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Archive for December, 2022


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday




essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



imagesAfter a disastrously disappointing Christmas where are the family constantly argues and bickers, young boy decides he’s done with Christmas. Ripping up his letter to Santa, he turns his back on the holiday and in doing so summons the demon Krampus. At this point I was rubbing my hands together, onboard and eager to see him, but that doesn’t quite happen. In this movie Krampus has more similarities Santa in that Santa come to your house while you’re sleeping, and drops off gifts. Well, Krampus also come to your house while you’re sleeping, and brings things, but in his case they’re small monsters, designed to punish the wicked.

The movie is very much a siege film, with the family trying to survive the night, fighting against all of the Krampus’s minions. They’ve designed these to look and feel much like traditional Christmas toys, giving us an interesting, if grim sort of variety to the carnage.
Ultimately I found myself a little bit disappointed perhaps more because this wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping fr a huge Pumpkinhead monster or big bad like what we got in Saint or many of  the other low budget movies that flood the market during the holiday season. Nevertheless, considering it’s a Blu-ray pick from the dollar store, it’s a nice addition to my collection and I’ll definitely be giving this another chance once December rolls around.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



boxalterindexAlterscape is a sci-fi thriller about an Iraq war that with PSTD who seeks out an alternative therapy from scientists in the basement of a building with a computer that can alter your emotions. The experiment has side effects, darkening his personality and granting him weirdly undefined psychic abilities, sometimes telekinesis, and occasionally grievous bodily harm. It’s all a front to make him into a sort of super soldier weapon… I think. It’s quite muddy but that seems to be the gist of it.

Alterscape is one of those esoteric sci-fi forays, or at least it wants to be. It goes for the whole sort of head trip thing that we would get from films like The 13th Floor or the Twilight Zones “we can remember it for you wholesale”. The whole messing with the human experience harkens back to that. The problem is it fails to define a lot of its canon, so we’re never entirely sure it’s actually going on or why. It doesn’t help that they’ve bought the same cheap package of special effects vortices that I just watched in the Dean Koontz movie Hideaway. The basement office of the scientists imagesfeels cheap, with an old CRT computer screen and EL wire thrown about in the cramped space to give it a slightly high-tech feel.

I grabbed it off the shelf At dollar tree largely because it featured Michael Ironside, and this underrated actor can generally under elevate anything he’s in. However you can tell he was probably only on set for a day or two and even he can’t save the stinker. There’s a good idea in here somewhere, but I feel like they bit off more than they could chew, and had an interesting idea that really couldn’t sustain a full feature. This might’ve been better off as a short, but even then it’s a concept that needed to be more fully fleshed out before they put it on the screen.  Without a better execution the film ultimately Falls flat.

Carol and John’s Christmas Party 2022


If you’ll forgive a self indulgent post, I always enjoy  talking about the Cleveland fandom scene, and at the heart of the comic book scene here is Carol and John’s comic shop.


The lockdowns killed a lot of the scene, and it’s been two years since CnJs threw a party, but this weekend, they decided it was time to finally test the waters. The Christmas party was back, along with the comic book cover art show which benefits the Greater Cleveland food bank. it was a great time seeing some friends I haven’t run into in well over a year- or more, and made new ones as well. It’s always the best party ever.


Hell on a Shelf


I don’t think there’s that many found footage Christmas movies. Hell on a Shelf is a sort of ghost hunters spoof, with the team investigating a house called “the Wingate house“ and if the cover is to be believed, it’s haunted by a killer elf on the shelf (It’s not. But it is a elfish doll. Close enough).

It starts off with some Talking Heads setting up the story, then shift to security camera footage of some burglars breaking in. Leaves, take note. Don’t burgle a haunted house. And if you must, especially don’t go into the basement. 

Titters of laughter load in from off screen, and the burglars are our first two victims. And that’s before the credits even roll!

I’ve actually heard good things about the Polina brothers from my buddy Doug, so I was eager to sit down and watch this one. The doll on the title cards however, looks very different from a traditional elf on the shelf. So I’m still not entirely certain what we have in store for us.

We get some more Talking Heads stuff though, getting to know you schtick. We get the backstory about how do boys are playing in the house and, one of them fell down and broke his neck on the basement stairs. It was Wall-E were fighting over a toy elf Christmas ornament. It’s not his spirit is the one that haunts the house.

They waste no time in their investigation cranking out the recorder and making contact with something that seems to be talking back to them. And of course, that night, shenanigans begin to happen. Blankets being pulled off of people, more tittering laughterq. I’m a doll, the dog keeps moving. It keeps going from the shelf onto a specific chair that was on fire the dead boy. In the basement, something throws things at them, and the disembodied voice on the recorders tells them it wants to hurt them, it just wants them to die. But how will it make good on that threat?

I’ll be honest, I got a lot more out of this than I expected to. It’s short, but well paced. There’s not a wasted moment of footage. The story is straightforward, and hangs together efficiently. We even get a little bit of a monologue towards the end where you get an interesting perspective on ghost hunter shows.

I come concludes with a interesting reveal, liking a solid film. This one’s a firm recommend!


VFW brings the blood early just so you know they’re serious. There’s a new drug in town, causing fights creating problems, rising crime. Hooligans are starting to really hang out at the old abandoned theater… Maybe just a little bit too close to the VFW. But when the violence of the junkie club spills over into the VFW, the old guys there including legends like Martin Cove and Fred “the Hammer” Williamson find themselves in for the fight of their lives.

This is gonna be a short review, because quite frankly, this movie so good I’m just sitting here watching it and forgetting to comment. I’ve mentioned before, that’s how you can tell somethings really great.

Here’s the thing, I was hearing about VFW on the movie crypt a while back, and definitely hearing talk about it from my horror friends. This is one of those great, great movies that really live up to the hype, but at the same time… I feel like you gotta know what you’re going into. This is not a horror film. It’s a siege film, and I’d almost classify it more as action. It’s John carpenters Assault on Precinct 13… It appeals to the horror community because of the gore… And perhaps the punk nature of the villains… But mostly because of the gore. This thing lets the blood fly in all directions. There is a liberal mix of practical and CGI blood, but the cgi inserts are forgivable because of it’s balance. For my part, I’m just here to watch the Hammer pound. I love Fred Williamson, and watching him revel in the violence here, kind of makes me want to watch dusk till dawn next. It’s a sort of movie that genuinely makes you wish your hair was maybe a little bit more gray. Martin Cove has gained some notoriety these days from doing Cobra Kai, but for me… This is really one of his finest moments. It’s brilliant action, it’s violent and gory and glorious. Just go watch it. Don’t rely on me to talk about it… Just find it and watch it. I was fortunate enough to score this at the dollar tree, but this is in no way shape or form a dollar store movie. This is a classic, and it’s glorious.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



Stalled really tries to establish an identity early on. We dive straight into the credits without a pre-credits kill, and they are interesting. Simple. White on black, but flickering, like a fluorescent light. With a gentleman dressed as a maintenance man standing timidly outside the women’s bathroom. Looks like he’s here to fix something… The speaker, which has been chewed by a rat. Of course he also has a toolbox full of cash, suggesting that he may not be exactly what he appears to be.

He gets sick and dashes for the stall, and while he’s vomiting, a couple of women (in sexy Christmas garb – that’s odd, nothing on the box suggested to me that this was a Christmas movie!) come in. He closes the door to hide so he doesn’t get caught in the ladies bathroom, but things go from bad to worse when one of the girls turns into a zombie and bites the other one. Back into the stall, as the rest of the nights zombified partygoers meander through, finding themselves into the bathroom.

He tried calling 911.

“ emergency services, ambulance fire or police?”

”I don’t know, who handles zombies?”

Unfortunately, the zombies have already taken over the police station, he’s stuck in the bathroom stall. Fortunately, it looks like he’s not alone there are people in neighboring stalls as well, that way we can have some dialogue. Things get really weird when his stallmate pops him some ecstasy… Including a techno dance number; once again proving my theory that if you’re faced with a zombie horde, all you have to do to survive is start dancing… And then dance along with you!

