Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thriller. 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!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE - You Don't Know Horror Films If You Don't Know This One

There is a killer on the loose who murders only young brides. Our main character Amy (Caitlin O’Heaney) is probably, maybe, no really, going to get married in a week, but while her meat-head fiance is out of town her nice, mortician ex-boyfriend keeps popping by to get her to change her mind. Also popping in and out of her day is the killer, although she doesn’t know that is his intention, yet.

Len Gamble, a cop who was going to marry one of the killer’s earliest victims, is hot on the trail of the killer, just one step behind him. He has vowed to get the man responsible for the killings and his job depends on it. But as the killer closes in on his next victim we have to ask - will he make it in time to save Amy?

This killer is TERRIFYING. He brutalizes flailing, struggling girls as they desperately try to get away. He pops up out of nowhere, looking like a creep with those maniac eyes (or read “Terror Eyes” for us 80's horror geeks!) Sometimes you see him coming up from behind, sometimes you have forgotten about him altogether, lulled into complacency by the fun-loving, innocent characters. He is scary as shit, definitely this scary…

Tom Hanks plays his first feature role in this gem and is very much his funny and charismatic self. The movie is full of famous faces, including Paul Gleason (THE BREAKFAST CLUB), James Rebhorn (Stephen King’s CAT’S EYE), Dana Barron (NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION), and Don Scardino (30 ROCK and TONS of TV directing). Director Armand Mastrioanni has directed countless TV shows and movies, and I must admit I recognized his name from a few classic Lifetime movies (embarassing but true).

The killer in HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE is portrayed with a secrecy that leads the audience to think he may be real, or he may be a figment of Amy’s imagination. Tom Hanks’ character has his own theory, being a first-year psychology major he’s got it pegged as a sexual fear and gives us a good laugh in the way that made him famous not long after this. But it becomes clear as the movie progresses that jump scares, fearfulness, and the stalking killer appear whenever Amy is having doubts about her wedding. Otherwise, Amy and her friends are giddy all-American girls living life in its prime, and only doubt ruins what is otherwise perfection.

And how about funny slasher movies? They are the best kind. When a movie makes you laugh, scream, and grossed out all in one, that covers all the bases for me. The characters in this film are all goofy and charming and remind us of the excitement of being free for the first time. They make you feel at ease, happy and content with the way things are at this very moment, which makes the shattering of that joy even more shocking. If you wanted a feel-good movie from the Hallmark channel, you could take a good chunk of this movie, change the ending, and you’d have it. But since we tend more towards the spooky, gory, and creepy here at Out There Movies, this takes things to the next level.

One of the coolest scenes in the movie is in Amy’s house, when Nancy is there alone. The song they play has a perfect 80s cheese-factor, but when she plugs the headphones in and you hear the song through the headphones on the floor, the sound effect is so cool. It sums up the movie perfectly – take shower, smoke a joint and drink wine to music, and then…………….

Are there any downsides to this movie? I don’t think so, I highly recommend it. It is warm and fuzzy when it wants to be, then dark and deep just when you think you’ve had enough. You can enjoy it for the slasher, stalker movie it is, or you can get to really thinking about its message, which I’ve done time and time again watching this great movie. That, and wanting to be an 18 year old girl in the late 70s because it looks like such a blast, as long as there aren’t any killers around.

Check out this movie and more teenagers getting chased by killers on our YouTube channel:

EFFECTS - A Twisted Tale of Stalkers, Smut, and Snuff

Out of print until 2005, let me say THANK GOD this film is back! It is one of the creepiest and most unnerving stories I’ve ever watched, and its originality and craftsmanship has made it legendary in the horror community. Created by some of George Romero’s friends and colleagues outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this film brings together many familiar faces of movies to come, including Tom Savini, Joe Pilato, and more.

The film is a voyeuristic mix of sexy and scary as you watch a snuff film being made under the guise of a horror film. It really is 2 movies in one; the first one is a low-budget movie about a woman with a sort of demon possession issue, or a crazy husband, or something like that, but who cares? The second one, DUPED, is much more interesting as it is being filmed behind the scenes without the stars ever knowing it exists. And maybe they never will...

EFFECTS revolves around the idea of watching people in their most intimate moments – from the sexy to the most frightening. It is part Peeping Tom, part Deadly Stalker. And which you feel like each moment depends on your level of trust in the characters – sometimes you are rooting for them, watching for more. Other times you want it to go away, stop, change or cut scenes, and the camera stays fixed and you are forced to watch what you don’t want to know. The film is constantly messing with you like a nun’s twisted idea of punishment for peeping in the girls’ locker room.

The movie stars Pilato (Day of the Dead) as Dom, a special effects guy working on a movie for director Lacey Bickel, played by John Harrison (Tales of the Darkside). Let’s pause on Harrison for a moment here: he looks like Dan Ackyroyd’s twin brother with an Elvis hairdo and no sense of humor. He brings an unbelievably twisted vibe to the character. Celeste, played by Susan Chapek, is between the these two, Dom being her new fling and Lacey being her old. She is icy, cold and sharp, but you want to root for her. Sure, go ahead and try!
Dark shadows with low light outlines combined with bright, penetrating colors make the visuals of the film very Italian, a little Dario Argento-like but without much of the bright-ass red blood (but there is still some!) Instead the 70’s d├ęcor and the great wardrobe provide the brightness of color during the sunny fall days, but when night falls the dark is as black as they come. The film uses shadows like John Carpenter later in HALLOWEEN, but more often and more effectively, making you feel creeped out AF.

So, a quick mention of mirrors. Yeah, mirrors are one of the oldest statements in film. There are tons in this movie but used as a plot device, since Lacey is using them to film in every room of the house in total secrecy. Who knows they are there, and who doesn’t? I know they are there, but I still caught myself thinking we had privacy with the characters in certain rooms. Plus, the mirrors are also helping feed the crew their steady stream of coke, and without that none of the movies would be happening at all. So thank god for that.

Let me tell you, this movie is great. It feels like it is all around you, in surround sound, IMAX, and 3D all at once. A coked-up jerk-off can come up right behind you and startle you as a joke, or someone could be behind you waiting with the razor that keeps making an appearance. SHIT it is creepy as hell, and although you keep looking for people to trust or people you think aren’t in on it, your options keep dwindling. It is by far one of the most nerve-wracking stories I have ever seen.

But the creepiest part of all: you have to watch the snuff film, fittingly placed dead center in the movie. You won’t want to, but you’ll be rewarded if you do!

Check out this movie and other freaky slashers on our YouTube channel: