HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: IS KIANA MADEIRA THE NEW QUEEN OF HORROR?

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Photo:  IMDB/Megan Vincent

IS KIANA MADEIRA THE NEW QUEEN OF HORROR?

This latest installment of Halloween Hotties features an actress who has recently taken the horror community by storm, with her roles in the hit Netflix horror movie series Fear Street, based on the books by R.L. Stine. Canadian actress Kiana Madeira certainly got the attention of horror fans, not only for playing the tough and resourceful teen Deena, but the “Fier Witch” herself, Sarah Fier, when, in the third installment, Deena lives Sarah’s final days through her eyes. What horror fans may not know, is that this hit trilogy is not Madeira’s first foray in horror. In fact, the versatile actress has been in three other horror flicks, including two set on Halloween, during her busy career, one that started when she was only fifteen. Is Kiana Madeira the new queen of horror? Check out her resume below to decide for yourselves!…
(Click on the highlighted links to read reviews of the films covered here that Kiana Madeira has appeared in)

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THE NIGHT BEFORE HALLOWEEN (2016)

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As Lindsay, a girl cursed, along with friends, when a Halloween prank goes horribly wrong!

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NEVERKNOCK (2017)

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As Amy, a young woman who, along with friends, unwisely tests a deadly urban legend on Halloween.

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SHE NEVER DIED (2019)

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As Suzzie, a young woman rescued from a horrible fate by a very unusual and dangerous woman.

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FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 (2021)

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As Deena, a teen drawn into a witch’s curse, who is forced to fight for her life and that of her friends.

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FEAR STREET PART 2: 1978 (2021)

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In the second installment, Deena turns to the curse’s sole survivor for help.

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FEAR STREET PART 3: 1666 (2021)

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As Sarah Fier, when Deena lives the alleged witch’s final days through her eyes…

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…And again as Deena when the finale returns to 1994 for it’s climactic battle of good vs evil.

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photo: IMDB/Megan Vincent

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, or Fear Street sequels, soon! For now, her body of work, especially the recent R.L. Stine adaptations, puts her in the running as one of horror’s new queens!

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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

source: IMDB

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BARE BONES: FEAR STREET PART 3-1666 (2021)

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FEAR STREET PART 3: 1666 (2021)

Third film opens in 1666 with young Sarah Fier (now Kiana Madeira) being thought wicked for her love for village girl Hannah (Olivia Scott Welch). With the warnings of “The Widow” (Jordana Spiro), a local woman suspected of practicing witchcraft, and the increasingly strange and gruesome events that are occurring in the village, Sarah—and the villagers—start to believe it. Soon a full witch hunt is underway and Sarah and Hannah become the targets of the villagers’ fears and anger, as they wish to purge their village of this evil presence.

Concluding R. L. Stine based installment is once again directed by Leigh Janiak from her script with Phil Graziadei and Kate Trefry. A strong and spooky finale that has some fun telling the origin story of “witch” Sarah Fier by having the cast members of the first two chapters play the parts. Kiana Madeira really shines here playing the part of Sarah, after already making a strong heroine out of her Deena. She’s a star in the making. There is sympathy for Sarah as we find out the surprising truth behind her story, one of an independent and passionate young woman and the ignorance and superstitions of others. It’s a dramatically strong finish, as we find out how the Shadyside curse came to be, it’s true nature, and then return to 1994, to wrap up the story in a thrilling climactic last act. It’s a spooky and strong concluding chapter, with the atmosphere and gruesome bloodshed we’ve come to expect from this Netflix series.

All in all a solid finale that manages to be the best of the three flicks. A fitting end for this wonderfully creepy and bloody three part horror series, based on the works of beloved author R.L. Stine.

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Click on the link here for my review of  Fear Street part 1: 1994

Click on the link here for my review of  Fear Street part 2: 1978

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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BARE BONES: FEAR STREET PART 2-1978 (2021)

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FEAR STREET PART 2: 1978 (2021)

Second film opens with Deena (Kiana Madeira) and Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.) seeking out Christine Berman (Gillian Jacobs), the sole survivor of a previous massacre at a summer camp. The flick then goes back to 1978 to Camp Nightwing as Christine, known then to everyone as Ziggy (now Sadie Sink) is a picked-on outcast at the camp, who has a reputation for getting into and causing trouble. Ziggy is there with her older, good-girl sister, Cindy (Emily Rudd) and future sheriff, Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland). The Shadyside/Sunnyvale rivalry is in full swing and the legend of Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel) hangs over the camp. Soon bodies start to fall, and both Ziggy and Cindy must try to survive and stop the witch’s curse.

Second R. L. Stine based installment is again directed by Leigh Janiak from her script with Zak Olkewicz, written from their story with Phil Graziadei. Flick follows the template of summer camp horrors fairly closely, yet also does it’s own thing, while adding the self aware movie references that contemporary horror fans expect. It has the stereotypical characters one also expects, well played by it’s young cast and both Ziggy and Cindy make for good leads. Much like the first installment, it’s fun, nostalgic and has some intense and scary moments. The makers, from Stine to Janiak, know their influences well, but also bring some of their own ideas, such as some spooky stuff in catacombs under the camp. Like Part 1 there is a lot of bloody action, some nicely placed homages and plenty of gruesome gore. There is also a great soundtrack of 70s songs and some very creepy visuals to add atmosphere. If there is anything that holds 1978 back a little bit, is that due to information given us in Part 1, we go in knowing the fates of our two leading ladies and a few others. That does mute the suspense a little bit. Other than that, this is another solid chapter in Nextflix’s adaptation. So far, this three part series has yielded two strong entries and hopefully, it ends as strongly as it has started. Bring on Fear Street part 3: 1666!

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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BARE BONES: FEAR STREET PART 1-1994 (2021)

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FEAR STREET PART 1: 1994 (2021)

First part of a Netflix three film series based on the books by R. L. Stine. Flick opens with a massacre in a shopping mall in the troubled town of Shadyside, Ohio in 1994. It’s a town whose continual woes are said to be caused by a curse set upon it by Sarah Fier (Elizabeth Scopel), a woman executed for practicing witchcraft in 1666. When kids from the nicer and safer Sunnyvale, come to pay their respects, a fight breaks out between schools and there is a confrontation between Sunnyvale high schooler Deena (Kiana Madeira) and her former girlfriend, Shadyside student Samantha (Olivia Scott Welch). During a resulting car accident, Sam’s bloody hand makes contact with cursed ground and now murderers from Shadyside’s past are hunting the two girls, along with Deena’s friends Kate (Julia Rehwald), Simon (Fred Hechinger) and her brother Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr).

Netflix Original is directed by Honeymoon director Leigh Janaik from her script with Phil Graziadei, based on Stine’s books. It is a fun throwback to 90s era horror flicks that, after Scream, were reference filled and high school centric. There is a surprising amount of graphic violence for Stine based material, but the books were written for an older audience than his Goosebumps. The young cast are good and their characters are likable and the fearsome killers are diverse in style and look, though all equally ferocious. The tone is serious and there are some nice scares, intense action, suspense and it movies quickly and efficiently at telling it’s own story while setting up the next installment. The gore and make-up are very well done, the kills have impact and the 90s setting gives a nice nostalgia for the time period both in itself and for the horror films released during that era. A real gory good time and starts this trilogy off with a bloody bang!

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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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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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: GOOSEBUMPS (2015)

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GOOSEBUMPS (2015)

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

When his mother (Amy Ryan) accepts a vice principal job in Madison, Delaware, high schooler Zach (Dylan Minnette) is forced to move there with her from New York. He finds he has a reclusive and unfriendly neighbor Mr. Shivers (Jack Black) with a pretty teenage daughter named Hannah (Odeya Rush). When sneaking into Shivers’ house one night to check up on Hannah, who he feels is being imprisoned there against her will, he finds out that Shivers is actually famed horror author R.L. Stine. Zach also discovers that opening Stine’s original, locked manuscripts actually releases the creatures within into the real world. With evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy (also voiced by Black) accidentally released, the diabolical doll unlocks all the rest of the monsters into the streets of the unsuspecting town. Now Zach, Stine, Hannah and Zach’s new buddy Champ (Ryan Lee), have to somehow find a way to get all the monsters back in the books…books that Slappy is gleefully burning.

Goosebumps is a clever and fun family horror from director Rob Letterman from a script by Darren Lemke based on Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski’s story. It amusingly combines not only a number of Stine’s ghoulish creations, but involves the author himself in the mix. It’s never really scary, but it is a lot of fun, especially a scene involving lawn gnomes which evokes some of the best bits in Gremlins. The characters are all likable and while the scenario is played fairly seriously, there is a lot of humor added to the mix as our heroes battle a wide assortment of Stine’s creatures running rampant on this small Delaware town. To a degree it’s nothing new. We have seen creatures come to life from the written page before, but it is an entertaining movie with it’s heart in the right place and fans of Stine’s tales should enjoy the parade of his characters marched out across the screen. If there is any fault with that, it is that only a few of them get any more than a few moments of screen time with Slappy being the main villain with a few secondaries like a werewolf and a giant praying mantis. On a production level, while the CGI can be weak at times, Letterman has a nice visual eye, especially scenes set in an abandoned amusement park, and it is all photographed well by Javier Aguirresarobe. There is also a buoyant and spooky score by legendary composer Danny Elfman, which adds nicely to the atmosphere of spooky fun.

The cast all have a firm grasp of the nature of the material. Black is amusing as the reclusive and egotistic Stine and also gives voice to the villainous Slappy and the mischievous Invisible Boy. The young cast shine as Minnette, Rush and Lee all provide their high school stereotypes well, as the new boy in town, the adventurous girl and the eccentric sidekick respectively. They are all quite charming with Ryan Lee showing a flair for comedy and Minnette and Rush having nice chemistry together. It’s an example of a solid cast making the material work very well.

I had fun with this. It’s not a classic and I’m not all that familiar with Stine’s stories, but it was entertaining in the style of something like the 80s classic Monster Squad. It has some shaky CGI, but the characters it represenst do have some life and personality and the human characters are quite endearing, as is the cast. A fun night on the couch and something kids and Stine fans will probably have a good time with.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) Slappys.

Columbia Pictures' "Goosebumps," starring Jack Black.

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