3 Films and a Brew / Features / Films / Horror / Reviews

3 Films and Brew: Attack of the Yuletide Ghost Witches.

Well it’s another week so you know what that means: I saw more movies and drank more beer. This week it’s three horror movies, two of which have probably flown under the radar and the last of which has a cult following that I don’t understand. Best part is I get to write about it all, so here we go.

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Crimson Peak (2015)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam.

I remember “Crimson Peak” receiving a fair amount of buzz from critics, so I rented it. Say what you will about the plot, but Guillermo del Toro is a visual genius. “Crimson Peak” is a gorgeous movie, a film that oozes color from every pixel, creating an experience that is beautiful yet haunting. It is a throwback to Victorian horror which uses the supernatural to explore the dark deeds that humans are capable of.

The film is scripted and cast remarkably well, including great performances from Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Jim Beaver. “Crimson Peak” isn’t scary at all, but the film has a great atmosphere, bolstered by fantastic visuals, vibrant costumes and colorful sets.

The plot is mundane and utterly predictable even to a viewer like myself who hasn’t seen a great deal of horror movies. With a better plot, “Crimson Peak” would have earned a higher recommendation, but the gorgeous scenery and strong performances make this movie a good option to watch during a stormy night.

7/10

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Krampus (2015)
Directed by Michael Dougherty.
Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner and Emjay Anthony.

“Krampus” is probably one of the most underrated movies of 2015. This off-kilter horror comedy is a remarkably fun movie that is great for scaring older kids. While the concept seems absurd, “Krampus” is a quality horror movie for the entire family as well as a cutting critique of the commercialization of Christmas.

“Krampus” reveals to us how nasty the Holiday season can become. The intro is a montage of customers swarming a convenience store to lay claim to toys, baubles and gadgets all ironically set to heartwarming Christmas music.

“Krampus” is also an amazing guide in how to build a movie, including great set design, practical effects, costuming and immersive sound editing. The cast really elevates this movie as two branches of the same family gather for their annual Christmas meal. The families are the polar opposites of one another, evocative of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacaction,” which every family deals with.

“Krampus” is a great movie because it digs in to certain truths about family and how we act around the Holidays while also playing on the fears of both adults and children.

8/10

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Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring: Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin and Dan O’Herlihy.

One of the few films that has been debated passionately by defenders and detractors, it seems that “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” is a movie that will forever be wrapped in controversy. The third film in the original “Halloween” series doesn’t feature legendary slasher and horror icon Michael Myers, which probably did not please fans.

The backstory to the movie is interesting because the original plan for the “Halloween” films was an anthology centered around the titular holiday. The sudden success of the first “Halloween” forced a sequel and “Season of the Witch” was merely a return to the formula as it was supposed to be.

As a movie itself, I wasn’t overly impressed with “Season of the Witch”. The story is either really generic or vague, not so much a horror movie plot but something involving a James Bond type villain, with elements of witchcraft and science fiction. There’s only one impressive visual and that happens halfway through the movie. The pace is so leaden that I checked my iPad multiple times through my viewing.

The factors that benefit “Season of the Witch” are the short runtime and the surprisingly dark ending. There are some interesting concepts, but they aren’t explored very well due to budgetary and time constraints. “Season of the Witch” is less of a movie and more like an extended episode of a horror anthology television series.

4/10

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Oculto (Anheuser-Busch)

In a market that’s driven primarily by driving buzz, Anheuseu-Busch released a new beer, dubbed Oculto, that looks and tastes differently. Oculto is a beer infused with agave and aged in tequila barrels to give it a sweet flavor. The sweetness pairs well with lime or lemon, so try to drink it mixed with citrus juice. It’s light and sweet, so it makes a great match for lighter Mexican fare like tacos, guacamole or stewed chicken dishes.

One issue with Oculto is that it’s not widely available, so it’s pretty rare to see outside of a restaurant that specializes on craft beers. The sweetness of the agave is a bit overpowering for beer drinkers like myself who prefer a more straightforward flavor profile. I could drink it with lime, but Oculto by itself is too sweet for my palate. I still prefer Dos Equis.

5/10

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