Thursday, December 24, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Deathcember (2019)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the last night, I am listing the 2019 anthology movie Deathcember.

Deathcember (2019)

An anthology of over 24 Christmas themed short films all showing the darker side of this holiday season. The stories are directed by an international collection of up-and-coming horror talent, including Lucky McGee, Pollyanna McIntosh, Milan Todorovic, and Annika Marx. The diverse range of stories is not always perfect, but the overall effort is produced quite well, with each segment tied together like an Advent calendar. Fans of horror will appreciate seeing horror screen queens Barbara Crampton, Tiffany Shepis, Clarke Wolfe, and many other great actors and actresses. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- The Lodge (2019)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the twenty-third night, I am listing the 2019 isolation horror movie The Lodge.

The Lodge (2019)

A woman who escaped a dangerous cult is confronted with some truly disturbing demons of the past when she agrees to stay with her fiance's two children in his remote rural cabin during the Christmas holiday. The winter winds and isolation turn what should be a fun weekend into a nightmare as her belongings are missing, the food disappears, and there is no power. The Lodge is an isolation horror movie told the right way; the lack of outside contact and her uncertain psychosis makes for a truly terrifying story. The Lodge was directed by Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, and stars Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, and Richard Armitage. Lead actress Riley Keough certainly shines in the role, and The Lodge certainly benefits from her presence and ability to express her character's confusion and fears. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Fatman (2020)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the twenty-second night, I am listing the 2020 black comedy thriller Fatman.

Fatman (2020)

With the world changing so much, it is no wonder that Chris Cringle is feeling jaded and bitter about his yearly task. Facing budget cuts and pressure from the Government to provide gifts to all the kids, even the awful ones, Chris feels more grizzled than ever. One exceedingly terrible kid gets coal for his horrendous behavior and decides to hire an assassin to teach that 'Fatman' a lesson. "Fatman" is a dark comedy starring Mel Gibson and Walton Goggins in a story that looks like it came from the 80's movie Scrooged. The plot is absurd but played out to make the film entertaining for fans of the darkly humorous subject matter. Mel Gibson is great as the not so jolly Chris, but Walton Goggins is fun to watch as the determined assassin who never got anything but coal from Christmas. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Slayed (2020)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the twenty-first night, I am listing the 2020 slasher Slayed.

Slayed (2020)

Five years after a massacre occurred in a small water treatment plant, the facility is being shut down on Christmas Eve. A new security guard arrives to watch the facility for one last night, but the rest of the staff fears the return of the Santa clad killer on the anniversary of his evil deeds. "Slayed" is a low-budget holiday slasher that offers very few kills, mediocre special effects, and a plot that moves too slow for a story that could have been done as an anthology short focusing on the opening massacre. This scene would have made a better movie if they had concentrated on that story instead of the follow-up events that we got instead. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- ATM (2012)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the twentieth night, I am listing the 2012 isolation thriller ATM. 

ATM (2012)

After an office Christmas party, a broker offers to drive a female coworker he likes named Emily home along with another coworker. Stopping at an ATM booth for some food money, the trio discovers a hooded figure wearing a parka and blocking their way out. Unsure of his intentions and without cellphones, the trio begins to get cold and soon learns the stranger has hostile motives. ATM is a 2012 thriller directed by David Brooks and starring Brian Geraghty, Alice Eve, and Josh Peck. The isolation-style thriller does not explain the reasons for why they were targeted, and nothing is learned of the hooded figure. In many ways, the film is a copycat of The Strangers without the creepy masks.  

Saturday, December 19, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- The Visit (2015)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the nineteenth night, I am listing 2015 found footage horror comedy The Visit.

