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Fantasia 2020: ‘Yummy’ is a Tasty Treat for Gore Hounds




Zombie movies are — by now — a tired dime a dozen, so it can be extremely difficult to make one that stands out as worth watching. You’ve got to bring something new to the table. Belgian bloodfest Yummy puts the zombie subgenre under the knife; there’s a fresh, attractive face, but ultimately it’s the same (undead) body. 

In the film, a young couple travels to a shady Eastern European hospital for plastic surgery. The young woman, Alison (Maaike Neuville) wants a breast reduction. Her mother Sylvia (Annick Christiaens) comes along for yet another face-lift. Wandering through an abandoned ward, the boyfriend, Michael (Bart Hollanders), stumbles upon a young woman, gagged and strapped to an operating table; she’s the result of experimental rejuvenation treatment. He frees her but doesn’t realize she’s patient zero and he just caused the outbreak of a violent, deadly virus.

Yummy is director Lars Damoiseaux’s feature film debut, co-written with Eveline Hagenbeek. The film isn’t trying to reinvent the shambling, groaning, zombie film wheel — all the familiar tropes are there — but the hospital setting gives a lot of gruesome flexibility.

The gore is where Yummy really comes out to play, thanks to the amazing work of makeup effects artists Daphnée Beaulieux and Erwan Simon (billed as “Heroes of the Movie” in the end credits). Damoiseaux wears his influences on his sleeve with his heavy use of splattergore that takes each surgery-gone-wrong opportunity (one scene hits reverse on a liposuction, another poor woman was abandoned in the midst of a chemical peel… it’s gross, it’s great). 

The script is full of characters that you’re quite ready to see devoured; they’re shallow, vain, and deeply unlikable. It jabs at certain personalities with a dark, unapologetic sense of humour. Only our leading lady is even remotely tolerable. Alison is strong-willed and capable, but her beau is mostly useless.

As a clever detail, Michael has hemophobia, the last thing you want in a zombie film. When the shit goes down, you better be ready — and he is definitely not. But it’s not given the full exploration that you’d expect, which is actually quite disappointing. It’s a great set up and leaves the door open for some quality character development, but it’s dropped pretty quickly. 

Because movies have rules, Yummy does take some effort to explain the origins of its virus by way of a side plot that probably doesn’t need to be as melodramatic as it is. It throws a bit of a wrench into the pacing. That said, this seems to be a staple of just about every zombie film (right up there with the guy who hides his zombie bite from the rest of the group), so it’s not unexpected. 

Taking a step back, the film itself looks fantastic. The shots are clean, the cinematography clicks, and when things start to unravel, the lighting washes the hospital in panicked emergency reds and blues. The effect is arresting. I should also note the opening title sequence, which caught me immediately. It draws you in and setting the tone for a fun, splashy zombie flick. 

Fans of the zombie genre will find a lot to love in Yummy. If traditional gore is what you’re here for, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a loving addition to a roster of zombie films that thrive in viscera, nudity, and pitch-black comedy. It’s a sure crowd-pleaser that would be perfect for a late-night screening with a rowdy audience. 

You can guess most of the beats through the movie (if you’ve ever seen a zombie film at all), but  the ending certainly changes it up, and it’s an enjoyable ride all the same. If you’re tired of zombie films, you can probably shamble past this one. But if you love a good ol’ fashioned bloody mess, Yummy is a film to devour. 

Yummy is playing as part of Fantasia Fest 2020. You can watch it On Demand here. For more from Fantasia 2020, click to read my review of The Mortuary Collection.

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Jean-Claude Van Damme Rumored to Appear as a Ghost in ‘Beetlejuice 2’




During The Hot Mic Podcast, the crew spoke about Jenna Ortega in talks to play Lydia’s daughter. Well, it turns out that the guys on Hot Mic also heard that an aging action star is set to play a ghost in the sequel as well. Over on Arrow in the Head, the direction of the aging action star immediately took the shape of Jean-Claude Van Damme. However, there are options out there that may point to other action stars like Sylvester Stallone. To be honest we would be totally fine with either of these guys coming to the world of Beetlejuice and playing a ghost.

The synopsis for Beetlejuice went like this:

After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.

We can’t wait to find out if this bit of info is true. So far, we know that Jenna Ortega has been in talks to play Lydia’s daughter in the Tim Burton directd sequel. It will also see a return of Michael Keaton.

We will be sure to keep you updated on future Beetlejuice sequel updates.

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‘The Lighthouse’ Comes to Special 4K UHD A24 Collectors Release




If it is one thing we know it is that we love Robert Eggers. Between The VVitch and The Lighthouse we were made into huge fans. Next up, Eggers will take on Nosferatu. In the meantime, A24 has released a very special edition release of The Lighthouse on 4K UHD.

