• Phantasm II

    Phantasm II

    It retains the surreal landscapes and set pieces, the intense imagery and bizarre mythology, adds a few extra pieces of lore, and... goes all out on the flamethrowers and lasers. The competence of the action actually goes against the eeriness sometimes, but it's also a not unreasonable follow up. It just shifts the narrative deeper into fantasy adventure than horror, though all are still present. The perspective shots, the grotesquery, the horror-movie performances (meaning, they are about screaming in pain), and the use of colors is still there in traumatic glory. I don't know how to feel about Reggie being a fuck-machine, though.

  • Sorority House Massacre

    Sorority House Massacre

    The dress up sequence alone would make this a great movie. While it gets a bit frustrating later on (the bad-decision syndrome afflicts some of these fleeing victims), the first half is filled with eerie imagery, dyke haircuts, and ominous freakouts at the hospital. It sets the stage for the bloodbath extremely well, and the bloodbath itself is horrifying in moments, sickening, disturbing, violet, jarring. Unfortunately, there are a few moments where you want to scream at the characters for…

  • Dementia 13

    Dementia 13

    I appreciate the manner in which this shifts gears midway through, but it really slows down in the latter portion. Coppola had a good eye even at the start, and it pays off in certain key moments (everything about the dolls underwater, the long quiet sequences). He can create atmosphere, which is good, because the plot and characters are not in the least bit compelling. Still, style is enough sometimes.

  • Howling: New Moon Rising

    Howling: New Moon Rising

    This was just an excuse for Clive Turner to really get into the thick of it, and it shows. Nice attempt to put the past few Howling flicks together into some semblance of a logical story, but we really didn't need it. Just bad werewolf effects and the occasional gory death.

  • Howling VI: The Freaks

    Howling VI: The Freaks

    Sympathy for werewolves is long overdue here, and I am glad they got around to it and railed at the cruel exploitation of carnival workers while they were at it.

  • Howling V: The Rebirth

    Howling V: The Rebirth

    Binging as much of the Howling series as is on Tubi is probably not the best idea anyone ever had, but I'm a completionist where it matters. The conversation between Marylou and the tennis player at the beginning should have won all the screenwriting awards. Honestly, the character of Marylou might be my favorite thing in this series since the bisexual werewolf orgy in the second one.

  • The House That Screamed

    The House That Screamed

    Bad dubbing, boarding school strictness, almost no men, and creeeepy performances, all wrapped up in an episode of Elvira's Movie Macabre, which only calls attention with great delight to the camp inherent in the actual film.

  • The City of the Dead

    The City of the Dead

    A movie that somehow manages not to pull many punches in spite of every code and law and unspoken rule and many very much spoken rules. Sure, Puritan values win in the end, but the opening has characters/actors outright declaring loyalty to Lucifer, and though we get discretion cuts, there's a pretty brazen brassiere stabbed in a particularly disturbing scene. It's the kind of atmospheric, beautifully shadowed horror movie that witch-lovers deserve, if only they'd win in the end.

  • The Wasp Woman

    The Wasp Woman

    Roger Corman is a better filmmaker than his reputation would suggest. His films are corny and often offensive by progressive standards and perhaps not as ably crafted as the best films I can name, but they tend to be more than just bad performance and costuming. This film almost comes close to being an intelligent commentary on the beauty industry and capitalist commodification of women, beauty, and youth, but of course, instead it goes off the rails as a patronizing…

  • I Bury the Living

    I Bury the Living

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I have written before about the wielding of the unknown as a source of fear, and how sometimes the truth is more horrifying. Now let's talk about the difference between fear, horror, and terror. Terror is traditionally the fear that comes with knowing something is coming, something is about to happen, something might happen. Terrorism is the wielding of terror, the use of the threat of violence or destruction, to wage war and advocate for causes and so on. Horror…

  • Visitation

    Visitation

    Stiff animation amidst shadows and charcoal, impressions of sounds of flashes of mechanical sounds and disturbing dreamscapes and unearthly (and earthly) torments, giving way to smoother animation (and startling lights) amidst static, sketched backgrounds that evoke eeriness and otherworldliness without effort. Fragments of narrative with minor chord emotions and Lovecraftian sensations just out of reach of the mind wield these images against your sense of well being.

  • Hair Wolf

    Hair Wolf

    Well that was 12 dense minutes of pointed barbs against appropriation of Black culture/image and a lot of really good horror movie jokes.