PRIME TIME: a triple feature of familiar faces

What’s in a horror name? The hope that the name will get people to watch your indie movie, that’s what. Let’s take a look at three flicks with veteran actors installed to lure us in.

#Unknown (2021)

The director of Halloweed goes serious this time around in a sort of ghost story.

Plot aside, there’s some really bright sides to the casting here. Our leading man is so damn good looking it’s a pleasure watching him.

His woman is played by Maggie from The Nanny, and it’s nice to see her in a juicy horror role. Plus, Tom Sizemore, Judd Nelson, L’il Romeo, And Master P have minor roles, so there’s plenty of face recognition.

The odd aspect of this ghost story is that the couple isn’t just moving into a new house where the man begins getting strange phone calls and seeing shadowy figures in dark corners. They’ve lived there for several years.

However, he is a recovering alcoholic, and he is an author having some challenges writing a follow-up to his first book. On top of that, his woman is pressuring him to have a baby.

As the haunting begins to escalate, he becomes obsessed with serial killings that took place several years before. He indulges in the details of the murders and more and more apparitions appear in his home.

His woman also seems to become possessed. This all causes him to start spiraling out of control.

This isn’t a particularly frightening movie, and personally, I found it to be quite predictable, but it was still entertaining with some spooky if not cliché ghostly figures popping up now and then in the house.


This is a sequel to Burial Ground Massacre, a cabin in the woods slasher about a killer wearing a hoodie and Native American mask.

Even though it has to do with the mask, the majority of this film feels like a mob movie, focusing on detectives and organized crime dudes.

Michael Madsen is back from the first movie, and Tom Sizemore plays a detective. The main girl and another guy who survived the first film are back as well.

The main girl is helping the detectives, and she also gets invited with some friends to go to a house in the woods. She has nightmares about the first movie…I mean…about what happened in the first movie, yet she still agrees to put herself in the same predicament again.

It’s seriously not until the last 20 minutes that this finally turns into a slasher, with naked girls, lesbian action, shirtless hunks, and the masked killer.

It’s pretty much the only enjoyable part of the film, and if you’re a completist like me and saw the first film, you’ll want to check it out. Otherwise, there are plenty of other options if you’re just looking for a full indie slasher.

ROOM 9 (2021)

Room 9 is an agonizingly long attempt at a revenge flick. Someone made a decision to have constantly changing filters and effects assaulting the film from start to finish, making it even more unbearable.

40 years ago a Black couple staying in a B&B was murdered by the white trash hillbillies that owned it, including horror icon Michael Berryman.

In the present day, some dude is called to the family business. But that is virtually irrelevant.

This is just endless scenes of the hillbillies from the past, now adults, being captured, bound to a table, and killed off screen. Kane Hodder is one of those hillbillies and gets the bulk of “plot” focused on him as he is released from prison then parties with friends. Let’s face it. Hodder chained up is definitely a party…

Scout Taylor-Compton shows up in the last act to be the final girl in a very low key kind of way.

For me, Room 9 just became background noise. There was simply nothing to cling to here.

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A trio of queer, sexually charged thrillers

In honor of the weird trend going on right now of people on social media bashing movies with sex scenes in them, I figured I’d do a triple feature of balls out gay films to add to the full homo horror movies page.

OPEN CAM (2005)

Years before there was Exploited, there was the online gay erotic thriller Open Cam. Unfortunately, Exploited did it way better, because Open Cam forgets the thriller part.

This is the kind of movie you watch and the only thing you can conclude is that the creator wanted to make a gay thriller but had a better eye for gay porn. In fact, according to IMDb, the sex scenes were the real deal, but most of the footage was left on the cutting room floor. What is included are remnants of that footage without any shots of the penetration. Not going to lie. The sex scenes are hot and plentiful with some full frontal, and I’m all about it.

The plot concerns a sexy young artist who hooks up with guys on Webcam…after which they get castrated and murdered. If only there had been dedication to the suspense aspect.

There’s some promising, grainy footage of a kill and one fleeting “there’s someone else in your apartment” moment on the Webcam, but the movie doesn’t follow through and fails to deliver any horror, stalking, cat and mouse, or anything that makes a serial killer thriller a thriller.

The focus is all on the main guy, the guys in his apartment building, his close friend, the guys he hooks up with, and the cop on the case that he starts having an affair with when they meet after a gay bashing gone refreshingly wrong for the basher.

There is some classic red and blue horror lighting, but that doesn’t help much when there’s no killer lurking in the shadows. Further spoiling any sense of atmosphere or dread is the fact that rather than using a tension-building score, the movie is backed with a constant stream of different rock and dance songs, often making this feel like a chain of sleazy montages rather than a movie.


The director of The Ruins, Jamie Marks is Dead, Bugcrush, and Midnight Kiss brings us a movie that is just so not my thing.

