The Silent House (2010)

The Silent HouseLaura and her father arrives at a secluded cottage which they are going to repair, as the owner wants to put the house out for sale. Having planned to spend the night inside the house, with its unstable and unsafe upper level and windows that are nailed shut, they soon experience that things do (of course) go wrong. A radio starts playing a sinister melody, and after Laura turns it off, her father goes upstairs to check on an other noise. Laura hears a commotion from upstairs, and shortly afterwards she finds her father’s murdered body downstairs. In a state of grief and fear, she tries to escape from the house but someone has locked all the doors. As she moves around in the dark house, trying to find an exit, more sinister things happen around her…


The Silent House (La Casa Muda) is a Uruguayan horror movie directed by Gustavo Hernández and made with a tiny budget of $6,000. The film is made to look like it was filmed in real time, in one continuous 88 minute take, but the real story is that it was actually shot over four days. Despite not being filmed in one take, the length of the takes are still rather impressive though. The film is based on what is supposed to be real events that took place in 1944 in a village in Uruguay, where two brutally tortured men’s bodies, missing their tongues, were found in an old farmhouse. In that regard, one could consider The Silent House as a typical gimmick-film, with the supposedly “single-take” filming as well as the supposedly “true story” (which there is no actual information about to be found anywhere online, it seems). As for the single-take gimmick, there’s been numerous other films going for the same thing while having in fact been edited to appear that way. Most notably, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope from 1948. Movies that rely heavily on gimmicks are often off to a troublesome start, though, and not surprisingly the movie’s reception was quite varied.


The Silent House is mostly leaning heavily on atmosphere, where inside the house the only light comes from two halogen lamps and some candles. The darkness in the house makes the viewer look for clues as to what might be hiding there, as the protagonist keeps cautiously sneaking around. It’s mostly a psychological thriller, with bits of haunted-house clichés like a haunting melody playing, a “don’t go upstairs” caution, and spooky imagery. Despite there not being much of a plot, it still manages to create a very tense atmosphere but the problem is still the pacing, which makes the film a little dull at times and some scenes dragging on for a little bit too long.


Overall, The Silent House is an atmospheric and different little horror film, albeit a little dull at times and offering a twist in the end which does feel a little confusing and ends up leaving more questions than answers.


There was also an english-language remake made in 2011, called Silent House.


The Silent House


Director: Gustavo Hernández
Oscar Estévez, Gustavo Hernández, Gustavo Rojo
Original title:
La casa muda
Country & year:
Uruguay, 2010
Florencia Colucci, Abel Tripaldi, Gustavo Alonso, María Salazar



Vanja Ghoul













Cam (2018)

CamAt a website called FreeGirlsLive, Alice is working as a camgirl and broadcasting sexual live shows from her little home studio, using the nickname “Lola”. Like most camgirls, Alice has people around her who knows what she’s doing, and people who are completely unaware. Her mother thinks she’s working on some kind of web development, while her younger brother is well aware of her cam girl actions but has promised to keep it a secret. It isn’t all just sexy fun though, and like any follow/like-obsessed SoMe dependant, Alice is totally desperate to rise on the website’s rankings, hoping to one day finally be the number 1 camgirl on the site. After simulating her suicide by slitting her throat using fake blood, her popularity finally increases, and on the next show she’s gotten as far as the top 50 camgirls on the site (whooo!). Things seem to be going rather well. That is, until next morning when Alice finds that she can’t log in to her account anymore, but that’s not all, not even the major part of her problem…because even though she cannot log in to her account anymore, “Lola” is still active and streaming. Logging in through another account, she watches the stream only to see what looks like an exact replicate of herself, even the studio she’s made in her own home looks exactly the same. Confused and completely weirded out (understandably, who wouldn’t be) she tries to contact customer service, at first thinking it must be some kind of replay of her old shows. They tell her that the show is indeed live streaming, and Alice is now finding herself falling through a digital rabbit hole…


Cam is a 2018 horror thriller directed by Daniel Goldhaber. At first glance, it may appear to be a simple cat/mouse thriller where the camgirl is the victim of a stalker, but when Alice’s doppelganger appears in the movie it shifts into a mystery thriller where you feel just as confused about the situation as the main character is. It’s a creative way of presenting a horror story about the desire for digital fame and identity theft, where many of us are already so linked to the digital world that much of our work and personalities have their home there. Seeing someone taking over your accounts is something that would be a nightmare for many people, not just those who are using it for their income. I mean, there have been stories about people calling 911 and the police because Facebook and Instagram were down. Jeez. Some people literally have their entire lives online, and the concept of someone or something stealing your identity digitally, not just hacking your account but literally stealing you, that’s an idea that ought to give most people the heebie jeebies.


The movie has some references to Alice in Wonderland, and not just the character’s own name. Her other online screen names include “MadHatter” and “MrTeapot”, for example. While Alice during her travels in Wonderland was fueled by innocent curiosity, the Alice in this story is driven by low self esteem and the desire to become popular. Not just popular, either, she wants to be number 1, top of the list. And in order to achieve this, she’s willing to do something that she originally promised herself to never do: fake something (her “suicide”). It’s an obvious metaphor for being a sell-out: she ended up doing something she had vowed to never do, just to achieve those extra views/followers/hits/likes/validation/fame.


Visually, the movie is appealing and does a solid job on portraying the Cam Girl culture without being condescending, and the story is fast paced enough to keep the viewer interested in how it all unfolds. The actor who plays Alice does a believable performance. In the end, the movie’s conclusion may feel a little too open and leaving some loose threads, not completely explaining what was really going on, but still giving enough hints throughout that makes you able to puzzle some of the pieces together. Cam is a digital nightmare, and with an increasingly more complex AI that’s all over the place these days, a theme like this becomes even more relevant.




Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Isa Mazzei, Daniel Goldhaber, Isabelle Link-Levy
Country & year:
USA, 2018
Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim, Michael Dempsey, Flora Diaz, Samantha Robinson, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Quei Tann



Vanja Ghoul













Evil Remains (2004)

Evil RemainsTwenty years ago, there lived a deranged teenager by the name Carl Bryce, who killed his parents. Carl’s body was never found, and his story has created an urban legend that the place he lived at with his parents is cursed, causing madness to everyone who trespass the area. The graduation student Mark is working on writing a study on contemporary myths, and gets an interview with the psychiatrist who once treated (or, at least tried to treat) Carl Bryce back in the day. Intrigued by this urban legend, Mark gets his friends to join him in his research on the old Bryce estate. Of course, once they’re there, they soon figure out that someone or something is after them.


Evil Remains (aka Trespassing) is a 2004 horror movie directed by James Merendino, with a premise we’ve seen several times before and lots of times after: a group of college students finding themselves in a situation with an unknown killer at their heels. Slasher movies present this formula with hardly any variation: it’s either a murderer on a revenge-fueled killing spree (or some other motive), or it’s something supernatural. Going in for a movie of this kind, you mostly know what’s in store for you. The film obviously references well-known classics, stirring little snippets of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Evil Dead, Halloween, etc. into the pot, in typical low-budget style. Its attempt at combining slasher with haunted house kind of works, though, especially with the use of an old plantation house. The same house was also used in the 2005 horror film Venom (which was made by the I Know What You Did Last Summer director Jim Gillespie).


While neither story nor characters offer anything in terms of originality, and production value is considerably limited, it still manages to grant the viewer enough mystery and a little atmosphere to make the experience compelling enough. While the acting and characters are nothing to write home about, it’s still familiar territory for those who have trodden through the familiar paths of the typical teen-slasher before. I think I’ve made it evident by now that this is nothing new, nothing spectacular, and clearly low budget, but take it for what it is and it’s actually decent enough for a quick watch.


Overall, Evil Remains aka Trespassing is a fairly subpar horror slasher, filled with the regular tropes, but it’s not entirely without value. Works well as an easy popcorn flick, just don’t expect any kind of masterpiece or memorable experience.

Evil Remains Evil Remains


Writer and director: James Merendino
Original title:
Country & year:
USA, 2022
Jeff Galpin, Maryam d’Abo, Will Rokos, Daniel Gillies, Jeff Bryan Davis, Clayne Crawford, Estella Warren, Ashley Scott, Brandon Martin, Linley Thomas, Adela Johnson, Virginia Lamoine



Vanja Ghoul













Ice Cream Man (1995)

Ice Cream ManFrom the director who gave us Sperm Bitches, Intercourse with the Vampire, Sexmares, Bad Girls 5: Maximum Babes and the Edward Penishands trilogy, here comes his magnum opus Ice Cream Man – a goofy comedy horror, this time aimed for the mainstream surface audiences with a budget to buy an old ice cream truck, gallons of ice cream and fake sun flowers.


Ice Cream Man starts off with a quick opening in black and white in a Californian suburb during the 1960s. It gets straight to the point where the local ice cream man (with the letters Ice Cream King on his truck) gets randomly shot in a pure gangsta-style drive-by shooting. Among the witnesses is the boy Gregory Tudor who grows up to be an Ice Cream man himself – a deranged, retarded, homicidal Ice Cream Killer Man which uses body parts as flavors to his ice creams.


After the scene with the Ice Cream King’s murder, we jump to present day where Greg Tudor (Clint Howard) roams around in his blue ice cream truck, acting like a demented freakshow that should be as far away from children as possible. He likes to taunt the kids, as he speaks with an affected  growling, raspy and cheesy voice while serving them cockroach-infested ice creams. Yummy! That ice cream guy is pretty freaky, one of the kids says. No, you don’t say. At least, they like his ice creams. But still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to eat ice cream while watching Ice Cream Man, just trust me on that one.


Tudor randomly kills Binky, a dog (off screen) which he puts in the grinder to use as a flavour to his ice cream. One of the kids, that blonde one with the round glasses which looks like Maculay Culkin from The Pagemaster, gets kidnapped one night and shoved into his ice cream truck and locked in a cage in his parlor where he later grooms him to be his successor. When Tudor spots one of the other kids that witnessed the act, he yells with his raspy voice:


You little turds are gonna have to learn, you can’t run from the ice cream man! … I know where you live …  you tell anybody, I’m gonna get your mom and dad!


