Sunday, July 29, 2018

Want Some Demon Candy, Little Girl?

Hey guys. Remember Amityville way back when and how scary that movie was? Remember when they remade it with Ryan Reynolds and how much that sucked? Yeah, well, The Devil’s Candy was nothing like that.

Let’s get right into it.

2015’s The Devil’s Candy starring Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco, and Pruitt Taylor Vince. The story begins with Raymond Smilie (Taylor Vince), a middle-aged mentally ill man who starts hearing voices. One night, he decides to play his electric guitar to stop the voices, which would be fine if it weren’t in the dead of night. His mother gets angry with him and threatens to send him back to the nuthouse. Raymond loses it and pushes his mother down the stairs.

Fast forward to sometime later, we meet the Hellmans. (Heh, HELLman. I see what you did there). Jesse Hellman(Embry) is a starving artist and metalhead who has to paint butterflies for all the straight-laced people in the world to feed himself and his family. Apparently, that’s been working out because The Hellmans are able to buy a new house!

By the way, Embry as Jesse Hellman looks really dirty all through this movie. Like, he looks like a dirty Matthew McConaughey in almost every scene. About halfway through this one, I was getting kind of desperate for him to take a really good shower with soap. I mean, I was starting to think I could smell him through my screen.

Anyway, Yay, new house! So, Jesse, his wife Astrid(Appleby) and his daughter and fellow metalhead daughter Zooey(Glasco) move into a beautiful house that they clearly cannot afford because we already established earlier that Jesse is a starving artist. The real estate agent…who apparently doubles as a cow rancher…warns them that the previous owner killed himself after his wife fell down the stairs.

Everything’s going okay until Jesse starts hearing voices. The voices lead him to start painting…and painting…and painting until he’s painted the day away. The end result?

Which is great..except he doesn’t remember painting the picture. Nonetheless, Jesse sees this as a boon and takes the painting to an art dealer who previously rejected him. The secretary tells him, “Meh, I guess we’ll look at it. Whatever.”

So, okay, everything’s everything until Ray shows up at their house all shaky-eyed and crazy looking. Zooey answers the door and they stare at each other for a minute. Ray notices the fake tattoo on her arm of a guitar and tells her he has one, which makes Zooey go all; “Oh, my God! I totally wanted one of those, too! I can’t believe you’ve got a Flying V! Awesome!”

While this weird conversation is going on, Jesse comes to the door and asks what he wants. Ray says something to the effect of: “I need to come home to my mommy and daddy.” Jesse realizes that this must be the poor sap whose parents died in the house before them. He tells him that he’s sorry for his loss, but he needs to roll out because this isn’t his house anymore. He closes the door and Ray starts ringing the doorbell over and over again. He yells through the door that he’s going to call the police and Ray leaves finally.

And then, Zooey goes all “Way to go, Dad! We’re supposed to be NICE to people! Remember??” Jesse’s wife, who also witnessed the exchange is in full agreement.

Yeah, so, yeah. This guy here, Zooey said that about.

Let me step back for a moment to impart a little parental advice. When somebody who looks like this guy shows up at your door and creepily asks for his mommy and daddy and your 12-13 doesn’t know enough to know enough to be scared, you have failed as a parent. Lemme say that again. If your FEMALE child does not know stranger danger by the time they are a preteen, YOU HAVE FAILED AS A PARENT! Your child does not know to run from the bad guys that ACTUALLY LOOK AND BEHAVE LIKE BAD GUYS FOR GOD’S SAKE?! WHAT WERE YOU DOING IF YOU SKIPPED STRANGER DANGER DAY IN PARENTING 101?? IT’S THE FIRST FRICKIN’ THING YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS, RIGHT AFTER DON’T SWALLOW PENNIES! JESUS, MAN!

That being said, as this story goes on, it becomes very apparent that Jesse and Astrid do not make the best decisions as parents. The next morning, Creepy Ray leaves his guitar and amp outside for Zooey, who – because she has no concept of stranger danger – is excited that he left it for her. Jesse says no way can she keep the guitar because, well, he gives a reason, but as a parent myself, I wouldn’t feel the need to. “Because I said so, dammit! Now, get your ass in the house!” would probably have been my response, but, whatever.

So, we travel into bad parenting theatre at this point. Astrid is barely there. I don’t know that she does for a living, but it keeps her away from home until well after dark. In the meantime, Jesse is a painting up a storm. The beautiful butterfly picture he was making for the straights earlier he’s now compelled to paint over with disturbing images of suffering children…including a little kid who while playing in the park ends up being stalked and killed by Ray.

Jesse’s so immersed in his work that he forgets to pick up Zooey from school until way after dark…which, admittedly, is a pretty terrible thing to do. When he gets there, he apologizes and lets her keep the creep guitar to appease her.

So, that night, Zooey wakes up to find Ray in her bed. Zooey, now getting that long-missed lesson in stranger danger, starts screaming for help. Her mother comes into her room and starts screaming and everyone’s screaming and Ray makes a run for it, running over Jesse in the hallway as he leaves. Okay, so they call the cops, the cops say, “Meh, change the locks”.

Okay, so, Mr. Bigshot art dealer agrees to see Jesse’s new paintings, which is great. He seems the newest painting, which now has a big eyeball monster in it and his daughter on fire in the corner, and calls it genius. But the meeting is running long and he promised he would pick up his daughter from school.

So, Jesse goes to get his daughter, but he has a blowout on the road…and the whispers are getting louder. He tries calling his daughter, but no answer, so he hoofs it towards her school. By the time he gets there, she’s gone.

Where has she gone?

Yeah…Creepy Ray has kidnapped her. He tells her that he can no longer resist the voices he hears and now he has to give her to “Him” because children are…wait for it…"The Sweetest Candy”. Okay, so he leaves her to get ready to chop her up. Zooey manages to get untied and escapes through the bathroom window.

At the police station, Jesse’s consoling both Astrid and Zooey and the police are talking about getting them into witness protection because Ray is still out there somewhere (Yeah, I know that’s now how that works, but just go with it). The cops escort them home and they get ready to leave. Of course, Ray shows up, kills the cops and steal one of their guns and storms into the house, guns blazing.

All told, he manages to shoot Jesse and Astrid and set the house on fire while trapping himself and Zooey in her bedroom. While bleeding to death on the floor downstairs, Jesse realizes that his daughter burning in the painting that he did was happening now. He manages to get up, get his wife out of the house, then go back in and up the stairs to get his daughter.

And then an epic battle ensues between Ray and Jesse and for just a moment, Jesse is kicking some butt. Until Ray gets the jump on him, then advances towards Zooey through the flames like a big, fire golem. But wait! Dad comes out of nowhere and beats him to death with…wait for it…THE FRICKIN GUITAR!

So, Jesse, who has fully redeemed himself as a dad, grabs his daughter and the two of them escape the burning house. As they watch the burning house, Jesse realizes that Ray had been kidnapping and killing the children that Jesse painted in his picture…and he finds the suitcases their crammed in a few yards from the house.

Sooooo, yeah, Big Ole Jewel for this one. As disjointed Amityville ripoffs go, The Devil’s Candy was pretty awesome.

Okay, so, next week might be a double feature. Next on the list was "Dagon", but I’m not sure if I’ve seen it before. I might be mixing it up with another movie, so, we’ll see. Just in case, the next movie is “Don’t Kill It” with everyone’s favorite B-movie action star, Dolph Lundgren. And before you ask, yes, they are both demon movies, therefore continuing the Demonathon which is this blog lately.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Oh, My Demon, Clementine

Ahoy-hoy, friends! This week, just when I thought we were gonna get a break in the Demonathon, I run into our next movie, Darling.

Now, if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I can qualify Darling as being a demon movie in that no demons are really mentioned or anything…but I can say that it’s definitely in the same vein as your average possessed-by-a-old-house kind of demon movie.

Before we get started, I have to say that one of the things I love about good horror is when the filmmaker understands the concept of keeping it as simple as possible. Not to put down the wild, high budget horror film (A Christmas Story, for instance). I mean, big budgets and crazy stories are pretty awesome too. But there is really something to be said about getting down to the bare bones of a horror story. Girl in house, girl gets possessed/goes nuts, bad things happen. Let’s break it down.

So, Darling starring Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Young, and Brian Morvant. First, a warning.

