MONSTERZERO NJ’S 10 REASONS IT’S NOT HALLOWEEN WITHOUT KATHARINE ISABELLE!
Katharine Isabelle as the sexually awaking lycanthropic teen, Ginger in Ginger Snaps!
Watching horror flicks during the Halloween 🎃 season, there might be one face, aside from Karloff, Lee, England and Lugosi, that you might see more than once…and that pretty face is actress and horror icon Katharine Isabelle! A cult favorite, the versatile Canadian actress has appeared in a number of horror classics and cult classics from the late 90s to present day, like Ginger Snaps, Freddy vs Jason and American Mary. She’s also done a good deal of horror/supernatural TV work from Goosebumps to The X-Files to her latest, as Vera Stone in the Netflix witchcraft and werewolf drama The Order. So, in honor of this queen of horror, here are 10 horror flicks that illustrate why it’s not Halloween 🎃 without Katharine Isabelle!
As the beautiful but deadly Mary Mason in the disturbing and gruesome American Mary
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Vendetta is an action/revenge drama and is the second collaboration between WWE Studios and The Soska Sisters (American Mary, See No Evil 2). The story has celebrated Chicago cop Mason Danvers (Dean Cain) finally taking down the crime syndicate duo of Victor (Paul “The Big Show” Wight) and Griffen (Aleks Paunovic) Abbott. Three months later, an important witness vanishes and so does the case against The Abbott Brothers. Victor wastes no time and shows up at Danver’s house and murders the cop’s pregnant wife (Kyra Zagorsky) before the detective and police arrive and arrests him. A distraught Mason then tracks down Griffen Abbott and kills him in cold blood. The revenge minded cop is now sent to the Stonewall Correctional Facility…the same prison that is now home to Victor Abbott…and sets on a path to vengeance.
The Soska Sisters directing duo are two of the more original filmmakers around right now, as is their American Maryone of the most original horror flicks in quite some time. All the more disappointing that they chose such a routine action/revenge flick as their latest project. Written by Justin Shady it is a very straightforward prison-set story of vengeance and gives the Soska Sisters little opportunity to be…well, The Soska Sisters. The directors keep the film moving at a nice click. It’s only twenty minutes before Danvers is in prison and the hi-jinx between he and crime lord Abbott begin.Once behind the prison walls, though, it becomes a series of by-the-numbers fight, beating and murder scenes that start to grow a bit tiresome, when mixed with the been-there-done-that drama in between. As we move towards the eventual showdown, which is also a bit of a letdown, too, considering the build-up, we get very little we haven’t seen before in this type of flick. We also get a very predictable sub-plot about Abbott’s real boss and even that is revealed far too soon to give it real impact and the whole bit about Danvers and his wife trying to conceive…and succeeding right before she’s killed…is beyond cliché. Add to it that the film gets wrapped up very conveniently and we have a movie that is a far cry from what we enjoy watching the Soska’s do. It’s technically well-made and was never boring, but never felt like a Soska Sisters film. There was none of the dark humor and off-the-wall uniqueness that made American Marysuch an original film.
As for the cast, I enjoyed watching Dean Cain as a bad-ass. Bulked up and with some facial hair covering his boyish good looks, he surprisingly made a very solid tough guy. WWE Superstar The Big Show is fun to watch as the massive Victor Abbott and is convincing as the vicious and cruel criminal. He also gives us a lively characterization of a routinely written villain. Michael Eklund is very eccentric as Warden Snyder, but despite an off-beat portrayal, the character revelations are not all that surprising and actually make him less interesting, when all is said and done. The supporting cast are all fine as various prison guards, thugs and inmates. Again, in a Soska Sisters film, I expected far more interesting characters, but this isn’t their script.
I understand the Soska’s doing this to keep their relationship with WWE pictures strong, but wish they either picked a more interesting project…like their proposed film with WWE’s horror movie inspired Wyatt Family…or at least been allowed to do a draft of the script to add their quirky/morbid style. Their previous WWE Studios film See No Evil 2was more up their alley and felt very much like a Soska film despite them not writing the screenplay. They seemed to feel more at home directing that and just seemed more like going through the motions here. The film is still amusing at times and I was never outright bored, but I’d seen it all before and that’s something I’d never thought I’d say about a Soska Sisters film.
Some poster art I made in Photoshop…The Soska Sisters, the writers and directors of the cult favorite American Mary and the recent See No Evil 2 have been working with WWE films as of late and I thought it would be fun if they did an adaptation of the cult classic comic Vampirella to star WWE Superstar Paige in the title role. She looks the part and can probably do her own stunts!
