October Horrorshow: The Pyramid

Sometimes I curse The Blair Witch Project for loosing found footage horror flicks upon the movie-watching public. And I curse Rec, as well, for its creepy night-vision climax that has been used over and over again in just about every one of these ripoffs. There is now a whole pile of these films, and it’s hard to find one that doesn’t default to the techniques and gimmicks of these two films.

The Pyramid, from 2014, saves all of its originality for setting and place, while delivering a film identical in tone to any number of horror flicks where a group of people find themselves lost underground and are being stalked by…something. In fact, this is the fourth such film to be featured in this year’s Horrorshow, after Gonjiam, Derelict, and Creep. It’s a cheap way for filmmakers to use the same darkened hallway or tunnel set in many different shots and scenes, creating the illusion of a vast maze. The only problem with this is, these films very clearly use a small set, so it’s left up to the viewer to pretend that the filmmakers aren’t trying to fool us. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Pyramid”

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: Eli

Back in 2012, Ciarán Foy made a disturbing indie horror flick called Citadel. With that film, he showed that he could make horror with a polished sense of dread and an uneasy aesthetic. It wasn’t a great horror film, but it’s getting him some regular work in the genre.

His latest is Eli, which was released this month on Netflix. From a screenplay by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Naing, Eli tells the story of the unfortunate title character, played by Charlie Shotwell. Eli is unfortunate because he’s basically allergic to everything. He lives in a sterile environment, but should he leave his bubble in anything less than a hermetically sealed hazmat suit, he goes into anaphylactic shock. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eli”

October Horrorshow: The Dead Hate the Living!

I haven’t seen a whole bunch of films from Full Moon Features, Charles Band’s production company, but they have had a couple great titles for their flicks. There’s Castle Freak, which is a more literal title than it appears at first glance; and Evil Bong, or, as it’s called in headshops all over America, Evil Water Pipe. Today’s horror flick has a title better than those two. In fact, it’s a title on par with Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. Like Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, getting the title right was the high point of the production, unfortunately. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Dead Hate the Living!”

October Horrorshow: Haunting on Fraternity Row

What a vile, vile movie. It could have been worse. Oh, so much worse. But, this flick still managed to plumb the depths of taste, artistry, technique, and every other highfalutin term about film one can come up with. It’s the type of film that counts on awakening the hormonal 13-year-old boy in all of us. I’m not even sure 13-year-old boys would like this trash much, though.

Haunting on Fraternity Row comes to us via writer/director Brant Sersen and fellow screenwriter Jeff Cahn. Released last year, Haunting tells the story of a massive end-of-term fraternity house blowout that turns deadly when a ghost spoils the show. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Haunting on Fraternity Row”

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”

Giant Monstershow: Q — The Winged Serpent

Larry Cohen has had prolific involvement in cheap horror throughout his career. His credits include the screenplay for Maniac Cop and writing and directing credits for both The Stuff and It’s Alive. He was one of the directors featured in the anthology television series Masters of Horror. He also flew by the seat of his pants when it came to making movies. According to the internet, so it must be true, Cohen was fired from his job directing the Mike Hammer flick, I, the Jury, after one week of shooting because of cost overruns. Instead of sulking about losing the gig, Cohen put together a shooting script and a production for a new movie in six days. That movie, lord help us, was Q — The Winged Serpent. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Q — The Winged Serpent”

October Horrorshow: A Dark Song

Horror films work quite well when they embrace spectacle. Over-the-top gore and special effects are a hallmark of the genre. But splattering blood all over isn’t the only way to make a horror flick. Sometimes a filmmaker goes for the soul underneath the flesh, and makes something disturbing.

A Dark Song is the feature film debut from writer/director Liam Gavin. From 2016, the film tells the story of two people carrying out occult rites in an isolated house in Wales in order to contact a guardian angel. This is no lightweight ritual, either. As occult expert Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram) explains to the woman who hired him to carry out the ritual, Sophia (Catherine Walker), it will be months before they know if it’s working. During that time, the two will not be able to leave the house, nor will they have any contact with the outside world. Nor could they, as there isn’t any power in the house. Or heat. Did I mention this house is in Wales? Because one would not want to live in an unheated house in Wales. All of this makes the stakes quite a bit higher than something one would see in an old Hammer flick. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: A Dark Song”

October Horrorshow: Inferno (1980)

Three years after horror auteur Dario Argento gave us the vibrant classic Suspiria, he waded back into brilliant color and dreamlike atmosphere by writing and directing Inferno. Described as a thematic sequel to Suspiria, Inferno is the second film of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy. Whether this film was truly intended to be related to Suspiria or if such a decision was commercial in nature is debatable. Either way, sequel or thematic cousin or whatever, Inferno is clearly an Argento film. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Inferno (1980)”

October Horrorshow: The House of Seven Corpses

By 1974, gothic horror films were falling out of fashion. The year saw the last gasps from the major franchises of Hammer Film Productions, with the releases of Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires. The genre had come a long way, but by the time this film, The House of the Seven Corpses, was released, seriously bloody slasher horror was making its presence felt. If a filmmaker was going to do gothic horror, it needed to have a twist. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The House of Seven Corpses”