Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 114: Personal Shopper (2017) and Dig Two Graves (2017) and Life (2017)

HMP Personal Shopper Life Dig Two GravesThis is HORROR MOVIE PODCAST, Episode 114, another Frankensteinian episode where Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh welcome special guest (and former HMP Listener of the Year) Dino Ticinelli for reviews of new release horror films Personal Shopper (2017), Dig Two Graves (2017). We also hear from our fearless leader, Jaywho is NOT dead—when he and Dino bring us a review of Life (2017).

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 where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies!

I. Introduction
— Jason Lives!
— Welcome, Listener Dino

[ 0:03:15 ] II. Update on Jay’s Heart
— Jay’s real life horror open heart surgery
— Jay’s #deadserioushorror challenge with Awake (2007)

[ 0:12:50 ] III. Feature Review: LIFE (2017)
Jay of the Dead: 7.5 ( Theater / Rent it )
Dino: 7.5 ( Theater / Rent it )

[ 0:30:40 ] IV. Feature Review: DIG TWO GRAVES (2017)
Dino: 7.5 ( Strong Rental )
Dr. Shock: 7 ( Rent it )
Wolfman Josh: 7.5 ( Strong Rental )

[ 0:48:00 ] V. Feature Review: PERSONAL SHOPPER (2017)
Dino: 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh: 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

[ 1:06:00 ] VI. Tarantino Talk
— Prospects for a Quentin Tarantino horror movie

VII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending


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.


Jay of the Dead’s links:
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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, Instagram and Facebook @IcarusArts
Horror Movie Podcast Official Instagram @HorrorMovieCast
Josh covers the Monsters Universe, new and classic, on Universal MonstersCast.com
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Josh covers streaming online movies on MovieStreamCast.com
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Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave writes daily movie review on DVDinfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation, now on Facebook
Dave covers the Monsters Universe, new and classic, on Universal MonstersCast.com
Dr. Shock also appears on another horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
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

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68 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 114: Personal Shopper (2017) and Dig Two Graves (2017) and Life (2017)

  1. Hey guys, just to weigh-in on the “Life” / “Venom” prequel rumor, this was actually dispelled awhile back. The rumor has its roots in the fact that the trailer for “Life” featured the same piece of stock footage (of Times Square) as “Spider-Man 3” (2007). A lot of folks apparently don’t realize how stock footage works and people got carried away trying to draw connections that don’t exist. But there is zero truth to it.

    • Awhile back?! The writers of Life weren’t completely dispelling it just 13 days ago ( http://bit.ly/2oOqWUr ). Ahhh, the disposable speed of the digital age.

      Thanks for the update, Nightmare Man. Bummer. I think it’s a shame bc a film like this would be an interesting way into a comic book universe. And based on the writers’ comments above, I’d be interested to see how this film might have changed HAD this been a Venom film, rather than a remake of Alien (1979).

      Now what about THIS! Life as a prequel to Cloverfield (2008): http://bit.ly/2oyPukV

      • At this point, I see every space/alien creature movie as being connected to Cloverfield in some way when I first see the trailer. I believe there’s a plan for the franchise to have around 15 films which would be amazing if it can be pulled off!

        • Totally agree, Slashley. I don’t really get why they are doing it, but it’s a fun idea, and if the films remain as good as 10 Cloverfield Lane, I’m all in.

          Funnily enough, when I first saw this trailer in the theater, I assumed it was for Ridley Scott’s new Alien movie, until the title came up. So I wasn’t totally surprised that this was ultimately so similar.

      • Ahoy, all, and Wolfman,
        I have to say I am beginning to feel a sense of what I am calling Cimematic Universe Fatigue. There was a time when I thought it was a cool idea, especially when it was sort of happenstance or born out of nerdy research(see the Tommy Westphal Universe of television), but with Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Alien, and now apparently Cloverfield and M Night Shyamalan, I’m starting to feel like it might, and I stress might, b lazy filmmaking. Quentin Tarantino has even said his movies are all connected.

        While I understand that its fun to explore a world and its interesting to connect all the things I/we love, there is something to be said for creating something new as well. It’s strange paradox, but if so many people out there are making films to fit into one universe or another it narrows the field. The universes get bigger, but the space between them for interesting outsider art gets smaller. Ok, that’s my ‘get off my lawn’ statement.

        Personally, I like not having to hunt down every movie that attaches to a given universe in order to have a conversation about it. And I like a movie that stands completely on its own, that I can talk about without worrying that I’m missing some snippet from the stinger of another movie.

        For instance, I just watched a little movie called HERE ALONE. It’s a zombie apocalypse movie, and I am aware people are tired of those, but dare I say, this one is different. It’s main character is a woman, first of all, and we find her in the hills hiding out, trying to live in the face of loss, guilt, and memory, when she encounters two travelers on the road. It’s not an especially gory film, and its a slow burn, but the the personal horror, and survival narrative aspects are chunky and worthwhile. I quite enjoyed this movie. It stands on its own. I actually enjoy not knowing what happened beyond the boundaries of the story. And I don’t have to worry about someone using another movie’s ending to draw me into spending money on it to get the full story of these characters. I recommend this movie. I’d give it a 7.5. I will revisit it, for performances and writing as much as the cinematography and plot. It could have used more gore, but that is a small thing, in the face of really good writing.

        I’d also love to hear what our illustrious hosts think of it on the podcast.

        • Hey Peter –

          I’ll stand on your lawn for one minute (but I come in peace!). I definitely understand the whole “cinematic universe fatigue” you’re talking about, but I would disagree that it’s lazy filmmaking. In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite—namely, I imagine pulling together different films in one collective universe is actually a very difficult task and requires a lot of creativity… to do it right.

          That said, I’m up for more stand alone gems over films that don’t complete their story just to keep an opening for a possible sequel and/or franchise. That burns me much more than films that try to build a cohesive universe. It’s lazy and reeks of greed, and worse, the film often suffers for it. And there is a difference between ambiguous films that intentionally don’t close their plot lines (like Personal Shopper) and open endings that don’t really make sense to the story and are obviously only there to leave the door open.

          I think what I’m saying is that I believe there’s a difference between a cinematic universe and a franchise/collection of sequels. And I’m not saying I’m against franchises and sequels, but they are probably much more prone to lazy filmmaking than a cinematic universe. It’s really a nitpick distinction, but (I think) an important one.

          Incidentally, I agree that Here Alone is a nice, quiet stand alone feature, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s different, as you did. In fact, to me, it could essentially be a stand alone episode of The Walking Dead if we imagine Ann is an ancillary character being introduced to the series, and who will meet up with the main group in the end (i.e. on the next episode). Sure, the zombie “rules” are a little different, but the world and tone built in the film is exactly the same as in the TV show.

          That stuff doesn’t really bother me, though, because even though it isn’t necessarily a new or different concept it’s still very well done. I actually recommended it to Projectile Varmint here in the comments a few days ago, and I think anyone who is into more “drama horror” that focuses on character would enjoy it. I came in a little lower in my rating than you, giving it a 3-star rating on Letterboxd (works out to a 6 or 6.5 on a 10-point scale), but I still think it’s on the better end of horror films I’ve seen so far this year.

    • I try to avoid trailers and discussion on films before seeing them, so I didn’t even know about all of this until it was mentioned on the show! In hindsight, putting the stock footage usage aside, it definitely could have been twisted into a Venom prequel. I’m glad it wasn’t, though I’m not sure it would have made the movie any better or worse.

  2. Speedy recovery Jay!

    I’ve thought about QT doing a Horror Movie for years. I figured it would turn out a lot like The Devil’s Rejects. That movie is violent, full of intriguing characters and has some good dialogue like a QT film. What I really would like to see is QT to create a new Horror Icon character that would turn into a franchise, like F13. I like the idea of the movie The Traveler, some dude comes in and messes everything up, more psychologically, but got to have some good kills though. Another good example would be Wishmaster. You also could base a Horror Movie off the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. Follow the briefcase around and see what horrors people will commit to get the briefcase. I think that anything that QT did that was straight up Horror would become one of the all time best Horror Movies ever. The dude knows how to make great movies. I do admit I haven’t been as impressed lately in his movies after Kill Bill, but the worst QT movie is better than 80% of all the other movies out there. I say, bring it on QT!

    Any update of another meet up? I plan on attending this year, but of course, need to plan around family also. Hope it works out that I get to meet everyone.

    • I love the idea of building a horror movie around the Pulp Fiction briefcase. It could even be an anthology of sorts that way, with the briefcase itself being the “wrap-around story.” Probably not my first choice for a QT horror movie (because I’m not a huge fan of anthologies), but I think that’s definitely a very clever angle to take.

      • Glad you are well Jay! I plan on attending a meeting for the first time this year so can’t wait for updates. I’ll be traveling from the northern Virginia area out that way so it’ll be a road trip epic!

  3. Dino knows me so well….so many many things bothered me about Life that the normal moviegoer probably didn’t care about….the tortured life of a scientist.

