The Beyond (1981)

The Beyond (1981)

We’re in a hotel room in Louisiana, and the year is 1927. A thunderous evening is setting in as the artist Schweick (Antoine Saint-John) is brushing his last strokes on his latest grotesque painting, which is also to be his final. The painting is apparently representing Hell, and the locals believe that Schweick is an evil, ungodly warlock that uses the painting to open one of the Seven Gates of Hell. The hotel is said to be built upon one of the gates, and a group of men in full mob-mode storms the hotel and into Schweick’s room to stop him. They drag him down to the basement to cut him up with a chain before bolting him to the wall and torturing him to death. But what they didn’t know is that the sacrifice of the artist just opened the gate, and the dead from beyond are now free to enter the world of the living.


Then we jump forward to the year 1981, where Liza Merill (Catriona MacColl) has inherited the hotel and is in the process of a renovation, after the building has been empty and collecting dust and cobwebs for the last six decades . Shit already starts to happen when one of the workers see a female figure with big, scary, glossy eyes through one of the windows. In shock, he stumbles off the scaffold and almost crushes his skull. The alarm from room 36 suddenly starts to ring, even though the hotel has no costumers. This happens to be the same room where the artist we saw in the beginning was working on his painting. It goes from bad to worse when plumber Joe is brutally killed by demonic forces in the water damaged basement as he finds a secret room behind some worn stone walls. Liza bumps into a mysterious blind lady, Emily (Cinzia Monreale), who advises her to give up the hotel and go back where she came from, without being able to explain exactly why. And more questions than answers arise when Liza learns from Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck) that he has never heard of this blind woman Emily, and that her house has been empty for decades.


The Beyond is the second film in Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy. And although the plot may be somewhat diffuse, The Beyond works on more levels than the previous and rather clunky City of the Living Dead. More steadier and focused direction and not least, the acting is significantly better. And The Beyond works perfectly for what it is: an atmospheric, nightmarish fever dream with some really intense and morbidly gory moments. Faces are being melted with acid and eaten by spiders. A girl with pigtails gets her head blown away, eyes being plucked out and so on. Juicy stuff by the great makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi, who’s also worked on Zombie Flesh-Eaters, and a mountain of other films. Also, great and fitting soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi, I must add.


The Beyond is also known for its highly visual ending sequence, which was actually planned to be filmed somewhere in an amusement park. But due to logistical restrictions, Fulci had to find an other way to end it and had to quickly improvise. And with reduced budget and resources comes more creative thinking. And I must say that the plan B-ending was a pretty simple, but genius move that sets a unique and satisfying climax.


For a completely uncut version, look for a DVD/Blu-ray from Grindhouse Releasing.


The Beyond


Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: …E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà
Country & year: Italy, 1981
Actors: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar, Larry Ray, Giovanni De Nava, Al Cliver, Michele Mirabella, Giampaolo Saccarola, Maria Pia Marsala, Laura De Marchi



Tom Ghoul














I See You (2019)

I See You (2019)Young boys go missing in a small community, and Greg Harper is made lead detective on the case. Meanwhile, we meet the Harper family, who seem to be going through all kinds of trouble on their own. Soon, mysterious incidents start happening around the house, like silverware going missing, a repairman that was let inside the house when no one was at home, and other strange events. What exactly is happening inside the Harper house…and does it have any connection to the missing boys?


“I See You” is one of those movies we found out about purely by accident, but we’re really glad we did. Personally, I’m very fond of slow-burn mysteries that manages to pack in a nice slice of atmospheric dread, without becoming too slow or confusing (the latter sometimes being a problem when movies focus more on a “twist” than the actual story it’s trying to tell). “I See You” delivers everything in a satisfying form, with twists and turns that ties things nicely together rather than confuse you even further. A pleasant surprise!


The story is pretty much divided into two parts, where the first one is charged with mystery and a feeling of unease. During this part of the movie it may actually trick you into making certain assumptions regarding the goings-on at the Harper house, only to surprise you later on as the movie reveals piece by piece in a way you most certainly didn’t expect. Just take the opening sequence for example: a boy is riding his bike through the woods, and suddenly gets snatched off his bike and lifted into the air by an unseen force. How can one interpret a scene like that, before you know anything else? “I See You” is obviously trying to confuse you, while also maintaining to keep the mystery at a suspenseful level, and without making the development too hard to follow.


