Happy Halloween! I hope you’re all planning a night of horrifying delight; full of witchcraft, séances, devilry, and all out evil! Bwahahaha! …Or a night of dressing like a sexy paper towel roll and getting drunk on pumpkin vodka. Ya know, either is good, really.
But if you’re planning on sitting at home and doing nothing [raises hand], here are some frightful horror movie reviews for you to read. Some frightful because of their content; others frightful because I had to sit through them. I’m even busting out the colored text for this one. Enjoy your eye pain, guys and ghouls!
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL
Tell us of this tale of terror: This is the story of a smart young Hasbro idea man who in 1991, decided to purchase a popular board game from Parker Brothers. The company then… oh wait, no, this is another movie where a little kid becomes possessed in a cursed house.
Is it worthy of your fleeting time? Let me tell you this… When given the task of creating a prequel to a critically panned (7% of Rotten Tomatoes) 2014 movie that somehow made $105 million on a $5 million budget; director Mike Flanagan decided not to just poop out a direct-to-video quality cash grab. He actually made, for the most part, a real movie. I was impressed with the majority of this film, if only because I was expecting a complete piece of garbage. With lowered expectations, this movie shined under the watch of a guy who seemed like he cared about what *should* have been one of 2016’s most throwaway dumpster fires of a horror movie. As a result, we basically got a Conjuring knock-off that was better than the actual Conjuring spin-off.
Most importantly, is it scary?! As I have now said a few times in the previous paragraph, I wasn’t expecting much, but I especially wasn’t expecting subtlety. And there are a handful of really great, subtle horror moments. Aside from that, though, it’s mainly jump scares. Also, I’d like to point out how much I hate the effect that they did a whole bunch of times where they computer animated the little girl’s mouth to be huge (“demon mouth”, I call it), which always looks to me like they did their special effects with an iPhone app. I cannot wait until this trend dies out.
Haunt ‘O Meter Score: 3.8 pumpkins out of 5 jack ‘o lanterns
Tell us of this tale of terror: Rob Zombie is back with another movie starring his wife (I don’t hold that against him, but this is like the 7th movie in a row), this time about a group of carnival workers (which he’s done before) in the 1970s (he’s set multiple movies in that era) who get kidnapped (which he’s also done before) by a group of sadistic weirdos (which he’s ALSO done before) and they have to survive the night in a seemingly inescapable labyrinth of torture (holy crap, he’s definitely done ALL of this before).
Is it worthy of your fleeting time? Oh… Definitely not. I’m not sure what the target audience even is for this movie? I guess people who are really into Rob Zombie’s other movies? I can’t see myself recommending this movie to anyone, and I feel like if I *did* know someone who I would recommend this to, I’d question why I’m friends with that person. Rob Zombie is one of the worst screenwriters working today. His dialogue is, and always has been, abysmal. He’s also terrible at naming characters, and he has no knack for cutting down the over-length of his scenes.
If there is one thing I will give him credit for, he’s pretty good at production and costume design. I think he should just stick to designing haunted houses at Universal Studios, and stop trying to write awful movies. Or, I’d like to see him direct a (clever) movie that someone else wrote, OR I’d like to see him do production design on a better horror movie.
Most importantly, is it scary?! Maybe in a “that would really suck to die like the people are dying in this movie” kind of way. But, I mean, most of the movie is too over-the-top stupid to be legitimately scary.
Haunt ‘O Meter Score: 2.4 vampires out of 10 bats
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR
Tell us of this tale of terror: I don’t remember if this is the third or fourth Purge movie, but this time, the people who created the Purge are trying to assassinate a politician who wants to shut the Purge down! The whole system is rigged! Somehow this fictional, murder-filled election campaign still seemed less shocking than what’s happening in real life. However, I think Trump would actually be leading the polls if he were allowed *and* encouraged to publicly sacrifice poor people for the good of the country. “Nobody stabs homeless people like me. Ask anyone! You will never meet a person who respects purging more than I do. Believe me. Isis is the biggest threat to our 364 non-Purge days!”
