ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer (2010)

Director: Mark Vadik

Writer: Mark Vadik (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Krause, Lance Henriksen, Danielle Harris, Tiffany Shepis, Doug Jones, Kim Rhodes, Shawna Waldron, Patricia Belcher


Plot: An independent TV reporter and her cameraman interview a man in regards to a serial killer the man knew by the name of Cyrus. The man traces back through the story of the serial killer and why he became the monster he is.


Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Unique Way to Tell a Serial Killer Story


Story: Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer starts when a reporter Maria (Harris) is looking to uncover the mysterious series of disappearances of college students reaching the 100’s, she gets a report that local Emmett (Henriksen) knows the killer and just how many he has committed through the years.

Maria looks to secure an interview with Emmett who tells him about Cyrus (Krause) claiming he is the serial killer and just what was his motivation for becoming the deadliest killer in American history.


Thoughts on Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer


Characters – Cyrus is the war veteran that started killing people after his wife cheated on him, which led him to kill her, her lover and their child, he continued to punish people he believes have done wrong, using his own unique well of getting rid of the bodies, we learn his stories from Emmett, who claims to know him personally, Emmett doesn’t want the town’s name put in the story, though he is willing to tell for the crimes he did commit. Maria is the reporter that is trying to get the story, she is willing to push the boundaries of what she can get out of Emmett, even if she is willing to break the promises. We do get to see plenty of victims of Cyrus, most get tortured before they get killed, this brings lots of screaming.

PerformancesBrian Krause as the oldest version of Cyrus that shows us just how deadly the he has made this character, that would be somebody you could fear. Lance Henriksen is the narrator for the most part, his voice keeps the story flowing while his live scenes show us how a local wouldn’t want the story to come out. Danielle Harris brings us a reporter figure that shows us just how far they would go for a story.

StoryThe story here follows a reporter trying to learn about a serial killer from a local that claims to be a friend of the killer, knowing the truth behind his kills and just the number of kills he has committed. The way this story is told is very good because it is told like a story being set up for a newspaper article exposing a serial killer, we get the details of the kills, the motivation behind them all and the reason they stopped. This all adds up nicely because the film is sold on it being based on a true story. while you could easily pick apart the timeline in the film and with the pure number of kills that we are meant to have occurred, something just doesn’t click only following the select few. This does story does end up following capture, torture, go to the next level without being anything we haven’t seen before, leaving it only being praised for the style of storytelling.

Crime/HorrorThe crime side of the film follows the story of the serial killer which does show us the horror of his crimes through the years, we get plenty of horrific wounds and kills through the film too, with plenty of blood.

SettingsThe film does keep everything inside the small town, showing how a killer could be operating under your nose without you noticing anything going on around you, the house itself is away from the rest of the town, meaning the killer can get away with screaming going on around him.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the brutal nature of the killings and just how they are made to look that way with the makeup effects.

Scene of the Movie –
The set-up for the interview, it felt like a fresh spin on the serial killer side of horror.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Once we get into the routine, the kills can be repetitive.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong idea for the style of creating a serial killer film, even if it does just end up uses the unique style to be a generic serial killer film.


Overall: Interview about a serial killer.



ABC Film Challenge – Horror – The Victim (2011)

Director: Michael Biehn

Writer: Michael Biehn (Screenplay) Reed Lackey (Story)

Starring: Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, Ryan Honey, Danielle Harris, Denny Kirkwood


Plot: A man lives alone in a remote cabin and is surprised by his visitors.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Thriller That Lacks That Punch


Story: The Victim starts when police officers Jonathan Cooger (Kirkwood) and James Harrison (Honey) kill Mary (Harris) (Yes, they did kill Danielle Harris in the opening sequence), Annie (Blanc) escapes through the woods to the remote cabin owned by Kyle (Biehn).

Kyle agrees to help Annie as we are luckily saved from wasting Harris with flashbacks which explain why the two friends found themselves in the woods partying. The two look for proof which can save her life but Kyle’s quiet life soon turns into a nightmare.


Thoughts on The Victim


Characters/PerformanceKyle is the lonely man who enjoys being away from the world in his cabin in the middle of the woods. He uses his brains to get to the bottom of the situation with the strangers. Annie is the woman in need of help after her best friend is murdered. James Harrison is the cop who killed Mary but now he needs to cover it all up to save his future.

Performance wise, Michael Biehn does take dual roles as director and star but he never convinces in the leading role even if he is the best performer. The rest of the acting is weak throughout the film never being convincing in any of the emotions needed for the characters.

StoryThe story is easy to follow even though you feel there will be a twist because that is the only thing that could make this feel good. The flashbacks do all feel random because you find yourself wondering what the point actually is about them.

