Hobgoblins (1988)

HobgoblinsWriter, producer, editor and director Rick Sloane is a true independent auteur, no one can at least take that away from him. He’s made 16 movies over the course of the decades since the early 80’s, and we all should know about his Vice Academy films, a spoof of Police Academy which spawned five whole sequels. Yet he’s known for one movie and one movie only: Hobgoblins – one of the most, if not the most, sour fart-smelling and cringe-inducing cheese fests from the 1980s that got its place on the Worst Films Ever Made list and became a cult-classic of so-bad-it’s-good-movies.

 

The film starts in some old movie studio where the young nightguard, Dennis, have been strictly told by his older co-worker McCreedy to stay far away from the vault. Of course he won’t. And when he enters it, he’s suddenly on a stage in his own fantasy land where he’s a rock star. Shortly after he grabs the mike and does some silly movements, and ends up getting killed, off screen. A new young guy gets hired with the same warnings to stay away from the vault. Pffft, yeah right. One night when he opens it, a group of fluffy Mogwai/Critter hybrid creatures escape from the vault and drive away in a golf cart.

 

To quote the back of the Blu-ray; as bodycounts starts to rise, Kevin, with help of his friends, decide to track down the deadly creatures before they wreak havok on the city.

 

There’s only one (yes 1) bodycount in the entire film though, and that’s the guy we saw in the beginning, and the film is as tame as a newborn kitten. We learn that the creatures came from space in the 1950s in a small shuttle that crashlanded near the movie studio where McCreedy was a nightguard. He has since then kept them trapped in the vault, since anyone who encounters them will have their fantasy wishes come true, only until they get killed by the creatures. And guess what: they also get attracted to very bright lights. Rick Sloane claims that he wrote the script for Hobgoblins several years before Gremlins, by the way, so don’t you even dare to think otherwise.

 

There’s no more plot to break down from here ’cause there isn’t any. We have a string of nonsensical scenes where our group of protagonists keeps bullshitting around Kevin’s house. We have some rivalry between Mike and some Rambo wannabe who fights with rakes, because…just because. Later that night, they have a party where the creatures finally stop by to get the plot going forward. We eventually end up in some sleazy nightclub where it just gets more crazy and weird.

 

Hobgoblins

 

Hobgoblins is a real stink bomb in every aspect with the production value of an episode of ALF. The direction, the acting, the story (if there is any), the characters, the pacing, the effects, everything falls completely on its face. The attempt to be a comedy is like … I can’t even put a word on it. It’s something else. Holy moly macaroni. Even though the actors are a group of young and fresh graduates from the prestigious Troll 2 School of Acting, Troll 2 is Citizen Kane compared to this one, and you have to lower your bar to the lowest to sit through Hobgoblins.

 

There are no effects here. No blood, nothing. The only kill we get happens offscreen because its budget of $15,000 obviously couldn’t afford a single effect artist. What we have left is actors who do an impossible job to make us believe they are in danger while they wiggle around with lifeless puppets in the purest Ed Wood style. Picture Bela Lugosi with the octopus and there you have it. When we see the puppets moving around, they’re being operated by a woman who has just been released from a mental hospital. No shame in that. Sometimes crazy people need a job too.

 

The film is also sprinkled with goofs, but the one who caught my eye was the sequence with the car during where a hand visibly rocks the stationary car, and you can see it as clear as day. Then we have the grenades of the Rambo-wannabe-dude which he throws around the nightclub that does zero damage. A grenade gets thrown in one direction but explodes in a completely different direction. Like Ed Wood famously said: Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture.

 

Some trivia: The film was shot without permits and in a single week. The film studio was in a parking lot that was deserted at night, next to a crackhouse. McCreedy’s gun was actually a cap pistol, purchased from a toy store for five dollars. Only the eyes for the hobgoblins were going to be seen in an earlier draft of the script. A pit bull’s growl was used for the voice of the hobgoblins. Rick Sloane initially planned on making a sequel in 1990 and had even written a screenplay for it, but it wasn’t made until 2009 as Hobgoblins 2.