For a movie that relies heavily on having the story shrouded in mystery, I think it’s best not to reveal much of what is happening in the film. All in all, “I See You” is a pretty solid crime thriller with some slight horror elements. In that regard, you may be disappointed if you expect a straight-forward horror movie from this, but as a pure thriller it truly delivers. It’s a movie that deserves your patience, and requires that you view everything in hindsight. Some of the scenes you view early during the film is actually pretty cleverly executed when it’s being revealed exactly what they meant. A good and entertaining thriller with a capital T.



I See You


Directors: Adam Randall
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, Judah Lewis, Owen Teague, Libe Barer, Gregory Alan Williams, Allison Gabriel, Erika Alexander, Jennifer Grace, Adam Kern, Riley Caya, Sam Trammell,John Newberg,  Nicole Forester, Teri Clark


Vanja Ghoul














Verotika (2019)

Verotika (2019)

Glenn Danzig is a creative guy, to say the least. Founder and frontman of the horror-themed punk band The Misfits, Samhain, and his life long band Danzig with eleven studio albums, 18 singles, and two solo albums. He’s also a huge fan of underground horror comics and started his own label in 1994, called “Verotik” (yes, without the A) with adult themed comics filled with blood, gore, nudity, Satan, porn and other insanities. Anything but mainstream, it seems. I’m not familiar with the comics, so I have no idea. And after pushing 60, Glenn Danzig finally managed to pursue his new career as a film director and screenwriter, and as we speak he’s already made not one, but two films. How ’bout that. The second film is in post-production with the colorful title “Death Rider in the House of Vampires“. A horror/western with Danny Trejo, Julian Sands and Eli Roth among the cast list. Sounds fun. His first directorial debut is called “Verotika” (this time with the A), an anthology of three segments based on the comics with inspiration from Mario Bava’s “Black Sabbath“, among others.


And it’s just pure amateur trash from start to finish.


We start off in an underground dungeon where a chained woman gets her eyes plucked out, Lucio Fulci-style, by the nails of the sexy horror hostess Mirella before she welcomes us darklings to … Verotika. A somewhat reduced Elvira with low energy is the best way to describe Mirella, played by the porn actress Kayden Kross, with acting skills like a nipple with zero motivation. Just like all the rest of the actors we get to meet during the film’s three segments of this anthology.


The first story is titled  “The Albino Spider of Dajaette“, but let’s just call it “The Tits Have Eyes“. It’s already awkwardly difficult to convey what’s going on, but here we go: A young lady with pink hair gives a guy a blowjob. The guy wants to take off her top and get to proceed right to the climax. But she won’t. At the same time we see a CGI spider crawling on a rose. And it turns out that her boobs have eyes for nipples. “Your chest! They are looking it mi,” he says startled with a bad and exaggerated French accent, before leaving in shock and disgust. This is obviously not the first time a date / customer has been intimidated by her staring boobies. Because, who wouldn’t. Then a tear falls from one of the crying tits, that hits the spider we saw earlier. The scene with the spider looks like something from the archive of an unused cut scene from a PS 1 game. The spider then becomes a humanoid creature, played by a guy in a ridiculous spider costume that supposedly required 8 hours to get him inside. “Only I truly love you” he says to Dajette, with lots of other crap we forgot right afterwards. The creature then kills people in the apartment complex. The highlight is when we see the crotch area on the spider costume ripped off as if the actor really had to take a piss, and no one bothered to fix it. Because it’s just like Ed Wood once said: “Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture“. This segment is also the “best” in the anthology, and the only one with a glimpse of a story with a real start, middle and an end. And to be honest, the only one that’s merely watchable.


The second story is called “Change of Face“, but could just as well be called Change of Flares. And this one just … sucks. And it’s just downhill from here on. We’re in a strip club. And flares are everywhere. Four in a whole shot at one point. I seriously thought that this was just a part of the technical incompetence, but no. This is an effect Glen Danzig chose to add for some reason. It doesn’t add anything but distraction. As for this entire segment, nothing much happens here. It’s like a random scene from a porn film just without the porn, with badly filmed stripping scenes that seems to go nowhere. At some point, when we have already lost interest, we are introduced to “The Mystery Girl”.  Another stripper who swings around the pole with a black silk robe and skeleton stickers on the chest, while Glen Danzig’s singing voice are heard from the clubs speakers. The Mystery Girl also likes to rip people’s faces off while the police have no clue and are dumber than a bucket full of sardines.


