Stitch, the horror/drama and not the Disney movie (unless Bob Iger took a huge sidestep), was the first full-length feature of Ajai (Ajaya Kumar Mathai) featuring everyone’s favorite angsty future-savior, Edward Furlong. Stitch is part horror and part thought piece, with a crapton of ambition on a starving artist’s budget.
To be fair and honest, I cold-watched this movie. It started playing after the movie I was watching ended and I thought, “Huh, this is a weird-looking movie from the early 2000’s. Let’s see where this goes.”
It’s from 2013. Oof, okay. Yes, the visual effects are very dated for that recent. It’s a step above the Sci-Fi Channel of yore and Xenia, but around-abouts Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s first season with CGI.
However, after looking at reviews from other websites, I don’t think the hate it gets is entirely fair. There are pretty redeemable points in the movie that make it an interesting watch.
So, let’s get down into the meat of it. Trigger warning: kid gets killed.
The grieving parents of a young girl arrive in the middle of the desert to a house that they’ve rented with two friends to try to confront their loss. One of their friends facilitates this as a ritual, calling upon Death itself, so that they can confront and accept their daughter’s passing.
However, after the ritual, strange things begin to happen and a cataclysmic force keeps them inside the house while Death stalks them, cutting and stitching pieces of their bodies when they’re most vulnerable. While trapped, secrets begin to unravel and memories of their daughter begin to resurface. Maybe everything was not as simple and honest as it all seemed…
The setting and effects were visually pretty interesting (apart from the lightning world). The makeup was beautifully done, I can’t stress that enough. The stitches were really precise and painful-looking.
The acting and writing was mostly pretty good. Act one was a bit stilted, but it was very enjoyable as soon as everything went to hell. Hint: everyone is an asshole and they did a really good job at portraying that. And in the ending, I think it shows you…why the acting is hyper-realized. Honestly, I thought that was cleverly done.
And speaking of that, I actually liked the ending. That’s a controversial statement. Oh well. I thought it wove everything in pretty well and left me pretty satisfied. But, maybe I’ve been there. Maybe I’ve felt that before. Maybe I could understand what Ajai was going for because maybe I, too, have performed the ritual…
Brain Roll Juice:
Here’s my unpopular opinion puffin moment – I liked the movie.
Ajai certainly has a style and enormous vision/ambition. This movie, while reminiscent of early 2000’s movies (such as Identity, The Cell, and The Cube), had its own ideas and concepts. To be honest, if this was a well-structured horror game, I think people would probably be singing a different song. I think that the medium and budget were the biggest restrictions for Ajai’s design.
But I don’t think that the concept was bad or annoying, as some critics have written. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see something a bit different and with a more Outer Limits twist (not quite Twilight Zone quality, but pushing against the conventional boundaries). It offers something that actually was daring and different.
It’s so often to hear the the complaint from fans that the horror genre is stale or that low-budget relies on tropes to get people watching, but when someone actually shoots for something off-kilter, people are quick to judge. Sure, there are things that would have strengthened the film and story, it’s not flawless, but I think it’s under-rated. This film has style and imagination, which is usually lacking in half the movies I watch. Stitch isn’t a clean movie, but it’s got heart.
And yeah, maybe it didn’t live up to its potential, but this is also the director’s first full-length feature. It’s a shame it didn’t do better because I’m curious what other ideas he has. Maybe he should talk to the gaming industry…
Feels like an early 2000’s psychological thriller/horror. Does that sound up your alley? Give it a try, then. Just be patient with the Lightning World effects.(4 / 5)
The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 / 5)
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.
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 / 5)