 

Hobgoblins was also mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000, an episode which Rick Sloane got shocked by when he himself was mercilessly mocked over the film’s end credits. In an interview with Dead Central in 2009, he was asked about the movie’s position on the IMDb Bottom 100. He said he was “surprised it slipped down to #25 as it at sometime was the 2nd spot, right behind Gigli. As for now, it’s on #35. It’s also on a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack from Vinegar Syndrome.

 

Hobgoblins Hobgoblins Hobgoblins

 

Writer and director: Rick Sloane
Country & year: US, 1988
Actors: Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, Steven Boggs, Kelley Palmer, Billy Frank, Tamara Clatterbuck, Duane Whitaker, James R. Sweeney, Kevin Kildow, Daran Norris, James Mayberry
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0089280/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lung I & II (2016)

LungIt was a boring summer in 2015 with nothing to do, and one day the underground filmmaker Phil Stephens grabbed his 50mm camera, started taking some random photos around his house in Philadelphia and headed out to the local woods to film more random stuff. After hours and hours of footage, he handed the raw material to his friend and editor Ronnie Sortor, who did his very best to stitch it all together to resemble a feature film. Both films, Lung and Lung II, have the same runtime of 1 hour and 14 min.

 

Lung (also called Lung one) is in all black and white and starts off with a nameless young man with long hair, beard and glasses (played by the director himself) who dismembers body parts with a cleaver. After this warm and welcoming opening, we’re out in the woods where we follow the same person (I assume), credited as Unknown, as he wanders aimlessly through the woods. We can already guess he’s an escaped mental patient judging by his clothes and the ID wristband.

 

Mr. Unknown sees a baby carriage on a small bridge which holds a baby skeleton. Of course. He then sees some obscure person wearing a gas-mask. Okay. And he continues to stumble upon more corpses, skeletons and, if not dream logic, absurdities the further he goes from the next area to absorption. He walks through some hoods in the Philadelphia area where he enters his house, where he goes more insane and has a mental breakdown in the bathtub. He sees a collection of flyers and photos from Flowers (Stephen’s previous film) everywhere, which seems to trigger him. Not much hope for better days is to be seen on the horizon.

 

According to Phil Stevens, Lung was originally meant to be an autobio of the director who went insane after the traumatic experience of shooting his second film, Flowers.

 

Lung II is more or less the first film all over again just with the concept of an escaped killer on the loose. Much of the same footage from the first film is used while some new scenes are added. Some unused footage from Flowers is also stitched in. And if you don’t know beforehand that this is some sort of a prequel to Flowers, you’ll sit there with a big question mark while you’re scratching your balls. Lung II screws more with your head than the first one as it’s filled with more cryptic weirdness, more slimy skeletal corpses, the sweet smell of decay everywhere and all in a universe not too far from David Lynch’s Eraserhead. There’s also a gooey piece of flesh in Mr. Unknown’s fridge with a vagina and an erected penis, just so you know in case you’re hungry.

 

And if you haven’t already guessed it, we are talking about two very experimental arthouse films, the one more confusing than the other. So don’t expect any conventional story-telling here. I could tell just from looking at the DVD cover that it was far away from the ordinary, and that’s what I got. The mood and state of mindset is everything, of course. What Lung(s) provide really well are the visuals and atmosphere by Phil Stevens, who has a sharp eye for black and white photography. He filmed both films by himself, with handheld and static from different angles, and managed to create the sense of a bleak, nightmarish, dystopian world which we all are welcome to get lost in. Just remember to put your shoes on.

 

Lung is available on DVD from Unearthed Films which include both films with the director’s commentary track, plus some of his short films. You can also watch it for free on Phil Steven’s own YouTube channel.

