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Cobweb, The Boogeyman, Daughter, Forest of Death, Hellraiser: Inferno, and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Horror Bulletin Weekly Newsletter #245
This week, we’ve got our usual four movies and a short film. We’ll start out with a monster in the wall— “Cobweb” from this year. Then we’ll visit a monster in the closet with “The Boogeyman.” We’ll meet a very strange family with 2023’s “Daughter” and then finally move away from Camp Crystal Lake with “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” from 1989.
Cobweb (2023) https://www.horrorguys.com/cobweb-2023/
The Boogeyman (2023) https://www.horrorguys.com/the-boogeyman-2023/
Short Film: Red Yellow Blue (2023) https://www.horrorguys.com/short-film-red-yellow-blue-2023/
Daughter (2023) https://www.horrorguys.com/daughter-2023
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) https://www.horrorguys.com/friday-the-13th-part-viii-jason-takes-manhattan-1989/
In addition, in our weekly email newsletter, we also reviewed:
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Forest of Death (2023)
Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
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Here. We. Go!
Directed by Samuel Bodin
Written by Chris Thomas Devlin
Stars Lizzy Caplan, Antony Starr, Cleopatra Coleman
Run Time: 1 Hour, 28 Minutes
Spoiler Free Zone
Which strand of the web is this story going to follow? Hard to say, but you should watch this one if you want to see a very gripping and well-made movie. The script, cast, and effects are all really good.
One week before Halloween. We get glimpses into little Peter’s life; he goes to school, takes piano lessons, and looks sad. Late that night, he hears something moving around, making noise inside the walls of his bedroom. He gets up and turns on the light, but there’s nothing there. He knocks on the wall, and something knocks back. He goes to wake up his mother, but she doesn’t hear anything when she knocks. She says all the scary things are in his head. Credits roll.
At school, Miss Devine is the new long-term substitute teacher. Brian, another student, bullies Peter and threatens him with the coming recess. The new teacher lets him stay inside at recess to talk about Halloween. She shows him how to dispose of a spider.
When he talks to his parents about trick-or-treating, his parents say he can’t go. His father, Mark, tells him about the little girl down the street who vanished on Halloween a few years ago. That’s why they don’t want him to go out for Halloween. That night, he hears a girl’s voice calling his name in his room. This time, Mark listens and doesn’t hear anything. He says maybe it’s rats, and he can fix that. They both put down rat poison the next day.
Peter makes a disturbing “Help me” drawing at school, so Miss Devine comes to see Carol, Peter’s mother. Carol blows it off as imagination and dismisses the teacher very quickly. Carol then confronts Peter about the pictures. He says he’s not asking for help, “She is.”
“Peter. Don’t be scared. I just want to talk,” says the voice in the wall that night. She says she just wants to be his friend. At school, Brian smashes Peter’s pumpkin. The girl in the wall tells Peter to stand up for himself. The next day, Brian brings Peter a new pumpkin and apologizes, clearly because grownups made him do it and not because he’s sorry. Peter decides to make Brian afraid of him. Peter pushes Brian down the stairs and breaks his leg, going further with things than he meant to.
Peter’s parents are not pleased. Mark pushes the refrigerator away from the door and puts Peter into the locked basement, which upsets Carol. The basement is not a nice place. Once Peter is down there, they push the fridge back over the door.
Miss Devine and the principal talk about Peter and that she shouldn’t have gone to Peter’s house. The principal tells her about the missing girl, which is probably why his parents are so overprotective. She starts researching the case online. She goes back to the house to return a graded math quiz to Peter, with her phone number subtly written in the corner and meets Mark. The parents get annoyed with her and start getting rude. They say that Peter will be home-schooled from now on. Peter starts beating on the wall, but no one can hear him because the dryer’s running. Mark is very threatening, so Devine leaves quickly.
Mark and Carol let Peter out, and he goes back to his bedroom after apologizing for lying about the voice. He knows better, and the voice warns him that his parents aren’t what they seem. She tells him about a hole in the wallpaper where he can see her, but she’s been in there too long and is probably scary-looking. “I’m your sister. I’ve been waiting for you to be big enough to help me escape.” Peter has some pretty wild dreams that night.
The voice tells Peter to dig in the pumpkin patch, and when he does, he finds a skull. The voice tells him that she asked a girl for help one Halloween, and their parents killed the girl. Peter calls Devine and asks for help but gets caught by Carol, who covers up and sends him to his room. She notices the hole in the wall in Peter’s room and wants to know, “What did she tell you?”
“They know. They’re going to kill us,” says the voice. When Mark gets home, he and Peter go out to the garden to clean up the dead, rotting pumpkins.
We see that Brian from school hasn’t forgotten about Peter, and he and his older friends are planning some kind of serious mischief. It’s Halloween, and Carol yells at the trick-or-treaters to go away. Mark notices that the soup tastes different and that Peter isn’t eating any of it. “Peter. Did you put rat poison in the soup?”
Yes, he did.
Mark collapses after vomiting blood. Carol chases Peter with a knife until it hits her as well. She warns, “Peter– don’t let her out.”
Peter then slides the huge grandfather clock away from the wall, revealing the secret door and unlocks the giant lock on it. There’s a maniacal laugh, and we see clawed fingers reach out from inside.
The doorbell rings. It’s broke-leg Brian and his masked buddies. The door opens and they go inside to mess the place up. The girl makes short work of them as Brian finds Carol’s body. Soon, only Peter remains in the house.
Ms Devine is out in her car thinking about all that’s happened; she can’t let it go. The girl explains the situation to Peter before locking him up in her prison. Devine comes inside and is immediately attacked; Peter yells for her to “Run!”
Devine frees Peter, and they run for the door. She gets out, but he doesn’t. He wakes up in a pit that he can’t climb out of. His sister climbs down to reveal herself. Peter does a reverse-Rapunzel and climbs out using her hair. Devine attacks and Peter locks his sister in the pit. “It’s in our blood. You killed Mom and Dad. You’re just like me.”
The sister gives Peter the most ominous warning of all time as they leave.
In the very first scene, we noticed that the interior layout of Peter’s bedroom could not possibly physically match the exterior shots of the house; the windows and doors weren’t in the right places. Continuity, people! Devine has a phone, so why didn’t she call 911 after her first encounter with the monster?
There are a few fun turns here. Who’s the real monster?
The creature effects are really good here. The girl is all spider-like, but still technically human.
That was surprisingly entertaining and didn’t go at all where it looked like where it was going. Nice!
1989 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Directed by Rob Hedden
Written by Rob Hedden, Victor Miller
Stars Jensen Daggett, Kane Hodder, Todd Caldecott, Tiffany Paulsen
Run Time: 1 Hour, 40 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
They wanted to mix up the location a bit on this one, so they did, setting most of it on a boat. And some of it in New York as the title promises. It does refresh it a little from the same formula of Jason slowly picking off a group of people, but it’s mostly more of the same.
We get a “hard-boiled” voiceover about living in the big city. We see that it’s a very 1980’s big city too, with rats, muggings, drugs, graffiti, and all the fun of life in New York City.
Meanwhile, at Camp Crystal Lake, we're told that the graduating class will be taking their senior trip to NYC on the 13th. Jimmy, on his houseboat, throws the anchor overboard and gets back to making out with his girlfriend. He mentions to Suzi that there were a bunch of murders that happened near here a few years ago.
We see Jim’s anchor dragging on the bottom of the lake and it disturbs… an electrical cable that ruptures and electrifies the body of Jason Voorhees, deep under water. Up above, Jim pretends to be Jason, wearing the hockey mask and all, until the real Jason gets them both and takes the mask along with him.
Rennie and her mother drive to the big ship dock, and her teacher gives her a pen that supposedly used to belong to Stephen King. Rennie and the others are all getting ready for their senior trip. Charles and Colleen are the chaperone teachers going along. Charles is a grumpy old grouch, and he’s also Rennie’s legal guardian. Not far away, Jimmy’s boat drifts to shore, apparently abandoned.
Up on the bridge, the admiral wants his son, Sean, to take over the ship, but the son’s not that interested. Sean walks out to the dock, where a man tells him, “This voyage is doomed.” Sean likes Rennie and her dog Toby.
J.J. and Wayne talk about guitars and acoustics and his video camera. Jason follows J.J. down to the engine room, where she’s heard the acoustics are good.
Uncle Charles warns Rennie that there’s supposed to be a storm tonight. She still has nightmares over something, and she wants to get over it, but she doesn’t even know what “it” is that caused her trauma.
Jason kills a guy in the sauna with a hot rock. Tamara pushes Rennie overboard as a prank, but Rennie imagines a drowning boy grabbing her leg. Sean rescues her and Colleen comforts her until overprotective Charles butts in.
Tamara shows Charles her “biology project” and Wayne gets it all on camera. At the very least, it’s blackmail material. Tamara’s next visitor, however, is wearing a hockey mask, so that tape isn’t going to help with him.
The admiral leaves the engineer in charge of the bridge, but he’s soon killed by Jason. The admiral returns and soon follows the engineer. Sean and Rennie soon find their bodies. Sean tries to call the Coast Guard, but Jason pulls down the antenna.
The crazy “You’re all gonna die” guy returns and tells Charles and the kids that the killer is Jason Voorhees. While all that’s going on, Jason stalks Eva in the disco. Five of the high school boys grab weapons and go hunting. Wayne loses his glasses and shoots one of them right before Jason gets him.
Jason sets off a fire alarm and kills a few more students in the chaos. Rennie has another vision of the drowning boy as Jason reaches through the porthole and grabs her. She uses Stephen King’s pen to stab him in the eye.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, the ship starts flooding and sinking. Charles, Colleen, Sean, and Rennie get into a lifeboat as Jason watches from the deck. Julius hops in as well, they all thought he went overboard a while back.
They finally make their way to a dock in NYC, and Charles complains about Sean’s choice of landing sites. Jason comes ashore right behind them, seeing a huge billboard about a hockey league.
Our group of survivors almost immediately gets mugged, and they take Rennie with them. They inject her with some drugs, so she’ll lighten up for what they have planned for her. Jason arrives and shows the guy what he does with a syringe. The other hood shoots Jason several times, but you know how that goes.
Rennie runs off, so Jason goes after Julius next. Julius punches Jason about two hundred times, but when Jason hits back, it only takes once.
The drugs kick in, but Rennie eventually runs into Sean, Charles, Colleen, and a cop. Charles still doesn’t believe a word about Jason, and the cop doesn’t really believe it either. The cop doesn’t last long; neither does Colleen.
Rennie does, however, finally remember her long-forgotten trauma– her Uncle Charles told her all about Jason before throwing her overboard from a rowboat. That’s probably not the best way to learn to swim, even without an ugly ghost boy pulling at your feet. Back in the present, Rennie yells at Charles and runs off, leaving Charles with Jason, who wakes up and finishes the old grouch off in a random barrel of green goo.
Rennie and Sean are the only ones left. They board a subway to get away from Jason– except he’s there too. They all get out, and Jason gets a taste of the subway’s 6000-volt third rail. That’s gotta kill him, right?
Rennie and Sean leave the subway at Times Square. “It’s over,” Sean says. It’s not over– Jason’s right behind them. A bunch of punks try to fight with Jason, but Jason takes off his mask and they all nope right out of there.
Somehow, they all end up running through the sewer system. The kids run into a sanitation engineer who says that the sewers fill up with toxic waste every night at midnight, and they only have ten minutes to get out. The engineer doesn’t last long after that. Sean gets knocked out, so Rennie leads Jason away from him.
She throws toxic waste on Jason, who takes his mask off, and it ain’t pretty. Rennie and Sean climb up the ladder out of the sewer just as the wall of toxic waste comes and washes Jason away.
As the flood water recedes, all they see is a little drowned boy remaining. Afterward, Rennie and Sean go to see the Statue of Liberty– worst senior trip ever!
I’ve never quite figured out how you get a cruise ship anywhere near Crystal Lake, which is always shown to be way out in the woods somewhere. But you can take a boat from there, out to the ocean and New York.
At the end, there were millions of people in town, and dozens on that subway. Why was Jason so fixated on following Rennie and Sean specifically? I suppose maybe Jason felt he had unfinished business after her childhood encounter at the lake.
