365 Days of Hallowe’en, Day 6: Tales from the Crypt 3×05: Top Billing


Starring both Jon Lovitz AND John Astin (with a cameo from Sandra Bernhard on the day that I was just thinking, “Whatever happened to her?”), this ended up being one of my favourites, not least because its creepy undertone and series of reveals reminds me of about a  dozen cheesy horror stories and urban legends I voraciously consumed when I was a teen.

In “Top Billing“, episode 5 of season 3 of Tales from the Crypt, the former – a curious mix of a smug, pretentious yet failing and mediocre actor – answers the latter’s ad for an amateur production of Hamlet. Marginally more successful fellow actor Winton (Bruce Boxleitner, a name I’ve always enjoyed reading) shows up to audition just to try piss Lovitz’s character off, and piss him off he does.

Events take a predictable turn – then…


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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 19


Argh. Four years in and I finally missed a day. I figured I’d gotten into such an entrenched groove that it would be impossible (‘I managed to find time to watch and review a whole feature after exploring the Catacombs’) but, alas, I had been dealing with some muted personal horror of my own. Nothing serious, but hopefully a way forward for me.

Sometimes real-life horror can be just as unsettling :/

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 17: Certified [2013]


This is a cute 8 minutes, but not much else. Shorts are often a gamble, and you might feel tempted by the little palm tree icons denoting a festival selection of some sort, but are too small to read. Much of this film’s budget was likely spent on its (very convincing) 1950s production design, but apart from some weak underlying tension that ends up deflated for naught, this would be better-read as a very funny, well-acted, nicely-shot tale of a precocious brat having a chat with the neighbourhood postman. A shame, too, as the American Dream setting would have made the perfect backdrop for some truly gruesome (or just creepy gruesome-less) juxtaposition.

Score: 🎃🎃

31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 13: The Separation [short] [2003]


Ah, Robert Morgan. Ever since your magically creepy tale The Cat with Hands, I’ve made it a point to keep an eye out for your stuff. And the BAFTA-winning The Separation, more ‘wtf’ than ‘wtfairytale’, is no exception to that rule, as we watch events unfold after a pair of conjoined twins are freed from each other.

By turns both gruesome, disturbing, poignant and sweet (in… a way…), I have to wonder what goes on in Morgan’s head. This is more than just fucking weird. It is fucking weird and unforgettable.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃🎃


31 Days of Hallowe’en 2017, Day 10: Blood Car [2007]

source: imdb

blood car

There’s quirky, and then there’s Blood Car. Set in a near-future where petrol costs the earth, one nerd (Mike Brune) stumbles across experimenting with human blood as new fuel source.

While that in itself is intriguing, what kept me watching until I eventually fell asleep (I need to stop starting these movies so late) was the tone: classical music layered over painfully awkward social misadventures of said nerd (Archie Andrews, I shit you not) as he navigates his daily interactions with the cute, perma-crazy-eyed cactus juice stall owner (Anna Chlumsky). The price of cactus juice is, apparently, also at an all-time high.

It’s all so deliciously amateur that it’s funny in a way that movies like The Greasy Strangler could never do as sweetly. The characters are mostly earnest and simple; and, as in a scene where a government agent flimsily slaps someone he’s arguing with, it’s hard to tell if someone’s being deadpan, improv-ing terribly, or just unable to deliver their lines. The fact that everybody appearing to have graduated from the Napoleon Dynamite school of acting lends Blood Car an unpolished charm.

Actually, this extends to the whole film: the moment Archie empties half his left arm into his gas tank and realises it works, he instantly passes out on the steering wheel from blood loss. From there it just gets weirder,  more shocking, yet somehow more implausible. It’s like the entire movie is a gawky amateur that is just stumbling its way towards either a car crash or the finish line, and it’s oddly fun to watch either way.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃

i made a covfefe of all the covfefe covfefes i could covfefe


what an unqualified buffoon-child.



source: reddit

source: reddit

source: reddit

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My own lil contribution #covfefe

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random review: February/The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)


One must make sure to be in the mood for an Oz Perkins film. It will be a slow-burn, scantily-scored, economically-timed piece of celluloid with richly complex characters navigating mysterious and perilous territory. By the end, it’s going to haunt you whether you liked the movie or not.

february the blaccoat's daughter oz perkins emma roberts

I’ve seen Perkins’ catalogue in reverse order: first the minimalist Netflix Original I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. He’s remained a pleasant curiosity since I was a dumb uni kid thinking his character was odd-dorably relatable in Legally Blonde, and when I knew that he played a younger version of his father’s character in the Psycho series. I’ve always had a strange curiosity for the offspring of incredibly famous actors from the last century – whether they resemble them in appearance or career choices, or public personae (after a handful of clicks, I stumbled across the Facebook profile of Vincent Price’s great-great-grandaughter).

February, then (or The Blackcoat’s Daughter) was a movie that was getting enough buzz online and at festivals, but only ended up with a VOD distribution over a year and a half after it premiered – despite being produced by powerhouse production company A24, keeper of some titles you, idk, may or may not have heard of (Room, Spring Breakers, Amy, Moonlight, The VVitch). Odd, given Perkins’ pedigree.

february the blaccoat's daughter oz perkins  lucy boynton

The story nicely befits Perkins’ trademark slow-burn: two girls waiting for their parents to collect them from boarding school find themselves in the presence of, well…something not quite right. Rose (a coquettish Neve Campbell lookalike from her Scream days, played by Lucy Boynton) has deliberately delayed her parents’ arrival so that she can tell her boyfriend she’s getting an abortion. The much younger, shy, meek Kat (a compelling Kiernan Shipka), is so wholesome she doesn’t even have a cellphone, and instead perfects her puritanical habits of inoffensive piano-playing and sculpting impossibly perfect twin french braids. She’d probably make a great architect. Emma Roberts, Lauren Holly and the always-welcome James Remar do some great work in a parallel storyline.

february the blaccoat's daughter oz perkins kiernan shipka

Without spoiling it, the plot progresses pretty quickly, despite many scenes in which very little appears to happen beyond slice-of-life character studies of these two girls. Some sequences are  needlessly repeated to plug the gaps in the film’s attempt at cyclical/interlocking storytelling, but on balance, it doesn’t detract. Unlike some other reviewers, I didn’t find myself scared but rather unnerved – or chilled. Perkins has a way of hiding unsettling elements in the foreground; it’s enough to linger after viewing and make you wonder if, in the slow-burn, safe ordinariness of your own life, that maybe something this otherworldly horrifying could happen to you, too.



random review: The Belko Experiment (2017)


As someone who lost their job to ‘not a proper redundancy’ last Christmas, I found myself darkly amused by The Belko Experiment.


source: wikipdedia

Helmed by Wolf Creek director Greg McLean and written by James Gunn, this office-based horror thriller ticks a couple of the workplace satire boxes: shiny steel coffin of a skyscraper with zero phone reception; insufferable coworkers (older perverts; impossibly cheery fat old ladies; quiet nerds; only black person is a security guard).

It begins ominously enough: Generic White Everyman Mike (GWEM) (Hush‘s John Gallagher, Jr) arrives at his completely-isolated high-rise office in the middle of No-one Can Hear You Scream, Colombia. The newly-hired, heavily-armed guards leave him somewhat prickled. Next up is a cursory introduction to new girl Dany (Melonie Diaz), whose unfriendly induction by her surrounding cubicle-dwellers makes Jawbreaker look like all of the cloying hug moments from New Girl.

Without warning, all the doors and windows are suddenly sealed. A creepy voice on the tannoy announces that the current group of 80 must kill two, or more will be killed at random.


source: aceshowbiz

Much like those shitty fire drills at one of my last jobs (for which NOBODY ever trained us on where the fucking fire exits even were), everyone ignores it and a handful of people’s heads literally explode. And much like that job I legit declined an interview for a couple of months ago, the group  determines the the trackers implanted in their necks to be the culprit. GWEM, being the best plot-armoured imbecile that he can be, decides to take a boxcutter and literally try to extract it from the back of his neck because, you know, nothing important there. Thankfully, Creepy Voice instructs GWEM to quit his shit or he’ll make tracker go kablamo and everyone still alive decides they’d better start believing what’s going on.

Up pops Marty (Sean Gunn, who will forever be known to me as Kirk), who reminds everybody that the employment contract they all signed allowed them to ‘pretty much do whatever they want’ to them. I’d argue that’s flimsy writing logic, but anyone stupid enough to sign a contract without properly reading it is exactly the sort of pubebrain you wouldn’t root for in this kind of movie, anyway, which works for the fantastically-OTT gore. Exploding heads as punchlines? Yes, please.


source: ihorror

A decent handful of bits in this film are darkly humorous if you’ve ever worked in an office. I once worked in a cubicle farm where my neighbour decided to block the last slivers of sunlight by lining up his length-of-service awards atop the sides of his cage. I’ve worked in places that let people work on long-expired contracts. I’ve worked in a place that underpaid me, then overpaid me. Corporate employers will do anything they can to fuck you, but the people who willingly stay in those places long-term will do anything they’re told, often under the naive assumption that their loyalty will pay off. But they’re just fodder. Expendable.

Disappointing, then, is the fact that they didn’t take the office setting and just run with it. Where’s the decapitation-by-scanner, the dismemberment-by paper-guillotine, or the drowning-by-water-cooler? It doesn’t have to be all You’re Home Alone Next, but when an arsenal of weapons is found, it feels like a groaning cop-out.


It’s not like there isn’t fun to be had, though. John C. McGinley becomes entertainingly unhinged. Sean Gunn swears so much that you could make a drinking game out of how many times he says ‘man’ or some variation of ‘fuck’. Michael Rooker has three lines of dialogue. Tony Goldwyn looks less creepy than when I remembered him in Ghost as a kid. Bighead from Silicon Valley is in it. In your head, you can imagine them making a great ensemble cast in an early cut of the film.


Even at 84 minutes, it feels like a short film stretched too thin, and unsure of what tone it wants to take. Much like your typical corporate HR department, movie seems to skirt a flabby, non-committal line between hints of black comedy and trying to take itself too seriously – with neither likeable characters nor interesting dialogue to prop up either.




random review: Santa Clarita Diet [season 1]


For me, Drew Barrymore‘s presence can always be relied upon to make a dull project bearable. It brings me great glee, then, to see her in something that is not only smile-inducing but is also a Netflix Original – properties that have continued to surprise in their diversity and willingness to take risks.


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Tangerine Nightmare: Favourite Drumpf memes


Well, you did it, America. You elected an inexperienced populist spouting divisive, hateful rhetoric, a happily-admitting paedophile, a potato sack of farts. And, much like Brexit before it, I’m seeing Facebook posts from people who cannot believe that half their own country could be so stupid, misinformed, wilfully ignorant, foolish suckers to downright lies. I guess that sort of thing is catching.

Some eloquent spark noted that at least some good art will come of this pain. I’d like to think this includes some dank memes.  Here are a few of my favourites so far:

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