My number one party movie for this Halloween season is…

i had a bloody good time at house harker cover

While Van Helsing gets all the glory as the great vampire hunter, it was Jonathan Harker who really introduced the world to Dracula. So for a change, we have a movie that focuses on the Harker descendants.

i had a bloody good time boys bloody

And what a goofy little crew it is. A handsome gay guy has come back to the small town in which he grew up in hopes of helping his siblings—a tough talking sister and an awkward, socially inept geek—raise money to save the house in which they grew up.

i had a bloody good time old lady

The trio still has a vampire skull their family has guarded since killing Dracula in order to keep another vampire from rising in his place.

i had a bloody good time skull

Unfortunately, they use it to exploit their family’s vampiric legacy while trying to make the money for the house.

i had a bloody good time exorcist

Joining in on their plan to convince locals that they are actually hunting a vampire are their burnout buddy, a former priest neighbor, and an uber sexy cop who happens to be the sister’s boyfriend.

i had a bloody good time cop

They throw a big vampire hunting party at their house, not knowing they have actually released a fricking monstrous vampire from Romania, and it’s headed right for them.

i had a bloody good time vamp

I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker is one of those films that at first seems like it’s going to have a few “cute” moments but will inevitably lean towards the side of indie lame and fail to deliver the fun its title promises.

i had a bloody good time party boy

Rockin’ surprise! the movie gets increasingly better until it turns into a vampire blast!

ihad a bloody good time onslaught

It starts to bubble up somewhere in the middle, and by the final act, it totally rules.

i had a bloody good time man on man vamp

It’s fast paced with great comic moments, a kick ass main vampire, and loads of blood.

i had a bloody good time rise of another vamp

Plus, the cast lays the lovability on thick. And the gay guy has some serious twirling moves up his sleeves, and a nice juicy butt!

i had a bloody good time twirl

But he really needs to work on socializing with daddy bears…

i had a bloody good time gay kicks bear

i had a bloody good time bear drowned

I so wanted him to steal his sister’s cop man from her and run away with him at the end, but alas…

The film even manages to make the siblings’ deceased father a strong character and give the movie some heart. This one better come to DVD, because I need it in my collection ASAP. It’s definitely an instant classic for my die, gay guy, die! page.

Posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Scared Silly - Horror Comedy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

These frat boys have bods and booties to die for

alpha delta zatan cover

Alpha Delta Zatan comes to us from Reel Nightmare Films, a production company I became familiar with after covering the works of director Armand Petri.

alpha delta zatan killer in red

This frat house slasher got me going with an opening scene drenched in 80s neon light.

alpha delta zatan upshot

An iron pumping pretty boy shows off his assets as he gets in the shower, and a killer in tight black spandex bodysuit and a Harlequin mask comes in to take care of business. The camera angles are tight, the music is tense, the suspense is taut…

alpha delta zatan mask

My hopes were a little high because I’m a fan of Armand Petri and mistakenly assumed this film was completely a creation of his. Based on the films of his I’ve covered, I was expecting an intense, creepy, sexy slasher, with a dose of gay sensibilities and camp, because he’s demonstrated a knack for all of the above across various projects.

alpha delta zatan shower shock

Alpha Delta Zatan is written by Petri, but directed by Art Arutyunyan, who appeared in one of Petri’s films. It is the kind of homoerotic horror David DeCoteau could be putting out if he actually included any horror in his homoerotic horror films these days.

alpha delta zatan guys together

Like DeCoteau’s films, this one is set entirely in one house, all the guys are very pretty and spend most of their time in their undies, and yet any homoerotic flirtations never develop into blatant gay situations, and no fully-realized gay characters are presented. On the other hand, neither are any female characters.

alpha delta zatan muscle guys

A few things put this film way above a DeCoteau release and make it one I would opt to include in my collection of sexy stud horror. For starters, it’s loaded with sexy studs. Duh.

alpha delta zatan blood shower

Not to be racist but, man, do the white boys all fricking look the same. I couldn’t tell those fuckers apart. It’s this man who makes me weak in the sphincter.

alpha delta zatan dancing stud 2

alpha delta zatan dancing stud 1

Second, the guys pretty much all show their asses—virtually every guy goes through the same exact routine at some point of dropping his towel before stepping into the shower.

alpha delta zatan asses

Third, the 80s lighting will get me every time, and when it’s licking at the nooks and crannies of muscular male physiques, it gets me even more.

allpha delta zatan tied up

Fourth—there’s a masked killed and blood. Granted, there’s no graphic gore, just out of frame penetration, but at least there are actual kills.

However, it becomes a rinse and repeat formula. Short of that first great kill scene, there’s no sense of dread or fear, no jump scares, no chase scenes, and no body reveals, with the kill scenes becoming increasingly less impressive. The film takes itself very seriously, lacks any humor, and ends up having a much more complex denouement than a movie about hot muscle boys being murdered after getting naked needs, but I see the potential for Arutyunyan to up his game in the horror genre.

Meanwhile, I would still love to see Armand Petri himself make a gay slasher. Hell, I’d like to see him take a crack at adapting my gay Halloween slasher novella Scream, Queen! into a film. 

To keep up on the release of Alpha Delta Zatan and all the Reel Nightmare releases follow @reel_nightmare on Twitter, and like the Reel Nightmare Films page on Facebook.

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SCARE WARS: backwoods hell, backwoods hole, and Halloween hide and seek

Here’s a brief look at the latest trio of films I crossed off my “to see” list. Do we even have a winner this time?