For a movie about Jason going to Manhattan, they sure spend an awful amount of time on the cruise ship. Also, that’s a mighty big cruise ship for only carrying a dozen high school kids and two teachers. Still, there’s probably not a lot of clientele for cruises in Crystal Lake.
Peter Mark Richman has always excelled at playing villains and jerks, and this may be his best outing ever as Charles, the perpetually sarcastic and mean-spirited teacher we all recognize. This was Kane Hodder’s second go at playing Jason, and he’s good as always. None of the other performers really stand out. Unmasked Jason wasn’t particularly impressive, but a nice touch at the end.
We’ll never see him again, right?
2023 The Boogeyman
Directed by Rob Savage
Written by Scott Beck, Bryan Woods, Mark Hetman
Stars Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair, David Dastmalchian
Run Time: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Spoiler-free judgment zone
They took an amazing Stephen King short story and stretched it out into a full-length movie. In doing so, they diluted it a lot. It’s well made, well acted, has excellent special effects, and so forth. There is some creepiness, and there are some really good scary moments. But it’s too long and slow-moving in too many parts.
A child sleeps in her crib. The closet door opens. The child cries as the door opens further. A shadowy shape approaches as the child screams and then goes silent. The closet door shuts. Credits roll.
A woman talks to her therapist, Will Harper, about her relationship. He leaves to drive his daughters, Sadie and Sawyer, to school. Their mother, and Will’s wife, has recently died. Naturally, Sadie has to deal with a bully at school.
Will goes home, and a strange man comes to the door wanting to talk. He’s Lester Billings, and he asks Will to shut the closet door before he’ll talk. He says some people think he killed his kids, but he swears he didn’t. He says his youngest died of SIDS, and then the older two died within a year. He says there’s no way there was anything natural about it. “I only glimpsed it once before my baby’s neck broke.” He pulls out a disturbing drawing of “something that comes for your kids when you’re not paying attention.”
Will slips out and calls the police, but Lester walks through the house and watches Sadie, who is home from school. She follows a strange sound into her mother’s studio, where she hears something in the closet. Will comes in, and they find Lester has hanged himself. Sadie listens as Will tells the police about Lester’s “Shadow Monster.”
That night, at bedtime, Sawyer wants Will to check under the bed and inside the closet for monsters. Sadie and Will talk about the dead mother and how that all felt. Sadie then stays up late watching YouTube videos about how to contact the dead. That night, Sawyer’s closet door opens by itself rather violently. She goes to sleep in Sadie’s room.
Both Sadie and Sawyer talk about seeing a dark thing to their own therapist. The therapist darkens the room with a gradually dimming light to show them there’s nothing to be afraid of in the dark. Sawyer sees a creature crawling on the ceiling and screams. When they turn the light on, there’s nothing there. Will apologizes for ever letting “That Man” inside their house.
That night, Sawyer explores the dark house while Sadie listens to the recording of Billings’s statement. They both end up seeing the picture that Billings’s child drew– and they both recognize it.
The next day, Sadie gets a ride with Bethany to Billings' house. It looks abandoned, but she finds a setup that shines bright light into a creepy closet. There are about a million candles upstairs, and all the walls and ceiling look overgrown with viney things. She eventually runs into Mrs. Billings and asks her about the monster drawing. “It must have latched onto you now. They called it the Boogeyman. I think it’s been around forever.” Or maybe the woman is just crazy.
Sadie has a jump-scary dream and then argues with her father. Sadie talks to Bethany, who seems to actually want to help. Bethany invites Sadie to go hang out with them later, and they all get bored really, really fast. They all smoke some of Mom’s leftover weed. Except she ends up vomiting out… one of Sawyer's teeth.
The girls want to see Sadie’s mother’s room, and she gets locked in the dark room. Apparently, the monster is waiting for her there as well. The party does not go well after that. Meanwhile, Sawyer is being terrorized in her room by the same monster and ends up in the hospital.
Rita Billings calls Sadie and says she knows how to stop the monster, but she needs her help. Will thinks all of Sawyer’s problems are mental manifestations of her anguish, but Sadie tells him it’s all real. She was high when she saw the thing, so he doesn’t believe her.
