October Horrorshow: Belzebuth

Belzebuth, the 2017 horror flick from Mexico, stakes its claims early on. In the first scene, we see police officer Emmanuel Ritter (Joaquín Cosio) and his wife, Marina (Aurora Gil), at the hospital following the birth of their child. The two are consumed by happiness, as are all the other new parents in the maternity ward. But, not long after, a neonatal nurse starts her shift by stabbing all of the babies in the newborn nursery with a scalpel. Viewers are treated to the nurse’s increasingly bloody arm going up and down, clutching the scalpel like, well, a knife. Ritter’s baby is one of the victims. It’s a hard bit of film to watch, even though the death is one-hundred percent implied. Director Emilio Portes decided to open his film with a shock, but he was still wise enough not to show we viewers any actual dead babies. Thank goodness, really. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Belzebuth”

October Horrorshow: Paranormal Investigation

Just when I thought Amazon had cornered the market on films so obscure they don’t have Wikipedia pages, Netflix steps up their game. Paranormal Investigation, the 2018 found footage ghost flick from director Franck Phelizon, is so obscure that not only is it nowhere to be found on Wikipedia (as of this writing), its IMDb page is very sparse. There’s not a single cast member with an associated headshot, and most have only this film as their sole credit. I wish I could write in some greater detail about the cast, but that’s going to be difficult. The film’s credits are as sparse as its internet presence. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Paranormal Investigation”

October Horrorshow: Hereditary

Some horror flicks are designed to scare, while others are designed to provoke dread. They are two very distinct emotions. Fear has a crisp flavor, and can be as extreme as panic or as mild as butterflies in one’s stomach. Dread is something more profound. It’s an emotion of desperation and inevitability that makes fear look like mother’s milk. Dread is the certainty, not just the possibility, that something very bad is about to happen. Dread is oppression. Dread is doom. Which makes a film that revolves around dread something of a difficult watch. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hereditary”

October Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars

John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors. He’s not on the Mount Rushmore of filmmakers, but his best films can be thought of as eminently watchable. They are respected. They are known and successful enough that a lot have been remade. But he also has some films that are not so good. It would be easy to blame Carpenter’s poorer quality films on budget, but that does not compute. Carpenter worked magic with the measly budgets he had in Halloween and Escape from New York. Rather, something happened in the late 1980s, starting with Prince of Darkness in 1987, that precipitated a steady decline. There were still sparks of life in his films, but that eminently watchable quality of his films seemed to fly away. In its place was substituted cheapness, sometimes of rank quality, and this turn was inexplicable from a filmmaker who had done so much with so little throughout his career. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars”

October Horrorshow: The Taking of Deborah Logan

The Taking of Deborah LoganThe Taking of Deborah Logan, the horror film directed by Adam Robitel and written by Robitel and Gavin Heffernan, starts out very strong. It’s found footage, which, my Loyal Seven readers will know, I think is an overused technique in the horror genre. But, I was able to get past that.

The film tells the story of the eponymous title character as she is ravaged by the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. A film crew is shooting a documentary on the disease with Deborah Logan (Jill Larson) as its subject. She is being cared for almost exclusively by her daughter, Sarah (Anne Ramsay), and we also get to see the toll the disease is taking on her. Early on, the film is a disturbing look into a disease of which far too many people have knowledge and experience. It’s not easy watching Deborah lose her lucidity, nor is it easy to see her shame when she comes out of the depths and learns what she did. It’s disturbing, but also a sanitized version crafted for filmgoers. The reality is far worse. But, it is a fantastic jumping off point for the story. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Taking of Deborah Logan”

October Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

I love it when a sequel plays around with its original idea...with caveats, of course. Tweaks are good. Wholesale re-imaginings can be taking things too far. Take The Highlander, for instance. That film lays out some neat ground rules for both protagonist and antagonist. For some supernatural reason, seemingly random people throughout history have been rendered immortal, their purpose in life to track each other down and cut each other’s heads off, all to earn a mysterious prize which will be given to the last man standing. The film spent a substantial amount of time on its hero’s origin story in the Scottish Highlands. The film wrapped up the story so completely that the filmmakers may as well have put a bow on it. But, when it was time to make a sequel, all that backstory was retconned, and the immortals turned into fricking aliens. ALIENS. Audiences hated it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”

October Horrorshow: Oculus

Of late I have been becoming more and more worried that stories hold no more surprises for me. Books, film, television shows, video games...no matter the delivery method, at some point during the story everything seems so familiar that it can feel as if plot and dialogue are being sprung from my own mind and brought to mediocre life before me. After decades on this earth, it seems that there is nothing new to behold. Rather, it’s the same stories told over and over again, just with new packaging. In fact, this observation of mine is nothing new. Even the bible has something to say. In the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, there is this: “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.” Man, if a two-thousand year old bible verse laments lack of originality, what hope do I have in watching horror movies? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Oculus”

October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 2

James Wan has had enough of ghost flicks. Insidious: Chapter 2 is the third ghost flick he directed in as many years, following Insidious and The Conjuring. To prove that a person can get sick of doing anything they love, and trying something new can lead a person to extremes, his next movie is going to be Fast & Furious 7. That’s right. James Wan has had enough of horror and decided that the best way to revitalize his interest in film is to direct Jordana Brewster, a woman who is to acting what Michele Bachmann is to reason and logic. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 2″