Are these three horror flicks something to laugh at?

I bought two on Blu, and thankfully I just watched the third on Tubi. They each have varying levels of humor, but did they all give me a giggle?

ABIGAIL (2024)

This is one of my favorite blind purchases in a while. This is exactly my kind of horror flick. Campy gore, humor, thrills and action, and a great cast.

It’s a familiar scenario. Baddies commit a crime, get trapped in a mansion, and soon discover they’re not alone.

Melissa Barrera of Scream 5 and 6 is the main girl, horror hunk Kevin Durand is the comic relief, Dan Stevens is pretty as always, Kathryn Newton of Lisa Frankenstein is the quirky girl, and young Alisha Weir of Matilda: The Musical kills it as the evil little vampire girl who terrorizes the cast.

The simplicty is what makes it so effective. The group is locked inside the mansion and targeted one by one and then turned into vampires, and it’s total fun all the way through. Definitely a good horror party movie.

DEER CAMP 86 (2022)

This little supernatural slasher is a fun ride with some light humor, a likable cast of guys, and a pretty cool killer. It’s only real flaw is that it suffers from major plot holes—not much of what transpires makes sense in the end. I won’t get into details because that would just lead to spoilers.

It’s a backwoods buddy movie about a group of guys that goes to a cabin in the woods where Native American girls have gone missing.

Before they even arrive at the cabin, they get into a bar fight…and then someone who intervened in the fight gets murdered, giving us a bit of a whodunit element. The murder also releases some sort of supernatural force.

The guys have a run-in with a sheriff, whose role in the proceedings remains unclear right until the end…as do the reports of missing girls.

That’s why you just have to go with it and don’t go looking to make sense of it all. In the end this is simply a movie about a group of guys being terrorized by someone or something in an animal skull mask. There’s a nasty nutsack scene, some suspense, supernatural happenings, blood and gore, humor, and intense chase and fight scenes. Not to mention the location shots in the woods are visually stunning (lots of fall foliage), and the overall vibe of the setting is very reminiscent of Evil Dead.

HANKY PANKY (2023)

I really just don’t have the patience for absurd horror comedies like I used to. And if you go into this because Seth Green’s name is in the cast, forget it. He simply voices a talking handkerchief, and he puts on a voice instead of using his own voice.

This one goes on the holiday horror page because it’s about a group of friend that celebrates the holiday at a cabin on the snowy countryside.

One guy has this hanky he talks to.

One girl is single and likes him. Another pair is brother and sister. And the final pair is a boyfriend and girlfriend who just want to get away from each other. Then there’s a neighbor who stops by to welcome them.

There’s a lot of talk, and I found very little funny about any of it.

41 minutes in one of them is killed. The best part of this movie is a witchy woman who makes for better horror than talking inanimate objects ever could.

After that we learn there’s also a talking alien hat. The alien hat starts killing everyone, and eventually battles the talking hanky. I just can’t with this movie.

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BOUGHT ON BLU: conjuring up supernatural killers

It’s back to the late 80s and early 90s for the latest trio of films I bought on Blu-ray.

DEADLY LOVE (1987)

The director of Moonstalker manages to make that film seem like a better movie considering it’s a follow-up to this weak flick.

 

Deadly Love opens with a biker and his chick planning to run away from their dead-end town to elope. Before they can, the local rednecks kill and bury him.

Years later, she’s looking like trailer trash…living in a house. She also bares a resemblance to Britney Spears in her darkest days.

I don’t know why it took her decades, but she finally uses black magic to resurrect her lover. Awesome. A zombie biker slasher movie? If only.

The soap opera continues. She’s harassed by local teens, she commits suicide, her niece comes to live in her house, finds her diary, and reads it, bombarding us with cheesy flashbacks to her love story with the biker.

The teenage thugs return to harass the niece and in the last 23 minutes are offed by the biker (fully helmeted with a face shield) in bland ways with no blood. At least there’s beefcake.

The final moments of this movie are the only sign of horror and actual “back from the dead” vibes with some blood.

I can’t imagine why the filmmaker decided to save this kind of cheesy fun until the final frame.

WITCH STORY (1989)

So excited to score yet another 80s horror flick I’d never seen back in my video store clerk days. I noticed some reviews on IMDb saying how bad this movie is and how basic the plot is: witch executed in the past, kids in the present go to an old house, kids get killed off one by one. Um…I take it these reviewers didn’t grow up in the 80s? Because that’s all we needed back then, and horror ruled.

I’d say this is basically the Night of the Demons formula with witch possession instead of demons. The witch is burned in the past, and in the present two siblings inherit a house…her house. Uh-oh.

They come with their friends to check out and stay at the place. There’s great 80s pop music that sounds more 1985 than 1989, classic 80s musical cues during horror scenes, and the kids partying while eating KFC. One dude even has a Heart concert shirt on. Awesome.

There are a few dream and illusion scenes that deliver some blood, a ghost girl in white makes appearances, the group uses tarot cards, one girl has psychic visions, and then, for no explicable reason other than us having to assume the witch is possessing them, two girls in the group start growling and killing off their friends. It would have been nice if there was some ghoulish makeup thrown into the mix, which is where this one falls short, but at least the death scenes are violent and bloody.

There are definitely some odd moments, like one of the evil girls somehow rising out of a pool with a chainsaw (huh?), and the disjointed moving of the action from the house to an abandoned building for the final act, but familiar tropes of this type of film abound, like all the dead friends sort of coming back to deliver a bit more horror.

The fight with the possessed girls is satisfying, but the final battle is between a priest and the witch from the past, and it’s both bland and irritating, with the little ghost girl shrieking while the priest and witch hurl prayers and incantations at each other, respectively. There’s even a cheesy final frame scene.

