Entries Tagged 'Reviews' ↓

April, rounded up

I'm willing to bet that every time you booted up your computer and logged on to the world wide web solely to check out the doings here at The Old Final Girl Place only to find that the site has not been updated since January--wait, can that be true? January??? And it is now *looks at post title* after April? That cannot be! I thought I updated in March! What is time, even, anymore?--you thought wow, I can't believe that jerk hasn't updated. She really hasn't watched anything since Alley Cat? Surely she would have written something here if she had. I guess she died?

Jokes on you, reader, and also on me, for no, I am not dead! Not on the outside, anyway. And also I have watched a lot of stuff since Alley Cat! I know we vowed never to keep secrets from one another and I should have fucking updated a few times in the last several months (sorry, I still don't accept that it has been that long), but in my defense, I am just so lazy about writing here these days. But in April I started keeping track of the things I've watched--now see, you would think that I'd at least update that Letterboxd account of mine with this information, maybe, but instead I just write things down on a piece of paper. But today I am momentarily casting off my lazy Luddite ways to blab a bit all at once about some of those things I watched. I hope you're happy!

DON'T CLICK (2012)


If there are two things I have repeatedly professed my love for over the years here at Final Girl, they are Asian horror movies and internet-flavored horror movies. I will watch anything and everything that falls within either of those two categories, and chances are very very high that I will lurve anything and everything that falls within either of those two categories. It is no surprise, then, that I was wicked fucking psyched to check out Don’t Click, a 2012 South Korean film about what happens when internet trolls collide with a cursed video that changes upon each viewing.

I was expecting some standard…well, Sadako/Samara-esque scares filtered through the online lens and sure, Don’t Click has ‘em. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was that this film would pack such an emotional wallop as the lives of sisters Se-hee (Park Bo-young) and Jung-mi (Kang Byul) unravel as they try to save Jung-mi from the curse. Terrific performances from the two leading actresses drive home how high the stakes are in this one. I really dug this one and while it hasn’t kept me up at night all terrified-like, it’s been on my mind just the same.
 

DEATH BLOG (2014)


Okay, if the Asian/internet crossroads of Don’t Click had me puking in my pants with excitement, just imagine my pants-filling (gross) excitement over the 2014 Japanese film Death Blog. After all, IT’S CALLED DEATH BLOG. DEATH BLOG! In Death Blog (DEATH BLOG!), a shy high-schooler starts an anonymous blog only to be…harassed? Stalked?…by an anonymous commenter, but also there is kind of a curse? And people she mentions get killed by…someone? Look, I was into this one from the jump because first of all, this film is not afraid to ask the questions I’ve been asking myself since Final Girl’s earliest days.


But oh wow, this movie is such a mess. The budget was obviously incredibly low, which is fine of course but the limitations give Death Blog (DEATH BLOG!) that sort of overlit, tinny-sounding, sparsely designed, shot on video feel, if you know what I mean. Honestly though, that’s the least of its problems. Even the overacting from J-pop idol Kana Nakada would have held a certain appeal if the directing and editing had been something more than completely inept. The story is a confusing mess that makes zero sense before it abruptly ends. There is no explanation, no resolution, and no real plot. Reader, I remain beyond shocked that after all these years, I have finally seen an Asian horror movie that I did not enjoy! Again, though, it’s called Death Blog (DEATH BLOG!), so I’m sure that within a year or so I’ll think back on it and say to myself, “I love Death Blog so much! That movie was perfect!” 

You know what? I feel it happening even as I type this. DEATH BLOG RULES!


GHOST STORIES (2017)


This 2017 anthology flick kept pinging my radar, moving closer and closer with each blip, until it was finally in the room. A debunker of the paranormal investigates three unexplained…you know, ghost stories. Will the debunker become the debunked? Or something like that?

Anyway, I was mostly in it to win it with this one, at least in the early goings. Some of the stories gave me a case of the gen-u-ine willies before the film as a whole unfortunately disappeared up its own ass by dropping a series of twists. I was left with an “oh, okay, I see, sure, I guess” feeling and some mild disappointment that the twists were the reason that none of the stories had any kind of resolution. Mostly I’m just thankful the pinging has stopped.


THE WHISPERING (aka SODAK SODAK, 2018)


Yes, another South Korean horror film. Listen, between the DVDs I have piled up and the Asian movie streaming service I subscribe to, I can—and often do—eat this shit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more. So sue me! It’s my life, and I will not apologize for anything except maybe for those times I said that The Descent Part 2 and The Ring 2 were “not” “bad”! Then again, it's your fault if you believed me.

A group of high school students skip classes to have a little fun and wind up at an abandoned amusement park haunted house with a nefarious history. Once inside, you know how it goes; it goes ghosts, my friends. Was this good? Not particularly. Do I care? Not particularly. Did I enjoy it? Yes I did. The ghost face effects look like filters from a $0.99 iPhone app, sure. The scares are not particularly scary, uh huh. But you know what? It did that thing that many Asian horror films do, which is part of the reason why I love them so much: the horror is entwined with sadness, giving even average stories some emotional heft that pulls me in. Characters, such as The Whispering’s Eun-ha (So Joo-yeon), are often haunted not only by actual ghosts but also by the lingering repercussions of their own actions or those of others. Sometimes the past is reconciled peacefully, sometimes not, but either way it’s always bittersweet and I’m a total sucker for it. Again I say: so sue me!


THE McPHERSON TAPE (1989)


Nothing but respect for this pioneering entry in the found footage about extraterrestrials invading a family gathering in 1983. It’s got some moments of creepiness, a delightful grandma, a memorable ending, an undeniable sense of authenticity, and oodles of both charm and moxie. Had I seen this upon release—ten goddamn years before The Blair Witch Project—my brain would have exploded. I am weak for found footage films, and I hope that no one ever comes to their senses and stops filming while things fall apart around them.


