“Ten Reasons Some Scary Movies Can Be Okay for Kids”

It seems that a common theme amongst horror artists is that it all begins at a young age.  Nobody turns 18 and watches their first horror movie, no matter what kind of household in which you were raised.  Whether you had parents who were liberal enough to let you watch monster movies as a kid (I saw John Carpenter’s “The Thing” at the tender age of seven), or you were one of those kids who snuck the movies into your sleepovers or stayed up late and watched them on HBO, if you wanted to watch horror movies, you found a way.  If you had a fascination of fear, a desire for the dead or a craving for the creeps, you satisfied it, no matter what age you were.

But why then do parents often try to shield their children from monsters on the screen?  Isn’t growing up with certain fears a healthy part of childhood?  All kids should have at least a little fear of a monster under the bed or a ghost in the closet–it’s part of growing up.  Maybe scary movies are actually good for children in the same way that cartoons, comedies or musicals can be.

Tina Marconi, a frequent contributor and editor of www.babysitters.net, was kind enough to send us a link to exactly why she thinks scary movies are not only okay for children, but can actually give them a positive experience in their childhood.  Her article, “Ten Reasons Some Scary Movies Can Be Okay for Kids,” can be read here.  Check it out; it’s a unique and practical look at all of the glorious things that horror can do for our families, and we at LAHorror.com couldn’t agree more.

And let’s face it:  if there’s one group of people you can trust on a topic like this, it’s babysitters.  Jamie Lee Curtis taught me that back when I was a little kid.

Alien/Predator Marathon

I grew up watching the “Aliens” movies.  I vividly remember being allowed to watch “Aliens” with my father when my mother was working late (he still made me close my eyes during some certain chest bursting scenes).  I was also no stranger to “Predator.”  In fact, I would argue that “Predator” may be Arnold’s true masterpiece, and without a doubt the ultimate guy movie.  Needless to say, when Crave Online‘s Brad Hansen and Athena Stamos invited us to their fifth Movie Marathon featuring every “Alien” and “Predator” movie watched in one day (including “Prometheus” the following day), we were…bursting…with excitement.

Their previous thons included a Star Wars Marathon, Star Trekathon, Batathon, and the insane full Bondathon (25 films, three days), however this was their first horror-thon, and hopefully not their last.  Just imagine a Freddy vs. Jasonthon or a Chuckython.  We’ll see…but in the meantime, here’s how the thon worked:

-Each movie was watched in order of release.

-Only theatrical versions were watched.

-Each movie was rated 1-10 and the averages were taken to choose an ultimate winner.

While we had to miss the Prometheus screening the following day, it was an absolute pleasure watching these favorites again in a 15 hour span.  Check out the time-lapse video created by these two crazy thoners and see just exactly how these movies panned out.

For the record, our ratings were:

“Alien” – 10

“Aliens” – 10

“Predator” – 9

“Predator 2” – 7

“Alien 3” – 4

“Alien Resurrection” – 8

“AVP” – 1

“AVP Requiem” – 5

“Predators” – 8

There you have it folks.  Much thanks to Brad and Athena for the invite – be sure to check out their article on the event on Crave Online here!

Why Do You Love Horror?

Why do you love horror?

Is it for the blood?  The gore?  The violence?  The fear?  The terror?  The creatures?  The monsters?  The killers?  The rapists?  The victims?  The crying children?  The screaming mothers?  The missing little girl?  The broken lock?  The eye behind the door?  The mystery?  The carnage?  The discovery of the mass grave?  The hatred?  The psychopaths?  The grisly works of skeleton art?  The murder weapons?  The axe?  The machete?  The glove with knives?  The disgusting surgery?  The awkward laughs?  The sex?  The lust?  The naïve teenagers?  The chase?  The hunt?  The guts?  The mistaken identity?  The sinister music?  The sinister laughs?  The cheerleaders?  The slumber partiers?  The underage drinkers?  The happy campers?  The disease?  The infection?  The sickness?  The loose dirt over the shaking coffins?  The sound of dripping?  The sound of chomping?  The sound of death?  The urge to vomit?  The urge to cover your eyes?  The urge to keep watching?  The urge to want more?  The explosions?  The invasions?  The missions gone bad?  The betrayals?  How nothing is how it seems?  How there is nobody to trust? The look in her eye when she knows she’s going to die?  The sound in his voice when he shrieks?  How evil knows is found in every age, gender, species, time, object and world?  How no matter what, nobody is safe?  The beautiful death over and over again?

Why do you love horror?  Well, probably the same reasons that I do.

We can be sick together.

Thanks for visiting LAHorror.com!

