Horror on TV: Baywatch Nights 2.22 “A Thousand Words”

For tonight’s journey into the world of televised horror, we present to you the last ever episode of Baywatch Nights.  In this episode, David Hasselhoff and Angie Harmon investigate a haunted restraunt.  Then Angie disappears and the Hoff has to rescue her!

And you know what?

If you’ll remember, the only reason I started posting these episodes of Baywatch Nights was because Hulu went back on their word as far as free episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were concerned.   If not for Jeff and his amazing memory, I wouldn’t have even know that Baywatch Nights had ever existed. But, even if Baywatch Nights was not exactly my first choice of shows to highlight this Halloween season, it’s really not that bad of a show.  From the episodes that I’ve seen, it definitely had a goofy charm and anything involving David Hasselhoff doing the full Hoff will always have some definite curiosity value.  Plus, I think he and Angie Harmon had a likable chemistry.

So, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that’s sad knowing that this was the last ever episode of Baywatch Nights.  As silly as the show may have been and despite the fact that the cameraman was always drunk, it was a fun show.  Who knows?  Maybe, someday in the future, I’ll do an in depth series of reviews on this series.

Hmmmm….maybe.  Actually, right now, I’m just looking forward to finishing up 2015.

But, anyway, here’s the final episode of Baywatch Nights!

The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: The House of the Devil (dir by Ti West)

When was the last time you actually saw a good movie on Chiller?  Seriously, it doesn’t happen that often and perhaps that’s why, when, a few years ago, I curled up on the couch and watched 2009′s The House of the Devil on Chiller, I wasn’t expecting much.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that The House of the Devil is actually one of the most effective low-budget horror films that I’ve seen in a while.

The plot of House of the Devil is pretty simple.  Samantha (a likable performance from Jocelin Donahue) is a college student who has just moved into her first apartment.  However, Samantha can’t really afford to pay the rent so she agrees to take a babysitting job for the mysterious Mr. Ullman (Tom Noonan, who is just so creepy in this film).  Ullman offers her one hundred dollars to come babysit for the night.  Samantha agrees and, with her skeptical friend Megan (Greta Gerwig, who is hilarious here), drives out to Ullman’s home.  It turns out that Ullman lives in an isolated house out in the country and that he actually doesn’t have any children.  Instead, he wants Samantha to babysit his aging mother while he goes into town so he can watch the lunar eclipse which just happens to be happening on that exact night!  Samantha is reluctant but agrees to stay when Ullman offers to pay her $400.00.

And can you guess where this story is headed?

This film isn’t titled House of the Devil for nothing.



As I said before, I wasn’t expecting much from The House Of The Devil.  I was honestly expecting it just to be a typical, low-budget Chiller horror film, good for nothing more then maybe a laugh or two and maybe a few memorably silly gore effects.  Having now seen the film, I’m very happy to say that I was incorrect.  The House of the Devil is a well-made, effectively creepy horror film and it’s one that other horror filmmakers could very much learn from.

Don’t get me wrong.  The plot of House of the Devil isn’t going to win any points for creativity.  Even if the film didn’t open with a wonderfully self-concious title card informing us that the movie is “based on a true story” of Satanic activity, it would be pretty easy to figure out that nothing good is going to happen once Samantha goes into the house.  But that actually works to the film’s advantage.  The House of the Devil feels like an old ghost story told at a sleepover.  You know where the story’s heading but you get scared nonetheless because, ultimately, it’s the type of story that plays on the fears that everyone has.

Also, in the style of the scary ghost story told by a storyteller with a flashlight pointed up at her chin, The House of the Devil understands that the best horrors are the ones produced by an overstimulated imagination.  With the exception of two or three scenes, this is not a gory film nor is it a film that sadistically lingers over scenes of torture and carnage.  Instead, director Ti West takes his time to set up both the story and the characters.  This is a film where the horror comes more from a carefully constructed atmopshere than any sort of easy shock effects.  As a result, this is a horror film that actually stays with you after you watch it.

The House of the Devil is a film that I’m very happy to recommend.

Horror Film Review: The Devil Inside (dir by William Brent Bell)


As a film reviewer, I usually try to introduce my readers to good films that they might otherwise miss.  However, sometimes, you see a film that’s so bad, bland, and/or boring that you simply have to speak up to prevent anyone else from wasting their time watching it.  And sometimes, you come across a film so bad that, even 3 years after it was first released, you still need to raise the alarm because this film represents everything that has recently cheapened horror as a genre.

The Devil Inside is one such film.

The Devil Inside is yet another horror film that’s disguised as a “found footage” documentary.  A camera crew follows Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) as she wanders around Rome and investigates the rite of exorcism.  It seems that Isabella’s mom, Maria, committed a triple homicide 20 years previously and Isabella thinks that Maria’s possessed by a demon.  Isabella recruits two priests to perform an exorcism on her mother and — well, the rest of the movie is pretty much a remake of every other horror film that’s been released over the past 20 years.  The only surprise comes at the end of the film when a title card appears, inviting the viewers to visit a web site about the Rossi murders so that they can learn more about the “ongoing investigation.”  If there was ever a point, during the film, when you actually believed that the story being told was true, that might be an effective ending.  However, since the whole films feels false, that title card just feels insulting.

The Devil Inside was one of the first movies to be released in 2012 and, 3 years later, it remains one of the worst ever made. The performances aren’t particularly memorable, the scares are nearly non-existent, and there’s not a thing to be seen in this film that one can’t see in a better horror film.  Whereas films like The Last Exorcism, Apollo 18, and the third Paranormal Activity film actually managed to find a new wrinkles to the whole “found footage” genre, The Devil Inside seems to be content to be mediocre, boring, and, worst of all, boring.  Perhaps that’s why when I think about The Devil Inside, my immediate response is, “No more!”

No more horror films disguised as documentaries.  No more artfully awkward scenes where characters say things like, “Is the camera on?” and “Are you getting this?”  Listen, aspiring horror filmmakers — the gimmick no longer works!  We know that you didn’t just happen to find this footage sitting in some warehouse somewhere.  Don’t end your film by telling us that we should visit some equally fake web site so that we can see more “proof” that what we’ve just seen is real.  Just stop it.  It was a good gimmick while it lasted but it’s no longer effective.  It’s time to discover some new tricks with which to fool your audience.

In short, it’s time for horror filmmakers to stop expecting us to be content with stuff like The Devil Inside.

Halloween Havoc!: THE MAD GHOUL (Universal 1943)

cracked rear viewer


I’m pressed for time, so no 1000 word essay tonight. Instead, let’s look at one of Universal’s lesser horror films, THE MAD GHOUL. The movie’s a “stand alone”, not connected to any of the studio’s monster series (Frankenstein, etc). I chose it because it stars one of horror’s unsung stars, George Zucco. The bug-eyed British character actor with the smooth delivery plied his trade in A list films (THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME) and Grade-Z clunkers (SCARED TO DEATH). He was the evil high priest Andoheb in three of Universal’s Mummy movies, Professor Moriarty in THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, and played a pivotal role in the monster fest HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Like his contemporary (and frequent costar) Bela Lugosi, Zucco wasn’t picky about where he worked, getting top billing in a string of PRC chillers. In THE MAD GHOUL, Zucco gives his best performance in a gruesome little tale about bringing “death to life”, graverobbery, and murder.


The plot concerns college instructor Dr. Morris (Zucco) recreating…

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4 Shots From 4 Jess Franco Films: Count Dracula, Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed in Ecstasy, Female Vampire

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Count Dracula (1970, directed by Jess Franco)

Count Dracula (1970, directed by Jess Franco)

Vampyros Lesbos (1971, directed by Jess Franco)

Vampyros Lesbos (1971, directed by Jess Franco)

She Killed in Ecstasy (1971, directed by Jess Franco)

She Killed in Ecstasy (1971, directed by Jess Franco)

Female Vampire (1973, dir by Jess Franco)

Female Vampire (1973, dir by Jess Franco)

Horror on the Lens: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (dir by Robert Wiene)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a film that I’ve shared twice previously on the Shattered Lens.  The first tim was in 2011 and then I shared it again last year.  Well, you know what?  I’m sharing it again because it’s a classic, it’s Halloween, and everyone should see it!

Released in 1920, the German film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is one of those films that we’ve all heard about but far too few of us have actually seen.  Like most silent films, it requires some patience and a willingess to adapt to the narrative convictions of an earlier time.  However, for those of us who love horror cinema, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remains required viewing.  Not only did it introduce the concept of the twist ending (M. Night Shyamalan owes his career to this film) but it also helped to introduce German expressionism to the cinematic world.

My initial reaction to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was that it simply wasn’t that scary.  It was certainly interesting to watch and I was happy that I was finally experiencing this film that I had previously only read about.  However, the film itself was obviously primitive and it was difficult for my mind (which takes CGI for granted) to adjust to watching a silent film.  I didn’t regret watching the film but I’d be lying (much like a first-year film student) if I said that I truly appreciated it after my first viewing.

But you know what?  Despite my dismissive initial reaction, the film stayed with me.  Whereas most modern films fade from the memory about 30 minutes after the end credits, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has stuck with me and the night after I watched it, I even had a nightmare in which Dr. Caligari was trying to break into my apartment.  Yes, Dr. Caligari looked a little bit silly staring through my bedroom window but it still caused me to wake up with my heart about to explode out of my chest.

In short, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari passes the most important test that a horror film can pass.  It sticks with you even after it’s over.

For the curious who have 50 minutes to spare and an open mind to watch with, here is Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari…