Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 082: The Witch (2016) and The Sci-Fi Podcast Crossover Reviews of the Phantasm Franchise

HMP Phantasm Art

Boy(s and girls)! Welcome to HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies… In this show, Jay of the Dead brings you a solocast Feature Review of The Witch (2016). And we welcome special guest Mattroid of The Sci-Fi Podcast for the first half of our Crossover Franchise Review of the Phantasm films. Here we discuss Phantasm (1979) and Phantasm II (1988). Join us!

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voicemails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


I. Introduction

[ 0:01:24 ] II. Feature Review: THE WITCH (2016)
Jay of the Dead = 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

Read Jay of the Dead’s written review of “The Witch” (2016).

— Welcome special guest Mattroid
— Real-life horror news: Ghostly Cab Passengers, “The Gallows” hanging

[ 0:26:09 ] III. Feature Review: PHANTASM (1979)
Jay of the Dead = 8 ( Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh = 4.5 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 6.5 ( Buy it! )
Mattroid = 6.5 ( Must-See Rental )

[ 1:27:10 ] IV. Feature Review: PHANTASM II (1988)
Jay of the Dead = 8.5 ( Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh = 7.5 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock = 7.5 ( Buy it! )
Mattroid = 10 ( Buy it! )

V. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

Don’t forget to check out Part 2 of our Crossover Phantasm Franchise Review with our friends at The Sci Fi Podcast. Find the episode on the TSFP iTunes, Stitcher or at their website: thescifipodcast.com. Dave, Josh and I joined the conversation with Mattroid and Station! and it was a lot of fun.

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, there are 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar on the right.

Leave a comment or e-mail us here: HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com


Mattroid’s links:
— Listen to Matt discuss sci-fi movies on The Sci-Fi Podcast
— Watch Matt’s Gary the Unicorn comedy sketches on YouTube
TeePublic Sci-Fi T-Shirts
The Sci-Fi Podcast on Facebook

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter: @HorrorMovieCast
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on: Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming online movies on: Movie Stream Cast
Follow MSC on Twitter: @MovieStreamCast
Like MSC on: Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave’s daily movie review website: DVD Infatuation.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

Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
Pre-order Kyle’s new book! How Zombies Conquered Popular Culture: The Multifarious Walking Dead in the 21st Century
Order Kyle’s previous books American Zombie Gothic and Triumph of The Walking Dead
Follow Kyle on Twitter: @DrWalkingDead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for Horror Movie Podcast.

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Thanks for listening, and join us again Friday after next for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

185 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 082: The Witch (2016) and The Sci-Fi Podcast Crossover Reviews of the Phantasm Franchise

  1. Pingback: The Witch: A New England Folktale (2016) Written Horror Movie Review — by Jay of the Dead |

  2. JOTD – Thanks for putting up the timestamps in the show notes. I’m skipping over your review of The VVitch until I can see it next Friday (although I’m sure your review is spoiler-free, I want to go in as cold as possible).

    • Caught a matinee of The VVITCH today, so now I can finally listen to the beginning of this episode. :)

      Early returns on the film for me are very positive, but there’s a lot to unpack with this film.

      • I also double featured The Boy earlier today, and I gotta say, I liked it more than I expected. It definitely had some chintzy moments towards the end, but it was an enjoyable experience.

        • Man, I never got to see The Boy in the theatre. So sad. The day I went the show was sold out on a Tuesday haha!

          Well, going to see the Witch again tomorrow! Can’t wait!

          • Kagan – I would say The Boy was fun, but nothing so special that you should be upset about missing its theater-run. Make it a high-priority rental when it’s available on VOD.

            For me, it’s a 7.5/10. Definitely a fun sit… and I was literally the only person in the theater for my Friday afternoon viewing. (which was a little creepy, actually)

          • I love it when I get to be the only person in the theatre!

            I went to see the Conjuring a 2nd time in the theatre on a Monday afternoon, and I was the only person. I loved it!

            I’ll have to double feature The Boy and The Forest since I missed them both!

      • JOTD – I very nearly bought a ticket to Utah so I could **punch you in the face** after hearing you criticize The VVitch for “not showing the witch that much.”

        ** © 2016 Karl Huddleston

  3. 1.5 points off for the dialogue being too precise for the time period. They should have added some ‘likes’ and ‘LOLs’.

    • You know, I have a hard time deducting points for the dialogue, but I agree with Jay that it was definitely a problem.

      When I saw it at Sundance, I remember thinking… I can’t wait until this comes out on Blu so I can watch it with subtitles and understand what they are saying. It is actually a bigger issue than you’d think.

      • I don’t know… this is a tough one. I agree that it definitely took some time for me to get used to the accents and language, but I just can’t see docking points from a film for being too accurate.

        • It did make it hard to understand at times, but I admire and applaud the level of detail, authenticity, and commitment that went into the production of the movie. It all worked perfectly for me.

  4. A couple of non-spoiler reviews:

    Hangman (2015)

    Heard about this one from GregaMortis’ latest Youtube video. It’s a surveillance type found footage film that begins with a man recording a family leaving their car at an airport parking garage as they head off for a vacation. The man breaks into their car and uses their GPS to find out where they live. Over the course of the two weeks, the man sets up cameras all over the family’s house, waiting for the family’s return. None of that is a spoiler as it’s just the basic plot. From there, it’s just a very creepy film. Invasion of privacy, particularly without my knowledge, is rather unsettling. Keep in mind that this is a film to unsettle you, not a film like The Collector where it’s all about the torture porn aspect. If you’re a fan of Creep, go out of your way to watch this. I can see Hangman being in my top ten for 2016.

    Rating: 8.5/10 Recommendation: Buy It!

    Cabin Fever (2016)

    Admittedly, I have not seen the original Cabin Fever in several years. However, I have fond memories of it. I must have watched it a good half dozen times when I first got the DVD when it originally came out thanks to the insane amount of commentary tracks on the DVD. The original was a perfect blend between horror and dark comedy. This remake, from what I can remember about the original, is a mostly faithful retrend of what was already seen in the original. There’s a few minor scenes that I remember from the original that couldn’t be found in this though. The big difference between the two films is that the remake didn’t have the charm of the original. The dark comedy was either not there or just not funny. I found myself just waiting for the film to be finished. There was some good gore and Nadine Crocker, same role as Cerina Vincent in the original, was certainly easy on the eyes. Beyond that, the remake is an awful film. Considering the fact that the original only came out twelve and a half years ago and that this remake only had a small limited release/direct-to-video release, I’m not sure why this was even remade. They probably would have been better off just making Cabin Fever 4 instead.

    If nothing else though, the lousy remake did make me want to rewatch the original.

    Rating: 2/10 Recommendation: Avoid

    • Wow, Hangman sounds exactly like something I need to see. Creep was one of the best surprises I’ve seen in awhile. Thanks for the rec.

    • Sal, are you hatin’ or differentiatin’ when you’re talking about THE COLLECTOR? Good reviews, though. I honestly hated CREEP, but you’ve still talked me into HANGMAN. Thanks, also, for writing about the CABIN FEVER remake. It never really interested me, and I’ll take your “avoid” as sound advice. Great work.

      • I’ve only watched The Collector once. I can’t say I was a fan, but I didn’t hate it either. It’s the kind of movie you can enjoy if you didn’t go to much of an effort to watch it. I was really surprised that the film somehow garnered a theatrical released sequel.

        I can’t say I’d have a problem in seeing it for a second time though. Might actually do that eventually so I can watch the sequel.

        • The sequel, THE COLLECTION, has this kill in the film’s opening that is ripped straight from my mind every time I find myself at a dance club. You’ll see. :)

  5. The Slenderman stabbing occurred in 2014 when two 12 year old girls lured one of their classmates into the woods and stabbed her 19 times. The victim survived and the girls were charged with attempted murder. The slenderman was used as a defense in order stop the prosecutor from trying them as adults. At first one was declared incompetent to stand trial but a few months later they were both found competent.
    A few movies for you guys to watch out for:
    Bodom – based on a true story which could be the inspiration for every 80’s slasher movie ever made.
    The Lure – a new mermaid horror movie.
    Lace Crater – about a girl who gets an std from a ghost.
    Ava’s Possessions – A girl deals with the ramifications of being possessed and exorcised.

  6. Some thoughts on Phantasm. First off, I thought Wolfman Josh was way too harsh on this film, comparing it to Troll 2. Really?? I will agree that this movie is full of faults, but it at least attempts to be artistic, as opposed to Troll 2 which is just ridiculously awful. (I know people call it a so bad it’s good movie, which is usually my kind of thing, but I found Troll 2 barely watchable.)

    I think Phantasm suffers mostly from the fact that the original cut was very long and some poor editing choices were made, but I do get the sense that the movie had an intentional story. I read on Wikipedia that Coscarelli had originally wanted to do a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked this Way Comes” but Disney had snatched up the rights. As a lover of Bradbury’s book I definitely see some of the themes present in Phantasm with the Tall Man standing in for the character of Mr Dark. Coscarelli also had an intentional homage to Frank Herbert’s “Dune” with the pain box scene at the fortuneteller’s home. I also found the orbs a bit reminiscent of the hunter-seeker weapon from “Dune”.

    I love the music in Phantasm, and while some might find it derivative, it fits the atmosphere of the film quite well. My husband and I really like the band Goblin (especially the soundtrack work for Dario Argento’s films and for Romero’s Dawn of the Dead) and the music in this is definitely similar. However, I was actually more reminded of some of the music that Fabio Frizzi did for Fulci’s The Beyond, which came out in 1981.

    I really enjoy this movie and re-watch it every few years, and for a laugh. I think it is kind of a low budget version of some of the great Italian surrealistic horror films of the late 70’s and it works for me. I am a huge Suspiria fan and that film, along with others of the era, operates with a dream logic that lends itself to incoherence. It’s not for everyone, but I definitely think Phantasm has earned its sincere fan base and it is a solid 6.5. I am looking forward to owning the Blu-ray soon.

    One last thing, slighting a movie for it’s poor marketing campaign is unfair. Small budget films often have very little say in how their film is promoted once distribution gets a hold of them.

      • Your critique of the trailer had me laughing so hard at work that customers and fellow employees looked at me as if I was crazy.

        I agree, they had no idea how to market it, could any of us do better?

    • I appreciate everything you said Allyson. I’m happy you like the movie. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can imagine revisiting it often as well. I enjoy the movie, despite it being a mess. I love the music, despite it being derivative. And that’s why this is a “so bad it’s good” movie to me. I wasn’t trying to be as harsh as it sounded, but Jay kept mischaracterizing my argument and so I rehashed it over and over again. I regretted it as it was happening. I stand by my Troll 2 comparison, though. They are both sincere works and are not far off.

      • I think a better comparison to Troll 2 (as far as tone and quality of film making) would be 1988’s Slime City, which Doc Shock reviewed back in 2014. To me they are both lower on the quality rung.

          • I can’t compare it to ‘Troll 2’ for the simple fact that there is nothing in ‘Troll 2’ that works; Phantasm, while not great (I like the 6.5 rating Allyson and Doc gave it), has moments. Angus Scrimm alone makes it incomparable to ‘Troll 2.’

            I guess it’s personal preference on the comparison. I’ve always lumped Coscarelli with Stuart Gordon. For me, these are two highly touted and loved genre filmmakers that I’ve never completely warmed up to. Something like ‘Dagon’ or ‘Dolls’ is more comparable for me to ‘Phantasm’ than ‘Troll 2.’ But just my opinion.

            And leave ‘Harold and Maude’ out of the conversation. That’s a 10 – such a great film.

          • I’m having trouble coming up with a movie that matches both the overall aesthetic and the quality of the film. While I find it a better quality film than Phantasm, The Beyond comes to my mind most for it’s score, and for some of the scenes having a similar feel. If Phantasm had been given a bigger budget and had better execution I think it would make a good comparison.

    • Allyson, I’m a huge fan of prog and both Goblin and Fabio Frizzi are favorites of mine. I’ve actually had the pleasure of seeing them perform live and it was incredible. I highly recommend watching them live if you haven’t already. Anyway, it always makes me happy to find a fellow Goblin fan.

      • Count me in as a Goblin fan.

        And this is random, but I just watched ‘Interstellar’ for the first time a couple of weeks ago. And one thing about that film that stood out to me was a lot of the score sounded very Goblin esque. Not sure if anyone else got that out of it; could just be me.

        • Huh, I never got that impression, but I can see (hear?) what you’re saying.

          The first time I saw the film all I could think about was “THIS SOUNDTRACK IS GOING TO RATTLE MY BRAIN INTO SCRAMBLED EGGS.” As in, literally the entire theater was vibrating.

          • It’s definitely just parts of the score. One scene that comes to mind is the big reveal scene behind the bookcase toward the end of the film. Could have just been the mood I was in but that’s what it reminded me of.

          • Yeah I never thought about that but now that you mention it, I can see it, especially the parts with the organ. Such a great soundtrack!

      • I like Goblin’s work, but I haven’t moved into fan appreciation, other than owning a few iTunes tracks. Are there albums you fans would recommend over others? Any good vinyl releases, Juan?

        BTW, I noticed that you are a fellow Nightcrawler fan, Juan. Not that they are similar, this just reminded me that we’ve never discussed it.

        • For me, it’s hard to beat the Deep Red score. A great one that doesn’t get brought up as much though is their score for Patrick.

          Do not know about the vinyl. I’m sadly, to some, all digital now when it comes to music.

        • Josh, I recommend you check out the classics Profondo Rosso, Suspiria, and Zombi. Those are deemed by many their essential albums, but I also really like their less soundtracky albums like Il Fantastico Viaggio del Bagarozzo Mark and Roller. Their vinyl isn’t hard to find as they’ve gained a lot of popularity lately thanks in part to Mondo and Deathwaltz Records who have been pushing their vinyl records for a while now.

          Josh, do you mean Nightcrawler the movie? If that’s the case then yes, I absolutely love it and its soundtrack. I’ve been meaning to comment on MSC but it’s been a busy year for me so far. I’ll make sure to stop by soon. Great review by the way!

          • Oh, man. I love that movie and its music too, but I was actually referring to the band NightCrawler and particularly their “Strange Shadows” EP. Didn’t you have that? Anyway, it’s great.

            Thanks for the tips. I’m all over it.

            • Ohhhh ok gotcha! Yeah I actually blind bought their Strange Shadows EP and I haven’t gotten around to listen to that. It’s going to the top of my queue now.

          • I’ll put a second vote in for Roller. Probably their best non-soundtrack album. I saw a non-Claudio Simonetti version of the band (they constantly go through lineup changes) two years ago and got to see them perform most of that album alongside their biggest soundtrack hits. It was a really cool show. A band called Zombi opened up – they are also fantastic if you like wordless prog rock.

  7. I’m with JOTD on Susperia and most other Argento movies. Susperia is good for the use of colour and the casting of Jessica Harper, a few good moments of tension but I find most of his films to be a mess.

  8. Sal,

    Are you that sure about Hangman?

    You got me wanting to rent it tonight.

    I planned on Cabin Fever (2016), Hangman, & Phantasm.

    The reviews I came across were atrocious.

    • Putting me on the spot for Hangman with the risk of possibly causing you to waste your money. Ha

      As long as you’re okay with a movie that tries to creep you out more than actually delivering on the horror, I think you should be able to dig Hangman. Were you a fan of 2014’s Creep? If so, you should be okay.

      I have little doubt that you’d enjoy Hangman more than the awful Cabin Fever remake though.

  9. Sal,

    I just watched Cabin Fever.

