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Wes Weitzenhoffer, The MovieHippo

Thoughts on the latest, as well as classic, TV shows & Movies. Maybe some gaming too!

 

31 Days of Horror - Day 20

20.       The Vanishing (1988)

There are two versions of this story.  This one (French/Dutch), and the American remake with Jeff Bridges that came out 5 years later.  This tells the story of a man who loses the love of his life to an abductor at a gas station.  He spends years looking for her, when out of nowhere he begins receiving messages that promise to reveal what happened.  This movie is a chilling look into one of our worst nightmares (yes worse than 400 hundred spiders), and it is engaging until the very end.


This story has been told in many different ways many different times as it is based on an old urban legend told during the 1901 Paris Exhibition about a woman and her daughter traveling to Paris, and whilst the woman unpacks, the daughter goes to a nearby shop. When she returns to the hotel, the mother is gone, and no one in the hotel remembers having seen her.  Creepy.

The Vanishing can be watched RIGHT NOW with you library membership for free via the Kanopy or on the Criterion (via subscription) apps, or rented or purchased via Amazon.

 

Today’s short is Special Day.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 19

19.       Psycho (1960)-

On the run after stealing money from her employer, a young woman stops at a lonely  Motel so she can get out of the rain.  Luckily for her they have a vacancy.  12 cabins, 12 vacancies.  Unfortunately for her, something sinister lurks in the shadows.
 

From the master of suspense comes an absolute masterpiece in Psycho.  Superbly shot, and masterfully edited (the infamous shower scene has almost 100 edits in that short scene alone), this is a film that will live on forever.  Hitchcock unsettles us with fast paced cuts, jarring music, and never letting us understand what this movie is really about until about halfway in.  See if you can pick out the references to Hitchcock's next film in this one.

Psycho can be watched RIGHT NOW via Starz or it can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Apple, or Xbox.

 

Today’s short is Creak.

 

 

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 18

18.       Suspiria (1977)

A new ballet student quickly comes to realize that something is amiss about her new school.  Like the best horror films, there is a mystery or questions to be answered.  These questions hinge on the memory of our heroine and her persistence to answer them. 
 
The Director wanted the naivete of young preteens, but was unable to portray them appropriately in a film this graphic, so he uses subtle clues to their innocence in their dialogue and set pieces.  For example, notice how high the doorknobs are to their heads.  Another common praise is the use of color in the film. The Director of Photography was asked to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and model the color scheme of the film after it. 

Although this film is most definitely filled with bloody violence, the way it is shot is so artistic and at times beautiful and heart-wrenching, makes it painful to see this film written off in many circles as JUST a horror film.  This is a well made piece of art that deserves your attention. 

Suspiria can be watched RIGHT NOW with your library membership for free via the Kanopy or Hoopla apps, or rented or purchased via Flix Fling.

Today’s short is a horror comedy called Invaders, Directed by Jason Kupfer.

  

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 17

17.       The Cottage (2008)

Two dimwitted kidnappers take their victim to a remote countryside, and get more than they bargained for when the "locals" intervene.It really hits the fan when the kidnapped victim's father sends hit-men after the men who kidnapped his daughter.

Kinda comedy, kinda horror; it's a lot of entertainment. I don't really want to say too much more about this one. Enjoy it.

The cottage can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, and Playstation.

 

Today’s short is Your Date is Here Directed by Todd Spence and Zak White.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 16

16.       Cape Fear (1962)

Small-town lawyer Sam Bowden's life becomes torturous when Max Cady re-enters his life. Cady went to jail for 8 years after Bowden testified that Cady attacked a young woman. Now that Cady has been released, he begins to terrorize Bowden and his family, particularly targeting Bowden's daughter, Nancy.

 This is a film with a great remake, but I just think Robert Mitchum is so much more menacing than DeNiro.  This is a fantastic chiller with just about the baddest of bad guys stalking a family for revenge.  The houseboat scene was improvised and the reactions of fear and disgust are considered to be real and that scene was also named one of the scariest movie scenes of all time.  The New York Times said in its review, “This is really one of those shockers that provokes disgust and regret.”

 Mitchum’s Cady is considered to be one of the greatest villains of film history, declared by Newsweek and AFI separately. 

Cape Fear can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, and Apple.

Today’s short is the eerie and uncomfortable Teeth narrated by Academy Award Nominee Richard E Grant.

 

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 15

15.      The Shining (1980)

Jack Torrance has agreed to move his family to the Overlook Hotel to act as caretaker, but doesn't count on the family having unwanted visitors. 

