Bones and All, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2022, Curse of the Blind Dead, Blood of Dracula's Castle, Gallery of Horror, and The Gate
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 207
We’re back to our usual lineup of four movies and a short film this week. We’ll start with “Curse of the Blind Dead.” A sad, almost indie-level production of a reboot from 2019. Then we’ll take a look at the new “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” from this year, which is not a reboot. We’ll go back in time and through “The Gate,” a fun one from 1987, and then we’ll take some time for dinner, “Bones and All” from this year.
As bonus reviews this week, we’ll look at a pair of awful 1960s films, both starring John Carradine:
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• “Blood of Dracula’s Castle” (1969)
• “Gallery of Horror” (1967)
Four years ago this week...
Four YEARS AGO this week, on episode 2, we looked at “Mad Ron’s Previews from Hell” (19987) and “The Nun” (2018). It’s fun hearing how much the show has changed since that first episode!
Listen to that old episode here: https://www.horrorguys.com/hg002/.
Check out all our books!
The Horror Guys Guide to:
• Tales to Make You Shiver, Volumes 1 and 2
Here. We. Go!
Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
• Directed by Al Adamson
• Written by Rex Carlton
• Stars John Carradine, Paula Raymond, Alex D'Arcy
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 24 Minutes
• Watch it:
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is tolerable. The vampires are aristocratic and evil but not very powerful. There are some problems with the script that you don’t want to overthink, but overall, it’s good. Not great, but pretty good.
A woman driving out in the mountains runs out of gas. She takes her portable cassette player and goes walking for assistance. She sees someone who scares her, and she faints. Credits roll as the man carries her to his lair.
Glen, the photographer, takes pictures of his fiancée Liz at the Marineland Aquarium. Glen gets a telegram-- his rich old uncle has died and left him a castle. A couple named Townsend has rented the place for decades-- they must be as old as the uncle by now.
Countess Townsend gets the same telegram and whines to the Count about maybe getting a new lease-- they don't want to have to move out. Downstairs, George the Butler takes a blood sample from Ann, the girl from the car; the man who carried her in was Mango the Hunchback. George then serves the blood to the Count and Countess upstairs. They have arranged for Johnny's release, and he should be arriving sometime tomorrow.
Elsewhere, Frank, the prison guard, releases Johnny from Prison. Johnny is just supposed to knock Frank out to make it look good, but he kills him as the full moon triggers his instincts. The Countess reveals who they are to Ann, who is chained up alongside several other prisoners. After that, the vampires turn in for the day.
Werewolf Johnny runs across the fields and the woods to escape prison. When he wakes up the next morning, men with bloodhounds are on his trail. He eventually manages to give them the slip by hitting a man with a rock and stealing his car. He makes it to the castle, but George isn't particularly thrilled to see him.
Glen and Liz arrive at the castle. He doesn't want to tell the old couple that they'll have to leave. When they meet the Count and his wife, they're shocked that they look so young despite having leased the place for sixty years. Glen tells the Count that they don't plan to renew the lease. The Countess has faith that Johnny will find a solution.
Johnny admits that he doesn't fight his impulses-- except when the moon is full. He laughs that Count Townsend used to be Count Dracula a few hundred years ago. They bring up their current predicament with Glen.
That night, Johnny, in werewolf form, is out hunting women in the countryside. Glen and Liz hear the girl scream and go exploring. They find Mango and George instead. George says they must have heard the pet toucan, which screams like a woman. After a lengthy chase scene, Johnny gets his girl.
The next morning, Mango feeds the prisoners in the dungeon. Johnny tells Glen and Liz that the Townsends are having a dinner party in their honor tonight. They hadn't planned on spending another night. Johnny also tells them there's something wrong with their car, which Glen didn't realize.
Liz wants to see a toucan, so they go down into the cellar. They find Ann and the other girls. Ann tells them that the Townsends are asleep in the next room-- in coffins! Glen realizes they can only be vampires. Johnny, George, and Mango keep them from leaving. Soon, Glen and Liz are chained to the wall next to the others.
The Townsends wake up, and they tell George to prepare the sacrifices and that they should write up a bill of sale for the castle that Glen will be forced to sign.
Johnny releases Ann and tells her not to be afraid of him; he's here to help. Johnny and George have words about the great god Luna. Johnny wants to be eternal, so he goes along with what he's told.
That evening, everyone convenes on the hilltop as the baddies plan to burn Ann at the stake. They burn her and listen to the screams. After, they all go back to the castle for dinner and for the signing of the contract. They all drink a toast to the god Luna.
Glen grabs Johnny's gun and shoots him. "Dracula" and his bride simply allow Glen to tie them up with no resistance at all. George beats Glen with a whip, but falls to his death from eight feet up. The Count and Countess beg to be released as Mango finds George's body. The sun rises, and the vampires age quickly and turn to dust.
Glen, Liz, and the girls run outside and shoot Mango with the pistol. That doesn't stop him, and before long, Mango has Liz and starts carrying her back to the castle. Glen wakes up after being maced and chases them up a mountain. Mango ties Liz to the sacrificial pole and gets ready to burn her. Glen hits him with an axe and then sets him on fire.
Johnny's werewolf makeup doesn't look bad, considering the lack of detail on most of the rest of the film. The two vampires are extremely campy and over the top.
Did they forget that vampires are bulletproof and really strong? Werewolves too, right? These two vampires wimped out over a pistol pointed at them and allowed themselves to be tied up to wait for the sunrise.
It wasn't horrible, but it was far from good.
Gallery of Horror (1967)
• Directed by David L. Hewitt
• Written by Russ Jones, David L. Hewitt, Gary R. Heacock
• Stars Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Rochelle Hudson
• Run Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes
• Watch it here:
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
With the exception of John Carradine, it seems like everyone involved in this one phoned it in. The stories are simplistic and poorly told. The cast doesn’t handle things with skill. It’s not really a good one to recommend seeing.
John Carradine, in a tuxedo, introduces the stories. He explains about witches and warlocks. People were terrified of curses more than the witches themselves. Then there were witch hunts, where hundreds of people were burned at the stake as witches. One of those burned was a real witch…
Segment 1: The Witch's Clock
Julie and Bob Farrell, a young couple of newlyweds, buy a dusty old castle. The first thing she wants to see is their new dungeon. She finds an old grandfather clock down there. “It would go perfectly in the bay room, dear,” she insists. After 200 years, she’s surprised that it doesn’t work.
They wind the clock and get it going. At midnight, Tristram Halbin (Carradine) comes to the door. He came to see the Mailors, the people who used to live here. Julie invites him to stay the night. They offer him room and board to stay and help fix up the place. Tristram is dressed in old-style clothing.
The next morning, Dr. Finchley comes by to introduce himself. Bob tells him that he’s a writer doing an article on witchcraft; Finchley says there was a lot of that in the area, even many burnings. He says Lucy Mailor was the only real witch of the bunch. She and all her friends are buried downstairs in the crypt. “There’s even talk that she enchanted the clock” which people say can bring back the dead. Bob goes down to the crypt. He finds one for Tristram Halbin, who died in 1673.
We cut to Tristram hypnotizing Julie to leave Bob for him. Bob confronts Tristram, and they fight over the clock. The clock explodes, killing them all.
The new couple who moves in loves that beautiful clock…
Segment 2: King Vampire
Thirteen victims so far. The homicide detectives are clueless, and there’s no real pattern. The newspapers are killing the killer “King Vampire.” All of London is in turmoil over the murders. John Bremen is the detective just assigned to the case.
He starts out by asking who can tell him what the killer looks like. One man says the killer looks like a short undertaker type. A woman describes the vampire, and he sounds terrible, a man with the face of a corpse. That woman turns out to be the next victim.
They soon catch a well-dressed man, and the mob kills him right in front of Brenner. There are three more murdersafter this. Brennan comes up with the idea that King Vampire could be a woman. Brennan is reassigned, and the homicide detective is killed by his own assistant, the vampire queen.
