Macabre Month of Horror: Movie Review #1 “The Serpent and the Rainbow”

serpent and the rainbow

Welcome to our Fourth Annual Macabre Month of Horror, 31 horror movie reviews in 31 days.

serpent nailed to chairPlease keep in mind these are Horror Movies and the video reviews contain content from the films that may not be appropriate for younger viewers, or those with a weak constitution for that matter.

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Movie Review #1 “Serpent and the Rainbow”

The Serpent and the Rainbow is an absolute horror classic from master of horror Wes Craven. The movie just feels like a classic. It´s the kind of horror movie that just doesn’t get made anymore, and that´s a real shame.

serpent and rainbow freak outThe Serpent and the Rainbow is based on a book of the same name. The author of the book, Wade Davis, only agreed to sell the rights to his book under the pre-requisite that Peter Weir would direct the film and that Mel Gibson would star in it. You kind of feel bad for Wade Davis because neither of those men had any relation to the film.

The Serpent and the Rainbow can be considered a zombie film, but not in the traditional George A. Romero flesh-eating sense.

If you liked what you saw and want to buy your own copy of “The Serpent and the Rainbow”, CLICK HERE.

A Wonderful Easter book to share ‘The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes’ by Du Bose Heyward

country bunny the the little gold shoes

On this sunny, but a bit chilly, beautiful Easter day I wanted to share with you my all time favorite Easter book, “The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes“.

country bunny the the little gold shoes

It’s a lovely story with a powerful message that is told gently with wonderful illustrations.This book from the 1930’s, written by Du Bose Heyward, was well before its time. It features a single mother and taught racial tolerance and gender equality with a central message of kindness, perseverance and teamwork.

The illustrations by Marjorie Flack are simply gorgeous and really bring the story to life.


Little Cottontail dreams of being one of the five Easter Bunnies, but when she grows up and has twenty-one little bunnies, the dream seems unlikely to come true. But as Grandfather Bunny searches for a replacement Easter Bunny, he decides that Cottontail is just right for the job, and gives Cottontail the most difficult job of all – one that requires her to be wise, and kind, and swift, and very, very brave.

It is truly an inspiring book for readers young and old. Always remember, no matter your circumstances to never give up on your dreams. With hard work, perseverance and kind heart, anything is possible.

Movie Recommendation of the Week #6

assault on precinct 13 poster

assault on precinct 13 poster

Assault on Precinct 13

For some reason a lot of people seem to think that Halloween was John Carpenter’s first movie. It was actually his 3rd feature length film and it wasn’t even his first great film.

Assault on Precinct 13 was John Carpenter’s 2nd feature film and it came out in 1976, two years before Halloween in 1978.

The movie’s title is actually a big misconception. The assault doesn’t take place on Precinct 13, nor is there a Precinct 13 anywhere in the movie. The precinct in the movie is actually Precinct 9, District 13. John Carpenter’s original title was “The Anderson Alamo”, he later changed it to “The Siege”, but the movie distributors changed the title when they released it to “Assault on Precinct 13”, because they thought it sounded cool, and they were just not bothered to check their details.

Reasons to watch:

John Carpenter is in great form – Even though this isn’t a horror movie, it has Carpenter’s signature dark and foreboding style. It’s an action thriller (idealized as a western) that has a horror like atmosphere that works surprisingly well.

Great action – While there may not be a ton of action, what is there is great. The effects are fantastic. This is back in the 70’s so we have all the glorious assaultsquibs that sadly aren’t as prevalent in more modern films. The action is well shot, well performed, and is very intense.

Good characters – The acting is very good and the characters are very well rounded. The character development is done surprisingly well.

It seems like the kind of movie where you wouldn’t care about the characters, but John Carpenter did a great job as writer/director making the characters napoleon wilsonlikable and relate-able. They are believable in the situation and the good guys are fun to root for.

One character in particular is just so damn cool. Partially because of the excellent writing and partially because of the fantastic performance given by Darwin Joston. That character is Napoleon Wilson. This character is so Goddamn cool, he has to be on a list of coolest movie characters, but I feel he often goes overlooked.