If you have photosensitive epilepsy, this movie isn’t for you. Skip this review. Go to YouTube this week and watch a nice vlog. Don’t worry. I’ll be back next week with a new review. In fact, here’s a video of me reading from one of my books. Enjoy!

For the rest of you horror lovers, boy, oh, boy are you in for a treat. Lemme set the stage.

Chapter One: Her

Darling (Carter) is a nice girl in a Wednesday Addams dress who just got a posh job house sitting for a woman known only as Madame (Young). Madame tells Darling the particulars of the job and informs her, quite in discretely (Like all, “I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”) that the last caretaker tragically threw herself out of a window. But, you know, she shouldn’t worry about anything like that happening to her. I mean, I know there’s a rumor about this being a murder house, but that’s all just make-believe. You’ll be FIIIINE.

Okay, so Darling’s in the house by herself and she starts living her life. She finds an old crucifix in a drawer as she’s unpacking and a door in the house that’s locked. When she calls and asks Madame about the door, Madame tells her to NEVER EVER OPEN THAT DOOR!!!
K. So, at some point, Darling goes grocery shopping and accidentally drops the crucifix. Some guy(Morvant) on the street notices and stops her to return it. She freaks out. She takes the crucifix and he walks away. She follows him until she reaches where he lives, then goes back home.

Chapter Two: Invocation

Okay, so Darling starts having all these hallucinations which at first appear to look like flashes of her going crazy. In the middle of the night, she sees scrawled on her nightstand "Abyssus abyssum invocat" or “Deep calls to the deep”.

No, I don’t know Latin. I had to Google it just like you just did.


Chapter Three: THRILLS!!!

So, at this point, Darling’s got the crazy eyes. She dolls herself up and goes to the strange guy’s apartment. She waits until he leaves then follows him to a bar where she sits alone and waits for him to come up to her. He does.

He hits on her accordingly and buys her a few drinks, all the while she’s…well…I wouldn’t call it flirting, really. She really comes off kind of cold. Just the same, when she invites him back to her place he excepts because…well, he’s had a few drinks, she’s pretty, and he’s a guy.

Back at the house, they talk some more and she offers him a drink. And then she stabs him.

No, really. She leaves for the kitchen, comes back with a knife and while he’s in mid-conversation with her, she stabs him. When he falls over, she stabs him again and starts twisting the knife yelling at him all: “I remember what you did to me, HENRY SULLIVAN, BWAHAHAHA!!!"

Chapter Four: Demon

So, Darling does what any of us would do if left in the dining room with a bloody body. She drags the body into the tub, then goes to bed, where she has nightmares of him getting up and attacking him.

Chapter Five: Inferno
When she wakes up, she decides to starts cutting him up, but not before checking his wallet and pulling out his driver’s license which says: “Henry Sullivan” on it.

Darling finishes cutting him up, puts him in a trash bag, showers, and cleans the bathroom. The deed done, she starts to leave only to find that she forgot his wallet. She looks at the license again and this time it says “James Abbott”. She doesn’t take it well.

Chapter Six: The Caretaker

Okay, so, here’s where things get interesting. Madame calls and tells Darling that her reference; “Dr. Abbott” never heard of her and she wants her to leave the house. Darling, whose lights are on, but has long left the building, asks her about the locked door that she’s NEVER SUPPOSED TO GO INTO and whether or not people practiced conjuring the devil there. Madame doesn’t answer her and only tells her to please leave. Darling response with “I think I’ll be one of your ghost stories now” and hangs up the phone.

Soooo, she goes to the locked door to the room and frantically jimmies the lock open. What she sees, we don’t see, but she gives the camera Rosemary’s Baby realness.

Meanwhile, Madame called the cops and they, with the help of a neighbor, are trying to get in. Darling is going full tilt nuts up in her room cutting up her clothes. As the cops come into the house and find the bag of body parts, Darling puts on the crucifix and jumps off the roof.

The End…

Well, not quite the end. 😊

This was a well-done movie. It was very Rosemary’s Baby with shades of May and Psycho. I was quite impressed. Needless to say, I heartily give Darling a Jewel.

Okay so, next week we are clearly continuing the Demonathon with Devil’s Candy. Woot! Maybe we’ll clear the D’s with the demon movies!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

When Life Gives you Demons...

And here we are. Demon movie number 3 in the Demonathon portion of Ferndale Public Library’s horror movie collection. A side note: Pretty soon, the horror section and all of the DVDs will be in alphabetical order making it not only easier for the staff and myself to locate our beloved movies, but also, you, the patron. That means that if there is anything that you see here that you think you want to check out, it’ll be MUCH easier to find in the future.

So. Okay, let’s get to it.

In the criminal justice system, demons are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The detectives, who investigate crime, and the psychiatrist dating the detective investigating the crime. This is their story.

And that about describes this week’s movie, 2015’s Demonic. Starring Maria Bello, Frank Grillo, Cody Horn, Dustin Milligan, Scott Mechlowicz, Megan Park, Aaron Yoo, and Alex Goode.

Okay. So. Here’s how it breaks down.

The story starts with Detective Lewis (Grillo) being called to the scene of a grisly mass murder in an old house where another grisly murder happened years ago. Apparently, someone took an ax to a whole lot of people, leaving only one man alive. Detective Lewis calls for backup, then calls his girlfriend, Dr. Klein(Bello) who happens to be a psychiatrist to interview the poor shaken up John(Milligan) and to piece together whatever happened.

So, through a series of flashbacks, John tells Dr. Klein what exactly happened which was just this:

John is having nightmares about his mom in the town murder house. John’s girlfriend, Michelle(Horn) and brother, Sam(Alex Goode), convince him that the way to get rid of the nightmares is to go to the murder house and face his fear...or something. In the meantime, they get to team up with Michelle’s ex-boyfriend, Bryan(Mechlowicz) and his ghost fighting crew.

Fast forward to everyone playing Ghosthunters in the murder house. Bryan spends most of the time being super insecure and aggro towards John because he’s the new boyfriend as opposed to doing things like taking appropriate precautions in an old abandoned house and making sure people are safe.

Things kind of jump back and forth from past to present as Detective Lewis tries to piece together the murders. John tells them that his girlfriend and Bryan are still alive and they have to find Bryan because he’s possessed and he’s the one that killed everybody.

Okay, so in the flashbacks, we see them experiencing little things. Closing doors, crucifixes turning upside down, normal, beginning of the movie demon stuff. Eventually some seriously messed up stuff starts to happen. A room spontaneously catches fire and Ghosthunter Jules(Park) gets pulled out of the room by an unseen force.

Here is the part where you will scream; “GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE STUPID!” They don’t, of course, because screw logic.

It’s not until they discover a ballerina music box that points to a rug in the next room (Yes, the next room. Don’t think about it too hard) where they find what appears to be a circle of Satan carved into the floor.

Now. It’s around this time that things get seriously messed up. They get the bright idea to use the circle of Satan to summon spirits to talk to them. Jules assures everyone that if they stay in the circle and stay connected to one another they’ll be fine. You can see where this is going, right?

Things are not fine. The house starts shaking, things start flying off walls, everyone runs screaming in different directions and Bryan gets possessed and goes Lizzy Borden on everyone.

At least, that’s John’s story anyway.

Now, I was going to post the twist to this story, but you’ll figure it out waaaayyy before anything starts to happen. I mean, I had it all worked out within John’s first five minutes of screen time, but I watch a lot of horror movies, so…yeah. I’ll leave it to you. Maybe it’s really a big surprise and I just watch way too many horror movies.

So, jewel or no jewel. Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t quite bad enough for a raspberry. I mean, the ending kind of made up for it…but not really since it was fairly obvious that’s the way the story was going. I mean, it was bad, but not that bad. Wasn’t that good, either. I’ll give it a Pink Diamond.

Heh. Shout out to my Steven Universe peeps. The show is bomb, right now, right??  ;)

So, next week is Darling. Looks very college, Indie film, which doesn’t mean it’s bad. There’s lots of good Indie Horror out there, so I’m looking forward to it.

-- O~

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Basic Demon Movie

So, remember last week when I said I didn’t know what to expect for this week’s movie?

Yeah…I really wish someone had warned me.

Also, apparently, since we’re on the Ds now, that means that I’m gonna have to watch a whole lot of demon movies since apparently, in Hollywood, D stands for Demon more than anything else in a horror movie. Yay, me!

