When you read the following 'based on true events', does it give you extra chills? This isn't just the vivid imagination of a writer, this actually happened! Yes, sometimes that is merely a marketing ploy, but other times it's a promise. A promise that this did happen, and could happen again.
1) The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Firstly Jennifer Carpenter (White Chicks, Dexter, Quarantine) is superb. She portrays a truly terrifying woman possessed. When you know this did happen to a woman at some point, drinking urine, having convulsions and being offended by all religious items, you'll be served with an extra dose of chill.
2) The Haunting in Connecticut.
A family moving into a Connecticut home with a son suffering cancer, and realizing it is haunted, did occur. Spanning back to the 1980s a family did actually move into a house that they strongly believed was haunted after several unexplained incidents.
3) The Conjuring.
Now, Patrick Wilson (Insidious) and Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) are fantastic in their portrayal of a couple of paranormal investigators, based on a married couple that does exist, Lorraine and Ed Warren. This movie is frightening as hell, so to think this genuinely did happen, is unnerving, to say the least!
4) The Hills Have Eyes.
A family ravaged by hillbilly cannibals, including one horrific rape, happened?! Oh yes, it happened. A man named Sawney Bean married and had 14 kids, most of whom were the result of incest. The family were...gulp..cannibals, who resided in caves and murdered over a thousand people!
A spin-off movie from The Conjuring produced this chilling flick, which stems from a true story. Eurgh. Creepy dolls. Yeah, real. Though the movie exaggerates the events, that doesn't change the fact that it happened.
Christ-on-a-cracker! Jaws is based on a true story?! Maybe I won't go for that summer break by the beach after all. Okay, so don't panic. A great white didn't repeatedly attack members of a family. But, there was a string of shark murders off the New Jersey shore in 1916 that sent people into a frantic panic, threatening tourism.
7) Open Water.
Again, another shark-related movie. A couple that got left behind while on a scuba diving trip and were stranded in the sea, vulnerable to drowning, starvation, and most importantly, great whites!
8) Paranormal Activity.
A couple convinced that their home is haunted, purchase cameras and set them up around the house, convinced they will find some form of paranormal activity. While loosely based on true events, it still begs the question, if you think you are being haunted, maybe don't record them? They don't like it.
9) Wolf Creek.
A psycho Australian man, basically an Aussie version of The Hitcher, terrorizes innocent people.
The real life story is a hitchhiker killer - Ivan Milat: captured and tortured many travelers during the 1990s.
10) The Exorcist.
And it only seems appropriate to end with one of the scariest movies of all time. Oh, and it just happens to be again, based on real events. The movie is based on a book which is based on a real-life tale of a young boy by the name of Roland Doe who is strongly believed to have been possessed in 1949. Several witnesses backed up the claims on this one. Extra chills!
Maybe you'll think twice the next time you scoff at 'based on real events'. Maybe a movie will record your haunting tale in the future.
Love water-based horror movies? Me too! Call them my guilty pleasure, if you will. I guarantee you'll enjoy these movies. They may make you afraid of stepping foot into a large body of water, but after watching this list, maybe you'll be glad you are now aware of just what predators are lurking under the surface.
Come on, I couldn't leave out Jaws. Still, years after its release, is one of the most successful creature feature horror movies, having grossed over $470 million! We all know the story: a shark out for blood.
2) Deep Blue Sea.
Another one of my favourite Aquatic Horrors. Here, the sharks get smart, injected with a compound by scientists in an underwater lab, allowing them to tap into uncharted territories of their brains. But what starts as an important experiment, soon turns the tables. Why would you want to make sharks intelligent? That seems like a recipe for disaster.
This one made me terrified of lakes and rivers. A bunch of genetically-modified piranhas are released into a stream, open to feast on whatever or whoever they like. A mention has to also go to Piranha 3D and Piranha 3DD, also great guilty pleasure creature features.
4) 47 Meters Down.
Now, this one just came out at theaters but is rumored to be fantastic. So far, the reviews have been impressive. Two girls go cage-diving with sharks, when the rope snaps, leaving them 47 meters under water, victim to the water-demons!
5) Open Water.
I've found this movie is quite controversial. Some love it, others hate it. It is seen as a slow burner gradually stitching suspense into the plot and building to an interesting conclusion. Most horror viewers want quick payouts and don't care enough to be patient, so maybe skip this one if you want an abundance of jumps and thrills straight off the bat. Basically, a couple goes on a scuba diving expedition, only to be left behind at sea, vulnerable to predators of the water.
6) Shark Night.
All they want is a weekend of fun. Sex. Swimming. Drinking. But when Sara's friend returns from a salt-water lake missing an arm, things go awry! It turns out someone is stocking the lake with ravenous sharks!
7) Ghost Ship.
Now, let's step away from creature feature horrors and acknowledge a flick that most seem to enjoy. A boat salvage crew discover the remains of a grand passenger line deemed lost for more than forty years! The crew hops onboard to face unexpected evils stemming from the ship's history.
8) Black Vampire Water.
A documentary crew investigates a string of brutal killings known as the Black Water murders. Could this be an investigation they will come to regret? This is slightly reminiscent of 'The Descent' but with a refreshing twist.
9) The Reef.
An invitation for sun, sea and tranquility, who'd turn that up? But when aboard a boat, and it hits a rock, capsizing, the fun is put on hold. Tension escalates between the group as some believe they should stay on the sinking boat's hull, others believe they should swim to Turtle Island. But wouldn't that leave them vulnerable to sea creatures?
10) The Shallows.
Blake Lively shows that she's more than just a pretty face in this one. She wows in the water! Nancy, whilst surfing at a secluded beach, finds herself facing a shark. Although she isn't far from the shore, dare she step from an isolated rock and swim back to the beach with a huge predator hot on her tail? This puts Nancy through her paces as she has to outsmart the shark to survive. And making things worse, she only has so long until the rock she stands on will be devoured by the sea.
So, when you think of Britain, what do you think? Tea? Crumpets? Scones? Castles? Horses? The Queen? Well, we can actually manage to offer some rather lovely-jubbly horror films. Why not enjoy these movies in the good ol' stiff-upper-lip manner, and grab a cuppa (tea) and some biscuits (cookies)?
A classic. Based on a novel by Clive Barker, a couple move into an old house and discover a horrifying creature: the man's half-brother, and woman's former lover. Talk about family drama! This creature has some rather insidious agendas in mind.
2) 28 Days Later
One of the better zombie movies, which just happens to do the UK proud! In a secret lab, a monkey is released with a contagious virus. A while later, 28 days to be specific, the virus has spread through the majority of the United Kingdom, turning everyone into raving, psychotic nutters.
3) The Woman in Black
Daniel Radcliffe shows he is more than a wand-wielding Harry Potter in this creepy story of a lawyer who is recently widowed, traveling to a remote village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased eccentric. Spooky, jumpy, and terrific.
4) The Descent
One of my favourite movies, which does Brits everywhere proud. Some kick-ass women go on a hiking holiday and end up trapped in some rather treacherous caves. As it turns out, suffocating and starvation aren't the only threats they face.
5) Under the Skin
Scarlett Johansson stars in this chilling tale of a woman searching the highway for forsaken men, enticing them into an otherworldly lair. They are seduced, stripped of their humanity, and never heard from again. Unusual, unsettling, but addictive.
6) The Conjuring 2
Set in what I call 'Vintage England' - a true representation of working-class Britain - Ed and Lorraine Warren are on another one of their paranormal investigations. They come to the aid of a single mother raising four children in a house that has witnessed some incredibly strange phenomenon. James Wan is one of the directors to watch! Every movie he directs is gold!