  4. Anyone seen Not Quite Hollywood? Quentin talks a lot about movies like Patrick, Turkey Shoot, and Next of Kin. If he did a horror movie I wouldn’t be surprised if he drew on those.
    Watching the trailer for Life I thought it would parallel Species 2 closely. The monster seems similar

    • Personal Shopper was one of my top 25 films last year. I’ve always liked Kristen Stewart. I’m always interested in offbeat things that the Harry Potter and Twilight crew make. Patinson was great in Cosmopolis and Maps to the Stars, Daniel Radcliff was great in The Woman in Black, Imperium, Horns, and Swiss Army Man. That’s the nice thing about making so much money that early. You can be really choosey about what you make afterwards.

      • Side, NON-Horror Note for Joe:
        Say, if you appreciate Kristen Stewart, you should watch her in Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” (2016) — again, definitely not a horror flick — but a very good performance for Kristen Stewart. (I didn’t know she could do such things, but she kind of made me a believer.)

        • She was really good in Cafe Society, for sure. That scene of her on the beach with Jesse Eisenberg… Jason, I know you know what I’m talking about. She showed such nuance in her facial expression, it was so perfect for that moment and I don’t know many other actors of her generation who could have pulled that off.

          Also not horror, but many consider her turn in Clouds of Sils Maria to be her best performance to date. She is excellent in that and it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan. That said, I think Personal Shopper is her best yet.

        • I’m a huge Woody Allen fan, as MPW listeners probably know, but Cafe Society is only a middle of the road Woody Allen film, in my opinion. Stewart was good in it. Adventureland was probably my favorite thing I’d seen her in previous to Personal Shopper, but I thought this blew that out of the water.

          You make an excellent point about the Harry Potter and Twilight actors being free to experiment, Joe. I think you see that with kid actors who were on TV when they were young too, like Joseph Gordon Leavitt and Ryan Gosling. Of course, I think there is also a piece where they are trying to distance themselves from those characters and franchises.

  5. Happy to hear you’re ok, Jay !

    About QT : an exorcism movie would provide him a great platform for some hardcore blasphemous dialogue. I could also see him doing something in the vein of Henry: PoaSK.

    • The Henry: portrait of a… comparison is interesting, Rob. I’d love to see something like that. But I’d be even more interested in seeing him go supernatural, tbh. We know that all of his movies take place in the same universe, so I’d love to know that ghosts and demons reside there. I wonder if he has already said that vampires do.


    So happy to have HMP back in my life. I appreciate the review of Personal Shopper. I’m always weary of Kristen Stewart vehicles, but you guys sold me on this one. Thank you.

    Now for the main event: I finally was able to watch Train to Busan!! This film had been sitting in my Netflix queue for a couple weeks, and I vow to never wait so long to watch another Korean horror film. They are on a ROLL.

    The zombies were cool and scary, the attention given to the characters was thoughtful and precise, and I can’t understate how much fun it is to watch a zombie outbreak take place in a country for which I have no geographical bearings. I play the scenarios out in the U.S. based on all of our zombie films in my head: “if the outbreak starts in New York, get to a high-rise building, wait it out for two weeks.” or in the burbs: “get to a local shopping mall, barricade the doors and wait.” Or in rural Georgia: “go to an isolated farm, but DON’T forget to check the barn” (Don’t Dead, Open Inside. #TWD) However, in this context, I have NO clue where Busan is, or how far it is from Seoul (I’m assuming they’re in Seoul, but I also don’t even know about THAT!) It’s great to see the characters make the choices themselves, because I have no better plan for their survival, as I don’t know where anything is in South Korea like I do with the U.S.

    One note about trains: As a retired conductor for UP, I can let you, the wonderful HMP community know, that trains just don’t work the way they’re portrayed in the film. **Mild spoiler**, but the light power move with the horde chasing the train in Daegu station isn’t possible. The alerter would’ve sounded at the engineer’s control panel, and would’ve shut down the train automatically if nobody were at the controls to press the button, thereby keeping the train in motion. Furthermore, when the engineer started up the engine, he never went outside and ACTUALLY started the engine. Some trains have a form of auto-start, but this wasn’t one of them.
    It is well known to railroaders that there has never been an accurate portrayal of locomotive operation in films, as most people just don’t realize it, nor should they be expected to know. (The Denzel/Chris Pine film “Unstoppable” is a favorite for lunchroom chiding and eye rolling). This isn’t even a complaint, as the majority of filmmakers/viewers aren’t expected to know these things; I just thought it would be fun to share. I had a good chuckle watching this engineer “operate” his train.

