The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)A father and a son who are running a coroner business from their own home, need to identify the body of a young woman who was found in a house full of brutally murdered bodies. The other bodies were that of the family living in the house…but in the basement, the police found the half-buried corpse of that young woman. The corpse is pristine, there isn’t even a scratch on her or any blood. As the old saying goes, however: looks can be deceiving…

 

When they start their “work” on her (and if you are queasy when it comes to body horror, you’ll probably be squirming in your seat while watching it) they soon find out that the girl appears to have been through extreme torture before she died. Her tongue has been cut out, one of her teeth are missing, and from the inside it appears that she’s been burned…but still, her outside is intact, like if nothing ever happened to her. The girl harbors a dark secret, however, and soon weird shit starts to happen.

 

«The Autopsy of Jane Doe», directed by norwegian André Øvredal (known for «Troll Hunter», aka «Trolljegeren»), has given us a really atmospheric and creepy film that easily manages to get under your skin. There are several scenes that are outright bone-chilling. Well recommended if you enjoy dark psychological horror movies.

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

 

Director: André Øvredal
Country & year: UK / USA, 2016
Actors: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Catherine Kelly
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3289956/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook (2014)«The Babadook» is Jennifer Kent’s debut movie based on her short film from 2005 titled «Monster». It’s the story about a widowed mother, Amelia, who is still struggling with trying to cope after her husband’s violent death. Plagued with nightmares and depression, she’s also having more than a handful with her son Samuel, a 7-year-old with a really needy personality with hyperactive periods and often throwing tantrums. To top it all, he’s got a fear of monsters that he believe are lurking around in the house. One night she decides to read a book for him in order to make him calm down and sleep, and she finds a book in her own home that she can’t remember having seen before. The book is titled «The Babadook”…and after reading from it, she also starts to sense what her son has been sensing: that something evil lurks around in their house…which later manifests itself as the evil spirit «The Babadook».

 

One could argue wether «The Babadook» is more a horror tale of a mother that is slowly going insane, than a monster movie. Seeing how the strugglig mother is trying to cope by balancing her work with her needy son and her trauma is somehow chilling by itself, because it’s so down-to-earth, even without any kind of monster mixed in. In many ways, the movie could be seen as some kind of metaphor for the pain and struggles of motherhood. There’s many ways to interpret this movie and what happens in it, especially the ending, which is also similar to the ending in the short film «Monster».

 

Oh, and the book featured in the film was actually printed as a real pop-up book where people could pre-order one in a crowd-funding campaign. I actually pre-ordered one of these, and below are some photos. This is the first print run, autographed by Jennifer Kent (and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a second print run, so this is a rare gem):

 

The Babadook Book

 

The Babadook

 

Director: Jennifer kent
Country & year:  Asutralia | Canada, 2014
Actors: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, Benjamin Winspear, Chloe Hurn, Jacquy Phillips
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210070/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Ginger Snaps (2000)«Ginger Snaps» is the story of two sisters, two outcasts that are obsessed with death. Their main hobby is to play around with practical effects and a photo camera, taking pictures of themselves playing dead. The sisters face a serious threat when Ginger, the oldest of them, is getting bitten by a creature resembling a werewolf, on the night she has her first menstrual period. Soon, Ginger’s behaviour and appearance starts to change, and Brigitte, the youngest of the two sisters, must try and help Ginger. But is there really any way to stop what is happening to her?

 

This movie is just as much a werewolf movie as it is a coming of age movie. Ginger’s gradual transformation into a werewolf beast, changing from the young and “innocent” older sister that Brigitte is used to, could be seen as some kind of metaphor for the female coming-of-age experience shown through Ginger’s lycanthropic transformation. This makes the movie one of the most imaginative Werewolf films I have seen thus far.

 

«Ginger Snaps» became successful enough to warrant two sequels: «Ginger Snaps 2, Unleashed» from 2004, and «Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning», also from 2004. I have not seen any of these movies yet, and I personally think this first movie ended pretty well and with no need for any sequels.

 

Ginger Snaps

 

Director: John Fawcett
Country & year:  Canada, 2000
Actors: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, Peter Keleghan
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210070/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Inferno (2013)

This is Eli Roth’s tribute to the cannibal genre, the horror subgenre that the italians started in the 70’s. Do I need to say more than classics like «Cannibal Holocaust» and «Cannibal Ferox» ? If this sounds completely unfamiliar to you, I guess it’s better for you to just take your hat and go. This is probably nothing for you and never will be.

 

«The Green Inferno» centers around a bunch of young activists who travels to Peru in order to protest against the wood industry that destroys the rainforest. On their way back, their plane crashes in the Amazon jungle where they meet a cannibal tribe, and we all know how it goes from there. Not good.

 

Where the Italian cannibal movies are so ugly, grotesque and filthy that you just want to jump right in the shower after seeing one of them, it’s mainly the gore effects that stands out here. And they’re pretty…meaty, to say the least. Nevertheless, it is a plus that the cannibals were played by real natives in a real jungle in isolated surroundings and not in front of a bluescreen. It’s always refreshing to see some real wilderness that adds to the realism. Otherwise, these young activists are nothing more than stick figures that no one could really care about. Still an okay tribute to the genre, if you take it for what it is.

 

The Green Inferno

 

Director: Eli Roth
Country & year: USA / Chile / Canada / Spain, 2013
Actors: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Sky Ferreira, Nicolás Martínez
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2403021/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Devil’s Candy (2015)

«The Devil’s Candy» is an indie horror movie written and directed by Sean Byrne. I found out about this movie while watching some horror trailers on Youtube, and thought “an indie horror film that actually seem to have a high visual standard, and doesn’t look like it’s made out of 90% close-up shots? Let’s see what this is about”.

 

The movie starts with a scene at night, in a countryside house. We meet Raymond Smilie who sits in his room playing his red Flying V loudly to keep out the voices from “Him” in his head. When his mother unplugs his guitar, it gets fatal consequences. We then see that sometime afterwards, this countryside house is sold to Jesse Hellman, a struggling painter. He moves there together with his wife, Astrid, and daughter, Zooey. Soon, Jesse starts hearing voices inside the house as well. Inspired by them, he starts painting as never before, but he soon finds out that this muse is not a positive one.

 

The movie is well made technically, and I think it’s got a strong first half, but even though the atmosphere was there I kind of felt that it never built up to its potential, and in the end I think there were a few things that felt unresolved. Maybe I expected something different than what it was (I guess I expected more on the supernatural front). Still one of the better indie horror films that have come out lately.

 

And the movie also have a heavy metal soundtrack that serves well as ear candy!

 

The Devil's Candy

 

Director: Sean Byrne
Country & year: USA, 2015
Actors: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Kiara Glasco, ony Amendola, Leland Orser, Craig Nigh, Jeremy West
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4935372/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evil Ed (1995)

Edward Tor Swenson (Johan Rudebeck) is editing dull swedish drama-films that nobody wants to see. When the former editor in the building’s “Splatter and Gore Department” became mad and stuffed a grenade in his mouth, Ed is set up to replace him, a task he would quickly regret. Ed gets his own, dark house in the woods where he sits through the newest film in a horror movie series called «The Loose Limbs», which serves as a parody of all of the trashy horror sequels we got in the 1980’s. Ed becomes increasingly influenced by all the cruel violence he must sit through and it drives him crazy, or drives him “Evil Ed”, if you will. Now the world shall pay for making these influential garbage films, and he goes on a wild rampage.

 

«Evil Ed» is first and foremost a satire and spoof against the Cinemabureau of the State in Sweden that edited out explicit and gory scenes in horror movies to such an extent that it was only dry meat left. The scenes where the gory things happened would jump-cut right into the end of the scene. Not only did we miss the gory stuff, but also the whole context of the scenes. It looked choppy and messy and was irritating as hell. Those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, are aware of how horror movies on VHS were brutally treated by cencorship, especially in Norway (where I am from). They really showed no mercy to those poor celluloids, and even a scene in “Ghostbusters” were cut from the VHS in the norwegian release back in the day. Fortunately, things are different now.

 

With the cencorship history in the back of your mind, you will probably get more out of «Evil Ed», but this is still a fun little low-budget slasher made with lots of energy, enthusiasm, and a ton of horror references and cheesy dubbing. And music by E-Type, of course.

 

Evil Ed

 

Director: Anders Jacobsson
Country & year: Sweden, 1995
Actors: Johan RudebeckPer Löfberg, Olof Rhodin, Camela Leierth, Gert Fylking, Cecilia Ljung, Michael Kallaanvaara
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116247/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Witch (2015)


«The Witch» , or «The VVitch: A New England Folktale» takes place in the 17th century in New England, where the poor family man William is banned from a Puritan plantation together with his wife and four kids. They settle in a small worn farm in an isolated nobody’s land, in hopes of making their lives go on. Then creepy things start to happen. It turns out that a witch lives nearby, a witch who likes to kidnap young children.

 

«The Witch» was a big talk back when it was shown on Sundance, and it achieved cult status pretty much overnight. This is not the kind of movie for those who are looking for jump scares, fast editing, fast-paced horror-action and stuff like that. «The Witch» is a slow burner, where the horror elements is shown on a very subtile level. The psychological aspects and build-up of tension is what defines this movie.

 

The directing by Robert Eggers, who also wrote it, is amazing. It reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s works, with its long takes and the wide shots. The grim atmosphere is all over the place, the forest landscapes are pretty grim and the feeling of plain dread and despair is everywhere. Thanks to great acting you also feel for the family and what they’re going through.

 

All in all, a suspenseful little film with the most refreshing endings I’ve seen in these types of horror movies in years.

 

The Witch

 

Director: Robert Eggers
Country & year: UK / Canada / USA, 2015
Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson, Julian Richings,
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4263482/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Evil Within (2017)

Dennis is a young mentally retarded man living with his big brother John. He has no friends, and is isolated at home where he is struggling with trippy nightmares. Because of Dennis, John has had to put the love of his life, Lydia, on hold. Lydia would like for them to get a life together, but him being tied up with his mentally retarded brother makes this difficult. One day, John comes home with an antique mirror that he places in Dennis’s room…a mirror Dennis had previously dreamt about before it even came into the house. Soon, Dennis begins to talk to his own reflection…and it talks back. Inside the mirror there is a demon that manipulates Dennis into believing that he can become smart and get rid of the resilience by killing people.

 

Obscure amateur horror films seem to be bred like fruit flies these days, and let’s be honest and admit that very often they are pickings from the bottom of the barrel. However, when it comes to this one, which I came across on Amazon.com as recommended to me, it immediately sparked my curiosity. Michael Berryman on the cover, and not a 3.2 on imdB? Let’s check it out.

 

«The Evil Within» is a psychological horror movie that explores the grotesque nature of the human mind, and after just a few minutes you’ll understand that this is not a conventional movie. We get thrown right into one of Dennis’s trippy and bizzare nightmares, where we get a glimpse of the demon entity which later manifests himself in the mirror. We spend a lot of time with Dennis, who is slipping more and more into madness, and thanks to the brilliant acting by Frederick Koehler, it never gets boring. He really plays his role believeable with his facial ticks, overall body form and the way he delivers his lines, makes him really disturbing.

 

It’s overall a pretty dark movie with a moody, depressive tone, and with the right state of mind the film works like a interesting character study.

 

And some trivia: It took director and writer Andrew Getty six years to shoot the film and another seven years to get it into post-production. Sadly, he died in 2015 due to a history of drug addiction, which made this his first and last movie. He didn’t even get to see the final product, one of his producers finished the film.

 

The Evil Within

 

Director: Andrew Getty
Country & year: USA, 2017
Actors: Frederick Koehler, Sean Patrick Flanery, Brianna Brown, Dina Meyer, Michael Berryman, Francis Guinan, Kim Darby
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0339736/

 

Tom Ghoul