In the summer of 1966 in El Paso, Texas, something really magical happened: Manos: The Hands of Fate was made. A movie so hilariously, mind-boggling bad that hardly any words from this universe would make it justice. But I’ll try. Harold P. Warren was a middle-aged man who worked as a fertilizer salesman for a living, but had a certain passion for film and was also a member of the local theatre. But while the passion was there, the talent was not. 

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/manos-the-hands-of-fate-1966/

 

 

We’re at a hospital in New York at night, where someone is stealing body-parts from the cadavers. One of the doctors is able to catch the body-snatcher as he is about to eat one of the cadaver’s heart, but then quickly commits suicide by jumping out of a window. Well, case closed, then? Well, no, he doesn’t die right away, and says his last word “Kitoh ordered it”, and we soon learn that he was a part of a cannibalistic cult from an obscure island in Asia, also named Kitoh.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/zombi-holocaust-1980/

 

 

Gretel is a young girl who struggles to make ends meet and take care of her little brother in the process. In a job interview she is asked by her prospective employer if her maidenhood is still intact, causing her to not accept the much needed job. When they’re both cast out from home by their own mother, forcing them to fend for themselves, their insane mother tells them to “dig yourselves some pretty little graves, and dig one for your mother too“. Things look rather grim for the two siblings, indeed. 

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/gretel-hansel-2020/

 

 

We are in a distant future where the world’s population has been completely annihilated by Ro-man’s Death-Ray. Ro-man who? He’s an evil alien in a gorilla suit, face covered with a diving helmet with to antennas attached to it. But there are eight survivors left, a family which Ro-man is able to communicate with through a … bubble machine. And he wants their location so Ro-man can finish his mission. Or else …

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/robot-monster-1953/

 

 

Shirin moves to a new house together with her boyfriend Fredrik and his young son, Lucas. Their new home is a vertically divided semi-detached house, where the other side is uninhabited and in a slight state of disrepair. As Fredrik’s job requires a bit of travelling, Shirin must stay at their new home with her stepson, who misses his mother (who died of cancer). When the boy makes a new friend who he claims is living next doors in the uninhabited part of the building, Shirin starts to realize that this isn’t all child’s play.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/andra-sidan-2020/

 

 

Luke is a young man who is struggling with childhood traumas, and when visiting his mentally sick mother he decides to resurrect his childhood imaginary friend, whom he once “trapped” inside a doll house when he was a boy. His imaginary friend’s name is Daniel, a self-confident and manipulative guy who appears to be the opposite of shy, timid Luke. At first, Luke is convinced that bringing Daniel back is a good choice as he appears to help him, but soon it starts to become obvious that Daniel’s intentions are no good.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/daniel-isnt-real-2019/

 

 

How to even start with this movie…Uhm, well… It starts with a random, disturbed guy called “The Metal Fetishist” (played by the director himself) who’s wandering in some decayed urban area, barefoot. He enters a shack hoarded full of metal junk where he stabs himself in the foot, and injects himself with an iron pipe and goes through some kind of a metamorphosis. A glimpse of an everyday life of an extreme metal fetishist where it just went a little too far, I guess.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/tetsuo-1989/

 

 

Six friends want to have some fun during the lockdown, and decide to hire a medium in order to hold a seance via Zoom. At first it’s all fun and giggles, where several of the participants struggle to keep a straight face. However, they soon realize they’ve unleashed something that might take their lives.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/host-2020/

 

 

On an isolated farm in a rural town, an old man is lying in his deathbed. As he is slowly dying, his children (Louise and Michael) visit their homestead to mourn, despite their mother’s warning that they should not have come…a warning that she never really explain and thus it’s bound to go unheeded, of course. When the night comes, their mother starts behaving strangely, and after cutting off her fingers in the kitchen she hangs herself in the barn.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-dark-and-the-wicked-2020/

 

 

We’re in the 1980s somewhere in the Norwegian forests, where the young couple Rebecca and Thomas are on a car trip. They run over a dog, and assume that the owner lives in the old victorian-styled hotel not so far away. Rebecca takes on the task to enter the hotel, which seems to be abandoned at first glance. But a horde of zombies suddenly show up, with the transsexual zombie-hotel owner itself Mor Monsen (Mother Monsen). 

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/prosjekt-z-2021/

 

 

We are in Giza, Egypt, where the archaeologist George finds a stone tablet with mysterious writings which he believes is the answer to an ancient riddle that is linked to the tomb nearby. He enters the tomb with a guide who falls right into one of the traps with spikes, while George is attacked by dark forces that shoot two cheesy neon-laser beams in his eyes, which makes him temporarily blind. 

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/manhattan-baby-1982/

 

 

Miles Grissom (Clark Freeman) is a man who struggles with an intense fear of dying, ever since he at the age of three watched his father die in a car accident. His anxiety is so severe that he won’t drive a car, will barely leave his apartment, and suffers from night terrors. In a desperate attempt to get rid of his fears, he places an advert in a newspaper, offering 30.000 dollars to whoever can show him evidence that we go on after our deaths.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/we-go-on-2016/

 

 

We’re told that a radioactive slime from the moon has found its way to Earth from a space shuttle that plunges into the sea near the coast of Denmark, and infects humans and turn them into murderous mutants. One of them, with a head that looks like a rotten potato, brutally kills a random couple who are having a picnic by the beach. And after this quick opening, we have basically seen the whole movie in a nutshell which oozes of zero budget and amateur hour all the way.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/grotesk-2015/

 

 

David is a 40 year old single man who has dedicated his life to take care of his mother, who is suffering from dementia. Since we’re in the 90’s, there’s no internet dating services or other easy ways of getting to know someone, so in a desperate attempt to find someone he can share his life with, he signs up on Video Rendezvous, a video dating service (yes, this was a real thing back then).