HALLOWS EVE (2016)

hallows eve 2016 cover

Another film titled Hallows Eve. While it tries its best to toss in holiday spirit (there’s a montage of Jack O’ lanterns) this one really could take place any day of the year.

hallows eve tunnel

The first part of the film is loaded with talking, mostly between a gang of kids. After an eerie encounter in a tunnel at night, one kid disappears, so some time is spent on characters trying to find out what became of their friend. There are also some ominous warnings being left around in the form of graffiti.

hallows eve graffiti

Eventually, the kids scatter after a similar encounter in the tunnel, and we are thrust into a temporary home invasion flick right out of The Strangers, which is actually one of the best scenes in the film.

Hallows Eve

When the victim of this home invasion is knocked out and wakes up, she and another victim team up and spend the rest of the movie running around a creepy old building trying to avoid masked baddies.

While there are some well done suspense scenes, this become so repetitive it loses its potency. And the big twist at the end was so confusing I couldn’t even twist with it.

DIGGING UP THE MARROW (2014)

digging up the marrow cover

Adam Green of Hatchet fame brings us a self-indulgent found footage film that is about as generic as found footage films can get…and yet to this day he complains that he can’t make a sequel because people stole this movie online. Dude, I love ya, but this movie doesn’t need a sequel. REALLY.

Adam plays himself. His partner in crime Will Barratt plays himself. In various cameos, mostly at horror conventions, Lloyd Kaufman, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Tom Holland, Mick Garris, etc., all play themselves.

digging up the marrow wise

Which is why this film falls apart immediately. Horror icon Ray Wise plays—someone else. A lead “character.” Whoa. Talk about taking me out of the reality of this mockumentary. Sorry, Ray, but the role should have been given to some nobody. Ray plays a guy Adam interviews who claims he’s seen monsters come up from a hole out in the woods.

Sooooo…in between loads of dialogue plugging his now defunct horror sitcom Holliston  and references to his movies Hatchet and Frozen, Adam and Will stake out the woods with Ray Wise—I mean, this weird old guy we’ve never seen before—in hopes of seeing monsters come out of the hole.

digging up the marrow monster

There’s one early jump scare encounter with a monster that looks straight out of a 1950s sci-fi flick, and then there’s a major encounter with a few monsters near the end. One is so fricking cool and violently attacks the car and then…the guys are just back in Ra—the weird old guy’s house. HOLD ON! Hit the brakes! Back up! And I’m not talking about the car the monster was attacking. Adam! SERIOUSLY? What kind of fucking cop out is that???

Then there’s one brief scene with a big shocking twist followed by a typical found footage ending that…I…am not sure…I understood…at ALL.

I’m going to have to blanket this one under a new rule I made up just now based on my most common complaint about movies. Here’s the rule. Once you’ve finished your horror film—edit 15 minutes out of it. Doesn’t matter how long it is. There are at least 15 useless minutes in it. And if your movie is a 15 minute short? Start over.

digging up the marrow editor

Horror hottie Josh Ethier (Almost Human, ABCs of Death 2, Beyond the Gates) steals the show as Adam’s film editor simply because he’s so fucking hot.

RED RIVER (aka: Hillbilly Bloodbath) (2011)

red river cover

I’m a huge fan of director Jacob Ennis’s Kill, Granny, Kill!, so I was psyched to check out this flick, which came out three years before his masterpiece to date.

Red River is sort of like Ennis took the stupidity that is Texas Chainsaw Massacre II and fused it with the fucked up brilliance that is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre to create a film that ends on a much different note than it begins. For me, the first half is kind of annoying to sit through, but the heinousness of the final act makes it worth it.

red river throatNow that’s some deep throating dedication.

After two cops—who seem to be without any guns—stumble upon a rundown house in the woods with a morbid surprise inside, we meet our main characters…and then more characters…and even more. There are kids on a camping trip (there’s a really bad attempt at having one guy act as an asshole republican), there’s a female reporter doing a story on the many disappearances in the small town, and there are loads of hillbillies just being hillbillies. Plus, there’s the annoying as fuck killer guy, who speaks with one of those voice boxes. For me, the real anti-hero is the deformed kid back in the lair.

red river son

After almost an hour of nonsense on par with late 80s/early 90s garbage horror, shit gets real, beginning with a chick having her tit cut off. It’s total Texas Chainsaw massacre butchering and insanity. I can’t say I knew who any of the characters were (I lost a whole lot of interest in the middle of the movie), but I was delightfully disturbed by the final act.

red river boob t off

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4 decades, 4 urban horrors

As usual, I can’t just feel a little pain and walk away. So after watching 2 urban horror flix from my collection, I decided to expand this blog to include an urban horror flick from each of the past 4 decades…

TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE (1987)

tales from the quadead zone cover 

From the director of Black Devil Doll from Hell comes this disastrous horror anthology, released almost a decade before Tales from the Hood. I imagine no one wanted to back another urban horror anthology for years after this one. Even the short 62-minute length can’t help it.

The wraparound, which also ends up being the third story, involves a woman reading the stories from a book to her ghost companion, which we can see is present based on a floating cup and ass impressions in a chair.

tales from the quadead zone wraparound

1st story – an urban horror flick with a white trash story? I think the point of this one is that there’s not enough food for the whole family, so whoever gets to the gun fast enough and kills the excess person allows for everyone else to live to see another day. All that matters about this one is the redneck bear in overalls…and his amazing nip slip. Who needs food when you got milk?

tales from the quadead zone bear

2nd story – guy dresses his dead brother’s body up as a clown and prepares to bury it, but the brother comes back from the dead.

tales from the quadead zonve clown

3rd story – the wraparound girl has some sort of drama. My attention span didn’t have the patience to focus any longer.

This movie came in a boxed set with Black Devil Doll from Hell and this is the first time I bothered to watch it. I’m also getting rid of the DVD. If anyone’s interested, I’ll sell it to you for 500 dollars after it goes out of print.

URBAN MENACE (1999)

urban meance cover

Albert Pyun is the director who brought us 80s and 90s classics like The Sword and the Sorcerer, Radioactive Dreams, Dangerously Close, Vicious Lips, Alien from L.A., Cyborg, Dollman, and Arcade.

urban menace platinum blond 

I can only guess it’s his spiral downward into Nemesis 4 and Kickboxer 4 that led him to do Urban Menace by the end of the 90s. Or more likely, it’s probably just 90s horror that led to the downward spiral to Urban Menace.

urban menace hot hair

 

A bunch of then relevant rappers – Snoop Dogg and Ice-T (now celebrities) and Big Pun and Fat Joe (I never realized they weren’t the same person until I just saw them in this movie together) – appear in the film.

urban menace snoop dogg

Snoop is really the star, for he plays a murdered gang leader that comes back for revenge as a sort of demon.

urban menace wings

It’s 72 minutes of overexposed footage for that “artsy” futuristic look as a bunch of guys run around a derelict city shooting at each other and saying the N word and the F word.

urban menace about to say fuckFUCK FACK: A man about to say fuck.

Eventually, Snoop sprouts wings momentarily in silhouette. This movie is agonizing.

URBAN MASSACRE (2002)

urban massacre cover

Hunky director Dale Resteghini

urban massacre dale resteghini

Oh shit. Sorry. As I was saying, hunky director Dale Resteghini, who brought us Da hip Hop Witch, takes on post-Scream era slashers in this urban horror flick, which is, not surprisingly, more like a promotional vehicle for hip hop acts built around a horror flick.To this day, the biggest name in the movie is La La, once a VJ on MTV. MTV was once a TV station that played videos—eh, fuck it. I did that shtick in another blog. Just look it up on Wiki.

urban massacre kill 1

A killer clown in a baseball cap is out killing wannabe rappers in this film, which mostly takes place in a club where the cast spends most of the time talking about the music business and the desire to get a record deal. They’re also dicked over by an asshole white record exec.

urban massacre stalk

Sure, this is a bottom of the barrel slasher mess, but it has too many highlights for me not to like it.

urban massacre chase

My favorite kill, drenched in 80s neon lights, has La La in a bath towel and bra being chased by the killer (why not just have the towel up to her chest?).

urban massacre towel

The white dude amongst the rappers is obsessed with horror and regularly references movies, but my fave is when he points out that Tobe Hooper directed Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” video.

urban massace horror dude

And New York City drag performer and recording artist Kevin Aviance makes a brief appearance as a reader on a “Psychic Network” style phone line.

urban massacre aviance

Oh, and I can’t forget the sex scene with a brief shot of the gorgeous leading man’s hot butt.

urban massacre ass

Front view…

urban massacre cast

If you’re going to watch Urban Massacre, be prepared for the cliffhanger ending that doesn’t reveal the killer’s identity…but then sort of takes it back and does reveal it during closing credits.

URBAN CANNIBAL MASSACRE (2013)

urban cannibal massacre cover

Aaaaand…another okay indie hurt by an excessive run time. 100 minutes. Unacceptable. Cut this shit down to 75 minutes and we’ll talk.

Okay, I’ll talk anyway. Although the film is immediately hard to follow, some dudes, apparently homeless and in need of work, take jobs cleaning a derelict building and are so brutally slaughtered it promises a gory slasher that never happens.

urban cannibal massacre machete to head

Instead, we meet a bunch of forgettable friends on the hunt for their missing friend. More memorable is the cannibal family that is always looking for a good meal…as long as it’s all white meat.

urban cannibal massacre family dissection

This poses a problem when this group of friends comes around and it’s a mixed race group. Especially since one daughter in the family is already not a fan of the whole cannibal lifestyle and immediately falls in love with the black dude of the group.

While there’s some feasting and torture and murder, none of it lives up to the tone of the first kill scene. And while the family initially seems kind of campy, even that fades, leaving us with what feels like a cheap film shot in someone’s basement…for waaaaaaay too long.

urban cannibal massacre guy with eye

The final act—beginning with a scene of a big black menace having his way with a white boy’s ass (I wish it were as sexy as it sounds, but it’s not at all…blech) improves greatly in pace and tone. Oh, if only 25 minutes could be gutted from everything that goes on between the first kill scene and the ass scene.

urban cannibal massacre ass

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Quirky Comic Quickies – with hot man bods!

Sometimes I just like it fast and funny, so these three mostly did the trick. The cute shirtless guys were a bonus. 

MANSION OF BLOOD (2015)

mansion of blood cover

This is the movie FULL MOON would be making if it were still making movies even halfway worth watching.

mansion of blood silicone

It’s hard to believe this one is from 2015 when it looks and feels straight out of the late 90s Full Moon vaults.

mansion of blood boyfriend ghost

It’s as chaotic, goofy, and sexy as you can imagine.

mansion of blood hottie 3

Loads of people are invited to an eclipse party at an old mansion.

mansion of blood killer little people

Gary Busey appears to be their host.

mansion of blood busey

One goth chick summons her dead ex, another chick kills a guy, there’s a pack of killer little people, there are huge tits bobbing in a hot tub, there appear to be vampires, mummies, and ghosts.

mansion of blood dead body

I have no idea what’s going on, but it’s a total midnight movie mess made even better by a lot of shirtless guys in the second half.

mansion of blood hottie 1

mansion of blood hottie 4

mansion of blood hotties 6

Pretty boy Kyle Clarke is actually the reason I bought this film after seeing his brief appearance in Playing with Dolls: Havoc.

mansion of blood hottie 2

mansion of blood hottie 5

His out of briefs appearance in Mansion of Blood is much more satisfying.

BADASS MONSTER KILLER (2015)

badass monster killer cover

This is like a 1970s adult funk and soul action horror comic book come to life, so depending on your tastes, you’re either going to love it or have no interest at all.

badass monster killer arm grab

It’s definitely a visual spectacle in all its colorful cartoon glory, with neon colors and awesome rubber costume monsters, loads of T&A, and a sexy action hero leading man working for a secret government organization that fights monsters (something he mentions regularly). It’s kind of like Dick Tracy meets Shaft…meets horror.

badass monster killer feed

There’s loads of goofy action and monster fun, but Badass Monster Killer does run a little long for what it is, so the novelty begins to wear off.

badass monster killer squid

Also, the almost nonstop funk and soul background music becomes absolutely maddening.

badass monster killer herotied

badass monster killer stabinback

The payoff is so worth it, because our leading man finally gets shirtless at the end. And there’s also a little something in it for Lovecraft fans.

badass monster killer chthulu

THE BABYSITTER (2017)

babysitter cover

Finally, there’s the runaway Netflix hit The Babysitter.

babysitter headspray

Forget babysitter slashers, this has a fun twist that puts it more in line with late 90s dark comedies like Jawbreaker and Teaching Mrs. Tingle, while throwing in plenty of 80s references and some classic tracks by Bow Wow Wow and Queen.

babysitter kid

A young bullied nerd has two awesome horror parents: Leslie Bibb (Hell Baby, Trick ‘r Treat, The Midnight Meat Train) and Ken Marino (Bad Milo, Reaper, Goosebumps).

babysitter pitch perfect

But they don’t stick around for long. They’re off on a trip, and the boy is left with his way cool, wicked hot babysitter.

babysitter cheerleader

Then shit goes bad real fast, and the boy spends most of the film being stalked and terrorized by a gorgeous, shirtless muscle stud, played by Robbie Arnell (Left for Dead), which is undressed…I mean, addressed in the movie.

babysitter noshirt

babysitter kick

The Babysitter is gory, funny, quirky, has the awesome Hana Mae Lee of Pitch Perfect, and funny man Andrew Bachelor…who sadly, doesn’t get shirtless (perhaps Arnell insisted upon it in his contract…).

babysitter guys

Plus Judah Lewis, who plays the main boy, has all the screen charm of a young Corey Haim and all the smarts of an 80s leading main kid as well.

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DIRECT TO STREAM: the horror of Justin Price

justin price photo

Justin Price, director of Dark Moon Rising and The Cloth (who apparently likes playing extreme dress-up as much as me, but looks much sexier doing it), keeps popping up on my radar—and in my watchlists—so it was time to focus one blog on several of his films. While some are actually hard to follow, I love that he takes on various subgenres and knows how to deliver intense horror situations that are visually captivating and often creepy as hell. And I have determined a personal fave of his films, so read on to find out which one.

FORSAKEN (2016)

forsaken cover

This one was apparently going to be The Cloth 2, but I can see why that idea was scrapped, even though both are about possession. This is a much darker, more serious film than the demon hunting action flick The Cloth becomes.

forsaken priests

Forsaken doesn’t get much love online, probably because it’s more a story about humanity than possession when it comes down to it. I’ll admit, it is hard as fuck to follow—it’s all over the place in terms of plot and many scenes are shot extremely dark, so you can’t even see what’s going on half the time.

forsaken wheelchair

However, the general point is clear. A holy man is beyond desperation as his wife is dying, so he goes against his religion and welcomes possession and exorcism into his life in hopes of saving her.

forsaken mirror

There’s plenty of possession and demonic scares—the scenes show off Price’s talent for delivering the horror, and there are even some rather mainstream elements, like teens using a Ouija board and dabbling in cult rituals.

forsaken ouija

Personally, the leading man’s encounter with the demon in a rundown building is the stuff of my nightmares.

forsaken in building

What most likely turned viewers off is the emotional levels this film reaches as it shows the downward spiral of a man wrestling with his faith and the loss of love.

forsaken shirtles

To me, this film really is more about a man than the monsters.

THE ELF (2017)
 elf cover

Price takes on the slasher/killer doll genre and holiday horror all at once. And he does what seriously needed to be done…exposes the real horror of the dang Elf On the Shelf. Wahoo!

The disturbing intro scene feels like it belongs to another movie, because what is happening doesn’t quite carry over into the rest of the film. It depicts a toymaker doing something awful to a human child when something comes in and takes a Christmas wish list from him…

elf mouth sew

The rest of the film is as straightforward as killer doll movies get. A couple inherits a toy store. They also move into a new home…where they find a mysterious elf doll sitting on a shelf.

elf elf on shelf

The guy hates Christmas, hates the doll, and won’t commit to marrying the girl.

elf night terrors shower

She tosses the elf and springs it on him that she invited her family for Christmas.

elf couple stares at doll

And they all show up to get slaughtered! The kills themselves don’t particularly standout from all the slashers we’ve been watching since the 80s, and even the doll isn’t all that interesting as a killer character, but there’s a scene with Christmas carolers that is definitely a highlight.

elf body package

Plus, the family is kind of messed up, and it soon becomes clear how much they despise the girl’s boyfriend. The twist at the end of the film is also a goody, and helps explain a whole lot of odd behavior throughout the film.

elf elf walking

Definitely in the tradition of Chucky movies, The Elf more notably seems to pay homage to the classic Trilogy of Terror Zuni doll segment, including the way the doll talks, it wielding its knife under a door, and using the knife to saw out of a box.

elf in box

THE 13TH FRIDAY (2017) 13th friday cover

We’ve arrived. It’s my favorite of Price’s films. The title alone speaks to what I think is an intentional practice on Price’s part to infuse staples of the horror genre into his own creations. But don’t be fooled by the title—this is not about a masked killer hacking up summer camp counselors.

13th friday doll

The general premise is that a bunch of kids enters an old house infamous for having a tragic history.

13th friday sphere

When one girl finds a mysterious orb on the floor of a bedroom and accidentally opens it, she unleashes a sinister force that damns the entire group to being killed off one by one.

13th friday possessed

This film is so jam-packed with hints of classic horror that I couldn’t stop eating it up—Hellraiser, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, It Follows, The Ring, The Exorcist, The Grudge, Final Destination.

13th friday cave creature

Sadly, most will probably see certain scenes as “rip-offs” of other films, but it’s pretty dang clear to me that Price is essentially throwing a wink-wink to dedicated horror fans since the presentation is always so obvious. For me, it feels like he’s saying directly to us, “This is the horror I love, and I know you love it, too.”

13th friday crawl

There’s a straightforward plot here reminiscent of films of the early 2000s, with a bunch of teens being stalked by a supernatural entity, but while Price delivers total popcorn movie chills, thrills, and perfectly executed cheap scares throughout, he also adds a dimension of what-the-fuckery to the narrative.

123th friday skeleton face

Literally, there’s another dimension. It’s a trippy side plot that’s somewhat confusing but is so hellishly presented that again…I ate it up. Like I want to eat this guy up…

13th friday hottie

Even the pacing of the general plot is almost surreal and hallucinatory, feeling at times like it’s going in slow motion like that damn creepy episode of Bugs Bunny when he’s being chased by that evil scientist. “Come baaack here, youuuu raaaabbit!” EEK!

 

Aside from The Elf, which is pretty much a must-own because it’s a holiday horror flick, The 13th Friday is definitely the Justin Price film I want on my shelf of movies.

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The small woman in grey is out for the gays…

small woman in gray cover

Backwoods horror meets supernatural slasher with gay leads and a complex twist in this indie film.

Despite budget limitations, this is a fun little romp with some witty moments (the snarky blonde in the main group rules), cute guys, some tense atmosphere enhanced by a strong musical score, and gory kills, even if they are CGI.

small woman in grey hottie impale

As we move farther and farther away from the practical effects of the 80s, we’re just going to have to accept that future generations have embraced the idea that it looks “real” when people in horror movies are killed with a computer program…and that it’s much cheaper for filmmakers strapped for cash to splash blood across the screen using an app.

small woman in grey intro guy

The intro “kill” scene almost has it all. While on a date, a cutie strips to his undies with humorous results. This is followed by some tension, suspense, and jump scares. The only thing we don’t get is an onscreen death.

The awesome pop song during the introduction of the main characters is by Matt Fisher, one of the actors in the film (vest boy below). He’s fricking adorable.

small woman in grey cast

After various texts are exchanged onscreen, the friends head into the woods for a camping trip. There’s some relationship drama, and the muscle stud in the group is a major homophobe, which sucks for him, considering there are three gay guys on the trip. Wahoo!

small woman in grey shirtless hunk

Things play out like your standard slasher. Kids wander off into the woods and get killed. There are sightings of a ghost girl in gray.

small woman in grey - woman in grey

A stranger comes by and offers up a background story of the ghost—a bullied girl from decades before who committed suicide in the woods.

small woman in grey dance

There’s also a dance montage and some tent sex—between the boys! Just don’t anticipate anything more explicit than kissing.

small woman in grey kiss

small woman in grey boys

As with most indies, the biggest stumbling block here is the running time. If the 97 minutes had been cut down to about 85, it would have tightened the pacing a bit. Hell, the film even has unnecessary flashback footage of scenes that happened earlier!

small woman in grey heads on sticks

Also, the twist is not without its issues – it’s suggested that the revenge is specifically targeted towards these kids, yet their trip to the location of this bullied girl’s suicide is completely random, not premeditated by kids or killer. And there’s no exposition by discovery on the kids’ part; everything is spelled out for them and the audience through dialogue. Mysterious characters come strolling onto screen like, “Yo, dumb bitches, this is the predicament you got yourselves into.”

small woman in grey big ghost girl

It’s interesting to note that while the girl ghost’s bullying is a major factor in the revenge plot, there’s no focus on the parallels between her being bullied and social bullying of gays, despite the fact that the heroes of the film are gay characters.

Stick around after the credits role for a shower scene and a cheesy fun final gore and scare scene.

small woman in grey shower

Finally, note that scream queen Brinke Stevens is in the cast because she is the voice of the ghost girl; she doesn’t make an actual appearance in the film.

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You don’t have to tell me twice to get out of this house!

Dorothy taught me when I was just a wee child that there’s no place like home…as long as you don’t let that damn witch in. Here’s a roundup of some movies about being in the wrong house at the wrong time.

THE DEVIL’S CANDY (2015)

devils candy cover

I don’t know what it is, but director Sean Byrne’s film The Loved Ones did not work for me at all, and The Devil’s Candy scores even lower. I found much of what happens unforgivable!

Once again, there are too many disjointed aspects to the plot and to the characters relations to each other—why exactly is the antagonist targeting the protagonist? There seem to be clashing explanations and I’m not really sure which is the right conclusion to draw when all is said and done.
devils candy bobble head

A metal head artist (the metal head part is refreshing, but ultimately irrelevant) begins to paint visually disturbing images of torture and death while shirtless (that’s a plus).

devils candy bod

So…the take away…metal heads really are sadistic.

devils candy art

Anyway, he moves with his wife and teen daughter into a new house. A creepy, crazy weirdo starts coming around and terrorizing them, a section of the film that is incredibly effective and disturbing without being all up in your face with the grisly details.

It’s revealed that the crazy guy lived in the house previously, but it’s also suggested he’s either possessed or a demonic force conjured by the artist’s work. Well, which is it? Did he live in the house, or is he a figment of the artist’s creativity? Or are the paintings just premonitions? Is the artist possessed by whatever possessed the other guy when he lived in the house?

The crazy guy seems to have a very specific agenda, for he keeps referencing what he’s being made to do by another force. He also appears to be from the It Follows school of creativity. Despite having a mortal backstory, he’s unstoppable, and his single goal is to do something unspeakable to the daughter…even though he kills some other random people while working towards his goal.

devils candy creep with daughter

The number of times he actually gets his hands on the daughter is kind of ridiculous. Most offending is when he kidnaps her after he already broke into their house and attacked her. There’s now a heavy police intervention to protect the family since the crazy guy has a dark, troubling past. The dad is supposed to pick the terrified daughter up from school but has car problems. When he finally arrives, he learns from someone there that she’s gone. So…this girl is terrified the crazy guy is coming for her and is depending on her dad to pick her up, but somehow the crazy guy got her when she was in school and there was still faculty there? When her dad didn’t show, why didn’t she secure herself somewhere safe with their help? Or call the police? How did she fall into the crazy guy’s trap? We’ll never know because it’s not shown. After this major copout for the sake of the narrative to go where the writer wanted it to go, I checked out.

All the It Follows shit comes after that, so I guess it can be considered terrifying. My suggestion…go watch It Follows instead.

HOUSE OF THE WITCH (2017)

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It’s getting harder and harder not to be subjective about horror movies that lure me in by throwing the word Halloween into the description…and then prove to be set on October 31st just so that the word Halloween can be put in the description.

house of the witch house

Don’t expect pumpkins, trick or treaters, or even fall foliage in House of the Witch.

house of the witch cast

Kids go to stay in a creepy old abandoned mansion on Halloween and get locked inside with an evil witch force.

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At first, they see creepy photos, a Victrola plays on its own, and then one girl freaks out when she sees a witch sort of emerge from a chair.

house of the witch chair

It’s divide and conquer time.

house of the witch drag in

They all run around the house screaming as they’re attacked by various forms of ectoplasm.

house of the witch grave grab

Most memorable moments: a chick gets her nails ripped off one by one; an idiot says to her friend that’s sitting in a room facing away from her, “Why aren’t you looking at me?”…so the bitch does the backwards bend to look at her…and then crawls in her direction. Other than that, there’s a reason it’s a SyFy original.

house of the witch corner

SHUT IN (2016)

shut in cover

Shut In reminds me of the days of 1980s thrillers like Dead of Winter. The weird plot makes it even more intriguing.

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Naomi Watts lives in the middle of nowhere, caring for her teen stepson, who was in a car accident that left him as an invalid.

shut in son in bed

She’s a psychologist and also takes care of other children on occasion. A young deaf boy under her care is taken away to be placed in a school, but shows up on her property in the middle of a snowstorm a few nights later, so she takes him back in.

M140 Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay star in EuropaCorp's "SHUT IN". Photo Credit: Jan Thjs ©2015 EuropaCorp - Transfilm International Inc.

And then things start going bump in the night.

shut in hand on mouth

She’s convinced there’s a ghost roaming her house. She keeps phone contact with her therapist, who basically implies that she’s losing her shit…

shut in naomi in tub

I can’t even say anything else without spoiling the film, but aside from the “unique” twist, Shut In is a pretty basic thriller in terms of atmosphere, jump scares, and plot structure.

THE WOLVES AT THE DOOR (2016)

wolves at the door cover

Director John R. Leonetti, who brought us Annabelle, gives us what seems like a straight-up clone of every other home invasion movie. However, there’s a catch…this one is based on a true crime that took place way back in 1969…

That explains the awesome 60s soundtrack. But if you don’t know the crime this is based on, it may seem less compelling despite being a nonstop 73-minute ride of suspense, scares, and violence. I personally knew nothing about Wolves at the Door going into it, so it wasn’t until the addendum at the end of the film that I learned the truth and had to reprocess in my head everything I’d just watched, which I’m ashamed to admit I should have caught on to. I really need to stop doing a million other things while watching movies. No, actually I don’t, because I’d never make it through half the movies I do if I paid attention…

wolves at the door couple

Anyway, the opener is chilling, and it’s so cool to see veteran actors Chris Mulkey and Jane Kaczmarek as the first victims of a home invasion. There is a moment involving a light switch that went right through me.

Then we meet a bunch of friends hanging out at the home of a pregnant woman named Sharon, played by scream queen Katie Cassidy.

wolves at the door knife

Don’t expect any character development or storyline.

wolves at the door hand

This is all about the terror as they are quickly picked off by an unseen group of home invaders.

wolves at the door hippy

Jump scares, brutal kills, and intense chase scenes, are all you’re going to get.

wolves at the door katie

If you prefer horror slowed down by plot, this isn’t the movie for you. They’d need to take on another 30 minutes or so of filler to deliver that here.

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SCARE WARS: slashers, aliens, and vampires

Seems like with each of these mini blog battles of movies I’m crossing off my “to-see” list, there’s going to always be at least one in the bunch that I need to add to my personal film library. Let’s see which one it is this time.

SPARROW (2010)

sparrow cover

Running just 72 minutes long, Sparrow starts strong; an entire group of young campers gets sliced and diced in the opener, complete with plenty of POV right out of Friday the 13th and a killer with a nasty little laugh (but no mask).

sparrow lantern

I wish I could say the momentum keeps building. It’s almost as if we were given an upfront body count to make up for the fact that nothing major happens for most of the film. When the main group comes camping, they mostly fight about relationships, and there’s a soccer montage that lasts almost 10 minutes in total.

sparrow hottie

It’s kind of worth it though, because the guy with the best bod plays shirtless – and for straight guys, there’s a girl-on-girl kiss. I mean…for lesbians, there’s a girl-on-girl kiss. Yeah, that’s it. For lesbians.

sparrow belly

But none of the main players is killed. No one even sneaks off to explore alone (aka: get killed). In an effort to fix the pacing of the kills, we literally get a caption reading “Meanwhile, somewhere else in the woods…” at one point just so a random couple having sex can be hacked to pieces (cool kill scene, though).

sparrow eye out

Ironically, all the good old slashing and body reveals are packed into the last 13 minutes, but the survivors do things that are beyond stupid.

sparrow boy kneelFile under “kill scene that comes across as oddly erotic…”

For instance, girl refuses to run over killer with vehicle for fear of running over friend killer just slaughtered and dropped on the ground, yet as killer reaches under hood to sabotage vehicle so it will stall, girl doesn’t even bother to GO IN REVERSE to get away.

sparrow windshield

On top of that, there’s one of those abrupt endings, and we never learn why exactly every murder this dark, sinister, angry psycho commits is followed by an evil little chuckle.

BLOOD TRAP (2015)

blood trap cover

Blood Trap has a lot going for it. There’s plenty of action and horror, a perfect “haunted house” atmosphere, and enough quirkiness for it to score some horror comedy points. It’s just that not one single aspect ever seems to take itself over the finish line. Argh!

blood trap cast

No time is wasted in getting the characters into their predicament. Costas Mandylor (Saw franchise) gathers a small group of the best criminals to help him with a job breaking into a building and kidnapping a woman.

blood trap other guybod

But as soon as they do, the house goes into automatic lockdown mode and they can’t get out. The woman they kidnapped disappears. And they begin to find some really weird signs that things are not right in this building, like a room full of babies…and a room full of body parts.

blood trap half head

Double argh! Blood Trap should be so gooooood. There are some funny moments, brutal kills, a lollipop sucking granny monster with her tits hanging out and a hunger for blood, plus hot pretty boy Drew Kenney gets shirtless and tied up before all is said and done.

blood trap bound 2

blood trap bound1

It appears he was a contestant on The Bachelorette, but should stick to acting because he’s awesome and my favorite character in the film.

blood trap elevator

The bizarrely schizo (and so annoying) soundtrack attempts to keep up with the constantly shifting tone of the film’s avante-garde style, which can make for a wild ride full of surprises when it comes to horror (think Witching & Bitching), but never seems to totally gel here. I feel the need to watch Blood Trap again in hopes that my initial assessment was off and I actually love it. Why do I have this funny feeling there are going to be two films from this blog that end up on my DVD shelf?

WELCOME TO WILLITS (2016)

welcome to willits cover

Welcome to Willits has a cool horror cast: Bill Sage (We Are What We Are, Fender Bender, The Boy), Chris Zylka (Freaks of Nature, Piranha 3DD, Shark Night 3D, My Super Psycho Sweet 16 franchise), Anastasia Baranova of Z Nation, Thomas Dekker (Fear Clinic, A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, Laid to Rest franchise, All About Evil), Rory Culkin (Intruders, Scream 4), and Dolph Lundgren (Don’t Kill It, Battle of the Damned).

welcome to willits z nation girl

It also has a cool premise that combines an alien flick with a backwoods slasher!

welcome to willits full alien

The alien part takes up a majority of the film, and it’s mostly in the mind of a supposed abduction victim who lives in the small town where a bunch of kids has come to do the whole cabin in the woods thing.

welcome to willits abductionMy face during the anal probe…

The dreams/flashbacks definitely deliver on the scary alien concept, but it’s not enough to make this a thrill ride.

welcome to willits alien head

Therefore, a majority of the film is the usual drama playing out between the main group of friends.

welcome to willits camp

It’s only in the final act that the stalking and killing kicks in…when an alien hunt is launched in the woods.

welcome to willits alien

Kids having sex, aliens…who can tell the difference in the dark?

welcome to willits dekker

The gore is standard, and the kills are all gun-based and over in a flash, so don’t expect this to be any kind of scary, suspenseful slasher.

welcome to willits baby alien

And just like Blood Trap, it seems like it should be more fun than it is.

CHILD EATER (2016)

child eater cover

Finally, it’s time for the film I had to add to my DVD collection. Child Eater comes to us from director Erlingur Thoroddsen, who will be bringing us the gay horror flick Rift, so I have hopes for that one now.

child eater silhouette

Child Eater is simple, scary, suspenseful, and gory! It’s the classic story of a babysitter contending with a child that insists there’s something in his closet, and actress Cait Bliss is what we’ve been missing from our final girls for a long time.

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She’s just an ordinary, laid back young woman who completely takes charge when push comes to shove.

child eater cop

She also has a super cute friend who just joined the local police force – and drops one line about liking a man in a uniform that casually implies that he’s gay. When she babysits for new neighbors in town, the father insists that she not mention anything about the local legend of a killer that plucks out the eyes of little children.

child eater child eye

Too late. The kid already learned all about it on the Internet and is convinced he’s seen the killer near his house…and in his closet. As the final girl is attempting to convince him there’s nothing to be afraid of, her boyfriend stops by to visit.

child eater main girl

That’s when Child Eater – a freaky as fuck child eater, I might add – begins to wreak havoc. This nightmarish figure is fricking merciless in gouging out eyes by hand.

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It’s terror in the woods…and Child Eater’s lair…and a closet in one of the film’s creepiest moments…

Cops come on the scene to help (raise the eye count), but ultimately it’s up to the babysitter to stop Child Eater. This final girl goes hardcore.

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Forget the Baby Jesus. This Christmas, an aborted baby is coming to dinner…

red christmas 2017 cover

Argh! After Hellions, that abortion of an anti-abortion movie disguised as Halloween horror, I was kind of devastated to learn that two of my favorite things – Christmas horror and Dee Wallace – were going to be subjected to the same subject.

red christmas baby with monster

The difference here is, Red Christmas doesn’t try to disguise the theme of abortion, instead shoving it in our face, even scoring the intro credits with sound bites and clips of the social impact of the issue on society.

The film focuses on Dee’s family coming for the holidays. Her husband has passed, but she has a bunch of kids important to the issue at hand: a son with Down syndrome, a pregnant daughter, and a daughter that can’t get pregnant (while she blames herself for her infertility, chances are the real reason for her problem is that her reverend husband is a closet case with the hots for her sister’s husband…).

red christmas at door

And heading for their house is a robed, bandage figure that can barely speak beyond mournfully crying out for his mother. As creepy as he is in his garb, when he arrives at the family’s door, Dee lets him in. And then…he drops the “a” bomb. Dee flips her lid and kicks him out.

red christmas hall

He then spends the rest of the movie delivering a bloody good time for all, hacking and slashing this family to pieces: genitals are removed by hand, bodies are sliced in two, and everything from a bear trap to an umbrella to a blender comes into play.

red christmas bear trap

And while everyone is running around screaming, drenched in the eerie Argento glow of Christmas lights as they do all the wrong things, Dee Wallace is at the top of her horror game, taking on the main girl role like she’s 20, even launching herself onto the killer (after a freaky mask-removal reveal) and into the Christmas tree in the film’s campiest moment. Abortions or not, it’s just more fun than Hellions.

red christmas dee gun

It’s very easy to see Red Christmas as an all-out assault on female reproductive rights. The agenda seems to be to get viewers to sympathize with aborted fetuses by having one essentially come back from the dead, desperately seeking love and validation…then getting revenge on all the evil pro-choicers.

red christmas killer

Those who suffer most? The ones who make the choice to abort a life that just wanted a home, a family, and a mother…especially at Christmas.

There are some arguments here supporting the need for abortion under certain circumstances…which are then negated by the introduction of a deeper moral implication of selfishly choosing to abort a pregnancy that might present personal challenges.

red christmas son

However, there really is some satisfaction for those of us who relish little brats dying in a horror movie (just as long as the dog lives) and want this walking abortion to go to hell. In the end, everyone from nurturing mothers to pervy closeted holy men are more than happy to send a clear message to a lost, desperate, heartbroken aborted fetus longing for acceptance: “Die, you repulsive fucker! You were never wanted here and should have stayed dead the first time!”

Okay, I give up. This really is inevitably a total right wing propaganda film. I’m just kind of disappointed there wasn’t a scene of someone attacking the killer with a coat hanger. Oh, come on. You know that shit would’ve made your unaborted ass laugh. For major hanger action, you’ll have to watch Hanger…a film about an aborted fetus that comes back for revenge…

The film is now available from Artsploitation Films. And the hairy beary director? Not sure if he’s available…

red christmas craig anderson

Now, just for getting through that blog, you’ve earned your wings! I mean…your bonus red Christmas. It’s another film with the same title!

red christmas 2014 cover

Before there was the much-hyped Red Christmas starring Dee Wallace, there was the 60-minute mockumentary torture porn Red Christmas from Steve Rudzinski, director of Everyone Must Die!

red christmas 2014 other guy

Red Christmas is nothing like Rudzinski’s low budget indie slasher. In the tradition of darkly “humorous” serial killer films like The Last Horror Movie, the killer speaks directly to the camera and takes viewers on a journey into her mind and methods of killing.

red christmas 2014 main girl

Actress Amie Wrenn delivers a bubbly performance reminiscent of Lea Michele’s Rachel as she “gleefully” mutilates a young man she lures to her house with the promise of sex.

red christmas 2014 main guy

She ties him to a chair then begins performing all kinds of gruesome, non-CGI torture techniques on him: plucks off his finger nails one by one; gives him paper cuts; water boards him with eggnog; saws off his leg; does something so heinous to his eye I couldn’t even look.

red christmas 2014 eye

In between torturing him and chatting with him about the holidays, she takes some time to go into the bathroom alone for confessional clips. This is when her “manic depressive” side comes out and we learn more about what makes her tick as a psycho.

red christmas 2014 ornament mouth

It’s cool to see Rudzinski taking on a different horror subgenre and not holding back (seriously, he goes all the way with the morbidity by the end), even though this is definitely not my kind of movie.

red christmas 2014 nails

But he did sort of put a Band-Aid on it for me, because the conclusion of the film has a twist that captures the spirit of his slasher humor perfectly. It could even spawn a spinoff movie.

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