meddlecore

IMDb member since November 2004
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    IMDb Member
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Reviews

The Tillamook Treasure
(2006)

Heartfelt, Family Treasure Film.
The Legend Of Tillamook's Gold aka Tillamook Treasure tells the story of a young girl- the daughter of a struggling writer- who has moved to Oregon, from California, when her family suffers from money problems.

One day, she happens upon a gold coin, of Spanish origin, on the beach.

Which she learns more about after querying her marionette making grandfather, and his indigenous friend, Standing Elk.

Standing Elk tells her a tale about how his ancestors had witnessed the Spanish land on their shores, with a slave, whom they forced to bury a cache of treasure- before killing him, so that his ghost would watch over the treasure.

Until the chosen one comes to find it.

After going on a vision quest, and, with the help of the slave's lost soul in the form of an elk, she works to crack the code of the treasure's location.

Despite having competition from the local historian, and her partner- who constantly attempt to stifle her efforts.

Eventually, she figures it out.

But it almost gets her- and her father- killed.

And she is forced to decide between fame and fortune...or their lives.

The whole thing is rather low budget, with very mediocre acting.

But the main actress is cute, and her character is endearing.

It all has a less-exciting Goonies sort of vibe.

Though it must be noted that this is more of a family film, with an adventure angle, than it is an adventure film, with a family angle, like The Goonies.

It's certainly not the best treasure hunting movie ever made.

In fact, it's probably among the worst.

But the little twist at the end is clever and heart felt.

That being said, it likely won't be enjoyed by most.

But I enjoyed the message it puts out there, on a personal level.

So I'd say it's worth a watch.

4.5 out of 10.

South Seas Adventure
(1958)

A Cinerama Adventure Across The Pacific Islands.
South Seas Adventure, is a multifaceted adventure, that has us travelling across the various lands that make up the Pacific Islands, starting in Hawaii, and ending in Australia.

We begin the journey on a cruise ship that carries tourists from the US mainland, to the majestic wonderland that is Hawaii.

Where we take in all that this island nation has to offer, from the perspective of a young woman and her male suitor.

Next, we follow a young French painter, as he hops aboard a trade ship, so as to earn himself passage to Tahiti.

He wants to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Paul Gaugin, and gets initiated into the world of a sailor along the way.

From Tahiti, we continue along with the trade ship to Fiji, where we tag along with the Captain, as he collects his cargo, and takes in the wonderful sounds of the islanders' voices.

And from Fiji, we continue on to the Hebrides, with a package in tow, for the local preacher (a religious text in Pigeon English).

Here he is greeted with the magical, ceremonial drink, Kava, after which he takes in one of the most wildest local traditions known to man.

A tribe on one of the outer islands, partakes in a folk tradition, where they build a tower 100 feet tall...tie vines to their ankles...and jump off, like some sort of bungee jump, less the elasticity of the cord.

Just watching this hurts...I can only imagine the pain these men endure to prove they are stronger than the women.

As, the story goes, a jealous husband accused his wife of adultery. But she claimed innocence, climbed to the top of a tree and said, "let us both jump, and have the Gods decide who is innocent".

Thus, she tied vines to her feet and survived the jump; while her husband jumped off without such a harness, and fell to his death.

Now, the men believe, if a woman has done it...so must they, in order to prove their equality, rather than their superiority, necessarily.

After the intermission, we skip forward to New Zealand and Australia, in the second half of the film.

Flying through the Southern Alps- former stomping ground of Sir Edmund Hilary- and over the twin island nation's 3 largest cities, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

Visiting the Maori on the way.

We conclude the whole adventure in Australia, beginning with Sydney, and ending in the outback, as we take in the rural culture of these southern cowboys, and their open air school- the largest school in the world.

As usual, we are spoiled with a plethora of magnificent aerial shots, and Cinerama's typical way of taking in culture.

For those of us who haven't had the privilege of exploring the Southern Seas for ourselves...this is certainly the next best thing.

With the film, not only taking us on this journey, but also acting as a time capsule, and trip to the past.

Another wonderful Cinerama adventure.

8 out of 10.

Yôsei Gorasu
(1962)

Did Anybody Realize The Friggin' Moon Was Destroyed?!
Akin to the mythological planet Nibiru, a rogue star called Gorath is hurtling through space, on a collision course with Earth.

Thus, Japan sends a spacecraft called the JX-1 to investigate, but it isn't able to escape Gorath's gravitational pull, and ends up crashing into it...on Christmas day, no less.

Though, not before it's able to send data back to Earth.

Turns out, it is 6000 times the mass of Earth, but only 1/3 it's size.

To address the issue, an emergency meeting is held at the UN.

They decide to install thrusters at the South Pole, and use nuclear fuel to blast the jets, in order to move the Earth out of the path of this deadly star.

A second mission is, thus, sent into space to monitor the situation.

And they discover that this rogue body has actually grown to 6200 times the mass of Earth.

Therefore, if they don't recalculate the numbers, they might not be providing enough thrust to move the planet out of the way.

And to make matters worse, they have melted the southern ice cap, and released a kaiju walrus, which attacks one of their stations.

Leaving them with the decision of whether to kill this unknown specimen, or risk the destruction of the entire Earth.

On top of this, Gorath takes out the moon as it approaches, and has caused one of the space pilots to experience amnesia (or perhaps, possessed him in some sort of way).

Now, only divine intervention can save the human race from extinction.

Earthquakes, avalanches, and tidal waves wreak havoc on the face of the planet, as Gorath gets closer and closer.

