 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. “Aquaman” $67.4 Million

2. “Mary Poppins Returns” $22.2 Million

3. “Bumblebee” $21 Million

4. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” $16.7 Million

5. “The Mule” $9.95 Million

6. “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” $8.1 Million

7. “Second Act” $6.5 Million

8. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” $4.6 Million

9. “Welcome to Marwen” $2.35 Million

10. “Mary Queen of Scots” $2.2 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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REVIEW: AQUAMAN (2018)

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AQUAMAN (2018)

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

DC comics flick is a mixed bag finding our aquatic hero (Jason Momoa) coming up against his half-brother King Orm of Atlantis (Patrick Wilson). The power and conquest hungry Orm wants to take control of all the undersea kingdoms and then use their combined might to lay waste to the surface world. Princess Mera (Amber Heard) of the undersea kingdom of Xebel defies her father (Dolph Lundgren) to warn Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman and inform him that if he retrieves the Trident of Atlan, he will have the power to stop Orm and take his rightful place as king. Standing in his way is a modern day pirate with Atlantean tech and a personal grudge against Aquaman, The Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).

Superhero flick is directed by James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, based on a story by Wan, Beall and Geoff Johns. The flick is a bit of a mess, that bites off more than it can chew, though it can be a fun mess at times. The negative points are a thin story that gets poor development as the film steamrolls ahead from one set-piece to another. From the flashback meeting of Arthur’s mother Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) and his lighthouse keeper father,Thomas (Temuera Morrison), to Arthur’s first meeting/fight with Orm, to a massive undersea battle, a lot goes on in this flick. Somewhere in between all this, the film stops and goes on a Tomb Raider style quest for the trident…wasn’t that the plot of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean flick?…and then finally back to Aquaman vs Orm, the rematch. It gives the film a choppy feeling for the first hour, or so, before it settles down a bit in the last act. None of the characters get proper development, especially Black Manta, whose sub-plot could have been eliminated completely with no harm done. At least we already met Arthur in Justice League…and, by the way, where were his League pals as this was a global destruction situation. The good points are that some of the action set pieces are quite fun and Wan has a great visual eye, so the film looks sumptuous and spectacular. The undersea kingdoms are amazing, there is a stunning Star Wars-esque underwater battle at it’s climax and the film has a lot of cool creatures. The cast all get the material and play their roles with the right tone and if the story was more involving, this might have been a bit more memorable, which sadly it’s not. A good time was had overall, though it didn’t resonate once the theater lights came up.

Back to the cast, Wan has assembled a top notch one. Momoa has locked it in as Aquaman and the character has never been cooler. His bad-ass surfer boy take works very well as a modern incarnation of the DC hero and Momoa has the charm and sense of humor to overcome the thin script. Amber Heard is beautiful and resourceful as Mera. She is a strong character and is not played as a damsel and Heard makes a solid heroine out of her. Patrick Wilson is a pleasant surprise as the vengeful King Orm. Wilson is usually cast in the straight-laced good guy role and here he chews up the seaweed and scenery with just enough restraint to keep Orm from flipping over into camp. He’s a better villain than Justice’s Steppenwolf and Wonder Woman’s Ares. Rounding out the supporting cast is Nicole Kidman as a noble Queen Atlanna, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane/Black Manta and Temuera Morrison as Arthur’s dad. All do good work in their roles and help keep this bloated flick from sinking.

So, Aquaman is a bit of a mess and DC still has a way to go to catch up to Marvel and set it’s cinematic universe right. The story here is thin and underdeveloped due to filmmakers being too overeager to do too many things in one film. There’s globe hopping adventure, epic undersea battles, a quest for a mystical object and a superhero battling to save the world and find his destiny. All we needed was a musical number. It has a solid cast, who get the material and a director who knows theatricality and how to make it look gorgeous. In lesser hands this might of been an awful mess, but Wan makes it an entertaining one. Overall, it’s a step back from Wonder Woman, but two steps ahead over the disappointing Justice League and the bloated Batman v Superman.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 tridents.

 

 

 

 

 

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BARE BONES: GOOSEBUMPS 2-HAUNTED HALLOWEEN (2018)

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GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN (2018)

Sequel has two boys, Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) finding an unfinished book by R.L. Stine (Jack Black) in an abandoned house. Upon opening it, they accidentally unleash the evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy (voiced by Mick Wingert). Slappy now plots to bring Halloween to life and starts bringing monsters into the sleepy town of Wardenclyffe, New York. Can Sonny, Sam and Sonny’s sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) stop Slappy’s evil plot!?

Film is lackadaisically directed by Ari Sandel (The Duff) from a story and script by Rob Lieber and Darren Lemke. It’s a weak script that replays a lot of the same schtick from the first flick, yet not as energetic or fun. Black’s appearance as Stine is basically an extended cameo and the movie as a whole seems a very uninspired effort. It has the definite feel of a paycheck job for those behind the camera. There is some very cool Halloween imagery, some amusing bits and Madison Iseman (Tales Of Halloween, Jumanji) does make for a feisty and resilient heroine. The rest of the cast seem to be having a fun time, but the film itself isn’t as buoyant as it’s predecessor. A mediocre follow-up to a surprisingly fun first flick. Also stars Wendi McLendon-Covey as Sonny and Sarah’s single mom.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S BEST HORROR FLICKS of 2018!

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It’s time to look back at the past year and see what horrors left an impression. Without further ado, here are my ten favorite/best horrors of 2018 with two honorable mentions!

(NOTE: There are a few titles here initially released in 2017 at festivals or limited theatrical release, but I did not catch up to them till VOD or home media in 2018 and felt it unfair not to include them!-MZNJ)

(To get to our reviews of these titles use the search engine at the top of the page!)

TOP TEN

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

 

 

-MonsterZero NJ

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES DEC 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. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” $35.4 Million

2. “The Mule” $17.2 Million

3. “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” $11.5 Million

4. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” $9.6 Million

5. “Mortal Engines” $7.5 Million

6. “Creed II” $5.4 Million

7. “Bohemian Rhapsody” $4.1 Million

8. “Instant Family” $3.7 Million

9. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” $3.6 Million

10. “Green Book” $2.8 Million

 

source: Box Office Mojo

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