Every once in a while I scan the horror selection on the free streaming services—Popcorn Flix, Crackle, Vudu, BingeHorror, Tubi—for any new indies that haven’t landed on the pay services. This time around I scored a creature feature and Halloween horror anthology on Tubi.
BIGFOOT COUNTRY (2017)
I’m a fan of director Jason Mills (Alien Psychosis, 3 Hours Till Dead, The Changing of Ben Moore, Above Us Lives Evil) and have a few of his movies in my DVD collection, so I was looking forward to seeing what he would do with a Bigfoot theme. Unfortunately, while this one does have its moments, it’s not one of my favorites.
A quick found footage encounter between some men and something in the woods opens the film. It isn’t particularly exciting and doesn’t add anything to the remainder of the film, which is not found footage. It’s the usual. Four friends—two guys, two girls—go camping in the woods. During a pit stop, a crazy dude warns them away. Best part…the funny guy in the foursome references how cliché the situation is.
Yet they continue on.
As they hike through the woods, there are some tense, ominous suggestions of what awaits them, with the camera used perfectly to heighten the feeling. There’s also a great moment with the funny dude making some gay references to his cute bearded buddy after they wake up together in the tent.
Once the group gets a clear sign there’s a Bigfoot, things get thrilling for a while. They take cover in their tent, but little good that will do them. This scene is quite satisfying…but then the movie becomes little more than everyone running through the woods in a panic.
There are a few surprises, but it feels mostly like a wilderness survival film.
Bigfoot essentially does absolutely nothing to any of them, and the few times we see him, it’s like old school 1970s Bigfoot movie stuff, with just a halo of light around a furry form.
And the “conclusion” is incomprehensible. The final survivor winds up at an empty hospital, starts walking around in fear, and then…the end. WHAT???
LATE FEE (2009)
Love the title, love the intro credits with classic style Halloween masks and spooky sound effects.
And quite honestly, I like the effort put into this tightly presented low budget indie. My only complaints: a) as with all Halloween themed anthologies, I prefer that not just the wraparound take place on Halloween. These stories don’t. b) there are only two stories. The first is short, but the second could have been paired down to make room for a third tale.
For as long as the second tale is, a good amount of time in this 90-minute movie is given to the wraparound, which works for me, because it’s loads of fun and serves as another tale. And of course…it’s Halloween themed. The indie vibe feels comfortingly old school; a couple heads to the video store to rent horror DVDs on Halloween. The clerk lets them rent two movies even though he’s already closed and having a Halloween party in the store. There’s one catch…they have to return the DVDs before midnight.
This wraparound is a solid Halloween short of its own. The couple’s interactions with each other and with trick or treaters is genuine and realistic, and I love the girl’s comments about how Halloween has changed.
And the conclusion—after the other stories—is midnight movie horrorlicious. Also notable is the fact that when they’re in the video store, there’s major focus on the movie Wicked Lake (the co-directors produced that film).
So what about the other two stories? While not “BOO!” scary, they are a good mix of gory and sexual, each with an unexpected conclusion. Sort of like a perverse take on The Twilight Zone.
1st story – a man hires a prostitute to live out some fantasies.
One of them is going to get a sick fantasy they didn’t anticipate…a…um…sex change, so to speak…
2nd story – this story is longer for a good reason…it is an unfolding of events that basically blends the traditions of horror movies with the real horrors of sex trafficking.
The twisted situations that occur are not for the easily offended or disgusted.
As good as the second story is, I still wish a third story could have been squeezed in, because the filmmakers were on a roll with what they delivered. Perhaps we’ll get a part two?