SHUDDER AND SHRIEK: a haunted house, vampire urges, and an eerie island

I guess the upside is that this wasn’t another marathon of grief porn like the last three Shudder horror flicks I posted about the other day. The films in this trio are at least distinctly different, so let’s get into them.


This film is broken into chapters, but they shouldn’t have been labeled chronologically considering there’s a damn jumping timeline and you’re almost sure to not understand what’s going on if you’re not warned ahead of time. Even if you are warned going into it…well…good luck trying to figure everything out.

I’ll try to describe it as best as I can. A young straight couple buys a house really cheap because it’s haunted. The house starts to have a negative effect on their relationship. They decide to go on a vacation and rent the place out.

They rent it to a guy and girl who have just met and are kind of having a spur of the moment fling. It so happens that one of them is looking to commit murder, and the other is looking to commit suicide.

The two plots eventually come together when the couple that owns the house comes home early and meets one of the renters, who is wielding an axe and says there’s a dangerous force in their house.

It’s all mysterious and moody, but it’s also quite convoluted, so how much you enjoy it depends on your level of patience for this kind of attempt to break the storytelling mold.


Another Shudder movie, another selection pushing me closer to cancelling the service. It seems like any movie Shudder has that’s actually horror was made before the year 2000, and I own every single one of them on disc. All their new stuff is either bland elevated horror or artsy films that barely resemble horror.

What can I say about Dead & Beautiful? I don’t intend to say much, so let’s start with this—it’s basically the Nicholas Cage film Vampire’s Kiss with a bunch of pretty rich kids thinking they’ve become vampires.

We get plenty of neon lights and stylish visuals, plus a sensual montage of shirtless guys dancing in slow motion.

Other than that it’s all talk for over 90 minutes as these richies try to embrace being vampires, which mostly consists of them not even having the actual desire to suck someone’s blood (which should tip them off that maybe they aren’t even vampires).


As I was watching Offseason, several movies kept coming to mind—Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, Messiah of Evil, and Silent Hill. Actually, the Silent Hill movies and video games came to mind. This could easily have been marketed as Silent Hill 3.

A woman and her man are called to a small island by a cemetery caretaker who says her mother’s grave has been desecrated. Once they arrive, they find the cemetery, but not the caretaker.

The goal is to get off the island before a drawbridge goes up, but they miss their opportunity. They somehow get split up and she spends much of the movie alone, running through isolated, foggy locations and encountering creepy people.

The atmosphere is fantastic and there are some tense scenes, but it really is just a total clone of Silent Hill. The empty streets are ominously foggy. All the stores and building are vacant. The horn that blares through town is the warning that the drawbridge is going up, and the drawbridge replaces the fractured streets that keep you trapped in Silent Hill. The main girl even has to find a specific item to help her operate the panel that raises the drawbridge. Ah. Survival horror.

However, there’s one crucial aspect of Silent Hill missing—no freaky creatures. There are finally some suspenseful run-ins with supernatural beings, but they’re mostly crammed into the last half hour.

The highlight for me was the most intense, Silent Hill-esque moment of all; she’s trapped in a dark room with just a flashlight as something begins to morph into a monster in the corner. Eek!

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
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