Search

Dead By Words

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

Category

Supernatural

Review – Damien: Omen II (1978)

The second installment in The Omen series, we follow 12-year old Damien (a seriously spooky Jonathan Scott-Taylor) as he starts at military academy and realises his destiny. Damien is now living with adoptive parents – after both his parents were taken care of in The Omen – and as those close to him get to know what he’s all about (the 666 on his scalp is a big sign), they start being bumped off. There are also those who exist to protect him.

It’s a good watch and features some pretty gruesome Final Destination-like scenes – the journalist having her eyes pecked out by a raven is especially nasty, as well as the doctor who is chopped in half by a falling lift cable. Scott-Taylor is excellent as our chilling protagonist, who knows he’s a little different to other boys but comes of age with his powers.

Omen II sets us up nicely for Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), and it’s a solid and classic horror franchise that’s still very eerie.

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 3/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

RATING: 7/10

Watch it for: Scott-Taylor’s Damien. Creepy kid

Watch out for: Large trucks, if your eyes have been pecked out 

It is happening again – Twin Peaks 2017

The Twin Peaks teaser dropped last night and WE ARE BEYOND EXCITED. Twin Peaks was seminal to us growing up, and we’re so pleased Laura Palmer kept her promise of seeing us all again 25 years on. Twin Peaks is horror – we still have a fear of ceiling fans, tops of stairs, the backs of sofas and the woods, thanks to Mr David Lynch – and we can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.

21 May can’t come soon enough.

And remember – the owls are NOT what they seem.

 

We love – American Horror Story: Roanoke (2016)

American Horror Story’s sixth season is as terrifying as ever, with a clever spin on reality TV and an episode six twist which will have you cheering (and screaming).

Starting off all Amityville likeeeeee and cleverly reuniting the tour de force of Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. following their opposing turns on American Crime Story: The People v. O.J,  we follow married couple Shelby and Matt who move to a spooky house in the woods – the site of the lost colony of Roanoke. Sarah and Cuba are actually playing two actors playing Shelby and Matt – oh so self-reflexive! – as the real couple (Lily Rabe and Andre Holland) recount their horrific ordeal at the house on a documentary hit show. Confused? Stay with us…

As Shelby and Matt are haunted and tortured by the lost colony, led by The Butcher (played by Kathy Bates – so she’s playing an actress playing a ghost!), the documentary seems to end in episode six of Roanoke. And that’s where the real fun begins.

AHS Hotel was a fantastic hoot and Freakshow good fun also (the clown – uggggh) but Roanoke delivers some real scares and jumps. Episodes six and seven nearly had us crying and we’re horror pros!

Ryan Murphy yet again proves AHS has got legs and we want this series to run and run.

Review: The Neon Demon(2016)

Nicolas Winding Refn once again proves he’s one of the most exciting contemporary directors out there with the beautiful and thoroughly bonkers The Neon Demon. It’s a tale – actually, a fairy tale – of how LA eats up pretty young things and spits them out, as Elle Fanning’s wide eyed 16 year old Jesse appears on the modelling scene and becomes the one that everyone wants. Jesse realises the power that she holds over her fellow models, the men who cast and photograph her and the catwalk, transforming from the Goldilocks/Snow White/Alice character that she is into what everyone fears.

It’s a visual and aural feast, with the spellbinding soundtrack by Cliff Martinez full of fairy tale like music. LA is seen as a mythical land, one where fortunes can be made or you’re devoured, with Jesse exploring the weird and wonderful scenery and characters like she’s just fallen down the rabbit hole.

And then we have Suspiria. NWR is definitely referencing Argento and giallo in many of the scenes and shots, and there’s a fair bit of witchcraft and symbolism on offer. Jena Malone’s Ruby, a scary make-up artist who does bad things with corpses, befriends Jesse but her motives are suspect…her occult tattoos may just give her away.

Act III is where things go truly off the wall as Jesse is lured to Ruby’s house, following an encounter with Keanu Reeves’ vile motel manager – the worst motel manager since Norman Bates. There’s some WTF moments – and a couple of scenes reinforce you may just be watching NWR’s erotic dream – and we then lead up to an especially unpleasant ending. It may put you off your supper.

NWR is great at making you revisit immediately what you’ve just watched – we did it with Only God Forgives. His films stay with you for some time after you’ve seen them and then you realise that’s he’s pretty much a genius. The Neon Demon is as disposable as the industry it portrays, but by golly it’s beautiful rubbish. And like all good fairy tales, they’re horrific.

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

RATING: 9/10

Watch it for: It’s like nothing you’ll have seen before. Astounding 

Watch out for: I’ve got to get Jesse out of me…

 

31 Days of Halloween – Day 30 – The Shining (1980)

The Shining – for us – is second in line as the ultimate Halloween horror movie. Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece is beautiful, with sweeping interior shots of the isolated Overlook Hotel, as well as being genuinely terrifying. There’s quite a few scenes where we whimper. On repeat viewings.

Based on Stephen King’s novel, caretaker Jack Torrence (an amazing, amazinnggggggg Jack Nicholson) arrives at the hotel with his family to take care of it over its closed winter period. Son Danny (Danny Lloyd) feels bad vibes – if bad vibes can be constituted as a river of blood coming out of the hotel’s elevator door – and can also communicate telepathically with head chef Dick (Scatman Crothers). The previous hotel caretaker killed his family and then shot himself in the head, and it seems like the hotel is still holding onto those memories and ghosts – plus has a plan for Jack and his family.

Whether it’s the spooky twins – ‘Come and play with us Danny, forever…and ever…and ever….’ – through to the horrors behind the door of room 237, The Shining has iconic horror scenes which stay with you. Some of its best scenes however are the Kubrick classics of long, sideways-shooting tracking shots, with Jack in the hotel’s Gold Room meeting the ghostly, posh barman Lloyd (Joe Turkel).

Nicholson conveys his confusion, terror and ‘possession’ with just the raise of his eyebrows, whilst poor Shelley Duvall as his wife Wendy is really put through it – in the film and on set too.

Once you’ve seen The Shining, it’ll have you forever. A bit like the Overlook.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY: *smashes typewriter*

GORE RATING: 5/5

SCARES: 5/5

DISTURBIA: 5/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Kubrick’s vision and Jack Nicholson. Plus it’s one of the greatest horror films ever made

Watch out for: REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM! 

31 Days of Halloween – Day 29 – Prince of Darkness (1987)

This John Carpenter chiller is one of our favourite Halloween movies – if not only for the Alice Cooper cameo.

An abandoned church in LA hosts a mysterious cylinder with swirling, green liquid. The liquid is active and strange things are happening in the city, from swarms of flies through to loads of people just staring at the skyline.

The priest (Donald Pleasence) invites a group of academics and students to investigate the liquid by camping out in the church with all of their scientific machinery – soon they start to have the same shared dream, a transmission from the future, where a shadowy figure is in the doorway to the church. THE LIQUID IS SATAN, INNIT.

Prince of Darkness takes its time to set up, but as we get into the film it is totally creepy. Typical Carpenter, he has some fantastic shots where we focus on one character but there’s plenty of action going on in the background. There’s some real shocks here too, plus you’ll want to avoid mirrors for a while.

DIALOGUE FROM PRINCE OF DARKNESS IS SAMPLED BY: DJ Shadow throughout ‘Endtroducing’ 

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 4/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: It’s completely creepy and dark

Watch out for: Poor Kelly’s transformation

31 Days of Halloween – Day 28 – Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1981)

Much loved, this cult classic is a crazy ride from start to finish. Bruce Campbell is back to the cabin in the woods as our hero Ash, but unfortunately his girlfriend gets possessed pretty much straight in and he has to chop her head off with a shovel. From then on, whether it’s the iconic lines of ‘Workshed’, ‘Hello Lover’ or ‘Groovy!’, Evil Dead II is full of hilariously dark moments and just the plain hilarious – see Ash taking his own hand on when it’s possessed and tries to kill him.

From eyeballs popping out and flying into mouths through to gigantic strange tree monsters and demonic mothers locked in cellars, Evil Dead II truly delivers from the big brained vision of Sam Raimi. And no other male lead is put through it as much as Bruce.

BEST LAUGHING THING IN THE CABIN: The lamp

GORE RATING: 4/5

SCARES: 3/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Bruce Campbell. Nuff said

Watch out for: The constant whirrrring, haunting sounds in the woods and cabin

31 Days of Halloween – Day 27 – Carrie (1976)

Based on Stephen King’s novel, Carrie is a masterpiece of horror and effectively builds up to its chilling – and brutal – climax where you’ll be cheering on our unfortunate heroine as she takes her revenge on the students and teachers who have wronged her.

Sissy Spacek is brilliant as the bullied Carrie, constantly the subject of humiliation at school by the popular girls and jocks. Just as good is Piper Laurie as her fanatically religious mother Margaret, who locks Carrie in closets and berates her.

Carrie is blessed/cursed with telekinetic powers, which means she can move objects or make people fall off their bikes with just a look. She begins to realise what she can do with telekinesis and after she is humiliated at her school prom, all hell breaks loose.

Brian De Palma’s classic almost lulls us into a false sense of security, and then the split screen nightmare happens. And it’s so ******* cool. We feel so sorry for Carrie but there’s something deeply satisfying too that she gets her revenge.

HOW MANY TAKES TO DO THE BUCKET OF BLOOD SCENE? De Palma says just one

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 5/5

DISTURBIA: 5/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Sissy Spacek. Chilling 

Watch out for: The final ‘shock’ scene. Much copied 

31 Days of Halloween – Day 21 – The Blair Witch Project (1999)

This found footage classic is still as terrifying 17 years on, even though you don’t see much happening on screen. That’s exactly the point – what’s in your mind and what you don’t see is much scarier.

Heather, Mike and Josh take a trip into the woods as they’re making a documentary on the legendary Blair Witch. After interviewing locals, things take a sinister turn as the woods seem to turn against them. They’re lost, everything looks the same, and strange symbolic sticks start appearing.

Part of the reason why The Blair Witch was so scary first time around was its marketing campaign. It was marketed primarily on the web, with whispers over whether this was real life footage. Viewing it years later, it’s still very effective and you feel the terror of the crew as tensions build and things go oh so weird. They don’t know if they’re losing it or if something is after them.

And you’ll never forget the ending. It is deeply disturbing.

BEST THING IN THE WOODS: Squirrels

GORE RATING: 1/5

SCARES: 4/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Heather’s snivelling piece to camera

Watch out for: No-one puts Mike in a corner

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