    I never thought a single film would both justify the Psycho remake & exonerate the reputation of the financial backers for The Room.

    No one waste a dime on this trash. How Eli Roth thought this was a good concept, frightens me for what his future filmmaking decisions hold.

    I’ll take your advice & start Hangman shortly. I need some on-demand redemption.

    • I’m not sure how much involvement Eli Roth had in the new Cabin Fever. He’s a producer and does retain a writing credit, thanks to writing the original screenplay, but beyond that? Probably not much else. I would not be surprised at all if Roth went along with it solely because it meant he would be paid money for other people doing the work to remake a film he previously made.

      I ended up re-watching the original after catching the remake and it’s like night and day. With the original, you could just tell that it was created by someone who legitimately loved the horror genre. As a result, you had all of these nods to past horror movies. There’s the iconic Texas Chainsaw Massacre butt shot, a greater similar feel to Evil Dead, and of course using the music from Last House on the Left. The soundtrack in the original was top notch.

      The casting in the original was a lot better too. Dustin Ingram was a poor replacement for James DeBello as Bert. The new Bert didn’t come off as believable to me. The guy who is so concerned about being away for a week due to not being able to play video games, doesn’t seem like the same guy who would be messing around in the woods with a gun. DeBello was so believable as the original Bert. Turning Dep. Winston into a woman killed my interest in the character. Giuseppe Andrews as the original Winston was perfect. I could believe that this police officer has yet to grown up yet. Louise Linton as the new Winston was a joke that never connected. The new Grim wasn’t as entertaining as Eli Roth’s original Grim. Even the bowling alley satellite story had a lot more life in it in the original than the flashback free remake.

      After re-watching the original, the remake is even worse. All of the charm of the original isn’t there with the remake.

      I did find it interesting that the remake was more PC than the original. Little lines like “Gay” and “Retard” were dropped from the remake. Likewise, one character comes off as a little less rapey in the remake.

      It’s frustrating how poor the remake was when they literally used the same script as the original.

        • I think there is something to be said about being accurate to your picture. Those words may be offensive, but if those are the sort of words that your characters would say, whether they’re ignorant or if it was a different time period, then I think it’s a bit unfaithful to pull those lines solely due to not wanting to offend anyone.

          One of my favorite gags in the 21 Jump Street movie had Channing Tatum call someone gay, but instead everyone turned on him and called him out for his hateful speech. That caused Tatum’s character be all confused because those sort of words were “Acceptable” just a few years earlier when he was in high school.

          This whole PC movement is still fairly new and it ends up being a bit jarring when you watch something as recent as the original Cabin Fever and you hear these words that are no longer accepted. Same thing happened when I watched the original Phantasm today. In the middle of the film, Jody asks Michael if he was sure wasn’t “Tim, the retarded kid down the street”. I had to laugh at that line for how blunt and out of nowhere offensive it was.

          • Sal, you’re reminding me of the last time Friday the 13th rolled around a few months back. In honor of it, my lady and I watched FREDDY vs. JASON in which Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Roland calls Freddy a “f@gg0t.”

            I LOST it and couldn’t stop laughing at how that would NOT make it into a script in 2016.

          • I might not be remembering this correctly, but I think the Freddy vs. Jason scriptwriters were perturbed about the line being included in the movie. It was either that and/or the “dark meat” line. PC or not, I remember feeling it didn’t really fit in the movie.

  10. How about The Shining score over the beginning driving scene of the remake? Talk about being “self aware.” They should’ve named it Cabin Fever: We’re Trying….Really Really Hard.

    I met Eli Roth at Chicago Comic Con for a second. He has an uncanny ease of being the most interesting person in the room. That Eli Roth would never put his name on this obvious obligatory on-demand pathetic payday.

    Yeah, the pc nature of the this film squeezed all the fun out of this one. The “pancake kid” & “old man” were unnecessary characters, but easily made all of it’s audience break smile.

    I just finished Hangman, Sal. How the heck can you just recommend this to me????

    What a crap thing to do. What you should’ve done is pushed me to….BUY THIS!!!!

    I love this film. Have you seen Alone With Her from 2006? Kinda reminded me of that. It’s on Netflix. Hopefully Jay can get around to this one. This has a interesting dramatic home invasion creep factor to it.

    Thanks, Sal.

    • I liked hearing the Shinning theme at the start of the Cabin Fever remake. It wasn’t much, but it was at least something that felt like something the original would do. If only they would have done more odes maybe the film would have been watchable.

      You had me worried that you hated Hangman. Damn you. Ha. I had forgotten about Alone With Her. That would have been an even better comparison than Creep. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but I remember really digging Alone With Her. Colin Hanks plays a surprisingly good creepy villain. If you liked Colin Hanks as a villain, check out Lucky. It’s a dark comedy with Hanks playing a serial killer. It also stars Ari Graynor, who I would watch anything that she’s in.

      Really glad you liked Hangman. For a no good killer, I appreciated the fact that the killer set up so many damn cameras and always ensured that they were unobstructed. It made for a far more interesting film than normal found footage.

      While this wasn’t a found footage film, another film besides Alone With Her that reminds me of Hangman is 2012’s Entrance. It’s a very slow going film, but it again captures that perfect creepy feeling of someone watching you without you knowing. Highly recommend that film if you can stay awake.

  11. Hey Jonathan!

    Yeah, if you like Alone With Her, definitely check out Hangman.

    Alone With Her is completely forgotten & unappreciated.

    I’m a huge fan of Paranormal Activity. It owes a ridiculous amount to AWH.

    I think Hangman passes through that same route.

  12. I remember passing by Entrance at Blockbuster (oh the good ‘ole days) many times.

    I’ll be sure to check it out.

    If anyone is going to purchase Hangman, I believe it’s much cheaper at Best Buy than Amazon.

    Once again, thanks for recommending it, Sal. Loved it.

    Cannot stand some of these IMDB ratings. Just a joke for the most part.

    Have any of you guys checked out the recent Mischief Night films from a couple years back? I think that would be an interesting versus episode, being they were both so recent with alike titles.

  13. Surprised to see the unanimous vote for the sequel being better than the original (though I agree it is). I thought the reverence for the first Phantasm as a horror classic would sway some.

    • I actually pursued some other reviews, and I think the aggregate critical responses rate the original higher. I think the HMP hosts might be outside of popular opinion on this.

      I can’t speak to this, because I haven’t seen either… ya I know :(

      • I think I’m partial to the original. That said, I’m intimately familiar with the original, but think I’ve only seen the second once or twice… so, maybe not a fair comparison for me to make.

  14. What a fun episode! I haven’t seen Phantasm since I was a kid and can honestly say I didn’t remember anything you guys were talking about. Hahaha. I found it new for the super low price of $79.99 on Amazon, $20.00 used on Ebay, but I think I will rent them on Netflix and give them a go. They haven’t really been on my radar, but your high ratings have me interested.

    I like how Mattroid called this “his movie”. I feel the same way about Halloween 4…that’s the film that really brought me into the genre when I was 12 years old. I consider it to be “my movie”, whether anyone else in the world likes it or not. It gives me the warm and fuzzies every time I pop it in. ?

    I debated whether or not to listen to Jay’s review of The Witch because I had planned on avoiding any info on this film, but, if anything, the review only heightened my interest. I might actually visit a theater this year for this one!

  15. Re-watching Phantasm for the first time in some years today, I was watching it in a different manner. Knowing what happens at the end, I was trying to piece together why key things happen throughout the movie. I found that for a movie that is pretty nonsensical, there’s a lot of answers for why things happen.


    All of these little bits are in the context that the entire movie was a dream that Michael had.

    The Tall Man as the villain

    For a thirteen year old that has already lost his parents and the older brother he worshiped, it makes sense for why the main villain in his nightmares is the man who is most associated with those funeral. The Tall Man is nothing more than a regular worker at a funeral home, but because he’s there for only the worst times in Michael’s life, it’s easy for Michael’s dreams to see him as the head baddie.