LA Horror Review: “Bloody Wedding”

Kate Murdoch and Brad Coffey fight for their lives in “Bloody Wedding”

Who doesn’t like a good wedding?  There’s the dinner, the free booze, delicious cake and memories that will last a lifetime. But in the case of “Bloody Wedding,” the new over-the-top slasher flick from Sharkey Films, that lifetime may be a lot shorter than you might expect…

The set up is simple.  Cindy (Kate Murdoch) is about to marry Pierce (Ryan Sulak), the handsome man of her dreamsShe goes through the typical problems that all brides face – getting the flowers ready, an occasionally grumpy fiancé, bitchy, nasty relatives and unwanted wedding guests.  Yet, all of those things seem trivial when the wedding party begins to get horrifically murdered.  The suspects are everywhere with a slew of potential motives, and as the body count rises, Cindy realizes that nobody can be trusted…not even the ones she loves dearest.

“Bloody Wedding” lives up to its name – there is a wedding, and it is bloody.  But that’s not the only reason that it’s a terrific success.   The art of creating an enjoyable low budget horror film can be tricky, but “Bloody Wedding” kills it (pun intended).  This movie has everything horror enthusiasts could hope for – loads of blood, genuine laughs and, of course, plenty of beautiful women (and men) being killed in some brilliant ways.  While we don’t want to give away too much, one thing must be said:  “Bloody Wedding” has one of the most terrific sex-to-kill scenes since the original “Friday the 13th.”  Note from this reviewer:  LOOK UNDER THE BED BEFORE YOU HAVE SEX.

Tawny Amber Young finds herself in a rough spot.

Now, “Bloody Wedding” isn’t necessarily the scariest horror film ever made and that’s just fine.  It does utilize a number of slasher clichés, but they are easily forgivable due to the tongue-and-cheek nature of this movie.  It knows exactly what it is and doesn’t have to apologize for it.  “Bloody Wedding” is the sickest, sexiest and goriest wedding you’ll ever attend. Just one look at the remarkably attractive wedding party, and you’ll send in your RSVP faster than you can say, “I do.”

But while the actors are undoubtedly good-looking, don’t write them off as your typical “all beauty, no brains” horror cast. Each character is developed and interesting, and there really aren’t any sore thumb performances whatsoever.

Marguerite Insolia and Mike Pfaff put up with the crude antics of Jordan Bates

Most notably, Jordan Bates as the hilarious and crude best-buddy Jim Swim is the glue that holds this cast together.  His ridiculous (and often improvised) one-liners are seriously hysterical and over-the-top.  “I’d go to war for those rocket tits!” was our personal favorite.   Mike Pfaff plays Jackson, the groom’s brother, in a genuine and believable way, and the chemistry he shares with Ryan Sulak certainly has an insidious nature at times.  Bombshells Pason and Tawney Amber Young are terrific bitches and it’s truly a pleasure to root against them.  Lastly, Kate Murdoch and Brad Coffey (the brother of the bride) are the heart of this story, and they do an amazing job getting you invested in these characters and showing their humanity in an otherwise inhumane setting.  Along with a stellar supporting cast, these performers clearly had their hearts in this project and made it a most memorable experience – we wouldn’t be surprised to see any one of these actors blow up in a major way given the right opportunity.  After all, don’t all the greats start in horror?

Writer/producers Patty Sharkey and Mike Merickel and director Robert Hoover have a lot to be proud of with this piece.  They set out to make an enjoyable horror film and they did just that.  While “Bloody Wedding” may not get a massive theatrical release, it certainly has the potential to be a cult favorite in no time at all.  Do yourself a favor and send your RSVP to “Bloody Wedding.”  This is one wedding that people are dying to attend, so don’t miss it!

Please visit “Bloody Wedding” on Facebook.  Also take a peek at Sharkey Films first feature “Homeless Joe.”  Music for “Bloody Wedding” was provided by Old Man Markley.

LA Horror Review: “The Funny Man” (web series)

Lee (Ryan Reyes) is your average struggling comic.  He’s socially awkward and a recluse.  He has a hard time making relationships work.  He shows up to open mics and tells his best jokes— jokes that he may or may not have borrowed from other people…from recently murdered people, to be precise.

You see, Lee has a deep dark secret.  His twin brother is a murderous psychopath hell bent on hearing a good joke, and he isn’t afraid to kill to find it.  And that naturally causes a lot of problems for Lee, especially after he meets the beautiful and kind Rachel (Abby Wathen), who actually takes a liking to him.  Lee now must struggle to prevent her untimely demise at the hands of this masked killer, The Funny Man.

“The Funny Man” is a 10 episode horror web series written and directed by Jake Barsha and produced by Daily Motion, and it delivers.  Each episode ratchets up the body count and drives the story closer to its shocking conclusion.  It’s slick, gory and ultra creepy.  “The Funny Man” is no joke.

The series is led by actor Ryan Reyes who gives a subtle yet haunting performance as our disturbed comedian, Lee.  You’re not really sure what to make of him.  You like him, but you don’t want to.  You hate him, but you sympathize.  You want him to succeed, but fear what he’s going to do next.  It’s dynamite that will divide horror audiences into two factions: those who root for the victim and those who root for the killer.  And should it really be any other way?

