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.