Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Pieces (1982, Juan Piquer Simón)


The 1982 film Pieces is what you would get if someone decided to create a Texas Chainsaw Massacre type giallo in the 1980s. The movie is pretty wild and has some random moments that don’t really fit yet make the movie entertaining as a result. It’s not enough to have a killer roaming a college campus killing people with a chainsaw and cutting them up, the killer also has to be taking body parts too! There was a kung fu scene thrown in for good measure because why not, and the main character (played by Ian Sera) is both likable and a complete leech all at the same time. He ends up investigating the crimes along with one of those 1980s movie detectives (the always great Christopher George) who never go home and end up obsessing over one case when I’m sure they have at least 20 others to solve. There is also a long list of female victims, and a female undercover cop played by Lynda Day George.

This movie has both a great tennis related thriller scene and a waterbed moment that is very memorable in all kinds of ways. The ending doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me-I won’t say more about what happens, you just have to watch-yet I come to expect that in a lot of these movies. I’m not sure I liked this movie a whole lot the first time I saw it, yet I came to appreciate it more after viewing this during Joe Bob Briggs’ return to Shudder marathon back in 2018. I’m sure better writers than me could elaborate more on any of the film’s meanings, still all I got out of it mostly was there are some really crazy people out there in this big old world. I believe I viewed this movie on Tubi, although I’m not 100% sure as it was five years ago. Man time flies.

Horrorfest 2017 Presents: Legion-The Exorcist III Director’s Cut (1990, William Peter Blatty)


Years later on Shudder I watched the regular cut of The Exorcist III after having seeing the Director’s Cut thanks to my local public library. I prefer the DC although the theatrical cut is also fine, even though I feel that Legion is far more scarier and has a more effective and creepier ending. Both center on evil refusing to die, the past coming back to haunt people, and of course that epic nightmare fuel jump scare scene involving someone wielding a large pair of sheers. George C. Scott anchors this film as a policeman searching for answers that lead him back to a dead serial killer known as The Gemini Killer.

The opening for Legion is different and features an odd, wind filled sequence in a church that inspires dread. Legion is about how evil never really dies and how the devil has endless ways of maintaining evil , only in this case it is through a long dead killer showing back up again. Brad Dourif has always been good at playing evil and crazy people, yet I think he is at his most terrifying here as Gemini, the instrument of the film’s awful events. I can’t think of a movie that’s made me wary of garden sheers than this one, or at least one that’s been made recently. Ed Flanders and Scott Wilson also do a great job as part of the supporting cast as well. Wilson and Flanders both were also in the equally great The Ninth Configuration, which Blatty also directed.

Although this isn’t as good as The Exorcist, The Exorcist III is a worthy sequel and is one of the best horror films of the 1990s. It has also held up pretty well, particularly in it’s discussions of faith, belief, and fighting against the forces of darkness. The battle is a dirty daily job, but according to Scott’s policeman someone has to do it on a daily basis and the war never ends.

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: Black Sabbath (1964, Mario Bava)


Years later I finally viewed this movie thanks to Shudder (I believe it was in 2018, maybe). Black Sabbath is probably Mario Bava’s best film although a few others do qualify, and this also inspired a certain famous rock band that I am a big fan of as well. Black Sabbath is easily one of the best anthologies ever made, and although one of the stories is weaker than the other ones all of them are still pretty great and make the film a quality viewing experience. Bava wisely sticks to only three stories, and has the legendary Boris Karloff narrate and star in the film as well. The title of the three tales are The Drop of Water, The Wurdulak, and The Telephone.

Maybe it’s the copy I viewed or the Wikipedia page is wrong (shocker!) yet the version I watched had The Drop of Water story first. This tale is utterly terrifying and has an marvelously creepy finale that works incredibly well. A woman foolishly steals a ring off of a dead woman’s finger and discovers too late that you should never rob from the dead. The dummy featured in this movie is pretty freaky looking, and this story is a great exercise in unbearable tension. I feel this one was the best of the bunch honestly, and shows that Bava was a master of the supernatural, a strong element of most of his movies.

The Wurdulak is Bava making a vampire story that is one of the best vampire stories ever put to film. Planet of the Vampires also shows that Bava has a knack for vampire films, and it’s a shame he didn’t make more of them. Karloff appears as the head of a family that has a serious and very unique vampire problem. There’s plenty of bite in this one hehe, not to mention those who end up becoming the undead turn on their own family members. Many consider this tale the best of the bunch, yet I feel it’s not as scary as Water is although the gore factor is certainly featured in this one pretty well.

Finally there is The Telephone, which although is the weakest of the bunch is still very suspenseful and well crafted. Michèle Mercier is a woman who is haunted by her former boyfriend, who she believes was in prison but has in fact broken out and is seeking revenge. It just occurred to me that each of the stories are very bottle episode in nature, as all of the characters are limited to one particular location. How this one concludes is rather bleak, although that can be said of all of the tales in this movie.

Although I’m not sure if Bava should have featured a wrap around story, I’m fine with how this works as a book style movie with different tales featuring new people each time. Black Sabbath is easily one of the best horror films of the 1960s, and is easily in my Top 100 horror movies.

Movie Log 2022


You know the drill.

January:

  1. Return of the Street Fighter (1974, Ozawa)-82, Tubi
  2. Santa Sangre (1989, Jodorowsky)-91, Tubi
  3. The Guns of Navarone (1961, Thompson)-94, Netflix Instant Viewing
  4. The Witch Who Came From the Sea (1976, Cimber)-94, Shudder/Tubi
  5. Ichi The Killer (2001, Miike)-91, Shudder
  6. Dream No Evil (1970, Hayes)-60, Shudder
  7. Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood (1973, Speeth)-70, Shudder
  8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979, Wise)-75, Hulu
  9. The Matrix Resurrections (2021, Wachowski)-86, Theater Viewing
  10. Dark August (1976,  Goldman)-80, Shudder
  11. Winterbeast (1991, Thies)-83, Shudder
  12. Fatal Exam (1990, Snyder)-71, Shudder
  13. The French Dispatch (2021, Anderson)-100, RedBox
  14. Beyond Dream’s Door (1989, Woelfel)-83, Shudder
  15. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009, Sommers)-54, Netflix Instant Viewing
  16. Carlito’s Way (1993, De Palma)-96, Tubi
  17. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021, Watts)-93, Theater Viewing
  18. Eternals (2021, Zhao)-60, Disney+
  19. Encanto (2021, HowardBush)-80, Disney+
  20. Massacre In Dinosaur Valley (1985, Tarantini)-70, Tubi
  21. Luca (2021, Casarosa)-92, Disney+
  22. Coco (2017, Molina, Unkrich)-98, Disney+
  23. Scream (2022, Bettinelli-Olpin, Gillett)-85, Theater Viewing

February:

  1. (24) Leptirica (1973, Kadijević)-85, Shudder
  2. (25) The Child (1977, Voskanian)-55, Shudder
  3. (26) Son of Frankenstein (1939, Lee)-88, Shudder
  4. (27) House of Frankenstein (1944, Kenton)-60, Shudder
  5. (28) The Black Cat (1934, Ulmer)-92, Shudder
  6. (29) The Most Dangerous Game (1932, Pichel, Schoedsack)-84, Tubi
  7. (30) And Then There Were None (1945, René Clair)-85, Tubi
  8. (31) Cherry Falls (2000, Wright)-40, Shudder
  9. (32) Licorice Pizza (2021, Anderson)-100, Theater Viewing
  10. (33) Algiers (1938, Cromwell)-80, Tubi
  11. (34) Valentine (2001, Blanks)-70, Shudder
  12. (35) Eyes Of Fire (1983, Crounse)-90, Shudder
  13. (36) Clearcut (1991, Bugajski)-91, Shudder
  14. (37) De dødes tjern (1958, Bergstrøm)-93, Shudder
  15. (38) Il Demonio (1963, Brunello Rondi)-94, Shudder
  16. (39) The King’s Man (2021, Vaughn)-45, Hulu
  17. (40) The Premonition (1976, Allen)-55, Shudder
  18. (41) Alison’s Birthday (1981, Coughlan)-83, Shudder
  19. (42) The Harder They Fall (2021, Samuel)-91, Netflix Instant Viewing
  20. (43) Sonic the Hedgehog (2020, Fowler)-88, Hulu
  21. (44) Free Guy (2021, Levy)-90, Disney+

March:

  1. (45) Black Sunday (1977, Frankenheimer)-71, Hulu
  2. (46) Darkman (1990, Raimi)-90, Shudder
  3. (47) Darkman II: The Return of Durant (1995, May)-70, Shudder
  4. (48) Contagion (2011, Soderbergh)-87, Netflix Instant Viewing
  5. (49) Darkman III: Die Darkman Die (1996, May)-35, Shudder
  6. (50) From Hell It Came (1957, Milner)-63, Tubi
  7. (51) The Eagle Has Landed (1976, Sturges)-90, Tubi
  8. (52) Stalag 17 (1953, Wilder)-100, Tubi
  9. (53) Wilcyca (1983, Piestrak)-85, Shudder
  10. (54) Spencer (2021, Larraín)-90, Hulu
  11. (55) Paddington 2 (2017, King)-95, Tubi
  12. (56) The King of Comedy (1983, Scorsese)-85, Hulu
  13. (57) In a Valley of Violence (2016, West)-83, Netflix Instant Viewing
  14. (58) Nightmare Alley (2021, del Toro)-88, Hulu
  15. (59) X (2021, West)-93, Theater Viewing
  16. (60) Death On The Nile (2022, Branagh)-77, Theater Viewing
  17. (61) Massacre Mafia Style (1974, Mitchell)-81, Tubi
  18. (62) The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974, Sargent)-100, Tubi
  19. (63) Don’t Look Up (2021, McKay)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
  20. (64) Cutter’s Way (1981, Passer)-95, Tubi
  21. (65) The Insider (1999, Mann)-97, Hulu
  22. (66) Hudson Hawk (1991, Lehmann)-55, Netflix Instant Viewing
  23. (67) Trouble Every Day (2001, Denis)-91, Shudder
  24. (68) High Tension (2003, Aja)-87, Shudder
  25. (69) Way Down East (1920, Griffith)-90, Tubi

April:

  1. (70) Rome, Armed to the Teeth/The Tough Ones (1976, Lenzi)-85, Tubi
  2. (71) Man On Fire (1987, Chouraqui)-80, Hulu
  3. (72) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990, Barron)-71, Netflix Instant Viewing
  4. (73) The January Man (1989, O’Connor)-45, Tubi
  5. (74) À l’intérieur (2007, Paradis and Dalle)-92, Shudder
  6. (75) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991, Pressman)-40, Netflix Instant Viewing
  7. (76) Hackers (1995, Softley)-75, Tubi
  8. (77) Double Team (1997, Hark)-75, Netflix Instant Viewing
  9. (78) Geronimo: An American Legend (1993, Hill)-90, Netflix Instant Viewing
  10. (79) Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022, Kwan and Scheinert)-100, Theater Viewing
  11. (80) Roxanne (1987, Schepisi)-90, Hulu
  12. (81) The Addams Family (1991, Sonnenfeld)-88, Netflix Instant Viewing
  13. (82) The Net (1995, Winkler)-65, Netflix Instant Viewing
  14. (83) The General’s Daughter (1999, West)-85, Netflix Instant Viewing
  15. (84) Rush (2013, Howard)-81, Netflix Instant Viewing
  16. (85) The Imitation Game (2014, Tyldum)-86, Netflix Instant Viewing
  17. (86) Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988, De Bello)-83, Tubi
  18. (87) Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (1990, Kaufman)-75, Tubi
  19. (88) Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016, Flanagan)-92, Netflix Instant Viewing
  20. (89) Army of the Dead (2021, Snyder)-80, Netflix Instant Viewing
  21. (90) Frontier(s) (2007, Gens)-75, Shudder
  22. (91) The Northman (2022,  Eggers)-94, Theater Viewing
  23. (92) The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022, Gormican)-87, Theater Viewing
  24. (93) Martyrs (2008, Laugier)-91, Shudder
  25. (94) Antropophagus (1980, D’Amato)-35, Shudder

May:

  1. (95) Easy A (2010, Gluck)-90, Hulu
  2. (96) The Devils (1971, Russell)-90, Shudder
  3. (97) Blade: Trinity (2004, Goyer)-45, Netflix Instant Viewing
  4. (98) Blackhat (2015, Mann)-81, Netflix Instant Viewing
  5. (99) Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (2022, Fowler)-92, Theater Viewing
  6. (100) The Devil’s Own (1997, Pakula)-57, Netflix Instant Viewing
  7. (101) Eaten Alive (1976, Hooper)-73, Shudder
  8. (102) A Beautiful Mind (2001, Howard)-60, Hulu
  9. (103) The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976, Gessner)-90, Shudder
  10. (104) Invasion U.S.A. (1985, Zito)-83, Tubi
  11. (105) Fatal Beauty (1987, Holland)-81, Tubi
  12. (106) Brannigan (1975, Hickox)-70, Tubi
  13. (107) Cat Ballou (1965, Silverstein)-95, Plex
  14. (108) The Good Dinosaur (2015, Sohn)-86, Disney+
  15. (109) Pig (2021, Sarnoski)-93, Hulu
  16. (110) Suburban Gothic (2014, Bates Jr.)-55, Hulu
  17. (111) Logan Lucky (2017, Soderbergh)-81, Hulu
  18. (112) The House That Jack Built (2018, von Trier)-80, Hulu
  19. (113) Splash (1984, Howard)-75, Disney+
  20. (114) The English Patient (1996, Minghella)-95, Pluto TV
  21. (115) Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017, Shizuno and Seshita)-70, Netflix Instant Viewing

June:

  1. (116) Slaughterhouse (1987, Roessler)-67, Shudder
  2. (117) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008, Stoller)-90, Hulu
  3. (118) Top Gun: Maverick (2022, Kosinski)-90, Theater Viewing
  4. (119) Married To The Mob (1988, Demme)-85, RedBox
  5. (120) Iron Monkey (1977, Kuan-tai)-90, Tubi
  6. (121) 7 Grandmasters (1978, Kuo)-93, Tubi
  7. (122) The Freakmaker aka The Mutations (1974, Cardiff)-30, Shudder
  8. (123) Coffy (1973, Hill)-84, Tubi
  9. (124) Foxy Brown (1974, Hill)-85, Tubi
  10. (125) The Gunfighter (1950, King)-100, Tubi
  11. (126) The Unforgiven (1960, Huston)-85, Tubi
  12. (127) Texas Across The River (1966, Gordon)-53, Grit TV
  13. (128) Dick (1999, Fleming)-75, Hulu
  14. (129) Alligator II: The Mutation (1990, Hess)-35, Shudder
  15. (130) The Tall T (1957, Boetticher)-90, Tubi
  16. (131) The Beastmaster (1982, Coscarelli)-80, Public Library DVD
  17. (132) Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Kelly, Donen)-100, Public Library DVD
  18. (133) Hellbender (2021, Adams, Poser, Adams), Shudder
  19. (134) Thirst (2019, , ), Shudder
  20. (135) Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018, Shizuno and Seshita), Netflix Instant Viewing

July:

  1. (136) Creature with the Atom Brain (1955, Cahn), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray
  2. (137) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, Raimi), Disney+

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 2021 Presents: Just Before Dawn (1981, Jeff Lieberman)


Going forth with my wilderness adventure horror movie viewings, I watched Just Before Dawn on Shudder. Gregg Henry and George Kennedy both star in a movie that more than lives up to it’s title and the whole “Murder in the woods” aspect. A bunch of college kids go up into the mountains and discover all too quickly that murderous lunatics dwell amongst the lovely foliage and pretty outdoor shots. In fact the movie opens with a gruesome murder that drives the survivor insane. Deborah Benson also stars and is one of the best characters in the movie.

Kennedy’s forrest ranger warns the young folk that going up into the woods is a bad idea, so of course they ignore him. The murders in this movie are pretty brutal and the film takes itself rather seriously, which helps. Sometimes a movie like this should have very little humor, and the final confrontation is very suspenseful and well done. I think Just Before Dawn is one of those 1980s flicks that could become a favorite of mine, and it’s easily a film that would be great to view in a drive in setting.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Rituals (1977, Peter Carter)


Rituals is a low budget 1970s wilderness horror thriller that was definitely inspired by Deliverance. Yet it has it’s own style and is mostly effective although parts of the movie was the director trying too hard. The final act drags on a bit too much also. Still I liked this movie and I realized midway through that I’m a fan of wilderness horror movies as a sub-genre. Hal Holbrook leads a cast of lesser known actors as they struggle to escape from a killer pursuing them in the Canadian wilderness.

This movie has some great outdoor shots, and Peter Carter puts both the characters and the audience through the ringer. This was a decent enough flick that I only saw thanks to Shudder. I’m not surprised that Steven King is a fan of this movie as many of his stories feature people dealing with extreme situations. Be prepared when you head out into the middle of nowhere and expect crazy people to show up is the lesson I got out of this movie.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Habit (1997, Larry Fessenden)


Habit and The Addiction would make for a good indie movie 1990s vampire in NYC double bill. Habit is more indie movie than The Addiction though, and despite some rough edges it is a really good movie. This works as both a drama and a horror film, depicting a young man’s slide into alcoholism and entering into a corrosive relationship with a mystery young woman. Who may or may not be a vampire, which the movie does hint at midway through.

Sam is dealing with his father’s death and his girlfriend breaking up with him at the same time. He ends up going out with a mysterious woman Anna (Meredith Snaider), who could be evil. Or at least destructive, since she doesn’t curtail his drinking and she keeps bitting him. That’s not normal, is it? Only if you’re in denial I guess.

Even though this isn’t a great movie, Habit still is really good and definitely has it’s share of eerie moments. My favorite part is when Sam and his friend run out into the ocean, cold weather be damned! This movie has a lot of little moments that work and add to the film’s overall aesthetic. Larry Fessenden is actually a really good, natural actor for a director and Snaider gives off some fantastic eerie vibes as well. Sometimes when you meet a strange woman at a party, the wise thing to do is run the other way.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Psycho Goreman (2020, Steven Kostanski)


Every once in a while there exists a fun cult movie that I fully embrace, and this time it’s Psycho Goreman. PG shows up on Earth and ends up controlled by a sociopathic girl named Mimi who along with her brother Luke end up bounding with an alien capable of destroying their whole planet. This movie is literally if a darker version of ET existed and mated with the Power Rangers.

One of the best parts is a garage rock band fueled montage scene that is darkly hilarious. Is this a horror movie? Maybe, or kind of in a way. This is mostly sci-fi and action, with lots of gore and very funny, twisted humor that may offend some and leave others like me laughing a lot. The special effects in this movie work really well and without them some of the elements wouldn’t have been as effective.

It also helps that both Nita-Josee Hanna and Owen Myre are great as the two kids who should probably be way more afraid of PG than they really are at any given moment. The family dynamic in this movie is also really strong, and I’m hoping that we get a sequel with more Psycho Goreman exploits. Even if we don’t there is still a movie worth viewing more than once. All hail PG!

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