So, what were the offerings and how do I rank them? Let’s go.
Now to go catch up with week six.
#7 – Nightmare Cinema
Nightmare Cinema is a horror anthology. It’s not my favorite of the anthologies shown during the 61 Days of Halloween so far, nor is it my favorite of the movies shown in week five. The only real segment that felt worth watching was the final segment involving ghosts and a vengeful carjacker. Even with that being said, the segment was still a bit of a mess. The shorts are presented as films in a purgatoryesque movie theater where they are being shown their sins or whatever. The whole project feels like it is more of a failed horror anthology television show than a cohesive anthology film.
It’s not great.
#6 – The Lift
This horror film from the Netherlands, The Lift, is a little bit goofy and not written well, but still pretty fun. You’d be surprised how many ways an elevator can kill people. Well, there’s really only two or three… but they sure are fun to watch. The movie follows an elevator technician who discovers a computerized menace that has caused an elevator to become homicidal.
Honestly, it sounds like a standup bit, I know, but it’s worth seeing for the novelty of the elevator killing people. The story around it is kind of terrible, including the awful subplot about adultery, but you gotta take the bad (poor writing) with the good (elevator murder).
#5 – Dead and Buried
What happens when you get Dan O’Bannon as your screenwriter about two years after Alien? You get this delightful little seaside horror tale called Dead & Buried. The movie, dated to 1981, feels like it is firmly planted in the storytelling and aesthetics of the late 1970s, but it isn’t a terrible thing, either. The film is very modest in budget and means, telling a limited tale about disappearing strangers in a seaside community and a mortician who seems to know more than he lets on. It also has a rather fun twist ending which, ultimately isn’t that shocking, but has a fun reveal regardless.
All in all, a surprisingly fun like slice of horror. Plus, a surprising appearance by a pre-Freddy Robert Englund.
#4 – The Mimic
K-Horror has been a big feature of Shudder’s 61 Days of Halloween and as a whole, they’ve largely worked as good Halloween flicks for the event. They also come off as surprisingly worldly. The Mimic is a good example of this.
Based on a Korean folktale about the Tiger of Jangsan, the film follows a family, struggling with the loss of a child, under assault by the supernatural entity. The film plays a bit with themes of isolation quite well, and it really ratchets up the tension inherent of the Tiger’s ability: it mimics voices to lure the unsuspecting. The film has some generally creepy moments and while it has some culturally-specific moments, anyone should be able to dive in and enjoy it. Overall, a solid pick.
#3 – Daniel Isn’t Real
Daniel Isn’t Real was one of the first Shudder exclusives I had heard of, but never got around to seeing. Thankfully I finally sat down to watch it and it turned out to be one of my favorite films of the week.
The movie follows a young man from a family troubled by mental illness who develops an imaginary friend as a child, who is not so imaginary back then, or now, when he resurfaces. The film is pretty stylish and presents some creepy moments involving possessions and influence. It’s particularly tense to watch if you cringe easily at people doing things against the will and hurting people in their lives.
The film also has the unique bonus of starring sons of major Hollywood figures: Miles Robbins, son of Tim Robbins, plays the protagonist, Luke, while Patrick Schwarzenegger plays the titular Daniel. I should not need to explain who Patrick’s father is…
#2 – Scare Me
We arrive at another Shudder exclusive that was surprisingly fun and an example of some of the more unique horror-comedy offerings on the service. Scare Me is a fun little film that follows two writers telling scary stories that grow increasingly personal until the early hours of the morning. There is a kind of manic improvisational energy to the whole thing, and while it is light on scares, ends up being a fun diversion for an October night.
You can read a more in-depth review of Scare Me here at Haunted MTL.
#1 – Wake Wood
Wake Wood surprised me. I had not heard of it before and I was pleasantly surprised to see the logo for Hammer Films pop up as I sat down to watch. Hammer Films’ recent resurgence has been fun to witness. The movie is a throwback to 1970s rural village horror and as a whole, it is quite fun. I could see this being made back in 1976 or so and turning out quite well.
The film itself is effective, carried largely by the performances of Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthistle as parents who strike a deal to bring their dead daughter back to life for three days. Unfortunately, secrets are kept and this deal goes south, as one would expect from a horror film. It just feels like a deliberately small-scale throwback and I really enjoyed it.
So those are the films of week five, ranked. What do you think? Feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments.
As for the lineup for the rest of the month, Shudder has us covered.
Crashin’ in Roswell NM: Road Trippin’ with Jennifer Weigel
So on my recent road trip to Miami AZ USA for my menstruation art installation, we decided to detour to Roswell NM en route home. To be honest, this was one of the best decisions of my life, up there with road trippin’ from Arizona to San Francisco along CA-Highway 1, and I will go into the details of why here soon.
Roswell NM USA has totally embraced its alien history of the UFO crash in the late 1940s and subsequent government cover up. The whole town is alien-happy with beautiful hand carved wood totems, murals and statues everywhere celebrating otherworldly denizens of all types, though predominantly the gray aliens of the crash (and their green counterparts). Even the city logo features a flying saucer as the center of the letter “R”. It really is kind of incredible.
One of the biggest draws is the International UFO Museum and Research Center, housed in the wonderful old theater building. This museum details the crash history as well as celebrating aliens in movies and media and examining newer alien sightings and abductions. It is very thorough and includes maquettes, statues, written accounts and an extensive research library, as well as an interesting art collection of various items.
And there are TONS of fun alien themed curiosity shops. I will give a shout out to the newer Invasion Station north on Main Street where there had once been an old car dealership. I love the quirky nature of this particular store as well as their strong desire to promote local artists. Most of their wares are hand-painted in NM and feature designs by prominent local artists including one of the lead muralists in town (I bought a magnet of his). They also feature really alternative kitsch like KISS and Ace Frehley alien bobbleheads, marijuana and anal references, and such. All in all, our own Haunted MTL’s kinda folks…
And the city is a huge tourist draw internationally, so you can meet some amazing and interesting folks from all walks of life who have caught the alien bug or at least want to check out all the hype. As a result of the tourism, the residents seem really laid back and accommodating (kind of like Hawaii but not quite as much) and there is a thriving art scene. And it’s totally my kind of art – weird and a little creepy. Anyway, I feel like I’ve finally found my peeps and am eager to return someday.
American Horror Story Season 12, Delicate
Killer Queens, I wasn’t expecting to be back so soon with American Horror Story info. But yesterday we were blessed with a teaser for the intro of Season 12, which we believe will be titled Delicate.
We are looking at a Summer release for season twelve, but won’t know for sure until June, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Here’s what we know right now.
First, yes Kim Kardashian is starring alongside Emma Roberts in a role that was written specifically for her.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that AHS favorites will also be involved. According to IMBD, Charlie Carver, Rebecca Dayan, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, and Denis O’Hare will be included this season.
AHS Delicate is different from other seasons in many other ways. It’s the first season to ever be written by just one writer, Halley Feiffer. This isn’t a writer most of us as horror fans will be familiar with. She’s written episodes of shows like Kidding, SMILF, and American Crime Story. The last one can at least be seen as a sister show to AHS.
As far as I have found, Feiffer has never written horror content. She is now the sole writer for an entire season of the most popular horror show in America. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just not what I would have expected. Most AHS writers are staff writers, actors from the show, or at least people I’ve heard of. So as we don’t have any former work to look at, we can only wait to see how she does.
We also know what the source material is for this season. It’s a book called Delicate Condition, by Danielle Valentine. This book will be released in August of this year. Which also seemed strange to me. Normally a book would be, you know, published before it inspires additional work.
Even so, Delicate Condition seems like a fascinating story. According to Goodreads, it’s the story of a woman named Anna. Anna is trying to get pregnant but starts to believe that something dark is working against her. Her doctors don’t believe her. Her husband doesn’t believe her. Is she losing her mind?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply interested in this book. And I have to assume that Feiffer and Murphy already have hands on it, to jump to this sort of decision.
By the way, Valentine at least is not an untested writer. Her first novel, How To Survive Your Murder, also made it right on my TBR pile. With a rating of 3.7 out of 4 on Goodreads, I think we can assume Valentine knows what she’s doing with the written word.
This is all that we know about American Horror Story Delicate so far. What follows are my thoughts and opinions only.
My first thought is that this season is going to be dealing heavily with women’s reproductive rights. This is a topic a lot of us are concerned about right now, as it feels like every day women lose more and more rights to our bodies.
(By the way, if you want to help fight the good fight for body autonomy and get some spooky stories, we have an anthology for that. I have a story in it, as does the horrifyingly talented Jennifer Weigel. All proceeds go to support organizations that help women make their own health decisions.)
American Horror Story has handled important political issues before. Last season, AHS NYC discussed the AIDs epidemic that went largely ignored in the 80s and killed hundreds of young gay men. They did this in the best way possible, in what this critic believes to be the only way fiction should handle heavy topics. They rooted the issue in a good story. A story that was pure fiction, but also true.
However, this season has a lot of red flags. Never before have I seen the guest star be the main focus so early. Never have I seen any franchise bank so much faith in an all but untested writer, basing work on a book that isn’t even published. And frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Kim K, or anyone else who’s famous seemingly just for being famous.
I’m not rooting for this season to fail just because I don’t like the guest star. If Kardashian is good at this, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be the first one singing her praises. But when everything we know so far is added up, I’m a lot more concerned about AHS Delicate than I am excited.
The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!
They say good things come to those who wait, and boy have we been patient. It has been close to a year since our eyes have indulged a full season of ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’, in fact, the season 4 finale premiered on Shudder July 1st, 2022. Since then, we have been able to satisfy our appetites with festive holiday specials sprinkled throughout the past year. Specials such as ‘Joe Bob’s Halloween Hangout’ guest starring horror’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira (played by the legendary Cassandra Peterson) and ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’. Last month was a treat in itself, as we were able to witness Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) marry one lucky couple for the first time on the show with ‘Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine‘ special.
While the current changes in staff at Shudder have left fans questioning whether we will receive a new season of the popular series, I can happily say mutant family, we need not worry. In fact, to our wonderous surprise, Joe Bob Briggs has officially announced via Twitter, season 5 of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ will be premiering April 21st, exclusively on Shudder! One thing that is noteworthy, is unlike previous seasons, it has been reported by 1428Elm that season 5 will be broken up into two parts of five double-feature blood-curdling episodes. Though we have not been provided the official release schedule for the second block of season 5, here is a sneak peek of what we can expect for the first half of the season:
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama’s Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
Unfortunately, we do not have an official list of the brand-new double feature films for the first half of season 5 but, with amusing episode titles such as these, one can only imagine what grindhouse-classics will be joining ‘The Last Drive-In’s’ already eclectic list of sloshy goodness. For those impatient mutants eagerly waiting for more hilarious Joe Bob rant-filled commentaries, or those newcomers who’ve yet to experience the magic that is ‘The Last Drive-In‘, all previous four seasons, including past holiday specials are currently available to stream now on Shudder.
If you are just as big of fans of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ as we here at HauntedMTL are, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @HauntedMTL and join us April 21st as we tweet along with Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl for the season premier. As is tradition, we will be hosting live watch parties every Friday with each new episode, including fresh holiday specials. The road to season 5 is upon us…let the countdown begin!
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama's Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
. . . and that's only the beginning.#TheLastDriveIn pic.twitter.com/WfeTx0shNa— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) March 16, 2023