Sissy, You Are Not My Mother, Something in the Dirt, Who Can Kill a Child, I, Monster, and We Are All Going to the World’s Fair
Weekly Horror Bulletin Newsletter 208
We’ve got our usual lineup of four movies and a short film this week. We’ll start with “Sissy” and “Something in the Dirt” two somewhat comedic horror films from 2022. We’ll then look at a classic short film, and then move on to “You Are Not My Mother,” a weird one from Ireland. Finally, “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” is a good place to avoid.
As a bonus this week, we’ll look at another Cushing-Lee collaboration, “I, Monster” from 1971 and “Who Can Kill A Child?” A creepy Spanish from 1976:
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• “I, Monster” (1971)
• “Who Can Kill A Child” (1976)
Four years ago this week...
New Book: The Horror Films of Roger Corman
We do the usual “Horror Guys Treatment” for all the horror films directed by Roger Corman from 1954 up to 1990. Included are 29 full-length films that truly count as horror. In addition, we’ll look at seven other noteworthy Corman movies that aren’t horror, including his first producing credit, his first directing credit, his favorite non-horror project, and a few others. If you love Roger Corman’s macabre masterpieces, we’ll cover all of them here.
Sixteenth 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 and an ebook. If you don’t have time to read the website or email, here’s one more option for you!
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Check out all our books!
The Horror Guys Guide to:
• Tales to Make You Shiver, Volumes 1 and 2
Here. We. Go!
I, Monster (1971)
• Directed by Stephen Weeks
• Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, Milton Subotsky
• Stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes
• Trailer: •
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is a pretty good adaptation of the Jekyll and Hyde story. Lee and Cushing are always fun to watch, especially in the same film, so it has that going for it. But it’s a bit long and slow on action and thrills.
Dr. Charles Marlowe studies conjoined twins in his lab. Then he goes outside for a walk in the streets of London as the credits roll. He goes to the club, where Frederick Utterson talks to Landon and Enfield about a man who was executed that morning. They talk about the nature of good and evil, and how every man could go one way or the other. Charles says he thinks he can actually separate the two from a man; evil or good, not both.
Charles goes home to his laboratory and gets to work. When he’s finished, he has a bottle of a dark chemical and a bottle of clear stuff. He prepares to inject himself with the dark stuff but decides at the last minute to inject the cat instead. The cat goes berserk, and Charles ends up killing it.
Butler Poole comes to the door and states that Ms. Thomas is here. She’s a patient of his, and he’s trying this new thing called psychiatry on her. She lays back on the couch and wants to talk, but she has nothing to say. Charles asks her if she’d like to try something a little… experimental.
He goes to the lab and gets the elixir while she finds his 19th-century porn stash. Yes, really. After a dose, she wants him to say that he likes her; he storms off, avoiding the horny woman. He goes to get her the clear elixir instead, and when he comes back, she’s naked. The camera fades out… Later, she says she can’t believe she imagined that. She shouldn’t have fantasies like that. She thinks it was just in her head after getting the drug, but it may have been real.
Charles goes to the club and talks about his drug and its weird effects. Later, Mr. Deane comes to the office and demands that Charles cure him right now of his imaginary ailments. Charles injects him with the dark stuff, and the belligerent man suddenly becomes quiet and docile. He’s afraid to give the same patient the shot twice, so he decides to inject himself to see what happens.
He gets a weird smile, struts around the lab for a few minutes, and then injects himself with the clear juice. Then he’s back to normal. He goes to see his friend Lanyon and talks about Freud. Lanyon warns that damaging certain parts of his mind would turn him into a monster. So naturally, he takes more of the stuff.
This time, he puts a scalpel in his pocket and goes out on the town. He threatens a couple with a knife and breaks a window to steal a walking stick. Then he rents a room from an old lady. On the way home, he gets into a knife fight with a young guy and almost kills him. Then he goes home and takes the clear formula, turning him normal again. He wonders why his scalpel has blood on it.
At the club, Frederick and Enfield talk about random crimes that have been happening all over town. Enfield tells a story about witnessing Charles committing one of the crimes, except he was going by the name of Edward Blake. They figure out that Blake must be blackmailing Charles. They go to see Lanyon, who says he hasn’t talked to Charles in weeks.
