So once again we have survived.

Halloween tidings / horror movie recommendations

tn_chuckiesHello pals,

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been a little stressed lately by the wave of bad vibes in everything from the putrid state of American politics to current events in film criticism to me being deluged by Trump devotees after foolishly getting myself retweeted by Seagal. But I’m gonna take a deep breath and stand strong and positive and pour it all into outlawvern.com. I’m very excited about all the horror movies I’ve been watching and writing about and I know we’re gonna have alot of fun here this month.

I got hundreds, maybe thousands of these types of insights sent my way, and they’re still trickling in. Spooky Halloween time fun!

I also need to take this moment to once again thank each and every one of you (yes, you) for all your support over the years, for reading my reviews, for letting me know what you think in the comments or emails or social media, for buying my books, for using my Amazon links, and especially to the generous souls who have donated to me through Patreon or Paypal. I hope you know it means the world to me, and the extra couple hundred a month has helped me to work fewer hours on the day job without depleting my bank account. I hope I’ll figure out a good way to give something back to you all.

Since it’s that time of year when we all get sentimental and look out for our fellow woman and man by recommending horror movies, let’s do that too. I think so far I’ve had a good run of choosing them myself. I’m trying to do a higher volume of reviews this month, with a balance of the Slasher Search obscurities, more recent ones, and revisits of old classics. But of course I’m always open to suggestions.

If you have one you want me to review and you happen to have donated to my Patreon or Paypal at any time, you are encouraged to use that as leverage by mentioning something along the lines of  “and I am a Vern Benefactor”! But you don’t have to if you’re shy. And I will consider all suggestions. I am a fair man.

Not INTRUDER though. Just kidding Sternshein.

Please use the comments here to recommend good horror viewing for me and all the readers here, and whatever else is on your mind.

thanks everybody!

–VERN

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
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137 Responses to “Halloween tidings / horror movie recommendations”

  1. I have not donated to Vern yet but should. I have purchased a number of his fine books.

    I would recommend the Ninth Gate as being worth a watch and a review.

  2. Stay positive man — remember that for every nutcase who has the time to throw hate at you on the internet, there are hundreds if not thousands of nice people who are just living happy lives and not frantically trying to bury the world in their own personal vitriol. It’s easy to forget them because they’re quiet. But they’re still the majority, and by a long shot. I think.

    Anyway, since you’ve already kicked the hornet’s nest, I say you take a look at 1980’s THE UNSEEN, a slow-moving but well-made mutant slasher movie with an impenetrable but also unmistakable abortion subtext. Then we can really have some fun around here!

    Or better yet, have you ever reviewed Brian Yuzna’s SOCIETY? That seems remarkably appropriate for the current political climate. If you have a review for it, I can’t seem to find it, and it seems like a movie that you of all people really ought to opine on.

  3. ” to current events in film criticism”

    Oh…THAT. Umm, right.

    It’s unfortunate that seemingly most people happy that guy lost his job (and probably career) do so because he said something mean about a comic book movie/show once or because he thought GamerGate supporters were assholes (which they are) or whatever, and not because of the alleged crimes he’s been accused of by more than one victim.

  4. Let me start by telling you that whenever I use Amazon (which is not often as I work for an independent bookstore and therefore loathe Amazon), I always come here first so I can kick you some cash.

    That said, the last time I used Amazon was to pick up some Larry Cohen movies I had not yet seen. So, I’d like to see you dig into some of my favorite Cohen movies. THE STUFF, perhaps, or Q, THE WINGED SERPENT. Or even IT’S ALIVE 3: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE. Any of the Cohen/Moriarty collaborations, basically. At the very least, they’ll help put a smile back on your face, Vern. They’re too fun and goofy not to, imo.

  5. Check out Body Melt (1993). It’s a low budget movie from Australia with lots of gooey splatter effects and weirdness!

  6. A few weeks back I watched De Palma’s Dressed To Kill for the first time….. can’t imagine you haven’t seen it, but if you haven’t, it’s sort of like if Raising Cain tried a little harder to pretend it was a normal movie, but still ended up being just as weird. And there’s slashing aplenty, too.

  7. Social media pile-ons are stressful as heck. If you can’t tune it out, nothing wrong with making your account private for a little while.

    Also, I second Jerome’s suggestion of Q. Or, God Told Me To, another Cohen classic.

  8. I haven’t donated recently but I bought 5 On the Outside back when you had it published independently.

    I’m not sure what all you’ve seen lately so I’ll post one that seems unlikely.

    You should check out Hideo Nakata’s “Ghost Theater (Gekijourei)”. It’s a Japanese horror movie. I personally thought it was a lot better than a lot of crappy Japanese horror movies from recent years, but I’ve seen people not like it very much too.

    Otherwise, for obscure older horror, I’d love to see your take on Visiting Hours (Michael Ironside as the creepy stalker killer!)
    and
    Sole Survivor (1983) is also an overlooked good old one.
    Have you seen/reviewed Night of the Comet? It’s also a very good, unique 80’s end-of-the-world movie.

  9. Based on your Blue Ruin review, you’ve already seen Murder Party, but you kinda have to do that one just to round out your collection of Jeremy Saulnier reviews, right? And also because it’s a pretty frickin’ great Halloween movie that not enough people have seen.

  10. Man, shit has gotten so dire lately that I’ve started siding with the aliens in alien invasion movies. We do not deserve to have our own planet if this garbage is the best we can do with it.

    But in the interest of positivity I’m gonna pull out some old favorites here:

    CASTLE FREAK: I thought maybe you’d done this one but I can’t find it. I’m sure you know the deal: Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, one freak in a castle, minus weiner.

    LUTHER THE GEEK: This would be a good entry in Slasher Search 2016. I’ve always loved this weird chicken-themed slasher that veers from incompetent to hilarious to disturbing and tragic.

    SUPERSTITION: Sort of an American version of an Argento movie, complete with an anything-goes approach to cast attrition.

    THE DEADLY SPAWN: A do-it-yourself alien invasion splatter movie that gets really nasty just when you think it’s gonna be some entry-level shit. It’s got got a phenomenal early latex monster and one of my favorite kid heroes in horror.

    THE GATE: I guess a lot of my suggestions have a mix of goofiness and nastiness, and this childhood favorite is in that same vein. It’s very much a starter kit for junior horror fans but it does a good job of going from a sorta spooky slow burn beginning to full-on monster madness.

    WITHOUT WARNING: Another alien invasion movie, this one with a smorgasbord of mega-acting from Jack Palance, Neville Brand, and Cameron Mitchell, plus a pretty cool classic 50s style alien guy.

    NIGHT OF THE DEMON: Not that one. The other one. The one with the meanest, nastiest, least-fucks-giving Bigfoot ever filmed. Makes LEGEND KF BOGGY CREEK look like HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. Highly recommended for the jaw-dropping climax.

    THE SLAYER: Traditional slasher with a supernatural twist would make a great double feature with NIGHT OF THE DEMON. Gory kills and a cool reveal at the end.

    INSEMINOID: Pretty sleazy British ALIEN ripoff. Up there with XTRO for that kind of thing.

    I guess that’s probably enough for now, even for an Outlaw Vern benefactor.

  11. Oh, and since you did Ghostwatch recently, you might want to check out the WNUF Halloween Special, which is a not great but still pretty fun take on a similar idea.

  12. How did I leave Martin Landau out of my recommendation of WITHOUT WARNING? A real underrated mega-actor, that guy, always giving every dumb movie he finds himself in 110%.