    One final shout out to the character Sang-hwa. Most badass method of fighting zombies I have EVER seen. This dude. I want to watch more movies with this dude in them.

    • I love how he wrapped the magazines around his forearms. So badass.

      I don’t know about you, but when I watched this and the first zombie appears on the train so early on I wondered how they would be able to keep it up for another 90+ minutes. Well, they did it…

      • Thank you for the recommendation!

        I’ll be here for the breakdown if the world of cinema decides that vampires on a train sounds like a good idea.

        Who says no to that?!

  7. Awesome stuff guys. Look forward to seeing all of the films you talked about; going to see ‘Personal Shopper’ in the theater this weekend so will report back.

    Great to hear Jay’s voice again.

  8. Jay, I’m so glad you made it through your surgical ordeal and are on the mend! It was nice and unexpected to hear you back on the podcast so soon. I can honestly say that your Dead Serious Horror Challenge scared me the most. It was great to hear Dino on the show as well. Take care guys!

  9. I would be super into a Quentin Tarantino horror movie. The plotline and story would be phenomenal. I think horror sometimes suffers from weak storylines but QT would dominate in that area.

    I am very excited to see Personal Shopper. The ambiguity described by you guys in the review drew me in. I don’t mind Kristen Stewart when she isn’t playing a tortured, the-world-is-against-me emo chick. And I do love a good ghost story.

    I did check out Dig 2 Graves but didn’t really like it. I liked the main character but the others kind of annoyed me and I don’t know why. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mindframe to truly appreciate it.

    I am planning on seeing Life this weekend. I think IMAX might be the way to go for that one. I don’t think I will mind if it is a semi rip off of Alien. I am interested to see what you all were talking about of “size not mattering” 😉 I really like Jake Gyllenhaal but more so in dramas not so much action. I’m interested in checking his performance out. I absolutely loved him in Enemy.

    I just watched Bottom of the World and really enjoyed it. It is labeled as a drama, mystery, thriller. It is definitely eerie. Almost like a Mullholand Drive or Lost Highway.

    • I think Personal Shopper will be right up your alley. I’m a little skeptical as to whether you’ll like Life, though.

      I get what you’re saying about Dig Two Graves. I liked it, but it’s far from an exceptional movie. Have you seen Here Alone yet? That’s one I think you might appreciate.

      • I have not seen Here Alone Yet, but I just added it to my que.

        Dino, you were a great addition to the podcast! Loved your point of view.

        • Thanks, PV. ?

          I would go into Here Alone with tempered expectations — it’s more of a nice, dramatic character piece than a knock-your-socks-off post-apocalyptic horror.

    • Bottom of the World and Here Alone are both going on my list. Thanks, guys. Sorry you didn’t like Dig Two Graves, PV. It was hard for me to articulate my problems with that one.

      • Wolfman,

        I also just watched Bokeh. It’s definitely a drama. I think you might enjoy it. It gives you lots of feels.

  10. Jay, great to have you back! For someone I’ve never actually met, I was greatly concerned for you and was so happy to hear that you are on the mend. Through this podcast, you bring a lot to our lives and manage to keep us entertained week after week. Hope you rest up and continue to get better!

    Also great to have Dino on the show. You guys should have him back as a guest any time you need an extra voice.

    • Thanks, Chris. I always feel like I’m walking the tight rope between sounding pretentious or stupid (or both), but luckily Wolfman and Doc (and Jason) are pros. Wolfman has done some excellent editing over the last couple of shows, too.

      Btw, you’re easily the most prolific movie watcher of all the people I’m connected with on Letterboxd. I thought Sal and Jody were machines, but damnson! I generally follow along and read your reviews on your Letterboxd feed, but I’d be interested in seeing you share some of your better finds (and reviews) over here in the comments so the rest of the community could see. Maybe you could drop a post each episode with your two or three best finds over the last two weeks (since the last HMP episode)? Just a thought; I’m sure a lot of people around here would enjoy that.

      Actually, I like that idea… I might start doing that, myself!

      • Dino, perhaps you are thinking of another Chris? I’m not a Letterboxd user, though you now have me intrigued! I’ll have to look into that.

        And don’t worry – you are neither pretentious or stupid hahaha

        • Oh snap! Now I’m wondering who this random Chris is I’m connected to on Letterboxd… haha!

          And, yes, I would definitely recommend checking out Letterboxd. A bunch of us HMP listeners are on there, so it’s a good way to see what everyone is watching to get movie recommendations.

  11. We’re now a little over a week into the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF). Despite being a relatively small town, the Cleveland film fest is actually somewhat well established having been around for 41 years. It’s not nearly as big and prestigious as Cannes, TIFF, Sundance, etc, but they do bring in a fair amount of interesting foreign and indie films – including a handful of genre films in their “After Hours”/genre sidebar competition.

    Of the 12 films I plan on seeing, six of them are horror and one of them is in that “The Silence of the Lambs/Se7en” territory of possibly horror, depending on your perspective. There are only three days left in the festival and I’ve seen eight of my 12 screenings so far, so things are winding down. Each of my four remaining films are horror, though, so I’m very excited for these next few days.

    Next up is a screening later today of Dead Awake, which I believe is due for release sometime in May 2017. Then, on Sunday, I have three in a row: The Night Watchmen, The Transfiguration and Dave Made a Maze. I think The Transfiguration is due for release sometime soon, but I’m not sure the other two have distribution yet.

    Here are some brief thoughts on the films I’ve seen so far, taken from my Letterboxd, including the non-horror titles for anyone who is interested:

    Rage “Ikari” (Genre: drama / mystery / crime)


    A beautiful film that’s ultimately about trust and human relationships.

    4/5 on Letterboxd (8.5/10)

    Cave (Genre: action / adventure)


    Good, dumb fun. There were several humorous quips, including a well-placed reference to Deliverance, that played really well with the festival crowd.

    2.5/5 on Letterboxd (5.5/10)

    Lake Bodom (Genre: horror—slasher)


    Beautiful cinematography, particularly for a slasher film, but the story never really comes together in a satisfactory way. Still, not bad overall. I caught this one with Jody… good company, but wish the movie was better.

    3/5 on Letterboxd (6/10)

    Buster’s Mal heart (Genre: thriller / mystery)


    A harrowing tale of a man at odds with himself, possibly dealing with mental health issues as he tries to reconcile his happy home life with a greater paranoia surrounding the world. The story is expertly told across two timelines, which come together as the mystery unfolds. Darkly comedic, delightfully odd and intentionally ambiguous, this one begs for repeat viewings. Again, saw this one with Jody, and Juan watched this last year at Fantastic Fest. I’d be interested in hearing what they thought of this one.

    4/5 on Letterboxd (8.5/10)

    Clash “Eshtebak” (Genre: drama / thriller)


    Incredibly powerful single-location film about humanity, prejudice and injustice, with a gut-punch ending. Wow. Probably my favorite film of the year so far.

    4.5/5 on Letterboxd (9.5/10)

    Therapy (Genre: horror—found footage)


    First, the good: this was made by a 16-year old who has an obvious love of the horror genre and the ability to competently make a film, so hopefully the future is bright.

    Unfortunately, this film is a mess, with a flimsy story, numbingly stupid characters (turn the camera off BEFORE pulling out the incriminating mask) and a heavy reliance on cheap jump scares. The best parts of the film are the found footage elements from inside the derelict labyrinthine building, but even those are ruined by the never ending parade of unnecessary jump scares. It also commits some of the worst found footage taboos, including an unexplained (and unnecessary) editing together of “found” footage by the police, and an unending desire to keep stating why they’re recording.

    The abandoned building is a great location, but a little less audience hand-holding and much more restraint from the filmmaker would have done wonders for this film.

    *Now streaming as a Shudder exclusive

    2/5 on Letterboxd (4/10)

    After the Storm (Genre: drama)


    Bitingly funny and real portrait of a grown man (and father) trying to find himself while coming to terms with his recent divorce.

    3.5/5 on Letterboxd (7.5/10)

    Psycho Raman “aka Raman Raghav 2.0” (Genre: thriller / crime / mystery / maybe horror)


    A troubled cop hunts down a deranged serial killer, who is actually stalking the cop. Deeply disturbing, dark and electric, with compelling characters and an interesting story structure separated into eight chapters.

    This one is borderline horror to me, very much in the same vein as The Silence of the Lambs or Se7en.

    *Now streaming on Netflix in the U.S.

    4/5 on Letterboxd (8/10)

    • I really appreciate all of your festival reviews, wish I was able to make it out to some. Learning about new horror films traveling around the festival circuit is always exciting. Also hoping you’ll be featured on HMP more, you always deliver a different perspective and great reviews!

      I was really looking forward to Therapy, it seemed to have a lot of promise. Plus a young director opens the door for new creativity. Found footage seems difficult to do well and I find few that I like but am always drawn into the concept. I’ll still check out Therapy still, it helps to expect some of the films flaws.

      Going to check out Psycho Ramen, sounds intriguing! Plus the vein of Silence of the Lambs and Se7en makes it out to be a worthwhile watch! Hadn’t heard about that one yet.

      • Awesome, Slashley. Make sure to report back here after watching Psycho Raman, both with your general thoughts on the movie and whether you consider it horror. Note that (I think) it’s listed as “Raman Raghav 2.0” on Netflix. Hopefully it’s a subtitled version rather than dubbed!

        With Therapy, there definitely was a little bit of that “young filmmaker creativity” in it… it was just buried by a plethora of flaws. Honestly, my biggest issue with the film is that the characters are numbingly stupid, and much of their stupidity is there to spell things out for the audience. It was just totally unnecessary and ended up hurting the film. Also unnecessary was its over-reliance on jump scares; it’s the polar opposite to Personal Shopper, in that sense. Therapy‘s found footage segments actually do a really good job of building suspense, but the jump scares completely ruin the ride. That said, I still think it’s worth a watch, especially since it’s streaming for free with a Shudder subscription.

        I’ll check back in after CIFF is over with my thoughts on Dead Awake, The Night Watchmen, The Transfiguration, and Dave Made a Maze. And thanks for your kind words about the show!

        • Watched Psycho Ramen today on Netflix (luckily it was subbed) and really enjoyed it. First off the acting was well done, Nawazuddin Siddiqui was a great choice for Raman, even the look in his eyes had intensity and coldness. Vicky Kaushal as the lead investigator with a troubled life adds depth to the story as well. Some of the scenes felt gritty and dirty in a way that put you in the story’s mindset. The scene with Raman’s family was cringe worthy and realistic in a sense. The intensity and cat and mouse aspects make this out to be more thriller than horror though I could see someone arguing this as horror. I would give it a solid 7.5 out of 10 and recommend people stream or buy it!

          • Well, that doesn’t help! Haha.

            I see it very similarly to you, both in rating and genre classification: I am teetering between a 7.5 and 8 for the rating, and still go back and forth between thriller and horror. I agree with you that the basic structure of the film leans thriller, but then I think of the very dark tone and how Ramanna stalks and brutally kills his victims. Also, you mentioned the Chapter Two segment, “The Sister,” which is a very horror sequence imo. Still, I can see it both ways.

            I’m glad you checked it out and enjoyed it!

    • I NEED to see The Transfiguration. I have had that on my watchlist for a couple weeks. I hope it gets a wide release.

    • CIFF Update:

      I just got back from a screening of Dead Awake, which is slated for a wide release in May 2017. Here are my initial thoughts…

      Dead Awake (Genre: horror—supernatural)


      There is a lot to like here, but overall it feels a little half-baked. The movie is an obvious (and intended) homage to a horror classic, and it was difficult for me to look at this without that in mind.

      That said, it is a nice looking film with an excellent performance by Jocelin Donahue. The concept is terrifying and I loved how they transitioned into that not-quite-awake space. But the ultimate manifestation of “the threat” was disappointing. I would have much rather that been left more opaque. The “bath tub scene,” which was one of my favorite moments in the movie, exhibited how effective a less-defined monster could have been.

      The dialogue felt a little stilted at times, but I think the editing was the film’s biggest issue. The pacing was all over the place: at times it was deliberate in how it fleshed out the characters and allowed suspenseful scenes to play out (in a way I imagine it would if you were suffering from sleep paralysis), but then the climax felt rushed and inconsistent with the rules set out earlier in the film. Even worse, though, is that the movie often dragged, feeling a tad longer than it should have been.

      3/5 on Letterboxd (6.5/10)

      On a side note, I have a feeling a lot of my CIFF ratings are going to change slightly as I have time to marinate on these films. Having a bunch of screenings jammed into a relatively short amount of time makes it difficult to really give each movie well-thought consideration.

    • CIFF Update:

      I caught three films yesterday on CIFF’s closing day, and they were all big-time winners! Making it even better, the director of each film was there and did a Q&A after the screening. Unfortunately, I could not stay for the Q&A following The Night Watchmen and I missed the beginning 5 or so minutes of the Bill Watterson (co-writer/director) Q&A following Dave Made a Maze, but what I caught of it was a lot of fun. The Michael O’Shea (writer/director) Q&A following The Transfiguration was excellent – he was a lot of fun to talk to, and he seems keenly interested in staying within the horror genre for the foreseeable future.

      That said, here are some brief thoughts on my final three screenings at CIFF…

      The Night Watchmen (Genre: horror—comedy / supernatural)


      Total throwback to ’80s over-the-top comedy-horror in the same vein as The Return of the Living Dead, but with vampire clowns. Outrageous, gory, gratuitous, and hilarious. This was a good time.

