There’s no greater power than the power of goodbye.Madonna (the one that was *like* a virgin and not the actual virgin)
Hi kiddies, it’s real time again. This article idea came to me because I’ve recently had a friend, let’s say, be spirited away by Kayako. I had someone that was becoming a regular human in my life and then – poof! Not anymore.
Many people experience this. Of course, myself being between 5 and 115 years-old, I’ve experienced this myself many times, too. Hell, I’ve even been broken up with by a best friend in high school with the whole “we’re going in different directions” speech. I’ve been friend-ghosted and have done some friend-ghosting that I’m not super proud of, but I am only mostly human, so cut me some slack.
Losing someone is terrifying for a lot of reasons. It’s not just the fear of being alone. It is the fear of losing a part of yourself with that person. As Seneca points out,
“If you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means…Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul.”
To lose a friend is to lose part of that trust in yourself, your judgements and capabilities. The faith you had within yourself is shaken, even if that loss is not your fault or not your decision. It’s a part of your heart-goo (some people call this a “soul”) that you’ve exposed and let this person lay their roots into. When they’re gone, we’re they’re pulled out, it feels like parts of your heart-goo are pulled along. Plainly spoken – it sucks.
And with that being said, loss is in horror as much as my Glorious Spouse’s hand is in my isolation-Oreos. The answer is always. Death, spiriting away, demon-breaking-up-with-you, sacrificing your ex-fiancé to bees, becoming lost in ghost fog with your ghost daughter – it’s a constant flow running in the currents of horror. Whether the audience cares about that loss is really up to subjective interpretation; say, a teen slasher’s loss of youth/life may not resound as much as Heredity’s loss of a child. But loss and fear of loss is still a major component to all horror.
However, let’s talk about some of the clever instances of loss from horror films (in my opinion) and a little bit of what they mean to me.
Yo ho, spoilers ahead.
7) The Blackcoat’s Daughter: loss of attention/someone who wants to be with you
We talk about this one at length in the High Art Camp Podcast here, if you’re so inclined. But this movie is ripe with loss and super sad, somber cello solos. However, the biggest moment comes at the very end as we see that our main character, after struggling through her ordeals and trying to appease the friend/entity that had left her alone years ago, that she, in fact, still remains alone. She is rejected. She cannot win them back, no matter what she does.
Sometimes even if it’s an unhealthy relationship (and yeah, it was for them), we would rather be with someone who wants us than to be alone. Being alone can mean rejection from others. It can feel like a dysfunction within us. It’s nice to feel wanted and for someone to like being in our company. In fact, it’s a necessity.
People need people (or demons in this case…?) and need engagement with our community. We all fear being un-engaged and disconnected to others, no matter how introverted or how much we say we “hate people”, because it’s a human basic need. Like the song goes, “I want you to want me”, and we do. We want to be wanted. We want to be picked for someone’s team. And if you can’t get it from girls your own age, I guess find a pay-booth demon to fill that gap.
6) The Uninvited – loss of the normalcy and efficacy
Yeah, I’m pulling out the “evil-cat-inside-another-cat” movie. Are you seriously surprised?
Apart from Alex Cord’s absolutely flawless performance, I always find such unironic vulnerability in Shari Shattuck’s performance of Suzanne, as she grows more and more despondent and irrational. This reaches a climax after her friend is killed and she realizes that she is trapped; events beyond her control are hurling her towards her own unavoidable and painful demise.
We see the anger, frustration, nihilism, and fear jump and bump around each other in her performance. She shuts down. She cries out. She mistrusts. She blames herself. She blames others. She breaks down as she watches those around her perish in agony and is constantly threatened by the extreme level of insanity of an evil cat within a cat, when she and her friend were just there looking to score some ritzy free food over spring break.
Her performance over the top, and then it’s muted. It’s all over the place, much like we all are in extreme situations, with the sudden loss of our bearings and how to maneuver through the world. We lash out. We shut down. We blame ourselves for things beyond our control in an effort to control it.
The honest truth is that we don’t always know how we will react to a situation when it happens, especially one that is so overwhelming. When we don’t have norms to lead us to how to react, we rely on our instincts, and with the world going crazy, even our instincts can be off-centered. I know myself enough to admit that I don’t know how I would react in every situation. If faced with a poisonous, cat-ception cat, I can’t say for certain that I’d be any more rational.
5) Jaws – loss of stability/mentor
There’s a beautiful little moment in Quint’s eyes as he’s being chomped on by our primordial god, Jaws. A brief moment of agony and anguish shared between he and Brody before succumbing to the beast and being dragged beneath the bloody water. It’s a very human moment for a very larger-than-life hero. Throughout the film, he is presented as the hunter, the macho one, the embodiment of survivability and masculinity. He doesn’t take crap. He demands attention. He takes rather than gives. He is powerful. He is commanding. Even Chief Brody, a man of authority, tries in small ways to gain his approval or acknowledgement. Hooper is often resentful of being dismissed by Quint, but still desires his recognition.
Quint is basically everyone’s dad. We just want him to pat us on the shoulder, just once (twice is for sissies) and tell us we did a good job. We want him to be proud. We want him to accept us. He holds that respect and dominance with his presence…
Until he doesn’t. Until a force of nature literally tears him asunder and we are holding on for dear life to that concept and hope that what we perceived as a stable foundation throughout the whole adventure, will somehow be able to survive. Survive and thrive. And then pat us on the shoulder once.
But in that moment, with that look, we understand that he is powerless, just like we are. Our image was flawed. What we thought was unshakable and unkillable is just as flawed and vulnerable as we are, maybe even more so.
This often becomes the case of our parents as they grow older, as we hear the menacing music on the horizon, growing closer. We begin to realize that there is no true stability in the chaos, apart from which you create. And sometimes that sonuvabitch just doesn’t smile. Sometimes he just comes and rips that sense of permanence right from your hand.
4) Contracted – loss of control and identity
Contracted has a running theme as she slowly becomes…something else. She loses control of her body, of her perceptions, and her own agency. She cannot connect to her truths, as painful or terrifying as they may be, because she is losing her own identity.
None of this are clearer than in a climax scene that sounds so simple – taking her prized orchid to a competition. From the first shots, we see her carefully doting on the orchid, carefully controlling every drop of water and rise and fall of temperature. It’s, like, a super rare kind of orchid, or something, so she puts so much energy and focus into its well-being. Then, throughout the movie, as she becomes sicker, as she disconnects from the people close to her, as she continues to deny her rape from the beginning of the movie and the affront of her sexuality, she loses her ability to care for it (and the ability to care for herself).
Finally, in this pinnacle scene, sick and broken, she struggles to bring the plant to the competition, as if nothing else matters, as this is the only thing she can do within her control.
But the orchid is already dead.
She just doesn’t or will not accept that. Everything she had worked so hard for, had struggled to control and manage, is dead. She cannot see that. She cannot admit its death and her self-control and efficacy.
Just as she cannot admit her own dying. She is not of her own agency any more and cannot perceive that. She has lost the core concept of herself and is trapped there, unable to move forward or backwards. Due to her power ultimately given away to others, she is no longer herself but now a monster.
3) The Ritual – loss of “old times” and the people we once were
The Ritual is just a terrific movie all the way around, but there’s a sense of loss right off the bat as one friend in a group is murdered by a robbery gone wrong. In order to find closure, the surviving friends decide to make a hiking trek in Sweden. Then shit goes wrong and people start dying.
It’s great as a whole story of losing friends, but also, more cleverly, losing the people we once were as we age and priorities change. The freedom and safety that we had with our friends in the wild days of past slowly fades as responsibilities increase. Promises made need to be shuffled for other priorities. We lose those pieces of ourselves and we grow and alter into new ones. In a way, one can argue that very old traditions and truths kill those former selves.
We get married. We have kids. We have mortgages. We spend less time connecting to the people we used to hang out with. We spend less energy on old hobbies. We grow in ways we say that we won’t. Do the things that we say we’d never do when we get older. Get excited to buy f-ing new socks and try a new flavor of coffee before we drop off the kids at crunk practice.
And with losing that, we also lose the people that were once close to use as they begin to alter and navigate through life. They become ugly and bitter after their third divorce. They become politically opposite than us. They become obsessed with a stupid adult hobby that’s utter boring compared to your stupid adult hobby. They have obnoxious kids and a dog that won’t quit it with your leg. They become different…even unfamiliar.
They no longer want to go hiking through Sweden and be stalked by the ancient rituals and traditions of the past because they’re already adhering to the ancient traditions and rituals of the past every day, from having to appease their awful mother-in-law, to paying another tax for the roads not to be fixed, to singing the Alphabet Song for the hundredth time in a row.
2) The Forgotten – the loss of our memories
The Forgotten is a quiet, little spook piece that’s part coming-of-age, part mystery, but all deep, dark loss. One day I will probably even interview the director! How hip is that?
But the core of the pain and the real spooky is simple: losing the memory of our loved ones. How many times have you picked up a picture or a note from way back that you don’t even remember – a place, or event, or celebration – and there’s a thoughtful note or someone in the picture that’s gone and that you miss dearly. And you think, “I don’t even remember what this was about.”
You don’t remember what was said then, or you forgot all about those written words, or why you were wearing all denim with jellies at a skate park with grand-mama. You just…don’t remember. It’s blank and there’s a small pocket of ache that wasn’t there just a second ago.
That’s how The Forgotten develops and ends (I don’t think that’s technically a spoiler). It’s a stark reminder of those moments, sometimes very important moments, that we lose during the slow shifting sands of time. Maybe it was a lesson from a friend. Maybe the sound of our childhood dog’s barking. Or how our grandfather smelled when he’d hug us goodbye. Or the face of a teacher that taught us more about life than the algebra they were meant to.
These fade over time. Our memories, our words, our experiences and thoughts will eventually leave us. So quietly, you won’t even know that they’ve gone. You won’t even feel it. They say that time heals all wounds, but that’s because time robs us of them. We lose our joys and sorrows, apart from a select group that linger in there, that keep us company, while the others seamlessly slip out the back door.
1) Final Girls – loss of a loved one without closure
Horror is wonderful because most of its stories are made from just one gigantic question: what is happening or has happened? And we slowly unravel the answer, usually in long montages of Google searches and going to the library. Sometimes someone is wearing a wolf shirt while dumping the juicy exposition like in Mama. Or it’s the creepy neighbor across the street that keeps telling us that “dead is betta”.
However, sometimes we don’t have the answers. We don’t have the rules. We are left without explanation or exit. We are trapped within that obsession for answers that will never appear to us.
Final Girls has an unfortunate title for a sweet gem of a film. Our main character loses her mother in a sudden car accident and is devastated. Her mother was once an actress in a cheesy horror film that’s having its anniversary, so she goes to support her friends and to try to find closure while watching the movie at a theater.
Movie magic happens and she and her friends get sucked into the movie where everything is real. Painfully, she becomes close to her mother’s character, trying to save her mother’s character from being killed, with the hopes of bringing her back into the real world. But things don’t quite work out…
So, this dumb film makes me cry every time. There, I admitted it. I’m more of a man now and I can now live an honest life. Yeah, it’s the Betty Davis Eyes scene that gets me. There can only be one final girl and so her “mother” sacrifices herself, having our main character lose her mother again, but now having some closure.
But not really much when we think about it. This person is not her mother; she is a doppelganger of sorts. She is just a stand-in for the real person who already is gone. The person who is not coming back. Who will never come back…
We experience this in real life, too, often. Endings without closure, rhyme, or reason. Even when they’re longer, they can still feel abrupt. It can be a cold shadow hovering for days or months before happening, and in the aftermath, you’re still left wondering why and how it happened. Or like how it is in this movie, a sudden accident. A force of nature outside of yourself that steals that thing, place, opportunity, or person from you in a matter of seconds before you can even process a damn thing.
We search for answers to process, to wrongs to be righted, for things askew to be straightened. Without closure, without our stand-ins and doppelgangers (in whatever forms they take), we obsess over the questions that we may never have answers to.
We may have to accept the sudden cleaving of something important from us, gracefully or not. I’ve done weird shit in the name of closure. I’ve tried a different crapload of things to get that sweet feeling of some sort of cathartic satisfaction. That’s why we have the rituals we do, a bridge to get us from loss to acceptance, to find some truth between the two.
However, sometimes there is no truth or resolution in our loss, and the only action we can take is our reaction to that fact. We can move forward, alone, and wait for time to unravel that obsessive need for meaning; or to endlessly wait for a sequel that probably won’t ever be released, and even if it was, it still wouldn’t be as satisfying as we’d hoped it would be.
Endings suck; loss sucks. If you’re going through that, I get it. It’s easily the worst part of the human experience, no matter your dogma or beliefs. It hurts and we fear it, not only for the pain that it causes, but for the self-reflection it forces us to confront. We see our vulnerability and shame magnified when we feel loss.
But it’s not the end. Just like Friday the 13th (the original), we are the Jasons underneath the water, weighted by sorrow, but still there and ready to give that final push to the movie. Because, ultimately, the movie is about us, and not the absence we endure. Loss is just a part of the ride, a part that makes us stronger and more iconic in the subsequent sequels (okay I’m stretching it, but you get my meaning).
Sometimes the answers won’t come right away, if they come at all. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re going crazy or there’s something wrong with you. Sometimes you’ll curse the people or opportunities for leaving you in this crudtown of puke-feels. It might take years, decades, or a life-time, but you’ll learn to grow through it. Your heart-goo with readjust and heal. Just learn how to forgive yourself for taking that time to grieve. Then learn how to wipe that snotty Final-Girls-cry-face and think, “It’s time for me to make my come-back sequel.”
All right, I’m not as eloquent as the French, so I’ll quote one of the greatest writers, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I think is a beautiful encapsulation of the process and pain of letting go and moving on after a significant loss, in his instance, a friend.
Bit by bit… it comes over us that we shall never again hear the laughter of our friend, that this one garden is forever locked against us. And at that moment begins our true mourning, which, though it may not be rending, is yet a little bitter. For nothing, in truth, can replace that companion. Old friends cannot be created out of hand. Nothing can match the treasure of common memories, of trials endured together, of quarrels and reconciliations and generous emotions. It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak.
So life goes on. For years we plant the seed, we feel ourselves rich; and then come other years when time does its work and our plantation is made sparse and thin. One by one, our comrades slip away, deprive us of their shade.”
Good luck out there.
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.
Coming to Shudder and AMC+ for January 2023
January 2023 Shudder and AMC+ release schedule.
2022 was an impressive year for the horror genre, as we received a slew of incredible films, many of which premiered exclusively on Shudder. However, news has recently been quiet regarding Shudders current slate of 2023 releases. This is in part due to the recent cutback in staff Shudder, as well as other AMC Network sites have recently received, including Shudder GM Craig Engler. Though the current January list is less significant than it has been in the past, we still have a few scary treats to look forward to.
Let’s kick off the bloody new year and see what will be streaming exclusively on Shudder and AMC+ for January 2023.
AMC+ Exclusive Premiers
Before we jump into Shudder’s upcoming list of exclusive streaming titles, let’s first take a peek at AMC+ and ‘Vesper‘, which made its world premiere in the Crystal Globe Competition at the 2022 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. We’ll also touch on the much-anticipated series ‘Mayfair Witches‘, based on Anne Rice’s best-selling trilogy, Lives of the Mayfair Witches. This will be the second series in the Anne Rice Immortal Universe, which is being overseen by Mark Johnson (Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul). Johnson will also be acting as the series executive producer alongside Esta Spalding (Masters of Sex, On Becoming a God in Central Florida) and Michelle Ashford (Masters of Sex, The Pacific, John Adams), who will also act as writers for the series.
Vesper (Streaming Exclusively on AMC+ January 6th)
We kick off the new year with the sci-fi thriller ‘Vesper’, streaming exclusively on AMC+ January 6th.
Set in a bleak post-apocalyptic Earth following the collapse of our ecosystem, Vesper (Raffiella Chapman, The Theory of Everything), a rebellious 13-year-old girl who uses her survival skills to subsist in the remnants of a strange and dangerous world with her debilitating father, Darius (Richard Brake, 31 and Barbarian). After Stumbling upon a mysterious woman named Camellia (Rosy McEwen, The Alienist), solo and disoriented after an aerial crash, Vesper cautiously agrees to help find Camellia’s missing companion in exchange for safe passage to the Citadel – a dark central hub where oligarchs live in comfort courtesy of state-of-the-art biotechnology. Vesper soon discovers that her violent neighbor, Jonas (Eddie Marsan, Sherlock Holmes), has been searching for Camellia, who harbors a secret which could change their future forever. Forced into a dangerous adventure, Vesper must rely on her wits and bio-hacking skills to unlock the key to saving their lives and our planet.
Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches (New Series Premier Exclusively on AMC+ Sunday, January 8th)
Starring Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D and We Summon the Darkness) as main character Rowan, who discovers she is the unlikely heir to a family of ancient and powerful witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, Rowan must clash with a sinister presence that has tormented her family for generations. Mayfair Witches also co-stars Harry Hamlin (1981’s Clash of the Titans) as Cortland Mayfair, money and power obsessed patriarch to the Mayfair family. Jack Huston (Antebellum) as Lasher, a mysterious ghost who has haunted the Mayfair family of witches since the 1600’s, Tongayi Chirisa (Antebellum) as Ciprien Grieve, head of the town of Maska and, Beth Grant (Donnie Darko and Child’s Play 2) as Carlotta, a cruel and dangerous member of the Mayfair family of witches.
Mayfair Witches begins streaming exclusively on AMC+ Sunday, January 8th.
New Shudder film exclusives for January
Now that we’ve covered the exclusive horror and thriller premiers that will be premiering on AMC+ very soon, it’s time to get into the content we’ve been waiting for; Shudders exclusive January 2023 premiers and returning content. While the list is thin, there are still some worthy films dropping this month that usher in the new year with optimism and hope Shudder will still reign supreme as the premier horror streaming service.
Sorry About the Demon (Premiers Exclusively on Shudder January 19th)
Written and directed by Emily Hagins (Scare Package segment ‘Cold Open’) ‘Sorry About the Demon‘ is the story about a heartbroken young man named Will (played by Jon Michael Simpson) that is tricked into living in a home plagued by an evil presence. Taking residence with a family at wit’s end, an unexpected, surprising twist on ghostly haunts and demonic possession follows the film’s wildly entertaining and silly climax.
‘Sorry About the Demon’ also stars Jeff McQuity as Patrick, Olivia Ducayen as Aimee, and Paige Evans as Amy. Dave Peniuk and Sarah Cleveland costar as the film’s parents of the fractured family as Ken and Tammy Sellers, with Presley Allard and Jude Zappala playing their children Grace and Jake.
The Lair (Premiers Exclusively on Shudder January 26th)
Neil Marshall (writer/director of The Descent parts 1&2) makes his triumphant return to the genre with his latest creature-feature and eagerly anticipated film ‘The Lair’, co-written by Charlotte Kirk (The Reckoning). As Royal Air Force pilot Lt. Kate Sinclair (Charlotte Kirk) is shot down over Afghanistan and finds refuge in an abandoned underground bunker, where unbeknownst to her, deadly man-made biological weapons have been developed. Soon after Lt. Sinclaire encounters a group of soldiers, the half human, half alien monstrosities are awakened, prompting the films characters to ban together in order to escape the deadly bunker alive.
‘The Lair’ promises to deliver Marshall’s signature claustrophobic, high-octane energy filled with plenty gory and masterfully crafted practical effects, including the films’ creatures. Be sure to catch ‘The Lair’ premiering exclusively on Shudder Thursday, January 26th.
Fan favorites returning to Shudder in January
We continue our look at Shudder’s January release schedule with a couple fan favorites returning for the month including the critically acclaimed first season of ‘Chucky‘, by franchise creator Don Mancini and Andrzej Żuławski’s controversial 1981 demonic horror film ‘Possession’.
Possession (Premiers on Shudder January 5th)
Back in 1981 when Andrzej Żuławski’s film ‘Possession’ was originally released, it was met with critical backlash and banned in the UK being coined as a “video nasty”. Throughout the years, Zulawski’s disturbing masterpiece ‘Possession’ has since garnered massive praise amongst genre fans and is considered a nightmarish experience of demonic possession and crippling marriages.
‘Possession’ centers on professional spy Mark (Played by Sam Neil; ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Event Horizon‘) returns to his West Berlin home to find his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani; ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre‘) insistent on getting a divorce. As Anna’s frenzied behavior becomes ever more alarming, Mark discovers a truth far more sinister than his wildest suspicions. With its pulsating score, visceral imagery, and some of the most haunting performances ever captured on screen; including Anna’s possession serving as one the film’s most memorable scenes, ‘Possession’ is cinematic delirium at its most intoxicating and one I highly recommend adding to your list on January 5th.
Chucky (Complete first season returns to Shudder January 12th)
As a fan of the ‘Child’s Play‘ franchise for many years, when it was announced the iconic killer doll would be getting his own television series courtesy of SyFy and USA Network, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. My main worry being a watered-down PG-13 version of a character synonymous with crude language, catchy one-liners, and a kill count that rivals the biggest of slasher icons. Thankfully I was wrong, as the first season of ‘Chucky’ proved to be a massive hit amongst fans and critics alike, enough so to greenlight a second season. Shudder brings back the hit first season of ‘Chucky‘ for our binge worthy delights before season 2 drops for VOD and physical purchase.
After a vintage Good-Guy doll turns up at a suburban yard sale, young Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) purchases the doll at a steal and takes him home to use for parts on personal art project. Unbeknownst to Jake, this seemingly lifeless doll harbors the soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray aka Chucky (reprised by Brad Dourif; The Exorcist III and Rob Zombie’s Halloween). As the show progress, we see an idyllic American town thrown into chaos as a series of horrifying murders begin to expose the town’s hypocrisies and secrets. Meanwhile, the arrival of enemies and allies from Chucky’s past threatens to expose the truth behind the killings, as well as the demon doll’s untold origins as a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became this notorious monster. It is up to Jake and his friends Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) and Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind) to put a stop to Chucky once and for all and end his reign of terror. ‘Chucky’ also stars returning franchise alums Jennifer Tilly (Bride of Chucky, Bound) as the killer dolls equally maniacal love interest Tiffany Valentine, Alex Vincent (Child’s Play 1&2) and Christine Elise (Child’s Play 2, Body Snatchers) as Chucky’s old rivals Andy Barclay and Kyle, and of course Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky) returns as fan favorite Nica Pierce. Be sure to binge the first season of ‘Chucky’ streaming on Shudder January 12th.
Additional titles Premiering on Shudder in January
For a full comprehensive list of all the titles being added to Shudder for the month of January, please refer to the graphic below. Though we are starting off the year mildly light, there are still plenty of spooky treats and surprises to look forward to throughout the year. 2023 is just getting started!
Q: The Winged Serpent
The Wolf of Snow Hollow
Dawn Breaks Behind the Eyes
Chucky, Season 1
Take Back the Night
Road Games (1981)
Sorry About the Demon
Let the Wrong One In
In Search of Darkness: Part 3
Shudder December 2022 Holiday Horrors Schedule
On the 11th day of Christmas Shudder gifted me, new series and movies! Why hello fellow mutants and Shudder aficionados, winter has fast fallen upon us bringing with it snow chilled nights, crackling embers smoldering in wood-burning fireplaces, mugs of rich hot cocoa, twinkling Christmas lights, and festive new holiday horror films to watch comfortably nestled under our blankets.
As we prepare to bid adieu to one of the genres most exciting years to date confidently strutting into 2023, Shudder has a few more frightful presents placed under our trees for us to unwrap in joyous delight. Allow me, your festive ghoul to guide you through all that will be arriving, as well as leaving Shudder for the month of December 2022, including the return of the king himself Joe Bob Briggs in ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together‘ special and Joe Begos’ eagerly anticipated holiday slasher, ‘Christmas Bloody Christmas’.
New Treats and Returning Favorites
Let’s jump right into the festivities with Shudder this month with the return of their hit original series, the oh-so-horrifically fabulous The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans, new episodes premiering every Tuesday.
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans –Now Streaming
Finding a new home in the company of Shudder, the exquisite mistresses were able to bring a vast number of loyal fans over to the premier streaming service, while garnering a warm embrace from their newly adopted mutant family. Returning with their new original series ‘The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Titans‘ reintroduces popular drag icons from the show’s previous seasons to come together and compete in horrifying challenges of drag artistry pushing these talented artists both physically and mentally. A one hundred-thousand-dollar grand prize, the headlining spot on the Boulet Brothers upcoming world tour, and the first ever “Dragula Titans” crown and title. Filled with surprising guest Judges throughout this spooktacular season including the legendary Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Harvey Guillen, Justin Simien, David Dastmalchian, Poppy, Alaska, Katya, Shudder Alumni Joe Bob Briggs, Bonnie Aarons, Barbara Crampton, and many more. (A Shudder Original Series)
The Last Drive-In Presents: Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together – Streaming LIVE NEXT FRIDAY, December 16, at 9pm on Shudder TV, and on demand starting Sunday, December 18
When Joe Bob Briggs made his triumphant return to television with his one-time special The Last Drive-In, horror enthusiasts including myself rejoiced in excitement. I’ll admit, memories of late night ‘MonsterVision’ binges with my father instantly came flooding back to mind. Due to the specials massive success, breaking Shudder’s server engines, it’s clear we fans wanted more from Joe Bob Briggs, his lovely new mail girl Darcy (Diana Prince co-host and host of The Lost Drive-In Podcast), and The Last Drive-In. Shudder has continued to listen to its fans, as we are now 4 seasons into the show, with a 5th season already in production and a BRAND-NEW holiday special premiering exclusively on Shudder in just under 1 week.
Shudder alumni’s Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl make their festive return to celebrate Christmas in classic drive-in fashion, buckets of gratuitous gore and Joe Bob’s copious knowledge of grindhouse horror and humorous rants. The Last Drive-In’s third annual holiday special ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’ airs live on Shudder December 16th at 9pm EST, with all auctions and proceeds going to charity. And who knows, this year’s double feature might even include a holiday horror film or two… (A Shudder Original).
Be sure to join us fellow mutants at HauntedMTL on Twitter as we live tweet along with the show and celebrate the festivities alongside Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl. Simply tweet @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder, @therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror so we can reply/retweet any posts you have during the live showing.
1 Brit flick, 1 Canuck flick, 20-plus outrageous auction items, 2 rants, 1 sappy letter (because Darcy always insists), the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the ghost of Bing Crosby, and oceans of Last Drive-In merch that will channel 💰 to charities that need YOU. Genuinely stoked! pic.twitter.com/x9ZpPlWXfJ— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) December 9, 2022
New Seasonal Shudder Original & Exclusive Movies
Provided below is a comprehensive list of new upcoming holiday horror films and their premier dates curated by Shudder. Allow me, your purveyor into all things Shudder, be your guide.
A Wounded Fawn – Now Streaming as of December 1st
Inspired by surrealist art and Greek mythology, writer/director Travis Stevens (Jakob’s Wife) makes his Shudder return with ‘A Wounded Fawn‘. Following the story of Meredith Tanning (Sarah Lind, The Humanity Bureau), a local museum curator who reluctantly begins dipping her toes back into the murky waters of the dating pool, only to be targeted by a handsomely charming serial killer (Josh Ruben, Scare Me and Werewolves Within). With sparks igniting, a fateful romantic getaway between the two quickly becomes a tense game of cat and mouse, both confronting the madness within him. (A Shudder Original)
Christmas Bloody Christmas–Now Streaming as of December 9th
One of my most anticipated releases of the year, Joe Begos (writer and director of Bliss, VFX) has made a lasting impression with his use of grindhouse gore, bright neon colors and signature psychedelic visuals. Begos continues to ride his success with this year’s Christmas Bloody Christmas. It’s Christmas Eve and spit-fire record store owner Tori Tooms (Riley Dandy, That’s Amor) just wants to celebrate Christmas getting drunk and partying, until the robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store malfunctions, causing Tori’s night of festive debauchery into a night of desperate survival. Jolly robot Santa Claus enacts a rampant killing spree through the flashing neon drenched snowscape against a backdrop of drugs, sex, metal and violence, ultimately forcing Tori in a night of blood splattered fisticuffs against the killer heavy metal Saint Nick. Co-starring Sam Delich (Spiderhead), Jonah Ray Rodrigues (“Mystery Science Theater 3000”), Dora Madison (Alone with You), Jeremy Gardner (After Midnight), with Jeff Daniel Phillips (The Lords of Salem, The Munsters) and Abraham Benrubi (“ER”). (A Shudder Original)
Be sure to check back next week for my full review, as I continue to provide you with more jovial horror film reviews all month long here on HauntedMTL.
The Apology-Premiering Friday, December 16th
Twenty years following the disappearance of her daughter, recovering alcoholic Darlene Hagan (Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad) is preparing to host her family’s annual Christmas celebration with the help of her next-door neighbor and close friend, Gretchen (Janeane Garofalo, Wet Hot American Summer). Arriving at their family house unannounced late Christmas Eve, Darlene’s estranged ex-brother-in-law, Jack (Linus Roache, Mandy) comes bearing nostalgic gifts and a heavy secret. Soon, Darlene finds herself caught between reason and ruthless instinct. Trapped together by a dangerous storm, a battle of wits escalates to a savage game of revenge. Written and directed by Alison Locke in her first full feature debut, ‘The Apology‘ is sure to fill your chilly nights with unsettling nightmares. (A Shudder Exclusive)
Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge – Premieres Thursday, December 22
With the surprising success of Scare Package, it’s only obvious director and co-creator Aaron B. Koontz delivers his follow-up ‘Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge‘ exclusively to Shudder, offering new and hilariously fun practical effects along the way. When horror guru Rad Chad Buckley’s funeral turns into an elaborate series of death traps centered around the deceased’s favorite scary movies, the guests must band together and use the classic rules of horror to survive Chad’s bloody game. Maintaining the anthology structure from its predecessor:
Core Story: Rad Chad’s Revenge directed by Aaron B. Koontz.
Segments: Welcome to the 90’s directed by Alexandra Barreto, The Night He Came Back Again Part VI – The Night She Came Back directed by Anthony Cousins, Special Edition directed by Jed Shepherd, and We’re So Dead directed by Rachele Wiggins. (A Shudder Original)
Burial – Premieres Thursday, December 29
Set in 1945 during the final days of WWII, a band of Allied soldiers trafficking Hitler’s remains out of Germany are ambushed by Nazi Wehrwolf fighters. Burial is a gritty fresh take on the werewolf subgenre acting as both a political thriller period piece and bloody creature feature. Directed and written by Ben Park (Girl on the Third Floor) and starring Charlotte Vega (2021’s Wrong Turn remake), Tom Felton (Harry Potter series, be sure to check out the massive amount of selfless work in charity he’s done over on his Instagram livestream @t22felton), Harriet Walter, Barry Ward, Dan Renton Skinner and Bill Milner. (A Shudder Exclusive)
The Unhappy Holiday Collection; for the Grinch in you!
Are you like me and completely dread the holidays? They’re stressful, expensive, and the dreary weather brings anything but a festive spirit. However, with the holidays comes beautiful decorations, excuses to bundle up in hooded sweaters and loose sweatpants, and of course, new yuletide tales of terror along with returning classic favorites. Let your Grinch flag fly and celebrate this season with Shudder’s “Unhappy Holidays Collection.” New additions this month include Night of the Comet (12/1), Christmas Bloody Christmas (12/9), along with current Shudder titles Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out, Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation, Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker, To All A Good Night, Black Christmas (1974), Christmas Evil, Better Watch Out, A Christmas Horror Story, All The Creatures Were Stirring, Christmas Presence, Deadly Games, Blood Beat, The Advent Calendar, A Creepshow Holiday Special, and a personal favorite of mine, The Christmas “Ghoul Log
Killer Classics Returning to Shudder’s Library
For a full comprehensive list of everything returning to Shudder throughout the month of December, be sure to sign up for Shudder now to receive monthly notifications sent directly to your email and your first 7 days free. Offering an abundance of categories, award winning exclusives including The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, and membership plans starting as low as $5.99 per month, Shudder is the perfect gift for the lovable and dorky horror junkies in your lives.
Night of the Comet: A huge comet passes near the earth, vaporizing nearly the whole planet. Only a few teenagers (Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney), survive–all those outside… turned to dust. Those few partially exposed people who survived are now mutated, blood-thirsty zombies begin a deadly hunt for the last remaining humans to feast upon their flesh.
The Police Are Blundering in the Dark: During an outbreak of violent murders in the area targeting young women, a journalist searching for a female friend gone missing ends up in a villa owned by an eccentric photographer.
The Killer is One of Thirteen: A widow invites thirteen guests to stay at her rural mansion. She reveals to them that she suspects whoever killed her husband must be one of them. Soon, they too are being murdered one by one.
Girl in Room 2A: A sadistic killer cult kidnaps and sacrifices beautiful women. A young girl, just paroled from prison, moves into a strange house and appears to be the cult’s next victim.
The French Sex Murders: A man is accused of killing his favorite prostitute in a French brothel. He’s tried and sentenced to death. He tries to escape but dies during pursuit. Soon, people connected to the case are killed one by one.
Autopsy: This lurid giallo stars Mimsy Farmer (Four Flies on Grey Velvet) as a morgue worker who begins investigating a series of suicides that she comes to suspect may actually be murders. Helping her with the case is a priest who’s prone to violent outbursts. Could his short fuse be because his sister was a recent victim – or is he the man behind the crimes? The only thing certain in this fast-paced fright film is that nothing is certain.
Murder Mansion: A couple, lost in thick fog, take refuge in an old mansion next to a cemetery. Strange things start to happen.
Crazy Desires of a Murderer: A rich girl invites a few of her friends, including one she befriended during a recent trip to Asia, to her family manor to spend the weekend. Soon, someone gets horribly killed, and secrets and dark desires begin to unravel.
Arabella Black Angel: Arabella is a nymphomaniac who has sex with any man. One day, her husband, a writer, meets her and another man. She has a strange reaction: kills the lover. Her husband hides the corpse. From that moment on, he encourages her meetings with other men, and writes down the experiences in his new book.
The Killer is Still Among Us: During a spree of violent killings, a young woman writing a thesis in criminology begins to suspect that her new boyfriend, who is a forensic pathologist, might be a serial killer.
The Sister of Ursula: While searching for their estranged mother, two beautiful sisters, Dagmar and Ursula, arrive at a luxurious seaside hotel. At the same time, a mysterious killer starts murdering promiscuous women in the area
Keep checking HauntedMTL.com, as well as follow us on Twitter and Instagram @_hauntedmtl_ for all your latest Shudder news, provided by yours truly. Now, grab your remote, dim the lights, kick back and enjoy what remains of 2022 with a nice helping of Christmas horror movies with the whole family if you dare.