MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 ORIGINAL HORRORS ON SHUDDER YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 ORIGINAL HORRORS ON SHUDDER YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING!

At this point, Shudder is almost a must have for horror fans. There is a lot of spooky content from classic movies to original flicks and series. So to help navigate this awesome streaming service, here is a list of 15 original horrors you might want to watch!…

(To find the reviews for the films listed below, just type the title in the above right search engine!)_



Harper (Katie Stevens) finds herself in the wrong Halloween haunt in the Shudder original Haunt.

 

-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!)

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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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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

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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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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HORROR FLICKS THAT ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE ON HALLOWEEN 2019!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HORROR FLICKS THAT ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE ON HALLOWEEN 2019!

During the spooky season it might be fun to watch flicks that actually take place on All Hallow’s Eve… so here is a revised list of some horror flicks that actually occur on, or near, our favorite Holiday! 🎃

(To get to the reviews of the titles below that were covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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REVIEWS: 10 RECENT HORRORS IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN!

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Harper (Katie Stevens) and friends find the wrong Halloween attraction to visit in Haunt!

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10 RECENT HORRORS IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN!

The Halloween 🎃 season is here and once again horror flicks are filling theaters and online streaming platforms. There have been a number of spooky movies recently released and reviewed here and it’s time to recap some of these frights flicks. Click on the links to read the reviews to help decide which chillers and thrillers you’ll want to add to your Halloween watch list!…

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READY OR NOT

Ready or Not finds pretty Grace (Samara Weaving) about to marry into the wealthy but eccentric Le Domas family, who have grown rich on games and pro sports. After taking her vows with their son Alex (Mark O’Brien), it’s revealed she must follow tradition and play a game with the family at midnight. The game, chosen from a mysterious box, is hide and seek. What Grace also soon finds out is that she must hide as the family hunts her and that she must be captured and sacrificed before dawn to appease the mysterious Mr. Le Bail, who is responsible for the family’s success. If they don’t, they will all die. Now Grace is in a fight for her very life as she is alone and pursued through the labyrinth-like mansion…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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ITSY BITSY

Flick has divorced home-care nurse Kara Spencer (Elizabeth Roberts) taking a job as a caretaker for an elderly man named Walter Clark (Bruce Davison). She movies into his guest house with her two kids Jesse (Arman Darbo) and Cambria (Chloe Perrin). Clark is a collector of ancient artifacts and has recently come into possession of an illegally obtained tribal vessel that when broken open unleashes a vicious entity that takes the form of an enormous and deadly spider. Now, unknown to them, it’s loose inside the house and out for blood…theirs…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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IT: CHAPTER 2

It: Chapter Two is an adaptation of the second half of Stephen King’s classic novel, focusing on the characters as adults, though we still visit them as kids in flashbacks. It’s been 27 years since we last saw the characters and something sinister is stirring in Derry once more. Only Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) has remained and summons the other “Losers” Bill (James McAvoy), Bev (Jessica Chastain), Ben (Jay Ryan), Richie (Bill Hader), Eddie (James Ransone) and Stanley (Andy Bean) to return home to face Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), hopefully for the last time. Stanley commits suicide, but the remaining members reluctantly return and must face some of their own personal demons before they can confront the demonic clown…who has been patiently waiting for them…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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SATANIC PANIC

Simple plot finds pizza delivery girl Sam (Hayley Griffith) delivering to a rich neighborhood and stumbling into a Satanic ceremony. She’s chosen as a sacrifice due to her virgin status, but the resourceful young lady escapes. She meets up with the Satanic Coven Leader Danica’s (Rebecca Romijn) outcast daughter Judi (Ruby Modine), who is in peril of her own and the two try to evade capture. Can the two women escape almost certain death with the forces of evil in hot pursuit?…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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HAUNT

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…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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CANDY CORN

Halloween set horror has a group of small town thugs following their cruel Halloween tradition of pranking local boy Jacob (Nate Chaney), who now works for a carnival. Their bullying takes an unexpected turn when Jacob finally fights back and they accidentally kill him in retaliation. The carnival’s ring master Dr. Death (Pancho Moler from Rob Zombie’s 31) uses his voodoo powers to resurrect Jacob as a mask wearing monster that avenges himself brutally on his attackers, leaving candy corn stuffed in their dead mouths…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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HELL HOUSE LLC III: LAKE OF FIRE (2019)

