Black magic, the occult, and pentagrams

If you’re in the mood for some dark, demonic horror and spell casting scares, you might find what you’re looking for in a couple of films in this foursome: Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made, Pentagram, Black Magic, and Red Handed. Here’s what you can expect from each of them.

ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE (2019)

This one creates its own legend of infamy in the first few minutes, which plays out as a mockumentary delving into the mythology of the film Antrum—it was a film made in the 1970s, but was pulled from theaters because anyone who viewed it met a horrible fate.

At last it has been unearthed, and we are warned ahead of time that those releasing it refuse to take any responsibility for anything that happens to us after we view it.

Built in novelty paranoia aside, I found the film to be quite creepy and disturbingly relatable.

It’s about a boy whose dog is put to sleep, leading to him having nightmares about a horned beast.

He’s convinced his dog’s soul has gone to hell, so his older sister treks into the woods with him to do a ritual that involves digging a hole to release the dog’s soul.

While the film is a slow burn, the atmosphere is quite unnerving, with the pair experiencing frightening occurrences in the woods—like demons stalking them.

It really captures that occult eeriness of 1970s horror, feeling almost like a drug trip at times, and psyching us out with grainy footage of a devil just staring at the camera and pentagrams flashing on the screen periodically.

Most importantly, the little boy is very reminiscent of the unforgettable bowl cut boy from Euro horror flicks of the 80s like The House by the Cemetery and Manhattan Baby.

PENTAGRAM (2019)

Thieves hide out in a house where they become trapped in a pentagram. If they step out of the circle, an overlaid clip of a burning demon comes to slice them open with a scythe. This same scenario plays out twice in the movie and that’s the only horror we get.

Other than that, the four thieves spend their time using belts and clothes to fetch essential items outside the circle.

Remember when the Brady Bunch got stuck in an old prison cell and had to fish for the key on a peg across the room? Yeah, it’s that.

Shirtless guy aside, I would just advise skipping this one. It’s quite boring and rather annoying because every time someone is booted from the pentagram, they just wait for the demon to come get them. I simply don’t understand why they don’t just jump back into the damn pentagram.

BLACK MAGIC (2018)

If you like Asian horror like The Ring and contemporary haunting films like The Conjuring, this witchcraft movie is a tight blend of both.

A man takes his family to see his sick and delusional mother.

After some effective supernatural incidents with grandma terrifying the kids, she ends up in the hospital, and the wife begins having spells in which she sees or is attacked by a witchy ghost woman.

Soon the daughters are also experiencing the horror, and the family members begin turning on each other as the witchy ghost woman amps up her reign of terror.

It was all a little too basic tween horror for me, but it does have some great atmosphere and “scary” stuff to make those who are more jumpy…well…jump.

RED HANDED (2019)

Michael Biehn and Michael Madsen may get top billing, but this movie is about three hot brothers who come to a small town after their father’s death. The gym bunny brother even shows off his T&A within the first few minutes.

Hey, I could watch these hunky men for 90 minutes straight without a problem, but damn is this movie boring. Like….Midsommar boring.

There’s lots of talking and introductions to odd locals, including redneck dudes and women who like to wear flowing white dresses. We just wait and wait for something to happen. Finally, the young son of one of the brothers is kidnapped and the hunt is on at about 55 minutes into the film.

Naturally the hunt leads to a sacrificial occult ritual. I found nothing exciting or scary about this indie take on the Midsommar/Wicker Man concept.

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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