The Skeptic, 2009 supernatural horror movie

Country: U.S.
Horror themes: Haunted house, ghost, inheritance, dead relative, skepticism, paranormal “science”
Director: Tennyson Bardwell

Brief synopsis of The Skeptic
An attorney inherits the home of his dead aunt, but his rational, skeptical mind is confronted by the unmistakable fact that the house is haunted.

Synopsis of The Skeptic
Following the mysterious death of his aunt, power lawyer Bryan Becket (Tim Daly) moves into the elderly woman’s purportedly haunted Victorian mansion. A die hard skeptic, he dismisses one eerie incident after another, until the haunting turns so personal and vicious, Becket’s cool, unemotional veneer begins to unravel. Whispers in the night, things he sees in the darkness, clues of a horrible secret, turn our rationalist into a terrified and reluctant seeker. A seeker of a truth so unspeakable it could destroy him. And the mystery, always just out of reach down the darkened hall, is not fully revealed until the film’s final moments. And even then, it leaves a tantalizing question.
(Source: The Skeptic – IFC Films)

The Skeptic, (2009) — Movie trailer (YouTube)

My thoughts about The Skeptic
Not bad. I enjoyed The Skeptic even though in some ways it lingered on the edge of psychological horror and actual ghost horror. The Skeptic provided a few creepy moments, especially surrounding the mysterious closet.

Resources: The Skeptic, 2009 ghost/haunted house movie

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I waited too long between watching the movie and finishing this post.

…however, it was not creepy on the level of horror films like The Grudge or The Ring

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Changeling, 1980 haunted house classic with George C. Scott

The Changeling is one of a handful of supernatural horror movies I will not watch alone at night; it’s too creepy! :O

Country: Canada/U.S.
Directed by: Peter Medak, IMDb
Horror themes: Ghost, revenge, haunted house, death of spouse, death of child, exhumation, wheelchair, objects moving by themselves, murder, politics, hidden room, fatal accident, solving murder
Verdict: 85/100… One of the best classic ghost stories on film – plus it contains the top-notch acting chops of George C. Scott; a very creepy movie – you may forever be creeped out at the mere sight of a wheelchair

Movie trailer: The Changeling, 1980 (YouTube)

Much more coming soon…

Plot summary: The Changeling, 1980

cover from horror movie The Changeling, 1980
It was the perfect family vacation for John Russell and his family, or so it seemed until a freak automobile accident claimed the lives of his wife and daughter. After the death of his beloved girls – hit by a truck in a snowing road upstate New York – the composer and music professor John Russell moves to Seattle to teach music in the local university. Consumed by grief, John – at the request of friends – leases a huge mansion in Chessman Park that belongs to the Historical Society and has been empty for twelve years. Mammoth in size, the house seems all the room that John needs to write music and reflect. He does not realize that he is not alone in the house. John hears some weird noises always at 6:00 AM and later he experiences the contact of the ghost of a child that lived many decades ago in the house, which he now shares with the spirit of the murdered child who has homed in on John’s despair. The spirit uses John to uncover decades of silence and deceit. With the help of Claire Norman, the one who aided John in procuring the house, John researches the mansion’s history, revealing a despicable secret. They race to find answers and soon learn that a devious and very powerful man guards them with his very life.

Resources: The Changeling, 1980

The House by the Cemetery, 1981 Italian supernatural horror

a.k.a. Quella villa accanto al cimitero (original Italian title)

Country: Italy
Director: the unforgettable Lucio Fulci
Horror themes: undead, murder, creatures, blood, body parts, cellar, H.P. Lovecraft, corpses, haunted house, gorefest, mannequins, decapitation, zombie, ghost girl, psychic warning, tombstones, medical experiments, psychotronic, bats

This is REAL HORROR… none of that remake sh%t or teen preppy horror. This is the real deal!! (Source: Quote about The House by the Cemetery from YouTube)

The House by the Cemetery: U.S. trailer for Lucio Fulci’s Lovecraft inspired… (1:50)

Synopsis of The House by the Cemetery

A deranged killer lives in the basement of an old mansion and pops out occasionally to commit grisly murders that include be-headings, ripped throats, and stabbings with a fireplace poker. The killer needs fresh body parts to rejuvenate his cells. He also has maggots for blood.

About The House by the Cemetery

The House by the Cemetery represents the third installment of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy which also includes City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. Its plot revolves around a series of murders taking place in a New England home – a home which happens to be hiding a particularly gruesome secret within its basement walls. Themes and motifs from popular horror films such as The Shining, The Amityville Horror and Frankenstein are readily on display.

Trivia about The House by the Cemetery

Bob’s voice – the voice of Bob in English is irritating because it has been doubled by a girl and unfortunately also in the Italian version it is the same. That’s because at the time girls doubled little boys (also in the cartoons). Luckily nowadays the voice of kids stays the same. I know that The House by the Cemetery and other Fulci movies are difficult to understand and this is because they have a psychological meaning you have to interpret; also, The House by the Cemetery leaves a lot to the imagination.

The House by the Cemetery:Trailer for the gore classic by Italian splattermaster Lucio… (3:26)

These older psychotronic exploitation horror movies directed by Lucio Fulci are in a class by themselves. The House by the Cemetery
is disquieting as hell, even ominous – but to me this is a different type of creepy/scary than most modern horror movies (e.g., Paranormal Entity, Insidious). Fulci-branded horror is more disturbing and unforgettable than most other horror titles. American horror fans who have not yet ventured into Italian horror have a few surprises waiting for them, that’s for sure.

The highly controversial film art of Lucio Fulci was initially met with disgust by critics and movie industry moguls the world over. Dario Argento and Mario Bava (two other great Italian horror directors) tended to employ a certain amount of artful technique in their films, but – by contrast – Fulci’s direct approach certainly did not skimp on the gore. Even so, the best Lucio Fulci horror titles are not just gorefests; they were not merely gore for the sake of gore… they are so much more. Although this blogger and supernatural horror fan looks down on excessive gore, generally speaking – Fulci gets a pass!

The scariest Lucio Fulci horror movies

In chronological order…

  1. Zombie, 1979 (a.k.a. Zombi 2) – IMDb (Rating: 67)
  2. City of the Living Dead, 1980 – IMDb (Rating: 61)
  3. The Beyond, 1981 (a.k.a. Seven Doors of Death – the U.S. censored version)

Resources: The House by the Cemetery, 1981 Italian horror

Originally written on Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fertile Ground, 2011 After Dark supernatural horror film

Country: U.S.
Directed by: Adam Gierasch
Horror themes: Old house, personality change, pregnancy, dressmaker’s dummy, inanimate objects moving, ghosts, deathbed photography, haunted house, possession
Verdict: 65/100… I liked it better than most critics; it contained some of the supernatural horror themes that frighten me most.

Fertile Ground, (2011) – Official movie trailer (YouTube video)

Brief plot summary of Fertile Ground: Emily (Leisha Hailey) and Nate Weaver (Gale Harold) leave the city for the rural comfort of Nate’s ancestral home in the country. Once there, Emily is plagued by horrifying visions and haunted by the ghosts inhabiting their isolated new home.

Resources: Fertile Ground, 2011 supernatural horror movie

Boogeyman, 2005 supernatural horror movie

Boogeyman, 2005 supernatural horror movie, Sam RaimiAlthough Boogeyman (2005) received poor reviews overall, the first few moments of the film are among the most deeply and personally frightening in all of horror (to this fan, at least). When Tim, as a young boy, is going to bed, he’s scared out of his wits by shapes and movements he perceives in the room. One small but strong example of a personally terrifying horror theme expressed in the opening of Boogeyman includes clothing that just happens to be arranged in the shape of a person. (That reminds me of the intro to the horror TV series Fear Itself; a similar image of clothing is shown.)

horror theme - clothing in human shape - Fear Itself introThe attempted CGI portrayal of the boogeyman entity in that film is a major weakness of Boogeyman, IMHO; apart from that, it was a rather creepy, atmospheric supernatural horror movie. I believe Boogeyman would have been much scarier throughout – and that this would have been reflected critically, in the movie reviews – had no attempt been made to show the entity onscreen. As all horror fans know, sometimes these things are best left to the imagination.

Boogeyman is another feather in the cap of one of the most notable names in supernatural horror entertainment: Sam Raimi, who served as producer. [Products tagged creepy at Amazoncreepy]

Boogeyman plot summary

Boogeyman, 2005 supernatural horror movie, Sam RaimiA man learns his past was more truth than imagination in this horror story. Tim Jensen (Barry Watson) is a man who is still haunted by traumatic childhood memories, many linked to the death/disappearance of his father while Tim was still a boy. Desperate to resolve his issues, the death of his mother while visiting his beautiful girlfriend Jessica gives Tim a reason to return to his hometown and the old house he grew up in. Tim would prefer to learn that the terrifying memories he still carries with him are merely a figment of his imagination; however, the evidence and events revealed during his visit point to something more – something more real than not.

More about Boogeyman

beautiful woman - Emily Deschanel - beautiful eye colorBoogeyman was directed by Stephen Kay and also features the ravishing Emily Deschanel (with those incredibly beautiful eyes), Lucy Lawless, and Skye McCole Bartusiak.

Resources: Boogeyman, 2005 horror film