It happened on Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, and Mardi Gras, so there are more films to add to my holiday horror page, but I simply didn’t get enough from this trio of films—not enough horror fun, not enough holiday spirit. Let’s take a brief look at each.
THE MAN IN THE TRUNK (2019)
Horror hottie Ace Marrero stars in this initially intriguing horror thriller as a man who’s just trying to have a baby with his wife at Christmastime when he’s visited by his old friend, who needs a favor…
There’s a man in the trunk of his car that needs to be buried.
Naturally it’s the setup for a suspenseful film, particularly since Ace refrains from demanding answers to all the questions we have, instead getting dressed (bummer) and going along for the ride.
Things get even more complicated when someone else shows up for the “funeral”.
Ace is not even sure why his friend had a dead body in his car or who they were burying, yet he’s suddenly the one in hot water and on the run from someone who wants answers…and wants him dead.
The film plays out in a pretty predictable way for a while.
Yet just when it seems to be nearing the end it takes a different course to essentially explain what the hell was going on.
The truth really didn’t do much for me, but at least it’s oddly unique.
INTO THE DARK: CRAWLERS (2020)
Don’t get your hopes up…“crawlers” isn’t referencing any kind of creatures in the movie. The title refers to a bunch of college kids doing a bar crawl on St. Patrick’s Day.
This March 2020 installment of Hulu’s Into the Dark holiday horror movie series is generally a playful teen flick sort of along the lines of Zombieland—a young woman narrates and describes the events of the St. Patrick’s Day when she and her friends went bar-hopping and ended up being chased by a bunch of NOT ZOMBIES, as she clarifies quite adamantly in her voiceovers.
The main girl believes the infected humans they take on—the very few they take on—are aliens inhabiting human bodies.
I’d agree since at one point the kids even do a test on each other to make sure their blood is pure, which gave me some serious The Faculty vibes.
This derivative film has funny moments and a good cast, but it’s surprisingly low-key and simply never builds up enough to propel itself forward. You’ve seen the plot before—the kids eventually have to destroy the nest, but even a huge opportunity for a wild battle with the not zombies in the chaos of flashing strobes at a club is passed over due to what seems like a lack of extras to play a horde of not zombies.
Seriously, there are barely any not zombies in this whole damn movie, so it’s quite anti-climactic. But there sure are plenty of cute guys, including a Leprechaun dude with a great ass.
GOTHIC HARVEST (2019)
Sexy director Ashley Hamilton is also an actor and makes an appearance in this Mardi Gras/crazy family voodoo curse film that goes absolutely nowhere.
I had high hopes when the film started with a dominatrix putting a guy through hell.
We then meet a handful of girls partying at a bar when one of their friends goes missing (this is literally the same setup for Crawlers).
Bill Moseley steps in as a cop and is just about the most entertaining part of the film, particularly when he’s doing a stakeout with one of the girls.
Lin Shaye essentially reprises her role from 2001 Maniacs as the matriarch of a family that has been cursed for centuries, but all she does is sit in a wheelchair the whole time and babble on and on. A tragic waste.
The family has abducted the girl, but they are one of the lamest crazy families of all time. The abducted girl mostly just chills in the bed she’s tied to while Lin is sitting in her wheelchair nearby taunting her and telling her all about the family curse in flashbacks.
There was so much to work with here—the dominatrix, the curse, a voodoo woman, Mardi Gras, a crazy family, Lin Shaye, Bill Moseley—yet the movie doesn’t fully utilize any of it. Never daring to be sadistic (the meanest thing Lin Shaye does to her captive is inject her with something that gives her a burning sensation), Gothic Harvest at least tries to be humorous and quirky at points, but everything thing about it just falls flat—except Bill Moseley and the sexy guy the dominatrix ties up.