Tag Archives: horror films

HELLRAISER: THE FOUR BEST FILMS

Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with my take on the top four (of ten) movies in the Hellraiser franchise. 

HellraiserHELLRAISER (1987) – “Jee-zuz WEPT!” Clive Barker helped translate his novel The Hellbound Heart to the big screen in this film. It’s incredibly rare for a novelist to get to DIRECT a movie version of one of his own works but Barker made the most of it.

Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) has exhausted sexual sensation with women, men, corpses and animals. Seeking new stimulation he solves LeMerchand’s Puzzle Box, a “Rubik’s Cube From Hell” which leaves him at the mercy of the demonic inter-dimensional sadomasochists called the Cenobites of the Order of the Gash. 

Suffering unimaginable torments as the M in this S&M relationship, Frank struggles to escape the Cenobites for good, even if it means sacrificing his brother Larry plus Larry’s wife Julia (Clare Higgins) and daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). Continue reading

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SEVEN ZOMBIE FILMS THAT ARE UNIQUE

dead-pit

The living dead emerging from The Dead Pit (1989)

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! If you’re like me you’re bored with zombies and pseudo-zombies. The 21st Century is as mired in tiresome, cookie-cutter zombie flicks as the 1980s were in tiresome, cookie-cutter slasher flicks.

Here is a look at seven films which, while technically classified as zombie movies at least adopt unique perspectives and don’t follow established formulas.

dead-pit-2THE DEAD PIT (1989) – This horror film was the directorial debut of the very prolific director Brett Leonard. While not a four-star movie The Dead Pit is enjoyable enough for the Halloween Season and should certainly appeal to anyone into 1980s horror flicks. This movie’s hybrid of zombie elements and slasher elements is both its charm AND the reason behind its love-it-or-hate-it status.

Don’t expect non-stop Resident Evil-level action but DO expect to see some in-your-face gore very early in the flick for lovers of guts and decomposition. A physician (Dr Swan) at a mental hospital discovers the secret sub-basement where a rival MD (Dr Ramzi) is subjecting hopeless patients to horrific experiments involving a combination of science and the supernatural.   Continue reading

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BRIGHTBURN(2019): HALLOWEEN MONTH BEGINS!

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween will as usual feature reviews of horror stories and movies sprinkled in with my usual topics. This year I’m starting off with Brightburn.

BrightburnBRIGHTBURN (2019) – This mid-level budget movie has been criminally underrated in my opinion. Its horror twist on the usual superhero story (especially Superman) is well-handled and should have been just the thing audiences flocked to for a change of pace from the flood of superhero movies in recent years.

The film skillfully combines horror with science fiction and Jackson A Dunn as the alien child Brandon makes for the creepiest kid this side of Damien in The Omen. The kills in Brightburn are fairly gory but only in one instance is it dwelt upon, and the scene definitely earns that emphasis. 

Right up front I’ll mention that you do have to make with a BIG suspension of disbelief. The movie asks viewers to accept the premise that in this age of unending documentation and requirements for child vaccinations that a childless couple could successfully do a fake adoption of a baby from outer space whose spaceship crashed near their farmhouse.  

At any rate the couple, the Breyers, live in a remote small-town in Kansas, so if you really have to, you can assume that has helped them carry out their deception. That town is named Brightburn, which provides the film with its title. Continue reading

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CURSE OF LA LLORONA: MOVIE REVIEW

masc graveyard newBalladeer’s Blog’s coverage of earlier film versions of The Curse of La Llorona (“The Crying Woman“) has always been popular with readers. Here’s my 2011 review of The Curse of the Crying Woman. And for more of my reviews of neglected Mexican horror films which may themselves be getting big-budget remakes if La Llorona is a hit, click HERE 

Curse of the Crying WomanCURSE OF THE CRYING WOMAN ( 1961 ) – The crying or weeping woman, called La Llorona in her native Mexico, is the undeniable queen of Mexi- Monsters. This ghoulish menace has appeared in many, many films before and after this one, but this 1961 version was the one that added witchcraft to her powers and spawned the “Llorona- mania” that shows no signs of abating.

