Monday, October 31, 2005

Contest Winners!

Happy Halloween, guys and ghouls.

The verdict is in after some very enjoyable reading these past few weeks. I'd like to reiterate that the contest was handled very carefully for anonymity's sake--the submissions were sent to an account that I steered clear of accessing. All personalized information was stripped out by a very helpful third party, and the submissions were sent to me under a complete veil of anonymity. And I enjoyed reading every damn one of them.

That being said, here is the list of winners...

First place and recipient of my brand-spanking new copy of The Shining was the classic Edgar Allen Poe story, "The Tell-Tale Heart" which I will reprint below for your reading pleasures. This story was submitted by none other than (yes, I hear your collective sighs, but congratulate the boy, you nasty bitches) Eric M.. Congrats, Eric.

I'd also like to give honorable mentions to two other notable submissions I received:

The first was a couple of original (and damn frightening) scary stories--"The House Below" and "The Organ Murders"--submitted by Kathy Blaylock. Keep on writing, Kathy, because you spooked my socks off. Had you not been up against master of horror, Mr. Poe, you most certainly would've stolen first place.

The other honorable mention goes to Rosemary Kartali who sent in a creepy but ultimately funny true-story titled "Croaked the Unknown... Nevermore" of events that took place in her own home.

Thanks to all who entered, and a very Happy Halloween to everyone.

* * * * * *


by Edgar Allan Poe

TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses --not destroyed --not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily --how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees --very gradually --I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.
Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded --with what caution --with what foresight --with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it --oh so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously --cautiously (for the hinges creaked) --I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights --every night just at midnight --but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.
Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers --of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back --but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.
I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out --"Who's there?"
I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening; --just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.
Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief --oh, no! --it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself --"It is nothing but the wind in the chimney --it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel --although he neither saw nor heard --to feel the presence of my head within the room.
When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little --a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it --you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily --until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.
It was open --wide, wide open --and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness --all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.
And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? --now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.
But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! --do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me --the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once --once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eve would trouble me no more.
If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.
I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye --not even his --could have detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out --no stain of any kind --no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all --ha! ha!
When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock --still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, --for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.
I smiled, --for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search --search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.
The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: --It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness --until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.
No doubt I now grew very pale; --but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased --and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound --much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath --and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly --more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men --but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I foamed --I raved --I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder --louder --louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! --no, no! They heard! --they suspected! --they knew! --they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and now --again! --hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!
"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!"


Thursday, October 27, 2005

The 100 Scariest Movie Moments

Those of you who have Bravo may wanna tune in to check out

The 100 Scariest Movie Moments

Fri, Oct 28 at
  • 3:00 PM

  • 4:00 PM

  • 2:30 AM

  • 3:30 AM

  • Sat, Oct 29 at
  • 7:00 PM

  • 8:00 PM

  • 9:00 PM

  • 10:00 PM

  • 11:00 PM

  • 2:00 AM

  • 3:00 AM

  • 4:00 AM

  • 5:00 AM

  • Sun, Oct 30 at
  • 6:00 AM

  • 3:00 PM

  • 4:00 PM

  • 5:00 PM

  • 6:00 PM

  • 9:00 PM

  • Mon, Oct 31 at
  • 3:00 PM

  • 4:00 PM

  • Poltergeist

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Since my vcr finally kicked the bucket the other night, I've had to forgo two movies I was looking forward to watching, Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes and George Romero's The Crazies. This saddens me as I have been growing particularly fond of 1970's horror flicks as of late, so I was eagerly awaiting their viewings. Thankfully, however, Poltergeist happened to be in at the library yesterday, so I was able to give that a second chance instead...

    Plotline: A suburban family begins to experience weird events in their home. Their daughter begins speaking to a staticky television, things start moving around the house, and soon enough, some sort of hole into another dimension appears and sucks their youngest daughter into it. The parents must find a way to get her back...

    Scariness factor: This movie is a Steven Spielberg flick through and through. Not necessarily a COMPLAINT, but it surely does have that Spielberg feel (and despite the fact that Tobe Hooper directed the thing, you probably wouldn't be able to tell even if your life depended on it). It's slick and Hollywoodish, and the special fx vary from the super-lame (giant demon-head erupting from closet, fake "smoke") to the awesome (shit moving around the house, people being sucked towards the closet, etc.), but it has some good scary moments if you can look beyond some of the hokier special fx.

    Originality: There's some originality to it, but it makes a lot of familiar horror-movie moves throughout. However, there is a "dragged up the walls" scene in it that must've inspired (or at least given ideas to) A Nightmare on Elm Street, although the latter does it FAR creepier. All in all, the movie is a ghost story that throws in the notion of an "alternate dimension" that living beings can be sucked into as well--nothing TERRIBLY original, but at least a bit of a twist on a classic.

