Friday, March 15, 2019

Quick Takes: Await Further Instructions, Beast, Let's Scare Jessica to Death



Await Further Instructions is a mystery, sci-fi/horror, yuletide-set gem with grand ambitions that defies its low production values. It’s a cautionary tale of toxic masculinity, tepid statement about the telly, and goes downright mental into stop-motion practical effects.




Beast takes the beauty to ferociously dark depths in this surprising, enigmatic, & confident debut thriller. It defies genre, keeps you off kilter, & the intoxicating lead actors keep you intrigued to the bitter, haunting end that lingers like a sea mist. (From Stray Bear Films available exclusively on SHUDDER.)



Let’s Scare Jessica to Death offers a glimpse of hippy life in the 70s. Care-free, free love, and accidentally falling victim to dark forces when living off the grid. It happens. And in this film, it happens really slowly and aimlessly. I liked the crazy lead’s internal monologue that tried to convince her how non-crazy people should act.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Halloween Postage Stamps Coming This Year!

Sure, no one mails anything nowadays, but as a person who used pens to write with my hands and then put letters in a magical box, I find the retro charm of stamps delightful. The US Postal Service is issuing the "Spooky Silhouettes" series created by illustrator Tyler Lang (see more of his work at AlwaysWithHonor.com) later this year.

Thanks to Miranda at SpookyLittleHalloween.com for breaking this news to the Twitterverse! A pox on you if you are not following Miranda, the ruling Queen of Halloween. She is everything.




MINUTE MUSINGS 
THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS BLOG!

While perusing the USPS site I saw the following disclaimer:
"The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations."
Wonder where your tax dollars go: of every dollar, 23¢ goes to the military, 29¢ goes to healthcare, 14¢ to federal debt, and billionaires now pay $85 billion dollars less than they used to, and 100 highly profitable corporations pay no taxes at all (as of 2017 data). So many things wrong with our government so make sure to have your voice heard and VOTE!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Department 56 Does Dia de Los Muertos

Department 56 unveiled the line up for this year's Halloween Village offerings. Included in the mix is a new series of Dia de los Muertos-themed buildings and accessories. They are available to pre-order now from Country N More Gifts (my favorite shop to buy village pieces) and are expected to be available later this summer.




Monday, March 4, 2019

Quick Takes: Overload, Anna and the Apocalypse, Hole in the Ground, Slender Man




Hole In The Ground is an artfully shot Irish tale with a dread & tension-filled first half anchored by fine performances. It gives up the ghost early on then gets derailed by plot holes & generic tropes revealing an underdeveloped script. It's a near miss more than a fail.




Overlord is an uncomplicated wartime feature that nosedives into Nazi horror territory. It opens with booming vigor but settles into a dull lull with little character development or storytelling. Then suddenly it reanimates for a fun, gory, action-packed, B-movie finish.




Anna And The Apocalypse pushes genres first gleefully then absurdly like a modern Rocky Horror. The pop songs are catchy, carnage is crunchy, and then there's a breakneck tonal shift. It’s zombie horror after all! An utterly unique pastiche and an instant yuletide classic.



Slender Man was quite a feat: first film to be conceived entirely by web bots, filmed in complete darkness (screw you lightbulb), and shot/edited before a script was written (save the talky-talky for reshoots). What efficiency in ruining a creepy story for a cash grab.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Fangoria's 2019 Chainsaw Awards

FANGORIA, the preeminent horror movie magazine, rose from the dead last year and wasted no time in issuing their 2019 Chainsaw Awards this week. These awards are selected by the people who know horror the best: The Fans. Earlier this year the ballot (below) was distributed via social media channels. Ballots have been counted and here is the official list of winners. Thank you FANGORIA for recognizing the best horror of the year. The Oscars can go sit on a chainsaw.

Best Actress: Toni Collette, Hereditary

Best Actor: Nicolas Cage, Mandy

Best Supporting Actor: Alex Wolff, Hereditary

Best Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, Suspiria

Best Director: Ari Aster, Hereditary

Best Screenplay: Ari Aster, Hereditary

Best Foreign Language Movie: Terrified

Best Series: The Haunting of Hill House

Best Score: Johan Johannson, Mandy

Best Make-Up Effects: Mark Coulier, Suspiria

Best Wide Release Movie: Hereditary

Best Limited Release Movie: Mandy

Best Creature Effects: Sierra and Josh Russell, The Ritual

Best Kill: Hereditary

Best Streaming Premiere Movie: Bird Box

Best First Feature: Ghost Stories


Honorable Mentions (non-voting categories) included:
  • Best Actress: Claire Foy (Unsane), Dakota Johnson (Suspiria), Madeline Brewer (Cam), Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz (Revenge)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Brad Dourif (Wilding)
  • Best Director: Matthew Holness (Possum)
  • Best Screenplay: S. Craig Zahler (Puppet Master: The Little Reich)
  • Best Limited Release Movie: Boarding School

The original ballot sent out via FANGORIA's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Scary Movie & TV Calendar Updated

I've updated The Scary Movies & TV Calendar and Calendar page with a simpler interface to make it easier to read on mobile. If you have any more suggestions, or movies/series to add please tweet me @senorscaryjerry or comment below.