Like a bad dream, the Newtonian apocalypse has become a reality...only, 98 years too early...

If the Earth is to survive this too close for comfort call...it will be due to science, luck...or perhaps a powerful telurgist.

The real heroes always go unsung...

But their problems aren't over yet...as they still need to put the Earth back into it's proper orbit...and seem to have forgotten that the moon was destroyed in the process.

That doesn't stop them from concluding with a moral message that all obstacles can be overcome if only we are able to work together as one race...the human race.

Call it a Christmas miracle.

6.5 out of 10.

The Lodge
(2019)

High Tension, Majorly Creepy Christmas Season Horror.
When a brother and sister go to visit their dad (Richard Armitage) at their cottage for Christmas, their dad asks their mom (Alicia Silverstone) for a divorce, as he wants to merry his new girlfriend (Riley Keough), who is the sole survivor of a suicide cult he had been researching for a book.

Alone, and feeling rejected, she ends up killing herself.

The kids blame their father's new girlfriend for what happened, and more or less shun her at every given oppourtunity, for it.

So, the next time Christmas rolls around, their father plans to leave them at the cottage with her so that they can get to know one another.

But things are tense.

The little girl constantly carries around a doll that represents her mother.

And if the woman uses anything that had belonged to her, they ream her out for it.

She tries her best to get through to them.

But just as she starts to make progress...a bunch of odd events start to occur.

Almost as if the spirit of the children's dead mother has lingered, in search of vengeance.

Though, perhaps it is the ghost of her own father, angry that she didn't fulfill the purpose she was left alive for.

First, a painting she had removed, returns to it's position on the wall.

Then the generator stops working, all their food disappears, and her pills and dog suddenly go missing.

She starts to become more and more paranoid, and blames the kids for messing with her.

But it soon becomes apparent that something more nefarious is afoot.

The boy starts to dream of premonitions of their death, while she starts to suffer from potentially deadly hallucinations.

Now, their phones are dead, and a blizzard has moved in...effectively trapping them in the cabin together.

With the nearest town being too far away to travel to in such weather.

Things get so bad, that they are starting to think they might be dead.

Haunting the world as ghosts, themselves.

Or is it all an elaborate ruse, designed by the children, to drive this poor woman insane, in order to punish her for the loss of their mother?

If it is...they better be careful how far they push her...because she was already unstable before they got there...

For a relatively low budget film, it is really quite ambitious.

With lots of subtle references to The Shining.

Before the truth is inevitably revealed, it leads you in all sorts of directions, while keeping you guessing.

And it's all really quite creepy and disturbing.

Though not really very Christmasy, it is certainly one of- if not the- most frightening of the Christmas season horrors out there.

So, if you are looking to be scared this Christmas...definitely give this film a watch.

7.5 out of 10.

Shivers Down Your Spine: A Christmas Horror Story
(2014)

Christmas Installation From A Horror Anthology Of Shorts.
Shivers Down Your Spine is a low budget straight-to-VHS (looking) horror anthology, made up of a series of shorts.

Coming in at just under 20 minutes, A Christmas Horror Story is it's Christmasy installation.

It tells the story of a crazed axe murderer who has escaped from a mental institution and gone on a Christmas Eve killing spree.

Attacking a young group of volunteers, that are setting up for a Christmas party for orphans, at the local cineplex.

There's not much going on here, as it seems to end, just as it's beginning.

But it's chock full of humourously cliche 90's era lingo.

And then everyone gets killed.

They do attempt to tie in a bit of a twist at the end.

But it's more stupid and cheesy than it is clever.

You can find it to watch on youtube.

3.5 out of 10.

Elves
(2018)

Horrible, D-Grade, Home-Made Christmas Horror.
A haunted elf doll traps all who end up on it's naughty list in a deadly game...of murder.

Once your in the game, your in...and must do whatever the elf says.

It's kill or be killed...or even, sometimes, kill and be killed.

It's latest victims are a group of friends who have been lured into it's grips by the sole survivor of the last round of the game.

The only way out is to fulfill the elf's demands under it's watchful eye.

Through death.

Or by sending back them to Hell (as, apparently, there are several...though you'd never be able to tell, if they didn't specifically mention it).

This is one of those D-grade "home-made horrors", with uninspired kills, paltry special effects, and virtually no gore.

The acting is bad, the cinematography is basic (and at times oversaturated), and the story is full of plot holes.

Really, the only reason anyone would ever watch it, is because they ran out of other Christmas-themed horror films to indulge in (like I have)...or by accident.

It's far inferior to the 1989 film of the same name...though, it's not as bad as The Elf (2017)...but it's pretty damn close.

Proof that literally anyone can make a movie in the digital age.

1.5 out of 10.

Anna and the Apocalypse
(2017)

High School Zombie Musical.
Anna And the Apocalypse begins as a musical about a girl who is about to graduate highschool, with plans to take a year off and travel, before heading off to university, to the chagrin of her father- who works at her school as a custodian.

Her best friend is clearly in love with her, but has a complicated relationship with the school bully.

They are also friends with a young lesbian, who acts as the school journalist, the star of the theatre, and her boyfriend, who is a fledgling filmmaker.

The villain of the story is the school principle, who treats the school like his own fascist dictatorship.

As they just go through dealing with life at the end of their high school careers...a zombie plague unexpectedly occurs, triggering the apocalypse.

But it's not very well sussed out...there is no explanation given for why or how the zombification of the masses has taken place, or even a consistent rendering of how people turn into zombies.

Some turn (seemingly) without being bitten, while others die and do not turn.

And there is no ground zero, as it is going on all across the world, (seemingly) having begun at the same time.

Either way, the kids need to get from where they are, back to the school, where (for some reason) all of their parents are held up.

Trapped by the dictatorial principle, who won't let anyone leave.

There are some funny kills, and decent gore along the way.

But the plot is driven by some very questionable decisions...that could have easily been avoided, and reduce the number of deaths they experience.

So, even though it has a fun vibe...the poorly developed plot kind of detracts from the second half of the film.

While the ending doesn't do much to make up for it.

Thus, in the end, despite the interesting concept, it's really just kind of meh.

Not one of my favourite holiday horrors.

5.5 out of 10.

Windjammer: The Voyage of the Christian Radich
(1958)

A Cinerama Schoolship Adventure.
In this Cinerama adventure, we follow the path of 50 "green" recruit sailors- some as young as 14- as they vie for the chance to board the Norwegian schoolship, the Christian Radich, which is set to sail from Oslo to Medeira and onto the Dutch West Indies.

Such a schoolship is known as a "Windjammer", hence the title of the film.

A ship where boys learn to carry out the tasks of seamanship, on their way to becoming men of the sea.

The opening segment of the film is shot in standard definition, before moving on to Cinerama's trademark curved widescreen, which has been translated to Smilebox definition for home viewing.

We watch as the boys get acquainted with both the ship and their shipmates, while the narrator teaches us the vernacular of the sailors.

Terms like "doctor" (the ship's cook), "Charlie Noble" (the stove's chimney), and "poop deck" (the top level of the ship, that also acts as the roof of the cabin).

The crew makes it to Medeira on St. Sylvester's Day, whence the film becomes a travelogue, as we watch the boys ride the basket slides, and attend a folk festival.

Before they head off to the Dutch West Indies, following the path previously taken by Columbus.

Stopping, first, in Puerto Rico, where they picnic with Dutch girls, and go on a wild chase, for their mascot Stumpe.

When they leave Puerto Rico, they make their way toward Trinidad, where they collab with local musicians, and dance to the rhythms of Calypso.

Next, they head north towards New York, passing Cape Hatteras on the way.

After which they travel to Philadelphia- home of the first fire brigade in America- to take in fire prevention week.

Along the way, they meet many other schoolships, including Sweden's Flying Clipper, and The Eagle of the US Coast Guard service.

A few lucky cadets even get to visit a convoy of naval destroyers- including a submarine- for training exercises.

And, as they retrace the route explored by Leif Erickson, they head along the New England coast, stopping so that one sailor- a budding pianist- can fulfill his dream of playing with the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Before making their way home via the northern path- travelled by Erik the Red and his crew- past Scotland.

Stopping to race a Danish schoolship in a regatta as they go.

The whole trip takes them 239 days, during which they travel over 17 thousand miles, stopping in 14 ports along the way.

Though, for us, it's a journey of only about 2 and a half hours (including prologue and intermission).

The film possesses many traits that have become synonymous with the Cinerama brand.

Though, this film has traded in it's aerial shots for some really cool underwater footage.

In the end, it's quite similar to Cinerama's other schoolship documentary travelogue, The Flying Clipper.

But focuses more on the day to day activities of the student sailors, as they learn the craft that might very well shape the rest of their lives.

Another epic Cinerama adventure.

8 out of 10.

Flying Clipper - Traumreise unter weissen Segeln
(1962)

Sail School Is In Session.
The Flying Clipper is a wonderful travelogue journey, featuring an international crew of nordics, that set off from Malmo, Sweden, on a sailing adventure across the Mediterranean (and back), as part of their sail school experience.

Shot in Cinerama, the ship they use (a clipper class sailing vessel) bears the same name as does the Panamerican Cinerama jet, responsible for shooting all the epic aerial footage we see throughout the documentary.

We watch as the crew settles in, before they head across the Northern Atlantic, around the European coast, and through the Suez canal, on their way to the Golden Horn (off the coast of Istanbul).

They undergo a series a competitions to see who gets the privilege of travelling through to the middle East, as all but 3 members of this young crew are given the oppourtunity to pass through the Suez canal, into Egypt, and onto Turkey (while the rest are left back on shore to get up to their regular sailor shenanigans).

These games include a pillow fight on a greased mast, a sort of blindfolded slaps type game, and a no handed eating competition.

After this select crew navigates us through Egypt and Turkey, one member is selected to visit an American aircraft carrier called the Shangri La.

Where he gets to witness how planes take off and land on the craft, and a new haircut.

On their way home, they pick up the rest of the crew, and go on a grand tour through Monaco (where they watch the Grand Prix), Rhodes, Italy, and Spain...before they round their way back past Denmark, on their way home to Sweden.

The whole thing is a wonderfully alluring adventure, with Cinerama's trademark shots from the air, from cars, and static shots of a variety of cultural exhibitions...all of which are complimented by a narrator that provides us with historical context and explanations.

I liked this much better than Seven Wonders Of The World, which had way too much outdated political propaganda spun into the film.

Less the aircraft carrier angle, such additions are much more subtle in this picture.

A truly excellent travelogue documentary that I'd love to get to see on the real Cinerama screen someday, even if it was manufactured for the screen.

8.5 out of 10.

36.15 code Père Noël
(1989)

A Christmas Cult Gem With Major Home Alone Vibes.
This is a Christmas cult classic.

Notable for being the film that did the Home Alone thing the year before Home Alone was released.

