In terms of raw horror, Shudder’s latest offering, The Sadness (2021) directed by Canadian filmmaker, Rob Jabbaz, is the best I’ve seen in quite a while. At first, I dismissed this subtitled, Taiwanese flick as yet another Covid-inspired zombie/28 Days Later retread – similar to the last Shudder flick I discussed, Virus: 32 (2022). Not so! While it’s true this movie does fit into that subgenre, it ramps up the horror elements to levels I’ve not seen in any of its peers. Simply put, this film is brutal. And, at the risk of coming across as a Sadist, I absolutely loved it.
It’s hard sometimes, trying to keep a secret. As far back as 2010, I’ve been writing on this blog my fandom of the 1981 made-for-television movie Dark Night of the Scarecrow. That original post caught the attention of the film’s writer, J.D. Feigelson, who reached out and encouraged me to meet him and members of the cast, including the late Larry Drake, in Louisville’s Fright Night Film Fest. J.D. and I stayed in touch and would go on to share my fervor for DNOTS in Scary Monsters Magazine and the book “Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks.” A few years later, J.D. invited me out to dinner during a visit to Chicago – and it was there that he dropped a bombshell. He revealed that he was secretly working on a sequel to DNOTS utilizing his own resources and local talent. Obviously, I could say nothing about it, but in the years that followed, he graciously kept me in the loop regarding its progress. Whenever I visited J.D. at his home down in Louisville, he’d proudly share his footage as well as the incredible props he created in his spare time. And finally, today, the fruit of his labor is available on Blu-ray and streaming. But before I saw a single frame of the movie, he revealed its basic story.
Two lovers gaze into each other’s eyes on a beautiful, warm summer night. The handsome couple has dated throughout high school with both now settling into steady jobs. At long last, the time is right for Jay to pop the Big Question. “Bobbe,” he asks with anticipation. “Will you marry me?” Suddenly, she goes cold. “Oh, Jay,” she replies. “I can’t marry you. I’ve just decided to go to a Convent and become a Nun! (???)” This news doesn’t just come as a surprise to her would-be fiance’ but to Bobbe as well. That’s because, unbeknownst to either of them, Bobbe is possessed by a sex-crazed demon determined to get his beautiful host/victim behind enemy lines so she can become a Nun in the service of Satan. And so lies the premise for John Tigges’ “Garden of the incubus;” a supernatural ‘80s Paperback from Hell that just turned forty. Continue reading
I was shopping at Half Price Books when I came across a hardcover 1st printing of “The Stepford Wives” published in 1972. Ira Levin’s follow-up to his hugely successful “Rosemary’s Baby” (p. 1967) may not have shared the same level of achievement as its predecessor but made its own cultural impact nonetheless. “The Stepford Wives” is a 145-page, satirical novella touching on the rise of feminism, a woman’s role in the home, as well as their husbands’ fear of losing control. It would inspire two films of the same name: a serious adaptation in 1975 and a more comedic rendering in 2004 starring Nicole Kidman. The first movie even inspired three indirect made-for-TV sequels – Revenge of The Stepford Wives (1980), The Stepford Children (1987), and The Stepford Husbands (1996). Despite receiving mixed reviews, the word “Stepford” has since entered our pop culture lexicon to describe someone acting perfect, phony, or subservient. Having seen both screen versions, I was interested in reading the book and did so in the span of one chilly, Chicago afternoon.
So how does it compare to the 1975 film? Anyone not worried about SPOLIERS can read on and find out…
I was sharing my physical media collection a couple weeks back and mentioned organizing them alphabetically so that all my copies of a specific title were in a single location. It immediately occurred to me how nutty that must have read to a non-collector and I suppose, logically, it is. Every year I tell myself I’m not going to purchase another release of a film I already own and every year I do exactly that. I’m sure I’m not alone. If any of you fellow super collectors out there have only one release of JAWS (1975). The THING (1982), or Halloween (1978) then pat yourselves on the back because you’re a far stronger person than me.