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/rent-a-pal-2020/

 

 

Before Annabelle, there was … Robert! And yes, we’re talking about a real doll that is (allegedly) cursed. We’re going way back to 1906 where a young boy named Robert Eugene Otto was given a cursed doll by an Bahamian servant as a birthday gift. The rumors say that she was treated badly by the Otto family, and hoped that the doll would give them misfortunes. And the story is pretty much a nothing-burger from there on. Robert got married in 1930 in France, and moved back to his childhood home in the United States with his wife where they spent the rest of their lives.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/robert-2015/

 

 

Donald Koch (aka Don) and his pregnant wife Liz has decided to buy a fixer-upper in the suburbs. Believing this will be a perfect place to raise a family, Don takes his dog Cooper with him and starts renovating their new home while Liz stays back in Chicago. As the renovation work brings a few unpleasant surprises, it becomes evident that there’s something not quite right with the house…and when a sexy young woman called Sarah appears on the property, acting all seductive and insistent, Don gets more than a handful of problems to handle.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/girl-on-the-third-floor-2019/

 

 

It’s apparently a regular sunny day in Los Angeles, where the random middle-aged guy Jack DeVries (Chris Mulkey) brutally robs a bank and storms off in a black Ferrari. He drives in full speed like a madman through the famous Echo Park, hits an old geezer in a wheelchair while he headbangs to some hair metal on the radio, and goes pretty much into full GTA-mode. His crazy adventure is quickly going towards an end when the police blocks the road, blows his car to flames, and… the guy walks out of the burning car and gets bullet-stormed by the police. He miraculously survives and…

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-hidden-1987/

 

 

Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) is alive, but far past his glory days, to put it mildly. He has become a bedridden old geezer, who rots away in a small nursery home somewhere in Texas, filled with bitterness, grief, lost identity, and can’t say one sentence without spewing sarcasm. To make it worse he has a cancerous growth on his willie. And how much worse can it get from here? No one thinks he’s the real Elvis. Because, hear this: Once upon  a time Elvis had to retire from showbiz and pass the mic to the Elvis impersonator Sebastian Haff (Bruce Campbell again) when his hip went bye-bye. When Sebastian Haff died of an overdose, Elvis never got the chance to reclaim his identity. So here we are. Life is unfair.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/bubba-ho-tep-2002/

 

 

Nathan Gardener and his family moves to his late father’s farm somewhere in rural New England, in the hopes of living a quiet life and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Just when they start to settle in, a meteorite crashes into their yard which emits an otherworldly color (a color out of space). One of the children (Jack) is traumatized by the event, and seems to be affected in strange ways. He becomes obsessed with the well in the garden and claims he’s got a “friend” there. Strange flowers and plants starts growing, animals suffer grotesque mutations, and the Gardener family’s life transforms into a colorful nightmare.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/color-out-of-space-2019/

 

 

Maya and her friend Dini are working at toll booths, and one night Maya is attacked by one of the drivers who appeared to recognize her: a man who claims he’s from a village called Harjosari, and he’s calling her by another name: Rahayu. Upon attacking her, the man is stopped and killed by the police, but the encounter leaves Maya with a ton of unanswered questions. Since her aunt, who raised her from a very young age, is dead and she’s got no other family to contact, she follows the inscription of an old photo which shows a young Maya with her parents, outside a large house which is supposed by be located somewhere in the Harjosari village.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/impetigore-2019/

 

 

The film starts off at a burial ceremony with an upper-class family who’s lost their mother to a mysterious illness, and sets the eerie tone right off with Islamic chants and the feeling that there’s something wicked in the air. That same night, the family’s son, Tomi, receives an unexpected visit from the dead mother in a ghostly form, who knocks on his window and hypnotizes him to go out in his pajamas, while his sister Rita is witnessing the incident. Tomi goes to a fortune teller (who is wearing some really big sunglasses) who can tell through his tarot cards that Tomi’s life is full of darkness, and that the coffin his mother was buried in is suitable for the whole family, and that they are all in danger – and that he must defend himself with black magic.

https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/satans-slave-1982/

 

 

Hey, take a look at this: An 80s teen slasher made by the director of Cannibal Holocaust himself. Wow, you don’t say… This has to be something else, right?

Well…

 https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/body-count-1986/

 

 

The third installment of The Conjuring franchise sets the focus on the young man Arne Cheyenne Johnson – a case that is most noteworthy for being the first murder case in US history where the defendant tried to plea not guilty due to being under control of demonic forces. And as soon as the Warrens meets with Arne’s lawyer who believes he has no chance to get a plea deal, Ed delivers his rather thought-provoking phrase “The court accepts the existence of God every time a witness swears to tell the truth. I think it’s about time they accept the existence of the Devil.” This is a real quote from Ed, and possibly the most rational thing he ever said.

 https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-conjuring-the-devil-made-me-do-it-2021/

 

 

In Raven’s End, Mortician Montgomery Dark manages an isolated and creepy mortuary all alone. After a recent funeral, that of a young boy, Montgomery gets an unexpected visitor. A young woman named Sam has noticed his “Help Wanted” sign outside of the mortuary, and practically demands an interview right away. He decides to give her a tour of the old, creepy place, and Sam shows an interest in the small coffin that belongs to the boy which Montgomery has just performed the funeral for. He starts telling Sam stories about some of the residents of the town, and the weird and unexpected ways they died.

 https://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-mortuary-collection-2019/

 

So, even though 2020 became what it did, we just had to settle for streaming and the good ol’ physical format. We also managed to reach over 100 reviews recently. Clap-clap.  To get a more clear overview, as the archive grows rapidly, I’ve made an alphabetic list: http://horrorghouls.com/alphabetic/

And since we cover horror films in a variety from mainstream to total obscurity, with so many sub-genres to explore, there’s an endless pit to dig into. So even though there’s not any theatrical releases to look forward to within the rest of the year, we have a huge pile of DVD’s and Blu-ray to go through. And as streaming goes, we don’t have SHUDDER here in Norway, unfortunately, and there’s rarely anything new for us on Netflix. But the horror section on Prime Video has at least some great, obscure stuff.

Anyway, below is a summary of the films we’ve watched and reviewed this year, so far. For the theatrical reviews for The Golden Glove, Lighthouse and The Invisible Man, click here.

 

Bread and Circus

Here we have the film that was heavily promoted as “Norway’s first splatter film ever”, which is not really true. But I can at least agree that this is the first Norwegian splatter film that got a wide DVD distribution, which was quite a unique thing in a small, tiny country like Norway. This is almost twenty years ago. Time flies. The film starts with Mother Earth having sex, and a young man in his twenties (Martin Loke) then pops out from a vagina located at the earth’s grassy surface, while the sun shines on a hot, ordinary summer day. A monk-like creature comes along and cuts the umbilical cord as the new-born screams like a schizophrenic mental patient… 

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/bread-and-circus-2003/

 

 

The Bride of Frank

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-bride-of-frank-1996/

 

 

The Wind

Lizzy Macklin and her husband Isaac lives isolated on a harsh and untamed land in the Western frontier in the late 1800s. Soon, a newlywed couple (Emma and Gideon) moves into a house close by. The isolation starts cracking Emma’s psyche, causing her to suffer from Prairie Madness (an affliction that causes a mental breakdown due to the isolation and harsh living conditions, something that would happen to European settlers who were not used to living like this). Emma is clearly not able to get used the the isolation, and starts raving about “demons of the prairie”. Emma’s madness soon starts affecting Lizzy as well, and she starts wondering if there really is an evil demonic presence out to destroy them.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-wind-2018/

 

 

Polaroid

Bird Fitcher is a teenage girl who loves old things, and is working a part-time job at an antique store. When a co-worker brings in an old Polaroid camera, she’s really excited, and starts using it, snapping pictures of her friends. She soon realizes that something is not quite right with the camera, as the photos show a shadowy figure looming over the persons on the photo…and very soon it becomes apparent that the photos taken with the Polaroid camera has a very deadly effect.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/polaroid-2019/

 

 

Bad Ben

Tom Riley has just bought a house at a price that is way below market value. With intentions of “flipping” it (a term for buying a house and selling it later for a profit) he goes through the house while filming the entire process with his iPhone. After residing in the house for a short while, however, he notices strange happenings, and decides to set up a bunch of surveillance cameras both inside and outside. At first he’s convinced that people are breaking into the house…but soon, he realizes that he might be dealing with something paranormal.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/bad-ben-2016/

 

 

Possum

Philip (Sean Harris) is a middle-aged man returning to his hometown in Norfolk with a population of probably ten people, which looks like a depressing place to live in. With him he’s got a brown bag containing a puppet called Possum. A terrifying thing with a human head made of rubber, and with spider feet. Philip turns out to be a totally fragile, traumatized man, trapped in a severe life crisis, who constantly seems be on the verge of blowing out in full panic attack at any moment. And  the nightmare fuel provided by Possum clearly doesn’t makes it any better. 

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/possum-2018/

 

 

Cellar Dweller

It’s a dark and stormy night when comic book artist Colin Childress (Jeffrey Combs) works on his horror series “Cellar Dweller”. He sets his final drops of ink on a sequence where a young, half-naked damsel in distress runs through the woods and ends up trapped by a satanic, hairy monster. After Colin randomly quotes some obscure phrases from a book of witchcraft, he unconsciously manages to summon both the monster and the damsel who emerges right behind his back. While Herbert West..uhm, sorry, I mean Colin, runs frightened out of his studio, the monster kills the damsel off-screen. Since the monster was summoned from the drawing paper, Colin gets the brilliant idea to set the artwork on fire, which escalates into an inferno that kills them both…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/cellar-dweller-1988/

 

 

Ouija

A girl plays with an old Ouija Board, and is later found dead in her own home, supposedly having killed herself. One of her closest friends is not convinced that she committed suicide, and suspects that something else must have caused her death. Desperate to find answers, she finds the old Ouija Board and convinces her other friends to play with it inside the dead girl’s home. When they get in contact with what appears to be their deceased friend, they soon discover that something is not right…and that certain things should never be played with.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/ouija-2014/

 

 

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Los Angeles, 1967. Alice is a still grieving widow who works at home as a spiritual medium, and is accompanied by her two daughters when tricking their customers into making them believe that spirits are present. The oldest daughter, Lina, one day suggests that they implement a Ouija Board into her mother’s readings. The youngest daughter, Doris, tries it out alone and invites an evil presence into their home, not realizing how dangerous it is.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/ouija-origin-of-evil-2016/

 

 

