Summer of 84 – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here and I was feeling nostalgic for summers gone by so I watched a movie with strong ’80s vibes called Summer of ’84.

If you have watched Stranger Things so many times that you are actively looking for the upside down and just wish with all your heart that there was a bit more of that eighties friendship drama to go around, you’ve got yourself a little treat in Summer of ’84.

The film is about a fifteen year old boy named Davey who is interested in mysteries and strange happenings of all kinds. In the area of his town, Cape May a number of teenage boys have gone missing. When the local authorities receive a letter from the killer of these missing boys it is confirmed that there is a serial killer on the loose. Davey is sure that he knows not only who the killer is but where he lives. Right next door to him. Davey has to get his friends together to see if they can gather evidence to prove the case.

A lot of this movie will remind you of Stranger Things although the monsters really do only come in human form here. And while this might seem repetitive, it still works for the same reason that E.T., The Goonies and a host of other films does. We like stories about friends who work together to stop bad things from happening.

There are a few twists and turns here but nothing too surprising. There are also a few moments of genuinely frightening horror although nothing that really hits brand new territory.

If you are looking for a fairly intense horror film with friendship at its core and don’t mind a bit of gore and horror you could do worse than Summer of ’84.

Horrifically Yours,

Slick Dungeon

His House – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, how’s it going out there? It’s me, Slick Dungeon back to give you a review of a genuinely creepy movie on Netflix called His House.

The film stars the phenomenal Wunmi Mosaku who showed off her horror skills recently in Lovecraft Country. Alongside her is Sope Dirisu. The pair play a couple of refugees who are trying to make a new home in London. Helping them is a social worker played by Matt Smith, best known as the 11th doctor from Doctor Who.

Star power aside, His House has something going for it that almost no other haunted house movie has. What is it? A legitimate reason to stay. Most haunted house movies seem to be about a family that buys a new house to find it is haunted. Or to be about people who just have to stay one night to win an inheritance at a haunted house. Or about people who drive out to some remote location for fun and end up in a haunted house. What do all of those types of movies have in common? If people really wanted to, they could just leave. The characters in His House are refugees and if they move for any reason, they lose their refugee status and will be sent back to war torn home they fled. Ghosts and ghouls can hardly be bad enough to make anyone want to do that.

The movie starts out with a few glimpses of the tragedy and loss that the couple experience. Soon they find themselves in a house in London that is much more spacious than they expected, albeit, the home is not in a nice neighborhood by any stretch of the imagination.

Soon strange things start happening in the house and many of the things you would expect in haunted house movies happen. There are weird noises, unexpected visions, and nightmares. What’s really interesting though, is that sometimes it’s hard to tell what is caused by the house or whatever is haunting them and what might just be traumatic memories playing out as they would for anyone who had experienced such real life horrors.

There are major surprises in the film that I won’t give away here but I will just suffice to say that even the reason for the haunting makes sense. This gives the whole film more legitimacy in its scares and if this film doesn’t leave you at least a little bit unsettled, I don’t think anything will.

If you haven’t checked out His House yet, make sure you take some time to take it in. It’s gripping and horrific in the best way possible.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Child’s Play (1988) – #MovieReview

Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s Slick Dungeon and I am your friend to the end! I’m back to review another horror film. In between watching Universal Monster movies, I have been revisiting some of my favorite horror flicks from one of the greatest decades of horror, the 1980’s.

There have been plenty of movies, television shows, and books made about killers. Same goes for stories about evil dolls of one kind or another. But for my money, the king of the killer dolls will always be Chucky from the Child’s Play film franchise. This is an older movie at this point but I will still mention that there will be spoilers below. Don’t let your doll face melt over it. If you want to watch the movie first and then come back for the review, go for it.

Chucky is pretty well known for making silly one liners and then, you know, killing someone in an inventive way. But before all of that, he was a bad guy who had learned how to transfer his soul into another body. The start of the film has a serial killer and all around bad guy end up in a toy store surrounded by “Good Guy” dolls that looked a lot like the My Buddy dolls that were popular at the time. This killer has been shot by a policeman and is about to die and he does what anyone would do, transfers his essence to a doll, because, well, I guess he can?

