Modern horror—the artistic, the routine, and the barely watchable

But I watched anyway! So let’s get right into what I experienced with these three very different films.

NEVERLAKE (2013)

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If you like fancy frights, you might just enjoy Neverlake. This film is beautiful to look at and has the feel of classic gothic literature. It also weaves in a whole parallel to the tale of Peter Pan if you’re keen enough to catch on (I wasn’t…I read it online).

A young woman goes to visit her father and his wife in Italy and soon befriends a handful of children at a creepy hospital nearby. Each one has some sort of handicap and they are all terrified of adults.

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There’s also a creepy lake the young woman has to walk by to get to the hospital. She sees creepy shit in the creepy lake, like creepy doll heads. She has nightmares about creepy people in the lake. Then her father and stepmother begin acting…well…creepy.

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Neverlake has a little too much going on, perhaps intentionally to confuse and mislead viewers from what’s really happening. But if you like to be challenged by your horror, you’ll probably like this one.

THE SACRAMENT (2013)

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Ti West has a reputation for atmospheric throwback slow burners. But don’t expect any of that style in The Sacrament. What Ti has done here is give us a pseudo found footage fictional take on the “drink the Kool-Aid” Jonestown Massacre from decades ago.

That’s pretty much it. It’s not a “horror” movie, but it is a look at the horrors of brainwashed religious cult communities. In theory, it’s scary for sure, especially since it’s essentially a true account, but it’s also nothing we’ve not seen over and over again as a theme in backwoods horror films. And because it’s not what most expect from Ti West, it kind of didn’t stand a chance of getting positively received. But it does star indie horror go to guys A.J. Bowen and Joe Swanberg.

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A.J. Bowen…a face only a daddy could gag. Just call me Daddy.

THE BONEYARD COLLECTION (2008)

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This messy low-budget horror anthology comedy is a head scratcher considering it is loaded with horror icons—Tippi Hedren, Forrest J. Ackerman, Brad Dourif, Elvira, Ken Foree, Kevin McCarthy, Bobby “Boris” Pickett, Barbara Steel, Brinke Stevens, and Susan Tyrrell just to name some.

There’s plenty of potential for The Boneyard Collection to be a comic monster anthology. The spirit is totally there. The campy wraparound opens in a graveyard with a couple of babes, and it shows so much promise. But the stories that follow need some serious editing and tighter (and funnier) writing. In fact, the entire movie needs to be trimmed drastically, considering it has an hour and forty minute running time.

The first story, about murder on the set of a vampire movie, is loaded with filler including endless footage of a party, with a band playing, guests talking, and people square dancing. It’s a distraction from a convoluted plot that needs some serious streamlining. The majority of highlights of this segment are the brief appearances by horror favorites. Brinke Stevens in particular brings it.

The second segment is basically a horror music video. I actually loved what this segment was going for—campy horror comedy stuff like the Groovy Goolies cartoon (most of the film is trying to capture that tone). A girl group sings an awesomely fun track called “Dangerous Girls” while various characters deliver one-liners.

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The third segment, about a mummy looking for a job, has a couple of gags that work here and there, but the silly concept wears thin fast and the segment is way too long.

Just like the music video segment, the final segment, a mock trailer for a witch hunter film, works because it’s short and to the point. And again, the horror icons steal the show with only a few seconds on screen.

The Boneyard Collection was apparently a passion project by director Edward L. Plumb that took years to complete. I am so into what he was going for and would love for him to step back and re-examine his own work from an objective perspective to see how he could tighten it up and deliver the wacky throwback monster skit show I believe he was going for.

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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