Next and last is “Draukija: Contessa of Blood“. Or just simply “Bathory“. Or “Nothing Happens In This Segment Either So Just Skip To The End Credits“. We are in the Middle Ages, filmed in the woods with a cheap green screen which should make us believe that it is a castle in the background, when most of the film was filmed in the Skid Row area of ​​Los Angeles. However, this  woman, Drauijha,  sacrifices some young virgins to bathe in their blood to gain eternal youth. There isn’t much to say, other than the countess rips out someone’s heart, a scene that should be at least memorable. But as ultra cheap, lazy and just lackluster the gore aspects are in this film, as with the rest of the production value, there isn’t much to be impressed by.


And that was Verotika, Glenn Danzig’s first glorious piece of cinema magic (sarcasm). I’ve also noticed that many compares Verotika to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. And yeah, the trailer sure gives some Tommy Wisau-vibes. But when his name gets thrown all over the place to describe this movie, the hype gets blown to the heavens, which can give some really false expectations. And I think that’s where the feeling of underwhelming and disappointment lies for the highly anticipated viewers. Because as whole I would say with great confidence that Verotika isn’t even near the same level of entertainment value as The Room, a film worth rewatching countless times. Verotika, on the other hand, just leaves an aftertaste that feels more like a bad hangover.




Director: Glenn Danzig
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate, Kayden Kross, Scotch Hopkins, Sean Kanan, Nika Balina, Jody Barton, Brennah Black, Kris Black, Kansas Bowling, James Cullen Bressack, Katarina Bucevac, Cody Renee Cameron



Tom Ghoul














Killer Sofa (2019)

Killer Sofa (2019)Horror movies turning objects into murderous creatures is nothing new. We’ve gotten killer tomatoes, deadly beds, murderous cars, cursed costumes, a possessed laundry machine (here’s our review of “The Mangler“) and the list goes on. But a killer “sofa” (which is actually a recliner chair) now that’s something new to check off the list.


This movie is director Bernie Rao’s feature debut, but prior to this he’s made quite an impressive amount of shorts in various genres. In “Killer Sofa” (killer chair, really, but I digress) we follow the story of Francesca, an attractive young woman who seems to unwillingly make certain men fall head over heels for her, and they become obsessive and stalking. One of her admirers is found murdered (or, they find body parts of him which should make it obvious he’s been murdered), and soon thereafter, Francesca receives a new chair as a gift. She puts it in her living room, but soon her new furniture appears to be living a life of its own…


Now, the actual appearance of the “Killer Sofa” strays pretty far away from what the cover might lead you to believe. The recliner is given two round black buttons for eyes, giving it an appearance which is actually kind of cute…and it could have fitted well within some kind of TV show for kids. However, as this is a horror movie, the “cute” recliner is killing people, especially if they get too close to its new owner. One of Francesca’s friends, Maxi, has a grandfather who is a disgraced Jewish rabbi, and he becomes convinced that the recliner is possessed by a “Dybbuk” (a malicious possession spirit from Jewish mythology).


Now, I’m sure you think everything described so far makes this movie sound hilarious and quite ludicrous. While that is somewhat true, I think it’s fair to point out that the movie doesn’t spend its time trying to chunk out one gag after the other, and the humor is sometimes quite subtle as the movie appears to be taking itself a bit too seriously considered its overall wacky premise. There are some rather amusing scenes, but it isn’t really an over-the-top crazy movie, so if you expect something of that kind you might be disappointed. It’s not really one of those traditional “so bad it’s good” movies where you can expect to laugh your ass off, although there are some pretty funny scenes here and there – including a scene where the chair keeps blowing out Francesca’s matches, which is actually quite hilarious!  So, to sum it up, “Killer Sofa” is a weird low-budget indie horror, and must be seen under the correct expectations. It’s a good bunch of stupid fun, if you know what to expect from movies like this.


As a final note, here’s a little bit of trivia: the original title for “Killer Sofa” was actually “My Love, My Lazy Boy”. Which probably doesn’t make much sense to you unless you know that there’s a furniture manufacturer called “La-Z-Boy” (and if you type the term into Google Image Search, you’ll get a lot of pictures displaying recliner chairs of the similar looks as the one displayed in this movie). This makes the original title somewhat more “correct”, I guess…but it’s probably much more catchy with a title like “Killer Sofa”.


Killer Sofa


Directors: Bernie Rao
Country & year: New Zealand, 2019
Actors: Piimio Mei, Nathalie Morris, Jim Baltaxe, Jed Brophy, Stacey King, Angelica Thomas, James Cain, Jordan Rivers, Harley Neville, Sarah Munn, Sean Fleming, Trae Te Wiki, Hamish Boyle, Grant Kereama, Adrienne Kohler



Vanja Ghoul














Haunt (2019)

Haunt (2019)It is Halloween, but Harper isn’t really in the mood for a scary celebration as she is already struggling with a real fright in her life: an abusive boyfriend who keeps sending her angry text messages. However, her friends are determined to have a fun night out and enjoy themselves, so she covers her black eye with make-up and they all head over to a costume party. They meet up with two other guys, and the six of them ends up looking for a haunted house attraction in order to make their Halloween night complete. Very much on random, they encounter the sign for such an attraction on a lonely country road, and decide to check it out. Upon entering this Haunted House attraction, they’re forced to leave their cellphones and have to sign liability waivers (which probably sounds like big red flags right there for our naive protagonists, but in real life there are such attractions that actually requires you to sign liability waivers before entering. Like for example McKamey Manor, which requires a 40-page waiver before you’re allowed inside). They do as they’re told, and is shown some rather mainstream horror effects upon entering…until they suddenly witness a scene where a “witch” is branding a girl with a red-hot poker (which they of course think is just an act). From there on things start going more and more wrong, and the attraction goes from fun to deadly in no time.


“Haunt” is a “haunted house attraction” horror movie, a little bit in the same vein as “Hell Fest“. With the writers of “A Quiet Place” as directors and Eli Roth as producer, it certainly did sound like something that could be both suspenseful and gory. And you see quite early in the movie that there is a lot to appreciate here: the cinematography is quite eye-candy, and there is a lot of claustrophobic atmosphere once our protagonists enters the Haunt. There are some rather interesting characters who are inhabiting the place: people in several costumes, wearing masks and behaving in creepy ways which makes you wonder who, or what, they really are…


Now, while “Haunt” manages to pack in a good amount of suspense, it feels like there is a little bit of lost potential here where the actual killing scenes felt very toned down…especially with one of the kings of gore (Eli Roth) being the producer and all. The killing scenes come and go rather rapidly, some of them even proceeding to the next scene so fast that you’re barely able to get a glimpse of what really happened. The movie doesn’t dilly-dally with its audience though, or try to be “smart”…instead, it delivers a straight forward slasher where teens are killed because they make dumb decisions and freaks are murderous because…well, because they’re freaks, I guess.


However, despite not being the most memorable movie in the genre, “Haunt” was a fun ride all in all!




Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Andrew Caldwell, Shazi Raja, Schuyler Helford, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Chaney Morrow, Justin Marxen, Terri Partyka, Justin Rose, Damian Maffei, Schuyler White, Samuel Hunt, Karra Rae Robinson



Vanja Ghoul























City of the Living Dead (1980)

City of the Living Dead (1980)“City of the Living Dead” is the first part of the Lucio Fulci “Gates of Hell” trilogy, which followed up with “The Beyond” and “House By the Cemetery”. But apart from sharing the theme of the dead being brought to life, with some small doses of inspiration from H.P Lovecraft and with actress Catriona MacColl starring in all three, they work well as separate films.


The film starts at a cemetery in the small town of Dunwich where a priest hangs himself, and reappears as an evil deathstaring zombie. At the same time, Mary Woodhouse (Catriona MacColl) witnesses a New York apartment suicide during a vision under a seance, which scares her to death. Yes, literally to death. And why, you might ask? Well, because his act of sin causes all the dead in the cemetery of Dunwich to rise from the dead as zombies. And these are not the traditional carnivorous zombies…here, they have the ability to teleport themselves and use telekinesis to make people bleed tears and spew up their own inner organs. Miss Woodhouse’s death is seen as a mysterious case, which captures the curiosity of newspaper journalist Peter Bell (Christopher George). The day she is to be buried, he sneaks around the cemetery when she suddenly comes alive in the coffin and screams. Peter hacks up the coffin to save her, but unlike the ordinary dead who resurrects as zombies, Mary wakes up like from a normal night’s sleep and is straight back into her old self again. Well, good for her. After they learn that the gates of hell must be closed and this evil priest must be stopped, they take a roadtrip to Dunwich. And this must happen before All Saint’s Day. If not, the dead will take over the world.


