New trailers just dropped for movies being released next year. Later I’ll post a full list of my most hotly anticipated movies and series for next year.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
I found myself really excited by this video. I checked out of the Transformers franchise after the first two films because they just became increasingly awful to watch. Michael Bay was definitely getting on my nerves, but the franchise regained my attention with Bumblebee, consequently, that’s now my favorite character.
Admittedly, I was not there for the Beast Wars saga, so I don’t know much about it, because I was elsewhere doing other things. I heard about it, though. I know only a handful of characters in this movie (Mirage and Optimus Primal) but not who else. Still, the nostalgia factor is pretty big with this one and it was really nice to see so many grown-ass men being childishly excited about this movie on YouTube! The trailer looks really good. Hopefully, the creators can keep the momentum they began with Bumblebee. Will I go see it in the theater? Idk. It depends on what else is being released that month because June is a lot!
Yeah, Optimus Primal is being voiced by none other than Ron Perlman.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
This movie’s nostalgia factor hit me pretty hard. I probably will not go see this movie, not because I don’t love Indy but because there are three other movies coming out in June I want to see, and this one falls low on that list. I do not have limitless movie theater money, so Indie, I’m afraid, is going to lose. Sorry Indy, I will wait for it to reach streaming services.
This looks really exciting though and if you guys go see it, write something down, tell us all about it.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3
I’m really looking forward to this movie. I enjoyed the last move and the holiday special a lot, and I like spending time with this group of goofballs. There’s not really a nostalgia factor here but it will be interesting to get rocket’s backstory, and it’s nice to see Gamora (or at least an alternate-universe version of her) again. I’m still not a fan of Chris Pratt (he is after all the least likable Chris) but his acting isn’t bad, and he’s not so awful I cannot tolerate him in a film with a bunch of other great and funny characters.
I really, really, liked this trailer which is a great introduction to this world and its rules. I’m not really into the forbidden romance angle of the story, but I do like the easy Jazz music of the teaser. Everyone who saw this trailer was quick to point out how she is the only Elemental on the train who is made of fire and noting the different interactions between the Elementals. So the creators have already set up how these characters interact, have both negative and positive effects on each other’s existences, and why the fire elementals might not be included. I’m probably not going to the theater to see this one though because…Summer.
This is one of those ridiculous comedies that get released every few years. This one is about a bear that gets high on a stash of cocaine that some criminals lose in the woods, and I’m not going to see this but Hey, if this is your bag, go for it!
I’m gonna be honest, while I’m “mildly” excited to watch this, I don’t know that I’d shell out the money to go see this movie in a theater. Due to family issues beyond my control, I would have to watch this alone. Some movies are good for watching alone, but this one isn’t. It looks like a lot of weird fun that you share with your buddies.
I’m mostly interested in seeing Jonathan Majors’ giant screen breakthrough because I really really like him, I’ve heard that the character he’s portraying, Kang the Conqueror, is a huge Billy Bad Ass in the Marvel Universe, and because this movie kicks off one of the multiple plot threads of this new phase of the MCU, The MultiversalWar. Each movie after this one will be a piece of that story introducing us to alternate universes and other realms of consciousness and existence, like the Quantum universe in this movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2.5: Christmas Special
This movie looks like so much fun. Unlike the many fanboys who insist on complaining about the direction of the MCU, it seems that I actually do have a sense of humor. I love the MCU comedies, and I do not understand why all the MCU movies must be dark and deadly serious all the time in order to be taken seriously. I love the direction in which Thor was taken. I thought it was great fun and definitely better than the emotional slog that was Thor 2. Sometimes you don’t need or want great cinema, you just want the creators to lean into the craziness of whatever you’re watching.
Guardians of the Galaxy has been something of a comedy from the beginning, mostly because of the nature of the characters, and that last movie and this new one just sort of lean into it a little bit more. I’m looking forward to this one more than the Antman sequel because I really like spending time with all these deeply funny goofy people, and I’m glad that the creators and writers are just fearlessly leaning into the sheer batshittery of this part of the universe, because C’mon! Really!
I’m just coming off the finale of the Interview With the Vampire series which I’m going to have to talk about at some point because Wow! so, I’m really in a good place mentally to feel excited about seeing more Black men in wigs and stockings! It’s one thing to see Black and Indian women doing the whole ballgown movie thing, but we don’t often get to see Black men in these roles unless it involves Shakespeare or playing a servant.
I love the look of this film, and there’s the added attraction of it being based on a true story, that of a French Caribbean composer named Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Joseph Bologne. I’m a sucker for beautiful costumes, beautiful music, and sword fighting, and you throw in some Black people and I’m in, I guess!
John Wick 4
I just had the most interesting discussion about this movie with my co-worker, who said she had a real problem suspending her disbelief while watching these movies and kept getting pulled out of the film. I told her I didn’t have that problem because it never even occurred to me what I saw as taking place in a world like this one with the same political and systemic setup. I had always viewed this franchise as taking place in some kind of fantasy alternate universe, where you can just be riding through the streets of downtown New York with swords and guns and not one person would blink an eye at it.
This is what I mean when I say that whatever your mindset is when you start to watch a movie will probably determine how you’ll feel after having seen it. Anyway, this looks great and I’m eager to sit down in a theater with some popcorn and enjoy two hours of sheer Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, and Hiroyuki Sanada mayhem!
This looks like such wild and crazy fun that I just have to see this. This is definitely one of those movies that you can go see by yourself at the theater. I don’t know that I’ll do that but it’s an option. It looks like a Christmas version of a John Wick movie except it’s Santa Claus using magic and probably some guns which I know all of you must be excited about as well.
Still don’t know what to make of this but I will not have to go to the movie theater to see it. I can just watch this, whatever this is, at home on Netflix. I like most of the actors here and quite frankly I was going to watch any movie that starred Dave Bautista, Janelle Monae, and Daniel Craig because these are not actors’ names that one tends to think of as being together. This also looks to be more comedic than the first film, which I didn’t think was especially funny, but apparently, that’s just a me thing.
For some reason, I’ve been watching a lot of comedy mysteries this year. I just came off the Hercule Poirot movies, The Orient Express, and Death on the Nile, and I will probably be watching See How They Run this weekend. I don’t normally gravitate to period mysteries. I’m not opposed to them or dislike them or anything. They’re just not the sort of movies I tend to gravitate to, so when I get the urge to do so, I flow with it.
Maybe I’ll Watch These
Bones and All
I’m not sure I’m in the mood to watch anything dealing with cannibals but I’m willing to watch this if it’s streaming. If it’s in the theater then it’s out of luck. I’m not spending a bunch of money to see this, although it seems intriguing.
Yeah, this is a movie that’s just going to be watched via streaming only. This is not the kind of movie I would ever watch in a theater. I mean, Kung Fu movies are meant to be watched in the house, with popcorn and a remote.
Warriors of the Future
Fortunately, this is a Netflix jam so I don’t have to spend money on my curiosity about it. Okay, it really doesn’t seem like it’s a lot of fun, in the sense that it’s intentionally funny, but it does look thrilling and action-packed, so I guess that’s a kind of fun.
And Movies I’m Not Watching
I didn’t care too much for the White Saviorism of the first movie. In fact, I found that movie infuriating in a way that I didn’t for movies like The Last Samurai, or Dances with Wolves. I’m not arguing about how beautiful it is but I think I’m gonna wait to watch this next year on some streaming service. Since my niece and nephew aren’t going to be with me, and this is really the kind of movie one watches with a group of people, I’m unlikely to see it in a theater anyway.
I do not have any particular need or desire to spend money to see this. Plus this looks like one of those movies where there’s going to be a lot of crying. I’m really glad Brendan Frasier has made this return to making movies. I missed him, and this actually looks alright, but I’ll catch this on streaming.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
I’m not going to sully my memories of Whitney Houston with a biopic. I just can’t do it.
This movie is probably going to blow up once it comes out becomes it looks unintentionally hilarious and there are already a bunch of memes about it! I’m not paying money to watch what is essentially a killer-doll movie, but I’ll go see it my sister pays for my ticket because this seems like the kind of thing she’d attach herself to.
I still do not understand after all these killer doll movies why anyone would ever build life-size killer robots that look virtually indistinguishable from an actual person. I don’t understand the plots of movies like Bladerunner and stuff where that kind of thing happens. Why would human beings still be doing that? Have we learned nothing?!!! On the other hand, this could just be an American thing because the Japanese build life-size robots all the time and they don’t ever seem to have this problem with the robots trying to merc people.
There are some genuinely terrifying SCPs that match closely to the folklore of this universe. Just be glad that for those of us who exist in this world these are just stories. Or are they? I cannot imagine what it’s like to live in a world where all these things actually exist for real. Since most of these are considered t obe myths and stories, perhaps we do live in a universe full of anomalous entities and monsters, and the SCP Foundation, much like the Men in Black, exists to ensure that we either don’t believe in it or don’t know about it!
SCP 993: Bobble the Clown
Clowns are a classic phobia and the SCP has several from which you can choose to be terrified. Bobble is one of the worst ones. Coulrophobia is the intense fear of clowns which can seriously impact one’s behavior and lifestyle. In this case, Bobble (SCP 993-1) affects the lives of children in an entirely different way, providing a very good reason why clowns are not to be trusted. He was the host of a short-lived children’s television show which aired in the late 80s, called Bobble the Clown, which is referred to as SCP 993. The show is classified as Safe because it is well-contained. All airings of the show are blocked from public viewing and any children tasked with watching it (for experimental purposes) are given amnestic drugs.
The show pretends to be an educational cartoon, in which Bobble has adventures alone, as there seem to be no other cast members. Anyone over the age of ten loses consciousness at the start of the program and any children watching it will receive sinister lessons from Bobble about cannibalism, torture, kidnapping, and murder. These lessons get locked into the minds of these children, and repeated viewings can result in madness. Bobble is essentially creating a generation of psychopaths. He is also preternaturally aware of the SCP and what it has done to his show.
In the very first episode, titled Bobble’s Kitchen Surprise, Bobble kidnaps a man, takes him to his home, and proceeds to instruct children in skinning, gutting, and cooking him. In other episodes, children are instructed on how to commit acts of undetectable arson, how to stalk someone without detection, how to inflict pain without causing death, and there’s even an episode set in the containment facility in which the episodes are archived, detailing the daily routines of the researchers and instructing viewers on how to breach containment and murder those workers.
SCP 3456:The Nuckelavee
This SCP is called the Orcadian Horseman, but as soon as I read about it, some long-stored information bubbled up in my brain about this terrifying creature from Scottish folklore. The Nuckelavee is a horselike creature that bears a minor resemblance to a centaur and could be mistaken for such at first glance. Of course, once you get a good look at it, you won’t live to tell anyone about it.
The most gruesome part of the entire thing is that this creature has no skin, and a long list of superpowers that involve toxic breath, the ability to influence events to the negative, make crops wither, and cause drought, and disease in people and animals. In folklore, you can cross running water to avoid being caught and dismembered by one of these creatures but in the SCP version that will not help you. The Orcadian Horseman is part of the deep mythology of the creation of the SCP, created and used as a creature of war by a group of proto-humans called The Daevites.
SCP 4153: Classic Wax Monsters
The Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Count Dracula are some of the Classic monsters you will encounter in any reputable Wax Museum and in the SCP.
SCP 4153 is an acting troupe of wax figures that resemble the classic Horror monsters of early cinema which believe they are the actors who starred as those monsters: Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and Bela Lugosi. They like to frequent carnivals, haunted houses, corn mazes, and other public venues and set up a theater to perform, using wax for their props and gore, and for changing their appearances. They can also control and create wax effigies from a distance. The SCP has a standing order to apprehend them whenever they’re reported and simply detain them.
For a really good laugh, you should read the Interview Logs between the SCP agents and the monsters! They are hilarious! Except of course for that time when there was a massive containment breach and it was found that all of the personnel at the facility had had their inner organs replaced by wax replicas weeks in advance of the group’s capture.
The troupe remains “uncontained”.
SCP 023: Black Shuck
In Irish Folklore, there is the legendary Black Dog, a forerunner of death. This creature has multiple names and is referred to as Black Shuck, Old Shuck, or Old Shock. It’s a spectral black dog that people believe roams the British countryside. A lot of people think it’s an omen of death, but for some people, the Shuck is a friendly and protective figure. In British folklore, the size and shape of the dog can vary from simply large to the size of a horse, which sounds terrifying enough if you’ve ever seen an Irish Wolfhound, but it is also said to have a single large red eye in the middle of its forehead. Okay, that doesn’t sound in the least friendly to me. Some say you have to see it to be cursed by it, but some others you only have to hear it howling for your family to be cursed.
