Horrorfest 2014 Presents:  The Wicker Man (1973, Robin Hardy)


Due to it being a really old movie the twist near the end was unfortunately spoiled for me. However The Wicker Man still packs quite a punch and exists as a classic example of English folk horror that has stayed with me and others ever since. The casting sure helps, particularly as Christopher Lee gives one of his best performances in a long line of great ones, Edward Woodward as the policeman investigating a mystery, plus Britt Ekland and Ingrid Pitt in a smaller role. This movie fully embraces paganism and uses it as a horror movie device, similar to later horror films that this movie helped inspire. Considering how the film ends much of the movie has this eerie sense of foreboding, as if the audience and most of the characters know how it all ends save for one particular individual who is unaware of the dangers they face.

I don’t know Robin Hardy’s movie would be as effective if it was not made in the 1970s, as the movie fits in with the decade’s overall horror aesthetic. Woodward is both arrogant and yet likable as the police sergeant who thinks he knows what is going on but has no idea. Lee’s Lord Summerisle is both welcoming and clearly hiding many secrets. The Wicker Man seems to be a duel between religion and logic, although the island’s inhabitants would argue that both are intertwined and exist in the same sphere. I’m reminded that despite being a Christian I am fascinated by pagan beliefs, particularly ones concerning nature and the harvest.

Oh and Hardy makes the film into a bottle episode type movie of sorts, as all of the action takes place on the island and Howie (Woodward) is unable to leave in what is now a typical horror movie cliché. Never venture to an island without any backup, although I’m not sure it would have helped in this case. The Wicker Man also has one of the best uses of blasphemy ever in the “Oh Jesus Christ!” line, which is probably what the audience was thinking to at that part of the movie. The credits scene part which thanks the island’s residents for their cooperation was a nice touch, very cheeky indeed. Shudder has this movie as part of their folklore collection, and so a second viewing is in order. I believe I viewed this movie back in 2014 thanks to Netflix, when their horror movie collection was a lot better. What a picture.  

Horrorfest 2014 Presents: Visiting Hours (1982, Jean-Calude Lord)


The hospital setting is a pretty good one for Visiting Hours, which has a cool poster and a good trailer. Alas I was left mostly unimpressed by this early 1980s slasher, which bugs me since this should have been in my wheelhouse. The cast makes up for some of the weaker elements however-Lee Grant and Michael Ironside are both great in this movie-and it even has William Shatner randomly popping up later on.

The final act is really intense and quite brutal, yet most of this film is too slow and the scenes outside the hospital drag at times. I’m not sure if this movie is a feminist driven piece or if the director doesn’t like women considering the awful things Ironside’s serial killer puts the movie’s female characters through. I didn’t hate Visiting Hours, still I didn’t really like it either. This is sometimes the case with horror movies and cinema in general.

Tubi Time!


When I finally bought a Roku streaming device in 2018 one of the services on there was Tubi, which used to be a nice little very free secret which is still thankfully free. It reminds me of old video stores or the public library with the mix of old and newer movies, random junk, nice cult gems and everything in between. I’ve been using it even more since last year due to it’s halfway decent collection of horror and western movies, plus kung fu movies.

Sure there are ads, and Tubi doesn’t have any original programing that I know of, yet it’s still rather handy. Right now as I type this I’m watching Airport ’77, which is definitely not on Netflix or Hulu. Sure it’s cheesy as hell but it’s nice to view a slice of 1970s blockbuster cinema. Plus you get used to the ads, anyways. I really am trying to burn through my list on Tubi, yet they keep adding stuff I want to see. So it’s really just like the other streaming services I’m currently using. Quarantine time is cinema time.

Premium Gatekeeping Never Ends


Roku Has Become a Gatekeeper in Premium Streaming - Variety

So my dad got into the CBS Clarice show but he’s never seen Silence of the Lambs. It’s on Hulu but you need a premium subscription to even watch it. And people wonder why I’m still buying movies. I guess I should have purchased the Criterion copy of the movie during their last flash sale.

However I’m wondering why I need to upgrade for a service I’m already paying for. Disney+ is guilty of that too with their special new releases that they expect people already subscribed to their service to pay extra for. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that streaming services are greedy like that, yet it is still disappointing. I know there are other options but those also cost money and the segmentation of streaming is really aggravating. At this point I don’t blame people resorting to piracy again, however it shouldn’t have to come to this point.

Especially with a movie like Silence of the Lambs that is only 6 years younger than I am. I work with people younger than that movie. I guess it has always been this way with anything older than 1980 or 1970, however now you encounter it with even 1990s and modern flicks. I remember Netflix lacking a lot of older movies on streaming due to studios wanting people to still buy them on physical media. Well congratulations, that worked all too well.

Hey at least I found a cheap Blu-ray version of Silence of the Lambs at Best Buy, which amuses me since they gutted their movie section. Remind why I should bother supporting copyright law when giant corporations abuse the hell out of it and older movies that should be public domain and available for free on YouTube are not…

PS: My local library had a copy and it was the Criterion DVD edition. I might need to use them more often.

Rant of the Day: Down With The Sickness


Yes I went with the amusing cover version. Didn’t see that coming, did yah?

It seems that only in America do people go to work sick, because this country hates the working class and thinks its macho to arrive at your job when you sound on the verge of death. Well that and the lack of sick days to anyone who is not a regular or full time employee, as paying bills has to overcome the rightful urge to stay in bed and watch Netflix while you cough and sneeze every five minutes. I am guilty of showing up at my job despite needing tissues, cough drops and a million bottles of water to even stay upright, and it did result in me being set home one Sunday.

My stance on this issue is that damn your money problems, stay home if you are sick. Especially if your job does give you sick days, so in that case you have no excuse. Going to work and getting everyone else sick is a douche move, and on top of that you won’t be even half as productive. Plus one of these days that asshole who never washes their hands is going to create a new kind of virus that wipes out half the population, and I know they always go to work sick no matter what.

On the other hand, that is the privileged position of someone who can actively afford to take a sick day, which just occurred to me as I almost finished this article and wasted time googling funny sick day pictures online. Boy does this country really suck way too much at times. As for people who call in sick when they are not actually sick, those people are even worse, and yet I think most of America has done this at least once. No further comment on that matter..

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Horrorfest 2019 Presents: The Babysitter (2017, McG)


Finally lying down, beer in hand, I watched The Babysitter last night. This was my kind of late night modern slasher film-savvy, fun, really violent, channeling the 1980s. In fact this movie would have been right at home during the slasher heyday, and if it was older many would regard The Babysitter as some lost cult classic. As it stands it is a really good modern day horror film, one with a good cast and snappy one liners.

Young Cole doesn’t realize until it’s too late that his super gorgeous babysitter, Bee, is the leader of a devil cult. One that sacrifices lonely losers and then uses the blood of the innocent to achieve power. Or, something along those lines, that aspect was not important. Once the group finds out that Cole knows, the poor kid has to run and this movie turns into Home Alone on steroids. Bonus points for the Foghat hanging out montage that is oddly adorable.

Sure I have seen this kind of movie done before, yet pure slasher cinema is apparently Bella Thorne crying about getting shot in the boob. Also Samera Weaving and Judah Lewis have that nice bit of chemistry that was just not meant to last. I wouldn’t mind if this became a franchise, although it is unlikely to happen. Even though it is cool that this is on Netflix, getting to see it on the big screen would have been more satisfying. Oh well.

Piracy, Argh!


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My coworker, Kaine, once said “This is why we commit crimes” as a joke. However this can apply to the incoming rise of online piracy that is going to happen. Everyone and their dog is creating a streaming service, which is bad. Not everything or everyone needs to have one, and the whole thing goes from monopolies to way too much segmentation.

Plus I don’t get why network TV streaming services that are free still require a cable subscription. It doesn’t matter I guess since cable is where streaming is heading towards. Eventually there will be streaming buddles or something like that. People are also overracting to Netflix losing Friends and The Office. I don’t get subscribing to a service for only one or two shows, yet people do it anyways.

Perhaps folks will use second hand stores like Half-Price Books to find TV on physical media. More than likely many will go back to pirating TV, especially since jailbroken firesticks exist. I prefer to do things the legal way, and so I guess there are just some shows and movies I won’t get to watch. I don’t have enough time as it is regardless.

In The Streaming Waiting Line


One of the bad things about having both free and paid streaming sites at my disposal is that I have way too many queues full of movies and TV shows that I either choose to ignore or do not have time to watch. It is bad enough that I also have a queue on my folks Netflix for whenever I stop by, in addition to the Netflix I already am paying for. This on top of Shudder, Hulu, Tubi TV, and even Crackle (the last two are free, at least), so the list is pretty long. There are times when I admit I am not going to watch something and remove it from the queue, or I finally watch something only to add something new in its place. While in the beginning a queue was a good way to make sure you did not lose that cool looking new or old movie/TV show you really want to see, it is now a reminder that you are not watching said program.

In this case, it stems from me being a huge procrastinator (I actually finished Bird Box, after months of putting the second half off. Whoops). One solution is to simply purge my lists and just watch whatever I am interested in, although that means having to search for programming. That usually ends in me looking through stuff without ever hitting watch, another problem for another time. A better idea is to suck it up and go through everything on my queue, although a tricky idea is to simply wait for most of it to go away due to expiring rights issues. Maybe if someone came up with a way to go without sleep….yes…

2018 TV Log


So here is what I am viewing, so far this year:

American Gods, Season 1-B+

Ash Vs The Evil Dead, Seasons 1 and 2-A-

The Detour, Season 1-A-. Season 2, Episode 1

The End of The F***ing World, Season 1-B+

Haven Season 3 Episode 3

Lucifer, Season 3 Episode 5

The West Wing, Season 3 Episode 4

Wynonna Earp Season 1 Episode 2

Horrorfest 2016 Presents: The Traveler (2010, Michael Oblowitz)


Despite being a fan of one Val Kilmer, this is clearly one of his worst films and probably the first movie I’ve seen from him where I actually wanted him to be silent. This movie is the type that the MSTK crew would mock if it had been made years ago, and I realize that serial killer movies don’t work if they fail to meet two important criteria. One is that they be entertaining if they fall into a more campy style, and the other is that if they are meant to be scary, well they need to be terrifying or creepy. The Travler has some initial promise and throws all that away midway through the film. The hardest movies to get through are not the truly awful ones or even the mediocre films, but rather a movie like this, where any good elements are buried. Even the flashback scenes manage to be shot in a manner that wouldn’t even pass muster for a cheesy monster film or a low budget slasher. Whatever this film cost, it was too high and the money was squandered.

Skip this movie and watch Twixt instead, which is also on Netflix. Oh by the way there is a twist, and its stupid and I hated it. Even the kills are blah, half measure efforts that fail to be really shocking or interesting. The last act takes the movie into even sillier territory, and I can’t believe I finished the movie without the aid of beer. I don’t even recall any of the other actors because they failed to make an impression upon me, and I don’t really care to look them up, either. I can abide bad comedies since some of them still make me laugh, yet a bad horror film is the equivalent of a poor meal. Throw this movie in the trash.

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