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Dagon, Baskin, Dawn of the Dead, The Devil’s Candy, Demonic Toys, and Holidays
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 239
No special theme this week, just a lot of creepy stuff!
We’ll start with the excellent Lovecraftian “Dagon” from 2001. We’ll then look at a different cult in 2015’s “Baskin.” We’ll then eat some of “The Devil’s Candy” and then watch the excellent remake of “Dawn of the Dead” from 2004.
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For our newsletter-exclusive bonus films this week, we’ll also watch:
“Demonic Toys” (1992)
The anthology film, “Holidays” (2016)
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Here. We. Go!
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Written by H.P. Lovecraft. Dennis Paoli
Stars Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Merono
Run Time: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
This was pretty fast-moving and steady with the thrills. The main guy is more of an everyman kind of guy rather than an action-hero type, and it works well for this. The effects are consistently good throughout, and we were entertained.
After the credits, we open on a man with scuba gear diving down to what looks like an undersea well or cave. It’s shaped like an eye. It’s carefully sculpted and very ornate. It’s possibly even made of gold. Suddenly, he finds a naked girl there with him. No– she’s a mermaid with huge fangs!
Paul wakes up, it was just a dream. His girlfriend Barbara tells him to just enjoy it, since they’re now extremely rich. He says no, their stocks are going down. She complains, “You can’t program life,” but he argues the point. She gets annoyed and throws his company laptop off the board. He flips out. Vicky and Howard are on the boat too, and they are amused.
A storm blows in extremely suddenly, and everyone goes below deck. The boat is pushed into some rocks and springs a leak. Vicki’s trapped and stuck, so Barbara and Paul take the raft to the nearby village for help. Howard stays with Vicki. Vicki’s blood leaks through the hole in the boat and heads downward.
Paul and Barbara make it to the village, but there’s no one around. They come to a church that has a symbol on the side that looks a lot like the “eye” from Paul’s nightmares. They find a priest and some fisherman who say they’ll help. Barbara and the priest go to find the police, and Paul goes with the fishermen.
She notices that the priest has webbed fingers. On her way to the hotel for the phone, she sees that the villagers here are very weird people. She makes it to the hotel, where the hotel man and the priest attack her.
Paul gets back to Howard’s boat, but both Howard and Vicki are gone. He does find a bloody towel. When Paul gets back to the village, the priest takes him to the hotel. The hotel clerk appears to have gills on his neck but still rents a room to Paul. The window in his room is open in the rainstorm, and the lights don’t work. The bathroom is quite extreme. The whole room would make any truck stop bathroom look wonderful in comparison.
Barbara comes into the room, but it’s really the fish-woman from his dreams. No, that was a nightmare too. He looks out the window to see dozens of villagers down there pointing at him, and they don’t seem quite normal either. They growl and moan outside his door, but that little lock isn’t going to hold them for long. He ends up jumping out the window and through a skylight to escape. Everyone in town seems to be out to capture Paul.
Paul hides in a butcher shop, and he finds human remains hanging from the hooks. The villagers screech and squeal and move like animals. Somehow, Paul does get away from them. He runs into a homeless man who says they want his face. “Two women dead. One from boat, one come with you. They killed. No one leave Imboca. People come, no one leave.”
The old man recalls that Imboca used to be a town of God when he was a boy. There were no fish, so they prayed. Captain Cambarro arrives and says he has a better way. The great god Dagon will bring fish to Imboca. Cambarro and the villagers do a ritual and start doing new prayers. They start finding lots of fish and even gold from the sea. They turn against the Christian God and kill their priest. Eventually, Dagon wanted a sacrifice, so they took the old man’s parents. Old Exequiel says he’s the last man in town because he drinks and he’s crazy– they don’t want him.
There’s only one car in town, and it belongs to Xavier Cambarro, the grandson of the original captain. Ezequiel says the villagers are turning into sea creatures. The old man distracts the guards as Paul tries to steal the car. Paul has no idea how to hotwire a car and ends up running into the Cambarro house to hide.
He goes into a room and sees the girl from his nightmares, only this time, she’s real. She lies and sends the guards away. She knows all about him, and she’s very happy to see him. She’s Uxia, and she’s been waiting for him. He pulls back the blanket, and she has tentacles instead of legs.
He runs outside and gets the car keys from a guard. More people chase Paul to another house. A tentacled monster grabs him and forces Paul’s head into the lizard-filled toilet, but Paul whacks him with the toilet tank lid. Regardless, he’s soon captured.
Paul wakes up in a barn with Barbara. Ezequiel is there now, a prisoner as well. Vicki is there too, but she’s missing her leg. “It’s inside me!” Barbara tells Paul that if that happens to her, she wants him to kill her. Villagers arrive outside, and they all make a run for it. They’re all caught once again, and Vicki kills herself in front of the group.
Paul and Ezequiel are chained up, and the priest cuts the old man’s throat and eyes and then peels off his face. They get started on Paul, but then Uxia comes in and makes them stop. She says that until they came, there had been no sacrifices for a year. He begs for them to release Barbara, and that makes Uxia jealous. She leaves, and Paul escapes once again, killing the priest and his henchmen.
Paul runs to the church and finds a secret tunnel leading down into caves beneath the city. Meanwhile, Uxia is cutting and tormenting Barbara in the ritual room. They hook her up to a pulley system and lower her into the water where Dagon awaits to impregnate her.
Naturally, Paul arrives in the same room and sets some of the cultists on fire. Paul slowly wheels Barbara back up. “Kill me. You promised.” Then Dagon reaches up and pulls Barbara down with him, leaving her arms behind in the restraints.
The villagers beat up Paul, but once again, Uxia makes them stop. Uxia’s father informs Paul that he is a Cambarro and part of the family. His name is Pablo Cambarro. Uxia tells him to remember his dreams, and he knows it’s true.
Refusing to accept what he is, Paul pours fuel on himself and sets himself on fire. Uxia grabs him, and they both fall into Dagon’s watery pit. He sprouts gills, and the two of them swim down into the big stone eye...
Paul is very much not a macho leading-man type. He spends much of the film whining, hiding, and running. Paul rips the ignition wires out of the car to hotwire it, and then a few minutes later, he gets the keys, and it starts right up– with no wiring connected. I lost track of how many times Paul was captured and escaped in this.
It’s really good and intense. It never slows down or relents for even a little bit. The villagers are creepy and seemingly everywhere. The makeup effects and tentacles are all really well done.
Directed by Can Evrenol
Written by Ogulcan Ereb Akay, Can Evrenol, Ercin Sadikoglu
Stars Mehmet Cerrahoglu, Gorken Kasal, Ergun Kuyucu
Run Time: 1 Hour, 37 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
This starts out nice and calm with a group of police in Turkey hanging out, eating, and having a good time. It builds slowly and goes to some really disturbing places abruptly. The visuals and cinematography are great. If you want an unsettling watch, we recommend it.
A little boy hears his mother moaning in her bedroom– it sounds painful, so he goes to watch TV. A weird, bloody hand reaches for him. He bangs on his mother’s door, but the hand gets him. Credits roll.
We cut to a police van sitting outside a building. A man wearing a raggy cloak walks in carrying a bucket of meat. Five policemen are inside eating dinner. The bucket man brings the cook some strange-looking meat. The policemen brag about which animals they’ve had sex with, and it’s not clear whether they are all joking or not.
Seyfi, one of the cops, goes into the restroom to be sick while the others try to cause trouble with the cook’s son. Something terrible happens to the man in the restroom, or maybe he’s just going crazy, the police can’t decide. It’s probably just claustrophobia. Seyfi soon recovers, and the five men drive away. We then have a… musical number as they all sing in the van along with the radio.
Eventually, they get an actual police call on the radio and reply that they’ll check it out. Then the radio fails. Seyfi says he’s heard lots of bad stories about this place ever since he was a child. Suddenly, a naked man runs across the road, and they all get out to look for him. They do find hundreds and hundreds of frogs. They get back in the van and drive on– until they hit something else and crash off the road into water.
We cut back to earlier, in the restaurant, the men talk calmly. The youngest cop, Arda, tells the oldest cop, Remzi, about a childhood friend who saw his father’s soul leaving the body. He was the little boy in the pre-credit sequence. That was all just a dream, but it turns out his friend had been killed by a car that very night. Remzi says to look around; they’re the only ones in the place, and everything gets very strange. It starts raining blood inside the place. He falls backward into the water and wakes up being pulled out of the van, which drove into the river.
Suddenly, a giant of a man appears with a lantern and guides them all back up to the road. The man’s family is there, and they all have buckets of frogs. The cops still don’t know who or what they hit, and they all panic a little bit. The family tells the cops that the place they were headed to is right through the trees. They insist on being shown the way.
