Sponsored Content

Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
Absent Friends
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups

Weekend Hobby, Craft and Bodging Thread | Main | Saturday Overnight Open Thread (10/8/22)
October 08, 2022

Saturday Evening Movie Thread: Four For Frighting [moviegique]

It's been a pretty good year for horror. Per IMDB, there have been 10,858 horror feature films released in 2022—not counting TV movies or direct-to-video (is that even a real category any more?) or TV episodes—and at least three have been, by our estimates, pretty good. If we narrow down the list to those with more than 1,000 votes on IMDB, i.e., movies that someone beyond the cast-and-crew saw, that leaves 85 films. In the top 11 (by user rating), three are Telugu—I guess I need to check out the exciting world of (checks map) Indian horror...East Indian...Eastern East Indian horror. There's also a Hindi movie and a Malalayam movie, so five of the top eleven are Indian—and one of the remaining is Indonesian.

In the remaining five we have Dr. Strange and Prey which I'm not going to consider horror movies.

Where the hell am I going with this? Well, for one thing, it's hard to feel like American culture is all that central any more. And for another, the three remaining horror films happen to be the last three movies I've seen, plus the TCM for Poltergeist. (And, oh, the new Walter Hill Western, but let's not ruin it.) So let's take a look at those and get spooky season into full gear. I'll have full reviews for all these later on in the month.


1.jpg The new "Get Out The Vote" ads are LIT.

Coming in at #11 is Smile. If The Ring and It Follows had a baby, it would be this movie. Call it Jump Scare: The Movie. A green director directs a bunch of people I don't know (and also Robin Weigert, who played Calamity Jane in "Deadwood", and Kal Penn, better known as Kumar) in a type of horror I intensely dislike—I won't say what kind because that would be a spoiler—and it all works pretty well.

The acting is good. The atmosphere is good. It doesn't have a paint-by-numbers feel, though its only real surprising aspects are in the nature of the effects (e.g., "I didn't expect her head to do that exactly"). It could have been about fifteen minutes shorter, and would have been served by removing a lot of the backstory. Maybe that will work for some viewers, however. For me, there's a giveaway to what kind of movie this is (that kind I dislike, as I mentioned) and that makes the exposition painful no matter how well acted or written.

I don't usually do this, but I immediately thought of a better ending, that would've redeemed the whole thing.

This movie is very urbane and effete and, intentionally or not, a fair condemnation of the blue-pilled world. It would be interesting to see the a sequel play out with a group of marines as central characters.


A touching moment from—wait, why are they lying on the stairs?

Coming in at #6 is Pearl. If Judy Garland and Vincent Minelli had skipped Meet Me In St. Louis and decided to make a horror movie about a crazy girl axe-murderer, well, it probably wouldn't look anything at all like Ti West's prequel to X (which was released in June of 2022!). West is responsible for the not-really-a-'70s-satanic-cult movie House of the Devil, which I also liked. I always feel like West is trying to do something, to say something different, and to get out of the box that horror's been squeezed into.

The movie has a traditional score with a Technicolor-style color palette. (And I wept once more that it was not actually in Technicolor.) It's almost Lynch-ian in its use of a "happy" style mixed with grisly content. And where the actorly parts of Smile worked against it (I felt), acting is the raison d'être of Pearl. And Mia Goth, whom I don't really know from much, is here for it, delivering the whackadoo goods while somehow still provoking our sympathies. (There is a grimy parallel here with The Wizard of Oz: analogues to the Tin Man, the Wizard, the Lion and even a literal scarecrow, along with Pearl's desire to escape the farm.)

Pearl is rated substantially higher (at 7.5) than West's other efforts (X and House of the Devil are mid-sixes) and that score may come down over time as more people see it. (That's just how these scores work.) Still, The Boy and I were quite pleased.

I didn't get out to see X, though I wanted to, and I will try to catch it before the follow-up (it's a trilogy!) MaXXXine is released.


Look, just stay away from the big wooden stairs that lead down.

Coming in at #3 is Barbarian. Arriving on a rainy night at the worst AirBnB in history, Tess (Georgina Campbell) discovers that Keith (Bill Skarsgård) already has the place. After some wrangling, with Keith showing genuine concern for Tess's wellbeing, they end up sharing the place for the night as mysterious things happen. The next morning, Tess realizes she's in one of those Detroit neighborhoods Nature is taking back, and things get spooky from there.

