In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Ride The Mayfair!

Hey all. I'm just dropping in to make sure you know about a new podcast called the Mayfair Watchers Society.

Premiering last month, MWS is a ficitonal podcast featuring creepy tales based on the work of artist Trevor Henderson. I've known Trevor for over a decade (we're both OG Laser Blasters) and he's good people. I always get a kick out of the fact that the youngins have latched onto some of his creations like Sirenhead and Cartoon Cat. He's also responsible for that Pallatine Massacre banner to the right there - for which I paid him in VHS tapes. No joke.

Anyhoo, check out the podcast, it's some great stuff.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween!

You can't keep a good holiday down. However, you choose to spend All Hallows' Eve, stay safe kiddies. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Z is for Zipperface (1992)

So here we are at the last letter with a movie I found while researching Carpenter Brut for a listicle in last month's Halloween issue of Rue Morgue.

A plucky detective (Donna Adams) persues a masked maniac who kills S&M hookers.

This is basically everything you would expect from a Z-grade (wink!) SOV slasher with less than stellar acting, story and boom mic control. Only this one, save for one beheading, was relatively bloodless so it didn't even deliver on the gore like equally trashy SOV's like 555 and Night Ripper. Jesus, that's two movies I've watched in the last week that were WORSE than Night Ripper.

Zipperface and Donna Adams (both would never act again)

The killer barely does anything but crunch around in his leather suit and get kicked in the crotch. I wonder if Wes Craven was one of the dozen people who saw this movie and thought, that's something Hollywood needs, more bumbling killers! I will give credit where credit is due and say that for a movie that probably cost a dollar-fifty to make, there were a pair of decent stunts in a high fall and a car windshield hit that were both culled, among other things, for Carpenter Brut's video for Leather Teeth.

The rest, well, you've got a detective fraternizing with a creepy photographer suspect, a parade of the reddest of herrings and a killer whose knocking off witnesses because they could recognize him, even though he was wearing a mask the whole time.

Yeah, not the best. I wager director Mansour Pourmand should be thanking Brut for saving his movie from complete obscurity.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Y is for YellowBrickRoad (2010)

I recently became aware of Andy Mitton's work, first at this year's Fantasia with his new Covid-set chiller The Harbinger and then his previous haunted house tale Witch In The Window so with this penultimate slot available, it made sense to finally explore his debut.

In 1940, the inhabitants of a New England town all walked into the nearby wilderness never to be seen again. Almost seventy years later, an new expedition of researchers sets out to solve the mystery.

I enjoyed the story and lore of YellowBrickRoad. It's kind of a mash-up between The Blair Witch, the real legend of the Dyatlov Pass with a bit of The Shining thrown in for good measure. This movie also reinforced the absolute pervasiveness of The Wizard of Oz - first realized by me upon seeing the mesmerizing doc Lynch/Oz - on filmmaking as a medium.

Happier times at the trailhead.

YBR possessed some solid atmosphere, mainly brought on by the remote location and the increasingly eerie carrot-on-a-stick cacophony from beyond. Though the narrative and escalation is fairly standard, the actors were strong enough to keep me engaged. Also, a young Robert “The VVitch” Eggers did the costume design on this. The back story of this movie does sound like his bag for sure and I wager he  was taking notes on filming in the boonies. 

I did think that the death scenes were a little clumsy - umm I don't think legs just come off like that - and there were some issues with pacing. It's one of those movies were it looks like things are winding down, but in actual fact there's still fourty-five minutes left so the movie ends up taking longer to resolve itself than it should.

This all may just be an unfortunate side effect of watching a filmmaker's catalogue in reverse order. His newest film The Harbinger is a much tighter and assured piece of work. When you compare the execution of the set pieces, it's like night and day.

Regardless, this was a good starting point. Though the end of the YBR was a bit of a letdown (much like Dorothy must have reacted when she first saw behind the curtain) the lore and mood were enough to make it worth watching. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

X is for X-Ray (1981)

Today's letter is one of the least used in the alphabet, but I still had some choice titles to pick from. I went with Boaz Davidson's Hospital Massacre aka X-Ray.

Susan's (Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton) visit to a hospital to pick up some routine test results turns into a nightmare as staff and patients alike are murdered around her.

The first thing that I wondered when I started watching this movie was if I had accidentally put in Bloody Birthday. X-Ray starts with a bunch of kids - LITERALLY two of which were in Bloody Birthday - being creepy while having cake in a house in California. I had to check more than once I wasn't being tricked. Anyway, after the shocking opening where one of the kids gets hung up on coat rack

We then fast forward to Susan as an adult - a very buxom adult - who for some reason has to pick up some test results from her doctor. She then spends an excessive amount of time in an elevator while all manner of sight gag red herrings occur that made me think I was also watching a spoof ala Student Bodies. In actual fact, the killer just needed some time to switch Susan's test results so she is detained and terrorized for next hour.

Barbi Benton as Susan in X-Ray

I'm not sure if X-Ray was meant to be a comment on the shortcomings of the American health care system, but that's what it ends up being. This poor woman just wants to know what the hell is going on and then simply leave, yet everyone is treats her like she's hysterical, even sticking her in the psych ward at one point.

Meanwhile, a dude in scrubs and a surgical mask is cutting his way through the entire building, often in the most bizarre ways possible.

It all ends up where most movies that take place in tall buildings do; the roof! And that of course means someone is falling to their death, most likely while on fire. You know, that should be my next video. A montage of horror characters falling off buildings. 

X-Ray's strength is its absurdity, but it doesn't fully commit to it as much as it should have which is why your attention may wane from time to time. Benton sure was a looker though.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

W is for Watcher (2022)

For today's letter, I picked a new movie Chloe Okuno's Watcher starring Maika Monroe.

An American woman (Monroe) moves to Romania with her husband where she starts suspecting the man watching her from the building across the street may be a serial killer.

This movie was at first just one of many titles flooding my streaming service inbox, but after some positive feedback from some trusted sources I decided to give it a whirl one evening. I do love me some Maika after all, wish she was in more stuff.

Maika Monroe as Julia in Watcher

While it is true that on the surface it looks like an obvious Rear Window clone, it also does have some more going for it. Instead of being confined to her apartment, Monroe's character Julia has a language barrier to deal with that feels far more debilitating and alienating. She's left out of conversations with her husband's co-workers and calling for help as she encounters danger becomes increasingly more difficult.

The backdrop of Bucharest was also a very pleasing one visually. It made the movie feel much more like a giallo to me than anything from Hitchcock. Monroe really gets to perform in this one, harkening back to when I first saw her 2013's It Follows where paranoia and dread rested heavily on her shoulders in every scene. Worth a “watch“.