HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2019!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2019…KAYA SCODELARIO

It’s Halloween🎃!…and as it has become tradition, it’s time to announce MonsterZero NJ’s Halloween Hottie of the Year!…an actress that has not only captured our hearts, but gotten our attention with a strong performance, be it as a final girl or a femme fatale!…
…and our Halloween Hottie of 2019 is…Kaya Scodelario!
Kaya Scodelario has already faced clashing titans, outwitted home invaders in Tiger House and battled undead sailors alongside Captain Jack Sparrow in his latest adventure, so facing a pack of hungry alligators shouldn’t be a problem for this pretty and talented English actress. Her character, Haley, is a college swimmer whose skills are put to the extreme test when she travels home during a raging hurricane to find her father. The house is flooding and soon she and her injured dad are being stalked in the submerged cellar and hallways by some very hungry gators. Resilient, smart and tough as nails, Haley proves one doesn’t have to battle supernatural serial killers, or paranormal critters, to be final girl material!

(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!)

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Kaya Scodelario as Haley in Crawl!


Haley, a young woman risking it all to find her father in a massive hurricane!


As the storm rages outside, something is definitely wrong inside the house.


Haley finds a wounded father and a pair of hungry gators in the flooding cellar!

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?

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Kaya has quite a strong resumé having been in Clash of the Titans, the Maze Runner flicks and the latest Pirates of the Caribbean adventure, to name a few. She is a versatile actress that has performed in a variety of TV and movie roles since she began her career in 2007. She showed final girl potential, taking on home invaders in the flick Tiger House and that she can do horror, playing opposite Zac Efron in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. In 2019 she lived up to that potential, taking center stage as the gator battling Haley, in one of the years most entertaining suspense chillers!

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2019 RUNNER UP, KATIE STEVENS!

As it is now tradition, we have a runner up! A fairly new face on the horror flick scene, Katie Stevens does strong work in Haunt as the emotionally wounded Harper, a young woman who has substituted an abusive father for an abusive boyfriend. When her friends take her out on Halloween night to forget about the guy, they find themselves at a strange off-road Halloween haunt and are soon fighting for their lives. Harper learns to stand up for herself and fight back in true final girl style! In Haunt, Katie Stevens showed that she’s a young actress to keep an eye on!

Katie Stevens as Harper in Haunt!

Guy troubles.

Halloween haunt troubles.

Fighting back!

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This year was, again, a tough choice…or maybe MonsterZero NJ is just an old softie when it comes to final girls. Both these ladies were great in their roles and really brought it as their respective film’s lead!

-MonsterZero NJ

halloween hottie 2014

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(And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties by simply going to our Halloween Hotties main page!)

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HAUNT (2019)

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HAUNT (2019)

There have been a lot of horrors set in Halloween haunts as of late, from The Houses October Built to Hell Fest to Extremity, so, this Shudder* produced flick needed to impress coming in with a concept that is already becoming familiar…and not only does it do that, it might be one of the best horrors this year.

Story finds pretty Harper (Katie Stevens) trying to part with abusive boyfriend Sam (Samuel Hunt) and heading out to party on Halloween night with friends Bailey (Lauryn Alisa McClain), Angela (Shazi Raja) and Mallory (Schuyler Helford). At a club, they run into a couple of guys, Nathan (Will Brittain) and Evan (Andrew Caldwell) and decide to leave with them to find a Halloween haunt, dragging a reluctant Harper along. They stumble upon one such haunt, in the middle of nowhere and soon find they may have picked the wrong haunt to haunt.

Flick is directed intensely by the A Quiet Place writing duo of Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who also scripted here. It’s premise may not be novel at this point, but is carried out very effectively. It starts out tense with Harper putting on make-up over a bruise suffered from her alcoholic boyfriend and Bailey trying to convince her to finally break up with him. We find out in flashbacks that Harper’s father was also an abusive alcoholic and all this personal drama gives the character some emotional depth, much like Extremity‘s emotionally wounded Allison. We are thus sympathetic to Harper, and her friends, too, as they are all likable characters, especially when we start to realize those running this backwoods haunt are in it for some deadly thrills of their own. The pranks start out playful and then get mean spirited before becoming lethal. The violence is sparse, so it has impact when it occurs and there is some decent gore once things really start to get vicious…and Harper finally learns to stand up for herself and fight back. Beck and Woods build some good old-fashioned suspense and stage some nicely intense set pieces to put our likable leads through. Obviously, not all of them make it and killing off main characters makes us feel unsure about any of their safety. It adds to the suspense. The film looks cool and the sets are well rendered on what appears to be a modest budget. It has a Halloween feel and an atmosphere of foreboding throughout. The costumes for our haunt folk are creepy and they are equally spooky without their Halloween masks. We don’t get to know them very well, or their motives, but they come across as deranged and dangerous and that helps this work. Add to that a very cool score by tomandandy, and you’ve got a very effective Halloween themed chiller that makes very good use of a now familiar setting. Any issues here are minor, such as the movie evoking some of the other haunt set flicks mentioned earlier and the addition of Harper’s jerk boyfriend Sam to the action in the last act, doesn’t really add anything to the proceedings. Otherwise this is a very solid horror.

The cast of fresh faces really helps this flick click. Katie Stevens is very impressive as Harper. She’s a girl with a painful past, dealing with her own issues and finally learning to fight for herself, when thrown into a nightmarish situation. The actress makes her likable and sympathetic and we’re totally with her when she goes on the offensive. Actress McClain is very likable as best pal Bailey. She’s a caring person and looking out for her friend makes her endearing to us. Will Brittain is a solid male lead and he is charming, handsome and his Nathan seems like the nice guy Harper really needs. This makes us like him and fear for him. Caldwell is fun as the obnoxious and bombastic Evan. This character could have been annoying, but script and actor avoid that by presenting his sarcastic humor in the right degrees. He is also brave when he needs to be. Raja and Helford get the least focus of the group, but the actresses make them extremely likable supporting characters with the scenes they have. The key to a horror flick’s success is feeling empathy for it’s main characters and here we do. It also needs effective villains and our masked haunters, Chaney Morrow as “Ghost”, Justin Marxen as “Clown”, Terri Partyka as “Witch”, Justin Rose as “Vampire”, Damian Maffei as “Devil” and Schuyler White as “Zombie” all give their characters a lethality from under their already effective costumes. Last but not least, Samuel Hunt makes the brutish Sam appropriately dislikable with what limited screen time the character has. A solid cast all the way around.

Overall, Haunt is a chilling and intense horror that overcomes the familiarity of a recent horror trend by simply being really good at what it does. It’s intense, scary, has some striking violence and gore and makes good use of it’s spooky setting. It gives us some very likable lead characters, including a three dimensional and sympathetic final girl, to root and fear for and some dastardly villains to be fearful of. Really solid horror and a very spooky surprise from Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, producer Eli Roth and those great folks at Shudder.

*Just to be clear…Flick was produced by Shudder, but won’t be hitting their streaming network until next month. It is currently available on most Pay Per View outlets such as Verizon, Vudu and iTunes. Sorry if there was any confusion caused by my initial referral to it as a Shudder “Exclusive”. -MZNJ

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 (out of 4) creepy haunt hosts.

 

 

 

 

 

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