Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)

Directed by Brett Sullivan [Other horror films: The Chair (2007), A Christmas Horror Story (2015)]

I didn’t particularly love this sequel when I first saw it, and while I enjoyed it a bit more this time around, this still isn’t a movie I’d see myself going back to too often. In truth, I might find Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning more an enjoyable movie, but with that all said, this isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not great.

Emily Perkins is pretty solid, of course, and in her limited role (simply as a vision Brigitte often has) Katharine Isabelle was too. Perkins does come across as pretty desperate throughout the film, and while I have qualms with the story, I think she puts in a good performance. Tatiana Maslany’s Ghost was an interesting character. Half the time I was interested, half the time I hated her. Still, Maslany herself did good with the role. I do wish that Brendan Fletcher (Freddy vs. Jason) appeared more, Janet Kidder made no impression on me, and Eric Johnson’s scummy character was eh.

The first half of the film, much of which took place in a rehab facility, was pretty enjoyable, but once Brigitte escapes with Ghost, I wasn’t as enamored. I think part of this is due to Ghost’s character, who I found pretty odd and disconcerting throughout. It was sort of nice for Brigitte to find a new “sister”, and I do appreciate their budding friendship, but even so, Ghost was a strange character. Also, while I like the idea of a werewolf hunting Brigitte down to mate, I wish we got actual confirmation as to who that werewolf was.

What’s most questionable here is the conclusion. I’ll say that on the surface, I rather dislike it, but if taken as a dream, or a fantasy of one of the characters, it’s almost bearable (but then, if you choose to look at it that way, there’s not much of an actual ending at all). I don’t know how much it hurts the movie as a whole, which I found around average even before the ending hit, but it wasn’t really the direction I’d have gone.

A bigger part of this is that I’m not entirely sure Ginger Snaps really needed a sequel to begin with. What brought the first movie to life was the entirely believable sibling relationship between Brigitte and Ginger, which is obviously lacking here. Ginger Snaps 2 does fine, I guess, but it just lacks the magic of the first movie, which is disappointing. Like I said, though, I think I actually enjoy The Beginning more than this one, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below, as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.

Candyman (2021)

Directed by Nia DaCosta [Other horror films: N/A]

I can’t exactly say that I’m disappointed in Candyman, as I’ve consistently heard somewhat mixed reactions to this one, but I was personally hoping that it’d have done a bit more for me than it ultimately did.

Part of this is because I rather love the 1992 Candyman – I think it’s a fantastically strong movie with a lot going for it. This sequel, though certainly more enjoyable than something like Candyman: Day of the Dead, just didn’t have near the magic a story like this should have.

Now, I do think there were some strong elements. I love the more modern perspectives – there’s crucial plot points revolving around the violence committed against the black community by police officers, along with there being a rather fun gay couple in the film. It’s the type of movie that, because of some of the elements, certain segments might be turned away from.

Even without being a bigot or a racist, though, I don’t think it’s an unfair criticism to call the film a little bit of a mess. I don’t think it’s disastrous, and I did rather love how they tied this story into the 1992 classic, but I also found the finale a bit disappointing. I mean, I got it, and aspects worked (such as the continuation of the myth that is the Candyman, along with a brief Tony Todd appearance), but I just didn’t really care for Colman Domingo’s character.

Otherwise, it was a decent cast. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was a pretty strong lead, though I can’t say I exactly love how his storyline goes. Teyonah Parris had some solid moments later on, and while never a crucial cast member, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett was pretty fun. Vanessa Williams also pops up, which is nice – the movie already had strong connections to the 1992 film, what with pictures of and references to Virginia Madsen’s Helen, but throwing in a returning character was a nice touch.

However, I don’t love the body horror. I never really did like body horror, of course, and I just personally didn’t see why they added it here. Especially when a character was able to pull one of their fingernails off, it felt like I was watching Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, and the less I’m reminded of that movie, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

I certainly thought the movie had a lot of potential going in. I loved the opening scene, and I love how it’s expanded on later to show it in a far more tragic light. I love them not pulling any punches when it comes to the abuses of the police department, and I naturally loved that minor massacre during the finale of the film.

