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Deconstructing Herbert West: Re-Animator

The last Lovecraft piece I did was on Color out of Space which you can find here.

For this one I familiarized myself with the original story by H.P Lovecraft, originally published in 1922 as a serial story for the publication, Home Brew. You can find it here if you don’t have a copy.  I always recommend reading the source material before watching the movie and Lovecraft’s writing style is just so flawless.  His work is literally beautiful to read.

I then went on to watch:

Re-Animator (1985)

Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

and finally

Herbert West: Reanimator (2017),  by Italian filmmaker Ivan Zuccon.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

~The Original Short Story~

I think most films that center around the idea of Necromancy can easily be traced back to Shelley or Lovecraft.  I’ve often wondered if Lovecraft was influenced by her work. Although Shelley’s version, Frankenstein (1818) involved a misunderstood creature that at heart wants acceptance and love; a more romantic idealization of reanimation. Whereas Lovecraft’s version, involves a certain amount of madness and soullessness. 

“West was a materialist believing in no soul and attributing all the working of consciousness to bodily phenomena ; consequently he looked for no revelation of hideous secrets from gulfs and caverns beyond death’s barrier.” (How the narrator describes Herbert West).

-H.P Lovecraft

The character of Herbert West was originally written as an awkward, highly intelligent doctor whose fascination lies in the idea that as long as a corpse is fresh enough and there’s no physical damage to the body or brain tissue- it can be reanimated using a specific serum that he’s carefully developed.  I have to wonder if Lovecraft modelled the character of Herbert West after himself in some ways; awkward, no social skills, methodical, even the physical description of West, a slight spectacled, socially awkward man- sounds a lot like Lovecraft himself.

Over time, West has tweaked the serum to accommodate different organisms.  It’s described as a thick oozing liquid that’s injected into the corpse.  Starting off with animals, he works his way up to humans.  He doesn’t work alone in obtaining his specimens and carrying out his highly unethical experiments.  Luckily, he has a friend, the narrator. The one friend that’s been with him since studying at Miskatonic University. He not only respects and supports his work, but he acts as the voice the reason frequently, which seems to be lacking in Herbert West. He’s also a little afraid of Dr. West compelling him to stay by his side.  Herbert has no sense of humility, or humanity in general. Thinking that the only thing one needs to bring someone back to life is purely physical, neglecting the emotional aspect of humanity altogether.  His reanimated corpses lack a soul and reasoning. Naturally his experiments end in abysmal failures- creating a multitude of horrendous, bordering on blasphemous, zombie-like creations.

*Note the 2018 Italian version of the Re-Animator films is the only one that’s NOT a horror/comedy. 

Re-Animator (1985)


I am embarrassed to say I haven’t watched any of these movies.  I’m not sure I would have appreciated them until now to be perfectly honest.  The 1985 version was the most entertaining of the bunch and has the slight edge in ratings getting a strong 4.5/5 on Rotten Tomatoes. The two sequels only garnered a 3/5.  Jeffrey Combs plays West flawlessly.  He’s cold, almost in-human, methodical, brilliant, mad, and all about science. This movie is pure entertainment from start to finish.  It stays fairly close to the source material other than the fact that in the movie, Dr. Halsey (Dr. Hill in the original story) is more of a villain than the character of Dr. Allan Hill.  In the story, West had more respect for Hill, (Halsey) other than the fact that he looked at West’s work with disdain, he actually wanted approval from the esteemed Doctor.  The characters themselves are entertaining in their own right.  We have West (Jeffrey Combs) and his loyal friend, Dan Cain, (Bruce Abbot), there’s Dr. Hill’s daughter, Megan, (Barbara Crampton) who just happens to be dating Dan much to her disapproving father. There are creature effects, great action sequences, a lot of boobs (it was the 80s so the sexploitation and gratuitous nude scenes are plentiful).  Finally, oh so much blood.  The special effects department reportedly went through 24 gallons of fake blood for this movie.  It’s classic 80s style horror with a lot of gore as well as some humor.  It’s an experience. Five knives out of five.

