Halloween Resurrection, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Tales from the Crypt- Demon Knight, and the Body Snatcher
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 178
We’ve got our usual collection of four horror films and a short film for you this week. We'll start off with the EIGHTH and final part of the original Halloween series, "Halloween Resurrection." Then we'll watch the dark family drama, "We Have Always Lived in the Castle," from 2018, and then the classic "Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight" from 1995. Lastly, we'll dig up another Boris Karloff classic with "The Body Snatcher" from 1945.
Bonus reviews at https://horrorbulletin.com
"Beast from Haunted Cave" (1959)
Tenth Issue of Horror Bulletin now available
The newest issue of Horror Bulletin Monthly, our monthly compilation of all our reviews, is out now. This includes all the bonus content and is available as both a print book as well as an ebook. If you don’t have time to read the website or email, here’s one more option for you!
Buy from Amazon: Amazon.com
Buy Direct: https://brianschell.com/collection/horror-bulletin-monthly
Check out all our books!
The Horror Guys Guide to:
Here. We. Go!
The Body Snatcher (1945)
Directed by Robert Wise
Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, Philip MacDonald, Val Lewton
Stars Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell
Run Time: 1 Hour, 18 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
A good movie of terrible people doing terrible things. Boris Karloff was especially good in this with his sinister joviality. It's got a good story, strong cast, and holds up well for its age.
In Edinburgh, 1831, Donald, a medical student comments to an old woman about a little dog who won't leave his master's grave. It's probably for the best, since there are so many grave robbers.
Cabman John Gray seems like a nice guy, helping with the little crippled girl. The girl's mother, Mrs. Marsh, goes to see Dr. MacFarlane to see if he'll examine her daughter. Little Georgina was injured when a carriage overturned three years ago. MacFarlane says the little girl must have a tumor that he could operate on, but he's more teacher now than surgeon. Donald comes in and says he may need to quit school since he's broke. MacFarlane offers him the job of assistant. Meg doesn't approve of Donald being made assistant. Caretaker Joseph is in the basement working, and MacFarlane asks, "What are you doing down here, sneaking around like a redskin?" Nice.
The night, in the cemetery, a shadowy man kills the dog and digs up that grave. Donald answers a lock at the door, and it's Cabman Gray with a body to sell. Gray has brought in some business before, and Donald understands what to do. Gray explains the payment and logging procedure, and it all seems to be on the up-and-up.
Mrs. Marsh goes to see Donald, and she wants him to talk to Dr. MacFarlane about doing that operation. One of the students makes a joke about "Burke and Hare," but MacFarlane takes offense.
In the morning, Donald sees the little old lady carrying out the dead dog, and he knows what happened. He talks to MacFarlane about what he knows, and MacFarlane tells him the truth about the necessity of men like Gray. MacFarlane takes Donald out to dinner and they run into Gray at the restaurant. Gray challenges MacFarlane to do the operation, and he's-- persuasive. The two of them have know each other for a long time.
Meg tries to console MacFarlane about whatever he has going on with Gray. MacFarlane changes his mind about the surgery, since they don't have any bodies to practice on. Donald goes looking for Gray; he wants a comparable subject so MacFarlane can practice for the little crippled girl. Gray notices the singing beggar on the street corner-- she'll work nicely.
A bit later, Donald helps Gray unload the still-warm body, and he knows who she is. Gray says Donald is mistaken. Donald explains it all to MacFarlane, but Joseph overhears the conversation. "It's like Burke and Hare all over again!" On the bright side, it will help MacFarlane prepare for Georgina's surgery.
MacFarlane does the surgery on Georgina. MacFarlane tells Gray that there'll be no more bodies bought. Gray says that he's not so easy to get rid of. Georgina's surgery went well, but she's afraid to try and walk. MacFarlane's bedside manner is terrible, but Donald is better at it.
Joseph pulls Gray aside and explains what he knows. He wants money or he'll tell the police that Gray murders people. Gray gives him 16 pounds. Gray gets Joseph drunk and kills him. He then drops the body off at MacFarlane's lab.
