Category Archives: Movies

SXSW 2021: The Thing That Ate The Birds (Short)- Horror On the Moors

South By Southwest (SXSW) Film FestivalThe Thing That Ate The Birds? Yes, of course I’m enticed. Please, tell me. What is the Thing that ate the birds?

Within seconds the tone is set with a starkly elegant title screen and violent violins ramping up to a fever pitch*. A grin spreads wide across my face and I lean in towards the TV, rubbing my hands together diabolically.

Less than five minutes in and I said out loud, to an empty room, “What the fuck!?” and also “Oh god!” We are off to a promising start.

A tension filled, strained marriage set against the backdrop of the expansive North Yorkshire Moors . A groundskeeper and his assistant stumble across… you guessed it another dead bird. It seems it’s been a problem in these parts and when the duo encounters a very likely suspect, (which will inevitably haunt my dreams for weeks to come), head groundskeeper Abel takes action. He’s a real act-first-think-later kind of guy, now is it all well and done or might this come back to bite him in the ass down the line?

There are lots of nice practical fx here; as a whole it is a well done, sinister piece. Fraught with tension through and through, it will likely have you wound as tightly as those screaming strings for the duration of its fourteen minute runtime. Writer/Director team Sophie Mair and Dan Gitsham do indeed provide you with an answer to the query- what the hell ate the birds!? There might be more to fear on the moors than what the phrase typically tends to bring to mind.

The Thing That Ate The Birds premiered as part of the Midnight Shorts collection at SXSW Online 2021

*I don’t in fact know they were violins, but definitely string instruments and I liked the alliteration.

In Search Of Darkness Part II: More Than “Gruesome Stupidity”

Beloved horror icons talking about beloved 80’s horror classics. That’s enough to sell me on this, but if you need more reasons…

If you’re a fan of In Search of Darkness, this is a no-brainer. If you haven’t yet seen In Search of Darkness but you’re a fan of 80s horror, go watch In Search of Darkness and then watch In Search of Darkness II (You can actually even watch the second one first if that tickles your fancy). If the first movie was a primer to 80s horror, this extension allows for a deeper dive into some more beloved classics, covered by interviews with equally beloved horror icons.

This sequel is a seamless continuation of the original installment. Basically there was way too much good shit to fit into the four hour original, so now we get a second installment. And in no way do these feel like “leftovers” or something cobbled together off the cutting room floor. It’s every bit as enjoyable as the first.

Also….. THERE’S A WHOLE GIALLO SEGMENT *cue technicolor head explosion* That in itself is reason enough for me, but there is truly so much wonderfully great stuff here.

In Search of Darkness Part II is running a flash sale through midnight, Valentine’s Day, so hashtag treat yo’ self and snag this sweet package! 80shorrordoc.com

In Search of Darkness: Part II Flash Sale Package includes:

  • In Search of Darkness: Part II Blu-ray w/ slipcase, reversible cover label, and booklet
  • 3 exclusive In Search of Darkness: Part II posters (16.5” x 23.4”)
  • Collectible enamel pin (while supplies last)
  • In Search of Darkness: Part II digital edition
  • In Search of Darkness digital edition
  • In Search of Darkness: Part II Soundtrack and score (digital download)
  • ISOD Discord Community season pass

IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS: PART II – OFFICIAL TRAILER – FLASH SALE FEB 2021 from CreatorVC on Vimeo.

And here’s an interview with Fangoria’s Editor in Chief Phil Nobile Jr. chatting with Director David Weiner about ’80s horror and part 2 of the IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS documentary:

Final Girls Berlin (Virtual) Film Festival Feb 4th-7th

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival showcases horror cinema that’s directed, written, or produced by women and non-binary filmmakers. While the features are geo-locked to Germany there is a slew of excellent content in the short film programs. Individual ticket blocks are just under $8 USD, you can also purchase an international pass for about $25 USD which will give you access to the entire slate of shorts programming. You have the option to watch the live stream of each shorts block with a filmmaker Q&A, or purchase your ticket and you’ll have 22 hours to start the stream.

The Cyber Horror shorts block is now expired, but you still have time to get in on Isolation Horror – Cabin Fever, Revenge Horror – An Eye For An Eye, Young Blood and Comedy Horror – Busting A Gut. If the fresh and original content in the Cyber Horror block is any indication of the caliber of talent awaiting in the remaining shorts programs- you definitely do not want to sleep on this.

Also lots of cool, free panels and events to check out as well!

Head over to Final Girls Berlin and get your tickets now.

From Final Girls Berlin:
** Our definition of women includes anyone with female experience –past or present– and is trans-inclusive. Anyone who feels addressed by the term is welcome to submit their films to the festival. **

“Hunted” – Vincent Paronnaud’s Modern Maximum Revenge-Riff On Little Red Riding HooD Now On Shudder

Vincent Paronnaud’s (PERSEPOLIS) Hunted hits Shudder today. Some solid cosplay inspo here in this modified mutation of Little Red Riding Hood.

What starts out as a chilling campfire tale being relayed to a kid looking like he might shit his pants, leads into real world, present day protagonist and Little Red Riding Hood-esque, Eve. We are first introduced to Eve on the job, immediately followed by a call from her boss who patronizes her for presumably not being “hard enough” on getting the crew to meet deadlines and offering to send a male cohort to get-the-job-done. After a rough day at work, our girl his the bar for a drink. The truly terrifying part of this movie for me was Eve navigating through the city as an independent woman who can very much hold her own and the multiple encounters she thwarts with lecherous leering wolves in the form of men slinking about. Eve is smart, savvy – but we are in a horror film after all.

Not to spoil anything, but this is a revenge tale so we can assume that 1) at some point shit goes sideways for Eve 2) at some point the tables turn. And were you wagering on these two points, you would be a bit richer right now. Once shit goes sideways, a relentless hunt ensues and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is even more heinous than one could have suspected. More vile than vile and we want terrible things to happen to him. It gets real grindhousey somewhere around here. The tables turn. And turn again. And then once more. And maybe a few times hence. Relentlessly beating the absolute shit out of these characters.

There is a shocking moment that had me sort of screaming at the screen. I don’t really know how we were intended to feel about it but I screamed and did one of those sort of inappropriate shock induced giggling bits. There’s a real Braveheart moment that looks super cool, possibly also a nod to another French film Pierrot le Fou– but the way it comes about was another moment that took me out of the story a little bit on account of scratching my head a bit. Geography is not my strong point but there is a segment involving woods, corn fields and then suddenly BAM civilization seemingly much closer than it should be. Much of the film is heavily grounded in reality, so slightly fantastical elements (and I don’t mean magic but more along the lines of characters appearing and vanishing or seemingly geographic inconsistencies) is a bit jarring. Maybe it’s a fever dream and we are working on an acid trip of a timeline and geography at this juncture. Just go with it.

By the end of the film, things are looking quite gorgeous and feral and some gruesome shit has been consumed. Lucie Debay as Eve is a treat to watch as she becomes abso-fucking-lutely unhinged and feral and Arieh Worthalter as the (formerly) charming maniac is truly terrifying. While I wish there were some plot points that carried to further fruition and I was pulled out of it a bit at times, it was an enjoyable watch. Some of the things alluded to aren’t totally ignored, I just personally would have loved to see them really at the forefront for the payoff. Feminist revenge horror, comeuppance, reclaiming your power, returning to your roots, punctuated with grindhouse level gore… all good shit.

Stream Hunted now on Shudder

Are You Afraid Of The Dark Curse Of The Shadows Teaser

The 2019 Are You Afraid of the Dark three episode limited series was criminally under-appreciated. The upcoming 2021 release will be a six episode run, again focusing on a singular story and it looks even darker than last season. The teaser alone has a ton of easter eggs for horror fans and fans of the original series. But don’t take my word for it. Have a look:

Are You Afraid of the Dark Curse of the Shadows
premieres on Nickelodeon Friday, February 12th.

2020 Harbingers Of Joy

This year I was hungry for movies that provided an escapism, made me feel good and delivered some fun. There are lots I didn’t get to, and lots more I enjoyed but here are ten that delivered tremendous joy.

