DIRECT TO DVD and Streaming: the horror of Michael Crum

A while back I blogged about Michael Crum’s film Lake Fear. I also covered Lake Fear 2, but it was not a true sequel, and Crum had nothing to do with it. But when I stumbled upon part 3, his official sequel, as well as his demonic doll movie Anna and his exorcism movie Fall of Grace, I just had to check them out. And I can definitely say I am a huge fan of his style…and the fact that he sure knows how to cast sexy guys.

Crum is the type of talent I would want to bring the script of my gay slasher novella Scream, Queen! to celluloid if he ever wanted to dabble in gay horror. Are there any gay Michael Crum’s out there looking to make a good slasher?

I wasn’t even through with this marathon of his films before I jumped on Amazon to order all his movies on DVD.

ANNA (2017)

I think this is why I keep coming back for more Michael Crum films. He takes chances and doesn’t give you the mere rip-offs of better-known titles you expect. For instance, Anna might be the first part of Annabelle, and it might be another indie movie with a creepy doll on the poster, but this is a weird blend of trippy, Silent Hill type visual horror combined with a comedy duo film.

I actually was not feeling it at first. As our two paranormal investigators try to steal a doll from a museum and then hype its horror history, the humor wasn’t quite there for me, and nothing was really happening.

Then suddenly everything clicked for me…once the cute guys got naked. Pure coincidence, I swear.

Okay, it started a little before that, but the naked scene was the springboard for the meat of the movie, and lands this film on my stud stalking page. One of the leads is Gerald Crum, Michael’s brother—who also works on many of the behind the scenes aspects of the films (like special effects and writing!), so they are truly a horror duo.

A paranormal medium makes the guys get naked to do a ritual on the doll. The guys become increasingly funnier…and sexier, although there’s only the one butt shot after which our naked boys are always carefully hidden behind props.

At the same time, the surreal horror aspects become freakier!

It’s odd and disjointed (a Crum staple), and there might be a bit of jump scare overkill, but I just love the Crum style. They have a true grasp of nightmarish visuals—the looks of the hellish creatures, the eerie set designs, and the overall creepiness create the kind of horror atmosphere I love. Not to mention…I dare say they are both sCRUMptious…

LAKE FEAR 3 (2018)

This film picks up where the first film left off. The hero from the cabin is now on the run from demons that have chased him, so things start off with some grotesque demon fun.

Meanwhile, a girl and her friend are on the hunt for her missing sister. They ask a popular psychic at a convention for help. This guy is super sexy in just a vest and tight pants he wears so well.

Oh. He’s also really funny.

Once the trio meets the main hero, the demon insanity kicks in and never lets up.

So much of it is in slow motion and there’s very little dialogue. This is what I call a monster movie. We are bombarded by non-stop demons and other hideous and weird creatures that are so Crum.

The conclusion leaves us hanging for another sequel…plus an Anna tie-in if you stick around for the end credits. Awesome. 

FALL OF GRACE (2017)

Compared to Crum’s humor-laden films, Fall Of Grace is sadistic and dark. And despite a news reporter comparing the situation in the movie to The Amityville Horror at the beginning, once again this film follows its own unique course, making it hard to compare it to other films.

When it begins, a wife is home with her shirtless, full-lipped lover.

Her daughter is upstairs speaking with a demon in the closet and her husband—the leading man from Lake Fear—is out at some sort of fight club. He finally shows us his beef, getting shirtless while fighting the hot guy from Lake Fear 3!

The daughter gets taken to hell, and the father delves into the occult to capture a demon to use as a bargaining chip to get her back.

The demon that hangs around the house is similar to the Jackal in the box in the Thir13en Ghosts remake. Eek!

As with Crum’s other films, dialogue is minimal, there’s loads of shaky cam and freaky editing, the color palette is minimal and horror classic, the monsters are hellish, the gore is created with practical effects that are effectively nasty, and everything feels trippy and surreal. Plus, Gerald Crum from Anna is back.

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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