Horror Remakes I Can Get Behind

Remakes seldom live up to the originals, that’s always been a given. Obviously there are exceptions. Not everybody would agree with me but I would say Evil Dead (2013) is a good example of that. Not better that its 1982/1987 parents by any stretch but as good and with enough of its own individuality to make it feel fresh.

I have high hopes for some horror movies coming up soon and regardless of how they turn out, I will be front of the queue for the following:

It Chapter Two (2019)

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

Jessica ChastainJames McAvoyBill SkarsgårdBill Hader

I learned my lesson with Chapter One. Don’t go and watch horror films at peak times or your entire experience will be ruined. Regardless, I enjoyed the first movie and am super pumped for the second, especially given the casting. The adult Loser Club are back, exactly 27 years after the first movie, united by one awful telephone call.

Will they keep their collective promise to finish off Pennywise once and for all? Well, you may be familiar with the story and the Tim Curry adaptation so the ending might not surprise you all that much – unless the creators throw something new into the mix. I think the story is perfect as it is but I’m looking forward to being seriously creeped out.

The teaser trailer has really whet my appetite – and it captures Beverly Marsh’s (Chastain) visit to her childhood home perfectly.

Black Christmas (2019)

A group of students are stalked by a stranger during their Christmas break. A remake of the 1974 horror film ‘Black Christmas’.

Imogen PootsCary Elwes • Aleyse Shannon

I adore the original so I am in two minds about this remake. It doesn’t really need to be made, however a modern look at the subject matter could be very interesting (not that the original wasn’t progressive in its thinking in the first place). I just can’t forget that we’ve been here before and it wasn’t great.

There’s not much more I can add at this stage as I don’t know anything about it – but it’s coming this December and I’m all in. With fairy lights on.

Child’s Play (2019)

A mother gives her son a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature.

Aubrey Plaza • Mark Hamill • Gabriel Bateman

Chucky has forever been my homeboy so this is another one I approach with trepidation. I have high hopes that my boy is in good hands though – he joins a great cast, including Brian Tyree Henry, Plaza –  and of course, is voiced by Mark Hamill. It seems that Chucky has had a techno upgrade for 2019 which is kind of exciting and we do know he’s a Buddi doll, rather than the classic Good Guy.

Apart from that I’ve avoided the second trailer so as not to spoil anything. Recent horror movie trailers have really fucked with my experiences/desire to watch them (looking at you Pet Sematary/Brightburn).

Child’s Play opens tomorrow and I’ve got a ticket for Tuesday night. AKA learning my lesson and not going on opening night. Nice try, teenagers!

Grudge (2020)

A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.

Betty Gilpin • Andrea Riseborough • William SadlerJohn ChoLin Shaye

Again, I don’t know much about the 2020 remake and I didn’t even know there was going to be one until recently. The original is incredibly freaky with several truly terrifying (and often replicated) scenes so it never really needed a re-do – and yet, horror sweetheart Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s The Grudge 1 and 2 weren’t all bad.

Maybe this could be decent. I am always a sucker for haunted house horror and Andrea Riseborough is really good (hello, Mandy best movie ever made). We shall see.

Are there any horror movies you’re looking forward to?

Girl Gang: Christmas Edition

Inspired as always by my girl, it’s your festive edition of the Girl Gang series. Obviously.

Barb, Black Christmas (1974)

Oh, why don’t you go find a wall socket and stick your tongue in it. That’ll give you a charge.

I have a real soft spot for the festive sub genre of Christmas horror movies and Black Christmas is no exception. While it offers up a traditional slasher narrative, it is also very sad. I also love it for the progressive tackling of its abortion story line and its delivery of super messed up characters, particularly Barb (played by the late, great Margot Kidder).

By rights I suppose Jess (Olivia Hussey) should be the standout for this gang, given her position as the level-headed Final Girl but Barb pips her to the post and I’ll tell you why. Sure, she’d be quite the challenge as an actual friend, her drinking is very damaging but the girl needs help damn it. She’s sassy, she’s mean (but funny) and she’s also quick-witted AF (particularly when snarking out an obscene telephone caller).

Every GG need a blunt and dynamic member and Barb’s our girl, though maybe someone needs to have a word with her about getting kids drunk. I hate that Barb isn’t the sole survivor of Billy and his murderous tendencies but if you’re going to go out, why not take death by crystal unicorn? ICONIC.

Let’s be honest that Den Mother, Mrs Mac (Marian Waldman) totally has an open-ended invite to join this group too – what a dame. You can read my review of Black Christmas here.

Bridget Jones, Bridget Jone’s Diary (2001)

Wait a minute… nice boys don’t kiss like that.

Inviting Bridge to the party seems like a pretty obvious move and I’m not sorry. BJ is a sweary hot mess who makes poor decisions and messes up a lot but she also takes risks and isn’t afraid to make a tit of herself. I can honestly say that there is nothing more appealing to me than a person who can embrace their goofy side (my friend Heather is a shining example of this).

Bridge is somewhat normal and when I’m hanging out with girls I want to feel comfortable and never judged about my own dubious choices. BJ would never shame me and she’d be down for whatever, ride or die to the end. I think she’s inspirational too in so many ways, while she’s fucking up she does also learn and eventually realises her worth isn’t dependent on validation from Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant).

If we were friends though I would have to have a very stern chat with her about her constant diet talk and calorie counting – do it on your own watch, Miss Jones for the love of God.

Iris, The Holiday (2006)

I’m looking for corny in my life.

Oh, Iris, let me count the ways in which I love you.

The Holiday, I would say is on par with Love Actually in terms of quality but that’s not to say I don’t fucking adore it. But, while Cameron Diaz skips through snowy fields with Jude Law, I’m always dying to get back to Iris (Kate Winslet) in the city of Angels.

Iris is a perpetual romantic with her heart set on the ultimate bad boy (Rufus Sewell) – been there, done that. The thing is, she’s just about done with his games and her apartment swap is the first step in a long journey to getting the fuck over it. Step in Jack Black and arguably the much more important leading man, Arthur (Eli Wallach).

Iris is a good, kind woman and she’s a laugh. She’s into movies and she’s into banter and I want to have a drink with her in a bar so bad – and then I want to go home and watch old videos with her into the early hours and laugh about all the rat bastards that have ever broken our hearts.

Selina Kyle, Batman Returns (1992)

Honey, I’m home. Oh, I forgot. I’m not married.

Sure, lonely but lovely Miss Kyle becomes one of Gotham’s greatest villains/heroes of all time following a terrible ‘accident’ at the hands of her boss Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) – but even before that she was an interesting person and I want Selina on my team.

While she’s portrayed as a bit of a door mat, I don’t see her that way. Selina’s ambitious and damn good at her job. While the men around her only see her as a lowly secretary, the woman holds everything together (familiar?). Our girl is gorgeous and sweet – and what’s more, nothing can keep her down. Not even death and certainly not Batman or Shreck – or the pervy Penguin.

Selina evolves from self-deprecating loser to mischievous minx to the sassiest adversary Gotham’s dark knight has ever seen and the arc is beautiful. PLUS, I want her apartment and her entire wardrobe SO BAD. SUE ME.

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Selina Kyle: so good she deserves her own slideshow…

Who’s in your gang?

Black Christmas (Film) Review

BlackXmasThe last in our Christmas Collab series, and I wanted something a little less saccharine, perhaps because it feels like Christmas is done and dusted now, and it’s all a little much, innit, after five days of merriment?

So step forward Christmas Horror. What better way to begin the Christmas comedown than to witness some innovative murders and laughable acting in a seventies cult classic?

I’ll elaborate more below, of course, but I have to say this wasn’t the film I though it was going to be. They sure did make ’em suspenseful back there in the 1970’s, didn’t they?

Beware *Spoilers*

Black Christmas (1974)

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Olivia HusseyKeir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon

IMDB Synopsis: A sorority house is terrorized by a stranger who makes frightening phone calls and then murders the sorority sisters during Christmas break.

My Review:

It’s Christmas at the Kappa Delta Go Go sorority house and its occupants are in full festive swing. The Christmas tunes are banging and the booze is flowing as Margot Kidder and pals get into the spirit.

So nobody inside, nor Neighbourhood Watch for that matter, notice a heavy breathing weirdo scaling the outside of their pretty mock Tudor home and breaking in through the attic window. This is the stuff of absolute nightmares, I will not lie.

While the girls party on after their men have been sent home, Jess (Hussey) receives an obscene phone call from “The Moaner” (who’s called before). As the girls gather round to listen, The Moaner unleashes a torrent of abuse which is both gross and confusing. The call ends when Barb (Kidder) snarks him out and he tells her he’ll kill her.

christmas_sweater

I need this jumper

After the call, Barb, who’s a little worse for wear, manages to upset her housemate Claire (Lynne Griffin) by calling her a virgin and she storms upstairs to pack for her Christmas break. I think we can safely say that she’s not the virgin Barb thinks she is, as she turns out to be the first house victim.

Her lifeless body is transported by our mystery killer to the attic where he remains, just him and his victim. Cosy. Meanwhile, downstairs, the rest of the gang fuss around their Den Mother, Mrs Mac (Marian Waldman) who is frankly my favourite character in the whole film, and therefore in grave danger.

Next day and Mr Harrison, Claire’s dad (James Edmond) is worried when she doesn’t show to be picked up outside the school. He finds the sorority house and is shocked to find it rather more progressive that he’d expected (e.g. everyone drinks, swears and has boys over). Mrs Mac doesn’t do much to ease his worries when he catches her referring to the cat as a “prick”.

(I love her).

xmas2b

Mrs Mac: My Personal Hero

They go looking for Claire at her boyfriend’s Frat house but she’s not there so they go to the police who are about as useful as a chocolate teapot. The main cop on the front desk implies that Claire’s gone and shacked up with someone in a cabin somewhere and dismisses their worries completely.

Mr Harrison is sure she ain’t that kind of girl and so are Jess, and Claire’s boyf, Chris (Art Hindle) so they demand better action from the Fuzz. Luckily, they catch the attention of Rent-a-Lieutenant, Ken Fuller (Saxon), who’s as good a cop as he is handsome. He takes them seriously and gathers together a search party. At the same time he is dealing with a missing local schoolgirl, so the party splits up looking for both girls.

Barb isn’t in the party as she’s been sent to bed to rest (too much boozing, innit) but Jess, Chris and Phyl (Andrea Martin) join Mr Harrison in the park, where they make the grizzly discovery of the school girl’s body.

Jess returns home early and I haven’t explained this yet, but she’s preggo. She has told her boyfriend, Peter (Dullea) that she doesn’t want to keep it and he’s not best pleased, fucking up an important piano recital and then smashing up his piano. (What did the piano ever do to you, Peter?).

What Jess doesn’t know is that Mrs Mac has gone into the attic to find the mewling pussycat and that was a big mistake. She doesn’t come back down. And actually nobody ever asks questions about the cat again, anyone would think they were preoccupied.

bcblu_shot17l

“Hmmmm, I need something sharp for this here murder… which one though?”

One by one the girls are picked off, without being discovered by the others, and in unique and wonderful ways. For instance, I’d never seen anyone stabbed to death with a crystal unicorn before and now I can cross that off my Bucket List.

The frequency of the obscene calls from The Moaner steps up as well, so Jess reports them finally to Lieutenant Sex Brows, who arranges a tap on the phone.

john-saxon-black-christmas

“Why thank you, yes I do spend a fair bit of time on my brows. Stephanie at It’s Not You, It’s Your Brows on Main Street does them.”

Peter turns up and is horrible to Jess, threatening her when she refuses to back down on the abortion issue. He smashes some bulbs on the Christmas tree to show he means business then storms out. Lieutenant Sex Brows doesn’t like him on sight and begins to wonder if he’s guilty of the phone calls.

I’m going to leave this here I think, after the Questions Section, as it’s worth a watch but let’s just say that the calls are traced – and they’re coming from inside the house! 

0045

Barb and Phyl took their annual game of Twister VERY seriously

The bumbling cop on front desk is tasked with the issue of getting Jess out of the house without freaking her out but fails dismally (you had one job!).

Plus, Jess isn’t the kind of chick to leave her friends alone in a house with a mass murderer so she pops upstairs to wake Barb and Phyl. That doesn’t work out too well and would ya know it, there’s a final showdown of the Slasher Movie kind.

HURRAY!

Questions: 

Will anyone else besides poor Jess ever answer the fucking phone? Will anyone survive? What the hell is Peter’s beef?

Will the cops ever properly search the house? I mean if calls are coming from inside the house, does that not warrant a thorough shake down of the premises? I guess not.

And… will you ever sleep again? Because I don’t know if I will.

BC6

Eye eye

My Thoughts:

I thought this would be a lot more fluffy than it was with more pillow fights and sorority girls in negligees. I’m not disappointed that it wasn’t that way, in fact I was pleasantly surprised by how tense and genuinely creepy this movie is.

It’s also infinitely more subtle than slashers of the modern age, though it still isn’t for the light-hearted. I mean, there are hooks through throats and suffocations a plenty.

At one point it actually had a Hitchcockian vibe (Psycho (1960), naturally) and that’s what makes it stand out a little more from many films of this ilk. I’d even dare to put it up there with some of the seventies greats. I mean, it’s not Halloween (1978) but it’s not far off.

I recommend it, if you’re looking for an alternative to ABC Made-for-TV festive parables, animated elves and Christmas specials (not that there’s anything at all wrong with any of those things)

My Rating: 4/5. Yeah I dug this.

What did my sweetest baboo Jillian think though? Find out here.