The Shining, like director Stanley Kubrick’s other masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, seems to offer up as many meanings as there are willing interpreters to expound them. Is there any inherent “darker” message to The Shining than the darkness already on display? Or perhaps is it, like 2001, simply a “mirror” to the ideologies and subconscious drives of those who view it?
So the other day I was reading through this old review guide to horror & sci-fi movies, and I found an intriguing entry. Called “The Aries Computer,” it was from the early 1970s and starred Vincent Price. Now, I thought I had heard of every Vincent Price movie—but not this one.
Amityville II: The Possession
Dino De Laurentis Company/Media Transactions
Director: Damiano Damiani
Writers: Hans Holzer, Tommy Lee Wallace, Dardano Sacchetti
Starring: Jack Magner, Burt Young, James Olson, Diane Franklin
Quentin Tarantino once cited Amityville Horror II: The Possession as one of his top 50 sequels of all time (Video Watchdog #172). That surprised me, as up to that point I had only heard pretty negative things about it—this, despite the fact it’s obvious the film had some sort of an influence on the latest crop of “retro” horror flicks like V/H/S (for example, compare the creepy hands emanating out of the walls from both).
But one screening was all it took to convince me that Amityville Horror II possessed the sort of primal, deep disturbing quality of a Alice, Sweet Alice and Sleepaway Camp— a quality that sets it apart from its predecessor, and, at least in the mind of the “mondo video” consumer, makes it a (albeit somewhat flawed) cult classic.
I feel I need to start this review explaining why I chose to review this film and not Mute when both are on Netflix and the latter is more well-known and would probably bring me more clicks.
Recently, I tried to watch about 15 minutes of Mute and had come to the conclusion that I would have to be paid to continue watching it to write a review. That is when I decided to watch a lesser known, smaller budgeted 2017 horror film called Nightworld starring Robert Englund and Jason London of Dazed And Confused fame.
It’s been hit or miss for me, regarding Netflix originals as of late; so I approached their new horror movie about backpackers in the woods, The Ritual, with some skepticism. Would it really bring on the scares, or feel more like a TV movie?
I was not disappointed. The Ritual is pants-shittingly scary, beautifully shot, and with an intelligent script. It’s in the tradition of flicks like The Blair Witch Project (which certain aspects strongly remind me of), Deliverance…and let’s toss in a smidgen of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, just for extra flavor.