Getting a holiday horror fix in August

It’s never too earlier for Halloween, so I’m covering two Halloween horrors, along with holidays that are less likely to get the horror focus: Easter and New Year’s Eve! It’s four new ones to add to the holiday horror page.


I’ve seen this indie franchise floating around streaming services for a while, but it took a jack-o’-lantern incorporated into the art and the word Halloween in the title for me to cave and watch one. I was pleasantly surprised that it’s an anthology. I also didn’t expect it to be halfway decent, but it is. However, there’s one down side…the Halloween angle is all trick, no treat. The holiday is never mentioned, and there isn’t a pumpkin in sight. Title cards introduce each story, informing us where they take place on Halloween night. It’s clear this was not intended as a Halloween installment—they simply manufactured the idea to garner interest in the series. What a bummer.

I fell for it, so here are the five stories:

1st story – a young woman is dealing with a little sister who suffers from trauma after they got separated in the woods one day. The little sister claims she saw something in the woods and it followed her home. Eek! One of my favorite tales in the bunch. Of note is that the older sister is queer.

2nd story – a family gets a flat tire on a road at night. When a stranger climbs into the car and offers an ultimatum…one family member must agree to be a sacrifice for the devil to let the others live. The dark outcome of this tale may have had more of an impact with a larger budget.

3rd story – this is a sinister satanic cult tale complete with a pregnant woman giving birth as part of a ritual. The ending delivers on the horror.

4th story – not my thing at all, this is a tale of a grotesque, baby manufacturing facility, where women are kept in cages…until they break free and get revenge. Figures this disturbing story is the longest of the bunch.

5th story – intentionally cheeky and cheesy, this final tale is about two friends watching horror movies and then applying what they know to fight off an intruder. It’s quirky meta horror, but it’s too goofy for my tastes.


Director Dwight H. Little calls upon his friends from Halloween 4 and Phantom of the Opera 1989 to appear in this witch themed, Halloween slasher. I love the overall tone—it has a more teen-centric vibe of 80s and 90s slashers, complete with kids getting into mischief while riding bicycles around town.

My big disappointment is how little it focuses on the holiday. Halloween is mentioned, there are some decorations, and one scene involves the kids going through a haunted attraction, but the film takes place on the days leading up to the holiday, not actually on October 31st.

There are other issues as well. Danielle Harris plays a single mom with a son and daughter. However, they have a “babysitter” who looks about the same age as the son, and who also looks like she could be Danielle Harris’s daughter.

It’s very confusing considering she’s barely referenced as a babysitter and seems to “babysit” around the clock, to the point that I thought she was living with the family.

Next is the fact that there are just too many plot elements. A witch is burned to death in the 1970s (huh?) and vows revenge. There’s now an urban legend about Natty Knocks coming back from the dead if you say her name nine times—or if you knock on a door nine times? Or if she knocks on your door nine times? The film seems to imply all three at different points. But Natty Knocks isn’t quite the threat. The problem is Bill Moseley as a dude who is motivated by horror movies to do bad things.

After the main kids try to Natty Knock on Moseley’s door as a prank, they suspect he’s a killer, so they start doing their own investigation.

Robert Englund shows up long enough to deliver a monologue about how Natty Knocks came to be.

The Natty Knocks vengeful witch ghost and Bill Moseley psycho killer aspects result in a messy narrative that does eventually tie together, so you just have to go with it and have fun.

There’s Moseley in a creepy mask, there’s a witch ghost, there’s a haunted attraction, and there’s Danielle Harris and Robert Englund. How could you not have fun?


It’s an Easter horror flick that combines M. Night’s The Visit with folk horror like Midsommar and The Wicker Man. Perfectly paced for this subgenre (aka: slow), the film is well-produced, well-acted, and delivers building tension. However, this easily could have been a shorter anthology story, and it’s also fairly predictable with few surprises.

An overweight girl comes to her aunt’s farm for the Easter holiday. The aunt is a professional nutritionist, and the main girl wants to ask her for help losing weight.

As is common in these types of films, the aunt runs hot and cold, leaving us wondering if she’s merely eccentric or if she has an evil side. Especially since she appears to be starving the main girl.

The main girl also has to contend with her male cousin, who taunts her and treats her poorly, as well as the aunt’s new man, who seems both more normal than the rest of the family yet also kind of creepy.

The film delves into the parallels between craving food and sexual desire, but gives up on that theme before the film is through.

Instead, the main girl begins to see signs that things aren’t what they seem at the farm. Unfortunately, we’re just dragged along through very little excitement until the pretty obvious shocker moment near the end. And since this is folk horror, there is the obligatory monument made of sticks…

In recognition of the holiday, there’s also a bunny…getting slaughtered and skinned. Happy Easter!

TIME’S UP (2022)

This little indie slasher has a lot of fringe benefits. We can always use more New Year’s Eve horror. There’s holiday spirit. There’s a good Father Time killer mask.

The gore is done with practical effects. There are plenty of familiar horror faces, including: Hannah Fierman of the very first V/H/S story; horror king Damian Maffei of Christmas With the Dead; Sleepaway Camp stars Jonathan Tiersten and Felissa Rose; and horror cutie Dave Sheridan.


Problem is the script is all over the place and causes some pretty good actors to under perform due to lack of substance. Most of all, it feels like it was written by someone who grew up watching Scream era slasher movies and decided they could make a movie just like that.

After a bullied student commits suicide, the faculty at a high school gathers together to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Before long they are haunted by a disembodied voice a la Saw and pushed to admit the errors of their ways.

Despite some simple slasher death scenes, this film just tries too hard to be complex, with flashbacks, distracting branching plot points that aren’t fully developed, and an odd decision to almost immediately split the characters up, with some of them ending up at a library. Huh?

Just watch it for the kills, the killer, and the horror veterans.

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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