Category Archives: Horror

The Midnight Drive-In: Daddy’s Deadly Darling (aka PIGS) & Razorback

This week we’re talking about pork movies with Daddy’s Deadly Darling (aka PIGS) and Razorback! We weirdly start off the show talking about Kevin Spacey that then goes to Victor Silva and Corey Feldman.  After all that we actually have some listener mail, talk about such things as Happy Death Day (yes again), Stranger Things 2, and Jigsaw.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Rachel Shatto

Halloween is here tomorrow and this is our last Halloween Scavenger Hunt list.  I hope you’ve found something new and interesting to watch during your Halloween viewing because of these lists.  And doing this project has actually inspired a bigger project that is somewhat similar.  Keep your eyes peeled.  Now here is our list from Rachel Shatto!  She’s a podcast guru and a sometimes writer right here at Geek Nerdery.  Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

1. Absentia (2011) – This is the movie that made me a Mike Flanagan fan. Although he has since gone on to make a handful of consistently creepy films like Occulus, Hush, and most recently Gerald’s Game, it’s his first film, Absentia that really worked its way under my skin. The film follows two sisters, one who is finally ready to declare her missing husband dead in absentia and another who has attracted the interest of a creature lurking in a nearby tunnel. A pervading sense of dread, unique mythology, and unforgettable ending make this one to add to your October viewing list.

2. Love Object (2003) – I randomly stumbled onto Love Object while flipping through the channels late one night. It’s about a lonely man who is convinced his life-size sex doll is murdering people. With a description like that, how could I not watch it? I was expecting a low budget B-movie, but what I got was so much better. What could easily just be an absurd premise actually turns into alternately tragic, disturbing, and darkly funny psychological horror film, thanks to a chilling central performance by Desmond Harrington. I suggest pairing this with Pin for a double feature of… umm… anatomically correct killer doll movies.

3. Baby Blood (1990) – If you like your horror splattery and strange, find yourself an unrated copy of Baby Blood (aka The Evil Within). This movie is about a woman whose unborn baby has been taken over by a primordial creature that telepathically demands that she feed him blood so that he can be born, return to the sea, and take the world back from mankind. It’s all very Lovecraftian, but with loads more gore and nudity. It’s a French language film but I recommend the dubbed version so that you can enjoy the voice acting talents of Gary Oldman who inexplicably lends his voice to the killer fetus.

4. The Whisperer in Darkness (2011) – I adore Lovecraft and the universe he created (minus the racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia obviously). Unfortunately, most of the films based on his works are less thrilling. That’s not the case with The Whisperer in Darkness, which was produced by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and, as result, you can feel the absolute love and passion for the source material in every frame. The film is based on the story by the same name and is a largely faithful retelling, but with an extended third act (because Lovecraft, despite all his talent for creating eldritch horrors of cyclopean proportions, often had trouble sticking the landing). Anyway… this film, which was shot in “mythoscope” to invoke the look and feel of a ’30 era film, is just so much fun for fans of Lovecraft, classic sci-fi, and horror. I can’t recommend it enough.

5. Resolution (2012) – I love horror that doesn’t sacrifice character development, I love mysteries, and I love films that I’m still mentally unpacking for days after the credits roll. Resolution ticks all those boxes and then some. It’s about two friends, one of whom has spiraled into drug addiction and psychosis and another who, in a last ditch attempt to help his friend get clean, comes up with the brilliant idea to just chain him to the wall for a week so he’ll detox. So, yeah, that’s a bad plan, but what he’s also not counting on is that the cabin they are holed up in is located right he middle of a metaphysical nightmare. This film wouldn’t work so well if the fraying friendship at its core didn’t feel so authentic or if the breadcrumb trail of clues left for them weren’t so intriguing.

Rachel Shatto is a culture and sex writer for Elite Daily, life-long horror fanatic, and co-host of several podcasts including The Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast, Cold Case Cinema, and The Cast of Ka.

The Midnight Drive-In – Dark Night Of the Scarecrow & Satan’s Little Helper

We go completely off the rails at the beginning of the show as Noah brings up a John Wayne Bobbat reference and Bryan tries to find a more current reference to take it’s place.  After that we talk some horror films that take place on Halloween Night with Dark Night Of The Scarecrow and Satan’s Little Helper.  After that we talk some Happy Death Day, Better Watch Out, and a double feature of Night Of The Creeps and Slither.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Cati Glidewell

We’re back with another list of movies you SHOULD be watching this Halloween season.  For this one I hit up a relatively new friend Cati Glidewell who has been writing here on Geek Nerdery along with her own site The Blonde In Front.  Here are some cool choices for this weekend to check out. 

Dead of Night (1945) – An anthology tale of travelers stuck in the same country estate and how the supernatural has impacted their lives and how they seem to be reliving this tale over and over. Amazing production design, directing and acting that seems to have influenced films such as Groundhog Day and Magic, this film is at the top of my list and highly recommend seeing this on the big screen if you get a chance.

Eden Lake (2008) – A romantic getaway that goes horribly wrong, this film may influence both staycations and birth control. The ending leaves an impact and when traveling always remember, local law is something to beware. Michael Fassbender, in one of his first starring roles, along with my favorite performance by Kelly Reilly, this a film to watch before you take a road trip with your significant other.
Piranha (1978) – I remember the feeling watching this for the first time as a child on one of those late Friday fright night shows. After viewing this film once, I would no longer go in water that wasn’t clear. Even if you don’t see the full carnage, it is the blood and aftermath that will leave you realing. Released at a time films were depicting  unbelievable creatures wreaking havoc on unsuspecting communities, this is the one that has a scene that STILL has an impact and gives me nightmares.
The Loved Ones (2009) – When a classmate asks Brent to the prom, his rejection to her comes at a hefty price of sadistic, twisted pain that never seems to end. One might think this is a revenge film and that Brent deserves what he is given but NO ONE deserves the acts that are plagued upon this poor kid. A lesson in the monsters children become when they get everything they want.
The Hitcher (1986) – C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rutger Hauer, of COURSE this is on my list. If you were ever warned not to pick up hitchhikers, THIS is the visual aid to go along with that. Howell plays a guy earning money by driving a car cross country. When he picks up a hitchhiker, Hauer, to keep him awake and help a fellow traveler in need, you realize quickly why you should heed that warning about hitchhikers. Hauer is the key to this psychological, carnage filled cat and mouse game that keeps you on your toes. Believe me, watch this instead of the 2007 version because Sean Bean doesn’t hold a flame to Hauer’s charisma.
Cati Glidewell is a Chicago based film critic, actress and lifelong cinefile who has a voracious appetite for watching films and partaking in films. You can see her reviews and antics at The Blonde in Front and watch her film debut this year playing Helen in Irrational Fear.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – John Borowski

Today’s list comes from the awesome filmmaker John Borowski!  John taps into something I’ve been obsessed with for years.  Serial Killers.  What makes them do it?  Why?  When?  John covers all this. He probably won’t remember but I met John the first time at a horror convention years ago.  I saw he made HH Holmes and Albert Fish movies.  I was big on the Albert Fish story at the time so I immediately bought them up.  Since then when I see him at a convention I try to at least stop by and say hi.  Everyone should check out his work and also check out the movies on his list this week.

The horror movies on my list are from the 70’s and 80’s, which is a time period of cinema that reached its crescendo of exceptionally made films which pushed the cinematic boundaries of the groundwork laid by their predecessors.

10 RILLINGTON PLACE (1971) – An exceptional movie based on the true story of the U.K. serial killer John Christie. Having made films on serial killers, I can appreciate a great serial killer movie and this is my favorite. The atmosphere of this movie really places you inside the building where Christie murdered his victims. I find this movie absolutely terrified especially because it was based on a true story. John Hurt gives a great performance as the victim who inadvertently caused the abolishment of the death penalty in the U.K.

SISTERS (1972) – An early Brian De Palma movie, Sisters is one of my favorites of his works. Taking nods from Freaks and Psycho, De Palma creates a terrifying masterpiece of suspense with shock with Sisters.

THE CHANGELING (1980) – The Changeling starring George C. Scott is my favorite ghost story movie ever.  Everything about this movie is compelling. Best of all, it is the best made ghost movie ever. It doesn’t resort to cheap thrills, but rather exceptional storytelling. The use of sound is fantastic. The story unravels slowly and effectively. Creepy as hell!

IN A GLASS CAGE (1986) – When I first watched In A Glass Cage, I was so shocked and horrified that I did not pause the movie or get up from the couch for the entire time. Frightening and shocking in a true-life way, this movie is one a viewer will never forget.

RAWHEAD REX (1986) – From the genius imagination of author Clive Barker, Rawhead Rex is one of my favorite monster movies. Brutal and terrifying, this movie also has great makeup effects.

John Borowski is an award winning independent filmmaker and author whose film works have garnered international acclaim and are distributed internationally on dvd, television, and streaming. Borowski’s “historical horror” trilogy of documentary films focus on late nineteenth and early twentieth century serial killers. His latest book, Dahmer’s Confession, is available for pre-order.

John Borowski, producer/filmmaker

 

Waterfront Productions

FILMMAKER WEBSITE

Film Sites:

H.H. HOLMES

ALBERT FISH

CARL PANZRAM

SERIAL KILLER CULTURE & TV

Books:

The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes

Albert Fish: In His Own Words

The Ed Gein File

Facebook

Youtube Channel

Vimeo Channel

The Midnight Drive-In: Deranged & Three On A Meathook

This week we’re talking about some movies that take their inspiration from real life serial killer Ed Gein.  First up is the 1974 film Deranged.  Up until the self titled film Ed Gein was released Deranged was lauded as being the closest telling of the Ed Gein story.  We then follow that up with the 1972 film Three On A Meathook.  This movie has lots of nudity and musical interludes.  What’s not to like?  Well, you’ll find out.

Then we get into other stuff we’ve been watching.  Discussed is Brain Damage, Happy Death Day, and Friday The 13th.  This then gets us into a discussion of why VS movies didn’t take off after 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason.  After we reveal what next episodes movies are we then get into a discussion about why made for TV movies aren’t a thing anymore.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Lauren Gallo

We’re back with another Halloween Scavenger hunt list!  This time Lauren Gallo tells us some films we should be seeking out.  Lauren was (maybe still is?) a frequent contributor at Deadlantern.com when I was so our paths crossed many a time.  Then it turns out she is active in the anime and gaming convention circuit so we’ve almost run into each other literally through out the years but I’ve kept up the joke of trying to avoid her for years now so we’ve still never met in person.  Funny only to me I think.
1.  Opera – High opera. Murder. Heavy Metal. While Dario Argento tends to be more famously known for works like Suspiria, Profundo Rosso, and Bird with the Crystal Plumage, this lesser highlighted 1987 work of his feels a tad less giallo and more full-on slasher. A young opera ingenue becomes the obsessive focal point of a serial killer whose MO is to tied her up and tape sharp pins under her eyes so she must keep her eyes open while he murders victims in front of her, usually people she knows. Somehow, the killings have a connection to her late mother. My first exposure to this movie was through an amazing fan-created music video by the owner of the Twins of Evil horror movie blog, where clips of this movie were set to Portishead’s “We Carry On”. From that, I really wanted to watch it and basically I developed a weird love for this. It’s not as gorgeous looking and iconic as the crimson-stained Suspiria, but it’s also one of Argento’s more straight-forward narratives all centered around a brilliant concept of taking the frustration of movie-goers shutting their eyes during scary moments and making an allegoric response through the pins taped to the eyes. If there’s one critique I have of this, is that I don’t actually enjoy the heavy metal set to the murder scenes, to me it’s an odd tonal dissonance for a movie centered around an opera. But I digress, it’s still worth a viewing.
2. Black Sunday – Revenge. Dark magic. Beautiful Barbara Steele. A witch and her lover are captured and burned at the stake, a mask of Satan nailed to her face. The spite witch Princess Asa places a curse on her brother’s descendants before dying. Two centuries later, her lookalike descendant Princess Katia becomes embroiled in a dark plot to fully resurrect Asa when a professor and his assistant accidentally break the cross on Asa’s tomb and release her. This black and white film, shot by the incomparable Mario Bava, is a real testament to how incredibly well Bava could make a black and white film look in terms of shadow and light. The imagery is beautiful as much as the horror is palpable. This movie is an incredibly well done Italian horror film and would go on to be very influential to films like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.
3. The Devil Rides Out – Satanic cults. The English countryside. Christopher Lee. I love a good many Hammer Films, but The Devil Rides Out is my absolute favorite, and one where Christopher Lee gets to be the hero for once! Lee plays Nicholas, the Duc de Richleau, an English noble in the late 1920s who upon reunited with old friends is horrified to learn his young friend Simon has fallen in league with a Satanic cult. Nicholas, familiar with the mystical arts, tries to save Simon from a dark fate with the help of their more skeptical friend, Rex. In initially saving Simon they also save the young, pretty Tanith, who will be the unfortunate catalyst for potential tragedy. Christopher Lee has gone on record stating this as his favorite film he’s worked on and that he would have love to seen a remake with modern technology and him as an older Nicholas. This movie has great set pieces, great locations, and Lee is a fantastic, charismatic hero fighting against black magic to save his friend. It’s less on gore and goes more for the supernatural horror, though I feel it sits more comfortably as an action-thriller. It feels like the most polished of the 60s Hammer horror films, and a bit more sophisticated than ones like Vampire Circus and even Dracula. If there is only one thing I find lacking in this movie, it’s the lack of Peter Cushing also starring in it.
4. The Mummy (Hammer Films) – Ancient Egypt. Mummys. Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing Double Billing. Were there ever better classic horror BFFs like Lee and Cushing? I’m hard pressed to think there is. The two always starred on opposing forces in their joint ventures, and Hammer Films’ The Mummy is no exception. Cushing plays John Banning, an archeologist on an Egyptian exploration with his father and wife, Isobel. There they get mixed up in the accidentally bringing the mummified Kharis (Lee), High Priest to the Princess Ananka, back to life. Three years later, this occurrence comes back to haunt them. It doesn’t help matters that Isobel is an exact ringer for Princess Ananka. Fans of the 1999 The Mummy film will find this sounding pretty familiar. Taking a page from the Universal Studios Boris Karloff classic, Hammer’s Mummy seems to take a backseat to the 30s classic and the Brendan Fraser one, but I feel it’s a solid entry in the Mummy mythos with Cushing proving he’s a great horror hero. Sharp listeners will also notice this movie has a background music leitmotif at times that would later be mimicked by the 1999 version.
5. Dracula (1979) – Vampires. Bram Stroker’s classic put in a blender. OMG CANDLES. In the scheme of famous Draculas, you have Bela Lugosi as the forever iconic, Christopher Lee, but one of my faves is Frank Langella. This movie, sometimes affectionately (or not) known as “Disco Dracula”, is based on a broadway adaption of Stoker’s original novel, which also starred Langella. This version ups the romance more and puts it in an Edwardian setting, with Mina now becoming Van Helsing’s daughter and befalling the tragedy of Lucy in the original story, an Lucy is more of the Mina character, and also Dr. Seward’s daughter and Dracula’s love interest. I say this in the best way possible, this movie is an absolute romp and like watching the best, slightly crackish Dracula fanfiction onscreen. It’s super, super 70s right down to a floating, shadow puppet super technicolor love scene and Frank Langella’s epic bouffant. I feel like this movie had to have influenced Coppola’s Dracula, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Sadly, one of the newer cuts had the color slightly desaturated but regardless of this crime against coloring, this movie is a worthwhile viewing.
Lauren Gallo is a fledgling fiction writer and pop culture reviewer with a nerd streak as wide as the day is long. Her love affair with horror began through being exposed to slasher flicks as a child, like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th and was cemented by a 1993 viewing of a VHS rental of Army of Darkness, one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all day. You can find her (sporadically) on Twitter (@lgallowrites). 

Halloween Scavenger Hunt – Patrick K. Walsh

Hey there Screamers (stolen from Patrick’s fantastic podcast Scream Queenz) we’re back for another Halloween Scavenger Hunt.  Being in the horror podcasting game for way too long you make a lot of friends with your listeners.  Then those listeners go off to make their own podcasts and you hardly ever hear from them again.  Patrick went from being a listener to starting his own podcast but never stopped being an awesome friend.  He’s proof you can always elevate the genre if you find your audience.  He has and it’s been great watching him surpass all of old horror podcasters.

MURDER PARTY – On Halloween Night, a bumbling oaf finds a random invitation to a “murder” blowing in the wind. Having nothing better to do, he accepts and finds himself captive of a gang on deranged artists who plan on using his death to fuel their next big project.

