Skip to content

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 387: Freaky, Mystical Daggers, and Christopher Landon

September 15, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

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

Mark and Zanandi (@ZaNandi on Twitter) discuss the 2020 horror comedy Freaky. Directed by Christopher Landon, and starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn, the movie focuses on what happens when a burly serial killer swaps bodies with a high school student. In this episode, they discuss tennis racket kills, mystical daggers, and kitchen fights. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

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

Malignant (2021) – Review: A Fun Horror Film That Should Be Embraced

September 13, 2021

Quick thoughts – Grade B+ – Malignant is insane. James Wan has created one of the oddest horror films I’ve ever seen, and I love it.

Movies like Malignant don’t come around very often, and they should be embraced. After directing Aquman, Furious 7, and The Conjuring 1 & 2, James Wan seems to have been given free reign to create whatever he wanted. The end product is something that is almost impossible to explain, because it’s nuts. It belongs with The Happening and Jupiter Ascending (I love both of them) as movies that swung big and created experiences that people will talk about for a long time. If you are looking for a truly original film, watch Malignant now. 

Directed by James Wan, and starring Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle, The Mummy), Maddie Hasson (check out We Summon the Darkness), George Young, and Michole Briana White, Malignant tells the story of a woman named Madison (Wallis), who starts seeing visions of a mysterious supernatural creature, who is killing people in Seattle. Her visions put her on the radar of Detectives Kekoa Shaw (Young), and Regina Moss (Briana White), who are investigating a series of wildly bloody murders. Together, they team up to solve the mystery, and engage in some fun cat-and-mouse games with the mysterious murderer. 

What’s great about Malignant is how insane it is. There hasn’t been a more strange wide release horror film in years. It would be a shame to spoil anything because it’s best to know nothing about the twists and turns before, just be prepared for an incredible amount of insanity and gore. Also, the cinematography by Michel Burgess (The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Annabelle Comes Home) is beautiful, and loaded with wide shots, roaming steadicam work, and overhead shots that are a sight to behold. The camera is a character in Malignant, and it’s great seeing a horror film with wildly ambitious camerawork. The production design by Desma Murphy (Art Director on Aquaman, Furious 7 and The Suicide Squad) is also excellent, as the interiors are suitably gloomy, and the Seattle underground looks like a nightmare factory. 

Other highlights are Maddie Hasson who was also a lot of fun in We Summon the Darkness. Her character defies many tropes, and also gets herself involved in some bonkers moments that will leave you cringing (in a good way). Finally, make sure to keep your eye out for the greatest chair throw since The Wolfman (2010)

Final thoughtsMalignant is insane, and I love every second of it.

John’s Horror Corner: Evolution (2015), an enigmatic, slow burn, mix of medical thriller, mild French body horror and folk horror.

September 12, 2021

MY CALL: This is the kind of film where I struggle to even classify what it is. It’s a slow burn medical thriller, it’s sort of a body horror movie, it’s got some intriguing cultish folk horror vibes… but none of these components come to the expected fruition. This film has its own unique agenda which culminates in largely going unexplained. Probably best left for fans of slowburns and A24-style horror. MORE MOVIES LIKE Evolution: For more slow burn medical mystery horror that takes you in a strange direction, try A Cure for Wellness (2016) or Sputnik (2020).

With the curious oddity of a very patient contemporary folk horror, we find an enclave of young women raising a group of young boys in a rather primitively furnished seaside compound. Their lives seem simple. But something strange is afoot as young Nicholas takes his medicine, told it is because he is weak like a crab after a shell molting; and when he is routinely served what I can only describe as ‘worm porridge’ every day as his maternal keeper vigilantly chaperones his meal; or when she methodically bathes him on the shore after his daily swim. Nicholas is overseen as much like a pet or a patient as he is tended as one’s child, however a maternal oversight remains evident.

Despite an atmosphere where things just don’t seem right, abnormal things are presented in a veil of normalcy. This film isn’t weird like The Lighthouse (2019) or The Apostle (2018)… but more like A Cure for Wellness (2016) with just a cultish dash of Midsommar (2019). Nicholas receives much medical attention of sorts. Something very strange is clearly going on, and it’s right in front of us. We just don’t know what it is.

I feel a strong sense of invasiveness as I witness Nicholas’ treatment, and I mean this both in terms of how he is parented and how he is treated medically. Elixirs, stitches, blood drawing, injections, constant supervision… things get weirder. Like really weird. We wander into something of a medical horror-mystery. What gore we encounter is very medical—e.g., medical procedures or the bloody biproducts thereof.

This slow burn will get you nowhere fast. Yet I felt perpetually intrigued and curious, and I enjoy this kind of film. There aren’t death scenes or monsters; this is a different animal altogether and it does not care to attempt to “excite” you by typical horror movie means.

The ending may provide mere glimpses into the answers we wanted, but won’t truly satisfy. Director Lucile Hadzihalilovic (Earwig, Innocence) doesn’t rely or thrive or revel in her ending. The ending is simply where it ends. I won’t fault it for that. But most of my questions remain very much unanswered, and I had many.

Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast – Episode 62: The Abyss, James Cameron, and Mustaches

September 11, 2021

You can listen to Deep Blue Sea – The Podcast on Apple Podcasts, SpreakerSpotify, Tunein, Podcast Addict, Amazon, Google Podcasts, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to like our Facebook page!

Please make sure to rate, review, share, and subscribe!

Jay and Mark are joined by Heather “Roger Ramjet” Baxendale-Walsh (@Heather_Kenobi on Twitter) to discuss the 1989 film The Abyss. Directed by James Cameron, and starring Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Beach, Michael Biehn, and several wonderful mustaches, the movie is a visually impressive experience that features groundbreaking visual effects, and inspired knife fights. In this episode, they discuss chase scenes, keg caddys, and James Cameron. Enjoy!

Please make sure to rate, review and subscribe to the DBS podcast.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 386: Howard the Duck, George Lucas, and Diner Scenes

September 10, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

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

Mark and Norbert discuss the 1986 comic book adaptation Howard the Duck. Directed by Willard Huyck, and starring Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins, the movie focuses on what happens when a sassy duck is transported to earth, and has to battle a dark overlord. In this episode, they discuss Duckworld, George Lucas and practical stunts. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

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

John’s Horror Corner: The Swarm (2020; aka, La Nuee), a mostly subtle French eco-horror about killer insects.

September 10, 2021

MY CALL: Not to be confused with the killer bee movie The Swarm (1978), this movie isn’t what you think it is. And it’s probably not the horror movie you’re looking for. But what it is, is something I appreciate for its more subtle oddity. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Swarm: For more insectoid, arachnid and invertebrate horror try The Fly (1986), The Nest (1988), Slugs (1988), The Bay (2012), Arachnophobia (1990), Ticks (1993), Mosquito (1994) and Mimic (1997). The Mist (2007) and The Thing (1982) get a bit more tentacular but have some buggy appeal, and The Thaw (2009), Blue Monkey (1987) and Things (1989) use totally made up arthropod-like creatures. And of course, one shouldn’t overlook the sci-fi action Starship Troopers (1997).

A struggling widow and single mother of two, Virginie (Suliane Brahim; Black Spot) farms grasshoppers for high-protein livestock meal. The opening scenes are completely genre-innocuous such that you’d not expect this to be building to anything horrific. Even when Virginie’s son has a grasshopper crawling on his hand and stopping to patiently chew the wart off his finger, the boy just watches in amusement and it passes as quirky kid behavior.

After an accident leaves Virginie bleeding and unconscious in her rearing tent, she awakens to swat numerous grasshoppers from her bloody wound. Even stranger, her rearing house is now abuzz with active, freshly molted grasshoppers… and they’re hungry. So like a more grounded version of Larry and Julia’s toxic relationship in Hellraiser (1987), Virginie continues to give her swarm blood so they may thrive, reproduce, and bring her family financial security. But things seem under control; and it’s pigs’ blood she turns to when her own blood just isn’t enough. Or so, it slowly begins with pigs’ blood.

As Virginie pours more of her blood and soul into her work, it becomes her primary concern; an obsession. The development of her business results in what seems to be the diminishment of her conscience and motherhood.

I’ve come to realize that after 50 minutes there is still no reason to expect this to be a horror a movie if you somehow didn’t already know going into this. And while it’s not Oscar contender, I find myself not minding the long-delayed appearance of horror. Yes, there is eventually some gore, a good bit actually. But it’s heavily biased to the very end of the film, at which point it feels like a very different kind of movie entirely… though not in a bad way nor a good way. Just in an odd way. It’s like you were watching a sitcom or a drama, and all of a sudden everyone explodes into a gory bloody mess.

For most of its running time, director Just Philippot’s first feature film is to “killer insect” movies what Raw (2016) is to werewolf movies, only far more slow about it and eventually being more ostentatious about its true nature. The entirety of this movie could be the “opening scenes” of a killer insect movie. It takes a subtle approach to the genre, but then pushes that approach hard upon the viewers driving its point to a crescendo. To be fair, this mystique is wiped away in the final scenes, when this movie finally becomes exactly the movie we expected it to be (even if only briefly). Truly, I wish it just picked one style and stuck with it; subtle, or not. But this remains a solid off-the-beaten path film choice within the horror genre.

