Old Movie Reviews: Hellraiser

Writing

Hello kids and welcome to the final installment of the spooky movie party! I am incredibly sad that the month of October is coming to a close and as always wishing Halloween could come more than once a year. When I was trying to pick out a third movie I wanted to find something that was a little older, but unfortunately Netflix only has horror movies from the late 70s and on, so I decided to go with a classic I have never seen, “Hellraiser.” Unlike the other two films in this series, I had absolutely no idea what this one was about. It’s a good thing I’ve never had an issue with gore because otherwise I would’ve had to stop watching it.

Let’s start with characters. I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I hated Julia in this movie. Who in their right mind sees a disgusting slimy skeleton creature who claims to be their ex and just decides to go with it and help them! No, what is wrong with you! I don’t care how good the sex was, it doesn’t warrant raising the goddamn dead. I was incredibly satisfied when she got stabbed because that’s honestly what I wanted to do with her the second she came on screen. Besides her, I was moderately okay with everyone else. Kirsty was obviously my favorite because I love my badass, demon fighting women.

I couldn’t help but notice however that this film did not pass the Bechdal Test. Neither did “The Shining” actually. If you don’t know what the Bechdal Test is, it’s a test used to judge whether or not movies have enough female representation. All a movie has to do is have at least two female characters, who have a conversation, that’s about something other than a man. “Hellraiser” has exactly two women in it (not including the seemingly female cenobite because her gender is never really specified). Julia and Kirsty however, only exchange a few lines throughout the film and they all have to do with Kirsty’s dad or Frank. Even if you want to consider the cenobite, it still doesn’t pass because their conversation is also about Frank.

Sidebar: “The Shining” doesn’t pass because Wendy and the two twin girls are the only women and they never even see each other. “The Amityville Horror” however, gets a pass only because Kathy has a conversation with her daughter about her creepy demon girl friend. The true horror of old horror movies: sexism.

Overall, I think the monsters and the plot of “Hellraiser” were chilling, It definitely seemed the scariest out of all the ones I watched. There was only one thing more off putting than the skinless guy with a lazy eye that was crawling around naked for half the movie, and that is the weird sexual undertone, present throughout the entire film. It was completely unnecessary and very obvious. We know every story has some weird connotation to sex but that doesn’t mean you need to make it blatantly obvious. It makes it hard to tell whether the film director was trying to be deep, or was just a major perv.

“Hellraiser” was not my favorite spooky movie out of the three I watched, I think that title probably goes to “The Shining”. However, I did find “Hellraiser” entertaining, if at times a little ridiculous. I give it 3 out of 5 spooky pumpkins.

spooky-pumpkin-three spooky-pumpkin-three spooky-pumpkin-three

What is your favorite scary movie? If you would like to hear more about the Bechdal Test and also listen to some really hilarious ladies, I would recommend listening to the podcast “The Bechdal Cast.” Let me know what you thought of this series and share your spooky movie stories in the comments! Happy Halloween!!

Old Movie Reviews: The Shining

Writing

I know this post is going up pretty late, but did you know The Shining is two and a half hours long!? I sure didn’t but that’s because up until tonight I had only seen the 30 second bunny version of The Shining ( If you don’t know what it is, google it). It surprisingly took me 20 years to get around to watching the classic horror movie, largely because of the time stamp, the fact that I wanted to read the book, and also because of my aversion to Stanley Kubrick, which I do not have time to unpack here. Let’s get into the film.

Right from the beginning it is clear that the movie deserves most of the attention it’s given. The cinematography is outstanding, and despite the length the plot seems fairly fast paced. It’s the kind of movie where you can’t look away from the screen because you might miss something (I would know because I was trying to dye my hair and kept having to pause and go back… yet another reason this post is up late).

One of the movies most talked about features is the performance of Jack Nicholson and while it is admittedly creepy, I was more impressed by Shelley Duvall. It’s not often in horror movies that female characters get such a gratifying character arc, so it’s even better to see, when it’s as well done as it is here.

Honestly it’s hard to find anything to critique in this horror movie because it is so beautifully made, once again I wasn’t particularly scared. Creepy for sure but I think horror movies just don’t get me the way they used to, perhaps because I’ve seen so many, or maybe it’s because men being creepy isn’t entirely new territory. I mean obviously I’ve never been trapped in a hotel alone being chased with an ax, but at the same time it’s “Oh a husband is being a dick to his wife, oh now he’s violent with her, oh now he’s chasing her with an ax, why am I not surprised.” It’s an obvious progression and honestly something to be careful of when choosing a husband. Never marry writers, from what movies have taught me they seem incredibly susceptible to becoming crazy murderers… and also men I guess. Yea maybe avoid men.

Moving on from my need to see everything from a feminist perspective, I found this movie thoroughly entertaining, and I surprisingly did not find myself to be bored at any moment. The performances were great as were the visuals and it seems like the kind of movie I would watch again especially if I was in the mood for a horror movie but wanted to stick with something familiar. I give “The Shining” 4 out 5 spooky pumpkins.

spooky-pumpkin-three spooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-three

That leaves one movie left in my spooky movie marathon. Check back tomorrow evening to read my review of “Hellraiser.” Happy Halloween Eve!

Old Movie Reviews: The Amityville Horror

Writing

Hello everyone! In honor of my favorite holiday Halloween, I decided to give you some special spooky content. Today, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I will be viewing a different old horror movie, that I haven’t seen before every night. Tonight’s feature presentation? The Amityville Horror.

Since this is “old” movie reviews, I obviously selected the 1979 version over the 2005 version. I also selected the older one because I just can’t take Ryan Reynolds seriously. Before we get in to the actual movie, I just want to talk about HOW BEAUTIFUL Margot Kidder is in this movie. No matter what kind of horror is going on around them, female 70’s horror movie characters always look stunning. Seriously though, I spent half of the movie complaining about how there was no way that woman had five teenage children, she looks amazing. James Brolin however, looks like he might be the murderer in an equally campy movie about the house down the street. I mean I guess that is true of most men in the 70’s though…

When it comes to the actual plot, the movie was pretty typical. A+ to the creator for deciding not to put a visual on the demon or the ghost girl because if they had the movie would probably lose all scary quality. I find it incredibly funny that the priest knows the house is possessed 15 minutes in to the film but for some reason it takes another 2 hours for that little tidbit of information to reach the family. Equally amusing is the fact that they don’t even suspect a demon until the last 20 minutes of the movie. I’m going to give you all a piece of advice right now. If your house smells like sulfur, and your kid keeps going on about some ghost child you can’t see, at least look into the history of your house. Oh and always ask your realtor why the giant fancy house is priced so cheap because 9 times out of 10 somebody’s ass probably got murdered there. If half of horror movie characters followed this rule then we would be down to half the amount of horror house movies we have today.

To give Amityville credit where it’s due, it is one of the first of its kind. Although it might seem overused now it definitely wasn’t at the time of its release and the film does have a nice, creepy atmosphere, as well as a good score. Was it scary? no. but it was entertaining and all together pretty spooky. It’s not everyday where you have a door to hell in your basement, and overall it’s refreshing to see that for once everyone survived, even the family dog, who is usually the first to go.

spooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-three

I give The Amityville Horror 3.5/5 spooky pumpkins based on spook factor, cinematic quality, and story quality. The extra half pumpkin is just for Margot Kidder because she is a underrated sweet baby angel.

Check back for tomorrow’s horror movie review! Happy Halloween!