After Dark Films Horrorfest, “8 Movies to Die For” has consistently produced some of the best scares I’ve ever had and some of the most innovative film making I’ve seen in the horror genre. Among the four years that Horrorfest was released, Horrorfest 2 offers the second best collection of scares. In addition, it is arguably the best season in terms of interesting and innovative work in horror cinema. Horrorfest 2’s line up “Unearthed”, “Crazy Eights”, “The Deaths of Ian Stone”, “Borderland”, “Lake Dead”, “Nightmare Man”, “Tooth and Nail”, and “Mulberry St.” included one additional film in the DVD release. “Frontier(s)” was billed as “The film we couldn’t show you at Horrorfest.”
“Borderland” was the big scare winner for me. This may seem hokey, you can choose to believe it or not. I am an ordained minister and a Master Reiki healer. Whether or not you believe in a god or in “hippie voodoo” like Reiki, science proves that a certain amount of mental and emotional energy (that you might call supernatural) is real and affects the physical world. I have been all over the world and seen real performance of “so-called” magic rituals.
The depiction of black magic in “Borderland” was entirely too realistic. From the tattoos on the cult participants to the violent dismemberments and blood offerings, the details were incredibly accurate and realistic. Add the fact that the film is “based on true events”, and you’ve got a recipe for true horror.
My wife argues that “Frontier(s)” is actually the biggest scare of this collection, but in my opinion, it gets by on buckets of gore and torture. “Frontier(s)” is gruesome in the extreme, but I honestly feel that it drags on a bit here and there. I will say it’s highly intense; it makes “Hostel” look like “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood”.
“Tooth and Nail” is light on scares, but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome. The story follows an apocalypse brought on by the end of gasoline production on Earth. Only those who can defend themselves from roving bands of cannibals can survive. The “survival of the fittest” moral is played out elegantly, and the performances are solid all around. This film is an enjoyable ride for when you’re not in the mood to be truly terrified.
“Mulberry St.” stands out in the crowd this year as a film to see. It is not the scariest of the bunch, but it is the height of innovation. The superb camerawork captures the dirty and confined feeling of urban living, and puts a unique spin on the zombie genre. The residents of Mulberry Street make their last stand against an army of zombies infected by rabid rats. The examination of interpersonal relationships between the characters put a spin on gender roles and sexuality that ultimately adds to the horror of the films ending. This is one of the best zombie films I’ve seen.
The Season as a Whole
Horrorfest 2 scores the highest in innovation. “Unearthed” is a standard monster-movie, but I was extremely impressed by the creature effects, which were top shelf. The ending of “Unearthed” blew me away with an awesome example of sacrifice for the greater good.
“The Deaths of Ian Stone” was pretty light on scares, but it’s a unique story, well told, with excellent pacing and camera work. It’s a good film by any standards.
“Lake Dead” is a standard slasher flick, a group of sexy twenty-somethings on vacation in the woods, stalked by a family of killers. However, a couple of the murders are beyond awesome. One victim is impaled to a tree by a pickaxe through the face, and survives long enough to suffer more at the hands of the attacker. This film is a bawdy, bloody good time.
I can’t zero in on what so good about “Crazy Eights” and “Nightmare Man” in just a few words, but trust me, these films are good, good, good. The only reason I don’t rate Horrorfest 2 as the strongest year of the four is because “Dread” from Horrorfest 4 is a beast. Horrorfest 2 is arguably a stronger collection of films, but “Dread” is possibly the most gut-wrenching film I’ve ever watched.
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