ThrillerThe film does try its best to keep us on the edge of our seats but in the end just feels like it fizzles away.

SettingsThe woods make for a good setting because we know the characters can’t just run from the situation but are going to make sure it all ends there.

Special EffectsThe effects are used lightly and do come off but are not important.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller that doesn’t click on the levels it needs to, we are left just watching not the best acting in not the best story.


Overall: Plain old thriller




Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Havenhurst (2017)

haevntDirector: Andrew C Erin

Writer: Andrew C Erin, Daniel Farrands (Screenplay)

Starring: Julie Benz, Belle Shouse, Josh Stamberg, Danielle Harris, Douglas Tait, Matt Lasky, Dendrie Taylor, Fionnula Flanagan


Plot: A troubled young woman takes up residence in a gothic apartment building where she must confront a terrifying evil.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: New Horror Franchise?


Story: Havenhurst starts when Jackie (Benz) is released from rehab for alcoholism where she gets a chance to move into the Havenhurst apartment for people needing a place to stay after rehab, a place where her good friend Danielle (Harris) had been staying. The one rule here is if you fall off the wagon your contract is terminated otherwise you can stay till you die thanks to the manager Eleanor (Flanagan).

When fellow residents start going missing Jackie befriends young girl Sarah (Shouse) who has been living in the building with her foster parents for a while now and with the help of Jackie’s police detective friend Tim (Stamberg) they investigate the goings on within the Havenhurst apartments.


Thoughts on Havenhurst


Characters/PerformanceJackie is a reforming alcoholic who has dealt with personal loss by her own hand which makes for a great leading character for this film. the innocent character of Sarah works for this film because it gives Jackie an extra reason to fight for in her redemption story. Eleanor makes for a great mother figure in this film with the killers being strength in the fight making them a difficult enemy to overcome.

Performances we have good leading lady performance from Julie Benz, with Flanagan being full of all the menace without getting her hands dirty in this film. I do question what feels like the wasted use of horror icon Danielle Harris

StoryWith most of my breakdown going to be positive I have to question certain parts of the story, while I did like the idea of a giant apartment for people fresh out of rehab getting a chance to live unless they lapse making them the victims. What I didn’t like was the fact the film wants to set up for a sequel more than finish the story it was telling in the first place.

Horror/Mystery The horror elements of the film are where we get the mix of scares, blood and gore mixing together nicely, the mystery is all about what is going on within the apartment which does make for the questions we need to see unfolding through the film.

SettingsAll the horror elements of the film are from within this apartment complex which does make for a good setting with the gothic look and hidden passages. When the horror remains in the one location it is always better for the audience.

Special EffectsThe special effects all come off looking bloody and gory which is all we want when it comes to horror, this saves these moments up to not to go for the overkill too.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable horror that could easily be the beginning of a bigger franchise because it has opened doors to plenty of ideas for the future, be it through the kills or how easy it would be to collect victims, so I hope we see where this can go.


Overall: Short and sweet horror that can be enjoyed by the casual horror fans out there.




Halloween Weekend – Halloween 5 (1989)

halloweeenDirector: Dominique Othenin-Girard

Writer: Dominique Othenin-Girard, Michael Jacobs, Shem Bitterman (Screenplay) John Carpenter, Debra Hill (Characters)

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Jeffrey Landman, Tamara Glynn, Jonathan Chapin


Plot: One year after the events of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), the Shape returns to Haddonfield once again in an attempt to kill his now-mute niece.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Disappointing


Story: Halloween 5 starts by showing us what really happened to Michael Myers after the final showdown in the previous film as we see he is still alive and killing. We move forward one year where Jamie Lloyd (Harris) is inside child psychiatric home still having nightmares with her connection with Michael her Uncle.

With Jamie having a psychic connection with Michael knows when he is about to kill someone but it is only Dr Loomis (Pleasence) that is willing to listen to her warnings as Rachel (Cornell) becomes one of his victims. Can Dr Loomis put an end to this for good and save Jamie from becoming consumed by the power Michael got taken over by.

Halloween 5 comes back one year later to continue the theme of it all being set on Halloween. This time we still have no one believing Dr Loomis about the danger of Michael and we still have the kids dressing up like him for fun. We seem to be stuck in a world where plenty of people don’t know what really happened and where people are against what they once said. The jumps are nearly all false with the kills coming off plain as we see Michael seem to turn into a calculated killer who sets traps for people too. This story is really disappointing because it feels too late in the series for this to all happen in.


