We’re now at week two of the 61 Days of Halloween through Shudder and we have seven movies to rank. I don’t think my rankings will be too controversial, but we’ll see! This is our first full week of Halloween goodness, so that means seven films. Twitter threads are presented alongside each film.
Let’s get spooky!
#7 – Countess Dracula
I love Hammer horror films. They practically serenade my more gothy-tendencies and the production values, costuming, and candy-red blood just evoke such positive feelings within me. Hammer’s films are like a kind of comfort food, where even if the offering isn’t among their best, you still get something out of it.
Countess Dracula is fun. There’s blood, breasts, and some solid acting. Hammer also manages to bring ridiculously beautiful women to the screen. The story is pretty much a loose adaptation of the lore around Elizabeth Báthory. Throw in a narrative revolving around inheritance and courtly scheming and you end up with a fun little romp for an hour or two. It’s fine, but not among the best the studio has produced.
#6 – Sweet Sweet Lonely Girl
I am generally a fan of slow burn horror. The tension builds agonizingly until everything falls apart, but my main concern with Sweet Sweet Lonely Girl is twofold. One, the film is slow, until it suddenly, jarringly is not. It takes a long period of time for the general unease to give way to the supernatural and when the supernatural does arrive, it’s more confusing than horrifying. Secondly, if you miss a key detail within the first five minutes of the film then you wind up confused by the ending.
It’s a moody, LGBTQ+ period piece, but isn’t among the best exclusives of the service. Stick to Ty West’s The House of the Devil for that 1970s/1980s throwback aesthetic with modern storytelling.
#5 – Southbound
Southbound is a fun anthology of sorts of different stories that bleed into one another. I believe at one point I described it as a “Tex-Mex Silent Hill” which is an assessment I will stand by.
It is all very solid stuff and a ton of fun. A couple of the stories are quite compelling. Not all of them are fantastic pieces but they all feel fairly well connected through the location. Just what is the place? Who knows, maybe it’s Hell (as seen in one of the segments) or maybe it’s more like the Bermuda Triangle? It really doesn’t matter in the end. It is just a pretty fun ride the whole way through.
#4 – Fade to Black
Fade to Black might be a bit of a mixed bag for a number of viewers. It’s definitely less a horror film than a psychological thriller, but those genres are kissing-cousins anyway, so what does that matter in the long run? Fade To Black follows a movie-obsessed nerd who, after being bullied and stood up too many times, ends up snapping and engaging in a series of destructive acts, all themed around a variety of movies. His crimes eventually escalate to murder, as you’d expect. His obsession with a Marilyn Monroe lookalike, however, presents some of the more disturbing elements of his crime spree.
It’s basically a good version of Joker.
#3 – Noroi: The Curse
“J-Horror found footage” is either something you are instantly intrigued by or you are more than willing to pass up. I am of the former and this was my first experience with Noroi. It’s a great film, not just as a found-footage movie, but because it exudes that sort of weirdness that makes for the best J-Horror by latching onto certain ideas and images and running with them. Noroi is wonderfully paced, presents some creepy lore, but more importantly uses found footage in such a way that it feels very authentic, as though you are watching something illicit and being exposed to a darker world than you know.
This one comes highly recommended.
#2 – Tourist Trap
I love Tourist Trap. It is a dumb film in the best way possible and if I see it is playing anywhere (which seems to be increasingly frequently these days) I tune in. It’s just too much fun.
Look, the movie makes no sense. It’s not very scary, the gore is virtually absent and the killer is so patently ridiculous you’d be more prone to use the film as an example of what not to do. Yet something about it just works. I have been obsessed with it since I saw it back during the first Joe Bob Briggs revival on Shudder.
I think so much of it comes from the fact that journeyman Chuck Connors just buys into the utter ridiculousness of the concept and runs with it. It’s such a bizarre little film and watching it for the 10th time was still a highlight of the week for me.
#1 – The Changeling
This is one of my favorite horror films of all time and of course it would rank as #1 for the week. It was inevitable, really. The Changeling is a classic ghost story starting George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere. The movie combines tragic loss, great ghost story tropes, and political intrigue is such a flawless way that I honestly feel a remake could work out very well because of the bones of what makes this movie are so goddamn strong. I don’t think it is a movie that should be remade, of course, but I am just saying that it is so good that a remake would probably be good just because it can borrow so heavily from its source.
That being said, I can’t believe I was such a jackass and misspelled ghost in the tweet. Sigh.
I’ll be sticking with Shudder’s recommendations for week three, which are the following:
So, are you all enjoying the ride so far? What movies are you watching week to week to bring in the season?
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.
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.
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