In fact, it's really hard to believe that this film didn't influence the blockbuster hit...because it's really quite similar...yet, much more violent.

In it, a young phenom, named Thomas, is the son of the heir to a toymaker's fortune.

He's a bit of a computer wizard...having personally designed his own apple watch like thing...with full internet of things capability...in 19-frigging-89.

Oh, and he lives in a castle.

While only 11 years old, Thomas has above average intelligence, but he still believes in Santa.

His mother is always working, so Thomas is left to play and tinker around with his grandfather- who is diabetic and starting to go blind.

To prove his friend Pilon wrong, Thomas plans to capture Santa in one of the booby traps he has set up in his home- which is filled with secret doors, hidden rooms, and even a labyrinth.

But his mom tells him, that if he waits up for Santa...Santa will turn into an ogre and try to attack him.

Ignorant to the fact that one of her Santa employees has gone postal, after being rejected by a little girl, who he was trying to make smile.

This man wants revenge, so- after overhearing a conversation in the shipping department- he decides that he might as well take the oppourtunity to take it out on his boss...by tormenting her family.

When he gets to their house...he immediately kills their dog...right in front of young Thomas' eyes.

But Thomas has been training for this his whole life...and knows exactly what to do.

He protects his vulnerable grandpa..and manages to make it out of every close call...though not always unscathed.

As the rest of the people at his house get murdered by this psychotic Santa.

What ensues is a battle of perseverance, wit, and, perhaps, a little bit of luck.

The whole thing is way more heavy than Home Alone.

Being what Home Alone would have been if it were to have been made as a slasher film.

With a weird blend of children's horror and mildly gory slasher action.

That makes it one helluva cult gem.

7 out of 10.

Satan Claus
(1996)

Worst Of The Worst Holiday Horror.
This is a hilariously bad spaghetti horror santa slasher.

Like...worst of the worst bad.

Everything in this seems to be purposefully horrible...the writing, the acting, the directing, the outdoor scenes, the gore...but particularly the acting.

The whole thing seems to have been made as some sort of vendetta, by the writer, for not having been considered a good enough actor for the screen.

In the story, a series of seemingly random murders are carried out on Christmas Eve, by a maniac in a santa costume.

We follow two friends- themselves dressed up like santas- as they are tending a charity donation booth...when they witness the murder of their friend's boyfriend.

The police have no leads...despite being toyed with by the killer...who has even killed the lead detective's wife.

Ultimately leading to the final twist of the film, which makes literally no sense whatsoever.

In fact, it's not even possible...if you consider anything that happened earlier on in the film.

Making it one of those so bad it's funny (not good, in any stretch) films that will have you laughing at the sheer stupidity of it all.

The best parts are the self reflexive elements of Steve's storyline (where the writer has the character poke fun at his lack of acting talent); how everyone was cast below and forced to act under Steve; and how they tried to justify the bizarre and simply impossible twist...by saying the killer's voice was going back and forth from being male and female (when it was always a male voice).

Also, the whole thing is quite literally dark.

So dark, sometimes, you can't even see what the hell is going on.

But that is probably for the better anyways.

Cause the gore sucks.

Like everything else in this atrocity...which is only fit for cinemasochists.

2.5 out of 10.

The Conjuring 2
(2016)

Based On The Enfield Haunting.
For a modern ghost film...this is pretty damn good!

It is loosely based off of the true story of the Enfield haunting- which is one of the most documented cases of poltergeist activity in the world.

The filmmakers do a pretty good job at staying true to the story- with the whole nun-demon angle tied in for dramatic purposes.

Unfortunately, for this case, it became a media frenzy.

They brought in kooks, psychics, and ultra-skeptics, alike...and made the whole thing a total crapshow.

The whole story begins around Christmas 1977, when a girl named Janet- and her family- start to be tormented by an unseen entity.

Janet starts sleepwalking; beds shake inexplicably; and, eventually, Janet starts to speak with the voice of an old man.

She claims she is Bill Wilkins, who died in the chair in the corner, from a hemorrhage, at 72 years of age.

Information that is later corroborated by the former owners son.

Not only do her siblings and mother witness these strange occurrences...but a local police constable, daily mirror reporter, and Maurice Grosse, from the Society Of Psychical Research, do as well.

Eventually, the Church is called in.

They send a couple of their own investigators in to judge the veracity of these claims. As the Church does not want to embarrass itself by involving itself in a fraudulent case.

The film ties this into one of their previous investigations- with the woman (who's a psychic) having had a premonition that seems to be coming to fruition here.

And they try to help the spirit of Bill Wilkins cross over.

But it becomes evident to them, that the force behind this activity is not actually the spirit of Bill...rather, something much more demonic in origin.

Cue the spiritual battle between the Church investigators and this demonic nun-entity.

For the most part, this is a pretty great film.

Well written and constructed...it really manages to keep you engaged.

Coming off as The Entity meets The Exorcist.

Though, the ending gets a little too Paranormal Activity for me.

While more tastefully done than Paranormal Activity...it has some similarities...though, I kind of liked how they wrapped things up (seeing as I have a demon haunted painting, myself)...

6 out of 10.

A Christmas Horror Story
(2015)

Should Have Scrapped The Whole Anthology Angle.
A Christmas Horror Story is a poorly designed anthology flick, that probably shouldn't have been an anthology flick at all.

Plotwise, we have William Shatner acting as a radio host on Christmas Eve...telling us the tales we are hearing.

On their own, the first four disconnected stories- which are interwoven together, throughout the first part of the film- are quite well done.