Overall, this is entertaining enough with a good dose of 80s horror nostalgia, but it doesn’t live up to the fun of similar movies like Night of the Demons and Dead Dudes in the House.

DREAM STALKER (1991)

 

This shot-on-video flick from 1991 literally starts with motorcycle race footage that looks like genuine home video. The footage is so raw you can’t even hear the dialogue between characters over the wind and roar of the bikes.

Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t get much better after that. The audio is terrible, and the video is just as bad—there’s not much that a jump to Blu could do for this.

Indicative of the early 90s, the fashions look like the late 80s. A bike rider with a mullet is madly in love with his girl. He gives her a creepy music box and insists she promise that they’ll be together forever. And then…he dies.

She starts having nightmares over the next few years. She fiddles with the nightmarish music box, which shoots out same cheesy electrical special effects, and then the boyfriend is back, all rotten-faced. He kind of reminds me of the heavy metal killer from the 1986 flick Trick or Treat. His makeup and a spooky melody that plays incessantly as the film’s score are the highlights of the whole movie.

Well, not exactly true. The laughable aspects of the film are also the highlight. The boyfriend ghoul visits her in bed and slips on a condom for sex…but it breaks.

She has numerous nightmares. She goes to stay at a cabin in the woods and gets into a fight with a group of mostly white girls dancing to hip hop that sounds like it’s from 1981, not 1991.

The boyfriend starts killing people in the main girl’s life, as well as people who wrong her—like two guys that plan to rape her in the woods. Yeah, this movie is all over the place, and often in nightmare sequences.

Not to mention, the low budget but entertaining kills don’t start until twenty minutes before the movie ends. I’m not thrilled that I blind bought this on Blu-ray, but if I had originally seen it in the 90s when it hit VHS, I probably would have bought it for nostalgic reasons anyway.

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TUBI TERRORS: girls with guts

We all love horror flicks with damsels in distress, but does this trio of films deliver? Let’s find out.

THEY TURNED US INTO KILLERS (2024)

This is actually a sequel to the revenge film Room 9. I didn’t at first remember Room 9 enough to figure out how it ties into this film, but it quickly came back to me (thanks to flashback clips).

This is another revenge flick and stars Scout Taylor-Compton, who showed up at the end of Room 9. Here she is getting revenge for her friend who died after a night of partying with some guys.

At the same time, a hate crime from the first film is revisited as the Black guy who saw his mom killed by white men as a child recalls getting his revenge. Now he wants to team up with Scout.

It’s mostly all talk until there’s finally some torture at the end. There’s simply not a lot to cling to here.

THE DEVIL’S WORK (2024)

This is one of those films that appears to have been shot with one camera that follows all the action, and at first that perspective creates some great tension.

However, it isn’t long before the repetitive nature of the threat constantly appearing in the background to the sound of an ominous musical cue gets stale.

This sort of feels like a take on The Strangers home invasion concept. A couple vacations at a house, and within minutes a creepy looking woman begins lurking outside in the shadows.

38 minutes later, the woman finally starts doing some chasing.

The couple knows the woman, who is painted as mentally unstable, so the only thing that keeps you watching is the need to find what the backstory is between these three. Unfortunately, even that isn’t interesting enough to create momentum.

In the end I was left not understanding what the movie was trying to tell us…and I wasn’t sure if there was some sort of supernatural angle or just a visual manifestation of mental illness I was seeing.

GUTS ON THE CHAINSAW (2023)

This backwoods horror flick definitely has a vibe, even throwing in some documentary style flashbacks of hikers that have gone missing over the years, but it relies more on style than substance—and the style gets annoying after a while, with excessive slow motion sequences set to melodramatic music.

The paper thin plot introduces a young woman who was in rehab and a mental institution after what she believed was a real experience being chased by a psycho in the woods, but which she is being gaslighted into thinking was just a nightmare.

Sooooo…as part of her therapy she goes into the woods alone to hike. Sigh.

She meets some people along the way, from a weird hillbilly to a nice hiker dude who chats with her for a while.

Eventually she is chased by a psycho wearing a sack over his head, comes upon a house where she encounters a dude in drag, and then has a final battle with a big creep. This guy is like a freaky skin mask hillbilly and the highlight of the film. Eek! I loved him.

Unfortunately, the final battle is corny and involves hand grenades and some really bad CGI explosions, not to mention the main girl getting stabbed in the back at least a dozen times yet still having the strength to start a chainsaw.

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PS2 Playthrough: Hunter The Reckoning Wayward

The sequel to Hunter The Reckoning, which could support up to four players on Xbox, this sequel was a PS2 exclusive that only supports two players. I got through it with a friend two decades ago, but this time I did it alone. And now I can’t believe I have two more of these games to play when I revisit all my Xbox games. Blech.

In this game you can pick your character, and each one has different strengths. I always go for the biggest, sleaziest looking guy in the bunch and just keep building up his skills, but occasionally you might need to switch characters for one whose skills better suit a particular challenge.

The game starts you with a training mission, where you learn to use the excessive number of buttons to push in different orders to fight, move, jump, shoot enemies, pick up items, change weapons, etc. In an effort to give you the freedom to move and fight at the same time, the game makes a mess of having you use the left stick to move while using the right stick to aim independently. The results are so sloppy that aiming and moving together become a horrible chore. You’ll mostly use melee weapons because you can just button mash to set off various combos. Firing weapons suffer from terrible aiming issues, and you end up wasting more ammo than actually hitting enemies.

There’s a third weapon in your arsenal, and it’s called Edging. Um, the edging I’m familiar with is a whole different ball game, so to speak. I didn’t quite understand these powers and so I didn’t bother to use them.

There are also lit symbols on the ground that serve various functions, and there are too many to memorize. Most important is the one that refills your health, although those have limited usage, so use them sparingly, and the ones that give you a power boost.

As you kill enemies, they drop various items, as well as red or blue orbs that supply you with health and edging power. You can also save cowering survivors when you come upon them, which earns you continues, which serve as extra lives and will be desperately needed during certain boss battles.

There are several annoying aspects to the controls. For instance, you have to go into the menu to look at maps when you find them. Also, to back out of the menu you use the triangle, except when you want to back out of the first menu you are brought to, then it’s the start button. Consistency matters. You also can’t reposition the camera behind you, which is frustrating when you suddenly find yourself running back towards the camera and can’t see what is ahead of you. You also have the ability to zoom in and out incrementally or fast using the up and down arrows, but why you would ever want to shrink your scope is beyond me.

The game plays very much like the various Evil Dead games, with you just running through locations while being swarmed by hordes of zombies and other enemies as you try to accomplish missions like collecting items or releasing spirits. It’s a very repetitive hack n slash experience, which is why it’s more fun with a friend. You can also do side missions at the same time, search for secrets in each level, and find survivors to rescue to gain continues. Saving only happens at the end of each level, so the goal is always to make it through a level without dying.

The game actually has built-in cheat options after you beat it once, and although they were unlocked in the “trophy room” in my character’s apartment thanks to my old save from years ago, I have no idea how to input the codes and get them to work. Extensive researching online turned up the same non-answer every time. Half the information said to enter codes (including a cheat enable code) in the cheat menu, which is totally nonexistent, and half the information said to enter the codes during gameplay, which had no effect other than to make my character do what he does during gameplay when you press each button.

You begin the game in your apartment and go to each level using a map on the wall. Initially they’re all locked so you have to play the game in order. Once you’ve opened each level, you can go back into missions to try to find secrets you may have missed the first time through. Other times going back to previous levels is required…not that the game tells you that, which is why you need to use a walkthrough, otherwise you’re be clicking on every location on the map for an information screen that tells you what goals await you in the locations.

The first level takes place on the street, and it is strictly a search and find mission. Aside from the zombies, there are these spider buggers that blow up right next to you if you don’t shoot them from afar, taking down your health. There’s also a brief boss of sorts right in the middle of the mission. You also find a map for this area, which helps.

You don’t find a map for the second area, which is a sprawling cemetery in which you have to find two tall tombstones to destroy, with an option to release some spirits from their corpses while you’re searching. Other than zombies coming out of the ground, you fight some ghosts and two living gargoyle statues.

There’s a very short church segment where you basically just have to fight some enemies, destroy things in the church to find secret items, and then rescue a survivor.

The subway part is annoying. You have to find a CD hidden somewhere in the vicinity then go down onto the train tracks to get to the end of the level. But a subway starts chasing you (you’re running towards the screen), and of course enemies get in your way to slow you down, including the exploding spiders. Argh! There are also some giant rats here, and this should have been the first place they appear, but you do meet them first in an earlier level.

In the catacombs you just have to run around and find five skeletons to release their spirits, which is a challenge because they tend to blend into the scenery.

Next you have to escort a character through the downtown area to get her to her shop safely. She can fight, but you definitely have to help or she will die (she has a life bar). The annoying thing is that she doesn’t just keep running. She stops and fights all enemies, so you constantly have to turn back to help her out, and the fact that she’s not leading the way to her own shop is kind of ridiculous. You’ll often get to corners and not be sure which way to turn. There is also a new enemy here…the good old zombie dog, and it’s fast. This is like a double mission, because after you get the character to safety, you have to go back into the level and find 12 pieces of silver before you can move on to the next level. And this time through there are zombies that shoot at you. Argh! But wait. There’s more. You can’t find all 12 pieces in this level, but the game doesn’t tell you that. You have to go through several previous levels, and you’ll know which ones by clicking on “info” on the map for each section, which will show you which levels now have an objective of finding silver. This is also your opportunity to complete some other optional objectives in each area if you’re a completist, like finding parts for a grenade launcher and fighting a boss in the church…trick is, you need to know that you have to play the organ twice to summon him, otherwise he doesn’t appear. In other words…you need a walkthrough.

Once you collect all the silver, prepare for the longest 90 seconds of your life. You have to protect the woman who is making silver bullets for you at her work table. Zombies come at her from three sides. Ugh. Be warned, her health bar goes down fast! Before you even go up to her when you enter the level, make sure to run around the edges of the room and collect all ammo and weapons you can. Once you approach her the fighting starts and you won’t have time to grab items that far away from her. Later in the game you have to do this challenge again, for two minutes, with more enemies, including shooters.

The next section is a boss fight in a cemetery arena…a werewolf. Unless you have dozens of continues, I don’t see how you’d ever beat this boss. He pounces on you relentlessly and you aren’t fast enough to run away from him to create distance to shoot at him. At the same time, there are regular enemies roaming around taking cheap shots at you as well. If there’s any part of the game that will make you want to quit, it’s this one.

In the midtown area, you once again have to escort someone to safety. Argh.

The next level is a mechanic shop, and now you have to contend with harder enemies that take more hits to die, fricking robots that shoot bullets and fire at you, and some canisters that explode when you break them, but seem to do more damage to you than to enemies. And that sucks, because you still get items and necessary items from breaking canisters, you just don’t know which ones are safe to smash and which aren’t. Plus, be warned that when the level begins you are immediately being shot at and hit by a robot that is right above you on a platform. What a scam.