Truth is, it’s a very simple idea. A guy is stuck in the bathroom stall during a zombie apocalypse. They lean into that simple premise, and as a result, Stalled manages not just to be funny but I also have some heart. It manages to deliver more than enough blood and guts and brains to satisfy any zombie gore hand, while still giving us an actual story and some real laughs. It’s a brilliant mix and a good balance… What I’m saying, is a little silly film like this has no business being this good. It’s not necessarily the broad success of some thing like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse or Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead… It’s a much smaller, simpler film but it works on that scale. A definite must watch. I don’t care if you can’t find this in the dollar store and have to go pay full price. You really ought to have this on your Christmas playlist.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Bad Folks


“from the childhood hour it conceived a ring, from the fatherhood hour I met the thing. It feast on sin and there it grew, the demon I made, a death in view.”
Can I just say that’s a little pretentious and high value For a Michael Crum film? (also for a production that lists itself as “saka marbles films” )

This graffiti is scrolled on the bare wall near door 147, and sits there, stark at we begin our film

Someone’s taking a beating out there from  Carlos, a Sort of Indian gangster type who heads into the bar. There’s a couple people there. All ordinary architects. Selfie girl, a dopey blonde with her token gay friend, bartender, and preppies after a business deal. There’s a stage for band’s, but nobody’s playing tonight, just the jukebox it sounds like

Carlos gets a little obnoxious with the girls, Although I gotta say,  the verbal Pacing is a bit off, And that’s something that crumb should be able to catch by now in the edit.

The business deal isn’t going to well either. The 2 guys were trying to sell porn to a distributor… except the guy is just a drunken mess, and the dialog just gets increasingly bizarre.

Thanks to the little stranger from there, and we learn a valuable lesson – never arm wrestle with somebody who’s getting belligerent with you. Things get a little stabby, and a fight breaks out. But that’s just normal bar side shenanigans. What isn’t, is the guy at the end of the bar Suddenly coughing blood and dropping dead.

And there’s the set up. 6 strangers in a bar with a dead body. And things are gonna get a lot uglier before they get any better, as all the secrets come out.

The shotgun blast to the leg, and the stabbed arm are good, bloody effects. Exactly what I expect from Crum, but the photography is off. The whole thing is run off of a very shaky stedi cam, And the framing is wild. People’s heads are constantly getting cut off, the camera isn’t panning and following enough, I understand this you’re supposed to come off as stylized, but to do stylized, you have to do  It with style. This comes off as sloppy.

It’s an interesting subject with slightly more elevated material, and Crumb is swinging for the fences here, trying to make a tense thriller. It’s all about these people trapped together, who’s gonna take the blame, who was the murderer and who is innocent. It’s a locked room mystery. That’s smart too, Crums using his resources efficiently with a small cast and a single setting, but I’m not certain that hes quite talented enough to pull it off. There’s still a lot of his grindhouse horror style pervading it. Basically hes sticking with what he knows. In a lot of ways, it feels very similar to VFW, but with smaller stakes and a more closed space. It’s one of those movies where I’m glad I saw it, but I can’t imagine seeking it out if I weren’t specifically watching this director’s catalog. Still, it’s the sort of thing where I still want to watch Crum grow, and see where he goes from here.


Axemas and Axemas 2


Kings of Horror were screenign a couple of shorts this weekend and the name had me hooked from the word go.

You don’t want to be burgling a storage locker on Christmas night… especially if you’re in a movie called Axemas.

The burglar’s really just the appetizer though. You’ve got a bunch of young cow spending the night in the storage facility to have their own private party… The burglars really just the appetizer though. You’ve got a bunch of young cow spending the night in the storage facility to have their own private party… Basically chopping mall, but with a killer santa instead of robots, right? Yeah, kinda.

I gotta say,  schtuping in a storage locker is kind of a bit more pathetic than Using them all furniture store… it’s a bad premise, but I imagine it was mostly because they had the location. I’m also disturbed that the killer santa looks a lot like the guitar player in my favorite band…. well, 20 years ago.

Santa himself looks rather uninspired, and the kills are really plain.  We’re also taking way, WAY too much time to get things moving. We don’t get our 1st main kill until halfway through this 20 minute film. The delivery is pretty terrible as well. There’s a great line that the killer goes right before he legends a girl to death with a large rock… “wanna get stoned?” but the problem is it’s delivered so flat, It just fails to land.

This is all a bit of a shame too, because the style and photography here is good. They know how to frame a sequence and light a scene. Everything is shot really well. There’s some fair effects here too, the compound fracture is effectively effectively squirm inducing. The decapitation is serviceable, and they’re smart enough not to linger on it. But sadly, outside of the really original name, this thing is just a misfire.

And yet, somebody still managed to make a sequel.

Of course when I say “someone” , I’m talking about John Ward… the person who did the 1st one. It’s not just enough to bring back thepshcho santa though. We’ve also have to bring back the storage locker!

We’ll get to that in a moment…

Santa’s murdering a bad dad out by the dumpster, and I’ll say this… it’s a better looking Santa Claus Jim. It’s also a nice original kill, impelling the dude on a Christmas tree. I’m already feeling better about this short than the previous one.

Even the opening credits are better. A  small Christmas tree burning in a fireplace with a creepy looking mantle… There’s some real progress here.

We got to a news report recapping the previous film, something that happened a year ago now.The final girl is at home watching In agony as the manager gives his own slimy opinions on the events.

The trauma of the murders has her seeing things. She still sees the bloody image of her old dead boyfriend, and it’s messing with her. What her best friend tells her that what she really needs is to get out and start dating again!

I kind of feel like I should hate this. but the truth is, the guy that she picks up at the bookstore and goes on a date with… all the character development is fascinating. Ashamed that he happens to be a psycho obsessed with the murders from the previous year and about ready to kidnap Her and return to the storage locker is!

OK, so I’m actually kind of happy this director got a second chance. Because the 2nd film is way better than the 1st period there’s so much more depth here and I honestly watch this short again.It’s a shame that it doesn’t work unless you have the 1st one, but what I’d really like to see is somebody merged the 2. I watched them back-to-back, and the continued is just perfect. But if somebody could cut that original short down to about 10 minutes as a prologue and grafted onto this 1, maybe even beef up some of the kills and effect, I think you might just have something perfect.

The bit at the end actually makes me want more….and that’s cool, because as of Oct 4, 2022 part three and four are still planned to be filmed back to back.

Mrs. Claus


Mrs. Claus it opens up with an initiation that ultimately pushes a sorority sister too far, and ends up in a murder.

That is however, just to set up and we Flash Forward years later where her sister Danielle is pledging the same sorority and getting ready for this year‘s Christmas party.
(having just re-watched black Christmas, I gotta say, this is where the budget starts to show… Because it doesn’t look like a sorority house. Rather it just looks like the normal house somebody’s living in. It really is a difference.)

And then, Danielle is a threatening email from someone identifying cells as “Mrs. Claus“.

The slutty one gets it first with a garrote out of Christmas lights. It’s not a huge impact considering we were just introduced to her about two minutes ago after she rolled off a guy. Nevertheless, it’s a nice clever kill and a good start.

Around that same time the mother of one of the dead girls shows up… And it’s some coincidental timing isn’t it? Feels like we got a Friday the 13th situation going on here.

The decorations are all set up for tonight‘s Christmas party and Brinke Stevens is out there as a security person patrolling the streets, but Mrs. Claus is already inside the house. Her victims get a text before she shows up and spills their blood in a bad rubber mask. However, she’s about to have a whole new crop of victims as the front boys are about to arrive, ready to get smashed in the name of Santa!

While one of the frat boy guests complains about the very existence of sororities and how hazing leads to murderous behavior – do we have another killer suspect here? – Bring Stevens shows up to let the party know that our first girl did not ever make it home. It’s a buzz kill and starts to shake the party apart.(although I have to admit, I laughed at the one frat boy’s theory that serial killers like Freddy and Jason don’t go after ugly people… I just watched Friday the 13th part three last night, and I assure you, Jason totally goes after ugly people in that one). Separating them up is a good thing though, because it gives Mrs. Claus a chance to shank the whiny one with a large candy cane. 

Down in the basement, a couple of them are getting baked and talking about how the elves in North Pole probably have the best weed. Seriously, this movie has the best small talk.

To be fair though, they’ve got some pretty good kills as well. Somebody’s mixing up some nice looking blood… Dark and thick. They know enough not to linger on the kills, and give us more than enough banter to make us care about these characters. Indeed, the rest of the guests upstairs are sharing the worst Christmas dinner story ever… And it just feels like the sort of party I want to hang out at. Younger sister tells a little bit about how that Christmas was… The year her sister died. It gives an interesting perspective on the effects of horror movie murder has on the rest of the family. There’s no Christmas presents, instead there’s visitation and a funeral. 

Of course, this year, there’s text messages and murder. The image of Mrs. Claus coming for you in the dark is actually fairly effective, and a shot of earbuds dangling, with blood dripping down from them, it’s all really nice imagery. They work the creep factor and that, in addition to the creative kills on a low budget definitely make this film worth watching!

Two last thoughts, Brinke Stevens is in this a whole lot more than you expect. It’s a supporting role, but more than a cameo just to get a credit on the box cover. And second, we do get a twist at the end… And it’s not the one you expect. This thing is definitely worth spending 86 minutes of yueltide cheer on.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday



essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


A Christmas Carol (2013)


I’m not going to waste time recapping the synopsis of A Christmas Carol. If you don’t know the story of A Christmas Carol, then you’re really in the wrong place. And indeed, the wrong movie… Which may be the key to watching and understanding it all together.
The 2013 edition of A Christmas Carol seems to be vehemently hated by the reviewers up on IMDb. But I’m not sure that it deserves the hate that it gets. The thing is, this vision of A Christmas Carol isn’t the straightforward film that everybody was expecting. It’s visually stylized and gorgeously realized, but it comes off almost as more of a music video style story then a feature film. It’s focused very much on the imagery and layering concepts and frames on top of each other. This leads to long stretches, particularly when Scrooge is observing the scenes the ghosts set before him, that are merely dialogue. There are stretches over and over with the actor or the narrator simply speaking to the audience, telling, not showing. But the telling is done in a beautiful mosaic way. Clouds and fire overlaid on top of the image of men and ghosts. It had to have been a hundred days of green screen for these guys, and yet the effect is quite striking. Indeed, it’s so visual, it might actually have made a better comic book than a film.
That’s not to say there isn’t a traditional narratives here as well. The vignettes of Scrooge and Cratchit, the scenes at the Cratchit household and the scenes of Scrooges past they’re all presented in straightforward and competent manner. Someone’s going to a lot of trouble to arrange filming at historical sites to make it work right. That’s impressive. Doing a period piece on a low budget is a Herculean task, and this crew has pulled it off admirably.
Of course the low budget is a big part of the problem. It shows. Those blank walls? While they’re perfectly appropriate for historical building, and probably quite stunning to be inside, they come off as long stretches of negative space in a film. They may actually be more accurate than some of the more lush adaptions of dickens work out there, but we’re so used to greater detail and more complex that design, that for all the authenticity that they add, they also bring the production down in their planes.
Also present are the pervasive close shots. Tight one/two shots of people, with a camera in close enough so that you see very little of the dark and background. The gloom of course, is there to hide the more modern architecture of the room. They do their best to get around it. Every trick in the book, including overlays, shooting through windows, lighting and framing, but those type of shots are always a hallmark of a low budget film production that does not have room to show a well dressed background.

The greatest failing here though, is it it’s cast. The director has cast a bunch of theater actors, and it shows. There is great enunciation, but it comes at the cost of passion and emotion. The performance would absolutely reach the back of the room in a stage setting, but Scrooge in particular, lacks expression necessary to convey the emotion that he must show, increasingly so as the film goes on.
Nevertheless, I see it for both what it is and what it could be. I really enjoy this movie, and considering this is a very early work for this Director, I see a lot of promise here. For me, this is a perfect companion piece. Certainly not a main version, not my first choice, but probably my second… and definitely a perfect party movie. In the background of a crowded room, you could look up to a television and know exactly what’s happening, and benefit from the Christmas setting and provides us. It’s an admirable stylized effort, and really needs to show up as a special feature on a better edition rather than the main feature itself.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday


Anna Two aka The Devil’s Fairground aka Freaky Links

Anna two starts off with something horrible happening in the dark. I’m not sure what, because it’s too dark. Flash over to a graveyard where our hero in glasses (Jacob, part of our pair of heroes from the previous film) is standing over someone’s freshly dug a grave. He then mournfully rides his bike off into the sunset. Or the credits. We appear to be in the middle of a pitch session for Freaky Links – the YouTuber’s site name. Flash back to the previous film, to get us context… But this time they’re off to a haunted amusement park… after the crashing a rival ghost hunters investigation.

Turns out, that this group, Spooky Links, used to work with them… They were all employed by Ryan, the gentleman in the grave from the beginning. He left the business and equipment a Spooky Links and Freaky Links are not real happy about that. But now they’re also trying to bury the hatchet, on the anniversary of Ryan’s death, and maybe recruit them to all work together to tackle the park.

They start things off with a stop along the way to visit a demon possessed girl. It kind of goes badly.. there’s blood on the ceiling, gory make up and several gags thrown in. Apparently you don’t make holy water just by soaking a Bible and a bowl of water…
I mean, you kind of can, but it seems to more just piss them off. They’ve definitely got the evil’s attention now, even as they defeat the possessed girl, the haunting follows them to the Local bar.

Anyhow it’s time to investigate the devils fairground.  

Inside, the fairground looks more like your local Haunted House than an actual amusement park. It’s ramshackle buildings with smoking lights and lots of bloody, grotesque monsters. Crumb is going for uglier and more shocking monsters than he’s ever done before. It’s all about imagery. Seriously, we’ve left story well in the rear view mirror. But something interesting happens around the hour mark.

We got some foreshadowing a while back about the ghost hunters wondering what ghosts really are… What happens when you cross over… That sort of stuff. The third act attempts to explore that, sending a team into Crumb’s vision of the netherworld. It’s a bold move, the sort of thing we see very rarely, Hellraiser two, or The Beyond. He attempts to pull this off with sheer audacity and force of will, and while he doesn’t entirely succeed, he doesn’t entirely fail either. It requires a normal suspension of disbelief, but at this point I’m kind of ready to cut him some slack. He also has a good sense not to linger too long before moving onto the next threat, and get back to ghost hunting.

Or is it that the ghosts are hunting them?

You know, this is actually a better movie then it seems like. It’s got flaws, massive flaws, but there’s some interesting stuff to unpack and you can actually see the development of Crum as a filmmaker. I kind of want to revisit around Halloween when I’m hitting the haunted houses, because the imagery is just so familiar. It’s one of those movies were I’d kind of like to see what he could do with a bigger budget, I think he’s almost ready for it.



Christmas Bloody Christmas


 I’m not even trying to bury the lead here. Christmas Bloody Christmas may be the surprise hit of the season.

I was fortunate enough to catch a advance screening of this on Saturday night. That’s cool because I’m not expecting this to hit many theaters (it’s a Shudder release), but nevertheless, Cleveland film scene knows what’s good and holy crap, this was good.

It begins with some trashy retro throwback commercials, culminating in an advertisement for a new robotic Santa that stores and malls can use to replace the ones they would hire for the season. They’re made from army surplus robots… Refurbished killing machines now designed to delight children of all ages. I sat back in my seat and looked over at my buddy Mark said “please let this be with the movies about!”. Chopping Mall with Santa robots? Yes, please.

We open with our main character Tori, heading into work at the record store that she owns (I think it’s a record store. There’s lots of albums there and she’s definately an audiophile. It could be a “Exchange” type store though too – I see VHS and comic posters around as well). It’s a nice bit of business with her saving her friends boyfriend from buying the wrong record as a present, and some pleasant banter with her employee Robbie. There’s some banter as they’re ready to close at the shop. But Tori is not feeling Christmas. She doesn’t like it, and really all she wants to do is hook up with a random Tinder date. No problem of course, is that this Tinder date is an absolutely horrifying douche bag and will only make her the mockery of everyone she knows. Robbie joins her as they head down the street to the toy store where Tori’s friends work. They’re staying over that night because they are great ambition is to schupt in their toy store… (Okay, I gotta admit. I can’t blame them. that sounds pretty great). The friends in the toy store just so happen to have one of those robotic Santa’s. They’re actually all on recall and things probably going out the next day, but for now it’s creepily watching them as they crack open a bottle of whiskey and pass it around. After washing their friends merry Christmas Tori and Robbie are off to the bar, while the toy shop people get busy on Santas throne.

That’s about the time that the Santa robot comes to life and hilarity ensues.

Look, I’m not even going any further with this synopsis because I want you to see this. I seriously want you to go see us very badly. It is everything that I wanted from this movie. We have a killer romantic Santa, the best terminator since Terminator two honestly. And we see it get progressively and progressively more robotic and damaged as we go through the film. We get good clean kills, plenty of blood, but we also get characters that we really enjoy. Quite frankly, I could do an entire movie just with Tori and Robbie clapping back at each other over music and film and boozing it up together. It’s just great stuff. I also couldn’t help but notice that every time I would think “man the only thing that would make this movie better was if this happened…“ About two minutes later, the very thing I was thinking about would happen. It’s intuitive, it’s organic, and it’s a brilliant bloody mess. I should expect no less from Director Joe Begos, who gave us the intense action packed thriller VFW. That one was a High Point and a real hidden gem. This is every bit as good… If not better. It’s just one of the best, freshest Christmas horror movies that I’ve seen in ages. Absolutely check this out on shutter or wherever else it may be streaming. 

Christmas Bloody Christmas hits theaters and begins streaming on Shudder December 9

Joker’s Poltergeist

Jokers Poltergeist is not a clown movie. It wants you to think that it is, but make no mistake, that Batman Joker wannabe on the cover? It doesn’t appear anywhere in the cell. We get mask figures with slightly similar features, but never a single antagonist like the film would lead you to believe.

When it says it’s based on true events, they are referring to the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting. Honestly, I didn’t clue into this until after I watched the film and hit some IMDb trivia. I’m not sure I would’ve bought it if I had known, that seems in bad taste…, Even to someone with as dark a sense of humor as me.

A young woman and her father are at their movie theater for opening night. It’s one of those grand old places, like the capital or the palace. But as the director , Eric Roberts, gives his introduction on screen, a madman… just a clown in a sea of clown costumes, open fire with a gun, killing the father and several other people.

A year later the daughter is set to reopen the theater, but she has to fight the city government to do so. She’s staying the night in the theater and is joined later by other survivors of the massacre, and that’s when things start to get weird. They’re haunted by figures in clown masks, similar to that of the murderer. The introduction with the director keeps popping on the screen, so does a message from her father (Martin Kove of Cobra Kai and the Karate Kid) and the entire night to vaults into a maelstrom of terror.

A big problem here, is resolution. I’m not entirely certain what happened. I’m not sure if she was crazy, or the boyfriend was crazy… I’m pretty sure the theater wasn’t actually haunted, which might’ve been a better story. I’m a sucker for movie theater films, and it’s exactly the sort of historic place that I love to go see movies at. It’s a fun ride, but ultimately, I don’t Harley get it. I’d like something a little more straightforward. It’s worth a try though, no I really wish it had been marketed much, much differently.

Fun extra, watch for the late Dustin Diamond, Screech from Saved by the Bell, lurking in the background. He’s in the film, but is almost entirely an extra….



85% of the cast is under 25

Cover misrepresents the movie

Mostly one location