5 Times “Game of Thrones” Wildly Diverged from the Original Books of George R.R. Martin

Even long-time fans of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” may not have read the original books of George R.R. Martin that inspired the show. But if they do, they would quickly realize that many of the most popular characters in the TV show look nothing they do in the books, or that some characters are, in fact, amalgams of several different characters. And, even more interestingly, entire plot lines and narratives sometimes differ significantly. With that in mind, here are 5 times that “Game of Thrones” wildly diverged from the original books by George R.R. Martin.

#1: The rape of Daenerys on her wedding night with Khal Drogo

One of the most haunting memories of Season 1 is the wedding night rape of Daenerys by the brutal Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo. In the TV version of “Game of Thrones,” Khal Drogo rips off her clothes and takes her from behind. We see Daenerys crying – not tears of joy, but tears of pain. She has obviously been violated in the most humiliating way possible.

But in the book by George R.R. Martin, the scene plays out completely differently – Khal Drogo seduces Daenerys and actually asks her permission to have sex with her for the first time. In the original, then, this is not a rape – it is consensual sex between two adults who respect each other. That’s why critics of “Game of Thrones” started to get agitated all the way back in 2011 – they saw that the show was going to keep pushing boundaries at every possible moment.

#2: The appearance of the pregnant Talisa Stark at the infamous Red Wedding

Remember the brutal, chaotic and bloody Red Wedding scene, in which the soldiers of Lord Walder Frey slaughtered the Stark family in attendance – and then in an act of despicable cruelty – used a dagger to stab the unborn child in the pregnant belly of Talisa Stark? It was a brutal act meant to signify the “total war” approach of the rival clans in Westeros – kill or be killed, and that extends as far as to the unborn children of a royal line.

But here’s the thing – in the book by George R.R. Martin, there is no Talisa Stark at the Red Wedding, and no brutal dagger slaying of a baby. That’s because Robb Stark is married to Jeyne Westerling, a girl from a royal house in the Westerlands. And Jeyne Westerling never went to the Red Wedding, fearful of insulting Lord Walder Frey. And the part about the unborn baby? That, too, was made up by the show’s creators. In the books, the mother of Jeyne Westerling has been secretly giving her potions so that she would be incapable of ever conceiving a child.

#3: The Tyrell royal line was never completely wiped out


In Seasons 6 and 7, we see the total destruction of the Tyrell royal line and the poisoning of Olenna Tyrell, the grand matriarch of the clan. Everyone dies at the hands of the evil Lannisters – including the Tyrell heirs Margaery, Loras, and Mace. We see them perish in the Sept of Baelor.

But guess what? In the books, there are two other Tyrell sons who don’t’ die and who manage to escape. This includes Willas Tyrell, the eldest son. In fact, in the books, Olenna Tyrell tried to marry this son to Sansa Stark, thereby setting up a potential royal union between the houses of Tyrell and Stark. (In the show, there is a suggestion of a potential match between Sansa and Loras, but it never comes to fruition)

#4: Tyrion Lannister is far more sinister in the books than on the TV screen

The way that George R.R. Martin wrote the character of Tyrion Lannister, he is “by far the ugliest “ of the Lannisters, a dwarf with stunted legs, mismatched eyes (one green, one black), and blonde hair (bordering on white). Moreover, the book describes Tyrion Lannister as having a “brutish” face. Now does that sound anything like Peter Dinklage? As we saw in each season of the show, Tyrion Lannister is actually a sexually attractive (and very sexually active) guy who might even manage to win the favor of Daenerys by Season 8.

And speaking of characters on “Game of Thrones” who look nothing like they do in the books, what about Ser Jorah Mormont? In the books, he is supposed to be a “black bear” of a man with hair everywhere. And in the books, he never gets greyscale, as he does in Seasons 5, 6 and 7 of the TV show. And how about the expert swordsman Daario Naharis? In the books, he’s much more flamboyant, with a blue beard, bright blue hair, a gold moustache, a gold tooth and always attired in bright colors. That’s not the Daario we know from HBO.

#5: Sansa Stark was never intended to be the victim she is on TV

In many ways, Sansa Stark seems to be one of the biggest victims on “Game of Thrones.” She’s teased and humiliated by Joffrey, brutally raped in one scene, and is forced to endure the humiliation of seeing her father beheaded and then the head paraded around on a stake. Moreover, her time at Winterfell seems to be miserable, and one always gets the impression of so much sadness in her eyes – even when Jon Snow leaves her in control of Winterfell, as in Season 7.

But, again, guess what? In the books, Sansa Stark is very different. She has never been to Winterfell, for example. And she has never met Jon Snow. And, moreover, she never married Ramsay (it was her old friend Jeyne Pool who was sent to marry Ramsay), which means that she was never brutally raped. Finally, it appears that all the plotting and manipulation of Littlefinger (Lord Petyr Baelish), including a sub-plot to seduce Sansa Stark and control the North, was all incredibly exaggerated and made much more scandalous for TV! So you can stop feeling sorry for Sansa Stark right about now.

Yet, despite what purists might refer to “inaccuracies” in the HBO TV show, it’s clear that “Game of Thrones” has done a remarkable job of mining the original source material and coming up with plenty of spicy angles and salacious plot narratives to make the show simply irresistible to millions of fans.

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“The Man Who Invented Christmas” Will Be a New Holiday Favorite

When it comes to the Christmas season, there can never be enough classic films. And, so for good reason, there is room to cheer for director Bharat Nalluri’s new film “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” an inspired, entertaining and uplifting tale of how Charles Dickens came up with the ageless story of “A Christmas Carol.”

“The Man Who Invented Christmas” explains how Dickens’ classic work forever changed the Christmas season

“A Christmas Carol” is a story of remarkable imagination – the legendary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, the small child Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas who inhabit the night air during the most celebratory time of the year. But how exactly did the legendary Charles Dickens come up with these ideas, characters and plotlines? That’s the question that “The Man Who Invented Christmas” attempts to answer.

You see, prior to “A Christmas Carol,” the winter holiday was primarily a religious holiday. What Dickens did was transform the holiday into a time to celebrate compassion, empathy, charity and generosity. He simply needed the characters to bring these themes to life – and he found them in Scrooge and Tiny Tim.

The film – despite taking place in 19th century England – is very accessible to all audiences. The film offers a highly stylized look at the era, focusing on the creative process that eventually gave birth to the novella. And, as we find out, it wasn’t always an easy process – Dickens, like every writer, occasionally suffered from writer’s block. It sometimes took hallucinatory conversations with imaginary characters – such as the famous Scrooge – in order to get his novella back on track.

In one hilarious scene, Dickens is seen struggling to come up with the name of this classic work. It wasn’t a title that just rolled off the tip of his tongue – “Christmas Ghost Story”? No. “Humbug: A Miser’s Lament”? No. “Oh well, I’ll think of something,” says Dickens cheerfully.

“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is suffused with the charm, energy and charisma of Dan Stevens

The iconic character of Charles Dickens is played by Dan Stevens, and his acting is just sublime. He infuses the character of Dickens with energy, with imagination and creativity. He’s clearly enjoying the role, and having great fun showing us Dickens as a struggling artist trying to provide for his family and find his creative muse. In hindsight, we think of Dickens as an established, iconic author – but it wasn’t always that way. In one part of the film, he confesses that he’s “run out of ideas.”

And that’s where the film is so much fun – at just the moment when it looks like Dickens couldn’t possibly come up with a creative work that could be published – he runs into characters in the streets of London who give him fresh inspiration.

For example, somebody bumps into Dickens in the street and says “Humbug!” to him. He’s so excited by this strange and very evocative word that he races home, deliciously repeating the sound of this word, absolutely certain that it will be perfect for his new work. In other scenes, he runs into people named “Marley” and “Copperfield” – a not-so-subtle nod and wink to some of Dickens’ greatest character creations.

“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is full of classic charm and timeless themes

Part of what makes a “classic” is the ability to stand up under the test of time – a film (or novella, for that matter) shouldn’t just be a trendy work that rises and falls with the latest hype cycle. And that’s why “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is destined to be a new holiday favorite – it touches on all the ageless holiday themes and traditions that many of us have probably never ever questioned where they came from.

And so this remarkable holiday film is really a story about compassion, about generosity and about caring for one’s fellow man. Dickens didn’t literally invent “Christmas” – but he invented the modern view of what it should represent. He was writing during a period of rapid industrialization in England, at a time when the nation’s agrarian, class-based society was being torn apart by modern industrialists, factories and sprawling cities.

Dickens, then, was searching for a way to bring compassion and empathy to this experience. What about all the people who were struggling with this new society? The idea was to make Christmas the one time of the year when men and women could bring goodwill and cheer to all. As a result, this is a film to which you can bring the whole family, young or old. You can delight in a story in which the ending is already known, but that becomes richer with every new re-telling.


The interactions between Dickens and Scrooge provide a sense of wonder and merriment

The real highlight of the film are all the imagined conversations between Dickens and the various characters who will come to populate his novella. The most important of these, of course, is Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s clear that “Scrooge” is a composite of various miserly people that Dickens has met, but he has the artistic skill and creativity to meld them into the Scrooge that we all recognize – a miser in a black hat who has no sympathy for the poor and the weak. In a modern industrial society, says Scrooge, the poor and weak serve no role.

The one-one-one conversations between Stevens (as Dickens) and Christopher Plummer (as Scrooge) are priceless. And it’s hilarious to see how Dickens came up with the name for this character – he’s struggling to come up with some word that sounds like “Scratch,” and after various inspired permutations of that word, comes up with “Scrooge.” Plummer is wonderful in this role, and it’s clear that he enjoys playing the role of literature’s most famous miser.

“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a film for the whole family

Without a doubt, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” is a magical experience – and one that you will want to keep repeating every year. The film is sweet without being saccharine, and full of imagination, energy and creativity. It is, in short, the type of fun, and even exuberant, high-energy film that helps bring to life the Christmas holiday. It’s clearly destined to become a new holiday favorite for the whole family.

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Netflix’s “The Babysitter” Is Obscure and Terrifying

If you’ve ever had nightmares about what could happen when the babysitter comes to visit at night, you’d better not watch Netflix’s “The Babysitter.” This new film from directors McG and Helli Hardy is both obscure and terrifying.

“The Babysitter” features gratuitous blood and gore

Let’s be upfront here: you probably don’t want to watch “The Babysitter” if you’re afraid of gratuitous blood, gore and violence. In some ways, the amount of violence is over the top. Here’s just a partial list of the violent deaths you’ll see in the movie: a stabbing, a shooting, a hanging and a fireplace poker being thrown through a person’s head. You get the idea now, right?

There’s lots and lots of blood involved here, almost to a point where it’s cartoonish. In fact, one reviewer has referred to this film as a “horror-comedy.” One character, after being splattered with a generous amount of blood, starts freaking out over the risks of contracting a sexually-transmitted disease from all that blood. In another scene, a high school cheerleader (played by Bella Thorne) who has been shot in the breast area also starts freaking out in a way that you won’t soon forget.

“The Babysitter” will make you relive your childhood fears

The main protagonist of this film is the 12-year-old boy Cole (played by Judah Lewis), who is bullied both verbally and physically by the babysitter Bee (played by Samantha Weaving) and her group of high school friends. The problem here is that her “friends” – including a shirtless, smug jock (played by Robbie Arnell) – are also members of a dangerous satanic cult. This cult must make ritual sacrifices, and so the real goal of “babysitting” is to find the right child victim to sacrifice to Satan.

You can immediately see here why the young boy is terrified out of his mind – the hot babysitter that he’s been fantasizing about is really part of a satanic cult, and she has plans to sacrifice him when he’s asleep. When he stays up late at night to see what she’s up to, that’s when things start to take a turn for the worse. There’s nothing more terrifying than seeing a group of people prepare to make a human sacrifice.

What makes this film so effective is that the viewer is often watching the action through the eyes of this scared little boy. And that can’t help but to dredge up painful childhood memories. Remember when you were afraid of the dark, or when you thought that monsters lived in your closet? Prepared to be terrified by Netflix’s “The Babysitter.”

“The Babysitter” is also an experiment in 1980’s horror nostalgia

One of the co-directors of this film is McG (Joseph McGinty Nichol), who is known as much for his MTV videos as for his serious film work (which includes “Charlie’s Angels” and “Terminator Salvation”) or TV work (which includes “Supernatural”). In his videos, McG delighted in melding together images and a unique visual vocabulary that perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

For example, some of the pop culture archetypes in his MTV music videos are instantly recognizable – the wannabe young white gangster wearing a massive gold chain in “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” or the sexy bikini babes dancing on the beach in Smash Mouth’s “Walking on the Sun” (which won the Billboard Pop Video of the Year).

Thus, it is this same sort of visual vocabulary that really dominates this Netflix film, and perhaps one reason why the film feels so obscure. It is like channeling the nostalgia of the 1980’s and early 1990’s, using the visual vocabulary of that time to depict the current era. It can be jarring and disjointing at times, but it works.

Here’s just one example: 12-year-old Cole loves talking about Hollywood movies like “Predator” and “Alien” with his sexy hot babysitter. Moreover, all of the babysitter’s high school friends are easily recognized members of archetypal cliques – the dumb, shirtless jock and the bimbo blonde cheerleader are just the two most obvious examples. So you can almost imagine how McG pitched this horror film to Netflix: “It’s like one of my MTV music videos, but also full of gore, blood and cartoonish violence.” In such a way, this film comes off as both obscure and terrifying.


“The Babysitter” has all the classic horror thrills you’ve come to expect

Some critics have noted that “The Babysitter” is full of horror film clichés – it’s almost as if McG and Helli Hardy have mined all the best moments from the most recognizable horror films, and combined them together. That may be true, but it’s also worth noting that “The Babysitter” is really much more in the style of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” – good, campy fun with an overriding horror motif and young teenage characters.

Thus, there are plenty of classic horror thrills – lots of eerie, dark music; scary-looking rituals for a satanic cult; and plenty of jump scares. If you’re watching this Netflix horror film at home, you’ll likely jump off your couch at some of these scenes. The violence, gore and blood can be excessive at times, and it makes this film very terrifying.

“The Babysitter” is more evidence of Netflix solidifying its original content within the horror genre

At one time, Netflix was known primarily for its serious dramas – such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” Now, it’s clear that Netflix is getting very involved in the horror genre, and that’s a good thing. In this case, a collaboration with music video legend McG is a clever way to produce original horror film content that young teens and young adults will want to see.

The overtones of 1980’s horror nostalgia are a nice touch as well, evocative of some of McG’s best video work. You could almost imagine Samantha Weaving (who plays Bee, the babysitter) and her satanic high school friends dancing along to McG videos for Sugar Ray, The Offspring, or Smash Mouth. In short, this new “Babysitter” film is both obscure and terrifying.

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Why “Daddy’s Home 2” Won’t Be Funny

This holiday season, the producers of “Daddy’s Home 2” are hoping that movie audiences will once again clamor to see the humorous antics and witty dialogue of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in a comic story of dad vs. stepdad. However, while the original was a breath of fresh air in 2015, this new sequel already seems dated with very little new to say. There are already a number of warning signs of why “Daddy’s Home 2” won’t be funny.

“Daddy’s Home 2” is entering a tough season for Hollywood comedies

2017 has not been a good year for comedies. The only comedic hit of the year thus far has been “Girls Trip,” the summer comedy starring Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith. That film raked in $115 million. However, look at all the other comedic flops of the year – “Baywatch,” “Rough Night” and “The House.” Movie audiences just aren’t into comedies this year.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that “Daddy’s Home 2” equals the box office take of “Girls Trip.” Well, that would still represent a huge cut from the original (“Daddy’s Home”), which brought in an astounding $150 million. You can see the problem here – no matter how well “Daddy’s Home 2” does at the box office, it’s going to have an almost impossible time doing as well as the original.

Complicating matters even further is the fact that two other potential comedy hits – “Pitch Perfect 3” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” – are also due out around the 2017 holiday season. That’s a lot of extra competition for the attention of movie audiences.

And here’s one more wrinkle – “Father Figures” (another “dad comedy”) is also coming out around the holidays. This film stars the comic duo Owen Wilson and Ed Helms (of “The Hangover” fame), and looks to be far funnier. In this film, Owen Wilson and Ed Helms must try to track down their real dad on a “paternity quest.”

“Daddy’s Home 2” is messing with the comedic formula that worked so well

The fundamental premise of “Daddy’s Home” was that stepdad Brad Whitaker (played by Will Ferrell) had to compete for the affection of his kids with real dad Dusty Mayron (played by Mark Wahlberg). One was a gentle, unassuming wimp and the other was a macho cool guy. That was a very simple storyline – and one that movie audiences immediately “got.” It was funny seeing Brad trying to become the new “cool guy” – riding motorcycles, doing stunts on the roof of his house, and hanging out at NBA games with his kids. This was a comedic formula that worked: wimp vs. cool guy.

But now look what director Sean Anders is doing with “Daddy’s Home 2” – he’s trying to “double the fun” by bringing in Mel Gibson and John Lithgow to play the daddies of the daddies. Oh, and we’re also going to have John Cena as another dad – the real biological father. Whoa, this is already confusing. You’re now going to have dad vs. dad, granddad vs. granddad, and dad-granddad duo vs. dad-granddad duo.

You can see the problem faced by Anders – he couldn’t just repackage and recycle all the jokes from “Daddy’s Home” and call it a sequel. So he’s trying to convince audiences that things will be even funnier when he adds in Gibson and Lithgow. He’s literally trying to “double the fun.”

But this might actually backfire with audiences. Lithgow will play a kind, gentle, doting father while Gibson will play a tough-talking, macho and swaggering dad. So Anders is essentially doubling down on the narrative arc of the first movie – now we will have two swaggering macho dads and two weak, wimpy dads. It’s hard to see how this new comedic formula is really going to double anyone’s fun.

“Daddy’s Home 2” won’t be funny because of Mel Gibson

At one time, Mel Gibson was one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood. He was an action hero, then a romantic lead, and then a budding comic actor. But then came his arrest for a DUI in 2006 and a lot of controversy surrounding his anti-Semitic remarks. He basically became radioactive for Hollywood studios. Consider that the last studio comedy that Mel Gibson appeared in was back in 2000 with “What Women Want.”

It has literally been 17 years since Gibson has been in a comedy, and there’s no guarantee that the black cloud that has been following him during that time has fully lifted. Yes, he had a big breakthrough with “Hacksaw Ridge” back in 2016, but are movie audiences finally ready to welcome him back?

If “Daddy’s Home 2” were coming out during the summer, it might be a completely different story. Movie audiences might be more forgiving then. But this is being marketed as a holiday movie that will bring families closer together! Probably the last person you’d want to have in a movie is someone like Mel Gibson, who carries so much extra baggage with him.


“Daddy’s Home 2” was a sequel that never should have been made

There are some sequels that get made for legitimate purposes – there was some plot detail that needed to be resolved from the original, or there was some future event in the original that was hinted at, but never developed. However, most sequels are made for just one reason: the potential money involved. And, unfortunately, “Daddy’s Home 2” seems more like the latter the former.

Even the trailer for “Daddy’s Home 2” doesn’t seem very convincing. If anything, adding John Lithgow and Mel Gibson to the mix just makes things more confusing. Adding these two as new dads detracts from the original comic premise – wimpy dad vs. cool dad – that made the first film so much fun to watch.

In contrast, “Daddy’s Home 2” seems like a film that was made by a committee. The decision to make the film “PG-13” rather than “R” was a calculated bid to make this a “family movie” for the holidays. The inclusion of Lithgow and Gibson – big-time Hollywood names from a generation ago – are meant to bring in older moviegoers, who are notoriously hard to attract to the movie cinema. The final takeaway, unfortunately, is that “Daddy’s Home 2” won’t be funny. Movie audiences, you have been warned.


