Land of the Dead (2005) came out just after I graduated high school and in many ways, my anticipation of it felt like a graduation present for me. I’d spent my teenage years absolutely engrossed in Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead and the arrival of a new George Romero zombie film was a huge event for me. I saw it opening night at my local theater, but I walked out pretty disappointed. The film was fine, but my hyping of it had well and truly backfired and I felt perturbed by some of the choices made by Romero to his zombie canon. I wouldn’t say I had felt betrayed, but that’s silly, his movies are not my movies, yet I felt myself disagreeing with someone who I considered a visionary with a lot to say.
Land of the Dead wasn’t really the sort of zombie film I wanted and I was struck by how “forced” it all seemed to me. It was the first of Romero’s final string of zombie films that pushed his social commentary in fairly on the nose ways to diminishing results. Of course, Night, Dawn, and Day also pushed messages, but the films were also really, really good. That’s not to say these messages were unwelcome to a young man out of high school who was building a worldview and political identity. In 2005, Land felt like a pale imitation of Romero’s previous highs, but by then I had already been close to two years deep into reading The Walking Dead. I had found something else.
15 years later, I realize now that the Land of the Dead is a film well-suited to today’s reality. The movie was almost prescient regarding outbreaks and of the exploitative nature of capitalism. It remains to be seen, though, if it also predicts the destruction of capitalism under the pressures of disease and the exploitation of the masses. More than ever, what George Romero was attempting in Land of the Dead rings more true for me now then it did in 2005.
I felt an urge to rewatch it after a couple of days of successive errands among a worsening situation in my state of California. The night before I had to make a run to the bank to grab money for rent, as the promised online payment system of the management company never came to fruition. I spent about an hour in a line, outside of the bank. The night of I had to run a grocery errand and was struck by just how empty my town has been. Though, not empty enough given the now mandatory requirement of masks in my county.
The parallels between our current COVID-19 reality and post-apocalyptic fiction is not something novel. A cursory Google search shows that writers all over the internet are writing about pandemics and horror films. It’s all surface level and in a lot of ways; most of society has been kinder and more collaborative (except when it comes to toilet paper).
So, Land of the Dead‘s relevance to today does need to go beyond the obvious idea of a society struggling with a virus that does terrible things. Too many people are writing about that right now. It’s obvious. Does Land of the Dead deliver beyond that?
Oh boy, oh boy, does Land of the Dead deliver.
Terrorists, Zombies, and the Bush Era
It’s been heavily pointed out that Land of the Dead is most assuredly a critique of the Bush-era of the United States of America, down to lines lifted whole from the administration. “We do not negotiate with terrorists” works its way into a pivotal scene where a representation of the callous 1% is willing to sacrifice the lives of the 99%. President George W. Bush echoed such sentiments in 2002, after all.
For the most part, the film delivers enough in that regard. Again though, it can be heavy-handed. John Leguizamo’s character, Cholo, at one point threatens a “jihad” on the head of Fiddler’s Green, Kaufman. The whole film centers around a struggle for control over a device more suited for war than survival. Shock and awe arrive with a burst of fireworks and missile launchers and machine guns. There is no real government beyond a feudalistic one enforced mostly through mercenaries: Blackwater, anyone?
Despite this, I think the movie works way better now in the context of the Trump administration, particularly when it comes to what we are seeing surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Fiddler’s Green is the Trumpian Ideal
Gaudy and hollow, Fiddler’s Green is almost disgusting in how it flaunts wealth pointlessly in an environment of dire scarcity. Romero’s parallel journeys of Riley and Cholo intercut with each other early on in the movie are some of my favorite moments in the film. As Riley and Charlie make their way through the slums, Cholo makes his way upward through the greatest concentration of wealth in Fiddler’s Green. Cholo, the temporarily embarrassed millionaire he is, is grifted by Kaufman, the conman in charge. Robbed of his chance at upward mobility, Cholo steals “Dead Reckoning,” a tank that can bring down the city, and pressures Kaufman into cutting a deal.
Which, of course, results in Kaufman ending up doing an incredibly stupid series of decisions in a mounting crisis. I am sure you can already see where this is going.
Let’s talk about Dennis Hopper’s Kaufman; Dennis Hopper is fantastic in Land of the Dead and it’s one of my favorite roles he ever had. He’s just such a goddamn scumbag and such a malicious, cowardly leader. Surrounded by the trappings of traditional power, precious liquor, cigars, and a black manservant (!) Kaufman is that sort of representation of the capitalist you love to hate. He’s racist, classist, and hell, probably sexist too. He’s just so easily hated that it is so satisfying to see him die, beset by someone he betrayed and a representation of the conscious, uprising working class.
I see a lot of connections between Donald Trump and Hopper’s Paul Kaufman. The obsession with the images of power, naked, exploitative capitalistic impulses and poor leadership skills are merely scratching the surface of these parallels. Not enough is written about how repulsive a figure Trump is; he made a joke about banging models in a Coronavirus briefing. Rather than being concerned with the task at hand (a goddamn pandemic), he grasps at clout just as Kaufman grasps at loot the vault in Fiddler’s Green.
The fact that this society Kaufman inherited still revolves around money, is, of course, a bleak joke. Kaufman, for all his bluster of being the man with the plan, who made the safe new world for everyone, merely took over a building and simply tricked people into working for him with the token application of money. Money which really carries no real currency in the post-apocalypse. Kaufman builds nothing, riding on the back of an already exploitative system. Much like Trump, Kaufman lacks the discipline to manage his inherited position and it all comes tumbling down.
We could go on about Kaufman’s blatant racism as well. Kaufman slurs Cholo several times and the impression we get of why Cholo is not invited into the upper level of Kaufman’s world isn’t necessarily because of Cholo’s boorish behavior. The presence of the black manservant is far too pointed to think otherwise. It makes one wonder how Trump would treat someone like Cholo…
Kaufman, in perhaps one of the funniest scenes of the movie, ends up shooting one of his cronies, fearful that he will be discovered robbing Fiddler’s Green and going on the run. Instantly he gets a message from Riley that Dead Reckoning was secured. It’s a great bit of understated frustration from Dennis Hopper. Kaufman, motivated by greed, targets and destroys part of his governing apparatus to cover for himself. For people who follow the shakeups of the Trump administration, particularly regarding the botched handling of COVID-19, this begins to sound maddeningly familiar.
The Greed Virus
It is clear that Romero would have a lot to say when it comes to critiquing Trump. Romero’s time dealing with the Trump era was brief, but in that time he made his feelings clear about where we were headed.
There is a question that lingers in my mind regarding all of this, of course. What sort of zombie movie would George Romero have made in response to the current Trump era and viral anxieties?
Well, that movie exists: It’s Land of the Dead.
Please share your thoughts on Land of the Dead with us in the comments. Afterward, consider browsing our Weekly Wail archive.
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.
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