Shocktober: Barbarian

Barbarian

I don’t know if it’s the case for everyone, but for me, it was easy to go into Barbarian cynical. Thanks to the success of A24 and Jordan Peele, it kinda looked like a movie that was just copying the modern formula for success: get a comedy guy to write and direct a low-budget horror movie set in one location where the real villain is contemporary social issues. In fact, star Georgina Campbell went as far as to say Jordan Peele was “part of the essence of the movie.” But then I saw it and realized words like “formulaic” and “derivative” don’t really apply to Barbarian and so what if it’s trendy? It’s part of a good trend! All that really means is that it was perhaps slightly more likely to be successful. I see this as an absolute win.

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Shocktober: Day Shift

Day Shift

There are a lot of movies and TV shows about vampires. However, there are slightly less movies and TV shows about vampire hunters, one of which I had the pleasure of starring in alongside a fellow Mildly Pleaser. Day Shift seems to be somewhat aware of this, as it digs a little deeper into the specifics of the vampire hunter lifestyle than that of the actual vampires they spend their time killing. Still, the movie is ultimately less concerned with world-building than it is with constructing some gruesome, gun-slinging action sequences paired with a decent amount of buddy-comedy laughs. In the end, it’s a bit of an uneven grab bag of styles, but one that hits the spot if you’re in for some bloodsucking fun readily available on Netflix. Continue reading

Shocktober: The Munsters

The Munsters (2022)

Hey all you boils and ghouls! Shocktober is back for its 12th year! And instead of looking to the past were looking the future! (or in this case the present). We’re doing nothing but 2022 films for Shocktober…. Or dare I say ShockTwentyTwober… No, how about “2020Booo!” Eh, I could take or leave it. Anyways, here are my thoughts on that Munsters movie that just came out on Netflix.

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Shocktober: Censor

Censor (2021)

If you’re a horror fan then you’re familiar with the “Video Nasties” movement of the 1980s. If not, let me take you across the pond. In the early ‘80s, VHS exploded. Anything and everything was coming out on videotape, but in the UK there was a loophole in film classification laws. Videos could bypass a review process and be sold regardless of content. Panic ensued.

In response, the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) set out to not only censor films but outright ban titles. The “Video Nasties” was a list of 72 titles that were banned and deemed the most explicit. This list included some now classics like; The Evil Dead, Possession, Tenebrae, and pretty much any movie by Lucio Fulci or Joe D’Amato. Censor is a film that dives into the phenomenon.

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Shocktober: Raw

Shocktober: Raw (2016)

I chose this movie basically to see whether I would want to check out Titane, the other recently released Julia Ducournau film, before the end of the year. While I don’t regret seeing Raw, it pretty definitively gives me my verdict that I do not want to see Titane. Raw is a movie that is certainly effective and pushes your buttons in all sorts of ways, but it’s just not what I want out of a movie. I mentioned in my review of Goodnight Mommy that there was a specific scene in which I had to put my hands over my eyes, and I probably spent a quarter of Raw’s running time doing that. I know that’s a pretty pathetic thing for a grown man to be doing, but Jesus Christ this movie got under my sweet delicious skin. Continue reading

Shocktober: Saint Maud

Saint Maud (2020)

What year should I attribute Saint Maud to? It was an unusual COVID casualty, originally playing at TIFF in September 2019, where it was picked up by A24 and scheduled for an early 2020 release. That obviously didn’t happen, but A24 did optimistically postpone its release to July 2020, but… let me check my notes here… thing were still really bad then, so it was pulled entirely from their schedule. To add one additional wrinkle of complexity, it was released theatrically in the UK last October, but it didn’t come out here until late January. So you could make a case this is a 2019, 2020, or 2021 movie! I split the difference and went with the UK theatrical release, but don’t be surprised if I reconsider and make it a 2021 movie when list-making season comes. That is to say this whole preamble was just leading up to me admitting that I thought Saint Maud was quite good.

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Shocktober: Relic

Relic (2020)

Familial Horror has been a dominant force in the horror genre sinces the success of Hereditary. I watched The Lodge earlier this month, which shares similar themes and ideas with Hereditary as does today’s film. What ties these films together is they highlight the fact that we are all bound by blood to our families. Which in a way means we are trapped by our families. Because no matter what you do, or say, or think about your family, they are always your family.

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