      3/5 on Letterboxd (6.5/10)

      The Transfiguration (Genre: drama / horror)


      An unflinchingly somber and understated coming of age tale of a teenage boy wrestling with his personal demons. As a character piece, it challenges the audience to sympathize with Milo as we travel further down his increasingly bleak path; as a monster movie, it’s about as starkly realistic as can be, pulling vampire mythology through everyday issues of grief, racial tension and class struggle. The camera work adds to the film’s realistic, documentary-like feeling with its stillness and lingering shots, and subtle audio cues serve to drum up the atmospheric terror.

      I thought I was going to see a vampire movie. I didn’t realize it was going to be much, much more.

      4/5 on Letterboxd (8.5/10)

      Dave Made a Maze (Genre: adventure / comedy / maybe horror)


      One of the most delightfully imaginative movies I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to show this to my boys.

      4/5 on Letterboxd (8.5/10)

  12. Jay, I am so glad you’re okay! Wow, what an ordeal…Glad you’re okay though, and that Josh, Dave and Dino were able to help out with the episode, as well.

    Great episode, guys!

  13. I watched The Void today and was pleasantly creeped out…It had a very Prince of Darkness and an Into the Mouth of Madness vibe…Two movies that I have always found disturbing…I’m sure it will be in my top 10 this year.

    • It’s playing one time tomorrow night at a local theater, so I’ve resisted the urge to VOD this and will be seeing it then. I’m looking forward to it.

    • I watched this tonight and it may well make my top 10 worst for the year haha. I did not enjoy myself at all. Definitely a tribute to Carpenter with some interesting imagery. It’s all very convoluted though.

  14. I saw ‘Personal Shopper’ and quite loved it. I’m really looking forward to getting to see it again; there is a lot to dig into with this film. I would love to hear a spoiler discussion on this film; really curious what you guys thought the end result meant.

    It is the slowest of slow burns and will not be for everyone, but I highly recommend everyone giving it a chance. Kristin Stewart blew me away; this was the perfect type of role for her. I will definitely be checking out the previous film, Clouds of Silas Maras, that she worked on with this director.

    I’m right there with Josh and Dino at an 8.5. There were a couple of scenes toward the end that I was not completely on board with; up until this point I thought this might be a 10. But could definitely see this rating going up with future viewings.

    • That’s awesome, Jonathan. I saw you gave it a high rating on Letterboxd, which I was happy to see.

      As far as the ending is concerned…


      Following that awesome final line of the film, I took it to mean that she was actually dead, and that she was killed during her hotel rendezvous. That’s why we see “something,” presumably a ghost, leave the hotel. Of course, then how do you explain the scenes that followed and her interactions with her former sister-in-law, her new boyfriend, the driver, etc etc. I really want to re-watch this one, though, because like I said on the show, my interpretation changed multiple times throughout (and following) my viewing.

      What are some of your thoughts?

      *****END SPOILERS*****

      • *********
        The hotel scene is what’s throwing me off. My assumption was she is making sure they find the jewelry in his hotel room (which brings up the idea of did he really do it?). But if he walked in the room obviously she didn’t get out of there alive if he was the killer, and if he wasn’t the killer then who was? The other option is that the ghost (who may or may not be her brother) came in but for what reason?

        And I’m assuming we are supposed to believe that the guy was texting her, but maybe it was the ghost. And as I mentioned above was the ghost her brother? We know the one earlier in the film was not. And I’ve also read some ideas on-line that the ghost from the beginning is a female that the killer also did harm to, but the movie doesn’t give you anything else to back that up so I don’t buy that theory and why would that person be at her brother’s home?

        I don’t believe that she was dead the whole time; if anything I wonder if that final line is that she is actually communicating with her own spirit/soul somehow. I believe you could watch this movie ten times and come up with ten different ideas of what’s actually going on which is a lot of the reason the more I think about it the more I love it.

        • *************
          And I realize you weren’t saying she was dead the whole time; I was referring from the hotel onward.

        • **********SPOILERS FOR Personal Shopper**********

          There is plenty of evidence given throughout the film that these ephemeral entities are capable of altering physical reality: the scratching in the wall and table, the turning on of water, the knocking sounds, the glass that was dropped (presumably by her brother’s ghost, who was looking at her from the kitchen window) at her ex sister-in-law’s house, and so on. So it’s feasible that it was a ghost communicating with her the whole time, and a ghost who planted the jewelry in her apartment. My issue with that theory, though, is what would be the ghost’s motivation to frame her?

          The most likely candidate for a ghost she’s communicating with is probably her brother, but why would he be toying with her emotions and trying to frame her? And there really isn’t enough evidence given in the film (from what I can remember) that it would be some other random ghost, which wouldn’t seem to fit with the deliberate nature of the rest of the film.

          Ingo is the only person in the entire film who shows any sort of interest in Maureen, and is also the only person who Maureen opens up to. I guess that’s why I assume he is her secret text pal and, by extension, the person who meets her in the hotel. Also, at that point, he would know to plant the jewels in her apartment to try and frame her for Kyra’s murder (I’m assuming he murdered Kyra given he had motive) and, ultimately, would have motive to kill Maureen as the person most likely to connect him with the murder. But, again, if he killed Maureen in the hotel, then that leaves us with the question of what we were seeing with all of her human interactions for the remainder of the film.

          Of course, this could also just be me trying to find the “cleanest,” most logical through-line for the plot in an otherwise intentionally ambiguous story. Yes, there certainly are several plausible readings of the film.


          • *********SPOILERS FOR PERSONAL SHOPPER**************

            Actually, now I want to go back and pay closer attention to everyone she interacts with after the hotel scene to see if they act differently with her than people do pre-hotel scene. I wonder if there is anything there to suggest she is somehow different or transformed.

  15. Hey everyone. I wanted to post the event page for the Riverside Drive in April Ghoul’s for anyone in a reasonable distance to the Pittsburgh area
    I’ve been to several of these, and they are a total blast. I’ll be attending this one, so if anyone is actually committing to going let me know if you want to hang (@rottenrobo). You can camp (and drink!) on site (info on page). Fun fact: Trick of Treat from the metal cast is being screened (along with many of great movies). Jay, glad you’re alive and well, buddy!

  16. I’ve really gotten into listening to podcasts over the last 6 months. About 4-5 weeks ago I thought to myself “wonder if there is any good horror movie podcasts out there?” So I typed that into a google search and of course “Horror Movie Podcast” is the first one to come up. Clever name by the way, I don’t know if you intended to keep it simple so people would find you easier, but kudos. Anyway, I have been addicted to your show. I’ve listened to most all of your recent ones, really loved the Academy Awards type show you did for all of 2016 horror movies. I’ve listened to your Australian show (watched Rogue two nights ago because of it, 6.5 out of 10), I’ve listened to all of the Halloween, Scream, Fridays, and Nightmare on Elm street series reviews, and several others. You guys turned me on to both The Wailing & Train to Busan both 8.5 out of 10 and The Loved Ones 7 out of 10. Plus I have a list made of others I’ve missed over the years that I will watch when I get a chance. Thank you guys so much for everything you do and all the effort you put into this. I’ve been telling my movie loving friends about your show and I’ve gotten them interested. If there is anything else I can do to support you guys just let me know.

    Some of the comments are closed for past episodes but wanted to list my top 2016 horror films just so I feel like I have a voice in this podcast community. I saw more than 8 but didn’t like the rest

    1. Don’t Breathe 9/10
    2. The Witch 9/10
    3. The Invitation 8.5/10
    4. Train to Busan 8.5/10
    5. The Wailing 8.5/10
    6. Neon Demon 7.5/10
    7. Lights Out 7.5/10
    8. Green Room 7/10

    One bone to pick while listening to all of your throwback series reviews. I’m normally pretty hard on movies, but for some reason I absolutely love Halloween 6: Curse of Michael Myers. This was the first Halloween movie I saw in theaters, I was 13. It’s my biggest guilty pleasure of all time. I loved seeing such a different direction after how horrible Halloween 5 was and mediocre Halloween 4 was. I love the look of Michael in 6, the quick cuts in the beginning with Paul Rudd’s VO, the bus stop scene which I found the imagery to be very scary, all the scenes at the Myers house, and finally, the machete scene and ensuring chase at the hospital. Yes, all the curse stuff is silly, but it’s at least unique and gave us something different. I bought the directors version on VHS off ebay for $25, back in the early 2000s, so I’ve long seen the Producer’s cut, and actually prefer the theater version better.

    Quick final thought. I live in Bowling Green KY, home of Mr. Carpenter. I’ve met him 3 times at Western KY University for Q&As, lectures, and he came and taught some broadcast students how to hit their marks on camera. He signed my copies of Halloween, The Fog, & The Thing. Very interesting man and hope he comes back sometime. I also met Danielle Harris and she signed by copy of Halloween 5, beautiful girl.


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