    Michael always tinkering with the car

    Despite only being thirteen years old, Michael seems to be pretty car savvy, even more so than his older brother. Whether he’s knowledgable when he’s awake or not is irrelevant. I feel like the entire reason why he’s messing with the car throughout the dream is because he’s trying to prevent Jody’s real life car accident. For Dream Michael, maybe he if could just fix the car, Jody could still be alive.

    Michael following Jody around

    I’m sure Michael followed Jody around plenty in real life, but the reason why he does in the movie is because Michael is constantly worried about Jody’s death. If Michael can always keep an eye on Jody, Jody can never die. Every time Jody leaves Michael behind, it could be the final time Michael sees him.

    Reggie dying

    I would have to assume that for Michael, his biggest fear currently is losing Reggie as well. His parents and Jody are dead, Reggie is the only one left. The dream world eventually took away the last thing the real Michael had left.

    The Tall Man taking bodies out of caskets

    As bad as it is losing a loved one, it’d be even worse if you knew something awful was being done to the bodies. The fear is not only will whatever is left of the dead person will become evil, but it will leave home behind and be a slave on a far away planet. In the dream world, Michael can’t even go see the tomb of his parents anymore because they’re gone.

    The road trip

    This is more of just foreshadowing than anything else. In the real world, the movie ends with Michael and Reggie deciding to go for a road trip. The film finishes with the Tall Man in Michael’s bedroom to show that the nightmares will continue. The next two sequels are mostly just Reggie and Michael battling the Tall Man as they travel the roads. Agreeing to go on a road trip causes Michael to naturally dream about what would happen if the Tall Man would take over small little towns across America.


    These are just the smaller things that infiltrated his nightmares. He probably saw Reggie using the tuning fork many times, so it’s only natural that a giant tuning fork will play a role in the nightmares. Little things like that.

  16. I pretty much wrote everything I need to say about Phantasm in the last podcasts’ comments page- in addition to everything else I wrote. However- we also have the HMP Horror Club project and no one picked a new horror film for the next two weeks for discussion- I think it’s a little too soon to pick for me since I picked two movies ago: But I wanted to throw this up here to get new suggestion.

  17. Pingback: Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 176: Hail, Caesar! (2016) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) |

  18. This is for Jay, who I suspect shares my feeling for Suspira

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

    Dario Argento’s Suspiria

    Yes, it looks beautiful, but the story made no sense. Hell, if they just let the girl live off campus there would have been nothing to worry about.

    And how did they get that room filled with razor wire?

    Fade In:

    Outside a dance academy in Freiburg, a delivery guy knocks on the door. The door is opened by Madame Blanc.

    Madame Blanc: Hello.

    Delivery Guy: Good morning Madame. I hate to bother you so early in the morning but I could use your help.

    Madame Blanc : How so young man?

    Delivery Guy: Well you see, I am supposed to deliver one-hundred and twenty-nine meters of razor wire to this address.

    The Delivery Guy hands Madame Blanc his invoice.

    Delivery Guy: But all that’s here is your dance academy. I must have the wrong address.

    Madame Blanc: No, this is the right address.

    Delivery Guy: Really.

    Madame Blanc: Yes, really.

    Delivery Guy: Are you having fun with me Madame?

    Madame Blanc: No, I placed the order.

    Delivery Guy: Seriously?

    Madame Blanc: Seriously.

    Delivery Guy: Pardon me Madame but I must ask, why does a dance academy need one-hundred and twenty-nine meters of razor wire.

    Madame Blanc: The Academy intends to put on a production of Swan Lake.

    Delivery Guy: Swan Lake… with razor wire.

    Madame Blanc: It is a new interpretation, very avant-garde.

    Delivery Guy: Okay.

    After a short awkward pause.

    Delivery Guy: So where do you want the wire?

    Madame Blanc: There is a small room on the third floor with a window near ceiling that opens on to another room for no particular reason.

    Delivery Guy: You know, traditionally people keep their razor wire outside the house.

    Madame Blanc: JUST DO AS I SAY!

    Delivery Guy: Whatever.

    The Delivery Guy walks back to his truck to retrieve the razor wire.

    Madame Blanc (whispers to herself): Tonight your dog will kill you.

    Delivery Guy: What did you say?

    Madame Blanc: What?

    Delivery Guy: I thought I heard you say something.

    Madame Blanc: No. No, it was nothing.

    Delivery Guy: Okay.

    Madame Blanc: Do you have a dog?

    Delivery Guy: A what?

    Madame Blanc: A dog. Do you have a dog?

    Delivery Guy: No Madame.

    Madame Blanc: Well, you should get one. This afternoon in fact. Right after you place the razor wire in the small third floor room. That way you will have a dog tonight.

    Delivery Guy: Why should I get a dog?

    Madame Blanc: Dogs help us fill our time in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with the stories of our lives.

    Delivery Guy: I’m more of a cat person.

    Madame Blanc: Get a dog.

    Delivery Guy: I think I may be allergic to dogs.

    Madame Blanc: GET A DOG!

    Delivery Guy: Okay, I’ll get a dog.

    Madame Blanc: Today.

    Delivery Guy: Today?

    Madame Blanc: Yes, today, so that it is with you tonight.

    Delivery Guy: Okay, I’ll get a dog today.

    Later that evening the Delivery Guy’s new dog Pepe, a Pomeranian, nuzzled him viciously until he gave him a belly rub and snauage.

    The End.

    • I love love LOVE Suspiria. But this post is not about my love… but about my shame. An undying and rather humiliating shame as I tend to share my love for movies with my friends and family… and one fateful night I did actually share the film “suspiria” with this group who had previous whooped and hollered for “Dead Alive”, laughed hysterically during “Bitch Slap!”, Shrieked with joy at “Hatchet”… and so on so forth… they proceeded to laugh and mock me for picking Suspiria. They DESTROYED the film with their open mocking and demands for something to happen and how nothing made sense.


    • Suspiria***Spoiler***

      I think my bigger problem with the razor wire is that, she just seems to jump in to it. I think we’re supposed to believe that she doesn’t see it, but the lighting is so obviously bright enough to reveal the wire. You can even see some of it before the camera movies. The only thing stopping her from seeing the wire is a simple tilt of the camera, which totally makes sense. It’s kind of funny to watch actually.

      It completely looks like she does it on purpose.

      scrub to 4:12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq0VoV-ReII

      Oh another thing, if we’re picking Suspiria apart, which is a movie I love, in that same scene. Why the hell does the music stop where it does? Seriously, her pursuer spends 2 whole minutes trying to unlatch a door, and the music arbitrarily stops after 90 seconds or so, at a moment when the tension should be ramping up the most. It’s such an obvious case of the music being composed before the film was edited. They were just like… oh, that track ends there, what should we do? meh, just go to silence until she jumps in the wire pit.

      • Man, now I’m going to have to fish out my Suspiria DVD from the basement… all this talk has me thinking about it non-stop all day.

        While I have the disc out I’ll have to rip it and save it to my home server, so I can stream it and never have to worry about looking for that DVD again. 😉

  19. Horror etc. podcast has just announced it’s end. I know Doctor Shock has talked about his love for that show in the past. It’s been a long time since they’ve done a real show (only a fake parody over the last year). You guys should try to jump on their fanbase. It’s quite large.

  20. When the 4 Movie Marathon: Cult Horror DVD which includes The Funhouse / Phantasm II / The Serpent and the Rainbow / Sssssss was mentioned in this episode I recalled an evening in my misspent youth prank calling video stores.


    “Video King, how can I help you?”

    “I’m looking for a movie”

    “What’s the title.”




  21. Ugh I’m so ashamed, I honestly have nothing to say about the Phantasm films. Mainly because I still haven’t seen em lol. I remember the VHS covers very vividly from my local video store back in the day. They had the best horror section ever! I almost rented Phantasm 2 but never did. Probably passed it up for Dark Night of the Scarecrow or Witchcraft or something. Guess I really do need to check this out. If anything Josh’s comparison to Troll 2 has gotten more curious than anything.

    • Yeah, Fritz… I haven’t seen the 3rd and 4th films in the series. I saw the first one when I was a kid, but more recently, I saw it a this horror film festival that happens annually here in Olympia called All Freakin’ Night. Films begin at midnight, then go until noon. They played The Phantasm a few years back, so I got to revisit it. I like number 2 better.

      Are you going to give them a watch?

  22. I just watched Phantasm II for the first time in a while.

    I personally prefer it to the original.

    Can’t wait to see how III & IV hold up.

  23. Loved The Witch. Couldn’t understand why the teenagers behind me were snickering for the last 20 minutes. Teens are the only bad thing about going to a theatre to watch a movie.

  24. I had many issues with The Witch. Though, I know I need to give it another spin. For horror films that have been in the theatre so far this year, I would rank The Boy ahead of The Witch.

    For months we’ve been hearing how terrifying the film is. Even the trailer spits out quotes that really gave high hopes for HORROR. There really wasn’t any. My Mom loves horror films but gets scared quite easily. She was laughing at certain parts throughout today. If I saw it on my own, as I usually experience films in the theatre 95% of the time, the outcome may have been different.

    Right now, upon a single viewing, it would rate a 6 to me.

    There were five walkouts at the screening I attended today. There were teenagers behind me & seniors to my front. Both groups were laughing.

    Regardless of my feelings towards the film, every performance was top notch.

    As of today, I’m flabbergasted by the reviews. I hope after a second viewing, opinions amend themselves.

    • I think your theater experience is going to be a common occurrence for this film across the country. There were no walkouts in my theater, but nearly everyone let out a “that movie sucked” or “worse movie ever” groan as it ended. And there was definitely a lot of snickering going on during the movie.

      I’m glad The VVITCH got a wide release, but it’s definitely not a movie for a wide audience.

      It’s a shame, really, because I thought it was a very special movie. I agree that the marketing for the movie really built it up as a terrifying experience — it’s certainly not that in the traditional, visceral way we’ve come to expect from a horror film. But I thought the message it conveyed was truly chilling.

      I’m not saying this was the case with you, Jason, but I got the sense that a lot of the people in my theater missed the whole point of the movie.

    • Jason Dragon,

      I appreciate your comment and I certainly respect your opinion, but I’m totally flabbergasted by your words. There wasn’t any horror in The Witch?! What movie did you see, my friend? More importantly, what issues did you have with the film? Could you elaborate on them? I’m very interested to hear your thoughts because, I myself am head over heels over it, so I’m intrigued to read the reaction of someone who didn’t like the movie. I’m well aware that it’s a movie that will turn some people off and infuriate others, but it still baffles me (and saddens me) that that’s the case.

  25. My plans to see THE VVITCH tonight failed! My girlfriend couldn’t get babysitting for her 3 year old, so damn. I may just be like, “Oh, hey… I’ve got a dentist appointment at 10:20 tonight. Don’t wait up.”

  26. Hey Dino!

    It Follows was the film of 2015 that toured the festival circuit conjuring THE top rave reviews. I quite enjoy that movie, though not as masterful as first seeped out to the public. The theatre viewing experience was quite enjoyable the two times I experienced it with an audience.

    The Witch was 2016’s It Follows festival film. I just can’t get behind it the same way as I did for the “It” film of 2015.

    Like I mentioned before, I know it deserves a second chance.

    Jay gave it, I believe an 8.5. No way in my eyes.

    • I definitely hear you. It’s a different kind of movie, for sure, and won’t appeal to everyone (probably won’t appeal to most people, actually). It certainly isn’t scary in the way It Follows is, but I found the realization of the true life phenomenon it portrayed to be haunting.

    • And I definitely agree with you on It Follows – that movie is a 10/10 for me, and I already have it at #6 on my all-time horror list. I really liked The VVITCH, but it’s a definite step below It Follows for me. Right now, I’m hovering around a 9-9.5…

      • Whoa! A step below It Follows? I mean, you already know how I feel about the movie—and granted, I may be a bit biased—but objectively, The Witch it’s every bit as good as It Follows. But let’s not dwell on which of the films is better. We’re all winning big time with releases like these.

  27. Nine or above for you, Dino?

    Wow, I respect your opinion very much.

    I will expose myself to a second viewing.

    If you saw The Boy, what would you rate it?

    • I actually double-featured The Boy with The VVitch on Friday. I caught The Boy first, which was a good move in hindsight – I have a feeling I would have enjoyed it much less had it been the second of the two.

      Anyway, I had a good time with The Boy overall. There was certainly some cheesiness with it towards the end, but I’d give it a 7.5/10 after that initial viewing.

  28. ****Spoiler for the Witch*****


    Dr. Walking dead says: you know a horror movie is serious when they kill the dog.

    I say no. I say killing the dog is now a cliche.

    I say, a horror movie is serious when they kill the baby. The VVtich successfully pushed the overton window on that horror litmus test.


    • *****SPOILERS FOR THE WITCH*****
      Besides the final girl*, I don’t think anyone makes it out of this one. The baby, the dog, the goats, AND the entire family get taken out.

      It certainly pushes the envelope though, sadly, most people will scoff at that remark.


  29. I saw the witch last Thursday and wanted to give that movie a few days to really sink in. There was so much I liked about that movie, and so much I didn’t like about that movie also. It reminded me about the same feelings I had for Crimson Peak. The Witch is a well made movie for sure, acting, scenery, music and story. I also like how they stuck to the era that it was set it. I can see that if I was actually living thru that experience, I’d be scared as hell, but the Horror of it seemed to fall flat for me. I do admit it takes a lot to scare me these days, and that is part of the reason I didn’t find it that horrifying. It didn’t push the envelope far enough for me. I kept on thinking throughout the movie on how I would of changed the last scene I saw. I’m not one for subtlety. I do know when I see a good movie though, and this was certainly one of them. It wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but it did have enough for me to give it about a 7.5. I do recommend you see it in the Theater, just so you can form your own opinion on it. It will be in my top 10 for sure. We shall see if 31, The Conjuring 2, and The Strangers 2 can give me what I want in a Horror movie, something that will give me nightmares. Horror on.

      • Hellraiser, The Exorcist, The Descent, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 30 Days of Night and The Shining, The Strangers, Alien and Serpent and the Rainbow are a few off the top of my head.

  30. Not that we horror fans need to be convinced of the Academy’s prejudice against the genre, but I think all we need as absolute proof of this is the fact that Disasterpeace was snubbed of an Oscar-nomination for Best Original Score with their work on It Follows. There’s no way that isn’t one of the five-best original soundtracks of 2015.


  31. A few thoughts on The VVitch

    This is a special film. Let me say that again: this is a special film. Whether you enjoyed it or not, I think there’s no denying that it was made to the highest standards of filmmaking – period. There’s such attention to detail and careful consideration for every single element of the film, from the costumes to the dialogue, the sets to the original score, everything is faithful to the story’s time period and adds to the overall mood of the film. Even the film’s appearance, which had this sort of ever-present drab gray quality, added to the foreboding mood. Nothing is superfluous or happened by accident. This is a masterwork.

    There are two filmmaking elements in particular I’d like to mention. First, the acting is absolutely first-rate across the board, including the child actors. This is a huge feat considering the dialogue was so specific to the time period, to the point where it was completely foreign to the modern day. More to the point, the actors were essentially speaking in a foreign language, yet each line was delivered naturally with ease. Simply astonishing. Breakout performances by Anya Taylor-Joy (Thomasin) and Harvey Scrimshaw (Caleb).

