Under That Spell: THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988) Review

Last night I watched “The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)” for the first time. This movie is directed by the late Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) and inspired by the book of the same name by ethnologist Wade Davis. The cast includes Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Cathy Tyson (Mona Lisa), Zakes Mokae (Waterworld) and Paul Winfield (The Terminator). I’ve had the DVD of this movie in my collection for a little over a year now. Wes Craven was and will always be my favorite (horror) director. May he forever rest in peace as his body of work will live on and be passed on to generations to follow.

For the most part I’ve heard great things about The Serpent and the Rainbow. I didn’t know a lot about this movie beforehand – besides the fact that it’s about “voodoo”, so I almost went in completely blind. As a result, I ended up only liking this movie. The storyline is compelling enough and the Haiti setting was an added value. The acting performances are convincing. Bill Pullman was great as the lead character. Wes Craven did an excellent directing job here. The creepy hallucination scenes were visually and effectively well crafted. The soundtrack in this movie was superb. It’s obvious that Wes was trying to step on original ground with this movie and I applaud him for doing that. With that being said, I did have my fair share of issues. The first hour has some painfully slow and dull moments. I can only blame the pacing for this. The movie felt way longer than the intended 98 minutes running time. It’s hard to believe that the original cut of the film was three hours long! I can honestly see myself forgetting about the content of this movie within a week or two.

This isn’t my favorite Wes Craven movie by all means and I don’t think I’ll re-watch this a lot of times. This doesn’t take away the fact that The Serpent and the Rainbow is a good movie. It’s watchable and has rightfully developed a cult following since its release, but I’m on neither of the love/hate sides.

–Ferdi Akkulak

Horror Movie Challenge: Day 5: Favorite Horror Director (Wes Craven)

I’m a few days behind because I’ve been at Oshkosh Horror with Don’t Go to the Reunion but I’m back with full force. My favorite horror movie director is, and will always be, Wes Craven. Watching A Nightmare on Elm Street at a young age, it became the first horror movie that I truly loved. The Scream films were a huge part of my teenage years, and, as an adult, I’ve learned to appreciate and understand his raw 70’s films like The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left. In his 70’s, he’s still making horror movies and he is just as much my hero as ever.

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “Scream 2” (1997)

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Our resident Twitter reviewer Tim Schilling is back with another tweet by tweet review looking at the scary slasher sequel “Scream 2.” A few people find this one to be even better (ME! ME! ME!) than the original. Let’s see if he does as well.

Thoughts before watching:
Out of all the movies in the series, I’ve seen #Scream2 the least. That’s a shame.

Thoughts while watching:
0:02 I think going to a showing like this would be tons of fun.
0:03 Doing the whole movie in a movie thing based on the first movie is seriously a stroke of genius.
0:07 Scary Movie 2 ruined the bathroom scene for me.
0:10 I love the opening scene to this one, almost as much as the first.
0:17 The horror genre was destroyed by sequels.
0:25 Pow right in the kisser.
0:33 I never realized this but they made it obvious there were two killers early on.
0:40 Dewey’s hobble is hilarious.
0:50 Oh Tori Spelling.
0:52 I wish Randy was a real person.
0:59 I’d actually like to see this play Sidney is in.
1:05 Not Randy!!
1:12 I loved that they used the character Cotton in this.
1:18 Get it Dewey.
1:27 Ghostface, you made a mess.
1:30 The killer is unconscious, why would you not see who it is/bash his/her face in!?
1:37 Imagine how guilty all those people are gonna feel for hanging Derek up there in the first place.
1:48 Poor Aunt Jackie.
1:52 I already said this but I LOVE how they use Cotton in this movie.

Overall: If anything, #Scream2 is even more genius than the first one. Almost every single line takes all the cliches of horror movies and sequels twists them up and makes it it’s own amazingly smart movie.

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios

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Slasher Studios Tournament: The Best Horror Movie Director (Round 1)

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We are at it again horror fans. YOU chose your favorite horror villain (that honor went to Freddy Krueger), you picked your favorite final girl (that honor went to Heather Langenkamp, you guys LOVE your Nightmare on Elm Street!), and know YOU decide who should be crowed Best Horror Movie Director. We have 8 selections to chose from in 4 different matchups to start. You can vote once per day. Round 1 will end on February 28th when 4 horror directors will be cut from the list. Vote and encourage all of your horror friends to vote as well!

The Ultimate Final Girl Challenge Winner: Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

It’s been a extremely tough battle of the Final Girls through Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3 of the Ultimate Final Girl Tournament. With over 500 votes, we are pleased to announce that the one and only Nancy Thompson from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series has been chosen by the slasher fans as the ULTIMATE Final Girl. Way to go Nancy! We are proud of you and couldn’t ask for a better or more heroic Final Girl. Also, a big thank you to both Wes Craven for writing such a strong, empowering female character and the one and only Heather Langenkamp for bringing her to life. Be Nancy!

5 Horror Sequels That Don’t Suck

Sequels are both the best and worst thing to happen to the horror genre. Loved the original? We’ve got more of that for you! Really love the original? We have ten more installments exactly the same as the original for you. Some horror sequels are lazy, some are outright bad (Jason Goes to Hell), I’m looking directly at you. Below are five horror sequels that we recommend for a lot of reasons. One of the key reasons is that they remain faithful to their predecessor while, at the same time, adding something new and original to the story. Now THAT is the key formula to making a successful horror sequel.