    Complaints: I was left confused about a few things--in the movie, the notion of a "poltergeist" is expounded upon--the parapsychologists stress that the problem may not be a haunting (which has to do with a PLACE) and may be associated with a PERSON (presumably their daughter). And, of course, the movie is CALLED Poltergeist. And yet, I'm left wondering whether we're supposed to ASSUME it's a poltergeist given that it looks like a regular old haunted house to me (especially since much energy is put towards explaining that the weird events are due to the fact that the house was built on an old cemetery)--the fact that there are sequels probably says that it IS a poltergeist (if the damn events keep following the girl around), but though it's perhaps a picky point, the fact that they spend a good chunk of dialogue emphasizing the idea of the poltergeist when, in reality, it doesn't ever seem to BE a poltergeist was a bit confusing to me. Anyways, other than just basic moments of faltering logic, my only big complaints were that a) it has that dude from Coach in it (though surprisingly, he was much less irritating than I expected), and b) it has some DAMN awful special fx--I mean, really, how hard is it to get a good-looking ghost-fog going? I mean, if you can make a guy peeling his own face off look convincing, is fog really THAT much more difficult? Also, the little girl irritates me. I don't know why. But she does.

    High Points: Despite them also being a complaint, some of the special fx are also a high point of the movie as well. There are some really lame-ass special fx. But there are also some really cool ones as well. And the movie is a lot of fun and definitely entertaining, so that makes it worthwhile as well.

    Overall: I always thought this movie was really lame (I think partially because I didn't see it when I was younger, and I think a lot of its creep-factor comes from the fact that it's gotta be blood-curdling to see as a child) but having given it a second chance, I was entertained. I am still not quite sure why it's a "classic" horror flick, per se, but it definitely was a fun ride.

    (Check out Five Dollar Beer's Review for a second-opinion)

    Grade: B


    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    The Fog

    Finally! Five Dollar Beer has returned (from the dead)!

    --Reviewed by Patrick

    From the dark streets of New York, I have returned! Sorry it's been so long since my last blog, but worry not, I've not been remiss in my horror movie watching duties. I've simply not had the time to blog about them. This all changes now!

    Plotline: The small town of Antonio Bay is celebrating its 100 year anniversary. But, the town has a dark past that has come back to collect its dues for the wrongs of a century ago. It's not long before a few people in Antonio Bay realize that the thick fog rolling into town has something very sinister hidden in it.

    Scariness factor: The Fog was John Carpenter's first film after making the amazing Halloween and his horror chops were obviously at peak level here. As Lindy Loo has mentioned, the greatest scares aren't what you see, but what you don't see and The Fog has this in spades. Never is a bunch of dry ice so ominous and terrifying.

    Originality: They've actually just remade this movie, as seems to be the current trend. I would probably avoid that, but that would probably be the only film I've heard of, before or since, like this one.

    Complaints: Though, as is obvious, I liked this movie, it's certainly not perfect. The acting is pretty sub-par (except for Jamie Lee Curtis, of course) and there are alot of those horror movie moments where you wonder how dense the people on the screen actually are. The climactic scene also uses its special fx in a really over-the-top way, which was at odds with the subtle tone of the rest of the film's fx.

    High Points: I gotta admit, as dated as they might seem now, I am a sucker for John Carpenter's soundtracks from both this and Halloween.
    They are so signature and so spooky , I can completely forgive them for being a little dated. As I mentioned before, there's also Jamie Lee Curtis, America's most loved Scream Queen. Then there's the fact that, well, it's just a great horror movie: ominous, subtle, spooky and a high body count. Can't go wrong.

    Overall: Before you go waste your $7.50 (or $10.50 New York prices) at the theater, go rent original. A definitely under-appreciated horror classic.

    Grade: A


    Monday, October 24, 2005


    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Scanners can control people's minds and also destroy them through a simple thought. Of course this is a threat to the general human population. So one scanner who hasn't become a part of the underground scanner movement is sent to destroy Revok (one of the most despicable and terrifying scanners). Something like that.

    Scariness factor: I like the idea of the movie--it creeps me out quite a bit. But there are no major jumps in it. It won't make you immediately run and turn all your lights on. It's creepy, but moreso in a sci-fi, spooky kinda way.

    Originality: Movies have been made about different types of mind control (telekinesis in Carrie for example) but I'm not aware of any prior movies where people were able to make other folks' heads explode from sheerly thinking hard enough about it. Man, if I had those powers, I can only imagine how I'd misuse them. Heh heh.

    Complaints: The movie is a bit sluggish. I found myself getting distracted and thinking about Halloween and October and the oncoming winter midway through it. There is a huge lull in the middle of the movie where nothing really happens except talking and stuff, and that was a bit boring.

    High Points: The dude's head exploding towards the beginning--super cool special fx! Also, the end scene of the movie (the battle between scanners) is visually creepy and disturbing. And I dug that as well.

    Overall: I could take or leave this movie. It wasn't bad by any means, but it really didn't knock my socks off either.

    Grade: C


    The Amityville Horror (2005)

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    And so ends the good-horror-movie streak...

    Plotline: The Lutz family moves into a house that was recently the scene of a brutal murder. The house begins to drive George (the "father") mad and unleash havoc on the rest of the family.

    Scariness factor: A quote from a review that jumped out at me when I was searching for a link to The Amityville Horror (2005) was so startlingly accurate that I can't help but reprint it here: "I've seen episodes of Sesame Street that were more frightening than this generic junk." Clearly the creators of this remake have NO conception of subtlety and how to skillfully use this to frighten their viewers. From the very start, absolutely nothing is left to our imagination and we are bludgeoned with lame scene after lame scene of horrific ghosts haunting the house. Most of these scenes really make little sense, which also detracts from the scariness of the movie: in one scene, the ghost of the little girl that haunts the house is pulled up into the ceiling by a few pairs of hands that are reaching out from it. Why? We have no clue, other than to look visually interesting. I was by no means in love with the original Amityville Horror--I haven't seen it in a while but always thought it kind of sluggish and not terribly scary--but I'd take its lowkey horror over this heavy-handed schlock any day.

