Its been nearly a decade since Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek (2005) was in theaters right about the time the “torture porn” craze was at its peak.  Wolf Creek was marketed as a “saw” type but it never felt quite like that type of movie.  It took its time getting to where it needed to go and while I liked it I haven’t revisited it since I originally saw it in theaters. It felt like a good minor horror entry with a decent villain but it wasn’t something that really spoke to me.

Now Mclean is back with a sequel that both exceeded expectations and failed them at the same time.  The film has a great cold opening with our serial killer from the first film, Mick Taylor, played once again by John Jarret, being hassled by a couple asshole highway patrol officers.  Mick smiles and takes their abuse like he’s the cheeriest man in all of Australia but of course the two cops get what’s coming to them.  The sequence really sets you up for the film the follows, its darkly comic and Mick has become almost a ghoulishly funny icon like Freddy Krueger.  

wnuf_tapeIf you were a child in the 1980’s or up through the mid 90’s then you are familiar with the era of TV specials.  Back then most folks didn’t have more than a handful of channels on their TV and the choices of what to watch were very limited.  The “Movie of the week” where a major hollywood movie finally premiered on a network TV station, was a big deal.  I remember watching many Big movies for the first time “edited for Television” on one of the three or four networks.  During the holidays we got TV specials, like Halloween cartoons or some type of documentary about ghosts.  They were usually pretty cheesy and rarely delivered any kind of real scare but they were all we had and we liked it!

Which brings us to the VHS Only release of the WNUF Halloween Special.  It’s a “found footage” film by a collective of filmmakers. The tape is presented as a Halloween special from 1987 that aired on a small town news broadcast on October 31st.  The first 30 minutes is the 11 O’clock nightly news with the two anchors dressed in costumes and reporting on Halloween related stories including a dentist that was paying a 1$ for every pound of candy a child brought in the day after trick or treating in an attempt to get kids not to eat too much.  All during the news broadcast we’re told “Stay Tuned” for a Halloween special that would air immediately after.

blairwitchposterSo there are a lot of movies out there that were really hated when they came out.  The best example is probably Halloween 3: Season of the Witch which up through the early 2000’s was the most despised of the Halloween movies.  Today it has enjoyed a resurgence and found its audience.  I hear a lot of horror fans gush about it and it even received a collectors edition Blu-Ray release last year.  But there’s a lot good horror movies out there that have a bad rap and I aim to give their their due.

When the Blair Witch Project came out it was a hit and there’s a lot to admire about  it.  The film itself is one of the fathers of our current “Found Footage” craze but that’s not what made it special.  It was the marketing that made it work.  But that’s an article for another day.  The film studio needed to follow up the film with a sequel in order to capitalize on the first films success.  I think most expected the film to just reuse the concept of the first film and have more kids go missing trying to find the truth behind the Blair Witch legend.  But that’s not what happened at all.

lords-of-salem-poster1I’ve been a fan of Rob Zombie since the early 90’s when I was still in high school. His music always kind of sounded evil and it scared parents and that’s all the reason I needed to like it. When he got into filmmaking I of course was excited! His first film “House of 1000 Corpses” is a fun movie and one I still rewatch from time to time. The follow up, The Devils Rejects, was meaner and more serious but ultimately probably a better film. Both films have a 1970’s kind of raw aesthetic that has become a staple of Zombie’s style and I dig it. But, Then Zombie did the Halloween remake and its sequel and he lost me. While those films both look good I just didn’t like anything about them and I could go into the reasons why but I’d just be echoing the sentiments that so many other horror fans have already made.

Now Rob Zombie is back with a low budget Satanic film that has very little in common with what he’s done before, in Fact The Lords of Salem is his best film to date. Heidi (Shari Moon Zombie) is a local radio DJ in Salem Massachusetts who receives a mysterious record from “The Lords”. Its played on her show and sets off a series of events that to fulfill a satanic prophecy. The record deeply effects Heidi who begins hallucinating horrific visions that range from insanely creative and laughable.

