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It’s been three weeks of horror thanks to Shudder so far and I am enjoying the nightly ritual of watching something, oftentimes some film I have never seen before. So, how do this week’s movies rank for me?

#7 – Still/Born

The 19th film I have watched, the Shudder exclusive Still/Born, is fun but ultimately a little shallow. The film follows a couple who lose one of their twins during childbirth. What follows is an extended metaphor for postpartum depression which integrates demons or ghosts, it’s kind of confusing what the entity actually is, and a traumatized mother trying to protect her remaining child.

The film includes veteran actor Michael Ironside who… doesn’t really add much to the proceedings. As a whole, the movie is just sort of bland. Not a terrible way to kill some time, but not one I want to revisit right away, either.

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1307481693075329025

#6 – Mausoleum

How this movie never ended up on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a mystery to me. The 16th movie of the festivities is Mausoleum. This cheesy 1983 possession “thriller” stars (a term I use loosely) Bobbie Bresee, and Marjoe Gortner (of Starcrash-fame). The movie follows a woman who, as a child was possessed by an entity in a mausoleum, who one day starts murdering horny men with her psychic abilities.

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The movie is an entertaining mess. There is nudity, ridiculous death scenes, and largely it makes no sense whatsoever. So I expect this to be on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs next season.

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1306382986212814848

#5 – Found Footage 3D

Film #15, Found Footage 3D, wears the inherent ridiculousness of the concept of a 3D found footage movie, and I assume that the 3D effects were pretty fun. I wouldn’t know because I do not own 3D glasses and watched it like a normal film. Without the 3D gimmick, much of the film just seemed like a pointless lampshade hanging on the tropes of two genres of film and little else.

I wouldn’t mind seeing it again with 3D glasses, at least. I feel like I probably missed a lot with this one without them.

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1306063449923829760

#4 – Spiral

Shudder’s latest addition to its collection of LGBTQ+ horror films is Spiral, which was the 17th movie in this little 61-day experiment. The film, unrelated to the upcoming SAW spinoff turned out to be a fun and chilling little movie about the anxiety felt by gay folks in strange little towns. It’s got a nice creepy concept though the actual scares were minimal. It wears the small town cult-trappings fairly well, and it has a decent sense of scale thanks to the recurring nature of events played out in the film.

It also is a period piece, taking place in 1995. Yes. Movies set in the 1990s are now period pieces.

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https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1306757519834935297

#3 – Warning: Do Not Play

Movie #18 is the South Korean ghost story Warning: Do Not Play. It turns out to be a fun, if somewhat predictable metacommentary of obsessive personalities and the perpetuation of poor choices by obsessive personalities. The movie follows a screenwriter who becomes obsessed with a film that was supposedly shot by a ghost. Naturally, her desires for this film cause her to make poor choices and inevitably bring her into the path of the only survivor of the film, all to predictable but fun ends.

This movie is not revolutionary by any means, but it’s shot well and it’s effective. It is definitely worth a watch.

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1307112269415944192

#2 – The Taking of Deborah Logan

One of the better of the possession horror films of the last 10 years and a solid found-footage horror film to boot. The Taking of Deborah Logan is the 14th movie of the 61 Days of Halloween event. The movie follows a film crew as the document the stages of decay of Deborah Logan, a woman who has Alzheimer’s. It turns out there there is something a little more supernatural going on, though. The movie has some genuine chills, and the found footage format actually adds to the feel of the film rather than appearing as a gimmick.

It also has one of my favorite “wtf” visuals of the films I’ve watched over the last three weeks. Keep your eye peeled at the end for something “jaw-dropping.”

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1305666813888397313

#1 – Phantasm

Look, if the week includes Phantasm then Phantasm is probably going to be my number one choice. This is just inevitable, as is the setting of the sun in the west. If you’ve not seen Phantasm then you are missing the first installment of an all-time great horror series. I’d say it’s akin to The Evil Dead as far as legacy and influence goes. The film follows two brothers and a close friend as they investigate an odd funeral home and the dangerous, otherworldly entity that resides within.

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Look, just watch it, okay?

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1305310735598190592

So, that was week three. You can always check the week one and week two impressions as well. We do not know what is lined up for week four. Regardless, I’m on-board for the long haul. See y’all next week with a new batch of impressions.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

Editorial

Crashin’ in Roswell NM: Road Trippin’ with Jennifer Weigel

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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.

Some of the signs: Roswell NM including city limits, UFO Museum and stickered parking sign, and Restricted Area from inside the museum
Some of the signs: Roswell NM

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.

Alien crash site photo opportunity at UFO Museum
Alien crash site photo opportunity

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.

Alien landing at UFO Museum
Alien landing

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…

Portrait of the writer at the Roswell Visitor Center (Yes even they have aliens!)
Portrait at Roswell Visitor Center

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.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

If you’re feeling a bit extraterrestrial, I invite you to also check out some of my alien-themed stories here on Haunted MTL: LTD UFOs among us; my Drive-By short story; and LTD Abducted.

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American Horror Story Season 12, Delicate

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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. 

A still from American Horror Story Delicate first promo.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!

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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.

picture of Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl sitting in lawn chairs on the set of The Last Drive-In. Behind them we see a white camping trailer with red string lights along the top and a bright red and blue neon sign that reads "The Last Drive-In' in the background. Joe Bob is seen wearing an orange collard button down long sleeve shirt and black jeans with snake skin cowboy boots. His hands rest on his thighs as he invites you in with a warm smile. Darcy is seen sitting to Joe Bob's left wearing a mail girl costume with fishnet stockings, her legs neatly crossed over one another. Surrounding the two hosts is an ice box with empty beer bottles and cans resting on the top and an old tube screen television in the front of them.
host Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl on the set of ‘The Last Drive-In‘.

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!

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