Anyway, the main story revolves around a six year old boy named Andy. He wants a Good Guy doll more than anything else in the world for his birthday. Guess which one he ends up with? Yep, the one with the evil serial killer’s soul trapped inside of it. Pretty soon the doll is slashing people to death left and right and only Andy realizes the horrifying truth.

For my money, I always think Chucky is at his creepiest before he starts killing people. That doll just has a weird vibe and is way to big for a normal doll. Scary dolls never have freaked me out like they do some people but I can see why people who don’t like creepy dolls get freaked out by this movie.

This is a better movie than most people who have never seen it think it is. If you ignore the magical circumstances of how Chucky comes to life, it’s a pretty decent slasher film. And Chucky has the distinct advantage that no one will suspect a child’s toy of doing murder. The movie goes along with people not believing in Chucky as a killer until they seem him do it up close. I think this first entry is probably the best in the series and if you haven’t seen it, you should check it out. Most of it still holds up and the end is ambiguous enough that sequels make sense. If you need something to watch this Halloween, Chucky’s got you covered.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Sweet Taste of Souls – #MovieReview

Happy Halloween everyone! Slick Dungeon here and today I am going to review a couple of horror films (what else?) for you today. First up, an independent film that is not afraid to embrace an independent plot, Sweet Taste of Souls.

There will be spoilers for this film but I will keep them on the mild side. Still, if you don’t want to know what happens before you watch the movie, you have been warned.

Sweet Taste of Souls is about a group of friends who are on the way to perform a gig in their band when they come across a pie shop that is much stranger than it seems. On the way to the gig, one of the band members gets hungry and wants to stop in a small secluded town in the woods. Probably not the best idea but who would know that right?

Anyway, this pie shop is quaint and has a series of photographs on the walls. They depict people in blank backgrounds and don’t seem to be especially creative. In one of them, a group of people have won a surf contest but they are wearing street clothes. This is obviously odd and the group of friends is a bit confused by it.

They go on their merry way thinking that everything is more or less fine when all of a sudden… they find themselves in one of the pictures. The rest of the film is them trying to figure out a way out of their predicament while the father of a missing girl is independently suspicious about things happening around the area.

I won’t say that everything entirely holds up here. There are moments that are not well explained and the whole idea of how the power of the photographs work is flexible at best. But I will say it’s a new and inventive twist overall on a group of friends goes missing story. The mood is generally menacing and creepy whenever they are in the pie shop and that keeps it fairly interesting.

There is also enough character back story here that it seems the filmmakers actually thought about who the characters were and how they might grow. I don’t think they hit the mark with all of them and I would also say that the end leaves a bit to be desired as far as explaining things but all in all it’s an enjoyable watch.

If you are looking for an independent horror film that is different than most of what you have seen, give this one a try. It won’t be the best movie you have ever seen but there is enough there to be entertaining to a horror fan.

Sweet Taste of Souls will be available on 11/1 on Amazon, InDemand, DirecTV, AT&T, FlixFling, Vudu & Fandango.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Camp Twilight – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here on this night before Halloween and I thought I would review an independent slasher film for you all. I watched Camp Twilight from DarkCoast pictures.

There have been tons of homages to the greatest of the great slasher films. You’ll notice that most of them take place at somewhere like a summer camp, just like Friday the 13th movies do. Why? Low budget locations!

Some of these films hold up as sort of fun romps that can be an enjoyable couple of hours. Others are just terrible films not worth the time of day. While Camp Twilight is certainly not the worst slasher film I have seen, It is nowhere near a good movie. I am going to give spoilers below so if you want to watch this first, feel free to do that and come back to read the review.

The premise is fine for this one. It’s a group of high school students who are essentially forced to go to a camp for a tech free weekend if they want to graduate. A couple of teachers will be there and there are going to be all of the expected summer activities, hiking, kayaking, etc. You can probably guess what happens as soon as it gets dark. Yep, these teenagers go missing as they are picked off one by one. There is some mystery to who is doing the killing and there is, for my taste, just far too much comic relief in the form of the local park rangers.

I will say that when you are trying to make a slasher film, it’s hard to be surprising because it has been done so many times. But by the end of this one, I felt like the supposed plot twists and surprises that were in the film were just there to fill time. A lot of it didn’t make much sense and was honestly a little frustrating.

