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.
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).