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!
The duo discuss miscellaneous depression issues including general mental health updates, the controversy over the ending of Lights Out (2016), and the exhausting art-piece that is David Foster Wallace’s short story “The Depressed Person.” It’s not as grim as it sounds, trust us. You will feel better about yourself in comparison to us, and isn’t that really the true purpose of art?
Fresh off the insights into clinical depression provided by William Tryon's "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness," the duo discuss Lars Van Trier's 2011 film "Melancholia." They discuss how the lead character Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst, manifests the myriad symptoms of depression while several characters - from her doting sister to her impatient brother-in-law - display the different coping mechanisms of dealing with someone who depressed, with Justine's beau, played by Alexander Skarsgard, stuck with the saddest role: completely ignorant dunce. There's a pun there, I'm sure of it!
The duo finish discussing William Styron's "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness." as William's depression gets even more severe and he discovers that therapy is useless and geese are terrifying. He discusses some of the stranger aspects of depression: the palpable quality of ominousness, his irrational possessiveness, depression's relationship to the concept of loss, and the mind's capacity to endure what seems to be interminable. And then of course like all severe depressives he just almost instantly gets better; whew, had us worried there Mr. Styron!
The duo kick off Depression Month with the first half of William Styron's "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness." They discuss William Styron's realization that he had a serious problem, his disastrous attempts at making small talk at a prestigious soiree during the throes of his depression, the elusive nature of depression's pain and the difficulties in describing it to someone who has never suffered from it, and why the word "depression" is a poor substitute for BRAINSTORM!
We speak with Jonathan Raab, editor of Muzzleland Press and author of the forthcoming Camp Ghoul Mountain Part VI: The Official Novelization about small press publishing, the lure of horror and the supernatural, mental health, religiosity, the quest for satisfaction, and the fundamental question of why bother doing anything. J.R. expresses his love. J.R. is rebuffed.
The duo become investigative journalists once again and surprise themselves by the amount of information they get from director, writer, and all-around polymath Nick Szostakiwskyj, who directed the Lovecraftian horror film Black Mountain Side (2014) and the forthcoming Hammer of the Gods (2019). Nick talks origins, inspirations, financing, advertising and distribution blunders, independent film realities, the Book of Job, and more, all while Canadian huskies howl in the background. The DEFINITIVE Nick Szostakiwskyj interview.