Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Sorority House Massacre (1986, Carol Frank)


Made at the height of the 1980s slasher craze, Sorority House Massacre feels a tad cliche and old hat by that point. Yet the characters are likable enough, the kills are brutal and it has decent enough pacing to be an alright movie. A bunch of college ladies are hanging out in an house, only the house was once home to gruesome murders!

Unfortunately for them, the new woman (Angela O’Neill) who moved in has a tie to those killings. Does the killer return and kill a bunch of people? You bet. Is this movie a quasi ripoff of Halloween? Um, kind of to a certain degree. Did I mind? Not really, as Halloween and Friday the 13th clones were common in this era. The title may be dumb but I enjoyed this movie as much as I possibly could.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Cannibal Ferox (1981, Umberto Lenzi)


Every negative thing people said about Cannibal Holocaust applies instead to Cannibal Ferox, which is a wretched piece of trash. I didn’t mind the poor acting or the low budget, nope that wasn’t an issue. The problem is I didn’t care about what happened to any of the characters and the plot is really dumb. It’s all just an excuse to feature lots of gore and horrible things being done to people.

I’m reminded of Roger Ebert calling movies geek shows, and I sometimes felt he was being too harsh or getting up on his moral high horse. Yet I think he had a point at times and geek show definitely applies to Cannibal Ferox. This is a repulsive, lame excuse for a movie that I’m glad I saw on a streaming service instead of in theaters. I’m also maybe a little unnerved that I wasn’t affected by this movie. Perhaps I watch too many horror movies every year.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Blood (1973, Andy Milligan)


Blood is a really weird low budget 1970s horror flick that I’m not sure I liked or not. There are certain aspects that worked, and I didn’t hate the movie. Yet Andy Milligan veers between a vampire movie, a werewolf movie and even a killer plant movie. I think he would have benefited from cutting out some plot aspects.

I did laugh at the ending, which I think I was supposed to as I believe it was a nice joke. Some of the movie is really slow and most of the interesting moments only happen in the final act. I suppose you could do worse horror movie wise, and you could also do better. Blood has it’s goofy charms, I suppose.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: The Church (1989, Michele Soavi)


Hey I wanted to like The Church. I’m usually a sucker for goofy, outrageous 1980s crazy foreign cinema. I just wasn’t feeling this one and by the end I was ready for it to be over. This is how I imagine most people feel when sitting through giallo movies that I enjoy a lot. This is a flick that maybe could have used less plot, or more plot, or I donno, something. By the time really cool things start happening I had already fallen asleep and it took me two days to finish this movie.

None of that is a good sign. Alright the subway train death was neat, and hey look the Devil or some demon shows up near the end to do evil things! Yey! The opener promised a much cooler movie than what I watched, and I’m left frustrated that I didn’t like this movie. I bet if I had seen this in theaters I would have felt ripped off, and I saw it for free on Tubi and I still feel ripped off. Sigh…

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Malignant (2021, James Wan)


After doing big time Hollywood franchise movies, James Wan returned to give us another freaky horror movie. In this case I’m not sure if Malignant is a great bad movie, a good movie, or a complete mess. However I dug this movie a lot, and it managed to creep me out and even scare me at times, which is more than I can say for a lot of horror movies.

Madison (Annabelle Wallis) begins to have nightmarish visions of murders in Seattle. Her sister, Sydney (Maddie Hasson) decides to investigate, and what she uncovers is both shocking and disturbing. James Wan creates a horror movie that is equal parts giallo, supernatural thriller, and body horror movie in one crazy, glorious package.

This movie should be viewed for the cop station scene alone, and also because it’s a giant homage to the films that clearly inspired James Wan. Plus George Young is actually really good as the one cop who mostly believes Madison, and the final act is utterly insane. Some may not enjoy this movie, yet I feel many such as myself will champion it years from now.

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: Color Out Of Space (2019,


Color Out Of Space has Nicholas Cage balancing his two distinct types of acting: calm, collected, normal and completely unhinged. I think the movie could have used more Cage freakouts, however in this case his dad operates as the film’s main source of stability. Once the center fails to hold and things fall apart, he comes unglued. This was also a pretty good Lovecraft adaption as far as those go.

