Poltergeist II
, Directed by Brian Gibson, 1986

Everyone's favorite paranormally-plagued family is back. Now living with dear old grandma, the Freelings are doing their best to forget the events of that culminated in their home collapsing into itself like a dying star. But when a mysterious preacher enters their life, a familiar dread comes over them. And when little Carol Ann once again receives messages from the spirit world, on her toy telephone this time as the family has since abolished television, it seems the Freeling's bad luck has followed them.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the stigma of sequels. I wasn't expecting lightning in a bottle with the almost entirely unsung follow up to the seminal Spielberg Tobe Hooper-directed haunted house film. What I wasn't expecting was a film so terrible as to make me want to throw my own television set out on the balcony. To be fair, for the first half hour or so there was a good deal of potential displayed. Some of the imagery in the dream sequences is incredibly disturbing and I kind of enjoyed the whole Native American shaman angle. But about the time we got to the tequila worm forcing a man to give birth to a Lovecraft monster via his mouth, which he then defeated with ice breath, it became readily apparent that this was an unholy piece of crap. The ending of this film is unbearably silly and utterly preposterous even in light of the supernatural plot. Also, who lobotomized Craig T. Nelson before they started shooting? The guy is basically a barely-conscious lump throughout.
Frozen
, Directed by Adam Green, 2010

A group of friends decide to spend their weekend skiing at a local resort. Dan sees this as the perfect opportunity for his best friend Joe to bond with his new girlfriend Parker; Joe having not previously warmed to her. This attempt at forced camaraderie is thwarted by the fact that Parker is an inexperienced skier so the majority of their day is spent on the bunny hill. When Joe convinces Dan to go on one last real run before the resort closes, Parker decides to step her game up and try the run as well. They arrive at the ski lift just as they are about to shut it down and convince the attendant to let them go up one last time. What happens next epitomizes the worst case scenario.

I love Frozen, and as an apparent Adam Green detractor, that is saying something. I find Hatchet too aggressively stupid to be entertaining and Spiral strikes me as pretentious. But Frozen has such a simple quality to it that allows Green to focus on the little moments he is capable of delivering so well. It still harbors some Green tendencies that drive me bazonkers, every conceivable moment of silence filled with the most inane babbling I've ever heard, but even that is scaled back considerably. The quiet desperation of their predicament and the delightful agony of the slow escalation of the danger indicate to me a horror director who is beginning to mature and really come into his own. The shot of each set of lights switching off behind our oblivious, stranded protagonists was a beautiful touch.



The Seventh Sign
, Directed by Carl Schultz, 1988

Abby Quinn has had a rough life. She has tried and failed many times to have a baby and, upon losing her last child before birth, attempted to kill herself. But things began to look up for Abby as her most recent pregnancy seems to be going very well. But then a mysterious stranger rents an apartment from her which coincides with a series of bizarre events that seem to have been foretold by the book of Revelations. Abby becomes convinced that not only is the life of her child in danger, but that all mankind may be on the brink of apocalypse.

There are so many things to like about The Seventh Sign and yet all of them seem squandered by its desperately tear-jerky ending. I also think Michael Biehn turns in a great performance as Abby's husband. I like that it explores international signs of the end of the world and that the battle for humanity gets narrowed down to an undead Roman soldier and Jesus reincarnated as a creepy German. But then none of that is really connected to Abby's child as you might suppose. So ultimately, the only reason for her character to be pregnant is so that we get this fabricated ending designed to elicit tears from the audience and thus fool them into thinking the movie is better than it is.This is the same ending that also reverses the apocalypse in a truly inexplicable fashion. All in all, I'd have to say The Seventh Sign is the best horror film that the Christian News Network never made.
CATEGORIES Reviews, Horror