    Originality: Again, Scott Kosar (who remade The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as well) heavy-handedly rips off an old classic and craps it up to maximum power. Bah, I say.

    Complaints: Oh, where to even start. My biggest complaint of course was the lack of subtlety. The ghosts were so abundant in this film (many of which are unexplained really--who are they exactly, other than gruesome faces intended to frighten us) that they became laughable very quickly. Ryan Reynolds is pretty, but he's also one of the WORST actors EVER. I suppose I should've known this though since I think he got his start on that crappy show Two Guys and a Pizza Shop. Why Kosar decided to try and give the movies a '70's feel is also beyond me. It's like watching teeny-boppers walk around in "vintage" clothing that they in actuality bought from The Gap. It doesn't even really GET the sense of how 1970's horror flicks FEEL, and this is coming from someone who's remade TWO of them! The CGI fx suck as per usual--I'll take thousands of flies unleashed in a room over a computer-animated version of the same situation any day. And finally, this movie's lack of logic is ASTOUNDING. I wish the Lutz family would've died just so it would've ended sooner.

    Oh, and one more complaint that I forgot to mention when I wrote this review earlier: the movie takes ridiculous liberties with the book. The filmmaker both read the book and saw the original movie but decided to focus in on the murders that took place there rather than the house itself. And he took outlandish liberties with the details of the Amityville Horror story. So instead of feeling an impending sense of dread due to the creepiness of an inanimate object (a house), you are instead thrown into your typical Hollywood crapfest of a ghost movie. Take away the idea of the house as demonic force (similar to The Shining resort) and you've just got a regular old ghost-story. The filmmakers failed to take advantage of the fact that "It seemed that perhaps the demons that drove Butch to slaughter his family were not in his head but in the house" and failed to include any of the following creeptastic events in the movie (unless completely morphed into different circumstances): "An unseen force ripped doors from hinges and slammed cabinets closed, noxious green slime oozed from the ceilings, a biblical-scale swarm of insects attacked the family, and a demonic face with glowing red eyes peered into their house at night, leaving cloven-hoofed footprints in the morning snow. A priest called upon to bless the house was driven back with painful blisters on his hands, famously told by a demonic voice to "Get out!" And so on" (Snopes). Why remake a movie, why make a movie based on a true story for that matter, and do whatever the hell you want with it without even attempting to stay true to the facts? And if you DO do this, why not just name it something completely different?

    High Points: The *only* thing that I found remotely interesting in the movie is that for once, the half-nekkid body of the female lead in the movie wasn't exploited. Instead we get an astounding number of gratuitous shots of Ryan Reynolds half-clothed. And he ain't too shabby to look at, so it was at least a TINY bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

    Overall: Garbage. Crap. Shit in a pair of poop-stained underpants. This movie sucked and was a big fat waste of time. Avoid at all costs.

    Grade: D-


    Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Rosemary's Baby

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Rosemary and her husband move into a new place in NYC with strange next-door neighbors. Rosemary quickly becomes pregnant, but something is not quite right with the pregnancy. She becomes convinced that her neighbors are part of a coven and plan to kidnap and sacrifice her child.

    Scariness factor: The spookiness of this movie is very understated--you won't find yourself jumping in your seat and you won't be wowed by special effects. But the underlying creepiness that runs through the movie is still well-done. Just don't go in expecting a high-paced frightfest.

    Originality: Again, not sure in the long history of film whether or not another movie had been done on a similar topic prior to Rosemary's Baby, but the movie is quite clever and interesting and offers up a harrowing turn at the end.

    Complaints: The movie is a bit long (running 137 minutes, I believe). Polanski doesn't seem to like to cut his movies down too much and, though it didn't really ever lose my interest, I'm sure some cuts could've been made to make the movie shorter.

    High Points: The acting is fantastic, between Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes and all the other folks in the movie. And Ruth Gordon (of Harold and Maude fame) adds a nice bit of creepy light-heartedness to the movie as well with her cute quirkiness and old-lady ramblings. There are many nice moments where she'll be doing something funny in the background or muttering something funny on the side. And although I'm not a huge Roman Polanski fan (Repulsion is really the only other movie of his that I really dug above and beyond the typical ho-hum movie), he does a really good job building up suspense, developing characters, and capturing some damn creepy moments.

    Overall: I feel like a nerd because I've been giving movies an A rating left and right for the past couple weeks, but I've gotta say--I've hit a good horror-movie streak lately. So although it may seem like I'm no longer being critical, that is most certainly not the case. And with that being said, I dug Rosemary's Baby quite a bit. I'd seen it once before but wasn't bowled over by it then (I was much younger and didn't have quite so "discerning" movie tastes). But seeing it this second time 'round, I definitely appreciated its subtle moves and its low-key scariness. Don't go in expecting the fast pace of something like Scream--go in expecting a bit more character development and higher-quality direction, and you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

    Grade: A



    Ladies & gents of the land of nightmares:

    Today is the final day to enter the CONTEST to win a brand new copy of The Shining.

