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Top 5 favourite horror films of 2022

I’m obligated to say this: I can’t believe that another year has come and gone. 2022 was bananas, but a very good year. It was one that was filled to the brim with cinema visits. I watched 313 movies this year (so far – I still have time!) and many of them were new favourites. But a bit more on that next week…

This year, more than usual, I really tried to watch as many 2022 horror releases as I could. I missed some due to UK release dates being different (Pearl) or just being too busy to catch it (The Menu). That being said, I saw a lot of excellent horror movies this year. From legacy films (I loved Halloween Ends, so what of it?) to wholly original ideas like A Wounded Fawn and Nope – it was a really, really good year for fans of the genre.

It was pretty tough to narrow down to five. A top ten could have been done if I wasn’t so lazy. Interestingly (or not) my top films aren’t the ones I rated most highly on Letterboxd. The impression the film left on me was more valuable than the overall quality, I think.

So here it is. My top five horror movies released in 2022:

5. Terrifier 2 dir. by Damien Leone

I’ll admit, I never really cared to see Terrifier because I just hated All Hallows’ Eve. I also really hate clowns. A lot.

But when I heard all the hoopla happening in the US, I listened. An indie on an impossibly small budget grossing over $12 million? More of this, please.

When it finally made its way over the ocean, my friend and I literally took a day off work to see it at the Prince Charles Cinema. It was an event that made me feel like I was part of a modern day urban legend, similar to the stories told of The Exorcist.

Sure. The movie is a bit too long. It’s a bit gross and not really my jam. But I still think about it all the time. My friend (whom I’ve seen multiple horror films with this year) says it has stuck with him as well. You just have to celebrate a moment like this.

4. Saloum dir. by Jean Luc Herbulot

I have to admit, I’ve not see many African movies, let alone horror movies. I know that people adore Nollywood and there’s a can-do attitude for many of the countries’ film industries. But beyond that… nada.

Watching Saloum was a unique experience. Drawing on Senegalese folklore and the 2003 coup in Guinea-Bassau, the story is a blend of fantasy and very real horrors.

The three main actors playing the mercenaries made me feel so deeply connect to them, that I mourned their struggles even despite their flaws.

The movie made me desperate to seek out horror from African countries. It’s definitely a goal for 2023.

3. Deadstream dir. by Joseph Winter, Vanessa Winter

On the complete opposite of the spectrum is this horror comedy, Deadstream. It’s a hilarious found-footage movie that somehow made the tired genre feel fresh – a remarkable feat considering Host achieved something similar only two years ago.

This movie is bananas in all the right ways. I’ve seen lots of comparisons to Evil Dead 2, which are valid but also undersells how unique the movie is.

Deadstream will definitely be something that I will continue to rewatch and recommend to anyone who loves horror comedies with plenty of scares.

2. Prey dir. by Dan Trachtenberg

I have a terrible admission to make: the only Predator movie I’ve seen is Predators, which I saw because I think Adrien Brody is hot. Sorry, not sorry?

My reasons for wanting to see Prey had nothing to do with its relation to the others in the franchise. It was the cast and historical setting that caught my attention.

My expectations were high after hearing the synopsis. The expectations were blown out of the water when I watched this fantastic, succinct action film. Amber Midthunder is an excellent and compelling lead as Naru. As is Coco the dog as Sarii. Dog actors forever!

I might not be able to comment on the film’s place in the franchise, but I can say it’s one that successfully stands on its own.

1. Barbarian dir. by Zach Cregger

When I sat down to see Barbarian at FrightFest, I had already heard comparisons to Malignant, a movie I was obsessed with last year. But what could possibly live up to that bonkers movie? Well, it turns out this one can.

It might have been out for a few months now, but I think it’s best to go into this one as unaware of the plot as possible. I rarely feel surprised by the turns movies take, but this one threw me so many curveballs, I was just constantly whispering, “the fuck??” to myself.

The story is definitely the highlight here, but shoutout to a fantastic cast. Justin Long plays the ultimate d-bag.


This was a fantastic year for movies. I’d also have to say I adored Scream, Nope, Halloween Ends, A Wounded Fawn, Significant Other, and Wendell & Wild. These would probably round out my top 10.

And shout to services like Hulu, Shudder and Screambox for bringing these movies to people’s screens. But more theatrical releases too, please. Thinking of what could have been with Prey…

Wicked Wednesday: Black Friday (2021)

Nothing hurts more than a wasted opportunity.

Okay, maybe some things hurt more. But it’s certainly a frustrating experience.

Earlier this year, I watched the 1989 slasher Intruder. I loved it. The setting was well utilised and the story was really engaging. I loved it. Horror films set in shops is a very niche subgenre that I am keen to track down more of. (A bit like my love for slashers set in shopping malls. It works!)

Unfortunately, Black Friday doesn’t really hit the same way. What should be a fun time in a toy shop filled with zombies is a pretty big slog – especially at only 84 minutes.

The workers at We Love Toys are preparing for another Black Friday, with the only thing getting them through it is the promise of a holiday bonus. Forced to come in on Thanksgiving itself, morale is low.

Things begin as usual, with the customers being feral assholes. When some customers start attacking and biting, it doesn’t register that something is more wrong than usual. It takes the death of one of the new starters for them to realise that they need help.

The survivors hole up in a stock room, hoping to figure out how to tackle the zombies on the shop floor. They need to learn to work together in a truly meaningful way to survive the night.

There’s actually a lot about this film that I’ve already forgotten, and I watched it two nights ago with my usual set of notes. I think that’s Black Friday‘s biggest death blow: it’s got a great cast (Devon Sawa, Bruce Campbell, Ivana Baquero) but doesn’t do much with them. We barely get any set up that over half of the movie is just running around. And frankly, I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.

I really like shows about workers. Superstore proves that a story set within a shop can be really engaging with good characters. Only a few minutes to set up some cliched tropes is just not enough for me, personally. The film also only has a half-baked storyline about the workers not being fairly treated. It could have gone so much further!

The movie not only squanders its cast but also its setting. A toy shop should be really fun. But the toys are barely utilised. The set is also really poorly dressed. It looks like a movie set version of a toy shop designed by someone who hasn’t been in one but is kind of guessing what they’re like.

That being said, there’s nothing truly terrible about this movie. But I think mediocrity is worse than anything. When Thanksgiving rolls around next year, I probably won’t remember to put this one on.

Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Black Friday. Stay home with your family and don’t be a jerk to workers!

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: 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: Slumber Party Massacre (2021)

Remakes. The horror genre loves them. Sometimes they really work and transcend the original (The Thing). Sometimes they’re nearly universally hated (The Fog). And other times, they’ll surprise you (House of Wax – my go-to example now).

So I was both very excited and rather nervous about the remake of Slumber Party Massacre. The original film is by no means perfect. The sequel, however, is. Despite any flaws, the original trilogy remains a very important cult trilogy. It was the first series of horror films to be entirely written and directed by women. And to my knowledge, remains the only one.

I was fairly disappointed with the results of Black Christmas (2019), but overall was just bewildered by the backlash. Was it because it offended the men too much? Lord knows. But 2021’s Slumber Part Massacre wasn’t met with nearly any of the vitriol that the other was. And it’s kind of obvious why.

In 1993, a group of friends are targeted by a drill-wielding killer, Russ Thorn. There was only one survivor of that slumber party – Trish. She manages to knock the killer into the lake, but years later remains unconvinced that the man is dead.

Present-day Trish is paranoid. After Russ’s assault and the murder of her friends, she keeps a close eye on her daughter, Dana. She’s been reduced to being a nameless joke while Russ’s name continues on in infamy thanks to trashy true crime podasts. When Dana and her friends go off on a trip together, Trish can’t help but fret more than ever.

The girls casually lie to Trish, but quickly make their way to a cabin at the lake. Not the cabin, but one nevertheless. They begin their night of fun. When Maeve’s little sister discovers a body nearby with its eyes missing, the girls admit this: they were trying to lure out Russ all along, finally catching and killing the son of a gun.

And surprise! Nothing goes quite to plan. With their “no murders” goal already shattered, the girls must work together to stop Russ once and for all and save themselves. They’re not the average nameless characters in a slasher movie: they’re smart, funny and flawed. The perfect heroines!

The girls eventually stumble upon a cabin full of men. The boys are there to have a party! They have pillow fights, dance around in their undies and just let loose! The cliches are over-the-top for a reason: to make a point. And some of these points are very on the nose.

“This is part of your big feminist plot to get rid of all the men!”
“That was a really sexist thing to say.”
“Yeah. I’m sorry.”

But some are more subtle, like the way Trish is able to fight back and claim victory over her own trauma (there are plenty of references to podcasts and the lack of respect for victims throughout).

