Skip to content
Advertisements

John’s Horror Corner: Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), a Lovecraftian horror anthology loaded with disgusting gore and slimy tentacle monsters.

October 12, 2019

MY CALL: An awesome Lovecraftian anthology delivered by excellent directors and loaded with gruesome practical effects and monsters. This was a blast!

MORE HORROR ANTHOLOGIES:  Dead of Night (1945), Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Uncanny (1977), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Deadtime Stories (1986), Creepshow 2 (1987), After Midnight (1989), Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Two Evil Eyes (1990), Grimm Prairie Tales (1990), The Willies (1990), Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Campfire Tales (1997), Dark Tales of Japan (2004), 3 Extremes (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012), The ABCs of Death (2013), V/H/S 2 (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013), The ABCs of Death 2 (2014), V/H/S Viral (2014), Southbound (2015), Tales of Halloween (2015), A Christmas Horror Story (2015), The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), Holidays (2016), Terrified (2017; aka Aterrados, which is a pseudo-anthology), Oats Studios, Vol. 1 (2017), Ghost Stories (2017), XX (2017), The Field Guide to Evil (2018) and the Shudder Creepshow series (2019).

Narrated by horror writer Howard P. Lovecraft (Jeffrey Combs; Would You Rather, The Frighteners, Lurking Fear, Cellar Dweller), the wraparound story The Library (director Brian Yuzna; Society, Faust, Bride of Re-Animator) takes Lovecraft to a library guarded by monks, where he finds the Book of the Dead and transcribes its dark tales. These stories serve as the three stories nested within this anthology.

Oddly, despite the setting of The Library being in the 1930s, the stories in this anthology take place in more modern times. But let’s just look the other way since this was a pretty cool anthology horror movie.

Concepts include cursed resurrections, the cursed magic of the Book of the Dead, ancient monsters from the depths of the seas, defying death by unnatural means, and monsters of unknown origins…

The Drowned (director Christophe Gans; Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill)—A Swedish man (Bruce Payne; Dungeons & Dragons, Warlock III, Howling VI) inherits an aging hotel, empty for 60 years, beneath which is a network of marine caverns inhabited by ancient evils. He is haunted by his lost love (Maria Ford; The Haunting of Morella, The Unnamable II) and the history of his ancestors (Richard Lynch; The Sword and the Sorcerer, Puppet Master III, Bad Dreams) who came into possession of the Necronomicon by way of a monstrous ichthyoid creature (i.e., deep one, or Dagon himself).

The Cold (director Shûsuke Kaneko; Death Note, Gamera 1-3)—A reporter (Dennis Christopher; It, Alien Predator) investigates a man’s death and encounters a woman afflicted by a strong aversion to heat and sunlight. The subject of investigation is an unaging Doctor (David Warner; The Company of Wolves, The Unnamable II, Ice Cream Man) with a really gross oozing skin problem and a dangerous need to “medicate” himself.

Whispers (director Brian Yuzna)—A police officer (Signy Coleman; The X-Files) and her partner (Obba Babatundé; Dead Again, The Eye) are hunting down a serial killer. But when her partner is killed and dragged into the cavernous underbelly of the city, her pursuit reveals that the killer is not of this world.

Considering the budget, many of the sets range are quite impressive (especially in The Library) and there is some gorgeous photography (The Drowned).

We enjoy a diversity of engaging special effects. Guts are regurgitated, tentacles emerge from mouths and from eyes and the floor itself, there’s a huge slimy tentacle monster, a spectacularly gross and chunky melting death scene, an offal pit of slippery bloody body parts, a gooey animated corpse with a gross hollowed out head, brain-bellied flesh-bat monsters, an awesome flesh-peeling face-rip, and all sorts of blood and gore. It’s really a blast for gorehounds and fans of old school practical effects.

I was really impressed with this anthology. We enjoy a variety of Lovecraftian concepts and they’re delivered by excellent filmmakers.

MORE LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR MOVIES:  For more Lovecraftian adaptations, try The Unnamable (1988), The Unnamable 2: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1992), The Resurrected (1991), Lurking Fear (1994), Dagon (2001), Dreams in the Witch-House (2005) and The Dunwich Horror (1970). And although not specifically of Lovecraftian origins, his influence is most palpable in From Beyond (1986), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), The Void (2016), The Shrine (2010) and Baskin (2015)—all of which are on the more gruesome side to varying degrees.

Advertisements

John’s Horror Corner: Midsommar (2019), Ari Aster’s emotionally heavy folk horror about a mysterious festival in Sweden.

October 10, 2019

MY CALL: Emotionally challenging, this was the bold follow-up to the already brazen Hereditary (2018). Great art and great filmmaking; but the film will leave you feeling hollow despite its punctuated shock and awe. MOVIES LIKE Midsommar: Of course, Hereditary (2018). Other slow-burn films about suppressed guilt and the family dynamics they affect include The Uninvited (2009), The Babadook (2014), Goodnight Mommy (2014) and The Witch (2016).

After the tragic loss of her parents and sister, Dani (Florence Pugh; The Falling, Malevolent) accompanies her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor; Free Fire) and his friends Mark (Will Poulter), Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) and Josh (William Jackson Harper; All Good Things, They Remain) to Sweden, where Pelle’s rural family-commune celebrates a traditional mid-summer festival.

The dusky opening scenes of Winter are strikingly beautiful, if quietly morose. Then as quickly as we find ourselves in the pristine Swedish countryside, flush with Summer’s bright greens and ablare in white garbs, I feel a folk horror Wicker Man (1973, 2006) vibe settling. Have we learned nothing from The Ritual (2017)? Avoid the rural and wilds of Sweden! The supernatural fauna there basks in the emotional suffering of its victims. In fact, I expected the film to follow the path of The Ritual (2017) or The Shrine (2010). But it remains a bit more grounded.

Writer and director Ari Aster (Hereditary) fearlessly breaks into his second feature film with yet again well-over two hours of emotionally soul-crushing running time. However, as powerfully as the film starts, I feel it wanders into less tactful, more distraught zaniness in its final act—much as did Hereditary (2018), but not to the same “supernatural” degree. And like Hereditary (2018), we find horrendously shocking head trauma. And, well, it’s more than just momentary. Wow… and graphic! Don’t even get me started on the holy crap leg break. For a film so slowly to moderately paced, it has more than its share of brutal imagery.

This film weirded me out so many times over. Withholding from loved ones, viciously passive aggressive resentment, psychological unrest… loss, grief, guilt—Aster is up to his old tricks again. And he’s great at playing this hand. We watch as (probably familiar) uncomfortable relationship dynamics unfold, and we feel every bit as uneasy as the characters… frequently. And speaking of uncomfortable, the term Suspiria (2018) cult sex scene” comes to mind. Take from that what you will.

From a filmmaking perspective, this was the bold follow-up to the already brazen Hereditary (2018). But as beautiful a film it may be, I also feel this was the film Aster “dreamed to make” much more than the film his fans dreamed to see. Great art and great filmmaking; but the film will leave you feeling hollow despite its occasional shock and awe.

The MFF Podcast #221: The House That Jack Built, Gross Wallets and Frozen Pizza

October 9, 2019

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Matt Dillon crushed it.

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we were honored to talk The House That Jack Built with Jonny Numb (AKA Horror Review Master). Directed by Lars von Trier (Antichrist, Melancholia), The House That Jack Built is a gnarly descent into hell that features freezing corpses, skin wallets and the worst hunting trip ever. The movie never plays it safe (which was to be expected), and in this episode we discuss its violent tendencies, unreliable narrator and darkly comedic moments. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean,or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF Podcast #220: Real Genius, Popcorn and Laser Commercials

October 4, 2019

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

So much popcorn. I love it

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re finishing up our “Hacker” series with the 1985 comedy Real Genius. We started with Live Free or Die Hard, then tackled Hackers, now we’re talking about the Martha Coolidge (Valley Girl) directed Real Genius. We love this movie because of the likable Characters (Viva la Chris Knight), government funded laser commercials, and an all-time jerky performance by William Atherton. In this episode, you will hear us talk about popcorn, ice skating and the awesomeness of Val Kilmer. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Apple PodcastsStitcherTune In,  Podbean,or Spreaker.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

John’s Horror Corner: Extinction (2015), a pleasant surprise of a post-apocalyptic Sci-Horror movie owing great debt to The Descent (2005), I Am Legend (2007) and TWD (2010-2019).

October 4, 2019

MY CALL: This film heavily derivative, borrowing a lot from The Walking Dead (2010-2019), I Am Legend (2007) and The Descent (2005). But I don’t really care. This film makes a great effort, it’s a decent movie, and it has a lot of heart. Derivative, but determined. MORE MOVIES LIKE Extinction: For more engaging apocalyptic Sci-Horror, try I Am Legend (2007), The Colony (2013), World War Z (2013), The Day (2011), 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016), The Mist (2007), A Quiet Place (2018), Bird Box (2018) and The Happening (2008).

The near future is bleak and filled with highly contagious sprinting raging ghouls with a propensity for flesh-tearing neck bites—as is so often the case, right? After nearly a decade of no outside human contact, Patrick (Matthew Fox; Lost, Bone Tomahawk), Jack (Jeffrey Donovan; Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2) and young daughter Lu (Quinn McColgan) confirm they’re not alone after a sighting of the zombie-vampire creature that ended the world they once knew.

Albino, blind, generally naked flesh eat-eaters, our monsters push the creatures from The Descent (2005) above ground into I Am Legend (2007) territory. The violent action, blood and gore, and monster make-up are all good. Nothing here is original, but it’s certainly well done.

Director Miguel Ángel Vivas (Inside, Kidnapped) has brought us his own take on the end of the world. And as we’ve seen in The Walking Dead (2010-2019), I Am Legend (2007) and many others of the motif, going unnoticed to the non-human threat, seeking survivors across radio waves, and foraging for food become the main themes. The best filmmaking decision (for me) was the Winter setting, which added a crisply barren palate and a great deal of flavor to Fox and Donovan’s solid performances.

But what’s with these blind predators? Pitch Black (2000), A Quiet Place (2018), The Silence (2019), The Descent (2005), Tremors (1990)… sometimes subterranean evolution is a good reason, but that doesn’t at all apply in the present film. I’m guessing Miguel Ángel Vivas just loved The Descent (2005), as the present ghouls feel strikingly similar to them.

You know what? This film heavily derivative, borrowing a lot from many well-known sources (especially TWD season 3 in one particular scene). But I don’t really care. This film still makes a significant and appreciable effort, it’s a decent movie, and it has a lot of heart. Derivative, but determined.

John’s Horror Corner: Mutant (1984; aka Night Shadows), a toxic waste zombie movie.

October 3, 2019

MY CALL: This B-movie movie isn’t particularly good or bad—very middle of the road. If you’re patient with weak special effects backed by an enthusiastic filmmaker, then it’s serviceable. The more of a “bad movie night” you desire, the better this will serve you. MORE MOVIES LIKE Mutant: For more alternative zombie movies, try The Curse (1987), Flesh-Eating Mothers (1988), The Boneyard (1991) and Zombeavers (2015).

At the start of their vacation, two entitled popped-collar brothers have a rough car-crashing encounter with the hillbilly locals. Now injured and without a car, Josh (Wings Hauser; Tales from the Hood, Watchers III) and Mike (Lee Montgomery; Ben) are stuck in a small southern town where businesses are closing, half the town is sick, and people are disappearing. Even Mike disappears their first night there!

As Josh goes about searching for his brother, more strange things occur. There’s a break-in at the local doctor’s office stealing all the blood, a child with leech-like mouth-slivers on her hands is found dead, and folks infected with something behave like zombies! These zombies have terrible make-up, their skin pulsates a little (not an impressive effect, at all), and they are hungry for blood. And what’s to blame? Toxic waste!

Like so many bad horror movies before, the local doctor (or scientist in some movies; e. g., The Nest, Mimic) seems to be an expert of numerous fields including genetics, invertebrate biology, microbiology and hematology. The alcoholic sheriff (Bo Hopkins; Dusk Till Dawn II, Tentacles, Phantoms) and a cute school teacher also come to Josh’s aid.

This movie opened with some guy using a dropper to collect some oozy discharge milky goo from the lawn of an old McMansion estate. This goop gets a lot of attention, it oozes from these zombies’ hands, and like The Toxic Avenger (1984) contact with these mutant zombies burns the flesh.

We see some madcap hammed-up zombie acting. These mutants roar like dinosaurs and come at you with their hands in the air as if a 7-year-old was doing his best monster impression. It was especially amusing when the bald redneck zombie breaks “zombie character” to catch a falling fellow zombie (after he’s shot). I’m also not sure why they’re so slow in most scenes, when we saw a zombie sprint earlier in the movie like a 28 Days Later (2002) rage zombie way ahead of his time. But, to be fair, these are really minor criticisms given that these mutant zombies drink blood through their palm-vaginas. Yes, that statement is hardly an exaggeration!

This movie isn’t particularly good or bad—very middle of the road. If you’re patient with weak special effects backed by the enthusiastic filmmaker director John ‘Bud’ Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders, The Dark, The Day Time Ended), then it’s serviceable… maybe. The more of a “bad movie night” you desire, the better this will serve you.

Bad Movie Tuesday: Evil Spawn (1987; aka, The Alien Within), another schlocky alien Sci-Horror movie from the 80s serving as a smutty vehicle for nudity-delivery.

October 1, 2019


MY CALL: This was a laughably bad movie loaded with nudity but not overly raunchy, and it at least makes an effort with the creature effects and horror/attack scenes. Still, I wouldn’t dare recommend it. MORE MOVIES LIKE Evil Spawn: For more smutty Sci-Horror B-movies, try Biohazard (1985), Evils of the Night (1985) and Creepazoids (1987).

After a Venus probe returns to Earth loaded with alien microbes, researchers dutifully perform unethical research splicing the DNA of alien microbial organisms and humans. This feels oddly similar to the premise of Species (1995)…

This 70-minute Fred Olen Ray (Biohazard, Deep Space, Scalps) DVD was, like a SkineMax midnight movie, introduced by Ray himself and what I believe to be several adult film actresses showing more skin in the five-minute intro than you’d normally get in an entire movie. Clearly, I’m in for something much more smutty than I had anticipated.

Thankfully, in the opening scene of the actual film we see a B-movie monster (a spider-rat hybrid thing) attacking some poor scientist. The execution is super-clunky. But God bless them, they really tried and showed us a lot of the creature. However cheap a movie may be, I can appreciate that.

The nefarious researcher Evelyn (Dawn Wildsmith, or Donna Shock; Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Deep Space, Evils of the Night) works with Dr. Zeitman (John Carradine; Evils of the Night, The Nesting, The Howling, The Sentinel) on anti-aging research. Evelyn approaches a gorgeous but aging actress Lynn (Bobbie Bresee; Mausoleum, Surf Nazis Must Die, Ghoulies) with a proposal to prolong her youth and beauty. Desperate to earn more starring roles, she takes the serum.

Once infected, people react differently. One becomes a sore-covered ghoul with the strength to rip an arm from its blood-spewing socket. And Lynn, when threatened a la Species (1995), turns into a ridiculous, rubber-suited insectoid monster. Another of her transformations assumes the likeness of a gnarly Predator (1987)-meets-Demons (1985) make-up job that is far more entertaining before she “weres” into the monster suit form that is beginning to remind me of Brundlefly from The Fly (1986). The special effects are more than serviceable for B-movie fans. But on the scales of decency, the effects are definitely outweighed by boobage. There are striptease and sex scenes, shower scenes, skinny-dipping and just plain standing around topless scenes. Every opportunity to show breasts was readily presented.

The closest thing to a hero in this schlocky movie is Lynn’s biographer Ross (Drew Godderis; Cannibal Hookers, Blood Diner, Deep Space), who takes a break from writing her memoirs to try to save her from vanity-induced murderous space-mania and notify the public of the threat.

All told, this was a laughably bad movie loaded with nudity but not overly raunchy, and it at least makes an effort with the creature effects and number of horror scenes. Still, I wouldn’t dare recommend it.

%d bloggers like this: