“Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” is a movie based on a trio of terrifying kids books from the 80s. These books are a staple of any kid who had a short attention span and like creepy shit. The Illustrations in the books are infamously terrifying and have scarred many a child for life. So does the movie produced by Guillermo Del Toro actually hold up? Yes and no.
While the overall story of “Scary Stories” is quite cliche’, the 60s setting (during the Vietnam War which is hammered on and on throughout the film for whatever reason) and characters of the film (primarily the very likable main protagonist and her love interest) make the story much more bearable than it really deserves to be. The TLDR gist of the story is essentially this. Some kids are pulling a prank on the school bully and while hiding they meet their new friend (the love interest) and go “see a haunted house” because you know, it’s Halloween. In the house however they find a book that writes it’s own scary stories that come true in real life that they need to put an end to before everyone gets caught by the creatures held within the stories.
While the story is quite average the thing that really sticks out is how nicely they’ve translated the monsters from the book to the big screen. While the monsters in the movie aren’t quite as terrifying and I guess “Drippy” as the illustrations in the book are, you can still tell that there was a lot of love put into the monster design in making it as close to the book as possible whilst still keeping a PG-13 rating (which is one of the most frustrating things about this movie), but it just falls short of making that sweet sweet nostalgia machine kick into overdrive. There are four monsters derived from the book which include the Toe Monster from “ the Big Toe”, the Scarecrow from “Henry”, the Pale Lady from “the Dream”, and the Jangly Man from “Me Tie Dough-Ty Walker” and the spider infested pimple from “the Red Spot”. Each of these monsters were honestly about as perfect as I could’ve possibly expected from a PG-13 adaptation of the books.
While “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” certainly isn’t quite the amazing mature and gory adaptation I was hoping for, it’s still a pretty good film that clearly had a lot of love put into it. While I had a pretty shitty time watching this in a theater (I feel like I never have a good time in theaters anymore cause there's always some assholes that sit right next to me or above or below me making a nuisance of themselves), I could really see this being a great watch around Halloween with family. If I saw this movie as a young fan of the books I would have absolutely loved it, and if they were shooting for an adaptation young fans of the books could enjoy as well and introduce those young people to more horror films, this film absolutely hits the nail on the head. Four Skulls.
Published on Wednesday the 14th of August, 2019
Project A, is this a horror movie? No. Do I care? Absolutely not. Is Jackie Chan a cerifiable bad-ass? DUH! So while 80s Hong Kong Kung Fu movies aren’t exactly something I tend to review on this site, this movie inspired me. Why? Jackie. Fuckin’. Chan.
Project A is a movie that takes place in British Colonial Hong Kong about the British Chinese navy fighting a rampaging group of pirates off the coast, political corruption, and bicycles without seats. There’s something so magical about this little discussed kung-fu flick. It keeps an excellent pace and has so many amazingly well choreographed fight scenes that it never even comes close to boring. Whether Jackie is fighting in a bar against the police groups that he is later forced to join, or going undercover as a monocle clad aristocrat, this movie is always switching it up whilst keeping the action consistent. Not only that but the humor of this movie also screams Jackie Chan’s humor which is always lighthearted and fun. Also, can I just say, Holy fuck Jackie is built like a brick shithouse. I watched this film in the dubbed format as it was the only way I could watch it, but I kinda feel like that added to the charm seeing as Jackie himself seems to have done his own dub.
The story of Project A is a pretty predictable hero loses his way for a brief moment only to come back and save the day fare, but really, if you wanted a deep story with amazingly deep characters, why the fuck are you watching a Jackie Chan film? Did I mention not only did Jackie just star in this film, he also wrote the screenplay and directed, which seems to be something Jackie does fairly often if I recall correctly. Honestly every time I watch one of this mans movies I feel the urge to buy his autobiography, dudes fucking inspiring my guys.
Project A is everything an action movie should aspire to be, it’s action packed, it’s well choreographed, got an awesome group of villains with an awesome antagonist, and it doesn't take itself serious. Project A gets four swashbucklin’ Skulls, check it out!
Published on Tuesday the 30th of July, 2019
Last night I had a chance to sit down and watch a film that I’d always seen praised by a large majority of horror fans, “Candyman”. I went into it knowing nothing other than the basic plot. The plot essentially goes that there is an urban myth very similar to the ‘Bloody Mary’ myth and the villain is a guy with a hook for a hand. With that basic knowledge of the movie, I’d say I went into “Candyman”, at least, somewhat blind.
When “Candyman” began I really enjoyed the premise of a couple of students writing a paper about urban legends and stumbling on a local urban legend that was widespread in the projects. Yeah, government housing isn’t exactly the first place you’d expect to find the plot for a horror movie but “Candyman” certainly pulls it off and I feel as though the strong cast really pulls this movie together, I could easily have seen this being a much worse movie had the casting not been so perfect for practically every character in the film. This movie also has excellent scenes of creepy house exploring, tense phone standoffs, and even a really creepy non-traditional villain that totally kills it, pun intended.
