Don’t you just hate it when a ghost ruins all your plans and makes you fall for her indie-music singin’ ways AFTER she’s stolen your precious pizza?! I hate that the worst of all! And so does our main character in this week’s movie, A GHOST WAITS.
Thanks to Arrow:
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I want to put a trigger warning on this one for suicidal ideation/themes. So, if that’s not in your wheelhouse, I’d suggest skipping this, especially the end with “Brain Roll Juice”. Thanks and be well. – J.M.
The Plot: (spoiler-free)
Jack (MacLeod Andrews) is your typical half-neurotic, half-sweet-as-apple-pie handyman. He’s often neglected and shit on by others, including his own friends and his boss, but it’s really through no fault of his own. He likes his job and enjoys the simplicity of fixing the broken, maintaining houses, and rocking out to indie bands. He’s the kind of guy who talks to toilets while cleaning them, and making them talk back.
He’s also the type of guy who is slow on the uptake when he begins to be haunted by a dark and mysterious ghost, Muriel (Natalie Walker). So, chairs rocking on their own, lights going out, and strange dreams don’t bother him much. But push comes to shove when this ghostly apparition STEALS HIS GODDAMN PIZZA!
He then starts losing his shit before realizing what’s happening and why so many previous tenants of the house have moved out (ghost on both accounts).
However, frustrated, he confronts the ghost, shocking her and piquing her curiosity in him. They start to form a bond and maybe even…love?
But ghosting is a serious business and if she can’t get him to leave the house, then her ghost license is revoked, or something, and she becomes a “shadow” (which is bad news).
But as just they begin to understand their feelings, the ghost agency sends another ghost to get the job done. Can their love survive? And if so, at what cost?
This is one that hurt because there were a lot of right steps done for a low-budget horror-comedy, but there were also problematic areas that could have been avoided.
They lowered the effects and made it more down-to-earth, including makeup and the very slight gore. These are effects that I could probably do if given some YouTube videos and an afternoon, but that actually enhances the indie feel of this movie.
Same with the black and white. It’s not really needed, but it adds to the flavor and the atmosphere, and reminds me of old indie horrors of the early 60’s. There are some fun shots, but for the most part, it’s pretty straight-forward.
The music is filled to the brim with indie bands, which can get a bit tiring after a while because they blur together. But I enjoyed that they were mostly diegetic and a plot point. And I was also happy to see that they were actually used by the characters instead of just blaring in the background.
Okay, let’s get to the really good and the really…not-good.
The really good were the shoulders of MacLeod Andrews because he f***ing carried this thing. His portrayal of Jack was actually sweet, endearing, and relatable. Honestly, it was weird seeing a character that I related so much with during the first act especially. Yes, I have talked to toilets. Yes, I have made them respond to me. We’re friends, get over it. But seriously, his acting was tremendous in this, as were his line reads because it could have gone completely the opposite and he could have sounded like a “nice guy” instead of an actual nice guy. So, I tip my hat, sir.
And here comes the not-good, which I’ll talk more about in the next segment, too. The writing, mostly.
When we get to the second act, it begins to unravel. Once our two mains meet, it becomes a mess. We don’t get enough character from Muriel (not backstory, character) to make her memorable or his actions justifiable. The ghost bureaucracy just muddled and slowed the story down. When you add bureaucratic rules to supernatural, it usually gets tiresome unless really well done (i.e. Beetlejuice). It’s like playing a complex role-playing game – suddenly you’re arguing about THAC0 for an hour when you just wanna go kill orcs with your bikini-clad barbarian babe.
If they wanted to add it, we (as the audience) should have learned about it before Jack, so it didn’t feel tagged on and it felt more a part of Muriel’s character. The stakes would have felt higher and we could have connected to her more as a character.
Their flirting/meeting each other was, like, an hour or two at most. They are just sitting at the table and talking for half an afternoon. This equates as love in the movie. Do we need to revisit Frozen?
We never really understand why he even likes Muriel as more than a cool undead chick to sometimes hang with. The love doesn’t feel real or genuine. It feels really forced, in fact.
And also, just a BIG no for the line from Muriel, “What’s a movie?”
This is from a ghost who has claimed to understand people’s deepest fears from observing them and you’re telling me she’s never seen a couple people plop down and watch a freakin’ video on Tubi (please Tubi, respond to my voicemails, I love you, please notice my love!)? I call Bull Shenanigans. Hard B.S.
Brain Roll Juice: (spoilers ahead)
Okay, I’m not going to beat around the bush. This is a movie where a guy who has shitty friends feels lonely, meets a ghost for an afternoon, she pays attention to him so he thinks he’s in love, she likes him or whatever, but they can’t be together, SO HE COMMITS SUICIDE.
Let that seep into every crack of your soul. I’ll wait…
Suicide is the answer to this love story.
She doesn’t say, “Hey, wait a minute. Like, you have your whole life…”
Nope, she’s all smiles and thumbs-up as he sits in his car, garage doors closed, waiting to die. He even calls his boss to thank him for everything and we see a scene of his boss finding his lifeless body.
In the next scene, we see the two of them haunting the house together because true love wins and they chose not to fear the reaper.
Honestly, I am still not sure what to even say to this ending.
I keep seeing reviews calling A GHOST WAITS heart-warming and charming, and I’m just beside myself. I keep thinking I’m the only one who sees the damn gremlin on the wing of the plane and that gremlin is the alarming rise of suicides in the world.
In the United States, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people per year. Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54. Males are at a higher risk than females, just as rural areas are higher risk than urban.
And if we still believe the theory of Durkheim’s extensive study on suicide (I know it was like forever and a day ago), Le Suicide, we can see a pattern that Jack fits into, which Durkheim called the Egoist Suicide. The Egoist suicide is usually enacted when one feels severely disconnected from their family, friends, community and society. Jack basically even says this at one point, that his life doesn’t matter because his friends don’t want him, his boss doesn’t respect him, and we never hear from his family. He is alone and lonely. He thinks he has no reason to live and one reason to die, so he chooses death.
This is depressive, not happy. The ending glorifies his decision and is played off like it was the right decision. There is no hint of hesitation from him or Muriel.
This, surprisingly, goes back to Beetlejuice, when Lydia is planning on suicide to be with the people who care about her and they tell her that life is hard, but it’s hers to live. They will always love her and be there for her especially when she lives through those challenging times. It’s Barbara and Adam’s love that supports her and drives her to keep living, and not to pull her into the bureaucratic eternity of being a ghost.
Because otherwise the relationship would be selfish and toxic.
You might enjoy this romp. There were moments that I truly did. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, it falls flat with its mission (a genuine romance) and it’s message (Jack completing suicide = love beats all). (2 / 5)
Joe Bob Briggs Creepy Christmas spooktacular: The Last Drive-In Special Charity phenomena
Famed horror host, Pulitzer Prize nominated, and Cracker Barrel aficionado Joe Bob Briggs is back in action, ready to bring some macabre merriment to your holiday season with Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas. It also gives us horror fans something to take into the new year, be that something Darcy’s panties (sorry, box, I tried) or just the intangible good feels of hanging with friends and supporting a lot of good causes.
The Return of Joe Bob Briggs’s Christmas Special
The Joe Bob Briggs’s Christmas event is akin to a Jerry Lewis telethon for Gen X, with a twist of ‘the last drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs’. This ‘Briggs’ auction of sorts is a nostalgic nod to the past, especially for those who remember the telethons. The dread, however, has shifted from the … well… whatever Jerry was supposed to do (see Sam Kinison’s bit on this for more info) to that of evil goodies.
Without a doubt, this Joe Bob Briggs special is the event we eagerly anticipate each year. It’s a tradition, and a worthy one at that. We hope to see everyone on the interwebs, joining the ‘creepy links’ and engaging in the conversation (We’ll be on Threads and Twitter….tag us as you wish!) ‘live’ the only way anyone should ever watch a tv show (oh, and I guess on demand, but ya weirdos will never know the sting of the Iron Mutant Award!). ‘Live’ is the only way anyone should ever watch a TV show, especially ‘the last drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs’ (as it’s far too hard to watch tv whilst dead).
Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas The ‘Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl’ special will hit the airwaves live on Shudder TV and AMC+ TV on Friday, December 15th at 9 p.m. ET. Fans of ‘the last drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs’ can also catch the special on-demand starting Sunday, December 17th.
