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Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 2

In honor of Pride Month, we are so happy to offer this story about a young transgender man by author Evelyn Deshane. This story was originally submitted for the Body Horror anthology, and we didn’t think it fit that theme, but we knew that it was an important story, and one we wanted to be able to tell the world. We have broken it into three parts, and one part will be offered each week of the month. Enjoy!

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Milk by Evelyn Deshane Pt. 1

In honor of Pride Month, we are so happy to offer this story about a young transgender man by author Evelyn Deshane. This story was originally submitted for the Body Horror anthology, and we didn’t think it fit that theme, but we knew that it was an important story, and one we wanted to be able to tell the world. We have broken it into three parts, and one part will be offered each week of the month. Enjoy!

Editor
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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Residue’ (2017)

Time is an illusion, your life is meaningless and nothing is real.

Kicking off out last Lovecraftian horror before the release of my new novella “In the Shadow of the Mountain,” already available for pre-order, we’ll look at an absolute fantastic b-rated Lovecraftian style movie, that is creepy, cerebral, and silly. Order it here!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘The Void’ (2016)

A Void of Strong Women Characters

Let me just start out by saying, there was a LOT about this movie that was testing my fucking patience. It really prayed on “Weaker Sex Syndrome” far too often, and for a hot second, I could swear they were doing “Gladiator Moments.” There was scene after scene of what seemed like completely unrelated artsy bullshit. Thank god I was wrong about that because I really wanted to like this movie just from the premise.

In the end, the random moments of esoteric bullshit did get tied in nicely and the movie almost (note that’s ALMOST) redeemed the “Weaker Sex Syndrome.” I guess I have to give them credit for trying, as it’s more than most in the industry do these days.

But here’s the thing. There are very few Lovecraftian movies that did the feel of the genre justice without getting into the artsy silent films. There was YellowBrickRoadIn the Mouth of MadnessColor from the Dark, and, of course Lord of Illusions (LOI), which this movie very much reminded me of. The one thing that LOI had that this didn’t was the mystery aspect of Lovecraft. The search for truth leading to the discovery of madness. That’s sort of essential to the Lovecraft genre and The Void picks up after that pretty much already over and done with.

Still this movie had amazing atmosphere, a storyline that was coherent, which is hard for this genre, character development that was somewhat decent, and acting that was pretty good, even for horror… so why did I almost stop watching?

SPOILERS!!!

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THE IRRATIONAL WOMEN IN THIS FUCKING MOVIE!!! They cast all the female roles in this movie pretty much just to drive the plot by being completely fucking useless or even worse, idiotic. If it wasn’t the nurse’s assistant breaking down into hysterics every five fucking minutes, it was the headstrong independent woman who you KNOW is gonna Lois Lane herself into being the damsel in fucking distress. Then there’s the country bumpkin pregnant girl who is only in this movie to give birth to a tentacle beast. Fucking seriously? Where are my Ripleys? Where are my Black Widows? Where are the women at? You know? The real women with active grey matter who drive the plot by being a part of the story, not by being fucking “McGuffins With Legs.”

And the fucking main character. Jesus fucking Christ, it’s like he spends the first fucking 20 minutes either unconscious or getting the shit kicked out of him. Isn’t he supposed to be a fucking cop? I mean, I get that they wanted him to be portrayed as a dweeb, but FUCK. Every five minutes for the first 20 minutes, he either gets knocked the fuck out or faints. Look, he had to have some kind of training, right? Self-defense? Boxing? How the fuck did this guy even become a cop?!

So why did I like this movie? Fuck man, I’m not even sure. The beginning is rough and poorly conceived, but the rest is so captivating.

It’s not just the fact it’s a creature feature with tentacle beasts. I do love a good creature feature, but there was more in this. Now, as you can tell by me complaining about the three “McGuffins With Legs,” a lot of the story is forced. But it always leaves just enough for intrigue. You can’t just ignore the fact that the movie starts off with a cult surrounding a hospital, trapping everyone inside and just slowly erodes from there. You find out quickly that this all has something to do with the bumpkin’s baby. It starts out as s simple struggle for survival, but then the mystery starts to kick in.

Once you get through the bullshit, and the bullshit is livable, it’s actually amazing.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Black Mountain Side’ (2014)

Kicking off the release of “In the Shadow of the Mountains” by Reed Alexander, one of the many movies that inspired it.  Interestingly enough this movie was inspired by another fantastic work of horror fictions call “At the Mountains of Madness” by H.P. Lovecraft.

Can a movie be too intellectual to be scary?

This was a damn good movie.  It’s definitely not for everyone.  I’m not sure what kind of crowd this would appeal to but it hit all my buttons.  It was just such an intelligent movie.  The characters, step by step, logically addressed the illogical.  It’s based on Lovecraft’s “The Mountains of Madness.” It doesn’t follow the actual story of H. P. Lovecraft, but rather supposes what happened before “The Mountains of Madness” kicks off.

But can I recommend this to Lovecraft fans?  It has some of the feel of Lovecraft, but really is a lot more like John Carpenter’s The Thing in stylization.  One could argue that John Carpenter had a Lovecraftian style, but Lovecraft was more subtle, J. C. was pretty in your face.  But it doesn’t have the same brutality as J. C., so can I recommend it to fans of The Thing?

I could almost recommend this movie to fans of anthropology.  Of course the anthropological discoveries are all fake, but they go over them in such amazing detail.  The archaeology builds the mythos so deeply you can almost believe it.  It does get a little strenuous sometimes but it really pulls you into the setting.  It gives it such amazing life.

The acting is fantastic and brilliantly thought out.  When the writer and the actors connect like this, it make for the best movies.  Every reaction is in step with what makes the most sense.  The story just flows out of the actors naturally.  A little too naturally at times.  Dialog turns into needless banter occasionally, but for the most part is really solid.  And the atmosphere.  Man, isolationism is really the strongest setting for any horror.  I mean, it’s easy, but also easy to fuck up.  The wrong lighting, the wrong filters, and a set that’s supposed to feel a million miles from civilization instead feels next door to a major metropolitan area.  But this movie was so dark.  I’ve been talking about this in some of my recent reviews.  It’s dark to the point you have to turn the lights out just to see the screen.  The darkness feels alive.

So, who do I recommend this movie too?  I think it’s a must see for Horror Heads.  It’s certainly required viewing for fans of Lovecraft and J.C.  But I think the people who would be the best target audience are those ancient aliens nuts.

SPOILERS!!!

This movie promised me parasitic cephalopods!  I WANT MY FUCKING CEPHALOPODS!  What do I get instead?  A couple undulating tumors.  Now, don’t get me wrong, creepy rolling tumors are cool, but only because something is supposed to pop out of them.  The characters talk about this mutagenic infection that’s causing tumors which turn into cephalopods, but you never get to see one.  How fucking cool would that have been?  A corpse bursting into dozens of squirming octopus like critters.  That’s the kind of shit horror fans live for.  Maybe they didn’t have the budget?  It was just a disappointment.

They did have fun with the crew’s slow descent into madness.  That’s what this movie was really all about.  Though I’m not sure if slow is the right word.  It’s not fast but the curve is pretty steep.  First a dead cat, then the work crew disappear, then a guy vomits black ichor.  The next thing you know, they’re hacking off a guys arm because something is moving around under the skin, and another character is talking to some strange looking anthropomorphic dear creature from the darkness.  It starts off as a slowly building simmer that last for such a long time, but then suddenly and violently, shit hits the fan.

I don’t understand the motivations of the dear creature.  You get the feeling that it’s trying to propagate the spread of it’s cephalopod tumors, but then it’s constantly having the crew do thing counteractive to the success of the spread.  It infects a guy then has another guy kill him.  Then it doesn’t try to infect anyone else, it just starts convincing them to kill each other.  So, it doesn’t want worshipers, it doesn’t want to successfully spread the parasites.  What the fuck does it want?  It tells the crew that it’s not bound to the dig site, but it doesn’t seem interested in leaving to spread it’s infection.  So what the fuck is it doing?  Pretty much just admiring the stars and brutally murdering any dumb bastard that wanders by.

The ending is actually kinda disappointing, but it did do one thing right.  Say it with me now, in your best Morbo impersonation! “THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!!” I mean, if this is supposed to be the incident before “The Mountains of Madness,” then no one can survive.  Two guys effectively die from the infection, most of the rest wind up killing each other, but the last guy is what bothered me.  The last guy dies by getting stuck in a bear trap.  Really?  Is that all?  We’re just going to have it end with some guy dying of bad luck?  That’s just fucking lame.

But yes, I do recommend this movie.  It’s not just good, it’s fascinating.

If you like Reed Alexander’s Horror Review, consider stopping by Horror.Media and donating by hitting the ‘Tip’ button. You can also support Reed by sharing his reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

https://horror.media/authors/reed-alexander

New reviews posted Thursday, here on Madness Heart!

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Body Horror, Part Three: Literature of the Flesh

David Cronenberg is one of the defining visionaries of body horror. His remake of the Fly is a masterpiece of both practical special effects and the exploration (in themes and in concrete terms) of biology and dehumanization. One of Cronenberg’s movies, however, is often overlooked in a consideration of his “body horror” canon; his adaptation of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Naked Lunch itself is a difficult book to describe. It is hallucinatory, absurd, obscene, terrifying, and absolutely unique – completely unlike anything that came before or since. And amidst the drugs, weird sex, science fiction concepts, and gibberish is a fair amount of what I would describe as good old-fashioned body horror; explorations of addiction, disease, disfigurement, and mutation.

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Body Horror, Part Two: Borborygmus

It begins with the pudding. Calvin’s heart quickens as his stubby fingers brush against the carton at the back of the fridge – how did it get there? – but disappointment awaits. He bends as far as his immense bulk allows and retrieves the container. Only a paucity of the thick, off-white treat remains; hardly a spoonful. The store it is, then.

He dresses slowly. The bending and stretching required leave him short of breath, and so he pauses before he dons his shoes. His small apartment is awash in detritus; clothes strewn on the floor, empty pizza boxes piled in one corner, sink freighted with crusty dishes. A mild mammalian odor, not dissimilar to that of a barn, permeates the air. Calvin takes all this in in a sleepy glance before he turns, exits, and locks the door behind him. Continue reading Body Horror, Part Two: Borborygmus

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Reed Alexander’s Review of ‘The Ruins’ (2008)

Then Something Eats Your Face…

You know, I don’t know why I like this movie so much.  Maybe because it’s not just horror, but survival horror.  It has that “brink of madness, human limits tested, sense of dread” that I love so much about zombie movies (when they’re done right).  Kind of like The Road.  That wasn’t horror, but it’s just an epic long, grueling march, right into the grave. It’s just fucking brutal. *cue Nathan Explosion*

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Pet Sematary’ (2019)

And the Award for Creepiest Child Actress Goes to…

Jesus fucking Christ, Jete’ Laurence is fucking creepy. Can we take a minute to appreciate, that at no point, did she fuck this role up with a Silent Hillmoment? That speaks volumes for her talent as a little actress. Hope she carries it.

Speaking of acting, what a fantastic fucking cast. John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, fucking forget about it. Those two alone could have carried this movie with their performance. Throw in Jete’, and it’s just acting overkill.

So the lingering question, that I’m sure has been on all you filthy mutant’s fucking minds… Is it worth the remake? Is it better? Well, no, not better, just different. Look, we can’t talk about this movie without bringing up the original, and we can’t talk about the original, without admitting to ourselves that it was kind of fucking cheese. Look, the original has a soft spot in my heart (that could be necrosis), but it was cheesy as fuck. The acting was cheese, the atmosphere was cheesy, shit, the creepy little Gage was kinda cheesy. But, that’s why we loved it. It was cheesy, creepy, and fun as all fucking hell.

This one was just more serious, and that’s where it is both better but also kind of fails to be better. Serious is good, if you can really nail it home.  Now, as mentioned before, the acting was just spectacular and really fucking drives it home. The dialog was also just fantastic and the emoting by the actors in the dialog was fucking gripping. However, it was a bit over the top. It was like everyone was just fucking crying all the damn time and it did get a bit draining.

The atmosphere, for the most part, was fucking solid. The problem is, when they breach the barrier into the Wendigo swamps, it gets really fucking cartoonish. Here’s the thing, they must have known they fucked it up too. If you saw the previews, you’ll notice the swamps look gritty, dark, and forbidding. But, when you watch the movie, they’re just fucking cartoonish. They don’t feel real, or even surreal, they just feel fake.

What pisses me off about this is how solid, real, and fucking creepy everything else feels, but then you get to the swamps and it’s like they phoned it the fuck in. Now, this isn’t the only thing they fucked up, but I can’t get into the rest outside the spoilers. Here’s the thing, I mentioned in an interview with Madness Heart Press, that the directors were little known and I was really familiar with anything under their belt. Frankly, they were too green and they made some rookie mistakes. 

So, is it better than the original? No, it’s not better or worse, it’s just different. Is it worth watching? Yeah, I highly recommend this to general audiences. There’s enough good movie here for even casual viewers to enjoy. Not a must watch by any means, but definitely worth watching if you give it a chance.

SPOILERS!!!

I’m not sure if the motivation of Victor Pascow really tracks. Also, does “black guy dies first” count if the actor gets to live on as a ghost? I mean, they gave Obssa Ahmed plenty of screen time, but why have a black actor if you just pigeon hole the guy into the same ol’ horror stereotype. And this is the second place they phoned it in. Not by killing him, but by giving him shit dialog and crappy FX. This was the second thing that felt cartoony in this movie. It’s like they didn’t even try with the FX. Worse, it was practical FX, and that’s not something a major Hollywood production has any excuse fucking up. It’s a rookie mistake, once again proving the directors just weren’t ready.

You know what I did appreciate in this remake that I feel was missing in the original? They really got solidly into the motivations of each character. While Jud from the original was just like, “Every kid should have their animal raised from the dead at least once in their life,” this Jud was like, “I wanted to make the kid happy, but it plays on your emotions, calling you back, using it against you.” Now that’s really deep stuff. Not to mention they just layer on the history with Rachel Creed’s sister. And, MY FUCKING GOD, that is jut some brutal portrayal of abuse. It got me straight up shook. Good body horror too with the FX on her sister. So, please fucking explain to me how they got that right, but fucked up Victor Pascow?

All in all, outside of its failings, it was a pretty solid movie and I’d recommend it to anyone.

If you like Reed Alexander’s Horror Review, consider stopping by Horror.Media and donating by hitting the ‘Tip’ button. You can also support Reed by sharing his reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

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New reviews posted Wednesday, here on Madness Heart!