From The Humans and the Cats at the Shattered Lens, Congrats On Surviving The First Day of October!

As the day comes to an end, we hope that you have have enjoyed the first day of Horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens!  From all the humans and the cats here at the Shattered Lens Bunker, we wish you a happy October and, in just a few more weeks, a wonderful Halloween!

And remember — keep your pets inside (especially black kitties like me!) and treats aren’t just for humans!  Meh.

The Things You Find On Netflix: No One Gets Out Alive (dir by Santiago Menghini)

No One Gets Out Alive is a film set in the worst place on Earth.  I’m talking, of course, about Cleveland, Ohio.

Still haunted by the death of her mother, Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) has arrived in Cleveland and is looking for a fresh beginning.  She hasn’t gotten off to a great start as she’s stuck in a go-nowhere job at a sweatshop.  Fortunately, her cousin, Beto (David Barrera), is willing to help Ambar get a better paying job, even though he barely knows her.  Unfortunately, Ambar needs a legal ID to get that new job and, as an undocumented immigrant, she doesn’t have one.  A co-worker offers to hook her up with a fake ID but it’s going to cost far more money than Ambar has.

As serious as that is, Ambar has an even bigger problem to deal with.  She’s recently moved into an apartment.  It’s a big apartment in an old building and the only other tenants are two mysterious women from Romania.  However, her landlords — Red (Marc Menchaca) and his brother, Becker (David Figiloil) — both seem kind of weird.  As Red explains it, Becker is a “little off” but Becker has apparently taken care of Red for his entire life.  Personally, I wouldn’t ever rent an apartment from either Red or Becker as they both give off that “sneaking into your apartment and stealing your underwear” vibe but desperate times, I guess.

Even if one could overlook the creepiness of Red and Becker, there’s also the fact that the apartment itself is obviously haunted.  Ambar is constantly hearing strange noises and seemingly disembodied conversations.  She occasionally sees figures in the shadows.  When she takes a shower, a mysterious woman appears on the other side of the shower curtain but promptly vanishes as soon as the curtain is opened.  That’s pretty messed up.

But what can Ambar do?  She’s in the country illegally so she’s not going to risk calling the police.  Beto turns out to be pretty ineffectual.  (As a Texan, I appreciated the fact that the movie featured a well-intentioned but thoroughly useless character named Beto.)  Maybe in another city, she could find some place better to live but Ambar’s in Cleveland.  Haunted pervy death house is as good as anyone can hope for in Cleveland!  Ambar is trapped in a place where no one gets out alive.

No One Gets Out Alive is one of those horror films where no one ever seems to turn on the lights.  Every single scene in the film is dark and overcast.  When Ambar goes outside, the sky is always cloudy.  When Ambar returns to her apartment, the lighting is always dim.  It creates a properly ominous atmosphere but, at the same time, it also makes it difficult to actually see what’s happening in a few scenes.  After a while, the film’s washed-out color scheme and shadowy cinematography goes from being ominous to actually being kind of annoying.

But, if you can overlook or, at least, tolerate the film’s overly drab visual style, No One Gets Out Alive has its effective moments.  The apartment building is a nicely creepy location and, even if some of the scares are a bit generic, they still often work.  Cristina Rodlo is sympathetic in the role of Ambar and the character’s status as an undocumented immigrant adds an interesting subtext to her being at the mercy of the building’s inhabitants.  Without any legal status, there’s nothing she can do once it becomes apparent that Red and Becker have an agenda of their own.  Her pursuit of the American dream becomes a nightmare once she realizes that, living in Cleveland without any legal ID, she might as well not exist.

No One Gets Out Alive is one of those films that starts out a bit slow but it improves as it goes.  Though I wish someone had turned on the lights, it’s an effective horror film that you can find on Netflix.

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #215: Nobody Will Believe You (dir by Damian Romay)

Last night, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched Nobody Will Believe You (a.k.a. Pretty Little Victim).

Why Was I Watching It?

