31 Days of Halloween — Day 1: Orca (1977) — by Dr. Shock

hmp-31-days-halloween

HAPPY OCTOBER, HORROR FANS! Just as we did last year, your Horror Movie Podcast hosts, Jay of the Dead, Wolfman Josh, and Dr. Shock (okay, mostly Dr. Shock), are bringing you 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN with daily written reviews right here at HorrorMoviePodcast.com! We’ll also be posting one new podcast per week during the month of October, including our 100th episode of HMP, in which we’ll be asking for your voicemails to play on the show and giving away lots of creepy prizes to thank you for coming on this journey with us. We’d love for you to join us in our 31 Days of Halloween adventure by posting your October watch-lists here in the comments and leaving your reviews and recommendations for the films that you’ve been watching each day.
AND NOW, IT BEGINS…

orcakillerwhaleEditor’s note: Dave “Dr. Shock” Becker is a host on Horror Movie Podcast and the Land of the Creeps horror podcast. He is also the mastermind behind DVDInfatuation.com, a movie review blog where he is watching and posting one review every day until he reaches at least 2,500 movie reviews. Follow Doc on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation.


The opening 10 minutes or so of 1977’s “Orca” are exceptional, and get the movie off to a great start. Following the credits, we meet the title creatures (two of them, to be exact), who seem to be enjoying each other’s company as they swim along. While this is happening, researcher Dr. Rachel Bedford (Charlotte Rampling), in full scuba gear, is underwater collecting samples. Suddenly, a great white shark appears, causing her to hide.

Captain Nolan (Richard Harris) and the crew of his fishing boat: Novak (Keenan Wynn), Annie (Bo Derek) and Paul (Peter Hooten); spot the shark’s dorsal fin jutting out of the water, and rush forward to capture it (an aquarium will pay them top dollar for a live shark). Dr. Bedford’s assistant Ken (Robert Carradine), who was waiting in a raft for her to return, warns Captain Nolan (armed with a spear gun) that there’s a diver down below.

As a result, Nolan’s first shot misses, and he screams at Dr. Bedford (now on the raft with Ken) for costing him money. The excitement continues when Ken accidentally falls into the water, causing the shark to swim toward him. Just then, an Orca (aka a Killer Whale) darts in and devours the great white, saving Ken and proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are the most dangerous creature in the sea.

This opening has it all: an introduction to the main characters (human and otherwise), beautiful underwater photography, plenty of action, and some high drama. We’re even given a taste of Ennio Morricone’s wonderful score.

It’s too bad the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to these first 10 minutes. In fact, the remaining 82 minutes of “Orca” suck.

Impressed by what he saw, Nolan decides to switch things up and capture a killer whale instead. Dr. Bedford warns him that Orcas are unique: they have only one mate for life, and, unlike other aquatic creatures, are protective of their young. Still, Nolan presses on, and during his first encounter with a school of killer whales he inadvertently spears a female (he just missed the male, nicking its fin). What’s more, when he wrestles the enormous whale onto his boat he discovers it’s pregnant! Neither mother nor child survives, and a repentant Nolan drops the carcasses into the sea before sheepishly making his way back to dry land.

Yet the ordeal is far from over. By murdering both its mate and child, Nolan has incited the wrath of a particularly ruthless Killer Whale, which will not rest until it has had its revenge. Nolan initially scoffs at the notion that a whale is now hunting him, and ignores the pleas of both Dr. Bradford and Umilak (Will Sampson), a local Native, to take the threat seriously. But before long, Nolan realizes this whale means business, and decides to meet it, mano a mano, on the open sea…

Though listed as a horror film, “Orca” is more likely to make you chuckle, especially when the whale puts its “plan” into motion. For starters, it drives away all the fish, causing the other fisherman to turn on Nolan and his crew (this Orca has obviously studied human behavior, and knows that hitting a fella in the wallet is the best way to piss him off); and at one point the whale stares down Nolan as he’s standing on a pier. As if all that wasn’t ridiculous enough, this very clever (and amazingly agile) whale even manages to cause a pretty big explosion on dry land (I won’t bother explaining how it does this. I doubt you’d believe me if I did). Yet as bad as these scenes are, they pale in comparison to the final showdown, which is also too absurd for words.