    The second filmmaking element I’d like to mention is the original score. Oh man, talk about setting an ominous tone. The score was never bigger than the film; it was the perfect compliment, being quiet in subtle moments and terrifying in the big freaky moments. As much as I loved Disasterpeace’s work in It Follows, that soundtrack loomed over that movie in an obvious, often oppressive way, whereas the score in The VVitch is always a servant to the film’s mood – fostering an atmosphere of paranoia and unease. One way isn’t necessarily better than the other, but both fit their respective film’s needs perfectly.

    Ok… now I want to discuss the ending and my interpretation of the film, so…

    ##########SPOILERS FOR THE VVITCH##########

    The ending is both the thing I disliked the most about the movie and the thing that nails home the movie’s effectiveness for me (based on my reading of the film). It’s at once a little too obvious and on the nose, yet succeeds in confirming what I had suspected about two-thirds into the movie when I came to believe that “the witch” was actually Thomasin.

    Thomasin was painted as the black sheep (not goat) of the family from the very opening of the film, and as the movie progressed, we see her painted as this nefarious being who is the root of all the family’s ills. Caleb often lusts after her; the twins fear she is a “true” witch after some honest teasing; she is accused by her mother of stealing the silver cup; her father fails to protect her by simply telling the truth. These are all normal, innocent day-to-day occurrences that were twisted and compounded in a way to make her become a witch.

    Was Thomasin an actual witch? No (although, that’s debatable thanks to the ambiguous ending), but the film serves as a chilling example of the persecution of women in 1600s New England. Were there actual satanic-worshiping women and “witches” who were cast out of society and surviving on their own in the woods? Possibly, but the true horror of the witch trials were all the normal women who were mistakenly pinned and persecuted as witches. And, of course, the resulting self-destructive paranoia that pervaded society.

    ##########END SPOILERS##########

    There are several different ways you can read this film. There’s definitely enough there for a literal reading, which is terrifying in itself. My initial interpretation is a much more allegorical reading of the film, but I’m actually struggling a bit to come to terms with my feelings of the movie overall. I’m not sure if I prefer a literal reading of the film or allegorical. I’ll definitely need to see it a few more times to really come to grips with what’s going on.

    And that’s the thing about The VVitch: it’s such a rich cinematic experience. It’s not just a great horror movie, it’s a great movie. There are so many layers to this film, and so many ways to interpret its meaning. It’s a slow-burn, for sure, but everything (including the slow pacing) is carefully crafted to create a steadily increasing level of dread that culminates with an absolutely crazy and disturbing ending.

    The VVitch is a 9.5/10 for me after my initial screening. But, as I mentioned before, there’s much to unpack with this film and I’m going to need to see it a few more times before I can really come to grips with what’s going on.

    • Dino, this is such a well written review. Thanks for this. I just saw THE VVITCH last night, and I’m absolute on board with everything you’ve said. I have so many thoughts about this film that relate to the obvious feminist aspect of the movie, concerning the women (and men) killed in Salem years later, but even then… I feel that to focus too much on that is to maybe miss a bigger picture.


      Having seen the film yourself, Dino, did you notice an allegorical similarity between this family’s fall from Grace and a certain dark angel’s fall from Grace… both due to pride?

      Also, I need to see this movie one more time because there were several times during the film where I thought I saw female figures high up in the trees, blending with the branches… and that ending kind of made me wonder if I was actually seeing something. Maybe not. What do you think?

      *** End of spoilers ***

      Great review, Dino!

      • I agree, Mr. Watson. Dino’s review is great (as always). We shared a few thoughts off the site already and I’ll share my thoughts with you all later tonight, but long story short, I loved the movie. It shattered my expectations and exceeded my personal standard for what a horror movie can and should be.

        *****SPOILERS FOR THE WITCH*****

        As far as your comment on Biblical allegories, absolutely! You’ve nailed it Mr. Watson and that makes Juan a very happy horror fan. I’ll go into this with a little more detail in my review.

        I’m definitely watching this at Lester once more while it’s in theaters. So good!

        • As much as I loved the movie, I wish I had the same personal, visceral reaction to it as you. Powerful stuff. Alas, I’m still searching for that holy grail.


          • Thanks, man. It really does feel great. I could’ve sworn It Follows was your jam by how big of a reaction you had to the film. It propelled straight to number 6 on your top ten if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, patience my friend, it’ll come. Oh it’ll come hard! And when it does, the wait would have been worth it.


            • I definitely love It Follows, but I don’t connect with it in the same personal, visceral way that you have with The VVitch. I guess The Shining is the closest I’ve come, but I was just a wee lad when I first saw that film.

              And that’s what she said.

      • Thanks, Mister Watson.

        ##########SPOILERS FOR The VVitch##########

        Yes, the allegory is present throughout. You’re spot on with the family’s pride and fall from grace. That’s introduced in the very opening of the scene and carried on later with the fixation on the silver cup, among other examples.

        I did not notice female figures hiding in the trees. Very interesting if that is the case… I’ll definitely be looking for that on my next viewing.

    • Goll darnet! I just read JOTD’s written review of The VVitch and realized that he already said much of what I said. I probably should have read that first…


    • “My initial interpretation is a much more allegorical reading of the film, but I’m actually struggling a bit to come to terms with my feelings of the movie overall.”

      I think that’s an awesome feeling to have. To be as conflicted about the “true” meaning of the movie just like the characters in the movie are conflicted about their beliefs. The movie benefits from actual thinking. The more you think about it, the more things click, the more you see, the more you learn. It’s the movie that keeps on giving.

      “Thomasin was painted as the black sheep (not goat) of the family from the very opening of the film, and as the movie progressed, we see her painted as this nefarious being who is the root of all the family’s ills.”

      Yes! We as an audience, in a way, acted as the jury in a trial that damned Thomasin right from the start. We never saw hard evidence of her as a real witch. All we witnessed were the accusations of people infected with madness because they couldn’t comprehend or cope with the harshness that life can bring you even when you’re undeserving of it. Is Thomasin the witch? It doesn’t matter. She is what you make of her.

      I loved your comments about the scores of both films. They’re very different, but they’re both very effective and are integral to the effectiveness of the movie. Amazing work. By the way, have you pre-ordered the vinyl? I could only find it here:


      What an awesome cover. Reminds me of this album cover: http://goo.gl/sfh1zm

      Also, this movie is what I wanted my metal horror movie to be. It kind of is in spirit. The sense of dread and impending doom along with some of the imagery just screams black metal.

      #livedeliciously \m/

      • I see this comment finally made it out of multiple-links purgatory…

        I agree that the conflict over interpretation of film is an awesome feeling to have, and those are the movies that I tend to like more and more as I think about them. That’s certainly the case here, which makes me want to see it again to see how I’ll react, having the benefit of hindsight and reflection.

        And I have not pre-ordered the vinyl (although, I have pre-ordered the movie on iTunes). That is a pretty awesome cover.

  32. Every so often there comes a film so powerful that it stays with you for days, sometimes weeks, months, years. For a very long time, that film for me was 1979’sAlien. Like the film’s creature, the film itself was the perfect organism—brilliant, elegant, dark, and yet simple in its execution and chillingly effective. It was all I could ask of the cinema, and even more, the very definition of what horror meant to me. A few handful of films have come close to matching Alien’s prowess, but only one has been able to not only match it, but exceed it. That film is The Witch, a film that shattered my expectations and exceeded my own personal standards of what a horror movie should strive to be. By now you’ve probably heard the buzz and believe me, the hype is real, friends. Be warned though, there’s a good chance that The Witch is not the right movie for you. If you have a good understanding of horror as a genre and are interested in more than just its trappings and conventions, you’ll want to see it. If all you care about is gore, violence, and a body count, you’ll probably want to skip this. Make no mistake though, this is a horror movie and I’d argue that it’s as horror as you can possibly get. It’s like, how much more dark could this be? And the answer is none. None more dark.


