Horror Sommelier: September 2018
Every month join Brennan Klein, your horror sommelier, as he runs through the upcoming theatrical releases and pairs them with the perfect horror film for a killer double feature.
Directed by: Corin Hardy
Synopsis: When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest (Demián Bechir) with a haunted past and a novitiate (Taissa Farmiga) on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order's unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
Pairing: ALUCARDA (1977)
Mexican horror cinema is an often overlooked subgenre, but an even subber subgenre is Mexican nunsploitation. Probably the most famous entry in this group is Satánico Pandemonium, which gave Salma Hayek’s vampire stripper her name in From Dusk Till Dawn, but I’d like to toss a shoutout to Alucarda. This film, about a young girl at a convent whose imaginary friend may or may not be the devil, is a must-see for anyone interested in foreign horror.
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Synopsis: Riley North (Jennifer Garner) awakens from a coma after surviving a brutal attack that killed her husband and daughter. When the system shields the murderers from justice, Riley sets out to transform herself from citizen to urban guerrilla. Channeling frustration into motivation, the young widow spends years in hiding -- honing her mind, body and spirit to become an unstoppable force. Eluding the underworld, the police and the FBI, Riley embarks on a deadly quest to deliver her own personal brand of punishment.
Who is Pamela Voorhees if not the ultimate vengeful mom? When her son Jason drowns during an unfortunately-timed rendezvous between the counselors who were supposed to be watching him, Pamela set off on a decade-long warpath against Camp Crystal Lake, setting fires, contaminating the water, and murdering the hell out of any counselor in sight with some of the best Tom Savini effects you ever did see. Peppermint owes everything to the example set by Mrs. Voorhees and her beautiful cable-knit psychosis.
Directed by: Shane Black
Synopsis: From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. The universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a boy (Jacob Tremblay) accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biologist (Olivia Munn) can prevent the end of the human race.
Pairing: PREDATORS (2010)
I think Predators, the most recent entry in the franchise, gets a bad rap. It’s certainly a bizarre film, but the way the plot plays out is like Cube meets Lost with a Predator tearing it up in the middle, and I don’t mind that one bit. Plus, the cast is stacked like crazy with future Oscar winners (Mahershala Ali), fun character actors (Danny Trejo, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne), and one super jacked Adrien Brody who takes his shirt off and slathers himself in mud. That’s a good time in my book.
A SIMPLE FAVOR
Directed by: Paul Feig
Synopsis: Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town.
Pairing: INGRID GOES WEST (2017)
As far as female-led psychological thrillers in the digital age go, a surprising and underlooked entry in the genre is the supposed comedy Ingrid Goes West. While the tale of Aubrey Plaza stalking and befriending an Instagram influencer she’s obsessed with has its very funny moments (especially any scene involving O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), it’s a twisted and powerful tale of psychological breakdown and alienation in the modern age.
WHITE BOY RICK
Directed by: Yann Demange
Synopsis: In 1980s Detroit, Ricky Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) was a street hustler, FBI informant and drug kingpin -- all before he turned 16. Based on the true story.
Pairing: CHILDREN OF THE CORN III: URBAN HARVEST (1995)
If a white kid is going to the city to commit terrible acts, why not pair that with the third Children of the Corn movie, where the cult of He Who Walks Behind the Rows plants its seeds in Chicago? Sure, it’s a silly direct-to-video effort, but the Screaming Mad George effects are beyond compare, and it might just surprise you.
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS
Directed by: Eli Roth
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Lewis (Owen Vacarro) goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house that contains a mysterious ticktock noise. When Lewis accidentally awakens the dead, the town's sleepy facade magically springs to life with a secret world of witches and warlocks.
Pairing: GOOSEBUMPS (2015)
Never forget the cornerstone in the firmament of the Jack Black-aissance, the surprisingly charming Goosebumps reboot that casts Black as R. L. Stine himself in an adventure chasing down creatures that are released from his novels. His teen co-star Dylan Minnette has also blown up since then, thanks to his roles in Don’t Breathe and 13 Reasons Why. Always worth a rewatch!
Directed by: Malcom D. Lee
Synopsis: A man's (Kevin Hart) life takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally blows up his place of employment. Forced to attend night school to get his GED, he must now deal with a group of misfit students and a feisty teacher (Tiffany Haddish) who doesn't think he's too bright.
Pairing: NIGHT SCHOOL (1981)
How could I not use this opportunity to recommend one of my favorite slashers? Night School is set in the beautiful gaslamp streets of Boston, and is chockablock with layered characters (even the anonymous cannon-fodder who are only there to be decapitated are fun to watch) and scenes that play with your knowledge of the horror genre to playfully create tension. It also features the single best body discovery sequence in the history of cinema.
Directed by: Karey Kirkpatrick
Synopsis: A Yeti named Migo (Channing Tatum) stirs up his community when he discovers something that he didn't know existed -- a human.
Pairing: ABOMINABLE (2006)
OK, the amount of yeti movies we’ve been getting lately is pretty low, so this was an easy decision to make. But still! Yetis!