★★.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.
Tag Archive for ‘scary’
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 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: 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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: 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.
Dead List: Top 10 Found Footage Films of All Time
You love ’em. You hate ’em. You don’t know where to start. You worship at their altar. All these things are true. One of the most polemic (and satisfying) devices in the horror genre — shaky cam/found footage flics.
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 Review: Impetigore (2019)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Ghosts, doomed villages, tortured family dynamics, the blackest of black magic, and thousand year old Javanese curses all come home to roost in the latest spookfest from Joko Anwar. Possibly (read: possibly) the best horror film director out currently, Anwar knows his way around a story, cinematic shots, and the creation of truly sympathetic characters.
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: 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!
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.
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.
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 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.
Mike’s Review: Haunt (2019)
🤡🤡.5 out of 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡 Writing is a struggle. Too much exposition gives the appearance of being a churlish jerk who sucks all of the oxygen out of a room. While too little exposition has the air of being aloof, uncaring, and unwilling to let the audience in on the scares. Weirdly, Haunt vacillates between both words, but manages to tell this spooky story in the most ineffective way possible.
Mike’s Review: Tenebre (1982)
🔪🔪🔪🔪1/2 out of 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪 The rules surrounding Giallo have been firmly established. Beginning somewhere around 1964 with Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace and continuing to the present with such color-soaked homosexual freakouts as 2019’s Knife+Heart, Giallo has been around the block.
Mike’s Review: Eli (2019)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Hey Netflix, we see you over there! Yeah, you. Trying your darnedest to jump on that horror bandwagon, peer in to the abyss, produce that oh-so-perfect horror film, and reap the ghoulish accolades of horror fans everywhere. Just so you know, it’s not working. While 2019’s Eli is awfully close to being a solid film you still have a lot of work to do to make in the fast-paced world of horror.