Cooper Koch of They/Them, who is quite good here by the end of the movie, plays a gay guy about to embark on a porn career in L.A. He’s spending his final night with his best friend. The depth and intimacy of their bond is perfectly portrayed, and you can see how much his friend loves him. That makes it all the more frustrating when the friend decides he’s going to help him out financially by dragging him into a drug trafficking job. Ugh!

Jena Malone supplies the drugs, and forces them to swallow it at gun point for transporting.

We get:

  • A full-frame aspect ratio and predominantly extreme close up shots to create a claustrophobic feel

  • A gay bashing in a public restroom

  • the friend trying to shit the bags of drugs out and eventually rubbing his bare bottom all over a public restroom floor (grossest part of the movie for me)

  • The lead being forced to fist fuck the drugs out of his friend’s asshole with Vaseline

  • Mark Patton as Jena Malone’s lecherous boss

  • Mark Patton doing a camptastic, psycho flame out during a chase scene

I know everyone has different definitions of what makes a movie horror. For me, this isn’t it. It’s also being described as “body horror”. It’s not body horror to me. It’s a shit and bowel-centric film. Hell, there’s even numerous references to there being something nasty in the bag of drugs, but that is not expanded upon—and as gross as it is, it’s the one thing that would have made this a horror movie to me.


Finally we have a winner, at least for me, probably because The Breeding tackles a theme I regularly explore in my gay horror novel series—interracial fetishism. Despite today’s tightly-wound queer community’s obsession with policing the sexual and romantic desires of others and its need to become outraged when people are attracted to those not within their own race, the beauty of being queer is not having to subject one’s self to the restraints of mainstream society and all its bigotry and phobias. Being attracted solely to those of another race is as much a person’s prerogative as is the desire only for those with a specific hair or eye color, certain body type, or of a particular age.

The good news for the mixed-race hating queers is that this film considers the pitfalls of fetishism, and how it can actually be thinly disguised racism played out in the form of total dominance through the lens of objectification and sexual desire.

To me, The Breeding was the most nerve-racking of all three of these films. It focuses on a gay Black erotic artist whose Black partner isn’t satisfying his sexual needs and would never be able to do so.

That’s because the artist longs to submit to a white man. He goes exploring online and finds just the type of man willing to fulfill his fantasy.

This is where the film gets scary in a real sense as it delves into the dangers of throwing caution to the wind to get off when you don’t know the intentions of the other party, give in to the temptation of the danger, and never establish a fricking safe word! This is all amplified by the inherent distrust races have of each other, for the main man soon finds himself an actual sexual slave to the white man, who begins the process of “breaking” him.

It effectively makes you feel how terrifying the allure of interracial sex could be if both participants weren’t simply in it for the passion and pleasure but rather for the power play embedded in human history. That terror is intensified by the fact that we’re actually living through a frightening time of amplified white supremacy—which doesn’t bode well for either the Black or queer community.

The film may feel slow at first if you’re only in it for cheap chills and thrills, however it’s important to pay attention to what’s happening, because everything circles back to the points being made here and how they relate to the main man’s sexual urges (which unfold in highly erotic scenes). The troubled relationship between the couple is established; our main man is a carefree bohemian uninterested in what ails the world, while his uptight partner is a socially-conscious and concerned businessman. There’s social commentary on religion, race relations, and politics embedded in the plot as well. For instance, the Black gay male experience is not only explored within the gay community, but also in terms of how Black gay men are treated and judged by the Black community as a whole. Conflicts with white figures of authority are touched upon in simple, fleeting moments, like the difference between the way white police treat an upper class Black man in his own apartment after he calls them for help and the way they treat a shady white dude in a hoodie when making a call to his house while investigating complaints of screams. Subtle but brilliant. Concepts of being on the down-low and how it affects relationships of different races are considered as well.

Finally, like Open Cam, there is a good deal of music used as background instead of a score, but it feels better applied here to me. The words to the songs and the tone of the music make sense coupled with what is taking place on screen. The selective use of red and blue horror lighting to signify both tense encounters and sex turning scary is also highly effective. Every aspect of the film is smartly thought out, which, dare I say, elevates this erotic thriller.


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STREAM QUEEN: sharks, demons, and werewolves

I jumped around streaming services for my latest triple feature, which was comprised of films that brought me into familiar territory.


With SyFy now a lost cause that simply shows the same movies over and over again, finding cheesy creature features, including shark films, has become a matter of scouring the depths of the horror sections of various streaming services.

Maneater popped up on Hulu, and it’s the same old story…a group of kids goes on vacation and gets stuck on an island with a killer shark circling the waters looking for food.

Perfect. That’s all I need.

A grieving father played by Trace Adkins, who is apparently a country singer, decides to take matters into his own hands when authorities won’t do anything about the shark that killed his daughter.

The CGI shark is awesomely hokey, the kills are awesomely bloody, and the cast is awesomely forgettable so we don’t care if they get eaten.

The only real problem here is that all the kills are crammed into the first fifteen minutes and the last fifteen minutes, meaning we have to spend a lot of time with these awesomely forgettable characters in between.

The final battle is low key and disappointing, and the film has the audacity to use “gonna need a bigger boat” as the promise of a sequel in the final frame. I do love that the attack scenes are pretty cool, but when I paused the movie during a frantic moment to take a screenshot, it became really clear that the victim was basically a sex doll…


I don’t know if legal avenues were taken, but it’s safe to say this is an indie remake of The Last Man On Earth/The Omega Man/I Am Legend.

For those who have reservations about sensitive issues, I’ll say right up front this is predominantly a one-man show, and leading man Donald Cerrone, a former kickboxer and fighter, has had multiple allegations of sexual harassment, racism, and homophobia leveled against him. As soon as the film started and I saw him I had to look him up because my immediate thoughts were a) he’s probably some sort of professional fighter, and b) he probably has a problematic track record. Stereotyping really can be like ESP sometimes. Anyway, from what I learned online, Cerrone has countered these accusations by using the “I have Black friends” and “I’ve worn a rainbow shirt” defenses.

Cerrone plays a military man who is clearly going through some PTSD. If you ask me, he spends the whole movie acting like Rainman. However, before he gets trapped in his apartment after an apocalyptic event, he scores a sex scene so that we know our hero is virile, and he gets into a bar fight so we know he’s also bad ass.

It’s kind of funny how these types of “character developing” scenes are always included in action films to feed the fantasies of heterosexual male viewers so they can connect with the hero.

Cerrone awakes after a night of sex to discover the world outside has ended, and there are these creepy, possessed, demonic types of people coming up to his door and begging him to come out. Eek!

The whole movie takes place in his apartment except for two scenes in which he momentarily ventures outside. These two scenes perfectly demonstrate the shortcomings of this movie. These could have and should have been two of the most suspenseful sequences in the movie, but instead they are rather dull.

Having said that, I was really feeling the atmosphere created with light and shadows in the halls of his building, and the presentation of the demonic people is eerie as hell. Their bodies do, however, smoke lightly at all times, and the CGI used to create the effect isn’t the best.


Viking Wolf proves to be strong in the emotions department by the end, but as a werewolf film it’s a bit too restrained for my tastes. The biggest downside is that the striking visual presentation is taken down a notch by the cringe-worthy CGI wolf. But I guess that’s just a style we have to accept in an era that has mostly retired practical effects.

Things begin with a narrative about Vikings in 1050 bringing a “hound of hell” back home on their boat after their explorations. Was this backstory needed? Nope.

In the modern day, a cop, her husband, her teenage daughter, and her deaf tween daughter move to a small town. Before long, the teen daughter is the sole survivor after some sort of animal attack while she is hanging out in the woods with her friends.

While the teen tries to cope with the experience of losing her friends, her mother is focused on mounting cases of wolf attacks. The investigation grows more complicated when an old man shows up at the police station to warn of werewolves.

The proceedings are fairly typical of werewolf movies, and while bloody bodies keep turning up, there’s no attempt here to show any vicious werewolves attacks, despite a couple of mass-murder moments that would have been the perfect opportunity—including a city street scene reminiscent of An American Werewolf in London.

Even so, the saving grace is the sad circumstances that befall the main family in the end after the werewolf infiltrates their life.

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An Asian horror triple feature

My recent excursion into the entire Ju-On/The Grudge series had me itching for some new Asian horror, so I went on a little binge with these three flicks. My conclusion is that they just don’t make Asian horror like they used to…even when the guy who brought us Ju-On is the one making it.


Coming from director Tikashi Shimizu, creator of the Ju-On/The Grudge series, Howling Village is way out there compared to the straightforward revenge ghost curse plot of his famous franchise.

The opening scene totally reminded me of the dread of playing a Fatal Frame video game as a guy and his girlfriend sneak through a tunnel that leads to a cursed, abandoned “Howling Village”. After being chased back through the tunnel by creepy ghost zombie entities, the pair is not the same.

This is where things become confusing, with an excessive number of characters getting involved in the proceedings. The main focus is on a psychic psychologist who not only tries to help the couple that visited Howling Village, but also unearths the truth about her own family’s connections to the village and a curse.

There are a few eerie scenes, and the idea that the tunnel to this known cursed town is only partially blocked off is hella creepy, but this simply has none of the punch of Ju-On.

If it had kept us in the village more, the sense of dread would have been through the roof, but much of the action here takes place in a hospital and near the safe side of the tunnel.

Most complicated is the messed up story of why the village was abandoned and what the women of the village and dogs have to do with it. Quite honestly, I couldn’t follow the plot entirely. It almost seemed like a false accusation about bestiality led females to actually turn into weredogs and/or breed weredogs. Ick.

However that would explain the name of the village—and it would be a hell of a good backstory as to how the community came to be in the original The Howling, despite there obviously being no connection between the films.


The Wailing is a complex combination of various subgenres. It starts sort of slapstick thanks to the lead character’s bumbling behaviors before becoming a strictly serious movie, and also suffers from an extremely long 2-1/2 runtime with scenes that unnecessarily go on forever (get ready to sit through a ritualistic dance for like ten minutes).

The plot involves a small town suffering from a rash of mass-murders that seem to be spreading like an infection. Individuals are killing all their family members after behaving like they’re totally possessed.

Eventually, the curse hits home for a scatterbrained cop on the case. His daughter begins acting possessed, and he discovers that she’s been in contact with a strange man who has recently come to town. The cop believes the stranger is responsible for all the chaos, lashes out at him, and soon after finds himself in a sort of Drag Me To Hell situation in which he is terrorized by supernatural forces and zombie-like infected people.

But everything is not as it seems—on account of the film trying really hard to throw you off with multiple twists that start canceling each other out.

Blending aspects of classic Asian curse horror films, infected films, possession/exorcism films, and zombie films, The Wailing is intriguing enough if you can hang on through numerous drawn out scenes, but overall, I didn’t find it particularly suspenseful or frightening.


Another unnecessarily long film, this one runs two hours and five minutes long. It’s also a take on creepy grandparent movies like The Visit and Grandmother’s House.

A single mom ends up in a coma after a car accident. Her parents show up and tell their teen grandchildren (who never knew them) to come stay at their house. Eek!

The boy and girl almost immediately become drawn to a hole in the wall that the grandparents can’t see. Would you believe there’s a crawling ghost girl in the room on the other side every time they peer through it?

There are a bunch of side stories. The grandfather is determined to get revenge on the guy that was driving the car that hit the mother. The daughter is competing to be captain of the cheerleader team at school. The son, who wears a leg brace, is being blackmailed by a douche from school.

The grandparents are definitely weird, but the little ghost girl in the hole, who pukes blood a lot, isn’t scary at all once you realize she’s never going to crawl through the hole!

I liked the concept, but the final act is a bit too melodramatic and heavy on the twists in an effort to surprise us when the basic premise is good enough to carry its own intrigue.

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Video game nostalgia trip—riding on rails through The House of the Dead remake

The long-running series finally makes the jump to the PS4…several years into the life of the PS5…with a remake of the game that started it all. Yay!

It has been so long since I played the original The House of the Dead that I don’t totally know if this is just an exact replica with better graphics. The unforgettable opening sequence outside “the house” is definitely a “remake”, but I think the game then does some things of its own. It actually feels like there are parts missing, however, my memory might just be blending The House of the Dead 1 and 2 together since I played them at the same time when I got them for my PC over 20 years ago.

What I know for sure is missing is the infamous “Don’t come!” cried out by all the survivors before you save them (or in my case, often accidentally shoot them). Also, the melodramatic music is very much in the same style as the original soundtrack, but it’s not the same music at all. The graphics are rich and colorful, but they still manage to retain the classic arcade feel rather than look totally like a modern generation, hyper realistic revamp.

The game is super short, with three main chapters and then a final chapter that is mostly just a series of second encounters with bosses from the previous chapters (the bosses are all definitely taken right from the original game). There are, however ways to stumble upon alternate routes that take you through different sections of the mansion before eventually bringing you back onto the main path. As far as I can tell, only one chapter has these alternating paths, and conveniently, I played through the game twice, and the second time I shot all the right levers and buttons to take me through those alternate routes.

Gameplay is the same as the original. You shoot at various monsters that come at you, including zombies, bats, slugs, spiders, and various other mutant creatures. Some enemies will also toss weapons at you that you have to shoot as well, because being hit by them chips away at your life. In between defending yourself against all these enemies, it’s fun to try to shoot objects in the background such as barrels, vases, and canisters, which often hold extra lives, coins, and other treasures to give you an advantage over the dead enemies.

Finally, it’s time to discuss the controls. When this game first came out for the PS4, it had no sort of “light gun” support. The reason I finally picked it up is because it now supports the Move controller from the PS3—just the part with the glowing ball, not the mini companion controller (for menus and such you can simply use the PS4 DualShock controller). To think I used to play this game on my computer with a mouse before finally getting an Act-Labs light gun back then.

You also need a PS4 camera to work with the Move, and they are both simply plug and play. The odd thing is that there’s no calibration option in the game for the Move. There are just smoothness and sensitivity settings. Fiddling with the settings in an effort to tighten up the loose, sloppy targeting reticle just makes things messier, and it’s hard to determine whether smoothness or sensitivity is the problem, so I just reset them to default.

Despite the shaky aiming, the Move totally did the trick as a light gun, and I blasted through the game with no problem (on easy). The only real issue is that the trigger underneath the Move controller feels totally natural in the hand, but the reload button, instead of being the center button on top, which would be logical, is the X button slightly down and to the left. I ended up just keeping my thumb on the x button and simultaneously pressing it while pulling the trigger, because it’s very easy for your thumb to stray away from it, leaving you at a disadvantage when you do need to reload (which is essentially constantly since you go through bullets really fast while shooting like crazy). By pressing both buttons, I was continuously reloading while shooting, so I never ran out of bullets. Awesome.

Finally, playing on easy afforded me enough lives and continues to never have to start over from the beginning. The two times I played the game I made it from start to finish.

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BOUGHT ON BLU AND DVD: 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s trash

My latest splurge included an occult flick from the 70s, a late 80s killer croc flick and its sequel, and a cabin in the woods horror comedy from the 90s.


Water down the child of Satan movies that were all the rage in the 1970s to make them safe for general audiences, and you get this made-for-TV dud that I picked up on DVD. As cookie cutter as it gets, it’s about a young woman who goes to live with a lady who claims to be a close friend of her late mother.

Shelley Winters is that welcoming lady, and she is the reason I bought this one—I now have every bad 70s horror movie starring Shelley Winters in my collection.

Turns out there’s a cult coming to “reclaim” the young woman because her soul was sold to the devil by her mother when she was young!

There’s nothing all that frightening happening here. There’s a creepy painting of the Devil, the original Barnabas Collins vampire from Dark Shadows is Shelley’s mute servant, Shelley’s friends all seem like Stepford wives, and eventually a whole cult comes out of the woodwork to drag the young woman into a dance ritual at a party.

When she rejects their open arms, bad things start to happen. Actually just one thing—her friend dies…off screen…and she learns about it through word of mouth. Made-for-TV madness, I tell you!

Then we get an accelerated romance with 70s horror hottie Robert Foxworth just so the movie can come to a close at their wedding.

The twist isn’t much of a twist in this day and age, but if you loved movies like Rosemary’s Baby, Race with the Devil, and The Omen, you’ll appreciate the nostalgia of it all. We even get some cheap Devil action at the end, which is more than we ever got at the end of Rosemary’s Baby.


This Italian killer croc movie is the bomb! Everyone was dubbed into English after speaking their lines in a variety of languages, cheesy music plays at all the inappropriate times, there’s plenty of gore, and there’s a practical effects crocodile that brought me right back to the 80s.

We get into it immediately with croc POV, a couple with a boom box, two attack scenes in a row to start us off, and a total reveal of the huge crocodile.

We quickly find out why the croc is so over-sized. In total 80s fashion, toxic waste dumping is the culprit! A group of environmentalists comes to the swamps to find proof of dumping and then get picked off one by one.

The film uses every underwater monster cliché in the book, as well as rip-off Jaws music, and I was living for it. There’s also a typical scene in which all the Black locals that live right on the water every day of their lives can’t seem to figure out how to contend with a croc attack, so the white dudes from the city need to step in to save them.

But not all the white guys are superior. One idiot is like the prototype for modern day found footage characters that won’t put down the damn camera. He is determined to get photos of the croc, and people wind up dead as a result.

The final act is croc fighting fun as a stubborn hunter and the remaining environmentalists—two hotties—get back in the water for a battle to the death.

Would you believe that just when they think the croc is dead, an egg hatches on the shore?


This is how you do a hot campy mess of a sequel. It all begins with another couple getting gobbled in the opening scene.

Then we meet a reporter looking for a story. One of the first words out of her mouth is “faggot”, so I kind of wanted her to die. However, as soon as she goes into the swamps for a story and the dude manning the boat decides he’s going to rape her, she whips out a big knife and is like, “Dude, I’m from New York.” Awesome.

Also awesome is a scene of the croc devouring two boats full of nuns and children.

Anyway, one of the main guys from the first movie is back and feels he needs to go find the reporter after she doesn’t return. Things slow down a bit as he hunts for her while having flashbacks to the first movie. He locates her, there’s sexual tension, and they then have sex. Joke is on the homophobe, because she got with a pretty boy with feathered hair in a pink shirt.

It’s total popcorn movie goofiness once the final battle takes place, with our main dude even using the croc like a ramp to do a death-defying jump in a boat.


An unapologetic love letter to the Evil Dead movies, Frostbiter is ten times more absurdly slapstick and completely exploits the silly stop motion effects that were kept to a minimum in Evil Dead.

Frostbiter is definitely an entertaining midnight movie, but it is also sloppy cinema. Because the Wendigo can take on any form, it takes on way too many, leading to an abundance of goofy stop motion critters and creatures.

In between there are a few really good baddies that should have been the focus all the way through to enhance the horror aspects and somewhat mute the tomfoolery.

So what’s the plot? An old fisherman who looks like he died decades ago is living in a cabin in the woods guarding a spot that will unleash the Wendigo on the world if desecrated.

Wouldn’t you know a couple of redneck hunters comes along and desecrates the spot?

Almost immediately, 80s style horror colors saturate the screen, and, unfortunately, the film assaults us with a barrage of constant obnoxious music in the background that spoils any sense of atmosphere that could have helped improve the horror presence of the cheesy monsters.

Even so, the next group of guys that comes to the cabin fights some cool baddies, including a witch and a giant centaur.

Eventually those that die come back in a demonic form that is a cheap knockoff of the Deadites.

I’d tell you to keep an eye out for the Evil Dead 2 poster on a wall of the cabin, but you can’t miss it.

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SHUDDER AND SHRIEK: demons and other scary creatures

For a change, a triple feature of Shudder films didn’t turn out to be a trauma porn trio. What a relief. Even better, I liked most of them.

THE LAIR (2022)

The Lair comes from Neil Marshall, director of The Descent and Dog Soldiers. As much as I usually rag on movies that bring in the military, there are rare occasions when I’m totally into it, and this is one of them. I mean…it’s the director of The Descent and Dog Soldiers.

Not to mention, there are hunks galore.

This is pure creature feature action splatterfest fun. A military woman is shot down over an Afghanistan desert and finds refuge in a bunker.

The film wastes no time in introducing creatures trapped underground. They kind of remind me of Marvel anti-hero Venom, tongues and all.

The main woman escapes the creatures, makes it to a military base, and then all hell breaks loose and the entire military team spends the rest of the film battling hordes of the creatures.

It’s nonstop monster madness, and the characters are all likable. I will definitely add this one to my collection when it hits Blu-ray.


This possession flick is a combination of English and Spanish. While I generally find that all possession/exorcism films of the past two decades are failed attempts to capture the brilliance of The Exorcist, I thought Belzebuth took some risks and unique turns that give it a life of its own—plus it’s deliciously sacrilegious.

The opener alone won me over because it involves a gruesome situation in a maternity ward. Yay!

Present during the incident in the hospital, a detective ends up on a series of cases five years later involving everyday people committing heinous acts of violence in public arenas.

There are signs that Satanism is to blame, so the detective and his partner are soon hunting for a demonologist played by Tobin Bell.

Along the way they experience some supernatural situations. The highlight is a totally freaky use of a large Jesus figure on a crucifix in an abandoned church. Eek!

The plot eventually leads into an underground cavern for an exorcism, giving me flashbacks to Exorcist: The Beginning.

This isn’t the usual little girl tied down to a bed being splashed with holy water type of plot, so there are some freaky moments as a demon Jesus pursues the cast through the caves. Double eek!


I was so looking forward to this horror comedy, but I just was not feeling it. The mild humor didn’t grab me, the possessed people were treated too much like punchlines in a Scary Movie installment, and the film dragged on too long (105 minutes could have been paired down to 90 to help with the pacing).

After a family discovers there’s a demon in their new house that demands sacrifices, they rent the house out to a young dude who just broke up with his girlfriend.

Right from the start the horror elements become a whole lot of nothing. The main guy simply resorts to reasoning with the demons and ghosts while working with some friends to cleanse the house.

The presentation of the ghosts and demons is actually quite effective from a horror standpoint…this is just the wrong movie for the atmospheric moments.

Then, just as the main guy’s relationship status is getting back on track, the demon comes for his love interest. Therefore, he has to shift his house cleansing into high gear.

Unfortunately, the highest gear wasn’t fast enough for my tastes. This movie just felt very low energy, and the cast didn’t capture the charm necessary to make a horror comedy work.

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Bought on Blu and DVD: six degrees of recycled sex and scares heading into the 90s

There’s a reason why I added each of the three films in this post to my media library, so let’s find out why…


The director of Demon Wind brings us what is considered a remake of erotic thriller Stripped to Kill from just five years before, which is about a detective that goes undercover at a strip club to investigate a series of murders of dancers. But believe me, even if you’re a fan of Stripped to Kill, Dance With Death is altered enough to make it worth a watch—and worth it for me to have on Blu-ray to complete my Stripped to Kill franchise collection.

There also happen to be some awesome people in the cast. Martin Mull plays the club owner during the era that he was a regular on Roseanne. Just two years before she’d find fame on Friends, Lisa Kudrow plays the friend of the main female character, who is a reporter this time instead of a detective.

And Maxwell Caulfield, with Grease 2 ten years behind him, plays the detective that teams up with the reporter to solve the case.

The reporter wants to get the story and solve the case, so she takes a job as a stripper at the club. There’s plenty of T&A during the dancing scenes, but we only get to see a few death scenes. However, one in a phone booth is particularly disturbing and violent.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of red herring so we don’t guess the killer too soon, and there’s even a lesbian plot line (makes sense the year Basic Instinct struck it big as an erotic thriller).

Most importantly, the old school final chase scene is fricking fantastic. It’s a long, suspenseful chase with a masked killer that just won’t seem to die. The finale alone had me thinking I might like this film better than the original.


I added this DVD to my movie library because I needed to complete my collection of every horror movie starring Mallory’s boyfriend Nick from Family Ties, so I deserve what I get.

To Sleep With a Vampire is a perfect example of the kind of soulless direct-to-video/direct-to-cable crap that was being pumped out as the 80s morphed into the 90s.

This is a gothic erotic vampire romance that falls flat on all counts. Scott Valentine plays a lifeless (no pun intended) vampire that goes to a strip club (obligatory in movies during this era), lures a suicidal stripper home, and then tells her he’s going to suck the life out of her before the morning comes. First, he insists she tell him all about the joys of being mortal.


The best part of all the poor attempts at thought-provoking dialogue is when the stripper asks the vampire if he’s sucked on guys. He doesn’t answer.

Right from the start, their interactions are volatile, violent, and filled with sexual tension. The eroticism includes some tits and Scott in a leopard print Speedo.

As far as vampire lore is concerned, he can’t be in the sunlight, but he does have a reflection.

And while a slimy taxi driver who thinks he’s funny chauffeurs them around town, and Scott uses his long fingernails to climb the side of a house to get inside a window, at one point Scott simply beams himself and the main girl off the beach in a sparkle of light when the police show up. So apparently he has the ability to teleport… but opts to do things the hard way?

As mortal and vampire begin to bond, the big question we don’t even feel like sticking around to get the answer to is…will they live eternally ever after or is someone going to die?


Here’s the big six degrees moment of this post, which is also why Dance of the Damned was a must-have for my completist obsession. Dance of the Damned comes from the director of Stripped to Kill, and To Sleep With a Vampire is a remake of Dance of the Damned! What the hell? Why was everyone unofficially making sequels to director Katt Shea’s movies a few years after she made them?

I can safely say To Sleep With a Vampire is virtually an exact duplicate of this movie, with very minor details altered and a slight difference in tone.

The vampire is played by the dude from Porky’s who played a sort of asshole because he had an abusive father. I much prefer him in the role of the vampire over Nick from Family Ties. He also has an amazing mullet from hell that would make Billy Ray Cyrus feel inadequate.

This vampire gives off a sexier and more dangerous yet likable vibe, so it’s easier to imagine him glamming the stripper into coming with him for the night. He shows off his long fingernails earlier, he has monster-blue eyes, and he has a very 1980s, mono-colored monster POV.

The few differences include a reference to lesbians being the best tippers at the strip club in place of her teasing the vampire about sucking off guys, weak synthpop music during dance scenes that tells you it simply has to be the end of the 80s, a more gruesome response from the vampire when a couple of thugs harasses him and the girl, and the taxi driver who picks them up being less sleazy and not offering hints of comic relief as he does in the remake.

There’s also a great erotic horror scene of the stripper licking the vampire’s canines while they make out, and the final battle has a much better supernatural tone. It’s much more compelling than the hokey feel of the chase in the remake.

And finally, when they climb the side of a building to enter a house through a window, I’m almost positive it’s the same window that the Glick boy floats outside of in Salem’s Lot, if not an intentional facsimile.

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3 flicks with poster art that uses the same color palette

Yep. The similarities in the poster designs are the only reason I lumped these three together.


This is like a supernatural backwoods slasher that forgets the slashing.

After an opening scene of a man being tossed in a lake, we meet our main girl, who is joined by her friends when visiting her family home after the passing of her father.

The neighbors are friendly but odd, and there are scarecrows meant for keeping away spirits around the property. As the foursome of young people deals with relationship drama and lounges around the pool, the main girl’s man starts to experience weird shit, like droplets and puddles of water in odd places.

Strange occurrences continue, including flashes of a mummy-like creep, leading to the kids trying to delve into the main girl’s family history and determine what became of the father. Personally, my concern would be why all the horror is happening to my boyfriend when it’s my damn family curse.

Deep Hatred is not particularly compelling as a supernatural mystery, and the “slasher” elements begin when there are only 15 minutes remaining. They are also not very compelling. The movie just feels underdeveloped all around, but I did like the atmosphere in the final act with the killer.


This film explores the intersection between psychiatric drugs and mental illness…by putting us through a psychotropic experience at a rave.

There’s not much of a story here. If I was following right, a group of self-involved kids goes to a rave after killing a man (in an opening series of events that stars C.T. from MTV’s The Challenge).

Meanwhile, a crazy dude connected to them by six degrees of separation escapes an asylum.

The rave happens to be at an abandoned asylum.

The main characters stray from the main rave room and explore the derelict building. It’s hard to tell if they’re dealing reality or a drug trip as they experience gruesome situations.

Eventually a killer known as “Blight” violently murders them all. But it’s not like a stalking, chase-filled slasher movie. Everyone just seems to walk right into his trap. But damn, the gore is juicy, and the killer is nasty.

In the end, it seems like the whole point of the movie is revenge by someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own actions and needs to blame their drug problem on their drug dealers.


When I saw that The Toybox stars Mischa Barton and Denise Richards, I figured how good could it be? That’s why I simply had to watch it.

Sometimes a movie is just so asinine and takes such ridiculous risks that it becomes the epitome of so bad it’s fucking awesome, and this is one of those movies. The Toybox don’t give a fuck what your opinion is—it’s going to be as weird as hell every step of the way and not give a shit if you go on the internet to say it’s the worst movie ever.

A father gathers his grown children and their families on an RV for a road trip. Along the way, they come across Mischa Barton and her brother stuck on a desert road, give them a lift, and then…

…the audience gets hit with the crazy truth—the RV is haunted, has a mind of its own, causes a crash that leaves the family stranded, and then begins killing them off one by one in between haunting individual members with sightings of mutilated ghosts.

Side note: Ever notice how every time a child gets hit by a moving vehicle in a movie, somehow they lose a sneaker and it’s the only thing left behind?

This movie revels in being bizarre, and there’s even a psycho killer on board by the end with some sort of supernatural link to the very physicality of the RV.

Really, you have to see this movie to believe it.

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STREAM QUEEN: all kinds of hungry creatures and killers

It’s sharks, werewolves, killer comedians, and crazy rednecks in this foursome of flicks I checked out over the weekend.


This 110-minute indie horror comedy doesn’t offer enough comedy or plot to warrant the runtime. While the werewolf action was horror comfort food for me when it finally arrived, the amount of pointless, dull dialogue is staggering, and the delivery is so deliberate and slow that it drags the pace down even more.

The plot is about a cute young horror author who inherits his deceased mother’s house. When he moves in, a young woman is already living there and informs him that his stepbrother has also passed.

However, there’s more to it than that. There’s a nefarious cult—or cabal, if you will—keeping a werewolf captive in the church.

After an early werewolf attack, it’s literally an hour before the werewolf finally escapes the church. Even then, the werewolf attacks are few and far between for a while.

The cheesy werewolf mask and inexplicable red and blue horror lighting that appears in every indoor location whenever he shows up totally rock.

If this film had been edited down to 80 minutes without removing any of the werewolf scenes, I would recommend it for the nostalgic 80s horror vibes during the werewolf segments, but it’s a chore to sit through the long stretches of everything else here.


This predominantly action-free backwoods cannibal horror comedy waits until the very end to deliver all the humorous hack ‘n’ slash fun. The last fifteen minutes are a blast and save the movie.

After the death of the woman who adopted them, a brother and sister pair heads to Australia in search of their biological mother.

This lands them in the small rural town of Two Heads Creek, where everyone is really weird and quirky. The siblings also learn their mother has died recently, but something seems very fishy about that story.

Unfortunately, the first 50 minutes of the film don’t do enough to make us fear for the fate of our two leads. The horror elements and a body count are non-existent, the mystery angle isn’t strong enough to keep us guessing, and the humor isn’t consistent enough to keep us fully engaged, despite the cast doing a good job with the material.

Then comes the twist, which has a bit of a conspiracy theory angle (definitely a sign of the times), and it’s a goodie. The movie hits its stride as the truth is revealed. There’s even a playful musical performance at a party…the locals doing a glammed up performance of The Skyhooks Halloween playlist favorite “Horror Movie”.


Once the siblings fight back, this becomes a glorious slice ‘n’ dice party movie for fifteen minutes.

If only the battle had started about halfway through the film, this would have been loads of fun.

TOO LATE (2021)

Three horror comedies in a row, all with the same problem…where’s the horror and humor? Too Late is perhaps the worst offender considering it even takes place in a comedy club!

There’s a whole metaphor here for how the comedy and entertainment worlds swallow you whole…scratch that. It’s barely a metaphor. It’s pretty much hammered home. The horror feels more like the metaphor because it’s virtually non-existent.

The story involves a young assistant to a popular comedian/monster that needs to feed on humans in order to survive. The assistant’s job is to get him new acts for the show so that he can feed. Let the Right Comedian In? How damn desperate is this woman to be successful?

The sad thing is that this sets up the possibility of numerous comedian encounters with the ravenous boss.

It. Never. Happens.

Instead, there are clips of stand-up comedians (one of them being a trans character with trans jokes, which is cool), and our main girl beginning to fall for a comedian she then has to protect from her boss.

The boss does finally show more of his monster side near the end (sort of looks like a zombie), but by the time we watch him eat his one and only victim of the film (in shadow puppet style), Too Late is too little too late to satisfy horror fans.


I simply had to watch a bad b-movie self-described as Saw meets Jaws. Personally, with the state of the Saw series being a joke at this point, this basically should have just been a direct-to-streaming sequel called Saws! Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Play A Game in the Water.

The plot is as simple as it gets. A handful of people awake chained to the edge of a pool. A Jigsaw type voice keeps coming over a loudspeaker insisting they admit to their sins. One by one they get yanked into the pool, the lighting in the room turns red, and a huge shark comes in and gobbles them down.

You just watch Blood in the Water for the gobbling scenes, which are quite satisfying. You do have to wonder how hungry this shark is, because no stray body parts ever rise to the surface. Neither does any blood for that matter.

We don’t even really care what the characters did wrong, but there is some obligatory dialogue as well as flashbacks letting us know. Worst of all, the final survivor gets an apology monologue right up to the final frame. Yawn. Just feed that bitch to the shark and be done with it.

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