Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

TAMARA may or may not be obscure enough to qualify for Slasher Search, but it’s harder to define now that I’m doing 21st century movies. Its hook is that it’s from Jeffrey Reddick, writer of FINAL DESTINATION. Apparently it had an unprofitable theatrical release in 2005, a time of terrible fonts and faux-distressed poster art. I recognized the cover from the video store, but only when I found it on Tubi did I wonder what its deal was and click on it.

The part that piqued my curiosity is that the title character is played by former Janet Jackson backup dancer Jenna Dewan a year before she starred in the first STEP UP movie. Tamara is, as described in the IMDb plot summary, “an unattractive girl who is picked on by her peers,” and it plays like kind of a CARRIE ripoff for a while. She’s a shy, awkward girl, is mercilessly bullied by the (cartoonishly obnoxious) popular kids, and isn’t helped by a crushingly miserable home life with a terrible single parent. In her case it’s her dad (Chris Sigurdson) who’s still around, and he’s a sleazy, molesty drunk. And instead of going home and being made to pray to Jesus, she secretly practices witchcraft. (read the rest of this shit…)


Tuesday, November 21st, 2023

As I promised before Halloween, I’ve continued scouring Tubi for potential Slasher Search material. It’s been a struggle so far. Most of the things I’ve clicked on turn out to be hard to get through and easy to give up on. For example I tried to watch one called HAUNTED TRAIL because it was directed by A RAGE IN HARLEM star Robin Givens and I thought that was interesting that she directed a horror movie, but I lost patience before anything happened. When I don’t have to pick out a finite number of tapes or discs and carry them home my remote finger is itchier.

So for now here’s one that I actually found on DVD, and it’s not available streaming, but it’s an obscurity from the aughts that seems very Tubi-appropriate to me. HACK! (2007) fits squarely and stupidly into the meta-slasher tradition even though it’s a full eleven years after SCREAM. The characters keep talking about horror movies, and the killer(s) is/are trying to make one. But please note the scene where a guy swears he saw a scary clown in the woods and they ask if he looked like Captain Spaulding, explaining that that’s a character from HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES and then explaining that that’s a Rob Zombie movie. It’s a reminder that this is, what – three horror cycles after SCREAM? But they don’t seem to have learned anything substantial from any of them. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Retreat (2020)/The Retreat (2021)

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

Every October for the last 14 years I’ve been doing what I call “Slasher Search,” where I try to scrounge up some obscure slasher movies you probly never heard of, preferably from the ‘80s, and usually still only available on VHS. Originally the hope was to discover some little-known gems from this particular subgenre and era I enjoy, or at least get to dissect some strange ones, and I achieved those things for a long time. But between the finite number of stomachable films of this type, my deep scraping of the barrel, and the fine work of Arrow, Vinegar Syndrome and other blu-ray companies to shine their bigger spotlights on movies like this, I’m having a hard time finding fresh material these days. There will always be new horror out there to discover, but not ones that I considered eligible for the name Slasher Search.

I started to think I was reaching the end of the line last year, but some of you kindly encouraged me to keep going even if it meant adjusting the rules to a different type of movie. So I’m taking your advice. This year I’ll try exploring a different era of also-ran low budget exploitation by treating Tubi (and possibly other ad-supported streaming services) as my video store, searching for titles I’ve never heard of, to see if I can find some watchable ones. I went through a page of 1,000 horror titles and jotted down a long list of not-well-known vaguely slasher-ish ones, and I’ll pick some out to sample. We’ll see how it goes. No guarantees are being made. (Except that I started late due to all that EXORCIST business so most of the posts will come after Halloween.) (read the rest of this shit…)