FIRST LOOK: A Creepshow Holiday Special – Shudder

While we wait for Season 2 of Creepshow on Shudder — delayed by the pandemic — we have received a couple related items to tide us over. The animated special around Halloween and now a Christmas special featuring a live action story.

Robert Weston has noticed some odd changes lately that his doctors can’t explain. The only explanation for his symptoms is that he might be… a werewolf? In search of an answer, he discovers an unusual support group where others can help him learn the truth, but what he discovers is far more sinister than he could have ever imagined. The rag-tag group of misfits must band together to fight the assassin who has been hunting them for centuries.

A Creepshow Holiday Special | Ad-Free and Uncut | SHUDDER

Trailer:

Overlooked mentioning this was available on this week’s streaming WHAT TO WATCH (see: WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #51 of 2020 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu), but making that right now with this FIRST LOOK. There are various FREE trial options available, either for Shudder directly or through AMC+, if you haven’t tried that. So multiple options if you’d like to watch this weekend. It’s definitely on my list!

A Creepshow Holiday Special is available for streaming on Shudder and AMC+ as of December 19, 2020.

Can’t See A Quiet Place II yet, but A Quiet Place 3 Is Already Planned for 2022 Release

A Quiet Place is venturing further down the sequel path.

Fairly common practice for horror films. Halloween the reboot by Blumhouse already has the next two films in the new trilogy planned for release, so why not follow a similar path?

A Quiet Place 3 — a stand-in for the actual title, which has not been announced — is currently scheduled for a 2022 release date. Luckily, Nichols has a lot of options when it comes to riffing on John Krasinski’s original idea, considering the first movie introduced a desolate, frightening, post-apocalyptic version of the modern world but offered no explanations as to how it got that way. Plus, we never learned how the hearing-sensitive monsters came to be either.

A Quiet Place 3 in the Works From Jeff Nichols | Consequence of Sound

It’s a fascinating world, so who knows, but it’s kind of curious to see a release date for the third film when we won’t be able to see the first one until next year. An exception I’m reminded of Back To The Future 2 and 3 filmed at the same time, but released a year apart.

Am very much looking forward to seeing the sequel because the first was so good, but not sure how long the world will hold interest. Guess it depends on if they continue to leave the mystery. If too much is known about the creatures they’ll lose some of their scariness. The unknown is scary. Don’t tell us everything.

Are you looking forward to more sequels, beyond part 2?

Blumhouse Continues Carrying The Horror Flag Year Round to Theaters and Streaming

While we might not enjoy and recommend every movie by Blumhouse, we continue to admire and appreciate their efforts in the area of horror. It’s a genre, outside of power players like Stephen King, that doesn’t get as much mainstream attention and love (although we could argule the last decade it’s been better).

There are plenty of horror fans out here like me and it’s good to know there are studios like Blumhouse that are championing the genre.

But after a decade of hits — Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Get Out — Jason Blum’s company Blumhouse Productions finds itself no longer chasing theatrical releases, especially as AMC and Regal struggle during the pandemic. Instead, streamers are coming to him, and the best part: they believe horror is a year-round affair. In many ways, Blum has often been ahead of the curve—and the scary, spooky, and violent movies he’s released on shoestring budgets might be the best signal of where streaming is going next.

Hollywood turned its nose up at horror — now streamers are racing for the next big scare – The Verge

Yes, Blumhouse keep carrying the horror torch. Any good horror stories you’d like to see them make into films? I can think of a few horror stories that probably aren’t in consideration, but will mention here (in no particular order):

  1. Swan Song by Robert McCammon
  2. The Wolf’s Hour by Robert McCammon
  3. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  4. Dead Sea by Tim Curran

If you’re a reader, then the books above are all recommended.

Come Play ⭐️⭐️

Come Play – R – 1 hr 36 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Thursday October 29, 2020
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
#41 new movie seen in theater in 2020

Oliver is a young autistic boy that has trouble making friends. He uses a phone app to select words to be read aloud by the app, since he doesn’t speak. An app on his phone keeps recurring showing a story about an unusual monster named Larry. The creature wants to use his phone or other screens as a portal to Oliver’s world.

This story somewhat reminded me of Dweller by Jeff Strand. That’s a much better story and covers the whole pet monster idea from a position of truly scary horror. The main difference here is Oliver doesn’t want this pet monster to be his friend, so Larry is setup as an antagonist early on in the story.

