Halloween Horror Fest

Yes, it’s October – which means it’s time once again for Halloween Horror Fest!  Throughout the month on the run up to Halloween, Mrs Platinum Al and I watch some of the horror movies from our creepy collection, and I write a brief review of each for your evil entertainment.

It’s always out and out horror – so long as there’s a general spooky or paranormal element – or monsters! – then the movie is up for consideration.

This is the fifth year running we have attempted this mammoth task.  To keep everyone up to speed, here’s a list of the films that have been viewed over the last few years.

All are listed in alphabetical order.

28 Days Later
28 Weeks Later
30 Days of Night
The Addams Family
Alien
An American Werewolf in London
Big Tits Zombie
Bigfoot Wars
Blacula
Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb
Blood on Satan’s Claw
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter
Carrie
Carry on Screaming
Company of Wolves
The Corpse Bride
Countess Dracula
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Dark Shadows
Day of the Dead
Dead Snow
Dead Snow 2
The Devil Rides Out
Dracula AD 1972
Dracula Prince of Darkness
Ed Wood
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Evil Dead
The Fog
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman
Friday the 13th
From Dusk Till Dawn
From Hell
Ghost Ship
Ghostbusters
Halloween
The House That Dripped Blood
Lost Boys
Night Watch
Oupost
Para Norman
Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Xperience
Pet Sematary
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Raven
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Scream
Shadow of the Vampire
Shaun of the Dead
Silence of the Lambs
Sleepy Hollow
Taste the Blood of Dracula
Theatre of Blood
The Thing (1982)
Vampire Circus
The Vampire Lovers
The Wicker Man
The Wolfman (2010)
The Woman in Black
Zombie Strippers

Dead Halloween Horror Fest 2

Ghost Ship (2002)

Right: so this salvage crew led by Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies take on a job to find a mysterious, lost ship out at sea.  Turns out that some nefarious deeds had taken place on the vessel long ago, and things are about to get spooky.  And deadly.  Will anyone make it back alive? ghost ship

There’s not much love for this film, though I find it hard to see why.  I’ve seen a lot worse.  The cast do a reasonable job, the sets are pretty good and there’s plenty of jumpy frights, helped along with dollops of gore.  Plus Ghost Ship also has a different and interesting concept, which should have delivered more to the finished product.

But the film suffers from too many ideas being thrown into the pot, some of which are beyond far fetched and sail into silly waters (even for this genre).  Although not a classic, I would definitely say that I enjoyed Ghost Ship – it’s almost a great film.  Worth renting or picking up cheap!

7/10

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead (2014)

Speaking of worse films that I’ve seen…

This sequel to the superb Dead Snow (2009) was nowhere near as good as the first film.  It picks up where the last film left off, with lone survivor Martin finding his way back to civilisation.  It’s not long however till Martin again crosses paths with the Nazi zombies, and he’s on a mission to thwart their evil plans.

Whereas the original film had plenty of shocks along with a moderately tongue in cheek approach, this second film is all out comedy.  Which is fine, but it’s a jarring change in tone.  There’s very little in the way of frights; there are some gross out scenes but it’s all for laughs.  Dead Snow 2-AGI-DVD-OCard-UK&Eire EAGLE.indd

Some of the elements work, some are just pure silly.  Herzog’s zombies have now reacquired their stolen loot, and are on a mission to do something evil to a town somewhere.  This all feels a bit forced, only more so when the Red Army zombies are resurrected – one assumes just as a contractual fulfilment with regard to the title.

Add in a group of annoying American stereotypes as zombie hunters and it all equals disappointment.  Dead Snow was such a cool film, I really wanted this to be as good.  There’s hardly even any snow after the first ten minutes…

Dead Snow 2 is indeed entertaining, don’t get me wrong – but don’t go in with your expectations as high as I did.

6/10

Here’s a handy link to my review of the first Dead Snow: click me.

Hallowe’en Horror Fest Must Die!

Outpost (2007)

A group of mercenaries are hired to escort a business man into a remote area of war torn Eastern Europe.  Their mission leads them to a mysterious bunker, once the secret base of Nazis in World War II.  Suddenly under attack, the group find themselves in the midst of forces they cannot comprehend…

Nazi zombies!  Brilliant!  This film is well produced and thoroughly well acted.  The sense of paranoia grows through out the movie.  Using clever lighting and a small set, the feeling of claustrophobia builds within both cast and audience alike. outpost-2008-uk-horror

However, despite the gritty look and disturbing atmosphere, the last twenty minutes fell a bit flat.  I had held this movie in high esteem following my initial viewing a few years back.  Watching it again, I felt as disorientated as the characters at the end – but not in the way the Director would have wanted.  A great premise was lost in the final few minutes.

Maybe I’ve confused this film with the far better Dead Snow as years have gone by.  Either way, a bit more Nazi zombie would have been a good thing.  Never the less, I’d recommend Outpost as one to watch.

7/10

Hallowe’en Horror Fest Has Risen From the Grave

Gather round, courageous ones.  It’s time for more horror movie reviews at the Virtual Hot Tub!

Dead Snow (2009)

Great film.  A group of Norwegian students decide to take a break in a remote cabin up in the mountains.  Surrounded by snow, their initial fun and games turn nasty when a group of Nazi zombies awaken and begin to terrorise them.  Mayhem, blood and gore is the result.

I love this film.  Dead Snow is  obviously inspired (and is a homage to) numerous other similar movies.  There are jumpy parts, gruesome parts – it ticks all the boxes.  Some of the humour is a little too much sometimes, but there’s enough great content to excuse any ideas that were a little too silly. dead-snow

Besides, what’s not to like?  Nazi zombies?  Is that not the ultimate bunch of evil bad guys ever?  A very cool movie, it still worked on a second viewing and highly recommended.  Norway also looks beautiful, I’d love to go there.

9/10

Night Watch (2004)

Many years ago, a truce was called between the warring factions of good and evil.  Now the forces of good police the day, while the forces of darkness hold control over the night.  In this world we meet the Night Watch, who are entrusted with keeping the vampires of the forces of darkness in line.

This Russian movie promised a lot, and indeed it looks spectacular.  There are several scenes that definitely impress.  However it’s more spectacle than substance, and I was left disengaged by the last half hour.  There’s undoubtedly vast imagination at work here, so perhaps repeated viewings or more familiarity with the source material would aid my appreciation.

On the whole, it’s more dark fantasy than horror.  I was hoping for more.

6/10