Horrorfest 2022 Presents: A Blade in the Dark (1983, Lamberto Bava)


Lamberto Bava’s A Blade in the Dark is frustrating cause there is a good horror movie in here somewhere. It just never fully emerges, which is too bad since Bava has made some good movies and is the son of one of my all time favorite directors. I did like some of the movie and the ending is satisfying enough, however too many parts dragged. Also Brian De Palma was much better at channeling Alfred Hitchcock.

This movie has a meta style plot where the hero, Bruno, is scoring a horror movie and finds himself in a horror movie. The kills are good, yes, however this movie has thin characters and I stopped keeping track of who they were since I figured out they were just future victims. It’s a solid criticism of the Friday the 13th movies and other slasher films from the 1980s, and it definitely applies here. I didn’t hate this movie, yet I can’t really recommend it at all save for maybe hard-core 1980s slasher flicks. Watched thanks to Shudder.

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Pearl (2022, Ti West)


It’s a shame that Mia Goth won’t get an Oscar nomination for Pearl considering how the Academy ignores horror movies. Too bad, cause she definitely deserves it. The movie is really good too, maybe even great, yet none of this works without Goth breathing life into Pearl. You sympathize with the character at first, then get freaked out by her, and then you are completely scared by her. This is a brave performance, used in a movie that almost feels like The Wizard of Oz meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only not quite.

Even though this prequel is that rare good one it doesn’t quite address certain questions that both it and X raised, although maybe West just didn’t feel like filling in all the gaps. I do enjoy how he went from covering 1970s indie cinema to classic Hollywood, which is pretty cool. I also cannot wait for the third installment, which will be set in the 1980s. I’m sure that one is going to be just as gory and insane as the other two in the franchise.

Look ma, it’s Pearl!

Horrorfest 2022 Presents: Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989, Richard Friedman)


When Shudder revealed they were adding Phantom of the Mall to their July lineup, I had to check it out. It’s a late 1980s slasher movie take on the classic old school tale, and this one has a bizarre charm to it that works in it’s favor and makes it better than most 1980s slasher movies. What helps is that Derek Rydall is perfect in the title role, although I’m not sure why they needed to include Eric’s Revenge in the title. I think we can figure that out after he starts killing people.

Kari Whitman also stars as Melody, Eric’s former love, who Eric continues to pine for in-between kung fu workouts and horribly killing people at the mall he’s hiding out in. Pauly Shore appears in this movie too and he’s actually the amusing comic relief and the helpful friend all at the same time. Rob Estes and Morgan Fairchild round out the other major players, so this movie actually has a fairly reliable cast which helps.

Is most of this movie’s appeal Eric getting his revenge? Sure thing. Does all of the material work? No, yet it oddly works all the same anyways. The finale is also exciting too, and Jonathan Goldsmith adds plenty of sleeze too as the mall owner with his own dastardly secrets. Ken Foree even pops up in this movie briefly as a security guard, which is nice. I’ll gladly champion Richard Friedman’s effort as one of the better 1980s slasher movies, and as one that helped close out the decade as that sub-genre was in decline.

Dead People Aren’t Much Fun: Horrorfest 2022


Still hilarious

I’ve run out of title ideas. That or I’m just tired these days. Yet I press on to another Horrorfest even though at some point I’ve got to be getting too old for this sort of thing. Anyways on with the show!

July (Monsters Oh My!):

Those folks rock.
  1. Creature with the Atom Brain (1955, Edward L. Cahn), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  2. The Werewolf (1956, Fred F. Sears), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  3. Zombies of Mora Tau (1957, Edward L. Cahn), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  4. The Giant Claw (1957, Fred F. Sears), Arrow Films Video Blu-ray Creature Feature
  5. Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975, Juan López Moctezuma), Shudder Vampire
  6. Who Saw Her Die? (1972, Aldo Lado), Shudder Giallo
  7. Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (1970, Luciano Ercoli), Shudder Giallo
  8. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1972, Amando de Ossorio), Shudder Undead Knights Templar
  9. Eat Brains Love (2019, Rodman Flender), Shudder Zombies
  10. Mosquito (1994, Gary Jones), Shudder Creature Feature
  11. Without Warning (1980, Greydon Clark), Shudder Aliens
  12. Invaders From Mars (1986, Tobe Hooper), Shudder Aliens
  13. Dark Angel/I Come In Peace (1990, Craig R. Baxley), Shudder Aliens
  14. Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989, Richard Friedman), Shudder Slasher

August (Things Aren’t What They Seem):

Gordy’s home!
  1. (15) Nope (2022, Jordan Peele), Theater Viewing Aliens
  2. (16) The Stepfather II (1989, Jeff Burr), Crackle Family Psycho Man
  3. (17) Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957, Roger Corman), Crackle Creature Feature
  4. (18) Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959, Bernard L. Kowalski), Crackle Creature Feature
  5. (19) AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004, Paul W. S. Anderson), Hulu Aliens
  6. (20) Needful Things (1993, Fraser C. Heston), Shudder Devil
  7. (21) Head of the Family (1996, Charles Band), Shudder Mutants
  8. (22) Uncle Sam (1996, William Lustig), Shudder Undead Soldier
  9. (23) The Wolfman (2010, Joe Johnston), Tubi Werewolf
  10. (24) The Toolbox Murders (1978, Dennis Donnelly), Shudder Slasher
  11. (25) Son of Dracula (1943, Robert Siodmak), Tubi Dracula
  12. (26) Bloodsuckers from Outer Space (1984, Glen Coburn), Tubi Vampire Zombies
  13. (27) Color Me Blood Red (1965, Herschell Gordon Lewis), Tubi Slasher
  14. (28) La Semana del asesino aka The Cannibal Man (1972, Eloy de la Iglesia), Shudder Crazy People
  15. (29) The Predator (2018, Shane Black), Public Library Blu-ray Aliens

September (Murder, and Lots of It):

Always bring a flashlight in case you lose your phone
  1. (30) Nadie oyó gritar aka No One Heard the Scream (1973, Eloy de la Iglesia), Shudder Giallo
  2. (31) Watch Me When I Kill (1977, Antonio Bido), Shudder Giallo
  3. (32) Meatcleaver Massacre (1977, Evan Lee), Shudder Demonic
  4. (33) The Wizard of Gore (1970, Herschell Gordon Lewis), Tubi Murder Wizard
  5. (34) Mansion of the Doomed (1976, Michael Pataki), Shudder Mad Doctor
  6. (35) The Oracle (1985, Roberta Findlay), Shudder Possession
  7. (36) The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, Jean Epstein), YouTube Edgar Allen Poe
  8. (37) Storm of the Century (1999, Craig R. Baxley), Hulu Stephen King
  9. (38) Barbarian (2022, Zach Cregger), Theater Viewing Don’t Go In The House
  10. (39) Day Shift (2022, J. J. Perry), Netflix Instant Viewing Vampires
  11. (40) Blood Hook (1986, Jim Mallon), Tubi Killer Fisherman
  12. (41) Pearl (2022, Ti West), Movie Theater Viewing Crazy People Prequel
  13. (42) Blades (1989, Thomas R. Rondinella), Peacock/Tubi Killer Lawnmower
  14. (43) Blood Beach (1981, Jeffrey Bloom), YouTube Killer Beach Monster
  15. (44) Cementerio del terror aka Cemetery of Terror (1985, Rubén Galindo Jr.), Shudder Undead Satanic Serial Killer
  16. (44) Abby (1974, William Girdler), YouTube Demonic Blaxploitation
  17. (45) Grave Robbers (1989, Rubén Galindo Jr.), Shudder Demonic
  18. (46) Fright Night Part 2 (1988, Tommy Lee Wallace), YouTube Vampire

October (Forever Haunted):