TV Review: Netflix’s “Mindhunter”

Netflix’s new crime drama TV series “Mindhunter” offers a riveting look inside the FBI’s efforts to track down the worst serial killers of our generation. The action takes place in 1977, at a time when legendary killers such as John Wayne Gacey and Charles Manson were already household names. What makes this David Fincher-directed Netflix Original so gripping is that it is based on real-life events inside the FBI’s elite serial crime unit.

“Mindhunter” will remind you of “Hannibal” and “Silence of the Lambs”

The main protagonist in the Netflix show is FBI agent Holden Ford (played by Jonathan Groff), who is based on real-life FBI agent John E. Douglas. It was Douglas, back in the mid-1970s, who helped to set up the FBI’s serial crime unit and who came up with the idea of interviewing incarcerated serial killers to find out more about their methodology and way of thinking.

While many viewers might not recognize the name John E. Douglas, it was exactly this legendary FBI crime fighter who became the inspiration for Jack Crawford in “Hannibal” and Will Graham in “Red Dragon” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” Thus, if you’re a “Silence of the Lambs” fan, it’s hard not to be drawn into the world of Netflix’s “Mindhunter.” This is a real psychological thriller.

“Mindhunter” is based on real-life serial killers

Set in 1977, this Netflix show starts with the “Summer of Sam,” when the serial murderer Son of Sam was out on the loose in New York City and captivating the nation. And, from there, the show goes on to reference or detail a number of the nation’s worst-ever serial killers in recent memory, including John Wayne Gacey, Charles Manson, Ed Kemper and Richard Speck. Another legendary serial killer, the BTK “Bind Torture Kill” killer (who becomes a subject of the final episode of the first season), is mentioned and alluded to throughout.

It is Ed Kemper – the so-called “Co-Ed Killer” – who is much of the focus of “Mindhunter.” The character Holden Ford must go toe-to-toe with Ed Kemper, trying to figure out what would activate him to abduct and kill young girls and then have sex with them once they are dead. Ford must go into all the grisly and unseemly details of these horrendous crimes in order to find out how these criminals think. He tries to find out their habits, the ways they try to cover up murders, and how they choose their victims.

“Mindhunter” peers into America’s obsession with serial killers

For over 40 years, America has been fascinated with these real-life serial killers. Who hasn’t heard of Charles Manson or John Wayne Gacey? These are names and identities that routinely made their way onto the front pages of tabloid

newspapers everywhere. What “Mindhunter” does is peer inside this dark obsession, trying to figure out not just how these killers think, but why they are objects of such dark fascination for Americans. It is, perhaps, because we see a dark, twisted piece of ourselves in them.

If you think about recent TV shows and movies about serial killers – including “Hannibal” and “Dexter” – they have sought to portray serial killers as being complicated antiheroes. They usually have some dark motive to justify their actions, and they are often incredibly intelligent. In the case of “Hannibal,” here was a legendary criminal who was more than the intellectual equal of any police investigator. Unlike typical killers, he had very urbane, refined tastes.

“Mindhunter” explores the psychological dimensions of serial murderers

From the perspective of criminal investigation, there are a number of very important issues raised by “Mindhunter,” such as, “Are serial murderers formed or born?” The scary thought is that they might be more people capable of carrying out these grisly murders than we might suppose. As Ed Kemper taunts FBI agent Holden Ford, “You know, there are a lot like me” out there.

And that’s what makes this Netflix show so fascinating: it delves deep into the psychological motivations of these killers – and show us how police investigators are more similar to them than we want to admit. As Holden Ford tells his skeptical peers at the FBI when he tells them of his plan to create a brand-new unit dedicated to finding these serial killers, “You want truffles? … You got to get in the dirt with the pigs.”

Netflix’s “Mindhunter” shows us the formation of an elite FBI unit

Another main character in “Mindhunter” is FBI agent Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany), who is based on another real-life FBI agent, Robert Ressler, who coined the term “serial killer” to describe these psychotic killers who are out on the loose with plans to murder victim after victim. And there is also Dr. Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv) who helps the serial crime unit in order to help investigate these criminals.

With these dynamic, well-developed characters, director David Fincher is able to show us the origin story of the FBI’s elite serial crime unit. We see how it was formed, why it was formed, and the types of issues that it had to confront at the outset. Back in the mid-1970s, the concept of the “serial killer” was still very new. To give the show even more veracity, Fincher based the dialogue, in large part, directly on prison interviews involving Ford and Tench. Thus, we are hearing the exact words spoken from 40 years ago.


Netflix’s “Mindhunter” takes us even deeper into David Fincher’s twisted world

All of us probably have a favorite David Fincher movie (such as “Fight Club” or “Seven”), and here we see the master filmmaker at work. It starts with a bleak color palette and a washed-out look for a dreary looking 1970s. From there, he steadily adds elements of a very violent imagination, and then supports it all with the little rituals and patterns that are part of this dark, corrupted world. The show is most fascinating when we sense Ford and Tench giving themselves over to this dark world, unable to resist the dark and demented details their subjects provide.

All in all, Netflix’s “Mindhunter” is imminently binge-worthy material. Just as “Hannibal” left you wanting to know more about Hannibal Lecter, “Mindhunter” will leave you wanting to know more about this generation’s most legendary serial killers. With the skillful cinematic direction of David Fincher, it’s easy to why “Mindhunter” has a 96% freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes. This is not just a great Netflix Original – it is also compelling TV perfect for your next Netflix binge.


Gerard Butler Shines in “Geostorm”

The arrival of “Geostorm” in movie theaters on October 20 couldn’t be more timely – the past few months have been filled with hurricanes, out-of-control wildfires and scenes of epic destruction wrought by Mother Nature. It is almost as if the basic plotline of “Geostorm” – a worldwide storm capable of wiping out the entire planet – was taking place before our very eyes. And the actor at the center of all that is the Scottish-born heartthrob Gerard Butler, whose job it is to save the world.

Gerard Butler is the shining star of this gripping disaster movie

In “Geostorm,” Gerard Butler plays Jake Lawson, a scientist and astronaut who helped to design the innovative satellite system known as Dutch Boy. The role of Dutch Boy is to protect the earth from extreme weather events, but it soon begins to malfunction, and cities like New York, Dubai, Moscow and Tokyo must contemplate the onslaught of cataclysmic storms. Soon, the entire world will have to confront these end-of-civilization-as-we-know-it storms.

So just about the only person who can stop these storms from happening is Gerard Butler. His character is soon sent to outer space to fix the malfunctioning problems of Dutch Boy, and so he becomes the central figure in this movie. He is the perfect mix of brawn and brains who has a commanding presence anywhere he goes.