I love independent movies and I love slasher films that are creative and surprising. Unfortunately this one misses the mark by a pretty wide margin.

The kills are nothing you haven’t seen before if you are a horror fan and although I don’t really have a problem with the acting, the whole thing didn’t seem like it was thought out well enough.

I’m hoping that DarkCoast still keeps making movies because they are bound to come up with a gem in the horror genre eventually but unless you have nothing else to watch and need a new slasher to see, I would stay away from Camp Twilight.

If you do want to watch the movie it will be available for VOD on InDemand, DirecTV, FlixFling, Vudu & Fandango on 11/1

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Son of Frankenstein (1939) – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here, and I am back to review another Universal creature feature. What do you get when you take three well known actors, all famous for their icon roles based on literature and put them in a movie together? You get Son of Frankenstein.

This film is a direct sequel to the first two Frankenstein films. Of course, Boris Karloff is back but we have two new additions here. First, the man we all know as Dracula is nearly unrecognizable as Igor the hated assistant of the original Dr. Frankenstein. Also joining the film is Basil Rathbone. If that name sounds familiar, it should. He spent years famously portraying the one and only Sherlock Holmes.

This film was made in 1939 so it is pretty old but I will still put a spoiler warning here. If you feel your neck bolts tingling because you don’t want to know what happens in a movie that is 81 years old, feel free to stop reading now and come back after you have watched it.

The film takes place 25 years after the events of Bride of Frankenstein. The little town where a certain famous creature was created is altogether sick of Frankenstein’s. They tried to hang Frankenstein’s assistant Igor but botched the job and pronounced him dead even though he was not dead at all. He did come away with a broken neck resulting in him being horribly disfigured but still alive. Henry Frankenstein as he was called in the first two movies (not in the book mind you) had a son. This son has come back to collect his father’s property and take up residence. He is hoping to make a new life there. He has one of the coolest names in all of horror and Baron Wolf von Frankenstein is convinced that his father was a good man who was wronged by his assistant and the town as a whole.

Baron Frankenstein is pretty sure there never was such a creature or if there was, he was only evil due to the mistakes of Igor the assistant. When the Frankenstein arrives in town he gets a very cold reception and realizes pretty quickly that he is going to face some prejudice for who he is. Of course, the town has good reason to suspect this guy. There is a police inspector who actually lost an arm to the creature and tells Frankenstein that he is here to protect the family and also that the creature is definitely real.

Soon Frankenstein realizes he has inherited his father’s research. The thought immediately crosses his mind that he could prove his father was not mad by… yeah exactly, making a creature of his own. He goes to the lab only to find Igor who wants Frankenstein to heal the creature who is in fact, still alive. Frankenstein is more than curious and fixes the creature up at least physically. He wants to treat the creature’s mind as well but Igor does not let him. Why? Well, see Igor has been getting his revenge on those that had him hanged with the help of the creature.

This whole set up leads to a pretty intense film and that is without mentioning the fact that Frankenstein has a young son who soon starts talking about seeing a friendly giant. Karloff gets to go back to a wordless performance as the creature while Lugosi gets to mug it up as someone other than Dracula. Rathbone is dynamic in his performance and there may be an argument to be made that he could be worse than his father was, although he doesn’t fully get to act on those impulses.

As far as the Frankenstein films go, I think this is one of the best ones. It sets the tone very well and feels menacing with personal stakes. If you have never watched this one I would recommend you give it a try, it’s probably better than you think.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Dracula’s Daughter (1936) – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here, and I am back to review another Universal creature feature. We’ve gotten to the point where we have met most of our main monsters and the only logical thing is to start seeing films about their children.

This film is from 1936 so it’s pretty old. Not as old as a vampire of course, but old enough. I hadn’t seen the movie before this viewing so I will go ahead and give a spoiler warning so put your fangs away, you have been warned.

Dracula’s Daughter is the direct sequel to Dracula the original film about a vampire threat. This film begins immediately after the events of the first film. The police are investigating the commotion that was made when Van Helsing killed Dracula. The scene is pretty suspicious considering the body with a stake through it’s heart and the man whose neck had been broken by the vampire.

