Creepshow, S1, Ep3, All Hallow’s Eve, The Man in the Suitcase, Review By Case Wright


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Happy Horrorthon! I’m am once again reviewing Creepshow.  It is officially a true Guilty Pleasure, but come on, aren’t those all of our go to pleasures anyway? To the uninitiated, Creepshow is a GOOD horror anthology series, but really it’s a showcase for short-films.  How? It’s broken down into two stories and neither of them are over 23 minutes.  Aside from giving writers like Christopher Buehlman his big break (before this he’d only written skits for Renaissance Faires….really), they are the short short brought to life.

Many of Stephen King’s short stories are made into movies, but they are always lengthened into something (usually better) than their original quick-paced short story.  Creepshow keeps that fast pace…mostly.  Well, they keep it for the second story.  The second story is always the better story and moves at the quick pace that you’d expect in a short story.  Even at 22 minutes, the first story tends to drag.

All Hallow’s Eve follows 5 youths trick or treating in a terrified neighborhood.  It was obvious to anyone with a pulse that these kids were dead and out to cause trouble.  Turns out that during a vigorous D&D session in their treehouse, some bullies from the neighborhood thought it would be funny to set it on fire, with the D&D nerds in it.  As you do.  Well, their door gets stuck and they all die.  So, they haunt the neighborhood setting fire to one bully each Halloween until they are all briquettes.

The acting in story A is ….ok.  Story A is a bit slow-paced, which is really hard to do in 20 minutes, but here we are.  I still watched it and so should you.  It’s not like 2 Sentence Horror we are talking about, which is garbage wrapped in rotten bacon.

Story 2 was The Man in the Suitcase, which could’ve worked as a twilight zone episode.  Justin is a loser stoner who is dumped by his girlfriend and used by his roommate.  He is arriving home after visiting his family and he gets a carry-on from the airport and it’s not his stuff that’s inside; it’s a Middle-Eastern man bent so he can fit into the carry-on.  It turns out the Man wants to leave the suitcase, but every time Justin tries to move him, it causes the Man pain, which in turn causes the Man to spit out a gold coin.

Well, Justin isn’t sure what to do, but Justin’s roommate and his ex-girlfriend do and they all decide to torture the man in the suitcase so that he’ll spit out loads of gold.  The torture gets pretty gross, but Justin eventually has a change of heart and tries to free the Man, but his girlfriend and roommate want to keep the gold so she tries to kill Justin with a wrench, which is just lying about.  I won’t spoil what happens next because this was a lot of fun and really makes Shutter worth my subscription fee.

This story really had some good pacing.  Yes, it was predictable and very over the top, but that is just the Creepshow way.

Again, relax and enjoy!

 

Horror on TV: One Step Beyond 1.2 “Night of April 14th” (dir by John Newland)


For today’s televised horror, we have an episode of the 1960s anthology series, One Step BeyondOne Step Beyond was like (and aired at the same time as) The Twilight Zone, except that it often claimed that it’s stories were all based on fact.

In this episode, a young Englishwoman is haunted by dreams of drowning.  Try as she might, she can’t get the feeling of doom out of her mind.  Perhaps her upcoming trip to New York will help to relax her.  Her fiancee even tells her that they’ll be traveling to New York on the most luxurious ship ever built.  The name of that ship?  Why, the Titanic, of course.

For the record, there actually were quite a few people who apparently did have psychic premonitions of doom when it came to the Titanic.  Perhaps the most infamous example was the author Morgan Robertson, who wrote a novel in 1898 that was called The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility.  That book managed to perfectly predict that sinking of the Titanic, right down to the iceberg and the number of lives lost.

This episode originally aired on January 27th, 1959.

Enjoy!

Home Invasion: Twice Dead (1988, directed by Bert Dragin)


Twice Dead is twice dumb but also twice the fun.

The fine and upstanding Cates family have recently inherited a mansion and are eager to move in.  The only problem is that the mansion is already inhabited!  Not only has a gang of street punks declared that the mansion belongs to them but the house is also home to the ghost of Tyler Walker (Jonathan Chapin).  A great actor, Tyler committed suicide after being swindled out of his possessions by the love of his life, Myrna.  After the Cates family plays an elaborate practical joke on the street gang (and the joke simply has to be seen to believed), the gang declares that they will take revenge.  Because the Cates’s daughter, Robin (Jill Whitlow), is dead ringer for Myrna, Tyler’s ghost decides to help take out the street punks.  Death by shotgun, dirt bike, and dumb waiter follows.

The two Cates children are played by Jill Whitlow and Tom Bresnahan.  Whitlow and Bresnahan ended up dating after they finished shooting the film and their obvious chemistry brings an apparently unintended subtext to all of their sibling interactions in Twice Dead.  Jill Whitlow also appeared in Night of the Creeps and, with her ability to be both sexy and wholesome at the same time, was one of the first crushes of many an 80s and 90s child.

A mix between The Amityville Horror and Death Wish 3, Twice Dead was one of the many horror films to come out of Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures in the 80s.  It’s dumb but it has both Jill Whitlow and enough of a sense of humor to be entertaining.  The street punks, who all have names like Crip, Silk, Stony, and Candy, are all annoying so you don’t mind seeing them get killed in various ways.  Todd Bridges proves that the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum by playing a Petie, a friendly guy who likes to hang out at the library, while the amazing Charlie Spradling, who appeared in several films like this back in the day, plays a member of the gang.  Sadly, neither one of them comes to a good end.

 

 

Game Review: 1181 (2016, Grim and notgojira)


1181 is one of the best horror Interactive Fiction games out there right now.

It starts out simply.  You are a volunteer at a SETI lab, working the night shift.  It can be monotonous work.  Some of your colleagues seem to be struggling to adjust to the sterile nature of the place.  Not even you are sure what is really going on at the lab.  One night, something strange happens.  The lights go out.  A voice announces that you are on lock down.  And something is coming up the stairs and heading straight for you.

The is a well-written and well-programmed Twine game that makes good use of visuals.  Like most Twine games, it does run the risk of getting repetitive.  Be careful about accidentally clicking the same word that you clicked before unless you really want to go through the same descriptive passage two times in a row.  When played straight through, it’s a challenging and thought-provoking work of interactive fiction.  It comes with multiple endings, some of which are good and some of which are definitely not.

It can be played by clicking here.

 

Horror Scenes That I Love: The Gas Station Attack From The Birds


This scene, of course, is from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 revenge of nature film, The Birds.

Seriously, what type of idiot smokes a cigar near a gas station?  It kind of makes you think that maybe the birds had a point.

 

What Lisa Watched Last Night #200: The College Admissions Scandal (dir by Adam Salky)


Last night, like all good Americans, I watched The College Admissions Scandal on Lifetime!

Why Was I Watching It?

How could I not watch it!?

Seriously, Lifetime has been advertising the Hell out of this thing for the past few months.  I haven’t been able to turn on the channel without seeing a few hundred commercials for The College Admissions Scandal.

Add to that, I have to admit that this is the rare national scandal that I’ve actually been following.  When the news first broke that certain rich people had cheated and broken the rules to get their child into a good college, my initial reaction was, “Well, isn’t that what a parent’s supposed to do?”  Of course, I made the mistake of saying that on twitter and I immediately ended up with a bunch of finger-wagging nags screaming at me about how it wasn’t something to make a joke about and how it wasn’t fair and blah blah blah.  They sure told me!  Of course, it didn’t really change my mind or anything but at least everyone else got to feel like they had stuck up for truth and justice.  That said, I think my point remains valid.  Don’t get mad at the parents for taking advantage of the system.  They’re just trying to look after their kids.  Instead, get mad at the colleges that were willing to be bribed.  Get mad at a system that’s been specifically set up to be corrupted.  The solution is reform, not necessarily imprisonment.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I kinda love the fact that, while Felicity Huffman basically begged everyone to forgive her, Lori Loughlin pretty much said, “Fuck you, I’m not apologizing for anything.” That’s the spirit!

What Was It About?

Penelope Ann Miller plays a character who is definitely not Felicity Huffman, just as Mia Kirshner is playing someone who is definitely not Lori Loughlin.  That said, like Miller and Loughlin, they’re two wealthy mothers who are concerned about getting their children into the right school.  Fortunately, Rick Singer (Michael Shanks) is willing to sell his services as an admissions consultant.  Pay him enough money and he’ll fix your child’s grades, improve their test scores, and even make them look like athletes!

It sounds like a great plan!  Of course, it’s also illegal and, even as the parents are looking forward to sending their kids to Stanford and Harvard, the FBI is looking forward to sending the parents to prison!

What Worked?

Miller and Kirshner were both well-cast and Kirshner was especially good as the mother who definitely was not Lori Loughlin.  Michael Shanks was also wonderfully repellent in the role of Rick Singer.

It was fascinating to watch the lengths that Singer and the families went to remaking their children.  My main memory of this film will probably always be Sarah Dugdale standing in front of a blue screen and kicking a soccer ball so that she can later be photoshopped into a picture of an actual soccer game.

What Did Not Work?

Where were the real people!?  Yes, Rick Singer is a real person but why were all the parents fictional?  I assume for legal reasons.  For instance, Lori Loughlin has yet to be convicted of anything and I imagine that Lifetime didn’t want to get on the bad side of either Felicity Huffman or William H. Macy by portraying them in the movie.  But seriously, it was hard not to be disappointed by the lack of real world gossip.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Hmmmm …. I got into college legally but then again, I also didn’t go to an Ivy League school, nor did I ever particularly want to.  To be honest, it didn’t really occur to me that college was actually that important until my senior year.  That’s when I was like, “Oh, I’m actually supposed to do something with this art history degree….”

Lessons Learned

If you want to send your child to a good college, get them interested in soccer early.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Army Darkness, Candyman, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dust Devil


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 lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1992 Horror Films

Army of Darkness (1992, dir by Sam Raimi)

Candyman (1992, dir by Bernard Rose)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, dir by Francis Ford Coppola)

Dust Devil (1992, dir by Richard Stanley)