In an annoying effort to extend the game, you next have to revisit midtown and then the mechanics shop to retrieve bus parts, which are located at the very end of the level in both cases. So you have to fight your way all the way through these levels just to get to the end to grab the bus part and complete the mission.

The third bus part is found after defeating this mechanical monster that swings at you, shoots at you, and hits you with ground shakes, all while the robot enemies are regenerating constantly and beating your ass as you try to struggle to stay standing with moving conveyor belts in the way. Ridiculous and not doable without a Codebreaker cheat system.

The prison is fun. First you have to fight off loads of enemies while entering various cells to save 9 innocents. This includes a bunch of guards with guns and new hanging ghosts. Next section is the prison yard. Again, there are more shooting guards, and now you have to find 5 switches to turn on plus find all the “totems”, which are these skeletal things that serve as respawn points for enemies. It’s so satisfying to be able to shut down the respawning for a change.

Up next is another boss battle that is a harsh reminder that boss battles used to be ridiculous. There’s a flying witch and her respawning minions who are all just shooting at your relentlessly from every angle, on and off screen and even though glass walls as you try to target the main witch specifically. I don’t know how you were expected to defeat these bosses without cheats.

In the morgue, which is an optional level where you can get a chain gun part, you meet a new flying enemy that spits acid at you, as well as these dreary floating ghouls you have to kill to get keys to move on to the next spaces.

The next level is infuriating. First you need to pick one of the fastest characters, and second, that won’t even help you. You are placed in a series of hallways with quadrants. At the end of each quadrant there are two survivors. The goal is to touch six of them in total before this shooter who can just beam into the quadtrants shoots them. I kid you not when I say that in every quadrant, the dude shoots one survivor before you’re even all the way in the quadrant. On top of that, there are obstacles in the way and enemies impeding your path. You will play this section over and over until you know exactly where each survivor is so you can better steer directly for them when you enter each quadrant.

The next few levels are revisits of previous areas and clearly in place just to extend the game. Only now there are more enemies, including these annoying slugs on the ground and dudes with flamethrowers.

Finally you reach the tower, and you have to climb winding stairs, fighting hordes of enemies while trying to break down ghost barriers that get in your way.

The final boss is a bitch, because of course there are tons of regular enemies coming at you while you try to defeat him, plus he has an array of swing attacks and projectile attacks. He has two phases. The first can only be done by melee fighting, the second only with guns. It is utter chaos and the boss takes forever to die with even the most powerful weapons, so I don’t see how you could possibly beat him without cheats. This is yet another game I’ll be selling off on ebay.

 

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It happened on Halloween

It was October in July for me with my latest marathon of movies, making for three more films to add to the complete holiday horror page.

CAMP PLEASANT LAKE (2024)

This campground slasher has a very early 2000s direct-to-DVD vibe. Oddly, it’s not a summer camp movie, but actually takes place at Halloween time…even though there isn’t a pumpkin or colorful fall tree in sight at the camp.

Michael Pare stars as a man who is opening a horror movie experience camp with his wife. I’m not sure if this is a test run or mostly just training for the employees, but there are literally dozens of people there and seemingly no plan of action.

The group gathers for a campfire story, which gives us a lengthy backstory sequence about a girl who went with her family to the camp years before for Halloween then walked off into the woods with a stranger and was never seen again.

Now, a killer in a mask and hoodie starts killing the people at the camp, and of course each time someone is killed, the others all think it is part of the experience.

Unfortunately, there are very few individual kills. I kid you not when I tell you there are three different scenes in which everyone is sitting around outside talking and the killer strolls on over to hack up a chunk of people while the others just laugh thinking it’s part of the experience. Which begs the question, what happens to all the dead bodies once the killer walks off?

It’s pretty bad, but it definitely has plenty of kills…

OCTOBERFEST (2018)

This 69-minute found footage movie is as low budget and as unplanned as you can get, and I’m only mentioning it because it has a Halloween theme.

For the first 14 minutes we are subjected to trailers for the director’s other no budget flix. One even “borrows” the soundtrack from the original A Nightmare On Elm Street. Not to mention, damaged film effects are applied, obscuring parts of the trailers, which seems kind of antithetical to promoting your movies.

After that it’s endless, unfocused, random footage of a dude hanging out with his friends at school, talking about sex, and grabbing his crotch. There is no story because you can’t even hear the dialogue…but at least there’s a butt shot for character development. Sigh.

Eventually we know it’s Halloween because there’s footage of the main guy going through a haunted attraction and visiting the Halloween section of a store (Home Depot is my guess, because I recognized the big animatronic werewolf they carry). Even so, I’m pretty sure there’s a fleeting shot outside his school where you can see small clumps of snow on the ground.

In the end he’s in a house, not turning on any lights, and getting scared by silly CGI ghosts that look like they were made on a Windows XP computer circa 2002. I’m not sure why he doesn’t just leave the house. The scene goes on for quite a while, and eventually I think we are left with the sounds of him being eaten by something.

KKKILLERS (2018)

This 76-minute movie comes from the director of Octoberfest, but is it the better of the two flicks?

For starters, we again get a chunk of trailers, but only a few minutes, not fourteen. The movie begins with someone sitting in an audience filming a play, and once again, you can’t hear any of the dialogue. Sigh.

There’s a promise of a social commentary here, with footage of the KKK and cross burning while a voiceover says that the law protects minorities and whites are the victims. It would be great if the film had used the frightening concept that people dressed in white sheets and hoods are going out killing minorities on Halloween night, but instead, the director muddies the waters by throwing in random masked killers from his other movies instead. Sigh.

There’s an underlying story of a dude who has just been to the reading of his dad’s will and found out his woman is pregnant. It all seems pretty irrelevant as we just get various sequences of people being terrorized by the masked killers (from the other movies), along with this masked person who looks like one of The Strangers decided to go retro 80s with a hoodie covered in pins.

