Watch as RB's Joomla skills screw up three days of posting. Sometimes I define "enough knowledge to be dangerous."
By the way, if there are any Joomla guru's out there, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some freelance work.
So let's do this in reverse order, shall we?
House On Haunted Hill (1959 - Unrated in the US, but scary a get out. DO NOT see the 1999 remake)
Summary (from IMDB):
Eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren and his 4th wife, Annabelle, have invited 5 people to the house on Haunted Hill for a "haunted House" party. Whoever will stay in the house for one night will earn ten thousand dollars each. As the night progresses, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors.
RB Wood's rating (out of 5): 3.5 Campy Actors
A lot of you young folk only know Vincent Price as the voice (and laugh) at the end of the Michael Jackson hit Thriller. And that's a shame. The story of "House on Haunted Hill" is at its core, a new twist to the "Old Spooky House" kind of Gothic horror tales that had existed since the literary origins of the genre. Vincent Price is Frederick Loren, an eccentric multi-millionaire that decides to give a horror-themed party for his wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart) in a very bizarre way. The strange party consist of inviting 5 strangers to an allegedly haunted house (where many murders have taken place), and to reward them with $10,000 if they manage to survive the night. As the challenge begins, strange events begin to happen and soon everyone wonders if there may be some true in the legend of the House on Haunted Hill.
Written by Robb White, the story may be clichéd, but it's filled with excellent black comedy and has some very clever twists that give the film its very special charm. To expect a terrifying horror experience is to watch the film with the wrong attitude, as "House on Haunted Hill" moves more on the lines of subtle dark comedy with a dose of campy fun instead of graphic horror. Despite this tone, the film plays very good with the mystery that represents the House and the murders, and the ending still is one of the best surprises on film.
William Castle directs this film following the conventions of the Gothic horror to the letter, but even when may had been a businessman first, he still was an artist, and shows off a very clever use of the camera to create mood an atmosphere. Castle was a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and it shows as Castle's visual style in "House on Haunted Hill" owes a lot to Hitchcock's inventive use of the camera to tell a story (The master of suspense would "return the favor" a year later with his very own b-movie, "Psycho"). Castle's elegant camera-work contrasts with the dark campy humor of the story giving the film its distinct tone, favored by the classic performances of Vincent Price and Elisha Cook.
The legendary Vincent Price, who delivers an unforgettable performance with his enormous presence that makes his intentionally campy delivery even more enjoyable. Elisha Cook Jr. plays one of the guests at the party, Watson Pritchard, and his scene-stealing performance almost overshadows Price's (not an easy feat to accomplish). The surprise comes from Carol Ohmart, who plays Annabelle Loren, being a worthy counterpart to Price's character, as his character's gorgeous but treacherous wife. The rest of the cast is somewhat effective, with Carolyn Craig and Richard Long playing the "heroes" of the story with good results, although some other members of the cast are pretty average when compared to the previously mentioned actors.
Yes, it's a little dated, but it's a lot of fun.
Drag Me to Hell (2009 Rated PG-13 in the US for horror violence, terror, disturbing images and show us all what SHOULD have happened to Wall Street bankers during the Great Recession)
Summary (from IMDB):
Christine Brown is a loans officer at a bank but is worried about her lot in life. She's in competition with a competent colleague for an assistant manager position and isn't too sure about her status with a boyfriend. Worried that her boss will think less of her if she shows weakness, she refuses a time extension on a loan to an old woman, Mrs. Ganush, who now faces foreclosure and the loss of her house. In retaliation, the old woman place a curse on her which, she subsequently learns, will result in her being taken to hell in a few days time. With the help of a psychic, she tries to rid herself of the demon, but faces several hurdles in the attempt.
RB Wood's rating (out of 5): 4 creepy old women
From the intense opening scene to the stellar and shocking finale, Sam Raimi has officially returned to the horror genre with vigor and spark in the year's best horror film so far. Starring Alison Lohman in the leading role (Ellen Page was originally cast as the lead but dropped out of the project early in production), Drag Me to Hell feels like much more than your average, predictable horror popcorn flick. It's filled with plenty of twists and turns and, like any good ride, a satisfying conclusion. And the PG-13 rating? Forget about it! You hardly notice that little factor because of how immersed you become in the story. Also starring are Justin Long, David Paymer, and Lorna Raver.