Meanwhile, the evil priest has already started terrorizing Dunwich, while rubbing mud filled with worms in peoples faces as he teleports around the city. While strange and macabre things continue to happen in the city, a group of men sit in the local pub, suspecting Bob, the city’s outcast who has a taste for inflatable sex dolls, to be behind all of this. And this side plot with Bob (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) is completely useless which is nothing but filler scenes that could easily have been cut out. Even though “City of the Living Dead” doesn’t work all that well with its serious pacing issues, the film has some great ghoulish atmosphere with a fitting soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi, who’s scored several of Fulci’s films. There’s also several memorable gory scenes to enjoy, and some of the actors were dedicated enough to get isolated in a room to be attacked by ten kilos of maggots via two wind machines. Trivia: one of the crew members decided to pull a prank on Mr. Fulci by stuffing some of the maggots in his pipe tobacco. Everyone but Fulci found it funny and he blamed the incident on the heart surgery he had years later with health problems that escalated to ventricular aneurysm, contracted viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. No more maggots on set, I guess. And of course don’t forget the drinking game: take a shot every time there’s a close-up of the actors eyes, and you’ll surely die of alcohol poisoning before the first twenty minutes. In advance, rest in peace.


City of the Living Dead


Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: Paura nella città dei morti viventi
Country & year: Italy, 1980
Actors: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, Fabrizio Jovine, Luca Venantini, Michele Soavi, Venantino Venantini, Enzo D’Ausilio, Adelaide Aste, Luciano Rossi, Robert Sampson, Janet Agren



Tom Ghoul














Mørke Sjeler (2010)

Mørke Sjeler (2008)During a morning jog through the woods, the teenager Johanna is attacked by a guy in an orange dress, who is wearing goggles and a mask. After a quick chase with some running and stumbling, he drills a hole in her head, and then places some black goo in her brain. Despite having been pronounced dead, the murder victim suddenly wakes up in the morgue and goes back home to her father: the music teacher Morten Ravn. But Johanna is not at all the same girl, but has been reduced to a disoriented, apathetic lifeless shell with a blank stare. In the meantime, more and more victims are being reported, all of whom come to life again with the same symptoms. Since the police are just a bunch of incompetent fools, Morten decides to investigate the mystery himself, uncovering an apocalyptic conspiracy that revolves around a large oil company.


“Mørke Sjeler” (Dark Souls) was the passion project of two French guys, César Ducasse and Mathieu Peteul, with the intention of creating a Norwegian satirical zombie-comedy. And the result was a stumbling, amateurish, hopeless little trainwreck that looks more like a cheap student film. The acting is goofy, bad and just absurd. Karl Sundby (rest in peace), who was a profiled, seasoned and professional actor in little Norway, is surprisingly giving us the most memorable scene in this movie as a homeless hobo.


The directors promoted this as a comedy, as mentioned. And yes, it’s a comedy for sure, and has some entertainment value, but not in the intentional way in the slightest. The weird tone is all over the place, which makes it impossible to separate the “satire” elements from the seriousness. Sloppy camera work, with lazy, uninspired killing scenes that happens mostly off-screen, which makes it look like there was not enough budget to hire a single competent makeup artist on set. In other words: this doesn’t impress much. The zombie growls sound like pigs squealing. I’m sorry, but that’s just pathetic. It took three years to shoot this film, but it feels far more like something done in a short week, all in one, quick take, Ed Wood-style.


“Mørke Sjeler” is distributed in the US by Lions Gate, and in Germany under the titles “Dark Souls” and “Zombie Driller Killer”. It also found its way to France and Japan.


Mørke Sjeler


Director: César Ducasse, Mathieu Peteul
Country & year: Norway | France, 2010
Actors: Johanna Gustavsson, Kristian Holter, Ida Elise Broch, Morten Rudå, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Lise Froyland, David Hernandez, Christopher Angus Campbell, Bård Eirk Nilsson, Trine Dürbeck, Eirik Halvorsen, Kristine Braaten, Marianne Rødje, Jan Hårstad, Henrik Scheele



Tom Ghoul














The Invisible Man (2020)

The Invisible Man (2020)Cecilia manages to escape a controlling and abusive relationship, but struggles to overcome the negative impact the experience has had on her life. Still paranoid and afraid her ex will come after her, she suddenly receives the news that he has committed suicide…and that she has been written into his will. With a substantial amount of money to be gradually paid out to her, and knowing her abusive ex is gone from this world, she hopes to re-build her life. However, after experiencing certain horrifying events, she starts to believe that his death was a hoax and that he’s acquired the ability to become invisible, only to terrorize her even further.