Actually, while I think the overall movie is below average, most of the kills throughout are solid. There was a stylish scene of a woman being murdered, the audience seeing the violence through a window at a distance. There was a pretty solid double murder at an art gallery. Even better than the final massacre was a scene in a prep school, in which some young girls get #Candymanned, which I appreciated, and I felt was somewhat ballsy.

Also, I absolutely adored the use of shadow puppets during some flashback sequences. It had a very unique appearance, and I was never for a second disengaged when those scenes popped up, even during the credits. And on a side-note, I loved the variation of the original Candyman music used during the credits – certainly this version of the music is more subtle, but I noticed it almost immediately, and I loved hearing it again.

Even so, I found the experience ultimately lukewarm. Elements worked, and certainly other elements were appreciated, but on the whole, I can’t say that I thought Candyman was good. It’s certainly serviceable, and it’s quite possible that I’ll enjoy it the more I see it, but for the time being, I think it just missed it’s mark.


Visiting Hours (1982)

Directed by Jean-Claude Lord [Other horror films: The Vindicator (1986), Summer House (2008)]

I’ve seen this perhaps three times now, and I could swear that I enjoyed this a decent amount the last time I saw it. I still think it’s an okay slasher movie, but boy, this isn’t the forgotten B-flick I remember it being.

Hospital-based slashers always interested me, mainly because I just find the idea of a killer chasing someone around a brightly-lit (or rather dimly-lit, depending on the realism) place of healing rather amusing. Halloween II is of course the best one, but Hospital Massacre (also known as X-Ray, which, on a side-note, is a God-awful title) has a little charm too. I enjoy the chase scenes in this film toward the end, but a lot of the time, Visiting Hours just sorta drags.

The cast is solid, for what it’s worth. Sure, William Shatner was pretty much a waste (I think the best horror film I’ve seen him in was Kingdom of the Spiders, and that wasn’t even good because of him), but star Lee Grant was decent, and Linda Purl too. Michael Ironside (Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II) probably made the best impression, as a woman-hating psychopath. He certainly had persistence, I’ll give him that.

Overall, Visiting Hours’ story is okay, but it takes side-tracks that don’t really do it for me (such as Ironside’s character beating up a woman but not killing her, or going after Purl’s character). I enjoyed seeing Ironside’s mostly-silent killer try to outmaneuver the police to finish off his victim, but the extra stuff felt more like filler to me than anything else.

I have no objections to the kills, though I don’t think any particularly stood out. The setting, as I sort of alluded to, is on point, and I think the final twenty minutes are perhaps my favorite in the film (along with the opening attack). Also, I like the little snippets of the killer’s past that show why he’s enraged with strong women who stand up to abusive men (some context: Lee Grant’s character is an outspoken feminist journalist), which made the film slightly more interesting.

In the end, though, Visiting Hours is just okay, and a moderately-below average slasher that does some things well, but might lean toward the tedious side (and it doesn’t at all help that the movie’s an hour and 45 minutes). It’s still worth a watch, but it’s not near as good as I recalled it being.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Visiting Hours.

Gutterballs (2008)

Directed by Ryan Nicholson [Other horror films: Necrophagia: Nightmare Scenarios (2004, segment ‘Blaspheme the Body’), Torched (2004), Hell Hath No Fury (2006, ‘Torched’), Live Feed (2006), Hanger (2009), Star Vehicle (2010), Famine (2011), Dead Nude Girls (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013, segment ‘Goodwife’), Alarming (2013), Collar (2014), Gutterballs 2 (2015)]

In many ways, Gutterballs is a somewhat amateurish effort, and there could be an argument made that it runs a tad long. I’ll admit that it’s far from a perfect movie, but it does have a decent rape-revenge plot with solid gore, all in somewhat brutal fashion, if that’s your thing.

I think the biggest complaint I have about Gutterballs, and I suspect many might feel the same, is that most of the characters we spend significant time with are utterly despicable. Steve (Alastair Gamble) and his friends Joey (Wade Gibb), A.J. (Nathan Dashwood), and Patrick (Trevor Gemma) were really hard to feel even an ounce of sympathy for at any point. Being the rapists in the film, that can be excused, but everything, from their overly childish banter to their aggressive jock attitudes, just screams “I deserve death.”

