Annihilation (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 116

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, sci fi, almost horror, woods, book, alien

Let me just start off with making sure it’s clear that this movie doesn’t exactly make sense. But who cares! The acting is decent, the story is creative, and the final product is really beautiful. Yes, it’s low-key ridiculous that a bunch of random scientists venture into this Bermuda triangle of sorts with no face coverage or breathing apparatus’. But once you get past the dumb details, it’s really an engaging movie. I wasn’t bored once, and I never quite knew what was going to happen next. It’s kind of hard to imagine that a sci-fi movie about nature is horror, but I suppose it’s no less horrory than a film like A Quiet Place. The group of women go on an expedition that had been preceded by Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband. He was the only person to return from the “affected zone”, and now she is following in his footsteps, being interviewed and telling the story of her adventure (to put it lightly). The characters are formed enough for my liking, and there are just so many unique qualities to the movie, allowing me to really enjoy it. The film does seem to have the theme of cancer spread throughout it, but I’m not 100% certain that this is the movie’s main concept. Either way, I thought it was a visually striking movie that is worth a watch.

 

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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

Halloween (2018)

Score: 6/10

Length: 106

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: recent, 2000s, murderer, slasher, recommended

Even though I saw this before (or maybe just around) Halloween, I saw it in theatres, so I’m just getting around to review it now. I was in Hollywood, wandering around in the middle of the day, when it was decided that we’d stop by TCL and check out the new Halloween. Especially as we had spotted Jaime Lee Curtis’ star earlier. It was awesome to see her as “a grandma” rocking grey hair in a similar style to her original 1987 role. It did, as mentioned, delve a little more into Michael’s character, but it stayed true to the mystery and the fact that he’s simply just a cold-blooded killer. It’s most likely because I was at the theatre, but the movie felt really fast. I wanted more hunt, more struggle to capture Michael, but I have a feeling that if I were watching it at home, I might not feel the same. Jaime Lee Curtis was fantastic, but I already forgot what the other characters were like. The kills were fast and random, true to M.M. style, and there were lots of fun throwback references. Definitely not disappointed with this movie, and glad it had fantastic timing.

Oh right… it’s about Laurie and her two younger generations battling an escaped Michael Myers. Laurie is now a grandmother, living in fear and paranoia of Michael, and existing in a house on lock-down. She’s been practising for years, and finally works up the courage to hunt her hunter. A couple of journalists are looking to interview the murderer before he is transferred to a maximum security prison. They are dismayed that he chooses not to speak, and get nothing out of him before the bus driving the prisoners crashes and they all escape. Laurie and Michael chase each other through houses on Halloween and end up in her escape room for the final face-off.

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.

 

 

 

 

The House that Jack Built (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 155

Rating: NR (but definitely R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, gore porn, shaky cam, devil

If you’re not familiar with Von Trier, his films are quite imaginative and intense. This one is even artsier than his usual, and a thousand percent more nauseating. The movie can kind of be split into three parts. Serial killer hilarity and gore, frantic arty scenes, and weird fantasy hell. There are apparently two parts that are “shock factor” causing some to walk out. The duck scene I closed my eyes for, so I can’t really comment on that. But the shooting children wasn’t very shocking. Are these people blind to Aleppo??

Serial Killer Hilarity
Yes it might be a little intense for some, but I really loved the realness of the awkwardness. Both Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman were fantastic. I loved the obsessive cleaning thoughts and how easy it was for our murderer to get away with being sloppy. The irony of something so vile bringing a laugh through the haphazard approach is disturbing in and of itself.

Frantic Art Scenes
There I was, in a sold-out theatre, with my eyes closed trying to breathe deep and slow while clutching my turquoise Powerade. The whipping the camera back and forth and spinning around in circles in addition to the colourful grass that’s being trampled was almost as rough an experience for me as watching the Blair Witch Project. I appreciate the camera movement from characters and from character to scene, but lordy, I really could have done without the motion sickness.