10. Class Action Park – Sometimes something comes around that prompts you to ask out loud, “is this real life?”. If you would have given me a million bucks, (that might be too generous, maybe just a few thousand) when I was ten years old to create an amusement park- this is probably pretty close to what I would have created. Reality and safety be damned, build the loop de loop slide per my specifications! I don’t know how Action Park existed. But it was the 80s, and it did and I know I shouldn’t, but there is a piece of me that has a morbid curiosity about what it would have been like to survive this place and lived to tell the tale.

9. The Cleansing Hour – Inventive AF, a fresh modern take on possession horror. Eerily relevant, fun practical FX, and Alix Angelis scared the shit out of me.

8. Birds of Prey – All the negative shit I heard about this movie just had me thinking… “you all were T-rippin.” I wish I would have seen this on the big screen, but when I tried, the projector broke down, and I didn’t get a second chance before the world as we knew it broke down. But holy shit this was a good time. This. Make more of this.

7. Bly Manor – This one blindsided and gutted me. And having said that, I’ve already said too much. But if you’re a fan of The Haunting Of Hill House, you already know there’s more than meets the eye in Flanagan’s haunted house fare.

6. Spontaneous – This one needs more love for sure. Granted, the author and compiler of this list also grew up with a great fear of spontaneous combustion and a vast awareness of mortality. But this is a wonderful dark horror comedy that plays almost like a slasher, except for the slasher in question is the phenomenon of spontaneous combustion. Which means it’s fun and also existential.

5. Freaky – What a fucking blast. Combining some of my favorite things- a teen comedy body swap and a slasher film and it’s every bit as fun as it sounds. Also unexpectedly touching in multiple ways and all around badass. Not to mention, forever screaming with celebratory glee about the representation here. Queer-o’s represent!!

4. The Invisible Man – The last movie I saw in a theater. It was smart and chilling, Elizabeth Moss was an absolute force in this and I appreciated the updated treatment of the concept.

3. Scare Package – A good anthology is hard to find, imagine my surprise when we were gifted not one but TWO this year. We all have a little bit of Rad Chad in us, and he lives forever in my heart. Just the right amount of all-out splattery goodness. An interactive, screaming-at-your-television-with-grotesque-glee kind of ride.

2. The Mortuary Collection -A good anthology is hard to find. This… is a great one. The vibe of this is perfect spooky Halloween fare. If you grew up with the likes of Are You Afraid of the DarkThe Halloween Tree and the animated Tales From The Crypt Keeper, this feels like a grownup version, tonally speaking. Take the vibe of those childhood classics, up the scares, add gushy gore. As my second favorite movie of the year, there’s lots to say on it, which you can find in my original review and also check out my interview with Ryan Spindell

1. HOST – Number one, no surprise here. This wasn’t just a movie it was an experience. Lots to say about this one but you can read that in my original review and also check out my interview with Emma. Traumatized for at least a week after, the move in itself was incredible. To add to that, watching the cast and creators react to this turning into an absolute fucking phenomenon was such a joy and truly a highlight of the year. Well deserved top spot on many year end best-of lists.

Needs more love: Looks That Kill, Wayne, His House, Gretel and Hansel

Honorable Mentions: Palm Springs, Birds of Prey, The Rental, The Wolf of Snow Hollow, A Creepshow Holiday Special, Scare Me

Theme of My Next Birthday Party: Scare Me

Joyful Binges: Tiger King, Queen’s Gambit, Bridgerton

The Year of the Aubrey: Happiest Season + Black Bear

Fucked Me Up So Badly I Needed A Eurovision Palate Cleanser To Quell The Knots In My Heart: The Dark and the Wicked

Perfect Palate Cleanser: Eurovision

Fucked Me Up Existentially: Relic

Best Necromancy: The triumphant return of Fangoria

Hero of the Year: Mission Tiki Drive-In

Thank you to all the creators, imposter syndrome be damned – you birthed wonderful creations, shared them with us all… and as a result delivered much needed joy. Thank you for sharing these pieces of yourselves with us. Cheers to future creations. Here’s to chatting with more of you about your wonderful creations in 2021.

A Creepshow Holiday Special Delivers One Glorious Joy-Filled Hour of Horror + Laughs

There’s a killer on the loose in Neighborville, only comes out when the moon is full

The comedy in A Creepshow Holiday Special is so insanely on point. A healthy dose of “Dad jokes”, puns and dark humor weaved effortlessly together with real horror. A whole new mythology created for creatures, characters and tropes of familiar lore turned upside down on its head in a way that totally checks out, “yeah, I buy that.” This is just oozing and seething with one hundred percent FUN. Absolute escapism for one joy-filled hour. I do not say this lightly- this was extremely my jam. Something here for non-horror fans and casual horror fans alike. And if you’re an avid horror hound… prepare to REJOICE in the sheer cleverness presented in a gift wrapped cornucopia of easter eggs.

Adam Pally and Anna Camp hilariously lead a cast of characters with unique abilities in this wild holiday ride. Hunker down, grab some Santa cookies and settle in for your first Shapeshifters Anonymous meeting.

The hour long special hits Shudder Friday, December 18th

Nightstream Film Festival – Five Festivals In ONe Oct 8-11

Five genre film fests are joining forces to create the superpower that is Nightstream Virtual Film Festival. This online four-day festival is the joint effort of Boston Underground, Brooklyn Horror, North Bend, Overlook and Popcorn Frights. Offering a seriously stacked lineup, including the world premiere of Sarah Paulson’s Run, conversations with Candyman director Nia DaCosta, and Mary Harron on the 20th Anniversary of American Pyscho.

Continue reading Nightstream Film Festival – Five Festivals In ONe Oct 8-11

40 Days of spooky movies and shows

Happy Autumnal Equinox! 40 days till Halloween, here’s a list of 40 days worth of spooky viewing suggestions. Naturally I had more than 40 movies so there are some double features in here. Keep in mind I said *spooky* not scary. Lots of gateway horror on here and things that personally conjure up Halloween vibes. This is not a deep cuts list, and I tried to stick to movies you could find readily available for streaming. Enjoy!

  1. Eerie Indiana

2. The Love Witch

3. The Burbs

4. Return to Oz

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer + What We Do In The Shadows

6. Clue

7. Psycho + The Birds

8. Re-Animator + Return of the Living Dead

9. Hocus Pocus – If you’ve followed along from day one, this puts us at October 1st and what better way to get into the mood than with the Sanderson Sisters?

10. The Addams Family

11. The Monster Squad

12. Over The Garden Wall

13. Are You Afraid of the Dark 2019 mini series + original episodes

14. Death Becomes Her

15. Frankenweenie + Young Frankenstein

16. Tucker and Dale Vs Evil

17. Ghostbusters

18. The Witches + The Worst Witch

19. Paranorman + Coraline

20. Little Shop of Horrors + Rocky Horror Picture Show

21. Scare Package + Creepshow

22. Ernest Scared Stupid + Casper

23. The Mortuary Collection

24. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

25. Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School

26. Teen Witch + Teen Wolf

27. The Lost Boys + The Craft

28. Beetlejuice

29. Double Double Toil and Trouble

30. Mr Boogedy + Bride of Boogedy

31. House On Haunted Hill

32. Practical Magic + The Witches of Eastwick

33. Corpse Bride + The Nightmare Before Christmas

34. An American Werewolf in London + Ginger Snaps

35. HOST + It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Ok this is my one exception to “I said ‘spooky’ not ‘scary'”. HOST is pee-your-pants scary which is why I coupled it with a palate cleanser. You’ve been warned. Proceed.

36. Mad Monster Party

37. Sleepy Hollow the Disney featurette + The Tim Burton live action

38. HalloweenTown Series

39. The Halloween Tree + Something Wicked This Way Comes

A Bradbury double dose because he knows what it is to be Autumn people

40. Trick R Treat + Halloween III

And if you want to carry it over into November or have time for more movies in your day…

Little Monsters, Transylvania 6-5000, Treehouse of Horror

The entire classic Universal Monsters collection, including Abbot + Costello meet the monsters series

Hammer Horror…

All of the Halloween episodes from The Office, Disney shorts Trick Or Treat and Lonesome Ghosts. Vintage Halloween specials are my absolute favorite but I tried to stick to easy to find for this list.

Here are some of my annual watc traditions: The Worst Witch, The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t, Raggedy Ann and Andy and The Pumpkin Who Couldn’t Smile

Happy viddy’ing, ya spooky shits ❤