Ghosts of War


(Dir Eric Bress)

Review by Case Wright

What makes you you? Better yet, what’s the meaning of life? Lucky for you, I know the answer to both of these questions. You are your experiences. That’s it. The meaning of life is choice. You are a sum of your experiences and choices. Life is a series of choices from the lowliest earth worm going into soil or the sun to a person deciding to risk their life to save themselves or their own skin. Sorry, the meaning of life isn’t more exciting, but that’s it just the same. Choice after choice after choice is what life is and what makes you you are the results of those choices. You may now go about your business.

Ghosts of War was written and directed by Eric Bress for Netflix. I am very grateful to Eric Bress because without him we wouldn’t have Final Destination 2 or The Final Destination and that is a sad life indeed. FD2 is Super Awesome: there’s people sliced in half and trees that take your head off and death itself is really into Rube Goldberg machinations of killing you. Death is kinda bored and goes a little nutty.

Ghosts of War was a lot of fun. The ending was hard to watch, but not because it was poorly done; it was just pretty realistic. Also, GOW has Billy Zane that alone should make you watch it. I also liked that the film had both Brenton Thwaites and Alan Ritchson of Titans (See it on HBO Max), which is Breaking Bad levels of awesome! Yeah, I said it.

GOW centers around a WWII era platoon assigned to protect a house in France. When they arrive, they realize that the house quite haunted. Bress solves the why not leave the haunted house question by putting them into a loop, wherein, no matter where they travel, they are back at the haunted house.

There are some good scares and not just jump scares. It has the gross stuff that you loved in Final Destination 2, which must be a Bress signature. There’s at least three people who are immolated in this movie. If you miss the gore of Supernatural, this movie is for you!

Brenton and Alan both have some real stand out performances and make me want to re-watch Titans again because of it. Brenton and Alan play frustration, fear, and rage better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

On a personal level, I’m always watching how well people play Soldiers. This movie is VERY realistic. The characters talk like us, think like us, handle stress like us, and move like we really do. I could understand why and what they were doing at all times. It was amazingly accurate. I was very impressed and would recommend the movie just for its realistic portrayal of Soldiers. This movie accurately showed how Soldiers would react to a supernatural enemy. This doesn’t just happen. It was clear to me that the actors and director took care to do this correctly. It is appreciated.

The ending was a good twist and there were clever subtle clues along the way to lead you to solving the mystery. I would highly recommend this movie and hope to see Brenton and Alan work with this director again.

Prince of Darkness, Review by Case Wright


Speilberg had 1941, Lucas had Howard the Duck, and John Carpenter had Prince of Darkness. I’m not going to spend a whole review impugning the Master of Horror, BUT….this was really really really bad. When I was young, several months ago Pre-COVID (more on my COVID experience tomorrow- you’ll love it: there’s sweat, fever, explosive things, and I couldn’t smell any of it!) , I reviewed the Dracula mini-series and now Prince of Darkness (John Carpenter). You’re going to start thinking that I have a vampire fetish, but don’t worry Prince of Darkness not only does not have a Dracula figure; it’s unclear if it has much of anything going on at all. Imagine watching a movie called A Man Named John and John appeared briefly at the very end of the movie with no lines. You’d think that was really weird because you are a smart and discerning film consumer.

It starts out in Los Angeles in the 1980s, which looks like the LA of today, but it had MUCH less poop everywhere than today. Ahhh, progress. After the first 10 minutes of the film, I can tell you that: the Prince of Darkness is infact and evil alien who lives inside of a swirling Vitamix that looks alot the green juice they try sell me at the gym

– This is what the POD looked like for most of the film :

I always knew that the green juice smoothie was pure evil!!!

Jesus was also an alien and trapped the POD in the Vitamix above; furthermore, the Church was aware of it and kept it quiet in LA because they were Angels fans, a professor of physics at the local community college forced his physicist students to become Ghost Facers in exchange for a higher grade, and homeless people are murderers now.  I know these things because I got an expositioning that I shall never ever forget.  The students go to see the Eeeeeeevil Vitamix and get sprayed with evil juice and become really lazy zombies. This goes on for a LONG LONG time.  You’d think they’d just use tomato juice to get out the evil or some Shout, but maybe Shout wasn’t invented yet?

One of the physicists becomes possessed with POD and tries to reach into a mirror to release her more evil dad. Ok, why not? It’s a family affair, it’s a family affaaaaiiiirr.  Just as the evil is about to enter our world one of the physicists pushes the POD into the other dimension through the mirror taking her along with it. This was really dumb. Why not just shove the POD? She didn’t look very big. You’re also physicist; you could’ve made a lever or something. LAZY PHYSICIST!!! You never really got to know the POD or the physicists for that matter. It was like John Carpenter was willed an abandoned building and just wrote a script around that location because why waste a perfectly good abandoned building?! 

The biggest puzzle of all was why the main physicist quasi-hero couldn’t get his mustache to line up properly?  It’s like the left side of his mustache was trying to escape his face and was willing to leave the right side of the mustache behind- such a cowardly left-side mustache! 

 

Hmmm, I wonder if anyone will notice that I trim my mustache while tilting my head?

Thank you all! You get to learn about COVID tomorrow; it’s pretty pretty…. pretty… gross.

Another Halloween Has Come and Gone…


Another Halloween has come and gone and with it, another Horrorthon.  Thank you to everyone who read and commented this month!  We hope you have had a wonderful October and that you’re November brings you much to be thankful for!

And remember, just because you didn’t see the Great Pumpkin this year, doesn’t mean that he won’t be there for you next October.  I think Linus can explain it best:

To all of our readers and from all of your friends at the Shattered Lens, thank you.

And to ABC: BRING BACK IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN!  It’s an American tradition!

Horror on TV: FreakyLinks 1.13 “The Final Word” (dir by David Straiton)


Well, Halloween is nearly over and so is Horrorthon.  Here’s is our final episode of televised horror for 2020.  It’s also the final episode of FreakyLinks!

In this episode, Ethan Embry and the team try to prove that a murder was actually a supernatural occurrence.  Their efforts are recorded for a true crime television show.  The mockumentary approach is reminiscent of The Blair With Project, which was done by the same people who were behind FreakyLinks.  So, there you go!

It’s too bad that there was never a Baywatch Nights/FreakyLinks cross-over.

Oh well.  This episode aired on June 22nd, 2001 and it brought to an end the story of Derek Barnes.  Enjoy the show, everyone!  Happy Halloween!

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Victor Crowley (dir by Adam Green)


“Hey, did I mention that I recently watched Victor Crowley as a part of the Last Drive-In on Shudder?”

“Who’s Victor Crowley?”

“It’s a movie! About a killer named …. well, Victor Crowley. He’s played by Kane Hodder and he kills people in the swamp in various gruesome ways.”

“Oh, is that the guy from the Hatchet films?”

“Yes, the same.”

“And aren’t those the slasher films that are really bad but you’re not supposed to care because they wink at the audience and acknowledge that the suck?”

“Yep, exactly. Victor Crowley is the latest installment in the Hatchet series. It came out in 2017. An airplane crashes in a swamp. All of the passengers are in some way connected to the previous Hatchet films. Victor kills them all one-by-one.”

“Was it any good?”

“I personally didn’t care much for it.”

“What as wrong with it?”

“It took forever for the action to actually get going and the humor often felt forced, even by the standards of the Hatchet films. Some of the deaths were creative but since the characters were all pretty much just cardboard figures, it was hard to really care about it. Kane Hodder was an imposing killer, though. He’s definitely the best thing about the film.”

“I like Kane Hodder.”

“Me too. It’s funny. He’s always killing people but he seems like such a nice guy in real life. To be honet, the best thing about watching Victor Crowley on The Last Drive-In was that Joe Bob Briggs would interrupt every few minutes and share his thoughts on the film. Joe Bob, I should mention, liked the film far more than I did.”

“So, do you or do you not recommend Victor Crowley?”

“Well, it’s funny. I didn’t like it but I can understand why some people do like it. Because it’s over-the-top and intentionally silly and it doesn’t make any apologies for being what it is. It’s kind of like the slasher version of a good Lifetime film. So, I can’t really sit here and totally trash the film. It wasn’t for me but if you’re a fan of the Hatchet movies, it’ll give you exactly what you’re expecting — i.e., blood, humor, and Kane Hodder ripping off Felissa Rose’s arm.”

“So, you’re recommending the film?”

“To fans of the Hatchet series, yes.”

“I hope they enjoy it.”

“Me too. Isn’t that what life’s all about?”

War of the Worlds (1953, directed by Byron Haskin)


Earlier today, when I saw that Lisa had posted a video of the infamous 1938 radio version of The War of the Worlds, it brought back memories of how much the first film version of War of the Worlds freaked me out.

I can’t remember how old I was when I first saw the 1953 version of War of the Worlds.  I think I must have been 10 or maybe 11.  I could have even been 9, I’m not sure.  I came across the original War of the Worlds at Blockbuster and begged my Dad to rent it for me because, back then, I was into anything that looked like it involved an alien invasion.  I watched it that night and I have no shame in admitting that it totally freaked me out.

