A little gritty, a bit of humor, a bevy of horror scenarios—these may not be for the casual horror fan or those looking for CGI extravaganzas, but this trio of indie films has a little something for every hardcore horror fan.
EKIMMU: THE DEAD LUST (2017)
I really like the old school vibe of this film, even if it goes on a bit too long. Despite being low budget, it actually reminded me of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death for various reasons. Not to mention, the main guy is cute!
A couple on a dark road at night stops to help a creepy young woman in distress. They end up losing her, but after they get home, she reappears.
And then the real 1970s trippy shit begins. This young woman seems to be supernatural, and she starts to fuck with the minds of the couple and turning them against each other. And naturally, that means a lesbian shower scene.
There are also fast, choppy, eerie and disturbing clips that never quite come together in any cohesive way.
You’re never quite sure if there’s a cult, a vampire horde, or if it’s all just a series of macabre hallucinations….
What I’m saying is, you have to be a fan of surreal 1970s horror to really appreciate what the director is going for here.
GRACE’S ROOM (2016)
When a movie begins with a video store and an Asteroids arcade game, I’m in.
From there a group of friends goes to a carnival, does a bunch of meta talk about movies kids their age wouldn’t even know exist, then head to the home of one girl’s uncle to housesit.
This quick and quirky comedy (think of the days of indies like Clerks) starts off strong with a cast that knows how to deliver the humor. And it ramps up when they decide to raid the bedroom of the main girl’s teen cousin…and make some discoveries that are horrific (goat body) and hilarious (a vagina bed).
The initial chaos after they determine the cousin is into something evil is spot on horror comedy, but after they realize they’re being targeted by a satanic cult, things really start to drag and the humor just isn’t sustained. The middle of the movie could have been trimmed by a good fifteen to twenty minutes to tighten it up, because the run time is nearly an hour and forty minutes long!
Grace’s Room needed to get to the confrontation with the cousin sooner.
For a while the situation barely feels like horror, but the cousin’s appearance brings the fun and a witchy good time back to save the faltering film.
LAST AMERICAN HORROR SHOW (2018)
This trio of short films bookended by a wraparound does what we’ve come to expect from many anthologies—it delivers one story that makes the other tales virtually forgettable.
For the wraparound, scream queen Felissa Rose has a first date with horror hunk Marv Blauvelt, and suggests they watch horror movies together. Funny how in anthologies with this basic wraparound premise, the horror films only last about 15-30 minutes long…
1st story – There’s really not a lot going on here beyond this being a home invasion film that ends with violence and gore.
2nd story – The absolute winner of this anthology, this one has a definite Creepshow throwback vibe, right down to some comic book graphics during scene changes. A young boy orders some sea monkeys to raise. What could go wrong? There’s creature POV, a nasty little critter, horror queen Lynn Lowry giving a fabulously campy performance, and horror bear Joe Mannetti shirtless.
A fun interlude focusing on the wraparound features a pizza guy wearing an American Guinea Pig shirt who wants to join in on the horror action. Awesome.
3rd story – After his car breaks down, a dude walks into the wrong bar asking for help. This is like a backwoods horror flick without the woods, as he is subjected to nightmarish captivity by a hungry horde of people.
Finally, the wraparound conclusion adds some bonus horror, which is always a good thing.