Actor Review


Donald Pleasence: Dr Sam Loomis is one of the few people that still believes Michael is still alive even after the last film he declared him dead and gone. He is trying to treat Jamie who is going through the same process Michael did but this time he wants and knows how to stop Jamie turning pure evil. Donald is starting to mail it in here with his over the top ramblings about saving the children when he is clearly right.

Danielle Harris: Jamie Lloyd is now in a psychiatric hospital after trying to kill her foster mother, she is also gone mute but she does have a connection with Michael that lets her know when he is about to kill someone. She just wants to be with her family but she has become too dangerous to be around them. Danielle is good with a change in direction for her character.

Ellie Cornell: Rachel is still visiting Jamie as often as she can but this time she might not be able to get away from Michael. Ellie is solid but kind of wasted in this film this time around.

Support Cast: Halloween 5 has a supporting cast which again are jut disposable with the laughable cops with comic sound effects around them too.

Director Review: Dominique Othenin-GirardDominique does solid job with the slashing side of the story but otherwise the false jump scares come off pointless taking away the actual ones.


Horror: Halloween 5 has good kills but otherwise the tension behind the horror is lost in this outing of the franchise.

Settings: Halloween 5 brings us back to Haddonfield but in the end leaves you wondering why the kids act the way they do.
Special Effects
: Halloween 5 has very basic slasher effects this time with it just coming off as your stabbed your dead.

Suggestion: Halloween 5 is watchable if you are doing the marathon of the Halloween films. (Marathon Only)


Best Part: The useless cops stating the obvious throughout the film.

Worst Part: Too many false jump scares.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $11.6 Million

Budget: $3 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Tagline: He’s Back With A Vengeance


Overall: Disappointing sequel that seems to forget what the last film said.




Halloween Weekend – Halloween 4 The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

halloweenDirector: Dwight H Little

Writer: Alan B McElroy (Screenplay) Dhani Lipsius, Larry Rattner, Benjamin Ruffner, Alan B McElroy (Story)

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, George P Wilbur, Michael Pataki, Beau Starr, Kathleen Kinmont


Plot: Ten years after his original massacre, the invalid Michael Myers awakens and returns to Haddonfield to kill his seven-year-old niece on Halloween. Can Dr. Loomis stop him?


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Simple Slasher


Story: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers starts as all Halloween films seem to start as Michael Myers (Wilbur) is being transferred and awakes yet again after hearing he has a niece Jamie (Harris). Jamie is a young girl leaving with a foster family after the death of her family with her foster sister Rachel (Cornell) having to babysit her often.

With Michael on the lose Dr Loomis (Pleasence) returns to Haddonfield to stop Michael on the night of Halloween before he can continue his body count. What follows is your usual Halloween film where Michael is chasing down the innocent victims killing anyone who gets in his way.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers brings us back to Haddonfield after the random witch’s film. This helps because it brings the iconic killer back into the mix which is need for any slasher film. On the negatives we do lose elements of the true slasher side of the film with Michael playing a lot of peek-a-boo like scares throughout and the lack of any true reason why Michael was moved on Halloween night. The saving grace of this film is the shocking ending which for the time was something we never really saw coming.


Actor Review


Donald Pleasence: Dr Sam Loomis is still showing the effects of his battles with Michael Myers and is still determined to treat him over killing him but when he finds out he has been transferred he has to race to stop Michael once again. Donald does a good job as one of his most famous roles of his career.

Ellie Cornell: Rachel is the foster sister of Jamie who gets assigned to babysit her on Halloween, she is your typical teenage girl with guys on the mind but will do what she can to make sure Jamie is safe. Ellie fills into the leading teenage character role well.

Danielle Harris: Jamie Lloyd is the niece of Michael but orphaned after her parents are killed. Living with a foster family he becomes the targeted by the Michael as he continues to kill the members of his family. Danielle is good in this role which is one of her first roles of her career.

Support Cast: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers has the supporting cast you have come to known in these films, we get the friends who are there to be picked off, the sheriff who will put up a fight and of course the killer himself Michael.

Director Review: Dwight H LittleDwight gives us a solid sequel that does lack the tension previously created but works as a slasher well enough.


Horror: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is one of those slasher movies that is easy to watch and follow throughout without hitting any of those scare filled moments.

Settings: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers brings the action back to Haddonfield which is the iconic setting for the series which works without being too original.
Special Effects
: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers has what you would call the basic special effects for an 80s slasher film.

Suggestion: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is one for all the slasher fans to watch, they will enjoy however easy it is to follow. (Slasher Fans Watch)


Best Part: Very easy to watch slasher.

Worst Part: Michael being very inconstant with his kills.

Kill Of The Film: Head popping.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $17.7 Million

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: It’s gonna be one hell of a family reunion!


Overall: Solid sequel that checks all the basic slasher marks.