31 Days of Horror, Day 24: American Psycho

Self-proclaimed satirist and author Bret Easton Ellis is less than a fan of the cinematic adaptation of his novel, “American Psycho” (2000). Not besmirching the film, instead noting it’s key differences – director Mary Harron focus homed in on Ellis’ own goals but made them largely accessible for a mainstream audience, or at least the cult following it now has.

In adaptation, the film’s success lies in two major aspects; its direction, and in turn the performance of Patrick Bateman, a role only Christian Bale could carry in this incarnation of the text. As time has gone on, Marron’s cutting irony, and Bale’s synonymous grin, as he plunges headfirst into depravity without a second thought to his image is inspiring for actors who fear taking roles which ‘tarnish’ their image. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 24: American Psycho

31 Days of Horror, Day 23: Blood & Donuts

There are many sub-genres in horror; one of my favorites being horror-comedies or campy horror. There’s something great about watching a movie you know is going to be cheesy and ridiculous- you don’t expect anything spectacular and are usually pleasantly surprised. Holly Dale’s first feature film “Blood & Donuts” (1995) is a hidden gem from the 90’s that fits that description.

“Blood & Donuts” is about a vampire name Boya (played by Gordon Currie) who awakens from a 25 year nap after a golf ball hits him in the head. Disoriented, he takes a cab to a graveyard to dig up his well-hidden belongings. He finds a place to stay at a run-down hotel and then makes his way to the all-night donut shop next door. Boya befriends cabbie and donut addict Earl (Louis Ferreira) and falls for waitress Molly (Helene Clarkson). Earl is having some trouble with two mobster types, so Boya steps up to protect him. Boya’s scorned ex-girlfriend Rita (Fiona Reid) is also out looking for revenge because Boya would not turn her into a vampire.
Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 23: Blood & Donuts

31 Days of Horror, Day 22: Evolution

Okay, frankly I didn’t really know how to start this review other than saying: This movie’s weird. Not weird in a bad way or anything like that, but Lucile Hadzilhalilovic’s “Evolution” constantly had me scratching my head and looking away with how graphically creepy and oddly confusing it can be.

The film’s premise is actually pretty intriguing and relatively simple as we follow Nicolas (Max Brebant), a sickly young boy living in a sea-side town where young boys and women are its only residents. However, when Nicolas discovers the body of a boy in the ocean, he begins to question everything around him. He questions how why they’re actually on the island if his mother is who she claims she is, and why he and the other boys must be hospitalized. This questioning is what makes him dangerous to the women, whose motives aren’t so clear, and what makes him look for a way off of the island. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 22: Evolution

31 Days of Horror, Day 21: The Lodge

Having tortured genre fans with “Goodnight Mommy” (2014), Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (this time partnering with screenwriter Sergio Casci) have returned to administer more pain with “The Lodge” (2019). The film focuses in on Aidan and Mia who are dealing with a particularly traumatic divorce and find themselves snowed in in a cabin with their soon-to-be stepmom. From there proceedings go from bad to worse, much much worse.

“The Lodge” has a claustrophobic atmosphere, building a palpable tension that makes much of the second half near unbearable. The film is etched in grief and the trauma of generations’ past, making it one of the most harrowing experiences in recent years. Franz and Fiala take their time, building their film slowly, with time spent crafting a set of characters that while not likely are deep and nuanced. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 21: The Lodge

31 Days of Horror, Day 20: The Lure

Fish-people are creepy. H.P. Lovecraft knew it, that one guy in “The Cabin in the Woods” knew it, and even “The Mighty Boosh”’s Old Gregg character would deter any right-thinking individual from renting a boat for some lonely night-fishing on a lake. It beggars belief, therefore, that the mere-community has been so underrepresented in cinema (barring a few B-movie schlock-fests, of course).

Thank Poseidon then, for Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s “The Lure”: a Polish horror-musical about Golden (Michalina Olszańska) and Silver (Marta Mazurek), two mermaids who make for dry land and earn a living as singers in a nightclub, while finding themselves getting in too deep with the humans they would otherwise be pulling down to the briny depths for dinner. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 20: The Lure

31 Days of Horror, Day 19: 30 Miles From Nowhere

“30 Miles From Nowhere” is an ambitious film and a revolutionary one in a lot of ways and frankly it’s a refreshing one for it’s an original approach to filmmaking and storytelling. As part of the film’s commitment to diversity, the film’s cast was very racially diverse and gender-balanced, with the film’s director, being a woman (Caitlin Koller), and the film’s writer also being a female in the form of Seana Kofoed who also produces along with and Kelly Demaret. When we consider how the horror/thriller genre is still mainly dominated by male filmmakers, a film like “30 Miles From Nowhere” is like a piece of fresh air, being somewhat welcoming and daring to be different. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 19: 30 Miles From Nowhere

31 Days of Horror, Day 18: Prevenge

Horror is often an exquisitely wild genre, taking us to dark depths of the civilization and worlds far from Earth. The genre can equally thrive hiding in plain sight, acknowledging our fears of everyday life. Moving to a new town (“The Stepford Wives”), meeting your partner’s parents (“Get Out”) and sexual health (“It Follows”) are things most of us will deal with at least once in our lives, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be scary. In 2016, “Prevenge” was released, instantly becoming one of the finest maternal-horrors around. The woman behind this twisted, bloody romp: Alice fucking Lowe. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror, Day 18: Prevenge