Author: Krista Culbertson

WICKED WEDNESDAY: 100 HORROR MOVIES IN 92 DAYS 2022, WRAP-UP #3

Learning that today was already November 2nd shaved years off my life. Where did October go? It was possibly the busiest I have ever been around this time of the year. but there are no complaints from me! And yet, I managed to watch 110 new-to-me horror movies from August to October. It beats last year’s number, and I feel significantly better than I did at the end this time around.

One bit of guidance I had this year was Shudder’s latest show, The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time. It was a solid list of new and classic films to watch. And I became determined to watch as many as I could from it, meaning I finally ticked off missed classics like Rosemary’s Baby and saw recent hits like The Night House.

There were a lot of new horror films released in October as well. Seriously, an excellent month for genre fans. I saw quite a few family-friend movies this month with Wendell & Wild being my favourite. Easily. Henry Selick and Jordan Peele are icons.

Overall, it was a much more positive experience this year. I made lists and set goals for myself as to what I wanted to accomplish. Only one film was left on my checklist, The Velvet Vampire, which I hope to get to in November.

#79-110

79 Hocus Pocus 2 (2022) dir. by Anne Fletcher

80 I Walked With a Zombie (1943) dir. by Jacques Tourneur

81 Cujo (1983) dir. by Lewis Teague

82 Train to Busan (2016) dir. by Yeon Sang-ho

83 Hollows Grove (2014) dir. by Craig Efros

84 Nightmare Weekend (1984) dir. by Henri Sala

85 Rosemary’s Baby (1968) dir. by a rapist

This might be my biggest oversight when it comes to classic horror. The plot such a part of popular culture that I didn’t think any thing could surprise me about this film. But it really did. Mia Farrow is absolutely incredible here. She alone is the film.

86 Evil of Dracula (1974) dir. by Michio Yamamoto

87 Black Rock (2012) dir. by Katie Aselton

88 This House (2022) dir. by Emma de Swaef, Marc James Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Paloma Baeza

89 The Tell-Tale Heart (1960) dir. by Ernest Morris

90 Fiend (1980) dir. by Don Dohler

91 Killer Piñata (2017) dir. by Stephen Tramontana

92 Werewolf by Night (2022) dir. by Michael Giacchino

I don’t know what I was thinking…

93 Gerald’s Game (2017) dir. by Mike Flanagan

94 Stage Fright (2014) dir. by Jerome Sable

When I got the notification that Stage Fright was available for streaming, I was SO excited. I have been dying to see Michael Soavi’s film for years. But lo and behold it was this Stage Fright starring Meat Loaf. But I will call this a happy mix-up. A bananas movie that’s a lot of fun.

95 The Curse of Bridge Hollow (2022) dir. by Jeff Wadlow

96 The Night House (2020) dir. by David Bruckner

97 Halloween Ends (2022) dir. by David Gordon Green

I really enjoyed this. Sue me.

98 Rocktober Blood (1984) dir. by Beverly Sebastian

99 Frightmare (1974) dir. by Pete Walker

100 The Suspicious Death of a Minor (Morte sospetta di una minorenne) (1975) dir. by Sergio Martino

101 V/H/S/99 (2022) dir. by Johannes Roberts, Vanessa & Joseph Winter, Maggie Levin, Tyler MacIntyre, Flying Lotus

102 All Hallows’ Eve 2 (2015) dir. by Bryan Norton, Antonio Padovan, Jay Holben, James and Jon Kondelik, Andrés Borghi, Ryan Patch, Mark Roussel, Elias Benavidez, Mike Kochansky

103 Saloum (2021) dir. by Jean Luc Herbulot

A stunning horror tale from Senegal. The fact that I haven’t seen more people talking about this film is a HUGE shame.

104 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) dir. by Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney and James Algar

105 Significant Other (2022) dir. by Robert Olsen, Dan Berk

106 Blackenstein (1973) dir. by William A. Levey

107 Bad Hair (2020) dir. by Justin Simien

108 Cemetery of Terror (Cementerio del terror) dir. by Rubén Galindo Jr.

109 Saw (2004) dir. by James Wan

I put off watching this film for years and years. It was what gave birth to the modern “torture porn” subgenre. Nothing about it ever appealed to me, but I knew it was time to bite the bullet. You can always turns things off, right? But this was an entirely different film to what I was anticipating. Maybe I watched an edited version, but the gore was very light. The biggest shock? It had an interesting story.

110 Wendell & Wild (2022) dir. by Henry Selick

Halloween treats for the Halloween week

Halloween is less than a week away! Truly the last few days to savour the best time of the year. Sure we love all things spooky year-round, but the atmosphere is truly unique in the darkest days of October. It’s OUR time!

This year I’ve found myself particularly savouring the season, especially the more family-friendly parts in addition to the usual onslaught of horror films. My Halloween plans were to see Fabio Fritzi play music from the films of Lucio Fulci. That got kicked to 2023, so I’m seeing Suspiria at the Prince Charles Cinema. It’s fine. It’s what the devil intended!

But as I’ve enjoyed so many things this year, I thought I’d share my picks of things I’ve loved and will be watching as the last few days of this month pass us by.

Halloween horror pick: Halloween Party (1989) dir. by David Skowronski

Watch your usuals. Then watch this shot-on-video movie clearly made by a group of friends on a random October night.

Halloween novelty picks: “Trick or Treat” by Chuck Berry and “Midnight Monsters Hop” by Jack & Jim

Shout out to Halloween Ends for the latter.

Nonhorror TV pick: Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)

It’s no secret that Unsolved Mysteries is one of my favourite shows. The original theme song is literally my ringtone. The new Netflix reboot is equally satisfying (though don’t watch it with your family, who will inevitably complain that the mysteries are unsolved).

The latest few episodes dive into the usual spread of themes: deaths, murders, aliens. But I think the storytelling has really improved over the original Netflix episodes from 2022. I personally loved “Something in the Sky”. As someone who is terrified of aliens while simultaneously believing that 99% of people make up seeing UFOs, this one really got to me.

Podcast pick: Sinisterhood Episode 192: The Fresno Nightcrawler

Everyone loves a cryptid, and the Fresno Nightcrawler is up there with the Mothman as far as fan favourites go. Sinisterhood is an excellent podcast hosted by comedians Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney. They’re a delight, and their discussion about the Nightcrawler is informative, cohesive and hilarious.

Audiobook pick: The Babysitter Lives by Stephen Graham Jones

I’ve read a number of Jones’ books over the last few years, but I have to say this one is my absolute favourite. In audiobook format only, the story is about a babysitter who takes a job babysitting on Halloween night and ends up dealing with more than she bargained for.

It certainly seems like you’re getting the traditional babysitter horror story until Jones takes everything in a whole different direction. It’s a bizarre horror fantasy story that will bend your mind.

Book-for-the-kiddos pick: The House in the Woods by Yvette Fielding

When a trio of friends play with an Ouija board at a haunted house, they soon realise the ghost has followed them home. This story by Ghosthunting With… host Yvette Fielding feels very much like a traditional romp full of some very satisfying scares. I think it will please any ghost-loving child years 10+.

Soundtrack pick: Occhiali Neri (Dario Argento’s Dark Glasses Original Sountrack) by Arnaud Rebotini

Dark Glasses wasn’t my favourite Argento film, but man, it had a killer soundtrack. Watching this on the big screen, the electronic music really could literally be felt. It helps build the suspense of the story so well. It’s easily one of my favourite new horror movie soundtracks of the year.

Wicked Wednesday: Rocktober Blood (1984)

Like a fool, I’d been saving watching this movie for Halloween. Rocktober = October = Halloween, right? Well. Instead of my fun holiday romp, it turns out that Rocktober Blood has nothing to do with All Hallows’ Eve and everything to do with heavy metal, evil twins and poor attempts at being Phantom of the Paradise.

Most of the cast in the film was made up of the band Sorcery. While not the main cast, they do hang around quite a bit. Though it is difficult to tell seeing as the movie was light with about three lightbulbs.

Billy “Eye” Harper is the lead singer for a successful metal band. During a late-night recording session, he and the rest of the band leave. Only girlfriend and backup singer Lynn remains behind to do further recording with the engineer Kevin and another assistant.

Lynn leaves to go into the jacuzzi. While she’s away Kevin and the assistant are both murdered by Billy. Or are they???

Lynn is confronted by who she assumes is Billy, who attempts to kill her. A security guard manages to intervene. But two years later, Billy is dead, having been executed for the crimes. He maintained his innocence up until his death, confusing Lynn, who was certain she’d been threatened by him.

With Billy out of the way, Lynn becomes the lead singer of the band, who rebrands themselves as Headmistress. As their “Rocktober Blood” tour looms, Lynn is certain that she is being haunted by Billy. Unsurprisingly, no one believes her.

Her friends even go so far as to help her dig up Billy’s coffin. Inside, they find his decomposing corpse. But Lynn maintains that he is alive as she gets continually harrassed by who she thinks is Billy.

On the night of the tour’s first show, it’s revealed that Lynn has been wrong all along. Billy is dead. Silly woman. It’s not Billy harassing her, but Billy’s EVIL TWIN BROTHER! John Harper is the talent of the twins, having written all the music that Billy took credit for. How better to exact revenge than to kill literally everyone. (No, this does not make sense to me.)

The last scene of the film is quite clearly an attempt at an homage to the Beef and the Undeads concert scene in Phantom. But, you know, done on a budget of about $50. There are fake deaths, electrocution by guitar and glam rock-inspired makeup. John appears on stage, which should be a pretty big reveal. I mean, even if you didn’t know about this evil twin business, it looks like a dead guy is parading around on stage. Somehow the band seems pretty unphased by this, even when Lynn is getting manhandled and handcuffed by him. Everyone keeps playing!

And poor John ends up dead. Or is he?

I love metal music. Particularly hair metal. It’s the white trash Wisconsinite in me. If Poison comes on, I must worship. Though I have to admit, I had never heard of Sorcery before. They seem like a pretty great band, as the soundtrack is probably the best part of the film.

Lynn’s voice was provided by Susie Rose Major, who has a set of great pipes. It would have probably been more impactful, though, if we had heard “Rainbow Eyes” only at the end and not constantly (and I mean constantly) throughout.

Rocktober Blood is a low-budget affair that’s pretty rough around the edges when it comes to production value. It’s also padded up to high heaven and has nothing to do with Halloween OR October. But all that said, can you really resist a movie that combines 80s metal music, evil twins, and homages to one of the greatest movies ever made? Well, maybe. Maybe just watch Phantom of the Paradise instead.

Wicked Wednesday: Fiend (1980)

I love and appreciate regional horror. These movies, which are not made in Hollywood, are often filled with local character and crew. Think the Bill Rebanes and George A Romeros of the world.

Fiend very much fits into that mould. Director, writer and star Don Dohler is obviously from (and clearly loves) Maryland. There are plenty of title cards to let us know where in Maryland we are. All the radio news announcements keep mentioning places in Maryland. I learned more about Maryland from this movie than I did when we studied in the 50 states in 5th grade.

The premise is very straight-forward: an alien entity lands on earth and resurrects the body of a music teacher Eric Longfellow. He rises from his grave and needs to suck the life out of people in order to survive.

He moves into (and by moves, I mean just takes down the “for sale” sign) a home in a Maryland suburb. With his arrival, murders – all in the same fashion – begin to be reported in the area. And Longfellow’s neighbour macho Gary Kender is very suspicious.

For one, the guy plays music. For a living! And second, he was home the day a young child was murdered. So he must have seen something – no matter what he’s told the police.

The logic is not very sound, but neither is Gary Kender’s head, to be fair. But of course he’s right anyway. Even if he isn’t the best of heroes to root for.

There are plenty of rituals, stranglings, odd characters and synth music to fill the 90 minute running time.

Fiend is definitely a small movie with a small budget. But there is plenty to really like about it. It’s full of quirks, like the red glow that surrounds Longfellow when he gets murdered. There are even a couple of plot holes thrown in for fun. Though it’s also got a consistent atmosphere that helps it be a successful film. It’s maybe not the best film technically but it’s clearly been made with a lot of heart and enthusiasm.

Regional horror is pretty much dead these days, but it’s nice to revisit works from people as passionate about their corner of the world as Dohler clearly was.

WICKED WEDNESDAY: 100 HORROR MOVIES IN 92 DAYS 2022, WRAP-UP #2

Happy October! How we’re already into the third month of the 100 Horror Movies in 92 Days challenge beats me. Why does the best time of the year always have to go by faster than anyone wants it to?

We’ve got less than a month to go and closing in on the goal. Hitting 100 is pretty manageable…unless my soul completely does before the 31st. I have watched some really great films this month and some incredibly bad ones. By about September 15, I began to lose the will to live and started questioning my sanity again. What would it be like to watch an action flick or even a rom-com instead of a horror film? The little moments I have between films have been filled with the trashiest of reality TV.

But “Krista,” you ask, “Why are you still doing this if all you do is complain about it?” Well, reader, that’s because I love to torment myself and complain. That’s why.

Jokes. (Mostly.) It has been a fun exercise that has pushed me to try out some films I’ve put off for ages and try more from other countries.

If you haven’t seen last month‘s update, please do. Feel free to follow me over at Letterboxd to see my ratings (and rare attempts at writing reviews.

#38-78

38 Night of the Lepus (1972) dir. by William F. Claxton

39 X (2022) dir. by Ti West

40 Demon City Shinjuku (1988) dir. by Yoshiaki Kawajiri

41 The Vampire Doll (1970) dir. by Michio Yamamoto

42 Nope (2022) dir. by Jordan Peele

43 The Whip and the Body (1963) dir. by Mario Bava

44 Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) dir. by Roger Corman

45 We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021) dir. by Jane Schoenbrun

46 Choose or Die (2022) dir. by Toby Meakins

Bad things always happen when British filmmakers with all British casts make movies in Britain all pretending to be Americans in America.

47 The Addams Family (2019) dir. by Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan

48 V/H/S/94 (2021) dir. by Simon Barrett Timo Tjahjanto, Jennifer Reeder, Ryan Prows, Chloe Okuno

HAIL RAATMA!

49 Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell (1995) dir. by Shinichi Fukazawa

50 The Black Cat (Black Cat: Gatto nero) (1981) dir. by Lucio Fulci

51 The Blackwell Ghost (2017) dir. by Turner Clay

52 The Invitation (2015) dir. by Karyn Kusama

53 The Premature Burial (1962) dir. by Roger Corman

54 Graduation Day (1981) dir. by Herb Freed

55 Curse of the Blair Witch (1999) dir. by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

56 The Devil Below (2021) dir. by Bradley Parker

57 Vicious Fun (2020) dir. by Cody Calahan

58 The Old Dark House (1963) dir. by William Castle

59 The Strangers (2008) dir. by Bryan Bertino

60 Castle Freak (1995) dir. by Stuart Gordon

61 One Dark Night (1982) dir. by Tom McLoughlin

62 Shock (1946) dir. by Alfred L. Werker

63 The Brood (1979) dir. by David Cronenberg

64 The Living Ghost (1942) dir. by William Beaudine

65 Screamplay (1985) dir. by Rufus Butler Seder

66 The Pyramid (2014) dir. by Grégory Levasseur

67 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) dir. by Steve Miner

68 The Stuff (1985) dir. by Larry Cohen

69 Lake of Dracula (1971) dir. by Michio Yamamoto

70 The Terror? (1963) dir. by Roger Corman (credited), Francis Ford Coppola, Dennis Jakob, Monte Hellman, Jack Hill, Jack Nicholson (all uncredited)

71 The Wailing (2016) dir. by Na Hong-jin

72 Satan’s Black Wedding (1976) dir. by Nick Millard

73 The Woman in Black (2012) dir. by James Watkins

This was okay, but you HAVE to see the stage production if you are ever in London. Turns out rocking chairs that move on their own are a lot creepier if you’re in the same room as it.

74 The House on Tombstone Hill (1989) dir. by James Riffel

75 The Giant Gila Monster (1959) dir. Ray Kellogg

76 Def by Temptation (1990) dir. by James Bond III

77 My Bloody Valentine (1981) dir. by George Mihalka

78 My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022) dir. by Damon Thomas

Cute, but as they say: the book is always better.

Wicked Wednesday: The Dead Come Home (1989)

The Dead Come Home aka Dead Dudes in the Hosue aka House on Tombstone Hill is a pretty standard post-Evil Dead slasher in many ways. Kids arrive at a haunted house, they meet supernatural foes, and then they die. It’s a beautiful formula that works.

And yet, there’s still something that makes it a bit special. There are echoes of Troma’s own Mother’s Day throughout, namely in its villain, an elderly woman. Only this one is dead! But there are also some brilliant practical effect death scenes that make this worth watching.

In a massive home in the countryside, a woman and her daughter spend some time over the corpse of a man on their floor. Forty years later, a group of young people arrive at the house. Mark, the house’s new owner, got it for a steal. In his words, “practically given away.” Maybe it was the 80s, but man – if it’s too good to be true…

After arriving, the kids have a look around. One of them disturbs the grave buried out back, severely pissing off the ghosties within the house.

The kids get to work, but soon after entering the house, they see an older woman. She doesn’t talk to them, but Mark goes to follow her when she shuffles away. And poor Mark, bless, is dead within the first fifteen minutes of run time. The home-owner dream was just not meant to last.

When Mark’s girlfriend goes to look for him, she discovers that he is very much dead, but still running around and being rude. The friends all try and escape the house, only to discover that they can’t get out. Granny and her daughter begin picking them off one-by-one in a pretty fun fashion.

Sure. The plot doesn’t really get more developed than that. But the makers of Dead Dudes in the House were obviously not here to tell a tale with characters we care about. They were here for the blood and gore. And they delivered!

I love a horror movie with too many names. And this one changes depending on the home video release. I have a personal affinity towards Troma’s choice of Dead Dudes in the House. There’s a group of boys (clearly in the early 90s) that don’t even feature in the film. Even Lloyd Kaufman’s description of the film in his book All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger isn’t entirely accurate but makes a nod to the unusual cover. “A group of hip-hop teens inhabit a house possessed by the spirits of a murdering, maniacal matriarch and her sexy daughter.”

Hip hop teens? Not here. But I would pay to see that movie too.

Wicked Wednesday: Screamplay (1985)

Troma has a reputation for being, as some would think, “a bit much.” It’s literally in their slogan as a badge of pride (“40 years of Disrupting Media”).

But beyond their shock tactics, the distributor has released some of the oddest independent films and sniffed out promising talents like Trey Parker and James Gunn. One of the most daring films is 1985’s Screamplay, a horror story set in Hollywood if Hollywood had been thrown up on by Robert Wiene.

Aspiring screenwriter Edgar Allan is fresh off the boat bus in Hollywood. All the naive young man has on him is his typewriter. He finds his way to a diner and meets Al, an agent interested in Edgar’s work.

Shortly after, Edgar is assaulted in a bathroom, but is saved when another man kills the assailant. Edgar’s savour is Martin, a landlord who agrees to put Edgar up in a storage closet in exchange for some custodial work. But at the crime scene is a page of Edgar’s screenplay, which makes the police suspicious.

At the apartments is an eclectic selection of characters: a fading actress, a rocker. And Edgar dreams about killing all of them while writing his screenplay! When the deaths in his screenplay are seemingly coming true, Edgar becomes the police’s main target.

Director, star and writer Rufus Butler Seder only ever made this one feature film. You can’t help but wonder if Hollywood did the same thing as what happened to Edgar or if any attempts to “make it” inspired Screamplay. Thankfully, Seder has had a great career publishing children’s books, so the man got to put his excellent eye to use in other ways.

Seder created a film with some incredible-looking scenes. It’s clearly inspired by expressionists, using stark black and white images with very set-y-looking sets. (Someone – get me a job in writing!)

This story reminded me a lot of the film Fade to Black, but I had a lot more fun with Screamplay. And stylistically, it’s much more interesting to look at. But I don’t think you can ever have too many “crazy in Hollywood” stories, honestly.

Wicked Wednesday: The Old Dark House (1963)

Remakes: they’re a source of contention with many horror fans. My favourite type of remake is one that really goes balls-to-the-wall and tries something different.

