Every year myself and my wife compile a list of horror flicks we would like to view during the Halloween season. Unfortunately this year we were thrown some unexpected curves and the list was never made. We have watched a few scary movies, but not nearly as many as in the past. Some have been surprises and some have been not so great. Here are my thoughts on a few of these films.
Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (2019)
This movie has been on my "Want To Watch" list for a few years now. I remember reading these books back in grade school and becoming entranced by the gorgeously grotesque drawings of artist Stephen Gammell. One thing this movie did exceptionally well was the ability to bring these illustrations to life!
The story itself reminded me of the Goosebumps movie that starred Jack Black from 2015. Several teens find a haunted book, unleash a bunch of creepy monsters and have to figure out how to stay alive while getting these literary nightmares to disappear. The acting was solid, the effects were a big upside to this film and overall it was an enjoyable watch. Not that I would want to have a repeat watch, but if you were a fan of the books, I say give it a try.
Hell House LLC. (2015)
I had read about this movie on other blogs throughout the years and when I saw it in the free offerings on VUDU, I decided to give it a whirl. This was one of the films that surprised me. It is yet another found footage horror film, but it is presented in such a way that it felt like you were watching a documentary. The premise is that there was a mass casualty incident at a haunted house in New York state and no-one who witnessed the events was able to say what actually happened.
The story of the disappearing haunted house crew and patrons is told through interviews with town officials and found footage from the recordings of the crew and those in attendance the night of the incident. There were some scares, the acting was on par with other low budget horror films and the characters made you genuinely care about what happened to them. I still want to know what really went down at Hell House that night!Hell House LLC. II: The Abaddon Hotel (2018)
Hoping to get some answers from the original Hell House LLC., I decide to watch part II! This entry was a huge step down from the first film. It felt disjointed, the acting was not great and the story felt like they were making it up as they went along.
Yes, the creepy clown was back and that's about all this sequel had going for it. I was looking for answers and the film makers tried to provide them, but it was more of a letdown than anything. If you liked the original, I would suggest skipping this one because it kind of ruins the mystique that was built up in Hell House LLC.
I had not seen this movie in years and decided it was time for a re-watch. This one did not disappoint! Famed creature designer Stan Winston took to directing this 80's monster classic and he did a fantastic job in his debut. If you don't know the story, it's pretty much a revenge flick. A man's child is killed on accident by a few reckless teens in a backwoods town. The man seeks the help of a local witch to help him enact revenge on those who did him wrong. This brings about the resurrection of Pumpkinhead, a mean, ruthless, killing machine!
The creature is beautifully done and creepy, the story is not the most unique, but works and the acting is fantastic for this type of film. Lance Henriksen gives one of his best performances and John D'Aquino plays a great villain. His turn as Joel is a pretty far dip from his portrayal of Todd Gack in the Seinfeld episode "The Calzone". He really has great range as an actor. I know Pumpkinhead was not a huge success when it was released in the late 80's, but this creature feature deserves better than the 3 direct to video/tv sequels it has received. I think it's time we see a full fledged theatrical revival!
Thankfully, we still have time to view some of our traditional faves like Friday The 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Monster Squad and Trick 'r Treat on Halloween night. I hope you had an enjoyable movie viewing season. I can't wait to get back to our traditional viewing next year and I'm excited to see what ends up on the list in 2021! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!