3 Campy Horror Films to Watch When Sick

Whenever I was little my go-to whenever I was sick was Gatorade, saltines, chamomile tea, Archie Comics, and campy horror movies. My parents would always rent me some new campy horrors and buy me new comics, and I’d always feel marginally better afterward. So, if you ever find yourself stuck in bed and need a way to kill a few horrors with some campy horrors, don’t worry! I have you covered.

PSYCHO GOREMAN

Intergalactic assassins converge on a small town after two siblings unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord.

EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN

The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) once again battling horrifying demons at a secluded cabin in the woods. After discovering an audiotape left by a college professor that contains voices reading from the Book of the Dead, Ash’s girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) becomes possessed by evil spirits that are awakened by the voices on the tape. Ash soon discovers there is no escaping the woods.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS

A group of carousing American tourists is taking in the cultural landmarks of Paris when a chance encounter results in sightseer Andy McDermott (Tom Everett Scott) saving the life of Parisian Serafine Pigot (Julie Delpy). While on a date at a nightclub with Serafine, Andy is suddenly attacked and bitten by a werewolf. The next day he discovers that Serafine is also a lycanthrope, and that he is beginning his own grueling, hirsute transformation into one of the fanged beasts.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVE CAMPY HORRORS?

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Film Review: Nightmare Alley

By the time this post will be live, Nightmare Alley will have been nominated for Best Picture for 2022. Now, as a horror fan, it always excites me whenever I see a horror film on the Academy Awards ballot, so of course, I’m thrilled to see it there. At the same time, I don’t feel like this film was Del Toro’s best. This film was a remake of the 1947’s Nightmare Alley, in which Tyrone Power played the lead, but also was the one to insist for the film to be made in the first place. Having watched the original film, it’s very difficult to enjoy Bradley Cooper attempting to be the leading noir man when despite his best efforts at being a good actor, simply lacks the charisma of a true leading man (especially when you compare Power’s stage presence with his).

The film is adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. The plot is a fascinating one: a man down on hi luck joins a traveling carnival. The man in question is Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) and he quickly grows fascinated with wanting to learn the tricks to become a mentalist (mind reader). He believes he can outsmart the average man and in doing so can make money off of their stupidity and hope.

That is until he meets Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) a psychiatrist with wealthy clients. The two team up to try to schill money out of the wealthy, but Stanton makes the mistake of thinking that he’s more powerful and cunning than he actually is.

Of course, Del Toro excels in depicting the perfect noir film scenes and the pacing is excellent, and the cast’s saving graces are Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette. But with a movie that runs over two hours, it’s difficult to root for a leading man that we don’t care anything about (in the 1947 original we do feel sorry for Tyrone Power’s Stanton) in this remake, we can’t help but be happy for Bradley Cooper’s Stanton to get exactly what he deserved.

If you haven’t watched the original you may enjoy this version more than I did, or if at least you don’t expect much from your leading men other than being “easy on the eye,” as Toni Collette’s Zeena tells Stanton in the very beginning, then you may overlook this miscasting. Other than that, I recommend the film because the plot is interesting and has a very bold message: Can we truly outrun our real nature, or will we ultimately befall what we really are? I’d also say to read the book because it’s excellent.

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Top 5 Horror Films Directed by Women

In the past couple of years, female directors have truly flexed their predilections for all things scary and creepy, and have managed to create some true gems. Here are some amazing films directed by female directors that will be sure to keep you up at night and leave you questioning a few things about yourselves and others (as all excellent horrors do).

TITANE (2021) DIRECTED BY JULIA DUCOURMAU

A woman who has a titanium plate fitted in her head embarks on a bizarre journey involving her fetish for cars.

CENSOR (2021) DIRECTED BY PRANO BAILEY-BOND

A British film censor links a disturbing horror movie to her sister’s mysterious disappearance.

CANDYMAN (2021)DIRECTED BY NIA DACOSTA

For decades, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green were terrorized by a ghost story about a supernatural, hook-handed killer. In present day, an artist begins to explore the macabre history of Candyman, not knowing it would unravel his sanity and unleash a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

12 HOUR SHIFT (2020) DIRECTED BY BREA GRANT

Bodies start to pile up when a drug-addicted nurse and her crazed cousin try to find a replacement kidney for an organ trafficker.

BLEED WITH ME (2020) DIRECTED BY AMELIA MOSES

During a winter getaway at an isolated cabin, a self-destructive young woman becomes convinced that her best friend is stealing her blood.

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Film Review: Last Night In Soho

I’ve enjoyed Edgar Wright films ever since he began with Shaun of the Dead. Now, Last Night In Soho doesn’t have time to be witty or funny as it’s drenched in dread and blood.

This film has everything I personally love, London, 60’s music, and a badass chick in the form of Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy). But the true breakout star of this movie is shy Eloise played by the superb Thomasin McKenzie. Eloise has fashion designer aspirations and when she’s over the moon when she’s accepted to a fashion school in London. Only she finds out real quick that London isn’t as amazing as it seems when she fails to fit in with her college peers and seeks refuge in Soho where she rents a room from Miss Collins.

The moment Eloise enters the room, she begins to have visions of the past. Every night when she goes to sleep she mysteriously enters the world of 1960’s London and sees the night life from the eyes of aspiring singer Sandy. Initially, Eloise is smitten to enter the world she always wanted to inhabit. In her waking life, she tries to emulate Sandy, by her looks, haircolour, and speech. But she soon discovers that all the glitz and glamour isn’t as it seems especially when she witnesses a brutal murder. Soon, she’s being haunted even in her waking life, and the fine line between reality and fiction weave in a terrible fever dream that comes to a brutal head in the final act.

This film will leave you speechless in the final act but also with a smirk.

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5 Horror Movies I’m Looking Forward to in 2022

ORPHAN: FIRST KILL

I really enjoyed the first film in this franchise and am curious about the interesting plot in the sequel:

Leena, a murderous sociopath who looks like a child due to a medical condition, escapes from an Estonian psychiatric facility. Leena impersonates the missing daughter of a wealthy family but becomes pitted against a determined mother.

DARK HARVEST

A legendary monster called October Boy terrorizes residents in a small Midwestern town when he rises from the cornfields every Halloween with his butcher knife and makes his way toward those who are brave enough to confront him.

NOPE

Not much is known about this film plot-wise, but it’s Jordan Peele and there’s a mushroom cloud in the sky, so I don’t know if it’ll be a horror movie inspired by atomic bombs?

DON’T WORRY DARLING

A 1950’s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.

HATCHING

A young gymnast who tries desperately to please her demanding mother discovers a strange egg. She hides it and keeps it warm, but when it hatches, what emerges shocks them all.

WHAT ARE SOME HORROR FILMS YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR? LET ME KNOW!

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Film Review: The Advent Calendar

This film from writer-director Patrick Rideremont is a fever dream of a modern fairytale of storts. Eva (Eugenie Derouand) is a former ballet dancer who is now stuck in a wheelchair after a car accident (caused by her best friend). Said best friend gives her an ancient Advent Calendar for her birthday and this is when the Faustian thrills begin.

From love potions, voodoo, and trippy hallucinations, this horror has it all. The rules of the Advent Calendar are quite simple, eat all of the candy in the calendar or you die, follow all of the calendar’s rules or you will die, and don’t you dare throw the calendar away or you will die.

The calendar seemingly seems to give Eva everything she desires, but receiving these “gifts” means that she must be willing to sacrifice something as well. As the days go on, the gifts she reaps are bigger and the sacrifices begin to get much more personal each time.

Reading some reviews of the film, I know some didn’t like the idea that a disabled character would go above and beyond morality to try to regain the use of her legs. And I get why that would be problematic. I think the script should’ve shown the real reason why Eva was obsessed with regaining the use of her legs so that she could dance again (ballet was her life). Without showing the audience how important ballet was to her, her drive to be “normal” feels like a form of ableism.

Overall, the film has beautiful cinematography and the actual Advent Calendar prop is something that all horror enthusiasts would love to have (maybe without the Faustian curse though).

You can check out the film on Shudder.

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Top 3 Christmas Horror Movies

I don’t know why I always find that Christmas time can inspire the creepiest films. Maybe it’s because of the cold or the sinking feeling of isolation that becomes far more acute during the winter months, but horror movies that are set during the Christmas holiday are that much creepier, and here are my top three.

BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

As winter break begins, a group of sorority sisters, including Jess (Olivia Hussey) and the often inebriated Barb (Margot Kidder), begin to receive anonymous, lascivious phone calls. Initially, Barb eggs the caller on, but stops when he responds threateningly. Soon, Barb’s friend Claire (Lynne Griffin) goes missing from the sorority house, and a local adolescent girl is murdered, leading the girls to suspect a serial killer is on the loose. But no one realizes just how near the culprit is.

THE LODGE (2019)

During a family retreat to a remote winter cabin over the holidays, the father is forced to abruptly depart for work, leaving his two children in the care of his new girlfriend, Grace. Isolated and alone, a blizzard traps them inside the lodge as terrifying events summon specters from Grace’s dark past.

SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT (1984)

An orphan raised by nuns (Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick) grows up to be a killer toy-store Santa Claus.

What are some of your fave Christmas horror movies?

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Movie Review: Catch Hell

Since I’m currently in the works of trying to write a contained horror script I decided to look up which films fell into that category and this came up. Apparently it came out in 2014, and is produced by Twisted Pictures (known for producing horror films) I was slightly confused as to why it was marketed as a thriller (at least from the blurb) especially since the plot would’ve resonated more with horror fans. I’m not the sort of person who reads reviews before jumping into films or books, I kinda prefer going into something totally blind so as not to spoil the experience with expectations or preconceived opinions.

Now, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a movie directed, co-written, and starring Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions, I Know What You Did Last Summer) since his most recent credits include mostly the action genre but like most first time film directors there are two ways anyone’s first film can go they either make a horror (like Romola Garai’s Amulet) or they make a pseudo-autobiographical film (like Asia Argento’s Scarlet Diva). Now Phillippe decided to flip the switch and do both. It’s a horror film whose protagonist pretty much mirrors Phillippe himself. My horror fam will get me when I say that this film is a cross between Hostel and Lake Placid.

The premise is pretty simple, Reagan Pearce is an actor struggling to find the perfect project that will put him back in the game for A-list films, instead he finds himself having to take roles he’s not too crazy about, whilst also feeling the weight of what it means to be over 40 in Hollywood (basically, a death sentence). That’s why he finds himself heading out to Shreveport, Louisiana for a role he’s not too keen on but that his manager tells him he’s gotta do “cause you know why.”

The following morning he is picked up by a different driver than the day before. Two questionable rednecks pass themselves off as production members, and Reagan reluctantly gets in the van. It doesn’t take long for him to realize he’s made a major mistake but tries not to freak out as red flags are waving neon bright alarms. Unfortunately for him, he soon finds himself being held captive under the premise that he slept with the wife of one of the two men who abducted him. Mike (Ian Barford) is a violent man, convinced that Reagan needs to pay for his transgressions, whilst Junior (Stephen Louis Grush) goes along with the plan as a favor to his uncle. The two keep the actor chained to a wall in an isolated shack, the looks of it reminiscent of Saw.

It doesn’t take long for the torture to happen and as an ex-pianist I can’t help but majorly cringe whenever hands are severely crushed/maimed/or broken. If you’ve seen enough abduction films, you can kind of predict what’s going to happen but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think this sort of film would’ve found a receptive audience in film fests like Shriekfest or Scream Fest at the time. As someone who has written/directed/starred in my own short film, I can definitely say that it’s a very difficult task so the fact that Phillippe managed to do all of that with 19 filming days, I’m impressed. Ultimately, we never know if Reagan had truly hooked up with Mike’s wife, but he definitely did know her.

The film’s strength is the unpredictability of the two villains, even when we start to see one as the nicer one, you’re thrown another twist and can’t help but cringe expecting the worst to happen. By the way, the nature of this film is high on tension so if you’re expecting to have a moment to relax with some comedic relief, it rarely occurs, but in a way allows us to fully immerse ourselves in Reagan’s perspective and thus feel the same uncertainty, fear, and dread.

If you’re a fan of contained semi-campy horror or just a fan of abduction movies, then I would recommend you to check it out.

And if for some reason Ryan Phillippe ever feels compelled to direct something vastly different (but yet still violently brutal) then he should hit me up cause Terror! Depicts the French Revolution in ways you haven’t seen before (plus it’s chock-full of gallows humor cause that’s the only humor I know).

Watch Catch Hell on Amazon Prime Video

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Screenplay: Terror!

Heads will roll….

Logline: A beautiful and unscrupulous Italian aristocrat goes undercover in 1793 Paris and befriends the unhinged revolutionaries of the Reign of Terror for a chance to save Marie Antoinette. It’s The Great meets The Favourite with a violent, dark, feminist edge.

* * *

Excerpts from the screenplay:

***

***

Dream Cast (cause why not?)

Lavinia: Margot Robbie, Chloe Grace Moretz, or Anya Taylor Joy

Maximillien Robespierre: Elijah Wood

Louis Saint-Just: Cody Fern or Cole Sprouse

Count Hans Axel Fersen: Ryan Phillippe or Wes Bentley

Marie Antoinette: Romola Garai

Budget: 5-8 million (not MY estimation, what was suggested to me on The Blcklist).

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My Favourite Horror Movie Trope: Creepy Dolls

When it comes to horror tropes, creepy dolls is hands down my absolute favourite. I can’t really explain why, other than the fact that I’ve always been a huge lover and collector of dolls, so the idea that said dolls could actually come to life has equally thrilled and horrified me. Considering that my first ever published work was for a school anthology when I was nine entitled, “Little Friends,” where the protagonists doll comes to life and guides the protagonist towards a haunted forest with a witch pretty much tells you all there is to know about child-me (I’m actually very surprised my school actually published a story that had both a witch AND a killer doll all in one but hey, guess the principal was a horror fan). Having said that, here are my absolute must-see creepy dolls horror movies.

DOLLS

A dysfunctional family of three stop by a mansion during a storm – father, stepmother, and child. The child discovers that the elderly owners are magical toy makers and have a haunted collection of dolls. If you happened to sleepover at my house between the time I was 6-12 years old, then you most definitely have seen this and I may have played pranks to amp up the scare factor, and maybe you know hate me (and dolls) forever. Sorry, not sorry.

CHILD’S PLAY

A single mother gives her son a much sought-after doll for his birthday, only to discover that it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. There’s no way that I could have a creepy doll list without mentioning the most iconic and famous killer doll of them all, Chucky! Now, not only is Chucky uber creepy, he’s also hella funny spouting off one-liners with the comedic verve of Freddy Krueger, so obviously, I’m a huge fan of the franchise.

PUPPET MASTER

Psychics find themselves plotted against by a former colleague, who committed suicide after discovering animated, murderous puppets. This film franchise has a ton of sequels (that yes, I have seen) that take a turn for the campy, historic, and truly bizarre at some points. My favourite puppet of the group is Blade and Fangoria magazine was selling said puppets at one point when I was little but I could never get my dad to shell out $80 for a puppet (which I’m still salty about cause ya know, Blade was totally awesome).

ANNABELLE

A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists. Everyone is familiar with Annabelle, and what sets her apart from all the other dolls in this list is that said Annabelle actually exists and is believed to be totally haunted. The Warrens kept the real Annabelle in a locked glass case and had a priest bless it once a month to weaken the evil spirits. I really loved this film so much that I ended up watching it at a theatre twice.

DEAD SILENCE

A young widower returns to his hometown to search for answers to his wife’s murder, which may be linked to the ghost of a deceased ventriloquist. Before James Wan decided to scare the shit out of people with Annabelle he decided to go for the creepy puppet and I was there for it (honestly I’m gutted that it never had a sequel).

What are some of your favourite horror tropes? Let me know!

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