The duo discuss the 1980 film "Alligator" about - you guessed it - a giant alligator. Particularly, they discuss why this film generally works, from John Sayles' better-than-it-needs-to-be script, to Lewis Teague's competent if workmanlike direction, to the man himself Robert Forster's lovable Chicago cop David Madison, which was the inspiration for the character Robert Forster played in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown." (Seriously) But let's not overstate things, here: this is still a shlocky b-movie, albeit a fun one. Come have a listen!
The duo watch "Orca," the 1977 film that tried to beat Jaws at its own aquatic-killer game. Not only is the killer whale more dangerous and fearsome than the great white shark, it can read blue prints, understands how flammables work, never forgets a face, has an unquenchable thirst for revenge, and can rub in a victory by flopping out of the water and wagging its tail at you. Too bad orca whales look so wholesome and cute, kind of undermines the whole fear factor. Join us as we discuss ancient native mysticism and the words professors could say in the 1970s that they definitely couldn't say today!
The duo kick of Giant Animals Attack month with the 1976 horror film “Grizzly,” which is essentially a beat-for-beat remake of “Jaws,” with a cuddly big bear instead of a shark. If “Jaws” proved to everyone that an elevated b-movie could earn respect and acclaim, “Grizzly” showed everyone that an inferior knockoff can at least make a lot of money. The duo also discuss the frenzied career of director and all-around indie film hustler William Girdler, who banged out 9 ripoff films (including Grizzly) in only six years before ripping off Lynyrd Skynyrd and dying in a plane crash.
The duo finishes the 1842 horror novella The Black Spider, by Jeremias Gothelf. We got a mischevious black spider who likes to troll his victims and stare “balefully” at anyone and everyone, fairweather religionists more concerned with stylish rosary beads than saving their souls, “bestiality and wantonness that oversteps all bounds,” and uncomfortable dinner table lessons. Come have a listen!
The duo discuss the first half of the 1842 novella The Black Spider, by Swiss pastor Jeremias Gotthelf, which is many things: a Christian allegory about good and evil, a "deal with the Devil" narrative, a "monster on the loose" story, a dissection of Crowd Mentality, and (arguably) a precursor to Lovecraftian cosmic horror. We both enjoy the first half while debating the Lovecraft connection. You can't help but enjoy a novella that features both “lusty crows dancing nuptial roundelays" and "in her face labor pains began such as no woman on earth has ever known."
Join our duo as they take a break from podcasting work to aimlessly pontificate on a variety of subjects not worthy of a full episode, from films such as Annihilation (2018), Raw (2016), The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016), and Cloverfield Paradox (no year, as this movie is timeless); video games such as Resident Evil 7, television shows like The X-Files, novels such as William Sloane's "The Edge of Running Water," and Brett Easton Ellis' "Lunar Park," and collections of freely available podcasts lazily transcribed into book format aka The Lore book(s).
The duo discuss the effective, underseen deep-in-the-woods 1981 slasher film "Just Before Dawn" and all the juicy behind-the-scenes sniping between the writer and the director. Lost snake rituals, deranged slobs, lazy park rangers, and are college kids and rural hillbillies really so different in ways of the heart? Find out!
The duo cover the 1980 psychological horror film Fade to Black, which, while not a slasher film per se, has the structure of a slasher film. It’s slasher-adjacent, let’s say that much. This film follows the misadventures of Eric Binford, aka cinephile Travis Bickle, as he kills those who have wronged him while impersonating his favorite movie characters, kind of a non-supernatural Pennywise with a chip on his shoulder. Derek and J.R. debate the effectiveness of the film, while both agreeing that the misadventures of concerned psychologist Dr. Moriarty, who excuses every murder with an “Oh he’s just a confused kid, movies these days!” is a terrible but hilarious subplot.
The duo kick off Slasher Month with the Pride of Norwegian Horror: the 2006 slasher film Cold Prey. (Do note, though: Norwegians are not a prideful people). In Norway, no matter how deserted an arctic mountain may appear, rest assured that you can always find some creepy abandoned shelter that houses a killer. And if you are really unlucky, that killer might have an extremely mild facial deformity!
The duo basically do a “Hardcore History” on the polarizing film Cthulhu (2007). We assure you, no podcast has ever dedicated this much time to this film. We discuss its origins, its many abandoned subplots, the backstage drama, and how it essentially bankrupted its writer and ruined the nascent Seattle film industry. But strangely, we come not to bury it, but to understand and maybe even appreciate what this ambitious but misguided first feature was trying to do.
We complete our discussion of the rapturously received, 2016 novella “Ballad of Black Tom,” which re-purposes Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook” with the social justice, Nation of Islam-inspired “white people be devils” perspective that’s all the rage with the NPR set. Which would all be fine with us, honestly, if the prose style wasn’t so flat, declarative and boring that this novella reads like the SparkNotes to a more interesting book. The last half even manages to make shoot outs boring.
Join us as we begin our discussion on the rapturously received, 2016 novella “Ballad of Black Tom,” which re-purposes Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook” with the social justice, Nation of Islam-inspired “white people be devils” perspective that’s all the rage with the NPR set. Which would all be fine with us, honestly. if the prose style wasn’t so flat, declarative and boring that this novella reads like the SparkNotes to a more interesting book. And to our dismay, Cthulhu was not replaced with Yakub.
The duo finish their Mike Flanagan round-up with "Before I Wake," the filmed-in-2013-but-released-in 2018, PG-13 "supernatural drama" about a young boy who can manifest his boring, uninspiring, butterfly-heavy dreams into reality. And you got to love those dated Nintendo Wii references, which was the hot new thing when this movie was filmed back in 2013. This movie's so old that Flanagan's first wife Courtney Bell is still in it, back when they were on speaking terms, although she plays a dying person, which perhaps provided Flanagan the closure he needed to move on to his younger, more conventionally attractive second wife Kate Siegel, who went on to feature in all of his subsequent movies. What a guy!
Our duo return to briefly discuss some movies and books they don't want to dedicate a full episode to. Includes Joe Hill's "Strange Weather," John Darnielle's "Universal Harvester," William Sloane's "To Walk the Night," John Padgett's "The Secret of Ventriloquism," Erik Larson's "Devil in the White City," and the films The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Personal Shopper, The Lure, Dave Made a Maze, Creep, Beyond the Gates, Deathgasm, Train to Busan, and some others. And what would an episode be without a return to J.R.'s favorite topics: depression and futility!
Our Christmas horror movie binge ends with the 2017 Australian horror flick "Red Christmas," a movie that also made us want to end our lives (it's that bad). How inept does a cast of characters have to be that they can be killed one-by-one by a deformed, infirm, hobbled mutant abortion survivor with Down Syndrome? Pretty damn inept. And don't worry, that's not a spoiler since this "twist" is given away in the first 30 seconds. This isn't "so bad it's good": it's '"so bad that I punched a hole in the wall because I spent 5 bucks on this and now the cops are here and I'm spending my Christmas in jail."
The gang covers the 2016, critically acclaimed Australian/American horror/thriller "Better Watch Out." Wonder why we are being so circumspect with our description? Well, we aren't trying to spoil anything: at least not with this blurb, anyway. Come listen and have everything spoiled. Just don't read any reviews first, especially not the dreadful San Francisco Gate review that spoils the movie IN THE HEADLINE.
If Travis Bickle drove a sleigh instead of a taxi, you might have something like Christmas Evil, the 1980 feature that was the first (and last) film written and directed by Lewis Jackson. The gang disagree on the merits of the film, which features a strong performance from Brandon Maggart (aka Fiona Apple's father), some bits of surrealism and some unfortunate 1980s hokiness. Neither of us, however, threw popcorn at the screen in impotent rage, as supposedly happened at the film's test screening.
Come have a listen to our very special guest Chris Lackey, co-host of the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast and Rachel Watches Star Trek, star of many Lovecraftian comedy shorts and author of many graphic novels and films. It's the Chris Lackey you've never heard before, as we go deep in this 1 hour and 20 min+ plus interview. Lackey discusses his hopes, fears, disappointments, ambitions and radical politics while making sure to crack enough jokes to keep your interest. We got a hot one here folks!
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.