Normally, that’s not something I would mind, exactly, but this week’s movie…sigh…let’s just get into it, shall we?

The Darkness starring Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz, Lucy Fry, Ming-Wa Wen, Ilza Ponko, Alma Martinez, and Paul Reiser. Yes, that Paul Reiser. You know, Mad About You, really just there for comedy relief Paul Reiser. Yeah. And you might think that Reiser has a more serious tone in this movie. You might think that, but you’d be wrong.

Okay, so, I’ll give you a second to get your Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon connections out of your system. Don’t worry. I found myself realizing that with Ming-Wa Wen being in this movie that means everyone in Agents of Shield has a Bacon number of two. It’s fine.

All right, done? Okay, let’s move on.

First, let me just say that this movie suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccccckkkkkkkssss. Like sucks. Like not scary, barely interesting, and pretty inflammatory to autistic people and Native Americans and Mexicans. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Basic synopsis. So, Alcoholic Wife(Mitchell) is married to Mr. Can’t-keep-it-in-his-pants (Bacon). They have an autistic son (Mazouz) and a bulimic daughter (Fry). Before we go on, these are pretty serious issues ESPECIALLY when a whole family of four has to contend with them. You’d think that the screenwriters might have done a little bit of research…right?

NO! Of course not. Why do research when making it up is SO much more fun?

So, family of four go out to some canyon on a trip. Autistic son falls into a cave and finds stones with weird carvings on them on a makeshift altar. He, of course, pockets them and takes them home.

Pretty soon weird stuff starts happening around the house. Doors and cabinets opening by themselves, sooty handprints all over the place, you know, basic haunting stuff.

From there, autistic son starts acting out, which, I gotta pause for a second here. Outside of the fact that the son is the only one of them, that really doesn’t look like any of them…like at all…like he looks like a completely different race than the rest of the family…like maybe mom hooked up with the Jewish mailman kind of different…yeah, it’s weird.

So, outside of that fact, they don’t talk about their son’s condition. I mean, they do, but they do it in a weird, vague kind of way like: “He sees things we don’t see” and “He’s just different from the rest of us”. We don’t even hear anyone refer to him as being autistic until he tries to kill his grandmother’s cat.

Okay, so son’s acting out, then ghostly stuff starts happening, all the while, the family is fighting with one another and, by the way, there is zero chemistry between any of them. I was basically watching four actors just trying to get through a dang shoot. Even Kevin Bacon seemed to just be giving up halfway through his lines in spots.

Somewhere along the line, Alcoholic Mom hears about a psychic healer through her husband’s boss’ wife, played respectively by Reiser and Wen. So, she tries to bring it up, but hubby blows her off until a bunch of soot tries to kill Little Miss Bulimia.

They move out to a hotel and call the psychic healer (Martinez), who shows up to the house with her…daughter(Ponko), I think. (I was looking at my Facebook by this point) Anyway, the healer, through translation because, of course, she doesn’t speak a word of English, tells them that ancient demons from a long-lost Native American tribe are haunting their house and if they don’t stop them, then the end of the world will come.

But no pressure.

Psychic Healer and her translator set to work banishing the spirit all “Go into the light, Carol Ann” but end up failing…miserably. Autistic boy, who’s been totally cool with being kidnapped by Ancient tribe of demons opens a portal and proceeds to step through. Mr. Can’t-Keep-it-in-his-pants finds him and decides, right then, that he actually does care about saving this stinking pile of a movie and opts to sacrifice himself for the life of his son.

But wait! It gets worse!

Autistic son finds the stones that opened the portal in the first place, puts them back on the altar (which is in the portal he stepped through) and banishes the demons. Himself. No need for anyone to banish them with strange Mexican powers…cuz that’s a thing.

And they all live happily ever after effectively killing any hope of saving this movie by perishing in a ball of blue flame like I’d hoped.

Do I really need to say that this is getting a raspberry? I mean, gah. It was really just...basic. Basically awful.

Okay, so next week is Demonic. Number four in this impromptu demonathon. I feel like I remember when this one came out, but, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen it. Guess I’m changing that next week.

(Yay, Demons!)