Connect with us

Published

on

While Netflix is busy promoting more orthodox material that people already know and watch thanks to heavy marketing, they’ve been keeping us in the dark about a beautifully demented, blood-soaked, series that’s been sitting quietly in the corner this whole time. Why isn’t this show under those “Since you watched Hannibal” sections they love to push on you? This show is Hannibal meets a more cohesive version of American Horror Story: Hotel, and it’s exactly as crazy as that combination sounds.

It’s actually unfair to compare Strangers From Hell to any other series because it’s so incredibly unique. A matchless gem hiding amongst many other odd stones. Directed and adapted for television by Jung Yi-do and Lee Chang-hee, Strangers From Hell, originally titled Hell Is Other People, is a psychological horror miniseries (It’s not defined as a miniseries but I’m calling it such because there are only 10 episodes without any news of a second season and it ended on a very conclusion note) from South Korea released in 2019, that’s based on the webtoon of the same name by Kim Yong-ki. The series revolves around a young man who struggles to survive a group of deranged people he encounters while living in a residential building in Seoul, but the focal point of the story is the developing relationship between him and the creepy, yet charming, serial killer who becomes obsessed with him.

(spoilers below)

From the very beginning, Yoon Jong Woo (Im Si-wan) is a mystery. He is our protagonist but we know almost nothing about him. All we know is that he’s an aspiring novelist with deeply repressed anger issues and is seemingly haunted by an event that occurred in the army, for which he was discharged. He’s just moved to Seoul from his rural hometown thanks to a job offer in the city, and already, he’s starting to struggle.

Barely able to afford even an expensive meal, Jong Woo picks the only apartment he can afford, a.k.a. the one place no one would ever want to live: The Eden Residence. A grimy hellhole in the most obscure part of town run by the creepy Dolores Umbridge-like Eom Bok-soon “Mrs. Um” (Lee Jung-eun). Eden isn’t just a bad place to live but a fraction of Hell that Dante missed during his tour of the place. Remember that crappy apartment they had in Fight Club? Well, it was the Ritz compared to this place.

In addition to Mrs. Um, the other residents include a porn addict, a couple of giggling twins living down the hall, and the strange man in room 304, a serial killer who could outcharm Bundy, Ramirez, and Shobhraj all at once.

Lee Dong-wook shines, and terrifies, as Seo Moon-jo, a respected dentist who moonlights as a merciless serial killer, or as he prefers to call himself, an “artist.” Let’s just say that his denial experience comes in handy while he’s got his victims strapped down and screaming.

He develops a dangerous infatuation for poor Jong Woo, seeing him as a special project he hopes to take apart and put back together. Jong Woo isn’t the first young man to capture his attention but there’s something inside him, something reportedly “special”, that makes Moon-jo believe them to be two of a kind. He believes Jong Woo is like him, a killer, and just needs a little push in the right direction. A push that involves lots of stalking, snooping, more stalking, and murder.

Out of all the serial killer portrays that I’ve seen, Lee’s is definitely in my top five. One of the few where I could almost feel the evil coming off of them in a way that was unsettlingly real. Not evil for evil’s sake, a villain created solely for the hero to face off against but someone you can really believe existed in the world and was a force to fear. He’s not some hideous masked figure hiding in the shadows. He’s the Devil and hell personified in a human form. Lee Dong-wook should get all the awards for this performance. I f***ing loved every second that he was on screen.

Strangers From Hell is a masterpiece of a series that I’m hoping I can convince more people to watch. If not for the actual story, for one of the best TV finales ever written. Showrunners take notes, this is how you end a series! Fannibals? If you’re listening, I promise that this show is right up your alley but don’t expect deep meaningful conversations in front of a fireplace because Strangers From Hell is not murder husbands running off to commit cannibal crimes in Florence together. It’s not a love story, but a dark tale about the dual nature of human beings.

Nothing I can say will give this series justice, nor can I find the proper words to describe my love for it. It’s almost flawless. Made as a “Dramatic Cinema” project which attempts to blend film and drama formats into a series, it’s not formatted as a regular series but more aligned with an ultra-long film. It flows effortlessly without the usual type of breaks that occur in episodic formats.

*Heads up if you’ve never watched a TV show made in Korea. The Korea Communications Standards Commission will blur out things in TV dramas they believe may cause damage to children, among other reasons, so knives and other bladed weapons are usually fuzzed out. It doesn’t affect the gore though. They’ll still show someone getting maimed and tortured but they’ll just blur out the knife that’s doing it.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Rachel Roth is a writer who lives in South Florida. She has a degree in Writing Studies and a Certificate in Creative Writing, her work has appeared in several literary journals and anthologies. @WinterGreenRoth

Movies n TV

Dahmer, Cassandra

Published

on

Episode seven of Netflix’s Dahmer brings the spotlight, finally, to the hero of our story. Glenda Cleveland. 

Glenda was Jeff’s neighbor. And honestly, I can’t think of a worse neighbor. A horrific stench is always coming from his apartment. He has people over, and they make a lot of noise. 

While they’re dying. 

