Movies for Mother’s Day [LIST]

Happy Mother’s Day! Let’s celebrate how awesome Moms are with some freaky movies about moms.

The-Others-

The Others I remember seeing the film for the first time and being so completely blown away. The trailers under sold what ended up being one of the best horror movies of the early 2000s. For those unfamiliar with the film, Nicole Kidman plays widow and mother to two children who are allergic to sunlight. What follows is a ghost story for the ages.

big_1450535899_image

Serial Mom is more of a black comedy than a horror comedy. But watching as Beverly causes mayhem and blood shed in suburban Baltimore is hysterical. John Waters completely subverts the archetype of the perfect mother in a way only the Pope of Filth could manage with such style.

alinterieur1

Inside isn’t a feel good movie for Moms. It is however a completely terrifying movie for mothers. French Extremism and home invasion collide in a sparse minimal story of a woman, pregnant and recently widowed as she defends herself from a woman who is willing to do anything to get her hands on the unborn child.

carrie_piper-laurie01

Carrie wouldn’t be Carrie without Piper Laurie’s completely bat shit take on shut in religious fanatic Margaret White. Whether she is screaming about dirty pillows, throwing Sissy Spacek in closets or misquoting the Bible, she is the mom we are all glad we didn’t have. I mean imagine if Carrie had a cool mom?

babadook-4

The Babadook is equal parts modern fairy tale and character study as horror. A mother unravels as she is overwhelmed by the stresses of motherhood and her own darkness. Original as it is scary, there is a reason it topped so many best of lists when it dropped 2 years ago.

goodnight-mommy-1-credit-courtesy-of-radius

Goodnight Mommy got into my bones the first time I saw it. The cold aloof Mommy. The mischievous twins. The bugs. The way it plays with audience perception. It is a film that uses a slow and ever building sense of dread that bursts into horror while completely changing your view of the events depicted.

RosemarysBaby

Rosemary’s Baby is any list complete without you? I think not. Mia Farrow is iconic as Rosemary as she slowly becomes convinced something isn’t right. With her apartment, her husband, neighbours and even her unborn child. Mother hood can be terrifying, let alone when you are mother to the Antichrist.

maxresdefault (2)

Friday The 13th Pamela will always be scarier than Jason. That hair. The sweater. The turtle neck. And most importantly the completely unhinged look in her eyes. A mother driven by grief and out for blood, even if it’s symbolic revenge. I mean come on, she brings her mentally handicapped son to camp, and he drowns cause horny teenagers weren’t paying attention. She has a pretty compelling reason for going crazy and massacring teens.

Ripley_finds_Queen

Aliens: The Director’s Cut, yes the director’s cut! Why? Well the original cut had WAY MORE MOM STUFF. One of the most important parts being a scene in the first act where Ripley finds out her daughter died two years ago at the age of 66. Ripley promised to be home for her 11th birthday. It makes Newt that much more important. Her parents are killed by Aliens. Aliens prevented Ripley from being a mom to her daughter. Not to mention Aliens has the Queen Xenomorph. It’s a theme you guys.

pyscho4752

Psycho is the mother of all modern horror films. See what I did there? Norman and his Mommy Dearest are part of the greatest misdirect in film history. Hitchcock starts Psycho off as the story of a woman who stole some money from her boss, cause apparently she was dickmatized. But then suddenly the movie is peepholes, shower murders, cross dressing and mummified mothers. The perfect combination of classy and terrifying for Mother’s Day.

More Romantic Horror Movies For Valentine’s Day

I was checking in on my previous list of horror movies to watch for Valentine’s Day, for inspiration this V-Day since it’s minus 25 Celsius here in Toronto aka a the perfect weather to be anti-social and avoid others. To my shock I seem to had left off some of the most romantical horror films! So I figured now was a good time to list some more great romantic horror films for everyone to watch while eating cheesecake alone.

It is worth noting this is a list of romantic horror films, rather than Valentine’s themed ones. There aren’t any slashers like Valentine’s Day, My Bloody Valentine. I also avoided movies like The Voices or Maniac where the protagonist can’t discern the difference between romance and chopping up the girls he likes.

So without further ranting I humbly present the follow up list-sequel (hasn’t the internet come up with a portmanteau for that yet?)

candyman1

Candyman: How could I have left this film off my previous list? Tony Todd’s flawless baritone purr calling out to beautiful grad student Helen Lyle from across a parking garage, his voice some how a whisper in her mind! A movie whose romance is only rivalled by it’s scares.

