Welcome to the 19th episode of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where the three writers of C talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, we discuss two absolutely horrendous Horror films in anticipation of Halloween with a Christmas movie and the fifth installment of a St. Patrick’s Day franchise. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget to bring up Eric in the bathtub. We also slowly devolve into doing a few minutes of Ice T impressions from SVU, so there’s that. Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!
Welcome to the 18th episode of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where the three writers of Ctalk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, we discuss the three of some of our favorite current horror films in anticipation of Halloween, as well as more of Eric’s bathing habits! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!
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What is ‘Sloppy Saturdays’?
I realized that I own over 300 movies, many of which I have not watched a second time. Whether on Blu-Ray, DVD, or the legendary LaserDisc, I have a lot of films I need to watch again. So, I’ve decided I should probably go through these and justify why I own them, and perhaps, why you should too. I put them all into a database and will randomly mix them up once a week. Come back every Saturday for a new review.
-Nick, Editor of CinemAbysmal
Sloppy Saturdays – Volume Three
Arachnophobia (1990) – Comedy |Thriller
Directed by: Frank Marshall
Starring: Jeff Daniels and John Goodman
Format I Own: LaserDisc
Arachnophobia begins like a lot of other movies in the ’90’s: Big city doctor (Jeff Daniels) moves to a small town with the intention of taking over the town’s only medical practice. Little does he know, a spider-bitten corpse from Venezuela was just dropped off and the carcass brought a huge and aggressive, 8-legged freak with him. Somehow, this baseball mitt-sized tarantula mates with a spider in this tiny farm town, and soon all Gremlinsesque hell breaks loose.
What I Love
I think love might be too strong of a word to describe how I feel about this movie, but I did love it as a kid and it’s definitely got some nostalgic value to it. By no means, though, is it a great movie. The effects are dated, they tried really hard to make it funny, which comes off as unnatural, and it’s hard to have Jeff Daniels carry your movie. Every scene with John Goodman is pretty damn good, but really, there’s not quite enough. The musical score is goofy as all hell, as well. But really, if you saw this as a kid, you’ll probably enjoy it merely for nostalgic reasons like I did.
My Favorite Scene
For almost the entire movie, Marshall and crew dog hard on this couple that really likes food. This guy is the town mortician and is constantly eating Ruffles around the corpses, and at a dinner party, he and his wife take full paper plates of food home. Well, when it’s time for the outbreak of spiders upon the town, one climbs into a disgustingly buttery bowl of popcorn that the portly couple is eating out of while watching Wheel of Fortune. It’s standard ‘it’s funny ’cause he’s fat’ fodder, but I still enjoyed it, especially when the murdering spider crawls out of the mortician’s nose after killing him.
What You Might Not Like
I think based on the title, it’s pretty obvious why a lot of people would not be able to handle this film. From the beginning, the spiders are big, they’re aggressive, and their actions play on everyone’s basic fears of spiders that bite. While watching, I admittedly lifted my feet off the floor a few times in momentary fear of some scuttling beings. They hiss, they jump and fly through the air, they have dripping, black fangs and they really couldn’t be more frightening.
How You Can Watch
- Rent for $2.99 on Apple TV, Google Play, and Vudu
Final Score: 2.5/4
Similar Films: Gremlins, The Mist, Eight Legged Freaks
Directed by: Patrick Brice
Starring: Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass
Review by CinemAbysmal
First of all, this was not supposed to be the psychological horror movie that it turned out to be. Apparently, Duplass and Brice showed the early cut to their friends and they suggested they turned the mostly improvised story into a horror movie. There’s word out there that it even has three alternate endings (the one they left in was pretty damn good).
Most people know Mark Duplass as Pete from The League on FX. And while I find him pretty damn hilarious in that show, I think I respect him more for his efforts in producing, writing and directing ‘Mumblecore’ films and TV shows such as The Puffy Chair and HBO’s Togetherness. I’m not exactly the hugest fan of this breed of film, but I appreciate it because it reminds me quite a bit of 1970’s Woody Allen. So when I saw he was in a pseudo-found footage film, I was pretty excited to check it out.