Meg warns Donald to leave town. She doesn't like how MacFarlane bows to Gray. MacFarlane, on the other hand, finally confronts Gray. They talk for a while and finally end up fighting.
Dr. MacFarlane's medical school gets its last cadaver-- Mr. Gray. Meg says it's not that simple, and he'll never be rid of Gray.
Donald goes to see Mrs. Marsh, and at the end, Georgina finally gets up and walks. He goes to find MacFarlane to tell him the news, and as they talk, a funeral party comes in. MacFarlane thinks he can handle a shovel...
They get the body out of the ground and into the carriage to head home. On the ride, MacFarlane imagines hearing Gray's voice. They stop and have a closer look at the dead body-- it's Gray! The horse stampedes, and MacFarlane and Gray's body go. Over the cliff, leaving Donald stranded on the road. He finds the two bodies: MacFarlane and some random old woman.
It's "Burke and Hare the Next Generation." This is really well done and well acted. Everyone has reasonable and believable motivations, and no one acts stupidly.
This was the last time Lugosi and Karloff worked together, as Lugosi's health was already failing. It's really very good.
Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Written by Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, Mark Bishop
Stars Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett Smith
Run Time: 1 Hour, 32 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It's like a longer episode of Tales From The Crypt, with familiar actors in a lot of the roles, murder and mayhem, and dark humor. Billy Zane and William Sadler were especially good in the two main roles. The only complaint is that it seemed a little too long, especially at the end. Run time could have been trimmed down a bit. But it was still a fun watch.
We begin with the opening scene of the Cryptkeeper's house from the TV series. We cut to a woman talking about how sexy it was killing her husband with an axe. Meanwhile, downstairs, the husband's very messy dead body makes its way up to where she's in the tub. He raises his axe and- No, wait, this is only a movie set. The Cryptkeeper yells at John Larroquette's bad acting and threatens to only give him bit parts in the future. The Cryptkeeper turns to the camera and introduces the real story, "Demon Knight." Credits roll.
Brayker drives down the street and shoots at an approaching car. Both cars collide and burst into flame, but Brayker has rolled to the side and is safe. He looks at his hand a little star appears there with several others. He walks to the town of Wormwood, New Mexico and tries to steal a car. Uncle Willy tells him where to go for the night.
Brayker meets Cordelia and Irene at the hotel that used to be an old church. Jeryline shows him to his room. Wally is there, and he was just fired as a mail carrier. We spend a bit of time getting to know the residents. Roach arrives, and he and Cordelia go upstairs.
A man, "The Collector" gets out of the burning car, and he's just fine. He gets a ride into town with the sheriff and deputy. They arrive at the hotel, and there's soon an armed standoff between Brayker and the police. They cuff Brayker, but the thing that The Collector is looking for isn't there. Actually, Brayker died several years ago according to police records when they run his license. Uncle Willy knows where the objects is, and The Collector tells Willy to drop in in his suitcase.
The sheriff decides to confiscate the item. The Collector runs his fist right through the sheriff's head. Brayker grabs the object, a key, and The Collector runs away. The Collector cuts himself and summons small demons with his blood. Soon, the little hotel is under siege by demons. He wants that key!
Brayker uses the red fluid inside the key to seal off the doors and windows to keep the demons out. The demons can only be killed by destroying their eyes. Roach wants to give the key to The Collector, but Brayker says that's really bad idea.
Cordelia starts hearing The Collector in her head; he says she knows what she really wants. She lets him in and then she eats Willy. She rips Irene's arm off before Irene blasts Cordelia's head off.
They know about a mine underneath the hotel, and they think they might be able to escape that way. Brayker says that way won't work, and he can't help them down there. They go anyway. They find a little boy, Danny before the demons chase them through the tunnels. They end up back in the basement.
We get various flashbacks to the previous people who held the key and the source of the key. Brayker explains what happens if the demons get the key. It would be very, very bad.
Jeryline gets tempted by The Collector next, but she refuses. Uncle Willy gets it too, as does Roach. Roach finally succeeds in giving the key to The Collector, but he has the demons kill him anyway. Just then, Brayker shoots The Collector in the eye with an arrow, which does slow him down for a bit. Bob and Irene stay behind to deal with the demons and give the others a chance to escape.
Danny attacks Brayker next, and Jeryline fights him off. Brayker refills the key with his own blood and passes it on to her; she's going to be his new successor. He gives her some final instructions before he dies.
The Collector finally comes back in and checks out Brayker's corpse. He confronts Jeryline, so she stabs him in the eye and drinks the blood from the key. She spits it on him, and he bursts into flame and explodes.
The next morning, Jeryyline gets on the bus out of town, and she's careful to use the key to protected the bus after she gets on. At the next stop, another Collector tries to get on, but can't because of the barrier. He walks on down the road, whistling the "Tales from the Crypt" theme as the bus drives away.
Back in the crypt, the Cryptkeeper tells us that Jeryline had a happy ending. He then goes to the big premiere of his new movie, where he gets his "final cut."
It's got a lot of campy horror and jokes, much like the TV show. It's got a lot of familiar faces form the 80s and 90s here, so the cast is pretty good for this kind of film. Several of these actors appeared over the years in individual episodes of the "Tales of the Crypt" series.
It's good. It's a group of people trapped in a demon-siege, but it's done well, has a lot of humor, and the special effects hold up pretty well. Kevin said it was about a half hour too long, which I'd have to agree with. The last third seemed to drag a bit.
Short Film: The Blood of the Dinosaurs (2021)
Directed by Joe Badon
Written by Joe Badon, Jason Kruppa
Stars Holly Bonney, Tiffany, Christy,
Run Time: 12 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
Uncle Bobbo teaches children where oil comes from.
A twisted combination of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Mr. Rogers, Uncle Bobbo teaches everyone where oil comes from. This is bookended by the history of the natural world, starting with the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Then continuing with the violation of creation and with the recreation and rebirth of a more perfect humanity. At least that’s the official story…
Uncle Bobbi is more than a little messed up and so is his show.
The film, on the other hand, is even weirder. It’s pretty much all over the place, so I don’t really know what to compare it to, but I definitely liked it.
Halloween Resurrection (2002)
Directed by Rick Rosenthal
Written by Debra Hill, John Carpenter, Larry Brand
Stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Brad Loree
Run Time: 1 Hour, 34 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It's a shocker, but despite Michael Meyers being decapitated in the last movie, they find a way to bring him back. And it's not too implausible. This picks up three years after Halloween H20, so 23 years after the first two movies. It's watchable, but not great. There are some gimmicks that make it interesting, but mostly it's a series of people getting picked off in the dark. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
We walk through the halls of a mental hospital. We approach a door, and inside is Laurie Strode, not looking her best. We see that at the end of the previous movie, we see that Michael switched places with a paramedic. Laurie has been catatonic and unresponsive since then, apparently out of her mind. Nope, she's a faker. Once the nurses leave, we see that Laurie has been pocketing her medication.
Outside, a security guard notices that the gate is unlocked. He goes looking for trouble and finds Harold, one of the patients, wearing a clown mask. Harold is obsessed with serial killers. Within a very short time, there are two dead security guards. Harold Sees Michael Myers walking down the hallway and knows exactly who that is.
Michael continues down the hallway to Laurie’s room and breaks right through the door. Laurie whacks him good and then runs away, with him right behind her. He walks right into the trap she set for him and as she closes in for the kill, he turns the tables and stabs her. She kisses him and says, “I’ll see you in Hell” before dropping to her death. Michael then sneaks inside and releases Harold, giving him the bloody knife. Credits roll.
At Haddonfield College, the professor talks about everyone has a dark thing inside us; a shadow. Jen and Sara go to tell Rudy that they’re in. They’re going to be on the DangerTainment show, a sort of crime scene reality show. A weird guy tells them not to do it because that was Michael Myers’ old house.
Freddie Harris, the producer, explains the plan for the show to the six cast members. Sara comes to see him later that night to drop out; she’s not that into the whole thing, and she doesn’t want to be famous. He changes her mind.
The next day, it’s Halloween and they all get ready for the big show. Myles is a computer nerd who wants to watch the show, but also has a party to attend tonight. Freddy explains the way the whole house is covered in cameras, as are each of the cast members. This is an Internet show, so the viewers can decide which cameras they want to watch. Even before dark, Michael shows up and kills a guy.
The show begins. Freddie says to the audience that there’s no actors, no script, or anything like that. No one will be allowed to leave until it’s over. They have to be in the house, but there’s nothing more specific than that. Some of the cast wants to explore. They find a very creepy high-chair that probably used to belong to Michael.
Meanwhile, at the real party, Myles and Scott are in full costume. Myles can’t help but log into the show and see how Jen is doing. A couple comes into the room and they start watching too. As the show progresses, more and more people from the party come in to watch the show.
Jen screams, and everyone goes looking for her. She leaps out and scares Sara. Psych! Meanwhile, Michael kills another kid, and no one seems to notice on the cameras.
They find old coloring books, chains on the walls, and lots of other creepy things that make it look like Michael had a weird childhood. Donna and Jim go into the basement, take off their cameras, and go to work… on each other. A bunch of mummified skeletons fall out of the wall onto them. They’re fake— it’s all part of Freddie’s show.
Then Freddie comes into the house wearing a Michael Myers mask. He’s being followed by real Michael Myers. He yells at Michael for messing up the appearances, and Michael just walks away.
Donna digs past the fake skeletons and finds a secret passage behind the wall. It the “bedroom” where real Michael has been hiding out. Michael shows up and kills her, this time on-camera, but everyone thinks it was faked on the show.
Sara notices Michael standing behind her and goes to find Rudy. Jim smacks “Michael” over the head, and it turns out to be Freddie. Freddie explains the way show business works to Jim, Sara, and Rudy. Freddie puts the mask back on and goes after some of the other cast members.
Jen finds a body. Michael finds Jen. Jim, Sara, and Rudy find Jen’s head. Myles, through the computer, calls 911 and reports the murders. Rudy gets killed shortly after. As Sara begs for help on the cameras, the audience applauds her performance. Sara specifically asks for help from Myles, so he knows it’s real and starts texting her Michael’s movements, as Myles can see the whole house on the cameras.
As Sara sneaks downstairs, she runs into Freddie, who knows what’s going on this time around. The two make their way to the front door, but are stopped by Michael. Freddie unleashes his Karate on Michael; Michael is unimpressed.
Michael chases Sara though the house, and she finds more bodies. Sara gets out of the house and into the production trailer, where he finds the producer dead. Sara finds a chainsaw and goes after Michael, but sets the house on fire instead.
Freddie shows up again to battle Michael, and this time, Freddie electrocutes Michael. The police and fire trucks arrive to find only Freddie and Sara alive.
The paramedics wheel out Michael’s body, and Sara wants to see his face. We don’t get to see. Later, at the morgue, they bring in Michael who opens his eyes.
it’s kind of a gimmick to merge the franchise with both found footage films and reality TV.
They killed off Jamie Lee Curtis in the opening credits, and it’s all downhill from there. Jamie Lee called this movie “a joke” and only agreed to be in it if they killed her character off. There’s also a noticeable lack of the theme song except in a couple of crucial scenes; that tune is half of what makes Halloween “Halloween.” Still, it’s not the worst entry in the series (that would be part 6, “The Curse of Michael Myers”).
It’s basically another one of those films where people wander around in the dark and get picked off one by one until the end. The characters are all “types” and have no real backstory at all, and there’s no reason to care about any of them.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)
Directed by Stacie Passon
Written by Mark Kruger, Shirley Jackson
Stars Taissa Farmiga, Alexandra Daddario, Crispin Glover
Run Time: 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is a weird one. Not quite horror, but certainly strange and creepy. Interesting to watch the way it's done in flashback, and we try to figure out what's really going on. Worth checking out for sure.
As credits roll, we see various characters doing things in a very torn-up old house. Merricat Blackwood begins a journal that says she lives with her sister Constance in this house; they have always lived in this house. She says a change is coming, but only she knows it.
Last Tuesday, Uncle Julian talks about the girls' dead father. Merricat goes to town and has to deal with all the people that hate them. People in the town believe that Constance killed their father and poisoned Uncle Julian, which left him permanently physically and mentally disabled. There's a rumor going around town that the two girls are moving away, but Merricat denies it. She's skittish and terrified of everyone, and there may be good reason for it.
Constance can't bring herself to leave the house. She promises someday, she'll be able to go to town. Merricat does spells for protection, as she knows something bad is coming.
Last Wednesday, Helen and Lucille come by for a visit. As they drink tea, Uncle Julian comes in and talks all about how Constance is an expert of poison. Afterwards, we see that Julian just says what Constance tells him to say.
Last Thursday, Constance wants Merricat to go to town, but it's not her day, so she's upset. She leaves in such a hurry that she doesn't put up the protections, and when she returns, she finds trouble. Their cousin, Charles, has come for a visit.
Last Friday, Charles is still there. Constance and Julian seem to like him, but Merricat is weird and wants to drive him away. Charles volunteers to buy the groceries, and Constance lets it slip that they keep money in the house; father didn't believe in banks. Constance gives Charles a bath.
Merricat asks Charles to leave the house, but he refuses. There is jealousy between Constance and Merricat.
Monday, fixes a broken step outside and finds one of Merricat's spell boxes with money in it. Lots of it. Charles says they shouldn't keep that much money in the house and that they should buy a phone. He doesn't seem creepy. Charles goes to town and hears what the people think of the sisters.
More and more, Charles starts taking over, and Uncle Julian doesn't even understand what's going on... maybe. Merricat finds all her spell jars have been dug up and are now empty. More and more, Merricat is becoming an outsider.
Merricat starts a fire, Charles goes to town for a firetruck while the other gather their things. Uncle Julian locks himself in his room while the girls hide inside. The town congregates, and they're all wildly entertained by this fire, chanting "Let it burn!" The firemen aren't enthused about putting the fire out either.
The firemen do finally get the fire out, and then the townspeople rush in to loot the place. The girls are attacked, and then they find Uncle Julian dead.
Yesterday, the girls wake up in the woods and return to what's left of the house. Merricat says she'll poison the whole town, and Constance asks, "like you did before?" Merricat admits she put the poison in the sugar for father to eat, but Constance knew that. Merricat knew that Constance didn't eat sugar. There's some hints that father was abusive or a rapist or both.
People in the town start leaving food outside the door. Charles finally comes back, and both Merricat and Constance hide from him. He wants to make up and continue where they left off, and clearly Constance is tempted. He breaks in, gets carried away and attacks Constance, so the two girls kill him. Then they bury him in the garden. They clean up the mess as best they can.
Today, they start cleaning up the mess. Merricat starts writing, and we're back to the opening credit sequence. The two weird sisters go on with their weird lives...
All the bright, oversaturated colors give it a sort of fairy-tale look. It's quirky and almost comedic in many places. The whole film is just one big "what the hell is going on?" tale. It's never quite obvious until the end whether Charles is just a gold digger, or if he's actually a good guy.
It's more thriller-mystery than horror, but it's very weird and fun to watch.
Newsletter Contact Info:
Stay tuned for more regular and bonus reviews next week!
Book Store: https://brianschell.com/collection/horror-film-books
The web: http://www.horrorguys.com
Subscribe by email:
Thanks for reading Horror Bulletin! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.