STREAM QUEEN double feature: the ghosts of Halloween

Halloween is a few months behind us, and yet two Halloween films snuck their way onto Prime. So is it worth putting these on your list of flicks to watch 10 months from now?

DYSMORPHIA (2014)

This is an odd title for a Halloween anthology. It’s also odd that only the wraparound and one tale take place during the holiday. None of that even matters though, because this is really a bit of a mess.

A guy and girl find a box full of videotapes while digging out the Halloween decorations. Yeah, that’s nothing new for an anthology wraparound, but honestly, the most entertaining part of this film is the guy in it.

He’s naturally funny and deserves to be in a much better movie. As for the “stories”, they all feel very amateur and sloppy…

1st story – a weird, arsty rape/revenge short of sex and violence with mind-numbing editing, filters, etc.

2nd story – indie king Shawn C. Phillips and another dude accept a dare to live together in a bathroom. Silly stuff with a horrorish ending.

3rd story – This is a gross out video about a religious chick going door-to-door to force her beliefs on people. She gets into a twisted, perverse standoff with one dude.

4th story – this is the most tightly plotted and clever of these low budget shorts. A woman makes all her man’s wishes come true on his birthday…whether he meant them or not.

5th story – saturated color and tinted shaky footage make this one hard to watch. On Halloween, two dudes film their work as they go around killing people. None of that did anything for me. However, there are some underlying gay themes (homophobia, drag), and I appreciate that it takes place on Halloween, plus I enjoyed the odd scene of this cutie in a G-string.

6th story – geeks make a program that brings whatever they create on their computer into the real world. What do they conjure up? A goofy bad CGI monster! This feels like a student film you would find on YouTube.

At least there’s some silly demon payoff in the conclusion of the wraparound.

HALLOWEEN AT AUNT ETHEL’S (2018)

I was feeling the title of this one, and the classic pumpkin intro credits got me even more in the Halloween spirit.

That feeling just continues with a good old “couple parked in the dark” setup that leads to a suspenseful kill scene with all the right camera angles, creepy atmosphere, a chase, and the first appearance of Aunt Ethel!

Then we’re informed that we’re in Florida! Ugh. What a way to kill the Halloween mood!

But I’ll forgive, because Aunt Ethel—a witchy weird neighbor rumored to turn trick or treaters into Halloween candy—is a hoot. She’s reminiscent of the campy slasher killers of the 90s, like Ice Cream Man, The Dentist, and Dr. Giggles.

The main kids are just as much fun as Aunt Ethel as they have relationship drama, break out their slow-mo dance moves during a Halloween party montage, and get into all kinds of sexual hi-jinx.

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Good hair and good fuck face.

As a Gen-Xer who grew up on 80s teen flix and slashers, I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to see some teen sexploitation humor, which is so lacking in modern film.

Most importantly, the kids hatch a plan to spy on Aunt Ethel for kicks. And the surprise twist is delicious.

The big problem with this smart and entertaining indie film is that it only runs about 65 minutes long! When the kids get to Aunt Ethel’s house, everything unfolds way too fast.

A slasher comedy this competent needed more victims—there was a fricking party full of potential pretty people to hack up. Aunt Ethel is just getting going when it all comes to an end. Man, was I sad.

But do stick around after the credits roll, because there’s an Aunt Ethel rap video and bloopers. Aunt Ethel really needs to come back for some Halloween sequels. I know her Blu-ray is already on order and on its way to my house.

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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