A Creepy Christmas with a Cause
In its fourth year, the holiday tradition of The Last Drive-In goes beyond mere entertainment. It aims to use the platform to raise funds for four vital causes. The charity auction will feature unique props and exclusive merchandise from The Last Drive-In and memorabilia from Briggs’ illustrious 35-year career…including some of his unspoken work as John Bloom. I say Unspoken, because if anyone remembers the first Christmas Special, the autographed copy of Eccentric Orbits was featured (sincerely, a good book–check it out if you haven’t. Jim gives it 4.5/5)
The supported charities for Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas will include:
- Wildlife Conservation Network
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Every Mother Counts
- Solving Kids’ Cancer
The Mystery of the Joe Bob Briggs’s Creepy Christmas Special
The anticipation for Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas is high, with fans wildly speculating what films will be featured. Personally, nothing can beat the #1 top horror Christmas film of all time, the Easter classic: Passion of the Christ (if a snuff film about a guy who doesn’t fit in getting whipped and nailed up doesn’t scream horror story, I don’t know what does. Also: See Sam Kinison’s concept on crosses and resurrection). However, a Christmas movie I really want to see up on this is Hogzilla and Kiss Save Santa Clause! BOOMMM!! Christmas Won!
As we eagerly wait for December 15th, we wonder what surprises our favorite horror host, Joe Bob Briggs, has in store this time. Will there be exclusive ‘merch’ that Jim will buy and then accidentally put in a Toys for Tots box in the mall?
Join the Fun, Join the Cause, Join the Joe Bob Briggs Christmas event!
Are you ready to dive into the world of Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas? Do you dare to watch along and help raise money for a good cause? If so, join us at HauntedMTL on Threads (_HauntedMTL_) and maybe Twitter (@HauntedMTL) as we experience the thrill and chills that only Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy can deliver.
Remember, this is not just about indulging in some good old horror fun with ‘Joe Bob’s’ double feature. It’s about giving back and making a difference. So, let’s gear up to have a creepy Christmas with ‘Joe Bob Briggs’, filled with ‘christmas horror films’, ‘christmas demons’, ‘christmas slasher films’, ‘ho-ho-horror’, ‘yuletide horror’ and insightful ‘horror commentary’.Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas and make this holiday season memorable for all the right reasons! I’m sure Fright Rags will have another stellar set this year, too. They are perfect for the horror fan in your life (even if that fan is you!). I can’t wait to see what they have in store (no pun).
SPECIAL — IF YOU WANT Freeeeeeeee (as supplies last) Fright Rags Joe Bob Briggs merch for this year, just tweet/thread at us during the event and Jim will pick the one that makes him chuckle the most (you will need to give us your address and size in DMs)
No subscription to watch Joe Bob Briggs’s Creepy Christmas yet? No problem! Check the link below:
AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit Joe Bob at www.shudder.com.
X-Files, How The Ghosts Stole Christmas
Airing in December of 1998, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas is a classic monster of the week episode of the X-Files. Except, of course, it’s ghosts, not monsters. Because it’s Christmas, and there’s no better time for a little ghost story than that.
Our story begins like any good holiday evening should. Mulder is telling Scully a ghost story. They’re sitting together outside a supposedly haunted house on Christmas Eve, waiting for the ghosts of two lovers to appear. The story is that they killed each other eighty-one years ago, that very night. Mulder is very excited to see some ghosts. Scully would rather be at home celebrating the holiday.
One of these people has a family life and a dog. The other only has his partner.
Eventually, the two of them do make it inside, where they find an elderly couple named Maurice and Lydia. They seem like a nice enough couple until things start getting weird. Doors lock and unlock as they please. Lydia and Maurice seem to appear and vanish. And, of course, some dead bodies are found.
As Scully and Mulder try to find each other in this sprawling maze of a house, the ghosts are after them. They tell them terrible, insightful things about themselves and each other. The scary thing is that some of this is good advice.
The scary thing is how much of this Mulder and Scully needed to hear.
Eventually, our heroes escape, though they sure don’t exorcise the ghosts in the house or themselves. Lydia and Maurice are left to enjoy their quiet Christmas Eve in the comfort of their love, no longer a raging fire of passion, but a warm bed of glowing embers.
