What horror movie did you just watch? (Was it any good?)

Hope this doesn’t step on the toes of someone else’s already-created thread, but I did do a lot of looking and didn’t see a thread specifically like this, so I figured I’d make one.

Basically–if you saw a new horror film, you should probably post about it in the 2019 Horror Roundup thread. Because, 2019 and all. But I thought it would be cool to have a thread where we could express various thoughts and impressions of horror films that don’t really fit there. Maybe you just saw something that everyone’s seen, and want to share your own take on it. I want to read that!

Or, maybe you’ve found some movie that isn’t well known and want to share. Or maybe you saw something that it seems like everyone likes…but you didn’t. If it doesn’t feel like it belongs in the most recent horror movie roundup thread for a specific year, well…here you go. Share with the class!

So. One I just watched was a somewhat-forgotten 1982 Australian movie called Next of Kin.

I dimly remember that maybe Quentin Tarantino had spoken glowingly of this movie…but honestly, there are so many movies that I’ve heard someone say “Quentin Tarantino loves this movie!!” about that I’ve lost track. (QT champions edgy underground movies like Brian Rubin champions video games set in outer space. I lose track even though I do notice and try to keep up.)

At any rate, this obviously isn’t the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie. This is a film that sort of came in the middle of the so-called Ozploitation era, but I think it maybe has a bit more in common with loftier fare than that.

Jacki Kerin is the star here, and she’s mostly pretty good in it. In fact there are times when she’s pretty great in this…and weirdly, it was the last movie she ever made (she did some TV in Australia later on, but apparently decided to get out of the movie biz after this.)

The real star, though, is probably Tony Williams’ camera work. He’s the director, but his background is cinematography, and it shows. He shamelessly borrows from Kubrick’s moves in The Shining, while marrying some of those stately moves to the nervous, stalking zooming camera styles that feel more like something out of a giallo. Oh, and he also does that dolly shot with the pullback-zoom that Hitchcock made famous. I know that shot is a cliche, but I have a soft spot for it.

Anyway, the movie is mostly solid, but it also feels very much like an opportunity missed. Williams shares co-writing credit on this film, and apparently the script was in rougher shape than it even ended up, which is really frightening. This is a screenplay that is practically screaming to have had an actual professional screenwriter and editor spend even just a few days on to clean up. Key elements of the plot hinge bits and breadcrumbs that were so poorly and offhandedly surfaced elsewhere in the movie that the big third act reveal reminded me of that Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror where Homer is trying to tell a scary story and Homers it all up by forgetting to include important bits of his own story.

And then there are just bizarre bits that are left hanging, unexplained, too. Why is there a 9-year-old kid all alone in a diner playing pinball in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night? The movie doesn’t tell us. And it also doesn’t give us a good reason why the kid needed to be there, either.

Thus…worth seeing for the camera stuff alone. And there’s one of the best lightning strikes I’ve seen in a movie, what I assume is a practical effect so good that I have no idea what it’s doing in this fairly low-budget movie. But that lightning strike is great.

Hey, someone else who’s seen Next of Kin. I posted about it in the 2018 thread. The Alamo Drafthouse had gotten a restoration of it and did a special screening - my location was apparently the first one in the country. I’d never heard of it previously and had no idea what to expect. Unfortunately, as you say, the third act is a bit of a record scratch moment and the type of horror it was going for was not what I was hoping for. But I liked the movie leading up to that and sorta liked that bit for just how gonzo crazy it was, I guess? Certainly was glad I took a chance on it.

Jacki Kerin looks uncannily like one of my coworkers, which was distracting for me. No chance they’re related, but. Man.

There are times in this – as Jacki Kerin’s character moves though that big creepy house – that I was completely reminded of Jocelin Donahue in House of the Devil.

And yeah, this movie has a 1 hour, 29 minute running time and ends up being a worthwhile watch. But man, it feels like 10-15 minutes more and this movie might’ve been something really, really special.

I just saw The Witch (or, The VVitch) and it’s excellent, slow-burn horror. Excellent pacing throughout, and what feels like a slow beginning pays off massively. A pretty great movie, especially considering it’s the director’s first.

I’ve been doing catching up mostly this year, but newer (not new) stuff, or rewatching old stuff as mood wills. E.g. I just rezzed the House of the Devil Thread. This took me by surprise a little bit. I remember @triggercut and @tomchick liking it as part of the one October horror series, but I stayed away from the review beyond discovering that. I did not expect it to be as understated as it was. It was a deft hand on the camera, I felt. I think this is a good thread idea. People will go bump the older roundup threads sometimes but I kind of like there being an place for ongoing discussion.

Sadly most of what I have seen this year I cannot recommend. But I’ve literally been picking stuff at random at times, just based on it not immediately sounding terrible.

Tempted to watch Boar from last year. Mostly because I can’t believe someone remade Razorback (I mean, not really, but it’s an aussie angry boar film I feel like it’s a legacy). I can’t believe Sci Fi hasn’t done a killer boar versus killer croc movie set in Australia yet.

I need to dig in and power past the first 10 minutes of The Witch. Like @DoomMunky mentions, I always seem to get distracted early on, realize I’ve probably missed something important, and then decide to set it aside.

But! I saw a GREAT horror movie last night. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it is completely found footage. And everyone but me hates found footage movies. :)

It’s called Leaving DC, and it’s available to stream free with Prime. And it is beautifully understated and builds things gloriously, layer by layer. Really highly recommended.

Interesting. I just saw a re-issued version of the soundtrack for this movie a couple of weeks ago in a local record shop, and came pretty close to buying it. It’s a Klaus Schulze score, he of Tangerine Dream/Ash Ra Tempel/other kraut stuff and I’m decently big fan.

I’ll have to seek out the movie and see if it’s any good.

We’re going to be friends.

Ooo, that sounds great! Thanks for the tip.

And speaking of building things gloriously: that’s what I loved most about House of the Devil. The tension got crazy. It feels like 75% build, 25% release, which I don’t witness often. The Borderlands and Willow Creek come to mind.

Re-watches:

Squirm - lol this movie always makes me giggle. Who was moving the skeleton of old man Johnson around anyway? I feel like this movie couldn’t make it to cult horror status. But that’s too bad. It could have, perhaps. Skip Caray used to make fun of this movie all the time (it was a regular TBS post-Braves feature back in the day; god I miss the TBS Braves days). TBS reportedly received 1000 reviews of the movie (which he would solicit).

The Crazies (the original) - A wee bit less graphic than the remake and certainly not near Romero’s zombie fare in that department. It was never a great film, but it’s decent and brisk. I like how Romero chose to focus on more than simply having people run around stabbing and hacking. Gives the film a slightly odd (and occasionally gross, like when dad hooks up with his daughter) feel. The Francis scenes are all good; there’s something about these scenes that I can’t describe but they lend something to the movie. Ground it, I guess. Movie does a decent job with showing how bureaucracy can get in the way of trouble shooting, although I’m not sure if Romero was going for that.

OH!

That explains THAT, re the music.

The soundtrack is brilliant. Noticeably great, in fact. And also…it fits beautifully with the film; the movie never really wants the soundtrack to devolve into horror-movie tropes where the soundtrack needs to shriek menacingly. Instead, it’s just really cool and ominous and present.

I think it’s worth pointing out that while it is found footage, it’s mostly fixed camera very low movement camera. Some people get nauseated by jostle-cam, which I understand.

Anway. . . this was an absolute treat. Found footage but also excellent found audio-footage.

I was anticipating something slightly different at the end:

I was expecting him to yell and maybe squeeze off a few shots from the bedroom, and then for the floot playing to stop. And then for silence. And then for the door chime, and then screaming. Just seemed like that had been setup. I’m not disappointed or anything.

Really good use of audio in this movie. I thought the first fox cry was sonar, I guess I’ve never heard a fox cry before. The main actor was very good I though, doing a good job with his mounting frustration and also the nice side touches concerning his jealousy with the group member.

Great find!

Yeah, I should’ve mentioned that it’s a lot of fixed camera stuff. Just our protagonist sitting at his desk sometimes, talking to the camera he’s set up. Or him walking with a camera that appears to have a steadying algorithm.

And good call on the found sound aspect. That really is where a lot happens here.

Joshua Criss is the star, writer, and director here. And what he’s done here is just phenomenal work; making a terrific horror movie for a shoestring budget thanks to an outstanding script and realization of it.

Finally made it to a second AGFA Secret Screening at the Alamo (where they waive the ticket price and don’t tell you what you’re in for to get you to see stuff you might otherwise pass up). The first one was Brain Damage, which was actually pretty good. This time?


Was it good? Hahahahahahahaha no.

Pretty entertainingly bad, though. Badly dubbed, badly acted, cheesy SFX, plot holes galore, bizarre pacing. Definitely the sort of thing MST3K or Rifftrax would go for. And hey, a soundtrack by “The Goblin”.

This came up in my Twitter feed this morning. Pretty decent list so I thought I would share here in case anyone hasn’t seen any of them. Dunno about #1 though…

Link to Article

Awwww yisssss!

Unfortunately, I just watched Hell House LLC 2: The Abaddon Hotel. It was terrible. It’s the sequel to Hell House LLC, a 2015 found footage movie about people setting up a haunted house maze in what turns out to be a real haunted location. The 2018 sequel starts with 20 minutes of recap done via a fake local morning news show, so you’re already in awful territory. The found footage then starts when the guy that “found” the original movie’s footage and cut it into the “documentary” goes to the hotel to look for more clues. The movie sputters into lame spooky clown shenanigans and a retconned main baddie that supervillain monologues for the last 10 minutes.

The really bad news is that the filmmakers plan to make it a trilogy.

Hell House LLC was surprisingly decent for a movie where I spent most of the movie wondering why these idiots didn’t just leave. A lack of likable characters also hurt the movie a bit, but some of those clowns were creepy as shit which makes up for a lot.

Too bad about the sequel. Twas ever thus.

Yeah, my buddy Cliff has a horror movie review blog and just reviewed the first Hell House LLC film and liked it – and he absolutely does have an aversion to found footage. I’d almost taken it off my watch list after hearing the sequel was so poorly conceived, but based on ct’s re-recommend I think I am gonna give it a watch very soon.

Suspira (2018) - This movie, at one point, was coherent. It then abandoned that coherence. Better than it had any right to be I guess, I wouldn’t call it good. Although I have a few minutes left I can’t imagine anything that happens in then is going to matter to anything. I mean ok it got coherent again I guess, but that feels like a technicality. I also wish there was a version of this movie where every character was Tilda Swinton in some form.

Primal Rage (2018) - I couldn’t finish this. It’s bigfoot, except Bigfoot (uh, sort of) wears bark armor and uses weapons and apparently doesn’t simply kill for sport but sadistic sport. Without being too gorey it was still grosser than anything Romero ever did. I’m sure there’s a reason Bigfoot went on a killing sprree. I am sure I don’t care.

It Stains the Sands Red (2017) - not quite what I was expecting, although it must be said I wasn’t exactly expecting anything. I think I have to call it decent, although it feels like it takes it awhile to become a story that’s really about motherhood and mistakes. I could almost say the first half had a bit too much to distract/filler. Spent the entire movie thinking “I swear I have seen this actress somewhere” (I binged The Boys the previous weekend/week).

Apropos of nothing, C Thomas Howell has been in a lot of Syfy style movies. More power, man.