Not even the film’s usually-reliable cast can save it. Richard Harris’ Nolan, with his over-the-top Irish brogue and refusal to accept facts that are as plain as the nose on his face, is annoying as hell; and I have no idea why Will Sampson’s character is even in this movie (in most scenes, his Umilak shows up out of the blue, pontificates a little, then immediately disappears. It isn’t until the end that he gets directly involved, and when the chips are down, he’s so incredibly ineffective that it actually made me laugh out loud).

It’s quite possible that, as Dr. Bedford says, killer whales are “without challenge the most powerful animals on the globe”, but based on what I saw in “Orca,” I’d take a great white shark over them every day of the week!

—Dr. Shock


Links for Dr. Shock:
Dave’s daily movie review website: DVDInfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter: @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation now on: Facebook
Dr. Shock also appears on this horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

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44 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 1: Orca (1977) — by Dr. Shock

  1. Happy October, horror freaks! I’m pumped for this Halloween season and have put together a list of scaries to take me to Halloween. Titles with a * next to them means I have not seen these movies. In no particular order:

    A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
    Creep (2014) *
    Deathgasm (2015) *
    Don’t Go In The House (1980) *
    Friday the 13th (1980)
    Halloween (1978)
    Holidays (2016) *
    House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
    Housebound (2014) *
    Hush (2016) *
    Maniac (1980) *
    Poltergeist (1982)
    Pontypool (2008) *
    Preservation (2014) *
    Prom Night (1980)
    Saw (2004)
    The Amityville Horror (1979)
    The Babadook (2014) *
    The Blair Witch Project (1999)
    The Collector (2009)
    The Conjuring (2013)
    The House of the Devil (2009)
    The Invitation (2015) *
    The Ring (2002)
    The Strangers (2008)
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
    The Witch (2016)
    They’re Watching (2016) *
    Trick r Treat (2007)
    Troll Hunter (2010) *
    When A Stranger Calls (1979)

    Bonus Watch: For “October Eve” I watched Tales of Halloween. I thought it was pretty neat! It’s a cool anthology of 10 short horror films that I won’t spoil here. I had to watch it on YouTube, so the quality was crap and the voices had been sped up. I’d still give it a 7/10 and say it’s a strong rental recommendation.

    • You’re in for a treat with Housebound and Deathgasm. Both of them are zany fun. I’d be interested in hearing what you think of Don’t Go in the House. I’ve never spoken to anyone else who has seen that one. It’s such a strange little film.

    • Allison! Great list. You have a fun month ahead of you. Make sure to come back here and leave your reviews from the night before each day.

      My first question is … are you watching these in alphabetical order?! I saw that you started with A Nightmare on Elm Street tonight. Are you that organized? Wow, Rachel and Jay would both love that.

      Of the ones you haven’t seen, I’m really curious to hear what you think of Creep, Deathgasm, Holidays, Housebound, Pontypool, Preservation, The Invitation, They’re Watching, and Troll Hunter. They are all very unique films and pretty singular experiences. … which is my way of saying “weird, but interesting.” Haha. I didn’t love all of them, but I id love some and didn’t dislike any. Even those that are pretty standard for their sub-genre find a quirky way to se themselves apart. Great picks!

      As for Hush, Maniac, and The Babadook, I think those are very safe picks that almost any horror fan can find something to appreciate in. Some really fun movies!

      • I am not watching in alphabetical order, Wolfman. They are listed alphabetically in my Letterboxd list, so that’s how I copied them down. Amityville was supposed to be first last night, but I couldn’t put my hands on my dvd (just reinforced Dino’s argument for digital media). Review of ANOES coming shortly.

  2. —SPOILERS BELOW—

    Day 01 – Silence of the Lambs (1991)

    When it comes to the legendary Silence of the Lambs, one of the first things that enters my head is the ultimate question of, “Is Silence of the Lambs a horror movie?” At least for me, I’d consider it one of the best examples of a great horror film that is too intelligent for it’s own good, causing non-horror fans to dismiss the claims that it’s a horror movie. Sure, it’s a movie that is restrained in not having to have a kill every ten minutes or numerous jump scares, but it’s still a film about a crazed man kidnapping women to slice them up for his own female body suit and a woman having to gain the help of a famed cannibal that not only lives up to his moniker of “Hannibal the Cannibal”, but does so at one point while wearing the skin of a dead police officer. Throw in the fact that it’s loosely based on the same source as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you have yourself a clear horror film.

    The acting of Silence of the Lambs is practically in a class of itself when it comes to the horror genre. Despite the fact that it was such a brief role, Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Lecter never fails to impress me with how oddly intelligent and sadistic he could be over the course of the film. It gets to the point where it’s no longer Sir Anthony Hopkins playing a role and Hannibal Lecter is a living, breathing person. Although Jodie Foster’s character of Clarice Starling approaches becoming a “Mary Sue” there’s still a believability there that makes you hope that she can not only solve the case, but hoping that she can do it all on her own. Instead of becoming an annoying character that seemingly could do no wrong, Starling became one of the more admirable women in horror fiction. Other actors such as Ted Levine (Jame Gumb) and Anthony Heald (Dr. Chilton) also do a splendid job at gaining the intended reactions from the audience.

    While I never had a problem with this during past viewings, this time around I found some annoyance in how pro female the film was. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a single problem with a movie presenting strong, independent women, but it became too much for me in this. It seems as if all the women are the smart characters who are able to get things done while the males in the film are the bumbling morons. Scene after scene, male characters treat Clarice as a joke, some sex object, or just generally not showing her the respect that they would a male peer. Even Clarice’s mentor, Jack Crawford, has to be chastised by Clarice for his actions around others when Clarice was the subject. On the other side of the coin, the women are completely different. Obviously there’s Clarice solving the crime, saving the victim, and killing the serial killer. Quite the accomplishment too since Clarice is still technically a student, yet here she is outperforming every professional male involved in this. However, there’s also her buddy, Ardelia, there to assist Clarice in deciphering some of Lecter’s clues. Catherine Martin’s best friend, not her father, is the one to inform Clarice about Mrs. Lippman, which allowed Clarice to end up at the right house, unlike the swat team. Even Catherine Martin buys herself some time by outsmarting Jame Gumb by tricking his treasured Precious into ending up in the well with her. If the goal was to simply present a strong woman that would stand out as proof that women can be equals to men in every way, a little subtlety would have gone a long way rather than hit the viewer over the head with this stance in every conceivable way. Ideally, if the goal of the film was to show a strong female lead, I feel it would have been more effective if Clarice was the only female standout rather than making every female far smarter than the rest of the men. After all, how can one character stand out as being so much smarter than everyone else when literally every female is like that?

    When it comes to Silence of the Lambs, my favorite scene by far has to be at the end when Clarice has finally found Jame Gumb’s house and everything that goes down to trying to capture/subdue him in order to save Catherine Martin’s life. It’s ten minutes of suspense that only increases with each minute that passes. It starts off so tense with Clarice unaware that she’s speaking to Buffalo Bill while the audience not only knows the truth, but also knows that Gumb is just a few feet away from a loaded gun. Once the guns come out and the action goes downstairs into the basement, it somehow only gets better with Gumb shutting off the lights, pulling out his night vision goggles, and the viewers are forcefully tortured as poor Clarice is stumbling around, unaware of how close Buffalo Bill is to her. It’s a brilliant scene that always causes my heart to beat faster out of fear, despite knowing that Clarice will always end up shooting Gumb first. While this film may be better known for Lecter’s one liners and Buffalo Bill’s wacky dance, this ten minute scene is what works the best for me.

    Overall, Silence of the Lambs is simply a semi-modern horror classic that manages to do something that most horror films are incapable of doing – gaining the respect of the masses. With great quotes, memorable characters, and some truly nasty horror scenes, Silence of the Lambs is a must watch. Hannibal Lecter may be the most likable horror villain as someone who you can’t help but root for during his bloody escape. As someone who has read the full Lecter Thomas Harris book series, I wish the other films had managed to be a stand out like Silence.

    Rating: 9.5/10

    • Sal, EXCELLENT review. Dave an Jay talked about possibly having some listeners write some reviews for the 31 Days. Did they talk to you? You should consider it. It’s good stuff.

      Despite all of the great things you said, my favorite part is that you were done watching movie #1 and had it posted by 9:30 am! Iw ill never be able to figure out when you sleep. But maybe just because we’re on different time zones?

      • Nah, neither Jay nor Dr. Shock talked with me.

        To potentially ruin the illusion of my reviews – it’s less about watching one movie every day of October and more about posting one horror review every day of October. I’ve been doing this every year since 2008 someplace else and starting last year, I began posting the same reviews here.

        Since I’m an awful person at procrastinating, I try to type up a few reviews in late September so I have some wiggle room to slack off in October without actually getting behind.

        • Well, maybe you’d consider submitting a review or two that we could post during the month in case we’re having an off day. I think there will be a couple of other listener reviews posted. I’d say, if you have anything particularly interesting or underseen.

    • I do disagree with your take that the feminist lens of the film is too much. First, I think it’s realistic. Especially for the time it was made in. It may feel a bit heavy-handed in our more progressive time, but Clarice is a woman in a man’s world and is dealing with many despicable characters, just by the nature of the plot. Second, it’s natural. Clarice is our main character and so we’re going to see the events through her eyes. Clarice never has any easy time of it. She has a lot to overcome and we’d want that in the journey of any protagonist. Maybe we’re just not used to seeing a film of this kind from a female perspective. Women in horror (and action and a lot of cinema) a usually just victims. So reality may feel too far by comparison. Just a thought.

      • To be fair, I didn’t really have a problem with Clarice doing all of these great things. My issue was the fact that all of the men in the film were failures and all of the females (Not just Clarice) were the ones having the luck. If it was just Clarice finding success, it’d be fine, but Ardelia, Catherine Martin, Catherine’s best friend, ect are all also finding success in either showing more smarts than the men in the film or playing some role in helping Clarice.

        It’s such a small example, but Catherine Martin’s father was completely useless in giving Clarice any help in solving the mystery, yet Catherine’s best friend does clue Clarice in about Mrs. Lippman.

        Why is it so one sided with all of the women showing smarts while all of the men are failures?

        For me, Clarice’s journey of showing that she’ll be a worthy member of the FBI would have been stronger had she been the sole female to not only show that she could hang with the boys in the smarts department, but even outsmart them.

        • “Clarice’s journey of showing that she’ll be a worthy member of the FBI would have been stronger had she been the sole female to not only show that she could hang with the boys in the smarts department, but even outsmart them.”

          This comment rubs me the wrong way, but I can’t articulate exactly why that is. Same goes for the complaint in general.

          Is it just that it feels inorganic to you? Diversity in film can feel like that sometimes. Sometimes minority and women feel shoe-horned into a scene or movie where they wouldn’t naturally be. I often think, if diversity is an interest, why not tell stories about women and minorities where they actually exist. But I don’t see why only one woman would be able to hang with the guys.

          As a man, I don’t have any problem with the women being smart and the men being idiots. It reflects my personal life. 😉 I also think that as men, we’re used to the point of view on screen being ours. But we’re only half of the world. There are plenty of movies with smart, interesting male characters and under-developed, flat, one-note, or unintelligent female characters.

          • I suppose I felt it was just too heavy handed. Obviously, a big part of the movie was this pro-female story, which is great, but something gets lost in that story when you’re so over the top with it. Especially early on, we kept getting hit over the head with how little respect Clarice receives and how every man is a failure to her in some way. Even poor Jack Crawford has to get chastised by her at one point when I would have preferred Crawford remain one of the few people that always had Clarice’s back like they were sorta already presenting.

            I feel being a little subtle would have gone a long ways instead of hitting us over the head with the theme of “Women are smarter than men” over and over. It feels to me as if the creators of the film (It’s been years since I’ve read the book, so I can’t remember how similar it is to the movie) were concerned the message of the film wouldn’t come across unless they hit the viewers over the head with it every chance they got.

          • But although I disagree with that aspect this was still a great review Sal. And definitely worthy of HMP when it comes to the inciting of debate!

        • Personally, I don’t see why having more than one impressive female character is cause for concern. Are we to suggest that feminism should be appeased by the token gesture of a single intelligent, effective female character per-movie? Look at the history of films that depict a majority of male characters as physically/mentally superior while the (often lone) female character is nothing more than a fainting violet, prize or damsel in distress.

          Maybe the frequency of intelligent females in Silence of the Lambs stands out simply because the opposite has been so ingrained into our conventional perception of cinema with the huge frequency of films featuring teams of men solving the problems and winning the day while women take a back seat. I’d say women deserve a reversal of that and I don’t think there’s anything particularly unrealistic about it anyway; gender equality was no doubt worse in most ways in the early 90’s than it is now so it makes sense that it would be harder for a woman to rise to the top in an environment as traditionally masculine as the FBI. So it stands to reason that those who do make it are going to be something special while some of the men might have got to a similar position while not being held to the same standards.

          And aside from the obvious (Clarice being the protagonist trying to stop a male serial killer) I can’t say the feminist agenda of Silence of the Lambs has ever stood out to me in an awkward way or detracted in any way from the movie but that’s entirely subjective. I guess it all comes down to how well any message that might be there is integrated.

          • But although I disagree with that aspect this was still a great review Sal. And definitely worthy of HMP when it comes to the inciting of debate!

  3. Hi Horror Movie Podcast hosts,
    I think somehing you guys should talk about is horror (frightening) documentaries. A really good one is “My Amityville Horror.” Another one would be “Cropsy.” A fascinating (not really scary, but Halloween themed) is “An American Scream.” This one is about backyard haunts in New England. I’m sure there are more out there, but those are a few off the top of my head. Great show guys…I listen to you on my commute home at 12 midnight here in Los Angeles.

    • Mike! Thanks for the feedback. You’ll be happy to hear that “Horror Documentaries” is one of the first shows on our to-do list after the Halloween season. Expect it in November or December! I’ve seen all of these. I love An American Scream. The director is a friend of mine. He also did the very fun Best Worst Movie doc about his experience starring in Troll 2. Thanks for listening!

  4. Nice review, Dave. Orca is one of those films that I know I saw a few times as a kid but I don’t really remember anything about. My most clear memory of Orca is the discussion of it in the far more scary orca film, the documentary Blackfish. I’m sad to read that most of this sucks because it seems like a fun one to revisit. I’m really curious. I see that they are using “the killer whale!” as a poster tagline, but what a tremendous missed opportunity to not call the film KILLER WHALE. You couldn’t really get away with that now, but this would have been the era to do it. When the filmmakers can’t even execute such an obvious horror element, it’s no wonder the rest of the film delivers more laughs than scares. Bummer.

  5. Day 1 – JeruZalem (2016)

    JeruZalem started off promising enough, especially with its unique Horror film setting. At least I can’t remember too many horror films set in Jerusalem. It starts off with an attempted exorcism in the 70s that goes awry, as most tend to do.

    Flash forward to present day and you get some youngsters taking a trip to the holy land and end up trapped in the city when attacks begin by creatures. I believe they are supposed to be demons; however they act like zombies hence the capital Z in the title.

    This is found footage and it has a unique approach; the footage is taken from a set of Google esque high tech glasses for most of the film. This proves to be interesting but limiting. I don’t believe this film had to be found footage but at least the approach was different.

    There is a lot that happens in this film and the very small budget is stretched to its limits. Unfortunately everything feels pretty generic, especially the tired zombie approach. And the setting, while unique at first, becomes just another generic place for some survival horror tropes.

    All of the actors are unknown which is perfect for found footage and they hold their own amongst all of the genetic trappings.

    In the end it’s not a complete waste of time but very little here to recommend. It’s a 4 out of 10 for me. It’s streaming on Netflix if you’re curious but it’s an avoid for me.

    • Jonathan, this is a movie I watched back when it first came out in January. I remember being really interested and excited for the movie, but ultimately being disappointed by the execution.

      There are several elements that I think were good and really worked. The setting, for example, is great in that the movie manages to change its environment several times – from expansive city, to compartmentalized asylum, to claustrophobic underground caves – and each environment helps to give a different vibe for that section of the movie. And I liked how they setup the found footage element of the film.

      But, ultimately, I agree that it’s a lackluster entry into the found footage sub-genre. I think I rated it a 6 or 6.5 after my viewing, but now would probably drop that down to a 5 or 5.5.

  6. Day 1:

    Terror In The Aisles (1984) – Score: 7
    Donald Pleasance and Nancy Allen host this documentary on the tropesbof the horror genre (or, “terror movies” as they are called in the film) using narrated scenes and clips of films.

    This is a highly enjoyable film, though the inclusion of two action films in the mix gets distracting. Also it should be noted that today’s anti-spoiler culture didnt exist in the 80s, and many of the films’ key scenes contain spoilers.

  7. Other Day 1 films watched:

    The Witch – 9
    Bunny The Killer Thing – 5
    The Conjuring 2 – 7
    10 Cloverfield Lane – 9
    They Live – 8
    Baby Blues – 3

    • Yes, very nice Saturday. 3 of those I would rate up there, 9’s or 10’s for what they were going for….

      The Witch, The Conjuring 2 and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

      I remember watching parts of They Live before and that it was entertaining for sure, but would have to watch it again.

      I’ll take your rating and avoid Bunny and Baby.

  8. Day 1: A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

    “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…three, four, better lock your door…five, six, grab your crucifix…seven, eight, gonna stay up late…nine, ten, never sleep again…”

    Everyone knows Freddy Krueger, whether you are a fan or not. I grew up with a terrible fear of Freddy, even though I never saw any of the ANOES movies until last year. I remember falling asleep with my lights and TV on, because otherwise Freddy was going to get me. Even though I was 34 when I saw ANOES for the first time, I was immediately transported back to my childhood and to the 80’s. I still remember the fear in the pit of my stomach when I watched scary movies as a young teenager, and ANOES did the same to me as an adult. I wish I had experienced this movie when I was young…I can’t imagine how terrifying Freddy would have been to me.

    ———-SPOILERS BELOW———-

    One of my favorite scenes is near the beginning, when Tina, Rod, Nancy and Glen are staying over at Tina’s house. I love the build up that happens right before the action starts…laughing with friends, investigating a strange noise, making sure the doors are locked. It really sets the stage for what’s coming. Tina’s death scene is by far one of my favorite in horror cinema. I found the effects to be very convincing and realistic. Nancy’s dream sequence at school is also another one of those scenes that transports me back to another time. Running through the leaf-scattered hallway, (Screw your pass!), looking for Freddy…it gets me giddy. My only issue with this film is the ending. Maybe it’s just me, but it left me a little confused. Was it a dream sequence? An alternate universe? They’re all dead, and yet here they all are. Maybe I’m overthinking it, or overlooking something very obvious.

    It’s not enough of an issue to bring my rating down. I give it a 9 out of 10 and say definitely BUY IT. If you’re a fan of 80’s horror and the big franchises, you have to own this film.

    • nice review. I had two issues with it, but they’re the same two issues… the story sort of falls a bit flat right after Rod’s death and doesn’t pick up again until Glen dies. And then that ending just seems a little out there… no one knew how to end it and it’s obvious in that way. Still, I went with this one for my first night also. =)

    • As someone who saw this movie when it came out (I was 8), I can say it definitely left an impression.

      Growing up I probably watched 3 and 4 more than any of them due to constant rotation on HBO but the original is all I have much of an interest for these days.

      Such a great, haunting film and yes, Jay, maybe a little nostalgic.

      Great review.

  9. Loved this film, “don’t go down to the north point Nolan, why would I ” great fun , totally agree Dr shock the beginning was great, is it horror? I’m not sure ask Jay, by the end it had got a bit silly, but the cinematography was cool

  10. A few days late on this, but here’s my current October watch list (in no particular order):

    The Wailing
    Train to Busan
    The Blackcoat’s Daughter
    Viral
    Shelley
    The Neon Demon
    The Shallows
    Baskin
    Scherzo Diabolico
    Holidays
    Noroi: The Curse
    The Autopsy of Jane Doe
    Southbound
    The Invitation

    These are all movies I have yet to see. The ones I’m most excited about are The Wailing, Train to Busan and Noroi. Movies I’m not sure I’ll be able to find are The Autopsy of Jane Doe and The Blackcoat’s Daughter, so tips on where to find those are welcome. Finally, this is only a list of 14 movies because I wanted to leave some wiggle room in case I see something from the HMP community that strikes my fancy (or in case I just get a last second hankering to watch something else).

    I’ve started off with The Invitation and Southbound, and will post short reviews of those soon.

    • On Wikipedia I found this about the The Blackcoat’s Daughter

      The film was scheduled to be released DirecTV Cinema on July 14, 2016.[14] But was pushed back to August 25, 2016, before opening in a limited release on September 30.[15] The film was then pulled from the scheduled and pushed back to an undisclosed 2017 date

      So, I don’t think you would be able to find it anywhere as of yet. I DID happen to see this a few months back. I won’t disclose the means here. I enjoyed it. It goes to some dark places. I liked the setting and dark unsettling mood throughout. Some would say it is a slow burn before leading up to the crazy last 15 min or so, however I enjoyed it throughout even if it wasn’t a perfect film. I would rate it a 7/10 and recommend a strong rental when it does release nationally.

      I haven’t watched Southbound yet, but it is in my Netflix queue. I’ve heard good buzz around Train to Busan, Noroi and The Autopsy of Jane Doe. I would like to see them as well.

      Baskin I had mentioned to you streaming on Netflix. That one definitely will satisfy some of the hardcore horror fans out there.

      I loved the Invitation. Great tense buildup before exploding at the end. Good review Dino! I agree with you on most of your points, but didn’t feel anything off and didn’t feel it took too long to get to where it was going and that may be because I enjoyed the tense buildup all the way through.

      I’ve watched The Shallows, The Neon Demon, Holidays, Viral and all had their moments. I am a fan of the Director Nicolas Winding Refn who directs The Neon Demon. If you like his other films you should enjoy this one. I would say it’s a bit of a slow burn but, nonetheless his imagery/cinematography was entertaining throughout. The violence, when it does arrive, is both abrupt and definitely horrific.

      Great list too! More obscure titles for sure. I’m curious what you think of these and other viewers if they have seen them.

  11. Day 1: The Invitation (2016)

    Rating: 7.5/10 (high priority rental)

    — — — — — Contains spoilers — — — — —

    What I liked:
    – The awkward tension built-up in the opening 2/3s of the film create a sense of unease in the viewer.
    – The little things that are “off” – a locked door, the lighting of a lantern, obscured views of people – that further that feeling of unease.
    – How the film clues us into the tragic happenings of the characters’ past and how they got to where they are now with triggered flashbacks.
    – How Will, the audience surrogate and “voice of reason,” is constantly made to appear unreliable.
    – The film really ratchets up the intensity 155,000% when it finally gets to where it’s going.
    – The final shot of the film where the scope of “the invitation” is revealed left me gobsmacked.

    What I didn’t like:
    – Prepare for a slow-burn, which is fine, but I felt the film took a little too long to get to where it was going.
    – Something with the film felt a little “off” to me; maybe that was just the build-up of tension, awkwardness and unease being too successful, but it prevented me from really connecting with the film.

  12. Day 1: Lord’s of Salem (2012)
    Rating: 4.5/10

    This was my first time watching this Rob Zombie film. Honestly, while attempting to watch this film, I fell asleep 2 times and it took me 2 days to finish. I found the scary moments to be few and far between. There were way to many dream/vision scenes that were visually stunning, but didn’t move the plot along. I liked the side mystery with a Salem witch historian, Francis Matthias. I wish there was more of him and less flashbacks/dreams/visions. There was also a cool golden retriever.

  13. Here it is Day 15. I’ve watched 15 films, but I want to come back and post everything to say honest.

    1. As Above So Below

    IMHO a very strong found footage film that feels equal parts Blair Witch, The Descent, and The DaVinci Code. I love the premise and filming locations for this so much. Even though it doesn’t necessarily go as crazy as it could, it think it just had so many genuinely creepy moments. Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here (chills) 7.5/10

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