    I repeat: TODAY is the FINAL DAY to enter!!!

    So get your submissions in **before midnight** tonight (rules HERE), and the winner will be announced on Halloween!

    And in the meantime, for your amusement, check out The Shining in 30 Seconds...

    Redrum redrum redrum!

    Rules for Watching a Horror Movie

    --Lindy Loo

    1. It *MUST* be watched at night. Not just dusk but full-on pitch-black nighttime. *UNLESS* you are watching it in a movie theater. Then it can be seen at any time of the day, though night is preferable.

    2. It *MUST* be watched with the lights off. At NO TIME should you turn the light back on, if at all possible.

    3. Horror movies SHOULD typically be watched completely alone. But I break this rule often myself. However, this is the preferred mode of viewing.

    4. You should avoid a) eating while watching the movie and b) turning off the movie to pee or get up or do anything else that might distract you from the hopefully building spookiness and suspense.

    5. Horror movies should be immediately popped into the dvd player if there is a spooky and terrifying storm going on late at night.

    6. Horror flicks are to be watched in huge numbers and without shame in the month of October, particularly as Halloween approaches.

    PS. I watched Rosemary's Baby last night but, quite frankly, I'm pooped for putting out for you guys all week. All this reviewing has fried my brain. So no review today (unless I get a second-wind), but I promise to do one on Monday. Happy hauntings this weekend!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Win a Copy of The Shining!!

    Just a reminder, the contest ends tomorrow night at midnight, so get any last-minute entries in now while you can!

    Read the rules HERE.

    The Thing

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: A group of scientists living in Antarctica encounter an alien being that is let loose from the ice and is able to shapeshift to assume human form.

    Scariness factor: This movie has some excellent special effects that will scar you for life. I typically am all about subtlety in movies, and most of my favorite horror flicks don't rely much on special effects. But I've gotta say, this movie is reliant on them, and they are some damn good, and haunting, special effects. You will get scenes of a horrible-looking alien, scenes of the alien half-way morphed into human form and being set mercilessly on fire, and the most terrifying--there is a scene where the alien sorta of erupts from its human form, its head engulfing the head of a man nearby and sending him writhing and squirming in the air as he is chewed on by this thing. So goddamn freaky I'm surprised I slept last night.
    I also am intrigued by two different ideas that this movie offers (which I've been fond of in other movies as well): the notion of folks being horribly trapped, in that no matter what choice they make (to stay or go) chances are they will die (Dead Calm is another good example of this where they're trapped on a boat with a killer and have nowhere to run--they can either try to swim away and be caught again or drown or stay and be tortured). In this case, it's either stay and battle the alien or leave and freeze to death in the sub-zero weather of Antarctica. This adds to the creepiness of the movie because, unlike typical horror flicks where you end up wondering why things are quite so terrifying when all they have to do is run run run run run and hide hide hide hide hide and eventually they'll be able to escape, there is a certain claustrophobia and hopelessness to the situation.
    The other idea I like is this notion of the alien assuming a human form, all the way down to thought and mannerisms and actions. This is terrifying to me because not only can you not trust anyone around you, you can't really trust yourself either, because perhaps YOU might be an alien as well. Good shit.

    Originality: Kind of a spin on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers idea, but the idea of not being able to trust anyone is much more intense.

    Complaints: The lack of logic in the movie made me roll my eyes a bit--I mean, these men know that some sort of alien form has come to where they are at in the Antarctic and tried taking the shape of a dog, so one of the head scientists types this information into the computer and is told that "There is a 75% chance that someone is infected" and a few moments later that the chances are high that the alien would spread like wildfire and take out most of the human population if it was unleashed into a city (within a certain period of the time that the computer is able to also compute). Now, how the computer would actually be able to calculate all of this when the men don't even know what this being IS or how it WORKS etc. is beyond me, but I sure as shit wanna get me one of them computers.

    High Points: The special fx--no contest. They really are impressive and terrifying. Trust me, pics may give you a bit of a clue, but they don't do the special fx any justice--you need to see them in terrifying bloody action.

    Overall: I was actually quite impressed with the film since it's not one whose name I hear tossed about often between horror movie geeks. I went in leery (it has Kurt Russell in it who usually makes me wanna rip out all of my teeth, and the beginning made me wonder whether or not I was gonna be able to get into it since it starts off with a flying saucer) but I left the movie really damn scared--it will leave you with some horrifying images that will stick with you for a while, so if you're a special fx geek or you just like being freaked out, I'd definitely recommend.

    Grade: A-


    Tuesday, October 18, 2005


    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Carrie is your typical meek-mannered punching bag of a high school student with a crazed religious fanatic for a mom. Out of pity, she is invited to the prom where all hell breaks lose.

    Scariness factor: I have been lucking out on this front with movies recently, and Carrie is riding the coattails of this lucky streak. This movie spooks me out from beginning to end. It is realistic and disturbing in how it portrays high school students and how they enjoy picking on the outcasts. It has creepy religious fanatacism out the wazoo. And Sissy Spacek is FANTASTIC in the climactic scenes of the movie (I'd argue that she's perhaps one of *THE* best horror movie performances around)--just her facial expression will leave you shuddering...