 

Lung Lung Lung

 

Writer and director: Phil Stevens
Country & year: US, 2016
Actors: Phil Stevens, David Chopping, Bryant W. Lohr Sr., Samantha Coppola, Angela Jane, Colette Kenny Mckenna, Michael Kennedy a a lot of corpses
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt23396630/www.imdb.com/title/tt5073690/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Castle FreakMichelle has had an argument with her fiancè Ben, and she’s packed a suitcase, left behind a diamond ring and ends up driving through rural Louisiana in the middle of the night. While Ben keeps calling her, begging for her to return, she’s getting news reports about several blackouts in major cities. Suddenly her car is struck by something, which causes it to flip off the road. For Michelle, everything then turns black. When she wakes up, she notices she’s gotten a leg injury, but that’s not the worst part…she is also chained to a wall in a concrete room. A man named Howard then unchains her and tells her that there’s been some kind of attack, maybe by the Russians or Martians, he’s not sure. He found her by the car wreck and saved her by bringing her to his shelter: an underground bunker. To top it all, he also tells her they cannot leave the place for at least a few years, because the air outside has become poisonous and everyone who goes outside now will end up dead. Is Howard just an insane madman who decided to kidnap her, or is there any truth to his stories?

 

10 Cloverfield Lane is a science fiction horror thriller from 2016, directed by Dan Trachtenberg in his directorial debut. It was also produced by J. J. Abrams and Lindsey Weber, and written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, and Damien Chazelle. It belongs to the Cloverfield franchise, and it’s the second film. That was not the original plan for the movie’s script, however, as it was originally called “The Cellar” and had absolutely nothing to do with the franchise, but when Paramount Pictures bought the script and commenced further development under Bad Robot Productions, it ended up being a spiritual successor to the 2018 found-footage film Cloverfield.

 

Watching this movie while knowing it’s part of the Cloverfield franchise might make it a somewhat confusing experience, as it doesn’t appear to be tied to it in any way. Understandably, of course, since the original script wasn’t supposed to have any ties to the “Cloverfield Universe” at all. I still think that going into the experience of this film while knowing as little as possible, other than a certain relationship to the first film in some way, is the best way to watch this one. It will get you engaged by the series of strange events and the several red flags which may later prove to simply be red herrings, and sometimes even both. Arguably it is a movie that could have worked perfectly fine on its own, without the Cloverfield setting.

 

The cast here is pretty good, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead having a solid lead role, and John Goodman doing a perfect portrayal of the eccentric and slightly indecipherable Howard. So overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a thrilling and intriguing mystery horror film, which manages to be quite suspenseful throughout. There are twists and turns throughout, constantly keeping you guessing as to what the situation here really is.

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

 

Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writers: Josh Campbell, Matt Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Country & year: US, 2016
Actors: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.,Douglas M. Griffin, Suzanne Cryer, Bradley Cooper,  Sumalee Montano, Frank Mottek
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1179933/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely Molly (2011)

Lovely MollyMolly and Tim have gotten married, and they move into Molly’s childhood home. There, strange things start happening in the house, which becomes quite a bother for the newlyweds. Not to mention that Molly is a recovering heroin addict, which doesn’t exactly make anything easier. Soon, Tim has to leave town for a few days, leaving her in the house all alone. As you can imagine, upon Tim’s return he doesn’t exactly find her in the best of states. And things keep getting worse. Molly starts hearing the traditional folk song “Lovely Molly” sung by a man in the house, a man that she cannot see. Is Molly just experiencing the backlash of painful memories arising to the surface upon moving into her childhood home, or is it something other than memories haunting her?

 

Lovely Molly is a supernatural horror film from 2011, directed by Eduardo Sánchez, who was also one of the directors behind The Blair Witch Project (co-directed with Daniel Myrick). Unlike the aforementioned film, this one is mixing the found footage style with a traditional narrative, and starts off with a scene that gives us a little bit of an idea of what might actually happen to Molly. We see her filming herself, very clearly in a state of terror which we do not yet know the extent of. It starts the movie off with certain expectations.

 

The spooky happenings are nothing out of the ordinary, there are the usual alarms going off in the middle of the night, footsteps which can be heard without anyone else being present, songs sung by an unseen entity, and stuff like that. And of course, the husband has a job (in this case, he’s a truck driver) which causes him to be away from home for lengths of time, giving the little wifey enough time alone to go gradually bonkers due to what is happening around her. Yep, it’s a formula we’ve seen before, of course. Throw in a little bit of drug abuse and a scarred childhood filled with trauma, and there you have the perfect “is this really happening, or is it all in her head” scenario. The film still use this formula effectively by mixing the narrative with some found footage scenes, which consists of several POV style scenes but also some security footage which eventually leaves you wondering if there really is something there, outside of Molly’s own mind. The soundtrack also adds a bit of different flavour with the post-rock band Tortoise having recorded the score for the film.

