A Creepshow Animated Special – Review

2020
Animated Anthology
Directed by: Greg Nicotero

What a beautiful surprise to wake up to on a dreary and cold Thursday morning. Let’s get this review started.

Survivor Type
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland

Since childhood I’ve had an irrational fear of being stranded and/or trapped places. Kiefer Sutherland plays a surgeon who crash lands on a deserted island and has to do drastic things to stay alive.

What a solid way to start the animated special off. Kiefer Sutherland gives a great performance as a man constantly pushing his mental and physical limits as his body starts to fail him. There were a few genuinely shocking scenes that were easier to buy in an animated format than in live-action. The only downside to this was I kept thinking that Graham Rowat would have been phenomenal in this role

Twittering From the Circus of the Dead
Starring: Joey King

A bored teenager live-tweets from a zombie circus.

I tend not to enjoy anything zombie related since most of the stories are lazy rehashes of the exact same tropes and plot points almost beat for beat. This was a welcomed exception to that.

It started off a little slow but Joey King does a great job of selling everything and the story comes together really nicely as it plays out.

Final thoughts:

At only 45 minutes in length it zooms by really quickly and leaves you wanting more. 2021 can’t get here soon enough (for many, many, many reasons) so that we can all enjoy season 2 of Creepshow.

Day Of The Dead 2: Contagium

For a few years now I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that Dracula 3D is the worst film ever made.

I was wrong.

Day of the Dead 2 Contagium now owns the spot of “Worst movie ever made” in my heart and has been embedded into the very depths of my soul. God-damn it this movie is awful.

Slight flashback: It’s 2005 and a 19 year old me buys this movie because it has Day of the Dead in the title and I didn’t know any better. I proudly bring it over to a friends house for movie night. We then spend the next 1 hour and 45 minutes wondering what the fuck it is that we’re watching. My movie picking privileges are revoked and I spend the next year trying my best to forget it exists.

Slight flash forward to 2014: Dracula 3D is released and it instantly becomes the most painful thing I’ve ever had to sit through (this includes funerals) and it sends me on a deep existential spiral wondering if I even want to bother watching horror anymore. The world stops making sense. In the darkness of my dreams I still see that fucking locust monster.

Present day: I see this movie streaming and think “Oh yeah, I remember it being bad but surely it’s not Dracula 3D levels of bad”. Let me tell you my friends, I’d give up years of my life to return to the naivete of yesterday before I pressed play on this atrocity. I could have done any myriad things instead of watching this but nope, had to see if it was as bad as I remember.

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium starts in an military hospital where a Russian man is being operated on. American soldiers show up and start killing everyone.

37 years later, this military hospital is now an asylum of sorts and our merry band of fuckups finds a thermos in the yard. They open it. Hijinx ensue.

God this is awful. At one point, either due to declining budget or no longer giving a fuck, they stop using blanks or even CGI for the guns. The actors run around and just “pew pew” it.

The only thing I will give this movie is the makeup effects as they’re pretty solid all around. The acting I won’t slag too much either, they’re doing their best to make something out of this mess and there’s an earnestness to some of the performances that just makes you feel bad for them.

The dialogue is some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a movie. The music seems to consist of “Bend that string hard” and “Hit that synth as hard as you can, let the note ring out until it makes the audience’s ear bleed.” There’s a few tracks reminiscent of 70s porno music (Allegedly) that are somewhat fun to listen to at least but overall, the score is awful.

To sum up, the movie that got 19 year old me banned from selecting things on movie night made 35 year old me look at Dracula 3D in a different light. I will never, ever forgive its existence for this. Dracula fucking 3D is no longer the worst movie I’ve ever seen which means that my suffering was without purpose. My nightmares were meaningless. The months of introspection and wondering if it was worth watching horror are rendered all for naught.

Fuck this movie. Fuck this movie to the fiery depths of a hell that doesn’t exist. I hope I can tulpa up a real afterlife with a giant lake of fire so I can send this movie there.

Not recommended unless you’re one of those people that enjoy The Room. This movie is The Room of zombie horror but without heart.

The Beach House

2019
Cosmic Horror
Director: Jeffrey A. Brown
Starring: Liana Liberato and Noah Le Gros

This movie wasn’t on my radar until an email from Shudder that described it as a Lovecraftian horror film. Instantly intrigued, I booted it up and pressed play.

The Beach House is definitely in the sphere of cosmic horror.

Fear of the unknown and the future is at its core. The central plot is a young couple, Emily and Randall arriving at a beach house. Randall has just dropped out of college and is trying to persuade Emily to do the same despite her aspirations to get a degree in organic chemistry.

They’re soon joined by Mitch and Jane Miller. Jane is terminally ill and Mitch brought her up here so they could enjoy one last trip together.

The movie starts off slow but once Mitch and Jane are introduced the dread starts to ramp up nicely. The movie is beautifully shot and there’s a creepy, ever present ambiance in every scene. The gore is minimal but the creature design is perfectly in line with Cosmic Horror. Sticky, wet, shambling messes that are instantly threatening despite how slow they move.

The Beach House is a nice slow burn of a movie. If you’re a fan of Cosmic horror it’s worth checking out.

Recommended

Trailer:

Starfish

Note: This was originally published on March 6, 2019 on horror-writers.com

Cosmic Horror
Directed by: A.T. White
Starring: Virginia Gardner
Synopsis: Gardner stars as Aubrey, a young woman suffering from the death of a close friend. When a mysterious signal from an unknown dimension summons the end of days, its appears as if only Aubrey is left on earth. Trapped in the apartment of her recently deceased best friend, the only clue she has is a single cassette left behind after her friends death, labeled: “THIS MIXTAPE WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”

A.T White has written, directed and scored a haunting, beautiful and what appears to be deeply personal film about the stages of grief and how to deal with loss. If you mixed Silent Hill 3, Lovecraft and art house cinema together this is what you’d get.

Virginia Gardner gives an astounding performance as Aubrey, a young woman struggling to come to terms with the death of her friend. For the entire run time of the movie, we watch her navigate the many different manifestations of grief. The loss of desire, the need to fix everything, the feeling disjointed and the belief that some grand quest or action can fix everything going on inside of us. Her performance is equally heart breaking and wholly believable.

There are a lot of bold directing choices made, but each one is done with near perfection. There’s a scene where the film transitions from live-action to animated and it is done so naturally you’d be forgiven for wondering if the entire film was a cartoon and questioning whether or not what came before it was a fever dream of imagery and music.

The original score coupled with some excellent choices (Sea of Teeth by Sparklehorse has long been one of my favourite songs so seeing it used here made me smile) effectively add to the narrative without overpowering the main story. It’s a difficult balance to achieve but once again it’s pulled off really well in Starfish.

Starfish is a beautiful film, probably the most beautiful horror film I’ve ever seen. It’s touring begins March 13th before hitting VOD in May and if you have a chance to see it, I can’t recommend enough that you do.

Highly recommended.