Sunday, October 23, 2016


Three weeks in and I've thankfully been on track! It's consisted of many late nights and sacrifice of sleep, but it's all worth it. Why am I watching a bunch of horror movies this month? Well, if you didn't know, I'm accepting pledges per movie watched, raising money for both The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Reach Counseling Services in Neenah, WI. If you'd like to pledge or know more about the Scare-A-Thon, shoot me an email at john.marcus.pata(at)

Need to catch up? No problem, check out the recaps of week one and week two.

17. KILLER PARTY (1986)

Because sometimes, you just need to watch some pure '80s cheese on VHS.

The quick pitch is three coeds pledge to a sorority, frat dudes are bursting at the seams with testosterone, and there's some sort of weird spirit/possession going on at an abandoned frat house where, of course, there's going to be an April Fool's Day party. It's super tongue-in-cheeky, very campy, and awfully generic at times. But then again, things do turn unexpected throughout.

For example, we start with a funeral scene in a church. When the service is over, the daughter-in-law who seems to be grieving asks to have a few moments with her deceased mother-in-law's casket. Sounds touching, right? Well, not so much, as she begins hurling all kinds of insults and celebrating that her in-law is dead. The casket opens, the woman gets bragged in, the lid shuts. Then it's sent to the crematorium (which is under the church???) and she's burned alive. But wait! This is actually a movie two characters are watching at a drive-in. Whew, that's comforting. Now, our female is tired of her dude trying to get busy, so she goes to get some popcorn. But the concession stand is empty, no one seems to be around. Confused and concerned, she returns to the car. However, now her boy-toy is missing, and suddenly zombies swarm her! But wait! Now there's a sweet as fuck hair metal band playing in the concession stand. This is actually now a music video for a song called "April" (which also happens to be this starlet's name). The video ends just like you would see on MTV (you know, when they played music videos), with the name of the band, song, and album. Cue the opening credits.

If you didn't guess by now, Killer Party is pretty all over the place. At times, you actually forget you're watching a horror film because the horror elements hide for a bit. They do return, though. And I will say, this sets itself up to be a typical slasher/college fright flick, and goes in a pretty interesting direction. The third act sneaks up unannounced and works pretty well for what it does. Now, don't me wrong, it's not fantastic. Nothing about Killer Party is. Nothing screams "You need to see this!" because, quite frankly, you don't. That said, if you're in the mood for a familiar '80s movie with a twist of something different, you could do worse.

You should probably at least watch the opening, though. It's real ridiculous.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Two weeks down, booyah! Why am I watching a bunch of horror movies this month? Well, if you didn't know, I'm accepting pledges per movie watched, raising money for both The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Reach Counseling Services in Neenah, WI. If you'd like to pledge or know more about the Scare-A-Thon, shoot me an email at john.marcus.pata(at)

Want to read about week one? Get click happy here!

9. ACOLYTES (2008) - First Time Viewing
When you're a teenager, and you've been molested and beaten by a bully, what's the best way to go about handling the situation? To blackmail a serial killer to get rid of the shithead plaguing you, that's how! At least, that's the way our three teenagers go about it in the Australian-helmed Acolytes.

Oh, and said serial killer just happens to be played by Joel Edgerton, who I've recently become quite a fan of.

On paper, Acolytes is for me. It's a dark, tragic tale about misfits and teen angst. Finding out Edgerton stars as the murderous Ian Wright was all I needed to give this a watch. Something about the execution and direction the script went just left me so underwhelmed. While I wasn't blown away from the get-go, I was onboard for the first 20 minutes and wanted to see how things would progress. However, as the film played out, I just lost interest. James, the best friend of our lead, grew more and more obnoxious as every minute passed by. I hate to say it, but this character damn near made the film unbearable. I'm most curious to know how the film would have played with a toned-down James.

What's unfortunate is there certain aspects that work really well. The soundtrack is appropriate, the song selection is solid and used in very fun ways. Director Jon Hewitt and DP Mark Pugh worked quite well with the Queensland backdrop, creating all kinds of nice looking shots, many of which were nice, wide angles. The film hits the coming-of-age beats pretty well (accented by the soundtrack), but it just didn't know how to weave in the grim narrative. The two just didn't mix well, and the end wasn't satisfying enough to make the mediocrity worthwhile.

When all is said and done, Acolytes just didn't seem to translate on screen the way it should have.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Week one is in the books! Just to recap, I'm accepting pledges per movie watched, raising money for both The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Reach Counseling Services in Neenah, WI. If you'd like to pledge or know more about the Scare-A-Thon, shoot me an email at john.marcus.pata(at)

1. FROM WITHIN (2008) - First Time Viewing
First film of the month is a pretty big deal, right? In theory, it could set the tone for the next 30 days. Since mainstream studio has been a massive let down in recent years, I figured I'd go for a smaller, independent fare in the form of From Within.

In a small Maryland tiny town where religion and the word of God are as prevalent as oxygen, a misfit teenager kills himself, setting off a domino-like effect of more suicides throughout the town. Something suspicious surfaces, causing our lead, Lindsay, to figure out who, or what, is behind what seems to be a suicide curse.

From Within is successful in many ways. The setup is intriguing and the opening scene grabs you with its boldness. The cinematography is solid as hell; lots of great camera movement with the lighting accenting scenes wonderfully. That should come at no surprise, as director Phedon Papamichael has a plethora of cinematography credits under his belt, such as 3:10 to Yuma, Identity, The Ides of March, Nebraska, and many more. The small-town paranoia, desperation, and sense of dread that occurs as a result of the suicides is handled quite well, which tightens the tension and provides the creeps throughout the film. The mystery of what might be causing this string of events is interesting enough to keep you trying to figure it out. Surprisingly enough, Adam Goldberg delivers a most enjoyable performance as momma's not-so-good boyfriend Roy, and unlike other roles, it doesn't seem like he's just Adam Goldberg playing Adam Goldberg.

That's not to say From Within doesn't have its shortcomings, as well. There are plenty. The script is bland and lackluster at times, as are a handful of the performances. The third act falls apart in comparison to the other two, leaving us with a conclusion that's fine, but not as strong as it should be. And some of the set-pieces are close to being successful. but ultimately come up a little short.

While watching, it was hard not to think of It Follows, My Soul To Take, and Final Destination, which isn't exactly a bad thing. In some ways, I found From Within to deliver more than It Follows and My Soul To Take (let's be honest, Soul is not one of Wes Craven's best offerings). Even by bringing up those titles and comparisons, it should point out that From Within offers a different tale than your run-of-the-mill horror. Plus, it's worthwhile! When all is said and done, this was a solid way to kick off the month. I'll take it!