For most people, William Castle’s version of The Old Dark House will not be an improvement over Jame Whale’s 1932 original adaption. But for me, it was a great laugh that really pushed the slapstick humour.

Tom Penderel is a hapless car salesman in London. He shares his flat with a mysterious Casper Femm, who is only around during the day and goes home to his family estate in Dartmoor at night.

Casper asks a favour of Tom, to drive Casper’s car to the estate. When Tom arrives, the car is destroyed by a statue, forcing him to stay at the home. But once inside, Tom realises that his roommate has died.

Tom, now a guest at the home, meets Casper’s eccentric family, including the young Cecily. He learns from them that the family must meet at the home at midnight every night or forfeit their inheritance.

At the first midnight, Tom and the famiyl realise that the mother Agatha hasn’t arrived. They find her soon after with knitting needles in her throat. And soon, one-by-one, the rest of the Femms are picked off.

It’s a silly version of the story, for sure. Even more surprising, this is a Hammer Horror production! The usual air of dignity is long gone. And yet…while I enjoyed the original, I found myself still enjoying this remake for very different reasons. I love that Castle really leaned into how stupid it was.

There isn’t the usual Castle gimmick here, unfortunately, but I could definitely see one working. Is there a stage production of this thing? Someone quick! Get one made!

WICKED WEDNESDAY: 100 HORROR MOVIES IN 92 DAYS 2022, WRAP-UP #1

I told myself, “Never again.” Never again would I challenge myself to watch 100 movies in three months. That’s a lot of movies. Do I even like movies that much? What is a movie?

Well.

Here we are again. I am nothing but a weak, competitive soul.

But this year, I’m going full metal. We’re following all the rules, baby! This Letterboxd challenge, created by user Sarah Stubbs, asks horror fans to watch 100 new-to-them horror films in the three months leading up to Halloween. Sarah has a list of all the rules on her website. And unlike last year, I’m trying to abide by them all! This means no short films (at least 45 minutes) and must be tagged as “horror” in either IMDB or Letterboxd unless considering gateway horror. And yeah, that ruined all my giallo options!

Jokes aside. I do enjoy this. And it’s a great way of forcing myself to watch some films I’ve put off for ages.

At the point of writing, I’m about halfway there. But here is everything I watched in September. Check out my Letterboxd if you care to check out more, including seeing my ratings!

#1-37

1 Prey (2022) dir. by Dan Trachtenberg

2 You Won’t Be Alone (2022) dir. by Goran Stolevski

3 The Crazies (1973) dir. by George A. Romero

4 The Curse of Kazuo Umezu (1990) dir. by Naoko Omi

My first cheat, okay? It’s only 43 minutes. Cut me some slack.

5 Just Before Dawn (1981) dir. by Jeff Lieberman

A surprsingly good slasher with one hell of an ending!

6 America’s Most Haunted (2013) dir. by Chris Randall

7 V/H/S (2012) dir. by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence

8 Howl (2015) dir. by Paul Hyett

9 Zombie Flesh Eaters/Zombi 2 (1979) dir. by Lucio Fulci

10 Scared to Death (1946) dir. by Christy Cabanne

11 Damien: Omen II (1978) dir. by Don Taylor

12 Creepshow 2 (1987) dir. by Michael Gornick

13 Color Me Blood Red (1965) dir. by Herschell Gordon Lewis

14 Big Top Scooby-Doo! (2012) dir. by Ben Jones

15 A Creepshow Animated Special (2020) dir. by Gregory Nicotero

16 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) dir. by Dominique Othenin-Girard

17 Sting of Death (1966) dir. by William Grefe

18 Noroi: The Curse (2005) dir. by Koji Shiraishi

19 The Night Walker (1963) dir. by William Castle

20 Xtro (1982) dir. by Harry Bromley Davenport

21 Blood Feast (1963) dir. by Herschell Gordon Lewis

22 Dream No Evil (1970) dir. by John Hayes

23 Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster (2021) dir. by Thomas Hamilton

24 So Vam (2021) dir. by Alice Maio Mackay

25 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012) dir. by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

26 Viy (Вий) (1967) dir. by Georgiy Kropachyov, Konstantin Ershov

27 The Seventh Curse (1986) dir. by Lam Ngai Kai

28 Savage Intruder/Hollywood Horror House (1970) dir. by Donald Wolfe

29 The Curse of Halloween Jack (2019) dir. by Andrew Jones

30 The Gorgon (1964) dir. by Terence Fisher

31 Cult of VHS (2022) dir. by Rob Preciado

32 Torn Hearts (2022) dir. by Brea Grant

33 V/H/S 2 (2013) dir. by Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Timo Tjahjanto, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard

If anything, just watch Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans’s segment “Safe Haven”. A brilliant bit of found footage terror!

34 Beyond the Door (Chi sei?) (1974) dir. by Ovidio G. Assonitis, Robert Barrett

35 Barbarian (2022) dir. by Zach Cregger

Going to call it now: this is going to be my favourite horror film of the year. Utterly bananas and terrifying. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I would give anything to watch it for the first time again.

36 Tremors (1990) dir. by Ron Underwood

37 V/H/S: Viral (2014) dir. by Nacho Vigalondo, Marcel Sarmiento, Gregg Bishop, Justin Benson, Aaron Scott Moorhead

FrightFest 2022 wrap-up

Another FrightFest has come and gone. And boy howdy, this was a good one! The best of new horror cinema was being premiered in London, and I heard some whisperings about some really good films coming our way.

My budget (as usual) was too small to see a lot, but the four films I did see all left me feeling very satisfied. Long live horror, ya’ll!

Dark Glasses (Occhiali neri) dir. by Dario Argento

It has been a decade since the maestro came out with a film. This time, we see Argento returning to his giallo roots. Dark Glasses follows a sex worker as she is pursued by a killer. One of the attacks results in her being blind, forcing her to rely on others for help and learn to manoeuvre the world in the dark.

Dark Glasses has many of the usual Argento hallmarks: children being pals with blind people, German shepherds, excellent soundtracks, etc. However, the film lacks style. It’s not a particularly beautiful film to look at. While set in Rome, there is very little use of the Roman architecture. The story is solid, but perhaps nothing that we haven’t seen before. (Bad pun not intended.)

But it is good to have Argento back. The last I saw him at FrightFest, he was there to promote his new autobiography (Fear, which I recommend if you can find a copy) and tease this film. He exclusively revealed that he will be working on a film in Paris next year, supposedly a remake of a 1940s Mexican thriller. As long as he’s willing to work, I’m here to watch.

Watch the trailer here. Coming to Shudder on 13 October.

The Cult of VHS dir. by Rob Preciado

“It’s like vinyl if vinyl kinda sucked.”

VHS collectors seem like a nice, but odd bunch. Director Rob Preciado introduces us to some of them from around the world in his documentary The Cult of VHS.

The documentary covers the passionate collectors as well as topics like the Video Nasty era in Britain, SOV films and cover art. It’s a nostalgia-soaked ride through video stores and garbage bins.

I was shocked to learn how many films have never been given a digital transfer. These collectors may well be the protectors of the history of cinema! But beware: this documentary may give those of us who love physical media the desire to pick up a new bad habit.

Watch the trailer here.

Torn Hearts dir. by Bea Grant

Ambitious country duo Torn Hearts are looking for their big break in Nashville. And they think they might have found it when one of them finds the address for a genre icon. But the Torn Hearts find more than they bargained for when they arrive at Harper Dutch’s front door.

This is a wild and crazy ride. Katey Sagal gives one hell of a performance as Harper. But beyond the Sunset Boulevard-style story, there’s plenty of subtext here about how industries like country music pit women against each other. If you’re looking for a fun thriller (with great music and costumes to boot), Torn Hearts is for you.

Also: more regional horror like this, please!

Watch the trailer here. (Beware: it gives a lot away!) Available to buy, stream and rent in the US now. No UK release date.

Barbarian dir. by Zach Cregger

Reviews on Barbarian are currently embargoed until the 9th. But honestly, I’m not sure I would want to say anything that would give away this totally, utterly bananas movie.

I will say this: Barbarian surprised me at every turn. Go see this one blind. Don’t even bother with the trailer! Without a doubt, I know this movie is making my top five of the year.

In US theatres on September 9th. No UK release date.