The Conjuring 2

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Thirty – 10/30/18

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And yet again, I came upon a year where it was too hard to decide which films to feature, and it got narrowed down to two: a home invasion thriller that upends the premise of a classic chiller from the Sixties, and a zombie action drama unlike anything audiences had seen before.

If you’re old enough to remember (as I do) the Terence Young-directed thriller from 1967, WAIT UNTIL DARK, the best screen adaptation of Frederick Knott’s smash play there will ever be, you’ll recall Audrey Hepburn as the “champion blind lady”, who manages to get the goods on three crooks trying to outsmart her, including a terrifyingly good Alan Arkin.  FEDE ALVAREZ, who totally retooled Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD in a gore-drenched remake in 2013, got the brilliant idea of taking that scenario and flipping it around. The result? The cracklingly good ‘home invasion’ flick, DON’T BREATHE…which literally describes what you’ll find yourself doing through the second and third acts of his DEAD follow-up.

Once again tapping the talents of his muse/leading lady JANE LEVY, and adding DYLAN MINNETTE and DANIEL ZOVATO into the mix, the three of them play juvenile burglars out to make one last big score. Zovato’s “Money”, the wannabe-badass of the group hits upon a plan. Rumor has it that there’s an old, blind Iraq war vet who lives alone, and has a shitload of cash stashed somewhere in his house.

Old. Blind. Isolated. Rich. Easy pickins, right?

Except, of course, if the man in question happens to be STEPHEN LANG (AVATAR, BAND OF THE HAND, LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN), who usually plays ‘not-fuck-with-able’ sighted characters on his worst days. So is the man he plays here going to be an easy target? Not on your life.

I won’t disclose how they find out, but the three thieves soon learn they’ve got their hands full. And worst of all, they’re on the Blind Man’s turf. Where they know next to nothing about his house, he has that blind person’s super-heightened senses of everything that’s around him, especially sound. And that’s where the title comes in.  BREATHE is a mindfuck all the way around. The “bad guys” turn out to be so much less dangerous than their intended ‘victim’, and even though they were up to no good, you end up rooting for them to be able to get the hell out of the predicament they made for themselves.

But much like the script that Alvarez crafted with writing/producing partner RODO SAYAGUES, you never have any idea of what’s coming next, and the twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your sofa, all the way up to the gasp-inducing finale.  I didn’t care much for Alvarez’s take on the Raimi film, to be completely honest, but DON’T BREATHE won me over immediately. I don’t doubt that if you love a good, solid thriller, the same will happen for you with this one.

As for our other feature…

Like many people, I gave up on THE WALKING DEAD at about Season Six. Or was it Seven? No matter. By the time Negan was finally introduced after what seemed like a lifetime’s worth of speculation, I was pretty much “zombie’d-out”. With multiple TV series devoted to them (including FEAR THE WALKING DEAD), I just didn’t feel like anything new could be done with the sub-genre. Or at least, no one was trying very hard to.

And then, along comes TRAIN TO BUSAN.

This pulse-pounding thriller from Korean director SANG-HO YEON, took what appears to be a simple enough premise – transferring the scenario of Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD from a shopping mall to a commuter train – and, using the tried-and-true conceit of character investment by the audience, turns his film into a grueling, 90-minute terror ride that fans have taken again and again since its initial release. (It was one of the biggest box-office smashes in Korea that year, and for good reason!)

Work-obsessed businessman Seok-woo (YOO GONG) is taking his daughter, Soo-an (SU-AN KIM) to be with her mother, from whom he is estranged. But what seems like the beginning of a downer of a family drama, takes a sharp left turn, as father and daughter board the train leaving Seoul and bound for Busan, just as a mysterious zombie virus descends upon the city, transforming those affected by it into speedy, groveling flesh-munchers, infecting any and everyone who happens to get bitten.

The terror grows with the size of the undead hordes, and the chances for survival shrink faster than the Seoul skyline in the distance. As the struggle begins, a beefy laborer, Sang-hwa (the scene-stealing DONG-SEOK MA) who starts out having an antagonistic relationship with Seok-woo, soon joins forces with him as a badly-needed ally, as he tries to keep himself and his daughter alive, while also still trying to fulfill his promise to Soo-an to get her to Busan to see her mother.

 

As I often like to say, “Terror needs no translation”, and that definitely applies here. Director Yeon, working from the script he wrote with JOO-SUK PARK, knows his way around an action sequence, and manages to blow the audience away with several suspenseful setpieces, involving situations that have never been presented before the way they are here, even in top-notch zombie thrillers like 28 DAYS LATER and WORLD WAR Z (which TRAIN shares some similarities with.)

International filmmakers are ‘bringing it’ with their takes on the zombie genre, with everything from BUSAN, to the recent Chinese productions of ZOMBIOLOGY and LOST IN APOCALYPSE. I wish George Romero were still here to see this, and to remark on it in his own unique way…

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: 2016 bounced crazily between sci-fi/horror, the supernatural and man-made monsters with such offerings as 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, THE CONJURING 2, SPLIT, THE WAILING, RAW, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, UNDER THE SHADOW and the excellent THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, ZOMBIES, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW: The Nun (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Nun (2018)

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to get out and visit my local AMC theater and treated myself to see the latest installment in The Conjuring Universe, The Nun. Directed by Corin Hardy, The Nun is a spin-off of The Conjuring 2 (2016). I will start off by saying that I have pretty high expectations of horror films now these days, and this installment to the Conjuring Universe was definitely not a letdown. It did start off quite slow but kept the suspense with wondering the whole time when you will see “the shadowy figure” aka The Nun with our leading lady (Bonnie Aarons).

The Nun takes place in Romania, in the year 1952. Two nuns who live at the monastery are attacked by a presence that is unseen in the beginning. The surviving nun, known as Sister Victoria, flees the attacker by jumping out of a window. Her body is discovered the following morning by a man called Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet), who lives in the village nearby.

The news of Sister Victoria committing the ultimate sin — suicide — makes its way to the Vatican and piques the interest of Father Burke (Demiàn Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, American Horror Story seasons 1, 3, 6 & 8). The two then go to the monastery with the help of Frenchie to understand and investigate the history that is plaguing the village. Once they get settled in, dark things begin to happen, and they start to piece together Sister Irene’s visions along with Father Burke’s experience in dark forces and exorcisms along with the dark history in the monastery.

The ending of The Nun was definitely an “A-ha!” moment, and you definitely need to rewatch The Conjuring 2 as there are two scenes that feature the Warrens and tie up the whole film. I did jump at a few scenes which is definitely what I look for a horror movie to do for me. The fear and suspense were palpable, and hearing the audience’s nervous laughs and screams enhanced it. My only complaint would be how slow it started out, but it definitely redeemed itself once Sister Irene and Father Burke were introduced. I was very impressed with Bonnie Aarons’ portrayal of the nun and with this installment of the series and it definitely redeemed itself from Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation.

Overall Grade: B

Posted by Sarah Gregory in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

We here at The House of Tortured Souls love horror. It’s kind of our jam. And we love to see good horror get recognition. It can be argued that horror is more popular than ever, there are more conventions, festivals, and awards than ever. However, one thing bugged us here at HoTS, and from responses online, we weren’t the only ones. Some awards, not to call names (message me), stretch out the word horror way to far. Seriously Deadpool? Captian America: Civil War? I love me some Cap, and who can talk smack about Ryan Reynolds’ red spandex covered ass, but it’s not FUCKING horror.

So we said “Screw it. Let’s do this”. So here we are with the first annual House of Tortured Souls Awards. Neato huh? We can’t promise we wont make mistakes, can’t promise we don’t stutter step and come in a bit late (I planned to have this April 1st), but we do promise to keep it horror. No super heroes, no Tarzan, and no funny South African robots! What we got? Serial killers, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons, we got ’em. No there are films that straddle that line of horror/ thriller. We accept that, but repeat after me, no friggin superheros or Jedi.

We are still learning, but we decided to jump in with both feet and stomp the shit out of it. We asked our staff to pick their favorites in a group of categories. Rules are the films have to be originally released in a mass audience format. So feature films released to VoD, DVD, or theater, for the FIRST time in 2016 are eligible. Secondary release to DVD, does not qualify it for 2016. Thus, a film released to theater in 2016 will qualify for 2016. If it is released to DVD in 2017, it would not qualify for 2017.

There is a slight difference for independent films. Since most of them will not get a wide release theatrical release, and it might be years before a VoD or DVD release. For independent films, they may be considered, if they have had a major festival release, are currently (award year) touring the festival circuit, or have a release to VoD, DVD, or theater, AND have not been nominated in a previous year. There’s a logic there as many Indie may tour the festival circuit for a couple years, this allows them a chance to be seen, but not to win multiple years. The HoTS staff will select four nominees per category, in case of an unbreakable tie (which we had a couple of), we may select five nominees in some categories. It’s a work in progress, but we think this is fair.

So without the proverbial further ado, here are the nominees.

Best Horror Movie 2016*

  • Green Room
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • The Witch
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • 31

Best Horror Director 2016

  • Jeremy Saluner – Green Room
  • Andre Overdal – The Autopsy of Jane Doe
  • Roger Eggers – The Witch
  • Rob Zombie – 31

Best Actor Horror 2016

  • John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Anton Yeltsin – Green Room
  • Patrick Wilson – The Conjuring
  • Richard Brake – 31

Best Actress Horror Movie 2016

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Vera Farmiga – The Conjuring
  • Anja Taylor Joy – The Witch
  • Blake Lively – The Shallows

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Stephen Lang – Don’t Breathe
  • John Gallager Jr – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Christopher Lloyd – I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • Patrick Stewart – Green Room

Best Supporting Actress Horror 2016

  • Imogene Poots – Green Room
  • Kate Dickey – The Witch
  • Ella – The Monster
  • Madison Wolfe – The Conjuring 2

Best Television Horror

  • Stranger Things
  • Bates Motel
  • Ash versus Evil Dead
  • American Horror Story
  • The Exorcist

Best Actor TV Horror

  • Bruce Campbell – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Freddie Highmore – Bates Motel
  • Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead
  • Alfonso Herrara – The Exorcist

Best actress TV Horror

  • Vera Farmiga – Bates Motel
  • Millie Bobbie Brown – Stranger Things
  • Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist

Best Supporting Actor TV Horror

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead
  • Ray Santiago – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Max Theriot – Bates Motel
  • Gaten Matarazzo – Stranger Things

Best Supporting Actress TV Horror

  • Kathy Bates – American Horror Story
  • Lucy Lawless – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist
  • Olivia Cooke – Bates Motel

Best Indie Horror Movie

  • Circus of the Dead
  • The Barn
  • Plank Face
  • Family Possession

Best Indie Horror Director 2016

  • Billy Pon – Circus of the Dead
  • James Bickert – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Justin M Seaman – The Barn
  • Scott Schrimer – Plank Face

Best Indie Actor Horror 2016

  • Parrish Randal – Circus of the Dead
  • Nathan Barret – Plank Face
  • Mitchell Muselino – The Barn
  • Fred Lass – Bubba the Red Neck Werewolf

Best Indie Actress Horror 2016

  • Tristan Risk – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Chanel Ryan – Circus of the Dead
  • Susan M Martin – Plank Face
  • Lexi Dripps – The Barn

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Bill Oberst – Circus of the Dead
  • Laurence Harvey – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Mitch Hyman – Bubba the Redneck Werewolf
  • Will Stout – The Barn

Best Supporting Actress Horror

  • Ellie Church – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Alyss Winkler – Plank Face
  • Lizzie Mears – Family Possessions
  • Brigid McCauley – Plank Face

(*Five nominees due to a tie.)

Posted by Allen Alberson in CONTESTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
The Nun – The Conjuring 2 Spin-off Coming

The Nun – The Conjuring 2 Spin-off Coming

Conjuring Up A Spin-off

By Dixielord

The Conjuring 2 is still in the theaters and already a spin-off is officially in the works with The Nun. The will be the second movie spinning away from the series based (somewhat) on the real life (somewhat) adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The original Conjuring film lead to the spin-off demon dolly film Annabelle and is itself is in line for a sequel.

The Nun is coming.

The Nun is coming

The Nun Is Coming

It's still very early in the process, but as of now Conjuring director James Wan is only aboard as a producer. David Leslie Johnson (The Conjuring 2) is attached to write the script, but that's pretty much it as no director or cast has been named this early. Bonnie Aarons (Drag Me to Hell) portrayed the nun in The Conjuring 2 but there is no word on whether she will reprise the role or not.

We do know that the story will follow the demonic nun from The Conjuring 2. We can only assume, and it's a fairly safe assumption, that it will delve into the back story of the demon Valak or the nun whose form he took. Most likely both.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the nun was actually a late addition to The Conjuring 2. Initially, Wan planned on a horned demon representing Valak. However, Lorraine Warren told him of an experience where she had encountered a swirling vortex with a hooded figure inside. Thus, Wan decided to combine the hooded nun figure with the demon Valac. The demonic nun was born, and the seeds were planted for The Nun spin-off.

Who Was Valak?

Valac looks nothing like The Nun

The Conjuring 2 demon Valac as he is pictured in demonology

The demon Valak was not a creation for the film but actually exists. At least in the world of demonology and The Lesser Key of Solomon if not in our reality. In the Lesser Key of Solomon, Valak, or Valac is a President of Hell. Now there are several presidents, Kings and other royalty among the 72, so apparently there was a lot of power sharing in Hell. In the grimoire, Valac is the diviner of great secrets and can be summoned by worthy magicians. His physical form resembles a small winged boy astride a two-headed dragon. There are no reports of him using shitty CGI, which was my main complaint with The Conjuring 2 (The Crooked Man).

The Nun from the Blues Brothers

What's more frightening than The Nun from Conjuring 2? The Penguin!!

The Nun actually has some material and potential. If they go at it hardcore and don't worry about trying to make a film for the masses. Give us an old school nun possessed by the devil with sleaze, sex, and abominations! We believe in you! Actually, nah, that's not likely to happen. It's probably going to follow the lines of Annabelle and play it fairly safe. While I enjoyed both Conjuring films, the first more than the second, Annabelle bored me. I hope The Nun is closer to its cinematic parents than its cousin.

Posted by Allen Alberson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Haunting

MOVIE REVIEW: The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Haunting

By Dixielord

James Wan returns with a follow up to his hit The Conjuring with The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Haunting. Like the original, The Conjuring 2 is based on a case investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, demonologists and paranormal investigators. The Warrens are probably most famous for their investigation of what would become known as The Amityville Horror and the movie based on it. Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) and Patrick Wilson (The Ruins, Insidious) return to star as The Warrens.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in The Conjuring 2

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring was a hit, both at the box office and with horror fans. Sequels, however rarely love up to the original. While I ended up enjoying The Conjuring 2, I do feel it was a step down from the first film. The Conjuring earned its R rating due to a pervasive sense of dread that ran through the entire film, a dark, oppressive feeling that left me uneasy, and made me fear for the main characters, even though I know in real life they survived the incident.

Upside down, the way you turn me The Conjuring 2

Upside down, the way you turn me
The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 never achieved that level of unease. That's not saying it didn't have it's moments. There were scenes, especially involving the kids that were genuinely scary. The possession scene near the end reminded me a lot of Reagan's possession in The Exorcist. But the scenes, especially in the first half of the film were too far and in between to keep that dread going. It needed that to keep me at a heightened sense of unease, to keep me on the edge of my seat. That's when a jump scare really works. It's when all scares really work in a film.

The demonic nun was fun, and I'll admit I jumped a few times with her scenes. She was visually impressive and the effects were well done. However the “crooked man” CGI was really bad. It reminded me of animation from The Wall, or a Monty Python skit. That's not knocking those two properties, both were great in their time, but neither was horror, and it's a good 30 plus years since either s prime. The ending two was a bit of a let down for me. Sorry but as a horror and possession fan, that ending is all too common and clichéd.

But I still enjoyed the film. Mostly because of two reasons. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. This was as much a movie about the Warrens, and their scenes made the film. I have a feeling that I like Vera and Patrick's version if the couple more than I would like the real couple. My one real experience with the real Lorraine Warren makes me think she is far more of a religious zealot than her movie counterpart. But I guess when you are dealing with demons from hell, it's best to not be wishy washy about your beliefs.

The real Ed and Lorraine Warren subjects of The Conjuring 2

The real Ed and Lorraine Warren subjects of The Conjuring 2.

Between the love story of the Warrens, and the couple of really bad CGI scenes, there were some good scares. There were some honestly creepy scenes involving the kids, especially Janet ( New Orleans resident Madison Wolfe). It just doesn't hold the fear and tension throughout the entire film.

Janet's just exorcising her rights in The Conjuring 2

Janet's just exorcising her rights in The Conjuring 2.

The Conjuring 2 isn't a bad film, I don't consider it a waste of my money, but as a horror film, it is a bit of a let down. When compared to the original, that let down is even harder. Fans of the Warrens will still want to see it. Fans of Vera and Patrick will really enjoy it, as will casual horror fans who don't like more extreme or unnerving films. But as a scary, disturbing horror film, it fumbles pretty hard. Unless you are a real fan of the Warrens, or more so Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, wait till it hits Linnet.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments