Episode 266 – Summer of Stephen: SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN

Summer of Stephen continues as we discuss the novella “Secret Window, Secret Garden” and the 2004 film adaptation, SECRET WINDOW.
(Poster by Chungkong Art)

Episode 266: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/podcastmacabre/PM_Episode_266_Final.mp3

What The Hell Is Chris Watching Now? – THE GEEK (1971)

**NSFW Warning – Some graphic images included in this post.**

You know what? Looking back on it, I should have realized it as I was ordering it. Would it have changed my purchase? Probably not.

But I digress. Let me set up the story for you that lead to me watching a sasquatch sex film.

(Yes. You read that correctly. A sasquatch sex film.)

During Vinegar Syndrome’s “Halfway to Black Friday” sale a couple months back, I found this collection at 50% off:

I figured twelve genre films, potentially artsy, indie, and low budget, for the low price of $15 was a bargain. What did I have to lose? They also looked to be a bit on the sexy side, so I bought it.

It seems so obvious now, what with the cover blown up like that, prominently showing “Rated X” there. But my eyes ain’t what they use to be when looking at thumbnails on my laptop! What I thought was a collection of nearly homemade softcore genre flicks turned out to be a dozen hardcore horror films. … Oops?

The first film in the set, 1971’s The Geek, is the focus of this entry in the blog series because it genuinely had me asking myself, “What the hell am I watching??”

There are zero credits on this, so I can’t tell you who made it. Three of the uncredited cast members are listed on IMDb, but who knows who added them. Clocking in at just under an hour, The Geek starts out with the feel of a nature documentary, including a voice over and scrolling text. It made me think of The Legend of Boggy Creek that would come out a year later. Three couples take a trek into the woods, hunting for Bigfoot. Without a weapon in sight, without any obvious camping gear, the party manages to hike “about 30 miles” without any change in the lighting. (Old Hollywood joke: “What’s the difference between a studio film and a porno? The lighting!”)

From here on out, at about 10-15 minute intervals, the couples break off on their own to have some tastefully intimate relations in the realm of nature. Or, to be more honest, they go off to the grope each other and screw in the woods to the accompaniment of some laughably terrible dubbing. Seriously, I was in tears at some of it!

Around the 40-45 minute mark, we finally have a Bigfoot sighting! The make-up vaguely reminded me of how Andre The Giant looked in the classic episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, but only if you squinted real hard and had had a few whiskeys already.

Now comes the reveal that the guys wanted to use their women as bait to lure in Bigfoot! Whether or not the women were in on this plan wasn’t fully clear, but their reluctance when Sasquatch wants to get sexy is not. The piecemeal costume allowed the actor fairly easy access to engage in what the makers of this production deemed to be the mating rituals of said creature. But the make-up on his hands kept wiping off during the deed, leaving big black smudges on the pale white bums of his female co-stars.

In the end, this was a laughable lark, though a bit rapey, that looked like someone had swinger friends that would be willing to go out in the woods for a day or so with a 16mm camera and fuck on film, under the pretext that they were looking for Bigfoot. Not high art in the slightest, but it’s also not the worst film in the set either so far (I’m only 5 films into it). Other films in the set deal with satanic cults, hauntings, possessions, witches, and more.

Bless Vinegar Syndrome for preserving and distributing stuff like this that would otherwise just vanish from existence or only be talked about in the tones of myths and legends. Just like Bigfoot.

Episode 263 – Hodgepodge Happens

While Chris is away on vacay, Jenny and Joe bring you a hodgepodge of recent viewings, horror news of the last few weeks, and whatnot. Enjoy!

Episode 263: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/podcastmacabre/PM_Episode_263_Final.mp3

The Podcast Macabre 2021 Horror Challenge on Letterboxd: https://boxd.it/94YJU

Episode 262 – Summer of Stephen: CHRISTINE

Summer is here, and so is our 4th annual “Summer of Stephen,” where we review a Stephen King story and the film adapted from it. Join us as we kick this year into gear with CHRISTINE.

Episode 262: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/podcastmacabre/PM_Episode_262_Final.mp3


By: Joe Meyers


Viewed at an advance screening at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theater on 6/22/21. In theaters on 6/25/21 and available to rent on VOD starting 7/2/21

Based on/inspired by the Ubisoft game, WEREWOLVES WITHIN is about a group of people trapped in a hotel/bed & breakfast, and cut off from the rest of the world in a tiny, mountain town. When bodies start popping up they realize the killer is among them, and the murderer just may well be…a werewolf!!? WEREWOLVES WITHIN is the horror-comedy offspring of CLUE and KNIVES OUT, raised by NORTH EXPOSURE while residing in TWIN PEAKS…and I absolutely *LOVED* the movie.  

Writer Mishna Wolff (I mean, with that last name you’re required to create werewolf entertainment, right!?) turns in a sharp, witty, and hilarious script full of quirky, fun characters. If this is what she can do with her first screenplay, I can’t wait to see what else she gives us in the future. Horror-comedies are hit an miss with me at times, but she managed to write one that is all kinds of my brand of humor. There will be several lines of dialogue I know I’ll be quoting often. Director Josh Ruben, who gave us the amazing SCARE ME last year (available now on horror streaming service, Shudder!), once again proves he’s a filmmaker to watch. I honestly can’t recall the last time a director had a one-two punch like this at the beginning of their feature film work. 

While Mishna and Josh provide the foundation for this horror-whodunnit, the entire cast brings this world alive. While it is an ensemble, Sam Richardson’s Finn is the leading man glue that holds everything together, and he is our touchstone into the town of Beaverfield and the story. A clear stand out performance for me was Milana Vayntrub as Cecily, Beaverfield’s mail carrier and Finn’s/the audience’s de facto tour guide introducing him and us to all the quirky citizens. I only knew Milana from the AT&T commercials, but I truly hope her performance here catapults her into more projects. The chemistry between Sam and Milana is undeniable, and the film shines any time they share scenes together. I won’t go into the rest of the characters so you can meet them during your viewing without any spoilers, the less you know the better-trust, but you will see some familiar faces like Harvey Guillén (WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS), Michaela Watkins (CASUAL and TRANSPARENT), Cheyenne Jackson (30 ROCK and AMERICAN HORROR STORY), and Michael Chernus (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK). Every single one of them is incredible, and all of the characters get their moment in the spotlight. 

If you’re able, I highly recommend seeing this in the cinema with a crowd. I believe the film will play best in that setting, but it would also be highly entertaining if you do utilize VOD to watch instead. In time I can see WEREWOLVES WITHIN becoming a beloved, cult film and midnight movie staple. Seeing people dressed up as various characters, and everyone quoting the lines in unison, would be sheer bliss to me. With it leaning heavily into the comedy part of horror-comedy the film feels made for that destiny. As always, horror is subjective and comedy may be even more so. This was totally in my wheelhouse, so I hope it’s the same for you. If not, I hope you do find something to enjoy with the film. It’s a special one, and the perfect shared cathartic welcome back to the cinema we need as more and more theaters begin to reopen and audiences return. 

Episode 261 – George A. Romero’s THE AMUSEMENT PARK

Step right up, Fright Fans! In this episode, we take a deep and dark ride into THE AMUSEMENT PARK, the previously “lost” short film of George A. Romero. Listen at your own risk!

Episode 261: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/podcastmacabre/PM_Episode_261_Final.mp3

The Podcast Macabre 2021 Horror Challenge on Letterboxd: https://boxd.it/94YJU