The most recent Mexican horror film about her in 2007 used the tag line “The legend of La Llorona never dies”.

Since I’m a mythology geek I’ll point out that variations of the story of La Llorona can be traced all the way back to Aztec times, but the Christianized version of her story goes like this: Continue reading

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SLAUGHTER HIGH/ APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986)

For April Fool’s Day here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m giving a rest to my usual holiday offering, my review of Aleister Crowley’s Clouds Without Water, to review a movie instead.

Slaughter HighSLAUGHTER HIGH/ APRIL FOOL’S DAY (1986) – This is the low-budget horror film made in England and set on April Fool’s Day. There are still VHS tapes and YouTube videos that show the original title, but the title was changed to Slaughter High because of the year’s OTHER April Fool’s Day slasher film with a gimmick ending.

Slaughter High starts off showing us April Fool’s Day of 1976, when a group of “teenagers” including 30-something Caroline Munro go to bizarre lengths to degrade and victimize their nerdy classmate Marty. These “kids” aren’t so much bullies as they are psychopaths, actually.

Slaughter High bAfter an April Fool’s Day “prank” involving nudity, electric shocks and near drowning, Marty is still alive through no fault of his classmates. The supposed popular kids get punished for their criminal assault on Marty, and perversely blame him for it! It’s that kind of movie. Hell, Marty’s tormentors were caught in the act, it’s not even like he peached on them (since this was made in England I couldn’t resist writing “peached on them”).

The psychotic teens-in-their -thirties decide Marty deserves some payback for the way they got in trouble for nearly killing him earlier, so they stage a new “prank” involving tampered-with marijuana, dangerous chemicals … and acid. C’mon, you kidders! Stop giving Marty the business! Just cut off one of his limbs or something and call it a day, ya jokesters! Continue reading

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MARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978)

After this seasonal post had last year off it’s the return of my review of Mardi Gras Massacre.

Mardi Gras MassacreMARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978) – Category: A neglected Bad Movie classic, but its hard-core gore will prevent it from ever having a Plan 9-sized cult following

It takes a twisted sort of genius to make multiple disembowelment murders look boring, but that’s exactly what Jack Weis accomplishes in Mardi Gras Massacre! Today may be Fat Tuesday, but let’s rechristen it “Splat Tuesday” in honor of this late 70s splatterfest. 

The actual “massacre” part of this movie is an incredible disappointment. An insane, hate-filled man with a knife – no, not Jim Bowie (rimshot) – is roaming around New Orleans during Mardi Gras targeting prostitutes as sacrificial offerings to the Aztec deities he worships.

That sounds promising for a horror film but the disembowelment ritual is reenacted word for word and movement for movement for EACH VICTIM! There is no variation and also no suspense because after the first killing we know exactly how all the subsequent sacrifices will play out. The only chills come from listening to the awful disco music that plays during the ceremonial slayings. (“NOOOOOOOOOO!”) Continue reading

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HEMISPHERE HORRORS: FILIPINO HORROR FILM BOX SET

-“They Came From the Philippines” you could say. ORDER BELOW. It’s a Five-Movie “Hemisphere Box of Horrors” featuring:

Blood DrinkersTHE BLOOD DRINKERS (1964) Also released as The Vampire People and Kulay Dugo Ang Gabi, this was the very first COLOR horror film made in the Philippines.  

Special Features for The Blood Drinkers:

  • Manong of the Philippines: Interview With Script Supervisor and Gerry De Leon’s AD Dik Trofeo
  • Hemisphere Appreciation by Filmmaker David Decoteau
  • Audio Commentary With Film Historians Nathaniel Thompson and Howard S. Berger
  • Partial Audio Commentary With Hemisphere Marketing Consultant Samuel M. Sherman
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Blood Drinkers Trailer
  • Vampire People Trailer
  • Radio Spot Continue reading

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