Niecy Nash in Dahmer

If you’ll recall episode one of Dahmer ended with all of his neighbors, including Glenda, being forced to leave their homes. The whole building was declared a crime scene. They’re not given any place to go, of course. 

Everyone’s got a few thousand dollars socked away for an unexpected motel stay, right? 

Fortunately, Glenda was able to get a motel room. And that’s where she is when Reverend Jesse Jackson finds her. 

Glenda pours out her story to Reverend Jackson. The rest of the episode consists of her dark and troubling encounters with Dahmer. 

The most compelling scene, I think, is when Dahmer brings Glenda a sandwich. He’s being evicted, and he knows it’s because she’s been complaining about the smells coming out of his apartment. 

He tries to pour on his little boy charm. He tells her that he got his apartment cleaned, just for her. He brings her a pulled meat sandwich as a present. 

Notice I don’t say pulled pork, because I’m fairly sure it was human meat. Or, it was just drugged.

Or both. 

This episode just hummed with tension and rage. I was so happy to see Reverend Jackson tear into the police in the most polite way possible. I hated seeing what Glenda went through. And even though I know she lives through this horrific encounter, I held my breath the entire time she was alone with Jeff. 

Dahmer is certainly not afraid to jump back and forth between the past and present. But they are careful to never do it in such a way that I felt lost. And I honestly think this was the best way to do it. 

The reason for this is that it adds a level of suspense that Dahmer might have lacked without it. Suspense is something that true crime stories can lack. Especially well-known ones. We have heard this story before. We know how it ends. But in presenting the tale this way, first from one point of view and then another, it reveals sides of it that we may not have seen before. 

Glenda Cleveland, from the trial of Jeff Dahmer.

I loved seeing the story from Glenda’s point of view. She was brave, determined, and selfless. She had every right to be furious at the way the police dismissed her concerns for years. And yet she continued to handle everything professionally. She never stopped trying to help people, even when no one else seemed to care. And for that, she is a true hero. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Published

on

The second half of the 1990s was a comeback of the slasher sub-genre, thanks to Wes Craven’s Scream. It was precisely because of its success that Kevin Williamson was able to pitch the script for I Know What You Did Last Summer. An extremely loose adaption of the book of the same title, it follows a group of teenagers who drunkenly commit a hit-and-run. They decide to – what a surprise – get rid of the body to get away with it. Let’s have a look at why this film is a cult classic of its kind, shall we? 

Top not atmosphere makes a big difference

I must’ve said this in one of my previous reviews but to me at least, the setting in a movie can make or break the viewing experience. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, I always found it a paradox and also highly effective that the action occurs in a fishing town with tons of open land and the sea. However, the characters feel trapped to the point of suffocating by the choices they made because, despite all the roads leading out, they always end up back there. 

Four people stand around in a circle, mid argument. Left to right - Ray, Julie, Helen and Barry.
Dude, you promised to take acting classes! (source http://imdb.com)

Their small town is living in its own little utopia with beauty pageants, firework displays, and unsurprisingly, not a single person the group can turn to for help. I thought it was really well done and it doesn’t hurt cinematography in general is beautiful. 

Would the suggestions of the fans make sense?

Something that the fans of the movie have long debated is that they needed to swap the final girls of the movie, killing off Julie and making Helen the survivor. A lot of factors contribute to this. Sarah Michelle Gellar is phenomenal in her role and with all respect to Jennifer Love Hewitt, her portrayal pales a bit in comparison. Helen’s chase scene is one of the best if not the best in horror with how hard she fought for survival and how close she was to safety. On the contrary, Julie’s chip on the shoulder got on a lot of people’s nerves, mine included sometimes. 

One has to think of the narrative purpose of the two characters. Julie serves as the outright goody two shoes, the one who actively fights Barry to go to the police, and the one who shows the most obvious remorse for what they’ve done. Helen is meant to be the ditsy blonde, however, throughout the movie, she’s shown to have more going on and that the incident affected her just as much even if it wasn’t so transparent. 

Helen is at the forefront, looking ahead, scared. Behind her there are mannequins covered in plastic.
Not the kind of afterparty I imagined (source: https://bloody-disgusting.com)

Her endurance throughout the chase is a nice juxtaposition to the role she is meant to play, and to Julie’s scene later on (again, with all due respect, she does nothing apart from scream and run a bit) and the fact that she still dies after it gives a good gut punch that actually makes you care about these people despite their more than questionable decisions. 

When it comes to the guys, I don’t actually have much to say. Barry is a classic jerk stereotype and Ray is a glaring red herring throughout the movie (I would also say Freddy Prince Jr was the weakest actor out of the four but again, I am no acting coach, just my opinion). 

Final impressions

To sum up my thoughts on I Know What You Did Last Summer – it definitely has its flaws and asks the audience to suspend their disbelief (even for slasher standards). Regardless, it’s a staple entry of the genre and the 90s due to its atmosphere, tension-building, and for the most part decent acting. A must-have in your collection for horror buffs. No wonder it inspired a loosely based TV adaptation (its success is debatable but the thought still counts, right?)

Continue Reading

Breaking News

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

Published

on

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, Ă  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.

Continue Reading

Trending