You know you’ve entered 21st century horror territory when you watch 5 slashers loaded with pseudo-lesbian bimbos, fabulous gay guys, pretty muscle boys, voluntary cohabitating, and techniques for looking good for those video confessionals.
REALITY KILLS (aka: Reality Check) (2002)
If nothing else, this is a great product of its time—affected post-Scream slasher crap with early 2000s MTV reality show type characters mocking The Real World concept.
The two big names in this film are Eliza Dushku’s brother Nate as the fabulously flamboyant (mostly) gay guy, and Sticky Fingaz as the show producer (pre-Blade on the short-lived series).
The cliché characters hang and fight and talk about sex. Occasionally, one of them is killed with some sort of taser gun while being filmed.
When bodies begin turning up dead, everyone starts distrusting each other, assuming any one of them could be the killer. So they all walk around the house with knives as thunder and lightning set the mood.
It’s not until there are about twenty minutes left that we finally see a robed, hooded, masked killer and get some final boy and final girl action.
As for the gay guy, despite his big personality and aggressive sexuality, he’s less exciting than this dude, who is into nipple play and even offers up his ass for a tasering.
Plus, the gay guy negates his entire flamboyant, out and proud existence in his dying breath.
SAM’S LAKE (2006)
Sam invites her friends to her family’s cabin by a lake in the woods, where her father died a year before in a hunting accident.
Once they arrive, she’s haunted by memories of him…even with her best gay buddy there to keep her safe.
Naturally, the group sits around a campfire telling scary tales. Sam’s is a shocker about a house nearby that was the site of a mass murder, and stories of people going missing to this day, only corn husk dolls left in their place.
It’s such a goody that it’s befuddling when the details are completely dropped from the rest of the proceedings, despite the kids going to the house to explore! WTF?
However, they find a diary that the gay guy starts to read aloud, which piles on a whole bunch of different details and delivers the kick ass twist. Well, kick ass because it’s a surprise and also triggers a sleek slasher segment, even if it could have used a few more victims.
In actuality, the spoon-fed diary backstory is really forced based on what was already presented, and only gets even more muddled before all is said and done, as more information is dished out right up until the end of the film.
I didn’t totally get it, but like I said, that turning point twist rocks.
It’s another reality show slasher. This one’s claim to fame is that it stars Dee Wallace’s daughter Gabrielle Stone.
Hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere, but when you consider that Dee started with Wes Craven, Joe Dante, and Steven Spielberg, well, it isn’t really fair to put any pressure on Gabrielle for being her daughter.
I mean, this is about as trashy slashy as it gets, filled with hokey reality confessionals as a bunch of slutty bimbos, most of the predatory lesbian variety, live in a house while hoping to win the coveted contest to become the next big scream queen.
This movie never even bothers to go into the technicalities of the show. The girls just hang until eventually one is possessed by a little ghost girl and then kills one bimbo after another like an assembly line slasher in the last fifteen minutes or so.
Some of the practical gore effects are wicked cool, but don’t expect any suspense or scares, and the slapped on explanation for the little ghost girl’s evil at the end in no way validates her killing a bunch of horny chicks…or where she learned do such things with an electric knife…
For me, director Jared Masters delivered a tighter movie with After School Massacre, the film he did after Slink, which is very uneven in tone, pacing, and plot.
Part of the plot is about a crazy tanning salon owner who hires pretty girls and then kills them. Another part of the plot is about two girls who come to stay in their recently deceased uncle’s house.
The girls find themselves sharing the house with their odd aunt, who tells them scandalous stories about their uncle’s presumed sexuality…and the way he died. This doesn’t sit well with their father, who comes to intervene—because he doesn’t even know who this supposed aunt is!
Without even realizing it, the girls get tied into the shenanigans going on at the tanning salon—and become the ultimate targets of a much bigger psycho tanning salon killer ring than is really necessary!
It’s a bit of a campy mess, and you start to feel like you’ve stepped into an old Herschell Gordon Lewis film, which is possibly just what Jared Masters was going for here. If so, then he nailed it.
This film has a great setup for the short horror comedy it wants to be, plus the cast is a delight and perfectly plays up the fun angle. The only problem is that the script simply isn’t funny, no matter how much charm the cast members pour into their performances.
Basically a young hairdresser and her friends start to notice things are amiss during a big annual event marking an historical day in their small town—the Scareycrow Festival.
They feel that the scareycrows displayed around town are moving. They’re right. And it’s all part of a magic spell cast by a witch!
Pretty soon, the hairdresser and her pals are on the run from the witch and her army of axe-wielding scareycrows! Seriously, it’s as fun as it sounds…it’s just not as funny as it should be.
It just seems to hold back and go for subtle humor, even when golden opportunities open up. For instance, a straight guy and a male hairdresser character—we can presume he’s gay, but the film never clarifies—are hiding from the scareycrows in the bushes. The straight guy tells the hairdresser he needs to take off his shirt because it’s too loud. End joke.
Personally, I noticed him a lot more when he took the shirt off…which is exactly where the bigger, better joke about two young cute guys trying to be inconspicuous in the bushes together practically writes itself. Hence, Scareycrows is the little film that could…but didn’t.
If horror has taught us anything, it’s that you should never return to your hometown, never go to an underground rave, and never go camping. But the people in these three flicks didn’t learn…
THE DOOMS CHAPEL HORROR (2016)
The director of segments of 10/31 and Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories brings us a found footage film that had me at hello, Mr. Farm Boy Muscle Stud. He appears shirtless for like the first 3 minutes of this film…and then falls into a wood chipper.
This found footage film then does what most found footage films do. It gets kind of boring for about an hour. The chipper dude’s little brother, who was filming the day he gave viewers the woody, comes back to town years later to face his guilt over the past.
He also has reunions with all his buddies…
There are a few hints of there being a monster in the forest—such as dead bodies turning up.
But even with the twist that takes its sweet time in untwisting (even though it’s essentially spelled out from the beginning), I don’t totally get what it has to do with muscle woody. That’s what happens when you give me a found footage film that sacrifices the hottie to a wood chipper in the first 3 minutes. My attention strays.
I finally paid attention again when all the crazy locals started running around the forest and getting torn apart by a giant monster at the end.
It’s very chaotic, you never quite see the entire monster all at once, and it suddenly seems like approximately 20 people are carrying cameras, because there isn’t an angle missed. Mere technicalities. Because I never turn down a good dose of monster madness.
For reasons I can’t comprehend other than to immediately appease a modern audience even more impatient than me, this film opens with footage of military men being attacked by the underground dwellers, so there are no surprises when we flash ahead two years to the actual story.
At a major underground rave, friends get into a cheesy fight like something out of The Fast and the Furious, which segues directly into a raid on the party.
Unfortunately, the group of friends doesn’t escape before the place is locked up.
