Archive for October, 2022

X (2022)

October 31, 2022

There seems to be a long history of sexual repression in horror. I think that comes from people (and not just religious people) who equated sex with immorality. If the aim was not a baby, the sex was sinful. Even masturbation is seen by some as unhealthy and unbecoming of a person’s mental and spiritual health. However, a lot of human bodies are wired to desire sexual satisfaction and that is just how a lot of us are put together. Limiting sexual congress to just reproduction would eliminate a lot of what sex is. Taking all of that way would suck the joy out of life. Sure, society can let itself get out of hand when it comes to sex but getting rid of it will never be the correct or healthy solution. People need to have fun because enjoying life is kind of the point. You do not have fun to make work feel better, you work to make fun possible. There is nothing immoral about enjoying yourself if nobody is getting hurt.

We do see it a lot in horror, though. Scream was kind of the first mainstream movie that put it out there in words but characters in horror are punished for having sex. That is one of the “rules” put forward in that franchise because it existed long before the nineties. Famously, Pamela and Jason Voorhees tended to punish people for having sex because that distraction led to Jason’s drowning. Norma Bates taught her son Norman that sex was sinful and that all women were whores and therefore distractions from a righteous past. The point of this seems to be so that the audience can see a sex scene but also see these characters get punished. The audience feels better about it because nobody got away with it. It is a transactional kind of morality where people can enjoy things that are “bad” if the ledger is then balanced. 

The first thing I noticed was the setting, I have been to these wide-open rural settings before and they are peaceful but also unsettling. This means that I also noticed the always-excellent A24 cinematography. This is a film company that makes every frame a painting but Ti West, Eliot Rockett, and their team did an exceptionally good job. A lot of period imagery from the dying gasps of the 1970s which always feels dirty to me. Must be the film grain. The gore is so good with plenty of juicy red blood and the prosthetics they use really look great. When you are making a grounded horror film, the violence has to be grounded too. This limits the cartoonishness of it but also allows for more brutality in a way. The kills are mean in the best ways. I really loved the slow slip of tone from warm and fun to cold and scary.

I am far from the first person to say it but Mia Goth is an amazing actress and plays two different roles in this movie. She is likable as the audience’s point of view character and scary as the hardened farm woman. Brittany Snow is fun as the sexy blonde bombshell who is smarter than she seems. Martin Henderson is great as the fast-talking leader of the outfit who seems to get by on his sheer force of will. Jenna Ortega is cute as the young girl way out of her depth. Scott Mescudi’s sarcastic humor and lightness help keep things moving along. Owen Campbell is good as the nerdy film buff who is excited to finally be making something big. I like the chemistry among the cast, they really feel like people I would love to hang out with. 

Overall, I really loved this movie. It was a really interesting story and had some amazing visuals. The blood was a lot of fun and the scares were definitely earned. I loved the duality of the villain and the heroine of the movie being played by the same actress. I also liked that the message of the movie was way more sex-positive and honest than horror usually is. I definitely recommend this movie and I look forward to the prequel and sequel.

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The Rules of the Spell in Child’s Play Pt. 2

October 29, 2022

I previously laid out the rules for Chucky’s magic spell in the first 3 Child’s Play movies. Now I wanted to approach the magic in Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky, and Cult of Chucky. We know that both Charles Lee Ray and Tiffany Valentine have done their homework and learned more about the spells from the book Voodoo for Dummies (first introduced in Bride of Chucky).

For the purposes of this article:
“Lost Soul” refers to the soul of the person who casts the spell to transfer their soul.
“Form” refers to the inanimate object the Lost Soul is possessing

Unspoken Rule 3: The Damballa Chant can be used to revive a Lost Form back into the previous Form

Source: Tiffany Valentine gets the chant from her Voodoo for Dummies book to bring Chucky back into his Good Guy doll body. It seems to take a while but that could have been Chucky’s sense of showmanship making her believe that she failed only to surprise her later.

Second Source: Glen uses the chant in Seed of Chucky to revive Tiffany and Chucky.

This is obviously not necessary as Chucky came back to his Form in Child’s Play 2 and 3 on his own without the help of somebody chanting. The chant may ensure that the Lost Soul returns to the form whereas before Chucky was lucky to come back by sheer force of will.

Unspoken Rule 4: Death Is Necessary for the full transfer of a Lost Soul into a Form

Source: In Child’s Play, Charles Lee Ray dies as he completes the Damballah chant that puts him in the Good Guy doll. This is how Charles Lee Ray escaped justice from the system as the Lakeshore Strangler.

Second Source: In Bride of Chucky, Chucky is confronted by his ex-girlfriend Tiffany Valentine. As revenge for her betrayal and as a way to establish leverage over her, he kills her. He then uses the Damballah chant to transfer her Lost Soul into her new doll Form.

I am not sure if this is necessarily a valid rule but it seems to be the case. As of Season 2 of the Chucky television show, we have not seen the full transfer of a Lost Soul into a Form. Things change and these rules are clarified as more lore comes out.

Spoken Rule 4: A Heart of Damballa amulet must be used when transferring a Lost Soul into a human body

Source: In Bride of Chucky, Chucky tells Tiffany that he needs the Heart of Damballa that his human body was buried with in order to return them to human bodies. The entire plot of the movie is driven by Chucky and Tiffany’s journey to Hackensack, NJ to dig up the corpse of Charles Lee Ray.

Chucky states in Bride that the Heart of Damballa is necessary for the transfer of his Lost Soul into a human body. I think he might be wrong about that because the amulet had not appeared before this movie. It was present during Chucky’s initial transference into the Good Guy doll. Its necessity for a full transference to a human host may be necessary but that remains to be seen. It was not information he apparently had in the previous three movies. However, it is apparently used to transfer Tiffany into Jennifer Tilly’s

I assume that the amulet is not unique. It is an item through which the loa Damballa’s power flows which means another one could probably be made and consecrated.

Unspoken Rule 5: If they have anatomically compatible parts, two Forms can have sex and get pregnant

Source: In Bride of Chucky, Tiffany and Chucky have sex in their doll bodies. We don’t see it (thankfully) but Chucky states that he is anatomically correct (for a cis male) and Tiffany definitely confirms as much. At the end of the movie, Tiffany gives birth to a doll baby not even knowing that she was pregnant.

This actually follows naturally from Spoken Rule 2 since the Lost Soul’s Form slowly becomes flesh. The transformation apparently works on reforming genitals and reproductive systems on dolls. Don’t think about it too much.

Unspoken Rule 6: A Heart of Damballa amulet can be used to enhance the Damballa Chant

Source: In the early part of Seed of Chucky, Glen uses a Heart of Damballa to help him revive both Chucky and Tiffany back into their refurbished bodies. The Damballa chant is inscribed on the back of the amulet which is how Glen is able to learn it without help.

As we saw in Bride of Chucky, Tiffany was able to revive Chucky’s Lost Soul and return it to his Good Guy doll Form without the amulet since she had no knowledge of its existence. In Seed of Chucky, Glen uses it to bring back Tiffany and Chucky simultaneously and it would make sense that this would require more magic. The use of the amulet seems to supercharge the spell.

Spoken Rule 5/Unspoken Rule 7: The progeny Form resulting from the sexual reproduction of two Forms can have unpredictable issues

Source: Tiffany and Chucky meet their child Glen who reveals to his parents (and the camera) that their Form has no genitals whatsoever like a traditional baby doll. Glen was born physically sexless allowing his parents to each project a different gender onto their kid. Eventually, we find that their child’s body is inhabited by the submissive personality of Glen (claiming cis male) and the aggressive and homicidal personality of Glenda (claiming cis female). This all seems to be a result of the supernatural conception and birth of Glen/Glenda which caused the Form to be physically sexless and contain two different Lost Souls.

Of course, we only have one example but clearly Glen/Glenda’s status is caused by the unstable magic of their parentage.

Spoken Rule 6: A Form can impregnate a human body

Source: Chucky provides a sperm sample and (thankfully) a turkey baster is used to impregnate actress Jennifer Tilly. The magical pregnancy is accelerated and the time between conception and birth is only give or take 24 hours. The babies born of this are two intact human babies and do not have any doll parts. All of this is spoken of and expected by Chucky and Tiffany.

Unspoken Rule 8: If two Lost Souls possess a Form, they can be transferred into two different human bodies

At the end of the movie, we see that Glen and Glenda have each been transferred into one of the twins born from Jennifer Tilly’s womb. This seems to have resolved the internal conflict for Glen/Glenda which allows Glen to be nice and sweet and Glenda to be a terror.

The Blob (1988)

October 28, 2022

Most accounts of alleged visits from space aliens seem to imply the intelligence of the creatures from beyond the Earth. If true, alien abductions and the existence of advanced spacecraft capable of feats far beyond Earthbound planes or shuttles would definitely indicate an advanced intelligence equal to or beyond our own. Most science fiction stories follow this thinking. Aliens have either malicious or benevolent designs on the citizens or creatures of Earth. Humanity’s response to those incursions drives those stories. However, the assumption that all alien life that may reach our planet is intelligent is kind of silly in retrospect. Even the assumption that aliens are remotely humanoid seems to be a reach. What if the aliens are thoughtless and formless and driven only to consume? We got some of that in The Stuff but these types of movies still seem to be in the minority.

There are plenty of things born on Earth that would qualify as something alien to us although we hardly notice them. For example, there are 900 species of slime mold in the world. Slime molds are a collection of amoeba-like creatures bound together in a sheath of protoplasm. This seemingly simple configuration has actually exhibited surprising behavior. One study in 1989 indicates that slime mold communicates information similarly to neurons in animals. This seems to indicate that slime molds react and explore their environment in a manner similar to us human beings. Another study indicates that slime molds naturally form themselves into information pathways resembling a traffic pattern. This again indicates that slime molds exhibit behavior that helps them be more efficient. Of course, while slime mold can move around, they do not eat animals let alone humans.

The first thing I noticed was the name of Tony Gardner in the credits. I had no prior knowledge that he was a part of this. Tony Gardner is a legendary designer and has been part of the Chucky franchise for decades (among other things, of course). The small town setting is absolutely great and reminds me of a lot of towns that I have driven through (and one that I lived in). Gardner’s effects are absolutely terrifying. There is a reason why this movie is often listed on lists for the worst body horror scenes. There are so many good scenes of absolutely heinous and brutal damage to human bodies. Seriously, I am impressed at how many ways they figured out to have people die. The creature looks really good and I really like its movement. It makes me want to research how they did it all. 

The acting is very charming and reminds me of the wholesomeness of small-town living. Everybody does not love each other but they know each other. Kevin Dillon plays the tough biker delinquent and reluctant hero with a heart of gold. He is instantly likable in that Marty McFly kind of way. Shawnee Smith plays the sweet and innocent small-town girl who has had enough. Their chemistry together is really good and helps carry the non-Blob parts of the movie.  Jeffrey DeMunn plays the small-town sheriff who is suspicious of everybody. Del Close plays the town pastor and is almost comic relief. Joe Seneca plays the almost comically kind government scientist. The rest of the cast is just really good at being good character actors who fill out the world of the town. 

Overall, I really loved this movie. It was a really simple story but the special effects and the tension were both fantastic. I do not watch a ton of science fiction horror but this proved that maybe I should change that. This was a rollercoaster of a movie with plenty of surprises but also charming. I recommend this movie.

Media Update 10/27/22

October 27, 2022

Bad Hair (2020)

I lost access to Hulu when this one originally came out and then I just never got around to it but it was past time. In order to get ahead in the burgeoning world of Black Television in 1989, a young woman gets a new thing called a “weave” but there may be more to it than just fashion. This was a way better movie than I thought it would be especially considering it is a horror comedy movie. The scenes of black women getting their hair done painfully was so visceral and it made my skin crawl knowing how real it is. Ella Lorraine is so good in the lead, a young woman struggling to find her voice and confidence. Vanessa Williams is great as the imposing new boss. Jay Pharoah, Usher, Judith Scott, Kelly Rowland, and more make up the rest of a great cast. The movie has some really great effects but the editing really draws out the tension and the insanity of this movie. I really recommend it.

Slaxx (2020)

I also had my eye on this one for quite some time because I love horror comedies and horror with a message. I also had heard of the connections to Indian culture which is an area that I have not seen as much horror about. The movie is light in places but I was surprised by how dark it got. I also really liked the pro-labor and anti-capitalist message it sends. Romane Denis is great as the starry-eyed idealist who has dreamed of working in a high-end clothing retail location. Brett Donahue plays the ultimate corporate bootlicker and therefore a great villain. Sehar Bhojani plays the non-conformist and an outcast in a store full of self-absorbed people. Those self-absorbed people are played expertly by Kenny Wong, Henneke Talbot, Jessica B. Hill, Tianna Nori, and Erica Anderson. The movie was a lot of fun but definitely still spooked me. I recommend this movie.

Killer Sofa (2019)

I think I heard of this movie when it was coming out but never checked it out. A possessed armchair tries to kill anybody who gets in the way of his crush on the woman who owns him. The movie has two storylines that slowly intersect. The star of the first storyline is Piimio Mei who is good at being the doe-eyed innocent young woman. However, I really liked Nathalie Morris who is fun as the sarcastic best friend. The rest of the cast is full of loveable B-Movie goofballs who seem to have a lot of fun mugging for the camera. The effects are also goofy but actually really interesting. What I did not like was the movie’s pacing which often felt glacial. I feel like too many scenes were repeated and the script could have been tightened up considerably. I do not recommend this movie.


Music of the Week:

murdercookie – HALLOWEEN

Broken Peach – Like A Gale

BABYMETAL – Divine Attack

Poppy – Her

Mashup of the Week: 

DasonRZ Mashups – Rapdansen


Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Possessed Objects”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Emily D. Baker, Tamara Chambers, LegalEagle, NWA, Dead Meat, Quinton Reviews, Onsta, Savy Writes Books, Gabi Belle, Brutalmoose, Growing Up in Scientology, Watcher, Some More News, 
  • I started watching Chucky Season 2
  • I watched more  Legends of Tomorrow Season 7
  • I watched more The Blacklist Season 9
  • I watched more The Flash Season 8
  • I finished She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

The Dark Half (1993)

October 26, 2022

A lot of people have a darker side to them. I certainly do. However, writers often have an interesting relationship with their particular brand of darkness. One thing that a lot of writers will be familiar with is being guarded about one’s tabs in Internet browsers. We tend to research a lot of weird things while we are in the midst of writing. I would think that horror and mystery writers would probably be the most extreme. There might be tabs open that detail how to commit murders, how to mix poisons, and all sorts of details that would normally be swimming around in the head of a serial killer. We have to research these things to maintain the integrity of the writing. If we get the details wrong, it could take somebody out of their immersion in the story and ruin the narrative. Of course, a lot of this research does not make it onto the actual page. It is a tightrope to make sure you get it right but also do not provide detailed instructions on how to murder somebody.

Related to those decisions is how dark we let our characters get. Villains have been part of the story narrative since the very beginning. However, if you let the villain go too dark, you could turn off a large part of your audience. There are movies that I have reviewed for this blog that I would not show a large portion of the people I know in person (looking at you Terrifier). People have different sensibilities and connect differently to darkness, violence, and other negative energies. Some writers will get upset when you critique them for going too far. “Well, that’s what the character wanted to do,” They’ll say. “It’s not me doing it.” I understand that characters can be voices inside your head and want to speak up for themselves and guide their story. However, the writer is and must be ultimately in control of the story. They need to rein in the villain if they get out of control. For example, Michael Myers does not kill children but the characters in Beware, Children at Play do. This is something the writer has to get a handle on if they want to please their audience.

The first thing I noticed is how psychological and creepy this movie was going to be. The strange build and ominous tone are set up right away. The practical effects are creepy and I am not sure how some of them were accomplished. The wildlife effect in particular had me really creeped out early on. The practical effects for gore, later on, are really well done and are on par with a good crime show, I would say. This movie does a lot with tone, build, and a little bit of music making for a more traditional psychological horror movie. There are plenty of jump scares but they feel earned instead of cheap. A lot is done with the correct framing and timing of things. 

The acting is great in that dreamy Stephen King kind of way. Timothy Hutton plays the lead, a writer-turned-teacher and he is as magnetic and charming as he always is. Amy Madigan plays his wife and she is so clever and fun. Robert Joy steals scenes with his manic performance. Kent Broadhurst and Rutanya Alda play a comedy team in the bodies of literary agents. Glenn Colerider plays a goofy photographer, backwoodsy and full of humor. The way the villain is done is just so perfect and menacing. I do not want to give it away but they did such a great job. Michael Rooker plays the now legendary Sheriff Pangborn who delivers the part with a gruff yet sarcastic sensibility. Royal Dano (in his last role) is so perfect as the stereotypical confused and dusty gravedigger. 

Overall, I really liked this movie. It is very dramatic and spooky in a cerebral kind of way instead of a visceral way. It helps that the movie was directed by the legendary George Romero who has a real eye for creepiness and tension. It is important to remember that Romero could do more than just zombie movies and this movie is definitely proof. King and Romero have worked together before and their sensibilities seem to match up even though Romero leans quite a bit more left. I recommend this movie as it went places that I did not expect and was fairly spooky.

(A note: I was unaware that Timothy Hutton was accused of sexual assault two years ago before I chose and watched this movie. He was cleared of all charges by Canadian police but, if the claim was indeed true, his behavior is and was unacceptable.)

Here Comes Hell (2019)

October 24, 2022

I absolutely hate parties as they give me anxiety. I have a lot of bad memories of being at a party and just trying to make it through. If I know people there, I have the bad habit of hanging near the only people I know. I just get anxious around groups of people in a less-than-casual setting. I much prefer a barbecue or a hangout session where there is no pressure and nobody feels they have to put on a show for everybody else. My friend group’s hangouts are low-key and tame and that is the way that I like it. I can sit and chat about geeky stuff with people I know and trust. I remember being forced to attend dinner parties growing up. It was usually with my parents’ friends whose kids I really did not enjoy hanging out with. It was fancy and I’m not really into fancy. The worst was college parties where I was the only sober one. A friend told me that the best medication for my anxiety is to drown it in alcohol and I am so glad I never went down that road. I could have easily become addicted and I would be in a poor state now if I was still alive.

It is even worse when you add in the wealthy. I have been to parties thrown by rich people and they are almost never much fun unless you can find somebody who is not uptight (and good luck with that). I grew up middle class and I am privileged to have had the life that I have. I feel extra privileged to have grown up that way as I feel like I am more easily satisfied. Rich people pay so much money to get things “just so”. I much prefer a good potluck with stuff that humans actually eat. I also do not really connect with the world of the rich. We have very different political views, cultural touchstones, and focuses in life. I can fake it for a while but I want to be relaxed and comfortable, not uptight and worried about what other people are thinking about me.

The first thing I noticed was that the movie is a tribute to old-school horror and 1930s movies in general. Small spoiler, the movie begins with a warning announcement for people of weaker dispositions to turn back. The movie is in black and white which is a novelty for a movie made in 2019. They even got the rear-projected driving scenes in there. The movie is a slow burn spending plenty of time on a comedy of manners and the relationships between the main characters. The movie’s sound design is especially good with loud sound effects and a very noticeable string instrument score that highlights the tense parts. The set design is very interesting as well as we are in an old broken-down mansion. The gore is very good in a very cartoony way that still manages to be scary. 

I loved the intentionally hammy acting which again mimics the older days of horror and thrillers. It is definitely acting of a time when people were shifting over from the world of vaudeville and theater. A lot of the actors speak with an exaggerated and accentuated high-class British accent which really feels like Universal Pictures. Jessica Webber is our point of view character, the one working class person and she is soft and likable. By contrast, Margaret Clunie is brash and clashes with everybody. Timothy Renouf plays a too-cool-for-school tennis player who is all too interested in having fun and keeping up appearances. Charlie Robb plays the goofball life of the party who is constantly stirring the pot. Tom Bailey plays the gruff American, a tough guy with a soft spot. When things go down, the acting gets even hammier and I loved it. It reminded me of Evil Dead 2 or Return of the Living Dead.

Overall, I loved this movie. It could have succumbed to being just the black-and-white/retro gimmick but it managed to be more than that. There were some really spooky moments that definitely gave me pause. The exaggerated nature of the acting made people unpredictable in a crisis. There were also a lot of little surprises that were eye-opening. I recommend this movie.

The References of The Final Girls (2017) Pt. 1

October 22, 2022

I previously reviewed The Final Girls (2017) and I have since watched it with friends. The movie has so many references that we could not help but shout some of them out during the movie. I thought it would be fun to catalog some of them since most trivia sites only scratch the surface or say that there are a lot of references. I suggest that you watch the movie since it is available on a lot of streaming platforms.


Sucked into a Movie:

The Final Girls (2015): 

During a theater fire, Max and her friends choose to cut through the movie screen to escape toward the back exit when the regular exits get blocked. Somehow, cutting through the screen breaches the fictional world of Camp Bloodbath and puts real-world people in the narrative of the movie. The actual mechanism is never really explained.

Other Movies:

Last Action Hero (1995): 

Young movie enthusiast Danny Madigan is given a magical ticket once owned by Houdini by projectionist Nick. As he watches his hero Jack Slater on film, the movie starts to come to life. An errant bundle of lit dynamite comes out of the movie and as Danny tries to run away, the explosion launches him through the screen and into the world of the Jack Slater movies. While in the movie world, Danny is subject to the narrative rules of action movies.

Nightmare on Elm Street 4 (1988): 

Dream Warrior Alice Johnson is drawn to a movie theater within her dream where she is sucked through the screen into a post-apocalyptic version of Springwood, Ohio and a blown-out Crave Inn diner. There, she is taunted by Freddy who can reach her friends through her. Freddy sends her back into the real world partly to play with his food and also to have her infect more victims.

Vans and Hitchhikers:

The Final Girls (2015):

When stranded on the side of the road after being transported into the movie, <> and her friends are forced to hitch a ride with the movie characters in their Volkswagen van in order to continue the narrative in hopes of escaping the film. The movie characters are happy to pick them up and are travelling together to the camp.

Other Movies:

Friday the 13th Part III (1982):

Chris Higgins and her friends drive to her family’s home in Higgins Haven which is on Crystal Lake for a fun summer retreat. The vehicle is full of pot smoke from a pair of stoner friends. (A Dodge van by the way)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): 

Sally Hardesty, her brother, and friends travel in a van to visit the Hardesty Estate in Texas when they helpfully pick up a hitchhiker named Nubbins Sawyer who is also looking for victims for Leatherface and the rest of the Sawyer family. He creeps them out and they push him out of the van once he attacks one of them with a straight razor. (A Ford)

Scooby Doo Where Are You (1969): 

Yes, this is a television show but happy-go-lucky kids in a van in a horror movie was a staple of the show and franchise. Mystery Inc. drives everywhere in their van The Mystery Machine. Anywhere they stop is bound to be haunted. (Either Dodge or Chevrolet)

Getting Ready for Camp

The Final Girls (2015): 

The cast of counselors at Camp Bloodbath arrived before the campers to prepare the camp. Of course, with Max and her friends arriving there are way too many counselors. The camp is not that big.

Other Movies:

Friday the 13th (1980):

The counselors arrive before the campers to refurbish the cabins. The town shuns the counselors or the very idea that Camp Crystal Lake could come back. The isolated location makes the counselors easy pickings.

Friday the 13th Part II (1981): 

In this one, Paul Holt sets up a school for camp counselors on the shore of Crystal Lake. This once again allows for a plot where there are camp counselors without campers.

Flashback: A prank gone wrong

The Final Girls (2017): 

Whenever anybody tells the story about Billy, Max and her friends are transported into a flashback of a normal day at Camp Bloodbath that shows how Billy was bullied by the other campers without mercy. In a clear example of when jokes go too far, he is locked in an outhouse while fireworks are lit and tossed in. The maimed Billy dons a mask and eventually starts killing those at the camp.

Other Movies:

The Burning (1981): Cropsy was the alcoholic caretaker at Camp Blackfoot. A couple of campers prank him by putting a wormy skull prop with candles in its eye sockets next to his bed in the night. He freaks out and knocks the lit prop onto his bed and then he knocks over a gas can onto the fire with his thrashing. Later, the severely burned man stalks the counselors who were the campers that pranked him.

Freddy vs. Jason (2003): Freddy Krueger brings Lori Campbell into Jason Voorhees’ nightmare about his death. Lori is actually standing in Camp Crystal Lake and is able to watch as Jason is bullied into the water and drowns.

Hatchet (2006): Victor Crowley is a young deformed man who is mercilessly teased by locals. One night, a few of those kids throw fireworks into Victor’s house. In the ensuing chaos of the fire, Victor and his father are killed. Victor later comes back to stalk people in the woods.

Feast (2005)

October 21, 2022

I do not have a ton of bar experience. I am not a big drinker nor a lover of being in a public space. Of course, despite these two things, I have spent quite a bit of time in bars. In my late teenage years, I hung around with an older community theater crowd called the Mobtown Players. They were in their thirties and I was in my teens. I hung out in bars with them even though I was not allowed to drink. My mother trusted them and me and they assured her that they would never let me drink underage. Later, I spent time in one particular bar in college both before and after I was old enough to drink. It was a dive bar named Dolls that unfortunately was not full of dolls of any kind. I usually retreated to a less populated corner and clung to what friends I could find. I nursed one beer to look like I belonged. Even later, I hung out in another dive bar for pub trivia. Again, I did not really drink but having an activity made bar visits more tolerable.

How much do you think that you can rely on strangers in public when bad things happen? I would like to think that I could rely on people that I have never met. Unfortunately, the statistics are against me on that. First, we have the bystander effect which says that bystanders will generally just watch something bad happen and none of them will act because they assume somebody else already did or is about to. Am I any different? No. I have never stopped on the side of the road to ask a stranded motorist if they need help. I generally freeze when a crissis hits. However, I like to think that if things truly became life or death, I would leap into action and everybody would join me. Obviously, I hope I never find out.

The first thing I noticed was the comedy of the movie with a lot of meta humor and goofy 2000s flavor. This is an ensemble piece with almost everybody getting a nickname instead of their actual name. The dialogue is comically cliched but in the best ways. Navi Rawat plays the lead, a stereotypical final girl with sass and grit. Jason Mewes plays himself and is just as goofy as usual. Judah Friedlander is full of comic relief slapstick and is just as sarcastic as he usually is. Henry Rollins plays a douchebag tough guy. Clu Galager plays the tough-as-nails old bartender. Eric Dane is the tough hero-type guy. Jenny Wade plays the dumb blonde waitress. Balthazar Getty plays an asshole bar fly while Josh Zuckerman plays his nice brother. 

This is a pretty gory movie in both senses of the word. There is a lot of over-the-top gore and all of it is really fun to watch. Think of movies like Evil Dead 2 or Dead Alive. The practical effects are great and they are obviously doing a lot with animatronics and prosthetics. There are also plenty of other fluids flying around. The cast gets pretty gross pretty quickly. The monsters look really great with some varying designs and all of them are something you absolutely do not want to see in a dark alley. I also really like what we get to see of the monster lore because they are absolutely wild. There is some real nastiness and this movie is pretty cruel to its cast of characters.

Overall, I liked this weird movie. It takes a lot of elements and tropes of the under-siege horror movie and turns them on their ear while also playing some of them deadly straight. The result is a movie that does not take itself too seriously but also ends up being fairly bleak while also being funny. It is an innovative script with a lot of actors who are willing to play it to the hilt. I recommend this but not for the squeamish.

Media Update 10/20/22

October 20, 2022

Fade to Black (1980)

This had been on my list for a while because the premise and the visuals looked interesting. A lonely young man obsessed with film starts to spiral out of control and things get deadly. I really loved the wide-ranging genres of film covered. Dennis Christopher is both heartbreaking and entertaining as the main character always blends imagination and reality. Linda Kerridge is delightful as the sardonic Australian model who catches the attention of the main character. A young Mickey Rourke plays the bully. There are plenty of other somewhat comical but also nasty character actors. The plot of an incel spiraling into violence was all too familiar and sad. The costumes and makeup were absolutely top-notch. I recommend this as it is not too scary but rather sad and a fascinating character study.

Popcorn (1991)

A random movie that I just learned about a few weeks ago but I am glad I found it. A young woman struggles with dreams of the past while she and her friends try to put on a horror movie festival. This movie is definitely a love letter to legendary schlockmeister William Castle and has a lot of fun surprises. Jill Schoelen plays the dreamy yet smartest person in the movie, the main character. The legendary horror actress Dee Wallace plays her mother. Tom Villard was an absolute scene-stealer as the goofy and awkward goofball. The rest of the cast are all sarcastic goofballs who add a lot of comedy to the movie. This movie was not very scary but it definitely had some spooky moments and a lot of existential surprises. The special effects are surprisingly good for such a low-budget movie. I recommend this movie.

Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)

It never hurts to check out and spotlight some gateway horror. This is a DCOM that I had not caught yet and I find the more Halloweeny ones interesting. A young man struggles to juggle everything during a huge night working at the movie theater but must contend with a haunting villain. Taylor Handley plays the main character and he is a very likable everyman who carries the movie well. The two kids (Caitlin Wachs and Jacob Smith) who play his siblings are surprisingly good for very young performers and keep the plot moving. I was pleasantly surprised to see Mickey Rooney in this and he is the best part of it. Pretty much the rest of the cast is made up of characters with one main quirk that is used for comic relief. I really enjoyed all of them. I recommend this light fair for a little Halloween break.


Music of the Week:

blink-182 – EDGING

Ice Nine Kills – The Shower Scene

Wednesday 13 – Good Day To Be A Bad Guy

CLIPPING – Nothing Is Safe

Mashup of the Week:

Cypher Slip-Up – Kiss the Eye of the Tiger


Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “In the Movie Theater”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Barry Kramer, Attorney Tom, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Emily D. Baker, Tamara Chambers, LegalEagle, NWA, Dead Meat, Quinton Reviews, Onsta, Savy Writes Books, Gabi Belle, Brutalmoose, Growing Up in Scientology, Watcher, Some More News
  • I watched more The Strain Season 1
  • I started Legends of Tomorrow Season 7
  • I started The Blacklist Season 9
  • I watched more The Flash Season 8
  • I watched more Riverdale Season 5

The Fog (1980)

October 19, 2022

You would think with me growing up and only living on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America, I would have more experience with fog. I definitely saw my share of it. We would get morning fog sometimes but I do not remember it happening too often. The visibility was usually not so bad and it was more of a novelty than anything that really hindered us. I saw more fog when I went to summer camp up in the Poconos Mountains. The first time that I was in fog that really scared me was driving home from West Virginia during a particularly warm Christmas season. The visibility was so low that we could not see much beyond a few feet. It was daunting. At any moment, something could appear in front of us and cause us to crash. Yet, we could not stop because we feared getting hit from behind. I have experienced this a few more times and it is truly a white-knuckle situation.

Being a well-educated and well-read white person of European descent, I am very familiar with having to bury your shameful past. Europeans and Americans in particular have done a lot of nasty things that the people of today are not proud of. Europe and America started the slave trade of African people which led to literally unknowable amounts of bloodshed and death. Europeans and then Americans engaged in a centuries-long campaign to destroy the natives of the American continents. Europeans divided up the African continent and destroyed much of their culture and political autonomy. Human beings with power have had a long history of paying for their good fortune with the blood of people with less leverage. They are true historical horrors that keep getting repeated.

The first thing I noticed was how atmospheric the movie is with its lighting, shadows, and sound. This is not something about a movie made by John Carpenter. The creepiness of technology going haywire will always get me. There is a long history of ghosts apparently being able to manipulate or interact with manmade technology. They did a great job with the titular fog, making it move like a living thing. There is not much gore but the kills are still frightening especially with the absolutely brutal sounds that accompany them. I definitely imagine something absolutely horrible, probably more than prosthetics could do. Besides, this is a ghost story, not a gore story. There is a lot of great build to the movie. While I love horror movies that are nonstop chaos, ones that are slow-motion oncoming car wrecks are just as enjoyable.

Jamie Lee Curtis is so much fun and you can see the humor and brassy demeanor that has served her well in her career. She is so far removed already from her roles in Halloween, Prom Night, and Terror Train. Adrienne Barbeau is absolutely great, funny but she also has that raspy, sexy radio voice. This is her first film role and she killed it. Charles Cyphers has a warm and fun voice and is great to listen to as a meteorologist. Tom Atkins is the male lead, a somewhat goofy guy who is serious when the chips are down. Janet Leigh plays the uptight town leader for whom everything must be perfect. Hal Holbrook is great as the down-to-earth town priest with a conscience. Nancy Kyes (then Nancy Loomis) is great as the sassy personal assistant who takes no shit. 

Overall, I loved this movie. You have three legendary scream queens in one movie and all of them get time to shine. The story is spooky and also is a morality tale, one that we can all learn from. The blood that we built our society on has a cost even if it is not our lives. I recommend this movie.


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