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 pared 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.

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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