Apr 03

Horror Movies-Original vs. Remakes – Battle One

So, you call yourself a horror movie fan?  Well, even as a middle of the road fan, meaning I won’t watch them at night, and if something is too gory or too much, I will turn it off to preserve my sanity.  Given that, I’ve seen a lot of scary movies, but even I was surprised to find out some were remakes. Let’s take a look, beyond the obvious.


Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Yep, this sister vs sister thriller/horror was remade in 1991 starring real life sisters Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave.  John Glover plays the part, I think, that Victor Buono played in the original.  I’ve seen it, I’ve noted it, I’ve blanked it out.  Nuff said.  Here’s the trailer.


The Crazies

Timothy Olyphant, who I will always forever see as sexy salesman Danny Cordray on The Office, and Radha Mitchell do a great job in this remake of the 1973 classic.  I don’t mind telling you, the trailer scared me.  The image of people enjoying a nice day at a baseball game as a huge, zombie-like dude marches across the field carrying a bloody weapon….that’s horror, where the ordinary go so wrong, so fast.  I haven’t seen the original, so I’m not sure how it measures up, but I can say it sure scared me.

Last House on the Left

As an exercise in 70s horror, I watched this.  It was an awful experience because the movie was so good at being awful.  The feeling of dread, of hopelessness and fear exudes from the screen after the two fun-loving girls meet up with that terrible crew.  Once seen, it is not an experience I’d want to repeat, because the movie did so well at making its audience feel terrible.  I won’t watch the remake.

The Fly

David Cronenberg is a body horror master.  In The Fly, he lets it all hang out.  Ugh.  I’ve seen both, but the remake is more stomach turning, and probably realistic than the original.  Both movies, however, do have good points.

The Blob

Yes, Steve McQueen was dreamy as a 40 year old high school student, but let’s be real.  The original Blob depended more on suspense than gross out scenes.  In the remake, it was a disgusting thrill to see the dude sucked down the drain by the blob.  The telephone booth scene was also a good scare.  Again, with what they had to work with, the original Blob was pretty good, but the remake’s special effects made a scary story much better.\



So what’s your vote?





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Mar 30

Horror Movie Review -The Collingswood Story


The Collingsworth Story (2002)


A young girl staying in touch with her boyfriend via a webcam discovers an unimaginable horror linked to the house she just moved into.


Horror, Mystery, Thriller


I’d started watching this movie some time ago.  Something happened where I couldn’t finish it, and I never got back to it because I couldn’t remember the name of the movie! Luckily, or unluckliy for my time and temper, I rediscovered the movie while researching found footage movies.  As you know, I’m a sucker for found footage, no matter how terrible, so I suppose in watching this movie, I got what I deserved.

The movie begins with some newspaper clippings and vague old-time pictures you know are going to come into play later.  Yeah, yeah, let’s get to the movie.  Stop with all the history you’re just going to repeat over and over throughout the movie.

The premise is a woman moves to New Jersey for college, leaving her boyfriend behind in Virginia.  Because they are so very attached to one another, they use a webcam and video chat to keep in touch.   

First of all, the Windows 95 interface and the silly looking software for the videochat kind of hooked me right away.  Being a tech oriented person, I was really wondering how they were able to connect via video chat using a telephone landline.  It looked like Prodigy or CompuServe interface.  But my tech meanderings aren’t really important right now.  Let’s get on to the movie.

Dude, really?  He wore a backwards baseball cap so well, I should count it as the actor in the movie.  Every single time he was on screen, dude was sporting that backwards hat.  To be fair, the movie was made in 2002, so the style was HAWT back then.  Other than that, he looked like a real desperate grease monkey trying to hold on to his lady friend.

On the other hand, the female lead was quite striking and charismatic.  Now, I usually don’t go on and on about the leads, but when there is nothing but chit-chat going on, you have nothing to do but focus on the two actors involved.  I enjoyed watching her performance.

The mystery itself was pretty intriguing, and we get some glimpses of early 2000 webcam folk, but I must say, the entire movie fell flat at the end.  With all the web research, the spooky buildup and a scary psychic, the ending was a little bit of….what just happened.  Hey, maybe it’s me and I didn’t get the deeper meaning of the movie or I missed something when I looked away from the screen.  Bottom line is, The Collingswood Story held my attention, then dropped it like a lead balloon.

Not Recommended, unless you are interested in early 2000 computer technology.



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Mar 17

My Top 3 Favorite Versions of Danny Boy

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


In celebration of the day, I’d like to take a moment to wish you all the luck of the Irish and I tip my cap to you.


May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.


There’s nothing I like more in classical/traditional music than a lovely Irish tenor.  Tenors in general are the neglected vocal part. It tears me apart when the altos are recruited to sing tenor.  The timbre can be so very different.

Well, before I have a flashback and lapse into musically technical terms, let me give you what you came here for.