If they were just shorts on their own, that is.

One tells the story of a young black family who trespasses onto private land to cull a tree to use for Christmas. While they are out there, their son disappears. Eventually, they find him, but it's not actually him...rather a changeling troll. Leading things to get violent. With an inexplicable feel good ending.

The next tale, tells of a group of students, working on a documentary about a local murder for their class. They break into the old school where it had occurred on Christmas Eve...only to be tormented by the same dark force that led to the murders they are there to investigate.

The third story, has us following a family who are on their way to visit an estranged Aunt over the holidays. While there, the kids mess around with her things...upsetting her. And, in the process, they awaken the Krampus...who proceeds to hunt down and kill most of them.

And finally, we have a hardened Santa who is dealing with a zombie virus outbreak amongst his elves- who have been sent into a cannibalistic rage, and must be dealt with by force.

What kind of ruins the whole flow of things, is the additional storyline at the end...where they inexplicably have Krampus fighting Santa.

They do throw in a twist to provide some context to this...and it's actually pretty great. But it has nothing to do with changeling trolls...or ghostly murders...and the only way they manage to tie it all together is by having Shatner say something along the lines of, "how come things always get so bloody and deadly around Christmas".

This made it feel like such a waste of a great twist!

And that it should never have been constructed as an anthology film, like it was.

5 out of 10.

À l'intérieur
(2007)

French Ultraviolence At It's Finest.
Well...there isn't much that might be considered festive going on in this one...

Because, this is one of the most brutally vicious, incredibly realistic, gore-laden, French Ultraviolence films I've ever seen.

And it's certainly not for the faint of heart.

After getting into an accident, in which she was the sole survivor, the pregnant Sarah is trying to recover and get ready to give birth without her husband, who died in the crash.

Things seem to be going well, until she is accosted by an unknown woman on Christmas Eve.

She has no idea who this woman is, but she sure seems to know her...and will not leave her alone.

So, she calls the cops, who come and investigate.

But they can't find anything...so they promise to send a car around later to check up on her.

Thus, she lays down to sleep...only to be awakened by a scissor stab to her stomach...with this woman lying prone on her...trying to cut her baby out...

And what ensues is an absolutely disturbing, extremely realistic, murderfest...with excessive amounts of gore, violence, and death.

The kind of film that will make you cringe.

And there ain't no happy ending...

The title acts as a double entendre. In that Sarah is trapped inside both her house, and bathroom, as this psychotic woman tries to kill her; while the baby is trapped (or protected, depending on how you look at it haha) inside her womb...and needs to be "liberated"...

There is also a political subtext to the whole thing.

Because, during all the stabbing, killing, and shooting...there is a riot going on.

This riot is being led by immigrant youths, lashing out because they have been targeted by police, and dying in their custody.

Which is kind of ironic, seeing as how things play out.

You are kind of directed to look at the ultraviolence in this film, as a reflection of the violent anger that was simmering under the surface of French society at the time.

If you can handle the extreme violence and realistic gore portrayed in this film...you will probably love it.

If not, you will probably hate it.

Or be extremely traumatized by it, more likely...

7.5 out of 10.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
(2015)

Where's The Ghost Dimension?
So, this is the first Paranormal Activity film I've watched...which is ironic, because it is the final film of the series (as of writing this review)...and probably not ideal, as it acts a sequel to the fifth instalment: Paranormal Activity 5: The Marked Ones.

It starts off well enough...as a found footage film within a found footage film, with a sort of timeloop aspect- with those on the found tapes having foresight into the present, which is currently being taped.

In it, it seems like some sort of presence is haunting the home of a young family- and affecting their daughter, who claims she has a new invisible friend named Toby.

Toby encourages her to bury her Mom's rosary, burn bibles and other fun stuff, like that.

But her Dad is starting to catch on to what is happening, with help from an old customized camera and bank of tapes he finds in the basement.

The tapes portray a couple of young girls- that have foresight into the present- who are being groomed into some sort of weird cult, based around this Toby character.

The man elicits a local Priest, to help them formulate a plan to catch this Toby entity.

But it fails, and what follows is an absolutely ridiculous crapshoot, whose only value is a couple of cheap scares.

To be honest, I'm not even sure why this movie is subtitled "Ghost Dimension".

It's almost as if they just threw any old name up there for marketing purposes.

Because it doesn't really make sense in the context of the film.

Something relating to the occult or antichrist would have been much more appropriate, you'd think.

Cause there isn't really a "Ghost Dimension" in the film.

The inclusion of that whole Santa scene was completely and utterly confusing as well...almost as if they included it, simply to sell the film as a Christmas horror film.

Plus, it is heavily reliant upon CGI.

When all is said and done, this is a very simple film that had some potential that was squandered by the ending.

You could probably bust out a bazillion of these a year if you had access to a bunch of empty houses and got efficient at it.

But the mindless ending just ruined it for me, personally.

4.5 out of 10.

To All a Goodnight
(1980)

Christmas Schoolgirl Slasher.
To All A Goodnight is a cheesy 80's schoolgirl slasher, in which a number of rich, overly promiscuous, youths (and a couple unlucky adults) are targeted by a killer in a Santa suit, at an all girls boarding school over Christmas holidays.

This all takes place after the accidental death of another young girl- who was in the process of being hazed- at the school.

So, you are kind of led to suspect that she somehow survived and has returned for vengeance, though, they do include other suspicious characters that might also be responsible.

There are a number of cheesy deaths in this. And, while, most of the killings are by rather traditional means, they do manage to keep things diverse enough to seem fresh.

But the gore is pretty lame.

In the end, all the hormone driven boys and girls end up dead...while the nerds and innocents manage to survive.

And it seems like they tried to set this up for a sequel too, though I don't think that ever came to fruition.

All in all, it's a pretty standard and all around average Christmas season slasher.

5 out of 10.

Holidays
(2016)

An Anthology Of Awesome Short Holiday Themed Horror Vignettes.
So this is an anthology of short horror vignettes- each of which are based on an annual holiday, in order, as they fall throughout the year...and every one is shot by a different director.

It all begins with Valentine's Day, during which a nerdy girl from the swim team (who gets picked on by her teammates) falls in love with her coach. The hot popular girl puts her down for thinking she's good enough for him. So- after overhearing this- he gives her a Valentine's Day card as a nice gesture...only to trigger a deadly obsession...

Next we have St. Patrick's Day, where we watch a young Pagan Goddess set up a single, young, teacher to be impregnated with a serpent...in a last bid attempt to repopulate Ireland with both snakes and Pagans...after the Christians had run them out...

This is followed by Easter, during which Jesus is reborn as a deformed Easter Bunny-Human hybrid that manifests live chicks from the wounds in his palms. You don't want to know what happens if you are awake when he's around...

For Mother's Day, a young woman- who gets pregnant every time she has sex (no matter what precautionary measures are taken)- is directed to a bizarre psychedelic fertility cult to help her stop getting pregnant. But they just kidnap her, to keep her drugged and forcibly impregnated...

On Father's Day, a young woman is sent on a cryptic journey of self discovery- in search of her lost (and assumed to be dead) Father. But it's unclear whether this search is actually in her interest...or just a trap...

The highlight of the whole thing is definitely Kevin Smith's contribution for Halloween. In this short, a California pimp lures girls to work as Camgirls, before exploiting them, both economically and sexually, until they start to stick up for themselves. And take back control of the situation...

Seth Green stars in Christmas, as a cucked Father, who has been sent by his wife to retrieve the hot ticket toy of the season, for their son. When a man gets the last one right before him. He offers to pay the man a fair price for it. But he refuses to sell it to him...only to keel over from a heart attack in the parking lot. Now, a choice has to be made...help save the man, or seize the oppourtunity and take the toy. Will karma catch up with him? Probably not like you'd expect...

To finish things off, New Years starts off with a man killing his girlfriend, so he can meet another woman who is a higher percentage match on the dating website he frequents. It can be scary how accurate those algorithms are...

With the vignettes shot by the following directors: Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer; Gary Shore; Nicholas McCarthy; Sarah Adina Smith; Anthony Scott Burns; Kevin Smith, Scott Stewart; and Adam Egypt Mortimer...this film is a masterpiece of twisted cult cinema.

Great writing, solid acting, and a gorgeous style (across the board) make this a Holiday horror you are not going to want to miss.

8.5 out of 10.

Dead End
(2003)

Great Low Budget Psychological Horror-Thriller.
For a slasher film that is practically void of any gore whatsoever, this is an effectively intense and engaging low budget psychological horror-thriller.

It begins with a family, as they head down a backroad, on their way to Grandma's house for Christmas.

This unplanned shortcut takes a dark turn, however, when they happen upon a woman in white holding- what appears to be- a baby.

Shortly after this meeting, they start getting picked off one by one.

So, in an attempt to survive, they decide to continue down the road- towards a town called Marcott- where they plan to seek help.

But something is not right.

It appears they have been going around in circles- stuck in some sort of bizarre time loop, or something.

And it's really starting to mess with their heads.

Despite the fact that most- if not all- the gory deaths take place off screen...this film succeeds by manipulating you on an emotional level.

It is really effective in forcing you to empathize with the emotional turmoil faced by the characters, as they watch their family members die off one by one.

It must be noted that the plotline is a bit confusing though.

The double twist at the end does not make it inherently clear as to what really happened out there...on that seemingly endless road...so you are left to read into things in one or two different ways.

That being said, however, I did enjoy this film.

It's pretty damn entertaining from start to finish.

Definitely worth a watch.

5.5 out of 10.

Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman
(2000)

So Bad It's...Bad.
Well...if you thought the first one was bad...this one is world's worse.

I mean, at least the last one had some logic to it- even if it was ridiculously cheesy and poorly executed.

But in this one...they clearly go out of their way to make it as patently absurd as possible.

After digging up the dead killer snowman, who had been destroyed with anti-freeze and buried underground in an unmarked grave. A group of scientists attempt to free him from the anti-freeze unsuccessfully. Only to have him manifest himself after a janitor accidentally knocks a cup of coffee into the tank in which he was contained.

Following this, Jack immediately heads for the ocean- killing a couple dudes on a raft so he can steal their carrot in the process.

It seems like he's tracking the man who had previously killed him...heading for the islands...in the Tropics...to reap some vengeance.

As usual, he starts to kill people inexplicably and indiscriminately. Mostly with icicles and snowballs...though, at least once, with a cement anvil from up in a palm tree...

There are a few creative moments of gore and death in the second half...but they're still pretty lame.

After the first 40 minutes, I didn't think it was possible for the film to have any redeeming qualities, but that was before Jack started to asexually reproduce a bunch of little snowball monsters.

I kind of hate to admit it, but I was mildly entertained by the second half.

And was almost ready to give it a so bad it's good commendation...but then they threw in the twist- which involves Jack inheriting an allergy to bananas...

Really, this is pretty much, just all around bad.

