Sunday, April 24, 2022

Have Yourself A Toxic Mother's Day


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

This one goes out to the toxic parents out there. Yeah. I'm talking to you.  What the hell is wrong with y'all?

And that is not a rhetorical question. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!

Like, okay, you know that the little human that fate has put you in charge of is, like, human. Just smaller and more helpless than you...right? They're not the reason he/she left you or the reason your car won't start. They don't cry to punish you for your stretch marks. I mean...

Look, I know there are a lot of people out there that have real-world problems that are hard to deal with, but if those real-world problems make you think that it's okay to take it out on your kid...???

Seek help. Immediately. In the meantime, let's talk about This Week's Movie:

Umma starring Sandra Oh, Fivel Stewart, Dermot Mulroney, Odeya Rush, MeeWha Alana Lee, and Tom Yi.

This is Amanda(Oh). Amanda is a single mother and owns a pretty successful beekeeping business with her daughter Chris(Stewart).

Amanda has some issues. Specifically with electricity. She really can't deal with it. Thunderstorms freak her out. She doesn't have any electricity in the house and, in fact, she's banned it from her farm.

Like if you go to visit her, you gotta leave your phone in the car...and you gotta park your car a ways away and walk up to the house because there's a sign saying:

Anyway, one day, a car comes barrelling onto the farm. The driver turns out to be Amanda's Uncle Kang(Yi), who came straight from Korea to see her. After spending the first few minutes of seeing his niece for the first time in who knows how long judging her, he gives her the news that her mother passed away and he's brought her an eerie suitcase. She promptly throws him out.

Meanwhile, Chris is feeling some type of way about living out in the sticks without electricity because, you know, she's a sane teenager. 

And all while Chris is starting to see glimpses of a normal life that she really, really wants to live, Amanda is becoming increasingly haunted by her dead mother. 

Which, admittedly, becomes an even bigger problem when Chris breaks into her mother's basement hidey-hole and finds the suitcase and all these items from Amanda's past life.

That forces Amanda to tell Chris about her mother...and about the fact that she lied to her about where she came from. Chris is upset about it, but, yeah, she deals with it. Mom also tells her that her mother was really abusive to her as a child (It's a bigger story than just that, but that's how it shakes out ultimately) and that's why she ran away. Understandable.

Everything's everything until Amanda has her friend/accounting guy Danny (Mulroney) over with his niece, River(Rush), and River pulls out a cell phone that she had on her the whole time.

Chris now doubts that her mother was ever sick from the electricity. She also finds that her college application is all messed up, so she confronts her. That goes really bad and Chris dips out.

Angry that the ghost of her mother has been messing with her and Chris and ruining their relationship, she buries her mother's picture and ashes and, given that in the rulebook of "Pissing off a Ghost 101" the first chapter specifically states not to dump the remains disrespectfully in a hole and bury them, it goes about how you'd expect.

Anyway, Umma gets the shit beat out of her and then choked out. Umma decides to take that opportunity to take over her body.

When Chris gets home, everything in the house is changed up. All the pictures are of her mother with Umma. When she finds her mother, her mother's, well...possessed. And Chris becomes aware very quickly that there was a very good reason why her mother dipped out and never looked back.

Yeah, so, Chris ends up battling her Umma/Mom and this thing:

(It's a dark picture, I know. It's a badly rendered fox with a lot of tails. There was no way I wasn't gonna mention that.)

Anyway, Amanda comes back to herself for a minute, then gets dragged into her mother's...consciousness(?) and confronts her mother, which...I wasn't really mad at.

I'm not mad at it because she does what a lot of us aren't really trying to do with our toxic parents. She just stands up to her.

She basically tells her, "Yeah, it sucks that you gave up your career and married a man who brought you to America, then left you. And it sucks that you ended up being a single mom and you couldn't speak English and couldn't get any help. But that doesn't mean you get to use me as a punching bag..."

She returns to the land of the living and she and Chris give her a proper burial ritual. Chris moves on with her life and goes to college and all is right with the world.

The moral of this story?  If your kids have stopped talking to you, get your ass into therapy. Take those meds and get your head straight. 

Real talk, therapy might be hard to do, but it's way easier than haunting your damn kids after you die.

I'm also gonna be a maverick and give this one a jewel.

I say maverick because apparently, no one else liked this one. Not sure why because, save the bad CGI Kumiho, this wasn't a bad horror movie by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn't gory and the scares were generally low level, but it wasn't bad

Like, I'd designate this one a high tier one in that I wouldn't show grandma (unless I didn't like her very much and I was trying to send a message), but it's not really nightmare-inducing enough for me to put it in the tier two category.

Annnyway, next week's movie is going to X. A movie combining horror and porn stars, something that has never been done before ever in the history of the world. *snicker*

See you next week!



Sunday, April 17, 2022

Twice as Hard, Half the Scares


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

For those of you out there that have been enjoying the surge of sociopolitical horror in the genre, do I have a movie for you...

With a caveat, that I'll get into a little later.

Ever since Jordan Peele kicked open a door that wasn't even locked and was more than slightly ajar (because, people, horror has always had sociopolitical themes), we've seen quite a few movies come about that are focusing hard on racism, sexism, and everything else that is wrong in our society.

And frankly, I'm here for it. Look, I'm old as hell. I lived through watching yuppy teenagers get their heads blown up in a shopping mall... 

...among other things. I'm not mad at the old-school horror movies, obviously, but a girl can only watch so much mindless horror over the course of a hundred and fifty years.