Weird Fantasy Hell
We’ve been watching this movie now for two hours and suddenly… Wait. Are we still watching the same movie? Serial Killer Matt is now on a firy bridge in hell? This part of the film did not fit at all, but it was an entertaining ending and a bit of a relief. There was no bad CGI or over-the-topness, so I was okay with the random fantasy.

I’m not really sure what to say. Points for uniqueness and creativity, but isn’t that what’s expected in a Von Trier? The unexpected? I’m not too happy about the mysterious duck scene, but I didn’t mind the gore and the acting was very well-done. Perhaps not the director’s finest works, but a must-see for weirdos.

I Know What You Did Last Summer Triple Face-off

Well, summer is coming to an end, and I have no idea what you did. I don’t know what you did last summer either. Hell, I don’t even know what I did last week. It may be just a coincidence that these films are pretty forgettable. I mean, I watched the original in the ’90s with everyone else in high school, either at the theatre or a month later on video from the local video store. But I was more absorbed in the Scream franchise which had both an original slasher plot and Neve Campbell. Both films have an all-star, young and beautiful celebrity cast. I guess it kind of felt like a group of popular kids from rival schools making their own slasher flicks for film class. Unfortunately for the following films, surprise slashers beat random fisherman at the box office.

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The Original (1997)

Rated R; 101 mins

“Let’s just pretend he’s an escaped lunatic with a hook for a hand…”

A slashly fisherman, dumb “teens”, and a twist you don’t really care about.

There was no way this wouldn’t at least be second to Scream, with the top “teen” actors of the ’90s. Just another brunette with dramatic facial expressions that thinks the world revolves around her. But this series has a murderer who is also a fisherman. Because what’s left is the typical boring killer twist, popular group of friends, slashy deaths, and an intense relationship between the main characters that just doesn’t seem to work out. It’s a decent go at a cliché young adult slasher-horror, but the only part that’s really memorable is the scene where JLove spins around yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?” Weirdly enough, I remember her doing it the rain, but apparently she does another spin that actually happens in the rain in the second. I will say,  JLove did a terrific job at making me feel better about my awkward, stringy teenage bangs.

Score: 5.5/10

 

I Still Know (1998)

Rated R; 100 mins

“All I know is that this is the worst vacation of my life. I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m fucking horny, and I ain’t seen one goddamn psycho killer.”

A mildly more diverse cast runs from the return of their fishy, slasher past.

In number two, JLove and her new friends go on a prize holiday in the Bahamas while Freddy P Jr. slaves away in murder town. The slasherman is back, and he’s having a slashathon at the resort while JLove and her posse try to get some rays. Luckily, they do get some rays when FP Jr magically appears to save the day. One thing I know about this movie is that there is a lot of slashing of people who have no reason to die. I suppose ole’ Fish Guts has gotten hot and irritated in his fisherman’s coat and decided to start sticking his hook in whomever came across his path. There are a few stupid flip-flop names revealed with a bland twist.  A slip of the hook ends the film in a way you’ll soon forget.

Score: 4.5/10

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I’ll Always Know (2006)

Rated R; 92 mins

“The guy would probably die of boredom before he got any of us.”

None of the celebrities you watched the original for appear in this most likely straight-to-video, needless addition to the summer franchise.

This is a horribly low-budget film that uses the franchise for no reason. JLove isn’t in it. No FP Jr. There is not even one scream towards the sky or a spin in a circle. It’s a totally new group of teens who play a prank where they dress up as the fisherman and accidentally kill their friend. Well, he impales himself after a lame skateboard jump away from the faux killer. So, I mean, no real need for revenge or anything, because someone just moved the mattresses he was supposed to land on. They don’t really have a reason to go to the police either, because it was just an accident not directly caused by them. Everyone is so dramatic about it. Maybe if the dude in the fisherman costume accidentally pushed him off the roof or something then sure, it might be believable that you’d want to get revenge. But it just doesn’t exactly make sense. It’s a mostly just a nice look back at 2000’s fashion and flip phones, but it wasn’t too painful to watch.

