It’s okay to walk away from ‘You Should Have Left’

“You Should Have Left” – “Violent or upsetting dreams are the mind’s attempt to release the pressures of our daily thoughts and fears.” Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon) frequently listens to self-help audiobooks these days.  You see, he has bad dreams, and the latest includes his 6-year-old daughter Ella (Avery Tiiu Essex):  a creepy man, who partially conceals his face with a baseball hat and glasses, attacks Ella in her bedroom.  This horrible visual would undoubtedly send any semi-caring father into a tizzy. Theo, however, is a full-caring father, and outside…

‘The Invisible Man’: Sleeping with the Invisible Enemy

“The Invisible Man” (2020) – “Death’s got an Invisibility Cloak?”  Harry interrupted again.  “So he can sneak up on people,” said Ron.  “Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking.” – J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” “In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.” – Lundy Bancroft, “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” Ever wish…

‘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. …

31 Scary Movies: ‘[REC]’

“[REC]” (2007) – This Spanish horror film – that spawned three sequels and an American remake (and sequel) – generates plenty of fear with its effective documentary-style screenplay, but “[REC]” is a frightening concept, no matter what method is used to convey its story. Local television reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) is after a story too!  She’s the host of “While You’re Asleep”, and tonight, she’s filming – with her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso) – the Bravo 128 Fire Company. They will document how firemen live, work, and eat! With…

31 Scary Movies: ‘Slither’

“Slither” (2006) –  Alien wormlike parasites terrorize the folks from Wheelsy, a sleepy little town in the U.S. South, but a local named Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) is the most adversely impacted in this monster invasion-zombie-comedy mash-up. The film includes buckets of ghastly and twisted body horror that rivals “From Beyond” (1986), but also includes plenty of hilarious discourse and two appearances of Air Supply’s “Every Woman in the World” (1980). Not too many writer/directors could make this cinematic concoction work, but James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), “Guardians…

31 Scary Movies: ‘High Tension’

“High Tension” (2003) – This savagely violent picture from France innocently begins when Alex (Maiween Le Besco) invites her college friend Marie (Cecile De France) to her family’s farmhouse for rest and relaxation. This big and beautiful home – surrounded by corn fields, a clothesline in the backyard and a welcoming family inside – seems like a Norman Rockwell painting that has come to life. Mayhem, however, is soon to follow, and director/co-writer Alexandre Aja splatters buckets of blood all over the pristine aforementioned figurative artwork.  Aja doesn’t shy away…