Let’s talk about the name. As far as monster names go, Larry doesn’t cut it — at all. I mean, what’s scary about “Larry”? A monster name needs to sound scary. The Unusual Monster book that tells Larry’s story is kind of intriguing. It explains that Larry just wants to find a friend, but its idea of friendship is take his hand and he will pull you into his world.

Larry’s method of moving around between Oliver’s world and wherever it comes from is through screens and something to do with electricity. The film spends way too much time on the whole electrical disturbance part every time Larry is near. I mean, how many lightbulbs smashing and going dark do we need to see to have that point drilled home? It’s not like Larry is a poltergeist. The effect could have been a lot more effective if barely used instead of overused. That’s the signature of amateurish horror filmmaking: overdoing jumpscares, too many sudden, loud noises, the antagonist hiding too many times in the dark and so on. A little of this can set a good atmosphere.

Another knock: the trailer spoiled most of Larry’s appearance. One of the most gripping part of the movie is Larry moving around the house and we’ve already seen it. Don’t you hate it when trailers take the best parts of movies? That’s definitely the case here.

This movie is missing a good scary soundtrack. It needs something like John Carpenter would do to take this out of the amazing world of Steven Spielberg. I’m a Spielberg fan, but his movies — some (very) notable exceptions like Jaws aside — tend to be more fanciful, adventurous and fun than scary.

Bottom line: this movie is plagued with a genre identity problem. If it was trying to be scary, it mostly isn’t. It is better telling a dramatic story about a boy with autism and how he interacts with other children, his parents and the evolution of his social skills with the introduction of an ugly otherworldly character.

This isn’t a terrible movie, just mediocre. Kara couldn’t stand it, but she’s not very into horror, so her commentary above should keep that in mind. I’m a lifelong horror fan, but this missed the mark. It tried, and I could see where it was focusing — on the spookiness of Larry being able to come in and out of our world, but while the framework has potential, the execution is off.

Instead of recommending to see this, again, if you are a horror fan, and enjoy reading go check out Jeff Strand’s book mentioned above. It’s a fast, furious read. Sorry Larry, not recommending anybody play with you — and it’s not for the reasons the filmmakers intended.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️ (Kara)

Let’s Get Crazy on Halloween 2020 – Apply to be paid $1,000 to watch 24 hours of horror movies

I “applied” and so can you — Halloween is a Saturday and watching 24 hours of horror movies is right up my alley, I should pay them just to be able to participate!

I’ve done blogathons in the past. Can honestly say I’ve never done a 24 hour straight watchathon.

Was looking at the Star Wars movie marathon in the theaters when Rise of Skywalker came out and was intrigued and interested. This particular challenge doesn’t require leaving my house, not sure if that’s a pro or con.

In a blogathon for 24 hours you write and posts blog posts. Seemed easier to me than it actually was, particularly toward the final six hours when the tank gets beyond empty and your brain goes into mush mode.

The dream teams at CableTV.com and HighSpeedInternet.com are partnering up to pay one lucky horror flick aficionado $1,000 to watch a nonstop, 24-hour movie marathon on a streaming service of their choice. If a night of #nosleep, coffee, and gallons of fake blood sounds like more of a dream than a nightmare, this job is right up your (dark, abandoned) alley. 

Get Paid $1,000 to Watch 24 Hours of Horror Movies This Halloween

This horror watching on Halloween movie challenge, however, is a bloody sharp opportunity to choose 13+ horror movies on various streaming channels and tweet and blog the fun. I mean, think about the run times, about 1.5 hours per movie .. it’s just about perfect for 13+ movies. With the right pre-planning exactly 13 movies could be chosen for a perfectly superstitious movie count.

24 hours x 60 minutes = 1440 minutes
divided by 90 minutes (average estimated movie)
= 16 movies!

What 13 movies would I choose? That I have to think more about for certain, but I just surfed around Shudder’s Newly Added List and quickly picked out 13 horror movies I’d like to watch or rewatch (in no particular order):

  1. 91 minutes – Mohawk (2018)
  2. 94 minutes – The Cleansing Hour (2020)
  3. 96 minutes – The Deeper You Dig (2020)
  4. 89 minutes – The Masque of Red Death (1964)
  5. 85 minutes – From Beyond (1986)
  6. 100 minutes – Rabbit (2018)
  7. 100 minutes – Starfish (2018)
  8. 102 minutes – Fade To Black (1980)
  9. 83 minutes – 30 Miles From Nowhere (2020)
  10. 89 minutes – The Evil (1978)
  11. 94 minutes – Mortuary (1983)
  12. 89 minutes – One Dark Night (1983)
  13. 81 minutes – Random Acts of Violence (2020)

= 1193 minute

Bonus movies to round out 1,440 minutes

14. 92 minutes – Hellmaster (1992)
15. 108 minutes – Uncaged (2016)

= 1,393 minutes

This would leave like 40+ minutes for bathroom pause and breaks throughout the day. Again, these aren’t necessarily the movies I’d watch if chosen, but maybe they would be, who knows?

