The Woman In Black (2012) – movie review


The Woman in Black 2012 - pic 1

The Woman in Black  (2012)


Directed by James Watkins

Daniel Radcliffe
Ciarán Hinds
Janet McTeer
Liz White

For a Hammer film, I would expect no less than a gothic ghost-tale, taking place in a deserted mansion, in the countryside of England. Being a period piece only adds to the true Hammer experience of yesteryear. These were elements missing from the re-launched Hammer production’s previous films.

A young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, struggling to provide for his motherless son, is sent on a countryside journey to the estate property, known as the Eel Marsh House. After the passing of tThe Woman In Black posterhe last living relative, Alice Drablow, it is Mr. Kipps’ assignment to wade through the mountain of paperwork at the decrepit estate, in order for his firm to gain the rights to sell it. At the Estate, Mr. Kipps begins to hear strange noises which lead to the frequent sighting of the Woman in Black, a ghastly, dark presence that haunts the Eel Marsh House. In town, there are several deaths of children. Mr. Kipps begins to investigate a recurrence of child deaths throughout many years and their ties to the Eel Marsh House. The intriguing story unfolds in layers as the mystery is revealed.


Daniel Radcliffe plays the young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, wonderfully, sporting  old-English style side-burns, causing one to wholly forget his Harry Potter persona. Ciarán Hinds plays an outstanding supporting role as the local neighbor, Sam Daily, who, years earlier, lost his own son to tragedy.

The Eel Marsh House provides a fantastic setting, almost like a character itself; it sits upon an isolated hill that becomes surrounded by water during high tide. There is a small family graveyard on the property, which adds to the creepiness of the house and exudes the perfect atmosphere for sightings of the veiled, woman in woman in black radcliffeblack. The inside of the mansion is suitably run-down, genuinely old, and neglected, with cob-webs, worn edges and dimly lit areas for evil to hide. The cinematography in this film was exceptional, portraying the ugly-beauty of the age tattered estate.

The Woman in Black is a classic, old-fashioned ghost story. It’s a slow-burn with a small cast and low-key feel, self contained in the sparse community surrounding the estate. This is not the full-on, ‘Poltergeist’ style ghost film. The haunting is subtle; a noise, a toy turning on for no reason, a movement seen in the mirror, and movement in your peripheral vision.  It is the type of film that I have purchased on DVD for my own collection and watch it often around Halloween. If the new Hammer Films would make all of their movies in this style and not try to compete with Hollywood, I would be quite pleased.

parlor of horror – movie review


The Marsh (2006) – movie review

the marsh 2006 - pic 5

The Marsh (2006)

Directed by: Jordan Baker

Gabrielle Anwar
Justin Lewis
Forest Whitaker

Claire Halloway (Gabrielle Anwar) is a successful author of children’s books. Her main character in a series of dark tales is a young girl who lives in a big red house in a rural area. A rigorous schedule of book signings and a string of unrelenting nightmares leads Claire’s therapist to recommend a vacation and a change of pace. Claire agrees and begins to make plans for a hiatus. Claire is immediately drawn to a farmhouse that is for rent. Oddly enough, It the marsh 2006 - posterlooks very similar to the house she has illustrated for her fictional children’s books.

Upon moving into the rental, The Rose Marsh Farmhouse, Claire finds no peace and quiet as strange occurrences begin to happen. Objects are moved from where she had left them and she sees a ghostly image of a child running about the place. As incidents increase in intensity she is frightened by the evil spirit of a man who seems to chase and dominate the little girl spirit.

Claire befriends Noah Pitney (Justin Louis), a local historian who offers some insight to the farmhouse and it’s history. As frightful events unfold Claire calls upon a paranormal investigator named Hunt (Forest Whitaker) to help quell the violent outbursts of supernatural activity. Layers of time are peeled back to reveal the dark secrets of the Rose Marsh Farmhouse and marshland that lies beyond it‘s property.

The Marsh is a classic style ghost story comparable to Ghost Story and The Changeling. It provides basic creepy atmosphere and moderate chills and thrills. Most of that is boosted by some good soundtrack and sound effects. Its not all that scary, but the story is interesting enough for those who like ghost stories. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it and would probably not spend money on the dvd/bluray. However, if its on cable I may give it another spin. It’s horror lite, but you could find worse ways to spend an afternoon.

The Marsh is an old fashion ghost story that’s not too intense.
I give it 2.2 ghost-ies on the angry spirit scale of dead mean-ies and ghastly bullies.

