What surprises were in store for us this time and how do they stack up? Well, rather than the usual seven films, we got a double-feature treat. So we are ranking eight movies this time around.
#8 – The Old Dark House
Not the best of the Universal Studios pre-code films, The Old Dark House is still a fun glimpse at an earlier era. The film follows a group of strangers who take shelter in an old, dark house during a flood. The film’s top billing goes to Boris Karloff, credited merely as KARLOFF, but the real stand out performance comes from Melvyn Douglas, playing a real roustabout and raconteur.
The film is more of a comedy than a straight horror film, but a lot of that humor fails to lick outside of the 1930s. Despite this, the film does play with some tropes of the then-burgeoning genre.
#7 – Satan’s Slaves
Satan’s Slaves is a modern remake-prequel of a 1980s Indonesian classic. Part of the Saturday night double-feature, this was the first Joko Anwar movie shown. The film follows a poverty-stricken family that is rocked by the death of their matriarch after caring for her for years. However, her death reveals a dark secret about the family and the larger world.
The movie is fine. It feels more style over substance, perhaps from it being locked into an existing story. Visually it’s quite impressive, but between this and Anwar’s Impetigore, the latter is superior.
#6 – The Monster Club
The Monster Club is a goofy anthology film adapting several stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes. The film is largely known for Vincent Price, a goofy burlesque scene involving a skeleton, and a pretty fun soundtrack. Price’s vampire, Eramus, gets a blood donation from a fictionalized version of R. Chetwind-Hayes, played by the legendary John Carradine. The two then find themselves in a club for monsters, watching acts between stories about the monster world.
Only one of the segments feels memorable at all, honestly, and that is just for the ending. Otherwise this is a fairly forgettable movie outside of a few bright spots. The surprisingly punk-adjacent soundtrack is a lot of fun.
#5 – Patrick
Patrick is an Australian oddity that is a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Directed by Richard Franklin, the movie came with the first wave of Ozsploitation movies that swept the late 1970s and early 1980s. The movie follows a nurse, estranged from her husband, who takes a job at a hospital, ultimately caring for a comatose patient named Patrick. Patrick may not be as comatose as everyone thinks and his penchant for murder may be just as active.
It is an oddly mean-spirited little movie and a scene involving a frog feels particularly alarming, yet the people who should die ultimately don’t. Still, though, the lasting legacy of Patrick is less the movie and the fact it was a step towards Psycho II (directed by Richard Franklin) and inspired a moment in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
#4 – The Masque of the Red Death
Hoo boy, The Masque of the Red Death is a timely choice given everything going on in our world right now. This Roger Corman adaptation of the Edgar Alan Poe short story (with a bit of Hop-Frog thrown in) stars who else, but Vincent Price. The movie follows a party of the Satanic elite among the backdrop of a plague ravaging the countryside.
The movie is a fairly subdued Corman film, probably him at his best. There is plenty of cleavage to be had, of course, as his love of breasts is on full display. What is most interesting is how sexy the film is, particularly Vincent Price as the Satan-worshipping prince of the kingdom hosting the masque (at least, according tomy wife). The upside-down crucifix brand on the right breast of his concubine is also very stimulating.
Though perhaps not a great adaptation of Poe in substance, The Masque of the Red Death is still a treat.
#3 – Blood Quantum
I won’t dive far into Blood Quantum here, instead, I urge you to read my previously published review. The film still holds up well on my third viewing, for what it is worth. The movie follows a zombie outbreak in the 1980s on First Peoples’ land in Canada and makes for a unique spin on the zombie formula.
#2 – Impetigore
Impetigore struck me as the better of the Joko Anwar films in the double feature. It felt less beholden to existing in the confines of established work and let Anwar showcase a lot of fun horror, far more than Satan’s Slaves. The film follows a young woman who, after nearly getting killed, returns to her family’s ancestral village for answers, only to learn something truly horrific is going on.
The movie is very good and very creepy. What I found particularly interesting is that while it shied away from outright gore, the horror of implication was on full display and some gruesome, gruesome things happen in the story. Tara Basro, who seems to be Anwar’s good luck charm based on the number of collaborations they’ve done, puts in a very strong performance as Maya, the protagonist.
#1 – The Mortuary Collection
My selection for the best film of week six, The Mortuary Collection, I believe has the potential to start a franchise. This is an anthology title (again, another anthology…) that not only sticks the landing with most (if not all the short stories) but also has a solid narrative device that links them. The film follows a young woman who applies for a job at a mortuary in the town of Raven’s End, but we soon see the not everything is as it seems, even given the unusual appearance of the mortician.
The whole film is very stylish and I think there is a lot more that can be done with the community of Raven’s End. The film also spans several decades in its storytelling, starting with the 50s, telling a tale in the 1960s and 1970s, and framing the stories in the 1980s. Honestly, this might be one of the best anthology films on Shudder, maybe even up there with Scare Package.
So, what is on the agenda for the final two weeks of the 61 Days of Halloween? Shudder was kind enough to share the schedule on Twitter.
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