    Originality: The story is of a social outcast wreaking mayhem and revenge upon her tormenters, about a social outcast who has powers of telekinesis, and about a social outcast who has a crazed religious fanatic as a mother. I'd say that's pretty damn original.

    Complaints: Hm. I really cannot think of any. I know I had one yesterday that I thought of, but I can't remember it now.

    High Points: Most definitely Sissy Spacek--she is fantastically sympathetic and yet fantastically creepy in this movie. Her mother in the movie also gives a horribly creepy performance as well. And finally, Brian De Palma does an excellent job of directing and filming the movie--there are many really nice and spooky shots, where the camera is slightly off-center or above or in split-screen or a variety of other De Palma-esque moves. He does a nice job with this flick.

    Overall: This is damn good stuff. If you're looking for a horror movie that is a bit meatier than normal and that has some high-quality acting, this is the movie for you.

    Grade: A


    Monday, October 17, 2005



    We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to remind you that you have only four more days to enter and win a copy of The Shining. You must have your submissions in no later than midnight on Thursday to win.

    To find out more details and rules, click HERE.


    We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Halloween (1978)

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    It seems almost silly and pointless to review this since it's a horror classic, but as I am your humble slave, here goes...

    Plotline: Michael Myers stabs his sister to death at the mere age of 5 and is shipped off to a mental institution in return. Flash forward to twenty years later--Myers has managed to escape and has returned to his home-town to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting.

    Scariness factor: Like I said, this is a classic, and for good reason--it delivers up creepy moments left and right. It will make you jump in your seat and will leave you tense and awaiting every new blow. That's good movie-making.

    Originality: This is one of the first in the line of slasher films with recurring "villains." It's one of the first where the villain just won't die. And it is one of the first where the promiscuous are promptly punished for their lustfulness. I'd say that's pretty original.

    Complaints: Like totally. This is my only complaint--the chick who spouts off a "totally" in nearly every scene she is in should've either been killed off sooner or should've had better dialogue written for her.

    High Points: Fantastically creepy score. Some terribly creepy moments. I've seen this movie half a dozen times and STILL jumped once or twice. Is good stuff.

    Overall: Watch it. It's your obligation this Halloween season, especially since it's aptly named.

    Grade: A


    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    The American Nightmare

    "The unconscious is not a pretty place..."

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    If you are a horror movie nerd like me, you really MUST check out this documentary. And if you AREN'T a horror movie nerd (though I wonder why you'd even be wasting your time checking out this page if you aren't), you should really check it out as well so that we might be able to bring you over to "the dark side."

    The American Nightmare is a really impressive and interesting examination of horror movies from the 1960's and 70's placed in a historical and sociocultural context. It closely examines The Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, Shivers, Dawn of the Dead, and Halloween. It also showcases many of the masters of horror (Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, George Romero, John Carpenter) waxing intellectually on what inspired their movies and what they were trying to do by bringing such raw horror to the public. These are brilliant (and surprisingly normal) men, and it was nice hearing them speak so intelligently on their own movies, discounting all the naysayers who look at horror films as "purely trash." It really was an interesting documentary (gleefully and smartly legimitizing horror cinema within the land of film theory), and I found that as the end of the 73 minutes running-time neared, I didn't want it to be over with.

    Highlights of the documentary:

  • Hearing a mild-mannered and soft-spoken Tobe Hooper discussing the time that he was packed into the hardware section of a department store and suddenly became sickeningly claustrophobic and desperately wanting out and, as he plotted the quickest way to extract himself from the situation, noticed the display of chainsaws sitting in front of him and came to a brief and disgusting solution which, within 30 seconds, he'd completely morphed into the frame of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre--how cool is that??

  • The notion of film as the perfect medium for horror stories--how at first film promised immortality by capturing a person's image on it forever and allowing them to live on past death, but how quickly the realization hit that what you get is not really "someone who lives forever" but someone "forced to repeat the same gestures over and over again, condemned to an eternal repetition."

  • Listening to how his time as a combat-photographer in Vietnam became a disturbing source of inspiration for special fx guru Tom Savini--how he distanced himself from the horror of Vietnam by trying to hide behind his camera and how he took it home with him, his photo studies becoming a way to perfect his special fx achievement by trying to duplicate them.

  • Listening to scholars, all grinning and geeked-up, talking about horror movies.

  • Notable and interesting quotes:

  • "We know we're gonna die, so we are the living dead." -- George Romero

  • "The pleasure of a horror film is... constantly moving back and forth between 'this is something I need to watch and I need to work out' to 'why in the hell am I watching this, who am I for being interested in this kind of thing??'"

  • Why kids should go to scary movies--It "strengthens their egos, strengthens their sense of fortitude."

  • Horror films "tell us over and over again--the apocalypse isn't now, it's always and ongoing. There's no easy way to go back before the apocalypse and there's no easy way to imagine a time after it. There's only this moment to moment struggle that we are all obligated to engage in."

  • Rating: A

    Labels: ,

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    The Lost Boys

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Back in the day ("the day" being slightly pre-puberty), The Lost Boys was one of my favorite movies. I owned a cassette copy of the soundtrack. It was the reason that I now own an autographed photo of Kiefer Sutherland and was smitten with him for years. That being said, I figured watching this movie again with my twenty-eight years now under my belt, I'd be horrified and sobbing at my childhood nerdiness. But thankfully, I was pleasantly pleasantly surprised...