Danny Boy:  Placido Domingo & Itzhak Perlman

Domingo has a pleasant timbre and his phrasing.  I feel that this version is a little rushed, as Danny Boy, to me was a song of mourning.  Domingo takes it a little too quickly and his phrasing is a little bumpy. However, he does make up for it by hitting “here” in “It’s I’ll be here”, without resorting to falsetto.  Not my super favorite, but doable.


May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Danny Boy:  Mario Lanza

While not an “Irish Tenor”, Lanza was known as the “greatest tenor in the world” long after his death in 1959.  Many of his songs carry a tinge of an Italian accent, however his pitch and timbre, especially on such a sad song, give me the goosebumps.  Certainly, his version is a little rushed also, however, the singing is well worth it.  He also sings full voice on “It’s I’ll be here….” and  “For you will bend…..”  The strings give the arrangement an extra poignancy.


Danny Boy: Finbar Wright

Perfect pace.  Perfect breath control.  The timbre is hair-raising (in a wonderful way). Get out your handkerchiefs, folks, this is the tear-jerker Danny Boy was meant to be.  One. Tiny. Thing.  Wright resorts to falsetto on “It’s I’ll be here.…” and  “For you will bend…..”  Yes, it’s a beautifully sweet falsetto, however, I wonder how it would have been had he full-voiced the note.  However, the rest of the performance is flawless.

Honorable mention – Danny Boy – John McDermott

I leave you with this

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

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Mar 14

Horror Movie Review -The Invitation

Title: The Invitation
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
IMDB Link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2400463/










After seeing this movie on Netflix, I will never say…


I no longer want invitations to anyone’s dinner party.  Keep your invites, really.



Will and Eden were once a loving couple. After a tragedy took their son, Eden disappeared. Two years later, out of the blue, she returns with a new husband… and as a different person, eerily changed and eager to reunite with her ex and those she left behind. Over the course of a dinner party in the house that was once his, the haunted Will is gripped by mounting evidence that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious and terrifying agenda. But can we trust Will’s hold on reality? Or will he be the unwitting catalyst of the doom he senses?

Drafthouse Films


I admit, the beginning of this movie bored me.  The man seemed out of it and his mood was flat.  I thought he was on some kind of medication.  It also made me wonder why the woman was with him.  Then, it turns out that they’re going to a party at the home of his ex-wife….with the new girlfriend.  That earned an eye roll, because, I wasn’t sure this was going to be a good idea.

Plus, the party was in the hills of California somewhere.  Ugh.  I don’t like going out into old crazy country without a way to get out of there.  In some of those places, you can’t even call a cab or Uber!!

Anyhoo, what a bunch of weirdos at the party. Folks not wearing any shoes.  Folks with vacant smiles and blank eyes.   As soon as all the characters get together, there’s a general feeling of unease. The folks seem loving and accommodating, but there is something just off about the entire gathering.  The man finds strange things around his ex-wife’s house.  In addition, we are subjected to hazy flashbacks about their shared past.

As the film rolls on we eventually realize that there is something going on, and it bubbles over the surface in a shocking scene.  Obviously, I won’t give it away, but I will say I was glued to the screen until the end.  

The film starts quite slow and threatens to lose the viewers’ interest.  But I advise you to stick with it and go along for the ride.  The ending will make you sit back in your seat, mouth open and head shaking.   Additionally, this movie will keep you from going from any strange dinner parties in isolated areas, I promise you that.

Grade A-:  Jeez, this was creepy and unsettling as hell.  

The Invitation:  Trailer

Here’s to watching horror movies in the morning!



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Feb 12

Horror Movie Review -Train to Busan (Busanhaeng)


Title: Train to Busan  – Busanhaeng (original title)
Genre: Horror (Zombies), Thriller, Drama
Director: Sang-Ho Yeon
Writers: Sang-Ho Yeon
IMDB Link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5700672/



Me after seeing this movie on Amazon Video:

PLOT SYNOPSIS: (imdb.com) While a zombie-virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

Before I even begin, I’m going to say I loved this movie.  A lot.  

Many horror movie viewers are cynical and jaded.  They claim that “they’ve seen it all” and “nothing can scare them now”.  That’s all well and good, but once you claim that, where is the fun in watching movies?  Movies are escapist creations, much like many fiction books.  The point of any given movie is to immerse yourself in the experience, and in a manner of speaking, let the filmmaker have his way with you.

As a film viewer of the age that I am at now.  (Don’t you love that sentence?) I can easily say, sure, nothing put on film can scare me any more than real life.  I have children, a husband, and other loved ones, and believe me, if you asked me to answer truthfully what scares me, it wouldn’t be a random zombie outbreak or a killer stalking teens.

Movies are escape.  That’s the name of the game.  Claiming “nothing scares me” certainly takes the life out of viewing horror, doesn’t it?

But I digress.

I haven’t laughed, cried and been scared by one film in a while.  That is to say, I’ve laughed at films, I’ve cried over films and I’ve been scared by films, but never all three in the course of an hour and a half.  Train to Busan is a zombie film ride I sort of wished wouldn’t end.  

The setup was great.  For those who haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it, but I was like whoa….this is how this is going to go?  I rolled along with the cliched characterization, because, zombies.  In addition, the actors did so well, I didn’t care that I’d seen the same character in other movies.

Even in the scenes where I KNEW a character was going to do this or that (and there were a few, because, you know, film-watcher of a certain age and all..) but again, I was so caught up in what was going on that I did not care.

Grade A:  I literally laughed, cried and gasped in fear.  Highly recommended.

Train to Busan: Trailer

Here’s to watching horror movies in the morning!



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Feb 01

Wordless Wednesday – Feb 1 2016

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Jan 31

Music Monday – Top 5 Elton John Songs

Since I did Billy Joel last week, it’s only fair that I praise my other favorite piano man, Elton John.  I first heard of Elton John (to know he was Elton John) during the eighties. Upon further exploration of his discography, I discovered that I had been enjoying his songs for quite a while, even though I hadn’t known who he was.  This was back in the olden times of radio and DJs….

Without further ramblings, here’s my top five mix of Elton John songs. As always, they are in no particular order.



I’m Still Standing

Rollicking upbeat elton.


Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road

The vocal riff of “Oh…oh…oh….” is what sells it.


The One

“All I ever needed was the one……”


Candle in the Wind

His tribute to Marilyn Monroe, and later Princess Diana, still brings a tear to my eye.


Rocket Man



Honorable Mention – Bennie and the Jets


And there’s my faves from Elton John..  Have any Elton John favorites?  Drop them in the comments!


Peace, Love, Unity



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Jan 29

Horror Movie Review – Grave Encounters 2


Title:  Grave Encounters 2
Genre: Horror, Found Footage
Director: John Poliquin
Writers: The Vicious Brothers
IMDB Link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2231554/


PLOT SYNOPSIS: (imdb.com) A film student who is obsessed with the movie Grave Encounters sets out with his friends to visit the psychiatric hospital depicted in the original film.

We’re back!

After seeing Grave Encounters, I just had to see if there were a Grave Encounters 2.  And, lo and behold, it was!  I quickly queued it up and sat back, prepared to be as scared as I was with the first one.

Alas, this was not the case.  Now, this is not to say the movie wasn’t pretty good. It just took a bit of a time to get to the point.

Don’t go into this expect a retread of Grave Encounters.  The screenwriter and director  went in a bit of a different direction, which saved the movie from being a boring retread of the first movie.

A film student who is obsessed with the movie Grave Encounters sets out with his friends to visit the psychiatric hospital depicted in the original film.

I will say the characters are a little less likable in this movie than they were in the first one.  They skewed younger and were less the “seasoned professionals” of the first movie and more snot-nosed college students.  Being a woman of a certain age, their antics grated on me a bit, but I was eager to see what the asylum would do with them.

And the haunted asylum didn’t disappoint.  

Things are not what they seem at the old homestead and the place starts acting up right away.  We, the audience, know what they’re in for, having seen the first movie, we’re just waiting to see how the asylum plays with the new crew.

There’s shouting, there’s yelling, there’s running. There’s spooky stuff afoot and a surprise.

Watch it, if just to have the story continue. Grave Encounters 2 is not as good or as chill worthy as Grave Encounters, but it’s still a pretty good ride. 

My advice:  Push through the annoying college age antics at the beginning and stay for the scary parts.  There is some lore added and maybe a door opening for Grave Encounters 3.

Here’s to watching horror movies in the morning!



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Jan 27

Wordless Wednesday – Jan 25 2016

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Jan 23

Music Monday – Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Heidi-ho, it’s music Monday and I’m here once again to thrill and wow you with my musical choices.  Today’s list comes from my piano lessons as a youth.  I began piano lessons at the age of five.  I hated them.  But then by the time I was in middle school, I’d discovered Billy Joel, and thought that I, too, could be  Piano Man.  Alas, that did not work out, thankfully, I think, but that hasn’t tarnished my love for Bill.  Take a gander at my favorite songs (at least today) from this artist. The list is in no particular order.


Piano Man

The song that started it all.  For some reason, I was fascinted by the fact that you could sing and play the piano.  (Bear with me,I was kinda young at the time.)


Downeaster Alexa

The music beneath the melody just makes you feel like you’re bracing yourself against the sway of a rolling boat.


Goodnight Saigon

A sad song about lost, broken, lives.


River of Dreams

In the middle of the night….



That jabbing synthesizer rift….

“You have to learn to pace yourself.”


And there’s my faves from the piano man.  Have any Billy Joel favorites?  Drop them in the comments!


Peace, Love, Unity



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