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Been a While…

I haven’t posted on my blog in months, a lot has happened.

Firstly, the podcast I worked really hard to create was bowled over by a couple of over zealous co-hosts. I had a vision of a short-form podcast with a quick punchy delivery. However, it didn’t work out that way.

Five episodes in, dozens and dozens of films discussed, 5 episodes filmed, hours and hours of footage edited- uploaded to YouTube and the audio podcast was now out in the ether. We were slowly growing but then what I was afraid of happening happened. The views were less and less, people were tuning out after 10 or 15 minutes. The podcast downloads and stats showed me no one was listening/watching these hour/ hour and a half podcasts. My health was in decline so I made a decision to quit it. It wasn’t what I wanted and no one listened to me anyway. My ideas got tossed and my input fell on deaf ears.

Not a good experience.

A lesson learned in working with other creators. Always state your intention that the project is yours, but should you monetize, it will be split amongst the contributors. I wasn’t clear enough on this so my co-hosts just took over the podcast completely and are slowly running it into the ground. TOO BLOODY LONG.

Since then I’ve been hesitant to guest on other podcasts as that experience made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. It affected my self esteem just when my body blew up with illness and pain. It’s taking me a while to get back to where I was.

It’s been several months since that debacle and six new medications later I’m still trying to pump out content. At my own pace. You can still find me on TikTok and Instagram doing horror movie reviews and other horror-related short-form content. I’m still writing movie reviews just mainly on Letterboxd now. I desperately need to update my blog with all the movies I’ve watched since my last entry.

It’s SPOOKTOBER so I’m trying to do a movie a day. I missed a couple of days due to illness and Mike Flanagan’s, The Midnight Club (which is a series) but I highly recommend it, you can find it on Netflix.

I do have two short stories in the works, illness has thwarted my projects at the moment but I will be back. Hopefully with a new story and a new podcast episode.

Bear with me.

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Let’s Talk About The Cursed

The Cursed (2022)

Writer/Director: Sean Ellis

Gothic Horror

What it’s about

It’s 19th century France. A pathologist arrives in a remote rural village to investigate what appears to be wild animal attacks, attacks like he’s seen prior from his own village. He uncovers a sinister mystery that’s affecting the villagers. 

There are gypsies and creature effects in this one.

What I Thought

Normally, I don’t care for period pieces, a lot of horses in this one. People riding horses, Neighing horses, flaming horses. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. The story flowed nicely, the acting was good, starring Kelly Reilly (Eden Lake), Boyd Holbrook (Narcos; The Predator) and Alistair Petrie (The Terror). The pacing was great, the movie starts off with a pretty intense action packed scene, and the writing was well done. Definitely not a slow burn. It’s been a while since we’ve had a nice gothic horror story like this and you can definitely sink your teeth into this one. 

I enjoyed the mythology aspects, the intensity, and there were some really well done brutally gorey scenes. After basically attempting a genocide of the locals, the gypsies place a curse on the wealthy villagers for taking their land. It’s no ordinary curse. 

Let’s just say, you’re going to have to mold some large silver bullets for this one.

Final Thoughts

4/5

If I had to complain about anything in this movie, it would be the lighting. It’s often dark, foggy, outside at night, or indoors by candlelight. Although this adds much to the tone of the movie, it also makes it hard to see at times. The creature effects were pretty exceptional. Not your typical hairy beast. It was much more frightening, almost self-aware. It was also nice to see an original story again in the theater. Not a sequel or prequel, just a brand new story.

I enjoyed the acting and there are a few scenes that’ll leave your eyes popping and jaw agape. This is a classic Gothic horror story with a sophisticated edge. Scary where it should be and beautifully eerie. Definitely worth the watch. 

Where to find it

Theater release, not on any streaming platforms just yet.

Photo: IMDB

Have you seen The Cursed Yet? Thoughts?

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My First Horror Experience With Sledgehammer Horror

About a month ago, I sat down with Ken from Sledgehammer Horror for their “My First Horror” series. I talked about my very first sit-down experience with a horror movie. My first horror movie was…

My First Horror with Sledgehammer Horror

Be sure to give them a like/follow/Subscribe!

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High Horror With Anya & Sam: A New Monthly Podcast

I’ve been keeping busy with podcasts as you can see from my Podcasts page.

In addition to my own podcast, Let Us In that I host with three other creators from TikTok, I’ve also teamed up with Anya Gorre from Horror And More With Anya Gorre.

Once a month, we’ll get together to review a horror movie. Last year we were going to review Anything for Jackson (2020) (You can find my review highlighted. What ended up happening is that we ABSOLUTELY lucked into the pleasure of speaking to Keith Cooper, (the writer of Anything for Jackson) directly for a phenomenal interview about the film. We learned so much about the production of the film, the Easter eggs they intentionally placed in the film, the experiences with the actors. It really was the highlight of my podcast career.

Take a listen: The post can be found here.

So we finally go together to actually review the film in all its glory!

Take a listen! ⬇️🎙️

https://omny.fm/shows/horror-and-more-with-anya-gorre/high-horror-episode-1

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Let’s Talk About Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

Director: David Blue Garcia 

Screenplay: Chris Thomas Devlin 

USA

What its about

*Contains a few spoilers 

A “sequel” to the original 1974, and the ninth film in the TCM franchise. It’s almost 50 years since the initial massacre. A group of friends, hoping to open a food truck and other small businesses to gentrify the now abandoned town of Harlow, find that it’s not completely uninhabited as promised. 

There’s still one elderly resident (Ginny) living in the run-down old orphanage. She claims to have papers of ownership from the bank and she’s the only remaining caregiver to a seemingly empty building. This ruins Melody and Dante’s launch (a busload of investors are on their way). Assuming she’s just a kooky old hanger- on, complete with a weathered confederate flag hanging outside. They begin a verbal dispute which rouses someone from the back of the building.

“I’m all he has.” She tells the group. One sole orphan to care for. The town reject that no one wanted. A hulking ominous figure moves in the background. Ginny, having been worked up in the confusion, ends up collapsing and is rushed to the hospital. Ruth, Dante’s girlfriend, goes with her and the “son” in the ambulance out of empathy. This is where it starts. The woman dies, the “son” is Leatherface and he goes berserk. 

After brutally murdering the ambulance workers, only Ruth is left alive. She’s able to quietly radio in for help stating, “He’s wearing her face.”

This prompts a call to Texas Ranger, Sally Hardesty. The sole survivor of the 1973 slaughter.

What I Thought

It wasn’t bad. The characters weren’t developed as much as they could have been for us to relate to them because frankly, they die pretty quickly. That being said, they weren’t totally unlikeable. I quite enjoyed the Sally character. Although, I wish we had more time with her and it would have been preferable to have the original Sally, played by Marilyn Burns. 

Some really exciting gore scenes in this one. Lots of blood. I even kind of felt like they tried to humanize Leatherface a little in this installment. At one point while Melody is begging for her life she apologizes to Leatherface. 

I was confused by the purpose of the character of Richter. The abandoned town’s lone mechanic (for some reason). I thought he would play a larger role than he did. It seems his only purpose was to provide the backstory where we learn Lila is a survivor of a school shooting. Another disjointed part of the story. It really didn’t add much to the movie other than the “facing your fears” trope.

I thought the pacing was pretty good, the acting was decent and I enjoyed the nostalgic connection to the original film. But I think it could have been better.

Final Thoughts

3/5

Critics are being pretty harsh on this installment. Is it the best? No, not even close. But we HAVE taken a near 50 year old horror movie and revived it for a whole new generation to enjoy. Which will no doubt prompt them to go back and maybe watch the original, or my favorite installment- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003 version. Frankly, I also enjoy seeing the Final Girls come back for that last battle. 