It’s an overlooked classic – Assault on Precinct 13 is one of John Carpenter’s best films and it really is a classic.

‘Where the Red Fern Grows’ is the best tale about a boy and his dogs ever told

where the red fern grows by wilson rawls

where the red fern grows by wilson rawlsWhere the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

I read this book for the first time when I was in the third grade and have read it at least a dozen times since. It is a tale I will never grow tired of.

This wonderfully written story captivates you from the beginning, pulls you in and tugs at your heartstrings. The adventure holds you in its grip as you root for Billy and his dogs as they battle bullies and predators.

Whether you are a dog lover or not, “Where the Red Fern Grows” will strike a chord with you. It is, hands down, the best tale about a boy and his dogs ever told. Grab a box of tissues, you’ll need it.

Description from the publisher:

“Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann — a Boy and His Two Dogs…

A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains — and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that’s only found…

An exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.”

The Macabre Month of Horror 2013 movie review #2 Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

serpent and the rainbow


serpent poster

The Serpent and the Rainbow is an absolute horror classic from master of horror Wes Craven. The movie just feels like a classic. It´s the kind of horror movie that just doesn’t get made anymore, and that´s a real shame.

The Serpent and the Rainbow is based off of a book of the same name. The author of the book, Wade Davis, only agreed to sell the rights to his book under the pre-requisite that Peter Weir would direct the film and that Mel Gibson would star in it. You kind of feel bad for Wade Davis because neither of those men had any relation to the film.serpent and rainbow 1

The Serpent and the Rainbow can be considered a zombie film, but not in the traditional George A. Romero flesh-eating sense.

Let me give you a quick history lesson on zombies –

I get very annoyed when people are afraid of a zombie apocalypse happening in real life. Zombies as we know them were a figment of George A. Romero’s imagination. Night of the Living Dead was the birth of the modern zombie. Before that there was only White Zombie, and in that they were not traditional zombies, but instead they are basically slaves who are mind controlled by Bela Lugosi, which is much closer to the truth. The true roots of ¨Zombies¨stems from Haitian voodoo, in which people from Haiti would be put into a mind controlled, zombie like state. The serpent and the Rainbow tackles the Haitian voodoo type of zombie.

This is a very interesting topic that isn’t tackled very often. The fact that the horror can somewhat translate to real life can work to make it more frightening, or at the very least convince you to never vacation in Haiti.

wes craven

The location is used really well. The movie was filmed on location in Haiti and due to the civil turmoil in the area, the local peacekeepers informed the cast and crew that they could not guarantee their safety. The filming relocated and finished shooting in the Dominican Republic. The culture of the area is worked into the movie and it really adds to the film.

serpent and rainbow 2Bill Pullman stars in The Serpent and the Rainbow and he does a really great job. His acting is better than most horror movies to come out around that time. He get’s quite a beating throughout the film. He tumbles down stairs and falls all over the place, he get’s buried alive, or alive-ish, he get’s attacked by various jungle animals, harassed by the local militia, drugged with zombie powder, hell he even get’s his dick nailed to a chair.

serpent nailed to chairYou really feel bad for the guy. He goes through so much. He get’s the crap beaten out of him, over and over again but he keeps trying. He keeps failing too, but he tries, and that’s what matters. Or maybe it doesn’t matter, once you get your dick nailed to a chair it’s probably time to pack it in.

The strange thing is that later on in the movie after he gets his dick nailed to a chair, he has a sex scene. That’s a little weird.

The Serpent and the Rainbow is part scientific adventure film and part mind trip horror film. Wes Craven shows that he is a master of horror with this film. The horror works really well in this film, aside from some slightly awkward fire and telepathic effects towards the end.

