Bad things always happen in the middle of nowhere

Whether it’s a motel, a country house, or a forest campsite, people just never learn. So which of these three isolated locations worked best for me in my latest triple feature? Let’s find out.


If you come up with a cool premise for a horror movie but don’t have the budget to offer anything but 110 minutes of mostly dialogue-driven plot, I’d suggest waiting to raise more money to give us an experience we won’t forget…and would gladly sit and watch for 110 minutes.

There is intriguing stuff going on here. There’s a motel in the middle of nowhere run by a nice old gay guy with a bit of a flirty, lecherous side to him. Oh how I miss the days of being admired by guys like that. Shit. I guess I’m supposed to start behaving like one of those guys now. Anyway, this dude lands Mystery Spot on the does the gay guy die? page.

There’s a “mystery spot” near the motel—an abandoned roadside attraction with metaphysical powers that defy the laws of gravity, according to the old gay guy. And that’s exactly why it’s such a shame that there is no exploration of the damn inside of the attraction. WTF?

Instead, this is a character study of the people staying at the motel, including Lisa Wilcox of Elm Street 4 and 5, a beary dude holding auditions for his movie in his hotel room, and a Black guy who just sits in his car outside and warns Lisa away from the mystery spot. Naturally he’s hiding an ulterior motive, but that unfolds very slowly. As does the whole movie.

Most of the mysterious aspects revolve around the bear, and it seems to involve either making porn movies, occult practices, or pedophilia. It’s all quite creepy for a while, but then it just loses steam as the lives of the characters come together in what is mostly a drama about people being haunted by their pasts. What a letdown.


Demons at Dawn is book-ended by a plot point about a prisoner, which didn’t add anything but confusion for me. However, the prisoner was a hot daddy, so I’ll let it slide.

The focus is on a hit man who takes one more job to pay his debt. When he arrives at the countryside house where he is to do the job, he sees a man dead in a field. I’m almost convinced the shot of a tree used in this movie is the same one from The Ring.

Before long the hit man is dealing with various “visitors” who seem to know something about a cult situation in the vicinity.

Soon after that, they’re all dealing with cheesy good, dime store demons like something right out of a direct-to-video 1980s horror movie.

It’s not a particularly innovative or scary film, but I really liked the throwback vibe during the eventual demon cult siege of the house.

Unfortunately, the home invasion is not exactly a substantial part of this 80-minute movie.

FREAK (2020)

This indie runs only 51 minutes long. Thankfully director/writer Lucky Cerruti makes use of every second. There’s no fat to trim here. This is a tight little backwoods creature feature demonstrating that Lucky has paid attention to the horror movies he’s watched and also didn’t let a limited budget restrain him.

Freak is simple, straightforward fun. The practical gore effects are icky great, and the mutant monster is fantastic, despite moments when his rubbery construction is quite obvious.

This is the kind of horror I grew up on, so it’s totally satisfying to me. Those that think CGI effects are the way to go might not appreciate what’s going on here.

So a kid tells his mom and his pretty dad that he’s taking his sister with him on a camping trip with friends.

During the ride to the site, an urban legend of a deformed man in the woods is discussed. That doesn’t stop the kids from setting up camp.

We get old school monster POV and grunting, plus a subtle yet genuinely effective music score. And before long, the monster wreaks havoc. Funny thing is, due to the short runtime, the kills basically happen all at once. With more money and a little more character interaction (for instance, an obligatory partying montage, skinny-dipping, some sexy times in the tents, etc.), the kills could have been spread apart, and we could have gotten some suspenseful chase scenes as well.

Despite the absence of the extra fluff, what’s here is a blast, and there’s even a nasty castration moment.

And the details on the monster, including close-ups of its drooling mouth, are nice and gooey. We even briefly see the monster running, and perhaps due to budget limitations, there’s something “freaky” about its grotesque movements.

The film ends abruptly and left me wanting more. Maybe a sequel is in the works?

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
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