October 1st, 2014

THE 31 DAYS OF HORROR-WEEN

It’s October once again, and you know what that means: We’re going on a month-long horror film binge. Last year, I took the plunge into the world of the Wal-Mart bargain bin and watched a different cheap-o horror flick from an Echo Bridge/Mill Creek multi-movie pack every day. That was such a big success that I’m going to do it again this year.

Usually during The 31 Days of Horror-Ween, I watch and review a different movie every day. This year however, I have jury duty, so there may be a day or two that I miss. I’m also going out of town this weekend, but I will try to make up the days I miss as soon as possible.

I’m also going to toss in some reviews of other random horror flicks I happen to check out throughout the month. I have a DVR jammed full of horror films, so I’m going to try to watch as many of those as I can too. Who knows what kind of crap I have waiting for me. Horror is my bread and butter, and I love the bad ones almost as much as the good ones. So maybe I’ll get lucky and get to watch a bit of both this month.

SUMMER OF FEAR (1996) **

Gregory Harrison’s aunt dies and leaves him an old lakeside cottage. One night, his family is assaulted by a gang of ruffians and they are saved in the nick of time by a young guy named Simon (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’s Corin Nemec). The grateful family then invites him into their home, and Harrison’s teenage daughter gets a crush on him. Predictably, everyone dotes on Simon, but slowly Harrison begins to suspect he might be up to something sinister.

Summer of Fear (which shouldn’t be confused with the Wes Craven/Linda Blair TV movie of the same name) is more of a Lifetime Movie than an out-and-out horror film. It belongs firmly in the Secrets-from-the-Hero’s-Past-Comes-Back-to-Bite-Him-on-the-Ass genre of Lifetime Movies. As these flicks go, it’s at the very least, watchable. The trouble is, the tension between Harrison and Nemec is tepid at best, and the nonexistent body count puts a damper on things for anyone expecting anything close to approximating a horror movie. There are also a lot of flashbacks to Harrison’s past that slows the pacing down too.

The performances aren’t bad though. Harrison does a good job as the family man whose masculinity has been dealt a severe blow. His performance anchors the movie whenever it threatens to get too dull. Nemec does a fine job as the Good Samaritan who may or may not be a killer, although he gets a bit too whiny at the film’s climax.

Tomorrow’s Bargain Bin Horror Movie: Nightmare at Bittercreek.