An early project from director Jeremy Saulnier (BLUE RUIN, GREEN ROOM) and his collective, MURDER PARTY is a masterpiece of blacker-than-black black humor mixed with over the top gore.
The movie manages to perfectly skewer the obnoxious pretensions of hipster culture, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the entire New York art scene  (Ride the L train once, and you’ll see that all these ridiculous characters are all too real, so there’s extra pleasure in watching them ax murder each other.)
Add to that a fantastically unconventional hero, a massive body count and a mean streak a mile long, and you’ve got a party for which you definitely want to be on the guest list.
“I didn’t sign up for a second-degree assault party.”
THE SCAREHOUSE – The ladies of Sigma Kappa Delta have been invited to the party to end all parties at The Scarehouse, the hottest haunted house attraction in town!  But the girls are about to discover that the most frightening thing in there is their past…and that revenge is a bitch.
While THE SCAREHOUSE, from Canadian director Gavin Michael Booth, occasionally teeters on torture porn, it never fully crosses the line and gets in the way of the wicked fun in store.
The deliciously rich performances of Sarah Booth and Kimberley-Sue Murray as our gleefully vengeful antiheroes are tinged with some real gravitas, especially when their pesky consciences try to interfere with the holy hell they reign down upon their former friends.
Will Corey and Elaina really go through with murdering the Sigma Kappas?   What did they do to incur this wrath anyway? Do they really deserve the horrific deaths in store for them?
Just know that if you visit The Scarehouse, you’ll never get out alive…
“A girl should always want to be thinner…”
GIRL NUMBER THREE – Maxine  is kidnapped on the way to a Halloween party by a Satanic cult who intend to sexually abuse and torture her (and eight other victims) in an abandoned warehouse as part of their Samhain rituals.  But Max isn’t going down without a fight.
Based on the graphic novel by Nathan Thomas Milliner, GIRL NUMBER THREE  is a microbudget production that for the most part manages to transcend its financial limits, mostly due to a keen visual eye and an increasingly engaging performance by our heroine, Julie Streble.
Yes, there are some very real pacing problems, particularly in a bogged down middle section…too many very long shots of people wandering around the warehouse, too much unnecessary babble from the cult members. But when the action gets going, the fun is infectious.
Even though rape is a key part of the story, director Herschel Zahnd somehow manages to prevent the action from getting sleazy, which I appreciated.  I never felt that the actresses were being exploited, which is rare in this kind of a scenario in a lower budget film like this.
But the movie rightly belongs to Julie Streble as Max whose journey from Gal Next Door to Savior to the embodiment of Rage is as endearing as it is ultimately quite frightening.
And as a gay man, her outfit is both iconic and quite fabulous.  If you think that some Halloween, I won’t be donning a blood-soaked French maid outfit, a paper mache fright mask and a very rusty ax….you would be totally wrong
“Are you a cop?”
“No….I’m an art major.”
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE –  Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) is in one for one Halloween shock when he discovers his loveable spinster aunties have been murdering their lodgers for years and burying them in the basement.
While this beloved classic isn’t anything remotely resembling horror, the comedy is as on-point as was in 1944, and the overall charm of the film is irresistible. The cast is pure perfection, particularly John Alexander as the utterly balmy Cousin Teddy.
Halloween doesn’t always have to be about buckets of blood and terrifying scares.
Making serial murder this adorable is a damned neat trick, and therefore, a suitable Halloween treat that you can enjoy with the whole family for a change.
“Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”
HELLBENT: Four friends attending the Los Angeles Halloween carnival find themselves stalked by a sickle-wielding figure in a devil costume who is as deadly as he is….well…hot. And heads will roll.
As the gay host of a gay podcast, I would be remiss not include the world’s first gay slasher movie.  Fortunately, it turns out to be quite a respectable entry, and not one I’m including just for personal politics.
Despite occasional lapses into complete goofiness and a rather wonky performance by our Final Guy, HELLBENT delivers where it counts.
I buy this foursome as friends.  I enjoyed their relationships with each other, and I was genuinely upset when they began to die.  This is such a rarity in horror movies of late, so I found it delightful to have characters I could route for instead of loathe.
The special effects are well-executed. The kills pack a wallop, and the carnival setting is seductively seedy.
And did I mention the killer is hot?
 
“He’s out for some head…”
Patrick K. Walsh is a New York-based actor as well as the producer and host of ScreamQueenz: The Podcast Where Horror Gets Gay.  ScreamQueenz has been featured on Best-Of lists in Entertainment Weekly, Rue Morgue Magazine and on Blumhouse.com. The show has also been received multiple nominations for the People’s Choice Best LGBTQ  Podcast Award.

The Midnight Drive In – Castle Freak & Dagon

This week at the drive in we’re talking some Lovecraft by way of Stuart Gordon.  We talk about Castle Freak and Dagon.  After that we talk some Blade Runner 2049, Kingsman, Amityville: The Awakening, and Noah’s love for the Toxic Avenger.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Jay Sorensen

Another list from a good friend of mine.  I met Jay a few years ago at an IndieHorror.TV event.  We rented some cabins up at a campsite in Wisconsin.  As I made the rounds introducing myself to people I hadn’t met yet Jay informed me that she made the trip from Africa.  My response was “Whaaaaaattttttt????”  Turns out she is a Foreign Service Officer working abroad.  But it still was shocking.  She’s one of the biggest horror fans I know.  Hope you find something fun here.

1. Joshua (2007) – Not enough humans have seen this film, even though it features Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, and Michael McKean (in a serious role with one devastatingly hilarious line of dialogue).  The movie combines one of my favorite tropes (evil kid) with one of my least favorite tropes (crazy mom), and still makes me oh so very happy.  It’s about a brilliant, sociopathic child who ruthlessly bends his environment to his will.  It’s also about post-partum depression (I guess?) and mixed marriages involving religiously devout grandparents who mess shit up for their kids.  It’s not as gory and violent as many wonderful horror movies, but it will make your soul creep.

2. Kidnapped (2010, Spain) –  If you’re a fan of Funny Games (2008), or, even better, Funny Games (1997), you might be one of those twisted people who need to see this movie.  You won’t enjoy it, probably, but it will earn your respect.  It’s a nasty Spanish-language portrayal of a home invasion, and the unflinching depiction of realistic violence can be hard to watch.  I’m a gorehound, and I find this film unsettling.  The New York Times called this film nihilistic and “gruesome tit-for-tat torture porn” – well, yeah, that’s why it’s good.  Have fun, kids.

3. Seconds (1966) – Technically science fiction, but that ending!  The plot is your basic Faustian deal with the devil, with Rock Hudson portraying the doomed rich man who believes that he’s entitled to anything money can buy, including eternal youth and a new hot body that used to belong to someone else.  It’s like a mean-spirited Twilight Zone episode, and the surgery scene isn’t all special effects – some of it’s from footage of a real plastic surgery procedure.  The gross-out factor is very high.  If you appreciate B&W films and a whole lot of irony, you’ll enjoy this one.

4. Them! (2006, France/Romania) – First, let me be clear:  This movie is not very good.  It’s about a French couple living in Romania (the wife’s a French teacher there) who are terrorized by home invaders.  But what it’s really about is how fricking scared France is of Eastern Europeans.  “Romanian street children will target and kill you; also, they’re all Gypsies, and Gypsies are the last minority on the planet that it’s cool to stereotype like crazy on film, because no one actually knows any Gypsies in person so we can all safely believe that Gypsies are subhuman monsters… it’s us against them, and GYPSIES ARE ‘THEM’!”  No, seriously, this is literally what the movie is about.  That said, it’s quick, tight, tense, well-acted, and often terrifying.  I used to live in Romania, and I found the film both fascinating and infuriating.  I’m listing it here because I’m curious to hear what others think of it.

5. A Distant Thunder (1978) – As a result of some childhood trauma, I have a secret fondness for the niche genre of evangelism porn.  A Distant Thunder is a Christian propaganda movie shot on a budget of $60,000 for the sole purpose of scaring little kids so badly at Vacation Bible School that they’ll be willing to make a public declaration of faith and ask Jesus into their hearts.  It is the single most frightening movie I’ve ever seen, mostly because I was nine or ten when I was duped into watching it.  It’s also terrible.  I strongly recommend that you watch it with a bunch of friends who survived deeply religious upbringings, and with a lot of alcohol.

Jay Sorensen is a Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Liberia.  A horror movie fan since childhood, she is proud of her complete collection of Fangoria magazines, which she carts around the world with her even though she’s 47 now.  She’s an avid supporter of indie films and first became a producer in 2011.  She encourages you to check out Adrian Tofei’s upcoming film We Put the World to Sleep, which is currently seeking investors; the Slasher Studios website, for great reviews and fun horror dvds; and Reel Splatter’s upcoming masterpiece, I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday (2017).

https://weputtheworldtosleep.com/

http://www.slasherstudios.com/

http://www.reelsplatter.com

Castle Rock – Make Your Own King Universe

King fans were super excited to finally get an actual trailer for the upcoming Castle Rock show on Hulu.  Do we have any idea what it’s going to be about?  No.  Are we any less excited?  No.  It’s full of King references we’re excited to see pay off in a weekly series and I personally and wishing the year would hurry up so we can get into 2018 and get closer to the premiere.

While we wait I have constructed a list below that makes it so we can sort of create our own Castle Rock universe with movies that are already available.  You’ve probably seen them all but may not have noticed that they are all actually connected accidentally just by adapting the source material that is connected.  So here is your list in viewing order.  And spoiler alert I’ll be giving a quick synopsis of the movies and also how it’s connected to the rest in the list and possibly the books they are based on.  Just be warned.

Stand By Me (1986)

One of the more sentimental Stephen King movies.  A group of boys go to find a dead body of one of their classmates and along the way each comes to terms with their place in the world.

This movie sort of sets the stage.  It’s summer in 1959 so we get to see a more quaint version of Castle Rock.  The town is only really our starting point and stopping point but all of our characters live there.  There’s not much crossover here for our movie universe other than this happened in our main setting for this viewing session.  In the book Kiefer Sutherland’s character Ace Merrill actually plays a big part in the book NEEDFUL THINGS as he gets out of jail and returns to Castle Rock just as things are starting to break down in Castle Rock.  But we’ll get to that in a bit.

The Dead Zone (1983)

One of my favorites on the list.  After getting into a car crash and being in a coma for 5 years Johnny Smith finds out he has a gift.  If he touches you he can see your future.  Good or bad.  Once he shakes the hand of Greg Stillson he sees a future filled with death.  What can he do to stop it?

Here we start to see the dark side of Castle Rock.  For part of the first half of the movie we see that a serial killer is stalking the streets attacking women.  Sheriff Bannerman (played awesomely by Tom Skerritt)  is at the end of his rope trying to find the killer so he turns to Johnny to see what he can find.  They find their killer and from there Johnny moves on to stop nuclear armageddon.  This section of the film though will feature heavily in our next movie.

Cujo (1983) –

Simple concept.  A woman and her son are trapped in their car at a lonesome farm by a rabid Saint Bernard.

Again we’re present in Castle Rock.  Here we find a pretty simple story.  Woman in the car with the dog right?  Well here’s where our connections come in.  In the beginning of the movie Tad is afraid of the monster in his closet.  In the book that monster he’s afraid of is the boogeyman that the serial killer from The Dead Zone had become around town.  People whispered about it and Frank Dodd has become sort of an urban legend around town.  So Tad is afraid of the killer from The Dead Zone.  And later in the book it’s sort of just thrown around (not seriously but Tad sort of thinks about it while trapped) that the evil that possessed Frank Dodd has now gone into Cujo.

The other big connection we have is that the sheriff that ends up out at the farm is none other than our friend Sheriff Bannerman (not awesomely played by Tom Skerritt).

The Dark Half (1993)

Thad Beaumont is a successful writer who’s pen name has just been outed.  He decides to publicly kill off his alter ego rather than paying a blackmailer.  Bad news is his alter ego doesn’t want to be dead.

In this George Romero directed movie Michael Rooker plays the sheriff Alan Pangborn (who is supposed to be a main character in the new Castle Rock series).  He’s Bannerman’s replacement.  He’s now in charge of the strange things that happen around Castle Rock.  Also we meet his deputy briefly Norris Ridgewick.

Needful Things (1993)

A new shop opens up in Castle Rock.  It claims to be able to give you whatever you desire . . . for a price.

Max Von Sydow plays the devil and has shown up to reek havoc in Castle Rock.  This time out our main character is Sheriff Alan Pangborn (this time played by Ed Harris).  He tries to keep Castle Rock from destroying itself but it’s a hard task.  Helping him is his trusty deputy Norris Ridgewick.  In the book we actually visit a lot of the famous locations from these previous movies/stories.  Some old characters come back.  Ace Merrill plays a big part.

 

So there you have it.  That’s your cinematic journey through Castle Rock.  I will say you could also do The Shawshank Redemption but it doesn’t feature in our journey here.  It does seem that it will play a part in the new Hulu series.

 

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Rory Abel

We’re back with another list of horror films we should add to our watch list this Halloween season.  This time we’re looking at a list by Rory Abel.  Rory has been a friend of mine for a long time and I’ve been happy to see him grow as a filmmaker and am excited to see how people take to his list.

1. Stir Of Echoes – Lost amid the hype over Sixth Sense this ghost story gem is often overlooked. It does have some similar elements as Sixth Sense, namely ghosts and a kind of creepy little kid that can see them, but they don’t dominate the film. Instead, Kevin Bacon stars as a man unsure if he’s seeing spirits or loosing his mind after undergoing hypnotism at a party. As the lead Bacon is the film’s secret weapon, bringing a working class Average Joe sensibility to the character, which grounds the film amid its more supernatural moments.

2. Dagon – There aren’t many good H.P. Lovecraft adaptions and what there are tend to be directed by Stuart Gordon. This holds true with his 2001 adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, ignore the Dagon title there are barely any similarities with that particular short story. The film follows closely to the beats of the original story but imbues them with a slightly more action movie perspective. Moving the location from New England to Spain is an inspired touch, giving the location a greater sense of isolation and alienation. Combined with some decent practical effects and some less than stellar CGI Gordon manages to still being Innsmouth and its fishy inhabitance to life. The opening scene is one of the best examples of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror in film (other than in movie directed by John Carptenter).

3. Slashers – An early entry in the Found Footage genre before its elements had been codified this fun flick tries something a little different from the norm. Rather than people filming themselves in a supernatural scenario it’s set in a Japanese Game Show with a professional camera crew filming everything. The conceit is simple, contestants must make their way through an obstacle course in order to win a cash prize. If that seems too simple, there are also Slasher characters hunting them and who will literally kill them given the chance. A word of caution, this is an exceedingly low budget entry with some amateurish acting. However, if you can get passed that be prepare to have a hell of a fun time watching it.

4. The Crazies – I am not a fan of the original Crazies. I always felt it was an unfocused retread of ideas Romero handled better elsewhere. So I was more than happy to give this film a fair shake and if you are too you’ll find much to enjoy in it. It’s brutal and scary but more so Timothy Olyphant brings a believable exasperation and frustration to his lead character, which you don’t often see in a films hero. How often does a main character snap at their wife while trying to escape from the bad guy? Almost never, but it’s something that feels real and authentic and as such really grounds the film no matter how crazy it gets. (That was not an intentional pun, I swear.)

5. Gut – This slow burn thriller is by turns unsettling and disgusting. Fair warning, for a certain find of horror fan it will be Kryptonite but for those who like their horror gradual and mixed in with the mundane of everyday life this is a gem waiting to be uncovered. It combines marital dissatisfaction, crumbling friendships with obsession and gut churning snuff films. (Jesus, I don’t know where these puns are coming from.)

Rory Abel has worked on a variety of projects from internet videos and independent films to public and cable television. He’s worked for companies such as iVillage, Lifetime Television, NBC Universal and A&E Networks. He’s currently employed by Us Weekly as a Senior Editor for their digital videos.

His feature horror film “Phobia” is available on DVD and streaming services from RLJ/Image Entertainment. His short horror films “Love Story” and “Apathy Breeds Contempt” have screened across the United States in numerous festivals. “Apathy Breeds Contempt” can currently be seen on the digital cable channel American Horrors. His most recent short horror film is currently still doing the festival circuit and was debuted by Ain’t It Cool New:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/77653

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Retro Girl Jeannie

We’re back with another fun list of horror films to seek out this Halloween season with Retro Girl!  Jeannie has been a friend  for a long time and I’m glad to be able to share some of her tastes around here.

I’ve chosen 5 Unknown/Underrated films, most imports. Most modern American horror sticks too closely to a formula. They target a teen audience, so that narrows their story telling and limits the possibilities of a interesting story. I think a good horror/monster film features a cast that you are interested in hanging out with even if something doesn’t happen. Good enough to be a drama on it’s own. So the monsters and jump scares are just gravy. We can’t care about the peril of the characters if we don’t care about the characters.
1. “Train to Busan”
“Train to Busan” is a South Korean apocalyptic zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. It’s a Zombie film, but more of a action thriller movie with some very touching and emotional moments.  In a world of zombies this one stands out. Kind of like “Snow Piercer” with Zombies. At it’s core, it’s a family picture. Just a Father and his Daughter on the train to see her Mother for her Birthday with a ton of fast moving zombies on board. The action scenes in this take me be back to films like “Die Hard” and “Speed”. The action keeps the viewer engaged and part of it. If you can’t focus on the action, you can’t appreciate it fully. YOU are on the ride. You feel every tense moment. Yes, take the “Train to Busan”.
2. “The Girl with All the Gifts”
“The Girl with All the Gifts” is adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Mike Carey. Also known to write comics for DC, Vertigo and Marvel.
Films about kids are great if the kids are good actors. This girl is talented and natural. Sennia Nanua holds your attention and never lets it go. Glenn Close plays a Very strong woman in this. She must have been impressed with this little movie and wonderful script to want to get involved. Glad she did. Like any Zombie film you need to put your own spin on it and this one does. They way it is spread makes it even more dangerous. Strong cast and concept. Interesting Zombie repellent used to keep them from getting too ‘bitey’.
3.  “Blood Glacier”
A Glacier in the Austrian Alps is covered in a strange Red liquid that has weird effects on the local wildlife. It pays homage to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, but very much it’s own movie. It must be watched with the English subtitles so you hear the voices of the actors. One actress in particular is hilarious and a American dub would never replicate the sound of her voice with her accent. Something is pounding the doors trying to get in as one lady hold up there is eating a banana while crying in fear. My favorite part is the other lady yells at her, “Stop eating that banana while you’re crying!” Love these odd moments in horror/sci fi films. It’s like that nervous laugh when something really bad is happening and they give us ‘carte blanche’ to crack up.
4. “The Pack”
“The Pack” is a Australian horror film about a pack of wild dogs that terrorize a family. I think some of the best horror is coming from other countries. They let a scene breath, let the camera run on a random moment. Not cut up like a music video. They let the surroundings reflect the film. A crow just walks up to a lamb and kicks it. Random and wonderful. That would be cut out of most American horror, and that’s too bad. These moments give it charm. Of the moment, but maybe gives a feeling that it is a tough country side, even the crows are badass! So yes, it’s just rabid wild dogs, not werewolves. The sound of those sharp claws walking on that family’s floor in their house is terrifying. I love a good werewolf movie, but when you see the creature still wearing torn pants it takes me out of it a bit. These dogs are not wearing pants.
5.  “The Burrowers”
“The Burrowers” is unique just being a horror/western, and it just gets more interesting from there. It would be good enough to just be a great Western, that it is. It is also a very Unique Monster Movie. Creepy as it crawls along in the high grasses. The high plains grass hides a hideous creature and before you know it, it’s too late. It paralyzes, buries you in shallow ground and comes back for you when you are decaying and easier to eat. Gross!! This monster knows it’s strengths and uses it surroundings. I have Loved watching Clancy Brown since he was Viking in “Bad Boys”. Who doesn’t love Clancy? He makes a perfect cowboy.
Jeannie Schwartz a.k.a. Retro Girl, friend to Drunken Zombie and Geek Nerdery. I’ve loved Monster movies since I was a kid. I read and collect comics and toys. I’ve written movie trivia for Midway Games and have done movie and wrestling reviews on the local radio station. I moderated a panel on Women in Comics. I like Butterscotch way more than I should. Sing in a band and I still get up early on Saturday (& Sunday) morning to watch cartoons!

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Sean Keller

For Halloween this year I decided to put together a sort of fun scavenger hunt for all of you.  I’ve asked some friends to put together a list of 5 films that they felt were unknown, under appreciated, or just deserved another look.  My hope is that during the month of October maybe we’ll seek out some horror films outside of our usual Halloween viewing.  First up is from the ever awesome Sean Keller.  Sean is a screenwriter out in LA and in his bio he was too modest to point out that he wrote the Sci Fi Channel (pre SyFy) classic Mammoth.  Here’s his list.  Enjoy.

1. WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (2013) – There are a lot of films out there trying to mimic the 80s aesthetic with varying degrees of authenticity and effectiveness, but this film is nostalgia perfected. The conceit of WNUF is that it’s a “videoptaped live broadcast” of a local independent station’s Halloween Special from Halloween night 1987 in which a tv personality hosts a séance from inside a supposedly haunted house. The story is thin, but it’s the attention to detail, specifically the low-budget local ads interspersed throughout the broadcast that ring true and make this piece really sing. Watching this for the first time last year was a revelation and I will be watching it on the night before Halloween for the rest of my life.

2. HAXAN (1922) – This “documentary” is a history of beliefs about witches and has the most witchy scenes ever committed to film (pair it with THE WITCH and LORDS OF SALEM for a perfect triple-bill of witchiness) Yes it it black & white, yes it’s a silent film, but there is a very cool shortened version of the film (and 1960’s re-release) narrated by the inimitable William S Burroughs that makes a great film somehow even greater and helps if you aren’t a silent movie fan.

3. TERROR IN THE AISLES (1984) – While not terribly “Halloweeny”, Terror on the Aisles is a very personal film for me. It played in heavy rotation on HBO in the mid 80s and was a real gateway film for me. It is essentially a clip-show of horror films (and inexplicably a ton of shots from the Stallone/Rutger Hauer crime thriller NIGHTHAWKS) set in a movie theater and hosted a deliciously over-the- top Donald Pleasance and Nancy Allen. The clips are spoiler-heavy and made me want to see every film they show. It’s a great bit of fun and a perfect film to leave on in the background during your Halloween party.

4. THE AMERICAN SCREAM (2012)  –  Another documentary? Fuck yeah, what about it? If you love the Halloween season (and if you don’t, why are you reading this?) you MUST watch The American Scream. This film is a sweet depiction of three families in the same small Massachusetts suburb who are all home haunters, meaning, they build ornate haunted house displays on their property every year for Halloween. This film hits me in my heart. I cry every time I watch it. If you ever feel like you’re becoming burnt out on the season, this flick is the perfect cure. The three families involved are so uncynically devoted to the glorification of the holiday that you cannot help but be infected with their enthusiasm. I highly recommend this one as an early October viewing to get you into the Halloween mood.

5. CANDYMAN (1992) – This is the most well-known title on my list, but I cannot give it enough love. If there was ever a film that begged to be included into the pantheon of Universal monsters, it’s this one. Tragic, terrifying, sexy, heroic, mythic and the most gothic urban horror ever made, Candyman climbs in my estimation with every viewing. Helen (Virginia Madsen) is doomed from the start and her descent into hell via folklore eventually fuses her soul into the
myth she is researching . Every shot is amazing and the score elevates the already wonderful film into true greatness.

Sean Keller is a horror screenwriter best known for his work with Dario Argento (GIALLO) and John Carpenter (THE WARD) and most recently wrote the book, lyrics, music and starred in the hit Slasher comedy musical SLASHED! The Musical.

The Midnight Drive-In: Island Of The Fishmen & Humanoids From The Deep

This week we take a look at what we didn’t realize was two Roger Corman related movies that deal with fishmen.  First up is the Island Of The Fishmen and then followed by Vic Morrow in Humanoids From The Deep.  Then we talk about a trip to the drive in by Bryan and Noah.  All this and more!

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Geek Nerdery: IT (2017)

When IT was first announced as being up on the remake slot (or re-adaptation if you want to approach it that way) I was not really that thrilled with the idea.  I once met the director of the 1990 TV miniseries version of IT.  I straight up told him that I blamed him for the reason I didn’t like clowns.  Anyone in my age range will tell you that Tim Curry pretty much ruined the ever enjoying a clown again.  For me there was no way anyone could ever do Pennywise justice.  Tim Curry had terrified a whole generation with some grease paint and a wicked smile.