The Visit (2015)

M Night Shyamalan made a significant impact with his films The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, yet his follow-up films were a huge disappointment given those three films' success. His 2015 film The Visit was a surprise success and gave Shyamalan a much-needed hit. Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are invited to stay with their maternal grandparents over the Christmas holiday as their mother will be on a cruise with her boyfriend. The children have never met their grandparents, and Olivia decides to video the events of the week. Their grandparents seem normal at first, but some strange events alarm the children prompting them to contact their mother, who shares disturbing news with them. The Visit was a success for Shyamalan, and the film earned praise from critics and fans who appreciated his return to form. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- The Children (2008)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the eighteenth night, I am listing the 2008 thriller The Children. 

The Children (2008)

Holiday horror movies with crazed killers often have a lunatic dressed in a costume, making families suffer for spending time together. In a break from this routine English director, Tom Shankland's 2008 film "The Children" truly stands out by making the most innocent among us, the killers. An extended family gathers in a remote home to share the holidays with the kids. All seems fair until, one by one, each of the young kids begins to mysteriously turn on the adults and leaving some bloody bodies along the way. Sharing the same name as the 1980 killer kid movie by Max Kalmanowicz, "The Children" is unrelated except for the innocent looking murderous kids. Skillfully directed, "The Children" seems more violent than it is and the excellent cast of child actors makes the viewer genuinely fear what will happen next. The winter setting makes a perfect backdrop as the blood-stained snow makes the film even more visually creepy. "The Children" is a terrifying and disturbing film from the UK; we have not seen kids this scary since Bloody Birthday. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Bloodbeat (1983)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the seventeenth night, I am listing the 1983 supernatural slasher Bloodbeat.

Bloodbeat (1983)

A family gathers for the Christmas holiday in rural Wisconsin; the mother Cathy senses negative energy in her son's girlfriend Sarah, making her uncomfortable. Her presence unleashes a series of murders in their community and a mysterious trunk that contains a samurai warrior's armor.  A psychic battle awaits as the mother discovers what is behind the deadly attacks and how it may tie in with their guest. Bloodbeat is a confusing mix of slasher and supernatural with enough confusion to make you want to watch again. The film is difficult to describe, but the bizarre blend of cheesy special effects, bad dialogue, and bat shit crazy plot makes this a cult classic deserving of Joe Bob Brigg's Last Drive-In. The director Fabrice-Ange Zaphiratos admitted that he was under the influence of drugs as he wrote and filmed portions of the movie. Bloodbeat is undoubtedly one of the weirdest Christmas horror movies and certainly will get more viewings with the film streaming on Amazon Prime and Shudder. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Stalled (2013)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the sixteenth night, I am listing the 2013 zombie comedy Stalled.

Stalled (2013)

A maintenance man finds himself stuck in the women's room as an office Christmas party turns into a zombie feast trapping him in a toilet stall. He soon learns a woman is also trapped, and the two try to determine the best way to survive when all avenues of escape are out of reach. Stalled is a 2013 British horror comedy directed by Christian James and written by Dan Palmer, who also stars as WC, the maintenance man. Stalled is inspired by Shaun of the Dead and centers on an average joe taking charge when the world around him falls apart. The film's special effects and zombie makeup are decent but what sets the movie apart from the dozens of other "zom-coms" are the special moments between the two prominent roles. Stalled is an excellent holiday horror-comedy that will delight fans of Shaun of the Dead, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, and Army of Darkness. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- A Nasty Piece of Work (2019)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the fifteenth night, I am listing the 2019 dark comedy A Nasty Piece of Work.

A Nasty Piece of Work (2019)

A mid-level office worker is disappointed to learn he won't be getting a promotion or Christmas bonus, but he and his partner are invited to attend a special party with his boss. Once there, he is confronted by his work rival and allowed to compete for a lucrative promotion, but it will require a battle royale. A Nasty Piece of Work is part of Hulu's Blumhouse series Into the Dark anthology that features a monthly episode with a holiday theme. The movie features Julian Sands and Molly Hagan and the couple hosting the event with Kyle Howard and Angela Sarafyan as the young couple looking for a chance to win this competition. A Nasty Piece of Work is a solid entry for the Into the Dark series, offering a twisted take on the holiday party theme. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Sheitan (2006)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the fourteenth night, I am listing the 2006 French horror movie Sheitan.

Sheitan (2006)

A trio of young men and their female friend partying in Paris decide to follow a mysterious woman named Eve to her family's remote chateau in the French countryside to party during the Christmas holiday. They arrive and meet Joseph, the local caretaker and goat herder who's bizarre manners annoy and irritate the men. The group soon discovers that they are not safe around Joseph or the creepy villagers they encounter. Sheitan was directed by Kim Chapiron and starred French actor Vincent Cassel who portrays Joseph in a role that he truly made his own. The film is one of the more bizarre entries in the New French Extremity movement with its intense violence and plot that mimics The Texas Chainsaw Massacre without ripping it off. Vincent Cassel co-produced the film, and his then-wife Monica Bellucci does have a cameo. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- The Yearly Harvest (2017)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the thirteenth night, I am listing the 2017 holiday mystery The Yearly Harvest.

The Yearly Harvest (2017) 

A young reporter travels to a small midwest town of Selah in the hopes of researching the origins of some common Christmas traditions. She meets a private investigator searching for lost children, and both learn that a dark secret resides in the seemingly perfect little town that celebrates Christmas in its own way. The Yearly Harvest is based on a novel written by Ryan Callaway, who also directed this screen adaptation. The film is more mystery than horror, so don't expect buckets of blood or too much violence. The movie is overly long and difficult to follow in places; the story itself is interesting, but too much time was wasted on unnecessary dialogue. As a result, many might turn this off after an hour of the slow burn narrative. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Inside (2007)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the twelfth night, I am listing the 2007 French horror movie Inside.

Inside (2007)

A pregnant woman home alone during the Christmas holiday is stalked by a mysterious woman who intends to steal her unborn child. Why she is being targeted is unknown to her, but with no phone and no help, she will resist as best as she can. Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo, directed Inside and starred Alsson Roussel as the terrified mother to be. Inside was released to critical praise and received strong warnings about the terrifying subject matter and intense gore. Covering several genres, Inside is one of the best home invasion movies and a great holiday horror film; it is one of the best films of the New French Extremity movement. Watching the movie is not easy, especially for women who are or may have been pregnant.  

Friday, December 11, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Tales From the Crypt (1972)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the eleventh night, I am listing the 1972 horror anthology Tales From the Crypt.

Tales From the Crypt (1972)

Based on the EC horror comic book "Tales From the Crypt," this British anthology movie features a mysterious crypt keeper who tells five terror tales. The film evokes the dark comic book's eeriness as well as the violence in its terrifying stories. One sequence titled "..and All Through the House" features a woman who murders her husband only to encounter a deadly Christmas intruder. This sequence featured British actress Joan Collins and was remade in 1989 as part of HBO's Tales From the Crypt horror anthology series. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday (2017)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the tenth night, I am listing the 2017 dystopian horror movie I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday

I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday (2017)

A mother (Hope Bikle) tries to shield her young son (Reeve Blazi) from the horrors of an unspecified apocalypse that has them living in an underground bunker. With their supplies running low and her husband missing, she faces a cruel set of choices as Christmas approaches. Written and directed by Mike Lombardo, I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday is a dystopian horror movie set in a world that has suffered a great tragedy leaving its survivors to face a prolonged and hopeless fate. Lead actress Hope Bikle is well cast as the mother, and child actor Reeve Blazi shows great promise as her child Riley. I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday is a holiday horror movie that shows a bleak and depressing world that is usually more common in zombie thrillers. 

