The Horror Show

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If you’re reading this, congratulations, you’ve survived 2020 thus far.

This chaotic hellscape of a year has given us the slowest burn of an apocalypse that wouldn’t even be worthy of a one-star rating on iMDB if turned into a film. When the best part of the last six months has been Carole Fucking Baskin, you know you’re dealing with some real horse shit. Between my postpartum depression (PPD) and the quarantine it was hard to find something to focus on (aside from my son, of course) while being confined to my home and so I turned to my old friend, Horror, to help remind me that my problems, no matter how scary or big they might seem, could always be worse.

Stevie Kopas

I watched a lot of go-to comfort movies that I’ve seen way too many times like The Descent and Alien, but I also watched a few new things that I’ve added to my list of awesome like The Hunt and Underwater.

Even though this isn’t necessarily a review piece for HMS, I can’t help but express my feelings on Underwater. I’ve been home for nearly four months doing a whole lot of nothing with my kid besides streaming so I can kind of speak from expert status here. Underwater is the best horror film of 2020 (so far) and Kristen Stewart is surprisingly great. I can’t spoil the plot, but by George, what a damn great reveal! It’s unfortunate that the film sat in hell for three years as Disney took over Twentieth Century Fox, but at least it finally did see the light of day. I also did some reading that much was edited out and that’s a bummer, I think this film could have spawned one hell of a franchise. Here’s to hoping that it still does. Anyway, please check this film out, you can rent on Amazon right now, it’s a hell of a horror flick with claustrophobia and creepy fucking creatures of the deep! Not to mention this is a thalassophobic’s worst nightmare!

As far as horror series go, I have to say M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant is currently at the top of my “looking forward to next season” list. I think the relevancy of Servant in my life as I was battling postpartum depression during the loneliest time of my life is what made me want to write a bit about it for this piece.

Servant was a show my husband had been bugging me to watch while I was pregnant, but I just couldn’t bring myself around to it until after my son was born. It was a smart decision on my part as the storyline would have just added another ten-ton brick to my pile of worry while I waited to go into labor. Now, that’s not to say the series didn’t give me major fucking anxiety as I watched it considering the subject matter. Every parent’s worst nightmare is something happening to their child, especially new parents. Did I know this before watching? Hell no, I’m a new parent, dummy! Regardless, the series is one of the freshest I’ve watched as of late and it creeps along and builds up that anxiety with each episode so you never feel safe while you’re watching.

I have to say that I haven’t seen PPD depicted in horror before, and if I have, I’ll be honest and tell you I just probably didn’t pay it any attention. To watch something like Servant and relate strangely to a character in a new way that you never expected to in your whole life is a very raw thing, especially when it can be used as a tool to cope with your own bullshit. Obviously, I’m in no way unhinged or going through anything like Dorothy in the series, but Lauren Ambrose brings this very destroyed character to life in a way that breaks every part of your heart while also giving you major cringe vibes. The story and cast of Servant are stellar in so many ways from the creepiness and mystery to even the jump scares and dark humor scattered throughout the dialogue. While not the most standout thing I’ve ever watched, it spoke to me on several levels and I have a different kind of appreciation for it. I definitely think season two will answer a lot of questions it left me with and head down new and even stranger avenues.

I chose to elaborate on this show specifically because it dealt with grief, depression, loneliness, anger and a whole spectrum of human emotion in such a delicate and creative way. I think with the way the world has been, particularly in relation to the quarantine, that a lot of people can find a sort of escapism in its mystery and horror-driven drama. Not everyone is going to feel the same or find the same things in it that I did, but that’s the beauty of speculative fiction.

Horror has always been there for me through my life, whether the times be good or bad, and once again it was there for me during what felt like too long of a dark and stormy night. Everyone had their way of coping through the quarantine and all the demons that came with it, this was mine.

I highly recommend Servant, streaming now on AppleTV+.

Robin Thompson

The year is 2020. A global pandemic has struck, forcing everyone inside their homes. Masks are worn to go outside and everyone is obsessively washing their hands. To combat boredom, the world has turned to the wonders of streaming. We're no different. This quarantine I have kept my sanity by watching a five part docu-series from Shudder called Cursed Films.

Cursed Films delves into the rumors, stories, and lore that revolve around some of the best films ever made. It features the stars, crew, and the creators of these films so you get a first-hand account of what happened. My favorite was the episode about Twilight Zone: The Movie. It was super heartbreaking, so if you're sitting around, finishing the last of the pizza rolls and the cherry Garcia, why don't fire up the Roku and check out Shudder's Cursed Films and learn a thing or two about your favorite creepy films!

P.J. Griffin

It’s needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: there is a lot going on in the world right now. With a full-blown pandemic spiraling around us, the horror comparisons are too obvious to even be worth putting into words. The fact that we were also restricted to quarantine also draws such comparisons which I also won’t bother even making. I will, however, point out that everyone has been dealing with things in their own way. Some people are catching up on reading, creative projects as well as home repairs and various tasks. Everyone deals with stress and unwinds differently. Many of us distract ourselves with comfortable mediums and activities and that’s always been my way of handling such situations.

