Monday, May 28, 2012

The Woman in Black

I finally saw The Woman in Black (2012) starring Daniel RadcliffeJanet McTeer and CiarĂ¡n Hinds.  This is a gothic horror movie that takes place in the early 1900s.  Daniel Radcliffe plays a young lawyer  named Arthur Kipps who travels to a small remote village to go through the papers of a recently deceased client.  The village is unfriendly and seemingly frightened of him. The house he needs to go to is an imposing mansion on a remote island in the swamp lands near the sea.  He keeps seeing a woman in black and once back in town he sees one accident after another of town children getting killed.   

This movie harkens back to a time when movies didn't have to show lots of blood to scare you.  It's filled with spooky atmosphere of graveyards, ghosts, foggy causeways, dark candlelit hallways and dusty old rooms.   There are plenty of scares in this movie and an ending that you may not be expecting.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and found it an equal, if not improvement over the older version.  I have added this movie to my favorite haunted house movies although it would also fit nicely on my atmospheric horror list.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dark Shadows

Last night was movie night at one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the area.  We went and saw director  Tim Burton 's Dark Shadows (2012) starring Johnny DeppMichelle PfeifferHelena Bonham Carter and Eva Green.

I never watched the original Dark Shadows TV series but I am a fan of the revival series from 1991.  Tim Burton's version has vampire Barnabas Collins awakened after two hundred years imprisoned in a coffin.  The time is 1972 and he rejoins his descendants in their now run down mansion, Collinwood.  Barnabas tries to help his family regain some of the importance they once held in the town that holds their family name.  His awakening also stirs up the family's archenemy, Angelique, the witch who is still alive and trying to get Barnabas to love her or else she will destroy him and his family.

The previews made this out to be an ultra campy, almost purely comedic movie.  While the actual movie  includes the comedy, camp and liberal use of 70's music, it also includes the atmosphere of the Dark Shadows series as well as the Collins family dynamics and all the other supernatural creatures such as vampires, ghosts, witches and werewolves.  The actors did a great job with their characters, including Johnny Depp as Barnabas, Michelle Pfeiffer as the family matriarch Elizabeth and a very delightful and colorful Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman.  The romance between Barnabas and Victoria Winters seemed almost like an afterthought though.

As a whole,  I liked this version of Dark Shadows.  It's a good addition to the ongoing Dark Shadows saga and I look forward to owning it when it is released on DVD/Blu-ray.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Death at Love House

Death at Love House is a made for TV move from 1976 starring Robert WagnerKate Jackson and Sylvia Sidney in an Aaron Spelling production.  Joel and Donna Gregory, husband and wife writing team move into the old mansion of dead Hollywood star Lorna Love so they can research and write a book about her and Joel's father who had a long affair together.

Stormy nights on the old estate add atmosphere to the other mysterious things going on on this estate: an unknown women in white who wanders around the estate, the dead star's body enshrined in a glass tomb, a man in black cloak who is up to evil and Joel suddenly starting to lose his grip on reality as he immerses himself into the memories of the house.  Donna has to get her husband to see that there is something wrong here and get them both out alive.

This is one of those made for TV movies that's perfect to watch on a Saturday afternoon.