This is a tightly wound, well shot masterpiece that will stay with you for a long time.  I had to put this on the list, mostly because when someone asks me what movie do I think is most scary... What do you think I tell them?  Now, I don't find much "scary" in film, but this one has some imagery you just can't get out of your head.  C'mon.  237!  Anyway, Stanley Kubrick was a genius, often misunderstood by the public at large.  As with his other films, this one is a slow descent but one that proves totally worthwhile.  For the record, during filming, Kubrick made the crew watch two of the films on this list.  Just thought you'd like to know that.

 

The Shining can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is Undress Me by Amelia Moses. 

  

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 14

14.      An American Werewolf in London (1981)

American tourists David and Jack are backpacking Europe when they are attacked by a mysterious creature in the night.  Wanna guess what it is?  Oddly, the locals don't seem to want to talk about it, so they're on their own. 

Yes yes, I have a movie in here with Muppets in it.  Keep your eyes open and try to spot them.  It's not hard.  This film is a combination of great witty writing, precise directing, and killer special effects.  Especially for the time in which it was made.  Rick Baker's effects, as always are extremely thrilling to watch on screen.

 

An American Werewolf in London can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is The Quiet Zone by Andrew Ionides. 

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 13

13.      Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)

Jason Vorhees rises from the grave and travels back to Crystal Lake where he finds a cabin of teenagers and a little boy who might just be the hero Crystal Lake is looking for.


First of all, let me get this out of the way.  Corey Feldman AND Crispin Glover!  This is the first film of the Tommy Jarvis trilogy in the series, and the only film where Jason doesn't use his trademark machete.  Also, Crispin Glover dances in this film, and apparently it's how dances in real life.

Friday the 13th Part IV can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is Backstroke by Robbie Barclay. 

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 12

12.      The Thing (1982)

Scientists in a remote arctic outpost discover new life in the form of a creature that can mimic the people it kills.  Very quickly, the crew find themselves suspecting each of them could be the terrible monster. 

The special effects in this movie are insane!  This is the movie that inspired a lot of effects people, and is one of the films a lot of effects students study.  It's also amazing to think that effects creator Rob Bottin was only 22 years old when he started working on the project.  Interestingly, this film was not a success with audiences or critics at the time of its release.  John Carpenter says, this failure, he took the hardest.  Apparently it was too graphic and bleak for audiences.  To think today, this film is a celebrated success.  When you watch it, see if you can figure out the answer to the question left to you at the end of the film.

The Thing can be watched RIGHT NOW via Starz or rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is The iMom by Ariel Martin. 

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 11

11.      Lake Mungo (2010)

Sixteen-year-old ALICE PALMER drowns while swimming in the local dam. When her body is recovered and a verdict of accidental death returned, her grieving family buries her. The family then experiences a series of strange and inexplicable events centered in and around their home.

One of the things I love about this film is that it uses a very identifiable family scenario to push the characters and their need for answers, and that is the grief of losing a loved one. Here it is more natural and not sensationalized in the way you might see in other films.  The other thing that makes this such an engaging story is that it unfolds on its own.  It doesn’t draw you in with fake scares or forcing plot points down your throat, but instead reveals itself in a very meticulous way. 

 

I’ve watched this several times and really get a kick out of discussing it with people afterward.  It’s so simple, but makes a great impact with a well-rounded payoff.  Just make sure you watch through the credits.

Lake Mungo can be watched RIGHT NOW via Amazon Prime or rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is Kookie by Justin Harding. 

 

 

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 10

10.       Poltergeist (1982)

Steven Spielberg's story of the Suburban Nightmare has been haunting audiences for 3 decades.  It is a chill inducing film that seems to start of innocently enough before it becomes an all out war between evil spirits and a mostly helpless family.  I watch this film and wish there were more haunted house films like it.  It's a film that shows what goes bump in the night isn't always what you think it is.  And then again, sometimes it is.

Poltergeist can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is Dead Ahead. 

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 9

9.       Dead Snow (2009)

This is a film I really love. It is full of blood and gore and violence. It is exciting, funny, and embarrassing in all the right places. Keep an eye out for the outhouse scene as it has a moment so hilarious and awkward that the audience in the theater I was in looked around at each other not sure if we should laugh or be uncomfortable. The right answer, by the way, is both! This is not one of those bad films you just have to see. It is one of those really well made films you just have to see. Fortune and glory, kid.

Dead Snow can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Playstation, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is We Summoned a Demon directed by Chris McInroy

 

 

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 8

8.       A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Nancy and her friends begin having horrible nightmares that seem too real and all have the same sinister figure lurking in the shadows.  Is this a case of overactive imaginations, or vengeance returning to finish what it started?

Before he was a wise-cracking A-hole who haunted your dreams, Freddy Krueger was vicious, evil, and unrelenting.  People often forget where his roots came from because many of the big draws in the series happened around the time they did a 3rd film, which was more humor filled.  This is easily one of the best slasher films to come out of the genre.  It is amazing to me that in 1981 Wes Craven shopped the script around and no one wanted it.  Especially because it saved New Line Cinemas from going bankrupt years later.  Wes Craven was another innovator in his early years, and this film uses some amazing practical film techniques as well as 500 gallons of blood.  Add to the fact that this is Johnny Depps first film role, and you have a movie worth watching either for the first time or the 50th.

A Nightmare on Elm Street can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is Right Place Wrong Tim directed by Eros Vlahos.  This one stars Sex Education’s super talented Asa Butterfield.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 7

7.       The Mist (2007)

Stephen King and Frank Darabont team up yet again for The Mist.  When a mysterious mist rolls into town, many townsfolk hide out together in the local grocery speculating on the origin and what could be inside the mist.  That is, until something starts attacking them. 

Stephen King told Frank Darabont that he was genuinely frightened by this adaptation, and Mr. Darabont has since said that the statement is the happiest moment of his career.  I chose this film because it is a compelling, well shot film that had the courage to stick to its guns all the way to the end.  If you can get your hands on the two disc DVD or blu-ray, you can watch it in black and white as Darabont originally intended.  I highly recommend it.

The Mist can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, and Apple.

 

Today’s short is Every 90’s commercial Ever directed by Dez Dolly and Produced by Rocket Jump.  Children of the 80’s and 90’s should definitely watch!

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 6

6.       Carrie (1976)

A young, abused and timid 17-year-old girl discovers she has telekinesis, and gets pushed to the limit on the night of her school's prom by a humiliating prank.

 This is the film that cemented Stephen King as a horror writer.  I put it on the list because many people haven’t seen it, and those who have, it has been a long time.  Add to that, the remake is out in theaters this month, so it seems like it’s time has come for the list. 

 This film is unique in that how you see the film can change slightly depending on what society is going through at the time, and how old you are when you watch it.  The movie has sustainability that way, and we are better for it.  I wonder how we as a society will see it with sarcasm being a form of entertainment we seek out near constantly.  A need fueled by a Darwinian lust to always be better, smarter, stronger, funnier than the other people in the room.

 Yes, this film is a reminder of the cruelty of the world and the animals that live in it, but more than that, it is also a special angle on a timeless tale.  The plot is a fairytale overturned by broken hearts and the social awkwardness of adolescence.  Here we get the origin of the demon that will haunt this simple town forever. 

 Carrie is one of Brian De Palma’s greatest works, and I can’t help but wonder if the new film truly understands the complexity of what made this story so impactful.

Carrie is available to watch as part of Netflix or Amazon Prime.  It can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, Apple.

 

Today’s short is Abe by Rob McLellan.  Abe will be made into a feature film soon!

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 5

 3.       The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

After momentarily saving a woman’s life, a New York photographer hunts down a serial killer on a subway train.

 Based on the short story written by horror icon Clive Barker, Ryuhei Kitamura brings us an American take on his Japanese flair; and boy does this film benefit from his unique perspective.  The use of colors and lighting seem to go hand in hand as well as contrary to the violence, all at the same time.  The cinematography is fantastic, and everything is meticulously put into its correct place.  Clive Barker even supplied some of his own paintings for the film, so keep an eye out. 

 This is a well put together story and I think fans of grisly murder moments will be very pleased with this one. Plus… Bradley Cooper!

The Midnight Meat Train  is available to watch as part of Amazon Prime or with ads on Vudu.  It can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, Apple, and YouTube.

 Today’s short is Sleepy Eyes by Kenneth Lim Dagatan.  He made this short as an exercise in how to execute a jump scare.

 

*Special Thanks to Duane Sawyer for helping with the writing on this one.

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 4

 4.       Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Years after a terrible accident, two cousins are sent away for the summer to Camp Arawak.  Soon horrific murders begin taking place as staff start getting picked off one by one. 

There’s a lot to laugh at in this film.  It’s part of a wave of Slasher films that inundated the 80’s after the popularity of Friday the 13th.  This is definitely a low budget movie and the acting is incredibly over the top.  There are a ton of lines that could become common use in your household.  However, underneath all of that is an interesting story and an ending I promise you won’t forget.  This film is way ahead of its time.

Sleepaway Camp is available to watch as part of Amazon Prime or with ads on Vudu.  It can be rented or purchased via Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, Apple, and YouTube.

 

Today’s short is Spider by Nash Edgerton.  Prop comedy isn’t for everyone.