There’s some great Halloween atmosphere at times, the film is drenched in an orange tint, and some of the sequences are genuinely creepy when taken on their own. It would almost have been more effective if any attempt at plot had been discarded and we were just treated to a montage of the creepy chase scenes and kills like some sort Halloween slasher version of The Ring video. Although, when it comes down to it, that’s mostly what this is.

The highlight for me is that the main guy finds himself embroiled in some sort of satanic stuff, and for whatever reason ends up shirtless with a pentagram on his chest for the final act. Hot. Now this is how to end a no budget horror movie to satisfy a gay dude. It’s also how a gay dude ends his post about a no budget horror movie.

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TUBI TERRORS: hack n slash or slasher hacks?

My latest trio of slasher selections didn’t quite work out for me, and here’s why.

BLOODLINE KILLER (2024)

This one is going on the holiday horror page because it has some good Halloween scenes, great autumn atmosphere, and the killer always comes back on Halloween—diehard.

Fans of Carpenter’s Halloween will notice numerous nods to the film that border on total plagiarism. I’m actually surprised the film doesn’t hype itself as being a Halloween-themed horror flick, because it definitely captures the spirit of the season.

Halloween vibe aside, this is more a slasher thriller with a lot of family drama thrown in for good measure, causing the pacing to drag. Even worse, the plot is permeated with holes, and just when you think maybe everything will be explained with a final scene, the credits start to roll. Believe me, it’s not just me. I watched it with four other people, and we were all left dumbfounded.

The opener is awesome, with a masked killer called The Skulleton doing a little hacking and slashing on Halloween night.

A year later, the family that was the target of the killer is still trying to cope with the attack. Shawnee Smith is the mom, and she’s in therapy. Don’t expect to ever make any sense of the hypnotism memories she experiences during these sessions. They muddy the waters even more.

We learn that a horror movie franchise has been made about Skulleton, which is further traumatizing the family, but that familiar plot line doesn’t get the weight it does in the Scream franchise, so it seems pretty pointless to even include it. And good luck trying to figure out the family tree. The killer appears to be related to the family, the killer appears to be coming for the family, and yet the killer also appears to avoid killing anyone in his bloodline. Huh?

There are a few suspenseful scenes and satisfying kills, but it all leads up to what turns out to be a hilarious final battle between the killer and the entire family all at once. All I’m going to say is you have to see the window scene to believe it.

With so many plot holes, I can only assume the filmmakers were intending to make a sequel that clarifies the deeply lacking story here.

BLACK SLASHER (2023)

90 minutes was too many for me to waste on this incompetent, uneven flick. I’m not going to spend much time on it.

First thing I’ll say is about the only positive. The killer, whose shiny silver skull mask helmet is reminiscent of the Laid to Rest killer, gets plenty of screen time, death scenes, and chase scenes.

Everything else is the problem, starting with the audio, which is terrible. It’s either dialogue that’s too low to hear or screaming and yelling that’s loud and shrill.

Anyway, a group of criminals kill an FBI agent and then go hide out in a ramshackle house in a redneck Black community. Huh?

Couldn’t follow the story or the characters, so I just watched for the CGI death scenes. There is some crass sex and shit humor that is completely tone deaf to the rest of the film, there’s a dance montage scene, there’s a shit-eating scene, there’s some casual anti-gay language, and the killer eventually confronts all the survivors at the same time.

Just save yourself the precious movie watching time.

CRAZY WABBIT (2022)

This is described as a miniseries on IMDb, so perhaps it was an online or streaming release. It runs only 52 minutes long, but that can’t save it.

I’m not sure if the film plays out better in installments, but the problem here is that the plot, as clever as it may be, is so blatantly obvious from the start that you’re left knowing exactly where this is going.

I will say the filmmaker perfectly exploits the creepiness of the bunny lady lurking in the background, however there are really no surprises here at all.

This woman keeps having nightmares of an escaped mental patient in a bunny costume and wakes up just as someone is being killed. And right from the first scene when she enters her home, there are flies buzzing all around her house. Um…I can’t imagine would it could all mean….

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X-rated gay horror from the 1970s

WARNING: this post is not for the sexually squeamish.

It’s a pair of short, gay horror-themed porn films from the 1970s that have finally been released on a single Blu-ray (there’s a third film on the disc, but it’s just sex with no plot or horror theme). I’m not going to get into the social implications of how these films may be portraying gay men as evil and promiscuous (hell, heterosexuals have always been portrayed that way in horror films), because I’d rather just celebrate that these are a slice of perverted gay horror cinema. Delicious. And of course they’re being added to the full homo horror movies page, as well as the scary seXXX page.

SEX DEMON (1975)

So stoked that this X-rated gay take on possession flicks of The Exorcist era finally got a physical release. Despite being on a Blu-ray, it looks like it was mastered from a worn and torn filmstrip, with missing frames and everything. However, that presentation makes it feel like you’re watching something taboo—I might as well have been watching this while hunkered down in a seat with my shoes sticking to the floor in the X-rated movie theater we used to drive past on Jamaica Avenue in Queens when I was just a boy in the 1970s.

This movie is filthy! It feels so much more forbidden than the crisp, clean pornos produced these days. It seriously made me want to suck a dick. It’s modern day XXX rated, not X rated.

Running less than an hour long, it is shockingly bold and open in its presentation of a monogamous gay couple. For their anniversary, one partner goes to a thrift shop to get a gift and picks up a mysterious medallion on a chain that literally comes with a note that says it’s possessed. What kind of dumb ass gay is this guy?

