Mandy (2018)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 121

Rating: NR (clearly R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, supernatural

If you want a metal movie without much actual metal music, this is your film. Packed with Nicholas Cage anger revenge awesomeness/hilarity, this one is a must see, but that definitely does not guarantee you’ll like it. There’s not even really a story. Wifey Mandy is killed by a strange hippie cult and their motorbike demons for no reason I can remember. There’s no twist or anything, she’s killed in front of her hubs, he’s traumatized, and does a bunch of ridiculous stuff to seek revenge with his self-made ax-chainsaw situation. I mean, this movie can be summed up as a really bad drug trip experienced in a basement full of records and guitars. Weirdly enough, I wanted a little more from the film. Mandy wasn’t likable in the least, and I feel like if you’re going for an insane Nic Cage revenge film, you should be going HARD. I also kind of wished the rock and roll aspect was a little more integrated. Perhaps one band holds the soundtrack, or just more rock and roll aspects in the movie. I didn’t even notice many songs in the movie to be honest. Loved the art house vibe, the crazy Cage acting and the whole idea, but I just wasn’t blown away by it, and this should be a movie you remember forever.

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Apostle (2018)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 130 (aka way too long)

Rating: TV-MA (Netflix release only)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, religious

I’m just going to get right to it- I was bored. I didn’t really find this to be much of a horror flick outside all of the torturing, and even with the torturing I found it quite dull. It took me awhile to get into it, and by the time I was interested, the story seemed to be unraveling. I felt I was more interested in the cinematography than what happened to any of the characters, especially our “hero”. Don’t get me wrong, the acting was solid and it’s always fun to see Michael Sheen (especially as a cult leader in the early 1900s), but as per usual, this film really didn’t need to be stretched out as long as it was.

It’s about a guy who is looking to rescue his sister from a cult. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go very well, and in learning all their secrets, he puts himself in a vulnerable position. People are tortured and killed by religious psychos, blah blah blah the end.

A lot of people are comparing this to The Witch (which I was highly disappointed with) but even though both films are slow, I was invested in the magic and the characters in The Witch, unlike this one. In the end, I don’t feel like this film was a waste of time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to anyone, and I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was half-way to dreamland.

Pyewacket (2017)

Score: 6/10

Length: 90

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, Canadian, forest, supernatural, murderer

This is yet another one of those films I was supposed to watch about a hundred times and never ended up actually watching it. I’m very sorry as a true Canadian, but I’m thrilled to see it today with my poutine, as I’ve been cheating on horror movies a lot lately with dark, sci-fi Netflix shows.

This super slow-burner is about a teenager who, in struggling with her relationship with her mother, completes a black magic ritual to kill her. In her fleeting moment of anger, she doesn’t quite realize what the demon she’s summoned is capable of, and how it will wreak havoc on her life. Although I felt like the film spent time developing characters that it could have spend building tension, it was a good idea, sort-of like a scary bedtime story. The twist was pretty obvious, but I was really appreciative that the ending wasn’t happy or neat. It definitely could have been stretched out a minute or two as I felt it was like: “TADA! Here’s the twist! The end!” Like it was just so great the movie should end right there. The demon-thing was also pretty well done- mostly shadows with some decent make-up when close-up. I could have done with a few more demon scenes thrown in there and a little more of a build-up with what happened with the freak-out friend. This witchy teenage film probably won’t leave  a lasting impression, but the acting was good, the scenery grand and familiar, and I can’t exactly fault this film for much besides being very slow to start.

Happy Canada Day!

The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018)

Score: 4/10

Length: 86

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, demon, underground, murder

Well, here we have yet another demonic possession movie with an innocent Suzie, or Sarah Anne, or Elizabeth Mary or whatever. This one features our determined heroine taking on a new job in a morgue. Everyone is skeptical of the pills she takes/ doesn’t take, and she starts to hear and see strange new things in the morgue. No one trusts her, everyone thinks she’s crazy… typical. Even when the random guy breaks in and screams about a body not being dead, no one pays attention to our girl. The tension in the beginning of the movie where only little things are happening kind of got my hopes up, but the rest was just a crackly demon-girl following people around and killing them. It lost all scare, really, and became super predictable, finishing off with an extremely corny ending. Like we care about your “journey”. No one had any background to them anyway. Even with decent make-up and acting, and a fantastic setting, I think this is one to be buried in the DVD bin (if this was Walmart, five years ago.)

Truth or Dare (2018)

Score: 4/10

Length: 100

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, demon, supernatural

This new, trendy, technology-filled teen flick is just as entertaining as Unfriended. And that’s only half an insult. These death-filled flicks remind us that it might be best to have few close friends in order to not be thrown into such totally realistic scenarios. I mean, the premise is a possessed game. And not even a board game, just an out loud game. This one forces people to do or say humiliating, revealing, or life-threatening things. Another group of young and beautiful friends find themselves in a scary situation- this time, trapped in a game they can’t seem to escape fast enough. The acting isn’t of shock of talent and the script isn’t exactly innovative. But it’s fast-paced and fun, and most of all, fresh. But. Those STUUUUUUUUUPID faces with the angry eyebrows and stretched smiles. I know they were going for sinister, but those grins are so obnoxiously awful that I barely want to acknowledge them. I would have preferred even boring, blank stares and frowns to this CGI fail. The problem is that these faces are so memorable, they define the entire movie and are the most dominant thing I remember. Perhaps because they remind me of these mannequins (pictured below) that started popping up in the mall. When people went to the mall. Anyway… I dare you to watch this movie, but truth- it’s more comedy than horror.

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I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 104

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer

A teen, who is a little too serial killery himself, discovers his elderly neighbour murders for fun, or rather the CGI blob who inhabits him does. It’s well-acted, with Christopher Lloyd and Max Records (the kid from Where the Wild Things Are) and it had a nice moody tone. However, this is just another film festival flick that’s quirky and well-pieced, but boring and forgettable. I’ve seen this type of movie a million times- it’s intriguing, it has potential, but it’s just not something I’d want to revisit or recommend to anyone.

The Nun (2018)

Score: 2.5/10

Length: 96

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, demon, supernatural, devil/demon, Painful Monday Movies

I’m really glad that I held off on this film and made my friends watch it first, because boy, were they unimpressed. I know this isn’t a James Wan, but he was involved and I had medium hopes for director Corin Hardy whose other big film was The Hollow. The trailer for The Nun was short and scary, and although this movie should have been good, let’s be blunt here- it wasn’t. I’m not going to even go into the plot, because there wasn’t one, really, and if there was one, I can barely remember it. I had assumed this movie would be about the back story of the nun/demon, but nope again, no such luck. The only memorable nun in this was the one who hanged herself at the beginning. Great make-up effects for her exposed teeth and rotting flesh. I’ll bless this film with that one positive. There are so many jump scares in this film, but they’re random and lazy. It kind of feels like they’re added in just because they’re supposed to be with no build and no effort from the director. After the awesomeness of The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, this was a huge disappointment, and that’s an understatement. I was almost angry after watching this. because it was so bad.

I also wanted to share this review from IMDB user gareth-robinson407 because it’s hilarious and a perfect review of this film:

“Was there a plot? Nun Were there any scares? Nun Any good acting? Nun Any reason to go see this movie? Nun”

Six Scary Santa Shorts

When I was making Thirteen Days of Christmas Horror Shorts, I came across so many great Santa shorts I had to make a separate list. Even narrowing it down to six was hard! Here are my favorite Kris Kringles and Old Saint Nicks.

 

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6. Seasons Greetings (2015)

Length: 4:26
A girl wakes up to a present from Santa and a monster in her bed. Not much to it, but somehow this short has both fun jump scares and a cute vibe to it. Watch here

 

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5. Luchagore Christmas (2017)

Length: 1:43
The most gore (aside from the claymation) on the list, and a very sour-looking set. This super short is a great one because of the dirty, disgusting Santa, focus on disturbing details, and the gore galore. Very Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Watch here

 

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4. Christmas Presence (2015)

Length: 5:16
A babysitter arrives at an over-decorated house. It takes her a while to realize that the life-size Santa statue with the creepy white mask is not part of the family’s decor. One thing that really bothered me was that when the babysitter entered the house, you couldn’t see the glow of the outdoor lights and the interior was so sparsely decorated. Watch here

 

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3. Milk & Cookies (2017)

Length: 2:35 
When a girl doesn’t follow her father’s rules to not eat the milk and cookies, she suffers cookie-consequences. Sean Whalen as the dad in a Freddy Krueger sweater is fantastic. The snarl at greedy children on Christmas is appreciated. And best of all, the blue cookie-eater creature with the pointy nose and blood pouring out of his mouth was just spectacular. Maybe even my favorite horror Santa. Watch here

 

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2. Here Comes Santa (2016)

Length: 5:03
A child stays up to catch Santa on his video camera, but instead discovers he’s a hideous skeletal creature. Simple, cute, memorable. Watch here

 

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1. Winter Stalker (2009)

Length: 2:05
Arty and stylized, this short features Santa checking his list. He’s making a doll for Katie, and he’s been watching her closely. His voice sounds like Jigsaw, and our Santa is dire need of a bubble bath. A great short with a twist that leaves me feeling uncomfortable.
Watch here

Thirteen Days of Christmas Horror Shorts

Christmas is long and painful, but these mini movies are short and sweet! Here are my favorite holiday shorts under 15 minutes, from the weird and wacky to the disturbing and grotesque. Grab the eggnog and rum cookies and enjoy these stocking stuffers. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Also check out my Top Ten Christmas Horror Movies list!

13. I’ll Be Alone for Christmas (2015)
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Length: 7:09
The first of the lonely Christmas girl films on the list, this is simply about a girl stalked by a mysterious stranger. There isn’t much for the story, as it mostly centres around a text conversation. The acting is passable, but there’s a fun little scare.

12. Ghoul Log (2018)
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Length: 2:59
Clay people with gross teeth eat a feast with their mouths open. After they stuff their faces with yule log, the giant-handed puppets are trapped in trees. Horror ASMR. Part of Creepy Christmas Film Festival.
Watch here

11. Something Under The Tree (2014)
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Length: 4:26
A little boy watches Santa from the stairs. He rushes to open the present Santa leaves him, and finds a gift that will help him to rid of the elf under the tree. I wish there were a few minutes of character build and mood setting, as you’re just dropped into the start of the scene, but I enjoyed the tension and the sour turn of events.
Watch here

10. A Very Zombie Holiday (2010)
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Length: 3:11
A black and white instructional video for vintage ladies to survive Christmas… and zombies. It’s well-made and cute, but it’s in need of a bit of pop and pizzazz.
Watch here

9. Crafty (2018)
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Length: 3:34
This strange and original claymation is about a creature and his praying mantis friend who eat animals in a frenzy and then make the bones into a Christmas tree. The bone tree is displayed on top of the stump they live in, and a human child discovers it. Weird and gory, but definitely creative. Part of Creepy Christmas Film Festival.
Watch here

8. Elf on the Shelf (2017)
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Length: 2:00
The Elf on the Shelf toy comes to life and kills the babysitter and her boyfriend in the spirit of Christmas. The choice of the babysitter over family members seems like an odd and lazy choice. What parents go out on Christmas Eve, anyway? The Elf is creepy, yet charming.
Watch here

7. Eve of the Nutcracker (2016)
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Length: 5:59
There are a few good “gal drinking on the couch alone on Christmas” shorts, but I picked this one as the best because of the on-theme ending. Our girl receives a nutcracker which then seems to end up in a different spot every time she looks. She throws it away, but the giver of the gift isn’t too happy that the gift isn’t well received and… retaliates. The make-up could use a little love since we don’t know anything about the killer, but otherwise, it’s awesome.
Watch here

6. Twas the Night of the Tree Beast (2012)
Length: 6:04
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Josh decorates his video store, but is interrupted by holiday-hater, Kevin. Josh makes a Christmas wish and his tree comes to life when it’s plugged in. Unfortunately, the tree is hungry for money… and flesh. Very Canadian.
Watch here

5. Yuletide (2017)
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Length: 10:00
This is actually a short about Krampus! It starts off by introducing the family members/actors and then shows the cranky family silently eating dinner. Kelly smashes her antique present from her grandfather and ruins Christmas. A Krampus monster is discovered peeking out from the attic, and everything goes downhill from there. The cinematography is the best part.
Watch here

4. Slay Bells (2015)
Length: 11:23
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The main character (a girl who’s turn it is to host Christmas) is expressive and over-the-top, providing us with a hilarious and dramatic holiday short that’s fun for the whole family! This year, it’s the younger sister’s turn to host Christmas, and when the family ruins everything with their judgements, she has a meltdown, but in the end, gets the gift she’s been looking for.
Watch here

3. Do You See What I See (2016)
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Length: 14:01
A masked murderer with glasses crashes a Christmas party. When it’s discovered what is seen by putting on the glasses, a strange and quirky truth is revealed. Lots of character build (almost too much) and a fun storyline make this one a safe bet.
Watch here

2. Christmas Clay Massacre (The Beauty of Horror) (2018)
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Length: 2:05
In a commercial for a colouring book (yes, really), Santa gains Krampus-like qualities and decapitates reindeer with a chainsaw.
Watch here

1. Humbug (2016)
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Length: 6:59
Probably the most memorable on the list, this horror tale shows the contrast between the goth Christmas-hater and Mrs. Christmas herself. The problem is solved when the humbug is exertisely removed from our anti-holiday gal, so she can live her life the way it was meant to be- merry!
Watch here

Top Ten: The Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror Episodes

Since season two, The Simpsons have had a Halloween episode. Some are hilarious and fantastic, some are meh, and some are immediately forgotten. In each episode, the family remakes three or four popular (usually horror or sci-fi) movies. As an added touch, even the names in the credits are altered for Halloween. These are my favorite Treehouse of Horror episodes based on my personal tastes. It took me a lot of rewatching and narrowing down, but I’ve finally decided on my top ten (twelve).

Rank: 10
Episode: XX 21×04
Intro: Classic Monsters Halloween Party
Segments: “Dial ‘M’ for Murder or Press ‘#’ to Return to Main Menu”, “Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind”, “There’s No Business Like Moe Business”
Summary: In black and white, Bart proposes a “criss-cross” with Lisa to kill each other’s enemy. Krusty Burger’s new creation turns Springfield into zombies. A musical of mostly Moe making beer with Homer’s blood.

 

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Rank: 9
Episode: XXI 22×04
Intro: Bart vs Homer presented by Professor Frink, The Monster Office
Segments: “War and Pieces”, “Master and Cadaver”, “Tweenlight”
Summary: Bart and Milhouse are sucked into a board game world. Marge and Homer rescue a man on their boat vacation but end up having a change of heart. Lisa meets the vampire boy of her dreams and introduces him to the family.

 

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Rank: 8
Episode: XXV 26×04
Intro: Kudos and Kang Celebrity-style
Segments: “School is Hell”, “A Clockwork Yellow”, “The Others”
Summary: Bart excels in hell-school. Homer, Moe, and friends form a gang and terrorize the town in white outfits. The Simpsons’ house is haunted by ghosts of their former selves.

 

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Rank: 7
Episode: XXVIII 29×04
Intro: 3D Simpsons Candy Bars
Segments: “The Exor-Sis”, “Coralisa”, “Mmm… Homer”
Summary: Maggie becomes possessed after she is given a demon statue. Lisa finds a magical tunnel which leads to a secret family with button eyes. Homer develops a taste…for himself.

 

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Rank: 6
Episode: IX 10×04
Intro: Main Intro Murder Bits
Segments: “Hell Toupée”, “The Terror of Tiny Toon”, “Starship Poopers”
Summary: Homer gets a hair transplant and becomes possessed by the hair’s former owner, Snake. Bart and Lisa are transformed characters on TV while watching Itchy and Scratchy. Maggie’s true, tentacled identify and father are revealed.

 

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Rank: 5
Episode: II 03×07
Intro: Marge Presents, Gravestones, Too Much Candy
Segments: “Lisa’s Nightmare”, “Bart’s Nightmare”, “Homer’s Nightmare”
Summary: An old monkey’s paw grants three wishes with terrible consequences. Bart is a gifted child who can read minds and has the power to turn people into strange creatures. Mr. Burns and Smithers make a robot with Homer’s brain.

 

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Rank: 4
Episode: I 02×03
Intro: Marge Presents, Gravestones, The Simpsons Kids Tell Treehouse Stories
Segments: “Bad Dream House”, “Hungry are the Damned”, “The Raven”
Summary: The Simpsons’ new mansion wants them out. After the Simpsons are abducted by aliens, they fear they are outer space food. The classic Edgar Allen Poe story is told by Homer.

 

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Rank: 3
Episode: VIII 09×04
Intro: Fox Censor, Death Penalty Simpsons
Segments: “The HΩmega Man”, “Fly vs. Fly”, “Easy-Bake Coven”
Summary: Homer is the last man on Earth… besides the lepers. Bart switches bodies with a fly when Homer buys a matter transporter at a garage sale. Marge and her sisters are tried as witches in Salem.

 

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Rank: 2
Episode: XII 13×01
Intro: Burns’ Bat
Segments: “Hex and the City”, “House of Whacks”, “Wiz Kids”
Summary: A gypsy curses Homer, and bearded Marge attends a leprechaun’s wedding. The family is sold a futuristic robot-house which is determined to rid of Homer. Bart and Lisa attend Wizard school and fight the dragon, Mr. Burns.

 

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Rank: 1
Episode: V 06×06
Intro: Marge Presents, Graveyard Deaths, FrankenSimpsons
Segments: “The Shinning”, “Time and Punishment”, “Nightmare Cafeteria”
Summary: The Simpsons are caretakers at a lodge where Homer goes insane and Groundskeeper Willy tries to save the family. Homer tries to fix a toaster and accidentally creates a time travel machine. The school cafeteria decides to spice up the menu with new kinds of meat to solve the detention capacity issue.

 

 

Honorable Mention

I wanted to include these episodes as, although they contain my least favorite segments, they’re still some of the best and they deserve to be included.

 

Episode: VI 07×06
Intro: Sleepy Hollow Krusty, Hung Simpsons
Segments: “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores”, “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace”, “Homer³”
Summary: Giant mascots come to life and terrorize the town. Groundskeeper Willy kills in various forms in The Simpson kids’ dreams. Homer finds a portal behind a bookcase which transports him to a dimension where he is 3D.

Episode: IV 12×01
Intro: The Munsters
Segments: “G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad”, “Scary Tales Can Come True”, “Night of the Dolphin”
Summary: Homer’s horoscope predicts death by broccoli, and his ghost is forced to do a good dead in order to get to heaven. The Simpsons version of Hansel and Gretel. The dolphins plot revenge and take over Springfield.