Sunday, June 24, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (2012) Review




In the opening scene of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter we see a very young Abe Lincoln rush to the defence of his good friend, Willy,  who is being beaten by a Slave Trader named Barts.  Abe's Father, who works for Barts, ends up joining in the fight.  Barts is extremely angry that his employee stood up to him and demands full payment of a debt owed to him.  Abe's Father refuses to pay, so Barts tells him there is more than one way to collect a debt.  It turns out Barts is a Vampire and sneaks into Abe's house that night and kills his mother with a single bite.

Nine years later, Abe  swears revenge on Barts and tries to kill him with a bullet through the eye.   Barts, being a ruthless vampire, survives and completely over powers Abe and very nearly kills him.  At the last moment, Henry steps in and saves Abe and explains everything about the Vampires.   Henry asks Abe to join his cause to rid the world of Vampires.  Henry then trains Abe to be a Vampire Hunter.  Abe's weapon of choice is a silver plated Axe, that he wields like a sword.   Abe can chop through a tree with a single blow from his Axe.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is adapted from Seth Grahame-Smith's popular History/Horror mash-up novel of the same name.   In the original novel,  The story is told through the long lost journal of Abe Lincoln.  It mixes real factual American History of the late President with supernatural Vampire fiction, an interesting combination to say the least.   If you can manage to suspend your disbelief at the absurd storyline, Abe Lincoln has plenty for a genre fan to enjoy.  I was expecting a light hearted movie, but actually the story is told very straight forward and serious.  In fact I don't remember a single joke being uttered, even though the story line was a perfect set up for one- liners.

Despite all  it's short comings, Abe Lincoln was really campy and fun to watch.  The action scenes are completely over the top but well done, especially the Train scene.  Lincoln comes across as an axe wielding Van Helsing character instead of the real  "Honest Abe"  from the History books.   The 3D seemed to add to the big action scenes but I don't think the film really needed it.  The CGI enhanced Vampires looked good, but I would have preferred old school fangs instead.  The over the top effects on the Vampires seemed out of place in a historical drama, but maybe that's just me.

If you are looking for a Grindhouse style movie like Hobo With A Shotgun, you won't find it here.  Abe Lincoln seemed more like a mash up between Wild, Wild West and The Matrix and came across as a "Steam Punk" movie.  There were plenty of slow motion action scenes and blood spurting from axe wounds.  Also there is a very cool action scene with Abe riding on the backs of wild horses while dodging horses being thrown at him by the Villain.  If anything Abe Lincoln is a completely original idea and not your typical Vampire story and for that I am very grateful.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Monster Mary's Top Ten WTF??!! Moments in Horror Movies



Have you ever been watching a movie,  everything seems normal and then all of sudden something completely outrageous happens?  All you can do is sit there thinking WTF!! What just happened?  Did they really go there?  Sometimes it's a twist at the end of the movie, sometimes a character dies that you weren't expecting, and sometimes the scene is just so strange that you sit there glued to the TV with your mouth hanging open.  Here are my  Top Ten WTF!!! Moments in Horror.

I feel I need to give a spoiler alert on some of these movies because there is no way to make this list without giving away a few story lines!  So you have been warned!  If you don't mind spoilers...read on!

10- The Orphanage (2007)
A woman goes back to her childhood home that was in an Orphanage.  She intends to buy the Orphanage and fix it up to take care of orphaned children again.  She is a lovely woman and obviously cares a lot for her own son and the orphans she takes care of.  Her son goes missing and she is extremely distraught over it.  There is also a Ghost of a small child in a mask  that keeps following her around the Orphanage.  The huge twist is at the end, and I won't give it away here so you will have to watch it for yourself!  This movie is heart breaking and moved me to tears (and that doesn't happen often in a Horror movie.



9- Saw (2004)
In Saw, two men are chained to opposite walls in a bathroom.  In the middle of the room is a corpse with a gun and a mini tape player.  They also find a bag with two hacksaws in it. The two men  soon realize the hacksaws were meant for their feet not the chains and that Jigsaw set everything up.   I think everyone who has seen Saw remembers the WTF moment when John, Jigsaw, gets up and walks out of the room.  I remember yelling at the screen "What?...What just happened?"



8- Inside (2007)
Inside has a lot of shocking surprises through out the whole Film.  I think I was saying WTF?  through the whole Movie.  Just when you hope that there might be a way for the girl to survive, something terrible happens.  The end is pretty brutal with lots of blood and a very sad turn of events.



7- The Wicker Man (1973)
A police  officer travels to a remote island looking for a lost little girl.  He is very conservative and is appalled at the local customs of the Pagans living on the island.  The first time I saw the original Wicker man, I thought it was pretty shocking.  It mostly has to do with all the Pagans singing and dancing joyfully while the Wicker man burns alive.



6- The Mist (2007)
The Mist is based on a Stephen King novel.  The military accidentally open up a portal to another dimension.  Some big bad Beasties make their way into our world through the portal and a group of people end up hiding in a grocery store waiting for help to arrive.  The ending is quite shocking and really sad.  Frankly, it left me a little depressed and also thinking WTF?



5- Sixth Sense (1999)
A young boy sees ghosts all around him.  Ghosts follow him down the street, he sees them hanging in his school, and they even follow him home at night.  He is terrified and wishes they would just leave him alone.  A Child Psychologist, Bruce Willis, tries to help him get over his fear and tell his Mother about what is really bothering him.  If you don't already know the twist to this movie, then you must have been living under a rock for the last ten years or so.  It was quite a surprise the first time I saw it and had me thinking WTF?  It's one of those Movies that is fun to watch again after you know the twist so you can pick out the clues you might have missed the first time.



4- Deadgirl (2008)
Two teenage boys find a dead girl (a Zombie) chained to a table in an abandoned building.  It's what the boys decide to do with the Zombie girl that is really shocking and leave you thinking WTF?   Who would do that?



3- Psycho (1960)
Psycho is one of the first Horror Movies I saw when I was younger.  It has some nice twists in it including killing off the big star in a very famous shower scene.  But then there is also the final reveal of who has really been doing all the killing.  What a great twist ending!  And one that will always have new fans saying WTF?



2- Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Sleepaway Camp is a typical 80s slasher with lots of gory kills and probably would have been easily forgotten except for one thing...that ending!  Talk about your shock endings!  This Movie tops them all in that department.  I had no idea that was coming.  This is another Movie where I was yelling at the screen  "what?  Angela is a what?"



1- Zombi 2 (1979)
Zombi 2 was the unofficial Italian sequel to Dawn of the Dead.  It was directed by Lucio Fulci and has some great gory scenes in it including a particularly gruesome eye puncture.  But it also has one of the greatest WTF? moments in Horror history.   The scene I am talking about is the underwater fight scene between a Zombie and a Shark.  Yes, you read that right...A Zombie and a Shark! WTF??!!!





Hammer Horror Series- The Horror of Dracula (1958)





There is nothing I like better than to sit down with a nice cup of tea and a Gothic Hammer Horror Film. Hammer movies never seem to disappoint me. They are well written, beautifully shot, and most importantly well acted! They also have a very distinctive style to them including heavy dialogue, a slower pace, lavish Gothic sets, and beautiful Costumes. Hammer Film Studios have been making a comeback recently with some new movies such as Let Me InThe Resident, and The Woman in Black. I would like to start a new series on the classic Hammer movies, by reviewing a different one each week or so. I am going to start this series off with a bang by reviewing one of my all time favourite films by them...The Horror of Dracula.



The film opens with Jonathan Harker arriving at Dracula's Castle and pretending to be a librarian.  We soon find out that Harker is actually there to kill Dracula.  Harker ends up being  seduced by a female Vampire that is pleading for his help. She bites Harker on the neck, but Dracula arrives just in time to stop her from killing Harker. Harker awakes the next morning, realizes he has been bit and makes his way to the catacombs under the Castle. He finds Dracula and his Bride asleep in their coffins and stakes the woman. Dracula wakes up and attacks Harker.



Dr. Van Helsing arrives at Dracula's Castle the next morning a little too late because  Harker has been turned into a Vampire already. Van Helsing stakes Harker and then travels back home to tell Lucy and Mina in person that Harker is dead. When he arrives, Lucy is already gravely ill. And as soon as night falls, Lucy opens her window and bares her neck anxiously awaiting another bite from Dracula. Despite all of Van Helsing's help, Lucy dies and turns into a Vamp. Vampire Lucy is then caught trying to lure small children into her crypt, so Van Helsing promptly stakes her as well. Van Helsing then turns his attention towards trying to find Dracula's coffin so he can stake the Count himself.



Hammer intended to do a remake of the Universal version of Dracula from 1931, but Universal was watching closely and waiting with a lawsuit, so they had to strike a deal with Universal in order to loosely base their film on Bram Stoker's Dracula. There are a few significant changes from the original story but they were necessary for Hammer to make the story their own. Hammer also had to change the original title Dracula to Horror of Dracula in order to avoid any confusion with the original Universal Film starring Bela Lugosi which was still playing at some theatres at the time. Horror of Dracula stars Christopher Lee as Dracula, Peter Cushing as Van Helsing, Michael Gough as Arthur, and was directed by Terrance Fisher. The film was shot in Technicolor which caused quite an uproar with the censors at the time because of the excessive amount of blood used. One Critic was quoted as saying "I came away revolted and outraged. This film disgusts the mind and repels the senses." That statement seems a little silly now a days doesn't it? Dracula was the second Horror film released by Hammer in 1958 after the hugely successful The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957. There were eventually eight sequels to Horror of Dracula, including Brides of Dracula, Prince of Darkness, and The Satanic Rites of Dracula.

I know that it might shock the Bela Lugosi fans but Christopher Lee is my favourite actor to play Dracula! He just seems so imposing the way he speaks, the confident way he walks, and I love the way his cape billows around him. He plays a very proper Vampire but also a sexy one. He is the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome after all. Christopher lee had to wear special contact lenses for some of the scenes in Horror of Dracula and he has stated that not only were they extremely painful but he was quite blind while filming those scenes.  During one scene he was supposed to run to a Vampire and stop, but he ended up running past the camera and had to do it over again.

Originally during the death scene at the end, Dracula peels away his decaying skin to reveal raw skin underneath. This scene was deemed too shocking at the time and was cut out by the censors. The additional death footage was thought to be lost until an uncut version turned up recently in Japan. Hammer Film Studios vowed to restore Dracula to it's full original length by restoring the lost scenes and releasing the film in Blu-Ray format. The lost Japanese footage includes an extended and very gruesome death scene for Dracula as well as another scene that was considered too erotic for the censors at the time.  There is no word yet when the restored version will be released in the US and Canada on Blu-Ray.  But, you can be sure I will be first one in line to buy it!







Thursday, June 14, 2012

Monster Mary's Top Ten Horrible Fathers



Horror Movies are full of Evil Fathers who love to teach their young children their evil ways or maybe they just want to kill their own offspring in some twisted horrible way.   What better way to spend this Father's Day then with an Evil dad?  You know the type...keeps an axe close by, buries his children in old cemeteries, or even keeps a leather suit around just in case he needs to shoot a few kids in the wall.   So here is my list of some of the most vile and evil Fathers around....  Happy Father's Day!

10- Creepshow (1982)
The first segment in the anthology Creepshow is written by Stephen King and called "Father"s Day".   A woman who is taking care of her abusive elderly father, kills him in a fit of rage while shouting "Happy father's Day!".   However Dad, still wants his cake years later and might just come back from the grave for it.



9- Amityville Horror (1979)
James Brolin and Margot Kidder move into what they think is their dream home, but the house has other plans for the young family and they barely escape with their lives.  So if you find a house that seems to good to be true , be sure to check out the history first or dad just might go Psycho!



8- Pet Sematary (1989)
What lengths would a Father go to if he lost his young son in a tragic accident?  What if there were ancient burial grounds nearby that could bring him back to life?  What Father wouldn't at least try to help his son?   But at what cost?  What will the toddler come back as?  All I know is when Stephen King is writing the story, it's guaranteed not to end well!   Also check out Pet Sematary 2 for a very evil Zombie  stepfather.



7- Eyes Without A Face (1960)
A young girl that was horribly disfigured in a car accident, is forced to wear a mask at all times.  Her Father, an Evil Doctor, is trying to fix her face.   The Doctor and his assistant kidnap young girls and surgically remove their faces in hopes that he can graft a new face on to his daughter.  His daughter is not very happy about the situation and takes matters into her own hands.



6- The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Robert Mitchum stars as an evil minister and grifter that will stop at nothing to find the money that was stolen by his cellmate.  He figures out where the man's family lives and romances the woman into marrying him so that he can be closer to the family and steal the money.  The children know where the money is hidden but they aren't telling anyone!



5- The People Under the Stairs (1991)
Daddy and Mommy live in a very large mansion while their tenants live in slums.  After Daddy and Mommy try to evict families from their slum buildings, some of the tenants try to break into the mansion to steal gold hidden in the walls.  What the thieves end up finding instead, is pretty terrifying.



4- The Woman (2011)
Chris seems like the perfect father and business man to the outside world, but his family know all his terrible secrets.  He finds and terrorizes a wild woman by locking her up in the shed.  He then teaches his son all his evil ways , by encouraging him to follow in his foot steps.



3- The Stepfather (1987)
Terry O'Quinn (John Locke from Lost)  is deliciously evil as The Stepfather.  He marries a widower but her daughter (Jill Schoelen from Popcorn and Cutting Class) is very suspicious of her new Dad.  She looks into his past and finds some very suspicious details.  The sequels are worth checking out also.



2-The Shining (1980)
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  It also seems to make him chase after his family with an axe!  Jack Nicholson goes Psycho after arriving at the Overlook Hotel to be the caretaker for the off season.  He becomes possessed by the Hotel and terrorizes his wife and young son.



1- Frailty (2001)
Frailty is one of my favourite psychological thrillers starring Bill Paxton and Matthew MacConaughey.   The Father claims to see Demons whenever he touches an evil person and is convinced that he is ridding the world of evil.  He then has his young sons help him kill and dismember the victims.



Monday, June 11, 2012

My Personal History of Horror...From VHS to Blu-Ray and back to VHSagain!




Why am I such a Horror Geek? That's a really good question and one I can't answer easily. Honestly, I think I would have to put myself through psychoanalysis to figure out the answer. The Horror genre in general definitely has some very dedicated fans!



I can however tell my own personal tale of Horror. When I was very young, I had a small black and white TV in my room. I was the only one of my friends, who had this luxury. I used to scour through the TV guide section of the Sunday newspaper and circle any movies or TV shows that I wanted to watch the following week. This is where my love of Hammer Horror and the classic Universal films developed. I can clearly remember watching Frankenstein all those years ago on that little TV in my room. Every weekend on Channel 13, there were several movies for me to watch...  Creature From the Black Lagoon, Dracula, and The Mummy just to name a few.


Lucky for me my Dad also loved going to the movies and usually took me to the dollar theatre downtown or the theatre on the nearby Military Base. He loved a good scary movie, so I probably saw a lot of movies that I was way too young to watch! The one I remember vividly was The Exorcist. It scared the crap out of me, but I loved every minute of it.





When I got a little older my friends and I would watch the 70s and 80s slashers on late night TV, usually during a sleep over on Saturday nights. These always involved us screaming our heads off and sleepless nights.John Carpenter's Halloween and Friday the 13th were some of my favourites. Then along came Cable TV with Showtime and HBO. My weekends were sometimes planned around what movie was playing late nights on Showtime. I am pretty sure I was introduced to the classics like Rosemary's Baby, The Omen, Dawn of the Dead, and The Shining by Showtime on cable TV. Of course all that has changed for my son's generation. He can watch whatever he wants at any time he wants. No more waiting until midnight for the late show. He can just pop in a DVD or switch on Netflix.



About the same time as Cable started the local VHS Movie Rental place opened up. The Horror section of the rental store was right next to the Action section, so
we often rented a Horror and an Action movie for the weekend. Suddenly picking a movie wasn't so much about the story line or subject matter, but more about picking a VHS title that had a great cover. I would always read the back of the case and scrutinize the small pictures (if there were any). I think this is where I learned to appreciate a good cheesy movie. I also remember renting some really weird stuff too...I think Faces of Death and Cannibal Holocaust almost turned me off Horror forever!  But then I discovered my personal favourites was drawn back in.




Next up, came the DVDs....I had a few VHS I had collected, but I really didn't start to buy movies until DVDs came along. I could normally buy a used copy of a movie pretty cheap after it was too old for the New Release shelf. In fact most of the time, Horror wasn't even all that popular and I was able to buy loads of DVDs really cheap. This is when my Horror collection really started to grow and take over my family room. I have over 1000 Horror DVD titles now, but I bought most of them a long time ago when they were still relatively inexpensive. Now all those rental places are long gone and most people have no where to rent a movie anymore. It is really sad actually that the LVS has gone the way of the dinosaur.




Now everyone seems to watch movies on the Internet...You can use services like Netflix, HBO Go, VOD, or you can even find a lot of great classic films on You Tube. I still prefer buying the DVD or VHS though. I love to look at the artwork and watch all the special features that come along with a DVD. I think I need a bigger house soon for my collection!




A few years ago, I found a really fun little video store in the next city over from mine. A privately owned Video Store, The Vault, that rents and sells exclusively Horror films. When I went into The Vault for the first time, it was like stepping back in time to the 80s again. The store has rows and rows of VHS for rent or for sale. So many movies, that I will never run out of a good selection to choose from. So here I am buying VHS again! It really is comical to think I have come full circle. The Owner is very friendly and knowledgeable about the Genre. I have learned quite a bit from him and he always shows me something I have never even heard of every time I go in.  So now I am discovering all those great movies that I somehow missed years ago.  All I can say is thanks to The Vault for saving the day with his Little Shop of Horrors!



Now I write, tweet, and blog about my love of Horror movies.  I sometimes wish my Father was still around so we could go to the theatre like we used to.  If only he knew what he started way back when!  Instead, I am passing my passion and my torch on to my son.  He has become quite the Horror Geek himself.  He loves to suggest movies to his friends and they raid my movie shelves on a regular basis.  They are always looking for something to top the last movie they watched.


As for what will happen to the future of Horror? I don't know for sure but I am optimistic that eventually we will have great DVD or Bluray stores again or maybe better online services that have a better selection than what is offered now. One thing I know for sure, is that I will always find new ways of watching my favourite genre!  So what is your history of Horror?  How do you find your movie fix?





Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prometheus (2012) Review



Prometheus is the long awaited prequel to Alien directed by Ridley Scott.  The same Ridley Scott that brought us Legend, Alien, and Blade Runner.  Like many fans, I have been eagerly waiting for this film.  We were all hoping that many of the unanswered questions of the previous Alien series would be explained.  Who are the Space Jockeys?  Where did they come from?  Why were they on that planet? Where did the Xenamorphs come from?  All we could hope for is that some of these questions were answered in the new Prequel Prometheus.

Two Archaeologists,  Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway , working in Scotland find primitive cave drawings of Alien beings while on an expedition.  They believe they have found proof that there is a higher intelligence of beings that visited Earth long ago and left maps for Humans to find their Universe.  The scientists go to Peter Weyland, of the Weyland Corporation, to get funding for an expedition to the star system outlined by the ancient cave drawings and carvings.  They believe the Alien visitors were Mankind's maker and that we are somehow related to them, so they intend to go on a search for the meaning of life.


Prometheus, the Starship, is built to carry a small crew to the distant star system.  David, an android, watches over the crew on their long journey.  David is a very unusual Android, he enjoys playing Basketball, riding his bike, and learning new languages.  David in fact really steals the show, with an excellent performance by Michael Fassbender.  When asked why he wears a space suit, he informs a crew member that androids were designed to be indistinguishable from Humans so he must blend in.  David very much reminds me of another famous computer, Hal in 2001, A Space Odyssey.  He is extremely knowledgeable but devoid of all Human emotion.  When the ship finally reaches it's destination, David awakens the crew.  They don their spacesuits and set out to find proof of the Alien's existence.


Unfortunately, we don't have Sigourney Weaver to pick up a blowtorch, but we do have a very good substitute in Elizabeth Shaw, played by Noomi Rapace, who is best known as the first and still best Lizbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy of films.  Charlize Theron plays Vickers, a character very similar to Burke in Aliens.  She manages to annoy everyone on board very quickly.   The biggest surprise is Weyland, who is played by a very unrecognizable Guy Pearce.  I am still asking why he was cast to play an elderly man?  Perhaps, we will find out later on in the series.


There are a few gory and terrifying scenes to satisfy the Horror Geeks, but most of the film is character building and suspense. Meaning, that if you were hoping for a new version of Aliens, you are not going to find it in Prometheus.  The cinematography is stunningly beautiful though, we are treated to long sweeping shots of the planet and the interiors of the Space ships.  But really, what else would we expect from Ridley Scott?


Prometheus isn't just a simple Prequel, instead it is a definitely a set up for a new Trilogy in the Alien series.  The film doesn't tie up all the loose story lines with a neat little bow the way The Thing (2011) did.  Oh no!  In fact it raises more questions than it seemed to answer.  Hopefully there will be sequel to Prometheus to explain everything we wanted to know.  The film is hardly perfect, but it is still a very good SciFi Thriller and an excellent addition to the Alien series.



3/5 Skulls



Monday, June 4, 2012

Monster Mary's Top Ten Contemporary Gothic Films



I Love a good Gothic Movie, but most of them were filmed in the 30s to the 70s.   So I started to wonder are there any good "Modern" Gothic Horror movies? After searching my Dvd collection and looking around on the internet, I have come up with an interesting list...It seems there is a trend of new Gothic movies coming soon. But, for now I will have to include the 90s as part of my list, because they really are some fantastic films from that decade.
The most interesting thing about some of these movies is that my Non-Horror friends have seen most of them, which makes me think they have a bigger audience than most Horror films do. I remember talking to a friend about movies recently, She said that she had never seen any Horror movies because they would give her nightmares.

I thought ok, we'll talk about other genres then. It soon came out that she loved Bram Stoker's Dracula, Interview with a Vampire, and the new Fright Night. I said really?...well then you have seen at least three Horror movies. Interestingly, she had never thought of them that way. I don't think I convinced her to watch anything scarier right then, but maybe she will warm up to them in the future? There is just something about a period film that Women love... Maybe it's the costumes and sets but I think truly it is the Romanticism. We all adore a good love story, even if it is about an evil blood sucking Vampire! And no I don't mean Vampires that sparkle... just good old fashioned Bloodsuckers!
So here is my Top Ten list of Contemporary Gothic Movies...


1-Bram Stokers Dracula (1992)

Francis Ford Coppola's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of my favorite films. Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to conduct a business transaction with Count Dracula. The Count sees a picture of Harker's fiance, Mina, and believes she is the reincarnation of his true love. Dracula travels from Transylvania aboard a ship to London to find Mina. When he arrives, he seduces and bites Lucy, Mina's friend. Lucy starts to fall ill and her fiance summons Dr. Van Helsing to help. Van Helsing easily figures out that Lucy has been bitten by a Vampire, and they try to prevent her from being attacked again.
Bram Stoker's Dracula is a beautifully romantic Vampire movie. Winona is lovely in her gothic dresses and the sets are amazing. Gary Oldman plays Dracula very dramatically and effectively. This version is not very scary, but I love it for the visual feast that it is.


2-Interview with the Vampire (1994)

The Vampire Lestat seduces Louis, a young plantation owner, into becoming a Vampire. They are forced to flee the plantation when the slaves become aware of what Monsters they are. Louis and Lestat flee to New Orleans where they find and turn a young girl named Claudia into a Vampire. Louis is tortured by his guilt of killing people for blood.
Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are undeniably sexy as Vampires, but the real star of the movie was Kirsten Dunst as little Claudia. This is one of those movies I enjoy watching over and over again. Even though Interview With A Vampire isn't very scary or gory, it is very entertaining none the less.


3-Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Ichabod Crane travels to the small Hamlet of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders. The villagers seem to be turning up headless all over the place. Ichabod arrives with his bag of strange instruments and goes to work at solving the murders. He seems to be a little squeamish for a Coroner though. The townspeople tell him there is a Demon hunting them but he doesn't believe them until he sees the Headless Horseman for himself.
Sleepy Hollow is directed by Tim Burton and is wonderfully Gothic. He has his usual line up of quirky characters for the villagers from Sleepy Hollow.
Johnny Depp is charming as Ichabod Crane and Christopher Walken is really frightening as the Headless Horseman. I always enjoy the sets on Burton's movies, because he uses a lot of detail to set up the atmosphere. Even the carved pumpkins have his trademark look to them.


4-Corpse Bride (2005)

The Corpse Bride is an animated movie by Tim Burton. Victor and Victoria are arranged to be married by their parents. The two meet for the first time the day before the wedding. The wedding rehearsal goes badly for Victor and he decides to take a walk through the woods in order to practice his vows. He accidently slips a ring on to the corpse of a bride, thinking her finger was a twig. Victor is immediately whisked away to the land of the dead and he must figure out a way to get back to the living.
The magical and macabre worlds that Tim burton comes up with are best done in this stop motion type of animation. The story is wonderful and imaginative with a mystery to solve. The characters are loveable and memorable played by Johnny Depp, Emily Watson, and Helena Bonham Carter.


5-The Woman in Black (2012)

Hammer Films returns to Gothic Horror movies after 30 years with the Woman in Black. Daniel Radcliffe plays a Lawyer, Arthur Kipp, that goes to settle an estate after the death of a Woman. She lived on a remote Island that has only one road leading to it. The road only appears when the tide is out, so it is easy to get stranded on the Island. Arthur decides it is best to spend the night on the island in order to finish his work quickly. The House is haunted and Arthur starts seeing strange things almost immediately.
The Woman in Black has that Gothic Hammer feel to it that fans of the classics will love. It delivers lots of thrills and scares with loads of atmosphere. This movie is in no way a remake of the 1988 TV movie, but instead another version of the same story. The film is dark and scary and reminded me most of one of my favorite Ghost stories…The Changeling. The set design really stands out in this film, as the house is really eerie with lots of cobwebs and creepy old toys.


6-From Hell (2001)

From Hell is set in the Whitechapel area of London during the Jack the Ripper murders. Prostitutes are being killed brutally on the streets of London. Their throats are being slit and then they are disemboweled. Quite often some body parts are missing as well. The murders are extremely savage but precise, leading Detectives to think the Prostitutes are being murdered by a Surgeon.
Johnny Depp stars as a Police Inspector who starts to uncover a larger conspiracy surrounding the murders. He starts to fall in love with a prostitute named Mary Kelly and tries to rescue her from the Ripper. There is also a 1988 TV version of this movie starring Michael Caine, which it is definitely woth checking out as well.


7-Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)

The Province of Gevaudan in rural France is being terrorized by a mysterious Beast. The local peasants are being attacked by the Beast. A knight, Fronsac, and his companion, Mani arrive to try and capture the beast. Mani is a priest from the Iroquois tribe and uses his knowledge to help capture it. The movie is based on the true story of the Beast of Gevaudan that reputedly killed many people in 18th century France.
Brotherhood of the Wolf has beautiful scenery and sets. For a period film, there are lots of martial arts fights to be enjoyed. Beautiful period costumes and a little bit of romance too.


8-Sweeney Todd (2007)

Sweeney Todd is set in turn of the century England. A barber, who lost his wife and child, returns to London to seek revenge on the man that took them away. The Barber teams up with a woman who owns a shop that sells meat pies. She comes up with a plan to use corpses for the meat in her pies, and asks the barber to supply them for her.
A Musical Horror Movie...now that is unusual. Don't be fooled by the nice musical medleys, at it's core Sweeney Todd is about a Serial Killer who uses the corpses for Cannibalistic purposes. The movie has a nice mix of humor and the macabre.


9-Wolfman (2010)

Universal studios tries to bring back one the classic monsters...The Wolfman. Benicio Del Toro plays the tortured man, Lawrence, who is bitten and cursed by the Werewolf when he returns home for his brother's funeral. A police Inspector arrives to investigate the recent murders in Blackmoor and suspects Lawrence is to blame for them.
The set design and costumes are really well done. This newest Wolfman is a decent remake and is entertaining but it certainly is not the best version of The Wolfman I've seen. I would recommend the 1961 Curse of the Werewolf instead.


10-Dario Argento's Phantom of the Opera (1998)

The Phantom was abandoned as a child and put into a basket to float into an underground river. The Phantom ends up being raised by Rats instead of Humans and likes to hang out in the Catacombs under the Opera. He hears Christine sing and falls madly in love with her. He will do anything to get close to her including Murder!
Not quite Argento's best work but it has some beautiful scenery in it. The Phantom, played by Julian Sands, doesn't wear the trademark mask. I think it might have been better if Argento had stuck to the usual Phantom that is disfigured. Dario Argento's beautiful daughter, Asia, plays Christine.



So there you have it,  a list of my favourite Contemporary Gothic films or otherwise known as a list of movies that women will love!


Monster Mary's Top Ten Horror Spoofs and Satires



When I went to see Cabin in the Woods recently, I loved the parts of the movie that made fun of the cliches of Horror films. I started to think of all the other great Satires or Spoofs on Horror, and wanted to watch a few again. There have been some really good ones and some really, really bad ones. The Horror genre is perfect for spoofing, considering that most of our favorite movies are pretty cheesy to begin with. I love a good comedy, so if I can watch a good Comedy and a Horror at the same time, it makes for a really fun movie. Now, I made this list up containing only Spoofs, Parodies, or Satires of Horror movies. So... you won't find any just straight horror comedies or zombie comedies like Shawn of the Dead on the list, the films had to be making fun of the genre itself.

10- Carry On Screaming (1966)

Carry On is a series of low budget British comedies made from 1958- 1992. Carry on Screaming was one of the best in the series. Mostly a parody of the Hammer Horror films, Carry on Screaming also spoofs some of the Universal and other well known Horror films of the 50s and 60s like House of Wax.


9- Saturday the 14th (1981)

Saturday the 14th is a little bit cheesy, but a whole lot of fun. A Family inherits an old abandoned house that contains the lost book of Evil. When they read a few pages of the book, they accidentally unleash some evil and cheesy monsters.


8- Scary Movie Series 1-4 (2000-06)

Some really funny spoofs on Horror movies mostly from the 90s and 2000s. The Wayans brothers wrote and directed the first two films. The first movie is the best of the series followed by number three. The two main recurring actors of the series are Anna Faris and Regina Hall as Cindy Campbell and Brenda Meeks.


7- Cabin in the Woods (2012)

More of a satire than a spoof, but it still pokes fun at all the cliches of the Horror genre that we love so well. Cabin even tries to offer up a reason why all those cliches exist in the first place. There hasn't been a movie that is so self aware of being a Horror film since Scream. Cabin is a really funny and bloody horror movie, most genre fans love this one so don't miss it while it's in the Theatre.


6-The Fearless Vampire Killers(1967)

The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck is a spoof on Hammer Horror Vampire films . The sets and costumes look like an authentic Hammer movie but the Vampires aren't so serious or scary. The lovely Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski star in it. Polanski directed Fearless Vampire Killers the year before filming Rosemary's Baby.


5- Dracula Dead & Loving It (1995)

Dracula Dead and Loving It is directed by funnyman Mel Brooks. Again, this movie was spoofing Hammer Horror Vampire movies, but also Bram Stoker's Dracula from 1992. after Young Frankenstein, this the funniest movie in this list, but Leslie Neilson is always funny. Renfield is hilarious eating all the bugs he can get his hands on.


4-Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010)

Tucker and Dale are two clueless rednecks that go up to their cottage for the first time to do some repair work. Unfortunately some College students mistake them for psychos. What follows is a hilarious spoof on 70s and 80s slashers. Bloody and Gory deaths are plenty, but so are the laughs.


3-Scream (1996)

Scream was one of the first movies where the characters were aware of Horror Movie cliches. The characters list off all the rules of how to survive a Horror movie and there were lots of references to fan favorites, but still there is a nice twist at the end of the film. Scream started the hugely popular trend of PG-13 Horror movies during the 90s.


2-Student Bodies (1981)

Student Bodies was the first movie to spoof the slasher movies popular during the 70s and 80s. It parodies movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Prom Night, and Maniac. There are lots of POV shots as the heavy breathing killer slashes through all the teenagers. The onscreen body count is my favorite part of the movie.


1-Young Frankenstein (1974)

Young "Fronk-on-stein" is my favorite of all the spoofs. It parodies the original 1931 Universal Frankenstein, and has an all star cast including Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, and Teri Garr. It is directed by Mel Brooks and is a perfect comedy from start to finish.