  13. Vern, you’re giving something back with every review. We’re getting the better part of the bargain.

    I can’t remember if you’ve already reviewed it, but if not, SLAUGHTER HIGH is a classic. It has one of my favorite bottle of acid on a high shelf gags. HUMONGOUS is also a pretty good one from the early ’80s. Don’t watch it on VHS or you’ll never be able to make anything out. THE SLAYER is a great pre-Elm St. dream killer movie, but I don’t know how easy it is to find. For newer stuff, I just saw THE HALLOW on Netflix and was very impressed, especially considering the horrid string of recent horror I’ve seen lately.

  14. Oh snap, Majestyk, near simultaneous THE SLAYER recommendations! I did not see that coming.

  15. Charles motherucking Bronson made what I would classify as an 80’s slasher film. 10 TO MIDNIGHT. It’s been a while since I saw it, but there’s a perverted weirdo preying on young women, and Bronson is the cop on the case, then it gets personal when the weirdo goes after CB’s daughter. A bit nasty in parts, but that was 70’s and 80’s Bronson standard. Especially when J Lee Thompson was directing, as he did this.

  16. Turns out Intruder is pretty good! Just don’t look at the poster or go on imdb and it’s an above average grocery store based slasher.

  17. Also, I started doing mturk work and I plan on buying everything through your site. I’ve got my eye on an Uncanny X-Men omnibus in a few days, I’ll be sure to buy it through your Amazon link.

  18. “side with the aliens”… a mighty fine idea.

    I don’t think I can recommend the usual fare.
    Carpenter’s The Thing, Elm Street 1, Psycho, Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula.
    Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror 1-8, especially Citizen KANG, considering, well, you know.
    Bugs Bunny in Hare-Raising Hare and Water, Water, Every Hare.
    Bugs Bunny in Broom-Stick Bunny. ‘cuz trick or treatin’s a pretty nice racket.
    Peanuts “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
    Real Ghostbusters, When Halloween was Forever.
    Etc.

  19. Comment #3: Pieces is pretty amazing. Available on Shudder.

  20. 1. Also, sorry you’re being twitter-bombed, Vern. I don’t use it and I don’t really understand it, but that looks like it sucks pretty hard. Hope it blows over soon.

    2. Thanks for the seconding, Zed! God Told Me To is actually one of the Cohen movies I bought recently. Still haven’t watched it yet, tho. Soon…

    3. I really need to see Pieces. I know I’ve missed it at the Alamo Drafthouse a couple of times since moving to Austin. Next time, baby.

  21. Torso is a pretty great giallo also available on shudder. A Bay of Blood from Mario Bava provides a couple of Friday the 13th pt 2 kills.

  22. I second the big foot madness of NIGHT OF THE DEMON. I also strongly recommend the ridiculous WTF chainsaw giallo PIECES.

  23. caruso_stalker217

    October 12th, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I see you haven’t reviewed THE FURY yet, and you shouldnt. It’s a piece of shit and really sub-par for DePalma. But it could be entertaining.

    I wouldnt mind seeing you take a stab at DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS. I’m one of the six people on the planet that thought it was great.

  24. Session 9 please, Vern. Scream! or Shout! or Whatever! factory released it on Blu-Ray a couple months ago and I picked it up last week. It’s holding up reeeeally great.

    Also, I’d LOVE to read your thoughts on DePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise as it’s one of my all time faves and makes for great October viewing.

    Maybe you can throw a Creepshow in there someplace too while you’re at it? ;D

  25. Caruso, Vern actually did review The Fury – I always smile when I think about the review because it has a pic of Kirk Douglas shooting a machine gun in his swim trunks while Vern jokes about balls hanging out of shorts. It’s too bad you say it’s not good, though. It’s probably one of the only DePalma’s I haven’t seen yet and just haven’t gotten around to.

    Re: recommendations, I’m not really a horror guy but I have been trying to make my way through the Stephen King oeuvre (mainly because the great movie podcast “Now Playing” is going through his movies one-by-one). So far, they’ve all been actually pretty good (I think the only one I don’t like so far is Pet Semetary). If I had to suggest serious/classy King, I’d go for Dolores Claiborne. Not exactly horror but it’s a well written and acted mystery that works as a powerful feminist statement while actually telling a good story. It feels immediate and ANGRY, like it was written by a super pissed off woman in today’s divisive climate, not 25 years ago by a rich and famous man. I’m sure this movie could never be made today because there’d be outrage about a man writing it (the director and screenwriter were also men), but whatever, it’s a masterpiece and Kathy Bates gives a career-best performance in it.

    If we’re going for silly/trashy King, we’ve got to talk about Dreamcatcher. In case Vern hasn’t seen it, I won’t say much more since it’s definitely a movie best enjoyed going in blind (possibly because the story seems to be making itself up as it goes along). All I’ll say is it’s delightfully trashy and over-the-top in the best possible way, and I can’t believe it got made with the A-list talent involved.

  26. Vern – just chiming in here to say I know it must have been a bummer for you to tweet shade at Seagal. And interfacing with Trump devotees. It’s a hard world right now. But we love ya, man. Support.

  27. Steve G, you and I are in the same wavelength. I have to say that now that Amazon Prime has those of shoot channels like Shudder on it, they are the best one stop shop for horror movies.

    Have you seen Bay of Blood?

  28. Also, Vern, I have to your books on film criticism and I appreciate you.

  29. I purchased a very fine coffee mug that I managed to shatter in the sink. Trust me, it was hard. I plan to buy another. I wanted to say thanks for standing up and saying something, because I don’t have the courage to do that myself most times. You already reviewed my most favorite horror movies, like It Follows, E.T., and Don’t Look Now. There’s a movie I kind of hate, and I have no idea why… It seems like a sort of horror to me. Throw Momma From the Train. It’s like Trains, Plans & Automobiles but the evil version. I don’t like either movie. Anyway, if you want something that’s not a horror to review as a horror movie, that’s my pick.

  30. None of my suggestions are going to be new movies to you, but I would like to see the reviews any way. I would love it if you did reviews for the Universal monster movies – Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. You know what they are. I actually haven’t seen most of them, but they’re on my list. Maybe this Halloween. Maybe even end with the Abbott and Costello one, if you wanted. That one I’ve seen and although it’s been years, I remember it being fun.

    Another one I don’t see you’ve reviewed that I like is FRIGHTENERS.

    Obviously, my taste of horror movies is a little more tame than most on here.

  31. I feel ya Vern, we’ve long since drilled through the bottom of the barrel, and what’s underneath has me reaching for the booze. It hits ya at the macro and micro level, from Trump to Faraci, and it really leaves you wondering if the ground you’re standing on is collapsing beneath you.

    But despair not! I have brought you a creepy giallo by way of Japan: EVIL DEAD TRAP. It’s streaming on Fandor, and perhaps you’ve got one of those final girl video stores in your neighborhood that still has a copy. I really think you’ll dig it. It starts as a slasher and develops into something much, much stranger. The twists are something to behold, and the kills are first rate. Don’t hesitate, because you deserve it.

    WARNING: trailer spoils the ending, so you may want to void the last part, or wait until after you’ve watched it.

  32. Yeah, I was harassed by a bunch of deplrable shitheads on Twitter not too long ago either. No, not Trump supporters. I made an angry tweet when HONEST TRAILERS got their Emmy nomination and apparently they have a pretty shitty fanbase.

    Not having any horror recommandations this year, but I would love to see you review the classic Universal Monster shared universe one day.

  33. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I’m especially interested in political horror movies, or ones that are otherwise timely for this election. So SOCIETY is already on the list but not too many others that fit the bill.

    Keep ’em coming!

    p.s. Good news – some of these have already been reviewed:
    THE FURY
    SLAUGHTER HIGH
    A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
    PSYCHO

  34. The People Under the Stairs

    I think you’ll be happy. Wes Craven. Under Siege 2 baddie Everett McGill. Ving Rhames before Pulp Fiction. And sociopolitical themes still relevant today.

  35. I noticed you have not reviewed much in terms of Vincent Price movies. THEATRE OF BLOOD perhaps is something to write about since you mentioned it is your favourite? Or DR PHIBES?

  36. I have no films to recommend, Vern, but just wanted to say that I’m sorry to read you are getting cybergrief via twitter.

    It’s a sign of just how ugly the whole scene is.

    It’s nigh on impossible to talk during a shitstorm without getting some of it on you, but keep your head up and stay beautiful

  37. DEAD ZONE would have made a perfect review, with the upcoming election and all, but since you´ve already reviewed it, the remaining thing to do is raise the question, Would Donald Trump use a baby as a human shield?

  38. Shoot – yes. Or a woman if she were closer.

    The thing about that Sasha Stone piece that got my attention (apart from it sounding like an apologetic in some ways), was the claim there will be no one to replace DF’s voice for feminism in online fanboy culture. Have they not heard of you, Vern? Or some of the commenters around here?

    While I admittedly enjoy the cult status of this site (it’s like The Citadel in the wasteland of fanboy bullshit, after Immortan Joe has his face ripped off and Furiosa returns to restore order), and Vern’s books and writing, but I would love to see your fame extended.

  39. I must have missed something. Did Vern get in a discussion with Seagal on twitter? What happened?

  40. One-time benefactor here Vern, and I second Session 9, which is pretty great and proves that a horror movie is often more than the sum of its parts.

  41. Never donated but I have bought a few of your books Vern. Can I be the 3rd or 4th person here to recommend PIECES, also DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D.

  42. Analog, Dr Butcher MD is the other name for Zombie Holocaust and not Pieces.

  43. I saw a blu ray edition of DR BUTCHER that included barfbags.

  44. Thanks Sternshein, I actually was trying to recommend Vern take a look at both PIECES and DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D/ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST. Big fan of the grindhouse/exploitation/42nd Street scene.

  45. I recommend CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE aka INVASION OF THE FLESH HUNTERS. Don’t let the title fool you, this is nothing like other Italian cannibal movies that came out at the same time, there is no animal snuff or anything like that. It’s more like a hybrid between a post-Vietnam film like TAXI DRIVER and a zombie film.

  46. RE political horror movies, the first two that came to mind were WOLFEN and Ken Russell’s THE DEVILS.

    As for horror movies that have been stand-outs for me over the years that I’ve always wanted to hear Vern’s take on (some of which I don’t think get anywhere near enough love) – GINGER SNAPS 2: UNLEASHED, MOUTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE, THE BROKEN, THE CHILDREN, THE BOY (David Morse not Rupert Evans), ENTRANCE, LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, DEMON and ISOLATION are all well worth a motherfucker’s time.

    When it comes to straight up wild shit, I’d like to second Majestyk’s recommendation of NIGHT OF THE DEMON and throw BLOOD BEAT (CHRISTMAS HORRORS) into that fucked up hat for good measure.

  47. Shoot – that’s brilliant. I’d like to think those are worth a fortune now.

  48. Analog- not if thev have been used

  49. I second SOCIETY. It’s a lot of fun. I would also recommend NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR if you’ve never seen it; it’s three unreleased horror movies that got repurposed for an anthology film about the Devil and God on a train together, debating the fates of the characters in each story. It’s very shitty and enjoyable.

    Also, it’s not a horror movie, but I’ve been meaning to tell you to see/review POPSTAR, the new Andy Samberg/Jorma Taccone collab, mainly because it has a great throwaway line about Jan de Bont that I think you would get a kick out of.

  50. Sternshein – Bay of Blood was pretty great. It’s cool to see a film from 1971 that is pulling out so many slasher movie moves. I’ve got Shudder through Amazon Prime as well since I can stream it through my blu ray player, which is a much more attractive option than watching on an iPad. However, last night I came across what seems to be a discrepancy in available titles. Both Deep Red and Hatchet For The Honeymoon are listed on the Shudder site, but not showing as available through their Prime streaming.

  51. I second Larkie and think it would be amusing to see Vern review THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN. It’s halfway between a PSYCHO-style crime film and the kind of 1980s star-driven mainstream fluff that Vern used to bash but now likes to analyze.

    Not sure what to think of this Devin Faraci business. For all his pro-diversity rhetoric he has seemed quite hostile and quick to declare that anyone not just like him should die or shut up. Even when I agree with him I think he’s incredibly pushy and arrogant. So he’s the least surprising person in the film-critic world to be accused of something like this.

    Yet the Faraci of today is apparently a reformed character trying to right the wrongs of his even angrier fanboy youth (at least according to a talkback comment Vern once wrote in defense of Faraci – see Vern’s “Why I think MAN OF STEEL gets a bum rap” essay).

    And it is that younger, more immature Faraci who is accused of this. So it is to Faraci’s credit that he is being contrite about this long-ago event (despite not recalling it happening) rather than pushing back.

  52. PIECES. It’s exactly what you think it is.

  53. I recently rewatched DEMONS and it’s a blast and very ripe for a Vern review.

  54. Now I finally got the “current events in film criticism” thing. First I thought you were just talking about the snarky bullshit trend in general, then while scrolling through the comments, I saw someone mention that someone got fired, but didn’t read any further (I was kinda busy), so I assumed you meant Drew McWeeny, but then I read the whole comment did some research and yikes!

  55. First up I want to congratulate you on finally being acknowledged by Steven Seagal!

    I was one of the bad ones who kept bring Devin up here when I first tried to return to commenting here. I used to kind of hate read him but I dropped him and many others earlier this year when I decided to try and shed un-needed negativity in my life and do not plan on going back. Thanks Mr. Majestyk for inspiring me to finally do that (with the online bloggers) with your comment about not needing to know what an asshole thinks. It has legitimately changed my attitude and personality for the better. Still more than a little disappointing to hear what happened (his attack not him losing his jobs).

    Horror recommendations:
    Clearly you are way overdo to watch and review the RESIDENT EVIL sequels..

    On a serious recommendation note:
    I like horror but I’m bad and have missed many essentials. My goal for this year’s October viewing is to fill in the gaps. Therefore I wouldn’t be able to recommend anything you haven’t seen already probably.

    -I saw this Mario Bava joing called SHOCK (from 1977) that seems to be a bit more obscure than his movies. It makes a surprising amount of sense for an Italian horror/thriller. Like most of them it is a kind of drag but the ending is great and there is a dream sequence earlier that involves a floating box-cutter.
    -Séance on a Wet Afternoon (and it’s Japanese remake Séance) is really good I think, though some prudes want to call it a thriller even though it is about two people kidnapping a child
    -I was really into J-Horror in the early naughts and I know you, at least at one time, really loved RING and RING 2 and the first US verison. But considering your aversion to ghost movies not sure you’d enjoy any non-RING 1 & 2 ones. I really love DARK WATER (from the director of RING and RING 2 which unfortunately means he is also the director of the awful THE RING 2). SPIRAL (not the other (bad) sequel to RING, alternative title: UZUMAKI) is a really good one I think and isn’t afraid to be really weird (and not dumb lol-random weird like the over-rated HOUSE from 1977). EXTE is about evil hair extensions so y’know, of coarse I have a weakness for that one. CHAOS (from RING director) is technically a thriller but a really good one. The TOMIE series has some fun crazy stuff in it (US remake never got off the ground but TOMIE was as popular as RING and JU-ON in Japan).

