Shocktober: Amer

Amer (2009)

This might be the most in the dark I’ve ever been going into a Shocktober pick. Though there were two big reasons I wanted to watch this movie. 1) This was included in “Fangoria’s 300 Best Horror Movies” list back in 2010. A list I’m still making my way through after all these years. 2) I saw a trailer for Let the Corpses Tan back in 2017 and knew I had to get around to diving into the work of husband and wife team Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani at some point

Continue reading

Shocktober: Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary (1989)

I’m sure there is a pretty large portion of film fans that are, like myself, only familiar with Stephen King through his movie adaptations. This is not due to a lack of curiosity, since I probably should get around to reading one of his books eventually. But since the horror genre is one I’m more than happy to spend time with for an hour or two in the form of a film, I guess I’m just a little less inclined to embrace the time commitment that comes with reading a novel in the same vein.

Also, it’s very easy to get acquainted with the world of Stephen King through his movie adaptations, since it’s hard to think of an author who has been adapted more, especially during the 80s, 90s, and briefly in the 2010s. I realize that it’s a little belittling to start this review off talking about a movie’s male originator, since the aim of this Shocktober was to highlight women directors. And though director Mary Lambert certainly is responsible for the movie’s effectiveness, it’s hard not for this to feel like one of King’s adaptations that he had the most sway over. Continue reading

Shocktober: Jennifer’s Body

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Needy Lesnicki (Amanda Seyfried) is a violent inmate in an asylum who is convinced the people running the place are trying to keep her placid with shitty food and frequent exercise. She’s not having any of that, so she assaults someone and gets thrown into solitary confinement. It seems hard to believe that not too long ago she was an insecure student at a small town high school. Just what the hell happened here?

Continue reading

The Pick: The Many Saints of Newark

Ohhh! Marone! It may be Shocktober, but there’s still nothing scarier than a mob hit. This week we’re talking about the big screen return (that kinda ended up being a small screen return due to streaming) of The Sopranos. We take a trip back to Jersey with The Many Saints of Newark by reminiscing a bit about one of the greatest TV shows ever as well as how best to assess this companion film in relation to the show. It’s a bit of a longer episode, since apparently it’s subject matter that we have a lot to say about, while we also throw in an extended segment that tests our Sopranos knowledge. Continue reading

Shocktober: Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil (1973)

I chose Messiah of Evil as my first entry for this year’s Shocktober for the talent involved. I’m referring to husband and wife writing/directing team Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz. The pair is best known for co-writing American Graffiti with George Lucas. They were also the screenwriters behind Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and surprisingly, were script doctors on the original Star Wars. It’s believed that Huyck and Katz were responsible for fixing most of Leia’s dialogue and making her a more comedic character. They also wrote and directed Howard the Duck. Though we do not speak of such evil on this website.

Continue reading

Shocktober: The Hitch-hiker

The Hitch-hiker (1953)

The discussion over what is and what isn’t a horror movie is one that we’ve rubbed up against over countless Shocktobers and is, quite frankly, a little boring. That said, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-hiker is a little closer to the noir or thriller genres than horror, but we wanted a reason to talk about Lupino regardless. With Dorothy Arzner’s retirement in the mid-1940s, Ida Lupino became the most prominent female Hollywood director of the ’50s, while this was the first film noir directed by a woman during the genre’s golden age. It also happens to have a very scary antagonist at the heart of it who — horror villain or not — shows that a woman director could send an audience home just as unnerved as any man could. Continue reading

Shocktober: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Note: I was supposed to review Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark today, but in between the time I volunteered to review it and last night when I actually sat down to watch it, it disappeared from streaming. Whoops! John says I’ve seen it before anyway. I guess it’s lucky we didn’t announce the schedule in advance, but since John mentioned Bigelow in his intro post, I wanted to let you know up front we won’t actually be looking at any of her movies this year.

Ten years before the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, in 1982, Frank Zappa gave a name to a certain type of affluent, young white women in California’s San Fernando Valley: The Valley Girl. To Zappa’s chagrin, his song helped popularize the stereotype and Valleyspeak, spreading the culture throughout the country. It helped create a new market for stories about ditzy, privileged girls and set us off on a long, dark road that somehow includes in a Nicolas Cage movie and I guess ends with Modern Family? Another man, a worse, hateful piece of shit named Joss Whedon, was apparently inspired by this trend but left wondering one thing: could he fit these girls into his nerdy fantasies? And thus one of the great media franchises of the late twentieth century was born.

Continue reading