Tired – in so many ways


I got up at 4AM to exercise, and this is the end result

I’m “fall asleep in the middle of Great British Bake Off, even though I’m obsessed with baking” tired. You could say I’m like that one dwarf from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You know the one: Grumpy. It’s the kind of fatigue that makes you swerve into a concrete median on the freeway – a real compact mid-size sedan wrecker.

Mr. Sandman didn’t just pay me a visit, he carved out a space behind my eyes and built a home, and the TV is his lullaby machine.

We’re through the looking glass here people. Not even coffee is going to stop sleep from happening. What I’m saying is that you would have to wrap me up in your arms and carry me to bed, if I wasn’t already there.

So it’s a good thing I didn’t have to write a movie review because I probably would have half-assed it. I mean I usually half-ass it, but this time it would be intensified due to my general apathy toward anything that isn’t sleep.

Yeah, closing my eyes does sound pretty good right about now. So I’m gonna go do that.

The Editor

31 Days of Horror, Day 31

As the opening credits of the The Editor started rolling, I had to do a double take. Did Italian directors suddenly decide to make trashy giallos again? Then, Paz de la Huerta’s name popped on screen.

Ugh, another homage to a dormant subgenre, I thought. But as the hammy dialogue, gratuitous nudity and gelatin red blood started flying, hope sprang forth. When the whole idea of this being a meta-giallo (e.g. an Italian-style slasher movie within a movie), I was even more excited. Finally, I could have my trash and enjoy some horror, too.

But my enthusiasm was short lived because The Editor is less “movie with cohesive plot” and more “series of vignettes that repeat the nudity/violence/meta-humor beats until the horse is beaten so badly it becomes glue without a trip to the factory, where they make the glue.

This exercise in tedium goes on for about 90 minutes. Then the movie (mercifully, failingly, finally) ends. And so does our annual month of horror. Thankfully.


Practical Magic (Chili)

Practical Magic

31 Days of Horror, Day 30

I caught maybe five minutes of this movie because I was too busy making chili. While I can tell you that the soundtrack – or what little of it I heard from the kitchen – is basically suicide fuel, it wouldn’t be fair of me to comment on the actual movie. It’s about witches, I guess? And Nicole Kidman looks pretty much the same as she does now. So maybe she’s totally into immortality spells in real life?

It’s also not really a horror movie. Whatever. Here’s a haiku about chili:

Meat, spices, peppers:
smash them together with broth,
and that’s good eating.

The Visit

31 Days of Horror, Day 29

For a period of about five years, roughly around the turn of the century, M. Night Shyamalan was the shit. The Sixth Sense practically wrote the book on the whole plot-twist-you-did-not-see-coming thing. Then, Unbreakable came out, and it was the superhero origin story we didn’t know we needed. And maybe I was just at the right age, but there was something about Signs that genuinely terrified me.

Then, in 2004, The Village happened, and for the first time people saw the whole twist thing for what it really was – a gimmick to cover up holes in a threadbare story. I mean, really, no one from the outside world every stumbled upon the village? No one inside the village ever thought, “Gee, it’s kind of weird that there are monsters wandering outside the village, but they never bother to come into our homes at night and murder us all?” Continue reading


31 Days of Horror, Day 28

So, I’m not going to actually review Residue because I didn’t finish it. While it showed promise at the beginning — the main character, a hard-boiled detective, dies at the hands of an evil book, and the rest of the movie is the story of how he found said book – at no point were expectations subverted.

It’s Chekov’s Gun, except we start the movie already knowing that the gun went off and someone died, which is basically the narrative equivalent of popping one off right as the foreplay’s getting started. You know you’re in trouble when the movie is only 80 minutes long, yet the director thinks it’s a good idea to devote screen time to the protagonist’s strained relationship with his daughter. He’s just discovered that she’s a lesbian, and he’s being all weird about it.

I don’t know. I disappeared into the bathroom about an hour into the movie because the narrative was a rambling mess, there were very little horror elements to speak of and it seemed as if the director was trying to check off as many noir cliches as possible before wrapping his movie up in the exact way the viewer is told the movie will end. No pivot. No fakeout. No surprises.

At least I got a lot web surfing done in the bathroom. So I have that going for me.

The New Daughter

31 Days of Horror, Day 27

(Full disclosure: I tapped out of this dumpster fire at about the 70-minute mark. It’s entirely possible that the ending redeemed everything that preceded it, but I highly doubt it.)

Old burial mounds?
And who cast Kevin Costner?
Poor man’s Poltergeist.


Final Shift

31 Days of Horror, Day 26

In Final Shift, not to be confused with Last Watch, End of Watch or other movies about cops doing cop things, a rookie police officer (Juliana Harkavy) works the last shift at a defunct precinct. Soon, things start going bump in the night. Then, Satanic cultists do, too. But is Officer Loren really seeing these things, or is it just a case of the first day jitters?

Man, I’ve said it countless times, but it just isn’t enough for a horror movie to scare me any more. Yes, Final Shift has some great set pieces. Sure, a few of the jump scares got me – when I wasn’t succumbing to the coziness of my Slanket and drifting off to sleep. But at the end of the day, this movie has nothing to say. Continue reading

When Animals Dream

When Animals Dream

31 Days of Horror, Day 25

In When Animals Dream, a girl’s transformation into a werewolf serves as an allegory for the patriarchy and its suppression of female sexuality. Hmm. Where have I seen that before?

’Member Ginger Snaps?
This movie’s kind of like that,
except slow and dull.

A Dark Song

31 Days of Horror, Day 24

Whoa — three good movies in a row? Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? Whatever it is, I’ll take it. A Dark Song is the directorial debut of Liam Gavin, but at no point did it feel like the work of a freshman filmmaker. Moody, meditative and foreboding, the film unfolds like a fever dream that may or may not give way to a wakeful peace.

Sophia (Catherine Walker), grieving the death of her son, hires an occultist named Jonathan (Steve Oram) under the pretenses of aiding her in contacting the deceased. And she’s rented a creepy house in the Welsh countryside for the purposes of conducting whatever dark magic is needed to allow her to speak with her son. But is she being truthful about her motives? And is Jonathan really who he says he is?  Continue reading