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Comedy Horror

7 Netflix Titles We’re Interested in Coming in August

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Netflix in August is giving us 7 titles we’re interested in. Some are returning series, some are original movies, but all are worthy of a watchlist ping. Let us know what you think and if there are some we missed that you want us to know about.

Coming in August 2022

The Sandman (August 5)

Here is a highly anticipated live-action version of Neil Gaiman’s comic book classic. At almost 40 years old, the story is getting a Netflix series. The streamer had a successful run with Lucifer, a spin-off character from the comics.

Gaiman himself describes the story of The Sandman: A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power.

I Just Killed My Dad (August 9)

Netflix has been hitting their true-crime docu-series’ out of the park. Often compelling and full of twists, these true crime titles are a popular sub-genre. I Just Killed My Dad is definitely an attention-grabbing title, so it seems we are in for another wild, interesting ride.

Synopsis: Anthony Templet shot his father and never denied it. But why he did is a complex question with profound implications that go far beyond one family.

Locke & Key Season 3 (August 10)

Are you ready to return to Keyhouse? The popular series Locke & Key is dropping its third season, premiering this month. A nail-biting cliffhanger in the season two finale will most likely be addressed.

Not only that but this is reported to be the final season of the supernatural thriller. Don’t dodge this one if you know what I mean.

School Tales: The Series (August 10)

Who doesn’t like anthologies? With Asian horror becoming trendy again stateside, we get this offering from Thailand. There are eight stories in all, each with its own ghost story to tell:

A girl jumping to her death; a haunted library; canteen food made from human flesh; a headless ghost in the school warehouse; a devil-infested room; a vengeful demon in an abandoned building; and a classroom where only dead students attend class.

Will the stories have a wraparound arc? We’ll have to wait and see.

Day Shift (August 12)

Jamie Foxx is a Los Angeles pool boy who just wants to provide for his daughter in Day Shift. So what’s a little side-hustle killing vampires? This highly anticipated action opus is from the creators of John Wick 4 so you know it’s going to be frenetic. The trailer alone is watchlist worthy and we’ve already checked the box.

Co-starring Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg, Day Shift is probably going to chart through the roof. Is it going to be Stranger Things popular? Probably not, but it looks like a real good time.

Echoes (August 19)

This Australian thriller is coming up top to the states this month. Not much is known about the plot and that might be a good thing if you like a little mystery with your horror. This comes from the creator of 13 Reasons Why but feels a little more like 2021’s I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Leni and Gina are identical twins who have secretly swapped their lives since they were children, culminating in a double life as adults, but one of the sisters goes missing and everything in their perfectly schemed world turns into chaos

The Girl in the Mirror (August 19)

Anyone else noticing a trend in movie titles that start with “The Girl”? This series is imported from Spain, another country that is rising in quality horror entertainment. With heavy Final Destination vibes, The Girl in the Mirror has us intrigued.

Synopsis: After surviving a bus accident in which almost all her classmates die, Alma wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the incident… or of her past. Her house is full of memories that are not hers, and both amnesia and trauma cause her to experience night terrors and visions that she cannot clarify. With the help of her parents and friends, unknown to her, she will try to uncover the mystery surrounding the accident while struggling to recover her life and her identity.

From July:

July means half the year is over and boy, has Netflix had a great one. Stranger things have happened.

But it’s not over yet, and the streamer has more up its sleeve in July as far as fascinating content. In the remaining days they are offering up some intriguing stories and we have picked several that have caught our attention.

We present them here so that you can plan the rest of July in anticipation just like the rest of us.

The Wretched July 31

Even though 2020 sucked for a lot of people there were some decent titles that came out that year to appease the homebound horror fan. The Wretched is one of those titles and it delivers. With an interesting story and strikingly creepy visuals, The Wretched still holds up right down to its final act. If you didn’t get a chance to see this when it first came out, give it a watch on Netlfix and let it cast its spell.

A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parents’ imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand-year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.

Keep Breathing July 28

At first, it seems like Yellowjackets for one, but then it delves into some Stephen King-type territory. Either way, Keep Breathing looks like an adventure in terror and we’ve got our figurative tickets. Scream’s (2021) Melissa Barrera stars as a plane crash survivor who seemingly gets caught between reality and fantasy. The fantasy part might be more damaging than the elements as her will to survive lessens every hour.

When a small plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, a lone survivor must battle the elements — and her personal demons— to stay alive.

Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi

Netflix has shown up for foreign filmmakers recently. They aren’t afraid of subtitles even though they seem to love bad dubbing. This offering is based on true events and has some English-speaking interviews. But what intrigues us the most is how one person can dismember so many people and still evade authorities.

One city, one cold-blooded murderer and multiple horrifying crimes. Brace yourself for the most bone-chilling, blood curdling true crime story you’ll ever see. Because this time, evil is closer than you thought it would be.

School Tales The Series TBD

As stated above, Netflix is leveling up on their foreign horror movie game. Earlier this month we got the found footage creeper Incantation, and now we get another Taiwanese horror movie, School Tales; this time it’s an anthology. It has all the earmarks of an Asian horror movie with its curses, classrooms, and evil school girls. But will we hold a grudge if it doesn’t hold up to our standards?

Every school has its tales of horror and mystery… the marching band is staying over at the school for annual camp and the members decide to “test” if some of their school’s ghostly tales are for real.

My Village People July 22

From East Asia to West Africa we get a witchy offering with My Village People. No, it’s not an autobiography about a 70s boy group who are famous for a wedding reception dance, although that might make our 6 Netflix titles we’re interested list. This one’s about a coven of witches who appear unhappy with a man who courts two of them. Will this put a spell on us or drive us into the woods?

A young man’s weakness for women lands him in trouble when he is caught in a bizarre love triangle with witches.

Bad Exorcist Wednesday, July 20

A TV-MA animated series? Yes and thank you very much. This Polish series looks two parts South Park and two parts Beavis and Butt-Head. Apparently, this series is about a freelance exorcist who is fouler than the monsters he’s provoking. Sounds like a regular Saturday to me!

No demon is safe as Bogdan Boner, the alcohol-loving, self-taught exorcist-for-hire, returns with more inventive, obscene and deadly deeds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45tmBZM4G3w

So that’s it so far; our 6 Netflix titles we’re interested in to round out the month. Even if they aren’t as great as we would like, it’s comforting to know we are halfway to Halloween.

Comedy Horror

Fantasia 2022 Review: ‘Deadstream’ Livestreams a Hectic Haunting

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Deadstream

Written and directed by Vanessa and Joseph Winter, Deadstream is a real-time riot. With goopy practical effects, a bare-bones presentation, and a very intentionally acted lead (played by Joseph Winter), the film concocts a faux-livestream that turns from uneventful to unbelievable over the course of one night.

Leading the livestream is Shawn Ruddy (Winter), a recently disgraced social media star who’s gained his fame by performing a series of ridiculous challenges (including in-poor-taste tests such as “running from the cops” and “smuggled across the border”). With his grand return to the internet (after an apology video, naturally), Shawn has decided to take a spooky turn by spending the night in a supposedly haunted house. Of course, when a controversial personality is set loose in a house with a dark past, he’s bound to upset the spiritual balance. 

We’ve seen a few social influencer horror films pop up over the last few years, but it’s a subgenre that’s kind of slid under the radar. With Sissy and Deadstream – both included in Fantasia Fest’s 2022 season – it’s got a bit of a resurgence, but the two films tackle this topic in very different ways. 

Deadstream is a goofy, entertaining romp that throws Shawn around, forcing him to confront his demons (both personal and supernatural). Promising “the most cinematic experience in livestream history”, Shawn delivers just that. It feels kind of like Grave Encounters meets Evil Dead II, with plenty of slapstick comedy and some very active ghosts. 

Winter’s performance is so very over-the-top that it’s actually perfect. It would almost be annoying, but it’s such a precise lampoon of online personalities that it becomes quite impressive. Everything done and said is a deliberate performance. There’s a set “character” that these personalities play, always focused on engagement for the sake of clicks, follows, and sponsors. 

Shawn is a man who is always aware that he’s on camera. His regular interactions with his viewers serves a dual purpose as well; not only is he staying in his very specific character, but it’s also giving the audience a bit more to focus on than just one man with a camera (or set of cameras). 

Everything in the film is orchestrated in a way to keep the plot moving and the audience tuned in. The illusion works; it’s believable (or at least entertaining) content. Winter’s comedic timing is excellent and his line delivery sells the online fantasy.

The proudly 100% practical creature effects and straightforward camerawork keep things simple and manageable for a low budget. The film is clever, well constructed, and puts a fun new twist on both the haunted house and found footage subgenres. Deadstream frolics in the puddle of its own absurdity, and has such a blast doing so, you can’t help but join in the fun.


Deadstream is part of Fantasia International Film Festival‘s 2022 season. For more on Fantasia 2022, click here to read an interview with the writer/director of Skinamarink, or for more influencer horror, check out our review of Sissy.

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Great Performances in Horror: Carol Kane in Office Killer

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Spotlight: Carol Kane in Office Killer

Office Killer seemed like the type of film that should have been heralded as a cult classic the moment it was released back in 1997. It certainly has all the ingredients. There’s a starry cast featuring the likes of Molly Ringwald and Jeanne Tripplehorn, the film’s director was artist Cindy Sherman making her directorial debut, and the story appeared to be a biting satire about office politics under the clever guise of a slasher film (which were thriving at the time due to the success of films such as Scream). 

Unfortunately, while Office Killer might have many quality ingredients, it wasn’t baked quite long enough to satisfy most audiences at the time and people either didn’t care for it or didn’t even bother giving it a chance. Was it too many cooks in the kitchen? Studio interference by the notoriously pesky producers over at Dimension Films? The barely-there theatrical release that left most people encountering it for the first time on the new release wall at their local video store? No one knows for sure since everyone involved in the production seems to have taken an oath of silence after making it as if they were all involved in some sort of I Know What You Did Last Summer-style cover-up.

While the satire and slasher elements sometimes butt heads, Office Killer does offer more than enough intriguing elements to please both horror and dark comedy fans alike. The one element of the film that holds up throughout the tonal whiplash is Carol Kane who plays the film’s protagonist and main villain, Dorine Douglas. Only Kane is able to impress from scene to scene as the film carousels through slasher film, corporate satire, and melodrama. 

Kane’s Dorine is, at first, a sort of pathetic Carrie White-esque character you either want to shake some sense into, hug, or both. She’s a pushover who follows orders and seems to shrink with every passing minute she’s forced to interact with another human being. She’s also in desperate need of a makeover with her penciled-in eyebrows, frumpy sweaters, and bizarre hairdos (truly, what this film is missing most is a makeover montage). She’s the person who’s been working at the company the longest and the one people go to when they have a proofreading issue. She’s incredibly competent at what she does and this job appears to be all she has in her life besides a domineering wheelchair-bound mother back home who she has a strained but dependent relationship with. 

It’s no surprise that Dorine loses it a bit when she discovers she’s become a victim of corporate downsizing and will now have to work from home. To Dorine, being stuck at home all day with her mother hurling insults at her is truly a fate worse than death. 

When she accidentally electrocutes an annoying co-worker while working late at the office, she decides not to call the police. Instead, she transports his body back to her basement and keeps him there as a new friend. Before long, she’s knocking off anyone else who annoys her or threatens to spill her secrets and she begins creating a gruesome array of corpses in her basement.

Through flashbacks and some of Dorine’s own recollections to Nora, a guilt-ridden co-worker played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, we discover that Dorine’s childhood was far from perfect. Her mother never believed her stories about abuse from her father and Dorine herself caused the car accident that killed her father and crippled her mother for life. That’s pretty heavy stuff and you can’t help but feel for Dorine a little bit even as she’s chopping through co-workers left and right.

While some of the co-workers might have had it coming, many of the victims after the film’s midpoint don’t seem to be motivated by anything other than bloodlust and a need to satisfy the demands of a horror film. An innocent pair of Girl Scouts and a lowly mail boy at work end up on the receiving end of Dorine’s blade and, while Kane does what she can and does look imposing as a sort of gender-flipped Michael Myers, it dulls our compassion for the character and makes her more of a one-note boogeywoman. To Kane’s credit,  she even makes this section of the film work. No one can play crazy like Carol Kane

Kane’s finest and most haunting scene as Dorine occurs towards the film’s grisly climax where she goes upstairs to check on her mother and finds her dead from natural causes. The guttural screams Kane unleashes are primal and uncomfortable to listen to and what you’d expect from a grieving daughter. As horrible of a mother as she was, you can see that Dorine does love her and it’s like a piece of her has died. As she starts to panic, Kane becomes manic and immediately goes into denial chanting “I don’t care” over and over again and, at one point, even whispering it in a creepy way. Before long, the scene takes a sharp turn and she’s telling her mother she hopes she’s burning in hell with her father. It sure makes for a memorable scene. 

After her mother’s corpse is taken away by the paramedics, Dorine is unshackled and free to live her life and decides to take care of all the loose ends by setting fire to the house and destroying all the evidence of the many people she’s killed.

The film ends with Dorine driving off with a snazzy new disguise (hey, she finally got that makeover!), as her voice-over tells us that she’s moving to a new town and might be popping up at your office soon. It’s a campy “good for her” ending that doesn’t quite match the rest of the film, but as always, Kane sells it and leaves you wanting more. Personally, I wouldn’t mind an Office Killer franchise where Dorine goes from office to office, knocking off annoying co-workers in increasingly odd and creative ways.

At times, you get the feeling that there were three different drafts of the Office Killer script going around and everyone got one with a different tone or genre, but only Kane was given all three and is able to bounce from tone to tone with impressive dexterity. She can do anything the film demands of her – be scary, pathetic, flirty, shy, funny, and campy. It’s clear that she would have thrived had the film leaned more towards the horror or satire, because she understands who this woman is so completely. Kane is more than worth seeing the film for, but the film itself, tonally bizarre as it is, is long overdue for a reappraisal by horror and dark comedy fans alike.

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Comedy Horror

Panic Fest 2022 Review: ‘The Chamber of Terror’ is an Entertaining and Funny Ride

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I’ve always been a fan of genre mash-ups. To paraphrase writer Alan Moore, life is so many genres at the same time why stick to just one? It’s always fun to see horror in particular mesh with other types of stories to create something different. And in the case of Chamber of Terror it zig-zags across a terrain of genre!

The story follows Nash Caruthers (Timothy Paul McCarthy), a certified kick-ass badass bad dude who’s reactions tend to be ‘punch first, ask questions later.’ The film opens with him having kidnapped Tyler Ackerman (Seth O’Shea) the scion to the notoriously brutal Ackerman Crime Family. Nash has sealed Tyler in a coffin and intends to get revenge on Tyler and his pals for a past misdeed. A month later, Nash is targeted, beaten, and kidnapped by soem goons sent by The Ackermans and taken to the derelict carnival ride and titular Chamber of Terror. There, he is confronted by Ava Ackerman (Jessica Vano) who is intent on looking good for her father and finding or avenging Tyler, one way or another.  Unknown to all parties, the location has a sordid history beyond their knowing and it’s coming back to haunt them, literally…

Image via Panic Fest

Chamber of Terror is the debut feature from Michael Pereira and it really does try to shoot for the moon. Starting off as a sort of low-budget Reservoir Dogs before things begin to turn into Poltergeist. The mish-mashing of genre is evident with the character of Nash Caruthers. With his one-liners, threats, and perpetual sunglasses on his head, he would feel more in line starring in something with Schwarzenegger or Stallone. He’s a man’s man out for revenge on the Ackerman’s and he just be justified by the time the reveal of ‘why’ comes about. This hammy action star acting builds a fun contrast between him and the Ackerman Family goons who tend to bicker or get themselves hurt with almost Quentin Tarantino style flair.

The setting is just as much a character as anyone else in the film. The titular Chamber of Terror being a derelict amusement park attraction made even more frightening by its abandoned nature and becoming true to its name as the Ackerman patriarch turned it into a real life torture chamber for his mob’s victims and a place to dispose of them. Adding a whole other level to one seriously creepy carnival.

The story is set almost entirely there, but with plenty of room and twists to keep it fresh as the horror is unleashed. Speaking of, the FX in this movie are rather stand-out despite budgetary limitations. Almost entirely practical FX means there’s ample amounts of blood and guts put on screen whenever someone is shot, stabbed, or straight up torn to shreds.  Befitting the retro aesthetic the story is aiming for.

Image via IMDB

While not the most inventive horror comedy, and leaning perhaps a bit much on the nostalgia factor, I can still appreciate that Chamber of Terror has a lot of drive and inventiveness. A madcap crime comedy turned splattterflick with some decent reveals that really made it stand out.

 

3 eyes out of 5

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