Things that spread like a plague

Parasites, spores, mold…it all leads to infected freaks in my latest movie marathon, which includes one flick with a gay main character.

DARK PARASITE (2023)

There are absolutely no new ideas in this film, and it fluffs its runtime with character development, but overall, the limited horror moments were entertaining.

A homeless man is digging through garbage when something falls from the sky and a slug crawls out of it. The man is invaded and pretty much turns into a glowing-eyed zombie. We even get a brief glimpse of a big alien.

Next, we meet a group of thieves. After a robbery gone wrong with plenty of shooting, they hide out in an abandoned apartment building. The only woman in the group begins seeing things in the empty halls drenched in Saw green as she wrestles with past trauma. The tense atmosphere is effective, and dare I say the exploration of the gloomy building and its long tunnels was giving me Session 9 vibes.

Unfortunately, it’s not until 52 minutes into the movie that the parasite comes back into play in this 85-minute movie. Within no time there are only two survivors left with nothing in the way of intense horror to get us to that tally, but the final chase through the tunnels as the big alien chases them is okay. Overall, it’s a disappointingly understated horror experience despite the tight production.

THE SPORE (2021)

I was astounded to realize that as this “zombie” film progressed, I began to like it more and more.

Going for the minimalist approach makes this one particularly eerie. After an opening that begins with voice-over radio reports that do nothing more than clue us into the fact that a virus is spreading and things are getting weird in more heavily populated areas, we shift instead to what is essentially a series of vignettes about individuals in a rural area as they each experience an encounter with a single infected person.

In each case, a character crosses over into the next segment, creating a chain effect of the virus spreading in a very limited way as compared to a fast and frenetic outbreak in a densely populated location.

The isolation creates a highly effective and creepy tone, and the score captures that isolation—it’s tranquil and melancholy, yet haunting.

Each encounter delivers on the sense of being completely alone when coming upon the horrifying sight of an infected person, plus you feel bad for those infected because the suffering they go through is highlighted more than the fact that they transform into monsters.

And in each case, the spread of the spores seems to show the infected in a different state. Some are completely rotten, some are recently changed, and others are suffering within the confines of a nightmarish web of spores.

As the vignettes progress and the infection is handed off, we eventually get to see the final results of how the infection takes over the host. Eek! To top it all off, the movie uses practical effects, and plenty of them. Icky good.

If you’re looking for something with more atmosphere and a slower burn than the typical infected/zombie flick, definitely check this one out.

MOLD (2022)

Yay! A new Crum brothers movie! I love the Crum brothers. Michael directs this one, and Gerald writes and stars in it. Crummy yummy.

There’s a black mold growing in an apartment building, and we meet the main characters—Crum, his girlfriend, and a gay couple including a quiet dude and an old bitchy queen with a predatory edge. Blech. I mean, the guy plays the role perfectly, because it gave me flashbacks to being younger and trying to avoid those types of real-life caricatures.

Anyway, Crum calls a specialist in to check on the black mold and things quickly escalate. The specialist is attacked by the mold and immediately transforms into what reminds me of The Fly. In a way, the feel of this film reminded me of one of Mulberry Street, one of my faves.

However, this film turns into an oddly artsy endeavor, with virtually no dialogue or sound effects, no music score, distracting close-ups of those infected lurking around rooms and hallways drenched in red and green horror lighting (to create claustrophobic vibes, I assume), and a mere three main characters trying to stay hidden from the hideous looking infected for the entirety of the movie.

As much as I love the Crums and the freaky visual experience they deliver here, the movie just goes on endlessly with not much in the way of character development or motivations. There’s literally no story here…just a few people playing cat and mouse with mold monsters. It’s also unclear why there are so few people in the building and why they can’t just get the fuck out of there.

The bright side is that the quiet gay guy becomes one of the main characters, landing this one on the does the gay guy die? page. It also lands this one on my shelves, because I totally bought the DVD after watching it.

Posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s behind that mask?

It’s time for a trio of newer indie slashers with killers in masks, and one of them has a queer main character.

DARK WINDOWS (2023)

A group of friends goes to a cabin in the woods to unwind and is soon stalked by someone in a mask. It’s a tale as old as slasher films, but with only three friends in the group, this one plays out more like a very slow burning home invasion film.

The group is feeling guilty over the death of a friend, and we know it involved them all in a car accident. There are people at the funeral who are hateful towards the friends, so blame is being tossed around…as are possible killer suspects.

When the trio gets to the cabin, the main girl learns they invited the boyfriend of the dead friend, who feels like she’s responsible for his girlfriend’s death, but he doesn’t arrive anytime soon.

Meanwhile, there’s some good atmosphere, the internet goes out, and the lights go out. The main girl is also convinced she keeps hearing the voice of the dead friend.

31 minutes in there’s a classic sign that someone else is in the house, but the first hour is mostly all talk with little horror substance.

The invasion by someone in a mask and hoodie doesn’t kick in until the last half hour. It’s a long time to wait to get there, but the third act is definitely strong. There are tense, suspenseful conflicts with the person in the mask, but don’t expect a body count, because there are barely any living bodies to begin with. The violence and last minute kills more than make up for that though. This one is definitely worth checking out for the finale.

FOUNDERS DAY (2023)

This slasher is a political satire emblematic of what’s going on in the U.S. today…people who will do anything to be in power, including kissing the ass of the most vile people to get there, as well as people turning a blind eye to immoral behavior if it means they can advance their own political career. That’s why you need to just watch this one for the awesome and brutal death scenes—because reality bites.

The movie is way too long at 106 minutes. Should’ve been 90 minutes. It begins on Halloween (yay!) but after the first kill it quickly moves on to the days before a local mayoral election. We meet all the townsfolk, who are painted as if they could either be the killer or the next victim, because they’re mostly all awful. Unfortunately, as much as this is one big red herring cast of characters, you’re still likely to guess the identity of the killer.

Our main girl is a Black lesbian (awesome), and the killer is dressed in a judge costume and uses a gavel with a knife in the handle as the main weapon. The plot revolves around the fact that the incumbent mayor wants to continue with the political festivities despite murder coming to the small town, while the challenger thinks they need to take the threat seriously.

And so, the murders continue as way over-the-top characters give us every reason to want them all dead. Therefore, the kill scenes are so satisfying.

It’s the final act where everything just falls apart as the movie attempts to outdo even the most convoluted Scream denouements.

There are way too many twists and turns, and the plot jumps through hoops to try to explain itself, bombarding us with flashbacks of what really happened behind the killer scenes that we didn’t witness. I’m telling you, just watch it for the kills.

SLAUGHTERHOUSE ON THE HILL (2024)

This one is basically an indie love letter to both Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Slaughterhouse, with a large killer wearing a pig head stalking and killing a group of friends in an old abandoned farmhouse.

Thing is, this group of friends is like a bunch of GenXers. They are at a high school football game, of which there is way too much footage to pad the already short runtime of 75 minutes, and lamenting that they’re past their prime. As much as the dialogue and acting are harsh reminders of this being a low budget effort, their longing for the teen years is something a lot of older viewers can probably identify with.

The runtime is also padded with the group getting to the house and talking about partying without actually partying. When they finally do party, we get not one but two montages set to EMO tracks by Bruce Wayne’s Day Off and Evolove from the early 2000-teens. So maybe this is a group of millennials?

Anyway, there’s very little action because the group mostly sticks together instead of splitting up…a necessity if you’re going to have any sense of slasher pacing.

However, this is where the movie gets props. First, when the kills finally hit, they are all practical effects, and it’s deliciously bloody, gory, and macabre. And second, when one couple (they’re all straight) starts getting frisky, this daddy with a white beard gets a few nipple squeezes from his girl, and he doesn’t complain.

Plus, the murder scene is sexy sleazy disgusting. Awesome.

Topping it off, there are some nasty dismemberment scenes, a sewing body parts together scene (which doesn’t hold any meaning), and a flashback that involves a prison rape and is a significant plot point. Interesting.

Posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SHUDDER AND SHRIEK: a killer gay boy, a Spanish anthology, and stopmotion slashing

I took on three from my Shudder watchlist, including a gay flick from the early 90s. Let’s get into all three movies.

DEATH ON THE BEACH (1991)

This could have been an interesting portrait if dated portrait of a gay serial killer slasher if it wasn’t so damn cheesy—particularly a totally mood-killing, hokey score that sounds like something out of a wholesome, early 80s action show (think BJ and the Bear, The A-Team, etc.). On the other hand, the movie is so fricking gay, with plenty of pretty boys in Speedos, so it’s going on the complete homo horror movies page.

The opener holds so much gay horror promise. We see the POV of someone sneaking into a naked sleeping guy’s room before killing him and ramming a rod up his fuzzy ass.

Then we are immediately scammed with a heterosexual sex scene! Blah! There’s this rich woman who is about to marry her man and has to break the news to her high school son, who is returning from school after the mysterious murder of a teacher.

A good chunk of the film has the mother and her boyfriend trying to force girls onto the son, but he’s having none of it. Meanwhile, guys are trying to force themselves on him as well.

Inevitably he starts killing everyone…mostly by pushing them off cliffs and out windows. There’s something too funny about the way the scenes are choreographed, so there’s no shock or horror to be had.

More unnerving is a scene where the son taunts a deaf alcoholic dude with a knife, as well as another scene that gives Psycho a homoerotic twist (in other words, naked dude showering). This is the one scene set to appropriate, suspenseful music. Too bad the rest of the movie couldn’t have done the same.

Meanwhile, the mom’s boyfriend is onto the son being both gay and a killer, and wants to expose the truth to her, because she is totally in denial. It is like a bad, homophobic telenovela (this is a Spanish movie).

In the end, we get to see some major wiener, there’s the kind of major momma’s boy dynamics you’d expect from a movie of this era, and there are some other stereotypical ideas about gay men from that era. It’s silly but it’s sexy, and it only runs like 75 minutes long.

SATANIC HISPANICS (2022)

This horror anthology is mostly more about Hispanic creators than inherently Spanish plots, but it does have its moments. There are plenty of horrific visuals, but in general I found the stories to mostly be abstract rather than concrete.

In the wraparound, police break into a house full of dead people and bring a lone survivor to the station for questioning, which is when the stories are told.

1st story – A man uses light to see entities in his apartment and ends up being terrorized by a hideous, crawling, mutilated human. Eek!

2nd story – In this campy story, a vampire discovers he has less time to take advantage of being out in public on Halloween night than he thinks because of daylight savings. This is a whimsical tale as he tries to make his way back home in record time.

3rd story – A paranoid dude in a house with a gun is sure someone’s coming for him. I take it this is a metaphor for ICE and being an undocumented immigrant. The guy is jumped and becomes part of a nightmarish voodoo ritual. I didn’t understand any of it, but it was definitely a freakish treat with some man-on-man face licking.

4th story – A man and woman meet at a restaurant for a reunion and before long he’s battling demons. Awesome.

The wraparound concludes with a dark force infiltrating the police station. As with most horror anthologies, you’re bound to find a tale or two that satisfy.

STOPMOTION (2023)

You’ll never look at Rankin/Bass holiday specials the same way. Sure, there are plenty of gnarly visuals in this film about a stopmotion animator whose creations begin to blur the line between movie and reality, but for me this was just all too surreal to be scary.

Nothing seems normal here. The woman, who is dealing with her mother being in a coma, meets a young girl in the apartment building in which she’s living who wants her to start using meat to make her figures.

So…she does. This little brat is crazy, but the woman goes along with her psychotic suggestions without much pushback.

The girl helps her devise a stopmotion move plot that is basically about a woman being stalked by a creep at a cabin in the woods. Eventually the monster begins to manifest itself in reality. Don’t expect a clean and concise stopmotion killer on the loose movie.

This is an artsy film attempting to go the elevated horror route. Personally, I was bored watching characters that looked like melting wax voodoo dolls running around and experiencing all the horror instead of actual people.

Posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I went ghost hunting on the PS2 one last time

I continue to revisit all the horror games from my old game systems (still chipping away at the PlayStation 2 games), and this time it was Ghosthunter. I don’t even know how I managed to get through it the first time, because it’s much more of an action horror game than a survival horror…although, surviving is a helluva challenge.

You play as a hot early 2000s EMO detective investigating a murder with your female partner. You start in a school and immediately get separated. There are some semi-training missions to get you used to the clumsy controls. You have regular guns, but there isn’t loads of ammo to find, plus you fight ghosts mostly, so it feels like you should use the pulse gun that you soon get, which shoots energy beams. It requires replenishing energy regularly to work, and you do that by killing ghosts and then collecting the blue orbs that are released. But it’s a 2-step system. You shoot the enemies to weaken them, then you throw this boomerang grenade to help finish them off and “capture” them. I honestly was never sure when they were hurt enough to capture, so I would just shoot then toss the boomerang repeatedly until it worked (it gets stuck in them for short periods of time, which is an ideal chance to shoot away). You can also run right up to some enemies (walking monsters, and later, shooting ghost men) and shove the boomerang grenade inside them, plus you can use it after battles to summon energy orbs that are too far away to get yourself.

Replenishing your health is a matter of finding fire orbs that pop up in various locations. It’s not a very comforting health system at all, and you will find yourself aching for fire orbs as the game progresses. You can use the boomerang grenade to fetch these as well when they’re in impossible to reach locations.

Saving is cool. You hit checkpoints, and it says checkpoint on the screen to inform you. When this happens, just go into the menu, select save, and it saves at that checkpoint. Although you can’t save whenever you want like some survival horror games, the checkpoints are fairly frequent.

The game has a very sci-fi ghost plot, so you soon get an astral sidekick. You can summon her at certain hubs, and you then temporarily use her to do tasks your EMO guy can’t. You must be fast, because using her uses up your ghost energy bar. Sigh. She also has clumsy flying controls, which hurt your speed effort, but eventually you get a better grasp on them. She also gains different abilities, which have to be switched using the same type of on-screen menu you use to switch guns when you’re the EMO guy. You’ll need a walkthrough to figure out when and why to use which astral abilities, and it always involves unlocking your next path forward, as does every puzzle you solve in this game. This really is just a run and gun game at heart.

The game starts off basic—find, fetch, backtrack, fight. That changes when you get to a really annoying part where you have to get through a series of gates by waiting for a big fat floating ghost to open them. The challenge is that he gets spooked if he sees you, so you have to hide until he unlocks gates and goes through them, and then follow him. You can crouch and also press X to hug a wall, which is a very annoying ability that tends to get triggered when you’re trying to perform an action…which uses the X button also. Argh.

Next come tedious sections that are basically mazes you have to wind your way through while being shot at by sniper ghosts. You will find health orbs and energy orbs sorely lacking throughout all this (but enemies drop them when killed). At the same time, you have to search for dynamite to blow up new paths to continue forward, you have to follow more of those scaredy-cat ghosts to get through gates, and you have to use your astral girl to turn on switches to open up new areas.

As you get deeper into the game, as is common with these older titles, you won’t really know what you’re supposed to do without a walkthrough. I honestly don’t know how people even figured this shit out to write a walkthrough to begin with back in the day. For instance, there’s this whole mansion segment—fucking infuriating—in which you have to chase down and capture this ghost girl who jumps through green blobs in walls to transport to other rooms. You have to capture her spirit five fucking times, and the thing is, every time you chase her, rooms morph and doorways change their destinations, and the only way to capture her is when she’s vulnerable, which is as she recovers after teleporting. This leaves you with brief windows of opportunity to see her jump into a green glob, chase her to whatever room she ends up in, and then shoot her before she recovers. But there’s more. It’s not actually her you’re capturing. You need to shoot her to turn her into a giant teddy bear and then fight the teddy bear and capture that! Meanwhile, there are times when you can’t even start chasing her until you first fight and capture little boy ghosts that attack you. Argh.

The first boss doesn’t involve you actually killing the boss. There’s this giant alligator, and you have to shoot it in the belly several times so it spits out this giant goon. You then have to lure the goon to three different houses with porches so he’ll knock the porches down. How the fuck would you ever know this? But wait! The fight continues, and now you have to lure the alligator to the goon so they will fight each other! Keep doing this until they have low life bars, and then you can capture their souls.

The next chapter is annoying. You’re in a school, and you have to go into numerous rooms to expose and capture invisible poltergeists, sometimes fighting two at a time as they throw chairs, televisions, and other objects at you. The goal in each room is to figure out how to manipulate objects to create a smokescreen that allows you to see the poltergeists. In the meantime, you also have to battle the usual enemies in hallways. This section ends with a horrible boss battle in a theater. First there are numerous floating, flying ghosts shooting at you as you try to kill and capture them all, then you once again have to expose several poltergeist with smoke grenades and capture them. This is so purely an action fighting segment that it can become very frustrating.

Next segment is on a boat using tanks to shoot out doors and progressing through hordes of ghost military men, some with Gatling guns. That’s followed by a challenge of having to get past huge tentacles that latch onto you if you don’t walk slow, crouch, and remain out of sight. Exhausting. The goal is to trigger detonators to blow up the tentacles, and sometimes you have to first collect dynamite to place near the tentacles before you can trigger the detonator.

After that you have to work your way down platforms, monkey bars, and ladders in a round room. In the middle of that you have to use your astral girl for a super confusing task that involves closing a door and turning on a water pump. It’s a horrible maze to have to deal with when you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t have an unlimited amount of ghost energy to keep her going.

Next there are more tentacles and a task that requires running over various catwalks to release some prisoners.

And finally you get to the nightmarish boat boss battle. It’s this huge monster in a ballroom, and while it swipes at you and shoots at you, you have to shoot little bombs a tank is shooting into him. You can’t see the bombs, so you have to depend on your target reticule turning red. When you do shoot a bomb, the monster releases a spirit that you have to shoot and capture…all while running around the giant boss that is attacking you and blocking your target. You need to do this three damn times to defeat the boss.

Then it’s on to a prison complete with ghost prison guards carrying guns. Ugh. The astral girl has now gained a possession ability, which you will put to use several times, having her possess ghosts (huh?) to perform actions to open the way forward for you. She will also once again get into a ridiculously maze-like section that is sure to see you running out of ghost energy if you don’t follow a walkthrough to get through it quickly.

You also have new obstacles to carefully time your way past…steam pipes and fan blades. You’re crouched while you’re going through this little death trap, and the camera angles are horrendous.

You then have to jump through prison cells using certain items to bring you to a virtual house where you have to find new items to open portals in other prison cells to reach other areas of the house to complete your objective. Again…walkthrough!

Next you fight an electrified boss. TWICE. First time isn’t so bad, but the second time he’s surrounded by generators, and wouldn’t you know they let him regenerate. The goal is to blow out the switch boxes on the sides of the generators…while he’s kicking your ass and getting in the way of your target…so that he becomes vulnerable and you can finally kill him.

After that boss you work your way through a junk yard killing more poltergeists. This ends with a giant boss made of junked cars. But you don’t shoot him. No. You have to use special binoculars in first person mode to see four poltergeists on his body, and kill and capture them one at a time. Thing is, you can’t move while in first person mode. Curses! Even worse, one of the poltergeists is attached to his back, and you have to run through his legs, turn around, go into first person mode, turn on the binoculars to see the poltergeist, then aim, shoot it, and capture it before the boss turns around, which he pretty much does immediately. I highly suggest getting yourself a Codebreaker or you will be quitting the game at this point. There are a few built-in button sequence codes available for this game, but they’re pretty useless.

On to the military base, which has you running through endless rooms and corridors following and protecting a guy from numerous ghosts, and you have to kill and capture them all to move forward. Plus, sometimes the guy runs ahead of you and you can’t find him when you’re done fighting!

Suddenly you get to his point where you are shot in a cutscene, and the main menu seems to come up, making you think you’re dead and the game has ended, but it’s not over yet! You’re thrown back into the game, now playing as a MECH! It’s so annoying. You just have to roam around shooting ghosts in first person mode until you reach a cutscene. Then your character suddenly turns astral and you have to fly around, up, and down all the pipes and will have no idea where you’re going unless you use a walkthrough. This eventually leads you to the final boss.

This game takes the lazy final boss route. You have to simply fight hordes of the same enemies you’ve been fighting all along. Sorry, but without a cheat system you would probably never make it past this part. There are loads of different enemies, and they overlap instead of coming in waves. Plus, many of them shoot at you. The only bright side is that although this takes place on platforms, this game doesn’t allow you to fall of the edges. Yay.

After you get through all the old enemies, you have to just shoot the main boss—who has been flying around you the whole time but been untouchable—until you take out his life bar.

Game over…and up for sale on eBay if you want it.

Posted in The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror, What I'm Doing With My Joystick | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

TUBI TERRORS: a ghost girl, alien zombies, and Bigfoot

It’s another mish-mosh of subgenres as I attempt to chip away at my massive Tubi watchlist (expect several of these). Let’s get right into them.

CAROLTYN (2022)

This one takes possessed girl and Asian ghost girl themes and gives them a fresh take with Black protagonists. Actually, that’s the only fresh take here, because otherwise it’s a fairly typical story.

When kids around town begin dying inexplicably, a mother soon suspects her daughter is next.

After being haunted by a freaky ghost woman, the daughter ends up in what I think is a military hospital. The ghost woman is the highlight in this obviously low budget flick, and she comes across as a total rip-off of The Grudge and The Ring girls. In other words, she’s loads of fun.

Danny Trejo joins in on the silliness as a guy who experienced the entity when he was a kid, so there are flashbacks of how it terrorized his family, and Eric Roberts appears in a flashback about the entity’s background, which involved a mob of white people lynching a Black woman. That makes it kind of bullshit that the entity is terrorizing a young Black girl and her mother instead of some white bitches!

Would you believe Danny Trejo ends up wielding a machete…?

Just be aware that all hell doesn’t break loose until 54 minutes into the movie, and themes of God and faith come into play as the mother is forced to face her demons. Ugh. Not to mention, the final frame is just so cheesy.

NIGHT OF THE FALLING STARS (2021)

When you want to make a cabin in the woods alien movie but you don’t have the budget to create any kind of alien effects, you do something like this…the aliens spread their infection through humans, basically turning them (and this movie) into a zombie outbreak.

There’s literally nothing you haven’t seen before in Night of the Falling Stars, but the familiarity is what makes it watchable, beginning with the comic book style, graphical text intros of each character. I’m so over the use of this device in movies with the intent of being quirky and cool.

Anyway, a group of friends goes to a cabin in the woods, and before long they are being attacked and bitten by other humans, so they hole themselves up in their cabin.

Thanks to the geek in the group, they figure out there are aliens passing parasites to humans and converting them.

It’s not scary, and attempts at camp and excessive pop culture meta humor don’t fully hit the mark, but it has its fun moments. Especially when horror hunk Paul Logan shows up…shirtless in his undies. His deadpan delivery is the highlight of the whole movie, and I feel his character was underutilized.

Other than that, there’s a lot of standing around trying to figure out how they’re going to escape the situation, plus a low budget chase through the woods at the end. Also, Logan gets a disappointingly short action sequence fighting zombies…I mean…aliens.

STRANDED (2023)

I did not expect a Bigfoot movie from the director of the sleazy good creature feature Don’t Fuck in the Woods to turn out like this did, but he does deserve props for trying something different.

We get a fairly impressive and atmospheric intro at night with a full Monty look at the monster, and he’s awesome in an old school, 1970s horror movie Bigfoot way. The movie really needed to live up to the vibe created here, but it doesn’t.

After the first kill, we are drawn into family drama…for almost the rest of the movie. It begins at the funeral of a mother whose kids are at each other’s throats over who was and wasn’t there for her. She left a video message intended to bring them all together. So…

…they head to a family cabin in the woods. At a rest stop there’s a bulletin board covered in missing persons posters. So much ominous promise.

The siblings set off on the rest of their trip, and their car gets stuck in the middle of nowhere. And there they sit for about 40 minutes of this 80-minute movie, arguing endlessly about the same thing. They’re not even trapped in the car because of Bigfoot!

Finally they hear a noise, they exit the car, and there’s a short sequence of events with them finally meeting up with the Bigfoot, which briefly brings back the awesome tone from the beginning.

If you’re a Bigfoot fanatic you might want to watch this for the shots of the menacing beast, but for me, once you’ve seen Exists, no other Bigfoot movie will really do.

 

Posted in Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I watched 65 episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theater…

…and I’m here with a list of my favorite episodes.

Most people know author Ray Bradbury due to his classic Fahrenheit 451, which many of us were required to read back in high school (but which is probably banned these days, ironically). However, Bradbury was a prolific author of sci-fi/fantasy novels and short stories. There have been movie adaptations of his work, and his stories have been adapted over the years for episodes of The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. So in the 80s, when horror anthology shows were hot, it made sense that HBO would bring us a series based on his tales. It was eventually released on DVD…six seasons, 65 episodes, crammed onto 5 DVDs. since the discs don’t feature the episodes organized in order of original air date, I’m going to break down my favorite episodes by disc number—and it’s pretty safe to say many coincide with my favorite short stories of his on which they are based.

DISC 1

The Crowd

This tale is an absolute classic in which a man gets into a car accident and survives…but then begins to notice all the same people surrounding victims every time there’s a tragic accident. This is possibly his most chilling story ever.

Marionettes, Inc.

This one comes from the director of Humongous and Prom Night (the latter of which explains why Leslie Nielsen has a role in the episode). A man buys a robot clone of himself to fill in for him when he needs a break from his over-attentive wife. What could possibly go wrong?

The Playground

The director of Killer Party and Funeral Home gives us a haunting tale of a man who relives his childhood when his bullies return to torment his son at the playground. William Shatner stars in this creeptastic episode.

The Screaming Woman

Directed by the director of Prom Night 2, this one stars young Drew Barrymore who reads Tales from the Crypt magazine! She becomes convinced she hears a woman’s screams coming from underground in the woods, but no one believes her.

Gotcha!

A man and woman meet at a costume party. They hit it off immediately and have a perfection relationship, but he begins to wonder if it’s real or a dream. She brings him to a sleazy hotel to test his boundaries and see if he still thinks she’s the perfect woman for him. That’s when things get very witchy.

The Emissary

Bradbury manages to throw a creepy twist into an otherwise heartfelt tale. A young boy with an illness has a dog that always brings him things to make him feel better. Horrifically, on Halloween night the dog once again brings the boy something it thinks will make him feel better. Eek!

The Man Upstairs

A young boy living with his grandmother begins to believe a new tenant upstairs is a vampire. The boy’s risky attempts at investigating on his own are so perfectly 80s horror-lite, but it gets horror heavy when the twist hits.

The Small Assassin

It’s the tried and true plot line of a mother believing her newborn is evil and trying to kill her. There’s even creepy baby POV. However, the ending kind of leaves us hanging…

On the Orient, North

This is a morbid little tale of a nurse on a train who offers to help a dying man travel to a place that still believes in the supernatural, because she believes he is already a ghost. This one has a very Twilight Zone ending.

The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl

This tale plays out of sequence and is carried along by the manic performance of icon Michael Ironside as an enraged author. It’s pretty obvious from the start why he feels the need to target his literary agent, but as the tale unfolds somewhat backwards, this becomes a take on Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” concept.

DISC 2

Skeleton

This is a darkly comic tale starring American Pie daddy Eugene Levy as a hypochondriac who goes to a creepy bone expert and receives a treatment that leads to bone problems being a thing of the past. Eek! The final moments deliver the money shot.

Punishment Without Crime

This is classic Bradbury sci-fi and stars Donald Pleasence as a man who purchases a robot clone of his adulterous wife thinking she’ll be a better “person”. However, things go horribly wrong instead.

The Dwarf

The sister from Silver Bullet plays a young woman that befriends a small man who visits the carnival house of mirrors to see himself as tall. She delves into his world to get a better understanding of life from his perspective. This one has a perfect 80s horror anthology series vibe, and the carnival setting and its sleazy owner add a great creep factor.

The Veldt

This story is a reminder that Bradbury always seemed to have a view into the future. Parents keep their children occupied in a sort of virtual reality playroom. Things go horribly wrong when the children somehow lock the playroom in man-eating jungle animal mode. Eek!

Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms in Your Cellar!

This is a classic story that has been adapted or ripped off in variations. A boy orders one of those kits from a magazine that allows you to grow plant life, in this case, mushrooms. His dad begins to think the mushrooms are alien invaders…especially when his son begins acting weird.

DISC 3

The Wind

A meteorologist determines that the wind isn’t a natural occurrence, but actually a demonic force…and now it’s after him because he knows. Quite cool taking the idea of howling winds, which are usually a byproduct of horror atmosphere, and making them the actual monster.

A Sound of Thunder

This is a classic Bradbury story in which rich people pay to go back in time to kill dinosaurs, demonstrating how the slightest alteration in the eco-system during prehistoric times could have massive implications on our present day society.

The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone

John Saxon stars as a famous writer at a book signing who is threatened by a failed novelist that plans to kill him. Taking the “fan” completely off guard, Saxon actually invites him to his house to do it! They both have interesting definitions of death as it pertains to themselves.

Hail and Farewell

Bradbury has a beautiful ability to write stories filled with haunting nostalgia, longing for youth, and the fear of aging. In this tale, a young boy who doesn’t age moves from family to family, becoming their new child to fill the holes left by loss of their own children. But each time he doesn’t outgrow his family he has to move on, leaving them to mourn all over again.

Here There Be Tygers

Astronauts land on an unpopulated planet and discover it is alive and can grant wishes…but it can also harm those who intend to hurt it, which doesn’t bode well for the humans when they pull out the big drill. Talk about a commentary on the way we live on earth!

Touch of Petulance

Eddie Albert stars in this goodie about a young man who encounters his older self, who is there to convince him that he is planning to—but shouldn’t—kill his wife in the future.

The Black Ferris

After the fantastic movie adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes in the early 80s, I don’t know why they felt the need to create this shortened version of it, but that’s what we get here, and it works. Two boys sneak off to the carnival and discover the owner uses his magic Ferris wheel for a nefarious purpose (in the movie and novel it was a carousel).

Exorcism

Sally Kellerman plays the leader of her town’s lady lodge. Her rival believes she’s using witchcraft to stay in the position and plans to exorcise her at the next election. It’s such a good setup, but don’t expect an exorcism…

Mars is Heaven

Another of Bradbury’s poignant stories given away by the title of the episode. Astronauts land on Mars only to discover anyone they know that dies is still alive and living in the same small town they grew up in. If only it could stay that sweet and touching…

The Murderer

A man goes on a murder spree…killing all forms of technology that create noise pollution. Bradbury really could see into the future. Keep an eye out for Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste playing on a television.

Usher II

A more horror themed take on Fahrenheit 451, this time Bradbury brings us a future world where fantasy novels have been banned. A man builds a castle based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and uses it to get revenge on the government.

DISC 4

The Earthmen

There are numerous Mars-themed stories in this series thanks to material drawn from Bradbury’s book The Martian Chronicles, but this is definitely one of the eeriest ones. Men land on Mars and end up in a Martian insane asylum. Eek!

Zero Hour

Horror queen Katharine Isabelle plays the young lead in this tale about kids playing an odd game with household items that leads them to communicate with another form of life. As usual, Bradbury makes a commentary on society with a message about households in which both parents work and kids are left to their own devices.

The Jar

80s horror king Paul Le Mat stars as a man who buys a weird specimen in a jar from a carnival and brings it home to his slutty wife hoping it will gain him her attention. Instead, it has a mesmerizing effect on strangers that come to get a look at it.

The Martian

Obviously another Mars story, this one is about a couple from Earth living on Mars after the loss of their son. Their grief is so powerful that it is absorbed by a Martian, which then shape-shifts into the form of their son… and the situation escalates fast.

Let’s Play Poison

A reminder that childhood cruelty is a never-ending epidemic, this tale has a teacher plan revenge on the evil children that bully one of his students to death. But the evil children have plans for him, too. Eek!

DISC 5

The Lonely One

A serial killer is on the loose in a small town, but that doesn’t stop a woman from going to the movies…until it’s time to walk home alone at night. Eek! This is a perfectly chilling episode.

The Long Rain

Several astronauts land on a planet where it never stops raining. The plant life has plenty of water…what it needs is food…. 80s sci-fi/fantasy/horror king Marc Singer stars, and gets shirtless. Just the way we like him.

Fee Fie Foe Fum

Edith Bunker plays a rich elderly woman with lots of pets, and everyone wants her money, especially her granddaughter’s husband, who threatens to feed the pets to a garbage disposal. Jean Stapleton is delicious in a very different role from her iconic All in the Family persona.

By The Numbers

This one has such a great “even accidental revenge is sweet” vibe. A militant father teaches his young son discipline and it ends up biting him in the ass. This episode also happens to have a couple of pretty boys who seem very queer coded.

The Tombstone

In this quirky tale, Shelley Duvall and her husband stop at a hotel and find a tombstone in their room. She becomes convinced the room is haunted and then things start getting really weird.

The Handler

A mortician in a small town takes revenge on the bodies of those who wronged him in life. It’s a dark and gloomy episode brightened by a hunky corpse. That’s right. I said it. It also serves as the perfect final episode on the DVD collection, because it has a classic horror conclusion.

Posted in Everyday I Read the Book: Literary Thoughts, Living in the 80s - forever, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Comments Off on I watched 65 episodes of The Ray Bradbury Theater…

TUBI TERRORS: killers in the woods

If you’re looking for indie horror with body counts, these days your best bet is to turn to Tuuuuuubiiiiiii.Tu!bi! (Love the new jingle when you open the app). Let’s find out how it turned out for me with the latest trio of slashers from my Tubi watchlist.

LOWLIFES (2024)

Backwoods horror gets a social commentary with Lowlifes, which depends heavily on defying expectations to stand out from all the other backwoods horror flicks. However, despite some unexpected plot points and a timely concept based on the fractured country we live in, it still relies on the usual tropes of the subgenre.

A family of four—dad, mom, brooding teenage daughter, and goofy son (he’s the scariest part of the film)—is on a road trip in an RV when they encounter a couple of suspicious rednecks. It’s an unnerving start, and even becomes reminiscent of the hitchhiker scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Before long, the family ends up at a house with a whole redneck family (complete with a big menacing goon). They are welcomed inside and invited to dinner. Uh-oh.

You can easily guess where all this is going. It’s a slow burn that takes quite some time to get to the horror (48 minutes before the first kill), but we do eventually get to the battle of the families in the final act, and the brutality is quite satisfying and pleasantly gnarly.

The fresh part is that it breaks from the norms of backwoods family horror flicks (including a lesbian element).

However, the issue that sort of killed the tension and suspense for me is that we are presented way too early with the truth of what’s really going on, so there are simply no surprises, and we end up just waiting for everyone to get gruesomely killed. You know, like in every other backwoods family movie.

KILLER BODY COUNT (2024)

Religious rehab for teens slashers have become somewhat of a thing in the past few years, and Killer Body Count is one of the better ones in terms of getting the message across about the evils of God nuts while delivering big time on the slasher elements.

Having said that, after a thrilling setup scene of a couple getting killed by someone in a Devil mask and robe, the film runs into a bit of a pacing problem for almost forty minutes…a good sign that the 110-minute running time should have been rethought.

A teenager girl is caught hooking up with a boy in church, so her father sends her to the religious rehab place in the woods.

The fun part of getting to know the characters before the kills kick in is that these kids really are horny, and they spend a lot of time peeping each other in the showers, which gives us a nice naked guys scene, landing this one on the stud stalking page.

It’s like Porky’s with actual pork instead of puss, and it even flirts with homoeroticism. Sadly, no full-fledged gay guy ever comes to fruition.

When the religious extremist counselors finally catch on to the sexual hijinks, humiliation and minor torture are inflicted. The annoying thing about this is that there are literally only two counselors and about ten kids in the program, so the kids could easily have overpowered them at any time and stopped the insanity. Also, the main girl has already witnessed a murder (a bloody murder of a dude with a hot naked bod that brings a whole new meaning to the classic dirty talk trope “I’m going to split you in two”), yet there doesn’t seem to be enough urgency by anyone to take it seriously.

In true slasher tradition, there’s a story of a priest who killed a bunch of sinners 20 years ago, which the church covered up. Therefore, it isn’t all that surprising to the kids when their friends start turning up dead. There are some fantastic death scenes with tension, atmosphere, and even some chasing.

There are, however, also some weak spots. There’s a scene of the kids stealing a key from a counselor that is too whimsical and doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the film. The kids finally prove what I knew all along (and before half of them were dead); they could have overpowered the counselors at any time. There’s also a gay sex scene at last, but it’s a lesbian coupling, and it goes on way too long and kills the mood. Of course, my gay ass would have said it wasn’t long enough had it been a guy on guy scene.

Worst of all, the finale is just so bombastic. It goes way over the top as it overstates the “religion is evil” theme, and way too many players are suddenly thrown into the mix. It’s kind of like for every one thing the film pulls off perfectly, it’s negated with a total miss.

PILLOW PARTY MASSACRE (2023)

This is sort of an April Fools horror, but it drops the ball. The opening is classic, with kids at a Spring Fling school dance on April 1st. All songs used in the movie come courtesy of now wave band Feeding Fingers, who are definitely going to get played on my Future Flashbacks show. So as the kids are dancing to the strains of a Feeding Fingers song, a bunch of girls play a prank on one of their friends. In 80s slasher throwback fashion, there’s a tragic outcome and someone ends up in a mental institution. Thing is, I immediately knew who the killer was going to be, and most other slasher veterans probably will as well.

Two years later the friends decide to have a reunion at a cabin in the woods. April Fools’ Day is completely forgotten. Bummer. Anyway, word is there’s been an escape from the mental institution, and one girl even calls out that this is like the beginning of a horror movie. That fear falls apart when they have a run-in with a homeless man at a rest stop, but instead of him warning them that they’re all doomed, they give him food and money and he goes on his merry way. WTF?

The film unfolds very slowly with excessive talking, most notably about the guilt they all feel for the prank they played on their friend. There’s even an all-girl pillow fight (there better be considering the title), but instead of a sexy pillow fight, it’s an actual fight! Awesome.

There’s killer POV galore, including the killer sneaking into a bedroom…to steal a pillowcase. This film should have been called Pillowcase Massacre.

Also, other characters show up to raise the body count, which doesn’t kick in until 54 minutes into the movie. The killer costume is serviceable…a mask and a robe.

The death scenes are a combination of gory practical effects and absolutely horrible CGI effects that made us laugh (the hubby and I watched with friend), signifying that this is definitely one that can be better appreciated if you have a watch party, because multiple guffaws enhance the unintentional humor.

Is it a fairly bad movie? Yes. But it has entertaining kills and a great soundtrack, so I wouldn’t deter anyone who loves slashers from checking it out.

 

Posted in Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on TUBI TERRORS: killers in the woods

Demons, zombies, and killer gophers!

It’s a trio of oddball indie flicks, and two out of three weren’t so bad.

DEATH METAL (2023)

The very first scene of this film features a metal band playing live, and you’ll immediately notice it has a low budget, shot-on-video in the filmmaker’s home town (and local bar) feel.

However, it feels more like an authentic movie after that footage is out of the way. The plot offers a familiar scenario. A metal band that worships Satan is having trouble getting a break. After a bad album review, they go to a secluded farm to create their masterpiece. They also decide to incorporate an unearthed Devil’s concerto into their new sound. Uh-oh.

This sort of turns into an Evil Dead concept, with band and crew members getting possessed one by one and then attacking the others. Sadly, they don’t go all demon face, and it’s generally a choppy experience with not much in the way of character or story development.

Yet despite the bumpy presentation, there are some really entertaining horror situations, like one guy’s head popping off his body when he hangs himself…and then floating around on its spine. Eek! However, it’s great aspects like this that are ripe for exploitation but only get a flash of screen time instead.

There’s a nasty eye popping scene, a ghost woman, and even the lead singer of the band sprouting horns and turning all devilish in the final act (awesome).

He looks so damn freaky that it’s a reminder of what a missed opportunity it was to have all those who got possessed to look just as frightful. If the film had really played into its horror strengths, it could have packed more of a punch.

DUG UP (2013)

This one made me nostalgic for cheesy SyFy zombie flicks from the era in which this was released. It takes place in a rural town, and everyone speaks with exaggerated redneck accents.

The plot takes a while to kick in, but basically a redneck dude and two females believe stories that a recently deceased man scored a load of gold and hid it somewhere. When they finally find his buried treasure, it turns out to be some sort of odd dial. Naturally, they turn the dial, and…

…out pop the dead from their graves. The zombies are surprisingly gnarly looking, and the movie takes place during the day, making them extra fun.

There are also some good, raunchy sexual situations, and some of the comedic delivery definitely hits the mark.

Plus, there’s a shirtless guy with an axe! Yay!

The film is a little slow at times, and one of the funniest characters is killed off too early, but it seemed as if this dude was like, “I’m gonna steal the show before they feed me to the zombies”, because he’s a hoot before he gets eaten.

The main guy is funny (and shirtless) as well, and the bearish daddy sheriff is delicious.

Their flesh definitely makes this a more digestible zomcom, and I had fun with it, but I could see it getting on some viewers’ nerves.

CADDY HACK (2023)

I’m always up for a creature feature comedy, but this 75-minute mess tries desperately to deliver 1980-level adolescent comedy, leaving us with nothing but balls and fart humor. It’s mind-numbing.

A rich dude with a ridiculous wig owns a golf course.

Grass chemicals mutate cute gophers into little red-eyed demon gophers. They’re actually not even puppets. They are totally inanimate stuffed animals just being shaken in front of the camera.

We are subjected to a long segment devoted to the caddy employees dealing with the death of the first guy attacked, a slapstick golfing montage of a guy continuously getting hit in the balls, a dance-off montage, and a budding romance complete with a musical duet—which is actually a catchy tune ruined by the male partner, who is clearly not a singer (the female partner’s voice rocks).

The gopher attack silliness with no budget special effects kicks in with only fifteen minutes left, and it doesn’t make them move any faster than the sixty minutes that came before them.

The highlight would have to be an obvious homage to the Gremlins bar and movie theater scenes, and it actually gave me a chuckle, with a gopher waving a rainbow flag, BDSM spanking leather gophers, and more.

Posted in Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, Scared Silly - Horror Comedy, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Demons, zombies, and killer gophers!

The invasion of the British kiddie character slashers

UK indie horror releases are the place to turn for slashers these days, so it’s time to take on three more of them, with the killers based on familiar kids’ entertainment characters—and some queer content.

FREDDY’S FRIDAYS (2023)

What better way to cash in on the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie than by calling your movie Freddy’s Fridays? However, this film has more in common with movies like The Banana Splits and Willy’s Wonderland in that there’s actually blood and gore and the children’s characters are vicious killers. A few of them also happen to be recycled from the movie The Curse of Humpty Dumpty.

In fact, the kills are all this 79-minute movie has going for it. It’s generally quite boring in between the violent slashing.

The plot involves a detective on a case of missing women. It turns out those women are being hired by a sleazy dude for sex. Instead, he makes them read from a book that summons the creepy characters, who then kill the women.

The detective’s story is melodramatic and dull, so you end up watching just to wait for the next death scene. My personal favorite was when a muscle stud gets a knife in the head.

The final act gives us more of a backstory as to how and why the killers are being summoned, and there’s a fun battle between detective and killers, but other than that there are no scares, suspense, or chase scenes.

RAG DOLL (2023)

As always with these British productions, a couple of the same actresses from Freddy’s Fridays appear in this killer doll movie—playing a lesbian couple! One is the mother of a young girl who is not doing well with the fact that her mom left her dad for a woman. The lesbians are friends with a gay male couple, and there’s a notable exploration of the mother coming to terms with her sexuality by talking it through with one of the gay guys. Considering this is a predominantly queer cast, Rag Doll gets an honorary spot on the homo horror movies page.

So mom, her lesbian lover, and her resentful daughter move into a new house. They find a life-size rag doll, and mom gives it to the daughter. Pretty soon the doll turns against all the queer people in her life. Seriously, this damn homophobic rag doll kills mostly gay people!

While there are some eerie setup shots and the doll is creepy at times, when she comes to life she mostly looks like a model wearing a Raggedy Ann costume for a costume display at Party City.

Also, rather distracting is the fact that the girl playing the daughter doesn’t appear to have any interest in acting. Her expression never changes, and neither does the one-note tone of her voice. It’s quite bizarre and almost scarier than everything else in the movie. Except maybe this…

The film won’t terrify you, but at only 75 minutes long and loaded with queer characters, I’d say it’s worth a watch.

PUNCH (2023)

This odd British film goes for a simple slasher story based on someone dressed as a classic child’s puppet show character. That is until it suddenly goes for a sort of folk horror twist at the end…in a movie that takes place in a city. Even so, the surprise killer reveal and motivation are a highlight here.

As a slasher, it’s rather bland. A girl has an argument with her mother then goes out to party with a friend. They run into a creepy hobo who warns them about “Punch”, the hobo is the first (off-screen) kill, and then things drag for a while as the girls do a lot of talking.

Lindsay Clonehan, as I call a British scream queen who looks and sounds just like Lohan, has a brief role and the best kill of the movie when she’s forced to deep throat Punch’s bat.

Most of the other kills are tame and bland, but there is a fantastic, brutal massacre at the party.

However, Punch reveals himself to be a total homophobe when he kills two guys hooking up, landing this one on the does the gay guy die? page.

Punch also talks and tries to deliver one-liners, which are pretty weak. Not to mention, when he speaks it sounds like one of those voice boxes on a toy, and there’s nothing menacing about it all. Plus, there is not much in the way of scares or suspense, but the main girl does get a substantial chase scenes in the final act.

Posted in Johnny You ARE Queer - Gay Thoughts, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The invasion of the British kiddie character slashers

TUBI TERRORS: back to the 80s and 90s

I dug up four I’d never seen before from the end of the 20th century, but as much as I love the nostalgia and pride myself on owning pretty much every horror flick that came out in those two decades on disc, I don’t see any reason to add any of these to my collection. Let’s find out why.

CATACLYSM (1980)

I’ve finally stumbled upon the full-length cut of one of the movies that was eventually edited down for the horror anthology film Night Train to Terror. Odd thing is that although I’ve seen that movie numerous times and own it on disc, I barely recognized anything that happens in this feature beyond the freaky looking dude playing the devil. He’s great.

I can imagine the short version made even less sense than the long version sure. I think the general idea is that the Devil, who was previously inhabiting the body of a Nazi during WWII, is back to terrorize a small group of people, including a doctor who has visions of him, her atheist author husband (played by Bull of Night Court), a detective trying to solve a murder case (played by Cameron Mitchell), and a ridiculously stereotypical old Jewish man who is trying to convince the detective that he recognizes the Devil character as a Nazi he encountered firsthand in the 40s.

It all sounds really cool, but this movie looks and sounds like it was made for no budget in 1973 despite being timestamped 1980. The good news about that is that there are a handful of freaky, 1970s acid trip horror sequences focusing on hell and the Devil, and they’re the only moments that stand out in this mess. Not only do they stand out, but they are worthy of a better movie with a stronger script.

THE DEMONS OF LUDLOW (1983)

I was excited to see this one for the first time because it came from the director of the 80s slasher Blood Harvest. However, it is so different and so cheesy. I probably would have been a fan if I’d seen it as a teen, and visually it gives me all the 80s feels, but it’s just so goofy (and yet I’ll probably add this crap to my collection in an instant if it ever hits Blu-ray).

We meet the people in a town right out of 2000 Maniacs. The locals are celebrating the 200th birthday of the founding of the town, which is gifted an old piano, and a reporter and photographer are present to cover the festivities.

There’s a sleazy reverend, his young hot piece of ass, a creepy mayor, an awkward young woman who talks to her dolls, and her mother—the local piano player who unleashes a bunch of colonial age ghosts by playing the piano at the event.

This is sort of like a supernatural slasher, with people getting attacked and killed by a combination of ghosts, a shotgun (do ghosts have guns?), a disembodied hand glowing low budget 80s effects neon green, and levitating objects, including a fireplace poker that misses its mark when swinging for the kill, which made me laugh. In fact, several of the horror scenes made me laugh.

It all culminates in the piano taking its turn trying to kill the reverend, and the colonial ghosts also coming after him for revenge. Basically, it’s The Fog if The Fog was a killer piano…

GHOSTWATCH (1992)

If what they say is true, I guess you had to be there when this mockumentary first aired in Britain on Halloween night and had viewers thinking it was real…and terrifying.

Presented as live television, this movie focuses on a family living in a haunted house, and jumps between a reporter at the house for a sensationalistic experience, another reporter talking to people on the street, and guests being interviewed on the TV show back at the studio.

While there are moments that could easily have inspired Paranormal Activity movies, this film is generally super boring. If I had been watching this on television when it aired, I would have changed the channel after about fifteen minutes. The most interesting thing to me was that the mother of the house kept referencing a glory hole…which apparently means something different in England.

67 minutes in to this 91-minute movie, one of two young girls living in the house gets a rash and it seems like an attempt to flirt with an exorcism theme. Then one daughter goes missing with only fifteen minutes left, and the family, reporter, and cameraman run around the house looking for her, even delving into the…um…glory hole. This movie couldn’t even make a glory hole exciting.

The final moments are such a letdown. Most intriguing to me was a brief conversation with a viewer that calls in and tells a story of a guy who was possessed by a woman and began dressing in female clothing. Now that would have been a movie.

STORMSWEPT (1995)

This could have been a fun erotic horror film…if only it had delivered some actual horror.

It’s a classic setup. A film director, crew, and actresses go to stay in an old plantation mansion to make a movie. Everyone is pretty, making the sex scenes extra delicious, and it’s a rainy, stormy night, creating the perfect atmosphere for a haunted mansion movie.

Little do they know—and we never find out why—but there’s a sadistic dude and his woman living in the basement. Their occasional appearances fail to give any explanation for their presence.

Anyway, all the pretty people spend a majority of the film (which is way too long for what little it has to offer) sitting around talking about their sexual fantasies. They are always together, so there are no chances for anyone to go off and have any scary supernatural experiences. WTF? There are, however, lots of writhing women feeling themselves up, and there’s one sex scene with a guy who has a fantastic butt.


I’ve never been more jealous of an actress’s index finger than this

It seems that the ghost of a sexually charged slave owner is making everyone horny. That’s it. That’s the story, and it’s barely clarified. Do we ever see the ghost? Nope. Is there any explanation for why everyone, including the men, isn’t jumping the bones of the guy with the fantastic butt? Nope.

Eventually the guy in the basement comes into play for a hot minute, abducting some of the girls and chaining them up, but if ever a final scene felt like an afterthought, this is it.

Posted in Living in the 80s - forever, Movie Times & Television Schedules - Staying Entertained, The Evil of the Thriller - Everything Horror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on TUBI TERRORS: back to the 80s and 90s