If little sexy/sadistic religion-hates-gays indie A Closer Walk With Thee could have afforded some nasty demonic possession special effects, it would have upped its horror cred, because it definitely scores the homoerotic cred.
In fact, the sexual moments are the only thing that clarify that this is not a religious propaganda film about gays being possessed by the devil, because you know religious folk would loathe that they secretly loved sitting through such perverse visuals to get to the justification of their hatred.
The film doesn’t really clarify the circumstances (or the religion), but there’s this little cult of young people living in a rustic building in the city. Everything they do is so not structured to avoid sin. For starters, the guys and girls all live communally in the same building. And even worse (or better), the guys sleep in the same bed together in their underwear!
The focus is on a gay preacher who is perfectly hot, and his very queer assistant/buddy, who is perfectly closeted. His performance is actually excellent—you can feel his desire for the preacher and his fear of being discovered.
There’s lots of praying and singing of hymns, and to let us know this is a horror film, there’s a quick exorcism of a young woman.
This preacher sure is confident in his battles against the devil. He could practically run his exorcism business at a drive-thru window.
The film then gives us plenty of erotic moments of the gay boy lusting after the preacher. Now we can almost taste his desire. Yum.
Naturally, fricking girls get in the way, the gay boy is outed, and then he’s strapped down for an exorcism. The stark setting and the cold, emotionless, brainwashed performances of the other kids is unsettling when you realize there are people that are actually like this and actually do things like this to young gay people, so be warned if you have triggers.
The exorcism itself is kind of dirty, with the gay boy in his undies and the preacher saying filthy things to him about the perversions of gay sex with the devil. Again, if only there were some actual exorcism special effects, this would have delivered more horror, but I assume the notion is not that this is horror movie “devil possession”, but more realistically about the young boy being convinced that the devil is inside him.
Even without Linda Blair makeup, the young actor once again proves himself by getting super fricking creepy as he turns the tables on his exorcists and does some brutal damage.
As I said, if you took out the homoerotic moments, the conclusion of this film would have religious freaks screaming, “See? The gays really are evil and possessed by the devil!” As for a gay audience, you know we’re all screaming, “Yes! Whip out your demon and rip those motherfucking straighties a new one!”
It’s a double feature of Black horror from the 1970s! Is it everything we expect from the Blaxploitation era?
DEVIL’S EXPRESS (1976)
I swear Devil’s Express is like The Last Dragon meets Raw Meat…with the vibe of 1970s cop shows like Baretta and SWAT, from the soooooo 1976 disco soul music to the city street action.
After an opening scene of men being sacrificed with a katana in 200 BC China, we meet our main cop/karate teacher and his student…who pack up and head to Hong Kong.
The scenes of them learning from martial arts experts are quite boring.
But then the student goes down into a creepy cave, which unleashes a demon…
…that hops into a guy on a boat back to The US, giving him possession bug eyes in the process.
He’s quite freaky, and eventually the demon busts out of him (awesome), but as bodies begin piling up in the subway system and detectives investigate, there’s no sign of an onscreen kill involving the demon. Bummer.
Instead we get one big montage of the leading man living and loving in the city for a majority of the film…when he’s not busy getting into martial arts fights with baddies on the street.
It’s a long time to wait to see the demon. We finally do when the main man dons a gold spandex outfit right out of Dance Fever to go underground and fight it.
The final battle rocked (or discoed), but I was a little disappointed with this one overall, which had a lot of horror promise that didn’t come to fruition.
Blackenstein does a great job of bringing the vibe of Hammer horror to a Black horror film.
Our scientist, Dr. Stein, is a white dude experimenting with DNA when a former female student comes to him for help; her military man has been badly damaged in war. She wants the doctor to try to fix him.
Unfortunately, as she begins to work with the doctor, his other assistant starts having feelings for her. When she rejects his advances, he sabotages the doctor’s work.
Pretty soon, a monster has been created…Blackenstein! He looks like a traditional Frankenstein, and he seems to have it out for horny couples.
I had my concerns when the first kill was done fricking shadow puppet style.
But after that, Blackenstein hits the town and kills for the camera.
After an unnecessary club scene complete with stand-up comedy and a singing performance, Blackenstein gets a gander at a girl’s tits in an alley (that’s as exploitative as it gets), and then goes home to take care of those who made him a monster.
Aside from a flash of guts, this isn’t a gory film. There are classic horror shadows and dramatic lighting, but the kills are 1970s tame. It’s entertaining enough, but this is no Blacula. For a more campy Black Frankenstein tale, check out this SNL sequel…
It’s a smorgasbord blog of four flicks about infected people and human hungry creatures.
