Review of “Taaqtumi”

My review of Taaqtumi: An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories is up at Cyn’s Workshop!

Halloween Meets Freaks in Josh Hasty’s Candy Corn [Review]

Halloween meets Freaks in Josh Hasty’s second feature, Candy Corn. The film tells the story of Jacob (Nate Chaney), an intellectually disabled young man who works as part of a “freak show.” Every Halloween, Mike (Jimothy Beckholt) and his friends beat Jacob as a “prank.” Even though they’re getting older, Mike insists that “This is a tradition… the usual Halloween hazing.” Recalling the classic Christopher Walken SNL sketch, they “prank” Jacob to death. Jacob’s ringmaster Dr. Death (Pancho Moler) casts a spell, resurrecting Jacob to avenge himself. ]

Candy Corn borrows much of its imagery from Halloween the holiday, the same well that Halloween the film drew from. Before each kill, Jacob’s victims spot his plastic jack-o-lantern. He leaves a piece (or in some cases a fistful) of candy corn around or in their bodies for the police to discover. Jacob’s spree cuts through a small American town where the leaves have begun to fall that looks a lot like Haddonfield, Illinois. His hulking mass and his mask also call back to Michael Myers. Candy Corn whiffs on the best part of Halloween, though. It’s missing the suspense. Once they see the jack-o-lantern, no one has the slightest chance of escaping. The engine that drives Halloween is that Michael’s victims can, and sometimes do, get away. Without that glimmer of hope, there’s no tension.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

One Cut of the Dead Exceeds Expectations [Review]

One Cut of the Dead opens with a character played by Chinatsu (Yuzuki Akiyama) leveling an axe at Ko’s character Ken (Kazuaki Nagaya). He’s a zombie, and she begs him, “Ken! Stop!” He hesitates. She professes her love. Then he bites into her neck. The director (Takayuki Hamatsu) calls cut, and the camera zooms out, revealing that all of this has taken place on the set of a movie.

The camera, without cutting, captures the director throwing a tantrum, “42nd take!?,” before storming off set. The young actors hang out with the makeup artist, who tells them that the “the Japanese army used [the set] for experimentation… like bringing the dead back to life.” Off screen, the director brings all of the blood from the film within the film to the roof and casts a spell to bring the zombies back. Zombies attack the set of a zombie film. Chaos ensues.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

The Dead Don’t Die Reheats Romero Leftovers [Blu-Ray Review]

Whether or not someone will like Jim Jarmsuch’s The Dead Don’t Die is predicated on whether or not they find deadpan reactions to zombies funny. The star-studded cast delivers nearly every line completely devoid of emotion. The joke is that the people of Centerville (Get it? They’re political centrists) are already zombies because of their political apathy. It would be much more incisive commentary if Shaun of the Dead hadn’t made the same joke fifteen years earlier. Nothing in The Dead Don’t Die is as funny or cutting as Nick Frost’s Ed frantically changing channels to get something more interesting than the news of the zombie uprising.

The Dead Don’t Die also takes aim at consumerism, having the zombies moan the one thing that they wanted most in life—“Coffee,” “Chardonnay,” “Free Cable” instead of “brains.” Ronnie (Adam Driver) helpfully points out “They gravitate toward things they did while they were alive,” which is echoing the line in Dawn of the Dead explaining why the zombies came to the mall: “Some kind of instinct. Memory of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.” The problem for The Dead Don’t Die is that Dawn of the Dead, like Shaun of the Dead, was funnier and more incisive.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

Everything #1 is Missing Something [Comic Review]

Mystery can be a great way to drive a story forward. Not knowing who the killers are in Scream is the perfect ingredient to spice up an already great film. It’s human nature to want to know what happens next. It’s why we read and watch and listen to stories in the first place. The debut issue of Christopher Cantwell’s Everything leans a little too far into mystery though, leaving readers unsure of what to expect next.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!

Satanic Panic Scribe Grady Hendrix Wants Rich People to “Stop Acting Normal” [Interview]

Grady Hendrix is one of horror’s up-and-comping writers. He has ten books under his belt including at least three excellent novels—HorrorstörMy Best Friend’s Exorcism, and We Sold Our Souls—and the amazing horror novel history Paperbacks from Hell. In 2002 he founded the New York Asian Film Festival. In 2017 he co-wrote the screenplay for Mohawk with Ted Geoghegan. Frankly, it would be shorter to list the things he hasn’t done.

Most recently, we caught up with Hendrix to talk about his newest film Satanic Panic, which hits theaters and VOD on September 6th.

Read the full interview at Wicked Horror!

Clownado is an Unnatural Disaster [Review]

It isn’t the only clown horror hitting this week, but Part II is almost assuredly going to be the better one. Clownado comes to video on demand 9/3 and DVD 9/17. It tells the story of Ron (John O’Hara), a murderous clown. His girlfriend Savanna (Rachel Lagen) has been stepping out on him. She and her boyfriend are planning to rob Ron, but he and his posse of un-made up clowns catch them in the art.

The opening section, which takes up the first thirty minutes or so of the film, is inexplicably written as film noir, with characters delivering hackneyed lines like, “Stealing from the crooked ain’t the same as stealing from the proper” and calling each other “doll face.” It’s nearly a third of the film, and it has no tornadoes, and the clowns spend much of it without their makeup, and let’s be honest: this films draw is a tornado full of clowns.

Continue reading at Wicked Horror!