Melissa George, one of my personal horror heroes, starring in 30 Days of Night and others, adds edginess to this role. The story revolves around the passengers of a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas.
Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.
9) Eden Lake
This is pure gritty British horror, so suspenseful you'll be palpitating. Simply put, a young couple gets away for a break and finds themselves facing a rather brutal gang of chavs (thugs). Intense doesn't even begin to describe this one!
10) An American Werewolf in London
Another classic for you. Two American students travel to Britain, only to find themselves in the crosshairs of a ravenous beast.
There you have it, good day ol' chap!
Those Aussies sure know a thing or two about horror movies. They've released some terrific flicks over the years. I suggest you watch all these on the list and always stay on the lookout for Aussie horrors. They ain't afraid to push those boundaries and abolish those limits. They'll go as far as required to make a shocking but superb movie!
1) The Loved Ones
Since when do you torture a guy just because he refuses to be your prom date? Get ready for this one.
2) Wolf Creek 1 & 2
A truly deranged individual just won't stop. He'll hack you to pieces.
This is an outstanding take on the sub-genre of horror: 'zombie / apocalypse'. A must-see!
These days this movie is the new LGBT horror icon due to Netflix incorrectly putting it in the LGBT category and not in the horror one. Either way, this movie's great and has to be seen. A boy keeps having dreams that a monster is going to attack.
He wants to escape violence. A man comes to his rescue. But will this man lead him into even more violence?
6) Black Water
What lays down under? And by under, I mean the water. And by lays, I mean is hungry for your flesh! A great croc-flick! If you love creature features, absolutely check this one out!
A revolutionary vampire movie. Nothing more need be said. If you enjoy toothy films, hit this one up!
8) The Tattooist
A tattoo artist steals a tool. Little does he know that tool will lead him into a vat of trouble! Plus, for the gays and gals, Jason Behr strips off in this one.
There you have it, some of the finest Aussie flicks for the true horror fans among us, who want to experience all forms of horror from around the globe.
Like sick, messed-up movies? This is the list for you!
WARNING: some of these films are deeply disturbing.
The Last House on the Left
What's it about? A gang of deranged individuals wreak havoc among a nice family.
Why is it sick? There is a particularly graphic rape scene, which will churn your stomach!
What's it about? A wannabe-doctor performs an insane procedure on three individuals.
Why is it sick? Many many scenes are horrific, forcing you to gag and cringe mightily.
What's it about? Buddies travel Europe, wanting nothing more than sight-seeing and sex. They come across a terrifying 'business' in the slums of Europe, ruining their vacation.
Why is it sick? Multiple moments of massacre and bloodshed.
What's it about? A man who wants to turn a woman into an obese monster.
Why is it sick? This is possibly one of the strongest films in a graphic manner, I've ever watched. It's morbidly fascinating, but completely disgusting. As he force-feeds this woman, among other things, you'll be gagging up a storm.
Wolf Creek 2
What's it about? A psychotic Australian man with an odd moral compass.
Why is it sick? Among scenes of mutilation, there is a scene that stands out, where a man has his manhood chopped off. Men, prepare yourselves for this one!
What's it about? A group of New York student activists travel to the Amazon to save the rain forest, stumbling into a strange cult.
Why is it sick? Superman-strong scenes of cannibalism. Props to the special FX team as the cannibal parts are beyond realistic.
What's it about? A bizarre man who adores walruses finds himself interviewed by an American pod-caster. Only, the pod-caster uncovers more than he wanted.
Why is it sick? Completely insane! A crazy old man literally tries to turn a young American dude into a walrus. This will have you repeatedly saying 'what the f*ck?'
There you go. Prepare yourselves.
Over the past several years we have been very lucky with horror gracing our television screens. We've had some stellar horror shows, inventive, original, and compelling. So, here's my list of 10 horror TV shows you need to watch!
1) American Horror Story.
Come on, can it get any better? This show broke new ground by being an anthology series. Each season is a different plot, with new characters, but often played by a recurring cast. They explore a haunted house, asylum, witches, circus, hotel, and there is more to come. This is a still-going show, so catch up with previous seasons on Netflix, so you can be up-to-date for the new season to air this fall. However, that's one of the perks of an anthology series. With each season bringing new storylines and a new set, with new messed-up characters, you could watch multiple seasons simultaneously. Kathy Bates stars!
2) Harper's Island.
I don't know about you, but I love Island Horror. This show aired in 2009. A bunch of young people go back to an island that holds many traumatic memories, all for a wedding. One by one, they are hacked away by a merciless killer. This was reminiscent of 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' and other teen-slasher flicks. However, the depth of this show is deep. We explore characters in great detail, and the complexities of their personal lives, as well as the backstory of the horrific event that caused some to consider not attending this celebration. While only one season, available on Amazon Prime / Amazon video, it is worth a watch!
3) True Blood.
Vampire are real. Did you hear? They have officially come out of their coffins, no longer in the gloom. But this brings a new, fascinating world with new rules. Vampires just want to be treated like everyone else, they want equal rights. But as is common in society, especially where this show is set, there are bountiful bigots that object to any change. We follow Sookie, the lead character, as she falls for a vamp, in a world with much hatred for their kind. Throughout the show we don't just explore the toothy creatures, but fairies, werewolves, witches, and other sorts of supernaturalness. But this series brings a different flavour to each type of creature.
Gory. Well, what did you expect? We follow someone with a keen ability to put himself into the mind of killers, as he helps out the law by finding many killers. But whilst doing this, there is a serial killer at large. This one is elegant and unsettling, with some fabulous performances from the cast. Gillian Anderson guest stars.
5) The Walking Dead.
Now, chances are you already watch this, unless you've been living under a rock. But it bears mentioning. A zombie show that has broke records for being the highest viewed show on cable television. It goes way beyond a zombie apocalypse. We delve into characters, and other threats out there, spurred by the decline in society and a lack of order. It's a free-for-all.
6) Stranger Things.
Wow, Winona Ryder, what an actress. After battling stigma, this actress is back on our screens in a sensational show, proving her relevance. A young boy goes missing, forcing his friends to go on a dangerous journey to get him back. This show is so successful because it's set in the 80's, and brings with it a heavy serving of nostalgia. This takes us to a time when kids used to ride bikes, not play video games obsessively. It's very reminiscent of many Stephen King novels where a band of kids are the lead characters. We've only been blessed with one season, but a second is on the way. Due to the feedback and success, I imagine much more seasons to come. You can watch this on Netflix right now.
7) Bates Motel.
We've all heard of Norman Bates, right? A psycho who cares deeply for his mother. Every wondered what he was like as a child? Well, here is your answer. This show is terrific, Vera Farmiga is superb, as usual, playing the mother of a disturbed child. This series respects the movie 'Psycho' but adds so much more to the story. Check it out on Netflix.
8) Scream TV series.
'What's your favourite scary movie?' Come on, we've all heard that line from the Scream movie. But now, MTV have taken a series into their hands, with two seasons, and a third on the way. It explores in much greater detail, a serial killer loose amongst a bunch of high schoolers. It's interesting, and I personally enjoyed it, despite not receiving the best comments from critics. Mystery is a heavy element. It isn't just about the killings, but who is the killer, and why are they doing this? That, for me, is why I thoroughly enjoy the show. Season three is rumoured to have a new cast in a new set; I guess we'll see! Either way, give this a shot, I think it will surprise you. Got a Netflix account already? You may as well add it to your list!
