Horror Triple Feature: Hush, Halloween III, and Angel Heart

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It’s time for another Horror Triple Feature, where I wrap-up the last three horror films I’ve watched. It being October, I’m of course watching a lot of scary stuff. So let the spooky reviews commence.

hushposterHush. This is one that’s gotten a little buzz, and I was mainly interested because of the director, Mike Flanagan. He’s the same guy who made Oculus, which I really enjoyed. This one didn’t hit the mark for me. I’m not into the home invasion sub-genre really. This one had an interesting twist, in that the victim is a deaf woman, but even that had its drawbacks. Mainly that the actress playing the character is not herself deaf. Trust me, I know someone who is deaf who was not amused to find this out. So it’s not really authentic, and it ends up being fairly run-of-the-mill. There’s maybe ten minutes of tension where she doesn’t realize she’s being stalked because she can’t hear him. Then he reveals himself, and it becomes like any other movie.

I feel that movies like this ought to be non-stop intensity. A cat and mouse game to the death. There was too much lag time between bloody set pieces, so the tension slackened and things became boring. It’s such a short film, but it doesn’t keep a good pace. Also, the killer starts the film silent, in a creepy mask, then removes the mask and becomes just… some guy. All his mystique is instantly erased, and she has such an easy time tricking him that he comes off as a moron with no plan. 0/10, was not intimidated.

This is the sort of movie that might be fine for a single viewing but doesn’t offer anything more than that. It barely offers the chills I’d expect in the first place.

Final Rating: 2/5

hiiiposterHalloween III: Season of the Witch. The Halloween movie that doesn’t star Michael Myers. There are a lot of mixed feelings about that in the horror community. I’m not really into the slasher genre, so when I heard this was very different, I got excited. This film has more problems than simply not starring the guy that had become the series’ poster boy. To say that this film’s plot is far-fetched is underselling it. The amount of disbelief you have to suspend is the equivalent of trying to make an elephant fly. On the one hand, it was fun. On the other hand, it was goofball city. We’re meant to take this threat seriously, that’s made clear, but it’s very hard to. They went with a fusion of technology and ancient magic that had me looking around, waiting for it to be a joke. It wasn’t. That was actually the plot.

Yet in the same breath I have to say there were some very effective scares in this. In particular when our hero is shown the bad guy’s ultimate plan of pure evil. Specifically the part where we see the actual end game really worked. And that damn jingle. That freaking ear worm of a jingle. By the end, the sound of it makes you frantic. You feel exactly what Tom Atkins is clearly feeling. It has that same charm of something like In the Mouth of Madness and The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You watch this man learn a terrible truth and scramble to find someone who will listen while appearing completely mad. That sort of existential horror will always tap into something primal in us, making this film a hard one to stop thinking about.

Final Rating: 3/5

ahposterAngel Heart. Special thanks to Welcome to the Basement for bringing this one to my attention. It got a mention in their latest episode (Scream Blacula Scream!), and the way they talked about it, I was immediately intrigued. Man, they weren’t kidding. Angel Heart is a neo-noir thriller that’s part psychological and part supernatural. It’s pretty much perfect. The period setting of the 1950s is very atmospheric. The acting is top notch, and like everyone who talks about this movie, special mention goes to Robert De Niro for being such a subtle and amazing creep. The twist ending is nicely done. In a world full of twists that end up making no sense or try too hard, this was a breath of fresh air.

There have been a lot of movies since this one to imitate it, trying to have the same impact. Trying to inspire the same horror. I have to say that most of them fall short, and I think it’s because they don’t capture the sadness that’s such an integral part of this movie’s ending. It’s not only that it’s shocking. It’s also tragic. The films that have followed in Angel Heart‘s footsteps seem to get the part about being disturbing and scary but entirely miss the part about character depth. That’s where this one, I can see, is a modern horror classic. Watch it. I dare you.

Final Rating: 5/5

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