Christine (Lohman), a loan officer at a bank with a lovely boyfriend (Long), is being considered for a promotion. Jumping at the opportunity, she comes across an old gypsy woman (Raver) who requests a third extension on her house. Her boss (Paymer) tells her it's a tough decision, and its her call, so she refuses the woman's payment. Absolutely infuriated, the woman stalks Christine after work and bestows her with a supernatural curse, one which she has only three days to overcome before the spirits drag her to hell.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about the movie is how well it's made technically. It had all sorts of interesting shots and the real work of a master filmmaker. Having both written and directed the film, Sam Raimi more than proves his worth to the horror genre despite his long absence since Army of Darkness. In ways, this is also a sort of revival of what people with think of PG-13 horror movies. Drag Me to Hell is one of the most intense, scary horror films in quite some time, despite the PG-13 rating which many tag as already crap.
Drag Me to Hell is full of its epic shocks, and the less you go in knowing about it the better. I could go on for hours about the movie and spoil everything there is to know, but that would truly ruin some of its appeal. Which is certainly not to say that it is lost after a first viewing, just that it's an experience unlike any other going into this movie watching virtually no clips and reading very little about it. It becomes a truly rewarding experience.
The Lost Boys (1987 - Rated R in the US for bloody horror violence including disturbing images, language and Kiefer Sutherland's hair cut)
Summary (from IMDB):
A mother and her two sons move to a small coast town in California. The town is plagued by bikers and some mysterious deaths. The younger boy makes friends with two other boys who claim to be vampire hunters while the older boy is drawn into the gang of bikers by a beautiful girl. The older boy starts sleeping days and staying out all night while the younger boy starts getting into trouble because of his friends' obsession.
RB Wood's rating (out of 5): 4 annoying little brothers
The best element of this movie is that fact that it doesn't take itself very seriously, but in no way does that effect the relative creepiness of the main storyline. The makeup is top notch, as are the special effects and the acting is a perfect fit to the context of the film. Yeah, Corey Haim may not be a Dean or Brando, but he is pitch perfect as the annoying little brother who talks big and runs fast in the face of trouble. Jason Patrick is as good as an actor could possibly be in a role that requires very little character development but the big star here is Kiefer Sutherland who channels his "scary bad boy" look into a character who is as fun to watch as he is frightening. Rounding out the rest of the cast is Dianne Wiest as the sweet mother, Corey Haim and Edward Hermann as the vampire killing duo Edgar and Alan (a cute Poe reference) Frog and 80's movie staple Jamie Gertz as the gypsy-esque Star.
The film has many memorable scenes including the vampire initiation and the scene where Patrick first approaches his brother in vampire form. Though the 80's fashion and music are powerful throughout they borderline overdone and are still enjoyable. Plotwise the set up is acceptable: Wiest and her two sons(Patrick and Haim) move into her father's house in Santa Carla, California, a quaint little beach side town that has been suffering from a high homicide rate. While mom looks for a job the boys look for something to do, Patrick setting his sights on the alluring Star and Haim settling into the local comic den, both fail to notice the ridiculous amount of "MISSING" posters on the walls. Patrick is led astray by a group of youths who like to drag race and hang out in a cave, eventually peer pressure rears its ugly head and soon enough Patrick is one of them. Then he finds out exactly why they only hang out after dark.
Full of great one liners and comedic performances (Barnard Hughes is great as the eccentric taxidermist/grandfather) "The Lost Boys" is a film showcased by the small touches: we still have the usual vampire yarn, but the youthful overtones create a different effect. Yes its 80's but its damn fun to watch. Schumacher creates a film that is not only a fun take on vampires but a creative take on teenagers and their neverending trek to belong.
Reccommended to those who have a sense of humor and enjoy vampire films.