Women take the Writing and Directing Wheel!

It’s all about the girls in this trio of light horror flicks that are all written and/or directed by women and rely on hot pink to make their poster art pop…


I kept my hopes for this one low because it was getting way more hype on social media than most movies end up deserving. I was definitely excited that it is written by Diablo Cody of Jennifer’s Body fame (one of my hundreds of favorite horror movies), and I was also looking forward to a movie immersed in the 80s (the film takes place in 1989). Unfortunately, despite its dark theme, Lisa Frankenstein feels more like a cutesy Frankenstein with an Edward Scissorhands vibe than a horror movie.

I’ll start off by saying the 80s soundtrack is great, going for deeper cuts rather than the obvious, including tracks by When In Rome, Blue Peter, The Chameleons, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Flatmates, The Pixies, Galaxie 500, Jeffrey Osborne, and even the main character covering REO Speedwagon. Visually it looks like the end of the 80s because it mimics Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands style and colors.

We meet Lisa, who hangs out in a cemetery and is drawn to a grave statue of a young man who died ages ago. She’s trying to cope with her life turning upside down after the death of her mother. Her dad remarried, her stepmother hates her, and she doesn’t fit in at school.

However, her stepsister treats her kindly and takes her to a party…at which she is basically roofied. Lisa stumbles home using the cemetery as a shortcut. There’s no logical explanation for what happens next beyond Lisa having been shocked by a faulty tanning bed, Lisa making a wish, and lightning striking. As a result, the young man whose statue she adores in the cemetery returns from the dead and follows her home.

From there, the film really drags as Lisa gets to know him while keeping him hidden. This is sort of like one of those monster romance flicks from the late 80s/early 90s (My Demon Lover, My Boyfriend’s Back, etc.), but Lisa is pretty self-centered. She finds her rotting friend gross most of the time, she talks to him about the guy in school that she likes and wants to have sex with, and she uses the monster to get revenge on people that wronged her—although in return it scores him some of the body parts he’s missing. He even gives her a makeover as well, turning her into Madonna circa 1984, which you would think would make her more popular at school, but that plot point doesn’t really go anywhere beyond making her act even weirder than she already was.

Despite the gothic, morbid theme and great performances by everyone, the movie is incredibly flat. It runs way too long, takes forever to get to the moment when the monster actually kills someone, is pretty sterile in presenting its more gruesome aspects, and is a little bit too charming in its humor, making it feel more like a tween comedy than a horror comedy. Even the “dirty” parts feel quaint rather than raunchy.


This is one of those horror comedies that has a really fun premise, but the writing doesn’t completely rise to the occasion. The talented cast does the best they can to create a vibe, but inevitably there’s just a special spark missing.

Courtney is about to get married, but still has unresolved issues with her sister (played by the co-writer and co-director of the film), who always used to steal her boyfriends. Even so, the sis is in the wedding party, and the girls gather together in a house for one last hoorah…which involves Courtney asking them to do a chant with candles. Uh-oh.

There’s a knock on the door, and it’s one of Courtney’s exes. It also turns out he’s the devil and isn’t willing to give her up. Awesome.

So much potential here. Courtney gets possessed, they tie her to the bed, the men of the wedding party show up, they call in a priest…so much fun to be had, but the movie never quit gets there despite having its moments.

Like I said, the cast is excellent and gives the movie all its charm. Plus, there are some nice twists in the final act.


Although this zombie film is directed by the Soska Sisters, don’t expect anything as dark or twisted as their usual output. They didn’t write this film, and I’m guessing they were just hired for name recognition to direct a Tubi original.

The interesting aspect is that this is supposed to be a sequel to the original Night of the Living Dead. It takes place 55 years later, when kids are going to a festival celebrating the original outbreak…including a young woman who is a relative of original NOTLD hero Ben.

However, don’t expect much explanation as to how the original outbreak ended or why a new one begins. You just have to go with it.

There’s nothing very original here, and it comes off feeling like another cash grab based on a classic—think the Return of the Living Dead sequels that were SyFy originals in the early 2000s (which most people hated, but I am a fan of).

We get a group of teens, some good zombie makeup, plenty of gut munching, and other zombie movie tropes. Of note is that most of the heroes in this one are the girls.

The focal point in the final act is a big burning man monument that comes into play as the group of teens attempts to fend off all the zombies attacking an outdoor concert. Despite the derivative nature of everything that unfolds, it does give you a sense of nostalgia for simple zombie flicks from two decades ago.

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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