Sunday, March 30, 2014

Children of the Stones

"Children of the Stones" (1977) starring Gareth Thomas, Veronica Strong, Peter Demin, Ruth Dunning, Iain Cuthbertson and Katharine Levy is a British serial that takes place in a sinister village and is geared toward children but fun to watch at all ages.

Scientist Adam Brake (Thomas) and his son Matthew (Demin) are moving to the sleepy English village of Milbury for three months to do some research on the magnetic forces surrounding the local stone formations that circle the village.  They soon meet Margaret (Strong) and her daughter Sandra (Levy) who also have recently moved to town and start telling them about the weirdness going on in the village.

Milbury is full of happy people.  They say "Happy Day" to each other instead of good afternoon and everything is always well.  They also like to go to the stone circle, hold hands and chant every once in a while in the middle of the night.  What are they all up to?  Well, our group of adults and children work together and try to solve the mystery before it's too late because, you see, all the newcomers eventually turn into a "Happy Dayer".  Not only that, but Matthew and his father are somewhat receptive to the psychic energies and visions coming off the stones.

"Children of the Stones" is a world where the children are smart and the parents actually listen to them.  The village is full of strange characters that just want our characters to be part of the town and join with them and mysteries galore.  A very fun adventure/mystery show with a sinister atmosphere throughout!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knife Edge

"Knife Edge" (2009) is a horror / thriller starring: Hugh Bonneville, Natalie Press and Matthieu Boujenah that takes place in a large country mansion in England.

Emma is a successful New York stock broker who has a five year old son Thomas.  She is also recently married to Henri who has whisked her back to her home country of Great Britain and surprised her with the purchase of a huge country mansion and a lush estate.  Their new life seemed perfect until things start unraveling in the new house.

It turns out the house has a terrible secret in its past.  Emma, who has always been able to see glimpses of the past, believes she is now getting visions of murder in the past at the house.  She starts to hear a child calling for her from upstairs and it's not Thomas!  Thomas has an imaginary new friend named Tobias and carries an old doll around that Tobias gave him. Emma tries to share these visions and her fears about the house with Henri but he is too caught up in his own financial troubles to be of any support.

This turned out to be a great thriller.  Filled with spooky atmosphere that an old English Mansion with overgrown estate can provide.  An eerie tree that keeps haunting Emma in her dreams also seems to be a part of the secret.  Lots of scary moments, suspense and an interesting story keeps you guessing until the end.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cat People

"Cat People" (1982) starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard is a remake of the 1942 classic of the same name.

Irena Gallier (Kinski) is invited to New Orleans by her long lost brother Paul Gallier (McDowell).  Shortly after arriving at his home, he disappears because he has turned into a black leopard, been on a killing spree and been captured by Oliver Yates (Heard), the curator at the local zoo.  Irena doesn't know any of this and she doesn't know what her family legacy is.  She happens upon her brother at the zoo and Oliver becomes obsessed with her and offers her a job there.

Little by little, it starts to become clear to Irena, that she will turn into a cat if she has sex with anyone.  The only way to turn back to human form is to kill.

This remake is very well done. Kinski is wonderful as the naive Irena being emotionally overpowered by her domineering brother.  There's even a scary swimming pool scene - a homage to the classic scene from the original!  This remake is bloodier than its original but only in a couple scenes and definitely more erotic.  There's also hypnotic music by David Bowie.  Overall a very good remake of a classic horror movie.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Horror of Dracula

"Horror of Dracula" (1968) starring  Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, John Van Eyssen, Michael Gough is a Hammer Films version of the classic Dracula story.

It is the year 1885 and Jonathan Harker (Van Eyssen) arrives at Count Dracula's (Lee) castle in order to work as the Count's librarian.  After being bitten by one of Dracula's vampire women, he disappears.  Dr. Van Helsing (Cushing) arrives to the castle later in order to find the missing Harker.  He is given Harker's journal from some fearful townsfolk and soon finds himself involved with all the horrible goings on at the castle.

Christopher Lee does a superb job playing the titular role of Dracula.  Hammer Films excelled at these Dracula films and you will find it all here: creepy castle, terrified townspeople, sexy vampire women, scary atmosphere and the dapper but dangerous Dracula.  


Sunday, March 2, 2014

13 Ghosts

"13 Ghosts" (1960) starring Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp, Donald Woods and Margaret Hamilton is a William Castle horror movie that invites the audience to use their ghost viewers to see the ghosts on screen.

The Zorba family, which is in financial dire straights, inherits a haunted house from their reclusive uncle but they must live in it in order to keep it.  The house contains the deceased uncle's collection of ghosts which he was able to see with his special ghost goggles and process for capturing them.  

Soon after moving into the haunted house, the family is playing with a ouija board that they find and they get contacted by their first spirit.  At certain times throughout the movie, the audience is instructed to put on the ghost viewers and the screen turns a bluish color while the ghosts show up in a translucent red color.  The housekeeper is played by Margaret Hamilton and she tries to help the family discover the secrets of the house and the ghosts within.

This is a fun old haunted house movie filled with ghosts, an old mansion and a "Leave it to Beaver" style family that tries to survive the terrors they encounter.