Sure, we get a little insight into Lisa’s (Candece Lewald) character, who is the victim of the gang rape, but most of her friends, from Sarah (Mihola Terzic), Jamie (Nathan Witte) to Dave (Scott Alonzo), whoever, get very little to no development. These characters seem a hell of a lot better than Steve and Co., but we really don’t see them all that often, which was a problem.

Alastair Gamble did great at playing a horribly convincing jock rapist, and was about as terrible a character as you’d expect (I don’t doubt for one second that he is worse than anyone else in the film, killer or not). Nathan Dashwood and his terribly annoying laugh was pretty bad also, but the two of them certainly worked together well here despite really weak (but potentially realistic) dialogue.

One of the most interesting performances here is that of Trevor Gemma, who was involved in the rape, but was a lot more hesitant than the other three, and in fact attempted an apology to the woman the following night. With that, his heart might be in the right place, but as the movie shows, a simple apology isn’t near enough to exact the required justice. Still, Gemma was someone I wish we saw a bit more of throughout.

A large selling point of this movie is the gore, which couples well with the special effects. I think that most of the kills are okay, but some of the most gruesome really stand out (including the one penis scene, and a head getting obliterated in a ball-waxing machine). Certainly there’s a lot of gore (though that throat slit near the end, not to mention a shotgun blast taking off someone else’s head, might make up a large amount of that), but many of the kills aren’t necessarily highlight material.

Worth mentioning also is that the conclusion is not entirely satisfactory. We’re given a twist or two, what with the identity of the killer (or even perhaps multiple killers), but it seemed a bit overkill. I mean, I get the killer, but then you throw in some accomplices, and it feels a little silly. The final scene itself was also somewhat iffy.

All-in-all, Gutterballs is decent for a lower-budget rape-revenge film, and it’s retro feel (most obvious in it’s musical choices, from Loverboy to Chilliwack) is somewhat appreciated, but it definitely could have been better. I still think I’d rate the film about average because I think it hits above it’s weight, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for seeing this in a more negative light.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.

Rise of the Gargoyles (2009)

Directed by Bill Corcoran [Other horror films: The Unquiet (2008), Vipers (2008), Death Warrior (2009)]

This Sci Fi film is one that I’ve seen before, and while I can’t much speak on my original impressions (mostly because the movie’s so forgettable, I barely remembered anything about it), I can say that Rise of the Gargoyles is spectacularly generic and uninspired.

I certainly think that the story had potential, to be fair, if only because there are so few gargoyle horror films out there (off the top of my head, three come to mind, being a movie I’ve not yet seen from 1991 titled Soul of the Demon, then one of the segments from Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and lastly the 1972 TV movie Gargoyles), but even with that niche monster checked off, the movie didn’t work.

Why that was isn’t easy to pinpoint. Though certainly questionable at times, I don’t think the CGI was really that terrible (save for maybe a somewhat laughable decapitation in the first half of the film). The gargoyle itself was decent, though (perhaps luckily) we didn’t really see it in full, out of the shadows, all that often.

A larger culprit would probably be a combination of the story itself and the cast. The story was uninspiring, to be sure, and void of many interesting add-ons, but the cast was somehow worse. I think most of them knew what type of movie they were making, and that didn’t much endear themselves to strong performances. And in their defense, to be sure, stronger performances wouldn’t have done that much to improve the film.

I only know Eric Balfour from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and a very small appearance in The West Wing. Even so, Balfour consistently reminded me of other actors, be it Adrien Brody or (amazingly) Sylvester Stallone. He’s neither, though, and really felt off at times as the lead here. Other performances, such as those by Caroline Néron, Nick Mancuso, Justin Salinger, and Ifan Huw Dafydd, were similarly uninspired, with Dafydd doing the best (though still being a stereotypical untrusting foreign police detective).

