31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.31st HALLOWEEN – HIDDEN HORROR – Trick ‘r’ Treat

Well we’re finally here, the 31st of October, HALLOWEEN, and our 31 Hidden Horrors for Halloween countdown has come to an end. I surely hope that all those who have been checking out our countdown have noted all the films and TV episodes mentioned here and plan to, or have already, watched them. Now that it has all come to an end what Halloween movie is so good that it is the best of them all? A Halloween film that is still undiscovered by regular movie goers but the horror community has been drooling over since it first came out? A Halloween movie that can be considered better then John Carpenter’s “Halloween?” I surely hope you all know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the greatest Halloween movie ever made, a film that has the Halloween spirit shoved down your throat and then writes a love letter to the holiday right after. I’m talking about Michael Dougherty’s “Trick ‘r’ Treat”

The film consists of five interwoven stories that occur in the same town on the same Halloween night: A couple finds out what happens when they blow out a jack o’ lantern before midnight, a high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer, a college virgin might have met the right guy for her, a group of mean teens play a prank that they take too far and a mean old hermit is visited by a special trick or treater.

For many, when a horror film is over hyped they’re always let down when they see the actual movie. Like with anything there are a few exceptions and Trick ‘r’ Treat is definitely one of them. If you have heard all the good things about this film they are absolutely true. It will blow you away as it did me when it first came out in 2009.

The film is incredibly well made. It’s a fun and Imaginative horror anthology with many ghoulish monsters like rotten zombie kids, vampires, werewolves and a very special trick or treater. It also boasts incredible production values, set decorations, top rate actors, a sharp sense of direction and well crafted practical effects work. As a Halloween movie there truly is none like it. No other Halloween movie has such a love for the holiday and is as festive as this film. Just from the first few minutes you already have the Halloween atmosphere shoved down your throat but in such a wonderfully fun and atmospheric way.

So as we close off our Halloween countdown I have to say if there is just one Halloween movie I urge you all to watch every Halloween season it MUST be this film, it MUST be Michael Dougherty’s TRICK ‘R’ TREAT. And a personal message from me James J. Coker to all of our Hidden Horrors You Must See readers I hope you all have a very happy, horror filed, fun and ghoulish Halloween.

-James J. Coker

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31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.30th – UNDERRATED SEQUELS – Halloween 2 (1981)

28 (2)We all know that John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is a classic horror film. When it comes to the sequels however most people dismiss them saying, “oh the sequels suck.”  Yes some of the sequels do in fact suck but I’m here to say that “Halloween 2 “does not suck. In fact I will even go as far to to say I actually like it better then the first…GASP!…yes I know.

It’s the same night as the first “Halloween.” Michael Myers is around the neighborhood after being gunned by Dr. Loomis six times. Now he’s in a hospital where the girl Laurie Strode was taken. And there’s a reason why Michael is after her…

Now what makes this sequel worthy of your time is that not only does the storyline take place seconds after the first film but the creepiness factor and atmosphere is just as good as the first film. However whereas the first film has few victims and no blood this one has a ton of victims and there’s a fair amount of blood. What the means is not only are you getting the creepy atmosphere and creepy lighting of the first film you’re also getting more death scenes and more graphic ones no less. Also Michael Myers is more sinister and menacing in this one. And of course Donald Pleasence plays Dr. Loomis very serious and even a bit nutty too.

If you’re tired of watching the first Halloween for the one millionth time pop in “Halloween 2” and be surprised.

-James J. Coker

31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.29th – UNDERRATED SEQUELS – Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

27Out of all the films in the “Halloween” franchise the one that has received the most shit over the years is the third film “Halloween III: Season of the Witch.” Many attack this film simply because “Michael Myers isn’t in it.” However over the years horror fans have started to appreciate this entry in the franchise more and more and realize what a great film it truly it is. Anyway, onto the film’s very wacky plot.

An apparent murder-suicide in a hospital emergency room leads to an investigation by the on-call doctor, which reveals a plot by an insane toymaker to kill as many kids as possible during Halloween through an ancient Celtic ritual involving a stolen boulder from Stonehenge and Halloween masks.

Yes I know, the plot is indeed wacky but if you can forgive the wacky plot, the fact that Michael Myers isn’t in it, and that it’s a stand alone Halloween movie then you can enjoy this film and make it a must watch every Halloween season. Not to mention the film has some good aspects to it. The wacky plot doesn’t unfold itself right away but slowly throughout the whole movie, giving you many moments to say to yourself “what the fuck is going on!” The music adds so much atmosphere and the villain Conal Cochran, played wonderfully by Dan O’ Herlihy, is incredibly mysterious yet sinister. Finally genre legend himself Tom Atkins plays our main protagonist playing the role with joy especially during the films very “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” type ending with Tom Akins screaming his head off “STOP IT!”.

Part 3 of the “Halloween” franchise is one that can be enjoyed and watched every season with love if you just watch it as a stand alone “Halloween” movie. Also I will end this with a little trivia note that this film was supposed to be the start of the “anthology” version of the “Halloween franchise” where each new “Halloween” film would be a stand alone story dealing with the holiday. Sadly that never came about due to the poor box office and hate of this movie due to “there no Michael Myers in it.” To be honest I would have LOVED for the franchise to go into that direction but sadly Horror fans usually just want the same thing over and over again.

-James J. Coker

31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN- OCT 28- TERROR TV- Doctor Who- Blink

The “Terror TV” section of Hidden Horrors You Must See is typically used to discuss episodes of anthology horror TV shows. However for today’s review I’m going outside the norm and will instead talk about an episode of “Doctor Who.”

You might not think of this long-running (original series ran from 1963-1989, was revived in 2005 and is still going) British science fiction show as a good place for horror. However “Doctor Who” has a long tradition of providing viewers with some pretty terrifying monsters, creatures and stories. I have read stories online and heard from other Who fans about how their parents would hide behind the couch whenever the Daleks appeared on screen. Today I will be talking about the episode Blink from Season 3 of the revived series. Many fans and critics view Blink as the scariest Who episode as well as the best episode of the revived series. I would not call it the best but that is because I don’t like superlatives. However I will say it is a damn good episode and certainly one of the best.

For those not familiar with “Doctor Who” I suppose a brief synopsis of the series is in order. It’s about a time-traveling alien known simply as The Doctor, who travels through time and space in his time machine known as the TARDIS, which stands for Time and Relative Dimension In Space. Typically accompanied by one or two human companions The Doctor and his friends travel the universe to save humanity from evil alien threats.  With that said, on to Blink.

Now if you have never seen a “Doctor Who” episode before you may be intimated to watch this one as it can be a continuity heavy series. However with Blink you don’t have to worry. It has nothing to do with the continuity of the season and The Doctor isn’t actually the main character of the episode. Rather the episode focuses on a woman named Sally Sparrow, an early role for the talented Carry Mulligan.

The episodes starts with Sally breaking into an abandoned house looking for subjects to photograph. While inside she finds a message addressed to her, telling her to “Beware the Weeping Angels.” The message is from The Doctor. Sally has discovered The Weeping Angels, an alien race who send their victims back in time and live off of the energy of the life experiences their victims would have had in the present. David Tennant as The Doctor can explain this better than I and that is part of the fun of watching Doctor Who. Nobody can spout off sci-fi techno babble greater than Tennant.  Anyway, The Doctor and his companion Martha have been sent back in time by the Angels. Through a complex process The Doctor has to find ways to communicate with Sally in the present so she can send his TARDIS back to him and stop The Weeping Angels from destroying the world. 

You might be thinking, why mention an episode of a sci-fi series on a horror website? It’s simple, this episode introduced The Weeping Angels. Many fans feel The Weeping Angels may be the scariest creatures now in the “Doctor Who” cannon and for good reason. Do you want to know why the episode is called Blink? It’s because you can’t blink in the Angels presence. The way the Angels work is similar to the ghosts in the Super Mario games, and yes I know they are called Boos. Keep your gaze on them they don’t movie and are frozen. Look away or blink even once and you are probably gone.

The average human blinks every five seconds or so according to Ask.com. It’s something we don’t think about. I think it’s quite impressive how writer Steven Moffat made a monster that relies on us not to blink. I don’t know about you but I find that pretty terrifying. See how long you hold a stare without blinking and you will see why?

The Weeping Angels are weak in design compared to other “Doctor Who” monsters as they are just stone statues. However you will never look at a statue the same way, especially with how the episode ends. The Doctor repeats the don’t blink speech he gives to Sally earlier over a montage of statues around London. It reminded me a lot of Kevin McCarthy’s speech at the end of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

Moffat’s script is fantastic. It throws in humor, drama, and all the sci-fi/time travel elements make sense and work. Mulligan’s Sally Sparrow is quite a strong character and it’s a shame she was never used in any other Who episodes. The direction and editing creates strong tension, particularly in the last ten minutes where the angels are after Sally and the other character Lawrence. Even though he is a minor character in the episode it’s always a blast to watch David Tennant. Many consider Tennant to be the best actor to have played The Doctor and you can see why. He brings so much passion and enthusiasm to the role.

As I stated earlier if you have never seen a “Doctor Who” episode don’t let that scare you from watching Blink. In fact this might be a good starting point for those who want to get into “Doctor Who.” It’s a well-written, well-crafted adventure with some of the scariest creatures in sci-fi. Enjoy and remember, “don’t blink.”

-Ryan Laskodi

31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.27th – HIDDEN HORROR – Night of the Demons (1988)

23If you’re a fan of ‘80s horror films or a claim to be a pretty big horror fan then by all means you should know of this film, I’m talking about the original NOT the 2010 remake. However if you are an average movie goer then you are probably not familiar with this film, hence making it a “Hidden Horror.” Let me just say for those who haven’t seen it that this is a pinnacle of fun 80’s schlock horror.

On Halloween night 10 very ‘80s teens decide to go to a party at an abandoned funeral parlor. “Hull House”, rumored to be built on an evil patch of land & underground stream, is the place. While starting the party the teens gather around a big mirror to perform a seance…BIG MISTAKE. They awaken some evil force and find themselves trapped and possessed, one by one.

There are many horror movies that have just a couple of good moments to them and thats it. However that is not the case with this horror film. It’s packed with memorable scenes and dialogue. Here’s an example of dialouge: “Eat a bowl of Fuck! I’m here to party” Here’s an example of a memorable scenes: The character of Angela, who is the first to be possessed, has a noteworthy goth girl dance scene with a strobe light.  ‘80s horror vixen Linnea Quigley gets possessed, pushes some lipstick into her breasts and her nipple sucks it up! There is also a fantastic animated opening credits sequence and a few others but I don’t want to spoil every scene from the movie

Besides the many memorable scenes the film also has good scares,  a creepy setting, decent gory death scenes, hideous demon possessed teens and a fun mindless feeling throughout. Truly a classic of fun 80’s schlock horror cinema. If you want a Halloween film packed with everything you love about ‘80s horror then seek out the original 1988 “Night of the Demons” and have a totally tubular and radical Halloweeny time.

-James J. Coker

31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.26th – HIDDEN HORROR – Satan’s Little Helper

Poster_of_the_movie_Satan's_Little_HelperIf you’re looking for another horror comedy for your Halloween season but instead want your comedy to be dark and twisted, not to mention filled with the Halloween spirit, look no further then Jeff Lieberman’s “Satan’s Little Helper.”

Young Douglas Whooley is obsessed with Satan because of a video game titled Satan’s Little Helper, in which the player helps Satan to carry out his evil bidding. When his beloved older sister comes home for Halloween with an unexpected boyfriend in tow he angrily takes to the streets dressed as Satan’s helper, hoping to find the dark lord who will kill the unwanted guest. Yes, early in the film you will know Douglas is a kid with mental issues. Sure enough he comes into contact with a guy dressed like Satan who, as it turns out, is just your average run of the mill serial killer in a costume. The two of them cut the town red and spread some Halloween mayhem.

What makes “Satan’s Little Helper” a great film is that it has a unapologetically sick, dark, twisted and fucked up sense of humor, so much so that upon the first viewing you may not like the film. This happened to me, but once you give the film a second chance you will appreciate how fun but also how sick and twisted the film is. Also the “Satan” himself does get comedic in a twisted way though he still remains a very menacing presence throughout, leaving you begging poor delusional Douglas to finally realize that it isn’t all a video game. The film gleefully makes fun of the whole video games create killers theory but in such a twisted yet comical way.

If you’re looking for some fucked up humor for your Halloween then seek out “Satan’s Little Helper.” It’s a doozy of a dark comedy

-James J. Coker

31 HIDDEN HORRORS FOR HALLOWEEN – OCT.25th – HIDDEN HORROR – It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I want to

395126_500280079990519_1679923087_nIf any of you reading this were a kid in the ‘90s you probably remember the “Goosebumps” books, but how many of you remember the choose your own adventure “Goosebumps” books? These were the ones that had several different endings to choose from. Take that concept of choose your own adventure, turn into a super low budget gory, horror film and you have “It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To.”

The movie is about a group of teens on Halloween trapped in a possessed house filled with demons, ghouls and monsters. The DVD version offers the viewer a choose your own adventure option, which allows you to pick which route the main character Sara would like to take. Ten different endings are avaliable

If choose your own adventure DVD movies are a new concept to you that’s fine, they were new to me as well. However when you first try “playing” this movie it can be quite fun seeing if Sara will live or be mutilated by whatever ghoul is in the house by just your decision. Not only is the whole choose your own adventure aspect of it fun, the film itself is something fans of ghoulish style horror can very much appreciate. The film feels like “Night of the Demons” crossed with “Creepshow” crossed with “Goosebumps” with good measure. It’s important to note that you will enjoy this film ONLY if you can also tolerate and forgive those super low-budget shot-on-DV indie horror films. If you can stomach all those at once you will hopefully (if you finally choose the right path for Sara) be rewarded with the films “true” ending that is incredibly “splatter’tastic’ that it could make any horror and gore fan cheer!

If you want to “play” a horror movie this Halloween season then I can’t recommend “It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To” enough.

-James J. Coker