Welcome back horror-loving citizens of City of Geek!
We can’t believe it’s been 265 (266? 264? Freakin’ leap years) since Halloween 2019 and the end of last year’s 100 Days of Horror Challenge! Is it really time to do it all again?
IT SURE IS! Buckle up, boneheads – it’s time to go for a ride.
A ride of 100 new horror films for each participant! That includes YOU if you want!
This project is our own Kim Douthit’s long running challenge and the rest of us are joining her as we’ve done the last few years! The gist: watch 100 new-to-you Horror films between July 23rd and October 30th (leaving Halloween open for your favorites!) Parameters are loose – you want to include TV, go for it (Bob does, counting a season as one), watch a few favorites as Amy did last year, hop in as you can like Tony (he’s still in 2016 on this end!). Hell, Evan Peterson counts books! He’s a published author (buy his books!)
This page is the repository of what people post on the Facebook group for 100 Days of Horror. Whatever participants post over there, I’ll copy/paste here (unless you don’t want me to, let me know if you don’t). As posts can shift based upon comments and all that, this page creates a direct record. It goes newest to oldest, so many of the writer’s comments may reference something further below.
I apologize for any weird formatting, the copy/pasting from Facebook doesn’t always translate to this awful block format WordPress moved to. I try to fix it as I can, but doesn’t always go. Thus, each entry may look different.
**NOTE FROM SEPT 12TH until this note is gone.**- I, Bob have become very behind on updating from the Facebook to here. Working on it now! Might take a day or two to get fully there.
Sept 19 – Dasy 59 – 42 Days to Halloween
BOB: PORNO (2020, Hoopla)
Yes, Hoopla. So you can watch porno through your library card! But I’m going to recommend you don’t. Our story: In 1992, 5 theatre employees find a hidden auditorium and storage room in the basement of their small theatre (2 working screens) after a naked vagrant breaks in. They find, among the ashes of the burned out storage room, a reel with some weird symbols on it. In a visual version of reading the Latin, they spool up the film. No surprise, it’s cursed, unleashing a busty succubus into the building.
It’s almost good, or even decent. Cursed film fucking with reality – good stuff; I like that stuff. Characters are alright, a little lightly written but could have been worse – while they are overly Christian, they were realistically so; not a Bible-thumping we see in many other films. Only the straight-edge projectionist is made for easily laughs.
But it DRAGS. At 98 minutes it’s very stretched. This is one where they characters KNOW they are in danger, but continually go off on side-quests, go into different rooms alone because they argued over something, or the like. There is SOME gore but not much – the blurbs I saw befor watching kept saying “gooey and gory horror-comedy!” I might have a different definition over gory. There is a bunch at the END but saying “grossly gory” to me indicates a higher amount.
A rewrite and 25 minutes shorter, and we’d have something. This probably would b ea good short, but at 98 minutes I kept pausing to see how much longer we had. It was a LONG 98 minutes.
Sept 18 – Day 58 – 43 Days to Halloween
BOB: HELLRAISER: REVELATIONS (2011, Tubi)
Finally caught the 2011 “we gotta make this in 3 weeks to keep the rights” Hellraiser sequel. Now, I’ll admit – I mostly like the other DTV sequels. Not perfect, but there is something about them that land. This… this…. I’m convinced this is what Pinhead would show Clive Barker if he actually opened the box. Cheap cheap cheap. Filmed in what is likely a producer’s McMansion and what must be a set of shipping crates in his backyard he uses for less nefarious purposes than a crap Hellraiser sequel. Our story finds two asshole rich kids heading to Stereotype Mexico to be douches to everyone they meet. The get the box and open it, to meet really committed Pinhead cosplayer. Holy shit, this dude has no screen presence, no menace (I’m not a “not Doug Bradley so therefore sucks” guy, while no one will beat Bradley, but in a few days I’ll be talking about Judgement and that guy did a good job). He looks very uncomfortable, and his Pinhead make is just awful. (In a positive note, the special effects make up is pretty alright. Nothing wowing but at least they tried there). Douche bros go missing and we cut to their families trying to get over the missing boys. They bicker over secrets and blame and it turns out the mom of one of them has a tape of what happened and the Box. One of them opens it and Pinhead, and the boys show up – one as a cenobite that looks like a halfassed version of Pinhead (or a quarter assed as pinhead here is a half assed pinhead) and one whole but fucked up. The homeless guy who keeps the box in the real-world appears to do some murdering too as well. Sure why not?
Hellraiser Revelation is a cheap facsimile of a Hellrasier sequel, coming off as a slipshod amateur take on the franchise.
JAMES: Driven 2020 (prime)
I wanted to watch this because it had Richard Speight, Jr. in it as he was hunting down demons because of a family curse as he is being driven around by a cab driver who teams up with him. Most of the movie is in the car as they exchange banter back and forth throughout the movie and little demon action as it’s more of a comedy than horror. It’s still entertaining to watch the action in the cab than outside.
Sept 17 – Day 57 – 44 days to Halloween
Another one I have never seen all the way through. Thoughts upon finishing this.
1. For a film called #Frogs there sure were a lot of other reptiles and amphibians.
2. I fully support all of the action taken by all the animals in this film.
3. Damn, Sam Elliott looks good at all ages.
Hat man: Documented Cases of Pure Evil (2020, Prime)
Gave this documentary a go as June and Wendy talk to the director in an episode of Mystic Moon Cafe podcast about a year ago – I know you’re both on here. I’m very behind! I promise to get caught up one day!
Anyway, Hat Man is a documentary featuring stories of people giving their reports of the shadow entity many people see: a very tall mass of black, shaped like a person and wearing a hat with an obvious brim.
As an episode of a supernatural TV show, it would be almost solid stuff. It’s alright, but nothing all that special. I think I would have liked it more if it were shorter, but gotta make it feature length right?
It was well made with care put into the methods and recreations. I particularly loved the design of the ghost itself in those recreations, a good job was done to create an unearthly darkness and it didn’t come off cheesy.
But there are a variety of issues that keep Hat Man from working. First is in repetition. Not in the familiarity of the stories – that helps to show the same thing happening to various people to possibly give some sort of credence (though as is the case for documentaries like this, we’re speaking to the choir).But in the same people saying the same things. If I had to hear that same woman say “I think he’s Lucifer in the flesh” again… First two times it was repeated I thought I had clicked back to earlier by accident. But no, the same audio clip is used again.
And many of the stories, while connecting to one other, and match my own read about/experienced by myself or trusted others encounters (I’ll put my story below), can be explained away with a few more questions. I honestly believe many of them were simple sleep paralysis – which is lampshaded a few times. Several others could be just tricks of the light (the photos presented for sure). And in sticking to a small selection of storytellers, we get an issue I’ve seen in investigations I’ve done and read of, reddit stories, podcasts (MMC and others) and similar documentaries – the longer you have attention on someone telling a story, the wilder it’ll get. I don’t believe anyone is activity trying to pull wool over another’s eyes (those people are usually pretty easy to spot) but “oh the light is still on.. Maybe this stretches to the topic..” and embellishment occurs. Especially notable when a few subjects say “between our last conversion and today I remembered [x] or [big thing] happened.” Giving that time allows practically begs “I need something bigger next time” in what should be a single day interview.
Final note: the font size on the on screen text was miniscule. Hard as hell to read.
PS for a great, and freakin’ terrifying, documentary on sleep paralysis, check out The Nightmare.
PPS My hat man story. Not my house, but an ex from 2004. The first time I walked into her house, major heebie-jeebies. Not knowing if she had interest in the supernatural, I didn’t say anything but it had that feel. We’re hanging out watching a movie, and I see clearly on the 2nd level a tall jetblack shadow with a top hat appearing and walk down the hall (is it a hall if one side is open to the first floor via balcony?). She noticed I reacted to something. Before I can say anything she said “tall figure in a top hat?” Yup. She’d see him often day and night, and would wake her up once a month or so (though I take most “I woke up to a ghost” stories with salt as could be sleep mixing with reality). There was also a room of the house I received VERY negative feelings from, she did as well. No reason, but then again I never went in there, but I couldn’t help but keep looking at it.
ROBIN: PUPPET MASTER 5 (1994) Ok, I actually really enjoyed this one. I loved how the protagonist interacts with the puppets and I still really like when they’re the good guys. So far I think this one is right up there at my second favorite after the original.
JAMES: Infection 2019/2020 (prime)
A father has to fight a hundreds of infected people across Venezuela and find his son in this fast running zombie movie. Nothing original, but it’s a good watch with decent looking infected people.
Sept 16 – Day 56 – 45 Days to Halloween
KIM: Honeymoon From Hell (The Legend of Alice Flagg)
I don’t know why I keep watching Lifetime movies expecting them to be good. It’s my own fault really.
BOB: DEMONS 2 (1986, Prime)
You know how hugely crazy-go-nuts the first Demons was when the sequel is half as crazy-go-nuts and it’s still wilder than most similar movies. I’m not throwing shade at Demons 2. I loved it. Just know it’s more restrained than a helicopter crashing through he roof of a theater filled with zombie-demons (be honest, the creates are zombies with a demon make up). Now set in a 10 story apartment building, the demon invasion is started when – because who needs Italian gonzo gore flicks to make sense- a demon from a movie pushes its way through a television set (someone saw Videodrome didn’t they?) and infects a young woman on her birthday. Chaos and bloodshed ensue as the demons try to kill a pregnant woman and her husband, a gym filled with oiled up strong men in banana-hammocks (led by the guy playing the Pimp in Demons!), a kid left alone, and a whole bunch of bloodbags ready for tearing into. It’s a crazy trip through anything goes filmmaking.
ROBIN: Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983). This VHS cover is synonymous with browsing the video store for me. I can remember it sitting on the shelf in almost every horror section. The movie sadly isn’t that great, but I’m glad I finally watched it.
Circle 2015 (Netflix) I watched this with my sister today and it’s amazing how this movie reflects certain situations today. Messed up movie about how humans pick others to die. That’s all I’m going to say about that other than it’s a good movie but the ending was kinda now what.
Sept 15- Day 55- 46 Days to Halloween
KIM: The Bridge Curse
Where I did enjoy the mixture of found footage and traditional footage, this is a movie I have seen many many times before.
BOB: GRIZZLY II: THE REVENGE (1983/2020; Screener)
How to property rate this? So Grizzly II was mostly shot in 1983 until Hungary took all the camera equipment for failure TO pay bills so much of the connective tissue and Grizzly parts of Grizzly II are missing – the animatronic didn’t quite work so barely (heh) shot before it shut down. In 1988 Cannon bought the rights to finish it but nothing went anywhere it was lost. A work print showed up in 2007, and this year a filmmaker said he “finished” the film. Maybe he did and added back in more, but the version I saw was the screener sent to Crypticon Filmfestival and it’s 1h13 min. A look around the internet shows a longer cut with a few more Louise Fletcher scenes is around with about 1h37. Maybe that’ll fix some of the connection issues – characters, especially the bear at the end, make big jumps of where they are and what has happened. Especially at the climax (sorry, spoilers I guess though we all know the bear attacking the giant concert in a national park will be the climax. BTW the basic plot is Fletcher wants to hold a massive concert in a US National Park but a 20 foot bear is killing people. Like the Mayor in jaws she won’t listen to the ranger and cares more for her upward mobility in hoping a Senator will like it). Bear attacks John Ryhs-Davies and others backstage, hero sees a “high voltage sign” and next shot is the bear all mixed into the backdrop bloody and dead. Someone asks Fletcher is it part of the show and she says “yes it is”. The end. How the bear moved 50 yards and got tangled in… we do’t see it.
Can’t say it’s just 1983 footage, for like John Russo’s infamous 1998 cut of Night of the Living Dead, incongruous modern shots are mixed into the film. Oh boy do they not match. Clear drone HD shots of the forest, bad CG of a hunter shooting a confused bear, and weirdest of all – modern concert footage Strangely, editing cochella into Grizzly II KINDA matches, as the original footage seems to be several concerts edited together already. It’s both a hard rock (filmed a Nazatheth concert), new wave, and some random Hungarian rock bands. And one modern Hungarian band that really doesn’t fit. Weird to cut from an excited real rock concert crowd, to a for-the-movie confused Hungarian extras concert to Cochella.
And yes I did say Louise Fletcher and John Ryhs-Davis further up there. THis is a nice cast for a cheapie filmed in the woods of Hungary in 1983. Can’t write it off as a vacation – I mean who chooses to go to Hungary during the Cold war? But those stars are there! Charlie Cyphers from Halloween I and II is on hand a s grizzled drunk hunter.More interesting is the just about to bloom stars: Debbie Forman gets the most amount of time as the daughter of our hero but George Clooney, Laura Dern, and Charlie Sheen are the opening (off-screen) kills! So strange to have the three of them around for 4 minutes!
That is a lot more words than I expected to write about Grizzly II. Even if completed and released in 1983, it wouldn’t be all that good. The bear when we do see it, is obviously standing in place with the same sound effects, the characters are annoying, and it’s just structurally unwell and badly filmed.Maybe seeing the full version will fix it, but I doubt it.
ROBIN: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991). I swore I’d finished the series off last year, but a recent trivia question made me realize I’d missed this one. This is going to be a random thoughts posting:
– Cameos galore! (Rosanne & Tom Arnold! Johnny Depp! Alice Cooper!)
– Aww! Baby Breckin Meyer!
– So. Many. References.
– Ugh, the video game sequence.
– This is like the Looney Toons of NOES movies.
– The second half of the movie is MUCH better than the first half.
I remember as a kid (I would have been 10), my sister went to see this in the theater and kept the pair of 3D glasses on her shelf until she moved out. I made her tell me how they killed Freddy.
JAMES: LOST BAYOU (2019, Rental)
More drama than anything, a struggling addict visits her estranged faith healing father on his houseboat on the bayous of Louisiana to reconnect. There she agrees to help bury a woman, who he thinks is his dead wife in a wonderful, gloomy tale of love and grief.
Sept 14- Day 54 – 47 days to Halloween
KIM: THE ISLAND OF LOST SOUL
I spent the whole movie waiting for Marlon Brando to show up.
BOB: THE HUNT (2020, Netflix Disc)
The third version of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME I’ve watched this year! (it was the first of them to come out though).
Solid entry into the year – though honestly I wanted more of hunting in The Hunt. Even with unexpected (and welcome) diversions, it’s pretty straightforward in much of it. Not much of the cat-and-mouse I like in these flicks.
I don’t know why the right was so upset about the movie – sure the liberal elite are hunting MAGAs, but the film is far kinder to the MAGAs. Kneejerk in their distain. Heck, the way the left is treated is just about parody with not much that rips on the right, to be honest.
Betty Gilpin continues her awesome run of roles, killing it as our nearly silent, pragmatic and pissed-off lead.
And fuck yes, that final fight (no details other than that!) is one of my recent favorites.
Lots of humor, lots of blood, and a killer go from Gilpin, The Hunt is good stuff.
ROBIN: TERROR TRAIN (1980) Another classic slasher that I’ve missed up until this point. Very effective! Man, that poor conductor. I will say that I completely missed that the magician is David Copperfield. I blame it on the lack of 80s mullet. Glad I finally caught this one!
JOHN: Gates of Darkness 2019 (prime)
I wanted to like this because of the cast but didn’t quite get there. Seemed to be missing something/plot and supposedly based on true events as a sister thinks her twin brother is possessed and asks the church for help only to unlock secrets from the past.
Sept 13 – Day 53 – 48 Days to Halloween
KIM: THE CRAZIES (1973)
This has been on my list forever. Enjoyable enough but I actually felt like it was a bit of a wasted opportunity. Given the current climate though, it still packed a punch.
BOB: BEHIND YOU (2020, Hulu)
A standard haunted mirror/Bloody Mary story. Two girls move into their aunt’s house after their mom dies; their dad is overseas and can’t be found. Another aunt died there as a kid, or vanished? The backstory is really muddled, along with the characters themselves. Actions, feelings, and reasons shift a good deal, along with the whys and hows.There is a knowledge shift to explain some of this but doesn’t feel right. Bad performances don’t help. Not really worth your time.
JAMES: FANGED UP (2020, Prime)
I wanted to watch this British horror/comedy because some of the actors in it and the premise of the prisoners in jail as food for vampire guards. It was stupidly funny at times and definitely had WTF moments. It’s not the best but it was entertaining and I’ve seen a lot worse.
ROBIN: CURTAINS (1983). I surprisingly liked this despite the mack truck sized plot holes. Was happy to see it streaming on Amazon even though the transfer isn’t good. I’m with every review I’ve ever seen for this… The mask is amazing!
Sept 12 – Day 52 – 49 Days to Halloween
KIM: NIGHTMARE CASTLE
I was convinced I’d seen this, but apparently I had not. Solid watch. Worth it for Barbara Steele alone.
BOB: C.H.U.D II: BUD THE CHUD (1989, Tubi)
Chud II is less a sequel to CHUD than it is a bad remake of Night of the Creeps.
While I didn’t give the highest praise to CHUD, it is far and away better than CHUD II. Holy shit, is this a different movie. In tone, quality, make-up, and everything. Don’t expect to see anything resembling CHUD in CHUD II – like Troll to Troll 2. At least Gerrit Graham (BEEF! From Phantom of he Paradise and a zillion other things… character actors!) gets to mug it up as the titular character. He’s a soldier part of the CHUD project, an attempt to create zombie soldier as part of an inane poorly thought government plan headed up by a mortgage-payment-needed Robert Vaughn.
It’s infuriating how little care went into making this work. It’s just inane. Like take this: sometime late at night our “heroes” steal the frozen Bud from a “secret” government facility (very easily, to replace a body they lost from their high school science lab). They hide him in a bathrooms at one’s parents home. In the course of a minute, a pre-teen is told to go back to bed, the mom says she is ready to get in her bath and then the parents say it’s time for dinner. Three separate moments to create three separate moments of a joke not landing. No joke really lands at all. The humor, direction and performances are all lacking in energy. Just listlessly moves through
If perhaps the gore or make-up was bigger and better I could see past the bad everything else. But the make-up is merely a layer of community theatre sick make up with bad teeth. Only a few drops blood to be seen. Just go nuts- bring on the goo and bloodspray!
Bud the Chud is a bad hororor comedy that thinks it’s funnier than it is with low-energy everything and massively annoying inconsistencies (that I shouldn’t be mad about, they didn’t care, why should I).
PS Okay the pool full of frozen zombies and the results are pretty cool, but too little too late
PPS – there are no CHUDs like the one in first movie or in the poster. Very annoying. Nothing in the sewer either.
JAMES: Alive (2020, Netflix)
I don’t mind reading subtitles or you can change the language under settings but Alive is a fast paced Korean zombie movie. Some of the choices the main guy makes seem dumb but I still was rooting for him along with the girl across the way. Still an intense and entertaining movie.
ROBIN: WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE (2019)
I’ve never read the book, but feel like I need to now. I enjoyed this one a lot. First thing I’ve seen with Crispin Glover in quite some time. Also, I can’t get over how much Taissa Farmiga looks like her sister. Solid group of actors playing the main roles.
Sept 11 – Day 51 – 50 Days to Halloween — HALFWAY THERE!
Kim: You Can’t Kill Stephen King
I really wanted to like this. I tried. And it has some…moments…but overall just a disappointing. Felt too long even though it was only 82 minutes. Would have been better served as a short.
BOB: JU-ON: ORIGINS (2020, 6 episode TV on Netflix)
Eh. It’s Ju-on, a series i’m meh on anyway (and I’ve seen them ALL). Some moments that work, but a whole lot of annoyingly inconsistent filler and scares. Somehow at 3 hours it’s the most amount of Ju-On but also does the absolute least. Expect the standard Ju-On stuff, except dont’ expect the scares and kill sequences – our familiar ghosts dont’ show up (outside maybe a moment).
All and all, I don’t really see the point in this entry. Weird to think the lackluster American one from January would be far better than a new Japanese one.
ROBIN: Amsterdamned (1988). Solid light slasher/detective story. I needed something simple & good and this fit the bill perfectly. I love that it even has a theme song over the closing credits.
JAMES: Open 24 Hours 2018 (rental)
A young woman recently released from prison gets a job at a 24 hour gas station on the advise of her parole officer. There she has hallucinations dealing with her past when she set her serial killer ex boyfriend on fire. As she deals with what’s real and not real, the suspense builds to a bloody, entertaining fight. Though the ending, I think could have been better.
Sept 10 -Day 50 – 51 Days to Halloween
Kim: Witch-Hunt (2017)
I watched this on the recommendation of Jennifer Lovely and I very much enjoyed it! Very pleasant surprise! Also made me really want to play the card game they’re playing…
BOB: AFTER MIDNIGHT (2020, Hoopa/Kanopy)
A let down, bearing who is behind this flick. Early last decade Jeremy Gardner made the excellent THE BATTERY for $7000 and a hell of a lot of ingenuity. Now working with Aaron Moorehead & Justin Benson, the guys behind SPRING, and THE ENDLESS – who also get a hell of a lot out of a little, Gardner gives an often dull, overly talky and meandering look at depression and being stuck in a rut by way of an occasional monster. Monster movies are often metaphor, and I don’t mind long explorations of personal demons, but this didn’t click. I think Gardner had a couple ideas of where to take it and what is about but really couldn’t hone down before it came time to roll. It was time to go, and the nut wasn’t cracked, giving an uneven but well acted film. I didn’t dislike it, but didn’t really like either. Frustating as it feels there is a better movie just out of reach.
But holy shit, go watch THE BATTERY. it’s on Prime and Tubi and it’s astounding. (Thanks Jennifer Lovely for the many recs to see it). SPRING is on Shudder and Tubi and THE ENDLESS is on Netflix and Hoopla. See those.
ROBIN: BABYSITTER KILLER QUEEN (2020, NETFLIX)
Not in the same league as the first one, sadly. One good thing… 110% more Chris Wylde. (I think I’m one of like 10 people who loved his show back in 2001). Sequels are hard to get right.
James: The Babysitter Killer Queen 2020 (Netflix)
Everybody’s saying if you liked the first one, you’ll like the sequel. It did not disappoint. Two years later every one thinks Cole is crazy after the events of the first movie and he’s dealing with them and seeing a therapist. He’s goes to the lake with friends and then all hell breaks loose when the demon, blood cult comes back to life and back for his blood. Killer Queen is crazier, bloody, fun entertainment that will rock to the end with all the movie references and killer soundtrack. Hope you enjoy it like I did.
Sept 9 – Day 49 – 52 Days to Halloween
KIM: BLOOD CULT (1985)
So, weirdly the title of this movie also seems to be “Slasher” but most of what I found was under “Blood Cult.” It’s not good. It’s…remarkably bad…buuuuut it’s so bad it’s also kind of amazing? I sort of wish I had been live tweeting it.
BOB: GRIZZLY (1976, Tubi)
Jaws. But with a bear. And stupid. Not completely a copy/paste plot points but pretty damned close. Close enough it’s obvious JAWS was the influence. JAWS rip-offs can be damned entertaining, but ORCA this ain’t. Our leads are interchangeable mountain dudes, the thing is filmed so damned ugly, and the the mixture of real bear (which exudes zero menace due to the filming angles they had to use for safety) and costume bits do not match at all. Holy shit, that last bit gets some decent entertainment with how awkward it looks.
Animal death CW: one bear cub off screen and one horse decapitation (which is so badly shot I laughed too hard at) on screen.
ROBIN: HELLMASTER (1992)
I didn’t know this movie existed. I think that there’s good reason for that. Ugh. This was terrible. Wow
Sept 8 – Day 48 – 53 Days to Halloween
KIM: AMERICAN HAUNTING
This movie is an utter waste of some truly talented actors.
BOB: I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (2020, Netflix)
I want to rave over how much I love this film, but I will not want to spoil a damned thing. I came in knowing zero and all the better for it. My letterboxd for 2020 releases currently has 120 titles, and this sits comfortably at 5. That’s how much I loved it. I’ll just say right now- a disturbing Lynchian nightmare with amazing performances including a career maker from Jesse Buckley. I loved her in Beast and Chernobyl (she was the pregnant wife of one of the first victims). Toni Collette and David Thewlis are on board too. That should be enough for anyone.
Want more details (with minor set-up general idea spoilers)? Read on!
Jesse Buckley and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad, Game Night) are on the way to meet her parents. They’ve been dating seven weeks and she’s thinking of ending things. Thus begins a nightmare of meeting odd-parents and the sheer uncomfortably of a long road trip with someone you barely know, and jumping into a house and family with a long fractured history you know nothing about. It’s a weird situation to start with, but this is a Charlie Kauffmann movie – so there is FAR MORE going on that basic uncomfortably.
We have a film that also touches into emotional intertia and the sickness of memory.
There is a lot to discuss and unpack. It’s so well done that early thoughts of what things mean and reflect upon are not invalidated by later understandings. I’m getting dangerously close to spoilers so stopping myself right now.
ROBIN: VFW (2019). If you like the old-school, gloomy siege movies, you’ll love this one. Super simple sets, great soundtrack, and some fun actors. My only complaint is the lighting. There are parts of this that are practically blurry with how low the light is.
James: Bone Breaker
Sept 7 – Day 47 – 54 Days to Halloween
KIM: Dark Light
Another meh in a sea of meh movies. I actually had to double check a few times that I hadn’t watched this already since it felt like so many other movies I had seen before…
BOB: BUTT BOY (202, Prime)
Meh It seemed like the filmmakers wanted to make a Greasy Strangler like flick, but somewhere along the way pulled back. Pulling back a bit is alright – I love GS but it’s a lot and not for everyone – but they pulled back too far, leaving a film with the potential for interesting incandescent oddness.
An alcoholic detective’s new AA sponsor might be the man responsible for a series of disappearances. Ok, he is. No surprise there. The vanishings are due to the sponsor’s need to shove items and people up his ass, which magically is an endless cavern.
The dialog, performances, and look are all highly stylized, well on the side of weird but not WEIRD. There are script issues in who we are supposed to identify with and root for, we start with following Butt Boy, but shift to the detective. There is a difference in telling this from a few POVs and both of them being protagonists against the other.
But it all comes down to a slightly bent police procedural where we know the culprit with the option of going wild but not doing so, landing in an odd place. No one is going to watch this without begging for the oddity of the situation so might as well just toss the normal away and commit. COMMIT TO YOUR WEIRDNESS. LET THE FREAK FLAG FLY. Half mast is worse than going too far.
Robin: Porno (2019). Bleh. The first 3rd is all (bordering on parody) “Hey guys! This takes place in the 90s!”. The second 3rd is weirdly shame-y. And the last 3rd is a nonsensical mess (that is still pretty shame-y).
Sept 6 – Day 46 – 55 Days to Halloween
I really enjoyed this. The acting across the board was strong but Gaby Hoffmann really carries it as Leah. Definitely has a modern Rosemary’s Baby vibe going on.
BOB: WARRIOR NUN season 1 (2020, Netflix)
A little stretch as Warrior Nun is more of an action drama than I expected, but there are demons, bloody deaths, and all of that.
I love the premise – a sect of nuns trained in butt kicking protect the world from demons using parts of an angel’s armour; including the halo literally shoved in one’s back. The new bearer of the halo is a recently deceased 19 year old, who has been quadriplegic for 10 years and stuck in an orphanage bed so she’s not really experienced life: so she is torn between enjoying her new found freedom and the responsibilities thrust upon her.
It’s fine. Some good characters, a charming lead and impressive choreography go a long way.
The issue comes in the length. Like many other 8 to 10-episode series (such as the ones I watched last year Slasher, Chambers; or earlier this year Ares), the story gets overly stretched. Lots of narrative cul-de-sacs, my favorite characters get left behind early on, and way too much petty infighting and secret keeping for dramatic reveals.
This would have been a really solid 4 to 5 parter, maybe even a movie (though I think I’d feel there was more to explore if this was a flick). Another season is coming, and it has the feel of Under the Dome – chugging along well,, until word comes on high it’s not a limited series but a multi-season so gotta change gears and slow down to keep the plot moving.
ROBIN: Satanic Panic (2019, Shudder)
This is like the grown-up version of The Babysitter. Not in a bad way. This takes some of those themes and cranks them up another notch. I found it enjoyable. Extra kudos for taking what would have been a gross out scene and turning it into a super emotional one.
James: Cannibal Corpse Killers
Sept 5 – Day 45- 56 Days to Halloween
KIM: Girl on the Third Floor
I kind of loathed this. The main guy was so unlikable that I just didn’t care.
BOB: IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS (2020, Shudder)
This 4.5 documentary on 80s horror is both exhaustive but slight. Yeah, in this length that’s weird. So, like many documentaries of this sort – the filmmakers are preaching to the choir. Anyone watching this is going to be incredibly familiar with the myriads of movies and topics being talked about. But you know, we can’t get enough and it’s always nice to revisit thoughts on classics (that word is used lightly in a few cases) and occasional get some new insights. Many of these insights come surprisingly from Alex Winter of The Lost Boys and Bill and Ted! (Still need to see the 3rd one) There are a great many talking heads from all over the creators/stars of 80s horror and from the web. Most give good off-hand commentary, with the MAJOR exception of the James A. Janisse from Dead Meat. He’s reading from a rehearsed script and in such an annoying way, that feels often condescending and telling us exactly what we know already.
I liked the set up – two types of segments: one picks out about a dozen features of the year and folks talking about and between those have direct topics: final girls, blood, sex, etc. Yeah, stuff we’ve read and seen before (likely with the same interviewees).
So it’s a mixed bag on that end. It wont’ be of interest to those who don’t care for 80s horror. The filmmakers obviously have a great love and appreciation but it also won’t be anything new.
Compare to Horror Noire, which takes a particular aspect of the genre and really brings new views to it.
James: Don’t let them in (2020)
Robin: LUZ(2018). I really liked the style of this one and the way the story was told. The whole second half in the conference room was just brilliant stylistically. However, the story itself left me wanting just a bit more. So close, but lacking a little bit.
Sept 4 – Day 44 – 57 Days to Halloween
KIM: THE SHED (2020, Shudder)
I was fairly meh on this. I feel like it would have been a cool short but I got kind of bored with it.
BOB: Into the Dark: Culture Shock (2019, Hulu)
That was a doozy! Whoo Barbara Crampton! A young pregnant woman in Mexico tries to make a second attempt to cross to USA and somehow ends up in a bright, cheery utopic America. We all know something is wrong. Fascinating look at the falseness of Americana with many great performances.
James: Light from light (2017)
ROBIN: The Cured (2017). I thought this one was excellent. What would happen if they found a cure for a zombie-like outbreak and those people needed to be reincorporated into society? I felt like it tackled the human element of it while also taking a slightly different angle on the infected themselves.
Sept 3 – Day 43 – 58 Days to Halloween
KIM: WHEN A STRANGER CALLS BACK
I really enjoyed this! Actually better paced that the original (I love the original, but that middle section…) A little silly at times (the camouflage) but very entertaining!
BOB: CHUD (1984, Prime)
Surprising, a first time watch for me. This is not the Last Drive In version as Shudder doesn’t have access currently. CHUD isn’t a great movie, but it’s not a bad one either. I look forward to picking up and working through the Arrow Blu-Ray. CHUD’s cult film reputation is earned. But it is different than I expected from the cult rep. It’s a far more serious film than I thought it would be. I’m reminded of the late great Larry Cohen’s films – what sound like cheesy plots are presented with a true grit to them of real people with an odd situation. But not so odd it’s a mind-blower but odd enough that it’s a shrug and “oh, this again.” (Kim and I joked when we watched It’s Alive to open 2018’s 100 Days of Horror it seemed LA had a “mutant baby squad” on hand) Maybe too much talk and not enough blood,but good enough. Nice to see Daniel Stern in a serious role. And hey, early John Goodman for a scene as a pervy cop! I liked the monster design, and looking at the life of “mole people.”
PS: Fantastic non-fiction book on the underground homeless of NYC: The Mole People by Jennifer Toth. I read it earlier this year and recommend it.
ROBIN: Death House (2017). I’m going to be pretty harsh on this movie. I remember all of the “Expendables of Horror” talk when this was in production. I knew it was going to be bad, but my god. I really wish, with the cast they had, that there had been a good script to work with. Sadly, it was a really, really terrible one. I’d love to see some behind the scenes footage on this to find out how the director got such lackluster performances from the actors. Barbara Crampton was one bright light in the dreck.
P.s. I love how the quote from John Squires on the poster is, “Dubbed by fans as being ‘The Expendables of Horror'” Not even a direct quote of someone stating it. 🤣
Sept 2 – Day 42 – 59 Days to Halloween
KIM: All Light Will End
I wanted to like this. I really did. But that acting was distractingly bad.
BOB: Disney’s Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (2017, Disney+)
The spelled out title is on purpose, as replicates a cheerleader. Disney’s Zombies (originally on DisneyChannel as an original movie) is a mix of zombie movies (‘natch), Hairspray, and Bright (and a heavy dose of Romeo/Juliet). We have the plot of Hairspray, opposed minority is allowed access to be on an entertainment (football team) (with the addition of integrating schools allegory), becomes well loved, earns the love and respect of the popular person (here a cheerleader), and the dislike of pig-headed conservatives. Bright by way of the so incredibly obvious social messaging. I don’t need to explain the parallels. Like Bright, it comes off a bit cringe reducing still big issue (as we see in the news everyday) for fantasy like this; doubly so it also makes the message
As a movie, its’ alright. Charming enough DisneyChannel original. I don’t know if any of these kids are regular disneychannel stars (as often are in their movies), but they come off pretty well by avoiding the standard “setting up for a punchline” delivery. The songs are all the same peppy fun, enjoyable in the moment but not memorable. Oh yeah, this is a musical.
PS The film has this green/pink color palette that made me wanna throw up. it’s ugly.
Random Acts of Violence (2019). Jay Baruchel has potential as a horror director, but he’s not quite there yet. I liked this heading in and for most of the runtime. However, it lost me as the climax began. I feel like there’s a pretty big casting misstep that takes the wind out of it’s sails.
Sept 1 – Day 41 – 60 Days to Halloween
KIM: GUNS AKIMBO (2020)
Another that’s a little bit of a stretch to count but I don’t care. Lots of flash and style. Not a lot of depth but Daniel Radcliffe is just so charming and watchable.
Bob: GRETEL & HANSEL (2020, Netflix disc)
This new version of the classic fairy tale starring Sophia Lillis (IT, Sharp Objects) and Alice Krige (Ghost Story, First Contact, so many other awesome things) has had many detractors from those who have seen it ( maybe even some of you). But I loved every last minute of its beautifully shot slow burn.
Beautifully shot slow burn that angers most viewers can also be said of the previous films of director Ozgood Perkins (son of Anthony): I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House and BlackCoat’s Daughter (aka February). And I loved both of those too. Maybe I’m weird. (spoiler alert: yes I am).
It’s moody and brooding, having the feel of Terrance Mallick, David Lynch, a tad of Ken Russell, and heavy doses of Herzog – espcially is version of NOSFERATU. (still my favorite version of the tale)
Wonderful design and giallo-esque color use give a continually uneasy feel. The script is both obvious and subtle with it’s witchy womanhood.
I’m sure everyone here has seen the similar THE WITCH, but if you like this sort of flick – I recommend HAGAZUSSA. Similar in tone, pace, and text.
ROBIN: The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue/Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974). I like the secondary title better as I don’t believe the movie ever actually makes it to Manchester. I enjoyed the different take on the zombies and how they came about & spread. That final climax was well done. Some great shots (elevator scene) in the hospital.
Aug 31 – Day 40 – 61 Days to Halloween
KIM: SEVEN IN HEAVEN
All I kept thinking while watching this was, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer did it better with The Wish.’
BOB: INTO THE DARK: THEY COME KNOCKING (2019, Hulu). Pretty okay entry into the series (Father’s Day is our holiday this time). A grieving dad and his two daughters travel to an isolated spot – where the dad and mom got engaged – to scatter her ashes. Unfortunately the area is home a set of Black Eyed Kids. The BEKs fuck with the heads, cause injuries and everyone fights.
I don’t know really what else to say. I’ts competent? It has it’s moments. Not a bad watch but 3 days later, I’m struggling to recall details of the back half (I usually write these right after watching even if not posting yet)
ROBIN: GOD TOLD ME TO (1976)
I officially need to work my way through Larry Cohen’s catalog now. I’ve enjoyed everything of his that I’ve seen so far! This went in a direction I was not quite expecting, but I was on board for it. Completely missed Andy Kaufman until I was reading IMDb afterwards.
EVAN: TESIS (Spain, Alejandro Amenábar, 1996, Scarecrow Video): I love this. Has a distinct Giallo feel while significantly better than latter-day Argento or much of de Palma. Also, the director was a film student when he made it, and it’s way better than any student film I’ve ever seen. It’s a student film about film students (hey-o!) investigating violence in media. Of course, they stumble upon a snuff film which may or may not have been made by someone at their university. This student film is way, way better than many big budget, widely released American or Italian horror films. TW: women tortured, some on-screen gore, mostly left up to the imagination.
Aug 30 – Day 39 – 62 Days to Halloween
KIM: THE LIFECHANGER (2019)
This movie was a surprise. I had no expectations going in and am not usually huge on body horror but I really enjoyed it. Worth a watch.
Bob: GET DUKED, OR DIE TRYING! (2020, AMAZON PRIME)
Come for the Eddie Izzard, stay for the hilarious comedy take on Most Dangerous Game, now over the Scottish Highlands with large doses of have-and-have-nots, youth expectations (literally and metaphorically of pushing kids into the world without any prep and getting upset when they can’t hack it), lots of humor, and a wild adventure. Three ne’er-do-well estate teens and one nerdy overachiever must spend two days hiking across the Highlands to earn an “award” -a laminated certificate on a route planned by Prince Phillip (the Duke of Edinburgh) in the 50s. Too bad this puts them into the sigtes of the Duke (Izzard) and Duchess, two upper class twits of the year with a large gun, a sword, and human skin masks. Thus begins a madcap adventure to survive, with the help of drugged up on rabbit poop farmers (led by James Cosmos of everything British ever) and accidentally hindered by two inept police officers who think they’ve stumbled upon a completely different plot. Continually funny and surprising, Get Duked is a movie new to prime I hadn’t even heard of until Tony’s review made me want to see it immediately. Glad I did.
PS. The more serious Most Dangerous Game adaption that was on Quibi this year is very good too.
ROBIN: MADHOUSE (1974). The finale is definitely the best part of this one. The monologues and the dramatic revelations. Getting to that point the movie is fairly repetitive. I want to be Faye for Halloween.
EVAN: BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (Russ Meyer, 1970, Scarecrow Video): Roger Ebert wrote this turkey. How dare he criticize anything, ever. This is not a sequel to VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, which was a failure to be serious. This is a spoof of the original and 60’s hippie/swingin culture in general. It’s a comedy most of the way through, with some dramatic scenes in which bad men beat the shit out of decent men. I include it as horror because the final act is based on the Manson Family murders of the Tate group, which had JUST HAPPENED when filming began, and Sharon Tate was in the original film. The final minutes are gory and suspenseful, but they also look like they were shot by Kenneth Anger trying to do Dario Argento. Oh, and the killer is trans. Eye roll.
JAY: WINTER BEAST (1992, Youtube)
Oh my god.
Do you love ultra low-budget creature features?
Are you a fan of zany claymation FX and gore?
Can you deal with sometimes excessively long dialogue stretches to get to utterly insane, hilarious, and impressively bad monsters?
Never seen a movie with haunted, killer totem poles?
Boy, have I got the film for you!
This is an absolutely wild one. If you’re at all a fan of low-budget, bad horror, I can’t recommend this enough.
I was (pleasantly) blown away by how chees-ily bad the FX are and just how off-the-rails this whole film was. I want to own this film now lol…
A really fun watch! Great stuff.
Aug 29 – Day 38 – 63 Days to Halloween
KIM: PHASE IV
Where the plot is a little lacking, I really dug all the shots from the ants perspective.
BOB: THE POOL (2019, Shudder)
When the Thailand-import to Shudder began, I as worried. In the first interaction we see of Day with the crocodile he’s stuck with at the bottom of a pool, the crocodile looks just awful and the compositing is cringe. (I’ll be honest, the croc never looks good, if that’s something that will bother you, this might not be for you). Then, we flash back six days. I was worried we’d now have a very long set up and minimal crocodile/survival action. Luckily I was wrong. This short interlude before Day is trapped a mere 7 minutes later in screen time does well to quickly set up the tools, traps, and handful of other persons to meet (along with setting him up as well of course).
The Pool is a fantastic example of its subgenre – a small amount of people stuck in an isolated area (the drained pool is in the blighted area and only filled for a music video Day was working as a PA on) against the elements and an animal with very sharp teeth. The expected things happen, progress is made along with mistakes and injuries as the resourceful hero tries to get out of his situation. I’m being coy on those details as it’s best to experience and figure out how they pieces will move by watching it. If you dig this subgenre, the pool comes with the highest recommendation.
The astounding 75 on metacritic (which I as unaware of going in, I clicked it because “new on Shudder” as the only qualification) is well-earned. You not find it listed on 2019’s full list as it’s only on 3 reviews but when ALL THREE give the same high go, that’s something.There is a very high volume of 1 and 2s on iMDB if you read those, most shit on it immediately for the CG or “why did he make [x] bad decision. I would have done [y]. STUPID!”
PS There is animal trauma if that’s a trigger for you. (not just of the croc, but a dog is in peril too)
Robin: GET DUKED (2020, Prime)
This movie was so much fun! Likeable characters and I laughed out loud at several moments. It is super light on the horror elements, but if you have Prime this one is a definite watch.
EVAN: “NOVEL OF THE BLACK SEAL” & “NOVEL OF THE WHITE POWDER” (Arthur Machen, 1895, from THE THREE IMPOSTORS anthology): I need to read Machen’s THREE IMPOSTORS in its entirety. Both of these stories involve body horror, though they make us wait for the squish and slime and degradation of the human form. These two short stories are often anthologized with THE GREAT GOD PAN, which is of course Machen’s masterpiece. Reading the two “NOVEL OF” stories, it’s clear where Lovecraft got a lot of his inspiration for stories like “THE DUNWICH HORROR” and “COOL AIR.” Machen, in turn, clearly stole unapologetically from Stephenson, as both of these stories involve memorable tropes (including an atavistic drug and an epilogue in the form of confessions) that Stephenson had used in THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MISTER HYDE only a few years earlier. I love finding that chain of inspiration (and outright theft) as we put these movies and stories in close proximity.
Uncle Sam (1996, Tubi)
This looked like it would be one of those horribly bad, but hilarious movies in the same vein as Jack Frost.
It was not.
Nothing happens for the first 42 minutes. Literally just a kid obsessing over the military.
Pretty lifeless plot, dialogue, and film overall.
There’s a good chunk of kills crammed into the last portion of the film that were fairly creative, so there’s that.
Aug 28 – Day 37 – 64 Days to Halloween
KIM: INVISIBLE GHOST
Other than the fact “Invisible Ghost” is sort of a silly name, this was a solid film. Bella Lugosi gives a strong performance.
BOB SHE DIES TOMORROW (2020, Amazon)
Dull, pretentious claptrap. A young woman has a vision she’s going to die and this starts a contagious feeling of the same, leading to long conversations about mortality and such that feel like they are torn from a script from a Philosophy-FilmStudies-Stoner triple major instead of underappreciated actress Amy Siemitz (she writes and directs but does not appear). I get it’s a metaphor for suicidal depression and how it affects those around you but yeah… drones on into nothing. I will admit, perhaps the first person we follow is played by Kate Lyn Sheil was also in the overy pretentius Kate Plays Christine and I hated her peformance in both of these. is it weird to say her acting is both overfly forceful in underdoing it? Like aiming at no emotion and the deadest eyes. Anyway, this didn’t catch me at all.
ROBIN: Beast No More (2019).
I was drawn in by the poster and let down terribly by the movie. Don’t bother.
EVAN: Phantom of the Paradise (De Palma, 1974, Scarecrow Video):
I stand corrected. I saw this one fifteen years ago, and I think I expected something very different. I wasn’t ready at the time for the zaniness, even though I was a die hard ROCKY HORROR fanatic. Anyway: this is great. High camp, but with definite Gothic and Satanic tropes. It throws glam rock, Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and lots of FAUST into a blender with a bunch of other shit (birds everywhere, birds birds birds), and out comes this absolute gem of a camp musical spectacle.
Body Melt (1993, Youtube)
So melt movies are my absolute favorite horror subgenre. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many of them (2, 3? I’m open to recommendations if you know any). Street Trash is obviously king.
Body Melt was cool, though. A notable “Science gone wrong” horror entry that’s definitely worth a watch. There were a few glorious melts, but it also felt like a creature affair at the same time, which was weird. Does the drug make people melt, or creature? I dunno.
Some of the story seemed irrelevant or misplaced, and it seems to be approached from a comedic angle, which was also kind of weird. If you watch it, you’ll see what I mean.
Pretty decent movie overall. I enjoyed it.
Aug 27 – Day 36 – 65 Days to Halloween
When I first saw the full cast I was like, how was this never on my radar?
Then I watched it. It had its moments. Very silly and campy. Ultimately forgettable.
BOB: SCOOBY-DOO THE MYSTERY BEGINS (2009)
It may be unfair to hardly judge a cheap made for dvd Scooby movie after the underwhelming but budget-backed pair from 2002 and 2004. But I am anyway. Scooby-Doo The Mystery Begins in costume, character, and presentation feels like it’s just about to break out in the porn version. These are bad imitations of the previous movie’s voices and characterizations. Except Fred. He’s just some rando jock. He’s not even blonde with no ascot! Okay fine Velma is pretty good – less annoying than the higher voice Linda Cardellini did, but the annoying Lillard-Shaggy impersonation for Shaggy is grating. The mystery is lacking and energy-less, and a mess. Scooby is obviously less of a CG creation without the budget, but he’s barely in it. (but IS voiced by Frank Welker so that’s great). The whole thing is just… awkward. ON the plus side, there are actual ghosts. Always welcome for Scooby-Doo to bring in the supernatural and not just a white guy in a mask (we have that too)
JAMES: Deep Blue Seas 3 (2020)
ROBIN: THE SHED (2019)
This one was fun. There’s not a whole lot new here but I enjoyed what they did with it except for one moment. Also, Frank Whaley still looks pretty good for almost 60.
JAY: Galaxy of Terror (1981, I think I watched this on Dailymotion?)
After Evan’s review, I had to check this one out. It is every bit as crazy as I was hoping, and then some!
I feel like this easily could’ve been a precursor to Event Horizon, and equally gory (for its time), but with more creature madness going on.
This movie is hella fun if you’re into goofy 80’s sci-fi and creature features with tons of gore and mindf**ks. Which, I am, so this was right up my alley. I liked their light up backpacks too; pretty neat.
Aug 26 – Day 35 – 66 days to Halloween
It takes a lot of talent to make a movie with this much plot be so very dull.
BOB: DEAD BY DAWN (2020, Prime)
Ugh. No. Fuck this. Utter trash. This is a film that hates women. Our lead is Lulu, She’s a weak woman who does everything her abusive boyfriend demands. When he punches her on Halloween, she cries a minute then leaves to go her Uncle’s party. (later, the boyfriend shows up to help her and she just about runs back to him without hesitation). The rideshare driver is a skuzzy man dressed as a clown who leers and hits on her while pulling his dick. With a cut to later, she shows up, beaten and bloody, to a man’s cabin asking for protection from three people outside. These people are her uncle, who didn’t have a party – he kidnapped and raped her – and his friends – the driver and his girlfriend, who gets off on being beaten and abused. Her name is literally Snack, as in “she’s a snack”.
Thus starts the bulk of the movie. A horrendous home-invasion film. Even without the awful characters- there is difference in writing someone who needs to find strength and the way Lulu is written, its all very alpha male-ish writing (at one point the guy helping her rags on her for being a vegetarian and the writing sounds like author’s mouthpiece)- everything is just poorly constructed. The blocking, the camera shots, the make up. It’s all just amateur as hell. Cut with a chainsaw. That make up – looks like what and 8th grader would do in his dad’s basement haunted house with make up he bought cheap from spirit’s clearance sale the year before. Like results from a cut is a horizon line from obviously pushing fake blood from a gel tube.
PS – yes, all the men are awful in this too, but the treatment of the women is a sorer notion. … I’m sure the bad performances make it all worse.
PPS – this is also the type of film that thinks the audience is going to cheer a bad guy getting anally raped by a gun.
JAMES: Cellar Dweller (1988)
ROBIN: PUPPET MASTER 4 (1993)
The series watch continues! I have to say, this one gets a giant yawn from me. I feel like nothing really happened. It was nice seeing the puppets being the good guys, but other than that… Hey, at least they retconned Puppet Master II!
