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The MFF Podcast #222: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

October 16, 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!

Freddy is mean again!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about the 1994 cult classic Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. This meta-horror film is the lowest grossing of The Nightmare on Elm Street series, but, it’s our second favorite Nightmare film because of how it made Freddy scary again, and attempted something truly different (it gets weird). In this episode, we discuss underworld water slides, leather pants and the logistics of setting up a fountain in a hellscape. 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!

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John’s Horror Corner: Warlock 3: The End of Innocence (1999), the only disappointment of the franchise.

October 15, 2019

MY CALL: Just plain terrible and completely unworthy of following up parts 1-2. MORE MOVIES LIKE Warlock 3Well, of course, Warlock (1989) and Warlock 2: The Armageddon (1993). Some other “part 3s” that are decidedly inferior to their predecessors include Wishmaster 3 (2001), Ghoulies Go to College (1991), Leprechaun 3 (1995) and Pumpkinhead 3 (2006).

The opening scene is really unimpressive. Set in 1673 New England, this origin feels much like the story other two movies—which both involved time-traveling warlocks.

SIDEBAR about Franchise Continuity: This movie completely ignored that the events of Warlock (1989) and Warlock 2: The Armageddon (1993) as if they never happened. By my observation, they are 100% unrelated. The first Warlock (1989) was sent to the future to assemble a book that would provide access to Earth for Satan. The “second” Warlock (who looked and behaved identically to the first) also came from another time. Moreover, the first Warlock sought the Grand Grimoire whereas the second fled crystal-toting druids. Or is this more like the Leprechaun franchise theory that each movie featured a completely different Leprechaun (despite being played with the same personality and by the same actor)? Perhaps, and if so, then there are numerous different prophecies which can bring Hell on Earth and for each prophecy a similar-looking warlock to expedite it. Seems farfetched, but it’s the best working theory I’ve got here.

If you weren’t sure how bad this would be, just wait past the lame 1673 scene until the opening credit sequence music. Then, you know it’s bad as the 90s electro-alt-grunge soundtrack kicks into gear. This movie’s title sounds like an adult movie, and the sets, writing and acting follow suit. I’m actually surprised there weren’t way more sex scenes.

When art student Kris (Ashley Laurence; Hellraiser 1-3/6, Lurking Fear, Cupid) learns she has inherited the contents of her ancestors’ manor, she ventures to collect family heirlooms with her boyfriend and college friends (incl. Rick Hearst; Brain Damage). Soon after their arrival, our warlock (Bruce Payne; The Keep, Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, Howling VI) arrives posing as an architect-historian and tries devastatingly hard to chew the scenery as well as Julian Sands (Warlock, Gothic). Bruce Payne looks the part. But none could match Julian Sands and the writing and budget for this sequel leave Payne drowning in bad video-era B-moviedom.

The tropes rain down hard. Kris’ car won’t start for no good reason at all, a mirror casts twisted evil reflections that don’t lead to anything at all, a child’s voice whispers through the halls of the abandoned house, and a weird harbinger lady warns Kris “believe me, you don’t want to go to that house… Death’s in that house!” Ooof!

The first two Warlock films (especially part 1) were satisfying witch movies exploring different aspects of spellcraft, curses, the occult, mythology, rune stones, druids and visual magical displays. They had real protagonists, and really gory consequences to crossing paths with these diabolical spellcasters.

Overall, the depiction of magic here in part 3 offers little visual spectacle at all. There’s a gory (but brief) throat rip that could just as well be in a slasher film, a lame “shatter” death scene, some Hellraiser-ish imagery (with more BDSM and nudity than horror), and a lot of off-screen death. And little is more upsetting in horror than off-screen death!

The sets are cheap, the effects are generally weak, the writing is awful, the acting is horrible. The finale confrontation is upsettingly bad. Like, I was angry (but still 10% gigglingly amused) yelling at the screen at the stupidity before me. Most B-movies entertain with hokey creature effects or cheap but abundant gore. Nope, none of that here. This is the bad movie so bad that its only redeeming factor is its laughability. I’m actually kind of surprised there wasn’t a subsequent sequel called Warlock 4: In Space to follow Pinhead, Jason and the Leprechaun.

John’s Horror Corner: Annabelle Comes Home (2019), an entertaining but middle-of-the-road contribution to The Conjuring Universe.

October 14, 2019

MY CALL: Overall a fun popcorn flick that falls somewhere between Annabelle (for which I didn’t really care) and Annabelle: Creation (which was loads of fun). I have criticisms, but not really any major complaints. My only disappointment rests in direct comparisons to The Conjuring (2013), The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017). MORE MOVIES LIKE Annabelle: CreationWell, The Conjuring (2013), Annabelle (2014; podcast discussion of Annabelle), The Conjuring 2 (2016; podcast discussion of The Conjuring 2) and Annabelle: Creation (2017; podcast discussion of Annabelle: Creation) round out the better side of The Conjuring Universe. Honestly, I’d just skip The Nun (2018) and The Curse of La Llorana (2019). For more evil doll movies one may venture Dead Silence (2007), Dolls (1987), Dolly Dearest (1981), Puppet Master 1-5 (1989-1994), The Boy (2016), Child’s Play (1988), Curse of Chucky (2013), Cult of Chucky (2017), Child’s Play (2019) and even Poltergeist (1982; that evil clown was twisted).

The Conjuring Universe SIDEBAR: The Conjuring (2013) was so outstanding that Annabelle (2014) couldn’t be expected to measure up. Worse yet, evil doll movies practically make themselves yet Annabelle was an absolutely incompetent horror film that should disappoint fans of the genre whether they were birthed in the era of serious slashers, classic Hammer releases, or campy 80s slapstick gore-fests. The only way Annabelle made it to the big screen was by riding the tidal wave of hype created by its connection to The Conjuring. Then along came The Conjuring 2 (2016), which was clearly made more for the fans than the critics as it focused more on being excitingly jump-scary than on plotiness. This introduced The Nun (i.e., the demon Valek) and gave a fine nod to Annabelle. Following suit, Annabelle: Creation (2017) offered a mysterious wink harbingering The Nun (2018) and then finished transitioning us directly into the opening scene of Annabelle (2014). There was also The Curse of La Llorana (2019), which only fit in the Wan-iverse by its forced inclusion of Father Perez (Tony Amendola; Annabelle). This sequel begins with Annabelle being recovered and brought safely to the Warrens’ home, as if following the events of Annabelle (2014).

With Ed (Patrick Wilson; The Conjuring 1-3, The Nun, In the Tall Grass) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga; The Conjuring 1-3, The Nun, Orphan) returning as main characters, this feels almost as much like The Conjuring 2.5 than an Annabelle film. And with how randomly tropey the supernatural entities and their actions have become, it measures a bit shy of being worthy of either. But hold on, I’m not saying it’s a bad movie—just not a great franchise installment.

Babysitting for Ed and Lorraine’s daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace; The Bad Seed, Amityville: The Awakening), Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman; Tales of Halloween, Goosebumps 2) and her nosey friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) end up freeing Annabelle’s demon to unleash her evil influence on those unlucky enough to be nearby. At first it’s just a little startling. But eventually we get some good atmosphere and scares.

A wolfen beast attacks from the annoyingly thick and abundant mist, a murderous spectral bride terrifies the household, empty rocking chairs rock on their own, spirits pace out of focus in the background, evil animated shadows, oddly prophetic TVs, and then there’s the Ferryman… that dude is creepy! This Annabelle doll is, of course, also incredibly creepy. Influenced by a demon and serving as a beacon for lost spirits, Annabelle is a magnet of malady. Seeing her under the sheets of the bed (with you in it) was a joyous shock.

First-time director Gary Dauberman (writer; Annabelle: Creation, It, Swamp Thing) seems to have tried to capture the more varied and flavorful threats of The Conjuring 2 (2016). The demon Valek, the Cooked Man; both were well-storied additions to that 2016 sequel. Yet here our varied additions’ introductions held less gravity, and their subsequent sightings less impactful (beyond the excellent jump scares). But make no mistake. I may criticism, but this becomes a rollercoaster of dreadful frights and engaging jumps. It’s just that… remember when the shadowy silhouette of the dog transmuted into the Crooked Man? That will stick with me! Nothing really from this film will… although the blood vomit scene was certainly shocking even if brief.

Overall a fun popcorn flick. I have criticisms, but not really any major complaints. My only disappointment rests in comparisons to The Conjuring (2013), The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017).

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.

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!

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