Only one of these four films got some notoriety in horror news…because it’s about the Manson family. But does that make it most worth the watch? Let’s take a look.
TWELVE POLE MANOR (2017)
Twelve Pole Manor begins with a gritty and realistic hanging and suicide, then focuses on some beary hicks that buy a derelict house to renovate and flip.
The very indie feel and look of the old house and the totally 80s music cues had me hoping for something along the lines of Dead Dudes in the House.
Unfortunately, despite some early promise, Twelve Pole Manor takes some odd turns and doesn’t deliver any demons or monsters.
The first early kill seems supernatural, then the next kill seems like straight up slasher, with a whole lot of guts, a creepy killer silhouette and fog machines in the woods, and an awesome one-handed axe hacking.
There’s what seems to be more supernatural stuff happening in the house, including an eerie scene of something or someone standing behind a guy in the shadows. However, the suspense is hampered by an overload of jump scare music stingers.
The dialogue is somewhat lost in the sound mix, which becomes a problem when a good chunk of the film drags with all talk between the characters as they work on the house! Blah.
We are made to believe there is some sort of possession in the works, but instead of any demon fun, the guys eventually just begin turning on each other in a murderous free-for-all. I was kind of disappointed by the lack of any classic scary stuff, but the gore definitely picks back up in the final act.
PURGATORY ROAD (2017)
Purgatory Road is not your ordinary horror film. This isn’t a cheap scares flick or even an atmospheric chiller. It’s a sort of macabre and morbid tale of two brothers—one of them a priest—who kill very specific types of sinners.
As children, the pair watched their dad shoot himself after a robbery. The priest brother is all kinds of fucked up. They drive around in an RV in which he hears people’s confessions. If the person is a thief, the priest brutally kills them!
Other than that, sins are okay—including a gay bear that spy cams on his neighbor!
I guess it’s easy to overlook butt sex when you’re a priest with necrophilia issues.
Meanwhile, somehow dad, who blew his brains out, is still alive! And for reasons unknown, he’s turned into a sort of basement-dwelling monster!
That’s the meat of the plot. It’s dark, dreary, and satisfyingly icky, and the religious BS is handled in a nice and nasty way that kept me from groaning, “UGH! Religious horror!” I can’t say I loved the film or would ever watch it again, but it was definitely engrossing and just sleazy and offensive enough to satisfy my horror tastes.
ROSA LEIGH (2018)
This is a short full-length film…that feels like it should have been a much shorter film. It presents one form of scare and then just smacks us over the head with it non-stop for the entire film.
The plot is familiar—a group sneaks into an abandoned school with a dark past to investigate. That’s about as deep as it gets.
They walk around with cameras acting scared, and we are absolutely bombarded by quick flashes of ghostly apparitions (even though the characters aren’t seeing them) as musical stingers blast in our ears to scare us.
The ghostly clips then get shocked by static because that’s the one cool effect the editor appears to have learned on a computer.
THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE (2019)
It never seemed like a good idea to make the real-life massacre of Sharon Tate and friends by the Manson family into a horror movie, but that is exactly what this film does.
Sharon, played by Hilary Duff, begins having terrible nightmares as soon as Roman Polanski moves them into their new house and then leaves her alone. Her “dreams” are brutal reenactments of the family killing everyone.
Every time she wakes up, she tries to warn the friends staying with her that something is very wrong and they need to leave the house. So the movie presents the murders of Sharon Tate as premonitions that could have saved her friends, her, and her unborn baby if only they had listened to her.
It plays out like a suspenseful home invasion film in the end. However, they could have just made a fictional home invasion film about a pregnant woman who has premonitions so as not to make entertainment out of a real-life massacre. But, I mean, is it hypocritical to judge when we’ve all, for instance, watched about fifty movies or so based on the murder spree of Ed Gein?
Most shocking to me is how many almost naked guys Sharon had running around her house…