Hellraiser Frank and Julia

Hellraiser: If you think about it, Hellraiser’s plot is essentially a Lifetime movie on acid. A woman in a loveless marriage reconnects with her brother in law, with whom she had a torrid affair with years previously. Only in order for them to be together she must bring him men to consume. How I managed to leave this off my list is beyond me. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want someone to want them as much as Julia wants Frank? Even after Frank ends up a skinless cannibalistic attic dweller.

The Fly Cover

The Fly: A large percentage of Cronenberg’s Oeuvre would work for V-Day. I mean Crash, Videodrome, A Dangerous Method, M. Butterfly, Map to the Stars or Dead Ringers would be great viewing for the weird on V-Day. But The Fly is Cronenberg at his most gooey and romantic. Brundle-Butt aside, the sheer glamour of Geena Davis and the top notch practical effects should have you sold.

Theatres

Interview with the Vampire: Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as immortal boyfriends? Yes please. While director Neil Jordan definitely subdued the gayness of the original text, the movie comes out hella gay none the less.A beautiful and sumptuous film with some of the last great practical effects of the 90s.  As romantic as it is bloody.

Byzantium2

Byzantium: A spiritual sequel to Interview with the Vampire, Neil Jordan stuns with a more subtle vampire story. Set in modern times with flashbacks to centuries previous, two vampires on the run hide in a small seaside town. But when the younger attends classes at a local school, she puts not only herself and her companion at risk, but also a haemophiliac boy she has feelings for. Truly stunning both visually and in terms of the way it reinvents the vampire mythos, it makes the perfect double feature with Interview.

tumblr_mtp5pvltCT1rjte08o1_1280

Bride of Frankenstein: “We belong dead.” The movie that brought Tiffany Charles, noted murderess and voodoo dabbler to tears is a V-Day must. Glorious black and white horror that lept over the bar set by James Whale’s first instalment.

what-to-expect-from-hannibal-season-3-episode-10-spoilers-he-has-a-few-self-image-issue-548473

Honourable Mention Hannibal: The Red Dragon: While it isn’t a film, Hannibal is one of the best/goriest/most romantic things to be put on screen in the last decade. A particular stand out in the romance department is the final run of episodes which were essentially a 6 episode miniseries was a highlight of the series run and arguably the epitome of the homoromantic subtext turning text that drew so many to the critically acclaimed series. Episodes 8 to 13 of the third season tell a complete story that while enhanced by the preceding episodes would still make for a great V-Day watch and certainly play better after repeated viewings compared to Manhunter and Red Dragon the two previous attempts at adapting the Thomas Harris novel.

 

 

Happy Birthday HP Lovecraft [RECOMMENDATIONS]

tumblr_lvhyw65gp41qg8i80o1_1280 

Today is HP Lovecraft‘s Birthday. The horror icon was born on August 20th 1890. His legacy has expanded well beyond his work and gone on to influence some of the greatest minds in horror including Clive Barker, Stephen King and John Carpenter. In fact his influence is so pervasive in the horror genre that you will routinely hear the word ‘Lovecraftian’ used to describe works with an obvious bit of the writer in them. To celebrate what would of been his 124 birthday, I bring you a list of some of the best Lovecraftian horror. Please note that only a few of these are adaptations of his work, many are films which draw on the themes pioneered in Lovecraft’s work.

2-in-the-mouth-of-madness

In The Mouth Of Madness Part of master of horror John Carpenter’s loose ‘Apocalypse Trilogy’, it is often hailed as the best Lovecraft movie ever, despite being an original concept. It tells the story of a man tasked with tracking down a Stephen King-esque writer who has disappeared without turning in the latest manuscript for his series of novels. The novels have been driving people to commit violent acts  and have become best selling books, with film rights already sold for the latest volume which no one has even read. Darkly funny, gruesome, bizarre and with way more to say than any movie made in 1994 has any business having.

the-thing_1

The Thing The best of Carpenter’s trilogy. Critically panned upon it’s release, The Thing is now considered one of the greatest horror films ever made. A group of researchers stumble upon something from outerspace. When it begins to replace the men one by one, chaos begins to erupt. Come for the best practical effects ever. Stay for the nihilistic study of identity.

podblu_shot14l

 

Prince of Darkness The weakest of Carpenter’s trilogy, it oozes with the eerie references to ambigous evil that permeate Lovecraft’s work. Rather than trading in standard religious imagery, Carpenter gives us pillars of green ooze, inter-demensional portals and transmissions from 1999 (which in 87 was the future). Definitely worth checking out even if it is the weak middle entry.

re-animator_34

The Re-Animator Pretty much what it says on the box. Adapted from the titular story, it tells the story of a scientist who discovers a process by which to re-animate the dead. A classic flick that started one of the longest spanning horror franchises.

from-beyond-blu-ray-screenshot-0083509-I-1920

From Beyond Stuart Gordon brings us the classic tale of a scientist who ends up creating a way to see beings from other dimensions. It’s got psych wards, some fantasticly gooey practical effects and is an incredibly colorful movie, awash in pinks and neon colors.

maxresdefault

Banshee Chapter From Beyond is retold as a paranoid found footage thriller about government experiments, number channels, LSD and the horrors of the unknown. Going into it, I was unaware it was a Lovecraft adaptation and as a result nearly went full blown Scanners. I often poo-poo found footage but I love this terrifying little gem.

absentia3

Absentia This baby shocked me when I checked it out on Netflix one day. It takes a shoe string budget and crafts a terrifying story of insectoid monsters from another dimension who steal people from our world. It starts off as any good Lovecraftian horror should, low key before building to a wild conclusion.

midnight_meat_train_01

Midnight Meat Train This movie left a lot of fans pissed. SPOILER ALERT the butcher kills people to be fed to giant evil monsters living under New York. That’s right bitches! Full blown Ancient Ones slumbering under the city that never sleeps! While it isn’t the greatest movie, it’s definitely a lot of fun. One of those horror movies that was dumped direct to video, but could have totally done well in theaters. It also is the only movie where Bradley Cooper didn’t get on my nerves other than Guardians of the Galaxy.

the-mist-original

The Mist All good Lovecraftian horror has to be about the human drama. It can’t all just be death cults and tentacles. When a thick fog blankets a town, a group of people are trapped in the local grocery store. In the mist lurk various monsters which mostly go un-glimpsed. Frank Durabont (aka the dude who ran The Walking Dead when it was still good) gives us everything we could want. We have the woman who insists on leaving despite the clear and present danger, the survivors split into two opposing groups, Marcia Gay Harden chewing scenery like her daughter Carrie just asked to go to the prom and Sam Witwer in uniform! But most importantly, that ending! Bonus points if you can get a hold of the DVD that features the movie in Black and White.

enemy-11

Enemy Beards, strippers, spiders and doppelgangers. Jake Gyllenhaal plays an actor and a history professor who happen to be identical. Life swapping ensues. A slow burn thriller that will leave you with so many questions. Come for the Donnie Darko-bearded twin wank bank material and stay for a disturbing and insane movie about identity and spiders.

Horror Movies for Pride [LISTS]

June is LGBTQ Pride Month! And while I often cover horror with a queer bent , I thought I would round up some suggestions for the horror hounds looking for something a little queer. These movies don’t all have explicitly queer content, and this is by no means a comprehensive list of horror movies with LGBT content, or even a list of the best. Just a few great flicks to enjoy with fellow friends of Dorothy.

16231

The Craft Need I say more? Catholic school misfit witches use and abuse the mystic arts to get back at mean girls and get boys. Pure 90s realness. A cult classic among any of us who went through that awkward goth phase in highschool.

410

The Hunger David Bowie’s Tilda Swinton Vibe, Susan Sarandon’s super dykey hair cut and high waisted thong, Kathrine Deneuve as a ice queen vampire queen. The ways in which this is perfect for Pride are beyond measure. Come for the nipples, stay for the blood.al pacino cruising 1980

Cruising Al Pacino does poppers in a gay club while wearing a low cut tank top. Laughably out of date and offensive stereotypes abound as Pacino searches for a killer of gay men. Spoiler Alert: You’ll be offended and possibly a little turned on.

Annex - Karloff, Boris (Bride of Frankenstein, The)_03

The Bride of Frankenstein The saddest movie on this list. The monstrous creature seeks a mate only to be faced with rejection and scorn. And why the hell is Dr. Frankenstein so keen on ditching his fiancee to go make science with the fruity Dr. Pretorius?

BiSu4

Dahmer A young Jeremy Renner comes off shy and adorable as infamous gay killer cannibal in this biopic. It’s a testament to the performance that you feel any sympathy for a guy who takes dudes home to make them into sex zombies via power drill and draino.
bride-of-chucky

Bride of Chucky Yeah, yeah, Seed is queerer. But while trans Glen(da) is played for jokes, the gay best friend in Bride is one of the best queer portrayals in a big horror film to date. Bonus points for Tiffany’s transformation from basic to bad bitch to the tune of Blondie’s Call Me.
fhd007HTT_Lauren_German_010

Hostel: Part II Who expected the sequel to Eli Roth’s torture porn ode to obnoxious American backpackers would turn out to be so nonchalantly queer? The fact that the gorgeous female lead is the gay lady, not actual lesbian Heather Matarazzo. That she’d end up one of the most bad ass final girls of the decade. It also managed to dissect the kind of mind that would pay to torture a person.hellraiserbdcap3_original

Hellraiser Damn Julia is the definition of thirsty. She does anything and everything to recreate the perfect fuck. Haven’t we all been Julia at one point? And the Cenobite’s ensembles by Hellbound Leather are the things sadomasochistic fever dreams are made of.noes2_-jessegrady

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge I’ve spoken about this one before. It all boils down to the coach’s love of leather. Grady the 80s wet dream come to life. And the fact that Jesse is for all intents and purposes a big ole homo.Picture-17-e1350617618705

Fright Night Vampires pretending to be gay. Amanda Bearse. Roddy McDowell. Evil Ed ended up making gay porn in real life. Planet_Terror_0258

Planet Terror The Robert Rodriquez half of his double feature team up with Tarantino Grindhouse. The lead character starts the film off with plans to leave her husband for her beautiful lesbian lover. But as it goes, a viral out break causes death and societal breakdown. tumblr_mpyh1cRioz1rx420io8_1280

May May is a social out cast without any friends, so she makes one. A pre-fame Anna Faris plays a sexually aggressive vet tech. Angela Betis at her weird girl finest sewing together body parts and getting moist watching student films about cannibals.We-Are-What-We-Are_11

Somo Lo Que Hay [We Are What We Are] A family which engages in ritual cannibalism deals with the fall out of the patriarch’s death. When oldest son Alfredo brings a guy home from a gay bar for dinner, but his homophobic brother doesn’t want to eat a gay.

So there you have it, a few suggestions for horror flicks this Pride Month. Make sure to check back for more queer horror content.

Jason Voorhees [THE MANY FACES OF]

Friday the 13th is tomorrow! To celebrate I will be attempting to marathon the whole franchise and making smores! (OK not actual smores since fire and apartment buildings don’t go well together, but smores inspired snacks). As a celebration of everyone’s favorite mentally disabled drowning victim turned unstoppable teenage killing machine, here is a look back at the many faces of Jason Voorhees. And yes I am choosing to ignore the fact that technically Jason didn’t really appear in A New Beginning (just an imposter and some hallucinations).

Friday-the-13th-Jason-lake-jump-Adrienne-King-Ari-Lehman Friday-the-13th-Part-2 jason friday-the-13th-part-4-the-final-chapter1 1378876868_2 Jason Lives Friday the 13th Part VI 29 friday71 Jason-Takes-Manhattan-jason-voorhees-26490719-1280-720 7B8rXRsSgn Jason.X freddy-vs-jason-promo-02 friday-the-13th-reboot-2009

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(s) [RANKED]

Going into writing this article, I hadn’t seen every installment in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. I saw the first film when I got it for Christmas from my father. Someone had stolen the copy from the video store and no where sold it. They claimed it was banned in Canada. So that Christmas I watched it as most horror fans do, I fell in love. Everyone knows the story: a group of young folk travel through Texas, meet a family of crazy red necks including Leatherface, whose hobbies include chainsaws, cannibalism, making furniture and masks (out of human remains).

Going into this I hadn’t actually seen several of the films. It has also been 10 years give or take since I last endured TCM: The Next Generation. And I have to say, some of them surprised me with how fun they were and others affirmed why I had never bothered to watch them. So let’s get to ranking the films of Leatherface, from worst to best.

texas_chainsaw_next_generation 12Number Seven: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation It came as no surprise when I sat down to rank these films that this would rank the lowest. Re watching it again 10 years after my first viewing and it is still a complete train wreck. Let’s start with Leatherface. Based on Ed Gein who famously wore the skin of women as a form of murderous cross dressing. So it’s always been strongly implied that Leatherface might have a thing for panties. But in this we have him in full Ms. Doubtfire drag at one point and the films climax seems him dressed in a silky see through lace number completely with some poor victim’s breasts. Add to that the scene chewing by a pre-fame Mathew MacConahey and Bridget Jones herself Renee Zellwegger as the worst final girl EVER. Their names are spelled wrong but I’ve suffered enough watching them act. Throw in a random hydraulic leg for Mathew’s murderous inbred and gratuitous titty shots and you have the the worst film in the franchise.

What I really don’t understand is SPOILER ALERT the weird revelation that the Sawyers are being goaded into murdering the teens on prom night by some sort of rich benefactor/pervert whose body is covered in scarification of weird symbols and who has three giant gold rings pierced through his stomach (not his belly button). I guess it is all supposed to be some sort of ‘Illuminati’ scheme to bring people transcendence through suffering. I mean paging Martyrs! The whole thing makes Halloween’s Order of the Thorn look like a welcome addition to a franchise. The kind of film you will only ever watch in the quest to marathon all of the films from the franchise. If that’s you I salute your celluloid masochism.

1-Texas-Chainsaw-3DNumber Six: Texas Chainsaw 3D I had such low hopes going into this one that I didn’t hate it. Even though it’s full of cliches, takes a big ole crap on the legacy of one of the greatest horror films ever. I expected it to be terrible and as a result it wasn’t as awful as it could have been. I picked it up previously viewed with the sole intent of completing the set of all the films on DVD (don’t judge the OCD nerdness). What I got was a film which was gory, weird, and offered a new twist to the proceedings that while not one for the history books was something new for the franchise. I’m also morally obligated to point out that the film suffers from the threedee in that there are lots of chainsaw pointing directly at the audience moments.

8632814_5Number Five: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning tells the story of how a little baby born in a meat factory grew up to wield a chainsaw and wear skin masks. The first time I tried to watch this I turned it off after the opening scene. It just smacked of everything I disliked about remakes. I rewatched it to do this list and I gotta say it’s not half bad. It has plenty of gore, expands nicely on the influences of the Vietnam war on the original film and the mythos of the franchise. Bonus points for Matt Bomer and his baby blues. And it also has a really bleak and gruesome ending which I always appreciate from a film.

Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre III 5

Number Four: Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Was another installment I had never seen all the way through. I really liked this one. It’s incredibly gory (and I only could get the cut version which has 4 minutes of gore excised). It builds really well on the darker comedic tone of the second installment. The addition of Ken Foree’s character who is a survivalist nut is the perfect addition to amp up the action. It acts as a nice final act in the original three films.

the_texas_chainsaw_massacre_2003 3 (1)Number Three: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [2003] I really like this movie. It’s definitely one of the best of the remakes that came out in the 2000s. It takes the bleak tone of the first film, the gore of the second film and presents it through the lens of ‘the modern gritty take’ which has become a dead horse which Hollywood continues to beat. My fondness for it was firmly cemented back in 2003, a full 7 years prior to the atrocity that is the Nightmare On Elm St. remake. It plays close to the beats of the original while updating stuff ever so slightly. The biggest difference being that there is no character who is handicapped. The biggest issue today with the original is Franklin so it’s good that they chose to exclude a character in a wheel chair. Not that disabled characters shouldn’t be in horror films cause they definitely should. But his inclusion in the original always seemed to stand out as a product of the time. A loud obnoxious bother who can’t do anything on his own and is defenceless and unable to run from the killer. Not the best representation. With so many movies been remade poorly, it is the kind of remake that the majority of fans can agree honors the original.

chptp (8)Number Two: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 has a completely different tone then the first film. It is more of a hybrid of black humor and horror comedy. It has oodles of gore, laughs, and some awesome character moments. Tobe Hooper is an incredibly versatile horror director and it shows in this installment (his last in the franchise). Bill Mosley is delightfully gross and unhinged as he provides the perfect counter balance to the grunting Leatherface. Dennis Hopper and Stretch are among the best horror final girl/father figure team ups in horror (Nancy and her dad, Laurie and Dr. Loomis). It’s just a great fun movie. The kind you want to watch with friends.

the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-1974-e1375911352533Number One: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [1974] Some franchises reach their peak in the second or third films, like Evil Dead II or Friday The 13th Part II/Part III (depending who you ask). Then there are franchises like The Texas Chainsaw where the original film stands not just above the sequels, reboots and prequels but above other horror films as well. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a master class in horror. There is actually minimal gore (it’s mostly implied or in the form of bones). It is the least gory of the films in the franchise. Yet it remains the most terrifying visceral film ever to feature Leatherface or arguably any Ed Gein inspired killers. Anyone who has seen it will attest to the moment Leatherface first appears being seared into their minds forever.