Really does every hotel and rental in Detroit fill up when “there’s a convention in town?” That’s how two strangers, jobseeker Georgina Campbell (Hang the DJ) and jazzman Bill Skarsgård (Atomic Blonde), end up in the same airbnb on an abandoned block. Good writing as they assess the situation, but the movie isn’t about their suspicions at being unwilling roommates, it’s about the mole people they discover in the basement, which immediately kill Bill and capture Georgina.

Shock cut to Justin Long, canceled rich guy retreating to the rental house he owns. He will prove at every point to be a despicable person, but after she escapes and the cops are total dicks to her, she still tries to rescue him. Big actiony ending ensues, the basement-bound incest-mom proving surprisingly athletic. Pretty fun but I should’ve given Don’t Breathe 2 a shot instead. Richard Brake (The Munsters‘ Count Orlock) plays the suburban perv who built the catacombs.

I haven’t seen an FPS perspective like this outside a Nintendo 64 game:

Adrienne Barbeau visits swamp scientist Ray Wise, when bad guys attack, wanting the secret formula. I saw Barbeau last week in The Fog, and saw this plot last week in Five Dolls for an August Moon… but in Five Dolls the scientist got dispatched with a rifle, and in this one Ray’s plant-animal-hybrid concoction turns him into Swamp Thing.

S.T. uses his E.T. healing powers on the cool kid who assists Barbeau:

I guess it’s nice how the wide shots emulate photos of bigfoot sightings. Everyone seems to have done the best they could, given low budget and talent. Shapeshifting baddie Arcane also starred in a 1977 Dracula and a haunted mirror movie. His strongman Bruno returned to the swamp for Hell Comes to Frogtown, and the guy in the monster suit would be back in Return of Swamp Thing.

Bruno gets turned into a little beastie, just for fun:

High quality from the start, the rare perfectly-calibrated teen movie, best I’ve seen since Detention. The writers have watched Harold & Maude a couple times, but the teen sisters’ suicide pact and gruesome fake deaths pay off nicely.

Ginger is bitten by a wolf, which drug dealer Sam then runs over with his van, and now outcast Brigitte tries to save her sister’s life while Ginger makes the most of her new supernatural popularity.

Mimi Rogers nails it as their mom. Chris Nolan a big fan, cast both girls in Insomnia the next year – Ginger also did Bones and Freddy vs. Jason, and both returned for the sequels. Drug Dealer Sam is aka Revenge-Seeking Goth Ian from Final Destination 3.

An island murder mystery, so soon before Glass Onion comes out. Good lighting and fashion, the camera getting up in everyone’s business with help of a zoom lens, music going as big as possible… poor acting and dialogue and logic and dubbing.

The Professor has a secret formula, three other guys want him to sell it to them, then everybody starts turning up dead and being sent to the meat locker. The Professor (who also played a professor in Devil Fish) dies, of course, his widow Trudy scheming with Bad Hair Jack, then they shoot each other over the precious microfilm. I lost track of how the island-prowling loner girl was related to anyone else – played by the daughter who hung out with dangerous hippies in A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin – but she survives and gets all the money.

Dry run for Prince of Darkness, both movies kicking off with a priest finding a hidden book. It’s said that when the fog returns, ghost sailors will rise up in revenge for some lighthouse-related incident that sunk them. This is of particular concern for Adrienne Barbeau, a radio DJ who broadcasts from the old lighthouse, and for drunk priest Hal Holbrook whose grandfather stole the dead sailors’ gold.

DJ Barbeau:

It’s all nice looking, but feels almost British in gathering a gaggle of actors for a pretty okay ghost story, or like a “John Carpenter for Kids” TV movie since its framing device is ol’ ship captain John Houseman telling stories around a campfire. Who else we got: Jamie Lee Curtis, typecast as a hitchhiker, picked up by good guy Tom Atkins. Janet Leigh is celebrating the town’s anniversary with Halloween regular Nancy Kyes organizing. The weatherman is named Dan O’Bannon, heh.

Curtis and Atkins:

Leigh and Holbrook:

A significantly less lighthearted mumblecore conspiracy movie than Cold Weather, this one is about getting obsessed with Jeffrey Epstein and suspecting your new apartment to be one of his sex dungeons. Noelle listens to the nameless girl (director Dasha) who shows up at their place, a conspiracy generalist with a drug briefcase, while Addie has masturbation freakouts and becomes possessed by child sex victims. “I think your roommate is a victim of CIA mind control.” Noelle ends up stabbing her roommate to death in the basement, then all evidence of the crime disappears, and my biggest thrill was when I correctly predicted exactly what the final letter she receives would say, the movie ending on a pedo-cine-phile twitter joke, with Todd Field’s new movie in the news this week.

Checking out the new place… door city over here:

The director in Cinema Scope:

I drew some inspiration from the apartment trilogy by Polanski. And I knew that I wanted to shoot on 16mm because the subject was so hyper-topical. It was a worthwhile investment because I think it really elevated the movie. If it had been done digitally, it wouldn’t have been as special. And it also gives it a ’70s aura.

A new horror anthology, with a bunch of directors and actors I like. For those of us who still miss Masters of Horror and won’t watch American Horror Story.


Lot 36 (Guillermo Navarro)

Aaaand it’s not starting out too great. Series producer Guillermo Del Toro wrote this for his longtime cinematographer to direct. Tim Blake Nelson is a bitter, racist veteran, in debt to some dangerous dudes, buying abandoned storage units in hopes of turning a profit off the junk inside. He finds some rare German books in a dead nazi’s unit, and cult expert Sebastian Roché offers to buy them for 10k, or 300k if Tim can find the missing book. They return to the unit together, find the hidden passage behind the false wall, and CG Cthulhu eats Sebastian Roché.

Tim finding the book in less than mint condition:


Graveyard Rats (Vincenzo Natali)

Hmmm, another gross guy in debt trying to make quick cash off the dead… two episodes, and the series is already in a rut. Much more silly dialogue in this one, as David Hewlett (of Natali’s Cube and Splice) robs graves (and other grave robbers). Afraid of rats and confined spaces, of course he becomes buried alive in a rat tunnel, and wouldn’t you know it, he finds another Cthulhu down there. He smooshes the giant blind mama rat, evades a zombie chanting “mine mine mine” like a Nemo seagull or a Jon Spencer song, does not make it out, and gets the Creepshow roach ending.


The Autopsy (David Prior)

More dead bodies, another tentacle creature, and going from a rat cave to a mine. This one is much more complex and original, with elegant camerawork tying the night sky to underground rock to a spiderweb. Sheriff Glynn Turman investigates a bombing that killed some miners, and the stolen identity of late miner Luke Roberts (Batman’s dad in the latest reboot) while Dr. F. Murray Abraham digs through the bodies. One body comes alive, knocks out Dr. Abraham and self-autopsies while meticulously explaining his evil plan (“we have inhabited men for millennia” – it’s a Hidden situation). Given the extra time to plan, and seeing as how he’s dying from cancer anyway, Abraham sabotages his own body to trap the alien when it takes over.


The Outside (Ana Lily Amirpour)

Stacey works at a bank where she doesn’t fit in, shoots and taxidermies ducks in her spare time, is married to cop Martin Starr (blinded in Infinity Baby). She gets addicted to a pricey lotion (with TV spokesman Dan Stevens) that turns everyone else beautiful but only gives her a bad rash, so she uses more and more of it, until she meets her The Stuff doppelganger and they re-enact the end of Annihilation, then she kills her husband and goes to work. Excellent performance by Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) trapped in a grueling, overlong episode.

“Death’s a commercial necessity.”

This absurd murder conspiracy movie was the perfect follow-up to a Final Destination sequel. Logical movies are boring, illogical ones are stupid, but movies that follow their own dream logic, where a woman in a busy daylit park can suddenly, while lighting a cigarette, become all alone at twilight, then get chased through a hedge maze, ending up trapped between cobwebbed stone walls… what was I saying?

Drummer and Wife:

Drummer Roberto is being tailed by guy in suit, follows the follower into a theater, but it’s a setup, where he’s photographed killing the suit guy. Paranoid, he tells his blonde wife everything, . Detectives get involved, a terrible gay private eye is hired, the drummer’s cat gets kidnapped, he visits a coffin convention with “God” Godfrey and a wacky Professor. In the middle of all this, a hot cousin stays over and wants to give him a massage in the bath. After the cousin’s incredible death scene, her retinas are scanned to find an image of the last thing she saw, which leads to the drummer’s wife. The drummer and his wife are good in this (some side characters are very dubbed) but the wife’s last-minute psychological backstory keeps reverting to Italian before she fatally flees from the house.

God with his parrot Jerkoff:

Intense filmmaking, this worked better for me than Crystal Plumage or Deep Red. The lead guy was also in a Bea Arthur movie. His wife Mimsy Farmer has a great Italian horror career – Autopsy, Fulci’s Black Cat, The Perfume of the Lady in Black, and something from the Cannibal Holocaust guy. The cousin was in The Disappearance, Stuart Cooper’s followup to Overlord.

The Roller Coaster Sequel. After the big funhouse setpiece, M.E. Winstead (the girl with hair like this) and her late bestie’s bf Kevin (a guy from The Ring Two Remake) survive, along with two goths (I’m about to see him in Ginger Snaps, she was in a Queen Latifah movie), a jock (Texas Battle of Wrong Turn 2), and two girls named Ashley who will soon die in cranked-up tanning beds, leading to a great edit to their coffins. Winstead figures out the pattern just quickly enough to find each person moments before their deaths, while being stalked by a goth, until something happens, I forget what, and they all think they’ve escaped, until a haha coda on an NYC train.

Our heroes, too late to save the jock:

Little sister Julie in front of a Carolyn Mark poster:

Very funny and enjoyable movie, obviously a must-see motion picture, but it loses something – part one was original, and part two carried a previous character forward and developed the idea, but then this is just part one again, almost a remake, the previous movies only existing diegetically in a web search jumbled in with 9/11 conspiracy theories.