Boy o’boy…This is a weird little oddball of a movie. Already ten minutes in, the tone is all over the place while you ask what the fuck this is supposed to be. On its first glance it looks like if the whole thing was meant to be a short episode of Goosebumps, but midways they instead decided to stretch it out to a feature, throw in some gore, fill in a series of nonsensical scenes with bad actors and not much further plans than just see what happens. And don’t forget the fake sunflowers.


The film is regarded as a black comedy, and a comedy it is for damn sure, no question about that. What’s intentional and not, however, is not easy to tell, but that’s what makes it even more funny. There’s enough of bad acting, weird dialogues to laugh of, and watching this with the right mood it’s overall some fun, dumb, light-hearted entertainment that could have been suitable for the whole family if it wasn’t for the gore. But I can’t deny that the star himself, Clint Howard (the younger brother of Ron Howard), is the main reason to give this slightly obscure film a watch. Calling him eccentric is an understatement, the guy is the purest definition of bizarre which both acts and looks like a live-action figure straight out from Looney Tunes. Howard has been in over 200 films which he has had the lead role in only … two: Ice Cream Man and Evilspeak, another horror flick from 1981. And since Clint Howard was recognized as the ice cream man on the streets by fans throughout the years, a sequel had to happen. A kickstarter campaign was set up by Howard and director Apstein in 2014 to crowd fund the sequel Ice Cream Man 2: Sundae Bloody Sundae with a goal to collect 300.000 dollars from fans. Only 4 grand was donated from 70 backers. Ouch, how embarrassing. This was also the only mainstream film Apstein made before he went back to the porn industry.


But at least, the fans can still enjoy Ice Cream Man on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome and on several streaming sites, including Full Moon Features where we watched it.


Ice Cream Man Ice Cream Man Ice Cream Man


Director: Norman Apstein
Writers: David Dobkin, Sven Davison
Country & year: USA, 1995
Actors: Clint Howard, Justin Isfeld, Anndi McAfee, JoJo Adams, Mikey LeBeau, Sandahl Bergman, Andrea Evans, Steve Garvey, Olivia Hussey, Doug Llewelyn, Lee Majors II, David Naughton,


Tom Ghoul













The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

The Pale Blue EyeThe year is 1830, and we’re in a cold October month. Augustus Landor, a widower who lives alone and is also a retired detective, is asked by the military to investigate the hanging of one of their cadets. After the cadet was hanged, his heart was removed from the body. Upon examining the corpse in the morgue, Landor finds clues suggesting that this is not a suicide case, but a murder case. He meets the weird Edgar Allan Poe, who is another cadet at the academy, and the two team up in order to solve the case. Ritualistic animal murders makes them think the murder could be linked to some occult black magic rituals, and when another cadet is also found hanged, with both his heart and genitals removed, Landor and Poe begin to suspect the family of Dr. Daniel Marquis whose daughter Poe has become quite enchanted by.


The Pale Blue Eye is an mystery thriller written and directed by Scott Cooper, and it’s an adaption from a 2003 novel by the same name, written by Louis Bayard. Scott Copper also directed Antlers, so it comes as no surprise that he is able to competently master stories that are dark and atmospheric. Despite the famous Poe himself being a major character here, the story itself is based entirely on fiction, although there are some small slivers of facts mixed in: Poe did indeed attend West Point Academy as a cadet from 1830-1831 (of which he later got himself purposefully kicked out from). There are also a few names and things in the movie that are references to some of Poe’s stories (Landor’s Cottage, for example). And not unexpectedly, you’ll see at least one Raven. Poe fans will probably have a fun time looking out for all the little tidbits referencing his work.


The movie plays out as a standard murder thriller where little bits and pieces are coming into place one at a time. Hidden notes, secrets revealed, red herrings, etc. The common components of a mystery thriller are all there. The pacing is a bit slow, but the focal points here are the gothic, spooky atmosphere, and the performances where both Christian Bale (as Landor) and Harry Melling (as Edgar Allan Poe) do a solid job portraying these characters and their chemistry. While Poe isn’t displayed with his identifiable mustache, you can definitely see the likeness here. And aside from the characters and performances, the murders are grotesque enough to keep you interested in knowing who could be behind such crimes (and why), and the cold wintry scenery puts an extra chill into it all. The fitting soundtrack was made by Howard Shore, who is most known for composing the soundtrack for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies, but is also behind the score of a lot of well-known (and some lesser known) movies in different genres, including horror.


Overall, The Pale Blue Eye is an entertaining whodunnit thriller with some dark twists and turns, blended with gothic atmosphere.


The Pale Blue Eye


Writer and director: Scott Cooper
Country & year: USA, 2022
Actors: Christian Bale, Harry Melling, Simon McBurney, Timothy Spall, Toby Jones, Harry Lawtey, Fred Hechinger, Joey Brooks, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lucy Boynton, Robert Duvall, Gillian Anderson



Vanja Ghoul













The House That Jack Built (2018)

The House That Jack BuiltJack is probably many things, but he’s first and foremost a psychopathic serial killer. And this is his story, Jack: Portrait of a Serial Killer if you will, which spawns throughout twelve years, told in a series/segments of “incidents” with the lens of our favorite Danish drunk uncle, Lars Von Trier.


The 1st incident starts almost straight to the point. We’re on some road in the woods where a lady, simply called Lady 1, (Uma Thurman) is stranded with her broken car and broken jack, and makes sure that the first driver stops to help her. And it’s her lucky day because here’s Jack himself, yes with a capital J, (Matt Dillon) with his red van which he uses to transport his fresh victims with. This lady seems to have have some kind of death wish, or Autassassinophilia (the fetish of the risk of being killed) as there’s not many other ways to rationalize her sardonic behaviour as she taunts Jack by saying he could be a serial killer as he drives her to the nearest blacksmith. We all know what the scene leads up to as she continues to push his buttons and hits the jackpot with the final straw by calling him “too much of a wimp to kill anyone.” He slams the breaks and bashes her skull in with her broken jack. How … symbolic, if not the best ironic punchline ever, where we can already see the cynical pitch-black humor that starts to reek. He hides her car and takes her body to a freezer storage that he bought from a pizza shop, a place we’ll visit frequently as the stock of bodies starts to fill the place. And why does he collect the bodies? Oh, you’ll see…


The 2nd incident shows us the more calculated and manipulative tactics of Jack by making an elderly woman, or Lady 2, to believe he’s a policeman despite he cant show her a batch. This lady seems to have the bullshit alarms somewhere, but as the sneaky manipulator he is, she finally lets him inside the house where Jack strangles her. While it seemed to go pretty smooth and easy, the lady suddenly wakes up, gasps after air and Jack has to finish her off by stabbing her. Oh shit. Oh shit, indeed, because we also learn that poor Jack has Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, the worst handicap a serial killer can possess. And now with blood stained around the floor and walls, he spends the rest of the day cleaning up, going back and forth inside the house and his van as a yo-yo, even when hearing police sirens approaching. The only thing he always seems to forget is using gloves. If this is intentionally or a slip-up in the script is not easy to tell.


The House That Jack Built


So, what about his romantic life? Any bird in his cage? We see a segment of Jack’s attempt to be in a relationship with a young girlfriend (played by Riley Keough), a scene I won’t spoil further other than it’s bizarre and as romantic as a moisty shithouse infested with flies, and just like we would imagine to be in a hollow and destructive relationship with a psychopath. Jack practices to smile in front of the mirror to do a shallow impression, like a politician preparing for a speech, but the only thing he can pull off is a smirk. Yeah, that narcissistic, arrogant smirk. Brrr, gross! We also see other sides of Jack, of course, as a struggling artist with an interest in photography. He drags his dead victims out of the freezer to take group photos of them, just some normal hobby activities for Jack. He has more plans with the corpses, by the way, just wait and see. He’s also an architect who, as the title itself says, wants to build a house which never seems to live up to his compulsive perfections.


And I haven’t even mentioned Verge yet. Who? His imaginative listener and debater which he confesses all his actions and highlights of his life as a serial killer to. Verge has the voice of a fragile old man (performed by Bruno Ganz) and further we go into the bleak, meaningless and hellish world of Jack, he seems more and more repulsed, shocked, and drained, just like the us, the audience. But if even he can sit through two and a half hour of Jack’s depraved insanity, then so can you. It does, however, reach the top in the 3rd incident which I won’t spoil, other than this is the sequence that sparked the controversy at the Cannes Film Festival where the audiences stormed out in shock, anger, disgust and all that which is always an effective selling strategy for the next film by Lars Von Trier.


And having in mind that this is a Lars Von Trier film, where his name alone is a huge trigger-point for many for whatever reason, I had no clue what to expect when preparing myself for this in the movie theater back in 2018. As a character study of the mind of a serial killer, I would almost call this a masterpiece and undoubtedly one of the very best in the sub-genre of this type. It’s a raw and unfiltered portrait of a serial killer where we see how Jack evolves in his craft of killing, his deranged view on life, art and…grapes. Yeah, there’s a fifteen-minutes or so screentime dedicated to a discussion between Jack and Verge about grapes and vine. Start to sounds a little pretentious, you say? Well, serial killers and psychopaths are pretentious. Super duper uber-pretentious they are, just look up interviews/clips of John Wayne Gacy, Dennis Rader, Ted Bundy and numerous politicial figures that’s dominated the limelight for the past two years.


Matt Dillon, who took his main inspiration from Ted Bundy is phenomenal in his role and makes Jack into his own unique beast of a character. I can’t deny that Dillon looks more like a slightly younger version of Bruce Campbell here, but that’s probably just me. However, he truly embraces it to make sure to give us a wild, entertaining ride into a crazyman’s odyssey into pure, demented darkness which you can only guess where it ever will end. And of course the film has some of the well-known trademarks of Von Trier with his artistic ways, freedom with its use of symbolism, metaphors and all that shit that pretty much makes his films so devise, polarizing and generally makes people go nuts. He puts a lot of his identity into his films, and to a certain extent it pisses people off, but that’s art, I guess. Trier himself views The House That Jack Built as an nihilistic celebrating of “the idea that life is evil and soulless“. Sure, can’t disagree on that.  But, still on the surface there’s enough of a straight-forward story to enjoy here for us serial killer-buffs, and with the right sick and dark sense of humor the lengthy runtime will fly by.


The House That Jack Built The House That Jack Built The House That Jack Built


Writer and director: Lars Von Trier
Country & year: Denmark, 2018
Actors: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sofie Gråbøl, Riley Keough, Jeremy Davies, Jack McKenzie, Mathias Hjelm, Ed Speleers, Emil Tholstrup, Marijana Jankovic, Carina Skenhede, Rocco Day, Cohen Day


Tom Ghoul













Psycho Goreman (2020)

Psycho GoremanIt’s the early 90’s (I assume) in a small middleclass suburbia where the siblings Mimi (Nita-Josée Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) are out in the backyard playing Crazy Ball. Yes, would you even imagine that there was a time when kids could have fun without a smartphone? My oh my. Luke is the the quiet and reserved one while Mimi is a fearless sociopath with some strong Tiny Tina demeanours (that crazy girl from Borderlands). She’s mean, sassy, demanding, animated and loves to pick on her brother. Later that evening they decide to dig a big hole in the yard, because that is what kids did back in the day when they couldn’t sleep. After a few feet down they find some pink/purple-glowing mystical artifact that’s clearly not from this planet. Another thing from space is an alien, played by Matthew Ninaber, covered in a full latex costume from toe to top. He’s from the planet Gigax and has telekinesis powers, the ability to throw big fireballs from his hands, and looks like a mishmash of all B-movie monsters from the 80s and maybe early 90s. For my part he reminded me more of Wishmaster.


Mimi and Luke encounter the alien in some abandoned shoe factory where they also stumble upon his first victims, a group of hobos with their bodyparts placed on the wall like a morbid David Fincher crime scene (the most graphic moments where the grittyness is concerned). They don’t seem that scared, though, but more thrilled. We get a whole flashback scene that tells us his origin story and how he came to Earth, but the most important thing to know is that he’s here to kill all mankind. Why? Because why not. The one and only thing that could hold him back is the glowing artifact (also called The Gem of Praxidike) we saw earlier, which Mimi luckily have in her pocket. When the alien gets the sight of it, he freezes. Because you see, those who holds the artifact can command the alien to do what they want, like John Connor did with Arnie in Terminator 2, so to speak. As the kids they are they see him as a big new toy and gives him the catchy name “Psycho Goreman”, PG for short just to play ironically with the title in case the film would end up with a PG-rating, which instead got unrated. Oh, well.


So, where does the plot go from here? A lot of shit happens, but not in the way you’d probably imagine it. Since Mimi outshines the entire cast with her energetic and manic presence and seems to be as psycho as Goreman himself, it would be easy to picture these two as a deadly duo going on an epic genocide crusade-mayhem while being chased by tanks, choppers and the military. Hopefully in a sequel. Mimi and Luke doesn’t know much about what to do with him other than first disguise him in some clothes, like in Frankenstein: The College years (for the few that have seen that film) and hope he gets accepted by their mum and dad. They forgot to cover his face though, but no one would notice such minor details, lol emoji. I couldn’t care much for the scenes with the parents. They’re just there with their own marriage issues to make us know that the kids aren’t orphans. Their goofy deadbeat dad (played by Adam Brooks) has some comedic nuggets here and there, and yeah, he alone got some chuckles out of me. His best scene is where he gets a mental breakdown while taking a dump. Meanwhile when Luke and Mimi gets along with PG as they start  a garage band together with PG on drums, play videogames and what kids would do with a huge toy as PG, the council from his homeplanet sends the galactic warrior Pandora, an angelic creature with small wings as eyes, to save us Earthlings from PG’s destruction.


Psycho Goreman is written and directed by Steven Kostanski, a young man from Canada who seems to dedicate his film career with his production company Astron-6, by producing a pastiche of  low-budget, 80’s-centric films with titles such as Manborg, The Void, Father’s Day, Leprechaun Returns to name some. With his latest feature he takes inspiration from the early 90s with films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Transformers, Star Wars, the epic intros from the Saturday-morning cartoons from the 80s, martial arts, some spices of Troma and everything from the obscure corners from the 80s, puts it all in a grinder and out comes Psycho Goreman. So, how does it taste? Hmm..


There’s not as much blood and gore as the title would make you believe, though. If there was some malfunction with the grinder, I don’t know, but the result is more sweet, more innocent and light-hearted that you’d expect. The film relies more on slapstick, goofy fight scenes, and overall a showcase of impressive, if not charming, make-up effects/costume designs and a handful of references. There’s something for everyone to like here, I personally have a weak spot for Death Trapper, a walking meatgrinder filled with body parts. And then we have a giant, wobbling brain with some terrified eyes. The miniatures seen in PG’s flashback scene were nothing but gorgeous which also gave some Mad God vibes. The musical trio Blitz/Berlin adds a fitting retro soundtrack to enhance that fuzzy feel of nostalgia. And then there’s probably a drinking game of references. The most notable are the  scenes with the council on PG’s homeplanet which clearly mocks the political nonsense we had to sit through in A Phantom Menace that still seems to haunt us. We also have a reference to Steven Kostanski’s favourite film Phantasm with an extended dream sequence. So, yeah, there’s a lot to chew on here and get inspired by, and with its colorful cartoonish and over-the-top silly, naive tone, Psycho Goreman suits perfectly for the the whole family to enjoy with pizza, coke and root beer on a Friday night.


Psycho Goreman is available on DVD/Blu-ray on Cd Universe and can be watched on various streaming sites.


Psycho Goreman Psycho Goreman Psycho Goreman


Writer and director: Steven Kostanski
Country & year: Canada, 2020
Actors: Nita-Josée Hanna, Owen Myre, Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos, Adam Brooks, Alexis Kara Hancey, Kristen MacCulloch, Anna Tierney, Roxine Latoya Plummer, Alex Chung, Scout Flint


Tom Ghoul













The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012)

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind LeighLeon is a young man who deals with antiques, and inherits his estranged mother’s house and belongings after her suicide. He arrives at the house, and takes a look at the inventory, all the while we get a narration delivered by the deceased. Rosalind Leigh, the mother, gives a monologue about her life where she describes the overwhelming loneliness she felt after her son rejected her due to their difference in faith and his negative religious experiences throughout his childhood. She describes how she, during the remainder of her life, feared he would never regain his faith or return to her, but she kept waiting. While wandering through his mother’s old house and her belongings, he discovers that it was actually she who was his anonymous benefactor who bought all the items of antiquity he sold. The more he looks through his mother’s belongings, the more he feels that he is surrounded by sinister figures and starts having hallucinations that rocks his skeptic foundation to the core.


The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is a horror movie directed by Rodrigo Gudiño, and is one of those typical horror films that is bound to have very split opinions: you’ll either think of it as a sluggish, boring snoozefest, or you’ll be intrigued by the atmosphere, underlying messages and metaphors. And while I have to agree that the film didn’t really tap into all the potential it could have had, I still enjoyed its ominous feeling of unease which was blended so well with the main character’s surroundings. In fact, Rodrigo drove around Toronto looking at houses, until he found one that was owned by a mother and daughter who were eccentric Collectors. And it sure was a perfect fit. It’s filled with knick-knacks, huge statues, old dolls and whatnot. The imagery, cinematography and lightning are all spot-on, and the voice-over by the deceased woman is an excellent touch, with her moody and husky voice.


There are a few flashback scenes presented, where the mother starts seeing a demonic cat-like entity concurrently with her failure to deal with her loneliness. Rosalind appears to have sought some kind of comfort from joining a religious cult, some kind of “angel cult”, taking her religious beliefs and eccentricities to another level. I personally wish this could have been explored a bit further, but we never really got to know too much about this cult she was an apparent member of. We do get more than a few glimpses into Rosalind’s gradually destroyed psyche, however, which is not directly in correlation with the cult, but rather how her faith overpowers her despite being the sole reason for the destruction of the relationship with her son. Leon, on the other hand, is clearly struggling as well. While wandering the house and pretty much attacked with ptsd-triggers all around, he keeps calling his girlfriend psychologist. There’s suffering and sadness all around, coming from both perspectives.


Overall, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is an atmospheric, gothic ghost story and sombre tale about loneliness and the monster it can turn into, and how faith can not only bring people together, but also bring them completely apart. It’s definitely intended for a mature audience, very low-key, vague and a bit up for interpretation, and we all know that this kind of recipe doesn’t always taste well for everyone. However, it can hit the right strings if you can appreciate this sort of film, and you might find it intriguing and delightful. A pure slow burner indeed, but the atmosphere is plentiful with the creepy house and all the collectables inside.


The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh


Writer and director: Rodrigo Gudiño
Country & year: Canada, 2012
Actors: Aaron Poole, Vanessa Redgrave, Julian Richings, Stephen Eric McIntyre, Charlotte Sullivan, Mitch Markowitz, Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman, Rodrigo Gudiño, Bob Dorsey, Rogelio Gudiño,



Vanja Ghoul













The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism of Emily RoseErin Bruner is a lawyer filled with ambition, who takes on the case of a Catholic diocesan priest who is charged with negligent homicide following an attempted exorcism on a 19-year old girl, Emily Rose. The archdiocese wants the priest, Father Richard Moore, to just plead guilty so they can scuffle this under the carpet and do as much damage control as possible, but Moore won’t have it, and pleads not guilty. He is determined to tell Emily’s story. Bruner then starts experiencing strange things on her own, like waking up at 3 a.m. to the smell of something burning. Moore warns her that she might have become a target for demons, and through bits and pieces we get to know Emily’s story.


The Exorcism of Emily Rose was written and directed by Scott Derrickson and co-written by Paul Harris Boardman. Derrickson actually chose to use Boardman as his co-writer because, with himself being a believer and Boardman a skeptic, he thought this would balance the screenplay with enough realism from both perspectives. And I dare say this was probably a very good decision, as the movie does a solid job on walking the line between religion and science, constantly making you wonder if she really was possessed or just terribly mentally disturbed.


The movie is told with some back-and-forth between the trial and the lawyer-related stuff, and flashbacks from Emily’s life. What makes this movie different from the plethora of other demonic possession movies, is its blend between courtroom drama and the supernatural, carefully balancing between the two and offering enough for both believers and skeptics to hold on to. The movie is inspired by the true story of Anneliese Michel from Germany. There’s actually another film based on this story, called Requiem, which is more based on the, well…actual true events. The young German woman was born in 1952, and died in 1976 after she underwent 67 (!) exorcisms. She died of malnutrition, and her parents and the priest were convicted of negligent homicide. Just like the Conjuring movies, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is best viewed as pure fiction with a few slices of truth, otherwise it would just become completely convoluted with thoughts of what is obviously invented for the purpose of scares in the movie, and what’s inspired from the true events. The true story was indeed a religion vs science trial regarding the aftermath, but the backstory of Emily Rose (Anneliese Michel) is very loosely based on what really happened. I guess in that sense, it’s wise to not even have the character named after her to make the distinction even more obvious.


Jennifer Carpenter, who is playing the role of Emily Rose, does nothing but a stellar performance as the struggling/sick/possessed young girl, and does so with some pretty chilling possession scenes that are bereft of any pea soup vomiting or head twisting. In order to prepare for her role, Jennifer actually spent hours in a room full of mirrors while trying out different body positions and facial expressions to see what was scariest. Many of the scenes where Emily is experiencing the effects of her “possession”, it is still very much left in the open whether it’s really demons causing it, or a result of her mentally disturbed mind. Feel free to take your pick on which is the scariest alternative.


There’s a ton of chilling atmosphere and a lot of subtle creative details that add to the creepy vibe. The actors did a stellar job by providing convincing performances, and the courtroom drama manages to add both suspense and ties in with the rest in a way that makes it feel wholesome. With the movie being a bit old, some of the CGI (which there isn’t much of anyway) is perhaps a little outdated, but not at all bad and it’s being sparsely which doesn’t affect anything negatively. The Exorcism of Emily Rose stands out as a solid and chilling possession horror movie which has aged quite well, and provided a well founded start on Derrickson’s horror movie career (with him later giving us movies like Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil, and The Black Phone). And no matter whether you consider the story as one of demonic possession or mental illness, the result is equally creepy and frightening.


The Exorcism of Emily Rose The Exorcism of Emily Rose The Exorcism of Emily Rose


Director: Scott Derrickson
Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson
Country & year: USA, 2005
Actors: Jennifer Carpenter, Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Joshua Close, Kenneth Welsh, Duncan Fraser, JR Bourne, Mary Beth Hurt, Henry Czerny, Shohreh Aghdashloo



Vanja Ghoul













Night Killer (1990)

Night KillerNight Killah … cool title, though. And by taking a look at the tasty cover art for the dvd, you get the impression of some body-horror going on. We also see a house in the night with a big full moon. If the cover itself couldn’t lie more, the title is as misleading as it can get. But this is first and foremost an Italian produced low-budget schlock film. And with that being said, Italian distributors have for a long time been notoriously known for using some of the most misleading titles possible and promote genre films in the home country as a sequel to a more known franchise in hopes of cashing in some more bucks. The most known example is probably Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 (a great film, by the way) which tried to cash in on Dario Argento’s cut of Dawn of the Dead, released as simply Zombi in Italy. I can also mention fake clickbait titles as Cannibal Holocaust II (1988), Changeling II: The Revenge (1989), Terminator II (1989), Evil Dead 5 (1990) and the list goes on.


In this case Night Killer was promoted as – and I kid you not – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 in Italy, just prior to Leatherface: The Texas Chaisaw Masscare III which was already released seven months before. So, watching this film must have been like being pranked or Rick Rolled for 85 minutes straight. The distributors must think that the Italian horror audience have mushy pasta for braincells and they should be glad that the internet wasn’t a household thing back then. And of course we have the unofficial sequel of the more obscure 80s horror/fantasy Troll, completely overshadowed by Troll 2 which was made by the same director as Night Killer. We’re of course talking of no one other than the man, the myth and one of the legends of Italians so-bad-it’s good-movies, Claudio Fragasso himself. (Applause)


The film starts off in the middle of an aerobic dance practice where the stressed and unhinged female instructor is far from impressed by the dancers. She has a quick hilarious meltdown, then goes to the bathroom where she encounters a person with a black coat and a face covered by a cheap Freddy Krueger-like mask. He’s already killed one of the dancers by shoving his rubber claws straight through her torso. While it sounds brutal on paper, the effects are, how should I even try to describe it…it’s pure hot garbage and not even on an amateur level, it’s beyond that and filmed in such a close-up and edited down to a split-second, that you’ll miss it if you blink.


Anyway… the instructor gets her throat slit by the killer’s rubber claws. And if you want blood, just forget it. There’s hardly any blood pouring from her throat, as if someone just squeezed the last drops from a ketchup bottle and used the cheapest prosthetic make up one can buy from the discount bin at Walmart. It’s the laziest shit ever. And the funniest thing is that this opening sequence was directed by Bruno Mattei because the studio wanted more gore. He didn’t add anything new other than more inept filmmaking and a perfect foretaste of what to expect for the next 80 minutes. The most notable thing in this opening is that we clearly see that the fresh cut on her throat is magically gone when she is supposed to bleed to death. Continuity error on its finest.


Night Killer


The “plot”, which could be hidden here somewhere, goes something like this: After the extended opening scene we’re in the sunny beachside of Virgina) in the holiday season (oh, how convenient) where we meet the middle-aged Melanie (Tara Buckam) living in her upper-class house. She is soon to be one of the targets of our mysterious Freddy Krueger-masked serial killer. But first she gets a phone call from her ex. He’s drunk and sitting in a bar. She hangs up. Then she stands in front of a mirror with a blank stare, talking to herself while she’s touching her breasts. The phone rings again, this time by the masked killer that has picked her as the new victim. He then says with a slow and cheesy distorted voice “I won’t kill you straight awayyy, first I’m going to fuck your braaains ooouuut. ” She calls the police and the police do what the police does best: nothing. He invades her home, backs her against the wall while pointing a knife to her face. She screams while looking at the camera and… we cut to the next scene where she wakes up in the hospital. Her daughter asks her, with emotions like a robot, when she’s coming home. Soon, she says. When Melanie is suddenly out from the hospital, she’s being stalked and kidnapped by some random dude (Peter Hooten) which I thought was Steve Guttenberg as first glance. While she seems to develop a bizarre stockholm syndrome to this guy in which they have several cringy scenes together, the masked killer continues his business with other victims. It’s like watching two separate movies from here on: a soap opera and something that tries to resemble a slasher film. Confused? There’s also a sideplot with a policeman trying to finally catch the killer.


Claudio FragassoBruh … What the fuck is this whack bullshit even supposed to be, you may ask. According to the director himself, who made it under the pseudonym Clyde Anderson, this is actually a psychoanalytical, intimate horror movie, didn’t you already know that? He’s also so proud of the idea of the film which he calls “a brilliant idea, an incredible mental masturbation.” During the interview on the DVD’s extras he says with a straight face that he wanted to make something like an Ingmar Bergman film. I’ve seen some interviews of Mr. Fragasso and there’s just something about him that doesn’t make him easy to read, yet I can catch glimpses of sharp, ironic detachment within his eyes. I’m not a body language expert nor Dr. Phil, but I’ve had this theory that he’s quite self-aware and just trolling us (no pun intended). Because there’s just no way a director in his age can sit and reflect on a complete demented and incomprehensible schlock 30 years later and view it as a flawless piece of cinema work while putting the cherry on top by comparing himself to Steven Spielberg. I just can’t buy it. Sorry. I believe more in Loch Nessie having a baby with Bigfoot.


We can also just speculate how Mr. Fragasso instructs his actors, or if he just pours some green shrooms from Nilbog in their drinks before shooting. The way he makes them perform and convey emotions is nothing but absurd, if not unique, and nothing you see everyday. It’s like watching a bunch of retarded aliens in disguise trying to behave like normal human beings, or human beans like Tommy Wiseau would say. Just like Troll 2, it’s the acting that really does the film with the bonkers line deliveries, stiff, delayed reactions like Oh My GoooooooOOOOD while the actors can’t hide their confused facial expression of “what the hell did I really sign up for? Will this be my legacy?” Fragasso knows exactly what they signed up for and he has the first laugh while he thinks to himself: I now own you forever, bitch.


And then we have the title itself, Night Killer. There was no chainsaw to be see in the Italian release but here we at least have a killer, even though there isn’t much killing to see. There’s only three body counts (as I remember) and they are as tame, weightless and ridiculously ineptly shot that they could easily fit in as segments in Sesame Street between Elmo and Abby’s Flying Fairy School. There’s not a single night scene here either, not even close to it. Every scene is shot like it was either a soap opera or a sitcom with its heavy use of light where in the outdoors scenes the sky is always blue and the sun is shining. Not a single shred of atmosphere or the feeling of looming threat. And then there’s a twist. No spoilers, of course, but when you thought you’ve seen it all and just thought the film couldn’t be more absurd, the twist will make your brain and head shrink (like the Goombas in Super Mario Bros) and leave you speechless. Not even M. Night Shyamalan in his wildest fever dreams could make this shit up. The film also ends with a cliffhanger, or sort of. And since Fragasso are hinting about a comeback as Clyde Anderson in the DVD interview, well, what are you waiting for, maestro? Gives us the sequel so I, among others, finally can recover and grow our heads back, per favore! Until then: Merry Christmas.


Night Killer Night Killer Night Killer


Writer and director: Claudio Fragasso
Original title: Non aprite quella porta 3
Country & year: Italy, USA, 1990
Actors: Peter Hooten, Tara Buckman, Richard Foster, Mel Davis, Lee Lively, Tova Sardot, Gaby Ford


Tom Ghoul