Sunday, February 27, 2022

We Interrupt This Broadcast for a Special Announcement...


Hey, hey, Horror Nuts!  Welcome to another edition of WTFHM!

So, this week was supposed to wrap out the Black History Month/Chinese New Year edition of WTFHM and, to my credit, I did attempt to watch Midnight Melody as promised. But, I ran into a few problems.

Okay, not that many, but they still were enough to keep me from watching the movie. 

For one thing, as it turns out Midnight Melody is my first low-budget A-Horror movie...well, the first one in a long time anyway. As you might know, if you've been following this blog for a while, B-movies of all kinds are welcome at my table.

But I mention the low quality for a reason. See, this movie was available in only two places: Tubi and Amazon Prime for 3.99. Again, not a dealbreaker for me either way, but, I'm getting to it.

So, I find the movie on Tubi and start watching it and I notice that not only is this a low-budget flick, it's pretty bad. At least I think it is. As it happens, Tubi must use Google Translate for their subtitling because I could barely follow what was going on.

And then the subtitles broke altogether halfway through, so, yeah.

I had the choice between paying 3 dollars to watch it on Amazon Prime or just review another movie. So...

This week's movie!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre starring Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore, Moe Dunford, Olwen Fouere, Jessica Allain, Nell Hudson, Alice Krige, and William Hope.

Oh, and the dude from Night Court narrated the beginning. John Larroquette. This guy:

(Fun fact!  He was the narrator in the original movie!)

Okay, so before we get into the synopsis, allow me to remind you guys that I am not a fan of reboots/remakes/reimagines in general, but I have been proven wrong about a lot of them so I'm usually willing to give them a chance...particularly with this one. I'm saying, the trailer was all the way live.

So, yeah, I felt more obligated than anything to check this one out and...well...let's get on with it.

Once upon a time a bunch of hipsters in a van decide they want to renovate a ghost town so that they can have their own little hipster city in which to live their own peaceful hipster lives. 

And really, say what you want about hipsters, I'm not mad at it. Fundamentally, nothing wrong with wanting to build your happy place.

The problem comes when they discover an old woman and her son are still living in one of the houses. They call the police and drag the woman out. The woman has a heart attack and dies and her son decides to seek revenge and THAT, folks, is what happens when you're like "Leatherface needs a better backstory!"

My face once I realized where they were going with this:

Anyway, this is a slasher movie, so let's do a round of BloodBoobsBody Count, and Bad Acting.

1. Blood -- A+

There were buckets and buckets of blood in this one. Like every slasher film worth their salt, there were practically oceans of blood flowing through this movie.  The gore was top tier and all things considered, I'm here for it.

2. Boobs -- F+

This is 2022 people. We don't do gratuitous nudity in horror very much anymore.  That's right. Not a tit in sight in this one. To be fair, I don't think there were any tits in the original either, so there's that.

3. Body Count -- A+

So, IMDB puts the body count at 16, but there had to be more in my opinion. At one point, Leatherface takes out a literal busload of people, so...yeah. 

That scene had the best moment in the whole movie, though:

If there is some kind of commentary happening in this movie, it was lost on me...except for that part.

4. Bad Acting -- D-

I mean, no oscar winners in this cast or anything, but they didn't do half bad in terms of acting. I wasn't really expecting much, though. I think I'd have been fine with terrible acting.

So, the big, big question is that is this a reboot/remake/reimagining that I can get with.  The answer is...

I'm not gonna raspberry it, though. Clearly, somebody involved in making this movie had enough horror movie chops to pull off some really great scenes, but the vision of the original point of this franchise was just lost.

I realize I'm starting to sound like one of those gatekeeping purists, but hear me out. The reason why the original is a classic is that nobody made a horror movie quite like it before that. It was innovated for about a dozen different reasons. Horror nuts in the movie-making industry still cite it as an influence for their work.

So that being said, no. Not gonna give it a jewel. To be honest, I don't even want to give it a pink jewel, but here we are:

Next week's movie!  The Privilege! A Netflix horror movie.  Let's see how good it is!  See you next week!


