Monday, June 17, 2013
"The Haunting of Helen Walker" (1995) is a made for TV movie starring: Valerie Bertinelli, Florence Hoath and Aled Roberts. It is another remake/retelling of Henry James' Turn of the Screw.
Valerie Bertinelli plays the title role of Helen Walker, an American widow in England who applies for and receives the job of live in nanny to two children who live in a old country mansion sometime around 1900. The children's uncle and guardian lives in London and his lifestyle doesn't have time to take care of two children. He puts Helen in charge of all the children's affairs and upbringing.
The house is run by Mrs. Grose the housekeeper and some other servants. She and young Flora welcome Helen to the household. Shortly after arriving, Helen learns that young Miles is coming home from boarding school because he has been kicked out for bad behavior.
This film stays close to original classic story except for changing the nanny's name and making her American. There is some sinister secret in this large foreboding house. The previous nanny and caretaker who are both dead continue to haunt the large estate. Helen digs deeper into the mystery to determine why this is so she can ultimately save the children. This doesn't go so well for her.
This is a good ghost story and Valerie Bertinelli even does a good job pulling off acting in a period piece.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
"6 Souls" (2010) starring Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMunn is a supernatural horror thriller about a forensic psychiatrist investigating a man with multiple personalities.
Cara Harding (Moore) is a forensic psychiatrist who is also a devout Christian. She is able to balance the sometimes conflicting beliefs well in her life even though she is put to the test being a single mother to her young daughter after her husband was murdered. Her father Dr. Harding (Demunn) is also a psychiatrist and calls her in to consult on one of his patients.
Cara meets the patient David (Rhys Meyers) who is wheelchair bound and after conducting some tests doesn't find anything wrong with him. While watching through the window, her father calls him and he answers and after violently convulsing, he is Adam. Cara digs deeper into his files and is soon deep into an investigation that will lead to discovering more of his personalities.
She discovers his personalities are actually based on real people that are dead. She will discover that maybe it isn't just a shattered mind in this patient's body but something that will put her scientific and religious beliefs to the test.
"6 Souls" is a pretty good supernatural thriller. It has its creepy moments. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is excellent playing the multiple personalities including some sinister characters. Julianne Moore plays a smart woman in jeopardy who will do what she can to save herself and her family. It's a good movie to rent for the evening.
Monday, June 3, 2013
"Beautiful Creatures" (2012) starring Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis is supernatural romantic drama about witches in the South.
Teenager Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich) has always lived in the small town of Gatlin, South Carolina. He yearns to get out of the town that stifles his creativity and bans all the books he finds interesting. When new student Lena Duchannes (Englert) arrives to town, things start to get interesting. Lena lives with her reclusive and very eccentric Uncle Macon (Irons) in a mansion just outside of town. The townsfolk imagine all kinds of strange, un-Christian goings-on at the mansion and that attitude immediately reflects on Lena who has a hard time fitting in at school. Of course Ethan, even though he is popular at school, feels like he is an outsider and immediately falls for Lena.
Ethan soon discovers from family friend Amma (Davis) that his family and Lena's are connected in the past and a curse from that past may soon affect Ethan and Lena. They must race to find a solution to this curse or Lena may inevitably go toward the dark.
"Beautiful Creatures" is a visually appealing movie with lush settings and eclectic characters. It has lots of supernatural powers, interesting characters (including Emma Thompson playing a local religious woman who tries to direct the townsfolk against Lena and her family) and teen romance. If you like the "Twilight" movies, you'll probably enjoy this movie too.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
"Sunset Boulevard" (1950) is a classic film noir drama starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim.
Joe Gillis (Holden) is a struggling screenwriter that can't seem to write anything that the studios want to buy. He can't afford his rent and he's behind on his car payments and men have arrived to repossess his car. While trying to get away from the repo-men, he hides his car in the driveway of a rundown Sunset Boulevard Hollywood mansion. As he gets out to survey the house and estate, he is called inside by the butler Max, who says they have been expecting him!
Joe is sent upstairs to meet Norma Desmond (Swanson) who thinks he is the undertaker there to bring the coffin for her dead chimpanzee. We soon discover that Norma is a washed up movie star from the silent film days. She excelled in the silent pictures and worked with directors such as Cecil B. DeMille. Norma had a hard time making the adjustment to the films with sound and dialog and shortly thereafter faded into obscurity and became a recluse in her mansion with only her butler to keep her company. Speaking to Norma though, Joe discovers that she doesn't think of herself as washed up, she actually believes she just needs to make a return to the screen that everyone has been waiting for.
Long story short, Joe comes to live with Norma and helps her edit the script she wrote for her comeback movie. Norma showers him with fancy clothes and attention - much to his dismay. She also readies herself for her return to film.
Gloria Swanson is masterful as the wonderfully over the top Norma Desmond. Her facial expressions are grand and exaggerated, honed from years of having only her face and body to express her emotions on the silent screen. She still has a grand sense of style and keeps the inside of her mansion extravagant as opposed to the decrepitude on the outside. But Norma has a rather obsessive personality and how does that go over with the very independently minded Joe? Plus add into the mix some jealousy when Joe tries to strike out on his own and you'll see the result in this masterpiece of the film noir genre.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
"This House Possessed" (1981) is a TV horror movie starring Parker Stevenson, Lisa Eilbacher, Joan Bennett. A possessed (or should we say possessive) house lures an 80s pop singer and his nurse to it and tries to keep everyone else away!
Gary Straihorn (Stevenson) is a pop rock singer who collapses onstage of exhaustion. At the hospital during his recuperation he meets nurse Sheila Moore (Eilbacher) who he takes a liking to. He convinces his agent (Slim Pickens) that he needs more time to rest and write some new songs so he hires Sheila as his private nurse and off they go in no direction in particular (or so they think). Little do they know that an isolated and empty house in Rancho Santa Fe, CA is watching them through its security system and using some unknown supernatural powers.
The couple ends up in Rancho Santa Fe, of course, and take a liking to it. The real estate agent shows them the house just outside of town and they both fall in love with the giant modern looking home that keeps itself clean and has unbreakable windows. Sheila feels like she knows the place but can't explain why.
Shortly after moving in, things start to get weird. There's a garden hose that seems to come alive and chase off some trespassers. There's a voice calling "Margaret" in the night. And there's always the house watching them through the internal security system. Gary and Sheila are enjoying the house and the isolation and are even starting to get romantic feelings toward each other.
While in town, Sheila runs into the disheveled Rag Lady (Bennett) who calls her Margaret and keeps asking her why she came back. She then gathers up her rag tag shopping cart full of bags and returns to her hoarder cabin. Sheila goes to the library and tries to find out more about the house and the librarian promises to look into the house's history and the deaths she knows occurred there long ago.
Later, Gary's friend (and sometimes more) Tanya stops by to stay and help in Gary's recovery. Sheila is a bit jealous with this turn of events. The house is too. Needless to say, Tanya doesn't stay long after an incident of being trapped in a blood spurting shower! Then there's the other visitors that house doesn't want, including the librarian who has some info on the house she's uncovered and who comes to a crushing and fiery end at the house's gate!
We later discover that Sheila's lost first seven years of her life before being sent to an orphanage were spent in this house and the house has always wanted her back. It will also do everything within its power to keep her there. Will Sheila be able to break free from this haunted and possessive house? Will she and Gary be able to enjoy life together? Will we ever find out who or what exactly is haunting this house?
"This House Possessed" is one of my favorite made for TV movies. It's creepy, not too graphic and a bit cheesy (especially Parker Stevenson's singing)! The house itself is an amazing site - not the classic old haunted house at all! It's an enjoyable movie that may just remind you of those lazy Saturday afternoons sitting at home and catching a good horror movie on TV.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
"The Gate" (1987) starring Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp. Suburban children accidentally release demons from a gate to hell they discover in their back yard.
When their tree house gets hit by lightning and the tree comes down, Glen (a very young Stephen Dorff) and his friend Terry discover a hole in the back yard. Glen cuts himself and blood drops down into the bottomless hole starting a chain of events that could end the world.
The parents are out of town and teenage sister, Al, is babysitting. Of course she throws a big party and lots of teens in 80s apparel have fun and end up telling ghost stories and doing some psychic tricks that get out of hand. Meanwhile, the gate to hell opens more and more as it gets more sacrifices. Eventually mini demons pour out of the hole and attack everyone in the house.
"The Gate" is a pretty good story about kids fighting evil and trying to save the world. But Glen and his sister will have a lot of explaining to do when the parents get home!