Thursday, May 25, 2023

My Sister Almost Married Freddy Krueger

As far back as I can remember, the allure of the horror genre held a powerful sway over my sister and me. We were just five and three years old, mischievously slipping out of our bedrooms on nights when our mother and aunt would invite their friends over for the week's latest horror flick. In an act of daring innocence, we would creep down the stairs, ducking behind the couch to secretly witness the chilling exploits of Jason Vorhees or his fellow nightmarish characters as they claimed their next victims. The blend of fear and fascination was strangely captivating, keeping us hooked until a scene became too terrifying, inevitably causing one of us to gasp. Our presence would then be discovered, earning us a stern rebuke and a march back to our rooms. Yet, the thrill of these horrific narratives was too great to deter us from repeating our covert escapades.

The darkly fascinating world of horror had us firmly in its grip. Throughout our elementary school years, my sister and I would devour any fright-inducing material we could get our eager hands on. This often meant binge-watching tapes that our grandmother generously recorded for us from television broadcasts. We practically wore out the tapes of our favorites - Mr. Boogedy, Beetle Juice, and The Monster Squad - through countless reruns.

However, my sister's fascination with horror started to fade sooner than mine. For a long while, she had affectionately referred to Freddy Krueger as her 'boyfriend'. Her perception shifted dramatically one night when she sneaked downstairs and accidentally witnessed the gruesome reality of Freddy's appearance in the latest Nightmare on Elm Street installment. Her imaginary beau was suddenly revealed as a disfigured and terrifying figure, far removed from her initial image of him.

The romance had reached its abrupt end. Nights were filled with nightmares about Freddy, who would infiltrate her dreams, transforming them into nightmares and instilling in her a fear of sleep, not unlike the plot of the movie itself. This marked the start of her hiatus from horror. Although she remains an enthusiast of the genre to this day, any mention of Freddy still triggers an involuntary twitch in her eye."


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Unexpected Delights of "The Menu"

In an era where celebrity chefs dominate TV and streaming services, "The Menu," a comedy-horror film released in 2022, brings to life an intriguing "what if" scenario: what if such a celebrity chef finally cracked under the pressure of his high culinary aspirations?

Directed by Mark Mylod and boasting a script by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, "The Menu" is a sumptuous feast of dark humor, suspense, and delicious absurdity. A story of extreme gastronomy gone awry, the movie features Ralph Fiennes as the volatile celebrity chef Slowik, with an eclectic ensemble cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Hong Chau, and John Leguizamo, among others.

The plot follows Tyler Ledford (Hoult) and his date, Margot Mills (Taylor-Joy), who travel to Slowik's exclusive restaurant on a private island. The night unfolds into a bizarre course of disturbing events, with Slowik's unorthodox culinary practices leading to shocking revelations and grisly consequences.

Despite the film's somewhat unusual premise, "The Menu" is unexpectedly riveting. Far from being a run-of-the-mill horror flick, it serves as an eerie, biting satire on modern culture and our obsession with celebrity chefs and haute cuisine.

The movie is a captivating journey into the dark corners of high-end gastronomy. The way it exaggerates human behavior offers a peculiar, yet fascinating perspective on the human experience. All the elements of the film, from the creepy ambiance to the absurdities that the characters endure, are steeped in a sardonic critique of our current food-obsessed culture.

What distinguishes "The Menu" is its consistent, uncomfortable tone. This tension, paired with its exploration of the uncanny and bizarre aspects of human behavior, constructs a nuanced narrative, making it a standout in contemporary cinema.

The ending is, quite simply, superb. Not only does it tie together the film's themes and ideas effectively, but it does so with an irreverent, outrageous flair that leaves you in awe of its audacity. The simple, yet profound, cheeseburger scene is a triumph of understated cinematic storytelling.

Despite warnings from my movie-buff friends to steer clear of this film, I found myself not just pleasantly surprised, but utterly captivated. "The Menu" is a darkly delightful feast of a movie that's worth savoring. If you're in the mood for a film that challenges your perceptions while serving up a side of macabre humor, "The Menu" should be at the top of your list. A chef's kiss, indeed!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Fresh: Embracing the Unexpected


I must confess, I walked into Mimi Cave's debut feature film, "Fresh," with little to no preconceived notions or expectations, much like biting into a new dish without asking for the ingredients first. And this, my friends, is precisely the way to approach this surprisingly delightful horror-thriller. Let's put the cards on the table straight away: this is a film that may not sit well with everyone, especially those who aren't keen on "elevated" cinema (yes, I'm also cringing at the term). However, for those willing to dive into the unknown, "Fresh" serves up a meal that's as intriguing as it is chilling.

In the era of online dating and swiping left or right, "Fresh" centers around Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young woman disillusioned with the digital dating scene's lack of charm and subtlety. Enter Steve (Sebastian Stan), a charismatic stranger who swoops in at a grocery store, enticing Noa with the prospect of traditional courtship. It's a whirlwind of charm, romance, and a seemingly perfect weekend getaway. Yet, what Noa encounters next is a macabre revelation that flips her world upside down.

Director Mimi Cave, in her film debut, truly paints with character. The narrative is a buffet of rich, layered characters, each served with a side of depth and complexity. The performances are outstanding, with Edgar-Jones effortlessly embodying the fear, strength, and determination of a woman trapped in a grotesque reality, and Stan masterfully slipping into the role of a man who's more than just a charming exterior.

What sets "Fresh" apart is not just the intriguing storyline but how the narrative layers unfold, leading to a climax that hits you like a punch to the gut. While the premise revolves around a horrifying concept, it is the execution and the buildup that adds a unique flavor to this cinematic dish.

Despite the terror it induces, the film carries an underlying commentary on modern dating and the façade people often put up to hide their true selves. It's a chilling reminder of how little we may know about those we let into our lives. With Cave's masterful storytelling and remarkable performances from the cast, "Fresh" feels like a shocking yet insightful exploration of trust and deception in the digital age.

I wholeheartedly recommend this film to those in search of a bold, fresh take on the horror-thriller genre. "Fresh" has a way of clinging to your thoughts long after the credits roll, just like a haunting melody you can't shake off. Cave's distinctive style adds a new flavor to the genre, leaving us eagerly awaiting her next masterpiece. Trust me, this is one cinematic experience you don't want to sleep on.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Black Phone: A Dial Tone from Hell That Won't Leave You Hanging!


Imagine a horror movie, stripped of gimmicks, bereft of pretentious cinematic flourishes, simply setting out to do one thing: tell a damn good story. Welcome to 'The Black Phone,' a surprisingly tasty cinematic offering that's as straightforward as a ham and Swiss on rye, and just as satisfying.

The Scott Derrickson-helmed film is an adaptation of Joe Hill's chilling short story of the same name. The plot is as bone-chilling as a winter's breeze: a teenager, Finney Blake, is kidnapped by a deranged, yet alarmingly ordinary-looking captor, aptly named 'The Grabber'. Trapped in a soundproofed basement, Finney's only hope comes via a disconnected black rotary phone that puts him in touch with the Grabber's previous victims.

Now, I'll admit, I initially approached 'The Black Phone' with the enthusiasm of a vegetarian at a steakhouse. Derrickson, though a talented filmmaker with a decent track record, was stepping into some truly chilling material, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, sure, the man knows his way around a scary movie, but the premise seemed, well, somewhat 'out there.' Boy, was I glad to be proven wrong.

'The Black Phone' doesn't try to trick or dazzle its audience with cheap jumpscares or over-the-top special effects. No, this film has the confidence to be just what it is - a tightly-wound, superbly crafted horror tale. It's like biting into a perfectly prepared sandwich, expecting all sorts of fancy extras and instead being hit with a wave of simplicity and quality. Who knew the humble ham and Swiss could be so satisfying?

