What I’ve watched lately: ‘I Trapped The Devil’, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’, ‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’, ‘A Ghost Story’, ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’, ‘The Innocents’

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Still from The Killing of a Sacred Deer (A24)

Let’s catch up: Behold a list of (mostly) fantastic films I have watched recently.  (Embarrassed to admit that many of these were a first time watch– SO late to the party.)  Regardless– even though each and every one of these deserves an individual, in-depth, analytical review– for the sake of time, I’ll sound off some quick thoughts about each film, and why you should catch up with these jewels (or yell at me because I hadn’t seen many of these until recently.)

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Sell your soul to the dance: ‘SUSPIRIA’ quasi-remake is quite enchanting (no major spoilers)

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Dakota Johnson (center) is lead Susie Bannion. (Amazon)

Horror aficionados are particularly skeptical when it comes to accepting the dreaded “remake” and “reboot” treatment of cult classics from the past.  (Four words: ‘The Wicker Man’ remake!! Ugh.)  And when a remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 giallo (Italian horror) masterpiece Suspiria was announced to follow suit, many wondered how a film that iconic could ever be taken into different hands, as well as what else could possibly be squeezed out of a film that isn’t exactly remembered for its super intricate plot.  Fortunately, renowned Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino is at the helm of the 2018 version, and the man has not only given the original film its justice, but he has created an entirely unique piece of art that merely takes the skeletal framework of the original film, and has transformed it into its own, stylish identity.

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‘The Witch in the Window’ is yet another exceptional 2018 film about the horrors of parenting

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Alex Draper and Charles Everett Tacker tackle a complicated father and son relationship in The Witch in the Window (One Bad House Films)

We seem to be in the throws of a trend in 2018: many of the greatest horror films that have been given to us this year have reflected on one of the scariest things that many of us will do– become parents.  From A Quiet Place to Hereditary to even bits within the new Halloween, horror has taken a deep dive into just how horrifying it can be to raise our offspring.  How much should we protect them?  How much should we sacrifice of ourselves for them?  At what point do we let them out into the world?  Will our mistakes reflect upon their upbringings?  Shudder’s exclusive The Witch in the Window is yet another well-done film that makes many of us think twice about starting families.

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60 of the Greatest Horror films from the 1960s to 2010s

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In honor of Horrormonal’s first anniversary and the catharsis and opportunities it has given me within the last year, along with the conversations it has started with other horror film lovers, I give you 60 of (some) of the greatest horror films of all time, starting with the 1960s until the 2010s (so far).  I’ve been musing over this since August, and I’ve had such a difficult time narrowing it down to just 10 movies from each decade, but I think I chose pretty carefully.  I love each film for different reasons- some for their artistic integrity, some for their metaphors, some for changing the way I look at cinematic arts entirely, some for haunting my nightmares, some for repulsing me, and others for their entertainment value.  If you haven’t seen some of the more obscure picks, please consider checking them out, and be sure to revisit some old classics you may not have viewed in a long time.  (Thank you to Collider.com for some guidance.)

Here are 60 of (some) of the greatest horror films of modern times…

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‘Searching’ is a captivating thriller about getting lost in the sauce of the digital age (Originally published for Nightmarish Conjurings)

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John Cho plays a father searching for clues on his daughter’s laptop in her disappearance in Searching (Sony Pictures)

Who knows the real you better— your parents, or your Instagram/Facebook/Twitter followers?

A captivating social thriller about familial relations and the underbellies of the Internet age, Aneesh Chaganty’s Sundance winner Searching tells the story of David Kim (helmed by an impressive and completely relatable performance by John Cho) and his sometimes-distant teenage daughter, Margot, who fails to return home after a night out at a study group. When a concerned David begins to panic and files a missing persons report, Detective Vick (played by a sometimes awkward Debra Messing) is assigned to the case, and suggests that David should hop on Margot’s laptop— in order to contact her possible friends and acquaintances, as well as to view her recent website browser visits, in order to gather possible evidence of her whereabouts. As the film’s tagline cleverly hints at, David will never be able to find his daughter until he understands who she truly was in the first place.

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“Sorry To Bother You” is the sci-fi/dystopian/dark comedy you need to see this year (even if it’s probably the only sci-fi/dystopian/dark comedy you’ll see this year)

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(Annapurna)

You know you’re witnessing a wonderfully unique movie when an old, (I’m talking like 80-year olds) pretentious white couple walk out of the theater because they’re so confused and appalled at the things that they just simply don’t want to even try to enjoy nor understand.  If race-related Get Out, surrealistic/scifi-ish Being John Malkovich, and realistically relatable Office Space got together and had a threesome, Sorry To Bother You would be their modern day lovechild.  2018 has most definitely seen its share of strange movies, (The Endless, anyone?) but Sorry To Bother You just might take the proverbial cake.  And when I say cake, I mean one huge cake with 14 different rainbow layers and 17 different flavors of chocolate, vanilla, birthday cake, lemon, strawberry…that’s how many different genres and themes this thing tackles within its 105-minute run time…

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Believe the hype. ‘Hereditary’ is a game changer (Spoiler free)

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If you can’t take the heat, don’t be related to the Graham family. (A24)

Is there any singular aspect of life that is more horrifying than losing the people you love by forces beyond your control?  A24 Productions’ Hereditary takes us through all stages of grief and then some, to say the least.  I was lucky enough to attend an advanced screening on Thursday night (before its wide release on June 8th) and I haven’t been able to shake it off ever since.  It’s only June and we’ve still got the new Halloween and Suspiria remake to go, but I’m positive I just witnessed my favorite horror film of 2018.

All you should know going into this: Directed by Ari Aster (his first feature-length film, by the way) Hereditary opens with an ominous obituary post against a black screen, before gravely introducing us to the Graham family, who is mourning the loss of their elusive grandmother/mother Ellen.  In a series of utterly horrific and tragic events, the Grahams are forced to each deal with their grief in their own (often toxic) ways, while simultaneously feeling as if they have been cursed by who they may be related to.

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PLEASE don’t make one damn sound while watching ‘A Quiet Place’!

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John Krasinski reportedly sought inspiration from modern classics The Babadook, Get Out, and The Witch for his scares in A Quiet Place. 

As if you didn’t hear already, John Krasinski (Yes, that adorkably nice guy who plays Jim from The Office) has co-written, co-starred, and directed A Quiet Place, a post-apocalyptic movie of sorts, that tells the tense tale of one family that is trying to successfully live in a world where sci-fi-like creatures with immaculate hearing capabilities will hunt (anyone who’s still left) who make any sort of sudden noise.  We meet the Abbott family, initially consisting of Lee (Krasinski), Evelyn (Krasinski’s real-life wife Emily Blunt), deaf daughter Regan (crucially portrayed by real-life deaf actress Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe), and Beau (Cade Woodward), (each impressive actors in their own right, by the way) at “Day 89” where they are still getting used to the idea of having to remain silent for their survival at all times.  Tragedy befalls them, and they are forced to continue on within this grief-stricken, emotionally-stalling, and devoid-of-most-communication environment they are living in.

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My time at Monster Mania Con 39: “Hurry up and wait”

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Getting slayed by Jason(s) and Michael at Monster Mania Convention 39

On Saturday, March 10th, I hit the 39th Monster Mania Convention in Cherry Hill, NJ, which is not too far from where I live.  To say it was an experience- both for better and for worse- is an understatement.  I have to firstly always give credit where credit is due: the staff of Monster Mania Con gave us one hell of a lineup this time; they pulled out all the stops when it came to the celebrity guest list.  From Tim Curry, John Carpenter, Cassandra Peterson (Queen ELVIRA), Richard Dreyfuss, the kids from 2017’s It, Kathleen Turner, to a whole bunch of others, MMC gave thousands of fans opportunities to meet some of our horror heroes.   Continue reading

Netflix’s Veronica proves that a film doesn’t have to live up to its “scariest movie” moniker in order to be effective (spoilers)

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When the fuck are characters in horror films going to learn not to mess with ouija boards?

I’m about two-three weeks late (sue me) checking out the Spanish horror film Veronica that people have dubbed one of “the scariest movies ever made” and, while I figured that I wouldn’t agree with that marketing necessarily, I was still pretty impressed.

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The importance of horror film ‘Get Out’ winning an Oscar, an otherwise notoriously snubbed film genre

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Sunday night at the 90th Academy Awards, comedian/writer/director Jordan Peele made history, as he accepted a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for his little social-thriller-movie-that-could, Get Out.  Perhaps because of the current push of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” equality/inclusion movements happening in Hollywood at the moment, the Academy took notice of this small budgeted, Blumhouse-produced, indie horror movie- that those of us who live, breathe, and die horror had been waiting for months before its actual release in February 2017.   Continue reading

Yay, Nay, or Just Okay: Catching up on recent viewings

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I’ve been MIA here on Horrormonal for the last seven weeks (2018 has been off to a rough start for me) but now I’m back.  And you know damn well that I still managed to squeeze in a few horror movies that I’ve been slacking on seeing.  Instead of dedicating a long, thorough review to each of the five films I’ve watched recently (because some of them just flat out DON’T DESERVE that much attention anyway), let’s play a game of “Yay,” “Nay,” or “Just Okay”… Continue reading