Stir of Echoes (1999) – movie review


“I couldn’t let that happen, not here. This is a decent neighborhood.”

stir-of-echoes pic1

Stir of Echoes (1999)

Directed by David Koepp
Screenplay by Richard Matheson and Koepp

Kevin Bacon, Katheryn Erbe, Zachery David Cope, Ileana Douglas, Kevin Dunn

Anyone that has overheard their own child seeming to have a conversation with no one, in an empty room, will understand the creepiness of this film. Almost all children do it at one point in their childhood and you chalk it up to imaginary friends and all that, but do we really know? Anyways, this film is based on the story of the same name by Richard Matheson. It is updated to the time, but still holds the story and plot points close to the book. A young couple, Tom and Maggie, with one child and another on the way, are struggling to make a good life. They have a lot going on in their daily grind and just like real life, that’s always when some weird crap goes down, when you’re least likely to be able to stir of echoes dvdhandle it. Tom is hypnotized by his sister-in-law and given the suggestion that he should be more open minded. He immediately sees the ghost of a teenage girl in his home. As he collects more clues as to who this girl is, his life begins to unravel and he unveils the dark underbelly of secrets held by this close-knit community.

There’s an original method to hypnotize Tom that doesn’t involve a swinging pocket-watch. How many of you listened to the instructions of Lisa and relaxed, trying to see if you could get hypnotized? I think those theater scenes are awesome. I don’t always like all the parts Kevin Bacon plays, but I think he is damn good in this film. Watching him turn into an obsessive lunatic over his brief ghostly vision is entertaining. And does he make a mess of that house. There’s some laugh out loud moments, parts where he’s all hopped up after first seeing the ghost, and moments of concern for his family that he really delivers on.

I love that Ileana Douglas plays the psychic guru sister, Lisa. She always gets stuck playing the comedic nerd-girl in parts, so she excels in this serious supporting role. The young boy, Jake (played equally convincing by Zachery David Cope), seems like a normal kid, aside from the imaginary friends. The Chicago community reminds me of growing up in Queens, NY, back when nobody had AC, cable TV, or internet. On hot summer nights, everyone would just be outside on their front steps talking with each other and hanging out.

There are some genuinely creepy scenes in this film, shocking plot twists, and a classic back story. All of these positives make this one of my favorite ghost story films. The story is laced with foreshadowing that could sometimes ruin the impact of sequential scenes, but in this film it just makes it all the more creepy. However, what really makes this film stand out is some likable characters with normal life struggles, who are thrown into an extraordinary circumstance.

stir-echoes- pic 2

Trivia bits:

On TV in the film: The Mummy’s Shroud and Night of the Living Dead

When Tom gets angry digging in the yard, he kicks the bucket and it breaks a window. This was an accident but was kept in the film because Kevin Bacon stayed in character and continued through the scene.
In the special-features, there’s some wonderful on-screen narration by Richard Matheson explaining the mechanics of hypnosis. I’m reminded of the episodes of The Twilight Zone and Star Trek he had penned.

stir of echoes pic 15

A slowly unraveling mystery and creepy ghost scenes make this one of my fave ghost story films of all time.

I give it a 4.5 ghostly spirit scares on the scale of haunted horrors.


“Daddy says I’m-a supposed to dig.”

Recommended if you like: The Shining, Ghost Story, The Woman in Black, The Changling, The Fog,


Cassadaga (2011) – movie review

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Cassadaga (2011)

Directed by Anthony DiBlasi
Writers: Bruce Wood and Scott Poiley

This film is an overall good mix of ghost story and serial killer suspense. It takes a while for the action to develop and I usually prefer more horror scenes, but what makes up for the slow start is a fully engaging character portrayal of the main cassadaga postercharacter, Lily (Kelen Coleman). Lily is having a sad and tragic life and ends up living on a campus in Cassadaga Florida where she will also be teaching art to young students. A chance meeting with a psychic (a fun dare) awakens something inside her and forms a connection to a female spirit. There’s a good chance this woman was murdered on the campus property. She will not stop tormenting Lily until Lily finds her remains and reveals the killer. The killer nicknamed ‘Geppetto’ (for reasons you will learn) has well-developed psychotic motivations and his tortures are brutal but true to his psychotic fantasy. Not nearly as gory as the poster art would suggest, the film portrays the violence as necessary to the horror, without being exploitive or distasteful. There are some good plot twists and suspense sequences, making the film enjoyable to watch. A small role by Louise Fletcher adds some credo to the film. It gets a little too syrupy at the very end for me, but that doesn’t detract from the rest of film.

cassadaga pic 11 Cassadaga pic 5

Worth a watch for well-written, character driven horror and suspense.

I give it 4.0 severed limbs out of 5 for crazy killer conflict and horror thriller action.


cassadaga 1936

The Real Cassadaga
Cassadaga, Florida is known as the ‘Psychic Capitol of the World’ due to the high number of psychics and mediums that live there. A spiritualist camp was set up there by George Colby in 1894 which later became the town of Cassadaga. It was named after a similar camp for spiritualists in New York, for which Colby had attended. The word Cassadaga is a Native American word that translates to, ‘water runs beneath the rocks’ and was first used in New York by the Seneca Tribe. Today, Cassadaga, FL is still home to the Spiritualists Camp which teaches the ways of spiritual living. Many psychics reside in the small quiet town.