The longer it went on I hoped more and more that IT would be put in the old development hell section of Hollywood where things like Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash or such gems as a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep seemed to live.  I wouldn’t get my wish.  I began my crusade of denying this movie.  Hell no we won’t go . . . . to the cinema to see a new IT!  The chant was awkward so I dropped it but I kept saying there was no way a new IT would be good.  Then the first trailer hit.  Suddenly a slight crack in my facade began to show.  I was still adamant that Pennywise wouldn’t be nearly as good as Tim Curry’s but damn did the footage look pretty good.

Trailer 2 hit.  The cracks were really showing now.  IT actually looked scary.  As much as I love the 1990 TV movie version because it scared my 10 year old self senseless it has lost some of the scary luster it once held and now I just appreciate it for how it USED to scare me.  These trailers had made it look actually scary again.  Yeah but still he was no Tim Curry.  What I learned this weekend is that he didn’t need to be.

I’d been waiting to hate on this movie since it was first announced and now here I sit opening weekend telling you I can’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it still has some quibbles with me, but I actually can say I really enjoyed it.  They took a story I’ve loved all my life and gave it a loving tribute to it’s source material.  The time frame is updated to 1989.  Making the kids pretty much the same age I was when I saw IT for the first time.  Suddenly I’m caught in a nostalgia loop.  I’m reliving my childhood through these characters and they were also about to get the piss scared out of them by a killer clown.

The casting is about spot on perfect for me.  I have no complaints what so ever.  Bill is great as an awkward leader consumed by his brother’s disappearance.  Eddie is one sneeze away from being put into an iron lung by his over bearing mother.  Richie is the foul mouthed class clown we all wished we could have been.  And there’s Bev.  Poor poor Bevie.  I worry about her a lot.

These kids feel like friends.  It’s no stretch of the imagination to see these kids hanging out.  The chemistry on screen is near perfect.  Henry Bowers has traded in his duck tail hair cut and leather jacket for a mullet and sleeveless t-shirts fitting right into the 1989 setting. Pennywise.  Oh let me tell you about this Dancing Clown.  Bill Skarsgard brings a new twist onto King’s terrifying shape shifter.  He doesn’t try to do what Tim Curry did.  He didn’t do an impression.  He creates something new.  Which is exactly what you need in a remake like this.  Something new.  This evil clown doesn’t lure you in with his innocent clown tricks.  No.  This clown lures you in with his smile and then keeps right on smiling as he rips your guts out.  If Tim Curry gave 10 year old me nightmares then Skarsgard is going to give the almost 40 year old me some sleepless nights for the next few days.

I am pleading with you if you have been on the fence to give the new IT a try.  And this is from a fan who denounced it from the start.  Give it a chance.  You might just get a few night terrors of your own.

I actually have seen IT twice this weekend.  First with a few friends I had made plans with a few months ago and then just today I got a chance to go see IT with an invitation for free passes to try the 4DX version.  A new 4DX theater had opened in Illinois and I was curious to check it out so I gladly accepted.  With 4DX you get an immersive experience.  Your seat will move and vibrate along with the movie.  You’ll get fans blowing when the characters are riding their bikes so you can feel the wind rushing past your head.  New smells will enter the theater during every scene.  There was strobe lights to help accentuate the lightning.  Mist and air from the seats in front of you to bring you into the wet and surprising scenes.  Seems like a great idea . . .

. . .unless you’re trying to watch an atmospheric horror film.  Sadly it didn’t help with this movie.  The audience also didn’t help.  Lots of talking and people checking phones.  Part of me thinks the 4DX didn’t help with this.  When you have air blasting in your face and your friends are laughing it seemed to open up the idea that you could just talk about it at full volume.  Many times during the film my seat was shaking and moving all over the place and making it hard to pay attention to what was going on on screen.  I looked over at my friend Scott who came with me to see him almost a foot higher than me because our seats were moving at such a weird pace.

Also I didn’t smell anything.  Nothing seemed to change during the movie.  I felt bad as this was Scott’s first time seeing the film and what was supposed to be an immersive experience seemed to be distracting him from actually enjoying the movie.  I don’t think it’s a bad idea overall.  If I saw Jurassic World in this theater I probably would have enjoyed every second of it but for a movie like this it seemed to make it harder to enjoy the film.  I say YES to 4DX but not for something like this.

Outside of that GO SEE IT!  From the box office it would seem like a lot of you did which means we will probably see more R rated horror films and more Stephen King in the theater.  Both of which can be good things.

On the way home from the theater me and Scott decided to break out the recorder and talk about our experience.  There was a lot of road noise so I did best I could to get rid of it but you may hear some bleeps and bloops.  Sorry.

Music provided by The Fantastic Plastics.

TLH Episode 92 – Chopping Mall Commentary

Well, after two solid years, we’ve decided to call it a wrap. It’s with great sadness that we offer you our final episode of The Last Horrorcast. And we could not think of a more fitting way to end the show than with a commentary of what has become the show’s most beloved film, Chopping Mall. So sit back, grab a beer, and enjoy one last horror film with Scott, Doug, and Bryan. But most of all, thank you for two great years.

 

TLH Episode 91 – Dawn of the Dead and The Return of the Living Dead

We continue Romero month by taking a look at a couple of non Romero movies that would never have been made if not for his influence. First, the Dawn of the Dead remake followed by The Return of the Living Dead. Keeping with the remake discussion, we review I Spit on Your Grave, I Spit on Your Grave 2, The Dark Tower, Riverdale, and Penny Dreadful. Be sure to stick around until the end of the episode for some important show updates.

As always, we welcome feedback at thelasthorrorcast@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or leave us a voicemail at 601-564-TLHP. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes.

TLH Episode 90 – Martin and The Dark Half

This week we honor one of the great legends of horror, George Romero. We discuss two of his lesser known films, Martin and The Dark Half. We also discuss Scanners, Play Motel, The Pit, Bruiser, KnightridersLand of the Dead and begin Scott’s Buffy odyssey (complete with theme song).

As always, we welcome feedback at thelasthorrorcast@gmail.com and on our Facebook page or leave us a voicemail at 601-564-TLHP. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes.