Horror Cinema: House (1977)

I waited for years before finally seeing Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House, and I think the excitement and expectations were too high for what the movie ended up being. I was expecting a mix between Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Tim Burton’s early 1980s Hansel and Gretel, which were both great and far superior than House. The majority of the good scenes were all in the trailer, except for my favourite, which was the eye in the mouth.

I guess I should have done more research into this movie other than watching trailers and hearing about how great it was from friends and family. Warning to those who have yet to see this, expect something more light-hearted with a light plot.

Obayashi, Nobuhiko. House, Toho, 1977.

Horror Cinema: Deadly Friend

Wes Craven’s Deadly Friend was the first horror movie that I watched as a kid from beginning to end. I might have been eight or nine. I vividly remember choosing the movie at the video store and feeling so daring to be choosing a horror movie. I’m not sure, but I think I was with my older brother or a babysitter because I don’t think either of my parents would have allowed me to watch it.

The basketball stood out as the part of the movie I would never forget. The actress who played the undead main character, Kristy Swanson, said that she had probably thrown the basketball over a hundred times during the re-shoot filming of Elvira’s death scene. She said, “Wes Craven kept at me to throw it as hard as I could to indicate great speed. I must have tossed that ball a hundred times. My arm sure felt I did.” She also said in an interview with Maxim magazine in May 2000 that the fake head was stuffed with actual cow brains that the production crew picked up from a butcher shop.

Learn more about the movie at IMDb Trivia: Deadly Friend.

Craven, Wes. Deadly Friend, Warner Bros., 1986.

Horror Cinema: I See You

I came across I See You on the streaming service Prime. I was mostly interested in it because of Helen Hunt, who I have been happy to see returning to television and movies (I recently watched the reboot of Mad About You and loved it). During the first third of the movie, I was suspicious of its dramatic moodiness: long shots of scenery or of the inside of the house where the story took place with spooky music reminiscent of Argento’s Suspiria or Kubrick’s The Shining.

I was pleasantly surprised when, halfway through, the story took an unexpected turn and the plot became enthralling right until the end. I appreciate when a story makes you see its characters in a new way, and this one did it in spades. I highly recommend it!

Randall, Adam. I See You, Saban Films, 2019.

Horror Cinema: The Boy II (Trailer)

A trailer for The Boy II was recently released. The Boy is one of my favourite horror movies (see my review Horror Cinema: The Boy), and I am really excited to see the sequel. What I enjoyed the most about the first movie was that it wasn’t a paranormal narrative. I am curious to see how the sequel handles the doll because it looks like the story will turn into a paranormal tale. But, maybe, like the first, that is simply a misdirection.

Horror Cinema: One Cut of the Dead

A friend invited me out to go see the new Japanese horror film One Cut of the Dead. As soon as I watched the trailer, I knew I wanted to see it.

I highly recommend it. The movie succeeded in mixing horror with comedy in a very satisfying way. I found it original and engaging — from the spooky and dark moments to the ridiculousness of the sitcom-like antics. I left the theatre feeling charmed by the whole experience and will certainly watch it again and again.

Ueda, Shin’ichirô. One Cut of the Dead, Enbu Seminar, 2017 (Japan).

Horror Cinema: The House of the Devil

I recently re-watched Ti West’s The House of the Devil. I remembered liking how spooky it was, but I forgot how much I liked the storyline. The narrative both pops and lulls as it unfolds toward a dark ending about free will and Satanism. The gore is bloody and satisfying. The heroine is strong and resourceful. The villains seem distant but are many and close by. So spooky!

Admittedly, I might be biased because Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favourite movies and The House of the Devil pays an intriguing homage to the Unholy Trinity. Its ending is very different than its predecessor’s, however. It is unresolved yet satisfying, which I liked. I am very much a Ti West fan!

West, Ti. The House of the Devil, MPI Media Group (theatrical) / Dark Sky Films (DVD and VHS), 2009.