Tag Archives: what the hell!?

Mourn of the dead

bloodwidowBLOOD WIDOW

1.5 Stars  2014/83m

“Die in silence.”

Director/Writer: Jeremiah Buckhalt / Writers: Chad Coup & Ian H. Davis / Cast: Danielle Lilley, Brandon Kyle Peters, Christopher de Padua, Jose Miguel Vasquez, Kelly Kilgore, Emily Cutting, Gabrielle Ann Henry.

Body Count: 11

Laughter Lines: “Come on your crazy biiiii-aaaaa-eeee-tch!” (it’s all in the delivery)


Many a horror film claims to take something or other to the next level, but Blood Widow is, for a change, telling the truth. Sadly though, what it chooses to intensify is bad acting.

Amateur night performances are part and parcel when your hobby is collecting slasher films, but this makes the actors in The Dorm That Dripped Blood look like Streep and Nicholson.

With a story almost identical to (the far superior) Mask Maker, a young couple – named fucking Hugh and Laurie!? – buy an old farmhouse, which is situated next to an abandoned girls’ school where something bad happened in the late 90s. I’m thinking it was Nu-Metal.

Friends come to party and disturb the masked psychette still living there, who uses an assortment of sharp things to gut, behead, and de-limb the newcomers. Behind the admittedly creepy doll-mask, she also has ninja-lite moves and would give many a hulking loon a run for his buck.

scarehouse

After a convenient diary turns up to backfill the questions I didn’t have, the surly heroine asks the couple who sold them the place about the incident next door, they’re like “oh yeah, we should’ve told you but didn’t want to devalue the property…”

Fortunately, everyone dies and the audience exhales at the end of the terrible, terrible acting, which borders on the suspicion that the cast were trying to outdo each other in the suck stakes.

Amusingly, special makeup effects were done by a Michael Gore and, joy of joys, there’s a sequel pending.

Blame it on the girls

hashtag-horror#HORROR

2.5 Stars  2015/98m

Director/Writer: Tara Subkoff / Cast: Chloë Sevigny, Timothy Hutton, Sadie Seelert, Bridget McGarry, Hayley Murphy, Mina Sundwall, Emma Adler, Blue Lindberg, Taryn Manning, Natasha Lyonne, Balthazar Getty.

Body Count: 7

Laughter Lines: “If he’s so rich, why does he dress like that? He looks like Hitler.”


I read an article a couple of years ago where psychologists stated that childhood ‘ends’ at age 11. Hence, while all manner of organisations, parents’ groups, and what have you bleat on about protecting the children, up until they’re, say, sixteen, the kids have all but stopped being kids.

#Horror is a weird and difficult film to classify. Creator Subkoff conceived the idea based on a conversation with a friends daughter, who, when asked what horror was to her, filled Subkoff in on her cyberbullying experiences.

In the film, 12-year-old scholarship girl Sam is sort-of invited to a slumber party at rich girl Sofia Cox’s arty house in the middle of nowhere, one snowy December day. Sam’s only friend is Cat, who it seems has become slightly unhinged since the death of her mother, and whose father is ultra-controlling.

The other four girls are, like the hostess, nasty children of equally nasty parents, who spend their time bitching about how their last house was bigger and, uniformally, cannot be without their phones for more than a matter of seconds, with which they video or photograph everything, competing in a social media site that gives them points based on popularity. It’s all that matters.

Hash3

The girls communicate via the medium of put-down (their rule is that if anybody laughs, it’s not mean), bubbling over until Cat is thrown out by the others after she goes too far insulting the requisite tubby girl. Sam convinces the others to lock away their phones for an hour while Sofia’s mother (Sevigny) is at an AA meeting. At this point, they’re forced to open up and have a sub-Breakfast Club conversation about parents who ignore them, divorces, first periods, first kisses… But it doesn’t last: “There’s nothing to do without our phones.”

Cat’s father crashes in looking for his daughter, trying to scare some sense into the girls. Sam goes to look for Cat in vain, and discovers the body of Sofia’s father, who was slashed up at the beginning and, eventually, the killer goes after the girls in the last twenty minutes or so.

Unpleasant characters abound, both adult and child, with Sam the only halfway decent one, and even she shies away from doing the right thing at the right time, so desperate to fit in she goes along with the others’ cruelty.

Hash2

Mixed to bad reviews are indicative of a problematic film, mainly because it doesn’t adhere to any set genre and only becomes a slasher film at the very end, but the message is clear that social media is the big villain over and above any nut in a mask, that tweens, girls in particular it would seem, are so vulnerable they’re willing to sacrifice any real friendships in favour of ‘likes’.

A cross between Welcome to the Dollhouse and last year’s Facebook-kills flick Unfriended, with a few visual elements of Scott Pilgrim. Just remember it’s an art film before a horror film, title be damned. And fortunately my 12-year-old niece can just about be pried apart from her phone.

Blurbs-of-interest: Taryn Manning was also in Groupie; Natasha Lyonne was in Madhouse; Balthazar Getty was in The Tripper.

Moves like dagger

sbSATAN’S BLADE

1 Stars  1983/18/76m

“It took over 100 years… but the blade got even!”

Director/Writer: L. Scott Castillo Jr. / Writer: Thomas Cue / Cast: Tom Bongiorno, Stephanie Leigh Steel, Thomas Cue, Elisa R. Malinowitz, Janeen Lowe.

Body Count: 13


Justin Kerswell of Hysteria Lives! sent me a third-generation VHS copy of this film a long, long time ago (quite plausibly 100 years). In the days before DVD, second, third, fourth gen dupes of films that were very cheaply made in the first place and going from NTSC to PAL format weren’t always a pleasure to watch… Satan’s Blade may have come from Satan himself.

Holidaymakers spending their precious vacation time at a ski resort are informed of a local legend about a giant man, pissed off at the locals forcing him further and further up the mountain blah-centuries ago, and a recent murder at one of the cabins is scaring everyone into believing it all over again.

The first forty minutes is the usual meet-the-meat rubbish, with five girls in one cabin, and two couples next door: Sue’s moaning about her dead father, while walking bouffant Al is constantly hungry, and Stephanie flirts with Tony, whose wife thinks she’s not exciting enough for him. And boy is she right.

Cue shaky POV camera work and the killer offs four of the girls in less than two minutes before going after the happy couples and the final girl (who smokes and kisses married men – gasp!) Once the entire cast has been stabbed, there’s a summary explanation offered up to try and make some sense of it all: Anyone who picks up the titular skanky old knife is turned into a killer blah, blah, blah…

A horrible shrill piano soundtrack drowns out much of the dialogue, and sounds like it was ripped off of Blondie’s Call Me. Post final fade-out, the producers have the nerve to inform us that “The Legend Continues” but there’s no Satan’s Blade II just yet. But it waited 100 years before, look out people of 2083!

One way trip

shroomsSHROOMS

1.5 Stars  2007/18/81m

“Get ready to get wasted.”

Director: Paddy Breathnach / Writer: Pearse Elliott / Cast: Lindsey Haun, Jack Huston, Max Kasch, Maya Hazen, Alice Greczyn, Robert Hoffman, Don Wycherley, Sean McGinley.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “You can’t fuck up what’s already fucked.”


Ireland supplied this disappointing comic horror in which five American college kids join a local on a camping trip into the woods for Shroom Season, where mind-trips galore await those who dare to sample to delicacies the forest floor has to offer.

Good girl Tara (Kirsten Dunst-a-like Haun) accidentally scoffs a forbidden Devil’s Head mushroom, which is reported to cause a variety of mind-bending affects including violent outbursts and foresight.

Tara begins to experience the latter and hosts visions of her friends’ murders during their respective trips, at the hands of a feral creature – the possible survivor of a massacre at the closed-down young offenders home they share the locus with.

Things kick off amusingly with a talking cow, dogging, and cold-blooded murder. The midriff of the project is consumed almost entirely by the three female characters running through the trees and shrieking like banshees, not too dissimilar to The Blair Witch Project, but not nearly as innovative.

Shrooms2Ultimately, the groan-worthy twist is too understated and pointless to save a film that is neither funny enough nor scary enough to warrant any kind of recommendation. The performances and photography are acceptable but lacklustre, and come the credits it feels like you’ve just wasted an hour and a half on nothing – but maybe that’s the ironic underlying message of this regrettable trip?

Wake me when it’s over

DreamaniacDREAMANIAC

1 Stars  1986/82m

“You don’t have to live on Elm Street to have nightmares.”

Director: David DeCoteau / Writer: Helen Robinson / Cast: Thomas Bern, Kim McKamy, Sylvia Summers, Lauren Peterson, Cynthia Crass, Brad Laughlin, Bob Pelham, Matthew Phelps, Linda Watts.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “Do I know you?” / “I doubt it, I’ve gone to private schools all my life and I’m rich.” / “Oh that’s right, you’re Francis! I thought I recognised those small tits.”


Back in the 1980s, I bet many a disappointed video renter plucked this one from the shelf, thinking it was going to rival Freddy Krueger for some intense scares.

Not so. This early DeCoteau vehicle is an endurance test: Heavy metal lyricist Adam agrees to let his girlfriend Pat’s sister Jodi throw a sorority party at the house he’s sitting. Amidst weird dreams about naked people in baths of blood and a woman with a decapitated head, he conjures up Lily, a succubus who trades sexual favours for the lives of horny teenage partygoers.

In typical mid-80s style, nobody’s ever seen or heard of a slasher film, so they all wander off alone, have sex, don’t leave when the power goes out, allowing Lily and a possessed Adam to knife, electrocute, and bite the dick’s off the party guests.

Some of them seem to come back as zombies and need to be killed again, but I wasn’t sure about that… The Spanish copy I watched had quite a bad resolution.

dm1A ‘joke’ is added to the end for reasons unknown, it’s a bit funny, but more or less negates the previous 75 minutes and the entire USP of the film, but DeCoteau was churning out these babies left, right and centre so I doubt anyone really cared. There’s a fair splattering of gory denouements and at least he populates it with his trademark array of easy-on-the-eye menfolk with their shirts off.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kim McKamy was later in Evil Laugh; DeCoteau turned in what may be his only other slasher film (?) in 2001, Final Stab.

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