Shudder Exclusive takes place nine years after the events of the first film with a new chapter of the story told with new footage. We find that the Abaddon Hotel was finally set to be demolished after all the death and disappearances that have occurred there. It was suddenly purchased in 2018 by entrepreneur Russell Wynn (Gabriel Chytry) to be used to stage his performance show Insomnia. He asked the new host of Morning Mysteries, Vanessa Shepherd (Elizabeth Vermilyea) to cover the set-up of the show with his cast and crew, leading up to opening night. It’s mostly her footage we are witnessing, as once again spooky things are documented occurring at the infamous location, leading up to an opening performance where all Hell breaks loose…literally…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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ARTIK

Artik (Jerry G. Angelo) is a man who lives on a sunflower farm and likes to draw comics. He’s also a man who likes to imprison children to work on the farm and kill people. He’s trying to teach his son (Gavin White) the serial killer trade, until his son befriends a stranger (Chase Williamson) who starts to open the boy’s eyes about his dad’s “hobby”…and by that we don’t mean the comics…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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DEPRAVED

Modern day Frankenstein tale has former army medic Henry (David Call) suffering from a traumatic tour in the Middle East and wanting to use his talents for a good purpose. He teams up with pharmaceutical exec Polidori (Joshua Leonard) to combine a new drug and Henry’s medical skills in the creation of a human being from spare body parts. Adam (Alex Breaux) is the result and at first seems like a naive child, but as in all such tales, the combination of the harshness of the world around him and the truth of his existence turns Adam’s curiosity and innocence into anger and rage…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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BLISS

Dezzy (Dora Madison) is a down on her luck artist and drug abuser who is having trouble finishing a piece that could turn her life around. She vents her frustration in a night of debauchery, involving alcohol, a new drug from her dealer and a threesome with friend Courtney (Tru Collins) and Courtney’s boyfriend Ronnie (Rhys Wakefield). Not only does this get her working on her painting again, but gives her an insatiable appetite for blood…. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REVIEW!

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Ten recent flicks, which isn’t bad considering only a few years ago there wasn’t much new to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with. Not all of these are classics, but read the reviews and decide for your spooky selves which films will make you shiver for the Halloween season!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

You’ll have to excuse Judi (Ruby Modine), she’s having a bit of a Satanic Panic.

 

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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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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: HAUNT (2013)

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HAUNT (2013)

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

Haunt is a very routine haunted house thriller but, it did hold my interest and was effective enough to be entertaining. The story has teen Evan Asher (Harrison Gilbertson) and his family moving into a house where there were four unfortunate deaths…which is NEVER a good idea. Soon after, Evan starts to see evidence of paranormal activity…SEE! When troubled teen neighbor Sam (Liana Liberato) convinces Evan to investigate, things at the Asher house take a turn for the supernatural worse as an angry spirit makes it’s presence known. Did this spirit cause the deaths of members of the former occupants, the Morello family years earlier?…or is there a far darker secret this specter wants to reveal?

On the positive side, Haunt is competently directed by Mac Carter from Andrew Barrer’s script. While Carter doesn’t really generate much in the way of true scares and tension, the film does have atmosphere and the numerous jump scares do work more often than not. The film looks good as shot by Adam Marsden and the young leads are likable and have a nice chemistry together so, it makes their relationship work. The film may be routine and predictable at times but, I will admit I was not expecting the climax to play out as it did and the big reveal was effective. On the downside, Barrer’s script is very familiar and the fact that the Ashers move in having full knowledge of the Morello deaths was a bit hard to swallow. Even though Evan’s parents (Ione Sky and Brian Wimmer) seem like non-believers when it comes to the paranormal, they seem to let a lot of weird stuff slide, too. The plot point that the littlest Asher, Anita (Ella Harris) appears to be communicating with the Morella’s youngest daughter (Maggie Scott) is just dropped and goes nowhere after a few instances. The subplot of Sam having a drunk and abusive father also never really has any real impact on the story as it never leads to anything or really has too much baring on things, other than to get Sam over at Evan’s for prolonged periods of time. The big reveal also poses as many questions as it answers but, I won’t ruin any surprises by discussing details.

Haunt is a mixed bag but, I was entertained and it did have some effective elements and a surprise or two. It may not be anything new or groundbreaking but, also wasn’t outright bad or badly made either. It’s a mildly entertaining chiller that will pass the time effectively enough but, will quickly be forgotten. Also stars Jacki Weaver as the last surviving member of the Morello family and a creepy one at that.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 spooks.

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