★★★ out of ★★★★★ Umm what just happened? Was that a dream? Did I just have a stroke? Did my ego and id simultaneously implode? Unclear on all fronts. One thing is certain. This is a film like no other and it’s not something you can ever unsee.
Mike’s Review: The Amusement Park (1973/2021)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Everyone gets old. It’s no more complicated than this little horrifying truism. The world of horror is filled with ghosts, homicidal nutcases, Pazzuzu, creepies, crawlies, and robot-monsters. But, nothing, repeat, nothing, is more frightening at the prospect of losing your mental and physical faculties and facing the sad and potential finite end of life.
Mike’s Review: Satan’s Slave (1976)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Crack open the dusty dictionary parked over on your bookshelf and look up staid British horror film. We’ll wait. What’s it say? 1976’s Satan’s Slave? Yep, that’s what we thought.
Mike’s Review: Army of the Dead (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Gone are the days of Bub from Day of the Dead. Gone are the days of the zombie nurse, the fat guy, and the Hare Krishna from Dawn of the Dead. Gone are the half-dogs and headless zombies from Return of the Living Dead. Most importantly, gone is a fun but serious dissection of societal woes and man’s modern day pitfalls. IInstead we’re now being fed a pile of ghastly super-hero zombies, that shriek like space aliens, set inside a hyper-realized video game construct. It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure. One might even say that the zombie genre has jumped the shark, or in this case the albino zombie tiger.
Trailer Alert! False Positive (2021)
Oh, Hollywood and your ever-clever marketing minions. You really had us at “…contemporary take on the classic horror film Rosemary’s Baby.” That just makes our hardened horror heart go pitter-patter.
Trailer Alert! A Classic Horror Story
Giallo and Texas Chainsaw mashed up? Uh, yes, please. We’d love to see that! Well, now you can! Those horror geniuses over at Netflix have officially dropped the official trailer for 2021’s A Classic Horror Story.
Trailer Alert! Forever Purge
In light of all the insurrectionist lunacy that we faced in early 2021, it’s an incredible stroke of kismet that the horror gods would be throwing us the Forever Purge in the very same year. But they are.
Trailer Alert! New George Romero Movie: The Amusement Park
The almighty George Romero has a new movie coming out in June 2021! Wait, hasn’t he been dead since 2017!?!? Indeed he has, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t create a mountain of content never before seen by human eyes. In the same way that Prince will be releasing albums well in to the next century, Romero may have some additional gems that have never made their way out of the crypt. Until now!
Mike’s Review: Things Heard and Seen (2021)
★ out of ★★★★★ Serious question. Are horror movies required to be scary? Can they just pass off a sense of dread and doom in other less frightening but equally provocative ways? Answer: it sure makes horror more horrifying if there’s some actual horror in the horror film.
Mike’s Review: Deadhouse Dark (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ The horror anthology is one of the true staples of the horror genre. Always clever, always engaging. As we’ve said before, anthology horror is the traditional extension of gathering around ye’ ole campfire and scaring the hell out of each other. They hearken back to the oldest root forms of scary storytelling. It’s always frightening to hear a scary story, until it’s not.
Trailer Alert! The Conjuring III
Holy Beelzebub! The official/official trailer for The Conjuring III, AKA The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do it, is finally here! Complete with devils, god, witches, the Warrens, and waterbeds — which were a thing in 1981, trust us — this trailer has it all.
Mike’s Review: Offseason (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Pulling the perfect Lovecraftian film is a feat like no other. It’s been tried again and again. You might even say film makers repeated attempts to crawl inside Mr. Lovecraft’s tortured brain is rife with peril, failure, and madness. Or more to the point, it’s a cursed mission. Many have attempted to bring Lovecraft to the silver screen and most have failed. In the case, of 2021’s Offseason, it’s not so much a failure, but a dull attempt.
Happy Easter Horror Hounds!
This Easter 🐰🐰🐰 you haven’t a hop in hell! Because…here comes Peter Cottonhell! If those aren’t two of the most hackneyed and shoe-horned taglines we don’t know what are. Because Beaster Day is real, it’s coming for you, and we’ve digested more crappy films that anyone should!
Mike’s Book Report: Video Palace: In Search of the Eyeless Man: Collected Stories (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ The rise of the podcast generation paired with a nation’s emerging fascination with rampant conspiracy theories is the perfect backdrop for a horrifying and mercurial folk tale. In both the case of podcasts and conspiracies people don’t stop until they’ve reached the ever-loving bottom of the barrel. The problem is these barrels have no bottoms.
Mike’s Review: The Feast (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Don’t. Turn. This. Movie. Off. Seriously, it’s a slow burn in grand tradition of slow burn horror films, but the payoff off is so deliciously evil and filling. If you stop after the aspic and the salad course you’ll miss a rather grisly desert.
Mike’s Review: Broadcast Signal Intrusion (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Right around the corner from Horror Street, just next to Parallax View Way, and right near Marathon Man Drive, is a fascinating analog look at the lengths obsessives will go to in feeding their obsessions.
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1982)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★
To describe this film, one must invoke the voice of Bill Hader’s Saturday Night Live character, Stefon. The audience cheers as Stefon slides in from stage right. Hands rise to face. Breathe deep. And release.
Mike’s Review: Woodlands Dark Days Bewitched A History of Folk Horror (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Make no mistake, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror is not a generalist survey course and this is not a casual hike in the woods. This is a full on PHD thrill ride in to one of the most mercurial of all horror genres, folk horror.
Mike’s Review: Sasquatch (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ “If you go in to the woods go with an open mind.” Famed Bigfoot videographer, Bob Gimlin.
Movie Posters We Love: Amityville Horror (1979)
If you’re a regular listener to our little ol’ podcast you’ve probably heard us wax poetically about the (sadly) uneven implementation of one of the greatest horror plot lines of all time — the Amityville Horror. If you’re of a certain age Amityville and the Lutz family was all the talk. On the newsstands, in the classroom, at the water cooler. People were…um…obsessed…with this sad family and their demonic plight.
Mike’s Review: Shook (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ The tried and true tattered family dynamic. Kids love their Mom. Dad’s nowhere to be found. Sisters vigorously fight for their Mom’s love. Resentments emerge. The sister’s commitments to the family quickly fall to the insidious and ever-present need to feed the social media beast. We’ve all heard this tale before. Or have we?
Mike’s Review: Grizzly II (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ It’s everything you’ve ever wanted! It contains film footage likely derived from 10 different film shoots over the course of nearly 40 years. It’s got Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (Louise Fletcher). It’s got Indiana Jones pal Salah (John Rhys-Davies). It’s got the super crooked hillbilly cop from Rambo, Galt (Jack Starrett). It’s sort of got a couple scenes with a grizzly bear. But just don’t be fooled, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, and George Clooney.
Mike’s Review: Deadwax (2018)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ It should come as no surprise that record collectors are an awfully weird and obsessive bunch. They perseverate over every possible pressing, color, variation, and vinyl release of individual artists. Their search is endless and somewhat pointless. They fixate on whether to open a sealed copy of a rare record. Most importantly, record collectors won’t stop until their search is complete. Dead or alive.
Trailer Alert! Death Rider in the House of Vampires (2021)
Oh sure, who doesn’t love to revel in the lunacy that is Evil Elvis AKA Glenn Danzig AKA the linchpin to the greatest horror punk band of all time, the Misfits. His comics, his music, and his enigmatic approach to life are so fascinating, and easily parodied and barbed, but it’s his film outings that are quite simply …indescribable.
Mike’s Review: La Llorona (2020)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ A stunningly beautiful film that follows a not so beautiful period of time in Guatemala’s tumultuous and unfortunate history. This horror film, that’s awfully light on the horror, shows audiences that sometimes the scares don’t come from ghouls, but they come from right-wing juntas.
Movie Posters We Love: Top Ten Horror Posters from 2020
There’s obviously no reason to re-hash 2020 and the fact that we haven’t physically been to a movie theater — FOR NEARLY A YEAR! But, sadly, we haven’t. We haven’t had chance to stare lovingly at the marquee, the pamphlet with the coming features, and most importantly, the poster.
Mike’s Review: Goal of the Dead (2014)
★★★.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.