“The Invisible Man”, directed by Leigh Whannell (director of “Insidious: Chapter 3”, and writer of the previous “Insidious” movies as well as the first three “Saw” movies) has revived one of the classic Universal monsters, but in a completely different setting than from the original which was based on the novel by H. G. Wells. Whereas the original “Invisible Man” wasn’t a bad guy from the get-go, he is here a narcissistic sociopath who is abusive and controlling towards his partner. Thus, the horror the movie portrays feels real, and the first sequence of the movie where Cecilia has drugged him in order to escape the fortress-like home he’s captured her in, is actually one of the most intense movie openings I’ve seen as of late.


While the movie starts quite intense, the feeling of foreboding is quite evident already in the next scenes, where we witness Cecilia trying to get a hold of her own life (barely daring to venture outside of the house she’s staying in). And upon the news of her ex’s so-called suicide, with a substantial amount of money to be paid to her over time (provided she does not commit any crime or is deemed mentally unstable, as per the will – and yeah, you know why this clause was added) she starts to relax a little bit and looks brightly upon her own future for once. Of course, that shifts rather quickly, and when she experiences things that only she is witnessing, she tries to convince those close to her that her ex is still alive, and has made himself invisible. Of course, no one believes her, and she keeps being abused…but since no one except herself is experiencing the abuse, she can’t make anyone believe her. Yes – the analogy here is clear as day.


From there on, the movie takes you on a suspenseful ride, and Elisabeth Moss (who is playing the role of Cecilia) is doing an excellent job on portraying all levels of the torments she’s going through, whether it is being scared out of her mind, desperately trying to fight back, or emotionally crushed by not being believed and the lack of an actual escape from her invisible tormentor. And while we don’t see that much of Adrian aka “The Invisible Man”, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, he actually did manage to show off a few tell-tale signs of the type of character he’s portraying.


“The Invisible Man” is a movie that might be a bit difficult to watch for people who have experienced abusive relationships, as it’s nailing narcissistic abuse in a way I haven’t seen any other film dare to exploit. It’s all there: making everyone believe their victim is the crazy one, making the victim doubting their own sanity, and especially gaslighting (a tactic used to make victims doubt themselves and their perception of events, by questioning the victim’s memory, accusing them of making things up, denying things that they did towards the victim, and mocking them for “misunderstanding” everything).


Since it does stray pretty far from the original “Invisible Man”, some people may be put off due to this. I can imagine that putting these two movies apart from each other without doing comparisons, would be beneficial to the viewing experience.


The Invisible Man


Director: Leigh Whannell
Country & year: Australia | USA | Canada | UK, 2020
Actors: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Michael Dorman, Benedict Hardie, Renee Lim, Brian Meegan, Nick Kici, Vivienne Greer, Nicholas Hope, Cleave Williams, Cardwell Lynch, Sam Smith



Vanja Ghoul























Begotten (1989)

Begotten (1989)Time for a fun movie for the whole family to enjoy on a Friday night with some pizza. Or maybe not.


Begotten starts inside a cabin where we see a disturbed, horrifying figure sitting in a chair, filmed in a high contrast of black and white. While the soundtrack consists of crickets, bird-chirping and distant heartbeats, we see that the figure starts to cut himself to death with a straight razor. A great product placement right there (haha). Feces stream down between his legs while he’s sitting bloody and dying in his chair, gurgling his death rattles. This is God we’re talking about, by the way. Out of his fresh dead body comes Mother Earth who uses God’s semen to impregnate herself, where we get served some hairy close-ups where she rubs his juice into her vagina. She wanders into an obscure forest landscape where she gives birth to Son of Earth. She then leaves him behind to some faceless nomads who drag the poor newborn (who already has the body of a grown man) like a rag doll, through a desolate landscape until he supposedly starts spewing out some of his organs. And this is just the beginning of a horrendous, surreal odyssey of pain, suffering, torture and death, that can be described as witnessing a painful fever nightmare from the subconscious mind of a strapped schizophrenic mental patient.