81k-vBQXpeL._SL1435_Back in 2002 I was finally getting Rogues Hollow up and officially in the haunted house industry and my first Haunted House client was a man Named Larry Wade Carrell. He was a very sweet man with a big dream to open a haunted house in Houston called, The Nest. The website I created was my first big foray into all Flash website design and by todays standards its pretty low tech and outdated but it was pretty special at the time. Larry worked closely with me and we really built some fun and cool imagery that people to this day remember and comment on at tradeshows. The Haunt’s story was a pretty wordy one about a Jason-like character, named Jacob, that goes on a killing spree and is now haunting The Nest. Unfortunately it didn’t do too well that first year and Larry decided what he really wanted to do was make movies. Of course the Nest lives on today in Phoenix Arizona each October! But Larry never forgot about the story and finally last year he was able bring the story of Jacob Kell and The Nest to life in a full length feature!

room237smaller2__span__spanConspiracy Documentaries as a genre may have just jumped the shark. The Shining is considered one of the greatest horror films ever made and there’s tons of interesting real information out there about its making. I’ve been a fan of the film since watching it in high school and finally being able to comprehend what the movie was all about. There’s a lot that can be said about the movie and its content. I could debate the changes between the book and Kubrick’s vision and why he made them. Or we could discuss if what Jack is seeing is real or just a hallucination. We could discuss the behavior of the characters and why they make the decisions they make. Or a plethora of other subject the film raises. Like almost all of his films, Stanley Kubrick wanted there to be different interpretations and discussions. He wanted us to have to work to understand what he was trying to show us and in most of his films, he didn’t care if you got it or not. He made the film he wanted to make and The Shining is no different.

Batman-Dark-Knight-Returns-Part-2-Release-DateRecently DC’s animation wing as been delving into its best comics and creating some amazing animated films! A few of Batman’s greatest hits have gotten lovingly accurate adaptions starting with Batman: Year One and now Frank Miller’s masterpiece re-invention of the character “The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 and 2”!

I’ve been a huge Batman fan since I was preschool. Like horror movies, Batman has always been a constant interest in my life. Back in 1989 I was right there in the theater on opening day for Tim Burton’s first foray into the character and cringed when Joel Shumacher took over and buried the character under tons of bat nipples and camp. Up into the mid 90’s I collected almost every issue of Batman comics and read Frank Miller’s famous takes on the character back in the day. Frank Miller’s version of Batman is the one that has had the most influence on Christopher Nolan and his trilogy of films.

Ravenous was released way back in March of 1999 where no one saw it. Back in 99′ I was still in college and was working part time at a video store (remember those?). I’m not sure what inspired me to pick it up at work and watch it but I did and ever since its been a movie I tend to revisit every year or two.

The film takes place during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and is about a man named Boyd (Guy Pierce), a lowly coward who plays dead in the heat of a battle, gets his body dumped in a pile of corpses behind enemy lines and then takes out the commanders in the Mexican army. His CO General Slauson gives him a commendation but learns the reality of what Boyd did and decides he wants him as far away from his company as possible banishing him to Fort Spencer in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

So Christmas Horror films are a very mixed bag of supernatural creatures, serial killing Santas, and vaguely connected to the holiday spooky happenings. Luckily we seem to be getting more and more of them each year which at least makes the Xmas season bearable for us horror fiends. So there’s bound to be a few gems right?

If your the kind of movie fan that feels like Christmas Horror films could use 100% more old man penis then “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” is for you. Hailing from Finland, Rare Exports looks beautiful, shot in some of the most picturesque locales I’ve ever seen. The film follows a young boy named Pietari who lives up in the mountains with his widowed father. Pietari and his friends stumble upon a group of Americans working on the mountain that are digging up the real Santa buried deep underground. But or course something goes wrong and things start getting really weird.

Today August 19th 2012 is the 14th anniversary of Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. The film is often cited as one of the weaker films of the series and by many Freddy fans its outright hated but today I’m going to sing its praises!

While Nightmare 3 certainly introduced Freddy as a wise cracking ghoul, it was Nightmare 4 that truly embraced that role and ran with it. For me Nightmare 4 has a very special place in my heart. One Hot and muggy afternoon in August of 88′ I went to my local theater with my best friend and watched Nightmare 4 with glee! I was only 11 at the time and it was the first horror film I was allowed to go see in theaters.