Spooky season is almost upon us and there are already a few movies coming out prior to October. Here are my top three that I can’t wait to see!
If you haven’t checked out X yet, then do it now! Pearl is a prequel to X and explores the titular villain from the first film. Set in 1918 during the era of the Spanish Flu pandemic and World War I. The events take place prior to the previous film and explore how the cabin where the massacre of X takes place was once used as a boarding house during the war. Pearl feels trapped at the isolated family farm, and she’s tasked with attending to her comatose father and dealing with her cruel mother. But she lusts after a glamorous life she’s seen depicted in Hollywood movies, and her yearning sets off some devastating events.
The first movie was deliciously gory in all the best ways possible! After mutilating sole survivor Victoria Heyes and committing suicide upon police confrontation. Art is resurrected by a sinister being a year later and begins to hunt for two unsuspecting siblings on Halloween night.
MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM
I loooove Grady Hendrix novels because they’re both terrifying and hilarious. One can already see from the trailers that the movie is gonna be faithful to the book as much as possible and I’m here for it. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries-and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Typically, it’s always a challenge to have a movie with only two actors carrying the film for a good portion of it, especially when the setting doesn’t change. From the very beginning, a couple, Kate (Kate Bosworth) and Mikey (Emile Hirsch) are contestants in a strange game in which they agree to spend 50 days living in a white room. If they manage to do that, the couple will win $5 million dollars, if for some reason one of them chooses to leave the room prior to 50 days, the prize money drops to $1 million.
The room has the chilly aesthetic of a chic art gallery, and with no form of entertainment whatsoever, the couple must learn to live with boredom for 50 days. We soon learn that Kate views the money as a means to put her mind at ease after spending a life worrying about her finances, while Mikey comes from a wealthy family and it’s still unclear why the money would mean much to him other than to be supportive of his girlfriend. For most pre-lockdown people, staying in a room for 50 days would’ve seemed like an easy feat, but as lockdown made us all realize, being confined is actually much harder than it looks.
Hirsch is animated as Mikey, as he explains what he would do with the money if he were to win, or how to kill boredom he begins to read the tag on his shirt in different accents. Bosworth’s performance is more contained as her character Kate tries to keep herself together with daily affirmations. It isn’t until the addition of external people that she gets triggered and her balance begins to tilt. The couple’s shut-in world begins to shake the moment Simone (Ashley Greene Khoury) enters the room, which sparks jealousy and tension to rise between the couple. It doesn’t take long for the ugly emotions to surface for it to bring things to a head.
The film begins with a study on boredom and if it’s possible to be driven mad by it, but it quickly devolves into the malice of greed and how far would one go to keep the prize in question. Again, for being a film that focuses mostly on two characters and one location, the script was interesting, although this film is less Squid Games than I had anticipated and ends on a positive note.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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?
DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!
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
DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!