By reading the plot synopsis you learn that Begotten is an alternative retelling of The Book of Genesis, but without knowing this beforehand, one could easily assume watching an underground snuff film taken straight out from The Dark Web. The distinct, strong visuals is truly remarkable here, filmed in grainy black and white that sets the atmosphere from the very first frame. Shot on 16 mm on reverse-exposure, which is a picture effect you get on most digital cameras today, but back in the late 80’s when this film was made with analog stone-age equipment, this was a real artistic achievement. Director E. Elias Merhige experimented like a mad scientist to get the exact, withered, aged look by using sandpaper to scratch up the reel before shooting. That wasn’t good enough, however, and he used the rest of the budget of 33. 000 dollars to construct an optical printer during a long, tedious period of eight months. And each minute of footage generated by the printer took on average between eight and ten hours to complete. Phew, that’s some real dedication and patience right there.


Some describe this as simple as a nightmare captured on film, and an extended version of the cursed VHS cassette from The Ring, which I can pretty much agree with. Certainly not for everyone, and as far away from mainstream you could probably get. But it’s surely a uniquely deranged avant-garde filled horrific, nihilistic atmosphere with haunting images that will probably stick with your forever. This is also Marilyn Manson’s personal favorite film, which made him so impressed that he hired director E Elias Merhige to direct the music video for “Antichrist Superstar” and “Cryptorchid”. Another guy who liked the film was Nicolas Cage, who hired him to direct “Shadow of the Vampire” for his newly established Saturn Films. A great, underrated movie, by the way. After his second Hollywood studio film “Suspect Zero”, Merhige went back to the underground and made the short film “Din of Celestial Birds”, which is considered an unofficial sequel to “Begotten”. His recent creation is a short called “Polia and Blastema”, a surreal love story about two alien creatures. And from the few previews I’ve seen, it looks completely mind-blowing.


An official, yet very limited DVD was released back in 2001 by World Artist, which included a souvenir booklet, the original theatrical trailer, rare and never-before-seen movie stills, and production photos. It’s of course out of print, but can be found on eBay at different prices. It’s also available on YouTube.





Director: E. Elias Merhige
Country & year: USA, 1989
Actors: Brian Salzberg, Donna Dempsey, Stephen Charles Barry, James Gandia, Daniel Harkins, Michael Phillips, Erik Slavin, Arthur Streeter, Adolfo Vargas, Garfield White



Tom Ghoul














Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Ouija: Origin of EvilLos Angeles, 1967. Alice is a still grieving widow who works at home as a spiritual medium, and is accompanied by her two daughters when tricking their customers into making them believe that spirits are present. The oldest daughter, Lina, one day suggests that they implement a Ouija Board into her mother’s readings. The youngest daughter, Doris, tries it out alone and invites an evil presence into their home, not realizing how dangerous it is.


This is a prequel to “Ouija” from 2014, and this time with Mike Flanagan in the director’s chair. And that really shows. Compared to the first movie which was a very formulaic teenage horror flick, this prequel packs in a good bunch of tension and atmosphere. I also liked how the movie has a style that reflects the time period it’s supposed to be set in with a bit of a “retro” style to it, even starting off with the old Universal logo. The performances are good, and the visuals well done.


If you’ve seen the first movie, you more or less know how it will end, but strangely that still doesn’t take anything away from the viewer experience. You already know that the family will not experience a happy ending, but the point of this movie is not to reveal a twist at the end but to explain the journey that led to it. If there’s anything I’d like to nitpick on, it’s the “ghostly gape” scenes that, instead of building the tension and atmosphere further, manages to take us into cringe-land instead. Seriously: big, gaping mouths rarely look scary, and they’re such a tedious horror-trope to watch these days. Now, I personally don’t think these scenes ruins anything for this movie, but my personal opinion is that it would be much better without them.


Overall, “Ouija: Origin of Evil” is a very decent, yet quite unexpected prequel of a film that didn’t really warrant any sequels or prequels. While the movie doesn’t manage to become scary, it’s still quite atmospheric and a big step-up from the first. Also, here is a little fun fact: for those that have seen Mike Flanagan’s “Oculus” from 2013, you get a little Easter Egg where you can see the mirror in the basement.



Ouija: Origin of Evil


Director: Mike Flanagan
Country & year: USA, 2016
Actors: Annalise Basso, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas, Parker Mack, Halle Charlton, Alexis G. Zall, Doug Jones, Kate Siegel, Sam Anderson, Chelsea Gonzalez, Lincoln Melcher, Nicholas Keenan, Michael Weaver, Ele Keats



Vanja Ghoul