This was actually my second time to watch Nobody Will Believe You.  I also watched it back in July but, for whatever reason, I didn’t review it despite the fact that I enjoyed the film.  I guess I must have been busy or sick in July, who knows?  Anyway, when I saw that it was going to be airing on the Lifetime Movie Network on Thursday night, I decided to rewatch it so that I could finally get around to writing this review!

What Was It About?

Melanie (Jenna Rosenow) and her daughter, Hannah (Emily Topper), have moved to a new town and, for Hannah, that means starting at a new school!  From the very first day, it’s obvious that Hannah is going to struggle to fit in.  Hannah may be nice but her classmates definitely are not.  The cheerleaders are bitchy.  The jocks are toxic.  Her best friend is alienated.  There’s a mysterious man who occasionally shows up and menacingly waves around a taser.  The only good news is that the friendly guidance counselor (John William Wright) wants to hire her to teach his daughter how to play the piano!  What could possibly go wrong?

What Worked?

I enjoyed Nobody Will Believe You because it did what every good Lifetime film does.  It shamelessly and openly embraced the melodrama.  Seriously, every possible thing that could happen to Hannah did happen to Hannah.  No sooner was Hannah getting rejected by the cheerleaders then she was saving the most popular girl in school from a falling printer.  No sooner had Hannah’s phone been hacked than someone was trying to frame her for murder.  It was such a nonstop collection of incidents that it quickly became clear to me that the film was self-aware when it came to its status as a Lifetime film.  It understood why the audience was watching and it was determined to give us exactly what we wanted.  At its best, the film worked as both a tribute to and a parody of the typical Lifetime movie.

What Did Not Work?

Obviously, for the film’s plot to work, Hannah had to be extremely naïve and trusting.  And, let’s be honest, it is true that some people are easily tricked.  Not everyone has the streetwise instincts of a suburbanite who has watched several hundred Lifetime films.  However, even with that in mind, it was sometimes hard to accept that Hannah could be as totally naïve as she often was.  Watching the movie, you sometimes got the feeling that, even if Hannah survived, she was destined to grow up to be one of those people who ends up sending their life savings to Aruba because someone contacted them on Facebook, claiming to be Garrett Hedlund.

“Oh my God!” Just Like Me Moments

When I was growing up, my family used to move a lot so I definitely could relate to Hannah’s nervousness about having to start all over again at an entirely new school.  And, when I was in high school, I got along famously with our guidance counselor.  If I hadn’t broken my ankle, maybe he would have asked me to teach his daughter to dance.  Of course, if Lifetime films have taught me anything, it’s that being hired to teach anyone anything is automatically going to lead to tragedy.

And of course, that brings us to….

Lessons Learned

Don’t teach.  Don’t offer to help anyone.  Reject any and all offers of mentorship.  It’s just going to lead to trouble.

AMV Of the Day: Tag, You’re It (Corpse Party)

It’s been a few months since we’ve done an AMV of the Day. With only a few hours left to go in the first day of our annual Horrorthon, now feels like a good time to restart the tradition!

Anime: Corpse Party

Song: Tag, You’re It (Melanie Martinez)

CreatorKokoro Nice

(As always, please consider subscribing to this creator’s YouTube channel!)

Past AMVs of the Day

Horror on TV: Friday the 13th: The Series 1.1 “The Inheritance” (dir by William Fruet)

During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.

However, there is some good news!  Twilight Zone may be gone but there are other horror shows on YouTube!  For instance, I’ve discovered that every episode of Friday the 13th: The Series is available.  Though I had never seen an episode of this show before coming across it on YouTube, I had read about it in Crystal Lake Memories, an excellent oral history about the Friday the 13th franchise, and it just seems like the right show for October!

Friday the 13th: The Series was a syndicated horror show that ran from 1987 to 1990.  It followed the adventures of two cousins who inherited an antique shop.  Their uncle, it turned out, was in league with the devil and he used the shop to sell cursed antiques.  So, the cousins and a mysterious friend of their late uncle worked together to try to track those antiques down.  Personally, I love antique shopping and Erin and I inherited about half of our mother’s doll collection.  We’ve got over a 1,000 antique dolls here in the house.  Some of them may be cursed, who knows?

