Monday, February 25, 2013

"Lord of Tears" trailer has been released!

An exciting new psychological thriller / horror film called "The Lord of Tears"  has been completed and is now taking pre-orders exclusively on their KickStarter page.  It stars ("Pirates of the Caribbean" & "Gladiator", ("Smash" & "(500) Days of Summer") and and was directed by Lawrie Brewster ("White Out").    

The trailer has just been released and "Lord of Tears" looks like the kind atmospheric chiller that will not only scare you but will also give you the creeps!

The plot of "Lord of Tears" as summarized by the movie's website

"Lord of Tears tells the story of James Findlay, a school teacher plagued by recurring nightmares of a mysterious and unsettling entity.  Suspecting that his visions are linked to a dark incident in his past, James returns to his childhood home, a notorious mansion in the Scottish Highlands, where he uncovers the disturbing truth behind his dreams, and must fight to survive the brutal consequences of his curiosity…"

This looks like exactly the kind of film I enjoy watching - one that will use tense and spooky atmosphere to give you genuine chills.  I mean, what more could you ask for: it takes place in an eerie and isolated country mansion in Scotland and has a creepy Owl Man creature that stalks the foggy highlands and has come back from the man's childhood nightmares to haunt him some more!  "Lord of Tears" looks to be a good old fashioned supernatural thriller in the tradition of "The Wicker Man" and "The Haunting".

Check out the film's new trailer to get excited about it yourself, and while you're at it, go to their KickStarter page and pledge money to be one of this film's supporters!  Let's help get this film in front of an audience as soon as possible! I have already pledged myself and can't wait to be one of the first to see "Lord of Tears"!


Donnie Darko

"Donnie Darko" (2001) is a very unique cult classic produced by Drew Barrymore that mixes a touch of horror, sci fi, drama and mystery.  It's loaded with stars including: , Maggie Gyllenhaal, , Patrick Swayze, Beth Grant, Seth Rogen, Noah Wyle, Drew Barrymore, Katharine Ross, Holmes Osborne, Daveigh Chase and

The movie takes place in October of 1988, just before the presidential elections.  The main characters consist of the Darko family: siblings Donnie (Gyllenhaal), Elizabeth (Gyllenhaal), Samantha (Chase) and parents Rose (McDonnell) & Eddie (Osborne).  They are your typical upper middle class family that live in a nice neighborhood and whose children go to private school.  Beneath the surface of this family and community though, we see things are never quite so nice and easy.

Donnie is a troubled teenager who in the past has set fires and acted out.  He is heavily medicated and visits a psychiatrist weekly.  He hears a mysterious voice that tells him to do things and causes him to sleepwalk in the night.  It turns out the voice is from a six foot tall bunny named Frank (man in a weird bunny costume) that tells Donnie the world is going to end in 28 days, right around Halloween. As viewers we never quite know if Donnie's delusions are real, imagined or both.

The actors and these characters are simply first rate:  Jake Gyllenhaal and his real life sister Maggie Gyllenhaal are naturals as bickering but loving siblings.  Younger sister Samantha is played by Daveigh Chase, who is in the school's cheer/dance squad "Sparkle Motion!".  Mom is played by the always wonderful Mary McDonnell ("Battlestar Galactica", "The Closer", etc).  Patrick Swayze plays the local self-help guru who makes it big but hides a very bad secret.  Drew Barrymore plays Ms. Pomeroy, the English teacher whose progressive methods don't go over well in the somewhat conservative school.  And one of my favorites - the ever quirky Beth Grant plays Kitty Farmer, teacher and Sparkle Motion coach.

This movie is a hodgepodge of genres: sci fi time travel, coming of age high school movie, drama about dysfunctional families, mystery and suspense; that just work together with the set of excellent actors, beautiful cinematography and great 80s music tying it all together.  If you want to be entertained and mystified at the same time, watch this movie.  You'll discover more each time you watch it and it's always enjoyable to immerse yourself in the strange worlds of Donnie Darko!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dark Mansions

"Dark Mansions" (1986) is an ABC made for TV movie starring , , , and that is a Gothic thriller / soap opera brought to you by Aaron Spelling Productions.

The Drake family runs a large shipping business in Seattle, Washington.  They live on the picturesque Drake Point just north of Seattle.  Drake Point has two family mansions that loom over the crashing ocean.  Shellane Victor (Purl) is hired by matriarch Margaret Drake (Fontaine) to be her secretary and write the family memoirs.  On the day of her arrival the family learns that the patriarch has died after the family was out testing a boat in a thunderstorm.  There are two sons that run the family business, Jason (York) & Phillip (Shenar) and their families live in the two mansions.  All is not well between the brothers and the families as there is constant bickering over the family business.

It turns out, Shellane is the spitting image of Jason's recently deceased wife, Yvette.  The family takes a liking to Shellane and start telling her the family secrets.  What she is really interested in is discovering the truth behind the death of Yvette.  Each family member has a different tale of what happened the day she fell, jumped or was pushed off the bluffs on a picnic on the family estate.  Noelle (Anderson), Phillip's daughter, was blinded after witnessing the death of Yvette and she now seems to have a sixth sense and is also trying to find the truth and help her family.

The family fights, intrigue, secret romances and the mystery behind the death of Yvette make for an interesting story set in a beautiful old mansion.  The music is very dramatic and the almost constant thunder and lightning storms at night add to the tension and mood.  This is a great escape movie for a rainy afternoon or evening.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Reflecting Skin

"The Reflecting Skin" (1990) starring , , is a strange coming of age movie that takes place in the 1950s.

It takes place in the wheat fields of Idaho.  Seth Dove (Cooper) is a young boy growing up in the rural Mid West.  He has a mother that is overbearing and always worried; a father that likes to escape from his past into pulp fiction on vampires; and an older brother, Cameron (Mortensen) that is in the military.  The rural community where he lives is filled with unique and strange characters including his neighbor, Dolphin Blue (Duncan).

Seth's friends start disappearing.  They are found dead.  Seth begins to suspect Dolphin is a vampire and that she is killing the children.  When his brother Cameron returns to town, he falls under the spell of Dolphin.

This film always has you asking "What is real and what is just in this child's mind?"  And as Dolphin says at one point, "Sometimes terrible things happen quite naturally".  This is a haunting tale about a strange place all from the viewpoint of a young boy.  If you like Twin Peaks you'll probably like this unique American Gothic tale.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Die Sister Die!

"Die Sister, Die!" (1972) starring , , is a psychological thriller with plenty of great atmosphere.

Amanda Price (Atwater) lives in a big old mansion in the remote foothills somewhere out west.  Something from her past is haunting her and she keeps trying to kill herself - unsuccessfully.  Edward (Ging) is her brother and he is tired of waiting for his sister to kill herself and he wants to help her along so he can finally inherit the family home. 

Edward hires a former nurse with a past, Esther Harper (Bower) to "assist" his sister to a timely death.  Esther moves into the mansion to care for Amanda and she slowly starts to learn about the mysteries of the Price family and learns she has signed up for something more than she bargained for. 

I really enjoyed finding and watching this movie.  The setting of the big old mansion in the hills was beautiful but when night came it turned eerie to match the sinister goings on in the house.  This is one of those thrillers that will keep you guessing until the end.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Awakening

"The Awakening" (2011) starring  , , is an exceptional new ghost story that was just released on DVD and blu-ray.

The year is 1921 in England and the entire country is still in shock because of the terrible losses they faced during World War I.  Florence Cathcart (Hall) is an anomaly for the time - an educated woman.  She tries to uncover fake spiritualists and discover what's really behind ghost sightings.  She uses the most up to date scientific methods and doesn't believe in ghosts - she believes there is a rational explanation or human being behind every so called ghost.  Florence is also a very troubled woman as she is grieving for the loss of her boyfriend who died in the war. 

Robert Mallory (West) is a teacher at a boy's boarding school in the country and he seeks her help because everyone believes there is a ghost of a little boy roaming the school and scaring the students.  Florence takes the case and is off to the school to investigate. 

The school is a giant old mansion that used to be a family's home.  The boys are taken care of by a Matron named Maud Hill (Staunton) who idolizes Florence and keeps her book right next to her bible.  Florence meets the students and when they leave for break, there is only Robert, Maud, Florence and one student left at the school.

Florence wanders through the mostly empty school and her equipment and her eyes pick up glimpses of the ghost.  Will this ghost turn Florence into a believer or will she find the person who is behind the haunting? 

This movie is a visual delight to watch.  The setting in and around the school is so beautiful during the day and eerie at night. The acting is very well done and the characters have many layers that we discover throughout the film.  The film also has some good old fashioned scares.  This movie builds the scares through what is imagined and also what is glimpsed out of the corner of your eyes.  This is one of the most atmospheric horror movies in years. It is an excellent addition to any horror library and one that I will watch over and over. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Midnight Offerings

"Midnight Offerings" (1981) starring  , , is a TV movie about witches in a California high school.

Vivian Sotherland (Anderson) is the head of the cheer squad and until recently she was going out with David Sterling (Cassidy), the football team's quarterback.  The movie starts with Vivian dressed in a black robe in front of a dark shrine, chanting spells which end up causing their science teacher to die in a horrible car accident.  That teacher was going to flunk David which would have got him kicked from the team.

David is cold to Vivian.  He has figured out she is a witch and has put together a string of "accidents" that has got him and her to the top of the class.  David wants nothing to do with her anymore.  New girl, Robin Prentiss (McDonough) joins the school and meets David on the first day.  They instantly take a liking to each other.  Vivian of course will have none of that and she immediately starts her campaign of black magic against Robin.  But something is not working - Robin is fighting back with her own magic that she is just discovering.

David and Robin grow even closer as bad things continue to happen to them.  They seek the help of a local expert in witches, Emily Moore (Marion Ross) who does what she can to help Robin learn how to user her powers.  She informs Robin that this is leading to a battle of good against evil and  she better prepare in order to face the evil Vivian!

This is your standard made for TV horror movies of the 80s.  If you want to stay in for a Saturday afternoon, this is a good one to watch.

Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural

"Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural" (1973) starring  , , is a very bizarre vampire movie.

The film takes place in the 1930s in the South.  A young girl, Lila Lee (Smith) is a ward of the church in a small town.  She is also infamous by association to her dad, a gangster, who killed his cheating wife and is now on the run.  Lila receives a mysterious note from a stranger named Lemora saying her dad is near death and wants to see her but she must not tell anybody.  Lila sneaks away and on her way to see her father, she encounters all kinds of creepy people.  

She eventually gets a bus driver to driver her to the backwoods town of Asteroth.  She discovers from the driver that he doesn't like to go to this town because there is some sort of disease there.  On the way, the bus is attacked by a hoard of mutant like creatures that come out of the woods.  Lila gets away but only to be captured by people working for Lemora.  

Lemora lives in a large Victorian house and has a witch like housekeeper and several creepy little children.  She is also the queen of the vampires and we find out that the disease is turning some of the vampires into those nasty mutant creatures who have been rampaging through the area.  


Lemora, is quite the figure.  She is tall and severe looking in her Victorian attire.  She is very pale with red cheeks.  She tries to win over Lila but is having a hard time convincing her that she has her best interest at heart.  It also turns out her father has turned into one of the mutants.  

This movie is not your usual vampire movie.  It is such a unique movie.  The characters are quite bizarre and the setting is so eerie.  It mostly takes place at night and the sounds of the night creatures and the animal grunts of the roaming mobs of mutants and vampires really add to the atmosphere.  If you're ready to watch something quite out there, take a chance on this really odd but really good movie.