24 Days of LosMas- Silent Night, Zombie Night (2009)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the ninth night, I am listing the 2009 zombie movie Silent Night, Zombie Night 

Silent Night, Zombie Night (2009)

A police officer facing problems with his wife and his partner must put aside his grudges and work together as a zombie outbreak threatens LA as Christmas approaches. With few options and low on ammunition, the trio must decide if they can trust others as they venture out to safety. Directed by Sean Cain, Silent Night Zombie Night is no different from the dozens of other low-budget zombie movies yet the cast played by Frank Forcinito, Andy Hopper, and Nadine Stenovitch are convincing in their roles. One of the faults with the movie is the use of CGI instead of practical special effects that would have made the action scenes and zombie kills look more convincing. I should also note that the movie poster is misleading as it lists three popular horror movie actors instead of the movie's real stars. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Silent Night, Deadly Night 3- Better Watch Out! (1989)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the eighth night, I am listing the 1989 slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night 3.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3- Better Watch Out! (1989)

After the events of Silent Night 2, young Ricky is now in a coma, and after six years, he still lies there with a Plexiglas dome over his brain. A mad doctor uses a blind psychic girl to attempt contact, and this only ends up waking him so he can unleash more death on her family. The movie was the last to follow the two Caldwell brothers' storyline and had only a few kills compared to the first two movies. Actress Samantha Scully, the main character, portrayed Laura well, but her role was wasted by having her mimic the blind characters' role in Wait Until Dark. Robert Culp appears as a determined police detective, and Bill Moseley portrays Ricky with little to no dialogue.

Monday, December 7, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Dead End (2003)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the seventh night, I am listing the 2003 thriller Dead End.

Dead End (2003)

A family taking a trip on Christmas Eve encounter a bizarre series of events after the father takes a shortcut from their usual route. They pick up a hitchhiker and her baby only to learn that it is one of many dark and mysterious events that seem to occur on an endless road. Dead End is a French horror movie directed by Jean Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa. The film has an excellent cast featuring horror screen queen Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, and Alexandra Holden. The film plays out like an episode of the Twilight Zone and has enough surprises to make this movie a horror-thriller you can enjoy any time of year. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Dismembering Christmas (2015)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas; for the sixth night, I am listing the 2015 slasher Dismembering Christmas.

Dismembering Christmas (2015)

Seven high school students decide to stay in an isolated family cabin to party before attending a Christmas Eve wedding. Once there, they encounter a couple of townies who warn them of bad things occurring. Ignoring these requests, they soon find they are now at the mercy of a black-clad killer taking them out one at a time. Dismembering Christmas is a low budget film produced by Slasher Studios and directed by Austin Bosley. Following the usual slasher gamebook, this movie does mimic the style of an 80s summer camp movie but changing the setting to the winter holidays. The cast is adequate, and the events play out without losing too much attention for the audience. Despite the movie's low budget, horror fans will appreciate the practical special effects and creative kill scenes that will leave you guessing who is next and who will survive. Dismembering Christmas is better than most Christmas themed horror movies and would still be a decent movie even if it was set during the summer.  

Saturday, December 5, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Once Upon a Time at Christmas (2017)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas, for the fifth night, I am listing the 2017 slasher Once Upon a Time at Christmas

Once Upon a Time at Christmas (2017)

A small New York town is living in fear as a murderous duo dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus murder citizens in a pattern that plays into the 12 Days of Christmas. As the police are left baffled, a young woman fears she may be next as the murders get closer to her. "Once Upon a Time at Christmas" was released in 2017 and was helmed by British director Paul Tanter. Simon Philips plays the killer Santa and is pretty terrifying in the role, but Sayla de Goede's Mrs. Claus channels too much "Suicide Squads" Harley Quinn, and as a result, her role seems less scary and more copycat. As a holiday horror movie, "Once Upon a Time at Christmas" fails to stand out with its all too predictable pace and cliched plot. The real crime was using CGI for the murder scenes instead of practical special effects that would look more natural. Overall the movie joins a collection of mediocre holiday slashers that will show up on streaming clients and Red Box. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Body (2015)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas, for the fourth night, I am listing the 2015 psychological thriller Body (2015)

Body (2015)

Three young women bored on Christmas Eve decide to follow a friend's suggestion to visit her uncle's mansion and enjoy some fine living while he is on vacation. Yet their night of games, drinking, and fun is interrupted by the groundskeeper and the realization they are trespassing. The situation is worsened when the man is severely injured in a struggle leaving the three to decide if they will report the accident. "Body" is a 2015 psychological crime thriller directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen; the film stars Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, and Larry Fessenden. The film does present some challenging moral dilemmas involving friendship and how far one is willing to protect someone who is making a terrible situation worse. "Body" does benefit from some great roles, especially Ms. Rogers and Ms. Turshen, as well as veteran indie director and producer Larry Fessenden in the eponymous role.  

Thursday, December 3, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Christmas Apparition (2018)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas, for the third night, I am listing the 2018 holiday thriller Christmas Apparition. 

Christmas Apparition (2018)

The holidays can be quite stressful for people, and having a personal tragedy can only make it worse to cope. Emma (Katie O Jones) is a college senior who has to find a place to stay over the Christmas holiday as her dormitory is closed due to maintenance. Due to her mother's troubles and inability to stay with a sibling, she takes a job from a woman she meets in a coffee shop who needs a baby sitter. The children she is charged with include a moody 17-year-old teen girl and her 15-year-old withdrawn brother. Chrissy (Maura Chappelle) is a talented pianist, and William (Matthew Chapelle) displays a talent with his sketches, but both children seem withdrawn and indifferent to Emma. The house is beautiful but devoid of holiday decorations and cold; Emma tries to make the best of the situation but soon finds that her inner demons may cause problems with her teenage charges as the holiday approaches. Colleen Griffen directed Christmas Apparition and is a repacked film initially titled "The Cold and the Quiet." Despite its title, there is very little to suggest this is a Christmas movie, but the lack of Christmas cheer plays into the plot that is more holiday drama than horror. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas, for the second night, I am listing the 1971 thriller Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?

Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)

Long before slashers took over the horror scene, one of the more interesting niche genres was the "Psycho Biddy" craze that featured Oscar-winning actresses in their later years starring in a series of horror thrillers. These movies included "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte," and "What's the Matter with Helen?" 

"Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?" was one of these films featuring Oscar-winning actress Shelley Winters as a wealthy widow who hosts several local orphans for the holidays in her vast estate. Calling herself "Auntie Roo," she hosts a holiday banquet and gives the children toys to compensate for losing her daughter years before. Two orphans draw her attention as the young girl reminds Auntie Roo of her deceased child while the brother suspects she may be hiding ill intentions. "Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?" is a dark take on the tale of Hansel and Gretel, with the two children fearing the seemingly sincere intentions of the old woman who does indeed hide a dark secret. Not a real horror movie, the film is a decent take on the classic fairy tale with Shelley Winters excelling in her role as Auntie Roo. A fun twisted fairy tail for those looking for a fun Christmas themed thriller. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

24 Days of LosMas- Santa Jaws (2018)

I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days of LosMas, for the first night, I am listing the 2018 Horror Comedy Santa Jaws.

Santa Jaws (2018)

A teen graphic artist helps create a graphic novel with his friend featuring a Santa themed shark. He is surprised to see his creation come to life as it stalks his family and community after he is frustrated by the holiday's stresses. Santa Jaws is undoubtedly one of the more absurd Christmas Horror titles as it swims into the popular fantasy shark attack genre that movies like the Sharknado franchise helped spawn. Despite its low budget and bargain CGI, the film has some fun creatures kills and a pair of young, likable heroes who bond as they try to defeat this Christmas-loving menace. Misty Talley directed Santa Jaws as a campy B movie and has made a career with other shark-themed films that are often found on SyFy Channel and Tubi.