Monday, October 16, 2017

Fear-filled Phantasms: Alessandro Biffignandi

Here's another selection of paintings from the late great Italian artist Alessandro Biffignandi. Can you name all the famous movie monsters in the first ones and/or the film's they're from?

Musical Monday: Grim Grinning Ghosts

As I mentioned earlier this month, the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland was my favorite ride as a kid. Here's the original version of the theme song for the place. May your Halloween be filled with happy haunts and grinning ghosts this year!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: Clickbait

Tonight’s journey into terror has an all-too-familiar beginning to those us who spend way too much time online, surfing weird “news” sites. I would have given it a higher rating if the pay-off felt more in line with the set-up, as it’s a great little film up until it falters at the very end.

Clickbait (2016) 
Starring: Rachel Lynn David
Director: Deric Nunez
Rating: Six of Ten Stars


Saturday, October 14, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: Selfie

Here's a spooky film about the camera capturing what the eye can't see. It also does what it does without a single line of spoken dialogue.

(Phones are featuring rather heavily in this year's film selection. It's the whole "horror films evolve to keep up with technology" trend I've commented on a few times over the years.)

Selfie (2017) 
Starring: Unknown [I don’t read Japanese]
Director: Unknown [I don’t read Japanese]
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars


Friday, October 13, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: Drudge

It's Friday the 13th, so this 31 Nights of Halloween offering is a concentrated version of the standards set by Jason Vohrees and Michael Myers.

Drudge (2013)
Starring: Jessica Mann, Cameron Simmons, and Cheetah Plattt
Director: Kheireddine El-Helou
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Friday the 13th Musical Special (featuring Mr. Friday the Thirteenth Himself!)

Next Friday, he'll do it all again!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fear-filled Phantasms: Alessandro Biffignandi

Here are three more graphic chillers from the brush of the late, great Alessandro Biffignandi (1935-2017), as we continue our showcase of his work as part of the 31 Nights of Halloween.

31 Nights of Halloween: The 5th Floor

Today we offer a cautionary tale: Don't get on the lift if there's someone in it who appears to a ghost that's escaped from a Japanese horror film.

While I'm being a bit flippant above, "The Fifth Floor" is a technically competent little horror film that hits the ground running and stays strong until the finish. (I still would have taken the stairs if I'd been the main character, however.)

The 5th Floor (2017)
Starring: Georgia Burnette and Charlie Falconer
Director: Peter Falconer
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: The Dress

A young woman (Boulet) finds that the former occupant of her new apartment has left some things behind in tonight's excellent mini-chiller.

The Dress (2017)
Starring: Amandine Boulet
Director: Erwann Kerroc'h
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: The Devil's Grave

Things go from bad to worse when a pair of lovers set out to bury her husband's dead body in the back yard.

Like other works I'm finding for this year's traditional mini-film festival, I think the music soundtrack is a bit overblown, but otherwise it's a nice effort. The script is especially good for this--although I feel the direction stumbles a bit at the end. I think the film would have been better served by keeping the delivery of the final line calmer and more low key like everything else had been up to that point..

The Devil's Grave (2012)
Starring: Amanda Kari McHugh and Dean Ghaffari
Director: Steven Aguilera
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Monday, October 9, 2017

Musical Monday: Ghosts

Here's a musical interlude for our countdown to Halloween--"Ghosts" by Michael Jackson! It's not quite "Thriller," (which was featured here, during the 2012 31 Nights of Halloween) but it is a nicely done video that's a homage to classic horror films.

There are two videos in this post. They were originally within a short film titled "Ghosts" that is too long to be part of the 31 Nights of Halloween, but it was directed by special effects wizard Stan Winston, from a script by Stephen King.)

Ghosts: The Music, Part One

Ghosts: The Music, Part Two

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fear-filled Phantasms: Alessandro Biffignandi

We continue our showcase of art by the late Alessandro Biffignandi. Many of the paintings featured were done as covers for Zora la Vampira, an adult-only comics series that chronicled the erotic horror adventures of the blonde vampire of the title... and this explains the many well-endowed blonde vampires you'll be seeing in these posts.

31 Nights of Halloween: 325 Sycamore Lane

Ghosts are a staple of Halloween entertainment, and so are surprises. Tonight's offering in our countdown to the Big Night may have one of these... or both.

325 Sycamore Lane (2017)
Starring: Jeff DuJarden, Emmy Newman, and Juliette James
Director: Ren-Horn Wang
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Saturday, October 7, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween:
Shadows Sitting By Their Feet

A girl spends a sleepless night surrounded by ghosts. Even if you don't know much about Japanese folklore as it relates to restless spirits, this is a creepy little story.

Shadows Sitting By Their Feet (2012) 
Starring: Haruna Imai, Mika Hisada, Anna Odaka, and Akane Kaiho
Director: Noboru Iguchi
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Friday, October 6, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: Instawolf

In tonight's offering, an "Instagram Model" is photobombed by a sexy werewolf.

Yes, it's as odd as it sounds, but it made me laugh. I hope you'll be amused, too! (Yeah, it makes almost no sense... but I loved it anyway!)

InstaWolf (2016)
Starring: Brandi Marie
Director: Alex J. Mann
Rating: Ten of Ten Stars

Thursday, October 5, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: Peripheral

Jump scares are generally overused and misused. However, in the hands of the right filmmaker, they can be highly effective. Like in tonight's offering.

Peripheral (2017)
Starring: Chris Barry and Casara Clark
Director: Griffin Devine
Rating: Ten of Ten Stars

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fear-filled Phantasms: Alessandro Biffignandi

On January 22, 2017, Italian artist Alessandro Biffignandi passed away at the age of 81. He was best known for painting hundreds of covers for mature-audience horror comics during the 1970s and 1980s. We're going to be showcasing his work as part of the Halloween festivities here at Terror Titans. You can read more about him at Wikipedia.

Biffignandi's art for the horror magazines is full of references to classic horror films and stories. It is also full of scenes of gore and sex--and voluptuous, scantily-clad women having sex with, or being assaulted by, zombies, vampires, and other creatures. There will be more nudity in these posts than typical at this blog, so if any of that offends you, you may just want to to skip all "Fear-filled Phantasms" posts this month. (But if you're not offended, maybe you'll have fun playing "spot the cinematic references"!)

31 Nights of Halloween: Don't Move

When a group of friends summon a demon, some of them live to regret it. But for how long?

This film is vibrating horror from its first few seconds. The scene is set with sound alone, and when the film really gets going, we're treated to expert lighting and cinematography, strong performances from the actor, and an atmosphere of dread and certain death that never lets up. The only real flaw is with the sound mixing; the dialogue is often impossible to hear clearly. While there aren't many lines, it would be nice if we could have heard more of them.

Don't Move (2013)
Starring: Rachel Bright, Jake Hendriks, and Beth Cooper
Director: Anthony Melton
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: What's Up, Bro?

As has been the case for more than 150 years, with each advancement in communication, horror stories evolve to incorporate them. Tonight's entry in the 31 Nights of Halloween mini-film festival makes great use of text messaging for example!

While the musical score is somewhat overblown, the acting and camerawork makes up for it.

What's Up, Bro? (2017)
Starring: Abhishek Kumar
Director: Abhishek Kumar
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Monday, October 2, 2017

Musical Monday: Grim Grinning Ghosts!

My favorite ride at Disneyland (when I was there in 1980 and 1983), the Haunted Mansion was my favorite of all the rides. Here's a cover of the place's theme song! (This is the first of five horror-themed songs we'll be posting as part of the Countdown to Halloween this year!)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

31 Nights of Halloween: Lights Out

It's another 31 Nights of Halloween, and the Terror Titans blog once again heaves itself from the grave with a series of mini fright films--one every night between now and Halloween.

We kick off this year's fear fest with the familiar face of Lotta Losten, the unluckiest person alive. She's had multiple run-ins with the supernatural during the course of the 31 Nights of Halloween festivals....

Lights Out (2013)
Starring; Lotta Losten
Director: David. F. Sandberg
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

'31 Nights of Halloween' mini-film festival to return again this year!

The days are getting shorter, and soon Halloween will be here... and the 31 Nights of Halloween will once again herald its arrival.

One month from today, Terror Titans will shamble back to life with 31 short horror films that can be viewed right here on the blog, to help you get in the mood for the Big Day. No film will be longer than 15 minutes, and the majority will be shorter than 10 or even 5.

I hope to see you all back here every evening in October! (And you can click here to check out the selections from previous years.)

And if you know of a short film I should share during the 31 Nights of Halloween, get in touch!

Monday, April 10, 2017

John Williams's "The Fury"

John Williams is unarguably one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, and he may well be the most talented person to ever write and conduct music for film. So many of the movies he's written music for didn't deserve him, and the presence of his music didn't just enhance them, it elevated them.

John Williams circa 1978

One Williams score that has stayed with me to the point where its main theme pops unexpectedly into my head every so often is "The Fury." It was written for a 1978 Brian De Palma film that mixed elements of a spy thriller with horror, as a retired spy (Krik Douglas) seeks to rescue his son from a sinister government agency that is hoping to train psychics into super-spies.,, and far worse.

"The Fury" is one of Brian De Palma's best films--I know that isn't saying much, but this is truly a great movie. If you liked "Scanners" or "Firestarter," you need to see this one. It's better than either and it came before either. It's a great movie, and Williams created a score that's worth of its greatness.

For some reason, however, "The Fury" appears to be one of Williams' lesser known efforts. I hope to change that a little with this post. Click on any of the YouTube videos below. Sit back and enjoy. The let me know if you don't think whatever piece and cue you consider to be Williams's greatest doesn't pale in comparison.

First... the "Main Theme from 'The Fury'" as it was heard on the soundtrack album. It starts quiet and more than a little sinister, but Emperor Palpatine wishes he had a theme this majestic, and Darth Vader is clenching his fists in jealousy that it wasn't written for him.

After that taste, here's a symphonic arrangement of the main themes from "The Fury," arranged and conducted by John Williams himself. Enjoy!