Worth a watch if you’re a fan of the franchise, just don’t go in with high expectations. 

Where to find it

Netflix

Photo: Paste Magazine

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Let’s Talk About Jakob’s Wife

Jakob’s Wife (2022)

Director/Co- Writer: Travis Stevens

Horror/Thriller USA

What it’s about

Anne, played by the impeccably timeless Barbara Crampton, has been a dutiful minister’s wife for over 30 years. Her life is predictable, monotonous, repetitive and a little dull. Her husband Jakob, played by Larry Fessenden, is blissfully ignorant of his wife’s feelings. When a bizarre encounter with The Master leaves Anne feeling more awake and emboldened, than ever before. She becomes fearless, feels younger, stronger… But she must feed in order to keep that lustful feeling of finally being alive.

What I Thought

Sink your teeth into this. Within the first fifteen minutes of this movie I knew I was going to like it. It has that classic horror movie feeling. I’d compare it closest to 80s horror. A lot of action, humor, a lot of spraying blood and other fluids, and beautifully done, deliciously disgusting gore scenes. I loved it.

I liked the fact that the main character was a mature woman rather than the stereotypical young damsel. I enjoyed the dynamic, often humorous, between the husband and wife. The wife, Anne, obviously going through a midlife crisis, feeling lonely and trapped and undesired, and her happily unaware husband the minister. He’s supportive, but he takes her for granted and doesn’t really understand her anymore.

When Anne decides to visit an old flame secretly, they find themselves attacked by hordes of rats. Anne, having been bitten, and immediately regretting her actions, flees home to the safety of her mundane life only to learn it’s about to get a lot more eventful.

I loved how they played off of the sexuality of Anne. It was a nice reminder that women in their 50s are still super sexy even though Crampton has hardly aged since her Re-Animator days. The Master is enchanted by the lovely Anne and pursues her seductively much to Jakob’s horrific dismay.

I also really enjoyed the character development of Jakob, Fessenden played him superbly. His character begins as pious, highly conventional and uptight which almost costs him his marriage. When he realizes he only has a few bleak options if he wants to keep his wife AND keep her happy, it puts him in quite the spiritual pickle resulting in some very memorable and hilarious scenes.

Final Thoughts

4/5

Some good jump scares, but not too many. The makeup and effects were fantastic. The Master was brilliantly and classically played by Bonnie Aarons. It pays homage to some of the best vampires of all-time. Nosferatu and The First from Buffy the Vampire Slayer come to mind. Although the pacing was a little off initially, and the writing wasn’t perfect, it picked up and ended up being a highly entertaining watch. I simply loved the ending. 

It was a classic story told from a fresh perspective with a lot more layers that I think some critics are missing. Definitely worth your time.

Where to find it

Shudder.

Photo: IMDB

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PODCAST with Fandom At Random: Yellowjackets Season One

Brian and I review the first season of Showtime’s Yellowjackets!

I wrote previously about how much I LOVED Yellowjackets. I’ve promoted this show through every single one of my channels. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and now YouTube.

I sat down with Brian from the Fandom At Random Podcast and we geeked out about how much we loved this series. Check it out down below and be sure to follow the Fandom At Random Podcast. You can also find them on Instagram @brianatrandom AND @fandomatrandompodcast.

If you’d like to support my work, please consider donating to my Buy Me A Coffee below.

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Let’s Talk About Yellowjackets

Created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson 

USA. Showtime 

Psychological Horror/ Drama/ Series

What it’s about

A high school girls’ soccer team is on their way to Nationals when their plane crashes in the Ontario wilderness. The teens are forced to make some difficult choices to survive over a period of 19 months. The story follows the events from 1996 to present-day as the survivors cope with their shared trauma, while someone threatens to reveal all their secrets from their time in the wilderness. Starring Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis and Tawny Cypress while a younger cast play their teenage counterparts. Very loosely based on the story of the Andes flight disaster of 1972, where a Chilean soccer team were forced to survive harsh conditions and hardships, ultimately resorting to cannibalism to survive over a course of 72 days. 

What I Thought

Although not a movie, this was such a good series I am spreading the word through the horror community. I haven’t been this excited for a show since Lost in 2004. I love everything about this series. From its grungy opening theme, to the story, the acting and the writing, which is noteworthy. Hooked from the first episode, I devoured this series in a few days and now I’m left waiting a year for the next chapter. Season two has been greenlit by Showtime and fans are excited!

The cast of characters. 

Each character is meticulously crafted and perfectly cast with each actor in this series clinching it. 

Christina Ricci steals every scene, as is often the case with Ricci (fabulous!). Her character, Missy, is so deliciously awkward and unnerving as her younger counterpart, Sammi Hanratty, flawlessly executes the 1996 socially inept Missy. 

Melanie Lynskey is always delightful to watch. Her character, Shauna, harbors a lot of guilt over the death of her best friend, and over a dead marriage. Although seemingly the logical one, over time we learn she’s harboring more than guilt. She has her own secrets and demons. Young Shauna is portrayed by Sophie Nélisse, a Canadian Genie award winning actress for her role in the film adaptation of the best selling novel, the Book Thief-  Monsieur Lazhar.

Tawny Cypress portrays adult Taissa. She’s a lawyer, she’s a problem solver, she’s running for office, and she’s experiencing problems at home with her partner and child. Taissa struggles to maintain poise while trying to keep her secrets buried. Jasmin Savoy Brown (Scream 2022) plays her younger counterpart trying to maintain normality and civility, attempting a leadership role while she figures out her sexuality. 

Juliette Lewis plays adult Natalie, she hasn’t fared as well as the others often turning to substances and sex to cope. Young Natalie is played by Sophie Thatcher, she’s headstrong, independent, and fearless. 

Think of this like a modern-day Lord of the Flies… Only with teenage girls… and written by Stephen King. Yes, it’s THAT good.

Each episode was better than the previous. The story grew and pulled you in deeper as it progressed. The horror scenes were done exceptionally well, and every episode left my mouth agape. Whether it was from shock, or something new and juicy was revealed. This was an insanely good watch.

Final Thoughts

5/5

If you’re looking for something new and different to sink your teeth into. This is it. If you went to high school in the 90s, this is for you. If you enjoy stories like Lord of the Flies, Alive, or survival stories in general, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s not often a series hooks me like this. It’s definitely worth the money to pay for a subscription to Showtime JUST to watch this series and I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting season two.

Where to find it

Showtime.

Photo: IMDB

Are you loving Yellowjackets? Let me know what you think/thought in the comments.

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Loved Last Night in Soho!

Last Night in Soho (2021)

Director: Edgar Wright

Psychological Horror

What its about

A young woman, Eloise is haunted by her past but looking forward to her future in fashion as a designer. She heads off to the London College of Fashion to pursue her dreams. Packing her suitcase full of sixties- era albums, (which she’s obsessed with) she sets off but not before saying goodbye to her deceased mother who she’s able to see in mirrors. Eloise (Ellie) has special gifts. Gifts that can transport her through time via vivid dreaming. It’s through these dreams that she comes to know a young woman, Sandie, an aspiring actress and singer. Sandie is pulled into a deadly lifestyle and Elllie tries desperately to save her.

What I Thought

I try to avoid spoilers, particularly with movies that I think A LOT of people are going to enjoy. And this is one of those movies. First thing to note is the cinematography. Easily the best I’ve seen this year. It’s so beautifully done that it gave Argento’s Suspiria (BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY in my opinion) a run for its money. Cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (South Korea) did an incredible job.  As a Korean horror movie fan, I was excited to see Chung’s involvement. It’s beautifully shot, the costuming, effects and soundtrack really immerses you and drives the story. 

The plot was intriguing, well thought out and left me engaged for the full 116 minutes. I really enjoyed the story as it progressed. Seeing familiar faces like Matt Smith (Doctor Who 2010-13) and the iconic likes of Diana Rigg (The Avengers 1961-69) and Terence Stamp (The Collector 1965) was exciting. All gifted actors; and the two female leads, Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch 2015) were believable and suited their respective roles. 

I usually try to predict the movies I watch but I wasn’t able to do that with this film which made for an exhilarating watch. A lot of interesting plot twists surrounding Sandie’s mysterious life and unfortunate circumstances kept me guessing. As Ellie’s dreams start to crossover with her waking reality, blurring the lines between past and present, the effects, intensity and horror pick up. You think you know… You feel real empathy for the characters of both Sandie and Ellie, but you won’t see the ending coming.

The ending was so gratifying it gave me goosebumps. My mouth agape the entire time, it was one of the most satisfying films I’ve experienced in a while. 

The Verdict

Four and a half out of five, simply because I thought a couple of the characters could have been better developed, namely Jack (Matt Smith). Other than that, this movie was visually impressive, with an incredibly immersive soundtrack of fire 60s British pop tunes, the story was intricate, unique. And unpredictable. This movie met and exceeded my expectations. Would watch again.

Where to find it

Available to stream on VOD platforms like Apple, Prime, Vudu.

Photo: IMDB

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Let’s Talk About Lamb (2021)

Lamb 2021- Iceland

Lamb (2021)

Valdimar Jóhannsson

Icelandic/Subtitled

What its about

An Icelandic horror/drama. Rural sheep farmers Ingvar and Maria, discover one of their sheep has given birth to something unnatural. As a childless couple they become entranced with the newborn and decide to keep the lamb and raise it as their own child. 

What I Thought

I don’t want to give too much away because I feel this is a movie you truly need to see for yourself. This was one of the most unique films I’ve watched in a long time. It’s not your regular type of horror movie. It’s more like a dark, hauntingly grim commentary on society. The cinematography was simply beautiful. The director has a background in cinematography and it clearly shows. Being filmed in rural Iceland gave the film a foreboding, unearthly feel that immerses the viewer and keeps you hooked even though it’s quite a slow burn. 

When you’d expect that a lamb child would look cartoonish it really doesn’t. Even though Ada doesn’t speak, her gestures and eye expressions speak for her. I kind of forgot that she wasn’t human in parts and felt genuine joy for Maria and Ingvar as Ada brought them closer together.

Considering the film consists of four main characters, it relies a lot on the performances of the actors and nuances in the film to carry it.  It works though. The acting was outstanding, and the writing impressive. You really develop a deep empathy for the characters, particularly Maria and Ada. 

This film deals a lot with grief, loss, fractured relationships and love. We learn that Ingvar and Maria were pregnant previously but seemingly lost that child. You feel the pain, the longing from Maria wanting to be a mother, wanting a family. You feel the desperation of Ingvar wanting to provide his wife the life she wants. 

Now for the animals: Yes, there are a few animal deaths. Not for shock value, and not in a gruesome manner. This is one of the first movies I’ve ever seen where even the animals have character. Simple expressions, close shots of faces and eyes give the animals in this film a more or less, humanistic quality. It’s almost as though the director is telling the story through the eyes of the animals more so than the people. The birth mother of Ada cries for her lamb outside their window, and you feel genuine heartbreak. 

You’re either going to love or hate the ending. I’m not giving it away but, personally, I liked it. I thought it was bleak, emotional and shocking. Again, VERY UNIQUE. There are things in this film that you simply won’t expect, or see anywhere else.

The Verdict

Four out of five. Other than a little bit of slow pacing initially, I loved this movie. It was so different from anything out there right now. I can’t stop thinking about it. I’d watch it again, I’d buy a copy, and I’m telling everyone to check it out. 

Where to find it

Available in theaters, you can also rent it on most VOD platforms.

Photo: IMDB

Lamb Trailer

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