Monday, June 3, 2024

Let's Talk About Wind

I shot up out of bed around 4:00 AM this morning, stunned and startled by a loud sound. That sound was the wind, suddenly barreling through the crack I left in the window. 

The cats jumped up on my bed as I walked to the window, to close it. We burrowed back down as near 50 mile winds slammed against the walls, tree branches were knocking on my window, and I could just hear the planet howling - the cats and I all tried to go back to sleep. Hello everyone, I hate the wind. 

I really, really, really hate the wind.

Let's talk about something that doesn't suck though:

I don't remember exactly when this showed up on my radar but I was instantly intrigued. I patiently waited for a way to see this film.  To my surprise, for a long time it wasn't streaming anywhere and I couldn't even find it at Scarecrow

And then, just the other day, I noticed it's on Tubi. Once again, Tubi to the rescue for obscure films!

This film is based on a novel with a more disturbing ending but that doesn't matter right now. Let's focus on the film. 

To my tired rage, this film description heavily focuses on "... frail young woman...". She's not frail. She's just young and has limited options, and she's rightfully afraid of the unknown world as she embarks on a trek to Texas, alone, in the 1800's.

Unfortunately, lecherous men saw this and took advantage of it. The film then describes that she went "mad".

The wind is mad. That's the backdrop here along with the isolation, and as a South Dakotan, I can tell you, I fell victim to prairie madness a time or two - particularly in the winter. 

When it comes to wind, though, and it's nonstop, the sound is just always there - I get it. I get it, girl. I get it. In this story's case I also get that she had so few friends, resources, was forced into marriage, and was attacked in so many ways in her most vulnerable state. 

This film kept me on the edge of my seat!! I was scared the whole time. I Was Scared The Whole Time!

I watched this film, hot off the tail of the man vs bear debate - and there is a reason this film has been included among the American Film Institute's 100 most heart-pounding American movies. 

That's all you need to know. Walk into this film as blind as possible. There's a reason this film is on a heart-pounding list. There is a reason this film is simply called The Wind. There is a reason this film is SO GOOD. 

This film tested my blood pressure. 

Best watched alone, eating just crusty bread.

So, all that said, don't confuse The Wind with the 1986 film:

I was side eyeing this film for a while (also a Tubi find), and to my surprise delight, it did not disappoint. 

Is it a little weird and awkward - yes. But don't let that stop you! It's never stopped me and little weird and awkward is my life! Here we have the story of a successful author looking for a retreat to write her book. While she's having her own version of hot girl summer, who should come along and try to ruin it? A man! Yep, weird dude living next door starts stalking her. 

Meanwhile, the wind is leaving her with no peace! Just the constant sound, screaming through the ancient Greek windows. 

It took a minute for this film to grow on me but grow it did. This is a classic '80s slasher film with a stylish, moody, and silky backdrop. 

Two thumbs up - just have some patience. Best watched alone or with a bestie. Pairs with wine and a charcuterie board. 

So, all that said, please don't confuse The Wind and The Wind with the 2018 film:

And we're heading back to the prairie!!

I had to watch this film twice, nearly back-to-back.

And we're back to the panic attacks, with this one. This film is more silent than the silent The Wind film. You have to pay constant attention.

Here we have the story of a young couple living next door (about 5 miles away) to a new young couple who are trying out the devastating "manifest destiny" dream. Things don't go well. 

Wind is also a problem.

But is it....? Or are there actual monsters in the earth? Something disguising itself ... 

This is a creature feature that is not a creature feature. Or is is a creature feature. Watch and see for yourself. Overall, we have a woman here, left alone to defend herself against the elements, her demons, and the demons outside (WIND?!?!?!).

I warmed up to this film after the second viewing. It's harsh and raw. It's figuring itself out and it's not for everyone. 

Best watched alone. Pairs with self reflection and soup.

We're not quite done!!!

While I focused on The Wind movies, I wanted to add a short story to this list - written by Eleanor Wilkins Freeman around 1903: The Wind in the Rose-Bush.

I absolutely love this haunting - so haunting - ghost story, about a woman who saw a bush shutter in the wind. I continue to be shaken to my core by this most insane detail. Take a little read for yourself. Thank me later.

I hate wind.

I love you

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Movie List: Rating the films based on Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

Some years ago I stumbled across the story of serial killers Raymond M Fernandez and Martha J Beck, also known as the Lonely Hearts Killers. Two absolute morons who hunted down lonely women through personal ads, scammed them, and then murdered them.

I didn't realize at the time, when I was watching Alleluia, I was seeing the most recent version of their story. Then some years later I stumbled across the cult classic, The Honeymoon Killers, and that's when I realized ... oh. This is yet another movie about this disgusting couple. 

