THE MELODY OF EVIL – Horror Short

Laura and her family arrive at an isolated house in the middle of a forest. After a few hours in the house, Laura will realize that something horrific happens in the house and try to convince her parents to leave the house and never return.

 

The Melody of Evil (La melodía del mal) is a nice little haunted house horror short!

 

THE MELODY OF EVIL - Horror Short

 

Director: Miguel Ángel Durán
Country & year: Spain, 2016
Actors: Alba Brunet, Lourdes Ferriol, Miquel Àngel Torrens, Aina Zuazaga, Maria Majas, Sam Parkinson, Sol Parkinson, Dana Torrandeli
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt5887306/

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mortuary Collection (2019)

In Raven’s End, Mortician Montgomery Dark manages an isolated and creepy mortuary all alone. After a recent funeral, that of a young boy, Montgomery gets an unexpected visitor. A young woman named Sam has noticed his “Help Wanted” sign outside of the mortuary, and practically demands an interview right away. He decides to give her a tour of the old, creepy place, and Sam shows an interest in the small coffin that belongs to the boy which Montgomery has just performed the funeral for. He starts telling Sam stories about some of the residents of the town, and the weird and unexpected ways they died.

 

Mortuary Collection is like a “Goosebumps” styled movie, just for a more adult audience. While we have horror movies aimed at a younger audience like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, this one increases the blood ‘n gore with a few notches. At first glance, it feels a bit more on the “spooky” side rather than something that will provide any actual scares…which for the most part is pretty accurate. It does deliver some rather nasty scenes and imaginative twists and turns throughout its tales, however, which makes it a darn nice Halloween movie with gorgeous visuals, some decent bloody/gory scenes and a lot of fun!

 

The movie contains four stories: one set in the 1950’s, where a woman is using the restroom while going through the wallets she’s been pickpocketing during the ongoing party outside. But while inside the restroom, the medicine cabinet starts acting weird. The second story, Unprotected, is set in the 1960s and it’s considerably longer than the first story, and brings us a pretty twisted take on the horrors of not using a condom. This one was pretty fun and inventive, although it felt a little bit dragged out during its first moments. The third story, Till Death, is about a man who takes care of his catatonic wife, and when the doctor gives him a well-meant advice to let her “accidentally” overdose on painkillers, he must make a very difficult choice. This is by far my favorite episode, which is both sad and actually a bit horrifying in its thematics. Then there is the fourth story, The Babysitter Murders, which is actually Sam’s story (fun facts: the director actually made a horror short by this name in 2015. Also, although not related to this movie: The Babysitter Murders was actually the original title of the horror movie Halloween, until Yablans suggested setting the movie on Halloween night and thus naming it Halloween instead, to which Carpenter agreed).

 

The stories themselves are overall pretty entertaining and spookily fanciful, but the haunting visuals are what really puts the cherry on top. The Victorian-era styled mortuary (where its exterior is actually the Flavel House Museum in Astoria, Oregon) with its Victorian-styled interior and decorations, and Mr. Montgomery Dark himself which looks like a typical horror show host, just gives everything the perfect Halloween vibe. It’s a little bit cheesy here and there, but it fits with the subject matters portrayed in the stories and the tone set throughout.

 

Mortuary Collection is a pretty good Halloween movie: whimsical, bloody, and with enough gorgeous visuals to feed your eyes with tasty treats.

 

The Mortuary Collection

 

Director: Ryan Spindell
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Tristan Byon, Eden Campbell, Hannah R. Loyd, Clancy Brown, Caitlin Custer, Christine Kilmer, Mike C. Nelson, Jacob Elordi, Brennan Murray, Michael Bow, Ema Horvath, Ethan Clossin, Anthony Farrington Jr., Darryl Love, Clavacia Love, James Bachman, Jennifer Irwin, Sarah Hay, Barak Hardley, Darrell Salk, Phyllis Applegate, David Fierro, Fernanda Romero
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt7781432/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SILENT LAY STEADY – Horror Short

A woman finds herself alone with the body after a funeral in her 1860’s farmhouse.

 

The Silent Lay Steady is a well crafted ghost story, with great atmosphere throughout! Also check out Dead House, another horror short made by the same director.

 

THE SILENT LAY STEADY - Horror Short

 

Director: Travis Laidlaw
Country & year: Canada, 2020
Actors: Katrina Elmsley, Spencer Hanson, Justin Hay
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11137270/

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

The third installment of The Conjuring franchise sets the focus on the young man Arne Cheyenne Johnson – a case that is most noteworthy for being the first murder case in US history where the defendant tried to plea not guilty due to being under control of demonic forces. And as soon as the Warrens meets with Arne’s lawyer who believes he has no chance to get a plea deal, Ed delivers his rather thought-provoking phrase “The court accepts the existence of God every time a witness swears to tell the truth. I think it’s about time they accept the existence of the Devil.” This is a real quote from Ed, and possibly the most rational thing he ever said.

