Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Excision (2012)

During the COVID-19 lock down I've been trying to go through my somewhat lengthy To Watch list.

It's been slow going because I keep finding new movies to watch before I even make it to my list. To date I've watched over 100 horror films and TV shows since March, and here I am with only a couple reviews during that time...

Yikes! Sorry folks! 

Excision has been on my list for a good several years, but it wasn't until recently that I finally got around to watching it. If I recall correctly it was a drizzly weekend afternoon and I was cross-stitching something inappropriate - seemed a good time to watch a gory, menacing, "comedy" about a troubled young woman.


Now, I didn't want to write a review for this film just because it's a truly disturbing film that I don't think is getting the recognition is deserves. I wanted to write up a review because I watched The Tommyknockers recently - more accurately, re-watched it. I haven't seen it since it was released and it's about as slow and weird as I remembered.

But there was one person in that TV mini series that really struck me. A quick look on IMDB brought me to Traci Lords, and lo and behold, there was Excision in her filmography. The memory of her character in Excision came flooding back to me.

I was today-years-old when I learned of Lords' "sketchy" past and I'm not going to dwell on it. Sex films, trouble with the law, out casting - I would find it all very fascinating if I was hearing it from her - in fact, I'd grab a couple pitchers of beer and say "Gurrl, dish." That's not the case right now and besides, I want to focus on her role as mother on Excision to someone who takes 'dirty, smelly teenager' to a whole new level.

In short, Lords gut punches you with a superb, memorable performance as Phyllis: the nerve-wracking mother of the deeply disturbing (and also superb and memorable) Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord).

Also, this is a very, very, very gross film.

In fact, everyone is gross in this film - to their own degrees. From the smarmy William (John Waters) to the angelic Grace (Ariel Winter). This film feels moldy, rotting, putrid - leaving you feeling doubly disgusting by the end.

But gaddam, Phyllis and Pauline are really, really gross in their own spectacular ways.

GROSS

The very short synopsis: A suburban family of four are trekking out their dark days through mediocrity, budding sexuality, crippling illness, and a total lack of healthy communication. Things get wildly out of hand when the tension snaps.

Lords was so memorable in her performance of Excision that I spent much of the remaining 2 1/2 hours of The Tommyknockers reading about her - and of course paying attention when her menacing postmaster of rural Maine character was on screen.

In all, this film and the performers feel like they all just walked out of a smokey bog in the middle of the night - for no other purpose but to punch you in the gut or face, and leave you with a stench in the back of your throat and a heart ache you'll never forget.

Pairs with casseroles that have been in the freezer too long, warm beer, and stained pillowcase-less pillows. I watched this film on Amazon Prime. Use the Find It! Watch it! links on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this teenage nightmare.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Black Christmas (2019)

Okay, I'm going to just give everyone fair warning right off the bat:

I've been in COVID-19 quarantine for a month, friends and family - everyone - are loosing jobs, lives, and living on the precipice, I'm *this close* to throwing things out the window whenever I see/hear president 45 breathe, and the stupidity on social media is giving me a tick that may have possible long term damage.

I also just downed a handful of IPA beers on an empty stomach and ready to cut a b*tch.

LET'S DO THIS!



This movie wasn't even on my radar until, oh, two days ago. I think I may have heard it was created but probably thought it was from a dream - it was that much of a whisper in my orbit.

When my brother suggesting watching it we both approached the idea with an "Eh, could be interesting. Let's see" and nothing more than that. 

Started it up, noticed it was a Blumhouse production (we both mumbled something like, "oh yeah, they are putting out some good, interesting stuff...), saw the acting was well done, it's engaging, we're getting into it - and then one of the characters stated her menstrual cup was missing and I was: "Oh hell YEAH!"  I sat up a little more and thought: Damn girl, we don't talk about periods and the environmental, financial, and physical benefits of certain hygiene products in horror films. I'm listening....

It was about that time that I remembered a quote from a Blumhouse book I had just finished (The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares - find me on Goodreads for more, bookworms): "Whenever I am meeting with a new filmmaker, I always say the same thing: 'I can't promise you a hit movie, but I can promise you that it will be your movie.'" - Jason Blum

As an artist, this spoke clearly and inspirationally to me. As someone who was perusing the user reviews for this film on IMDB, this spoke mountains. Mountains of opinions. Mountains of tone-deaf, flat, and cheap opinions. 

Look, I also initially questioned why this film was called Black Christmas (as a remake of the classic). I questioned because it stands on it's own and I dare say that if it was called anything else (but still retained the Easter egg tributes), it would have received a different reception.

Die hard fans of the original were unsurprisingly *shocked*. I don't usually use this term, but based on the reviews I'm going to call them pearl clutchers - flabbergasted at this version versus the original. Some holy ground was broken. 

Good.

This film took a Leonardo painting and had a Picasso make their own version.

I don't know if it's the world we're in right now or if I've officially reached an age where I'm really connecting with tales of angry old women saying 'f*ck you all' and going off to live in the woods, but I think I really needed to see some ladies on TV shoving pads down their pants, wearing little Santa suites while calling out rapists, smashing and bashing all manner of threats with all their might, and overall making everyone UNCOMFORTABLE.

This film makes people uncomfortable

Good.

Regardless of how that uncomfortable sense resonates - this film provides many options - over the last couple of days I've become very comfortable with how uncomfortable it is, and I'm perfectly fine if it makes anyone uncomfortable for a much longer time. Saturate and come out a learning something about yourself - you know - like art is suppose to do.

This film isn't my favorite but gaddam I respect it.

My brother and I talked throughout the film and I added at points that yes, good girl friends snuggle, laugh at our own breasts, bathe naked with each other, and have some record-breaking filthy mouths. He asked for examples on the talk, so I provided him with my favorite - a compliment to friends but an insult to strangers - especially when we're all in really deep, drunken gossip: 

"Shut your whore mouth!"

So hey, (2019) IMDB reviewers of this film: shut your whore mouth.

This film is rented from Scarecrow video (a brick and mortar store) - they are testing out an option to mail movies during this COVID b*llshit and we're doing our part to try and keep them in business. Or use the Find It Watch It links on Horror Habit's sidebar to locate where else you can you find this movie version of a friend you're not sure if you can bring to certain parties. 

Stay safe, be well, take care of you. 


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Race With the Devil (1975)

Hi everyone,
How are you all holding up during COVID-19? I hope you're all well and stay well!

Here in Seattle we're in quarantine for an indefinite amount of time. It's been nearly two weeks and I've already gone through my jigsaw puzzle collection ...

I am, of course, also plowing through horror movies. During the day though, I'm blowing through comedy shows because I need a guaranteed laugh.

Speaking of guaranteed laugh, my brother and I got into a discussion about whistling, recently, which prompted us to try to whistle. To the horror of both of us, we seemed to have lost the ability to whistle. There we were, walking around the house, staring at walls, and mildly panicking until slowly, but surely, the ability to whistle came back to us.

I also noted that when I was first trying to whistle, my jaw sort of "cracked", and that's when I realized I've been clenching my jaw/grinding my teeth for a while (days, weeks, months????). So this is my advice: please take time to laugh and try to whistle - even if it's just to make sure you're not locking your jaw in unrecognized stress.

Although we're trying to spend the day laughing and working on jigsaw puzzles, it's movie night every night in the Bergman home.

Last night my brother suggested the movie he's been asking me to watch, for years: Race With the Devil.


Why I haven't seen this film listed in some of 'the best religious cult horror' lists, is beyond me. This is a remarkably exciting for such a minimal premise. Two couples commence on an RV trip through rural Texas only to stumble across a religious cult - nightmares ensue. 

This is a thrilling film! Honestly, I wasn't expecting to find a story about an RV tearing top speed through tumbleweeds and dirt piles to be so exciting. IT IS!

Bonus, considering this is 1970's midnight pulp fodder, it's not 'ridiculous'. All actions are reasonable (e.g., no one is making stupid, garish mistakes), and the story unfolds with alarming ease and doom. This gritty relatability is also what made is so endearing. For example, there is a scene where a couple of friends are defying the cold in order to sit outside, drunk, and talk about nothing. 

I've been there. So Many Times. Bundled up, hunched over the table, smoking and being merrily tipsy with my friends into the early hours. Cheers, girls' weekend getaways.

In all, this is an overall menacing fun film with a Mad Max feel. Excellent choice for a late movie night. Also, judge the movie by this movie poster:

Exciting!

Not this one:

Yikes!

Pairs with a sh*t ton of snacks, lots of blankets, and surrounded by objects bought at tourists traps.

I watched this movie on Amazon, or use Horror Habit's Find It! Watch It! links to see where else you can "catch" this heart racer. 

Stay safe, be well!

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Invisible Man (2020)

There are few films where I've walked out of a theater and had a raw, visceral reaction emanating from my body and psyche.

The top ones are -

I Just Need A Gaddamn Moment To Process This: The Sixth Sense, The Others

Crying My Gaddman Eyes Out - Don't Touch Me: The Orphanage, A Tale Of Two Sisters

WHAT IN THE GADDAMN SCARY AMAZING HELL WAS THAT? SOMEONE WALK ME HOME: Dog Soldiers, Brotherhood of the Wolf
*Werewolves get me every time.

Based on the dates of these films, you can probably guess that I haven't had a *raw, visceral reaction* when walking out of the theater, in a while...

That changed when I saw the breathtaking remake of: The Invisible Man.


A quick history why this new The Invisible Man even exists and why I thought it was based on a true story:

Universal made the monumental mistake of trying to connect all the classic horror monsters into a series of re-booted classic creature features - hopping on the tails of comic book franchises. Why this didn't work is for another time, but it didn't work, until now. Until the monsters became their own again and this masterpiece was released - reinventing the horror of *An* Invisible Man.

A few weeks earlier I was sitting at a pub, not thinking about how the Universal Picture's Dark Universe no longer existed, when I saw the trailer for The Invisible Man. My initial thought and, embarrassingly, first words to the unsuspecting person to my left was: "This is based on a true story."

I'm dead now from mortification when I think about it - especially because of the look I got from this stranger - but I legitimately thought the trailer was about a remake of The Entity - a well documented story about a woman who was terrorized and abused by an invisible being. 

That story terrifies me, along with the story about the San Pedro haunting. BOTH ARE PISS YOUR PANTS TERRIFYING, and have many similarities.

As I was watching The Invisible Man, I wondered if both these stories actually played a part in the film. Particularly, since all stories take place in California and there is a scene in The Invisible Man that looks *an awful lot like the attic in the notorious San Pedro clip*. The fact that a woman with a history of being abused is terrorized by an invisible man, is aiding in this connection.

In all, there were a good several weeks were I thought this film was not actually a remake of a Universal cult classic, but based on allegedly true story(ies). 

And you know what - none of that matters because this is a remarkable film and what makes it terrifying is that it has ties to reality:

REAL LIFE FUCKING PSYCHOS

Hold on to your pants folks, this is a nerve-wrenching film. 

It's harrowing because it's so real and battles monsters that live next door - in the next room. The escape from and trying to get people to believe that these types of monsters exist *is* a huge portion of the terror of this film. Tread at your risk, those who have experienced this. It may not be the film for you right now. For me, it's a film where I walked out, heart beating, and I kinda wanted to scream "f*ck you, fight me* at everyone. 

In other words: This film will put you through the ringer, if you're not a gaddamn waste-of-space narcissist, anyway. It garners a lot of what makes us uncomfortable but also what makes us a bad ass. 

Pairs with an overnight bag and bottles (to drink out of or smash...). Best watched with best friends who would hide a body for you. 

I watched this film in the theater, right before Washington State was shut down for COVID-19. I understand that Universal released this film for streaming, in the wake of this crisis.

Be safe and take care of each other, everyone!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Podcasts I Love: The Scene Of The Crime

Folks, I've been on a really bad true crime podcast kick, lately. It's bad. 

IT'S BAD.

I used to listen to music. I used to listen to nature. Used to.

I'll be giving my shoutout love to the other true crime podcasts I've been listening to, but I wanted to point this this one out in particular. It's new, as of today about eight episodes have been released (and I binge listened to all in a matter of hours), and the podcast focuses on the Pacific Northwest/Seattle area. 

If you're also a true crime junkie (because, horror), then let me introduce you to: The Scene Of The Crime.

For those new to Horror Habit, I'm located in Seattle and have regularly crossed the same paths/haunts of area serial killers. There's only one that had a mind to kill me though. 

In late 2003/early 2004, I encountered gaddamn human hemorrhoid:  Curtis "Shit Stain" Thompson. He saw me walking down the street and asked if he could give me a ride. I looked at him (easy to do, because he slowed his dumb ass convertible down to a crawl) and all I said was: "Have a nice day."

Folks, this douche canoe lost his ever loving mind. He pulled himself up on the steering wheel and shouted "I'm just trying to be nice!" I started walking faster and not making eye contact. Things were made worse since I was in a business and building remote area. My nearest "safe" area was a bus stop a couple blocks away. 

This green, runny turd in human form followed me for several blocks, screaming at me from his fucking car the whole time. I was sweating, scared, and focused. He kept shouting that he was "...just trying to be nice" and I only responded a few times with "Have A NICE DAY!"

I got to the bus stop, just as traffic was being held up by his slow ass and I could see a bus coming, a few blocks away. I stopped there and stared at him. I got a really, really good look at his face. I have no idea where the power came from to stand still and stare at him - just feet apart - but I'm still glad I did it. I'm glad I will never forget his stupid fucking face.

He peeled off and I ran onto the bus. Months later I saw his face again, on the news - restrained and in court for the horrible rape and murder of a woman in a neighborhood alarmingly close to our meeting - months, if not days, after our encounter. 

I think I stopped breathing when I saw this news broadcast. I may or may not have screamed.

So here I am now, listening to a phenomenally well done podcast about my neighborhoods and local haunts. These stories scare me to no measurable degree, particularly because of my proximity, but the hosts also do a remarkable job of sharing these horror stories in such a way that it could also be your neighborhood.

Digging into dark Pacific Northwest histories, telling these stories with an expertise of an investigative reporter, while also feeling (alarmingly) warm and comforting, this is a podcast for your true crime needs - ESPECIALLY - if you're familiar with the PNW.

Check out The Scene Of The Crime. Tell them Horror Habit sent you, with love. 

PS: Take care out there. Kick assholes in the balls.