EVAN: GALAXY OF TERROR (1981, Bruce Clark + Roger Corman, Prime):
Oh, 80’s sci fi horror. Putting rectums in all the alien architecture (see also LIFEFORCE and ALIEN). The prologue for this one is insane–think ZARDOZ spliced with THE VISITOR. From there, we get a fun and squicky knock off of ALIEN, with a cast that boasts Sid Haig, Ray Walston, and Robert Englund (who, when playing a good guy, is quite a looker! Those eyes!). Anyway, a bunch of white people go to a stress planet and get stressed out and chopped up and pulped and raped by giant maggots. And maybe God makes a few cameos, but I’m not sure. And the ending absolutely got ripped off for ANNIHILATION.
JAY: Disgusting Spaceworms Eat Everyone! (1988, Youtube)
Jesus christ, this is the most silly goose thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I totally agree with the description; it’s like some college friends got wasted and tried to make the silliest movie possible.
And I mean that in the best way…
Spaceworms is absolutely wild; from the (cheaply executed) “Slugs”-ish flesh-eating kills, to cocaine loving spaceworms, to the Michael Jackson outfitted Detective and his corny noire dialogues, to action packed shootouts, the worm zombie meltdown, ass-less pants, toy model spaceships, and the most ridiculously hilarious 15 minute finale that had me just about dying from laughter.
This is just insane all around, and a supremely low-budget shitshow.
If you ever wanted to get inebriated and watch the silliest movie of all time, this is the one!
Or if you just need a palate cleanser that’s uniquely as bad as it is entertaining – don’t sleep on Spaceworms.
It doesn’t even have release art for me to post, if that’s any indication of what kind of cheap hijinks you’re in for here.
Aug 25 – Day 34 – 67 Days to Halloween
Kim PREY /Prooi/Uncaged
The film of many names. Predictable but solid killer lion film. I always root for the animals in these so the endings often leave me disappointed.
BOB: WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS (2020, Netflix)
I’d be willing to bet We Summon The Darkness is written around the story shift/twist/revelation. Got the idea, now write how we get there and figure out what happens from it. The getting to is better than the way down.
So the first 45 minutes are great, with character, interest and potential. Unfortunately the back half, while entertaining, is filled with many stumbles. None make the movie fall on its face but threatens to do so.
But at least it’s very bloody, has grievous bodily harm presented upon every cast member (an aspect I tend to enjoy), and deliriously demented over the top performances by Alexandria Daddario and Maddie Hasson really drive the film. (Nice to see Johnny Knoxville too, strange he’s the least energetic person in the film)
A very uneven film, but still positive on the whole.
PS it takes place in 1988 but boy does it not feel or look like it. A few props are made to look like the time, but when a modern vacuum is in the background for a good 10 minutes of the film it takes ya out.
CODY: WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOUR DAUGHTERS (1974)
Solid flick with a good plot. Nothing truly spectacular or mesmerizing like some Giallo but definitely worth a watch if in the mood for a mystery mixed with some good ol fashioned 70’s exploration
JAMES: Catacombs (1988)
ROBIN: DEMON SEED (1977)
Ah, super computing and the Google Home of the 1970s! There were some interesting concepts, but overall it fell flat for me. My general dislike made a lot more sense when I found out it was based on a Dean Koontz story (not a fan of his style).
JAY: DEVIL’S CANDY (2015, Youtube, Hulu)
Intense!!! That is the best adjective I can think of to describe this movie. Just… INTENSE.
This film was incredibly well done; the acting, the cinematography, the development, the whole thing. Full throttle all the way through, and really had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s suspenseful, terrifying, and brooding all at the same time.
Strongly recommend adding this one to your lists if you haven’t seen it already. This is a really good one!
EVAN: Phantasm: OblIVion and Phantasm: Ravager (Shudder, Coscarelli): I love that these are a single storyline with the same actors. That is brilliant. Otherwise, oh well. I adore part 1, part two left me cold, part three reinvigorated my interest in the series. Four and Five disappointed me again. There are some fun moments: his eyes are sentinel spheres! Her breasts are–sentinel spheres! I turned off Ravager after a half hour. Anyone want to talk me into finishing it?
Aug 24 – Day 33 – 68 Days to Halloween
KIM: Random Acts of Violence
I have to say I was thoroughly entertained my this. Fast moving, bloody and (though a bit heavy handed) I appreciated the commentary on the glamorization of serial killers. There was also some pretty heavy giallo style being rocked in the lighting.
BOB: MADMAN (1981, Shudder)
Bog standard camp slasher. Nothing really makes it stand out besides one of the few screen appearances of Gaylen Ross. That’s not say I didn’t like it, but as I noted in the Hell Night (also 1981, big year for the subgenre with this, F13p2, Hell Night, Halloween II, My Bloody Valentine, The Burning etc) I automatically like slashers. It’s gotta be especially bad to turn for me.
While the make up is pretty bad, the kills have a certain meanness to them, among the many decapitations. Perhaps it’s the look of the killer, but I had a proto-Hatchet feel to them. Of course far less bloody than that series.
Eric, was that you playing Max? His cadence and voice reminded me of you, and his face looked like he could be your cousin.
But that Vingegar Syndrome print they used looked beautiful (there were some pink lines at points but one thing I love about VS is how much love they give to their transfers of forgotten and crap films)
Cody: BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR (1989)
Not as good as the original but still a fun watch and relatively good follow up to the original. Combs, Abbott and Gale all return to their iconic rolls and while this one leans much more into comedy it still manages to get a solid creep factor.
JAMES: The Thing from Another World (1951)
ROBIN: Crawl (2019). I had fun with this one, but way too many of the good scenes were given away in the trailer. The initial appearance of the gators got me though! It’s nice having a creature movie where it’s not just a single badass beastie or a pair.
JAY: The Urge to Kill / Attack of the Killer Computer (1989, YouTube)
This sounds a lot more fun than it is. Since I wouldn’t recommend watching it, I’ll just give y’all the layout:
Wealthy record producer engages in soft core 80s Cinemax porn for 45 mins. Oh, and he has a home security (?) and automation system on a computer (I guess, you never see it) that makes 50s sci-fi boops & beeps, then gains sentience as a topless, green body painted lady Gaga.
Sounds wild, right?
Unfortunately it’s 45 min of soft core. There are 3-4 uniquely bad and amusing kills. Then a 10 min flashback to all the softcore porn scenes again.
Then, for some reason, lingerie cat girls wrestling.
Oh, and it’s 80 minutes.
So the bulk of it is 80s softcore porn.
Which sucks cause the bad kills and awful acting are hilarious and this plot was promising for what could’ve been an epically entertaining bad movie.
EVAN: TAMMY AND THE T-REX (1994, Shudder): this is a very Troma kind of film. Rather astounding that Denise Richards and Paul Walker both went on to big careers after they made this one. Also, her name is clearly Tammy, but it’s spelled Tanny in all the credits, beginning and end. So there’s that. Also she fucks the Trex but not on camera, and Paul Walker looks like he’s all of 16.
Aug 23 – Day 32 – 69 Day to Halloween
Kim: THE DARK (2005)
I have seen some variation on this movie a dozen times. There is nothing new or original in it. Buuuut. It has Sean Bean. So. It’s cool.
Bob: 1BR (2020, Netlfix)
That was not the movie I expected! Not a bad thing at all. A tight flick that kept me guessing of where we were going.
As much as I really liked 1BR, there is some element missing, there is a slightness or a just too quickness about it that doesn’t make it stick.
Still good stuff and not pushing anyone away.
The Basics: a young woman fresh in LA rents an apartment in a complex and everyone is just a little… off putting.Then it gets weird.
A truly unique Vampire flick with a true sense of grittiness to it. Martin is definitely one of the most interesting flicks I’ve watched so far and definitely worth a watch. John Amplas provides an incredible performance in the lead role that deserves applause.
JAMES: Raw Courage (1984)
ROBIN: Dave Made a Maze (2017). This has been on my to-watch list since it came out. So freakin’ creative. I loved the set designs and the concepts they came up with. Now I want to build the minotaur mask to hang on my wall.
Jay: BAG BOY LOVER BOY (2014, Prime)
Thank you to whoever recommended this (I’m sorry, I forgot). This movie was amazing!
Very unsettling, uncomfortable, and then it just goes completely off the rails. Hilarious, disturbing, and repulsive all at once. The main character comes off incredibly daft and slow, yet seemingly calculated and perverse at the same time.
Definitely an example of morbid and disturbing bizarr-ity in the same vein as Greasy Strangler, but a little more focused on the plot instead of just nonstop weirdness (although, there is plenty of that).
Aug 22nd – Day 31 – 70 Days to Halloween
KIM: Puen Tee Raluek (The Promise, 2017)
There were some things about this I really enjoyed but also, the whole revenge motivation just felt wrong. I had a hard time believing the ghost was that big of a dick. But acting was top notch and though the plot wasn’t original l still enjoyed the film.
BOB: THE WRETCHED (2020, Hulu)
Thanks to no wide releases and drive-ins, The Wretched was the #1 movie for 5 weeks this year! Quite a feat for a solid little indie horror film.
One of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone is the one where the returning pilots from a flight start to vanish with no one remembering them. Take that, Rear Window, Disturbia, a witch movie, a possession movie and push together you get The Wretched. Despite all those tossed into one flick, it’s rather good. A good build of figuring what’s going on, characters well played, and some good doses of practical effects, and often effective for the horror!
A little retooling -up the goo, and a little sleeze- and it could have been a 1987 darling.
Our basic run down: angsty teen goes to live with his dad during the summer of his parents separation. Kids start to vanish with only the teen seemingly to remember and his suspicion falls on the neighbor woman as she’s had a sudden shift of personality. He’s already on edge so no one believes him (and why should they?). It’s good stuff, it’s on Hulu and it’s worth your time.
CODY: WHAT THE PEEPER SAW (1972)
Want to watch an evil Kid movie where he wants to fuck his Step Mom? Then boy do I have the movie for you! A slow and plodding movie that wastes a ton of time and has to cram 2/3rds of a movie into 1/3rd at the end. Unless you really like “Shock” flicks this is not worth a watch.
Robin: Among the Living (2014).
I’ve got a streak of good ones going, I’m a little scared. This one is French. The plot is super simple but the movie as a whole is effective. The way the shots are framed and the beats the plot hits, this reminds me of a graphic novel.
JAMES: Body Cam (2020)
EVAN: BLOOD DINER (1987, Jackie Kong, Hulu):
I want to like this one. But I only really enjoyed the first and final ten minutes. Bonus points for female director, especially when she’s out-grossing many of the gross-out boys of the genre. I enjoyed the mythos created with Lumeria/Lemuria and the resurrection of the goddess. Apparently this was conceived as a sequel to BLOOD FEAST, but it ended up more of a parody of it. The prologue captured me, with creativity and wry humor and occultism that went deeper than an upturned contact lens. Then there’s an hour or so of steamin hot trash, and it finally climaxes with a zombie-rocknroll-Lovecraftian clusterfuck. You’ll either love it or despise it. Or both?
JAY: CARDS OF DEATH (1986, You Tube)
ARE YOU READY TO GAMBLE… *dunn dun dunnnnnn* …WITH YOUR LIFE?! 😂
I expected very little from this film, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not very action packed until the end, but it is surprisingly clever and unique for what it is.
I’m not sure how buyable the premise of being forced into gambling for your life is, but it gets pretty crazy in moments.
Aside from some pretty ear-gratingly bad sound FX that get thrown on repeat waaay too many times, this is (overall) a decent horror flick.
Aug 21st – Day 30 – 71 Days to Halloween
KIM: The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Entertaining enough if not somewhat formulaic. Where I enjoyed the cast it didn’t have some of the energy of previous Hammer Films I’ve enjoyed.
HP Lovecraft Film Festival; 130th Birthday online festival. Presented as an alternative to the not-happening this year for obvious reasons Providence festival, this 4 hour streaming version is also a preview for the 3 day festival in October (the one that would normally be in Portland).
The selection was, I think, about 13 titles (some based on Lovecraft, some from other horror authors like Poe, and some just in tone). I wrote down notes at the start and stopped after a while. Some were new, and some were culled from old titles including two from the first festival 20 years ago.
One, The Summoning, had our own Eric all over the credits (along with Kelly Young) woo hoo!
As the shorts go, I was honestly a thumb mostly up for them all. None wowed me but none were bad either. There was a focus on more serious titles (mostly, Faust was fun and silly – and stop motion) and the first few were dour!
Looking forward to the festival in October (followed by Bone Bat the next weekend, my poor wife is going to lose me to a few hundred short films for two weekends in a row!)
CODY: The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail(1971)
Fucking masterpiece, legitimately one of my favorite Giallo films I have ever seen. George Hilton provides a performance for the ages in this. I am going to leave with a hot take, Sergio Martino is seriously one of the best Giallo filmmakers ever and I would personally place him above even Argento.
ROBIN: MONSTER PARTY (2019, Shudder)
I know a lot of people watched this one last year for the 100 Days. It was pretty enjoyable. I thought the concept was original and played out in an interesting way.
JAMES: Lodgers (2017)
THE SECT/ La Setta aka The Devil’s Daughter aka Demons 4 (1991, Michele Soavi, Scarecrow Video)
This is one of the best art-horror films I’ve ever seen. It’s slick, imaginative, and very, very weird. Images repeat in smart, calculated ways. Cowritten by Argento, It starts with a Satanic biker gang (led by a Charles Manson Jesus lookalike) murdering a family of hippies, then flash forward to present day. Then we get a filthy old mystery man with a filthy old mysterious parcel, a bug-cam up someone’s nostril, and one of the best dream sequences I’ve ever seen. That’s the first half hour. If you wondered where Ari Aster got some of the ideas for HEREDITARY, he clearly stole shamelessly from this film. There are also Easter eggs for fans of Lovecraft, Cronenberg, HELLRAISER, and THE SHINING. Plus: Evil rabbits! Evil pelicans! Evil water! Evil shroud of Turin! Evil feathers! Evil clocks! Evil blue! Fun trivia: star Kelly Curtis is the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, which means she’s also Jamie Lee Curtis’s sister, which you can totally see in her face at times. Also, if you can get a version with spoken English plus English subtitles, there are some very interesting discrepancies between the two. Highly, highly recommended.
JAY: Dial Code Santa Claus / Deadly Games / 3615 code Père Noël (1989, YT, Prime)
So like… if Rambo and MacGyver had a genius kid, and that kid starred in Home Alone, but with an older santa from Silent Night Deadly Night…
That’d be this movie.
That’s pretty much it.
It’s neat. Some hilarity, some action-packed moments. Not really gory or anything. It’s a decent cat-and-mouse flick.
Full warning: **SPOILER** – they kill the dog, and it does NOT cut away. Didn’t like that.
Aug 20th – Day 29 – 72 Days to Halloween
KIM: COLD PURSUIT (2019)
This is maybe a stretch to count but whatever, we’re watching 100 movies. It’s fine.
I enjoyed the sense of humor. It was sort of exactly what it promised to be from the previews.
BOB SEA FEVER (2020, Hulu)
In Ireland, a marine biology doctorate student has to go to sea on a fishing trawler. It doesn’t go well, starting with the mere fact she’s a redhead (in Ireland, a stretch I know) An omen for the women and men of the boat (the most known of the cast are the captains/owners Dougray Scott and Connie Neilson). They soon run across a tentacled creature straight out of Lovecraft.
But don’t think you know where this is going, this isn’t Deep Rising. Instead we have a story of how a crew of people approach something they can’t quite understand that slowly threatens their safety, sanity, and lives. Yes, there are shades of other movies – Alien, the Thing, other parasite based films – but Sea Fever never feels like a copy. It’s a story where the characters often make the wrong decision, but we understand why. Essentially, they act like real people – their reactions to things as they unfold felt genuine.
Another good flick (I am working down metacritic of the horror titles free to me so no surprise keep getting good ones, I’m in that section!)
CODY: The Corpse Grinders (1971)
A movie that I had seen a good portion on years ago from a godawful DVD print. Counting this one since I’ve now seen it in its entirety and on a beautifully remastered cut by Vinegar Syndrome. Corpse Grinders is a terrible film but the passion for it that oozes through the movie gives it an odd charm. Gory, gross and gaudy, it’s carried by it’s ridiculous premise and the actors who are giving their all to make their mark on film history.
JAMES: LIKE ME (2018)
ROBIN: Rigor Mortis (2013).
I have Anthony James Kay to thank for this one. I freakin’ loved it. The imagery is bleak but beautiful. Great characters. Doesn’t pull punches. I need to permanently add this one to my library.
EVAN: DELIRIA aka Stagefright (1987, Michele Soavi, Scarecrow Video): Surprisingly entertaining! Fast paced, creative, and it opens with a campy as fuck sequence. Seems like after giallo influenced American slashers, this is an example of the American tropes giving back (masked killer, single night plot, etc). All giallo should be this good.
BRIEN: Thirty Miles from Nowhere (Shudder) – I guess it’s a horror version of The Big Chill (which they namedrop in the first ten minutes). A strong cast makes this movie work sometimes, though I think I enjoyed the comedy-drama moments far more than the “scares” or the “big twist.” Carrie Preston (unsurprisingly) steals the show with extra quirk. The ending is a bit of a head scratcher (not in a good way), but it has some good moments in it.
JAY: Blood Frenzy (1987, Youtube)
More of a ‘who-dun-it’ than a blood frenzy of any kind. Some pretty extreme personality types in this one; but I guess it goes with the plot.
Not super gory or anything, just a mediocre foray into a “who’s the killer” trope. Nothing remarkable.
Aug 19th – Day 28 – 73 Days to Halloween
KIM: Spellcaster (1988)
There was a weird music number at the beginning and I was disappointed that it was really the only one. If there were more, it would have been a more entertaining movie.
Bob: UNCLE PECKERHEAD (2020)
Uncle Peckerhead is a hard film to truly rate. It feels amateur and cheap, the script is lacking, the lead character is very unlikable and no one’s acting is anything to write home about. BUT… its’ also very entertaining with an easy charm that makes it a very palatable and very funny film to those who are willing to go through.
As I was texting with Eric, it’s a movie you will either completely go along with or completely reject. A nearly failed rock band has set up a last ditch tour. Their van is repo’d and an older guy who looks like a cross between Sid Haig and Tom Towles agrees to let them use his van as long as he can drive and roadie. He’s weird, crass, a ltitle-too nice… and has the unfortunate issue that he turns to limb ripping, throat tearing demon every night between midnight and 12:13. (oh yes, there are geysers of blood!). David Littleton as the title character embodies the movie – he’s both a pretty flat performance but effortlessly likeable (for a character that could easily be offputting).
So for those who will dig something to this matter – a really pared down Deathgasm type flick-, Uncle Peckerhead is for you.
PS. I really liked the music
CODY: HOST (2020, Shudder)
Basically what would happen if Unfriended was good. This tight, tense and unnerving found footage/Zoom hybrid definitely lives up to the hype. Worth a watch on Shudder!
JAMES: HALLOWED BE THY NAME (2020)
ROBIN: Crawlers (2020).
This is part of the Into the Dark series on Hulu. This could have been a lot better. I feel like there were some MAJOR post production/test audience issues because there’s a wraparound where the lead actress looks completely different (so probably shot well after the fact) and a record-scratch voiceover every couple minutes for the first 2/3 of the movie. Show don’t tell, filmmakers!
BRIEN: THE EVIL (Shudder)
Fairly standard haunted house film from the 70’s – A psychology professor and his team attempt to renovate an old house into a drug rehabilitation center and in the process disturb a menacing presence. Practical effects mixed with some bad video effects create an uneven delivery, but it has a pretty strong atmosphere throughout. Then it takes a crazy turn in the third act – fans of the Adam West Batman series are in for a treat.
EVAN: SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA (1988, DeCoteau, SHUDDER): This is 100% as stupid as the title implies. David DeCoteau makes a non-gay horror movie (he was young and needed the money) released by Full Moon, and Linnea Quigley gets top billing. This film is 79 minutes long, including two minutes of blank-screen opening credits. Kills don’t begin until 45 minutes in. These minor details should tell you everything. Quigley does steal the show, but I turned it off before she showed her breasts. Maybe she’s the only woman in this film who doesn’t.
JAY: IT FOLLOWS (2014)
I know this is one everybody absolutely adores. It was pretty good – buyable characters, interesting and novel plot.
I just have so many questions. I feel like a ton was left unresolved, or up to metaphorical interpretation from the viewer.
And a killer STD ghost totally seems like something that a high school abstinence group would put together to scare people away from sex.
ERIC: SPOOKIES (1983)
This is a bad movie. It is also an entertaining movie. Filled with strange creatures, decent to bad make-up effects, ok to painfully bad acting, and an ending that is a crazy change in style.
It also has farting monsters and critters that look like big Boglins. What is the movie about?
The movie is lovingly remasted by the crazy people of Vinegar Syndrome.
Aug 18th – Day 27 – 74 Days of Halloween
KIM: Assassination Nation (2018)
I have a lot of thoughts about this and a lot to say. The aesthetic was really interesting and flashy, but despite only being a few years old the film felt incredibly dated to me. It’s also very obviously directed and written by a man and tries a little too hard to be feminist while managing to objectify every female character.
BOB: VIVARIUM (2020, Prime)
Vivarium is a delightful delicious twisted tale of a metaphor in the mundanity of the scariness of suburbia. It has the feeling of somewhere between The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror, Vivarium is as subtle as a brick but it works so well. This is a new favorite of the year (when I update my letterboxd tomorrow we’ll see what number it lands on – I keep running diary and 2020 list). Like another TZ-ish (but very different end the spectrum) Vast of Night – also on prime and also amazing), it is less of the answers to what the hell weird shit is going on but how the characters react and watching it unfold. (Like the Platform, the fabric its woven from is metaphor so don’t expect the logic to be sound. Just roll with it)
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots worked together really well in 2019’s underseen jet black comedy of toxic masculinity The Art of Self Defense (not horror but on Hulu, I highly recommend) and they pair well as the troubled but loving couple here, who are stuck in a never ending identical neighborhood (see, not subtle at all). They have a natural chemistry that plays very well (no “oh Jesse Eisenburg is a one trick pony” comments, he’s truly better than that rep). The whole thing keeps the viewer very off kilter. Not quite disturbed but ill at ease.
CODY: SCARE PACKAGE (2020, Shudder)
Finding a Horror Comedy that’s actually funny is rare. Scare Package delivers a hilarious and wonderfully meta take on Horror and Anthologies. Definitely worth a watch and on Shudder!
Robin: Open Grave (2013).
I really dug this. I’ve liked Sharlto Copley in everything that I’ve seen him in so far. This involves memory loss, so of course some of the story is told in snippets of flashback. That kind of plotline can go horribly bad, but I think the director did a great job with it here.
JAMES: HANUKKAH (2019)
Brien: Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1973, Prime)
There’s not enough swashbuckling horror in the world. Thankfully we have Captain Kronos. I wish they’d continued the adventures of Kronos and Grost. It’s fun and weird and I’m pretty sure he kills more ignorant villagers than vampires, but that’s why this movie is a party.
EVAN: EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS
i worshipped the Real Ghostbusters cartoon as a kid. Most of my monster obsession is rooted there and the original film. In the 90s, the cartoon got a reboot/sequel with four new young ghostbusters led by Egon and assisted by Janine and Slimer. Going back to watch through it, there’s some intense shit in this one season. My favorite episode is of course “Deadliners,” which unapologetically recreates HELLRAISER for children, with body modified cenobites and everything (it also tips the hat to IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS). Other highlights include killer plants, an insect god, and a demon that steals eyes. Fun for the whole family!
ERIC: Babysitter Killer Queen. A fun film. Tried a little too hard to be clever but then again it is a McG film. If you liked the first one this is worth a watch.
JAY: CANDYMAN (1992, Hulu)
I am stoked for the new one, so I decided to revisit the original, which I haven’t seen in a good 20+ years.
This movie is so good! Candyman is a superbly crafted slasher that fires hard on all levels. It’s gory, it’s incredibly chilling, it’s tense, the whole vibe of this film is just eerie and dangerous. The characters are gripping and it really drew me in and kept me on the edge of my seat. Plus that ending is an emotional rollercoaster. Holy shit.
This is one of my all-time favorite slashers, and I hope the new one does it justice (whenever it comes out).
Aug 17th – Day 26 – 75 Days to Halloween
KIM: ICE CREAM MAN (1995)
What nice things can I say about Ice Cream Man? It is a movie.
Also. Olivia Hussey. Let’s talk. I’m concerned.
Bob – BLOOD QUANTUM (2020, Shudder) Blood Quantum is a hell of a zombie movie, reminding me of nihilistic sadness present of the Romero films. And a good slice of the gore too – the wholly practical gut rippings (and many others) harken to Savini’s work. Although reflecting back to the best of the gerne, Blood Quantum also feels fresh with the angle of how it affects a Quebecois Indian reservation. Thus, there is a lens of colonialism and First Nation/white relationship. Also nice is we see both the start of the apocalypse and the new society. There is an affecting look and color palette to the film as well. The down side is the characters are little underwritten and stiffy acted, but it is great to have a cast made up mostly of First Nation people.
Cody: The Night of the Werewolf (1981)
A great Reluctant Werewolf flick. Love Naschy’s performance in this as the conflicted Hero Waldemar Dalinsky. Honestly one of the better Werewolf interpretations I have seen.
ROBIN: ICE CREAM MAN (1995)
I had to experience this one for myself. On the tamer side, but definitely still right there in that 90’s Dr Giggles type vein. Couple of quick points… 1) Oh my god, that fat suit! 2) Olivia Hussey is gorgeous even when she’s 40-something pretending to be an elderly woman. 3) Half melted ice cream is just disgusting.
JAMES: PORTAL (2019)
EVAN: WOLF GUY (Urufu-gai) (1975, Yamaguchi, kanopy): the description says this wasn’t available outside Japan until recently. Having been on a blaxploitation horror kick last month or so, this reminds me a lot of that style of 70s film. A werewolf detective investigates an invisible tiger that’s been ripping apart yakuzas. He traces it to a psychic woman and the rest is, well, fuckin bonkers, including vivisection. Interestingly, the protagonist is continually saved by women. Like three different women at least come to his rescue. Hot. Trigger warning: some ugly violence against women, frequently sexual.
BRIEN: THE UNCANNY (Prime)
An anthology about killer cats. Produced by one of the founders of Amicus. Peter Cushing in an amazing wrap-around. Donald Pleasance. Do I need to keep going? And yes – you will root for the cats in every story.
JAY: Crawl (2019, Hulu)
Been wanting to see this one for a while now.
So I fully tempered my expectations for “Alligator” level insanity, and went into this with an open mind.
It’s pretty good for a modern horror flick. Simple plot, good acting, and a fair chunk of action and gore. I don’t really have anything to dislike about this movie. It’s what you’d expect from a huge budget/big studio horror film.
Would I have liked more gore, “WTF” or “OH SHIT” factors, or more batshit crazy insanity moments? Sure.
Did it have a cute heart-to-heart moment mid-way through? Sure.
Could I do without frequent jump-scares? Sure.
Crawl was a fun enough watch. If we’re comparing, it’s not as insane as “Alligator”, so if you’re really itching for a crazy movie of this sort, start there. Otherwise, it’s pretty good overall for what it is.
ERIC: It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive I liked this one more than the 2nd. It was more insane and over the top, just the way I like a Cohen movie. Larry film regular Micheal Moriarty takes over in the leading role and is joined by Karen Black. It is a strange conclusion to the trilogy and worth checking out.
Aug 16th – Day 25- 76 Days of Halloween
KIM: Darkroom (1989)
This movie is a masterclass in bad acting.
BOB: SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2020, Shudder)
A fascinating documentary at the once-reviled Nightmare sequel and the life of its once missing for 20 years star Mark Patton. I’ll admit when I was in high school I didn’t care for Elm Street 2. It was weird, different than the others and didn’t feature into series continuity it all. Maybe the very gay nature of the film had something to do with that on my end, I dunno. Perhaps. Like many, I eventually came around to like it. (I have always thought part 5 is the worst, and still hold to this)
When I started to really get into horror, I did wonder where Mark went, a bunch of credits on imdb and then… nothing. As it turns, he fled Hollywood as the film essentially outted him and as AIDS loomed. The movie itself gets into the details, so I’ll not repeat those here. There is much sadness and heartbreak, as there is anytime we get into the AIDS epidemic.
As we see anytime we have documentaries looking at the impact – even if delayed- of a film or (sub)genre, there is a certain amount of preaching to the choir over many o the details and interviews (and many quips are repeated). But as a film major (on the talking about side rather than the making), I personally enjoyed seeing how the film has been contextualized in academica and culture in events like Evan’s SLASH.
CODY: Human Beasts (1980)
Another entry from my Paul Naschy Blu Ray collection. Think a splash of Texas Chainsaw on top of a Giallo and an action adventure revenge flick. Definitely an interesting watch for sure.
ROBIN: The Wicker Man (2006). It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t good either. So many weird choices by his character. At least the blowhard nature of the policeman in the original was due to religion and by-the-book-ness. Cage’s just seemed to be a general superiority complex. Also, I hated the added ‘s’ in Summersisle.
JAMES: THE WOLF HOUR (2019)
EVAN: SPLINTER (2008, Hoopla, Toby Wilkins): This one is AWESOME. Short (80 mins), tight, and it had me in suspense constantly. What starts with some tweakers taking a couple hostage quickly becomes a monster movie that convincingly reinvents the zombie genre. Body horror a-go-go (my thing, you may have noticed). The contagion is never explained (there’s one shot of an “experimental” oil drilling facility), it just infects people with an organism that makes splintery growths emerge from the skin (and everywhere else). Bonus points for zombies that can merge into megazombies and for reinventing the severed zombie hand trope. The final girl is BADASS and her nebbish boyfriend eventually rises to the occasion. I’m not sure why I love movies like this and want to rub them all over my face, while I’m deeply disturbed by non-supernatural torture porn. It’s okay when zombies or werewolves rip out your guts but other people? Too scary for me. It’s not flawless, but hot damn was this everything I look for in a horror movie.
BRIEN: Dolls (Amazon Prime) A Charles Band produced movie directed by Stuart Gordon. There are worse ways to spend an hour and change than watching terrible people get their comeuppance from vengeful dolls. Also interesting that two years later Band would write the story for the very similar Puppet Master… I’m sure there’s a story there…
JAY VIVARIUM (2020, Prime)
In my humble opinion, this was a terribly bland, inconsistent, nonsensical, annoying, and inconsistent movie.
Very unlikable characters (also did they only cast people with blue eyes for this?) especially the boy. Pretty much all dialogue until the end is a real cringe fest.
I couldn’t keep up with the inconsistency here. I mean, that’s fine in a film if it’s so wild there’s a ton going on, but Vivarium is the antithesis of that.
It’s deliberately bland and repetitive with really not a lot going on.
So why? That was my repeated question throughout. Why only one time lapse that wasn’t particularly relevant? Then back to regular time?
Why in the world would any rational person choose to proceed with such an initially unsettling person? What was the point of keeping them? What was the point of the whole thing, really?
Just very nonsensical with seemingly no rhyme or reason.
Also some missed opportunities to turn into a crazy stalker slasher or creature feature.
Instead, the filmmakers choose to drive home the minimalist blah for, who knows what reason.
Did not love this.
Aug 15th -Day 24- 77 Days of Halloween
KIM: VICTOR CROWLEY
Watched with last nights Last Drive In. Couldn’t count Slumber Party Massacre II since I’d seen it, but this was first viewing of #VictorCrowley for me. I thought it was a lot of fun and very entertaining.
BOB: THE OTHER LAMB (2020, HULU)
The Other Lamb is a quietly disturbing, beautifully shot film. Selah (Raffey Cassidy in a mesmerizing performance) is a young woman on he edge of puberty when the cult she has grown up within – all women (wives) and girls (daughters, with the implication of becoming wives) with one man Shepherd (Michiel Huisman of Haunting of Hill House, Invitation) is forced to move. As she starts to get his attention, she reflects on her understanding of her life.
I appreciate the detail in setting up this commune and insular world. The hierarchy and lives of the women (and man) are allowed to be presented without obvious exposition and my wife and I enjoyed trying to suss out the whos and the hows.
The Other Lamb is a quiet, insular film anchored by understated and engaging leads.
CODY: The Fog(1980)
A solid Carpenter flick that ticks a lot of boxes. I’m left underwhelmed especially with the pacing of the flick, it takes so long to get out of first gear that it makes the latter half incredibly rushed. Great performances by Tom Atkins, Adrienne Barbeau and Hal Holbrook however elevate the film above the above issues.
BRIEN: Terror Train (Amazon Prime)
A college frat plans a party on a private train. A serial killer joins the fun. Of course it all starts with a prank gone bad. There’s a magician on the train and I’m thinking, “Wow, they got a magician who looks like David Copperfield…” because it’s David Frickin’ Copperfield doing close up magic for the kiddos. And – Jamie Lee Curtis! There are a couple of good swerves and misdirects with the identity of the killer and the typical bumbling cops have been replaced with bumbling train conductors, so that was nice.
EVAN: BODY BAGS (1992, Carpenter and Hooper, Shudder): John Carpenter does his best Cryptkeeper as the wraparound narrator in this silly anthology. He also directs the first two segments: first, what is unquestionably a rehash of HALLOWEEN, complete with recreated iconic shots. Maybe he’s paying homage to himself? The second segment is a bonkers surreal horror sci fi spoof. Very creative though. And then the third segment, directed by Tobe Hooper. I could’ve definitely lived without seeing Mark Hamill rape Twiggy while imagining fucking a corpse. It was just tacky tacky tacky. Bad taste from start to finish. Nonetheless, the film is packed with cameos: Wes Craven, David Naughton, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman, and on and on and on. For fans of CREEPSHOW, TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and people who don’t mind watching Luke Skywalker brutalize a supermodel.
ROBIN: Color Out of Space (2019).
Pretty good. I’m very glad that Richard Stanley got a chance to direct again, all these years later. I hope the plans for a Lovecraft trilogy come to fruition. I liked the asthetics of this and the fact that they don’t feel like they need to show too much.
JAMES: THE AMARANTH (2018)
ERIC: SURVIVAL QUEST (1984)
Ok this really isn’t horror but it is Don Coscarelli directing Lance Hendrickson and Dermot Mulroney in 1988’s Survival Quest. It’s a touch above a made for TV movie but still fun to watch.
Jay: Guinea Pig: Devil’s Experiment (1985, Youtube)
Starting to work through some of the rough ones in the queue. Admittedly, I love the Guinea Pig series, but oddly I’ve never seen the first one.
I had some “Flowers of Flesh & Blood” expectations going in, and while there are certainly some parallels, this isn’t the ‘straight-to-dismemberment’ fiasco FOF&B is.
It is torture porn. So… if that’s not your bag, you will not want to bother with this film. However, Devil’s Experiment plays out far more like a psychological, completely-break-the-spirit type of torture. There is nothing done that would actually kill the victim, although it is pretty grueling and unnerving to watch. Some of the torture seems a bit bizarre, honestly.
Barring the notorious cover scene, it’s really not gory at all… more of an experiment in brutality and completely breaking someone mentally.
It fits well into the series; but the initial 10 minute assault is excessive and a tough watch. It also lacks the creativity, or artistic merit to many of the others in the series.
Didn’t love it or hate it. Wouldn’t recommend starting the series with this one. Start with Mermaid in a Manhole or FOF&B if you’re more of a gorehound.
JOULE: What We Do in the Shadows (Hulu). Does this count? I’ve been trying to finish a project and can’t concentrate on anything longer than 20 minutes so these scrumptious little episodes are perfect right now. Current favorite line: “If I want you I’ll call you. But not through the ether. Just by regular yelling.”
Aug 14th – Day 23 – 78 Days of Halloween
KIM: TRICK (2019)
Sometimes, I watch a movie and I get actively angry at the time I gave up to watch it. Yeah.
BOB: THE BEACH HOUSE (2020, Shudder)
A young couple get away to his parent’s beach house to try to fix a rift in their relationship. When they get there, they find another couple inside. But the film also starts with an underwater rift opening, and there are some Colour Out of Space bio-luminescence and a John Carpenter-like Fog at night. A lot of different set-ups. Where shall the movie go?
I’m not going to tell! But I dug this tight little flick. Four people (and two voices), two locations – I’m always in for that. It’s a pretty small film, and that might turn away some, but I appreciated not getting stupid big or not getting a lot of answers.But there is a nice sense of dread and some good shocks and that goes a long way.
Not a great film, but darn good enough.
CODY: DRAG ME TO HELL (2009)
This did not click at all for me. An over reliance on jumpscares combined with a weak story and predictable ending leaves this one as just kinda lame. Justin Long is good in it at least.
Brien: EMPIRE OF THE ANTS
Based on an HG Wells story, this is a giant ant movie with a pretty crazy twist in the last half hour. Put the horrendous attempts at 70’s compositing aside and there’s a pretty interesting story here. There are little glimpses of closeup practical effects and I wish they’d done more with that. But it stars Joan Collins, so it feels like a win to me.
EVAN: TRICK OR TREAT aka RAGMAN (1986, Charles Martin Smith, YouTube): Well then. Here’s an 80s horror film if there ever was one. A popular heavy metal singer uses demonic magic to come back from death through a cursed album. A humiliated, bullied teen uses the album to get revenge, but quickly loses his desire for vengeance when things get too deadly. There is a demonic sexual assault and then a near-rape between all too ordinary teens. Utterly gratuitous. Also Includes cameos from Ozzy Osbourne as an anti-rock preacher and Gene Simmons as a radio dj. Side note, just because I love telling people: Simmons was born in Israel, and his birth name is Chaim Witz. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are geeky gangly Jewish kids who somehow became rock stars and had sex with thousands of women. But I digress. This film never quite reaches its zenith–the special effects aren’t too bad, but the momentum fizzles in the end. If you like SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 2, THE GATE, or PAGANINI HORROR, try this one out.
ROBIN: Vampire’s Kiss (1988). Jesus Christ this was a tough watch. Did this actually play as comedy once upon a time? Nic Cage’s character spends the entire movie grinding women under his heels, especially his secretary Alva, whom he straight up terrorizes. I can allow a lot for the sake of character, but holy crap, they really went too far overboard with this one. Ugh.
JAMES: THE SONATA (2020)
The Burning Moon (1992, I think this is on Prime & Shudder; watched on YT)
Don’t let the cartoony cover fool you – this is an absolutely excessive, boundary-pushing, blood-soaked, splatterfest.
This movie is incredibly violent from beginning to end.
*Not really spoilers* Two stories; one is a date that goes about as bad as possible, one revolving around a pastor and a town seeking vengeance against a murderer on a rampage.
There’s probably bigger meta plots to these, but I won’t give away anymore details. Suffice to say both spiral abso-effing-lutely out of control very fast.
The first gives me a lot of “Blood Rage” vibes; but far gorier, zero comedy, full throttle intensity, and more ‘creative’ kills. Burning Moon pulls no punches; this is as bloody as slashers get.
The second is a slower burn (heh, puns) but good lord, when it gets to the finale it is horrific beyond comprehension. The ending here will stick with you. It is one of the goriest things I’ve ever witnessed (for a good 10 minutes or so straight).
If you love extreme gore, this is the one for you. Bump it up the watch list.
Full warning out of respect for the viewer: there is a rape scene in the 2nd story, which is absolutely unnecessary and really adds nothing to the plot. Be ready to skip through this part, or do not watch this film.
ERIC: IT’S ALIVE
Another Larry Cohen film! It’s Alive. Wow, this is a seriously dark film. The tone is grim from the start and never really relaxes, except for a strange humor break. It is not as quirky as some of his films, but it is a good one from Larry.
JOULE: DEVIL’S CANDY
(Hulu). Thanks Jay Walker for the rec. This was a pretty satisfying watch with good acting and some very tense scenes. Maybe a bit de trop at times, but that’s probably the point. Only thing that annoyed me was the wife character, played by an actress with poise and gravitas who was given no personality traits to work with but Likes Metal Less Than Husband and Concerned and Loves Daughter. She had great hair, though.
Aug 13th – Day 22 – 79 Days to Halloween
This movie was so 90s and had sooooo much plot it made my head spin. That being said, it’s utter ridiculousness did make it pretty entertaining?
BOB: THE CLIMAX (1944, Owned disc)
Oh man am I let down. Boris Karloff in his first color picture meant originally to be a sequel of sorts of 1943’s Phantom of the Opera from Universal. So much so the actresses who played Christine and Carlotta return in a similar set up.
There is a lot of Phantom’s DNA in Climax with enough changed around to not infringe. Instead of pushing up the voice that drives him to madness, Karloff’s mad doctor tries to stymie the career of an up and coming songbird.
There is nothing that much that happens due to no one knows at all Karloff is up to no good. So no terror at the opera, no one trying to solve a mystery (okay our lead dude knows somethings up but not a big push).Karloff is slumming it which is sad.Weird that a movie called The Climax doesn’t really have one, or a true build.
Don’t get excited to see Jack Pierce listed for make-up, there is nothing special at all.
CODY: I Eat Your Skin (1971)
Brien: MAYHEM (Shudder)
Fun, hyper-violent rage virus movie with great turns from Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving. It’s a short, fast-paced movie with some creative violence. Therapeutic would be a good descriptor.
EVAN: POSSUM (2018, Prime)
Atmospheric and beautifully filmed, but I’m getting tired of sad horror films. This one is about abuse that’s never really resolved. The protagonist is a miserable wreck, bullied by everyone. It’s very slow and quiet, then ends in an abrupt escalation. I like it better than BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO, which it reminds me of; this one I would count as actual horror, though.
ROBIN: DEMON (2015)
This one was super interesting to me. The lead was amazing with his transitions throughout. I wonder if a certain director saw this and got any influence from it for his 2017 movie (see comments for spoiler-ish item). On Shudder, check it out.
Dracula vs. Frankenstein 1971 Dracula Frankenstein, Forrest J Ackerman, bikers, an ax murder, a musical number, hippies, protests, bad trips, colorful ponchos, carnivals, a strange musical interlude on the beach, puppies, and the final film appearances for both Lon Chaney Jr and J. Carrol Naish.
Yep, this is a unique film. It was one of the lowest-rated films in IMDB for several years. It’s better than that.
JAY: Der Todesking (1990, Youtube)
Given Jorg Buttgereit’s penchant for excessive animal abuse and murder in Nekromantik (and, really, just that whole movie over-all), I went in expecting a rough one.
It was not.
It’s a pretty dark foray into suffering and misery, and the choice to end one’s life. Repeatedly.
I definitely appreciate the art-house, almost Lynch-ish storytelling without storytelling in this film. It’s creative, dark, and there is very little dialogue at all. Leaves a lot to the viewer to decipher, despite the premise remaining pretty clear.
My only complaint is that it drags. Holy shit, it drags. As in, I had to put the speed at 1.5x at times because I was just completely losing interest.
I appreciate this film, but I wouldn’t bother watching it again. I’d say it’s a much more palatable entry to Buttgereit’s work than Nekromantik, for sure.
JOULE: The House That Dripped Blood (Shudder).
I found this real cozy and goofy. Victorian wallpaper, overstuffed chairs, terrible special effects, Ingrid Pitt showing a ridiculous amount of cleavage, etc. The best episode is probably the third. We’re supposed to be scared of the kweeeepy child (Chloe Franks, adorable), but Christopher Lee as a cold, abusive father is the frightening one. Nyree Dawn Porter has a nice steeliness as the only really positive female character in the whole anthology. In other segments, Peter Cushing is his usual faintly melancholic, effete self–God I love him–and Jon Pertwee (a Doctor Who) shows up as a drama queen. Fun stuff.
Aug 12th – Day 21 – 80 Days of Halloween
KIM: We Summon the Darkness
Entertaining if not somewhat formulaic film. Strong performances, particularly Alexandra Daddario’s, elevate the whole thing.
BOB: LA LLORONA (2020, Shudder)
.Not the Conjuring-verse let down of last year but the Guatemalan historical-drama-horror which premiered on Shudder this past week.
Many will be taken out by the slow burn into straight horror, but it matches the tone and feel, and need, of the film. Rather than straight “boos” we have sustained tension and unease as the horror is representative of the haunted trauma of a nation’s past.
A deposed general/dictator stands trial for genocide of an Indigenous Mayan community in his old age. The horrors committed by himself and his forces stare him and his family in the eyes as the women in his life- wife, daughter, granddaughter, and servants including a mysterious new addition- examine this history.
It’s a quiet film, but deceptive in its simplicity. Thanks to a steady hand at the camera, the history weighs heavy.
CODY: The Exorcist 3 (1990)
This was an absolutely incredible experience. A true sequel to the original that manages to merge a great story, cast and blending of Horror genres into one of the best horror sequels I’ve ever seen. Not to mention managing to pull it off so long after the original and able to recover after the disastrous second entry in the series.
EVAN: MONSTERS, part of Season 1 (1988, Prime)
I watched “My Zombie Lover” after a couple of recommendations, including one on my last MONSTERS entry. This is one of the funny episodes. The horror is mild but palpable. And indeed, Tempest Bledsoe is the lead! Although it’s a spoof on the zombie genre, there are some pretty serious overtones about prejudice and its consequences. It’s probably no accident that the entire cast is Black.”Glim-Glam” is a real downer. Shitty humans think the alien is out to get them when it’s actually trying to save them. Merry Christmas.”The Fever Man” is about a psychic healer who’s also a miserable alcoholic. He can pull illnesses out of the body and manifest them as monsters to be dispatched. A skeptical medical doctor does his best to fuck this up but fails to and pays the price.
JAMES: PRIMROSE LANE (2019)
ROBIN: NetherBeast Incorporated (2007). A light horror-comedy that I picked solely based on the synopsis, not realizing that Dave Foley, Judd Nelson, & Jason Mewes were in it. Super low budget, but actually really cute.
BRIEN: Attack of the Mushroom People (aka Matango) (Amazon Prime) If Gilligan’s Island and Lost had a Kaiju baby it still wouldn’t be as awesomely weird as this movie. The creature design is off the charts fantastic and I just wish we saw more of them. This thing has more messaging and subtext than all of Saved by the Bell and 90210. This one is going in my Hall of Fame.
A pretty solid film. Good acting, well
shot with a few strange camera techniques but it needed to up the horror.
Another one worth checking out.
JAY: THE NECRO FILES (1997)
So fun story… Todd Tjersland used to have a show on Olympia’s TCTV Public Access channel called “Threat Theatre”. It aired midnight on Fridays and basically showed all kinds of crazy ass horror movies.
Threat Theatre put me on to Toxic Avenger, Cannibal Holocaust, Mondo Cane, Faces of Death, etc.
So I was pretty stoked to see Todd made a movie.
Unfortunately, it’s a total heaping pile of dogshit. It’s like a sex-starved, edgy 16 year old boy wrote this. I actually gave up and turned it off, but for whatever reason I decided to finish it today.
***Spoilers included*** but trust me, you don’t wanna watch this, so I’ll just give the rundown.
Serial killer rapist gets caught by anger-problem cops, who shoot him to death. Satanic cult of Trailer Park Boys doofuses sacrifices a baby doll and resurrects him as a zombie with a giant dildo for a schlong.
2 out of the whopping 3 women in this entire film are raped, and killed by said dildo zombie.
Anger cops cannot go one full sentence without saying “motherfucker” or “fucking scum”. Bad dialogue is bad.
Anger cop develops coke habit. Trailer Park Boys panic and decide to try and resurrect another demon to kill dildo zombie. They resurrect doll baby. Which… flies around using robotic keyboard voice fx to laugh and say one-liners. And…somehow kills people by touching their shoulder/neck area and spraying blood.
The 3rd woman (who is the only one unscathed) is only in the film long enough to sodomize a blowup doll with a large dildo for no apparent reason. Dildo zombie then falls in love with the blow up doll. Zombie robot voice baby pops it. Dildo Zombie rages and kills zombie robot voice baby.
Lots of scenes of anger cops saying fucker and motherfucker a bunch more. Fat anger cop realizes cokehead anger cop is going rogue and beating/killing the “scum” of the city. Fat anger cop finds dildo zombie and kills him. Cokehead anger cop comes to from an overdose, just in time to save fat anger cop’s life from somehow now-turned-zombie Trailer Park Boy, but then proceeds to stomp his head in after saving him.
It sounds like it’d be pretty funny (minus the rapist plot), but it absolutely isn’t. Full cringe the whole way through.
Dumb. As. Fuck.
Do not waste the hour of your life watching this trash.
JOULE: Uncaged/Prey/Prooi (Shudder). This movie is even more ridiculous than Dick Maas’s Amsterdamned (also on Shudder) and pretty fun, despite the fact that the heroine’s love interests are a sleazy dickhead reporter and a (blech) big game hunter. At least the latter is a badass in a badass wheelchair. Obviously, I was rooting for the lion.
Aug 11th – Day 20 – 81 Days to Halloween
Kim: SON OF DRACULA (1943)
Nothing terribly original, but I did enjoy the “bat” effects. Doing ultra low budget teen horror has given me an appreciation for the special effects of the 40s.
BOB: SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED (2004, Netflix disc)
frustrating experience. There are times where it close to being something so much fun, but then something so incredibly stupid knocks it down. This issue plagued the first first film too – I want to blame producer notes or Raja Gosnell’s awful directional choices leading to awful “wouldn’t it be fun?” choices too.
The idea is solid, the monsters from the original series are placed in a museum where they come to life and threaten Coolsville. This would harken to the memories of the show, and have some nice designs. And it has that. Some even are Men-In-Suits. But just as much are truly awful CG, even for 2004. There are times where it feels like a live-action cartoon in design and sequences. I liked that. But then the sequence just ends, often with a gag like extreme sports or a fart. Ugh.
One example, as the third act starts the villain has control of a half-dozen of the reanimated monsters, and is on the deck of a ghost pirate ship as travels down a big city street. The monsters cause havok. This big reminded me of the start of the last act in a Ghostbusters movie. Great feel. more of this please. But afer about 30 seconds, the movie stop dead in its tracks to have a solve the mystery montage with the gang before a finale at an abandoned mine (right out of the show too), that unfortunately doesn’t use the locations uniqueness at all.
Scooby-Doo 2 has a good idea and moments covered in bad CG and gags meant to pander to the widest of family audiences. And it wastes Tim Blake Nelson. That’s a capital crime.
CODY: PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943)
A terrific adaption of the story. While not as scary or gory as other attempts this one packs a star studded production punch that puts it near the top.
EVAN: MOSQUITOMAN, or the preferred alt title MANSQUITO, is a solid creature feature. This made-for-SYFY-network flick is more or less THE FLY meets MIMIC. It has pretty much everything one could request from an action horror monster film: explosions, blood and gore, cliche cops with cliche lines, a sexy female scientist protagonist (Musetta Vander who I NOW RECOGNIZE from Project: Metalbeast) and her sexy geeky detective protagonist boyfriend (Corin Nemec from THE STAND! Lookit his lil face!), absurd pseudo science, and hey, it even happens in the middle of a pandemic! Five stars.
JAMES: BEHIND YOU (2020)
BRIEN: Found Footage (Amazon Prime) This had a few compelling moments to it. I actually found the character building in the first half to be more interesting than the murdery parts of the movie (though the last couple of sequences are pretty brutal). The Poughkeepsie Tapes left me with a chill; this one left me with a shrug.
ROBIN: Robo Vampire (1988). My first hopping vampires! This is a huge stretch to call this horror, but a guy gets his neck ripped out by a vampire in the first two minutes, so I’m counting it! This movie was so terrible that it was wonderful. Weird, disjointed plot, ok fight sequences, RoboCop rip-off that looks NOTHING like RoboCop (The poster is a lie. See pic in comments), and a kick-ass ghost that was just the best. Some slow periods, but a good time.
ERIC: Fulci for Fake
An interesting if not terribly deep documentary about Lucio Fulci.
Worth watching if you’re a big fan. Not on par with some of the recent horror documentaries but a good watch.
Jay: RAW (2016)
Figured I should try something made in this decade lol.
I kept seeing Raw pop up on those “Most disgusting horror films of all time” lists, alongside Human Centipede, Serbian Film, Salo, etc.
So… you can imagine that I had some lofty expectations going in.
It’s a fun, cute lil movie with likable characters, great story line and development, and enough “Wow… now what?” to keep the viewer intrigued.
It is not a “most disgusting horror film” by any stretch; barring a leg scene, it’s really not *that* gory at all, IMO.
I enjoyed this, and would recommend it; don’t get me wrong. I just wouldn’t put it in league with any of the stomach-turners it’s frequently categorized with.
JOULE: Aniara (Hulu). Maybe not officially marketed as horror, but holy crap does it deliver on the existential dread. It’s gorgeous, with great and well-used special effects (apparently on a modest budget) and a queer protagonist. It’s also the bleakest and best film I’ve seen since Threads. The final images are going to stick with me for a really long time.
Aug 10th – Day 19 – 82 Days to Halloween
As far as low budgets go, it’s fine. The script and acting are inconsistent but the source material alone makes for an interesting story.
BOB: THE SUBLET (2015/17 depending on source, Shudder).
Look, yet another movie of a young woman by herself with an asshole partner not listening to her valid concerns of their location. Now he’s a dick and she pays for it as she goes mad, with he and others directly or indirectly gaslighting her. We’ve seen it countless times before. Eric can attest this sort of thing seems to get a few entries every year for Crypticon Film fest. I can see why, need a single hand of actors and even less locations.
But you need a good script and performers to get there. Both our leads are just bad. And the script has some interesting ideas to get traction – time cycles, liminal space (and I LOVE fucking with liminal space/time), a ghost- but none are explored and landed on to ground the storytelling.
Cody: The Black Cat (1981)
Another Fulci first, this combines Fulci with Poe and boots Patrick Magee in a prominent role. Sign me the fuck up. This was everything it needed to be and does it well. Complete recommendation
EVAN: PATRICK (1978)
PATRICK was way better than I expected. Creative, strong cinematography, and at times chilling. The lead is one of those resilient horror women who has to deal with garbage behavior from the men around her and yet keeps her cool all the time and talks to them like the children they are (reminds me of Geena Davis in THE FLY).
James: HOST (2020)
BRIEN: The Poughkeepsie Tapes (Amazon Prime)
Oof, this is a rough one. I’ve known about the existence of this found footage film for a few years and just discovered it’s on Amazon Prime. It follows a serial killer’s story through a cache of his tapes that have been discovered. The footage from the tapes is intense and disturbing and genuinely got under my skin. I actually stopped at one point and had to come back to the movie – and that’s rare for me. A lot of these scenes are shot with a locked down camera, so you’re trapped into this one point of view, often claustrophobic, without any cuts and it all feels a little too real sometimes. Thankfully the tapes are intercut with interviews to break the tension. I know this is a divisive film, but I found it extremely effective and haunting.
Robin: PUPPET MASTER III TOULON’S REVENGE (1991)
I liked this one a lot better than the second one. It does mess with a little bit of the cannon (I’ve been warned that I should expect a whole lot more of that.) but I like that it has some heart and went back to the feeling you get from Toulon in the first one.
JAY: TEETH (2007)
The wife hadn’t seen this gem yet, so decided to give it a re-watch. You know what it is; toothy vagina.
ERIC: THE FLY: 1958 This is a pretty good movie. I always thought it was B&W but the film is in color. Apparently the sequels are. Vincent Price is a bookends character, he has a good part but he is not in the film a lot. Good 50’s style acting. It looks great and the story is solid even if it does get a little bogged down in the middle. I’m glad I finally watched this classic film.
JOULE: Antrum (Tubi). Man. I love cursed-media stories, I love stop-motion, I love stuff about hell, I love ’70s-throwbacks, and somehow I could not keep my mind on this movie. Either it was boring or the smoke has killed so many of my brain cells that I can’t do a slow movie anymore.
PRECIOUS: Elizabeth Harvest
So, have we run out of original filmmaking here? Must every director use the same type of music? Must every director make excessive use of red lighting? Original graphic?– no? How about tightening up those plot holes?– no?
Aug 9th – Day 18 – 83 Days to Halloween
KIM: A Bluebird in My Heart
Where the story isn’t original, the strong performances across the board kept me engaged. Roland Møller’s performance deserves to be singled out.
BOB: INTO THE DARK: ALL THAT YOU DESTROY (2019, Hulu). After loving the last entry, I had hopes for this one. But hell, this was the worst Into the Dark by far (and is more sci-fi than horror). Israel Broussard from Happy Death Day once again plays a dude dealing with a girl who keeps dying then waking up in his room. This time, he’s doing the killing of a series of clones. His mom, Samantha Mathis, is a geneticist who keeps cloning the dead girl to find out why he has a killer streak. The methods and ideas are sloppy, the plot treads water for most of the very slow 84 minutes.
CODY: Manhattan Baby (1982)
I’ll be the first to admit this is far from Fulci’s best. However it’s still an insane Exorcist ripoff filled with cursed objects, haunted elevators and deadly taxidermy birds so there is still a ton to enjoy. Not to mention a great performance from Christopher Connelly and the annoying little kid from House by the Cemetery.
JAMES: HUNTER’S MOON
EVAN: “The Cocoon” and “Mannikins of Horror” (MONSTERS, Season 1, Prime):I used to watch MONSTERS on TV as a kid. I recall it ran back-to-back with TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE. An insta feed I follow has been posting about individual episodes, so I thought I’d watch these tonight. I also watched TOTAL RECALL for the first time, but that’s not really horror. Anyway–
This show has its highs and lows. “The Cocoon” isn’t a great episode, but it’s fascinating and has a pretty creative monster that may have inspired an X-FILES monster of the week. An amnesiac woman, a cop, and a psychic work to figure out the amnesiac’s real past.
“Mannikins of Horror” is better. It’s adapted from a Robert Bloch story, and it shows. It has elements of ReAnimator and a segment of Amicus’s ASYLUM. In a dystopian society, a brilliant surgeon has been held in a prison for the insane. The Barbara Crampton-esque psychiatric doctor tries to heal him as he obsesses over clay figurines that he believes he can bring to life. There’s even a Fulci-esque eye stabbing!
BRIEN:Return to Horror High (Amazon Prime)
I don’t even know where to start with this masterpiece. First, it has an amazing Facts of Life connection as it stars Alex Rocco (Jo’s father) and features Jo’s real life brother Philip McKeon and George Clooney, who used his Facts of Life fame to land this plum cameo and a leading role in Return of the Killer Tomatoes a year later before fading into obscurity. Oh, he did have a supporting role in a little show called E/R with Elliot Gould and Mary McDonnell prior to this… (FACT – look it up!) But back to the movie… this twisty tale is set in the aftermath of a movie shoot bloodbath at a local high school, with the only survivor being the writer. He’s interviewed by the chief and his beat cop assistant played by Maureen “Marcia Marcia Marcia” McCormick (who also supplies much of the movie’s slapstick comedy)! He relates what happened during the film shoot which was based on the real life murders at the school several years prior. The school’s bloody past intertwines with the current bloody shenanigans of the film shoot which are all filtered through the telling of the traumatized writer. This cheap exploitative slasher is a metacommentary on the dangers of cheap exploitative slashers and features several twist endings which are both remarkably fun and utterly devoid of logic.
ROBIN: PHASE IV (1974)
Trypophobia warning! Gah! (Other unintelligible noises here) Nothing too spectacular here story-wise, but some great ant footage.
JAY: CRAWL (2019, Hulu)
Been wanting to see this one for a while now.
So I fully tempered my expectations for “Alligator” level insanity, and went into this with an open mind.
It’s pretty good for a modern horror flick. Simple plot, good acting, and a fair chunk of action and gore. I don’t really have anything to dislike about this movie. It’s what you’d expect from a huge budget/big studio horror film.
Would I have liked more gore, “WTF” or “OH SHIT” factors, or more batshit crazy insanity moments? Sure.
Did it have a cute heart-to-heart moment mid-way through? Sure.
Could I do without frequent jump-scares? Sure.
Crawl was a fun enough watch. If we’re comparing, it’s not as insane as “Alligator”, so if you’re really itching for a crazy movie of this sort, start there. Otherwise, it’s pretty good overall for what it is.
Eric: CRITTERS 2
this was fun.
JOULE: I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (2020, Netflix)
I wouldn’t call this horror, but then again I don’t know what I’d call it. I think it really captured the disorientation of the book without its ending being nearly so disappointing. But also, I don’t know if I could have followed a damn thing if I hadn’t read the book, and I might have bailed in the first 20 minutes, Jess Buckley or no Jess Buckley.
Interesting the niche Toni Collette has carved for herself, isn’t it? High-strung middle-aged lady in big house?
PRECIOUS: ELI (2019, Netflix)
When it finally gets to the point– its interesting…however, the road to the destination was so BASIC. It’s just not worth the ride. I almost bailed after the ridiculous and pointless scene of full grown men, bullying– and I mean high school type bullying — an elementary school aged child.
Aug 8th – Day 17 – 84 Days to Halloween
KIM: THE BEACHHOUSE (2020)
I was pretty underwhelmed by this one. I feel like this is a movie I have seen many times before.
BOB: INTO THE DARK: I’M JUST FUCKING WITH YOU (2019, Hulu)
The April 2019 April Fool’s Day themed entry to Hulu’s Into the Dark is a neon-lit deliciously twisted flick that is my favorite entry so far (although they don’t connect I’m watching in release order). A bitter internet troll, on the way to a wedding he intends to ruin, stays at a secluded skeezy hotel clerked by a sleazy Jonah Frieldlander-looking real life troll. It doesn’t take long before the clerk and his “I’m just fucking with you” crosses every line. There’s fun in finding where the fucking with you ends and the real threat begins and where it all goes among the coersions, gaslighting, and bloodshed. Just Fucking With You has a perverse glee that will turn many off, but fuck yes did it work for me.
CODY: Pumpkinhead 2: Blood Wings (1994)
Not the greatest sequel ever but far from the worst. Pumpkinhead proves far more likeable than any of the human characters(Sans Andrew Robinson’s Sheriff Braddock) and the sequel does have some genuinely good kills to boot. Worth a watch of a Pumpkinhead fan but you won’t miss much by not watching it.
JAMES: WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS
EVAN: THE GARDNER aka SEEDS OF EVIL aka GARDEN OF DEATH (1974, Dailymotion/Prime, Jim Kay):
God help me, I watched this to the end. I think the target audience is bored women who don’t like horror. Joe Dallesandro and his glorious nipples do not put a shirt on throughout this entire film, nor does his facial expression change. I waited an hour and a half to see him turn into a plant monster, and all he did was turn into a tree (an actual tree, like a banyan) three minutes from the end. Not even a fuckable tree. This is a boring, milky melodrama that probably aspired to be a timely Gothic Romance thriller. It could’ve just stayed a paperback.
BRIEN: Splatter University (Amazon Prime)
Co-Eds at a Catholic run university meet their demise at the hands of an unseen killer. This is pretty standard 80’s slasher fare with some abrupt time jumps that don’t really make sense until the ending. The lead is a well intentioned but naive new teacher instead of a student, but they all look like they’re in their 30s so it doesn’t really matter. There are a couple of interesting twists with the ending…
ROBIN: We Summon the Darkness (2019/20).
This one started out great and really fizzled hard for me in the 3rd act. Like, saying “Really?!?” to the screen kind of fizzled. There’s a lot I want to say that is SUPER spoiler-filled, so I won’t. It did have an unexpected Johnny Knoxville, though.
Jay: THE JAR (1984, YouTube)
I didn’t expect much going in, cause…well, it’s a movie called “the Jar”.
Pleasantly surprised with this one!
It’s a pretty unique and creative plot, and the whole movie is (literally) a trip. It’s not overly gory, nor are there any crazy creature FX for the most part, and the acting is certainly rough… but overall it’s still a fun and original descent-into-madness type flick.
Just wish I could’ve watched in a better quality than 360p
JOULE: Splice (Netflix). I’ll admit I was mostly watching this for Adrien Brody, but it was so much better than I expected and took some wild and wicked turns. Instead of a simple mad-scientist flick we get a twisted reflection on family and cycles of abuse. Sarah Polley is as good as Brody, and Ms. Humanimal is wonderfully sympathetic and scary. Content warnings, but I can’t say what for without spoiling
ERIC: The Return of the Fly. More Vincent Price! More fly action! More black and white! This was a good sequel. It has more action and a much faster if more shallow story. Overall a good watch beautifully restored by Scream Factory.
Precious: TOURIST TRAP (1979)
Aug 7th – DAY 16 – 85 days to Halloween
KIM: HOST (2020 SHUDDER)
Jumping on the bandwagon to watch Host and thoroughly enjoyed. Thought it was very clever how they managed to shoot it and enjoyed the premise. Performances were good across the board too.
BOB: Black Water (2008, Tubi)
With a sequel (or more likely similar premise using the title, like sequels to 47 Meters Down or Open Water) coming out today, I figured I’d check the first film (free on Tubi). It’s small but solid, using a limited bag of tricks for great measure. A husband, a wife, and her sister embark on a Christmas holiday across northern Australia They elect to hire a boat to fish in the mangrove swamps. Too bad they wander into a territorial crocodile’s area and he doesn’t like it very much. With the boat flipped on a log in open water, a dead guide, and three stuck on a tree, how will they get out? Sure doesn’t help the crocodile is still hanging out and with the water well.. the title fits, they don’t know how best to move around. It was often harrowing; especially in the climax. I appreciate it never got silly, stretching what the leads may be capable of. No one suddenly become a Croc Killing Machine or pulls some arcane knowledge out of their asses to solve the predicament. Now onto the sequel (eventually).
CODY: Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965)
The original Amicus anthology flick! As always 4 bite size segments will a great Wrap Around to tie it all together. Peter Cushing is on hand as always alongside Christopher Lee and Donald Sutherland to anchor a tremendous cast. Definitely worth a watch!
ROBIN: OVERLORD (2018)
Entertaining enough. The opening sequence was amazing and it never quite got up to that level again. The main protagonist was likeable and carried the film well. I wish there had been a little more to the experiments than the glimpses we got.
JOULE: Amulet (thru Grand Illusion; it’s no longer available there, but you should check out their other options and support them!) Oh wow. I want to say almost nothing about this because it would be a crime to spoil it. Very generally, it struck me as a tiny bit over-arty at times–quite forgivable for a debut director–but overall really effective and out-there. A nice change from your usual middle-class haunting. Alec Secareanu is superb and gives a gutsy performance that plays with your sympathies. (I’m told he was also very good in the gay Yorkshire romance God’s Own Country.) Imelda Staunton has a ball as a slightly creepy nun.
EVAN: PROJECT METALBEAST (1995, Alessandro de Gaetano, Prime):
Werewolf with metal skin grafts. This could only be better if the cyber-werewolf was also gay and/or psychic.Barry Bostwick is a cooly sociopathic villain, and Kane Hodder plays the titular metalbeast. This movie is so deliciously bad that Barry Bostwick and Kane Hodder get top billing. Even the poster/box cover is (ahem) a ripoff of THE HOWLING.Lately I’ve watched stuff that was either emotionally heavy or required some active watching. I was in the mood for a shit-stupid creature feature, and this delivered. You know those low-budget, cgi-heavy movies that have come out lately that make fun of the earnest action-trash movies of the 80s and 90s? This is exactly what they’re parodying. There would be no WOLFCOP without PROJECT METALBEAST.Cool thing: The protagonist is a female scientist leading her team, and the hacker character is also a woman.
Another cool thing: FUCKING CYBERWEREWOLF.
BRIEN: FINAL EXAM
It’s 80’s week for me and I kicked it off with this little slasher from 1981. Overall, pretty generic characters though brainy Radish and final girl ***** (I won’t spoil it, but it’s not much of a surprise) add some heart to the movie – the thoroughly punchable frat boys- pictured below- not so much. There’s also almost an hour of bargain basement Animal House hijinks before the killing starts. It certainly owes more than a little to Halloween (even the music is a bit similar at one point) but it also has its own message about the random violence in the world that I found pretty effective.
ERIC: La Llorona (2020) is a reworking of the Latin American folklore of The Weeping Woman. This version is more of a dark political drama with supernatural elements. It’s incredibly well shot and acted. Very few of the characters are likable, but that does not stop the story from being intensely watchable.
In this film, Shudder is bringing us another fantastic slow burn foreign film. It is worth watching even though several scenes are hard to stomach not because of violence but because of the story and the characters that take part.
JAY: The Evil Spawn (1987, Youtube)
Hoooly moly! This was phenomenal!!
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for bad/excessive creature FX, and Evil Spawn absolutely delivers by the boatload.
The story line and characters were interesting enough, despite a couple moments where it drags and the filmmakers apparently felt that gratuitous breasts would redeem it.
But man – the creatures lol…so good. This is a wild one! Would definitely recommend.
Precious: COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2020, Shudder)
It was interesting. I feel like I didn’t get enough time to get to know the family, and therefore care about them more.
I was confused by the Mayor and her presence.
For some reason I was mostly worried about Ward, the cute scientist. Also, EXTREMELY appreciative of a film with an out of towner — who happens to be Black– visiting a small town, and there was not of hint of race involved. So rare, and so welcomed.
I gotta say though, seems like Cage plays the same character in 98% if his films…
Aug 6th – DAY 15- 86 Days to Halloween
KIM: FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL
As a whole, there’s nothing terribly original in the story and the monster design was not awesome in my opinion, buuuut…Peter Cushing is so damned watchable and I also really enjoyed Shane Briant so I still found myself enjoying.
BOB: THE HAUNTED (2020, Hoopla)
Well, it’s 75 minutes long. That’s a positive. The rest.. Not so much. A young woman is hired to care for an invalid in an overnight position. Should be easy, but of course… ghosts and shit. You remember the Sierra point-and-click PC games of the 90s? That’s this. Young woman wonders around the house, touching random objects and finding out a little bit of a further mystery.I know Twitch is a thing, but watching someone play a dull game is even duller. While there are a few moments where something might be working, it’s deflated by truly awful camera work. Director and DP cannot set up a shot to save their lives. You want to learn how not not frame a shot – watch this. Or don’t. You’re better off. And let’s talk the ending. Yes I’m going spoiler. She’s the ghost. We’re going sixth sense or the others. Where both of those made sense, and had the build to revelation, this result is an afterthought. I guess some hints were there, but ultimately groan-worthy.
CODY: THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS (1972)
A solid Giallo that is a great watch. Fun kills and an genuinely interesting mystery carry this one to a recommendation. Some acting and pacing issues hold it back but not by much.
JAMES: THE THING BELOW (2004)
BRIEN: THE CORPSE GRINDERS
(Amazon Prime) Ted V. Mikels – master of the Z-grade movie – delivers a powerful treatise on the commodification of human life in an age of corporate greed and bureaucracy. It’s a spiritual sequel to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle – but with killer cats.
ROBIN: CHILD’S PLAY 3 (1991) Great Chucky effects, as always, along with a pretty good young cast. Solid wrap-up to the original trilogy. My Chucky watching is now complete!
ERIC: JU-ON ORIGINS (2020, Netflix)
Not a movie but it is a short TV series. Six episodes 30 minutes each and well worth your time.
It’s a kind of origin story for the house featured in the Ju-on movies: some good scares and some pretty rough content.
If you liked the movies you’ll probably enjoy this.
JOULE: “Cutting Moments” (YouTube).
Do not watch this movie if you have any doubts about your current mental stability. I know that will make my type of person want to watch it even more but I’m serious. It started feeling like punishment and I had to turn it off.
(It’s very well done though, if you feel like being very disturbed.)
EVAN: DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS (Spike Lee, 2014, Kanopy): Lee remade GANJA + HESS. I find the original fascinating as arthouse-cum-blaxploitation, and this remake is certainly less pretentious and inscrutable than Bill Gunn’s original. It’s not quite Horror, just as the original wasn’t, but you certainly get more blood and gore than ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. there are vampires, and they’re affluent Black people who prey mostly on the working class. Also, Rami Malek is their servant. Beautiful photography, some strong larger-than-life performances, and plenty of bloodshed. It’s slow going, but if you liked the original or THE HUNGER or ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE or you just need more vampires who aren’t white, go for it. I wish it explored more of the conflict between traditional African religions and American Christianity, which we get in the original and in ABBY.
(1992 – on YouTube)
The second 33 minute part of the Alex Chandon double feature with Bad Karma.
Admittedly I was still pretty mind blown by Bad Karma, so maybe I shouldn’t compare it to that.
It’s still a brilliantly bad, low-budget, chaotic shitshow, and gory fun… but with dialogue that an edgy high school kid could’ve written, and I just couldn’t follow the plot jumps. Initially it’s x, but then y is happening, and now it’s about this character, but where tf did these guys come from?
And that bathroom scene towards the end?!?! WHAT?!
It’s still great and if you just watched Bad Karma, it’s literally the second half of the feature, so it’s worth giving this a spin too.
Crazy ass, over-the-top gory “action” and mutants. Fun stuff!
Hmmm…well…it wasn’t what I hoped for after the tension in the first scene. The cellphone images? You’re friends with the cops, but–?
Was there backstory on the alcoholism that I missed? Why in Gods name would you EVER crash on that guys couch? I mean, like, EVER.
Aug 5th – DAY 14 – 87 Days to Halloween
KIM: POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE (1986)
Nothing special and certain plot points have reaaaally not aged well.
BOB: SCOOBY-DOO (2002, Netflix Disc)
SCOOBY-DOO (2002, Netflix Disc)This could have been so much better. James Gunn writing and the the main cast is perfectly cast for the iconic Scooby Gang (also cool to have Rowan Aktinson and Isla Fisher on board too!). So much of the film really gets the show down pat, in look, feel, and plotting (especially the opening scene – if that kept up we’d be solid, mostly), but other aspects scream studio notes to make it more standard family fare (so many fart jokes… Scooby has been fine without them for 33 years at the point, why now?), awful CG (Scooby doesn’t look great, but I can deal with it, but the monsters? ugh). It also doesn’t help Raja Gosnell is a truly horrendous director. He’s made a career of lowest common denominator make the studio happy with lots of money flicks – both of these films, the Smurfs, Show Dogs, etc. I suppose the works quickly and takes notes well. His shots, the jokes, many of the side actions are so on the nose and direct it is annoying.
Spoilers for 18 year old kids movie – FUCK the reveal. Scrappy Doo? Fuck his and the puppy power he rode in on. I know the joke in his villain is no one liked him ever but still.
I know counting this is a stretch, but SCOOBY-DOO for 51 years (wow!) has been wonderful as entry-level horror with plenty of villains monsters, ghosts, ghouls, capitalist minded old white men grabbing at the exploitation of others, real zombies, and Vincent Price.
PS How annoying is it the poster ghost is the opening scene one and not the movie villain?
CODY: BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (1974)
An absolutely wonderful Giallo filled with twists and turns so I will keep my evaluation short. Completely enthralling and worthy of a watch!
ROBIN: PUPPET MASTER II (1990)
I don’t even know what to say about it. This movie was a disaster. No one did anything that made any sort of sense. Also, they committed a cardinal sin and wasted Buck Flower.
JAMES: THE BLACK ROOM (2017)
BRIEN: The Bloody Pit of Horror (Amazon Prime) Amazon Prime has a remarkable collection of B movies from the 60s and 70s and this one holds a special place in the annals of schlock and awe cinema. A photographer and a writer bring a bunch of models to an abandoned castle to shoot lurid horror novel covers. But it turns out it’s not abandoned and the reclusive owner agrees to let them hang out for a bit. Then they start dying in macabre and sinister (and ridiculous) ways. Oh, and there’s someone called the Crimson Executioner (who’s supposed to be this historical figure tied to the castle, but looks like a WWE reject) running around. And it turns out that one of the models has a connection to the castle’s owner and the whole thing is a just a giant metaphor in red leotards for white male fragility. Also, there are a couple of scenes where people die, but you’re not really sure how. They just kind of… fall because of… reasons. All in all, it’s just so terrible and amazing that it should be required viewing. The picture is from one of my favorite scenes.
EVAN: THE MIST (2007, Frank Darabont)
another big ass monster flick I missed when it came out. Overall, it’s a really tense thriller with some very yummy monsters and body horror. I’m glad the ending was spoiled for me because oh man, that ending. Just punch me in the face why don’t you. Marcia Gay Harden is great as a stock Stephen King crazy religious lady, and Thomas Jane performs grief a lot more viscerally than most men would, and he’s easy on the eyes too!
JOULE: Butterfly Kisses (Tubi). I liked what it was trying to do but couldn’t suspend my disbelief for even a moment, which is fatal for a faux-doc. Also, “the Blinkman” is a terrible name for a villain. It sounds like the last name of a direct-to-video producer in the ’80s. Jerry Blinkman or something.
ERIC: BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR
The third of three horror films using the same footage with new scenes added in to tell different stories. Although this one is a kind of sequel to The Fiend with the Electronic Brain.
Blood of Ghastly Horror is a movie. It has some fun and makes for a pretty quick watch if you have seen the first film. The previous film’s footage takes up about 45 minutes of the whole runtime.
JAY: SATAN’S STORYBOOK (1989, Tubi, Youtube)
What in the medieval ren-fair dialogue is this?!?
If you’re familiar with Every is Terrible, this is like a full length feature of their goofy horror clips (kinda like a more consistent ‘Great Satan’).
It’s not nearly as thrilling as that cover makes it out to be…
PRECIOUS: THE CURED
I finally felt like I was watching a fleshed out film, as opposed to a vanity film where the director just wants to show how “artistic/ clever/cerebral/whatever ” they are.🙄
I didn’t quite grasp what the antagonist *problem* was. As in, What’s his deal? I’m still confused by his relationship with the 2 leads. Romantic? Crush? Jealousy?
Anyway, I ultimately liked it.
PENINSULA: This is an aggressively mediocre zombie movie with a surprising amount of shitty cgi. I loved the first one so turning this off halfway through was a drag. It’s not terrible. It’s just like any other zombie movie that brings nothing new to the table and I’ve seen way too many of those to care about this
Aug 4th – DAY 13 – 88 Days to Halloween
KIM: CHRISTINA’S HOUSE (2000)
It’s not just that this movie was bad…it’s that it was…bad. Skip.
BOB: HOST (2020, Shudder)
This Shudder-exclusive made-in-the-pandemic screen-horror film is LEGIT. Six friends meet up on Zoom to hold a socially-distancing seance. You can guess it doesn’t go well for them. Host smartly uses the traps and tropes of Zoom (or whatever you use) to create build tension, create scares, and hit hard. There are a TON of jump scares loaded into the 56 minutes, but holy hell do they work. Each is earned and not cheap at all. As with similar found footage films that rely mostly on forced perspective (like the camera set ups in the Paranormal Activity movies – a very uneven series to note), one’s eye is continually darting around – looking for changes, shadows, and the set-up to a scare. In same way of long takes, the continued continuity builds tension to the breaking points. The scares, both loud and subtle, work.
The characters are well established for a little we get to know – through their screens they feel like real friends and that goes a long way. Like Underwater from this year, the traditional first act is eschewed to get to the action quicker and to the film’s benefit. And the simple effects are honestly impressive. The trickery has to be more well hidden in an unchanging perspective and I give the director and his team so much credit for what they accomplished. Host does more in it’s short run time than other films do in twice as much.
CODY: VENGANCE OF THE ZOMBIES (1973)
Take a 60’s voodoo flick and blend it with Giallo and sprinkle on a delightfully funky soundtrack to create this one! Super fun to watch and keeps you intrigued from opening bell to closing. Also the Zombie brides are especially creepy!
ROBIN: ST. AGATHA (2018)
I honestly went into this thinking I wasn’t going to like it, but really did. While not spectacular, by any means, it plays the ramp up well. The characters’ fates made me feel things (left unsaid due to spoilers), which I suppose is the end goal for any movie. Pleasant surprise.
BRIEN: AMITYVILLE 1992: IT’S ABOUT TIME
It’s important to include the subtitle when talking about this film because it is also a key line of dialogue in this epic and layered addition to the Amityville series. Is it tied to the Amityville mythos by only the thinnest of threads in the same way that Deader and Hellworld are technically Hellraiser sequels? Yes. Does it contain outrageous performances and the painful VFX you would expect from 1992? Yes. Is it absurd in the worst way possible at times? Yes. Does the filming remind you of an R-rated Goosebumps? Most certainly. But… I still found myself deeply moved and, yes, enlightened by this overlooked masterpiece. Between the double entendre of the subtitle and the use of some ridiculous yet effective objects of death and menace, I believe this may be The Catcher in the Rye of horror films – and I will spend the rest of my life combing through every inch of subtext and symbolism to prove my point. [This review is brought to by Bourbon. Bourbon – Making terrible horror movies great since August 2020.]
JAMES: FEAST 2 & FEAST 3
EVAN: WEB OF THE SPIDER (1971, YouTube): this is an odd collection of scenes. It kept my curiosity throughout, but it’s a bit of a head scratcher. If you like Gothic melodrama, this has heaps of both. Haunted castle, killer sex ghosts, and Klaus Kinski plays Edgar Allen Poe for no real good reason. Watchable!
also available on Prime, but the print there is awful. YouTube is much more crisp.
another missed “classic”.
It’s a fun entering little creature feature.
I’ll be checking out the sequels at some point.
JAY: Inside (2016, Hulu)
I kept seeing this pop up on “Extreme Horror” lists, and heard great things, so I finally got around to watching this.
So dumb. Super dumb. I mean, it’s a decent run-of-the-mill cat-and-mouse horror flick, but it’s chock full of inconsistencies, and the ending is just trash.
There were a ton of things that made me literally talk to my TV and go “WTF WHY”, including why she has a toothbrush that sounds like power tools, but I’ll save the spoiler discussions for the comments in case anyone wants to watch this.
I guess there’s a French version from 2007, and this is the crummy American remake, so if it’s anything like Martyrs, the original is probably great and I just messed up watching the wrong one.
Either way, that ending is trash, though.
I didn’t love this. Great premise; poor execution and frustrating to watch at times.
JOULE: RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE (2020, Shudder)
Very cool to see Jesse Williams from Cabin in the Woods. He’s a very good actor with an everyman vibe. Niamh Wilson also stood out to me–she’s quirky and adorable without being remotely grating. Overall, this is a pretty good one, barring an overlong climax. The lighting designer is certainly having fun with clashing giallo neons.
It is an interesting film. Chock full of themes and symbolism. I feel that the opening sequence is so powerful, that it kinda goes downhill from there…
The whole time I watched this, I just assumed it was Kevin S. Tenney’s first film because the budget is clearly much lower than Night of the Demons, the acting is off the charts bad and the script is filled to the brim with jokes that are so terribe and delivered so poorly, they end up being way funnier than they have any right to be (“I always knew you were a scumbag but I never knew how scummy your bag could be”). I’m not saying Night of the Demons has great acting or a great script but this is on a whole other level (and this was his follow-up to Night of the Demons).
It’s basically like The Legend of Hell House only with almost no filmmaking competence. That being said, this movie is a blast! It has exactly the right kind of bad acting and the script is constantly ridiculous. The kills aren’t great but they gave it their best shot. Highly recommended
Aug 3rd – DAY 12 – 89 Days to Halloween
KIM: HOUSE OF LONG SHADOWS
Such a good cast. Such a meh movie.
Bob: HELL NIGHT (1981, Borrowed from Tony)
Technically, not a good flick. But I like this sort of thing and enjoyed myself. Nothing is particularly inventive, even this early into the slasher subgenre, but it does have Linda Blair and a Van Patten!
Our plot – a coed fraternity leaves its 4 new pledges (only 4? Small organization!) in an abandoned mansion where a man killed his family 12 years before. Frat leaders plan on pranking the pledges (including an impressive ghost reflection). Too bad the pledges see through it so they don’t take it seriously when the surviving resident of the massacre (a facially disfigured mentally disabled man – same year as F13 2 so can’t accused of rip) starts killing.
Pretty low key but I dug it. ( wanted them to explore the place! I’d kill to do so! )
Cody: HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1973)
Put a Hammer film and a Giallo flick into a 1970’s blender and this absolute insane flick is born. Incredibly fun to watch from beginning to end. Naschy kills it playing a dual lead role.
BRIEN: Beyond the Door (Shudder) Woman finds herself pregnant with the devil’s child. There are several things about this movie that stand out. 1) The woman’s young children swear like sailors who spend way too much time at the disco. 2) The soundtrack is pure 70’s funk fire – totally wrong for this movie, but amazing nonetheless 3) It absolutely rips off The Exorcist for a good chunk, but it’s also uniquely bizarre.
ROBIN: Patrick (1978, Shudder)
This one is interesting as it’s much tamer than the marketing leads you to believe. It’s also fairly long. There was one point where I thought it was approaching the finale, only to realize there were still 40+ minutes remaining. Shudder lists it as 96 minutes currently, but the cut that’s on there is actually the 112-minute version. All that said, I enjoyed it. The main heroine is likable and I enjoyed that her storyline is not cut & dry.
JAMES: YOUNG CANNIBALS (2017)
EVAN: HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB
meh, didn’t keep me. It was too slapdash for my liking. Cody loved it (below). Thanks for the recommendation though! I do love Giallo and Hammer films.
Tight 62-minute paranoia piece, riveting, superbly acted by Gaby Hoffman and Ingrid Jungermann. Don’t read the blurb if you can help it, it gives the whole plot away.
JAY: 2000 Maniacs (1964)
Delving into some H.G. Lewis films I haven’t seen yet. Admittedly, Blood Feast set the bar for me, but 2000 Maniacs was an interesting watch, for sure.
I can imagine seeing this in 1964 would’ve been scary as hell when there was nothing like this on the market.
It’s a twisted romp in the “wrong turn ends up in creepy confederate local yokel town” vein. Which, is essentially what Rob Zombie based his film career off of, but I think H.G. Lewis did it first here.
The kills are creative & certainly brutal, albeit not as gory as Blood Feast (nor as cheesy as Wizard of Gore).
Decent flick overall (although I certainly don’t agree with the box tagline lol). Probably a real pants-shitter back in it’s day.
MARSHALL: MASSACRE IN DINOSAUR VALLEY
I’m unreasonably delighted that it has no dinosaurs in it. It is an Italian cannibal movie, though, and these days I have a strong aversion to animals being killed onscreen. I have no idea if there is any but I really hope not because I read this is like a cross between Romancing the Stone and Cannibal Ferox which is a genre combination I never knew I needed but now I must have
Precious: 1 Br
*sigh* These modern movies base their entire premise off a questionable decision/information/ etc. Which,at least to me, put the whole film in peril, since the believability is off. And look — I totally get in Horror films, that you suspend a degree of reality. I realize that nowadays they MUST show that there is no cell service available wherever they are about to get murdered, lol. But it can’t be the foundation of the film. In this film, the apartment IN LOS ANGELES, that a girl with NO JOB, or parental support, in a great neighborhood, and they deliberately fail to mention anything about the rent. Because if it were so low that she could afford it– that wouldn’t be realistic for the audience, and it would also be a GINORMOUS RED FLAG for the character– and there’s just no way she would apply for that apartment. So then, end of film.
I really wish there was a way to hide the comments section, in order to discuss films without spoiling it for others…
ERIC: CRITTERS 4
The saga ends? Except for a TV series and a fifth movie many many years later. A frustrating lack of critters in this one. The film has less humor and is much darker. As a result, it is not as fun as the other critters movies.
Aug 2nd – DAY 11 – 90 Days to Halloween
I mean…not the worst thing I’ve ever seen but…the acting was not awesome, the story was predictable…just…meh…
BOB: FOR WE ARE MANY (2020, Hoopla)
Bottom of the barrel quick story anthology film. Think ABCS of Death, but worse. I take back everything bad I’ve said about those movies. The quality is Filmmaking 101, like he producers sent a mass email out to every college asking for whatever 3 minute horror shorts they had on file, no matter how awful. Every single one of these stories is inept and awfully structured. Underdone set ups, bad effects, and then end. I can get past cheapness, that’s no problem; but the lack of any understanding of storytelling I cannot.
CODY: COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2020)
Absolutely fucking brilliant, the best film so far of the year for me. Absolutely worth your time.
BRIEN: SQUIRM (Shudder) Worms, fueled by electricity, vent their existential angst at being worms on the humans of a small town. But they’re worms, so it takes a while for them to get going so there’s a lot of townspeople drama before things get gross. An arrogant city slicker with a thing for egg creams tries to save the day. I had fun with this one – solid creature feature.
ROBIN: VILLAINS (2019) I’ve been wanting to see this one since its limited run last year. I love me some Bill Skarsgard. Kyra Sedgwick runs away with the movie, though. She is brilliant in this. Fun and worth a watch.
EVAN: Theatre Bizarre (2011, Stanley et al., Scarecrow Video)
Great photography, shitty writing. The wrap-around isn’t so bad actually, mostly because it’s highly stylized and features Udo Kier playing an automaton in flaking paint, which is a fun choice.I got this because it includes Richard Stanley’s short adaptation of Clarke Ashton Smith’s “Mother of Toads.” Smith is a favorite of mine, and he and Lovecraft pulled elements from one another into their own mythos. Stanley, though he knows how to shoot beautiful film, and he made an excellent adaptation of “Colour Out of Space,” is not at his best here. He shoehorns the Necronomicon into “Mother” when it doesn’t need it. But man can he produce a visual.All in all: This isn’t a good horror movie. It’s actually the most misogynist thing I’ve seen in a long time. LOTS of violence against women. All the women (at least in the first hour) are either predators or victims, and the men, despite being unilaterally shitty, are centered as the ones suffering for their own bad behavior and decisions. Tom Savini’s contribution is especially egregious, mostly just a vehicle to show off his gore skills. He plays a psychologist who serves liquor to his own client while they’re on the clock, then asks him the last time he raped someone. And it’s mostly about penises being cut off. Did Joe Ezterhaus write this?Here’s a little pull quote from one of the segments I didn’t even bother to discuss above:“Your penis and my vagina have never gotten along”I turned it off after an hour, and Stanley was the big reason I wanted to see it anyway. Maybe I’ll finish it tomorrow, because the Wiki article suggests the second half as much more interesting.
JAMES: DAY OF RECKONING (2016)
JOULE: RINGU 2
I really like the first one, its urban folktale vibe, but this was just so damn boring and poorly directed that I switched
JAY: 2001 Maniacs (Prime)
Apparently not directed by Rob Zombie. Who knew?
Anyway, I feel like this one paid homage to the original pretty well. Stuck to the plot, had somewhat unique kills, and didn’t really water anything down.
On one hand, I feel like the dopey yuk-yuk southerner trope was a little over-acted to the point of slight annoyance at times… but on the other, Robert Englund was in this, so that’s pretty cool.
Decent remake. And that’s pretty rare…
ERIC: BRAIN OF BLOOD (1971)
This is a strange one. 1971 slow moving story about a brain being transplanted and surprise it does not go so well.
MARSHALL: UNCLE PECKERHEAD (2020)
OH MY GOD THIS MOVIE
I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did. It starts at a little shaky but gets better and better as it goes along and the humor really starts landing after the first kill. There were multiple scenes that had me howling and high-fiving the screen. Right as I settled into what I thought this movie was and embraced the sweetness of it, reality stepped in and smashed everything to bits. It ends on an absolutely perfect note. It’s one of those movies that I’m silently begging to end exactly where I want it to and it does. And it’s probably the first and only truly horrifying moment in the whole thing. This movie is completely in its own universe. The reality is fairly heightened and the characters don’t really talk or act like anything approaching real life, which may bother some but I loved getting into the rhythm of this weird ass world. Each character is adorable and surprisingly well fleshed out and I thought all of the actors did a wonderful job making them so likable and fun to watch. Probably the highest praise I could give it is that I deeply hated their band’s music and every scene of them playing made me cringe but I still loved them so much and really wanted to see them succeed. I can’t wait to see whatever this filmmaker does next.
PRECIOUS: OPEN GRAVE
This seem initially quite intriguing, then veered into annoying, then became dissatisfying. I still dont feel that some questions were answered, and some behavior was unjustified. Anyway, I didn’t regret it, but I wasn’t happy about it either.
Aug 1st – DAY 10 – 91 Days to Halloween
KIM: PLANET OF THE SHARKS (2016)
I knew this movie was going to be bad, but I was not prepared for how bad it actually was. Do yourself a favor and learn from my mistakes.
BOB: IMPETIGORE (2020, Shudder)
I always like to see the horror tales of cultures I’m less familiar. Especially if they are a reflection of what scares that culture – the legends and lore. While this year struck out (for me at least with Ghost Stories and Babddul) with my first forays into Indian horror, I was much more pleased with his Indonesian film, streaming on Shudder. Outside this and the fantastic and affecting documentaries The Look of Silence and the Act of Killing, I’m not sure I’ve seen other Indonesian films at all. But based on how much I liked the three of these, I’m wanting to check out more.
After an attack reveals she has inherited a house in a dying village, a young woman and her best friend decide to check it out under the guise of being university students there to interview a famous shadow-puppeteer. There they find an incredibly atmospheric tale of generations of curses and bloodshed. While there was much I didn’t latch to from not being versed in the cultural legends and traditions (and there were some storytelling moments of “wait, what’s going on?”), I still connected strongly as our lead starts to peel away the details and history what happened in the past and how it reflects horrifically into now. Some points off for CG blood -it never looks good- those points return with a spooky dirt and fog soaked atmosphere and enough skinless people to make Clive Barker happy.
CODY: Escapes (1986)
The 20 minutes of Vincent Price are not worth the 70 minutes of lame anthology garbage that are required to see him. Uninspired and not worth the time unless you are on a Vincent Price completionist run.
EVAN: FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER’S MONSTER, FRANKENSTEIN (Netflix, 2019, Daniel Gray Longino): No monsters. Not horror. I was expecting maybe a horror comedy, but it’s a mockumentary/metacomedy, and most of the humor is that awkward, uncomfortable tone that’s currently so popular. The title is great, but I was unamused. It’s no YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Thumbs down.
BRIEN: THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020, VOD) I really enjoyed this new take on The Invisible Man. I found it to be a tense, character driven story with some truly creepy moments. The way it weaves in themes of abuse and control elevates the film into an even more relevant story for our time.
ROBIN: MEATBALL MACHINE (2005) Nothing says Sunday morning like a cup of coffee and a Japanese cyberpunk gore-fest. I loved the makeup effects in this and honestly, it’s just a thin plot made up to showcase those effects. I imagine this one would be fun to watch in a theater full of people (remember those?) with a couple of drinks.
JAMES: AQUALASH (2019)
JAY: Color Me Blood Red (1965, Tubi)
HOLY BANANAS! AND WATER BIKES! *Queue Batman comic book music from the 60s*
I dunno, this one was just silly. Blood Feast is still the champ out of this trilogy, in my opinion.
Nonetheless, I applaud H.G. Lewis for his creativity in all these different, unique plots, and for bringing unprecedented splatter into films back in the 60’s.
JOULE: Crawl (Hulu). I had heard not great-things, but how could an alligator creature-feature flick not be fun? Turns out, by being as boring and stilted as possible. The first 20 minutes are just a young woman wandering around yelling “Dad!” in a condo, then in a house, then in a basement, also some sports flashback stuff that’s impossible to take an interest in. By the time the gators showed up, I cared more about some looters who appear for 2 minutes of screen time more than the main characters. Skip.
ERIC: HOST (2020)
I have joined the cult of Host watchers.
It was a fun watch. It’s a strange and flawed film, but worth watching.
July 31st – DAY 9 – 92 Days to Halloween
KIM: GHOSTLAND (2018)
I have conflicting feelings on this. There were things I liked and I actually thought it was really well shot, but some of the relentless torture became a bit much. I also found the plot a bit predictable and the dialogue a bit forced.
BOB: TREEHOUSE (2019, Hulu)
Treehouse is the March 2019 entry to INTO THE DARK and is a very weak entry sadly. It’s almost a retelling of New Year New You with far less interesting characters. Jimmi Simpson of Westworld, Rose Red, and a McPoyle on It’s Always Sunny, is an asshole celebrity chef who visits to his family’s summer estate to get away from some tabloid heat. There he meets a set of women on a bachelor party, they come to the house, he cooks for them and hit on them, and monsters arrive. It’s a slow build, but a dull slow build with a jerk. Ultimately a lackluster entry. Here’s to the next!
CODY: DARK HARVEST (1992)
Another shitty Scarecrow movie, for some reason (low budget) is set in the fucking desert. Watch terrible early 90’s actors take the world’s worst hiking trip and then get killed by somewhat decent looking Scarecrows. Better than the 04 title of the same name, that is not saying much however.
Robin: HOST (2020, Shudder) I saw everyone talking about it and decided to give it a go. Forced perspective movies (mostly found footage) really get to me. Combine this with the concept of everyone being alone, at night, on Zoom… I will admit I watched this through my fingers in anticipation of the scares. Of course, the scenes I was expecting in my head weren’t there, but it was still pretty good. I give them major kudos for putting this together in the past few months.
BRIEN: RELIC (2020)
A woman and her daughter check on her aging mother who seems to have gone missing. Weirdness ensues. I don’t know if this one totally lived up to the hype for me. It’s really well made and has some very creepy sequences and it’s anchored by great performances. The emotional core of the story is strong. I’m just not sure if all the threads come together at the end. But maybe I missed something. Definitely worth a watch.
EVAN: EMBRACE OF THE VAMPIRE (1995, Hoopla, Anne Goursaud):
Well then. Here’s a soft core erotic vampire film with Alyssa Milano in the lead. I have lots of feelings about this.My likes: Directed by a woman! Overtly queer across several genders! There’s even some low key trans exploration! Rachel True and Jennifer Tilly are in it!But wait: Tilly and True are underused, especially considering True is the best actor in this film (and she dies in Act 2). Tilly’s character shows up and my immediate thought was OH DO YOU THINK SHE MIGHT BE A VAMPIRE? Her character name is “Marika” for fuck’s sake, which is Spanish slang for sissy/fag, and she turns out to be more or less a trans character who tries to seduce a cis man.It’s erotica for sure, even spawning a remake that was supposedly harder core. Milano shows her boobs a lot. Like, a lot lot to the point they should have their own credits. To the director’s credit, there’s quite a bit of man flesh as well, including a butt shot or two. I’m surprised this didn’t ruin Milano’s career; unlike Elizabeth Berkeley, Milano apparently knows that a leading lady does not show full frontal. Her career was in a lull at this point, so perhaps no harm done.I always want to see what kind of horror women are directing, and this one is bold (for its time) yet also derivative. The prologue looks like a softcore porn version of LEGEND, and there are immediate visual and plot tropes ripped from Coppola’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA. And some from CANDYMAN. And some from THE HUNGER.Other random thoughts and feels:
*LOTS OF TIT LICKING. Guy nipples, lady nipples, whatever. No one actually fucks in this soft core erotic film, they just suck each other’s tiddies.
*Was there only one costumer in the 90s? Everyone in this film looks like they were in BUFFY or FRIENDS or CLUELESS or THE CRAFT. Fuck, Rachel True WAS in THE CRAFT.
*The Virgin/Whore contrasts here are blatant and don’t really comment on anything. Milano goes from dressing in sack cloth to goth-ish, chain smoking sex kitten.
*A deus ex machina ending of the antagonist having a sudden change of heart and abandoning his centuries-long quest. Okay.*The film’s defining moment is an actor I’ve never heard of, in a leading role, licking blood sexually off of…a door. For like a whole minute, or so it seemed.ENJOY!
JAMES: MY SOUL TO TAKE (2019)
ERIC: Horror of the Blood Monsters a mash-up of footage from a film called Tagani and new footage shot by Al Adamson. This is not a great one. The production company did not want to release a film with B&W footage so they devised a strange tinting look and explained it in a really weird way. The movie combines vampires, space travel, prehistoric people and creatures, weird bat-like men, and a fair amount of not-so-great fight choreography.
On the plus side, the remastering is top-notch.
JAY: Pieces (1982, Shudder)
I feel like I’ve tried to watch this a couple times, but got pulled away or fell asleep… so I’ve only watched it in bits and… chunks, or segments, or portions, or other synonyms.
After finally seeing the whole thing, it’s not bad. I don’t get the hype this receives in some old-school horror circles or movie collector groups, but it’s deece.
The tagline and images are really all there is to it. There’s a couple gnarly kills, especially the elevator one. Tries to incorporate a “whodunit” vibe, but… meh, isn’t interesting in that respect.
If you want an 80’s slasher that delivers on the absolute cornball bad acting and some chainsaw gore, this is it.
JOULE: Possum (Google). A man who looks like Pee-wee Herman on bad acid returns home to his rotting house and tries to destroy the thing that’s haunting him, namely the least adorable puppet you’ve ever seen. Someone on the rental page said this was better than The Babadook. It isn’t, but it handles some really disturbing subject matter in an unusual way. If you’ve got the patience for slowness, worth a look, especially just to see the truly fucked-up puppet.
Ultimately I enjoyed it, but there’s something that occurs that bummed me out, and I’m really tired of that being the trend in Horror movies. Also, it didn’t really need to happen, since it took one of the characters back to square one. Good acting and I think anyone could stumble upon this situation in real life– which helps with the terror. Also, theres one situation that I could barely tolerate because the thought of it is particularly personally HORRIFYING 😳😳😳
MARSHALL – 4 MOVIES (SEE BELOW)
I bought the Umberto Lenzi/Carroll Baker blu ray box set and plowed through all four features in a couple nights. Nightmare City is one of my favorite zombie movies and Cannibal Ferox is my favorite cannibal movie and I named my last band after his film Spasmo, so I was confident I would enjoy this set and enjoy it I did. Every one of them is a blast but their first film together, Orgasmo is easily the best. It’s as bananas as a 70’s Italian movie can be. In it, a man briefly charms a woman and then walks into her house without asking, starts eating her food, refuses to leave when she asks him, and then joins her naked in the shower so of course, she falls in love with him. She’s rich and famous and gives him a giant handful of cash for no good reason, which curiously triggers a rage in him.
Eventually, he introduces her to his sister and they aggressively convince her to have a threesome and then drug her and hold her hostage, and all of a sudden, it becomes Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. There’s a crazy-ass twist at the end I really didn’t see coming and it’s executed so perfectly I started vocally cheering on the movie. The last two or three minutes have maybe the most efficient storytelling I’ve seen since the first few minutes of Up. The casual misogyny is off the charts in all of these movies, which is, unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for films from this era.
Whoever did the English translation deserves some kind of award for their beautiful incompetence. There are some lines in these movies that are just complete and absolute (but occasionally weirdly poetic) gibberish. My favorite exchange: “Ma’am, do you have something to add”? “No, but I have something to SUBTRACT” but there is so much lousy translation gold in every movie. Lenzi is an interesting director. There’s a ton of great camerawork and some weird, experimental psychedelic scenes that are a lot of fun and so so so many zoom shots. Carroll Baker is awesome in every one of these films and all the 70’s clothing and set design choices are excellent. Highly recommend!
PRECIOUS: VIVARIUM (2020, Prime)
Hmph. I’m not sure what to say about this film. It definitely would have been better if I hadn’t read the description on Hulu– so avoid that if you can. It wasn’t a bad film, but I didn’t like it. Once again, the entire film is based on one bad choice made by the characters. And I just don’t think it was a realistic choice. Also, casting Jesse Eisenberg seemed like a weird decision. The character isn’t quirky enough for his vibe, nor vastly different enough to see him in a new light. Seems miscast.
July 30th – DAY 8 – 93 Days to Halloween
KIM: THE TENANT (1976)
One I’ve been putting off because I have a lot of weird feelings about Roman Polanski. The tag on the poster is really unfortunate.
That being said, the movie was interesting and well shot, but it was really hard for me to escape Polanski since he also stared in it…so…
BOB: YUMMY (2020, Shudder)
Pretty standard zombie comedy but not without merit mostly in some good kills, sophomoric but funny humor, and for those inclined, a lot of gratuitous boobs (and one dick). This Belgian film, streaming on Shudder, is about a trio: girl with massive boobs looking for a reduction, her mom who loves to get little cosmetic surgeries and the girl’s blood-wary boyfriend. They and others try to survive a zombie outbreak in a shady eastern European plastic surgery hospital. It goes as expected as they try to escape, groups form and break up, people complain to each other, backstab, get bit and not tell anyone, argue how to get out/what to do do. Bites, boobs and blood. Dumb and rote, but fun enough for zombie fans.
CODY: KILLER MOVIE (2008) An actually pretty decent dark Comedy horror flick. Is fun to watch, has some good kills and the cast does a great job. A movie that despite starring some names with decent star power I didn’t even know existed. Worth a watch.
BRIEN: HOST (2020, Shudder)
If you have Shudder, stop what you’re doing and watch Host (just added today). It’s an hour long and it’s a Shudder Original that was clearly made in the last few months. A group of friends stage a seance during their weekly lockdown Zoom call and things get weird. It has some genuinely creepy moments. It’s not perfect, but kudos to these folks for pulling together an effective horror movie while in lockdown.
ROBIN: TRAGEDY GIRLS (2017). I was just not a fan of this one. The main characters were bland & unlikeable. As a whole it was a bit boring. I hoped it would go somewhere other than where it did. The movie references popped up fairly often, but I didn’t feel the love like you do with some movie homages.
EVAN: IN FABRIC (2019)
I missed this one when it was doing the theater circuit. I had a lot of praise to give it, and then the middle happened. It’s a great film that should’ve stuck with its first storyline. Marianne Jean Baptiste is excellent as Sheila, the heart of this film. She’s subtle and lovable, whereas the second storyline is hard to like. This one Is surreal, gorgeous, bizarre, and very new giallo. It feels like a bridge between the original SUSPIRIA and the remake. Honestly, they had me at haunted dress + retail witch coven.
I’d been waiting for Strickland to up his game, as BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO was a disappointment and not even horror, and I loved DUKE OF BURGUNDY but that was dyed in the wool romance. IN FABRIC delivers everything I wanted, then goes off the rails for 45 minutes, then comes back.
JAMES: THE HAND (1981)
JOULE: Yummy (Shudder).
This was fine. My favorite part was definitely the pictured critter. I’m gonna go extra-easy on it here because I didn’t finish watching, not because it was bad but because I’m a bit sick of zombies. There are some stunningly disgusting scenes that will please you if you have a super-twisted sense of humor. The only thing that bothered me: Does every Western European or American movie set in Eastern Europe have to feature a) creepy male douchebags and b) sexy vampy women with the occasional c) decrepit old perv? You could just set your sketchy-clinic flick in Belgium, you know. Humph.
(Not a dig at Belgium, just where the production company is from)
JAY: Cutting Moments (1997, Youtube)
This is a very dark, unsettling, depraved look into suburban misery, abuse, and neglect. It spirals absolutely out of control, and climaxes in an ultra-gory finale that will stick with you.
Holy shit, man.
…And it’s very effective in just 25 minutes as a short. I’d love to watch the rest of Buck’s “Family Portraits” anthology (apparently this is the best of the three stories in it), however, Prime keeps telling me the movies I want to watch are not available in my location 🙄
Anyway, this is a DARK one and if you love gore, you won’t be disappointed with that ending.
I really don’t understand how these major, amazing actors end up in these lower budget, crappy films. A MAJOR waste of Gary Oldman. Weak and obvious storyline and lazy film making. Smh.
ERIC: IT’S ALIVE 2
This might be my least favorite Larry Cohen movie. Lots of strange sound design and more plodding than his usual film.
Lots of out of focus shots even for a Cohen film.
Don’t get me wrong it’s still a Larry film, just not near the top for me.
July 29th – DAY 7 – 94 Days to Halloween
KIM: BURIED (2014)
This movie was actually pretty effective and rather unsettling.
BOB: SHIRLEY (2020, Hulu)
You might say “not horror” but I portend a biography of a horror author hews close enough and there are some sequences that are shot and performed in genre, so there! :-p
First Shirley Jackson wrote one of the best (horror) books of all time The Haunting of Hill House. That opening paragraph? Exquisite. Mwah.
But throughout here short stories and novels, such as We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Life Among the Savages, and others we often see portraits of agoraphobic, troubled women unhappy in a dysfunctional familial relationship. These familiar themes echo the life of the author pictured within Shirley. How accurate to life it is, I don’t know but the film – fiction or not – is fantastic. Our entry to her world is a newly married couple: a young professor (Logan Lehrman) working with Jackson’s husband (Michael Stahberg – he always plays the same type but he’s always fantastic) and pregnant Rose (a hauntingly commanding Odessa Young, soon to be Frannie in CBS’s The Stand). Rose and Shirley, who has had better mental health days, are slow to connect, but when the do it’s strong and Rose begets the stirrings of Jackson’s 1951 novel Hangasman. Elisabeth Ross pulls another top notch performance as the titular author. Shirley as we see her in 1949 could easily have been caricature with a less competent performer, but in Ross she astounds.
I loved the look given to the film, especially in the nightmare sequences that as so well done they can be put into the good adaptations of her work.
While these is a certain looseness in the plotting, a few side tangents come and go without resolution or followup, and the climax concerns something that comes up just before it occurs, Shirley is a hella film and portrait of a great author.
CODY: 976-Evil(1988) Let me start by Robert Englund is one of my favorite actors, I even have a Freddy Krueger tattoo. However, he should never Direct a film again. This was absolutely atrocious and blatantly ripped off numerous 80’s horror flicks to a cringeworthy degree. So many repeated Nightmare on Elm Street shots combined with pretty much taking the B-Plot w/ Evil Ed from Fright Night and stretching it to feature length complete with the same actor. A film that alternates between boring, rip off and “Please stop”, go ahead and steer clear of this one.
ROBIN: BLOOD VESSEL
Vampires on a ship in a movie called Blood VESSEL. I had to give it a shot based on the pun alone. It had potential, but came out a big ol’ meh. With a mix of script and pacing issues in the final cut, you can tell this was a writer/director/producer who definitely couldn’t kill his darlings.
BRIEN: TURKEY SHOOT (1982, Shudder)
This little dystopian nightmare from 1982 is a clear forerunner of the Running Man, Hunger Games, etc. The movie opens with newsreel footage of real riots and it’s a grim reminder of the world we’re living in. It then jumps right into three prisoners (one of whom is Olivia Hussey!) in a prison truck and we get brief glimpses into their “crimes” and why they’re being sent to a re-education camp. It’s the kind of satire that hits a little too close to home. The “hunt” part is filled with gonzo violence, some truly loathsome villains, and – for some reason – a wolfman. It is the movie we deserve right now.
James: THE HAUNTED (2020)
PRECIOUS: SLENDER . This is a found footage film. — which is often a great excuse to shoot a low budget movie. Pretty good acting in it, although I believe it is most likely improvisational. They use a loud glitchy effect A LOT. And it’s INCREDIBLY ANNOYING. I’m also pretty convinced that the my imagined ending would have been a much better payoff.
Thriller, “Spell of Evil.”
What in the name of all that is polyester is he wearing
JAY: Science Crazed (1991, Youtube)
Good god, this is bad! Like, in the top 3 worst movies I’ve viewed bad. It’s not quite Quacky Slasher, but its very close.
Insanely slow pacing with repetitive shots the entire film – if you dare to watch this, do it at 2x speed, or watch the “Science Crazed in one minute” video. About 20 minutes in, I seriously put the speed up cause I couldn’t bear it.
Every scene dragged on and on and on with really nothing happening. The dialogue to this movie would fit on a double-spaced one page document with size 16 font. The “monster” is just… wow. Nice try; there was an attempt. The special FX are nowhere to be found, and each of the “kills” are all identical, and very cornball.
Zero gore, zero interesting characters, zero plot, zero fx, zero redeeming qualities.
Hard pass on this one.
PRECIOUS: MANDY (2018)
This is easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It’s a lame excuse to use “cool” lighting, distorted voices and 80s fonts. Clearly the director has an eye for interesting shot set up — but that appeared to be the entire point in creating this film. Each scene was highly manipulated for no good reason. It wasn’t confusing, or interesting or crazy. It was just pointless.
And who the hell did Nicolas Cage piss off in Hollywood do get to this point??
ERIC: Deep Red by Dario Argento.
Wow, this is fantastic. A masterpiece of Italian and Giallo filmmaking. Stunningly well shot with some of the best acting in an Argento film, it is incredible.
A film that feels gritty, real, and a complete fantasy at the same time.
This is in reference to the more than 2 hour original version. Apparently the heavily cut version is significantly different.
July 28th – DAY 6 – 95 Days to Halloween
KIM: PROM NIGHT IV: DELIVER US FROM EVIL (1991)
This may be shocking, but this movie was so generic I find that even a day later I’m struggling to recall much of what happened outside of killer priest dude murders horny teens. So.
BOB: INTO THE DARK: DOWN (2019, Hulu)
Two people, stuck underground in an elevator for 80 hours. Hell of a premise, and a pretty damned solid execution. The leads a little bland but there are more than enough twists, reveals, plot beats to keep it moving and interesting. And blood plenty of blood. Five movies into Into The Dark and they’ve all hit that pretty darn good but not great nor bad level. I was reminded of a different take on the underrated P2.
CODY: DARK HARVEST (2004)
Want to watch porno quality actors have the world’s lamest vacation for an hour and then get killed by the lamest Scarecrows that look like they crawled out of a knockoff Spirit Halloween? Boy do I have the piece of garbage for you! I love Scarecrow movies and wanted to find some enjoyment but there is just none to be found here.
EMI: Nightmare Cinema (2018) Streaming (Shudder)
Sadly felt a bit generic. With those filmmakers involved, I wanted more.
ROBIN: CHILD’S PLAY 2 (1990)
I’ve had a gap in my Chucky movies consisting of parts 2 & 3 prior to tonight. I liked the way that the puppetry was done in this one. It’s amazing what some creative camera work can do. I also liked the way they shot the foster home so that it seemed super surreal and cartoon like when Andy first arrives. Surprise Gerrit Graham appearance for me!
EVAN: MIRROR MIRROR (1990)
Bad title, decent film. Rainbow Harvest (what a name! What ever happened to her?) plays lead Megan, and she is a *dead ringer* for Lydia/Winona in BEETLEJUICE.Karen Black plays the clueless mom, and she’s kind of perfect. Camp, high strung, but also not too over-the-top. Yvonne De Carlo (LILY FUCKIN MUNSTER) is also in it, playing things quite straight.It walks a line of levity vs. deadly seriousness much like HEATHERS (Winona Ryder again). The whole thing fits right into the late 80’s teen /college supernatural horror vibe, similar to NIGHT OF THE DEMONS or WITCHBOARD (and more than a little CARRIE and NoES). And, as these things tend to do, I saw several elements that would later pop up in THE CRAFT and WISHMASTER. Nothing tropes like a trope.At turns silly and then absolutely disturbing, my favorite thing about it is the women. It’s written and directed by women, focused on women, and the men on screen are purely for scenery and amusement. The high school girls are casually merciless to one another. Sargenti knows her audience, too; plenty of gore, lots of blood, and even some female T & A thrown in for good measure. Film/gender/queer theory fans should have a field day unpacking the obsessive/possessive sexual tension between Megan and Nikki, and the blood that drips from the evil mirror is eerily menstrual. But don’t take MY word for it…
BRIEN: SUGAR HILL (Shudder – until July 31!!!) – The premise of this film is amazing. A woman uses voodoo to invoke Baron Samedi and his army of zombies to avenge her boyfriend’s murder. The story is a little light on stakes, but it’s a weird, fun movie with some creative kills.
JAMES: Slice (2018)
EVAN: BLOW OUT (1981) After Kim‘s post, I got thirsty to see this. Travolta’s acting is quite impressive, and this is still early in his career. Like a lot of De Palma, it’s beautifully shot American giallo-cum-Hitchcock-cum-BLOW UP by Antonioni, i.e. absurd as hell but a fun and beautiful thriller worth watching. I was a little confused by the killer’s m. o. – was he hired just to frame someone, but he goes off plan because he’s actually a psychotic murderer? Why does he stab women with wounds in the shape of the Liberty Bell for NO EXPLICABLE REASON other than everyone else in the film is preparing for “Liberty Day?” WTF? And that ending was altogether chilling, making me wonder if Travolta’s character himself was a sociopath the whole time, or if the use of real recordings of murder as “fictional” sound effects was his way of processing the grief over the death. I dunno, but everything in this movie is red, white, and blue, and I don’t think that actually means anything metaphorical. Oh, De Palma. What a knucklehead.
ROBIN: LITTLE MONSTERS (2019, HULU)
Well first of all, the title is thoroughly misleading. The lead male has ZERO redeeming qualities. ZERO. And Mr. McGiggles is such a RAGING jerk with no real motivation for it. Ultimately the film was pretty pointless and a waste of movie making money — BUT, it was such a pleasure seeing a female lead, who happened to be Black, and they made no reference to her race whatsoever. She was simply the beautiful, sweet,dedicated teacher that every man wanted. And with good cause. Lol
JOULE: BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
I didn’t watch it earlier because I was trying to wait until winter, but I needed something to beat the heat and holy crap I was NOT expecting a masterpiece! This has shot up to my top 10 horror movies*–claustrophobic, nightmarish, classically suspenseful but daringly ambiguous, with real characters and a feminist streak that isn’t rah-rah but actually has some inkling of the complexities of being a young woman in patriarchy. Plus, unlike most slashers I’ve seen, it’s actually scary instead of a goofy good time.
*Along with Hereditary, Cure, The Innocents, Blair Witch Project, The Thing, Get Out, Midsommar, Alien, and Hour of the Wolf, if you’re curious for some reason.
JAY: Video Violence 2 (1987, Youtube)
So, I actually really enjoyed the first one. It was very corny, low-budget trash, sure, but it was charming in a way. The story line was actually pretty good, in my opinion, despite how corny the acting was.
I just found out, a few months ago, that there was a sequel, so obviously I was pretty stoked to check this out.
Oh god, what a groanfest. This was TERRIBLE. None of the charm of the first one, no plot, doubled-down on the awful acting, and it comes off like a try-hard, forced comedy with some very cheap and bad kills. It’s not even good ‘bad’, it’s just bad all-around.
Pass on this one. Just stick to the first, cause this is a waste of 75 minutes. I genuinely almost turned it off multiple times due to how awful it is.
MARSHALL: I SAW THE DEVIL
I watched this when it came out and found it pretty underwhelming. I rewatched tonight and I don’t know what I was thinking. I was glued to the screen the entire time.
PRECIOUS: What Keeps You Alive
I liked this one. Initially, I thought its biggest issue was weak acting by one of the leads — but then a plot point occurs, that literally caused me to pause it, head in hands, saying aloud “What is happening right now? What is happening right now?!?”
But regardless of that, I still thought it was worth my time.
ERIC: CRITTERS 3 Well, this was a movie. Probably best known for having Leonardo Dicaprio. The disc has a documentary about 3 and 4. The films were shot at the same time in order to save money. The doc is interesting. The movie, it’s fine.
July 27th – DAY 5 – 96 Days to Halloween
KIM: I SEE YOU (2020)
Another surprise. Really entertaining and solid acting across the board.
BOB: 0.0 MHZ (2020, Shudder)
Merely okay Korean Cabin in the Woods flick. A few nice touches in one of the characters can see ghosts and in the 2nd act they leave! Sorry, that’s a bit spoiler but it’s good note. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the continual increase of wild and tense that one finds in this sub-genre. It just simmers along. Doesn’t’ help the characters are very bland and the performances lack energy.
CODY: FRONTIER(S) (2007)
An attempt at an extreme Horror flick. Mostly falls flat by trying too hard, blatantly tries to be a French TCM with a splash of Nazism. Not worth the time or investment.
EMI: The Creeping Flesh (1973) Streaming (Prime)
I didn’t know if I’d seen it before or not. Watched it, remembered very few scenes so I might have seen it before or might have just seen its trailer, so counting it as a first watch.
ROBIN: DANIEL ISN’T REAL (2019, Shudder)
I very much enjoyed this one. I didn’t remember that the two leads were both sons of actors while watching it and they both did an amazing job. I enjoyed the take it had on imaginary friends and where that leads. Definitely one that warrants discussion afterwards.
BRIEN: SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM (1973, Shudder)
This is one of those instances when a sequel is superior to the original. It’s a more original story, has some genuinely creepy moments, and William Marshall is even more impressive in the title role. Plus – Pam Grier.
EVAN: TOURIST TRAP (1979, Shudder)
I’d avoided this one because it looked so low budget. It is extremely low budget, and yet they do so much with it. Wildly creative, it borrows themes from TCSM, Carrie, House of Wax, and Psycho, and yet it’s way more than the sum of those parts, and pleasurably so. The scene where the moaning, animated mannequins pin a woman down and trap her is absolute nightmare fuel, and it came before MANIAC. Chuck Connors is great, and I should’ve seen the twist coming, but I didn’t. This is another gonzo bonkers horror offering from Charles Band, pre-Full Moon Features. He’s so fond of evil dolls. I recommend it for its sheer audacity.
JAMES: THE MONSTER PROJECT (2017)
JOULE: THE HOST (2020, Shudder)pretty damn scary and admirably economical.
PRECIOUS: VILLAINS (2019, Hulu)
I definitely wouldn’t put this in the Horror category. I’d say Comedy Thriller. The poster is extremely misleading about the concept of this film. I think it could have maybe used some flashbacks to give it more depth? Anyway, I didn’t care for the ending at all, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
ERIC: The Fiend with Electronic Brain
The Al Adamson movie watch continues with this film that is made up of footage from Psycho a Gogo and added scenes of a dangerous doctor played by John Caradine.
A great bit of 60’s movie cheese.
Released under a few different titles.
I rewatched this the other day. I loved it the first time and love it even more now. Clowns are played to death but Art manages to be legit creepy. The kills are brutal. The way the violence is depicted reminds me of the home invasion scene near the beginning of Haute Tension. There’s one kill that’s up there with the kill at the end of Bone Tomahawk as far as being absolutely revolting (in a fun way). I might be forgetting something but this might be my favorite modern slasher movie
JAY: HACKERS (1988)
This is a touching family saga highlighting the challenges of being a single parent raising two boys (who look a lot like cheech & Chong, one with an aluminum foil jockstrap over his face).
The father’s pride in his sons is unwavering through the challenges of running the family business, and the boy’s loyalty is unquestionable throughout.
…Or it’s a creepy backwoods yokel slasher. Either way, Hackers is pretty fun, and has its own kind of charm to it.
Of the low-budget trash I tend to watch, this one is very well put together.
Believable acting, plot, characters, and there are enough kills & gore to keep the interest of seasoned slasher genre fans.
Neat flick. Worth the watch!
JOULE: Sadako vs. Kayako (Shudder).
Shame the title gives away what there is of a plot, but I recommend you just watch the last 20 semi-bonkers minutes anyway. I love both Ju-on and Ringu, and the dancerly Japanese-style ghosts in general, but considering the director also made the excellent Noroi, this is pretty disappointing.
NICOLE: What Keeps You Alive (Netflix)
Newlyweds Jules and Jackie go on vacation to the Jackie’s old family vacation house on the lake. When an old friend shows up, Jules realizes that Jackie hasn’t really been honest with her about her life before they married. I had high hopes for this one and I really liked it up until the victims became hopelessly stupid with their actions. Literally chance after chance to save themselves, but nope, the writer just had to make them dumb and therefore, I didn’t care about them. There’s some pretty good gore here and there and the ending is satisfying to some extent. But I ended up fast forwarding through about 30-40 minutes of it because I just couldn’t take anymore dumb decisions. C/C-
July 26th – DAY 4 – 97 Days to Halloween
KIM: BUTTERFLY KISSES (2018)
I am an unapologetic found footage junkie. Part of what comes with that is watching a lot of junk. I’d had no expectations going into this but was delightfully surprised. Genuinely entertaining and original. Checked all my boxes. Found footage? Check. Documentary? Check. Cool urban legend? Check. If you like found footage, you should watch this.
BOB: SPECIES: THE AWAKENING (2007, Amazon)
You know that period in the mid 00s where we got a bunch of cheapie European shot entries in lapsed franchises? Pumpkinhead, and Hellraiser were two. This fells like that. Bu this was done in Mexico. Unconnected to the previous three films outside of “half alien hybrid blonde woman with big boobs goes sex crazy”, this one finds a scientist taking his creation – he raised her as a niece and she doesn’t know what she is – taking the half type to Mexico to fix her DNA to not die soon. There he finds the scientist he was looking for, and the other scientist’s own half-breeds. Some dull fights happen and people argue. On the plus side, the alien versions of the women and a few men are people in suits.
CODY: CHERNOBYL DIARIES (2012), a whole bunch of blah. Throws away a great setting and potential for interest with a ton of night shots and bad writing. What could have been tense and scary is relegated to a chore as the terrible characters make it impossible to root for them. Lame monster reveal as well.
JASON: CRAZY WORLD (Alamo Drafthouse rental) A batshit crazy Ugandan action film featuring running narration and commentary by the “World’s Greatest Tongue-Fu Master”. What it lacks in technical proficiency (made for a reported $200) it more than makes up for in enthusiasm and spirit. Clocks in at a scant 65 minutes
EMI: Born of Fire (1987) Streaming (Prime)
Somehow, I’ve already forgotten it.
BRIEN: BLACULA (1971, Shudder) This is one of those movies I’ve always known about and I know I’ve seen parts of it in the past, so I’m glad I finally sat down and watched the whole thing through. Pretty basic “resurrected monster seeks out his reincarnated love” storyline, but the subtext and themes elevate the story.
ROBIN: PUPPET MASTER (1989). I really like the old stop motion villains in things like this and Ghoulies. This feels like it got in at the beginning of the trend in the 90s for the slightly over-the-top horror and I’m in. I’ve never managed to catch any of the series, so plan on watching one a week during this #100DaysOfHorror to get through them all!
EVAN: A CAT IN THE BRAIN aka NIGHTMARE CONCERT (Fulci, 1990): Sounded good. Intriguing, even. But to me it’s an ambitious failure. Lucio Fulci plays himself (his actual self). There’s no surprises here, no mystery; the killer is revealed immediately after being introduced. Somehow, this highlight reel from Fulci’s career ended up just being tedious. But it starts with some fun cannibalism and a puppet cat shredding a giant brain. There’s much, much more fun to be had in Fulci’s other films.
James: CARRION (2020)
PRECIOUS: SLENDER: This is a found footage film. — which is often a great excuse to shoot a low budget movie. Pretty good acting in it, although I believe it is most likely improvisational. They use a loud glitchy effect A LOT. And it’s INCREDIBLY ANNOYING. I’m also pretty convinced that the my imagined ending would have been a much better payoff.
JOULE: THE LODGE (2020) I watch The Lodge (Hulu) on all y’all’s recommendation, despite initially planning to skip it since I thought Goodnight, Mommy sounded terrible. I found it truly unsettling and cruel, and I mean that as a compliment. It definitely took me awhile to see where it was going.
ERIC: BLOOD OF DRACULA’S CASTLE
Alexander D’Arcy is not a name often associated with playing Dracula, but that’s who he plays in this movie. It also has Robert Dix playing a villain/werewolf(?).
It’s a strange one.
This was pretty good! It doesn’t really become a horror movie until the tail end of it, but it does become a horror movie. Most of the rest of the movie is darkly and absurdly comedic. It even manages to have an unexpected sweetness to it at times. The plot is two best friends go into the porn industry to achieve their life-long, mutual dream of becoming famous porn stars. They convince a filmmaker to let them star in a scene in a movie he’s shooting but neither of them are well-endowed or good at having sex with people. One of them is liked by everyone and really good at behind the scenes stuff and making the studio lots of money and the other is terrible at everything he does, he’s mean, a malignant narcissist and he thinks he is the physical embodiment of the entire porn industry. The filmmaker and most of the crew tell the good one they want his friend gone but the good one threatens to walk if they kick out his friend. Shit escalates and gradually gets more and more uncomfortable as it goes on. David Arquette, who I adore, plays a real piece of shit porn director for a scene. I wasn’t blown away by Mop but I liked it. It’s got a really interesting soundtrack and it’s visually great. Acting is top-notch, too
JAY: Barbecue Death Squad From Hell (1986, YouTube)
Well… Penn & Teller can certainly work some magic on your boring home videos for only ONE HUNDRED AND NINE AMERICAN DOLLARS!
Cannibals optional. Many laughs. Fun short.
NICOLE: The Witch Part I (Netflix) I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie. My niece is a little obsessed with Korean movies, so she suggested it. I’m finding it hard to describe the plot without giving things away. But it’s basically — The Girl With All the Gifts/Morgan mixed with Korean martial arts and a major plot twist. Sounds good to me! The first 1/3 of the movie is not horror much at all, but when it finally kicks in, it really kicks in. The only thing that they missed opportunities on was the gore. There were so many times I wanted to see the skull being crushed, and I didn’t get that as much as I would have liked. However, this was an awesome take on the all powerful girl concept. Great plot and killer fight scenes. Excited to see what they do with Part II! A-/B+
AMIE: BEAKS : THE BEAKENING! (Released under 3 other titles! Beaks: The Birds 2; Birds of Prey, and Evil Birds). I mean this is SOMETHING. So much stock footage, poorly dubbed dialog, fake blood that looks like raspberry jam, and two young American leads (Michelle Johnson from Waxwork & Christopher Atkins from The Blue Lagoon) who get lost in the nonsense storyline.
This director clearly loves Hitchcock’s The Birds & wanted to make a sequel but just didn’t have the budget or chops to pull it off. Still, entertaining as 1987 schlock. Watch with friends for a fun WTF back and forth.
July 25th – DAY 3- 98 Days to Halloween
KIM: BLOW OUT (1981)
This has been on my list FOREVER. Really enjoyed it. Had some super Giallo moments that were very cool and I thought the acting was top notch.
BOB: SPECIES III (2004)
While I liked the maligned Species II, this DTV sequel is a bore. Longer than the previous entries, but with far less to happen. Moves from the chase template into a nothing goes on one. A college professor raises a new half-breed (a result of a scene in the 2nd film). Instead of a time-based hunt to stop the creature, she comes and goes as she pleases and there is little in bloodshed as she’s not trying to hook up with everyone she finds attractive but a particular strand she can smell. Some internet and science inanity go on but meh.
CODY: HELLFEST (2018)
A solid Haunt/Amusement park slasher. While not reinventing the wheel and being a tad cliche at points, the likeable characters, solid performances and well shot atmosphere carry this to the precipice of greatness. Definitely worth a watch.
BRIEN: SHOCK (1977)
Mario Bava’s last theatrical film. I read that this film didn’t get a great critical response when it came out, but I enjoyed it. It has great visual flair and a chilling ending. If there was a Creepy Kid Hall of Fame, little Marco would definitely be a contender.
ROBIN: INTO THE DARK: POOKA LIVES! (2020)
I’m a fan of a few of the people in this, so when my boyfriend saw it listed on Hulu and laughed about it, I figured why not? I thought it was actually pretty fun. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time on Reddit and the like, I thought it did a great job of showing how things organically spread. It’s pretty tame in the gore department for anyone looking for that.
JASON Black Christmas ‘74 (Shudder) Because John Saxon R.I.P.
EMI: Ice Cream Man (1995) Streaming (Prime)
Finally saw this one. Clint Howard is the center of this film and he goes for broke with it. It was enjoyable.
THE CREEPING FLESH (Prime, 1973, Freddie Francis): This has been popping up in my feeds lately, so I needed to see it of course. A curious salad of Gothic Victorian horror with elements of Frankenstein, Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, and less famous stories, and yet it stands on its own. This one’s quite tragic actually, but it also has a bonkers plot. New Guinean prophecies! Neanderthal resurrections! Magic water! A vaccine to cure and prevent evil! Exactly as problematic as it sounds!Cushing plays it pretty straight, and Christopher Lee is restrained but demonically malevolent. Great performances from both.
JOULE: The Border Lands/Final Prayer (Tubi). Very odd folk horror, rather similar in subject matter to The Devil’s Doorway but considerably farther out-there. Even though I love found footage, I think this would have been better shot “omnisciently,” because I ended up a little confused about the identity and relationships of certain characters who showed up midway through or at the end. But it’s got a super atmospheric setting, and one of the main characters sounds a LOT like John Oliver which made some scenes funnier than they should have been. One of the weirdest endings I’ve seen in a while. I really wish it hadn’t been spoiled for me, because it would have been pretty unexpected!
JAMES: EXTRA ORDINARY (2019)
PRECIOUS: LAST SHIFT (2016) Meh.
MARSHALL: MORTAL (2020) This is absolute garbage. It is so self-serious and unwittingly ridiculous, I felt embarrassed for the movie. This Ovedal’s Chappie (and I’ve never seen Chappie)
ERIC: DEATH BECOMES HER
Ever watch a movie you could have sworn you’d seen, and while watching it, realize you had never seen it?
That was me tonight watching Death Becomes Her.
JAY: The Kind of Meat You Can’t Buy at the Store (1994, YouTube)
With a title like that, you betcha I watched this. But uh. Mud wrestling. That’s…about it… wtf kinda misleading title..
NICOLE: I’d been dancing around The Other Lamb (Hulu) for a bit. I was worried it was going to be slow and artsy. And it was. Being a fartsy photographer, that doesn’t necessarily turn me off in horror, I just have to be in the right mood for it. It’s about a misogynistic cult with one man who is the shepherd, and his wives and daughters who follow him blindly. They are thoroughly brainwashed. The lead actress was quite good. Most of this dances on the line of horror-lite. It has it’s gruesome moments but much of the movie is dedicated to long, atmospheric, and yes, beautifully artful silent scenes. I zoned out a few times. But by the end, it ramps up and had a good ending. But warning*** it’s a slow one. Maybe a B-/C.
AMIE: BABYSITTER KILLER QUEEN (2020, Netflix)
I found this one just as enjoyable as the first, tho it does contain some pretty cringe-y dialog (which fits in with McG’s nostalgic 80’s aesthetic). This one has the same ridiculous and surprising buckets of splatter, but it’s a LOT more sentimental.
Props to Emily Alyn Lind (snakebite Andi!) and Jenna Ortega (You, S2 – pictured here) for doing a kick-ass job, and to casting Judah Lewis to return as Cole. This one was lots of fun!
July 24th DAY 2 – 99 to Halloween
Kim: DEVIL’S GATE (2017)
I can’t say that I thought this movie was good, but I can say that the plot did not go in the direction I thought it would.
It’s sort of a frustrating film because there are moments that were actually really interesting, and some acting that was pretty solid, but the script was a bit of a mess.
Bob: SPECIES II (1998, via Amazon Rental)
Directed by Peter Medak of The Changeling, although this is nowhere in the same league as that spooky classic. Despite its awful reviews (and imdb ratings too) with an 18 on Metacritic, compared to the 50something of the first… I liked it. Maybe more than the first on a enjoyment level although the first is better made film.
This time 3 astronauts become infected symbiote style with the same type of the source aliens of SIL (regrown as Eve). There is an interesting note in they dont’ know they are affected, but know something is wrong, so there is a bit of fighting nature, something I wished the first film would have touched on. The writing isn’t strong enough to really explore it but it’s there. (however, on that idea – I did like Sil worked almost completely on instinct like an alien pretending to be human rather than actively thinking.So I can’t complain).
Another idea that doesn’t play as well as it could is Good Guy Eve/Sil. When that was set up at the start, I thought we’d get maybe a touch of T2 with previous villain tracking the new villain. This doesn’t’ pay off until the last 20 minutes.
There is some nice practical gore that made me giddy, and more of it this time. It’s a tighter more exciting film than the first. A stronger scriptwriter (the writer of the first returned) or a pass to a script doctor could have made a better film but dug what we got.
CODY : TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972)
my first Amicus picture of 100 Days. Another great anthology filled with great stories and character actors. One of my fave Amicus flick’s I have seen so far and Peter Cushing again steals the show with his segment. Streaming on Tubi although I indulged on the Blu-Ray.
BRIEN: EXHIBIT A (Amazon Prime) This is a disturbing and bleak found footage film from 2007. It’s the story of a middle class family torn apart by social and economic pressure told through a recovered video camera. The abrupt jumps in time are jarring and effective in building suspense.
ROBIN: MAGGIE (2015). I thought this was a great take on the zombie theme. While I would have loved to see Paddy Considine as the father (apparently originally attached), Schwarzenegger was very good. It’s nice to see him play just a guy.
EVAN: CASTLE FREAK (1995)
Oh boy. Getting caught up with Kim Douthit and the gang with this one. TL;DR: This is much better and yet worse than I expected.
It’s not what I’d anticipated; it’s quite sad, alternately gross and disturbing. Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs are excellent, and this is the first film in which I find myself attracted to Combs. Crampton gets to play an overprotective, grieving mother rather than a sex kitten as she did in earlier Gordon films. As Joe Bob points out, this one didn’t see the same cult success as REANIMATOR or FROM BEYOND, probably because it’s straightforward Gothic horror without much irony or camp. It starts with a woman scourging her son for pete’s sake, Passion of the Christ style. Torture is a big theme throughout, both emotional and physical.
Anyway, the repeated threat of rape to a blind teenage girl, and the actual, brutal rape (and torture and biting off of genitals) of a prostitute (because sex workers never survive horror films) left me feeling gross. The fact that every man in this little Italian village has had a turn with the sex worker is also gross. That poster feels gross. This could’ve been an ambitious, New French Extreme-style movie, in the right context/time, but instead it’s mostly an exercise in brutality. Oh, and of course Dad must sacrifice himself to save the helpless women and thus repair the hetero-normal family he has damaged. Ray of sunshine: Barbara Crampton is producing a remake from a female POV. Rock on.
JASON: Homewrecker (Amazon rental) An unstable woman is able to wrangle a yoga classmate into her home where she locks her in and decides they’re going to become best friends. Kind of reminiscent if you were to turn up The Cable Guy to 11, add a lot more estrogen and some good old fashioned violence. Great performances including one from Alex Essoe of Starry Eyes and Doctor Sleep.
EMI: Netherbeast Incorporated (2007) Streaming (Tubi)
Decent film, a bit forgettable in the end, but an easy watch.
ERIC: This is probably skirting the edge of horror but it is in the neighborhood.
Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson
It’s an interesting documentary about a director made everything from horror to crazy exploitation movies in his more than 20 years of filmmaking. Well, worth checking out.
JAMES: DOWN (1999)
Precious: THE ROOM (2020, Shudder)
This was the sort of movie that has the ambition of awesome, but is hampered by obviously bad choices, that ultimately scream Low Budget screen writing. The choices that one of the characters makes, are so annoying. More so, because you know they are made simply to keep the story afloat.
Also, what the heck is the deal with their relationship?
MARSHALL: AMULET (2020)
Wow wow wow wow. Now this is a horror movie. It tells two stories in different timelines. It’s a little confusing for awhile but once everything clicks in place, it’s really satisfying. I don’t want to say much about the plot but it goes to some unexpected, fucked up places. It’s weird and creepy and really gross and I’m pretty sure it’ll be in my top ten.
NICOLE:Lake Artifact 2020 (Amazon Prime) Not a bad movie and if it weren’t for Coherence handling some of these multiple timeline issues much better, I would have probably liked this more. But it is basically a forest/cult version of Coherence. It was fine, but they didn’t do anything new or exciting.
JAY: KITCHEN SINK (1989, YouTube)
THIS one was interesting! Not sure what was more unnerving: the series of developments, or how she responded to them. Weird shit, man. I have a lot of questions.
JOULE: ALIENS (1986)
I know, I know, it’s more action than horror, and I did see it before, but I owe this movie an apology. I saw it as a snooty teen and hated it and have spent the next 10+ years complaining about how annoying the little girl is. Just rewatched: it’s an awesome movie, my animus toward Cameron notwithstanding, and Newt is adorable.
Amie: VELOCIPASTOR (2019, Prime)
Well I have FINALLY seen The VelociPastor – and I heartily enjoyed! It takes some massive talents to purposely construct a very bad movie that is actually funny, and fun.
Streaming on Amazon Prime right now, in case any of y’all also missed it making the rounds last year.
DAY 1: July 23rd; 100 days to Halloween
Kim: CASTLE FREAK (1995, Shudder) Not boring but yep, super super pervy. 1 down, 99 to go.
Bob: SPECIES (1995, however you pay to rent streams- but if you have FUBO it’s on their service). Just what to be expected from a middle range sci-fi thriller science gone wrong from the mid-90s. A bunch of stars – too many, a few characters could have easily been combined- either starting up their careers (Natasha Hendridge, Michelle Williams, Alfred Molina had been around a bit but still…) or dealing with a stall (Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Wittaker) wander through LA looking for, but always just behind, sexy alien designed by Giger. (for this, I was 13 when it was released and had full control of the video store, i’m REALLY surprised young teenage me didn’t see it) It’s 1995 so plenty of shitty CG! No set-piece is particular big, it’s ultimately a pretty small film. I’d put it in the same bin as The Relic or Mimic. Ultimately an enjoyable B-picture that wouldn’t be out of place on a SyFy Saturday afternoon. I think I’m going to check out the 3 sequels to start off this year. (Vanessa, Eric, and Kelly recently talked the film on their podcast STRANGE AEONS)
Cody: THE COLLECTION (2012), the follow up to 2009’s The Collector which I watched last year for 100 Days. This one definitely raises the scale and scope of the first one, painting the titular character as even more inventive and brutal than the first flick. The true star of this one is Josh Stewart who returns as Protagonist Arkin and his performance anchors the movie as you continue to root for him and want him to live. Really good follow up to a good flick and definitely worth a watch!
Robin: THE BABYSITTTER (2017, Netflix). Fun, light-hearted horror/comedy. Samara Weaving is wonderful, as she’s shown herself to be in all I’ve seen her in so far. There are some heavy suspend-your-disbelief moments, but the likeability of the main characters more than makes up for them.
Joule: SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)
My reactions were as follows:
Also can’t tell if transphobic or just generally extremely bleak about the sexuality and gender of everyone on Earth. I loved little Felissa Rose, though.
Nicole: AFTER MIDNIGHT (2020, Prime)
I should have headed Marshall McLaughlin’s warning on this one. It’s just the strangest movie. What it seemed like to me was Lifetime wanted to make a creature feature. Lot’s of schmarmy flashback love scenes. The actual creature/horror part of this movie only makes up about 10% of it. Jeremy Gardner wrote a love story and decided to throw a creature in and make it horror. I liked the basic concept (which I think he failed to deliver on) and the creature, but other than that, it was boring. This will not be making my list this year. What a disappointment, since I like/love some of his other movies and had high hopes for this one. C-
Eric: RELIC (2020)
Well, damn this a good one.
The start is rough in a non-horror way. It’s about a family trying to decide if mom has dementia.
The later part is wild and different. A good one to go in blind.
Evan: A QUIET PLACE (2018)
Well eff me. Not sure why it took me this long to watch this one. It’s brilliant, and the acting is fantastic, especially from the kids. The monsters were absurd, but who cares. The drama, tension, and deep grief of the film is fantastic, and the plot and backstory unfold like a goddamn lotus. Okay maybe I’m real stoned right now but this movie is so good.
Brien: It was fun to watch this with a (virtual) group. It’s sleazy and ridiculous and some scenes are a little hard to digest – but definitely fun to watch in a group settting. Also, I love that there’s an action figure.
MARSHALL: THE RENTAL (2020)
I read some middling reviews of this one so I went in with lowered expectations. I needn’t have because this is a pretty great movie. It’s like a thriller mixed with a relationship drama mixed with a slasher. It’s like if 13 Cameras was a good movie. It’s a real slow burn and pretty twisty. The cast is killer and the characters are well thought out. My only minor complaint is I would have liked to see more gore. Either way, it’s clear that Dave Franco is the better Franco brother filmmaker.
JASON: Impetigore (Shudder) An Indonesian folktale horror from the director of Satan’s Slaves. Well done with some genuinely creepy moments. Love these foreign genre picks based on local legends.
EMI: Monster Brawl (2012) Streaming (Tubi)
Ok film, some fun moments. I mainly watched it as background noise. Lance Henrikson does the voice over presenter and I always love seeing him and hearing him.
JAMES: DARK WATERS (1993)
PRECIOUS: HOST (2020, Shudder)
On Brien Gorham recommendation, I just watched Host. Firstly, this was shot within the last few months, and I wish I had been cast in it! Second, I really enjoyed it it. I thought it was suspenseful, and exactly what you would want a straight forward Horror movie to be.
*a touch of bad CGI is forgiven
AMIE: CLOWN DOLL
Our latest ‘bad movie’ day pick, which was indeed, very very very very bad.
The clown “doll” was very obviously a man in a clown suit; the acting was v. bad; the dialog just repeated things over and over and over — and we couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that the main character is getting creepy calls on a cordless phone which isn’t even cordless; they clearly just unplugged a handset from a regular phone and had her use that (which also doesn’t really make sense, as she has a cell phone too).
JAY: Bad Karma (1991 – On Youtube)
Just wow… this is a brilliant, ultra low budget, absolutely gonzo splatterfest. If you had a blast with the incredibly bad FX (and use of fireworks & dummies) in “They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore”, you’re gunna love this. For what it’s worth, I actually enjoyed the shape shifter creatures quite a bit, though. I feel like with some high budget production the creatures would’ve been in league with something like Hellraiser, but the low-budget monstrosities are very fun as-is.
Overall, Bad Karma is relentless from start to finish; replete with awful acting, over-the-top kills, “HOLY SHIT NO WAY” moments, and gory chaos.
…And it’s only 37 minutes.
Highly recommend giving this one a spin. It’s good ol’ fashioned low budget blood-soaked fun!
JESSICA: EL INCIDENTE
I watched this a few nights ago. Unfortunately, it’s already left Netflix so I don’t know where you can watch it. Mind blown. I’ve never seen a concept like this before so it’s refreshing. Took a while to wrap my head around the ending, but it was worthwhile. If you find it and watch it let me know what you think