Underrated Installments in Horror Film Franchises

     We all have our favorite horror monsters. The one horror series that we all go back to, time and time again. You know, like a fucked up comfort food. And like sports teams on the West Coast, they can’t all be winners. But some do deserve a second chance, a great hidden gem lurking in the shadows like our psychopathic friends.

A Nightmare on Elm Street:

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     I really wanted to put Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, but that movie exists all on its own. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master stays within its established continuity. Everybody gives love to parts 1, 3, and 7, while this one gets just thrown in like an afterthought. But there’s so much fun, awesome imagery, and a strong protagonist with an actual fucking character arch. Trust me, if you want to jump in and see the premise go to new sights, see this one.

Friday the 13th:

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     Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning is like that one weird relative that no one talks about, and barely acknowledge at reunions. After Jason was killed in the previous installment, they decided that Tommy Jarvis would be the protagonist dealing with what seems like the return of Jason. With going this different route, the film goes back to the structure of the original film and plays like a mystery, and an ending that was ballsy enough to have it retconned in the next film. Believe me, it’s intriguing and a shit ton of fun.

Child’s Play:

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     Yeah. This one. I never understood the sheer disdain for this movie. The most common thing I heard was, “Chucky wasn’t scary anymore”. Well, in the 7 years since part 3, Chucky really wasn’t scary anymore. Be honest, he became a joke way before Bride of Chucky. This one just fucking went with it, and basically did a retelling of Bride of Frankenstein. And I’m totally OK with that! It’s supposed to be funny. It has doll sex. Yes, I’m serious. You’re welcome.

Psycho:

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     Hold on to your fucking cries of sacrilege, I’m saying this movie is awesome in its own right, a damn fine follow up. The movie is a character study on Norman Bates trying to adjust, and make amends to society. Admit it, that sounds fucking sweet. Anthony Perkins, he just makes the whole movie work. You’ll feel bad for him. Trust me.

Final Destination:

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     Now this is underrated. Seriously, no one ever talks about this movie (when the series is brought up). The roller coaster death is just everyone’s real fears to life. And this one got more ridiculous with its deaths, so that is so worth it. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Case closed.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

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     It’s pretty weird that the second movie in a franchise of soon to be eight films is the one that’s considered to be the most underrated. Well, this happened when I saw Texas Chainsaw 3D, which ignored all the sequels including this one. My thought was, “Aw, that sucks. I liked that one”. Yeah, it’s a weird fucking movie. The tone between films changed from: Terrifying to Dark Comedy. And I hated it at the time, but seeing all the others, at least this one tried to do something different. Dennis Hopper/Leatherface Chainsaw duel. ‘Nuff said.

Hellraiser:

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Jesus wept, there’s a lot of shitty sequels in this franchise. Like, fuck! They even start to bleed together (hee hee). Inferno is just… Well… It put Pinhead in a role that I thought he should have always played: The Punisher of Hell. He will fuck with you, then rip your soul apart. It’s not a masterpiece, but it ain’t bad.

The “Dead” Films

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     When your first two films are Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, the rest can be forgotten. Except this one. This one is fun, and you can tell it had an actual budget. That is just too weird, man. The acting is a good balance of seriousness and humor. Haha, this movie has the Mentalist.

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     I have to confess: I fucking love this movie! This movie had the gall to fucking start preaching about the flaws in the Medical healthcare system. Wow, that just… Made it so unintentionally hilarious! It’s being sincere, while showing some horrific, needlessly complicated deaths. That juxtaposition alone makes it a masterpiece of the Saw series.

Halloween:

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     It’s fitting on this Halloween holiday inspired post, that I end on the most underrated installment in a horror franchise: Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This movie is so fucking loathed because it doesn’t have Michael Myers. The idea was that after Halloween 2, the series would become an anthology, each film having a new story and characters. I’m so sad this didn’t continue. I love Michael Myers and all, but horror stories revolving around Halloween? That’s too cool. And this one actually goes into the history of Halloween. Because of this movie, I know how to properly pronounce Samhain. The jingle will get so stuck in your head. The ending is still harrowing to me after two decades since I saw it. 

James Bond Reviews: #2: Skyfall

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     I didn’t think that Bond films could get this good, especially 50 years after the first installment. I honestly feel that we’re now in a new era of Bond films; films that don’t skimp on the action, but still manage to focus on characters. There’s craft behind this movie, undeniable skill and care have been implemented.
     007 is dead. Well, MI6 thinks he’s dead while on assignment, and he’s living the good life; getting drunk, and banging chicks. Good on him. Meanwhile, MI6 has been destroyed, and a list of all undercovers has been compromised with names being revealed. Bond (Daniel Craig) sees this and comes back to help M (Judi Dench) find Raul Silva (Javier Bardem) and stop him before he goes after he’s real target: M herself.
     Right off the bat, I never thought I would ever see a 007 movie that actually goes into his past; I’m talking about his fucking childhood. While Skyfall itself was invented for the movie, all other details ie Bond’s parents names, his nationality are all taken from the novels. 23 films in, and we’re just finding out about the man. That’s fucking nuts, and shows how far the series has evolved to the point to give it’s protagonist some fucking depth.
     Skyfall is the origin film that never realized that we needed, and that all starts with Q (Ben Wishaw). The interaction between them in their first scene is the seed for their banter in the other films in the series. And here, the film starts to grow to the cinematic Bond that we’ve always loved. Director Sam Mendes knows the franchise inside and out, and manages to subvert it in order to gives us a Bond that not only can bleed, but one that we care about. Even villians don’t come off as great as Silva does. A man Bond could become if he were ever betrayed by the country he has an oath to protect. Yeah, that shit is deep.
     Skyfall has become one of my go to films to show skeptics why I love Bond. Not the films, but the character. I admit that the previous films were more spectacle than story, but now it’s a new era, and its one I hope never comes to an end.

James Bond Reviews: #3: From Russia, With Love

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     It never ceases to astonish me that the series was already starting to get into its groove. There’s a lot more confidence in this movie than you would expect. This is only the second installment for fuck’s sake! The series was not quite into the formula just yet, and that makes it stand out in the best possible way.
     Organization SPECTRE is pretty fucking pissed that Bond (Sean Connery) had killed Dr. No in Jamaica, so now they want revenge. They basically plan to create a sex tape with Bond banging a Soviet defector named Tatiana (Danielle Bianchi). Under the guise of obtaining the Lecktor decoding machine, Bond is certain it’s a trap and takes the mission. But what he doesn’t anticipate is Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and Red Grant (Robert Shaw) out to assassinate him.
     For the longest time, From Russia, With Love was my top favorite Bond film. This film, is purely a spy film with an abundance of Cold War elements that many later Bond films lack, even during the height of the Cold War. It’s one of the few movies that stuck to the essence of the book; its aesthetic, it’s feel, just gives it that sense of suspense, and dread.
     The villains are so formidable this time around; with such a personal stake to not only kill Bond, but to discredit him. That’s some malicious shit right there. Grant is developed to be foil for Bond, and right from the beginning you know that when they cross paths, only one of them is going to make it out alive. Trust me, it’s not so much a fight scene between the two, but an all out fucking brawl.
     I know many people aren’t down with the older flicks, but this one captures the sense of adventure that the novels had, and sadly some of the films lack, and that shit is fun. Connery was easing into the role by now, shit was personal, and Bond gets laid. Actually the plan hinges on Bond getting it on, and 007 doesn’t give a fuck. If that doesn’t sound fucking epic, then why bother watching a James Bond movie?

Top 5 Free Horror Movies on YouTube

     Looking to Netflix and Chill this Halloween, but too broke for Netflix? Well, I got your back little homie with a selection for great horror films that will scare your crush into fucking you. Or your just looking for a good horror flick, I guess, on Halloween night. Trust me on this, these are top notch, and if you’ve never seen them, well you’re in for a fucking treat my friend. In no particular order:

1. Carnival of Souls (1962)

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     OK, this is a personal favorite of mine, but man do I love it. The story is simple: A girl survives a horrible accident to discover a mysterious figure is appearing to her. That’s it. But trust me, the simplicity of it all is so fucking unnerving. It’s not flashy, just eerie visuals that will fucking haunt you. See this shit, I’m not even close to fucking around here.

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

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     You don’t fuck with a classic. Do you like The Walking Dead? Well this is where the concept of the modern zombie started. Filled with social commentary, and pretty fucked up visuals, it all started here, and well deserved classic.

3. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

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     Now, this one is just fun. If you don’t like Vincent Price, then fuck you. He classes up the joint. The set up is great, a group of strangers have to survive a night in a haunted house to win money. And I’ll admit to there being one scene that scared the shit out of me in broad daylight (if you’re a fan, you know which one I’m talking about).

4. Nosferatu (1922)

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     Considered to be the first vampire movie ever made, and a total ripoff of Dracula, this shit will send shivers down your spine. A rat looking Dracula is fucked up to look at and the exaggerated visuals just add to the uneasiness. And this is a silent movie, so if you like dialogue, see something else, but you’ll regret it.

5. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)

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     If the year hasn’t tipped you off yet, this is another silent movie. Actually, this movie is considered by many film historians to be the first horror film ever made. Here is an example of German Expressionism at is finest, which is film talk for for crazy ass visuals that look fake but are supposed to. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with the first horror movie ever made?

Honorable Mention: Sleepaway Camp (1983)

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     When I found out this movie was on YouTube for free, how could I not tell you about it? By no means what one would consider good by conventional standards, but it’s an 80s slasher, you got to see one of them on Halloween. Alright, what makes this movie memorable is the ending. Yeah, it’s fucked up, and the last image horrifying, but man you won’t ever forget it. This movie is the best kept secret among slasher fans, and now it’s out there for you to discover.

     Well, that’s it. Free shit for you to watch on YouTube. Some of the flicks aren’t even 90 minutes long, so it makes for some quick viewing. This is some quality fun, even if quality can be a lax term sometimes, but all are worth your time.

James Bond Reviews: #4: Goldfinger

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     Pretty surprised, aren’t you? I know that I probably lost a shit ton of points by place the immortal classic, Goldfinger at number four, but hey, I got to be honest. Everything from the song to the performances, are legendary in their own right. But time, and tastes, change. While this film set the franchise that we know and love, it doesn’t make it automatically the best.
     Bond (Sean Connery) is living it up in Miami, when he gets orders from M (Bernard Lee) to investigate Auric Goldfinger (Gert Förbe) for smuggling; apparently he ruffled some feathers because the woman that Bond was hooking up with, Jill (Shirley Eaton) is found covered in gold paint. But the deeper Bond goes, the more nefarious Goldfinger’s actual scheme really is.
     The Bond films that we know and love to this day, is all because of Goldfinger. Now if that’s a good or bad thing is entirely up to you, but for me it’s more of a good thing. The sheer iconic nature of the film is owed by the villains of the piece. Oddjob (Harold Sakata) alone makes the whole movie memorable, but then you have Goldfinger himself. It’s always been said that a film is only as good as it’s villain, and holy fuck, is that true in this case. The sadistic joy that Förbe exudes is just plain fun. Even Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore (I’m not even making this up, that’s her name) has that tough sensibility that has tried to be replicated in other Bond Girls, but failed miserably.
     I don’t even get upset when fans say this is the best Bond films, because I get it. Three films in, the elements all come together wonderfully: Great villian, great action, great henchman, great Bond Girl (who doesn’t love Pussy), Connery at his fucking peak with some cold blooded one liners, a bitching car, damn it has it all. I would even say, if you want to watch a Bond film that encapsulates the franchise from the early era, this is the one to see.

James Bond Reviews: #5: GoldenEye

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     This was the first Bond film that I saw in a theater, so GoldenEye has a special place in my heart. Nestalgic feelings aside, it still holds up considerably. I even consider this installment to be perfect as an entry point for non-Bond fans to see what the big deal is. Shit, the pre-title sequence sums up the awesomeness that encapsulates the franchise.
     The Cold War has ended; James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is now considered to be a relic of the past, especially by the new M (Judi Dench). Someone has stolen the GoldenEye, a technological weapon that can send nations back to the stone age. Before finding the only survivor in the blast, Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), Bond uncovers that the person behind it all is former agent 006 Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a friend he left for dead.
     Out of all the first outings when it comes to Bond actors, Pierce Brosnan is the one that most comfortably fit into the role from the get go. He looked the part and had the humor down pat. It’s easy to see why he was so beloved during his tenure. But what set him apart from the other actors, and managed to usher the series into the new era, was that this Bond was much more tortured. He had the facade going, the confident suave mother fucker, but beneath it, laid a damaged soul. This was fucking unheard of, man. Brosnan was the foundation for those that came after him.
     Much how Licence to Kill had a villian that metaphorically was the mirror image of Bond, this time was a bit more literal with Alec. A hero is only as good as his villian, and here was the best villain of Brosnan’s tenure. Bond never dealt with such a betrayal on this level before, someone he trusted, he believed in. And Bean relishes the role, chewing scenery with such glee; the man enjoys psychologically torturing Bond. That ranks him up as one of the best villains of the whole series.
     Even after 20 years, the movie still holds up; there is an unabashed joy in all the performances, in the ridiculous stunts that make you smile, instead of cringing. And the story is fucking good. Really, it is. A former agent and friend of Bond is back to start some shit? You know that’ll be epic. Trust me, this is a good place to jump in and join this shindig. 

The Green Inferno Review

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     I somehow get the feeling I’m not the intended audience for this movie; it’s strange, because I love horror movies, especially gory ones. The Green Inferno is a throwback to the Italian cannibalistic horror films that were all the rage in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. Yes, this was a popular trend for horror back in the day. For all its flash, and well done effects, it’s ultimately a hollow experience.
     Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is the daughter of a UN attorney and is just starting college when she wants to take up a cause, and low and behold, she wants to save the tribes in the Peruvian rainforest from being wiped out. Lead by Alejandro (Ariel Levy), a group of students take to Peru, seem to succeed in their mission when their plane crashes by one of the tribes… A cannibalistic tribe.
     Have any of you guys seen Hostel? Congratulations! You pretty much saw The Green Inferno. It’s funny though; the first half of the movie plays just like Hostel, with the overabundance of foreshadow that gets to be distracting after awhile. The whole second half of the movie is telegraphed in that first half, so I knew pretty much the horrors that were to follow. Yes, even the “twist” if you want to call it that. I caught on that there was a “twist” because I saw the first two Hostel movies.
     The acting is serviceable; all the actors play archetypes like, The Nice Guy, the Asshole, the Pot Head, and of course, the Final Girl. The writing is, well, you don’t give a shit about the writing. That’s fine, neither do I. I came for the blood and gore, it’s why most of you want to see this. And it’s meh. It’s plenty gruesome, but I’ve seen worse. Actually, that was underwhelming for me. I kept thing over and over, “Eh, that’s not so bad”. Trust me, that’s a shitty thing to be thinking while watching a horror flick.
      There’s nothing I love more than a good throwback movie (Hatchet is a great throwback slasher movie), but The Great Inferno is almost a fucking remake of Cannibal Holocaust. Well, except without the disgusting brutality. It was distracting the whole second half; I got to the point that I realized that if I wanted to watch Cannibal Holocaust, I would fucking watch Cannibal Holocaust. Even the message at the end of the movie is lifted from that movie except condescendingly so. So, who was this movie made for? I guess Eli Roth fans, but it’s formulaic like Hostel was. Gore hounds? We’ve seen worse, and we’ve seen this all before. There’s better horror out there, there’s better splatter films out there, and God help me, there’s better cannibalistic indigenous tribe movies out there. Yeah, that’s totally a thing.

James Bond Reviews: #6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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      What we have here is the most important film in the entire 007 canon. The Bond films are known to be episodic in nature; no real plot threads carry over from film to film. Except one. Hardcore fans know this, and we die a little inside to be reminded of it. With the upcoming release of Spectre, this is the one movie that is essential viewing for anyone who’s late to the wedding party.
     James Bond (George Lazenby) has been trying for over a year to track down Blofeld (Telly Savalas) and M (Bernard Lee) wants him off the mission. Bond attempts to resign, but is instead given a holiday. Bond meets mob boss Draco (Gabriele Ferzetti) who wants Bond to woo his very troubled daughter Tracy (Diana Rigg). While the two start and relationship, Bond tracks down Blofeld to the Swiss Alps to discover what his allergy research is all about.
     That’s a lot of plot for a Bond movie. Jesus, what happened to the good old days of, “Bond go kill that guy”. That might be the reason that audiences didn’t like this movie. Or Lazenby. It’s probably Lazenby. The guy had a tough job going in being the one who replaces Sean Connery. Anybody would. The guy is good, he tries something a little different; trying to play Bond with a bit more humanity than audiences are used to. The true shame is that Lazenby only made this one film, so it’s difficult to gauge how he would have grown into the role.
     What sets On Her Majesty’s Secret Service apart from the other installments is that, at its core, it’s a love story. Yeah, you read that right, this James Bond film is a fucking love story. And a sweet one at that. Lazenby and Rigg have a great chemistry throughout the film. Diana Rigg is just so great and believable as a woman that Bond could actually fall in love with, and not just try to bang. There’s a strength to her, that at that point in the franchise, was sorely lacking.
     Discovering this movie as a child (thanks to TBS) was like peering into a side of the franchise that I never knew it was capable of. This movie is shockingly emotional, and it fucking earns it. The damn shame of this movie’s reputation is that it’s remembered for being Lazenby’s only performance as 007, instead of being the gripping, funny, powerful film that it actually is.