My Top ‘Introduction to Horror’ Films – What’s Yours?

Jaws_pic 2
My Top ‘Introduction to Horror’ Films

The goal is to pick out films to show someone who has never watched horror films. Choose the movies you think would be best suited for them to understand the genre.

Started by Horrific Healing, several other bloggers have jumped in and offered their Top Introduction to Horror Films lists. We want you to post your list, too!


My Top ‘Introduction to Horror’ Films
I went with 15 , Here’s My List:

1 – Frankensteinearly horror

2 – House of Wax (Vincent Price) – How can anyone know horror without VP
House of Wax 1953 poster

3 – Night of the Living Deadthe ultimate zombie film
night of the living dead poster

4 – Dracula has Risen form the GraveMore modern than Lugosi and represents the 1960’s and Gothic
Dracula-Has-Risen-From-The-Grave poster

5 – Psychopsychological horror and Hitchcock represented

Psycho poster

6 – Texas Chainsaw Massacregotta’ have the chainsaw

texas_chainsaw_massacre74 poster

7 – Jawsnature horror and Spielberg


8 – Halloween got to have a Carpenter film and slasher film represented


9 – Nightmare on Elm StreetWes Craven’s best


10 – AlienSci-fi horror


11 – The Evil Deadpossession film and black comedy

Evil Dead 1981

12 – HellraiserClive barker represented


13 – The RingRepresenting J-Horror style

Ring poster

14 – The Mist S.King represented, not to mention Greg Nicoterra from The Walking Dead

the mist cover

15 – Quarantine or REC representing the found footage/handheld style

Quarantine cover

So, I have represented here: gothic, slasher, ghost story, revenge horror, monster movie, found footage, J-Horror, black & white films, psychological horror, animal/nature horror, demonic possession, black humor and sci-fi horror. That just about covers it.

As you can see I’m partial to American films. After this introduction, I would have another list for foriegn horror films and cover Italian, Spanish and true Asian cinema for my unsuspecting friend to watch.

I know a lot of these are the usual suspects but, they are the best in their categories, why give a new viewer something sub par? Besides, these are all films I really love and wouldn’t mind watching again with somebody.

I say that if you do a list, you should link the other posts that have come before yours. So here are the links to the other posts:

Horrific Healing – – Top 10 introductory Horror Films

Fringevoid – – Introduction To Horror films

Inforthekills – – 11 Horror films for Newbies  

Vics’ Movie Den – Intro to Horror 101

‘Middle of the Road’ horror films – its road kill but ya’ gotta’ look!

SH Revelation pic 8
‘Middle of the Road’ horror films – its road kill but ya’ gotta’ look!

Here are some horror movies that I’ve seen lately that weren’t great but weren’t bad enough to send me into a rant, either. Its amazing that with such great imagery, these films weren’t better.

silent-hill-revelationSilent Hill: Revelation (2012)

The best thing to do with this film is to fast forward to the part when they… (who? I don’t really know or care) get to the town of Silent Hill.  Then, turn the sound off. I’ve heard if you start Metallica – Master of Puppets at the exact spot when you see the sign “Welcome to Silent Hill” everything lines up like a soundtrack. Blackened – The Thing that Should not Be – Welcome home/Sanitarium- Leper Messiah, great soundtrack!

Sinister Movie Poster 2012Sinister (2012)
It’s amazing that I only watched this a few weeks ago and can not remember it all that well. It has some decent jump scares and a few moderately creepy scenes. Most people complain that too many of the scenes were filmed in near darkness. The scene with the family getting hung from the tree is really twisted. There are a few other wicked murder scenes in the film. This is another movie that I wouldn’t expend too much energy to see – even with its heavy story. I usually like most films with Ethan Hawke. If it was on TV, I would watch it again, if it were the only horror flick to watch.

Dark_houseDark House (2009)
A amusement park entertainment owner turns a home into a haunted-house, horror attraction, hoping it will become the scariest HH in the business. Years ago, a family of foster children were killed by their religious-zealot, foster mother in the home. The house was suitably creepy and looked a lot like Wolf’s Manor in CA. The owner/promoter is played ostentatiously by Jeffrey Combs. The whole film has that over-the-top, 1980’s vibe to it. The colorful make-up and FX creations would make a good haunted house attraction. But this was a movie, not a haunted house attraction, and it just gave me the feeling like, been there, done that. If you are nostalgic for 80’s horror, perhaps you’ll like this.

haunting in CT GeorgiaHaunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)
Yeah, uh. Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers they’re not in CT anymore. Why not call it, Haunting in Georgia? It doesn’t make any sense. Well, despite some great imagery, there isn’t a good scare in the whole flick, but the story is decent enough and the acting is not bad. It reminds me of a ghost story that would be aired on the Hallmark Channel. I wouldn’t make any effort to watch it, however, if it is airing on a Sunday afternoon and you have nothing else to do – it’s a light and fluffy story to watch.