Score: 3/10

 

Read more about your scream queens SMG and JLH here!

Bait (2012)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, animal, murderer, small space, gore, almost horror, underground

Hello, and happy Shark Week! Hope you learned some interesting shark facts.
This sharky action-horror gem is a bit of a special flavour in the genre. It actually tries to be good, and although the CGI isn’t up to par, the Australian film puts in a rare effort that’s definitely appreciated. A group of people in a grocery store are in the middle of dealing with a robbery when a tsunami crashes upon them. People are trapped in their  cars in the parkade and on top of shelves in the supermarket to stay clear of the sharks that came with the waves of water. For some reason, these sharks are starving for human flesh, and ten seconds in the water assumes a flesh-ripping death. Also, for some reason, the silly humans keep trying ways to escape which inevitably leads to their demise, but with unbridled enthusiasm, they keep trying anyway. They are creative, but it gets old fast. The action laced with the horror is a rarity that typically works well. I was entertained, and although there were many characters (none of which I really connected to), I was still curious to see whether they swam or sank. If the acting was stronger and the story made a bit more sense, this movie would get a big boost. But it’s a great movie to watch during shark week in a sea of action and horror-comedy fintastic films. Perhaps if I had gotten to see it in 3D it would have been amazing, since most things are amazing in 3D.

 

 

Attack of the Killer Donuts (2016)

Score: 2.5/10

Length: 98

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, food, murderer, horror comedy, almost horror, good bad

So I had braved the ice-wind to get some donuts from Tim’s. It’s not like they’re the best donuts or anything, but they’re right around the corner and Modern Jelly was closed for delivery. Although this review was started way back in winter, I still remember my numb hands frozen into a claw trying to carry this wide, flat box around the corner to my apartment. The donuts in the movie aren’t overly horror-influenced, even though they’re supposed to have tiny little flesh-ripping teeth. Besides the parts where the pastries are CGI, spinning and floating in the air, the donuts mostly spend their time looking like they’re being flung by humans, at humans. (Which us the obvious truth.) This is another cheap and corny horror flick that has a mildly fun idea that’s wasted on a lazy, humorless hour and a half of film. The cuteness is pretty watered down, and I’d be satisfied from just watching the trailer and nothing more. On the plus side, I got to pig out on donuts, and there ain’t nothing bad about that.

 

Mania (1986)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories:

Also known as: Mania: The Intruder, Mania: Episodes in Terror

This is a Canadian anthology horror film that appears to be little-known. I decided to give it an overall rating, as there’s not going to be much fluctuation in the individual short’s scores. They were all pretty original and entertaining, though it felt like I was reading a murder mystery short story novel written in the late eighties. I mean, this movie is from the eighties, yes, but it didn’t really feel like a horror and there was a slight cheese to it. Someone in the comment section of the film mentioned the peculiar Canadian accents. So I listened really hard for them but I just couldn’t hear it. Maybe you can? There is a very Canadian forced apology, but that’s aboot it. Get your maple beers and your Coffee Crisps ready to enjoy with some thoughtful, yet mediocre short films! (Yes, it’s on YouTube.)

See No Evil

After a hooker leaves his house, a man sees her stabbed on the street. The murderer stalks him and frames him, wrapping him up in a sticky situation.

The Intruder

A neighbourhood is victim to a string of robberies, so a couple looks to get a watchdog. Guy is clearly afraid of dogs, but nonetheless, they get the biggest one there and it drives him nuts. In the end, the lesson is… you need dogs.

Have a Nice Day

A mysterious man kidnaps a woman’s daughter and manipulates the mother over the phone. And then suddenly, he shows up on her couch. She’s been fooled!

The Good Samaritan

After leaving a pub, a Scottish man picks a fight with some young punks on the street and is pulled away by his friend. When they get off the train, the friend saves a woman in the subway who’s being attacked. The woman and the friend run for a really long time and end up at his house. The tables turn, and the ending is pretty guessable.