Woman have always played a role in horror. Whether it be fiendish femme fatales, the damsels of yesteryear or the final girls of the modern era, they have always played a part. As this is Women In Horror Month, I’ve decide to look back at the past year and some very strong roles/performances from the ladies. 2014 was an exemplary year for female horror roles, as there were a lot of very strong performances from actresses in the lead parts of some of the year’s best flicks…and some movies where the performances was the only thing worth watching for. Which to me is solid proof that the ladies ruled horror in 2014!…
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Everyone has their own taste in horror films and everyone’s favorite horror flicks from the past year will vary from fiend to femme fatale. So, with that in mind, here are MonsterZero NJ’s 10 favorite horrors of 2014 along with five honorable mentions that warrant a shout out (scream out?) too!
(There are a few titles here initially released in 2013 but, I did not catch up to them till home media in 2014 and felt it unfair not to include them.)
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HONORABLE MENTION #2
HONORABLE MENTION #3
HONORABLE MENTION #4
HONORABLE MENTION #5
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I’m not a big fan of the original See No Evil. Despite the use of the imposingly massive WWE superstar Glenn “Kane” Jacobs, the film was a by-the-numbers slasher that generated very little suspense and it’s juvenile delinquent characters didn’t generate much endearment to give us someone to root/fear for. But the film does have a bit of a following and did well, especially on home media. So, after 8 years…Jacob Goodnight is back and he’s not only bringing fan favorite scream queens Danielle Harris and Katharine Isabelle along with him, but he is being directed by the devious duo behind American Mary, the Soska Sisters, as well.
The story opens the same night as the massacre at The Blackwell Hotel, with pretty morgue attendant Amy (Danielle Harris) about to leave her shift and head out to celebrate her birthday. But with bodies from the massacre heading in, Amy decides to stay and help her co-worker Seth (Kaj-Erik Eriksen) with the added workload…and thus her friends, including vixen with a morbid side, Tamara (Katharine Isabelle) decide to surprise her at the morgue with an impromptu birthday party. But there is still some life in the prone corpse of vicious serial killer Jacob Goodnight (Glenn “Kane” Jacobs) and soon he rises from his slab, with an assortment of postmortem surgical tools at his disposal, to continue his work by slaughtering the “sinners” who are partying in the morgue. Will any of them escape alive as Goodnight seals them in and begins adding to the bodies already stored there?
With the Twisted Twins taking over from ex-porn director Gregory Dark, the film is an improvement over the first one and for some very surprising reasons. The Soskas are working from a script by Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby and thus it doesn’t quite have the delightfully eccentric tone of Mary, that they wrote themselves, but it does have their style and does have a bit more fun with this slasher sequel than the deadpan and too-serious-for-it’s-own-good first flick. At first I was a little disappointed as the film started out and seemed to be a bit routine coming from directors whose work is anything, but until the second half suddenly cranks things up considerably and that’s where the film surprised me a little bit. And it’s not with the kills, which are cool, that the Soskas really got my attention with, but with some surprisingly poignant moments between the characters, mostly involving Harris’ Amy, that really resonated and really added something to the proceedings. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a slasher/horror that took the time to have such nice character moments between the carnage and it really added to the endearment of those characters and the suspense of wanting them to get out of there moderately intact. The film also deviated at times from the slasher formula and that added some freshness to it and the Soskas, as with American Mary, give us some disturbingly gruesome moments, but without going overboard or being gross for gross sake like SNE #1. A little restraint makes the violent moments all the more effective when they do come…and there are a couple that elicited an out loud “whoa” from me as I watched. Add in some nice moody cinematography by Mahlon Todd Williams that takes good advantage of the city morgue setting and a nice score from The Newton Brothers and you have an entertaining little slasher that does have the usual slasher plot holes…such as, are there so few exits in such a large public building that Goodnight could seal them all on all floors and without anyone knowing…and why are the guests’ cellphones locked in a safe?… but it still entertains like it’s supposed to.
As for the cast… “Kane” is as imposing as ever as Goodnight. Harris does really strong work here. Not only in creating a little depth for Amy, who has chosen a career that is obviously not popular with her family, but really shines in some of those character moments I mentioned before. Amy is a strong, though slightly cynical, heroine with guts and a heart. She also has a nice chemistry with Eriksen, who is good as Seth. Seth is crushing on her big time and she knows it and the scene when they reveal their mutual feelings for each other works really well and the actors’ chemistry makes it work despite there being a 7 foot madman stalking them at the moment. Isabelle is a hoot as the promiscuous babe with a dark side, Tamara. It’s not a deep role as her Mary Mason and it seems like, this time, she’s having some fun with a more ditzy part and letting Harris do the more serious emoting. Her postmortem lap dance for Jacob Goodnight’s corpse is a fun number, to say the least. The rest of the cast are solid and despite Amy’s brother Will (Greyston Holt) being a bit of a self-centered jerk, we have a fairly likable cast of supporting characters with Chelan Simmons as pretty blonde Kayla, Lee Majdoub as Tamara’s boyfriend Carter and Michael Eklund as the chief morgue attendant Holden. A much more endearing bunch than the angry delinquents that populated the first flick.
So, See No Evil 2 may not be a classic, but it is a solid and entertaining slasher that has some surprisingly effective quieter moments in-between the well-orchestrated carnage. The Soska’s bring the action and suspense, especially in the second half and even with it’s barely 90 minute running time, give us some nice resonating character scenes bolstered by it’s lead actors especially, Harris, who does some of her best work. And that’s what impresses about the Twisted Twins the most…they can deliver some very sick and twisted moments, but can also deliver some poignant quiet moments in between, just like the little conversations between Mary and Lance in American Mary. Another intriguing film from two of the more original filmmakers out there.
The Soska sisters, who brought us the disturbing and original American Mary with the lovely Katharine Isabelle, have followed that up with a sequel to the slasher See No Evil which featured WWE superstar Kane (Glenn Jacobs) as homicidal madman Jacob Goodnight. I was not a big fan of the original but, the Soska’s involvement and now this really cool looking trailer have my interest very peaked… not to mention it stars Isabelle and Danielle Harris, two of today’s most popular scream queens!
Filmmaker/musician Rob Zombie is headed back to the director’s chair this fall with a new and original horror film simply titled “31” referring to Halloween night. The controversial writer/director has been rather tightlipped about the film’s plot and details, save to say it is an original idea not based on anything previously seen. While details are still slim… for now… we at least have these two production photos to wet our gruesome appetites…
Halloween Hotties focuses this time on the beautiful and talented Katharine Isabelle. The Canadian actress has been working hard at her craft since she was a kid and her work in both genre movies and television certainly qualifies this versatile lady as a scream queen!
click on the highlighted links to read the reviews of Miss Isabelle’s films that I’ve covered here at MonsterZero NJ’s Movie Madhouse!
Katharine Isabelle first started acting at the young age of 7 for the 1989 film Cousins and continued to work steadily with appearances and roles in both films and TV. But it wasn’t until she starred in the 1998 sci-fi/ horror Disturbing Behaviorthat she had her first genre movie appearance though she had done some genre TV including roles in Goosebumps, Ray Bradbury Theater and The X-Files. It wasn’t until Isabelle got the lead role in the cult classic 2000 werewolf flick Ginger Snaps that the now grown-up actress really caught our attention as the ill-fated high school Goth girl Ginger, whose life turns upside down when bitten by a werewolf. After that, an appearance in Freddy v.s. Jason and reprising her Ginger character for the sequel and prequel respectively Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashedand Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginningcemented her status as one of today’s reigning scream queens. But, she shows no signs of slowing down as she’s appeared in quite a few more genre shows such as The Outer Limits, Smallville, Supernatural and Being Human and continues her prolific film workincluding rolesin the horror flicks Hard Ride To Hell, 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days, Rampage and the disturbing and original 2013 flick American Mary from the Soska Sisters. She has the horror films 13 Eerie and Torment on the horizon and is starring with fellow reigning scream queen Danielle Harris in the currently filming See No Evil 2 which reunites her with the directing team of The Soska Sisters. A gorgeous, talented and hard working woman who seems to be only just getting started…
UPDATE!: Not only can Katharine now be seen on season 4 of SYFY’s Being Human but, it’s just been announced, she will have a reoccurring role on season 2 of NBC’s Hannibal. A busy woman whose star is on the rise!
During the month long celebration of Halloween I thought we’d also take a look at some of the lovely ladies of Horror. Some of them have made hearts race and others have made blood spill. Some have run for their lives and others have taken lives. Whether it be a final girl, or a villainess, the girls of Horror will always have our hearts…sometimes literally.
So, what better way to kick off this look at the Horror Hotties then with a beautiful and talented young lady who has carved herself quite a career in horror film history and cemented her legacy as one of the all time great scream queens…
Danielle started her horror career with a bang at the age of 11 playing Jaime Lloyd, Michael Myers’ niece in 1988’s Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers. She was then pursued again by her malevolent uncle the following year in Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. After that she continued to work steadily, but it wasn’t till Harris returned to the world of Michael Myers all grown up in 2007 in the Rob Zombie Halloween re-imaging as Annie Brackett, that she really took the Horror world by storm. After starring in Zombie’s Halloween 2, Harris continued to appear in a prolific assortment of Horror flicks including Jim Mickle’s awesome Stake Landand taking over the role of final girl, Marybeth Dunston in the second and third Hatchet films. Recently Harris had graduated to director by directing her first Horror flick Among Friends and is now filming See No Evil 2 along with fellow scream queen Katharine Isabelle and directors to watch The Soska Sisters. Harris seems to genuinely love the Horror genre and making horror films and is renown for being very gracious, sweet and appreciative when meeting fans at conventions. A classy, talented and beautiful lady who can can warm our hearts and chill our blood at will.
A young Harris as Jaime Lloyd, Michael Myers niece in Halloween 4 & 5…
…all grown up with co-stars in Rob Zombie’s Halloween…
…as final girl Marybeth Dunston in Hatchet III…
…and looking hot showing off her gorgeous tattoo in Inked Magazine!