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Dead By Words

Love horror movies and TV? So do we. Walk down our track and enter our cabin of horrors…

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Ghosts

Review: Personal Shopper (2016)

When a movie is booed at Cannes, we usually take that as a seal of approval. That’s what happened to Oliver Assayas’ Personal Shopper at the festival in 2016, a haunting and beautiful film that gets under your skin. It’s not a horror but there are ghosts. Kristen Stewart’s Maureen is a personal shopper to the stars in Paris, but she’s also a medium and wants to make contact with her dead brother Lewis. They both share the same genetic heart condition, from which Lewis died.

Mourning oozes from every pore of Maureen and Stewart is captivating throughout the 110 minutes. You can’t take your eyes off her. Some will find the film VERY slow but there is that special something that hooks you. It’s delivered with style and a sense of otherworldliness. As Maureen glides sullenly (and we know Stewart does sullen well) from Paris to London to pick up exquisite clothes and jewels for her rich client, it’s juxtaposed against the darkness of the ‘haunted’ house of her late brother where she is desperately trying to make contact with him. And things do go bump in the night, in the style of a Japanese horror movie.

The dénouement takes us to Oman and leaves everything a bit open to interpretation but this is a strange little film that is definitely worth checking out for Stewart’s performance alone. It’s daft, spellbinding couture. 

GORE RATING: 0/5

SCARES: 0/5

DISTURBIA: 0/5

RATING: 6/10

Watch it for: Kristen Stewart

Watch out for: The apparition in the house 

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31 Days of Halloween – Day 15 – House on Haunted Hill (1999)

It’s another remake on the Halloween watch – this time of the 1959 film of the same name, with Geoffrey Rush playing amusement park mogul Steven Price (a nod to the similar main character of Frederick Loren, played by Vincent Price in the original) who invites five strangers to his wife’s birthday party at an abandoned asylum.

The asylum was run by a mad doctor – played by the wonderful Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator – where horrific experiments were conducted on the patients. The patients took their revenge on the doctor and staff, and the asylum is haunted by their spirits – the birthday party guests don’t know what they’re up against.

Being a Dark Castle Entertainment horror flick – the same team behind Thirteen Ghosts and House of Wax – you know you’re in for an entertaining tale, but the horror could have been ramped up. There’s so much potential there. The Act III ghostly mix/threat is poor and Comb’s mad doctor could have had a larger role.

There’s some brilliant, surreal special effects however and FX’s popular American Horror Story definitely gives it a nod in their Asylum series.

 

BEST HOUSE  ON A HAUNTED HILL?: This one 

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 7/10

Watch it for: Geoffrey Rush’s lead is a great nod to Vincent Price 

Watch out for: A trippy saturation chamber 

31 Days of Halloween – Day 11 – Crimson Peak (2015)

Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror is a thing of beauty, but also deeply flawed. It’s. Just. Not. Scary. However, don’t let that put you off as it’s a gorgeous film to watch and does have some positives – Mia Waikowska’s lead Edith Cushing, Tom Hiddleston as her lover Sir Thomas Sharpe and Sharpe’s deeply disturbed sister Lucille (a fantastic, menacing Jessica Chastain).

There’s also the slightttttt issue of the haunted house scenario where the Sharpe’s live – Allerdale Hall – which is on top of an old red clay mine. The walls weep a blood-like clay substance and red ghosts start to appear. What secrets do the Sharpe family – and the Hall – have?

It’s stunning and spooky, yet doesn’t deliver the jumps. Del Toro’s horror film though is hugely enjoyable and something you can get lost in.

HIDDLESBUM? It makes an appearance

GORE RATING: 1/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 1/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 7/10

Watch it for: The Sharpe’s little family secret – oo-er

Watch out for: A smashing scene in a bathroom 

31 Days of Halloween – Day 10 – Ghostbusters (1984)

We got one! Ivan Reitman’s classic is the perfect Halloween view, with a huge dose of nostalgic ectoplasm. Nothing can touch the wit and comradery of our heroes Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (we miss you Harold Ramis) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). Throw in our beloved Slimer and Mr Stay Puft, and it’s a movie that never dates and is more adored than ever before.

The lines  – ‘Okay. So she’s a dog’ and ‘Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a God, you say yes!’ – are still brilliant, and it’s just a big ol’ warm pool of melted marshmallows that the world needs right now.

DOES BUSTIN’ MAKE YA FEEL GOOD?: Yessssssssssssss

GORE RATING: 0/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 0/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: He slimed me!

Watch out for: A funny cab driver 

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