MONSTERZERO NJ’S 20 HAUNTED HOUSE FLICKS FOR HALLOWEEN!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 20 HAUNTED HOUSE FLICKS FOR HALLOWEEN!


Madison Iseman’s babysitter Mary Ellen finds paranormal peril when babysitting for Ed and Lorraine Warren in Annabelle Comes Home.

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As we approach Halloween, what better way to celebrate than with the classic horror film trope, the haunted house! There are a lot to choose from, so, here is a sample realty catalogue of terror, from different decades, in which a dream home becomes a nightmare!

( You can find reviews for the below titles covered here by using the search engine at the top of the page!)

This haunted house needs no introduction.

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S BEST/FAVORITE HORROR FLICKS of 2019!

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Pretty Harper (Katie Stevens) finds out some Halloween haunts are a bit too intense in Haunt.

 

It’s time to look back at the past year and see what horror flicks left an impression. There was an eclectic and diverse selection this year and there were some solid mainstream horror offerings, as there were some really effective indies. So, without further ado, here are my ten best/favorite horrors of 2019!

…and a couple of honorable mentions that deserve a shout out, too!

(NOTE: There are a few titles here initially released in 2018 at festivals or limited theatrical release, but I did not catch up to them till VOD or home media in 2019 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

 

 

College co-ed Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) is trapped during a hurricane in a flooded house full of gators in Crawl.

-MonsterZero NJ

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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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