THE DUSTWALKER (2019)
The Crazies meets It Follows with a dash of Under the Dome in this melancholy Australian film, which definitely delivers some chills, thrills, and surprises. However, there is an odd clash of melodramatic tone and underacting that brings down the energy level, as well as some wonky editing that effects the flow of events at times.
In a small desert town, something crashes to the earth, and then locals become infected by a red dust that causes half their face to get slightly deformed. At first they just stand outside houses and buildings staring blankly, but then they start chasing after and killing people. There are some very cool scenes of the crazies swiftly moving, crawling, and jumping.
The sheriff, her deputy, and a female scientist (best character in the film) try to make sense of it all, while also attempting to capture and lock up the crazies instead of killing them in case there’s a cure. But as they become outnumbered, they hole up in the precinct with a handful of survivors…right about the time that something comes crawling up from the ground. WHAT?
Yes, this one has an unexpected sci-fi creature feature twist, but be warned—absolutely nothing is explained at the end, leaving us with one big string of dangling plot points. I can’t imagine what was going on in the minds of the creators, because they sure didn’t tell us.
DON’T SPEAK (2020)
I have unintentionally gravitated towards films by director Scott Jeffrey in the past years (The Bad Nun, ClownDoll, Cupid), so imagine my surprise when yet another one landed in my watchlist only days after I watched ClownDoll.
I think Don’t Speak might be this prolific horror director’s tightest film yet. Reminiscent of classic creature features of the 80s and 90s, it features a traditional man in a monster costume that is much more terrifying than CGI. It also explains why we get the full monster Monty in the very first scene, because it’s that cool.
When a woman’s father falls ill, she, her husband, and their kids travel to her parents’ home to see him. But when they get there, something is very wrong.
And they soon find out in an amazing, chilling scene when the daughter first encounters the creature. From that moment on it is nonstop horror action as they are terrorized and torn apart by the creature.
Somehow the dad figures out in an instant that the creature is using sound to hunt them…which makes it that much more annoying how much the women scream when being chased! Shut the fuck up, be-otches!
There’s a vague reference to military experiments nearby to explain the creature’s existence, but the backstory is really not expounded upon. This is a movie that focuses totally on a nuclear family fighting a monster to the bitter end. There’s just one tiny detail that could have been added as to what the monster was, and I’m kind of shocked it wasn’t used as a plot twist…unless we were meant to think it anyway and the director just didn’t feel the need to spell it out.
PROJECT ITHACA (2019)
It’s…Saw on a spaceship with emotion harvesting aliens?
Project Ithaca is set mostly in a confined space where a group of random people wakes up trapped in goo and wrapped in tentacles, with no memories of how they got there. As they slowly talk it out, their individual pasts are revealed in flashbacks, and they begin to realize that the alien tentacles come out to suck on their energy when they feel emotions. Eek!
A couple of surprises are thrown in to keep things interesting, but there’s not much more to the plot than that. It’s sort of slow and struggles to unfold, but it does start to come together as it reaches its conclusion. Not to mention, the effects are excellent.
DON’T GROW UP (2015)
This infected film is more of a coming of age character study with the infected as a background element.
A small band of “delinquent” kids is suddenly faced with the horrific reality that all the adult have become violent crazies.
As the kids cope with the trauma of their troubled pasts and the unknown possibilities in their futures, they begin to bond, lean on each other for support, and explore their feelings for each other. See the irony? Don’t Grow Up is a movie about kids that don’t want to grow up because they will become monsters, yet they begin to mature as the movie progresses. Talk about a conundrum.
While there aren’t many infected in the film, and they don’t get much screen time, the attack scenes are suspenseful and violent. The limited number of infected actually creates more tension than having constant hordes of them coming at the kids, and leaves us feeling the sense of isolation and abandonment the kids must be experiencing with no adult guidance.
I watched these four because a) one was from a director whose work I follow, b) one was a sequel from a director whose work I follow, and c) the other two were a film and its sequel. Does any of that matter, or was this more clown horror than I needed all at once?
Scott Jeffrey, director of The Bad Nun and Cupid, never fails to keep my interest with his brand of indie horror.
ClownDoll may not have the most original plot, but there’s a fresh twist in this killer clown/killer doll hybrid that makes it stand out among the numerous clown/doll indies.
