BETHANY BARICH

FILMMAKER | WRITER

Horrorcap Week 2:

Week two of watching new movies is upon us and trying to rack up 31 new movies is becoming more difficult than I thought it would..

This week I started to watch new horror movies by myself because Tim and I have odd work schedules. I have faith we can do 31 new movies, and if we don’t, it’s okay because I’ve started to write again!

4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Next Generation is a movie that is so bad that it’s good. It was directed by Kim Henkel, who wrote most of the movies in the franchise. With the backings of one of the franchise’s figureheads, the movie is a bad horror movie but still exists as a fun experience.

Addressing the events that take place in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its sequels, this installment is about four teenagers who ditch their prom and end up encountering infamous Leatherface and his deranged backwoods family. Don’t go into this movie expecting the terror of the first film and the fun terror that the Dennis Hopper sequel provided. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is not a scary movie and has humor that comes from the bad acting by everyone who isn’t Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger, and Tonie Perensky. This installment introduces an odd subplot that is different than the cannibal motive the original introduced, which makes the film unsettling at points, but doesn’t create any horror like the original.

An element of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation that cannot go unnoticed is the amplified cross-dressing done by Leatherface. In the original movie, he’s terrifying. Nothing will ever send shivers down my spine like the first time Leatherface slammed that door in the original movie. Unfortunately I have to agree with critic Robert Wilonsky who states, “The Next Generation turns Leatherface into a cross-dressing Nancy boy who screams more than he saws.” I can appreciate, enjoy the psychology of Leatherface skinning and taking on the identities of those he’s killed, but when I watch a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie I expect Leatherface to attack anyone and everyone with a chainsaw. In this movie it didn’t happen. All I got was a screaming person eyeing up their next identity.

I think this was one of the first movies I ever owned on DVD, and I never watched it. Do I regret watching it? No. Would I watch it again? I would. It’s an okay movie with fantastic acting done by McConaughey and occasionally a really beautiful shot or scene that sticks with you. Plus the ending references the original film which is always cool.

My Personal Rating: 3/5

5. Candyman (1992)

Based off the short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, Candyman is a slasher written and directed by Bernard Rose. The movie is about two graduate students (Virginia Madsen as Helen, and Kasi Lemmons as Bernadette) who are writing a thesis about urban legends, mainly the legend of Candyman, who becomes summoned by accident and begins to reek havoc on everyone’s lives. The movie also stars the horror icon Tony Todd, the titular Candyman, whose voice will chill your bones and give you nightmares for days afterwards.

The legend of Candyman goes that he was once the son of a slave who was an artist, he fell in love with one of his muses and because of her race had his hand cut off and was stung to death by bees. To summon him you have to repeat his name five times into a mirror and then he’ll appear with a large hook and gut you.

This movie ended up being everything I wanted it to be and more. “Bloody Disgusting” has it as one of the top 13 slasher movies in history, and states how it’s “brutal, merciless, and unrelenting.” Watching Helen and Bernadette dive deeper into the myth, and Helen eventually going even deeper, kept me at the edge of my seat while watching. The film mixes psychology and gore into a beautiful piece of horror that deserves to be watched by everyone who appreciates the genre. The pacing of it works nicely especially as you watch Helen descend deeper into madness proving Candyman is real. The only reason why this movie may not get a true 5/5 from me is because I did expect a little more gore, but that’s just me nitpicking.

Jordan Peele is producing a sequel that might star Tony Todd in his iconic role and will also star Lakeith Stanfield from Sorry to Bother You. I’m very excited to see that film, and I plan to seek out the sequels. Even if they don’t live up to what the original. I mainly want to watch Tony Todd gut people because he’s badass.

My Personal Rating: 4.5/5



Horrorcap: Week 1:

‘Tis the season for spooky things, and nothing is better than curling up at the end of the night and watching something scary.

My boyfriend, Tim, has a yearly “tradition” where he attempts to watch 31 new horror movies in October, and I find that to be really cool. I’m not that smart, so if it were up to me, I’d be rotating the same five movies until Halloween itself, where I’d watch Halloween.

Perks of dating someone creative, they spark your creative juices and get ideas flowing through your brain. Pair that with the desire to get back into writing, and boom, you’ve come up with the idea to briefly review every new movie you watch in October. The idea of writing full length reviews for each movie did cross my mind, but I like the idea of a weekly recap, or a horrorcap, cue some sort of chime for the quirky pun.

Enough chattering, let’s get reviewing.

1. Burial Ground (1981)

Burial Ground or better known by its original name, Le Notti del terrore or Night of Terrors, is a sexy and horrific Italian zombie flick directed by Andrea Bianchi. This weird roller coaster of a movie is about a professor, studying ancient ruins near his lavish mansion, who accidentally unleashes the dead. The professor knows how to time them too, because just after unleashing these slow walking boys back into society, seven people (three couples, and one incestuous son of a woman in the group) arrive at the mansion after being invited by the professor! As the tagline on the cover of the movie says, “The gates of Hell have opened,” the guests are in for one sex filled and bloody stay at the mansion.

The plot to Burial Ground is a little all over the place. There really isn’t a story, but don’t let that steer you away, because it is fun to watch. The acting isn’t superb. Peter Bark, who was 25 at the time, plays the creepy young son Michael, and Antonella Antinori who plays his mother, were cast perfectly and have some of the best performances of Burial Ground. The best part about Burial Ground, hands down, is the practical effects in the movie. The look of some of the zombies are good and creepy, and the kills, in true Italian style, are executed nice and are extremely bloody.

Tim and I made the mistake of watching the movie with the English dub, which could be a turn off during the movie, but we made it through and I enjoyed it a lot. If you find yourself craving this flick for your October, I’d recommend watching with subtitles.

Personal Rating: 3.9/5

2. Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)

This Japanese horror film was directed by Teruo Ishii, and is based off of two novels by Edogawa Rampo - Strange Tale of Panorama Island and The Demon of the Lonely Isle. Random fact, the movie was banned almost immediately after its initial release, and is still banned in Japan to this day. However, it’s not banned due to its graphic material but because of its exposure of deformities and the stigma that comes with the word “malformed.”

This erotic horror movie is about a man named Hirosuke Hitomi, a medical student suffering from a severe case of amnesia, who is locked away in an asylum even though he appears to be mentally sound. Being haunted by the tune of a lullaby, wanting to know about his past, Hirosuke escapes the asylum but ends up being framed for the murder of a circus girl he randomly meets on the streets. After escaping again, he discovers a news article about a recently deceased gentleman, Genzaburo Komoda, that bears a striking resemblance to him. Hirosuke decides to pretend to be Komoda resurrected and lead his life, successfully fooling everyone he encounters. While leading this double life, Hirosuke continues to be plagued with memories of a life he does not remember and that chilling lullaby. This leads him to travel to a nearby island where one’s deepest nightmares expose themselves, and his true identity is revealed.

The story in Horrors of Malformed Men is one that continuously unravels itself in such beautifully choreographed shots and horrific reveals. It’s a slow, and creepy film that picks up in the third really quickly. The acting in the film, especially by Tatsumi Hijikata who plays a delusional doctor, is phenomenal. Teruo Yoshida who plays Hitomi/Komoda does a really great job at portraying a man with a haunted past and brings a mental relief throughout the movie too. The visuals in Horrors of Malformed Men are both grotesque and beautiful, and the locations of it make this film truly a masterpiece to view.

Please add this to your list to watch in October. You won’t regret it, but you may have weird dreams.

My Personal Rating: 4/5

3. The House That Dripped Blood (1971)

This film, directed by Peter Duffell, is an interesting take on the haunted house genre. The House That Dripped Blood is a movie that is made up of four short segments - each revolving around someone living in the house that has caused a lot of pain and suffering.

Without giving too much away, the movie’s star studded cast do a fantastic job in each of their individual roles. My personal favorite was Christopher Lee playing a strict, fearful father of a young girl who has a natural incline toward the occult. While some of the segments can seem kind of boring due to their odd pace and slow development of the story, I would say to give The House That Dripped Blood a chance because of its traditional and simplistic approach of a haunted house.

My Personal Rating: 2.8/5