Late last month, Ma made its debut in theaters. Octavia Spencer starred in her first leading role in a horror movie. Spencer premiered in Rob Zombie’s 2009 film, Halloween II as a night nurse turned scream queen prior to taking on more serious roles in horror films. But most of us remember her in other movies such as The Help and The Shape of Water. How can we forget the infamous shit pie? But despite that, her characters are gentle in nature and often nurturing mother figures that offer wise advise to the troubled leads around her. Now Spencer is stepping into a darker form of her art. Yet, we’re keeping her within her element…somewhat.
Spencer plays the role of Sue Ann Ellington, a delusional vet tech who spends most of her days daydreaming or doing what sociopaths do best when they’re not at work. Some local teenagers come up to her at a liquor store and ask her to buy them some booze for the evening. After some convincing, She buys these kids booze and off they go to some old construction site to do what teenagers do best in horror movies: sex, weed and booze. Later on , they dub her as the cool middle aged woman that basically lets them do all the shit there parents won’t. She opens up her secluded home to them so they have a place to party. It’s all fun and games until the deception comes out and she pulls some Gypsy Rose Blanchard shit with her daughter.
It’s not hard to piece together that every bad thing that happens to these kids is because of Ma. After she gets the booze, she anonymously calls the police on the teens, getting them busted the first time around. She uses that incident to lure them into her home.
Behind every predictable plot, there needs to be a secret weapon. The producers did a good job of making you feel sympathy for Sue. Her circumstances are evil, sad, and yeah you want to avenge her yourself. I wouldn’t even say she was the victim of a practical joke. That’s a damn understatement. But I’m also not here to get political. Basically, you kind of get the idea that this is a big revenge story. It’s an incredibly vile turn of events when you learn why.
There were a lot of ‘usual’s’ in this movie, a lot of predictability. A movie that is foreseeable isn’t bad. It depends on how well the writers pull it off. They did in that respect. So anyway SPOILER:
This isn’t the way you’d think a grown woman would get back at her former classmate’s kids. Sue is in some ways a living Freddy Kruger. Overall, the approach was unique and creative. The execution was powerful up until the very end and then I rolled my eyes. The reveal of her daughter and playing off of that Munchausen by proxy, I’m really hoping that device was used to emphasize just how unstable she was. Although, this is something we already knew. Otherwise, it fizzled out quick. This was such an unnecessary element. It helped no one.
At the very beginning of the movie, one of the kids assists a girl in a wheelchair. The disabled individual is later revealed to be Ma’s daughter, which I’ll admit, wasn’t predictable. Not to me folks. So because at least one of the girls showed her kindness, I kind of expected this to work in her favor somehow once it was revealed. But It didn’t save her anymore than she saved herself at the end of the film.
At the end of the film, Ma is seen laying down in bed with the man she loved in high school, also her bully. The house becomes engulfed in flames. It can be assumed that she burned alive sleeping on the chest of a corpse. We see her looking out of the window towards the end. While a lot of us can assume she’s gone for good, they still leave us on edge a bit. It’s not safe to say she’s completely gone, but I’m okay without a sequel.
But collectively, this was a tiny tale of some devastating abuse on everyone’s end. So regardless if it all intertwined or not, it was disturbing nonetheless. Writing techniques were good. Backstory really cleared up any questions someone might have had. This might be a common device, but it worked. This movie was a bit mindless in the respect that viewers don’t have to spend time thinking about all the information they’re getting. No deep inference needed.
The amount of murders in this film was underwhelming. Otherwise, it was a well executed cliche of a movie. One the Creep Meter, 6/10
It’s not quite Halloween yet. But that’s not keeping horror fans away. The Horror Sideshow Market will be in Allentown from June 8th to the 9th in the Allentown Merchant Square venue. The event is brought to you by Ryan Scott Weber from NJ Horror Con.
The market will feature two days of special guests including Tom Moran who played Michael Myers in the 1978 cult classic Halloween, as well as a cosplay contest. The winner will receive merchandise from vendors and a chance to attend NJ Horror Con.
The event will take place from 10 am to 5pm both days.
In addition to guests and contests, there will be vendors, shopping, artists, and more.
Tickets will be $5 at the door, or you can purchase them online ahead of time:
I’m always down for horror movies, new or old. That’s why this blog exists. As much as I like some of last year’s debuts and the occasional classic, I’d still very much like to see the film reel keep turning. I’ve been upset as of late because right now, it just seems like everything is being remade. The Stephen King remakes I’ll give an exception to, mainly because he’s got the storyline thing going for him (as mentioned in the Pet Sematary review). Enough with the Stephen King bashing. He’s still an award-winning writer, and I’m not.
So what do we have to look forward to this year? Well so far, the list looks promising. A quick google search pulled up some of the titles we can expect in 2019. Let’s take a closer look.
I’m excited for this one quite frankly. Octavia Spencer stars as “Ma”, a woman who parties with the local high school kids in her basement. She’s definitely letting them get away with more than their parent would. Soon enough however, things get…weird and people start dying. It’ll be exciting to see Spencer in a different role for a change, this being her first leading role in a horror movie and all. Get it Octavia!
Chucky has had his fair share of remakes already. I know I said earlier that I’m kinda salty about all the remakes we’ve been having. It’d be nice if directors, writers, and whoever would try to be original again. But, I’ll let this one pass along with King. If you’ve seen the original Child’s Play, then you know the premise of the film. It’s up to us to find out what’s gonna be different, and if the changes are for the better.
The new Chucky looks more like a Chad if I do say so myself.
This is the third installment in the Annabelle film series. We are reunited with our favorite paranormal investigators, Lorraine and Ed Warren. This time Annabelle once again relinquishes herself from her glass box that was meant to contain her after being kept isolated for good. It’s another sequel with torment, bloodshed, and well…a creepy ass doll..look at that face. I can’t.
Cryptic? Disturbing? Probably. When I read the main plot for Midsommar, I immediately thought of Hereditary. When I watched the trailer, the style also reminded me of that movie. Then I realized it’s the same director, Ari Aster. Hereditary already took us to the realm of fact splashed with fiction. It took something so innocent and contorted it into a major demonic plot. I’m excited to see how Aster dives into Scandinavian culture only to warp it into a portrait of his brilliant yet somewhat sick mind. It is another film involving a cult, but if you can make that work, I say stick with it.
Ah just in time for summer. A hurricane is about to pummel Florida when a young girl decides to ignore the evacuation orders to find her missing father. She finds something a lot more dangerous in the rising flood waters. Why this might be scary? Cause storms are getting stronger thanks to global warming. While a massive and unstoppable alligator might not sell this film, the very real dangers of strong hurricanes and the devastation of flooding is now something a lot of us must face.
This film is a predecessor to the 2016 flick, The Boy. So far, there isn’t much to say here unless you’ve seen the first one. Two parents lost their son whose soul was trapped in, you guest it, a doll. They took care of the doll and even hired a caretaker, Greta (played by Lauren Cohen). The doll began to torment Greta. Now he’s back to do it again, except Katie Holmes will be playing the new scream queen.
While there isn’t a trailer currently released, YouTuber FrozenParticle offers some insight into what we possibly can expect.
You might have grown up with the children’s book written by Alvin Schwartz. Well now, director Guillermo Del Toro, who gave us movies such as The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth, is bringing it to the big screen. I trust this man with such delicate belongings of my childhood. After all, his book The Strain which was adapted into an FX series was fantastic. Here’s to hoping he can still scare the ever living crap out of us like this book did.
You might remember being asked if you saw 47 Meters Down on Netflix by almost everyone you knew. They may have even said “Dude it was so F***ed up.” Well it was. Two people with no scuba diving experience get stranded underwater with a killer shark. Well now take that and put a couple more people underwater to see an ancient artifact, add shark and you’ve got yourself more F***ed up adventures.
Now it’s time for the second chapter. Much like the 1990’s for-TV miniseries, the Losers Club kids are now adults. With the first part, they gave us more to chew on while still staying true to the story. Unlike the Pet Sematary remake, which quite frankly could do without a sequel just like the original could have, it provided such a colorful look into the lives of these kids. I can’t say if King himself was proud, but it was still satisfying.
May I perhaps predict that they may change the origins of Pennywise the clown?
Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock are back for more zombie ass kicking. I think the best part about this one is that I don’t have to use so many question marks! It’s actually happening, a Zombieland sequel! This one is still fresh and we have until October before it comes out. No trailer just yet, but no doubt, everyone is excited for this terrifyingly funny flick to finally come to theaters.
Another film adaptation of a King book. This one, however, is a sequel to the 1980 film series, The Shinning which famously stared Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson. Director Mike Flanagan is no stranger to King films. He directed another King book adaptation, Gerald’s Game. This time around, we have Ewan McGregor staring as the lead role who shares the special ability, ‘the shinning’, with a young girl. Still too early for a trailer, but this is one we definitely wanna keep our eyes peeled for.
Some of these movies have big shoes to fill, but without a doubt, these directors are up to the task. Let’s hope for a horrifying horror movie season this year!
I have yet to find something as repugnant, grotesque, and, ghastly as anything I’ve read by Junji Ito. His comics are a collage of visual fears warped with a sick and twisted taste of horror that you’d only see in your worst nightmares. But once you’ve read one, your morbid curiosity kicks in. Soon you’ll be ordering away for his collections and watching shorts on YouTube.
If you haven’t picked up a Junji Ito comic, it’s time you stop putting it off and give your horror hobby something new for it to handle. He’s published a lot of works however, and his index can be quite overwhelming if given the chance to skim through. But once you do, I promise you won’t stop. Here’s a few of my favorites to get you started:
Feelin like a fast food run tonight? Glyceride will encourage you to stick to your diet. Yui lives day to day in her families house/restaurant that is covered in grease due to all of the cooking throughout the years. As her and her brother grow older, insecurities about the smell, acne, and health implications grow prevalent. Soon, things take a turn for the worse, and Yui discovers a horrifying secret about her father’s business. If you wanna snack while reading this…well…don’t say I didn’t warn you.
A strange creature washes ashore on a Pacific beach. Puzzled by it’s anatomy, scientists begin to theorize what it is. As an onlooking crowd spectates the humongous rotting corpse, they stumble upon an unlikely surprise.
There’s a hole for everyone. For everyone, there is a hole. Strange human like fissures begin to appear on the side of a mountain. As gawkers flock to the sight of the phenomenon, a weird urge begins to overcome them. It appears that the holes all have a living owner that fits in just perfectly. People begin to cram themselves into the holes only to never be seen again.
Slug girl is a separate story too. However, the collection includes comics that go off of a more…troubling biological imbalance. Here, you’ll find horrid stories from a girl with a slug in her mouth to things that would send Trypophobics into shock. This collection also includes The Thing that Drifted Ashore.
Many have wondered what is at the depths of the ocean. The best thing is that we get to keep wondering instead of finding out the hard way. Gyo brings the creatures of the deep blue to the surface. No one knows exactly what is going on, but it can be described as a dead fish zombie apocalypse. While scientists try to figure out why ocean life is resurrecting and wrecking havoc on the living, humans begin to experience the same mutation. Again, I don’t recommend eating while reading this one either.
Junji Ito listicles vary depending on the writer’s exposure to his work. These are just my suggestions. I encourage you to head over to the Junji Ito archive and find something that disturbs you as much as these did for me. Just like a hole, there’s a story for everyone.
