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.
Mike’s Review: The Siren (2019)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ A somber, quiet, and contemplative affair. This faux mythology, while largely devoid of dialogue, packs away some interesting social/sexual dynamics. Fans of Troma and Full Moon be forewarned, this film is NOT for you. While it is a monster movie that’s loosely based not the eastern European “Rusalka” water harpy myth, this is not the Toxic Avenger, nor is it the Evil Bong.
Mike’s Review: Demon Seed (1977)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ The Demon Seed is one mighty mashup of technological/sociological concepts. Freedom of choice, meets man’s desire to concur his natural surroundings, meets the infallibility of the god complex, meets sexual politics, meets the ecology movement, meets the military industrial complex, meets a horrifying faux 2001 psychedelic freakout. Yes, it’s all here on display in a 1970s groove.
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)
★★★★ 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.
Horror News: Daft Punk is Scoring the Next Dario Argento Film
What?!?!? First Thom Yorke dips his toes in the water with his somber interpretation of the Goblin’s color-soaked Suspiria vision, and now Daft Punk is scoring the next Dario Agento film? Color us shocked and awed.
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 Review: Wonder Valley (2017)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Who knew that there was a sub-genre of horror known as Coachella Horror? Well there’s not, but you heard it here first. Perfect millennials mixed with impossibly mundane feuding, throw in a couple very stylish floppy hats, a little paranormal fright (but not too much), and a gathering of genetically perfect young ladies and — POW — it’s Coachella Horror!
Horror News: The Isolation Horrors (2020)
Have you had enough yet? Did you lose out on the last role of toilet paper? Are you debating the merits of the Exorcist vs. Exorcist III with your cat? Has the isolation started to creep under your skin and in to your psyche? Good! You’re in luck. There’s a new short horror anthology that looks at the dark and horrific side of ISOLATION!
Mike’s Review: Lake Mungo (2008)
★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ There exists this exquisite location somewhere right between a documentary, a dramatization, found footage, a fictionalized accounting of events, and a full on horror show. This venn diagram of a locale is a rather tough place to pinpoint and few films ever wandered there. That was of course until 2008 when Lake Mungo was released.
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.
Horror Movie News: Cannibal Holocaust is Going to be a Video Game!
Things just can’t possibly get weird enough. Hollyweird may have run out of ideas and the public is going to […]
Trailer Alert: Train to Busan 2 (Peninsula)
Did we ask for this? Is the zombie genre dead? Did the Walking Dead franchise kill the zombie genre? Will Train to Busan 2 live up to its forefather? Is this really just cheap hype for a video game tie in? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS!!!
Mike’s Review: Lights Out (2016)
★★ out of ★★★★★ The tweens are taking over! Hollyweird has handed over the castle keys to a gaggle of focused-grouped 13-year olds. Scary films are now purposely trying to not be scary. All is lost.
Movie Posters We Love: The BEST Pandemic Horror Movie Posters
You’ll scream, screech, gasp, cough wheeze, and, well…hopefully it’s just a common cold and it’ll be done in a couple days. One of the best ways to determine whether it is a common cold? Check the current CDC guidelines and consult with your local health department.
After you’ve done the requisite diagnosis, grabbed some vitamin C, and little DayQuil — THEN check out this gallery of the weirdest, wildest, wackiest and just plain BEST pandemic horror posters ever created!
These posters are infected so wash your hands after you’ve touched this gang of impurity!
Mike’s Review: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Sometimes less really is more. And sometimes way less is really way more. Eschewing all prior entries in Paranormal Activity franchise, and more importantly questioning the simple aesthetic of the found footage horror sub-genre. Enter Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. For those of you keeping track at home — and sadly, at this point, you really need to keep track to follow this franchise — this is number six.
Mike’s Review: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ Young women. Adventurous young women. Genetically perfect adventurous young women. Impossibly tight spaces. Blind killing creatures who’ve not seen the light of day for millennia. It’s the Descent for the tween generation! Plus, did we mention the forever hunky John Corbett?
Movie News: Extra Ordinary Hits the Streets on March 6
Our universal fav’ film from 2019 gets its official release on March 6! Prepare to laugh, cry, and get 👻 spooked.
Mike’s Review: Dr. Sleep (2019)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★
Nearly 1,000 pages of creepy thoughts, actions, and psychic happenings were laid out between the Shining and its murderous offspring, Dr. Sleep. It seemed impossible that 1) the Shining would be made in to a film, 2) that Stephen King would be so dissatisfied in one of the true horror greats, 3) that it would deserve a remake, 4) the story would evolve in to a 500 page psychedelic mishmash, and 5) that mishmash would be made in to its own celluloid opus. Seem fantastical? Well it is.
Mike’s Review: Three from Hell (2019)
★★ out of ★★★★★ At Rob Zombie’s darkened dirtbag core is a full and unfiltered embrace of the age-old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Slow motion. Hyperbolic acting (or in some cases no acting). Closeups so close you can count individual pores Captain Spaulding’s grease-paint soaked forehead. Weirdly rare and off-putting selection of non-Joe Walsh James Gang tracks. If you’ve seen House of a Thousand Corpses and Devil’s Rejects then you’ve been thoroughly exposed to Mr. Zombie’s cinema trickery.
Mike’s Review: Bliss (2019)
🤟🤟out of 🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟
Are you a fan of a) Metal, b) vaguely satanic possessions, c) explicit drug usage, d) nudity, e) lots of blood (read: LOTS), and f) the word FUCK? I mean, sure who isn’t in favor of all these things right? Each has lots to offer. They’re interesting. Taken in small doses they can be a very powerful antidote to a lagging cinematic undertaking. When taken in over-dose-like proportions the gore and bad words take on an underwhelming status.
Mike’s Review: The Color Out of Space (2020)
★★★ out of ★★★★★
Is the ultimate test of a director the ability to grow, mature, and evolve? Pick up new tricks, devices, and viewpoints? Create new and unique takes on the film medium? OR, is it the director’s job to figure out what formula works, stick with that, and never grow, mature, and evolve. Sort of a “greatest hits” approach to filmmaking.
Trailer Alert: Color Out Of Space (2020)
The most fully realized film version of an HP Lovecraft story? More psychedelic freakouts from Nick Cage? The return of more Mandy-like weirdness? A real live Cthulu monster? Director Richard Stanley’s (Island of Dr. Moreau, Hardware, Dust Devil) return to greatness? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS!
Mike’s Review: Mausoleum (1983)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★ 1983 just called. Your VHS tape is overdue!
Mike’s Review: The Marshes (2020)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★ Word has it that the kids are in to mash-ups. Girl Talk, Danger Mouse, a little Jay Z, a little Beatles. Throw it all together and see what sticks. 2020’s the Marsh (originally released in 2018 in Australia) does just that — but maybe a little too much.
Movie Posters We Love: Top 10 Horror Posters from 2019
Once again Hollyweird cranked up the almighty money-making hype machine and got to work on some very fine artistry. While it’s got to be more and more difficult for graphic designers to cram all of the fear, fright, and gore on to an iPhone screen, designers have not yet thrown in the towel!
Mike’s Top 10 Horror Films of 2019
2019 was as year that was awfully similar to its most recent astrological brethren, 2018. There were some awfully big, earnest, and well-heeled horror offerings – while at the same time, 2019 served up the weird, the indy, and the quirky in spades!