Because of all this, I’ve been focusing on reading, writing and leisurely activities that feel familiar and comfortable to me. While I haven’t personally checked out too much brand-new “hot off the heels of release” horror, I have experienced some great things, both old and new, that have kept me occupied. Let me tell you about them. None of this should be viewed as a full review of any kind, just my thoughts about a few things I’ve been keeping busy with in these strange days. Who knows? Maybe something will sound good to you.

The more recent piece of awesomeness that I’ve been digging into is the second season of The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs on Shudder. Joe Bob Briggs is a wonderful fixture of the horror world, a veteran and master of movie knowledge and insight, especially shining when it comes to the campy, the cult, and the schlocky. For those uninitiated, the show is essentially screening of cult/horror movies (done “live” as double features, but accessible on the Shudder app as individual episodes thereafter.) The films at hand are introduced and capped off by Joe Bob Briggs’ commentary amongst his “drive-in” setup as well as taking several breaks to talk about what we’ve just seen from the scenes so far. It makes the viewing experience that much more fun and I’ve actually finally checked out some movies I had been meaning to for years just because there was now a “Joe Bob” episode dealing with them.

It’s a perfect compliment to what makes these types of B-movies fun and enjoyable in general. This season has seen quite a diverse selection. From teen-skewing dark comedy Heathers to notorious Troma classic (as well as a personal favorite of Yours Truly) Bloodsucking Freaks. The ladder is a melancholy experience after the unfortunate passing of writer/director Joel M. Reed. R.I.P., you legend, hope you’re having fun shaking things up where you are now.

Other episodes this season include Troma’s War, Chopping Mall, Maniac, Brain Damage, and other fantastic classics. I won’t list them all so you can have a little surprise if this all sounds like your jam. Or Jelly. Fruit preserve, whatever. Joe Bob has thus far been joined with guests such as WWE favorite Chris Jericho as well as the man, legend, and hero himself Lloyd Kaufman, co-founder and face of Troma Studios. Here’s to many more seasons of this unique and fantastic show that pays tribute to great cult movies, the drive-in, and host-based movie marathons in one beautiful swing of the axe.

I was also delighted to discover that Shudder has added the semi-lost film Tammy and the T-Rex. I first heard about this film when my brother texted me something along the lines of “Did you know that Paul Walker was in a 90s movie in which he played a dinosaur?” I hadn’t, but I did some research and knew it was something I had to watch instantly. Apparently the film was originally released in an edited down version because, I don’t know, I guess studios thought the plot would be better suited to a family film. They were wrong because the full “gore cut” is awesome in all its violent glory. You see, the movie was originally a campy, bloody, cult comedy/horror film full of dark humor and splatter, head stomping, and people getting ripped apart, even some surgery gore. Good stuff. I won’t go too much into detail in case I wish to review this recently resurfaced original version in the future, but I’ll say it’s a theme park of fun and wackiness with entrails and recognizable faces thrown into the mix.

My fiancé and I got around to watching the horror film The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Is it a new movie? No, but I’ve been meaning to see it for some time now. I like the cast and have heard good things. My dad actually messaged me to recommend it a while back (Yes, my family knows I love horror and message me when they find something they think I’ll like fairly regularly.) He found it so creepy he had to watch it in portions. My fiancé and I loved it. It was a fresh, tightly crafted, atmospheric piece of work that does its own thing and knows exactly where it’s going. If you’ve slept on this film up to this point, I highly recommend believing the hype and checking it out. You’ll be in for a fun time.

I’ve just started checking out the show Channel Zero on Shudder (Yes, Shudder is awesome and I use it a lot.) I haven’t seen a ton of episodes yet, but I already like it quite a bit. The show has episodes based around classic “Creepypastas.” For those who are unfamiliar with the term and think I meant to type something else or am telling you that there is a show based around eerie linguini, “Creepypasta” refers to internet horror stories, usually told in an urban legend or first-person style. The first episode deals with one of my all-time favorites called “Candle Cove.” It’s a great story that reminds me of the Mandela Effect and the episode does a good job stretching it out some and adding flair to it. This is necessary since the original story is essentially a collection of emails between people who all remember the same children’s show that doesn’t actually exist. I can’t vouch for all the episodes as I’m still working through them, but right now, I can definitely recommend taking a look.

Other than all that, in a somewhat different turn for myself, I recently picked up a Nintendo Switch Lite and have turned my sights to horror games. I found myself gravitating initially towards more story-driven novel-like games. So far I’ve picked up Night in the Woods and Oxenfree, both of which seem to have a moody, coming-of-age type of theme that I love in movies, TV, etc. I’m not a hardcore gamer by any means and so it’ll take me a while to really have any thoughts on these yet, apart from the trailers, but if they vaguely sound like something you’d like but haven’t heard of before, go ahead and take a look for yourself. I also got a smaller indie game called Bulb Boy that is less the style I previously mentioned but regularly referred to as quite creepy. Even more recently I downloaded Alien: Isolation which looks intense and still have Friday the 13th: The Game and the Outlast series to check out. This is in addition to many more titles so I should be busy and entertained for quite some time.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. At least in terms of horror. I have nothing but compliments about the media I’ve been watching/playing lately and hopefully at least some of this can be applied to your interests and help you occupy your time as well. It’s a weird world right now full of uncertainty and grounded exploration so it’s a good time to be thankful for all the art we can still enjoy. Take care of yourself and stay spooky.

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