Bride of Re-Animator (1990)

Bride of Re-Animator

The plot roughly follows episodes “V. The Horror from the Shadows” and “VI. The Tomb-Legions” of the Lovecraft story, and follows doctors Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) as they attempt to create a living woman from dead tissue. It’s about eight months after the events that took place in the original movie.  Dr. West and  Dr. Cain are now Medics in the center of a bloody Peruvian civil war.  It’s here where Dr. West has ample access to corpses to further his research.  After an attack at their base, the pair are sent back to Miskatonic University where West sets up shop in Dan’s basement.  West can now reanimate individual body parts so he finds the heart of Meg, Dan’s original love interest, Dr. Halsey’s head ends up being reanimated making for some serious cringe and comedy. This movie is crazy from start to finish. I laughed A LOT in this one.  A zombie detective who’s still in hot pursuit of West for turning his wife into a zombie.  A reanimated Dr. Halsey’s head, relying on a zombie guard to transport him everywhere until he makes bat wings for his head for readier mobilization.  He then leads an entire zombie force of West’s former test subjects to hunt down Dr. West.  There’s A puppet zombie dog, some crazy action sequences, and a shitload of gore that may not be for everyone, but I liked it.  The forever loyal assistant, Dan is frequently, sometimes hilariously, shirtless and has to decide between his Peruvian love interest, journalist Francesca Danelli, and the newly reanimated woman containing the heart of his true love, Meg. This all leads up to a very interesting cat fight.  Although this movie wasn’t received as well as the first it’s still a cult classic, it continues the original Lovecraft story. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a villain that consists of a head and bat wings leading a zombie army? Three knives out of five.

Beyond Reanimator (2003)

Beyond Re-Animator

The movie starts off with Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) in prison for 13 years because of a murder committed by one of his unfortunate experiments- (zombies- he made zombies). Continuing his scientific research in prison, using whatever he can find around the facility, he has now discovered the missing element in the reanimation process. The “NPE” (Nano-Plasmic Energy), it’s an energy that can be extracted from the brain of a living organism through an electrocution-like process and stored in a sparkly chip.  Using this in conjunction with his serum can possibly eliminate zombies altogether as it would not only restore the corpse, but also restore memories, skills, almost like their old selves right?

A new young doctor named Howard Phillips (Jason Barry)– (a nod to the author himself, H.P) is introduced as the new prison physician and the two quickly form a bond as West is assigned to assist him.  They continue Dr. West’s research because Dr. Phillips, it turns out, is the little brother of one of West’s victims and watched the good Doctor being led away in handcuffs 13 years prior.  He’s both fascinated by the research but contains higher morals than Herbert which keeps West from actually following through with experiments.  Enter journalist Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky) who’s doing an article for her newspaper on the prison.  Dr. Phillips and the pretty Laura develop a relationship and fall in love.  The evil warden of the prison also fancies the pretty reporter and through a brutal attempt at making her his own, Laura ends up dying. It’s here where the moralistic Dr. Phillips turns to Dr. West to bring her back.  I’m not going to give away spoilers other than this: there’s a little less gore in this movie but still some very cringey moments.  There’s a considerable amount of violence that eventually erupts in a pretty bloody riot at the prison.  It doesn’t really follow the original Lovecraft story but rather just another chapter with Jeffrey Combs playing the often comedic Dr. West.  It’s generally not well received, it’s not scary but has a few shocking bits.  If you’re a fan of the series, it’s definitely worth at least one watch. Two knives out of five.

Herbert West: Re-Animator (2017)

Herbert West: Re-Animator

This is a unique adaptation by Italian filmmaker Ivan Zuccon.  This is a much darker version of the tale. Starring Alessio Cherubini as Dr. West who tragically loses his daughter, Eleanor, a gifted student.  This adaptation was my personal favorite.  It’s dark and eerily shot, and goes deeper than the other films.  The cinematography was beautiful.  A true piece of art.  The story takes some artistic liberties with the original Lovecraft story but the end result is a unique, beautifully told, incredibly dark story.  It contains love, violence, some gore, but not over the top.  It’s more of a slow burner, of course there are subtitles but I assure you it’s worth the watch.  This Dr. West is devoted to his daughter and his love leads him down some dark paths.  The film was recently released on Amazon and I highly recommend it. Five knives out of five even though it’s not totally reliant on the original source material, it was creative and very well produced.

*NOTE: I was able to find all four movies on myself for free, I’m in Canada so it may differ from country to country.

H.P Lovecraft

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Re-Animator (1985) Movie Poster

Bride of Re-Animator (1990) Movie poster

Beyond Reanimator (2003) Movie poster

Herbert West: Re-Animator (2017) Movie poster

Mary Shelley Frankenstein book cover User:

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Let’s Talk About Hell House LLC.

Hell House LLC. (2015)

I’m reviewing this series as a whole.

Underrated. Definitely underrated.

I didn’t even know about this series until I stumbled upon a YouTube list for horror movie recommendations.

There are three installments, all directed by Stephen Cognetti.

