Wish Upon (2017)

Wish Upon (2017)Clare (Joey King) lives together with her father, who is collecting scrap metal and junk in order to make a living. In addition to feeling embarrassed whenever her father goes dumpster diving, she’s also plagued with nightmares and memories from a childhood trauma: her mother committed suicide by hanging herself in the attic, and Clare was the one who found her. Due to this, Clare is troubled with a lot of “what if’s” in addition to a general dissatisfaction over the life she’s currently living. One day she gets a Chinese music box as a result from her father’s recent scrap hunt, and this box is supposed to grant wishes. Trying it out merely for the fun of it, she soon realizes that the wishes actually comes true. What she doesn’t realize until it’s too late however, is that the wishes come at a price…

 

Being granted wishes is not a concept you’ll only find in “Aladdin”. There are many stories dealing with this concept, and much darker ones too. One prime example would be “The Monkey’s Paw”, a horror novel from 1902 by W.W. Jacobs, where each wish is meddling with the fate of the one making it…and in quite a horrible way. “Wish Upon” is some kind of modern version of this, where each wish is only fulfilled by either the death or ill fate of someone else (example: wishing for wealth – the rich uncle dies and they inherit his house and money). It does take some time before our protagonist realizes the price tag on each of her wishes, but it isn’t until most of the people close to her falls victim to her wishes in some kind of way, that she decides that she must stop making them. But of course, it’s not just that easy…

 

“Wish Upon” is directed by John R. Leonetti, who also directed the first “Annabelle” movie from the Conjuring-universe. That being said, “Wish Upon” is a much milder dish which doesn’t live on jump-scares or scary things hiding in the dark. Instead, it’s a typical easy-going PG-13 horror flick that is well served together with some popcorn and candy on a Saturday evening. For what it is, the movie plays out pretty well.

 

Wish Upon

 

Director: John R. Leonetti
Country & year: USA | Canada, 2017
Actors: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Elisabeth Röhm, Josephine Langford, Alexander Nunez, Daniela Barbosa, Kevin Hanchard, Sherilyn Fenn, Raegan Revord, Alice Lee, Victor Sutton
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5322012/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOODBYE OLD FRIEND – short horror film

Yesterday’s “Sunday Horror Short” got delayed until today, sorry about that guys! But here we are with something new for you to watch.

 

A young woman is trapped in her apartment by her childhood imaginary friend, who has come back to haunt her.

 

“Goodye Old Friend” is a creepy horror short that shows us that imaginary friends can become quite mean when you grow older and forget about them…

 

GOODBYE OLD FRIEND - short horror film

 

Director: Rafael De Leon Jr.
Country & year: USA, 2018
Actors: Aaron Dalla Villa, Corrie Legge
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8447978/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrifier (2016)

Terrifier (2017)

The two girlfriends Tara and Dawn are leaving a Halloween party late at night, and stops by a pizza restaurant. After Dawn has taken her “longest piss ever”, a tall and skinny person dressed as a clown-like weirdo comes in with a trash-bag over his shoulders. He sits down by the table across them and gives them an intimidating stare, not uttering a single word. He starts to make faces and evil grins, which is creeping out Tara since she’s the one he’s showing most of his attention to. Dawn, who is slightly drunk and in a funny-mood, tries to laugh it off and plays along by taking a selfie with him. After all, it’s Halloween, so he must be a harmless weirdo who’s just trolling them (or in this case clowning them), right? Oh, well…

 

After Tara and Dawn have left, Art the Clown (which is the creepy clown’s name) returns to the restaurant to do some unfinished business in a pretty graphic killing scene, which gives us a foretaste of what to come. He chops a guy’s head off to make a Jack-O-Lantern of it, and another guy gets his fingers chopped off before he stabs both of his eyes out. Then Art is going after the two girls to get his brunette (Tara). And anyone that gets in his way gets killed, or executed, to put it more correctly.

 

“Terrifier” is written and directed by Damien Leone, and based on his short film with the same title from 2011. It is also a spinoff of his previous film “All Hallows Eve” (which I’ve not seen yet). His CV is mainly listing him as a special effects and make up artist, and “Terrifier” shows that he has a good eye and steady hand as a director as well. The film is a love-letter to the 80’s slasher films, with only practical and old school effects. And they are awesome. The death scenes are creative, juicy and gruesome, and even though there’s not much characters here, the actors are doing a good job. “Terrifier” is more a cat-and-mouse game filled with tension from start to finish.

 

But the man of the hour here is undoubtedly Art the Killer Clown.

 

In Ed Gein-style we get a scene where Art mutilates a girl while she’s hanging upside-down by her legs, and uses her upper torso as an outfit while he dances around like a drunk schizophrenic lunatic. David Howard Thornton is the actor behind Art the Clown, and he’s clearly having the time of his life playing this character with a high level of energy and enthusiasm. Art is also mute and plays only on facial expressions and body language, and David makes the character creepy and believable, and just a joy to watch. And in this never ending era of remakes and reboots it is a breath of fresh air to see a new slasher villain.

 

And some great news that broke recently: Terrifier 2, which will also be directed by Damien Leone and starring David as Art The Clown once more, is in pre-production and set to be released in 2020.

 

Terrifier

 

Director: Damien Leone
Country & year: USA, 2016
Actors: Jenna Kanell, Samantha Scaffidi, David Howard Thornton, Catherine Corcoran, Pooya Mohseni, Matt McAllister
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4281724/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Burning Moon (1992)

West Germany, early 90’s. Peter (Olaf Ittenbach) is a disturbed, hateful young junkie who has dropped out of school, and is spending his days drinking beer, showing authority the finger and participating in gang fights. At home, he argues with mom and dad and clearly shows his disdain for house rules, by telling them to go to hell before entering his boy’s room to shoot up on some heroin. A typical German teenager, it seems. He also has a little sister that he likes to sneak in to after she has gone to bed, to tell her two “goodnight stories” while in full heroin intoxication. Well, this should be interesting..

 

The first “goodnight story” is called “Julia’s Love” which is about Cliff Parker, a schizophrenic mental patient with 21 murder victims behind him, who manages to escape. He goes straight on a blind date with the young Julia, who obviously has no idea what she’s gotten into. While they’re both in Cliff’s car, he goes out to buy smoke while leaving Julia inside. Then she hears on the radio that a certain lunatic who is on the run has stolen a car that is described similar to the one she’s inside. Julia is in deep shit and from here on there’s anything but love that’s awaiting her.

 

After this unconventional love story, Peter’s little sister is in shock and tears, and says Stop, I don’t want to hear your stupid stories. Well, we have an additional 47 minutes to fill while the heroin rush is still in full action, so grab your teddy and hang in there.

 

The second story is called “Purity”, and is about a middle aged priest who lives a double life. Preaching in the daytime while raping and killing ladies at night in a small town community. We also learn that this priest is a full-blown satanist who kidnaps people and sacrifices them under some juicy rituals, while he drinks their blood from a goblet. And just to top that, he looks like a mishmash of Edmund Kemper and Dennis Rader, which by itself is fucking hilarious. He’s the high point of this movie, for sure.

 

The film’s juicy climax ends straight into Hell, literally. With a tirade of torture-porn scenes where we see Olaf Ittenbach’s true ambition and talents come to light, and where the micro-budget probably went: effects. While most of the effects we’ve seen until this point has been pretty sloppy, he made sure to save some of the best till the end.

 

However, The Burning Moon is a stumbling underground amateur-reel starring Olaf Ittenbach’s friends, who never tried to act before or after this movie. And of course, with a budget that couldn’t even afford a microphone, some horrible dubbing was added in post production. It’s also obvious that the film tries to go for a more serious and gritty tone, with ultra-taboo subjects, but nosedives by its own incompetence already in the opening credit sequence. It reeks of cheapness and amateur hour all the way, which provides us with some funny scenes and gut-busting moments.

 

This is Ittenbach’s second film, with a filmography spanning of 18 titles as we speak, and the guy is still active today. This is my first viewing of his works, so I have no idea how (or if) the guy has evolved through the years. We’ll see..

 

The Burning Moon

 

Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Country & year: Germany, 1992
Actors: Olaf Ittenbach, Beate Neumeyer, Bernd Muggenthaler, Ellen Fischer, Alfons Sigllechner, Barbara Woderschek, Helmut Neumeyer, Andrea Arbter, Christian Fuhrmann, Herbert Holzapfel, Thomas Deby, Karl-Heinz Nebbe, Karin Dellinger
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103898/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SLEIGHT – Horror short

A late night radio host goes off on a rant about his disdain for magicians. But when a man claiming to be a magician calls on air, things get increasingly sinister.

 

“Sleight” is a dialogue-driven horror short, where the intensity comes from what is being said rather than what is being shown. Quite chilling and effective!

 

SLEIGHT - Horror short

 

Director: Faisal Hashmi
Country & year: United Arab Emirates, 2015
Actors: Brent Black, Lucia Grant, Zhuldyz Bekova, Kurt Barretto
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4761348/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar (2019)Dani and Christian, a young American couple, are at the brink of breaking up. Christian has already started planning a trip abroad with his friends and is more or less starting to walk out the door on the relationship, but after Dani experiences a horrible family tragedy where she loses her parents and sister in a murder-suicide, Christian can’t make himself break out. Months later, when Dani finds out about his planned trip to Sweden with his friends, she invites herself along with them. One of Christian’s friends, the Swede Pelle, brings them all to a traditional “Midsommar” celebration in a secluded area called “Harga”. All seem to be flowers and sunshine, until it becomes clear that they’ve ventured into a sect whose “traditions” proves to be rather disturbing.

 

As a Norwegian (Sweden is one of our neighbouring countries) I was already familiar with their summer tradition called “Midsommar” (Midsummer), which is highly celebrated in the entire country and by some considered the most popular tradition (to the point of even surpassing Christmas). It involves decorating your hair with flowers, dancing around the “Majstång” (Maypole), partying and in general having lots of fun. In other words: the real “Midsommar” is a harmless and fun tradition, so just relax: if you want to visit a Scandinavian country, you won’t be killed by crazy sect-members during a summer festival.

 

Ari Aster made quite a name for himself with last year’s “Hereditary”, which is considered by many as the best horror movie made in recent years. And despite your own personal opinion on that matter, there’s no denying that the guy sure knows how to make creepy and unsettling movies. “Midsommar” is quite different from his previous film, however, and you may probably consider it more as a thriller. It’s primarily a story about a couple breaking up with each other, and Dani’s broken psyche due to her terrible loss. In this movie, Ari Aster has taken folklore and turned it into a bizarre nightmare filled with sunshine and flowers, heavy with symbolism and tons of things open to interpretation. Some of the rituals depicted in the movie are based on actual rituals, while others belong more to myths and legends without definitive proof that they were ever real. Like the “Ättestupa” scene, where two elders are jumping from a cliff to their deaths: this is based on ritual senicide during Nordic prehistoric times, where elderly people either jumped to their deaths or were thrown in order to not be a burden to the household. Suicide precipices and stories of such is debated to be more myth and legend than true, however, and there is no real proof this ever happened. Still makes for quite a horrible scene in the movie, though…

 

While “Midsommar” may test your patience a little bit, it’s held up strongly by a believable protagonist that you really feel sorry for and sympathize with. Dani has been troubled with an unstable and bi-polar sister for years, who has threatened to kill herself multiple times over and thus having kept Dani on the edge and worried sick for a long time. This was even described as one of the strains on Dani and Christian’s relationship. So, when Dani’s sister actually does kill herself and their parents in a murder-suicide, Dani’s year-long worries all become true and she falls completely apart. So when we see her reactions and behavior throughout the rest of the movie, it makes sense. All the worries had gnawed away at her for years, and made her vulnerable. It wasn’t just an accident or tragedy that happened out of the blue, this was something Dani had feared for years. And it happening at the brink of Christian’s break-up with her, which makes him feel compelled to stay with her, gives the story just the right amount of unease and tension between them. So when they arrive at the festival in Sweden, and is given a fair amount of drugs together with the sunshine and flowers, the movie starts having a really bad and bizarre trip. It’s nightmarish, surreal and emotionally strong, and even quite funny in some parts, and makes for quite an experience.

 

Side note: it would have been a lot of fun (and kinda fitting) if they could have played Sigge Fürst’s “Bullfest” in the ending credits. No such luck, though…

 

Midsommar

 

Director: Ari Aster
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, Henrik Norlén, Gunnel Fred, Isabelle Grill, Agnes Westerlund Rase, Julia Ragnarsson, Mats Blomgren, Lars Väringer, Anna Åström
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8772262/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend Request (2016)

Friend Request (2016)Laura is a popular girl in high school, with lots of likes and friends on Facebook. She meets Marina, a new girl at school who’s an outcast with no friends. She feels sorry for her, and decides to befriend her online. What was originally supposed to be a good deed towards someone she felt pity for, soon turns into something darker as Marina becomes obsessive over her new “friendship”. Marina starts sending tons of messages if Laura doesn’t reply within minutes, and very much acts like a creepy stalker. Laura tries to convince herself that Marina is just lonely and desperate for a friend, but in the end it gets too much for her and she decides to unfriend her on Facebook. And that is when all hell breaks loose…

 

“Friend Request” is what you could probably call a modern-day horror movie, especially nowadays when social media is something a lot of people feel very attached to, and often use it to compare themselves to others: always a hunt for more likes, more followers, more “friends”. Laura is depicted as the “normal” girl of modern times: socially competent at school, and a personality and looks that automatically brings in both likes and followers on Facebook. Marina, on the other hand, is that classic “creepy girl” dressed in black who is socially awkward, and on top of that she is making moody and dark illustrations. Their “friendship” is something that’s not prone to survive, and yes – we’ve seen that story before. But that doesn’t mean it’s not exciting, and the performances by both Liesl Ahlers (Marina) and Alycia Debnam-Carey (Laura) makes the story believable and thrilling.

 

The illustrations by “Marina” adds a great additional tone to the movie, as they also include a bit of animation and works to set a certain understanding of Marina’s mindset, and the supernatural occurrences that’s caused by her. The movie also provides a back-story for Marina, which explains a bit about her behaviour. The movie does have a fair amount of suspense and even some decent scares, and the social-media theme is not such a large part of the plot that those of us that doesn’t use Facebook (yes! There’s still some of us left!) won’t feel estranged from the story. The ending, albeit a little predictable, is kind of interesting as well.

 

Friend Request

 

Director: Simon Verhoeven
Country & year: Germany | USA, 2016
Actors: Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Sean Marquette, Liesl Ahlers, Shashawnee Hall, Susan Danford, Lee Raviv, Nicholas Pauling, David Butler, Julian Katz, Kiano Janse van Rensburg, Dorothy Ann Gould
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3352390/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POND – Gothic horror short

Christiane and her ill mother live in a castle together with her strict aunt. On the premises, there’s a big pond that hides a secret. Although she is not allowed to come near it, it has a big attraction on Christiane.

 

“The Pond” (original title “De Vijver”) is a gothic horror short with great atmosphere and beautiful scenes.

 

THE POND - Gothic horror short

 

Director: Jeroen Dumoulein
Country & year: Belgium, 2014
Actors: Xenia Borremans, Sara De Bosschere, Kirsten Pieters, Tibo Vandenborre
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4444464/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child’s Play (2019)

Child's Play (2019)Kaslan Products have invented a brand new toy: Buddi, the interactive doll that is the most high-tech product available that can also connect to all other Kaslan products and smart home devices. These dolls are produced at a factory in Vietnam, under terrible working conditions. The movie starts off showing us one of the depressed workers getting harassed and fired, and before finishing his final Buddi doll, he removes all safety precautions before he commits suicide by throwing himself off the roof of the factory. Of course, no one knows that the latest doll he worked on was been tempered with, and it is shipped off together with all the others…

 

Soon afterwards, we meet Andy and his mother, Karen, who have just moved to a new place and is trying to settle in. Karen is working at the local hypermarket, that is also selling Buddi dolls on a regular basis. When one of the customers returns a Buddi doll due to it being defected, she decides to bring this doll back home to give it to her son. Despite not working the way it’s supposed to, both Andy and Karen believes it’s just a harmless defect. When Andy can make it swear and do funny things that would not be possible with any of the “normal” Buddi dolls, he’s also able to befriend some of the neighboring kids. All seem fine to Andy for a while…but with this doll having all safety protocols disabled, it’s soon showing signs of a behavior that can turn out to be quite dangerous.

 

“Child’s Play” is a remake of the 1988 classic by the same name, and is directed by Lars Klevberg. This movie is quite different from the original story, however. In the original film, the soul of a serial killer (Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray) entered one of the dolls after being chased and killed inside a toy shop. In this remake, we get a modernized version where Chucky is simply an AI doll that’s been tampered with, and developing a behavior that is not really his fault. In many ways, you can even sympathize a bit with Chucky in certain scenes, like when Andy and his friends are watching a horror movie (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”, which was in fact totally banned here in Norway back in the day…something I suppose director Lars Klevberg knew since he’s Norwegian as well). When the kids start laughing and enjoying themselves, Chucky believes that the killings are “fun”, and he goes to the kitchen and brings back a knife as he believes it will make them laugh. And the doll shows signs of distress and confusion when it realizes that this did not make Andy and his friends happy at all. Thus, Chucky is a completely different “villain” than in the original…and while the original is a horror classic from the 80’s, it’s refreshing to see a remake that does something completely different. When Chucky goes crazy and starts killing, it’s all based on a wish to keep Andy safe and happy. And to be his “best buddy”…

 

The doll is voiced by Mark Hamill, in which we get a little “Star Wars” reference when Andy tries to make the doll name itself “Han Solo”, but due to the defect it thinks he said “Chucky” (which, of course, references the original “Child’s Play”). The movie also brings us some pretty neat killing scenes, and a fair amount of blood and gore. It’s entertaining and fresh, just don’t expect the same story as the one from 1988 as this is a totally reimagined version.

 

Child's Play

 

Director: Lars Klevberg
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson, Gabriel Bateman, David Lewis, Trent Redekop, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, Carlease Burke, Hannah Drew, Kristin York, Zahra Anderson, Marlon Kazadi, Nicole Anthony
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8663516/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING GLASS – Horror animation

A dark stormy night. A little girl is home alone, but is she really?

 

“Looking Glass” (original title “Spegelbarn”) is a suspenseful and atmospheric horror animation. It’s a dark and unsettling short, with an art style that fits the concept pretty well.

 

LOOKING GLASS (Spegelbarn) - Horror animation

 

Director: Erik Rosenlund
Country & year: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, 2007
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1062968/