31 Scary Movies: ‘The Omen’

“The Omen” (1976) – Butch from “The Little Rascals”.  Nellie from “Little House on the Prairie”.  Farkus from “A Christmas Story”. These three rotten children inflicted much misery on Alfalfa, Laura Ingalls and Ralphie, respectively, over the years.  Proven by scores of on-screen threats, acts of deception and taunts, they are three of Hollywood’s most famous bad kids.  As callous as they were, Damien (Harvey Stephens) from “The Omen” probably tops the list as the most malevolent child in film or television history. Not by his own doing, but through the…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Black Christmas’

“Black Christmas” (1974) – A group of sorority girls hope to spend a joyous holiday over Christmas break, but a maniac – with unknown motivations – attempts to murder them one by one.  Director Bob Clark gives “Black Christmas” a raw and unsettling edge by employing shifty, handheld camerawork that walks up and down empty stairs and hallways of a 4,000 square foot house, and many times without an accompanying score. John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (1978) might be considered the first mainstream slasher film, but director Clark’s picture arrived in theatres…

31 Scary Movies: ‘The Last House on the Left’

“The Last House on the Left” (1972) – With “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream” franchises under his belt, Wes Craven cemented his legacy in the horror community, but long before Freddy Krueger reached movie theatres, this iconic director made a big impression with his 1972 directorial debut, the truly depraved, low budget slasher film, “The Last House on the Left.” It’s ugly, graphically-violent and features the worst of our society without filter or censorship, and due to Craven’s documentary-like style choices, “The Last House on the Left” successfully delivers its…

‘The Hate U Give’ leans on strong, devoted performances

“The Hate U Give” – Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) shines in director George Tillman Jr.’s film, and her celestial name fits, because she lives in two worlds. You see, Monday through Friday, her mom Lisa (Regina Carter) drives her a few miles to Williamson, a predominately white high school, and she lives with her loving family in Garden Heights, a mostly black neighborhood.  Starr explains that she can be herself at home with her family, friends and neighbors, and adds that her mom and dad say, “Our life is here,…

‘The Happy Prince’ sheds light on Oscar Wilde’s cheerless years

“The Happy Prince” – “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde Rupert Everett (“My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997), “The Importance of Being Earnest” (2002)) wrote a screenplay about Oscar Wilde and shopped it around, but he could not find a director willing to bring his work to the big screen.  Well, he took control of his own destiny and decided to film it himself, and this first-time director delivers a troubling and tragic portrayal, and in the process, Everett delivers a most absorbing performance. The film’s title…