It’s found-footage style horror, which I love. It always feels so real, like piecing together a puzzle.

Shot documentary style (also a fan of this style).

The First Installment:

A crew known for their horror tours and attractions decide to use the abandoned Abaddon Hotel in Upstate New York as the site of their next haunted attraction, (I smell bad idea.).

The night of October 8th 2009- opening night (sin) 15 tour-goers as well as the staff DIE. Authorities simply dismiss it as an “unknown malfunction.” (typical “authorities”)

Five years later, another documentary crew goes exploring for answers led by respected (and no fucks given) journalist, Diane Graves. Interviewing people close to the case, people who have previously broken in and taken some very intriguing photos, they eventually find their way to the one survivor from that fateful night at the Abaddon.

Starting off with a break and enter, Diane and her crew soon discover there is more to the Abaddon than meets the ol’ eyes and next thing you know. Boom. Gone. But note: Not before leaving a trail of their own evidence, video footage and photos behind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I thought the story was written well, the acting was good and the overall aesthetic pleasing for a nice grim watch.


Includes clowns likes these

If you’re a Coulrophobe, or someone afraid of clowns (Ooooh I hate fucking clowns)…be prepared. There were some scenes that are going to be gif-ing in my head for bit.

The Second Installment: The Abaddon Hotel

Hell House LLC. Part 2- The Abaddon Hotel (2018)

Released as a Shudder exclusive.

Eight years later…

More documentary-style as we follow of another team of journalists led by Jessica Fox, host of the local investigative show- Morning Mysteries. This begins with an anonymous tip. There’s just so many unanswered questions from the 2009 tragedy. People need answers. Jessica needs answers!

Supernatural events inevitably occur as the crew set up shop in a place where 15 people previously died (that’s always a stellar idea).

I have to say, I did enjoy this film despite its mixed reviews from critics. Again, a bunch of unknown actors do a pretty good job in making you feel like you’re part of this unfolding mystery. And those goddamn clowns make another appearance! Didn’t solely rely on jump scares, it was a little more subtle than that. It kept me hooked for 89 minutes.

Thankfully, more evidence and footage was created from this journey into the Abaddon…

The Third Installment: Lake of Fire

Hell House LLC. Part 3: Lake of Fire (2019)

This time we’re following a billionaire named Russell Wynn (you may remember that the original footage was sent to ‘Morning Mysteries’ by Wynn media group) who wants to use the once-again abandoned Abaddon Hotel as the location for his immersive theater piece Insomnia, loosely based on Faust (some pretentious shit).

Yeah, Russell knows the grim history but he decides to proceed anyway (of course he does), subjecting his actors and staff to the same supernatural entities (fuck those clowns) that attacked the Hell House crew and the not-so-wise Diane and her team (Boy, nobody really cares about anyone do they?).

Morning Mysteries is back – with a new host. This time Vanessa Shepard is documenting Wynn as he prepares for the opening. She’s also trying to figure out who this mysterious dude with the massive scar (which could have been done better with this budget) on his face is. What are his motives? The reveal comes toward the end of the movie. I hate giving away spoilers, but I can tell you it’s anti-climatic.

Thank God some of the original props left over from the Hell House crew are still there. They can use that in their production (yes… great idea!).

Goddamn clowns.

Despite actors just disappearing and freaky events occurring, the show must go on.

I enjoyed this film, though considerably less than the other two installments. Parts of it felt rushed. Like Cognetti just wanted to tie up some loose ends, and bring the story of three films worth together in 85 minutes. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great.

What WOULD be a great addition to this series would be a prequel. Why is the Abaddon haunted to begin with? I’d like to see that explored.

All in all, I felt like this was one of those little treasures you accidentally stumble upon. I don’t remember any hype about these movies at all. I give the whole series a good solid four knives out of five.

Trailer for Hell House LLC.

Trailer for Hell House LLC. Part 2: The Abaddon Hotel
Trailer for Hell House LLC. Part 3: Lake of Fire

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Let’s Talk About Train to Busan

Train to Busan (2016)

My exploration of foreign horror movies continues with another stop in Korea.

As a zombie flick aficionado, the glowing reviews from the community and critics alike – 94% on the Tomatometer and 88% Audience Score at Rotten Tomatoes – meant I had to board the Train to Busan. And boy, I’m glad I did. This film is Director’s Yeon Sang-ho‘s third outing, although he’s worked on a number of projects as a writer and producer.

This may be one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen (Dawn of the Dead 1978 and 2004 notwithstanding). It was fast-paced. It was tense. It was intense. Bolstered by impressive acting courtesy of Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Jung Yu-mi and the very young and adorable Su-an Kim, there was also some humor with a lot of heart in this one. It really hit all the marks.

