PRIME TIME: a 6-flick smorgasbord

As usual, my Prime list is replenishing faster than any of the other streaming services, because Prime really is the video store of the new millennium when it comes to horror movies. So I’m going to knock off a whole bunch of them with this one blog—a mixture of slashers, horror comedy, aliens, thrillers, and ghosts.

PANMAN (2011)

Slasher spoofs are not easy to pull off. A majority of the time the joke wears thin too fast to sustain a full-length feature, causing the movie to meander or spin out of control with stupidity.

And that’s how I shall introduce Panman, a movie that could have been a funny 20-minute short at most. Things start off strong, with Panman (who wears a pot for a mask) knocking the block off his victims using a pan as a bludgeoning weapon while making it pretty clear to females he encounters that all he really wants is a date.

Yes, the slasher segment is quickly replaced by Panman’s love life. That eventually segues into a story of cooking students and their teacher setting a trap to capture him but being hunted down by him instead.

With him doing the chasing, Panman should consider switching teams…

Occasionally you might laugh at a silly bit, but this mostly just drags on and on with unfunny dialogue and ridiculous plot points. A last second appearance by Kato Kaelin tells you everything you need to know.

PIGSTER (aka: Feast Of Fear) (2016)

The director of Blood Gnome and several Killjoy movies definitely thinks out of the box in putting together this trippy film, which is really just a slasher when you strip away all the bizarre stuff.

Pigster, who looks like a gory Gamorrean Guard from Return of the Jedi, runs a human slaughterhouse in a hellish dimension to feed humans to demons.

There are people in cages (the women naked, the men not), and one of the guys tells the story of how his friends at a party were chased down by Pigster. Pigster plays guitar in his spare time, and he also talks, but it’s really hard to ever understand what he’s saying.

Meanwhile, there’s some other narrator who cuts in periodically, Clint Howard makes a brief appearance as a homeless guy, and Robert Davi plays a guy who lures victims for the slaughter by promising to grant wishes on the internet.

The wishes play into the way victims are killed, but it wasn’t exactly a clearly defined plot device and wasn’t even necessary considering all the other craziness going on.

This sloppy supernatural slasher has cheap looking moments, some fun moments, icky gore, and a cute shirtless guy who it seems is gay, but you’ll miss that admission if you don’t pay careful attention to the dialogue.

DEVIL IN MY RIDE (2013)

This is how you do an indie horror comedy right. Pen something smart, funny, and fast-paced. Cast people who can actually act and have great comic timing. Make your horror icon’s gimmicky cameo something meaty and memorable despite the minimal screen time.

Devil in my Ride is about a loser, who looks and acts like My Name Is Earl, crashing his sister’s wedding. He gives her a gift that he got from a gypsy, and it causes her to become possessed and go Carrie on everyone at the wedding.

The brother and the groom tie her up, put her in the back of a van, and get some advice from Sid Haig—go to Las Vegas to a find a particular exorcist that can save her. Yep, it’s a road trip buddy movie with a demon bride along for the ride.

This is nonstop fun and notably funny thanks to the talents of the two main guys…and the fact that they were given clever comedy to work with. Not to mention, the bride is great in her role as their demonic foil. Just be warned, there’s a series of “chick with a dick” jokes that is sure to offend some viewers but is totally in keeping with the type of crass buddy comedy this is.

There’s also an entertaining exorcism scene complete with some fun special effects.

CROSSBREED (2019)

I thought a sci-fi spaceship alien on the loose movie with loads of hot guys would be a safe one to watch with the hubba hubba. Crossbreed is just the kind of bad SyFy original type of film I expected and also has enough man meat to land a spot on my sausage fest scares list.

My hubba hubba was the first to say out loud that it’s a retro “futuristic” movie. He’s getting good at this deconstruction perspective from listening to me think out loud while we watch horror flicks. The movie indeed captures the look and feel of how movies in the 80s envisioned future fashion and technology, with men all dressing like new wave and punk leather dudes at a gay bar.

Daniel Baldwin and Vivica A. Fox are the big names here, she being the president who needs a team of men to go to a space station to bring back an alien life form that has been stolen.

And it is these men, particularly the big beefy daddy lead, that are the highlight.

The alien is way cool, but the film gives us way too little men vs. alien action. It’s disappointingly slow with excessive chatter between the men. And not that it matters, but the story is a mess. More alien action could have fixed that issue…or the men could have taken off their shirts.

THE HAUNTING OF SORORITY ROW (2007)

I’m always up for a Leighton Meester horror movie, but this is a Lifetime TV movie from before her popularity in Gossip Girl…and apparently before she had money to get her hair done.

This horror-lite movie is “I Know What You Did On Sorority Row”. Yes, it’s the plot of two popular slashers mashed together into a supernatural thriller.

Leighton is pledging a sorority. She keeps having scary dreams and visions. She starts to suspect her sorority sisters did something bad. There’s some minor supernatural killing. Portraits hanging in the sorority house begin to be morph so they look like photos you take if you’ve been cursed in The Ring.

It is mostly lame and boring, but it actually gets a bit interesting when the group of friends begins unraveling the truth in the last 20 minutes.

ROOM FOR RENT (2019)

When Lin Shaye stars in a film it’s impossible not to take note. Yet I’ve seen vague whispering (that I ignored) about this film being bad…probably from people who just want to see Lin in another Insidious because it’s just like totally the scariest movie ever made…if you were born yesterday.

However, if you lived through the 90s era of obsession thrillers that were better than most horror movies of the same time period, you will be quite at home with Room for Rent, which uses the same cookie cutter template as classics like Single White Female, The Crush, Fear, and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

It might be cliché and totally predictable to those of us who where there in the 90s, but Lin Shaye’s performance escalates the film, making it worth a watch.

Lin plays a woman who has lost her husband and gotten stuck with his debt. So she rents out a room in the house to an aloof, attractive guy with big lips.

She’s a cat person, reads romances, and pens a romance of her own with this guy as her lover in letters she’s sending to a young woman she befriends early in the film.

As with all those classic 90s thrillers, you can’t fathom why it takes so many people so long to see that the crazy bitch is a crazy bitch…and why they keep falling for her BS sob stories then coming back for more of her crazy. But that is what makes these films as tense and suspenseful as they are. So basically, you either take it or leave it.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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