I never need an excuse to crack out the horror, obviously but this world is a trash fire and the only feasible release I can see right now is of the unhinged variety.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to look too far for our next dose of the deranged, although sadly it wasn’t Jill’s first or even second choice. Apparently, even in the year 2022, the UK is still behind the US in terms of some film releases.
But we move. Whether we like it or not, we have to move.
Us:“Halloween is over…” Amazon Prime, releasing the new Hellraiser without fanfare: “You sure, hun?”
This week we finally get to grips with a new Pinhead, a whole new slant on the puzzle box and ponder the yassification of our beloved Cenobites. And it feels like a very exciting time to be alive. Horror this year, in my humble opinion, has been pretty good so where does this baby fit into that conclusion?
Well, grab your whips and chains – and let me excite you.
This Halloween we managed 27/31 horrors and I’m pretty stoked with that. It was fun having a new theme each day which meant we did films I don’t normally do when left to my own devices. I also use ‘we’ here because the old man was much more involved than previous years so that made it way more fun.
If I’m completely honest, outside the challenge I watched much more than 27 but I’m sure that’s not much of a surprise. So, to the films we watched for the #31dayhorrorchallenge, courtesy of Nightmare on Film Street podcast.
It’s with sadness we kiss goodnight to our wonderful month of horror movies, safe in the knowledge we’ll no doubt watch at least one next month and then the month after that. Because you can’t keep a set of spooky bitches confined to just one holiday.
This week we spend time in the high desert searching for a missing person and ponder the eternal question: “Why are you going back, you bloody idiot?”
Jill and I are always partial to a witchy tale and have covered more than a few in our time. This week’s film is no exception, with very pleasing results, by way of not so pleasant subject matter, including sexual assault, ageing out of a chosen career and having to socialise against our will.
With that in mind, heavy TRIGGER WARNINGS for assault, which is implied rather than overtly explained, but it’s horrific nonetheless.
We very recently reviewed the film adaptation of this novel which was fine, but I did really enjoy the book. It has strong YA vibes but is also genuinely creepy. I would in fact recommend Horrorstör and The Final Girl Support Group also by Grady Hendrix as they have a fresh vibe that I enjoy. Perfect from a nostalgic POV.
Following a two week hiatus – in which Jill flew to Germany and Iceland, and I went to Margate – we’re back with a Free For All before all out horror kicks in for October. While it was nice to have a break, I have to admit my weekend did feel suspiciouly light without the ritual of settling down to our homework.
Anyway, it was my pick this week and I regretted it almost immediately, which sucks a bit but is also… verrrrry in keeping with the overall tone and vibe of our blogs.
After a breakup, Wes ends up at a remote rest stop. He finds himself locked inside the bathroom with a mysterious figure speaking from an adjacent stall. Soon Wes realizes he is involved in a situation more terrible than he could imagine.
Genre: Horror, Thriller ∙ IMDB user rating: 5.5 My score: 1/5 ∙ Runtime: 79 mins
Poor Wes is clearly heartbroken and on the run from his relationship woes. Pulling into a rest stop in his little car full of belongings, he cuts a desperate figure. We’ve all been there, am I right? After an awkward exchange with a homeless lady, Wes decides to get himself good and fucked up with a pity party for one in the public BBQ area. Burning all memory of his ex Brenda in the fire pit, Wes can’t resist keeping just one photograph because well, she was different from all the rest, right?
The next morning our one man broken hearts club stumbles into the bathroom block to violently puke up last night’s excess. Here he starts a conversation with a disembodied voice coming from another stall and since that voice belongs to J.K. Simmons, who can blame him? Except, well this chat takes a turn when a) Wes tries to peek through a gloryhole to see who he’s speaking to, and b) hears the whole sorry tale of why Ghatanothoa (the name to accompany the dulcet tones) is there in the first place. To be honest, it all gets very convoluted but might be one of the film’s few strengths – it’s nuts.
The gist is this: Ghat – an ancient God – is a tool created by his father for the sole purpose of destroying humanity. Imprisoned by his other children to stop this wicked plan, Ghat’s father hasn’t been able to make good on his plan – until now. Ghat for his part has developed a fondness for humans and doesn’t want anything to do with part its destruction any more, hence him hiding out in a piss-stained road-side gloryhole for the foreseeable.
He tells Wes that in order to permanently hide, he/it/they must transcend into the ethereal plane – and can only do that if its physical form is satisfied by a mortal, via the gloryhole.
When Ghat asks Wes to be said mortal for “reasons”, he assumes the worst. Must he perform a humiliating sex act on the unknown entity to save the world? And what does annihilation really look like anyway? Ghat removes Wes’ precious memories of Brenda as a little taster of what’s to come if he doesn’t muck in – will it be enough?
Oh, and perhaps the most pressing question of all: if this isn’t random, and Ghat chose Wes for a reason – what is that reason? Turns out the old adage “like attracts like” applies across species and time and God knows what else, that’s all I’m saying.
“Your genitals are of no significance.” “Well, you don’t have to be mean about it!”
This film is fucking stupid and I did not enjoy it. However, having pondered it a little deeper I do think it has some merits, not many but some. I’ll start with the positives:
It’s directed by a woman Rebekah McKendry which may explain some of the character points (and evidence of gaslighting) – which I enjoyed as I didn’t see it coming
I’ve had a fondness for Ryan Kwanten since True Blood but he’s also great in both Dead Silence (2007) and Red Hill (2010) – so my love for him blinded me to Wes’ character faults which are pretty hard to ignore
The concept of a gloryhole is just inherently amusing, isn’t it? Incidentally this will be the second (if I’ve calculated properly) horror movie that features one – the first one was more dramatic…
J.K. Simmons’ voice is pure luxury, isn’t it?
What I didn’t like:
In all seriousness, this isn’t a bad film – it just wasn’t for me. At times I found it boring or a bit up its own arse – and it all gets so over the top I couldn’t be bothered with it. This may be on me in some parts as my husband sold it to me as a Mandy/Color Out of Space inspired sci-fi.
There are similarities of course but this isn’t fit to shine those film’s shoes and definitely runs out of steam early on. Maybe you’ll disagree, it certainly has mixed reviews online, with some people absolutely loving it.
WHAT DOES JILL THINK? WOULD SHE DO THE UNIVERSE A FAVOUR OR LEAVE IT TO FEND FOR ITSELF? FIND OUT HERE.
This week we’re not strictly limited to sharks and – after the disappointment of the last few picks, which didn’t coin in on the gore or the action nearly enough – this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, this neo-classic (dare I suggest?) positively saturates (lol) the screen with re-animated marine life, large and small – and it is glorious.
Special shout out ahead of time to the sublime stylings of one Vivica A. Fox (codename: Copperhead) who is undoubtedly too good for this vehicle, yet gives it everything she’s got.
A scientific accident causes sea creatures in an aquarium to become zombies.
Genre: Horror, Action, Comedy ∙ IMDB user rating: 2.9 My score: 2.5/5 ∙ Runtime: 86 mins
*Spoilers but it won’t matter*
Shit royally hits the fan at an aquarium, when a seemingly undead octopus kills two keepers and leaves a third battered but alive. Dr. Karen James (Madeleine Falk) is able to stumble through the thankfully quite empty aquarium space to ring the alarm. Meanwhile, other staff members – Dan and Skylar (D.C. Douglas and Robert Contrado) – encounter some seriously bad-tempered otters.
UPDATE: Skylar is in fact a private visitor and not as I’ve suggested just another member of staff. Sucks to be him on this particular day then.
Meanwhile, aquarium owner/boss bitch Miranda Riley (Eva Ceja) is schmoozing local senator Bailey Blackburn (Anthony Jensen) for desperately needed funding to keep the whole operation afloat. Unfortunately, Bailey is unsympathetic to Miranda’s pitch, almost as though he has a different agenda on his mind…
On hand to provide probably the only sensible viewpoint is security detail (?) Clu (Fox) who quickly acts on Karen’s report and demands a swift lockdown. Skylar and Dan fight some spider crabs (which frankly don’t need to be re-animated to be the freakiest creatures ever to have walked the earth) but soon join the rest of the team.
Now locked inside the facility, Miranda, Karen, the Senator and his assistant Beth (Erica Duke) – plus Dan and Skylar – are forced to battle through each exhibit to a place they can make a call and hopefully get the help they need. I think – honestly, I’m already hazy on a lot of the details.
With the virtual help of Clu, who’s connected with Miranda via CB radio and watching the action as it unfolds on the security cameras, this rag tag bunch deal with undead starfish, Mako sharks, a crocodile, an adorable walrus and finally Patient Zero, the octopus, who conveniently oozes a clear ectoplasm allowing us to track when he might be just around the corner.
“Deep fried calamari – my favourite!” ~ Eddie ‘Clu’ Cluwirth
With all this shit going on it seems ridiculous that one of the party would still be keeping a secret about how and why this disaster has happened in the first place – but Miranda is firmly on his case, like a zombie starfish on a hysterical doctor’s ass if you will.
Will she live to serve justice? And, more importantly, what the fuck was Viv thinking agreeing to this role?
Aquarium is the third (third) film in the Zoombies saga yet I didn’t need prior education to follow along. It helped that I was just enjoying the deaths and not focusing on the nuances.
Aquarium isn’t a good film by any stretch but it is pleasingly crackers, more or less female driven and packed to the rafters with CGI beasts. The shark appearances are minimal but the Makos are part of possibly my favourite scene so I can forgive that (Why the FUCK didn’t they sneak behind them?).
Vivacia obviously stands out as the only proper actress but the woman playing Miranda isn’t horrific, while Dr Karen is hands down my favourite character. With her confusing and inconsistent accent, hysterical demeanor and dedication to butchering long medical terms, she truly steals every scene.
Otherwise, the SFX doesn’t suck but not very much effort has been put into making the creatures look like actual zombies. If they’d committed to more practical effects, this could’ve been quite something. And, finally, of all the ways to go here, I’m quite sure I’d be taken down by a disgruntled starfish which would just be embarrassing.
WHAT DOES JILL THINK? WOULD SHE DESTROY THE FISH MEDICINE AS DIRECTED OR GET INVOLVED IN A DOUBLE CROSS THAT MAKES ZERO SENSE? FIND OUT HERE.