Generally using the Chucky formula as the reason for the doll coming to life, the film focuses on a young woman carrying a baby for her brother and sister-in-law. She’s compelled to buy a freaky looking clown doll in a store and sits it in a rocking chair in her awesome home, which is a converted church.
She begins getting calls from a guy who dialed a wrong number, and his voice is perfectly creepy. Meanwhile, the clown begins to move and kill people.
The death scenes are fun, and the common kill techniques are elevated by MJ Dixon’s style and visual presentation. On top of that, the main girl is very likable and quite good in her role, so I was quite satisfied with this one. But perhaps the freakiest part of this film was some Three Men and a Baby horror. During a scene in which a woman is supposed to be alone with the clown in front of her, she stands up quickly, and both the hubby and I noticed a flash of what appears to be a person behind her! I’ve freeze-framed and brightened the moment in the pic below.
CLEAVERS: KILLER CLOWNS (2019)
MJ Dixon’s sequel to Cleaver begins with the clown escaping with a young girl and a sheriff on Halloween 1995, and then jumps ahead five years.
The sheriff’s deputy is still hunting the clown. The film takes place right before and on Halloween, but the holiday isn’t the focus. Instead this feels more like a backwoods family horror flick, with a family on a road trip getting lured to the house of the clown and his clan.
Meanwhile, the deputy captures and interrogates a young woman hoping to find out more info on the clown’s whereabouts.
This goes on for fifty minutes before there are finally a few kills in a row. The clown has a young woman in training helping him take care of business, so the deputy has her work cut out for her. And she better brace herself, because she’s going to stumble upon some surprises.
Definitely not as good as the first film and mostly very slow, this one promises a third film at the end. Of course I’m going to check it out…
Loon is clearly a low budget killer clown movie right from the start, from the acting to unnecessary dead space filler that slows the pace.
After a creepy opening scene of a brother and sister being chased by a clown in an abandoned haunted house attraction in the woods, we jump ten years ahead. The siblings are now older, but their friends still don’t believe they encountered a clown. So…they all head to the derelict haunted attraction.
Surprisingly, this segment of the kids being beaten to death with a bat one by one isn’t the meat of the movie. It comes to a quick conclusion and then this turns into an amateurish detective story as a detective hunts down the clown killer and uncovers a not so riveting backstory.
Only at the end does the detective finally head into the woods to battle it out with the clown….who really just wants back a picture of his dog. The thrill for me was when the detective gets some help from a shirtless pretty boy.
2 hours and 1 minute long is inexcusable for a low budget indie sequel to a low budget indie—especially when most of your movie has nothing to say.
Loons makes the first film look like an okay slasher. In this one the detective is back and has become somewhat of a recluse (and is played by a different actor).
Meanwhile, two street gangs are battling it out for the haunted house property in the woods where the clown died. WTF?
One gang deserves the property just for their dedication—they wear clown masks, throw a clown party celebrating the anniversary of the clown’s death, and plan to resurrect the clown!
After that I don’t even know what’s going on. It’s sooooo boring with loads of talk and a gun battle at the end. There might be a pretty interesting supernatural resurrection story buried in here, but I simply stopped digging for it after about an hour. I don’t even know why I’m still bothering to write about this one. Okay, I’ll stop.
As I take a break from new stuff to continue my journey through my late brother’s DVD collection, I focus on four that are so of his era, and they all feature a woman or women in sci-fi or horror plots.
THE LAST WOMAN ON EARTH (1960)
This one was in my brother’s collection as a double feature DVD with Vincent Price in The Last Man On Earth, which I already have in my collection, but I thought perhaps this was a sequel I didn’t know existed.
It’s not. And although it’s a Roger Corman movie, it’s not even horror. And perhaps because this is a cheap, crappy budget 2-on-1 DVD, the version included is in black and white when it’s actually a color film.
After a credits sequence exploiting the female body, this is a pretty intriguing concept, and I imagine it could be made quite dark as a modern remake. A rich man and woman out scuba diving with their lawyer friend come back to shore to discover everyone in the world but them is dead. A few dead bodies as they walk down a deserted street is as horror as this gets.
After that it becomes like the long boring stretch of the original Dawn of the Dead, with the trio just going on with life and setting up home on their own.
The conflict creeps in as the lawyer friend makes it clear that because there are two men and only one woman, he wants to get some action. Basically the two men fight over the woman for the rest of the film…and the tragic denouement takes place in a church to bring some religious perspective to the situation.
