• The Virgin Spring
  • Hard Eight

    Hard Eight

    ★★★★½

    Hard Eight (1996) - This was a first time watch for me, and I was happy to knock out one of my PTA blind spots. I don’t think I can say enough good things about this one - Philip Baker Hall’s performance is obviously the heart and soul of the film, but I was also surprised by how good Reilly and Paltrow were, how great the casting in general was, and how accomplished Anderson’s direction was even in his debut.…

  • Let's Scare Jessica to Death

    Let's Scare Jessica to Death

    ★★★½

    I found the film to be as strange and compelling as its title. I liked the slow-drip setup of everything and found the cast to be quite convincing, but what really made this one work was that it kept jumping across various horror sub-genres from act to act in a way that would have been harder to pull off in less competent hands. Zohra Lampert is great throughout and the scenes she shares with Mariclare Costello are especially unnerving. If you are looking for something that’s more moody and creepy than gross or grisly, this is a great pick.

  • The House of the Devil

    The House of the Devil

    ★★½

    I've seen this one pop up on a lot of "great horror films of the last decade" lists over the years and I don't think I've seen a Ti West film before...and I know people like him...so I was optimistic. Despite some strong acting performances (especially Greta Gerwig!), this one didn't really come together for me. The setup works well to create mood, but too much of the middle of the movie is taken up with the main character wandering…

  • Shivers

    Shivers

    ★★★★

    This was a fantastic Cronenberg body-horror film and a nice reminder that I need to dig into more of his catalog. The formalist directing is often quite remarkable (the low-light scenes in the Tudor's bedroom are really beautifully shot), the performances are all competent (with some excellent supporting roles), and the plot - which is certainly the biggest draw here - was really well executed. There are some very disturbing scenes early on in the film, some nice gross-out stuff…

  • The Gorgon

    The Gorgon

    ★★½

    Even when Hammer films are more campy than creepy, they are typically saved by the over-earnestness of the cast's delivery. Such is the case here - Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee steal the show, both of them attached to the titular central mystery of the movie. I don't know that I've seen another horror film with a Medusa-esque villain, so that was at least somewhat novel. The effects are bad (even by 1964 Hammer standards), the pacing is plodding, and…

  • Vibes

    Vibes

    ★½

    I was more or less conned into watching this one by a friend who assured me it has "horror elements" and...yeah....I don't know. Yes, there's some murder and mayhem...and yes there's some supernatural elements around a psychic force and plenty of ensuing mystery...but the most horrific thing about this film is its wooden acting and uninspired directing. When I discovered that the budget for the Jeff Goldblum/Cyndi Lauper vehicle was $18 million, I can't imagine that the money went anywhere…

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★★

    I liked this just as much as I liked Hereditary, which is to say I quite enjoyed the aesthetics of the film (the camera work, set and costume design, and the score are especially well crafted) but felt a little let down by the story. That isn't to say that the story isn't fun and doesn't deliver "the goods" on a few occasions, but Aster's films are almost maddingly slow in their buildup (which is intentional, I know), to the…

  • The Craft

    The Craft

    ★★★

    My wife is a big fan of the movie and pumped for the soon-to-be-released remake, so she wanted to rewatch this blast-from-the-past to set her expectations accordingly. The film is fairly competent, and is a much better "90s teen film" than I thought it would have been based on what I remembered about the movie's advertising/reception when it was out. It isn't especially scary/frightening, but the actors all seem to be relishing the campiness of their roles. If you can look past the bad CGI and a few plot holes, this one is a lot of fun.

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★½

    I thought that the effects still(!) held up relatively well, but I didn't really see this as much of a horror film in any way that I typically think of the genre (or of Universal Monster films). It has some nicely made scenes, the Blu-Ray restoration looks great, and it held my interest...but it felt largely underdeveloped and lacking in meaningful character development. It was also on the short side, which was probably to the detriment of the film's ability to establish a plot I could get invested in.

  • Taste of Fear

    Taste of Fear

    ★★½

    I watched this projected in the back yard with a friend of mine, and I can't think of a much better environment for enjoying some classic Hammer horror. The plot takes some nice turns and holds you in suspense (a lot of "WTF is going on") and it is a lot less "campy" than their more monster-focused flicks that would define much of the studio's later 1960s output. Susan Strasberg is especially great in the lead role, and she absolutely stands out even over fan favorites like Christopher Lee.

  • Hail Satan?

    Hail Satan?

    ★★★½

    This is a documentary about modern-day Satanism, which under the leadership of "The Satanic Temple" is much more of a social justice/activist organization than a religion in any common understanding of the label. The documentary explores these nuances in a fun way, highlights the major news stories that the group has been associated with over the past few years, and does a good job of contextualizing the Temple in and against the "Satanic panic" stuff of the 1980s, the history…