I’d planned to fill this out post-SHOCKtober with some Netflix originals or Star Wars spinoff sequels but never got around to it, so this is a short one.
1922 (2017, Zak Hilditch)
New movies of Stephen King’s It and The Dark Tower and Gerald’s Game came out this year, and if it was 1993 I would be so excited. Two new Kings went straight to streaming, so I’m starting with the one I’ve never heard of. Slingblader Thomas Jane (The Mist, The Punisher, The Predator) is trying to unload some land on Neal McDonough (Minority Report, Ravenous), who is complaining that their children have died, says the land is cursed. Then Jane shoots his dying horse and the voiceover tells us “that was the end of 1922,” but not of 1922, since there’s an epilogue where Jane loses the farm, drinks heavily and is haunted by rats. “I went to Omaha, city of fools,” then in the final seconds the ghosts of his dead family arrive to murder him. Zak is following up two apocalyptic movies in a row: a short and a last-day-on-earth redemption drama.
Gerald’s Game (2017, Mike Flanagan)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen, the Spy Kids trilogy) is out of bed and driving under a red eclipse sky, being haunted by Moonlight Man, (Carel “it is happening again” Struycken) then slams into a tree. I remember about a quarter of this book, but don’t recall the ending at all. Months later she’s had surgery to fix the hand she messed up while escaping, and she gives a long, terribly explainy voiceover telling us Moonlight Man was a real person and not a supernatural dream figure, then she busts into the courtroom where he’s being sentenced to deliver a pithy kissoff line. Flanagan also made Hush, which I watched the last ten minutes of earlier this year.
Children of the Corn (1984, Fritz Kiersch)
“I think we’re safe in here for now,” says a man in a dilapidated barn being battered by a supernatural evil. Holy shit, Linda Hamilton plays the mom. The man enunciates very clearly, which is handy when shouting orders at your family while under attack by He Who Walks Behind The Rows. He runs outside like an idiot and gets attacked by sentient corn, then a fake-looking red cloud rolls in as he sprinklers the corn field with gasoline and lights that sucka up. Mostly it’s members of an overly large family shouting each other’s names, which is consistent with my experience of living in Nebraska. Our man Peter Horton worked on Amazon Women on the Moon, which I was just thinking about, and the local kid who helps him start fires was one of the Monster Squad. Sadly, I didn’t see the main kid with the big black hat, but there was a jump-scare scythe-girl in the final scene, at least. Kiersch went on to greater successes, directing an Armand Assante film and a couple episodes of Swamp Thing.
The Reaping (2007, Stephen Hopkins)
Yesss, a Christian-apocalypse thriller. Lincoln, Nebraska’s own Hilary Swank is about to re-murder her resurrected daughter in a field of burning trees while having major culty flashbacks. Bleeding white guy David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, Red Riding) shows up, is revealed to have killed Idris Elba, then 200 people are destroyed by God in a hail of videogame fire effects. This movie actually seems better than the previous two. Swank realizes she might be pregnant with the antichrist, then cut to credits, nice.