Lee’s performance is complimented by a stellar ensemble cast of both up-and-coming actors as well as veterans of the genre alike.  Leslie Easterbrook (“The Devil’s Rejects,” “Halloween”) and David Fine add a wild card element to the series as the nosy neighbors, and, in near the end of the series, you can see exactly why these two have had such terrific careers so far in Hollywood. They really light it up when the time comes.  And while many of the other characters only survive for one or two episodes, you really get a feel for who each one is as a person.  “The Funny Man” looks like a web series, but plays like a feature film, creating characters you sincerely care about that all help drive the full story forward.  The body count in this show is high, but it never feels gratuitous.

Other notable successes of “The Funny Man” go to the stellar cinematography by Yuki Noguchi and the editing and directing by Jake Barsha.  It is masterfully lit and each frame carries a certain weight to it.  The editing is crisp and often adds to the scares, from quick flashes of horrific moments to long, dreadful sequences.  The overall pace of this show is quick, but thorough, enabling the viewer to see all of the bloody details.

At the end of the day, this is simply a terrific piece overall.  If you’re a fan of gory horror, watch this show.  If you’re a fan of psychological horror, watch this show.  If you’re a fan of horror in general, watch this show.  Who knows, you may even relate to “The Funny Man.”  After all, don’t we all like telling jokes?

Watch “The Funny Man”

Five Horror Films that Will Never (or Should Never) be Remade…

For better or for worse, it seems that Hollywood studios are pumping out remakes at an unheard of pace.  Some of the most classic and beloved horror icons are being rehashed, remade and recycled for a newer and younger audience.  Some find this troublesome, others find it encouraging, but the truth is somewhere in between.  It’s a new age and new faces want to see new, bloodier takes on classic films.

While there really is no stopping this phenomenon, we at LAHorror.com would like to share our top five horror films that should not EVER be remade.

5.  “Jaws”

Of all of the films on this list, “Jaws” probably has the best chance of remaining untouched.  Could you imagine a “Jaws” remake?  Sheriff Brody (now played by Ryan Reynolds) is trying to close the beach much to the dismay of the thousands of Spring Breakers trying to host their bikini competition.  Hmmm…it actually sounds like it could be okay, but let’s not find out either way.

4.  “The Exorcist”

Remaking this one would seem almost like a joke on itself at this point.  Exorcism movies are popping up all of the time now, some of them are actually pretty good too, but they all strive to do what only The “Exorcist” could do.  Nobody will ever match Linda Blair’s performance as Reagan and nobody will create an exorcism film as raw and shocking.  “The Exorcist” (like “Jaws”) has transcended out of the horror genre entirely and is more of a staple of American cinema in general.  Trying to reboot it would be like playing with a Ouija board:  who knows what you’d summon but it probably wouldn’t be good.

3.  “Child’s Play”

There is buzz around a “Child’s Play” remake and there has been for some time.  If handled delicately a “Child’s Play” remake could be pretty good, however what worries me about this idea is what they would do with Chucky.  Would you create a new doll entirely?  And what of Brad Dourif, Chucky’s sinister voice?  We’ve seen what recasting can do to a horror remake and it’s often not pretty (i.e. “Nightmare on Elm Street”).  Could you imagine a new Chucky with a new voice?  Chucky is the killer doll in cinema.  He wasn’t the first, but he’s the biggest and he should stay that way, just as he is.

*Literally as this article was being written MGM announced two new “Child’s Play” films, one sequel and one re-make in pre-production.  The good news?  Brad Dourif is supposedly attached to both projects…for now…

2.  “The Evil Dead”

Yes, this film is being remade.  The good news is that Sam Raimi wrote the screenplay and Bruce Campbell is attached as a producer.  The bad news is it won’t be the same “Evil Dead.”  “The Evil Dead” is one of those movies that’s way better than it ever should have been.  It masterfully blends horror, extreme gore and black comedy into a zombie, demon and chainsaw filled bloodbath.  Every scene in The Evil Dead seems to outdo the previous one tenfold.  This remake has some big shoes to fill and is going to have to be absolutely bonkers if it expects to live up to the original.

1.  “Cannibal Holocaust”

You simply can’t remake this movie.  It can’t be done nor should it.  “Cannibal Holocaust” is arguably the most controversial and horrific film ever made, the release of it alone inspired arrest warrants for the filmmakers.  While director Ruggero Deodato has been trying (unsuccessfully) to make a companion piece, the original has remained in tact and always should.  Some films are just too horrific to recreate, and even if you somehow could match the ferocity and raw violence of the original, no theater in America would ever touch it.

Is there a chance that all of these will be remade eventually?  Of course, and time will tell if it was worth the effort.  In the mean time, what other horror films would you consider off-limits?