    Folk tales are dark cautionary stories that warn of danger by telling a deceivingly simple story that is meant to paint a much larger picture. With a subtitle like A New England Folktale, The Witch certainly feels like such. At its core, the film is a cautionary tale for various evils. Mass hysteria and the horrible consequences it can have if you let it posses you is the big overall theme, but there are many other layers as well. Themes of sexuality and coming of age are prevalent throughout. The main character, Thomasin, is a young girl on the cusp of womanhood. At various points in the movie, the topic is brought up. Her brother lusts after her while the camera concentrates on her developing bosom, she is seen milking blood out of a goat’s udder, and it all leads to her finally breaking free of her corset, as if unshackling herself from the pre-conceived ideas of society. This all concludes with the devil asking her to undress and live deliciously amongst a coven of dancing naked witches, women who have come to terms with their sexuality. Another theme that was prevalent was that of original sin. In one of the best scenes of the movie, Caleb, the oldest son of the family, is seen possessed and dies proclaiming his love for Christ after spitting a bloody apple. It’s moments like this when the movie really shines. The apple can be evocative of fairy tales (Snow White), The Bible (Adam and Eve), and within the context of the movie, the apple symbolizes the lie that Caleb told, about apples out of all things. The layering of context, symbolism, and allegories is so intricate and well done that even before the credits roll, the movie is already begging for a second viewing. For crying out lout, even the name of the main character has the word sin in it!

    On a more personal note, the movie reached the darkest depths of my being like no movie has done before. I’ve never been a believer, yet I always wanted to be one. I was raised Catholic, but I never truly believed the way my parents do. Growing up a horror fan, I was always at odds with what my parents, teachers, and priests tried to inculcate in me and what my imagination as a horror fan demanded of me. Dark thoughts permeated me, they still do. As the movie reached its conclusion, it could’ve ended on an even more ambiguous note. When Thomasin demanded answers from Black Phillip, that could’ve been it and I would’ve been perfectly happy and yet the director chose to take it all the way. It’s this extra mile that took what was already a great horror movie and propelled it into something truly special and unique. When Black Phillip talked back, I went cold. It was the moment I always fantasized as a kid. A moment buried deep down in me was brought to life and it was perfect. His voice was perfect—seductive, calm, and commanding. I was transported back to a time of inner turmoil, a time where the mind of a child can’t possibly comprehend what’s right from wrong, a moment in time where given the same opportunity as Thomasin, I would’ve also said yes. And for a moment there, I believed. And that scared me—the thought that there might be a devil and that he could have so much power over me. That is true horror.

    *****END OF SPOILERS*****

    Suffice it to say, I love this movie. This is the horror movie that I’ve been longing for all of my life. After waiting for the next Alien, I finally got it and I’m overwhelmed with happiness. I went in with the highest of expectations and it rose above them all triumphantly. The level of craft is impeccable. Everything on display is of the highest caliber. The music, the cinematography, the acting, the direction, the lighting, it all comes together to bring an atmosphere so thick with dread and gloom that’s so perfect, it’s scary. No other movie has shaken me to the point of physical reaction. I left the theater trembling, scared, and spiritually overwhelmed and I loved it. The Witch is a 10/10, it’s a modern masterpiece of horror cinema and cinema in general. I’m proclaiming it my #1 horror movie of 2016 and it’s my new #1 horror movie of all time. It’s just that damned good.

    • We talked about this already, but I just wanted to reiterate here how much I love your points about the apple and also the inclusion of the word “sin” in Thomasin’s name. Very astute and interesting observations, my friend.

      ##########SPOILERS FOR THE VVITCH##########

      I’ve been thinking more about your suggestion of how Eggers could have ended the film at Thomasin’s confrontation with Black Phillip, and I almost wonder if the film would have worked better for me if he had. As I mentioned before, I’m conflicted over the ending because it is so on the nose. I know you like that he took it all the way, but I don’t know the answer to that question for me.

    • Juan, I know I’m replying to this review way after the fact, but wow. Just wow. Thanks for letting us in on your upbringing and such. I agree with you about when Black Phillip speaks, and I DEFINITELY agree that The VVITCH is a “modern masterpiece of horror cinema and cinema in general.”

      • Mister Watson! You’re alive! Haha thanks for your comment, man. I was afraid that I’d overshared, but I’ve gotten nice comments from various people regarding my more personal feelings of the movie. I’m glad you enjoyed my “confessional”, but I’m even more glad that you enjoyed The Witch.

    • Seriously. I never considered myself a witch fan, but after seeing The Witch I’ve come to realize that I should’ve been all this time. David, if you’re still with us, do you have any book recommendations? I’m looking to delve deeper in the mythology and history aspects more than anything else.

      • David toasted one of my recent Untappd check-ins earlier today, so he is still “with” us… 😉

        Have you (or anyone else) seen American Horror Story: Coven? I’m wondering if that would be worth catching up with, or maybe suggesting to JOTD+ that they should include it in the witch-themed episode.

        • I tried getting into the first season of American Horror Story, but I couldn’t get into it. I know each season is mostly self-contained, so that could be a good one to get into while my witch fever runs high.

          • That’s correct – each season of AHS is self-contained. I watched and loved the first season; watched and liked the second season; and then fell off the wagon. I’ve been meaning to get back on, but there’s just so much great stuff out there I can never find the time.

            And you should see someone about that witch fever… sounds serious.

          • Nice. I’ll have to give season 1 another try then. You’re right though, too much great stuff, not enough time.


        • I’ve seen American Horror Story: Coven. I think it’s well done and absolutely worth a watch. As I think you already know, you don’t need to see any of the other seasons to enjoy this one. While Coven is pretty great, it really goes overboard on the whole sassy, bitchiness factor of these young annoying witches… like waaaaay overboard… because of that, Coven is my least favorite season. Even as I say that, though, I still TOTALLY enjoyed the hell out of it. If you’re looking for witches doin’ they thang… this will do it for ya.

          • Yeah, I’m really itching to get back into it. Like I said, I’ve only seen the first two seasons, so I have a lot of binge watching to do.

            Which is your favorite season so far?

            • Season 2 was my favorite. Then 1. Then. 4. Then 3. I haven’t seen 5 yet. I’m actually gearing up to BINGE on horror TV like crazy. My 12 year old and I started season 6 of The Walking Dead today. I’m about to start season 2 of the BEST horror series on TV, Penny Dreadful. I’m also about to watch the Evil Dead series again to prepare for Ash vs. the Evil Dead. Then American Horror Story: Hotel. And then, Supernatural season 11. So much to do!

              Have you seen Penny Dreadful? To me, it’s the best horror show I’ve ever seen. Classy. Scary. Sexy. Intellectual. Glossy. Well filmed. Well written. Brilliant. A gentleman with your sensibilities will surely find much enjoyment from it.

  33. I have been waiting to listen untilI saw The Witch and finally got a chance yesterday. I really can’t say enough good things about it. I am completely on board with Dino and Juan who have already presented their cases very well. Here are my thoughts-
    1) The acting is phenomenal. Anya Taylor-Joy has future superstar written all over her and I think she did the best job, which is really saying something because everyone, including the animals even, were terrific. By far the creepiest rabbit in movie history.
    2) The care taken in depicting the language and details of the period was very impressive. honestly I am not sure I have seen any film so closely depict this particular time period as well. As far as the language goes I am a bit of an advantage as I went to Graduate School for American History and became used to it after much study. The scenery and clothing was pretty much perfect.
    3) As Jay said, the score was fabulous. Nothing to really add there.
    4) I like slow burn horror and this handled it perfectly in my mind. As others have mentioned it is similar to ‘It Follows’ in this respect (and also ‘House of the Devil’).
    5) After seeing the movie I listened to a couple other podcasts reviews of the film and it struck me that a lot of people missed or misinterpreted a bunch of things in the plot. I chalk much of this up to the language issue although a couple appear to simply not have paid attention. Also the ones who really liked it saw it in essentially empty theaters (likeI did which had only 2 others in it) while those who saw it with a crowd (particularly teenagers) had a much tougher time. I believe one needs to allow this film to envelope them and a noisy/disruptive crowd will prevent this from happening.
    6) This movie was actually about something, many things in fact. This does not happen enough in horror movies for me (though happens more often than many give them credit for). Fanaticism, man vs. nature, coming of age, hypocrisy, feminism, that twins are inherently creepy, it has a little bit of everything (the twins comment is a joke just to be clear).
    I really have so much more to say about this film and would be happy to discuss further but don’t want to get too into spoiler for this post. Again, I can’t recommend it enough. Easily a 10/10 for me.
    PS- I would easily vote for Black Phillip for President over Donald Trump any day of the week. Black Phillip 2016 y’all!

