Horror Movie Round Up Week Two: October 8th-14th

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des GrauensNosferatu (1922)

Synopsis:
A Transylvanian count purchases a property from a young real estate agent. After the purchase is complete, the young man begins to realize the count is more than he seems.

Review:
I didn’t know about the lawsuit from the widow of Bram Stoker over the unlawful adaptation of the Dracula novel until right before I watched the film. Knowing about the struggle of keeping the film alive after the lawsuit adds something to the viewing experience. This is a hugely influential film, and it is clear to see why. It is good and creepy, and has all of the elements of vampire legends. The music was wonderful, the special effects were impressive, and considering the fact that it is a silent film the acting was very effective.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

 

a-girl-walks-homeA Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Synopsis:
A vampire preys on the residents of the Iranian ghost-town Bad City.

Review:
This was weird. A good weird but still weird. Shot in black and white, with very little dialogue, it relies heavily on its soundtrack and its actors’ facial expressions. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of Let Me In, or Let the Right One In, with its dark tone and “sympathetic” vampire. I was also sufficiently creeped out so it did its job.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

 

deliveranceDeliverance (1972)

Synopsis:
Four friends take a break from their city lives to go on a canoeing trip in rural Georgia but are thrown into a fight for their lives after they are viciously attacked by some locals.

Review:
I found this on some list of “must see” horror films and added it to my watchlist because it is something I have wanted to see for a while but this is definitely not a horror film. There is a lot of tension, and some excellent action but it lacks that primal fear element to make it a true “horror” film. Still, I enjoyed it. Burt Reynolds is a badass and Jon Voight was so young!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

213

2:13 (2009)

Synopsis:
After returning from psychiatric leave, a police profiler begins investigating a series of murders in which the killer leaves masks on his victims.

Review:
My dad was a big fan of the Mark & Brian radio show hosted out here in SoCal, and he has followed Mark Thompson’s work since then, which is how this movie ended up on the list. Mark wrote and starred in the film, and I have to say it was pretty good. I thought the serial killer’s habit of leaving masks on his victims was creepy, and I liked the link back to Thompson’s police investigator. Sometimes things were a little too quickly solved, or neatly tied up but overall it was a well written and executed detective story.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

 

paranormal-activityParanormal Activity (2007)

Synopsis:
After experiencing some disturbing phenomenon, a couple sets up a camera to record any supernatural events in their San Diego home.

Review:
I think this would have been a lot more effective had I seen it when it first came out. I did think it was a really interesting experience watching it, and I was intrigued by how the whole process worked but I wasn’t really moved by any of the events in the film. I wasn’t ever really scared and I feel you have to stretch your belief a bit with some of the characters’ choices. However, this gets points for being an innovative and creative idea.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

last-houseLast House on the Left (1972)

Synopsis:
On their way to a concert, two girls are kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and shot by four escaped convicts.

Review:
Wow was this bad. The tone is all over the place with the silly folk music, and comedic cop duo intercut with the horrific attack scenes. I was expecting to be scared, or at the very least disturbed but I just couldn’t believe how ridiculous some of the things going on in the film were. I can only forgive Wes Craven because it was his first writing and directing credit, and I hope that the remake is actually better than the original.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.

 

the-legend-of-hell-houseThe Legend of Hell House (1973)

Synopsis:
A team of specialists agree to stay in a haunted mansion for a week in order to determine the source of, and solution to its paranormal occurrences.

Review:
I don’t think I had seen this film before but a lot of it seemed really familiar. This could be due to the story being similar to other films’ plotlines, and perhaps there was a remake. I liked it. I thought it was creepy and I really liked the different character’s approaches to uncovering what supernatural forces were at work. I also think it holds up pretty well for being a forty year old movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Coming next week: The Blair Witch Project (1999), Dressed to Kill (1980), Prom Night (1980), and more.

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