Summer of Fear (1978)

summerDirector: Wes Craven

Writer: Glenn M Benest, Max A Keller (Screenplay) Lois Duncan (Novel)

Starring: Linda Blair, Lee Purcell, Jeremy Slate, Jeff McCracken, Jeff East, Carol Lawrence

 

Plot: A teenage girl’s life is turned upside down after her cousin moves into her house, and as time goes by, she begins to suspect that she may be a practitioner of witchcraft.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Summer of Fear starts when the Bryant family Peter (East), Leslie (Lawrence), Tom (Slate) and Rachel (Blair) taking in Julia (Purcell) a cousin whose family is killed in a car crash. Rachel tries to be open to helping her cousin feel welcome but for unknown reason Rachel’s horse has taken a dislike to become a danger towards Julia as we start to see things becoming difficult for Rachel.

Rachel becomes obsessed that Julia is trying to take over her life, with first the horse being moved away and then when her boyfriend starts having a fling with her while she is coincidentally sick at the same time. Rachel believes Julia is using witchcraft to make things go her way and must uncover the truth before it is too late.

Summer of Fear brings us into the world where a perfect little world slow gets bought down by a new member to the family, we have seen this before with the likes of Step-Father. It all unfolds slowly and just doesn’t pull you in as much as it should do. You don’t really believe most of what is going on and you really don’t see any of the powers until the final act which only really disappoints.

 

Actor Review

 

Linda Blair: Rachel has the perfect life, boyfriend and champion horse, everything changes when her cousin Julia comes to stay though. Rachel loses her perfect life along with her beloved horse as she becomes the victim of the witchcraft being performed by Julia. Linda disappoints in this role and never really comes off as believable.

Lee Purcell: Julia is the cousin of Rachel whose family got killed in a car crash, she moves in the Bryant family where she starts taking over Rachel’s life with her witchcraft. Lee comes off well without really doing too much until the end.

Jeremy Slate: Tom is the brother of Rachel who takes an attraction to his cousin which soon turns into protection as he becomes mesmerized by her spell. Jeremy gives us a solid but basic supporting performance.

Jeff McCracken: Mike is Rachel’s boyfriend to start with as well as the horse trainer, when Julia ends up coming into the lives he takes a shine to her getting caught under her spell. Jeff also only gives a basic supporting performance with nothing memorable happening.

Support Cast: Summer of Fear has a basic supporting cast that really doesn’t do enough to help the final story.

Director Review: Wes CravenWes shows he was going onto bigger things but this isn’t one of his highlights.

 

Horror: Summer of Fear has basic use of horror but not enough for the direction of this film.

Thriller: Summer of Fear tries to keep us guessing to where the film will go but never drags us in enough.

Settings: Summer of Fear uses basic settings with only the driving location being the main highlight.
Special Effects
: Summer of Fear uses very basic effects when we finally see them in the final act.

Suggestion: Summer of Fear is one to watch to complete the Craven collection but otherwise it is one that is avoidable. (Craven Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Horse scene looks great.

Worst Part: Too slow.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Left open to one.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Step-father

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Tonight, the world premiere of a chilling story of witchcraft, demons and the supernatural!

 

Overall: Slow thriller that forgets to use the horror side of the story

Ratingcard

Magic (1978)

logoDirector: Richard Attenborough

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) William Goldman (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. Andre, Jerry Houser, David Ogden Stiers

 

Plot: A ventriloquist is at the mercy of his vicious dummy while he tries to renew a romance with his high school sweetheart.

 

Verdict: Killer Dummy?

 

Story: We start by seeing how a young wanna be magician recounts his tale of how his first attempt at performing goes completely wrong leading him to snap at the audience. One year later everything has changed, he has worked on his act to include a dummy and now he is on the verge of becoming a major sensation. After the network want him to have a medical he decides to spend some time away from the limelight and tries to rekindle a romance with an old love. All this is happening as the dummy starts to take over his life.

This shows how fame could end up breaking someone as we see our hero slowly start to break with his multiple personalities coming through as his dummy. The dummy ends up being his dark side that is almost tired of everything not going his way next to his mild calm good guy. It uses the idea of a creepy dummy really well because even though you know who the voice and who is controlling him it still has that high level or pure creepiness. In the end it comes off as a very interesting look psychological horror that keeps you guessing. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Anthony Hopkins: Corky Withers our young magician turned ventriloquist who is going to hit it big time, but when his dummy starts to take over his life things start to take a sour turn. Anthony shows why he is one of the best in the business by shining from start to finish. (9/10)

 hopkins

Ann-Margret: Peggy Ann Snow the object of Corky’s affection who he wants to run away but her commitments to her husband could stand in his way. Ann-Margret gives a good performance opposite Hopkins. (7/10)

 

Burgess Meredith: Ben Greene Corky’s agent who is trying to give him a deal of a lifetime and finds him after he runs away, he is the first person to see how Corky is changing and offers help. Burgess gives a solid performance but doesn’t get enough time to shine. (6/10)

 

Ed Lauter: Duke Peggy’s husband who questions both after he returns from a business trip, he gets very suspicious but his curiosity will get the best off him. Ed gives a solid performance but never pulls of anything stand out. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: We only see any support cast early in the film who are mainly other people in the entertainment business or hecklers.

 

Director Review: Richard Attenborough – Richard does a great job directing a truly creepy film starring a pre-Hannibal Lecter Hopkins and he gets the dark side out of him perfectly. (9/10)

 

Horror: It is creepy but never reaches any real horror levels. (7/10)

Settings: After Corky runs away he ends up in an isolated location with no easy escape where he starts to break as the film unfolds. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, Hopkins gives a brilliant performance but it might not show enough horror for the true horror fans. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hopkins is brilliant

Worst Part: Lack of real horror.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Anthony Hopkins was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA.

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $7 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto chango, and now he is me. Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun; we’re dead.

Trivia: Upon seeing Fats for the first time, Anthony Hopkins was allowed to take the doll home to work with it. However, he wound up being so unnerved by it that he called the consulting ventriloquist in the middle of the night, threatening to throw Fats into the canyon if someone didn’t come and get the doll immediately. Richard Attenborough ended up going to Hopkins’ house to calm him down.

 

Overall: Creepy Horror Questioning One Man’s Mind

Rating 71

 

Halloween (1978)

logoDirector: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill (Screenplay)

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham

 

Plot: The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.

 

Verdict: Suspense Classic

 

Story: How often do we watch horror films that over complicate the story? Too often right. With the first Halloween everything got taken back to the simplest level. In a nut shell it is as simple as escaped killer returns home to terrorise local teenagers. The only back story we learn is that he did the first crime at a young age, we don’t learn any of the future history created between the characters, just that he likes to kill. The film focuses on all the dummy scares and the feeling you are being watched. All these factors make this one of the best horror films of all time. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Donald Pleasence: Dr Loomis Michael’s doctor who has been trying to treat him for years without getting very far. Upon his escape Loomis spends the film trying to get to the town and then convincing the Sheriff that Michael is coming back. Good performance but doesn’t have much interaction scenes with Michael, well one. (9/10)

 loomis

Jamie Lee Curtis: Laurie the good innocent teenager who spends most of her time studying and babysitting while all her friends are involved with other activities. She is the one Michael spends most of the time stalking, even though she thinks it is just a Halloween prank she stays alert in case it is more. Good performance playing the role well and creating a memorable horror icon. (9/10)

jamie

Nancy Kyes: Annie Brackett one of the closest friends of Laurie, she is much more open than Laurie and while babysitting she ends up pushing her child that she is looking after onto Laurie so she can go fool around with her boyfriend. Good supporting performance with complete opposite to Laurie. (8/10)

 annie

Director Review: John Carpenter – I have seen nearly all of Carpenter’s work and this is right up there with his best, he really knows how to create suspense and tension in a film. (9/10)

 

Horror: With everything being building up to the final pursuit we are put on the edge of our seats early on, but don’t expect any true scares just be prepared to be left wondering who is watching you. (9/10)

Settings: The settings will be remembered as being invaded by a killer in a home where things are meant to be secure works for the genre. (9/10)

Suggestion: This is an all-time classic in the horror genre that should have been watched by any horror fans out there. (Horror Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension built up throughout.

Worst Part: I feel today’s new audience may not enjoy the slow build.

Action Scene Of The Film: The final pursuit.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Part one of the franchise

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $47 Million

Budget: $325,000

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: The Trick Is To Stay Alive!

 

Overall: Classic Horror

Rating 89