SABRINA (2018)


If you think I wasn’t going to be all over an Indonesian horror movie about an absolutely hideous haunted doll, well, this must be your first time here. Hello, welcome, now you know. Write it in your diary tonight so you never forget!

While the titular hideous doll does run around a tiny bit in one scene, her antics are largely confined to things like “eyes moving side to side” and “sitting.” In fact, overall this isn’t even a killer doll movie, despite it being the third in a series of evil doll movies. Oh no, this is some straight-up Indonesian The Conjuring shit, complete with a married couple of Christian-flavored paranormal investigators. Like her American counterpart Annabelle, Sabrina is merely a conduit for demonic activity, and the demonic activity is largely what’s served up here.

I’ve seen some bonkers Indonesian horror movies in my time, films such as Mystics in Bali and The Queen of Black Magic, and Sabrina certainly achieves plenty of bonkitude. Knife fighting with demons, levitating possessed people, ghost hunting via iPad app, a demon with Kenny G hair (and a big hook nose? that gave me uncomfortable “is this like an awful Jewish stereotype thing? because there are implications as it battles with the good God-fearing Christians?” feelings) (maybe it was just bad makeup?) (please?) …listen, if this movie wasn’t so heavy on that God-fearing Christian angle—and boy, it was pretty heavy—I would really be singing its praises. Not that it necessarily would deserve them! Regardless, but I sure had fun with it. Hot trash.


THE VICTIM (2006)


If you’re going to watch this Thai horror flick—and maybe you should?—I definitely recommend going in completely blind beyond the simple premise of “an aspiring actress gets a gig re-enacting crime scene photos for the media and is eventually haunted by the spirits of the victims.” This movie has a lot of surprises in store, and it’s worth watching them unfold unspoiled. Mind you, the surprises don’t all work; it goes on a bit too long and the ending is definitely of the “wait, what? who? what’s going on?” variety, but there are some scares (along with some 1:1 rip-offs of the American version of The Ring), some powerful sequences about the violence perpetrated against women, and a charming lead performance from Pitchanart Sakakorn.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about The Victim is that apparently these crime scene re-enactments are an actual thing. The Thai Royal Police take handcuffed convicted criminals to the locations where actors portray real victims, and the photos are published in the daily newspapers. It’s wild. Writer/director Monthon Arayangkoon wondered what kind of effect those gigs would have on the actors over time; add in some folklore from a culture where ghosts are generally considered very real and some purportedly real on-set hauntings and well, you’ve got The Victim.

ALLEY CAT (1984)

First thing's first! This review originally appeared on my Letterboxd, which I recently birthed (after ~14 months of labor). I don't know how often I'll use said Letterboxd, but maybe I'll fall in like with it? I have no idea what I'm doing over there, but feel free to follow if you wish!

Second thing's second! No, Alley Cat is not a horror movie. But you know that on occasion around these parts I dip my toes wherever I please! And I was well pleased to dip my toes into this one. 

Pictured: Billie, about to unleash some of her patented "Hiii-YA!"

I hate to add to the divisiveness plaguing us today, but let's be real--there are only two types of people in the world. There are those who will come down with a case of the vapours after perusing ALLEY CAT's imdb plot keywords, and there are those who will not. I myself am decidedly in the former camp, having to take to my fainting couch after laying my eyes on the litany of keyword gems, such as:
"stomp on groin"
"can of beer"
"rolling down a hill"
"karate"
"briefs"
"playing valleyball" [sic]
"chain used as a weapon"

and, perhaps the most intriguing/enticing of all:

"woman infected with syphilis."

We know that our cool heroine, Billie (Karin Mani), is A) cool and B) our heroine the moment she drives into frame and we see that she has a personalized license plate reading, as you might guess, BILLIE. She lives with her grandparents and is of indeterminate age: she has that car and license plate, but she also dresses like an oversized kindergartner. She has a sort of bootleg Kate Jackson of television's CHARLIE'S ANGELS look and vibe, but we know little about her beyond the fact that she's training to be a KARATE EXPERT. In a word, Billie is perfect.

She stops some thugs from jacking her tires one evening, kicking off a cycle of oneupmanship revenge-ening between her and local gang leader "Scarface" Krug. You stopped my thugs from jacking your tires? I'll stab your grandmother! You stabbed my grandmother? I'll stop your thugs from raping a girl in the park! You stopped my thugs from raping a girl in the park? I'll keep her from testifying! And so on and so on turns the wheel of life.

Yes, Billie stops a rapist in the park. In fact, she does this almost every night as the local park is FULL of rapists. Come nightfall, Billie--unafraid--dons a matching track suit (sometimes velour, sometimes satin), heads to the park, uses the power of karate to thwart the ne'er-do-wells, and reminds them that attacking women in parks is "not nice." It seems every local man is a rapist, a criminal, or a corrupt official, so Billie has a lot of work to do.

Pictured: Billie showing you what happens when you're not nice

In case you haven't figured it out by now, ALLEY CAT is pure early 80s exploitation, fueled by nudity, violence, vigilantism, and karate chops. It features every hallmark of the subgenre both large and small; Metal garbage cans get knocked over during fights, men wear shirts with the sleeves ripped off, predatory prison lesbians lurk in showers, foulmouthed jailhouse background prostitutes loudly protest their innocence, and it all ends on a freeze frame. Characters with names like "Thug Tough 1," "Hooker," "Store Owner," and "Thug Tough 2" populate the Los Angeles streets and utter dialogue of the "Just drive, asshole!" and "Joke's on you, I have the Clap!" variety.

Pictured: angel in a tracksuit

Despite its seedy elements, as a whole ALLEY CAT is rather tame. There's copious nudity, sure, but sex is all but absent. Rape is a daily occurrence in the film, but more often than not it's implied rather than shown, and it's never explicit. The film never tries to rise above its station, and that's a good thing...it moves along at a steady clip, cycling between fight scenes, "sexy" scenes, and dialogue scenes that largely involve Billie swearing vengeance on someone or other. As Billie, Karin Mani is winsome perhaps in spite of herself. She delicately floats through her karate moments, at least until the camera angle changes, her stunt double takes over, and she lets out a hearty "Hiii-YA!" in ADR. She scowls her way through most of the proceedings, but who can blame her when she's confronted with rapists and THUG TOUGHs at every turn? Billie is the "no justice, no peace" gal we need, and she does it all in a matching track suit. Pass me the smelling salts!

SWALLOW (2020)


I don't mean to brag, but let me tell you: when I was but a wee bonny lass, I choked on a watermelon Jolly Rancher. At this point I don't remember whether the watermelon Jolly Rancher went up or down, but it obviously did one or the other for I am still here to recount this incredible tale. For some seconds though--I am unsure how long, exactly, but it felt like an eternity--I experienced pure, abject terror. Perhaps you know the feeling, when something gets lodged in your throat for a moment and there is an immediate, primal panic. I didn't think much of my brush with mortality at the time but the trauma lingers still! I haven't had a Jolly Rancher since, watermelon or otherwise, because what if it happens again? Further, what if what is lodged cannot be dislodged? Dying is one thing, but having DIED FROM A WATERMELON JOLLY RANCHER written on your tombstone is quite another.

Anyway. Those primal feelings flared up several times during Swallow. Whenever pregnant, unhappy housewife Hunter (Haley Bennett) opened her mouth and crammed something into her gullet, I cried "NO! Girl, it will not fit!" (Really took me back to my college days hahahaeeeehhhhh.) Swallowing a small marble? The idea makes me extremely uncomfortable, but okay, maybe it's do-able. But she works her way up to, like, Precious Moments figurines or whatever and I practically broke out in hives every time, yet I wondered how far she would go. Was she like the man from Mars in Blondie's "Rapture"? Would she eat Cadillacs, etc, and then, when there's no more cars would she go out at night and eat up bars, where the people used to meet? What about after she'd eaten the last guitar? Would she become another Dark Phoenix and take to consuming the very stars themselves?

Well, of course not. That trajectory is for another film, or perhaps for your Swallow fanfiction, if you are so inclined. This film isn't even the shocking, cringeworthy body-horror something something the trailer had me (and maybe you) thinking it would be. Writer/director Carlos Mirabella-Davis is more interested in unpacking the reasons why a woman might suddenly feel a compulsion to, you  know, swallow random tchotchkes. What begins as essentially your standard housewife ennui tale gets even deeper into both the nitty and the gritty as Hunter's past is revealed and her pica threatens her life and everything in it. I am always here for depictions of housewife ennui, don't get me wrong. I will eat up anything from classics à la Jeanne Dielman to the bonkers, pea soup-laden Exorcist rip-off Beyond the Door; I'm in particularly if the films get all "good for her" and explode the heteronormative, nuclear family paradigm. I'm in particularly particularly if the film adds a nice zest of class warfare to get my "eat the rich" senses tingling. Swallow does all of this in spades, and it's anchored by a terrifically nuanced performance by Haley Bennett and Katelin Arizmendi's lush cinematography. Ultimately, though, I find it curious that this film didn't really resonate with me. Despite the fine time I had, I was never particularly emotionally invested, though I wanted to be. Was there a detachment in Mirabella-Davis's filmmaking that kept me at arm's length, or is it simply that my heart is as hard as a watermelon Jolly Rancher?

VHS Week Day 14: MARTIN (1977)


George A. Romero: he's more than just zombies. I know that you know that, you're savvy and learned. I'm simply pointing it out to the total horror noobs who only know Romero from his three (AND ONLY THREE) (okay, maybe Land of the Dead is kind of fun to watch once, but THAT'S IT) great zombie films: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Brunch Day of the Dead. Though the films are often overlooked, Romero has explored horror in ways far removed from those undead shuffling people-eaters. One such film is 1977's Martin.

Set amidst the depressed, crumbling landscape of fading steel town Braddock, PA, Martin tells the tale of...well, of Martin (John Amplas), who believes himself to be a vampire. His elderly cousin Cuda also believes that Martin is a vampire. It's been a family curse for generations, and while Cuda allows Martin to live with him, he also makes the young man a promise: "First I will save your soul...then I will destroy you." But is Martin actually a vampire? Or is he simply a kookadook?


Romero isn't interested in definitive answers as much as he is in deconstructing the vampire genre and deromanticizing the myths. Regardless of Martin's true nature, he's no gothic-flavored bloodsucker from a Hammer production; nor is he a terrifying, otherworldly creature à la Salem's Lot's Mr. Barlow. Garlic, crosses, and sunlight give Martin no pause. He's incapable of mesmerizing victims into submission, so he relies on drug injections to do it for him. He has no fangs, so he wields a razor blade. Martin's reality is completely unlike the bodice-rippers and monsters we're accustomed to calling "vampire."

Martin is rife with the same types of simple metaphors and symbolism that Romero incorporates into many of his films. It's an examination of sexual repression and insecurity as well as a swipe at religion, particularly the ways in which staunch religious beliefs can twist a person or a family. The "family curse"–what Cuda claims is the curse of Nosferatu–can be seen as any kind of "otherness" or perhaps it's merely hereditary mental illness.

Aside from all of this, Martin works fairly well as a straight-up horror movie. Because the attacks rarely go as smoothly as Martin plans, they're prolonged and all the more shocking as his victims fight back. While it's easy to feel sympathy for poor, confused Martin, there's no doubt that he is a monster. Whether he's of the mythical or the mundane variety, though, that's for you to decide.

VHS Week Day 14: MARTIN (1977)


George A. Romero: he's more than just zombies. I know that you know that, you're savvy and learned. I'm simply pointing it out to the total horror noobs who only know Romero from his three (AND ONLY THREE) (okay, maybe Land of the Dead is kind of fun to watch once, but THAT'S IT) great zombie films: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Brunch Day of the Dead. Though the films are often overlooked, Romero has explored horror in ways far removed from those undead shuffling people-eaters. One such film is 1977's Martin.

Set amidst the depressed, crumbling landscape of fading steel town Braddock, PA, Martin tells the tale of...well, of Martin (John Amplas), who believes himself to be a vampire. His elderly cousin Cuda also believes that Martin is a vampire. It's been a family curse for generations, and while Cuda allows Martin to live with him, he also makes the young man a promise: "First I will save your soul...then I will destroy you." But is Martin actually a vampire? Or is he simply a kookadook?


Romero isn't interested in definitive answers as much as he is in deconstructing the vampire genre and deromanticizing the myths. Regardless of Martin's true nature, he's no gothic-flavored bloodsucker from a Hammer production; nor is he a terrifying, otherworldly creature à la Salem's Lot's Mr. Barlow. Garlic, crosses, and sunlight give Martin no pause. He's incapable of mesmerizing victims into submission, so he relies on drug injections to do it for him. He has no fangs, so he wields a razor blade. Martin's reality is completely unlike the bodice-rippers and monsters we're accustomed to calling "vampire."

Martin is rife with the same types of simple metaphors and symbolism that Romero incorporates into many of his films. It's an examination of sexual repression and insecurity as well as a swipe at religion, particularly the ways in which staunch religious beliefs can twist a person or a family. The "family curse"–what Cuda claims is the curse of Nosferatu–can be seen as any kind of "otherness" or perhaps it's merely hereditary mental illness.

Aside from all of this, Martin works fairly well as a straight-up horror movie. Because the attacks rarely go as smoothly as Martin plans, they're prolonged and all the more shocking as his victims fight back. While it's easy to feel sympathy for poor, confused Martin, there's no doubt that he is a monster. Whether he's of the mythical or the mundane variety, though, that's for you to decide.

VHS Week Day 14: MARTIN (1977)


George A. Romero: he's more than just zombies. I know that you know that, you're savvy and learned. I'm simply pointing it out to the total horror noobs who only know Romero from his three (AND ONLY THREE) (okay, maybe Land of the Dead is kind of fun to watch once, but THAT'S IT) great zombie films: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Brunch Day of the Dead. Though the films are often overlooked, Romero has explored horror in ways far removed from those undead shuffling people-eaters. One such film is 1977's Martin.

Set amidst the depressed, crumbling landscape of fading steel town Braddock, PA, Martin tells the tale of...well, of Martin (John Amplas), who believes himself to be a vampire. His elderly cousin Cuda also believes that Martin is a vampire. It's been a family curse for generations, and while Cuda allows Martin to live with him, he also makes the young man a promise: "First I will save your soul...then I will destroy you." But is Martin actually a vampire? Or is he simply a kookadook?


Romero isn't interested in definitive answers as much as he is in deconstructing the vampire genre and deromanticizing the myths. Regardless of Martin's true nature, he's no gothic-flavored bloodsucker from a Hammer production; nor is he a terrifying, otherworldly creature à la Salem's Lot's Mr. Barlow. Garlic, crosses, and sunlight give Martin no pause. He's incapable of mesmerizing victims into submission, so he relies on drug injections to do it for him. He has no fangs, so he wields a razor blade. Martin's reality is completely unlike the bodice-rippers and monsters we're accustomed to calling "vampire."

Martin is rife with the same types of simple metaphors and symbolism that Romero incorporates into many of his films. It's an examination of sexual repression and insecurity as well as a swipe at religion, particularly the ways in which staunch religious beliefs can twist a person or a family. The "family curse"–what Cuda claims is the curse of Nosferatu–can be seen as any kind of "otherness" or perhaps it's merely hereditary mental illness.

Aside from all of this, Martin works fairly well as a straight-up horror movie. Because the attacks rarely go as smoothly as Martin plans, they're prolonged and all the more shocking as his victims fight back. While it's easy to feel sympathy for poor, confused Martin, there's no doubt that he is a monster. Whether he's of the mythical or the mundane variety, though, that's for you to decide.

VHS Week Day 14: MARTIN (1977)


George A. Romero: he's more than just zombies. I know that you know that, you're savvy and learned. I'm simply pointing it out to the total horror noobs who only know Romero from his three (AND ONLY THREE) (okay, maybe Land of the Dead is kind of fun to watch once, but THAT'S IT) great zombie films: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Brunch Day of the Dead. Though the films are often overlooked, Romero has explored horror in ways far removed from those undead shuffling people-eaters. One such film is 1977's Martin.

Set amidst the depressed, crumbling landscape of fading steel town Braddock, PA, Martin tells the tale of...well, of Martin (John Amplas), who believes himself to be a vampire. His elderly cousin Cuda also believes that Martin is a vampire. It's been a family curse for generations, and while Cuda allows Martin to live with him, he also makes the young man a promise: "First I will save your soul...then I will destroy you." But is Martin actually a vampire? Or is he simply a kookadook?


