Longer review because I’ve been meaning to watch this for years:
This is the third time I’ve tried to sit down and pay attention to As Above, So Below and I’m so happy that I finally did. I’ve noticed that Gen Z horror fans in particular seem to rave about this movie which I find fascinating/wonderful. Maybe it’s the first great horror movie they “discovered”, maybe they had a blast watching it with friends, maybe it’s the first time they learned about the Catacombs in Paris. Whatever it is, I’m here for it. I enjoyed the story being centered around alchemy and history rather than rooted in religion, though the religious symbolism is still there. It was very “National Treasure Goes to Hell” (literally) and even though true historians probably would scoff like a scientist watching any disaster movie, I loved it. There is so much going on in this film: a quest for the philosopher’s stone, an underground tour of Paris, a woman trying to carry out her father’s life work, a will-they-or-won’t-they romance with an attractive translator/church trespasser? This is a great example of a horror movie doing A LOT but doing it effectively because everything the movie builds you up for descends into hell and madness. I am now unsure if The Descent or this movie made me more claustrophobic. Really great watch if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, or watch it again on Netflix if you haven’t seen it in a few years.
IT’S OCTOBER. OCTOBER 2020. THERE’S A LOT OF SHIT TO BE SAD/MAD ABOUT. WATCH HORROR, BE HAPPY. CHEERS, WITCHES!
31 Nights of Horror IX, Night 1: Killer Workout
Three sentence review:
If you were burned in a freak tanning bed accident and it derailed your future career as a model would you murder everyone in a gym several years later? That’s exactly what happens in 1987’s awesomely bad KILLER WORKOUT aka AEROBI-CIDE. I absolutely loved this 80s stinky cheese classic and need a Rhonda’s Workout sweatshirt like yesterday.
What, you think that just because Halloween is over we don’t continue the horrorthon? It’s November and that means I’m counting down the days until I get to enjoy the most delectable dish of the entire year – the leftover turkey sandwich. Until then, let’s be thankful for a bountiful cornucopia of Thanksgiving themed horror. A “horror harvest” if you will. Each week in November I’ll feature a heaping helping of Thanksgiving themed horror. So what are you thankful for? Hopefully this. Because I spend time on these posts. FOR YOU!
Let’s begin with week one’s feature film: Pilgrim. This is the little movie that just would not quit. First of all, I am GRATEFUL that Hulu has continued their “Into the Dark” series with a second season. #BLESSED. October’s Uncanny Annie was a wee bit disappointing start to season two, and at the beginning I was afraid that Pilgrim was also going in that direction. I couldn’t get past the fact that the main pilgrim villains were basically Chip and Joanna Gaines in puritan clothing. However, by the end I was laughing out loud at a few of the gags and was cheering for the effort made by the filmmakers. They really just went for a few things and honestly it made up for the many flaws in this horror fan’s opinion. The movie is all over the place as it clumsily evolves from family drama to wannabe B-movie. But you know what? I’m not mad about it. I’ll even forgive the gratuitous fish-eye and lens flare. I love any scary movie with a creepy children’s choir soundtrack.
A lot of the movie is inexplicable, yes, and there are plenty of flaws. But I am HERE for more Thanksgiving themed horror and I think I will indeed by watching this again next November. And yes, it wouldn’t be an “Into the Dark” entry without a little social commentary. I hope that continues.
31 Nights of Horror VIII, Night 2: Slumber Party Massacre 2
Three sentence review:
The original Slumber Party Massacre is an excellent choice if you want good 80’s cheese. The sequel just goes completely off the rails and into outer space with kookiness. For some (amazing) reason, the first installment’s Driller Killer has evolved into an 80s metal head character whose murder weapon is an electric guitar with a drill attached and includes a bonkers musical number- and yes, I absolutely LOVE IT.
I’ve seen a lot of buzz over the last few weeks about an Eli Roth produced haunted-house-gone-wrong story called Haunt. I shelled out $5 via On Demand to give it a watch and gotta say it was as fun as everyone has been saying! Don’t let hype ruin it for you – it’s not anything mind blowing – but it’s entertaining and will satisfy fans of modern slashers and anyone who has ever wondered what would happen if a Halloween haunted house went awry.
I attended my first horror con over the weekend! The sixth annual Scares that Care Charity Weekend was held in Williamsburg, VA. Simply put: I found my people. I make my living as a professional fundraiser for a nonprofit organization, so going to a horror convention that gives back to charity truly made my heart happy.
If they ever decide to hire people, I will be applying for the Director of Development position. But, they’re proud of the fact that Scares that Care is an all volunteer organization. And they should be proud. They’re doing amazing things for a lot of children and families. In the mean time, I can raise money for them on my own time. Which I plan to do next year!
We drove to Williamsburg on Friday night and after a fancy Taco Bell dinner we made our way to the Double Tree Hotel. After getting over my initial giddiness of seeing a horror themed silent auction, we trekked over to the first stop: the hotel bar. Obviously. They had spooky shooters and scary cocktails! I WAS IN HEAVEN. We ordered two zombies and a booberry shooter and took it to our next destination: HOW REDNECKS SAVED HOLLYWOOD HOSTED BY THE ONE AND ONLY MR. JOE BOB BRIGGS!
Listening to Joe Bob Briggs speak for two hours about the history of rednecks on film and their contributions to Hollywood was an absolute highlight of my year. He is so damn entertaining, knowledgeable and no-frills. I loved that he had no stage theatrics or set decorations. He is the show. All he needs is a podium and a projector screen. I learned so much, most importantly that I am a Sling Blade person and not a Forrest Gump person. My favorite clip was from the Lil Abner musical in 1958, where the town of Dogpatch pokes fun at the fictional confederate general, Jubilation T. Cornpone. A reminder that there was a time when confederate monuments were lampooned.
Joe Bob could talk about anything and we’d all sit there for hours without getting up to use the bathroom or glancing at our phones. He’s that magnetic. Thanks, Joe Bob, for coming to Virginia: where you don’t have to explain “Appalachia” to the audience because we live it. Congrats to Scares that Care for landing such an awesome event. It was fantastic. PS: Darcy was there too and I love her!
On Saturday, we headed back to the convention to check out the huge selection of vendors and the celebrity room. The vendors were so much fun. I picked up an Elivra tank, a Freddy glove necklace, some Predator themed period panties, and two crochet dolls from one of my favorite local horror creators, “Horror Knots”. Then we walked into the celebrity room and Sid Haig was just sitting there with no one in line to talk to him. I couldn’t believe it. I was star struck. Our buddy got an autograph and photo with Tom Noonan, which was awesome. And I got to experience the ins-and-outs of celebrity autograph culture.
I can’t wait to go back next year. I plan to stay at the host hotel and attend more of the conference events, including readings, film screenings, Q&A sessions, and more. For a charity horror convention just 45 min from where I live, it’s well worth an annual trip.
Last night I watched Slumber Party Massacre I and II and I haven’t been the same since. Why did it take me 32 years to watch these brilliant diamonds of 80s horror?
The outfits in part one are SENSATIONAL. The locker room scene makes me want to sprint to my local Forever 21 to buy suspenders and a “Space Baby” t-shirt, and I have no business being in a Forever 21. THERE’S A BASKETBALL SCENE WHERE SOMEHOW THE WOMEN DON’T WEAR BRAS. My boobs hurt just thinking about it.
Then we have the first sequel, which I greatly prefer over part one. For no explainable reason the driller killer is now a heavy metal cast member of West Side Story with a Prince-esque guitar that has a drill attached to it. To which I can only say:
The fashion is just as good as part one, plus there’s now a girl gang band and that’s pretty rad if you ask me. Always support your local girl gang.
The undisputed highlight of part two is the sheer absurdity of the driller killer. He has an original song and dance number! HE HAS AN ORIGINAL SONG AND DANCE NUMBER. There’s really nothing else you need to know.
I think that Slumber Party Massacre II is going into my Top 5 list, but what will it replace? Stay tuned.
It’s true: I’ve been singing Su-Su-Spiria to the tune of Sussudio for the last few days. It’s so damn catchy, and a fun reminder of American Psycho. That’s never a bad thing.
But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. I am PUMPED to see the new Suspiria TONIGHT! Why do I feel like this movie has flown a little bit under the radar? Have promotional efforts been overshadowed by the new Halloween? Do not enough people love the original? Is it because it was released after October 31st? Whatever the reason, nothing has deterred my enthusiasm.
Like most people, I try to avoid hype. It ruined Shutter Island and The Strangers for me. Hype sucks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid the initial reactions to Suspiria from attendees of Fantastic Fest. EW called the audience reactions “orgasmic”. Will it actually be a decent remake? I’m cautiously optimistic and going into the film with an open mind and no expectations. I will update this post later tonight with my usual bite-sized review.
UPDATE 11/9/18: The Review:
I was ambitious in stating I would have a review of Suspiria posted on the same night I saw it. It is a HEAVY movie. It felt like eating a six course meal with wine pairings. Like a giant, ostentatious necklace worn over a dress made of drapery fabric. I needed time to digest it. My immediate reaction was that Tilda Swinton is outstanding (in both of her roles!) The set design and costumes are spectacular. As I was watching I felt immersed in the set, like I was in the dance academy building. Like the original, this version felt like watching a dream. Unlike the original, it is not vivid. At all. It’s bleak the whole way through. And girl, it’s pretentious. This movie screams that it went to NYU and had life changing experiences while studying abroad. That’s okay – I can overlook pretentiousness if there’s substance.
The dance sequences are dazzling, but I know jack shit about dance technique and they could very well suck to a trained eye. I have NO idea how the Holocaust or other references to political terrorism ties into this story, and the final scene still confuses me. Why does this Suspiria have to live in a world that’s bigger than it? I’m not sure, but it’s why the movie is 153 minutes long. The feminist in me loves that men exist in Suspiria exclusively to be fucked with. That’s awesome. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading. Now. If you have seen it, then I know you loved the cameo by Jessica Harper! That was a fun little surprise, and she was wonderful. I’m not exactly sure if I liked Suspiria or not, but I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s meaty, gaudy, beautiful, and douchey. I’ll be sitting with this one for a while, and may update this review periodically haha.
See Suspiria (1977) On the Big Screen With GOBLIN Perfoming Live Soundtrack!
If you live in Richmond, VA and you have never seen the original Suspiria, you have the perfect opportunity to see it on the big screen at the legendary Byrd Theater on December 7th. Need an incentive? Mother. Fucking. GOBLIN. will be at this screening PLAYING THE SOUNDTRACK TO THE MOVIE (Read: this is a big deal). Get your tickets HERE before they sell out.
If you’ve been following this year’s 31 Nights of Horror closely you may have rightly suspected that I watched the shit out of Joe Bob Brigg’s “The Last Drive In”. Pieces was shown during the event but I swear I watched it for the first time just a couple weeks before “The Last Drive In” aired, and was so excited when I got to watch it again. The movie is insane (random Kung fu?!) but the gore is great and the ending gives Sleepaway Camp a run for its money.
This year women all around the country decided that we’ve had it with predatory men remaining in power. Revenge is horror’s perfect complement to this movement and it feels ferocious, like a hot tin beer can cauterizing its logo onto wounded flesh. Resilience and anger go the distance in this brilliant film about a woman who, like many others this year, overcomes enormous obstacles to fight back.