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#20, September 23, 2015


I've decided that every once in a while I'm going to have some fun reviewing movies in this blog, specifically, cheesy horror. Hey, it's what I like, much to my own embarrassment. There's something so wonderfully free and open about cheesy horror. Watching it is like peering into the mirror, seeing a zit and yelling, "Oh yeah baby!" I mean, the worse cheesy horror gets, the more stupidly entertaining it is.


IMPORTANT: I am NEVER going to review slasher. Slasher flicks are gross, and I don't like them. I'm talking horror—ghosts, evil demons, stupid teenagers in abandoned asylums, etc. Also, in case you're asking yourself, "Why is she going to review movies when this is supposed to be a blog about writing?" let me answer, "Because reviewing is one of the best exercises I can think of to hone writing chops, plus it's fun!"


So let's dive into our first review, shall we? You don't have to like horror to enjoy this...


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"An American Poltergeist"




The haunting in this movie is real! It must be! I mean, a ghost opens cabinets in a kitchen when nobody’s there! It stacks cereal boxes when the heroine’s back is turned! It makes lights strobe! It forces screaming girls wearing shorty-shorts across floors and UP walls! Worst of all, it giggles like a little girl and sings creepy nursery rhymes!


I’ve never seen any of that in a horror movie before!


So. This film is about a poltergeist. An American poltergeist. Nothing like that other famous poltergeist movie that happened in, where was it? Attu Island? Nairobi? Whatever.


Plot Summary: Frustrated ghost-hunting team is desperate to film the real thing. They keep coming up empty. There’s dissension within the ranks. There are rocky relationships. The team leader gets them to investigate a house that he’s sure has a ghost, if only it will do what he wants and pose for the camera. Instead, it follows him home. But I won’t say any more. Nope, you won’t get spoilers outta me!


I know I’m being mean at the expense of this movie’s makers, who I’m sure worked very hard on this, but they really should finish film school and not put their class projects up on Amazon Prime for viewing. (Oh, and a sharp rap on the knuckles with a ruler to Amazon for listing it.) Besides the fact that the plot is as flat as a mint strip, it doesn’t even have one single scary scene. “So why watch it at all?” I hear you ask. And I answer, “Because it’s so bad it’s hilarious!”


Okay, let’s go down the list. I’d like to say something positive if I can.


Script. Um… yes, there must have been one. I mean, you can’t easily make a movie without one. But all I can say for sure is that, if there was a script for this movie, the production secretary forgot to copy and distribute it.


Direction. Yes. The camera was pointed in certain directions at certain times.


Acting. Yes, there were actors in this film. My EDP detector—Electronic Drama Phenomenon—detected no actual acting, however. (Though in truth, I kinda liked the plumber. He has a cartoony voice.)


Location. The director’s mother’s house, I think.


Special Effects. Somebody stacked some cans sideways and glued them there. (Ghosts have mysterious stacking powers.)


Music. Sometimes the mood, tempo, even the actual melody, goes against the scene. It’s almost mesmerizing. I tried so hard to get into the ending, for example, but the musical score was determined to undo all possible suspense and action.


Poster. I only bring this up because the poster is the best thing about the flick. Yeah, I liked it back in 1982, too.


Hm. I honestly tried to say something positive but… well… *shrugs* Oh, I did learn something from this flick, though—if you commando crawl across a floor, a ghost can’t get you.


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See? That wasn't so hard. Now to choose another spooky snort-fest to enjoy. Hmm, maybe Big Ass Spider! I hear it's got legs...


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