He is almost a bigger-than-life hero, but like any hero, he has a few weaknesses that makes him vulnerable. As the movie progresses, we see how Jake’s arrogance, impatience and cockiness have landed him in trouble, again and again. When he is first approached about going back up to space, in fact, he’s living in Florida and obviously doesn’t want to be bothered. He’s lost his house and his marriage, and is sharing the custody of his daughter Hannah with his estranged wife.

But this is exactly what makes Gerard Butler so believable as an action hero – we understand what makes him tick, and what his vulnerabilities are. Yes, he might be a super-star satellite designer and fearless astronaut, but he’s also just like us in so many important ways. He wants to be a hero for his daughter as much as for humanity. To be certain, Gerard Butler is the shining star of this gripping disaster movie.

Gerard Butler shines amidst an all-star cast in “Geostorm”

To be sure, what gives “Geostorm” so much sparkle and shine is the all-star cast. It is not just Gerard Butler who must hold together this epic natural disaster movie. He is joined by some real all-star talent, such as Andy Garcia, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess.

It is the interactions between Gerard Butler and Sturgess (who plays Jake’s younger brother Max) that really help to give “Geostorm” so much emotional and dramatic resonance. Some parts of the movie play out with a dual plot line – in one, Gerard Butler is up in space, trying to fix the satellite system; in the other, Jim Sturgess is down on Earth, trying to unravel a potential conspiracy that leads all the way to the White House.

Gerard Butler is perfect in his race-against-the-clock role in “Geostorm”

What makes the action in “Geostorm” so compelling is that Gerard Butler as Jake Lawson must race against the clock. He is very much aware that if he does not fix the malfunctioning satellite in time, then it could mean the destruction of the Earth. This is where Gerard Butler is at his very best, showing the sense of urgency and nearly superhuman skill needed to avert this catastrophe. Audience members will be kept on the very edges of their seats, unable to divert their eyes from the screen. Gerard Butler is the type of larger-than-life screen presence that we all want from our heroes.

“Geostorm” presents Gerard Butler like you’ve never seen him before

This movie could become the breakout star vehicle that Gerard Butler deserves. Most fans probably got to know him as King Leonidas from “300” (released in 2006). Since then, he’s been a share of romantic comedies (like “The Ugly Truth” in 2009) and dramatic action movies, like “Olympus Has Fallen” (2013). But “Geostorm” is the kind of mega-blockbuster movie that we’ve been waiting for, where we can see Gerard Butler achieve his full potential as a Hollywood actor.

It’s clear why Dean Devlin, the director of “Geostorm” who is making his feature film debut, chose Butler. He wanted a character who could be believable in his heroic role as someone capable of saving planet Earth from a serious of inexplicable climate disasters. He needed a big-time action hero for his first movie.

Amidst all the natural disaster chaos in “Geostorm,” Gerard Butler stands out

Part of what makes “Geostorm” so dramatic, of course, are all the CGI-generated climate disasters. From the frozen villages in Afghanistan to the tidal waves engulfing cities to the collapsing buildings around the world, it is a scene of unrelenting chaos.

And that’s why Gerard Butler stands out so much in this disaster flick. He helps to ground the film in a sense of reality – even while he’s up in outer space – while the rest of the world seems to be imploding on itself. His larger-than-life screen personality, his cockiness under pressure, and his ability to look just as good in a corporate suit as an astronaut suit is what makes him the real star of this movie. If you need someone to go up to outer space and save the world, then Gerard Butler is your man.

Gerard Butler in “Geostorm” is going to create a new genre of blockbuster

One big theme that runs through most reviews of “Geostorm” is how this movie is helping to position climate change as the ultimate super-villain. At one time, it was German bad guys, Russian bad guys, or Arab-speaking bad guys in movies who were the real threat to the world. Now it’s climate change. This movie will change your view of climate change and global warming, and you can thank Gerard Butler for that.

Butler, in fact, is the star of a film that could herald a new genre of blockbuster in Hollywood. Given how natural storm disasters of epic proportion have been on cable TV wall-to-wall for the past few months, it’s easy to see how this is the film that we need in movie theaters today. Through all the chaos, all the disaster, it is Gerard Butler as the hero Jake Lawson who really shines.



Does Jackie Chan’s “The Foreigner” Meet Expectations?

It’s been far too long since we’ve seen Jackie Chan in a true action-adventure movie. Back in 2012, Chan famously stated that he’d never do another stunt or martial arts movie again. But here we are in 2017, and his new action film “The Foreigner” is being hailed as the best new Jackie Chan movies in years. But does this film meet expectations?

“The Foreigner” needs more Jackie Chan, not less Jackie Chan

For die-hard Jackie Chan fans, “The Foreigner” has more than met expectations. Remember – the last big U.S. release of a Jackie Chan film was the 2010 movie “The Karate Kid.” Prior to that, he was mostly doing cameos, appearing in comedies or starring in movies that were as campy as they were action-filled.

From that perspective, then, “The Foreigner” is a welcome return to the “old” Jackie Chan: plenty of fights, stunts and action. Some of the best scenes in the movie feature Jackie Chan, alone in the woods and dressed in camouflage, preparing to take out the bad guys in epic fashion.

But here’s the thing – Jackie Chan appears in only roughly half the movie. In fact, “The Foreigner” is really a movie with two very different plots, which both come together with dramatic intensity.

On the one hand, you have the story of a broken old man who has lost everything (Jackie Chan, as the London restaurant owner Quan Ngoc Minh) and who wants to get final revenge on the terrorists who blew up his daughter in a violent attack.

On the other hand, you have the story of British Deputy Prime Minister Liam Hennessy (played by Pierce Brosnan), who has a long, dark back story as a former IRA terrorist. He’s now trying to effect change from inside the halls of power in London, but now his past is catching up to him.

So that leads to a bit of confusion – the movie is clearly billed as a Jackie Chan movie, but it is really a Pierce Brosnan film as well. The reason for this seeming confusion is simple: the movie is based on a 1992 book called “The Chinaman.” 25 years ago, the terrorist threat facing London involved the IRA and not radical Muslim extremists. So the movie does its best trying to stay true to this story, while also showcasing the remarkable Jackie Chan. As a result, we get less Jackie Chan than we wanted.

“The Foreigner” is the classic revenge tale with the ultimate protagonist

In “The Foreigner,” we see Jackie Chan in a new way. Yes, he is still an action badass, but he seems to be filled with more sorrow and more remorse than we can remember. As we find out during the movie, he already lost his wife and two of his daughters years earlier, and now he loses his third daughter. At one point, Chan reflects back on this tragic past and says, “I failed them.” The pain on his face is almost palpable, and it hurts too much when we see him holding his bloodied daughter, wracked by grief.

And it is exactly that grief that sets into motion the action of the movie. Jackie Chan’s character is convinced that Liam Hennessy knows far more about the terrorist attack and motives than he’s letting on, and thus begins a cat-and-mouse game that plays out between Pierce Brosnan, Jackie Chan and the various terrorists of the IRA. The biggest scene, of course, takes place when Jackie Chan decides to mount an attack on the IRA stronghold and wipe out the men responsible for his daughter’s death.

Some have compared “The Foreigner” to “Taken” – they both involve the desperate search by an older man for the evil men who have taken away a beloved family member. But here’s the thing: Jackie Chan is a lot more believable as a man driven by revenge. He is almost taciturn, speaking little and letting his actions speak for themselves. He is the ultimate fighting machine, even if he is now in his 60s. And that’s why Jackie Chan fans are lining up to see this legendary hero – there is nothing better in the movies than seeing a vengeful father seek out justice and retribution.

“The Foreigner” also marks the welcome return of Martin Campbell

At one time, Martin Campbell was one of the hottest directing talents in Hollywood – he had two James Bond films to his credit (“Golden Eye” and “Casino Royale”), as well as “The Mask of Zorro.” But then along came “Green Lantern” in 2011, and his career pretty much stalled out.

So, in many ways, “The Foreigner” marks the return of director Martin Campbell as much as it does the return of Jackie Chan. Campbell has created a worthy new action-adventure flick, and it’s clear why Jackie Chan trusted him so much, even when he had earlier said that he would never do a similar type of movie.


Why “The Foreigner” is getting such mixed reviews

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to love “The Foreigner” – all the great action sequences, a tightly-scripted revenge narrative, and, of course, the return of Jackie Chan. From that perspective, the film has more than met expectations.

However, reviews have decidedly been mixed. The movie scores a 7.4/10.0 on IMDB, but only 58% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. For every Jackie Chan fan that has loved the movie, you have a film critic site like RogerEbert.com that gives the film a solitary lone star. So what gives?

The answer to the mixed reviews starts with the confusing narrative of the film. Mixing together the IRA plot line with the Jackie Chan plot line makes the movie seem more jumbled than it really is. Moreover, the fact that the movie is based on the 1990s view of terrorism and not the modern-day 2017 version of terrorism also makes the film feel, well, a bit dated.

However, it’s hard to deny the star power of both Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. Both screen legends might be in the twilight of their careers, but they are both scene-stealers anytime you see them. “The Foreigner” is far better than many first thought would be possible, and it’s clear that this new film has more than met expectations.

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The Very Best Sex Scenes From “Game of Thrones”

When it comes to depictions of sex on “Game of Thrones,” things are never simple. There’s almost never a vanilla bedroom scene between two happily married, consenting adults: there’s always some kink involved, something that just isn’t quite right (incestuous sex between brother and sister surely qualifies here). With that in mind, here are the best sex scenes from “Game of Thrones” that will blow your mind.

#1: The love scene between Jon Snow and Daenerys

Let’s start with Season 7, featuring the highly anticipated sex scene between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. At this point in “Game of Thrones,” it’s clear that this is what audiences want to see: a love scene involving two of the most attractive and eligible characters of the show. In many ways, the scene doesn’t disappoint – there’s a sexy boat cruise, plenty of candles, and a nice, comfortable bed. But then, in a voiceover, we’re told that Jon Snow is actually a Targaryen and not a bastard child after all. Which means… Wait, he just made love to his aunt! (See, there’s always some kink involved when it comes to sex scenes in “Game of Thrones.”)


#2: The love scene between Robb and Talisa

Before the tragic events of the Red Wedding, we’re shown the deep, romantic love that seems to exist between Robb Stark and Talisa. There’s a long story that Talisa tells him about how she turned from a “proper little lady” into something very different. And it’s at that moment that they turn into sex-starved lovers, pawing at each other, desperately trying to do the deed. And, unlike many “Game of Thrones” sex scenes, it’s purely consensual – no taking from behind, no cries of pain, and no sobs. In fact, if you listen carefully, you can hear a little giggle from Talisa – she’s clearly enjoying this.

#3: Daenerys learns how to seduce and pleasure a man

In Season 1, we see how Daenerys enters into an arranged marriage with the savage warrior Khal Drogo. Even though he violently takes her from behind in the open air on their wedding night, she learns to love him and care passionately about him. So much so, in fact, that she gets a prostitute to show her the art of seducing and pleasuring a man. There’s some girl-on-girl action as Daenerys learns how good it feels to be on top and in control. And then, of course, comes the money scene – Khal Drogo emerges, completely naked, and Daenerys begins to make love to him in a completely new way.

#4: Any sex scene involving Tyrion Lannister

There’s something almost – almost – likeable about that impish little Tyrion Lannister. He’s constantly getting into trouble, and he seems to have an insatiable appetite for beautiful women. Of course, the best scenes are the ones involving the prostitute Shae. Too bad Tyrion ends up murdering her for having sex with his father.


#5: Jon Snow has sex with a wildling in a cave

If you haven’t seen it yet, check YouTube for the clips featuring Ygritte, the exotic redheaded wildling from the north who ends up bedding (well, if you count the floor of a cave as a bed) Jon Snow. Just search for: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” This wildling promises to teach Jon Snow how to have sex, but Jon Snow answers (somewhat unsure of himself): “But I know how to do it.” To which Ygritte answers, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” What makes their love scene even hotter is that Ygritte (played by Rose Leslie) is actually the real-life girlfriend of Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington)!

#6: Daenerys seduces Daario

If you’re a fan of the insanely hot Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke), it’s surely good news when she finds a new lover after the demise of the hunky Khal Drogo. She falls in love with the warrior Daario. In one scene, Daenerys is very much in control, sitting down in an elegant chair while Daario is standing, professing his loyalty to her and telling her how he will do whatever she tells him. To which Daenerys answers, “Very well, do what you do best… take off your clothes.” He disrobes, and she stares straight ahead at his body while he’s completely naked, seeming to smile. And then comes the fun part…


#7: Oberyn’s orgy scene with Ellaria

There are orgy scenes, and then there are orgy scenes. The best one features Oberyn Martell, who is lying in bed with Ellaria, a group of girls and a naked young boy (Olyvar). He then starts making love to all of them, while explaining why he’s bisexual, and how much he enjoys making love and having sex. There’s even “the slap” – when Oberyn playfully slaps the naked boy’s bottom, telling him how he belongs to him. In the background, girls are making out with girls. Does it get any hotter than this?

#8: Podrick and the three prostitutes

A Lannister always repays a debt. And in one memorable scene, Tyrion Lannister repays a debt to the young Podrick by arranging for the virgin boy to make love to three beautiful prostitutes at one time. Tyrion goes into details about the special skills of each of the prostitutes, and it’s the third one who will really blow your mind. She’s some kind of circus acrobat, who starts to seduce Podrick by bending over backwards on all fours, and inviting him to penetrate her while she’s upside down. The funny part about all this is that Podrick is so good that the prostitutes end up returning all of Tyrion’s money. (Even Tyrion is amazed, “We’re going to need details… Copious details…”)


When it comes to hot, graphic sex scenes, “Game of Thrones” is the gift that keeps on giving. For seven seasons, we’ve had some of the hottest sex scenes ever on TV – in addition to plenty of titillating nudity and spicy erotica. Even though Season 7 seemed to dial back some of the sexiness, there was at least that one blockbuster sex scene between Daenerys and Jon Snow to blow our minds. Let’s hope that Season 8 offers a few scenes to top them all.


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The Most Brutal and Gruesome Deaths Ever on “Game of Thrones”

As a rule of thumb, the bloodier and more gruesome a death on “Game of Thrones,” the better. That’s especially true if you are avenging the death of a family member or defending the honor of your kingdom. As a result, we’ve seen more than our fair share of torture scenes, bloody combat scenes, and executions on “Game of Thrones.” Here are some of the most brutal and gruesome of them all.

#1: Viserys wears the crown of molten gold

In Season 1, Episode 6, we get an early taste of the cruel and unusual punishments that are on the way for anyone who dares to cross the brutal Dothraki, led by Khal Drogo and his new wife, Daenerys Targaryen. For the first five episodes of Season 1, we see Viserys constantly fondling and threatening his sister Daenerys, until she finally agrees to be married off to the brutal Khal Drogo. The goal of Viserys, of course, is not her happiness, but rather the warriors and horses that he will receive to take over the Iron Throne in King’s Landing.

But Viserys pushes things too far – he starts to demand a golden crown and some respect from Khal Drogo. He wanders in to a party drunk one night, and threatens Daenerys, Khal Drogo and their unborn son. Khal Drogo, in a feat of silent rage, decides to give Viserys a golden crown – but one made of molten gold. He pours the molten gold on his head, instantly killing him and sending a warning to any others who threaten him or the young khaleesi.

#2: The bloody carnage of the Red Wedding

Perhaps one of the most famous – and most gruesome – scenes of “Game of Thrones” was the Red Wedding scene in Season 3, Episode 9. The Internet had a collective freak-out after the episode aired, mostly because it was so dastardly. Here’s what went down: Robb Stark and his pregnant wife Talisa, accompanied by their mother Catelyn, are invited to a wedding of Lord Walder Frey. The whole invitation is a bit sketchy, especially since Robb Stark had previously turned down the marriage with Roslin in favor of Talisa, but this was supposed to be a way of making amends and bringing peace between the two families.

At one point during the wedding, though, the doors to the wedding hall are locked and sealed shut. Then the musical tune “Rains of Castamere” begins to play – it’s a sure tip-off because the song is a Lannister family song, and the agreement between the Freys and the Starks was that they would unite against the House of Lannister.  Then Catelyn Stark notices that one of the men next to her is wearing a hidden suit made of chain mail… at a wedding? But it’s too late – assassins appear out of nowhere, arrows rain down on the Northmen in attendance, and a particularly dastardly assassin repeatedly stabs Talisa in her pregnant belly. But that’s not all – Catelyn Stark is brought down by an arrow, and then a man comes behind her and slits her throat as blood spills out. The camera, of course, lingers on her face so that you can witness the full horror of the scene.


#3: Arya Stark slits the throat of Walder Frey

Later, though, we witness the full revenge of Arya Stark, who has to bear the fact that her mother and brother were brutally killed at the Red Wedding. She arranges for Lord Walder Frey to eat a pie with his sons baked into it – and then she slits his throat. Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served cold. And there’s no colder dish than a cold pie with your dead kids baked into it!

#4: The boy-king Joffrey sadistically murders the prostitute Ros

We know from the very outset that the boy-king Joffrey, himself the evil incestuous spawn of Jaime and Cersei, is up to no good. At one point, he contemplates murdering his bride-to-be, Sansa Stark, with a crossbow. People are noticeably concerned, and decide to allay his appetite for sick and sadistic pleasure by giving him two prostitutes – Ros and Daisy – to toy with. When they arrive, Joffrey instructs Ros to start beating Daisy with a whip while he looks on contented. Then he gets bored and decides to have Ros start beating Daisy with a huge club.

Later, we learn that Joffrey is thinking of something “new and daring.” Yes, this time, he is ready to follow through on his crossbow idea, but this time with the prostitute Ros. Her days were already numbered because she had been trading secret information to the spymaster Littlefinger – and now she’s about to pay the ultimate price. Once she’s given over to Joffrey, he ties her to the bedpost of his bed and begins to use her as target practice. Yes, he fires arrows from his crossbow, thereby pinning her to his bed as a bloody trophy. The lesson we learn in Season 3, Episode 6, is that “Chaos is not a pit, it’s a ladder.” And that’s what Joffrey is about to do – he is going to try to climb that ladder of chaos.


#5: The head of the Red Viper explodes

Some of the bloodiest scenes involve mortal combat, and one of the most memorable of these came from Season 4, Episode 8. There’s been a long-standing feud between “the Red Viper” (i.e. Oberyn Martell) and “The Mountain” (Gregor Clegane) and they decide to settle things on the battlefield. The Red Viper wants full vengeance for the brutal rape and murder of his sister. So we witness a trial by combat. At one point, the Red Viper thinks he has won, and has The Mountain pinned to the ground. He looks up to the crowd, and thinks that vengeance is finally his. But wait a minute! The Mountain picks himself up off the ground, grabs the Red Viper, punches him in the mouth, and then proceeds to gouge his eyes out. And he does it so hard and with so much force that the head of the Red Viper literally explodes. OMG.

This, too, is a tale of revenge gone horribly, horribly wrong. Theon Greyjoy has been tortured and castrated, and there’s nothing more that he wants than to plunder and pillage Winterfell and punish the House of Stark. When he finally gets his chance, he decides to behead the Master-of-Arms of Winterfell, Ser Rodrick Cassel. But Theon Greyjoy needs to brush up on his medieval execution techniques! He needs four clumsy thwacks of the sword to sever the head of the House of Stark ally, and even then, he needs a final shove of his boot to dislodge the head, where it then rolls along the ground. It’s hard and painful to watch.

#7: A villager is eaten alive by rats

Punishments and torture scenes seem to get more original and more creative as the series moves along. In Season 2, Episode 4, we get a particularly brutal execution scene. Gregor (“The Mountain”) Clegane is in search of the Brotherhood and their treasure, and so he asks his henchman Tickler to interrogate the local villagers to find out their location.

Tickler and Weasel pick one villager out of the crowd and strap him down so that he can’t move. They proceed to ask him questions about the Brotherhood, but he won’t give them an answer. So Weasel straps a bucket full of rats to the man’s chest. He still won’t give up any answers, but he’s looking understandably panicked. So Weasel heats up the bucket with a torch. The heat and flame cause the rats to start burrowing into the chest cavity of the man – as you might imagine, the fright and pain sends the villager into a state of shock. And, the whole time, the other prisoners are forced to watch this act of barbarity.

Of course, these seven scenes are not the only scenes of brutality and depravity that have occurred during the seven seasons of “Game of Thrones.” What about the time (Season 5, Episode 10) when Arya gouges a man’s eye out and then stabs him? Or the time when Ramsay Snow is murdered by a pack of ravenous dogs (Season 6, Episode 9)? Or the time when Khal Drogo of the Dothraki rips out the threat of his rival Mago who dares to challenge him (Season 1, Episode 10)?

And, of course, there’s the scene at the end of Season 5 where Jon Snow is stabbed to death by all the members of the Night’s Watch. That might have been a hard-to-stomach scene, but as we know now, he somehow miraculously comes back to life in Season 6, and now seems to be the odds-on favorite to win the Iron Throne. So maybe a little death and chaos is good for the career after all!

One thing is certain – the scale and scope of the death and violence in “Game of Thrones” is truly staggering. When a villager being eaten alive by rats barely cracks the Top 10 list of scenes, you know that there’s been some pretty epic violence along the way.


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Top 10 Horror Flicks to Kick Off October

The horror genre has certainly matured over the years: directors are no longer slaves to jump-scares, torture, gore, or scary makeup to terrify their audiences. Even as early as the 1960s, directors began to employ creative techniques to scare the hell out of audiences in untraditional ways. Some of these horror movies have become so iconic over the years that they serve as role models for the next generation of directors. Now, the younger generation of directors take inspiration from the previous crop of directors, and routinely deliver some excellent quality horror movies. The following are our top picks of horror movies to kick of the Halloween season.

The Shining


Stanley Kubrick’s take on Stephen King’s novel by the same name, “The Shining,” is probably the most unnerving horror movie in this list: it’s one of those masterpieces that are impossibly difficult to outclass. But then again, that can be said about anything with Stanley Kubrick’s name on it.

The Shining follows the events at an empty hotel where a writer, Jack (Jack Nicholson), facing writer’s block is working as an off-season caretaker with his wife and son. His son begins to get psychic premonitions, and a mysterious supernatural power’s presence forces Jack to attack his own family. The scene where Jack hacks at the bathroom door and screams, “Here’s Johnny!” will give you chills, even if you’ve seen it one hundred times.

The Ring


“The Ring” is essentially a product of Hollywood’s obsession with Japanese horror movies. The American remake has now become an integral part of American culture, and you will hear references to the film in countless other movies and TV shows. If you haven’t already watched it, then be warned: do not watch it alone! It will give you creeps like nothing you’ve ever felt. The movie is a result of sweet love between Gore Verbinski’s directorial skills and Han Zimmer’s masterful music. The plot revolves around a VHS tape that leads to a viewer’s death in seven days if watched. The climax will be etched in your memory.

The Blair Witch Project


“The Blair Witch Project” is sheer talent at work. This movie was made by independent filmmakers who had no money, no acting experience, and certainly no limit of imagination. The ultra-low budget movie turned out to be a massive blockbuster, and brought into vogue an entire sub-genre of found-footage horror movies. The movie follows a group of friends who go into the woods researching the story of a witch who was executed centuries ago. There, they witness blood-curdling horrors that will scare the hell out of you.

The Exorcist


Ask any horror buff: they will swear by “The Exorcist” as one of the scariest movies of all time. The movie used the classic possessed-by-evil-spirit theme, but its execution was masterful. It was released in 1973, yet it is still unwatchable for many weak hearted people among us. The story of a 12 year old possessed by a demonic spirit might sound typical, but nothing about this movie is typical. When it initially premiered, many theaters provided barf bags for the audience to throw up in during the movie. The head turning scene, the scene where the possessed child walks on all fours the wrong way, and other iconic scenes are classic. If you plan to watch this movie alone in a dark room, make sure you have enough bank balance for a couple years of therapy sessions.

The Conjuring


“The Conjuring” is the story of a family who buys and moves into an older home in the country: unsurprisingly, the family begins to experience the presence of a supernatural power in the house. Eventually, the mother becomes possessed by an evil spirit who is forcing her to kill her own children. A husband/wife couple, who are basically ghost hunters, have to perform an exorcism to save the family. The story may sound run-of-the-mill, but here is the real kicker: the movie is based on true events. That little fact will have you thinking about the movie for weeks.

The Evil Dead


This movie is another gem of a watch in the horror genre. It was made by completely untested filmmakers, and yet, they delivered a horror experience that is widely regarded as one of the best of all time. Despite being made over 35 years ago, this movie’s special effects and scary makeup are guaranteed to send chills down your spine. Make sure you see the original and not the 2013 remake.

The Mist


“The Mist” is director Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. The movie is based in a small New England town that gets shrouded in a mysterious mist that appears to emerge from a nearby military base. It soon transpires that the mist is full of dangerous creatures from a totally different dimension. The cast does not include any big names, but the performance was spectacular across the board. Forget those beasts from the mist: the most frightening thing in the movie is Marcia Gay’s religious zealot!

The Babadook


This movie focuses on a widow and her son; the son begins to act strange, which the widow promptly labels as behavioral problems. However, as the time progresses, she realizes that her son is being possessed by a supernatural spirit; it soon possesses her too. This movie ups the creepy levels of the horror genre. While most movies generally show spirits possessing one member of the family and use them to attack the others, or kill the possessed person, this movie shows both the mother and the son being haunted by the spirit. If you believe in the supernatural, then you are left with the question – what are you going to do if such a spirit targets you or your loved one?



The very title of the movie demands a watch during its namesake holiday. The movie made the careers of many people involved, including Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter. The movie features a mentally disturbed man, Michael Myers, who murdered his elder sister some 15 years ago, and has now escaped a psychiatric institution. This time, he aims to kill his younger sister. This movie spawned an entire sub-genre of slasher-horror feature films.



This legendary original movie began a cultural movement that resulted in multiple sequels, prequels, video games, home videos, comics, and novels. “Alien” follows the events that occur after a distress signal is released from an unknown planet’s spaceship. When the crew members go to investigate, an alien face-hugging creature attacks a crew member; later, a far worse creature emerges out of the victim’s chest by breaking his ribs. This creature promptly tries to kill all the humans, and as the chances of their survival dwindle, you will be on the edge of your seat. This movie has been consistently ranked among the top horror movies of all time. To check out these flicks during the spooky Halloween season, all you need is a reliable satellite TV connection.