I knew that the aliens were the bad guys but nothing prepared me for the scene where the three men approached the alien ship while waving a white flag and shouting that they came in peace.  The Martians took one look at them and…

And then there was the scene where the priest approached the aliens while reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  The Martians took one look at him and…

Today, everyone makes jokes about the scene where the military tries to nuke the aliens and then casually brushes the nuclear fallout off of their jackets.  Yes, that’s definitely not something that you want to try in real life but, when I first saw the movie, the only thing registered with me was that they dropped the greatest weapon known to man on the aliens and…

IT DIDN’T WORK!

When the Martians attacked all of the great cities of the world, they destroyed every famous landmark that they saw and they set the template for every Roland Emmerich film that would follow.  But for me, all that mattered was that they destroyed London, the city that I was looking forward to visiting in the summer.

Another scene that people tend to poke fun at is everyone gathering in the church and praying.  H.G. Wells was a noted skeptic when it came to religion so he probably would not have cared for that scene.  But when I first watched the movie, that didn’t matter.  What mattered was that the world was on fire and the only thing that could stop the aliens were germs.  Mankind’s weapons were useless.  We were doomed.  In the end, only nature could save the world.

I’ve rewatched War of the Worlds several times since then and it holds up well.  It may no longer freak me out but it still gets to me every time.  It’s still one of the best alien invasion films ever made and it still gets to me whenever I hear, “Everyone knows what a white flag means!”  No, they don’t.

Actually, I might have to watch it again, tonight.

Happy Halloween, readers!

Welcome To Silent Hill


Instead of reviewing an IF game today, I decided to instead share what I consider to be one of the greatest video game opening scenes of all time.

I know people who still play Silent Hill just for the opening alone.  Though it may look primitive compared to what we’re used to today, this game really blew everyone’s mind when it first came out in 1999.  This is the game that showed a generation just how good a game could be.  The opening not only set the mood but also let us know that there was more to Silent Hill than just walking down streets and shooting monsters.  This was a game that told a comple story.  That’s something that we take for granted now but, at the time, Silent Hill was revolutionary.

The score was composed by Akira Yamaoka.  He was influenced by Angelo Badalamenti’s work for David Lynch.

Happy Halloween!  I’ve really enjoyed participating in this year’s Horrorthon and I look forward to doing it all over again next year!

Horror Novel Review: Bad Moonlight by R. L. Stine


Before I say anything else, I have a confession to make.  I read this book really quickly.  I mean, I basically sat down, and skimmed over every page and didn’t write out a single note about the book.

Why was I reading it so quickly?  Bad Moonlight is a book that I ordered off of Amazon last month with the intention of reviewing it for October but then I changed my mind.  As often happens, I ended up running behind and, with Halloween approaching, I decided to set aside all of the Stine books that I hadn’t yet read and reviewed because I wanted to review a different (and, to be perfectly honest, adult) horror novel for Halloween.

Unfortunately, the book that I was planning on reivewing turned out to be really bad, despite the fact that it was co-written by one of my favorite filmmakers.  I didn’t feel like getting all negative on Halloween, especially when it would involve being negative about a filmmaker who I adore and who is no longer with us and whose legacy pretty much defines modern horror.  So I decided to put off reviewing that book (I’ll write about it in November).  Needing something for today, I grabbed R.L. Stine’s Bad Moonlight and I quickly read it.  Fortunately, R.L. Stine wrote books that are pretty much designed to be a quick read.

Bad Moonlight was first published in 1994.  It tells the story of Danielle.  Danielle is 18 but, in a rather creepy aside, we’re told that she looks like she’s closer to 12 because she’s not as developed as the typical 18 year-old.  She’s the lead singer in a band.  The band’s struggling but at least they have a totally hot roadie named Kit.  Anyway, one night, Danielle is inspired to write a song called Bad Moonlight and then she bites Kit’s lower lip until it bleeds.  The band’s fans love the new song and Danielle goes onto write several other songs that all deal with moonlight.  She also writes a song that may or may not be about the death of Joey, “the sound guy.”  Joey was murdered but who killed him?  Everyone thinks it was Danielle, mostly because Danielle is always having these weird hallucinations.  Since this is a Stine book, Danielle is also an orphan with a mysterious background.  She lives with her Aunt Margaret and she sees a psychiatrist named Dr. Moore.  Dr. Moore likes to hypnotize her.  That’s never a good sign.

Anyway, you can probably guess, just based on the title, that this book has to do with werewolves and a big conspiracy to make Danielle into a werewolf bride.  It’s actually kind of a fun book, because you can tell that Stine actually wanted to focus on all of the band melodrama but, because he’s R. L. Stine, he also had to toss in a bunch of werewolves.  The effort to bring the band drama and the werewolf mythos together is a valiant one and it kind of comes out of nowhere and you have to appreciate just how weird Stine allows things to get.  It’s an entertainingly silly book.

If nothing else, it shows how strange the world can look when it’s illuminated by …. BAD MOONLIGHT!