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Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009)
“Cabin Fever 2″ is a messy, gory, bloody cherry on top of a demented sundae. From the opening (poor Rider Strong) to the blood bath of an ending, nearly everything about this sequel works. This is one of those slasher movies where I just don’t understand the hate. Had this movie been made in the 1980′s and directed by Sam Raimi, horror fans would be praising this as the next second coming of horror. The gore is demented, the kills are extremely disgusting, and the central love story is actually quite sweet. I was actually touched at the sacrifice that one friend gave so another could live. So the epilogue doesn’t really work (poor Ti West got his movie taken away from him and had his ending completely butchered just to go in some producer cameos) but this is splatstick at its very best. If John Waters directed a horror film in the 1980’s, it would look something like this. Bloody
recommended!

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Final Destination 2 (2003)
“Final Destination 2″ is wittier, smarter, and bloodier than its original. It is clever in the way that it ties our characters from this film with characters from the previous installments. The deaths are incredibly inventive and stand as the best deaths of the entire series. The ending in particular is a black comedy miracle that shouldn’t work but does. Granted some of the acting can be a bit over-the-top and melodramatic and some of the effects don’t hold up as well as others. Nonetheless, this is still the rare sequel that takes everything that works about the original film and adds to it. A definite must see for fans of the original.

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Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
“Friday the 13th Part 2″ is the kind of sequel that takes a lot of chances and most of them work. The film is well paced, well acted (big props to Amy Steel who does an incredible job as Ginny), and the deaths are effectively gruesome. Also, for what its worth, I’ll take potato head Jason over hockey mask Jason any day. This is a fun sequel that doesn’t exactly advance the series (the godawful Part 3 actually does more to define Jason than this one does) but doesn’t destroy its legacy either. The characters aren’t particularly memorable but they aren’t particularly annoying either. This is really the last point in the series were you actually still feel some affection for the characters. They aren’t quite stereotypes…yet. Furthermore, it contains the two best “jump scares” of the series and the ending is pretty damn scary. Sure the middle act drags a bit but don’t let that stop you, “Part 2″ is a fine slasher film that does the series proud.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
“Dream Warriors” is just all around a great sequel. I love that Nancy’s back for one last final battle with Freddy. A new addition too is the fact that Freddy is now able to target the teen’s fears and use it against them in their dreams. This makes the deaths more frightening and some of the use of special effects (the puppet scene, the television scene, etc) are just ingenious. Everything about the sequel works and when Freddy and Nancy have the one last showdown there is a bit of sadness at the end. It’s ***SPOILER ALERT**** always sad to see your hero die in the arms of the villain but it’s nice to see that Nancy isn’t willing to go down without a fight. In all honesty, the series should have ended with this installment.

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Scream 2 (1997)
Although at times I feel as though I am in the minority, I truly believe that “Scream 2″ is the best film in the Scream franchise. This is that rare sequel that takes everything that works about its predecessor and manages to take it to another level. The deaths are suspenseful, the characters are charming and likable, and the twist ending works better than it has any right to. I also truly believe that this is some of Craven’s finest directing and the “cop car” scene is a hide-your-eyes-behind-your-fingers chiller of a scene. More than that, this film is just a hell of a lot of fun from beginning to end.

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Are you ready for a week filled with “Nightmare on Elm Street” goodness slasher fans? Of course you are! It’s one of the best horror series around with innovative deaths and a wonderful grotesque performance by Robert Englund who returned for ALL of the Nightmare sequels. Today we bring you the first installment of the tweet by tweet reviews from Tim Schilling for the original classic. I consider it one of the best horror movies of all time but does he…

Thoughts before the film:
Gonna do the whoooole series over the next week or so, I know y’all are excited for this. First, the original! 1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you…

Thoughts while watching:
0:07 I wish Johnny Depp didn’t turn into the tool he is today,he’s so much better in this than the crap he does now.
0:11 Over acting sex scenes are funny.
0:14 When Freddy makes like an imprint on the wall, that’s still such a creepy scene.
0:22 This guy is a total greaser. He’d fit right in The Outsiders.
0:25 Fuckin hall monitors! I’ll never trust you again.
0:27 Freddy likes self mutilation a little too much.
0:30 These cops are pretty stupid. How would the guy drag Tina’s body to the ceiling?
0:32 First time I’m watching this movie in a while and I realize how many iconic scenes it has.
0:37 Nancy is kinda a tease but mostly a bitch.
0:44 Why do you never listen to us kids?
0:47 After 2 people died, and everyone having nightmares, NOW you have an idea who is killing everyone?
1:03 Nancy is prepared in the coffee department.
1:08 And the best death scene ever goes to….
1:20 I’ve jumped twice because of this movie, that never happens. I don’t know what’s with me tonight.
1:22 Freddy is gettin fucked up.
1:29 Geez Freddy stop trollin everyone.

Final Verdict:
#ANightmareOnElmStreet is one of those movies that gets better every viewing. This is probably only my fourth time watching it but I liked it way more than the other times. Creepy scenes, Freddy is freaky, andI even liked the acting. Also, great music (GO 80’s!).

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios

Death of the Day–Glen Gets Sucked Into Bed in “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

The death of Glen is one of the most remarkable scenes in Elm Street history. After dozing off, Glen meets his gory demise as Freddy pulls him into the emerging hole. With an over-load of blood gushing up from the bed, Glen falls victim to Freddy and as Nancy looks on. The amount of blood and the unique imagery makes for a memorable and amazing death.

Slasher Studios Horror Webcast: Underrated Craven Creations

On this week’s episode of Slasher Studios, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield and Steve Goltz will be discussing their favorite underrated Craven creations. Movies Wes Craven directed that deserve more credit than they typical receive. Join Slasher Studios Monday August 6th at 10PM central to find out which Craven films made the underrated list. Click on the link below to listen in live or to check out an archive after the episode has aired. Make sure to also check the episode list and catch up on any archived shows you may have missed.

Underrated Craven Creations