Speaking of religion, if I had my way this film would have been the story of Adam and Eve and Steve, and both men would have wanted the last woman on earth gone…
VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN (1968)
The title alone should tip you off that this is a Roger Corman production, but the director is credited as Peter Bogdanovich, who would go on to direct The Last Picture Show and Noises Off. He, however, has claimed he only directed ten minutes involving scenes of the women that gave the movie its name.
It’s easy to believe because the scenes with the women seem spliced into a different movie about a trio of men on a mission to Venus with a robot they stole from the Lost in Space in space family. The men and women never actually interact!
According to the narrator, it’s 1998…which is now over 20 years ago, not 30 years in the future.
After lots of classic 60s space exploration scenes—because Star Wars was the future then—our astronauts discover that the planet Venus is loaded with a variety of dinosaurs and alien creatures with tentacles. Then they start to hear melodic voices like those of a siren…
The monsters are pretty cool, and the visuals, tone, and atmosphere, with fog machines, grey skies, and the hypnotic whir of 60s sci-fi/horror music, are quite good. Plus, the guys have a space car that also becomes a little submarine car! Soooo futuristic.
Even though the astronauts and women of the planet never meet (the forced scenes of the women not doing much of anything are pointless), the plot has the men killing a pterodactyl that turns out to be the god the women worship. You’ll never believe who they make their new god once they chase the men from their planet….
LADY FRANKENSTEIN (1971)
This is a dastardly little flick that needs to be remade as a campy horror comedy with someone perfectly snarky like Samara Weaving as “the lady.”
The set, thunder, lightning, and classic laboratory sights and sounds perfectly capture the Frankenstein vibe.
The original plot is compressed into about 30 minutes. As soon as the monster comes to life it kills the doctor and takes off to throw a naked wench into the river.
Meanwhile, the devious daughter decides to create a hunky man to hunt down and kill the monster that killed her father.
She picks the man, tests out the bod, then convinces her father’s assistant to kill him. In return, she will transplant the assistant’s brain in the hunk and be his woman.
The dude fricking goes for it! How is this movie not a comedy?
QUEEN KONG (1976)
Considering horror parodies started becoming a thing in the 1980s, this monster movie parody was ahead of its time.
The same year the remake of King Kong was released with Jessica Lange giving a ditzy bimbo performance that shockingly didn’t end her career right then and there, Queen Kong mocked the sheer male chauvinism of the original by simply reversing the roles of the sexes.
A domineering female director is furious when a clearly gay guy in the male lead of her jungle women movie walks off set. Her hunt for a passive man to play the role is a short one, because she saves a Mick Jagger looking dude when he steals something from a store and is chased as Benny Hill style music plays. She then drugs him and makes him her leading man bitch.
Horrible 1970s muzak score and “Queen Kong” 70s pop theme song aside, the movie is ridiculous right from the start, beginning with women in “we wear short shorts” shorts singing a “Liberated Lady” song on a boat, the exploitation of their bodies easily negating the whole point of the song.
While the film spoofs the King Kong plot, it also pokes fun at pop culture of the time, including The Exorcist, Jaws, and even President Jimmy Carter.
The overall concept does a great job of emasculating the male character Ray Fay (get it?). He is sexualized and feminized, wearing a pink boa and screaming in terror whenever a monster comes for him…yet the film once again negates the whole point by having him tell Queen Kong how to fight the enemies each time!
Aside from the slapstick spoof, which wears thin fast and becomes painfully unfunny, Queen also battles goofy looking T-Rex and pterodactyl monsters before being shipped back to civilization to take down a city while hunting for her man. Despite its flaws, if you grew up with King Kong, it’s easy to appreciate the purpose of this spoof.
The day I can no longer dig up lost 1980s films I’ve never seen is the day I will stop living in the past. Okay, I’m lying. But this foursome was a delicious dive into first time viewing of horror from the peak of the VHS horror era…1989.
SOUNDS OF SILENCE (1989)
I think Sounds of Silence could have been a bit more entertaining with better pacing, which could easily have been accomplished by trimming it down from 105 minutes to 90.
The cute alien guy that impregnates a human girl in the original V plays a photographer who suddenly inherits a mansion from a long lost relative.
Right here is an example of how badly the film needs editing. I can’t tell you how unnecessarily long the sequence is of him having a hard time finding the mansion. It serves absolutely no purpose.
Anyway, he moves in with his woman and her deaf mute teen son, who immediately starts seeing pasty-faced ghost children and scary adult men ghosts all over. And over. And over.