UNDERGROUND: A LOVE STORY
The guys are hot and the monsters look like they come straight from The Descent.
There’s tons of running, screaming, attacks, and gore, and a good old silly military conspiracy is thrown in…along with a crazy old scientist!
Come on. If you stumble upon a dude that looks like this in underground labs while running from mutants, never trust the fucker!
It’s definitely enough to keep you entertained until we get to the sexy, testosterone-filled combat between a couple of the muscle boys and the monsters. And the escape for the final survivors rox.
THE DARKEST (2017)
This French film runs only 67 minutes long and I’ve seen it described as The Blair Witch Project with some actual payoff, so naturally I had to watch.
A couple with some serious marital issues is in a bit of a cold war, yet heads into the woods to camp. She immediately feels uneasy and starts to hear things, and doesn’t like the caves he drags her to visit.
Note to every horror filmmaker. This cheap jump scare is simply unforgivable at this point in time.
He tries to calm her by getting her to use the darkness as a way to meditate.
It doesn’t work. At night she hears screams and the terror begins. The film truly is unnerving for a while, shot predominantly in darkness, for they have little light—just a flashlight with a limited battery, a lighter, and a camera with a flash.
He tries to teach her to conserve light, setting the film up for a whole lot of quick illumination moments, which keeps you on edge, wondering what you’re going to suddenly see when the lights come on briefly for mere seconds.
As the terror and their troubles mount, I was totally engrossed. And then…the big reveal, the big twist, and the conclusion were all so fricking hokey I was dumbfounded. All I’ll say is, it sure isn’t a witch we get to see. Witches make dessert out of what’s terrorizing this couple.
If this film had been shaved down by 30 minutes and included in an anthology, it would have definitely been a standout with a clever little zinger ending, but in the form of a full-length feature, the payoff just wasn’t enough.
And for my latest marathon, three movies about lonely boys and horny boys who turn to inanimate and reanimated women for love, affection, companionship, and sex. And of the three, there’s one that I added to my movie collection…
LOVE OBJECT (2003)
Gorgeous Wrong Turn hottie Desmond Harrington plays…a socially insecure office writer who needs to buy a sex doll to get laid? Okay, you really have to suspend disbelief to get past that part.
As soon as his new toy arrives, he bangs her. As he develops a relationship with her, he gains the confidence to talk to the new girl at work. As they get closer, he begins to make the doll over in her image.
And then he starts to believe the doll is calling him, and following him, and jealous of his relationship with his co-worker. Uh-oh…
Because Harrington is so hot, it’s easy to buy into the film’s focus on his sexual obsession with the doll (they get into a whole S&M routine that leads to her dominance over him) and to see him not as a lonely guy but a total psycho perv.
Therefore, Love Object is kind of creepy, with Udo Kier getting in on the most brutal fun as the landlord.
But more than a horror film, this one is mostly an obsession thriller right out of the 90s.
Decay gives us the tragic lonely figure that Love Object doesn’t. While it takes the Norman Bates archetype to a deeper level, this really isn’t a horror film in the usual sense. It’s about a lonely dude coming to terms with living with a corpse, so it’s a sad re-examining of a familiar plot.
After a young woman accidentally dies in his home, a somewhat introverted man who lives alone with his indoor garden and taxidermy keeps her body as his companion.
Flashbacks show us that he had a very fucked up childhood with an overbearing, man-hating, emasculating single mother who was inappropriate in the things she said to him and often tossed religion into the mix. You know the drill.
This lonely figure, however, does have some people in his life. At work he has a very outgoing and cheery buddy who brags nonstop about his sex life, and at home, his annoyingly motherly neighbor stops by regularly to take care of him.
Yet despite these well-meaning people you could totally see pushing him over the edge, he isn’t a killer. There are no murders.
This is simply a movie about how his existence changes as he adapts to living with a dead body—first enjoying having somebody in his life, and then discovering the complications that arise when that somebody has no life in her body.
The psychological impact her decaying body has on him comes in the form of nightmares and delusions, which deliver the only scares in the film—mostly in the form of cheap jumps by things that, you know, aren’t really there.
So don’t go into this one expecting a horror film, more of a character study with a dark theme.
THE DOLL (2017)
And lastly, my fave of the trio. There are an endless number of things for me to love about this little movie, beginning with the fact that despite its name, it is not about a doll. That’s right, no Annabelle knockoff here. This is just a good old “horny boys behave badly, horny boys learn vicious horror lesson” flick. They rarely make them like this anymore.
The opening scene sets the tone with gore and sinister intrigue, and then we’re introduced to one of the highlights of the film: Mohawked, often shirtless hottie Christopher Lenk. He also appears as a hustler in a gay film called Keep the Lights On. Yes, please do.
Anyway, bad boy is living with his good boy buddy, played by horror alum Anthony Del Negro (Anarchy Parlor, Deep in the Darkness, Dark Haul, Dead Souls, Slink) and his girlfriend, played by actress Isabella Racco, who needs to excel in this business—especially horror—because she’s just got it in the most understated way.
The girlfriend can’t take all the partying so she moves out. Bad boy decides that it would be a good idea to hire a Russian escort off the Internet for a week for his good boy buddy. She’s played perfectly by the Human Barbie Valeria Lukyanova.
When she arrives, she doesn’t speak and moves very mechanically…because—EEK!—she’s a “doll” made of human body parts by a satanic psycho.
The movie focuses on the simplest premise; the guys think the escort is just a little off due to a language barrier. They try to keep her hidden in the attic when the good boy’s girlfriend comes back unexpectedly (YAY! More Isabella!).
Little do they know that the escort is not only performing creepy occult rituals in the attic, but also roaming the house when they’re not around and killing people who come by, including Ron Jeremy in his go-to cameo—a pimp.
Despite a good body count, rather than drown us in gore, The Doll is all about atmosphere, suspense, dark tone, and creepiness, sticking unsettlingly to the single house location.
Plus it has a really bizarr-o, rather vague backstory about doll girl…making it totally sequel ready.
I picked up this 8-movie set (2 discs, 4 films on each) a few years back for the Charisma Carpenter flick Psychosis which I blog about here. I’ve also already covered Hiddenand Devil Seed, so that left me with 5 flicks to conquer for this blog. 2 are about creatures in the woods, one finds a group of people in a Saw predicament, and the other 2 begin with girls confined to a hospital room.
This creature feature comes to us from Michael Emanuel, who was responsible for some of the segments in the anthology Scary or Die.
Taking a different approach to the mythical shape-shifter in the woods concept, this one has Dean Cain as a small town sheriff who used to be an FBI profiler, so a good deal of the horror is presented as him profiling the murder scenes in his mind.