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Hey, Google? Are There Black People in The Appalachians?


Hey, hey, Horror Nuts!  Welcome to another edition of WTFHM!

So, of all the things I have ever wondered about, I don't think I've ever wondered as to whether or not there were black folks in the Appalachians.

That's not to say that I didn't think that there were any black folks in the Appalachians...

Okay, that's exactly what I'm saying. 

I'm sorry, I realize how ignorant that sounds. Especially knowing that in 2022, yes, of course, there are black folks everywhere in the world. All I'm saying is that I'm also aware of the fact that there are spaces that...well...the surrounding population has made relatively clear we're not exactly welcome.

But, after a cursory Google search, I learned a little about the black folks in the Appalachians, and like just about every place in America, the Appalachians have always had residents of color (not just black) dating all the way back to the days of enslavement. 

And with all that, came their culture...including folk magic. Speaking of folk magic, this week's movie!

Spell starring Omari Hardwick, Miss Loretta Devine, Lorraine Burroughs, Hannah Gonera, Kalifa Burton, John Beasley, and Tumisho Masha.  

So, once upon a time, a lawyer named Marquis T. Woods (Hardwick) is living his rich dude life with his rich dude family when, one day, he gets a letter saying that his dad passed away. 

Marquis T. Woods then decides that he needs to fly himself and his bougie family in his personal single-engine bucket back home to the Appalachians. Which is all fine and good until the plane crashes.

Sometime later, Marquis T. Woods wakes up with a busted leg with a little old lady taking care of a scene that looks really familiar. I can't quite put my finger on it, though...

Anyway, he spends the rest of the movie trying to escape and along the way, finds out that little old Eloise(Devine) leads a Hoodoo cult and, apparently, is planning on chopping him up and grinding his bones to make her bread or whatever.

That's basically the movie in a nutshell. Like I can go into details, but 

So, there are a few notes for this movie that have me kind of split in terms of how I want to rate this.  Let's start with the good.

The Good

1. I Got Two Words For You: Loretta Motherfucking Devine

That's it. That's the tweet.

If you don't know who this actress is, I highly recommend you educate yourself immediately.  There are very few actresses I've ever seen that have been able to pull off the balance between sweet as pie/evil as fuck persona as perfectly as Devine consistently does in this movie. Every second she was on screen I felt like I was a little kid worried if I was about to get a cookie or a spanking.

If there was any universal good in this whole movie, it was this woman.

2. Let's hear it for Horror Noire!

You know, in 2022, there are still people out there that are like, "Wait...there are good horror movies with all-black casts?"  Yes. Yes, there is. And if you've been following this blog for any length of time, I don't have to tell you that.

And all things considered, there are some pretty great legit horror moments in this movie that are worth watching.

3. The Guy to Watch

So, as it turns out, I've seen quite a bit of Tonderai's work.  He's directed episodes of Lucifer, Dr. Who, and Castle Rock. He also directed House at the End of The Street and Hush. With that resume, I wouldn't go so far as to say he's an up-and-comer, but he's definitely the guy to watch out there.

And now...

The Bad

1. Dear White Writer telling Black Stories...

So, while I was watching this, I noticed that our protag was making really out of 'character' decisions, even for a horror movie. Like, I realize that more times than not, horror movie protagonists make dumb choices instead of the right ones because, well, how else can the story happen?

I mean, yes, horror is not Shakespeare and, you know me, I rarely give bad marks for that unless it's just out of control.  In this case, I started to notice that Marquis T. Woods just isn't making instinctively choices that...well...a person of color might make in his situation.

This is a hard thing to pinpoint if you don't know. It's like, you know how Jada Pinkett-Smith in Scream 2 goes on and on about how white folks in horror movies "run up the stairs instead of out the back door". It's kind of like that. 

And over the years, with more black screenwriters and directors at the helm, I've noticed that black protags are making decisions and choices that are more natural, which for us black folks watching, makes the scares harder to dismiss.

(I mean, those choices probably won't save them because it is a horror movie, but still.) 

The writer of this one was Kurt Wimmer, who also wrote some pretty good movies such as Equilibrium, an arguably good film.  This one, though...

I don't know. Like I said, it's hard to put your finger on. All I can say is that as a writer, I've always counseled against writing about worlds you don't know, which is unfortunate because it's the only thing wrong with this movie. 

Anyway, the point is a black voice was needed in the writing of this story. The director cleaned it up as best he could though, so for that:

I mean, at the end of the day, I was still entertained. I still enjoyed the horror of the movie and all things considered, this is one I would recommend for your Black History Month Watch list.

So. Next week! We're ending this month with a little Midnight Melody! See you next week!


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Getting Mind Spanked on a Bridge


Hey, hey, Horror Nuts!  Welcome to another edition of WTFHM!

So, this week, we're covering the good old fashioned Asian-ghost-girl-curse movie with a side of mindfuckery, which is a thing I had no idea I needed until now.  Because while I, for one, love a good Asian-ghost-girl-curse movie as much as the next girl, I really love a good twisty type plot to go with it.  Because folks, if I'd said it once, I've said it a million times:

And in the way of movies, it's one of the things that I look for, more or less in a lot of movies. Mostly because I like being surprised by them, which, these days, is kind of tricky...mostly because I watch too many horror movies.

But if you can get me, even a little bit, then that's a thing I'm usually into. Anyway...

This week's movie!

The Bridge Curse starring Ning Chang, Cheng Ko, J.C. Lin., Summer Meng, Vera Yen, Wa-Ru Zen...and...

We're totally missing at least one more name, but that was all IMDB had on this one, so, yeah.

Aaanyway...quick synop time!

Once upon a time there were some college friends who decided to do a "courage test" on the infamous cursed bridge near their university. See, the bridge was cursed by a young woman who killed herself after being dumped by her boyfriend. 

So, the test goes like this. One guy sits on the bridge blindfolded. He's sitting on a chair that's rigged with a bell and when his friends ring the bell, he's supposed to walk across the bridge and up the stairs without turning around. And this all has to happen on a leap year day at midnight. The friends of course do this and, of course, systematically get picked off.

So, this movie has all your typical ghost girl scares that we've all come to expect. Ghostly long haired spooky girl, lots of water, wet hair in drains and spreading around walls and ceilings. Pretty garden variety stuff.

Where this movie shines is in the presentation.  The special effects were pretty chilling to be honest.

The mindfuckery comes in the storytelling. We learn about the friends from two different perspectives and timelines. Given that the curse happens every leap year, or ever four years, we're introduced to the story by a reporter investigating the last known case back in 2016.

The story is also told from the perspective of the victims. We follow them as they live the terror in past and the reporter investigates in present day.  And that's the way it goes until, well...we find out that the curse is, well, an actual curse.

Remember that time you watched
The Ring for the first time and when the protag laid little Samara (or Sadako, depending on which version you saw) to rest and you thought, "Oh, great! The ghost is happy now and the problem is solved and everyone can live happily ever after" and then this happened:

And then your stomach dropped because you realized that what the protags were actually dealing with was an ACTUAL CURSE AND CURSES DON'T JUST GO AWAY CUZ YOUR NICE TO THEM.

I mean, yeah, I know, with this movie, we did see it on the door on the way in being that it's called The Bridge Curse, but still.

This is one movie I don't want to spoil for you guys. Like, it seems pretty straight forward for most of the movie, but that last act hits like a ton of bricks and if I had to put it all together, I'm not doing it alone.

So, the big question.  Did I like this one?  Well, yes!  Of course I did.

This was a nice surprise. I mean, it isn't without it's plot holes, of course, but as I've said many times before, this is horror and:

And for what it is, it's still pretty good.

Next week's Movie! After looking at the guy looking back at me from the movie poster for weeks on Hulu, we're checking out Spell!  

See you next week!