The film contained some of the most extraordinary zombie sequences ever committed to film. The scenes left me biting my fingers and weaving tapestries of foul language so loud and intricate that the dad in A Christmas Story would blush. Oh fuuuuuuddddgggggeeeee….

The film follows a father and daughter (Su-an Kim) on their way back to the child’s mother. The parents are divorced. A seemingly straightforward train ride goes off the rails when a biotech plant has a massive chemical leak, resulting in a rapid-spreading zombie apocalypse across Korea.

The train travels to outrace the spread. There are some phenomenal fight sequences, some insane zombie transformations. People fighting for survival, incredible train crash sequences that even Michael Bay could take some notes on, a heartless rich dude that’s willing to save his own ass no matter the cost, (I’m looking at you Billy Zane in Titanic). This movie really has it all.

I mean, look at this zombie transformation sequence:

Holy Crap right?

The characters have to overcome so much in 118 minutes, (yep, it’s close to two hours long but it’s one of the shortest-feeling two hours ever) that you really develop empathy for the passengers. There is some great character development between tough guy Yoon Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok) and Seo Seok-woo (Gong Yoo), who initially pegs the latter as as an uptight coward. The relationship flourishes into near-brotherly love territory, and mutual respect.

Yoon Sang-hwa’s pregnant girlfriend, Seong-kyeong (Jung Yu-mi) transforms from a meek, mild woman who is largely dependent on her brutish boyfriend for protection, to a strong fierce lead.

I even cried in this movie. I CRIED IN A FUCKING ZOMBIE MOVIE. I recommend a lot of movies but this one is hands-down, 100%, cannot miss must-see zombie action. One watch cemented it in my list of all-time faves. 5 EMPHATIC knives out Five!

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Let’s Talk About The Burning

I missed this one over the years. HOW.

Things you NEED to know about this movie:

This is the first movie under MIRAMAX , the production company launched by the disgraced Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob. Weinstein was desperate to get into the horror movie genre after seeing the success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ($$$$) on a relatively small budget. Weinstein started tossing ideas around and wrote a treatment. Peter Lawrence and Harvey’s brother, Bob wrote a script in six weeks. The project was a rushed disaster from start to finish. Thanks to Mr. Max and Mrs. Miriam Weinstein (Miramax) for funding this film even though it went WAY over budget (up to 1.5M depending on the source) because your sons had NO CLUE what they were getting themselves into. The end result is one of the very first 80s Summer Camp slasher flicks. It’s important to note that this film was conceived BEFORE the Friday the 13th movies.

The story is loosely based on the Cropsey legend in Upstate New York where Weinstein camped as a kid. Our antagonist is a drunken jerk named Cropsey, the caretaker of Camp Blackfoot. In a series of unfortunate events initially meant as a prank, poor ol’ Cropsey get lit ablaze like a Roman Candle on the 4th of July.

In true 80s horror fashion, it’s an over the top death that made me giggle.

I’m pretty sure this all started with just two tealight candles. STOP: DROP & ROLL.

The credits start rolling and it’s like a who’s who of horror and 80s heavyweights. The makeup and special effects are done by THE MAN Tom Savini <3, the music is composed by Rick Wakefield of the band – Yes. What in the actual fuck? How have I missed this?

Cut to a hilariously insensitive scene involving what I can only assume is an orderly showing a new and noticeably uncomfortable doctor around the hospital. He can hardly contain his excitement when it comes to introducing the doc to the burnt “freak” that is poor ol’ Cropsey. “You ain’t never seen a freak like this man.” Such good bedside manners. This is our first glance at the truly horrific damage that’s been bestowed on Cropsey.

The next thing I see is fucking Jason Alexander. Full head of hair and all. He’s the wise cracker of the group. How off brand! Then I noticed Brian Backer (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). A baby faced Fisher Stephens. Holly Hunter! There’s even a scene involving a hyped up canoe trip where Woodstock (played by Stephens) is rowing furiously as the kids cheer him on, “Go Fish! Go Fish!” I guess they figured no one would notice that.

The kill ratio in this one averages about one ever 10 mins or so and involves some very creative uses for hedging shears.

I actually really liked this movie, it was exactly what I was looking for the day I watched it. A campy, 80s slasher flick that gave me a few laughs, a few surprises and exactly 91 minutes of pure entertainment. I’d watch this again. 5 knives out 5.

Official Trailer

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Let’s Talk About Possessor

Possessor 2020 Brandon Cronenberg

4 Things:

There were some film sequences with flashing lights and colors that made me physically nauseous. So beware.

If you like David Cronenberg (Dad) films, you’ll probably like this.

If you like Black Mirror, you’ll probably like this.

A lot of stabbing. Like, A LOT of stabbing.

Possessor is Brandon Cronenberg’s second outing – his debut was 2012’s Antiviral.

Cast includes

Jennifer Jason Leigh ❤

Andrea Riseborough, who you might recognize from the 2020 version of The Grudge, Mandy and Black Mirror.

Sean Bean. He lives up to his meme in a deliciously gory way. Such a fine fire poker bludgeoning hasn’t been seen since Beverly wielded the tool in the men’s washroom in 1994’s Serial Mom.

Christopher Abbot. I’m gonna be honest, I don’t recognize him from anything. Sorry Chris.

Possessor falls into a few horror categories. Science fiction horror, psychological horror and also body horror.

The plot involves an unknown agency that has the technology to transfer a person into someone else’s body – allowing them to control the host. Unknown agencies being the nefarious organizations that they are, the hosts are used to perform assassinations. The victims are high-profile targets of ill repute.

The struggle occurs when the main character, Tasya (Riseborough) encounters Colin: her next victim. Colin is dating the daughter of her next target. They end up fighting for control of Colin’s body and mind.

Give me back!

This film also explores how Tasya begins to fall away from her herself, forgetting who she is. She’s guided throughout by Girder (Jason Leigh), who interviews her after each job. Girder provides trigger objects to Tasya to gauge where she is mentally. As the interviews progress, Tasya seems to care less about the objects. At one point she expresses guilt over something she did as a child, but by the end, that guilt is gone. You can never tell if Girder actually cares for Tasya or whether she’s trying to completely disconnect her from herself and make her the ultimate assassin.

There’s an interesting thread throughout the film that focuses on dishonesty. Almost all of the characters in this film were dishonest with themselves and the people around them. The parallel drawn to our lives on social media is noted.

The film is aesthetically stunning, the gore scenes were done really well. I did have a couple of problems with this movie. I feel like there were a lot of unanswered questions and I had to actually research the ending to fully understand what happened. I get it now but…

I like bleak films, but this was bleak from start to finish. Par for the course for 2020.

Because I felt like something was missing, I’d rate this film 4 knives out of 5.

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Let’s NOT Talk About Cannibal Holocaust


Fuck no.

Just no need.

Who is this for?

I wanted to do something fun and different. Explore some new forms of horror. First stop: Italy. I like gelato. I liked Suspiria. Why not?

I researched the big names: Argento, Barva (Mario and Lamberto), Fulci and Deodato.

Italian horror basically breaks down into four subtypes:

Exploitation : Lots o’ titties/ vibrant colors ❤

Giallo : Over-the-top bloody murder mysteries where the formula is : hot chick, titties, blood. ❤

Nunsploitation: I mean the Vatican is there. I get it, but still… weird.


I remember seeing a gruesome poster for Cannibal Holocaust when I was a teenager somewhere and thinking, “What in the actual fuck?

I needed to know more.

I would later regret this.

I learned that ALL the animal violence in the film is REAL. That’s a big fuck no. I can handle gore if I know it’s fake. I absolutely draw the line at animal violence, fake or otherwise. Nope.

I learned that the actors had no idea what they were getting into when they accepted roles in this film. The lead actor, Gabriel Yorke (Alan Yates) was never even given a script throughout the filming. Yorke, in particular, feared that he had unknowingly signed up for a snuff film.

This film pushed the actors to their absolute limits, and I think Deodato was a fucking sadist. I’m all for artistic liberty but quite frankly, I feel movies like this serve no one except for the director’s ego. Where do we draw the line? Films like A Serbian Film or Human Centipede? Are we sure we’re not just pandering to someone’s depravity?

Instead of including pics to promote this atrocity of a “movie”, I’m going to include an interview with the lead actor from the film. You can see that this man is fucking haunted.

This putrid piece of gratuitous shit aside, it seems like Italian horror regurgitated formulas and once they reached peak saturation and sophisticated, psychological horror movies like Silence of the Lambs came onto the scene, people were no longer seeking the shock, gore and exploitation films. Everyone needs a break. Trends die – thank God.

I am not rating this film because I never finished it. I saw enough and I don’t wish to promote it.

Next Stop: Korea.

