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CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN isn’t good. Come on, if I’m reviewing it, it know it ain’t winning any awards, except the ones in our hearts. And those fancy-schmancy award-winning movies, you can keep them. There’s something to be said in absolute schlock like, ‘Werewolves on Wheels’, and ‘Surf Nazis Must Die’ (and to a lesser extent, ‘Roller Gator’). They are the movies and the dreams of the *people*, man. Not some corporate suit, man. Can you dig?

CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN actually tastes a lot like, ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’. Probably used the same reel of film. Probably used the same locations, like sloppy seconds. Not the same soundtrack, unfortunately. HORSEMAN is more mumbled acoustic than ear-bleeding screeches. Too bad.

Well, let’s get into it, shall we?

a fantastic drawing of a cowboy headless horseman

CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN – The Plot:

Kinda convoluted. Ain’t gonna lie, partner. A young doctor still in residency is bequeathed a ranch when his uncle dies. However, he can only inherit the land IF he can turn profit within six months as a tourist attraction. So he, his fiancé, and…personal improv troop (?) mosey to the ranch to fix it up and try to make it a tourist-trap. While there, the creepster old caretaker tells them all the story of the Headless Horseman…who is a cowboy in this. Just go with it. Anyway, yadda yadda, eight dudes killed him and he’s cursed the lands, still riding around looking for these ocho dudes.

But pfft, yeah right, old man. We don’t believe in old tales and ghost stories. We’re hip cats from the 70’s who straight-up do improv for, like, half of the film.

But strange things start happening and people start ending up dead, so maybe it’s not just a ghost story all along…

doctor plus fiance plus convoluted will plus a million characters plus the '70's plus headless horseman plus horrible improv plus creepy old man plus dope
The Plot of the Movie

CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN – Thoughts

Okay, hear me out…It’s not great, but it had ideas. It tried. Like, not *super* hard, but there was an effort to be…something. There was a twist in the story. There was a pretentious narrator who may or may not be the ghost of the Headless Horseman. There was something weird and wild about the whole mess that keeps it watchable. Again, it’s not good. It’s very ‘Manos’…but if that’s your jam, then you’ll probably enjoy the vibes of this goofshow. It’s rough and ugly, but weird.

CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN – Brainroll Juice

Oh, I’m SORRY — is “Cowboy Headless Horseman” not doin’ it for you, pard? You’ve got to be kidding me. Re-read that, please, and then come back when you’re ready to admit what an amazing concept that is.

With all the crappy remakes and sequels that get shuffled into the mix, I would love to see this one get a remake. The premise, story and setting are actually interesting. Sure, cut some things from the plot (ahem, twenty minutes of crappy improv comedy), tighten up the writing, and throw a bit more budget at it and you could have something really interesting and (heavens forbid) fresh to watch. A rootin’ tootin’ headless horseman cowboy who stalks his victims around a haunted ranch is fascinating and…well, just a fun idea that could turn the headless horseman trope…on it’s head.

CURSE OF THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN – The Damage (Spoilers)

This is a new section that I’d like to call, “The Damage”. As in: how much psychological or legal damage is left at the end of the movie.

So at the end of this movie is the the wife, Brenda. Poor, poor Brenda. Sweet, hopeful Brenda. From Day 0, I saw the red flags and they only got worse for Brenda. She is treated so awfully and has to put up with so much shit throughout the movie from her stupid fiance/husband and his stupid friends (again…improv comedy). At the end of the movie, she has to be so psychologically scarred to watch her stupid friends die and her husband get shot right in front of her. Legally, she’s in the clear and has a nice little ranch she can sell off after his death.

I’d like to think that after years of therapy, she goes back to school, gets her Ph. D. and falls in love with another professor. Eventually they retire and open up a charming B&B in Maine with their two dogs, Buster and Brownie. She’s just got so much more to live for.

Bottomline:

Curse of the Headless Horseman won’t be for most people. Do you enjoy horrendous snuff-quality 70’s schlock? There, you have your answer.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

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The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!

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The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub mascot, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine, premiering live at 9pm EST.

Love Spells Abound…

Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, as a special treat, Briggs has announced for the first time on The Last Drive-In, he will be marrying one lucky couple during the live showing. We here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo so, as is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the broadcasting of The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us  @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder@therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.

Drawn image of Joe Bob Briggs pouring  a drop of pink liquid into a clear glass potion bottled filled with a glowing red substance. To his left lies a book a magic spells with a golden pentagram necklace resting on top. Also on the books rests a human skull with heart shaped pupils for eyes hiding behind a pair of clear glasses. In bold white letters a text reads "Join us on February 10th as we live tweet The Last Drive-In Valentine's Day Special".
Follow @hauntedMTL for live tweets and replies!

What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Picture of Joe Bob Briggs, Darcy the Mail Girl, John Patrick Brennan and Yuki Nakamura standing together dressed in medieval costumes. A cardboard cutout of Tom Atkins stands between Darcy and Yuki. Darcy is seen drapped in a beautfiul elegant princess dress, satin white with gold trim. Yuki is seen holding a small wreath of purple, white, and yellow flowers that match his loud medieval king costume. Resting atop both their heads are golden crowns. Joe Bob Briggs is seen standing to the left of Darcy, as he smiles whilst wearing a half-put together jester costumer. Lastly, we see Brennan with two wooden recorders in his hand as he mimics playing them both dress clad in a bright yellow dress.
An unexpected ceremony during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You (2021) special.

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Movies n TV

Horror Noire, a Film Review

Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”

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Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.

As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.

The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.

Woman and man wearing a vote for candidate shirt, scared of something off screne
Image from “Sundown” Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

What I Like

Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.

My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.

However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.

Woman listening to a preacher amidst a crowd
Image from “Fugue State” directed by Rob Greenlea

What I Dislike

As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.

Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Dahmer, Silenced

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Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.

Rodney Burford in Dahmer

And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.

Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.

Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship. 

Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.

Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar. 

At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.

Then, of course, things go bad. 

One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.

If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.

This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today. 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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