Review: They Live

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

John Carpenter is one of those directors that I find constantly interesting. At the risk of sounding like a philistine, I was not into Halloween, but I understood its importance for the genre (plus, that’s a good score, Mr. Carpenter). The Thing is a masterpiece of horror; In the Mouth of Madness is pure Lovecraft goodness. Let’s not forget Escape from New York and, of course, an alien invasion effort titled They Live.

As far …

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Review: The Devil’s Backbone

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Devil’s Backbone, originally set in Revolutionary Mexico and shifted to take place during the Spanish Civil War when Mexican funding proved elusive, is the original template for Pan’s Labyrinth. Containing most of the elements of Pan: a child, war, a supernatural force and terror, The Devil’s Backbone is the seed from which Guillermo del Toro’s most famous movie will be born.

Unlike Pan’s Labyrinth, the supernatural forces in The Devil’s Backbone are …

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Review: Mother of Tears

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. But sometimes, delayed gratification has its negative side-effects. Argento filmed the first of his Three Mothers movies in 1977. While I consider Suspiria inferior to the second in the series, Inferno, it had its good scenes and is widely regarded as one of the top horror films of all time. The kernel in these movies – the obscure female witches housed in three buildings throughout the world – was exciting, …

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Review: Inferno

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Argento is not my favourite director. His reckless disregard for a coherent script has dragged more than one interesting movie down a few notches. The most tantalizing of his efforts involve his Three Mothers series and its triumvirate of ancient witches causing havoc since the Middle Ages.

Inferno is my favourite of the three movies. It has all the elements necessary to draw the viewer in: an ancient cult, arcane knowledge hidden in musty books, an old …

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Review: The Ruins (film)

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’m going to be blunt here, so if you’re spoiler-phobic, you’d better step away right now: I’ve never been afraid of killer plants. God knows they’ve had their share of appearances in horror literature and movies like The Day of the Triffids (1962), Little Shop of Horrors (the musical and Corman version) and The Happening (2008), but for the most part, they leave me cold. Add to that a cast of young students and it’s not a …

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Guy Fawkes Day Review: V for Vendetta

By Paula R. Stiles

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

This verse refers to a man, Guy Fawkes, whose name has lived on in infamy (and also fame) since he was arrested in 1605 on this day for treason. The celebration, “Guy Fawkes Day (Bonfire Night)“, has been named after him. Fawkes was an Englishman who was part of The Gunpowder …

IFPGuy Fawkes Day Review: V for Vendetta

Review: Drag Me to Hell

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

There are two important lessons to be gleaned from Drag Me to Hell: 1) Social-climbers deserve death and 2) Gypsies are disgusting, awful people.

Drag Me to Hell tells the story of a formerly fat, formerly farm-bound girl who has made it to the big city and is hoping for a big promotion at the bank where she works in order to validate herself as girlfriend material for her rich boyfriend and his obnoxious parents. One …

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Review: Paranormal Week: Paranormal Activity

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I never liked The Blair Witch Project. When I saw it on screen, it was nauseating for all the wrong reasons. Struck with a bad case of motion sickness, I walked out of Blair Witch, grinding my teeth against the buddies that had dragged me to a non-scary, hype-bloated movie that got its audiences by claiming to be based on a true story (just like The Amityville Horror). So, heading towards Paranormal Activity, …

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Review: The Dunwich Horror (The SyFy Channel, October 18, 2009)

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The problem with Lovecraft is that it’s hard to maintain the suspense of his stories on screen. A lot of his work was thin on plot and thick on atmosphere, which means filling two hours worth of entertainment involves a lot of padding. The Dunwich Horror is one of his longer and more easily adaptable stories because of its length and plot.

That didn’t stop the makers of this new adaptation of Dunwich from producing a bizarre …

IFPReview: The Dunwich Horror (The SyFy Channel, October 18, 2009)

Review: Templar Week: Fallen Knight

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Fallen Knight (1998), which is also known as The Minion, bears several similarities to Demon Knight (1995): there’s a hero trying to keep a precious key which could unlock the gates of Hell from the hand of a tenacious demonic foe, as well as a female sidekick. Unfortunately, Demon Knight was fun to watch. Fallen Knight is a boring, cheap, jumbled mess.

Dolph Lundgren plays a modern-day Templar knight in New York who has to drive …

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Review: Templar Week: Demon Knight

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The TV show Tales from the Crypt was hit or miss depending on the episode. There were some big turkeys there. But when it got it right, you were in for a fiendishly fun ride. Demon Knight (1995) has all the good parts of the TV episodes expanded to a full-motion picture format.

The plot has our hero fighting hordes of demons with a Grail relic containing the Blood of Christ in an effort to stop the …

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Review: Templar Week: Tombs of the Blind Dead

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

There are two great things about Tombs of the Blind Dead: the shots of the monastery Santa María de Valdeiglesias (it’s not the Cernon, despite what the credits say) and the horses. Unfortunately, these are stacked against a whole lot of cons which include the laughable dialogue, poor script and crummy camera work.

I originally remembered this Spanish-Portugal production as being shot in Italian, which had me squinting for the first few minutes trying to figure …

IFPReview: Templar Week: Tombs of the Blind Dead