Please remain seated until the plane has finished crashing.
  1. (47) Sole Survivor (1984, Thom Eberhardt), Shudder Watches The Dead
  2. (48) Lady In White (1988, Frank LaLoggia), Shudder Ghosts
  3. (49) Lust for a Vampire (1971, Jimmy Sangster), Tubi Karnsteins
  4. (50) The Vampire Bat (1933, Frank R. Strayer), Tubi Old School
  5. (51) Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986, Brian Gibson), Tubi The Beast
  6. (52) Poltergeist III (1988, Gary Sherman), Tubi Supernatural Skyscraper
  7. (53) Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright), Movie Theater Viewing Zombie RomCom!
  8. (54) Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965, Freddie Francis), Tubi Amicus Anthology
  9. (55) Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990, Jeff Burr), Tubi The Saw is Family
  10. (56) I Like Bats (1986, Grzegorz Warchoł), Shudder Polish Vampire
  11. (57) The Munsters (2022, Rob Zombie), Netflix Instant Viewing Family Fun
  12. (58) The Ritual (2017, David Bruckner), Netflix Instant Viewing Creature Feature
  13. (59) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003, Marcus Nispel), Tubi Remake
  14. (60) The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! (1972, Andy Milligan), Shudder Werewolf Family
  15. (61) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022, David Blue Garcia), Netflix Instant Viewing Requel
  16. (62) Werewolf by Night (2022, Michael Giacchino), Disney+ Werewolf? There, wolf!
  17. (63) Prey (2022, Dan Trachtenberg), Hulu Comanche vs Predator
  18. (64) A Blade in the Dark (1983, Lamberto Bava), Shudder Giallo
  19. (65) Oculus (2013, Mike Flanagan), Hulu Killer Mirror
  20. (66) Fangs (1974, Art Names), Shudder Killer Snakes
  21. (67) Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla (1994, Kensho Yamashita), Hulu Monster Fight
  22. (68) Trick ‘r Treat (2007, Michael Dougherty), Movie Theater Viewing Halloween Anthology
  23. (69) Watcher (2022, Chloe Okuno), Shudder Paranoia
  24. (70) Roadgames (1981, Richard Franklin), Tubi Trucker Blues
  25. (71) The House of Seven Corpses (1973, Paul Harrison), Tubi Undead Manor
  26. (72) Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001, Sam Irvin), Shudder Elvira Fun
  27. (73) Manhattan Baby (1982, Lucio Fulci), Shudder Egyptian Evil
  28. (74) Aenigma (1988, Lucio Fulci), Shudder Psychic Revenge
  29. (75) The Raven (1963, Roger Corman), Tubi Sorcery
  30. (76) The Flesh Eaters (1964, Jack Curtis), Tubi Creature Feature
  31. (77) Deathdream (1974, Bob Clark), Tubi Undead Soldier
  32. (78) Häxan (1922, Benjamin Christensen), Criterion Blu-ray Witchcraft Through The Ages
  33. (79) Onibaba (1964, Kaneto Shindo), Criterion Blu-ray Demon Hag
  34. (80) The Cremator (1969, Juraj Herz), Criterion Blu-ray Evil Incarnate

Coda (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop):

  1. (81) Halloween Ends (2022, David Gordon Green), Movie Theater Viewing Team Corey
  2. (82) The Devil’s Backbone (2001, Guillermo del Toro), Criterion Blu-ray Spanish Ghosts

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: Death By Invitation (1971, Ken Friedman)


This movie has some good kills, yet Death By Invitation is a low budget bore that doesn’t work. I mean you have a woman who is the reincarnation of a woman burned for witchcraft, yet there’s no indication she has any powers or whatever. Nope she just murders people in the fashion of a slasher villain, which is fine but a tad routine. I was hoping for something either more goofy or creepy, and the film doesn’t accomplish either one.

Honestly I fell asleep sitting through this film multiple times, which is a bad sign. I don’t remember any of the characters, and I think the ending was ok, maybe? The worst movies are the meh ones, the flicks that I sit through and forget I even saw them a year later. Or even months later. This is one of those.

Horrorfest 2021 Presents: One Dark Night (1983, Tom McLoughlin)


Even though most of the action happens in the last half of the movie, One Dark Night is still a decent horror movie. Plus the final act is pretty cool and quite weird, as if the movie couldn’t decide whether to be a slasher zombie movie or a vampire flick. So it choose all of those, combining different elements. I wish the kill count had been higher, still this is a flick I recommend anyways.

Julie (Meg Tilly) wants to join a group of popular girls despite her boyfriend telling her she’s better off ignoring them. They decide to send her to spend the night in a local mausoleum, and decide to come back to scare her. Too bad for them all a local occultist has been entombed there as well! Does he come back from the dead? What do you think? Also hey Adam West is even in the movie! Neat.

Melissa Newman also plays the daughter of the dead occultist, Raymar (what a great name) who attempts to figure out what her father was up to, and Robin Evans, E. G. Daily and Leslie Speights are the Sisters club that is responsible for Julie’s situation in the first place. I liked the zombies in this movie, and the finale is definitely pretty wild. It’s too bad that Tom McLoughlin didn’t make more movies, as between this one and Jason Lives he seemed to have a knack for directing watchable horror movies. Oh well.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Fear (1996, James Foley)


Ah, young love. It’s great as long as one of them doesn’t take it took far and turn out to be a complete psycho. In the case of Fear, one of those entertaining horror thrillers from the 1990s, the guy is the crazy obsessed one here. Mark Wahlberg plays David, who seems normal and is in love with Nicole, played by Reese Witherspoon. However he quickly reveals his dark side, sweeping her and her family into a nightmare.

William Petersen and Amy Brenneman play her parents, and naturally Peterson as her dad gets bad vibes from meeting David, which Nicole ignores. The movie kind of touches on how people stay in dangerous and abusive relationships because they think the other person loves them anyways. Then it veers back into outlandish thriller territory, particularly with the final act.

Still that last act is pretty entertaining and suspenseful, and the movie has it’s fun share of crazy moments. Wahlberg chews scenery, Witherspoon is very likable and what happens in the end is darkly hilarious to me. I think I’ve seen too many horror movies. This is definitely one, also, going between slasher and crazy people movie all too well.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Baron Blood (1972, Mario Bava)


While I like Mario Bava’s films a good deal Baron Blood was disappointing. Joseph Cotton and company do their best to elevate really flimsy material that is way too dependent on gory torture scenes. The film also takes much too long to become interesting, and I felt a lot of the film is a drag. This might be the first one I’ve seen from Bava that I have no desire to revisit, which is a shame.

The movie is not a complete waste, as the sets were neat and I liked several well framed shots. The ending is brutal as well, which does help and there is a scene that is quite suspenseful. I just expected more from a movie with a plot this ridiculous. Oh well. I’ll still try and check out more from Bava anyways, despite not having many of his famous films left to watch.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: The College Girl Murders (1967, Alfred Vohrer)


Sure The College Girl Murders is really goofy and seems to combine a giallo with a spy mystery movie, yet I still enjoyed it regardless. Someone is using acid spewing guns to kill women on a college campus, and a red hooded figure lurks in the background. Are the two connected? Watch and find out. The main villain’s scheme is actually clever, using a man in prison to carry out his assassinations.

Naturally two detectives are on the case, and they dig up a bunch of suspects. This being a slasher film of sorts plenty of people die, and the film has a rather high body count for being a 1960s movie. Some argue this is one of the earlier influences on later slasher films, and they may have a point. I overlooked some bad acting and simply went along for the ride, which includes some good set pieces and a cool ending.

Horrorfest 2020 Presents: Ghosthouse (1988, Umberto Lenzi)


Ghosthouse may have in some way helped inspire Final Destination. It is also an oddball mess of a movie that can’t decide if it wants to be a haunted house movie or a slasher movie. Some films that are competently made can do both, yet I wish Ghosthouse had just stuck with one. The haunted house and evil doll aspects work much better. Particularly since the doll looks like it escaped from Poltergeist.

Especially since there is one death scene that is hilariously awful. Still some other parts work, and I didn’t hate the characters even if I was given very little reason to care about what happened to them. Tubi has a lot of horror movies ranging from outright gems and classics, to mediocre and then outright trash. Unfortunately Ghosthouse falls in that muddled middle, not able to go the extra mile in either direction. Too bad.

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