First off, let me say that I’m a sucker for a bottle episode. Especially in a show like X-Files. (And it is a true bottle episode, being the cheapest episode of the season.) For the most part, our story takes place in one location, with just four actors. It is tense, it is tight, and it is intimate.
Honestly, this episode has everything going for it. Of course, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson bring their A Game. And they’re joined by two of the funniest comedic actors of all time, Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin. These people could read you the phone book and have you in stitches.
But the writing is also exemplary. Mulder and Scully are forced to take a good look at how they treat each other, for better or worse. They have to consider their relationship, the way they live their lives, and the darker voices in their heads.
In the end, I think they come together beautifully.
Finally, I want to praise the location. The haunted house looks so much like Hill House, it can’t be an accident. It’s in turn freezing and warm, falling apart and beautifully maintained. The cobwebs and hanging sheets on the unused furniture are just classic. And with the massive fireplaces, bookshelves to the ceiling, and the well-stocked bar, the whole place has an air of old-fashioned comfort, left to rot.
What didn’t work
I honestly cannot think of one thing that didn’t work in this episode. It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s dark. It’s the perfect Christmas episode of television.
In the end, How The Ghosts Stole Christmas is a dark, spooky little tale. It’s filled with scares and chills but still manages to warm your heart. And if you want to fit a little more blood and gore into your holiday watch list, this is a great way to do it.
(5 / 5)
Released in 1997, it would be understandable if you confused this Jack Frost with the movie of the same title that was released in 1998 and starred Michael Keaton. We are not talking about the Michael Keaton Jack Frost because it’s not horror. It’s also not good.
(Look at that, you’re getting two reviews in one today. Merry Christmas.)
No, today we are talking about Jack Frost, starring Christopher Allport and Scott MacDonald. And it is possibly the most bonkers Christmas movie I have ever seen.
We begin our tale in a very messed up fashion. A little girl asks her uncle for a bedtime story on Christmas Eve. The uncle tells her about a serial killer named Jack Frost who was caught after leaving bits of his victims inside pies. But there’s no need to worry, the uncle explains. Because Jack Frost was caught and is being executed that very night.
And we won’t be hearing from these two characters again for the whole movie.
Instead, we cut to Jack, being transported to his execution. Somehow he manages to escape, only to be doused with some sort of acid and melted into the snow.
Meanwhile, the sheriff who caught Jack Frost, Sam, is trying to come to terms with his death. He’s thankful that he’s gone, but the nightmare just doesn’t feel over yet.
Then, of course, people start turning up dead in his little town. And in spectacular ways.
Slowly, Jack Frost seems to work his way through a family called the Metzners. Even though it appears that this family didn’t have a single thing to do with him. First, he murders their son, then proceeds to stalk the entire family.
Sam is joined by an FBI agent named Agent Manners and a scientist named Stone. Together they fumble around the tiny little town, trying to figure out how to kill Jack. Bullets do nothing. He can melt and slip through cracks. But hairdryers seem to do the trick.
I’m going to be honest here. Nothing in this movie was good. The effects were bad. The writing is bad. The constant snow puns are bad. The acting is bad.
But it is this exact combination of bad aspects that makes Jack Frost funny. It is so intentionally bad that it is hilarious. None of the characters are likable, so we’re not overly upset when they’re murdered in horrific ways. None of the effects look real, but they look fun. The writing is awful, but it’s hilarious.
And here’s the greatest thing about Jack Frost. Everyone working on it is having fun. You can just tell that every single actor is having the time of their lives. Nobody was having a single bad day on stage here. And that alone makes Jack Frost enjoyable to watch.
What didn’t work
One thing I have to say here is that the acting was just bad. It was not, I believe, intentionally bad acting. That is to say, it wasn’t a talented actor acting badly for comedic effect. This was just bad acting from almost everyone in the cast. The two exceptions are Allport and Marsha Clark, who plays Marla. Everybody else is overacting so hard that they’re pulling muscles. They’re chewing the scenery so much that they’re not going to have room for Christmas cookies.
To enjoy Jack Frost, you need to have a deep appreciation for campy effects, bad snow puns, and really inappropriate humor. It’s one of those movies where you turn off your brain, make sure all loose items are secured and your lap bar is completely locked, and enjoy the ride.
If you can do that, then you’re going to have a great time with this movie. If not, don’t worry. There’s lots more holiday horror to come. (4 / 5)