Horrorfest 2021 Presents: The Pale Door (2020, Aaron B. Koontz)

Even though I’ve seen better horror westerns, I still liked The Pale Door. The outlaws in this movie are likable enough, and although this film opens slowly things escalate pretty quickly by the film’s middle part. These gunslingers find out only too late that they ended up in a town full of witches.

Jake and Duncan are brothers who after a train robbery are forced along with the gang they’re with to exchange a girl for medical help. The movie goes from being a western to a horror movie, much like how From Dusk Till Dawn made that transition from action flick to vampire movie. Stan Shaw is also in this movie as Lester, the brothers’ de facto father figure, as well as Bill Sage, who’s Dodd is the gang’s main tough guy.

Even though parts of The Pale Door aren’t quite as effective as I would have preferred, certain other elements work quite well. The witches look pretty cool and the gunplay is well done. Also the finale act is not boring and there are some nice eerie moments. I’m not the biggest fan of witch movies so this one of the few I’ve enjoyed so far.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Vicious Fun (2020, Cody Calahan)

This is a very meta film in some ways, which is fine. Vicious Fun channels the 1980s in a good way, and has a fairly solid premise: a self help group for serial killers. Which the movie’s hero, Joel (Evan Marsh) stumbles into at a restaurant while very drunk. Lucky for him Carrie (Amber Goldfarb) is around to help him out in a badass final girl way. David Koechner is the only actor I knew in this movie and he’s pretty funny, as usual.

Each of the serial killers are based on film and real life ones, yet it is Ari Millen as Bob who steals the movie. He’s a mix of Patrick Bateman, Ted Bundy and a literal chameleon. I enjoyed that Vicious Fun was not afraid to show blood or gore, yet doesn’t utterly depend on those elements to be highly entertaining. Also Marsh and Goldfarb are quite funny together, and yet the movie wisely doesn’t try to set them up as a couple.

I did think the movie worn a bit thin by the final act and there was an obvious set up for a potential sequel. Regardless Vicious Fun is a blast and is one of those slasher movies that would be great to show at a drive in theater. I think my favorite part is the killer taxi cab driver idea, just because The Bone Collector ran with it in the late 1990s.

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