Honestly, I don’t really think Rise of the Gargoyles warrants that much more discussion – certainly the movie’s not terrible, but especially given the fact it’s a gargoyle-based horror film, there’s virtually nothing about this one that really stands out, which is a damn shame.

On a slightly interesting endnote, presuming the dates I’m seeing are correct, this was probably one of the last original movies put out while Syfy was still Sci Fi (this was released June 21st, 2009 and the name change went into effect July 7th, 2009). It’s not a mind-blowing fact, but nor is this movie exceptional, so it fits in.

One could certainly do worse than Rise of the Gargoyles, but as stated, the film’s definitely sub-standard, and I really don’t think most who see this will find it overly memorable one way or the other.


Black Christmas (1974)

Directed by Bob Clark [Other horror films: Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972), Dead of Night (1974), Murder by Decree (1979)]

This is a true classic of the genre, and one of the first real slashers, coming out four years before Halloween. It’s a movie that, to be honest, I’ve only seen once before sitting down and revisiting it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t adore Black Christmas and the approach the movie took.

While it could perhaps rightfully be said that the plot here isn’t anything to celebrate that heavily, Black Christmas was one of the first movies to really throw together your typical slasher situation. Sure, a few movies prior had similar ideas (such as the British oddity The Haunted House of Horror, also known as Horror House), but this one cemented many of the core elements (including the final girl finding bodies of deceased friends and a first person point-of-view from the killer). The plot may not read like anything special, but it really is.

And taking a step back from the importance of the movie itself, the cast here holds some rather interesting faces, among them Olivia Hussey and John Saxon. Hussey, I won’t lie, I know purely from the 1990 mini-series It, but she looks pretty much the same, and I just loved seeing her here. Saxon’s been in quite a few horror films, A Nightmare on Elm Street being the finest, and he too brought a lot to the film, though he was far from a central character.

Lynne Griffin was one of the earlier casualties in the film, but given she played one of the main characters of the slasher Curtains nine years later, it was, much like Hussey, fun to see her. Both Margot Kidder and Marian Waldman were solid in this too, though Waldman’s character was mainly for comic relief, which, while funny, did feel off at times.

It is true that there’s not many great kills here – the best one, and I think this is beyond dispute, would be the stabbing with the glass unicorn, which was well-done due to it being spliced in with Christmas carolers blocking out the screams. The death wasn’t amazing, but I think it was still solid. What’s more effective is how an early victim in the film would keep popping up, just a body on a rocking chair with her head wrapped in plastic (which, if it sounds familiar, I’d recommend you check the poster). Not sure why, but that just had a creepy aura to it.

Another aspect that certainly merits mention is the somber finale. It’s not entirely dreary, but it is definitely downbeat, and I think that final scene is one of the more memorable things about the movie. It’s a good cherry on top of an already delicious dessert.

I said at the beginning, though, that Black Christmas isn’t perfect. When I think of 70’s horror I love, Black Christmas doesn’t often make my top ten or fifteen. No doubt it’s a good movie, not to mention an important one, but it’s never been my go-to. That said, if you’ve not yet seen this one, I highly recommend giving it a watch, because it’s well-regarded by many for good reason.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.

Silent Hill (2006)

Directed by Christophe Gans [Other horror films: Necronomicon (1993, segment ‘#1: The Drawned’), Le pacte des loups (2001)]

Silent Hill is one of those films that I saw many years back, and haven’t seen since. It’s not one that crosses my mind too often, and I pretty much only recall confusion. To be fair, I’ve never played any of the Silent Hill games, nor watched any game-play, nor read any plot synopsis. The only thing I can really claim insofar as prior knowledge about the story is the Spanish film Broken Notes, which I didn’t even care for.

As it was, I was interested in seeing this one again with fresh eyes, but, and this wasn’t that much a surprise, I found that little changed. Aspects of the story were certainly decent, but boy, do I think the plot definitely needed some clarification somewhere along the way.

