Shook (2021) – Shake It Up Outside

Another writing for Soda & Telepaths, this time about the Shudder horror flick Shook. It’s a fun flick with a couple of problems, including one MAJOR issue but go and read because I judge my self worth by views

Hunted (2021) – Little Blood-Red Riding Hood

Released: 14th January
Seen: 19th January

If you were to make a list of locations that horror movies take place in, The Woods would probably be somewhere near the top of that list. Something about being in the great outdoors, surrounded by trees and being far away from modern civilisation lends itself well to a horror scenario. Films like Cabin in the Woods, Evil Dead and Friday the 13th have all shown that surrounding a bunch of young people by a seemingly endless amount of trees and leaving them to deal with some form of serial killer can create a terrifying ordeal… you can also have films like Hunted, that work on some level but not as many as it should.

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Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist (2020) – Possessed by Potential

Released: 19th November
Seen: 20th November

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist Info

So, fun fact, I was meant to see a film very similar to this about a year ago. When I went to the Sydney Underground Film Festival one of the films that I was meant to see was called Friedkin Uncut, a documentary about the director of The Exorcist. For some reason the film was pulled a few days before the screening and I never got to see it. At the time I could’ve gone to another film that was screening at the same time but instead I chose to just skip it and go to my next film of the day (since that day I had four other films to see).

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The Cleansing Hour (2020) – This House Is Cleansed

Released: 8th October
Seen: 12th October

The Cleansing Hour Info

Ever since The Exorcist, the horror genre has treated the idea of demonic possession in a fairly standard way. Introduce a likeable protagonist, have her start behaving strangely, find some way to isolate her and bring in some priests, oops she’s actually the devil and now they have to yell bible verses at her until she returns to the likeable protagonist stage. Along the way some characters might die, some others might have a crisis of faith but in general, that’s the way exorcism movies have gone. It’s very rare for someone to try a new tactic in the exorcism genre of film but fortunately for us, the people behind The Cleansing Hour tried something new and did a great job of it.

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Spiral (2020) – Spinning Right Round Baby

Released: 17th September
Seen: 20th September

Spiral Info

When it comes to queer characters as the leads in horror films, I have to admit I can’t come up with many. Nightmare on Elm Street 2 may have put all the gayness into the subtext but it was still there, genuinely groundbreaking for that time (and the subject of a fascinating documentary that I may have reviewed a while ago). Hellbent was a slasher film that made the bold choice to have all the victims and even the main villain be gay men in West Hollywood. Cursed had a gay supporting character, Scream 4 had one character who claimed they were gay (It might’ve been an attempt to not get stabbed, which didn’t work) and that’s where I run out of films (I know there’s more, damned if I can name them). They’re certainly never really pushed by any big companies or made mainstream, so for Shudder to make a horror movie about a gay couple and link the story explicitly to the gay experience is pretty awesome and the film is… good.

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Random Acts of Violence Header

Random Acts Of Violence (2020) – OMGZ SO RANDOM

Released: 20th August
Seen: 7th September

One of the longest held ideas that people have around violent media is the idea that violent media, be it film or video games, has the power to inspire real world violence in those who partake in it. No matter how many studies say “Yeah, that’s not a thing” (and there are so many studies that completely debunk this notion of violent media inspiring real world violence), people will look at random acts of violence and associate them with some film that has a similar act. A lot of Horror films get blamed for either actually inspiring violence or potentially inspiring violence and sometimes the genre wants to comment on that. In this case a film called Random Acts of Violence would really like to talk about the relationship between art and real world violence and I’d like to say it does a good job at that, as a commentary it’s just so-so but as a violent horror film, it’s kind of fun.

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The Beach House (2020) – An Extremely Psycho Beach Party

Released: 26th July
Seen: 14th August

The Beach House Info

There’s a certain setup in horror that can either work really well or backfire painfully. You’ve probably seen it in films like mother! and it’s certainly the backbone of The Beach House. The setup is that a couple are staying at a remote location all on their own until a stranger or two turn up and the nightmares begin. Either the new people are what brings on the horror (see The Strangers) or they’re part of the nightmare itself (again, mother!) or they’re not really related to the source of the horror but are the first ones to go through it… that last one describes what happens to the new people in The Beach House, and if they’re the warning of what’s to come then the main characters are in for a bad time.

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Scare Package Promo Image

Scare Package (2020) – The Roast of the Horror Genre

Released: 18th June
Seen: 12th August

Scare Package Info

The anthology horror film is making a comeback and I’m loving it. Over the course of the last few years I’ve talked about a lot of them that on this blog, from Necrologies which featured the ultimate adorable creature Pozu to the more watchable Ghost Stories. Even a couple of indie films tried to tackle this format to mixed results. Now, out of the ones I’ve reviewed I’ve yet to find one better than OK but there are some great ones out there, Trick ‘r’ Treat and VHS are among some of the best anthology horror films you could hope for. Well, now I’d like to throw Scare Package onto that pile of amazing anthology films. It might not be scary, but it’s whip smart and funny as hell.

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Host Promo Image

Host (2020) – Terror 404

Released: 31st July
Seen: 7th August

Host Info

2020 has been a terrible year, this one is the year we can leave out of the history books for a whole host of reasons. In terms of the real world, we now get to see what it’s like to live through a plague that spreads so quickly and easily that the only way to prevent it is for everyone to stay home. For the movies, which this blog relies on heavily for sweet delicious content, it’s meant that everything interesting has moved to next year but it also means that we now live in a world where some things won’t ring true anymore. 

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Cursed Films – Twilight Zone: The Movie

Vic Morrow. Myca Dinh Le. Renee Shin-Yi Chen. These are the names of the people who died on the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie. You might not even know that film exists, you might not even remember what happened during the film but you undoubtedly heard about the helicopter crash that changed everything. On the set of Twilight Zone: The Movie a shot of a helicopter flying over a Vietnam village went horribly wrong and those three actors were killed when the helicopter crashed onto the set. It’s an accident that changed how films are shot and effectively ended the era of the 70s auteur director where we were fine with madmen in charge of film sets… and it’s the subject of the finale for Cursed Films, and what a finale it is.

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