  56. I second the RESIDENT EVIL series. That shit gets so weird the further the series progresses, it has to be seen to believed.

  57. Re: Political horror – Seconding THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (the first communist horror film?), firsting Bill Gunn’s GANJA AND HESS, which deals with questions of Black identity in a white dominated world, and Jeff Lieberman’s BLUE SUNSHINE, a paranoid, post-60s bad trip that prominently features (and critiques) a corrupt political campaign.

    As far as Faraci goes, ya never wanna say “I saw this coming” when you’re talking about something as nasty as sexual assault, but if you encountered this guy back in the mid to late 2000s when he was running CHUD, you can’t be totally shocked that he had some skeletons in his closet – dude was a rather unreconstructed web bro/4channer type who passionately argued for his right to call people (including ones with disabilities) “retards”, dropped the f-slur on a few occasions, made “light” rape jokes, etc. The culture on that board was locker room-y as shit (they had an ongoing “big tits” thread, iirc), he was totally a part of that, and as far as I know never apologized/was held accountable after he decided to convert from boorish, self-righteous web bro to boorish, self-righteous social justice bro. Any sense of schadenfreude is outweighed by the ugliness of a woman being sexually assaulted, though. Major fucking ugliness.

  58. Oh, also Jerome, I reviewed a couple (but not all) of the Larry Cohens you mentioned:

    http://outlawvern.com/tag/larry-cohen/

    I thought I had done THE STUFF, but I guess not.

    And Vincent, VISITING HOURS is actually the best movie I have discovered for myself from doing Slasher Search. Here’s my review.

  59. I don’t think you’ve reviewed Fritz Lang’s M or Point Black director John Boorman’s DELIVERANCE. Both are a bit unconventional, I think, for a pick, but both are excellent films and you could draw some political and cultural parallels and contrasts with things going on now. They’ve also both got that European sensibility and style. Be forewarned, Netflix–for some inexplicable reason–has Deliverance streaming in the improper, cropped aspect ratio when I looked about a month ago.

    In terms of review requests Universals’ FRANKENSTEIN or BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN would be rad and I am a Vern Benefactor.

    I recently re-watched HALLOWEEN IS GRINCH NIGHT for the first time in years and years on youtube. I’m surprised at how many images from that cartoon stuck in my head–not necessarily as frightening, just as memorable–particularly from Euchariah’s surreal trip inside the Grinch’s wagon. I’d give it a rec for the more family friendly viewing block. On the more traditional halloween horror rec front, I’d recommend: PIECES (glad to see that mentioned a bunch), SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, THE MUTILATOR aka FALL BREAK (1984), De Palma’s DRESSED TO KILL, DON’T LOOK NOW(1973), THE STRANGERS, and THE BROOD. A number of those have been reviewed on this site already.

  60. I won’t claim it’s a horror movie, but if you want knife violence and politcal subtext with contemporary relevance – not to mention a dead Seagal – go MACHETE. Did I dream it, or did he say “Machete don’t tweet”?

    But for political horror surely Romero takes the prize: racism, consumerism, and militarism neatly disemboweled in three of the greatest horror movies ever made.

    Of course, you’ve already reviewed all these.

    Keep striving Vern!

  61. I believe I’ve recommended Pieces in previous years. I am still recommending it. But mostly I’m looking forward to reading about the ones I’ve never even heard of before!

  62. Vern, you need to finally review HOUSE 2: SECOND STORY as well as the Japanese HOUSE aka HAUSU, that movie will trip you the fuck out.

  63. Long-time reader, infrequent commenter, no-time donor, but I do use the Amazon link and have bought some of the books…

    I could second a lot of the movies, especially the ones that I haven’t seen like Society or The Devils or Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. But I would like to use my voice to point out an oversight: You’ve reviewed all of the …of Chucky movies but none of the Child’s Play movies. They’re obviously less crazy but to see this rectified would be very entertaining. And I say that as someone who is very much taking one for the team here because I was as a child and, if I’m being completely honest with myself, still am as an adult absolutely terrified of Chucky. Even seeing the little picture up in the corner gave me the heebie jeebies. But I’d still read the reviews and would maybe come away a little less afraid of what is seriously the creepiest fucking thing that I’ve ever seen.

  64. Oh, and re: political horror. Witchfinder General. Though I’m not sure if it’s taking aim at any particular faction or just humanity in general, it’s a very politically loaded film. If nothing else, it’s the rare witch-hunt movie where witches don’t turn out to be real.

    Also, since you’ve already reviewed most of their output, an overview of the political content of George Romero’s or John Carpenter’s films would be interesting.

  65. Oh, Vern! I didn’t want to play this card but it’s for your own good. As an official longtime outlawvern donor, I highly recommend HE NEVER DIED, which is on Netflix now. A completely delightful blend of badass movie, horror, and comedy — in fact, it seems almost perfectly suited to the particular confluence of influences which define this site. Find out as little as you can before you start. You will not regret it.

    And of course, I feel obligated to jump on the bandwagon and mention that if you want to go political, PEOPLE WHO LIVE UNDER THE STAIRS is required viewing. You already know that, but I’d be remiss not to put it in writing.

    Also, just to throw one more real oddball in the mix, I just watched a 1988 Italian slasher/monster movie called RATMAN. It’s a total piece of shit, except that Ratman is fucking amazing, and it’s the little person who plays mini-Brando in ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. It’s terrible and possibly morally reprehensible, but if you can find it, you will not regret watching it, especially as a very strange blurring of slasher, giallo, and creature feature.

  66. As far as political horror movies go, you can’t do much better than the INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS movies, especially because you get one from the 50s, one from the 70s and one from the 90s, each of which reflect the political concerns of their times. You also get the 2000s if you count INVASION (but nobody will blame you if you don’t).

    There’s also Peter Bogdonovich’s pretty nifty ’68 movie TARGETS that was inspired by Charles Whitman’s killing spree at UT Austin and was Boris Karloff’s last great role.

    And a few years ago David Arquette made a movie called THE TRIPPER about a Ronald Reagan-themed slasher killing hippies. I don’t remember it being any good, but it has Thomas Jane and Paul Rubens, so that’s something.

  67. Always love being called an asshole, thanks RRA!

    This has come up before Vern, but as the pickings get slimmer for Slasher Search I’m throwing it out there again: Horor Spoof week. My favorite remains the original Scary Movie, but from Student Bodies to A Haunted House, there are a lot to choose from and may even get you thinking of other themes to group reviews in the future based on what drove the parody movie team (beyond cheap cash grabs lol)

    I’m gonna rewatch the Day of the Dead remake and once again plot to finally respond to your trashing of it…as I do every time I watch that delicious mess!

  68. Good to see a few reco’s for Vincent Price films. I always associate his films with creepy, fog-drenched Halloween atmosphere as much as I do Carpenter’s titleistical season classic. And with making me shit my pants as a young un more than once.These days they are just great to enjoy for his macabre sense of humor and give a shit throwaway remarks.

    I’d vouch for MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and WITCHFINDER GENERAL.

    I’m a VB, but review whatever the fuck you want Vern, I’ll be on board.

  69. I’m a patron for the Vern Patreon and it’s always money well spent.

    Political Horror:

    1. Homecoming: This is technically an episode of the “Masters of Horror” TV show but it’s directed by Joe Dante and is something of a fascinating time capsule of 2004 America.

    2. Tales From the Hood: I’m certain you’ve seen this Vern, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

    3. Deadgirl: This is an eerily prescient examination/attack of young male entitlement and rape culture. From the writer of “Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV” and the actor who plays Killjoy.

    4. Combat Shock (or An American Nightmare): A Vietnam vet tries to survive in 1980s New York while living in abject poverty with a mutant baby. It’s “Eraserhead” meets “Taxi Driver.”

    5. The Devils: Ken Russell’s masterpiece and a brutal attack on the Catholic Church and French aristocracy. May be Oliver Reed’s greatest performance.

    Some other horror movie ideas:

    1. Fire in the Sky: This isn’t a horror movie in the traditional sense but the alien abduction sequence near the end is powerfully frightening.

    2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne: A truly bizarre adaptation of the story starring Udo Kier that denigrates into perverted madness during the last 20 minutes.

    3. Frenzy: Hitchcock’s penultimate film and easily his most graphic and violent. More of a traditional slasher than “Psycho.”

    4. Gothic: A Ken Russell film about how Mary Shelley got the idea to writer Frankenstein. Turns out she and her friends did a bunch of drugs and had nightmarish hallucinations.

    5. Exorcist III: Legion: George C. Scott AND Brad Dourif in an “Exorcist” movie!

  70. Oh shit, thanks for acknowledging me, Vern. I super appreciate the link. I will devour those reviews with relish (not actual relish, tho, that might damage my laptop). I’d love to hear your take on THE STUFF. It’s my favorite Cohen/Moriarty collaboration, and a movie I show to everyone I can. It is, like THEY LIVE, just as relevant today as it was then, and Moriarty’s faux-hick James Bond is an all-timer. He’s on my personal League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, with Reggie, Ash, McClane and Jack & Wang. And the cast! Danny Aiello, Paul Sorvino, the ‘Where’s the Beef’ lady, Abe Vigoda, the guy that co-wrote Carnahan’s A-Team and was also in it…even Mira Sorvino has a cameo, even if I still haven’t spotted her yet. I’d say it counts as political horror, given that corporate interests are all tied up with the government these days. Give it a go!

  71. Oh man INVASION OF TEH BODY SNATCHERS is so good. The 70´s version is one of my favourites

  72. Ancient Romans – I’ve been in the mood to watch those CHILD’S PLAYs again, but I’m waiting for my Scream Factory of the first one to arrive before I start. Soon!

  73. Ryan, you would probably like Death Dream which has a similar context to the Joe Dante Master of Howorror

  74. May I propose Bruno Matteis schlockfest RATS:NIGHTS OF TERROR which might have the best plot twist at the end ever

  75. Sorry for spamming the thread, just one more recommendation – Richard Attenborough’s MAGIC, terrified me as a young Analog and not just because ventriloquist dummies are inherently terrifying.

  76. There’s a director over here who I don’t think I’ve seen you mention called Ben Wheatley, who made a trio of horror films (of different stripes) a few years ago that I really like – Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field In England, in order.

    They’re all quite different, but all broadly horror – a horror film grown out of a story about a contract killer, a black comedy, and a black and white surreal historical thing about a group of (English) Civil War deserters, respectively. None of them are slashers at all, but all well worth seeing. I think Field is my favourite, but they’re all so different I guess it depends on mood.

    He’s also got a hopefully-good crime movie coming out later this year, by the by. And directed the adaptation of High Rise that came out earlier this year, which I guess is arguably dystopian horror, and therefore political horror? But I thought it was disappointing, though good.

  77. Oh and also, Ken Russell’s The Devil’s is brilliant.

    Less brilliant but also a favourite – The Abominable Dr Phibes. And since I’m mentioning Vincent Price, then also Witchfinder General.

  78. There are lots of good suggestions here. It is always fun to see everybody’s recommendations. I would also recommend the unabashedly trashy but fun giallo STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER, and the shameless Indonesian wtf TERMINATOR ripoff LADY TERMINATOR. Without spoiling to much LADY T has scenes and sequences that are directly lifted from the original but it abandons all the Scifi elements and replaces it with Indonesian folk lore a bout a sea witch and it only gets crazier from there. Lastly I have to champion the film I took my avatar from THE 7TH CURSE. It has blood & guts, ghouls & monsters, shoot outs, martial arts, and Chow Yun-Fat smokes a pipe and packs a rocket launcher.

  79. As a Vern Benefactor, the best horror movie that I have seen, that AFAIK Vern has not, is Cronenberg’s THE BROOD (1979). It’s not as ‘out there’ as later Cronenberg, but I think that works in its favour: the story is clear, as is the subtext, which of course is never made explicit. But it’s still Cronenberg, and so it’s got strong doses of the good ol’ body horror, as well as the more traditional sort.

    The short version of the story is that a woman undergoing experimental psychiatric treatment to cope with the difficulty of her ongoing divorce begins to (unknowingly, at least at first) summon little demonic homonculi, expressions of her rage, which act just the way that rage monsters released from someone’s id would. It’s creepy, occasional horrible, and has something smart to say about divorce, women’s roles in society, and how children pick up on adult trauma.

    Really, if you haven’t seen this one, you should. It’s my favourite Cronenberg joint by far.

    Other good ones I’ve seen that Vern might enjoy (don’t think he’s reviewed these) include ABSENTIA, OCULUS, and VACANCY.

  80. OOh, good call Analog. MAGIC is fucking terrific.

  81. He Never Died is a fun movie, thanks in large part to Henry Rollins. I’d also second Vincent Price’s Masque of the Red Death. I like how they shoehorn the story of “Hop-Frog” in the film version of Masque of the Red Death, so you’re really getting two Edgar Allan Poe adaptations for the price of one. If you want to reach back even farther, there’s a silent film called Vampyr by Carl Theodor Dreyer that’s atmospheric and really surreal. It’s an absolutely beautiful film.

    And this isn’t really a recommendation since the film is both “found footage” and not very good, but I recently watched Devil’s Pass, which takes its inspiration from the Dyatlov Pass Incident where a bunch of Russian skiers died under mysterious circumstances. The only reason I mention the film is because it’s directed by Renny Harlin, and I’ve noticed there are a few Renny Harlin defenders around these parts. It’s at least interesting to see what a Renny Harlin found footage horror movie looks like.

  82. I’d recommend MARTIN, George Romero’s best non-zombie film. You’ve probably already seen it, but it definitely deserves a review.

  83. There’s a sci-fi movie from the 1950s called ANGRY RED PLANET which from what I hear has an anticommunist theme. I haven’t heard of it being much good, and I don’t know if it has many horror elements, but maybe check that one out.

    Also I agree with Maggie that Vern should review the old-school Universal monster films someday. Speaking of which, Vern, maybe your search for unsung horror movies should go way back, pre-1970, to stuff that’s black-and-white or even silent. There must be tons. We’re all guilty of associating horror with the grindhouse 70s or the VHS 80s, but let’s roll the clock back a bit farther.

  84. Sabalos, Vern has reviewed Kill List and it wasn’t the most positive.

  85. No political advice to offer, Vern. I figure anyone who flips Cheney the double bird is doing just fine on that front, whatever garbed fortune cookie messages twitter throws at you.

    CALVAIRE. Because everyone needs proof that there is always a worse local pub out there.

    FROM BEYOND. Mostly for the near THING-quality effects.

    VISIONS OF SUFFERING.

    SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS. Because I need someone to tell me what to think of it.

    BEGOTTEN. God commits suicide! Recommended by noted gore hound Susan Sontag.

  86. I second Curts comment about goingg back further. THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI is one of my favourite films. It is disturbing, complex and incredibly rich in visuals. In fact it miht be the only film of the Weimar Cinema of the 1920´s that might actually be entirely Expressionistic in both form and content. A fantastic film.

  87. The problem with “silent cinema”is you really do need to see a proper version with proper scores to truly appreciate them. The releases of Masters of Cinema made me a devotee of silent films and they have some stunning releases. So those releases are a great starting point instead of watching flimsy Youtube copies with shit sound and images.