Completely invested now, I had to watch all the films related to this insane story (admittedly, it makes for good horror drama). So here's my first movie rating list. Hope you enjoy!

At the time of this post, I could only find five films - please let me know if I missed one! 

In order from Worse to Best - I present:

Lonely Hearts (2006)

This was the last of the films I watched, and I am certain I didn't experience burnout - this was just Not Good. That said! If you're into film noir or just hard-talking detectives then you might want to give it at least one look. Now, while I did not like it, I will admit this film has a certain je ne sais quoi.

Certain aspects I particularly didn't care for, however, was just the blatant disregard for Martha's character. Here Beck is portrayed as a seductive femme fatale. Absolutely laughable. I lost it. I simply couldn't take anything serious about that, and maybe this is a little burnout talking. I feel I just know Beck's portrayal a little too well by the time I saw this film... 

Additionally, things just got crowded and confusing with the detective talking over the movie (it was not working here), and the side characters' dramas seemed wildly out of place with their forced complexities (which felt quite dull at the same time).  

With a star-studded cast - really surprised me - this very much Hollywoodized film clearly thought they could get away with whatever mess this was.

Best watched with a crowd. Pairs with whiskey on the rocks and pink cake. Here is where you can find it streaming.

Lonely Heart Bandits (1950)

This film opens with a murder/suicide. Which stopped me in my tracks. Wasn't prepared for that. I need answers.

Here we have a very of-the-era portrayal of a fast talking scumbag. Unlike the rest of the films, this one focuses heavily on Raymond's character, particularly at the beginning of the film. 

This movie has no time to waste, at running under an hour, it dives right into these two scheming heart-breakers politely agreeing to do crime together. Not remotely brutal or disturbing, this is a decent film to cozy up to, for a classic movie night in.

In all, this portrayal of serial killers not very nice people is tame, reserved, and damn near almost quaint. They took a lot of liberties with this one. Recommended for non horror fans.

Best watched nestled under blankets. Pairs with ice tea and comfort food. You can find this film on the Internet Archive, or quite likely YouTube as well. 

Deep Crimson (1996)

This film out of Mexico brings us back to the more traditional tale surrounding the "love" idiots. While, the film is good, quite good, it still wasn't my favorite. It's grimy though, and focuses nicely on the monsters they both are. I found it particularly poignant and well played that the film opens with Martha and her children. 

Her children, by the way, who she just gave away to run away with a man (which Beck actually did). It always struck me how this isn't discussed more in their actual story. In this film we see a complicated and seriously damaged side of her emotions regarding leaving her children in a shelter and just walking away. 

The two main characters are performed with horrifying brilliance and you can feel the desperation and total disconnect from reality, both individually and in-between them. Note, it did take me about a half hour to really get into this film, so be patient. 

Best watched with your partner for a f*cked up movie night. Wear toupees, just for fun. Pairs with diner food and alcohol directly from an unlabeled bottle.  Here is where you can find it streaming. 

Alleluia (2014)

This was my introduction to these serial killers, and my oh my did this one blow me away! I was not okay, for a while, after watching this Belgium film. Not Okay!

And just get a load of this poster! [morbid and disturbing chef's kiss].

So we may have had some solid grit and grime in the Deep Crimson cringe binge festival, but this oversteps all the boundaries. Bloody, chaotic, and just totally maddening, this film focuses heavily on intoxicating and blinding obsession, and how very wrong it can get. 

I have a lot more to say about this grotesque film. You can check out the full review here

And here's where you can find it streaming.

The Honeymoon Killers (1970)

This film feels like an infected open wound. It's putrid, depraved, obscene and the raw but calculating filming style just keeps ripping the wound at all corners, leaving you dripping in puss and sick. This is a truly unsettling film. 

That it is portrayed with such brilliance, makes it all the more terrifying!

An intimate look at this couple's dynamics, particularly Martha's unraveling and Ray's manipulation, is a masterpiece to behold. This movie will live rent free in your head and haunt you just to disrupt your day. You've been warned. 

According to IMDB, it is included as one of the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies (according to the American Film Institute's 2001 list). That tracks! This film also made my 8th Annual 50 Movies You May Have Missed List. 

I don't have much else to say about this masterwork. Check it out, if you dare! Here's where you can find it streaming. 

Stay tuned for more movie lists!

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Terror Firmer (1999)

[takes a deep breath]

You smell that? There's nothing quite like Troma in the morning! Let's check out the delightfully disgusting:

I love Troma films. Absolutely love them!

What is it about starting my weekend mornings off with blood baths, breasts, guts, sex everywhere, flying limbs, scathing and witty social commentary, body juices all over the place, fire, exploding body parts, and  just general chaos.

Who knows! That's between me and my therapist, I guess. 

Here we have the classic tale of a small budget film crew and a serial killer on the loose. Everything goes bad. That's all you need to know, it's just nonstop bedlam, roll with it. 

It's disgusting, it's so wildly disgusting and so wildly whip-smart - I found myself in laugh attacks while simultaneously recognizing the very real social commentary as body parts are flying around. In IMDB, there is a Trivia statement: 

"This movie is also known as "One giant Tribute to all Troma films" as this film has many similarities to other Troma movies. Some actors with small parts in this movie were the leading characters in other Troma movies."

I couldn't agree more. It's a love letter to Troma films. It's a love letter to society misfits, outcasts, artists, the chaos of independent film making, and how we're all bonded in our love for the unusual, absurd, and calling out the hypocritical. 

This film somehow reminded me of my days as a stage manager for a small independent theater company and I had to shout to the actors, "Could you please put some clothes on!" as I'm trying to wrangle them up for rehearsal and they're just running around half naked. Fond memories <3

That's all I'm going to say about this film. Walk into it blind, first thing on a weekend morning, like I did. If you are new to Troma films then there is absolutely nothing I can do to prepare you. It's a horror right of passage that must be done on your own.

Best watched on Sunday mornings. Pairs with friend eggs and hair of the dog of your choice. 

I watched this film on Kanopy, or use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's side bar to see where else you can catch this beautiful disruption of normality. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Horror Habit is now on TikTok and Letterboxd

Hey everyone!

I've been trying out different ways relay reviews and my stellar humor, and also actually try and keep up with reviews, etc.

First, I'm still regularly watching horror films, I'm just not telling you all about them as often as I'd like. You can find my to watch list, latest activity, and list of recommendations here on Letterboxd. It's a handy tool that I really enjoy using, although I probably still won't get rid of my 12 year old Excel spreadsheet of movies. 😂 I also rate films on this application, which I won't do here. 

And now I'm really excited to share that I'm on TikTok! I'm doing a lot of experimenting there (more silly stuff than movie reviews), but I'm giving it a go - trying some things out, giving Horror Habit a little bit of a fresh face. So check it out! Let me know what you think. I may also add an Instagram some day, never had one before, but honestly, I'm already a bit overwhelmed with social media.

My thoughts on Saltburn (2023) and Poor Things (2023), and horror movies that are trying to tell me what to do!

I am still on Facebook! Come find me! Note, a lot of what I share there I also share here, minus some horror-themed memes and such. 

I am also on Twitter X - but I rarely, rarely ever use it for social activity aside from sharing links to my reviews here. 

You may also see me on IMDB, as I share links to my reviews there as well but I don't comment in the reviews. FYI

In all, I'm trying some new things out! Let me know what you think. ❤✌


Monday, November 27, 2023

Skinamarink (2022)

This movie has been living rent free in my head for a while, and there it will probably stay for years. Shuttered, elusive, suffocating, and a royal mind f*ck - this film is not for everyone. 

Let's check out:

Let me start off by saying this is not a movie you *watch*, it's a movie you experience. This is very important. 

Best as I can tell, a young sister and brother are left alone (seemingly) in a house that slowly begins to trap them in an endless, windowless, light-less, and parent-less home. They take care of each other and their loneliness by watching cartoons and playing with toys in the living room - all while a *creature* lurks in the darkness, trying to separate and further isolate the naive and abandoned siblings. 

This was a rough film. It conjures scary memories of childhood - which, even in the best settings - can be a frightening place.

There are debates online about what this film is really about. Is it about child abuse? Abandonment? Parental neglect through drug and alcohol abuse? There's also talk about perhaps this entire story is regarding head trauma, lost time, comas, or a dream/nightmare. The writer and director is mum on the topic, and rightfully so. Again this film is about experience and that experience is specific to the viewer.  

Personally, I wanted to cry while being terrified and desperately searching for things in the darkness. 

There's not enough money in the world to be a child again. Hell no. This incredibly unique film honestly taps into the fear and vulnerability of children. A very delicate topic that was expertly executed with care and heart.  

This is 100%, absolutely, not a film for everyone. Are you an art house cinephile? Come on in - the water is fine! There is a lot to talk about with this one. 

And that's about it. I felt like I was in a late night edgy art show in a really sketchy part of town, and I could only experience what the paintings and sculptures were trying to convey by seeing the art work through the entire experience of the venue and other people. 

Pairs with food you would make as an 8 year old. Best watched alone or with just a few people who you can periodically converse with when a epiphany hits. 

Good luck.

I watched this film on Shudder or use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's side bar to see where else you can find this truly unsettling feature.