The film has very atmospheric music, settings, and visuals, but it becomes agonizingly repetitive. It only picks up when the leading man and his woman look into the history of the house and realize the boy is experiencing something very frightening aside from the scary children. It’s a big scary dude with a sledgehammer!
FAMILY REUNION (1989)
Family Reunion has the feel of a Tales From the Darkside episode—the grainy film quality, the iffy acting, the weird tone, and even the score.
After a cheesy black and white scene of a cult sacrificing a baby, the movie begins its descent into making no sense.
A family, including grandpa, hops in a car for a Christmas road trip…to a ghost town?
Meanwhile, a sleazy guy with magic powers is arrested by police. On the way to the station with him, the police meet the family on the road and warn them away from their destination. So the magic guy immediately forces their car to drive to the town.
It’s really that bad.
The son is a prankster, the daughter likes Madonna, grandpa seems to know a secret about his family’s past and the town, and the dad blames grandpa for weird, satanic cult nightmares he has suffered for years.
The family kills a lot of time exploring and looking for each other in the town, but eventually the magic guy escapes prison, gathers his cult together, and drags the family into their ritual. It’s as bad as direct-to-video horror of the 80s gets.
There’s a scene at the end that’s filled with Christmas spirit—finally.
SHOCKING DARK (1989)
80s Euro horror director Bruno Mattei (Rats, The Other Hell, Scalps) couldn’t give us a creature feature more perfectly “late 80s weekend video rental” than Shocking Dark.
Despite the film being titled Terminator 2 in some markets because there’s an indestructible headhunter character, don’t let that distract you; this is purely a creature feature loaded with pre-CGI monsters right from the start.
Geretta Geretta is a member of a team of soldiers that heads into Venice after it has been evacuated due to a toxic cloud hovering above it. They find a guy trapped in a sort of web and then…out come the monsters. Yay!
There’s plenty of red light, fog machines, and monster attacks, but Geretta Geretta ends up taking a backseat as a white woman becomes the hero, trying to save a young girl from the monsters and the T2 man.
In true bad Euro horror fashion, the main girl and the little girl melodramatically scream constantly to the point that they’re looking directly at the camera to be even more annoying. Safe to say they just don’t make them like this anymore.
THE IMMORTALIZER (1989)
All hail the companies still digging up obscure 1980s horror to bring to Blu, because my life would not have been compete if I didn’t have Re-Animator meets The Rejuvenator knock-off The Immortalizer in my collection before I died.
This is so purely 80s, from the moment we meet two couples on a double date in their 1980s fashions while a totally 1980s song plays in the background. As they walk home after seeing a horror movie, they are jumped by muscle head zombies and taken to a mad scientist’s facility, where rich old people buy hot young bodies for him to transplant their brains in. The Golden Girls tried something similar in Rose’s dream once…
One of the cute guys on the date wakes up and spends the rest of the movie on a rescue mission to save his friends from the scientist’s evil clutches. He battles burly zombie men and mad scientist assistants, and even enlists the help of an old lady who poses as a prospective client to infiltrate the facility.
With gory brain and body swaps and a neon green hypodermic right out of Re-Animator, this is silly 80s horror bliss and definitely my favorite of this foursome from 89.
This handful of films has or supposedly has a queer bent, and a couple of them were brought to my attention by my readers, which I always appreciate. So do these four land on my does the gay guy die? page? Let’s find out.
DANIEL ISN’T REAL (2019)
I include this one from the director of Some Kind of Hate on this list only because I heard murmurings of gay vibes between the lead Luke and his imaginary friend Daniel. I just want to make it clear that I personally didn’t interpret it as homoerotic at all, and I think it is seriously time to stop desperately reading gay into every horror movie and actually watch gay horror movies or read gay horror fiction if you want your horror gay.
Having said that, I feel that Daniel Isn’t Real is a horror version of Drop Dead Fred with a good dose of Hellraiser Cenobites thrown in to intensify the horror.
Mary Stuart Masterson is back from the eighties and plays Luke’s mentally ill mother. When he’s a child she makes him lock his troublemaking imaginary friend in a doll house.
As a twenty something, Luke resurrects Daniel (played by Schwarzenegger’s son), who pushes him to be mischievous. For instance, in class Daniel removes his shirt…to reveal he is covered in answers to the test Luke is taking, not to turn him on.
He also pushes Luke to get with a girl. When it finally happens, that jealous look on Daniel’s face? Not gay. It’s because he realizes he can lose his friend Luke to this girl. Therefore he begins to sabotage that, first by taking over Luke’s body and fucking another girl. So not gay.
Then Daniel’s dark side comes out and he turns murderous, doing some freaky melding with Luke’s body to take care of business, which is not an uncommon theme in horror films (think Elm Street 2—the most homophobic, not homoerotic horror film ever).
Add to that the Cenobite type demons that terrorize Luke, and there really are some great horror scenes here, which elevates the film above an otherwise cliché plot.
THE DINNER PARTY (2020)
From Miles Doleac, the director of Hallowed Ground, this is a fairly predictable film that suffers from a waaaaaaay tooooo looooong running time.
A playwright comes to dinner at a mansion of pretentious artsy types in hopes of getting his career off the ground. In typical mainstream film fashion, it seems like a gay couple is throwing the party, but the most they share is a touch on the chest.
So to be honest, unless I was too busy wishing the film were gayer to hear any blatant references to their status, I can’t guarantee they’re supposed to be gay other than some stereotypical mannerisms. Meanwhile, the lesbianism in the film begins with a woman completely naked and ends with a lesbian kiss, and all women involved are of the lipstick variety. I’m going to guess Miles Doleac is straight…
Anyway, there’s almost an hour of talking around the table, with all the guests being bitchy and telling disturbing tales, plus there’s a bit of dabbling in a sort of Tarot card reading session. Through all of it, we learn mostly nothing about anyone. So much for using that hour to at least develop characters.
Suddenly (52 minutes in) the shit hits the fan, and this plays out like a high society version of the dinner scene from The Texas a Chainsaw Massacre…and simultaneously feels like an indie film company trying to make its own version of Ready Or Not.
JACK GOES HOME (2016)
Indie actor Thomas Dekker directs this semi-horror flick that has plenty of creepy situations suggesting something sinister or supernatural going on. However, this is more of a psychological horror and character study in the tradition of movies like Jacob’s Ladder. In other words, is the character really experiencing and seeing the things he thinks he is or is he just losing his mind?
Rory Culkin stars as a man who comes back home after his father passes in a car accident. Rory seems callous, uncaring, and aloof with his mother, played with detached, post-traumatic distance by Lin Shaye.
Their scene together at the dinner table alone is uncomfortable and compelling.
Rory discovers some cassettes and video tapes that hint at something dark from his family’s past, and his mother warns him not to go in the attic.
As Rory ponders life and his family’s dirty secrets, he becomes friends with the pretty gay boy next door, but it’s a contentious relationship and Rory is kind of a dick to him, even tossing some slurs his way at one point. But just like everything else in this film, the question of sexuality is at the forefront yet never fully developed or tied in to any concrete explanation as to what is going on. Still, this is the first film in this bunch that deserves a spot on the does the gay guy die? page for having a clearly openly gay character and gay situations.
There are some incredibly eerie moments, and Rory is even terrorized a few times by some ominous figures, but like I said, none of it ever comes together or makes any tangible sense. Despite some major developments along the way, we are left never knowing what was real and what was only in his grieving mind.
THE UNTAMED (2016)
It isn’t often that I have the patience for a slow burn, but just like Jack Goes Home, Spanish film The Untamed is hauntingly compelling…not to mention it has major sexual and homosexual themes.
Most significantly, it’s about oppression of sexuality in traditional Spanish family life, and it’s quite tragic even beyond its sci-fi creature feature aspects.
But be warned, after a sexually horrific opening of a woman being pleasured by “something” in a cabin, it’s not until an hour later that the creature really comes out to play. When it does, it is handled with such restraint yet so much dark eroticism that it’s quite icky.
Basically, a woman is trapped in a strained marriage, unaware that her husband is fucking her gay brother—in a good sex scene that even presents versatility between the two men!
Now that’s how you do gay in your horror. Because of its heavy focus on a gay character and a self-loathing, homophobic gay character, this one is going to get an honorary spot on my homo horror movies page.
A young woman befriends the brother and then sister and convinces both siblings that neither of them needs the husband…because great pleasures await in the cabin. Eek!
The film can really be read in a variety of ways, depending on how you want to interpret it. Either it’s suggesting that repressing our sexuality and sexual desires can lead us to do monstrous things or it could be saying that giving into our sexual desires and not leading a clean, “normal”, God-focused family life can have disastrous consequences. Viewer discretion decides.
The omnisexual sci-fi elements of the film remind me quite a bit of the film Harvest Lake. My only real gripe is that despite having a graphic gay sex scene between two human men, it’s only implied that the brother has a sexual encounter with the life form in the cabin in the middle of the film. It would have helped to present visual hints of his visit (like the opening scene with a girl) to offer a midway tease of what was yet to come, for a good chunk of the film plays out like a family drama without any promise of the horror on the horizon.
An agoraphobic female author finally goes outside and comes upon a unique, isolated house she simply must live in. She doesn’t listen when the handyman tells her she should reconsider.
Once nestled all snug in her new home, she begins having creepy dreams about being assaulted by sleazy men. She hears noises. She’s afraid to go outside—yet not afraid to climb out a window onto a ledge in a very weird scene that leads to a death.
She argues with the handyman and he gets his ass beat by supernatural forces. She gets surrounded by female ghosts. She somehow ends up being chased in her car by a psychotic dude. She has some confrontations with John Carradine, because that just happened in movies back then.
And she has one of the weirdest final encounters with the ghosts after learning the truth of what happened at the whorehouse in the past. A disaster, but who cares, because it’s the 80s, baby!
THE STRANGENESS (1985)
This is definitely bottom of the 1980s creature feature barrel. After an initial “what we don’t see is sometimes scarier” opening, we watch for over an hour as a group of assessors explore tunnels in a gold mine.
Nothing. Happens. For. Over. An. Hour.
Not even the 80s Euro horror style music can make this any more interesting.
When the first victim finally gets grabbed by the monster in the tunnel, the mine is suddenly drenched in red lighting. O…kay.
There are some cool scenes of bodies trapped in some goo on the ceiling but…the monster. The claymation monster. What a disaster.
Its jerky movement in the horror lighting could have been creepy actually, but unfortunately, the one time we see it attack a man, the man is also claymation. Seriously, it’s like watching Mr. Bill get attacked by a cave creature. Oh noooooooo!
I’m kind of convinced that’s a Han Solo Star Wars figure…
This one escaped me and my video store in the 1980s and couldn’t even get recognized as The Birds II, a title some other movie claimed in 1994.
This mess not only steals numerous scenes from The Birds, but it is like a touring company of birds on a plane, on a train, in a house, and even on a parasailing woman.
The lead girl from Waxwork is a reporter covering in-your-face stories of nature striking back in the way of bird attacks. This movie doesn’t even try being subtle about its message. The reporter travels all over to interview people who have suffered from bird attacks, like having their eyes plucked out.
Christopher Atkins is her cameraman and somehow he looks more like a boy than he did five years before in The Pirate Movie and seven years before in The Blue Lagoon.
That’s basically it. They travel around interviewing bird attack victims and “doves” keep attacking people. Most of it looks like stock footage of pigeons being dicks in Central Park in New York City, but I have to admit the close-up attack scenes are vicious and gory.
DREAM DEMON (1988)
While not shying away from gore, Dream Demon is one of the more heavy-handed horror flicks of the 1980s.
Initially it feels like an episode of Freddy’s Nightmares—virtually every moment of horror in the film is a trippy dream sequence the main character is having.
She’s about to marry a handsome, prestigious military man. She is hounded by two reporters—total pricks who are absolutely awful to her. She’s just moved into a new home. And she drags her cool friend into her nightmares, which are riddled with violent and bloody situations that all point to repressed memories and distrust of men.
It’s not exactly the most subtle presentation of female issues, but it does add dimension beyond the Freddy nightmare concept of a main girl believing that anytime someone dies in her dreams, it happens in real life.
There are plenty of religious themes, including symbols of heaven and hell, but by the time she’s running around trying to protect a little blonde girl in her dreams at the end, I once again felt like I was watching A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel, and was just waiting for the little girl to start jumping rope and singing the Freddy’s coming for you song.
A prison, a hospital, a derelict high rise building, a house in the woods. Zombies, a crazed killer, a masked killer, a demon. So which of these four films Left me terrified with claustrophobia? Let’s take a look.
I really needed a movie like this to reinvigorate my love for the zombie subgenre. It combines gore, great atmosphere, and campy, sometimes naughty comedy with over the top situations to create a zombie film that’s familiar yet fresh…and a nonstop thrill ride.
A boyfriend brings his girlfriend to a hospital for a breast reduction, which gets some good comic mileage as we meet the cast of characters: the main girl’s overbearing mother, the ditzy older doctor, a fat dude getting liposuction, a junkie player hospital worker, etc.
Look who popped in for a bite…
It doesn’t take long for the gnarly zombie action to start, and once it does it never stops.
It’s gory, wacky, icky, funny, and suspenseful as the group goes through a myriad of zombie movie tropes as well as some unexpected situations.
