Flickers Of Fear – Jenny’s Horror Movie Reviews: Cloverfield (2008)

Continuing with Monster March, Jenny talks about the 2008 found footage monster movie in which a massive creature lays waste to New York City. It was directed by Matt Reeves, produced by J. J. Abrams, and written by Drew Goddard. Find this movie and more at the 13 O’Clock Amazon Storefront!

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page! And check out our awesome cookbook!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Allison, Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arezo, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dermot, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Esther, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Gramthars Hammer, Greg, Gwen, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Iain, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jason W., Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Jocifer, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Juliana, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Miguel, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nicodemus, Nilay, Noah, Oddcatt, Oli, out_running_erins, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Rebecca M., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Ryan, Samantha, Sandra, Saul, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Timothy, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Trey, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

13 O’Clock Movie Retrospective: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Tom and Jenny discuss the 1999 cultural phenomenon, the found footage movie that popularized the genre, about three filmmakers who become lost in the woods while making a documentary about a local legend. Find this movie and more at the 13 O’Clock Amazon Storefront!

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page! And check out our awesome cookbook!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arezo, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dermot, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Esther, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Gramthars Hammer, Greg, Gwen, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Iain, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jason W., Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Jocifer, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Juliana, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nicodemus, Nilay, Noah, Oddcatt, Oli, out_running_erins, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Rebecca M., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Ryan, Samantha, Sandra, Saul, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Timothy, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Trey, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

Flickers Of Fear – Jenny’s Horror Movie Reviews: The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

Jenny discusses a creepily effective found footage/faux documentary about a woman with Alzheimer’s disease whose symptoms start to take an ever more sinister turn. Find this movie and more on the 13 O’Clock Amazon Storefront!

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page! And check out our awesome cookbook!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arezo, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dermot, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Esther, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Gramthars Hammer, Greg, Gwen, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Iain, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jason W., Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Jocifer, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Juliana, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nicodemus, Nilay, Noah, Oddcatt, Oli, out_running_erins, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Rebecca M., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Ryan, Samantha, Sandra, Saul, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Timothy, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Trey, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

13 O’Clock Matinee LIVE: V/H/S/94 (2021)

Tom and Jenny talk about another new Shudder exclusive, the fourth installment in the popular found-footage anthology series.

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page! And check out our awesome cookbook!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arezo, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dermot, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Esther, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Gramthars Hammer, Greg, Gwen, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Iain, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jason W., Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Jocifer, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Juliana, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nicodemus, Nilay, Noah, Oddcatt, Oli, out_running_erins, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Rebecca M., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Ryan, Samantha, Sandra, Saul, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Timothy, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Trey, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

Flickers Of Fear – Jenny’s Horror Movie Reviews: The Conspiracy (2012)

Jenny discusses a 2012 mockumentary in which two filmmakers become apparent targets of a powerful, shadowy cabal while making a documentary about a conspiracy theorist.

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page! And check out our awesome cookbook!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arezo, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dermot, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Esther, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Gramthars Hammer, Greg, Gwen, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Iain, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jason W., Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Jocifer, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Juliana, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nicodemus, Nilay, Noah, Oddcatt, Oli, out_running_erins, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Rebecca M., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Ryan, Samantha, Sandra, Saul, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Timothy, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Trey, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

Flickers Of Fear – Jenny’s Horror Movie Reviews: Unfriended (2014)

Jenny discusses an interesting found footage style film, taking place entirely on a Macbook screen, which tells the story of a group of teenagers being cyberstalked after they contributed to the suicide of a classmate. Find this movie and more at the 13 O’Clock Amazon Storefront!

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page! And check out our awesome cookbook!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arezo, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brad, Brandon, Brian, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dermot, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Esther, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Gramthars Hammer, Greg, Gwen, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Iain, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jason W., Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Jocifer, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Juliana, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nicodemus, Nilay, Noah, Oddcatt, Oli, out_running_erins, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Rebecca M., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Ryan, Samantha, Sandra, Saul, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Timothy, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Trey, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

13 O’Clock Matinee LIVE: The Houses October Built (2014)

Continuing our Halloween week movie reviews, today’s focus is the 2014 found footage/mockumentary film The Houses October Built, written and directed by Bobby Roe and based around a group of friends who are traveling the US in an RV looking for the most extreme haunts.

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Also subscribe to us over on our BitChute channel. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Blake, Brandon, Bunjip, Bunny, Cady, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darkskull, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Erin, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Greg, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nilay, Oddcatt, Oli, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Samantha, Sandra, Scarlett, Scott, Sean, Shae-Nicole, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

13 O’Clock Movie Retrospective: Lake Mungo

On this installment, Tom and Jenny talk about the eerie, underrated Australian mockumentary Lake Mungo from 2008, an unsettling and surprisingly sad film about the aftermath of a young woman’s death.

Audio version:

Video version:

Please support us on Patreon! Don’t forget to follow the 13 O’Clock Podcast blog, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Also subscribe to us over on our BitChute channel. And check out our cool merch at our Zazzle store, and some board and card games designed by Jenny at Giallo Games!

Visit Jenny’s Amazon author page!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS! The show is made possible by: Amanda, Amanda O., Amy H., Anthony, Antonio, Arif, Ashley, Austin, Ben, BlackMarigold, Brandon, Bunjip, Bunny, Christopher, Ciarra, Cody, Corinthian, creepy crepes, D. Newton, Damian, Dan, Darren, Dean, Denise, Dominic, Duncan, Dwayne, Ed, Elizabeth, Eric, Fade, Feeky, Gareth, Ginger, Greg, Gwendoline, Hanna, Hayden, Heather, HoboNasty, Holly, Ilse, Ima Shrew, Jaime, Jake A., Jake S., James, James H., Jamin, Jana & Scott, Janet, Jason, Jeanette, Jen, Jessica, Jesus, Joanie, Joe, John H., John M., Jonathan, Jonathan H., Joseph, Justin, Justyn, Karin, Kat, Katrina, Keith, Ken, Kieron, Knothead Studios, Kool Kitty, Lana, Lars, Leander, Liam, Lindsey, Logan, Lonna, Lynx_13, Macy, Marcus, Mark, Mary Ellen, Matt, Matthew, Maximillian, Melanie, Melissa, Melissa G., Michael, Mike, Mother of Beasts, Natalia, Nathalie, Nilay, Oddcatt, Oli, Paul, Rebecca, Rebecca L., Richard J., Richard & Sheena, Rik, Rob, Robina, Samantha, Sandra, Scarlett, Sean, Sheena, Sophie, Stop Prop, Sydney, Tabitha, Tammie, Tara, Terrie, TheMysteryGamer, Thomas, Thomm, Tiffany, Tina, Travon, Trevor, Valtrina, Veronica, Via, Victor, Victoria, Victoria E., Virginia, Weaponsandstuff93, Will S., and Xánada.

Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.

Horror Double Feature: Creep and They Look Like People

Well, it’s another rainy summer Saturday, I am sick as hell, and in order to alleviate the symptoms of my unknown malady, I decided to cheer myself up with a couple horror movies on Netflix (hey, you cheer yourself up in your own way; horror just makes me feel better, okay?).

It so happened that I had something of a “strange bromance” theme with today’s picks, which is odd because even though I generally choose movies I’ve heard positive things about through the grapevine, I mostly pick the movies at random, and I deliberately try not to read too much about the movies before I watch them, because I like to come to them with as few preconceptions as possible. So today’s pairing was something of a happy accident, and I will say that even though the two films are starkly different in their methods of attack, both had some surprisingly insightful things to say about friendship, trust, and mental illness, aside from both being scary as fuck. They were also, I should note, both directorial debuts of their respective helmers, something I found quite extraordinary as each film unfolded, so confident did both the movies come across. As you can probably tell, I would highly recommend both of them, with absolutely no caveats or reservations whatsoever. Onward.

