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.

Hard to love but easy to appreciate. Those colors! Delicious acting, fun camerawork and corny wipe transitions. Will notes that it “feels about a million years long” – maybe cutting into episodes of about a half hour long would’ve helped. Anyway it’s time to rewatch Lords of Salem.

Opening with Birth of a Nation seems cool – I’ve been uninterested in ever watching that film, but watching it as a horror would be an idea. Higher priority, I should watch the Blacula movies… less so Def by Temptation.

A real podcast-hangout kind of doc, and not usually in a good way. Contains a blatant promo for Tales from the Hood 2. The doc is leading up to Get Out as the culmination of Black horror art, allowing Jordan Peele to talk about that and the original Candyman (which was problematic, has room for improvement, possibly with a remake?). This could be a blu extra on the Get Out disc, easy.

Ken Foree and Keith David:

The movies that letterboxd/justwatch say are available on Prime doesn’t perfectly line up with the movies actually on Prime. On the hunt for horrors I’m kinda tempted to watch even though I know in my heart they’re not worth the 100 minutes, and Prime is mostly full of movies I’m not-at-all tempted to watch… but here’s some.

A Quiet Place 2 (2020, John Krasinski)

Kids hide indoors while the parents and their cars are not being quiet at all, the movie (unfortunately) giving us very clear looks at its digital aliens. Hey, it’s Djimon Hounsou, oh no, he’s dead now. Then everyone creeps around being vewy vewy quiet, avoiding the preposterously long-armed monsters, Cillian and Emily running into trouble in separate spots simultaneously, until the kids discover the assaultive power of mic feedback on creatures with sensitive hearing. Movie actually looks suspenseful, an unfunny Mars Attacks.

Paranormal Activity 5: The Marked Ones (2014, Christopher Landon)

We left off with part 2, and this is part 5 – but I don’t think they share characters, and Amazon doesn’t have parts 3 or 4 for free. Handheld long take of gun-toting youth walking around the backyard until suddenly attacked by white ladies, cameraman running to hide in a witch house. The last surviving punk ends up in a cursed closet, and I think teleports into a different Paranormal Activity movie, I dunno, it’s all very panicked. Landon went on to the Happy Death Day movies and a Vince Vaughn serial killer Freaky Friday.

Nocturne (2020, Zu Quirke)

Sydney is gonna play piano onstage, but she’s having dark visions and her sister Madison is being shitty to her. She flees the concert, running towards a yellow light and stepping off the roof, having deathdreams of the great performance she would’ve given. Sydney was a Manson girl for Tarantino, the sister is in the recent Jumanji series. Frank Capra III worked on this, tarnishing the legacy of his grandfather’s most famous movie which is about NOT stepping off the roof.

Daniel Isn’t Real (2019, Adam Egypt Mortimer)

Hey, it’s Sasha Lane. More artsy high schoolers. Daniel is real, and is wearing a Luke mask, while Luke is locked in a museum dungeon of the mind, fighting and conjuring his way out. Always the teens end up jumping off roofs. Mortimer did a horror anthology I’d never heard of and a vengeful ghost story named after a Misfits song, while Luke was in the latest(?) remake of Halloween, and Daniel has a famous dad.

The Deep House (2021, Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury)

This one had a good poster and premise, but when I can make out the dialogue it’s all “the house, she knows your fears” stuff spoken by a diver who is clearly possessed by demons. Nice trick projecting super 8 film (underwater) of backstory. Tina’s boyfriend gets knifed by ghosts, she doesn’t make it to the surface, and the filmmakers haven’t worked out how to make any of this look compelling. Bilge liked it. I disliked the directors’ Inside (despite Béatrice Dalle), and I’m afraid they’ve also made a Texas Chainsaw prequel.

Wolf Creek 2 (2013, Greg McLean)

Remember Wolf Creek? I don’t especially, but looks like the villain was alive at the end, returning 8 years later, and he ain’t gay, don’t call him gay. Tough guy Paul, also not gay, fights back with a hammer then wheels through a cellar full of torture victims while Mick bellows behind him, and it’s wrapped up anticlimactically via intertitles. Australia looks unpleasant.

Hatchet III (2013, B.J. McDonnell)

I liked part 1, not part 2, so let’s see. Sheriff Zach Galligan loses his head, nice. Victor just tears every character apart, then the girl in white smashes the urn with his daddy’s ashes, and Victor melts. Seems like a good time, maybe I was in a mood when watching the previous sequel. I assume the girl in white was Halloween movie regular (and Tarantino Manson girl) Danielle Harris. The director made that Foo Fighters movie, oh no.

Goodnight Mommy (2022, Matt Sobel)

Remake of movie I didn’t love, with horror remake queen Naomi Watts. The insane boy is sad because something is wrong with his brother Lucas, mom explains that Lucas died, and he burns down the barn with her inside it. Looks like a real drag. The director worked on that Brand New Cherry Flavor series my dad kept talking about, and I haven’t caught up with the original Austrian filmmakers’ follow-up The Lodge.

Captain Howard Moon dies in hospital speaking the movie’s title (before it got changed to the generic The Cursed for streaming) after having a silver bullet yanked out of him in aftermath of WWI trench warfare.

Thirty-five years earlier, young Howard’s family and neighbors slaughtered all the gypsies, who had forged a set of silver teeth. The children, living in their fancy house with a mass grave in the yard, are having bad dreams, so they find the teeth and go all supernaturally murdery on each other and become tentacle werewolves, Howard surviving only to get killed in the war.

Crappy jump scares, and unforgivably long since it keeps repeating itself. I didn’t care about Anthropoid and this didn’t get great notices – can’t recall why I prioritized it, besides a masochistic urge to watch British movies during SHOCKtober.