John’s Horror Corner: I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990), a zany British horror comedy about a motorcycle that drinks blood.

September 9, 2021

MY CALL:  This movie is a weird, very cheesy little thing.  MORE MOVIES LIKE I Bought a Vampire MotorcycleFor more horror odd horror-comedy, consider that this is somewhat closer to the likes of Blood Diner (1987) or Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991) than it is to Cemetery Man (1994).

After a devil-summoning cultist is murdered mid-conjuring only to have the demon possess his motorcycle, Noddy (Neil Morrissey; Bob the Builder) ends up buying the fixer-upper bike. Now this motorcycle is possessed by some named powerful demon, not a vampire. But the motorcycle is vulnerable to all weaknesses of a classic vampire, along with exorcism. Whatever. At some point we need to wave our hands in the air and decide we just don’t care when the garlic-indulgent inspector repels the foul spirit with his pungent garlic breath and just decide to go along for the ride. When Noddy teams up with a quirky priest, there’s a strong Fright Night (1985) Roddy McDowall vibe.

The humor gets… interesting. A talking severed head can be passed almost as a horror comedy trope (e.g., Evil Dead 2). But when Noddy has a conversation with his anthropomorphic poop in the toilet which then leaps into his mouth, you know you’ve wandered into some pretty weird territory.

This motorcycle is almost like a werebike. When it intends to feed it grows spikes and horns and various deadly extremities making it look like some Hell chopper. Just one year after A Nightmare on Elm Street part 5: The Dream Child (1990) boasted a spectacular motorcycle death, our evil motorcycle is impaling its rider and finding ways to drive them to bloody murder. Then it would bite off a meter maid’s hand with its broken headlight like a toothy maw with glass shard teeth; cut off a priest’s fingers; and separate a nurse’s torso from her body.

They ultimately defeat the motorcycle with a tanning bed. And while this may not be among the first tanning bed death scenes in horror (e.g., Death Spa, Killer Workout, Demons 2), it might be the first time (or even the only time) a tanning bed was used to kill the killer.

There are much better really bad, gory, B-movies out there. But this isn’t a bad watch for fans of b-movies. Director Dirk Campbell (The Worst Witch, Moon and Me, My Petasaurus) would not continue his career in horror, but rather shifted to kids’ shows. Not sure how that transition came along.

John’s Horror Corner: No Reason (2010), a VERY gory, VERY graphic, VERY depraved German exploitation movie.

September 8, 2021

MY CALL:  This movie really wants to be Lars von Trier meets Hellraiser (1987) and Martyrs (2008). But conceptually, it’s just shooting blanks. That said, I’d only recommend this to those who enjoy seeing the extremes of the genre. So yes, this review is rather scathing. But I’m still glad to have seen it… just once.  MORE MOVIES LIKE No ReasonFor more horror that will challenge the moral sensibilities of its viewers, I’d suggest The Last House on the Left (1972), Salo (1975), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Red Room (1999), Martyrs (2008), I Spit on Your Grave (1978), Antichrist (2009), The Human Centipede 1-2 (2009, 2011), A Serbian Film (2010) and The Greasy Strangler (2016).

Lulling us into the very false sense that we may be watching a normal (or even well-made) film, we open with home movie clips of a happy German family. But within minutes we find a disturbed, completely naked woman shouting obscenities and killing a cop before turning her gun on herself in an abruptly graphic shot to the head.

Director and writer Olaf Ittenbach (The Burning Moon, Legion of the Dead) clearly has a lot he wants to say through this film. Unfortunately, neither his writing nor execution possess the poignant philosophical punch for which he was clearly aiming and missing with his rather shallow ‘transcendental’ dialogue. The characters are constantly saying very awkward, unnatural things that ooze unearned self-importance. Watching these actors lumber through these crass lines is an occasionally painful, boring slog. In fact, most aspects of the filmmaking felt more amateur than simply being lower budget, despite clearly swinging for the fences with every scene. So where this film thrives can only reside purely in its shock value. And even if the quality is low, it is relentless in its efforts. And if I measured its efforts in pounds of fake blood and rubber guts, there’s as much effort here than in any other horror movie I’ve seen in a long time.

After having a very unpleasant day, Jennifer (Irene Holzfurtner; Savage Love) awakens covered in blood and surrounded by numerous gorily dismantled bodies and severed limbs. She is guided on a quest of enlightenment by a man in an octopus mask and a discount Cenobite costume which we, as viewers, are meant to take seriously. But, in truth, this “demon” has cheap stiff octopus tentacles and a skeazy sex worker’s outfit. It’s tough to take this remotely seriously despite its perpetually dire tone.

Among the highly graphic violence is a suicide gunshot to the head, an eyeball is slowly lacerated, a woman’s face is flailed until the bone is stripped bare, limbs are sloppily sawed off, hooked chains stretch and tear the skin from one’s body, and there are multiple scenes of EXTREMELY GRAPHIC on-screen genital mutilation. Equally graphic is this nudity. Not since Mathilda May in Lifeforce (1985) have I seen a woman spend so much time naked on screen in a horror film, and Irene Holzfurtner effortless laps Mathilda May by any measurement of breast or tiny bits. And then there are the scenes of flogging bondage and humiliating urination as people are mutilated in the background a la Event Horizon (1997) in this pleasure-by-pain Hellscape. There’s a lot of torture bloodily basting its scenes, and it basks in it with the satisfaction of a recently fed lizard warming its fat belly on a hot rock in a teenager’s terrarium.

This movie really wants to be Lars von Trier meets Hellraiser (1987) and Martyrs (2008). But conceptually, it’s just shooting blanks with its impotent angel of death. This demon guides Jennifer through several “levels” of suffering to find emotional enlightenment. And with each level come more incidents of torture and gore and mutilated Hellraiser-esque imagery. Again, the premise is somewhat intriguing. But the movie before me is not. And that’s a shame, because generally I love these types of “challenging to watch” cinema.

The big reveal at the end…? Sorry. I just thought it was stupid, terribly written and incredibly shallow. This is the kind of film I only recommend to those who enjoy seeing the extremes of this genre, even if not worthy of appreciable rank. And that would include me. So yes., this review is rather scathing. But I’m still glad to have seen it… just once.

Come True – A Fun Exploration of Dreams, Nightmares, and Science

September 7, 2021

Quick Thoughts: – Grade B+ –  Director/writer/composer/cinematographer Anthony Scott Burns has created a visually impressive and creative film that will linger in your memory

Shot over 60 days, with a crew of five, Come True feels like a wildly intimate exploration of dreams, nightmares and science. Director Anthony Scott Burns drew inspiration from when he was eight years old, and processing the loss of his mom.  At night, he would see a shadow at the foot of his bed, and that memory is the catalyst for Come True. He also drew influences from sleep studies at Berkeley that showcased revolutionary technology that could draw rudimentary images of what people were dreaming about, and his own bouts with sleep paralysis, to create an original and haunting horror film. 

Come True focuses on a young woman named Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone – really good), who takes part in a sleep study that offers $12 an hour, and a full night of sleep. When we first meet Sarah she is sleeping on a playground slide, and stays awake through a combination of coffee, short naps, and lots of bicycle riding. She only goes inside her home to grab clothes/supplies, when her mom leaves the house, which means they’ve had a breakdown (which isn’t detailed in the movie) that keeps Sarah away from the house. At first, the sleep study offers her a chance to make some cash and get some sleep. However, when things start getting weird, she becomes skeptical of the mystery surrounding the study, and the people involved, who seem to be following her. 

To give away more about the plot would be a disservice, as Come True should be watched without  knowledge about the plot. There are a lot of surprises, twists, and neat revelations that shouldn’t be spoiled. Just know that Julia Sarah Stone is solid as the sleep-deprived high schooler who gets in over her head, and Landon Liboiron does a fine job playing a mysterious researcher who is either a creeper, or just a likable weirdo. The plot reminded me a lot of the excellent 2020 film The Vast of Night, which was shot on a budget, and featured a plot that centered around two teenagers unraveling a mystery. The two movies are widely different, but they seem kindred spirits in the way they play out their mysteries. There is something refreshing about how they leave you with asking questions, and wanting to go back and explore all the intricacies and moments. The 5.9 IMDb rating suggests some viewers might not appreciate all the questions and lack of clarity, but, if you go in with an open mind, and don’t need everything spelled out for you, it will be a rewarding watch.

Final ThoughtsCome True is a wildly inventive film that you should check out. I can’t wait to see what Scott Burns does next.

The Movies, Films and Flix Podcast – Episode 385: The Saw Franchise, Gnarly Traps, and Jigsaw

September 4, 2021

You can download or stream the pod on Apple PodcastsTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker (or wherever you listen to podcasts…..we’re almost everywhere).

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

Mark and John Leavengood (@MFFHorrorCorner on Twitter) discuss the Saw Franchise, which is made up of nine films, and lots of blood explosions. The franchise kicked off in 2004, with the James Wan directed Saw, and has since become a horror juggernaut that is surprisingly coherent and loaded with wild traps and loads of plot. In this episode, they talk about the evolution of the franchise, and the pettiness of Jigsaw. Enjoy!

If you are a fan of the podcast, make sure to send in some random listener questions (we love random questions). We thank you for listening, and hope you enjoy the episode!

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

%d bloggers like this: