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.
Aug 8th – Day 17 – 84 Days to Halloween
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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 biographyof 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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!