“Is there anything you like?” is probably what a lot of people are asking right now. It’s not that I dislike most things, I just have expectations for the content that I watch. Yes, if a film company is going to feature something, and PR the shit out of it, I expect it to be good dammit! So, now with that being said, let’s talk about the Netflix show Black Summer
I didn’t expect another zombie show coming from anyone to be completely honest. Zombies are kind of played out in my opinion. I even stopped watching The Walking Dead at some point after they got to Alexandria. Since the show came out in 2009, zombies have been on a steady decline ever since. But that’s okay. Every horror fad changes. First it was vampires, then zombies, now it seems to be turning into horror movies that have underlying messages of societal problems, much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
Black Summer takes place during a zombie apocalypse, following various survivors trying to fight off the undead horde sprinting after them. It features two groups of survivors that later meet towards the end of the 8 episode 1st season.
The way the show is formatted is a bit strange. Every time there is a scene change, a black screen with some writing indicates what could potentially be the prime focus of said scene. Kind of like what you would see in a Lars Von Trier film. This wasn’t a problem at all, and I won’t take off points for it. I actually thought this was unique. You don’t see many TV shows kick it off this way. So I tagged along.
I’m not going to walk through the episodes. I just don’t think it’s worth it. I think the entire show can be discussed collectively. Each episode simply does not deserve its own recap review. If you watched it, I want you to tell me if you honestly would stand to sit and binge watch that show. Would you stay tuned every week for a new episode? I wouldn’t, and quite frankly, it’ll only bore me to sit there and re-watch just to give an accurate review. And while I don’t entirely want to bash the show, a lot of stuff just didn’t work.
First off, are we gonna just ignore the amount of zombies that were not in this show? I mean, you had some good horde chases, but other than that, it was PVP the whole time. In a zombie movie, we look towards the dead or anyone who could potentially turn as the biggest threat, and the hugest action should be some zombies.
However, I respect the fact that the producers maybe wanted to do something different. I am being a bit presumptuous by assuming they wanted to focus more on character development and a proper story line, which we see kinda go out the window in action films ,or when a writer wants to get to the point. It’s at the cost of a few extra 20 minutes of storytelling. But if that’s all you focus on, then you better cram it all in. These episodes were usually 20-30 minutes long at best. They had some bargaining, and it’s clear which direction they went in.
The time they spent cramming didn’t really pay off though. They filled the blank space with pointless scenes that resolved into nothing. Was I missing some symbolism? One of the characters awakes in a library of a school that has been taken over by a gang of lawless teenagers. Not taking into account that he’s in serious trouble, he picks up a copy of War and Peace. He flips through for a couple of pages and then proceeds to get freaked out by a loud bang. I understand it’s a long book, but I’ve never seen anyone so terrified while they read.
That scene lasted for a good 30 seconds, but that’s way too long in my opinion. Was he looking for a secret code in the book? A weapon? No, he was just skimming through while a gang of kids is going to royally mess up his life, and he’s fully aware of this. I ranted longer than the scene lasted. Terrible filler, pointless, and it made the whole episode kind of humorous. That same character would later escape the library and be seen running from one zombie for an entire episode. Enough said.
I said I wouldn’t rant the whole time and I apologize. Thus far, that’s all I’ve done. The show does pose like maybe 2 unique challenges which only helps a few characters (one really). One of the characters is a Korean woman, Sun (played by Christian Lee), who barely speaks any English, but can understand it. So there’s a language barrier at a time when communication is KEY. I liked Sun because she had the only conflict in the show worth following, if there were any easily identifiable conflicts at all. And in episode 6, she got trapped in the ceiling vents with a dead guy who turned after being shot (sound familiar?) Strangely, all the best things are centered around Sun (yes pun intended).
Outside of Sun, there really isn’t a general flow to the episodes. It does follow up, but the producers fail to properly use mechanics to make it happen as it should. Episode 6 had very limited dialogue with little to no context on what’s going on through heavy visuals. They stumble upon a compound, there’s a mean guy who tries to rape people, a random underground party, and zombie horde. We see from different perspectives throughout the episode as to explain different events that take place. But this one failed to woo me. I was lost most of the time.