The movie doesn’t make fun of men, so much as it pokes fun at the stereotypes genders are often forced into for slashers. They’re flawed in a horror-movie way, but they also seem really nice? The Guy 1/Guy 2 gag cracked me up, even after the joke was repeated for the fifth time. Chuckling even now writing this! Director Danishka Esterhazy and writer Suzanne Keilly did a great job of embracing the genre while also picking it apart.

I loved the little nods to the original movies: the little sister getting in the way, the red guitar, the telephone repair van, the cooler gag. It made me want to rewatch the originals all over again, while still managing to make me love it on its own. And that, I think, is the sign of a good remake.

Slumber Party Massacre (2021) was much more of a comedy than I was expecting, but I’ve actually grown fond of that idea after the initial shock. It doesn’t take itself seriously, but it’s still passionate about the ladies at the centre of the story. There are definitely some loose threads at the end, making me very hopeful for a sequel. I can only hope it has the freedom and budget to truly let loose.

I’m looking forward to marathoning all four movies. This remains top-tier horror fun.

Wicked Wednesday: Devil Times Five (1974)

Devil Times Five, originally titled People Toys aka The Horrible House on the Hill aka Tantrums is a 1974 killer kids movie. The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, It’s Alive, The Village of the Damned – the 60s and 70s just loved creepy kids.

This isn’t one that’s going to stand out from that particularly strong bunch. If it does, it’s sort of for all the wrong reasons.

In the snowy mountains, a bus carrying a group of children crashes. The children manage to escape with a nun, who was also on the bus. They manage to make their way to a chalet, where a group of not-so-great adults are spending their time.

The adults include Julie and her boyfriend, Rick, her father and his wife, and another couple to help bump up the body count. They fight. They have petty jealousies. It’s all meant to give character development, but it doesn’t add much texture.

When they find the children (and nun) in the house one morning, they decide to take them in and help them. Unbeknownst to them, the kiddos and their nun killed off their physician. Surprise! They’re all super dangerous.

The kids, with no moral conscience, begin to kill off the adults one-by-one. But of course, they’re a bit subtle about it at first, making only some of the adults suspicious. It’s too late by the time they realise that the adults are the prey and the children the predators. The children remain cool and collected throughout, making it even more unnerving watching them do these heinous crimes.

This movie definitely doesn’t have a happy ending. But it’s gleefully bad-mannered. And it’s fun.

According to an article cited on the film’s Wiki, the team had a great time filming this. And for that, I’ve very glad for them! In the end, you created a whole damn movie! That’s an amazing achievement.

However, this movie didn’t work for me. The editing, for one, is super odd. There’s so much slow-motion used. I wonder if that was just to make the running time hit 88 minutes. Disguise it as art and no one will know! But it does kill the suspense.

There is very little gore here despite good setups for each of the kills. I’m not sure if it was a budget thing or what, but there are a lot of cutaways here.

If you like killer kid movies, give this one a watch. It’s unlikely to be in anyone’s top five – but it’s an oddity worth seeking out for fans of the subgenre.

Recommendations for what to watch on Halloween (redux)

Back in 2017 I wrote a list of horror movies to watch for Halloween. And to be honest, looking back on it, it isn’t up to scratch. While a list of fun and great horror movie, I thought it just didn’t scream HALLOWEEN enough.

So here’s part 2. The redo. Movies that I’ll personally be watching over the next few days and on Halloween. This time, I decided to include some non-horror films. Because hey, not everyone wants that!

1. WNUF Halloween (2013) dir. by Chris LaMartina, various

A truly one-of-a-kind. This is found footage movie is done in the style of a VHS taping of a live news report on Halloween 1987. There are news reports, local commercials (that are repeated) and a Halloween special involving ghosts!

It’s cheesy and fun. But it also gets unsettling enough at the end to scare you. If you love low-budget magic with plenty of kitsch, this is the one to check out.

2. Halloween Party (1989) dir. by Dave Skowronski

When I saw little, my sister and her friends made movies using my dad’s VHS camera. They made horror movies mostly, the best of which was titled Pretty in Pink Turned Blood Red. They just made shorts doing the best that they can.

Halloween Party is a shot-on-video oddity that aired on Connecticut public television in 1989. It reminded me a lot of those movies my sister made back in the early 90s. It’s a group of friends making a horror movie about some kids getting killed at a Halloween party. It really has the feeling of the bored fun you’d have as a teen.

It’s short. It’s sweet. It has a surprisingly effective mask. Come for some SOV greatness, stay for the “Monster Mash” dance at the end.

3. The McPherson Tape/UFO Abduction (1989) dir. by Dean Alioto

In my humble opinion, The McPherson Tape is one of the most effective found-footage movies. First of all, I really hate aliens. I believed they lived in the woods behind my parents’ house. So an alien movie that takes place in the woods? I’m done.

A family get together to celebrate the birthday of their youngest member. When the lights go out, some of the family go out into the woods to see an alien spaceship. The family must escape, but the aliens already know they’re there…

There’s apparently a 1998 remake. But if it isn’t as grainy and haunting as the original, I don’t want it!

4. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) dir. by Tommy Lee Wallace

The third instalment of this franchise is easily the most difficult to describe. “There’s a man, and he has bits of Stonehenge. And he’s putting the stone in microchips that go in masks that will make kids’ heads melt into snakes on Halloween night!”

Yeah. This movie is weird. But it also stars Tom Atkins, who’s ace.

When I first watched Season of the Witch, this was often considered by many to be the worst in the franchise. No Michael! But I’ve seen a lot of love for this in recent years. Its reappraisal is well deserved, I think.

5. Hell House LLC (2015) dir. by Stephen Cognetti

Apparently I’m big into found footage this Halloween. This one is easily the scariest on the list.

A group of friends running a haunted house go to an abandoned hotel for their newest tour. In typical haunted house fashion, the group refuses to leave despite all the sirens and warning lights. When things go south, it’s terrifying. But the build-up in this one is equally as uncomfortable.

I’d skip the sequels for this one. They’re convoluted and pale in comparison to the real scares this one has. I also: I don’t recommend watching this if you’re alone in your house.

6. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) dir. by Bill Melendez

A classic for a reason. Whether you’re young or old, this is the ultimate cozy tale of Halloween. I rewatch this TV special at least once a year. If children’s specials are your thing, I recommend listening to Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack. It epitomises the snuggly feeling of carving pumpkins and going trick-or-treating.

7. Night of the Demons (1988) dir. by Kevin S. Tenney and Night of the Demons 2 (1994) dir. by Brian Trenchard-Smith

If you want a Halloween double feature, these two classic slashers are perfect. Teenagers at a haunted house on Halloween night is always a winner. Throw in some iconic characters and possessions, and you’re set.

Both of these movies are quintessential examples of their era. Night of the Demons has lots of teens doing stupids things to Bauhaus. Its sequel amps up the bitchiness and adds more nuns. These two are lots of fun and always work a rewatch on Halloween night.

8. Practical Magic (1998) dir. by Griffin Dunne

I don’t think this ever comes across in this blog, but I’m a bit of a romantic and a big fan of fantasy. Alice Hoffman writes the perfect type of book for me. And this adaption of one of her most famous novels is a classic.

Practical Magic is the tale of the Owens sisters, whose family has been cursed. Anyone they fall in love with is doomed to die. The multi-generational family must stick together when Sally and Gillian get themselves into trouble with a dead boyfriend and a suspicious investigator.

While not strictly a Halloween or autumnal movie, there’s plenty of witchy business to give the right vibes. Plus the cast is absolutely perfect in this. Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing steal the show. Watch this with your loved ones (this one means a lot to my sisters and me). Have yourself a midnight margarita while you’re at it.

9. The Sentinel (1977) dir. by Michael Winner

If you’re looking for supernatural horror in the same vein as The Exorcist or The Omen, but have already seen the classics, try The Sentinel.

Young model Alison Parker moves into a Brooklyn brownstone, thinking she’s found the perfect place. But the building is full of strange inhabitants, including a priest that is seemingly always looking out the window keeping watch over…something.

As Alison spirals, so does the film’s imagery, increasingly becoming more and more surreal and terrifying.

I get the feeling this isn’t a hit with most people. But every time I watch The Sentinel, I find myself scared as much as the first viewing.

10. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972) dir. by Bob Clark

When a theatre troupe head to a remote island, things go very wrong when the troupe’s leader performs a ritual to raise the dead. It’s dark comedy in Clark’s signature style, co-written by and starring Deranged director Alan Ormsby (who also directed the excellent Popcorn). For a low-budget movie, its effects are really effective. The atmosphere is perfectly eerie. It’s also very funny.

Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things shows the promise of what’s to come from two horror icons. Perfect for exploring the early careers of both Ormsby and Clark.

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

Another month, and another 36 films were watched for the “100 Horror Movies in 92 Days“ challenge! I’m slowly crawling towards that 100 mark. Will I make it? Probably not! Will I keep trying? Sure will!

Since arriving in Texas a few weeks back, I haven’t watched many movies. Granted, I’ve seen My Little Pony: A New Generation about fifty times, but I’m not sure that fits the parameters for this challenge.

But it’s been nice not to watching movies for a bit. Shocking, I know. I felt like the challenge was making all the movies blend into one. That being said, writing up this list made me realise I watched a lot of very good movies in September.

Still didn’t watch any Asia horror this month, but I have a lot on the docket for when I return to the UK. There are lots of new favourites here – especially within the found-footage subgenre. Finally got around to watching a lot of the cornerstones. I continue to out myself as someone who always puts off watching the modern classics!

Films #36-72

36 Crawl (2019) dir. by Alexandre Aja

37 The Chill Factor (1993) dir. by Christopher Webster

38 Cuadecuc, vampir (1971) dir. by Pere Portabella

39 The Bloodstained Butterfly (Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate) (1971) dir. by Duccio Tessari

I was put off by Arrow’s hideous alternate artwork for this release. But I’m so happy I finally watched this, as this has to be one of the best gialli I have ever seen. Beautiful with a great, twisting plot.

40 Primeval (2007) dir. by Michael Katleman

41 Scare Package (2019) dir. by Noah Segan, Emily Hagins, Baron Vaughn, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Anthony Cousins, Hillary Andujar, Courtney Andujar

42 Phantasm II (1988) dir. by Don Coscarelli

43 The Wasp Woman (1959) dir. by Roger Corman

44 Creep (2014) dir. by Patrick Brice

45 Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973) dir. by Christopher Speeth

46 Alligator (1980) dir. by Lewis Teague

47 Man Beast (1956) dir. by Jerry Warren

48 Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972) dir. by Curtis Harrington

49 Prom Night (2008) dir. by Nelson McCormick

50 Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981) dir. by William Asher

A bizarre, queer horror story that completely took my by surprise! An incestuous aunt, a fake homosexual love triangle and in over-the-top corrupt cop. It’s like it the script was written by Stefon. *But actually, this is very, very good.

51 Monstrosity (1963) dir. by Joseph V. Mascelli

52 Mass Hysteria (2019) dir. by Jeff Ryan, Arielle Cimino

53 Lake Michigan Monster (2018) dir. by Ryland Brickson Cole Tews

54 Creep 2 (2017) dir. by Patrick Brice

A rare beast: a found-footage sequel worthy of its predecessor!

55 The Descent (2005) dir. by Neil Marshall

56 Malignant (2021) dir. by James Wan

My god. I LOVED this beauty. I cannot wait to watch it again! This is going to be a new favourite. An incredible final act unlike anything I have seen made by a major studio in the last thirty years (if ever).

57 Bloodbath at the House of Death (1984) dir. by Ray Cameron

58 Dead Silence (2007) dir. by James Wan

59 Parents (1989) dir. by Bob Balaban

60 The Mutilator (1984) dir. by Buddy Cooper

61 Superhost (2021) dir. by Brandon Christensen

62 The Touch of Satan (1971) (MST3K edition S9E8 – 1998) dir. by Don Henderson

63 The Ape (1940) dir. by William Nigh

64 The Outing (1987) dir. by Tom Daley

65 Polaroid (2019) dir. by Lars Klevberg

66 Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) dir. by Brian Clemens

67 The Tingler (1959) dir. by William Castle

68 The Bat (1959) dir. by Crane Wilbur

69 [REC] (2007) dir. by Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza

I hate myself for not watching this earlier. What a masterpiece in the genre! One of the few movies I’ve watched for this that truly scared me – seemingly a rare feat these days.

70 Bluebeard (1944) dir. by Edgar G. Ulmer

71 The Unholy (2021) dir. by Evan Spiliotopoulos

72 The Mini-Munsters (1973) dir. by Gerard Baldwin

Wicked (Wisconsin) Wednesday: Pt. 40 Lake Michigan Monster (2018)

A few weeks back, I went into a coffee shop. The two girls working there picked up on my accent, and enquired as to where I was from. Unusually, they wouldn’t just accept “the US” as an answer. And when I specified Wisconsin, the girls gleefully shouted, “HELLO WISONCONSIN” and proceeded to compliment our cheese.

And really, those are the two things we’re known for, I guess! Whether it be nationwide or the rare case anyone has heard of us outside of the US: it’s cheese and That 70s Show. There’s plenty worse things to be known for (err…McCarthy).

Beyond that, though, the state has a really weird, kooky soul. Think Violent Femmes, giant fish statues, hodags and Brady Street. It’s the part of Wisconsin that I always miss the most.

Lake Michigan Monster exemplifies exactly what I’m talking about. This movie is kooky as hell. It’s really incredible that Arrow picked this up for distribution, and I’m here for it.

The film follows the actually-not-a-sea-captain sea captain Seafield (played by writer and director
Ryland Brickson Cole Tews). Following the death of his father, Seafield assembles a team to help him kill the Lake Michigan Monster. Why? Well, the beast supposedly killed his father during a fishing trip.

Despite the team’s trust in Seafield, it’s quickly apparent that he’s not at all competent. Sailor Dick Flynn winds up becoming father to the monster’s baby. Sean Shaughnessy, weapons dealer, is killed off. All while Nudge the scientist unravels Seafield’s lies.

The later half of the movie veers from camp, low-budget fun to a wild turn involving ghost monks (?). It was at that point that I put down my pen and let the movie unfold without me taking notes. There’s no way for me to really describe the going-ons in the third act.

Its clear that inspiration was taken from many places, including other Midwestern weirdos like Sam Raimi and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew. There’s certainly dashes of things much more psychedelic.

As always, it’s so good to see new regional movies being promoted, especially by a company like Arrow (see also, The Stylist, which loves highlighting its Kansas City local). I loved seeing iconic locations like the North Point Lighthouse and Street of Old Milwaukee making appearances.

Lake Michigan Monster is absolutely bizarre. It’s not going to be for every horror fan. But it’s creative, funny and has love bleeding out of each scene. Low-budget monster-movie lovers: this one is for us.

Wicked Wednesday: WNUF Halloween Special (2013)

So it’s apparently 130 days until Halloween. But when you’re a horror fan, every day is Halloween, right?

Right?

I had been dying to watch WNUF Halloween Special since last Halloween, when I couldn’t get my hands on it anywhere. When I spotted it was on Shudder, I told myself to wait to watch it until Halloween season…and well, that didn’t last very long.

WNUF Halloween Special is an absolute delight, I’m happy to say. This movie is like a found footage film, only it’s done in the style of a taped recording of the news on Halloween night in 1987. There are commercials (which get increasingly saucy as the evening gets on), news segments, and promos for upcoming shows and TV movies.

But most important and hyped is channel 28’s Halloween Special, where reporter Frank Stewart plans to go into a local haunted building. The Webber House is where the “Spirit Board Murders” took place nearly 20 years earlier. In “The Devil Made Me Do It Style”, the parents are murdered by their son, who insists he was possessed.

Frank is a bit of a showman, determined to make rating on Halloween night. Invited to his life show are the paranormal experts, Louis and Claire Berger (who are here as Warren stand-ins) as well as a Catholic priest, wo is there to perform an exorcism.

Before Frank and his crew even enter the Webber House, it’s clear that not all is well. He sees a figure pass the window of the closed-up building, but the idea of catching great footage is just too much for Frank. Once inside the house, things only get worse. There is the usual ghost-y nonsense, but when the Bergers’ equipment is trashed, they become increasingly unsettled.

During the live phone-in séance (the first ever!), the group only get harassed by prank calls. The séance gets interrupted by the sound of the Bergers’ cat, which the group find mutilated. The Bergers then claim to be leaving the building.

But no matter how many times Frank cuts to commercial, the situation only increasingly gets out of control. It’s when the remainders of the group go to the basement that things really begin to take a dark turn…

WNUF Halloween Special has an oddly dark and gross ending despite it’s pleasant and fun vibe for the first 75 minutes. It’s a horrible (and successful) way of putting the audience in their place. There was a smile on my face for the entire movie up until the end, which I think is great work.

This movie was everything I wanted it to be. It completely encapsulates the feeling of late 80s/early 90s television news. It was a bit campy, but that made it all the more enjoyable to watch.

The story is fine, but it doesn’t really start until about an hour in. It’s all something we’ve seen before, but repackaged in a wholly original way. My favourite part of WNUF was definitely the little details: the repeated commercials, the unseen viewer fast-forwarding through the boring political segments, the crap SATIN graffiti.

And while Halloween might still be months away, this is already a movie I can envision myself revisiting when that time arrives.