SPUTNIK  (in space, no one can hear you read) 

I’m pleased to welcome back Mark Spangler for another one of his insightful reviews…

In the days of yore, we quaked to Quasimodo, dreaded Dracula, and feared the Frankenstein monster.  The wolfman had us howling while the mummy had us screaming for mommy.  Soon came atomic monsters, horrors from Hammer, and later still, demon-possessed little girls, slashers, freaks, cannibals, and zombie hordes. There was and still is much to be afraid of when we venture out into the darkened theaters we love so well. The most terrifying element in the history of the horror film, however – or any genre for that matter –  is the dreaded “s”’ word.  Yes, we’re referring to the unmentionable, the taboo, the hideous…  subtitles.

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“The Sadness” is Going to Make Gorehounds Really Happy

Movie poster for The Sadness

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. 

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A24’s “X” or What Happens when a Slasher gets turned on its head?

Let’s have a conversation about A24 and their latest horror film, X (2022). Since this independent film company began ten years ago, it’s truly made its mark in creating unique entertainment you’ll ponder long after the end credits have scrolled. Consequently, A24 films can, and will, divide their audience. Not everyone is looking for deep, artsy, or often weird experiences when watching a horror movie. Sometimes this is made worse by fellow enthusiasts who respond to A24 criticism with an air of superiority – You say you hated Midsommar? Well, maybe it was just too deep for you? Thereby fanning the flames even further.

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Vault of Horror: Lost Physical Media Collection Worth Revisiting!

It’s been almost exactly two years since Mark Spangler contributed to this site with his illuminating expose of The Ninth Gate. Today, he’s putting the spotlight on an old physical media release worth revisiting. Welcome back, Mark! – Dave

“Vault of Horror”
Brentwood Home Video 2001
SCREAM OF THE WOLF, WOLF MAN, MOON OF THE WOLF, SNOWBEAST, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, DON’T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT, JACK THE RIPPER, SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Back in  2001, Brentwood Home Video released a ten-film set of genre films entitled “Vault of Horror”. You may have seen this collection lying in wait, like the proverbial evil monkey’s paw, amidst other compilation releases of questionable origin. Brentwood is noted for its bootleg DVD and Blu Ray releases, but don’t let that stop you from picking up this nifty little package if you get the chance. As is to be expected, the transfers on these discs aren’t the best… audio is uneven at times and the “extras” are laughable, but the stories, acting, and directing in some of these movies more than makes up for these deficiencies, provided one can overlook the fade-to-black annoyances that scream “movie of the week” on some of the selections.  The early-to-mid ’70s saw the production of some notable TV movie horror (“Night Stalker”, “Trilogy of Terror”) and while the TV fare in this set isn’t that good, there is stuff here you may have overlooked that’s worth seeing.

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“Halloween” (2018) Review: Jamie Lee Cortese on Jamie Lee Curtis

… Not that Jamie Lee…

In 2015, I was at a small costume store and saw a mother point out a Michael Myers mask to her young son and say, “Look! It’s Freddy from Friday the 13th!” I semi-subtly pointed it out to my dad about a minute later, saying, “Look! It’s Michael Myers from Halloween!” to clear up the confusion amongst the surrounding patrons.

        Perhaps it was inevitable, given my name, that I would not only work toward “carving out” (pun intended) a career in film (and TV, and theatre, and… pretty much anything entertainment-related) as an actor (and writer, and director…), but also love horror movies. I first got into horror by watching Svengoolie on Saturday nights… which you can read about here!

        Perhaps you’re wondering, as countless others have asked me during my lifetime, “Do you like Jamie Lee Curtis?” As a matter of fact… yes! I first saw her in Freaky Friday, so my first impression of the “scream queen” was actually via comedy. I was a little more inclined to pay attention to her work due to the similarities in our names, but I still respect her skills just as much as if my name were “Holly” or “Christy” (both of which almost were). I’ve heard every Activia joke under the sun. I roll my eyes at them… not because I’m embarrassed, but because there are much more interesting things about Jamie Lee Curtis that these people could reference. If you’re going to make a joke about someone’s name, remember that we’ve been hearing these our whole lives. So step up your game and make good humor choices.

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