Romero isn't interested in definitive answers as much as he is in deconstructing the vampire genre and deromanticizing the myths. Regardless of Martin's true nature, he's no gothic-flavored bloodsucker from a Hammer production; nor is he a terrifying, otherworldly creature à la Salem's Lot's Mr. Barlow. Garlic, crosses, and sunlight give Martin no pause. He's incapable of mesmerizing victims into submission, so he relies on drug injections to do it for him. He has no fangs, so he wields a razor blade. Martin's reality is completely unlike the bodice-rippers and monsters we're accustomed to calling "vampire."

Martin is rife with the same types of simple metaphors and symbolism that Romero incorporates into many of his films. It's an examination of sexual repression and insecurity as well as a swipe at religion, particularly the ways in which staunch religious beliefs can twist a person or a family. The "family curse"–what Cuda claims is the curse of Nosferatu–can be seen as any kind of "otherness" or perhaps it's merely hereditary mental illness.

Aside from all of this, Martin works fairly well as a straight-up horror movie. Because the attacks rarely go as smoothly as Martin plans, they're prolonged and all the more shocking as his victims fight back. While it's easy to feel sympathy for poor, confused Martin, there's no doubt that he is a monster. Whether he's of the mythical or the mundane variety, though, that's for you to decide.

VHS Week Day 13: THE ATTIC (1980)


A suicidal, depressed librarian. An abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. A chimpanzee in a sailor suit. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Ugh, stupid Final Girl...clickbait goes in the headline, not in the post itself. This will never go viral now!

Meet Louise (Carrie Snodgress), our suicidal, depressed librarian. She spends her days kind of hating her job–the books...they look at her sometimes and so she tries to burn the place down. She spends her nights crying over the man who left her at the altar years before and taking care of her father, Wendel (Ray Milland), our abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. Louise's life is a big, drab, sad mess, but that doesn't mean it's without some bright spots: alcohol, one night stands, and her coworker Emily. The women strike up a friendship that's equal parts support and pity; Emily feels sorry for Louise and tries to nudge her out of her drudgery, while Louise tries to save Emily from falling into the same. Louise buys Emily a one-way ticket to California so she can escape her domineering mother and marry her love, Emily buys Louise a chimpanzee. You know. Friendship!

Wendel loathes pretty much everything, but he loathes his daughter and her chimp most of all. Horror fans know this is all gonna come to a head at some point, right? Like, maybe Dickie the Chimp will attack Wendel and then, having acquired a taste for human flesh, he will totally flip out and eat everyone in Wichita, Kansas?

Look, I'm not going to spoil the end of this movie, even though it's like 70 years old, but I will let you know that Dickie the Chimp does not flip out, so don't get your hopes up. But don't worry! The ending still packs a serious wallop. A seriously depressing wallop. We've all seen some depressing endings before (even during this never-ending VHS Week!), but lawd-a-mighty, The Attic might just take the cake. And then it throws the cake into the void of existential despair, and then you jump in after it not because you can't bear to see a cake go to waste (even though that's true), but because everything is terrible and life is cruel and what does everything even matter.


Don't get me wrong–the entire GD movie is depressing! Loneliness, alienation, lives spent lost and adrift...this is by no means a light watch, even if the film's incongruous musical cues and bizarre jokes sometimes give it the feel of one. A better life for Louise seems to be just out of reach, and you desperately hope she'll get there, but this is a horror film, not a life-affirming yogurt love journey movie.

From time to time, though, you might find yourself wondering if The Attic is a horror movie. It's not so much a "slow burn" as it is a "slow drama/character piece with some horror elements crammed into the last seven minutes." Those seven minutes are worth it, mind, I just want you to know what you're in store for if you're fixin' to check this one out. Then again, The Attic boasts a scene where a showercap-wearing Ray Milland sits in a bathtub with a Reader's Digest propped in front of him and a bowl of spiced gum drops at his side. That's what really makes it worth it as far as I'm concerned.

VHS Week Day 13: THE ATTIC (1980)


A suicidal, depressed librarian. An abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. A chimpanzee in a sailor suit. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Ugh, stupid Final Girl...clickbait goes in the headline, not in the post itself. This will never go viral now!

Meet Louise (Carrie Snodgress), our suicidal, depressed librarian. She spends her days kind of hating her job–the books...they look at her sometimes and so she tries to burn the place down. She spends her nights crying over the man who left her at the altar years before and taking care of her father, Wendel (Ray Milland), our abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. Louise's life is a big, drab, sad mess, but that doesn't mean it's without some bright spots: alcohol, one night stands, and her coworker Emily. The women strike up a friendship that's equal parts support and pity; Emily feels sorry for Louise and tries to nudge her out of her drudgery, while Louise tries to save Emily from falling into the same. Louise buys Emily a one-way ticket to California so she can escape her domineering mother and marry her love, Emily buys Louise a chimpanzee. You know. Friendship!

Wendel loathes pretty much everything, but he loathes his daughter and her chimp most of all. Horror fans know this is all gonna come to a head at some point, right? Like, maybe Dickie the Chimp will attack Wendel and then, having acquired a taste for human flesh, he will totally flip out and eat everyone in Wichita, Kansas?

Look, I'm not going to spoil the end of this movie, even though it's like 70 years old, but I will let you know that Dickie the Chimp does not flip out, so don't get your hopes up. But don't worry! The ending still packs a serious wallop. A seriously depressing wallop. We've all seen some depressing endings before (even during this never-ending VHS Week!), but lawd-a-mighty, The Attic might just take the cake. And then it throws the cake into the void of existential despair, and then you jump in after it not because you can't bear to see a cake go to waste (even though that's true), but because everything is terrible and life is cruel and what does everything even matter.


Don't get me wrong–the entire GD movie is depressing! Loneliness, alienation, lives spent lost and adrift...this is by no means a light watch, even if the film's incongruous musical cues and bizarre jokes sometimes give it the feel of one. A better life for Louise seems to be just out of reach, and you desperately hope she'll get there, but this is a horror film, not a life-affirming yogurt love journey movie.

From time to time, though, you might find yourself wondering if The Attic is a horror movie. It's not so much a "slow burn" as it is a "slow drama/character piece with some horror elements crammed into the last seven minutes." Those seven minutes are worth it, mind, I just want you to know what you're in store for if you're fixin' to check this one out. Then again, The Attic boasts a scene where a showercap-wearing Ray Milland sits in a bathtub with a Reader's Digest propped in front of him and a bowl of spiced gum drops at his side. That's what really makes it worth it as far as I'm concerned.

VHS Week Day 13: THE ATTIC (1980)


A suicidal, depressed librarian. An abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. A chimpanzee in a sailor suit. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Ugh, stupid Final Girl...clickbait goes in the headline, not in the post itself. This will never go viral now!

Meet Louise (Carrie Snodgress), our suicidal, depressed librarian. She spends her days kind of hating her job–the books...they look at her sometimes and so she tries to burn the place down. She spends her nights crying over the man who left her at the altar years before and taking care of her father, Wendel (Ray Milland), our abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. Louise's life is a big, drab, sad mess, but that doesn't mean it's without some bright spots: alcohol, one night stands, and her coworker Emily. The women strike up a friendship that's equal parts support and pity; Emily feels sorry for Louise and tries to nudge her out of her drudgery, while Louise tries to save Emily from falling into the same. Louise buys Emily a one-way ticket to California so she can escape her domineering mother and marry her love, Emily buys Louise a chimpanzee. You know. Friendship!

Wendel loathes pretty much everything, but he loathes his daughter and her chimp most of all. Horror fans know this is all gonna come to a head at some point, right? Like, maybe Dickie the Chimp will attack Wendel and then, having acquired a taste for human flesh, he will totally flip out and eat everyone in Wichita, Kansas?

Look, I'm not going to spoil the end of this movie, even though it's like 70 years old, but I will let you know that Dickie the Chimp does not flip out, so don't get your hopes up. But don't worry! The ending still packs a serious wallop. A seriously depressing wallop. We've all seen some depressing endings before (even during this never-ending VHS Week!), but lawd-a-mighty, The Attic might just take the cake. And then it throws the cake into the void of existential despair, and then you jump in after it not because you can't bear to see a cake go to waste (even though that's true), but because everything is terrible and life is cruel and what does everything even matter.


Don't get me wrong–the entire GD movie is depressing! Loneliness, alienation, lives spent lost and adrift...this is by no means a light watch, even if the film's incongruous musical cues and bizarre jokes sometimes give it the feel of one. A better life for Louise seems to be just out of reach, and you desperately hope she'll get there, but this is a horror film, not a life-affirming yogurt love journey movie.

From time to time, though, you might find yourself wondering if The Attic is a horror movie. It's not so much a "slow burn" as it is a "slow drama/character piece with some horror elements crammed into the last seven minutes." Those seven minutes are worth it, mind, I just want you to know what you're in store for if you're fixin' to check this one out. Then again, The Attic boasts a scene where a showercap-wearing Ray Milland sits in a bathtub with a Reader's Digest propped in front of him and a bowl of spiced gum drops at his side. That's what really makes it worth it as far as I'm concerned.

VHS Week Day 13: THE ATTIC (1980)


A suicidal, depressed librarian. An abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. A chimpanzee in a sailor suit. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Ugh, stupid Final Girl...clickbait goes in the headline, not in the post itself. This will never go viral now!

Meet Louise (Carrie Snodgress), our suicidal, depressed librarian. She spends her days kind of hating her job–the books...they look at her sometimes and so she tries to burn the place down. She spends her nights crying over the man who left her at the altar years before and taking care of her father, Wendel (Ray Milland), our abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. Louise's life is a big, drab, sad mess, but that doesn't mean it's without some bright spots: alcohol, one night stands, and her coworker Emily. The women strike up a friendship that's equal parts support and pity; Emily feels sorry for Louise and tries to nudge her out of her drudgery, while Louise tries to save Emily from falling into the same. Louise buys Emily a one-way ticket to California so she can escape her domineering mother and marry her love, Emily buys Louise a chimpanzee. You know. Friendship!

Wendel loathes pretty much everything, but he loathes his daughter and her chimp most of all. Horror fans know this is all gonna come to a head at some point, right? Like, maybe Dickie the Chimp will attack Wendel and then, having acquired a taste for human flesh, he will totally flip out and eat everyone in Wichita, Kansas?

Look, I'm not going to spoil the end of this movie, even though it's like 70 years old, but I will let you know that Dickie the Chimp does not flip out, so don't get your hopes up. But don't worry! The ending still packs a serious wallop. A seriously depressing wallop. We've all seen some depressing endings before (even during this never-ending VHS Week!), but lawd-a-mighty, The Attic might just take the cake. And then it throws the cake into the void of existential despair, and then you jump in after it not because you can't bear to see a cake go to waste (even though that's true), but because everything is terrible and life is cruel and what does everything even matter.


Don't get me wrong–the entire GD movie is depressing! Loneliness, alienation, lives spent lost and adrift...this is by no means a light watch, even if the film's incongruous musical cues and bizarre jokes sometimes give it the feel of one. A better life for Louise seems to be just out of reach, and you desperately hope she'll get there, but this is a horror film, not a life-affirming yogurt love journey movie.

From time to time, though, you might find yourself wondering if The Attic is a horror movie. It's not so much a "slow burn" as it is a "slow drama/character piece with some horror elements crammed into the last seven minutes." Those seven minutes are worth it, mind, I just want you to know what you're in store for if you're fixin' to check this one out. Then again, The Attic boasts a scene where a showercap-wearing Ray Milland sits in a bathtub with a Reader's Digest propped in front of him and a bowl of spiced gum drops at his side. That's what really makes it worth it as far as I'm concerned.

VHS Week Day 13: THE ATTIC (1980)


A suicidal, depressed librarian. An abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. A chimpanzee in a sailor suit. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Ugh, stupid Final Girl...clickbait goes in the headline, not in the post itself. This will never go viral now!

Meet Louise (Carrie Snodgress), our suicidal, depressed librarian. She spends her days kind of hating her job–the books...they look at her sometimes and so she tries to burn the place down. She spends her nights crying over the man who left her at the altar years before and taking care of her father, Wendel (Ray Milland), our abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. Louise's life is a big, drab, sad mess, but that doesn't mean it's without some bright spots: alcohol, one night stands, and her coworker Emily. The women strike up a friendship that's equal parts support and pity; Emily feels sorry for Louise and tries to nudge her out of her drudgery, while Louise tries to save Emily from falling into the same. Louise buys Emily a one-way ticket to California so she can escape her domineering mother and marry her love, Emily buys Louise a chimpanzee. You know. Friendship!

Wendel loathes pretty much everything, but he loathes his daughter and her chimp most of all. Horror fans know this is all gonna come to a head at some point, right? Like, maybe Dickie the Chimp will attack Wendel and then, having acquired a taste for human flesh, he will totally flip out and eat everyone in Wichita, Kansas?

Look, I'm not going to spoil the end of this movie, even though it's like 70 years old, but I will let you know that Dickie the Chimp does not flip out, so don't get your hopes up. But don't worry! The ending still packs a serious wallop. A seriously depressing wallop. We've all seen some depressing endings before (even during this never-ending VHS Week!), but lawd-a-mighty, The Attic might just take the cake. And then it throws the cake into the void of existential despair, and then you jump in after it not only because you can't bear to see a cake go to waste, but also because everything is terrible and life is cruel and what does anything even matter.


Don't get me wrong–it's not just the ending. The entire GD movie is depressing! Loneliness, alienation, lives spent lost and adrift...this is by no means a light watch, even if the film's incongruous musical cues and bizarre jokes sometimes give it the feel of one. A better life for Louise seems to be just out of reach, and you desperately hope she'll get there, but this is a horror film, not a life-affirming yogurt love journey movie.

From time to time, though, you might find yourself wondering if The Attic really is a horror movie. It's not so much a "slow burn" as it is a "slow drama/character piece with some horror elements crammed into the last seven minutes." Those seven minutes are worth it, mind, I just want you to know what you're in store for if you're fixin' to check this one out. Then again, The Attic boasts a scene where a showercap-wearing Ray Milland sits in a bathtub with a Reader's Digest propped in front of him and a bowl of spiced gum drops at his side. That's what really makes watching it worth your time as far as I'm concerned.

VHS Week Day 13: THE ATTIC (1980)


A suicidal, depressed librarian. An abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. A chimpanzee in a sailor suit. YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Ugh, stupid Final Girl...clickbait goes in the headline, not in the post itself. This will never go viral now!

Meet Louise (Carrie Snodgress), our suicidal, depressed librarian. She spends her days kind of hating her job–the books...they look at her sometimes and so she tries to burn the place down. She spends her nights crying over the man who left her at the altar years before and taking care of her father, Wendel (Ray Milland), our abusive curmudgeon in a wheelchair. Louise's life is a big, drab, sad mess, but that doesn't mean it's without some bright spots: alcohol, one night stands, and her coworker Emily. The women strike up a friendship that's equal parts support and pity; Emily feels sorry for Louise and tries to nudge her out of her drudgery, while Louise tries to save Emily from falling into the same. Louise buys Emily a one-way ticket to California so she can escape her domineering mother and marry her love, Emily buys Louise a chimpanzee. You know. Friendship!

Wendel loathes pretty much everything, but he loathes his daughter and her chimp most of all. Horror fans know this is all gonna come to a head at some point, right? Like, maybe Dickie the Chimp will attack Wendel and then, having acquired a taste for human flesh, he will totally flip out and eat everyone in Wichita, Kansas?

Look, I'm not going to spoil the end of this movie, even though it's like 70 years old, but I will let you know that Dickie the Chimp does not flip out, so don't get your hopes up. But don't worry! The ending still packs a serious wallop. A seriously depressing wallop. We've all seen some depressing endings before (even during this never-ending VHS Week!), but lawd-a-mighty, The Attic might just take the cake. And then it throws the cake into the void of existential despair, and then you jump in after it not only because you can't bear to see a cake go to waste, but also because everything is terrible and life is cruel and what does anything even matter.


Don't get me wrong–it's not just the ending. The entire GD movie is depressing! Loneliness, alienation, lives spent lost and adrift...this is by no means a light watch, even if the film's incongruous musical cues and bizarre jokes sometimes give it the feel of one. A better life for Louise seems to be just out of reach, and you desperately hope she'll get there, but this is a horror film, not a life-affirming yogurt love journey movie.

From time to time, though, you might find yourself wondering if The Attic really is a horror movie. It's not so much a "slow burn" as it is a "slow drama/character piece with some horror elements crammed into the last seven minutes." Those seven minutes are worth it, mind, I just want you to know what you're in store for if you're fixin' to check this one out. Then again, The Attic boasts a scene where a showercap-wearing Ray Milland sits in a bathtub with a Reader's Digest propped in front of him and a bowl of spiced gum drops at his side. That's what really makes watching it worth your time as far as I'm concerned.

VHS Week Day 12: THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971)


I knew nothing about The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave going into it, but I certainly had some expectations thanks to the awful label on this VHS edition. Every single thing about it screams EXPLOITATION WITH TEN EXCLAMATION MARKS. It's distributed by Something Weird Video, purveyors of cult garbage; it's endorsed (somehow? I guess?) by Frank Henenlotter, writer/director of cult garbage (Frankenhooker, Basket Case); it's a SEXY SHOCKER for ADULTS ONLY. I found myself anticipating something along the lines of Nude for Satan: crazy sexy EuroSleaze. But my friends, Evelyn is not that. I have been misled! Which is a shame, because my brain spent too long going "Where is the crazy sexy EuroSleaze?" before realizing that the videotape lied. Ah, horror movie advertising, messing things up again. ("PREACH!" - Crimson Peak "I FEEL YOU, GURL!" - Bug '06)

Side note one: please know that when I say "cult garbage" it is not disparaging, but rather meant with all the love my cold, black heart can muster.

Side note two: "Crazy Sexy EuroSleaze" is my favorite TLC album.

The Night Evelyn Really Needed Some Moisturizer But Her Hair Looked Pretty Good All Things Considered

Lord Alan Cunningham is a wealthy playboy with a bit of a problem: he just can't stop murdering redheaded prostitutes! They remind him of his dead wife Evelyn, you see, who cheated on him and died in childbirth. He's tried just about everything to cure himself, from psychiatry to séances, but nothing works. As a last resort, he marries a woman with blonde hair. That should work, right? Never mind that they will be living in the castle he shared with Evelyn, that Evelyn's brother still lives there too, and that there is a big portrait of Evelyn in the master bedroom. The new wife is blonde! Evelyn will be forgotten in no time.

Evelyn, however, is done with all that going quietly into that good night shit. She's, you know, come out of the grave to drive Alan mad and to kill kill KILL!

Maybe. The story twists and turns and we're kept guessing if Evelyn is really back, if she's Alan's guilt made real or imagined, or if she's something else entirely. "People who are supposed to be dead may not be dead" and "let's scare the protagonist to death" are two of my favorite horror subgenres, and Evelyn wraps 'em up in a stylish gothic giallo package.

There is a hint of EuroSleaze: some delightfully weird strip numbers, plenty of bare breasts, the kind of sex scene where naked people just roll around together, and a little whipping in Alan's Torture Dungeon for Prostitutes. But "SEXY SHOCKER" and "ADULTS ONLY" are pure hyperbole, for it's all quite tame, sort of PG-with-boobs. Not that this is a problem, since I wasn't really in the mood for "man explicitly beats and murders hookers." Not that I'm ever really in the mood for that, but you know what I'm saying. Ultimately Evelyn is a very late night horror movie/drive-in feeling flick that boasts more than a few memorable moments. It's worth a look, especially if you know what you'll be lookin' at.

VHS Week Day 12: THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE (1971)


I knew nothing about The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave going into it, but I certainly had some expectations thanks to the awful label on this VHS edition. Every single thing about it screams EXPLOITATION WITH TEN EXCLAMATION MARKS. It's distributed by Something Weird Video, purveyors of cult garbage; it's endorsed (somehow? I guess?) by Frank Henenlotter, writer/director of cult garbage (Frankenhooker, Basket Case); it's a SEXY SHOCKER for ADULTS ONLY. I found myself anticipating something along the lines of Nude for Satan: crazy sexy EuroSleaze. But my friends, Evelyn is not that. I have been misled! Which is a shame, because my brain spent too long going "Where is the crazy sexy EuroSleaze?" before realizing that the videotape lied. Ah, horror movie advertising, messing things up again. ("PREACH!" - Crimson Peak "I FEEL YOU, GURL!" - Bug '06)

Side note one: please know that when I say "cult garbage" it is not disparaging, but rather meant with all the love my cold, black heart can muster.

Side note two: "Crazy Sexy EuroSleaze" is my favorite TLC album.

The Night Evelyn Really Needed Some Moisturizer But Her Hair Looked Pretty Good All Things Considered

Lord Alan Cunningham is a wealthy playboy with a bit of a problem: he just can't stop murdering redheaded prostitutes! They remind him of his dead wife Evelyn, you see, who cheated on him and died in childbirth. He's tried just about everything to cure himself, from psychiatry to séances, but nothing works. As a last resort, he marries a woman with blonde hair. That should work, right? Never mind that they will be living in the castle he shared with Evelyn, that Evelyn's brother still lives there too, and that there is a big portrait of Evelyn in the master bedroom. The new wife is blonde! Evelyn will be forgotten in no time.

Evelyn, however, is done with all that going quietly into that good night shit. She's, you know, come out of the grave to drive Alan mad and to kill kill KILL!

Maybe. The story twists and turns and we're kept guessing if Evelyn is really back, if she's Alan's guilt made real or imagined, or if she's something else entirely. "People who are supposed to be dead may not be dead" and "let's scare the protagonist to death" are two of my favorite horror subgenres, and Evelyn wraps 'em up in a stylish gothic giallo package.

There is a hint of EuroSleaze: some delightfully weird strip numbers, plenty of bare breasts, the kind of sex scene where naked people just roll around together, and a little whipping in Alan's Torture Dungeon for Prostitutes. But "SEXY SHOCKER" and "ADULTS ONLY" are pure hyperbole, for it's all quite tame, sort of PG-with-boobs. Not that this is a problem, since I wasn't really in the mood for "man explicitly beats and murders hookers." Not that I'm ever really in the mood for that, but you know what I'm saying. Ultimately Evelyn is a very late night horror movie/drive-in feeling flick that boasts more than a few memorable moments. It's worth a look, especially if you know what you'll be lookin' at.