Having covered his films Cannibal Farm, Winterskin, Death Ranch, and queer inclusive The House of Violent Desire, I figured it was time to do a blog specifically about a bunch of horror flicks from director Charlie Steeds. So I checked out the 4 that I hadn’t yet seen…and immediately purchased three of them on disc. Personally, I think he deserves a lot more attention, because he crafts quite polished indie films and totally nails a variety of different horror subgenres.
VAMPIRE VIRUS (2020)
Now this is refreshing. Vampire Virus is like a throwback to late 80s/early 90s erotic vampire films–and it’s totally queer, landing it on the homo horror movies page.
A rather uptight girl is convinced by her girlfriends to go out partying to just let loose. After getting some tips from her gay BFF, she hits up the club with her gal pals…while the gay BFF has his cop love interest over for some role playing sex! Holy shit, we actually get a man-on-man kiss first in this film.
And then, our main girl enjoys some foreplay with two bi guys on the dance floor before being seduced by a sexy vampiress and diving right into explicit lesbian sex. Awesome.
Of course our main girl soon realizes she’s starting to change, and so does her gay BFF.
And the lesbian vampire waits in the wings to wield her power over them, which means someone has to put a stop to her before she can get our hands on the pretty boys.
This is a sensual and sexy vampire story and a serious film, not campy or anything like that. And just be aware—there is a gay bashing scene.
AN ENGLISH HAUNTING (2020)
For the more sophisticated horror crowd, this is a slow burning yarn (that’s right. I said yarn) about a young man who comes with his mother to the creepy, isolated manor of his mostly comatose grandfather to care for him.
After the cigarette smoking alcoholic mother makes some snarky horror jokes about the grandfather while they stand over his bed, both son and mother begin to experience mysterious and frightening happenings around the huge home.
Nicely atmospheric with some eerie moments, this one picks up steam once the son starts to suspect some sort of sorcery is in the air and then digs into the occult books he finds in his grandfather’s library.
And there are some notably dark ritual scenes in the final act that really deliver on the chilling tone this story establishes.
A WEREWOLF IN ENGLAND (2020)
Noooo! Not a period piece!
That was my immediate thought when this film started. But then…it proved to be a werewolf comedy with a fantastic cast of comic actors, two leading men with great chemistry, and some fun and funny werewolves that are presented with practical costumes and no CGI. Yay!
The story is about a lawman transporting a man accused of murder. The two are handcuffed together. They stop for the night at an inn.
They meet some of the odd staff and guests, including a hot daddy bear who tells them tales of some sort of creatures that lurk outside at night.
Before long (and after some humorous situations involving them being attached at the wrists), the pair realizes something is very wrong at this inn.
And then the horror insanity starts! Before long it’s a werewolf invasion, with the two leading men, the bear, a priest, a prostitute, and a woman with a baby trying to survive as these werewolves bust into the house and cause gory and goofy chaos.
There’s gross out werewolf shit humor (that’s a first for me), a runaway werewolf paw, the equivalent of a modern day vent scene (eek), and even a hot, naked man crawling around for a brief time.
I would say if you’re a huge fan of the werewolf comedy Big Bad Wolf as I am, you’ll probably really enjoy this one.
THE BARGE PEOPLE (2018)
Many of the same actors from the other films covered in this blog appear in The Barge People.
Starting very Texas Chainsaw, with black and white snapshots and onscreen text referencing disappearances on the waters, The Barge People delivers on its promise—deformed mutants and cannibalism. Yay!
The film is smartly short on the setups before delving right into the horror. A group of friends hops on a boat. After getting into altercations with some other douche bags that pass by on another boat, they are soon being terrorized by the troublemakers.
That doesn’t last long. The fricking barge people board the boat and it turns into total chaos and carnage! It’s like the original The Hill Have Eyes on a boat instead of an RV. There is some slow and bloody cannibalism as they eat their victims alive, and plenty of fighting back.
The barge people look gnarly and cool and even speak, the splatterfest level is way up there, there’s loads of flashing light to disorient viewers, and as soon as the horror action starts it doesn’t let up.