★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ One medium with possibly more sub-genres than horror is futbol, AKA, football, AKA soccer. There’s so many villains, tales, rivalries, and subtext to the beautiful game. Much like horror its a bottomless barrel of impossible possibilities. The other medium with more sub-genres than futbol and horror? Zombies.
Mike’s Review: Images (1972)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ When true film auteurs wander outside of their staid and classical lines and in to the horror genre there’s always the potential for some serious magic. Kubrick with the Shining, Freidkin with the Exorcist, Spielberg with Jaws, and even Danny Boyle with 28 Days Later. All these major film think-o-logists had a crack at horror and walked away proud at what they had accomplished, or so ashamed at the terror they had brought to the cineplex, they never came back to the genre. One of the greatest film auteurs of all time, Robert Altman, wandered in to horror with aplomb, but sadly his seminal effort has been forgotten in the sands of time.
Mike’s Review: The Pale Door (2020)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Witches are a tricky lot. Literally. Filled with deceit and deception. They conjur up horrible thoughts in your tiny little brain. They’re always on the hunt for a new (or renewed) sacrifice. Most importantly they travel in unrelenting satanic packs of malice. The Pale Door has more fiends than you can shake a stick at, but, unfortunately, doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot with this spooky pile of occult weirdos.
Mike’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2020
So many great intentions. This here podcaster was going to smash, crash, and rush to the theater to see all the latest spooky offerings Hollyweird had to offer. I “intended” to give a careful and thoughtful look at Halloween Kills (delayed to 2021), Antebellum (not willing to throw down for its initial asking price), St. Maude (weirdly delayed a bunch of times, but available for streaming overseas), and I’m Thinking of Ending Things (I saw this! But it was pretty so/so). 2020 was far from perfect, but despite all its real-world horrors, it brought a respite in the form of gaggle of scares, shrieks, and ghouls.
Mike’s Review: Victim of Love (Another Hole in the Head Festival)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★ A super stylish and exceptionally well-scored film that’s partially in Danish and partially in English and…wait for it…features a character who’s half Danish and half American.
Movie News: Troma’s Streaming Service
If yer’ anything like yer pals at the Scariest Things Podcast you’ve got a broad cinema palette and an ever broader tolerance for the profane, the vile, and the fart joke. Good news! There’s now a streaming service that seamlessly blends all that gory goodness together in a horrifying smoothie called TROMA NOW!
Trailer Alert! Grizzly II
If you know anything about the Scariest Things Podcast it’s that we love MONSTERS. Monsters of all kinds. Creatures beneath the sea, behemoths that lurk in the dark, and even the occasional URSUS HORRIBLUS! The grizzly bear.
Mike’s Review: Alive (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Just when you thought the zombie genre had plumb run out of ideas along comes a pretty interesting and pretty inventive take on on a concept that’s…uh…dying.
Mike’s Review: Scare Me (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ How’d you like a little Chekhov with your Texas Chainsaw? A little Edward Albee with your Conjuring? Or even a dash of Ibsen with your Insidious? Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not.
Mike’s Review: As Above So Below (2014)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ Found footage films can be a tricky business. You really have to sell the conceit that someone, or in this case multiple people, are going to be carrying around camera and recording every single move they make — and they might even inadvertently catch a freaky apparition in the background. A tall task made even more grand by the sheer number of found footage films that have made their way to the bottom of the bargin bin at Best Buy.
Dead List: Top 10 Horror Soundtracks of All Time
Can music make a film? Break a film? Raise the hairs on the back of your head? Make you curl up in a ball and weep? You bet your bottom dollar! Open you ears and tune in to the ten most evil soundtracks your little ears ever did hear!
Mike’s Review: Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ At the Scariest Things Podcast we pride ourselves for being THE gateway to the trends and tropes of the horror genre. Sure, sometimes we wander in to the deep and dark recesses of the genre. We give Anthropophagous an extra viewing here/there. We cringe when we (re)watch Audition. We think twice about watching A Serbian Film. But, mostly we want to invite everyone in to the never-ending thrill ride that is horror. Sometimes that thrill ride includes PG-13 fare like Vampires vs. the Bronx.
Mike’s Nightstream Review: The Hunted (2020)
★★ out of ★★★★★ What in the world happens when filmmakers run out of ideas? Well, it’s rather simple. A) In most cases they go back to the well, B) there’s always a sequel, or prequel, or a reboot, C) the idea is reimagined through the lens of an out of copyright idea, story, or myth, or D) they just run out of ideas. Sadly, for 2020’s The Hunted, the answer is D.
Mike’s Nightstream Review: The Queen of Black Magic (2020)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ In the latest installment of “If you’re not watching Indonesian horror movies, you’re blowing it,” brings us 2020’s The Queen of Black Magic. It’s true. Indonesia is the new incubator for the creepiest crawlies that the horror genre has to offer. Every country has had their day in the sun. The UK plastered us with Hammer and Amicus throughout the 1960s. The US reimagined the genre with slashers and super killers throughout the 1970s and 80s. And Japan brought a whole new slate of water and hair-borne frights in the late 1990s and in to the early 2000s. Now it’s Indonesia time to shine.
Mike’s Nightstream Review: Leap of Faith William Friedkin on the Exorcist (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ There exists that great space in documentaries that take place decades after the event occurred. It’s this beautiful melange of revisionist history, lucid thoughts, purposeful sleepwalking, and repressed memories. All answers are correct and infallible when the documentary is filtered through the iconic lens of a single and thoughtful directorial darling. THE William Friedkin is the ultimate bridge between Hollywood’s glorious beginnings and the revolutionary young guns of the 1970s. It should come as no surprise the Friedkin has some rather insightful things to say about one of the greatest films of the 1970s, possibly the greatest horror film of all time, and in some camps, THE greatest film ever put down on celluloid — the Exorcist.
Mike’s Review: Spiral (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Horror movies really are the ultimate glimpse in to the soul of man. Society’s reflection upon itself. Our most base thoughts, visions, hopes, dreams, and fears all laid bare for the universe to see. The historic period of time is largely irrelevant to the equation, because the result is always the same — man’s continued inhumanity to man.
Mike’s Book Report: Devolution (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ The perfect metaphor/antidote to 2020. Well-meaning people set out to change the world, lessen their foot print, and revel in their own brainy viewpoint. Only to be horrifically outdone by the unplanned mysteries of mother nature and her largely uncaring and brutish ways. Devolution is exists in a very real space with very real consequences. It’s everything that 2020 has offered. From the hopefully earnest to the horrifically primal.
Mike’s Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ I mean, really, who are we to ever question the greatness of the great Charlie Kaufman. A visionary. A cinematic poet. A deep thinker that throws head-scratchers our way every chance he gets. A repertoire filled with unimpeachable films. One after another. BUT, he’s never really dabbled in the horror genre, nor has he dealt with a storyline so chilling, unnerving, and downright baffling. And it kind of shows.
Dead List: Top 10 Sci-Fi Horror Films of All Time
Congrats! You’ve wandered down to the end of the cul-de-sac and discovered the world of sci-fi-horror. Is is horror? Is it sci-fi? Is it horror-sci-fi? Does it have space aliens? Are those furry little space aliens scary? All these questions are answered with the Top 10 Sci-Fi Horror Films of All Time!
Mike’s Review: Beyond the Woods (2018)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Not all horror films need to be over-wrought. They needn’t be filled with hyper-complex multi-layered lore. CGI has its time and place, but that time in place is not in every time and every place. On occasion horror is able to lean simply on human emotions, quaint spaces, and languid settings. If you need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of 21st century horror then Beyond the Woods is waiting for you…just beyond the woods.
Mike’s Review: Mother of Tears (2007)
★ out of ★★★★★ All the old adages about aging are sadly true. While there are a handful of unique exceptions to aging, largely the process is mean, maddening, and without fail. The longer you stay in the game the harder it is to compete at your once prolific rate. That 12th album, might not quite be as fresh as that first lighting in a bottle 30 years prior. That 300th game might be a tad disinclined. It’s just a fact of our meager little life on planet earth and this impact is felt by all — including Dario Argento.
Dead List: Top 10 Found Footage Films of All Time
You love ’em. You hate ’em. You don’t know where to start. You worship at their altar. All these things are true. One of the most polemic (and satisfying) devices in the horror genre — shaky cam/found footage flics.
Mike’s Review: The Pool (2019)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ So close. Not quite. Just about there. One more try. Close but no cigar. You’re right in the ballpark. Just. One. More. Inch. This is the prevailing and effectively repeated trope in the 2019 (U.S. release) Thai film, the Pool.
Dead List: Top 10 Animal Horror Films
Thumper, Ben, Lassie, Willard, Cujo…my pet gator? Why have you chosen to forsake me? In Episode 16 we explored this very question and got down and dirty in the animal kingdom. These are some of the scariest pets and animals to have ever graced the silver screen and boy have they gone bad! They PRETEND to be man’s best friend but ultimately they’ve got other things in store for us weak and inferior humans. Before you race out to the pet store watch the ten scariest films ever made featuring animals!
Mike’s Review: Impetigore (2019)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Ghosts, doomed villages, tortured family dynamics, the blackest of black magic, and thousand year old Javanese curses all come home to roost in the latest spookfest from Joko Anwar. Possibly (read: possibly) the best horror film director out currently, Anwar knows his way around a story, cinematic shots, and the creation of truly sympathetic characters.
Movie News: The Vigil Trailer
Blumhouse is back on the scene with a brand new joint that’s guaranteed to give you a mean case of the shivers. Don’t look now, but the Vigil is coming your way on July 31, 2020.
Movie News: Possessor Trailer
Ultraviolent sci-fi? Sign us up! Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, darker, and more complex — along comes Possessor. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg (offspring of THAT David Cronenberg), Possessor allegedly involves some high-falutin corporate espionage, some brain control devices, and a whole lotta’ assassinating.
Mike’s Review: The Beach House (2019)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ If you’re not completely freaked out by the current pandemic, the strange and uneven response to the greatest crisis the world’s faced in the modern era, then have we got a film for you! This is not a fun filled family fete at the beach, oh no, The Beach House is a dark and twisted look at our current state of affairs filtered through the very real possibility that the worst is yet to come.
Horror Short: Desert Quarantine (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ “Timely, topical, and terrific.” Well that’s what the Scariest Things Podcast would say if Variety came calling for a pull quote. Joe Burke’s (Four Dogs) brand spanking new horror short Desert Quarantine is a perfect reflection of a perfect reflection of society’s current spate of worry, hate, fear, and confusion.
Mike’s PHFF Review: Uncle Peckerhead (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Pulling off a feature length film takes some serious gumption. Pulling off a film that balances impeccable comedic timing, a fully realized soundtrack, empathetic characters, complicated friendships, and a heaping dose of spatter gore — well, that’s a whole different story. Directed by horror short filmmaker Matthew John Lawrence, Uncle Peckerhead hits every single note and simultaneously manages to bang out a gory film that would make Herschell Gordon Lewis blush.