Dark Castle

October 8, 2016

Millennial Horror – 2001: Thir13en Ghosts

THERE

Thir13en Ghosts –There

Getting into the 2016 Halloween spirit, we are going to pick up right where we left off in 2015. In case you missed it, “Scream 3” was our last attempt and to keep the good times rolling let’s revisit another lackluster horror attempt from the early 2000s, namely 2001, with “Thir13en Ghosts” a remake of William Castle’s 1960 classic “13 Ghosts.”

To be honest, this isn’t a bad film. It’s got some great set pieces, I love the ghost designs, and the stories behind them, but just like most Dark Castle-produced, there always seems to be something missing. Maybe it’s the lack of scares, the over, or poor, acting, or maybe even the inclusion of dated pop culture zeitgeist, ie, Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams’ in “The House on Haunted Hill” and using rappers as actors (stay tuned for a review from a film for 2002 coming soon). I guess at the end of the day, you have to take the good with the bad.

The gist of “Ghosts” is that there is this guy trying to collect ghosts in order to powerful machine that would essentially make him a god. He is only missing the Thirteenth Ghost in order to finally bring the machine to full power. A pretty straight forward plot that is at times style-over-substance, but just like many Dark Castle-produced fare, the films are dumb and fun.

The ghosts in the film are interesting, each with their own little mythology and the makeup effects are really quite impressive. With so much emphasis on digital effects in modern horror, it’s great to see actual, live people in costumes, it really is a lost art.

The acting is pretty hokey and just plain bad, but again, you take the good with the bad and it doesn’t take you out of the film too badly, but yeah, when it’s bad, it’s bad.

Overall, “Ghosts” is a fun little remake with some nice production design, but plenty of flaws, but that doesn’t mean it’s unwatchable, besides maybe Rah Digga’s acting, you won’t be spitting bars, you might just spit up.

October 28, 2015

The Horror Time Capsule – 1999: House on Haunted Hill

MISUNDERSTOOD

House on Haunted Hill – Misunderstood

I’m not sure why there are certain films that take hold of me, especially universally panned films, that have such a lasting impression on me. I guess I’m the inverted horror movie hipster. While people will always hold Dario Argento and any type of obscure Hungarian and Spanish horror director in high regard, I love schlock and appreciate horror that is not only all that good, but just plan bad. This brings me to the remake of the William Castle classic “House on Haunted Hill.” This 1999 remake is the first film from the Dark Castle brand, that was started by super star producers Joel Silver and  director Robert Zemekis, who you might also remember had a huge hand in the creation of the “Tales from the Crypt” TV series.

“House” follows a similar story to it’s predecessor, however it includes the backstory of the titular “House on Haunted Hill” which was an insane asylum that housed a maniacal doctor who performed heinous experiments on the inmates until there was a revolt and everyone was murdered and the asylum burnt down.

Years later, eccentric theme park owner, Steven Price, wants to throw a party for his wife at the “House” that includes several of her friends, but by some work of evil, the invitations are changed and all new guests are invited, most of whom are connected by some wicked twist of fate.

There are a few things I like about this film, actually, I think the good certainly outweighs the bad for me. First, it’s funny to me that the roller coaster they use for Price’s newest creation, is actually the “Incredible Hulk” roller coaster at Islands of Adventure in Florida, a roller coaster I know all too well. I also love all the subtle nods to the Castle original, and the over-the-top performances, especially from Geoffery Wright who sells it so well as Steven Price. Lastly, the monster effects are awesome, and remind me a lot of the monsters in “Silent Hill,” but what could you expect from Greg Nicotero.

Sure, when you get down to it, this is a genre film, and it has flaws, but that doesn’t make it bad. For a genre fan, and a relative poopoo’er on remakes, this one holds up and is super entertaining.

You have been invited…..to check out these other gems from 1999:

The Blair Witch Project
Deep Blue Sea
End of Days
The Haunting
Lake Placid
The Mummy
Ravenous
Sleepy Hollow
Stir of Echoes

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