Lead Radha Mitchell was passable; I never felt strongly about her character one way or the other. The same can be said for Sean Bean’s character. Honestly, Sean Bean was pretty much a waste of time from beginning to end, because he never really added anything of any use whatsoever to the story. I sort of liked Laurie Holden (who appeared a year later in The Mist) here, but she also didn’t leave that huge an impression. And again, the same can be said for Jodelle Ferland, who I only mention because she later appears in a few movies I enjoy (The Unspoken and Neverknock).

I don’t think the problem is the cast, though, as uninspiring as I found them. It’s the God-awful story. And maybe the story’s not awful – maybe it was a clever look into multi-dimensional space using quantum physics and religious mania to showcase the dangers of rituals and doppelgängers or something. Don’t get me wrong – the Hellraiser-inspired chain massacre at the end was cool, but otherwise, I had a deep difficulty following along with this story. I won’t say that it wasn’t there for those who looked deep enough, but I didn’t see it.

If you came into this movie with some previous experience with the games, maybe a lot of this is easier to grasp. I certainly won’t discount that, and I know that this film, while still receiving somewhat mixed views, is generally, to an extent, liked. However, I definitely feel that aspects of the story could have been touched on more, and instead of feeling like things were muddled, what with doppelgängers and cults and multiple different dimensions (for some reason), maybe things would have felt more connected. Also, Pyramidhead looked cool, but was never explained, so that was fun.

Silent Hill isn’t a movie without potential. The atmosphere here was occasionally pretty solid, especially during the first half of the film. The problem is, Broken Notes did the atmosphere better. Like I said, I didn’t much care for that film (and for much the same reason as this one – the story befuddled me), but I got a much more genuine feel from that low-budget flick than I did this Hollywood production.

I may well be in the minority here, but I’ll find a way to live with that. Silent Hill was a poor movie that did a terrible job at actually giving the audience any reason whatsoever to care about the characters or the story. Just make things a little more clear-cut, and you might have a winner here. As it is, Silent Hill is definitely below average, and I can’t imagine a situation in which I’d want to sit through this two-hour long movie again.


This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as we discuss the film.

American Psycho (2000)

Directed by Mary Harron [Other horror films: The Moth Diaries (2011)]

This is an interesting one. Based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, which I’ve yet to read, American Psycho follows a disturbed yuppie (played fantastically by Christian Bale) as he kills people and attempts to maintain his cool exterior under increasing pressure.

Of course, the question here is whether or not he did kill anyone, or if what we saw were simply fantasies he came up with in his mind?

There’s a lot about this one to talk about, because it’s not at all your typical film. From the whole issue of mistaken identity to the mental issues that Bateman’s character is battling, American Psycho keeps you entertained in one of the more disturbed ways possible.

Perhaps my favorite thing in the movie is the fact that these people, investment bankers all, incessantly mistake the identities of their peers. Some people, for instance, speak to Bateman thinking he’s someone else, and that’s a common occurrence among these people. What’s even more interesting is the fact that, based off the somewhat well-known business card scene, they pretty much all hold the same position (Vice President) in the same firm.

It’s from these little things that show a damning critique of the yuppie lifestyle, and when one of the character’s complains about a restaurant’s bathroom not being ideal to snort coke in, you know that these caricatures are on point. The fact that no one here can tell each other apart, or form any real connections with people (a trait that’s not just true for sociopathic Bateman) really nails what this yuppie, hedonistic class is like.

If you’re not here for the social commentary, well, you’re watching the wrong movie, but there’s still plenty of baser pleasures here, especially when Bateman starts killing people. The scene in which he exhorts the values of ‘Hip to Be Square‘ to a drunk Paul Allen (Jared Leto from Urban Legend) is a classic, and of course when he’s chasing a woman with a chainsaw while nude, well, there’s another scene that’s not easy to forget.

There’s a lot I like about American Psycho, and it’s just not the descent into madness that Patrick Bateman is feeling. The whole ending, from his confession to his secretary paging through his office journal, is just fantastic, and speaking of her, I did like Cholë Sevigny in this role, especially during her date (if that’s what you want to call it) with Bateman.

To an extent, I do think Willem Dafoe’s not the best choice for a private detective, but he was still an interesting face to see here. Really, with Bale, Leto, Sevigny, and Dafoe, it’s a pretty strong central cast.

Of course, it’s Bale who really puts in a fantastic performance here. Who doesn’t love the way he talks throughout the film, be it what the country needs to prioritize or his many talking points on the music of Genesis and Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, and Huey Lewis and the News?

American Psycho is far from a typical movie, which very much works in it’s favor, and it’s a definite favorite of mine, despite some of the content here not being the most pleasant to watch.


Mama (2013)

Directed by Andy Muschietti [Other horror films: It (2017), It Chapter Two (2019)]

This isn’t a film I had much interest in seeing, but given it’s directed by Andy Muschietti (who later went on to do It Chapters 1 and 2), I was holding out hope that it could transcend the typical Hollywood ghost story. As it turns out, while there were a few things in Mama to enjoy, it wasn’t really able to do that.

Off the bat, the first thing I noticed was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was one of the stars. Now, I know him only from Game of Thrones, but I still thought it was sort of cool seeing him here. Jessica Chastain I know only from the aforementioned It Chapter 2, and she was pretty good here also. I really liked her punk look, and the fact that she was thrown into the role of a mother was pretty heart-wrenching. I really liked Coster-Waldau and Chastain together – they made a cute couple here, only to be ruined by the children, though Megan Charpentier, who played the older kid, was pretty decent.

The only other character that really made an impact (aside from Mama, of course) was Dr. Dreyfuss (played by Daniel Kash). It’s through him that we, the audience, discover the story behind Edith, the woman who becomes the ghostly Mama. Her story isn’t without interest or tragedy, but to be blunt, I didn’t find myself caring that much.

There is a really solid scene about thirty minutes into the film, where the camera shows both the hallway and the kid’s room, and something happens there that I thought was pretty cool. It was expected, no doubt, but I still liked the execution. I bring that up because otherwise, I didn’t think there were that many noteworthy things in the film. There was an okay dream sequence, and the emotional ending was solid, but otherwise, it was just generic ghost movie #1523.

Mama had potential, and I wish the final product was better. The design for Mama wasn’t great, in my opinion, but what helped the film avoid a worse rating was the feeling the film occasionally possessed. Seeing Charpentier slowly warm up to Chastain’s character was nice, and the ending, like I said, packed a decently emotional punch. Mama isn’t a great movie, and I do think it’s below average, but I could probably see myself giving it another go in the future, and perhaps if I’m in a better mood, the movie will come out slightly more enjoyable.


Curtains (1983)

Directed by Richard Ciupka [Other horror films: N/A]

I’ve seen Curtains perhaps three times now, and while I’ve liked it quite a bit in the past, I’m struggling to remember exactly why. There’s some solid scenes here, and there’s occasionally an atmosphere to be envious of, but overall, there are so many better slashers from the 1980’s that this Canadian movie really doesn’t have much a chance to compete.

Only two performances really stood out (John Vernon and Lynne Griffin), perhaps three (Samantha Eggar) if I’m really stretching. Vernon was a bit overbearing at times, but his performance as a strict director was decent. Eggar did pretty well, especially near the beginning during the asylum sequences. It’s Griffin who I really liked, because her ‘hide-my-personality-behind-comedy’ attitude was a lot of fun, and she had one of the better fleshed out characters there.

As far as kills go, there’s not that much that stands out. It’s true that the ice skating sequence is fun and memorable, and there was an okay throat-slitting toward the end, but Curtains isn’t really a movie that’s focused on the kills (partially because the director and producer apparently got into constant arguments about what route the film should take, whether an arthouse thriller or a straight-up slasher).

It’s the finale that I’ve always tended to remember fondly, and I still think it’s pretty solid and certainly bleak. The final scene in the film always stuck with me, and thought it’s okay, I definitely think there could have been ways to perhaps end it a bit better.

Curtains isn’t a great movie, and while that may not be the fault of the script itself, it certainly shows that this Canadian movie could have been more, especially with the setting and characters being what they were. It’s perhaps worth a handful of watches, but like I said, I used to like this one more than I do now, so going in gung ho may be unadvisable.


This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. To listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one, check out the video below.