    Plotline: Two brothers move with their mother to a California town (the murder capital of the world) to find themselves not only having to deal with a new home but also a town full of young vampires.

    Scariness factor: The past two weeks, I'd been looking for a movie that would serve up a fast-paced frightfest, only to be slightly bummed out by slow-moving flicks delivering only minor scares. Thank god for The Lost Boys. Dammit if this movie still doesn't creep my pants off, and with good reason. The scenes where folks get attacked by vampires are so creepily and skillfully done that it's hard NOT to be spooked--we never get a real good glimpse of what is happening, we are just placed in the visual position of the vampires as they swoop down and drag the people off into the sky, screaming. These scenes are fantastically well-done, leaving pretty much everything up to the imagination. And that's what scares, folks. What little we do see in subsequent vampire-attack scenes is given to us in brief fits and bursts, so that by the time you have discerned what's happening (scalps being ripped off, jugulars being torn apart), it's already long gone. The vampires themselves, when in full-blown glory, are another reason to find yourself checking your back for the next few hours--the makeup and special effects are pretty much seamless. The mood and atmosphere of the movie is also mighty spooky--you'll get lots of over-head vampire-view shots of the town. You'll get crazed-sounding carnivals on beaches. You'll get lots of mist and dark, menacing shots. All that being said, Joel Schumacher has done a damn good job of making one creepy-ass movie.

    Originality: Of course there are an exhaustive amount of vampire movies in existence, but this one stands above the heads of many of them. Not only is it chock-full of scares and high-quality special effects, it also has a fantastic sense of humor. The Lost Boys never takes itself TOO seriously, and this is a great thing for a horror flick. In it, we have a doddering and smart-assed grandfather who delivers one-liners with a one-two-punch. We have a couple of pre-teens dressed in army gear who are the towns "vampire killers." We have the melodrama of teenagers trying to interact with their parents. We have scenes where you can't help but laugh because the main character, in his slow coming-to-terms with vampirism, finds himself floating outside of the house, hanging on by only a telephone cord, while his younger brother screams and screams and refuses to let him in. So what The Lost Boys lacks in originality, it makes up for in pacing and comic relief--in between scares and vampire scenes, the movie's pace never wanes because the humor and characters make up for it. And the movie is also at least a bit original in its interpretation of vampires--the gang of vamps here is a bunch of rowdy misfits with a sexy edge, teenagers trying to rebel. This is also new and fun.

    Complaints: The horrible horrible 80's-ness of this flick is almost nauseating. The soundtrack (which I once held close to my heart--"Cry little sister (thou shall not fall)") is some of the worst 80's music you'll set your ears upon. The clothing in the film is like a horrifying acid-flashback. The teenagers are lame-ass in that terrible 80's way. And you'll even be forced to sit through a couple minutes of an outdoor concert that the older brother watches, complete with a topless and greased up, muscle-ripped lead singer who looks frighteningly like exercise guru, Tony Little, and plays a bad-ass saxophone. But get beyond this if you can because, as horrible and vomit-inducing as it may be, there is a damn good movie hiding underneath.

    High Points: Definitely the special effects and the scary scenes. Also, the climax of the movie is pretty much fantastic in a bad-ass Home Alone meets vampires kind of way. You get to see vampires meet their deaths in mind-numbingly genius sorts of ways (bathtubs full of holy water, for example). And it all looks good and looks creepy! CGI be damned, old-school special effects will always be the way to go, dammit.

    Overall: Rent this movie. Brace yourself for the 80's-ness of it, but trust me, you'll start to forget about it as soon as the humor and creepy-assed vampire horrors start to wash over you. A definite must-see this Halloween season.

    Grade: A


    Tuesday, October 11, 2005


    Just a reminder:

    You have only 9 more days to enter your favorite horror stories and win yourself a brand-spanking new copy of The Shining.

    For a rule-refresher, click HERE.

    Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore)

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Francesco Dellamorte is the cemetery's "engineer" and must re-kill the dead as they rise from the graves again. And to make matters worse, he keeps falling in love with the same woman over and over.

    Scariness factor: This movie was not GOING for scariness, so while it wouldn't get high marks in this category, I don't think it was TRYING to get them in the first place. Cemetery Man is more of a horror comedy (in the vein of Dead Alive or Army of Darkness) though perhaps filled with a bit more philosophical musings on the nature of death.

    Originality: How many times have we seen zombie movies? So on that front, this is nothing new. But how it is handled is a bit different and fun. You'll get to see Rupert Everett shoot up a pack of zombie boy scouts, a motorcyle zombie, and a lustful zombie, with a nonchalance that is startling and yet funny. You'll get to see the movie take off in many weird directions. You'll get to see lots of boobage. And you'll get to see a very weird sense of humor couched in some actual interesting thoughts on death. So while maybe not as outwardly funny and satirical as Sean of the Dead, and while the box makes it looks like some really lame David Schwimmer-esque flick, this movie IS a weird little gem at times.

    Complaints: The pacing was a bit slow--it seemed gratuitously long to me, but perhaps that was because I had to keep interrupting the first 30 minutes of the movie to put laundry in the drier and bake cookies. Oh, and the kissing scenes were perhaps the most unattractive, non-sexy kissing scenes I've ever seen, which is sad because Rupert Everett isn't bad too look at, and his love-interest looked like a cross between Kate Moss and Fiona Apple, so I expected a bit more chemistry. But it felt like you were watching somebody practice making-out with their own hand.