For the horror movie watcher that likes to think, I bring you this week's movie:

Master starring Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Julia Nightingale, Talia Ryder, Ella Hunt, Noa Fisher, Will Hochman, Talia Balsam, and Amber Gray

So, this movie follows two women - the new Master at a prestigious college and a young college freshman. Both of whom happen to be black.

And like most prestigious colleges, the staff and students are predominantly white.

The story follows them as they try to navigate existing in a mostly white space...

And there is a ghost haunting the college. Specifically, the room that our young college student Jasmine(Renee) is living in.

As Jasmine tries her best to fit in, she finds that she's starting to see things and sleepwalk. People that she thought were her friend aren't her friends and she's quickly becoming unraveled.

The interesting thing about this movie is that for about an hour (of the hour and a half runtime) we get a crash course in microaggressions, which, for me personally, is probably way scarier than any horror movie at times.

I mean, there are a few scenes where I was really worried for Jasmine's safety in particular. She goes to a party and is surrounded by white kids screaming a rap song that has the N-word in it...a librarian lobs no less than three "OMGYOURESUCHASMARTBLACK-GIRLTOBEATTHISCOLLEGEYOURFAMILYMUSTBESOPROOOOUUUUDDD!" type sentences and then stops her because she thinks she's stealing books...she wakes up from a nightmare where she's about to be hung by a monster only to wake up to her roommate standing over her...Walking into rooms with white kids staring at her...

Honestly...the anxiety of being black in a white space was the most terrifying thing about this movie. Master Bishop(Hall) has her share of scary shit happen to her as her house might actually be the only thing haunted on campus. But save some maggots and an encounter with a ghostly enslaved person, the actual spirits aren't the scary parts of this movie.

The racism is. Not saying that isn't valid, of course, but...

Let me just say this, first. This was a great movie. This is the kind of movie that I would show a class to discuss. I would readily do a presentation on this movie if we were discussing what it feels like to be a person of color in America...

I am hesitating to call it horror. I mean, it was horror in its construction. I saw plenty of shades of the classics like The Shining and The Haunting and about a dozen other ghostly horror movies...but you guys, I have to be real with you. I don't know that I would call this a horror movie in the conventional sense.

And I know there are a bunch of people out there that are ready to type out dissertations as to the nuances of racism in this movie and how that translates into horror, but, I don't know. Maybe I'm a basic bitch like that in that I just wanted more. Way more.

This is a movie for that friend of yours that only reads nonfiction books and is completely humorless about all things racist/sexist/whatever. Not putting them down, just saying there's a horror movie out there for everybody.

That being said, I think this movie still deserves a jewel, though. 

It was well done and I look forward to one day having collegiate-level discussions on this movie's message.

Anyway, next week! Umma, a movie I've literally been waiting for ages to watch.  See you next time!


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Five Nights in Nic Cage's Basement


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

So, when last we left you on WTFHM, I wanted to do the sequel to Orphan. As it turns out, though, while the interwebs said that it came out in January, that apparently was a lie. Which, for the moment, is fine as I wasn't all that jazzed to watch it anyway. (More on that if it ever comes out).

So, this week, I decided to review a Nic Cage horror movie mainly because if those words in that order don't make you at least a little bit curious, you might be a little dead inside. Or maybe just a little deader than me.

While I would love to get into a discussion as to whether or not Mr. Cage is a good actor or not (because I don't really know any more than you do), this review is going to be a lot less mentally taxing.

Without further ado, then, This week's movie!

Willy's Wonderland starring Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Beth Grant, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Caylee Cowan, Jonathan Mercedes, Terayle Hill, and Christian Delgrasso.

So, once upon a time, there was a Haunted Chuckee Cheese place called "Freddy Fazbear's Pizzaria," I mean, "Willy's Wonderland," where the animatronics come to life and murder people.

Because who would ever see that coming, right?

So, what are the townspeople to do but to try to sacrifice people who get stuck in the town to the animatronic monsters? Enter the strong and silent Drifter (Cage). They break his sweet Camaro and tell him if he spends the night cleaning the building, that'll cover the debt to repair his car.

You know...thinking that the animatronics will eat him and leave the townspeople alone. What actually happens:

But get this. THAT is the B-story of this particular movie. The A story is way less interesting.

This is Liv(Tosta). Liv hates Willy's Wonderland because of all the murder and sacrifice and stuff. She sets out to burn the building down with the help of her band of merry victims.


No, seriously. It's not even worth getting to know them because the animatronics pick them off in record time. 

Anyway, Liv tries to warn the Drifter, only to very quickly find out that he's doing just fine. He's even got time to actually clean the place and play some pinball on his breaks.

And dance. Also dance.

So, Liv is trying to escape and everything, but the sheriff (Grant) comes in and stops the Drifter with handcuffs and a backstory that we'd pretty much already guessed about why the animatronics are murdery and why he has to be the sacrifice...

Except that doesn't make any sense since he's doing a great job at getting rid of them.

Anyway, a couple of unnecessary lens flares later and her deputy's killed by a borderline racially offensive animatronic and the Drifter takes out two more of the monsters.

And how does this whole thing wrap up? Well...I mean, Nic Cage kills the monsters and the place blows up as he drives away in his sweet, sweet Camaro.

My assessment of this movie is a pretty simple one. I don't know what the hell the filmmakers were going for here...but I was with it.

Like, I honestly would not call this a "good" movie, per se. And the only note I have is that it would have been a better movie without the A plot. And I wouldn't say that it was even particularly "well made" but you gotta appreciate a movie that dares to ask:

And I was. So, yes, jewels are given on this day:

Next week's movie! Master. I think it's on Hulu? I guess we'll see. 

See you next week!