At Dewitt University a scavenger hunt is about to begin. The game, which takes place at night, takes the contestants all over the campus looking for clues. The terror begins as one by one the female players are slashed by a maniac…dressed as the basketball team’s mascot bear!
Suburban parents Charles and Christine along with their daughter Cathy receive the shattering news that their son Andy has been killed in action in Vietnam. Christine can’t accept that fact and starts praying for her son to return. Later that night Andy returns home to the amazement of everybody. Soon after it’s apparent that Andy’s not the same as everybody remembered; very distant, cold and quiet…and possibly killing people.
“Rituals” is a very good wilderness thriller that may draw inspiration from the classic “Deliverance” (1972) but it’s even more layered and very effective. The title alone has multiple meanings from both the protagonists perspective but also from the antagonist who actually is given a reason for the reign of terror he invokes on the vacationing doctors.
Recently I watched the entire “Final Destination” (2000 – 2011) franchise. It’s a solid collection of horror films with a knockout premise that has the Grim Reaper as it’s baddie. Every film starts out the same and every film follows the same formula and tries and be as imaginative as possible with the death sequences that really are the franchise’s raison d’etre.
Dame Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel “Ten Little Indians” (which initial title was quite edgy (and it’s easy to google) and quickly changed to “And Then There Were None” when it was published in the US in 1940) is one of the Queen of Suspense’s most enduring piece of literature. It’s a remarkably grim novel whose basic plot has been imitated countless times and undoubtedly will continue to inspire more works for the unforeseeable future. In the 20th century there were four English speaking film adaptations of the novel produced in 1945, 1965, 1974 and 1989 that greeted audiences but there was one fact that not everyone knows that tied all the films together in a peculiar way that differed from the novel. When the novel was adapted for the stage Dame Agatha herself changed the ending and altered the plot slightly. No doubt a reason for this was partly to let theater patrons depart on a slightly happier note but also some key things would have been very difficult to realize on stage that is much easier to communicate in a novel. The following film versions were all adapted from Christie’s stage version and so they did not faithfully adhere to the nihilistic tone that so distinguishes the novel from the rest of her work.
“Terror Train” is excellent. It has everything that a slasher film fan could want in spades and delivers it with a straightforward narrative that’s blissfully free of absurd red herrings that make no sense. That said it does present a possibly implausible revelation but it actually ends up being a clever mislead in a film noted for it’s twist free nature. The script for “Terror Train” is pretty good.
My favourite director is John Carpenter and I’ve spent an un-Godly amount of time devouring his work for more than 30 years. I’ve been rather hesitant at sharing my thoughts on his films on my blog as so much has been written about them and they’ve been fairly well dissected by many. But what the heck! I recently got into a Carpenter mood and viewed three of his early features and wanted to write a few things down.
My personal favourite of his is “The Fog”. It’s not what I consider his best work as I think “The Thing” is his crowning achievement. The one I’ve viewed most often is “Halloween” and the whole Michael Myers franchise is a big part of why horror/slasher films got a hold of me early on and have kept me interested for all these years.
These three early features by Carpenter are movies I revisit regularly and think very highly of.