Tag Archives: horrormovies

Looking Back: PIECES

PIECES(1982)

Directed by Juan Piquer Simon

Starring Lynda Day George, Ian Sera, Christoper George, Frank Brana, and Jack Taylor

I just finished watching Pieces, and I have to say that this slasher exceeds expectations. The story is a very solid whodunit, and the kills were disturbing, but great.

Here’s a quick synopsis: A young boy named Timmy is putting together a puzzle of a naked woman. His mother sees this and demands that he gets a bag to throw the puzzle away. However, he returns with an ax and dismembers her. Forty years later, the viewer is taken to a college campus where some bizarre deaths occur.

I liked how the story keeps you guessing as to what Timmy’s role is at the campus. I will not reveal it because you’ll definitely have to watch this film to find out. You will be surprised. The kills are graphic, but with a purpose.

In addition to the surprisingly good story and the bizarre kills, the ending is very memorable. It is shocking along the lines of Friday the 13th and SleepAway Camp.

What else can I say about Pieces? All I will tell you is that If you want a great 80s slasher, this one comes highly recommended. My score: 8.5/10 (Add to your horror library)

Hidden Horror Gems: SleepAway Camp

SleepAway Camp(1983)

Directed and Written by Robert Hiltzik

Starring Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tierston, Paul DeAngelo, and Karen Fields

When it comes to hidden horror gems, Sleepaway Camp definitely fits that definition. Honestly, I’ve never heard of this film until recently, but I am glad that I discovered it. I was so impressed with this movie, that I had to purchase a copy.

Released in 1983, this film centers on Angela, a shy girl whose family is killed in a boating accident. As a result, she goes to live with her eccentric Aunt Martha and her cousin Ricky. Years later, Aunt Martha sends the two children to camp, where some mysterious and bizarre deaths occur.

Sleepaway Camp is both impressive and provocative. It is a well-paced, solid whodunit. The idea of using actual children gives you an authentic “life at a camp” feeling, and their overall performances were very engaging and memorable. Even though the kills were not too graphic, the practical effects were solid. And the ending..well, there is a reason Sleepaway Camp has one of the greatest plot twists ever in horror. You’ll just have to watch the film to experience it.

Not to sound like a commercial, but your collection will not be complete until you pick up a copy of this movie. Make sure you get the Shout Factory! Edition to watch the extras and gain more insight into this unique slasher. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

Another Look: A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2:  Freddy’s Revenge(1985)

Directed by Jack Sholder

Starring Robert Englund,  Mark Patton, Kim Meyers, and Robert Rusler.

I haven’t seen a Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge in awhile, so I decided to watch it again, and perhaps gain another perspective. Yes, I am aware of the controversy that surrounds this sequel, but when I first saw it I was very young, and honestly, I didn’t see the subtext. There are other videos and reviews that cover that subtext if you want to look more into it. Controversies aside, I will say that this entry is an intriguing take on the Nightmare canon, and it deserves another look.

This sequel takes place 5 years after the first one. It focuses on Jesse, a teenager that has moved into Nancy’s old house on Elm St. As to be expected, Freddy Krueger invades his dreams. His goal is not to kill Jesse, but to use him as a conduit to enter into the real world. The movie starts off very strong with the scene of Freddy driving the school bus, tormenting Jesse and the other characters riding it. I will not give the entire movie away, but there are quite a few scenes that gives Freddy’s Revenge more of a psychological-slasher vibe.

There aren’t many graphic kills, but the effects work is impressive. The story is well written with stellar performances by Mark Patton(Jesse) and Kim Meyers(Lisa). The dynamic between those two is so engaging, that I wish that they were further explored in some of the sequels.

This entry in the franchise..you have to admire the risk the filmmakers took when they allowed Freddy into the real world, basically giving a different angle to the Nightmare lore. Also, Freddy is more menacing and scarier, not having the comedic tone we see in the future sequels.

A Nightmare on Elm St. 2: Freddy’s Revenge may be considered underrated to some, but I will suggest that you take a different look at this one because of the risks, giving you another angle on Nightmare’s world. This film, in my opinion, is one of the definitions of an authentic horror movie. If you haven’t seen this one, I’d suggest you watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10-(Collection-Worthy)

Looking Back: Hollow Man(2000)

Hollow Man(2000)

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Starring Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Shue, Josh Brolin, Joey Slotnick,  Mary Randle, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Willian Devane, and Rhona Mitra.

I watched Hollow Man  for the first time in over a decade, and I have to say that this movie is still impressive. What would you do if you couldn’t be seen? That is the question this movie explores. It also asks you to imagine the idea of gaining a new power, and then deciding on how to use it, for good or for evil.   Not to start comparing, but this film effectively examines the theme of invisibility more than The Invisible Man(2020), in my opinion.

For those of you who are not familiar with the plot, here is the basic premise: A research scientist decides to makes himself invisible, but his new ability produces some unfortunate results.

There’s a lot that can be said about Hollow Man, but this review may turn into a term paper, lol. However, you can not deny that the mix of sci-fi and horror, and the top-notch performances, particularly Kevin Bacon’s role as the main research scientist, gave the viewer some thoughts on the dynamics of invisibility and its effects on individuals and the larger society.

If you haven’t seen this film, you should definitely watch it and add it to your collection. My score: 9/10(Add to your library)

Looking Back: Sorority Row

Sorority Row(2009)

Directed by Stewart Hendler

Starring Brianna Evigan, Leah Pipes, Rumer Willis, Jamie Chung, Audrina Page, Julian Morris, Margo Harshman, Matt Lanter, and Carrie Fisher

I just watched Sorority Row the other night again, and I have to say that this slasher is enjoyable. How else can I describe this movie? It has a great cast, the engaging story has a nice whodunit element, and the kills are very creative. If you haven’t seen this House on Sorority Row remake, I’d highly recommend checking this one out and adding it to your collection. My score: 8.5/10(Add to your collection)

Underrated Gem to Watch: Rabid (2019)

Rabid (2019)

Directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska

Starring Laura Vandervoort, Hanneke Talbot, Ben Hollingsworth, and Ted Atherton

I just saw the remake of Rabid(2019), and this movie left a lasting impression on me. This is a very well-written “zombie-like outbreak” movie!

Not to give away any spoilers, but the basic premise involves a woman who is badly scarred from an accident. Unable to pay for the surgery, she goes to a clinic to be a subject of a regenerative therapy experiment. Unfortunately, the experiment produces some unexpected results.

Rabid has some great acting, good tension, an engaging story, and some good practical effects. There is a part of me that wished that it had more graphic kills, but overall, this film definitely held my attention. And let’s not forget Rabid’s surprise-twist ending..it makes you wonder if there would be a sequel.

Overall, this comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of zombie-like horror films. Add this one to your collection.   My score: 8/10 (purchase-worthy)

A Look Back: The Exorcist

The Exorcist(1973)

Directed by William Friedkin

Starring Jason Miller, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, and Lee J. Cobb

I’ve finally checked out The Exorcist for the first time, and I feel that if you want to see a well-written horror movie, this comes highly recommended.

I think everyone is familiar with the basic premise, but it’s basically about a mother who enlists the aid of a priest to exorcise(no pun intended) the demons who possessed her daughter.

This movie has a well-paced story, great acting, and an ending with an unexpected twist. All of the performances were well done, and I felt that Linda Blair’s performance was particularly impressive. Her role as the possessed young girl truly conveyed an eerie, creepy, and at times, brutal feeling. The overall story kept me engaged, and the special effects were top-notch. Also, I’m glad that the filmmakers did not resort to a neat, clean, and happy ending. Instead, we were given ending scenes so shocking and unexpected that I’m curious about the sequel.

There is a lot that can be said about The Exorcist, but I will say that if you haven’t seen this one, check it out if you’re interested in a great horror experience. My score: 9.5/10(Purchase level)

Underrated Slasher Gems: Offspring

Offspring(2009)

Starring Pollyanna McIntosh, Amy Hargreaves, Art Hindle, Erick Kastel, and Spencer List

I checked out Offspring, and I have to commend the filmmakers for tackling such a provocative subject.   Not to give any spoilers, but this film is the first in a trilogy that centers on a group of cannibal-feral people who come into contact with the modern community.   With this “exchange” comes a horrific and brutal battle between the “primitive” and the “civilized.” I admit that I wish Offspring gave more of a backstory of the feral people, but it didn’t take away from the fact that this film provided an intense horror experience.   Add this one, along with The Woman and Darlin,’ to your collection.   My score: 9/10.

The Invisible Man(2020)

The Invisible Man(2020)

Starring Elizabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer

(WARNING!: This review contains some  spoilers)   The Invisible Man(2020) can be seen as a commentary on domestic abuse, and how it is considered “invisible,” until one comes forward and reveals his/her unfortunate situation.    This movie centers on Cecelia, who manages to escape her abusive boyfriend,  Adrian.  However, Adrian fakes his death, and uses his invisibility suit to further torment his former girlfriend.  So now, if Cecelia informs anyone of her predicament, no one will believe her, and Adrian can successfully keep the torment “invisible.”

The Invisible Man’s strengths lies in its great performances from the actors, effectively built tension, and subtle camera work that makes you wonder if Adrian is in the room with Cecelia in some scenes.  However, the film’s overall plot and pacing gives you more of a made-for-TV movie with a psychological thriller- vibe, than a horror movie.  Also, the first two acts took very long to get you to the payoff in the third act.  And the ending..well, I was impressed with how she used his suit to overcome her pain once and for all;  It was satisfactory, but anticlimactic.

I would suggest watching Invisible Man for its intriguing take in tackling such a serious topic, but the execution of the story could have given us a more brutal, intense illustration of the real horrors of domestic abuse.  This is a weekend rental.  My score: 7/10.

Underrated Gem to Watch: It Follows

It Follows(2014)  Directed by David Robert Mitchell    Starring Maika Monroe, Bailey Spry, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, and Jake Weary

It Follows is a horror film that has effectively used a supernatural theme to tell its story.  The concept of “passing on” sexual energy to eliminate a malignant presence from following you, is an intriguing concept. I liked how the film used minimal special effects and its “Mandy-like” score to give you the intensity and the pure definition of horror.  I admit, I wish It Follows gave more of a backstory on the demon, but overall, it did a successful job in executing its concept.  After I watched this film, I felt that I should own it for repeat viewings because it offers various meanings to contemplate.  If you want to watch a unique horror movie with an enthralling musical score, It Follows comes highly recommended.  My score: 8/10.