One of the big features released in the SXSW film festival Midnighter selections was Travis Steven’s sophomore feature effort, Jakob’s Wife, starring Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden. It was a wonderful character study of a middle-aged woman finding the most unusual (and bloody) way to break out of a mid-life crisis. The Scariest Things got a chance to break down this remarkable film with Travis.
lightninliBy day, Eric is a mild-mannered Architect, bringing great buildings to the good boys and girls of his hometown of Portland, Oregon. By night, he is a disreputable podcaster looking to promote the best and worst of horror movies!
The 2021 Thingy Award Nominations: Open Ballot!
It’s awards season! And for horror genre fans, it is time for the third annual Thingy Awards! 2020 was a scary year for more ways that we could have imagined, but despite the cinemas being closed down, movie makers delivered some great movies for us. The Scariest Things once again invites our valued fans to vote for who they thought was the best of 2020. Our industry insiders will also be weighing in, for what should be a very interesting award!
The Scariest Things Podcast Extra: SXSW Recap
South by Southwest (SXSW), the biggest arts and culture festival in the US had a fully virtual presentation in March. Mike and Eric take a moment to discuss the Midnighter Films presented at the big Austin streaming showcase.
Eric’s Review: The Spine of Night (2021) (SXSW Film Festival)
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
The Spine of Night channels its inner Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi in this bloody rotoscoped production. This is dark high fantasy, with a touch of horror, and though it mines very familiar fantasy tropes for its plot, it does find an original voice. The whole presentation feels more like a curiosity than a revelation.
Scary Radio Plays: A Garden of Terrible Blooms
Award-Winning playwright Sharon Yablon taps into her noir sensibilities for a new podcast of genre radio dramas, A Garden of Terrible Blooms. Prepare for the surreal one-act dramas that touch on elements of mystery, horror, and true-crime centered around L.A.’s famed Sunset Boulevard.
The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXIX: Horror Movies We are Looking Forward to in 2021
For those of you who pay attention to Roman Numerals, you might have figured out that we got a little out of sequence. Yep, we skipped Episode 119 in our excitement to record HEAVY METAL HORROR. But that does not diminish our anticipation for the offerings for 2021. We’ve got our prognostications we’re never (read: surprisingly often) wrong!
Eric’s Review: Alien on Stage (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Alien on Stage is a documentary about a troupe of bus drivers turned community theater actors who got the opportunity of a lifetime to perform their production on stage in a theater in the famed West End of London. Though you sweat out whether these charming neophytes can pull it off, there is enough of an inkling that they’ve got something special that this endeavor is so crazy that it just… might… work!
Eric’s Review: Jakob’s Wife (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Jakob’s Wife is an essay on a mid-life menopausal crisis, by way of vampirism. Jakob’s Wife delivers great character arcs and engaging acting. Barbara Crampton has been given a meaty role, and she delivers perhaps her best screen performance in memory. Larry Fessenden also is stellar as the well intentioned minister Jakob.
Eric’s Review: Gaia (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Mother Earth just may have it in for us, according to the South African Eco-Horror showcase Gaia, which had its World Premiere at the SXSW film festival. It’s beautiful, quiet, creepy, and full of spores. (Cough! Cough!)
The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXX: Heavy Metal Horror!
Put on your best spandex, studded leather straps, and break out the hairspray. It’s time for Heavy Metal Horror! Your professors for this episode are Mike and Liz, true metalheads both, as Eric plays the role of the general population of metal familiar, but not metal saturated fandom.
Eric’s Review: Freaky (2020)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Freaky takes the body swap idea from Freaky Friday, and gives it a slasher film twist. It’s a fun concept, and is off and on entertaining, but the film’s sloppy and predictable plot keep it from reaching the standard for similar Blumhouse fare like Happy Death Day.
The Scariest Things Podcast: Episode CXVIII: The Worst Horror Films of 2020
IIn a truly awful year, we just didn’t get a whole lot of movies released, reducing the pool of the bad movies as well as the good movies. If you were going to describe the years less than stellar movies, I think you’d say they were disappointing rather than infuriating. But there’s still plenty for us to throw shade at in this episode. The Scariest Things gets our adrenaline up, discussing our worst films of 2020.
Eric’s Review: Synchronic (2019)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
The latest offering from the collaborative team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead once again delivers a philosophical, slow burn of a movie. This film about two paramedics in New Orleans uncovering the truth of a new synthetic drug that has time travel properties is grim and heady material. Brooding and moody can be a good thing if anchored properly, and Anthony Mackie holds this film down with a fine acting performance.
Eric’s Review: Gretel and Hansel (2020)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Osgood Perkin’s horror take on the children’s fairy tale is a brooding and moody spin on the most familiar of stories. It has some gorgeous art direction, and a winning performance by Alice Krige, but the plodding script tries to mask the intent of the story. It tries very hard to provide new wrinkles to the old fable, but ends up feeling over-long even at a fairly short run time of 82 minutes.
Eric’s Review: The Witches (2020)
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
A worthy reboot of a much-beloved gateway horror fan favorite. Anne Hathaway chews up the scenery in the Robert Zemekis helmed adaptation of the Roald Dahl dark fantasy classic.
The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXVII: Action Horror!
Do you like your horror with a side order of bullets? Do you find that horror and kung fu are completely compatible? Do you wish there were more superhero horror tales? This week we’re talking action-horror in episode 117! Lights! Camera! Start the squibs!
Dead List: 20 Great Contemporary Horror Movie Documentaries
If you listen to our podcast or read our posts, you are already somebody looking to know more about horror. If you really have an appetite for horror knowledge, check out these documentaries, all of them hugely entertaining. Welcome to the world where all the movies have a colon in the title: Horror Documentaries.
Horror Infographics: Horror Movie Scratch Off Prints!
Print Maker Pop Chart has taken the interactive nature of scratch-off lottery tickets and applied it to horror movies! Now you can track the progress of seeing the essential horror canon by scratching off the movies you’ve seen.
Trailer Alert! Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
In a literal and figurative sense, one of the biggest genre films to arrive in 2021 is Godzilla vs. Kong, and we just got the first trailer. The fourth installment in the Monsterverse, like its predecessors, looks visually splashy as all hell. The fate of studios, or at least their decision making, is at stake with this blockbuster. Legendary, Warner Brothers, and HBO Max are all hoping for big things out of this effort.
The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXVI: Our Favorite Horror Trailers (Part II)
We’re back for more horror movie trailer talk! The discussion about The Scariest Things continues, with the help of trailer writer/producer John Foley.
Trailer Alert! Hideout (2021)
When criminals on the run collide with true evil, what could possibly go wrong? Check out the trailer for the upcoming heist/witchcraft film from Director Kris Roselli, coming out later this year.
The Scariest Things Episode CXVI: Our Favorite Horror Trailers (Part I)
Coming soon, to a theater near YOU! Are you the type of person to check out a trailer as soon as it hits the internet? Well, this episode is tailor made for you. The Scariest Things is joined by John Foley, a veteran trailer producer and horror fan, to discuss our favorite horror trailers.
The Scariest Things Podcast Extra: The Lloyd Kaufman Interview!
Provocateur, carnival barker, secret intellectual, comedian, and instigator: the great Lloyd Kaufman is joining The Scariest Things to talk about his latest and greatest offering, #Shakespeare’s Shitstorm! Never boring, often crass, but always gracious, it was fantastic for the Scariest Things to spend some with the Mayor of Tromaville.
Eric’s Book Report: Lovecraft’s Monsters (2014)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
The Cthulhu Mythos gets a spin from current horror writers, in the way that Lovecraftian tales should be told, in an anthology. There’s a lot of variety packed into this compilation and features some notable writers, including Neil Gaiman, John Langan, and Joe R. Lansdale.
Eric’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2020
When the great 2020 pandemic got its hooks into the world in April, and the Cinemas across the country were shuttering their doors, I was guessing that we were going to have really slim pickings for great horror films this past year. I’m so happy to be wrong! There were some absolutely fantastic horror films released, but you had to get to most of them via streaming festivals.
The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXV: The Best Horror Films of 2020
Well, that was a year, wasn’t it? True life horror didn’t need much help, but independent horror came to the rescue. Many of the most anticipated studio productions like A Quiet Place 2, Spiral, Halloween Kills, and Antlers never made it to the big screen this year, but thanks to streaming Festivals, there were some great offerings to be had this year if you knew where to look.
Eric’s Review: The Last Thanksgiving (2020) [Another Hole in the Head FF]
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
The Last Thanksgiving is a gory ’80s style slasher film that works on the decidedly soft premise that the Pilgrims succumbed to cannibalism to make it through the first Thanksgiving, and their descendants continue that tradition 400 years later. It delivers well on the hyper-violence, but it falls rather flat with character and plot. This is an empty calorie Thanksgiving feast.
Eric’s Review: #Shakespeare’s Shitstorm (2020) (Another Hole in the Head Film Festival)
★1/2 out ★★★★★ If you have a conventional sense of social norms.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ if you are a Troma fan and appreciate trashy and depraved satire.
Lloyd Kaufman and team Troma return to their Shakespearean roots and turn this loose-bowel take on The Tempest into a skewering of the social norms of today’s culture. This is the strongest, funniest, and most consistent Troma film I have seen since the ’80s Troma glory days but it also pushes the censorship limbo bar so low that there may not be room to go more lowbrow than this.
The Scariest Things Last-Minute Christmas Horror Gift Guide
It’s getting late! Do you have your present for your horror fan family member or friend? If you’re looking for some unique and well crafted horror themed items, here are some suggestions.
The Scariest Things Podcast Episode CXIV: Ho Ho Horror!
Oh, you’d better watch out, you’d better not cry! You’d better not pout I’m telling you why! Santa Claus has a wood axe, for you! It is mind-boggling how many Santa themed horror movies there are. Do we all have deep-seated childhood fears of Saint Nick? Yes, yes we do. Listen to the Scariest Things for some Christmas-themed horror films for you to watch when you’re on holiday.