 

Lovely Molly isn’t especially original but it’s a decent supernatural horror film with some creepy scenes and an eerie vibe, although it will leave the viewers a little befuddled as to what the hell was really going on.

 

Lovely Molly

 

Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Writers: Jamie Nash, Eduardo Sánchez
Also known as: The Possession
Country & year: US, 2011
Actors: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden, Field Blauvelt, Ken Arnold, Tara Garwood, Camilla Zaidee Bennett, Kevin Murray, Doug Roberts, Dan Manning, Daniel Ross
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1707392/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Castle Freak (2020)

Castle FreakRebecca “Becca” Riley is a young woman who was blinded in a car accident. The accident happened due to her boyfriend driving under the influence, and naturally their relationship has become quite strained. One day, Becca is contacted by an estate agent in Albania, telling her that she’s inherited a castle from her biological mother Lavinia Whateley. Becca, of course, is very exited about having inherited a castle, and while her boyfriend wants her to quickly sell the castle, Becca wants to learn more about her biological mother once she’s visiting the place. Upon arriving there, she starts hearing strange sounds and has visions, and her relationship with her boyfriend becomes even more strained when he just decided to invite four of his friends to come along without asking her about it first. One of these “friends” being a woman he’s been flirting with, as if the a-hole alert wasn’t already strong enough with this character. Among the group is also The Professor, who has been studying the occult and is the only person to actually believe Becca when she tells him about her experiences. Since she has had no contact with her mother and knows nothing about her or the castle she’s just inherited, she is of course also oblivious to what happens to live there…

 

Castle Freak is a 2020 American horror film directed by Tate Steinsiek, and is some kind of remake/reboot of the 1995 Stuart Gordon film by the same name, which are both loose adaptions of the Lovecraft story The Outsider. With emphasis on the word “loose”. While the first movie barely has anything to do with the Lovecraft story, this movie has a lot of references to all kinds of Lovecraftian stuff. As for the similarities, both are pure B-shlock entertainment, but the first one focused more on atmosphere and had a certain modest 90’s horror romp charm, while this remake adds more gore, tits and Lovecraft references. We get to know that one of the elder gods, Yog-Sothoth, is supposed to be summoned, something that was never any part at all of the original movie.

 

This remake of Castle Freak is a very different freak than the first movie, in many ways. I wouldn’t really recommend it just because of the Lovecraft references, as they honestly feel somewhat forced…one of the elder gods is supposed to be summoned, there’s a character which has attended the Miskatonic Universtity, the Necronomicon suddenly pops into their hands, Becca’s mother was named Lavinia…yeesh, those Lovecraftian tentacles are all over the place. Those who liked the original from 1995 will find that this one is very different, and this will likely be off-putting for some. Still, the movie offers some decent cinematography, locations and production design. Gorehounds may also enjoy the additional gore added compared to the first. So overall, it can be considered a primitively entertaining B-horror flick, just don’t expect any masterpiece. It’s shlock and sleaze, pure and simple.

 

Castle Freak Castle Freak Castle Freak

 

Director: Tate Steinsiek
Writers: Kathy Charles, H.P. Lovecraft
Country & year: US, 2020
Actors: Clair Catherine, Jake Horowitz, Kika Magalhães, Chris Galust, Emily Sweet, Omar Shariff Brunson Jr., Elisha Pratt, Genti Kame, Klodian Hoxha, Klodjana Keco, Josif Sina, Enkel Gurakuqi, Genc Fuga
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt10701458/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beau Is Afraid (2023)