But it's good for a laugh.

2.5 out of 10.

Red Christmas
(2016)

This Christmas...One Family is Getting Revenge...
Man, this is one twisted little low budget slasher-gore film from Australia.

It focuses on a family, who is being tormented by a bandaged (and extremely deformed) axe murderer with down syndrome.

Turns out, that after having one child with down syndrome, the mother decided to have an abortion when she found out the child of her next pregnancy also suffered from the same syndrome- while her husband was dying in the hospital.

However, during the procedure, the abortion clinic was attacked by a right to lifer...and her fetus was stolen, revived, and reared by an extreme right wing christian.

Thus, after his upbringer's death...the boy went on a mission to find his real mother and family.

But when he tracks them down, and they reject him...he decides to opt for his adopted father's approach: vengeance.

There are a bunch of creative kills in this.

And the gore is pretty good.

But what is most effective, is how it's shot.

Using cult style techniques, with lots of low, canted camera angles, sporadic camera movements, and quick refocuses...which really make for an intense viewing experience.

That little twist they throw in shortly before the conclusion is quite sad.

I was having a good time with this, up until that point...but, man, was that depressing turn of events.

It really works to unnerve you.

Up until the twist, this film really is quite humourous (in a black humour sort of way).

And the acting is pretty solid across the board.

I rather enjoyed this.

It messed with me. And I like that.

6 out of 10.

Black Christmas
(2006)

Not True To The Original.
Black Christmas (2006) is more or less (mostly less of) a remake of the 1974 sorority house slasher classic by Bob Clark.

But it's made more like your every day basic b--ch sorority house slasher, in that it has removed all the complexities and nuances, in exchange for a whole lot of eyeball gouging/eating.

I mean, I guess that's cool in it's own right...but with all the character development, sexual politics, mystery, and the overt creep factor that made the first one so interesting gone...

It comes off as having missed the point of the original.

The characters match up nicely, but they are not developed at all...so you just don't care about them.

Which probably makes watching them get their eyes gouged out a little easier.

But it's not very good tact in regards to overall effectiveness...which this film lacks in spades, compared to the first one.

As far as mindless gore goes, this is quite watchable, and by no means the worst example of it's kind.

But it should have been it's own film...and not tainted the Black Christmas name...as it makes no effort to remain loyal to the original model; with any connections being merely aesthetic in nature.

5.5 out of 10.

Wind Chill
(2007)

A More Psychological Version Of Dead end.
Wind Chill starts out a lot like Better Watch out, in that it revolves around a stalker initiating a plan to lure the girl of his dreams into accepting a rideshare home for the holidays with him.

On the way, he takes a detour down a road that is known to be haunted, with hopes he can scare her into being into him.

However, things don't exactly play out that way.

Because, after getting run off the road by a "ghost car"- which leaves them stuck and stranded in the snow...with no way to call for help- things start to get weird.

Every attempt to leave the area results in a circular psychological experience, after which they find themselves back in the car, right where they started.

There are all manner of "entities" walking around outside...a weird priest, some bloody kids, a distraught woman, and an angry police officer.

And it turns out that the officer was also a killer, who used this particular stretch of road to hunt and dispose of his victims...rendering it a haunted location.

So, without any food, or a way out, things start to go downhill very fast.

Eventually culminating with the twist conclusion that explains the film's title.

In a sense, it ends up a lot like a more psychological version of Dead End...just with a couple extra twists spun in.

While neither totally great, nor overtly horrible, it's certainly a watchable and enjoyable little flick.

5 out of 10.

The Demon
(1979)

Below Average South African Slasher.
A serial killer is plaguing the South African countryside, killing indiscriminately.

Using a plastic bag to suffocate people.

However, when one girl gets kidnapped by this monster, her family hires a medium, who possesses the power of ESP...with hopes that he might be able to provide them with answers, where the police have failed.

Through his process, the medium discerns that the man responsible for this series of heinous acts, is a human aberration.

A demon, in the flesh.

The girl's mother just wants her daughter back.

But her father wants vengeance.

The medium uses his powers to get inside the man's head.

To become him, in a sense.

All while this devil continues to prey on the innocent and unsuspecting.

There's just one problem...he can never manage to see the man's face.

The question is...is he even a man?

Or, rather, a shadow being, that is so evil, it is able to manifest itself into a physical form?

Either way, two beautiful young primary school teachers seem to be this vicious killer's next targets.

Just as the missing girl's father uses the information provided by the medium to track this evil entity, in the form of a man, down.

However, he does not heed the warning that, if he were to do this, he would not come back alive...

Thus, as one person after another dies...only one person he has targeted remains alive.

So, it is up to them, to stop this demonic force, before he kills anyone else.

It's not exactly the most engaging slasher of all-time.

Though, it has a spooky atmosphere, that is both dark and brooding.

The end does have a decent amount of action.

But, as far as slashers go, it's only about the middle of the field.

5 out of 10.

Gosti iz galaksije
(1981)

One Of The Most Underrated Films Of All Time!!!
A man from Zagreb is writing a science fiction horror story, about a couple of child aliens- and their android keeper- that hail from the Arkana galaxy.

While writing, he gets right into the zone...which annoys his girlfriend.

Who is constantly making fun of his techniques.

Effectively...he wears a cosplay helmet, while fantasizing that he is part of their world...while recording his story onto a tape recorder.

That is, until the characters start speaking to him, through this same device.

Claiming they've landed on the island across from his flat.

However, he's unsure whether this is really happening, or if he has just been sucked into his own fantasy world.

