JamesM has written 7 reviews for films during 2020.

  • Annie



    Disclaimer: I'm not a big fan of musicals. Now that that's out of the way:

    Annie is an immaculately crafted work of old-school Hollywood schmaltz; John Huston does an impressive job directing the musical numbers, and he gets some fun performances out of Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, and Tim Curry. Finney in particular deserves praise; he makes Daddy Warbucks likeable, but consistently retains a coldness that prevents the character from becoming saccharine.

    Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Aileen…

  • The Comedy of Terrors

    The Comedy of Terrors


    A fun little macabre comedy that's carried by its incredible cast. Vincent Price is particularly delightful. Also, Rhubarb the cat gets billed in the credits. I would give the film a 6.5/10, but since I can't do that on here, I'm rounding it up to a 7/10.

  • Night Tide

    Night Tide


    Night Tide is a quiet psychological horror film that relies more on suggestion than anything else. Harrington was very clearly influenced by Val Lewton's horror films, particularly Cat People. Like Lewton's horror films, Night Tide spends a lot of time building the characters and the atmosphere, with the horror culminating in a small handful of scenes. These scenes are where the film really shines; Harrington uses camera moves and lighting in creative ways that are a thrill to behold.


  • The Terror

    The Terror


    The Terror is a film that cannot be properly discussed without mentioning its notoriously troubled production. Right after Roger Corman completed The Raven, he had Leo Gordon quickly come up with the basic plot of a Gothic horror film and shot all of Boris Karloff's scenes in two days. The plan was to come up with a proper script later and shoot the rest of the film at a convenient time, but things got messy and Corman ended up having…

  • Prom Night

    Prom Night


    Prom Night is a post-Halloween, pre-Friday the 13th slasher that attempts to build some genuine suspense, but it ultimately fails. There is one effectively edited, creepy telephone call scene near the beginning of the film, some of the shots in the high school nicely utilize angles to create a bit of an ominous feeling, Jamie Lee Curtis delivers a solid performance, and some of the disco music is catchy, but other than that, the film is fairly boring.

    The first…

  • The Haunted Castle

    The Haunted Castle


    A fairly static drama/mystery film; do not go into it expecting horror. The sets are nice and give the film a Gothic atmosphere, there is one great, creepy dream sequence that foreshadows the phenomenal imagery that Murnau would conjure up a year later in Nosferatu, and there is a fun plot twist at the end that I did not see coming, but other than these elements, the film is dull.

    The characters are underdeveloped and Murnau's cinematography is surprisingly unremarkable;…

  • Falling Down

    Falling Down


    Rest in peace, Joel Schumacher.