MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 SUMMER THEMED HORRORS!

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You Might Be The Killer gives us a fun, meta twist on the traditional camp set horror!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 SUMMER THEMED HORRORS!

Memorial Day Weekend 🇺🇸 is here and that means the start to the summer vacation season!…It also means camping, barbecuing, swimming, cabins in the woods, summer camp and maniacs in hockey masks! Halloween isn’t the only time of the year when things go bump in the night, as these 25 fright flicks prove! (…and no, I didn’t forget the cabin set Evil Dead films, they take place in the fall!)

To find the reviews for the films listed below, just type the title in the above right search engine!

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A summer marina job is the least of his worries as Ben might have a witch living next door in The Wretched!  Photo: IFC MIDNIGHT

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM MONSTERZERO NJ! 🇺🇸

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S BEST/FAVORITE HORROR FLICKS of 2020!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S BEST/FAVORITE HORROR FLICKS of 2020!

Maya (Tara Basro) returns to her birthplace to find a decades old curse that may get her killed in Impetigore.

It’s time to look back at the past year and see what horror flicks left an impression. The COVID 19 shutdown had major releases on hold, allowing indie horror to take the forefront via drive-ins and on streaming networks. Most of this year’s bests are indie productions, save for a few scant studio horrors released before theater closings. So, without further ado, here are my ten best/favorite horrors of 2020!…

…and five honorable mentions that deserve a shout out, too!

(NOTE: There are a few titles here initially released in 2019, or earlier, at festivals, but didn’t get an official release, theatrically, or to VOD or home media, till 2020. Obviously, it would be unfair not to include them!-MZNJ)

(To get to our reviews of these titles use the search engine at the top of the page!)

TOP TEN

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Is hot mom next door Abbie (Zarah Mahler) a witch? Teen Ben (John-Paul Howard) seems to think so, in The Wretched.

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-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 BAD GIRL HORROR FLICKS FOR HALLOWEEN!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 BAD GIRL HORROR FLICKS FOR HALLOWEEN!

Beautiful, mysterious and deadly, Doctor Sleep’s Rose The Hat (a chilling Rebecca Ferguson)

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While we watch numerous horror classics during the spooky season, with the likes of Freddy, Jason and Michael, let’s not forget about the ladies who have terrified us, too! So, without further ado, here are 15 Halloween appropriate flicks where the bad girls deliver the chills and thrills!

( You can find reviews for the below titles covered here by using the search engine at the top of the page!)

What Keeps You Alive’s psychotic spouse, Jackie (a brilliantly devious Hannah Emily Anderson)

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: PYEWACKET and THE WRETCHED

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This installment of MonsterZero NJ’s Saturday Night Double Feature pairs two flicks which tell spooky stories about troubled teens up against malevolent supernatural entities in rural settings. These two films were also lensed not too far apart from each other with Pyewacket in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada and The Wretched about 115 miles across the border in Omena and Northport Village, Michigan! Grab some brews and enjoy this spooky double bill!

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PYEWACKET (2017)

Creepy supernatural thriller finds teen Leah (Nicole Muñoz) drawn into the occult after the death of her father. She and her mom (Laurie Holden) aren’t getting along, especially when her mother decides to sell the family house and move them out and away from Leah’s school and Goth friends. When at their new woods-set home, her mother lashes out at her during an argument and an angry Leah conducts an occult ritual evoking the dark spirit, Pyewacket, to kill her mom. Soon a regretful Leah learns the meaning of “be careful what you wish for” as something dark and evil has entered their home with malevolent intent.

This is a subtle and spooky as hell flick and certainly one of the best horrors of the year. Written and directed by Adam MacDonald (Backcountry) this is a chilling tale that shows that you don’t need jump scares or over-the-top gore to make an effective horror film. MacDonald bathes his film in atmosphere and uses his camera to evoke a pervading sense of dread, even in broad daylight. He creates an already tense situation as both Leah and her mom, are each handling the death of Leah’s dad in different ways and not very well. There is friction and while Leah turns to dark music and an interest in the occult, her mom wants to have a ‘fresh start’ away from anything connected to him. This leads to some harsh words in their remote new home and Leah to dabble in something she isn’t prepared to deal with. Soon there are dark shadows lurking about the house and a visit from Leah’s tough, Goth girlfriend, Janice (Hellion’s Chloe Rose) has the girl leaving the house a terrified mess. As creepy as it is thus far, MacDonald saves the best for last with a truly unnerving final act as Leah attempts to send back what she’s conjured and let’s just say the malevolent spirit has other plans. MacDonald doesn’t resort to hokey FX or overused tropes, he simply serves up some nerve wracking moments with simple skilled camera work and some wonderful emoting from leading lady Muñoz. MacDonald, as with Backcountry , also knows how to make woods look ominous which adds to the atmosphere. And while ultimately we know where this story is headed, it’s still a shocking and unsettling finale that perfectly punctuates a very creepy film.

The small cast is very effective. As stated, Nicole Muñoz is very good as the emotionally wounded Leah. She creates a likable yet, troubled young woman who tries to sate her grief with death related interests. The only person she should be able to turn to for support is the one she is having the most problems with. Once she performs the ritual and awakens something, she gives us a very scared young girl with nowhere to run. Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) is excellent as her equally troubled mom. She lashes out at Leah one minute, for simply reminding her of her husband and tries to be there for her daughter the next. The two actresses work well together creating a very dysfunctional dynamic between the two that makes this flick work. Rounding out the small cast is Chloe Rose as her friend Janice who has a traumatic sleepover at Leah’s new home and Eric Osbourne as Aaron, a boy interested in Leah.

Adam MacDonald has gone back to basics and made a very spooky, unnerving, yet down to earth horror movie. He wisely makes his scares very grounded and the fact that they are not presented in a theatrical and over-the-top manner makes them more realistic and thus more frightening. His leading ladies work well together in creating a fractured and troubled relationship between the mother and daughter, based on two completely different methods of mourning. Add to that a young girl delving into dark forces she doesn’t completely understand and certainly can’t control and you have a supernatural bone chiller that is refreshingly driven on what really makes a true horror film work…fear. This one will be on my best of the year list for sure.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) balls of red yarn.

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THE WRETCHED (2020)

Latest horror from IFC Midnight opens 35 year in the past, where a babysitter (Sydne Mikelle) walks into something horrible, thus setting the mood for what is to come. The film then brings us to the present where teen Ben (John-Paul Howard from 14 Cameras and Snatchers) is going to live with his father Liam (Jamison Jones) in a remote lakeside town for the summer. His parents are separated and dad even has a new girlfriend, Sara (Azie Tesfai). His parent’s impending divorce is the least of his problems, though, as a witch has taken the form of the neighbor next door (Zarah Mahler) and she is not happy that she’s gotten Ben’s attention…but, who’ll believe him?

The Wretched is written and directed by The Pierce Brothers, Drew and Brett, and if it sounds like Fright Night meets The Witch, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As with Charlie Brewster’s situation, we know from the start that there really is a witch, or Wretch (Madelynn Stuenkel) as she is listed in the credits, and a creepy wretch she is. Her true form is unsettling and much like her fairy tale counterparts, she likes to eat children and influences those around her to hide her creepy activities. Obviously, Ben is having a hard time convincing anyone his neighbor is a supernatural creature, even cute teen Mallory (Piper Curda), who has caught his eye, is highly skeptical. Ben’s behavior, as of late, hasn’t been exemplary and this is just seen as another bad reaction to his parents separation. There are some spooky moments, as The Wretch stalks her prey and closes in on Ben, and there is some very effective gore and make-up FX throughout. If there is anything on the downside here, it’s that the film never gets really scary or intense till the last act, when Ben is forced to confront his nemesis head on. It’s still a fun horror movie and not without some chills in the meantime. It also has a couple of nice twists, some unselling atmosphere and the Pierce’s have a great visual eye for horror aesthetics. We may have seen the twig and bone sculptures before, but they are still effective here. The occasional violence is equally effective, because it is used sparingly and has impact when it does occur. The film looks great. The Pierces are Michigan natives and utilize the Omena and Northport Village, Michigan locations very well to give the film a refreshing look as to it’s settings. The cinematography by Conor Murphy is excellent, especially in the supernatural scenes and the score by Devin Burrows suits the film very well.

The film is very well cast. John-Paul Howard is really good as our lead. He’s a likable teen and even if he is troubled and his parents separation is getting the best of him, we sympathize and still like him. A good performance, as Howard carries a lot of the film. Piper Curda is cute and spunky as Mallory. She’s sweet, but has a nice sarcastic sense of humor. Jamison Jones is solid as Ben’s dad. He’s trying to be understanding to Ben’s behavior, but at the same time, wants him to accept the way things are and adjust. Zarah Mahler is very good as hot mom next door turned witch Abbie. She’s sexy and and a little eccentric before The Wretch wears her skin, and can crank up the spooky once she does. Rounding out the main players, Azie Tesfai is good as the girlfriend caught in the middle of family drama, Sara, and one must mention Madelynn Stuenkel, who effectively performs under SPFX make-up as The Wretch in true form. The supporting cast including the kids are all good, here. A good cast.

This flick may not be quite as scary as we wanted and we have seen this story before, but there is still a lot to entertain here. It’s a fun horror, has some very spooky sequences and The Pierces know the tropes and aesthetics of this type of flick and use them well. The make-up and gore FX are very effective and the cast all perform their parts nicely. Add to that a spooky visual style and some great, fresh locations and The Wretched is a fun and recommended horror flick from directors to keep an eye on.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) candles, which no witch alter would be complete without.

 

 

 

 

 

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IFC MIDNIGHT’S “THE WRETCHED” RULES THE BOX OFFICE!

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IFC MIDNIGHT’S THE WRETCHED RULES THE BOX OFFICE FOR THE FOURTH STRAIGHT WEEK!

During the current state of various lockdowns only a few drive-ins around the country are open for business and one film playing many of those drive-ins is IFC Midnight’s The Wretched! As a result, this indie horror film has ruled the box office for four straight weeks! With the recent re-opening of more drive-ins, The Wretched  expanded it’s screen total and brought in $236,334 for this past Memorial Day weekend, bringing it’s box office total to $598,943 as of 5/25/2020. Not bad for a movie released during a pandemic! For our review of The Wretched click HERE!

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source: Box Office Mojo

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 20 SUMMER THEMED HORRORS!

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Are campers Constance (Deborah Benson) and Warren (Gregg Henry) being stalked by vicious mountain folk? Chances are good in Just Before Dawn!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 20 SUMMER THEMED HORRORS!

Memorial Day Weekend 🇺🇸 is here and that means the start to the summer vacation season!…It also means camping, barbecuing, swimming, cabins in the woods, summer camp and maniacs in hockey masks! Halloween isn’t the only time of the year when things go bump in the night, as these 20 fright flicks prove! (…and no, I didn’t forget the cabin set Evil Dead films, they take place in the fall!)

To find the reviews for the films listed below, just type the title in the above right search engine!


A summer marina job is the least of his worries as Ben might have a witch living next door in The Wretched!  Photo: IFC MIDNIGHT

 

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY FROM MONSTERZERO NJ! 🇺🇸

-MonsterZero NJ

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WEEKLY WRAP-UP!: APRIL 26th to MAY 1st

Decided to start a new column basically listing the articles published during the past week, or so, here on Monster Zero NJ’s Movie Madhouse! This way folks can catch up on what they missed! Hit the highlighted links to read the full articles!

WEEKLY WRAP-UP!: APRIL 26th to MAY 1st

Sunday April 26th, 2020

Bare Bones reviewed the recently released on streaming Witches in the Woods!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/26/bare-bones-witches-in-the-woods-2019/

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Monday April 27th, 2020

Bare Bones reviewed the IFC Midnight mystery/thriller on streaming Disappearance At Clifton Hill!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/bare-bones-the-disappearance-at-clifton-hill-2019/

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Tuesday April 28th, 2020

Tomb of Nostalgia looked back at the 1977 eco-horror Day of the Animals!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/tomb-of-nostalgia-day-of-the-animals-1977/

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Wednesday April 29th, 2020

Bare Bones reviewed the Canadian zombie horror Blood Quantum!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/bare-bones-blood-quantum-2019/

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Thursday April 30th, 2020

Views and Opinions took a look at the career and films of the late William Girdler!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/04/30/a-talent-gone-too-soon-the-films-of-william-girdler/

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Friday May 1st, 2020

Horror You Might Have Missed reviewed IFC Midnight’s newest release The Wretched!

https://monsterzeronj.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/horror-you-might-have-missed-the-wretched-2020/

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And that sums up the week. Check out anything you missed, there’s always more new stuff to come!

-MonsterZero NJ

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: THE WRETCHED (2020)

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THE WRETCHED (2020)

Latest horror from IFC Midnight opens 35 year in the past, where a babysitter (Sydne Mikelle) walks into something horrible, thus setting the mood for what is to come. The film then brings us to the present where teen Ben (John-Paul Howard from 14 Cameras and Snatchers) is going to live with his father Liam (Jamison Jones) in a remote lakeside town for the summer. His parents are separated and dad even has a new girlfriend, Sara (Azie Tesfai). His parent’s impending divorce is the least of his problems, though, as a witch has taken the form of the neighbor next door (Zarah Mahler) and she is not happy that she’s gotten Ben’s attention…but, who’ll believe him?

The Wretched is written and directed by The Pierce Brothers, Drew and Brett, and if it sounds like Fright Night meets The Witch, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As with Charlie Brewster’s situation, we know from the start that there really is a witch, or Wretch (Madelynn Stuenkel) as she is listed in the credits, and a creepy wretch she is. Her true form is unsettling and much like her fairy tale counterparts, she likes to eat children and influences those around her to hide her creepy activities. Obviously, Ben is having a hard time convincing anyone his neighbor is a supernatural creature, even cute teen Mallory (Piper Curda), who has caught his eye, is highly skeptical. Ben’s behavior, as of late, hasn’t been exemplary and this is just seen as another bad reaction to his parents separation. There are some spooky moments, as The Wretch stalks her prey and closes in on Ben, and there is some very effective gore and make-up FX throughout. If there is anything on the downside here, it’s that the film never gets really scary or intense till the last act, when Ben is forced to confront his nemesis head on. It’s still a fun horror movie and not without some chills in the meantime. It also has a couple of nice twists, some unselling atmosphere and the Pierce’s have a great visual eye for horror aesthetics. We may have seen the twig and bone sculptures before, but they are still effective here. The occasional violence is equally effective, because it is used sparingly and has impact when it does occur. The film looks great. The Pierces are Michigan natives and utilize the Omena and Northport Village, Michigan locations very well to give the film a refreshing look as to it’s settings. The cinematography by Conor Murphy is excellent, especially in the supernatural scenes and the score by Devin Burrows suits the film very well.

The film is very well cast. John-Paul Howard is really good as our lead. He’s a likable teen and even if he is troubled and his parents separation is getting the best of him, we sympathize and still like him. A good performance, as Howard carries a lot of the film. Piper Curda is cute and spunky as Mallory. She’s sweet, but has a nice sarcastic sense of humor. Jamison Jones is solid as Ben’s dad. He’s trying to be understanding to Ben’s behavior, but at the same time, wants him to accept the way things are and adjust. Zarah Mahler is very good as hot mom next door turned witch Abbie. She’s sexy and and a little eccentric before The Wretch wears her skin, and can crank up the spooky once she does. Rounding out the main players, Azie Tesfai is good as the girlfriend caught in the middle of family drama, Sara, and one must mention Madelynn Stuenkel, who effectively performs under SPFX make-up as The Wretch in true form. The supporting cast including the kids are all good, here. Good cast.

This flick may not be quite as scary as we wanted and we have seen this story before, but there is still a lot to entertain here. It’s a fun horror, has some very spooky sequences and The Pierces know the tropes and aesthetics of this type of flick and use them well. The make-up and gore FX are very effective and the cast all perform their parts nicely. Add to that a spooky visual style and some great, fresh locations and The Wretched is a fun and recommended horror flick from directors to keep an eye on. Now available on Amazon Prime.

-MonsterZero NJ

 

Rated 3 (out of 4) candles, which no witch alter would be complete without.

 

 

 

 

 

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IFC MIDNIGHT’S “THE WRETCHED” GETS A TRAILER and POSTER!

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Theaters may be shut down, but VOD is still going strong. As streaming and in-demand is a common release platform for IFC Midnight, their new releases will keep coming. Today the trailer and poster for The Wretched debuted and it looks like a creepy tale of something sinister going on in a small rural town. The flick is scheduled to premier on digital streaming and VOD on May 1st and is written and directed by the sibling duo of Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce. The film stars John-Paul Howard, Piper Curda, Zarah Mahler and Kevin Bigley. Check the trailer below! Spooky stuff on the way from IFC Midnight!…

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube/IFC Midnight

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 HORROR FLICKS FOR THE HALLOWEEN SEASON DIRECTED BY WOMEN!

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While we watch numerous horror classics during the spooky season, from the likes of Carpenter, Cronenberg and Hooper, let’s not forget the contributions made by the ladies who have broken boundaries in a male dominated genre. More female directors are making their voices known than ever before, but there have also been some pioneers who broke down walls long before today’s female talents got behind the camera! So, here are 12 female directed horrors perfect to add to your Halloween playlist!

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(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

  1. HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP
  2. THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE
  3. SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE
  4. PET SEMETARY
  5. AMERICAN PSYCHO
  6. NEAR DARK
  7. DANCE OF THE DAMNED
  8. AMERICAN MARY
  9. SEE NO EVIL 2
  10. THE BABADOOK
  11. HONEYMOON
  12. TALES OF HALLOWEEN

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And who could talk women in horror without evoking the name of the late Debra Hill, who produced (and frequently co-wrote) a number of John Carpenter’s classic films, including horrors such as Halloween (and a number of it’s sequels), The Fog and produced David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone. A true pioneer producer/writer in the horror genre! We lost Debra to cancer in 2005, but she has left a legacy of film that will live on!

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Debra Hill 1950-2005

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Also, head over HERE to read how legendary producer Roger Corman was instrumental at giving women filmmakers a voice in horror at a time when it was practically unheard of!…

FROM FINAL GIRLS TO FILMMAKERS: HOW ROGER CORMAN HELPED GIVE WOMEN A VOICE IN HORROR!

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An erotic thriller directed by Kat Shea for Roger Corman.

-MonsterZero NJ

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