Elliot Knight’s plays a Hydrologist working for a big company who shows up near the property of the Gardner family. The mom is played by Joely Richardson, Brendan Meyer plays the son and Madeleine Arthur the daughter. They’re a happy, normal bunch until a meteorite crashes into their front yard. From then on, things get weird, very quickly. If there ever was a movie about not trusting the local drinking water, it would be this one.

Even though most of this film is a slow burn, I was never bored and that is all just building up to the film’s last, insane act. The special effects were pretty good here too, and I liked how it ended. Even if this isn’t a great flick it is a pretty good one. More modern adaptations of Lovecraft works, please.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Found Footage 3D (2016, Steven DeGennaro)


Even though Found Footage is slow at times, it still has some geniually creepy moments. However it does suffer from the problem all such movies have: why are the people still holding the camera instead of ditching it and heading for the hills? In this case I suppose the movie comes up with reasons why, yet I’ll admit when the shit does hit the fan the people still keep shooting.

I didn’t really care about the film’s attempts at melodrama, and I didn’t recognize any of the main cast either. One of the movie’s standouts abandons the project midway through, and another decent character isn’t smart enough to ditch when things keep going south. Despite this Found Footage is decent enough, and I only watched it in 2D because regular 3D (not Avatar type 3D) gives me a headache.

Horrorfest 2021: Head Count (2019, Ellie Callahan)


Head Count is not the first slasher movie to have mostly unlikable characters. Yet despite that I still cared about what happened to the people in this movie. Also this is as much a supernatural urban legend film as it is a slasher movie, and that aspects makes the movie work. The lead isn’t too bad, either-Evan (Issac Jay) is a college student who throws in with a group of other college students on vacation.

At least the desert location explains why the group can’t really call for help exactly. The location is used to great effect, and is as much a character as the actual people. Head Count seems to be inspired by urban legends such as Candyman, and weirdly the conclusion felt a tad rushed. Ashleigh Morghan is also great in this movie as Zoe, who Evan falls for early on in the movie.

Oh and this flick definitely sets up a possible sequel, particularly with how the movie ends. Even if this was merely decent I still liked this movie. I’m wondering if I should give this movie another viewing, and for now it’s on Shudder so I have that opportunity. Never read scary stories from the Internet out loud, I guess.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Candyman (2021, Nia DaCosta)


First off the new Candyman movie is a sequel, not a remake. I’m not sure if the advertising campaign made that clear, yet if one views the new flick l they will witness obvious connections to the first movie. I also slightly prefer the new one over the original, although I do also love the original. Both are fantastic and contribute to modern horror cinema, although I’ll grudgingly admit the 1990s are now three decades ago. Time sure flies.

Nia DaCosta does a fine job of linking Candyman to the horrors of the past, as showcased in extremely freaky puppet show display flashbacks. According to the latest movie, Candyman is powered by victims of extreme brutality and hatred, yet of course also relies on people foolish enough to say his name. Those who don’t believe in his legend do so at their own peril.

In the case of young artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris), they discover that Candyman is very real. Anthony becomes obsessed with the urban myth, even going so far as to interview a local man (Colman Domingo) about Candyman and also creating paintings inspired by his research. The new Candyman works by mostly walking the fine line between social commentary and being really creepy, and is mostly successful.

Some parts are too heavy handed-one scene happens in a bathroom and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what happens next. Also the last act is a bit sloppy in that regard, and I’m not sure that’s how I would have ended the movie. However I chucked at Brianna refusing to go down into a dark basement, and one kill scene begins with a fantastic mirror shot. I will admit this film deserves a longer review, possibly an essay.

Hang around for the credits, that’s for sure. I remember Shudder’s Twitter account bravely asserting that horror is political, and they have a point. Some of my all time favorite horror movies are political and deal with social economic issues. Candyman (2021) is a fine addition to that line of work, and I’m glad I saw it on the big screen. It’s nice to support modern horror sometimes.

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