Want to apply?

Yes, you can apply, too. It’s not about the money to me, but if they pick me and want to pay, I’m not going to turn down a thousand bones for doing something I love doing anyway. It’s about watching and enjoying horror movies.

You get 100 words for them to decide why you should be the one they choose. I made sure my precisely 100 words were exactly 666 characters.

Muhaahahahahaha!

FIRST LOOK: Creepshow (Animated TV Special) – Shudder

Creepshow Season 1 is available on Shudder, Creepshow Season 2 is now filming

Some exciting horror-related news dropped 9/24 concerning the anthology Creepshow series at Shudder. The announcement came originally via a Shudder tweet which was promptly picked up by various news sources, including Bloody-disgusting further below.

While we knew that Creepshow Season 2 filming was delayed due to the pandemic (it has since started filming in Atlanta), we didn’t know they were secretly working on a fully animated Creepshow TV special that will contain two stories from the Stephen King family in time for Halloween 2020!

Shudder details. “Though Greg Nicotero and his team are hard at work shooting season 2 (coming in 2021), they’ve crafted a fully animated Creepshow special for us just in time for Halloween, featuring two tales to die for: “Survivor Type,” based on the short story by Stephen King and adapted by Nicotero, stars Kiefer Sutherland (24, Designated Survivor) as a man determined to stay alive alone on a deserted island no matter what the cost. “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” based on the short story by Joe Hill and adapted by Melanie Dale, stars Joey King (The Kissing Booth, The Act) as a teen whose family road trip includes a visit to the gravest show on earth. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ).”

“Creepshow” Animated Special Coming to Shudder in October; Based on Stephen King and Joe Hill Tales! – Bloody Disgusting

Am not familiar with Joe Hill’s story, but am very familiar with “Survivor Type” from King’s collection, Skeleton Crew (an awesome name for a horror short story collection, btw).

Creeepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero has been trying to figure out how to adapt King’s “Survivor Type” on a budget for quite some time. This was the very first story King and Nicotero discussed being adapted. As it turns out King’s story “Gray Matter” was used instead for season one.

Nicotero says he realized very quickly that they couldn’t shoot the script in a way that would do it justice. “We couldn’t go to the beach to shoot, because we didn’t have the cash to do it,” he reveals. “So after a little bit of struggling back and forth, I went to my production team and just said, ‘Guys, we’re not going to be able to make this script right. I don’t want to shoot it on a lake and then digitally erase all of the trees, or shoot it in a parking lot with a blue screen behind it.’”

Creepshow Showrunner Reveals “Lost” Stephen King Episode Details

Apparently the animated route was the way to get this project completed. No idea what the quality of the animation will be like (the first season animation segments received mixed reviews), but I remember reading the original graphic novel of the first movie. Great stuff. You can still find that out there on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions (recommended!).

If you’re looking for great horror graphic novels to read, Creepshow is recommended

Speaking of books, there is a new young adult paperback just released this month called Creepshow: The Taker. It’s not aimed at adults, so keep that in mind. Not sure if it a graphic novel either, so adult buyers beware. You can search Amazon and other booksellers to find if interested.

Back to the animated special we’re spotlighting in this post.

Also announced, Kiefer Sutherland, who’s last role in anything by Stephen King was playing Ace in Stand By Me, is the voice actor for the shipwrecked doctor in “Survivor Type.” Jack Bauer meets Stephen King, oh yeah. Joey King (no relation to Stephen King), the actress will be the voice actor for Joe Hill’s story.

If this special episode goes over well, maybe we’ll get a full season order of a Creepshow animated series from Shudder? I’d be interested in a full series. They can make animated episodes on a lower budget than live action, so why not? I remember reading that each episode of Star Trek The Animated Series (1973) were created on a budget of $75,000 per episode — and that included the voice actor fees. They can’t do it that inexpensively in 2020, but it shows the budgetary requirements, not to mention pandemic restrictions, favor animated productions.

Creepshow: The Animated TV Special will stream exclusively on Shudder on October 26, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Freaky

Theaters: Nov 13, 2020

Vince Vaughn has been showing his acting versatility. He does more than the sarcastic comedy role. I was a bit surprised — in a good way — by the brutal nature of his participation in Brawl In Cell Block 99, and now he’s starring in a horror-comedy vehicle from Blumhouse called, Freaky.

…can’t say director Christopher Landon doesn’t have a vision. With Happy Death Day and its sequel, the filmmaker mined a comedic concept for horror (without excising the comedic component). Now, he’s doing it again. Freaky takes the body-swap gimmick popularized by Freaky Friday and asks what might happen if a bullied teen girl switched bodies with a hulking serial killer.

Freaky trailer: Freaky Friday, but horror

The official trailer:

Character running from slasher says, “You’re black, I’m gay, we are soooo dead!”

This looks pretty entertaining and the release date, although happening after Halloween, seems well-placed.

Blumhouse, at least from attempts (not always execution) is just knocking it out of the park with horror subgenres, remakes, anthologies, they’re all over the horror map making the studio a name to reckon with in the space. Looking very forward to seeing this one, you?

Freaky is opening wide in theaters on Friday the 13th, November 2020

FIRST LOOK: The Empty Man (2020)

FIRST LOOK Friday continues with …

Hey, it’s a horror movie coming in August, maybe, to theaters. At least it hasn’t been delayed as of this writing, so I’m bravely previewing it. The film was announced first in 2016 and has taken a leisurely path to release. It hasn’t had a bunch of delays and moves, however, so maybe — assuming theaters are back open next month — will release as currently planned.

What’s it about?

A terrifying entity may be responsible for a string of mysterious disappearances in a small Midwestern town.

Everything You Need to Know About The Empty Man Movie (2020)

I couldn’t locate an official trailer for this film from 20th Century (now owned by Disney), but it is based upon the Boom Studios comic by Cullen Bunn. Haven’t read the comic, but do like the story description:

…a dystopic version of the world we know, where a terrifying disease has taken on almost deific connotations. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms include fits of rage, hideous hallucinations, suicidal dementia, followed by death, or a near lifeless, “empty” state of catatonia. As cults rise nationwide, the FBI and CDC enter a joint investigation of the Empty Man, hoping to piece together clues to stop the cults and uncover a cure … THE EMPTY MAN comic book series delivers terrifying new horrors, perfect for new readers and longtime fans alike,

The Empty Man #1 First Look – Boom Studios!

As of this writing the comic series first 6 issues are available for $9.99 at Google Play (regularly price buying each issue separately costs $18, so better deal to buy the volume 1 series). I haven’t read the series, just reporting one place you can find the series at. I didn’t check any other sources than Google Play, so maybe Comixology has as part of their unlimited deal. Subscribers should always check there first.

I’m interested in reading this comic series and seeing the movie. I don’t know if I’ll have time to do it before the movie comes out, though. More and more movies these days are being adapted from comics and graphic novels.

The Empty Man as of this writing is scheduled to open wide in theaters on August 7, 2020.

FIRST LOOK: Scare Package – Shudder

Those who have been reading this blog and/or following our reviews know that I’m a huge horror fan.

Anthology horror is a niche within that really hits close to home. Just love horror shorts. Movies like Stephen King and George Romero’s Creepshow and John Carpenter’s Body Bags are a bullseye for my viewing interest.

Shudder made Creepshow into a TV series in 2019 (see: TV REVIEW: Creepshow Season 1 Episodes Reboot by Shudder – 12 Stories, 6 Episodes All Rated and Reviewed (no spoilers)) and they are gearing up for season 2 later in fall 2020. They are also working on scripts for season three.

In Scare Package, we’re treated to seven horror shorts that take a jab at horror tropes. I’m not as big a fan of humor in horror, preferring to be scared over being made to laugh, but still I’m liking the teaser and movie info here.

The movie starts with Chad Buckley, the lonely owner of Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, who whiles away the hours bickering with his only customer. When a job applicant shows up unexpectedly, Chad takes it upon himself to teach the newbie the rules of horror movies. As Chad narrates, he spins a series of grisly, gory tales that spring to life as mini movies, each directed by a different filmmaker. The cast includes Noah Segan (Knives Out), wrestling legend Dustin Rhodes, Toni Trucks (SEAL Team) and Hawn Tran (Watchmen), among others.

How to watch the horror-comedy anthology ‘Scare Package’
on Shudder – cleveland.com

Trailer:

7 directors, 7 stories with runtime of 107 minutes. Simple math tells me that an average of 15 minutes per short. Depending on the complexity of the shorts, this could present a quick, nasty bite in the dark. Again, I’m concerned about how much it leans on humor. It’s easier to create humor-horror than scary horror. Definitely going to check this out. Good news? It’s available as of this writing for Shudder subscribers.