What truly makes 'The Black Phone' worth dialing into is its characters. They're not just sketched; they're carved out with care. From the haunted yet resilient Finney, to the chillingly everyday menace of the Grabber, every character has a depth that's often lacking in mainstream horror fare. And let's not forget the film's masterstroke - the spectral victims on the other end of the phone, each with their own stories and personalities.

But the standout element? The 70s setting. The movie soaks in its nostalgic era like a chicken marinating in barbecue sauce. It seeps into every frame, every scene, every moment, but never feels contrived or overbearing.

So, if you're in the mood for a horror flick that's as gripping as it is grounded, give 'The Black Phone' a ring. It doesn't try to reinvent the genre or baffle you with complexity. Instead, it takes you on a heart-stopping, spine-tingling journey that is sure to keep you hooked from start to finish. Don't worry, this is one call you'll definitely want to take.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Night Caller - Tubi Recommend

Within the vast digital library of Tubi, I stumbled upon a cinematic gem that sparked a delightful sense of déja vu. Chad Ferrin, the creative force behind 'Parasites,' has once again delivered a film that firmly captured my attention - 'Night Caller.' This film, however, comes with a disclaimer: it's not a one-size-fits-all.

'Night Caller' is a pulse-pounding slasher that revolves around Clementine, a phone psychic with an extraordinary ability. After experiencing visions of future murders during a seemingly routine phone reading, Clementine is thrust into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a relentless serial killer, leading to a heart-stopping race against time.

The film is an ode to the grindhouse genre, steeped in a gritty super 16mm aesthetic that transports you back to the heyday of 70s cinema. Ferrin's eye for creative framing keeps the audience engaged, despite the plot's occasional tendency to loosen and veer into over-the-top narrative elements.

The acting in 'Night Caller' is a mixed bag. Robert Miano delivers a standout performance, but the rest of the cast vacillate between scene-chewing theatrics and performances that seem to consciously underscore the B in B-movie.

Despite these potential drawbacks, 'Night Caller' doesn't shy away from its redeeming qualities. The practical gore effects are top-notch, and Ferrin masterfully balances a tense, chilling narrative with elements of dark humor, creating a surprisingly thoughtful and atmospheric story.

Ultimately, 'Night Caller' is a suspenseful journey into the chilling world of psychics and serial killers. It's eccentric and quirky, but that's exactly what makes it a memorable watch. If you're a fan of the offbeat, appreciate the grindhouse aesthetic, and have a stomach for intense gore, then 'Night Caller' is your ticket to a thrilling cinematic experience. Consider this a hearty recommendation for anyone ready to dive headfirst into the chilling, suspenseful, and eerily humorous world of 'Night Caller'.

5 Slashers That Slice Above the Rest


In the vast, blood-soaked world of slasher films, there are a few that manage to stand head and shoulders (before they're inevitably lopped off, of course) above the rest. These films bring something unique to the genre - an added twist, a dash of the unexpected, or an innovative killer that sets them apart. Today, we're diving into 5 Slashers.

First up is 'Stagefright.' This 1987 Italian slasher is nothing short of a hoot, and that's not just because the killer dons an owl mask. A combination of dark humor, outrageous kills, and a theater setting that adds an extra layer of drama makes this film an unforgettable entry in the slasher genre.

Next on our list is 'Cherry Falls.' This film flips the traditional slasher script by targeting virgins instead of promiscuous teens. With a genuinely creepy atmosphere and a standout performance from Brittany Murphy, this film takes a bite out of the genre and leaves a lasting impression.

'Urban Legend' is another slasher that deserves a shoutout. It uses the eponymous folklore to craft its kills, making for an intriguing and culturally resonant viewing experience. Plus, the killer's use of urban legends adds an extra layer of intrigue to the movie.

The fourth contender is 'Terror Train.' This 1980 slasher takes place on a train, which adds an extra dose of claustrophobia to the mix. With Jamie Lee Curtis at the helm, this film takes us on a thrilling and terrifying ride that’s worth the price of admission.

Finally, 'Laid to Rest.' This modern slasher makes it onto our list thanks to its innovative use of the 'Chrome Skull' killer and its no-holds-barred approach to gore. It's a brutal, unrelenting film that's not for the faint of heart.

In conclusion, these 5 Slashers offer more than your average hack and slash. They bring a unique twist to the table, proving that the slasher genre is more than just blood, guts, and masked killers - it's a space for innovation, creativity, and, above all, a good scare!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Friday the 13th: More Than Just a Date on the Calendar


Picture a genre-defining, game-changing moment in the horror film industry. If you're thinking of Friday the 13th, you're right on the money. It's a movie that not only added to the formula of slasher films but also set the stage for countless others to follow in its terrifying footsteps.

In creating Friday the 13th, Sean Cunningham seemed to share a telepathic bond with John Carpenter, the mastermind behind Halloween. They both understood an essential truth about horror: it's not about the gore. The shock value of guts and gore can only take a film so far; it's the suspense, the dread, the psychological terror that really makes a slasher film stick in the minds of viewers.

Unfortunately, many slasher films have been lured into the trap of gore for gore's sake, a pitfall that Friday the 13th skillfully sidesteps. These films, overly reliant on blood and guts, have mostly faded into obscurity, remembered only by die-hard horror hounds like you and me.

There's a reason why the names of Friday the 13th and Halloween resonate with even casual viewers and genre outsiders. These films, along with the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Nightmare on Elm Street, succeeded in transcending the confines of the genre to become cultural phenomena.

This leaves us with an ocean of lesser-known slashers, their waves barely causing ripples in the collective consciousness of the casual viewer. While it's unfortunate that these films have been relegated to the annals of time, it's a testament to the enduring power of Friday the 13th that it still reigns supreme as a titan of the horror genre.

So, here's to Friday the 13th, a film that showed us horror is about more than just gore—it's about creating a sense of dread that lingers long after the final credits roll.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Evil Dead Rise

Picture this: you're at a banquet, and each dish on the table is a movie from the Evil Dead franchise. We have the tantalizing Croque Monsieur as the original Evil Dead, the luxurious Monte Cristo representing Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, and the sophisticated Ham and Gruyère Tartine as Evil Dead 2013. Nestled amongst these gourmet delights is Evil Dead Rise, a straight-up deli store ham and American cheese grilled sandwich, served on a baguette.

It might seem like I'm setting up Evil Dead Rise as the runt of the litter, but don't get me wrong. This is not a dismissal but a recontextualization. It's the 'everyman' of the franchise - not as complex or rich as its counterparts, but still tasty, filling, and with a dash of style.

Evil Dead Rise is like the plain-Jane cousin at the family reunion. It doesn't have the same zing or flair as its predecessors. Its characters are somewhat flat, but the intensity of the plot and the well-crafted atmosphere manage to lift it above mediocrity.

The movie leans into the themes and tropes that have defined this series, and while it doesn't necessarily innovate, it does deliver a solid horror experience. You're not getting the gourmet dish, but you're still leaving the table satisfied.

The beauty of the Evil Dead franchise is that even its weakest entry is still pretty darn good. This is a testament to the strength and durability of the series that has, thankfully, never been burdened with the kind of sequels that have tarnished other horror franchises.

So, if you're a fan of the series or just in the mood for a solid horror flick, give Evil Dead Rise a shot. It may not be the Croque Monsieur of the horror genre, but a well-made ham and cheese sandwich can still hit the spot. Just don't forget the baguette for that extra touch of style.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Scream: The CPR That Brought Horror Back From the (Un)Dead!

In 1996, the horror genre was on life support, gasping its last breaths. It was like a zombie - shambling, moaning, and definitely not in its prime. The goosebump-raising thrillers that once had audiences hiding behind their popcorn boxes were churning out sequels with all the excitement of a zombie's groan. From 'Halloween' to 'Hellraiser', from 'Friday the 13th' to 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre', even Freddy Krueger seemed to be losing his nightmare-inducing touch - and that's saying something.

But then, like a plot twist in the third act, along came the horror genre's Dr. Frankenstein - Wes Craven. And boy, did he have an electric shock in store. He took a dying genre, grabbed a defibrillator in the form of Kevin Williamson's razor-sharp script, and yelled, "Clear!"

'Scream' wasn't just a revival; it was a resurrection. Craven dusted off the old, cobweb-covered tropes, held them up to the light, and said, "Hey, remember these? They're not so bad if you use them right." He gave us the 'rules' of surviving a horror movie, made us laugh, then scared the popcorn right out of us.

And it wasn't just about bringing the horror back to basics - it was about making it real again. The characters in 'Scream' weren't just cardboard cutouts waiting for their turn to be slashed. They were flesh and blood (and oh boy, was there blood). They had lives, personalities, relationships. They felt like people you'd meet at your local high school - if your local high school was in the middle of a murder spree, that is.

Craven took the Frankenstein's monster that was the '90s horror genre, breathed life into it, and made it dance. And not the awkward, shambling dance of the zombie, but a sprightly, self-aware jig that both delighted and terrified audiences.

'Scream' didn't just resurrect the horror genre - it gave it a new lease on life. It made it cool again. It made it fun. It made it...scream. And for that, we tip our blood-stained hats to you, Wes Craven. Thanks for reminding us why we love to be scared. 

Monday, May 15, 2023

Six Decades On: Why We're Still Psycho for Psycho

Sixty years on and we're still as obsessed as a boy with his mother – and by 'boy', I mean Norman Bates, and by 'mother', well... let's not spoil the fun for the uninitiated. 'Psycho', the crown jewel in Alfred Hitchcock's suspense-laden tiara, refuses to gather dust in the annals of film history. Instead, it's out there on 'best movies of all time' lists, flaunting its black-and-white charm like a peacock in a hen house. But why is this relic of cinema's yesteryears still topping charts and chilling spines? Let's try to unravel this mystery without developing a split personality disorder.

The film that rocked the nation more than Elvis's hips didn't just break the mold – it shattered it, swept it up, and dumped it in the swamp out back. Who else but Hitchcock would have the audacity to send his leading lady to the great shower stall in the sky halfway through the film? It's like the Beatles deciding, 'Hey, let's just do the rest of the concert without Paul.' It was audacious, it was shocking, and it made us realize that no one in a Hitchcock film was safe – not even the star billing.

But 'Psycho' isn't just about its unprecedented narrative structure or its infamous shower scene – it's also about a boy and his mother. Or rather, a boy who loves his mother so much he... well, again, no spoilers here.

Anthony Perkins delivers a performance that's as chilling as a Polar Bear's toenails. As the ostensibly mild-mannered Norman Bates, he gives us a masterclass in the 'aw-shucks-I'm-just-a-regular-guy-oh-wait-no-I'm-not' school of acting. Norman is as endearing as he is unsettling – a bit like your weird cousin who collects antique dental equipment.

So why does 'Psycho' still hold our collective cultural imagination in a vice-like grip, refusing to let go? Perhaps it's the way it rewrote the rulebook on suspense, or the way it proved that horror could be psychological, not just blood and guts. Or maybe it's just that we can't resist a good old-fashioned tale of a boy and his mother.

Whatever it is, it's clear that 'Psycho' isn't going anywhere. It's as etched into our cinematic consciousness as that screeching violin score is etched into our nightmares. And as long as there are showers, taxidermy birds, and eerily vacant motels, we'll keep coming back to Bates Motel. After all, as Norman himself says, 'We all go a little mad sometimes.' Just hopefully not while we're in the shower.

No One Will Save You

No One Will Save You , is a meatball. While the movie has a top notch performance by Kaitlyn Dever, impeccable aesthetics, and stunning set ...