#7 – Lovely Molly
This 2011 film follows a married couple who return to the Bride’s childhood home, only for her to begins to be haunted by the past intruding on her present. Lovely Molly dips into themes of mental illness, trauma, and sexual abuse. It is unfortunately just overly moody and not really in that cathartic sort of way like other films in the past few weeks It’s pretty slow overall with some elements left a bit too ambiguous to be truly satisfying.
The film does have some interesting moments, but then tend to be few and far between overly one-note drama.
#6 – The Deeper You Dig
This movie was interesting, created by a family of filmmakers, and while it was a very budget sort of movie, but the budget goes a surprisingly long way. The Deeper You Dig is a movie about a tragic accident and poor choices that link a woman, her daughter, and a stranger in a rural community. It is a fun concept but it the run-time stretches the material farther than it needs to be.
The film also uses some interesting surrealistic imagery that is surprisingly effective, however it feels out of place given the main story. This film could have benefit from a less is more approach, honestly, focusing on the haunting and less on the otherworldly psychic dives.
#5 – The House by the Cemetery
So this film wasn’t a 1970s film at all, but it has that leftover 1970s-vibe present up through the early 1980s. The House by the Cemetery (1981) is a Lucio Fulci film, but not among his best.
It’s one of those Italian films that is set in America and largely kind of occupies that strange sort of there-but-not-really aesthetic. The film follows a family that moves into a house… by a cemetery in New England. However, a series of murders leads to a strange and horrible mystery.
The film is kind of slow and slightly bonkers in that way a lot of Italian horror can be, but the reveal of the “Doctor” is absolutely awesome and the final handful of deaths are exciting. However, all this is undercut by a frankly goofy ending.
#4 – Terrified
Terrified, set in Buenos Aires is an interesting film, but ultimately suffers from some unnecessary bloat and complications to what could have been a leaner, more exciting horror film. The film involves a neighborhood dealing with a series of supernatural events and focuses on two paranormal experts and a couple of police officers dealing with three separate houses.
The problem is, the haunting across three locations feels thin. The lack of focus on a major threat creates some undercooked ideas. You have two potentially strong, singular hauntings that don’t get the attention they deserve. The other thing is that while the different hauntings are related, they are separate enough to where it feels more anthologized than a connected, singular narrative. There is good stuff to be found here, don’t get me wrong.
I just wish they limited their focus.
#3 – Theater of Blood
An hour and a half of Vincent Price vamping around the screen in the 1970s as a jilted psychopathic actor? That’s what you get with Theatre of Blood.
It’s goofy, ridiculous, and utterly charming as a Vincent Price movie can be. It has some hilariously awful black humor-driven murders that stand out, and while the central mystery is a non-issue, it’s fun to watch these society-types get picked off in increasingly elaborate and dramatic ways.
Plus, you get Vincent Price in an afro and Diana Rigg as his accomplice. You’re welcome.
#2 – The Cleansing Hour
A surprisingly fun film, not that I was expecting anything low-quality, mind you. The Cleansing Hour would make a fun double-feature with Shudder’s Host given the tech focus.
This movie is about a group that livestreams fake exorcisms to fans around the world, only to become involved with a real demonic possession. It’s a bleakly hilarious sort of horror film about comeuppance and forgiveness and it also has one ridiculously fun ending with a real sequel hook. I’d love to see a follow-up set in this world.
The movie also features a fun bonus: there are a ton of blink-and-you-miss-them jokes in the chatroom for the livestream. The Cleansing Hour definitely will be a movie that will reward a second or third watch.
#1 – Belzebuth
I saw this one a while back and enjoyed the hell out of it, and after another watch is still one of the better films on offer on Shudder. Belzebuth is a fantastic bit of religious horror and dour as hell. It’s limited to a community in Mexico but has an absolutely global-scale conflict and implication.
The movie follows a Detective, still struggling with a family tragedy, who must investigate a massacre at a school. The nature of the killings, however, may have biblical consequences when a priest from the Vatican joins the investigation.
This is one of those films that introduces world-shattering consequences in a limited way, which I appreciate. Much like The Cleansing Hour this week, or The Beach House in previous weeks, the film introduces some horror weirdness that will change the world but keeps the focus on a small group of people and how that horror effects their lives. I live for that sort of stuff.
So, those are my rankings for week six. What do you think? Am I off base? Do you want to fight me? Come at me in the comments.
We tackle some really fun movies next time, so stick around, won’t you?