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The 2017 MFF October Horror Calendar: 31 Streaming Films for 31 Days

September 21, 2017

The MFF October Calendar is back and I’m hoping this years edition will introduce you to some fantastic horror films that will change your life forever and give you a horrible fear of trolls! I searched the streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime, Shudder, Hulu and HBO GO and put together a list of horror films you can stream at your leisure.

I didn’t want to burn people out with too much intense horror so I included some creature features, thrillers and horror comedies to add some laughs and monster carnage to the depravity and murder. I’ve included some alternates in the calendar just in case you don’t have all the streaming services.

Look underthe calendar to find links to the movies we’ve reviewed or covered on our podcast!

Enjoy!

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What did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

  1. Cheap Thrills
  2. The Blackcoat’s Daughter
  3. Green Room
  4. Fright Night
  5. 10 Cloverfield Lane
  6. The Void
  7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  8. What We Do in the Shadows
  9. Grabbers
  10. Train to Busan

Here is the 2016 calendar as well! The majority of these movies are still streaming and I’m pretty sure you will dig most of them. This gives you tons of options!

  1. The Witch – Amazon Prime
  2. Pontypool – Netflix
  3. From Dusk Till Dawn – Netflix
  4. The Invitation  – Netflix
  5. Bone Tomahawk – Amazon Prime
  6. Housebound – Netflix
  7. Under the Skin – Amazon Prime
  8. Rosemary’s Baby – Amazon Prime
  9. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – Amazon Prime/Netflix
  10. The House of the Devil – Hulu
  11. The Voices – Amazon Prime
  12. Trollhunter – Netflix
  13. Hush – Netflix
  14. An American Werewolf in London – Amazon Prime
  15. It Follows – Hulu
  16. Poltergeist – HBO Now
  17. 28 Days Later  HBO Now
  18. Spring – Amazon Prime
  19. Honeymoon – Netflix

Alternates

  1. Backcountry
  2. We Are Still Here
  3. Creep
  4. Innkeepers
  5. Tusk
  6. Blue Ruin
  7. Scream 2

More Horror reading

  1. The Top 21 Horror Films of the 21st Century!
  2. What Are Your Favorite Horror Films That Don’t Appear on “Best of” Lists?
  3. The 10 Best Moments of 21st Century Horror.
  4. What is the Best Horror Movie of the 21st Century? An In-Depth Look into Critical and Audience Scores.
  5. 10 Films That Can United the Art-House Hardcore Horror Fans.
  6. Examining the State of 2015 Horror Cinema.
  7. Everything You Need to Know About Horror Franchises.
  8. Breaking Down the Plots of Jaws 5-19. 

 

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John’s Horror Corner: Saw III (2006), proving that torture porn sequels can have good writing AND loads of lingering, gross, chunky gore!

September 21, 2017

MY CALL:  Better than the second and highly rewatchable.  I’ve come to quite enjoy the highly different styles of these first three moves.  This is the most gruesome so far, but it still takes time to thoughtfully develop the overarching franchise story.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Saw:  Well, after Saw (2004) there were six sequels and now part VIII, Jigsaw (2017). Subsequent torture porn for gory thrill-seekers would include Hostel I-II (2005, 2007; but not part III), Martyrs (2008; not the remake), The Human Centipede films (2009, 2011, 2015), and the I Spit on Your Grave series (1978 original, 2010-2015).  For more fun and innovative kills I’d also recommend the Final Destination films (2000-2011; but skip part 4).

As Saw II (2005) rolled the credits, we left Detective Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg; Dead Silence, Saw II-IV) for dead in the very same filth-painted bathroom as we opened and closed in part I, and Jigsaw (Tobin Bell; Boogeyman 2-3, Saw I-VII) escaped with his disciple Amanda (Shawnee Smith; The Blob, Saw I-III/VI, The Grudge 3). This sequel picks up right in that very same bathroom, with its accumulated cadavers ever more decayed.  Now on the third film in as many years, director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, The Devil’s Carnival, Mother’s Day), writer Leigh Whannell (Insidious 1-4, Saw I-III, Cooties) and executive producer James Wan (The Conjuring 1-2, Insidious 1-2) continue Jigsaw’s intestine-exposing shenanigans.

Whereas part I was character and story-driven, part II was a chaotically mean funhouse of horrors, and now part III takes yet a new approach—that of a Final Destination-style kill flick that basks in the gory glory of its death scenes.  Basically, while thoughtfully deepening the over-arching franchise story, these sequels keep getting meaner and clearly delight on transforming each subsequent release into something devastatingly harder to watch than the last.

Everything is yet more gruesome and brutal as we skip the saw and go right for bone-crushing blunt-force trauma.  The early chained victim sequence is viciously cruel, with the rib-ripping harness and the hypothermia rig follow suit.  But something else is new beyond the more abundantly showcased chunks of gore.  The camera lingers more on the suffering…  The brain surgery scene offers exactly what you expect, yet takes its time to such extent that you find yourself dreading each application of the power drill.  Paving the way for films like Evil Dead (2013) and Drag Me to Hell (2009), the offal pit offers waves of putrefied bodies frappe-blended into a slimy drowning pool and “the rack” regaled us with the sounds of slippery twisting flesh punctuated by cracking and splintering bones exposing themselves through mangled skin.  That’s right, people—don’t watch this with your grandmother.

During the offal pit scene, I was eating scrambled eggs with chunks of bacon covered in (no joke, folks) a green avocado chili sauce.  Nice timing.  LOL.

Each movie seems to have its star victim; the one with the deck stacked most against them. Gordon in part I, Detective Matthews’ son in part II, and part III follows Jeff (Angus Macfadyen; Saw IV) who encounters death trap victims at the mercy of his forgiveness.  Yes—forgiveness.  This film is about redemption.  Detective Kerry (Dina Meyer; Bats, Saw I-IV, Piranha 3D) seeks to save Matthews, Amanda is trying to save Jigsaw, Jigsaw wants to save Amanda, and Jeff is challenged to save his family.

As each film in the series advances, so advances John Kramer’s cancer.  Now near death in his work shop, Amanda continues his handy work as we explore the history of their relationship—her frailty, his hopes for her, her jealousy, his disappointment…and how much it has evolved over the course of three films.  And therein lies the elegance of the franchise—three stylistically different films with three different approaches, but all stacking the deck high.  I continue to love all three films, but this third installment is probably the most rewatchable.

John’s Horror Corner: Saw II (2005), more brutal, more death traps, more ominous tapes, more Jigsaw!

September 18, 2017

MY CALL:  Less tactful and more brutal, this was a very different film than part I.  Following very much the trajectory between Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), we shift from a film driven by atmosphere and characters to one of world elaboration and gorier effects.  But honestly, it’s a rather satisfying shift.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Saw:  Well, after Saw (2004) there were six sequels and now part VIII, Jigsaw (2017). Cube (1997) and Se7en (1995) share some of the death trap and methodical villain themes, respectively.  Subsequent torture porn for gory thrill-seekers would include Hostel I-II (2005, 2007; but not part III), Martyrs (2008; not the remake), The Human Centipede films (2009, 2011, 2015), and the I Spit on Your Grave series (1978 original, 2010-2015).  For more fun and innovative kills I’d also recommend the Final Destination films (2000-2011; but skip part 4).

Show me a horror sensation and I’ll show you a swiftly released sequel, and that’s exactly what happened with the Saws (2004) success—not that I’m complaining!  Just one year after the original’s release, James Wan (The Conjuring 1-2, Insidious 1-2) stepped back to the role of executive producer and writer Leigh Whannell (Insidious 1-4, Saw I-III, Cooties) joined director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw III-IV, The Devil’s Carnival, Mother’s Day) for parts II and III.

At the end of Saw (2004), we watched in shock as Jigsaw (Tobin Bell; Boogeyman 2-3, Saw I-VII) stood up and strolled away after playing the unobtrusively limp centerpiece to his last death trap, leaving poor Adam (Leigh Whannell) to die in a filth-smeared bathroom.  But now with his mystique largely revealed, what will this sequel have to offer from our yet more terminally ill John Kramer (Jigsaw)?

Whereas part I was thoughtful and character-driven, this sequel replaces much of its class with crass.  More akin to a teen slasher, our victims awaken in a deadly funhouse of horrors that is more chaotically Cube (1997) than tactfully Se7en (1995). The rules are less clear, the tape player is less eerie, and our villain’s purpose is somewhat obscured. I’m not saying I don’t like it. I’m simply saying that the very elements that drew many fans to part I (its subtlety) has been rather sidelined.  However, that said, we do develop Kramer’s motive and back story.  And while many fans adored the characters of part I, others reveled more in its brutal nature.  And it’s that very brutality that gets turned up quite a bit in this sequel.

As detectives Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg; Dead Silence, Saw III-IV) and Kerry (Dina Meyer; Bats, Saw II-IV, Piranha 3D) race against time to locate Kramer’s murder house, his victims begin to turn on one another.  The aspect of choice deciding his victims’ fate is less of a driving factor, now taking a back seat to their own murderous desperation.  Adding intrigue is that the only survivor (Shawnee Smith; The Blob, Saw I-III/VI, The Grudge 3) from part I has returned to play another deadly game.

Perhaps more mean-spirited, this sequel is more gruesomely cringe-worthy than its predecessor.  There’s much suicidal and self-mutilation imagery, wrist and throat cutting, impalement and skinning.  If anyone has an issue with needles, the “syringe scene” will make you reel.  No one even dies, yet it’s one of the most uncomfortable things one can watch.  Yikes!

Overall, this was a very different film than part I.  Following very much the trajectory between Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), we shift from a film driven by atmosphere and characters to one of world elaboration and gorier effects.  I miss James Wan’s more thoughtful influence, but honestly it remains a rather satisfying shift in style.

John’s Horror Corner: Saw (2004), James Wan’s progenitor of modern torture porn is all about the characters!

September 16, 2017

MY CALL:  Although unrelentingly gruesome at times, its gore always finds integral purpose.  This film is more about its characters than its death, and never dares to revel in its brutality in lieu of story.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Saw:  Well there are six sequels and now part VIII, Jigsaw (2017). Cube (1997) and Se7en (1995) share some of the death trap and methodical villain themes, respectively.  Subsequent torture porn for gory thrill-seekers would include Hostel I-II (2005, 2007; but not part III), Martyrs (2008; not the remake), The Human Centipede films (2009, 2011, 2015), and the I Spit on Your Grave series (1978 original, 2010-2015).  For more fun and innovative kills I’d also recommend the Final Destination films (2000-2011; but skip part 4).

Director James Wan (The Conjuring 1-2, Insidious 1-2) and writer Leigh Whannell (Insidious 1-4, Saw II-III, Cooties) don’t like to play by the standard horror rules.  This pair leaves all the guilty tropes behind and I love them for it!

Wan spins atmosphere like orb-weavers spin webs; elegantly elaborate, yet walk into it and all you’ll find is panic!  From the very start, things look hopeless as we meet Doctor Gordon (Cary Elwes; The Bride, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) in a filthy bathroom of a clearly long-condemned building.  The walls are painted in feces, they’re chained to rusty pipes, and the corpse of an apparent suicide lays in its own blood with a tape player in one hand and a gun in the other.  Oh, right.  And they find tapes with ominous instructions regarding their fate.  How’s that for tone?

As these two quibble over who’s to blame for how they got there, flashbacks account detectives Tapp (Danny Glover; Predator 2), Sing (Ken Leung; Lost, Red Dragon) and Kerry (Dina Meyer; Bats, Saw II-IV, Piranha 3D) busy trying to solve the string of deaths linked to the terminally ill Jigsaw Killer (Tobin Bell; Boogeyman 2-3, Saw II-VII).  Elaborate, mechanized death traps lead to frantic self-mutilation sparing Jigsaw from ever having to perform murders himself.  Among his macabre masterpieces we discover tangled webs of razor wire and the iconic jaw-breaking reverse bear trap.

This film is unrelentingly gruesome at times, yet its gore always finds integral purpose.  People desperately plunge their hands in putrefied stool or bloody tangled intestines literally searching for freedom. They grovel as they realize the horrors they must perform to survive…like sawing off their own foot or killing a fellow victim of Jigsaw’s cruel game.

Despite the occasional brutality, this film is more about its characters than its death.  Our mastermind may kill most who befall his plans, but he wants those who actually live to appreciate their lives differently.  Amanda (Shawnee Smith; The Blob, Saw II-III/VI, The Grudge 3) is our lone survivor, and she gives a tremendous performance as a hysterical victim.  Between her, Zep (Michael Emerson; Lost), an obsessed detective and Gordon’s wife (Monica Potter; The Last House on the Left), we are up to our neck in red herrings that sort themselves out to our satisfaction.

This really set the stage for modern torture porn—although the script seems so thoughtful that the application of this subgenre feels on the verge of derogatory.  This film never dares to revel in its brutality in lieu of story. Cube (1997) and Se7en (1995) clearly colored Wan’s palate, but didn’t overly guide his brush strokes.  All resistance feels futile from the moment the set-ups are revealed, everyone dies, and evil wins with nary a silly nor ill-explained nor eye-rollingly ironic twist to be found.

Anyone who hasn’t yet seen this is in for a treat.

MFF Podcast #105: 2012 Movies, Forgettable Characters and Alien: Covenant

September 16, 2017

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

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

The MFF podcast is back and we are talking about Alien: Covenant, bearded movie characters, and weird movie tropes. Alien: Covenant is a strange little thing that left us with lots of random questions that we attempt to answer in this podcast. Here are some of the questions we have:

  1. Who makes the Engineers cloaks?
  2. Why do people always wander off by themselves?
  3. If a cyborg asked you to stick your head in a gross pod would you do it?
  4. What are the names of the new xenomorphs?

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As always we answer random listener questions and ponder why I love Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets so much.  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 Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

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

The Blackcoat’s Daughter: A Patient Horror Film That Builds to Something Truly Memorable

September 12, 2017

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The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a slow burning horror film that builds to something pretty great. I feel like the entire film is based upon one line and as the film progresses it all begins to make sense. It is very simple and effective in its violence, plotting and shock value. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised at the mayhem that had just unfolded in front of me. First-time director/writer Oz Perkins should be applauded for creating a lot with little.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter revolves around two students stuck at their boarding school during the winter break. Rose (Lucy Boynton) is the cooler older student who just might be pregnant (older boyfriend) and Kat (Kiernan Shipka) is the freshmen creeper who might or might not be possessed by something terrible. Also, we are thrown into another story featuring a distraught woman named Joan (Emma Roberts) who is hitchhiking her way to an undisclosed location with a nice married couple. Eventually, the two stories collide but not before we get some insane violence, demon worship and lots of blood.

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The performances are all solid and the true standout is Kiernan Shipka. She plays the character with the right amount of unhinged creepiness and earnestness. You feel for her and whatever inhabits her is truly mean and has no intention of playing games or not hurting people. I also respect that there are zero twists that occur during the 95-minute runtime. The film unfolds at its own leisure and gives you exactly what you need to know and not much more.

If you like slow burn horror that features solid performances and a great payoff I totally recommend you check out The Blackcoat’s Daughter.

 

John’s Horror Corner: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld (2005), the only movie in the franchise I didn’t like (so far).

September 9, 2017

MY CALL:  I enjoyed parts I-VII only to utterly despise this sequel.  Very bad, both as a Hellraiser sequel and as a random horror flick.  Just bad.  MORE MOVIES LIKE HellworldBe sure to see Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) first, of course. Then maybe Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth (1992) and Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996).  Hellraiser: Inferno (2000), Hellseeker (2002) and Hellraiser: Deader (2005) are more standalone films, along with this part VIII.

Directed by Rick Bota (Haven, Hellraiser VI-VIII), this eighth installment to the Hellraiser franchise follows Inferno (2000), Hellseeker (2002) and Deader (2005) by presenting another stand-alone story.  But unlike Bota’s other sequels (VI and VII), I can comfortably say this is the only Hellraiser film I was completely unable to enjoy…although I haven’t seen part IX yet.

This direct-to-video movie feels like just that, with lousy acting, deplorable special effects and a script that doesn’t even try.  In fact, the only thing this flick delivers effectively is nudity.  Honestly, I’m a bit confused.  How and why were Bota’s other Hellraiser sequels so superior to this?

In this uninspired franchise installment, Hellworld is a popular interactive videogame and such notions as Cenobites and opening the Puzzle Box are common objectives of the game.  A group of savvy gamers (including Katheryn Winnick; The Dark Tower, Vikings and Henry Cavill; The Immortals, Red Riding Hood, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice) find themselves invited by a mysterious host (Lance Henriksen; Pumpkinhead, Harbinger Down,The Pit and the Pendulum) to the Leviathan House for a Hellworld-themed carnal sex party.

To say this sequel was phoned in would be polite.  Nothing about this felt like a Hellraiser movie.  Pinhead (Doug Bradley; Hellraiser I-VII) was just forced into the script, the Box’s mythology isn’t developed, the Cenobites didn’t matter at all, and the kills could have been from any stupid Saw knock-off.  We didn’t even get the hooked chains!  And when someone did get killed the effects were awful (maybe “basic” would be a more fair term here).  Even the depictions of the game were aggravatingly lazy.

Despite all the dialogue about the game, it never really felt important.  Nothing did.  This film serves as an example of the complete and utter failure to contemporize a long-running horror series.  I wonder if this film’s quality had to do with it being filmed almost immediately after part VII.  Sigh…

This film is bad, both as a Hellraiser story and as a DTV horror flick.  I wouldn’t even recommend it for Hellraiser film completists.  There’s no reason to watch this except for self-abuse.

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