Saturday, July 28, 2018
Shot entirely in black and white, The Addiction is a vampire film that makes no effort to hide the fact that this affliction is a metaphor for heroin addiction. Kathleen (Lili Taylor) is working toward a doctorate in philosophy. One evening Kathleen is pulled into an alley by Cassanova (Annabella Sciorra) and is given a chance to tell Cassanova to leave. When she doesn't, Cassanova bites her and leaves while telling her everything is about to change. From here Kathleen begins to fiend, injects blood she takes from homeless people, and starts dressing and acting like Lou Reed, just with intense philosophical monologues.
This film took a bit to grow on me. Initially the philosophy was heavy handed and it made me feel like I was watching a Jim Jarmusch film that lacked any mirth. The turn around here came when Christopher Walken was introduced in what may now be one of my top 5 Walken roles. His character initiates this vacuum where everyone and everything start coming together for the climax. The earlier philosophical exposition becomes justified when Kathleen is defending her dissertation and makes a point of philosophy being nothing more than propaganda of a single individual. The very end in which spiritual salvation leads to freedom from the affliction might as well have been an AA/NA commercial, but seeing as how Kathleen is unable to control her habit, it's what works for her (and in this case, some people dealing with addiction issues). So who am I to sit here and talk shit on something that works for people?
Aside from top notch casting in The Addiction, it's also directed by Abel Ferrara. You may know him for his work on Body Snatchers, Bad Lieutenant, and Ms. 45. Additionally, Russell Simmons of Def Jam records was a producer. I have nothing against Mr. Simmons and everything Def Jam has done, but my biggest complaint with The Addiction is that the only non-score music we get is hip hop and it feels so incredibly out of place. That, and the fact we get the same Cypress Hill song played twice for street shots is too much.
In comparison to some of the extras we covered with other Saturday Screemers, The Addiction is tamer and geared more toward the film geek side. We have a new interview with Abel Ferrara as well as director commentary, an interview with Brad Stevens (film critic) who wrote Abel Ferrara: The Moral Vision, and a series of interviews entitled Talking with the Vampires. The Talking with the Vampires was my favorite of the extras as it was made specifically for this release and features Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Abel Ferrara, cinematographer Ken Kelsch, and composer Joe Delia. It felt very relaxed, like a conversation between friends. You find out things like Lili was listening to Debaser by The Pixies a lot while making this film, or Christopher Walken singing a song for Abel.
First pressings of disc also come with an illustrated collector's booklet which has new writings on The Addiction by critic Michael Ewins.
If you're a fan of vampire films then I definitely recommend picking this one up. I didn't know this film even existed until I was sent this disc but it's well worth the time. Thanks again to Arrow Films for sending us this for review.
If you want to pick up this blu-ray then you can click here and get it from Amazon. It's currently around $25 and if you want to get the collector's booklet then I definitely recommend getting it soon. Also, if you click on that link or the link above for Brad Stevens' book and buy either from those links then we here at 30 Days of Plight get a small part of that sale and it goes towards paying for this website and energy drinks.
Monday, July 23, 2018
I can't believe I've watched and reviewed 300 films for this website already (more if you count the Saturday Screamers now). When I started doing this I didn't really have an expected timeline of how long I was going to work on this, but it has been over two years thus far and I'm not really slowing down. Instead I keep looking for more to add to this, which I think is what a person is supposed to do but I'm not sure. I'm just going with what feels right.
That said, we're wrapping up our 9th Cut. This has probably been one of our better Cuts as far as having films I actually liked. We started with The Lost Boys, had The Devil's Candy, and the over-the-top Daemonium: Soldiers of the Underworld which were probably my stand outs. On the flip side, there are still those films that made me lose my goddamn mind while slogging through their absurd attempts at film making (not that I have ever written or made a film, but isn't that what makes critics great? Even then that doesn't count for much because Roger Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, so...). The unnecessary Cabin Fever remake and Welcome to Willits come to mind right away for the shallow end of the pool.
So what's coming up with 30 Days of Plight? Well, this is our break period but I'm going to try to keep up with at least one update a week, even if it's just a Saturday Screamer because I have a few more screeners to work through. Also, I've been having a lot of trouble with Netflix when it comes to the D&D dice roll choice formula. Having watched 300 films, anytime I roll a number greater than 30 then most of the films listed I've already watched. So what does this mean for the 10th Cut? Well, since we're entering double digits I'm going to do a special cut. Over the years I've amassed a ton of questionable films that I haven't had the chance to watch. In order to let Netflix catch up, and catch up myself, I'm going into the 30 Days of Plight video archives and pulling 30 random films from that for the 10th Cut.
Most of these films are going to be things I've picked up from $1 bins, used DVD stores, or exist on cheap movie multi-packs. So get ready for a ton of shit you might never have heard of. I already know of one that I have that stars Fred Durst so that just lets you know what to expect.
So Monday September 10th will be the start of our 10th Cut.
If you want to reach out to 30 Days of Plight you can do so via our Twitter @30daysofplight or e-mail us at 30DaysOfPlight@gmail.com.
If you are a film company, director, producer, actor, special effects person, whatever, and want some help to promote your upcoming project or would like a review of your film then e-mail me at the address above and we can set something up.
Thanks again to everyone that's been visiting and reading this website. In this time we've had almost 33,000 visitors and that blows my mind. And, as always...
I'll be right back...
Saturday, July 21, 2018
We're coming back at you with another Saturday Screamers! This time we're going to talk about the MVD 2-disc release of the 2006 film Abominable as well as the extras included. A quick shout out to MVD for hooking us up with a copy of this to review. You may remember that they sent us last week's The Return of Swamp Thing.
In the "making of" featurette with this film, the director (Chris Schifrin) sums Abominable up perfectly: What if a monster movie met Rear Window? After a climbing accident killed his wife and left him in a wheelchair, Preston returns to his cabin in an attempt to overcome his trauma. A group of college aged girls arrive to spend the weekend at the cabin next door. Preston just happens to see a large beast drag one of the girls away in the night but he isn't accustomed enough to his condition in order to warn the other girls and no one else will believe him. Can he save himself and the girls before this sasquatch claims them all?!
This movie has some star power in it. Rex Linn, Lance Henriksen, Matt McCoy, Paul Gleason, scream queen Tiffany Shepis, and Herbert West himself, fucking Jeffrey Combs! The film poster/cover was done by Drew Struzan who you might know from doing the Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Harry Potter movie posters. It's just an odd collection of who's who.
As for the Abominable as a film, I have an oddly specific way to describe it. It made me think of being a teenager in the 90's and being stuck inside on a rainy Saturday afternoon. This is the kind of movie that I would end up watching on the USA Network at like 2p during those kind of days. It's a B-movie with a little bit of budget and clout. The practical effects and the monster all look great and the acting is solid as a rock. My only complaint is a small one and that's in the beginning when the farmer couple goes to check a noise they assume is coyotes there's a shot of the wife shining a flashlight in the tree tops. What fucking flying coyotes are you looking for?!
This release has a great set of extras. We have the "making of" I mentioned above, some deleted scenes, and a short blooper reel. There are also two short films added on. The first being a student film Chris did entitled Shadows which, let's be honest is capital "S" Student film.
The other short though is what makes all of these already great extras even better. The second is an adaptation of a comic book I never heard before named The Adventures of Basil and Moebius. What starts off seeming as a heist at a private high-roller apartment casino turns supernatural as fuck quick. With Ray Park (Darth Maul) as one of the leads, Malcolm McDowell in a crime boss roll, Kane Hodder playing a goon and a monster, and a monkey fighting with a straight razor, you're in for a good time!
If you like cheesy monster movies then this set is a must. Amazon currently has this set around $20 so if you click on the link there then you can pick it up and also help out the site because we are part of Amazon Associates and any money from that goes into paying our domain name fees and energy drinks.
Thanks again to MVD for sending us this disc for review. If you have a horror film or book release that you would like us to review, or you just want to say "hi," you can reach us at email@example.com.
Friday, July 20, 2018
|Meth, not even twice!|
Set in Northern California, a group of youths are heading out on a camping trip in the area of Willits. They acquire a burnt out Rory Culkin from a gas station and find themselves set up not far from a cabin with a grow operation. Unluckily for them, it also contains two people that have such chemical filled brains that one believes he was abducted by aliens and he assumes almost anyone he sees is one of them returning for him.
Once you realize the true horror here is chemical dependency and abuse this film isn't really that great. I was on board when the party added Mr. Culkin, and even the over the top cop TV show (starring Dolph Lundgren) they kept showing would break things up in a fun way, but I don't know if Welcome to Willits was trying to be funny or scary or what?
This feels like the kind of movie that someone in middle school would be into, only to reach adulthood and deny that they ever liked it. This film is to that person as Coal Chamber is to me. Only I'm in my 30's and you can't prove I ever owned any Coal Chamber merch or CDs as all of that evidence has been disposed of... I mean, if there ever was any evidence, which there never was!
I give Welcome to Willits 1 copy of My Sexy Alien Girlfriend out of 5:
Thursday, July 19, 2018
I know nothing about the war for Mexican independence, so I can only take this film as documentarian fact! With that in mind, here's my sum up of how Mexico won its independence: Sisters that use ancient magick killed the Spanish with zombies of their own men. They then used the treasure of gigantic coins that are the size of my head to establish a government and make a rad flag with an eagle giving no fucks as it sits on a cactus and devours a snake. I someday dream we will have a flag that cool. Way to lame it out, Betsy Ross!
I gave a bunch away there, but Ladronas de Almas takes place on a villa in Mexico. A group of shady men claiming to be rebels roll up and ask for shelter when in truth they're looking for the lost treasure that was carried by missing Spanish soldiers. When men start vanishing these "rebels" show their true colors only to have to fight off some pretty badass sisters and zombies of dead generals.
This film is a series of peaks and valleys for me. The overall story was interesting enough to keep me present in the film, but there is an over abundance of time spent focusing on the faux rebels. I would have liked to have seen a bit more about the sisters and their magick practice. Maybe they were playing it safe so that when the intensity of the sisters is revealed it hits harder, in which case I have no room to complain because they come out swinging when the turn happens.
The zombies in this film are a good mix of the Haitian vodou zombie and the standard horror film zombie. We have a creature that maintains some sense of identity and reasoning all while being a reanimated corpse. You don't see a zombie throwing counters and blocks too often on celluloid so it was a good switch-up. All in all, if you're tired of the zombie wave that crashed long ago, then this isn't for you. If you want something a little bit different, and don't mind subtitles, give this a shot.
I give Ladronas de Almas 2.5 maps of Mexico out of 5:
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
War is a horror unto itself. The entire concept seems so foreign to a lot of us because we never served in the military and the last real war or battle fought on U.S. soil was the Civil War (with the exception of maybe Pearl Harbor). Yet there are countries that are at war or face some form of occupation currently and their daily lives are horror, or have been horror. PTSD, a lack of people able to trust individuals, or just the existence of misanthropy and entropy when it comes to life... it's a horror that we hope to never see.
The Maus takes us to post-war Bosnia (although this film is from Spain). A woman and her German boyfriend returned to the country because the bodies of her parents were finally found in a mass grave and she wanted to give them a proper burial. While en route to their flight the SUV ends up in a mine crater and unable to continue. Two Serbs come up behind our couple while they walk on the path to get help. Ignoring the warning the Serbs are yelling about danger ahead, the couple's dog sets off a land mine and the woman is caught in the blast. This is where we get our first dream sequence which may be more of a premonition of dangers to come.
There's a supernatural horror element in The Maus that becomes the focus for a short time. It's mostly used as a deus ex machina but I wish it didn't exist at all. There is a much more visceral horror present here with the constant questioning of trust and safety, prejudice existing from growing up in a war torn area, and the dream sequences which create these incredibly uncomfortable feelings within the viewer. I think that this film makes those moments much more frightening than a supernatural being ever could.
I do have to nitpick a few things, just because they bugged me and killed my immersion in the film. First, when the couple is walking they come across a jeep and the boyfriend finds a walkie talkie in the bag, all the while completely ignoring the gigantic CB antenna on the top of the jeep! Use that to call for help you dolt! Second, when we finally see the demon it looks like Gray Fox from Metal Gear Solid, just in earth tones. It's not a bad design, but it made me more hyped for Metal Gear at that moment than this film.
All in all The Maus isn't bad, but I don't feel like it falls under horror. Yes, I've spent most of this talking about real life physical and personal psychological horror but if I had to classify it in horror I'd say it's a dramatic horror film. That feels awkward to say though as drama and horror don't tend to overlap but this isn't a thriller. The real villain here is just humanity being opportunistic and shitty.
I give The Maus 3 MGS Gray Foxes out of 5:
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
I don't think Edgar Allan Poe will ever go out of style with horror fans, or goth people. Especially teenage goths. I wasn't even goth and I read a bunch of Poe in middle school. I think that was much more of one of those "I don't feel like I really fit in" times and thus I went for what I learned from TV. This was also when the AOL was just starting, so it's not like I had access to Poppy Z. Brite info or knew who the fuck Bauhaus were, but that's enough about me! Let's talk about...
Extraordinary Tales is an animated collection of five different works by Poe. The first is The Fall of the House of Usher that's done in a style that I can only describe as a cut scene in an indie game. Follow that with The Tell Tale Heart resembling the black and white Frank Miller comic Sin City. Up third is The Facts in the Case of Dr. M. Valdemar which looks like it's taken straight from the pages of EC horror comics. Next on deck is The Pit and the Pendulum which reminds me of the 2000's Prince of Persia games. Finally, on clean-up is The Masque of the Red Death which is a combination of pastel or oil art mixed with computer animation.
I'm 100% recommending this film. Not only is each one linked with extra animated scenes, but you have the voice talents of Christopher Lee, Guillermo del Toro, and a recording of Bela Lugosi running narration. The highlight of this collection would have to be The Masque of the Red Death where it's told almost entirely with visuals. I am giving an additional shout out to The Facts in the Case... because they drew Mr. Carmichael as Vincent Price, which is a holler back to 1962's Tales of Terror where Vincent Price played Valdemar. It's a hell of a reference pull that only a few might get and I have to give extra props for that.
I give Extraordinary Tales 5 weird caricatures of Poe from some iTunes playlist out of 5:
Monday, July 16, 2018
The title of this is kind of misleading. The boys don't really "love" Mandy Lane, but that sounds better than "All the Boys Think With Their Dicks and Objectify Mandy Lane As Some Sort of Reverse Sword in the Stone, Where the Swords are their Dicks and the Stone Is Her Lady Parts." Fuckin' teenage boys are gross. I feel shame that I was ever a teenage male, and I don't even like women! They have cooties!
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane focuses around (surprise surprise) Mandy Lane! When her best friend (at the time) convinces the biggest of jocks that to woo Mandy he must drunkenly jump from the roof of his house into the pool, things don't quite work out that way. One massive head trauma and a year later finds their friendship a thing of the past, and Mandy's current friends are inviting her to a farmhouse for a end of junior year party. En route to the party, every male that isn't around Mandy at the time makes their intention known that they want to attempt to parade their dick through her thorofare. At least, those are the plans until people start dying.
Straight up (now tell me) this movie is awful. It's filler in the sense that (I assume) this studio had space to crap something out and we got this. If this film were a bit older it would've been straight to VHS with a cover that would be a million times cooler than this movie could ever hope to be. The plot is incredibly generic and predictable. It's a b-movie with a budget and because of that it suffers the fate of looking nice while suffering greatly on content.
Most of these actors look like if they showed up for a high school junior class then the cops would be called on them. What's even worse is that at the party in the beginning of the film, for the end of the sophomore year, the jock guy looks like he's someone's fucking dad! This movie should be called "Hello, Child Protective Services? A group of adults are creeping in our high school and all the men seem like they're potential rapists!" Fuckin' trash flavored trash!
I give All the Boys Love Mandy Lane 0 Mandy Ln street signs out of 5:
Saturday, July 14, 2018
While this is a sequel to the original Wes Craven (yes, Wes fucking Craven) film, The Return of Swamp thing moves away from its horror foundation and well into the realm of camp. It toes that line of crossing over into Troma-esq territory but luckily there are some amazing costumes and make-up for all of the un-men as well as Swamp Thing and no gratuitous boobs. Don't get me wrong, Arcane does have a lot of one-piece bikini clad women with guns guarding his house, but I guess that's what you did in the swamps back then? I don't know, I can't justify it.
The plot is pretty simple: Arcane is trying to find a way to live forever and create Dr. Moreau style un-men. Swamp Thing wants to stop him. Heather Locklear comes to visit her step-father (Arcane) and speak mostly in terrible jokes. Yet, when you bring all of this together it makes a fun film. My only complaint are the scenes with the children which were actually added to the script by the director after the script was finished. They do break up the flow of the film a bit. Also, the weird psychic sex scene between Swamp Thing and Heather is really awkward to be privy to.
The extras on this disc are relatively standard. You have your commentary tracks as well as interviews with the director, producer, editor, and score composer. Unfortunately Swamp Thing's Dick Durock passed away a few years ago so he wasn't able to add anything to this disc. The big thing in the extra are the two TV spots that I absolutely forgot existed. These are anti-littering ads where the two boys from the film mumble through something about a cup floating in the swamp and Swamp Thing comes out, talks about how long it takes plastic to break down, and then thumbs up. The second is a shorter version of the first (since the first is close to two minutes long) but they are both art in their own floundering way.
So that's The Return of Swamp Thing 2-Disc set from MVD. I say thank you again to MVD for re-releasing this as I forgot about my love for the TV show this film spawned. If you're a fan of campy Kaiju Big Battle-esq films then pick this one up! You can get pick it up from Amazon right now for about $20 and if you click that link and order from it then you'll help out this site as well.
Friday, July 13, 2018
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! If there's one thing I love it's over the top Japanese horror. It's strange then that this film comes to us from Argentina because if you switched out the Spanish for Japanese then I would have assumed this was 100% Japan A-Number-One! Most of my notes for this movie start with "HOLY FUCK" or "OH SHIT" and then end in exclamation points, so let's get into it.
Daemonium: Soldier of the Underworld is a mix of the supernatural and modern-apocalyptic cyberpunk. That's a lot to take in, but trust me, that's the only way I can describe it. A wizard is hired by some military operation to summon a demon in order to make a trade for power. The wizard does it but the leader of the group chose not to follow the instructions he was given. This leads to the demon (looking like a mix between Mumra and the offspring of Darth Maul and a sand person) killing almost everyone, but making a deal with one survivor named Razor. Razor becomes a powerful man but has four bodyguards created in order to protect him from the return of the Demon to collect Razor's life. The wizard is being hunted, Razor is a military tyrant, and demons are controlled by humans with sick shit like gatling guns for arms.
This movie has everything! Great make-up so that each of the demons on screen is different, katana fights, Japanese rope bondage, school girl outfits, and a final fight straight out of a manga with rad dive kicks and Ora! Ora! Ora! punches! The costuming varies from Shadowrun to Colonial America and everything in between. I've never had two hours fly by as fast as they did with this film and I would've wasted another hour taking everything this film had to give.
The plot is a bit of a loose thread. It could easily unravel the whole thing but luckily no one pulls on it so we still get a cohesive story. Besides, when you're watching people explode and sick fight scenes then it doesn't matter!
I give Daemonium: Soldier of the Underworld 5 Gendo Ikari's out of 5:
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Congratulations to Serbia for finally making it our list of foreign films! I don't know how it made its way to Netflix though. I tried to go to the primary production company's website and my browser refused to let me go because it was an "unsecure" page. Not that it matters that much since there are about 15 production groups associated with this film, but based on what we get, they could've given them $5 and some Subway coupons and made it in the credits...
The Rift starts out with a Liz, a mother that is in mourning for her young son. The government doesn't care bout her loss and instead blows up her cell to say she has a mission. Enter agent Smith, Liz's new partner. After Liz and Smith meet they pick up two other people and head to the countryside to find a lost and crashed satellite. Following the signal to a remote house this rag-tag group of jags end up finding an astronaut, but more importantly they find that those killed on that land will not stay dead.
The question this film left me with is why did Liz get called? She tells us that her background is as a hacker that was arrested for hacking the NSA. So if that's her specialization, why was she tapped to go find this astronaut under the lie of it being a satellite? I don't think that in either case she'd be able to help.
It's an odd comparison, but The Rift reminded me a lot of Cube. There is this sense of being trapped (as most of the film takes place at or in the house) all while avoiding death suddenly popping up. At the same time, you have a character begin to lose his mind and attempt to pick people off in order to survive. I wasn't a big fan of Cube so The Rift doesn't fair much better.
The Rift is just average when it comes to quality. The end credit scene was the only thing that managed to capture my interest and I wish I had a movie focusing just on that concept rather than what we got.
I give The Rift 2 copies of The Killers "Spaceman" single out of 5:
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
My very first note for this film is "Yassssssss queen! Robert Englund!" I don't know why I get so hyped when he is in a film. He's a good actor, he played one of the greatest slashers ever, but I feel like most of his roles could be anyone else and it would be just as fine... except Dance of the Dead. I fucking love him in that film, no matter how short his screen time is.
Nightworld is the most "I hung out on Creepypast.org and then wrote a script," film that's come across my screen in a while. A man goes to Russia for a simple watchman job. He's told that each of the apartments are occupied (they're not) but his main duties are to lock the gates at 11p and spend most of his day watching camera monitors set up in an underground hanger. If anything ever happens on those cameras, he is to call Robert Englund. He is the previous watchman that eventually went blind. After a bunch of whatever and nothing, something happens and then we find out that the hanger has a door that is one of the seven seals between the living and the dead. If the door's guardian (an old man on machines in the attic) dies then the door could be opened and the dead could return.
This movie was boring. I said that this is like a creepy pasta but it's a shitty creepy pasta. As things were getting revealed I would exclaim "Of fucking course!" because you knew something like that was going to come up. A random love story is thrown into the mix, which I assume is just to add an extra character for the final confrontation. The character development is incredibly weak. Robert just lost his eyesight due to age, our main character is there because his wife died, the love interest is there because she works at the cafe. That's it! There's no meat here to dig my teeth into, just bones.
I give Nightworld 0 blind Robert Englunds out of 5:
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Yes! Back-to-back movies about sleep during my insomnia period! I feel like Netflix is either pulling one of those "well, have you tried falling asleep" moments or, inversely, is trying to point out all the horrible things that can happen when one sleeps. Either way, you are not helpful nor are you a doctor Netflix, so get off my sleep dick!
A long time ago I covered a documentary about Old Hag Syndrome/sleep paralysis called The Nightmare. If you aren't familiar with Old Hag Syndrome it takes its name from an antiquated belief that if you had sleep paralysis then it was an old witch that was sitting on your chest and preventing you from moving. This is our focus with Dead Awake. Kate (or Beth, I forget as the same woman plays both of them) wakes up at night with the feeling that something is watching her and keeping her from moving. After a weird birthday party where a woman literally stops the music to gossip about her husband that is in the room, Kate has a freak out where she shares a bit about her experiences. Beth kind of believes her and after Kate dies in her sleep Beth begins to have the same experiences. When Lori Petty is unable to give her answers she seeks out some semi-new age weirdo that claims he can help and tried to help her sister before Take Girl told her to avoid him.
Up front this movie gets very Nightmare on Elm Street, but not so much that it kills it. What kills it is that Dead Awake is kind of boring. Don't get me wrong, there are some scenes in this film that did it justice but not enough to create a comfortable set of peaks and valleys. For example, the creature doing a Ring crawl up the hallway to the bed or the spider falling from the ceiling to land on Kate's open eyeball were each squirm worthy in their own way. Yet these are two moments in what is endless research and Lori Petty not driving a tank and chugging a beer to fight this thing. Sorry, but I fucking love Tank Girl.
I give Dead Awake 2 copies of Tank Girl out of 5:
Monday, July 9, 2018
I've been having some serious issues with insomnia lately, so getting a film that revolves around sleeping is partially infuriating and partially calming. The former because I'm jealous, but latter because at least I don't have to deal with the crap that they put up with in this film!
Before I Wake has our picturesque couple of Mark and Jessie. They lost their son due to an accident and decided to adopt a boy that is around that age. Enter Cody, an adorable boy that likes butterflies, has a shoe box full of caffeine pills, and comes with some serious emotional baggage. You see, when Cody sleeps, his dreams become real, but so do his nightmares...
When I started watching this I was expecting it to fall into the void of generic book club-esq horror. Where it had a scare element but the script was very cookie cutter. Luckily, as I progressed through my viewing those fears fell by the wayside because everything leads up to a really well thought out explanation. It also avoids having this happy ending. Instead it takes what we have left and leaves us with a realistic (or at least as realistic as a movie with a dream child in it) "we'll make the best of this" ending.
I will say that Before I Wake does have some lulls in its story progressing and our first view of the nightmare creature had me making jokes about the alien from Signs haunting this kid, but all in all this is a solid film. Child actors are also a coin flip if you're going to have a solid one or not and the kid that plays Cody definitely pulls his weight. Watch this with your partner on the couch in the dark and you'll probably both enjoy it. That is unless your baseline for horror is something like that Texas Chainsaw movie with Renee Zellweger.
I give Before I Wake 3.5 Signs aliens out of 5:
Saturday, July 7, 2018
The year 1973 brought us many things. Off the top of my head I can't think of any, but it did give us Godmonster of Indian Flats. A local sheep herder has his casino winnings stolen by a questionable group of people. He returns to his flock only to have some sort of UFO experience. The next morning brings us an external hybrid sheep embryo blob thing. Luckily, this dirt town has a scientist can take it to his lab in hopes of finding out what the hell it is. Now forget this monster even exists until the third act because the real story is that a black man comes to the town in an attempt to buy it up for a development company. Sadly, the entire town is full of racist scammers that pull some serious shit on him so he ends up in jail and then almost lynched. The monster, now full grown and looking like a shitty Snuffleupagus, brings hell to the town... for like five minutes. Then the ending becomes as equally confusing as the rest of it.
This movie screams MST3K. Get your friends together and feel free to riff on this as much as you want because it's full of material. For example:
- a dog funeral
- a crash mat made out of a mattress and empty PBR cases
- awkward attempts at 70's psychedelic film making
- the line "I've been following you all the way from the glory hole!"
The transfer quality is crystal clear as well so you'll be sure to see all this on your screen.
But wait! We're not done! Let's talk about the extras on the disc, thanks to Something Weird.
You get an entire extra film entitled The Legend of Big Foot (1975) where you follow a man on his narrated journey in search of Big Foot. Despite his claims of having video evidence of the creature (which we're also told were discredited) we don't see any real footage of Big Foot. It's a insane journey full of moose fights, squirrels getting hit by jeeps, native people, and shots of bears. I felt changed as a man after it was over because I had no clue what the hell just happened.
Next, you are given three short films. The first is Dr. Frank E. Strange's Strange Sightings from 1964. This is meant to be a true story about a man that was labeled by the courts as a "UFO Eccentric." Supposedly his lawyer wanted to know more so we get a very staged scene where they talk about why UFO's are probably real. We're treated to various interviews with random college kids about if they believe and then an interview with someone that claims they were taken on a UFO multiple times. The climax of this short is an interview with the founder of The Aetherius Society which is a spiritual organization where he claims to communicate with aliens. It's amazing!
The second short film is a safety film entitled Just In Case: Suppression of School Bus Fires. Here are the things I learned from it:
- Middle school kids have zippos and bowie knives
- All vehicles in the 70's where explosive death traps, especially school buses since we're given about a dozen ways they might just catch fire
- It wasn't just my school bus that used to have a cardboard box in the front for trash
- The guy that takes the help instructions from the kids, drives 10 feet and then tears it up and throws it out the window while they watch is my fucking hero. I haven't laughed that hard at something in ages.
The final short is entitled White Gorilla and contains questionable racism and even more questionable accents. A group of assorted Europeans are tracking a white gorilla in the Congo. They build a super camp overnight but the gorilla ends up stealing the only female in their group. It's stopped by a regular gorilla that comes out and they fight with trees for about ten minutes. White gorilla wins, he's shot somewhere that just makes him fall on his side, and then he's captured. Mission accomplished and film over! Before you ask, yes, it's a man in a gorilla suit with a plastic mask.
That's it! That's the mass of the Godmonster of Indian Flats Blu-Ray! Thanks again to AGFA and Something Weird for collecting such strange and wondrous this on a digital format for the ages! Also, thanks again to them for hooking us up with a copy of this! This will be released on July 10, 2018 so if you want a copy you can head over to the AGFA or Amazon to bring this joy into your home!
Friday, July 6, 2018
All this time and metal got it wrong. Satan doesn't like super fast riffs or growling vocals coming from someone in corpse paint, he just wants a single drop-D chord played in the most boring manner over and over. That, and apparently child murder, which I didn't sign up for when I started listening to Gorgoroth.
The Devil's Candy might be one of the most metal horror movies I've ever watched. A small family move into a cheap farmhouse where two old people were killed by their son (which I thought was Kyle Gass for part of this film, but isn't). The father is a painter and a semi-serious metal head. After moving into the house, the father begins to hear strange music from the walls and has moments where he blacks out while painting only to come to and see he's created some of the sickest shit ever put on a canvas. Connected to the murderous son, the father and family are now faced with something straight out of some Dark Throne lyrics.
As a whole, The Devil's Candy is a total package for a horror film. We have solid and down-to-earth characters being wrapped up in this supernatural element and having to fight back against that. They do too. Holy fuck do they and we get a rad final death. It's so rad that I almost stopped typing to throw up the horns so you know it's metal as fuck!
My favorite thing in The Devil's Candy is the art gallery where the father is trying to get shown is named Belial. Belial is a fallen angel that is said to have been created after Lucifer and is possibly the first angel to fall to Earth during the angelic revolt. The owner of the gallery talks of being "represented by Belial" and having to "sacrifice," basically in order to gain material wealth. I thought it was a good touch.
I give The Devil's Candy 5 Emperor albums out of 5:
Thursday, July 5, 2018
I don't have a child, but if this film has taught me anything it's that before I ever let said imaginary future child to go camping with me or someone else then I'm going to make them watch both Predator and First Blood just so they're prepared for anything! You need to hide from something trying to kill you? Cover yourself in mud and let all the rad traps you set take that mother fucker out! I don't care if you're five! Protect your neck, non-binary imaginary child!
Desolation is a journey of letting go. A mother and son go hiking in the mountains in order to spread the ashes of their recently deceased husband/father. Armed with bear mace and a family friend, they begin to be stalked by woodland Rob Zombie for an undefined reason. After the friend is stolen in the night the mom and son combo realize they have to escape before they're forced to listen to Living Dead Girl until they die.
I don't know what to classify this movie as. It feels like it would be a terrible home invasion film if this took place in a house, so Forest Invasion? Woodland Survival Horror? Scout Horror? Woods of 1000 Corpses? Okay, that was the last one. While there is this whole plot of the stranger hunting them the real plot of this film is that the son just wants to be recognized as being a teenager, and thus no longer a child. You feel for the mother, having lost her husband and thus wanting to protect her son but you can't be emotionally dismissive or else he's going to learn to resent you! Go to therapy! With that in mind, the boy does prove to his mother that he is now more man than child and eventually bludgeons Rob Zombies head to pieces with a rock. I get it, you're working through some shit as well kid, but damn... you need to go to therapy too.
I give Desolation 2 copies of Hellbilly Deluxe out of 5:
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
I'm not sure about you, but any time I dare to enter a Wal-Mart I head straight to the DVD section just to check out the cheap shit. Over the last six months or so I've seen copies of today's movie staring at me from the shelves. I hadn't heard of it, never even bothered to pick it up and read the back, but I still felt strangely drawn to it. Luckily it has shown up on Netflix recently and the dice were on my side when I rolled.
The Boy starts with Gretta, a woman attempting to put her life together after an abusive relationship. She takes a short-term yet high paying nanny position away from home. Upon arrival to the grand estate, Gretta is greeted by the parents and a life size porcelain doll, their son, Brahms. Given a strict schedule to follow, our nanny is expected to wake up, dress, feed, and provide lessons to the doll while the parents are away on holiday. Gretta instantly chalks this up as insane and shirks her duties until strange things begin to happen in relation to Brahms.
I'm jumping right in and saying this film has one of the best reveals I've seen in a long time. Through the course of this entire movie we are left wondering if the doll is haunted. Hearing disembodied footsteps, a child's voice, shadows moving under closed doors, and the doll ending up in places where it was not left. So when the explanation comes blasting out of nowhere I popped hard for it. One of the hypest moments I've had watching a recent horror film.
Alas, I do have a complaint, and that is that despite this amazing moment, I'm left the same way I felt after watching High Tension. Now that I know where the rabbit hole goes, I have no reason to go back and watch this again on my own. It was still a great movie, but ignorance is bliss when it comes to these types of horror films. You want to be scared by the unknown. Think of how boring Scooby Doo would be if Velma just walked up to the person from the start and said "It's this scumbag!"
I give The Boy 3.5 supposedly haunted dolls out of 5:
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
I don't know about you, but if I were an alien planning some sort of invasion I don't think that I would start in a small UK town. The idea of starting low key in a suburb is good; less people to notice, easy to take over an area quickly, etc. I just don't feel like picking somewhere on a large island would work out well in the long run. Unless it was Australia and then you learned to weaponize the hellscape of fauna that exist there. You know, this is all if I were planning an alien invasion...
Hungerford is set in the UK, where a film student decides to film every aspect of his life for an entire week. It just so happens that this week is the one where a parasitic alien race decided to start invading the Earth via his small town. Armed with cans of deodorant, an axe, and a camera, our film student and his flat mates all set out to secure a love interest while attempting to fend off these alien brain slugs.
This movie felt like it was a really long trailer for a video game. The ending came and I felt like I needed to pick up my PS4 controller to help them fight off the invading hoard. With that in mind, Hungerford does toe that Shaun of the Dead line. It just lacks the humor and charm that Shaun has. I think they realized this too during filming because there is a mention of Shaun of the Dead by name.
Hungerford is a bit slow and we're given a lot of shaky cam footage which gives us zero visual content. Otherwise, Hungerford is pretty solid. By the end, it satisfied me enough to be pleased but left me open to wanting more. I doubt that sequel will ever come, but I'll throw in a few bucks to a Kickstarter or whatever if they announce it.
I do want to address that this movie sent me down a huge personal research spiral because I couldn't remember what movie, TV show, book, comic, or video game had a similar type of alien. Something that was invisible until the connection was broken, slug-like, and controlled the host through the back of the neck. The closest I found was 1994's The Puppet Masters but that's not what I'm thinking of. For some reason I keep thinking it might be in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that feels wrong too. So if anyone knows what I might be thinking of (as that's not vague at all) please hit me up on Twitter @30daysofplight or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org because it's driving me insane!
I give Hungerford 3 Eldritch Parasite MTG cards out of 5:
Monday, July 2, 2018
A few years back I used to work at a witchcraft store here in New Orleans. People had no problem picking up statues of Goetic demons or objects meant to curse, but the moment they saw a spirit board/Ouija board they refused to touch it. It's amazing how fearful people have become of press board with a decal on it and a plastic planchette. I mention this because today's film is loosely based on a woman named Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro that supposedly ran afoul of a spirit board and it lead to her death. To this day it's Spain's only officially documented police record with a focus on supernatural and the unexplained. You can find all that info online so I won't go into it. What I will go into is our review!!
Veronica is a Spanish film where our title character and her two friends attempt to hold a seance during an eclipse with hopes of contacting passed loved ones. They make contact with something but in the process it seems that the spirit has latched itself to Veronica. She and her siblings become threatened by the spirit, shadow people roam the house, and strange stains begin to appear on under their beds. Not even the blind nun nicknamed Sister Death can help Veronica as she is told her only hope is to be able to outrun the entity surrounding her.
I've noticed that the more horror films I watch for this website, the more grizzled I become. My skin is much thicker than it was say 10 years ago. With that in mind, I think the younger version of myself would've been way more into this movie than I was. There are some really decent visual effects involving hands coming out of the bed and grabbing people and shadows moving inside of the apartment. I liked the overall story telling, it's supernatural gonzo-fiction but that's what makes it a movie and not a documentary. My only complaint (once again) is this weird mix of magickal practices contained inside of the literature that accompanies the board. I know, it's not meant to be some sort of "official" anything and is just this weird hodgepodge of info, but I'm pushing a pair of glasses up the bridge of my nose and scoffing like a douche at it.
I give Veronica 2.5 haunted paintings out of 5: