2009 / d. Tommy Wirkola
Just like in the movies, you can’t seem to kill Nazi Zombies. In fact, these flesh-craving-fascists continue to pervade our mainstream culture more and more, be it in film or even in the ever-popular CALL OF DUTY franchise of video games. Regardless, if you’re seeking some truly epic Nazi Zombie action, stop your search immediately. DEAD SNOW offers everything, and more, than you could ever hope to see, including (but not limited to): a man climb up the side of a cliff using a zombie’s intestines, sew up a blood-spurting neck wound with nothing but a fishing hook, and then transform a snowmobile into a zombie-killing-death-machine fully outfitted with rifles. This film will kick your adrenal glands into full throttle as you cheer, cringe, and gaze in amazement. If DEAD SNOW doesn’t satiate your appetite for Nazi Zombie films, be sure to also check out: SHOCKWAVES (1977), ZOMBIE LAKE (1981), OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981), and HORRORS OF WAR (2006).
1986 / d. Dominick Brascia
It’s like FRIDAY THE 13TH meets THE BIG CHILL… or, that’s what the writing on the back of the VHS promises. The truth is, it’s really not like either of those films, though it does reference them (and a plethora of other 70s and 80s movies) quite frequently. It’s a blatant commentary/deconstruction of the slasher film, containing a selection of exaggerated stock characters: the jock, the geek, the uptight girl, the bimbo, and the killer lurking in the shadows. In this case there’s even a paranoid horror buff whose obsession with Fangoria magazines leads him to believe he’s actually in a horror film himself (silly lad, your self-awareness won’t save you this time!). The plot centers around a group of med students who travel to a remote house for a little R&R, but unbeknownst to them a psychotic murderer is lying in wait. Everything down the kills walks the line between mediocre and outright ridiculous, but it’s the kind of flick that never takes itself seriously, so it’s all in good fun. In the midst of a decade of bad slashers that tried to be good, it’s refreshing to watch a film that–while still being a traditional 80s slasher–pokes a little fun at the genre at the same time.
2010 / d. Manuel Carballo
I’m a sucker for demonic possession films. I foolishly go into each one expecting to relive the magic of watching THE EXORCIST for the first time, and instead walk away disappointed. EXORCISMUS is no exception. A young girl becomes possessed by an evil entity, and the only solution is an exorcism — which the girl’s parents allow to be recorded. Contrived and imitative scare tactics creep from one scene to the next, while the audience sits and waits for the promised appearance of Doug Bradley. I mean really, if an actor is in a film for all of ten minutes, don’t bill his name as one of the top three actors on the movie poster… it’s misleading and results in a movie-goer feeling duped. Furthermore, when was the last time you saw his name credited as Douglas Bradley? I sure haven’t. And by using his full first name, I somehow was under the assumption that his role was going to be serious, epic, and that he was going to conjure up the spirit of Father Merrin and put some holy-shit-smackdown on Satan in this film. But… no such luck, which is why EXORCISMUS now joins the ranks of THE LAST EXORCISM, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, and all the other Satan-inspired movies which just failed to impress.
2006 / d. John Landis
This particular episode, directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), is about an average man, living an average life, with his not so average family. Having stalked and killed a woman and child, he bathes their corpses in acid and dresses up their skeletons for Sunday dinner. It’s his ideal family, cost effective with no real mouths to feed and he is in complete control…well until little Sarah wants a visit from Grandpa. His family continues to grow with every kill, until some pesky new neighbours move in next door.
The effects were decent, a few minor CG issues, but overall pretty good- especially in the last scene. The acting, on the other hand, was quite bland, with George Wendt being the best part. Both the story and direction overall were fantastic. With twists and turns and enough suspense to keep you captive from beginning to end, FAMILY was all in all a great episode and MMM approved.
1986 / d. Stuart Gordon
If you like REANIMATOR, odds are you’ll also love FROM BEYOND. Released just one year later, FROM BEYOND recaptures much of the same horror zaniness, and also reunites Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs, this time adding Ken Foree into the mix. Once again drawing from an old H.P. Lovecraft story, it tells the tale of an obsessed scientist who opens a gateway into another realm, and the horrors which subsequently ensue. The characters are each touched by Lovecraft’s recurring themes of madness and insanity, which often seems the only appropriate response after witnessing the horrors that they are subjected to. It’s fun, it’s campy, and it’s gross. Not to mention it has a little something for both the guys and gals out there: a mustached Ken Foree wearing only a set of bright red skivvies, and a leather-clad Barbara Crampton both grace the screen. Saucy!
2008 / d. Michael Haneke
A brilliantly twisted piece of work from director Michael Haneke (Cache, The White Ribbon), Funny Games is a shot-for-shot remake of his original 1997 film of the same name. Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart play a family heading up to their lake house for a vacation. Soon after arriving, two young men (Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet) arrive at their doorstep, asking to borrow some eggs. What unfolds over the next two hours is a series of horrifying psychological “funny games” played by the family at the mercy of these two men. Haneke is a master of the shock horror, without resorting to blood and gore. The thought of a home invasion scares many families into buying home alarm systems, but the extent these two men go to, for no explained reason, is one of the single most terrifying aspects of the film, one that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled. Even more warped is the constant breaking of the fourth wall by the two men, addressing the audience and even rewinding the film when things don’t go their way. This might break the illusion for some, but for others (especially fans of Haneke) it will only serve to further the depravity of the film. Purists might want to watch the Austrian original, but with the 2008 American version, Haneke has only changed the location and the actors; it’s still a shot-for-shot remake of his own film and the horror aspect of home invasion is still kept well-intact. Do yourself a favour and set some time aside to play Funny Games.
1998 / d. Steve Miner
An excellent installment in the long-winded HALLOWEEN franchise, and in this reviewer’s opinion, the second best film after John Carpenter’s original. Ignoring parts 4, 5, and 6, HALLOWEEN H20 reunites us with Laurie Strode, who has since changed her name, become headmistress at a remote boarding school, and is the mother of a sixteen year old son. She is faced to confront her demons once and for all when her dear old brother returns, leading to an epic and intense free-for-all. Plenty of homages to the previous HALLOWEEN films thanks to a well rounded script by Kevin Williamson, and even a brief appearance by Janet Leigh and the original car from Psycho. It’s a shame they couldn’t leave it on this note, and had to drag the series further through the mud.