Not even if I were a zombie…
This is definitely one of my favorite new zomcoms and I hope it gets a physical release so I can add it to my collection.
This is one of those slashers that make it hard to feel anything for the group of kids because they’re all a bunch of hooligans.
They sneak into an abandoned high-rise building to hang out, play music, and do drugs. But someone else is in the building with them, making it reminiscent of See No Evil.
Kid drama and cheap scares abound, so it takes a while to get the killing going. Once it does, there are some brutal death scenes, plus one mini chase scene highlighting a girl who fights back big time.
Not much is explained in terms of the killer. We don’t learn why he keeps one victim alive and trapped in a cage…or is that simply an overturned shopping cart?
We don’t know why he’s killing, or if there’s any reason at all. We don’t learn why part of his face is fucked up.
But after a good battle with the final boy—yay, it’s a final boy!—the ending is very timely at a moment when Black Lives Matters is bringing to light the injustices against people of color.
AGAINST THE NIGHT (2017)
A combo of third person and found footage POV, this film sees a bunch of kids getting bored while at a party and then deciding to enter an old abandoned prison to hunt for signs of ghosts.
In typical found footage form, they split up and explore the prison, but damn the setting is creepy. The green night vision light adds to the tense atmosphere, but I found the third person perspective even more frightening, because the film goes for realism in terms of just how damn dark a place like that would be with absolutely no lights at night.
After the routine found footage nonsense is out of the way, this turns into a claustrophobic slasher! The kids are chased and hacked up by someone in a hazmat mask, and the kill and chase sequences get better as the film progresses.
However, I have to say, the final frame is a total surprise, and I have no idea what it meant. It felt oddly like a nod to Lovecraft.
HOUSE OF DEMONS (2018)
It’s movies like this that remind me I’m too ADHD for “smart horror.” This is simply a mess of trippy, convoluted, disjointed scenes and flashbacks as a group of friends hangs out in a cabin once inhabited by a crazy cult.
I guess the characters are facing their inner demons after a car accident that left one of their friends brain dead. It also seems like the do the time warp to witness the exploits of the cult from 1969.
One girl is visited by the cute neighbor, who turns out to be the leader of the cult from the sixties and the physical manifestation of a creepy demon that is coming for them (I think).
The demon is really the best part, and Amber Benson of Buffy fame has a non-speaking part as a member of the death cult.
I personally found it confusing and boring, which made it even more confusing because I couldn’t focus on it.
It’s a double feature of horror flicks loaded with nasty women! Let’s take a look at SheBorg and All Girls Weekend.
ALL GIRLS WEEKEND (2016)
The director of Hazmat delivers an oddly compelling slow burn movie about a bunch of girls trekking into the woods and not being stalked and killed by a masked psycho. How refreshing.
I would describe All Girls Weekend as a low key mix of Evil Dead meets The Blair Witch Project in terms of the look and feel. The film stars prolific scream queen Jamie Bernadette.
I’ve covered many of her films, so it was time to make a spot for her on my wicked women page. Here she leads the charge as a group of female friends heads into the woods for a getaway…in the winter! Director Lou Simon definitely went out of her way to find some fantastic locations to shoot this one.
This is one of those films in which the group begins to walk in circles, and that aspect carries a little too much weight.
However, the film throws enough little traumatic situations at the girls to keep up the momentum and keep us wondering what is going on—such as one girl wiping with a leaf after she pees and getting a rash! Ew!
She was one of my faves in the group and I’d love to see the actress in more horror as well.
The most compelling part is the occasional blowing of a supernatural wind through the trees that sounds like whispering voices.
And that aspect moves to the forefront as the truth unfolds as to what is going on. It’s a pretty cool concept and I think this little indie handles it quite well.
An alien cyborg woman comes to earth, and a couple of punk girls just trying to free some caged pups must battle against her and the humans she makes into her minions.
It feels both indie at times, yet surprisingly visually sophisticated with some of the early SheBorg scenes, but the treasure here is the girls.
I imagine these ladies are actual stunt women, because they have a blast kicking ass and doing some pretty major stunts. They are also quite funny and campy.
You also get loads of gore, flesh-eating, and green slime that makes the cyborgs melt.
While it might be a girl power flick, this one is right up my big gay alley.
Dude, you went at that from the wrong direction.
Speaking of, more than one dude gets anally probed.
There’s a horde of shirtless SheBorg minion dudes during a major battle scene.
and the brother of one of the main girls is not only funny, he’s a sexy stud when the shirt comes off! This is definitely one for my stud stalking page.