STREAM QUEEN: summer is here, so it’s cabin in the woods time

Everyone is heading to that house in the middle of nowhere, all for different reasons. So let’s take a look at The Ranger, Come to Daddy, Captured, and The 6th Friend.

THE RANGER (2018)

In the tradition of The Stepfather and The Dentist, it’s The Ranger!

Teens at a punk rock concert flee when the place is raided, and then head to a cabin in the woods that belonged to main girl’s dead uncle.

The problem with a good chunk of this movie is that the five main kids are such pieces of shit you don’t care about any of them. Even the gay couple spooning together adorably isn’t enough to make you root for the pair to survive.

Not to mention, they’re an interracial gay couple in a slasher. How long do you really think they will survive? Either way, it lands this movie on my does the gay guy die? page.

The ranger’s kills are the most fun here, because they’re nice and gory.

The ranger’s lines aren’t quite as campy as they could be, but he is one creepy looking dude, and he sings Charlie Rich’s 1970s hit “The Most Beautiful a Girl” between kills. And by the end of the film, he is fricking craaaaaazy.

Shockingly, Larry Fessenden has a minor role in the film.

COME TO DADDY (2019)

Eh. This one got a lot of hype, but it goes from serious and boring as hell for exactly the first half, completely shifts tone to darkly comic with a great twist, and then becomes an absolute mess. And honestly, it’s not much of a horror movie, IMO.

Elijah Wood comes to the home of his estranged father after getting a letter from him. They have a lot of conversation to catch up, and then things go really wrong between them once again.

The surprise turn of events promises a much more intriguing film.

It sets Elijah on an unexpected, dangerous journey that had so many places to go, but instead it just goes to a sleazy hotel and feels more like a movie about falling in with the wrong crowd . What a disappointment.

CAPTURED (2020)

It’s a rock band documentary found footage slasher movie. I was expecting the usual rocker horror comedy, especially after the cool, animated intro set to an instrumental rock track. I always welcome the campy rock n’ roll slasher, but I was pleasantly surprised that this was instead a serious film with dark and grainy footage.

After interviews with some groupies/fans, the band heads to the female lead singer’s childhood farmhouse to make a music video.

Damn, the guys are sexy in this band…

Once they get to the farmhouse, the main girl begins acting uncomfortable, especially when objects and memories of her past start surfacing—particularly a mysterious mask.

Cue the killings! Once they start, it’s a thrill ride that is presented pretty dang effectively for a found footage slasher. The killer motivation is a little unexpected and off the wall, but at least it’s a bit different than the usual.

THE 6TH FRIEND (2016)

It’s rather refreshing to see a cabin in the woods slasher that consists entirely of females, but it is rather odd how flippantly and crassly this group of friends deals with female PTSD.

Once the girls gather at the cabin, we learn that the main girl is still struggling to get past something they all experienced five years before. She has nightmares and flashbacks about a masked man she believes is coming for them.

There’s a bit too much chatter, including a scene in which the girls have a shouting conversation through bedroom walls. I can’t comprehend how anyone would think a scene like this works.

Anyway, the film does finally become a somewhat exciting slasher, with the girls being chased and killed. It’s cool that this bunch of girls fights back, and there’s even a funny scene in which one girl gets heat for choosing a frying pan as a weapon.

Plenty of female drama and even a bizarre take on the pseudo celebrity of reality TV play into the plot as the girls fight to the death to survive. It’s definitely a good girl power ending, but I have a feeling most viewers will figure this one out before the big reveal.

 

 

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WrestleMassacre: he’s big and he’s hairy and he’ll tear your head off

The director of MILFs vs. Zombies goes full-on toxic masculinity with this pseudo slasher/exploitation flick. Sure there are plenty of muscle guys involved, but when a movie opens with a woman running naked through the woods, complete with a landing strip on display, you know the film is targeting the straight boys.

