Hatchet (2006)

hatchet-poster
Somewhat self-aware though terribly goofy, Hatchet is set in the swamps near New Orleans, where a “ragtag” tourist group falls victim to Victor Crowley, a disfigured maniac that is easy to pity. Lots of cliche horror movie jokes and pedestrian script. However the tearing apart of limbs is to die for in this splatter fest. Pretty much every chance he gets, Crowley rips off arms and legs or decapitates bodies. The first half of Hatchet is inconsequential, unless you need to see the cameos. But when that first tourist is butchered, look out. [rating: $5] –Kenyon


similar: Wrong Turn 2, Night of the Demon

Splatter University (1984)

Though it can be considered a slasher, Splatter U doesn’t follow most “rules” of a slasher. For that it is admirable. Unfortunately its innocence is the movie’s downfall, as it swivels between genuine horror and a spoof. The identity crisis is further shown by the misleading VHS cover, as there are certainly no cheerleaders.

Perhaps the most ironic broken rule is that several meat-head male characters are never threatened. Oh and they are assholes, (poorly) acting rude, obnoxious, selfish and sexist. The worst is that these people are at a UNIVERSITY yet they don’t carry any books, they skip class, cheat on papers and tests and drink a lot of beer. Sometimes it’s amusing but there’s too much. The movie is 80 minutes, for christ’s sake!

As far as the “splatter” goes, it’s tame. A knife goes in and watery blood spills. No intestines or anything. In fact the only thing that doesn’t have a low standard is the lead female. Lucky for Splatter, it was released early enough in the 80s to at least be considered classic camp. [rating: $5]

Trollhunter (Norway, 2010)

The trouble with many of these found footages (Grave Encounters, et al) is caused by lack of believability. Found footage relies on that to be convincing. Convincing that it’s REAL. Otherwise, there’s really no point in making a found footage film. This requires a very natural feeling from the “actors” and, with any kind of film, LOGIC.

The opening of Trollhunter proclaims blah blah blah…and “they determined this to be authentic”. What the? Yea, an authentic COMEDY. Take for example this phone call by the trollhunter, who is knowingly overheard by a young film crew following him: “a blood sample? Hmmm, that’s going to be tough”. Later, he pulls out an oversized, comical syringe. Then there is the three-headed troll which trollhunter explains uses its extra heads to scare away other trolls. Still determined to get all the dirt on the trolls, the eager documentary trio show little concern about their own well-being. This catches up to them when they go in a cave found to be a troll “lair”.

While the trolls range from impressive to hokey to video game style, the trollhunter himself is the stand-out character (as it turns out, the actor playing him is a controversial comedian). From when he tells the film crew to cover themselves with troll stench to when he is actually battling the trolls with a giant flash bulb, the hunter is a curious character. A third-person filming perspective and deeper insight would have given Trollhunter–the character and film itself–the depth it deserves. [rating: $5] –Kenyon

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) A psychological chiller rarely mentioned, Let’s Scare pre-dates some of horror’s most influential films, allowing it to walk its own path. While it does have that 1970s horror film atmosphere, the movie only plays mind games with the namesake character and ultimately the viewer. The emotional mess Jess has recently left a mental hospital. She, her husband and a pal move to a big house in rural Connecticut, where Jess starts seeing things and hearing voices. It’s not clear if all the images she sees are real or in her mind. Meanwhile, they are acquainted with a woman who they find already living in the house. She turns out to be either a vampire, a ghost or just a sick and twisted drifter who strums a stringed instrument with audio dubbed over it (yikes!). In the early 70s this must have spooked people, but with a lack of meaning and no closure, the film–even with its moments of suspense–comes up short in its attempt to scare. [rating: $5] –Kenyon

The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black(2012) Lead character Arthur Kipps has got some balls. Even more so, some GUTS. He sticks around a remote U.K village in the early 1900s to investigate why young kids keep dying. This culminates with submerging himself into quicksand-like mud to recover a body that must be re-united with the body of the corpse’s mother. Eureka! He mainly does this because he’s afraid that when his own son arrives to the village, his son will meet the same fate as previous children. Yea, well, too bad these kids are easily hypnotized by the “woman in black.”

The film delivers its story, scares and climax overly cautious, going nowhere outside the mystery-suspense-ghost story box. Woman provides rich cinematography, but settles on the expected. That’s probably because it would rather pander to the general audience. The result is a snug mixture of the Others (for time period and ghost and big old house), House of the Devil (for the single person wandering around a secluded shadowy big house) and the Orphanage (for the typical ghosts of children helping you solve the mystery of who murdered them or whatever). Whatever INDEED! Good day sir……i said good DAY! [rating: $5] – Kenyon

The Car (1977)

The Car (1977) “The car, he’s in here!” HE! i love you car. You are so smart you were able to get inside that guy’s garage. You are so much a better actor than those losers. Yes, Ronny “the ground was hallowed” Cox and James Brolin, who plays cat and mouse with a car from the depths of hell, while allowing his dumb girlfriend to get mauled by the car. Check out those sweet maneuvers by the car. Good job, car. [rating: $5]-Kenyon

Magic (1978)

Magic (1978) Ventriloquist dummies are creepy, and a young Anthony Hopkins and his dummy Fats more than fulfill that notion. Sort of a twist on Psycho and other movies with someone who has a split personality, Corky is a troubled guy who is overcome by the identity of Fats. Magic is well made and acted, though the only thing missing in this early psychological horror film is a clear reason as to why Corky is off balance (something with his parents?) and how and why he decided to acquire a dummy after failing as a magician. [rating: $5] –Kenyon