31 Days of Horror: Day 17: “The Pact” (2012)

“The Pact” centers around a young woman named Annie and her struggle to piece together mysterious happenings in the home she lived in as a child. With the death of her mother and the disappearance of her sister shortly after, Annie, played to perfection by Caity Lotz, returns home only to realize that she is not alone. With strange bumps in the night, she flees the house, but returns later and is forced to take a closer look into dark past of her family.

With stunning cinematography and effects, The Pact, gives more spine tingling chills than most of the supernatural films that have been released lately. With suspense setting in just minutes into the film and not letting up until the credits roll, audiences will be holding onto their seats for the entire ride. With the disturbing imagery coupled with some excellent editing and direction, the hair will stand up on the back of your neck throughout the film. The film contains minimal gore, but the blood comes not only as a pleasant surprise, but also as an eye-opening and well done effect. You’re not getting the bloody goodness of the slashers, but some very well timed suspenseful scares.

Not having seen a decent supernatural horror film in a while, I am delighted to praise The Pact. With the music revving up at all the right times and the cuts being dead on, the mystery is to die for. I would be happy with a ending that cuts to black a few minutes earlier, but honestly, this film still holds up with the additional running time and does not seem to drag on. Be on the look out for this film, written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy.


31 Days of Horror: Day 16: “The Burning” (1981)


I can’t dare to begin a classic 80’s horror conversation without talking about The Burning. This 1981 work of near perfection really does fire on all
cylinders and keeps the audience enthralled throughout the duration of the 91 minute runtime. The kills are spectacular, the locations are to die for, the cast has the perfect 80 vibe.

The blood and gore within The Burning is top notch as Tom Savini works his magic and gives us some of the most memorable deaths ever to grace the silver
screen. The raft scene is produced with out a flaw and everything from the blood, to the shot selection, to the editing pace was well meshed to create
something very special. Location, location, location. We have all heard this phrase before and so did the locations scouts for The Burning. We are set in a summer camp near and lake and forest. Very classic 80’s. I have always loved the camp feel for a slasher/horror location and is one doesn’t disappoint.the water adds such a boost the the production value and gives great backdrops for the beautiful cinematography.

This is always a fun film to watch because we can look back and see the film debuts of the young Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter. They all give great performances and who can forget Larry Joshua as the classic jock, Glazer. Glazer adds a ton of fun to this movie and is always great for some comedic relief. I hope this film receives more of a following that it deserves. True horror fans know and appreciate this project but the general public has no clue this film even exists. Personally, I always make it a point to bring up The Burning during a movie conversation with a non horror fan in hopes to convert them to the world of Cropsy!


31 Days of Horror: Day 15: “Hansel & Gretel” (2013)


I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with most films from Asylum. With over 50 movies in the can, the production company has yet to lose money on a single feature. Often from the time a title is announced to the moment the film is available to purchase is less than six months. This is cynical filmmaking to say the least but there is something ingenious about the business side of this sort of low brow end of movies approach. Is this really anything different than what Roger Corman did in the 60s and 70s? Joe Dante’s Piranha was a shameless rip off of Jaws. The Asylum’s Hansel and Gretel is a shameless rip off of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. The real question to ask…does this rip off work or is it even worse than the “blockbuster” it is trying to capitalize on. Let’s take a bite out of Hansel and Gretel.

As Hansel & Gretel begins we witness an overweight girl tied up in shackles trapped in a dark and dreary basement. She manages to get herself free and she runs out of the house and into the woods only to find herself trapped yet again. An apple in the mouth and some seasonings and she has become the next meal for the family who lives in the house. After “treated” to the opening Saw “homage”, I was already tuning myself out of the film. But then something strange happened. The movie developed a sense of humor about itself and it went from being a chore to sit through to becoming one of the more entertaining movies of the last few years. We have our two heroes (Hansel and Gretel, of course) on a race against time as they battle the delightfully evil Dee Wallace as the witch. But I mean Dee Wallace runs a bakery that sells meat pies called The Gingerbread House. How great is that?

I’m been complaining lately that there haven’t been enough good-bad horror movies lately. Horror movies that aren’t exactly great but are shamelessly entertaining. The Asylum’s Hansel and Gretel completely fits the bill. Not only is this Asylum’s best work to date, it is also their most enjoyable work yet. A terrifically over-the-top performance by Dee Wallace who gets to shout lines like “EAT YOUR FUCKING DINNER!” and “I was always going to eat YOU!” seals the deal. A must watch for slasher fans. I can’t wait to dig in for seconds.


31 Days of Horror: Day 14: “Prom Night III: The Last Kiss” (1989)


Prom Night III: The Last Kiss is an interesting blend of comedy (very broad Student Bodies style splatstick) and horror, slasher and supernatural, and tongue-in-cheek and clever. It is mostly a lot of fun to watch and Taylor delivers some great zingers as Mary Lou. At 97 minutes, the film is a bit on the long side. At least ten minutes could have been cut from the final act within losing anything storywise. That said, it is consistently funny and quite often very entertaining. The production values are solid throughout and the script is helped out immensely by a game cast that appears to be having just as much fun as we are.

Please note, if you choose to watch this film (and it is indeed recommended), the DVD version released in a double feature DVD along with Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil is a cut TV broadcast version. Most of the gore, swearing, and nudity is all but removed. However in the VHS version it is uncut, with all gore, profanity and nude scenes left intact.


31 Days of Horror: Day 13: “Warlock” (1989)


If you are into cult horror films then you probably already know of Warlock, if not, the this may be a new one for you. Directed by Steve Miner, know for his Friday the 13th fame, Warlock begins in the 1600’s and with the help of a fancy CGI portal, we are taken to the glorious 1980’s. Along for the ride is a witch hunter and the Warlock himself. The Warlock is taken in by the very 80’s Kassandra and it’s not too long before he goes on a bit of a killing spree with the witch hunter on his tail.

The production value is surprisingly high with solid cinematography, costuming, acting and location selection. The effects were also very impressive and fun too watch as Steve Miner really brought this unique film to life. It was able to drag in $9 million plus at the box office and has gained a cult following as of late.

Although this is a well produced project, don’t go in expecting a similar feel and tone to Miner’s Friday films. Warlock is much more serious and plays with a mysterious and slower pace. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, and are a fan of Mr. Miner, grab some popcorn and pop this in tonight.


31 Days of Horror: Day 12: “Blood Junkie” (2010)


Set in 1989′s Wisconsin and described as a “hyper-hipster 1980s horror comedy”, Blood Junkie tells the story of two teenage girls Laura (Sarah Luther) and Rachel (Emily Treolo) who are babysitting Laura’s little brother for the weekend. Left with $35 (“Do you know how much alcohol you can buy for $35? A LOT!”), the two girls head to the local gas station to get some supplies. It is at the gas station that they meet Teddy (Mike Johnson) and Craig (Nick Sommer), a couple of guys looking to go camping and score for the weekend. Before long the fivesome have made their way to the forest for some sex, drugs, and death.

Can I describe for you in a sentence how this movie looks? The sets look like someone threw up wood chips and the clothes look like they were hand me downs of hand me downs of hand me downs from decades past. This might not be a selling point for many, but for me, this film never loses sight of its 80′s homage style. The performances are all absolutely perfect with special attention paid to the Nick Sommer as hot-shot Craig with one of the ugliest mullets and sweaters around. If anyone could sell this asshole character and make him likeable, it is Sommer. An all around fun time, if you like your slasher films cheap with a good sense of humor about themselves, this is a must watch.


31 Days of Horror: Day 11: “Curtains” (1983)


“Curtains” is a whopper of a slasher film that does nearly everything right. Creepy costume? Check. Intriguing backstory? Check. Likable, if slightly over-the-top, characters? Check. Great death scenes? Double check. I know this movie went though hell in post production. Rumor has it that the film was shelved for a year, during which there were re-writes, re-shoots, and one major re-casting done. Eventually numerous crew members had to be re-hired to shoot the footage to complete the film.

This movie should be a mess. The fact that it isn’t is a miracle in and of itself but the fact that the movie is a damn near masterpiece? Well, let’s just say that the slasher gods must have been looking down on this movie because it is simply incredible. Love the twist at the end, love the figure skater who gets killed by the masked man in the old hag mask, and love the final chase. Sure it isn’t entirely believable and there is a bit of logic that must be stretched thin but that doesn’t stop this movie from being one of the best of its kind. Definitely worth checking out for slasher fans everywhere.


31 Days of Horror: Day 10: “Tourist Trap” (1979)


Creepy, Creepy, Creepy. That’s the best way to describe the 1979 horror flick, Tourist Trap. Directed and co-written by David Schmoeller, Tourist Trap follows the adventure of a few young friends who find themselves stranded and at the mercy of an old, shotgun toting and yes, creepy, man. As the group unwisely trusts the old man, Slausen, they go back to his place and find an odd collection of some very life-like mannequins.

The film has a great look and a solid story. Great locations and solid camera work help boost the production value of this 24 day shoot. A 90 minute runtime allows Schmoeller to do a fantastic job capturing the uneasy feel and relaying that to the audience. There are a number of scenes that will make your skin crawl and make you think twice about watching this one alone in the dark next time.

The acting is without any serious problems and it is fun to see a young Tanya Roberts(That 70’s Show) take on a role of this nature. The villain is just about as creepy as they get with help from an amazing mask. This is another mask that needs a be produced for the fans to buy. What a fantastic addition to any horror collection that mask would be.

So if Tourist Trap is one film that you have not seen yet, do yourself a huge favor and see it as soon as you can. This is a truly great late 70’s horror film and one of Slasher Studios personal favorites!


31 Days of Horror: Day 9: “Jack-O” (1995)


Directed by Steve Latshaw, Jack-O is the third installment in his horror trilogy. Starring the horror queen, Linnea Quigley, and being sent stright to video in 1995, Jack-O was not fortunate enough to get a wide theatrical release. But with a DVD release in 2005, this film has began to pick up a fan base.

Jack-O is a revenge tale that features a pumpkin-headed, scythe-wielding demon who has risen from his grave to enact revenge. This film has blood, bad acting and boobs. What could go wrong!? Well a few things. It’s interesting because this movie could really fall into the, “it’s so bad, it’s good” category, but I’m not sure if it fits there either. The film isn’t terrible, and in fact I really did have a good time with it, but the flashback and dream sequences were just not for me. I can definitely see that need for something to help tie the past in with the present time, but for me they just became old and boring at times. The present day scenes were much more fun and entertaining. Love the rock throwing scene at the beginning, it’s just so bad…

The villain, however, was great. The look of Jack-O was spot on to what they needed and if things were a bit different and this was perhaps made in a different decade, Jack-O could have been the next great horror franchise. But who knows what the future will hold for Jack-O. Will fans pick this film up and fall in love, or will it just be left in the rear view mirror as we find other lost slasher gems…? Only time will tell.


31 Days of Horror: Day 8: “Curse of Chucky” (2013)


Though the film starts with a slow buildup in the first act that results in two off screen deaths (don’t worry, the film does get bloody), the film nicely comes together in its second act to become one of the best made for video horror movies of recent years. To go on and tell you what REALLY works about this film would be to give away way too many of the devilish surprises. Let’s just say that fans will cheer in delight as the film hits its final act as there are in jokes, references, and homages to just about anything and everything Chucky has done in the past. The backstory might not be fulfilling to some and there might be some leaps in logic, but this is the rare horror sequel that actually appears to be trying to add something new while being faithful to what came before it. If you are a Chucky fan, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. Also, make sure to stay after the end credits for one treat of a scene that will leave audiences howling. Thanks for returning Chucky, you were missed. Now, let’s see some more Chuck!