For a much tighter and better produced wrestler slasher, definitely check out Wrestlemaniac. Or make it a wrestling killer double feature, since WrestleMassacre delivers on the over-the-top gore and does include some silly, funny situations.

I would think that when your production is rockin’ the practical gore effects but has mostly non-actors, it would be best to focus on the strengths (the gore).

Unfortunately, WrestleMassacre runs way too long at 100 minutes and is filled with pointless, weak dialogue—and the poorly paced delivery is flat and awkward. At least twenty minutes of that nonsense could have been left out and still told the basic story: a wrestling fan treated like shit by everyone in his life snaps and begins killing them all.

That’s it in a nutshell. There are some other unnecessary sequences, including mock TV shows and commercials the killer watches, and there’s a bizarrely out of place appearance by a demon, but I guess they do establish the trashy indie vibe this film is going for.

It takes a long time to get past all that to the kills. The killer is inspired to go psycho after watching a televangelist on TV…who isn’t a big fan of abortion, gay marriage, or weed.

However you basically get just two massive montages of gory kills with no horror thrills in between, which is an odd way to present all the death scenes.

But like I said, there are some muscle boys, including horror hottie Jason John Beebe…

And this muscle man who sure knows how to arch that back…

Other highlights include one dude singing “Somebody’s Watching Me” as the killer approaches him from behind (awesome), a funny fight with the killer on a ladder…

…and some good 80s style horror music when the killer shows off his wrestling belt, a moment that feels like it could have been lifted from this film and placed in a more serious, darker horror film.

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STREAM QUEEN: for the love of horror anthologies

There are plenty of low budget anthologies to be found out there that are hit or miss, but this trio has plenty to appreciate, especially if you make it a triple feature! Let’s take a look at Evil Little Things, Nightmare Cinema, and Scare Package.

EVIL LITTLE THINGS (2019)

If you’ve seen every doll movie out there, you’ve seen everything that happens in this killer doll anthology, or might I say andollogy. That doesn’t make it any less satisfying for doll movie lovers, because it’s well made with some creepy damn dolls.

The only real disappointment is that this 85-minute movie only has two full stories plus the wraparound. The stories simply feel like they’re stalling to get to the good stuff because they’re longer than the usual anthology stories.

The wraparound features Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame as a dick dad who can’t stand that his son thinks there are monsters in his room. The boy’s mother isn’t much help considering she takes him to a toy store and lets the creepy owner tell the boy two nightmarish stories of killer dolls…

1st story – Hannah Fierman, who freaked us all out as the crazy bar bitch in V/H/S, is refreshingly normal here. She moves into her grandmother’s old house and then has to confront a suppressed memory of her childhood: an encounter with a killer leprechaun. He’s one creepy little fucker. Oddly enough, this killer leprechaun doll story takes place on Halloween!

2nd story – a young woman who was burned in a fire along with one of her cherished dolls is now messed in the mind and has a PTSD bond with the damaged doll. Therefore, the doll is not very happy when the young woman suddenly rekindles a romance with an old flame. This killer doll is even more fricking creepy than the leprechaun. She’s basically a doll version of Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

Wraparound – the boy finally decides on a clown doll, and things get so Poltergeist that the mom even references the movie.

NIGHTMARE CINEMA (2018)

This 5-tale anthology is nicely polished because it features all experienced horror directors, including Joe Dante, Mick Garris, the director of Juan of the Dead, the director of The Midnight Meat Train, and the director of 30 Days of Night. Oddly, while it begins really strong, I found the stories got increasingly less satisfying as the film progressed.

The wraparound is cool—a character from each story enters an empty, old school movie theater and becomes the star of the film on screen. While it’s not even necessary and virtually pointless, Mickey Rourke suddenly appears as the projectionist about halfway through the film.

1st – my favorite tale, this one drops us right at the end of a slasher film for the final battle. While we don’t really know what’s going on as the masked killer hacks and slashes, it all becomes clear as the awesome truth unfolds.

2nd – not a particularly compelling tale, this does have a classic zinger ending as it takes on the mutilating aspects of plastic surgery. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we are introduced to Rourke right after this segment.

3rd – my second favorite, this plays out like a crazy 1970s Euro rip-off of The Exorcist. A priest and nun are terrorized by a demon that even pulls some Asian horror stunts. Let’s just say I really needed the scene of a priest and nun going Kill Bill on a load of kiddies in my life right now.

4th story – Eh, it’s a semi-creepy tale of a woman who seeks therapy because she sees everyone she runs into as some sort of mutant. No, that’s not Mickey Rourke in the picture below.

5th story – a fairly generic tale of a boy who experiences some Sixth Sense shit in a hospital.

Two really fun stories and 3 just okay stories left me on the fence as to whether it’s actually worth buying Nightmare Cinema on Blu-ray.

SCARE PACKAGE (2020)

What a tease. This anthology starts with a Halloween tale in the style of Tucker & Dale—but it’s not a full Halloween anthology. Bummer.

However, the wraparound does take place in a video store, so it’s all good…and very 1980s. The guys begin talking horror, and we get a load of tales that are mostly meta madness and super farcical fun…

1st story – you can’t start any stronger than this. A bunch of campers in the woods gets thrust into more than one horror scenario at once. Over the top slapstick slasher chaos ensues.

2nd story – this brief tale about a man who joins a men’s empowerment club is okay, but it’s pretty forgettable.

3rd story – another short tale that’s okay in the moment but nothing special. Girls having a sleepover eat some candy that causes very odd side effects.

4th story – On par with the first story, this one features a group of kids capturing a masked killer that comes back each year and then trying their damnedest to do away with the threat once and for all.

5th story – another low key story that didn’t do much for me, this is about a woman who hates spoilers, so she…takes it out on the guy who possesses her?

6th story – ending at the same energy level at which the movie began, this story features a bunch of people trapped in a horror movie as they are hunted by a masked killer. The recently controversial Joe Bob Briggs plays himself in the story, but I just don’t think he has the charisma enough to stand out in a movie, so his appearance just distracts from an otherwise awesome slasher. Of course, this guy distracts as well…

So many highlights here, but for each kick ass tale, there’s one that fell flat for me. Good news is the weaker ones are all shorter, but if they had been absent entirely, this would have been an even tighter anthology. Of course, we did get that Halloween tale as the seventh freebie.

I think this Shudder exclusive is going to be a hit, so hopefully a Scare Package 2 will happen.

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SHUDDER AND SHRIEK: man movies!

Shudder delivered three “movie night with the hubby” flicks, and it was all about men vs. monsters. So what did my sofa sidekick and I think of The Head Hunter, Cold Skin, and Nekrotronic? Let’s find out.

THE HEAD HUNTER (2018)

I was shocked to discover this serious, medieval, beautifully shot, 72-minute creature feature is from the director of the absolutely absurd Thankskilling movies.

The only reason the hubby and I really knew what was going on is because we read the description of the movie on Shudder before we began watching. Essentially, a warrior living in a cabin by himself during medieval times collects heads of various creatures while hoping to snag the head of a monster that killed his daughter. We think.

For 40 minutes he barely speaks at all and interacts with no one as he just keeps collecting heads. The concept that virtually gets lost here if you don’t pay careful attention to the dialogue-free situations is that healing potions he concocts for his battle wounds accidentally bring the monster back to life. However, it isn’t fully brought back…it begins to slowly regenerate from its existence as a severed head.

It’s a pretty dang cool and horror-ific final act, and the conclusion is devilishly good, but it left us with quite a few questions. Argh.

COLD SKIN (2018)

The director of Frontier(s) gives us a creature feature based on a novel—which makes sense, because as I was watching this period piece with the hubba hubba, I kept saying it felt like an excellent adaptation of an historical novel even if it wasn’t my type of horror.

Mostly a character study with a horde of humanoid creatures as the distraction that brings out the best and worst of the protagonists, this is a story of the clash between a younger man and an older man. They end up trapped in a watchtower on a deserted island together with swarms of the creatures outside.

The bond remains on shaky ground as the two men work together to fight off nightly onslaughts. Aside from the film feeling a bit long and repetitive, my biggest gripe is that there’s no explanation as to why the creatures only come out at night—especially since there’s one creature that proves they can be out in daylight. Unless they did and it was one of those moments when my hubby was like, “look at this funny meme.”

After the initial terrifying introduction of the monsters (they remind me of the I Am Legend creatures), their nightly attacks make them less and less scary, and the battles with the men become more action-oriented. The real focus is on the moral messages the movie conveys as these two men begin to show their true colors.

NEKROTRONIC (2018)

The director of Wyrmwood brings us another action-packed monster flick, and it’s like Buffy meets Ghostbusters.

A handsome man gets shirtless in the first five minutes while cleaning septic tanks with his buddy, who is a fan of Shaggy’s hit Angel” and obsessed with a ghost hunting phone game.

When playing the game on the job unleashes some hellish spirit, the pair finds themselves being chased by a possessed human! The guys are saved from a demon attack by two sisters, and suddenly our main man is thrust into demon-hunting training.

It seems his sorceress mother is searching for him and has unleashed demons through the internet. So this small band of demon hunters never even has to leave their lair…they just WiFi the damn things into their private space to take them down!

Funny, quirky, and loaded with great demons and action sequences, Nekrotronic is the perfect movie for a horror viewing party.

 

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Steve Guttenberg…catalyst of horror?

He’s come a long way since boogying down with the Village People in Can’t Stop The Music, landing himself in the Lavalantula and Sharknado movies and on The Goldbergs in recent years. But in the past decade, Steve Guttenberg has also briefly appeared in a couple of horror flicks just long enough to trigger the premise. So let’s take a look.

CORNERED (2009)

If you’re a fan of the 1989 classic Intruder, in which workers at a grocery store are stalked and killed by a psycho, you’ll probably feel right at home with Cornered, in which workers at a mini-market are stalked and killed by a psycho.

With its top notch gore effects, Intruder is definitely the better film, but Cornered is a fun little slasher that came way too late in the post-Scream era to receive much attention.

Steve Guttenberg appears as a delivery man at the beginning of the film while the crew of the store is closing up and discussing a rash of murders in local stores. Steve poses the question: what awful things would you do to the serial killer if you could get your hands on him?

The likable and typical cast of characters includes a burly store owner, indie king James Duval as his junkie nephew, the pretty girl, the chunky guy, and the feisty black woman. Once they close the store, the workers go upstairs to play a game of poker. 

There’s too much talk while they play cards and constantly notice then ignore noises coming from downstairs. There are also a set of pointless sequences involving Duval having withdrawals while freaking out over cockroaches.

But finally the group starts heading downstairs one by one to be brutally killed off…in the ways in which they said they’d kill the killer. The killer wears a gimp mask, but it’s not explained why. Perhaps this psycho was inspired by Gimp Face from my gay Halloween horror novella Scream, Queen in my book Wet Screams!

The final act is the strong point here, with plenty of suspense, body reveals, and a chase scene. However, it’s so obvious who the killer is I can’t imagine you won’t guess right from the start.

GOOD BOY (2020)

In this installment of Hulu’s Into The Dark, the director of Tragedy Girls and Patchwork is back with another darkly comic horror flick, starring Judy Greer as a desperate woman. She’s desperate for companionship, desperate to have a baby, and desperate for job security.

Steve Guttenberg plays her boss. After telling her they are restructuring her company in a way that will afford her less work, he suggests she get an emotional support dog.

She does, and quickly falls in love with the little brat.

Actually, it’s much worse than a brat. It’s a cold blooded killer! It begins tearing apart anyone who rubs Judy the wrong way. How cool would it be to have your own little Cujo? I mean, as long as you didn’t have to clean up his messes.

