Saturday, December 28, 2013

Black Christmas

"Black Christmas" (1974) starring Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon and Andrea Martin is a classic Canadian slasher that is low on the gore but high on the suspense.

It's Christmastime and the women of a college sorority house are getting ready for the holiday.  A few are remaining at the house while most go back home to family members.  Someone keeps calling the house and screams, talks in weird voices and generally scares the women.  There is also some unseen killer that has infiltrated the house, up the trellis and into the attic.  

This is a fun horror movie and a perfect example of the early horror slasher film that doesn't have to show every gruesome detail of the deaths to make it scary.  The characters, especially the beautiful Jess (Hussey), hilariously outrageous Barb (Kidder) and campy fun house mother, Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman) make this a film that you can watch over and over.  It is filled with a sense of dread and suspense that will keep you guessing right up to the end.  

"Black Christmas" is a must see for horror fans, especially around Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas from A Haunting on the Screen!

Merry Christmas from A Haunting on the Screen!!

 'Twas the night before Christmas...

and all through the house...

not a creature was stirring...

except for a murderous wife

and a psychotic Santa!

Joan Collins gets her just desserts in this classic holiday horror story from "Tales from the Crypt".

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lost Moment

"The Lost Moment" (1947) starring: , , is a Gothic romance that takes place in the 19th century.

The film is based on Henry James' story "The Aspern Papers".  American publisher Lewis Venable wants to publish a famous poet's love letters to his love Juliana Borderau.  Juliana is now 105 years old and living in a big old mansion along the canals of Venice.  The family doesn't want to part with the letters but Lewis is on a quest to get them and tricks the Borderaus into leasing a room to him (under an assumed name) so he can write a book.  The Borderaus household is now mostly run by the niece Tina Borderau who takes care of her ailing aunt and doesn't want guests.  The Borderaus are struggling financially though and need the money to keep the house.

The house is dark and brooding.  Lewis meets the aged aunt (an unrecognizable Agnes Moorehead) who even sells him family artifacts but won't let him see the letters.  Late at night, Lewis hears piano playing in the other side of the house.  He follows it and finds the usually cold and severe looking niece Tina, in a flowing dress and set of rooms that used to belong to the aunt when she was young.  It turns out unbeknownst to Tina, she is re-living her aunt's earlier life and romance with Aspern.

Will Lewis follow through with getting the letters no matter what or will he be won over by the inhabitants of this house that is haunted by the past and can't seem to move forward? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Crooked House

"Crooked House" (2008) is a British made for TV miniseries that was shown in three episodes.  It is a trio of ghost stories centered around the same cursed house called Geap Manor, starring Lee Ingleby, Mark Gatiss and Derren Brown.

The first story is called "The Wainscoting" about an 18th century greedy rich man who makes a fortune on the backs of the local working folk and has purchased, renovated and moved into Geap Manor, the local "haunted house".  He soon gets more than he bargained for when the house's walls start to haunt him.

"Something Old" is the second story that takes place in Geap Manor in the 1920s.  A lavish costume party is taking place and the owner's grandson announces his engagement to a local woman.  The grandmother is not pleased because there is some secret from her past that is haunting the halls of the house and will soon affect her grandson.

"The Knocker" is the final story which takes place in the present with Ben, the main character who found Geap Manor's door knocker in his suburban home that sits on the site of the old Manor.  In addition to finding out more about Geap Manor, he discovers a doorway into the past where he sees what created the evil that continues to surround the house and the land it sits upon.

You can find these all together as one movie and it is a fantastic series of haunted house and ghost stories to keep you more than sufficiently scared!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Possessed

"The Possessed" (1977) is a made for TV horror movie starring James Farentino, Claudette Nevins, Eugene Roche and Harrison Ford about demonic possession at an girls' school.

Sisters Ellen Sumner (Nevins) and Louise Gelson (Hackett) run Helen Page School for Girls in Salem. Graduation is nearing and things take a turn toward the bizarre.  Papers spontaneously combust in Ellen's hand.  Her daughter's dorm room inexplicably catches fire and the doors won't open from the inside so she and her roommate can get out.  One of the student's robe catches fire and she is sent to the hospital with third degree burns.

Louise fears her school will be ruined.  Ellen does some research and finds a defrocked Catholic minister, Kevin Leahy (Farentino) who arrives and believes there is a demonic possession.  He interviews students and teachers, including a very young Harrison Ford as Paul Winjam the hunky biology teacher.  Can he stop the possession before anyone else is hurt?

This film does a nice job of not revealing who is possessed until near the end of the film.  It keeps you guessing throughout.  It's a fun, old fashioned TV horror movie that you just don't see any more.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Death Moon


"Death Moon" (1978) is a made for TV movie starring Robert Foxworth, Joe Penny and Barbara Trentham  about a werewolf that stalks and kills guests at a resort on Kauai, Hawaii.


Jason Palmer (Foxworth) is an over achieving and over stressed businessman who according to his doctor, needs a vacation.  He decides to go to Hawaii where he is descended from missionaries.  He flies to a resort in Kauai where he tries to relax and forget about work.


Something from his family's past is going to catch up with him here in Hawaii.  The ancient Hawaiians put a curse on his great grandfather and all his male descendants because he imposed his religion on them and made them stop practicing their "Pagan" religions. A mysterious Hawaiian woman is keeping track of Jason. Guests at the resort are being killed in the night by some savage creature.


Jason meets Diane May (Trentham), a businesswoman there for a convention, who he falls for.  They do the tourist things and have an affair but she soon learns that Jason is not who he seems.


Part horror movie, part police procedural, this movie is a fun made for TV movie.  The special effects are laughable but it is a 70s TV movie.  And come on - a horror movie filmed in beautiful Hawaii - you don't see many of those!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Black Sabbath

"Black Sabbath" (1963) is a trio of atmospheric horror tales hosted by Boris Karloff and starring: Michèle Mercier, Lidia Alfonsi, Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, Susy Andersen and Jacqueline Pierreux.

There are two versions of this film, the original Italian version and the American Version from American International Pictures (AIP) dubbed into English. The language is not the only difference between the versions, there story order is different and one of the tales is quite different between the two versions. Also, the music is different in both versions and there are some different story intros by Boris Karloff.

The three tales with the story order for the different versions in parentheses:


"Drop of Water" (American 1 / Italian 3): Helen Chester (Jacqueline Pierreux) a nurse, is called in the middle of the night to a client’s mansion by the maid (Milly) who informs her the old lady is dead. Helen arrives at the mansion on the stormy night and is led through the decaying mansion filled with cats to the old lady’s room. There we see the dead old lady with eyes wide open and a grin of terror on her face. Helen’s job is to dress the lady for the caretaker the following morning but on the dead woman’s hand is a ring with a huge jewel that is calling out to her. Helen cannot resist and she takes the ring off her finger. When she gets home and tries on the ring, she is haunted by an increasing level of terror from beyond. This is my favorite story and the scariest and most haunting.


"The Telephone" (American 2 / Italian 1): The young and beautiful Rosy (Michèle Mercier) returns home from a night on the town and someone keeps calling and harassing her. She soon discovers it is her ex-boyfriend Frank and he seems to be able to see her right in her apartment. In the Italian version, Frank is supposed to be in prison and has escaped plus Rosy’s friend Mary (Lidia Alfonsi) isn’t as innocent as she seems. In the American version, Frank is supposed to be dead, the revenge plotline is missing and it is more of a ghost story. Either way, the tension poor Rosy is experiencing is more than palpable and the story is filled with thrills and dread.


“The Wurdalak” (American 3 / Italian 2): Nobleman Vladimire d’Urfe (Mark Damon) is riding his horse in the Italian countryside where by the river he discovers a headless corpse with a knife in its back. He rides further to the nearest house where he finds a family of siblings Pietro (Massimo Righi), Sdenka (Susy Andersen) and Giorgio (Glauco Onorato) and his wife Maria (Rika Dialina) and son. They confirm the dead man is an evil man who their father Gorca (Boris Karloff) had left 5 days earlier to find and kill. But, Gorca warned his family that if he should return any later than 5 days, they must not let him in because he will have been turned into a Wurdalak or Vampire. When he returns just after the fifth day, he is not the same and the family and visitor will soon find out who or what has really returned. Great acting by Karloff and constantly foggy and eerie atmosphere make this another standout in the anthology.


As of this writing, the Italian version with English subtitles is the only version available on DVD but the American (AIP) version is available for streaming on Netflix.

Black Sabbath” is an excellent example of atmospheric horror and great storytelling no matter which version you watch!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


"Frogs" (1972) is a campy horror movie starring Ray Milland, Sam ElliottJoan Van Ark and Judy Pace about the wealthy Crockett family that gets together around the 4th of July at their patriarch's mansion on their private island in Florida just in time for all of nature's creatures to attack!

Pickett Smith (Sam Elliot) is a freelance photographer / environmentalist who is canoeing around the swamps and lakes of Florida getting shots of nature under attack by human waste and garbage.  Clint (Adam Roark) and Karen Crockett (Joan Van Ark) are siblings out for a joyride in the family speedboat and they carelessly swamp Pickett's canoe.  They offer to bring him to Grandpa's house so he can get dried out.  Little does Pickett know what is about to occur on the island.

The Crockett estate is a beautiful southern mansion on its own island.  Jason Crockett (Ray Milland) is the crotchety head of the family who gathers his children and grandchildren to his estate for a couple weeks each summer.  During that time they have meals and play the same games according to all the family traditions.  Each of the family members seems to have issues but all gladly come to the island each year and takes his orders in hope that they will remain in the old man's good graces and thus his will.

As soon as Pickett arrives, he hears everyone complaining about all the frogs in and around the estate this year and how they keep them up.  Jason asks Pickett what poisons they can use to get rid of them. Well, over the week - Pickett keeps getting pulled in deeper and finds a love interest in Karen, all of nature's creatures in the area go on the offensive and start killing off the family members one by one.  There are snakes, spiders, lizards, birds, alligators and frogs all taking their turns going after the humans that have been poisoning their environments.  Who will get safely away from the island!  Will it be any better on the mainland?

"Frogs" is pure 70s horror fun!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Count Yorga, Vampire

"Count Yorga, Vampire" (1970) brings the story of vampires from the ancient times to the "modern" Los Angeles of the early 70s.

Donna has a party and has invited her deceased mother's lover, Count Yorga from Bulgaria.  He is conducting a seance in an attempt to reach her deceased mother.  When she becomes hysterical, he calms her by hypnotizing her and commands her to do anything he says whenever he says.  Paul and Erica offer to drive the Count home in their VW bus.

Upon arriving at the Count's estate gates, they are met by his manservant, Brudah, who lets them into the estate and up to his eerie mansion.  After dropping him off, the couple gets stuck in the mud on his estate and decide to sleep in the van.  They are attacked in the middle of the night but all they don't remember all the details but Erica is left with a bite mark on her neck.

She goes to see family friend, Dr. Hayes, who says she's lost a lot of blood and prescribes that she eat lots of rare steaks!  Later when Paul brings Michael (Donna's boyfriend) to Erica's house to investigate why they can't reach her, they find her house in disarray and Erica sucking the blood out of her cat!  Dr. Hayes is called in and he breaks the news to the men that they may be facing a modern day vampire.

This is a fun 70s vampire movie.  Count Yorga is dashing and mysterious as the vampire and he has a host of scantily clad female vampires doing his bidding.  For a good retro vampire thriller, check it out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lord of Tears

"Lord of Tears" (2013) is a haunting new horror movie that takes place in a crumbling old country mansion in the misty Scottish Highlands, starring David Schofield, Alexandra “Lexy” Hulme, Jamie Scott Gordon & Euan Douglas from writer Sarah Daly and director Lawrie Brewster.


 James “Jamie” Findlay (Euan Douglas) is a school teacher who inherits his family’s ancestral estate, Baldurrock House, in the remote Scottish Highlands when his estranged mother dies.  She also leaves him a letter reminding him of the reason he left the home and why he must never return there.  Upon reading the letter, Jamie’s subconscious memories start to surface and he is once again being haunted by his past.


James discusses his mother’s death and his growing concern about his past with his childhood friend and coworker, Allen Milton (Jamie Gordon) who assures him he is just going through the grief of losing his mother.  We also discover Allen is going through his own trials with the illness of his father. 

To discover what is behind his long lasting terror, James returns to his childhood home, a large, old mansion in the remote Scottish countryside.  Upon his arrival he meets Eve “Evie” Turner (Lexy Hulme), a beautiful young American woman who has been staying on the estate.  Evie is quite striking and extremely friendly and she quickly attracts the adoration of the lonely and increasingly terrified Jamie.  She helps him with his investigation to get to the root of his terror.


Lurking on the estate is a tall, eerie, quite dapperly attired figure with an oversized owl head and long talons for its fingers.  What is the significance of this creature that Jamie knows he has seen in his childhood and adult nightmares?  The depth of his terror builds as he uncovers the truth of what happened at Baldurrock House and what is yet to happen.   


Director, Lawrie Brewster, has endeavored to make his film "Lord of Tears" in the vein of classic British chillers like "The Wicker Man", "The Haunting" and "The Innocents".  The multi-talented, Sarah Daly not only penned the screenplay, she also wrote and performed some of the hauntingly beautiful vocal pieces on the soundtrack as musical artist Metaphorest.

Lawrie Brewster - Director

After working hard to make a polished horror film that created a unique and uncanny antagonist, the Owl Man, which drew inspiration from classic mythology and lore, ancient history and modern legends, the dynamic duo of Lawrie Brewster and Sarah Daly have been working overtime over the last year to get this film released.  They conducted a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, found additional funding and formed their new production company, Hex Media and along with producing partner, Dark Dunes Productions, successfully released the film this month.

Sarah Daly - Writer

Certain scenes from “Lord of Tears” will remain with you long after first viewing.  The wonderfully talented and beautiful Lexy Hume steals the show in some of her scenes especially her scene where Evie is performing an extravagant dance for Jamie in the main room.  Evie’s classic beauty is featured most in the scene where Jamie is in the swimming pool and she enters down the spiral staircase to join him – with the haunting melodies and vocals that Sara Daly (Metaphorest) has provided, the scene really shines.  The scenes of Moloch, the Owl Man, are truly eerie and the first time Jamie sees him appear in the forest brought chills down my spine. 


“Lord of Tears” is a supernatural and psychological thriller that knows how to build suspense and terror.  With very little blood, lots of uncanny imagery, characters we care about and a house that is a character in itself, the filmmakers were able to craft a very scary film which reminds me of the atmospheric horror chillers of my youth that I have always enjoyed the most in the horror genre.  


If you enjoy classic horror movies that immerse you into eerie atmosphere and build an uncanny sense of suspense, check out “Lord of Tears” – you won’t be disappointed.


"Lord of Tears" had its World Premiere on 10/25/2013 at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival. You can order the special collector’s edition DVD or Bluray, soundtrack CD and other Owl Man goodies direct from the Hex Media's website.

"Lord of Tears" trailer