Beau Is AfraidBeau Wasserman is afraid. He’s afraid of a lot of things, but mostly he’s afraid of going back to his childhood home. He’s grown up without a father, and his mother told him he died in the instant Beau was conceived, due to a heart murmur caused by orgasm which is supposed to run in the family (or at least according to his mother). His mother, Mona, is a successful and wealthy businesswoman, while Beau has grown up to become an extremely anxious person living in the crime-ridden Skid Row. He’s prepared for a flight in order to visit his mother for the anniversary of his father’s death, but his apartment keys and luggage are stolen and all hell breaks lose, his home is invaded by a bunch of homeless people for the night, and of course he misses his flight. How does his mother take the news about that? Well, I guess you can imagine. Later, he tries to call his mother again, only to get a UPS driver on the line telling him that he found his mother decapitated after a chandelier fell on her head. Beau, not far from having a complete mental breakdown at this point, ends up taking a bath in order to prepare himself for a final travel to his mother’s place in time for the funeral, but ends up getting in a violent confrontation with an intruder, runs out in the street naked and tries to get help from a police officer. That goes as well as you can imagine. After trying to get away from the incompetent police officer threatening to shoot him, he gets hit by a food truck, and then his anxiety-ridden journey in order to reach his mother’s funeral has just begun.

 

Beau Is Afraid is a surrealistic comedy drama with some horror elements, written and directed by Ari Aster. Aster, most known for his directorial debut hit Hereditary and his other horror film Midsommar, actually intended to have Beau Is Afraid as his directorial debut, with a 2011 short entitled Beau serving as the basis for this movie.. Well…for his career’s sake, it was probably best he didn’t and went for making Hereditary first, because Beau Is Afraid was a major box office bomb, despite receiving rather positive reviews from critics. It had a budget of $35 million (making it A24’s most expensive film) while only grossing $11 million. The problem with this movie is that its three hours of arthouse tragicomedy surrealism is certainly not for everyone, and it’s a movie where you need to know what you’re in for, and most specifically you should not compare it to any of Aster’s earlier movies. Those who end up watching this expecting another Hereditary or Midsommar, will be disappointed and most likely confused as heck.

 

The movie is chock-full of metaphors about childhood trauma, manipulation, guilt-tripping, shame and anxiety, presented with some crazy visuals, weird characters and great performances. Art-wise you could say it often leans into the more abstract, where you aren’t told exactly how to interpret everything and this will often lead to some real wtf-moments. To be honest, the first part of the movie which takes place in Skid Row, despite how insane it actually is, is probably the most down-to-earth and believable part of the entire movie. Just like Beau has no other choice than to keep trudging through the weirdness he encounters, we who watch his journey have no other choice than to keep trudging through it with him, not always able to make sense of what is happening. One easy way to define the movie, is to call it “Beau has mommy issues”, with very clear depictions of his mother being manipulative and toxic. He’s filled with anxiety, guilt, shame, and everything that comes with such a crappy upbringing. While this is certainly the core of the movie’s topics, there’s so many other things here that could make you quite busy with metaphor-hunting. I personally saw some vague hints about possible sexual abuse, and possibly some Jocasta complex thrown into the mix. Many things in Beau’s life appears to be muddled with lies from his mother, and we, the viewers, are not entirely sure what is fact and what is not.

 

Joaquin Phoenix does a good job portraying the anxiety-ridden, guilt-tripped to the point of barely functioning, and constantly confused and scared Beau. The character’s confused and totally lost appearance fits in with how completely without hope we realize Beau actually is. Aster described this film as a “nightmare comedy”, and as “if you pumped a 10-year-old full of Zoloft, and had him get your groceries”. No matter how you may view this film and how you may interpret it, there’s no doubt Aster knows a little bit about trauma and anxiety, that’s for sure.

 

Beau Is Afraid is a weird, surrealistic Freudian nightmare, sometimes quite abstract and a bit demanding to keep up with, but if you want something on the weirder scale, this might be something for you.

 

Beau Is Afraid Beau Is Afraid Beau Is Afraid

 

Writer and director: Ari Aster
Country & year:
USA, 2023
Actors:
Joaquin Phoenix, Patti LuPone, Amy Ryan, Nathan Lane, Kylie Rogers, Denis Ménochet, Parker Posey, Zoe Lister-Jones, Armen Nahapetian, Julia Antonelli, Stephen McKinley Henderson
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt13521006/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

Insidious: The Red DoorIt’s now been nine years since the Lambert family had their paranormal troubles and decided to use hypnosis on Josh and Dalton so they could forget about everything and try to live normal lives. Now Josh is divorced from his wife Renai, his mother Lorraine has recently died, and his relationship with Dalton has gone down the gutter. In other words, nine years later things aren’t exactly that great. Josh tries to bond a little with his son when driving him off to college, but everything just ends with a fiery argument instead. And of course, both Josh and Dalton start to experience paranormal things again, and after Dalton accidentally starts wandering into The Further, not really knowing what he’s doing and oblivious of his astral projection abilities, his roommate shows him a YouTube clip of Specs and Tucker talking about the theme. And when Dalton sees a clip of Elise talking about The Further, everything starts to slowly unveil.

 

Insidious: The Red Door is the fifth installment of the Insidious franchise, and it’s directed by Patrick Wilson (who plays the role as Josh in the movies) in his directorial debut. It is a direct sequel to the second film in the franchise, Insidious: Chapter 2, which was released in 2013. James Wan serves as producer together with Jason Blum, and it’s based on a story by Leigh Whannell and Scott Teems. The movie has received rather mixed reviews, and honestly, this one feels like the weakest installment and unfortunately comes off as very sparse with actual scares, which have been replaced with awkward college-themed humour, family drama, and trauma issues. There’s some really cringey scenes at a party featuring a dude dressed up in diapers, maybe the youngsters found this hilarious and a comic relief but I guess I’m too old for such shit. Still, I have to add that the movie does have some nice ideas though, like the college part of The Further which includes the puking ghost of a student that died at the frat house, and the scene in the MRI has a really good build-up and was solidly made.

 

Now, every movie in the franchise have offered us some demonic baddies of various kinds, and what was missing here is the focus on some villainous entity like in the previous movies. There’s the Lipstick-Face demon, but we barely get to see him. I think it could have redeemed the movie a bit if we actually got to see more of this main villain in the series, and his theater-like room with marionettes and a gramophone playing Tiptoe through the Tulips by Tiny Tim. Speaking of which, when we actually get to this area later in the movie, and the gramophone starts playing, I got in the mood for that exact song to relive some of the feeling of the first movie…but instead a different song started playing. And while Tiptoe Through the Tulips could be heard a little while later, I’d found myself already thrown off the mood. The Lipstick-Face demon scenes were used too sparsely to have much payoff, unfortunately.

 

With a budget of $16 million, it’s now looking at a worldwide gross of $126 million, which does make Insidious: The Red Door a financial success at least. But whether this is the final nail in the Insidious coffin and having the red door locked up for good, remains to be seen. If you’re a fan of the franchise and would like to see the (probable) end of the story, it’s likely worth a watch, and if you’ve been watching the previous movies and noticed the gradual decline, it won’t come as much of a surprise that this last installment isn’t exactly a masterpiece. As a directorial debut from Patrick Wilson it’s not all that bad, but it’s unfortunate that the franchise had already come to the point where it’s outstayed its welcome, and with nothing new or exciting to add it fell a bit flat. It’s nice to have seen it if you want the conclusion to the franchise, but overall this one’s probably more fun for the younger audience (who sat screaming, gasping and jumping in the seats when we watched it).

 

Insidious: The Red Door Insidious: The Red Door

 

Director: Patrick Wilson
Writers: Leigh Whannell, Scott Teems
Country & year:
USA, Canada, 2023
Actors:
Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Sinclair Daniel, Hiam Abbass, Andrew Astor, Juliana Davies, Steve Coulter, Peter Dager, Justin Sturgis, Joseph Bishara
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt13405778/

 

Related posts: Insidious: The Last Key (2018) | Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) | Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) | Insidious (2010

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

Insidious: Chapter 3The year is 1953, and we meet Elise Rainier as a kid. She lives in Five Keys, New Mexico, with her parents and younger brother. One night, Elise and her brother encounter a ghost in their own bedroom, and their abusive father won’t have any of that superstitious bullshit, so he canes Elise and locks her down in the basement. There, Elise finds a red doorway and ends up getting possessed by a demonic spirit, and this demon kills her mother. After this brief introduction into a part of Elise’s rather messed up childhood, we travel decades forwards in time and end up in California in 2010, where Elise is working as a paranormal investigator together with her colleagues Specs and Tucker. She gets a call from a man named Ted Garza, saying he’s experiencing paranormal events in his house. When Elise realizes that the house he’s living in is her childhood home, she travels there in order to help this man. And back at this place, she is not only revisiting old bad memories, but also the demon that killed her mother which is known as Keyface.

 

Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth installment in this supernatural horror film franchise. It’s yet again written by Leigh Whannell, and this time it’s directed by Adam Robitel (who earlier directed The Taking of Deborah Logan and later Escape Room). Just like the third film, the story is focusing on Elise and her paranormal investigator group, and it’s no doubt that Lin Shaye’s performance as Elise is what holds the majority of the move up. Once again we’re presented to a big bad demon villain, this time in the form of Keyface whose fingers transform into keys. But aside from the demon itself, Elise’s childhood was also plagued by a parent who’d rather beat you instead of supporting and helping you, plus there’s a little bit of serial killer mystery thrown in for good measure. There’s also the comic relief from Elise’s two companions, Specs and Tucker, who pretty much come off as immature dolts for most of the time.

 

While we get a further glimpse into the characters and especially Elise, since the story here is about her own past, it’s unfortunately become a little evident that the franchise is about to run out of steam. While there are enough creepy atmosphere and ideas to hold it up, you can’t help but feeling that it’s been a gradual albeit not dramatic decline since the first movie. Now, of course this is normal in most franchises, so in the whole it’s still been going relatively strong all things considered. Also, in this movie everything ties up to the first story, which is nice as it gives a certain hope that they’ll conclude the series sooner than later rather than continue creating sequel-prequels until the whole franchise would end up totally watered out. Insidious: The Last Key is by no means a bad movie, though, and has enough effective scenes to be enjoyable enough, but I’d say the movie is mostly one for fans of the franchise.

 

Insidious: The Last Key Insidious: The Last Key

 

Director: Adam Robitel
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Country & year:
USA, Canada, 2018
Actors:
Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Josh Stewart, Tessa Ferrer, Aleque Reid, Ava Kolker, Pierce Pope, Bruce Davison
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt5726086/

 

Related posts: Insidious: The Red Door (2023) | Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) | Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) | Insidious (2010

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Insidious: Chapter 3 The story takes place three years before the case with the Lambert haunting, and the demonologist Elise Rainier has retired. She is contacted by a teenage girl, Quinn, who wants to contact her deceased mother who died a year ago. Reluctantly, Elise agrees, but after sensing a malevolent force she urges Quinn not to try contacting her mother again. Later, Quinn sees a strange figure waving at her from some distance in the middle of the street, and while distracted by this mysterious person, she walks out on the street and gets hit by a car, and ends up in the hospital with both legs broken. Afterwards, she’s stuck at home with her father and brother, and while disabled and vulnerable she starts experiencing paranormal activities, which includes visions of a malicious spirit wearing an oxygen mask. When things start escalating, her father contacts Elise, hoping she can help his daughter from whatever seems to be after her.

 

Insidious: Chapter 3 is the third installment in the Insidious franchise, and is both written and directed by Leigh Whannell in his directorial debut. The film is a prequel to the first films. While taking us out of the main story of the Lambert family, and instead shift the focus over to Elise and her companions Specs and Tucker, it makes for some new ideas and new characters. Having a disabled girl at the mercy of a dangerous entity makes for some really tense scenes lead by good setup and acting, which are all well utilized in making us feel the girl’s despair and helplessness while being stalked and tortured. There’s a lot of creepy atmosphere and genuine chills here, and with a new entity simply referred to as  “the man that can’t breathe” the franchise manages to create yet another villain who, while not quite as iconic as the Lipstick-Face Demon and the Black Bride, works pretty well and is distinguishable and frightening.

 

While the first two movies had to be viewed consecutively in order to get the best viewing experience (otherwise, the second film would just feel confusing as it directly continues the story from the first), this movie actually stands well alone on its own feet and doesn’t even require any knowledge of the first two in order to properly enjoy it. That being said, I’d still recommend watching them consecutively, as knowing a bit more about Elise and her companions is likely to heighten the investment in the story.

 

Insidious: Chapter 3 is solid third installment in the franchise, with further looks into The Further, creepy-looking ghoulish entities and the overall eerie atmosphere the movies are known for. While neither of the two sequels have been on par with the first movie, they’re still fairly good and at this stage the franchise is yet to have worn out its welcome.

 

Insidious: Chapter 3 Insidious: Chapter 3 Insidious: Chapter 3

 

Writer and director: Leigh Whannell
Country & year:
USA, Canada, UK, 2013
Actors:
Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, Tate Berney, Michael Reid MacKay, Steve Coulter, Hayley Kiyoko, Corbett Tuck, Tom Fitzpatrick
IMDb:
//www.imdb.com/title/tt3195644/

 

Related posts: Insidious: The Red Door (2023) | Insidious: The Last Key (2018) | Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) | Insidious (2010

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

Insidious: Chapter 2The year is 1986, and the demonologist Elise Rainier is called to help Lorraine Lambert and her son Josh, who is being hunted by an evil spirit in the form of a black bride. Apparently, Josh has been using his astral projection abilities, and thus gotten the spirit’s attention. Elise says his abilities must be suppressed, and manages to plant altered memories in his brain so he can forget about it all and live a normal life. Now, twenty five years later, Josh and his wife Renai are being questioned after the death of Elise, where Josh is considered the prime suspect of her murder. Renai and their children relocate to Lorraine’s house, and paranormal events continue to happen all around them. A woman in a white dress is giving Dalton nightmares, and she also manifests and attacks Renai. Elise’s former associates, Specs and Tucker, attempts to contact Elise’s spirit and are told that they need to find answers at an abandoned hospital where Lorraine once used to work. Soon, the mystery of the black bride and the woman in the white dress starts to unravel.

 

Insidious: Chapter 2 is the second installment to Insidious from 2010, and is a direct sequel from the first one. Of course, after the success of the first there was bound to be more movies which would later spawn a franchise. This one is also directed by James Wan, and written by Leigh Whannell. The film was promoted in different ways, the first theatrical trailer for the film was actually screened to a live audience on location at the Linda Vista Community Hospital (where the hospital scenes in the movie were filmed), and a maze attraction called “Insidious: Into the Further” was featured in 2013’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

 

Now, as this is a direct sequel to the first movie, compared to the first it’s not quite as effective in its scares and lacks the same tension, but there are some good things to find and we get to know a bit more about one of the villains presented in the first movie. The setting is spooky, and some of the scenes are filled with that good, eerie atmosphere. The backstory of the creepy “black bride” is what mainly fuels the story here, which proves to be an interesting character with both a tragic and horrific background. The movie also focus a bit more on explaining some of the things that happened in the first movie, which makes consecutive viewing mandatory in order to get the best experience.

 

Aside from spooky settings in creepy houses and an old hospital, we do of course get further glimpses into the netherworld-like area The Further, which is arguably the franchise’s best selling point. While there are loads of depictions of otherworldly dimensions seen in both other movies and TV series, there is just something fascinating about The Further’s somewhat simplistic take on it. It’s surreal and dreamy, vast, dark and for the most part appears to be rather empty. It’s like one of those surreal horror exploration games where the seemingly apparent emptiness still holds both dangerous and fascinating things hidden away in a corner here and there, if you manage to find it.

 

Overall, Insidious: Chapter 2 works well as a sequel to the successful first film, not on par with the first but still a creepy and decent supernatural horror flick.

 

Insidious: Chapter 2 Insidious: Chapter 2 Insidious: Chapter 2

 

Director: James Wan
Writers:
Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Country & year:
USA, Canada, 2013
Actors:
Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey, Andrew Astor, Joseph Bishara, Philip Friedman
IMDb:
//www.imdb.com/title/tt2226417/

 

Related posts: Insidious: The Red Door (2023) | Insidious: The Last Key (2018) | Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) | Insidious (2010

 

 

Vanja Ghoul