He gives the medallion to his boyfriend, who starts to wear it and is soon acting different. He eats raw meat from the fridge in the middle of the night while grunting in demon voice.

He gets argumentative. He starts going out and hooking up with other guys, forcing rough sex on them and then killing them.

In the most heinous scene in the film, he jams a screwdriver up a dude’s ass.

And eventually a priest comes to pay a visit…and the dude forces sex on him, too! Teehee. There’s even a nod to The Exorcist stairs scene at the very end.

Despite there being no budget and no special effects, the horror elements are nasty, sleazy, and gritty.

The highlight is an absolutely fantastic dream sequence in the middle—a satanic orgy, complete with candles, a skull, and acid trip editing and music to make you feel like you’re really watching some Devil worshipping gay sodomy footage. Awesome. And if you love this long sequence as I did, chances are you’ll love my series of Comfort Cove gay horror novels.

As for the sex, wow. There are scenes of ball licking and dick sucking that are so intimately shot without that staged feel you often get from sleek, mainstream porn. There’s a 69, jerking off to orgasm with loads of cum, full anal penetration, and damn! Fisting. WTF?

Reminded me of the cover of my book Wet Screams.

The film is from 1975, so all the white guys look like members of the Bay City Rollers, but notable is the fact that there’s a Black dude during the orgy, and the priest that performs the exorcism is Black. I love me some 1970s DEI.

The exorcism does its best to bring more horror. The scene is lit with red lighting, the bed thumps, doors slam, the possessed dude cums blood into the priest’s mouth, and his assault of expletives gets into verbal scat territory. Ew.

The only thing that ruined the final sequence is a ridiculously long series of choppy flashbacks to everything that happens sexually and violently throughout this short film. It really spoils the impact and flow of the exorcism scene.

One more note. I was surprised that they used disco hit “Shame Shame Shame” by Shirley & Company during a rape and murder scene in a club bathroom. I’m going to guess they probably didn’t even secure the rights to do so.

DEADLY BLOWS (1971)

This film is in much better shape visually than Sex Demon, so the details are crisper and clearer. It runs only 51 minutes long, time which is predominately filled with sex scenes set to irritating organ music. It’s not as explicit as Sex Demon—blow jobs are lengthy and graphic, but anal sex scenes feel more like softcore porn.

The plot is simple. Some dude has sex with and then kills drifters that come by his house. The first guy gets hammered in the head, second guy choked in the shower.

Third and final guy manages to knock him out and leaves. I don’t understand what it means after that, but we follow camera POV as a woman screams, which leads us to the sight of a dead, bloody woman.

In the end the killer dies voluntarily of autoerotic asphyxiation, which leaves a lasting visual impression—the only chilling moment in the film.

I’m kind of surprised that the filmmaker didn’t see what was right there in the title as the key to making this more cohesive. Deadly Blows is a clever title considering every guy who gives a blow job dies, but the killer should have exclusively used the hammer as a weapon, giving the title Deadly Blows a double meaning, not to mention adding more of a grisly, gory edge to the kills, because the hammer scene is awesome and the choke scene is just…a choke scene.

Guys were already choking while deep throating throughout the movie.

And finally, speaking of double meanings, it becomes quite clear the killer is hung…

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Killer clowns, killer animatronics, and killer horn dogs

These three aren’t just random selections from my watchlists—they each star Sadie Katz, one of my favorite contemporary b-horror scream queens.

CLOWN FEAR (2020)

Clown Fear has great clown horror atmosphere and some hunky killer clowns, including my horror buddy Marv Blauvelt. I believe this might be his best performance yet. He’s perfect as a beefy, psycho clown.

Sadie Katz stars as a bride about to get married when her fiancé calls off the wedding. So she hits the road with her bridesmaids, and they eventually end up at a desolate hotel that celebrates clowns.

This is a sort of backwoods clown family horror flick with many of the familiar elements you’d expect. The problem is the film is 110 minutes long and doesn’t deliver much in the way of the clowns killing, leaving us with too many scenes padding the runtime. For instance, there are two opening kill scenes, taking place ten years apart. The one from ten years before isn’t all that exciting and doesn’t do anything for the plot.

The wedding scene in which Sadie is dumped also runs too long, with too much dialogue. It’s a launching pad plot point that could have gotten right to it to get the action rolling. There’s also a scene in which the girls go out for a day in the sun and encounter some not so friendly cops. It’s another scene that adds nothing to the movie other than slowing down the pacing. And then there’s a bathtub scene in which a girl with her tits out has a nightmare about the clowns killing her…and she’s never even seen the clowns! It is one of those dream sequences that screams “we know we have pacing issues, so let’s throw in a horror scene by way of a dream”. Argh!

Having said that, there’s a good old sex scene between Sadie and horror hottie Randy Wayne, but unfortunately she spends a good amount of time alone with him (I don’t blame her), so even her role as the main girl gets watered down, and she’s not given a lot of time to show off her horror chops. There are also a few great horror sequences—we just needed more of them.

There are a couple of kills of minor characters, but the bride and bridesmaids don’t get picked off throughout the course of the film, instead having all the terror they experience crammed into the tail end of the final act. It’s just a missed opportunity for a film with a basic “wrong turn” plot and clowns that are so awesomely big and ominous.

WOODS WITCH (2023)

Woods Witch has all the elements at its disposal to be a satisfying, low budget found footage film, including a sexually twisted cult concept as well as a cast of horror veterans including Tom Sizemore, Lisa Wilcox, James Duval, Shawn C. Phillips, Sally Kirkland, Robert LaSardo, and Sadie Katz.

