Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Shakma (1990, Hugh Parks, Tom Logan)


Shakma was made at the end of the 1980s slasher craze so instead of a crazy person armed with sharp objects it’s a murderous baboon instead. Medical students screw with a monkey’s brains and so the monkey rises up to screw the students back in return. It’s not exactly high art, yet this flick had it’s fair share of decent moments.

Christopher Atkins, Amanda Wyss, Ari Meyers and Roddy McDowall headline a cast of victims I mean students who at least have a reason why they’re stuck in the facility they work at. They decided to play a game, not realizing that Shakma (boy is that name fun to say) is lurking around. The kills in this movie are brutal, sure, even if the characters are paper thin, which is to be expected in this kind of movie.

Even though I’m not sure if I liked this movie or not, I give it style points for how it ended. Killer animal movies are usually a mixed bag and often silly, and while this one has some cheese it’s definitely better than most similar flicks. This movie also has two good elevator scenes which has to count for something.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Def By Temptation (1990, James Bond III)


Despite being a low budget 1990s horror film, Def By Temptation was very well made and maybe even great at times. I liked this one a lot, and I think it would pair very well with something like Candyman or perhaps something late 1980s such as The Serpent and the Rainbow. The only thing is the film’s villain reminded me of a vampire than a succubus, although perhaps my knowledge of them is based off the fun show Lost Girl.

Joel, haunted by his dead father (Samuel L. Jackson in a cameo role) decides to visit his old friend K (Kadeem Hardison). Normally having the director play the main role might result in a mixed bag performance, yet James Bond III is actually great as Joel. He seems sympathetic and determined to succeed as a minister, to grow as a person. Too bad he runs into Cynthia Bond’s unamed demon.

The demonic kill scenes are both freaky and quite bloody, and Cynthia Bond is terrifying and captivating as the main villain. Any movie that has Bill Nunn is usually worth seeing, and I enjoyed his character and K teaming up to take down the succubus. My favorite part had to be the bar scene where the woman gets a holy water bloody Mary. Boy did that cause literal sparks to fly!

While the final act seems to feel a tad rushed, this movie works as a waking nightmare, literally in the scene where Joel runs through the streets in terror. I do want to see this movie again, and I think one could easily write more about it and how it fits into modern horror cinema’s take on black culture. Even if the title is a bit goofy, which I still don’t mind because it works.

Killing Them Loudly: Horrorfest 2021


10 Horror Movie Memes To Get You in The Mood For Halloween

This concludes Horrorfest 2021 which featured me watching 66 movies, the most I’ve ever seen in a three month span. I’m not sure I will do that again but you never know. See you all next year for Horrorfest 2022! 

July Viewings:

1. Vamp (1986, Vampires!), Arrow Films Video
2. Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th (2013, Jason Doc!), Shudder
3. Vampyres (1975, Lesbian Vamps), Shudder
4. Patrick (1978, Mind Powers!), Shudder
5. Child’s Play 2 (1990, CHUCKY!), Netflix Instant Viewing
6. Prevenge (2016, Slasher?), Shudder
7. Night Tide (1961, Mermaid), Shudder
8. The Queen of Black Magic (1981, Revenge!), Shudder
9. Here Comes Hell (2019, Demonic), Shudder
10. Frankenhooker (1990, Mad Scientist), Shudder
11. Def By Temptation (1990, Succubus), Shudder

August Viewings:

(1) 12. Black Roses (1988, Rock n roll is evil! Evil!), Shudder
(2) 13. Death Ship (1980, Nazi Boat!), Shudder
(3) 14. Don’t Panic (1989, Demonic), Shudder
(4) 15. The Whistler (2019, Fairy Tales Are Real), Shudder
(5) 16. Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019, Ghosts), Shudder
(6) 17. Turkey Shoot (1982, Dystopia), Shudder
(7) 18. Dave Made a Maze (2017, Dangerous Cardboard!), Shudder
(8) 19. Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981, Crazy Aunt), Shudder
(9) 20. White of the Eye (1988, Slasher), Shudder
(10) 21. Lisa and the Devil (1973, Telly Savalas is the Devil!), Shudder
(11) 22. Shock (1977, Ghost Possession), Shudder
(12) 23. Messiah of Evil (1973, Undead cult!), Shudder

September Viewings:

(1) 24. Vicious Fun (2020, Slasher Support Group), Shudder
(2) 25. Mortuary (1983, Embalmed), Shudder
(3) 26. Hellmaster (1992, JOHN SAXON), Shudder
(4) 27. The Dead Pit (1989, Like a Surgeon), Shudder
(5) 28. The Pale Door (2020, Witches and Cowboys), Shudder
(6) 29. Chillerama (2011, Anthology), Tubi
(7) 30. Mohawk (2017, Revenge!), Shudder
(8) 31. The Brain Eaters (1958, Parasites!), Tubi
(9) 32. Death Curse of Tartu (1966, Tartu), Tubi
(10) 33. Sting of Death (1966, Killer Jellyfish), Tubi
(11) 34. Blood Quantum (2020, Zombies), Shudder
(12) 35. I Bury the Living (1958, Cemetery business), Tubi
(13) 36. Candyman (2021, I’m not saying it), Theater Viewing
(14) 37. Head Count (2019, Mythical Creature Thing), Shudder
(15) 38. Found Footage 3D (2016, Meta), Shudder
(16) 39. Color Out of Space (2020, Aliens! Sort of), Shudder
(17) 40. Shakma (1990, Killer Ape), Shudder
(18) 41. Malignant (2021, GABRIEL), Theater Viewing

October Viewings:

(1) 42. The Church (1989, Man Is Evil), Tubi
(2) 43. Blood (1973, Monster Mash), Tubi
(3) 44. Cannibal Ferox (1981, Savage), Shudder
(4) 45. Sorority House Massacre (1986, Slasher Flashback), Shudder
(5) 46. Pledge Night (1990, Acid Sid), Shudder
(6) 47. WNUF Halloween Special (2013, NEWS AT 11), Shudder
(7) 48. Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020, Gentrification Sucks!), Netflix Instant Viewing
(8) 49. One Dark Night (1983, Raymar!), Tubi
(9) 50. Doom Asylum (1988, Power Tools), Tubi
(10) 51. Hannah, Queen of the Vampires aka Crypt of the Living Dead (1973, Undead Undead), Tubi
(11) 52. Death By Invitation (1971, She’ll have her revenge!), Tubi
(12) 53. Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964, The South Will Kill Again), Tubi
(13) 54. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks (1974, The Monster!), Tubi
(14) 55. The Convent (2000, Satanic Nuns), Tubi
(15) 56. Demonia (1990, EVIL!), Tubi
(16) 57. Psycho Goreman (2020, ALIENS), Shudder
(17) 58. The Descent (2005, Underground Monsters), Tubi
(18) 59. Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000, Snowman In The Tropics), Tubi/Crackle
(19) 60. Habit (1997, Indie Vampires), Shudder
(20) 61. Halloween Kills (2021, EVIL DIES TONIGHT), Theater Viewing
(21) 62. Rituals (1977, Into the Woods), Shudder
(22) 63. Just Before Dawn (1981, Don’t Go In The Woods), Shudder
(23) 64. The House That Screamed (1969, Serrador), Shudder

Coda:

65. V/H/S/94 (2021, Tjahjanto, Barrett), Shudder

66. Last Night In Soho (2021, Wright), Movie Theater Viewing

Slasher Sequel Fest


Inspired by numerous movie marathons over the years, I was thinking about doing one for only sequels of slasher films. My list would be:

1. Scream 2 (1997)
2. ANOES 3: The Dream Warriors (1987)
3. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
4. H20 (1998)
5. Leprechaun 2 (1994)
6. TCM 2 (1986)
7. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 (1987)
8. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
9. Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
10. Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
11. Slumber Party Massacre Part II (1990)
12. Hellraiser II: Hellbound (1988)
13. Final Destination 2 (2003)

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Vampire In Brooklyn (1995, Wes Craven)


Lost in the discussion about Wes Craven’s career is that he engaged in comedic moments in many of his horror films. One such movie was Vampire In Brooklyn, a rather entertaining and fun horror comedy that has some good funny moments and even a few scares. Eddie Murphy in a rare horror movie role stars as a vampire seeking a cop played by Angela Bassett, who happens to be half human and half vampire. Without her the line of vampires from the Caribbean will finally die off. This movie has some decent homages to previous vampire films, and is also Wes Craven’s own take on the sub genre.

Much like some of his other films Craven presents social and political commentary. Murphy turns into a preacher and manages to convince an entire congregation that they should turn to evil. Unfortunately considering the hate many so called Christians push today such a moment is relevant and also darkly humorous to a degree. Also you have the police failing to comprehend and understand what they are dealing with, another theme that is prevalent in not only Craven’s work but also in many horror movies. I rather like how Craven is able to balance humor and horror, two genres that are tricky to get right.

Also it’s cool that he cast Zakes Mokae as a vampire hunter, since he was a horror veteran and he was great in The Serpent and the Rainbow, another Craven film. John Witherspoon and Kadeem Hardison provide additional comedic relief, yet it is Bassett who gives a strong performance and has superb chemistry with Murphy. It’s too bad that Eddie Murphy only made one horror film as he has a menacing presence. Despite its flaws this is an good, solid movie and is an example of how vampire movies contain views on society, religion and repressed feelings.

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Dust Devil (1992, Richard Stanley)


Operating as equal parts The Hitcher (1986), vampire film and pure nightmare, Dust Devil is a fascinating exercise in style that also mediates upon feminism, urban legends and the past coming back to haunt the present. Richard Stanley sets the film in the obvious dusty setting of Namibia, a place that becomes a strong aspect of the film and turns the movie into a quasi-horror western. The western aspects are particularly strong concerning the Dust Devil, who operates as a mythical killer who feeds upon the life force of those he kills. This ritual is explained by the film’s narrator, Joe, the film’s narrator, in the movie’s eerie opening. The Dust Devil is played with utmost sinister quality by Robert John Burke, who menaces the film’s heroine, Wendy Robinson, played by Chelsea Field, who acts as the film’s survival girl. Although the movie at times features the Dust Devil actually sparing her or expressing a twisted love for Wendy, thus offering a slightly different take on the slasher villain/survival girl dynamic. One can argue that in all slasher movies the villain has a murderous obsession with the unlucky woman that has managed to not be murdered by him (or her, in certain cases). Also I love that this film has cult film and horror actor Zakes Moake as Sgt. Ben Mukurob, a South African police officer who is convinced that the Dust Devil is a supernatural being despite others not believing him.

Although the film presents some apartheid and racial politics unfortunately the film does not properly dive into that issue, choosing instead to be more of an ominous and heavily intense slasher film. This is too bad considering the cast involved and the fact that this movie came out in 1992, yet it still does not prevent me from enjoying the film and considering it to be an underrated cult gem from the early 1990s. Despite the decade’s lack of consistency when it comes to horror movies the 1990s still had some great films to offer, and Dust Devil is one of those. I also loved how towards the end the film references the Mad Max series, and that it does not journey into a cliched finale. I wonder how much Stanley borrowed from The Hitcher, although tales of creepy murders being picked up by unsuspecting victims is an old tale, and there are other films I have not seen that also deal with slightly similar concepts. Furthermore I actually would have liked this film to get a sequel, which is a rare thought considering how so many second films do not always live up to the original installments. I wanted to know more about the Dust Devil, and the last shot is curiously open ended.

PS: I found the so called director’s cut, as the film was originally gutted by the studio that released it. I believe that version is the one on Netflix that I watched.

Horrorfest 2015: The Final Chapter


There’s no theme this year. Also this might be the last one. Maybe. List which is always subject to change endlessly and whenever I feel like it. Especially when Netflix decides to pull horror films before October like they often do. Bad Netflix:

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Netflix Instant Viewing

1. The Babadook (2014, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-babadook-2014-jennifer-kent/
2. Pet Sematary 2 (1992, demonic)
3. Housebound (2014, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/horrorfest-2015-presents-housebound-2014-gerard-johnstone/
4. Late Phases (2014, werewolf)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/horrorfest-2015-presents-late-phases-2014-adrian-garcia-bogliano/
5. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977, mad scientist)
6. Troll (1986, creature feature)
7. Disturbing Behavior (1998, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/disturbing-behavior-1998-david-nutter/
8. Nightbreed: Director’s Cut (1990, monsters)-Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)
9. V/H/S: Viral (2014, anthology)
10. Starry Eyes (2014, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/horrorfest-2015-presents-starry-eyes-2014-kevin-kolsch-and-dennis-widmyer/
11. Almost Human (2013, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-almost-human-2013-joe-begos/
12. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013, giallo)
13. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, vampire)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/a-girl-walks-home-alone-at-night-2014-ana-lily-amirpour/
14. The Quiet Ones (2014, ghosts)
15. Ghoulies Go To College (1991, monsters)
16. Leprechaun 3 (1995, creature feature)
17. Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997, creature feature)
18. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002, ghosts)
19. Damien: The Omen II (1978, demonic)
20. Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981, demonic)
21. The Fly (1958, creature feature)
22. Dead Silence (2007, killer puppets)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/horrorfest-2015-presents-dead-silence-2007-james-wan/ 23. Deep Star Six (1989, creature feature)
24. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988, demonic)
25. Vampire in Brooklyn (1995, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/horrorfest-2015-presents-vampire-in-brooklyn-1995-wes-craven/
26. The Sacrament (2013, crazy people)-I finally watched this in 2016, heh: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/7750/
27. Murders In The Rue Morgue (1971, slasher)
28. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978, aliens)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/horrorfest-2015-presents-invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1978-phillip-kaufman/

Other Media:

29. IT (1990, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/it-1990-tommy-lee-wallace/
30. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, slasher)
31. Society (1989, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/horrorfest-2015-presents-society-1989-brian-yuzna/
32. Murder Party (2007, slasher)-I also finally watched this in 2016: https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/horrorfest-2016-presents-murder-party-2007-jeremy-saulnier/
33. Q The Winged Serpent (1982, creature feature)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-q-the-winged-serpent-1982-larry-cohen/
34. Night of the Demons 2 (1994, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/horrorfest-2015-presents-night-of-the-demons-2-1994/
35. God Told Me To (1976, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/horrorfest-2015-presents-god-told-me-to-1976-larry-cohen/
36. Campfire Tales (1997, anthology)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-campfire-tales-1997-matt-cooper-martin-kunert-and-david-semel/
37. The Conjuring (2013, demonic)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-conjuring-2013-james-wan/
38. The Vampire Lovers (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-vampire-lovers-1970-roy-ward-baker/
39. The Woman in Black (2012, ghosts)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/horrorfest-2015its-hammer-time-presents-the-woman-in-black-2012-james-watkins/
40. The Final Terror (1983, slasher)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-the-final-terror-1983-andrew-davis/
41. What We Do In The Shadows (2015, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/horrorfest-2015-presents-what-we-do-in-the-shadows-2015-taika-waititi-and-jemaine-clement/
42. Phantom of the Paradise (1974, crazy people)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/horrorfest-2015-presents-phantom-of-the-paradise-1974-brian-de-palma/
43. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970, vampires)-https://madman731.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/lets-get-criterion-presents-valerie-and-her-week-of-wonders-1970-jaromil-jires/

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Wishmaster (1997, Robert Kurtzman)


Even though Robert Kurtzman directed this nasty and entertaining piece of work much of this film has the look and feel of a Wes Craven movie. Which makes sense considering that the master of horror produced this film, the first in a series of movies about a sinister djinn that is released into the world, creating havoc and plaguing the living. As the insane and gory opening reveals, this foul creature requires three wishes so that it may be free to walk the earth, something that no one should ever want. This monster is portrayed in human form with wonderful sneering menace by Andrew Divoff, who is given plenty of horribly funny one liners. This film may be a reflection of other films such as the cult Leprechaun series, and yet it stands apart from those because its really creepy with only small bits of humor involved. Plus you have Robert Englund, Ted Raimi, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder, Reggie Bannister and other famous horror movie actors who have been in numerous classics over the years involved in this movie, which makes their cameos (save for Englund, who has a big part) fun to notice.

It also helps this movie that the female lead is pretty great-Alexandra, played by Tammy Lauren, who quickly realizes she is in over her head. The scenes where the dijnn plagues her, then later on tempts her with wishes are both freaky and engaging. And of course this film has multiple horrible things happening to people who actually make wishes, bringing to mind the idea that one should not only be careful what they wish for, but also that one should be really specific. Or just not make any wishes at all, considering that’s what the diabolical dijnn wants you to do. I also liked how the film concluded, as it was a bit of a fun surprise, and this movie has plenty of nasty elements to keep viewers who hunger for such things entertained. I’m not sure if I want to view the sequels although I’m reminded of The Prophecy, although 90s horror film series with mythical beings (depending on your point of view and beliefs) that turned out to be fun and enjoyable, so perhaps I’ll give the Wishmaster series a shot as well.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Graveyard Shift (1990, Ralph S. Singleton)


Based on the short story of the same title from the Stephen King classic anthology Night Shift,4 this 1990 film is a decent adaptation. It fleshes out the short and builds up the anticipation of finding out what horrors are lurking down below in the basement dungeon of the old mill. That mill is the lifeblood of a small rural town and it is on danger of being shutdown. Warwick, the asshole in charge will do whatever it takes to keep the mill running. Even if he has to sacrifice people to do it.

A drifter named John comes into town desperate for work. Getting hired at the mill he ends up becoming ensnared in what is happening at the mill, pitting himself unintentionally against his new boss. However he has an ally in a coworker, Jane, who is the only friend he’s got in a town where most of the people don’t like him. But hey at least people are easier to deal with than the rat infestation that has overtaken the mill. Much easier.

Brad Dourif is great in his unfortunately limited role as The Exterminator and this film does create a fairly solid atmosphere. I liked Dourif’s really eerie monologue about why he hates rats and Warwick is a really sinister villain. The creature effects are good for an early 1990s movie and I was entertained even if this film isn’t all that scary. I wouldn’t mind a remake of this movie, although bad CGI would probably be involved and too many awful horror remakes exist already. Sometimes its best to be satisfied with what you already have.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Immortality/The Wisdom of Crocodiles (1998, Po Chih Leong)


Made before Jude Law became famous, Immortality is a film that I decided to watch after looking through the horror selection of Netflix Instant Viewing and deciding “Hey this looks interesting.” This is as much a monster movie as it is a vampire film, although Law’s seemingly normal doctor kills his prey in the manner of the vampire so it counts. He has a strange disorder that requires not just blood but also the emotions of his victims; therefore he fests only on women who he meets by pretending to being a charming stranger. The problem he encounters is that he finds a woman that he likes from the beginning: in turn he starts to experience feelings of love that complicate his ability to feed and survive. If a vampire falling in love with a human and not killing her sounds familiar, well that forms the basis of the Twilight series. While I’m not sure that a series I really despise ripped off this movie, it wouldn’t shock me. Anyways Innocent Blood from 1992 really did the whole “Vampire and human fall in love bit” even earlier, and I’m sure there is another film that also covered a similar subject.

However in this case Law’s Steven has bigger problems: the police are on to him after a couple previous “girlfriends” died mysteriously, and there happens to also be a menacing gang of street toughs. He is forced to protect Anne from such thugs in a scene that is funny yet also kind of cool. Apparently being a vampire means you know how to fight, although perhaps Steven like most vampires has enhanced powers. Still that’s not even the highlight of the film-I much prefer the scene where Steven and the cop pursing him, Inspector Healey (Timothy Spall) discuss the nature of evil and what it takes for someone to lie to people, to be a truly horrible person. A moment like makes this film more above the typical level of a vampire film, and not enough of them properly flesh out or even dare to humanize their main vampire characters.

Tragic, romantic, and actually creepy, Immortality was a pleasant surprise during my Horrorfest viewing. Elina Löwensohn is a natural as Anne, a woman clearly in over her head yet refusing to give up Steven despite her judgment telling her otherwise. This film has a sense of both style and grace that is intoxicating and engaging, mediating upon the nature of the beast and the beast’s interactions with others. I also much prefer the other title The Wisdom of Crocodiles because it fits the movie better and is a more accurate representation of what the film is truly about. Particularly since at times Steven has the manner and habits of the crocodile, a great watery reptile that lurks in the reeds, waiting to pick off its dinner at the most opportune moment.

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