Thursday, April 30, 2009


Trick 'R Treat (2009 DVD Release)
Directed by Michael Dougherty

There are times when an adult is transported back to a simpler time of childhood wonder and excitement. That excitement fills a person with warmth and makes them feel wonderful for a moment. Those times are not often felt as an adult and they are so nice when you stumble upon them.

When TRICK ‘R TREAT was finally released from its two years in purgatory and a DVD market date was finally announced, I was filled with this kind of excitement. I felt like a child at the end of November who knows Christmas is just around the corner. The film was shown in festivals on a small scale and people raved about it every time. I marked it on my calendar and waited patiently for its arrival to stores and grabbed it the day it came out without thought.

However, there are times when the hype and promises only stand to set you up for major disappointment. This movie was supposed to be THE Halloween movie. The end all in Halloween horror movies. I started to worry that there was no way it could live up to all the promised goodness.

Trick ‘R Treat didn’t let me down in the slightest. It is now my favorite Halloween horror movie and is in my top list of movies – hands down.

The movie was wonderfully crafted – a fantastic blend of great writing, beautiful cinematography, and a colorful cast. A sense of fun rang through the whole of it. Like CREEPSHOW before it, this is a horror anthology film. This style can go well or sour depending on execution. Instead of splitting the film into these four parts separately, the storylines are wondrously woven together and is a lot of fun to watch. Characters from one line can be seen in others. Time bounces around playfully, setting events in motion at different points in time.

The scares are classics. Halloween yarns and haunted places mixed with some fun and strange happenings. I rolled through this film like a kid in a candy shop, watching wide eyed and exchanging “did you SEE that?” glances with my wife. I pride myself of being able to foretell events in movies based on obvious writing choices, but Trick ‘R Treat didn’t fail to surprise me time and time again.

When it was over, I felt like I could have easily watched it again like getting in line for a roller coaster ride that you loved right after getting off of it. You want to experience the fun again. This is a film that would provide new things to see and notice on second viewing and I can’t wait for the opportunity to watch it again to see what else is in there.

If you’re a horror genre fan, go and buy this movie. You’ll want to have it around for years to come. I truly wish that this film got a cinema release. It would have been fun to experience it with a large audience.

Trick 'R Treat is a must see.

Take a look at the original TRICK 'R TREAT Season's Greetings short that started the whole thing!



the Abandoned

the Abandoned (2006) Nacho Cerdà

If you like to shiver while watching a movie late at night, The Abandoned is the movie for you. It’s a delightful ghostly tale that will have you wanting to leave the light on. Good effects and cinematography support the well-written story. Worth the rental.

What really struck me about it was the fact that it was story driven, not gore or effects driven. This is rare these days in the horror and suspense genre. More often than not it seems like someone has come up with a good trick or gore filled death, then they build a movie around it. With Abandoned, the effects are added like spice, not the main course, and they add to the story without taking you too far out of the story. I really enjoyed the shiver factor as well - a great, creepy atmosphere wrapping itself around you like a blanket.



(2008) Pascal Laugier

I am still stunned by this film. Stunned and torn. This French horror “classic to be” gets two ratings from me. The first half gets a solid A and nears A+ in the horror/action class. It is beautifully shot and the pace is just right. It lets you sink into the story and it lays out mystery and a lot of tension. It draws you in and smacks you around a bit, then gives you a moment to rest before smacking you around a bit more. Fans of the horror genre might understand why this would be entertaining. In these days of remakes and shock for shock's sake films (Hostile, Saw, etc) a film that honestly fills you with dread and unease is a pleasant welcome to horror fans. It's delightfully creepy.

The second half lost me a bit, but still gets a solid B+ from me. While I understood where the film was trying to go, I didn't really want to go there. Feeling a bit stuck, I watched it and enjoyed the horror of it, but I didn't really want to go where it lead me.

Overall, I still give the film an A and must demand that all horror fans view it at once! It's a dark and creepy ride through the new, strange world of French horror. (Inside, Frontiers)



(2008) Tomas Alfredson
(Låt den rätte komma in)

More of a drama than a horror film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN tells the story of Oskar – a 12 year old who is picked on by fellow classmates and dealing with divorced parents in the cold Scandinavian landscape of 1980s Sweden. He meets a girl who just moved into his neighborhood named Eli and a sweet friendship blossoms. Unfortunately, there are vampires involved. That never remains sweet and innocent for long.

This is a beautifully shot, grim little film has some really tender moments and some really scary moments. The shivers come from an earnest concern for the stories characters. The cold and bleak landscape adds another level to the film as even the days are dark and dreary and seem to hide the light of day from the residents. This film was poetry in a grey and cold landscape.

The acting is amazing. Evidently it took over a year to find two children that could play the complex and sometimes disturbing roles. They did an amazing job in showing a wide range of emotions.