The synopsis for The Lighthouse goes like this:

Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Disc extras include:
○ Director’s Commentary with Robert Eggers
○ Exclusive mini-documentary on composer Mark Korven
○ Costume walkthrough and interview with costume designer Linda Muir
○ 2019 making-of featurette
○ Deleted scenes Book contents include:
○ Storyboard excerpts by David Cullen
○ Production design drawings by Craig Lathrop
○ BTS photography by Eric Chakeen
○ Bib-front shirt pattern made by Marvin Schlichting to Linda Muir’s design

We can’t wait to add this one to our collection. You can pick up your very own copy right over HERE at A24.

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‘Scream VII’ Greenlit, But Should the Franchise Take a Decade-Long Rest Instead?



Bam! Bam! Bam! No that’s not a shotgun inside the bodega in Scream VI, it’s the sound of producer’s fists rapidly hitting the green light button to further franchise favorites (i.e. Scream VII).

With Scream VI barely out of the gate, and a sequel reportedly filming this year, it seems horror fans are the ultimate target audience to get ticket sales back at the box office and away from “press play” streaming culture. But maybe it’s too much too soon.

If we haven’t learned our lesson already, banging out cheap horror movies in quick succession isn’t exactly a fool-proof strategy to get butts in theater seats. Let’s pause in a moment of silence to remember the recent Halloween reboot/retcon. Although the news of David Gordon Green blowing off the gossamer and resurrecting the franchise in three installments was great news in 2018, his final chapter did nothing but put the tarnish back on the horror classic.

Universal Pictures

Possibly drunk on the moderate success of his first two films, Green advanced to a third one very quickly but failed to provide fan service. Criticisms of Halloween Ends mainly hinged on the lack of screen time given to both Michael Myers and Laurie Strode and instead on a new character that didn’t have anything to do with the first two films.

“Honestly, we never once considered making a Laurie and Michael movie,” the director told Moviemaker. “The concept that it should be a final showdown-type brawl never even crossed our minds.”

How’s that again?

Although this critic enjoyed the last film, many found it off-course and perhaps a stand-alone that should have never been connected to the redeveloped canon. Remember Halloween came out in 2018 with Kills releasing in 2021 (thanks to COVID) and finally Ends in 2022. As we know, the Blumhouse engine is fueled by brevity from script to screen, and although it can’t be proven, hammering out the last two films so quickly might have been integral to its critical undoing.

Which brings us to the Scream franchise. Will Scream VII get underbaked purely because Paramount wants to reduce its cooking time? Also, too much of a good thing can make you sick. Remember, everything in moderation. The first movie was released in 1996 with the next almost exactly a year later, then the third three years after that. The latter is considered the weaker of the franchise, but still solid.

Then we enter the decade release timeline. Scream 4 released in 2011, Scream (2022) 10 years after that. Some may say, “well hey, the difference in release times between the first two Scream movies was exactly that of the reboot.” And that is correct, but consider that Scream (’96) was a film that changed horror movies forever. It was an original recipe and ripe for back-to-back chapters, but we are now five sequels deep. Thankfully Wes Craven kept things sharp and entertaining even through all the parodies.

Conversely, that same recipe also survived because it took a decade-long hiatus, giving new trends time to develop before Craven attacked the newer tropes in another installment. Remember in Scream 3, they still used fax machines and flip phones. Fan theory, social media and online celebrity were developing fetuses at that time. Those trends would be incorporated into Craven’s fourth movie.

Fast-forward another eleven years and we get Radio Silence’s reboot (?) which made fun of the new terms “requel” and “legacy characters.” Scream was back and fresher than ever. Which leads us to Scream VI and a change of venue. No spoilers here, but this episode seemed oddly reminiscent of re-hashed past storylines, which may have been a satire in and of itself.

Now, it’s been announced that Scream VII is a go, but it leaves us to wonder how such a short hiatus is going to fare with nothing in the horror zeitgeist to channel. In all of this race to get the big bucks, some are saying Scream VII could only top its predecessor by bringing back Stu? Really? That, in my opinion, would be a cheap effort. Some also say, that sequels often bring in a supernatural element, but that would be out of place for Scream.

Could this franchise do with a 5-7 year hiatus before it ruins itself on principle? That break would allow time and new tropes to develop — the franchise’s life’s blood — and mostly the power behind its success. Or is Scream heading into the “thriller” category, where the characters are just going to face another killer(s) in a mask without the irony?

Perhaps that is what the new generation of horror fans want. It could work of course, but the spirit of the canon would be lost. True fans of the series will spot a bad apple if Radio Silence does anything uninspired with Scream VII. That’s a lot of pressure. Green took a chance in Halloween Ends and that didn’t pay off.

All that being said, Scream, if anything, is a masterclass at building hype. But hopefully, these movies don’t turn into the campy iterations they make fun of in Stab. There is still some life left in these films even if Ghostface doesn’t have time to catnap. But as they say, New York never sleeps.

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