  88. I agree, if you’re not watching NOSFERTU with the Type-O Negativev score, then you’re not watching NOSFERATU at all.

  89. Or listening to Pat Benetar when you are watching METROPOLIS

  90. About 12 years ago a friend and I spent about a couple months obsessively sequencing a metal soundtrack to Nosferatu. During the first screening, during the first fucking song, we managed to blow out the theater’s sound system. It was awesome.

  91. Hi Vern

    One I’ve just watched this weekend which I thought was really good – She Who Must Burn. A very difficult film to write about without giving away too much information but covers a number of hot-button topics and has a great gut-punch ending.

  92. I third the Bay of Blood/Twitch of the Death Nerve recommendation, it invented a lot of the 80s Slasher tropes. There’s tons of good Bava out there including Blood and Black Lace, Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Hatchet for a Honeymoon, Kill Baby Kill, The Girl Who Knew too Much, Rabid Dogs, and the incredible Danger: Diabolik

    Also agree with Sergio Martino’s ‘Torso’, and would recommend Aldo Lado’s ‘Night Train Murders’, it’s a Last House rip off, but a bloody good one.

    If we’re going super old school, anything by Val Lewton, in particular Cat People, The Seventh Victim, or I Walked With a Zombie, or yet another Night of the Demon, but this time the 1957 Jacques Tourneur film.

  93. Jareth — I inherited VISIONS OF SUFFERING along with about a million other horror movies from an uncle, but I bailed on it after just a few minutes for looking too crappy and shot on video. Should I go back and give it another try?

  94. Hush was good, I know some people have recommended that one. I also saw one called We Are Still Here that I thought was fantastic and great fun.

  95. HOWEVER, if folks still have not seen the Wizard of Gore redo from 2007 just quit screwing around and go get that right now, it is fantastic B-movie fun.

  96. Confirmed, WE ARE STILL HERE is the shit. Also if you don’t follow its director Ted Geoghegan on Twitter, you’re doing twitter terribly, terribly wrong.

  97. Mr. S, I liked it, though not as much as you, but my wife and I were really confused with the ending. However, I can’t remember why we were confused. This was a completely vague, I”m sorry. The wikipedia explains the ending but I’m not sure what they suggest actually happened. It’s also hard to talk about it here without giving away gigantic spoilers.

  98. Another vote for ‘We Are Still Here’. It’s got that Fulci vibe to it, an insanely gory 3rd act, Larry Fessenden freaking out, and Barbara Crampton. What’s not to like ?

  99. I don’t talk much, but I’ve been here from the beginning when you first started the old Geocities site. I’ve bought and read all the books self-published and not, and I’m a paetron. I recommend this site to every movie lover I come across. Not just for Vern’s amazing reviews, but for all of the rest of you as well. I don’t participate a lot, but I read most everything and this is easily the best online community I’ve found.. so, I guess those are my bonafides.

    I once, back when I used twitter regularly, had Keith Olberman retweet some thoughts of mine of the stupidity of trickle-down economics. For the next couple weeks every time I logged on I had dozens of strangers telling me what a fucking stupid asshole I am. It was crazy. So, I kind of understand.

    As for recommendations I’ll jump on the “We Are Still Here” bandwagon, as well as “Hush”, “Creep”, “The Frighteners”, and “Housebound” all of which I’ve seen above.

    Keep writing I’ll keep reading.

  100. Also, I should point out that I rarely speak because 9 out of 10 times when I do it’s the last post in any thread. I’m a thread killer.

  101. I’ll bump you up to 8 out of 10. Let this be the last post. In the spirit of Slasher Search 2016 and Halloween tidings, I am….The Thread Killer (cool name for a tech age Slasher flick btw).

  102. I usually give 20 bucks around Christmas time every year, the closest thing to politically-minded and timely horror I can recommend is The Final Conflict, aka The Omen 3, you don’t necessarily need to watch the other two to get it, in fact, the films actually get better if you watch them in reverse order.

    Also Tourist Trap, no political stuff, but its awesome and you should watch it.

    Keep up the bad work!

  103. Watched KRAMPUS last night and saw you haven’t reviewed that one yet – I nominate it! It was cool to realize how much it got into almost a Christmas Horror world-building mode by the end.

  104. I really wanted to like KRAMPUS (even saw it twice in the theater in case my lowered expectations improved it) but I thought it kind of sucked. It had some cool monsters but the horror aspect was totally weak sauce. It felt like it wanted to be a TALES FROM THE CRYPT-style black comedy about awful people getting their comeuppance (sort of a big-budget DOLLS), but the film made the mistake of populating itself with annoying characters you can’t wait to see killed and then dispatching *every* *single* *one of them* offscreen. That approach works fine for people you care even the slightest about (like the oldest daughter, for instance, who’s set up as a relatable, sympathetic character) but when it’s David Fucking Koechner doing his usual “Obnoxious Alpha Bro” shtick for the millionth unfunny time, you really need to see him get splattered or it’s like a violation of Chekhov’s Gun or something.

    SPOILER: And then it turns out none of the broad, Troma-esque caricatures even got killed in the first place! I feel like there would have been a way to show these characters get theirs in satisfying ways while still keeping that twist ending, but the PG-13 rating made that impossible. With no real nastiness at its core, the film ended up being just as treacly as the holiday conventions it purported to skewer.

  105. Jek – I really meant to catch that one in theaters. I hope to watch it soon after Halloween.

  106. Mr. Majestyk – Heh, I didn’t realize we don’t see ANY of them killed on screen. While watching it, only the last couple stood out to me as being weird. I had just watched GREMLINS again the day before when I saw this. Thinking of KRAMPUS on a timeline of manic mischief movies, more akin to Spielberg than Del Toro (and going into it expecting to only see a Santa in a scary mask), I was pleasantly surprised.

  107. And thank you, Vern. Cool.

  108. Yeah I just saw Krampus as well and was pretty excited because of good reviews, plus I really liked Trick R Treat and yeah…i kinda hated it too. As Majestyk says, it’s like a wannabe Tales from the Crypt episode, but stretched out to movie length which is bad enough, but made worse by the fact that it’s not scary and not funny. It absolutely wastes Oscar Nominee Toni Collette, since I literally can’t remember one thing she does in this. It makes fun of commercialism in Christmas as if that’s a hot take. It sets up a bunch of kid characters like it’s trying to be an Amblin movie (Man, Jek, how I wish this was even close to the same league as Gremlins!) and then the kids basically don’t do anything so we can see David Koechner play a loud dumb redneck again for 90 minutes.

    SPOILER: I do think the ending is not as happy as you might think though, Majestyk. Apparently the director said it can be interpreted two ways – I actually wouldn’t have even thought there was a different reading of the ending if it wasn’t for Devin Faraci’s review talking about how dark and twisted and R-rated the movie felt, and how bold and nasty the ending was. (You know it’s bad when a different reading of the ending of a movie doesn’t affect your opinion at all because you’re so past caring)

    All i’ll say is they just announced Michael Dougherty will be writing and directing Godzilla 2, which I would have been excited about a few days ago when Trick R Treat was the only movie of his that I’ve seen. Knowing this after seeing Krampus (and also after seeing how awesome Rogue One looks and how missed Gareth Edwards will be) just kinda makes me sad.

  109. I saw KRAMPUS and agree with Majestyk and neal. I finally saw TRICK R TREAT for the first time last week (been meaning to watch it and never got around to it) and it did not lived up to the immense hype (would it have been hyped as much if Warner Bros didn’t screw it’s release? btw I thought it was okay, better than KRAMPUS). Still hopeful for GODZILLA 2 because I thought Gareth Edwards’ MONSTERS was terrible and boring but ended up enjoying his GODZILLA flaws and all.

  110. Neal: It’s not that I thought it was a happy ending. It’s just that that ending seemed to compel the filmmakers to neuter the horror in order to achieve this twisted version of family togetherness, which itself was diluted by the script’s insistence on telling us that horrible, shitty family members whom you don’t like and who don’t respect you or your home are, in fact, worth keeping around. If we’d all been happy about the Koechners’ demises, only for the Scotts to be doomed to spend eternity with them at the end, then it would be a real TALES FROM THE CRYPT twist. This shit cant make up its mind and it just comes off soft.

  111. Loved Krampus. Loved the creature design with the weird masks. Loved how Krampus was realized. Loved the animated flashback. German grammy was awesome. Champ Kind as the Randy Quaid brother-in-law was bawse. I enjoy Adam Scott’s uptight boy scout shtick. Good Gremlins vibe. The ending is either a classic kind of Christmas Carol type ending or its a their-in-purgatory classic walk-it-back ending (a la Nightmare 1 or Phantasm 1). I think it works (on both levels) either way. Instant classic for my money. Also really dug Trick R Treat.

  112. Majestyk – BIG SPOILERS, DON’T READ THIS VERN – I think the movie’s major problem is that while some reviewers said the first death was a Psycho-esque way to throw off expectations or let you know nobody is safe, my mind immediately said “ok this movie is totally going to end up being a dream”. Which isn’t intrinsically a bad idea but it is when your movie follows a slasher template and you spend the next 90 minutes tediously picking off cast members one by one that you know are going to show up again at the end (and I don’t care if the end really ISN’T a dream, you still know they’re going to show up again and you have to wait for it to happen).

    Re: the ending, supposedly the final shot could be the Krampus trapping the two families in a snow globe forever OR the Krampus keeping an eye on them from afar like evil Santa. It sounds clever on paper but as you said, it just feels confused and soft, like they were hedging their bets when I think a definitive ending either way would be better. And normally I don’t care about a bad/dream ending if the rest of the movie is good. Like we can all agree the first Nightmare on Elm Street is a horro classic even though the last 30 seconds are terrible and make no sense.

  113. I GUESS MAYBE SPOILERS, BUT ONLY ALLUSIVELY

    I know that this may be a bilateral Majestyk-Neal convo, but I disagree that the Nightmare 1 or Phantasm 1 ending is a defect to be forgiven. The ambiguous, works on multiple (contradictory) levels ending is part of the fun. And as with Star Wars or whatever else, it’s that kind of ultimate dualistic tension that even when the bad guy is vanquished, is he ever really vanquished, or will that bad guy (or the underlying evil) re-emerge again? You’ve won the battle, but can you ever really know that you’ve permanently won the war, sort of thing.

    In fact, I like the Krampus ending better than those other endings, because with those other endings, you get the decisively-vanquished-the-bad-guy ending, immediately followed by the “made you look, he’s not really vanquished, and by the way, you’re screwed” ending. Even though such double-endings are something of a gut punch and a cheat, I think that they are not intended to be taken as the literal, real ending, so much as they serve to provide a surreal, post-script/foreshadowy meta-commentary to the effect that you need to stay vigilant, because evil will re-gather its strength, possibly take on new form, and come back for you, or perhaps shift its attention toward potentially fresh or easier prey. And from a more mundane standpoint, such double-endings serve as a kind of shorthand calling card or hint at the possibility of a sequel: This isn’t over-over yet.

    In the case of Krampus, I think it’s less of a stark, directly walking-it-back double-ending than is the case with Nightmare 1 or Phantasm 1. Rather than just say it’s “softer” in the bad sense, I think it’s more elegantly and smoothly ambiguous or open to multiple interpretations. It forces us to sit with some unease. The ending feels warm and homey and heartwarming but almost eerily so, and that is pretty directly and intentionally telegraphed. I think it’s brilliant.

  114. See, I never saw anything ambiguous at all about the ending. For me, it’s a total nightmare and that’s all it is. I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with how it’s been set up. If the film made it clear that what Scott REALLY wanted was to see all of his awful, Ugly American stereotype family members murdered so he’d never have to spend another goddamn Christmas with them again, despite all of his hypocritical horseshit about sticking by your family no matter what or whatever, then it would be a fitting punishment for him to be trapped for all time in an unending Christmas Day with the lot of them. But instead, he learns to appreciate them and find out that really they’re not so bad, so now it’s no big deal when they’re trapped together.

    Basically, I just wanted to see David Koechner and all of his hateful kin get murdered. The movie denied me that, and I will never forgive it.

  115. SPOILERY


    Ha! I think your contempt for Koechner’s family is misplaced. Koechner’s character has a semi-redemptive arc where he shows a bit of vulnerability. His wife is perfectly reasonable and relatable as the film goes on. I think you’re stereotyping and broad brushing the Koechner family more than Dougherty is stereotyping middle America. Also, the final scene framing trick of having them be in the globe need not mean that they are literally trapped in the globe, as if they would bump up against the glass if they walked a few yards outside of heir houses. That is one highly literalistic interpretation.

  116. Also, really? I can’t figure out if you’re suggesting above that the Koechner family deserved to get murdered, that Scott wanted them to be murdered, or that he should have, or that it would have been a better film if Scott had clearly wanted them to be murdered but then ended up stuck with them in eternity for as punishment for wanting that? Or what? This all begs the question that the ending is to be interpreted as them literally all being shrunken into a tiny purgatory snowglobe, as opposed to say, them having a reasonably nice if still awkward Christmas day do-over while still being under Krampus’s watchful eye.

  117. I definitely think Dougherty (or perhaps some executive who gave him notes about you can’t have completely irredeemable characters in your grisly black comedy, which he should know because he read SCREENPLAY once) wanted us to come to feel for these characters we start out hating. Problem is, it didn’t work. I still hated them. Koechner’s half-assed redemption arc did not change the fact that I was only tolerating their presence at all because I assumed I’d get to see them die. That miscalculation killed the whole movie for me.

  118. STILL SPOILIN
    ….
    ….
    ….

    Ah, got it. I did not have such visceral hatred for Koechner, even at the beginning, that I wanted to see him murdered, which is not to say that I would have been outraged if he had been. He’s an obnoxious lout, not a child predator or something. Part of the premise of the movie is that anyone can be killed, whether they deserve it or not. Hence, Granny’s parents get murdered over her bad Christmas karma, Adam Scott’s son is the one who inadvertently conjures Krampus, but it’s all the other kids who get taken, etc. It’s never the point of the film to mete out justice to the people who most deserve it or whom you most dislike. And, if you adopt the Christmas Carol/Wonderful Life interpretation, then no one gets cruel justice, but everyone gets a second chance. Either way, it’s not a film about Krampus meeting out people’s just desserts according to their individual sins.

  119. 1) Skani, you make a good case for the ending, I wish it worked on me. I guess I like ambiguous endings that are more “wait, what’s going to happen NEXT?” as opposed to “wait, so what just happened/what are they trying to say?” Re: horror movie endings – it really is funny how horror movies can get away with series continuity problems more than any other genre. Like, people (myself included) will nitpick why is Judi Dench meeting James Bond again when she already met him 4 movies ago, or why does Mad Max have a daughter in Fury Road when he should have a son. But then horror sequels will completely disregard the endings (and sometimes the entirety) of the last movie and we don’t care! I mean, it’s been forever since I’ve seen it but did Nancy ever address what happened at the end of NOE1 when she reappeared in Dream Warriors? (Or Jennifer Love Hewitt in ISKWYDLS) Now I think about it, don’t most of the Freddy/Jason movies start with no explanation as to how he “came back” after dying at the end of the last one? I know horror movies aren’t supposed to be overanalyzed, but I do think it creates a mindset of “the premise and execution is more important than the ending, since the ending usually carries no weight and will probably be disregarded”. Long story short – i wouldn’t have minded Krampus’ ending at all if I had enjoyed the preceding 90 minutes like I hoped I would.

    2) Majestyk – Speaking of Koechner, I could have SWORN that I saw him actually be good in a movie once. I swear it was something straight to video and mostly dramatic, and he was the lead and I thought “holy crap this guy can actually do drama and play something other than the obnoxious asshole!” But now looking at his ENDLESS IMDB I literally have no idea what movie it was and I’m wondering if it was even him in it.

  120. Zod, at least some of the Friday films directly pick up where the last one ended and try to manufacture a strained reason for bringing Jason back. In fact, I think 2-8 all do this. Friday 1, NOES 1, Phantasm 1, Halloween 1, and I’m sure a bunch of others have wink-wink codas that suggest that maybe the baddie hasn’t been vanquished. In the case of Nancy in NOES 1 vs. 3, I think the implication in part 3 is that the entirety of that final scene where Nancy and friends are in the car and mom gets sucked through the door window did not actually happen on a literal level, but that it was symbolically true in my aforementioned sense that the scene is a kind of surreal, meta-comment that the baddie has suffered only a setback but not a definite destruction.

  121. Skani, you’re probably right about your intepretation of the film. It’s clearly just not the movie I wanted it to be: a black-hearted fuck-you to Christmas cheer. It wants to be a movie that gives its characters second chances; I want it to be a movie that gleefully savors their punishment. I try to let a movie be what it is instead of what I want it to be, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The movie’s just not ruthless enough for me. It’s too soft to scratch the horror or comedy itch.

  122. Majestyk. That’s fair. I agree that the film seems to have an ambiguous soft spot. It’s more Gremlins meets Christmas Vacation than Gremlins meets Back Christmas. Or something. If it doesn’t do it for you, it doesn’t do it for you, and no amount of analysis is going to change that.

  123. Sternshein: Just saw INTRUDER and you were right, it was a really good one and now joins the ranks of TOURIST TRAP that has me wondering why the hell no one talks about it more and it has not joined the horror elite. SESSION 9 would also be nominated for that as well.

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  124. I just watched Intruder as well and can also attest that it rules. Aside from maybe Go, it’s the best depiction of working at a grocery store I’ve ever seen on film (seriously, I worked at a grocery store for years, it is fucking impossible to get those cereal boxes to stand up straight).

  125. Hooray. I feel I have at least done my job and have two more people on board.

  126. It’s not typical Halloween horror, but I think people here might enjoy The Shallows. It’s a little more interesting in concept than in execution – it’s flaws are offset by the novelty of this being a true case of “they don’t make em like this anymore” – i.e. a creature feature that takes its subject seriously, has a decent budget and wide theatrical summertime release, and has an actual movie star in it. I’m pleasantly surprised the studio heads made it as is, instead of twisting it into a micro-budget Open Water-esque found footage movie. It’s an odd duck – an indie movie concept with tons of FX and CGI and a ridiculously over-the-top action climax that feels like something out of Die Hard. But it still works and also makes an interesting double feature/companion piece with Buried, the other minimalist one-character thriller starring Blake Lively’s husband (which I know someone on this site likes so much)

    But as for the movie’s secret weapon (and to tie back in to the beginning of this thread), Vulture.com says it best – “There is no more important character in The Shallows — nay, there may be no more important character of the entire summer-movie season — than STEVEN SEAGULL, the charming, injured bird who hangs out on a rock with Lively’s imperiled Nancy and becomes the necessary Wilson to her Tom Hanks. ” You heard that right, a hit summer movie’s third major character is named Steven Seagull and he’s awesome. And after reading this link and finding out Steven was an actual seagull and not a Life-of-Pi style CGI creation, I will say with a straight face he gives a better performance than the last few ones by his namesake. I mean, at least you don’t just see the back of his little bird head in the shadows and his squawking doesn’t appear to be done in ADR by a different bird.

    The Breakout Movie Star of the Summer Is the Seagull From The Shallows

    "He was kind of like the Marlon Brando of seagulls."

  127. I dug the Shallows. It may be a CGI shark, but it’s a pretty good CGI shark. Good, lean little film.

  128. Man, I liked THE SHALLOWS. I’m pretty obsessed with Jaume Collet-Serra though. I was actually wondering earlier today if Vern had seen THE SHALLOWS and, if so, why he had decided not to review it (yet?).

  129. I haven’t seen THE SHALLOWS yet but definitely plan to.

  130. I’ll fourth the praise of THE SHALLOWS. Saw it a week ago and thought it was a lot of fun. Wish I had made the time to see it in theaters as originally planned.

  131. I just watched I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE and absolutely loved it. If any of y’all feel like a low key, classy, creepy, atmospheric and beautifully crafted spooky story to watch on Halloween night this one comes highly recommended.

  132. Also, if you like PRETTY THING you should check out the writer/director’s previous film THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER which is also fucking excellent. Kinda hard to track down through legitimate channels unfortunately.

  133. Well, I checked out PRETTY THING… on Netflix for Halloween, and though I didn’t like it nearly as much as you MIXALOT, I did appreciate it’s attention to detail and emphasis on atmosphere and (very, very effective) sound design rather than gore or jump scares. It was still a little too slow burn for my taste, and at the end of the day the story (and payoff) was way too much like another recent, divisive slow burn ghost story that I won’t name here because it will basically spoil this entire movie. Still curious to see what the director will do next, though…

  134. I’ve never heard anyone around here mention William Wesley’s SCARECROWS, but I think it’s a pretty great 80’s horror. It starts off post-heist RESERVOIR DOGS style, as a group of thieving Commandos hijack a plane to Mexico, but get waylaid on a farm in bumfuck USA, and taken out one by one by the scariest fuckin zombie scarecrows I’ve ever seen.

    These scarecrows also have telepathic ventriloquist abilities which can imitate their prey in order to fuck with them.

    Halloween doesn’t have to end with October.

  135. Poeface – SCARECROWS has been a horror staple of mine ever since a much younger MIXALOT saw the severely cut R rated version on Australian network TV in the early 90s. The unrated MGM DVD that dropped in 2007 was one of those Holy Grail releases (like the uncut EVILSPEAK and FROM BEYOND etc) that I really miss scouting for. I can’t imagine unexpurgated releases of TOTAL RECALL or FRIDAY THE 13TH 2-8 ever seeing the light of day, for instance. Although stranger things (NIGHTBREED) have happened.

    The movie itself is a lot of fun, has amazing atmosphere and I’ve seen it I-don’t-know how many times over the years. I guess I always just assumed it was one of those joints that everyone knew about.

    Also, and I’m not trying to turn into “that guy” on this sight, but the SCREAM FACTORY Blu-ray comes highly recommended for anyone who’s interested in checking it out.

  136. MIXALOT – I’ve only seen it the one time from the Shock bluray release…hopefully it wasn’t the cut version or I’ll have to fork out for the Scream Factory one! It was gory enough, it didn’t seem to be cut…

    And yeah, it’s got great atmosphere. It’s like a cross between HELLRAISER and EVIL DEAD, by way of PREDATOR.

  137. Poeface – Shock are great! I’ve got a bunch of their discs. They pretty much just port their releases directly over from their international equivalents (sometimes losing a few special features in the process) so it’s probably borderline identical to the Scream Factory one that I have.

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