Sadie goes to the Billings’ house and sees Rita, who has lethal booby-trapped the whole house. Rita’s invited Sadie here as bait and ties her up. Slowly, all the candles blow out, and she can hear it wheezing as it approaches. It sets off the trip wires and the weapons go off, which disables the thing. Rita then blasts it a few times with a shotgun, but it jumps right back up and kills her. Sadie barely gets outside.
Will calls Sadie on his phone; they’ve just gone home from the hospital. Sadie warns him not to go inside, but he does, and the thing gets him. Sadie gets home, but she doesn’t turn on any lights for some crazy reason. She finds Sawyer hiding in a closet with Christmas Tree lights.
Sawyer and Sadie then go into the basement and spill some of her mother’s old paint solvent on the floor. The big spider-like creature has Will down there, and it runs around trying to catch Sadie.
It catches and starts sucking the life out of Sadie, but Will wakes up and stabs it. The lights all go out, and there’s much crawling around in the dark. Will’s broken his leg so he can’t get up to run away. Sadie uses her mother’s lighter and a can of spray paint to flamethrower the creature. Then they set it on fire and watch it burn. Even the vines along the walls and ceiling burn.
The whole family is going to need lots of therapy after this.
The film starts off with the warning, “Contains Tobacco Depictions.” Oh my. Now I know it’s gonna be scary! It’s a movie about suicide, mental illness, murder, and a monster that eats children– but tobacco is what they warn us about?
The creature is very effective, even though we don’t see much of it until the end.
It’s got monsters under the bed and in the closet, so that’s always a good start. It’s really good on the creepy factor, and there are more than a few good jump scares. On the other hand, it’s stretched out way longer than it needs to be and is much too slow-paced.
Bottom line: it’s too long and slow, but otherwise quite good.
2023 Short Film: Red Yellow Blue
Directed by Julia E. Cooke
Written by Julia E. Cooke
Stars Talya Topzand, Sydney Stirewalt
Run Time: 18 Minutes
After the most colorful credits ever, we open with a girl walking through the city. She calls her mother on a payphone; she says she’s fine. Then she goes into an old church and she immediately becomes possessed. She then runs back outside and imagines blood on her hands. She’s red all over! No, wait– that was all just a dream– or was it?
Her mother says she talks like she’s insane, but she doesn’t really say anything crazy sounding. It’s one of those “is it real or is she imagining things” type of story, but it’s well done.
The scenery and settings are great. I liked the music as well. The lighting in the indoor scenes is a little insufficient, but you could always tell what was going on. Overall, it’s a descent into madness that’s really colorful! David Lynch would be pleased with this.
Directed by Corey Deshon
Written by Corey Deshon
Stars Casper Van Dien, Elyse Dinh, Vivien Ngô
Run Time: 1 Hour, 35 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s a post-apocalyptic film. Or is it? A lot is not explained and left for us to figure out to speculate on. It’s slow-moving, low-action, and very character-driven. The Horror Guys are split in opinion, with Kevin enjoying it substantially more than Brian.
As credits roll, a woman runs down the road with a truck in pursuit. The people in the truck are wearing gas masks, and the running woman is terrified. The people in the car chase her, and we later see them walking away with hammers covered in blood.
“You know why that had to happen, right?” asks the father to the son as we get a flashback to the father killing the girl. “You know you could have prevented it, right? So you’ll try harder next time?” They go home and have a weird ritual where they burn a photo of the girl.
They get a new girl and pull the sack off her head. Father says that he doesn’t want to hurt her. He has her chained to the floor in his garage. “Your name is Daughter. You can also respond to ‘Sister’ when it’s appropriate.” He promises that she won’t be harmed if she cooperates, and she can even go home– in a few years. We then see Father, Mother, and Son having dinner and smiling.
Father then introduces Daughter’s new mother, and he insists that they had her eighteen years ago, but the dates are sketchy, so don’t worry about that. Mother says, “If you’re happy, it’ll be easier for all of us. It’s easier if you just give him what he wants.”
Father talks to Son about the corruption and the rot in the outside world. Son asks when his new sister will be OK, and Father says when he’s sure she isn’t sick. Father tells Daughter that this is all for Brother’s benefit.
Finally, Father brings Brother to meet Sister. They play Parcheesi, and then Daughter joins them for dinner. Mother whispers to Daughter in Vietnamese, and Father doesn’t like that. No secrets allowed. Brother says he’s had a lot of Sisters, and he’s always alone until they “come back.”
Brother and Sister learn from Father’s holy book and get lessons about the contents. She’s chained up and punished for mocking the book.
Sister asks Brother to explain about the sickness outside, and he can’t really do it. She explains the concept of putting on a play, and he’s never heard of it before. It could be dangerous, so Father says he’ll think about it. They start working on the play, and Brother is very excited.
Mother tells Daughter that she’s outlasted many Daughters and expects to outlive more before she’s finally released. We see that Father chains Mother to the bed every night, so he obviously doesn’t trust her either.
Later, we see Father taking a pint of blood from Brother, and then he chains both “children” to their beds before leaving. He thinks Father is using it to “test the air.” When Daughter asks Father what the blood was for, he says “Curiosity killed the cat.”
Father complains to Mother that Daughter is too old, “She’s a bad influence on him.” Father says he appreciates the effort she’s putting in “this time.”
That night, Daughter writes a “Help, I’ve been kidnapped” note and slips it into one of Brother's paintings that Father sells.
Brother admits to her that he knows how to get out of their room at night. “He says that one day, when the time is right, my blood can save the world.” He shows her many bags of blood stored in a refrigerator.
Eventually, it’s Son’s birthday, and he and Daughter put on their play that they’ve worked on for so long. We get a retro dancing break, like how it looks in their imaginations, and then they stand for their curtain call. Mother claps; Father does not.
Father drags Daughter out by the hair, but Mother hits Father over the head and runs away. He runs after her briefly and comes right back. Then goes for Daughter again. Brother begs him, “Don’t kill her!”
Father tells the two children that they need to leave, and it’s not safe here anymore. Son beats Father to death with a hammer. “He went outside. He was sick.” Son then passes out on the floor.
Mother runs through the desert out on the road.
We cut to an art gallery, where the curator hangs one of Son’s paintings. He finds Daughter’s note and throws it in the trash.
Daughter and Brother are in the truck with gas masks on. She says that she’d never hurt him, and then takes her mask off. “See? It’s safe.” She then leaves the truck to go for help, and he notices the hammer under the back seat. What now?
What was the blood for?
We were wondering all along whether or not there really was some kind of sickness or plague outside the house.
It’s kidnapping, brainwashing, and gaslighting all rolled into one very creepy movie. It’s very slow and drawn-out, however, and it was a struggle not to doze off a couple of times.
It is very weird, I’ll give it that.
2023 Forest of Death
Directed by Brendan Rudnicki
Written by Brendan Rudnicki, Kellan Rudnicki
Stars Dylan DeVane, Howard Hawkins, Reggie Johnson, Stephani Virves
Run Time: 1 Hou3, 30 minutes
Spoiler-free judgment zone
It’s a pretty well-made indie film with more pluses than minuses. The suspense is good, the acting is acceptable, and the technical aspects get the job done. It’s a thumbs-up overall.
A girl sleeps in bed but wakes up to the sound of a water faucet dripping. There’s someone in the house. She tells Brad to wake up. Something gets Brad, but he soon comes out of the room. “I killed it.” She goes to look and sees the real Brad, dead. The monster roars and lunges. Credits roll.
Dylan and Tom talk about going to a rented cabin. Tracy and Ashley decide they’re in as well. The four soon arrive at the big house in the country and go for a hike in the woods. They soon get lost because Tom is kind of an idiot.
Dylan goes off with the flashlight, but the woods all look the same to him. He sees Brad out there, whom he doesn’t know, but “Brad” runs away from him in the dark. Suddenly, a loud, screaming man with a shotgun starts yelling at him. The gunman is Roger, and he apologizes for making Dylan pee himself. Roger is the nephew of the guy who owns the cabin. He eventually leads them back there.
Roger introduces them to Uncle Joe, their landlord. Joe says someone has been killing their livestock; he warns them that the cops are an hour away, so call him first if there’s any trouble because he’s only a half hour away. Tom asks Roger to bring them some moonshine later. We get occasional point-of-view shots from someone in the woods who’s watching Dylan.
Joe brings Tom the promised moonshine. He warns them not to go outside after dark, at least not alone. He explains that “it” wants to separate them and split them up. “Some people call it the devil. Some people call it a Wendigo. It’s a shape-shifter.” He then tells a story about seeing his wife, who had been dead for six years. He smiles when everyone is thoroughly creeped out.
When Roger leaves, Tom goes off into the woods for firewood alone. Tom hears Ashley’s voice out in the woods. Then he sees Ashley back at the campfire.
Everyone decides to go inside, where Tom and Ashley have loud sex while Dylan listens. He gets annoyed and goes outside to get high. He hears Tracy calling to him from the woods. He finds her out there, but it’s really the monster– no, it was a dream. It’s breakfast time!
We get a cabin-in-the-woods montage of them having fun all day. Night falls, and they play cards. Ashley spots Roger peeping into their window. Dylan and Tom split up to go looking for him outside. They finally spot Roger in the woods, but he runs off. Ashley calls Joe, and Roger is right there with him and has been all day.
They see Roger outside again, and it’s really clearly him. Everyone runs off into the woods, and something gets Ashley. She soon shows up and goes to bed with Tom. Dylan and Tracy start talking and come to the conclusion that maybe what Roger told them about the shapeshifter was true. Tracy and Dylan pack up their stuff to leave, but Ashley has the car keys. Ashley and Tom have gone out to the woods and are nowhere to be found.
Tom comes to the front door wanting in, but before they can open it, Tom also shows up at the back door wanting in– at the same time. They let the right one in, but he’s been stabbed. “There’s something out there!”
Dylan calls the police, but Dylan’s story doesn’t make much sense. It’ll take an hour for the police to arrive. They call Joe next, but he and Roger are a half hour away.
Ashley comes to the door, trying to lure Tracy outside with the car keys. She comes inside and goes all Terminator on Dylan and Tom. Tom’s dead, and Dylan is bleeding badly, but he still figures out how to make a torch to help Tracy get to the road. Fake Ashley follows, kept at bay by the fire of the torch.
Tracy and Dylan argue about leaving him behind since the fire is dying. Eventually, the creature, in the form of all the various characters, catches up to Dylan and stabs him.
As the fire goes out, Ashley catches up to Tracy. Tracy runs out into the road as Joe stops to help– except it’s not really Tracy.
Roger’s fake accent is really distracting. He talks like a redneck cajun from Boston or something. It’s a very low-budget indie film, and you can tell by the visual style and editing as much as the sketchy dialog. Most of the acting is pretty poor in most scenes, but still better than a lot of indie films.
They keep calling it “the old cabin,” but it’s a very modern-looking house. The odd deck of cards they were playing with also really jumped out at me. They couldn’t afford a real deck of cards? And how long does a t-shirt soaked in gasoline actually take to burn?
Still, it does have some good suspense, and even though it mostly happens at night, you can always see what’s going on. The pacing is also good, it doesn’t get boring. It’s got issues, but overall, there’s more good here than bad.
2000 Hellraiser: Inferno
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Written by Clive Barker, Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson
Stars Craig Sheffer, Nicholas Turturro, James Remar, Doug Bradley
Run Time: 1 Hour, 39 Minutes
Spoiler free judgment zone
This was a decent police-based horror movie, with hints of Angel Heart (1987) and Jacob’s Ladder (1990). We travel through the story along with the anti-hero wondering what’s going on and where things are going. The biggest problem is that it’s in the Hellraiser series, and there’s not nearly enough Pinhead or Cenobite action. That was disappointing.
After the credits, we open on Joseph playing speed chess; he wins. He’s a detective who sniffs cocaine. He tells us that he’s really good at solving problems and figuring things out. He gets called to a crime scene with Tony, his assistant.
This particular crime scene is a room full of candles where some kind of weird ritual took place. The body’s face has been removed. Joseph says he knew the guy, Jay Cho, from high school, and he was always an odd kid. There’s skin hanging from fish hooks. He finds some drugs in a bottle and quietly pockets it. He finds a golden puzzle box and a child’s finger inside a candle.
Joseph goes home to wife Melanie and their kid, who are both sleeping. He doesn’t stay because he’s working on a case. Actually, he goes out and hires a prostitute.
After he’s done with her, he plays with the puzzle box in the hotel restroom. It opens and does its thing. The lights flicker and go out. He runs into twin Cenobites who get under his skin. Then he meets Pinhead, who tears his face off.
Joseph wakes up. Was that all a dream? He’s not sure. He’s still in the hotel room, and the hooker is asleep, perfectly healthy. Back at the station, the M.E. fills Joseph in on the child’s finger and some details about the death. The girl from last night calls him and needs help, screaming. He goes back to the motel with Tony, and they find her body inside, mutilated. The two of them clean up any prints to hide Joseph‘s presence. They find another child’s finger.
There was a fingerprint on the puzzle box, which leads Joseph to Leon, a body-piercing specialist. The box belonged to “The Engineer,” and Leon was selling it for him when Jay Cho stole it from him. Joseph next stops at the ice cream truck and gets some cocaine from Bernie the pedophile. Bernie tells him a story about the Engineer.
Tony tells Joseph that he wants to talk to the captain and tell him what actually happened. Joseph left evidence there incriminating Tony, just in case. A kid comes in and gives Joseph a videotape of Bernie being tortured to death for talking about the Engineer. The torturer is faceless, something like a Cenobite. When he shows the tape to the captain, there’s nothing there.
The captain sends Joseph to the police psychiatrist to talk, thinking he’s under too much stress. They find Bernie’s body, which leads to Mr. Parmagi, who runs a large cowboy gambling establishment. Parmagi warns that Joseph is misunderstanding the Engineer’s message. Joseph chases a man outside and sees some Cenobites out there. Then he’s beaten up by ninja cowboys.
Joseph goes to see Dr. Gregory, the psychiatrist, again. Turns out, Gregory does know stories about the Engineer. He also knows about the puzzle box. He knows all about the Lament Configuration.
Joseph goes home briefly, but he keeps seeing impossible things. Joseph’s mother calls and says his Engineer friend is there with her. Joseph runs to the nursing home, but the nurse judgmentally says his parents never get any visitors. Joseph gets locked in the next room and hears something terrible happening to his parents. Joseph wakes up, gets the call from his mother again, but this time, the nurse says his parents vanished about an hour ago. He finds a gift box with two fingers and an address.
Tony’s waiting for Joseph outside. Tony says there is no Engineer, so Joseph attacks him and then goes to the address alone. (It was about this time that Kevin said “This needs more Cenobites and to be trimmed down. This is going on too long”). There’s a telescope that he looks through to watch Tony being beaten to death by the same faceless torturer. A voice calls on the phone and it tells him to go home.
Joseph goes home to find his wife and daughter tied to a post in the freezing cold; they shatter and break apart. Dr. Gregory is there, telling him the fingerprint found was Joseph’s. Yes, the psychiatrist is the Engineer. Suddenly, a bunch of pins pop out of his head, and he becomes Pinhead, the lead Cenobite. He says he’s not the killer, “You must go back to the place you started. Go home.”
He flashes back to his own childhood and sees his mother give him brownies. His parents suddenly age and attack him, so he shoots them both. The dead hooker and Tony attack next, and he shoots them as well. Bernie, the ice cream man, gets his turn. He sees himself as a child with most of his fingers missing. The faceless Cenobite appears and tears his outer layer open. Underneath, it’s Joseph.
Then the fish hooks spring out, and Pinhead comes in. “Welcome to Hell.”
Joseph wakes up next to the box on the motel floor from way earlier in the movie. None of the bad stuff has happened yet. Later, at the station, he gets a call from the hooker– it’s all happening again. He shoots himself in the head.
Joseph wakes up next to the box on the motel floor from way earlier in the movie. None of the bad stuff has happened yet… He screams.
There’s very little Cenobite action in this one. Pinhead only gets about two minutes of screen time, and the others don’t speak. It’s a lot more cop procedural than it is anything else, but despite public opinion, it’s really not two different movies stitched together– but it does feel like it at times.
It felt about a half hour too long. The stuff with Joseph’s childhood dragged and didn’t really add much. It’s not bad, just a little too long and not enough Hellraiser.
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