This SCP is definitely in the dangerous category. It’s a large black shaggy dog that if one makes eye contact with it, you or a member of your family will die exactly one year after eye contact is broken. As a result, the SCP Foundation has taken certain steps to minimize this occurrence by covering the dog’s eyes with rubber stops, confining it to a single corridor within the facility that includes multiple false doors and resembles a crossroads, and banning all reflective surfaces within its enclosure. The bodies of its victims will appear untouched but when autopsied they are discovered to be filled with ashes and the inner organs cremated.
SCP 1000: Bigfoot
Bigfoot is very probably one of the most famous cryptids in America, so I’m not going to go into the folklore here, but according to the SCP Foundation, they’re very real and based on SCP 1000, a near-extinct species of primate that used to rule North America. The race once had a superior intellect and even technology to humans and were the masters of genetic manipulation. They’re nearly extinct because of a kind of magical disease they manufactured to eradicate humanity during some long-forgotten war, that rebounded onto their species. Seeking to keep human beings out of their territories they crafted a disease that kills human beings that spend too much time in proximity to them or views them for too long. Unfortunately, the disease also worked on them and it wiped out almost 99% of their race.
So yeah, the glimpses and rumors are apparently true but these beings are protected by the SCP Foundation who make it their job to police any and all reports of their sightings and work hard to make sure they stay rumors.
SCP 2191-1: The Vampire Factory
We all know about the classic vampires of folklore seen in hundreds of movies and TV shows, that are allergic to garlic, can’t be seen in mirrors, and shapeshift into bats and wolves, well the SCP Foundation has proof that such creatures actually exist. But you can forget about your dandy-ish, effete, European gentlemen vampires though, these are more like the 30 Days of Night vampires.
The containment procedures for this are special which makes this a Keter class anomaly because the Vampire Factory isn’t a person, it’s a geographical area that produces vampire-like creatures. The location is a temple-like structure built over a group of caverns in Romania. The caverns and structures are inhabited by a group of severely mutated humans which sound a lot like the vampires from Blade 2, or The Strain. From time to time the creatures will enter an active hunting phase where they leave the caverns and temple to hunt down any nearby human beings, and feed on them by means of a lamprey-like tongue that paralyzes and then liquefies its victims.
These creatures aren’t the least bit romantic so you will not be swapping spit with them under the moonlight, and pray you don’t become one of them.
SCP 872 : The Scarecrow
The living scarecrow is a real folkloric trope, but the SCP Foundation has a little bit of a twist on it. Here, we have a typical scarecrow effigy with tattered clothes, made out of wood scraps, which imparts its ability to frighten away animals to any animals that wander too close to it so they can frighten humans away. I admit I wasn’t expecting this when I heard about this trope. I was expecting the typical living scarecrow thing where it appears to be a non-living entity that moves but this is a novel use of folklore.
Any animal that wanders into a certain radius of the scarecrow will become extremely protective of that area, attacking any humans that get close to its radius. If there is a flock of animals they will behave as if they are being cultivated by people. For example, sheep will attempt to remove each other’s wool with their mouths, chickens will lay their eggs in an easy-to-access area for humans to collect, and cows will kill and dismember one member of the group each month and deposit their remains at the edge of the territory for humans to pick up. If an animal is removed from the scarecrow’s influence it will go into a catatonic state until it is put within range of the scarecrow’s influence again.
Yeah, this is terrifying in a Gary Larson cartoon kind of way.
SCP 352 : Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga is one of my all-time favorite Russian folktales. I first encountered it in elementary school and found the whole idea of a witch that lives in a house that moves around on chicken feet deliciously scary! For some reason, my childhood mind attached this entity to the story of Hansel and Gretel and the witch who lived in a candy house used to lure children probably because the version of this entity that I read about ate kids too.
The Baba Yaga does exist as a Keter Class entity in the SCP but this version is especially creepy. She still looks like an emaciated elderly Russian woman with super strength, healing abilities, and speed, but she can also grow long, nearly invisible tendrils of hair that are coated in saliva that she uses like tentacles/webs to grab prey (people). The saliva coating on the hair paralyzes her victims and induces euphoria and hallucinations so that they are docile while she eats them, one limb at a time, which can take several days.
As far as I know, this entity doesn’t fly around in a mortar and pestle or live in a house with chicken feet, but she is unremittingly hostile, using any and every opportunity to grab a meal. And yes, she does prefer to eat children.
SCP 3000: The World Serpent – Yormungunder/Jormungandr
The Jormungandr (meaning “huge monster”) is a creature from Norse mythology called The World/Midgard Serpent, and is said to be one of Loki’s children. It is said that it is so huge that it can circle the earth and grasp its own tail, which gave rise to the myth of the Ouroboros.
It’s currently located in the Bay of Bengal and is so large that it is impossible for this entity to be contained, so the SCP Foundation has decided on containment procedures that involve quarantining the area, disinformation, and erasing the memories of any who happen to encounter it, although the creature is capable of doing that on its own. It’s considered a Cognitoazard – a fancy way of saying it affects people’s mental capabilities. Direct sightings of the creature can result in head pain, loss of memory, severe paranoia, and panic which makes it easier to catch and eat prey, although it doesn’t actually seem to need sustenance. It’s largely sedentary but can move very fast when it has to. It excretes a dark grey substance from its skin which the SCP foundation collects to create its memory-erasing drugs.
SCP 1826: The Wild Hunt
In Celtic mythology, The Wild Hunt has a variety of different incarnations. It’s a large cavalcade of men and horses seen riding through the sky at certain times of the year and said to presage catastrophic events. The leader of the hunt could be any number of mythological figures from Cernnunos, to King Arthur, to Odin, and any human who saw the Hunt was said to be death-cursed, end up being hunted themselves or whisked away to the fairy underworld. One story has it that you could get out of being hunted by joining it voluntarily, although only as one of the hounds. It is even believed that the Hunt can pull people’s spirits from their bodies while they sleep.
What the SCP has however is an interesting and occasionally funny take on The Wild Hunt in the form of an abandoned office building where the Russian version of this myth has been trapped for several decades! Any female person or creature that wanders into the building at a certain time of year (usually March) will be possessed by one of the spirits of The Wild Hunt and demanifested. Her job will then be to manifest physically and challenge any male person or creature that enters the building to celebrate the return of Spring with a hunt and a duel. If she wins, the victim will be incorporated into the building, and then reproduced the next year in the form of a black wolf! If she loses the challenge then whatever male will simply be allowed to walk free.
Usually, D-Class subjects and random women are introduced to this SCP, but one year the researchers decided to put one of the D-Class up against a small female turtle, that was then sprinkled with iron filings and thus lost the match. One year the researchers thought it would be interesting to put an anteater and an ant in the building, a match that lasted about 3 seconds.
Here’s a slightly different list from the last one which mostly consisted of movies I didn’t like or didn’t finish, either because they were just bad films, or I had no patience for them. This is a list of movies I actually like. They’re perfectly acceptable and watchable movies where I liked the characters, the plot, and it looks good, but I feel no great urge to watch these again because they were emotionally exhausting, too disturbing, or genuinely too scary, at least they were for me!
Stick with me here because there’s a story that goes along with this movie. Yeah, I do have really bad arachnophobia and have had it since I was a little girl. I was the kind of person who used to look for signs of spiders in any new space I walked into. (I have since calmed down about this over the years, though.) The way my memory works I can actually recount the incident that gave me this issue ( but we not gonna talk about that). I can talk about the event that happened to me when I was in college and before this movie was released. I know it happened in that order because after I came home from college was when I saw the trailer, and my Mom would tease me about being scared to watch it. She seemed to enjoy the movie a lot, thought it was pretty funny, and wanted to share this scary movie with me, but I’m one of those (stubborn muth*fck*s is what a friend once called me) who, once she makes it up in her head to NOT do something, I don’t do it!
I was in living in a very nice house one Summer vacation. I was working at the time, but I was also in the house alone because my roommates had all gone home, and I was sitting in my room, lights and TV on, when I saw a tiny little speck near my lamp. It was not a little speck, it was a tiny spider. Yep, I had a spider egg hatch in my bedroom.
To say that I freaked the f*ck out would be an understatement! I was a hot emotional mess for a week! Luckily, I had some of the world’s greatest friends who, once they understood what the hell I was jibbering about, helped me smoke bomb my bedroom (twice) and cleaned and moved all my belongings to another part of the house. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but I was at least able to relax long enough to fall into an exhausted sleep in my own bed after two days of emotional hell. Well, my friends didn’t mock me, kept their smiling to a minimum, and seemed happy to help a damsel in distress.
Mom knew about the spider incident and understood my attitude, but she always encouraged me to move past my fears because if I didn’t at least try they would always control me. (This is from the woman who apparently had some kind of phobia about boats and New York City! What was all that about?!) Eventually, I did agree to sit down and watch it with her, with a bunch of caveats and addendums, like leaving the room if I got too scared, squealing as much as I liked, and covering my eyes if necessary. I got through the first half okay, but covered my eyes and squealed a lot for the last thirty minutes. I didn’t leave the room though, so technically speaking, I did sit through it.
And you know what? It turned out not to be a bad movie although I have not watched it again in the twenty-plus years since then, and I have no plans to watch it again in the future. Personally, I consider sitting through that movie to be one of the bravest moments in all of cinematic history!
I was not particularly weirded out by the title or the synopsis of this movie. The thumbnail of the movie on Google looked intriguing. So I sat down to watch this with the idea that it would be your typical Lovecraftian pastiche of images culled from his works and got something I wasn’t at all expecting. I more or less understood the film’s plot, and what it was trying to do, but I didn’t expect bizarre nameless cults (although I should have) body horror images (I should have expected that too), and a kind of monster siege, working the night shift sort of film, where everyone dies horribly, except when they don’t stay dead.
It’s easy enough to describe the movie, but any description you give it won’t actually resemble the movie you will be watching, but I’m gonna give it a try. There’s a bunch of people stuck in a hospital on the night shift, only a few of whom are actually medical personnel. The rest are random townsfolk who are trapped in the hospital because some oddly dressed cultists besieged the town and were killing people, so the rest ran to the hospital. There are some weird medical experiments going on in the basement that involve the birth of an infernal creature from a young girl, the opening of Hellish portals, and lots of goo, blood, guts, and some tentacles.
That was as much as I understood, but that doesn’t mean the movie is ineffective. I’ve no great urge to watch it again because it was a genuinely disturbing film whose effect lingers long after it’s over, and I don’t have to watch it again because I clearly remember how uncomfortable I felt while looking at it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because there are movies that do this that I have re-watched, and if that is the kind of mood you’re looking for, then by all means, go for it, and tell me how it worked out for you.
Imma wait over here!
I generally like the works of Alex Garland, someone I didn’t pay any special attention to when his career began with The Beach in 2000. I didn’t even watch The Beach. I dismissed it. But then he came out with 28 Days later and I perked up. There was a new cinematic voice in Horror, and I’ve been present for most of his movies since, like Sunshine, Dredd, and Ex Machina. I sat through most of those without issue, and they were all very good, but in 2018 Garland released Annihilation, based on the book by another of my favorite artists, Jeff Vendermeer. When I heard about the movie I decided to read the three-book series, and I enjoyed them, for the most part.
The movie combines all three books of the series into one long story with yet another Lovecraftian theme. A section of the US has been taken over by something called The Shimmer. Elena’s husband went into The Shimmer, which warps biology, and he disappeared. Except he also came back, alone. Intrigued, she and a team of 4 other women go into The Shimmer to explore its purpose, with each woman having her own agenda. Elena wants to find out what happened to her husband. Each of the women find some thing they weren’t expecting which has a profound effect on the rest of their lives.
There are some genuinely panstshittingly frightening moments in this film, like when Elena and her team are attacked by a mutated bear that screams with the voices of the people it’s killed, but beyond that the movie is just weird, and sad, and yeah, there’s that word again, disturbing. It’s not a bad film. I actually like the film. It’s also not particularly hard to watch because it contains some genuine moments of true beauty. But it is another movie where the mood and flavor of it linger long after it’s over, and I have not been in the headspace to be able to watch it.
I will likely watch this again at some point in the future, because it is an effective, thoughtful, and terrifying film, but not yet.
Honestly, this is a great survival horror film, and if you like those types of films you should by all means watch this, but be prepared to feel as if you’ve been emotionally defenestrated in the aftermath. This movie is exhausting on a physical level, too. I just felt wrung out after watching this.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy the movie is based on the true story of a man (DiCaprio) who was left for dead in the wilderness by his business partner, (Tom Hardy) who, after killing DiCaprio’s son, went back to the nearest town and made the claim on his half of their business dealings, only to have his partner stumble out of the wilderness several weeks later.
For some reason the most distressing movies for me seem to involve bear attacks, although I do not think I have any kind of bear phobia. DiCaprio’s character braves the worst excesses of trying to survive an environment that is inimical to human life, like snow, freezing water, wild animals, lack of food, and angry Indigenous people, just to enact vengeance on his partner.
This movie just slaps the shit out of you emotionally. Well, it did that for me, but your mileage may vary depending on how much energy reserves you possess. This is another excellent film with great acting, cinematography, and a very compelling story that I will probably never watch again. Or if I do, I’m going to need to rest up, eat my vitamins, and do my breathing first.
Oh man was this movie hard to watch, and not because of the monsters. I don’t actually have claustrophobia but this movie might give it to you if you don’t. It’s a harrowing film. I was exhausted and saddened after watching it. The most devastating moment isn’t the deaths at the beginning of the film but something that happens midway through it that completely upends the relationships between the rest of the characters.
A team of women friends decide to go caving in a previously unexplored system after the death of the main character’s husband and child in a driving accident the previous year. The team are attacked by a race of terrifying cannibalistic mutants and taken out one by one until there’s only one of them left. There’s plenty of blood and gore, but that’s not what upset me the most, and no spoilers, but it’s about the characters, comes completely out of left field, changes everyone’s dynamic, and therefore their chances of survival.
It’s a very effective film. I don’t often mind when films do the unexpected or throw something at me out of the blue, especially when it’s as well done as it was here. I didn’t choose these movies because I disliked them. I chose them because I liked them. Some of them are great films, but were so emotionally draining I simply don’t have the emotional bandwidth to put myself through them again anytime soon.
I love Horror movies but believe it or not Even I draw the line at watching some stuff. I prefer Creature Features which are comedies above all other types of Horror, and I can and will get into some straight Psychological Horror. Some things don’t particularly interest me, though I will watch them on occasion, like ghosts, haunted mansions, or most Slasher films. I draw the line at Torture Porn and movies like The Human Centipede which aren’t scary to me. They’re just nasty, and yes, there is a difference. There are different types of scary movies, some of which are very enjoyable, almost fun, like Tremors, The Mist, or even movies like Halloween, but some movies are scary but not enjoyably so. Not because they are serious films but because they’re depressing or raise my anxiety levels too high to be a fun experience. For example, I have fire-fear, so any movies that heavily involve flames (or nuclear annihilation) are super upsetting for me, and I just can’t watch them.
That said, there are a few movies that are simply too scary for me to watch more than once. Here are five movies (and one extra) that I didn’t want or need to watch a second time.
I was so incredibly creeped out by this movie that I’ve been reluctant to watch it ever since. For some reason, this is a movie that just awakens all the feels. Coraline’s exasperation with her negligent parents, and her reticence around her weird neighbors, I didn’t even like the little cat…there’s just something about the animation style that just ups the creep factor for me, probably because I’ve always associated stop-motion with those Ray Harryhausen Horror movies.
Yes, I know it’s a children’s film. Yes, I know it’s an animated movie, but for me, Coraline is still one of the most hardcore scariest animated films I’ve ever watched. There’s the dread factor for one thing. Just like Coraline, you know the Other World is just a little too good to be true, and you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, so the idea that the Other Mother is a brutal predator that lures young kids into her world by offering them the thing they most want: loving parents who dote on them, is not actually surprising. You were kind of expecting things to go horribly wrong and it’s the anticipation of that wrongness that makes the movie scary.
When Coraline first meets The Other Mother, she essentially gets love-bombed by a giant spider-adjacent creature that is only pretending to care about her so she can use her for food, which all sounds pretty terrifying to me. I do like that Coraline manages to keep her head to a certain degree. She never completely succumbs to the allure of the Other World, continues to question what’s going on around her, and like me, she is firmly committed to the idea that buttons for eyes are a very nasty bit of body Horror.
I think I talked about this movie before and how I tried to watch this movie late one night a few years ago and spent the next several days having paranoid jitters and being unwilling to turn off the lights in my bedroom. Decades later and I still think this movie is simply pants-shittingly frightening! On the surface, it doesn’t seem all that scary, but I also mentioned I’ve got issues with the idea of sentient slime that actively hunts its prey and this is what The H-Man is all about.
The H stands for Hydrogen, as in the Hydrogen bomb which is what the Atomic bomb was first called when it was invented. The H-Man is the result of nuclear energy mutating human beings into sentient runny snot creatures, that are vaguely humanoid in shape, which is even more frightening. What’s even worse is that I read a theory a few years ago that suggested that the creatures might not even be malevolent or hungry, that in approaching people they are trying to get help for their condition. I’m not sure I believe that theory but it is still a very nasty idea.
The creatures definitely look like they’re hunting people on purpose though, and they rely on a certain amount of confusion and deception to do it. Worst than the victims who don’t know the creatures are there at all, are those poor victims who don’t see them and just walk right into them! Or the ones that do see them, have no f*cking idea what they’re looking at, and don’t run away (which isn’t going to save them anyway because the creatures are silent and sneaky).
I only needed to watch this movie one time. This movie is a hellish f*cking nightmare. It’s not because the movie is so incredibly frightening, although that is a small part of it, it’s just once you know where the story has gone, and what it meant, there’s no point in ever subjecting yourself to it again. The entire story is so dark and depressing that I just didn’t have the heart to watch it again.
It is an interesting demonic possession film, which is something I haven’t seen since The Exorcist. I avoid most such films because they’re usually just thinly veiled retreads of The Exorcist anyway, but this movie avoids all the common tropes of bodily contortions and women screaming at crosses, for something a lot more subtle, that the viewer has to slowly piece together from the clues given to them, and once they reach that conclusion they realize this movie was NEVER going to have a happy ending for any of the characters. Also, there are people on fire and I don’t like that!
The first time I heard of this was as a short film on Youtube which definitely creeped me out. It’s about a creature that can only be seen and felt in darkness. She (her name is Diana) only appears when you turn off the lights. I feel like the movie was less effective than the short film, but hey! it was still pretty effective. It’s the idea that darkness hides evil things, and the movie preys on your childhood fears of trying to hop into (or out of) the bed without letting the thing under it grab your ankle after you’ve turned off the light, or reaching around the edge of a door to flip a light switch and being terrified that something might touch your hand.
I had no intention of watching the movie after seeing the short film, but I thought I would be clever by watching it on one sunny Saturday afternoon thinking to myself, how scared could I get in the daytime? Well, I got plenty scared to the point where I didn’t want to sleep with the lights off that night.
It’s not so much that this was scary, although it was, but it was definitely too much for me and I didn’t even get halfway through it before I just quit. It’s a bit of a cross between a zombie movie and a demonic possession film. People who contract an airborne disease become unrelentingly sadistic, willing to torture and kill their neighbors in a sudden fit of violence.
This movie is so incredibly, over-the-top violent that I just couldn’t sit through it and, I really thought I was up to the task when I sat down. It is a hot mess of torture and gore and I’m not into gore simply for its own sake which is what parts of this movie turned out to be. But part of the problem was also that the two leads were very sympathetic characters that I genuinely liked, and it was really hard to watch the two of them try to survive the events of this movie, and I simply couldn’t bear to watch them go through so much pf the pain and trauma I was witnessing in this film, so I quit.
Ju-On was not my first brush with J-Horror but it was the first Japanese Horror movie that I took seriously. Most Japanese Horror movies that I saw before this were just funny or simply uninteresting but this was genuinely frightening for me. Because it’s Japanese I didn’t have any of the usual Western tropes to fall back on in interpreting what any of the images meant. As a result, I had no f*cking clue what was happening, and in some cases didn’t even know what to think about what I was seeing other than “Well shit!!!”
I have watched this movie exactly twice though and could make no more sense of it than the first time I saw it. Don’t get me wrong. I can discern the plot and I get what was happening from it, but most of the time it’s just a succession of terribly frightening images, and the characters can’t seem to do anything to help their situation, so the movie is pretty bleak. I have an aversion to movies like The Ring and Cujo where the characters have so little recourse to correct their situation. There’s little to nothing they can do to fix the situation they’re in and just have to suffer through it, and the idea that they are trapped by their circumstances or the villain is something that really bothers me.
(This particular list of Japanese Horror movies also contains the movie Ringu, another movie I will probably not watch again. Once was more than enough.)
Halloween Ends is the last movie in the David Gordon Green trilogy. It streamed on Peacock this past weekend and I have some thoughts.
From the beginning, I’ve always thought of the Halloween franchise (at least the first two films, and a couple of the sequels) as not just an analysis of the continuing (and now, generational) trauma of its Final Girl, Laurie Strode, but as a statement on suburban America itself. I wrote about how and why the suburbs were created in Starring the Landscape: The Suburbs, and how I saw the Halloween films as an indictment of a lifestyle that was formed out of fear of the other (the Blackness/multiculturalism of the cities). White people in the suburbs spent their lives in fear that the evil of the cities would invade their communities, and we can see this in the endless number of “bucolic community” invasion films of the 80s, the rampant rumors that sprang up during the BLM protests of crowds of angry Black people burning and looting suburban neighborhoods, and in the proliferation of guns in those communities because of an unfounded terror of (Black) home invasions.
I think what Halloween and other Slasher films, like Scream and Nightmare on Elm Street, were saying is that evil is created within these communities, that it is not something that can be run from because it is part of the human condition, people carry those seeds with them no matter where they flee, and that sometimes evil isn’t just born in such environments, but will keep returning to haunt them until it is properly dealt with. Such is the case in these films, where every few years, as if in some vicious cycle, Michael Myers, an evil created and nurtured in the suburban community of Haddonfield, arrives to terrorize and destroy the lives of its inhabitants.
Forty years ago Laurie Strode suffered tremendous loss and trauma as all her friends were hunted and killed by Michael Myers and she was terrorized for hours while trying to safeguard the children she was babysitting that night.
In the first movie of this trilogy, the 2018 Halloween, Myers returns to Haddonfield to begin that night’s killing spree and Laurie, suffering from PTSD and paranoia for four decades has been getting ready for him. She knows that he will inevitably come hunting her. She raised her daughter, Karen to be just as paranoid in defending her life, and outfitted her home with traps to capture and kill Michael. The first movie, ignoring all the sequels and remakes in the last forty years, is about Laurie and her family dealing with that long ago trauma, and how the only thing that can help her get past her pain is the cathartic destruction of Michael Myers. This movie and its follower, Halloween Kills, are about survivors and grief.
The second film, Halloween Kills, is a continuation of the first film on that same night, only here it’s about the cyclical trauma Haddonfield itself, the nature of evil, and how that evil is born in communities like it and features many of the characters who survived the 1978 film. This time they decide to fight back too, in support of Laurie, and they hunt Michael through the streets of Haddonfield, which gets most of them killed, and results in the death of an innocent man accused of being him. One sign of the evil within the community is their willingness (out of fear and hatred) to engage in the same behavior that they condemn Michael for, and an innocent man pays the price. Although their fear and hatred of Michael are justified, it is still the resident’s willingness to kill that’s a symptom of the dark underbelly within such communities. This is a plot that also has parallels in The Nightmare on Elm Street series, where the child killer, Freddie Krueger, is the end result of the decision made by their parents to kill the predator who was preying on the children in their community. It’s not the residents of Haddonfield’s motivation that is at issue but their willingness to engage in mob justice that is a sign of the community’s inner darkness.
Halloween Ends is a continuation of the idea that small towns and suburbs harbor and produce evil. I know other people were watching this movie with the idea of clocking the body count, or how long and hard the fight would be between Laurie and Michael, and who would win, but that’s not the focus of this movie, and if that’s what you’re looking for then you may be disappointed. This movie is a bit more philosophical and quieter than some people might like it to be.
The story picks up four years later, and we have come full circle as Laurie while writing her memoir, is still recovering emotionally from the events of Halloween Kills, when Michael returned to Haddonfield and killed nearly three dozen people, along with her daughter Karen. She has decided not to live in the prison of paranoia and anger that ruled her life for so many decades while raising her granddaughter Allyson and mending their relationship.
But, because evil never dies, we find out that Michael has not left Haddonfield at all, and has been living in the sewers while recovering from the damage that was inflicted on him four years ago. His presence is discovered by a bullied young man named Corey whom the townsfolk accused of killing a young boy under his charge on the night of Michael’s rampage. Corey is a volatile and angry young man who isn’t killed by Michael but adopts Michael’s mask and goes on a killing spree of his own in Michael’s stead, such is how evil is passed on to the next generation. He and Allyson develop a relationship that threatens to destroy her and Laurie’s emotional recovery and while trying to protect Allyson from herself and Corey, Laurie eventually interacts with Michael again by the end of the movie.
