Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Last Night In Soho (2021, Edgar Wright)


This Horrorfest us horror fans were blessed with multiple options via both streaming and the movie theater. I included Last Night in Soho because it only came to my area after Halloween and thus I eagerly watched it before it left my area. Edgar Wright has sort of done horror before with Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz definitely had some horror movie moments. His latest isn’t as good as those films-well maybe it equals Shaun-however it is still pretty great and is one of the year’s best films.

Thomasin McKenzie plays a young woman named Ellie who ventures to London to be a fashion designer. There she encounters snobby classmates, a friendly young man played by Michael Ajao, and ghosts. Well at least she sees them, which either hints that they are in her mind or they are very real. The first half of the movie plays out as an eerie drama, the second half very bleak psychological thriller. I saw Repulsion vibes in several scenes, and I’m sure other films influenced this one as well.

Having acting legends Terence Stamp and Diana Rigg in the movie was a fine touch, and I sort of guessed some of the twists but one of them snuck up on me a bit. I think had I viewed this at home I probably would have figured it out sooner. That doesn’t diminish the movie, though, as there are multiple exceptional scenes. Particularly one where Ellie sees the ghosts at a Halloween party. This film also captures London in the 1960s very well, and has a fantastic soundtrack. Silly me I forgot to mention how wonderfully despicable Matt Smith is in this movie as one of the people who exploits Sandie.

What’s also notable is how Anya Taylor-Joy’s Sandie steals the movie even though she’s not the main character. Ellie’s obsession with her goes pretty overboard, yet no one watching this movie can blame her. She captives both men and women alike in this film, and is a device for Wright to comment sharply on the male gaze and men’s creepy actions towards women. My complaint is that such themes get a bit left behind towards the end of the movie. Regardless I’m a fan of Last Night in Soho, and it left a pretty strong impression upon me. Thus closes out Horrorfest 2021, until next year cheers!

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: V/H/S/94 (2021, Timo Tjahjanto, Simon Barrett, Chloe Okuno, Ryan Prows, Jennifer Reeder)


Made years after the disappointing third installment in the series, V/H/S 94 is a welcome return for the franchise. The wrap around is a bit weak, yet I really enjoyed most of the segments and some of them were really strong. Particularly the first one, which could have been a full length movie. In this case the use of the found footage shooting style works very well and is really appropriate since the latest movie is set in 1994, a period where VHS was king.

Storm Drain is the first segment, popping up after we witness a SWAT team raid a cult group compound. This one is my favorite of the bunch and is the strongest one as well. Raatma is terrifying and what happens both scared me and disturbed me. The creature effects are fantastic and I loved how the segment ended. HAIL RAATMA indeed, haha oh God. This is one of those shorts that would be an excellent movie and it would be cool if this would be fleshed out more in the future. Even if that doesn’t happen this remains the most talked about and memed part of the movie.

Indeed!

Next up is The Empty Wake, which I also liked even if this one is a tad vague. A woman looks over a coffin containing a body, yet things are not what they appear. Some of this was creepy, yet the ending is too abrupt for my liking. This one also has good special effects that seemed really practical and thus realistic to me. Which is a nice touch.

Following this part is a really gory, very Tetsuo the Iron Man style part called The Subject. A mad scientist experiments with people, only for a cop team that shows up to stop him. However things go utterly sideways and two of the subjects proceed to battle one another and the police. Even if this feels a bit repetitive I was entertained by the crazy shit happening on screen, and the conclusion was pretty satisfying. Particularly since this one felt a tad out of place with the others all things considered.

IT’S ALIVE!

Terror is the second best one of the bunch, and is really cool and unique to me. How many vampire militia short movies can anyone think of? No other ones come to mind. A group of right wing nut jobs out in the countryside plan to use a vampire’s explosive blood in the daylight to blow up a federal building. Naturally this goes wrong in all of the most graphic and insane ways. The vampire itself once unleashed is properly freaky and the ending is karma itself, really. Messing with nature is never a good idea.

As for the wrap around, Holy Hell, I thought the ending for it was alright. I’m not sure how any of it ties into the other movies, and while it was necessary to have one I wasn’t too impressed with it. Regardless I prefer this film above the first and the third one, with the second one being the best. If they want to do more down the road that would be great, and I salute Shudder for being the platform that it was released on. Man 2021 was a good year for horror, which all things considered sadly makes sense.

Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Lighthouse (2019, Robert Eggers)


Maybe it is because I have spent years working in retail. Perhaps it is also having lived with a roommate for a spell that was as crazy as me. Might have even been crazier. Regardless, even though I wasn’t a big fan of Robert Eggers’ The Witch, I really liked his follow up, The Lighthouse. I am willing to give The Witch another chance, if only because I didn’t quite realize what I was getting into. Honestly I had no idea what The Lighthouse had in store, which is part of the fun. I did see both of Eggers’ movies in theaters, so I clearly am drawn to his unique, bizarre style.

It also helps that both films have good casts. The Lighthouse features Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two people working on an island. What begins as two men working together descends into madness and leads to events that I am not sure were really happening or not. My favorite thing about this movie is how events spiral out of control. All which happens in the beginning very slowly, and then shockingly quickly.

Oh and Pattison and Dafoe have marvelous chemistry together, acting as if they have done a movie together before when in fact this was their first time working with each other. Eggers uses Pattinson’s smoldering intensity and anger to contrast Dafoe’s older sense of responsibility and steadiness. Naturally both of them crack, yet it seems that Dafoe does first, spewing out a monologue that I wish to memorize.

If you asked me what happens in the end or what the ending meant, I have no idea. I wish to ask Robert Eggers that question. Some aspects of the movie unravel towards the conclusion, however I think I loved this mad tale of two nutters stuck on an island. Tis bad luck to kill a seagull, and to disrespect the ancient elder gods of the deep waters. Also your coworker might be a touch more balmy than you be, aye indeed.

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