The group walks to a big old house, and there’s already a police car there. It was a police station back in the Ottoman days, and then it was a stable; it’s abandoned now. Seyfi starts getting claustrophobic (or whatever it is) again, and Ramzi calms him down. Their guide bails on them, running back through the woods.
They go inside the huge dark building and start searching for the other police. They find one of them who was there earlier, banging his head against the wall. The man is too shaken up to speak, but he does point into the next room. Seyfi follows some frogs and finds a bunch of people chained up in bondage gear, and they attack him.
The other cops go downstairs and find lots of strange ritual things and drawings. Apo finds people chained up and in cages, while Arda finds a freaky butcher. All the men soon find themselves running through caves, being chased by naked animal-people.
We cut back to Remzi and Arda sitting in the restaurant. Remzi admits that he used to see these creatures when he was little, and that this has been going on for a long time.
All the cops wake up in a dungeon, chained to the walls. There’s some kind of bloody orgy ritual going on. There are a lot of people here. Their leader finally comes in, and everything gets quiet. He welcomes them cheerfully; he’s “Father,” and he proselytizes that, “Hell is not a place you go; You carry Hell with you at all times. You carry it within you. “
Father then reaches into Apo’s slit-open stomach and disembowels him. He’s basically a cult leader, and these weird, twisted people are his followers. Yavuz is next, and Father pokes his eyes out– deeply.
Father’s creepy assistant opens a door and a woman wearing a goat mask crawls out. Maybe it’s a mask. They make now-blind Yavuz have sex with her. Yavuz keels over, and a tarantula crawls out of his mouth. Remzi simply gets his throat cut, and this leaves only Arda.
Somehow, Arda gets loose and beats Father to death with his step stool. Arda makes his way back outside, laughing all the while. He runs down the road in the dark
We get a flashback to the pre-credit scene with young Arda and then he gets hit by his own police van– it’s some kind of time loop.
Next time I’m vacationing in Turkey, remind me not to call the police. “Baskin” means “Incursion,” if you were wondering. This starts off fairly slow, but once it gets going, it’s way off the rails.
The cameraman earned his pay on this one; the cinematography is excellent, with many interesting viewpoints and perspectives. Father is one of the creepiest movie monsters ever, simply because he really looks like that– minimal makeup was used. And he’s very calm and righteous in his gruesome rituals.
It’s very, very weird.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by George Romero, James Gunn
Stars Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer
Run Time: 1 Hour, 41 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
This was quite an excellent remake. Things were updated while staying true to the spirit of the 1978 original. It’s got great effects, steady action, loads of gore, and characters that you care about.
We open in a hospital, and there’s a patient with a bite on his hand; they suspect some kind of brain injury because he just isn’t behaving normally. Ana is a nurse, and she gets off shift and heads home to the suburbs. She hops into the shower with her husband Luis and misses a special news report on the TV.
Luis wakes up and finds little girl Vivian in their room; Vivian tears his throat out with her teeth. Ana locks out Vivian and does first aid on her husband, but it’s clearly not going to help. She calls 911, but all circuits are busy. Meanwhile, Vivian is outside banging on the door. Suddenly, Luis gets up and attacks her too. She crawls out the bathroom window just as he breaks through the door.
She gets a look at her neighborhood, and things have gotten… Chaotic. We see that something bad has happened basically everywhere as she has a wild drive through the apocalypse. She eventually runs off the road and hits a tree in the woods. Credits roll as we hear interviews about the virus.
When Ana wakes up, there’s a cop pointing a gun at her. He’s Kenneth, and he’s not infected. The pair soon join up with Michael, Andre, and Luda, who is pregnant. They’re headed to the mall, and Kenneth and Ana don’t have much choice but to join them. They get inside, and it looks clear in there.
While it seems quiet, things soon get hectic when they find a few zombies already inside the mall. They run into three armed security guards, led by CJ, who take all their weapons, and then the group stops to watch the news on TV. Nicole has been bitten, and Kenneth has a non-bite wound on his arm as well.
The group sets out to fortify the mall and dispose of the bodies. More and more zombies start surrounding the mall; maybe out of instinct. They set up a signal on the roof for any passing helicopters. CJ makes it clear that he’s running the show. He and his friend are bullies and maybe not too smart. One guard seems like a decent guy. Eventually, even the news signs off.
We have time for the characters to talk. Andre the criminal and Kenneth the cop have a heart-to-heart about the apocalypse. The group turns against CJ and Bart, the two bad guards. A truck comes into the parking lot and backs up to the door– several new people arrive, including one very sick-looking old woman.
There’s a guy trapped on the roof of the gun store across the road, and he communicates by writing on a big sign. Inside, Ana helps the sick and wounded; two of the newcomers have been bitten. The old woman dies and almost immediately gets up and chases Ana, who stabs the zombie through the head. They figure out that it’s the bites that do it, so they decide to quarantine the bitten man, but then they decide it might be better to just shoot Frank since he’s clearly infected.
Things settle for a little while as they are safe with plenty of food and water and things to do in the mall.
The power goes out, and there’s a battle trying to get to the generator.
Andre and Luda talk about the baby; they feel it moving. After a while, they all start settling into a routine at the mall. People wonder about Luda, but Andre says she’s fine. He’s got her tied down to the bed, and she’s looking really bad– but she’s not a zombie. She finally dies and turns quickly. It’s finally time for the baby to come. Norma finds the happy family, and they all die in a shootout. Ana finds the zombie baby and shoots it herself.
Smartass Steve jokes that they could all go to the marina and get on his boat. The others think that may be a really good idea. They all work to reinforce two of the mall’s shuttle buses to carry them through the zombie horde.
Andy at the gun shop has all the guns and ammo he needs, but he’s starving, and the trucks aren’t ready yet. They try to get the pet dog to carry food over to Andy. The dead ignore him entirely– but they do follow the dog into the store and bite Andy. Nicole goes crazy and crosses the street to save the dog. She makes it across just fine, but Andy, who has turned, traps her there.
Some of the group goes through the sewers to get outside and into the gun shop for more ammo. They get what they need, but they lose a couple more guys on the way back. The zombies get into the mall, so everyone runs to the elevator and out to the reinforced trucks.
There are thousands of the dead outside, and they swarm the two trucks. They blow up propane bombs to clear the parking lot and drive on. They drive too fast, and bad things happen to one of the trucks. Steve abandons everyone and pays the price. But they snag his boat keys.
The few survivors get into the remaining truck and head to the marina. CJ blows himself up when he’s cornered, which does save the others. Michael got bitten and chooses to stay behind. Terry, Nicole, Ana, and Kenneth take the boat and sail off into the sunrise.
It’s super gory and violent. There’s some humor and a lot of characters. I don’t think a single small propane tank would make a boom like that, and we get three of them here.
This never lets up and never gets boring. If you like classic-style zombies, this is one of the best.
The Devil's Candy (2015)
Directed by Sean Byrne
Written by Sean Byrne
Stars Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Run Time: 1 Hour, 19 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This was surprisingly good, with a family to root for and an impressive performance from Pruitt Taylor Vince as a whacko. Throw in a supernatural element, and we’ve got a winner that both Horror Guys liked a lot.
Ray Smilie hears voices in his sleep, so he gets up and plays electric guitar in the middle of the night until his wife comes in and yells at him. “If I play loud, I can’t hear them,” he says. She tells him to pack his things, he’s going back to the hospital. Instead, he kills her. Credits roll.
Jesse tells his daughter Zooey that “most people don’t like metal,” and then proceeds to play it repeatedly, much to his wife Astrid’s chagrin. He’s an artist, and the whole family is moving out of the country into the house that used to belong to Ray Smilie. Yes, people died here, but the place is a bargain.
Meanwhile, Ray Smilie lurks around a nearby motel and checks into the place in the most creepy way possible. He soon starts playing the electric guitar at high volume. The police soon arrive because of the noise. Without the noise, Ray has to endure the voices.
Jesse drops Zooey off at school and then returns home, where he also starts hearing voices. On the bright side, he’s inspired to get to work on his paintings. The entire day passes, but he doesn’t even notice. He paints a black, upside-down cross.
Then Ray comes to their door and talks to Zooey about flying-V guitars. “I need to come home now. This is Mommy and Daddy’s house.” They’re dead. Jesse tells him he needs to leave now. Ray goes back to the motel and watches a TV preacher talking about Satan and evil.
The next morning, Zooey finds a Flying-V and an amplifier on the porch that Ray left for her. Jesse needs money and goes to see Leonard, who runs a gallery. Jesse gets an inspiration for a new painting, and Ray kills some kids in the park; they’re the same scene.