Begotten starts inside a cabin where we see a disturbed, horrifying figure sitting in a chair, filmed in a high contrast of black and white. While the soundtrack consists of crickets, bird-chirping and distant heartbeats, we see that the figure starts to cut himself to death with a straight razor. A great product placement right there (haha). Feces stream down between his legs while he’s sitting bloody and dying in his chair, gurgling his death rattles. This is God we’re talking about, by the way. Out of his fresh dead body comes Mother Earth who uses God’s semen to impregnate herself, where we get served some hairy close-ups where she rubs his juice into her vagina…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/begotten-1989/

 

 

Mørke Sjeler

During a morning jog through the woods, the teenager Johanna is attacked by a guy in an orange dress, who is wearing goggles and a mask. After a quick chase with some running and stumbling, he drills a hole in her head, and then places some black goo in her brain. Despite having been pronounced dead, the murder victim suddenly wakes up in the morgue and goes back home to her father: the music teacher Morten Ravn. But Johanna is not at all the same girl, but has been reduced to a disoriented, apathetic lifeless shell with a blank stare. In the meantime, more and more victims are being reported, all of whom come to life again with the same symptoms…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/morke-sjeler-2010/

 

 

City of the Living Dead

The film starts at a cemetery in the small town of Dunwich where a priest hangs himself, and reappears as an evil deathstaring zombie. At the same time, Mary Woodhouse (Catriona MacColl) witnesses a New York apartment suicide during a vision under a seance, which scares her to death. Yes, literally to death. And why, you might ask? Well, because his act of sin causes all the dead in the cemetery of Dunwich to rise from the dead as zombies. And these are not the traditional carnivorous zombies…here, they have the ability to teleport themselves and use telekinesis to make people bleed tears and spew up their own inner organs…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/city-of-the-living-dead-1980/

 

 

Haunt

It is Halloween, but Harper isn’t really in the mood for a scary celebration as she is already struggling with a real fright in her life: an abusive boyfriend who keeps sending her angry text messages. However, her friends are determined to have a fun night out and enjoy themselves, so she covers her black eye with make-up and they all head over to a costume party. They meet up with two other guys, and the six of them ends up looking for a haunted house attraction in order to make their Halloween night complete. Very much on random, they encounter the sign for such an attraction on a lonely country road, and decide to check it out…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/haunt-2019/

 

 

Killer Sofa

This movie is director Bernie Rao’s feature debut, but prior to this he’s made quite an impressive amount of shorts in various genres. In “Killer Sofa” (killer chair, really, but I digress) we follow the story of Francesca, an attractive young woman who seems to unwillingly make certain men fall head over heels for her, and they become obsessive and stalking. One of her admirers is found murdered (or, they find body parts of him which should make it obvious he’s been murdered), and soon thereafter, Francesca receives a new chair as a gift. She puts it in her living room, but soon her new furniture appears to be living a life of its own…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/killer-sofa-2019/

 

 

Verotika

We start off in an underground dungeon where a chained woman gets her eyes plucked out, Lucio Fulci-style, by the nails of the sexy horror hostess Mirella before she welcomes us darklings to … Verotika. A somewhat reduced Elvira with low energy is the best way to describe Mirella, played by the porn actress Kayden Kross, with acting skills like a nipple with zero motivation. Just like all the rest of the actors we get to meet during the film’s three segments of this anthology.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/verotika-2019/

 

 

I See You

Young boys go missing in a small community, and Greg Harper is made lead detective on the case. Meanwhile, we meet the Harper family, who seem to be going through all kinds of trouble on their own. Soon, mysterious incidents start happening around the house, like silverware going missing, a repairman that was let inside the house when no one was at home, and other strange events. What exactly is happening inside the Harper house…and does it have any connection to the missing boys?

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/i-see-you-2019/

 

 

The Beyond

We’re in a hotel room in Louisiana, and the year is 1927. A thunderous evening is setting in as the artist Schweick (Antoine Saint-John) is brushing his last strokes on his latest grotesque painting, which is also to be his final. The painting is apparently representing Hell, and the locals believe that Schweick is an evil, ungodly warlock that uses the painting to open one of the Seven Gates of Hell. The hotel is said to be built upon one of the gates, and a group of men in full mob-mode storms the hotel and into Schweick’s room to stop him. They drag him down to the basement to cut him up with a chain before bolting him to the wall and torturing him to death…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-beyond-1981/

 

 

Street Trash

We are in Brooklyn’s decaying slums, and the year is 1987. The state of the streets is described in a nutshell by the title itself. Not a place that you’d go barefoot. An old dusty box containing the mysterious drink “Tenafly Viper” is found in the basement of Ed’s little liquor store. A green liquid from way back in the 1920s, that Fred sells to the local hobos for a buck. The one who gets the first bottle, is Fred: a runaway who lives with his brother in a small homeless community by a car wrecking yard, run by former Nam Vet Bronson. He’s a raging nutcase who’s lost his mind completely due to PTSD and severe paranoia, and have constructed the place as his own kingdom and safe space…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/street-trash-1987/

 

 

The Turning

Kate is applying for a job as the new governess for Flora Fairchild, a wealthy young heiress whose parents are both dead. Flora’s older brother, Miles, soon arrives home from boarding school, and it appears he’s got an attitude that Kate finds troublesome. In fact, Kate starts experiencing things around the house that makes her believe something is going on, and it cannot all be blamed on tricks put in by little children. What is going on inside the house – and what happened to the previous governess who just ran away?

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-turning-2020/

 

 

Beyond the Limits

The young journalist Vivian visits an ancient cemetery to meet its caretaker and gravedigger, Frederick, for an interview. The cemetery is supposed to be the oldest in the country, and after doing some research, Frederick will celebrate his ten year anniversary of his service. Vivian arrives just in time, he says, because tomorrow he will bury one of his most interesting “customers”, as he calls the newly deceased. Frederick takes her to one of the cemetery mausoleums, where he begins telling her the story of Robert Downing…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/beyond-the-limits-2003/

 

 

The Lodge

In the hopes of being able to bond with her soon-to-be stepchildren, Grace is staying with them in a remote winter cabin over the holidays. Their father was supposed to stay with them, but is unexpectedly called to work and he cannot refuse, which leaves her alone with the children. With the holidays just around the corner she hopes that they will be able to have a good time, but the isolation and a blizzard traps them inside the lodge. Then, mysterious and frightening things start happening, keeping Grace wondering if it’s just the isolation and the strained relationship to the children, or if it’s the demons from her past that have come back to haunt her.

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-lodge-2019/

 

 

The Other Hell

We are in a catacomb somewhere, where a nun seems to have gotten lost. She ends up in a “mad scientist” style lab where another nun lies freshly dead, naked, ready for God knows what. One of the other nuns shows up to cut out a part of her uterus (I guess), like some kind of ritual punishment, while preaching how sinful she was. And we’re only 6 minutes into the movie where the acting is so hysterically bad with one retarded facial expression after another. And out of pure randomness, a cauldron starts to boil over as we see close-ups of two glowing, blinking red eyes that gives off some really cheap cyborg/Terminator vibes…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-other-hell-1981/

 

 

Wither

A group of young party-ready people go to an abandoned house for a weekend far in the woods to get loose. They have no idea who owned it, except that the previous occupants left the house rotting like a sinking ship with all the belongings inside. At the same time, an elderly man with a rifle is lurking in the area, looking for his missing daughter. Maybe not the best place to spend the weekend. After a quick exploration in the immediate area, two of the kids find another abandoned house where one of them sneaks inside through the window where she comes across a cellar trapdoor. And what do we say then? Don’t go in the basement! Yeah, right…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/wither-2012/

 

 

Der Autovampir

The plot goes something like this: A foreign car manufacturer has created a whole new car design that is using human blood as fuel. Dr. Malek has realized from the start that there is something really fishy about this company, and is not at all happy when his colleague, Mima, has signed a contract with them to work as a rally driver. Dr. Malek comes in contact with another bizarre guy, a scientist, who looks more like a creepy uncle that you never would allow babysitting your kids. He also likes to sneak up on people while they shower…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/upir-z-feratu-1982/

 

 

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

In Birdemic: Shock and Terror we get the pleasure to meet Rod (Alan Bagh), which is a young, successful software salesman from Silicon Valley. He randomly meets his old classmate Nathalie (Whitney Moore) in a restaurant, and they start to date. And suddenly, out of nowhere, eagles and vultures start to attack and kill people. And how and why, you may ask? Because of global warming. And people needs to be punished and taught a lesson to live more climate-friendly. And as the tagline says: Who will survive?

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/birdemic-shock-and-terror-2010/

The whole world is about to get canceled, and 2020 seems to be the year we hoarded ourself to the rooftop with toilet paper. Strange times ahead, indeed..

However, before the cinemas were forced to shut their doors, we did at least get three good horror movies on the big screen to enjoy. And “Sonic The Hedgehog”, which succeeded at the box office just in time. So maybe we can look forward to a sequel in 2021. “1917” was also a great one. So while we wait for next year, I guess we just have to resort to streaming, DVD/Blu-ray, video games, comic books and cat videos on YouTube. Because there’s no time to die, as James Bond says..

All good things comes in threes, and the horror movie year ended at least while it was on top. Here are the three titles HorrorGhouls watched, in chronological order:

 

Hamburg, Germany in the early 70’s. It’s a regular day at the tiny, cramped pub Der Goldene Handschuh (The Golden Glove). A playlist with depressing German schlager songs are being played in the background as we get introduced to a group of outlived and wrinkled prostitutes, and hardcore alcoholics. One of them likes to suck on used tampons, by the way. Yuck. But the worst of them is probably Fritz Honka, a hideous, disgusting, crooked aberration of a man, who brings hookers to his filthy horror chamber of an attic apartment that has not been cleaned since the last century, and stinks worse than you probably can imagine.

Fritz is a deranged, greasy homicidal maniac who develops a bad habit of killing the women he brings home with him in the most brutal ways, in pure volcanic rage like an orangutan on speed, if they don’t meet his sexual standards. He then cuts the bodies in pieces with a saw while listening to German percussion music, wraps them in newspapers, and hides them in a crawl space attic that only he has access to through his apartment. Although Fritz is trying to hold back the corpse stench by hanging tree-shaped air fresheners (wunderbaums) around his attic apartment, the neighbor who lives underneath him is constantly complaining that it stinks. And it’s only a matter of time before there are so many decomposing body parts dumped in there that maggots starts to find their way between the cracks and says hello to the neighbors.

This film is based on the true story about serial killer Fritz Honka, who killed up to four prostitutes from 1970 to 1975 in the red light district of Hamburg. The one we see in the brutal opening scene was 42-year-old Gertraud Bräuer. A hairdresser and part-time prostitute who refused to have sex with him, and ended up as his first known victim. She was sawed into small pieces, and dumped in the bushes in the local area. The remains were found by the police, but Honka escaped. For this time. It would take four years before Honka killed again. The infamous bar, Der Goldene Handschuh, is still open with the new banner “Honka Stub”. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a cheap statue of the guy inside as well. A stage play of Fritz Honka has also been performed in Hamburg. It’s also worth mentioning that writer and Director Faith Atkin grew up in the same area in Hamburg during the same time period Fritz Honka was finally captured by the police.

