Dylan Baker

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Twenty-One – 10/21/18

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Vying for the title of “The Perfect Halloween movie,” the ascent of TRICK ‘R’ TREAT to top the lists of many horror fans, as their new favorite anthology ever (which Yours Cruelly completely agrees with) is yet another tale of one of those “Little Films That Could…And Did!”

Writer/director MICHAEL DOUGHERTY had one hell of an ally helping him get his movie made: his former boss, BRYAN SINGER, who agreed to produce it through his company, Bad Hat Harry Films. When Warner’s had no idea how to market it, they dumped it into theaters and then onto DVD, thinking it would sink without a trace. They were gravely mistaken. Word-of-mouth is a powerful form of communication among movie fans, and that’s how the scoop on TRICK ‘R’ TREAT went out. Soon the DVD began to develop a loyal following, which is how a sequel finally came to be greenlighted.

But enough backstory. The reason why anyone is talking about this great little gem of a holiday shocker is the story, and the wonderfully dark way in which it’s told.  It’s an anthology piece, but unlike most anthologies that have stand-alone stories all linked together by a single theme, like HOLIDAYS, for example, this one hearkens back more to a classic story collection like DEAD OF NIGHT, ASYLUM or TALES FROM THE CRYPT, typically in which a group of people are all held in a place where their stories unfold, one-by-one, and they all get terrifyingly closer to knowing why they’re there, and what their fates will be.

A young couple, Henry and Emma (TAHMOH PENIKETT and LESLIE BIBB) are returning from a party, in costume. While he enjoys everything about All Hallows’ Eve, she’s more of a Halloween “Grinch.” (In a story where such “Grinches” never fare well, as you’ll soon see).  As they return home, neither one of them knows that they’re being watched.  Or who is watching them…

In spite of his warnings to the contrary, Emma snuffs out the lit Jack O’Lantern in their yard before midnight…something you aren’t supposed to do. Henry, who’s already gone into the house, doesn’t realize that his girlfriend is about to pay the ultimate price for her holiday transgression. But when he comes back out, he discovers that she definitely has…in the most gruesome way possible.  And this is just the opening sequence!

Zombie ghosts, vampires, werewolves,  serial killers and “Sam” (QUINN LORD) – the cutest-yet-most-terrifying demonic presence ever to grace a movie screen all await you, in interlocking stories that follow the townsfolk as they celebrate Halloween…each in his or her own way. And the ‘monsters’ and these people, as well as the horrific secrets they have in common, are all revealed in a manner unlike many anthologies had attempted to carry through on, but the ones that followed TREAT got a clue from Dougherty’s deft storytelling skills pretty quickly, (example: the brilliantly hellish anthology, SOUTHBOUND.)  Murder, betrayal, revenge, retribution…all neatly tied up in a bag not unlike the one that little “Sam” has been known to carry…with blood dripping from the bottom!

The storytelling alone would be good enough for it to warrant the growing following it’s gotten since its release to DVD, but the cast being augmented by the talents of ANNA PAQUIN (before TRUE BLOOD), DYLAN BAKER and BRIAN COX certainly doesn’t hurt, (though the fates some characters suffer most certainly do!)

You could always do worse than this for a night of treat-laden terror! And fans have long been stoked about the news about that sequel, due out very soon!

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: Springing out to yell “BOO!” in 2007: GRINDHOUSE, REC, THE ORPHANAGE, INSIDE, 28 WEEKS LATER, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE MIST, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and Stephen King’s 1408!

Posted by Samuel Glass in ANTHOLOGY, EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES, 1 comment
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 5)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 5)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By Stephanie Roisland

May I start by saying that this idea and the person behind it (my husband John Roisland) fucking suck. This is way harder than anticipated. I enjoy greatly far too many films and could go on for days about my passion for them. So this gave me a headache and made my anxiety rise while trying to select my top five. I thought about posting the titles based off of my roots and what brought me to love horror - films such as Attack of the killer Tomatoes, The Hills Have Eyes, Halloween, Swamp Thing , and so on. I decided to post my go to movies, the ones I could watch over and over no matter the day. I hope you enjoy demons.

Feast l (2005), Feast ll (2008), and Feast lll (2009)

Fair use doctrine.I know this is kind of a cheat but if you watch one you go straight to the rest. Director John Gulager hit a home run with these beauties. If it was good enough for Jason Mewes, Henry Rollins, Carl Anthony, and Clu Gulager to sign on then you know it is a homerun. Made in 2005, 2008, and 2009, these fantastic B comedy horror films are about patrons of a bar and a local small town that must fight these horrible monsters, eating human flesh and multiplying like rabbits. So if you love sexy suicide girls, hungry monsters, and using a midget wrestlers' Spanish grandmother as monster bait, these movies are totally for you.

The Devils Rejects (2005)

 

Fair use doctrine.I absolutely love the twisted joy this film brings out in the characters. Rob Zombie hit a home run here with me. This family of demented murderers’ home was attacked by the police, headed by Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe). You almost feel pity for these murderous, depraved folks as their family is shot down and separated. You soon learn that this group of deranged killers is strong and proud of their slaughtering ways and love to see others suffer. In the end, this is a Police vs. Murderers showdown that forever makes epic history in my mind. Free Bird will never be the same!

Frontier(s)(2007)

Fair use doctrine.

This beautifully directed film by Xavier Gens is set in Paris. A young girl, is trying to get away after she pulls a heist with her ex. Pregnant, scared, and blocked by the police from crossing the border, they find refuge at a small, quaint inn. Little do they know, they should have just took their chances with the cops. As her friends get murdered and start to be used for dinner, she realizes there is no way out. It is a good thing this cult family’s father becomes smitten with her beauty and her baby. She refused to be a breeding, human flesh eating, cult wife and must take them all out in order to survive. Stripped of her hair, the father of her child, her dignity and her emotional virginity, she finds the strength to take them all out in a (rain) of blood and gun fire but what she leaves behind could haunt her forever.

Martyrs (2008)

Fair use doctrine.In this emotionally stunning masterpiece by Pascal Laugier, presented by Richard Grandpierre, this foreign film blows your previous idea of horror right out the damn window. In this chilling tale, an anonymous group uses disposable people to achieve the ever seeking emotional state of a matyr. Never before had a woman let go, giving up all fight to the cause, until now. Two young friends, Hell-bent on finding revenge for the misdoings done to one of them as a child, find themselves in terror of no end. One is killed and the other is chosen to become the one - the one to tell, the one to see, the one to give up all hope in order to know what is on the other side. When you let go of hope, endure all pain beyond all other, give yourself to the end, a martyr you will be. Bloody brilliant and an unforgettable journey.

Trick 'r Treat (2007)

Fair use doctrine.

Any day of the week, I could watch this amazing movie. This exquisite little masterpiece by writer/director Michael Dougherty, sucks in the whole family. The trick’r’treating little demon in a cute burlap mask is just one of the four interwoven tales set on Halloween night. Werewolves, murderers, and tricksters, oh my. There’s a child's story of a bus murder come to life but the good girl becomes the bad girl and wins in the end. The bus driver, now an old man, becomes victim of the demon who wants candy, the heart of Halloween if you will. Another story tells of how the local principal, a mass murderer, passing on his wicked ways to his son becomes prey. And the tale of a beautiful girl who is becoming a woman and is making her first time a time to remember and a time he will wish he could forget. The film brings actors Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Brian Cox and so many more to life in this Halloween must have.
Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in STAFF PICKS, 1 comment