Van Helsing is arrested and needs help so he reaches out to a psychiatrist friend. I guess because psychiatrists are good lawyers? Anyway, the professor turns to a man named Dr. Garth who, might not exactly believe Van Helsing but is willing to help him. It just so happens that Dr. Garth also encounters a strange woman by the name of Countess Marya Zeleska. You might be guessing because Dracula was a count, that Countess Zeleska is also a vampire. You would be right.

The rest of the movie unfolds in ways you would more or less expect. Strange things happen around Countess Zeleska and bodies start showing up all over town. Dr. Garth tries to help Van Helsing and after conversations with him, Dr. Garth figures out that these strange things might be connected and there really are vampires in the world.

There are a couple of surprising things in the movie though. One is that Dracula’s daughter doesn’t really want to be a vampire. Also, I don’t want to spoil the end here but the creepy guy in the picture above plays a pivotal role.

The most amazing part to me about this film though, was Gloria Holden’s performance in the role of the title character. I swear, in the whole thing she did not blink a single time. Not once!

The film does play pretty hard into some chauvinistic stereotypes and I found Dr. Garth to be rather sexist in the movie. I know attitudes were different then but that doesn’t make them right.

There was also more comedy injected into this one and it made it easy for me to see how someone thought horror and comedy would make a great team up in later films where Abbott & Costello meet the various creatures.

Overall, this was a much better sequel than I expected, despite the complete lack of Bela Lugosi. If you haven’t checked this one out, I think it’s a pretty interesting entry in horror film history and is worth a watch.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Invisible Man (2020) vs. The Invisible Man (1933)

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here. I recently watched The Invisible Man (1933) and wanted to compare it to The Invisible Man (2020).

You will probably see right through this but if you keep reading, there will be spoilers for both movies below. You have been warned.

In this corner we have a scientist who injects himself with a solution that not only makes him turn invisible but also causes him to go insane and allows him to torture scientists he works with and terrorize an entire town. In the opposite corner is a horrifically abusive scientist who is an expert in optics and fakes his own death in order to torture a woman, frame her for unspeakable crimes, and terrorizes a police facility for the mentally ill.

The original film is a fun romp into what ifs about being invisible but still shows the dire consequences of what happens when science goes to far. The current film is more of a statement about the sad truth that far too many victims of domestic abuse are not believed when they should be. It’s a much more gripping psychological thriller than the first.

While in the original it is to be expected that there would be plot holes, silly camera gimmicks that were innovative at the time and a bit of overacting, the current film needs to be held to a higher standard. It’s hard to do film magic now since the audience understands that we have such things as green screens, CGI etc. The current film is able to create plenty of tension despite the fact we can all guess at how the camera tricks were pulled off. There are some things that I question in the current film however.

Here is where I will go a bit into deeper spoilers for the current film so if you have not seen it, you may not want to read further. In the new film, the main character, Cecilia (who is not the invisible man if you did not guess), is framed for murder. Moments later she is in police custody where she is interrogated by her friend whose house she was staying at. Now, while I give this movie a lot of credit and I think it was a good watch, I hardly found this part believable. It would be such an obvious conflict for that cop to be interrogating a murder suspect who he had such a close relationship with. Sorry, but I don’t buy that at all.

Later in the film, when things are wrapping up and Cecilia is trying to get the actual Invisible Man to confess, James is listening in as a cop. Again, that is way too much of a conflict to happen. I know complaining about those parts of the movie might be considered too picky, it threw off the experience for me.

Still, it is a terrifying movie but perhaps not for the reason you would think. On the surface, thinking that an invisible stalker is around is certainly terrifying. There is no doubt that would be a challenging adversary. But the terrifying part of this is the fact that in so many cases in real life women are not believed when they say they are abused. This whole movie plot would not work if that were not the case and to me that is utterly horrifying. It’s so easy for the characters around Cecilia to dismiss her concerns because that is what actually happens far too often and that is unacceptable. It does add weight to the movie though and raises the stakes.

So to sum up, the original movie is great if you want a fun silly scare and to see the golden age of movie monsters at the beginning. The new one is terrifying because it reflects much of our reality. Depending on what you are in the mood for, both are very good films. I recommend them both but if you decide to watch the current one, think about how easy it is for Cecilia’s situation to be translated to reality and how tragic that is.

I can’t really pick a “winner” between the two because both are very competent films. But if you are looking for escapist fantasy and fun monsters I definitely say to go with the original. And let’s try to keep the horrors on the screen instead of in reality.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Werewolf of London (1935) – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon, here and you know what has been missing from my Universal Monster party? Werewolves. That’s right, the hairy, transforming creature has only just made its appearance on the Universal stage. Today I am going to review Werewolf of London (1935).

This movie is from 1935 so I am pretty sure I am okay to go ahead and say it’s your fault if anything below is a spoiler to you. Still, some people grow hair on their knuckles over that sort of thing so consider yourself warned.

Werewolf of London was one of the first movies to feature werewolves. This film should not be confused with the much more popular film The Wolf Man. I will get to that one but the Werewolf of London came first so I am reviewing it first.

The movie starts with a couple of Londoners in Tibet trying to get a hold of a rare flower that only blooms in moonlight. In their attempt to do so, one of them is bit by what looks like a man and a wolf combined. The film starts with good potential there and talks about superstitions and we all know where it is going.

The next, I don’t know, really long part of the movie, is a garden party. Yep, that’s right, there is a really long sequence at a botanical society and it is every bit as exciting as that sounds. There is a rival botanist who wants the moon flower that the Londoner stole because, well, it cures, “werewolfery”. The film tries to make the whole thing seem menacing but it comes off as pretty silly.

I’m sure you know where it goes from here. The botanist from London transforms into a werewolf. He does bad, bad things. We get to see a transformation and some makeup artistry at work and then, ultimately he is stopped.

The best part of this movie is the two innkeeper women who bicker with each other and occasionally knock one another out. For the rest of this movie I would put this in the Incredible Hulk category for MCU movies. That is to say, it is one you can skip and get along in life without just fine.

Still, there is one really good thing to come out of this film. And that’s not even a film, it’s a song. Warren Zevon watched this movie randomly on television one day and he was convinced that he should write a song about it and create a dance craze to go along with the movie. The song became a smash hit and is still played on the radio today. I bet you want to listen to it. No problem, I have you covered, just play the video below!

Horrifically and musically yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – #MovieReview

Hey all you monsters out there, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I’m back to review the next of the Universal creature features, this time its the romantic biopic known as The Bride of Frankenstein from 1935.

This movie was made a long time ago but I am told there are still living bodies today that have not seen it so I give you a spoiler warning. Don’t let your hair stick up in the air because of it.

Boris Karloff was getting quite the reputation as a leading monster. Frankenstein was a huge hit and audiences wanted more. The studio wanted money, thus, more Frankenstein pictures were guaranteed. This time, the creature wants a wife.

This movie is a rather interesting entry in monster movies. Like the first of the series, it starts with a little bit of a warning to the audience that what we would see would shock us. Only, this time we get a flashback to Mary Shelley reflecting on her novel instead of a man on a stage. Elsa Lancaster plays not only Mary Shelley but also plays the eponymous bride. The hairdo really makes a big difference here.

Interestingly, it could be argued that this movie is more accurate to the book than the first Frankenstein film is. Karloff gets some dialogue. He makes a friend and there is a bit of moral gray introduced here, as we see that the monster is a very isolated creature. Like in the book, Frankenstein’s monster wants a companion who is like him. One that won’t hate him and reject him because of his monstrous appearance.

Dr. Frankenstein is obsessed with learning the secret of life even after the events of the first film. The part that gets kind of out of hand here is the doctor that comes to entice Frankenstein into taking a second dip into reanimating the dead. Doctor Pretorius has a creepy demeanor, a face that is unforgettable, an evil agenda, and… a bunch of little people in jars. Yep. It’s a bit of film trickery which was innovative at the time but looks a bit silly. Luckily the rest of the film overshadows that flaw to make an extremely gripping film.

You can feel the anguish in Karloff’s voice as his creature realizes that the bride that was built for him is afraid of him. I think the most memorable line in this is three short words, “She hate me.”

It’s kind of soul crushing. If you haven’t seen this you should. There is a reason this is an all time classic.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon