• ERIC BUTLER

The horror genre looks up in 2001

After seeing just how terrible the 90s(especially the first half) was at producing quality horror films, it is refreshing to see 2000 & 2001 contribute some really good movies to the genre. One of my absolute favorites leads the charge ...

So first off, yes the writer/director is a scumbag. All my positives will be on the movie & the acting. Jeepers Creepers is one of my all-time favorite horror movies. I'm a big fan of the creature features from Hollywood's golden age. This always felt like an updated version of those fun films. I love the fact the two main characters are siblings, something not done near enough. Justin Long & Gina Philips give us a believable relationship between family members, and this eliminates the need for there to be sexual tension or budding romance. This allows us to focus on the main point of the movie - escaping the monster.


And what a monster we have. I love when a new monster/killer is introduced into the genre, and the Creeper does not disappoint. The character itself is super creepy and downright terrifying once it starts to hunt the siblings. Its truck adds to the horror and gives the viewer a fun introduction to all 3 characters. They're about to do a reboot, so hopefully, they can make up for the sequels (2 is okay, but 3 is unwatchable). You'll have to rent/buy to stream it, but on occasion, it does pop up on Prime & Netflix.

Blurb - A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature which is in the midst of its ritualistic eating spree.



Dark Castle Entertainment got another hit by remaking the 1960 classic 13 Ghosts - written like Thir13en Ghosts. Steve Beck's first time in the director's chair led to a box-office hit, but the movie did make it onto Ebert's Most Hated list. It followed the Scream format and scored young talent with Shannon Elizabeth & Matthew Lillard, but also threw in Tony Shalhoub (TV's Monk) as the lead. It is weird to see him running around touching stuff. Check it out on Netflix & HBOMax


Blurb - When Cyrus Kriticos, a very rich collector of unique things, dies, he leaves house and fortune to his nephew and his family. While they're inside, they find they are not alone.



Jake Gyllenhaal is great in Donnie Darko, but he wasn't the first choice. Vince Vaughn turned it down because of his age, Mark Wahlberg would only do it with a lisp, and Jason Schwartzman dropped out because of a scheduling conflict. This movie almost didn't get to see theatrical release but Christopher Nolan helped secure one. Stream it on HBOMax.


Blurb - After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.



I'm a sucker for Jack the Ripper movies, and From Hell scratches that itch. The Hughes Brothers bring to life the amazing graphic novel by Alan Moore and give us another great performance by Johnny Depp. The movie took 3 years to complete, and the only issue I ever had with it was casting Heather Graham. It's as bad as casting Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York. I mean she's fine and was one of the hot names at the time, but there had to be a better choice. You will have to rent/buy to see it, but it does pop up on Netflix or Hulu every once in a while.


Blurb - In Victorian-era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders of Jack the Ripper.



Before Christophe Gans directed Silent Hill(coming soon), he directed a fun and entertaining action-horror-mystery French film named Brotherhood of the Wolf. Universal paid $2million to distribute it in the US. and made a cool $11.5million in limited release. This makes it the 6th highest-grossing French film in America. Stream it on AMC+ & Shudder.


Blurb - In 18th-century France, the Chevalier de Fronsac and his Native American friend Mani are sent to the Gevaudan province at the king's behest to investigate the killings of hundreds by a mysterious beast.



Coming from Moulin Rouge!, Nicole Kidman's next project was The Others. This gloomy, period piece left her with nightmares, and she struggled to find the necessary emotional reserves to tackle the material at first. She tried to quit during rehearsals but came back. It ended up being a good decision as the movie is one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time. It is unavailable to stream, but you can find it on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Blurb - A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.



While I never thought of movies like Silence of the Lambs, Cell, or Se7en as horror movies, I've always thought that way of Conspiracy. In truth, it is a war movie, a period piece, but in my eyes, it is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. It is truly chilling to watch the men at this conference discuss what they termed the "Jewish Question". Kenneth Branagh is absolutely chilling as the no-nonsense General Reinhard Heydrich. You can stream it on HBOMax.


Side note Trivia - Movie debut of Tom Hiddleston


Blurb - At the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942, senior Nazi officials meet to determine the manner in which the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" can be best implemented.



After telling us there would be no sequel, Scary Movie did so well the studio asked the creators to do it again - in only about 9 months. Some say this is why Scary Movie 2 isn't as strong as the first one. I think it's as funny as the first one and does a good job spoofing the movies that involved possessions & haunted houses. You can see for yourself if you have Showtime or want to buy it.


Blurb - Four teens are tricked by Professor Oldman (Tim Curry) into visiting a haunted house for a school project.



As I stated above, I never thought Lambs was a horror film, but since many do, I have to think they would include Hannibal. I've only seen it the one time in theaters. I can't stand Julianne Moore - who replaces Jodie Foster. I have to assume she's terrible, but maybe I need to give it another chance. Hard to believe Ridley Scott directed this. Stream it on Starz.


Blurb - Living in exile, Dr. Hannibal Lecter tries to reconnect with now disgraced F.B.I. Agent Clarice Starling, and finds himself a target for revenge from a powerful victim.



I think it's important to get this out of the way, Ghosts of Mars isn't a good movie. The cast is incredible: Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Pam Grier, and Clea Duvall. And with John Carpenter at the helm, you would expect this to be a fun, action, horror movie. It falls flat.


John Carpenter said in interviews, after the fact, that he was trying to be over-the-top and silly with every aspect of the film. He wanted it to remind us of the action movies of the 80s, where you suspended your belief and just enjoy the eye candy in front of you. He did a poor job letting the audience know what he was going for, and in the end, almost everyone sees this as a bomb. So much in fact, that Carpenter left Hollywood, claiming burnout and wouldn't return to make a movie within the studio system for 9 years.


Now, this was supposed to be the third installment of Snake Plissken but Escape From LA had bombed so bad, the studio wouldn't greenlight it. Instead, the character's name was changed. It might have been a better movie if it was included to be part of a trilogy. Check it out on HULU.


Blurb - In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.



Stuart Gordon(Re-Animator, From Beyond) returns to his Lovecraft roots with Dagon. Of course, while it has the title of one of Lovecraft's most popular stories, it more resembles "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". He had planned on making it in 1985 right after Re-Animator but was forced into a different direction. You can stream it on tubi & VUDUfree.


Blurb - A boating accident runs a young man and woman ashore in a decrepit Spanish fishing town which they discover is in the grips of an ancient sea god and its monstrous half human offspring.




I haven't seen Session 9. It slipped through the cracks, but it seems that most people who did see it, love it. I'm including it to remind me to go find it and watch it. It has a strong cast, a good director, and a perfect setting for a horror movie. The only thing that may give me pause, is I am planning to write a horror tale in an abandoned mental hospital and might want to finish it first before I see it all laid out. This is a rent/buy to see.


Blurb - Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.



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