Modern horror impulse buyer beware part 2

As a victim of my own disease—impulsiveness—many are the times I’ve bought horror just because it was there and maybe the cover looked good or I had nothing better to buy. So here’s my second installment of films that you might want to sample before buying. All three happen to come from 2006 and were all on the same combo-pack DVD.

BLOODY MARY (2006)

bloody mary dvd

Not the first film about this urban legend and it won’t be the last. In Bloody Mary, a group of girls working at a psychiatric hospital are attempting to appease Bloody Mary, who resides in the tunnels beneath the hospital. So they lure other girls down there to do the deed in front of a mirror—while naked. Gotta love indie horror.

But Bloody Mary is actually a pretty entertaining film with a creepy atmosphere and some cool kills. The chick who leads the pack of Bloody Mary worshippers is such a perfectly unapologetic villain and the male cast is very cute. There’s even a short appearance by the late Cory Monteith of Glee.

bloody mary guys

Our lady of honor Bloody Mary is eerie because you see her only fleetingly and in darkness. She’s a bit of a letdown when she finally gets the spotlight because there’s one low-budget attempt at jerky “Ring” movement earlier in the film that sets up higher expectations for the great reveal.

The movie also includes a mystery plot, as one victim’s sister comes to the hospital to try to piece together what happened to her. It’s not exactly the most intriguing aspect to the film considering the audience knows what happened to her. Not to mention, a “sequel” scenario concludes the film, leaving one patient’s role in the whole mirror game unexplained—a “who was that masked man” element. But Bloody Mary is still pretty entertaining and spooky for what it is.

SALVAGE (2006)

salvage dvd

When Salvage begins, a cute Alicia Silverstone look-alike is waiting to be picked up from work. A guy in a truck pulls up and uses the old “your boyfriend sent me to get you” trick. She totally falls for it, so you know she’s going to be the first victim. What you don’t expect is that she’s going to be pretty much the only victim in the movie!

savage girl

Can’t deny I’m glad she’s the “final girl” because she’s awesome. The opening scene of her first falling victim to the killer (he’s also so good in this film) will completely suck you in. From there, the day keeps looping and she assumes she’s just dreaming about being murdered by this guy—but the circumstances leading to her falling victim to him are always different.

You can’t stop watching because you’re just so caught up in the “WTF is going on” of it all, which superbly creates suspense, tension, and atmosphere. Even the musical cues—short, echoing piano phrases—are totally reminiscent of the great score from the original Friday the 13th.

salvage guy

Aside from the various setups of her being attacked by the killer, there are seriously unnerving interactions with her mother, who is behaving very oddly. And then there’s a mysterious white face that lurks in the darkness—and seems to only appear when her mother is in the vicinity. And while the gore is mostly left to the imagination, the scene in which we see exactly what the killer does to her, accompanied by her bloodcurdling screams, is cringeworthy.

salvage pull

When the truth of what’s really going on comes out, DAMN! Salvage is one of those movies you’re going to want to watch a second time to catch what you missed the first time. It’s so tightly put together with a limited number of characters and a leading lady who is pretty much all on her own. So my kind of movie.

MEMORY (2006)

memory dvd

Memory starring Billy Zane, Dennis Hopper, and Ann-Margret has a freaky masked killer, but it’s really more a mystery than a horror film. And it’s a messy mystery at that.

Billy is researching Alzheimer’s and accidentally gets some strange powder on his fingers while examining a body. After that he begins to have dreams of this masked killer kidnapping little girls, making molds of their faces, and disposing of them in various ways. That’s the good part. The dreams are visually eerie, but the jump scares are “jump scare-lite,” where every red flag is raised so you know it’s coming and the big moment hits you with a child’s “boo” instead of a monster’s “ROAR!”

The mystery part of Billy and his new girlfriend trying to figure out why he’s having these dreams is very melodramatic and rather hokey. This could have been a made-for-TV movie or like an episode of CSI or something. Plus, we’re bored by dinners with Dennis Hopper and Ann-Margret, jogs through the park with Billy and his buddy, and even strip poker with his girlfriend! Pass the Cheez Whiz!

But I’ll give it up for the ending of Memory when Billy stumbles upon a dark room full of life-sized girl dolls sitting around a table. If only the entire movie had that kind of spirit.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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