What better to do when you’re home sick lying on the couch all day? I watched six horror flicks in one day, and lucky me—most of them were good!
ROSEWOOD LANE (2011)
It’s been over a decade since we’ve gotten a new Jeepers Creepers. Instead, controversial director Victor Salva brings us a stalker/home invasion flick starring horror faves Rose McGowan and Ray Wise—and it’s a throwback to the days of great 90s thrillers like Pacific Heights and Unlawful Entry.
This time, the tormentor is a paperboy. I know you’re thinking it’s so predictable for Salva to feature a teen boy as the focus, but actually, this paperboy doesn’t really look like a kid, and he never shows any skin. So Salva seems to be, um, controlling his urges.
Rose’s father dies, so she comes to live in his home. The old man who lives next door warns her to stay away from the paperboy, and she almost immediately learns why. This fucker starts terrorizing her beginning with a visit offering her a newspaper subscription, which leads to him doing the scary whites of the eye rollback thing to freak her out.
You’ve pretty much seen this kind of terrorizing in other movies, as well as the whole deal where everyone believes it’s all in her mind. However, Rosewood Lane moves at a fast clip and definitely has several freaky moments that make it seem as if this boy may be supernatural, particularly a scene on a dark road that’s like something right out of In The Mouth of Madness.
The cast of familiar faces also includes Lin Shaye (briefly), and Lauren Luna Vélez of Dexter as Rose’s lesbian friend. While the movie doesn’t live up to the heart-pounding urgency of Salva’s Clownhouse (blog here), it’s still good for some quick thrills.
THEY FOUND HELL (2015)
They Found Hell tosses you right into the action. A big fiery crater opens in the ground and a bunch of college kids falls in. The initial bad CGI had me assuming this was going to be another shitty SyFy original, but I must confess…it turns out to be a deliciously entertaining popcorn movie that bombards us with all types of horror creatures and gore, and doesn’t resort to bad comedy.
As the film progresses, we learn that the kids were doing some sort of teleportation experiment that went horribly wrong. Now they have to find the “transponder” in order to get out of this literal hell hole. Unfortunately, they have to deal with abandoned buildings filled with walking corpses, devil dogs, winged creatures, killer vines, a creepy ferryman, and even some of their own turning into demons (complete with lesbian kisses).
But the most grisly part is when a zombie doctor lady puts worms in one dude’s open wounds. Blech. Definitely plenty of silly horror fun to be had, and seriously, aside from a couple of the monsters, most of it isn’t CGI.
THE DEVIL’S TOMB (2009)
Just like They Found Hell, this initially crappy film turned out to be my kind of crap. At first, you’re shocked to see the levels to which actors like Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ron Perlman have sunk, because the setup is right out of a SyFy Network screenplay template. A military team heads down into an underground lab to rescue a scientist and is soon confronted by a mysterious supernatural force.
Honestly, the plot is kind of lame right up to the end, and we are treated to unnecessary flashbacks of Cuba’s past experience in battle, but eventually, this one turns into Night of the Demons in an underground lab. And really, that’s all that matters.
The gore is great and often gross, the demonized people are creepy cool, and there’s even female nudity and lesbianism (why do all female demons need a lesbian kiss?). Plus, the cast also includes Jason London, adorable Zack Ward of A Christmas Story, Henry Rollins, Bill Moseley, and studly Franky G of Saw II.
THE CHOSEN (2015)
The beginning of The Chosen is quite deceiving. It seems like it’s going to be yet another really bad possession movie in which the young possessed girl has very little special effects or makeup to back up her attempts to look scary.
However, this movie has a delicious twist that turns it into a black horror comedy that very subtly delivers its humor. See, her young uncle learns that to save her soul he has to sacrifice six relatives to the demon that has a hold of her. So he and the girl’s mother begin contemplating who in the family is worth bumping off…and how to go about killing them before “feeding” them to the demon. Conveniently, obnoxious relatives come by almost daily, so there are plenty of options, including a gay cousin with attitude and a drug problem. Plus, the movie delivers a few good twists in the final act.
The Chosen is almost entirely carried by the main kid, played by Kian Lawley, who’s great in the role. I knew nothing about him before I saw the film, but it turns out he’s one of those “YouTube celebrities.” It also turns out he was apparently a homophobic dick online at some point…which would explain why the second he first opened his mouth in the movie, I thought, “This kid seems really gay.”
HOLY GHOST PEOPLE (2013)
If you’ve seen Ti West’s The Sacrament (my blog here), you’ve seen Holy Ghost People, which was made the same year. The only difference is this rural community of religious nuts is a bunch of snake-handlers. Even so, in the end, the snakes are relatively irrelevant.
A chick heads to a religious community looking for her sister, dragging along an ex-military man she saved from a bar fight. Nothing particularly “scary” happens here, especially since religious nut groups are so common on the news these days that their insane ways aren’t even a curiosity to me. The most entertaining thing they do here concerns a shirtless muscular guy bent over, getting whipped by a hillbilly, after which they hug. Sexy.
Keep an ear out for a cover version of the classic track “Cry Little Sister” from The Lost Boys.
HUNTED (aka: Rufus) (2012)
Hunted, previously titled Rufus, gets compared to Let the Right One In, which kind of makes sense. However, this one actually ends up having a bit more of a positive tone when all is said and done.
A young teenager named Rufus shows up in a small town and is immediately taken in by the local sheriff (hottie Jag James Elliott) and his wife, who are still grieving the loss of their own son. The girl next door quickly takes a liking to Rufus—and soon sees his bloodsucking ways in action. But she’s cool with it. And so is the teen he attacked, who is clearly a self-loathing gay boy. In fact, Rufus pretty much has anyone he meets in town on his side, protecting him even when dead bodies start turning up (including that of a truck driver who tries to sexually assault him). And that comes in handy when a vampire hunter arrives in town (Kim Coates of Silent Hill, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Skinwalkers, Blood: A Butcher’s Tale) looking for him.
Hunted has an odd theme running through it of attraction to teen boys (aka: youth), much of it with a homoerotic undertone. There are only a couple of scenes involving a vampire attack, so this is mostly a drama about a vamp boy. Sure it’s moody, but it really does have a positive outlook as compared to Let the Right One In.