There’s plenty of killing in the film, just not done by Michael, and the confrontation between Laurie and Michael is relegated to the end of the movie almost as an afterthought since it’s almost a given who will win the fight. Just as in Halloween Kills, where Laurie mostly sat out the plot so the writers could make their point, Michael mostly sits this one out. The theme here isn’t just that evil is born from the town’s secrets, but is actively created by the town’s treatment of people whom they believe have trespassed against conformity, like Corey, or the mentally unstable man the residents hounded to his suicide in the last film after he was wrongly accused of being Myers.
Corey is the much-put-upon town scapegoat. He is bullied by the students at his school because of his reputation as a monster, also by his angry and overbearing mother, and he is responsible for most of the deaths in the movie as he decides, after meeting Michael, (who unexpectedly lets him live), that he is tired of the town’s judgment of him and is going to live down to his reputation. Accompanied by Allyson (who is unaware of what he’s been doing) he goes on a killing spree that includes the town bullies, his parents, and several bystanders before he confronts Laurie, who shoots him. In a last-ditch attempt to sabotage Laurie’s relationship with Allyson, (which has been heavily frayed throughout the movie), he makes it look like Laurie stabbed him when Allyson comes home.
Allyson and Corey form a bond because she finds him attractive and he is able to prey on her fears and disappointments about living in Haddonfield. Something in his darkness speaks to the secrets that she has been withholding from her grandmother, and her reaction to Laurie’s distrust of Corey tells us that she isn’t as healed from the trauma of losing her mother as she seemed. Like Laurie did at the same age, she lost her boyfriend, most of her friends, and most of her family, and she has not dealt with the fallout of so much loss, while Laurie still healing from her own pain, has somewhat neglected Allyson’s, which allowed Corey to twist that trauma into anger at her grandmother.
In the end, it is Laurie who survives their last fight, but Michael’s death (for real this time and from which there is absolutely no coming back) is a cathartic affair for the entire town, who join her in the final destruction of his body. Allyson realizes that part of her healing means leaving Haddonfield, but she is not fleeing from her trauma, as she would have if she had eloped with Corey, but moving towards a possible future where she is not shackled to the town’s secrets, and Laurie expresses her healing by finally opening herself up to having new friends (and a possible relationship with the town sheriff).
Although I didn’t like the direction of this film at first, I am satisfied with this ending, which was a lot more contemplative than I thought it would be, and shows that David Gordon Green had a clear agenda in telling the story in the manner in which he did. It really felt like an end, like Laurie’s nightmare (and that of Haddonfield’s) is finally over, and it puts Halloween Kills, a film I was somewhat disappointed by, in a new light. When watched individually the films do leave something to be desired, but taken as a whole I feel the trilogy was successful in keeping the point of its themes, in ending Haddonfield and Laurie’s story on a positive note, with more than enough gore and killing to satisfy most Slasher film fans.
***Once again, I appear to be in the minority in liking this film. I didn’t love it, but it is a decent conclusion, and taken as a whole, I feel it’s a good trilogy. I’ve also observed that most people (the vast majority of the ones talking about it are white men who only want to see people dying horribly) are not looking at it as one part of a whole and that many of them have completely missed the point of the trilogy entirely. Nobody seems to see this movie the way I did. I feel that it’s a decent standalone movie but it must be taken into account as part of a trilogy and understood in that light since that was how it was filmed. Perhaps when more people go back and watch all three movies in succession they will see what David Gordon Green was trying to do, and be willing to defend his vision.
I stumbled across an entire series of these terrifying TikTok videos recently ,and by terrifying I mean it’s probably not a good idea to watch these late at night. But…during the day they might seem pretty funny, and are a great illustration of how comedy and horror are two sides of the same coin.
One of the reasons I love horror comedies so much is, as has been said before, horror is comedy without the punchline. It’s also been said that what horror and comedy have in common is the overturning of an expectation. You either laugh or jump based on what you expect to happen, so I hope you enjoy these videos (if that’s a word that can be used here), as much as I did.
TikTok Nightmare Creatures Compilation
Sometimes expectations are overturned in some very surprising ways. I really enjoyed this video. In fact, I loved it and would enjoy seeing a movie made from it.
I Live Here Too
Some videos aren’t exactly horror but they are mysterious and disturbing like this early one from Denis Villenueve, the director of Dune and Bladerunner 2049. What exactly is going on here? What is the point of it?
I kept stumbling across horror animations by the grickle and thought I’d choose one of my favorites for this post. For the record, I have never liked nor understood the purpose of lawn gnomes.
The Hidden People
Sometimes something is much more comedy than horror. This is from the same group that brought you the slasher boy band, The Merkins. I could not stop laughing at this because I love the first two Predator movies and I used to watch this other show late in the evening, about a journalist who would trick child predators into being interviewed (and sometimes arrested) on live television.
To Catch A Predator
As funny as the previous video is, this one is my personal favorite for this Halloween combining two of my favorite things, The Exorcist movie, and candy.
I started off the month of October by easing into the Horror movie genre with some classic favorites like Alien and The Thing, but at a certain point it was time for me to move on and try new movies and shows (see my review of Interview with the Vampire on AMC) and these are some of the new shows I watched just this weekend. I enjoyed all of these and want to give a quick rundown on what to expect if you come across them.
Let The Right One In – Epis. 1 (Showtime)
This is a new series on Showtime that’s based on the Swedish vampire movie Let The Right One In, about a child vampire that befriends a lonely bullied little boy who lives in her new apartment building.
This version is set in the US, so it’s a little more like the American version of the above film, titled Let Me In (which I also enjoyed for different reasons). The story has been modernized from the book version as well. In the book Ellie is a vampire that’s very, very old, she doesn’t know how old she is because her brain has not developed beyond twelve years old.
In this series, she has only just been turned into a vampire and she is traveling to different cities with her father, who is trying to find the vampire that attacked her based on if there are any serial killings going on in that city. At the same time, he’s trying to deal with her insatiable need for blood because he doesn’t want her attacking (and possibly creating) new vampires, which is what happens when a person gets bitten, but not killed, in this series version of vampirism.
Ellie meets a little black kid at her new apartment building, who is being ostracized and bullied in school (because I suspect he’s on the spectrum). I liked the boy whose name I cannot remember just now, but he loves magic tricks and loves to show them to people. Ellie is all set to eat him until he shows her a magic trick. She has eyes that glow in the dark, which fascinate him, and she tells him it’s magic, and that’s how the two bond. In the meantime, her father is responsible for a tragic event that is going to upheave her new friend’s life, and the cops are investigating the murders that her father is committing on Ellie’s behalf to get blood for her. You realize that her father is using the other murders as a cover for committing his own.
Ellie is very likable and the relationship with her actual father is the focus of the series, unlike in the movies where the focus is on the relationship with her new friend. In the movies, the man taking care of her isn’t her father, but some other little boy she met many decades ago who grew to adulthood as her human servant. Ellie and her dad are Latine, so I can’t help but think there’s some dialogue occurring here about immigrants and new situations, and people, but I’m not an immigrant or Latine so I can’t definitely say. Just like in the movies though, there’s a focus on the logistics of keeping Ellie fed because if he doesn’t, as a predator, she is perfectly capable of going out and procuring her own blood.
The first episode is free on Prime, but I’m not going to sign up for Showtime to watch the rest of this. It’s not a bad episode but there are a few too many coincidences that might not sit well with others. I can’t say it’s enjoyable, because it actually is too tense and suspenseful to be fun, but it makes a good effort to reproduce the feelings of melancholy and dread from both movies. It’s too convoluted to be truly scary. Scary needs to have a bit more mystery, and there are too many things that are explained in this episode, but the tension and dread are there though.
Werewolf by Night (Disney+)
I didn’t think I was going to be too heavily into this show, which is not a series as far as I can tell but just an hour-long Halloween special of some kind, based on the comic book of the same name, but it turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought. I thought I wouldn’t Ike it because it’s shot in black and white and some of the acting is in the old classic 30s style of filmmaking, but I slipped right into the story and had no trouble following what was going on. It was all good fun, and the fight scenes were excellent!
In this story, a group of monster hunters congregate to compete for a McGuffin called the Bloodstone, the only object in the show that’s shown in color. That’s it, really. The guy who owns the Bloodstone dies and holds a contest where the hunters are encouraged to take each other out (thereby eliminating their competition), while they’re also hunting a monster (a werewolf) who has been planted within the group.
You’re definitely going to feel some type of way about the participants because some of them look pretty cool, but you do become aware that these are probably not good people, and that there are certain characters you’re meant to root for. One of the biggest things that threw me off my game was seeing one Marvel character show up at the end of the show! If you’re aware of the history of Swamp Thing (who is a DC character) then you might also be aware that he was preceded by a Marvel character called The Man-Thing whose catchline in the comic books was: Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch!
But that’s not the only easter egg for fans of Marvel comics, and series. I missed most of them because there was a lot of stuff I haven’t read, and a few series I skipped, but it was still fun even if you know nothing about the comic books or other shows. The plot and characters aren’t dependent on any of that stuff.
I’m not going to say what happens at the end, but it’s interesting because while some of the show is pretty predictable that part was not, and now I’m interested in seeing a lot more of this part of the Marvel universe which is basically a set up for adding demons, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures into the MCU, like Blade! I mostly ignored the monster parts of the Marvel comic books. I did read some of the Werewolf by Night comic books, and I’m familiar with a couple of demonic superheroes, but mostly I ignored all the vampires and demons and stuff. So this part of the MCU will kind of be new to me too.
This show isn’t especially scary but the fight scenes are pretty gory and brutal, alleviated by the aspect of a lack of color. I wouldn’t let little kids watch it but it’s okay for kids above twelve maybe, who are used to watching horror/action movies.
I was having some feelings about watching this one. In one aspect, I was eagerly looking forward to watching it, because I liked the first film in the franchise, have never watched a single one of the various sequels, and I was curious about the new Hell Priest being played by a woman. I’ve read all of the books about Pinhead and the Cenobites, including the comic books, and the last two Hellraiser books called The Scarlet Gospels, and The Toll and I enjoyed those.
The movie isn’t great, but it is very compelling and worth watching. If you’ve seen all the other movies in the franchise your mileage may vary, but I generally liked it and will watch it again when I’m in a mood.
The lead character is a flawed woman named Riley, a former drug addict/alcoholic living with her brother, his boyfriend, and another woman friend of theirs. She is the kind of woman who has a habit of making bad choices (probably as a way to run away from a tragic past which we don’t get details about) and one of those mistakes is having regular sex with a guy she just met. Through him, she gets mixed up in the machinations of the villain, a wealthy man who owned the Hellraiser box, got what he wished for, and now horribly regrets being given what he requested.
One of the primary themes of the Hellraiser franchise is people calling up the Cenobites, either through ignorance, or greed, and fucking around and finding out that the demons have nothing to give you that you would actually want to have and that anything they give you will only involve you suffering horribly. The only thing the Cenobites have to offer is one form of suffering or another, and it’s interesting to me that so many of the people who call on them think otherwise.
Through a combination of ignorance and reckless behavior the Cenobites take Riley’s brother, and she spends the rest of the movie trying to solve the puzzle in an effort to save him while sacrificing the people she knows along the way. The rules are that when she solves the final puzzle she will be given five or six themes from which to choose, and one of those is the resurrection of her brother. Riley makes a more interesting choice that shows her growth as a person, especially after all the death she has caused.
I genuinely liked this and feel it lived up to the standards of the original film, but then I can say that having watched not a single one of the movies beyond the second one. The new Hell Priest, Jamie Clayton, has a difficult job to do because, no matter what, she’s going to be compared to Doug Bradley, the original Pinhead, but I think she holds her own. She doesn’t possess his sheer gravity or his voice, but she is quietly, and frighteningly compelling in her own way (and oddly beautiful) and she does get to recite some favorite lines from the original film, making them her own.
The overriding theme is addiction and how far people are willing to go to feed one. Riley has been using addiction to run away from a painful past, and one of the primary reasons people call on the Cenobites in the first place is because many of them are suffering from various addictions and are greedy for more sensations, or are trying to escape from pain, which is ironic, but also makes Riley’s choice at the end even more interesting.
**If you are not into the Hellraiser movies this is not the place to start. We are talking extreme body horror, so if you have a problem with gore, this is not for you. I have friends who do not like Horror movies and I would never recommend something like this to them, not even jokingly. This movie is for hardcore Horror fans only.
It’s time for me to talk about the new AMC series Interview with the Vampire, which is not exactly based on the movie from 1994 which starred Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, but kind of sort of is a little bit. This series is a continuation of that movie and takes place some thirty or forty years after the first interview between a mortal named Daniel Malloy (Eric Bogosian) and the vampire Louis du Ponte Du Lac. Daniel is much older (something which initially threw me off a bit before I understood what the show was doing) and has Parkinson’s, and he agrees to do another interview with Louis to set the record straight, wrap things up, or because Daniel never got the chance to publish the first interview because Louis bit him and kept the cassettes. Louis now lives in a uv-fortified apartment in Dubai, with a coterie of human servants, and invites Daniel back for another interview. Daniel is understandably reluctant after what happened the last time.
I, like everyone else, had some misgivings about the series, especially after I heard about the changes that were being made to it, but not for the reasons that most people did. There are three major changes from the book version that people expressed some anxiety about. Louis is now a Black man (and not bi-racial as I first thought), Claudia is biracial and has been aged up to fourteen (in the novel she is about five or six), and the setting is now pre-war New Orleans around 1910. The reason I felt some type of way about these changes is because the showrunner is a white guy, and white men have shown me multiple times that they are incapable of writing sensitively about Black characters (ala. American Gods), but the showrunner here did what at least a few of them have learned how to do in the past several years, (see Star Trek Discovery and The Watchmen), and that is hiring writers from marginalized groups and actually listening to them, instead of acting like they know better than the people who are part of the communities being written about. It’s not a perfect solution. Ideally, I want the writers and showrunners to be members of the groups in question, but I’ll settle for this arrangement, if it means better representation because it’s not enough that marginalized people be present onscreen, they have to be represented in a sensitive manner.
After watching the first two episodes, I’m on board with these changes because the story really hasn’t been greatly upheaved, (although we have yet to see Claudia so I don’t know how that’s going to be handled), and the topic of race has been handled in a sensitive enough manner that most Black people won’t be triggered by the content. Because Louis is Black the creators did not want to have him as the owner of a plantation in the 1800s, although as part of the community of free people of New Orleans, his father did, at some point, enslave Black people. But I can understand why that was changed because that would have been even more objectionable than his current profession as part owner of a string of brothels. The time period was also updated and Louis is in one of the few professions that would have allowed his family to hold onto the wealth that Louis’ father squandered, and a brothel owner still involves the exploitation of Black bodies, so it’s not entirely unrelated. Some people objected to him being portrayed as a pimp, but I feel no particular way about that, and it’s a convenient excuse for him to come into contact with Lestat while keeping their basic relationship and the story structure intact. I have yet to see any Black misery porn in the series just for the sake of it being there, and only heard the N* word thrown out once (by a character that is subsequently brutally killed).
The chemistry between the two leads played by Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid is absolutely electric, and the series stays focused on them and their relationship, rather than side plots, since it’s being told from Louis’ point of view from the future (along with knowledge he didn’t possess in that first interview), and I deeply appreciate that. The episodes begin and end with Daniel and Louis but those are kept to a minimum, are entertaining, and are also funny. The show also doesn’t waste a lot of time. Louis becomes a vampire by the end of the first episode, and most of the second episode is about him adjusting to his new condition.
Their relationship heavily reminds me of the messy relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter in the Hannibal series, and I’m here for messy gay relationships. Louis recognizes that he is gay but is deeply closeted until he meets Lestat. His family suspects and disapproves, but since he is the one who holds the family purse strings, they don’t object too loudly, although Rae Dawn Chong as his mother is a master of The Dismissal. Louis’ brother is also featured in the first episode. Unlike the novel, the two don’t fight and there is real friendship and love between them, but events occur as they do in the book, and it’s the reason Louis ends up in Lestat’s arms.
The dialogue and conversations between Louis and Lestat hew as closely to the novel as possible, but where the book was kind of hedgy about their relationship status, the show is explicit. Louis and Lestat live together, flirt, have sex, fight, kiss, make up, have a child, and engage in all the same operatic infighting that young lovers get up to when they have far too much energy. The writers tried to remain as true to the book as possible with lots of nice little easter eggs for those of us who have read The Vampire Lestat. Lestat’s childhood dream of becoming a priest gets a mention, Marius and Lestat’s first lover, Nicky, also get a shoutout, and I believe Lestat has a painting of his vampire mother, Gabrielle, on the wall of his home. Sam Reid is every bit as engaging a character as Lestat is supposed to be, and Jacob Anderson holds his own with him.
There is one major sex scene in the first episode, but most of the sex scenes involve threesomes as the two vampires feeding on someone is often a euphemism for it. The show is also not without some humor. It doesn’t take itself very seriously but isn’t exactly camp either. I thought from the trailers that it was going to be one of those highly operatic, over-the-top, overcooked hot messes, but the show is rather sedate and what you see in the trailer are the highest points of emotion in that episode, not the quiet moments that led up to that point, or an indication of the mood of the rest of the show. The humor is very sly, with blink-and-you-‘ll-miss-it one-liners, Lestat’s general bitchiness, something featured heavily in the second novel, or actions and conversations between the characters are just funny. I thought the episodes were funny but it’s not a comedy.
The show touches on Louis being a Black man in the South with a certain amount of sensitivity and addresses his lack of equality with the white men around him (including Lestat) even though he is wealthy, and for all intents and purposes, a superior predator, and that’s illustrated in a scene where Louis feels disrespected by a white man of his acquaintance and brutally kills him. They live in an environment where he cannot be seen to be Lestat’s equal in public, and must always defer to him when they go into whites-only spaces (like the opera), with Louis posing as Lestat’s valet in front of an audience, but behaving as equals once the curtain goes up. Lestat is from France but is reluctant to go back there (we will find out why later), but I can’t help but feel that Louis wouldn’t have to act this way in France, where things were not as strict, and American-born Black people were much tolerated at the time, especially if they had money.
Just to note, there is a lot of blood spilled in this series. There is gore and some nudity, some of it full frontal for those of you who feel some type of way about all that. This is not like the CW. It’s a show for adults although mature teens can certainly access it. The series has a very cinematic feel, and the costumes and sets look like someone spent some money on them. Christopher Rice and his mother Anne were involved in the writing of the series before her passing last year so that made me feel at least a little bit better about the direction of the series. The idea is to slowly incorporate ideas and characters from all the other books as the series continues. I was hoping for a bunch of mini-series based on individual books but this is good too. I’m really enjoying it a lot so far, and I’m excited about its future. There have only been two episodes so there’s still plenty of room for the creators to mess this up but they started off very well, and I eagerly await the next episode.
Interview with the Vampire will air every Sunday on AMC, and last seven episodes. If you subscribe to AMC you can watch the first two.
AMC has already renewed the series for a second season.
One of the great things about October is listening to some of my favorite songs that come from Horror movies. So let’s catch some of these needle drops from Horror movies, which are perfectly okay for listening to all year long.
These first two songs I discovered on YouTube. They’re not from movies, but they are entirely appropriate for Halloween, so I thought I’d put these first. I don’t know what I was looking for at the time but I found these songs by The Merkins ridiculously funny. There’s an entire album’s worth of these, each one of the characters in the group also gets a solo song, and it just tickled me that all of them are sung completely straight like this. Incidentally, “to merc” is the new slang for murder so even the group name is a joke.
Dreamer’s Paradise – The Merkins
I’ll Kill You That Way– The Merkins
This one is one of my new favorites and it comes from one of the top Horror movies this year, Jordan Peele’s Nope – Exuma: The Obeah Man.
I am one of five people that probably even remember this song from the 2016 Ghostbusters: Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid) by Fall Out Boy/Missy Elliott.
No One Believes Me by Kid Cudi from the 2011 Fright Night. This is one of my favorite vampire songs. I absolutely love this video and how much I wish it were a movie.
Here is a song from another Jordan Peele joint (the man has impeccable taste in music), I Got Five On It, from the movie US. I’ve always thought this song was creepy but there were no Horror movies associated with it until Peel made it explicit.
Here is The Candyman from the 2021 version of Nia Dacosta’s Candyman.
From the 1990s version of Stephen King’s The Stand: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. This was also used in John Carpenter’s Halloween.
This is a very popular song for movies but it was very well used in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake When the Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.
Here, using The Munster’s theme song as the foundation is Missy Elliot’s Get Your Freak On.
In case you have not had enough Jordan Peele, here is Childish Gambino’s Redbone, from the movie Get Out!
This is from one of my all-time favorite vampire movies, Joel Schumaker’s 1987 The Lost Boys, the song Cry Little Sister.
The Addams Family movies had some good songs attached to them. Here is the theme song from the first movie performed by MC Hammer, Addams Family Groove.
And for those of you who haven’t seen it in a while, A Bonus Video:
What I find funny isn’t immediately obvious to a lot of my friends. They don’t know what I might or might not find hilarious, so are hesitant to introduce me to things THEY think are funny.
Plenty of movies make me laugh though, and I’m a huge fan of completely absurdist, campy (and occasionally tasteless) humor. Some of my requirements for making this list is that the plot is ludicrous, but at least one of the actors is taking the plot seriously, and at least one other actor recognizes exactly what type of movie they’re in and is just rolling with it. Sometimes the plot is deeply stupid, trashy (usually because of some implied sexual issue) and/or tastelessly over the top, but everyone in the movie plays it completely straight, or the plot is actually what’s serious and straightforward, but the actor’s reactions are exaggerated.
There is a thin line between Campy, Horror/Comedy, and Parody and not everyone can tell the difference. Sometimes there is a lot of overlap, but most people, even if they can’t describe what it is, know Camp when they see it. For example, Rob Zombie’s Halloween is trashy, but it isn’t Campy. The new Munsters movie however is all Camp. In a Campy film, things tend to be overdone. The color is more saturated, the acting is just a bit long, and the plot is just a bit too of whatever it is. There’s a fine dance of all these elements and too much of one thing, and not enough of another, can put a film in a different subgenre.
Here’s a list of the movies I thought were the most enjoyable and funniest. These are not in any particular order, but there are a number of them from the 80s, since that was the time period in which I first saw them, and quite frankly, I consider the 80’s the great age of Horror movies. As I once said, I think my Mom and I tried to watch every single Horror movie in that ten-year period. The Horror movies of the 90s were a lot less Campy than the ones from the 80s.
Fright Night (1985)
If I were making a numbered list this would definitely be in the top five. This movie was so much fun, and not just because the vampire, Jerry Dandridge, played by Chris Sarandon, was having so much fun in his role, but because of the addition of Roddy McDowell, who is a wonderful actor who has to play a has-been Horror movie actor who is also a failed television movie host, named Peter Vincent. Vincent is the one who thinks the situation is insane, but once he realizes it’s real and incredibly dangerous, wants no part of it. He starts out as an unethical and cowardly man who eventually steps up to the plate to become a brave and surprisingly compassionate hero. The movie is also enlivened by the performance of Stephen Geoffreys as a sympathetic and completely over-the-top villain named, appropriately enough, Evil Ed, which is more of a clue as to what type of movie this is. Actually, the only characters who take the plot at all seriously are the two leads, Amy and Charlie, played by Amanda Bearse and Wm. Ragsdale.
Death Becomes Her (1992)
I absolutely love this movie (despite its problematic depictions of fatness). Madeline (played by Meryl Streep) is a vain, insecure, formerly great actress, who keeps stealing the boyfriends of her childhood friend Helen (Goldie Hawn). Tired of this dynamic after Madeline steals yet another boyfriend, Helen embarks on a revenge scheme that involves taking a potion that makes her beautiful and immortal. She hatches a plan with her ex-boyfriend (an unrecognizable Bruce Willis) to murder Madeline. Unknown to both him and Helen, Madeleine also takes the potion, and hijinks ensue as the women find out the hard way that although they can’t die, they can be killed.
The movie has the feel of a comedy of manners, (because of the various misunderstandings and mix-ups), except no one in this movie has any manners. No one in this movie is at all serious about this utterly ridiculous plot, delivering their lines with a wink and a nod, with the sole exception of Isabella Rossellini as the potion provider, who acts as if she is in some grand gothic Horror cinema, while everyone else is in a torrid soap opera. This was my first exposure to Meryl Streep the comedian, and she is absolutely hilarious, as a character whose body has started to break down after she is murdered, but my all-time-favorite line is Helen telling Madeline (after Madeline breaks her neck in a fall) that she won’t speak to her until she gets her head on straight!
At the time the movie was released in 1992, the special effects were groundbreaking as it was the first time CGI had been applied to living, moving actors. This movie is now a Cult Classic in the LGBTQ community, btw. If you haven’t seen (or even heard about) this, it’s well worth watching.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark(1988)
Anytime I have such fond memories of a movie that I start laughing when I hear the title, it definitely means the movie has made my favorites list! I absolutely love this movie and it’s Elvira who sells it with her patented blend of sexy and snarky, which is never mean-spirited. Most of the humor involves Elvira getting herself into silly situations about which she has to make smart-ass remarks before rescuing herself. In this, her first film, she inherits a small town Gothic home from her Aunt, and is menaced by her Uncle who is hunting for a Witch’s grimoire he thinks is hidden within it. This gives Elvira plenty of opportunity to deploy her snarky little side-quips (the bread and butter of the movie) against the self-righteous townsfolk. The movie is very deliberately Camp, but only Elvira seems to understand that’s the case, and she occasionally breaks the fourth wall with a wink and smile to the audience.
The actress (Cassandra Peterson) is also a true Gay icon as she recently came out in her Memoir, Yours Cruelly, where she confessed that she’d been in a relationship with her friend, Theresa Wierson since 2002.
Evil Dead 2(1987)
If you enjoyed Multiverse of Madness and the first Spiderman trilogy you have to see where it all began, although technically Evil Dead 2 is a remake of the first movie Evil Dead by the same director, Sam Raimi. Everything that made Spiderman 2 so much fun to watch, and all of the Madness of the latest Doctor Strange movie has its foundation in this one.
I saw this movie when it was released (on a double bill with Robocop), at a ratty little downtown theater and I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at a movie in my life up to that moment. Picture a 17-year-old girl sitting in a movie theater by herself, laughing uproariously as a man gets attacked by his own hand. Evil Dead 2 is a deeply stupid film, but only maybe two of its characters understand that. Ash, the hero of the movie is an over-the-top clown, but one of the other characters, a female scientist of some kind acts like she’s in a perfectly straight Horror movie. This is one of Sam Raimi’s greatest films. Everything in it is overdone, extremely loud, and unashamedly, unabashedly frantic, from the music to the dialogue, and even the camera work.
The movie is a lot, and despite all the colorful gore, is actually great for teenagers who like Horror movies that aren’t quite that horrible.
Big Trouble In Little China
The best character is the one who has no idea that he is not the hero of this movie, and that is the arrogant, self-referencing, and derpy Jack Burton, played by Kurt Russell. Most of the movie is shown from his point of view, he narrates the movie and thinks of himself as a lovable scamp, but the actual hero of the film is Dennis Dun as Wang Chi, who commits numerous heroic acts, saves the day, and the girl, and plays all of the ridiculous shenanigans in this movie completely straight. Kim Cattrall plays a breathless and overconfident Gracie Law, James Hong (from Everything Everywhere All At Once) is a Fu Manchu parody, and Victor Wong is a Chinese wizard named Egg Shen, which is all you need to know to know what kind of movie we’re dealing with here.
The plot is deeply silly, (and probably exploitative as well since this is the 80s) involving the villain (Lo Pan, aided by his awesome henchmen, The Three Storms) trying to become immortal by sacrificing a girl with blue eyes to his gods, and the only characters who take any of it seriously are the hero (Wang Chi) and the villain (Lo Pan).
Return of the Living Dead
Most of the characters do act like they’re in a serious movie, but this is a movie that knows it isn’t serious at all, as the plot becomes increasingly silly for the audience. We know the movie isn’t to be taken seriously mostly because of the dialogue, and c’mon, the name of the primary company in the movie is called Uneeda which sells cadavers for profit. It’s not the characters that give a sly wink to the audience but the director and writers.
Most of the movie takes place in two small buildings (one a crematorium) with most of the characters being shuttled back and forth between them as the zombies take over the area. The zombies are the fast kind brought about through chemical means, and they also talk. well okay, they only yell for brains, but still. However, the greatest camp moment of the movie is the scene above where the zombies use the ambulance radio to call for more paramedics – so they can eat them.
Return of the Living Dead has its tongue firmly planted in its own cheek.
There were quite a number of Camp vampire films made during the 70s, most of them came from the Italian studios, and that put Hollywood off from making vampire movies for a while, but they seemed to rediscover their interest in the 80s, releasing quite a few as Horror comedies. Vamp is one of my top favorites from the era of, what I like to call, the Golden Age of Comedy Horror.
A trio of college boys in an attempt to get into a fraternity, promise to provide strippers for a party. In their search, they stumble across a goofy childhood girlfriend who is working for a millenia-old vampire Queen, and her bug-eating human servants, in the After Dark nightclub, along with a gang of albino bikers (and yeah, the bikers and the vampires get to duke it out!) The movie is a tragedy but what makes it a comedy are the great, blink and you’ll miss them, one-liners by the lead characters, but what makes it Camp is the utterly silent Queen vampire (played by none other than Grace Jones, in what is probably one of her most pants-shittingly frightening roles) giving the audience the middle finger at the end.
And, oh yeah, there’s a little bit of stripping and Grace Jones does something that could loosely be called dancing.
There’s a thin line between Horror-Comedy and Camp because the two tend to overlap. I consider a Horror/Comedy to be much more deliberately in-your-face funny. In a campy movie, the humor is just a little bit more subtle or has a sexual element that gives the dialogue, and/or horror scenes, a double meaning. Frankenhooker walks that thin line and works it! On the surface, it appears to be a typical Horror/Comedy, but it’s the sexual component of the plot that makes this movie a little-known Camp Classic.
Everything about this movie is utterly ridiculous, from every element of the plot (supercrack, and exploding hookers) to the acting (wooden), to its dialogue (melodramatic). From its opening scene of death by electric lawnmower to the iconic scene of Frankenhooker walking the streets of, where else but New Jersey, screaming at the top of her stolen lungs: “GOT ANY MONEY?!! WANNA DATE?!!”, this movie doesn’t let up for a single moment.
All of it is incredibly, stupidly, trashy!
Some movies don’t seem especially Campy at first, except for a knowing wink and a smile to the audience, which is embodied here in one of the werewolf characters deliberately addressing the audience at the end of the movie. The Howling is one of my favorite werewolf movies and that’s because the Camp is so subtle and well done. Like most Horror movies of the 80s, the scenes are over the top and kind of ridiculous but, if you pay close attention to the dialogue you get that the characters are all smirking at you a little bit. Occasionally, one of the characters will say something as if they know they’re being watched by an outside audience, and the movie is shot in such a way that the creators (namely VFX artist Rob Bottin) want to make the maximum amount of spectacle out of watching someone turn into a werewolf.
For example, this is a process that starts about three times during the film. The first time we don’t get to see it in its entirety because the scene is set in a dark room and interrupted by gunfire, but the second scene, (and we’ve waited for half the movie to see this) is completed in all its closeup, gory, lumpy, squishy detail. The third time, we are all set for a repeat of the second transformation, but we don’t. We get interrupted again.
There’s nothing elevated about the plot, the characters, or the scenery. The characters are rural lower-class peasants, contrasted against sophisticated metropolitan outsiders. The 3 outsiders play everything completely straight as if they don’t know they are in a werewolf movie, but all the rural characters seem in on the secret and are laughing at them and us, and that’s a large part of why this movie is so much fun!
The Newest Addition:
Rob Zombie’s Netflix adaptation of The Munsters, which makes no secret of its Campiness, just putting it all out there as brazen as you please! This was released last week, and I really enjoyed it. It was as much fun as I thought it would be although looking at it can be a bit exhausting. It is extremely colorful. He seemed to very much capture the mood and aesthetic of the original. I could have done with more of the Herman and Lilly falling in love plot, rather than the no-count werewolf brother side plot getting so much airtime, but it turned out the plot is a prequel, so we understand why the family moved from Transylvania to Los Angeles.
Okay, you guys all know I’m a huge fan of Horror movies, and that means I’m also a big fan of Halloween, which means the entire month of October gets to be Halloween month. Yep, I’m one of those people who celebrate Halloween all month long, culminating in a big movie blowout on Halloween night (if I don’t fall asleep first – I’m old yall. Whaddaya gonnado?). I have not watched a lot of Horror movies this year because I’ve mostly been unimpressed by what I’ve been offered this year, and I haven’t been in the mood to watch much of it, preferring comedies and anime, but I’m ready to start watching Horror again.
Anyway, I have some really exciting series and movies to look forward to next month and I want to share them with you. Now, some of these have already been released this month and I have trailers for the ones I plan to watch, and some aren’t released until next month, with a mix here of TV series and movies. I don’t know that any of these are any good, but they look interesting, and I’m going to check them out and then talk about them (except for the movies because I most likely will not get to see those in theaters). But hey, there are plenty of TV shows to take up any slack and it’s all Horror all month long.
There is a lot to look forward to. At the top of my list are:
Hellraiser (7 – Hulu)
Here is the first trailer for the new Hellraiser series. For those not in the know, the new Pinhead is being played by an actress, and since this is streaming the creators can get as gory and dreadful as they like. The new Cenobites look awesome and grotesque. Hopefully, this series will be better than Hellraiser 2 and the many mediocre sequels which didn’t seem to understand the point of Barker’s books. I also hope they can bring in elements of the last Hellraiser book The Scarlet Gospels with Harry D’amour.
Interview with the Vampire(2 – AMC)
I just watched an hour-long special on the making of this series which is free on YouTube, and the creators talk about the changes they made and why, and I’m glad they did because there has been a lot of discussion about how old Claudia is in this series. Claudia here is about 14, and there’s a reason why they did it that way.
Anne Rice had a hand in the choosing of this actress so I’m okay with it, and there is no way in hell you’re gonna be able to get any kind of permission to have a five or six-year-old girl (the age she is in the book) to do the things you can get an 11-year-old (the movie version played by Kirsten Dunst) or the older version to do. Due to the nature of the role, and what is required of the actress, she has got to be aged up out of sheer necessity, so I’m not quite sure why people think it’s a bad idea to have her be 14 unless it’s for the usual racist bullshit because the actress is biracial. I don’t think that’s the reason, because I haven’t seen a whole lot of white people acting like damn fools over the casting of these characters (but I no longer have any faith that white people on social media will act sane. At this point in time I expect there to be some assholery!)
But I love that the series is as lushly overdone and over the top as the original books (I expect a certian amount of cringe) and that the creators are going to be using information from all the books because what this is is a kind of forty-year-old sequel to the first book, where Daniel, the interviewer, comes back to question Louis in the present day.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities(25 – Netflix)
This is going to be an anthology series of eight stories from famous directories of different Horror movies, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to come up with based on the museum-like items that Guillermo owns in his home. Remember he has a book out about all the different oddities he’s collected over the years so that’s worth checking out too.
Halloween Ends (14 – Theaters and Peacock)
Fortunately, this is airing on both streaming and in theaters and I’m ready to see how this all ends. The second movie simply wasn’t as good as the first (although it was a good effort and had some interesting moments). I was a little disappointed that Jamie didn’t have as much to do in the second mvoie which mostly focused on the different townspeople and their reaction to Michael coming back to town. This movie looks like it will focus once again on the matchup between her and Michael.
The Munsters (9/27 – Netflix)
I talked before about how while I am a big Addams Family fan, my first love was The Munsters and this is being released this week to Netflix! It looks like a whole lot of fun, which is the whole point. The focus is on the comedy, not the scares. Think of this as a less dark, more childlike version of The Addams Family. I’ll get back to you about what I think.
Queer for Fear (9/30 – Shudder)
So far, I am really enjoying quite a few of the documentaries about Horror movies that have aired on Shudder, and which seem to be their specialty. Docuseries like Horror Noire and The History of Folk Horror were really informative and well done so I’m eager to see what the Horror community has to say about Queerness in Horror films. This is narrated by Bryan Fuller an out gay creator who is the showrunner of the Hannibal series and the first season of Star Trek Discovery.
Second Tier: These are interesting and most likely will be watched.
Tales From the Walking Dead – I have yet to watch any of these. I’ll have time to do that in October, I hope.
Piggy – This looks really interesting. Its been playing at TIFF and has gotten a few accolades. It’s about a bullied, overweight girl who runs into a serial killer that taking out girls in her town who have been tormenting her and what she might decide to do or not do about that.
Teen Wolf Movie (Paramount) – I had no intention whatsoever of watching this but thought it might be of interest to other people who were really into it when it used to air on MTV.
Pearl – This looks interesting but I’m not spending money to see it. I think this is already out now.
Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey – I talked about this already. I still don’t know wtf to think about this movie!
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (5 – Netflix) – This movie is one of the creepier, but lighter weight stories from Stephen King’s anthology titled Let It Bleed, about a young man receiving phone calls from a dead friend.
Wendell And Wild (28 – Netflix) – This is from the same team that created The Nightmare Before Xmas so I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s about a couple of demons who have to fight a nun or something. I don’t care. It’s on Netflix, Imma watch it.
VHS/99 (20 – Shudder) – I watched all the other films in this series, and they are all hit or miss as far as the stories. I liked the last one okay, so I’ll give this one a try.
Let the Right One In (7 – Showtime) – This week was the first time I heard about this and I really liked the movies (there are two versions, Norwegian and USian). This is about a child who becomes a vampire and how her father deals with that. It appears to be expanded a lot from the movies so I’m interested in what they’ve done with the basic story.
Prey for the Devil(28) – Normally I don’t care for exorcism movies because they all feel like retreads of The Exorcist (which is also set to get another sequel). But this one looks interesting because it’s from the point of view of a woman, a nun who wants to perform the exorcism herself.
Old People (7 – Netflix) – This one reminds me of the movie Parents, where the parents all went insane or contracted a disease or something and tried to kill their kids. So I guess now it’s the parent’s parents trying to kill their grandchildren.
Grimcutty (10 – Hulu)
I got nothing. I didn’t even know this was a thing that was happening. I don’t even know if I will watch it.
Matriarch (21 – Hulu)
This doesn’t look especially interesting to me but might be of interest to others, so I put it in this group. I don’t know if I will watch it.
Everything Else: These mostly seem to involve a whole lot of killing, zombies, and spirits! Some of these are being released later this year.
Curse of Bridge Hollow (14 – Netflix)
Spirit Halloween (11 – VOD)
Werewolf By Night (7 – Disney+)
Reginald the Vampire
The Loneliest Boy in the World
Among the Living
They Cloned Tyrone
This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen and has three of my top favorite Black actors in it, Teyonah Paris from Wandavision, Jamie Foxx who just starred in Day Shift, and of course, John Boyega who I always wonder what he’s doing when I don’t see him for a while. I’m not into the conspiracy stuff that’s in this but these three appear to be having the time of their lives, and I’m glad to see them working together.
A Knock At the Cabin
This is based on the book by Paul Tremblay called The Cabin At the End of the World, and involves a home invasion that is kind of unique. Dave Bautista is killing it in this role (probably literally!) I don’t want to give away any spoilers but remember the plot from Cabin in the Woods? Think of this as a thematic sequel to that movie.
Bones and All
I got nothing. I never heard of this until I stumbled across the trailer.
Last Voyage of the Demeter
Okay! This is a thing.
Renfield – Nicholas Cage is back at it again.
Evil Dead Rise – A sequel to the Evil Dead remake from a few years ago. I have not seen the remake, so I don’t know about this.
Salem’s Lot – This has been promised to us for a while but they keep moving the date back and we still don’t have a trailer.
The Exorcist (Sequel) – I’m not sure this is a good idea since the original was pretty much as perfectly made as it could be, and every exorcism movie since then has been nothing but tired retreads of it, but I’m going to look at this with an open mind. There have been other sequels, and I watched those, and this may have something to say about the original that wasn’t said in those.
A Quiet Place: Day One – Seems like a good idea I guess. I like the first two movies which are actualyl scary and well acted.
Very obviously the top dog on this list is going to be the next Black Panther film since it is the most hotly anticipated movie being released this fall. There are at least a couple of other movies releasing this Fall and Winter, but I either already posted their trailers, or I’ve not particularly enthused about them myself, although other people may be.
I know this is probably a little bit late but I had technical problems, but they’ve been fixed now, so here goes.
Black Panther:Wakanda Forever
I have a confession to make, and I’m probably not alone in this, but I haven’t watched the original Black Panther film since Chadwick passed. Like Robin Williams, I haven’t been able to watch anything he starred in since he died. I haven’t even watched any of my Mother’s favorite films because these films only remind me that they are gone. There is no future for them, and all I will never have is their legacy. It’s gonna take me a minute to get past it, but I plan to watch the original before I watch this new one, which is going to be doubly hard because not only do I know my mother was looking forward to seeing this, as she was a huge fan of Chadwick, but Black Panther was the first superhero movie I ever saw in the theater with her.
I’m gonna need tissues.
That said, I am really hyped for this movie and not just for the Wakandan stuff. I am absolutely loving the look of the Atlanteans for the South American Indigenous regalia and vibe. I think that’s really inspired, and it all looks very lovely. We finally gonna get to see Angela Bassett tear up the screen because she wasn’t given a whole lot to do in the first one. I do like how the women of Wakanda have had to hold everything down while T’Challa is gone, so it’s not outside the realm of belief to think that one of these women might wear the mask, with the most likely candidates being Nakia (who was offered the special herb in the last movie but declined it) and Shuri (who has been BP in the comic books in her brother’s absence).
One of my favorite actresses is also starring, Michaela Coel, from the hit series, Bubblegum. I thought I’d like her to play Storm, but she is playing a canon lesbian character named Aneka, who is the girlfriend/wife of Ayo, being played by Florence (“Move or you will be moved.”) Kasumba, and I’m excited for that because there is a TV series about the Dora coming up next year. And I also need to mention that Riri Williams, (the successor to Tony Stark’s legacy), as Ironheart, will also be making her debut before her own series release next year, but she is being overshadowed by:Tenoch Huerta.
And can I just say that, although I had my doubts about this new guy playing Namor, ( I was unsure if he would bring the fire, so to speak), Tenoch Huerta is looking pretty damn fire, indeed? He certainly seems to have the attitude, and when he stood on the stage at SDCC and staring speaking Spanish to the audience, I got chills, and I hope the Mexican people are as jazzed about seeing him onscreen as we were to see BP that first time! I was really hoping they would cast Gabriel Luna, but maybe they have some other role for him (like Ghost Rider again!) because I’m really looking forward to seeing more Latin and Indigenous representation in the MCU, and in Fantasy/SciFi in general. The MCU didn’t have to make Namor Mesoamerican, but they re-wrote his character to do just that, and I have to give them their props. They have made so many people happy.
There are so many cultures that would love to see themselves represented onscreen, that would love to see elements of their stories being shown to the rest of the world, and the Marvel Universe is big enough to do just that.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
I am very much looking forward to this movie, although I don’t know if I’ll see it in the theater because that depends on what else gets released that month and if I have any money. But yeah, this looks like a lot more fun than LOTR, and House of Dragons, which are also cut from the same cloth.
This one stars one of the better Chrises, Chris Pine and he’s really cute so that’s cool. I could do without Michelle Rodriguez (mostly because she is not a likable person that I want to look at for two hours) but I do like that it has a diverse cast, because we never get to see Latinas in Fantasy stuff. I love all the sparkly magic scenes, and the movie looks like it doesn’t take itself seriously.
I like High Fantasy/Dungeons and Dragons type stuff on a TV or movie screen (and I’m still pretty damn picky about it), but I absolutely will not read any books like that. I’ve got plenty of enthusiasm when it comes to movies and shows but don’t recommend any books to me.
Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power
I can count the number of High Fantasy books I’ve read and the first three Tolkien books were it. I loved all of the movies though, not because I revere the books but for the action scenes and the characters. So basically, I’m no Tolkien purist and people like that tend to annoy me no matter what the genre. That said, I have been told we will get to see women dwarves with their beards intact. I like that the creators added a lot of PoC to this story and that they are all members of all the different races of Middle Earth, and believe it or not, I find the story intriguing too, as it’s set several centuries before The Hobbit, when Galadriel was very young.
I don’t know that I will like this but I really like the trailer, and I’m going to give it a try.
House of the Dragon
This is a legacy spinoff from Game of Thrones. I had only a passing interest in the original series, but I’ll probably check out a few episodes of this one. I wasn’t particularly invested in the various plots of GoT, and I probably won’t be here either, but I am really glad to see more PoC in Fantasy films and series. I’m glad that so many creators are simply ignoring the loud fanboys who just want these genres to stay as white, straight, and male as possible because that’s what’s comfortable for them regardless of how everyone else may feel. I think adding PoC sometimes deepens the meaning of the stories in ways, that while not actually intended by the creators, still make these vehicles worth watching for the rest of us.
We told these creators for over ten years, that if they make it, we will pay for it. They did, and we’ve kept our part of the bargain when it’s done well. They don’t always get things right, but they are listening and learning. As I said when I first started this blog: We like to have adventures too!
That said, this series looks better than the last one, and I’m still very much into the whole dragon thing, although I wonder if there will be ice zombies in this one, (a lot of people are saying no) and how engaging some of the characters will be. I am still not a fan of Matt Smith because the man’s forehead is very distracting and I simply cannot get past it. Milly Alcock however is really cute and looks like a baby (a very dangerous baby, but still).
I am not as excited about this as some other people, but I will give it a try.
I mentioned here before that I didn’t follow the usual comic book routes when I started reading them. There were some things that didn’t show up in my library at all, and some things showed up later, and I just didn’t read them until I was well into adulthood. The Sandman is one of those things. I’d read a few Neil Gaiman books, and liked them more or less but I wasn’t a die-hard fan or anything. He was simply another British author I was passingly familiar with.
I picked up The Sandman books in my 20s, and am passing familiar with most of the characters, so not only am I no purist, I find such people largely intolerable. Yeah, I don’t care how you think something should have been depicted (as it’s usually some inconsequential nitpicky type stuff that has nothing to do with the ultimate story, but will somehow ruin their entire childhood! No, I haven’t forgotten people acting a whole-ass-fool over the organic webspinners!) People will act a damn fool over the casting of this film and in a few years, possibly even 6 months, they will have completely forgotten their assholery and moved on to their next great film outrage.
And yes, I am old enough to remember, before social media existed, when Tom Cruise got cast as Lestat in the movie, and some people lost their shit over it!
Unless the acting is super terrible, it looks cheap, or reminds people of what happened with the failed Inhumans series, the show is going to be just fine. Most of the people watching it won’t even know anything about the minute details that are so upsetting to the stans, anyway.
All that to say, I’m not so invested in the books that I cannot enjoy this. I hope I do, and there is enough enthusiasm for me to give it a try. I try to approach every production with the hope that I will enjoy it, although if there’s no enthusiasm for it, I’ll simply skip it. That said, I have ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS wanted to see a version of Death that was a Black woman and how such an actor might approach that role. I’m also loving the female version of Lucifer (Don’t know if Lucifer is female in the show or not, but the actor identifies as such.)
I Am Groot
To date, Vin Diesel has played three of the most beloved characters, The Iron Giant, Dom Toretto, and now, Groot. I am looking forward to watching these little episodes, where it looks like he’s stranded or trapped on a planet by himself, and shenanigans ensue.
And yeah, I knew those cute little blobs were going to turn out to be dangerous. If you saw the recent Suicide Squad, by James Gunn, then he does something similar with some cute little blobs in that movie, and also some more cute but dangerous tiny critters in the series, Peacemaker, and that just seems like his type of humor.
And look at that face! He’s so cute. Who wouldn’t watch an entire series about Groot, although it will be fun if we get to see him play off Drax. The two of them just mix well.
Interview With the Vampire
I first read this book as a teenager, and it quickly became one of my favorites. The original movie of this was released in the early nineties and existed alongside several other movies like it at the time, with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and The Crow as the two movies that most often tend to mix up their images in my head. I like this trailer although I could have done without all the histrionics. And yeah, I’m glad they are not shying away from the gay angle. Louis and Lestat were a couple for almost a couple hundred years. They had a daughter. They were a little bit coy about that in the original film (but not too much) and here they’re just blatantly showing it.
Now naturally, there are going to be people who are purists who are upset at the changes that were made, but I feel like setting it later in the history of New Orleans (the late 1800s instead of in the late 1700s), and changing the race of Louis, is something that will enhance the story, making it deeper than it would have been otherwise, and allowing the current writers to address issues that maybe Rice should have thought of when she wrote the original story. They’ve also aged up Claudia a bit too. In the book, she’s like 8 or 9 years old. In the movie, she’s perhaps 12, and here she looks more like a teenager of 14-16, and they may have done this to avoid certain sensitive issues about having a child vampire, especially if there’s lots of sexuality surrounding the vampires onscreen. This ain’t a movie, where you can lightly “suggest” certain kinds of things, and have people overlook it. Aging her up might have been an attempt to not be “distasteful”, especially after what happened with the hoopla surrounding that movie with the French director and the little dancing girls.
I really enjoyed the film and I saw it a couple of times in the theater. It was directed by Neil Jordan who was most famous for having directed the genderbending The Crying Game. I distinctly remember when the cast was announced for the film. Brad Pitt got a pass, but the announcement of Tom Cruise as Lestat, had quite a number of people blow a gasket, including Oprah Winfrey! (Although I don’t know why she felt a need to chime in on the issue.) I think that Lestat is one of Cruises’ most interesting performances of his career.
Anyway, I hope this is good. In the novel, Louis de Pont Du Lac is a slaveowner, but here the writers have race-bent the character to be a member of the Black upper class, who were known as the Free People of Color, and I thought that was an inspired bit of casting. Rather than trying to redeem the slave-owning Louis, just write that out of the story altogether and then lean into the rest of the history of that area. The history of the Freedmen of New Orleans runs pretty deep and it will be interesting to see what they do with that here.
This looks like a great little actioner from Korea, that seems to have zombies or a plague or something happening in it. I always like action films from Korea because they always bring their A-game and this looks like the kind of movie where you turn your mind off for a while and just have fun with the action scenes.
This is a good movie to watch while you wait for John Wick 4.
John Wick 4
I and a lot of other fans are eagerly looking forward to this new episode in the franchise since I thought at least a few of these characters were dead! So I am glad to see that they are back and still scheming. I’m also a big fan of Keanu and will pretty much watch anything he’s in, even if it’s something I wouldn’t normally be interested in. But one of my other favorite actors is also here, Donnie Yen. And I absolutely cannot miss Keanu going up against such a consummate professional. I’m not particularly interested in the worldbuilding which is very intricate for an Action movie. I’ve paid close enough attention to have some idea of what’s going on, but I’m not too deep into it. The reason people see these movies aren’t necessarily for the plot, but for the action scenes, which are fast and inventive, and this appears to be more of the same.
Tales of the Walking Dead
I told myself I wasn’t going to watch any more of these after quitting the original Walking Dead series, but this looks intriguing enough to catch my interest. This series seems like what the movie World War Z should have been.
WWZ should have been a kind of anthology series covering the various stories about the zombie apocalypse from the book. The problem is that they hired such a huge name to star in the movie that now the entire movie has to revolve around Brad Pitt. I liked the movie more or less. It’s an alright movie on its own but, except for a couple of setpieces, it’s nothing like the book.
Recently (as of last week) Netflix held what it called Geeked Week, and aired a bunch of new trailers for shows that it will be airing this year. Some of these don’t actually have dates, or just say they’re coming soon, and then there are the movie trailers that are still being released daily. Here are a few that caught my eye.
The first trailer was a tease of this one. Now I don’t know why we need to be teased about a real trailer that’s coming later, but this is what movie studios are doing now, so alright. I have to admit I know very little about Black Adam outside of him being an enemy of Shazam, with a lot of the same superpowers. I didn’t read any of the comic books which featured him, but I did read a few Justice Society books. The Justice Society is the DC version of The Avengers, I think, but I know more about some of the other characters than I know about him.
I’ve read a few of the Hawkman books (not a lot) but I’m excited about Aldous Hodge (from Leverage) as this character. I love that actor. I’ve read quite a number of books on Dr. Fate’s adventures though, and I never pictured a greying Pierce Brosnan as this character. Dr. Fate is sort of the DC version of Dr. Strange. (It doesn’t matter to me who came first at all.) I thought someone much younger would be chosen. The last Dr. Fate book I read starred a young Asian man as the new Fate, so I was kind of hoping for an Asian actor, but I see the casting company decided to go old-school for this particular iteration.
Well, it looks interesting. I don’t know that I’ll go to the theater to see this because I’m not overwhelmed or anything, but I like Dwayne, and the movie looks kinda fun, with plenty of adventure and explosions.
Yeah, I never even heard of this until a few days ago and I don’t know any of the actors here. I’m not sure what to think of this yet. I will probably check out the first couple of episodes but only because it looks like a Horror version of a superhero movie. Once again this is just a teaser, so maybe after I see the full official trailer I might feel some type of way.
Wednesday Addams is my spirit avatar (and that of a lot of other snarky young women, I imagine). I did watch the Youtube series that aired a few years ago, and that was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this version and I hope it’s good. I heard it’s going to be somewhat like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as she goes to live on her own, and fights various supernatural creatures. I like the look of the actress as she seems to have captured the attitude in just this brief glimpse. The actress is actually Latina as befits the daughter of Gomez Addams, and Morticia Addams, who are being played by two of my favorite Latine actors, Luis Guzman, and Catherine Zeta-Jones! Also Christina Ricci will be playing a character in the series, so YAY!!!
This too is just a teaser so when I see a full trailer my opinion may change, but I like this okay.
Wow, I don’t even…
I remember watching this television series as a child, and this Rob Zombie adaptation is so faithful to the original that it’s hilarious. I can tell that this is Rob’s love letter to a TV series that probably influenced his sensibilities for the rest of his life. Everything on the screen feels so authentic, from the makeup and costumes to the attitude, that I wonder how this is going to be different from the original. Once again, this is just Netflix teasing us, so my feelings may change after I see the full trailer.
Oh yeah, Cassandra Peterson, ( The Great Elvira) also has a cameo, so now I’m actually curious.
Prey (Hulu Series)
I would not ever refer to myself as a fan of this franchise although I have enjoyed several movies in it, but this looks intriguing. This is the first television series based on the original film, basically, it’s a prequel, and I’m okay with that. This looks like it’s getting back to the original terrifying roots of the mythology. I remember watching the first movie with Arnold Schwarzeneggar and being frightened out of my pink bunny slippers because no one knew what the hell was happening. Since then we’ve all gotten very used to the Predators thanks to some of the less effective sequels, but I like this one, and I’m going to check it out.
I know. I know, I always say things like that and then I never write a review, or mention it again, but I actually mean it this time.
I like how this trailer just doesn’t explain anything. Is this some future Earth that’s been invaded by an alien lifeform? Are these humans exploring some weird planet? Is this a Lost World story? Who knows! I love weird wildlife movies (like Annihilation), so I will probably give this a look once it starts streaming somewhere.
Yeah, I’m not paying the cost of a mortgage on an unknown quality like this. I’m gonna wait for a safer, less costly venue, the TV in my living room.
The Sea Beast
I don’t know what to think about this beyond that little girl is absolutely adorable but in keeping with most little kids in movies, she’s also kinda annoying. On the other hand, I love monsters, especially monsters from the ocean, so I will probably watch this for the actual Seabeast mentioned in the title. This looks like a buddy movie for kids, and I support that. Maybe I’ll watch this with my ten-year-old niece.
Yup! I got no idea what this is about, but I like historical series set in this particular era, so it has captured my attention. Don’t know that I’m gonna watch it, or that I’ll stick with it beyond the first episode, but it at least looks interesting.
I like the animation here, and it has an Afro-futuristic feel to it, so I’m interested. I don’t normally watch romances either, but the voice actors are a great list, with Kid Cudi as the starring character, and Timothee Chalamet as his smoked-out best friend. It has a great cast of Rap artists and actors (like Jessica Williams from Fantastic Beasts 3) and I like the music.
Synopsis:Entergalactic is an original, animated story about a young artist named Jabari — voiced by Mescudi — as he attempts to balance love and success. Finding the latter brings Jabari a step closer to the former, when moving into his dream apartment introduces him to his new neighbor, photographer it-girl, Meadow — voiced by Jessica Williams. An explosion of art, music, and fashion, Entergalactic takes place in the only city that can handle all three: New York.
Now this one I’m very excited about not just because it looks like hella fun but because Jamie Foxx and vampires just sound like a winning combination to me. Hopefully, this will be funny too, because Jamie is a great comedian, and we need more funny vampire movies.
In 1971, Universal Pictures released Duel, a film starring Dennis Weaver, and directed by, a not yet famous, Stephen Spielberg, from a story by Richard Matheson. In it, a businessman named, conveniently, David Mann, is pursued across the desert by a monstrous truck and the driver who insists on terrorizing him. Mann, who thinks himself a practical, but tough fellow, has to prove his masculinity, not just against the driver of the truck that menaces him for over half the movie, but against his aging vehicle, and the Mojave desert in which this drama unfolds.
The hot, barren, landscape of the desert has often been used as a backdrop to tell stories of dramatic survival, proving one’s toughness, or realizing one’s humanity. Sometimes its about surviving the people in it, as everyone competes for the bare resources that can be found there. Unlike snowy environments, the desert’s wide-open terrain, with so few obstructions, is perfect for car chases, and creating a feeling of low grade anxiety, the sense that one could get lost in such isolation. The heat heightens a person’s fear, and desperation, creating a unique form of sweaty misery. The desert is for isolationists, the place people go when they want to separate themselves from other people, or to prove their rugged individualism, or in some cases, simply go mad.
In the Western storytelling tradition, the protagonist is the person who is trying to move forward, to progress, to accomplish a goal. The antagonist is whatever that person must struggle against to reach said goal. Through that process, the person undergoes change and/or growth. The desert is an environment that can often be filmed with a single protagonist, as in 2010’s 127 Hours, as a young hiker literally struggles against the environment that has trapped him, or as in the Mad Max franchise, a cast of thousands, and still get variations on these basic messages, because it’s the desert that is the ultimate antagonist.
The desert tests the worthy, and this is nowhere better illustrated than in the Mad Max franchise, where human beings manage to scrounge a precarious living, several years after a global catastrophe. In Fury Road, when Max is captured by Immortan Joe’s Warboys, they treat him not as a person, but as a commodity, an object. Throughout the movie, while fighting Immortan Joe, his men, and the dry terrain in which their battle takes place, Max grows and changes, reasserting his humanity and proving to others that he is not a thing.
The desert is home to the poor and isolated, with its lonely trailer parks, ghost towns, and abandoned and ramshackle houses. It’s a place where people go to get away from other human beings. Most Horror movies set in the desert, like those set in rural America, tend to focus on people as monsters, rather than creatures.
The kind of people who live in the desert are often equated with its predators, as they stalk, kill and feed on anyone they regard as intruders into their domain. They are sometimes mutated, and feral, as in the 1977 Wes Craven movie, The Hills Have Eyes, where a vacationing suburban family run afoul of a pack of cannibals who scrounge a living in the Nevada desert by eating those who pass through it. The movie pits family against family, as the Carters attempt to hold onto their humanity while fighting the inhumanity of the cannibals. And in 1987’s Near Dark, a family of vampires preys on desert wanderers, or the occasional lonely farmboy, who just happens to run afoul of the wrong girl of his dreams.
The desert is vast and unforgiving, and its silence and isolation gives birth to much quieter horrors than trucks and cannibals, as all kinds of rotten secrets hide there, as in the 1975 movie, The Devil’s Rain, which stars William Shatner, as he tries to stop the leader of a Satanic cult from retrieving an artifact of great power. In the 2005 film, Wolf Creek, a young woman must try to survive the landscape, and the serial killer she and her family encounter while camping in the Australian outback, and in the 2017 Netflix movie, Cargo, a father is suffering from a zombie bite, while stranded in the outback, and must try to get his baby to safety before he succumbs to his wounds.
Desert wanderers are not always victims or innocents, and any people one finds wandering in the desert are best left to themselves, as the 1986 movie, The Hitcher, shows. When Jim Halsey picks up a hitchhiker in the Nevada desert, he finds he has picked up a serial killer who terrorizes him for the rest of the movie. It seems the desert is as great a place to be stalked and hunted as the jungle, since that is the plot of several desert set films, from 1995’s Nature of the Beast, which stars Lance Henriksen, to the 2001 Joy Ride, starring Paul Walker, where a group of teenagers is stalked by yet another truck driver across the arid landscape.
Its best not to live in small towns situated in or near the desert, as they tend to attract monsters of all kinds including large and small desert dwelling insects. In the vast openness of the desert, creatures tend to grow in size to match, often aided by nuclear radiation. In the movie Them! from 1954, giant ants terrorize a desert town, after they are mutated by nuclear testing. A year later, another town experiences a giant spider invasion, caused by nuclear testing, in the 1955 movie Tarantula. Nuclear testing isn’t the only culprit for villainous desert bugs as they sometimes get mutated by chemical waste, such as in the 2002 horror comedy, Eight Legged Freaks, where the tiny town of Prosperity, Arizona gets attacked by the titular monsters, after a truckful of chemical waste, and a local spider farm, collide.
The smaller versions of these desert animals sometimes like to get in on the action, too, as in the 1977, Kingdom of the Spiders, starring William Shatner again, when tarantulas take their revenge against a small Arizona town that burned down one of their habitats. In the 1974 Phase IV, ants in the Arizona desert plan to take over the world, and make humans a part of their new hive mind, after a mysterious comet imbues them with greater intelligence.
Sometimes other kinds of monsters come from under the ground, as the residents of a small Nevada town discover when an earthquake releases mutated cockroaches, that have the ability to start fires, and being eaten alive was something the residents of the tiny town of Perfection did not foresee after they are attacked by a pack of massive tunnel dwelling worms, that they name Grabboids. The townsfolk have to demonstrate just how self sufficient, and clever, they can be against an underground menace that can appear anywhere, and without warning, all while trying to escape across the barren landscape, to find safety in the next town.
In fact, the desert’s isolation ensures that all kinds of weirdnesses can be born there, and reach a certain level of maturity before they’re even discovered. The strangest thing to come out of the desert to prey on mankind is the sentient tire named Robert, from the 2010 Horror Comedy, Rubber. Robert rolls through the desert landscape telekinetically exploding any humans he encounters, while a choir of onlookers give commentary.
Despite the wealth of material in this post however, movies set in the desert aren’t that frequent. It’s a difficult landscape in which to shoot a film. The temperatures and sand can work against any filmmakers so making anything in such a place is a real feat, but there are a few filmmakers who feel that the sere dry heat and isolation of the desert is worth it. The desert landscape, just like it’s snowy cousin, the tundra, is the type of landscape that is great for showing human survival at the extremes.