Search
  • charliechanfan000

By Kelsey zukowski


As a throwback and homage film, The House of the Devil is a beautifully crafted and richly suspenseful escalation. It wonderfully captures the 80s horror feel- a lot of aspects of it from the tone to characters to score to the "babysitter" horror set up felt very in tune to John Carpenter's Halloween. As things escalate it dives in to cult horror and entrapment reminiscent of Rosemary's Baby, particularly at the end of the film when all is revealed. Many more parallels could be drawn to other horror films; the true horror fan mark is all over this one. It was that well crafted homage, horror fan energy that pulled me in. The film is immensely enjoyable particularly in the first act of the film. I just enjoyed being with these characters as the suspicious circumstances were set up with the promise of impending evil.


College student, Samantha (Donahue), finds herself in a desperate financial situation with almost no money to her name. She manages to find a place to live, but she has a short time to come up with the money for rent. After some desperate searching, she comes across a babysitting job that might be the answer to her problems, but there seems to be something incredibly odd about her would-be employer. Her friend, Megan (Gerwig), accompanies her in meeting the family, promising to get Samantha out of here if anything seems creepy or suspicious. Even though, there are a number of red flags and there’s something very unsettling about the man offering her the job, he offers her enough to pay her rent and then some for one night of watching an elderly woman. It’s an offer she can’t quite refuse no matter how unusual it seems. Things start quiet as she settles in to the night, but before long it becomes clear this family is harboring a nefarious secret and preying on her to further their sinister agenda.


The House of the Devil is a slow burn, but fairly early on the stage is set and we have a pretty good idea of how things will go. It’s not the most original premise and there are few surprises, but it still works. The suspicious situation sets up a foreboding and suspenseful tone. There are moments around the middle of the film that are a bit more "still", nothing truly escalating or developing. During these moments I could feel my engrossment fading a little. There were a lot of moments of exploring ones surroundings, letting things slowly unravel approach here, which will work for some and not others.


Most of the horror takes place in the last 20 minutes of the film and from there it takes on a gritty, terrifying turn as we find out just why this job was a little too good to be true. Especially when our lead falls prey to her captors’ whim- the visuals, score, editing, and gritty, intense tone is phenomenally executed. There are a lot of flashes of her captors, showing how they’re making their mark on her in body and mind. I also appreciate that while Samantha is in a terrible position and has no leverage to escape, she fights ferociously. She shows them that she isn’t going to take this lying down- she’s going to fight for her life and freedom and she does so radiantly.


The ending in particular shows a chilling, intense, horrific showdown, but it’s just done and over so quickly and I didn’t feel I really got as much substance or perspective of the root and reasoning for this horror as I wanted. It is a strong ending and all in all a fucked up, entrapping horror story, but I think it fell short of becoming something lasting with more meat. Ideally I would have liked the showdown and horror to happen earlier and to spend more time there.


Alternatively, this is a film I really could see there being a compelling follow up to in what being touched by this evil and torment does to Samantha. Diving more in to the cultish loyalties and power they give themselves to could offer very compelling material that would stay with you more. As a standalone film, it’s a mixed bag for me. Overall, a good film with many very strong moments, but one that felt lacking with some pacing issues, almost completely still and lagging in some moments and feeling a little rushed where it was most important to really dive in and explore the brand of evil before us. It’s not a film that will stay with me, but still worth a view as it offers wonderful chilling moments any horror fan will relish in.


Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig

Written & Directed by: Ti West

Grade: 6.5/10


By Kelsey Zukowski


Kelsey Zukowski- Co-host/ Film Reviewer

Kelsey Zukowski is a screenwriter, film journalist, actor and internationally published model, specializing in conceptual gothic artistry and the horror genre through dark examination. She was heavily inspired at an early age by fellow Cleveland native, Wes Craven’s surreal and ‘fighting through the mind’ brand of horror in particular. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Digital Cinema with a concentration in Screenwriting. Zukowski’s start with film criticism began at the age of 14 when inspired by Roger Ebert’s writing, passion, and understanding for cinema, she began writing film reviews of her own. Within a few years she was writing for an array of film and genre websites including HorrorYearbook.com, The Critic’s Word, and FilmArcade.net. She has been a published film journalist, heavily focusing on horror for the past 10 years. After graduating, Zukowski immersed herself as an actor and writer in the indie horror scene starting in Chicago. From there she worked heavily in Los Angeles where she made her first feature, the gritty and psychological horror film, Within These Walls. Zukowski has since relocated to Cleveland where she connected with Dino and joined The Late Late Horror Show.

Website: http://kelseyzukowski.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kelseyzuk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kelseyzukowski

IMDB: http://www.imdb.me/kelseyzukowski

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kelsey.zukowski

47 views0 comments

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is an American made for television horror film directed by John Newland and starring Kim Darby and Jim Hutton. It was released by Lorimar Productions and was first telecast on ABC on Wednesday October 10, 1973, during the ABC movie of the week. It has since been shown many times in syndication and was distributed on home video and now on DVD. It is known as Nightmare in certain countries in Europe. The story centers around a young housewife who unknowingly unleashes a trio of hideous goblin like creatures from within a sealed fireplace in the Victorian mansion, inherited from her late grandmother, that she and her husband are restoring. Now free, the creatures begin terrorizing her and later reveal their sinister plans to her: whoever frees them must become one of them. It has since become a cult film and a theatrical remake of the same name was released in August 2010


Sally Farnum and her husband Alex inherit an old mansion from Sally's recently deceased grandmother. Shortly after moving in, she discovers a bricked-up fireplace in the basement den. The estate's handyman, Mr. Harris, tells her that Sally's grandmother had him seal it up after her grandfather died and that it is better to leave it the way it is. After he leaves for the day, she uses some of Harris' tools to try to remove the bricks herself. She fails, but is able to pry open a small side door used for removing fireplace ashes. Inside is not a fireplace at all but a large, dark, deep sub-basement. As Sally leaves the den, several whispering voices call her name from behind the fireplace, proclaiming that "She set us free."

Sally begins to feel unsettled in the house. One night she is awakened by voices whispering her name, and an ashtray mysteriously falls off her bedside cabinet. Alex dismisses her concerns and believes she is suffering from nervous tension. The next evening, something grabs her dress as she is walking down the stairs and she hears voices whispering "We want you." Freeing herself, she sees something scuttling away behind a curtain, which she believes is a small animal of some kind. Later, she hears the same whispering coming from behind the fireplace in the basement den. Alex remains unconvinced of her story, but makes sure the ash door is bolted securely shut.

The following night, Sally throws a dinner party for Alex's colleagues at his law firm. During the party, Sally sees a small, hideous goblin like creature near her leg under the dinner table. She screams, but nobody believes what she saw and the creature quickly vanishes. Alex grows impatient with her and thinks she is becoming delusional. While Sally is in the shower, three of the goblin creatures turn out the lights so that they can attack her with a razor. As Sally turns the light back on, the creatures shriek and retreat from the brightness into the bathroom cupboards where they disappear. She tells Alex they should sell the house.

The following day, Alex goes away on business and Sally arranges to go and stay with her friend Joan. Before she goes, the creatures attempt to trip Sally down a flight of stairs, but they accidentally cause the death of her interior decorator instead. Sally tries to confront the creatures and asks them what they want, and they reply they want her spirit. Whoever frees them (as Sally did by opening the fireplace) must become one of them. Sally's doctor prescribes sedatives and her friend Joan stays with her. Joan begins to believe Sally's story. Alex remains unconvinced. He leaves to meet their handyman regarding the history of the house and the fireplace. Sally tries to stay awake but the creatures put sedatives into her coffee and cut the electricity. They lock Joan outside when she checks the circuit breaker. Sally manages to walk downstairs, but the creatures trip her in the dark. While she is semi-conscious, they drag her into the basement den and into the unsealed fireplace.

Sally, now one of the creatures, patiently waits for their next victim to move into the house.


Join Dino & Ted as they discuss this movie on youtube: https://youtu.be/ZgJf_RCgJSI


6 views0 comments
  • charliechanfan000

Updated: Jun 3

By Kelsey zukowski

The monthly Blumhouse/ Hulu horror film series, Into the Dark, returns for Women in Horror month with a fittingly female ked, written, and directed Valentine’s Day body horror/ creature feature entitled Tentacles. While I can’t say it is necessarily a powerful or wildly memorable film, it worked for me and offered some strong metaphors, quite literally showing us what it’s like to lose oneself in the bliss of a new relationship. Too often this strips away ones individuality, identity, and clarity along the way. It can be intoxicatingly blinding and what better way to show that than through sexually charged body horror with a lurking darkness invading you from the inside out?

Tara (Drori) moves to Los Angeles, looking to leave her complicated past behind and find a fresh start. She meets Sam (Diedrick), a talented, but troubled photographer who is struggling with the loss and damage his parent’s death have left him with. The two almost immediately move in with one another, feeling they can heal each other’s breakage and build something positive together. They become utterly consumed as their lives quickly merge and they fall deeper for one another in a whirl of passion and understanding. Sam’s closest friend, Esther (Elise), wants him to be happy but can’t help feel that something is off- that this is all too soon, and he’s letting himself lose who he is for this girl he really knows very little about. Tara’s past catches up with her and threatens to tear apart the happiness they have created. Sam slowly accepts that there might be something following her that she isn’t being totally honest about- but is she the victim or the cause of it? He investigates himself, finding something far more sinister and unbelievable than he could have fathomed.

The film is a bit of a slow burn that enticingly contorts, revealing the darkness lurking just underneath. Its focus for most of the film is the steamy yet slightly odd romance. Then the creature and body horror take over in full force in the last act as the true nature of this all-consuming romance is unmasked. There are touches of darkness and clues that something isn’t right here with unusual bleeding, monstrous hallucinations, and one of our protagonists being told there’s obviously something infecting him in the environment, but no medical proof of what that could be can be found. Between the title, the basic premise, and knowing this is a horror film and these two likely aren’t going to live happily ever after, not without undergoing some torturous turmoil first, we have an idea of what to expect. Still, as the mystery is slowly uncovered there are some fun, exhilarating twists and a few moments that might take you by surprise. The acting isn’t anything remarkable, but the performances are strong enough and offer enough intrigue to make you want to watch and see where the story goes. Casey Diedrick as Sam works better and becomes more realistic and compelling as his characters evolves and becomes more relatable. The chemistry between Diedrick and Drori is strong as well. If not love you believe the desperation and raw desire between them, which fuels both the romance and the darkness of the film.


Tentacles is told through a female lens in story, visuals, and metaphor or what the tentacles themselves represent, which gives a lot of power to female forces. I didn’t find it to be anti-man though, which I appreciated. Female characters aren’t free from being hunted either, but there are some stronger roles for females that would normally be told from a more male dominated viewpoint. The turning of the gender tables and offering strong female roles without making it a total gender issue film was satisfying. The creature horror is somewhat minimal so some might be disappointed. While I would have loved more, I didn’t find it lacking, just something that was more cloaked for most of the story as a survival mechanism. I very much enjoyed the moments where we are able to see the raw, primal, huntress nature of the tentacles at work. There is some satisfying gore and gruesome moments, nothing very excessive, but the little sprinkled in had a strong effect and should appeal to horror fans.


I can’t say this is a fantastic film, but it was interesting, relevant, and primal view of humanity, sexuality, romance, and monsters wound up in one offbeat, yet satisfying film worthy of a view if you’re in to any of the horror subgenres it dips its toes… or I should say tentacles in to.


Tentacles

Starring: Dana Drori, Casey Diedrik, Kasey Elise

Written by: Alexandra Pechman, Nick Antosca

Directed by: Clara Aranovich

Rating: 6/10


By Kelsey Zukowski


Kelsey Zukowski- Co-host/ Film Reviewer

Kelsey Zukowski is a screenwriter, film journalist, actor and internationally published model, specializing in conceptual gothic artistry and the horror genre through dark examination. She was heavily inspired at an early age by fellow Cleveland native, Wes Craven’s surreal and ‘fighting through the mind’ brand of horror in particular. She graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Digital Cinema with a concentration in Screenwriting. Zukowski’s start with film criticism began at the age of 14 when inspired by Roger Ebert’s writing, passion, and understanding for cinema, she began writing film reviews of her own. Within a few years she was writing for an array of film and genre websites including HorrorYearbook.com, The Critic’s Word, and FilmArcade.net. She has been a published film journalist, heavily focusing on horror for the past 10 years. After graduating, Zukowski immersed herself as an actor and writer in the indie horror scene starting in Chicago. From there she worked heavily in Los Angeles where she made her first feature, the gritty and psychological horror film, Within These Walls. Zukowski has since relocated to Cleveland where she connected with Dino and joined The Late Late Horror Show.

Website: http://kelseyzukowski.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kelseyzuk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kelseyzukowski

IMDB: http://www.imdb.me/kelseyzukowski

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kelsey.zukowski



43 views0 comments
1
2