★★.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.
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.