Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Haunted Honeymoon – Review

Haunted Honeymoon – Review

Jan 29, 2017

reviewed by Philip
directed by Gene Wilder, 1986
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I love this movie. Yes, it was nearly universally panned by critics and fans alike and currently holds a 25% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I was captivated by it from the beginning. I found it to be genuinely scary at times (I was only 10 during my first viewing) and also found it to be quite funny. The film is certainly not able to compete with Wilder’s classic gems, such as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, but there are nevertheless some wonderful “Gene” moments scattered throughout.

Larry Abbot (Wilder) and Vickie Pearle (Gilda Radner) are radio actors who are getting married. Unfortunately, Larry has been getting stage-fright that causes him unable to speak his lines correctly. They decide to get married in the huge castle where he grew up and when they travel to the site, Vickie is able to meet Larry’s family, including his great-aunt Kate portrayed by Dom DeLuise in drag. Larry’s uncle, Dr. Paul Abbot, believes Larry needs shock therapy to scare him out of his newly formed stage fright, so after letting the other family in on the secret, they begin playing tricks and stunts on Larry. Unfortunately, the horror becomes all too real when one of Larry’s cousins wants him dead.

I can remember being fascinated by Dr. Abbot’s special effects and the way they attempted to scare Larry. Lightning machines, levitation pulleys, werewolf costumes, and downright frightening masks (like the one below) kept me on the edge of my seat. Another one of Larry’s cousins, named Susan, was married to a world-renowned magician who also brought some creepiness into the film, including the ability to make his eyes glow! Throw in the fact that Larry ended up being buried alive, which has been intriguing to me since I read about magician Harry Houdini’s buried alive stunt when I was a kid, and this movie has all the right ingredients for atmospheric fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The cast is also fantastic. When you have Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Dom DeLuise, and Jonathan Pryce leading the charge, you can safely assume some fun is in the works. A routine that has been done several times before in movies just so happens to be one of the best when Wilder pretends that a pair of legs that are not his own actually belong to him in order to get some police officers off his back. No one can do this kind of comedy like Wilder.

But, the movie has all kinds of flaws. The comedy is definitely cliched, there is no believability to the film, and the performances are less-than-average for this incredibly gifted cast. And yet, at the end of the day, there is just something about it that keeps me smiling. Unfortunately, this would be Radner’s final film before her untimely death.

Friday the 13th (1980) – Body Count Podcast 38

Friday the 13th (1980) – Body Count Podcast 38

Jan 28, 2017

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Philip and Scott discuss the original Friday the 13th film on Friday the 13th! Issues discussed include the final sequence, our favorite kill scene, and filming locations.

Body Count Podcast #1602

Body Count Podcast #1602

Aug 20, 2016

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Danny, Philip, and Scott have a conversation about the bone chilling film “Goodnight Mommy.” **Spoilers Alert**

Body Count Podcast #1601

Body Count Podcast #1601

Jul 28, 2016

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Philip and Scott list their top 3 horror anthologies and discuss their favorite scenes from each.

The Invitation – Review

The Invitation – Review

Jul 26, 2016

reviewed by Scott
directed by Karyn Kusama, 2015
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You are invited to witness this angsty psychological thriller that’ll rip your heart out.  The Invitation is directed by Karyn Kusama who also helmed Girlfight and the horror comedy, Jennifer’s Body.  Brilliantly written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, The Invitation premiered at the 2015 SXSW film festival.

Most of us have been to parties where we felt out-of-place.  And some of us have been in social settings where things are going fine until the train stops unexpectedly at crazy town.  If you can relate and even if you can’t, The Invitation will put you there.

Will, the lead character, is played by Logan Marshall-Green.  It’s an emotionally complex role that he pulls off expertly.  He is summoned with his new girlfriend, Kira, to the home of his ex-wife, Eden, who is hosting a dinner party with her new husband.  Right off the bat, Will and Kira experience a disturbing mishap on the way which is the first indication that this picture is about some seriously damaged people.  Once there, they are met by a group of Will and Eden’s old friends whom they haven’t seen in ages, along with some mysterious new faces.  The film unsettles us with clues and misdirections, which it neutralizes with intermittent normalness.  Every dire signal has a sensible explanation.  When you hear hoofbeats, don’t immediately think of zebras.  Think of horses.  Yeah, but…

Will is in no mood for a party at the house he used to share with his ex and their son.  Will and Eden, we learn, divorced in the aftermath of their young son’s tragic death and both of them have had trouble moving on.  Eden claims to have found a way to be free from all negative emotions, but Will is skeptical . . . about everything.  Why is Eden acting so spacey?  Where is their missing friend?  Why is the door locked?  Who are these new people?  As Will’s paranoia grows to epic proportions, certain things fail to add up for the viewer too.  Someone at this party is clearly bonkers; it’s just not clear who.

The dinner-party-from-hell micro-subgenre is only as good as the supporting cast.  In this case, The Invitation is pure perfection.  Everyone seems so normal except for the little things.  Like a slightly tilted painting over the fireplace, there is just something off.  Like Hitchcock’s Rope, this creepy delight would work well as a stage play too.  Avoid the trailer.  The less you know, the better.

Some critics of the film will say that it just moves too slowly, but the pace is perfect in my estimation.  It is a slow burn but with just enough suppressed violence and emotion to keep you on edge.  Be assured there is plenty of pay off before it’s done.  Fans of unexpected chills and bizarreness will be rewarded.  If you need wall-to-wall action, you’ll probably find your mind wandering until, well, just until.  But if you like your chillers marinated slowly and packing a hidden punch to the gut, this is one film not to miss.