Mark Duplass is definitely the best part of this movie. It’s perfectly titled, as he is truly creepy as Josef, a dude hanging out in a cabin in the woods who hired a videographer for one day on Craigslist. The protagonist, Aaron (Patrick Brice, who actually directed the film as well), is pretty great as the videographer that is suffering through Josef’s pretty damn annoying antics, until you see something else is really wrong with Josef. I’ll stop there, but it’s a pretty excellent portrayal of crazy by Duplass.
Creep isn’t perfect. In fact, at times, it feels a bit insufferable with Mark Duplass doing everything he can to be the most insane, obsessive person on earth. What it is though, is a nice departure from the found-footage films we’ve been force fed over the last couple decades. There’s very natural discussions, which leads to some pretty convincing fear and scares coming from the actors. Don’t expect it to be too funny with Duplass, but just sit back and enjoy what’s about to hit you.
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green and John Carroll Lynch
Review by CinemAbysmal
First of all, this is not really a horror movie. Well, I suppose you could call it one, but let’s be safe here and call it a psychological thriller. The Invitation (if you invite it to…rimshot, please) will take hold of your brain like a pitbull to a rubber toy and make you second guess yourself for a good hour and a half. It burns slow, but damn it pays off.
The director of the film, Karyn Kusama, is probably most well-known for her other films, like Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body. When I saw that she was the filmmaker, I was a bit hesitant on even watching this to be honest. I’ve heard Aeon Flux is just god awful. I actually liked Jennifer’s Body quite a bit, but it wasn’t really enough to get me jacked for this one. I checked out the trailer, and couldn’t really tell what was going on but was intrigued enough. And honestly, I’m really glad I did.
This is not really a horror movie because not enough happens in it to make it horrific. Most of the film, the characters are talking in living rooms or dining rooms inside of a really nice Hollywood Hills home. Don’t let this scare you away, though. The acting is pretty terrific, as lead Logan Marshall-Green is confusing and at times insufferable, complementing the serpentining storyline perfectly. John Carroll Lynch (that weird bald guy that always plays that really weird bald guy in movies) is amazing, but I’m not going to tell you anything about his character because he’s that good.
I hope the words I’ve chosen for this review have not pushed you away from watching this film. I know that “psychological thriller” tends to be a bit overused when describing movies, but this honestly is one of those occasions where this term works perfectly. It’s vicious, confounding and has one of the better payoffs that I’ve seen in movies like this. Check out The Invitation on Netflix now!
Eight Legged Freaks
Directed by: Ellory Elkayem
Starring: David Arquette and Scarlett Johansson
Review by Eric Scot Lemons
I love a good B-horror film. One that rides the line of camp and comes out with something both exciting and fun. It is a difficult genre though, for every Tremors you get four Sharknados. You expect the CGI to be bad, which in Eight Legged Freaks, it is. But not too bad for a film out of 2002. You got David Arquette, a sort of random crown prince of cult-ish horror after the Scream flicks and having written and directed The Tripper, a sort of ode to 80s slasher flicks that has Ronald Reagan like figure as the slasher. But in this movie, like many, he sucks. His line delivery felt like it came after a long trailer weed nap.
That being said, I really dug this movie. It was corny, but pretty funny in parts. In many ways, it felt like one of my favorite films, Slither, albeit only in tone and not in plot or quality. It really is an amalgamation of many different cool horror flicks. It takes place partially in a mall like Dawn of the Dead, and partially in a mine like My Bloody Valentine. The way they picked off their prey by sneaking into their homes felt like Arachnophobia, but on a comically larger scale. My one major complaint in the film that just got too annoying was they gave the spiders voices that sounded half the time like a mogwai and half the time like a minion. I don’t need a high-pitched squirrel voice from a spider to know it hates being shot.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to watch some fun bullshit in which they know what will happen and they don’t have to think about it, but it is cool to see spiders take out tanker trucks and pile into malls and get shot. It isn’t perfect or really great in any feasible way, but you’ll enjoy it, especially with the help of alcoholic beverages or inhaled cannabis smoke
Directed by: Tim Sullivan
Starring: Robert Englund and Lin Shaye
Review by Carson Labish
There’s a reason you’ve never heard of this movie. If slasher movie tropes, lighthearted southern racism, or 5 minute sex montages are your thing, I would still not recommend this movie. The only reason I watched it in the first place, was because Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) is in it. This wasn’t enough to save anything about it. The whole thing is really a mish-mash of nods to original and better horror films, except done poorly and for no other reason than to try and fool the watcher into thinking “it’s like that good movie, so I guess this is good too”.
The whole movie is basically broken down to a bunch of college students on their way to X spring break destination, turned down the wrong road and ended up where they don’t belong. That’s literally the entire thing. The thing with slasher movies, of course, is that you never really root for the victims, you root for the villain. There’s nobody to root for here. The characters are all bland and hard to tell apart, and every single one of the female characters talks almost exclusively in sexual innuendos and puns…..about sex. Really, all you are watching for are creative kills and gruesome deaths. I can’t really say there is much of either with this movie. Each of the characters killed is almost done in a formula. They are led off by one of the townsfolk, and end up in some kind of complex trap that kills them. That sounds kind of cool, but it isn’t.
Did you say you wanted awkward racism spread throughout the 86 drudging minutes of the movie? You got it! There are several shoehorned scenes of Robert Englund rambling on about how the south would rise again, and how they would “teach them Yankees.” I lost count of confederate flags flapping around the entire time. I guess they really wanted you to know this town was full of civil war buffs.
If you want to recreate the experience without watching the movie, watch Nightmare On Elm Street 2 and listen to Larry The Cable Guy stand up at the same time.
Fun Facts about 2001 Maniacs:
- There were only like 40 people that played the 2001 townsfolk, and the other 1961 were chroma-keyed in occasionally.
- Eli Roth has a cameo as a hitchhiker with his dog, Doctor Mombo, so technically this movie is a semi prequel to Cabin Fever.
- Kane Hodder (Jason Vorhees) is in a single scene playing one of the townsfolk during the climax of the movie. His character’s name is “Jason”.
At the Devil’s Door
Directed by: Nicholas McCarthy
Starring: Ashley Rickards and Naya Rivera
Review by CinemAbysmal
This a strange fucking movie. Not exactly in the good way, either. The acting is pretty underwhelming, the dialogue is laughable and it seems to be pieced together by a drunk person. However, there almost seems to be an underlying intent to all of this as the movie stumbles along.
What we have with At the Devil’s Door is a good enough horror film. It plays on concepts from other movies such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen, while mixing in some haunted house jumps. There’s even a mysterious girl donning a red rain jacket, which immediately reminded me of the creeptacular Don’t Look Now. There are some genuine frights in this and the Satanic storyline is actually pretty damn unsettling. It’s also really pretty. A lot of the shots are bathed in a greyed out palette and McCarthy is particular with his use of bright colors to surprise the eyes. He’s also very careful about his use of the devil in this. He is shown many times, a tall man with horns, but he is always blurry and it’s creepy as all hell.
The timeline in this film is probably the most distracting part. It begins with a teenage girl in the 1980’s and jumps around between then and now, but it feels forced and does not really come natural at all. I already mentioned the acting, but I think it’s worth talking about again. Most of it is pretty god-awful, and I can’t really tell if McCarthy meant for the hamfisted presentation of it all. I really think this would be a legitimately good movie if the dialogue was more carefully written and he grabbed some better actors.
At the Devil’s Door is currently streaming on Netflix. If you are into jump scares and some pretty damn good satan-soaked evil, this will probably satisfy you. It tends to move at a snail’s pace sometimes, but it really is a pretty vicious horror film. It’s just not that good of a movie-movie.
The new episode of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast is out for all your aural pleasure! Holly, Eric and Nick get spooky just in time for Halloween and discuss The Wicker Man with Nicolas Cage, Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, and are relentlessly interrupted by everything that the world could possibly throw at them. Check it out in the link below!