“Candyman” also has some really great and gruesome kills throughout, including an amazing fake-out that I really didn’t see coming. “Candyman” is also based on a Clive Barker short story and the movie feels very Clive Barker-esque. If you enjoy movies like “Hellraiser” then “Candyman” should be right up your alley. I really don't have a whole lot to say about “Candyman” but that's mostly because it really is one of those horror movies you should see for yourself, check it out. Four skulls.
Published on Tuesday the 16th of July, 2019
"The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day. For them an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
This is the way that the legendary film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”(from now on to be referred to as “Chainsaw”) introduces itself followed by a shot of a decaying, decrepit corpse posed like a morbid art piece in the middle of a Texas cemetery. This opening shot alone gives an excellent sense of the movie that is about to take place and the legendary sound effects played in tandem with this scene causes me to have goosebumps every time. The story of a bunch of kids accidentally getting caught in a cannibalistic family's house of horrors may seem like an incredibly cliché premise for a horror movie, and by today's standards it is, but even with all of the ‘inspiration’ Hollywood has drawn from “Chainsaw”, “Chainsaw” still reigns supreme.
“Chainsaw” has such a realistic and gritty feel to it, from the oppressive Texas heat, to the copious amounts of daddy long legs herding in the corner of an old front porch, to the Hoarders paradise that is the Cannibals home, “Chainsaw” feels real. The pacing of “Chainsaw” is masterful all the way to the final act and it has so many legendary scenes and great kills held within it, meat hooks, hammers, chainsaws (duh), and they all feel brutal with minimal use of blood by some sort of Tobe Hooper movie magic. The characters are all pretty normal and basic with the exception of Franklin who provides a majority of the comic relief throughout the movie and the main girl Sally who I, personally, didn’t care for in the beginning, but became somewhat attached to by the time the movie had come to a close. The real stars of this movie however, are the killers, whether it be the old man, the hitchhiker, grandpa, or Leatherface himself, This cast of killers are truly the reason to keep coming back to the film over and over again. And can I just say, I LOVE the way that Jim Siedow talks in general? He was so perfect for his role as was the rest of the killers.
There are so many amazing things in and about this legendary horror film that there could easily be a book worth of writing done on it (including an in depth exam on the art of what I’d imagine Joe Bob Briggs would call “Broom-Fu”), but that’s not what this site is for. If you haven’t watched “Chainsaw” I beg you to please watch it, as it should be required viewing for any self proclaimed horror fan. Five skulls.
Published on Tuesday the 9th of July, 2019
Ah, found footage films, one of the most interesting sub-genres of all of horror. Whether it be The Blair Witch Project or Troll Hunter, I often find that the found footage genre can be one of the most fun and immersive ways to explore the genre. For every ‘Blair Witch Project’ however, there are about a thousand ‘Diary Of The Dead’s. So, needless to say when I heard of a Korean found footage film set inside of an abandoned asylum à la ‘Grave Encounters’ I was interested in seeing how a take on the genre from the East would fair.
The plot of Gonjiam is quite simple. A YouTube channel under the name Horror Times sets out to get footage of one of “CNN’s Top Seven Scariest Places In The World” (They love reffering to this article that I couldn't quite find) and trying to get those sweet sweet, highly inaccurate amounts of YouTube ad revenue (they claim it’s 50 cents per view if my subtitles were correct). While on this quest for internet fame, bragging rights and money however, things inevitably go horribly wrong.
The film begins in a coffee shop during a meeting of the crew and the guests they plan to take on the trip (most of which seem to have just been chosen for this single episode.) Once the meeting is over and the crew has introduced themselves it shows the whole crew eating later that night and having some drunken fun before setting out to the asylum. After a quick little kinda out of place montage, the crew makes it to the asylum and since it’s surrounded by the police the crew sets up an extremely high tech camp outside of the premises of the asylum and wait till nighttime to infiltrate the asylum.
Once the film gets moving and goes into the actual asylum itself things get fun and the movie starts throwing scares at the player, There’s one scare in a well looking structure towards the beginning that actually had me kind of freaked out, but unfortunately, this movie seems to really enjoy the ‘Goosbumps’ strategy of keeping the first couple of scares or so just cheap practical jokes or fake outs. Once this movie gets into the scares however, the scares become quite enjoyable and quality with the exception of some fairly awful CGI in one particular scene.
‘Gonjiam’ is one of those movies that I enjoyed watching but I really felt as though I had gotten almost nothing interesting or fulfilling from. ‘Gonjiam’ is a popcorn horror flick, a movie theater snack binge type of movie movie, but thankfully it’s fully aware of that and does an excellent job at being an entertaining Saturday night found footage scare fest. Three Skulls.
Published on Tuesday the 25th of June, 2019
All articles herein have been written, edited, and published by Cory L. all material may be shared so long as credit is given :D