★★.5 out of ★★★★★ 🩸🩸out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸 for mild comedic gore. Midway through Only the Good Survive the local sheriff and Dennis Miller impersonator (Frederick Weller) is interrogating young Brea Dunlee (Sidney Flanigan) about her involvement in a string of ritualistic murders and asks “…is this a comedy or a horror?” While the film chugs along like an Edgar Wright-inspired effort, this very sentiment is really the film’s problem. It wants to be both. Unfortunately, juggling these two juxtaposed art forms is a tricky bit of business that is almost never accomplished.
★★★ out of ★★★★★ Sleazy, greasy, grimy, grindhouse fare. It’s all here. Right down to a chilling and rather off-putting performance by one of the more odd actors to ever grace a horror film, Klaus Kinski. Hot on the heels of one of the all-time great horror performances in 1979’s Nosferatu the Vampyre, Kinski sleazes his way throughout SCHIZOID!
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ If 2022 has you a little jaundiced with reboots, sequels, prequels, and re-imaginations your feelings are not unwarranted. Let’s face it, Halloween Ends was confusing and largely devoid of Michael Myers. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was silly and uncooked. Hellraiser was pretty to look at, but became an unnecessary and boring reboot. Have no fear. The Indonesians are here to save us!
★★★ out of ★★★★★ Caught in one of the weirdest conundrums around. A story that’s either a perfectly time version of a Twightlight Zone episode, or a ten part series on Hulu, but is definitely unsuited for a feature length film. This is the world of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2021 joint, Old.
★★★★1/2 and ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ A powerful sequel of a beloved classic slasher movie that establishes that this franchise is perhaps the headiest and most nuanced of all the slasher movies. Director Nia DaCosta shows real visionary talent, and with co-writer Jordan Peele, adds updated depth and texture to an already fascinating urban legend.
★ out of ★★★★★ It looks like a horror film. It acts like a horror film. It’s directed by cinema great and heir to the Hitchcock throne. Its promotional materials portend horror is just around the corner. But don’t be fooled, this super-star-packed 1970s telekinetic hype machine is nothing but a boring and unnecessarily long after-school special.
★★★★ 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.
★★ 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.
★★★★.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.
★★★★ 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.
★★ 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.
★★★ out of ★★★★★ 🩸🩸🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸 for lots of gore. Nothing’s better when a small indy production punches WAY above its weight class — especially in the visual effects department. Sometimes the effort is a miserable failure and sometimes, yes sometimes, its indy deficiencies don’t even show for a minute.
★★★ out of ★★★★★ The holidays are just around the corner! Well, technically the holidays are ALWAYS just around the corner. The only thing more bleak than the constant crush of forced holiday frivolity? I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ There’s nothing more devastating and frightening than a family at their wit's end who are also simultaneously at each other’s throats. One part drama, one part horror, one part nuclear family armageddon. You don’t want to watch the collapse, but you absolutely can’t peel your peepers from the impending chaos.
★ out of ★★★★★ or ★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ A five star film that’s also simultaneously a one star film? A film that occupies an incredibly rare space. It’s loved. It’s hated. It’s revered. It’s reviled. A film that’s poorly shot, conceived, and acted, but its legendarily awful veneer gives way to a blood soaked interior that’s impossible not to LOVE.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ The Last Matinee is a loving homage to film. More to the point it’s a loving homage and exploration of Argento, Fulchi, grindhouse cinema, slashers, grimy movie theaters, and quite possibly the great Lamberto Bava film Demons. Don’t be fooled though. While The Last Matinee pulls from many of the classics, it’s got its own unique style and flavor, and it’s cram-packed with EYEBALLS.
★ 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.
★★★★ 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.
★★★★ 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.
★★ 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.
★★★ 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.
★★★★.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.