Unfortunately, what begins as an entertaining, slightly off the wall and humorous approach to classic found footage films eventually dissolves into an incoherent mess reminiscent of the tacky shit that Troma and Full Moon have defaulted to in their more current releases.

A small group of influencers decides to go into the woods where there’s a legend of a witch and adults and children have gone missing.

In Blair Witch style, they begin interviewing locals (some of which are funny and campy), but unlike Blair Witch, the stories they offer up do little to establish a backstory or give us the creeps.

Most enticing is a story about a magical tree in the woods that oozes menstrual blood, which you would think is setting us up for some sick shit later on, but you can forget about it, because the movie doesn’t live up to its promises.

The biggest promise is when the influencers finally come upon a commune of sexually charged nature lovers where Sadie Katz is sort of like their madam. It’s a shame she is not utilized in the position considering she is one of few horror actresses these days who is willing to really go for it in her roles. Also underutilized are a hunk with a big dick and a pretty queer boy. They are the most intriguing (and sexy) characters in the whole movie and should have been further exploited to raise the trashy bar this film seemed to be going for.

Inevitably a cult ritual occurs, but it’s just a bunch of nonsense instead of a well-staged sequence. Bummer.

NIGHT OF THE ZOMGHOULS (2022)

Pretty trippy when I started watching this one and noticed about a quarter of the cast is also in Woods Witch. I kind of took that as a sign of what to expect.

This is a weird low budget flick that jumps on the bandwagon of recent movies about animatronics come to life. As simply designed as they are, the “zomghouls” (as the animatronics are called) are the best part and are given some traditional horror vibes and music when they stalk and kill victims. That’s not to say the death scenes are good, because most of them are pretty bland.

The story is somewhat confusing. A serial killer escapes a cop and then sneaks into the arcade/haunted house (that’s how the main location is labeled on the sign) and seems to worship the animatronics or conjure some evil entity or something else. I’m not sure.

Then we meet numerous workers at the arcade. This includes Sadie Katz, who is once again lost in the shuffle. How do you waste the presence of a scream queen in your movie? I just don’t get it.

They have an employee meeting, they all worry about losing their jobs, and they sit around for most of the movie talking. One girl seems to get possessed, and the animatronics kill people once in a while.

We’re also introduced to a family bringing their daughter to the arcade for her birthday, and they’re not even given much to work with. Not to mention, they are the only customers in the whole place.

There is some blood an hour in (including bad CGI gore), but it doesn’t much help the final half hour of chaos in this poorly plotted and planned film.

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HULU HORRORS: a stalker, folk horror, and reanimation

It takes a while for Hulu to get enough new horror movies for me to check out for one of my posts, but after months and months of indulging mostly in Tubi’s vast selection, I finally reached three-movies in my Hulu watchlist, making me question if Hulu is even worth it. Anyway, let’s get into this trio.

THE STRANGER (2020)

This movie was actually a series of shorts that originally aired on a now defunct streaming service. The episodes were compiled together to make one full-length movie.

Maika Monroe of It Follows stars as a rideshare driver. The film doesn’t waste any time. She picks up a dude who at first seems nice but very quickly turns very dangerous. She escapes him, but he is soon tracking her every move and making her night hell.

Initially this felt like one of the many great suspense thrillers of the 90s, but as the film goes on it gets very annoying. This psycho unrealistically knows her every single move, setting up booby traps to frame her for a series of crimes before she even knows where she’s going to end up. During the final confrontation, the film explains how he supposedly tracked her, but seriously, he continuously has trouble in place for her before she even arrives where she’s going next. It made absolutely no sense.

On top of that, there are just absurd strings of events that are way too coincidental. For instance, Maika gets off a subway in the middle of a tunnel when she’s being pursued by the stalker, gets chased by coyotes (!), finds a secret passage, slips through it, and ends up at a rave…where the stalker is there waiting for her. Eye roll.

However, if you just want to enjoy the ride of the classic girl stalked by psycho style of thriller, this one definitely delivers. Personally, I was constantly more concerned about the fate of the little dog Maika carries with her than I was about her.

LORD OF MISRULE (2023)

When you love a subgenre, you generally appreciate consuming any take on it, so I think if you are big on folk horror you’ll be satisfied with this one, even though it is a virtual rubber stamp take on better-known folk horror flicks.

Personally, despite some atmospheric moments and a cool horned beast money shot at the end, I found the film to be rather empty as it simply checked off the boxes of what needs to happen in a folk horror flick without really drawing me in to the narrative or the characters.

The plot is simple. A female minister moves into a small town where no one really goes to church. Her husband is busy writing a book. Her daughter becomes the angel mascot of the harvest season festival.

The pagan-like festival is quite creepy with people in eerie masks, so that caught my attention. But then the daughter disappears and the mother spends the rest of the movie trying to piece together what became of her as she starts to learn more and more about the weird behavior of the locals. The reference to something waiting in the fields definitely reminded me of Children of the Corn, especially the 2020 installment of the franchise.

Naturally, she ends up being all on her own as she discovers cult practices and rituals taking place, and it all leads to some sadistic actions by the cult and a fire in a ramshackle building in a field.

BIRTH/REBIRTH (2023)

This one opens with a shocking scene of a woman jerking a guy off in a very clinical way in a bathroom stall, so I was very intrigued—and wanted more of this. However this isn’t about men…or cum in a cup…at all.

The film is definitely intriguing, but it doesn’t really delve too much into actual horror. The jerk-off woman is a morgue worker who is experimenting with bringing the dead back to life. Carla of Scrubs plays a maternity nurse whose daughter dies unexpectedly.

Before long, the paths of the two women cross, they move in together, and they begin working to bring the nurse’s little daughter back to life. This requires using fetal tissue from other pregnant women.