9) The Strain.
Personally, one of my favourite horror shows on TV at the moment. An apocalypse storyline that takes us so much deeper and further than any apocalypse show ever has, including TWD. The acting is stellar, and pacing is perfect, the twists and turns are unseen and absolutely riveting. This is a must-see show!
Last but not least, we have a long-running show of over ten years! Two hunks chasing down demons. One is a perve, the other is a softer gentlemen, but are both brothers, carrying on the family business. I am amazed that this show is still going, it gives me hope that horror will always have a place in society. Yes, two hot guys leading the series doesn't hurt , but it is the new breeds of demon and great script that make this show so popular. It's one of the longest running shows ever, and for it to be a horror one, we as horror fiends, must be grateful and watch this out of respect! And, all 12 seasons are on Netflix right now.
See? We've got plenty of horror shows to be proud of in the twenty-first century! Go ahead, enjoy!
So, 2017 has been a good year for horror movies at this point, but it is far from over! Here is still what's to come.
- Annabelle: Creation (August)
- Amityville: The Awakening (June)
- It (October)
- Cult of Chucky (October)
- Demon Hole (October)
- Cloverfield 2017 (October)
- Saw: Legacy (October)
See, we've got plenty to come! And, they look awesome.
Bradley Cooper did a horror movie? And I didn't know? And he was impressive in the movie? A hat trick of yes.
Cooper plays a budding photographer gagging for his 'big break' into professional photography. After his friend hooks him up with a major contact, and asks him to go deeper into the dark, sinister side of photography, this leads him down a path so unnerving and dangerous, he'll soon end up regretting it.
Suspense was practically stitched into the plot. As Bradley's character Leon becomes obsessed with capturing moments of sheer terror and unsettling confrontation, he ends up catching the attention of a dangerous looking man, played by none other than Vinnie Jones.
Mr Jones, based on his exterior, looks the part, and played it remarkably well. I've found with some of his roles, when he talks and intends to threaten and intimidate, it breaks the realism. However, he didn't utter a word throughout the whole movie. Which is explained in the epic climax.
As Leon becomes convinced this man is responsible for a series of subway killings, despite being armed with little evidence, he throws himself in harm's way many times. This has the viewer gasping repeatedly, questioning his intellect and common sense. If you suspect a man is a killer, why follow him?
As I say, Cooper plays crazy well. Too well. You can almost feel the desperation. He is obsessed. Reckless. He has no regard for his own safety. I loved him in this role, and would love to see him branch out and star in more horror movies. He was superb.
On a content level, the gore is tremendous. Horror gore fiends will have a field day with this film. Blood and guts are just for starters. I found myself cringing many times, and I thought I was basically immune to cringing at anything in a horror movie, having seen thousands of them.
An odd observation, but I myself can get slightly OCD when it comes to angles and symmetry. So I had an usual respect that few will have for the shots in the movie. There were some excellent angle shots and symmetrical masterpieces.
And for the most part, the movie's filter is dark and grungy, only adding to the disturbing, on-edge vibe that 'The Midnight Meat Train' exudes.
The subtle soundtrack only emphasizes this feel, working hand-in-hand with the colours, and strengthening the suspense. Horror movies can make the fatal mistake when incorporating a soundtrack. The loud boom suggests a surprise. Or a faster rhythm suggests something is coming. Here however, there were no clues or telltale signs that something was approaching. All shocks are unexpected. When Vinnie's character locks eyes with Leon, we shudder. That dude is scary.
And then there is the ending. Wow. I literally felt my mouth drop and my eyes widen. I had made brief guesses as to how the movie would end. I in no way saw this coming. Serial killer, maybe. Sick fetish, maybe. The actual way it ended, never saw it coming. It smacks you between the peepers.
A group of teens head off to Henry Island for a weekend of drinks, fornication, and general debauchery. But the fun comes to a screeching halt with the discovery of a body. From then on, things go from bad to disastrous.
If you are a sub-genre snob and have the false impression this novel is a generic island horror with the usual teen cast from a cheesy slasher flick, you'd be gravely mistaken. This plot is thoroughly thought-out. The characters are so well characterized, they could be real people. The shocks are delivered with expert precision. The mystery thickens with every page, becoming more unnerving, yet alluring. We are spellbound to the pages, needing to know who is responsible and why. But in-between this investigation completed by our protagonist Meg, more bodies turn up under strange circumstances. Were they actually accidents? Or is something more at work here?
Gretchen takes what could be stock characters, and molds them into believable people with justifiable behavior and motivations. Meg, our central character, smart, beautiful, and an all-around do-gooder. She, unlike most teens there, plans to lock herself away in the bedroom and get some journal writing done or work on her laptop, being a writer and all. You can't help but love Meg, a great role model and a character with extra bite.
Next, we have her best friend Minnie, who for me personally, was irritating as hell, until the conclusion to the story reveals everything....
We have a few guys, ranging from nice and chivalrous, to the typical aggravating jerks. The same rules go for the other girls. Pleasant, or intolerable.
A house full of teens is bound to result in drama of some sort, and most are already headed to the island with baggage, both literally and figuratively. So you know it's gonna get good, even without the darker side of the weekend inevitably veering the partying off course.
The author catches us off-guard with the bodies, and other morsels of information, enticing the reader continually until she smacks us in the face with a stellar ending.
When said and done, the ending reminded me of the new hit show on Netflix, '13 Reasons Why', but with a vengeance. You'll understand what I mean when you enjoy this novel.
Also, there were elements of the TV show Harper's Island, which I loved. An island horror with subterranean depths.
All in all, Gretchen McNeil takes a sub-genre of horror and adds her own secret ingredients: a sprinkle of mystery, a dollop of death, and a dash of drama, all iced in a tightly and neatly structured prose that flows effortlessly.
I highly urge all readers to grab a copy of this one. For those who don’t enjoy unnecessary gore or overly graphic scenes, don’t worry, this isn't overly gory. There is just enough, all of which is appropriate for the shock-factor.
It's all about the characters and the plot, but bodies are weaved into the plot, along with buckets of suspense.
My first McNeil mystery, but I promise, it won't be my last.
Love a horror movie set in the woods? Trees, dirt, sun, lakes, fresh air, tents, cabins, hiking, sex, alcohol, killers, monsters, psychos, toboggans and terror? This list is for you!
1) Cabin in the Woods
A huge conspiracy!
2) Wrong Turn
Cannibal hillbillies let loose in the woods!
3) Cabin fever
Eurgh. Graphic. Infection spreads.
4) Evil Dead
We all should know this classic. But then there is the remake too.
5) Wolf Creek
Those Australian's really know how to do horror.
6) Eden Lake
The Brits know how to get our blood pumping when a couple find themselves running from a gang of hooligans.
A woody horror with an edge.
Believe the unbelievable.
9) Friday the 13th
Another classic. He is coming for you.
10) Evil Things
Low budget horror movie in the woods? Yes. Awesome and horrifying? Yes.
From Supernatural creatures, deformed hillbillies, murderers, and more, this list should wet your appetite for some woody horror!
How can I explain Harper's Island? Okay, think 'I know what you did last summer' on steroids!
Let's start with the backstory. Seven years ago a man named John Wakefield headed out on a murder spree on this little island, butchering, hanging, and killing several people. The tragedy still haunts the place, lingering in the air. To say that name is highly frowned upon, would be an understatement. Everyone wants to forget and move on. Some managed to do
so until an island native returns with his bride-to-be.