 

Arne received a reduced sentence of five years, and both he and his wife have later appeared in an episode of the TV series A Haunting on Discovery Channel, called Where Demons Dwell. The episode only deals with the possession of David, and not a single word about what happened to Arne later, oddly enough, which is the most interesting aspect of this whole messy case. In 1983, two years after the trial, a movie made for TV titled The Demon Murder Case starring Kevin Bacon in one of the roles was aired. The film seems to be completely forgotten and seen by very few. So we just  have to jump thirty years later and take a look at the latest film loosely based on the case, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

 

We are at the home of the Glatzel family where the Warren couple, Ed and Lorraine, are in the middle of a chaotic exorcism seance of the young boy David. His sister Debbie and her boyfriend Arne Johnson are among the helpless witnesses, while all hell breaks loose which never seem to end. Arne finally gets enough, and pulls off a Damien Karras to urge the demon to rather take him – which makes Ed’s panic button go off just before he faints from a heart attack and gets rushed to the hospital in a coma. While everything seems to be back to normal, Arne and Debbie decide to take the relationship one step further by getting engaged and move to the country. Arne has clearly not been completely himself after he invited the demon into his meatsuit, and things take a really brutal U-turn when he one day gets piss drunk, starts to hallucinate and ends up stabbing his landlord, Bruno, to death 22 times. As soon as Ed wakes up from the coma, a battle is set to convince the justice system that Arne killed under the influence of demon possession, and they’ll try to save him from the death penalty. What happened in real life will always be up for debate, but it gets more tempting to assume that it was more the alcohol that made him do it than anything else, and only used his invitation of the demon as a desperate excuse. But this alone is of course not enough material to fill a supernatural horror film, so just like the two previous films, it diverges completely from facts to fabricated fairytales with its own imaginative mythologies, which includes satanism and an ongoing curse to find the source of.

 

James Wan, who directed the two first films, is only responsible for the story and worked as producer, while the newcomer Michael Chaves has taken over the torch as director with only The Curse of La Llorona and some short films under his belt. David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick got the challenging task to write the script, which was enough for me to not lower the expectation to zero, after watching Orphan, another great horror flick he also wrote. And the story is really good here, and more complex than the previous two, which mixes supernatural horror with elements of True Crime which opens everything up to a more adventurous field trip rather than just being stuck in a haunted house scenario, which honestly only James Wan is able to really master. The film is rich in locations such as scary basements, gothic underground tunnels, and a morgue where the Warren couple gets attacked by a giant monstrous man who could be something straight out of a Resident Evil game. There’s also a nod to The Exorcist as seen in the trailer, which was nicely done, and the scene with the waterbed made me think of a certain Elm Street film. Even though the film is not as edge-of-your-seat scary, it has a ton of atmosphere with some really great visuals, creative set-designs and a steady pacing that keeps the entertaining value on track, and overall a compelling story and mystery to get invested in. So yeah, Michael Chaves has proven himself to be a competent director to trust in, I would say. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are as usual great and convincing in their  roles with as good chemistry as in the first two, and the acting in general is strong and solid all over the board. It was also fun to see John Noble in one of the roles, whom I haven’t seen since the Fringe days.

 

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

 

Director: Michael Chaves
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, Shannon Kook, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Keith Arthur Bolden, Steve Coulter, Vince Pisani, Ingrid Bisu, Andrea Andrade, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Sterling Jerins, Paul Wilson
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt7069210/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Body Count (1986)

Hey, take a look at this: An 80s teen slasher made by the director of Cannibal Holocaust himself. Wow, you don’t say… This has to be something else, right?

 

Well…

 

The plot could be summarized as the first drafts of  any Friday The 13th film synopsis: In Body Count we meet (surprise, surprise) a group of teenagers who’s on their way to a campside to party and do stupid random shit. And guess what: a serial killer is on the loose who wears a ghoulish Halloween mask and body counts the teens one by one.

 

I wasn’t expecting much when it came to the visuals, after watching the trailer. It’s as trashy as it’s looks with some really shoddy editing choices which I refuse to believe was done by a sober person. The killing scenes are lazy and not much to be excited about, and the acting is just laughable. I can especially mention one scene where one of the dudes finds his recently murdered girlfriend,  and reacts as if he was watching his favorite football team losing. Hilarious!