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Let’s Talk Lovecraft & Color Out of Space

Color Out of Space 2019 Directed by Richard Stanley

As a life-long horror fan, I only recently realized that many of my favorite films have been heavily influenced by H.P Lovecraft. Movies like The Thing, The Void, In the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon, and Prince of Darkness always stuck with me and remain some of my favorites to this day.

I love the concept of how minute and insignificant we are as humans in the vast expanse of the unknown. Where do we really fit in? I love movies that showcase the frailties and imperfections of people. Lovecraftian horror is sometimes referred to as Cosmic horror because there’s often an element of what would happen if we were to encounter alien life? How would it affect us? Would it be horrific? Gory? Would it cause madness?

For this one, I decided to read the original short story, The Colour Out Of Space (1927) and then watch the film, for comparison. The film is loosely narrated seemingly by Lovecraft himself. I have to say the film stayed fairly close the source material which was impressive. With the exception that in the short story, Nathan, or (Nahum) has three sons, no daughter. Of course reading the story and watching a modern film based on that story are two entirely different experiences. The story was dark, eerie, with un unnamed narrator explaining what happened in the small fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts when a meteor crashes and essentially poisons ALL life. Vegetation becomes inedible, animals are basically driven mad as they undergo horrific physical changes, and the people go insane and die.

It’s important to note that this was one of Lovecraft’s most popular short stories and one of his personal favorites. The story has been adapted into several movies over the years; Die, Monster Die! (1965) The Curse (1987), Color From the Dark (2008), The Colour Out of Space (Die Farbe) (2010) and then this most recent adaption starring Nick Cage with a modest twelve million dollar budget.

Now for the review:

When the meteorite first hits the Gardner farm

Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a score of 86% on the TomatoMeter and an audience score of 82%. Not bad. This was the first time in a while that I didn’t pause the movie to go get snacks or go to the bathroom. Visually, this movie was STUNNING. The use of the magenta-like color was not only gorgeous but eerie as fuck. As the Gardner’s land becomes increasingly contaminated with this bizarre color it mirrors the level of madness in the characters. Nathan (Cage) becomes increasingly crazier (Cagier) throughout the film. I have to say, Nick Cage was PERFECT for this role, and I’m not usually a fan of his work but he did a superb job in this movie. There’s also a memorable performance by Madeleine Arthur who plays daughter, Lavinia. I found her character the most intriguing as she struggles between her teenage life as a young quick-witted Wiccan and what’s happening around her. Part of her feels responsible for what’s happening to her family after performing a well intended ritual for her mother’s cancer. She seems to be the only one in the family, besides her stoner brother, Benny (Brendan Meyer) that knows they have to get away from this farm. You really root for her but then…

Poor Lavinia

There’s some pretty great shocking scenes in this film. A staple for Lovecraftian horror. The more shocking and unsettling, the better! But let’s just say there’s a scene involving Mom/Theresa (Joely Richardson) and young son Jack that will haunt your nightmares for years to come. It’s gruesome, it’s shocking, it’s spectacular! Totally Lovecraft.

And if this hasn’t made you want to watch just yet, I should mention that Tommy Chong has an unexpected yet welcome appearance in this film. Reading the character of Ezra, (Ammi) in the short story, I don’t think anyone could have played that part better than Tommy Chong who absolutely nailed it.

Tommy being… well… Tommy

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this movie AND short story. I wasn’t this happy with a film since The Void. I keep thinking about it. That’s how you know you’ve watched a good movie, you’ll replay it for days in your head. I would definitely watch this again. Since, I have picked up the book, The Complete Fiction by H.P Lovecraft. I am currently devouring it.

5 knives out 5.

If you’d like to read the original short story, here’s a link where you can find it.

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Let’s Talk About The Void

(2016) Directed/written by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. Produced by Jonathan Bronfman and Casey Walker (The Witch 2015)

Last week I asked for some movie recommendations, an Instagram friend suggested this. He told me if I liked 80s horror movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Hellraiser – with a Lovecraftian element – that I should give this a try. The Thing? Hellraiser? Lovecraft? SOLD! I love my horror with a touch of science fiction that explores how frail we truly are as human beings. I researched it immediately. I learned it was Canadian- bonus. I wondered how this title slipped by me as a Canadian, and as a horror lover. I learned it had only a budget of $82,000 – crowdfunded on Indigogo. This movie has so many fantastic and impressive special effects that I’m floored they were able to pull it all off on such a tight budget.

I don’t want to run a play by play and spoil this experience for others but I will give you the jist.

The movie starts off with a guy, James (Evan Stern) fleeing a house and escaping into the woods. His female companion isn’t so lucky. She’s gunned down by “the father and son” and then set on fire. Deputy Sherrif Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) stumbles across the guy, who appears to be pretty shaken and beaten up. Carter takes him to a nearby hospital. The building is on the verge of closing due to fire damage. It’s narrowly staffed.

Also in the hospital are:

A woman on the verge of giving birth.

Maggie and her grandfather: Ben.

An intern named Kim (Ellen Wong).

Cliff : Some random bloke who’s just there.

Nurse Beverly, head doctor (Kenneth Welsh)

…and of course the Deputy Sheriff’s wife? Ex- wife? Estranged? We don’t know yet. We know her name is Allison. (Kathleen Munroe)

The film goes for it and we’re suddenly confronted by a bloody scene involving Nurse Beverly and Cliff. Poor, innocent Cliff. (spoilers)

As Deputy Sherrif Carter tries to radio for help, he is confronted and surrounded by a bunch of hooded cultists forcing him back inside the near abandoned hospital. That’s never good. Next thing Nurse Beverly has “re-emerged” as some sort of tentacled creature. Enter “The Thing” vibes. The Father and Son arrive and they seem to know what they’re doing.

This movie really has it all. There’s blood, there’s gore, there’s creature effects, a cult, a man who thinks he has the power of God, a gory birthing scene, love, and another dimension. What else can you ask for?

I was thoroughly pleased with this movie, it was exciting from start to finish. I give it 5 knives out 5.

Images from IMDB Photo Gallery
Images from the IMDB Photo Gallery

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Let’s Talk About Peter Jackson’s Dead-Alive

Dead-Alive, Directed by Peter Jackson, 1993.

This film goes by two titles with two covers. There are many cuts of this film depending on where you live due to the gore. It was originally released as Braindead (1992) in New Zealand, but was relased under the title of Dead-Alive (1993) in North American. A distribution company was concerned it would be confused with another film with the same title, so Dead-Alive it became.

In the UK and Australia, it was released in its full 104 minute totality. The Brits and Aussies found the gore to be light-hearted and comical so they had no qualms with the gore scenes. Two different cuts exist in Germany: The 94 minute cut removed most of the grislier bits. The uncut version is actually banned in Germany. It is also illegal to publicly exhibit the film in Germany. (wikipedia) The over-the-top gory violence also means the film has been banned in South Korea and Singapore. In Finland, the film was unbanned and released uncut in 2001. On Rotten Tomatoes, Dead-Alive ranks at an 88% Tomatometer and 87% Audience Score.

Original New Zealand Release 1992

This was my first experience with a Horror/Comedy style film. A few friends and I rented this back in 1993. We all piled into my small room and waitied. We probably should have reconsidered eating snacks during this screening.

The story contains an overbearing smothering mother, who ends up getting bit by a Sumatran rat-monkey while spying on her grown son at a zoo while he makes time with a local hottie. Vera is a cautionary tale of what can happen when you’re too overbearing and controlling as a mother.

This film contains zombification, dismemberment, unintentional cannabilism, and one gruesome lawnmower scene that reportedly used 80 gallons of fake blood shooting out five gallons per second! It really is one Supreme Splatter fest!

Yes. This is the same Peter Jackson that did Lord of the Rings.

Quite possibly the most disgusting dinner scene ever!

Mmmmm, delicious creamy custard, just how I like it.

I think it was about here when we set down our snacks.

The spectacularly bloody, gruesome and very wet lawnmower scene!

A real lawnmower was used for this scene. The main actor, Timothy Balme had to be super careful not to lose a limb himself or hit the other actors while filming. They fed wax limbs into the mower blades for maximum gore and splatter.

I can sincerely attribute Dead-Alive as my introduction to Gore Horror. I loved the effects. I feel like if a movie makes you want to vomit, the effects team has done their job. It truly is an art form. After this I went on a life long spree of watching and collecting gore films. Dead-Alive is truly one of my all time favorites!

When Lord of the Rings came out I was like, Peter Jackson? Really??? Who knew?

Thanks to Bloody Disgusting for some cool new info! Check out their piece as well!

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Let’s Talk About Gore

In Sequence from top left: Misery 1990, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning 2006, Hostel  2005, The Hills Have Eyes 2006, The Thing 1982.

In Sequence from top left: Misery 1990, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning 2006, Hostel 2005, The Hills Have Eyes 2006, The Thing 1982.

I’ve always had a fascination with Gore scenes in Horror Movies. I see it as an artform. If you can make the viewers sick to the pits of their stomachs, CONGRATULATIONS! You Win!

Today, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite, most gruesome, goriest scenes that have stood out in my mind and haunted my dreams for decades. Scenes that have made me shudder with disgust and horror. One scene even made me vomit. Nice work Hostel.

Misery 1990, based upon the riveting novel by Stephen King, or as I refer to him, (God), directed by Rob Reiner. The story finds the author, Paul Sheldon being held captive by superfan, Annie Wilkes. Literally one of the BEST female antagonists ever written. After Wilkes finds that Sheldon has escaped his room and snooped about her home she finds a solution. Hobbling. Hobbling a person is the act of crushing the bones in a person’s ankles and feet so that they may not walk; it is mostly used as a form of torture. When Annie got that club out… Well, it made for one MASSIVE gasp in the theater. Ouch!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning 2006. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. I literally walked out of the theater after seeing this thinking to myself, “What did I just gain from watching this?The Beginning was FILLED with gut-churning, vomit-inducing gore. One of the most violent films I have ever seen. Infact, there’s a censorship report on this movie. Several different cuts of the film exists depending on the country you live in. The most memorable and barf-worthy scene for me was the leg amputation of Uncle Monty. Watching that chainsaw rip through Uncle Monty’s legs as the blood spews forth made me set my suddenly unwanted popcorn to the floor. I left this movie feeling quite nauseated, I questioned whether I could even watch another horror movie after that. Imagine!

Hostel 2005, directed by Eli Roth (Quentin Tarantino’s protege). I actually really enjoyed this series despite the gross factor. A unique story based upon three young men traveling abroad. They stay in a Hostel only to discover there’s something far more sinister going on in the Slovakian city they chose to stay in. (Supposed to be hot ladies there or some shit) The scene that really stuck out was the torture of Kana, the young Asian woman that is eventually “saved” by the film’s “hero”, Paxton. She’s held and tortured in the worst ways. The eyes; I can’t handle eye stuff, and this was one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever watched. Watching that blow torch edge towards Kana’s eye until it basically explodes and oozes down her face made me run to my bathroom and vomit, just a little bit.

The Hills Have Eyes 2006, directed by Alexandre Aja. He had a lot to live up to from Wes Craven’s 1977 classic. The 2006 version however takes gore to a whole new level that simply couldn’t be replicated in the 70s. This was a truly violent and distubing film. A family takes an RV vacation and ends up stalled out in an empty canyon. What they don’t know is that they’re surrounded by a bunch of inbred mutants exposed to Agent Orange that have been residing in a highly radioactive area that was used for nuclear testing by the US Government in the 40s. There’s a violent sexual assault scene that literally made me furious. There’s so much gore in this movie it’s hard to pinpoint one moment. The best part was when the film’s heroes, siblings, Brenda and Bobby, with the help of Brother-in-law Doug finally reach the mutants full of rage and loss, the payback is horrifically delicious. I highly recommend this film if you want a thrill ride that leaves you feeling like you need a therapy session or two.

Last, but not least, is one of my first ever experiences with gore. John Carpenter’s The Thing 1982. Starring the forever handsome Kurt Russel as bad ass RJ MacReady. Wow. This is literally one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE Horror movies. Set in remote Antarctica, a team of research scientists get more than they bargained for when taking in a stray dog that’s being shot at and pursued by a helicopter. (Thanks Clark) We soon learn that this “dog” is by no means a dog but rather an alien lifeform that can replicate any living being. An alien lifeform that threatens the future of the ENTIRE PLANET! What?! No! But yes, after teammate Vance Norris becomes one of these things, MacReady takes the flame thrower to him. What happens next kept me sleeping on my parent’s bedroom floor for the next three months. As the Norris thing’s body starts to burn, the Norris-Thing’s head tears itself away from it’s shoulders and slowly slides down the side of the table onto the floor, where it extends a long tentacle from it’s mouth and grabs onto a desk before slowly pulling itself underneath it. It then grows six spider-like legs and pair of insect eyes on stalks, thus becoming the Head Spider. After the men put out the fire with extinguishers, the Head Spider tries to scuttle away while they aren’t looking, but is unfortunately spotted by Windows and Palmer, the latter making an incredulous statement which alerts MacReady who turns around and incinerates the Head Spider before it can escape. (Excerpt from who explains it far more eloquently than I, and a site I have visited countless times over the years)

That Spider head gave me nightmares for months. I would look under my bed every night (I was 8 or 9 when I saw this movie) before jumping on top only to lay there wondering if my cat was actually a cat or…

What gore scenes stand out to you? What movie left you somewhat emotionally scarred? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Creepy Horror Family

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