If this were an 80s movie like Re-Animator, there would be so many nasty places for it to go. Instead, we get a more emotional drama dealing with women’s issues: pregnancy, motherhood, how women’s bodies are used for child-rearing, etc.

Yeah, it’s elevated horror with a little dose of trauma porn. Don’t expect the little girl to become a reanimated monster that goes around killing people, but considering the filmmakers knew that’s probably what viewers expected, we are thrown a bone just once to show us the little girl isn’t exactly herself anymore. However, even that moment isn’t very intense.

The closest thing we get to a traditional reanimation concept is that the two women take immoral and unethical routes in an effort to play God.

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A trio of playful horror flicks with humorous undertones

It’s a gay giallo spoof, a zombie musical, and a slasher. I wouldn’t quite call these three films horror comedies, but they do offer varying levels of camp, quirkiness, and satire.

CUT! (2021)

Despite being loaded with drag queens, gender-bending elements, and campy takes on giallo style, this Spanish film is really not a horror comedy so much as it is a notably serious spoof of giallos.

The exaggerated nods to giallo death scenes, music, narrative, and visual presentation are definitely easy to appreciate for fans of the subgenre, but they aren’t particularly funny.

Even so, this is still horror lite, for the kills aren’t brutal or bloody, which I think is the one missed opportunity. If you’re going to mimic giallos for a queer audience, you need to go for it all the way. On the bright side, there are a couple of gay sex scenes, plus plenty of drag performances sprinkled throughout the film, one of them a duet with lyrics that poke fun at giallo tropes.

Plus, there’s Cut! butt…

Cut! queens…

Cut! cum…

The plot focuses on a director trying to make a totally meta gay giallo…making this whole movie totally meta. Problem is anyone he comes across during production ends up being killed off.

It’s not long before two detectives are on the case, and we get to see into their personal lives a bit. Very giallo. This is where the film is interesting in its presentation of sexuality. One detective is a lesbian, yet most of the female roles are played by drag queens, so she ends up in bed with a drag queen. At the same time, the male detective has a wife who loves giallos, and she is also played by a drag queen. In each case we’re left wondering if we are supposed to assume the drag queens are identifying as cis women (think Hairspray) or being presented as trans women, because most of the other drag queens in the movie are literally drag queens.

The satirical nature of the film overshadows any whodunit aspects, which is perhaps the biggest weakness here aside from the tame death scenes, but as a gay flick, it doesn’t hold back and I totally ordered the DVD to add to my gay horror movie collection, plus it now has a home on the complete homo horror movies page.

POWERTOOL CHEERLEADERS VS. THE BOYBAND OF THE SCREECHING DEAD (2022)

It’s another movie for the screamin’ and singin’ horror musicals page. Sort of a pop rock musical with some catchy melodies, campy moments, and at times some good gore, this film still doesn’t quite live up to its name. For starters, the cheerleaders and the boy band look like they’re about ready to star in The Big Chill when they should look like they’d give anything to be in a David DeCoteau film circa 2002. On top of that, this horror musical feels like it’s much more focused on too many characters than it is on the horror or the music—ironically, a totally minor character actually gets a whole solo song about how secondary he is to the plot. Clever.

Anyway, we meet a waitress with a phobia to cheerleaders who decides to conquer her fear by forming a cheerleading team and competing in a TV talent show.

This stems from a sort of nightmare she has in which she is visited by her freakishly awesome dead grandmother, who leaves behind a special supernatural necklace. I wish grandma would have left her dead ass behind, because she’s the best part of the movie.

As we then meet members of the cheer team and the boy band, it all feels surreal and avant-garde, with some cartoonish, colorful, theater stage set moments thrown in to capture that musical feel. Also, our main cheerleader reconnects with an old flame, who is now in the boy band.

After the awesome encounter with grandma, things really slow down for a majority of the film. The boys get into a car accident, the girls mess with grandma’s necklace, and the boys come back as zombies.

They are zombies for a good portion of the film, yet there’s no actual zombie zaniness until the final act, when the girls bust onto the talent show set with chainsaws and other power tools to defeat the boy band on live TV.

Carnage finally ensues, but the movie needed much more of it throughout its runtime.

KILLHER (2022)

More quirky than comedy, this oddball flick about a group of girls camping in the woods spends much of its time trying to build a red herring threat while simultaneously making it pretty obvious who the killer is from the start. Defying expectations with a hint of subversion doesn’t quite pan out when the audience is very much expecting the defiance.

We meet a girl getting married who has two longtime friends and a new friend that isn’t quite embraced by her old besties.

The new girl seems outgoing and fun except for two things. First, she’s obsessed with horror and is constantly pulling scare pranks. And second, she is obviously obsessed with the bride-to-be. Personally, I’m obsessed with the groom-to-be.

The girls set up camp and immediately discover a mysterious, burly man is camped in a tent just yards away.

As suspicious as he’s made out to be, giving off major Wolf Creek vibes, he’s quite clearly a pretty chill guy…and the new friend into horror is so obviously off her rocker. But are they both just red herring?

The killer is actually a hoot. Although there is no true horror excitement until 47 minutes into the film beyond endless horror pranks the crazy friend plays on the others, the killer is virtually a one-person show of erratic entertainment and very reminiscent of Angela as portrayed by Pamela Springsteen in the Sleepaway Camp sequels.

But here’s the problem. There aren’t enough victims, so irrelevant side characters are brought in to give the killer a motivation to make someone else look like the killer. It adds an unnecessary complication to an otherwise simple slasher plot.

Also, the kill count is low, and there’s nothing in the way of scares or suspense. However, the last few minutes bring a chaotic killer energy that you end up wishing had been delivered all along, because the finale is a blast.

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