Something that makes the horror work really well, is that the horror shots hang just a little longer than you see in most movies. Let me explain; there are a few “Scare moments” that you can see in other films i.e. Someone being dragged into the ground, someone in a room being flooded with blood, etc.

serpent blood bathThe Serpent and the Rainbow continues with the shots after most films would have cut away. When a person is being dragged into the ground, you see his entire body go through the grass and watch as he is pulled through dirt and roots down a giant pit. When a person is in a room being flooded, the shot doesn’t cut until the blood goes above the actor’s mouth, and covers their eye’s and eventually begins to drown them. It’s the extended length of these shots is what elevates The Serpent and the Rainbow above other similar horror films.

Perhaps the best aspect of The Serpent and the Rainbow are the drug induced freak out scenes. These scenes are crazy, over the top, and wildly imaginative. They are similar to the dream sequences Wes Craven did for the Nightmare onserpent and rainbow freak out Elm Street series. These freak out scenes are a blast to watch and are the definite highlight of the movie. It’s a messed up trip, just seeing all the crazy, freaky, weird stuff that Wes Craven throws on-screen. It’s an assault on the senses, which sounds like a bad thing, but quite the contrary. These freak out scenes are actually probably some of my favorite horror scenes from any movie.

The Serpent and the Rainbow is horror classic, that sometimes goes unnoticed. Do yourself a service and watch this movie if you haven’t already seen it. In fact, even if you have seen it, watch it again. It’s one of my favorite Wes Craven films and that’s saying something. The Serpent and the Rainbow is a bona-fide horror classic.


Check out The Serpent and the Rainbow, you can buy it from amazon with this link right here and keep coming back all October long for a new horror review everyday with this years MACABRE MONTH OF HORROR.


The 2nd Annual Macabre Month of Horror is coming

Classic Horror Collage by Sam Kench
Classic Horror Collage by Sam Kench
Classic Horror Collage by Sam Kench

It’s back. The 2nd annual Macabre Month of Horror. One horror review for every day of October. Old and new, obscure and classic, big budget and b-movies I’ll cover them all.

This year the Macabre Month of Horror will be bigger and better. There will be video reviews along with written reviews. You can expect reviews from special guest reviewers as well.

October is the month of Halloween, which just screams horror. Why wait till Halloween to watch scary movies. Watch them all month-long. In fact, I propose to you to take an oath that for the entire month you will exclusively watch horror movies. Or hell just wait till Halloween if you want, binge and watch a whole lot of them. The choice is up to you.

The whole point of this event is to give you some recommendations. Classics you may not have seen or have forgotten about, and I take special pride in recommending obscure horror movies that you haven’t heard of. Underrated/unknown masterpieces. Well maybe not “Masterpieces” but at least some fun rides.

So check back all October long and find out which horror movies you should be watching this Macabre Month of Halloween Horror known humbly as “October”.


the shining

The Shining is often considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, and with good reason. Many people do not consider the Shining to be a horror film, I suppose it is more of a psychological thriller, but anything creepy can be covered on this month of reviews, and The Shining certainly fits that.

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paranormal activity picture frame

Paranormal Activity was a phenomenon when it first came out. It was made independent and very low budget. The movie had a limited release, but after it got insane crowd reactions, it was brought to theaters across the country. It was proclaimed as the scariest movie ever made. What do I think? think it’s a pile of horse sh*t!
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one hour photo robin williamsOne Hour Photo is a horror/thriller starring Robin Williams. You may think this is really strange casting decision. Robin Williams is mostly known for his comedy roles. A good number of those comedies are also geared towards little kids. But “One Hour Photo” is not one of those films.
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Friday the 13th (1980 film)

“Friday the 13th” is one of the most well known slasher films. There have been a ridiculous amount of sequels, a crossover, and of course a remake. This is a huge franchise. So how does the first film fair?

The icon of the series is the hokey masked slasher Jason Voorhees. However Jason is not the killer in the first film. He is in fact in the movie, but only briefly as a child. He isn’t the killer until the second movie, and he doesn’t wear the iconic hokey mask, until the the third movie.

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Cover of "Alien (The Director's Cut)"The famous tagline for Alien was “In space no one can here you scream.”  This is a good tagline as well as a good solution to the horror isolation element. In horror movies there needs to be a reason why the protagonist can’t simply go to the police, or get help. In space there is no help.
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creep posterThe setting for Creep isn’t completely original for a horror film, but works very well nonetheless.The film takes place in a subway station, but that isn’t the only location. There are a few other interesting locations.
The locations and the way they are discovered kind of reminds me of a survival horror game like Silent Hill or Resident Evil. From the subway we find a great set with cages over water pits, and a very creepy laboratory. All of the locations are well designed and perfectly creepy. I also want to note that the lighting is very good. I know the lighting may not seem too important to a lot of people, but the lighting adds to the creepiness in a very good way.
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Children of Men (2006)

children of men


children of men

“Children of Men” is a movie that I had heard a lot about, but just sort of ignored. I have Ryan Connolly from Film Riot to thank for convincing me to finally watch this film.

I didn’t know what to expect going into the film. All I really knew about the film going into it was that it starred Clive Owen, who is a pretty good actor, had some explosions which I saw in a trailer, and that it was a sci-fi film, which I only found out right before watching. I watched “Children of Men” on a four DVD pack from Walmart that came also came with 12 Monkeys which is a really great movie that I might review sometime.

I’m not going to say anything at all about the plot, because I knew nothing about it and I wish the same luxury upon you as I feel it might have heightened the experience.

“Children of Men” is a true masterpiece of film. I was completely blown away, even more so because I didn’t expect much. The performances are great all around, but they are not incredibly clive owen children of mendemanding. The impact of the film comes from the the atmosphere, the production value, the story, and how it’s told. Clive Owen does a good job starring in the role. He seems very real which is hugely pertinent to the movie. I’ll explain why a little later on. Michael Cain has a supporting role which is a little smaller than I had thought, but he’s a really great actor, and adds to the film in a nice way. Also in a co-starring role is Julianne Moore, or as I like to call her “Back up Jodie Foster.”

Alfonso Cuarón does a magnificent job directing the film. He wanted to the film to have a documentary feel. These events are happening and someone just happens to be filming it. The camera work is very shaky which is often over done in movies, but this is an example of how to utilize it correctly. The camera works really adds to the movie and makes the action scenes more intense. The movie is full of incredible long shots. I am huge fan of long shots in film and it made me love the movie so much more to see so many long shots. There are single shots that last over 12 minutes. That’s insane. To someone

micheal cain children of men

who doesn’t know much about the production of film, that might not seem like such a big deal, but long shots are incredibly difficult to do from a technical production aspect. I sat back and marveled at some of these shots. I sat there and verbally exclaimed “Holy crap, I can’t believe they haven’t broken the shot yet.”

These long shots are not just static boring shots, but they are completely dynamic and just ridiculously impressive. There is a single shot where the camera follows Clive Owen through a complete war zone of a city. He’s panicking and trying not to die while running through the streets and buildings. The camera covers full blocks and goes in, up, down, and out of buildings. It’s astounding, I’m amazed by these shots. The took such magnificent orchestration to pull off, and it’s really a marvel of modern film making.

There is a shot in a car that lasts 12 minutes. It begins as a conversation among the people in the car and turns into an action sequence by the end. To make this shot work they had to invent a camera rig that went on top of the car and allowed the camera to move in 360 degrees through the entire car. The car seats were specially made, and the actors had to recline and move their chairs when they were off screen to allow for certain camera angles. There are actors inside the car, and actors outside the car, all working at the same time, also alongside some incredible special effects that most movies would cut away from to provide fake realism.

These very long shots are incredibly hard to organize and are an increased challenge to the actors. Entire scenes in the film consist of a single shot, similar to a play.

The production value is through the roof. The sets are huge and amazingly detailed. The setting is a post apocalyptic England, and it looks fantastic. You can see famous monuments throughout children of men citythe film amid the destruction that’s happening. The setting is the future, but things in the future are old, if that makes sense. Most of everything is destroyed and in ruin, and the set designers did a truly great job. I hardly ever feel the need to address the sets of a film when I’m reviewing it, but it is necessary here.

“Children of Men” is a true masterpiece of modern cinema and will surely go down in history as an all time classic.