This show was filmed in Canada and produced by Frank Mancuso.  Mancuso also produced the original Friday the 13th films, starting with the second one.  Beyond the title, though, the show didn’t have much to do with the films.  John D. LeMay, who played one of the cousins, did go on to star in Jason Goes to Hell but that was actually the first Friday the 13th film (other than the first installment) to not be produced by Mancuso so that may have just been a coincidence.

Here’s the first episode of Friday the 13th: The Series, which aired on October 3rd, 1987.  The episode was directed by exploitation vet William Fruet and stars Sarah Polley, in one of her first roles, as a child who uses a doll to kill people.  Fortunately, I’ve been around dolls my entire life so I don’t have a fear of them.  As for the rest of you …. enjoy Friday the 13th!



Great Moments In Comic Book History: Zombie!

Back in 1954, Marvel Comics was known as Atlas and, like most publishing companies, it was putting out its share of horror-themed comics.  In those days, before Fredric Wertham declared that comic books were destroying America’s youth and the industry sought to protect itself by creating the Comics Code Authority, comic books were full of stories about monsters, killers, and macabre revenge.

Published by Atlas, Menace was one of many horror comics to populate the nation’s newsstands in the 50s.  It was an anthology series and today, it’s best remembered for featuring work from Golden Age artists like Bill Everett and George Tuska.  The credited writer for the first eight issues was a young Stan Lee, decades away from becoming the public face of Marvel Comics.

Menace only ran for 11 issues but during that time, it introduced one character who would later make a comeback and become a part of the Marvel universe.  That character was The Zombie!

Zombie was introduced in the top story of Menace #5 (July 1953).  At the time, he had no name and was given no past, beyond having a daughter.  Living in the swamps of Louisiana, he is controlled by a madman who orders the Zombie to mug someone in New Orleas.  The Zombie goes down to the French Quarter (where, humorously, no one notices anything strange about him) but his attempt at mugging is thwarted by a policeman.  The Zombie returns home, where his angry master orders the Zombie to attack the young woman that the master is in love with.  His master wants to rescue the young woman and win her love.  However, the woman reminds the Zombie of his daughter so the Zombie strangles his master instead!

It was a typical horror comic stuff, not quite as graphic as what EC was producing but still more macabre than what Marvel would later be known for.  Though Menace only lasted for 6 more issues and the Comics Code would temporarily put an end to the horror comics boom, the Zombie would eventually return, with a slight makeover.

In the 1970s, when the Comics Code Authority finally started to loosen up, Marvel returned to publishing horror with vengeance.  Along with comic books featuring Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Werewolf By Night, Marvel also published black-and-white horror magazines, which were not regulated by the Comics Code and could therefore include graphic violence, tame profanity, and cleavage, lots and lots of cleavage.  Among those magazines was Tales of the Zombie.

The Zombie returned, now with longer hair and a backstory that established that he was once a millionaire named Simon Garth until his former gardener (his master from the original story) put him under a voodoo curse.  The first issue of Tales of the Zombie featured an extended retelling of the first Zombie story.  The subsequent issues followed the undead Simon as he haunted the bayous of Louisiana and fought other supernatural creatures.  It turned out that there wasn’t really much that could be done with a mindless zombie and Tales of the Zombie only ran for 10 issues, one less than Menace.  In 1975, Tales of the Zombie ended with Simon Garth finally reaching his final resting place and dying a second time.

But you know Marvel!  No one, not even a zombie, dies forever.  Simon Garth has since been resurrected, though he’s only been used sparingly.  There’s not much that can be done with him but his first appearance in Menace remains popular and has since been included in many horror comic anthologies.

You can’t keep a good zombie down.

Menace (Vol.1 #5, July 1953)


  • Writer — Stan Lee
  • Artist — Bill Everett
  • Inker– Bill Everett
  • Letterer — Bill Everett

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Sharktopus (dir by Declan O’Brien)

Half Shark….

Half Octopus….

All Man!

No, wait a minute.  That’s not right.  Let’s try that again.

