It’s a total coincidence that I watched this handful of movies—which have some common characteristics—one after the other. Conveniently, it makes it easy to toss them all into one blog about two psycho stalkers, two psycho families, and two movies that have way too much talk for my horror tastes.
Spike has been described as a horror fairytale romance. I’d have to disagree strongly with the “romance” part, but the movie is definitely fantastical and trippy in its presentation—it’s easy to lose any sense of a clear timeline or even a logical dimension. To whittle this headache down, our main girl and her friends are driving at night. I think she has a fantasy or dream about mounting her sizzling hot, shirtless boyfriend, and there’s some lesbianism thrown in for good measure. Mom always said, don’t sex and drive. The friends get into a car accident, and the boyfriend is dragged into the woods by some sort of creature. So the main girl and her friends head into the woods to find him.
The same creature—a spiked man thing that looks like a human porcupine—abducts the main girl. For a majority of the movie, they just talk, and we learn that this creature has been in love with her since she was a child and has been waiting for years to make her all his. She’s not feeling the love, so clearly this is a case of—psycho stalker. Especially considering the spiked man creature is holding the boyfriend captive and eventually rips his face to shreds out of jealousy. And he doesn’t stop there. I guess the movie is supposed to have a tragic “Romeo & Juliet” type of ending, but seriously, this is just a scare-free snoozefest.
DEVIL MAY CALL (2013)
If you’ve seen one film about a blind girl vs. a stalker, you’ve seen this. The thrills and plot here are totally by the book. The situation this time? Awesome Corri English (Holliston, House of Fears, Killer Pad) plays a blind chick working a suicide hotline. It’s her last night on the job, and the only people in the building with her are Traci Lords, a cute young guy who’s just starting the job, a snotty goth chick, and a security guard.
Corri has one regular caller who’s really troubled; she doesn’t know this, but we get to see glimpses of him being a total psycho killer. Nothing graphic—it’s pretty much closed doors and female screams. The psycho happens to be Tyler Mane, who played Michael Myers in the Rob Zombie Halloween films.
Sooooo…Tyler finds out Corri has quit then comes calling, only not on the phone. You know how this plays out. The lights go out and he takes everyone but Corri down. Again, there’s nothing graphic here. Basically, Tyler is Michael Myers without the mask—and without any gore. Victims get choked and slammed against walls. That’s about it. And of course, Corri eventually takes him on alone. We’re even left with a lame Halloween ending that threatens a sequel. Please, no. Devil May Call won’t even vaguely get your heart racing.
THE MIDNIGHT HORROR SHOW (aka: Theatre of Fear) (2014)
A movie about a psycho family that puts on a traveling, underground carnival show sounds like a load of gruesome horror fun, doesn’t it? But this is no The Wizard of Gore. This is all about the emotions of the family members. Ugh.
What more to say? After a promising intro showing what happens to one volunteer at the show, the family spends the majority of the film exploring their fucked up feelings. Not even the promise of one son snapping because his ventriloquist dummy talks to him, telling him to kill the rest of his family, pans out.
Eventually, a bounty hunter—hired by a father who believes the family took his daughter—shows up to torture and kill the family. If the final confrontation seems even slightly exciting, it’s simply because everything that comes before it is not….
EXIT TO HELL (2013)
The insane grindhouse-style zombie-demon scene that opens Exit to Hell sure grabbed my attention. Psych! It’s just a film some dude in the movie is watching on TV. However, with a little research, I discovered it’s a clip from “Necro Wars,” an actual short film by this film’s director, Robert Conway.
Next, we meet two sexy sleazy scumbags…right before they meet their demise to give us the first kills. Bummer. Bye, bye, boys. I’ll think of you….
Meanwhile, after robbing a strip club, Tiffany Shepis and her crew take off for Mexico. They make the mistake of driving through a desolate town, where they are soon terrorized by the “sheriff,” played by veteran horror baddie Kane Hodder. While Exit to Hell is a gore-filled grindhouse flick as promised in the opener, it has nothing to do with zombies or demons. It’s essentially just a variation on Texas Chainsaw backwoods family horror.
Short and straightforward, Exit to Hell delivers some satisfying action-horror kicks. While Hodder hacks his way through various victims, we’re introduced to the other members of his family. To let us know that this isn’t exactly a progressive clan, we often hear a voice on their radio, most notably going on and on about sexual deviants, aka: gay men and lesbians. Good thing for gays and lesbians that they don’t hang with the thieving, murdering straighty sinners driving through this town.
Tiffany takes the final girl role, eventually ending up at a traditional “family dinner.” This family isn’t nearly as gnarly as the Texas Chainsaw goons, but the main course is pretty gross.
Overall, the movie delivers gore and action and moves at a fast pace. I was really feeling the vibe. It’s a pretty tight film, from script to execution, which isn’t something you see every day in low-budget indies. It immediately motivated me to want to see more of director Robert Conway’s films, which include one called The Encounter and one of the numerous Krampus-themed films out there these days, his being Krampus: The Reckoning. But most of all, I need to see that 10-minute short called “Necro Wars.” Here’s hoping Conway turns that into a full-length feature.