Segment 3: The Monster Raid
Desmond comes for his master in the crypt. The Master spins his story. Dr. James Seward comes to the old castle where Dr. Charles Spaulding and his wife Helen are experimenting on farm animals. Seward and Helen are having an affair. Servant Desmond overhears them plotting.
Charles asks James to be a Guinea pig in his next experiment. Desmond tells Charles about the affair, but he has doubts. This makes Charles try the new formula on himself. James injects Charles with the serum. James concentrates the formula way higher than Charles intended.
Charles is in a deep coma, so Helen orders Desmond to bury Charles. James didn’t know that the formula would keep Charles alive long after his body had decayed, which it now has.
Desmond helps rotten, undead Charles back to the house as James works in the lab. Charles kills them both.
Segment 4: The Spark of Life
Dr. Mendel (Chaney) welcomes Dr. Cushing and Sedgwick into the lab. Mendel used to know a scientist, Erik Von Frankenstein, who claimed he could bring the dead back to life. Mendel demonstrates the core of Frankenstein’s theory. He uses electricity to make a corpse move his hand. “Electricity is life.”
Mendel gets called away, and the two young scientists decide to play a prank on Mendel. How about the old unused lab in the back? They wheel out the corpse. “What are you gentlemen doing with that cadaver?” Mendel asks when he comes back in. Mendel wants to join in and help.
They wire up the corpse and let the electricity flow. The man sits up and groans, but it doesn’t take. Mendel thinks it just takes more power. They add more, and the body on the table comes back to life. “Thank you for returning me to the land of the living,” says the undead man. His name is Amos Duncan. Sedgwick recognizes the name— Duncan killed three men with a knife, and now he wants his revenge.
Cushing tells the others they need to kill the man, but the other two aren’t into that idea. They eventually come around but debate over who will kill the man. They play “spin the scalpel,” and Mendel loses.
Mendel chloroforms Amos. Cushing and Sedgwick come in and talk about the body under the sheet. They lift the sheet and find that it’s Mendel under the sheet! Amos comes out from behind them with a knife…
Segment 5: Count Alucard
Jonathan Harker and the carriage driver read their lines badly; the driver doesn’t want to approach any closer to the castle. Harker walks the rest of the way. Alucard welcomes him and shows him to the dinner he has prepared. After signing some business papers, Harker goes to his bedroom for the night.
In the middle of the night, a strange woman with big teeth comes to his room and starts to bite him. Outside, a mob with torches and pitchforks storms up to the castle.
The crowd has followed a woman murderer to the castle. Harker goes with the men in search of the vampire woman. They follow her to a crypt in the cemetery. They find the girl’s coffin, and Harker knows all about what to do to vampires. He stakes her. The second coffin is empty, so they wait in the shadows. She shows up, and they stake her too.
Harker goes back to the castle where Alucard awaits. Harker already knows who turned the two women. Completely out of the blue, Harker suddenly turns into a werewolf and kills Alucard.
The dialog, and the audio overall, is horrible, with the actors almost shouting their lines at times; it almost feels like it was filmed on a stage. It reuses the small cast for several parts in each of the segments. Except for Carradine, the rest of them are pretty awful. Even Cheney doesn’t really attempt anything— he’s seriously miscast as a scientist.
Seriously, this has some of the worst dialog I have ever encountered in any film. Did a sixth grader write this? It was filmed in five days, but most films take longer than that just to write. This feels as if it were made up on the spot— improv style in some cases, but there’s no record of that being the case.
The last story was the worst. A rushed retelling of the first few scenes of Dracula with a werewolf twist right in the final second.
Curse of the Blind Dead (2020)
• Directed by Raffaele Picchio
• Written by Franceso H. Aliberti, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Lorenzo Paviano
• Stars Aaron Stielstra, Alice Zanini, Francesca Pellegrini, Jennifer Mischiati
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 27 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
The gore effects are excellent, wet and realistic. This is a sort of sequel to the classic Blind Dead films of the 1970s, but it’s a step down in almost every way. A dull script not saved by the acting or direction.
A possessed-looking pregnant woman is tied to a rack and surrounded by Knights Templar. There's demonic imagery all over the walls. She gives birth to a normal-looking baby. Just as the priest is about to sacrifice the child, local villagers storm in with pitchforks and capture the Knights. They kill the mother and then one of the villagers kills the baby-- on the ritual altar with the ritual knife - so mission accomplished? Does that still count? The five Templars are burned at the stake for apostasy. When the priest warns that they are immortal and will return, the executioner burns out their eyes so they'll be blind in the afterlife. Credits roll.
As the credits roll, we hear about nuclear war, plague, and lots of other bad things that have happened in the near future.
Michael and daughter Lily wander through the woods looking for food and listening for signals on the portable radio. They're following a map to a place that the "voice" told them to go. Men rob them at gunpoint the next morning. Some other men kill the robbers and rescue them. They are taken to a big factory, and we see that Lily is pregnant. Kain introduces himself, but he doesn't know of anything that could have called Michael on the radio.
Kain hints that today is a special day for them but doesn't elaborate. Abel, "The Maestro," is the man in charge, but they can't meet with him today. When they do get to talk to him, Abel also has no idea where Michael's radio transmission came from, but he wants them to stay with him and help rebuild society. He says that their arrival was a divine sign. They are drugged and pass out.
Michael awakens, chained in a dungeon. So does Lily, next to another girl. The other girl, Karen, is chained to a rack similar to the girl in the pre-credit sequence. Abel starts his ritual, "Open the gate of fire and free your Knights!" He exclaims.
Then the zombie dead show up, looking very much like men in rubber masks. Back in the dungeon, Michael cuts his own thumb off to escape his bonds as the eclipse proceeds. Karen gives birth to a stillborn baby, but Abel offers it to the dead anyway. The dead are not pleased with this offering and start killing people, starting with Abel.
Lynn comes to Lily in her dungeon and releases her. Kain points out to Michael that the dead can hear them but not see them. That doesn't stop Michael from screaming for Lily at every turn. There is an interminable sequence of running and chasing. The dead get ahold of Lily, and they want her baby.
The leader of the dead "marks" Lily. Then the sun comes out and the dead all burn up and are gone. Lily and Lynn are apparently the only survivors, so they search the dead people for loot and get ready to leave to find that signal that Michael told us he heard.
Lily shoots some more bandits at another big church. The dying man they find says this is no safer than anywhere else. Lynn finds the automated recording that Michael heard. "There's nothing here, we hoped, but there's nothing else but them now," he says of the Blind Dead cult. "You have the mark; they will come back to claim their child. You cannot escape them," he warns. As he rants this, someone attacks Lynn.
Lily goes into labor, and there is much screaming. Suddenly, there's another eclipse and the Blind Dead reappear. The people she found strap her to a rack (I guess that's just how we give birth now). Lynn takes the baby and offers it up to the Blind Dead Templar leader.
The sky turns red and something bad happens, but we don't see what.
How did a no-budget Italian movie from 1973 have better-looking monsters than this? The acting, or maybe it overdubbing, is truly horrendous. The previous four movies from the 70s are legitimately scary classics-- this thing, not so much.
"This is an uninspired and unexciting remake," Kevin stated about two-thirds of the way into it. At least, I think he said that because I was dozing quietly between slow-paced "chase" scenes.
It’s truly a waste of time.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)
• Directed by David Blue Garcia
• Written by Chris Thomas Devlin, Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues
• Stars Sarah Yarkin, Elsie Fisher, Mark Burnham, Jacob Latimore
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 21 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is a continuation of the 1974 original. Survivor Sally is back, and so is Leatherface. It’s quite different from the original, but it’s pretty good in a modern way with a much bigger budget. If you haven’t seen the original, you don’t have to first. But it would probably be interesting for you to see it afterward.
We hear the voiceover from the introduction to the 1974 film. We hear that Sally Hardesty was the lone survivor of the story, and we get an artist’s rendition of Leatherface, who was never caught. It’s one of Texas’s most famous unsolved murders.
Melody, Lila, Ruth, and Dante are on the way to Harlow, and the gas station man says he knows all about them. Lila and Melody are very much anti-gun, and they insult one of the locals who’s carrying.
The sheriff pulls over their car. The sheriff says he’s gonna keep an eye out for them and protect the town. The town of Harlow is a ghost town, and Dante has plans to literally buy and renovate the whole thing.
Richter, the guy with the gun, turns out to be their contractor. He thinks the young people are some cult, but they say they’re just idealistic.
They go into one of the buildings and find an old woman living there. “You’re the new neighbors, aren’t you?” Mrs. MC has run the local orphanage for decades. Melody says that the bank repossessed the entire town months ago.
Mrs. MC gets upset and “the last of my boys” comes to the top of the stairs. He’s big and scary-looking. The sheriff and deputy come in to lead the old woman away. Ruth goes off with the ambulance after the old woman has a heart attack.
The busload of investors arrives, and banker Catherine is impressed.
The old woman dies in the ambulance, and her big, silent son gets upset and snaps the deputy’s arm in two then stabs him in the neck with the jagged bones. This goes badly for everyone in the ambulance. Ruth, who isn’t dead, sees the big man cut off his mother’s face and put it on over his own… She makes a call for help on the radio before she is killed.
Lila talks to Rochester about him being a nihilist. He doesn’t know what that is; he’s a Texan. He shows her his guns. She’s never shot one before, but she has been shot at in a mass shooting. When Melody hears that the old lady died, she gets upset and tells Lila that they’re leaving.
The man in the gas station hears Ruth’s final radio call and phones Sally Hardesty to tell her that Leatherface is on the loose again. Sally’s a ranger now, and she’s been hunting Leatherface for decades.
Richter takes the keys to the bus and the other vehicles; he wants proof that they own the old woman’s building. Dante looks for it, but it’s not there. “Please tell me we didn’t kick that woman out of her own house.” They go looking for the deed in the dead woman’s house. Melody finds the deed in the old woman’s desk— she was right!
Leatherface also returns to the old house and kills Dante as Melody looks on. He notices the crowd outside near the bus and gets enraged again. He knocks a hole in the bedroom wall, uncovering his hidden chainsaw.
Dante, who still isn’t dead, wanders outside where Catherine and Richter find him. Richter pulls his gun; he’s got some idea of what’s happening. He and Leatherface fight, but Leatherface is huge and has a hammer.
Lila gets tired of waiting in the bus and goes looking for Melody. Melody takes the bus keys from Richter’s cold, dead hands, which are about the only recognizable part of him left. Leatherface soon starts chasing Melody around with his chainsaw. She runs into Lila and they run down the street to the bus.
They give the bus driver the keys. The bus driver soon loses his head. Leatherface boards the bus, and everyone sees him. It’s like dismembering fish in a barrel (or something like that).
Lila flashes back to the school shooting, and she and Melody hide in the bathroom as everyone else on the bus is killed. They narrowly escape through a skylight and run away. They run into Sally, who lets them into her car. “Fifty years I’ve been waiting for this night.”
Sally goes inside and confronts Leatherface, who has no idea who she is. Lila thinks death has followed her here. Sally stabs Leatherface, but he impales her with his chainsaw.
Lila overcomes her fear of guns but still doesn’t know how to turn the safety off. Sally, on the other hand, can still shoot. Sally warns Lila, “Don’t run— he’ll never stop haunting you.” Then she dies as she hands a loaded shotgun to Lila.
Lila follows Leatherface into the old abandoned movie theater. Meanwhile, Melody tries to get out of Sally’s crashed car, but her leg has been impaled.
Eventually, the two girls team up to show Leatherface who’s really the toughest. Later Lila finds Sally’s old-times picture and cowboy hat and puts it on.
But at least Leatherface is dead, and he’ll never be seen again. Right?
OK, so this isn’t a reboot; this is a continuation of the first (1974) film. It’s a completely different story, and they don’t try to do the same thing again. Still, there’s not much connection to the original here other than the chainsaw and the overall look of the villain. The house, the butchery, and the family from the original are all forgotten here.
This one brings back the character of Sally, who’s waited fifty years for her revenge on the monster who terrorized her in the 70s. It’s exactly the same plot as “Halloween Ends.” This one, however, didn’t have the pressure of ending a long-awaited trilogy, so it actually fares better.
I was entertained. It wasn’t awesome, but I didn’t hate it.
Short Film: Last Man (2022)
• Directed by Cameron D. Wood
• Written by Cameron D. Wood
• Stars Dorien Grey, Chris Fahmy
• Run Time: 12 Minutes
A man walks alone through the countryside. There’s been some kind of apocalypse. He wanders through an abandoned water park and then goes into one of the buildings and sees someone. The man from inside is shocked to see him and offers him food. The man from outside says, “you don’t need to concern yourself with that.” Why can’t we see the outside man’s face? Was the man in the house really the last man on Earth? Why is he still alive?
Some people have their whole identity wrapped up in their jobs, and it’s tough when a job ends. What do you do with your life then?
It’s really well done. The soundtrack is weirdly inappropriate, and is perfect here. The acting is fine, the cinematography is good, and it’s well paced, not stretched out, but there’s enough there to make a story.
The Gate (1987)
• Directed by Tibor Takacs
• Written by Michael Nankin
• Stars Stephen Dorff, Louise Tripp, Christa Denton
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 26 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
Two kids dig up a gateway to Hell and let out some bad things. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a classic of the 1980s starring a very young Stephen Dorff in his first major role.
Glen comes home to an empty house. There’s food on the table, and the doors are open, but he’s all alone. He goes outside to his treehouse, but suddenly, lightning strikes the tree, and it collapses. BZZZZZ— He wakes up, hearing the loud chainsaw in the backyard. They are cutting up the old tree outside. The men outside remove the dead tree, roots and all. Glen finds a geode under where the tree used to be.
Later, he and his friend Terry dig under the sod for another and find a tunnel down there. Glen’s sister Al throws away a bunch of model rocket stuff. Weird moths come out of the tree-hole.
Later, Mom and Dad say they need to leave town for three days, and they grudgingly agree to leave Al in charge. Glen gets grounded for digging in the backyard. Glen says the hole in the yard is still freaking him out.
Al throws a party for all her friends as soon as the old folks are gone. While that’s going on, Glen and Terry work on cracking open their geode. They finally crack it, and it spits out purple smoke and is all lit up inside. It makes some kind of runes on a writing toy. They all try to levitate one of the guys in the party room with their minds. He’s too big, so they try with Glen. It gets out of control, and he hits the ceiling— it works. He gets upset, and the party ends.
That night, the moths on the windows spook Glen, and things in his room scare him. Terry, who is spending the night, sees his dead mother downstairs. After a while, he realizes he’s hugging the family dog, who is dead. The next day, Terry goes home; the dog was ancient anyway. Glen wants to call his parents about what happened, but Al forbids it. Terry recognizes the runes on his album artwork. That band knew all about the magic.
Al goes out with friends, leaving Glen home alone. He hears the bug zapper in the backyard going crazy, so he unplugs it. He then finds the hole in the backyard steaming— he filled it in a few days ago. Between the hole and the levitation, Terry thinks they have a case of demons. They cover the hole with remnants of the treehouse.
Terry shows the record lyrics that explain the ritual to open the gate— they read the words from the tablet. The hole, the levitation, the geode, and the sacrifice. At least they didn’t put a sacrifice in the hole, that would be bad. Meanwhile, Al’s boyfriend Eric is driving around town trying to find a pet mortician without much luck. He ends up sticking the dead dog in the nice big hole in the backyard.
Al comes home, and she buys Glen a new rocket. They launch it, and later, Glen finds the “Thunderbolt,” Al’s huge rocket. That night, Terry stays over again, and so do Al’s friends Lori and Linda. Glen reads the album notes and sees that the big demon has little minions to do his work for him. Meanwhile, downstairs, there are minions.
The moths break in through Glen’s bedroom window. Al goes inside to find the dead dog in a sleeping bag and two minion arms who try to pull Al under the bed. Everyone runs outside to find Mom and Dad, only it’s really not them, it’s demons in disguise.
The minions chase everyone around for a while. The telephone melts off the wall. They have to go into the basement to get the spell book, and it’s all creepy down there now. The album and book burst into flame. They decide to try a Bible instead. They go outside toward the gate, and Terry says that the demons need two human sacrifices before they can have Hell on earth. Hearing this, Lori and Linda go back inside.
As Terry reads from the Bible, the top blows off the hole, and purple light and wind come out. All the smoke starts rolling into the hole. Terry falls into the hole. Al and Glen help him while the subterranean minions try to pull him back. Eventually, they pull Terry out. They throw the Bible into the hole and it explodes— the hole burns and closes up. Problem solved!
Why is the hole still steaming? Al, Glen, and Terry go back inside, but where are Lori and Linda? Hiding in the closet! Everyone gets cleaned up and watches TV. Suddenly, a dead man pops out of their wall. That was from a story that Terry made up— it wasn’t even real! The dead man grabs Terry and takes him into the hole in the wall, which promptly seals up. Al hits the dead man with a boom box, and he breaks into a dozen minions.
Al tells Glen to get Dad’s gun, but first, Glen has to fight off a demon-possessed Terry. The dead man returns and, this time, takes Al. The demon only needs two human sacrifices, and he’s got both of them.
Something starts breaking through the floor. It’s another Hell-tunnel. Glen goes upstairs and grabs his rocket launcher and the “Thunderbolt.” He gets it ready to fire as minions and really bad sounds come up out of the hole. The big demon rises from the tunnel. It’s really something.
The demon takes Glen by the hand and then leaves. Glen looks at his hand; it now has an eye in its palm. Glen looks outside to see a huge cloud of smoke coming out of the hole, going way up in the sky. Glen grabs his rocket stuff again and assembles it near the hole.
The demon comes back up the hole, and Glen blasts it with the rocket. The demon sparkles and glows and explodes. The darkness outside fades, and the sun comes up. Glen returns inside the ruined house and finds Angus the dog, Terry, and Al, all alive again.
How are they going to explain the destroyed house to Mom and Dad?
This is about as 80s as the 80s gets; never mind “Stranger Things,” this is the real deal. The special effects are not CGI; they’re practical, with stop-motion and animatronics that are really well done.
You can kill one of the Old Gods with a toy rocket? They aren’t very durable. Are they? None of the neighbors notices the Hell-tornado in the backyard.
It’s good. Maybe aimed a bit toward the younger horror fan, but it holds up pretty well.
Bones and All (2022)
• Directed by Luca Guadagnino
• Written by David Kajganich, Camille DeAngelis
• Stars Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance
• Run Time: 2 Hours, 11 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
The cast is excellent, and the script is well-written with interesting characters. The horror is steady, always at least in the background, coming out into the open often.
Sherry and Maren talk about the school yearbook. Sherry invites Maren over for a sleepover tonight, but Maren says her father would never allow it. Sneaking out is suggested. He locks her into the bedroom at bedtime, but she slips out the window.
For some reason, we see many shots of electrical power lines, so that may be significant. She follows the power lines to Sherry’s house. Jackie and Kim are already there; they’re also spending the night. They paint each others’ nails until Maren bites off one of the girls’ fingers. She runs home, and her father says, “You didn’t!”
She did. Her father says to pack their stuff; they have to leave before the cops get there. Credits roll.
Maren wakes up in the morning at their new place and finds that her father has abandoned her. He says he can’t help her anymore; she’s got to figure it out for herself as her mother did. He leaves her a tape that explains everything, but we don’t get to hear it. He does leave her birth certificate. She buys a ticket to Columbus and hits the road.
She plays more of the tape on the bus; when she was three, she killed the babysitter by tearing out her neck with her teeth. He says that she kept doing it, only she started getting clever about it.
She gets part way to Columbus but has to wait at the bus stop— until she finds a strange man stalking her. He says he came looking for her. He says he smelled her, and she can probably smell him. “When was the last time you fed?” He asks. He says they smell a certain way whether they ate or not. He says his name is Sully, and he invites her to follow him, and she actually does. His number one rule is “to never eat an eater.”
“I thought I was the only one,” she says. He says, “There are more than you’d think.” She goes upstairs, realizing this isn’t Sully’s house, and finds an old woman lying on the floor, but she’s not dead. Sully says that as Maren ages, she’s going to need to feed more and more. He says he followed his nose and found her that way. “I don’t kill people. At least, I try not to. That leaves this, and things like it.” Maren cries at hearing this, but she knows he’s right.
The next morning, Maren wakes up and finds Sully… having breakfast. In the old woman’s room. She doesn’t say a word but joins him chowing down on her. After they eat, they talk a lot about their pasts. As Sully gets cleaned up, Maren runs to the bus stop. Sully watches sadly as the bus leaves.
She arrives in Columbus. She goes to the grocery store and watches a young guy get into a fight with an older drunk. When she goes outside, they’re both gone. She smells it. She watches the young guy walk off with the old guy’s hat. She introduces herself; he’s Lee. He checks out the dead man’s wallet, car keys, and finds his address. He’s like her, and she asks for his help. They go to the dead man’s house and play his records.
The next morning, they go out for normal people’s breakfast, and she tells Lee about Sully. He takes her home to Kentucky, where his sister Kayla lives. Kayla doesn’t want Lee to disappear the way their father did. Their condition appears to be hereditary. That evening, they break into a slaughterhouse for kicks and get kissy.
The two continue to travel and start getting closer and closer. They meet Jake and Brad, two more cannibals who offer them beer. They all sit around a campfire and talk about their exploits. Jake is a natural-born eater, but Brad is a convert. “He hasn’t had his full bones yet,” Jake explains. That’s when you eat an entire person, “bones and all.” Maren smells a rat and locks herself in the truck. A little later, Lee and Maren drive away silently in the night, narrowly avoiding something bad.
The pair goes to an amusement park, and Maren gets hungry. Lee seduces a carnival booth guy, and Maren catches them having sex before she joins them for dinner. They go to the dinner-guy’s house and find a woman and child inside. The guy they just ate was married with a family.
They arrive in Minnesota, where Maren finds Barbara Kerns, who Maren thinks is her grandmother. She tells Maren all about her mother, Janelle, who is dead now. Janelle was adopted; her real parents abandoned her. No, she finally admits, Janelle is not dead, she lives in a state hospital; she committed herself years back.
Maren and Lee drive to the Ferguson Falls Mental Hospital to meet Janelle. The nurse tells her that Janelle used to be dangerous, but not so much anymore. Maren finds that Janelle has no hands or forearms. Fifteen years ago, she wrote a letter “for my daughter.”
The letter from Janelle explains everything. “The world of love wants no monsters in it.” Jenelle jumps on Maren and tries to kill her with her teeth. Maren breaks down for Lee and they argue about their natures. “I’m not gonna be her,” she insists. She abandons Lee while he sleeps.
Halfway across the country, she runs into Sully again. He’s still creepy, and the fact that he followed her across the country doesn't help. She rejects his help; she doesn’t trust him. He takes it badly, but goes away.
Months pass, and Maren contacts Kayla looking for Lee. She finds him and they get back together for more road tripping. Lee finally opens up about his backstory and first “meal.”
They decide to stay put and get jobs like normal people. That goes well for a month, and they’re both happy. Maren comes home one afternoon and smells something off immediately. Sully is in their bedroom. He’s literally drooling over his “unfinished business.” Sully talks and talks as Lee sneaks into the room behind him.
Lee and Maren overpower Sully and kill him, but Lee gets stabbed as well. They learn from the “hair rope” in Sally’s bag that Sully had recently killed Kayla. Lee’s dying, but instead of going to the hospital, he wants Maren to eat him. “If you love me, you’ll eat me!”
Taylor Russell is really good here as Maren. Timothee Chalamet has the star power here, but his character isn’t particularly interesting. The others they meet along the way are all really good. I would have liked more backstory with Jake and Brad, but at least we got a lot of Sully.
I’ve heard this described as overly long, slow, not-horror, and even boring. I disagree. It is very long, but it never drags, and the horror undertones are there even in the dramatic parts.
I liked it more than I expected to. It’s a win!
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