No spoilers, but some nice twists in this creepy flick. Justin Long plays a #metoo Hollywood guy who actually owns the place and comes out to get it ready for sales. (Long, the perennial nerdy kid of Galaxy Quest and Dodgeball is 44, and finally starting to show his age.)

Though ultimately covering well-worn horror ground, there are good mysteries, twists-and-turns, with the characters mostly doing smarter (or at least justifiable) things. Long's character arc is not the one I was expecting nor hoping for, but I shan't quibble. Writer/director Zach Cregger (who's probably best known for acting in the series "The Whitest Kids U Know") has turned in a very solid, entertaining entry in the horror/thriller category.


4.jpg In the final analysis, Zelda Rubinstein's character was kind of useless.

It may not surprise you, dear reader, to know that your humble author, who did not care particularly for JawsStar Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, also thought Poltergeist was a pile of ridiculous crap. I had not seen it since it's original release nearly 29 years ago, so I took The Boy to see it when TCM showed it a few weeks ago. I wondered if I would re-evaluate it as I had other blockbusters of the era, and what also The Boy would think.

Somewhat surprisingly, the answer is no, this movie is exactly as dumb as I remember it. I was able to appreciate certain aspects of it more, however, that before got completely lost in the dumbness. The production and sound design is solid and effective. As leads, Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams were perfect choices. Elements of director Tobe Hooper that are allowed to seep through the cracks—like the ghost hunter who goes for a snack and ends up peeling his whole face off—don't necessarily hold up as effects but they hint at a much better (scarier) movie.

The Boy felt like it was two competing visions (Spielberg's desire to make a family-friendly ghost house movie vs. the guy who directed Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and noted that Jerry Goldsmith's score comes off as almost psychotic. Dominique Dunne's character is absolutely useless to any aspect of the story, and I couldn't help but notice that her character was not old enough to drive but old enough to have a history with a Holiday Inn on the highway.

I feel like a lot of Spielberg's output at this time was just ripping off Twilight Zone episodes and making them longer, louder and much worse. For what it's worth, by current IMDB rankings, Poltergeist comes in slightly worse than Barbarian and Pearl and slightly better than Smile.


You'll notice that the top ten for 2022 did not include The Black Phone or Mad God. As it turns out those movies were officially released in 2021. The Black Phone is a solid, simple horror King-esque thriller (from Stephen King Jr.) probably trying to cash in on the whole "Stranger Things" popularity but good nonetheless.  It was actually made when the director parted ways with Marvel over Dr. Strange 2. (Using our above IMDB criteria, Black Phone comes in at #8 for 2021.)

Mad God is a surrealistic fever dream, just a series of nightmarish images with no real plot or purpose. If this is the sort of thing you like, well, this is really it; I can't think of another film like it. (It finished at #14 for 2021.)

Full review of Black Phone here. Full review of Mad God here. The latter was also part of my Six Different Minds post.

On tap for the rest of October, we have Dark Glasses from Dario Argento (spoiler: more cohesive but somewhat disappointing than Argento fans would expect), Terrifier 2 (which is apparently much better than the first and potentially the goriest movie...ever?), Don't Look At The Demon, Neill Marshall's (The DescentThe Lair, Daniel Stamm's (13 SinsPrey for the Devil, and of course Halloween Ends (we can only hope).

Stay spooked out there!

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 06:09 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
nurse ratched : "Heh. The seahacks showed up to play. ..."

LenNeal is just aksin: "Toyota has been putting a gutless 4banger in their ..."

Don Black (was DB): "SEA 21, DAL 20 H ..."

N: " Don't worry, so am I. Posted by: Jor try t ..."

Romeo13: "Hmmm... so Federal Judge kills a States ban on Chi ..."

Robert: "That is... unfortunate. Posted by: LenNeal at N ..."

Mike Hammer, etc, etc.: " I'm still unclear why two men with little chance ..."

exdem13: "224 Miller did work with mythologists and his work ..."

Jordan61: "I'm still unclear why two men with little chance o ..."

LenNeal: " I have Slap Shot but I feel it was terribly overr ..."

Martini Farmer: "I'm still unclear why two men with little chance o ..."

LenNeal: "They made a turbo-Diesel 4Runner for the world mar ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64