Another chunk of the horror is presented as him dreaming…because he kind of starts to think he might be the freaky killer in the woods, which is best described as the Crypt Keeper with glowing demon eyes.
The creature and the kills totally rock, and they need to, because everything else is a serious mess, from the unnecessary goings-on of his daughter and her friends to Dean oddly acting as if his dead wife is still alive.
BEAST BENEATH (2011)
This is really nothing more than a simple, indie werewolf movie—even though the creature is never referenced as one—with an 80s throwback feel.
It starts off perfectly. A couple having sex in the woods, he goes off to pee, he encounters the beast, he runs back to the girl…or at least, part of him does…
I like the way the film is structured after this. It’s sort of like an anthology film without the anthology. A man and his son are camping in the woods, and the dad begins to tell his son the legend of a beast…
First we get flashbacks involving an immigrant family, white hatred, money, and a curse…
Then the dad tells a modern day continuation! A young woman inherits a music box, finds a letter inside written in a different language, and she and her boyfriend begin investigating what it means…
…which leads them to a funny drifter dude who seems to know all about the curse, the beast, and a cave in the woods that holds the answers to all their questions. Let the killing begin!
It’s monster costume fun, with practical gore effects, a hokey happy ending, and even a cheesy final scare.
Director William Malone (The House on Haunted Hill remake, Fear Dot Com, Creature) brings us a film that at first seems to take itself so seriously it’s a shock to the system when it later on switches into total popcorn movie wackiness, complete with a bunch of appearances by horror faces of the 80s.
In the first half, a med student working in the psych ward of a hospital becomes fascinated by two things—a young woman with a condition that has her sleeping all the time, and a serial killer who is in isolation, strapped up with a hood over his head like some sort of bottom bitch waiting for his master to arrive.
The sleeping girl has nightmares straight out of the dream realm from way back in Hellraiser II, and they’re somehow connected to the serial killer.
The med student devotes much of his time to caring for her, and eventually manages to wake her up. He also decides to break her out of the hospital so they can’t treat her like a lab rat!
And that’s when this movie becomes a whole different animal. The serial killer uses mind control to make the girl do his bidding!
Timothy Bottoms, Jon Landis, Jeffrey Combs, and Patrick Kilpatrick all join in the fun as the main characters are drawn into a hellish dimension right out of a late 80s horror flick.
This girl in a hospital flick comes to us from Stephen Kay, director of the 2005 Boogeyman film. Only this time the girl is stuck there the whole time, which gets really boring after the initial intrigue wears off.
See, she wakes up doesn’t remember how she got there. Pre-Stranger Things David Harbour is her doctor, and immediately starts telling her one lie after another, which she starts to realize pretty quickly.
The only person she feels she can trust is a young nurse dude who takes a liking to her and tries his best to care for her.
But by the time the big twist is revealed, not only is it obvious where it was going, but it feels totally anti-climactic considering the lengthy movie was not very suspenseful to begin with.
This would have worked better as a short in an anthology, and even then it would have been a rip-off of shorts we’ve seen in other anthologies.
Die is one of the better acted, better produced, better thought out takes on the Saw theme of “I’m the morality police, so I am going to torture and kill you all like someone who reads the Bible every day.”
What makes this one easy to follow is that all the victims are in cells in one room with the killer, who takes them out one by one, makes them face their sins (in flashbacks), and then forces another sinner to roll dice (actually only one, so, you know…die) to determine how they’re going to have to inflict a punishment on the person.
Rather than relying on hardcore torture to carry the story, the film truly is about the history of each person. Of course, most of their sins are ridiculously judgmental on the part of the killer (as usual), and they’ve all already tried to pay for the sins themselves, but at least he makes a holy roller test her faith…by holy rolling the dice.
And speaking of, after an awesome little surprise that throws the audience and the killer for a loop, shit gets really deep. So deep that I started to think that this was an awesome good vs. evil allegory…then I didn’t…then I did…all the way to the end, and I still have no idea for sure if it was or not.
Ross Patterson spent years appearing in goofball comedies, and only once did he step into the world of horror…as “Fraternity Leader” in a goofball comedy scene in House of the Dead 2…
So writing and directing goofball horror comedies of his own was the next logical step (10 years later). After seeing his hilarious slapstick zomcom Range 15, which stars Mat Best—the god whose existence I always questioned, I immediately had to check out Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves. Considering bearded beauty Mat Best was listed in the cast of this one also, I figured I’d go blind myself while getting a laugh at Helen Keller’s expense.
HELEN KELLER VS. NIGHTWOLVES (2015)
Sadly, Patterson’s first film has barely any Best in it (can’t believe I now want God in all my horror), but that’s not the only reason it’s my least favorite of these two films. I’d compare it to the farce of a Mel Brooks film. For me, Mel Brooks is really funny in small doses, but a full movie begins to feel like one long, overplayed joke after a while. That’s what happens here.
Horror queen Lin Shaye is featured as an adult Helen Keller, doing a bit of a “How I Met Your Mother” shtick, recounting to her descendants the time she battled a pack of wolves. NOT werewolves. They have glowing red eyes, but this is not a werewolf film. But it sure is bloody! All in fun, of course.
We meet Helen’s family, including her super gay brother, played perfectly by Jesse Merlin (Beyond the Gates, the YouTube mini-series 12 Deadly Days).
Ross Patterson clearly recognizes there’s sensitivity to gay stereotypes and gays being used as punch lines—and doesn’t give a shit!
He’s helping to keep the dying art of gay camp alive, even if it means getting cozy with Barry Bostwick. Someone has to, because everything’s so fucking LGBTQ these days there’s no room left in hell for all the gay.
The Keller family is attacked by a pack of wolves and Helen loses her crucial senses. She then spends a majority of the film learning to live and fight without them as she prepares to get revenge on the wolves, which is where the film falls into a one-note trap (perhaps because Helen can’t see or hear it. I know! So wrong).
Barry Bostwick stars as a drifter who teams up with Helen to battle the beasts. Meanwhile, her brother finds him hot in a cult classic way and hopes to see him in a Rocky Harder Picture Show…
While some of Helen’s blind humor starts funny but grows tired, I couldn’t get enough of the brother’s queer quips. And the wolf attacks are hilarious, from puppet hands slapping at actors’ faces to stuffed wolves being thrown at them from off screen.
And of course, we get our first glimpse of lumberjack-off…I mean, lumberjack-ish Mat Best, who appears in a diner scene, sitting at a table with a bunch of other burly boys. How they can all bear to look away from him for even a second is beyond me.
RANGE 15 (2016)
Patterson is co-writer on his second horror spoof, but Mat Best goes from a virtual walk-on role…well, more like a sit-on role (my face wishes) to starring role in zombedy Range 15, and deservedly so because he’s fuckable as hell. I mean, funny. Funny as hell. And so is the rest of the cast in this totally adolescent, totally un-PC, totally spoof-tastic zombedy sausagefest.
