birthday

Favorite Things: Birthday Movies Pt 3

Today is my birthday! To celebrate I wanted to create some fun movies lists for you all. I couldn’t decide what the basis for my list should be so I’m giving you not one, not two, but THREE movie lists! This list features my favorite films that came out the year I was born, 1988. There were a lot of great films that year so it was difficult to narrow down to just a few favorites.

Here are my top five favorite horror films that were released in 1988 (in no particular order):

1. KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE

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Killer Klowns from Outer Space isn’t just one of my favorite movies from 1988, but it’s also one of my favorite movies ever. It has a space ship that looks like a circus tent, cotton candy cocoons, living balloon animals, dangerous popcorn, and alien clowns who want to drink us dry. It’s really a recipe for an 80’s masterpiece. The film is definitely out there, but it’s campy and fun and the design for the clowns is amazing. There was so much clever thought put into all the clown details and how they could be made deadly that it’s nearly impossible not to enjoy this flick.

2. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS

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I only saw Night of the Demons for the first time a couple years ago, but it became an instant favorite. A group of kids go to an abandoned funeral home to party on Halloween night and accidentally unleash ancient demons that possess and kill the kids one by one. The practical effects are to die for, and the plot is surprisingly good for how campy the film is overall. There is one specific practical effect alone that makes the film worth watching (and if you’ve seen the film you know what I mean). This is a must-watch every October.

3. WAXWORK

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Of all the horror films on this list, Waxwork I have the oldest memory of. I remember finding it on TV one day when I was very young and instantly being mesmerized. The film brings a creative story in which a mysterious wax museum comes to town and when a group of kids explore it they find the exhibits come to life, sucking the kids into the scene. This film also has many recognizable faces from other horror films such as Zach Galligan (Gremlins), Deborah Foreman (April Fool’s Day), and David Warner (In the Mouth of Madness). This isn’t an 80’s film that gets much recognition, but it is one worth seeking out.

4. POLTERGEIST III

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Poltergeist III scarred me for life as a child. To this day I refuse to have mirrors anywhere in my house (except the bathrooms) and my dislike/fear of mirrors started with this film. Carol Anne moves in with her aunt and uncle into a fancy high-rise, only to have Kane try to come after her through mirrors and any other reflective surfaces from the other side. This is honestly the weakest film in the Poltergeist franchise, but it is the one that effected me the most as a child and remains a favorite of mine.

5. SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA

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A group of sorority girls and frat boys break into a bowling alley. They accidentally break open a trophy and unleash an imp set on mischief and carnage. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. I only saw this film for the first time last year (thanks to Joe Bob Briggs) and it is so bizarre and hilarious that I couldn’t help but fall in love. As shocking as it may sound, this is the most ridiculous and outlandish 1988 films on this list. If that doesn’t convince you to see Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama, I don’t know what will.

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Favorite Things: Birthday Movies Pt 2

Today is my birthday! To celebrate I wanted to create a fun movies list for you all. I couldn’t decide what the basis for my list should be so I’m giving you not one, not two, but THREE movie lists! This list features my favorite films released in the month of January (my birthday month). January is generally considered a “dump month,” which sucks for me, but I found a surprising number of awesome horror films that were released during this month.

Here are my top five favorite horror films that were released in the month of January (in no particular order):

1. TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT (1995)

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Demon Knight is an awesome Tales from the Crypt horror comedy starring Billy Zane (Titanic) and Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Reloaded). Zane plays a demon trying to get a relic to end the world, and Pinkett Smith is one in a group of unfortunate souls trapped in an old church turned boarding house. This film has awesome creature design for some of the demons, and Zane shows yet again that he can play one hell of a bad guy. This is arguably my favorite film on this list.

2. CLOVERFIELD (2008)

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This is one of the better found footage style films. During a going away party New York is attacked by a giant monster and a small group of parygoers has to try to find their friend and escape the city before it’s completely destroyed. The film is really tense and I love that the filmmakers managed to take a Japanese-inspired giant monster movie and translate it into the not always love found footage format. Cloverfield has a killer creature design and keeps me at the edge of my seat from start to finish.

3. FORM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996)

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Two bank robbers hijack a family in their RV to cross the Mexican border and meet a friend at a remote bar. Unfortunately for them, the bar is infested with vampires. The group has to band together to stay alive until the sun comes up. This was the first Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) film I had ever seen, and he quickly became a favorite director. This film has copious amounts of gore, amazing creature design and practical effects, plus several great actors. It’s hard not to love this movie as you’re watching the limbs fly and laughing at the dark humor.

4. PHANTOMS (1998)

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Phantoms has a really unique plot that still gives me chills to this day. Based on the novel by Dean Koontz, it follows a group of people as the enter a remote town where everyone has disappeared. From there it only gets more dark and twisted as an evil entity threatens them. Many of the cast members were just starting to become household names when the film came out, and their performances are stellar. The evil in this film is really anyone’s worst nightmare, and the film conveys that so well. No matter how many times I watch the film it still freaks me out.

5. DEEP RISING (1998)

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Imagine going up to a fancy cruise ship with the intention of robbing the place, only to find a giant sea creature has already taken over and eaten everyone on board. That is what you get when you watch Deep Rising. This is a criminally underrated film that is probably one of the best water monster movies to date. It has a great cast and does a good job of bringing some fantastic scares and gore. This is a monster you wouldn’t want to meet, but it’s definitely a movie you should see.

Honorable mention: The Relic, Split, House on Sorority Row, Tremors, My Bloody Valentine (2009).

Favorite Things: Birthday Movies Pt 1

Today is my birthday! To celebrate I wanted to create a fun movies list for you all. I couldn’t decide what the basis for my list should be so I’m giving you not one, not two, but THREE movie lists! First up is a list of horror films that take place on or around a character’s birthday.

Here are my top five favorite horror films that take place during a birthday (in no particular order):

1. FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

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While a birthday is only really mentioned in passing, there was no way I could not include Friday the 13th on this list. The killings that take place at Camp Crystal Lake happen on what would have been Jason Voorhees’ birthday. This is a classic slasher flick that made way for numerous sequels. All the kills in this film are as awesome as in the subsequent films, yet this first installment stands apart for one specific reason (which I won’t mention even though by now you should know the spoilers). Friday the 13th is a film every horror fan needs to see.

2. MY SOUL TO TAKE (2010)

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This was Wes Craven’s penultimate film he directed and the last feature film he wrote. My Soul to Take revolves around a group of kids all born on the same day. The night they were born a serial killer with multiple personalities was killed, so the townsfolk believe one of his personalities went into each kid. It’s a really great concept, but for some reason the film was not liked by critics and moviegoers alike. I personally love this film. It’s a great story with a wonderful cast and an amazing performance from Max Thieriot (Bates Motel).

3. DEMONS 2 (1986)

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If you’ve seen Demons and thought that was crazy, just wait until you see Demons 2. This sequel takes the insanity and gore from the first film and injects it with steroids. There are crazed demons, a dog creature, and tons and tons of gore all inside a 10-story high-rise. It all starts with a teenage girl’s birthday where she ends up possessed, and the “plot” continues to go nuts from there. In terms of quality the first film is probably better, but Demons 2 is still gory and unintentionally funny. If you love campy films, you’ll love this one.

4. HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017)

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This is a film that really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. The basic premise is a college student who gets repeatedly killed on her birthday, only to wake up and restart the same day. Happy Death Day is one of the most successful horror films that uses the gimmick made famous by Groundhog’s Day. It has a really great mystery, it’s fun, and it had me laughing the entire time. This is a film I definitely recommend, especially with the sequel coming out this year.

5. CHILD’S PLAY (1988)

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Child’s Play is a double-whammy because it takes place during a birthday AND it came out the year I was born. As I’m sure you all know, the film tells the tale of a serial killer who uses a spell to put his soul inside a Good Guy Doll in order to escape the police. Then a woman buys that possessed doll for her son’s birthday, which leads to murder and mayhem. Like Friday the 13th, this is another classic horror film that spawned several sequels. I personally love villains with a lot of personality, so Chucky is one of my favorite bad guys to watch.