Clyde (Jeffery Dean Morgan) rummages through his daughter's box in "The Possession".

REVIEW: ‘The Possession’

Somewhere out in the universe, in a vast Jungian conceptual tangle is a library. In this particular library – since it is an imaginary construct – there are only two books. One thin volume is a collection of foundational stories: these stories are the basis of ever told. The other is a massive tome that, in a less fanciful environment, would fill all the world’s libraries.

This is the thesaurus.

It contains countless variation of the core stories. A rare few of these variants are something special – evolutionary leaps in the material that make it better than the original. Most, however, are pale shades of its progenitor. Neither better nor worse, they could, at best be called, “unnecessary.”

Such is the case with “The Possession.”

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Patrick (Tome Felton), Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) get their fear on in "The Apparition".

REVIEW: ‘The Apparition’

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who stopped talking midway through a sentence? Not the comfortable shorthand that comes with a long term friendship but the half-mad ramblings of a drunken stranger at a party – you know the type. He’s the guy that hems you into a corner with no one in eyeshot of rescuing you. But wait, there’s more. Occasionally, your incoherent companion has a moment of clarity and in place of his mad ramblings, you now have abject tedium.

The cinematic equivalent to this would be, “the Apparition”.

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Rachel (Anessa Ramsey) has no choice but to hang around for the "Rites of Spring".

REVIEW: ‘Rites of Spring’

Rachel (Anessa Ramsey) has no choice but to hang around for the "Rites of Spring".
Rachel (Anessa Ramsey) has no choice but to hang around for the “Rites of Spring”.

A good solid rule for most movies is, “Make sense.” Even the most avant of garde films makes sense in their own kind of way. If a film doesn’t have a claim to that particular edgy conceit, then one would think it would be that much easier to follow that simple directive.

However, it’s something that “Rites of Spring” fails within its first ten seconds.
I never recovers.

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Tara (Lindsay Pulsipher) and Johnny (Jesse Hadock) get close in "The Fair-Haired Child".

The Fair-Haired Child (2005)

Tara (Lindsay Pulsipher) and Johnny (Jesse Hadock) get close in "The Fair-Haired Child".
Tara (Lindsay Pulsipher) and Johnny (Jesse Hadock) get close in “The Fair-Haired Child”.

from Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series

The Fair-Haired Child (2005)
Directed by:
William Malone
Written by: Matt Greenberg
Starring: Lindsay Pulsipher, Jesse Hadock, William Samples, Lori Petty

PLOT
A warlock couple abduct a young teenage girl to sacrifice her to a mysterious and evil entity as an offering to resurrect their long-dead boy. (from IMDb)

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Cigarette Burns (2005)

Discussing the true power of film in "Cigarette Burns".
Discussing the true power of film in “Cigarette Burns”.

from Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series

Cigarette Burns (2005)
Directed by:
John Carpenter
Written by: Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan
Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, Christopher Redman, Chris Gauthier, Zara Taylor

PLOT
In this episode, Jimmy Sweetman ventures out to locate a rare film print called “La Fin Absolue du Monde”. The film once shown has been known to drive its audience into a crazed frenzy before the theater goes up in flames. He finally discovers that the film does live up to its reputation and the results are quite shocking. (from tv.com)

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Poe (John Cusack) ponders once upon a midnight dreary what went wrong with "The Raven".

REVIEW: ‘The Raven’

Literary history and Hollywood go together like… well, like two things that go together particularly well. With the exceptions of perhaps Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson, writers lead notoriously uninteresting lives. Thoreau may very well have plucked the phrase “quiet desperation” from his own life to describe the life of your average writer. So, for Hollywood to attempt to mine the life of a writer – in this case, the godfather of American Horror, Edgar Allen Poe – for an early summer popcorn muncher, they must have something special on their hands.

Well, at least they have Poe and we, in turn, get “the Raven”.
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Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) seeks out the secrets of the "Silent House".

REVIEW: ‘Silent House’

Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) seeks out the secrets of the "Silent House".
Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) seeks out the secrets of the "Silent House".

If you can’t have good actors, have a good story. If you can’t have good actors or a good story, have good effects. If you can’t have good actors, a good story or good effects, have a good gimmick.

And when all else fails, have boobs – lots and lots of boobs.

The horror genre has a long history of using gimmicks to get people into the theaters. Most likely, these saw their halcyon days back in the late 1950s but even today, we appreciate the lure of the gimmick – whether it is the earnest whisper of “Based on a true story,” or the promise of terrifying found footage. The latter – the found footage film – is everyone’s darling these days but even it’s starting to show signs of wear; much like a bow-legged streetwalker after the fleet’s been in port for two weeks.

How about a real-time horror movie?
It seems to work for “Silent House”.

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Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) shines a light on the mystery of "the Woman in Black".

REVIEW: ‘The Woman in Black’

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) shines a light on the mystery of "the Woman in Black".
Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) shines a light on the mystery of "the Woman in Black".

For those who live in and around the Dallas area, you might think that growing up in Oak Cliff is a lot like growing up somewhere just outside of downtown Bagdad. While I can’t necessarily speak for the conditions today, I can say it wasn’t as bad as some might expect. We would play in the schoolyard, climb trees and engage in some friendly games of “Oak Cliff freeze tag” – which involves a lot more rock throwing that regular freeze tag. However, there was one thing we didn’t do and that was go anywhere near the old Ravina Mansion.

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