Monday, February 25, 2019

Toni Collette's Hereditary Snub & Horror at the Oscars

The biggest Oscar snub this year was Toni Collette's visceral performance in 2018's Hereditary. Her portrayal of Annie, a cold, distant matriarch of a highly dysfunctional family beset by tragedy was the kind of performance actors might have once in a career. Haven't seen it? Take a look at this pivotal scene (SPOILER ALERT):


Collette without a doubt gave a performance of a lifetime, in a film embraced by critics and the horror community but shockingly snubbed by both the Oscars and even the Golden Globes. It has become A24's highest-grossing film worldwide, making over $79 million (on a $9 million budget).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who hands out the Oscars has historically held a strong bias against genre films in its prestigious top categories (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director). Only a handful of horror films have ever been nominated for Best Picture, often relegating awards to the technical categories, so at least they have some merit. Take a look at the horror films in Oscar's history:

Best Picture Nominations
The Exorcist (1974)
Jaws (1976)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - WINNER!
The Sixth Sense (2000)
Black Swan (2011)
Get Out (2017)

Best Picture Biggest Snubs
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)
The Haunting (1963)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The Omen (1976)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Poltergeist (1982)
Misery (1990)
The Babadook (2014)
The Witch (2016)
Suspiria (2018)
Hereditary (2018)

Horror Oscar Winners
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1932) - Actor in a Leading Role
REBECCA (1940) - Best Picture, Cinematography (considered Suspense/Thriller)*
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943) - Cinematography, Art Direction
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (1945) - Cinematography
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962) - Costume Design
ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968) - Best Actress in a Supporting Role
ALIEN (1979) - Visual Effects
ALIENS (1986) - Visual Effects, Sound Editing
THE EXORCIST (1973) - Adapted Screenplay, Sound
JAWS (1975) - Sound, Film Editing, Music
THE OMEN (1976) - Music
BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA (1992)- Costume Design, Sound Editing, Makeup
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) - Makeup
THE FLY (1986)- Makeup
MISERY (1990) - Actress in a Leading Role
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) - Best Picture, Director, Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Adapted Screenplay
DEATH BECOMES HER (1992) - Visual Effects
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS (1996) - Sound
BEETLEJUICE (1998) - Makeup
SLEEPY HOLLOW (1999) - Art Direction
PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006) - Cinematography, Art Direction, Makeup
SWEENEY TODD (2007) - Art Direction
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007)* - Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Directing, Adapted Screenplay
BLACK SWAN (2010) - Best Actress in a Leading Role
THE WOLFMAN (2010) - Makeup
THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017) - Best Picture, Directing, Music, Production Design (considered Adventure/Fantasy)*
GET OUT (2017) - Original Screenplay

*Horror-adjacent










Sunday, February 24, 2019

Quick Takes: Braid, Happy Death Day 2U, Horror Noire, The Isle



Braid is a defiant debut from director Mitzi Peirone. As a hyperreality adrenalin experience, structure is not the concern. Visuals, frantic color, and aberrant cinematography tell the uncompromising, female-led #horror of intertwined friendship, insanity, and make believe. Brava!




Happy Death Day 2U is exactly what you need in a sequel. The story is advanced, goes battybananas, stays fun, gets smart, brings back the stellar Jessica Rothe, and gives you more that you expected. Director Christopher Landon @creetureshow knocks it out of the– dimension!





Horror Noire is essential viewing. It’s engrossing, educational, and deeply affecting to see examples of Black representation throughout film history. The significance of horror films from Night of the Living Dead to Get Out has never been more clear – and inspiring!





The Isle looks impressive & drips with a damp, brooding atmosphere. But a listless pace & insistence on characters splitting up betrays a story rooted in eerie Scottish lore/mythology. The further in, the farther the writing strays into lifeless whispers instead of howls.




Saturday, February 16, 2019

10th Anniversary – And There's A Name Game!



It's my 10th Anniversary of writing this blog! It started in 2005 as an email newsletter called Wicked October, then transformed into a seasonal blog in 2007. A couple of years later with the launch of MyScaryHalloween.com in 2009, I rebranded the blog as MyScaryBlog.com. This became a year-round blog that tapped into my passion for horror.

Today, the blog continues to evolve as I dig deeper into film studies, focus even more on horror, and delve into my cultural and personal identity. With this new found voice, I've decided to embrace a new moniker: Señor Scary, and a refreshed blog is now available at SenorsScary.com. This site is still dedicated to the scary things I love: horror, haunts, and Halloween. I hope you will continue to follow me and please connect with me on Twitter or Instagram.

–Dreadfully, Señor Scary (a.k.a. Scarrry Jerry)