Silent Night (2012)

Directed by Steven C. Miller [Other horror films: Automaton Transfusion (2006), Scream of the Banshee (2011), Under the Bed (2012)]

Sort of a remake-in-name-only (from 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night), Silent Night is a decent amount of fun, and includes some memorable characters, decently gory deaths, and a cast that mostly makes things work, along with a light tongue-in-cheek feel.

Malcolm McDowell was great here. I didn’t love his portrayal of Loomis in the Halloween remake, but here, his character was a lot of fun and had some great lines. The over-the-top style he sometimes took brought with it a lot of chuckles, and he definitely outstrips the main character, played by Jaime King (who, it should be noted, still did a fine, and sometimes emotional, job). Otherwise, we have Donal Logue (whom I know best as Detective Bullock in the Gotham series), who is great to see, but doesn’t appear enough, along with Ellen Wong (a familiar face from The Void) and John B. Lowe, who played my second favorite character in the film.

There’s not really as much mystery behind the killer in this film as I sort of wish there was. Oh, people wonder who the killer is, but it’s far from a focus, and the audience finds out via a flashback at the conclusion, so no on-screen characters quite figure it out. The good thing is, though, that Silent Night is heavy on gore, and there are some pretty solid kills here. A few stand out as weak (the electrocution scene, for instance), but others make up for is, such as the flamethrower kill, and the wood-chipper scene.

Like I mentioned, there’s a light tongue-in-cheek feeling throughout the film. I wouldn’t call much of the film outright comedy-horror, but a few scenes definitely caused solid laughter, such as a pre-teen girl cussing out church, or a priest who does all the things priests probably shouldn’t be doing. Even some of McDowell’s lines illicit chuckles, such as his ‘Don’t put avocado on a burger’ talking point. This is not at all like Krampus or Santa’s Slay, but there are some amusing bits spread throughout.

There’s a lot of Christmas-themed horror out there, and a lot I’ve not seen as of yet, but it seems to me that many of them don’t quite hit the mark. Views on this loose remake seem to be mixed, and I suspect that’s partially because, as a slasher, Silent Night doesn’t really add anything into the mix. Even so, it’s a film I’ve had fun with during multiple viewings, and while I’d tweak a few things, Silent Night’s a film I enjoy a decent amount.

8/10

Arachnoquake (2012)

Directed by Griff Furst [Other horror films: I Am Omega (2007), Wolvesbayne (2009), 30 Days to Die (2009), Lake Placid 3 (2010), Maskerade (2011), Swamp Shark (2011), Ghost Shark (2013), Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators (2013), Starve (2014), Cold Moon (2016), Trailer Park Shark (2017), Nightmare Shark (2018)]

When I first saw this one, I was somewhat amused, because unlike other Syfy films that actually try for a more serious tone and epically fail, from the beginning, you could tell that this one knew it was utterly ridiculous. There’s a humorous tone throughout, and that went a long way to make Arachnoquake more enjoyable despite the atrocity of the CGI.

One thing I definitely didn’t care for, though, was Edward Furlong. I didn’t really see much of a point in his character, other than to pad out some additional time. Most other performances were fine (or at least not terrible), but Furlong just rubbed me the wrong way. On the other hand, there were two rather attractive women, Megan Adelle and Olivia Hardt, so it wasn’t all bad. Also nice to see Ethan Phillips (who I definitely recognize, but I can’t figure out from where), and Bug Hall made for a decent leading actor.

The biggest issue with the film is the fact that the spiders don’t look anything like actual spiders, and given the CGI is so bad to begin with, it’s a rather large detriment. Obviously, I don’t think people go into a Syfy movie with high expectations insofar as special effects go, but at the same time, I feel like they definitely could have tried to do a better job with the design. Also, while much of the movie flows at a decent pace, the final twenty minutes were a bit of a grind. If they had found a way to trim out maybe ten minutes, perhaps fifteen, I think that Arachnoquake would probably work a bit better.

As it is, I generally find this film fun. There are some attractive ladies, some amusing lines, and while the special effects were just utterly abysmal, I had fun with the story. Like I said, this is one that I’ve seen before, and though it’s not quite good, I suspect that I wouldn’t have that much hesitation with watching it again.

6/10

American Horror House (2012)

american horror

Directed by Darin Scott [Other horror films: Dark House (2009), Something Wicked (2014), Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018), Tales from the Hood 2 (2018), Mr. Malevolent (2018), Tales from the Hood 3 (2020)]

So, we have random ghosts with no discernible backstories killing bitchy sorority girls (who are illegally hazing new pledges), and along with this, there are also some dumb fraternity jocks around. Because of course there would be.

I first saw this film back in the 2012 October Challenge for HMF (Horrormoviefans, a forum I’ve been a member of for many years), and I rather disliked it back then also. Really, there’s not that much to say about this Syfy affair. There is occasionally some okay gore, but otherwise, the movie’s void of any pleasant additions and feels overly vapid.

None of the characters, aside from maybe Alessandra Torresani’s, have any value whatsoever. When they get killed, you just find yourself shrugging. Why would I care one way or the other if a sorority clone gets killed? If the kills were more impressive, sure, but this movie can’t really boast that.

Speaking of clones, the ghosts got a bit old. There were more than a handful, but we never really got much a read on any of them, excepting the main ghost, who, *SHOCKER* somehow is still around at the end, and should Syfy ever want to, they have room for a sequel.

As I said, there’s not really a lot to say about this film. It was bad the first time I saw it, and American Horror House does not increase in value over time. It’s just not that enjoyable or good a movie whatsoever. Part of this may be that I see absolutely no value in either frats or sororities. Why would you want to join an organization that abuses and humiliates you? I don’t get it at all. And given how horrible most of these characters are, it makes these people pretty hard to be sympathetic for. Nothing much here, and I wouldn’t recommend this.

4/10

2-Headed Shark Attack (2012)

2 Headed shark

Directed by Christopher Ray [Other horror films: Reptisaurus (2009), Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (2010), Megaconda (2010), Shark Week (2012), Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (2015), 3-Headed Shark Attack (2015), A House Is Not a Home (2015), Circus Kane (2017), Minutes to Midnight (2018)]

No. Just no.

The problem with some movies is that there are no characters that are interesting or much worth rooting for, no matter how bad their situation. 2-Headed Shark Attack is one of them. What doesn’t help is the hideous CGI, most noticeable during the death sequences. They put the least amount of effort possible into making the CGI passable (and, of course, still managed to fail).

These types of films can occasionally be okay. And this film in particular had, to date, three sequels, so there’s always a chance that one of those might be passable. But there’s no redeemable characters here save one played by David Gallegos, and a bunch of somewhat attractive girls in bikinis doesn’t make up for the fact that the movie and story utterly sucked. Hopefully the series can pick up after this one, as if all four movies are of this quality, I just don’t get the point.

2/10

Siodmak (2012)

Siodmak o

Directed by Nicholas Ortiz [Other horror films: N/A]

This came as a surprise on a few different levels. Firstly, I was amazed I could find the film at all – on IMDb, it had just seven ratings [Edit: it now has nine, so it hasn’t moved much], which doesn’t generally an easy find make. But seconds later, boom – it’s on YouTube, put up by the production company. Needless to say, I was pleased.

Siodmak is a simple story, but told in a more complex way. A serial killer has been hunting in New York City for decades, and the only one who believes in his existence is a video blogger, Nick LaRosa, whom no one takes seriously. But with the help of NYPD officer Angel Vega, who has had a tragic run-in with the serial killer, they soon discover some things weren’t meant to be pried into. This is interspersed with scenes a day later, after the events that transpired, and focus on a medical examiner’s examination of the killer, and learning about what brought him here. It’s a more unique way to tell the story, and overall, I think it worked.

While the production was low, I think that most scenes were shot pretty well, and some in unique ways (a sequence near the end, with a reddish-auburn tint, comes to mind). As far as actors go, Masha Mendieta (Vega), Kit Lang (LaRosa), Russell Jordan (Dr. Feliz, Vega’s psychiatrist), Krista Chandlee (the medical examiner), Madison Idoate Candelario (Vega’s niece), and Michael Valentine (the killer) all stood out, doing a solid job.

Jordan, as the psychiatrist, had an almost Colin Salmon-feel to him. Mendieta and Lang, despite their short screen time together, really worked well, and had some of those small human elements that sometimes go amiss in bigger budget films. The killer, known as the New York Ripper, had a Michael Myers aura to him, helped by his featureless mask, which I rather enjoyed.

The music present was decent also – near the end, a record player can be heard playing hits such as “I Wanna Be Loved By You” (famously lip synced by Baby in House of 1000 Corpses) and “Hush, Hush, Hush (Here Comes The Boogie Man)” (from the credits of Jeepers Creepers), which was a nice touch.

For as much as I liked it, though, a few problems need be addressed, one being the run-time. Siodmak is one hour and fifty minutes long (or 110 minutes) – it’s not a short movie, easy to digest. Siodmak makes you work for it. Many of the scenes are interesting, but after the third flashback or the finale taking the last thirty-five minutes, it might come across as a bit much.

There were also a few unanswered questions, not to mention what came across to me as a Hollywood ending which I was both disappointed but somewhat unsurprised by. A few audio issues were present, but that wasn’t that much a deterrent. For what gore there was, I thought it was decent, though the focus of Siodmak wasn’t gore, but the story told.

This movie was an interesting find. Was it an amazing movie? Not really. The story, while told in an interesting manner, wasn’t overly original. That said, Siodmak is one lower-budget film that should have gotten more attention. Some surprising kills also stand out, a few I certainly wasn’t expecting. It’s a decent, above-average film, if you can get through the lengthy run-time.

7.5/10