Scare Package is available to stream here on Shudder as of June 18, 2020.

TV REVIEW: Bloodride Season 1 – All 6 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Somehow I missed this Norwegian anthology horror TV series, Bloodride on Netflix released Friday the 13th – March 13, 2020. There are six episodes total with one story per episode.

The basic concept follows a bus with a creepy driver (is that Mr. Death?) with each passenger getting off at a stop being a new story.

This is a show that I would have been very excited to watch on its release. Alas, I’ve been digging around in the streaming services lately and quickly uncovered this and other shows I’d like to watch. The watchlist grows!

These are SPOILER reviews, by the way, so if you enjoy anthology horror shows, go check this out on Netflix and come back afterwards. Am I recommending watching? Yes, especially for those who enjoy anthology horror.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Episode 1 – “Ultimate Sacrifice”
Air date: March 13, 2020
Run time: 31 minutes

A couple moves out of the city due to financial problems. They soon notice a lot of neighbors oddly cuddling their animals.

Out in the woods one day, the wife observes one of the animals being killed on a sacrificial stone. She is told how sacrifices can lead to a huge windfall of money. Soon, the woman learns the darker secret between sacrifice, bonding and earning greater rewards.

This was a curious story to kick off the series. Those turned off by animal violence might cringe, but no real animals were harmed. It’s the kind of visceral imagery, however, that will disgust and disturb viewers. I liked the episode.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Episode 2 – “Three Sick Brothers”
Air date: March 13, 2020
Run time: 27 minutes

Three brothers are heading to a cabin in the woods. They pick up a woman to party with them. As the party gets more intense, we learn one of the brothers just got out of a mental hospital. Meanwhile, his mom is trying to catch up with him to deliver the truly mental news.

This episode, despite the numerous twists and turns doesn’t quite have the shock value of the first one. It’s entertaining enough, but there are far better stories.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Episode 3 – “Bad Writer”
Air date: March 13, 2020
Run time: 27 minutes

Student and teacher in sort of a grudge match of words on the computer that can literally come to life.

Not sure if this is a nod to Stephen King or what, but he’s been all over this type of story before. And his writing was better.

Points for the laptop turning into a chomp-hungry mouth. That’s a great visual. It’s a little like going the bathroom and having a fear of something reaching up.

The dubbing in this episode is terrible. It’s really pretty bad in the whole series, in fact. It’s so jarring hearing someone talk and a mouth not move.

Not a fan of this episode, kinda mediocre.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Episode 4 – “Lab Rats”
Air date: March 13, 2020
Run time: 32 minutes

An executive tries to figure out who is leaking intel on their secret project. He traps key members of his staff in a chamber in the building and sadistically turns on gas. He leaves them with a clue as to how they can find the clue and get out.

Ah, another one of those delicious little table turning tales (say that three times fast).

“If you love me, you’ll get out in no time.”

Bam! That’s the best line of dialogue in this corporate horror tale.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Episode 5 – “The Old School”
Air date: March 13, 2020
Run time: 28 minutes

A woman searches for answers in what happened to the children at an old school.

Chalkboards that write on themselves. Those who like ghosts and spirits in eerie locations will have something to bite into here. Me? This was the weakest episode of the six, although fans of children ghost stories might enjoy.

Dug the violent ending, however.

Rating: ⭐️½

Episode 6 – “The Elephant in the Room”
Air date: March 13, 2020
Run time: 27 minutes

An office costume party from hell. An awkward speech by the boss about how good the company did and then sort of segues into what happened to one of their fellow employees, Martha.

William in development is the person wearing the Dumbo-like costume, right? Helene and William were working on a project and then Martha just “fell” on her face. A freak, bizarre accident.

Horrific use of a paper cutter. Ouch, I could feel that. They should have gone all the way with this angle. Use different typical office items for creative kills.

A twist ending works best when you don’t see the twist coming. Kinda did here. Overall, though I was entertained and enjoyed.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Summary of Season 1

The bus idea could have been exploited a bit more in at least one of the episodes. Instead, it’s just a way to introduce a character in the story. A wraparound bus driver or bus story would have been cool. Similar to how paintings were used in Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Then again, cool concept having the bus with people being dropped off having different stories.

I don’t know if Netflix will greenlight another season of this series, but it is a competitor to Shudder’s Creepshow. Not as good, mind you, but has potential.

Overall season 1 rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️