Shocktoberfest 2022

Final Edition

The scariest movie I saw this week was the HBO documentary Four Hours at the Capitol. The powerful documentary shows what happened when an angry group of protesters attempted to disrupt the certification of the presidential election by storming the Capitol on January 6, 2022. Horror movies provide a safe space for viewers to have some sort of cathartic reaction, at the least, a sigh of relief when the movie ends. Four Hours does not allow viewers any safe spaces. These were actual events, filmed as they happened.  The people on the screen were not actors playing a part. The most terrifying part of this is the sheer normalcy of the protesters.  These men and women were people who could be my neighbors, the pastor of a local church, the person who owns the car lot where I bought my car.  Equating my neighbors to the extremists who carried out the violent and seditious acts on January 6th scares me in a way no horror movie has ever done. There is nothing safe about being in the presence of extremists, declaring their willingness to murder the people they consider enemies. Most of this week’s Shocktoberfest films examine what happens when normal, regular, and uninteresting people get energized to extreme acts of violence. Plus the usual mix of witches, vampires, and zombies.

Dream Home (2010)

Shocktoberfest 2022

Director Pang Ho-cheung follows the path of a woman from obedient girl to viscous murderer in post-handover Hong Kong. Cheng (Josie Ho) encounters many obstacles in her attempt to buy a home due to her middle-class status and being a female in a patriarchal society.  Stymied from earning her worth because she is a woman, she also faces a corrupt government and greedy developers. With over a dozen graphic kills, Dream Home is an extreme film. The movie is streaming on Shudder, Google, and Amazon but desperately needs a Blu-ray release!

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Shocktoberfest 2022

In this remake of Meir Zarchi’s controversial 1978 rape-revenge film, Jennifer (Sarah Butler) leaves the city for the quiet comforts of country life. Instead of peace, she fights against a group of local men that harass, humiliate, assault, and brutally rape her. After surviving her ordeal, she traps, tortures, and kills the men in a horrifying orgy of revenge. director and co-author Steven R. Monroe (with Adam Rockoff) makes sure the audience watches Jennifer’s graphic suffering and bloody resurrection in vivid detail. Film Carol Clover calls this version of a hero’s journey a male-centric, sadomasochistic fantasy. I Spit on Your Grave is streaming on Tubi, Amazon, and Google.

The Legend of Blood Castle (aka Blood Ceremony) (1973)

Shocktoberfest 2022

Spanish director Jorge Grau uses the 17th-century legend of Erzebeth Bathory as the foundation for his tale of aristocratic excess.  Bathory, the “bloody countess,” reportedly used the blood of virgin girls to preserve her beauty.  Her descendent, Marchioness Erzebeth Bathory (Lucia Bosè) takes up her infamous grandmother’s practices to keep her husband Karl’s (Espartaco Santoni) affections. Karl remains disinterested in his wife’s new beauty regime, but discovers a sadistic love of kidnapping and murdering the girls she requires.  Grau’s tale of the crimes of the aristocracy is a cleverly disguised indictment against Spain’s fascist government. Nota bene: there are scenes of graphic, animal cruelty, so caveat emptor. Toronto, Ontario “witch rock” band Blood Ceremony took their name from this movie’s alternate title. The movie is streaming on Amazon.  

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The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)

Shocktoberfest 2022

This week’s second Jorge Grau film! Distrust between the older and younger generations explodes in this eco-terror zombie flick. The green hills of Northern England are filling up with unusual deaths and the victims keep coming back to life.  Young antique store owner George (Ray Lovelock) tries to tell the police what is going on, but the local police inspector (Arthur Kennedy) dismisses him as a Satan-worshiping hippy. British stoner-doom band Electric Wizard sampled one of their dialogues as the intro to their song, The Wizard in Black. Manchester Morgue is an intense film with several nightmare-inducing sequences and is not to be missed.  The movie is streaming on Shudder and Amazon. If you don’t already have Shudder, please take advantage of The Grimoire of Horror’s promo for two weeks free!

The House of Darkness (2022)

Shocktoberfest 2022

 Writer/director Neil LaBute’s beautifully written drawing room piece takes the three “weird sisters” Jonathan Harker met in Dracula’s Castle and moves them to 21st-century America. They love their father and delight in enticing men to their doom.  On this night, as they play with their food, a hapless fellow named Hap (Justin Long), exposes his toxic masculinity with a subtle but sadistic glee.  Long’s transition from hopeful suitor to enraged incel doesn’t offer any surprises, but his tortured, bloody fate as he is “eaten” alive by the vampires adds a much-needed jolt to a mostly staid story. Darkness is available to watch on Amazon and Google.

Two Witches (2021)

Shocktoberfest 2022

 Director Pierre Tsigaridis’ first feature-length movie is a freaky, mind-melding odyssey into terror, a bonkers thrill ride full of the things that keep fans coming back to horror! There was definitely a cathartic sigh when the credits rolled. He and co-writers Kristina Klebe and Maxime Rancon pull out all the stops, weird camera angles, menacing shadows, and startling jump scares to tell the story of the most powerful and evil witch’s succession since Suspiria. Two Witches was a refreshing treat and the perfect way to end this year’s Shocktoberfest.  The movie is available to rent or purchase from Amazon Prime.

Want to try Shudder?  Use GRIMOIRE2022 for two weeks free!

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