Maria Conchita Alonso plays her landlord and pokes fun at the questionable need for “emotional support animals”, a very controversial topic these days, especially on planes. Well, at least it was until wearing masks became the hot topic on planes. What a world.

Judy is great as usual, and there are buckets of blood and some funny moments (the dog made me chuckle the most), but the film begins to drag once the plot is established. It’s no surprise it becomes fairly predictable. She has a killer dog, the dog kills. Not a whole lot you can do with that. The Bad Seed, The Good Son, Good Boy, etc, etc…

Things definitely pick up in the final act, and the generally sad themes that stem from her bond with the dog are really sobering. But the biggest question I had that’s never explained but almost seems implied—does the little dog grow into some bigger, rabid monster when it attacks?

 

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Something queer is going on…

These horrors are queer, but it’s not always quite clear…at first. Let’s take a look at Christmas Presence, The Skin I Live In, and The Bad Man.

CHRISTMAS PRESENCE (2018)

The most blatantly gay horror film of this trio, Christmas Presence is like a queer holiday horror flick done Euro horror style, so it lands on both my holiday horror page and my homo horror movies page. I wasn’t really feeling it for quite a while, particularly because of some forced, heavy-handed political dialogue, but by the end it was just wacky and surreal enough to change my mind, even if it didn’t make much sense.

A group of friends, most of them seemingly gay and lesbian, gathers at an isolated house for the holidays. The lone gay guy is a total caricature, and he starts off the party by making everyone try on some sexual underwear he designed. Montage time!

Unfortunately, he isn’t the final gay. We get a main girl, who swears she’s not anti-queer, but is against the way the LGBTQ agenda is pushed by mainstream media, especially trans issues. WTF?

Meanwhile, she has her own issues, namely the disappearance of her sister from the woods nearby. She’s convinced her sister is still alive somewhere, so the psychic woman in the group offers to use psychometry to see if they can learn the truth.

This triggers most of the horror that unfolds.

The main girl becomes somewhat delusional, while the psychic starts seeing a freaky apparition that she believes they’ve accidentally unleashed.

There is some crazy shit going on in the final act, and while I love the horror of it all, I’m almost convinced that in the end the characters are all punished for their sexual practices…even though there isn’t one single sex scene in the whole movie.

THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2011)

The Skin I Live In is a pretty darn masterful film, but it isn’t a traditional “horror movie”.

It does, however, combine elements of various subgenres to create a twisting, turning narrative that is both horrific and tragic.

The film begins with a classic mad scientist plot—Antonio Banderas is trying to create a virtually indestructible, synthetic skin to use for transplant operations in burn victims.

His guinea pig is a pretty young woman he keeps locked in a room in his mansion.

The movie uses time jumps to tell its story as it progresses, so we eventually learn that the mad scientist is also keeping a handsome young man captive in an underground lair!

As the truth is revealed as to what the mad scientist is doing and why, the various subplots and timelines come together with a myriad of shocking aspects, including rape/revenge, body horror, incest, grief, Stockholm syndrome, and complex queer themes handled with disturbing effect.

THE BAD MAN (2018)

 

As always, director Scott Schirmer tackles the horrors within our minds and our libidos with The Bad Man.

If you’ve seen his other films—Found, Harvest Lake, and Plank Face—you’ll at least be prepared for yet another fucked up film about the depravity of humanity.

A woman and her man (indie horror king Jason Crowe) are tying up loose ends at her late grandmother’s B&B when a previous guest shows up, not realizing the owner has died. He’s nice enough, so they let him stay overnight.

The first fifteen minutes or so of this film are exceptionally tense and eerie, with the woman convinced she keeps catching glimpses of a clown running around the creepy old place. Then the horror shifts as the couple is abducted by the clown…who has a gimp man servant by his side.

This turns into a film about the evil pair training the couple to become sex slaves so they can be auctioned off. It’s a nasty little study on breaking the human spirit, mind-fucking and torturing people into total submission.

The couple is drugged, raped, and humiliated. Most of the nasty situations are implied and not graphically shown, but there is a scene involving a penis and a needle…so beware.

Jason Crowe’s character is especially degraded and forced into man-on-man sex acts with the man servant, who takes a shine to him.

The final act feels like a grind house/exploitation flick with a hint of rape/revenge thrown in, but it’s also a disturbing look at the after effects of psychological and sexual abuse. The great performances by everyone in the cast really makes it that much more icky to watch.

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STREAM QUEEN: kids and creeps on Netflix and Shudder

It’s a mixed bag of scares with this foursome—2 from Netflix and 2 from Shudder, but they all have kids and creatures in common.

IN THE TALL GRASS (2019)

The director of Cube, Splice, and a whole bunch of other horror gets stuck adapting a Stephen King novella that starts off like Children of the Corn, sucks you in momentarily with its concept, then becomes a repetitive snooze fest.

A brother and sister taking a road trip stop on the side of the road and hear a child calling from the corn stalks…I mean…tall grass.

They plunge into the maze-like vegetation to find the boy, immediately get separated, and then discover they can’t find each other no matter how much they try to follow the sounds of each other’s voices.

Eventually they come across the boy. Then his father. Then his mother. Even the sister’s ex shows up. Everyone’s stories begin to get caught up in a time loop; they’ve each gone into the grass because they hear the voice of one of the other characters calling.

There’s also a supernatural rock monument. And grass people. Yes, grass people.

The blatant theme of redemption as they all argue and their dirty secrets come out is pounded into our head, and that’s because one character literally walks around babbling about redemption. Unfortunately, nothing redeems this film.

DARK LIGHT (2019)

The director of Rites of Spring and The Devil’s Dolls delivers a movie that made me very impatient for everything to get sorted out. It finally happens in the last half hour, when this suddenly turns into a totally fun creature feature.

The majority of the film is tedious. There’s a mother, her daughter, and her ex-husband. I believe there’s a non-chronological narrative, but I’m not even sure. The mom is considered to be pretty damn crazy, so when she brings her daughter to live in her childhood home, the local law enforcement is keeping a close eye on her.

After she takes her daughter into the cornfields to play a game at night she becomes convinced there’s some sort of monster after them. Shit gets weird as the white trash background of this little family unfolds.

Finally the monster thrills hit when the family ends up in the house battling a cyclops type creature with a spotlight for an eye—a spotlight that will swallow your soul! It’s basic scary movie stuff, but it’s still a blast. At least for 30 minutes.

Z (2019)

I expected Z to be a derivative eye-roller, so I was pleasantly surprised by some highly effective scenes and totally off the wall twists that saved it from being just another “boy with an imaginary friend” horror movie.

A couple’s young son begins acting weird and having major problems at school as he bonds with an imaginary friend at home.

But then mom begins seeing things in the house and becomes convinced her son’s imaginary friend is real. So many eerie scenes and a creepy as fuck imaginary friend make this one a total joyride.

Sure there are some cheesy moments—including one flash of the monster that looks about as spooky as something coming at you in Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and even some moments that feel right out of The Ring, but overall the film is pretty damn insane with a refreshingly weirder than usual plot.

TERRIFIED (2017)

Sitting down to a Shudder double feature, I really did expect Z to be the disappointment and Spanish language film Terrified to be the winner. Believe me, it started out quite strong, with a handful of neighbors experiencing some hella scary shit.

But almost immediately after the first major incident, a group of detectives becomes the focus of the film. They already believe something supernatural is happening and basically work as a paranormal research group for the remainder of the film.

While the monster is quite freaky, it is overused to the point of losing its potency, and there’s excessive use of the same damn orchestral stinger raised to ridiculous decibels in an effort to ensure you get scared.

But the biggest problem is that the story is a mess. I can’t even explain it—it’s like you can follow the plot and understand what’s going on, yet at the same time it makes absolutely no sense, jumping all over the place and introducing a myriad of ideas that don’t fuse together to make a cohesive story. Honestly, this film was only 85 minutes long and quite fast-paced, yet it felt like it went on forever.

 

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STREAM QUEEN: three times the infection

I don’t know if it’s the whole Covid thing getting to me, but suddenly I’ve been dragging the hubby back into the zombie/infected world with a handful we’ve not seen before. So here are three more that had some aspects I liked…and some I didn’t.

MAYHEM (2017)

Joe Lynch (director of Wrong Turn 2 and one of the stars of the Holliston horror sitcom) brings us a dark comedy that you could describe as “The Crazies meets The Office”.

Glenn from The Walking Dead is part of the dog-eat-dog world of a law firm. He’s also reunited with the Governor’s sidekick Milton, and teams up with Samara Weaving of Ready or Not, who is made for movies like these. She’s once again a bitch that loses her shit when faced with extreme circumstances, so it is time to add her to my wicked women page.

As soon as a virus hits, the building is placed under quarantine. Everyone has the virus, and you can tell because it turns one eye red. But unlike The Crazies, these infected can basically turn their crazy on and off. They use that immoral willingness to murder to their advantage as they kill anyone who gets in their way of climbing the law firm ladder.

I simply did not find Mayhem as funny and entertaining as I was hoping it would be because there are no redeeming qualities to any of the characters. Rather than being metaphorical, it’s literally a movie about vile, entitled people clawing their way to the top.

Sure there are some funny moments, there’s some 90s nostalgia with references to the Dave Matthews Band and use of the hit “Ants Marching”, and there’s definitely plenty of zany killing, but I had no use for all these pieces of shit. Except Samara. She rocks.

AMERICAN ZOMBIELAND (2020)

 

It’s Redneck Zombies, Shaun of the Dead, and One Cut of the Dead all rolled into one silly, indie zomcom. Originally the film was titled Fat Ass Zombies—a much better name considering that’s what the filmmakers in this meta movie decide to call the movie they’re making.

I guess the powers that be forced the title change to cash in on the faux patriotic conservative movement destroying our nation right now. Or maybe the title wasn’t PC enough. Either way, the original title fits the tone of the film better, as does the original poster art. And hell, it still begins with hefty gun nut types running at the screen. He wasn’t waving his gun around, but this dude definitely had me craving areola big time.

Even though some of the humor falls flat, our four main guys in the movie know how to deliver the comic timing, so there are plenty of strong moments throughout the film. My biggest disappointment is that it moves into Troma territory with excessive, pointless fart humor.

As for the plot, a wannabe zombie filmmaker in a small town is rejected from a film festival, so when an actual zombie outbreak begins, he convinces everyone taking cover at the local bar to film their battles with the living dead in order to make a realistic zombie film.

It provides plenty of slapstick moments zombie fans can appreciate. Their decision is to only mess with fat ass zombies they can outrun, so again—the movie should have been called Fat Ass Zombies.

Other highlights include Big Daddy’s hot young wife from The Golden Girls as the filmmaker’s mother, a redneck getting his dick bit off, and the outbreak’s connection to patriotism and Independence Day.

And I can definitely say now that I like rednecks better than lawyers (especially when they have mondo areolas).

LAST ONES OUT (2015)

This well-made film is only 75 minutes long and has a few absolutely fantastic zombie sequences, but I just couldn’t get into the story arc of the main character.

An American man is about to go into appendectomy surgery in an African hospital when the virus hits. He joins up with some of the staff of the hospital to journey through the wilderness to a rescue location.

Along the way, they have some unnerving encounters with freaky zombies, the best part of the movie. Zombie encounters are used with restraint since this is not a zombie hordes situation, but many of the chases take place in daylight, and I just love me some daylight zombie scenes in foreign lands. Reminds me of late 70s/early 80s Euro zombie movies.

While the zombie action is great, the trajectory of the plot is the usual for a zombie film, and the privileged white dude is such a douche that even when he “redeems” himself I still didn’t like him! I like Rednecks better than him. And I definitely liked Fat Ass Z…um…American Zombieland best out of these three.

 

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When a queer horror short makes me a size queen that wants it longer

Innocent Boy is a strikingly sleek, disturbing yet tantalizing short film that runs just about 11 minutes long—and I imagine you’ll walk away from this one wanting more.

The characters and the concepts presented are such a tease, because they’re compelling enough to warrant a deeper dive.

I can’t go into detail without giving it away, but there’s so much packed into the short runtime that we barely get a chance to bask in the queer and social issues director/writer Brock Cravy takes on: trans lives, race, male prostitution, drugs, self-loathing Johns, and murder and mayhem—all in the middle of redneck nowhere!

It’s darkly mesmerizing (with glorious, Argento-inspired lighting) and could so easily be expanded into a full-length queer backwoods horror flick.

Let’s hope Brock Cravy has a full-length in the works, whether it’s an embellishment of this short film or a completely different queer horror story. The style, themes, and techniques used here demonstrate the kind of creativity I imagine when I think of someone, anyone, adapting my gay horror slasher Scream, Queen into a film!

The film is available to rent on Vimeo.

Check out my homo horror movies page for a complete list of full-length features.

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Modeling can be murder

It’s a double feature of pretty women falling victim to psychotic, artistic men as I take on Playgirl Killer and Double Exposure.

PLAYGIRL KILLER (1967)

I had to revisit this one because it was an oldie I watched on TV with my mom in the 1970s and remembered only two things about it—Neil Sedaka’s small role that includes performing an entire song, and the big body reveal scene.

 

Watching again I see why I didn’t remember much. It’s fairly boring until the macabre final act, and it also doesn’t have a main girl.

It’s one of those films in which the protagonist is the killer, making it hard to be scared for the poor women he murders since we know what’s about to happen each time and exactly when it’s going to happen.

The killer is an artist inspired by a dream he’s trying to recreate on a canvas.

But every damn woman that models for him moves while posing, ruining his work and pushing him to kill his subject.

Conveniently he takes a job as a handyman for a rich woman, and easy women just keep showing up at her door for him to seduce and kill.

The kills are tame, and the jazzy score is horribly 1960s. But the last few scenes deliver some good horror moments (for its day), and the zinger ending is delicious.

I do think this could easily have been compressed into a 30-minute episode of Tales from the Crypt and been better paced and more effective. The mere fact that there are two more full songs performed by other artists tells you all you need to know about the excess padding to make this an 85-minute movie.

DOUBLE EXPOSURE (1982)

Double Exposure is like The Eyes of Laura Mars with a male lead (The Eyes of Larry Mars?). It opens with a streetwalker being followed by killer POV (ah, the innocence of 80s horror) before being stabbed. There’s even a little surprise at the end of the scene.

Our main photographer is oddly intimate with his brother, who is missing a couple of limbs…

And yet, they make derogatory comments towards a gay guy that enters his trailer home.

Not surprisingly, considering the year the movie came out, this gay guy isn’t treated well by anyone. But he self-identifies as a perfectly normal gay person and comes right back at the homophobes. Awesome.

The film has some nice and sleazy kills with female nudity as the photographer has one nightmare after another about killing sexy women, often in unique ways. But it’s not all just in his dreamland, because women are actually getting killed and there are detectives on the case.

There’s also an exploitative scene in which the brother mud wrestles with a woman in a bikini at a Chippendales type club. Again…ah, the innocence of 80s horror.

And I do believe that’s Nick the Dick from Bachelor Party…

Unfortunately, the movie begins to drag for a while before we finally discover if the photographer is just dreaming or if he’s really a killer.

 

 

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