fbpx

Author Archives

msoup

Mike’s Nightstream Review: The Queen of Black Magic (2020)

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)

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 Book Report: Devolution (2020)

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)

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.

Mike’s Review: Beyond the Woods (2018)

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)

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 Animal Horror Films

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 PHFF Review: Uncle Peckerhead (2020)

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.

Mike’s Review: Z (2019)

Mike’s Review: Z (2019)

★★★ out of ★★★★★ With an increasing number of horror films eschewing the well-trodden path of gore, gags, and scream queens, there’s always the risk of re-calibrating too far to the other end of the scare spectrum. Over the last 20 years there’s been a trend towards melancholy and family trauma — Shudder calls it parental terror, we’re calling it melancholy horror. Sometimes the quiet and somber affairs work and sometimes they’re just weighty, boring, and devoid of scares. The Shudder original Z certainly ran that risk, but effectively shook itself off the melancholy mantle.

Mike’s Review: Blood Quantum (2020)

Mike’s Review: Blood Quantum (2020)

★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Much of the history of native peoples in horror film, or in this case Canada’s First Nation people, has been beset by misunderstandings, skepticism about tribal rituals, and outright racism. These troubling portrayals throughout horror’s uneven relationship with non-Euro traditions has manifested itself in a series of clumsy attempts to capture the native condition. This, in turn, has played out with mysterious and prescient shamans, strange and incomplete tribal rites, and silly depictions of day-to-day tribal life. That was the case until 2020, with the release of the superb Blood Quantum.

Mike’s Review: The Isolation Horrors (2020)

Mike’s Review: The Isolation Horrors (2020)

★★★★ out of ★★★★★ More often than not the horror story teller is beset with complex stories, radical exposition, and meandering narrative. The horror fan and the horror filmmaker so desperately want to hear and tell a compelling and multi-layered story. But as we all know too well, these stories are overtaken by this well-meaning desire and evolve in to a product so complex that they forget their intended purpose — the SCARES! The prescient and timely The Isolation Horrors is superbly aware of this exposition trap and manages to create an exquisite economy of horror story telling.

Mike’s Book Report: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Mike’s Book Report: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

★★★★ out of ★★★★★ It’s been known throughout the human experience that the journey is far more rewarding than the end point. For mountain climbers the peak is only the halfway point. Few endeavors have one introspectively looking solely at the terminus. For horror fans the end often isn’t entirely satisfying and the nostalgia for a film (or book) lies in the way the spooks and chills unfold along the way. Ian Reid’s 2016 novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is the pure embodiment of this sentiment.