Turns out, he drew Zooey on fire, but he also did it on top of his one and only paying commission, so he’s out the money for that. He doesn’t remember painting any of it. Jesse tries to destroy the painting, but the voices won’t let him.
We soon see that the kids in the park aren’t Ray’s first victims. At some point in the night, Ray comes into the house and sleeps in Zooey’s bed, right next to her. Astrid comes in and runs him off, but Jesses gets kicked in the head and can’t chase him. The police tell them to change the locks and maybe move into a motel for a few days.
Jesse stays up all night to watch, but all he sees is a black goat. Leonard’s people call in the morning, and he wants to come and see Jesse’s work– today. Leonard loves the work and offers him a show. “Your latest work is wonderfully disturbing.” Leonard takes all day, which makes Jesse late to pick up Zooey from school again, and a flat tire only makes it worse. When he finally gets to school, Zooey’s gone; Ray got to her somehow.
Zooey manages to get out of her duct-tape bonds and get out the bathroom window. Somehow, she gets to the police station and is reunited with Jesse and Astrid. The police tell Jesse about Ray’s long history in the mental hospital. The officer reads one of Ray’s files. He once said, “I have to feed him children; as children are his candy.” They want to put the whole family into witness protection.
Ray goes to the store and buys a can of gas and a lighter. Jesse destroys his evil painting as the family packs to move out. Ray shows up and kills the two cops outside. Ray opens the front door and shoots Jesse. He drags Zooey off with him once again. He takes Zooey upstairs and sets the house on fire behind him.
Jesse and Astrid make it outside, but Zooey and Ray are trapped upstairs. Jesse goes up a ladder, and after a brief struggle, he beats Ray with the Flying-V. The fire gets him, Jesse and Zooey make it out. The whole injured family reconvenes in the front yard as their house burns to the ground.
Jesse walks into the woods in a trance and finds the location where Ray hid all his bodies.
Jesse looks like a strung-out crackhead in the very first scene, so his descent into madness doesn’t change much. They should have made him a little more clean-cut for the early scenes. He hears the voices and does the paintings, but he never really goes insane in the same way Ray did.
Pruitt Taylor Vince, as Ray, is really good here; he’s just about made a career out of playing creeps and serial killers. He’s quite batshit here and totally believable in every scene.
This was surprisingly good!
Short Film: Vestige (2023)
Directed by Joe Simmons
Written by Joe Simmons, Guðni Líndal Benediktsson
Stars Ben Hackett, Steve Evets, Corin Silva
Run Time: 12:27
A young guy walks along the beach as a voiceover talks about music. The voice then reminds him to look under the rocks for fossils. He cracks open a rock and finds a strange fossilized creature inside. It’s magnetic or something and affects his tape recorder. His grandfather says the boy’s father recorded hundreds of tapes before the accident. He starts listening to the old tapes of his father’s voice…
Old technology is fun and all, but who knew cassette tapes would ever be cool again?
It’s not quite clear what’s going on for quite a while, but the acting is good, the locations are excellent, and the mystery is unexpected. Will Lukas find his father? Would that be a good thing?
We liked it!
Demonic Toys (1992)
Directed by Peter Manoogian
Written by Charles Band, David S. Goyer
Stars Tracy Scoggins, Bentley Mitchum, Daniel Cerny, Michael Russo
Run Time: 1 Hour, 23 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
The characters weren’t very interesting in this one, and it was hard to root for them. The practical effects were pretty good. The story was decent. It just didn’t do much for us.
We open with two boys playing the “War” card game. Actually, this is Judith Gray’s dream that she relays to her boyfriend Matt. She admits that she’s pregnant, and he’s thrilled. They’re two cops on a stakeout for some arms dealers. Hesse and Lincoln arrive with the weapons. It doesn’t take long before Matt is shot dead. Judy chases the two baddies into a warehouse.
Security guard Charnetski calls the chicken place for delivery, and Mark answers the call. He argues with the boss and threatens to never come back. Still, he gets in the chicken wagon and takes the order to the warehouse.
In the warehouse, Hesse, who has been shot, finds a glowing spot on the floor. There are old-looking toys all around. He crawls over to the light and bleeds all over. Some of the toys come to life. A jack-in-the-box plays by itself and gives Hesse a shock. It bites him good, and then a teddy bear removes his fingers. A creepy little boy comes in and says he’s been sleeping for a very long time. The little robot toy shoots Hesse with his laser.
Meanwhile, Judy and Lincoln fight, and she gets the cuffs on him. They hear Hesse’s screams, and Judy wants to go investigate but finds that they’re locked in the room.
Mark arrives with the chicken, and Charnetski lets him inside. The two talk about which of them has the worst job. They hear Judy making noises and find her locked in the storage room. She tells them what’s up, and Charnetski goes downstairs to call the police. Baby Oopsie comes out to taunt him before shooting him in the leg. Then the teddy bear and Jack-in-the-box finish him off.
Suddenly, a young woman crawls out of the air vents. Her name is Anne, and she’s been sleeping there for a few nights; a runaway. She says that the toys outside are alive. Anne explains that there are evil spirits inside the toys. The alphabet blocks on the floor spell out their doom.
The dolls drag Charnetski to the glowing spot on the floor and draw a pentagram around him. Anne and Mark crawl through the ventilation ducts in order to find a way out. Judy waits with prisoner Lincoln until the little boy appears to her. He says he can appear in any form that he wants; he’s a demon. What he really wants is a body to hang his soul in. Fortunately, Judy’s pregnant with a perfect baby, and the demon wants it. He appears as Matt to mock her.
The jack-in-the-box jumps Mark while Oopsie goes for Anne. Mark shoots the Jack O Lantern, but Oopsie gets away. Anne is killed.
Judy wakes up, and Lincoln is missing. The demon appears to Mark in various bodies. Lincoln hits Mark and takes the shotgun, but Judy finally gets her chance and shoots him in the head. He’s got the demon inside him and won’t die.
The pair shoots Baby Oopsie and the robot, but many other toys then come to life. The teddy bear becomes life-sized and throws Mark around. It doesn’t take long for the demon to drag Judy to his pentagram for a ritual. The demon finally appears as a genuine demon, and he wants Judy to give birth to him. “I’m going to eat the soul of your baby and take his shell for my body. I’ve waited 66 years for this, trapped in the earth in this very spot.”
A single toy soldier approaches and shoots the demon in the eye. It cuts Judy loose. The two supernatural children continue their game of “war,” with Judy as the prize. The bad demon loses and vanishes. The blonde child says he’s the child she’s going to give birth to in eight months. He doesn’t have a name yet.
Mark staggers in. “It’s over, right?”
The creatures/dolls are all practical effects, and they’re fairly decent. The demons get a lot more focus than the dolls, which was a mistake.
The problem with this one is that the characters are all super-generic “types,” and we don’t care about any of them. The acting and direction are fine, but the boring characters really hurt this one. Still, there were umpteen sequels and crossovers, so it must have been at least profitable.
Directed by Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Kolsh, Nicholas, McCarthy, others
Written by Anthony Scott Burns, Kevin Kolsh, Nicholas, McCarthy, others
Stars Madeleine Coghlan, Savannah Kennick, Rick Peters
Run Time: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This was a fun anthology of short tales centered around a year of holidays, without a wraparound story like this sort of movie often does. Each one is written and directed by different people, so the tone is different throughout with some being pretty grim and some being more humorous. We liked some of the tales more than others, but it’s an overall win.
It’s an anthology of holiday horror.
Segment “Valentine’s Day”
Heidi heckles Maxine as she climbs the high dive at swim team practice. “Maxi Pad” the girls taunt. She’s got a crush on Coach Rockwell, who ends up having to dive in to save her. It’s a rough day for Maxine. Rockwell calls his wife and it comes up that there’s a party Friday so the kids can raise money for his heart transplant operation.
Rockwell leaves a supportive Valentine’s Day card for Maxine, and she comes to the conclusion that he loves her too. Outside, Maxine follows Heidi home through the woods and hits her with a brick.
Coach Rockwell answers the door. It’s Maxine, and she’s brought him a new heart.
Segment “St. Patrick’s Day”
The kids watch a documentary about Saint Patrick at school. Elizabeth, the teacher, is nice to a strange little girl who doesn’t speak; she wants to make her smile. She finds a note later, “Only your deepest wish can make me smile.
Elizabeth wakes up in the back seat of her car in the morning, but she doesn’t remember the night before. At school, Grainne, the girl is smiling. Two weeks later, Elizabeth finds that she’s pregnant with something. The doctor thinks there's something odd going on. The doctor offers, “Have you ever seen the movie Rosemary’s Baby? If you replaced that baby with a reptile, that’s what you have. It’s like Rosemary’s Reptile.”
A year later, Elizabeth is out shopping for baby clothes. She still looks pregnant, and she’s absolutely insane. She’s going to give birth to a snake. 396 days later, it’s finally time. She puts a mouse on her belly, and it tempts the thing out.
Grainne leads Elizabeth to a tree in the field where there’s a pagan ritual going on. She sees her huge snake baby, and it’s got her father’s hair…
The mother tells the girl about the Easter Bunny, who’s coming tonight after the girl goes to sleep. The girl is afraid of “the man coming back from the dead… Jesus.” She’s obsessed with how the bunny gets into the house; it’s all very nerve-wracking.
That night, the door opens and a big egg rolls inside. After a while, it hatches. The girl gets up in the middle of the night for some water. What she sees is horrifying. It’s a combination of Jesus and a rabbit. “Now that you’ve seen me, you must take my place. You will see things few have ever seen.”
The girl becomes the new Easter Bunny.
Segment “Mother’s Day”
Kate sees her doctor about her recent accidental pregnancy. She’s had more than twenty abortions, but she’s lost count. She gets pregnant every time she has sex, despite being on birth control and her partner using condoms. She’s referred to a spiritual fertility clinic out in the desert.
She arrives, and there’s soon a very strange ritual. “You are a gateway,” one says. She’s drugged, and soon a big man comes in and has sex with her. She, of course, gets pregnant.
She’s in a drugged trance through most of the pregnancy, and the other women get sick of taking care of her. Kate wakes up enough to call the police, but she doesn’t know exactly where she is. She goes into labor out in the desert, and a big man’s arm comes out…
Segment “Father’s Day”
Carol watches TV alone. She opens a box marked “Happy Father’s Day” and inside is a tape recorder and a tape. She plays it. It was recorded for her by her own father. He apologizes for not being there for her.
He says they can be together again, and he’s left instructions on the other side of the tape. She goes to a spot she knows out on the coast. He gives walking directions to find him. She walks to the address mentioned on the tape. She goes inside the dark building.
She listens to the tape as her father says goodbye. She turns the doorknob and steps through into another world. Now they can be together forever…
Ian talks to women on the phone, recruiting them for his webcam business. He insists it’s not porn.
When Serena gets called a bad name online, she and her friends talk about using his credit card to go shopping. Ian comes in, and we see that he’s clearly misrepresenting the job to girls on the phone. It’s an online sex show business, and he’s a jerk.
One thing leads to another, and Ian wakes up with a power cord running up to his butt. He’s on a webcam himself now. The girls put a vibrator up there and hooked it up to a car battery. They demand that he cut off certain body parts if he wants to live.
He has little choice but to comply. Then they turn it up to ten anyway.
Nancy comes to the door, and the three girls say they’re under new management…
Pete Gunderson bangs at the toy store door; he wants to buy an UVU, a virtual reality toy. They just sold out. He chases down the guy who just bought the last one and offers him $500 for it. No luck. The guy has a heart attack and the UVU is right there, so he takes it and leaves.
Bobby loves the new toy. It learns your personality and shows you what you want to see. Pete tries it for a minute and sees bondage porn. That night, he sneaks into his son’s room to watch some more.
He starts off with the porn, but the view soon starts to shift to the dead man’s point of view. Then he sees the medical examiners talking about the corpse.
He forgets to log out and his wife watches it all. His wife is majorly turned on by this. In the morning, he sees her fantasies about killing her boss. Or was it real?
Segment “New Year’s Eve”
Reggie has Mandy tied up in his bedroom, and he enjoys scaring her until he shoots her instead. Later, Reggie is at a New Year’s Eve party with Jean. He talks about having to “end it” with his previous relationship. It’s not a very good date, but she invites him over to her place
She’s very forward at home, and he’s a little nervous. He goes into the bathroom and uses her toothbrush as he prepares a rag with chloroform. He opens the medicine cabinets and finds jars of body parts, along with an empty jar for him. There are bodies in the bathtub, and then Jean comes in with an ax. There’s a very gory battle, but Reggie finds his perfect match.
The production values are all high, and there are a few recognizable names involved. I’d say it was just a little too long; they might have done well to drop one of the stories.
Some of the stories are better than the others. Some are played for laughs while others are really horrific stories. My favorites would be “Easter,” “St. Patrick’s Day” and “Father’s Day.”
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