The gang discuss Philip Fracassi’s 2016 novella “Altar,” about a family trip to the pool gone-weird. While this story proceeds for the most part as expected, both J.R. and Derek liked it, so take that, all those people out there who say we are unduly negative (you know who you are!). But first, J.R. angrily laments the state of absurd, cliched ridden, over-promising introductions to single-author collections, so his bona fides are an irrationally angry man are secure.
Is that a Jack Skellington tattoo on your neck? Johnny the Homicidal on your inner arm? No? Ok, what is your tolerance for lines like "he will paint a matching work with tragedy and screaming" or "a promise is just a longer lie." Hmmm.....well, are you 14? No? Ok, well still give the 2016 novella Detritus in Love a chance, where the dream of the early 2000's melodramatic emo revival is alive and well. This novella concerns Detritus, his love of the X-eyed Blank, and his battle with The Opposite. Come and have a listen!
Listen in to J.R. having a stroke as the gang discuses Sour Candy, the 2015 novella by Kealan Patrick Burke that probably keeps interminably popping up on your "suggested" list on Amazon. This novella shows how you can take a bunch of interesting elements and combine them into a flavorless mush. It's hilariously silly, filled with one note characters, convoluted mythos, a nonsensical "twist" and a girlfriend whose sole job is "sexual innuendo." Still it isn't all bad. There's fun to be had. Come and have a listen!
The gang interview the lively Grady Hendrix, author of the new nonfiction novel “Paperbacks from Hell: the Twisted History of 70s and 80s Horror Fiction“ and the 2014 novel "Horrorstör" about a haunted IKEA like store, but not actually IKEA for legal reasons. Oh, and he co-founded the New York Asian Film Festival without even being Asian! How does he do it! We cover a ton of different topics, like the crazy feeding frenzy of the 70s/80s paperback boom; the psychological effect of reading so much forgotten horror fiction; how one goes about founding a film festival; the appeal of the “killer kid” and the “haunted Indian graveyard” genres and the sadness of the haunted house; why movie slashers are fun and fiction slashers are so very, very different; why bizarro horror kinda sucks; and which forgotten authors we should read.
May we present to you, the most critically acclaimed... Hasbro-licensed movie of all time! Take that, Jem and the Holograms! Hope you didn't see Ouija (2014), because (1) it sucked and (2) it spoils everything about Mike Flanagan's 2016 prequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil. This is a movie that is better than it has any right to be, but still suffers from third-act problems... so... she's possessed by an evil Nazi doctor?... or... the Polish victim who is himself possessed by the evil dark things? And the family lives in a graveyard and Doris has psychic powers, but they can't hear the ghosts until they buy a Ouija board at an ice cream shop? Anyway, don't think to hard and join us in this land of digital cigarette burns and split diopter shots.
There's definitely some shame in Gerald's Game! We continue our discussion of Mike Flanagan's oeuvre, with the just-released film Gerald's Game, adapted from the 1992 novel by Stephen King. We discuss the origins of the film, pivotal differences from the novel, discuss the method acting of the hungry hound, whether Jessie is the world's biggest Stephen King fan given since she incorporates his work into her hallucinations, and why all men are DOGS, I tell ya.
All good spirals must connect and come to an end, and so to does our discussion of Uzumaki, in our third and final part. And just like the comic we are covering, we end abruptly and make little sense. Enter a Lovecraftian world of light-emitting spirals, insufferable, entitled orphans (as if there were any other kind), bandits who inexplicably think saying "Roger Wilco" is cool, and all the juicy, juicy snail meat you can handle. And finally people throw Kirie's pretentious boyfriend out of a house, something we've wanted to see happen since chapter 1.
The gang continues with Book 2 of Uzumaki. What pickles will Kirie get into this time that will have no further consequences and never be mentioned again? Corpses reanimated by car springs, slow boys turning into snails, all-seeing hurricanes, babies sprouting umbilical cords and a whole big mess of women feasting for blood on this tour of the Spiral Sagas!
The gang discusses the first collection of Uzimaki, the horror manga series about a Japanese town called Kurozu-Cho infected by spirals, although when the town names translates to "Black Vortex Town" can you really be surprised? What starts in creepy village ends up veering into crazy town. The semantics of spirals, snake love, the worst ways to die, death by cochlea, peacocking hair battles and more!
New listeners: there is no reason to listen to this (same warning applies to long-time listeners).The gang capitulates to listener requests to just talk about a bunch of random movies, books, and events they’d participated in that aren’t worthy of a full episode. Necronomicon 2017, The Void, Jim Jones, Rosemary’s Baby, the Pontypool Trilogy, They Look Like People. The Invitation, The Monster, The Last Exorcism, Train to Busan, Shin Godzilla, Oats Studios… all get the cursory treatment you need, nay, demanded!
The gang discusses everything about “Messiah of Evil,” the 1973 Lovecraftian horror movie about a desolate seaside town being overtaken by a mysterious cult. It’s a movie that is inspired, insipid, captivating, nonsensical, engrossing, and idiotic… sometimes all in one scene! Is it dreamy and unsettling, or rushed and incompetent? Really, it’s a mess that succeeds despite itself; or as one reviewer said: “good, but not on purpose.” And all this from the people who brought you Howard the Duck!
The gang reviews the 1976 slasher / giallo “Alice Sweet Alice” (or should we say “Holy Terror” or “Communion” or “the first hint that Paterson, New Jersey is doomed to fail.”). Sure, this may be Brooke Shields’ first role, but we know who steals the show: all-american weirdo Alphonso, the priest-impersonating, morbidly obese, creepy character actor who killed himself after getting stuck in a subway turnstile. Scary stairs, scary masks, scary slickers, fat-shaming, religion-shaming, shame-shaming, come have a listen!
We've all thought about it. Hell, we've all done it (right?). We discuss the 1976 Spanish movie "Who Can Kill a Child?," about a vacationing British couple terrorized by feral children on permanent siesta. Don't let the opening documentary footage depicting dying children deter you! (or excite you, you sickos). And would we have ever seen this movie if it had gone by its American title "Island of the Damned?" Answer: No.
The gang begins its discussion of underseen 70s horror with Martin, aka the movie everyone is telling you to see following George Romero's death. Martin is an interesting film, a pre-Dawn Romero channeling early Scorsese, about an effete, silent loner who might just be a vampire. Despite being violent and deeply awkward, Martin still gets the attention of his desired lady, showing that in every era women just loved a bad (or crazy) boy. Let's just say that Martin breaks some hearts and gets his heart broken.
The gang talk to Nathan Ballingrud, author of the great horror collection "North American Lake Monsters," about envy, spite, failure, regret, mistakes, dropping out of college, child-rearing, the truth in horror fiction, and his upcoming works. Not all of those topics are depressing (alright fine they basically all are).
The gang abruptly concludes their discussion of "In the Dust of This Planet" when it becomes too painful to continue. Not in a satisfyingly nihilist / cosmically pessimist "painful." Ironically, more like "life might be pointless, but it's still too short to waste on this" type of painful. Before we tap out, we discuss magic circles, slime, ooze and a godawful internet poem about weather cycles.
Horror is about the paradoxical thought of the unthinkable, according to the introduction of "In the Dust of This Planet." We talk about this book and find out, unfortunately, that nothing in this book actually supports the thesis and instead offers discursive scatter-shot ramblings on black metal, demons, and whether demonology is a valid field of investigation. But don't worry about that because did you hear guys Jay-Z once wore a shirt that had the book's logo on it!
The gang reviews the 2016 "horror-thriller" The Love Witch, which received such critical adulation that it makes us question everything we know about the world. I mean, it's listed on Rotten Tomatoes as the 30th best reviewed horror movie OF ALL TIME. Spoiler: this movie is, in fact, terrible. Terrible Terrible Terrible. It is a three minute joke trailer dragged out to 2 hours. If you disagree, you are wrong, and must live with the terrible knowledge of that fact.
The gang reviews Ana Lily Amirpour's 2014 critical darling "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night," billed as the "first Iranian Vampire Western." But we're Movie Truthers, so we reveal that it's really just a Persian language cologne ad filmed in California, featuring a vampire in a supporting role. That doesn't mean it's bad, though! It sure is well-shot! Black and White! Smoke! Cats! Come on in and listen!
The gang discuss director Robert Egger's 2015 critical darling The Witch, in all its ambitious, admirable, frustrating, kind of disappointing madness. (Excuse us, we mean "The VVitch: a New England Folktale," if you are pretentious and ignore that it was actually filmed in Canada). We also discuss the exceedingly silly critical commentary that now seems to accompany every critics' darling these days, where every critically-worthy horror movie has to be interpreted to speak to some worthy social cause.