Revenge

[8.0] In a traveling circus sideshow, a scheming trapeze artist named Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) marries a gullible, love-struck little person named Hans (Harry Earles) with plans of poisoning him and inheriting his fortunes. But there’s a code among sideshow freaks, and when Cleopatra’s dishonesty is discovered, the freaks set out to make her… ‘one of us’. Tod Browning’s (Dracula) Freaks was originally intended to horrify …

[4.5] Vincent Price headlines as a millionairre who offers $10,000 to five people if they’ll spend the night with him and his wife in their haunted hilltop mansion. The house is the site of countless murders and is supposed to be haunted by ghosts. But is it the paranormal the guests should be afriad of? Or is it Price and his wife, who seem to …

[8.0] A murdered man comes back from the dead to exact revenge on the people who killed him and his fiancee.┬áThe Crow is a dark visual delight featuring a charismatic performance from the late Brandon Lee as the title character. (Lee died in an on-set accident before the film was completed.) Stories of revenge always risk a boring second act where we’re forced to watch …

[6.5] Four old men and their families are haunted by the ghost of a woman the men accidentally killed decades ago in this John Irvin film of the Peter Straub story. It could have benefited from a more visionary director, because it really only taps the surface of its atmospheric potential but Ghost Story is otherwise a solid spook tale of ghostly revenge that kept …

[8.5] A 14-year-old goes home with a guy in his 30s. What follows is a nightmarish power struggle. Hard Candy is an intense character-driven thriller that succeeds primarily for the incredible performances of Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Ellen Page (Juno). The screenplay dives into murky moral waters, asking us to empathize with a young girl who inflicts torture and a grown man who may or …

[8.0] Neil Marshall follows up his auspicious feature directorial debut, Dog Soldiers, with this all-female plunge into the claustrophobic depths of Appalachian caves. The Descent reminds me of From Dusk Til Dawn in that it’s really two completely different movies jammed together at the middle. The first half is harrowing enough just watching the women climb, crawl and wiggle their way deeper and deeper into …

[7.5] Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film (because he’s counting) is a three-hour long claustrophobic western about eight characters holed up in a lodge during a snowstorm who all have reason to kill one another. Leading the ensemble cast are Kurt Russell as a bounty hunter, Jennifer Jason Leigh as his ruthless, almost feral captive, Samuel L. Jackson as a Union major delivering corpses for reward money, …

[5.5] Rosario Dawson stars in this rape revenge story about a timid college freshman who keeps tabs on her rapist while falling in with a seedy crowd who inspire her method of revenge. Descent is a slow burn that tested my patience, that is until the final fifteen minutes, when the rapist becomes the rapee. And when you think it might be over, it ain’t. …

[5.5] Roger Corman directs and Vincent Price stars in their only collaboration based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft. Price plays a man claiming an inherited castle where he gets possessed by the spirit of his great grandfather, who is hellbent on exacting his revenge on the relatives of the villagers who burned him alive one hundred years ago. Price plays both the possessed and …

[8.0] Half-way through The Loved Ones, I was hating it all over. The fact that it won me back impresses the shit out of me. It’s an Australian horror flick about a hapless teenager struggling with survivor’s guilt (Xavier Samuel) who gets kidnapped by a spoiled, sadistic classmate (Robin McLeavy) and her whipped father (John Brumpton). Once tied to a chair beneath a spinning disco …