First up, 2014’s Creep, co-written by and starring Patrick Brice (who also directed) and Mark Duplass. The film utilizes the found-footage platform and is a partially improvised piece, but it’s quite unlike any other found footage movie I’ve seen, and its oddity and focus on the interplay between the only two characters gives it a palpable tension throughout.

Creep3

Aaron (Patrick Brice) is a videographer who answers a mysterious Craigslist ad offering him $1000 for a day’s work, the only requirement being that his discretion would be appreciated. When he arrives at the remote cabin, he meets the goofy and personal-space-invading Josef (Mark Duplass), who we immediately suspect is up to some sketchy business, though quite what that is, we’re not entirely sure.

Josef tells Aaron that he had cancer a couple of years before that went into remission, but that recently the cancer returned in the form of a baseball-sized, inoperable tumor in his brain. He says that doctors have only given him a couple of months to live, and also that his wife Angela is pregnant with their first child. Josef says that, just like in the tearjerker Michael Keaton movie My Life, he wants to document a day in his life so that his unborn son will someday be able to watch it and know something about what his father was like.

Aaron is sympathetic, but still businesslike, and proceeds to document the weirdness that is Josef, just as he was paid to do. Right off the bat, Josef tests the boundaries of Aaron’s discomfort by stripping down and getting into the bathtub, saying that he wants to simulate giving his baby son “Buddy” a bath, just like his father did when he was little. Aaron is a little disturbed, especially when Josef pretends to drown himself in the tub and then brushes it off as his “weird sense of humor,” but he carries on, not only because he was hired to do so, but also, it’s implied, because he’s beginning to feel sorry for Josef, who is ostensibly dying and clearly needs a friend.

Creep4

As the day goes on, the oversharing, overly friendly, and overly optimistic Josef takes Aaron on a hike to find a healing spring in the woods that’s shaped like a heart, jumps out from behind trees to frighten Aaron and then comments approvingly on Aaron’s “murderous” expressions, and puts on a wolf mask and dances around, claiming the mask was his father’s and that it represented a friendly wolf character named Peachfuzz (which was the original title of the movie, by the way). The viewer is left unsettled and nervous by Josef’s goofball antics, which aren’t really threatening per se, but which are so strange that you just know something is up with the guy; the tension comes from not knowing exactly what his endgame is.

Creep1

Creep2

At the end of the day, Aaron has had just about enough of Josef and prepares to leave, but Josef convinces him to have one last drink so they can film the end of “Buddy’s” video. They have the drink, Josef confesses some decidedly un-kosher things about his wife, and then Aaron decides now is the time to get the fuck out of Dodge. Only, uh oh, where are his car keys? Thinking fast, Aaron invites Josef to have one more drink, which he spikes with Benadryl. After Josef falls asleep, Aaron begins poking around for his keys. During the search, Josef’s phone rings, and it’s Angela, who confirms Aaron’s suspicions that something is amiss by saying that she’s actually Josef’s sister, not his wife, that Josef has “some problems,” and that he (Aaron) would do well to just walk out of the house and never come back.

As Aaron tries to escape, it comes to pass that Josef has woken up, and is now wearing the wolf mask and blocking the door. The two men have a scuffle, during which the camera winks off, and in the next scene, we are shown footage of Josef walking in the woods near the cabin, carrying three garbage bags and then digging what appears to be a grave. For a moment, we presume that the movie has gone the direction we expected it would, but Creep has some twists up its sleeve.

As it turns out, Aaron got away from the house just fine. The footage of the “grave” we’re seeing was actually sent to him by Josef, presumably as a threat. From then on, the movie becomes more of a bizarrely hilarious/horrifying stalker tale, with Josef sending him strange videos and then sending him other videos apologizing for those, sending him weird gifts (like a silver locket with both their pictures in it, engraved with “J + A Forever”), and turning up at his apartment without Aaron’s knowledge. This part of the movie is actually even creepier than the first, if that’s possible, because even though we’re now sure that something is really not right with Josef, we still kinda feel sorry for him, as it really seems that he’s just lonely and emotionally unstable. Aaron too is drawn in by the man and can’t stop thinking about him, confessing to the camera that he’s been having strange nightmares about Josef, and that he still wants to believe that Josef is a good guy who just needs some help.

Creep5

It is in this spirit that he receives Josef’s final video, in which Josef tells Aaron that he simply can’t stop lying and that he has no friends, and he seems entirely aware that what he’s been doing is creepy and off-putting, but that he’s just desperate for some human connection. He asks Aaron to meet him one last time, in a wide open public place, so that he can confess everything to Aaron and have some closure before moving on with his life.

Aaron, perhaps naively, agrees, though he takes the precaution of filming the encounter surreptitiously and keeping his finger poised over 911 on his cell phone. However — spoiler alert — neither of these precautions help him one little bit. In the end, in fact, Aaron’s kindness and empathy with the unhinged Josef lead to a somewhat predictable but expertly executed ending, made all the more powerful by the detachment of the act and the disturbing reveal of the coda.

Gotta say, I really loved this one; the back-and-forth between the two characters was entertaining, genuine, and organic, and the movie deftly balanced comedy with horror to a spectacular degree, where one was greatly enhanced by the other. Josef’s strange personality was compelling and produced tons of tension throughout the whole movie, as you weren’t really sure whether the guy was just a socially awkward eccentric or a full blown nutjob. Aaron was also an immensely relatable character, and it was easy to place myself in his shoes as the situation he found himself in grew ever more bizarre. Definitely an original take on the found-footage genre, and a movie that leaves a lasting impression.

Next up, another tale of two bros, but one with a much more uplifting and heartfelt conclusion. 2015’s They Look Like People, written and directed by Perry Blackshear, is psychological horror at its very finest, mining the depths of the human mind to stunning effect, crafting a film that is simultaneously terrifying and deeply moving.

They-Look-Like-People-2

In the film, Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) and Christian (Evan Dumouchel) are old school buddies who reconnect in New York City after having been separated for many years. Both were bullied geeks at school, with the implication being that they became such close friends as kids because they were all one another had. In the ensuing years, Christian, once a 98-pound-weakling, has tried to reinvent himself by bulking up at the gym and trying to “dominate” at his hip media-type job, helped out by listening to daily affirmations on his headphones, read to him by his ex-fiancee. He’s also trying to put the moves on his boss Mara, played with great spunk and sensitivity by Margaret Ying Drake. Despite his insistence that this is the “new,” more confidant Christian, however, his insecurities are still painfully evident.

They-Look-Like-People-4

Wyatt, on the other hand, has taken a different path, working manual labor. He has also recently broken up with a fiancee, but his biggest problems far outweigh that; it seems, in fact, that Wyatt has been receiving calls on his broken cell phone from someone who is telling him that the people around him are being infected and taken over by demons, and that he must be prepared for battle because he is one of the chosen, the “blessed,” who can see the demons and help rid the world of them.

It is in the character of Wyatt that the movie really shines, and in fact this is easily one of the best and most sensitive portrayals of mental illness I think I have ever seen on film. Wyatt, despite his obvious schizophrenia and the possible danger he may pose to others, is always sympathetic and is never portrayed as a crazy person, but rather as someone who is most of the time able to fake being normal for the benefit of those around him, who is aware that something is wrong with him but unable to tell what is real and what isn’t, and at the same time is greatly disturbed and frustrated by this inability.

They-Look-Like-People-1

The most frightening scenes in the film come from Wyatt’s warped perceptions of friends and strangers alike, as he seeks to discover who has been taken over by the demons and who hasn’t. Though the movie doesn’t have many traditional “jump scares,” most of the scenes with Wyatt are just straight-up skin-crawling, because you’re never sure what his twisted brain is going to show him, and the fact that you like him and feel for him so much as a character gives that added little flourish of dread. As his mental state deteriorates to the point where he is building up an arsenal of axes and sulfuric acid to deal with the upcoming monster takeover, the audience finds itself frightened on his behalf as well as for the fates of his friends, all the while railing against the tragic injustice of his duplicitous mind.

They-Look-Like-People-5

Another fantastic thing about They Look Like People is the way the deep friendship between the two male leads is explored; here are two men who feel lost and inadequate in their own ways, but are able to bond with and love one another unreservedly. Their relationship, I would argue, is the only thing that keeps each of them hanging in there long after they normally would have given up, and the scenes of them goofing around in Christian’s apartment like they did when they were kids really gave the movie a lot of genuine heart, and made the final act all that much more affecting.

They-Look-Like-People-3

The conclusion of They Look Like People is just absolutely perfect, a thing of beauty, really. It’s tense and terrifying, sure, but also so touching that I legitimately teared up. In the end, it is Christian’s unwavering trust in Wyatt and his willingness to put his own life on the line for his friend that ultimately saves Wyatt from his madness. So while the film is undoubtedly scary and gave me the heebie-jeebies in much the same way a David Lynch movie does, it is also indescribably human in a way a lot of horror movies just aren’t. Its naturalism, deep sympathy for its characters, and overarching pall of impending doom make it easily one of the best recent horror films I’ve seen, no doubt about it. A great, chilling, and gripping watch from beginning to end. Definite winner.

Until next time, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.

 

 

Horror Double Feature: The Sacrament and The Eyes of My Mother

It’s dual movie reviewin’ time again, folks! Today’s double bill features two films that share something of a ponderous, more art-house aesthetic, and while both have their profoundly disturbing moments, their approach to their respective subjects is miles apart.

First up is Ti West’s 2014 faux documentary, The Sacrament. The conceit of the film is that a young photographer named Patrick (Kentucker Audley) has received a letter from his formerly drug-addicted sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) in which she sings the praises of a new commune she has joined (in some never-mentioned country) that has helped her get clean and get her life back together. Slightly concerned for her welfare, Patrick decides to go visit her, taking along a two-man team from Vice Media, Sam and Jake (played by AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg, respectively), to document this odd-sounding community and perhaps get a juicy story out of the deal.

The guys arrive at the secluded forest village, named Eden Parish, and while they are initially taken aback by the men with guns guarding the gates who seem reluctant to let them inside, once Caroline emerges, everything is sorted out, and the visitors are seemingly given every hospitality. Patrick separates from the others so he can spend some quality time with Caroline, and Sam and Jake are allowed to roam the grounds freely and interview the locals, who all seem quite content in this utopian commune and who have nothing but praise for the group’s leader, an enigmatic Southern preacher simply known as Father.

Sam and Jake are suspicious of all this hippie bullshit, but they do have to admit that everyone seems genuinely happy and well cared-for, and both men are impressed by the pleasant little village these people have carved out of the surrounding wilderness with nothing but their own hands. Nothing much, in fact, seems to be wrong with the place at all, except for a mute girl named Savannah (Talia Dobbins) who seems to be following them around and giving them meaningful glances. Hell, Father even agrees to be interviewed by the Vice guys on camera, provided the interview takes place in front of all the villagers at the small celebration they’re planning that evening to welcome the visitors.

Sacrament1

Now, you know and I know that something is deeply fucked up about the place, despite how idyllic it appears, and after the interview goes down at nightfall, things start falling to shit fairly quickly. Savannah slips the Vice reporters a note asking them to help her, and from there it transpires that the village contains several defectors who are desperate for Sam and Jake to help them escape, but are terrified their treachery will be found out. Caroline is seen wandering around the commune, clearly high as balls, and it’s implied that she’s sleeping with Father, which would seem rather counter to the village’s supposed Christian virtues. The armed guards from out front are a menacing presence in the village as well, and Savannah’s mother Sarah (Kate Lyn Sheil) insists that Savannah and the other children there have been abused, and that any deviance from Father’s agenda could get them killed.

Sacrament3

I will say that as a stand-alone film, this was quite an effective and chilling tale. The found-footage aspect works well with the material, and provides an immediacy to the events that helps to build suspense. The actors are all great and very believable in their roles, the tension builds up at a nicely measured pace before a genuinely frightening and nail-biting climax, and Gene Jones as Father is pitch-perfect as the affably charming and hypnotic cult leader whose aw-shucks personality masks a deep psychosis fueled by intense paranoia.

That said…I’ve gotten this far without even mentioning the J word, but now it’s time to address that gorilla in the room. The only thing about The Sacrament that I found disappointing is that for viewers who know the details of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, this will all seem way too familiar. Some reviews of the film I read claim that The Sacrament is “loosely based” on the events at Jonestown. Loosely, my ass. This is basically a straight-up retelling, just slightly modernized and with a few aspects changed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and I will admit that it’s not the movie’s fault that I have seen several documentaries about the real event (which was far more horrific than anything dramatized here), and so wasn’t surprised at all by any plot development taking place in the movie.

While I enjoyed the film a lot, and really appreciated its steady ratcheting up of horror, I found myself hoping more than once that it would deviate somewhat from the Jonestown narrative and show me something new. I even for a second thought that maybe Ti West would build the story up to be just like Jonestown, and then totally subvert the audience’s expectations by, I dunno, making the cult people turn out to be the sympathetic victims of the Vice dudes’ exploitative filmmaking? Something like that. But no such thing occurred. If you know how Jonestown played out, you’ll know how the movie plays out, Kool-Aid (well, technically Flavor-Aid) and all. Spoiler alert? Sorta, but not really.

Sacrament2

I was also kinda let down by the fact that there wasn’t a lot of insight given into why the people in Eden Parish wanted to be there, how much they knew about what was really going on behind the scenes, and why they turned a blind eye to the fucked up things that were happening in the commune. A few mentions were made of them being “brainwashed,” but this wasn’t explored as deeply as I felt like it should have been, which made the turnabout from kumbaya to killing fields feel a little too sudden.

Sacrament4

So while I would recommend this unreservedly to fans of Ti West’s other films (which I loved, particularly The House of the Devil), I feel like viewers who are not at all familiar with what happened at Jonestown will probably enjoy it a lot more, since the subject matter will seem fresh. And even for those people, I would recommend that if you want to see some real horror based on real footage of this shit, watch the 2006 documentary Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, which has extensive archival footage of the actual cult, interviews with Jim Jones, interviews with people who escaped the massacre, and really unsettling video and audio of everything that went on there. Chilling and grim as fuck, and way scarier than any fictionalization could ever be.

Next up on the double bill is a movie that has pretty much polarized critics at one extreme or the other, which to me generally suggests something that’s definitely worth seeing at least once. 2016’s The Eyes of My Mother was the directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, and while I can see why some reviewers really hated it, I found it mesmerizing, intense, and nightmarish.

Filmed in gorgeous black and white, The Eyes of My Mother tells a tale in three chapters about a girl named Francisca (played as a child by Olivia Bond and as a young woman by Kika Magalhães), who lives on a remote farm with her mother (Diana Agostini) and father (Paul Nazak). Francisca’s mother, a surgeon originally from Portugal, apparently instilled in the child a love of dissection and anatomy; this is a household, after all, where Dad coming home to find Mom and daughter cutting the eyes out of a cow head on the kitchen table ain’t no thing.

Eyes2

Shortly into the film, a creepy traveling salesman named Charlie (Will Brill) drops by the house and asks to use the bathroom. Mother is reluctant, but he insists, and she finally relents. Unfortunately, this salesman is actually a wandering psychopath, and proceeds to murder Mother in the bathtub while Francisca sits in the kitchen. Father, upon arriving home, discovers Charlie hacking away at his wife, and without much fanfare, knocks Charlie out and chains him up in the barn. He and Francisca then bury Mother in the yard.

To me, this seemed like the eeriest aspect of the film: not only the resolute refusal of the movie to really explain any of the characters’ motivations or reasoning, but also Father and Francisca’s bizarrely stoic acceptance of everything that happens. Neither of them get particularly upset, neither talks much to the other. They just go about their grim tasks in emotionless silence, which I thought was very effective in accentuating the horror that unfolds on screen. Even Charlie, when asked by Francisca why he chose her family to target, simply replies, “You let me in.”

Eyes3

In the second chapter, we see that Francisca has grown up, and her father has died. We also discover that Charlie is still chained up in the barn after all these years, and that Francisca has been feeding and caring for him, claiming he is her “only friend.” Of course, she has also cut out Charlie’s eyes and vocal cords, so y’know, with friends like those…

Oh, and Francisca is also keeping Dad’s body around, bathing with it, sitting next to it on the couch, crying about how much she misses him. It isn’t really clear how long Dad has been dead or how he died exactly. It’s also implied here that Francisca thinks she is in some kind of communication with her dead mother, who she often asks for advice about what to do next.

To assuage her loneliness, Francisca drives to a bar and picks up a girl, Kimiko (Clara Wong), who she brings home. Everything seems fine at first, if a little awkward, but then the wide-eyed and eerily detached Francisca begins talking about how someone killed her mother, and then goes on to say that she killed her father, though she doesn’t specify when or how. Kimiko is understandably weirded out, and tries to get out of Dodge, but Francisca becomes desperate to prevent her leaving, and presumably murders Kimiko off-screen, since in the following scene we see Francisca placing individually wrapped chunks of meat into the refrigerator.

Later, Francisca even unchains Charlie and brings him up to the house to have sex with him, though after she falls asleep, the weakened and eyeless murderer tries to escape from the house. He doesn’t get very far before Francisca catches up with him in the yard and stabs him repeatedly, obviously getting some kind of erotic charge out of the killing.

Eyes1

The third chapter relates how the lonely psychopath, upon perceived advice from her dead mother, walks to the side of the road and gets picked up in a car driven by a woman with a baby. Given Francisca’s proclivities, it will not be a surprise to anyone that she kidnaps the baby after stabbing the mother in the back, after which she chains the mother up in the barn just like the dear departed Charlie, and then proceeds to raise the child as her own, naming him Antonio.

The final portion of the film sees Antonio grown to about a six-year-old who eventually discovers the eyeless and voiceless woman chained in the barn. After Francisca will not tell him who the woman is, he decides to free her, after which the poor woman makes her way to the road, where she is helped by a passing trucker. The woman then evidently goes to the cops, because at the end all we see is a bunch of cars coming up the drive of Francisca’s house, and Francisca panicking and locking herself and Antonio in the bathroom. Francisca brandishes a knife, telling her “son” that she will not allow them to take him away from her. She is presumably then killed by the police, though this is not shown.

Eyes4

The Eyes of My Mother is definitely not a film for everyone. In its execution, it had hints of The Hour of the Wolf, Eraserhead, and Begotten, and not just because it was in black and white. The film is languidly paced, somewhat surreal, and feels quite long even though it’s only a spare 76 minutes. There are extended shots of people walking slowly across a yard, there are long stretches with no dialogue, and much of the violence, while disturbing when imagined, takes place off-screen and is mostly suggested by implication. Nothing is really explained to any great degree, everything is just laid out as it is, for the viewer to take or leave.

While I understand how some people found the film pretentious or slow, I thought it was very well done, and I found the matter-of-fact way its disturbing events were depicted to be quite unsettling. I admit I was quite hypnotized by the narrative, as I was left wondering what intensely messed up thing was going to take place next. The character of Francisca was especially eerie, as the viewer can sympathize with her forlorn isolation even as we are horrified by her actions. Recommended to fans of Ingmar Bergman or those who are into more arty horror; anyone else will probably just find it a frustrating slog.

Until next time, keep it creepy, my friends. Goddess out.