    • This comment makes me overcome with joy, Christian. Hell yes to everything you said including Black Phillip for president. Don’t be afraid to get into spoilers as long as you give everyone a warning by doing something like this:

      *****SPOILERS FOR THE WITCH*****

      This way, people who like to avoid spoilers will avoid your comment while allowing people who have already seen the movie to discuss more in-depth. Discuss away, my friend!


        Thanks Juan.
        I have a question for those who saw the film. Unfortunately I was momentarily distracted at the very opening of the film and may have missed something. Was there a specific reasoner them being expelled from the Plantation? I caught that there were religious differences but anything more concrete than that?
        I have heard some claim that Thomasin was possibly a witch (or dabbling) before the last 5 minutes of the movie. I did not get this sense in the slightest. In fact I felt that the reason she turned to the ‘dark side’ was out of desperation and the terrible trauma she had suffered. I never felt that she was tempted or ‘evil’ until everyone else had died. I certainly never believed that she was remotely involved in anyones death until she killed her mother in self defense. Would love to hear from someone if they disagree.

        • ########SPOILERS FOR THE VVITCH########

          You are correct with regard to why the family was expelled from the colony. Specifically, it was the father who had become disillusioned by the colony’s increasing looseness of faith; his prideful belief that they should follow more closely to his devout ways. In the end, it played out almost as a mutual break-up – his beliefs were too extreme for the colony, yet he was happy to take his family away to live a more pious life.

          As far as the notion that Thomasin practiced or dabbled in witchcraft prior to her final tête-à-tête with Black Phillip, I didn’t see any indication in the film that this was the case. I personally have suggested here (and I’m sure others have suggested elsewhere) that Thomasin was “the witch” in the movie as an allegory of the persecution of women in 17th century New England. Not that she was an actual witch, but that she was made out to be a witch; or, more precisely, that she was accused of (or mistaken for) being a witch.

          There are many ways to interpret the source material, though. This is just how I read the film.

          • SPOILERS-
            Thank you Dino. I am 100% on board with you. I thought about the title aspect as well because there are actually multiple witches in the forest (although perhaps only one is involved in the family’s ordeal) as well and figured as you did.

          • *****SPOILERS FOR THE WITCH*****

            I echo everything Dino said. I would just add that if you choose to see the movie in the literal sense, then I’d say that there are two possible ways to interpret Thomasin’s reasons for following Black Phillip—one, she did in fact fall into temptation and two, she did it out of curiosity. One of the most frightening lines of the movie are in that short conversation at the end when Black Phillip asks Thomasin to sign the book. Thomasin says “I cannot write my name” to which Black Phillip replies“I will guide thy hand”. I think this proves that she was never a witch. But this is just one of many ways to see the movie, so keep asking those questions! I think we all benefit from them.

            • #####SPOILERS… YOU KNOW THE DRILL#####

              I don’t think Thomasin fell into temptation. She showed a great amount of reluctance throughout that final sequence, especially in the final shot of her face when she was teetering between hysterical laughter and sobbing. That’s the best part of that final sequence, imo. As conflicted as I am over the ending, that final shot – and the emotional range shown by Anya Taylor-Joy – is rather brilliant.

              I think part of it was curiosity, but even more than just curiosity, I think it was an act of desperation. She had just lost her entire family and prospects of surviving on her own were slim to none. This was her only way to survive. That in and of itself is a frightening realization of how the devil works, by preying on the hopeless.

          • Well, the thing is that she was asked very specific questions like “wouldst thou like to see the world?” and “wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” I can’t remember exactly if her answers were a simple yes, but now that I think about it, it’s probably a lot more complicated than just doing it out of desperation and/or temptation. I do think both are valid reasons why she says yes in the end. I’m actually going to see it again this Saturday, so I’ll pay close attention to the little details like the witches on the trees that Mister Watson mentioned. And you know what they say about details 😉

  34. Hats off to all of the great reviews and thoughts on The Witch. I saw it on Tuesday and to be honest, I feel as if I need to see it at least one more time to fully grasp and understand what I saw.

    On the surface layer, it’s an interesting tale of the misfortunes that fall upon a family and their inability of remaining a tight knit group rather than allow these issues to further exploit previous problems. Due to some of the shocking scenes, including one very early on, I spent most of the movie just anticipating the next shock rather than try to come up with various theories on what was really happening.

    I’m not someone who typically repeats movies in the theater, so I’ll instead just wait for The Witch to come out on Blu-Ray to experience it again. It does come across as a film that the more you watch, the more you can likely get out of the film. I don’t have a rating for the movie due to being a bit confused and needing that extra viewings to really wrap my head around everything. It is a movie that is a must see for all horror fans. Really well made and it’s certainly wasn’t as predictable as the other horrors I’ve seen in the theater this year.


    The big questions I had leaving the theater were all built around Black Philip. Where did everyone’s favorite satanic goat come from? Was it a real goat that became a vessel for Satan or was it Satan all along? Did Black Philip only come into the family’s life as punishment for leaving the colony? Was Black Philip looking to draw any of the family members into joining him or was it just Thomasin?

      I think only Thomasin was seen as a potential recruit although perhaps that scene with the mother/Raven was an attempt at recruitment. Would have to see again. As for Black Phillip these are good questions that I don’t necessarily have answers to. From my knowledge of this type of theology it is that the goat becomes possessed by Satan or a demon, not ‘born that way’, so that would be my guess. I don’t think that the problems were caused by a type of punishment (on top of being expelled from the colony). I took it as they were chosen by the satanic forces because they were viewed as particularly vulnerable for multiple reasons and therefore seen as easy potential prey.

      • ##########SPOILERS FOR THE VVITCH##########

        I agree with Christian – Thomasin was the sole target. I also agree that the family was selected for torment for many reasons, the biggest of which included (imo):

        – Convenience. The family was located directly next to the woods.
        – Solitude. The family was alone, broken off from a larger group.
        – Vulnerability. The family’s spiritual center was compromised by the father’s pride.

        • *****SPOILERS FOR THE WITCH*****


          I think any questions you may have are valid, but I think ambiguity delves much deeper into the scary corners of the mind than facts. Black Phillip’s origins or reasons behind his doings, if you choose to see the movie as a literal work of art*, don’t matter nearly as much as who he really is and what he stands for. That alone should send chills down your spine. Although the “witch” herself is a big part of the story, I would argue that she is not the main antagonist. It’s evil itself (or Black Phillip’s true identity if you will) and the many forms it can manifest in that is the real evil at play. The poor family never stood a chance. They were quite literally being attacked from every angle. The witch was only the catalyst for the seed of evil to be planted in everyone’s minds and from there, things only took their natural course given everyone’s weaknesses, insecurities, beliefs, etc. Those are just some thoughts, but man, this is a movie that just begs to keep being discussed and the beauty is that the more you think and discuss about it, the more layers you discover.

          *I personally choose to see the movie as a combination of both literal and metaphorical. Some movies, like The Babadook for instance, work better as one or the other. The Witch, however, works as both simultaneously. At least, that’s what I think. But like it’s been said, the movie works on so many levels that you can choose your own and you wouldn’t be wrong. Unless you want to see more of the witch, in which case, you are 😉

  35. Pingback: Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 084: Witchy Women (or Men Behaving Badly) |

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