‘Ma’: Spencer is a terrific villain, but she’s stuck in a clunky story

“Ma” – “Get home safe.  That’s all I care about.” – Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) “Don’t make me drink alone.” – Sue Ann Erica (Juliette Lewis) and her high school-aged daughter Maggie (Diana Silvers) drive towards a small-town destination, and a single-stack nuclear power plant looms over the endless acres of leafless, dormant trees.  Little did they know that their lives would soon blow up, after Erica decided to move back to her hometown and into a modest three-bedroom ranch that sits on a dead end street. They should have…

12 days of not-so-Christmassy Christmas movies: ‘Gremlins’

“Gremlins” (1984) – Director Joe Dante has a history in horror with “Piranha” (1978) and “The Howling” (1981) under his belt, so he’s a natural fit for “Gremlins”.    “Gremlins” isn’t a brutal trip into terror, but a PG-excursion into a group of cuddly little teddy bear creatures called mogwais that chirp, squeak and sing a bit too.  What’s not to like?  Everyone should have a mogwai.  Just don’t feed them after midnight, because if so, they will change into impish lizard-like devils that cause lots and lots of trouble.…

At first pass, ‘Suspiria’ is a gorgeous work of art and a confusing mess

“Suspiria” – Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” (1977) is a divisive, arthouse horror film that plays long on style, sound and shimmering imagery of neon pinks and greens, but short of scares.  Inside this Munich dance studio, mysteries rule the nest of long hallways, staircases and dark secrets in hidden rooms.  Not entirely palatable, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that deserves accolades for its unique presentation. Director Luca Guadagnino (“I Am Love” (2009), “Call Me by Your Name” (2017)) took on the Herculean task of heading a “Suspiria” remake in 2018 and succeeds…

31 Scary Movies: ‘The Eyes of My Mother’

“The Eyes of My Mother” (2016) – “Loneliness can do strange things to the mind.” Mother (Diana Agostini) tells a story about St. Francis to her young daughter, Francisca (Olivia Bond), and closes the tale with the above quote.  Little does the girl realize the supreme accuracy of her mom’s statement.  Not only does “The Eyes of My Mother” prove that loneliness can do strange things to the mind, but it can also drive twisted and depraved ones as well, in the one of the most unforgettable films of 2016. Presented…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Lake Mungo’

“Lake Mungo” (2008) – A tragedy befell the Palmers, a pleasant family from Ararat, Australia, and June (Rosie Traynor), Russell (David Pledger) and Matthew (Martin Sharpe) try to make sense of their present and future. Unfortunately, both aforementioned time periods become terribly cloudy, when they believe that their lost family member has returned as a ghost. Writer/director Joel Anderson structures his mystery like a documentary, as June, Russell, Matthew, and others reflect on the inexplicable occurrences, and the film also uses photos and video to reveal and retell their experiences. …