The plot had many levels and allowed the viewer to look at the surface story or dive deeper into what was left unsaid. I really enjoyed that aspect of the movie. It made it even more interesting. The cinematography was amazing and it showed both the beauty and the bleakness of the area. This is not just a film for horror fans. It focuses on the relationships between characters more than the lore of the vampire. I enjoyed this film immensely.


Halloween is just around the corner. Time to rent some scary movies, invite some friends over, and ramp up the scares. amore eroma has put together a list of films that range from the celebrated to the nearly forgotten for you to ring in the start of the "Hollowdaze" with. For more fear filled films, please check out our Horror Movie Section. We're sure you'll find something that can send a little shiver down your spine.


Dead Snow - Zombie gore comedy from Norway
Dawn of the Dead (2004 and 1979) - Both scary zombie fun!
Dead Alive (Braindead) - Peter Jackson's splatter-comedy gore fest
Return of the Living Dead - A zombie classic. More horror comedy goodness
[REC] - One of my top five zombie favorites of all time. Super scary Spanish horror
Zombieland - On Site Review

Thirst - Chan-wook Park's epic Korean vampire film. Comedy, horror and drama woven together beautifully among amazing visuals and a grand story.
Fright Night - Classic 80's vampire horror
Razor Blade Smile - Strange little indie British fun. Vampire twist
Lifeforce - Space vampires draining the lifeforce from humans. Great stuff!
From Dusk Till Dawn - Tarantino and Rodriguez join forces to bring vampires to the screen
Near Dark - Trailer park vampires stomp humans for fun in this horror classic

Dog Soldiers - A small military group fights a small werewolf group. Awesome.
The Howling - One of my all time favorite werewolf movies. Great wolf designs
American Werewolf in London: 2009 Special Edition - The ultimate wolf classic! AMAZON
Silver Bullet - 1985 Stephen King werewolf classic
Ginger Snaps - Sister's a werewolf and goes from outcast to most desired. Watch out!
Wolf - Amazing werewolf movie with Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader

American Psycho - Christian Bale's amazing portrayal of the Business Psycho
In the Mouth of Madness - Sam Neill tries to find a missing author...and hold on to his sanity
Identity - Fab who done it with more than it's fair share of horrific action
The Children - Creepy children are going to get you!
May - May has trouble making friends, so she makes some friends. :)
Alice Sweet Alice - VERY disturbing goings on with Alice
Martyrs - The height of French horror. Very nasty. Very great.

Session 9 - A "hazmat" crew finds more than they bargain for while cleaning a mental hospital
The Shining - Classic Nicholson going mad in the snow
Evil Dead I & II - Sam Raimi's wacked out horror classics
Suspiria - Italian shock and who done it horror fun
Carrie - More Stephen King brought to the screen in this horror classic
The Craft - Teen witches gone bad
Last Man on Earth - What I AM LEGEND should have aimed for. Vincent Price stars in this classic film.
A Tale of Two Sisters - On Site Review

The Thing (1951) - Fun, fast dialog as the air force battles THE THING
The Thing (1982) - Carpenter's remake and retake on the classic
Monster Squad - Kids battle the Wolfman, Dracula and more. Great film.
Night of the Comet - Beware the comet and it's ghastly side effects!
Pumpkinhead - Don't go messin' with bad magic.
Of Unknown Origin - A man battles urban terror as it runs through his walls

The Fog - Ghost pirates coming for the fog
Lady in White - A great mystery ghost story
Ghost Story - The Chowder Society has a dark secret On site music video
1408 - Would you stay in a haunted hotel? Would you survive?
Poltergeist - A family deals with angry ghosts in this superhit
Exorcism of Emily Rose - Fantastic ghostly goings on and the two approaches of explaining what they are. A great, sleeper hit. Well worth a view
Silent Hill - The video game series comes to life in this strange and ghostly tale of past lives
The Orphanage - Amazing Spanish ghost story that will have you jumping out of your skin. If you like your scares with a good story behind them, see this film!



(2004) Ji-woon Kim
(Janghwa, Hongryeon)

This little delight comes to us from Korea and is by far one of my favorite films. It's a classic “stepmom” film and has some of the most creepy, sleep disturbing visuals and concepts that I've seen. This is no simple horror, slash and dash, however. This is a film that takes time to tell a story. The plot is developed expertly by Ji-woon Kim and his direction is fantastic. Another of Kim's works – the MEMORIES segment of THREE – also created a feeling of dread that drove me to get TALE at once. I was not disappointed.
The acting is fantastic as well, which sells it for sure. Jung-ah Yum plays the stepmother on the edge perfectly and Su-jeong Lim and Geun-Young Moon play sisters with a tenderness and vulnerability that is touching. They kept me locked into their struggles and in the film - never once being over the top or playing to some caricature of who they were trying to play.
The simple setting lets you settle in and watch as the events unfold. It invites you to roam within it's confines, but once there, you wish you were free to come and go as you please.
If you like character drama, strange goings on, and things that go bump in the night, you'll love A TALE OF TWO SISTERS.