Horror Cinema: Into the Mirror (2003)

When I discover a horror movie that is a remake of another version, I make sure that I have seen the original before I watch the latest production. I learned about Mirrors that was made in 2008 and featured Kiefer Sutherland and was based on the South Korean 2003 movie Into the Mirror.

Into the Mirror had many satisfying spooky scenes where what was seen in the mirror was not what was happening in front of it.

The film’s premise was interesting, although I found that the narrative got a little wandering near the end when it was trying to make the spiritual horror make sense, which I did not think was completely necessary. Nevertheless, the movie had a good share of scary moments, and I would recommend it.

Sung-ho, Kim. Into the Mirror, Cinema Service, 2003.

Horror Cinema: Sea Fever

The overall feeling that Sea Fever left me with was of humans as prey, and the film did a great job of telling a captivating story of a small group of people facing the challenge of a deep-sea predator. Throughout the movie, I was convinced by the science and the characters’ slow realization of what was happening to them, which made the story believable and more frightening. Add the element of body horror to that with how the creature found its way into the bodies of the crew, and you’ve got a great creepy movie!

My favorite aspect of the narrative was the superstition of the sailors, which provided ominous foreshadowing as the story unfolded. I also loved the deep-sea creature and how it was shown. It certainly put the limited power of the humans into perspective.

Hardiman, Neasa. Sea Fever, Signature Entertainment, 2019.

Horror Cinema: The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (1968)

I came across The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch while browsing for a horror movie to stream on Apple TV. The image of the little girl with the snake face in the trailer had me interested. When I started it, I had low expectations because it reminded me of Obayashi’s House, which was a major disappointment for me.

The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch turned out to be excellent, and I highly recommend it. The supernatural aspects throughout the movie were clever plays on the protagonist’s childish imagination, and the movie’s narrative was captivating and rewarding in the end.

Yuasa, Noriaki. The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, Daiei, 1968.

Horror Cinema: The Conjuring 3 — The Devil Made Me Do It

The latest installment of The Conjuring provides lots of jump scares and spooky characters, which I love about this franchise. I also like how these movies are inspired by the real life paranormal cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren without becoming docu-dramas.

The Conjuring 3 focuses on a murder case where the Warrens argued that the defendant was possessed by a demon. In the real case, the judge of the trial rejected the defense plea of not guilty by demonic possession stating that such a defense would be impossible to prove, also stating it would be “irrelative and unscientific” to allow testimony in support of the possession defense .

The jury were not legally allowed to consider the demonic possession defense and the defendant’s lawyer then instead argued self defense. The defendant was found guilty of first degree manslaughter on November 24, 1981. He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in jail, but only served 5 due to good behavior.

The court case does not make a major appearance in the movie, which, instead, focuses on the Warrens tracking down the demon itself … among other guilty parties — I’ll leave it at that to prevent spoiling it for you.

When I embark on a sequel, I am usually nervous about what to expect. But, The Conjuring sequels have proven so far to be great!

Find more behind-the-scenes facts about The Conjuring 3 at IMDb Trivia.

Chaves, Michael. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2021.

Horror Cinema: Wrong Turn (2021)

I am a massive fan of the Wrong Turn franchise. The first film had a kick-ass heroine, and the following movies continually out-did themselves in gore and senseless killings, to my cheering it on. One of my all-time favorite horror scenes is the decapitation in the school gym in Wrong Turn 4, let alone the decapitation at the end of that movie on the snowmobile. So good.

When I saw that there was a new addition to the franchise, I watched it as soon as I could. Before turning it on, I looked up reviews to see if I could get a feel of what to expect, and I was warned that this movie was not going to be what a Wrong Turn franchise movie would usually offer. Reading that, I went into it disliking it. If I don’t have cannibals and a total kill count by the end of the movie, will I have truly seen a Wrong Turn movie?

I can’t say I hated it. I would consider it a light version of the franchise. The effort to pull the expected senseless gore into a storyline was difficult because what makes a Wrong Turn movie great is that the plot is just that some buggers take a wrong turn and get hunted and eaten by cannibals. Although I wasn’t loving the plot, I did like that it never lagged, and the conclusion was satisfying, even if it was simply the satisfaction of ending on an intense scene.

I also can’t say I’d watch this movie again, even if I wanted to introduce someone to the franchise. Not a big deal because the other versions will certainly continue to be in regular rotation for horror movie nights.

Nelson, Mike P. Wrong Turn (2021), Saban Films, 2021.

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.