TUBE TERRORS: dating apps, the dark web, and viral zombie vids

This trio of flicks from Tubi use our obsession with modern technology as a launching pad for the horror. So are any of these films worth diving into? Let’s find out.


The description of this movie on IMDb—a young man lures and kills girls through a dating app—is quite a stretch. There’s approximately one swipe right moment in this whole movie, which is more of a cabin in the woods flick that drags on for about an hour before anything of significance happens.

A group of girls heads to a house in the woods to practice for some sort of dance competition…which leads to several montages of them rehearsing to a “you are my taco” song without even a sign of tongue-in-cheek intentions…or should I say tongue-in-taco?

One of the girls replies to a dating app profile, meets a sleazy guy who lives nearby and uses a fly-covered shed as a slaughterhouse, and then hooks up with him! And then…she disappears.

It can’t be that obvious, can it?

While the other girls are tightening up their taco act and also partying with some boys that show up, they begin finding dead crows around. We also get flashbacks to a young boy with serious social issues who was locked away in a mental institution.

This film feels like it is trying way too hard to be complex, while simultaneously offering vapid actions from the characters. 66 minutes in, a killer in a ski mask starts stalking people, killing some, and keeping others alive in a lair.

The action feels chaotic, unplanned, and amateurish. For instance, the house is dark, and a girl runs upstairs while being followed by one dude. She treads carefully right into the arms of the killer…and the dude at the bottom of the stairs keeps his face turned from what’s going on just five steps away so he can act like he didn’t see or hear any of it happening. I literally laughed out loud.

Just when you think it can’t get any more tedious, the killer gives a long-winded monologue to explain everything.


I remember back at the beginning of the 2000s when the internet was fairly young, and the “dark web” was ripe for crafting movies to strike terror into the hearts of those becoming hooked on the online world. Unfortunately, those movies failed to take advantage of the fresh new technology in a way that actually delivered a fear fest.

Over 20 years later, this simple little film, while in no way terrifying, at least offers some cheap thrills, a teen horror vibe, creepy killers in masks, and a sprinkle of torture porn.

A cute true crime podcaster begins to investigate the death of his sister, which leads him to…the dark web.

Turns out there is a site where people can anonymously pay good money to decide the torturous fate and death of victims on a live feed.

This isn’t a Halloween focused movie, but there is a random scene where we can see from the décor in the main guy’s house that it is Halloween time.

There are also a few brief encounters with gay guys, one being the main guy’s neighbor, the other being a fan.

The film moves at a good pace, with the killers stalking and terrorizing the main guy as he and his friends get closer to cracking the case.

It’s the last fifteen minutes or so that deliver on the fun horror, as the main guy and his friends end up in cages in the killers’ lair and get chased by psychos in masks with very sharp weapons.

It’s the final scene that delivers the biggest punch, making a harsh statement about law enforcement in our society.


Despite the title, zombies take a back seat to everything else in this Irish film. The first zombie and bite aren’t until 55 minutes in—and there aren’t many more zombies after that.

The general idea is that a dude, his family, and friends from a small town are all basically modern day slackers who are so jaded by “fake news” and fake online videos that they don’t believe—or don’t want to believe—that there has been a zombie outbreak in the big city and that they’re going to need to take action in life if they want to survive it.

What we mostly get is a dramatic-driven character study with an undercurrent of humor from two of the guys, but that sadly never rises to the surface.

It would have brought this generally dull film to life. Also of note is that there is a Christmas tree and some Christmas lights in the family’s house, but the holiday is never referenced.

There’s also social commentary sprinkled throughout as the town becomes fractured by those who believe and those who don’t believe that there actually is a zombie outbreak and possibly the end of the world is near. Interestingly, this clash leads to a home invasion sort of final act, with some zombies thrown in for good measure.

It’s a curious approach to a zombie/home invasion/horror comedy/smart horror hybrid that definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste.

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Two more Halloween flicks for the 2023 season

Just when I thought I’d finished covering all this season’s scares, two more Halloween-themed horror flicks for me to add to the complete holiday horror page were released on VOD. They are currently both rentals, so you’ll have to cough up more than ten bux if you want to make it a double feature.



On the surface, Dark Harvest may seem to be a standard creature feature with a monster that looks like a cross between Pumpkinhead and Sam from Trick ‘r Treat when he removes his sack. The creature, the bloody kills, and the Halloween atmosphere are definitely the highlights, but I think the story goes deeper than that.

However, the metaphor built into the story is easy to overlook because the concrete plot is all over the place. There are great ideas here for the legend of a creature that needs to be defeated each Halloween to save a town from ruin, but the details become convoluted and we are left doing a lot of head scratching at the end as far as that goes.

So what is the story?

It’s the early 1960s, and each year, groups of teenage boys are locked up and starved for several days until Halloween, when they are released onto the streets to hunt down “Sawtooth”, who rises from the cornfield each year. But this ain’t no Great Pumpkin. Sawtooth viciously slaughters any boy that dares go up against him.

If one of the teenagers is able to defeat Sawtooth, he becomes a town hero, is given a beautiful new car, and is allowed to escape the town for good, never to be seen again.

Truth is, as I, my husband, and our friends watched the film, we began to piece together what was actually happening and the details of how the legend worked–much more clearly than the film itself did! It’s like the writers were almost there but failed to fully explain what they were trying to present.

As a result, this action-packed movie is quite chaotic with a sloppy narrative. The creature confrontations rock, and these half-starved boys go pretty crazy. Their behavior gets into The Purge territory, making them just as much a danger to the town as Sawtooth.

Looking past its flaws, what this movie seems to be doing is making a statement about war, especially as it relates to the 1960s. Innocent young men with their whole lives ahead of them are being forced to fight a pointless war. The only way to get out of their hometown is to risk their lives, and their whole future relies on them surviving and becoming heroes. Some of them are terrified to fight and don’t want to participate, but they have no choice. They all wear masks to hunt Sawtooth, which is never explained, but it could easily represent the many faceless soldiers that are sent to war and die for our country without being known or remembered, especially considering most of the masks are skull faces, as if their fates are already decided.

There’s a bomb shelter scene that demonstrates how these soldiers are never truly safe while out on the battlefield.

And finally, and importantly, the film addresses another issue of war at the time…the idea that women, and in this case a Black female, weren’t allowed to serve in war…even if they longed to volunteer to fight for what’s right despite not being on a level playing field in their own country.


After a series of short films that garnered positive attention on the Internet thanks to the iconic persona of The Jester, he finally gets his own full-length feature set on Halloween night.

As mysterious as he was in the shorts, his mystery motivation remains even more unclear in this movie. He appears on the street at night, where he will stalk an individual in an isolated location. Without speaking, he offers up a hand of cards for the person to choose from. I could extract a few different reasons why he was targeting certain people, but the reasons never seem consistent. On top of that, he will randomly kill people that get in his way in between terrorizing a specific person.

The focus is on a girl who loses her father at the hands of The Jester (but she doesn’t know that). After the funeral, she meets up with a sister she never knew…who had been abandoned by the father years before.

This is where the movie becomes fractured. The Jester relentlessly pursues the estranged sister on the street. At the same time, we get a lot of filler with the other sister hanging out with her friends and finally deciding to attend a Halloween festival with them.

The bulk of the movie has The Jester skulking around and harassing the estranged sister. It becomes so repetitive that he loses his mystique, causing the fear factor to plummet.

When he does occasionally kill someone, it’s fun and gory. In fact, the death scenes are so good that I was wishing The Jester had just gone around killing random people rather than focusing on a very limited number of hard targets. That worked in a short film, but we needed more from a 90-minute feature.

In the final act, the two sisters, who barely interact throughout the film, are suddenly thrust into The Jester’s sights. He really had it out for this family.

While it felt like we needed a fuller exploration of The Jester’s purpose, the movie definitely delivers on the atmosphere and the Halloween vibe.

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A trio of horror films with Black leading characters

My latest marathon of horror films with Black characters in the forefront came from cable, Tubi, and Shudder. Let’s get right into them.

BITCH ASS (2022)

Ooh. Sexy title. Tony Todd introduces this film and mentions all the classic Black horror flicks, including his own.

The social message concerns not only the aftereffects of bullying, but the goal of a Black mother to help her son elevate his social positioning by going to school instead of running with the local gang.

The gang is led by Malcolm of sitcom The Neighborhood. He sends new recruits to break into a home as part of an initiation.

Turns out “Bitch Ass” lurks in the shadows, waiting to get revenge for the way he was bullied back in school. This killer’s M.O. is adapting classic games and puzzles into death traps and challenging his victims to a competition. My favorite is the use of a human corpse for a game of Operation.

Quirky with hints of humor, the movie also has some gory and brutal kills. It definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. For instance, character cards appear on screen for the “vs. challenges” and get crossed off when a victim dies). As a result, it isn’t particularly scary—although the sets and lighting give off a creepy Saw vibe.

To add some interest to an otherwise repetitive, slasher-esque plot, we intermittently get clips that provide us with Bitch Ass’s backstory. Overall, I had fun with this one.


Another Saw-style flick, this one starts with a gory first kill scene and a Black detective discovering this case is personal for him.

The detective learns that some crazy shirtless dude in a gas mask is renting out space, catching victims in his web, and then moving on to a new rental space.

The detective goes undercover in the seedy world of drug dealers and worms his way into one of these trap houses with a bunch of drug heads. Awesome.

However, as sleazy and gritty as the plot setup is, and as gory as some of the traps are, this film felt too sleek and subdued to live up to its premise.

Not to mention, our leading man detective seems to take a back seat for most of the movie as everyone else is killed off.

Even the final battle with the killer is low key…and the shirtless nut doesn’t get enough screen time either, so his motivation and backstory are totally lacking. A crazy shirtless dude in a gas mask deserves to be interesting, and he’s just not. This dude just sits back and lets his traps do all the work, which is a bummer, because he’s creepier than all the traps combined.


The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster updates the Frankenstein and Pet Sematary concepts and sets them in a lower income Black neighborhood to wrap the horror in a hint of social commentary.

Queen Latifah’s daughter from The Equalizer stars as a super smart girl who goes to a special school, where she is treated differently for being intelligent, outspoken…and Black. Her father, played by Tyreese from The Walking Dead, has her back after she’s treated with prejudice by school personnel just the way we’ve seen it happening in real life on viral videos.

Now this is where you have to suspend your disbelief. This teenage girl not only steals dead bodies, but she somehow has a whole lab that no one knows about.

She believes death is a disease, and intends to prove it by resurrecting her older brother, who died as a result of gang activity, thereby curing him of death.

While the social structure of her town is developed for the first 45 minutes, the initial revival of her brother is underwhelming. It’s after she has a freaky nightmare about him that he goes on a killing rampage.

From that point on it is fun, he’s freaky, and there are some brutal kills. It’s just a bummer that the horror doesn’t kick in until halfway through the film, because he is a cool and creepy monster.

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Indulging in three higher profile titles

Naturally I’m going to check out better-known titles in between all the awesome indie trash I watch, so it was time to catch up on a few newbies. They all had their moments, but only one was a winner for me.

V/H/S 1985 (2023)

This anthology series is getting more and more messy, to the point that each time this installment jumped to a new clip, it took me a while to figure out if we were in a new story, revisiting a story that hadn’t concluded earlier, or being thrown to one of the weird “commercial interruptions” that pop up in this excessive, two-hour long installment.

As far as I can tell, these were the stories:

1st – friends out on a boat while camping get targeted by a sniper. This one has some sort of paranormal aspect it seems, but no conclusion…at the moment…so it’s not immediately clear we’ve entered another story…

2nd story – especially since that story sort of becomes a wraparound. Scientists are studying someone in a lab, and this becomes a serialized story that we keep revisting.

3rd story – a Spanish story with English subtitles, this is about a crew trapped under a collapsing building. There’s some entertaining horror at the end when they discover what’s under there with them, along with the usual frenetic camera work to make it hard to see what the hell is going on, but this is a pretty cliché premise overall.

4th story – this is a quickie in which a woman doing a presentation on technology overtaking life is attacked by a virtual reality monster.

5th story – this one is connected to the camping story and sort of attempts to give us an understanding of who was targeting the campers and why, but it is just as inconclusive as its partner story.

6th story – the vicious and gory first-person kills are the highlight of this tale about a goth teen who claims he dreams about the murders before they happen.

The film concludes with that science lab wraparound, and at least it ends strong with a creature on the loose. My vote is that the next installment is called “V/H/S – Beta wars 1981.

TALK TO ME (2022)

This is how you do a throwback to the evil specter movies of the early 2000s while giving it a fresh twist. Combining Ouija board vibes with ghosts and possession, Talk to Me is fast-paced, frightening, brutal, and sad.

Our main girl is dealing with the loss of her mother when she goes with her best friend and the best friend’s little brother to a party. The unusual “game” they play involves siting at a table and holding a petrified human hand one of the guests just happens to have…um…on hand.

First you say “talk to me” to the hand. Instead of responding “talk to the hand”, the hand reveals a corpse sitting across from you. Then you say, “I let you in”, after which you are temporarily possessed by the corpse’s spirit…theoretically.

This fresh and freaky concept plays out with great suspense and tension, and while some might argue that it’s ridiculous that the kids keep doing it despite how disturbing and intense it is, it’s pretty clear that the trick becomes addictive and they can’t help themselves.

Things go terrible when the best friend’s younger brother decides to try it. You’re guaranteed to feel so bad for this kid, because it gets brutal. And when this movie wants to get nasty, it gets nasty, including a gross eye scene and an even grosser than gross foot sucking scene. That’s right. I’d rather see an eye removal than a foot BJ.

Our main girl has to figure out how to stop the spirits that begin terrorizing her. In the process, she just keeps digging herself into a deeper hole of horror. This flick is just awesome, and it even sends a message about putting suffering out of its misery.


This adaptation of a Stephen King story is an example of how not to make a throwback to the evil specter movies of the early 2000s.

The problem is the fucking lights. I felt like I was revisiting Sinister all over again. Turn on a fucking light! Lightless house settings are one of the laziest damn techniques for creating atmosphere.

We’re talking about a teenager (played by the young version of Juliette Lewis from Yellowjackets) and her little sister being terrorized by some sort of boogeyman that borrows from the Darkness Falls concept (there’s even a tooth stealing scene), yet they never turn on a damn light in their home when they think the boogeyman is hiding in the shadows.

For example, instead of turning on a kitchen light, the teen sister opens the fricking refrigerator. Another example is the little sister, who is already terrified, sitting in the dark playing a video game and then using the flashes from onscreen shooting to fend off the creature. Someone seriously thought this was clever and wrote it into a script.

Having said that, the CGI boogeyman…which is a four-legged creature, not a boogeyman…is pretty cool and finally sees the light in the final act, which is an action-packed extravaganza.


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Following up on my other Halloween movie post a few weeks ago, I think this is the only other one I need to do covering everything Halloween themed that I could possibly stumble upon this season to add to the complete holiday horror page.

THE MOUNT (2021)

I had so much hope for this movie when it started. An older, reclusive woman with her house all decorated for Halloween likes to scare trick or treaters.

She also intends to celebrate the holiday with a gentleman caller. My kind of cranky old bitch.

But then a group of weird kids pays her a visit. She is immediately relegated to being tied up in a chair and viciously tortured for the majority of the movie. Just like The Strangers, these kids don’t seem to really have a motive for terrorizing her, but in this case we see them just relishing tormenting her. They’re definitely more bizarre than the baddies in The Strangers, which adds an intriguing element to the film.

While much of what they do is gruesome and they are presented in a creepy, cultish manner, the tonal shifts often spoil the atmosphere, right down to a final knife battle set to militant, farcical music!

There was so much opportunity to make this a suspenseful cat and mouse movie, but that only shines through periodically in what is otherwise just a progression of these kids going more and more off the rails.

It was simply the compelling style of the film that kept me watching, hoping it would get better as it went along.

As a bonus, I watched The Mount 2 (2022). I don’t think it takes place on Halloween, but I’m not positive…because I’m not quite sure what’s going on.

Kids decide to visit the house from the first movie and have a total caricature tour guide in a wig perform a séance.

I believe it is supposed to be soon after what transpired in the first movie.

Pretty soon the original bad kids are back, more insane and bloodthirsty than before. There are hints of occult practices implied this time around.

However, the movie unfolds with numerous music and dancing montages interspersed with stalking and slashing scenes, and it starts to feel like an endless, artsy music video.

By the time a psycho chef came on the scene, I was over it.


Considering it’s about a priest, this one has all kinds of religious metaphors. The priest is losing his faith and dealing with guilt after the death of his mother.

On his way home from a bar, he sees a girl standing in the middle of a deserted road, chases her, has an encounter with a satanic cult, and then becomes obsessed with possession.

Conveniently, one of his peers performed an exorcism recently, so he begins following the formerly possessed man. Perhaps the eeriest moment is when he witnesses the supposedly “cured” man suddenly suffer an abnormal spasm and let out a deep-throated noise while in public. Freaky!

That plot line aside, the priest is terrorized by the cult wherever he goes.

His priest buddy—a totally rad dude who loves Halloween and likes chasing girls—drags him to a haunted attraction, where things go very badly.

It’s a slow burn and a little convoluted, but I really like how Halloween is integrated into the story of a priest being pursued by a crazy cult that appears to be possessed.

It’s a unique twist on the usual cult plot.


Turns out this low budget, 45-minute film was trimmed down for inclusion in the anthology Clowns of Halloween, which I cover in a post from several years back, so I won’t go into detail here. Just note there’s a Halloween party, a killer clown, nods to Halloween and Halloween 3, and a gay character.


This Russian film is almost two hours long, which works against it so badly for the first 75 minutes. At that point, when the crazy kills kick in, the whole tone shifts and I was mostly feeling it.

The “setup” is drawn out for no reason. One dude’s birthday is on Halloween, he receives an Ouija board as a gift, and he and his friends use it. There is absolutely no need for their Ouija session to go on for as long as it does.

At the same time, his parents go to an occult shop to get him a gift. Once again there’s a scene that just drags on forever, and this time it’s the store owner doing a Tarot reading for the parents.

The group of friends ends up at an escape room haunted attraction. We go on the tour with them as they escape one room after another, get split up, go looking for each other, and get chased by haunters in masks. Feels like the usual haunted attraction horror movie.

Then the killing starts. It’s brutality and blood galore, and the film gets this trippy 1970s insane asylum horror movie vibe, with that freaky style of music that goes right to your head, crazy camera work, psycho clowns, Saw-like sets, gut-munching cannibals, and practical gore effects.

The only thing that ruins the awesome atmosphere is the decision to throw in blaring thrash metal music during the death scenes. I don’t know why filmmakers ever choose thrash metal to serve as a “score”. I get that it implies chaos, but it always disrupts my immersion in a film.


This is perhaps the biggest family-friendly Halloween letdown I’ve watched in several years. It simply isn’t charming enough, and the pacing is abysmal.

Chevy Chase makes a cameo in an opening zombie scene from a movie made in the town in the 1970s.

One of the first problems with this movie is that while there is Halloween décor, the film doesn’t take place in a quaint little community as these films usually do—yet the movie is called Zombie Town! This setting has more of an open, city vibe, which means there aren’t exactly lots of autumn colored trees around to beef up the holiday vibe.

On the bright side, the soundtrack has a good mix of songs, like “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us” by Sparks, “The Air That I Breathe” by The Hollies, “Pump It Up” by Elvis Costello, and “Rock Me Gently” by Andy Kim.

We learn the director of the film (played by Dan Aykroyd) is set to release a new film for the first time in decades. The main kid, who works at the local theater where it will be premiering, sneaks the girl he likes into the theater for a sneak preview of the movie before the event, which ends up unleashing zombies on the town (or city…).

Considering this is an R.L. Stine story, these aren’t flesh eating zombies. They instead do a little supernatural trick—their eyes glow and vapors escape from their mouths into the victims, who then become zombies.

The kids and Dan Aykroyd are then forced to run around their neighborhood trying to stop the outbreak, while determining what caused it.

There are some fun and funny moments, like their teacher-turned-zombie groaning “detention” instead of “brains”, and a suspenseful visit to a Halloween house party filled with zombie guests. And while the zombies might be deliciously disturbing for little kids (gateway movie, perhaps?), overall the movie misses the mark on humor, children’s scares, and Halloween spirit as compared to some of my faves like The Monster Squad, Hocus Pocus, and The Curse of Bridge Hollow.

It even tries to pull off an uplifting Spielberg vibe circa 1983 in the final moments, but it falls flat considering nothing that came before it calls for it.


I always blind buy 80s throwback Halloween horror Blu-ray releases from Scream Team Releasing, and this year’s offering is a tried and true slasher theme—a pumpkin-headed killer. Yay!

In a small town, the legend of The Pumpkin Man still echoes, and they have a festival celebrating him every year. This year, however, a teen girl is so intrigued by him that she convinces her friends to help conjure him.

They had no idea it would work.

When the first victim turns up dead and the kids have nightmares of Pumpkin Man visiting them in their bedrooms, they realize they’ve made a huge mistake. Now they have to figure out how to send him back where he came from.

The Halloween and 80s horror lighting give the pumpkin man a great presence, and the death scenes are a treat, with all practical gore effects. Pumpkin Man even speaks with a novelty voice like Freddy Krueger.

There’s a montage at the festival’s haunted attraction, and most of the killings and the final act take place there. It’s nothing mind-blowing as far as indie slashers go, but it definitely has the holiday spirit.

Of note is the nonchalant diversity present here—the main girl’s mom makes a comment in passing about how she would be proud of her daughter even if she had a girlfriend, plus the Black female friend in the group has a white mother. As subtle as these aspects are, the anti-woke crowd will still probably lose its mind. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

This Blu-ray release also includes a 45-minute anthology of 6 holiday shorts from the director as a bonus feature:

1st story – takes a break from Halloween momentarily to give us a Christmas tale. A Scroogey businessman is terrorized by a creepy Santa. Great use of lighting to create the suspense in this one.

2nd story – back to Halloween. A guy buys Witch’s Brew coffee, not heeding the warning label. He goes all single-serve coffee machine when he should have made two cups, because he is immediately visited by a witchy presence.

3rd story – a demon that disguises itself as a trick or treater shows up at the door of a guy who hates candy corn. There’s a nice tie-in to the previous story, but it’s very confusing, because this guy’s house is decorated for Christmas!

4th story – a girl leaves a Halloween party and encounters a goblin…in a mask. Eek! This one is brief but brutal.

5th story – a girl goes through a haunted attraction in which one of the freaky creatures isn’t a guy in a costume. Another eek!

6th story – this is probably a short film that led to the creation of the full-length The Pumpkin Man movie. Witches conjure up The Pumpkin Man and are chased and viciously killed off. This is actually a faster-paced slaughter fest than the full-length feature.


If only the creators of this indie had seen what it could have been if they had trimmed it from 106 repetitive minutes to a tighter 75 minutes, it could have been a campy queer Halloween horror comedy. Either way, it earns a spot on the homo horror movies page.

When her friends get together for Halloween weekend at a supposedly haunted house, a lesbian hopes it will be her chance to woo her ex back. For support, she brings her gay brother along.

What ensues for a majority of this film feels like a small group of friends sitting around, bored, trying to find something better to do, which kind of rubs off on the audience. The lesbian bickering and drama become tedious. Virtually the same dialogue about their failed relationship gets rehashed over and over.

Occasionally the friends go out walking on the streets and have encounters with individual locals—moments that have so much potential to be creepy but never quite nail it. There’s also a dancing montage in slow motion…a very slow montage even without the slow motion. Every aspect of this film just seems to linger on too long for no reason.

The performances are stunted and awkward, and the score is campy dramatic, but that all works to the movie’s benefit when the final act goes for the occult plot that was bubbling deep, deep underneath all along.

An hour and fifteen minutes in it’s finally Halloween.

There are costumes and decorations, and at last we get horror comedy action as the group of friends is terrorized by a cult, showing us what a campy, silly good time this could have been with stronger writing and major editing.


This is the hit flick everyone is watching—and one I want on physical media asap. It’s not “totally” Halloween focused, but the plot centers around the fact that in the 1980s three teen girls were murdered at Halloween time. Plus, the final act takes place at a Halloween carnival event in 1987. Wahoo.

Speaking of the best decade ever, the soundtrack is so 1980s, including songs by Bananarama, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen, Shannon, Chris De Burgh, and more. What’s significant about this song selection is that, unlike other 80s throwback movies that are at fault for anachronistic song choices, the songs here all come specifically from 87 or before—not from 88 or 89. Hey. Details like these matter to those of us who were there.

Our main girl is our favorite witch Sabrina, who is awesome in this film. Her mother is TV mom Claire from Modern Family, and her father is horror cutie Lochlyn Munro.

It’s Halloween, and decades after a trio of murders of high school girls, Sabrina goes to a concert on Halloween. While she’s gone, the masked killer strikes again in an awesome kill scene.

Sabrina ends up at a science fair and on a time machine her best friend made….that unexpectedly actually works and catapults Sabrina back to Halloween 1987.

For starters, Sabrina has to contend with the very culturally different times, which is a hoot, especially if you were a teen in the 80s. The way in which this movie is “woke” should appease the anti-woke crowd, because in a sense it pokes fun at how much harder it is to navigate the simple practice of saying anything out loud these days.

Sabrina also quickly befriends her teenage mother and father and the girls that are about to die and needs to stop the murders in order to change the events in her own present.

Reminiscent of Happy Death Day 2U, it’s funny and fast-paced, give us a slasher whodunit (which are lacking these days), the characters are likable, the meta jokes about Back to the Future and classic horror movies rule, there are great death scenes and action sequences, and there’s even a gay character at the very end. Totally Killer is an instant slasher classic.

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TUBI TERRORS: a trio of anthologies

I can never pass up a collection of short terror tales, especially in October. Let’s find out if these three were worth a watch.


Scream Team Releasing is known for its 80s throwback movies, so it’s no surprise this anthology starts right in with a synth score and tits. I appreciate the retro vibe of their movies, but this anthology is lacking in cohesion, with a weak wraparound.

A ghoul puts on a human skin mask then breaks into a girl’s house, ties her up, and pops in a video for her to watch…

1st story – a nicely dressed, well-mannered white man (clear signs he’s a creep) is infatuated with a waitress, and plots to make her his. Once he gets her home, this short takes a weird, inexplicable turn, but it’s nice and disgusting.

2nd story – a young woman inherits her grandmother’s house, delivers a cleaning montage, finds a freaky doll that lets her grant wishes, and then wishes her grandmother was still alive. I guess the film tries to change things up to avoid being a copy of “The Monkey’s Paw”, but the ending becomes confusing as a result.

3rd story – scream queen Brinke Stevens stars as an author who gets a visit from a supposed fan, but he turns out to be investigating a series of satanic ritual murders. The horror and gore heavy ending of this one makes it my favorite in the bunch.

The conclusion to the wraparound was a letdown for me, and I don’t understand why they had an awesome ghoul and then hid it behind a mask…although that was ghoulish, too.


I never expect much from indie anthologies, so this was a satisfying surprise. It’s well acted and directed with some tight writing, character development, and good production values.

In the wraparound, a guy attempting to score a date in a bar suddenly finds himself in the lair of “Dr. Saville”, who makes him watch three stories…

1st – a lesbian tries a weight loss program that involves a pill that gives her a tape worm to do all the work. Eek. This gets into body horror territory, and before long the tape worm goes all Audrey II on her, demanding to be fed.

2nd story – this refreshingly bizarre story has a guy receive a parting gift from the girl who dumps him—an “aqua pet”. Is this anything like a Chia pet? We find out when the aqua pet first turns into a lovely woman before morphing into a not so lovely woman.

3rd story – this story of a man trying to protect his family from zombies but failing miserably has a good tragic twist. Sadly, there’s also a dark moment involving the family dog.

The only thing that really didn’t do too much for me with this one was the wraparound.

HI-FEAR (2022)

It’s risky to make an indie horror anthology almost two hours long, so I was a little concerned going into this one.

The wraparound is about an illustrator asked to come up with four stories based on her greatest fears for a comic book…

1st story – I’m a fan of “guys go to horror whore house” plots, and this one has some icky special effects, but I kind of felt short-changed. It was over just when it started to get fun!

2nd story – what begins as a story of a preacher murdering his wife for having an affair turns into total grindhouse chaos when he goes to bury the body in the woods, with a killer, cannibals, and loads of gore.

3rd story – a homeless crazy dude rumored to be a killer chases a teenager while claiming he has to save her. After a tragic turn of events, she learns what he was talking about. This one has a classic anthology twist.

4th story – two couples working on a movie set show up at the same cabin, and things just get…weird. In short, there’s some sort of spinning blue hologram beckoning them from the woods. This is less horror and more sci-fi with dark, mysterious atmosphere. Being a slow burn and the longest tale of the bunch, it really brings down the energy. It also doesn’t have much of an ending, especially for a story that’s supposed to focus on someone’s greatest fear. There’s nothing tangible about this fear.

In random news, we learn what the illustrator’s greatest fear really is in the conclusion to the wraparound, and it’s as tangible and as basic as it gets.


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TUBI TERRORS: a trio of Halloween slashers…mostly

The quality of these three Halloween horror flicks I’m adding to the complete holiday horror page vary greatly. Each one has a slasher element to it, but for different reasons, none of them fully commit to the subgenre. Let’s find out why.


Crazy that this is a sequel to a film from five years ago, especially considering Harvest of the Dead was an unexpected combination of horror anthology turned slasher.

Running only 72 minutes long (yay!), the sequel takes place literally the next day, on Halloween, when friends of the girls who went camping in the first movie are having a Halloween party.

Before that we see how it ends for the final girl from the first movie. Her parents are out in the woods looking for her, and a couple of detectives get in on the case, and spend a little too much time with exposition.

The film gives us a backstory for the killer from the first movie as well, and eventually the killer the masked baddie shows up at the party to wreak havoc.

The kills are bloody and use practical effects, plus there’s sex and nudity, including some fuzzy man booty. Now that’s how real slashers are made.

And just like the first movie, the sequel throws caution to the wind and crosses subgenres. As the masked killer is doing his thing, fricking zombies show up!

Any complaints I have about the first film or this one are kind of pointless, because I’ve got to give credit to a franchise that never sticks with one subgenre in each installment.


72 minutes is more than long enough for this home video style film from the director of Easter Holocaust. As bad as this is—and it’s bad—there were a few moments that made me chuckle. Not that I’m recommending the film. So how bad is it?

Here’s a perfect example (see pic above). A guy in a hockey mask is attacking a woman in the first scene. There are cartoonish hitting sounds, and a cat even strolls by in the background at the bottom right at one point. Plus, we get the absolute worst CGI blood ever.

Next, friends gather for a Halloween party in what was the house of “Nancy Myers”, the woman attacked by the killer in the beginning. They literally show a shot of the actual Amityville house as the exterior of the house.

From there it’s just chaos for most of the movie. One girl starts babbling about supernatural stuff, then we are gifted with a short story with a guy in an alien mask, which makes the whole scene look like a sixth grade school play.

Next we get a short sequence concerning a detective that was on the hunt for the killer and became haunted by demonic entities.

Two characters suddenly watch a zombie movie starring and directed by the filmmaker. I really think he’s trying to be tongue-in-cheek about how bad his movies are.

Finally, a masked killer shows up. There’s one fantastically melodramatic stab kill scene that made me laugh, and then suddenly the movie starts taking itself really seriously as a slasher, complete with a final girl sequence.

MORBID (2022)

This one gets the trophy for most Halloween spirit in this batch. It takes place in a house all decorated for the holiday, with four girls in costume awkwardly reuniting for some seasonal fun.

The tension between them becomes a little repetitive with too many uncomfortable pauses that hurt the pacing for the first few minutes of the film. We get it. Pussies are catty.

They decide to play a Japanese Q&A game that reveals some of their deepest feelings, after which they drink some sort of special tea that gives them each their own delusion.

That’s where this movie shines. Essentially it becomes a slasher anthology of sorts, with each girl having a delusion of being terrorized by a different freaky killer.

There’s some good gore, a nice twist at the end, and even mention of Hocus Pocus. Yippee!

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SILENT HILL: back to the beginning

It’s trippy revisiting games from the early days of the survival horror era, but despite being a PS1 game, the original Silent Hill from 1999 still holds up for me in terms of horror gaming experience. I expected it to look terrible on my 60-inch HD television (I wouldn’t dare try it on my 65-inch 4k television), but using a PS2 to hdmi converter, I was shocked to discover it looks pretty damn good, even with the original full-frame presentation stretched to a 16×9 aspect ratio. Having said that, with rumor spreading the Silent Hill 2 is getting a remake, I can’t fathom why they wouldn’t first remake the first one since it’s on the oldest generation from the 3D era of video games.

If you don’t know by now, the basic premise is that a man named Harry delves into the abandoned town of Silent Hill in search of his little daughter after she runs off. He soon discovers the town is shrouded in mystery, fog, and grotesque creatures. To be honest, they aren’t as frightening as they were at the turn of the millennium when you compare the pixelated graphics to modern day horror games. Now they look kind of cute, but their bite is still brutal.

One thing I can really appreciate upon a replay is that it’s a reminder of what a strong adaptation the original movie was—cutting through all the narrative noise of this game and its multiple endings while creating a more concise plot that borrows crucial elements of the first and second games in the franchise. I love that movie.

The opening sequence immediately reminds you that Silent Hill took the fixed camera angles of Resident Evil one step further to create a claustrophobic, dizzying, disorienting visual experience.

Pretty soon you score a gun, radio, and flashlight. The radio gives off static to warn you when monsters are near. The flashlight can only be turned on in “dark Silent Hill”. Even though regular Silent Hill can seem quite dark at times, you’ll know when you’re really in the dark version, because you can’t see three feet in front of you, and everything turns decrepit, dirty, rusty, and bloody. Eek!

The creators of Silent Hill fine-tuned the tank controls a bit compared to Resident Evil. With the touch of a shoulder button, you can refocus the camera angle to over your shoulder to see what’s in front of you. The thumbstick can also be used to push in the direction you want to go at times, and you can dodge left or right as well as jump backwards, a move I never seemed to be able to master unless I was in the middle of a frantic boss fight and the last thing I wanted to do was jump backwards.

The inventory system is smooth, simple, and unlimited. Yay! No trying to juggle items in a box or trying to determine what you should and shouldn’t keep on hand. However, by the end of the game, Harry was probably carrying about a thousand pounds of stuff on him. And finally, the save stations are notebooks you can find on desks throughout the town.

This is a vast game with numerous buildings to go into and items hidden in nooks and crannies on the densely fogged streets. Even though you usually find a map of each area, I’d highly advise use of a walkthrough, because backtracking is bad enough in a Resident Evil mansion, but expand that to a whole town of buildings, streets, and alleys filled with respawning monsters and your nightmare quadruples. You’ll sometimes come across dead ends that just drop off into oblivion, but don’t worry, you can’t fall off them.

As if the streets aren’t annoying enough to navigate, the game sometimes fucks with you. For instance, you kill two zombie dogs by a doghouse. You check the doghouse and see nothing. You try to get in the door to the house right next to it but it’s locked. Farther down the road you find a note that says there’s something in the doghouse. You go back and there’s a key in the doghouse that unlocks the door of the house. Argh!

Did I mention using a walkthrough? The walkthrough will also ensure you gather all the ammo and health you can. You’re going to need them. That is unless you’ve already completed the game. The second time through, you have access to some cool weapons (which you won’t know about without a walkthrough), including a laser zapper with unlimited power that can be used on most enemies.

Enemies are first encountered on the streets, and include a pterodactyl type of bird, zombie dogs, and gorilla-like man monsters that pounce on you and seem to want to hump you to death. These are the least horrifying of all the enemies you’ll encounter.

You’ll also interact occasionally with normal humans, including a cop, a nurse, a crazy old lady, and a dude in a suit.

There are essentially a handful of very specific locations you spend most of your time exploring. The first building you become immersed in is the school, and immediately the game messes with you, because north on your map is suddenly to the right, not the top. Ugh. Not to mention there is only one save room in the whole building. Here you’ll meet the terrifying little children monsters with knives. Eek! They ambush you in groups, and cling to your legs while crying. As you try to shoot one, another comes at you, so you need to create distance, because they are vicious with their knives. There are also little chirping ghost children, but they are not all that harmful, and I kind of felt bad killing…ghosts? You’ll encounter your first puzzle in the school, and again, it’s annoying game design. You find three books with messages to solve the puzzle, but you don’t take the books with you! You have to write down the information for later use. Or, if you’re smart, you just read the info off the walkthrough. Eventually you are transported to the dark version of the school, where you’ll encounter giant cockroaches, and…the first boss.

WTF? The first damn boss is a one hit kill situation! You have to shoot him repeatedly until he opens his mouth, then shoot him in his mouth as much as possible before he closes it, but he gobbles you down before you can even move away. And there’s not enough room to get around his fricking mouth! And watch out for that thing in the center of this circular arena that you can constantly get stuck on if you’re not careful.

Next you meet an old lady in a church and she tells you to go to the hospital. I hate her. The hospital is the stuff of nightmares. You meet the nurses, who are all hunched over and wielding knives. The use of sound, music, camera angles, missing flooring, and darkness will ruin your life. The nurses also pop up in cramped rooms and are very aggressive. Meanwhile, jealous because the nurses are giving you all the tender love and care, out come doctor demons, which are faster, regenerate more, and tend to be right on top of you when you go through doors.

After the hospital, the streets get a bad case of dark Silent Hill, with super dark streets, no clear landmarks, grates on the ground, and enemies that are now more plentiful and relentlessly chase you.

You quickly stop into a mall…for a boss battle! WTF? I just wanted to grab some CDs from the music store! After all, this game came out right before Napster ruined the physical media industry forever.

Boss 2 is a giant, burrowing larva that spits acid at you. It always seems to come out of the ground right where you are standing and deals a lot of damage. Expect tons of running around while trying to get shots at him.

Boss 3 is just a few minutes later. You’re forced to go all the way back to the hospital, and you fight the larva in moth form, same acid spitting deal.

And then…WTF? There’s no save after the boss before you’re introduced to a new enemy…in the sewers! The sewers contain more giant bugs, including ones that drop from the ceiling, as well as these little Weeble Wobble bear things. The good news is that you aren’t wading through sewer water as in Resident Evil. When you’re finally out of that maze, you must endure a maze of docks by the water to get to a lighthouse. In a show of mercy, after that brief stop the game automatically transports you to where you need to be next.

Unfortunately, you end up going through sewers again to end up at an amusement park with no map…and just to fight a boss.

This fight takes place on a carousel. You meet an awesome boss, someone you thought was a friend but now isn’t looking so friendly. She shoots at you, which is a bitch, but after she drops the gun, if you used a walkthrough and you picked up the “unknown liquid” along the way, you’ll know to just use it on the boss instead of continuing to fight her, which also gives you a better ending. Have I sold you on a walkthrough yet?

The final segment of the game involves a lot of running around, collecting things, and solving puzzles. The problem is there’s no map, and there are lots of corridors and doors, including doors that transport you from one floor to another. But you would never know that unless you…say it with me…use a walkthrough.

You get one of two different final bosses, depending on actions you took earlier in the game, but both bosses are fought basically the same. Sad thing is you are shooting blindly because the boss flies and is not visible on screen once the cut scene introducing it ends! It’s up somewhere off screen, and your camera repositioning trick has no affect here. WTF? All you see is its lighting strikes coming down from above, and if you get hit by them you have to heal within seconds or you’ll die.

And speaking of endings, there is one more ending you can get when you play through a second time…with a walkthrough. You’ll find a special object on your journey that you can use in very specific places in the game. Each time you do, you get a cut scene of a UFO. If you hit all the areas, you suddenly get a UFO ending in which you’re abducted. However, this ends the game instantly when there’s a whole lot more game to play. Good news is there is a save right before the final spot where you use the item. Simply save first, get the UFO ending, and reload your save to continue the game.

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PRIME TIME: a giallo throwback, a horror anthology, and an evil entity

My horror itch was scratched with this trio of films in various subgenres, so let’s get right into them.


I’m a fan of director Chad Ferrin and own several of his films on disc, including Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, Someone’s Knocking at the Door, and Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill!. What I like about him is that he always tries something different in terms of horror subgenres. Needless to say, after watching Night Caller on Prime, I immediately ordered the DVD.

This is like a giallo throwback mixed with shades of Eyes of Laura Mars, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Psycho. It’s a bit gritty, a bit grindhouse, and quite gruesome at times.

A psychic phone worker gets a call from a creep and immediately starts having visions of him as he commits his crimes.

This psycho brutally stabs people and then scalps them while they’re still alive (although I don’t know how they can be).

With the help of her homebound father and her boss, played by Bai Ling of Dumplings (who even references dumplings in this movie), the psychic digs deeper into her visions to track down the killer, because the police aren’t buying her psychic powers.

The pacing, the editing, the lighting, the brutal kills, and the bizarre situations are a treat for lovers of classic giallos of the 70s and 80s, and the psycho killer with gender identity issues brought on by a fucked up parent is always a welcome throwback as well.


This horror anthology is a simple collection of short films with no wraparound, but I did really like 3 out of the 4 stories. Here’s the breakdown:

1st story – a mother’s burden in life is raising a baby boy whose appetite grows more and more ravenous as he gets older. Gluttonous and gross visuals ensue, leading up to a good conclusion that is, however, most likely predictable for horror veterans.

2nd story – this is my favorite of the bunch. After the accidental death of his wife in a horrific way, a man panics and decides to bury her in his yard. Spooky atmosphere and horror deliver as her body parts become embedded in the vegetables he’s growing. Eek!

3rd story – an eerie home invasion flick with some layers, this one has a girl home alone at night calling a plumbing service and soon finding herself being terrorized by more than one man.

4th story – a couple living a rustic life is visited by a religious missionary, and that’s never a good thing in horror. This is more story than scary.


Evil literally takes root in this heavy-handed, often convoluted film that blends folklore, witchcraft, possession, and religion to tell a tale about…a wood demon with glowing eyes!

As a father and daughter are dealing with the bizarre death of their matriarch, her ex-boyfriend, a paranormal investigator, comes to town, having received a message from her before her death. She had good taste in men, because both the husband and the ex are hot.

They’re even hotter when they do this together…

Anyway, the daughter has visions and dreams of the demon (too many, leading to excessive delusion and nightmare sequences), the investigator is harassed by numerous big butch men who think he should mind his own business, and on the sidelines, several religious leaders are obsessed with sin.

Like I said, there’s a bit too much going on. But the visual scenes of robed witches with black dogs in the woods definitely create a spooky tone, and even though much of the wood demon scenes rely on CGI, it’s still a compelling specter that delivers cheap scares.

And just when you think there isn’t enough already going on, the film ends with an exorcism! It’s all entertaining, but it is like there are at least three different stories being told at once that all could have had their own movies.

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A buffet of Halloween slashers and their sequels

It’s three low budget franchises—2 that are all short films, and a third that includes 2 full-length features. Did any satisfy my Halloween slasher itch, and do they score positions on the complete holiday horror page?


Running just over an hour long, this low budget indie takes place on Halloween 1987 and offers some faux 80s music and 80s references.

There are also plenty of references to Halloween, as well as some pumpkins, and a montage of a trip to a haunted attraction.

But in general, this film is a chaotic mess. It’s really hard to discern what the plot is. There’s a doll, there’s a killer in a mask who leaves a doll as a calling card, sometimes it seems like the doll is the killer, and there’s a satanic ritual that apparently sparks the whole killing spree.

I had no idea what any of it meant.

DOLL KILLER 2 (2021)

Nearly a decade later, the sequel comes around. This one runs only 54 minutes long, and it totally pulls a Silent Night, Deadly Night 2. The first half hour is made up predominantly of scenes from the first installment. After that the final girl is back, and the killer is back to get her 15 years later.

This is not another Halloween story. Instead, the main girl gets asked out on a date to a Fourth of July celebration at an amusement park, complete with a fireworks montage (meaning this still earns a spot on the complete holiday horror movies page).

Not much happens after that. They come home from the date and the killer shows up to take care of both of them. Still no explanation as to what this story is all about. So why not make a third installment?

DOLL KILLER 3 (2023)

Running 44 minutes long and once again loaded with scenes from the previous installment, this second sequel takes place on the same night as part 2. They should have just been edited together as one sequel without all the flashbacks.

For part 3 the killer simply moves on to a nearby house to terrorize a slumber party of all girls and one gay guy.

Considering this is supposed to be the same night as part 2, it should be the Fourth of July, yet the group at the slumber party is partying inside watching Night of the Living Dead.

Anyway, the story still doesn’t make sense. The doll is back, there are a few murders, and there’s no clear cut conclusion to the story. I fear we may be in for a part four.


In this 36-minute movie, a group of friends goes on a trip to a house in the woods.

Eventually a killer in a black hoodie and mask goes around brutally killing only the women at the house—the men are nowhere to be found until the final battle.

Problem with this movie is the title. Halloween is not mentioned for a majority of the movie, and there’s a Christmas tree in the house.

Yet right at the end, one of the characters mentions his Halloween costume. What a mess and what a scam of a title.


The sequel runs 51 minutes long. The whole gang is back for another trip, but before they leave, one of the guys goes to a psychic because he’s having nightmares about a masked man killing all his friends (hint hint).

The psychic gives him a box and tells him to never open it or it will surely mean death.

Someone opens the box.

30 minutes in the kills begin again, and it’s just a rinse and repeat of the first film…with no mention whatsoever of it being Halloween. For what it’s worth, there is a card in the box that references it being October. Even so, the Project Heat films are not going on the holiday horror page.


You might worry that this isn’t a Halloween themed horror film since the third Saturday in October is usually more than a week before Halloween. And in this movie, it’s the day of a football showdown that is highlighted at the beginning then all but forgotten by the time the movie totally starts delivering on autumn atmosphere and Halloween decor!

I actually love that the film doesn’t harp on Halloween, just flirts with it. Even the credits and title cards give nods to the Halloween movies.

As far as low budget throwback slashers go, this one does a great job of bringing the Halloween era vibe.

It’s the story of a serial killer being executed in the electric chair. However, once his body is taken to the cemetery, for inexplicable reasons it comes back from the dead! The sequence is filled with classic fog and blue lighting.

The killer now has a deformed face, so he doesn’t wear a mask. It is good to see a Black guy getting to be the killer. That doesn’t happen too often.

If there is one downside, it’s that the first hour should have been cut by perhaps 15 minutes to help the pacing. There is a lot of filler as we are introduced to various characters, including a man and woman who are on the trail of the unstoppable killer, as well as a group of friends that is ripe for the body count. There’s even a silver daddy walking around in his undies.

There are shades of kills in that first hour, but the party really starts when the friends start their football watching party.

This final segment of the film is a blast, with gory kills, suspense, body reveals, and a final girl. And I have to give credit to a Halloween movie that manages to pay homage to Black Christmas!

Luckily, the killer pulls a Michael Myers, which ensures a sequel! Or…a fifth sequel?


The intro to the sequel weaves a legend about the first movie being a cash-in of Halloween in 1980, and claims there were four sequels throughout the decade, and now you’re getting to see the fifth film in the series.

There’s a quick montage of “scenes” from the other movies, with new footage from films that were never actually made. Awesome.

While keeping the same retro tone as the first film, this sequel also subtly serves as a satire on numerous sequels in franchises in the 80s:

–the plot is basically recycled; a group of friends gets together to watch the annual football game on the third Saturday in October.

–numerous characters are introduced only to be killed off with little to no character development, which means way more death scenes and a body count.

–the killer kills indiscriminately; there’s no real motive this time.

–the deaths deliver more blood and violence, and torture is thrown into the mix.

–as the film progresses, it leans more towards horror comedy.

It’s also definitely a tighter paced film, there’s still autumn atmosphere and Halloween decor, and what would an 80s sequel be without a child being one of the “final girls”?

Two things that I didn’t love about the film. First, the comedy aspect revolves around one guy who is tied up and tortured in the bedroom as the others watch the game in the living room. Therefore, every time someone comes in looking for him, they are killed. Seriously, the killer doesn’t go stalking victims—they come to him.

But the reactions of the tied up guy definitely deliver on the horror comedy element. And second, while I cheered the first film for having a Black killer, in the sequel he wears a mask (very Friday the 13th Part 3) and never takes it off or has it knocked off by a victim!

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