239 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 039: VERSUS and Horror in 2015

  1. Hi guys.

    First of all, thank you Jay for getting this episode up only a day late haha, but really it’s always great seeing a new episode up on the site.

    I’m only an hour into the show, but I wanted to commend the excellent job Jay and Josh did discussing and reviewing Cheap Thrills and 13 Sins. What a great job you guys did keeping it spoiler free for the people who haven’t seen the movie. I can imagine everyone rushing out to get both films after such exciting conversation. I don’t think that your scores reflect the excitement that you projected during tour conversation or the quality of the movies, but still, great reviews. I enjoyed both movies though I prefer Cheap Thrills because of the cast and dynamic amongst the characters. Out of the two I feel that Cheap Thrills is also the closest to fully realizing its potential. I think I’ve scored both movies in previous episodes, but I don’t keep a log like Jay does so I’d say Cheap Thrills is in the 8-9 range for me and 13 Sins is in the 7.5-8 range.

    Now, I just finished watching a movie called The Guest. What an incredible little horror film! It’s a 2014 release and I enjoyed it so much and that I’m calling it my #2 horror film of 2014. It’s directed by Adam Wingard from You’re Next fame and this guy is officially in my radar now. This film is what Jay would call “fun horror”. It’s not a comedy, but it’s got this lightness and fun atmosphere to it that it’s never horrifying even though there are horrible things happening, it’s violent, it’s hip, it’s got an amazing soundtrack that’s very uncharacteristic of horror, and the lead actor is incredible. I want to see this guy in more stuff! It’s a 9.5 and I urge you to watch it. I think The Guest just as You’re Next did a few years ago, brings a breath of fresh air to horror and it’ll be a classic one day.

    P.S. Both films are already classics to me.

    • Thanks for inspiring this episode, Juan! These moral dilemma films are fun to discuss, but I didn’t like them quite as much as you did, ultimately. Definitely worth a watch, though.

      • It’s ok man, I’m just glad that you didn’t hate them haha. After listening to your second part of VERSUS (I love this new segment y the way) I’m really excited to see both Choose and Would You Rather. They sound like fun flicks and I’m dying to find out if I’ll end up more in line with you or Jay haha.

        • I know you’ll dig “Would You Rather.” My friend, Wolfman Josh, is a “mood watcher.” And if he’s not in the right mood for something, he’ll end up being dismissive — too dismissive — of films that deserve more credit. And the reverse is true for him, too.

          Case in point: Remember Josh’s raving, glowing review for “Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out!)”? BAM! I just did a Cobra-Kai “Sweep the Leg!”

          “Put ‘im in a bodybag, Johnny! — Yeeeaaaaahhhh!”


          • WHA CHU TALKIN’ ‘BOUT JASON?! This is a strange new criticism, especially coming from you. You’re the guy that gives a film a low rating if the trailer lead you astray and you were expecting one thing, but got another.

            I’m a mood watcher in the sense that one I try to seek out films that I’m in the mood for, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a film if I’m not in the mood for it. It’s just my preference when I watch movies for fun. Most of the movies I watch now days aren’t for fun as much as for podcasts, so I am very much accustomed too judging movies on their own merits.

            WOULD YOU RATHER is a fine, fun, but flimsy film. It’s not a stand-out in any conceivable way. I wasn’t being facetious when I said that CLUE is a much better film. The location is better, the photography is better, the actors are better, the story is better. It would be one thing if WOULD YOU RATHER took the premise in an unexoected direction or was more scary, but it doesn’t. I still like it. It’s a rental.

            And CHRISTMAS EVIL is a terrible example of your silly criticism, BTW. I crane kick you if the face when you get up from your illegal sweep move.

          • Jay doesn’t like it when we don’t like his picks, but then he goes and hates our picks. That’s what you get Jay! That’s what you get…

          • @Wolfman Josh – For me, WOULD YOU RATHER is effective because we have a person of power taking advantage of those in need. He introduces himself as a caring individual with the best intentions… and resources… who just wants to help people in need of help. But, he turns out to be a psychopath whose motivations are completely selfish (and sadistic). That’s where the real horror in this film lies with me. It can be interpreted as an allegory for corruption in government. The fact that the hospital (or, at least, some people or “parts” of the hospital) apparently knows the deal and continues to go along with it is even more horrifying.

    • @Juan – So, I watched THE GUEST last night. I agree, it’s a great, really fun film. But, I would not call it horror. Definitely a great action/mystery/thriller, though.

      • I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you. However, I feel like this movie was meant to be a horror film. I think it’s constructed like a horror film, I think it’s influenced A LOT by horror films, and there are even a few references to horror movies that I caught on a second viewing. Having said that, the horror is not in your face, so I can see how many people would consider it more of a thriller, but even then I’d say it walks a fine line. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie, man. No review for this one?

        • @Juan – I’ve seen it classified as or discussed as horror in several places, so you are definitely not alone in that regard. I can see the horror elements in spots, mostly in the use of sound and music, as well as the overall construction of the film. The final scene is the closest it gets to full-on horror for me, though; I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you there. Despite the horror elements, it still didn’t feel like horror to me. Perhaps light horror. Maybe a repeat viewing will have me interpreting it differently. Anyway, here are my overall thoughts on the film…

          THE GUEST (2014) – 8.5/10
          This is a gem of a film. It blends themes from several other movies into an absolutely satisfying experience. There’s a very retro feel to it, which I love – everything from the set design and cars, to the music and overall look of the film. The dark comedic moments are always well-placed. The use of sound and music succeeds in creating a feeling of unease right from the beginning title screen through ’til the end. And, speaking of the end, the final scene is sooooo good – very ’80s horror in how it feels. My only real gripe with the movie is with something that happens at around the 70-minute mark, when there is a dramatic shift in tone. It’s not the shift in tone that bothered me (I actually think it fits with the progression of the movie), but I wish there was less background information given at that time. I would have preferred to be left in the dark a little more, but I don’t think this necessarily detracts from the film too much.

          Overall, you can tell a lot of thought and attention went into the making of this film. Every decision feels very deliberate; nothing happened by accident. As JOTD would say, this film has real heart – it’s obvious that Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett are movie lovers who grew up in the ’80s/’90s. THE GUEST is one of the better popcorn movies I’ve seen in awhile, and I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment. I love this film. It is a buy… and I’m buying the soundtrack, too.

          Between THE GUEST, YOU’RE NEXT, and their segment in V/H/S 2, I’m officially an Adam Wingard/Simon Barrett fan.

          • Speaking of Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, I heard that they signed on to write/direct the English-language remake of I SAW THE DEVIL. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that since the original is so good (and current).

            That said, there are a lot of recent English-language remakes of newer films that turn out pretty good – THE RING and QUARANTINE are two examples that immediately come to mind.

          • Great review Dino! I’m so glad you caught the retro vibe. On a first watch, I definitely got the vibe, but I couldn’t figure out what it was because the movie is set and looks in modern times. On a second viewing, I still couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I attributed the retro vibe to influences and even plot elements rather than the look of the movie. The music is also very retro sounding, so I think that’s a big reason why I got that vibe.

            If you’re referring to the “men in suites” scenes then I’m totally with you on that tonal shift. It really threw me off and it sort of ruined the mood for me. There were even some super cheesy scenes that had me rolling my eyes, but after giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that the movie was playing with old horror conventions which totally tied in with the retro vibe that I was getting so I got back into the movie 100%. But yeah, that was a bit weird.

            Dude! That final scene is perfect! It’s classic horror and it’s so well done and so much fun. It’s hard talking about this movie, because it taps into my childhood horror memories and it makes me all giddy inside. No other horror movie from recent times has made me feel this way. I realize that’s a very personal and subjective response to a film, but I can’t help it. This catapulted to my top 20 horror films of all time. The last movie that had an impact this big on me was The Ring from 2002.

            It makes me really happy to read that everyone’s that seen it has had a positive reaction to it. David, Jay, Josh, come on bros, you’re falling behind.

          • You just blew my mind a little there with those news. Usually I’d be a bit opposed to a remake this soon, but if these guys are doing it, then it couldn’t be in better hands. I’m very excited!

  2. Hey Jay, a suggestion for VERSUS. Go back to the magical year of 1989 and have a showdown between two under water beastly freak movies… LEVIATHAN vs DEEP STAR SIX! Thanks for a great episode.

    • That’s an amazing suggestion Tim!

      And an equally amazing expansion on the suggestion Shannon!

      I’m in the same boat as Juan. I LOVE “Deep Star Six” and “Leviathan” and have a huge fondness for “underwater horror” (maybe only surpassed by my appreciation for the burgeoning “underwear horror” genre) but I think I’ve also yet to see “Lords of the Deep” and “The Evil Below”. What was in the water in 1989 that lead to so many of these similar movies?

    • @Jan-Gel’s Twin — Great idea. I just added it to the list.

      @Juan — I love that subgenre. Underwear Horror Movies! I sense another themed episode coming on…. (I love those kind, too.) It’s all about the feelings of vulnerability and exploitation of the “victims” (the actors within the fictitious film, of course), and the voyeuristic pleasure of the viewers…

  3. Hey Jay…I’ll give you a million dollars…all you have to do is put out an episode from both podcast everyday for the rest of your life…are you up for the challenge??? If you agree and fail…then I’ll settle for as is…I know…I’m a lame ass mysterious antagonist…thought it was worth a try…:(

    • How about this? I’ll buy you a lottery ticket (each one possibly worth ONE billion dollars!) for every bonus podcast that you manage to throw our way 😉

    • Shannon, that’s awesome. I don’t think there are enough hours in the day, but I would surely try. When we produce a 2-hour episode, then that means at least 8 hours of post-production time. Well, no wait, I could do it, as long as MPW and HMP were both 2 hours each. That give me 4 hours to sleep per day! Write the check! : )


      P.S. True story — Cliff Ravenscraft (aka The Podcast Answer Man) (aka The Guy Who Taught Me Everything I Know About Producing Podcasts) – he once received a $12,000 check from one of his listeners to support his podcasting empire. PROOF: http://podcastanswerman.com/income/ (No pressure, my friends. You’re all already very generous with us.)

  4. Great show, guys. I’ve been hooked on HMP since September; I can’t get enough! Loved your thoughts on “Would You Rather..” I enjoyed it as Jay did, but I have to say they could have gotten more creative with the “choices.” When I saw that review was going to be featured, I thought for sure I’d get to hear Josh, Jay and Doc’s input as to what they think the worst “Would you rather” type torture they could possibly think of would be. This is a frequent conversation between a friend and me which is what led me to seeing that movie and also tuning especially to your review of it! So I ask you and anyone else formally…what would be the worst torture to experience? (Either contained in the film or not)
    Thanks again for the hours of entertaining discussion!
    Grey Imp

    • Grey Imp — Welcome! Thanks for listening and for commenting. My pals on these comment boards are right: I suck at commenting, but Wolfman Josh and my other HMP pals here pick up my slack.

      I’ll be careful about spoilers here — but to answer your question — there is a scene in “Would You Rather” having to do with an eyeball and a razor blade (as suggested by the cover art), that would be my limit. The way the character initially responds to getting this challenge (“I can’t do that. There’s just no way I can do something like that.”) — that’s exactly how I would be. I laughed out loud at how similar his reaction was to what mine would be. Eyeball stuff is my limit.

      *** For those who want to see this eyeball scenario where “THEY SHOW IT,” watch this shiz from 1929: http://bit.ly/1jOB7kg (Trust me. The insane part starts at 1 min., 35 seconds, but you should watch the entire film.)

  5. When I finally found martyrs and inside…left me saying WTF…but glad I saw both…now I’m scared to death to see Irreversible and The Serberian Film…should I just walk away…some things you cant unsee…

      • Josh! I watched Martyrs the other night, and I NEED to talk about it! I NEED to know what you thought/think about the ending?!?!?! I ask you because my mind was blown when I listened to the spoiler section of ‘The Babadok.’ I’m with Jay, it was an 8 for me until I heard your discussion about the way you viewed the movie, and it turned instantly into a 10! Can you tell me what you thought about the ending?

    • It’s a gruelling watch in some places but “Irreversible” is an incredible piece of filmmaking in my opinion (though it has been a long time since I saw it). As far as I recall though, It’s extremely harrowing and I’ll probably never watch it again but it was a very powerful emotional journey and that last shot in the film is amazing and heartbreaking.

      I’ve never and will never watch “A Serbian” film though. I’ve noted before that I’m not a fan of these more “hardcore” horror films anyway but I do to an extent admire (as opposed to enjoy) extremity in art. that said I feel like those extreme elements need a degree of context and reason for them to be categorised as “art” and I don’t know if there’s an explanation or context out there that could warrant the stuff that I’ve heard about “A Serbian Film”. I know the director suggested that it’s some kind of allegory about the state of Serbian government or something but if the chap couldn’t come up with a better allegory for a troubled country than “newborn porn” then I really don’t want to know. I guess that’s somewhat small minded of me, especially considering my totally limited knowledge of Serbian politics and history but when shock-value is that important to a film-maker I can’t help but feel that any message is very much diminished.

      • Irreversible has been on my list for a while, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a really difficult watch in more ways than just the subject matter. One of the more interesting things I heard from a friend is that the director uses sounds that upset you physically, sometimes to the point of making you sick. There’s another movie by the same director called Enter the Void and it’s supposed to be an even harder watch. Have you seen it David?

        • I can’t say I remember the sounds being THAT disturbing but I didn’t see it on a set up with great speakers or anything. Upon further reflection, I should have mentioned that “Irreversible” contains a lengthy and intense rape scene in my previous comment but I guess I was trying to block that part of my memory. It’s truly gut churning and something I’d feel bad about recommending anyone watch though I do feel that such issues should be represented in cinema and in a way that doesn’t gloss over or soften the awfulness of the crime in question but it’s nonetheless very disturbing and uncomfortable viewing. I’d be curious to hear what both Josh and yourself would make of the movie though.

          As for “Enter the Void” I never really felt an impetus to see that movie. A friend of mine who’s much more into arty extreme cinema watched it with his girlfriend and from their description it sounded pretty sexually explicit and gratuitous. I don’t really have any problem with that kind of thing but if it’s one of a films most notable elements then I find it a little off putting.

          • I hated ENTER THE VOID. I Will be watching IRREVERSIBLE and will report back. Like you, I have never and will never watch A SERBIAN FILM. No nard’s about it. Why subject yourself to utter trash?

          • I’m actually starting to feel kind of tempted to revisit “Irreversible” myself now Josh. I guess I was probably still in my teens when I watched it and possibly entrenched in that somewhat ignominious “everything DARK is COOL” phase.

            I feel like throughout my twenties I’ve become a bit more discerning when it comes to what I’m willing to subject myself to and oddly more sensitive to extremely disturbing content so I’d be curious to see what I’d take out of the experience now.

            But just thinking about it is depressing me.

  6. Jay…I.ll give you 5 bucks to karate knee me in the gut just so I can meet you…and since I can do karate too..even though you know I have a bad hip and you know my weakness….I will give you a karate knee to your gut…and then we will hug eachother out of karate repesct…

        • Thanks Juan. I’m doing it later.

          I need to come up with a better horrified name, though. Dino, Dino-Machino, Dino from Cleveland… none of those really conjure the right image. Well, maybe Dino from Cleveland…

          • Wow, Josh. Wow.

            The Cleveland Cleaver is the first thing that came to mind, but I’d rather tie it to my name (DEE-nō) than to a location. I just moved to Cleveland about 8 months ago (and don’t necessarily plan on staying for too long), so I don’t really identify with “Cleveland.” I still consider myself a New Yorker.

            I’ll come up with something. Or, I won’t, and will just stick with Dino.

          • I believe you’re thinking of DENVER the last Dinosaur, Juan. Dino is the Dinosaur from The Flintstones. But, to answer your question, yes. I think about it every time I read the name Dino.

          • I believe you’re thinking of DAVID the last dinosaur, Josh… ’cause he’s the one that wrote the comment haha. But yeah, I fondly remember both and neither is scary to me.

          • I thought of coming up with a horrified nickname, but I couldn’t come up with any good ones. Back when I started listening to the podcast I posted a review on itunes under “The Dead Juan”. To this day I’m still embarrassed of having used that :/

          • The Dead Juan is pretty funny. What about that movie title, Juan of the Dead? I thought that might appeal to you. But, it is all a little silly, for sure. It was a major thing on our old horror network, which is why we all have these names, but now it’s just for fun. I don’t think you guys need horror nicknames. But, if we ever have those listener panels, you guys will need to have one to come on the show.

          • The best I could come up with are:

            Dino Giallo
            Dino Dread
            Dino the Cleveland Cleaver

            Not crazy about any of them, though. Burning way too many brain cells on this!

          • You’re right Josh, it was “DENVER the last Dinosaur” that Juan was thinking of.

            I had two episodes of that show on a VHS I got from a discount bin in Toys R’us and I think I enjoyed it but all I really recall was one scene where Denver was pigging out on potato chips. Something about the way those potato chips looked always made me crave junk food.

        • Maybe if you give us a little more background on you we could better help your cause, Dino. In this way, we may just be able to come up with something that actually somewhat reflects your personality or something.

    • I’ve had my avatar working for ages.

      I can’t help it if in reality I’m just a featureless white entity that inhabits a grey void.

  7. I haven’t listened to the episode yet, but I am looking forward to the new VERSUS segment. Very interesting idea. I’m also glad to see you’ll be discussing WOULD YOU RATHER. I watched this film about a year ago and really enjoyed it.

    THE GUEST has been on my list of 2014 movies to see for awhile, but has been buried behind several other films. However, between the chatter here and another film podcast I listen to, I might have to bump it up the queue.

    I finally got around to watching the two THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN films, as well as Ben Ketai’s BENEATH. I’ll likely post some brief thoughts on these tomorrow. SPOILER ALERT for my unsolicited mini-reviews: I really liked two of the three.

    • I’m taking JOTD’s lead and posting these a day late. So, without further ado, here are some unsolicited mini-reviews:

      WOULD YOU RATHER (2012) – 7.5/10
      Very polished film with an interesting premise and setup. The torture elements are used to really test the limits of what the human body – and each individual character – can (and is willing to) endure. To me, that’s the most effective use of torture in films of this sub-genre. The additional game elements help to add suspense, and the backstory lends some real stakes to the situation. I do have to say it’s been a little while since I’ve seen this film, but the overall feeling of hopelessness and despair has stuck with me.

      This film has been on my list of shame for a long time, but now I realize I wasn’t really missing much. THIS. MOVIE. WAS. ROUGH. I honestly struggled to get through it without falling asleep. So disappointing because the elements of a great – dare I say, breakthrough – film are there. The character design of the Phantom is awesome, the premise and setting are interesting, and I dug the voice-overs and overall docu-drama approach and construction of the movie. There was something seriously lacking, though. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but the execution definitely wasn’t there. And I don’t buy the “you have to consider the time period in which it was made and the small budget they had” argument because there’s a certain little film that was also based in Texas made two years earlier on an even smaller budget… and that one became a masterpiece.

      THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014) – 7.5/10
      This movie was brutal, in both good and bad ways, but overall a lot of fun. First, the elephant in the room: the use of Dutch angles throughout the film was all over the place. Occasionally it was used effectively, but more often than not I found them to be completely unnecessary and distracting (and, worse, completely took me out of the film). I wish the director/cinematographer used more discretion in that regard. The kills were savage in the way they should be for a modern slasher, and there were some great little elements in the film that succeeded in ramping up the suspense. Ultimately, there was something about this movie (or maybe something that was missing) that kept me detached from it, which held it back for me. I don’t know if it was pacing; there was never a part of the film that I felt bored or rushed. However, I do feel like the end sequence began before I realized we were there. And, speaking of the end sequence, the movie did nothing to earn the payoff. These issues keep the film from becoming a modern classic in the slasher sub-genre. It was so close.

      Ben Ketai’s BENEATH (2014) – 7/10
      I’m beginning to realize that underground survival horror is one of my favorite sub-genres, and this is a gem of a film in that regard. It plays a lot like a stuntman’s version of The Descent, but the cherry on top is the psychological element it incorporates. There was no respite for the characters no matter where they went – the bright white of the survival chamber’s interior was just as maddening as the darkness in the coal mines. This was a very good movie.

      ANNABELLE (2014) – 6.5/10
      Maybe the HMP review lowered my expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by Annabelle. I like how the doll was utilized and “manipulated” throughout – not cheesy at all, which is difficult to do in a movie like this. It was sufficiently creepy. I would say DEAD SILENCE is a creepier doll movie, but there were a handful of scenes that scared the pants off of me. Overall, nothing exceptional, but a solid horror film.

      ***Note: Regarding my TTTDS (1976) comments, I was discussing the film as its own entity, and not in relation to any real life events the story is loosely based on. Actual murder and violence is not awesome. This probably leans towards the “you really don’t have to say that” side of the ledger, but wanted to put that out there anyway because I didn’t want to give anyone the wrong impression.

      • I actually think that one of the things I like most about “The Town That Dread Sundown” (2014) is that it’s a slasher remake that’s actually an improvement on its source material. I’m generally of the mindset that it makes more sense to remake movies that weren’t great to begin with than remake classics that are impossible to measure up to.

        And as for the Dutch angles; they struck me as awkward in the first couple of instances but after that they felt really natural to me. I don’t know if they appealed as some sort of subconscious yet hyperbolic homage or my dull brain just uncharacteristically quickly got used to them but they didn’t bother me at all.

        Unlike Jay I honestly couldn’t have guessed which two movies you enjoyed and which one you didn’t so this was especially fun to read!

        • @David – That’s interesting… I never really considered the film in comparison to the original. Maybe because it wasn’t just a straight up remake, but also a sort of meta, self-referential continuation of the story. That said, it definitely took the concept of the original, which I loved, and did something better with it (much better).

          As for the Dutch angles, the film had a pattern for me of having really jarring shots, then settling into a natural groove with random jarring shots sprinkled in here and there to take me out of the film. I do think the use of the technique was more effective for most of the middle portion of the film. I thought the beginning “chase in the woods” sequence was horrible, though, and there was another shot towards the end (I can’t remember which, exactly) that also snapped me out of the film. Regardless, I really liked this one.

      • Out of the four movies, I’ve only seen The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) and Ben Katai’s Beneath. I actually liked The Town That Dreaded Sundown, but I can see why you’d hate it. Not only did it feel like the story never advanced, but the movie didn’t really have an ending. It sort of just ended. The movie was uneven at best. But I did like the look of it, the atmosphere it established, the narrator (up until a certain point), and the look of the phantom. There were even a few scenes like the one where everything’s in slow motion that really impressed me. Did you catch the parallels between the phantom and the zodiac? Anyway, I would give it a 5.5 and I’d recommend it, though only to those that are very interested in the proto slasher.

        Beneath was too run-of-the-mill for my taste. I feel like the “twist” they employed is too cliché by now so I was expecting the story to go a different direction, but it ended in the same place where I thought it would end right from the start. That was a big disappointment for me. If only the execution had been outstanding, I would have been more forgiving of the story, but even that was just ok. And it’s not like I hated the movie, I just thought it was bland. I don’t know, perhaps I’m being too rough on it. It’s a 4 for me.

        I’m very interested in the remake of The Town That Dreaded Sundown. From the sound of it, it’s something I would like quite a bit. I can’t wait! And great reviews, man. Keep them coming. I always enjoy reading people’s reviews. I wish more people did it.

        • @Juan – I’m not sure I caught the parallels between the Phantom and the Zodiac. Do you mean how he preys on young “lover’s lane” couples? I wonder how much of the Phantom’s character design in the original was based on actual accounts from the Texarkana Moonlight Murders of 1946.

          • I see a lot of parallels, Dino. In fact, the first “lovers lane” killing in TOWN is nearly identical to the one in Fincher’s ZODIAC. The Zodiac’s interaction with the police seems similar. The Zodiac had a bag-like mask in a couple accounts.

            • Yes, the lovers lane parallel is there, but I’m not sure I agree with the police interaction part. Fincher’s Zodiac was much more brazen, actively contacting the police and media, and taunting, teasing and terrorizing them as he progressed. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t get that with the Phantom. The police in TOWN seemed more tormented by their ineptitude in finding the killer.

              The mask… yes… but these aren’t the only two movies with a serial killer who wears a mask. I guess what I’m saying is, yes, I do see some parallels between the two. But, I certainly wasn’t smacked with ZODIAC while watching TOWN.

