Friday, December 23, 2016

Candidate #7

(September 2016)

After the terribly disappointing Damien--the A&E TV take on The Omen--I honestly didn’t have high hopes for Fox’s The Exorcist.

Let’s face it, The Exorcist is a much more towering presence in horror cinema than The Omen, so it stood to reason that a television version of it would have a much higher degree of difficulty.
But wouldn’t you know it, Jeremy Slater (who developed The Exorcist for the small screen) actually pulled an infernally feisty rabbit out of this particular hat, and gave us another notable reason to celebrate TV horror.

Not much more I can say without getting all spoiler-y, except maybe this: there are a whole bunch of callbacks to the original film peppered throughout the first season’s 10 episodes (you’ll know them when you see them), and there’s one apparently incredulous Mulder Moment courtesy of Geena Davis’ Angela Rance in the Pilot, my suggestion for which is, “Just roll with it.”

So, yeah.
If you’re in the mood for some excellent TV horror, then the power of Christ compels you to check this out!

(The Exorcist OS’ courtesy of and

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Candidate #6

(May 2016)

I'll say it right up front: if you watch a lot of zombie cinema, then you’ve seen this movie before.

Yes, they’re speaking in Korean, and sure, we’re on a speeding train, but you’ve got the Sudden Outbreak, the Initially Unlikely Hero, the Somewhat Obnoxious Guy Who May or May Not Prove to Be Heroic After All, the Characters Who Will Need Extra Protection (in this case, we have a Child and an Expectant Mother), and yes, of course we have the A$$hole.
And believe you me, the specimen we have here, played by Kim Eui-sung is like, Lord Emperor A$$hole.

Despite the familiarity of the character types and the beats though--there are a number of Sacrifices here, both of the Voluntary, and definitely Not Voluntary type, as well as Moments of Pathos, where the music swells and we’re moved to reach for a box of tissues--it cannot be denied that Yeon Sang-ho’s Busanhaeng is an effective entry in zombie cinema, and as such, worthy of some ¡Q horror! love.
(Unless of course, you’re a Slow Zombie loyalist, in which case, do not apply; Busanhaeng sports adrenalized, occasionally contortionist zombies.)

Thus, given where the film positions itself on the narrative spectrum, there is also no significant Romero sociopolitical subtext here, the biggest takeaway perhaps being this tried and tested law in zombie cinema: no matter how bad things get, there’s always going to be an a$$hole who’ll make things even worse…

(Busanhaeng quad courtesy of

Monday, December 12, 2016

Candidate #5

(September 2016)

"I have heard myself say that a house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living.
"It can only be borrowed from the ghosts that have stayed behind.”

After carving out an entire slot for himself in the ¡Q horror! 2016 rundown--for co-writing the screenplay of The Girl in the Photographs, and for his feature debut, The Blackcoat’s Daughter--Osgood Perkins is back, with his sophomore effort, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House.

Here, we see 28-year-old hospice nurse Lily Saylor (Ruth Wilson), move in with the elderly Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss), a writer of horror novels (“… [t]he kinds of thick, frightening books that people buy at airports and supermarkets,” Lily observes).
Novels with titles like The Dark Moon Flower, Underwater Housewife, She Wore Her Hair Around Her Neck, and--of particular interest to the film’s plot--The Lady in the Walls.
True to ¡Q horror! form, things do not go well.
At all.

Nothing more need be said, save that I Am the Pretty Thing… is the kind of horror film that advances with a languid, stealthy tread, trailing its horror behind it in a train of rotting lace.
If you enjoy the exquisite, lingering dread of slow burn horror, then you definitely need to check this one out…

“… [b]ut left alone, with only your own eyes looking back at you… and even the prettiest things rot.
“You fall apart like flowers…”

Parting Shot 1:
It’s interesting to note that there’s another prominent ghost in this film: Osgood’s father, the one and only Anthony Perkins.
From the prominent use of “You Keep Coming Back Like A Song” (by Tony Perkins with Urbie Green and His Orchestra, contained in From My Heart from 1958), to a scene from 1956’s Friendly Persuasion (for which Perkins was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), to the film’s dedication (“for A.P.” which I can only assume stands for “Anthony Perkins”), the late Perkins’ presence is very much felt in I Am the Pretty Thing

Parting Shot 2:
There also another Perkins with a prominent role here as well, Osgood’s brother, Elvis, who provides the film’s soundtrack, as he did on The Blackcoat’s Daughter.

(I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House OS courtesy of

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Candidate #4

(March 2016)

"I always thought this house was haunted.
"Really? Why?”
"I don’t know. Ever since we were kids, it just felt like there was some dark vagina just hovering over this place, waiting to swallow me up.”
“Maybe it was just your latent homosexuality talking, hmmm?”
“Shut up. I’m being serious. I’ve always been scared here, dude.”

For much of its initial section of running time, Thomas Dekker’s Jack Goes Home plays more like a dysfunctional domestic drama than anything else, as the titular Jack Thurlow (Rory Culkin) receives some tragic news that precipitates his--as the film’s title indicates--return to his family home.
But, since this is ¡Q horror! territory, it’s a safe bet that that’s not what the film is ultimately about.
Or, put another way, maybe it is a dysfunctional domestic drama, but in a really terrible, horror movie way, as we slowly witness Jack uncover some dark family secrets, while gradually questioning his sanity…

Dekker (who also wrote the screenplay, and is perhaps best known as the TV John Connor) ropes in some noteworthy genre names here, including Daveigh Chase, Natasha Lyonne (who appears in a brief, single scene), and Britt Robertson (who’d worked with Dekker previously on the short-lived The Secret Circle).
But the genre coup here is, without a doubt, Lin Shaye, who appears as Jack’s mother, Teresa.
And, oddly enough, while Dekker is also credited as one of the film’s producers, who do we see credited as an Executive Producer but Uwe Boll (!).

Parting Shot:
I honestly did not recognize Daveigh Chase here, until the end credits rolled…
So, yeah, Samantha Darko (Sparkle Motion, go!!!) and Samara, in the house!
And speaking of, 15th anniversary of Donnie Darko! Huzzah!

(Jack Goes Home OS courtesy of

Candidate #3

(October 2016)

There's something to be said for well-crafted traditional horror cinema and Mike Flanagan’s Ouija: Origin of Evil, is certainly that.

A prequel to Stiles White’s Ouija--the 2014 film based on the Hasbro game (which I never got to watch)--Origin of Evil follows the Zander women, mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser), her high school daughter Lina (Annalise Basso, who also featured in Flanagan’s Oculus), and 9-year-old Doris (Lulu Wilson), as they try and get by in Los Angeles, 1967, after the loss of their husband and father.
Alice’s business name is “Madame Zander,” and she and her daughters perform a community service by giving their clients closure through faux séances, or at least, that’s what Alice tells herself and her children.
Things go awry of course (because let’s face it, they have to, given that this is a horror movie) when Alice purchases a (gasp!) Ouija board.
The premise sounds dopey as hell, but Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard (who also tag teamed on the screenplays for Flanagan’s Oculus and Before I Wake) wring it for all the creeptasticness they can muster.

Parting Shot:
Oh, and look! Doug Jones and Elliott, errr, I mean Henry Thomas, are in it too!

(Ouija: Origin of Evil OS courtesy of