Lights Out ain’t The Babadook, people

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 22, 1016 By Steve Newton Lights Out is a new horror flick about a murderous ghoul that you can only see--and get terrorized by--when the lights are out and its silhouette is visible. Illumination renders the thing harmless, so there's a helluva lot of victims-to-be sprinting for lightswitches and fumbling … Continue reading Lights Out ain’t The Babadook, people

The 5th Wave takes alien-attack flicks to a new low

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 21, 2016 By Steve Newton Sci-fi action flicks about alien invasions are pretty hit-and-miss. For every kickass Edge of Tomorrow you’ll find a crappy Independence Day. And then there’s The 5th Wave, based on Rick Yancey's 2013 young-adult novel. It took three whole screenwriters to turn that book into a laughable pile of juvenile hokum.  Chloë Grace Moretz stars as … Continue reading The 5th Wave takes alien-attack flicks to a new low

The Forest is long on jump scares, short on suspense

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 7, 2016 By Steve Newton The first scary movie out of the gate last year was the Jennifer Lopez thriller The Boy Next Door, which didn't bode well for Hollywood horror in 2015. This year the first Tinseltown fright flick to hit theatres is The Forest, which--while vastly superior to that bogus … Continue reading The Forest is long on jump scares, short on suspense

Wes Craven’s 1991 horror hoot The People Under the Stairs gets collectible Blu-ray release today

By Steve Newton Scream Factory, the horror arm of the Shout! Factory home video and music company, is releasing a collector's edition Blu-ray of terror titan Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs today.  Bonus features include: Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Wes Craven Audio Commentary With Actors Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen And Yan Birch House Mother … Continue reading Wes Craven’s 1991 horror hoot The People Under the Stairs gets collectible Blu-ray release today

Jason Bateman discovers his dark side in The Gift

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT. COM, AUG. 5, 2015 By Steve Newton If you thought Jason Bateman could only play affable sad-sacks, prepare for a nice surprise with The Gift. The actor best known for his gentle portrayal of the put-upon Michael Bluth in Arrested Development discovers his dark side in a big way in this unsettling revenge thriller … Continue reading Jason Bateman discovers his dark side in The Gift

The Intruders is about as scary as iCarly

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 18, 2015 By Steve Newton Horror movies featuring actors who are also pop stars are often nothing to scream about. J.Lo in Anaconda and the mostly naked Aaliyah in Queen of the Damned come to mind as good examples. And it looks like that trend will not change with the new Miranda Cosgrove vehicle, The … Continue reading The Intruders is about as scary as iCarly

Dracula Untold is patently ridiculous, and not in a good way

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 10, 2014 Dracula Untold is so patently ridiculous that it’s hard to even fathom how it came to be. Did some billionaire producer on meth sit through a Lord of the Rings marathon and declare: “That would be so much better with vampires!”? After a rambling prologue describing how 15th century … Continue reading Dracula Untold is patently ridiculous, and not in a good way

Creepy-doll flick Annabelle has more potent scares than The Conjuring

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 6, 2014 I've been a sucker for creepy-doll flicks ever since that ventriloquists' dummy from Magic put its unblinking spell on me back in 1978. The genre has had its ups (Child's Play) and downs (Dead Silence), but it gets a major boost with Annabelle, a prequel to last year's over-rated The Conjuring. Married couple … Continue reading Creepy-doll flick Annabelle has more potent scares than The Conjuring

As Above/So Below is a descent into shaky-cam hell

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, SEPT. 1, 2014 I've seen plenty of shaky-cam fright flicks since The Blair Witch Project jittered its way to horror fame back in '99, but the ultra-jittery As Above/So Below really pushes the limits of what any reasonable found-footage fan can take. It's a real shame, too, because director John Erick Dowdle--whose credits include 2008's … Continue reading As Above/So Below is a descent into shaky-cam hell

All the Oscar-winners in the world can’t make The Calling memorable

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 29, 2014 With its pitch-black humour, quirky characters, and desolate small-town vibe—not to mention those furry-earmuff cop hats—The Calling seems like it might be trying to be a horror flick for the Fargo set. Unfortunately, even with a cast that includes Oscar winners Susan Sarandon and Ellen Burstyn and the scene-stealing Donald Sutherland, The … Continue reading All the Oscar-winners in the world can’t make The Calling memorable

The Purge: Anarchy isn’t worth the numbing ride

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 18, 2014 Last year The Purge introduced viewers to the absurd concept of an annual, government-sanctioned bloodbath in which Americans are encouraged--for the economic good of the country--to either go out and commit whatever heinous crimes they want for a 12-hour period, or hunker down in their barricaded homes with their weapons handy … Continue reading The Purge: Anarchy isn’t worth the numbing ride

Sinister director goes from horrifying to horrible with Deliver Us From Evil

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JULY 3, 2014 Director Scott Derrickson's Sinister was one of the better Hollywood fright flicks of 2012. It was a grim descent into domestic horror, with Ethan Hawke convincingly portraying a true-crime writer uncovering genuinely creepy supernatural goings-on at his new home. Derrickson's latest, Deliver Us From Evil, is pretty much the opposite. … Continue reading Sinister director goes from horrifying to horrible with Deliver Us From Evil

Meat Loaf’s bug-eyed antics make Stage Fright less painful to endure

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 7, 2014 As far as movies go, the horror-musical is a strange bird. How many horror freaks want a film’s unstoppable killer to break out in song seconds before committing his evil deed? That ruins the suspense. And how many Broadway devotees want to follow a viewing of Cats with a midnight … Continue reading Meat Loaf’s bug-eyed antics make Stage Fright less painful to endure

Feeling out The Crush with 16-year-old Alicia Silverstone in Vancouver

By Steve Newton Just before she started getting recognized for her appearances in a string of videos for Aerosmith power-ballads, Alicia Silverstone made her feature film debut in the low-budget 1993 thriller The Crush. The film was shot in Vancouver, so naturally I did the set visit for Fangoria magazine. I interviewed Silverstone, who had recently … Continue reading Feeling out The Crush with 16-year-old Alicia Silverstone in Vancouver

Horror review: Pet Sematary

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 5, 1989 By Steve Newton The long list of movies based on Stephen King's writings range from excellent (The Dead Zone, Carrie), to mediocre (Christine, Firestarter), to downright terrible (Maximum Overdrive). Unfortunately for fans of the horror genre, the latest King story to hit the screen, Pet Sematary, … Continue reading Horror review: Pet Sematary

Horror review: The First Power

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 20, 1990 By Steve Newton In recent years, horror moviedom's best-known villains have been masked avengers or burned-up baddies, but there has been the odd attempt to give evil a human face. Rutger Hauer did it perfectly well as the unstoppable blond phantom of The Hitcher, while Terry … Continue reading Horror review: The First Power

Horror review: Nightbreed

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 2, 1990 By Steve Newton Clive Barker told a fib. When the British writer/director came to town on a promotional visit recently, he promised that his new film, Nightbreed, would be a lot "jumpier" than his filmmaking debut, Hellraiser. Well, I dunno. It sure didn't make me jump. And … Continue reading Horror review: Nightbreed

Horror review: Night of the Demons

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 8, 1989 By Steve Newton The newspaper ads for Night of the Demons show a vampiric female demon holding a party invitation, and the caption reads: "Angela is having a party. Jason and Freddy are too scared to come... But you'll have a hell of a time." Well, … Continue reading Horror review: Night of the Demons

Horror review: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5–The Dream Child

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 25, 1989 By Steve Newton In the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger stole the show. As the new face of evil, Robert Englund's character was mean and menacing, and writer/director Wes Craven played up the unique look and style of Krueger in a film that few … Continue reading Horror review: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5–The Dream Child

Horror review: They Live

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 18, 1988 By Steve Newton With such harrowing films as The Thing, Halloween, and Escape From New York under his belt, John Carpenter has proven himself one of the world's top directors in the sci-fi/horror/thriller genres. So what's he doing making a lightweight piece of fluff like They … Continue reading Horror review: They Live

Horror review: Friday the 13th Part VIII–Jason Takes Manhattan

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 18, 1989 By Steve Newton Okay, okay--so the Friday the 13th movies are not exactly cinematic works of art. But people realize, when they lay down their money, that they're not getting The Last Emperor. They're only going to a Friday movie for two things: to see Jason … Continue reading Horror review: Friday the 13th Part VIII–Jason Takes Manhattan

Horror review: Alien Nation

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 28, 1988 By Steve Newton Looking at the credits for Alien Nation, fans of the horror/sci-fi thriller genres could be forgiven for foaming at the mouth. The movie was produced by Gale Anne Hurd, whose Aliens and The Terminator were landmark films in the annals of fright cinemas. … Continue reading Horror review: Alien Nation

Horror review: Dead Ringers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 28, 1988 By Steve Newton Dead Ringers opens with a scene wherein studious young twin boys, Elliot and Beverly Mantle, are seen poring over an anatomically correct model of a woman. The twins are fascinated with female anatomy--internal female anatomy, that is. "They're so different from us," observes … Continue reading Horror review: Dead Ringers

Horror review: The Lair of the White Worm

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 2, 1988 By Steve Newton Ken Russell, the man who blew minds with his hallucinatory Altered States and then twisted them with his erotically charged psycho-sexual drama Crimes of Passion, has really gone out of his way to freak people out this time. With The Lair of the … Continue reading Horror review: The Lair of the White Worm

Horror review: Child’s Play

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 2, 1988 By Steve Newton Were you ever frightened by dolls or other inanimate objects as a kid? Maybe you woke up in the middle of the night, and thought you saw something grinning evilly at you through the darkness of your bedroom? If so, then Tom Holland's … Continue reading Horror review: Child’s Play

Horror review: Watchers

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 9, 1988 By Steve Newton When novelist Dean R. Koontz was asked, after reading a screenplay based on his book Watchers, how he thought the film would turn out, he said, "I think they've done a good job with the [scary] throat-clutching parts, but the rest of it … Continue reading Horror review: Watchers

Horror review: Alien–The Director’s Cut

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 30, 2003 By Steve Newton The first movie I can remember that set me on the road to becoming a lifelong horror fan was It! The Terror From Beyond Space. It was made on the cheap in 1958, and featured a guy in a hokey, zipper-up-the-back monster suit, … Continue reading Horror review: Alien–The Director’s Cut