 

It’s quite impressive that it took five screenwriters to come up with such an unoriginal plot and screenplay like this. Anyone with half a brain could make this on a long weekend, and not let the director’s name fool you. Ruggero Deodato either made this as a quick, half-baked attempt to cash-in on the 80s slasher mainstream, or just for shits and giggles and a a big portion of ironic distance. Not easy to tell. The film’s only strength is the simple, yet catchy soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti, with its distinctive 80s-electronic tunes.

 

I had a fun time watching Body Count, though, much thanks to the funny-bad acting and its sheer schlocky sillyness. It has enough so-bad-it’s-good moments to pick apart while watching it, and I honestly got was I was hoping for. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

It’s (as we speak) available on streaming at Filmrise, Tubi TV, Hoopla (and for us Norwegians) on Amazon Prime. The original title is Camping del terrore!

 

Body Count

 

Director: Ruggero Deodato
Original title: Camping del terrore
Country & year: Italy, 1986
Actors: Bruce Penhall, Mimsy Farmer, David Hess, Luisa Maneri, Nicola Farron, Andrew J. Lederer, Stefano Madia, John Steiner, Nancy Brilli, Cynthia Thompson, Valentina Forte, Ivan Rassimov, Elena Pompei, Charles Napier, Sven Kruger, Lorenzo Grabau, Stefano Galantucci, Clelia Fradella, Fabio Vox
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0090788/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MASTERPIECE – Horror Short Film

A lonely girl discovers a mysterious pen with the power to bring her drawings to life. But everything she conjures… comes with a consequence.

 

Masterpiece is a fun little horror short! Who wouldn’t want to have a pen like this…

 

MASTERPIECE - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Matthew Merenda and Alex Henes
Country & year: USA, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satan’s Slave (1982)

The film starts off at a burial ceremony with an upper-class family who’s lost their mother to a mysterious illness, and sets the eerie tone right off with Islamic chants and the feeling that there’s something wicked in the air. That same night, the family’s son, Tomi, receives an unexpected visit from the dead mother in a ghostly form, who knocks on his window and hypnotizes him to go out in his pajamas, while his sister Rita is witnessing the incident. Tomi goes to a fortune teller (who is wearing some really big sunglasses) who can tell through his tarot cards that Tomi’s life is full of darkness, and that the coffin his mother was buried in is suitable for the whole family, and that they are all in danger – and that he must defend himself with black magic.

 

In his bedroom, Tomi makes a small altar with a little red box, using horror comics and cheap satanism paperbacks as decorations. No one but Tomi takes this seriously, and his sister thinks he’s losing his mind. Since the father of the family is a stressed and busy entrepreneur with bloodshot eyes, he hires a maid (Darminah), who looks pretty much like the fortune teller we saw minutes earlier, only without the big sunglasses (Uh-oh, nothing shady with her, of course not). At the same time, Tomi has upgraded his altar down in the basement, and this time he’s decorated it with candles and and several Halloween masks by famous Universal monsters. He is also being haunted with night terrors where he is sacrificed by a satanic cult. And that’s not far from a premonition when the sisters receive some creepy phone calls, and the house caretaker, Karto, starts to die slowly of asphyxiation.

 

I see people comparing Satan’s Slave to Phantasm (1979) and yes, there are some similarities to spot here, without diving to much into comparisons . The eerie and slightly surreal atmosphere is all over the place, and it mixes traditional superstition with some more obscure Asian folklore that we have to thank  Wikipedia for being able to understand. I can mention the image we see of their dead mother, which is actually a “Kuntilanak”, a mythological, vengeful female astral spirit who’s associated with – yeah, take a wild guess – black magic. Sadako from Ringu could also be placed into a similar category, just to mention a more known example. And even though writer and director Sisworo Gautama Putra took some obvious influences from Phantasm, the film has its own unique distinctiveness.

 

And no, just to make it clear, this is not at the same level as the acid trip Mystics in Bali , which came from the same country the year before Satan’s Slave. The plot is pretty straight-forward and far more conventional than expected, really. The downside is that it doesn’t manage to get especially scary, and maybe the laughable goofy acting is to blame for that, especially during the second act. The film looks really great, though, filled with atmosphere, haunting visuals and a fitting synth score. The make-up effects are also great. There’s some obvious fog machines hiding on the set which can make it look somewhat outdated, but will for others just add more to the good ole’ retro charm. So overall, if you don’t take it too seriously, Satan’s Slave is an entertaining flick, with a lot of ghoulish fun that’s perfect to add on a Halloween-playlist.

 

Thanks to the acclaimed remake that came in 2017, Satan’s Slave was for the first time released on DVD and Blu-ray from Severin Films with polished quality. It’s also available on Shudder.

 

Satan's Slave Satan's Slave

 

Director: Sisworo Gautama Putra
Original title: Pengabdi Setan
Country & year: Indonesia, 1982
Actors: Ruth Pelupessi, W.D. Mochtar, Fachrul Rozy, Simon Cader, Siska Widowati, H.I.M. Damsyik, Diana Suarkom, Doddy Sukma, Ali Albar, Adang Mansyur, Moesdewyk, S. Parya, Dewi
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0281048/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOODNIGHT DARLING – Horror Short

Two sisters wonder if their mother’s strange behavior is a response to a recent family loss, or if something more sinister is at work.

 

Goodnight Darling is a creepy horror short directed by Adam Azimov, and with cinematography by Pawel Pogorzelski (Hereditary, Midsommar).

 

GOODNIGHT DARLING - Horror Short

 

Director: Adam Azimov
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Vivien Lyra Blair, Lauren Bowles, April Lang
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt14674790/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impetigore (2019)

Maya and her friend Dini are working at toll booths, and one night Maya is attacked by one of the drivers who appeared to recognize her: a man who claims he’s from a village called Harjosari, and he’s calling her by another name: Rahayu. Upon attacking her, the man is stopped and killed by the police, but the encounter leaves Maya with a ton of unanswered questions. Since her aunt, who raised her from a very young age, is dead and she’s got no other family to contact, she follows the inscription of an old photo which shows a young Maya with her parents, outside a large house which is supposed by be located somewhere in the Harjosari village. Together with her best friend Dini, they decide to travel from the city and find out if she might inherit that property, hoping that this might be a turn of events for them both. When they enter the secluded village, however, they quickly take notice of one apparent and strange thing about the place: the lack of any children, and a graveyard whose tombstones implies that for many years, no children have survived long after their birth. The villagers also appear to be somewhat hostile, and Maya concludes that it’s best to keep her identity a secret for the time being, representing themselves as students whose intent is interviewing the village elder because of his famous traditional shadow puppetry performances (Wayang Kulit). Maya’s real intent is, of course, to question the elder about her parents and the house, claiming her inheritance. However, as luck would have it he’s away from the village at the moment, and they need to wait until the next day. Upon finding Maya’s abandoned family home, they decide to secretly take residence there…but neither Maya nor Dini was prepared for the danger that awaits them in this village.

 

Joko Anwar’s previous horror film, Satan’s Slaves (a remake of Satan’s slave from 1980), ended up being the highest grossing horror films in Indonesia, and have received a fair amount of praise abroad as well. And while Impetigore is his second horror movie to be released, the script for it was actually finished back in 2010. The original title of the movie is Perempuan Tanah Jahanam, and the international title Impetigore is actually a combination of two words: Impetigo (a bacterial infection of the skin), and, well…gore, of course, enough of it for Mr. Ghööl to hand out a certain badge.

 

With a combination of folklore, a curse, an isolated village in the countryside and family secrets, Impetigore is a feast for those who like atmospheric supernatural horror. The scenes featuring a performance of the traditional Indonesian art of Wayang Kulit (a form of shadow puppetry made from animal skin) is beautiful and entrancing to watch, and of course, these puppets also have a significant meaning to the story. The village, the house, all the surroundings make for a visually striking experience.

 

Like Joko Anwar’s film Satan’s Slaves, he’s using a “vintage” song by The Spouse (Aimee and Tony) who was put together to make the OST for the aforementioned film. The song used in Impetigore is called Pujaan Hati, and together with the rest of the soundtrack for the film it works wonders in amplifying the atmosphere. After all, a creepy (yet beautiful) vintage-styled song fits like a hand in glove when it comes to atmospheric and supernatural-themed horror movies.

 

The film is available on Shudder, but that is of course no help for those of us who lives in no-Shudder land (like Horror Ghouls, who live in Norway where Shudder apparently have no plans of expanding). While we Horror Ghouls are “old fashioned” enough to still favour the physical format (we have it on Blu-ray), there are other alternatives for renting/buying online like for example Google Play, YouTube, Amazon etc. depending on your location.

 

Impetigore

 

Director: Joko Anwar
Original title: Perempuan Tanah Jahanam
Country & year: Indonesia, 2019
Actors: Tara Basro, Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita, Christine Hakim, Asmara Abigail, Kiki Narendra, Afrian Aris, Zidni Hakim, Faradina Mufti, Abdurrahman Arif, Muhammad Abe Baasyin, Mursiyanto, Ahmad Ramadhan
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt9000302/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul