Creepy (NR, 2016, ***). This Japanese thriller is about a retired detective who looks into a case involving a family that completely disappeared – but left their youngest child. Huh. Little does Det. Takakura know how close to home this case will hit for him. Fine police procedural at first, and then it veers into, well, creepy territory – and I mean that in the nicest way, as things just get hairier and hairier. Viewed on Amazon Prime.
Cropsey (NR, 2009, **1/2). When I read the synopsis for this, I thought it was another found-footage horror movie, but it’s based on real events and is more a true-crime documentary. The true crime in question is the disappearance of several children on Long Island, NY. Kids in that area in the 1980s grew up hearing about an abandoned sanitarium and a janitor who abducted youngsters, but they thought it was used as a cautionary tale by parents to scare their children into behaving. Not so! Interesting story, although it doesn’t really settle on a thesis and does a lot of presenting people’s views without context. Viewed on Amazon Prime.
Julia’s Eyes (NR, 2010, ***). While investigating the disappearance of her blind twin sister, Julia discovers more than she wanted in this sometimes harrowing horror thriller. Adding to her problems is Julia’s own macular degeneration. Will she find out the truth before she becomes completely sightless? Intense, well crafted, and a psychological roller coaster. In Spanish. Viewed on Netflix.
The Phantom of the Opera (NR, 1925, ***). Lon Chaney’s masterful performance as the Phantom, sans sound. A disfigured composer lives in the catacombs beneath the Opera of Paris and uses terror to scare off the female lead in Faust so his preferred ingenue can have the role. But at what cost? Sure, the effects are dated, since they’re 95 years old, but the drama and especially the makeup and costuming are superb. Viewed on Amazon Prime.
The Trip (NR, 1967, **1/2). A straightlaced man (Peter Fonda) goes on an LSD trip after his wife (Susan Strasberg) leaves him, with the calm coaching of a buddy (Bruce Dern). That’s it, that’s the entire plot. Jack Nicholson wrote it, Roger Corman directed it, and Dennis Hopper is aboard as a scenester cat with a cool pad, if you can dig it. This is definitely a relic of the times. It’s a fun movie if it hits you in the right mood, and it certainly doesn’t take itself seriously! Viewed on Amazon Prime.