We saddle up and hit the open range, ready to herd up all those horror cows in another roundup. This week’s discussion: The Noonday Witch, Love Death & Robots, The Other, The Silence, Crawlspace, The Stepfather, Aliens 40th Anniversary Shorts, Mayhem, Incident in a Ghostland, Borgman, The Luminous Dead, A Quiet Place, and more! Again and again we wonder and lament how much time of our finite lives we have wasted…
The duo finish The Case Against Satan. So…was it Satan all along? If so, did Satan come up with a sufficiently good excuse to possess Susan? Did Satan entirely win us over with his witty snark? Have science and faith been sufficiently reconciled? Find out!
In the spirit of our last two months discussing God and the Devil in horror cinema, the duo discuss the 1962 first novel of Ray Russell, The Case Against Satan. This is the subtle, ambiguous story of two men of the cloth - one firm and unwavering, the other a more ‘modern’ man who has doubts about the literal nature of Satan - grappling with whether a young girl is possessed, and if that sounds like another certain novel, note we said “subtle” and “ambiguous.” No extracurricular use of crosses here, although the first half does end with “get the rope!”
We watch and read a lot of horror that never fits a cutesy little theme. So here we discuss a whole ton of stuff: Velvet Buzzsaw, Holidays, The Rift: Dark Side of the Moon, Trauma, I am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House, Bird Box, Castle Freak, We Are Still Here, At the Devil’s Door, The Prodigy, Dolls, Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, The Narrow Caves, and more! And as always, looking back on how much of our lives we’ve wasted watching these…
The duo discuss “Frailty,” the 2001 psychological and/or supernatural horror film from director Bill Paxton, about a man who becomes convinced that God has ordered him and his two young sons kill demons, demons who just who happen to be in perfect human disguises. We discuss the rumors behind the mysterious OTIS axe, demon-killing ethics, and the reception this movie received upon release. God Told You To … Listen To Our Ramblings!
The duo discuss Larry Cohen’s 1976 maybe-but-not-really horror movie “God Told Me To,” probably the closest Cohen gets to critical respectability. God personally intervenes to try and shut them up for about ten minutes in the form of a loud steam pipe in J.R.’s apartment, but the duo persevere, and, in the literal sense, therefore overcome the will of God. Oh yeah, the movie: glowing hippie aliens and yellow balls of light that can impregnate you. And this is the CLOSEST he came to respectability.
The duo finish up The Devil Made Me Do It Month with The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015), the writing and directorial debut of Oz Perkins. This is a moody, affecting film with an undeservedly low IMDB score, an interesting premise that relies on some unfair withholding of information, and a whole bunch of replayed scenes featuring ambient noises, noisy radiators and creaking doors.
The duo bask in that late-80s Mickey Rourke charm as they watch Angel Heart (1987), the occult supernatural noir film that was just in class minding its own business, unaware that Oldboy was in the back cribbing off its notes. As an added bonus, the movie gave Bill Cosby a conniption fit, although his criticism about the film wasn’t entirely off-base…
The duo discuss the 2015 occult horror film "The Devil's Candy," as they begin The Devil Made Me Do It Month. We got Ethan Embry as Jesse, a struggling artist dedicated to his family, his workout regime, and not bathing or shaving, squaring off-against Pruitt Taylor Vince as Ray, the lonesome character you would feel was essentially just a scared little boy if he wasn't in the body of a big ole sweaty hunk of man. Join us for sympathetic police officers, filthy undershirts, an extremely short run time, pretty-sweet-Devil-but kinda-corny heavy metal imagery, and a silly art-seller subplot at HAIL SATAN GALLERIES.
The duo finish their discussion of “The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies” with a smirky, meta werewolf story that, while it has its charms, isn’t really too much of a story, some Laird Barron fan fiction, and a text-adventure-of-a-story where a young professor attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding a statute of a heavily pregnant, decapitated woman. That is the magic of fiction, because in reality, if you found a statute of a heavily pregnant, decapitated woman on someone’s property, that just means the property owner has a bunch of heavily pregnant, decapitated corpses in his basement.
Part two of our three part discussion on John Langan’s 2013 horror collection “The Wide, Carnivorous Sky.” We conclude the titular story about a savage space vampire, and deconstruct two more stories, one a Lovecraft homage featuring an uber-beta cuckold and skinny dogs, the other a travelogue/gardening story in a post-apocalyptic Lovecraft wasteland. As Voltaire says, "Il faut cultiver notre jardin."
The duo returns with a three-part discussion of John Langan’s 2013 horror collection “The Wide, Carnivorous Sky.” We have the filthy children of Worcester doing what they do best (smelling like garbage and eating things); a theatrical deconstruction of zombie tropes, a professor giving an apocalyptic presentation that still elicits yawns from know-nothing college kids, and space vampires. Analytic, somewhat contrarian deconstructions are a common thing here - for example, so you like vampires? Well, how about a vampire who lives in SPACE, and his coffin is a CHRYSALIS, and and stakes work against him, but not for the reasons you think! Can you HANDLE THAT!
It’s been awhile boys and girls, but that hasn’t stopped us from binging horror media. Here’s all the horror we’ve consumed recently but didn’t need to spend a whole episode talking about, such as; Terrifier, Human Centipede 3, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Summer of ‘84, Cold Skin, Mandy, Cold Hell, 31, Black Sabbath, Dark Harvest, Halloween, The Hunger, Possum, Channel Zero, True Detective, The Fisherman, Hold The Dark, and more! How can we possibly have so much free time on our hands? Because we’re sad, miserable, lonely people…
Your work may not have given you a Christmas bonus, but we sure will! It's not worth spending a whole episode covering Santa's Slay, but eight or so minutes, yeah, that's enough time to cover the three minute opening short. Unlike the rest of the film, it’s better than getting a turkey leg smashed through your head!
If you're going to cover “All Through The House", logically the next film to discuss is "All The Creatures Were Stirring", the brand new, 80 minute, mild shrug of a horror anthology. If only Tales from the Crypt had made the holiday film “Twas the Demon Knight Before Christmas” this would have been a much better themed month...
The duo cover not one but TWO low-budget Christmas slashers: Secret Santa (2015) and All Through the House (2015). While the duo can’t recommend either, they bicker over their relative merits, with J.R. preferring the lighthearted, more adventurous (and total failure in everything it tries to do, save crushing your hopes and dreams that you might enjoy it) Secret Santa, with Derek going for the dreadful violent idiotic slog (which delivers everything it is supposed to for being a Christmas slasher film) that is All Through The House (you can tell who writes these descriptions!)(And who posts them!).
Our Christmas viewing returns with a winner: Black Christmas (1974). Derek and J.R. discuss, among other issues, why this movie works: the voluble, unhinged killer is unsettling, the movie surprisingly portrays the emotional aftermath of violence, and the tone is generally ambiguous and realistic. It ain’t all roses, of course, with some lame shoehorned humor and weird character actions. J.R. also reminisces about his idyllic childhood spent prank calling messages of mayhem.
The duo wrap up their discussion of The Haunting of Hill House by going over the last three episodes and debating what exactly they are supposed to take from the general softening of the tone and themes as the story went on. What are we supposed to be feeling about This Old Hill House?
After a creaky beginning and the obligatory "each kid gets an episode of backstory," the Haunting of Hill House gets rolling. The duo discuss episodes 4 through 7, where we see the show's attempt to spread out a rather brief plot over a full season. We get a real bravura episode (episode 6) and then crease our brow at where this show is going. Disappointment ahead!
The duo begin their discussion of Mike Flanagan’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” covering the first three episodes in this loosely adapted remix of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel. We delve into the background of each of the Crain children, from least-screwed-up to most-screwed-up. “I’ll need to take some liberties. I always do,” the novelist Steve Crain says as Mike Flanagan’s surrogate to the audience: SHIRLEY JACKSON FANS PLEASE DON’T TURN ME INTO A GHOST, I HAVE A WIFE I NEED TO PUT IN ALL MY MOVIES!