 

 Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email: moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 3

 3.       Gerald’s Game (2017)

On a getaway to a remote cottage, a woman’s attempt to spice up her marriage turns into a psychological tale of survival and the will to live.  Can she escape the figurative and literal shackles she has found herself in?

Based on a Stephen King story, Director Mike Flanagan deftly weaves a harrowing story worthy of your time. Many (if not most) Stephen King adaptations fall so far into schlocky territory that it’s easy to write off films like this.  Not all horror needs to be mile a minute gore-filled experiences, and a film like this shows us why.  After seeing this film, I’m glad Flanagan was given the opportunity to bring us Doctor Sleep next month. 

Gerald’s Game is available RIGHT NOW on Netflix!

 

Today’s short is Exit by Daniel Zimbler.  This one feels like it was pulled right out of the Twilight Zone.  Everyone knows the first rule of horror is antici…

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror - Day 2

 2.       The Exorcist (1973)

While on a movie shoot in Washington DC, an actress begins to notice her daughter’s health and behavior changing dramatically.  She eventually is forced to turn to the church and two priests come to her aid.

This is the film that was deemed so scary ambulances had to come to the theaters to treat people who were fainting.  This is another must-see for any true horror fan.  Many people believe the film was cursed.  The movie had a schedule of about 80 days and ended up shooting for 200.  Many things went wrong including a fire that destroyed the location that was supposed to be the family home.  The only room left unharmed by the fire?  Oh just the room where the possession takes place.  They even unknowingly cast someone who was later to be found out as a serial killer!

If you’ve never seen this, make it a priority.  It deserves your attention.  They invented new special effects, injured actors, and became the first horror film to get a Best Picture Nomination.

The Exorcist can be rented via Vudu, Amazon Prime, Xbox Video, Playstation, and can be purchased on all of those platforms as well as Movies Anywhere.

 

Today’s short is called Lights Out.  This short earned itself a feature length version and a place in my heart as something to avoid right before going to bed. If you’ve ever had an eerie feeling when the lights are off in your home, perhaps this is the reason why.

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
 

31 Days of Horror Day 1

Welcome to October! This year I am revisiting lists I have done on other sites, the 31 Horror Movie Challenge.  If you’ve ever read my lists before, you’ll recognize some of these films as this year is sort of a best way to get in the Halloween spirit!  Additionally, each day will sometimes have a fun new horror short that you can watch right here on this page.  Enjoy!

 

1.       The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

From acclaimed Director Guillermo del Toro comes a film about a boy being haunted in a Spanish orphanage at the end of the Spanish Civil War.  A young man haunts the home, prophesying the deaths of many who live there, while enemy troops move ever so closer.  Meanwhile, an un-detonated bomb ticks away in the courtyard outside.

 

This is the sibling film to Pan’s Labyrinth.  One film is a masculine counterpart to the other’s femininity.  It is said he was inspired by his own family memories, especially his deceased uncle who returned to as a ghost.

 

You can rent The Devil’s Backbone via GooglePlay, Microsoft Video, Playstation, or YouTube; you may also purchase to own on any of those or on VUDU.

 

 

Today’s short is called Rubber Johnny.  It probably falls less in the scary column and more in the disturbing.  The opening of this short haunts me.  I think about it often.  It is directed by famed music video director Chris Cunningham who did work for Madonna, Bjork, Aphex Twin, among many others. 

Have comments or suggestions for Wes? Find him on Twitter @moviehippo or send him an email moviehippo@musepaper.ink Check out his podcast View the Right Thing on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Podbean, and YouTube.

 
 
wes directing.jpg

The Hollywood Dream

I love movies and television.  My entire life I have been watching movies and emulating the things I’ve seen on screen.  As a child I tried to whip a tree branch and swing on it like Indiana Jones (I was never successful), made action figures come to life with terrible impressions, and once when I was 10 I laid on the floor of my bedroom and tried to will myself the power of flight.  Even today, I have bought into the myth of film, although in a more realistic way (I have long since given up my avian ambitions).  I still believe in hope, the triumph of good over evil, and that we can solve many of our problems if we just would talk to each other.  Storytellers give us their take on the world and not just offer us an escape from our hum drum lives, but a blueprint to enrich them.  That’s one of the reasons I moved to Los Angeles to become a filmmaker.  I want to share that fleeting feeling that maybe you can will yourself to hover, if only a couple inches.  For others I hope they take away opportunities to have a conversation with someone, be it the quality of the film or the message inside. 

 

Some of the things I hope to write here will be silly and fun.  Others I hope are read and found to be more meaningful.  Either way I get to share about something I love, and I love that too.