The most remarkable thing here is how raw and downright authentic everything looks. The technical aspects, all from set-design, sound, photography, editing, is top notch. The costumes are right on spot, and they really did an impressive job to reconstruct Fritz Honka’s horror attic. The 1970s-look is flawless, and the grim, thick atmosphere of pure despair and hopelessness  in The Golden Glove pub reeks all over the place, and feels like it was shot in a real pub with real hookers, alcoholics and whatnot. All the actors here are hundred percent dedicated, no matter how far the scenes go and what endless humiliations the actors have to put themselves through. It all seemed like a pure nightmare to shoot, especially for the poor ladies. If they all got away with their mind in check and no need for any therapy sessions after this grueling experience, then just be impressed and give them a big applause.

Films such as “Maniac” and “Henry: Portrait of a A Serial Killer” comes to mind, but our friend Fritz Honka takes it on a whole new level. It’s brutal, yet absurdly hilarious at the same time. I haven’t seen anything like it, really. It’s a pretty unique and distinctive look at a madman’s everyday life, living in a hellish, chaotic, stinky downward spiral of an environment where you almost expect the stench of piss, shit, sweat, booze and other extreme body odors dissipating from the screen to attack your nostrils at any moment. Thanks to Honka, that bastard, I can’t enjoy the smell of wunderbaums the same way again, that’s for sure. And speaking of the star himself, Jonas Dassler, he’s just absolut fantastisch as Fritz Honka.  An eleven of ten-star performance. Cheers for that, or as they say in Deutschland: Tost!

So, make yourself welcome to The Golden Rabbit Hole. Just be glad you’re only witnessing this from a screen, and is free to take a shower when you’re starting to feel too itchy.

 

 

On a remote New England Island in the 1890s, two lighthouse keepers have to stay there for four weeks. Thomas Wake, the oldest between the two, has been watching over the lighthouse for a long time and is used to the unfavorable conditions. His new assistant, Ephraim Winslow, does not settle in with ease however. Ephraim is getting more and more frustrated by the older man’s fussing and complaints, where he is being bossed around constantly. When the four weeks are over, and the boat still doesn’t come to pick up Ephraim due to very bad weather, they both realize they might be stuck on the island for far longer than anticipated. Plagued by bad dreams and hallucinations (or are they hallucinations?) Ephraim tries to keep his sanity on the forsaken rock – but this proves to be difficult as deeply sunken secrets are about to break the surface.

“The Lighthouse” by Robert Eggers (who earlier gave us the very haunting and creepy film “The Witch“) is a very atmospheric black & white film, and is actually loosely based on a real-life tragedy that happened in 1801. Two Welsh Lighthouse keepers, who were in fact both named Thomas, became trapped due to a storm. That incident is referred to as “The Smalls Lighthouse Tragedy”. The movie was also shot on 35mm black and white Double-X 5222 film, and due to this, they needed a lot more light, so they put up flickering 500-800 watt halogen bulbs in period-correct kerosene lamps. These lamps were just a few feet away from the actor’s faces, so the result is a lot of imagery that simply looks stunning, especially with the facial expressions and grimaces being heavily toned due to the contrasts. Plain and simple, it is beautiful to watch.

There is a good amount of claustrophobic dread to appreciate from “The Lighthouse”. And with Ephraim’s dreams and visions (or are they all just dreams and visions?) with mermaids and giant tentacles, we get a dose of some of the old and classical myths and legends from sea folk. Thomas tells supernatural tales of sea gulls and bad omens, but while Ephraim tries to ignore the old man’s ramblings, it’s evident that there are certain things laying under the surface that causes him to become vulnerable to the tales. It doesn’t take long before Ephraim is slowly descending into madness…whether it be from the isolation, Thomas and his bossy demeanor and tales, the past…or maybe a mix of it all, who knows. When the men realize they are stranded, possibly for a long time to come, they both start drinking their senses away, somewhat easing up the tension for a little while as the drunken men starts dancing and singing sea shanties – but it doesn’t take long until the songs turn into insults and aggressive behavior, and a battle for dominance as the cabin fever starts to creep in.

“Nothing good can happen when two men are trapped alone in a giant phallus”, is the line Robert Eggers have used to describe this film. And he has done a very good job of portraying just this concept!

 

 

Cecilia manages to escape a controlling and abusive relationship, but struggles to overcome the negative impact the experience has had on her life. Still paranoid and afraid her ex will come after her, she suddenly receives the news that he has committed suicide…and that she has been written into his will. With a substantial amount of money to be gradually paid out to her, and knowing her abusive ex is gone from this world, she hopes to re-build her life. However, after experiencing certain horrifying events, she starts to believe that his death was a hoax and that he’s acquired the ability to become invisible, only to terrorize her even further.

“The Invisible Man”, directed by Leigh Whannell (director of “Insidious: Chapter 3”, and writer of the previous “Insidious” movies as well as the first three “Saw” movies) has revived one of the classic Universal monsters, but in a completely different setting than from the original which was based on the novel by H. G. Wells. Whereas the original “Invisible Man” wasn’t a bad guy from the get-go, he is here a narcissistic sociopath who is abusive and controlling towards his partner. Thus, the horror the movie portrays feels real, and the first sequence of the movie where Cecilia has drugged him in order to escape the fortress-like home he’s captured her in, is actually one of the most intense movie openings I’ve seen as of late.

While the movie starts quite intense, the feeling of foreboding is quite evident already in the next scenes, where we witness Cecilia trying to get a hold of her own life (barely daring to venture outside of the house she’s staying in). And upon the news of her ex’s so-called suicide, with a substantial amount of money to be paid to her over time (provided she does not commit any crime or is deemed mentally unstable, as per the will – and yeah, you know why this clause was added) she starts to relax a little bit and looks brightly upon her own future for once. Of course, that shifts rather quickly, and when she experiences things that only she is witnessing, she tries to convince those close to her that her ex is still alive, and has made himself invisible. Of course, no one believes her, and she keeps being abused…but since no one except herself is experiencing the abuse, she can’t make anyone believe her. Yes – the analogy here is clear as day.

From there on, the movie takes you on a suspenseful ride, and Elisabeth Moss (who is playing the role of Cecilia) is doing an excellent job on portraying all levels of the torments she’s going through, whether it is being scared out of her mind, desperately trying to fight back, or emotionally crushed by not being believed and the lack of an actual escape from her invisible tormentor. And while we don’t see that much of Adrian aka “The Invisible Man”, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, he actually did manage to show off a few tell-tale signs of the type of character he’s portraying.

“The Invisible Man” is a movie that might be a bit difficult to watch for people who have experienced abusive relationships, as it’s nailing narcissistic abuse in a way I haven’t seen any other film dare to exploit. It’s all there: making everyone believe their victim is the crazy one, making the victim doubting their own sanity, and especially gaslighting (a tactic used to make victims doubt themselves and their perception of events, by questioning the victim’s memory, accusing them of making things up, denying things that they did towards the victim, and mocking them for “misunderstanding” everything).

Since it does stray pretty far from the original “Invisible Man”, some people may be put off due to this. I can imagine that putting these two movies apart from each other without doing comparisons, would be beneficial to the viewing experience.

Happy, scary new year! We, The Horror Ghouls, saw 13 horror films at the big screen in 2019, and here’s a quick summary with links to the reviews. And as you have probably figured out, Vanja has so far been the one who covers the theatrical releases.

 

The theatrical screenings:

US
The Wilson family owns a vacation house near the beach in Santa Cruz. Adelaide, the wife in the family, had an experience at that beach when she was a little girl and has no desire at all to revisit the place. Her husband convinces her to go there, however, together with the Tyler family to …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/us-2019/

 

Pet Sematary
Dr. Louis Creed and his family have decided to move away from Boston and settle down in rural Maine in order to live a more quiet life, and give Louis more time with his family: Rachel, his wife, Ellie, his daughter, and Gage, his young son. Their new home seem to be peaceful and nice…except …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/pet-sematary-2019/

 

The Curse of La Llorona
We’re in the 1970’s Los Angeles. Anna, a social worker who’s now alone with her two children after her husband’s death, is at the risk of having some of her cases handed over to her co-worker, one of them being the case of Patricia Alvarez and her two boys. She demands to get the rights …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/the-curse-of-la-llorona-2019/

 

Brightburn
Tori and Kyle are struggling to have a child, when one night something from outer space crashes nearby their farm. Just like a blessing from above, it’s some sort of space craft that includes a little baby boy, and the couple are happy to take care of him and raise him as their own (hmm…have …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/brightburn-2019/

 

Ma    
Sue Ann is a lonely middle-aged woman who befriends a group of teenagers when they beg her to buy some booze for them. She eventually lets them have their parties in the basement of her own house, and the teenagers all think they’ve gotten really lucky. One of the teenagers jokingly nickname her “Ma”…

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/ma-2019/

 

Annbelle Comes Home
In this third “Annabelle” horror movie, we follow the doll to its final destination: the Warren’s occult museum, which houses all kinds of cursed and possessed items. After the Warrens bring the doll back home with them, they quickly realize that the doll has the ability to possess and control the other things around her, …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/annabelle-comes-home-2019/

 

Crawl
Haley is a young woman who is struggling to become a champion swimmer, and her competitive nature keeps her always trying to reach her best potential. When her sister calls and informs her that their father won’t answer his phone, she decides to drive to his house and check for him. The problem is that …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/crawl-2019/

 

Child’s Play
Kaslan Products have invented a brand new toy: Buddi, the interactive doll that is the most high-tech product available that can also connect to all other Kaslan products and smart home devices. These dolls are produced at a factory in Vietnam, under terrible working conditions. The movie starts off showing us one of the depressed …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/childs-play-2019/

 

Midsommar
Dani and Christian, a young American couple, are at the brink of breaking up. Christian has already started planning a trip abroad with his friends and is more or less starting to walk out the door on the relationship, but after Dani experiences a horrible family tragedy where she loses her parents and sister in …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/midsommar-2019/

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
It’s 1968, and we’re in a small town called Mill Valley where a group of teens are dressing up and getting ready for Halloween. This trio consists of Stella, an aspiring horror writer, a nervous nerd named Auggie, and the prankster Chuck. It’s their final year of trick-or-treating on Halloween together, and they’ve planned to …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/scary-stories-to-tell-in-the-dark-2019/

 

It: Chapter Two
It’s now been 27 years since “The Losers Club” had their first and terrifying encounter with the child-eating entity Pennywise. They have all moved on with their lives, and away from Derry and its awful memories. With the exception of Mike, the only one of them who stayed behind. When Mike starts noticing the tell-tale …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/it-chapter-two-2019/

 

In The Tall Grass 
A sister (Becky) and brother (Cal) is driving close by a vast field area of tall grass in the middle of Kansas. She is pregnant, and they stop by a deserted church because she’s gotten a bit carsick. There, they hear a young boy’s cry for help from the tall grass, claiming he’s lost and …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/in-the-tall-grass-2019/

 

Koko-di-koko-da
A couple (Elin and Tobias) is on a vacation with their young daughter (Maja), when a serious case of food-poisoning causes the mother to become very ill. She is rushed to the hospital, and the whole family is spending the night in the hospital room, awaiting the mother’s recovery. When the next day arrives, which …

http://horrorghouls.com/reviews/koko-di-koko-da-2019/

 

 

DVD’s and streaming:

 

The Guardian (1990)

TERRIFIED (2017)

LOCH NESS TERROR (2008)

THE WAILING (2016)

The POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES (2007)

GHOSTWATCH (1992)

HELL FEST (2018)

HOUSEBOUND (2014)

SUSPIRIA (2018)

VIOLENT SHIT (1989)

STILL/BORN (2017)

MR. JONES (2013)

DEATHGASM (2015)

THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE (2018)

HELL HOUSE LLC (2015)

THE MIMIC (2017)

THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH (2017)

THE BURNING (1981)

THE CRUCIFIXION (2017)

NUDE FOR SATAN (1974)

FRIEND REQUEST (2016)

THE BURNING MOON (1992)

TERRIFIER (2016)

WISH UPON (2017)

MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)

Haunted Hospital: Heilstätten (2018)

QUEEN CRAB (2015)

THE MANGLER (1995)

IT (2017)

HIGHWAY TO HELL (1991)

NAILS (2017)

JACK THE RIPPER (1976)

LORDS OF CHAOS (2018)

LAKE MUNGO (2008)

THE RUSSIAN BRIDE (2019)

 

 

I will also soon add a post about movies we missed out, that we eventually will see on DVD / streaming.

99 percent of the movies Vanja and I watch in the cinema are horror movies (wow, what a shocker), and 2019 has definitely been a really strong year for the genre. In fact, I can’t remember another year where there have been so many horror movies in the cinema, and I’m speaking of my home country Norway. Most of the horror movies we’ve seen at the big screen this year has already been reviewed on our new site horrorghouls.com we launched in March. And to our excitement it looks like 2020 will be a strong year for horror as well.

But, yeah, we do see other types of films too, on the rare occasion when there pops up titles that are worth our attention. For example, Rambo V: Last Blood. We also saw the Joker movie on its premiere day, which I also will share some thoughts on later. But first, let’s take a look at what our old friend John Rambo has been up to lately:

 

Rambo: Last Blood

Since Rambo slaughtered a gang of local infantry units in Burma’s war zone eleven years ago, he has settled down on a farm in the quiet country side in Arizona with his old friend Maria and her granddaughter Gabrielle. Even though Rambo is still struggling with trauma, a misanthropic worldview and keeps chewing pills, he finally seems to have gotten some inner piece while he train horses and builds underground tunnels by the farm. Well, the little peace he has achieved is going to be shattered soon, when Gabrielle wants to go to Mexico to track down her biological father who abandoned her and her mother years ago. A very bad idea, but after John and her grandmother strongly advice her to stay as far away from the place as if it was the plague, she goes anyway, under their radar.

And what could possible go wrong..?

Mexico looks like a big, broken, rusty toilet filled with criminals and corrupt police officers lurking in every corner, and it doesn’t take long before she gets drugged in a nightclub and sold off to a Mexican cartel. They throw her like worthless trash in a basement filled with other young women, who have been forced into prostitution for the all sleazy men to enjoy like they were wild animals, including the police. Welcome to Mexico. Rambo drives straight to the border to rescue her, which ends up in a spectacular tirade of merciless body counts that would even put Jason Vorhees to shame. I’m actually a little baffled that this got only a PG-rating when it feels way more like an R-rating. But okay, I eat movies like this for breakfast anyway.

There is nothing new to learn about Rambo here, we know what we need to know, where he comes from and the zero tolerance he has for garbage people who dare to make his life miserable, or if they hurt the few people he cares about. At the age of 73, Stallone is in great shape and more intense than ever, and is practically evolving into a walking killing machine in full psychotic rage where he has nothing more to lose, and getting his revenge is the only thing that matters. Even though his mind is pretty broken and gone, his physics tells a whole other story. Heads are cut off, limbs dismembered, and I couldn’t avoid giggling when one of the cartel members got his collarbone ripped out with Rambo’s bare hands. Pure gold!

Rambo 4 from 2008 had a perfect ending and closure, so I’m lying if I say this movie doesn’t seem a little unnecessary. Last Blood feels more like one big encore, and is made for fans and the fans only, who still wants more with a straight-forward revenge premise for those who think Death Wish seems outdated and The Expendables too tame. It’s a simple and no-brainer popcorn flick at its best, and it is not trying to be more than what it is. It’s steadily directed by Adrian Grunberg who also made “Get the Gringo” with Mel Gibson in 2012. The same raw vibe from Rambo 4 is also still here, but it seems somewhat underdeveloped in some places. What ever happened to his sidekick, Carmen, who just comes and goes? Well, whatever. Still, it’s an entertaining ride of an epilogue to the Rambo saga with a pretty insane, bloody climax where it goes in full-blown slasher film territory. Fun!