Nick and Christine Marino move their young son, Joey, and the family dog to a remote Long Island community called Mill Harbor. Their new domicile is within driving distance of Nick’s job at his father’s Italian restaurant while offering a private beach and stables shared with their privileged neighbors. The moving crew barely leaves their driveway before a mysterious man on horseback, who can’t stop ogling Christine, invites them all over to meet the rest of their neighbors. These include a strange but handsome Professor of Anthropology (who also can’t stop staring at Christine) along with a burly, Norse-looking man named Karl Anderson. Not only can’t he stop looking at Christine, but proceeds to grab her crotch after she extends her hand in a greeting – the result of which earns him a much-deserved drink in his face. Things get even worse when the family returns home and finds their dog with its head completely “twisted” off. After just one chapter, it becomes painfully obvious that Robert C. Sloane’s “A Nice Place to Live” (published 1982) is anything but!
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