They are planning an epic and romantic week of fun, climaxing in their wedding. Henry, the groom, invites longtime friend, Abby Mills, for the week.
Abby, whose mother was murdered by John Wakefield, hasn't been on the island since that dreadful night. She left her father, boyfriend, and life and headed far away. Now, after all these years have passed, she has to once again tread those shores if she hopes on being there for her close friend as he heads into matrimony.
As the week moves along, people disappear. Some are quick to jump to conclusions, others are hoping there is a reasonable explanation. Is John Wakefield back, despite Abby's father (the Sherrif) having shot him years ago? Is it a copycat? Or something far more insidious? While denial is a tactic commonly used to deal with mysterious and unsettling situations, you can't deny that something is horribly wrong when bodies start turning up.
Do you enjoy a good 'whodunnit' story? Then you'll love this series! Every episode keeps you guessing as more people are killed and the mystery thickens as revelations are revealed. Who is doing this?
As a horror fan, I was impressed at the diversity of deaths. Gruesome. Gory. Messed-up. Excellent!
But don't get the wrong idea. It isn't gore for gore's sake. What makes this series addictive and unique is the backstory and the ongoing enigma of these deaths and the perpetrator.
And of course, it wouldn't be interesting at all if we weren't invested in the characters in some way or another. We instantly develop a kinship with Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy). She's suffered a great deal, losing her mother, and finding the body herself at such a young, impressionable and innocent age. The relationship with her father (Jim Beaver) oozes tension and unresolved drama. Their complex family dynamic is intriguing, to say the least.
Then, adding more weight to Abby, is Jimmy (C. J. Thomason) her love interest before she upped and left after Wakefield's killing spree. He was left broken-hearted, wounded, and alone. Luckily, he's gotten over it and is thrilled to see his old flame.
We have the wedding party, offering the viewers the typical douche bag groomsmen and vapid bridesmaids, providing comical relief through debauchery and mischief. Though, sister to the bride, Shea Allen (Gina Holden) who I personally adore as an actress, offers us a character with depth: a protective mother, loving wife, and well-rounded individual.
Obviously there is a romance element, with the entire week dedicated to a wedding. But we find ourselves tangled up in the love of another couple.
As a fan of the outdoors and great scenery, I loved the setting. Filmed on Bowen Island, British Columbia, Canada, set the mood perfectly. You could almost feel the branches rustling against your skin. Feel the wet waves rolling in. Smell the oaky scent. Feel the rustic, earthy, yet alluring vibe to the island. A wonderful soundtrack meshes well with the natural backdrop.
Bucket loads of shocks. Powerful twists. Most episodes end in cliffhangers. Casual drama unfolds within the terror.
If you enjoy horror, mystery, thrillers, dramas, then I suggest you watch this immediately. Download it, or if you have Amazon Prime, it's available on there. Either way, you'd be missing out if you didn't add this to your list!
Ever since the original vampire 'Nosferatu' graced our screens many years ago, actors, producers and studios have teamed up annually, to give us plenty of vampy action! From horrifying, action-filled, original, and more classics. So if you're into this particular kind of fiends, check out the list below.
1) '30 Days Of Night'. One of my personal favourites, starring Melissa George and Josh Hartnett, both of which are sensationally talented actors. In a small Alaskan town, a natural phenomenon occurs where there is actually 30 days of night. Most head to visit family friends during this time, or stay inside. Because roaming around in the dark can be dangerous. Especially when it's dark all day for thirty days. Oh and then there is the faction of blood-thirsty vampires! These vampires, in my opinion, are the scariest I have come across. The prosthetics, foreign language, and super strength. A great vamp flick, undeniably.
2) 'Dracula 2000'. Moving on, we go back a few years to one of my first vampire movies. I can still watch this today and get the chills from the vampires. They are slimy, creepy and very strange. Gerard Butler plays the role of Dracula in this, and does a mighty job. In this movie, Abraham Van Helsing, who has a history with Count Dracula, discovers a group of antique thieves have broken into his storage and stolen a coffin in hopes that it holds great wealth. It is his responsibility to go and seek out his daughter as she is the first person Dracula will seek out if he becomes whole again. But will he make it in time?
3) 'Underworld'. An action-packed vampire movie revolving around a feud with werewolves. Kate Beckinsale stars, hacking, slashing and defending her kind. Less scary and more adrenaline-packed with epic fight scenes, and family-based storyline as two different breeds of monsters go head-to-head!
4) 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'. Some may argue that this is a cheesy, horrid movie. But it is one of my guilty pleasures. I love this movie. Kristy Swanson plays a young teenage girl who deals with boys and school during the day, and vampires by night. She comes from a long line of women who are endowed with supernatural strength to battle all forms of evil. It is a little campy and more funny than creepy, but that doesn't distract from it being a good watch. Then we can't forget, if it wasn't for this movie we wouldn't have been blessed with the incredible TV show starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. So we owe a lot to this movie!
5) 'Interview with a vampire'. Most will know this one, starring Brad Pitt & Tom Cruise. A vampire tells his epic life story. His loves, losses, betrayals, solidary existance that comes with being a creature of the night, and the relentless hunger that he cannot control. A great vampire flick and an instant classic in my eyes.
6)'The Lost Boys'. Come on, who hasn't seen this? Horror/vampire fan or not, it's an all-around great movie. Two young boys are relocated with their mother to a strange town. But it's about to get a hell of a lot stranger when the older boy becomes enthralled with a girl who happens to be in involved with a group of even stranger people. They can morph into bats, fly, and seem to be oddly strong. Oh, and they have fangs and drink blood. Another classic with a great soundtrack!
7) 'Blade'. Another action/horror movie starring Wesley Snipes. He obliterates hoards of bloodsuckers, while being one himself. Whopping stunts, comedy, and interesting storyline. This did well and went on for two more movies, even luring in Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel into the third one.
8) 'Fright Night'. Classic or remake, you can't go wrong. A guy tries to expose the existence of a vampire who has moved in next door. I love the original for the melodramatic effects and truly eerie vampires, along with that awesome soundtrack. Yet the remake, with Colin Farrell, has a different vibe. Farrell does an enviable job of playing the vampire next door. I'd personally watch both if you somehow haven't seen either.
9) 'Van Helsing'. Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale team up in this terrific vampire film. With the addition of werewolves and other creations. This is more action orientated, yet the vampires are still creepy. Dracula has a plan to take over the world in a rather impressive way. It is Van Helsing's responsibility to stop this plan, with his team of course.
10) 'Daybreakers'. It's 2019, a deadly plague has transformed almost everyone into vampires. With blood supplies low, and desperation increasing, the vampires need to find a way to yield more of that juicy plasma. Meanwhile, a researcher is in league with a group of 'good' vamps, in an attempt to save humankind. An intriguing concept for the future, pushing out the zombie infection as the plague that is apparently going to happen according to hundreds of movies. This explores what would happen if we fell victim to a disease that mutates us into bloodsuckers. Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.
I know, I know, I am late to the party. 'True Blood' is an epic supernatural series that ran from 2008 - 2014, produced by HBO, that I recently binge-watched. And boy am I glad I did! This show is brilliant for so many reasons.
This show is set in a time where vampires don't just live in our nightmares but in our world. They are a part of society. They have officially come out....of the coffin.
Some are humane and just want to be treated with dignity and respect, which is known as 'mainstreaming', complete with drinking a blood-substitute drunk called Tru-Blood. While others are vicious creatures that want to take control and destroy humans.
We explore new rules, both in society and vampire abilities as well as weaknesses. Both are intriguing and unsettling. Vampires are fighting for equal rights, facing oppositions from a cult of vampire-haters known as the Church of the Sun. They are you typical bigoted, small-minded, hateful, dumb cult determined to exterminate all vampires.
And vampires themselves, have their own laws and regulations, doled out by sheriffs of counties and states. Killing humans and other legions of the undead have consequences.
But vampires aren't the only creatures that make appearances. We see werewolves, shifters, gods, and more! Each season brings a terrifying and superb new threat to a small town in Louisana. In the end, despite their initial resistance, they realize vampires are the least of their concerns, especially when all hell breaks loose.
In this brave new world, we follow Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress with a rather peculiar ability. We grow attached to this blonde lady as she falls in love with a vampire and repeatedly throws herself in harm's way to protect him and the townspeople. She is loving, kind, open-minded, spiritual, and unbelievably brave.
Let's not forget passion! If nudity and sex scenes offend you, I'd give this a miss. Jason Stackhouse, Sookie's brother, is a player, flashing flesh while sexing women more often than showering. But he's not the only man who regularly exposes himself, or woman for that matter, love, romance, and naughtiness are this town's bread and butter. Sweating, panting, and bed-banging are the background music to the show. But it's not just sex for the sake of it, these scenes of lust are suited to each character and their relationship/s.
While I have never personally visited Louisana, I feel this show perfectly depicts the type of people that would inhabit a small southern town in the United States. You'd have the bigots, religious folk, genuinely kind people, crazy people, gossipers, normal citizens, hard workers, and on and on. This cast of quirky characters are extremely entertaining to watch and partly drive the show, they bring a sense of normality to break from the supernatural craziness.
But wait, this is a horror show, right? There'd better be gore! Well, you're in luck, there is. From pints of blood, cannibalism, graphic scenes of violence, and moments so gross you can't practically smell the stench of rot and decay, aided by remarkable acting.
There isn't a weak link in the entire cast. From do-gooder Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), man-whore Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten), passionate vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), hilarious chef Lafayette (Nelson Ellis), anger-fuelled Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), honourable bar owner Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), complex good / bad vamp Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) and others, they bring commitment to each role, spellbinding us in their performances as their characters develop and darken.
Breath-taking. Shocking. Scary. Tense. Addictive. Rule-breaking. Unique. Genre-barrier-exploding.
For those who love gore, death, monsters, unconventional romances, hilarious yet annoying townsfolk, unbelievable twists, and turns, I'd heed you to get started on this amazing show. A Little tip, it's on Amazon Prime! Or you can purchase the DVDs or Blu-rays.
Whatever the case, get on it!
Have the past few horror movies you've seen not been that great? Are you in a bad horror movie slump? Wanna snap out of it? Then this list is the perfect way to do so. I guarantee that these movies will chill, frighten, and horrify you! From breathless tension, jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and scarring scenes of terror, this list has it all.
1) The Conjuring.
With Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, this movie revolves around strange goings on in an old house. While many horror movies have that same premise, this one stands out from the rest. Genuinely scary!
A young boy has a rather strange ability of dream-travelling. Sounds cool, it isn't. Not when he leaves his body vulnerable to possessions from various demons. Also, starring Patrick Wilson, alongside Rose Byrne, this is sheer terror in a film. Jumpy. Tense. Frightening.
An author prepares for his next novel, predicting another bestseller. His research takes him into darker places than he ever imagined, including tapes of family deaths in the attic of his new house. A house where many a murder took place. Truly unnerving and constantly unsettling.
4) Evil Things.
A group of young people head out to a cabin to celebrate a birthday. They expected laughs, alcohol, frolicking and good times. They didn't foresee being stalked by something beyond their comprehension. Low budget but terrific! This film challenges horror movies with Hollywood budgets as it achieves genuine thrills and chills.
5) Insidious 2.
I know, I know. Sequels don't seem to be popular with horror fans, personally I love them, if they are done for the right reasons and add to the story. This one does. The family are now suffering the consequences of the dream-travelling child and what they went through to get him back. Now the horror is a little closer to home. Again, sensationally sinister, but the part that will haunt your dreams about this movie, is the villain: mind-numbingly horrifying.
6) Lights Out.
Stemming from a short film, comes a feature length movie of perfect horror. Sticks to all the rules, yet doesn't get boring or predictable for one second. A young girl helps her brother battle a supernatural being that's been plaguing him. Many jumps. Many scares. All woven through an intriguing story.
7) 30 Days of Night.
Vampires have never scared me, until this movie. Darkness consumes an Alaskan town for a month, leaving it vulnerable to attacks from unnatural beings. The fear factor of this movie is the vampires. Disturbing fiends. Foreign language. Blood-thirsty. Smart. Strong. They are the beasts that monsters have nightmares about. Melissa George and Josh Hartnett star.
8) Paranormal Activity.
A home invasion by a ghost. Sounds overdone, right? Wrong! This movie actually offers goosebump-moments in abundance. Tip, if you are one of those annoying movie watchers that can't pry their phone or tablets from their hands, even during a movie, maybe forgo this one, or leave technology at the door. This is only terrifying if you pay attention. The horror is in the subtly and realism.
9) Don't Breathe.
While scariness is slight, there is a wealth of tension practically throughout the whole movie. Never have I watched such an excellently tense movie. A threesome of youngsters break into a house, hearing the owner is blind and therefore weak and disadvantaged to a burglary, should he wake up. They didn't take into account that this man isn't your typical blind person. Tense. Tense. Tense. You have to watch this!
10) The Visit.
Do some old people creep you out? They will after this movie. Two kids reconnect with their grandparents only to discover these aren't your ordinary Gramps and Grams. Something is seriously wrong with these senior citizens. Steady pace stitched with bizarreness and creepiness, that leads to a superb yet horrifying ending.
What originally started as a short film - a rather chilling, impressive one - has now become a full-length movie. I had high hopes for this feature as I really enjoyed the short. And the movie didn't disappoint.
In short, Rebecca must uncover the horror behind her younger brother's terrifying encounters with an unnerving and creepy being. This forces Rebecca to relive some disturbing and upsetting childhood memories of her own.
With a complex family situation, we delve into the mystery of a creature that can only attack in the dark. Shine a flashlight on them, or turn on a light, and they disappear. But the second that source of light goes out, it will get you!
Teresa Palmer (Rebecca) takes the lead with some terrific acting, portraying a truly sympathetic and empathetic older sister torn between protecting her younger brother and saving her mother. Despite her obvious beauty, this girl can act. Too often, movies only care about the appearance of their performers. If they look the part, that's all that matters, disregarding the importance convincing performances have on the story. Palmer shattered this genre convention by giving us a sensational portrayal of Rebecca that didn't relent for a second. Her commitment to the role was obvious. She guided us through the story with frightening grace.
Gabriel Bateman (Martin) didn't do bad either, hacking through the plot with a vulnerability that made us nervous and emotionally attached to the young boy. Putting a child against such scariness, I feel, makes the horror all the more unsettling. He's a boy, what can he do? How can he defend himself? Then you can't help but be compassionate towards him, given his difficult home life.
And of course, we can't leave out the mother, Sophie (Maria Bello) who a few will recognize from 'Demonic' and 'Coyote Ugly'. Her acting chops are superb, exposing us to a shaken, anxious woman struggling to cope with her life. Yet despite her inner and outer demons, her maternal instincts are admirable and give the story teeth. There was nothing but realism in her interpretation of a suffering mother, subtle yet explosive.
As for the director and writer, David F. Sandberg, known for some brilliantly spooky short films, this movie was his feature debut. I strongly believe - and hope - we'll be seeing a lot more from him soon.
David respected the genre, and the audience, by avoiding monotonous and irritating genres cliches. He made this monster, along with the rules of horror, and exploited that in unique and compelling ways.
Everything, from the cinematography, soundtrack, effects, costume, script, and pace, all hit the mark. Overall, 'Lights Out' is a cleverly crafted, passionately produced, perfectly rendered horror movie that ticks all the boxes. I highly recommend you watch it. It's currently available to rent from Redbox from $1.50!
New to Redbox! This is a must-see movie. No question. You'll love it!
Tense? Tense doesn't even begin to describe this movie. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the most unsettling, disturbing, and unnerving movie I've ever seen. And I've watched a lot!
It is relentless. The tension never stops, and the story just keeps unfolding and taking bizarre twists.
My mouth was pretty much always agape throughout the movie, shocked beyond belief. Then there was my chest aching, as I kept holding my breath, afraid for the young intruders.
I applaud the writers Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues, for creating such a unique, original movie. There aren't many movies to compare this too. I hope that changes. I hope this movie starts a trend of truly breathless and constantly tense films.
I heard and read a lot about this movie before finally biting the bullet and renting it. But when a huge hype has been made, there is always that niggling fear that it will never match up. 'Don't Breathe' not only met my expectations but far exceeded them. I haven't stopped talking about this movie since, spreading it around the horror world like a viral infection.
In short, you have three thieves working their last job. They each have various motivations, but two of the three really want out. They discover a house in which plenty of cash is stashed away. The owner is an old man, what harm could he possibly do? They sneak in, steal the money, and sneak out. Easy. They have done it many times before. But, unbeknownst to them, this job will have many unexpected surprises.
Hats off to the actors. Honestly, there wasn't a weak link in the entire cast.
You have the young girl whose reasons for stealing are selfless, Rocky (Jane Levy). This girl is one tough b*tch. Her home life isn't desirable. You can understand why she has resorted to crime.
There is the nice guy, Alex (Dylan Minnette). I personally liked how Alex considered the consequences of each crime. He advised they never bring guns as that goes from burglary to armed robbery, lengthening their potential criminal sentence. Rocky and Alex see eye-to-eye.
But there has to be a character who causes conflict, right? Besides the old man, that would be Money (Daniel Zovatto). He's the typical jerk, who cares about money, shocker. He is the reason things go from bad to worse. He lights the fire that starts the chaos.
Then, of course, we have the old man (Stephen Lang). What a superb performance. I had conflicting thoughts about this character. One side of me hated him. Another side found myself rationalizing his actions and view of the world, given his experiences. He was a complex and terrifying character.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for more from a movie. It had everything. It left me with an aching chest, trembling hands, but an urge to watch it again. I will be purchasing a DVD of this movie without a doubt, this has to go in my permanent collection.
If I haven't got you itching to see it by now, all I can say is this. Tense. Intriguing. Unforgettable. Unusual. Shocking. One-of-a-kind. WATCH IT!
Netflix hits the mark yet again with one of their original movies!
Most horrors of this era are focused on fast, fake thrills. Kill scenes strung together by mundane scenes. They lack a buildup or great characterisations. This movie respected the story and the characters.
In short, a psychiatrist attempts to recover from a violent attack by a former patient, by diving back into the world of psychiatry. But there is so much more to the story, some of which I didn't see coming at all!
I loved how the movie really gives the viewer an inside look at the world of psychiatry through the eyes of our protagonist Dr. Jane Mathis (Vinessa Shaw). How the mind works has always been a fascination of mine. Most horror movies that touch on this subject matter, rush through the details of patient progress and get to the action and horror. This film offered a deeper look into the mind and the process of how one is guided when aspiring to overcome trauma.
With a steady pace that slowly fills with tension and suspense, it exceeded my expectations. There is always that fear, that you put effort into a movie with a gradual progression rather than kill-scene-kill-scene, that the ending won't be worth it. Well, don't waste your time worrying about that with this film. I vividly recall my mouth opening at the first twist, then at the second twist, I was flabbergasted.
Also, props to the filmography department, there were some beautiful shots tying the film together. Also, you have to respect a movie that doesn't deafen us with an abundance of loud sound effects to coincide with the 'jumpy' bits. This movie is cleverer than that. It relies on making us at first unsettled, and our own anxiety thickens as we have been programmed to expect something to happen when everything is quiet, especially at night. Sometimes something happens, other times it doesn't. We as an observer pick this up fast. This is partly what keeps us on edge throughout.
Did I mention it's genuinely creepy? If you are wanting a heavy serving of blood and guts, you'll be disappointed. This film serves us a generous dose of creepiness instead, without constantly falling on guts hanging out or heads being chopped off. However, there are some bloody moments, but they were essential to the visceral shock the audience needed to empathize with Dr Mathis and truly understand her struggles. When most people experience trauma, they don't have to go back into a career that revolves around dealing with trauma patients. And while at first she tackles easier cases, her guilt eventually leads her back into more serious cases. Could they drudge up memories? Could they hinder her progress? Watch and see!
All in all, a steady pace, chills, intrigue, and a mind-blowing twist within a twist, make this movie well worth watching. Add it to your Netflix list ASAP!
Have you missed any of these horror gems on Netflix? If you have, I suggest you get watching!
1. The Den
3. House of Wax
4. Queen of the Damned
6. The Uninvited
8. The Amytville Horror (2005)
9. Would You Rather
What are you waiting for? If you've missed any, add them to your Netflix list ASAP!
Don't get prematurely depressed about the Christmas season ending, as you have a lot to look forward to in 2017! For example, these gems coming to our Netflix accounts in January!
The Shining - January 1st
It Follows - January 13th
Bates Motel (Season 4) - January 21st
Sharknado 4 - January 27th
Ripper Street (Season 4) - January 28th
Antibirth - January 30th
Some horrors you may or may not have been aware of. That have already arrived!
- From Dusk Till Dawn (Season 3)
- House of Wax
- The Devil Dolls
- The Good Neighbor
So, what takes your fancy? A dash of werewolf? A sprinkle of witch? A peppering of suspense? A dollop of horror? A drizzle of chaos? A glazing or originality? Whatever takes your liking, this show is guaranteed to please.
From creator John Logan comes this refreshing, riveting, and addictive show: 'Penny dreadful'. Horror fans, bow before this man, he has brought you a truly incredible series!
We are in Victorian London, which is fascinating enough from a historical point-of-view, but then comes the turmoil. We have a man who discovers a monster lurks within him, which he struggles to control. Then, we have a prim and proper young lady with a rather interesting past, who has caught the eye of a truly evil being, who will not rest until she is his. Add this with a Doctor we all know very well - Dr Frankenstein - and his creation. Or is it creations? Oh, and let's not forget Mr Dorian Gray himself, who has supernatural abilities and many-a-fetish that needs to be fed.
So, have I piqued your intrigue yet? No? Well then try this on for size. The setting is not only alluring but realistic. We can truly imagine how it would have been to live in the 1890's in London. The vast difference in that part of history - when all said and done, isn't that far in the past - is unbelievable. From how they passed the time, the popular jobs, society, technology, politics, law enforcement, homes, traveling, and how people conduct themselves. We see everything, from rich to poor, sane to crazy, and weak to strong.
The characters themselves are just as important as the storylines unfolding with a perfectly controlled, steady pace.
Eva Green portrays a tormented Vanessa Ives with elegance tinged with the constant knowledge that something is seriously wrong with her. I seriously enjoyed watching Ms Ives, from her social gatherings to the supernatural threats she faces. I hope to see a lot more of Eva Green landing roles in the horrorverse.
Josh Hartnett (Halloween H20, 30 Days of Night) is no stranger to horror. However, this role is more than the leading man in a horror flick, this role is a challenging one to take on. But no surprise, he tackles it with remarkable skill. A werewolf is one thing, roar! But, the man who is dealing with it is another entirely. He stresses how bad living with the darkness truly is. Not to mention, he is an American living in Britain, with family seeking him out, wanting him back.
Those are just two of the brilliant characters within the show. The acting, as a whole, is practically flawless. Every actor has taken their role seriously and while keeping the spirit of the myth alive, have also brought their own twist to it. Which is just as important as keeping the memory of that being alive in my eyes.
Thus far, we have superb acting, captivating storylines, and a detailed and enticing set. As usual, the visual effects and makeup team have clearly worked hard to portray scenes of brutality, as well as bring creatures and monsters to life!
All in all, this show is perfect in every way. It is currently on Netflix, and I highly suggest you hop on over and get started. Episode after episode, you are glued to the screen, amidst a spell if you will. Be sure to comment on this blog if you plan on watching it, or have already started to watch it.
Well, how do I even begin to describe this show? It truly is one-of-a-kind in so many ways. This is a show that will never be forgotten and I assume will be looked upon fondly by almost every viewer. As original as it is exciting. As unsettling as it is controversial. Black Mirror sets a new standard for sci-fi TV shows, which is already sky high since the release of Stranger Things. Sci-fi fiends are loving it. And with more seasons to come, things are just getting started!
Okay, so, small tidbit. This show was originally a British show, but Netflix bought it and gave it a third season. Was it to save the show? Did the Brits not appreciate it? Or did Netflix simply offer much more money? I have to say, Netflix has a keen eye when it comes to fresh talent! Anyway, I digress. Black Mirror is an anthology series. Like American Horror Story, except each episode is a new storyline and new set of characters. Think of short movies for episodes. Although, some episodes do reach up to one hour and thirty minutes (the average length of a movie), but most, unfortunately, are only forty minutes or so. The only downside? There aren't many episodes per season, say around five or six. I predict this will change as the show's viewership increases when word of mouth begins to spread.
Black Mirror explores technology, culture, politics, the future, society and many more aspects of our world. It goes deep into how the future could turn out, especially from a technology-based stand-point. From how we engage, to the new rules that law could enforce, to how we entertain ourselves, all angles are explored. The originality - aside a huge list of pros - is just one thing that makes this show great. Having a TV show existential crisis? Seeing the same overdone plot over and over? Then look no further, I guarantee you won't have seen anything like this show.
Word of mouth must have at least spread to Hollywood, as some named celebs are hopping on board and starring in the show! From Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), Alice Eve (The Raven, Sex & the City 2, ATM), Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones), and Michael Kelly (Now You See Me).
This series seriously forces you to think: what if? What if some of this did happen in the future? Some possibilities for how the world could end up are incredibly frightening. Social media has already taken hold of most humans, from Facebook to Twitter, everyone is on the internet. Some can maintain 'everything in moderation' whereas most of our doomed population are constantly scrolling through their feeds like mindless zombies, not caring or feeling, just bored or addicted. Pastimes such as art, reading, hiking, traveling, spending time with family and friends (without posting on social media) is becoming incredibly rare. We all have a voice. But this show tells us that our voices could become dangerous and potentially fatal to many fellow humans.
One thing I assure most people will feel when watching this - besides amazement, tension, unease, excitement, and fascination - is nostalgia. As a nineties child, I remember when bike-riding with friends was how you passed the summer holidays, or bowling or swimming. Now, kids are addicted to pointless video games or various forms of social media. Black Mirror poses so many serious issues.
It will make you feel guilty for having a social media account with any website, regardless of moderation and still enjoying physical things and socializing with real flesh-and-blood human beings.
However, we go far further than social media. The explorations are endless. I am beyond eager to watch the next season and see what other original ideas they come up with. But the ideas themselves aren't the only boast-worthy pro of this show, it is all in the execution. From acting, effects, script, filming, and soundtrack, everything is thought-out. No aspect has been left to chance. Detail is everything.
So, if I haven't got your buds wet yet, feel free to check it out for yourself!
WARNING: THIS SHOW IS MOREISH. IT MAY LEAD TO CALLING IN SICK FOR WORK OR CANCELLING SOCIAL EVENTS IN ORDER TO WATCH JUST ONE MORE EPISODE...THEN ANOTHER....
What a wonderfully unsettling, mind-boggling, addictive, and impressive first season to a TV show. Of any genre, this show is fantastic, as it is horror, it is extraordinary. Horror TV shows have a habit of being loved or hated. Especially when that TV show is based on a well-known horror movie and they have a difficult audience to please.
We all know Silence of the Lambs, an iconic movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. And then we have the follow on: Hannibal, mixing it up with Julianne Moore. Either way, these movies are spectacular.
So, how would you even begin adapting these movies for a series? You have to capture the sick and twisted mind of a serial killer and cannibal, obviously. But in a show, you must have other storylines ongoing, with characters that are loved and characters that are hated. This show manages to achieve perfection. I was wildly impressed, for many reasons.
Firstly, the cast is sensational. Hugh Dancy, who plays Will Graham, a young FBI criminal profiler who has an uncanny and disturbing ability to empathize with serial killers. The more he is asked to interpret crime scenes in his own way, the deeper he delves into the darkness that lurks in his mind. We are just waiting for him to crack. With plenty of dream montages, we are constantly on our toes as to whether or not he has slipped from sanity and transformed into a killer. Hugh Dancy does a phenomenal job of portraying a man struggling with inner demons and striving for normality.
But of course, we can't forget Dr Hannibal Lecter: a renowned psychiatrist and of course, serial killer and cannibal. This challenging role is played by Mads Mikkelsen, and quite well I might add. He has the ability to play a sophisticated serial killer with a liking for good food and wine, as well as the finer things in life. Yet, his sinister desires are kept stowed away, with not one person suspecting his involvement in strings of murders. I found these two characters to be particularly enticing. Yet, all the cast are very talented, from other FBI employees to Will's lady-friend Dr Alana Bloom, who has her own struggles, fighting the battle between heart and head.
The music is suited flawlessly to the atmosphere of each episode. The producers chose to have - fitting with the air of quality - orchestra music running throughout most scenes. This fits well not only with the intended feeling of the show but its slow pace. That is another reason this show snatched my attention. Most shows have quick scenes and a fast pace, everything happens at superhuman speed leaving us to ponder while attempting to watch the action unfold onscreen. Not this time. Hannibal scenes, for the most part, are steady, dramatic, often tense, and utterly addictive. You can't look away from the screen. It's not just the action and murders that are enticing, it is the conversations themselves. Whether we are watching a scene in Hannibal's office while he talks with a patient, Will at home overthinking events, or a dinner party at Hannibal's home, we are intrigued. The script is fantastic, adding to the vibe of the show, and blending exquisitely with the characters and how we would expect them to talk and interact.
Yes, but how is the gore? Graphic! As we horror fans need it to be! We have the running storyline of Hannibal and Will, but each episode also explores serial killers and their various fetishes. Some scenes had me putting my dinner aside for a few minutes. Bravo to the special effects makeup team!