  8. Been missing Jay’s feedback on the podcasts lately…thank god Josh is still around to pick up the slack…I’m still studying in the church of Juan and David…

    • Haha, that makes Juan and myself sound a bit like some Jim Jones-esque cult leaders!

      I’m afraid to say that studying me you’ll only learn how to write pretentious comments that, due to a penchant for verbosity, seem (slightly) smarter than they actually are!

    • @Shannon — I’m bringin’ it in spades right here at 4:30 in the morning. I’ve got a big trip across the country this week, so I’m off to the airport shortly. Thanks for noticing my absence.

      @David — I got your exceptional e-mail and will be replying within the next couple of days. I wanted to have sufficient time to try to write something equally as incredible as what you’ve written to me. (In short, I hate when I write great e-mails and people reply with one word. I’m not that guy.)


  9. So guys, I think it’s extremely cool that this episode was inspired by such recent input from Juan in the comments (once again I must note how amazing the level of respect and interaction that you show us listeners is!) and I really enjoyed the Vs format. I think sometimes having several similar movies to compare with one another can help us be more objective and to better comprehend the context of the themes. I also think it’s really interesting to explore how two films with an extremely similar concept might vary when it comes to things like tone or quality. I guess in a way this is like a slightly less dedicated version of a themed episode, but it works great and I hope you do more podcasts in this vein. That said, I hope you do more podcasts in every vein. HMP, the Heroin of horror podcasts.

    Next, I want to once again offer my applause for Josh’s new segment. I think it really kicked into gear in this episode what with the other hosts available for discussion and the movie being such an extreme example. Maybe I’m a secret sadist but I find Josh tormenting himself with these sorts of films totally fascinating. It’s interesting when such an emotional response is evoked in a gentleman who has so much insight into filmmaking and normally a great deal of tolerance for experimentalism and boundary-pushing. It’s riveting stuff and I hope Josh has the psychological stamina to keep it up!

    And Doc, you sounded a little rough in this episode so I hope you’re feeling better soon and I want to express my gratitude for you bringing up my beloved “Matango”. I think there’s a lot of value in highlighting some of these more obscure foreign movies from times gone by because some of them are incredibly unique and interesting but they never seem to get anywhere near as much coverage as their western counterparts in the genre and I’m sure there’s a lot of horror fans out there who’ve never even heard of them. Also, just for the sake of clarification I never specifically recommended it to Josh (I don’t want Josh taking the blame for ignoring a recommendation that never was) but I have mini-reviewed it in the comments before and it’s showed up on a few of my top ten lists and such. I do think it’s the kind of film that Josh might get a kick out of though and I would be over-the-moon if you guys could fit it into a themed episode some time. I know you probably have so many ideas for themed episodes that they’re coming out of your ears but I think “Matango” would be an excellent fit in a “Desert Island Horror” theme. I think there’s a hell of a lot of mileage for discussion and analysis when it comes to the isolation and distance from civilisation presented by the shipwrecked-on-a-desert-island plot not to mention the horror often inherent in the human survival instinct; the whole “Lord of the Flies” sort of thing. And there’s a whole bunch of horror movies out there that use the “Desert Island” setting.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling for now. But I’ll no doubt be back with more very soon.

    • Really appreciate your comment, David. I am also enjoying the new segment … except for watching the actual movies! Haha, I’m getting severely depressed from these hardcore films.

      I promise to add MANTANGO to the list and I absolutely love the idea of desert island horror. My second favorite movie setting after a snowy blizzard.

      I’m also for doing more versus episodes too. We should have worked on the format more, though. I think we need to make sure all three of us can watch them and then vote on a victor. Also, an audience poll so we can announce the audience winner.

      • Have you thought of including an original vs. a remake? Would that be a valid option for a VERSUS episode? I’d be really interested in movies that are close in quality like Ringu vs The Ring or Let the Right One In vs. Let Me In as opposed to clear cut options like The Wicker Man (Edward Woodward vs. Nicolas Cage) where we know which is the clear winner. Either way, I think it’s fun picking them apart and really finding out what makes them work and what holds them back.

        Also, may I recommend the use of the street fighter font (or some other fighter font) to really get in the VERSUS mood haha.

        As for a themed episode, I give my vote to an all Asian horror episode and combine that idea with one of the listener’s idea of having a listener as a guest and have David on the show doing what he does best: expanding our vocabulary… haha just kidding David. But really, I think he would be the perfect guest if you guys decide to do an all Asian horror episode, particulary J-horror which I think is his specialty.

        • @Juan – Love your idea of pairing up originals against remakes. Haven’t they mentioned doing a themed episode on remakes/reboots? Could be a fitting segment on that show.

        • Juan as usual you flatter me but are far too kind. Honestly I think I’d make a pretty terrible guest and I have no intentions of putting the listeners through that should i ever be given the opportunity. Besides, my knowledge of Asian horror is far from comprehensive; It’s mainly just movies from Japan that I am drawn towards and I’m sure there are many other potential guests who would have a far more detailed and academic knowledge of Asian cinema than myself, not to mention far more interesting and intelligent things to say!

        • Well, we’re hoping to do an in-depth discussion on remakes and reboots in 2015 (similar to the Horror Palace special episode, except HMP-style). And I think that would inherently lead to a versus discussion between the originals and their remakes.

      • Actually I’ve thought about this for a bit and there maybe aren’t as many “Desert Island” themed horror movies as I thought. Would any of the “Island of Dr. Moreau” adaptations count?

        Without doing any research the only other ones I could come up besides “Matango” were “Shockwaves”, “Anthropophagous” and “The Slayer”…. There must be more than that!

  10. Hi Guys! I’m a huge fan of this show and Movie Podcast Weekly! I found Horror Movie Podcast last October while searching for a horror movie podcast to listen to at work, and I’m so glad I did because it’s so good!!
    Anyhow, I just finished the episode today, and I have to make a couple of comments. First, Jay of the Dead, I really admire you, I think that you are a great film critic (I just watched Out of the Furnace the other day because of your recommendation and it blew me away, it’s a 10 out of 10) but…a 9.5 for Would you Rather? I mean, seriously? I watched that movie last October and it is not that good. It’s okay, but a 9.5? I am shocked!
    Secondly, I have kind of a personal question for Wolfman Josh…I heard you mention that you used to be vegan. I’m so curious why people stop being vegan. I’m not a vegan (although I am a vegetarian), and I’m definitely not asking because I want to get into a debate about veganism (I promise), I just know (or think that I know) that it takes some pretty strong beliefs about animals, about the environment, etc. to become a vegan, and I’m super curious why you stopped? But, please feel free to tell me it’s none of my damn business :)
    I’ve been meaning to post a comment for months telling you all how much I love the podcasts! Great job this week as always!
    Michelle from Burlington, Vermont.

    • Hey, no problem at all, Michelle. I don’t mind answering any question that brings more listeners out of the wood work. We see the numbers, but it’s nice to actually interact with people. It’s the only time it actually feels real.


      So, I went vegetarian when I was a sophomore in high school for animal rights reasons. My feeling was–and remains–that there is no NEED in our modern age to eat meat for survival and so it is only GREED that compels us to do so.

      After a couple of years of vegetarianism, I decided to go all the way and become a vegan. I did that for another two to three years.

      At the age of 19, I moved to Europe. Outside of my parent’s house, in a foreign country with little money, and depending largely on the meals others cooked for me, I thought it would be extremely rude to try and maintain my veganism and turn up my nose to the beautiful meals that people were making for me as their guest, just because it had butter in it, for example. I still remained a vegetarian, but I dropped the veganism. I’m sure you’ve experienced this, but when someone finds out you’re a vegetarian, they immediately say things like “oh, let me cook you an egg!” So, I was an ovo-lacto vegetarian.

      Back in the states at age 22, I was still a vegetarian, but, being the moron that I was, I hadn’t given much thought to nutrition. When I was a vegan, that happened kind of naturally because you’re eating so many vegetables and whole foods, but as a vegetarian, I was eating a lot of bread and cheese and pasta and cookies etc in place of meat. My 21 year old body wasn’t handling the carbs the same way my 15 year old body did. So, I had gained a lot of weight. Fast-forward ten years and then there was a real problem.

      A few years ago I got a job filming a documentary in Alaska. I was filming with Native Alaskan tribes who were hunting moose, bear, beaver, whale, etc to survive. In a similar situation as I had been in back in Europe, I wasn’t going to offend these people people who hunt for survival for my own first world pride. So, I ate the food they so graciously gave me. I just decided that I was going to eat meat the whole time I was making that film. I ate moose, bear, reindeer, and even whale. If you watch that movie BIG MIRACLE, it really captures the situation well, but I was in places far more remote than Barrow, where that film takes place.

      Anyway, being that I always loved the taste of meat and had only given it up for ethical reasons, it was really hard to put the beast back in the cage once it was out.

      Now, for health reasons, even more than moral reasons, I’m eating a largely vegan diet. Over the last year I’ve been making a food documentary and have finally learned the basics of nutrition that I wish I’d learned in my teens. On the other hand, I’ve spent several years consuming meat, really enjoying it, and spending time with people for whom it was a way of life, not just a gluttonous habit.

      I choose to eat meat when I want to, taking the responsibility for my actions and consciously understanding that I am doing it for my own satisfaction rather than any need. In fact, knowing what I know about nutrition now, I realize that I am actually harming my body when I eat animal proteins. So, if I do it, I do it knowingly.

      I’ve also taught my kids a lot of the spirituality surrounding hunting that I learned from my time with the Native Alaskans. They believe that the animal gives itself to you and that you should be grateful by showing respect and thanks for the animal. There are no Native Alaskan sport hunters. They don’t hang horns on their walls. In my religious tradition, we pray over food. My kids and I have added the Alaskan tradition of thanking the animal that gave it’s life so we could eat. We do this whenever we eat meat.

      But, I do still strive to eat a vegan lifestyle. It’s “cruelty free,” yes, but it’s also so much better for you. You don’t have to get sick and live the hellish life most Americans do in their old age. So many diseases can be prevented by eating a plant-based, whole food diet. Research shows that we make about 200 food decisions a day. So, I try to take it one decision at a time. I always start out my day with a green smoothie so that I know, whatever else happens, that I have a stomach full of greens and blueberries, vitamins and antioxidants, etc. If that’s all I get all day, I’m better off than most Americans. Hopefully, I’ll make good decisions the rest of the day as well. I always try to, at the very least, make sure that half my diet is vegetables. Research shows that people who eat a diet of 51% veggies have a 75% less chance of getting cancer.

      Right now, I’d say I’m about 90% vegan when I’m at home and 50% vegan when I’m traveling on the road–and I’m going to live a lot longer and healthier and happier than I would have when I was just a straight-up vegetarian or a regular American meat eater.

      Sorry you asked? 😉

      • Wow, Josh! Thank you so much for that very thoughtful response. I really appreciate that you took the time to give me such detailed reasoning!
        I’ve been a vegetarian for about 3 years, and I’m on the path to being vegan. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research about it, and I love hearing other people’s stories since I don’t know anyone personally who is a vegan. A funny side note to this is that I decided to become vegetarian after watching an episode of Survivor :) They had given the tribe a chicken and it was hiding under a bush and they were all grabbing at it and pulling its wings. Right then I looked at my husband and said, ‘that’s it, I’m done, I’m not eating meat anymore’ and I haven’t.
        Anyhow, thanks again for the response; that was very kind of you to share your personal story with me! Also, I wanted to ask…have you seen the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’? If so, what did you think about it?

        • Happy to share, Michelle. I haven’t seen COWSPIRACY, no. Re: Veganism, I think you just have to think about it in terms of those daily food choices. It’s really not all that hard if you ease into it. That’s funny about SURVIVOR. There are so many scenes like that, season to season. I’m just going to guess, but was it either SURVIVOR: SAMOA or ONE WORLD?

        • Michelle though I’m not vegan or vegetarian I do eat a lot of vegan food. My mum’s recovering from cancer and has a bunch of other medical problems including diabetes which demand that she maintain a pretty strict healthy diet so I cook a lot of vegan dishes for her.

          You probably know this already but I’ve found that Isa Chandra Moskowitz has some great books full of simple and delicious vegan recipes which are a really good way of slipping into that way of eating. “The Veganomicon” and “Appetite for Reduction” are especially good. Her chickpea piccata recipe is one of my very favourites.

          Getting into Middle Eastern food is also a really good avenue to go down. They use a lot of pulses and cereals to make some amazingly delicious meat and dairy-free food!

      • I’m glad Michelle brought this up because it’s a really interesting discussion. I’m not and have never been a vegan or vegetarian but I do feel ashamed of that and I try to eat as little meat as possible and make sure it’s from “ethical sources” (a term which I have no doubt reads as extremely contradictory to most non-meateaters).

        I’ve known people in the past who are really outspoken and obnoxious about their apparent vegetarianism but who will nibble bits of bacon if someone’s cooking it or steal a slice of my pepperoni pizza after a night at the pub. That always bugs me a little and I wouldn’t want to call myself a vegetarian and then act that way due to my astonishing lack of will power so I just try to limit my meat intake as much as possible.

        A lot of my friends are actually very dedicated vegetarians though, but this town isn’t the easiest place to commit to such a diet. There are seldom many if any veggie options in restaurants and no dedicated vegetarian/vegan shops. I once had a job in the kitchen of a big chain pub in town and whenever an order for a veggie burger came through the kitchen staff would all start shouting anti-vegetarian slogans and sometimes they’d spit in the burgers. I lasted three whole weeks before I told them in no uncertain terms which orifice might best be suited to stow the job.

        Josh, I really respect the fact that you’re teaching your kids to value the lives of animals and to show respect and gratitude when they eat an animal. I’ve always appreciated cultures that have that approach, acknowledging the importance of a creatures life and trying to not let anything go to waste.

        • Hi David! Thank you for the comment! I was a bit nervous asking Josh about his vegan remark, and I’m just so happy that he was willing to share his journey. I’ve found that talking to people about their food choices and especially their meat eating preferences can get very heated, so I tip toe around the subject usually.
          The story you shared about the cooks spitting on a veggie burger is scary but not really that surprising to me. I think it’s so weird that some people think people that decide not to eat meat are extreme and crazy. I can’t wrap my head around that concept.
          Let me tell you kind of a long story…a few months ago, a local eatery, a very popular, beloved eatery put a small sign outside of their business that said something like ‘bacon is delicious’ or ‘eat more bacon’ or something very similar to that. They are known for their delicious breakfasts (you usually have to wait over an hour for a table on the weekends) so I guess they thought they were being cute with the sign. A lady who had to walk past that sign to work everyday mentioned on an online community forum that the sign kinda offended her. She didn’t eat bacon or pigs in general. The beloved eatery saw her post, and out of courtesy took the sign down because it’s a small community and it wasn’t their intension to offend anyone. The local newspaper heard about the story and wrote an article about it. That’s when all hell broke loose. The women received death threats, people were posting hand drawn photos of her being victimize by what Jay of the Dead refers to as ‘Beastly Freaks’, people stopped going to and started harassing the eatery. It was so bad that they had to hire a PR firm just to help fix all the damage this did to them. They were just being nice and the lady was just commenting that it’s insensitive to pigs that a sign like that can be displayed so openly. After that, I’m scared to mention anything about meat to anyone :) It’s refreshing that you and Josh both commented so positively with tips and ideas to help me along. I got one of Isa’s books for Christmas and it is great!
          Thank you for the positive comment!

          • Yes, this stuff is very touchy and I spent so many years fighting with people about it that I completely lost interest. I never, in a million years, would tell someone else my opinion on what ethical food choices they should make unless asked or provoked. So, I was happy to answer your question, but this is the only situation you’d ever catch me talking about it.

    • Hi Michelle,
      Thanks for your great comment. This sounds weird, but it’s 1 a.m. and I’m awake at hotel in Coralville, Iowa, on a cross-country trek. (More on that in this Friday’s BONUS episode.) Anyway, I only mention that to explain my delayed response. This week has been spent driving.

      Thanks for your nice comment, and by the way, “Blue Ruin” is this year’s “Out of the Furnace” to me, so be sure to watch it!

      I appreciate and understand your critique, but I can explain. As you probably know by now, all the hosts on this podcast really pore over our ratings, to make sure they’re exactly right in reflecting our subjective feelings, especially Josh and me. It’s a little O.C.D., truth be told.

      But what you’ve highlighted here has to do with a difference between genres and the weight that I put on my own personal, extremely subjective “entertainment value” (meaning, “how much fun I had while watching the film”). And the latter has a lot to do with my 9.5 rating of “Would You Rather.” But as you can see, the poll results suggest that most listeners feel the way you do.

      I know a lot of people will call B.S. on this, but the late, great film critic Roger Ebert (my hero) felt the same way. In his review of “Shaolin Soccer,” Ebert wrote:

      “Every month or so, I get an anguished letter from a reader wanting to know how I could possibly have been so ignorant as to award three stars to, say, ‘HIDALGO’ while dismissing, say, ‘Dogville’ with two stars. … What it means is that the star rating system is relative, not absolute. When you ask a friend if ‘Hellboy’ is any good, you’re not asking if it’s any good compared to ‘Mystic River,’ you’re asking if it’s any good compared to ‘The Punisher.’ And my answer would be, on a scale of one to four, if ‘Superman’ (1978) is four, then ‘Hellboy’ is three and ‘The Punisher’ is two. In the same way, if ‘American Beauty’ gets four stars, then [The United States of ] ‘Leland’ clocks in at about two.”

      Jay again: And I would even argue that the same applies for sub-genres, as well.

      So, yes, if you were to compare “Out of the Furnace” (a Southern Gothic Crime Drama) one-on-one versus, against “Would You Rather” (A dinner-party “Game” horror flick), then “Furnace” is still a 10, in terms of overall cinematic merit, and “Would You Rather” would comparatively be a 6. But that’s not what I’m doing in this episode…

      I’m comparing “Would You Rather” with “Choose” — and more to the heart of the matter — with something of the same sub-genre, like the Danielle Harris-directed dinner party horror flick “Among Friends” (2012), which I think clocked in around the 6.5 ( Rental ) range for me during HMP Ep. 003. (Ergo, “Among Friends” would be about a 3.5 compared to “Out of the Furnace.”)

      I’m sure I’ll take some fire for this, but I just don’t think it’s reasonable or fair to the horror genre to rate these films against the same criteria that we rate other “artistic works of drama.” Granted, there are a few masterfully made horror films that could stand up to comparison with any other genre, movies like “The Shining,” “The Thing” or “The Babadook.” Those films are technically great in all aspects, across the board. (Often, when we celebrate the technical merits of horror films, we speak about the special effects, makeup effects, musical score, etc.)

      But when it comes to rating something like “Motel Hell” or “Killer Klowns From Outer Space,” then I believe we need to observe Ebert’s sentiments:

      “If a director is clearly trying to make a particular kind of movie, and his audiences are looking for a particular kind of movie, part of my job is judging how close he came to achieving his purpose.”

      Hence my disparity between my ratings of “Out of the Furnace” and “Would You Rather.” 9.5 is admittedly high, but again, that’s probably due to how much of a blast I had while watching that film.

      Thanks for writing!

      Sources: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/shaolin-soccer-2004

      • Thank you for the response, Jay of the Dead! And, thank you for explaining that to me…it makes perfect sense! I do have a lot of movies that I rate a 9 or 10 that I realize don’t hold a candle to my other 9 or 10s but because of the way they make me feel, or as you mention, their ‘entertainment value’, I rate them super high. I’ll keep that in mind from now on when I listen to the podcasts.
        I have seen Blue Ruin, and I really liked it. It’s wasn’t a 10 for me. I’ve realized that I usually need a bit of romance for a movie to be a 10…like in “Lawless” or “Drive”…not always, for example “Warrior” but usually. I would give “Blue Ruin” an 8.5. I thought it was very good! Anyhow, that you for talking the time to respond to me :) I appreciate it!

        • Yeah, agree with Ebert’s recommendation of a film, but not his or Jason’s rating system.

          That’s why I’m so grateful to have both the rating and recommendation. I’ve said this a lot before, but my rating is me trying to compare a film, as objectively as I can to all other films and my recommendation is more the “I had a good time” portion of the review.

          But, mostly–and I’ve said this a lot too–I’d suggest people completely disregard my ratings (despite the time I spent struggling with them) and just listen to the conversation. For me, the conversation is the most important part and the best film critics tell you everything you need to know to make an informed choice without thumbs or stars.

          BTW, Loved LAWLESS and DRIVE.

          • It would be so difficult for me to be a film critic because my ratings are totally influenced by my personal feelings, and I wouldn’t know how to turn that off. For example, “The Lost Boys” and “Pretty in Pink” are definitely 10s for me, but I wouldn’t be able to recommend them to everyone, and I would bet most people wouldn’t rate them that high.
            I guess what I’m trying to say is…you guys have a tough job, and I appreciate the time and struggle that goes into this!

          • “The Lost Boys” is awesome but you know I don’t think I’ve ever seen “Pretty in Pink”. It’s a John Hughes movie right? I really should check it out because I love what I’ve seen of his 80’s and early 90’s output. “The Breakfast Club” and “Home Alone” are easily in my top 30 favourite movies.

          • Yeah, both of those movies are great. You know me too well, Dino. PRETTY IN PINK is a great 80s artifact, worth a watch, David. THE LOST BOYS is one of the best 80s comedic adventure movies, one of the best 80s horror movies, and one of the all-time best vampire movies.

          • Creepy, right? 😉

            I remember LOST BOYS landing very high up on your all-time top 10 horror list (3rd, behind HALLOWEEN and THE THING, if memory serves), so lucky guess.

  11. Oh and with regard to these Universal Monsters reboots, I can’t say I’m very optimistic at all. Apparently when discussing some apparent remake of “The Wolfman” (didn’t we just have one of those a few years ago for gods sake?) the chairman of Universal pictures recently said:

    “We’ve tried over the years to make monster movies – unsuccessfully, actually, so we took a good, hard look at it, and we settled upon an idea, which is to take out the horror, put it more in the action adventure genre… bringing these characters into the present day and reintroducing them to a contemporary audience.”

    Everything about that quote makes me feel ill.

    • I actually love the “adventure” idea if you left some good horror in there. I am a little worried about the “action” and “modern day” elements.

      Id’ say, they tried unsuccessfully to make monster movies into action movies for years and that has been the failure. I thought the most recent WOLFMAN was lightyears better than VAN HELSING and DRACULA UNTOLD and what I anticipate from I FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY crap.

      Why not get an actual horror director to do one of the Universal monsters?!

      Yessir, I guess common sense ain’t so common! Har, har, har, har.

      • I guess the “adventure” part could be okay but when was the last time we actually got a good modern adventure film? It just seems like a genre so dependant on physical sets and locations and stunts and practical effects that they just can’t pull it off anymore. When they do make them now they just seem to be aiming for the pre-teen market which is fine ostensibly but in the hands of modern studios just means we get horrible, generic, pandering dreck.

        But I agree with you that they’ve been trying and failing to make monster movies into action movies for years. That’s partly why the quote struck me as so ridiculous, they’re making it sound like homogenising horror cinema into action blockbusters for mass consumption is some ground breaking new concept.

        The original Universal Monster movies were all about mood and atmosphere and macabre theatricality and I was hoping that they’d pay respect to those elements but instead it sounds like they’re probably going to piss all over them.

          • I guess it’s pretty watchable in a guilty pleasure sort of way but it’s nowhere neat the same tier as stuff like “Indiana Jones” or even “The Goonies” when it comes to adventure movies for me.

          • Yeah, that is a pretty unfair and silly comparison but I just meant it as an illustration of the big studios not really pulling off adventure movies like they used to. “The Mummy” might even be one of the better ones from the last 20 years.

          • I think Josh should tackle the issue of shortage of big studios adventure movies. What’s causing it and how can it be reversed?

          • The guys who were making them aren’t making them anymore and I think they’ve just gone out of fashion. They’ve been replaced by the LORD OF THE RINGS franchise and the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise. Epic, but utterly humorless movies. Everything has to be dark and gritty nowadays and adventure movies are fun.

  12. OMFG! I just watched the craziest, most ridiculous, most wonderful horror movie that I’ve ever seen. The movie is called Grizzly and I highly recommend it. David, I think you in particular will get a kick out of it. Jay, I believe you’ve recommended this movie in the past and bromygod when you’re right, you’re right. This is a 10 for me. It’s a terrible, terrible film, but in terms of sheer entertainment value and the seemingly never ending amount of WTF moments, this cannot be beat.

  13. Josh I have a few questions for you regarding your Wolfman’s Got Nard’s segment.

    Now it’s fairly evident so far that you’re not totally enjoying your jaunts into the more sadistic side of cinema (and I can’t blame you) but I’ve been wondering; do you feel that you’re predisposed to give a low rating to any film which leaves you full of such negative and uncomfortable emotions? Or do you think there’s a chance that you might award a high rating to a film even if it was a totally disturbing, upsetting and nihilistic experience, maybe if that intent on the filmmakers part had some meaning behind it and they executed it particularly well? Or might it be the case that if such a film was executed extremely well then it wouldn’t be a wholly negative experience as you would find something inspiring or thought-provoking in its artistry?

    And what would your approach be to something like “The Men Behind the Sun” which is notoriously disturbing but frighteningly accurate to the real life atrocities on which it is based?

    • If you don’t mind me butting in, David, I have a few questions that I’d like to add to the topic at hand.

      Why is it that you guys have no tolerance for graphic violence? Short of real violence towards a human or an animal, I don’t see how fake violence can affect you enough to make you feel dirty, evil, rotten and whatnot. I can understand having a personal preference for non-violent films, but I find it very curious how much the violence in a movie like Martyrs can affect someone so much that they are repulsed by it. And I’m not trying to single you out or judge you. I’m just trying to better understand your point of view. Personally, I have a very high threshold for on-screen violence. But then again, I have a different approach to movies, so perhaps that’s something else to take into account. I don’t need violence to be justifiable, because I don’t need to find value in what I’m watching in order to appreciate it. That’s not to say that I don’t try to look for answers, but if they’re not there it doesn’t bother me. Now, does me not having trouble with violence make me a bad person? Am I desensitized? Jaded? I’d like to think that the answer is not :/

      • Well of course I can’t speak for Josh but for me personally I think it has less to do with actual violence being depicted and more to do with the fact that I feel like often these extremely graphic films are relying on little more than shock value to engage the audience. I think when I’ve had a particularly unpleasant experience with that kind of movie it’s because it feels like the violence is all that’s there; the only reason anyone might enjoy the film and the only reason anyone might have made the film. Maybe that just subconsciously reflects too darkly on human nature for me? I’m not entirely sure.

        Also, I think these kind of films often tend to have suffocatingly depressing tones and nihilistic themes which don’t really sit well with my escapist reasons for watching horror. The kind of movies I struggle with tend to be the ones that feel more realistic and unremittingly grim. I sit around being a depressed bastard way too much already so horror to me is an escape. With things like Slasher movies I don’t want to feel like I’m watching what it would actually be like for real people to suffer and die so much as a sort of imaginative, comic-book exaggeration of that. I generally prefer horror which spooks me out in a fun way rather than making me dwell on all the awful things that human beings can do to one another.

        That said I certainly think that there is value in extreme portrayals of violence and I believe that sometimes art should be discomforting and disturbing. If a movie has a rape in it then that should never be a pleasant or easy thing to watch. And there are movies out there with some pretty extreme content that I’m a fan of. I think “Cannibal Holocaust” is an example of a very disturbing film that is also well constructed and interesting. I do detest the scenes of real animal violence in that movie but I understand that Italy in the late 70’s was hardly a bastion of animal welfare and I just watch a cut with the worse parts of the animal violence removed. Even so the movie still disturbs me and leaves me feeling kind of sickened but I think it’s handled well enough that I can still appreciate it.

        As for your question regarding whether having no problem with extreme fictionalised violence makes you a bad person? Of course not! It probably just means that you have a better handle than some of us at separating fiction from reality. I don’t believe that an appreciation of any kind of art or entertainment, providing it doesn’t involve real suffering, could imply that anyone is a bad person.

    • I think David put it very, very well in his most recent comment.

      From David’s comment above, when he suggested that a well-executed film “wouldn’t be a wholly negative experience as you would find something inspiring or thought-provoking in its artistry?” I think that’s very true for me. For me, it is a mixture of all of the elements.

      Re: Difficult themes. You guys know that I like being challenged. I don’t love dwelling on nihilism, but I can appreciate a difficult story if done well. Some of my favorite working filmmakers like Lars VonTrier and Michael Haneke are as emotionally torturous as Eli Roth or Pascal Laugier are physically torturous.

      Re: Violence. It’s not so much the graphic violence generally, it’s whether the violence is gratuitous or justified by the story. If it’s not it feels gross and exploitative.

      But, I think the deeper issue here and the reason that I don’t regularly watch hardcore content of any nature is the feeling that I get–OR WORSE–the feeling I don’t get.

      There are some cases where I just don’t need that stuff in my life. This stuff can be desensitizing. There’s no two ways about it.

      As you know, I recently experienced this with my review of DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS over on Movie Stream Cast. I found the movie far less violent and disturbing the first time that I watched it, which was directly after watching MARTYRS, than I did the second time. If you listen to the review, it’s like William is disgusted with me for not being disturbed by something I clearly should have been disturbed by.


      I recently saw a study that showed that people coming out of a movie theater “who had just watched a violent movie took 26% longer to help [a woman with an injury] than either people going into the theater or people who had just watched a non-violent movie.”


      Now, I’m not blaming the movies. As they say in my bible, SCREAM (jk, David), “movies don’t create psychos, they just make psychos more creative.” What they do create, though, are intense thoughts and feelings inside of me.

      As someone who has worked around special effect make-up and been on movie sets, I’m probably a more sophisticated viewer than some general movie-goers in terms of being able to distinguish reality from movie magic, but it still has a major emotional impact on me because I try to invest in the film when I watch it. And so, truth be told, I don’t ever really need to see someone skinned-alive again, even if the film WERE well made. I don’t need or want those images in my head.

      I don’t think that art should be limited, but like I’ve said before, just because someone calls a creation “art” doesn’t mean it’s any good and doesn’t mean I want to subject myself to it.

      Now, having said all of that, if I were to see a ultra-violent or nihilistic film that were really well made, I have to believe that I would respect that. But, I don’t respect this particular film. At least, not in this form.

      I do want to add that, like with the meat discussion, I’m not judging anyone who feels differently about these films. To each their own. AND, I’m more than happy to undergo this experiment of my own for the podcast. As much as the movies are unpleasant, the overall experience of discussing them in this context is a BLAST!

      • Josh it is interesting that you bring up Lars Von Triers. Forgive me if this has already been addressed but can you weigh in on Anti-Christ…perhaps as a comparison to Martyrs. Do you view the violence in these films differently?

      • As always Josh I appreciate such an insightful and detailed response. Also I’m glad you brought up the concept of desensitization because that’s an angle I didn’t even think of but definitely a reason why I might try to avoid these more extreme movies. I wouldn’t want to become so numb and burnt out to violence that when I go to watch something like “The Burning” or “The Thing” the violent scenes and gore have no effect on me whatsoever.

  14. Well folks it has been a long time…too long in fact. I must apologize that I have been away from the message boards for a couple of months now but rest assured that I have been faithfully listening.

    First off thank you gentlement for your Halloween episodes, all of which were great. I appreciated the attention to detail and the guest podcasters that you brought in to mix things up.

    A quick shoutout to Kyle DWD Bishop. Thanks for making an effort to join the guys, even if it is only for a short time. I think that I can speak for everyone and say that you add a new and welcomed layer to the podcast that helps raise the bar.

    Josh I would like to give you a shoutout as well. I love the whole “Wolf Man’s Got Nards” concept. I was one of the people who earlier called you out for not watching The Exorcist. Thanks for stepping up. One of your voice messages mentioned Exorcist III (on this cast I believe) and I have to say the it is a damn fine movie. The biggest problem with it is that it will forever be tied to the original and because it has a slightly different plot line, people didn’t like it. I believe that it is a very effect movie that blends a number of horror genres together. I highly recommend checking it out and I can say that it is easily the second strongest film in the franchise.
    Martyrs is a different film. Upon my first viewing I couldn’t help but feel let down as the movie took a rather unexpected twist partway through that I wasn’t a big fan of. A second view is certainly worthwhile to get the whole effect of the movie.
    Irreversible is a very powerful and well crafted film. I have only seen it once, but I am looking for an opportunity to revisit it. I am big fans of both Cassell (check out two of his films: Crimson Rivers and Brotherhood of the Wolf if you can) and Bellucci. It is tough to watch for a number of reasons but anyone with nards will be able to handle it.
    Josh I am curious to know what other movies you are looking to explore with this segment, but I completely understand if you want to keep your picks close to your chest.

    I am going to try to make a better effort to stay connected now that life has settled down for me. It is great to see the increased participation from Doc, Jay and Josh on the boards and all of the regular contributors.

    I missed you guys :)

    As always…Abide
    The Dude (“Nice Marmot”)

    • First of all, welcome back, Dude.

      I’m glad people are enjoying the new segment. Yes, I’m playing my cards close to the vest for dramatics, but PLEASE–and this goes for everyone–leave me your recommendations if there is something you’d like to hear me cover on the segment. I can’t promise I’ll get to all of them or that they will all be films that fit the category for me, but I’d at least like to get a sense of what people are interested in hearing about.

      I’ve seen BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF. Looking forward to IRREVERSIBLE. I do not think I’ll be revisiting MARTYRS, however. Pretty sure I got it.

      I have been really interested in the 2nd EXORCIST film, but I’m now dying to see all of the EXORCIST franchise, so thanks for the recommendation there.

      Glad to have you back, Dude.

  15. When I first saw the title for this episode, VERSUS, I was very excited. I was hoping that you would be covering Ryuhei Kitamura’s 2000 film Versus. I’m not sure if anyone has seen this flick, but I would highly recommend it. It is a hyperkinetic blend of gangster film, zombie film, samaurai and martial arts. Grab yourself a case of beer and enjoy the madness.

    The Dude

    • I’ve been kind of curious about “Versus” in the past. Is it the kind of movie that’s literally just wall-to-wall fight sequences or is there a bit more to it than that?

      • I watched this movie in high school, so I might be out of my element here, but this is how I would describe it from memory:

        If like The Evil Dead and Highlander met and they had a baby — and then meanwhile The Matrix and Escape From New York met and had another baby. And by some miracle those babies met and fucked — Versus would be the shit that they birthed. Also add a bunch of influences from every action and horror movie from the ’80s, anime, and a little bit of Quentin Tarantino dialogue and THEN you get Versus.

        I’d say that you would dig it, David. Unless you have no patience for action and fighting sequences in which case you’ll probably hate it because there are plenty of those and they are quite lenghty.

        • Juan I could not have put that any better myself.

          Versus is a viewing experience that I would recommend to any who enjoys horror or action films.

  16. Great Show So far… still working on it – But so far I have to agree with Jay on the subject of Would You Rather…. My Fiancé and future sister in law (both non-horror fans) rented Would You Rather, and raved about it so much saying I had to watch it.

    I had zero interest in the film initially, but I must say after watching it, it was a lot of fun, and so easy to watch. Nothing groundbreaking here at all, but refreshing to see a movie just go for entertainment value and not try to force anything for the sake of making it different. I know that sounds weird…but I just want something fun and simple occasionally and this fits that description.

    Now however, I absolutely agree with Josh about Martyrs. I love extreme French Horror Cinema, but was ultimately let down by Martyrs. I understand the message and why it is praised by a lot of people, however as a viewer I was actually bored for a lot of the second half, and once boredom kicks in, in this type of film, I lose all emotional investment, so the film loses it edge and appeal and becomes bland. I’ll take Inside or Frontiers over Martyrs any day as they are much superior films in terms of overall entertainment value.

    P.S. Jay.. I finally blind bought Gutterballs………watched it alone…. And fricken loved it!

  17. I had a chance last week to catch Zombeavers. This was a movie that I saw a trailer for back in the spring and I was looking forward to it.

    I am sorry to say that I found it very underwhelming. As a viewer one would expect a movie with the title Zombeavers to be tongue in cheek with campy elements. I simply found that they couldn’t strike the right chord between horror and comedy.
    5 out of 10 for me.

  18. We’ve been deprived of a new episode so long that the comments section is now on up to 200 messages! That’s how long Jay’s had us waiting :'(

  19. I know he didn’t meet his demise in Iowa or Nebraska…I can vouch for them…The Crazies got nuked…and The Children of the Corn didn’t get him cause its winter and there is no corn…hence no children…God only knows what horrors lie in wait in Wyoming…Brokeback Jay anyone!!! God have mercy on his soul!!!

  20. I was trying to be calm and patient about this but I’m falling victim to the mass hysteria…I’m starting to freak the fuck out!!!

  21. Guys, guys, please remain calm. I can assure you all is well. The reason why I’m so late is because I made an impromptu stop at a dollar theater on the way back from West Virginia. This theater was still playing The Conjuring, can you believe that?! Anyway, having read all the comments (spearheaded by none other than Juan!) regarding The Conjuring, I decided to revisit it. And what better way than to watch it on the big screen, right? So, to keep this short and so that I can get back to editing the bonus episode that I promised you all, let me say that I take back everything bad I ever said about the movie. This is a 10 and I call it a masterpiece! You guys were right all along and I was wrong. Sorry it took me this long to change my mind.


      • Damnit! How did you know?! Ok I have to confess two things:

        1) I absolutely forgot to change my name to Jay of the Dead haha. But because of that my joke turned out funnier than expected.

        2) After my failure to steal Jay’s name, I actually tried using Jay of the Dead as my name and it backfired on me. Now my comment is waiting moderation. So, identity thieves, doppelgangers, and impostores beware!

        Jay, sorry for attempting to steal your identity, and in the process your soul, but I was just trying to calm the masses.

  22. Wait. There’s supposed to be a BONUS episode?


    I gotta stop by here more often.

    Seriously, though. HMP is alive and well. I know, because we all got together to record an episode the other night.

    I can also tell you with 100% certainty (well… lets make that 90% certainty) that the bonus episode you’ve been waiting patiently for should be posted by this time tomorrow.

    And we’ve already started planning the epic FRIDAY THE 13TH series of shows, which, like the HALLOWEEN series, will be posting each and every week for five weeks straight.

    So, to recap, with the bonus episode, the one we just recorded, and the F13 series, you can expect a new episode EVERY FRIDAY from now until March 13 (7 weeks in a row).

    Just don’t quote me on that.

    • Thanks for the update, Doc. I know how much work you all put into the show… with all our whining, we must sound like a bunch of spoiled brats!

      In all seriousness, though, I’m super pumped about the FRIDAY THE 13TH episodes. That’s my franchise, and I’m always looking for an excuse to re-watch the series.

    • Sweet Jason Voorhees in Heaven!!!!…I cannot wait for the Friday the 13th podcasts!!!!!!…I loved the “Halloween” ones you guys did.

      The book “Camp Crystal Lake Memories” is a must have for any superfan like me. I’m sure Dr. Shock has read or at least is aware of this masterpiece of literature! It is an amazingly comprehensive resource detailing all of the films from 1 through F vs. J…. Great production pics, interviews, and awesome trivia that will blow your mind. You guys should at least mention it on the podcast if you haven’t already.

      • Grey Imp: I’m lucky enough to own that book (which is phenomenal), and I’m certain I’ll reference it a number of times during those shows.

        Thanks for listening, and all the best!

  23. You’re a saviour Doc!

    Thanks for keeping us updated.

    And I had no idea that the “Friday the 13th” episodes were due so soon. That’s awesome news!

  24. I have to say that reading comments here on HMP, is a bonus episode all by itself! You guys and gals bring a lot of joy to the table, so to speak! ALL of you! I always have fun reading them! The community here is awesome… I just wanted you all to know that!
    And yes, I know I don’t comment as much as I would have wanted to (sorry), but it all comes down to lack of time, unfortunately!
    And now… work beckons me, so… See ya!

  25. Just a quick update that I came across this morning. In an interview with Eli Roth with Indiewire he mentioned that they have almost worked through all the legal issues with GREEN INFERNO and we should see an August or September release.

    Fingers crossed.

  26. You missed one important piece of the Milgram experiment: it was explicitly testing the power of authority(whether it succeeded is still up for debate). They conducted the experiment with the “just following orders” idea in mind, and in that way it links very directly to which authority figure in these films is more effective. I’ve always found that a physical presence makes the authority figures more effective in my eyes. Super heady, but I think it relates.

    I really enjoyed the comparisons in this episode, and I could definitely go for another of these!

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