Scare Me (2020) from writer/director and co-star Josh Ruben is a low budget thriller now available on Shudder. The script is simple enough, the atmosphere is ominous and appropriately foreboding. The Plot: 2 horror writers randomly meet while out for a jog and come together after the power goes out in their separate cabins. Franny is a successful author and Fred is frustrated with writers block. Franny suggests they take turns telling scary stories, each story trying to out do the other. Josh Rubens script is beautifully simplistic, no 3rd act twist, no out of nowhere character change. It lets actors do what they do. Scare Me isn’t going to scare anybody but it’s not meant to, it’s about the gradual escalation from frustration into murderous rage. Josh Ruben does a good job playing the unsympathetic frustrated Fred. We watch him gradually transition from passive aggressive into aggressive aggressive. Chris Redd pops up in the 3rd act as comic relief. He’s got good timing and is quickly and easily likeable. Unfortunately his character isn’t needed, in fact it undermines and derails all the built up tension the movie acquired up to that point. The real standout and star is Aya Cash. Aya Cash starred on Fx’s You’re the Worst and is currently stealing the show on Prime Video’s The Boys season 2. Like a lot of Aya’s roles, Franny is acerbic, dry witted, complex and charming. With each story Franny tells, Aya flawlessly moves from character to character each with their own identity. I don’t think there’s too many actors who can pull off the things Aya can, she’s a generational talent. Overall Scare Me won’t scare you but it is worth watching to see what everyone is talking about, Aya Cash. 6.5 / 10
Notzilla (2020) from writer and director Mitch Teemley is clearly a spoof of The King of Monsters, Godzilla. This had disaster written all over it, but instead Teemley planted tongue firmly in cheek, took cues from classic film spoofs and gives us a pretty entertaining movie. Plot: in 1962 a young paleontologist, Dr. Honda rescues an egg after the Japanese army kills its mother. Escaping with the egg via a plane to Ohio, because Ohio means Hi in Japanese. He accidentally flushes it down the airplane toilet, it falls into the Ohio River where its found by physicists, Richard Blowhard and Shirley Yujest. Dr, Honda tells them that the kaiju will remain small as long as it doesn’t drink alcohol. What could go wrong? This movie only works because of how aware it is. It knows its a low budget spoof, it knows we know, and they want us to know that they know that we know. Its full, as in every scene, of jokes, gags, tomfoolery and downright silly nonsense. Mitch Teemley could have held back on the jokes or tried to make it a more serious film but it would have been a disaster. Watching it i’m reminded of the 1984 movie Top Secret. Not a great movie, but very funny and entertaining one. Like Top Secret, Notzilla isn’t a great movie but it is funny and entertaining. Only downside i can complain about is its about 10 -15 min too long. Overall its a solid 6 / 10. if you’re in the mood for a silly movie, give this a shot.
I love Friday the 13th, always have, always will. I own all the movies on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray, plus I’ve pre-ordered the definitive box set coming out next month. I collect the NECA Friday the 13th figures. So needless to say, im a huge fan. Rumor going around is there might be a new Friday the 13th movie. But do we really want one? Rumor is the lawsuit regarding the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise is set to be resolved relatively soon, which means a new movie is sure to follow. On the surface, we’re excited and immediately we start thinking about a new movie, But should we be? Jason Voorhees has stalked Camp Crystal Lake, gone to Manhattan, gone to space, squared off against Freddy Kruger and been remade. Can Hollywood really give us a new Friday the 13th movie that we WANT to see? I don’t think they can and what we’ll be given will be a major disappointment. Hollywood, for all its talent and creativity, seems to stomp out originality. Studios continue to meddle with and change writers scripts, and directors vision. Just look at the popularity of “Director Cuts” of movies. Whomever ends up with the rights to the Friday the 13th franchise needs to find somebody with an original idea for Jason Voorhees and let them go to work. Look what Blumhouse did with Halloween. Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley, and David Gordon Green planned out a 3 movie plot that picks up 40 years after the original 1978 movie. It ignores all the sequels and gives us the carnage we want from Michael Meyers. Now im not saying that Friday the 13th should copy the Halloween strategy but let’s face it, continuity isn’t a strong feature of the Friday the 13th franchise. The plot is usually the same as well, Hikers and/or campers go into the woods and Jason brutally kills them. Is there a way to find a fresh take on this simple yet mostly satisfying plot? Actually there is ! Vincente DiSanti has written, produced and directed 5 short films featuring Jason Voorhees and Crystal Lake. Never Hike Alone, Never Hike Alone 2, Never Hike Alone 3, Never Hike Alone 4 and Never Hike in the Snow. (Technically that last one is a prequel, and numbers 2, 3 and 4 are yet to be released.) But DiSanti took a simple plot and ramped up the tension and even brought back Thom Mathews as Tommy Jarvis. The first Never Hike Alone was great. We got Jason Voorhees back stalking his woods, the tension of will the hiker survive and Tommy Jarvis is back to foil Jason Voorhees. With 5 short films planned out, I expect the rest of the Never Hike Alone saga to be as good. I think that might be the answer to our question. Do we really want another Friday the 13th, yes, yes we do. We want someone who loves the franchise as much as we do to write and plan out a multi movie plot. Stop with the goofy bullshit, Bring back fan favorites, jack up the tension and let Jason Voorhees stalk the woods surrounding Camp Crystal Lake.
Horror toys and collectibles, we love them, we want them and there’s never been a better time for them. For years the only way we could get them was to find one on a back shelf at Toys r Us, specialty store or order from a catalogue. Horror movies have never been more popular than they are right now. Big Hollywood companies, small independents, & fan films are churning out horror movies left and right. So it makes sense that horror movie inspired collectibles are also being made more easily available. You can find them at Comic shops, book stores, Walmarts, Targets, Amazon, Entertainment Earth, etc…. Not only are they more readily available, there’s a wide variety of them, they’re beautifully detailed and they are cool as hell ! There are at least a dozen companies putting out horror themed collectibles. Since this is an article and not a book, I’m only going to talk about a handful of these companies. These are my personal favorites and not in any particular order. If you’re gonna start talking about collectibles and toy figures, you gotta start with Mego. Originally founded in 1954 by Dave Abrams, Marty Abrams took over and is considered to be “the father of action figures”. Mego was quiet for several years but not any longer. Mego is putting out 8 inch clothed figures from The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Texas Chainsaw Massacre to name a few. These figures add a major touch of retro cool to any collection. Next we got Biff Bang Pow. Biff Bang Pow also has the 8 inch Mego style retro figures but they also have 3 3/4 in. figures, bobbleheads, prop replicas, tin totes and drinkware just to name a few. Legendary comic artist Alex Ross has contributed to the Flash Gordon action figure design. You can find Biff Bang Pow exclusively on Entertainment Earth Super 7 is up next, founded in 2001, Super 7 has a very cool line of ReAction figures. They also have t-shirts, drinkware, puzzles and blind boxes. The variety of their licensed products is second to none. Alien, Aliens, MOTU, Transformers, Planet of the Apes, Robocop, Teenwolf, Toxic Avenger and many more. Figures range from 3 inches to 12 inches. The figures aren’t the most detailed nor are they all that posable but they seem to be stepping up with their Thundercats Ultimates line. These 7 inch highly articulated action figures are a Thundercats dream come true. I am honestly chomping at the bit to get my hands on these. McFarlane toys is the home of super beautifully detailed figures. McFarlane has a long history of sculptured art work. From sports icons to video game characters to pop culture legends. I think by now everybody is aware of McFarlane toys and what they bring to the table. Funko is another company putting out great horror themed collectibles. Their POP vinyl figures are quite addictive. They come with a cheap price tag (10.99 on average) and are made to be collected. Huge variety to choose from and they’re fun for everyone in the family. POP vinyls are found everywhere in my house. From Pennywise, Annabelle, The Exorcist, to Star Wars to (my favorite) Universal Monsters. Finally we come to NECA. NECA is the leading creator, marketer and global distributor of licensed products. Their figures are 7 inch highly detailed and highly articulated pieces of awesomeness ! NECA has their hand in almost every brand of horror, sci-fi, pop culture available. Friday the 13th, Ash vs Evil Dead, Hellraiser, TMNT, Aliens, figures from Guillermo Del Toro, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton and more. NCEA has multiple variations of characters. For example NECA has a variation for almost every Jason Voorhees, from Part 2 with the burlap sack hood to Part 5 with “faux Jason” Roy Burns to Jason vs Freddy to the Ultimate Jason in Part 6. NECA is leading the way for horror collectible figures. So whatever your taste in collectibles may be, highly detailed, retro, articulated, variations, or all of them. Now is the time to add to your collection or to start a collection. I will tell you this, myself and other Horror-Fix contributors have shelves full of collectibles we’ve bought, or found from all the companies above. We love them, we are always on the look out for more of them and we love showing them off.
Antebellum – definition ‘before the war’, specifically used in reference to the civil war. Attempting to write a review for Antebellum without giving away spoilers is going to be difficult. Is there a twist? Yes. Can you figure it out on your own? Again Yes. Am I going to talk about it? No. Antebellum stars Janelle Monae, a recording artist with a handful of movies to her name, including Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Welcome to Marwen and Harriet. Written and Directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. The official synopsis: Successful author Veronica Henley finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind bending mystery before its too late. The trailer and synopsis are very misleading. The trailer would have you think this is a dark supernatural horror movie. The official synopsis implies its a mind-bending mystery. Despite what other reviewers have said, this IS a horror movie. While it does not have werewolves, vampires, aliens or masked killers, it does indeed have monsters in it. The worst kind of monsters,… human. The movie is set on a Civil War plantation, so there are scenes of abuse, torture, implied rape, and murder. Antebellum is a difficult movie to watch because it shows us the absolute worst part of our American history, slavery. Horror movies that add the tagline, “based upon real events” somehow creep us out even more because events in the movie happened in real life, this is no different. While Antebellum doesn’t have that specific tagine, slavery DID happen and its not too much of a stretch to imagine the events in this movie actually taking place. While difficult to watch and probably not going to get a lot of repeat viewings, that doesn’t mean its a bad movie. In fact, its a pretty good movie. The only real issue I have, i won’t talk about here because of spoilers. Janelle Monae is far and away the best thing about this movie. She gives an outstanding emotional performance. Don’t be surprised to hear her name a lot around award season.