But seriously, what a total mind-f*ck. We are shoved into Will's psyche, feeling and witnessing his struggles so vividly it feels firsthand. From messed up dreams, special effects, creepy music, and of course his breakdowns! Add this with endless twists and turns on a blood-covered road, and you have a hit show that respects the movies yet brings something more to the story and characters.
Bonus? Gillian Anderson stars! Would you expect anything but a stellar performance?
If I haven't given you enough reasons, let me spell it out for you: WATCH THIS SHOW! I am eager to see how everything develops after being left with an epic climax!
As a fan of what I call 'Handy-Cam-Horror', I loved this movie.
It was fresh. It was real. A little too real for my liking!
There are no flashy effects and extreme costumes. We have an American couple living together. They live aside their best friends. Life is perfect. Until, home invasions start.
Someone is on the loose, breaking into people's homes in their neighbourhood. If that isn't bad enough, the American couple are expecting a baby. So, in-between shocking news updates on multiple home invasions, wondering if their house will be next, they have the added stress of a baby on the way!
As we are openly told that everything is being filmed from a camera phone, everything has to look real. And, it is. Everything from the interactions between characters, to the decor, represent your typical homes and conversations. I am sure everyone can think of someone they know who are just like this couple. Which is what makes everything all the more realistic, and thus alarming. You feel as though you're holding the camera, walking around your home in the dark, with a dangerous individual on the prowl...
Don't let the movie's attempt at realness fool you, there are a few genuine chills in the lead up to a shocking climax.
Also, we are given small chunks of clues as to how the movie ends, without evening knowing it!
Overall, a simple but effective horror movie that is entertaining and unnerving.
This may be my favourite season of American Horror Story to date! Hotel pushes the boundaries in several ways.
As usual, we have a very talented cast including, for the first time, Lady Gaga. Not only does she rule the world of music, but her acting chops are remarkable. Her role is complex, to say the least. A countess who likes to rule and be admired. I found myself hating her character, then in the next scene, loving her. You follow her on a rollercoaster of an emotional, sexual, bloody ride.
Let's not forget the handsome Mr Matt Bomer. He had a small role in season 4 (carnival) that led to a recurring role in season 5. He is as great of an actor as he is beautiful. He is love-struck and wounded through the majority of the series.
Sarah Paulson isn't bad either. And by that, I mean she is sensational. Hypodermic Sally, a drug addict with severe emotional problems who
gives us so many powerful scenes. All she wants is to be loved, but seems doomed to be alone for eternity. Her needy nature becomes unsettling. The boundaries she is willing to break to find a soul mate are truly terrifying.
And of course, Kathy Bates is phenomenal! She plays Iris, the mother of Matt Bomer's character. She transitions from devoted, loving mother, to a merciless woman on a mission. Despite initially only being there to look over her son, she develops a kinship with Liz Taylor (Dennis O'Hare). This power couple go from strength to strength.
Speaking of Liz, a straight crossing dressing male who identifies as female is exotic, powerful, and undeniably captivating. There is a lot more than meets the eye with Liz, as you eventually find out.
So, that's the 'normal' cast. But we also have the appearance of serial killers! As a fan of true crime I was ecstatic at the arrival of well-known serial killers popping up, as well as one that runs the show. In one particular episode, we witness an annual meeting of some of the world's most infamous serial killers. This is surreal, bizarre, and excellent. Easily, my favourite episode of the season.
Let's not forget, this is a horror series. Therefore, heaps of blood, death, and chills are injected into every episode. Not to mention, unseen and explosive twists and turns as you try to escape the Hotel, but find you are beginning to enjoy the madness.
It has to be mentioned that this show is revolutionary in many ways.
One, it explores gender fluidity, sexual orientations or lack thereof.
Two, we look deeper into the fine lines between love, power, devotion, and hate.
Three, in the horror world, it takes multiple sub-genres and tangles them into a horror puzzle that we just love to solve.
Also, props go to the makeup department, both special FX makeup and more subtle makeup to give the undead a pale glow. Also, I can appreciate that a great deal of effort clearly went into choosing the location and the actual hotel, as well as other settings used.
As I expected, the costumes, especially Lady Gaga's are strangely sensational. But all costumes are superb.
Overall, this season ticks all the boxes, and then some! I eagerly await the next season and how they will bring horror lovers more great, unforgettable TV.
Well, what a season. I wasn't sure what to expect with the second season. Sometimes a series can have an awesome pilot season and then tank rather quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Scream's second season, for so many reasons.
We delve deeper into the characters, old and new. I particularly loved Emma's (Willa Fitzgerald) clearly anxious state of mind when coming back to a place that was the stage for so much death and bloodshed. Her acting is sensational. We clearly feel her struggles of coping with PTSD. She obviously took a leaf from Neve Campbell's portrayal of Sydney in the Scream movies, in regards to honestly portraying a tortured woman coming to the realization that the killer is back and it is all happening again.
Emma isn't the only character that provides excellent entertainment. I was shocked by Brooke's various meltdowns played by (Carlson Young). In season 2 she deals with her fair share of trauma. Public breakdowns become a running theme for her. Bravo to Carlson! Brooke's turmoil was excellently expressed.
Let's not forget the talented Bex Taylor-Haus who plays Audrey. She is stuck in an undesirable situation, truly trapped and helpless. Her helplessness makes us love her more and truly feel bad for her. She made a mistake and feels incredibly guilty for that. Noah, as usual, eventually comes to the rescue. But, not in the way you'd think....
We have a collection of new characters that came into the second season, with Kiana Lede playing Zoe Vaughn. I adored Zoe. Her character was a fresh dose of boldness the show needed. However, in the spirit of honesty, I do have a problem with the character of Gustavo. Whether it was the actor who played him, or the character, I had trouble feeling anything for him: hate, love, or anything in-between. I was slightly irritated with him a few times but mainly indifferent. His character served no purpose in the season. I highly advise a new character to come in if a season 3 does happen.
Moving on, the plot thickens. The past isn't the past anymore. History comes back to bite them in the ass!
They up the gore considerably. Blood, carnage, butchery. The killer or killers are merciless this time around.
We have to appreciate that Scream TV pays homage to classic horror movies. Episodes are named after well-known horror movies. Then, we have several scenes that have clearly been inspired by horror movies. One particular scene, involving Brooke, is clearly taken from a classic horror movie. Except they added more horror to this. I yelped with excitement at this scene, flashing to an iconic scene from a horror film, and how the Scream producers / creators had added their own brand of crazy to this iconic moment.
Let's not forget what Scream TV is steadily becoming known for, its breath-taking cliffhangers! Every episode leaves you gasping for more. Fortunately, I watched this on Netflix and could binge watch the season. It proved impossible to have to stop due to obligations when they end every episode with a powerful, alluring climax that leaves a million questions but not one answer.
They may have taken inspiration from the horror culture, but Scream bursts with originality. From deaths, twists, character relationships, technology, and settings. They manage to simultaneously please the Scream fans, while satisfying all horror lovers. They add a lot more to this show than 'whodunnit'.
Two exceptional new characters, including Keiran's feisty aunt and sketchy cousin bring tension to the season. That's all I will say of them.... excellent acting from Sean Grandillo who plays Eli.
I am keeping my fingers crossed for a third season. Despite the initial reservations horror fans had about the movie franchise being turned into a TV show, I think we can all agree this series is becoming rather epic.
Bestselling horror author, marketer, blogger, reviewer, business owner, freelance writer.