Modern Horror Appreciation

movie reviews by

Annabela Donna

Warning: This page may contain plot spoilers.


"30 Days of Night" 

 To say this a movie about vampires would be an understatement.  This movie has all the makings of a modern horror movie: gore, scary monster tactics, etc.  Is it my kind of horror movie?  Yes and no.  I will begin by saying one thing:  It scared the fuck out of me.
This little town in Alaska is preparing for 30 days of night when some pretty weird things start to happen.  Cell phones being burned, the town dogs being killed.  On a personal note, I hated the part with the dogs. I mean, was it really necessary? These vampires didnít need all of this hoopla, they were going to get what they wanted no matter what.  Anyway,  there are only two cops in this town, not that that mattered, guns make no difference really.  So, they finally make their presence known and literally, all hell breaks loose.  It is an all out massacre and no one is safe.  One group manages to hide for days, but slowly they are picked off, one by one.  
So there needs to be a portion of my review on these crazy fucking vampires.  Kudos to the makeup team working on this movie. These were no normal vampires.  Their teeth and fingernails are super sharp and they can jump like they were on super pogo sticks. They love to torture and feel nothing. They use humans as bait to get the others to come out, and overall, they are the most vicious of monsters I have ever seen in a horror movie.  They are still vampires, though as the sun thing still exists as something to hurt them. No wooden stakes here, but separating their heads from their bodies seems to work.

Ok, so by now everyone knows how I hate it when the good guys do not, overall, prevail.  In this movie, you really get to like the characters who are heroes and hate to see them either be killed, or turned into vampires themselves.  This happens a lot in this movie, so my suggestion is to not get attached.  Out of 152 people, about four survive.  This sucks.  And of course, for me, the main man, the main hero, decided to save the woman he loves, mere hours before sunrise by becoming a vampire himself to take down the head vampire.  He then, waits heroically for the sunrise, with her, where he dies.  Um, not a feel good ending, since the couple in the beginning of the movie were at odds and was this supposed to be a happily ever after for them? I love a good romance, but this is not the movie to put it into! You wait the whole 30 days with them, watching character after character die, and then HE dies? And to make it all worse, the rest of the vampires run off!  Hello?!  The theory is they were going to kill everyone, make it look like a horrible accident and move on to the other towns with the curse of darkness for 30 days. Since there were survivors, this could not be achieved.Yep, I would believe four grief-stricken people surrounded by death for 30 days too. Most of the city had been burned already, most of their proof gone.  It leaves you wondering when will the other vampires resurface, did they spoil their plans, and who really won? ¬ 
The main character can not die, even in sacrifice, so I am giving this movie 3 and a half HAís, dropping it from the 4 I would have given it.  It was everything a scary movie should be, but I need a clear definition of who won at the end, and it always has to be the good guys.
So cuddle up next to your favorite person and get ready to be scared.  But take my advice, if you are thinking of moving, stay away from places that promise 30 days of night.  30 days of anything straight isnít good.

IT Stephen King, 1990

We all know Stephen King is a horror movie expert.  This movie is no exception to his scary rule.  I mean, how scary can you get, a sharp-toothed clown killing people and haunting a group of kids well into their adult lives, never letting them move on until they vanquish him for good.
This particular movie had me checking for clowns in between small crevices and closets, anywhere a deranged, magically appearing clown could turn up. I saw it when I was younger and when I had grown upÄĚ, and the scare level did not change.  For those of you that like clowns, this is not the movie for you.  It is a gory movie, but the scare factor really comes into play with images the clown uses to terrorize the group, eventually causing one of them to commit suicide.  Itís the unknown, the wonder of how they will kill this evil clown.
This movie has two parts.  Part one consists of how they go about and think they kill the clown in childhood, when he turns up in their tiny community.  They finally manage to get rid of him, after he succeeds in killing those close to the main characters. Part two, is our heroes all grown up and coming back to their small town of Derry for a sort of reunion, and the famous maniacal villain shows up to haunt the cast once more.
The movie is jam packed with famous stars, Tim Curry playing the vicious and demented clown.  This movie is for people who love to be scared and hate to be scared at the same time.  This is one of Kingís best. 
 I give this scary movie 3 and a half HAís. So, lock the doors.  Check your closets, and whatever you do,  be nice to clowns.

Wrong Turn directed by Rob Schmidt 2003

Okay, I am not going to sugar coat this one.  This movie is one big wrong turn.  For those that havenít seen it, a group of people take a wrong turn in the back woods and encounter Deliverance-like killers that hunt them.  If you are one of those people that like mostly like happy endings, skip this movie.  There is a win and one or two live, but for all those that bite it, it hardly seems worth it in the end.
 I saw it once, and trust me, that was plenty.  I enjoy scary movies that test your intelligence and are not typical in nature.  I donít like to think Donít go up those stairs, you idiot.ÄĚ I mean, they have car trouble in the back woods.  Can we guess what is going to happen?  This movie thought it would succeed if it replaced a plot with a lot of gore, but alas it was not to be.
 I give this movie 1 and a half HAís.  It did have some thrilling moments, but overall I wonder why the need was so great to make a sequel, yes, a sequel.
So, get in the car and make your way to your local video store.  And pass by Wrong Turn, good thing it is at the end of the alphabet.

1408 2007

There are several versions of this movie, alternate endings of sorts.
Apparently, I watched the nice version.  What I really liked about the movie, regardless of the ending, was how it was f*cking creepy and had me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was real and what was the room messing with whomever inhabited it.
 I used to like the song by the Carpenters Weíve Only Just Begun.  It now holds a serious severe spooky quality when it magically turns on randomly to scare the shit out of John Cusakís character.  That is how the room works, it drives the person staying there insane. Like the old scary saying, You can check in, but you never check out, this room holds you to that.  It seems like a normal room in the beginning, resembling a normal, nice hotel room with all of the amenities of home.  If you donít mind apparitions throwing themselves out the window every so often, visions of your own haunted past and no way out
The main character strikes back, refusing to give in to the rooms method of checking out.  So, here is my problem.  He is rooted in dreamland and the reality of the psycho evil embedded in the walls and fabrics of the room,  and finally breaks out in his own unique revenge against the room.  Not to give too much away, but in the version I watched, he breaks free and is greeted by a spooky reality that follows him, proving his experience was real and that the rooms manifestations had not been crazy visions, but real.  Upon talking to Miss Paige, I had not seen the theatrical version, and to be blunt, he f*cking dies!  What the hell!?
Despite this fact, I give this movie four HAís, as it maintained a very scary, but not gory creepiness throughout, never letting the character or the viewers relax and think its over.
So, dim the lights, make some popcorn, but donít watch this movie in a hotel room, you never know.

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