Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

HEREDITARY - Like a really good Rosemary's Baby

In the spirit of the season, I got special permission to write about a movie not featured on the Out There Movies channel, so I’ll be talking about what I consider to be the scariest movie of 2018: HEREDITARY.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

  1. Watch this in the dark, at night.
  2. Slam some caffeine before. Get tense and get focused.
  3. Don’t chat or chuckle to cover up the silences.  Let that uncertainty invade you.
  4. If you have a need for subtitles, please use them. If you can avoid them though, they add a lot of white light to scenes that otherwise might be fundamentally dark. Seriously, run an experiment in your bedroom when it’s dark, look at all the extra light on your ceiling when subs are on.

Let this be a genuine encounter with cosmic evil. There’s just a little glass between you and hell, like a trip to the zoo in your nightmares.

Hereditary is a modern horror movie with clear nods to classic horror throughout. Like many horror movies we all love, selective focus is an important tool. Watch the backgrounds.  If you like the soundtracks John Carpenter and Goblin made for some of my favorite horror movies, you’ll be familiar and comfortable with the threatening sequencer that accompanies some scenes in Hereditary.

Recommendation number three is listed here because I love the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. When we first encounter the bone room, we can’t see what she has found, but there’s a shot of Sally’s anguished face as she looks around the room and realizes what she has stumbled into.  It’s an effective tension builder in general, and in the context of a chase scene is a really clever choice. We see the same technique used multiple times in Hereditary, particularly with Peter, and it’s still an excellent tool.

I don’t want to address the plot specifically, so no spoilers, but part of what unsettled me so much about this movie was the suggestion of contaminated blood. If you can honestly claim to have zero family members whose behavior has made you worry that you might carry the capacity for malevolence, and that you might enjoy it, that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you. For everyone else, there’s the suggestion in Hereditary that despite your desires, for all the effort you have made, your future might not be in your control. This movie doesn’t say that a monster is coming to eat you, but that as you live and persist, moving toward what the story of your whole life will be, no matter how foul the destination, your arrival there might be inevitable.

Hereditary is also scary to me because it isn’t some far off location where these events could happen. It was shot where I live, in Salt Lake City.  I play in a death metal band called WINTER LIGHT, and the cover of our first demo is a photo I took of the tallest peak east of my apartment. That very peak is a part of the range you see behind this funeral scene from Hereditary.  Just a little south of where that body was lowered is the peak shown on the cover of Momentum. It is my city, and just as easily it could have been yours.

This was a strong year for scary movies in general, so if you’re keeping up on what people are buzzing about, this name has surely come up for you before.  If not though, and you’re in the mood to see how the other half (of yourself) lives, check out HEREDITARY.

Check out Winter Light's music here, and pair it with a scary movie on a dark night:

Thursday, August 30, 2018

FIEND – Making Every Day Halloween Again

A demon takes over the body of a guy with a big mustache and goes on a strangling rampage. Another guy who also has a big mustache senses something isn’t right, and discovers the truth is his worst nightmare. That is FIEND in a nutshell. And in case mustaches don’t interest you – they don’t interest me – focus on the “demon” part, it’s way more exciting. A demonic entity takes over the corpse of a deceased person and reanimates it. To stay alive the fiend must kill living humans and take their life force.


Gary Kender suspects his neighbor knows something about the strangler...
More specifically, the plot revolves around Mr. and Mrs. Kender, a sweet young couple who live in a cute little neighborhood. Its a perfect family community until news of a strangler on the loose gets around, one that is targeting housewives and killing them in the middle of the day. Gary Kender suspects something is wrong with his cranky neighbor, and that this guy, Mr. Longfellow, may be up to some scary shenanigans. But what he doesn’t know is that Mr. Longfellow is really the reanimated corpse of a man who already died. The demon inside of his neighbor’s body must kill and feed on the energy of living human beings, and it has nothing stopping it from coming after him next.

FIEND is the work on Don Dohler, a Baltimore-area b-movie director with a career spanning from the late 70’s through his death in 2006. He created sci-fi movies by bringing together a few friends and a few thousand bucks. His films have homemade monster costumes and gore that really make you appreciate the world before CGI. These guys had an idea at home, wrote a script, then brought it to life with a few friends covered in blood or made to look dead with the cooking ingredients they had in their home. Pretty creative, I’d say. FIEND is not for you if you want flashy effects or trashy story lines. It is a serious, devious, tricky little story that has some depth to it if you know how to look for it. And most of all, its for those of us who love b-movies for their reality, their imperfections, and their charm.

...but how can he prove it?
One of the amazing things about all of Don Dohler’s movies is that he uses so many of the same people in each one. Friends, family, and local actors all get starring roles in his films. You see Mr. Frye (George Stover) in just about every single Dohler flick, and he stars in several, including 1988’s BLOOD MASSACRE. The character of Scotty is played by Greg Dohler, who we see in just about every movie also. His little sister Kim is in this one too playing the little girl who gets killed. Yup, Don Dohler killed his daughter in this film, and that’s really her under the sheet being pushed into the ambulance. Now that’s dedication to the craft!!! You see all these folks throughout Dohler’s movies, and you get to see them grow and change in front of the camera. You get to see the Maryland neighbors and friends become more confident, more sure of themselves, and more comfortable in front of the camera throughout Dohler’s catalog of work. FIEND is only the second Dohler film, so its a great place to start seeing some of these familiar faces and getting to know them in each of their roles. And it’s easy to develop a fondness for them as you watch them get better and better.

The legendary Don Leifert as Eric Longfellow

The one who stands out most as an actor is Don Leifert. We don’t watch him become an actor onscreen, he is fantastic in all his Dohler roles. Leifert was a teacher in Maryland and even had Shawn C. Phillips (AKA Coolduder, check him out here: as a student. He gives some of the best performances in these films, and the fiend Longfellow is my favorite. He creates a creepy, mean, and pompous man who likes to hang out in his dingy basement and drink wine. Lots and lots of wine. But mostly it is the suspense and darkness he brings into the character that makes it soooooo creepy, and makes the movie what it is – AWESOME.

As always, let me tell you the music is awesome. But this one really is FANTASTIC – one listen and you’ll agree. The man responsible is Paul Woznicki, who in the comments on the movie in the link below says he completed it “in 3 days with no sleep.” 100% analog and creepy as hell.

Anytime is a good time to watch a spooky tale with mystery, graveyards, and ghastly beings. Or at least I think so. And if you agree, then anytime is a good time to watch FIEND.

Check out FIEND on the Don Dohler Entertainment Youtube channel at the link below.

For more creepy, fall, Halloween-y films check out our Youtube channel at

And if you are in more of a goofy mood, check out the FIEND BLOOPERS!