150 Words About: THE CLOVEHITCH KILLER (2018)

The Clovehitch Killer is the story of a teenager (played by Charlie Plummer) who discovers evidence that might implicate his own father (American Horror Story’s Dylan McDermott) in the serial murders that plagued his hometown ten years ago. Plummer is great here, but McDermott shines. Is Dad guilty, or is it all a crazy misunderstanding? Is the beloved Scout leader a monster, behind the friendly mask he wears in public? You’ll change your mind more than once throughout the film’s runtime, because you want to like this guy . .…

150 Words About: WE ARE WHAT WE ARE (2013)

Jim Mickle’s (Mulberry Street, Stakeland) remake of the Spanish film Somos Lo Que Hay earned the top spot on my favorites list the year it was released, and next to The Witch it might be my favorite American horror film since The Mist.  This one’s as much Southern Gothic as it is horror; it’s gory when it needs to be, but not like you’d expect for a film about a family of holy-rollin’ cannibals (its tone is more Frailty than Texas Chain Saw Massacre).  A somber mood is established from the first frame, thanks…

150 Words About . . . MANDY (2018)

Yep, this one’s just as insane as you’ve heard . . . and what you’ve heard does it no justice. The perfect vehicle for a Nicholas Cage who doesn’t give a damn anymore, Mandy is the story of lumberjack Red Miller and his wife, the titular Mandy. In a classic case of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mandy is spotted by a hippie cult while she’s out taking a walk. The group’s leader decides he must have her. Cue the entrance of some demonic bikers who…

150 Words About . . . AMERICAN SATAN (2017)

I turned to my wife as soon as the closing credits rolled on this one (actually I waited until the song – “Me Against the Devil” — was over, because holy shit that’s the coolest tune I’ve heard in ages) and we agreed that American Satan was a terrible movie. And yet, we loved it! A metalhead’s version of the legend of Faust (the main character, played by the Black Veil Brides’ Andy Biersack, is even named Johnny Faust, in case viewers’ brains are too addled by sex, drugs, and…

150 Words About: MANIAC (2012)

I was one of the few who didn’t scoff when I heard Alexandra Aja (Haute Tension, Piranha 3D, the amazing 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes) was producing a remake of William Lustig’s sleaze-classic Maniac.  I enjoyed the original, but was never a huge fan.  2013’s update, directed by Franck Khalfoun (P2, Amityville: The Awakening), proved to be one hell of a gruesome yet oddly beautiful film.  I knew lead Elijah Wood could be scary — his performance in Sin City is nightmare fuel — but in this one he’s sympathetic too (sure, his character…

150 Words About: BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO (2012)

Berberian Sound Studio is a film that I can’t recommend to everyone.  Why?  Well, because it’s not really a horror film.  But it is about giallo films.  Toby Jones (The Mist, Kaleidoscope) plays Gilderoy, a sound designer who has been hired to fly to Italy to work on a movie called The Equestrian Vortex. While we never see said project ourselves (at least, no more than a few frames), we hear it.  And the things we hear make it very clear that our mild-mannered hero is helping to create what might be the most terrifying film ever…

150 Words About: BLUE RUIN (2013)

Blue Ruin is a revenge flick from Jeremy Saulnier (director of Murder Party, Green Room, and the Netflix Original Hold the Dark), but calling it that hardly does the film justice.  Revenge flicks typically follow a standard formula, and although that formula usually works for me, Blue Ruin adds much more to the genre.  The main character gets his revenge early in the film . . . it’s the repercussions that are the focus here.  Blue Ruin asks what might really happen in such a scenario — what if you wanted bloody revenge, but…

150 Words About: HOUSEBOUND (2014)

Hailing from New Zealand, Housebound is a film I recommend to horror fans who don’t mind a few giggles with their goosebumps. In fact, that’s my only beef with what is otherwise a very effective fright flick — I wish the folks who made Housebound had gone darker with the material (even if the humor doeswork more often than not). What’s it about? When perpetual delinquent Kylie is busted in the act of robbing an ATM, the courts sentence her to house arrest in her own personal hell: her mother’s home. If things weren’t…

150 Words About: OMNIVOROS (2013)

This Spanish film reminded me of a story by one of my favorite writers, Graham Masterton’s “The Secret Shih Tan”, although there’s no connection.  A food critic investigates “clandestine restaurants”, where rich patrons dine on exotic dishes not found on the menu at McDonald’s.  But when his search for the ultimate taboo leads to some folks who feast on human flesh, he’s forced to reconsider how far he’ll go to further his career.  For a film about cannibalism, I admired how Omnivoros avoided the obvious trappings like blood n’ guts splashing around. …

When the Streaming Starts: Honeymoon

When the Streaming Starts: Honeymoon JAMES NEWMAN Welcome to the rebirth of my column “When the Streaming Starts!” First off, I’d like to say thanks to the powers-that-be here at Gallows Hill for giving this piece a second life. I’m stoked to see what the future holds for this fine new publication and I’m proud to be a part of it from the start. By the way, the title of the column isn’t a typo. What I plan to do is discuss in each installment a movie that is currently…