Mat and all his burly military buddies get thrown in the slammer after a rowdy night at a bar that ends in Mat…well…simultaneously participating in both man-on-man action and a hate crime.
But it isn’t long before a zombie outbreak leads to a jailbreak! Damn. Just when I was hoping this was going to be a prison film pitting one man against another…
The men team up with a couple of babes to survive the zombie apocalypse, and the tasteless horror and sex humor abounds. One dude has a blow-up doll stuck to his dick. Another doesn’t need a blow-up doll when there are zombie bitches everywhere. Dick gets the Stretch Armstrong treatment (it happens so fast you don’t even see it coming…).
A dude gets off on bathing in Slushee.
The comedy reminds me of the era of Police Academy, Airplane, and The Naked Gun, when no one and nothing was off limits. Children, little people, amputees, liberals, women—no one is safe from the offensive humor. How I miss the days when mocking each other brought us closer together.
Most importantly, with this many burly boys on screen at all times, it’s like watching the local butch bar float going by at a pride parade. And there are more gay gags than you’d hear at a glory hole in 90 minutes.
In fact, one of the women in the group calls the guys out on how homo they are with each other—and they cop (a feel) to it, out and proudly.
They spit roast Mat Best and give him a liquor enema. Hey, let me get a sip of that.
There are sure to be those who will say the jokes are homophobic, but having grown up on offensive trash like this, I love that Ross Patterson dares to go there, and I say keep me coming. I mean…keep ’em coming. Damn autocorrect.
Adding to the fun is a revolving door of familiar faces: Danny Trejo, Sean Astin, Ron Jeremy, William Shatner, Keith David of The Thing and They Live, b-horror queen Mindy Robinson, Bryan Callen (Coach Mellor on The Goldbergs), Martin Klebba (of the Feast movies), UFC’s Tim Kennedy (naked, but blurred, dammit), Lindsay Lamb (After School Massacre, Mine Games), and, well, most of the cast of Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves, as well as Ross himself looking all Val Kilmer Iceman circa 1986.
Needless to say, even with Tim Kennedy’s naked battle with a zombie blurred, and Mat Best only getting shirtless once while behind a Dumpster (a word often written on my right cheek), I still ordered this one on Blu-ray because it’s a must-have for my collection. As of this blog post, it’s only available on the film’s Website.
Oh shit. I just realized Danny Trejo is in this photo, pointing at Tim.
But did they pay off? Here are my brief thoughts on Demons Never Die, Detention Night, Serial Kaller, Him, Red Eye, and The Last Heist.
DEMONS NEVER DIE (2011)
So, I watched this one after seeing The Killing Gene, specifically because it’s the only other horror movie in which sexy Ashley Waters appears.
The promise of a masked killer was all the more reason to watch.
On the bright side, it has a very early 2000s, trendy/pretty people/sleek production/cool music soundtrack vibe with some brutal kills.
The down side is everything else. Sparked by the suicide of a classmate, a bunch of college kids makes a pact to do the same. The problem is, as the movie wades through convoluted tangents and character development, it feels like these kids barely even know each other…or care to get to.
They all have “personal demons” that give them reason to want to commit suicide (which explains why there’s a whole lot of looking in mirrors in the film).
For instance, one girl feels the pressure to be a beautiful model, and another kid faces rejection for being gay.
And yet, instead of banning together to help one another, they are all miserable to each other!
Kind of a bummer, because using this subject as a springboard for the main characters to conquer their fear of life and come together to fight a killer is a damn good concept.
On top of that, it is incomprehensible how much of this movie’s time is filled with music montages. It’s like a nonstop party leading up to the party they all end up at in the final act, which is where the masked killer does most of the dirty work.
Sadly, Ashley Waters is barely in the film, despite playing a pivotal role that felt forced at the end (and sadly, that forcing doesn’t involve the purple dildo).
DETENTION NIGHT (2011)
Going into this slasher, I didn’t know it was from Ryan Nicholson, director of nasty flix Gutterballsand Hanger. And I never would have guessed, because it is a surprisingly basic indie high school slasher.
Odd enough and with fairly cartoonish characters, it’s about a bunch of kids who are holding the first “Famine Night” in five years. Last time they had it, the most popular teacher in school suffered a horrible accident that left his face a deformed mess.
Now someone has slipped on the school mascot costume and is killing everyone in super bloody ways.
Most of the kids spend the whole movie being really annoying, but there’s killer mascot mask POV, the kill scenes are bloody awesome, there are plenty of body reveals, and the film does get unexpectedly funnier in the final act.
Especially considering the first act includes Asian geek masturbation shtick, which is ridiculously unfunny and dated at this point.
Not to mention, the killer reveal is a pretty good modern take on a classic slasher twist.
SERIAL KALLER (2016)
You know it’s going to be good old low budget slasher trash when it begins with a snooty mom bashing men while looking in the mirror and loathing her own body as her young son tries on her lipstick in another room…
The rest of the film revolves around a group of girls that works on an Internet video sex line. Way too much of the film is just loads of girl talk, mostly at the studio where they work.
There’s a cheesy dance club scene, and horror queen Debbie Rochon stops in early on trying to get a job.
The killer is simply hooded and all the early kills are pretty generic.
The good scary music isn’t enough to make them better, and the sudden unrelated cuts to grind house style close-ups of flesh being sliced during every single kill are a distraction.
However, the kills finally start totally kicking ass when they are done in pairs…because the killer targets couples having sex!
Ah, good old fashioned slasher style death. Still, the most brutal death of all is a single guy and it involves a fire extinguisher.
Once the killer is revealed, there’s a long, crazed monologue explaining motivation. While it delivers a very specific social message, the overall narrative of the film doesn’t come together—the whole simply isn’t the sum of its parts.
This is basically a killer clown slasher that goes a real roundabout way before finally getting there.
First we meet an old dude who has a warehouse business. One day, all his workers start fleeing the place saying it’s evil. If you ask me, it looks like a good Christian called Trump’s border patrol on them…
Next, a chick finds a Ouija board in the sand on a beach (where else would you find it?) and uses it with her friend.
A year later, a group of friends enters the warehouse to do a paranormal hunt.
Holy schizo plot. It turns into a long drawn out paranormal exploration movie, a doll is tossed into the mix, people go missing or dying whenever they are with one particular guy, everyone suspects he’s doing it, and yet they keep splitting up…and sending one person off alone with him!
The killer clown shows up at the 54-minute mark. He’s the best part of the film and makes some eerie appearances, but I don’t know what his relevance is (to anything).
There’s also a little girl in a white dress, and finally someone is smart enough to recommend they don’t fall the whole little crying jag shtick.
Plus, a cop shows up who doesn’t show any signs of following the kind of protocol a cop would if he discovered a bunch of trespassers in an abandoned building in the middle of the night.
What I’m saying is, there are a lot of other clown slashers out there.
RED EYE (2016)
Aside from the fact that it’s not a found footage film, Red Eye is structured just like one. Four friends head to a remote town to make a documentary about a legend of a backwoods killer…and a majority of the film is dialogue.
But more than interviews (there’s just one), the talk is between the characters, from interpersonal drama to “we are outsiders because we are horror fans” convo.
The good news is, the killer shows up pretty early. It’s your usual hillbilly with a sack over his head type, but the kill scenes are pretty good visually, not to mention damn gory at points.
The problem for me is…the music. Hey, it’s my issue, and I bring it up all the time, and maybe it’s what the filmmakers are going for, but for me, a progressive rock/metal score simply zaps a horror movie of scares. Sure, it sets a raucous tone, but it’s simply not frightening. Which is a shame, because there are moments here that could have kicked ass if they were scored differently.
Considering there are only 4 kids, this isn’t a body count film. It has a twist you don’t usually see in backwoods horror flicks, which makes it stand out from the heap…and also sends it into torture porn territory for a while.
I can’t deny that the metal score kind of fits at this point. And it makes even more sense when you consider that of all films, they worked a Headless T-shirt into the movie. Awesome. Or, rather…gruesome.
THE LAST HEIST (2016)
Mike Mendez, a director known for comedy horror like The Convent, Big Ass Spider!, Lavalantula, Don’t Kill It, and The Gravedancer, loads this action/horror hybrid with indie horror actors, saving most of the best darkly comic lines for Henry Rollins, who plays the psycho killer!
The day that a bank is closing its doors, Rollins goes to empty his safety deposit box, which is filled with…his precious collection of souvenirs from his victims!
Meanwhile, a gang of thieves invades the premises, takes hostages, and has a standoff with police. Little do they know that Rollins is quietly in the shadows, gruesomely killing anyone who crosses his path.
The cast includes some of my horror faves, like horror queen Kristina Klebe and horror hunks Nick Príncipe, Ace Marrero, and Michael Aaron Milligan.
However, although there’s plenty of blood and gore and Rollins strikes, for a majority of the film, the focus isn’t on him and the horror, but on the twists and turns between the cops and robbers.
It’s not until that fight comes to a head that Rollins becomes a real obstacle for everyone involved and gets his chance to steal the show.
It kills me that Dead Rising 3 never made it over to PS4, because there was no way I was buying an Xbox One just for that game. However, Dead Rising 4 found its way to PS4. While I’ve heard it is pretty much loathed by most fans of the series, I had a great time with it. And the hot news is, it’s the “Frank’s Big Package” edition, which means all the downloadable content is included…sort of. In a total BS move, the bonus games are not included on the disc; you have to download them anyway. And doing so maxed out the hard drive space on my PS4!
The good news is the costume changes are included. Frank West, our hunky reporter hero from the original game, is back with his camera. What made this even better for me was that as soon as I found a mirror where you can change outfits, I put on this little wrestler Speedo—which transforms Frank into a hairy muscle stud with a Mohawk. And when I say hairy, I mean it looks like he glued a toupee onto his chest. Delicious.
However, I then had to be really carefully about anything I dared to pick up after that. For example, at one point I was desperate for a weapon, so I grabbed the first thing I saw: a reindeer head. Turns out it wasn’t a weapon—it was a fricking costume change! I was stuck running around in a reindeer head until the next time I was able to find a mirror and change back into my wrestling Speedo. If only I had been wearing this outfit in an early cutscene in which a sexy detective intends to show Frank a pic of a perp on his cellphone, and Frank takes the phone only to find the detective has accidentally brought up a private photo…
The Dead Rising franchise has always thrown us a gay bone. Like in Dead Rising 3.
And Dead Rising 2…
Hell, the subtitle of this game is “Frank’s Big Package.” Perhaps that’s why you can find homages to the gayness of Dead Rising on YouTube.
Dead Rising 4 is much more story driven with none of those annoying as fuck time limit missions. As you go through the game, there’s a main plot that steers you, but you can run off and do all kinds of side missions without having to worry about a deadline to complete the main mission. This makes it easier to see and do everything if you so wish, although some of the sidequests become repetitive—and some of those are actually timed. I failed every one that I tried to complete because they required going to fetch something for a survivor on the other side of town, then doing some sort of task before returning to the survivor with the object, all the while fighting off loads of zombies.
The game starts you off in another mall, which is the hub of the entire town. There’s a whole lot to do in the mall, and you’re partnered with someone early on. But pretty soon you’re on your own and able to explore. As you follow your main mission, you can branch off to save survivors from hordes of zombies to gain PP points to level up (you’ll usually hear a ruckus and the survivor screaming for help, plus you get an “event nearby” notice on screen). Even just going into unexplored stores scores you some points, so there is a benefit to simply touring the entire map.
And of course you have your camera. The most annoying thing about the camera is that it turns on when you push on the right thumbstick. You know how that goes—right in the middle of your most panicked, button mashing battles, BAM. You’re in camera mode. Taking photos is as lame as ever. Sure you can stand in a safe location and continuously take the same photo of tons of zombie for loads of PP points, but it gets boring. I guess that’s why they tried to make it seem more entertaining by adding “selfie” mode. UGH.
This game also forces you to take photos to “investigate” certain areas. Don’t worry, it’s always in safe rooms with no zombies. The camera now has several modes, so as you go around the room, you’ll get messages that you have to switch modes to see the clue. Once it’s highlighted, you can take a picture of it, which brings you one step closer to completing the investigation. Usually there are about 4 hot spots you have to photograph to complete an investigation. Yawn. You can also use the camera for night vision in dark areas, plus there are pointless collectibles you can photograph in the form of zombie-shaped graffiti; they’re hidden all over nooks and crannies of the vast landscape throughout the game.
One mode on the camera also “unlocks” certain keypads to get through doors, another lame addition. AND, the camera can help you find secret rooms, called panic rooms, which you can only open if you have already found the key. Problem is, these keys are never anywhere near the panic room area, so you’ll be backtracking all over the place if you want to get into them. They do hold some goodies, but I found only one during the entire first play of the game and I made it through just fine. They are easier to find when you already have the key, because that marks the location of the panic room on your map. The way the game played out for me, I always ended up finding a key after I had already been in the area of the panic room, so I simply never bothered going back to open it. It was once I completed the game and had the option to replay cases that I found and pillaged a majority of those damn panic rooms. Really, it takes one time playing through the game to totally understand all the technical aspects, after which you can replay with your leveled up stats, making it easier to kick ass, which in turn makes it easier to explore and find shit.
The inventory system is controlled with quick keys on the d-pads: melee weapons, firing weapons, throwing weapons, and health. Press a direction to cycle through items in that particular category, hold it down to bring up an inventory wheel of all the items at once (very few slots until you start leveling up), which allows you to drop what you don’t want or make combo weapons. However, this is all done in real time, so you will be attacked if there are enemies in the area. Combo weapons are always built in real time, and there is no workbench. You first have to find the right blueprints to create specific weapons. The cool thing is, once you have the blueprint, if you already have one piece of a combo and come across the other, you don’t have to pick it up. You’re prompted to build the combo immediately if you want.
As always, melee is usually a better option than firing weapons—which also attract more zombies. And as the game progresses, you’re introduced to something new: the futuristic Exo suit. Found in trunks in corners around the town, the Exo suit makes you much more powerful for a short period of time, and gives you the ability to pick up certain bigger objects you normally can’t (arcade games, parking meters, etc.) to use as super weapons. You’re not totally invincible, but it sure feels like it. There are some sections of the game where you HAVE to wear the suit to fight bosses, and there are areas equipped with towers that recharge it for you so it won’t run out of power. However, it’s often hard to FIND the exact location of the trunk holding the Exo suit. There were so many times when I’d see all these great Exo marked objects I wanted to grab a hold of to kill hordes of zombies, but I couldn’t find the fricking suit.
You’ll need that Exp suit, too. The usual zombies aren’t your only enemies. There are several varieties of super zombies—stronger, faster, smarter. There are gangs of looters that shoot at you. And there are military men that shoot at you. There also happen to be cars all over the place that you can get into to mow those fuckers down instead of fighting them like a man. Cars have health bars, but they last a while. Just make sure to get out of them once they are dead, because they blow up, taking any nearby zombies with them! There are also military vehicles that have a separate door you can enter to use the turret gun on top. The catch is, you can’t move the vehicle while using the gun, and it doesn’t swivel all that much, so it’s ridiculously limited in where it can aim. However, you can toggle between the R1 and R2 triggers to move from the turret to the driver’s seat without having to get out of the vehicle.
Vehicles do come in handy once you get leave the mall and run around town for a majority of the game. You can return to the mall at any time to do side missions in there, and it has “fast travel” portals to get you around town, but good luck figuring that out. The portals are in maze-like underground hallways at the mall and maze-like sewers in town, so chances are you’ll never find your way to them in the first place let alone back to them if you need to retrace your steps. I tried finding one once, and although it was clearly marked on the map, I was running around in circles up and down levels of the mall in the same area trying to locate it, but I just kept running into solid walls, all the while being continuously attacked by zombies. In the end, it was easier to just stay in town and either run around the main road or hop in a car to get to the other side of the map.
But back to enemies. Fact is many of the crazies are completely avoidable if you simply skip side missions called “Investigate the rumor.” These quests take you to mini boss battles. It’s a good way to level up…and to get your ass kicked because you’re not yet leveled up. Personally, I saved most of these fights for my second play through when I was already leveled up. Sadly, there aren’t even that many of them compared to the endless maniacs in some of the other installments of the series.
Other side missions include simply getting to an area to shoot down a satellite on a building (easy way to gain points to level up), or the previously mentioned rescuing of survivors surrounded by hordes of zombies. Clear out all zombies in the area and the survivor gives you a bonus item then runs back to a safe house. Good news is you can’t hurt the survivor as you slash away at zombies. Bad news is that saving them is glitchy. One time I couldn’t get a guy on a truck to stop calling for help even after all the zombies were dead, and then when I left the area and came back he was gone, but I didn’t get credit for saving him! Another time, I was instructed to clear all the baddies out of a hotel to save a survivor taking cover in a room, but even after killing every baddie blip on the map, and even discovering a secret room in the hotel hiding more baddies (thanks to a Google search), it still wasn’t registering that I’d killed all the baddies, so I didn’t get credit for saving the dude. And while the general routine is that you kill all the zombies and then the survivor runs off to the safe house, a couple of times I’d kill all the zombies, the survivor would thank me, I’d go about my business, and a minute later I’d come upon the survivor fighting a losing battle with a bunch of zombies…because there was a fricking life bar over his or her head! Apparently I was supposed to fricking escort the survivor somewhere, but no one told me!
Sending survivors back to the safe house levels up the kinds of supplies available FOR SALE at the safe house. However, safe houses have to be earned. As you explore, you’ll be notified by one of your partners that a building filled with survivors is under attack. You need to go to it and clear out every zombie inside to make it safe. Only then will you have access to all the sellers inside offering items in different categories. Truth is, other than maps of the areas, I never bought a damn thing from them. The same shit can be found all over the place for free, including inside the very rooms next to which the sellers are standing!
Even without side missions, there is plenty of variety in the tasks you must complete to finish the main story, and you’re forced to run all over the dang town to get from one destination to the other. You’ll find some areas of the map aren’t accessible right away and only get “unlocked” as part of the story in a later part of the game. Not knowing that could drive you crazy if you’re trying to hunt down all the extras, like the newspapers, cellphones, and podcasts that add some nonessential backstory about what went on in the town. The locations of these items are marked on the map…whether or not you’re able to get into that area yet.
Of course, when it comes down to it, nothing is more satisfying than killing loads of zombies, especially when you have kick ass weapons, explosives, or a car. And the more you kill, the quicker you can level up, which makes a huge difference. You can build your firing weapon capability and some other things, but most crucial is building your health, stamina, and melee fighting capabilities. And you’ll need them for some of the more challenging boss battles, especially if you want to investigate the rumors. Even so, boss battles aren’t even that challenging. Heck, there was one bitch of a knight boss with a couple of knight minions who was really hard to beat at first. However, we were in a Medieval area of the mall that had this waterless moat filled with zombies, and I discovered that if I jumped down into the moat, the boss and her minions would follow me. I simply jumped right back out and they ended up battling the zombies! I just watched and laughed as the boss’s health bar went down. When she was near dead, I just shot the bitch and reaped all the rewards.
Maybe that’s why the game got its revenge on me. In this damn age of never really knowing when it’s safe to quit the game because of autosave, not long after I battled the knight, I had to battle a shitload of army guys, including one with a Gatling gun. I got past that area, unlocked a door and entered a new area, got a new objective and notice that I’d reached a checkpoint, so I quit the game…and found out the next time I booted the game that it started me back before the military battle. Damn autosave.
Overall, the game is really short, especially if you don’t do many sidequests (or quit at the wrong point and have to replay shit too often). When you reach the final door before the last battle, the game warns you that going through will mean you can no longer explore. It’s your chance to free roam and do anything you may have missed, however, it kind of makes no sense. See, someone stole your camera and you’re supposed to be giving chase. Not only that, but you’re in the sewers and you’re about to enter a door back into the mall. So in essence, you could backtrack and return to the mall another way to continue to explore it. In doing so, why wouldn’t you run into that very person? I know, because this isn’t real life. While this is also a good opportunity to go level up in as many ways as possible before the final boss, here’s the catch. Once again, this door is in the bowels of the sewers after weaving your way through a headache of a maze, so the thought of trying to leave the area, find your way back into town, go explore all over the place, then remember how to get back to that door to complete the game is reason enough to just throw in the towel and face the boss, prepared or not.
But first, a chase! Yes, you have to chase the damn person with the camera through a mall filled with zombies, and if you don’t catch up in time, you die and have to start all over. This section is just a matter of memorizing the best path to take that has the least amount of zombies, because you have no time to stop and fight them off, and the escapee is lobbing stun bombs at you that slow you down.
As for the final boss, you get an unlimited Exo suit and some Exo weapons, and while the battle cycles like four times through the same scenario (fight, dodge his attacks, he jumps on a sign to regenerate somewhat while you kill zombies he unleashes on you), it is pretty damn easy, with health and weapons all over the place. Maybe that’s why I liked this game so much…
Because the game was so short, I jumped right back into it to experience everything I’d missed. Like I said, being pretty well leveled up made it a breeze and gave me the chance to “enjoy the scenery.” I seriously saw more of the game in less time on the second go.
And then…I tried the DLC called “Frank Rising.” Ugh. What a waste of my PS4’s precious hard drive space. It’s an entirely time-based game in which Frank is a zombie in the same setting, slowly getting better, but in need of finding a permanent cure in 90 minutes before the entire place is blown up.
First off, it’s kind of bullshit that you’re a zombie yet you get attacked by zombies! Meanwhile, you have to eat to survive, so you can feast on zombies, or for a heartier meal, humans. But you can’t use weapons to defend yourself against enemies. You slowly gain special abilities you can use, and can gain even more if you chase after these ridiculous clouds of magic bees floating around. Know what happens when you start running off to chase after bees? You eat up your fricking time. Know what happens if you run out of time? YOU RUN OUT OF TIME. So say you play the damn game for an hour and run out of time. That’s it. Game over. If you want to reach the end of the game, you have to play it all over again from the beginning. Know what happened when I ran out of time after playing the game for an hour? I came to the end of this blog, because I never got to see the end of the game because fuck “Frank Rising”. I’m not playing that shit all over again.
In the never-ending stream of horror movies I watch, I often find common threads for themed posts like this one, which includes what are in essence three very different types of films: an undead haunting, a creature feature, and a slasher.
So in what way did I justify to myself that these three flix deserved to be spotlighted together? Aside from all seeming derivative of well-known horror movies based on their general plots, Dead and Gone, Gremlin, and The Ice Cream Truck struck a very particular chord with me. Each captures an aspect of 80s horror often overlooked in the many films that go for the throwback vibe these days—a lot of 80s horror films were fricking weird! From strange concepts and meandering plots to questionable character motives and ridiculous character decisions, so much of it almost seemed unrealistic, absurd, trippy…sort of like you’d entered the Twilight Zone. Weirdest of all, we GenX kids just totally went with it and had a blast.
Having stunted grown into a big GenX kid might explain why I still fill my days watching every lowbrow indie I can while a wider horror audience is busy griping that smart horror isn’t getting recognized by the Academy Awards. And it’s why I didn’t miss out on these three awesome flicks.
DEAD AND GONE (2008)
Holy 80s throwback. Dead and Gone is like a sexy The Hitcher episode screwing a dastardly Tales from the Crypt episode in a campy Evil Dead cabin.
A hot young stud comes to live in a rundown old cabin in the woods with his comatose wife—a woman who promised to make him a star but instead made him her trophy boy.
As he spends his days chopping wood, contemplating what he’s going to do with his life—and his wife, and getting advice from Felissa Rose over the phone, he’s visited by some quirky locals…and the “ghost” of his out of body wife. There’s a freaky scene of her floating up behind him that is horror movie gold.
Shit gets whacky for our leading hottie, including an unexpected connection with the female constable…
…a disturbing run-in with a hillbilly that really wants a piece of him…
…and television personalities that break the fourth wall and talk directly to him (including Zack Ward as a weatherman).
It all leads to the unleashing of supernatural forces that appear to be trying to drive him mad in good old comic Deadite style. Even the original dude from the band Evanescence terrorizes him, and he’s fricking funny, even when he’s in pieces.
I jumped on Amazon so fast to order the DVD I nearly made the streaming movie come to a crashing halt.
I won’t even state the obvious, but I will state the second obvious—it’s not plural. This family is terrorized by just one little critter.
It comes into their life thanks to a mysterious box they unexpectedly inherit.
See, the way to get this little bastard to stop fucking up everyone in your life is to…give the box to someone you love!
Thanks a lot, grandma.
Once the family discovers that secret, they contemplate their options, leading to some major family dysfunction.
As they try to formulate a different plan, the slinky little monster keeps coming out, and the body count continues to rise.
Even though no one in the family is ever going to move out on their own, the good news is, there’s no need to finish the basement. The bad news is, it’s going to start to smell after a while.
You’re doing that backwards. Sigh…straight guys.
There are some good kills, some great twists that prove this family is anything but perfect, and most importantly, there is…the daddy of all daddies.
Adam Hampton is an instant Dan crush. Adam Hampton is the kind of daddy that can wave his magic wand and I’ll watch any horror flick he’s in…even if his next one is called The Jurassic Games, and 25 years ago, after watching Carnosaur, I swore off any future dinosaur release that is not an official Jurassic Park film.
Gremlin is just bizarre enough to fit the 80s mold, Adam Hampton’s battle with the gremlin is loads of fun (especially the football helmet scene), and the unexpected change in the gremlin in the final act is one you just won’t see coming—but should if you grew up in the 80s.
The only down side to this fun creature feature is that Adam Hampton takes a shower, but we don’t see anything below the shoulders!
What the hell? He better not have a “no nudity” clause! I want to see furry tits in The Jurassic Games, damn it!
Meanwhile, do you have any idea how hard it is to get a clear freeze-frame of daddy ass in action?
THE ICE CREAM TRUCK (2017)
It would be easy to give The Ice Cream Truck a quick glance and presume it’s just a total rip-off of the trashy 1995 slasher Ice Cream Manwith Clint Howard.
However, if you actually take the time to watch the film and immerse yourself in it, you’ll discover it’s much more of a surreal social commentary on the myth of suburban utopia.
In fact, it paints suburbia as an unsettling dystopia, where the psycho ice cream man may be the obvious villain, but every neighbor seems to be on the verge of snapping and doing something so awful to you that you end up being the reason their flower garden looks so beautiful.
A young woman moves into her new home ahead of her husband and kids and quickly becomes acquainted with the noticeably odd women on the block…
…the creepy moving guy…
…and the hot graduate next door who offers to do work around her house.
There’s also the spooky old-fashioned ice cream truck that regularly drives (in always eerily effective slow motion) down the street…
The film truly does create a constant sense of foreboding. While everyone is nice enough to the new girl in town, they all seem to be hiding dirty little secrets. So it should be no surprise that these nasty bitches are also totally judgmental!
Which is where the ice cream man comes in. If you listen to the things he says and take into account those he opts to kill, there’s an irony to his nostalgic longing for theoretical idyllic times of the past when neighborhoods were simply more wholesome…
The most recent trio of films I knocked off my “to see” list have two things in common—varying degrees of scaries and fairies. So just how fearific and queerific are The Killing Gene, Safe Inside, and Mister White?
THE KILLING GENE (2007)
The director of the shockingly brutal film The Childrenbrings us a police procedural serial killer film that is shockingly boring…until the final act, when it’s shockingly torture pornish as all fricking hell…with some gay stuff thrown in to really rattle the victims.
Stellan Skarsgård of Mamma Mia is fantastic as the lead detective, and horror queen Melissa George is rather wasted as his rookie sidekick.
They’re investigating brutal homicides on the wrong side of town…for the whole movie. The seedy setting is unnerving and the dead bodies look grisly, plus the supporting cast includes Tom Hardy and Selma Blair, but damn does this shit drag.
Then the killer abducts Skarsgård and ridiculously gorgeous Ashley Walters.
It’s awesome in that the killer totally exploits the homoeroticism of the two shirtless, bound men…but sucks in that the killer does such vile things it made my stomach turn.
SAFE INSIDE (2017)
If you’ve seen Jason Paul Collum’s gay horror film October Moon and its sequel November Son you’ll feel in familiar territory with Safe Inside. It features the return of horror queens Judith O’Dea and Brinke Stevens, the house in which it takes place feels the same, down to the notable horror movie posters on the walls, and it has a similar vibe of one man threatened by a sinister male presence in the house.
However, while that 2-film series had a specific gay stalker theme, this film is more heterosexual in theory. However, the queer horror sensibilities are undeniable, and not just because of the feeling of extension of the other two films if you’ve seen them.
The main guy has performance issues with his woman.
He has an almost Norman Bates like obsession with his dead mother.
Brinke Stevens is pretty much his fag hag, even though he’s straight and she’s a lesbian in the film.
In an early scene, there’s reference to a dude in a restaurant having the hots for him.
There’s this shot.
And this shot.
And this one.
Many of the scares are presented in dreams, for a majority of the horror is psychological. The main guy has emotional issues, just inherited his dead mother’s house, and has to stay there alone while his woman goes away on business.
He hears noises, sees things, and grows paranoid as he becomes convinced that a black, scaly man his dying mother used to claim to see standing in her room is real and in the house with him.
My favorite scene is when Brinke comes to stay with him and explores the house while he’s sleeping. Eek!
This is a slow burning tension-builder, and the twist is most definitely not what you’d expect.
MISTER WHITE (2013)
While it reminded me of the film Devil’s Domain, this bullied kid gets revenge flick actually came three years before that one. It also entertained me most out of this trio of films.
The first half focuses on how cruelly the effeminate, main weirdo goth boy with a stutter is treated by all the other kids at his school. He has a crush on the only girl in the group who tries to stop the rest of them from targeting him.
It’s quite realistic when the other girls are shocked that he is not gay, which speaks to societal assumptions about males, masculinity, and what is considered acceptable behavior for heterosexual men.
There’s an odd and unexpected transition to explain the main boy delving into the occult in his plan to get revenge, which leads to an entire period piece flashback segment about slaves that used black magic on their sadistic owner.
And then comes the best part.
The final act delivers a hokey late 90s direct-to-video slasher feel.
The main boy conjures a vengeful killer that goes around slaughtering the hell out of all the assholes.
The kills are gory cheesy awesome, and there’s a gay twist that has nothing to do with the main boy!
They’re crawling back out of their holes…and houses…and temples like it’s 2002 – 2005 all over again. So are they as scary as they used to be? I take a look at Temple, Ghost House, and The Hatred.
There are a couple of intriguing and even creepy moments at the end of this film—one in particular that I loved—but a whole lot of nothing happens leading up to it. Plus, even after the horror happens, there’s absolutely no clarification as to what any of it all meant.
An American couple comes to Japan and has a young male tour guide, who immediately makes the boyfriend jealous.
While seeing the sights, the girlfriend sees a drawing of a temple in a raggedy old book at a shop and decides she wants to go there. Despite that being the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, and despite several warnings to stay away (some of them clearly supernatural), they head for the temple.
All of that…takes FOREVER.
Eventually, the characters are split up on the site and experience totally different horrors.
All I’ll say is that this creature that chases one guy through the woods is nightmarish.
Everything else is either pretty standard stuff (demon kids reminiscent of that kid from The Grudge) or impossible to see because it’s sooooooo dark (just a flashlight in caves).
And then come the attempts to bring it all together…attempts that are totally disjointed.
THE HATRED (2017)
It’s another ghost girl. But first we get a 20-minute period piece backstory with Wishmaster Andrew Divoff as a crazy religious extremist Nazi misogynistic father. Imagine that. Trump’s America in the 1940s.
Present day, the American Werewolf from London is a college professor and married to Tina from Elm Street for their 90-second cameo. They leave their big house so his foursome of female students can spend the weekend there…with his creepy young daughter?
One of the college girls makes the mistake of going into a room the little girl warns her never to enter. Big mistake, because this leads to…an hour of shadows, noises, thunder, lightning, flickering lights, and the girls researching the history of the house.
Finally the ghost girl comes out full force.
And she’s got as much hatred as all the other ghost girls that have come before her, but none of the haunting talents.
GHOST HOUSE (2017)
The director of The Curse of El Charrotakes us to Thailand for another vengeful Asian ghost girl flick…only this time she’s a terrifying old witch.
Her appearance in the opening scene kicks ass, then we meet our main couple, consisting of Scout Taylor-Compton and her man, on vacation in Thailand with a tour guide, who teaches them about local customs…like a small model that has superstitious significance as a “ghost house.”
In the meantime, they go off on their own with some other tourists to a ghost house graveyard and end up pissing off the old witch, who then makes Scout her target.
While Scout is relentlessly terrorized by the old witch, her man sets out to figure out how to rid her of the curse. There are a whole lot of witch doctors and a whole lot of visits by the scary old witch lady, plus a dash of demonic possession/exorcism.
Sure it’s derivative, but if you’re missing the heyday of Asian horror, this is a pretty good throwback and my favorite of this trio.