So he goes to investigate.

And, while on the island, he meets the characters he created.

The humanoid aliens are like children, while the android acts as if she's their mother.

He was about to write the alien boy out of the story...replacing him, instead, with a cosmic beast that might get him a toy deal.

But this plan seems to have failed...because the boy has still become manifest into reality.

And he has brought the toy monster with him...

Which has the ability to grow into a kaiju-like monster, no less.

Thinking he's gone completely mad, he seeks out professional help.

Telling the shrink a bizarre story, about how he was raised alone by his father, who couldn't afford milk to feed him...leaving his father the only option, to grow breasts to breastfeed him with.

But instead of straight up institutionalizing him, the psychologist suggests that he might have the power of telurgy.

Telurgy being the ability to manifest something physically into existence, through mere acts of will.

In other words, fantasy induced magic.

To confirm whether he has actually willfully manifested his characters into existence...he brings his girlfriend with him to the island, so that she can confirm or deny whether he has just lost his mind.

And she's the best!

She indulges his fantasies, even though her sister encourages her to shun him.

Little did she suspect...that she would be able to see them too.

Now he knows he's definitely not insane.

And that there is something to this telurgy thing.

But this upsets the aliens...so they turn his girlfriend into a cube!

Despite the fact that these extraterrestrial entities are advanced life forms...the young writer is effectively their God.

For it was his imagination that willed their entire galaxy into existence.

Which gives the whole tale a self-reflexive spin (as he's now writing a story, about him writing a story, in which he is also a character).

Things start to get out of hand, however, when the alien boy cuts off the android's finger (which she just replaces like a lizard would it's tail).

After which a young boy, whose father works on the island, finds it and brings it to their family restaurant...just as the guard there, is telling people about how he was abducted by these aliens and experimented on.

Now, large groups are flocking to the island, with hopes of seeing these mysterious aliens for themselves.

So, his story seems to have taken on a life of it's own...

Because, after a group of spear fisherman make contact with the aliens, and are attacked...naked hoards descend upon the cave where they have been staying, to show their good will, as ambassadors of Earth.

Luckily, for him, however, his alien friends go into hiding before they are discovered.

Moving into his house...where they have taken upon themselves to do his domestic chores.

Which only creates new problems...as the author starts to be fall in love with the android character (and vice versa).

Thus, when his girlfriend discovers them together (after being released from the cube)...she gets extremely jealous...and leaves him.

Which leads to the monster getting loose.

And freaking everyone out.

Because, even though it means no harm, and just wants to smell flowers...there's always that one guy who gets afraid and tries to shoot the poor thing.

Which only renders it legitimately pissed off.

Now, they have a reason to be afraid...as it starts to take everyone out, one by one.

And comically so.

It's not until our protagonist shows up, and is able to turn the creature back into a toy, that the whole ordeal is brought to an end.

And there is only one way to fix all the damage that has been done...

This is such a magically brilliant story and film.

After the first couple of minutes, I thought it was going to be a total crapfest.

But it's actually probably one of my favourite sci-fi horror films of alltime.

As it's both a magically charming fantasy, and wonderfully hilarious comedy, all at the same time.

With some awesome special effects.

That combine animation, with excellent make-up and creature effects, and even some stop motion.

Not to mention the whole self-reflexive element, which gives the whole story a sense of depth.

It's certainly not an experience you want to miss.

And probably one of the most underrated films of all time.

10 out of 10.

Strange Invaders
(1983)

Could Have Been Worse.
Strange Invaders is the follow up to Strange Behavior (aka Dead Kids).

It was supposed to be the second film in a trilogy.

But this film was such a flop at the box office, that they cancelled the third installment.

Here, Centerville, Illinois is ground zero for yet another national conspiracy.

Only, this time, the American government has offered itself up as a haven for a race of extraterrestrial beings, in exchange for "certain advantages".

While these benefits are not particularly evident, the aliens seem to be harvesting the life force of citizens who discover their real identities.

Or...something like that...

Either way, we follow an entomologist, as he is sucked into this world...after they come for his daughter (which they plan to send away to their planet)...when he unwittingly marries one of the creatures...who is now his ex wife.

He teams up with a fake news journalist, at a national enquirer like newspaper, with hopes of exposing this conspiracy to the world.

But, the only person who believes them, is a man who has ended up in the nuthouse, after losing his family to these same extraterrestrials.

The aliens get particularly upset when the woman's worthless schlock rag, runs a story about them, with a picture the man everyone thinks is crazy had taken of them earlier.

Not realizing that no one would actually believe it.

Either way, they think they have been exposed...and plan to leave the planet.

But not without their prize...the man's daughter...

However, all the man and his daughter have to do is survive until 9pm on Sunday, when the alien ship is slated to leave Earth.

It's only a matter of whether they can last that long, with the alien goons already on their tale.

The end seems to set itself up for the return of the aliens in what would have been the third film.

But as we already know...that never came to fruition.

Which is pretty disappointing.

Because, even though the plot in this film is poorly constructed, and there are some odd uses of certain cinematic devices.

The special effects in this are quite badass.

With the alien creatures looking particularly awesome.

Even the cult-like style of the film is attractive.

But the acting is mediocre at best across the board.

With the best performance coming from the journalist woman.

Which isn't saying much.

If the plot had been devised a little better, it would have certainly made up for it's other faults.

But I've seen worse films spawn more sequels (-cough cough- Leprechaun).

So it would have been nice to see what the third film had in store for Centerville.

Oh well.

5.5 out of 10.

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