Charles injects himself for the ninth time and doesn’t even look like himself anymore. Frederick knows the name of Blake; Charles had Frederick draw up a new will, leaving everything to the mystery man. Frederick talks to butler Poole about Blake and Charles. When Frederick stops Blake on the street, Blake whacks him with his cane.
Charles tells Frederick he can be rid of Blake anytime he chooses; he’s not blackmailed. That night, “Blake” goes to a bar and makes a scene; later, he tracks down the woman who mocked him and chases her into a factory, where he eventually catches and kills her. The next morning, the police find his bloody walking stick at the scene of the crime.
Frederick demands to see Charles in his lab. He knows Blake’s cane and tells Charles that Edward was the murderer. Charles says he’s done with Blake, and no one will ever set eyes on him again. He’s left the country, Charles claims. He also says cryptically that he’s learned his lesson. When Frederick leaves, he locks up the formula. Frederick soon figures out that Charles was lying about Edward’s letter. He compares Charle’s will to Edward’s letter and realizes they have the same handwriting.
Charles goes out and sits in the park; suddenly, he starts to change into Edward— without taking the drug! He rushes home and hears Frederick giving Poole instructions on what to do if Edward shows up. Instead, he heads over to Landon’s house and shoves a note under his door.
Lanyon goes over to Charle’s lab to gather some things for him. Lanyon gets the syringe and the clear formula. As the scary-looking Edward barges in and takes the drugs, Lanyon freaks out. Lanyon insists on knowing what happened to Charles, and Edward takes the injection and shows him (even his filthy suit becomes clean at this point). Lanyon drops dead as Charles reveals himself.
Charles goes home and writes that no one suspects him except for maybe Frederick. Almost instantly, he turns back into Edward and trashes the lab. Reading his own diary entry, he goes after the only one who suspects.
Frederick’s at home alone and, when he hears footsteps inside the house, grabs his gun. Edward jumps him and knocks over a lamp, setting the house on fire. Edward sets himself on fire and dies, turning back into Charles as he dies.
Christopher Lee plays Charles/Edward and steals every scene he’s in. Although no one recognizes Blake, he looks like Christopher Lee with a bad hangover.
Peter Cushing is Frederick, and he’s a bit of a background character for the first half of the film but carries most of the action once the trouble starts. Cushing later said that this was one of the least enjoyable films he worked on.
It’s a decent enough retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story, but it’s a little long and stretched out. The only transformation scene we get is right at the end when he dies; other than that, it’s all cut-away stuff and changing in the shadows.
It’s okay, but not particularly noteworthy.
Who Can Kill a Child (1976)
• Directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador
• Written by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Juan Jose Plans
• Stars Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 52 Minutes
• Trailer: •
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It starts out with a long hammering message about war and famine and how the children especially suffer. Once things get going, it’s stretched out more than it logically should be. But it’s still pretty good overall.
We are told that Russian troops liberated Auschwitz. Many of the prisoners, especially children, had been subjected to medical experiments. Of nearly 100,000 taken, only around 2,300 children survived. The civil war between India and Pakistan went similarly, many children died there as well. The Korean War… children again. Indochina and Vietnam, the same. Credits roll.
We cut to a crowded beach in modern times. A dead girl washes up, and the ambulance arrives. She didn’t drown, her throat was cut. It must be the work of a madman, says the paramedic.
A young couple, Tom and Evelyn, arrive in Benavis with many other tourists. There’s a big festival going on. There’s no room at any of the hotels, but one man suggests a place that rents rooms. They are going to Almazora island tomorrow anyway. It’s four hours away by boat, and tourists haven’t really heard about it yet. They watch a news report in a shop concerning bad things happening in South Asia— Thailand has fallen. “It’s always the children who suffer,” says the shopkeeper.
The town is so touristy that Evelyn asks where all the Spaniards are. She’s pregnant, and that’s part of the reason they’re going to Alamanzora. They do rent a little boat, and it’s a long ride there.
They arrive on the island and several children meet the boat. The town is oddly quiet. They go to a bar, but there’s no one there. The food on the rotisserie has been burning for hours. Tom explores the town as Evelyn meets a little girl who is fascinated by the baby in her belly. Tom comes back and says he thinks everyone has gone to a fiesta on the other side of the island.
Time explains that there are only one or two hundred people living on the island. He was here about twelve years ago and liked it a lot. They go on for hours and don’t see any adults, only a few creepy, silent children.
They go to the hostel, and find records of a Dutch family staying there as well. They watch a little girl beat an old man to death with his own cane. What? Why? The little girl just giggles and runs away. Tom follows the girl and finds a whole courtyard full of happy playing children using the dead man as a piñata. Tom is… in shock.
Does Tom want to get back in the boat and leave? No, he tells Evelyn that it was all a game, and it was nothing. She knows he’s lying. Tom goes upstairs to the Dutch family’s room and finds the man and woman have been murdered.
A strange man comes in and scares Evelyn. He says that last night around 11:30 the voices started. All the children woke up, shouting and laughing. They went around in groups and killed all the adults. It was as if they were playing some crazy, murderous game. No one in town did anything, because it was their own children. “Who can kill a child?” He asks.
A little girl comes in crying, calling the man “Daddy.” She says to come and help some other family members. He knows it’s a bad idea, but he really has no choice other than to go with her. Tom finally tells Evelyn that they have to run to the boat.
They run. They soon find their way blocked by dozens of children. They get into a car and drive away as the children chase them on foot. They plan to head to the other side of the island, where they might find another boat.
Tom thinks that it’s some kind of evolutionary development; the children are fighting back. They run into an adult woman who says her husband and son are out on the fishing boat; they’ll be back later. The woman’s children watch everything menacingly.
We see children from the village come and “infect” the woman’s children. Maybe it’s telepathy of some kind. Tom notices this, and he and Evelyn head back to town. There’s even more kids there now than before (for an island of 100-200 people, that’s a lot of kids). Tom tries to plow through them in the car, but Evelyn turns the wheel and they crash.
They barricade themselves inside the jail, and Tom finds a gun. They lock themselves inside a jail cell, and the kids bring in a battering ram. Tom shoots one of the small children that was climbing in the window, and the others leave. He’s the only one who was able to kill a child, so now he thinks they fear him. Evie just cries hysterically.
Evie starts screaming in the night. “It’s not like the other two,” she says. “Something inside me is moving! He’s killing me!” The baby inside her is trying to kill her. “He’s one of them!” She remembers the little girl in the bar who touched her belly as she dies.
Tom staggers outside, alone, and runs into a huge crowd of smiling children. He raises the submachine gun and blows a bunch of them away. He runs to the dock where the boat is and fights the children off. They soon overpower him and stab him. The police arrive as he’s screaming and fighting the children. The policeman grabs his rifle and shoots Tom, who appears to be beating up children as far as he knows. Oops! “Look at what this man did,” says the leader.
The children then take the guns from the police boat, shoot the police, and head to the mainland…
The opening credits are just ten minutes of actual, filmed murdered and dead children, so trigger warning, I guess. There’s a lot of talk about war and current events from the 70s, so I assume this is all mostly just anti-war commentary.
It’s long and slow. It starts out well enough, but there’s no real reason they wouldn’t have tried to leave the minute Tom saw the children beating up the dead man. Ignoring that, it’s pretty entertaining. One interesting thing is that the whole situation is never explained. This isn’t some kind of normal conspiracy; something happened to those children late one night. Aliens? Plague? No one knows.
• Directed by Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
• Written by Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
• Stars Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 42 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This one has a lot of dark humor. It was very good overall, with a strong cast, unique script, and excellent special effects. Once things get going, it’s a wild ride of frantic damage control and mayhem.
Sissy and Emma were best friends in childhood. Sissy grows up to be an influencer with an online show about hyperventilating and meditation and coping and selling facial masks. She has over 200,000 followers, so she must be doing it right. She finishes the video and goes to read her feedback, and it’s all very positive and gushing.
She goes to the store for some stuff and sees Emma there. She gets upset and tries to avoid her, but Emma spots her and is really happy to see her. Sissy isn’t happy, but she smiles and fakes it. Sissy says she’s “Cecilia” now. Emma invites her to her engagement party at a bar, and Cecilia reluctantly accepts.
Cecilia sits in her car afterwards and seems upset. She remembers the good times they had together and smiles. At the party, Emma is really pushy, but it’s clear that Cecilia is shy and without real confidence, despite being an Internet star. After a vomit-mishap, Emma asks her to come to her “hen’s weekend” in a few days. After that, Cecilia has fun at the party.
That night, at home, she sees a younger version of herself in the dark bedroom, but she’s covered in blood. Nope- just a dream!
When the time comes, Emma picks up Cecilia and several friends, and they all drive out to a house in the country. On the way, she learns that Alex is going to be there. Cecilia remembers Alex as the bully who ruined her friendship with Emma. She’s so distracted that she runs into a kangaroo on the road. Between the news about Alex and the kangaroo, she’s pretty upset.
Actually, it turns out to be Alex’s house, and Alex isn’t happy to see her either. Alex goes outside to yell at Emma for inviting her, “She’s crazy!”
Cecilia doesn’t fit in with the others and soon wanders off on her own to recite her affirmations again. She gives Emma the Time Capsule they buried when they were little and then shows her the video that was inside. Cecilia says that she’s a “mental health advocate,” specializing in self-acceptance. Tracy and Jamie are impressed. The others turn on her, saying she’s not really qualified to do that. Fran is studying to be an actual doctor, and Alex belittles Cecilia’s job.
Cecilia freaks out, goes into the bathroom, and sits inside her rope circle, something we saw in her show earlier, making a safe space. Emma comes in to console her, and Cecilia breaks down crying. Emma says that all that stuff that happened between Cecilia and Alex was a long time ago, and they both need to get past it.
That night, Alex comes out to talk to Cecilia one-on-one and apologizes. Cecilia seems terrified of her, but accepts the apology. Then she rips her face off— nope, dream again.
The next morning, Cecilia overhears the group talking mean about her again. She remembers not being invited to Emma’s birthday party because Emma liked Alex better. Alex is so mean that even the others get turned off a little.
Cecilia confronts Alex right afterward, but Alex calls her a psychopath. Alex has Cecilia’s phone and records a video of what Cecilia “did to her.” There’s a struggle over the phone, and Alex winds up dead. We get a flashback to the birthday party incident where Cecilia stabbed Alex in the face with a spade.
Cecilia then drags the body away into the woods to bury her and takes her half of the “best friend forever” necklace. Then she creates a cheerful, uplifting video about “simple acts of kindness.” Jamie walks out into the woods and pees on Alex’s impromptu grave. Then he discovers Alex buried there and starts to run. He doesn’t get very far before becoming Sissy’s next video. Emma gets washed downstream by accident.
Fran consoles Emma, who feels bad about Alex and Emma not getting along. Cecilia cuts herself and then asks Tracy for help. “I’m a good person,” Cecilia insists as she drowns Tracy in the bathtub.
Meanwhile, Alex wakes up half-buried out in the woods. Emma walks through the woods to find her way home, and Cecilia packs up, steals the car, and heads to her own home. Cecilia stops and picks up Fran, who was basically abandoned by everyone else out in the woods. The two argue, and Cecilia gets upset and speeds up; Cecilia slams on the brakes, which sends Fran through the windshield.
Alex finds Fran’s phone and calls the police. She can’t talk right, probably due to brain damage, so the policeman who answers doesn’t quite know what’s going on. Cecilia goes back to the house to find Emma, who hasn’t returned yet. She then beats herself with her phone and takes a video of her bloody nose and asks for help from her followers before passing out.
Emma comes in, finds Cecilia passed out on the floor, and tries to help. She finds Tracy’s body stuffed under the bed. Cecilia says it was self-defense against Alex. Emma sees the necklace and doesn’t believe it, s0 Cecilia ties her to a chair and cuts her hair. Emma gets loose, and the two fight; “Please don’t hate me,” she cries when explaining how she just killed Emma’s fiancée. “I think we can get through this.” Emma disagrees and the two best friends fight some more.
Alex arrives, not being able to see straight, and beats Emma to death, thinking it’s Cecilia, as Cecilia films it. The police arrive and shoot Alex before she can get Cecilia.
The policeman from before traced the call and came to the rescue. He sees the bloody and wounded Cecilia and helps her out. She’s gonna be just fine now- she’s even written a book about her ordeal with the murdering psychopath Alex out in the woods. Happy ending!
Those “affirmations” aren’t all that helpful, are they? The whole idea of a self-help guru being a murderous lunatic is just perfect.
Jamie’s death was just hilarious, as are the little graphic things when Cecilia gets likes and subscribes. Fran and the kangaroo? Alex and Emma’s resolution? Didn’t see that coming.
This whole thing was Emma’s fault. She knew Cecilia and Alex’s history, and they’d both be there with no way home.
The gore shots are outstanding and hilarious; the deaths are all well-deserved, and things develop pretty quickly. It’s a little slow getting started, but it’s never quite clear who you’re supposed to be rooting for, which makes it fun.
Something in the Dirt (2022)
• Directed by Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
• Written by Justin Benson
• Stars Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Sarah Adina Smith
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 56 Minutes
• Trailer: •
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It’s a lot of two guys talking. They are interesting, and what they are talking about is often interesting. But there’s not enough else that happens to keep it from getting kind of dull after a while. It’s strange and offbeat, kind of humorous here and there with a heavy dose of science fiction, but it’s pretty low-key on horror.
We open on a guy sleeping on a sleeping bag in an empty house. We see that it’s a really scuzzy apartment, and he seems to be seeing it for the first time himself. Levi tells older neighbor John that there’s no lease, and he rented it sight unseen online, but he seems OK with that. There are nearby fires, airplanes, coyotes, and homeless people. But it’s California, so at least the weather is really nice.
We cut to an interview with Dr. Rita Miller who says she believes at least some of it was real. We don’t know what she’s talking about.
John and Levi move furniture into Levi’s place. As John leaves, he notices weird sparkling lights— something invisible was moving the ashtray. Levi doesn’t see anything, but he’s polite about it. Then he sees it too. They find several dead birds outside their door.
John wants to start a supernatural podcast. John’s a photographer, and the idea soon morphs into a documentary.
We cut to John and Levi talking to the camera in interviews.
That night, the two guys start to document the weird heat coming out of the closet door. John wants to call it “Something in the Light.” Levi prefers, “The Door That Wouldn’t Shut.” The camera overheats and the SD card is full. They didn’t get anything.
John looks up Levi’s phone number online and instead finds him in the sex offender registry. Levi doesn’t want to discuss it at first, but eventually talks about taking a leak in the wrong place. That’s good enough for John. When the ashtray starts floating again, they’re ready with the cameras.
We cut to Halloween, where kids come to the door (of the sex offender’s house). The ghost does some more stuff, and maybe there’s an earthquake. They call in an earthquake expert. John thinks it’s just a normal LA earthquake, but Levi wants to call it supernatural. After a while, John thinks maybe the closet is the door to another planet.
There’s some controversy over John and Levi playing themselves in the recreation of their experiences. John now thinks that the doorway is a portal to another dimension.
A neighbor overdoses, and Levi compares that to a sacrifice; is this all part of a ritual of some kind? John thinks the whole city was designed based on the template of an old tablet he found. The plant growing in Levi’s room is suspiciously weird, so John tries to eat it. “If I’m the first person on Earth to die eating interdimensional fruit, I’m fine with that!” He gets distracted and doesn’t try it.
Then the radiation sets in. John starts wearing a shower curtain, and Levi finds a skull. It only gets weirder from there…
It’s offbeat and sorta funny, but I’d not call it a comedy. The acting is fine, the cinematography is good as well. The problem is the plot, or lack thereof. “Two guys find some weirdness in an apartment and try to film it” just isn’t a two-hour movie.
There’s lots and lots of conversations and talking. Honestly, most of the runtime is just the two guys talking and comparing theories. It’s all about two interesting characters interacting, but don’t come here looking for horror. It gets very much bogged down in conspiracy theories and similar ideas.
I found it immensely boring.
Short Film: Who’s Hungry (2009)
• Directed by David Ochs
• Written by David Ochs
• Stars Animated, no voices
• Run Time: 5:04
• Watch it:
An animated ice cream truck stops at the curb. The guy in the truck grabs two children and drives off.
Later, in the ice cream man’s torture dungeon, One child hangs from a hook while the other ends up in the meat freezer. What will happen to that child who was already in the freezer? Ew.
It’s black and white and animated, so there’s no limit to what could happen here. It’s short, violent, and really well done. There are no voices or dialog, but it’s obvious what’s going on in every scene. Horrifying and fun!
You Are Not My Mother (2022)
• Directed by Kate Dolan
• Written by Kate Dolan
• Stars Hazel Doupe, Carolyn Bracken, Jordanne Jones
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This starts out with a shocking scene, then goes to a slow burn leaving us wondering what’s going on. It gets there nicely eventually. It’s skillfully written and directed, and it’s overall very entertaining.
A baby in a carriage sits in the middle of the road. A woman comes out and pushes it into the woods. The woman digs a hole as she reads a witchy-looking book. She sets some brush on fire and cooks the baby in the center of a ring of fire. Credits roll.
We see the same woman, Ms Devlin, stuck in bed with a sore foot, and her granddaughter Char is taking care of her. Char’s mother is there too, but she seems to have some kind of emotional problem. “Just tired,” she says. Mom zones out on the way to school and almost hits a horse in the road. “I can’t do this anymore,” she says. It looks like Mom has severe depression.
We see that Char is very talented and has skipped ahead a year in class, so she has no friends. On the way home from school, she spots Mom’s car abandoned in a field.
The police talk to Grandma and Uncle Aaron about the disappearance. Grandma acknowledges that her daughter has “down” times, and suggests that she may have gone missing before. Char tells Aaron about what her mother told her that morning. Some kids in the neighborhood bully Char and burn the photo she had of her mother.
That night, Grandma gives Char a little “protection charm.” We get a flashback to Char and her mother carving pumpkins for Halloween years ago. That night, she dreams that her mother is dead. Later that night, her mother, Angela, comes home.
Aaron stops by the next day with drugs for the mother to keep her normal. He forgot the Lithium, and Char volunteers to go pick it up for him. One bully from yesterday, Suzanne, apologizes for what she did. Grandma Devlin tells Char she has “to go see a friend about your mother.”
Char finds her mother in the kitchen cooking and dancing the next day— the medicine must be working. Grandma spills the food all over the floor but scoops most of it up back in the pan. Aaron shows up with french fries. It’s clear that Angela and Grandma don’t get along well. Angela wants her and Char to go away for the weekend, but Aaron forbids it.
That night, Char watches Angela stick her whole arm down her throat, which makes her vomit.
The next morning, we see that Angela has ground up a bunch of her medication and put it in Aaron’s tea. Then she goes out for a walk. Angela says that she can’t tell Char where she went when she disappeared— not yet, anyway. Mom jumps on the freezing cold river, and Char thinks she’s committing suicide, but no, it’s just a crazy stunt. When they get home, Aaron is having seizures from being poisoned.
Mom has a “dancing fit” and stomps around until she breaks her ankle. She howls and roars at Char, which terrifies the girl. Char goes on a field trip with school to a museum where the tour guide talks all about local Irish witchcraft legends. School bully Kelly tells Char that she heard that her family tried to burn Char in a fire when she was little.
The doctor tells Ms. Devlin that Aaron had a Lithium overdose, and she says that Aaron doesn’t take Lithium. She visits him in the hospital and burns one of those protection charms that she makes. After school, Char’s only friend Suzanne shows her how to smoke pot. They both open up about their weird families.
Char brings Suzaane home for dinner, and Grandma says she used to know Suzanne’s mother, but she doesn’t want her there for dinner. Suzanne sees something she shouldn’t and runs away in fear.
Grandma finally has to spill the beans about the family secrets. One night, Angela took her out for a walk in the buggy and came home without the baby; she couldn’t remember where she’d been. Then the baby did show up, except it wasn’t Char; it was a changeling. The ritual we saw in the pre-credits was grandma doing a spell. Apparently if you kill the changeling, the original will return. She says the spirits are vengeful and have come back for her. Her mother isn’t really her mother, it’s something that’s come back for Char. “If we don’t do something, we’ll never get your mother back.”
Grandma unlocks the bedroom door where Angela is locked in. Angela’s tied to a bed and gagged. Char, not convinced that Grandma isn’t nuts, locks Grandma out and unties Angela. Char sees something awful in the mirror— maybe Grandma was right. Angela pushes Grandma down the stairs. Grandma’s ghost whispers, “burn it” to Char.
The school is going to have a bonfire tonight for Halloween. Char comes downstairs in the morning to find Granny is dead. Suzanne tells Char to never go back. We see that Angela’s literally starting to fall apart.
The mean girls lure Angela behind the school where the bonfire is set up. Except Suzanne’s not there, the bullies are waiting for her. Kelly and the others shut Char up inside the wooden thing and douse it with gasoline. Angela shows up looking pretty horrifying and talks to Char through the wooden pallets. The creature oozes her way in, and they embrace. Suzanne tosses a lighter and spray can in, and Char sets the creature on fire before escaping.
The police talk to Aaron in the hospital; they didn’t find a body, nor have they seen Angela. Char will probably wind up in an orphanage. Suddenly, Angela comes to the door. Is this the real one or another changeling?
We know from the very first scene that there's witchcraft or something similar going on, but then we get into the family drama for a long time and that goes onto the back burner. It spends a lot more time dealing with depression and mental illness than the witchcraft bits, but it’s well done.
We're All Going to the World's Fair (2022)
• Directed by Jane Schoenbrun
• Written by Jane Schoenbrun
• Stars Theo Anthony, Anna Cobb, Holly Anne Frink, Michael J. Rogers
• Run Time: 1 Hour, 26 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment e
Too much of it is cringe and boredom rather than entertainment. There is a sort of story that we can slowly figure out. And some horror. But we Horror Guys didn’t care for it at all.
Casey sits in her room at the computer. “Hey guys, Casey here,” she rehearses for the camera. “Today I’ll be taking the World’s Fair Challenge.” Then she makes her bed and cleans the room, because no one wants to watch a live streamer with a messy room.
Eventually, she starts up the camera and does her show. She repeats, “I want to go to the world’s fair,” three times. Neither Bloody Mary nor Beetlejuice shows up, but she does stick herself with a pin to get some blood. Then she watches a video that strobes her face with color. “That was the World’s Fair Challenge, and thanks for watching. I’ll post an update if I start to notice any changes.” She then signs off. Credits roll.
There’s a video explaining all you have to do to get started with the greatest game ever: take the World’s Fair Challenge. She watches another video from a guy who says he thinks he is changing inside. The whole World’s Fair thing seems to be an Internet sensation. There’s a video of a man on a treadmill slapping himself and another with a music video where a girl turns to plastic.
Casey is a horror fan, and she took the challenge because she thought it would be fun to live in one. She tells the audience about her childhood nightmares. They’ve returned since the WFC.
That night, she records herself sleeping but gets bored and goes out for a night walk instead. She goes to their locked barn and opens up a gun case to look at the gun inside, which she promptly puts away again. She watches a go-to-sleep hypnosis video. There’s a video message from JLB showing Casey’s face getting all distorted, followed by the message, “You are in trouble. I need to talk to you.”
JLB warns that playing the game changes you. He wants to help her; he doesn’t like what she talked about in her latest video. She thinks there’s something happening inside her; she’s turning bad. She watches a video from a guy who picks off pieces of his arm and pulls out a string of tickets!
Casey records a video of her dancing and singing, somewhat cringey, but not ridiculously bad. Then she ends the video with her screaming.
Casey’s videos get more and more unhinged. Is she losing her mind, or is she just becoming a better influencer? She disembowels and dismembers her childhood stuffed toy. Then she comes back into the room and wonders what happened to her stuffed monkey.
She says she knows how it’s going to end; she’s going to inside the screen, inside the computer, inside the video. JLB tries to tell her that this is all just a game; none of it’s real. He’s getting worried about her videos. She laughs at him and says she knows that it’s all pretend. She tells him to get lost and never call her again. He begs her not to do it, to keep making videos. She won’t answer his calls.
“Someday soon, I am going to just disappear, and you won’t have any idea what happened to me.” And then she does.
JLB explains that a year later, Casey contacted him to apologize. She had been in a hospital for most of that time, but is doing much better now. She and JLB meet face to face, but she would never tell him what actually happened to her that night.
There are many scenes of Casey messing with her computer and doing really mundane things. It’s a commentary on social media, influencers, TikTok, memes, and internet challenges, but it’s not much fun to watch. The theme of the film has something to do with people living in an Internet echo chamber and getting obsessed with online stuff.
I’ve seen this compared to “Skinamarink” several times, but the only real similarity is that nothing happens and they’re both really boring. To be fair, this isn’t anywhere near as boring as that film (not much could be that bad), but it’s giving it a good try.
It didn’t really make much sense, it was overly long, and Kevin and I both agree that we hated it tremendously.
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