A demented grandma, zombie sea life, club-hopping vampires, and a killer teddy bear

While I was busy feeling miserable for two days after getting a COVID booster shot, I tapped into my cable and streaming watchlists, so here are my thoughts on four flicks I crossed off those lists.

RELIC (2020)

It has become common in recent years to explore the effect dementia has on families within the framework of horror. In most cases the offspring of an elderly woman are terrorized by unsettling happenings in a dark, dreary home where the elderly woman behaves freakishly as she lurks in shadows.

Add Relic to that formulaic list. Also add it to the list of movies these days that have the main characters roam around a spooky house in fear…yet never turn on a damn light. Ugh.

The grandmother’s daughter and granddaughter in Relic are forced to make tough decisions about her that lead to guilt and sadness…all while they are being terrorized by her erratic actions. In essence, they are experiencing the darkness and isolation the grandmother must be suffering from in her state, but it’s hard to sympathize with what she is going through considering she is presented as the scary antagonist!

While there are some eerie moments sprinkled throughout the film, it’s fairly slow. Only in the final act do we get a good dose of suspenseful horror, but the last scene is a bit jarring as it steps outside of the natural horror arc of the plot to drive home its emotional point about contending with dementia.

AQUARIUM OF THE DEAD (2021)

The director of Zoombies 1 and 2 moves the zombie animal action to an aquarium. So essentially this is “Zoombies 3: A Night at the Aquarium”.

It’s purely SyFy level creature feature silliness, and if SyFy was still fun it would have premiered this film as it did Zoombies. Therefore, it’s quite unexpected that this one turned up on Showtime.

So what do you get from these CGI zombie creatures and how exactly do people fail to avoid zombie sea life in fish tanks at an aquarium? They don’t. Everything survives outside the water. I guess it makes sense considering they’re already dead…

There’s a giant zombie octopus traveling through the vents, a giant walrus, an alligator, a dolphin, sharks, spiders (or are those crabs?), and best of all, killer zombie starfish.

There’s also a small group of aquarium workers, a scientist, and Vivica A. Fox running around the aquarium trying to stay alive. There’s not much more to say. Either you like this kind of campy crap or you don’t.

NIGHT TEETH (2021)

Neon lights, hip hop tracks, and pretty people in trendy fashions aren’t enough to make a sleek, sexy, action vampire flick, but that’s what the director of I See You seems to have thought. Quite honestly, my hubby and I were bored for a majority of this overly-long film.

The plot: a college dude takes a job as a chauffeur for a night, and the two girls he picks up turn out to be vampires that break the rules of their horde and go rogue. They drag their new chauffeur along for a night of chaos as they are hunted by their fellow vamps.


How is it she looks bored at the only time I wasn’t?

It sounds like it should be a load of fun, so what went wrong? Let’s see. The characters are astonishingly flat and there’s no chemistry between them (this everyday college dude is suddenly thrust into the middle of an underground vampire network and his reactions to everything that happens verge on indifference).

Scenes go on too long without getting to any actual point (there’s less footage of people just walking through dance clubs in fricking music videos). The few “action” scenes there are fail to deliver any energy or excitement and end practically before they begin (a guy and a vampire appear ready to start a Blade level dance floor fight, but within seconds everyone in the club screams and runs out. End scene). Megan Fox appears for about two minutes and delivers her dialogue as if she’s as bored by it as we are.

After nearly two hours of dullsville, this film manages to give us a rather exciting yet totally predictable final act.

BEARRY (2021)

The director of For Jennifer goes for a fun and silly giant killer teddy bear horror flick.

The opening animation and the pretty darn good pop songs that serve as the soundtrack set the tone for this campy slasher.

Our main girl is depressed after her douche of a husband divorces her. It should come as no surprise that the douche is hot as hell.

Felissa Rose, colorful as always, is the main girl’s best friend, and gives her a huge teddy bear named Bearry as a gift. Pretty soon, anyone who wrongs the main girl gets murdered.

This is a basic slasher and isn’t a very gory film, but there are plenty of elements to like. Felissa Rose for starters. Indie horror king Charles Chudabala appears briefly as the gay BFF, and subjects the main girl to a very funny speed dating session.

And the main girl eventually starts snuggling up to a cuddly bear (not Bearry, an actual guy). Damn, daddy! Look at that smile and all that beef.

But Bearry is also adorable, and he is definitely the highlight. Both the hubby and I giggled every time he threw a jealous tantrum or lunged at a victim from off screen.

The only thing that really messed up this film was a desperate attempt to explain why the bear kills by presenting a new character very late in the film, which totally slows down the momentum…and fails to explain anything considering the character literally says she doesn’t know why Bearry kills. WTF? Talk about writer’s block.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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