When a new zombie movie or show comes out, I do want to tune in. Though that ship has sailed, I still want to see someone bring a different element to this classic theme. Black Summer just couldn’t do it. Nothing quite does anymore. What was different? The zombies sprinted, but they did that in 28 Days Later and The Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake. Ooh you don’t have to be bitten to turn? Yeah, been there done that.
One thing that appealed to me with this show is its attempt to start off in the earlier parts of the apocalypse, much like Fear The Walking Dead did. It didn’t start at the very beginning, but it was close enough for there to still be a military presence. They could have used this to make the show stand out, but it didn’t work. Show us a news report, people looting stores, an officer trying to keep people in order. People are already savages and they haven’t even been through hell that long. It felt like Zombieland.
And with that, I’ll say one of the main problems I see in fiction is a pacing problem between scenes and characters. I don’t think there should have been any separate gangs or Lord Of the Flies type kids, especially when there aren’t enough zombies around to explain it.
I watched it for you so you don’t have to. But if you must, keep in mind that you won’t be disturbed, disgusted, on the edge of your seat, or even biting your fingernails. On the Creep Meter, I’d give this show a 2.5/5. If you’re gonna resurrect an old theme, make it different. But what do I expect. It’s a Z Nation Spin-off.
First, I just wanna emphasize, it is in no way shape or form fair to say that I’m a Stephen King fan. Although, his plots are absolutely fantastic. What really gets to me is probably the fact that he puts too much fluff in his narrative. If it wasn’t going to take me 3 hours to get through one chapter of Duma Key, I would have finished it already. It came out 11 years ago. I put it down after 3 weeks. But, I’ll give him credit for his film adaptations. Visually, they are spectacular, they’re undeniably disturbing, and in some cases, just dumb sad.
Being the horror fan that I am though, naturally I was pretty psyched about the Pet Sematary remake. King had already revamped IT in 2017, which gave us more of a storyline with “The Losers Club”. I liked it. It was good. It wasn’t as good as the original, but how many remakes are?
The original Pet Sematary came out in 1989. It was pretty somber. I mean, you had Gage, a bright-eyed little kid who had to be no older than 2 years-old, get hit by a damn truck on the highway, at full speed. We sort of saw that coming. They drove past like bats out of hell.
King has 3 children of his own, two sons and a daughter. He’s never lost them, but he sure captured what it was like to lose them. I don’t have any kinds of my own, but I could feel the pain of losing a kid like Gage. He was a baby more appropriately. His little “uh-oh,” and “I love you daddy,” moments were so precious. For a character that said so few words, he punched you in the heart pretty hard.
So the remake still has Gage and all, but now you have Ellie and she’s more of a driving force in the film. It’s not to say that Ellie wasn’t a person in the original Pet Sematary, but it was pretty obvious that King wanted us to focus on Gage. She is a predictable, mature for her age, a unique child. But, the directors didn’t go about this in a unique way. Of course she is outgoing and bonds with Jud. Maybe I’m speaking from a deep seeded experience, but I see highly intellectual kid characters always befriending adults. She’s smart, everyone loves her, and she’s so peculiar to her parents. Her loss would have to be a tragedy right (spoiler alert)? It’s built up to make it sad, a loss to the world. Sorry Ellie, but you’re a pretty common archetype. Her innocence was stripped long before death took it.
Stephen King has always been good for going where he shouldn’t go. He killed Gage, Georgie, that kid from Stand by Me, and let’s not forget Salem’s Lot with poor old Danny Glick and his kid brother Ralphie. You just can’t mess with Kurt Bartlow. Anyway, King doesn’t care if you’re a cute little pumpkin patch kid. This movie sure cared though, and quite honestly, don’t bother showing us Ellie’s corpse if you’re gonna imprecisely portray what someone looks like after getting hit by a truck at full speed. They didn’t show Gage. We saw him after he came back as a little demon monster. But at that point, the mortician fixed him up for sure. No, I didn’t want to see that. But don’t paint an unreal picture and glamourize death. You know damn well she probably wouldn’t even have a recognizable face. Her death came off as super theatrical, not really giving us enough time to say “wow that’s just horrible. My goodness that poor girl…guess it’ll be a closed casket funeral.”
It’s harder when you have a more grown up character. Gage didn’t have to work hard to win the hearts of viewers. Ellie was already approaching adolescents. The original Ellie was way younger in more than one way. Her mentality screamed childhood, even while dealing with night terrors from the death of her brother. I suppose the idea of killing a young child doesn’t fit the bill in 2019 like it did in 1989. Ellie was at best, a young adult in a child’s body.
Jud Crandall served his original purpose. He showed Louis Creed (played by Jason Clarke) the Indian burial ground that’s far beyond the pet sematary. Fred Gwynne played the original Jud who offered a father voice to the film, even to Dr. Creed. Though his insights into burying things in the sour ground was a bad judgement call, he cared for this family,and he did so selflessly.
But something irked me intensely this time. Jud just didn’t seem very… mysteriou, and for the love of God, he was missing his prolific North Eastern accent. We knew very little of the original Jud. He only told us that he buried a long lost pup in the burial grounds, only for it to come back and attack his mother. Other than that, he was an old timer that lived in the house he was born. But he wasn’t dry. He was awesome. You knew this man to be wise, tough, but he seemed almost too caring to me. Usually, anyone who comes off wise and, fatherly, yet somewhat distant deserves a papa in front of their name. Not this Jud.
Crandall is played by John Lithgow (you might remember him from the 90’s sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun) in the remake. And no offense to Lithgow, but there was no cool accent. “Sometimes, dead is BETTUH.” But it’ll suffice. To what little we know, Jud had a wife who died of an unnamed illness. She eventually comes back as an apparition that’s really gage, and kills him. She blames Jud for her death which is left unexplained. The approach at extending Jud’s story was very shallow, and they should have just stuck to the basics. Don’t write a story if it’s going to be half assed. Keep it mysterious or make it known.
Even with that unintentionally minute detail to the character, we still knew more than we needed to ,and because of that, Jud became vulnerable far too soon in the film, even falling victim to a sedative slipped to him by Dr. Creed. With death as an underlying (though very strongly represented) theme in the film, Jud’s death is supposed to show that even he, a strong wise old man, is not safe from death.
The original Crandstall knew who was in his house, not possessing a visible amount of fear on his face. He walked through his wooden house calling out Gage’s name, while branding a weapon. New Jud showed less resilience, giving into his ghost wife’s (or gage’s rather) gimmicks.
I figured the directors, producers, and whoever were trying to win everyone over with a spin on an original. But the attempts to stab at it’s viewers emotions fell flat. It’s always sad when a young child dies in a movie, but why should we care? Her character too felt incredibly underdeveloped.
That was the major plot change, to kill Ellie instead of Gage, and it was incredibly ineffective. The rest of the movie attempted to stay true to the original film with more twists and turns. Even the song at the end was a cover of the Ramones Pet Sematary played at the end of the 1989 film.
Gage was actually the last to survive and whether his dead wendigo family ever put him in their ranks will forever be left untold, unless they make a sequel. Instead of a broken and defeated Dr. Creed at the end, it was a happy dead family, including Church who was euthanized in the first film, slowly approaching poor Gage who was locked in the family sedan.
I’m expecting more Stephen King remakes, but hopefully, they’ll take better care if they’re going to remake the best of his collection. It’s a shame that this one fell flat. They took an already disturbing, morbid, sad story, and turned it into a skeleton. I needed more from the characters, the ambience, everything. 5/10. Prove me wrong. Most of the time, the original is better.