Netflix streaming version of this classic tale is a darker and far more serious telling of the story. This Pinocchio takes place in fascist Italy where woodworker Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley) loses his ten-year-old son Carlo (Gregory Mann) during the first world war. Decades later he is a lonely man prone to drinking and when in his cups decides to build a new son out of wood. A wood sprite (Tilda Swinton) takes pity and brings the puppet to life dubbing him Pinocchio (also Gregory Mann) and giving charge of the puppet to cricket Sebastian (Ewan McGregor). Soon Pinocchio begins to get lots of attention, especially from greedy circus owner Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz) and the Podestà (Ron Perlman), a fascist official who sees Pinocchio’s ability to come back from the dead as an opportunity to turn him into the perfect soldier for the current war…and did I mention it is a musical?!
Stop-motion animated flick is directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson from a script and story by del Toro with Patrick McHale and Matthew Robbins, based on the original book by Carlo Collodi. On the plus side, the visuals and production design are absolutely stunning, as is the stop-motion animation and FX, absolutely amazing. What holds this version back is the dark and sometimes bleak telling of what was basically a children’s story. Not here, as del Toro and company’s version covers themes of death, loss, war and fascism. Some may appreciate the non-Disney approach, while others may find it very heavy-handed. This Pinocchio rises from the dead, which in all fairness, so did the Disney and book versions. He is killed multiple times, and as he is basically an enchanted being, he returns from the dead to live again. Here it becomes an actual plot point as this would make him a perfect soldier in the eyes of the fascist Podestà. Add in Geppetto’s bitter drunkenness, Pinocchio being trained to fight in a war and fascist Benito Mussolini (Tom Kenny) actually being a character in the film, and this is no kid flick! Not to mention that at 117 minutes it’s a bit too long, especially for it’s far too serious tone, and the musical numbers…yes there are songs…are not very memorable. Visually and technically, it is close to being a masterpiece, and has a great vocal cast. As a movie, though, it’s a bit too dreary, especially at two hours long, to really enjoy. Currently streaming on Netflix!
Netflix streaming monster movie takes place in the Norwegian mountains where blasting for construction on a new railroad awakens a massive rock-like creature. Scientist Nora Tidemann (Ine Marie Wilmann) believes it to be a gigantic troll right out of Norwegian folklore. As the military fails to destroy it, Nora must now find a way to stop the monster as it heads towards heavily populated areas.
Norwegian creature feature is directed by Roar Uthaug (Cold Prey, The Wave, Tomb Raider) from his script with Espen Aukan. It’s a solid and entertaining giant monster flick, though could have used a bit more of a sense of fun. Uthaug has directed horror and disaster movies and makes this with the same serious tone. It is a double-edged sword as that does help us go along with the fantastic storyline, but it also makes the flick take itself a touch too serious to really be a good time. Only Yusuf Toosh Ibra as government official Amir brings a little levity to the proceedings. All the giant monster movie clichés are there and well done, from arrogant government leaders (Anneke von der Lippe) to heroic soldiers (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen) to Nora’s sympathetic scientist. The troll even gets to wander into a crowded theme park and shows mercy towards children. The SPFX are quite excellent thought the creature itself could have used a bit more personality. It does earn our sympathy in the last act as we learn the truth about its past. A decent enough if not perfect giant monster flick from Norway and director Roar Uthaug. Currently streaming on Netflix!
Netflix original series from Tim Burton finds a teenage Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) being sent to the Nevermore Academy by her parents (Luis Guzmán and Catherine Zeta-Jones) after getting near fatal revenge on a group of boys bullying her brother Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez). The academy is filled with supernatural misfits and while there, she is starting to show signs of her own psychic abilities while finding herself embroiled in a murder mystery to solve.
Series from executive producer and director Tim Burton is a fun eight-episode show featuring Addams Family classic character Wednesday as a Buffy/Sabrina type anti-heroine with special powers and working to solve a dark mystery. If you can appreciate the dry, droll humor and a delightfully morbid and twisted tone, then you should enjoy this series a lot. It follows Wednesday as the rebellious teen begins to develop psychic visions and discovers there is a killer afoot at the academy…and a mystery that goes back centuries and involves her own family bloodline. She also reluctantly makes some friends, definitely makes some enemies and even might find a little romance. None of the episodes feel like filler as Wednesday gathers clues and begins to find out about herself and her family history, both near past and distant. Jenna Ortega is simply perfect as a teenage Wednesday Addams and there are some colorful and engaging characters in support. The Addams Family members themselves don’t all fair as well as Guzmán and Zeta-Jones are sadly miscast as Gomez and Morticia. They just don’t work and have no chemistry together. Thankfully, aside from appearances by some familiar faces, it’s Ortega’s show and she takes the Goth ball and runs with it. A school dance sequences is a perfect example of just how well she nails the role. It’s a fun and spooky show to binge on a rainy afternoon and despite the before mentioned casting and some weak CGI, it’s otherwise an entertaining Sabrina-esque series giving a classic character a nice update and a wonderful actress to play her. Wednesday also features Christina Ricci as teacher Marilyn Thornhill, Fred Armisen, clearly having fun, as a visiting Uncle Fester, and GOT‘s Gwendoline Christie as the academy principal Larissa Weems. Currently streaming on Netflix!
“Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe” written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and directed by Tim Burton
“Woe Is the Loneliest Number” written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar and directed by Tim Burton
“Friend or Woe” written by Kayla Alpert and directed by Tim Burton
“Woe What a Night” written by Kayla Alpert and directed by Tim Burton
“You Reap What You Woe” written by April Blair and directed by Gandja Monteiro
“Quid Pro Woe” written by April Blair and directed by Gandja Monteiro
“If You Don’t Woe Me by Now” written by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and Matt Lambert and directed by James Marshall
“A Murder of Woes” written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and directed by James Marshall
MONSTERZERO NJ’S HARDEST WORKING ACTRESS IN HORROR!…
Photo credit: Celebmafia
This latest installment of Halloween Hotties features an up-and-coming Latina actress who has become a familiar and beloved face to the horror community! Jenna Ortega has been acting since she was ten years-old and over the last decade has made quite an impression with her versatile performances. Lately she has been appearing in quite a few horror-centric projects and we couldn’t be happier! 2022 has proven to be her most prolific year yet with no less than five horror themed roles! Her banner year of horror started with Scream (2022), then The Foo Fighters’ horror/comedy Studio 666, along with Ti West’s hit indie horror flick X. She also appeared in American Carnage and will be playing the title character in Tim Burton’s upcoming Addams Family spin-off series Wednesday, streaming on Netflix starting November 23rd! WOW, Jenna!
(Click on the highlighted links to read reviews of the films covered here that Jenna Ortega has appeared in)
Jenna Ortega shows no sign of slowing down with new projects already in various phases of production, including next year’s Scream 6! With four horror films and one spooky series in 2022 alone, it does make this talented young lady the hardest working actress in horror!
Science teacher Howard Gordon (Marlon Wayans) movies his wife Emily (Kelly Rowland) and teen daughter Sydney (Priah Ferguson) from Brooklyn to the small New England town of Bridge Hollow. He wants nothing to do with Halloween which the town embraces, including having its own folk legend. A man named Stingy Jack made a deal with the devil then tried to get out of it by trading the soul of another. He was stopped by a local witch named Madam Hawthorne (Nia Vardalos) and the Gordons now live in her former home. When Sydney finds an old jack-o-lantern in the attic she unwittingly releases the imprisoned Stingy Jack who starts to bring all the Halloween decorations to life, to help him search for a soul to trade. Sydney and her new friends must somehow convince her man of science father to help them send Jack back where he came from!
Halloween themed family flick directed by Jeff Wadlow from a script and story by Tom Berger, Robert Rugan and John R. Morey. It is a generic family comedy, but one that is harmless and fun. It has plenty of Halloween spirit as the grumpy Howard has his scientific mind challenged by spooks, specters and things that go bump in the night. It does evoke the similar Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween but is enough its own thing so the similarities are not intrusive. The creatures are nicely designed, and the visuals are very Halloween, yet it is tame enough for the kids to watch and enjoy, yet should keep the adults entertained, too. The cast are all fine and get the spirit of the material and it’s another choice to watch during the spooky season if you have kiddos too young for Freddy, Jason and Art the Clown. Also stars John Michael Higgins as the school principal and Lauren Lapkus as the town’s Halloween loving mayor. Currently streaming on Netflix and would make a fun family double feature with Netflix’s Hubie Halloween.
“WEDNESDAY, an upcoming Netflix series from the imagination of Tim Burton. WEDNESDAY — starring Jenna Ortega in the title role, alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzman, Gwendoline Christie, Christina Ricci and more — is a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy. Snap snap.“
Incantation is a Taiwanese found footage horror that has former paranormal investigator Li Ronan (Tsai Hsuan-yen) fighting to save her six-year-old daughter Dodo (Huang Sing-ting) from a malevolent entity. During a past investigation, a pregnant Li and her companions (Sean Lin and Wen Ching-Yuan) violated sacred ground and provoked a curse. Now the sinister specter has come for Dodo. Flick is supposedly inspired by actual events.
Directed by Kevin Ko from his script with Chang Che-wei, this is a delightfully bonkers horror in all the right ways. Sure, it’s a bit too long at 111 minutes, but unlike most found footage flicks, this movie gets started with the spooky stuff right away and maintains an atmosphere of dread throughout. There are some very unsettling and disturbing moments, and some very over-the-top and gory moments too. The film knows when to be subtle and spooky, and when to go off the rails and really hit us with some craziness…and it does. Some of it provides unintentional chuckles, when it’s trying to scare, but that is still as entertaining as when the flick is giving us goosebumps. Kevin Ko gives the film a nice creepy atmosphere and uses his locations very well, while utilizing the past investigation footage to show us how Li got into her current supernatural conundrum. Tsai Hsuan-yen makes a solid heroine as the overwhelmed Li Ronan, and little Huang Sing-ting makes for a sweet and sympathetic kid as the malevolent entity’s helpless target, Dodo. Flick is currently streaming on Netflix and definitely worth checking out, even if not being quite as scary as its online reputation would have us believe.
This latest installment of Halloween Hotties features an up-and-coming Latina actress who has recently taken the horror community by storm, with her roles in the hit “requel” Scream (2022) and the Netflix horror/comedy The Babysitter: Killer Queen. Jenna Ortega has been acting since she was ten years-old and in just nine years has built quite a resume of various roles. Lately she has been appearing in numerous horror themed projects and we couldn’t be happier! She first got a taste of the spooky at only eleven years-old starring in Nickelodeon’s Deadtime Stories mini-series and then later on in season 2 of Netflix’s psychodrama You. She then went full blown horror with Killer Queen, following it up with three titles in 2022, Scream (2022), The Foo Fighters’ horror/comedy Studio 666, and Ti West’s upcoming horror flick X. She’ll also be playing the title character in Tim Burton’s upcoming Addams Family spin-off Wednesday on Netflix, possibly releasing sometime later this year. Is Jenna Ortega the new queen of horror!?…only time will tell, but we hope so!
(Click on the highlighted links to read reviews of the films covered here that Jenna Ortega has appeared in)
There’s no telling where this versatile and talented actress will show up next. She shows no sign of slowing down with new projects already in various phases of production! We can only hope she will return to horror soon! For now, her body of work, especially having three horror titles in one year—and it’s only March—puts her in the running as one of horror’s new queens!
Direct sequel has four friends Melody (Sarah Yarkin), her sister Lila (Elsie Fisher), Dante (Jacob Latimore) and Ruth (Nell Hudson) traveling to the small ghost town of Harlow, Texas with the intent of developing the almost deserted municipality where they recently bought property. When they reluctantly evict an old woman (Alice Krige) from her home and she dies from the stress, they enrage her deranged son…Leatherface (Mark Burnham).
This new Texas Chainsaw Massacre is well directed by David Blue Garcia from a script by Chris Thomas Devlin based on a story by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues. It is a solid enough horror flick but brings nothing new to the franchise and certainly doesn’t freshen it up much for a new generation. There is plenty of the expected gore, which is very well-done, and some nice action and intensity, but otherwise it’s nothing innovative or rejuvenating for a franchise that really has floundered since Hopper stopped making them after Part 2. The cast are all good, with our four young leads being a likable bunch and Mark Burnham being efficient, but not especially memorable, as the senior citizen version of Leatherface. Its an entertaining 83 minutes of horror and really delivers in the last act but is definitely not a new classic. It is one of the better sequels, though that isn’t saying much. Flick also stars Olwen Fouéré as Sally Hardesty, who arrives—a la Laurie Strode—to face the evil she escaped all those years ago, and new narration by John Larroquette.