Written by John Edward Betancourt

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There's a show that has recently entered pre production that I have been keeping my eye on for some time now.  I've watched the news closely, I've waited to say anything on it for one particular reason...it's not a guarantee we will ever see it.  Sure it's been ordered to pilot, but lots of shows get that order and well, not all of them are ever seen by the public.  But this one, I have a good feeling about, simply because of the fact that it has made incredible progress in it's development and I fully expect the prequel series of The Walking Dead to make it to a series order. 

For those who haven't heard yet, yes, The Walking Dead is getting a spin off/prequel that will take us into the darkest days of the living dead plague that Rick Grimes managed to sleep through.  So far, we know it has a temporary title of Cobalt, that it is set in the city of Los Angeles and that the first cast members have signed on for their respective roles.  Plus, Robert Kirkman will be a guiding hand on the series, and that's a huge plus as well.

But, the beauty of a prequel like this, is that the powers that be have a chance to do new and exciting things that we don't see on the current iteration of The Walking Dead and that's saying something since the show already offers so much.  It's dark, it's gritty and it challenges us in new ways since Scott Gimple took over as showrunner.  Obviously, I'm glad that the core elements will likely be present for this pilot, but there are a few things that I would like to see for this prequel. 

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First and foremost, I want to see the new tradition of strong and powerful characters that we see on the original show translate over to this one. This is a great opportunity to test these characters in new ways since we are seeing the world as they know it crumble around them. It's a chance to really explore how that effects people in ways that the genre has yet to explore. Often times they are just on the run...surviving because it must be done.  Now's a great chance to look at the fact that things will never be the same.  

I'm also hoping that the main source of conflict, is getting away from the living dead. No villains or crazy safe havens like we have seen on the original show. This is an opportunity to give zombie fans the epic meltdown of the world we always wanted.  No more being in the thick of things or seeing the outbreak from a smaller sampling of the world. This is the chance to show off the end of the world in grand fashion and place the characters in some seriously scary and dangerous situations that will leave the audience gasping for air and wiping sweat from their brow.  

I think if the show can accomplish those two key elements, we are in for an incredible ride from both shows. We'll have the original that allows us to think hard about the human condition and what we will become after our world is torn to pieces, and at the same time we'll have a show that provides us with pure, raw terror where every week our characters are trying to make it to tomorrow.  Either way I can't wait, the popularity of the living dead is a gift that keeps on giving and I'll be keeping my eye on this new version The Walking Dead every step of the way.  

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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Growing up, Friday and Saturday nights were a wonderful viewing experience for a young and budding horror and science fiction fan such as myself and my baby brother.  It seemed like my brother and I were treated to one incredible syndicated show after another; Freddy's Nightmares, War of the Worlds, and of course the iconic Tales From the Darkside.  

The last of those shows only saw a four season run and as Darkside prepared to disappear from our television screens for what seemed like forever at the time, a new show was coming forth to take its place...Monsters. Now this particular show, was in the vein of Darkside by providing us with weekly adventures that featured horrific creatures, but as the series went on, the sheer horror that Tales brought to us seemed to fade from Monsters. 

Don't get me wrong, there were some scary moments when it came to this show. In fact I distinctly remember the creepy and chilling atmosphere that came with the series premiere episode "The Feverman" but it didn't take long for the scares to quickly be replaced by a healthy mix of humor and comedy.  Suddenly the monsters of the title of the show were often played for laughs, and that strange idea of mixing that much humor into a show such as this made it quite watchable. 

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Granted we should have known we were in for something different since the opening credits were about as camp as they can get, but you simply had to see week in and week out what kind of episode you were getting.  Was it going to be something that left you sleeping with the lights on? Or something that gave you a good night's rest thanks to how much laughing you did.

Not to mention the show was filled to the brim with twists and turns when it came to the stories.  One that stands out in my mind to this day is "My Zombie Lover".  This was an episode that featured a town where one night a year the dead returned to life and the townspeople waited out this night of terror in a bunker in the middle of the town. One year a young girl stays home, not worried about the danger until one of her fellow classmates, who passed away, shows up at her door, to profess his love for her.  Yes, it turned into a romance in its own weird way, and well, that episode is one of my favorites for how it ended.  

I won't say how it ended here, because the series just arrived on DVD for the first time so one can enjoy all 72 episodes (along with that ending) in a marathon binge if you should so choose to, but either way, this was a fun series that I miss.  It was always unique, always fun and I loved being surprised week in and week out.  They certainly don't make them like this anymore, and I'm not sure they ever will again.  As an added treat...here is the campy opening credits sequence so you can get a taste of what the show was like...or simply reminisce.  

 
 

Written by Scotty

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Family secrets can be damaging when they come out to the world.  Every family has a secret, your great uncle was a mass murder, or your cousin is actually a Kennedy.  Although most families think that this is a bad thing for the world to know, it is more damaging to the children when they find out from someone else much later in life.  Telling your children up front about the family history helps them find a direction they want to follow, if it be in their family footsteps or the opposite direction to correct what their ancestors have done wrong. With the knowledge of their own history, our children can chose what is right for them, and be able to stand by their decisions when someone tries to call them out on their family history.

Annie has returned home after many years to help her sister take care of her daughter.  But upon arriving at her childhood home, she finds that her sister has gone missing.  Not knowing what to do and the future of her niece, Annie tries to stay positive in the house that has haunted her dreams for many years.  When Annie tries to find a way to keep young Eva from the same terrors she had in the house for so many years, an unseen force is pushing her around the house forcing them both to leave.

Reporting the strange occurrence to the police, Annie is treated like a crazy person, but one officer will go and try to investigate what is actually happening.  Not witnessing anything on his visit, he tries to keep Annie at bay until she can receive the help she needs, but Annie will sit by and wait as she knows that there is something or someone in the house that is trying to tell her something.  Persuading the officer to return, they uncover a secret room that has been boarded up that Annie has no recollection of being there.  Taking pictures of the house, the officer seems to believe that there is nothing out of the ordinary going on, just her imagination getting the better of her.  But when reviewing his pictures of the old estate, he finds that there are strange things that are appearing in front of his camera that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Annie knows that there is something strange happening in the house and needs to know who is trying to show her something.  Finding that an old classmate is still living in town, Annie puts her trust in Stevie who has been known to see strange things when they were growing up. As Stevie and her brother enter the house, she believes that the woman that she is seeing is Annie’s mother, but when Annie sees the same woman, they know that something sinister has happened.  Stevie captures all of the emotions around the house, even being able to see what Annie was trying to run away from, but when she enters the hidden room, something darker comes out to play as she is touched by the unseen force as well.  Without getting the answers of what is really happening in the house from her old classmate, Annie has to find out what other secrets have been kept from her by her mother, but when she finds what she is looking for, will she be able to take the next step of what needs to be done?

The Pact follows Annie as she has returned home after many years to try and take care of her sister and niece.  When arriving home however, she finds that her sister is nowhere to be found and her niece Eva is basically and orphan.  Not wanting to stay in her childhood home due to the unkind memories that she has, she tries to leave, but is directed by an unseen force to a hidden room that she knew nothing about.  Opening the door, Annie finds that there are spy holes all around the room the look over the entire house.  Even after leaving the house, Annie is not able to escape the visions of a dead woman that is plaguing her dreams.  Needing to know what is so evil about the house, and what the entity that is pushing her around wants her to do, Annie turns to an old friend that has the gift of seeing the supernatural.  Without getting the full story from her gifted friend about what is happening in the house, Annie does research and finds that her mother has been holding a secret from her that could change her life forever.  Finding that she had an uncle that was charged with the disappearance of women around town, Annie still has to find out who the force in the house is and what she can do to help the entity so she will no longer be a victim.

A very interesting movie, as you have a young woman that was terrorized by her mother growing up returning to the house that has changed her life forever.  That, combined with her sister going missing and leaving her niece unattended too, it seems like Annie was going to be the perfect fit for the job.  But with all of the strangeness happening around the house, there seems to be no way of escaping what evil still is lurking around her old prison.  I really enjoyed how the script came together in this movie, as even when you think you know what is happening in the house, there is still more that you may never see.  I must say that if I find out that my parents have been keeping a secret like this from me in all my years, I would not be one to be around for many, many months.  Stay Scared.

 
 

Written by Scotty

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Taking trips can be great, but having someone there with you is even better, especially if they are your friends.   Needing to get away from your everyday life is something that I will speak to on a daily basis, and if you are able to take this break with your best friends and decompress a bit, it is that much better.  As long as you can find what you are looking for, it is easier with your friends around to make sure you are looking in the right direction, as you would be lost without them.

A group of friends are heading up to a rental to get away from their life in college.  Although they are in their final semester, they still need to find a way to get their minds right for their finals week.  When driving up the long winding road to their cabin getaway however, the swerve to miss a guy that seems to be crazy in the middle of the street.  Not being able to regain control of the van, the group finds themselves stranded on the side of the mountain road with no chance of rescue. 

Thinking that their getaway lodge is not too far off, the group decides to start their descent deeper into the woods.  Finding what appears to be their cabin, the group heads in and finds it is much nicer than they could have expected, but are missing a couple of other friends that were supposed to be there with them.  Not worrying for the night, the group has their opening party, but Michael is not in a party mood and decides to go to bed early.  As the group plays their music loud and drinks to their hearts content, Michael battles with dreams of himself killing and hiding bodies around the cabin.  Not believing what he is seeing, he is trying to prove to himself that he can remain sane without the help of any drugs, even if they are prescribed for him.

When taking a run through the woods, one of the group finds an abandoned mine that he wants the group to check out. With everyone being adventurous, they all duck into the see what is under the ground, but strange sounds in the mine drive them out and quickly.  When another member of the group thinks that he has lost his wallet in the hole, he goes back down into the darkness, but finds something much darker than he expected, his own dead body.  Knowing that this is not right, the rest of the group go to investigate what they can only assume being an elaborate joke, but when they find out it is real, they need to find a way to escape the woods with their lives.  One by one, the group members have to battle their own fears of death and then have to face it, head on.

Mine Games follows a group of college students getting away from school for a long weekend before finishing up their last semester.  With long relationships between them all, they seem to find a common ground to stand on, but they are all keeping an eye on their friend Michael who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has not been taking his medication.  Seeing and hearing things in the woods, but not being able to explain them, the group is feeling safe in their surroundings, but that all changes when they run across an abandoned mine on the property.  With everyone eager to take a look, they find more than they bargained for as a couple of the groups bodies are found dead in the depths of the underground cavern.  As they are alive and dead at the same time, they have to find a way out of the woods and get back home before something bad happens and locks their future in stone.  But with every attempt, they keep coming back to the same place and have no way of escaping their doom, unless they are able to break the cycle as someone prior has warned them.

Not a new type of story, being trapped without escape, but what it makes the group do is of its own.  As each of the group members is able to see the way they die, they try to protect from it, but with all of them being friends, how could they not trust each other.  I especially enjoyed Michael’s journey down the rabbit hole as he is dealing with his illness, and having grizzly visions of things that he has not done. It played out very well in the end, as the only person that could help solve what is happening in the wilderness is next to death, while everyone else is waiting for their own to come about.  Stay Scared.

 
 

Written by Scotty

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Every town has its own stories about what has happened in them in the past.  They also have their own legends of other accounts that have taken place over their long or short histories.  When traveling through these towns, it is fun to sit and listen to these stories and try to piece together what really happened, but you may not want to stay and call them home if their legends make you feel uncomfortable in the slightest.

Callie has moved back in with her sister Tricia.  Although Callie has been known for taking off at odd times and has had a long history with drug use, she believes that it can all go away when trying to take care of her older sister who is pregnant and alone.  Although she has not seen or heard from her husband in seven years, Tricia is with child now and will need all of the help she can get to get through this difficult time.

Tricia has finally been allowed to file for her late husband’s death certificate since he has not been seen or heard from in seven years.  But as the days pass and with her sister in the house, Tricia is starting to see images of him around the house.  Although her therapist is not giving this a second thought, knowing that it is Tricia’s psyche doing this, he recommends that she keep up with her normal exercises and move on with her life.  Tricia believes that her late husband is trying to tell her something in all of the visions she is having and is upset with her for getting pregnant while he is not the father, but she knows that if she lets him haunt her dreams, she will never be able to live a happy life again.

Callie has mapped out her everyday morning running routine, and even with having to make it through a spooky tunnel, she is happy with the results.  On her daily run however, she is met by a man that appears to be strung out on drugs lying in her path.  Yelling for a trade, Callie leaves the man alone and promises she will return.  Almost forgetting about this, she brings some leftovers from lunch and leaves them in the abandoned tunnel, not seeing the man again.  The next morning, a pile of trinkets are left at her door and not wanting any type of payment for her good deed, she returns them to the tunnel, but then finds a strange man telling her not to leave anything there. Thinking little of this, Callie and Tricia go along with their normal day’s duties, but when Tricia decides to go on a date with the first detective that was handling her husband’s missing person case, she sees that she will not be able to move on, as her husband has returned home.

Absentia is the story of two sisters that are trying to take care of each other as they have both been through hard times.  Callie has had a long battle with drug use, while Tricia has lost her husband some time ago and now is pregnant without anyone to help her.  Everything seems to be going fine between the two, but when Tricia files for her late husband’s death certificate and Callie helps out someone down on his luck, everything changes.  Tricia starts to see her husband around the house and he seems to want to hurt her for what she has down in his absence, while Callie has released some sort of evil on the household that cannot be explained.  While trying to go on her first date since the disappearance of her husband, Tricia finds her past love walking up to her door.  Not believing what is happening, the missing man is questioned to where he has been for the past seven years.  Not knowing the answer, he is able to tell Callie that she has had a part in him returning home.  Although Callie does not believe this, the Good Samaritan act has released something much more hateful on the house and there may not be anything that can stop it.

A chill always goes down my spine when I hear of people being punished for trying to help someone else.  This movie does just that and succeeds, without knowing where Tricia’s husband has been and then seeing him come walking towards the house after seven years, freaky, but why he has been returned is what makes the story scary.  When trying to help a fellow person that is suffering, there should not be any penalty to pay, but as it is shown, no good deed goes unpunished.  Stay Scared.

 
 

Written by Scotty

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What better break from a long year than going to the mountains with some of your best friends.  I am a firm believer in breaking the mold and going somewhere where you should not have a care in the world.  As time has changed however, it seems to get harder to find times when your friends are available to go on such an adventure, but once it does happen, it is always the best trip of your lifetime.

Thomas has invited a couple of his friends from school to head up to his cabin for a long weekend. Although he is new in the school, a couple of his classmates have taken a liking to him, or so they pretend.  Although nobody in the group are the best of friends, the chance to get away from their parents and drink in the mountains is too much for them to pass up, and Thomas’ cabin is in a part of the mountains called Donner Country, as the Donner party had their break down somewhere around where they are headed.

With stories being told about the expedition gone wrong, they group gets stopped to chain up as the roads get more treacherous. While getting the car ready to make its last push up the mountains, the group hears about a crazy killer loose in the area that is eating his victims.  With thoughts that the Donner party may still be there, the group pushes on and arrives at the cabin and wastes no time in settling in when another group of unexpected guests arrive.  With Nicole being one of the most popular girls in school and going up the mountain with Thomas’ group, she cannot be without her boyfriend for more than a day.  But her boyfriend has brought the party with him as another group of four students have arrived at the remote cabin.

Thomas is not happy about the situation but his friend Mikey is telling him to let it slide.  As these are the coolest kids in the school, they will all owe him and it will move the outsider Thomas up the ranks so much faster.  Agreeing to let them all stay, the party kicks into full effect, but when the new group runs out of beer, everything starts to take a turn for the worse.  When some of the kids head into town to get stocked back up, they go missing and Thomas has to lead the group down the mountain to look for them.  Finding his classmate’s dead body in the snow, with his organs pulled out, everyone starts to believe that the killer they were told about is stalking the cabin, but the killer is not the only one to be afraid of as secrets are passed amongst the group and tensions start running high.

Donner Pass focuses around young Thomas, as he is new at his high school and has offered to take some friends up to his cabin to form some bonds.  When his small party doubles in size, he tries to make his uninvited guests leave, but is urged to let them stay by his friend Mikey.  Letting everyone stay in the cabin seems to work, but when one of the new party goers does not return, the true nature of the isolated cabin is revealed.  Death slowly follows the group around as there is a madman outside hunting down each of the group, but that is not the only threat as secrets are revealed about the groups lifelong friendships, along with what really happened to the Donner party so many years ago.  Getting off of the mountain is the group’s top priority, but with how far the cabin is off of the beaten path, they will have to find a better way of survival than trying to walk to safety in the blizzard ravaged mountains.

A perfect movie to watch when it is snowing outside, as it just makes you go to the window and wonder what is out there.  With the legend of the Donner party being brought back to light and life, it is fun to see where the characters beliefs fall on what happened, compared to what is happening to them now.  With blood being the driving force behind the killers hunger for the kids, along with anyone else that ventures into his country, how it reacts on the mountain is something that will leave you wondering what would really happen if this is in fact the true nature of the mountain.  It is a fun ride, as high school horror movies are starting to get a soft spot in my soul, since there are so many more twists and turns that can be taken with the young casts.  Stay Scared.

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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Truly there comes a moment in all of our lives that completely and utterly defines us. Be it traumatic or triumphant these moments change everything for us.  They often inspire us to be better people, to drive forward toward our goals and enjoy a happy and successful life.  

But there are moments that also drive us in the opposite direction, ones that ruin our lives as they consume us with anger or hatred and lead us to believe the one way to set our lives straight is to seek the comfort of sweet revenge.  It is that quest for vendetta that drives the origin story of Hannibal Lecter in the film, Hannibal Rising. 

In this latest entry in the franchise we learn about a horribly traumatic experience from Hannibal's youth. For in the 1940's during World War II, while hiding out in a cabin with his sister Mischa, German soldiers found them and in the absence of food...killed and feasted on Mischa. Years later, Hannibal, now in medical school remembers this atrocity and decides to set things right, by hunting down the soldiers responsible for this horrible act...and brutally murder them.  

Of all five of the films in the Lecter franchise, this is by far the weakest, because quite frankly, something is missing from this particular motion picture. Sure, there is plenty of action and plenty of kills.  Sure it's awesome to finally understand what makes Hannibal the incredible monster he becomes later on in the story, in fact it's extremely fascinating to see how much this horrific event has truly defined Lecter and formed his life, but as I said before, something is simply not there.  

In my humble opinion it's the fact that in essence, we are dealing with a young man who while he was able to repress the memories of this traumatic event, he truly knows that something is amiss and when he is able to realize the source of his pain and unleash the fury within, this story simply boils down to blind revenge. It makes for an entertaining film, but what always made Hannibal Lecter such a powerful character was how he used his intellect to quietly hunt his prey. There was a refinement to his madness, a certain class as crazy as that might sound.  It's what made the character so appealing to all of us, the fact that he was such the gentlemen, so calm, so collected...until it became time to kill.  

I guess in reality it would be impossible to craft a prequel without stripping so much of that away, but without those elements central to the character this film in a way, detaches you from it. This is by no means a flat out awful film, I think it just needed a little more thought on how to bridge both the past and present of this iconic monster.  See it out of respect, but go in without expectations, and be ready for a vastly different Hannibal Lecter.  

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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Whether we like to admit it or not, there are things in this world that we fear. Some of our fears are simple products of our imagination that we are able to dismiss with little effort, but deep down in our psyche is deep rooted fear. Things that instantly make us uncomfortable or filled with terror.  

For some people spiders do the trick, others may fear the end of their lives, and sometimes it is a traumatic experience that haunts us. Regardless of what that fear may be, we all stand by a mantra, we must eventually face our fears head on in an effort to conquer them and be free.  It is the concept of facing one's fear that drives the characters in the sublime horror film...Red Dragon.

The simple life has finally found its way to former FBI Agent Will Graham, after bringing down the infamous Chesapeake Ripper; Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter, nearly losing his life in the process and spending time in a mental institution, Graham is finally enjoying time with his family.  But his unique talent, of being able to think like the madmen he has chased has brought his old friend Jack Crawford calling.  Jack needs help in finding a killer known as "The Tooth Fairy" who viciously murders families.  Graham agrees but realizes this will be his toughest challenge yet.  So difficult in fact, that he will require help to discover this killer's identity and the only man who can help him...is the mad man that nearly killed him...

It's almost difficult to even refer to Red Dragon as a remake because it is so vastly different from Manhunter. While these two films share the same story and characters, watching this version of the story makes for a unique and tense experience.  While Manhunter is a slow burning thinker, Red Dragon is filled with tension and terror, yet it still maintains the intelligence of the novel and its predecessor.  

What makes the film so smart is the wonderful way that it handles facing one's fear for both our hero and our villain. Graham obviously has to face the monster that is Lecter once again, putting aside any doubts that he may fail or relapse in the hopes of being able to save lives.  This works so well courtesy of Edward Norton's performance because you can see the internal battle in every scene that he deals with Lecter.  This is so neatly juxtaposed by Francis Dolarhyde, a man haunted by his past and his flaws to the point where it has driven him to murder.  He fears yet embraces what he is becoming and it humanizes our villain just enough to force you to root for him to escape the darkness he carries.  

Take those colorful characters and put their flaws into a tight race against the clock and you are treated with a chilling film anchored with an incredible cast, and of course as always Anthony Hopkins steals the show with another turn as Hannibal Lecter. In fact adding Hopkins to this film makes the entire franchise work on a new level, giving the continuity it needs before The Silence of the Lambs and well it's always a joy to see the only face that one can really associate with Hannibal Lecter.  It should be noted as well how well he and Edward Norton work on screen, especially since Hannibal treats Graham in such different fashion than he does young Clarice Starling.  Gone is the gentleness and fascination that she will be treated to in time, replaced instead with a sense of anger and vengeance all directed toward the man who put him away. 

This really is a film that impressed me in theaters with its slick style and maddening pace and it truly bridges the gaps between all the films really.  Watch it, be prepared to be uncomfortable and unsettled along the way and enjoy the ride while it lasts since sadly, this is the last time to date that Anthony Hopkins would treat us to another incredible performance as this legendary monster.   

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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Betrayal is perhaps one of the hardest things a human being will ever have to deal with. Simply because of the fact that when and if it happens it is devastating on every level.  When a friend or loved one betrays us, it rocks us at our very core, leaving us feeling as though we can trust no one.  

It takes a long time to heal from such actions, but it can be done. But perhaps the toughest betrayal to deal with is when we work toward something in life, something we truly believe in only to have it fall to pieces because of those that joined us on the journey turn their backs on us, or that which we worked so hard to obtain, turned out to be a waste of time. It is that concept, of watching a dream fall to pieces that is at the core of the 2001 film, Hannibal. 

When a drug bust goes horribly wrong, FBI Agent Clarice Starling finds herself no longer a rising star in the agency, but instead she has become a scape goat. With her career in tatters Clarice takes it upon herself to salvage her career by working toward bringing in the man who helped put her on the map, Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.  Still at large after his escape, Hannibal has been laying low and living abroad.  But with Clarice now on the hunt for him, old enemies are making a push to find him first and it will bring Hannibal out of hiding, back to the United States and back...to Clarice Starling. 

What first struck me when watching this film is how vastly different it is in its feel and look from any other Hannibal Lecter film out there. There is a haunted beauty to this motion picture visually, almost a majestic feel to it and at first that's a little off putting because hey, this is a horror film about a doctor turned cannibal. Yet, it works, because the majestic feel is part of the trick from Director Ridley Scott as he mixes the beauty of the world with the vast brutality of Hannibal and his enemies.  It actually makes for a jarring experience as the film progresses, but while Hannibal benefits from this masterful stroke of genius, this is a film that would be nothing without its star. 

Obviously when it comes to Anthony Hopkins reprising his role as Hannibal Lecter, we are treated to nothing less than a fantastic performance. We finally see what the monster is like out of the cage and in many ways, the character is likeable. The slithering snake moving about in the darkness of a cell is gone, instead replaced by a refined and classy man who will murder you at the drop of a hat. He is nicely balanced by the raw evil of Mason Verger, played by an unrecognizable Gary Oldman. Their interaction is absolutely sublime but there is simply not enough of it and that's where some of the flaws in this film arise. 

With its central theme of betrayal and staying true to one's self and ideals, the film does jump around quite a bit and while Clarice's fall from grace and infallibility are fascinating, she feels like an unnecessary character here.  It's no fault of Julianne Moore, who takes over the role from Jodie Foster, it's simply the fact that Clarice is just...there when it comes to the story. Hannibal and his attempt to betray who and what he is, is a far more fascinating journey to go on as we watch him go from refined gentleman back to the vicious murderer we come to expect. Especially since the ending dinner scene is one of the coolest, grossest and bone chilling scenes in recent years.  More of that, and more of Hannibal's journey would have undoubtedly made this film as popular as its predecessor.

But it is by no means an awful motion picture.  Hannibal is actually quite an enjoyable ride, a slow burning horror film that builds up to its end nicely, it just feels lost at times and that's unfortunate because there is a lot to like here.  If you haven't seen it, do so, if anything for that incredible ending.  

 
 

Written by John Edward Betancourt

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It is interesting how much our past, for the sake of this article the bad, truly defines who we are as a person and determines our past and our future. Those moments that haunt us, despite our best efforts to shake them can sometimes influence our decision making or steer us clear of situations that remind us of yesteryear.

For some folks it goes to an extreme, the past simply consumes them and they face all the ugly in their lives every waking moment of every day, paralyzing their life. Despite all of this however we all share a common goal, to take the negative from days gone bye and use it to make our lives better.  To learn and grow from it, to be strong people and make amazing decisions, and perhaps make the world a better place in doing so.  It is that ideal that takes the stage in one of the finest horror films ever made...The Silence of the Lambs. 

Clarice Starling is seeing her dreams come to fruition. She is a cadet with the FBI and she has just been handed a golden opportunity by renowned agent Jack Crawford.  She is to interview legendary killer Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter in an effort to gain insight into a current case, the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. But while Clarice sees this as a time to shine, she will face an incredible challenge when speaking to Hannibal.  For this man can see straight into a person's soul, and Clarice...now has his attention.  

So when I said this motion picture is truly one of the finest horror films ever made, I stand by it because this is the first film in the genre to not only take home Best Picture at the Academy Awards but holy hell...it's scary. There are few moments in this motion picture that aren't filled with incredible tension, uncomfortable moments that leave you squirming and unsettled and this is a story that stays with you long after you've finished it and that's the mark of a great horror film.  

Yet at the same time the movie is filled with incredible character development and greater concepts.  The whole story of Clarice Starling for example, with her checkered past full of fear and ugly memories that drive her to be a Federal Agent and make the world a better place is a wonderful move for the film and played to perfection by Jodie Foster and she is of course anchored by one of the finest villains to ever hit the screen in Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins.  His portrayal of Lecter is the stuff of legend.  Lecter is often played in subdued fashion but Hopkins does such a fine job with the role that Hannibal commands the screen every second he appears on it. Madness and intellect ooze from the character, leaving the audience to fully believe that he is capable of anything and it makes the scene when Hannibal escapes all the more chilling because of it.

But of course all the terror centers around the nightmare that is Buffalo Bill.  This is a character without remorse, who kills because of a greater need, at least in his mind and that makes the scenes where he interacts with the senator's daughter some of the most frightening moments in cinema that I have ever seen.  In fact, the more I think about it...this is a film that is practically flawless.

Every single scene in this movie works and the tension builds moment by moment and it deserves every bit of praise it has received.  If by some chance you haven't seen this one, just buy it and add it to your collection.  It's a horror film that provides a sense of hope in Clarice Starling after robbing you of it with Hannibal and Buffalo Bill and something like that is just so rare to find in the genre.  Truly, this one is a masterpiece.