Half Shark….

Half Octopus….

All Killer!

There, that’s it!  That’s our Sharktopus!

Produced by the legendary Roger Corman, Sharktopus originally aired on the SyFy channel in 2010.  It tells the story of S-11, a creature that is half-shark and half-octopus.  How exactly did S-11 come to exist?  Well, blame the government!  The government wanted a new weapon and apparently, it didn’t bother them that the weapon would have no practical use beyond going rogue and killing civilians.  Dr. Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts, the one and only) created the sharktopus with the help of his daughter, Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane).  When S-11 swims off on its own and starts eating human beachgoers, Nicole teams up with mercenary Andy Flynn (Kerem Bursin).  Nicole and Andy think that they’ve been sent to destroy S-11 but it turns out that Nathan has other plans.

Let’s just state the obvious.  This is the greatest film ever made.  Okay, well …. maybe it’s not the greatest.  Some people would probably say that it’s not even that good but I think they’re overthinking things.  What it comes down to is that there really aren’t as many films out there about shark/octopus hybrids as you might think.  When it comes to this very specific genre of horror films, Sharktopus is the best.

This is a film that understands why the audience is watching.  We’re watching because we want to see Sharktopus action!  So, while the film does contain its fair share of scenes of Nicole and Andy searching the ocean, the majority of the film is still made up of Sharktopus attacks.  You don’t really get to know any of the victims, though I did feel bad for the gentleman who shouted, “Oh no!  Not like this!” as he was pulled down to the ocean by S-11’s tentacles, but that’s okay.  It’s all about the Sharktopus, a creature that is so ludicrous that it’s impossible not to like it.

Another thing that’s impossible not to like is the fact that Eric Roberts is in this film.  The last time I checked, Roberts had a total of 641 acting credits listed on the imdb.  He’s appeared in every type of films — from Oscar-nominated prestige films to low-budget faith-based films to Lifetime films to …. well, films like Sharktopus.  But regardless of the film, Roberts always seems to be trying his best or, at the very least, he comes across like he’s genuinely amused by the absurdity of it all.  Roberts has a lot of fun in Sharktopus, playing his mad scientist character with a twinkle in his eye and a barely suppressed evil smile.  Dr. Sands takes genuine pride in his creation and it’s kind of hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm.

Sharktopus is a fun movie.  It’s a low-budget and deeply silly epic and it you can’t enjoy the sight of shark/octopus hybrid creeping across the beach than I don’t know what to tell you.  In fact, Sharktopus was popular enough with SyFy audiences that it would return for a whole series of films in which it battled hybrid monsters.  Go Sharktopus!

On a final note, keep an eye out for Roger Corman while watching this film.  He plays a man on the beach who watches as a treasure seeker is dragged off to the ocean.  When he realizes that she dropped a valuable coin while being taken away, Corman walks out on the beach and grabs it for himself.  Hopefully, he sold that coin and used the money to go on a nice vacation.  If anyone’s earned it, it’s Roger Corman!


Psycho Cop (1989, directed by Wallace Potts)

When six interchangeable college students spend the weekend at an abandoned mansion, strange things start to happen. First, the caretaker disappears. Then, the students start to disappear, one-by-one. “We should call the police!” Sarah (Linda West) says, once it becomes apparent that more than half of the cast has vanished without a trace.

However, there’s already a cop on the scene.

Unfortunately, that cop is Joe Vickers (Robert R. Shafer), an escapee from the local mental institution who subsequently became a member of the California Highway Patrol. He drives a squad car and sometimes a motorcycle. He wears a uniform. He carries handcuffs and he uses cop lingo. He’s a CHiP with an attitude and no one would ever mistake him for Ponch or Jon Baker. He’s also a Satanist, who likes to draw pentagrams in the dirt and kill anyone who comes across his path. We may see six interchangeable college students but Joe Vickers sees six blood sacrifices and, while the students search for each other, Vickers hunts them down.

Psycho Cop was one of the many, low-budget slashers to come out in the 80s. It attempts to mix the wilderness mayhem of Friday the 13th with the quippy villainy of A Nightmare on Elm Street but the movie never comes anywhere close to being as memorable as either one of those films. The main problem is that Joe Vickers is not a very interesting killer. His one-liners are forgettable and, in this film at least, Robert R. Shafer is one of the least intimidating killers in the history of the genre. He has the right build to be menacing but, whenever he speaks, his weak voice ruins whatever element of danger may have been present. Even his attempt at an evil smile comes across as being more goofy than creepy. As opposed to the Maniac Cop films, Psycho Cop also doesn’t do much with the idea of Vickers being a cop. It’s just a uniform that he happens to be wearing, much like the masks worn by Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. A film like this is only as strong as its villain and Vickers, to put it gently, is not Freddy Krueger.

Psycho Cop was followed by a sequel called Psycho Cop Returns, which not only made Vickers being a cop a key part of the film’s plot but which also featured Shafer returning in the lead role and giving a much stronger performance. (It helps that Vickers doesn’t speak much in Psycho Cop Returns.) Because the sequel had all of the nudity and the blood that was missing from the tame first film, it was frequently aired on Cinemax and Showtime in the 90s, developed a cult following, and was released on DVD and blu-ray by Vinegar Sydrome in 2017. The first film, on the other hand, has never been released on anything other than VHS and it’s so obscure that several reviewers assumed that the title of Psycho Cop Returns was meant as a joke, a play on how every slasher film released in the early 90s was a sequel.

No, it’s no joke. Psycho Cop does exist. It’s just not every good. If you’re dying to see a killer cop film, Maniac Cop is still the one to go with.

Game Review: Zox The Zombie: Neighborhood Mayhem (2021, Joanne Sylver)

Oh no! Zox has turned into a zombie and he’s already on the run! Can you stop him before he turns his family and then the entire neighborhood into zombies?

That’s the challenge behind this simple but entertaining text adventure. You chase Zox around his house and the neighborhood and, along the way, you run into the people who Zox has already turned into a zombie and you react accordingly. (For instance, you can shake your finger at Zox’s little brother because he was a brat who got what was coming to him.) You can also grab items that you can later use to fight the zombies.

This is a horror game, solely because it involved zombies. Otherwise, there’s not really anything scary about it but it’s not supposed to scary. Instead, it’s a clever throw-back to the type of crude but addictive text adventures that people played on some of the first computers. Trust me, back in the early 90s, something like Zox the Zombie would have been considered the height of computerized adventure! Zox the Zombie definitely has a strong nostalgic appeal to it, with everything from the simple zombie drawings to the enthusiastic text descriptions bringing a nice retro feel to the game.

Zox the Zombie was programmed with Twine and it can be played online.

Horror Scenes That I Love: “Oh No! Not Like This!” from Sharktopus

Today’s horror scene that I love (and the inaugural entry in this year’s collection of Horrothon scenes) comes from the 2010 film, Sharktopus!  And here it is:

A lot of people have made fun of this scene over the years but put yourself in the shoes of this unfortunate painter.  Here you are.  You’re just doing your job.  You’re painting the side of a boat.  It’s not glamorous work.  It probably doesn’t pay very well.  But you’re doing your best and you’re collecting a paycheck and you’re taking care of your family.  It hasn’t always been easy.  When you first got out of prison, you never thought you’d be able to find a job.  Everyone wanted to do a background check.  Your parole officer kept busting your ass.  You were tempted to go back into a life of crime.  You kept thinking about the old crew and wondering if they were still hanging out on the street corners, murking and doing time.  But then the boat painting people said, “We know you’ve had some problems.  But you’re damn good with a paint brush.”

And then suddenly, this happens.  You wanted to die surrounded by your family.  You want your last words to be, “I did okay, didn’t I?”  Instead, you’re getting grabbed by an shark/octopus hybrid.  Who wants to die that way?  “Oh no!  Not like this!” is one of the most honest lines in the history of horror cinema.  It perfectly captures the existential dread that one undoubtedly feels while being pulled into the ocean by a sharktopus.

Bravo, Sharktopus.  Bravo.