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100 Monsters, released in 1968, is the first film in the ‘Yokai Monsters’ trilogy written by Tetsuro Yoshida. It’s more of a thematic trilogy, as there isn’t an overarching plot or recurring characters except for the concept of yokai, a class of monsters and ghosts that exist in Japanese folklore. The other films in this trilogy are Spook Warfare and Along With Ghosts, but we will get to those in due time.

Yokai Stories to tell in the Dark

A kasa-obake, or posessed paper umbrella yokai poses on the cover image for 100 Monsters
100 Monsters cover image for Shudder

The movie is named after the concept of hyakumonogatari kaidankai or, 100 Supernatural Tales, an old parlor game where people light 100 candles and take turns telling spooky stories or recounting unexplainable events that have happened to them, dousing a flame at the end of each story. Once the final candle is put out, a cleansing ceremony must be performed to dispel any evil spirits that may have been summoned.

Of course, this would make for a great wrap-around narrative for an anthology movie. But 100 Monsters chooses to tell a more human-oriented story. In Edo-period Japan, a gang of construction workers appears at a dilapidated tenement housing location, with orders to tear it down. This comes as a surprise to the residents, who are told the owner of the land is now a local businessman named Tajiyama (Takashi Kanda), who plans to tear down the housing development and the local shrine to make way for an extravagant new brothel. Sorry folks, no bathhouses for the spirits here.

The residents are furious and after a scuffle, the workers are driven away. The residents confront Jinbei (Tatsuo Hanabu), the owner of the property asking why this is happening. Jinbei owes Tajiyama a lot of money importing medicine for his sick wife, putting the property up as collateral. Tajiyama however, continued to raise the price, in an effort to take the land from him.

A Spirited Way

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Tajimaya as he hosts Lord Buzen (Ryûtarô Gomi), the Shrine Magistrate of the area, in order to get the proper clearances for his brothel. Tajiyama entertains his guests with a 100 Supernatural Tales presentation. However, when it comes time to perform the cleansing ceremony Tajimaya refuses. He begins his own cleansing ceremony by presenting charms to ward off evil spirits in the form of bribes to the Magistrate.

The corrupt muscle of Tajiyama confronts one of the women who lives in the run down tenement.
The tenement residents are hassled by Tajimaya’s men

Money might be good for keeping corrupt government officials out of your hair, but not so much for supernatural critters and vengeful spirits of the dead. At 78 minutes, 100 Monsters manages to pack a whole lot into that slim runtime. The story itself is a knot of government corruption becoming slowly unraveled by the ronin, Yasutaro (Jun Fujimaki). It’s more of a drama than a straight-up scary monster movie. However, yokai fans will absolutely get their money’s worth with this film.

Yokai Watch Party

There are lots of great practical effects and puppet monsters. Even more, closer to the end of the movie hardcore yokai fans will see a representation of their favorite beasts. Shinkichi, one of the more comedic characters, befriends a kasa-obake yokai, a one-eyed umbrella with a long red tongue. Scenes like this help keep the movie a bit light-hearted even with more dark story elements.

Shinkichi (Rookie Shin-ichi) peers from behind a shutter with a kasa-obake, a possessed umbrella yokai
Shinkichi befriends a mischievous kasa-obake

Overall, 100 Monsters is a fun, light movie that’s great for a quick afternoon watch to fill some time. The monsters are fun to look at and the story has enough twists in it to keep you paying attention. Tetsuro is off to a great start here but can he keep up this momentum through the next two films? I certainly hope so!

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

100 Monsters is currently streaming on Shudder

An old man confronts two fishing men who sit on the bank of a river holding fishing rods. Text: Since the old days, fishing and hunting has been prohibited.
An old monk warns two young men that fishing is not allowed.

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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, 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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