2017’s been a real groovy year for The King, hasn’t it?
Mr. Mercedes, The Dark Tower, Gerald’s Game, and IT… no matter where you go, King’s creepin’ up with ya! And with the gargantuan success of IT and the announcement of Suffer the Little Children, it seems like the King renaissance is going to keep on floatin’! In ho-nor of the man who was Richard Bachman, we’ve gathered up some of the most frightful ‘n’ delighful trailers for some of our favorite King scarefests! Telekinetic creeps, ghosts, things from the grave, killer cars, werewolves, and the Devil himself… these trailers prove that King knows how to show a ghoul a good time! 🙂 Let the trailers begin!!!!!!
(Submitted by Mr. Anton Phibes…Thanks for the insight, freaky friend! 🙂 xoxo)
(Spoilers, obvi. :))
I just love a good amusement park spook ho-use. If you frequent this site, you likely share that sentiment (and also, THANK YOU, YOU ROCK! 😉 -DP). Spook houses are always immensely popular during the Halloween season, and a good few scare up some good business year-round. They have haunted us since at least 1915, utilizing the same reliable scare tactics for decades. You know the ones I mean… flashing colored lights, hanging sand bags masquerading as the dead, and actors in fright masks jumping from out of a dark corner to deliver a well-timed “BOO”. Most of these attractions employ these ancient tricks, but some do It with more imagination and skill than others. Haunting a house is art like any other. The same applies to cinematic hauntings. 2014’s Annabelle is pretty mediocre fright fare. By no means is the film terrible, but it’s out of the mind as soon as you’re out of the theater. All of the classical tools of terror are present, but they aren’t harnessed to their full potential. However, Annabelle: Creation is a fantastic spook house, with similar jolts handled with greater style and a keen eye for horror. There’s hardly anything new about it, but it is perfectly frightful. As one can deduce from its title, Annabelle: Creation is an origin story of sorts. After the untimely death of their little girl, a toy maker and his wife allow an unknown entity to transpose its essence into one of the toy maker’s dolls, believing it to be the spirit of their daughter. Unfortunately, the entity is not their daughter and is demonic in nature. Twelve years after entrapping the unholy abomination, the couple provide shelter in their home for a nun and six young girls. When one of the girls unwittingly releases the demon, unearthly horrors target the inhabitants of the house in a most ghastly fashion.
Backstories for monsters and madmen can be a tricky business. Horrific beasts run the risk of losing their ability to inspire fear when they are known to us. Thankfully, this film avoids that by keeping the demon vague and the threat credible. While there aren’t buckets of blood being dumped about, grisly imagery is still abound. My personal favorite bit of macabre madness involves scarecrow that truly understands the first 5 letters of his title. Of course, Mr. Scarecrow is just one of many eldritch monstrosities that lurk in the shadows of this picture. There’s a horror for all tastes here.
The cast is all-around excellent, but the true stars are young actresses Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman. Wilson and Bateman play sisters and they work off of each other in extraordinary fashion. Their performances are a huge part of why this film works so well. Having appeared in this, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Deliver Us from Evil, I’m willing to call 11-year-old Lulu Wilson the world’s youngest Scream Queen. As for Bateman, her performance is truly haunting and to say anymore would ruin the fun. Annabelle: Creation is an old-fashioned yelp-yarn that proves that the old tricks still have power in the right claws. It is the rare sequel that surpasses the original so completely that one almost forgets that it is a sequel. For lovers of spooks and shock, this film is a beautiful nightmare. This is how you haunt a house.
(Submitted by our goo-d, goo-ny friend, Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Ho-rror Ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)
Okay, so Poltergeist II: The Other Side was a total critical disappointment, but hey it made a little over twice its budget back, so clearly that means it’s a success and horror fans want more. Well, that’s how studios see it and they will turn a single film into a franchise and run it into the ground faster than a Peregrine Falcon which can plummet up to speeds over 240 mph (yeah, I looked that one up… you impressed?). But, you know, it’s important to squeeze every bit of money out of them and that’s what Poltergeist II felt like to me. I mean, you had a director that didn’t care about making a horror film who was making a horror film – explain that logic to me – and a studio interfering and making cuts, resulting in a messy end product. Well, what do they say? Third time’s a charm? Yeah, we’ll see.
Poltergeist III, no subtitle this time, was released two years after the second film in 1988 and this time the only returning cast members would be Heather O’Rourke and Zelda Rubinstein. Being the case, the setting is moved from suburban California (and later Arizona) to a Chicago high rise building, which I have to admit that I really like that idea. After all, an isolated setting, the idea of no escape, the thought that there is someone else on the other side of the wall and they don’t know or don’t care if you’re in danger. Frightening. Another great idea was casting Nancy Allen and Tom Skerritt in the leads as Pat and Bruce Gardner, Carol Anne’s (Heather O’Rourke) aunt and uncle. The film also introduces to another new talent, Laura Flynn Boyle who plays Carol Anne’s kinda-sorta-not-really cousin, Donna. Funny, should would later go on to play Donna in Twin Peaks. Coincidence? Yes, absolutely, but still a bit fun of trivia.
Another great idea the film has is getting a director behind it who actually gave a damn and not only that, had a really cool visual element he wanted and even had a hand in it! Gary Sherman wisely used the mirrors in a very cool way, as they play a major part in the film. Not only do they give the setting a streamlined, kind of look, it also adds a very mysterious and extremely scary element to the film. While watching, you’ll notice objects either move or don’t move in the mirror when they do or don’t on the other side of the mirror. At first, you’re going to think that it’s some kind of computer effect or do what I did and rewind it looking for crew members in the reflection, but no. In one of the most genius, simple ideas for an effect, the crew built the sets in reverse and set up glass, so it would appear at times there was a mirror. It’s an effect that I’m sure wasn’t easy to pull of, but the end result was a genuine jump scare that wasn’t cheap and was creepy.
Hey, speaking of creepy, Kane returns in this sequel to capture Carol Anne so that she may lead them to light… whatever the hell that means. Carol Anne has been sent to stay with her Uncle Bruce and Aunt Pat in Chicago, where they live in a tall high rise which Bruce happens to manage, so you know he’s got the sweetest pad. Bruce must have a thing for his reflection, seeing as this bitch is just covered in mirrors everywhere. All jesting aside, it does make for some rather crafty cinematography and falsely implies that something may pop out from somewhere… or does it? Pat doesn’t really seem to care for Carol Anne all that much, which actually plays a big part in the movie. At first, I thought Nancy Allen was drunk and being a bitch, but knowing what kind of hell Carol Anne seems to bring with her, I can’t really blame her for being distant. Her cousin, Donna, on the other hand has really taken a liken to her and the two get along like sisters who don’t want to stab each other in the back. Surely, there has to be someone in Carol Anne’s life who wants to exploit her.
Enter her teacher/psychiatrist Dr. Seaton who thinks that she is fully of poppycock and capable of influencing “mass hypnosis,” making others believe what she is telling them. Yep, that doesn’t sounds any more ridiculous than a ghost trying to kidnap you and take you to another dimension. Even after a coffee cup flies off his desk and smashes a mirror, he’s still not convinced. All of his meddling allows Kane to find Carol Anne, who immediately begins terrorizing the high rise building by turning down the heat so that it’s freezing cold! You evil bastard! Now these poor people will have to dress in layers! Needing a convenient way to leave Carol Anne alone, Bruce and Pat go to an art gallery being held on one of the lower levels and Donna heads off to some cute boy’s party. The film has actually done a really good job of setting up these characters to this point, but now is when all the spooky stuff starts to happen.
This is where the mirrors are used a lot more prominently. Kane tries to capture Carol Anne through the mirrors, but Tangina communicates with Carol Anne telepathically, which is cool, because now the film is like X-Men. Unfortunately, Carol Anne still manages to get captured through a puddle in the parking garage (it’s actually way cooler than it sounds) along with Donna and her hunky dude. This is the point when all the adults return. Bruce and Pat arrive along with Tangina and Dr. Seaton who are arguing opposite sides. Dr. Seaton thinks this is a hoax while Tangina is trying to rescue the missing kids. It doesn’t take the Bruce and Pat long to believe Tangina when scary shit starts happening in the mirror and Kane takes Tangina to the other side. Still, this could be a hoax, so Dr. Seaton isn’t quite convinced.
Bruce struggles to rescue Carol Anne and Donna… and probably Scott, the hunky dude, but if he can’t, then no biggie. It’s actually really touching to see him run through this high rise, risking his life as cars come crashing at him in the parking garage. The scene looks really amazing and is done in a really tense way. Bruce’s love for Carol Anne is kinda fatherly, so it contrasts very differently from Pat, who honestly doesn’t really care for Carol Anne. In fact, she flat out says it. She suggests that they just give up and let Kane take Carol Anne and just rescue Donna! I’m not quite sure it’s the paranormal freezing the basement, because I think someone’s kind of cold hearted. The film’s climax is all about Pat and her actual love for her family, including Carol Anne, even if she is a demon raising pain in the ass.
Carol Anne, Carol Anne, Carol Anne. Sick of that name yet? Well, you will be, because the characters say her goddamn name over 120 times in the film and that’s no exaggeration. I seriously lost count around that number, because I couldn’t believe the writer didn’t notice how many times it appeared. At some point in the film, I became triggered by the word and every time I heard it, I wanted to throw little blonde haired girls through mirrors. Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed Poltergeist III. I honestly think it’s an amazing sequel in the same way that The Exorcist III was. Interesting how in both franchises, you have an amazing, truly frightening first film, a misguided second film made by someone who didn’t want to make a film of that genre and then an amazing third film that returns back to its original elements while doing something new and yet doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. This film unfortunately underperformed at the box office and didn’t do well with critics either, so that ended the franchise until the television series which wasn’t that good and the remake that was bland and forgettable.
Poltergeist III not only has amazing and outlandishly creepy special effects, but stellar performances as well, especially by Tom Skerritt and Heather O’Rourke. Tom Skerritt plays Uncle Bruce like he’s actually trying to care for a child who has literally been through Hell. He wants to make sure that she’s okay and nothing will ever hurt her again. He wants to protect her at no matter the cost. Heather O’Rourke easily slips back into the role of Carol Anne, but plays her much wiser as she’s becoming accustomed to her abilities and what’s happening to her. Sadly, just after completing filming, Heather O’Rourke passed away from misdiagnosed Crohn’s disease. At this time, a new ending was planned to be shot, much to director Gary Sherman’s disagreement with the studio, but they kept until they got their way. A body double was used and that’s the ending that appears in the film.
Thankfully, Scream Factory has released Poltergeist III on Blu-ray, also in a brand new 2K scan, alongside the second film and hopefully this film can get the respect it deserves. Director Gary Sherman provides a commentary, as does webmaster David Furtney. There’s also an interview with Nancy Allen, screenwriter Brian Taggert and the best one, an interview with special effects guy John Caglione Jr. The alternate ending is also present here (which will be the first time it’s included officially on something) and your usual trailer, TV spots and still galleries. Poltergeist III may not be the best sequel or even the best horror film, but it’s great nonetheless. The characters are fleshed out and fun, an attempt was made to continue with Carol Anne’s story, the setting was as fresh idea that was needed for a sequel before it got burned out and the special effects were just remarkable. All of these ingredients make for one hell of a horror film that’s not too gory for the little ones, but scary enough for everyone.
(It was soooooooooooo hard *hehe* not to write “Electric Boo-galoo” in that tit-le. Appreciate my restraint, Kinky Ho-s…The way I appreciate Mr. Andrew Peters for submitting this radassity. 😉 xoxo)
When Poltergeist hit movie theaters back in 1982, it immediately was a hit, frightening audiences while also giving them a compelling story with characters that were memorable, such as Tangina played by Zelda Rubinstein and Carol Anne played by the young and talented Heather O’Rourke. You’d be damned if you forgot Carol Anne’s name, seeing as how everyone in the film says it, like, a hundred times. I believe Poltergeist is still a very terrifying film to this day. It’s arguable who directed the majority of the film, be it Steven Spielberg or Tobe Hooper, but regardless of who it was, the end product was such a success that you knew they wouldn’t be able to leave it alone (with or without the original creative team). A sequel was going to be made.
And then in 1986, we were brought Poltergeist II: The Other Side. On paper, the film sounds like it should work; you have most of the original cast returning, it’s continuing the story and you have the introduction of a villain this time and he’s actually interesting and spooky looking. Unfortunately, as the things go most of the time, a lot of what should have worked does not which happens to be the case here. The first thing you are going to notice about the film is that it’s not very scary. Not even in the least bit. Hell, it doesn’t even really feel like a horror film and I’m not saying that because it lacks blood and gore (the first one didn’t), but because it doesn’t seem to be the central theme. It’s more of an Indian mysticism movie about a family’s love overcoming evil and occasionally you get a helping of watered down, off brand horror. A lot of people point their finger at director Brian Gibson for this and I have to admit, it doesn’t feel like he wanted to make a horror movie here. This has the feeling of The Exorcist II: The Heretic all over it, where you had a director who hated the first film and didn’t want to make a horror flick, so they direct the sequel anyway. Not saying that’s what happened here, but it sure feels like it.
It’s been one year since the events of the first Poltergeist movie (in movie time, not real time, because that’s been, like, 4 years) and the Freeling’s neighborhood is now being dug up as some sort of archeological/paranormal dig. If you think that’s exciting, wait’ll you see their company picnic. Zing. Anyway, it turns out that there is an underground cave directly under the Freeling’s home. Tangina’s psychic powers catch wind of this and she tells her friend Taylor, an Indian shaman to check it out and upon doing so, he learns that an evil, deceased preacher by the name of Kane (but sadly, not the Kane from Robocop 2) is coming after Carol Anne. So, there’s your plot, now off you go! You might be wondering why Kane has his sights set on her, but that’ll come. You also may be wondering how Taylor knows this and I’m gonna let you know right now to just forget about how, because that subplot was deleted from the final film. You don’t need to know how, it’s just Indian magic, so fucking deal with it!
And now we get to see what the Freeling family has been up to. Yup, all of them, including Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke), Steven (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams) and even Robbie (Oliver Robins). Are we forgetting someone? Well, yes, and I’m not meaning to be insensitive for the sake of a joke, but tragically Dominique Dunn, who played the older sister Dana, was murdered by her boyfriend shortly after the first film’s release. They mention in a throw away line that she’s away at college, but her absence is further recognized later in the film when the family is told that it’s going to take the whole family to defeat Kane. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway, the family has relocated to Phoenix, Arizona to Diane’s mother’s home where they just sit around and bicker like they did in the first film. Actually there’s a really nice touch to the film that unfortunately isn’t explored to much, but they at least make mention that the insurance company isn’t covering the loss of their home since technically it was never destroyed, it’s only missing. That’s pretty clever, but that clever streak doesn’t last long.
Needing to explain why Kane is after Carol Anne, or at least attempt to, is that Carol Anne is clairvoyant, as is Diane as told to her by her mother when she witnesses Carol Anne handing her the right colored yarn balls that she asked for. I bet you didn’t know that’s actually how it’s done. All joking aside, there is a really fantastic scene that’s well done where Carol Anne gets up in the middle of the night and kisses her “sleeping” grandmother on the forehead and then answers her toy phone and talks to someone on the other side, indicating that it’s her grandmother. It was kinda chilling, not gonna lie.
Kane finally attempts to attack the family, by walking up to their front door like a creep and, yeah, he’s creepy. His eyes and cheeks are sunken and the guy looks like his skull is trying to push its way out of his face. I know that sounds super harsh, but I mean that as a compliment. It may sound harsh to those who don’t know, but actor Julian Beck, who plays Kane, was dying of cancer at the time and passed away right after filming was complete. I will say for his final role, the guy didn’t hold anything back and went at this with everything he had and his performance was terrifying. Taylor arrives just in the nick of time and tells them that running away won’t do them any good. Afterall, it has followed them here, so it will follow them again. At first Steven is kind of a dick about it, but then allows Taylor to stay with them since he’s trying to save them and all. Kane returns in human form (as previously mentioned), but with Taylor’s help, Steven doesn’t allow him inside their home. To celebrate this victory, Taylor takes Steven out to the desert and gives him “the power of smoke”, which is supposed to help against the evil spirits, but we all know… #520weedpotnuggssmokeblazeit
Tangina also arrives to tell Diane all about Kane, who was a priest way back in the day before cameras were invented and yet Tangina somehow has a photo of Kane. Hm, interesting. Kane has a bunch of followers that he trapped in a cave with himself, as he told them the world was going to end. Well, that day came and went, but Kane was getting such a kick out of it, he decided to keep them all trapped down there until they died. It’s pretty hilarious! This somehow made Kane a monster (quite literally as you’ll find out) and he will do anything to tear the family apart, but they can’t let him. This is where another kinda pivotal plot point was deleted, as you were to find out that Taylor was once a part of Kane’s cult, but left when he saw the pleasure Kane was getting from being an a-hole, but since that was cut, you don’t have to worry about it. As the ending draws near, the family begins their fight with Kane, which is nearly half an hour long. Seriously, shit keeps happening and it’s not really all that exciting. Well, there is a tequila monster that is kinda cool, but doesn’t look all that great either and there’s a segment that was supposed to be shot in 3D, so there are some random, not anywhere else in the movie shots of things like a chainsaw and whatnot flying at the camera. Oh yeah, this movie was supposed to be in 3D at one point too.
As you may have gathered from this review, the film is kind of a mess. Too much stuff (over half an hour, I believe) ended up on the cutting room floor, some of which would have explained some of those questions you might be having while watching the movie. Not only that, the film just isn’t very entertaining. I mean, you’re following up what was one of the scariest films to be released to that date and you just putter around with magic? Like I said, it feels either misguided or that the director just didn’t want to make a horror film and was only sprinkling horror elements here and there when the studio was forcing him to do so. However, the film was already starting to feel too long at a normal run time, so I can’t imagine seeing a longer cut of the film. Another thing that really bothered me was the lack of special effects and the ones we did see looked really terrible. The original film was very effects heavy and had some remarkable special effects for the time and to this day, the skin peeling scene still gives me shivers. Here, you get, like, a vomit, tequila monster of some kind that looks like a lump of shit and apparently it didn’t function all that well. Wanna know what’s really surprising about the effects in this movie? Academy award nominated! Guess there were no other options this year?
Regardless of what I thought, Scream Factory at least was kind enough to restore this disappointment in 2K with more than enough special features to make you come back for seconds or thirds… if you’re sick enough too. There are two brand new commentaries, including one with writer/producer Michael Grais and the other with Poltergeist II Webmaster (this is a thing?) David Furtney. There’s also an interview with Oliver Robins and separate one with Special Effects Designers Richard Edlund, Steve Johnson and Screaming Mad George. That one you gotta see, just see them try and defend it. You also get your usual trailers, TV spots and so on, but there’s also a vintage featurette about the making of the movie.
I know, I’m being really harsh and I’m sorry, but this one really let me down. You could have had a really effects heavy, scary movie and you pissed it all away! The original cast even came back and you somehow did absolutely nothing with them. This doesn’t really progress the story and to find out there was a cave under the Indian burial ground? Oh right, it’s an Indian burial ground now. So, it’s the Inception movie of burial grounds and the horror elements it has almost work, mostly thanks to Julian Beck, but unfortunately they are so few and ineffective, they barely register. I don’t hate the film, but I’m in no rush to ever watch it again. Poltergeist III, on the other hand…
Merry Creepmas to all you Cool Ghouls and Groovy Ghoulies out there! Santa Claws has already spread his Horrorday Fear to all this last saturday night, but we’re keeping it scary & bright until 2016 finally bites the dust on the 1st! After that, we’re keeping Creepmas (and Halloween) in our beautifully dark hearts the whole year! To help us keep Creepmas undead, we present the undisputed Prince of Terror, Vincent Price! Below us, dear Uncle Vinnie reads a terrifying classic of the macabre in which spirits use their unearthly powers to haunt the living… A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickins! Make those spirits bright, Vinnie!
As an extra-special Ho-rrorday stocking stuffer, here is Bill Hader doing the world’s most delightfully terrible Vincent Price to celebrate Creepmas with some Hollyweird Icons of Yesteryear! 🙂
Creepmas is still going strong here at Kinky Horror and we hope to keep you in Scary-Merry mood until the New Fear!