This Week in Horror News [3/15/19]

By Joe Meyers

Here’s a bit of news to keep you all up to date on horror happenings until we return with a new episode on 3/25/19…

 

  • Behold the trailer for HAGAZUSSA, billed as Germany’s answer to THE WITCH. Bloody Disgusting and Doppelgänger Releasing are teaming to release the film, with a limited theatrical run stating on 4/19/19 before arriving on VOD/DVD/Blu-ray 4/23/19. It looks like it’s dripping with creepiness, dread, and atmosphere. I’m hopeful I can catch a screening in Santa Monica, and will for certain have a review following shortly afterwards if so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you all again in a little over two weeks. As of now we plan to bring you a “Trivial Pursuit- Horror Edition: Round 2” episode, once again pitting the three of against each other with our horror knowledge on the 25th.

What The Hell Is Chris Watching Now? – GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS (1973)

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“I can’t accept this concept of intelligence.” – Mayor Charles Silverdale

Fredric Hobbs must have meant that when he wrote and directed 1973’s Godmonster of Indian Flats, because if he did accept a concept of intelligence, more than one character in it would have had some!

Okay, so let me back up a bit. First, apologies for the time gap between now and my last blog in this series. I’m inherently lazy and will slack off when given the opportunity. Second, the only reason this movie even came onto my radar was due to a search I was doing for films from 1973 that I could use for my “Birth Year Challenge” list on Letterboxd. And third, as soon as I saw the ratings and read the synopsis, I knew this would fit perfectly for the series and get me off my ass to write a post. So there.

(Spoiler Warning – I breakdown the whole film from here on out.)

Our story takes place in Comstock mining region of Nevada and opens with a heavenly choir and fake sheep bleating. The sheep are right there. Why they dubbed them, I do not know. We meet a young shepherd, Eddie, who goes into Reno and promptly gets hustled out of his gambling winnings after being taken by Elbow Johnson (seriously, that’s his name) to the historically restored mining town. Everyone with a position of power in the town is in on the racket, from the mayor and the sheriff, all the way down to the madam of the brothel and the local bartenders.

After getting rolled, Eddie is taken under the wing of Dr. Clemens (from Cambridge!), an anthropologist with a lab in the area. The doc takes Eddie back to his sheep ranch to recover from the beating and the booze. While Eddie is passing out in the sheep pen, a yellow glow and weird lighting begins to happen, accompanied by people just out of frame waving some very confused looking lambs around in the air. Suddenly one of the sheep essentially screams and pops out what looks like a twenty-pound placenta that also groans!

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“Oh… That ain’t right …..”

Jump to the next morning with Dr. Clemens and his student and lab assistant Mariposa checking up on Eddie. When they find him hiding in the straw next to the “hybrid embryo” (hybrid with what?!?), the doctor goes into full SCIENCE! mode with this find of the century and takes it back to his lab. I wish I could find some info on what exactly they used for the exterior set of the lab, but you must see it to really appreciate the absurdity of it.

While hijinks ensue at the lab for Eddie, Mariposa, and the doctor as the embryo grows, the parallel plot of Mr. Burnstable, a representative for a European mining corporation, trying to obtain the land rights of the area from Silverdale and his henchman, Philip Maldove, further shows the corruption within the town. Corruption to the point of (brace yourselves for this one) the sheriff having his dog play dead and making it look like Burnstable shot it during a target shoot game. They even have a funeral in the church, with a casket (that barks when opened!), all in an effort to discredit Burnstable and turn the townsfolk against him. I should mention that the sheriff sports a nice set of workman coveralls that he tacks his badge onto.

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Cut back to the lab and Dr. Clemens spouting 100% meaningless scientific jargon that almost sounds significant. The hybrid embryo continues to grow and look weirder each time we revisit it. Burnstable, with the help of Madam Alta, manages to escape a “vigilance committee” lynching following another frame up attempt by Maldove and Silverdale. They seek refuge at Clemens’ lab, and in the standoff that features eight or nine tear gas rifles (and cannisters that explode three or four times, depending on which clip gets recycled), the titular “godmonster” breaks loose and kills one of Silverdale’s men.

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The creature gets ready to tune up the gas station.

As hard as it may be to believe, at about the 70-minute mark of this 88 minute movie, we get one of the weirdest and funniest scenes of the film as Mariposa goes after the creature. Weird for the fact that she essentially dances with the thing to calm it down and show she’s friendly. Funny because of the following line: “Don’t be frightened. I’ve been following you all the way from the glory hole!”

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“Here, I’ll lead . . .”

The posse of Silverdale’s men and Dr. Clemens recapture the creature, and then the film really goes off the rails. As he’s having Burnstable driven out of town, Silverdale admits to dealing with the mining company directly after he bought up all of the local rights from everyone else in the interest of “conservation” even though he has every intention of reopening the mines. The townsfolk learn of the betrayal, a riot ensues, people are killed, Silverdale rants like a madman, repeating lines he’s spouted earlier in the film, and the creature gets killed in a truck explosion. … Credits.

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Not sure what the Fredric Hobbs was aiming for with this one.

Low as hell budget, bad acting, bad script, and an unforgettable creature costume of an 8-foot-tall hybrid sheep monster. What the hell did I just watch?? Well, it’s on Amazon Prime at the time of this post, and you can go check it out for yourselves and ask the same question after.

Book Review: NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD: AN ANTHOLOGY

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Anthologies, be they in book or film form, have always been one of my favorite things when it comes to horror. So, it’s no surprise to me that I did enjoy 2017’s “Nights of The Living Dead: An Anthology” by George A. Romero and Jonathan Maberry. What did surprise me was the through and through quality of the stories gathered into this collection! Usually you’ll have one or two stories that fall a little flat or just aren’t to your taste. Well, for my taste, all nineteen tales hit the mark in evoking a response in me. Some made me laugh, other gave me chills, and one even filled me with a sense of revulsion that had me gagging at the visceral descriptions given.

The linking thread to this collection is that all of the stories take place on or very near the beginning of the living dead outbreak portrayed in the cinematic classic, Night of the Living Dead. Some are set are the same time as the film, others just before, and a select few even look at the aftermath of that night. All of the stories do hold true to the rules of the NoTLD universe as we know them and remain grounded within it.  My only real complaint is that there are some anachronistic moments in a few stories that took me out of the 1968 setting (one mentions a cell phone), but others are clearly set in a date just beyond the 60’s and 70’s, maybe even at the time of Tom Savini’s remake in 1990. I admit that it’s a minor nit to pick, but it was there. Otherwise I can’t say anything bad against this anthology.

Check out the impressive list of authors that contributed and my own blurb about each story:

  • (The introductions from George A. Romero and Jonathan Maberry are not to be skipped.)
  • “Dead Man’s Curve” by Joe R. Lansdale – Back country racing runs into the living dead.
  • “A Dead Girl Named Sue” by Craig E. Engler – Even the undead deserve justice.
  • “Fast Entry” by Jay Bonansinga – What if a psychic could see what the dead are thinking?
  • “In This Quiet Earth” by Mike Carey – True devotion doesn’t end with death.
  • “Jimmy Jay Baxter’s Last, Best Day on Earth” by John Skipp – MAGA in the apocalypse . . .
  • “John Doe” by George A. Romero – Meet the possible Patient Zero in a Philly morgue.
  • “Mercy Kill” by Ryan Brown – A soldier returns from Vietnam to fight a different battle.
  • “Orbital Decay” by David Wellington – Zombies: In Space!!!
  • “Snaggletooth” by Max Brailler – A love triangle that will make you think of The Tell-Tale Heart.
  • “The Burning Days” by Carrie Ryan – Fire is a great barricade, but how long will the fuel last?
  • “The Day After” by John A. Russo – Picks up right after the sheriff drops the torch in the film.
  • “The Girl on The Table” by Isaac Marion – Karen’s transformation from her point of view.
  • “Williamson’s Folly” by David J. Schow – “We’re from the government and here to help . . .”
  • “You Can Stay All Day” by Mira Grant – One for the animal lovers out there.
  • “Pages from A Notebook Found Inside A House in The Woods” by Brian Keene – The undead aren’t the only things that go bump in the night . . .
  • “Dead Run” by Chuck Wendig – Am I my brother’s keeper?
  • “Lone Gunman” by Jonathan Maberry – A soldier left behind … and under a mass of undead.
  • “Live and On the Scene” by Keith R. A. DeCandido – Undead outbreak! Film at Eleven!
  • “Deadliner” by Neal and Brendan Shusterman – The show must go on . . .

Now I did listen to the audiobook versus reading it (I had a 7 hour round trip car ride to take a chunk out of it), and a couple of the stories lend themselves well to the audio format, specifically “Orbital Decay” and “Live and On the Scene.” Another treat with the audiobook is having “Dead Man’s Curve” be read by Kasey Lansdale, a musician and author in her own right and Joe R. Lansdale’s daughter.

Whichever format you choose to get of the anthology, just get it! This collection is a must for any fans of the zombie genre, especially if you are a die-hard fan of the universe George A. Romero and John A. Russo created over 50 years ago. You can tell each of the authors that contributed to this have a true love of this world, too.