    High Points: The nonchalance with which Everett's character approaches killing the zombies was one of the funniest parts of the whole movie (and to see a bunch of zombie boy-scouts). It also had a lovely (and weirdly touching) ending to it as well that took it out from the realm of just comedy and gave it something more.

    Overall: This movie is a weird one--I'm not quite sure what I thought of it when all is said and done. It was really quite funny at times. It was also weirdly reflective and philosophical at times. It had gross-out moments along the lines of Dead Alive. And it had zombies. So if you like all of these things, then you may wanna nab it sometime. But don't go in expecting scares--pick it up when you're in the mood for a few laughs and to maybe go HMMMMM once or twice.

    Grade: B


    Monday, October 10, 2005


    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Interesting Related-Reading:

  • Kinoeye article

  • Plotline: Girl goes off to a dance academy to follow her dreams of being a ballerina only to find that she is waist-high in witches.

    Scariness factor: The video-tape box boasts that Dario Argento (the director) is the "master of horror" and that Suspiria "is considered by many to be one of the most terrifying and stylized horror films of our time." That is a fricking lot to live up to and is the reason I was so geeked up to finally watch this damn movie. In horror-movie-land, you hear Dario Argento's name booted around a lot. So I was eager to try him on for size. All that being said, the movie was scary, no--CREEPY, in parts, but I found it hard to swallow as one of the "most terrifying... horror films of our time." For a 1970's movie, it definitely is daring and gruesome at times. But I never felt scared or nervous for the main character in the way I do with other good horror flicks (TCSM or The Shining) where your energy is invested 100% in trying to will them out of the terrifying place they've found themselves in. I definitely was not left creeped out and desperate to turn on the lights once the movie was done.

    Originality: The plot-line is original, yes. Ballerina vs. witches. My guess is that you haven't seen that one done before. Also, the film definitely lives up to its boast of being "one of the most stylized... horror movies of its time." There are some fantastic shots (Argento seems to be a fan of creeping the viewer out through overhead voyeuristic shots) and there are some darkly creepy moments. Blood is garishly bright red. The music (by the band Goblin--tee hee) booms insanely throughout and will scour your brain for hours afterwards. Some scenes are draped in greens and reds in haunting ways. And all of this is handled in a strange and artsy kind of way that you don't typically see in horror films. So if you're interested in checking out an artsier horror movie that concerns itself moreso with how it looks rather than how it scares, you should definitely check this out.

    Complaints: I wanted to like this movie more than I actually DID like this movie. It was trying to be daring and different, and I give it credit for that. And that's why I wanted to really really like it. But more often than not, the scares got sacrificed to the technique. And normally I am fine with that--my theory is that if a movie scares your socks off then it's alright if it's bit loose in the technique and/or logic department. And if the movie is creepy and interesting and visually stimulating enough, it's ok if it doesn't make you wet your pants in fright. But I don't know if the movie WAS creepy and interesting enough for me--I found my interest waning at times, as some of the logic of the movie started unravelling and as the pacing got a bit slow in places. And I just found myself wanting to beat the main character into wakefulness more often than not. When it comes down to it, I wanted to be scared, and Suspiria did not satisfy that craving.

    High Points: The death scenes are definitely spooky, despite the fake looking blood (whose explanation is given/rationalized in interesting ways HERE). And it is of course entertaining for it's 1970's ambience.

    Overall: The box also boasts that "Argento's direction is 'so classy and fast that the movie becomes in effect what horror movies seemed like when you were too young to get to see them.'" And yes, I might agree that this is true. The movie is often moreso hyperbolic than realistic, and this is exactly what horror movies feel like as a child--things are made terrifying simply by seeming completely over the top. And yet, I was not SCARED by this horror film as I was by horror movies as a child. And that's the difference. When you're an adult, you start to see things in more complicated ways, and it takes a bit more to scare you. And Suspiria did not take that leap. It is by no means a terrible movie--I've seen much much worse. But don't go in expecting to be scared shitless, otherwise you will probably be disappointed. Go in expecting art, and you may be pleasantly surprised. And either way, if you are a horror-movie nut, definitely "go in" so you can at least say you've seen an Argento film.

    Grade: B-


    The Dead Zone

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Johnny (the main character) is involved in a terrible accident that leaves him in a coma for five years. As he slowly recuperates after waking from this deep sleep, he finds that he is able to see into the future with the simple touch of a hand.

    Scariness factor: In reviewing Suspiria, I mentioned the notion of what scares a child as opposed to what scares an adult. I found The Dead Zone interesting in light of this as well--I hadn't seen this movie since I was young, back in middle school or so, and I loved it when I was little. And I think one of the reasons why is due to a child's ability to suspend his/her disbelief (which is a lot more lax than an adult's, I might argue). As are a lot of Cronenberg's movies, The Dead Zone is replete with non-complex characters, flat ones and uncomplicated ones that stand in transparently as symbols for bigger things. And as a child, flat characters are good because they are easy to understand. So what am I getting to in all this seemingly urelated-to-scariness rambling? Well, it is hard to be scared in the face of an evil politician that is so over-the-top (threatens journalists with guns, blocks himself from harm with a baby, insanely detonates bombs as a president without anyone else's support) that he just doesn't seem real. And The Dead Zone is full of these kinds of characters. It's a lot more terrifying to stumble into the face of normalcy only to find that there is madness hidden behind it. That being said, although my suspension of disbelief doesn't work quite as easily as it did when I was young, this movie DOES serve up sufficient scares and creepiness in the effective way it melds Johnny's visions with his reality (he sees a girl hidden in the corner of a burning room and looks down to find himself sitting in her bed which is full of flames, for example). And there are edgier moments than one might expect given the face of this movie--especially the scenes with the serial murderer. So it definitely serves up a bit of a creepfest, if not a full-fledged fright-fest.

    Originality: Bah--I'm almost at the point of removing this criterion from the list if it weren't such a selling-point on some movies, simply because sometimes it's so hard to say. And with this movie, this is one of those cases--I'm not well-versed in "movies about second-sight and ESP," so I'm not sure if this was original at the time or not. But it definitely is interesting and original in its content (if not in relation to the other movies of its time-period), so in that respect, it would probably get higher marks in this category.

    Complaints: Damn you, Saturday Night Live. I actually found myself trying to squelch grins and a bit of laughter in some of the more tense visionary moments of the movie, simply because of one of their goddamn sketches where Christopher Walken walks around, touching people's hands, and dramatically telling them about extremely mundane and trivial events that are about to happen to them (a cup of coffee spilled in one's lap, a bus missed, etc.). This ruined the movie a bit for me. But looking beyond that, I love Christopher Walken and all--his smile melts my heart into a big puddle. But man alive can his acting be a bit much at times. He sorta has that William Shatner stiltedness going on at times which makes his acting a bit forced. So that got to me a bit. But other than that, this movie didn't leave me with many complaints. It's a bit dated feeling, but that really didn't bother me too much.

    High Points: Definitely Johhny's visions--they are creepy and spooky and eerie out the ass.

    Overall: See the goddamn movie. It's a bit dated. It's one of those movies that is definitely creepier to watch when you're a child. But despite all that, it's a fun movie to watch and will give you a healthy enough dose of the supernatural to make your day just a BIT more creepy.

    Grade: B


    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Halloween Season

    Howdy, folks. I'm looking for suggestions on horror flicks that I should rent this Halloween season, so feel free to give me some suggested viewing in my comments section.

    On the plate so far:

  • The Dead Zone--I haven't seen this since I was in high school

  • Suspiria

  • Dellamorte Dellamore

  • The New Amityville Horror, though I doubt this will arrive in time

  • Audition (Odishon)--I *hope* this comes in time

  • Halloween--my feller's never seen it, so I must torture him

  • The American Nightmare

  • Documentary I'd Like to Get My Hands On:

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait

  • --Lindy Loo

    If the trailer for The Shining was made today:

    The Shining Trailer

    The Shining Trailer (WMP)

    --courtesy of Patrick

    Nosferatu (1922)

    --Reviewed by Lindy Loo

    Plotline: Basically, it follows the Bram Stoker Dracula plotline--Harker goes to sell Count Dracula/aka Count Orloc/aka Nosferatu some real estate, leaving his wife behind as he travels abroad. He begins to suspect that something evil is up with the count, given all the lurking and the lack of desire to spend time awake during daylight hours. Nosferatu travels abroad to his new home, bringing death with him. It sticks pretty much to the Stoker version until the destruction of Nosferatu.

    Scariness factor: Max Schreck is most certainly one of the creepiest-looking vampires to grace the big-screen. Every time he rolled onto the screen, all the hackles would stand up on the back of my neck. However, given the over-dramatic, hyperbolic acting of old silent-films, this had a tendency to kill the creepiness of some of the scenes. When you have a Harker character who is constantly grinning and chuckling and throwing vampire books on the floor with jolly laughter, it's kinda hard to stay creeped out.

    Originality: I'd venture to guess that, at the time, the movie may have been original and spooky in its originality. (You can check out a fairly extensive list of vampire films reaching back to 1909 HERE--it is one of the earlier ones, and most certainly one of the more notable early ones.) It still retains its spookiness for the most part--and Schreck is most certainly one of the more original renditions of Dracula to float through a vampire movie.

    Complaints: Not too much, other than the hyperbolicness of the acting. But it is difficult to complain about this really, seeing as I'm watching the movie as a 2005-er rather than a 1922 silent-filmer, so it's just a matter of styles changing. However, the one big complaint I had was that the score that was attached to the movie (which was silent originally and typically accompanied by live music) was terrible. The swelling of the music and the mood of the music never matched up to what was going on in the movie. Nosferatu would be looking creepy and lurking in the hallway, and music that sounded like it should be accompanying a child on a pony-ride on a bright and cheery day would be playing in the background. I finally just muted it and enjoyed the rest of the movie this way.

    High Points: Max Schreck, no doubt. It was also interesting to watch having seen Shadow of a Vampire and having pictured what a creepy guy Max Schreck could've/might've/had been in real life. Either way, Schreck is cree-eepy and no doubt worth checking out.

    Overall: The pace of the rest of the film may not keep you on the edge of your seat, but the scenes with Schreck in them are well worth it. And of course, as a horror-movie geek, this should be on your list of Must-See's, as it is a classic.

    Grade: A/A-