Is it worthy of your fleeting time? Eh, maybe it’s worth a rent if you liked the other Purge movies? It’s about on par with the rest of them. They still have never capitalized on my idea of making this into an anthology series where they tell short stories of Purge night. Doesn’t anyone in Hollywood read my crappy blog? [crickets] [tumbleweed rolls by]
Most importantly, is it scary?! No. I think they even established in this movie that most people just sit at home on Purge night and don’t do anything.
Haunt ‘O Meter Score: 3 frankens out of 5 steins
Tell us of this tale of terror: A deaf lady who lives alone in the woods has a random assailant with a crossbow terrorize her for an hour. [signs words for “holy macaroni!”]
Is it worthy of your fleeting time? Oh ya, this one was actually good. It has a gimmick that not only works, but I haven’t seen before. It’s written and directed by Mike Flanagan, whose name might sound familiar, because he also directed Ouija: Origin of Evil up there! Flanagan also wrote and directed a third 2016 movie released as well that I haven’t seen. Busy guy, I guess.
Anyway, Hush was a nice little independent horror movie that goes on just as long as it needs to (only 81 minutes!), and never really runs stale. The suspense is legit, and the game of cat and mouse is very entertaining. John Gallagher Jr, who also killed it in 10 Cloverfield Lane earlier this year, does a great job playing the bad guy, opposite the equally good Kate Siegel, who co-wrote the movie, and is married to director Flanagan. Yeah, so I did some research for a change… Leave me alone, I liked this movie!
Most importantly, is it scary?! Heck yeah, the fear of getting crossbowed by a random murderer is one of the reasons I don’t like renting remote forest properties for the weekend.
Haunt ‘O Meter Score: 8.7 cauldrons out of 10 mummy wraps
Tell us of this tale of terror: A horror anthology featuring eight different filmmakers doing their horror takes on a bunch of different holiday themed stories.
Is it worthy of your fleeting time? Like all anthologies, some parts are better than others. I’ll just give you a quick run down in order:
Valentine’s Day: Weird looking (bad) actors, clunky execution, but it has a kind of decent ending. Maybe.
St. Patrick’s Day: Takes too long to get to the good part. But the scene with the giant snake was admittedly pretty funny.
Easter: Had no real story. And no ending. Mainly just an excuse to make a gross, slimy horror bunny costume.
Mother’s Day: Dragged on in too many parts. It’s pretty much just a truncated Rosemary’s Baby rip-off with a lot of gratuitous nudity.
Father’s Day: Now, this one was actually pretty good, and had a really clever idea going for it. I was 97% with it, except they did that computer animated “demon mouth” thing that I hate at the end (see above), and almost killed the whole thing for me. But it’s definitely the best, most suspenseful, most original short film in this anthology.
Halloween: So… Kevin Smith has just lost all of his former talent by this point, right? This barely even had anything to do with Halloween, on top of how bad it was. Kevin Smith and Rob Zombie should get together and co-write a screenplay, and make literally the worst movie ever made.
Christmas: Funny concept, maybe not completely thought out, and has a kind of abrupt ending. I don’t even think this short really made sense, now that I think about it.
New Years: Good concept, not great execution, but had some nice gore effects. If you’re into that.
Most importantly, is it scary?! Maybe the tension in Father’s Day. But that’s about it. The rest borders on (intentionally) comical.
Haunt ‘O Meter Score: 5.5 ravens out of 10 gravestones
BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN
Tell us of this tale of terror: Tyler Perry’s Madea is back for the eighth time, and this time she’s fighting creatures from the dead! Oh, my lurd!
Is it worthy of your fleeting time? It mixes all of the great things you typically love from the Madea series. It’s got lots of physical comedy, lots of yelling, and most importantly, tons of heart. One of the best aspects about any of the movies in this series is how it can have you on the floor laughing one minute, and then raising your hands in powerful glory the next. Laughs only go as far as your spirit can, you guys. Plus, I mean, Madea says such wacky things! She uses all of her regular catchphrases, plus adds a few new zingers that you will surely be quoting on the entire car ride home.
Most importantly, is it scary?! I’ll be honest… I did not see this movie.
Haunt ‘O Meter Score: I don’t know out of I don’t care
See you next week for some Dr. Strange character rankings!