It’s usually a bit of a mixed bag the opening week of Hooptober, but I managed to front-load some films I was genuinely interested and the results paid off: only one clinker (to my mind) in the mix. We have to get the header image from last week’s post out of the way, so things kick off with the headtrip that is Frank Henenlotter’s 80s classic Brain Damage before moving on two indie gems: the dread-inducing Lovecraftian plague of The Beach House and the the super-fun DIY sensation of Host. One of my favorite action directors Timo Tjahjanto revels in his horror roots with the wickedly fun Raimi homage May The Devil Take You…and then there’s Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, which despite being directed by Joe Lynch and starring Henry Rollins falls with a thud for me. Great axe-splitting opening, though…
So wipe yer damn feet and enter the opening week’s wares for Hooptober 2020. If you break out in a rash or feel any itching just remember we warned you about the water.
Brian has a drug problem, and it’s affecting his relationship with his brother/roommate, his girlfriend, and the neighbors in the seedy apartment complex he lives in. Sounds pretty typical, except this is a Frank Henenlotter film: so the drug in question comes from a mysterious creature known as Aylmer (or Elmer to Brian) who looks like purple engorged penis who administers said drug by injecting blue venom directly into Brian’s brain. The catch? Aylmer needs brains to live, and once Brian is hooked on the “juice” he has little choice but to help Aylmer procure his meals…(full review here)
Emily and her boyfriend Randall heads to Randall’s parent’s beach house house to reconnect and work on their relationship. They find the house already occupied by an older couple who were given permission to use the house by Randalls’s father. What could be the setup to any number of mind-game confrontational situations instead turns into a nice dinner of oysters and edibles. Oops! Seems like something ancient and evil is rising out of the water, and maybe eating those oysters wasn’t such a hot idea. Soon a mysterious fog of…something rises up and Emily is faced with the fact that whatever is coming out of the water is going to doom us all.(full review here)
An opportunistic director is filming a pilot for a SURVIVOR-like reality show where contestants have to survive in the post-apocalyptic wilderness. Things get too real when they decide to film where a bunch of mutant hillbillies with super strength and a taste for man flesh reside. Can Colonel Dale Murphy (Rollins) fight his way out of this redneck hellhole and save his cast? Probably not, but one person does get axed literally in half, so what can you do?(full review here)
Hey, did you know there’s a worldwide pandemic going on? Wanted to connect with her friends, Haley sets up a Zoom call and invites her friends to hold a virtual seance with her hippie, trippy older friend Seylan. When spooky things start to happen, they laugh it off until an innocent joke takes things to another level…AN EVIL LEVEL!(full review here)
Looking for riches, a man makes a deal with a priestess who invokes the devil. Years later the man lies broke and sick in a hospital bed. Alfie, his estranged daughter from his first marriage has to navigate her past with her father and her step family as they all learn the price that must be collected due to the pact with the devil. Mayhem ensues as the group converges on the family home to find a locked door and the title of the movie makes begins to make itself clear…(full review here)
Next week we go in a few wild directions, hitting a 90s gothic giallo with a twist that would make James Cameron blush, Robert Eggers stellar follow-up to The Witch, an absolutely atrocious remake, an interesting sequel to a horror phenomenon, and an obscure crazed killer classic.
Until then, keep it Blood Red.