I’m surprised “Treehouse” ends up being the best episode of Blumhouse and Hulu’s ambitious anthology “Into the Dark,” yet. I have to admit that I hated James Roday’s “Gravy,” so to see him approach “Treehouse” with a very relevant message, an inherent tone of terror, and some darkly comic undertones, was a welcome surprise. “Into the Dark” has been more hit than miss since its introduction in October, but with “Treehouse” it hits right out of the park as an ode to spring that explores hell having no fury like a woman scorned.
I kind of see what Aaron K. Carter is going for with “An Hour to Kill.” What his film tries to be is a basic meshing of the gangster politics of “Pulp Fiction” with the horror tales of “Creepshow.” I don’t begrudge him for trying something completely different and unique, it’s just sad that “An Hour to Kill” never comes together as a coherent or even entertaining horror comedy anthology. Even taken as a silly horror comedy, it’s tough to find any real redeeming aspects here, as Carter seems to work hard in keeping his film together as it falls apart from minute one.
Akeda (The Binding) (2018)
Dan Bronfeld’s drama is a disturbing but fascinating bit of meta-fiction that examines the real life brutality of war and loss of innocence. Bronfeld stages the film initially like an actual confrontation between American soldiers and an Israeli family. When the surviving son of the family emerges from his spot we learn he’s actually making a film. But is he? As we learn more and more about the filmmakers and their inherent tribalism, what we think we’re seeing doesn’t quite seem as absolute anymore. We’re left to wonder if he’s making a movie, or if he’s merely lying to himself to shield from the horrors of the war and violence that’s unfolding all around him. “Akeda” makes a strong statement about the brutality and sensationalism of war, and it’s a gem of a drama.
Now with the easy accessibility of filmmaking technology and more filmmakers stepping forward, we’re getting more horror movies based around Halloween than ever. I’m just fine with that as Halloween was always a very under tapped mood back drop for such a long time in the horror genre. “10/31” is tailor made for Halloween and horror buffs looking for a good time with assorted tales of terror and black comedy. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a damn good treat nonetheless that I can’t wait to put alongside gems like “Tales of Halloween,” 2013’s “Mischief Night,” and “Trick r Treat.”
“Creepshow” isn’t just a horror movie, but it’s also the gold standard for what most anthology horror movies strive to be. While there have been anthology horror films before it, “Creepshow” popularized the genre for a new decade and helped redefine the idea of the sub-genre. Not just that, but “Creepshow” is also a rebuttal to the golden age of horror comic from EC. Once upon a time the comics label that produced violent horror based comics were shut down due to their controversial nature. “Creepshow” is a movie that combines immense talents from folks like George Romero, Stephen King, and Tom Savini to provide something of a rebellious middle finger and show a new audience that these tales were as fun as they were violent.
Michael Dougherty’s “Trick r Treat” is a contemporary success story that’s enamored horror fans for a long time. Originally in 2007, Michael Dougherty’s horror anthology was kicked around various studios, pushed back, and shelved. When it finally re-emerged, it was pushed to a DVD release on 2009. Once unleashed on the fan base, it began life as a hidden gem, and has grown to become a bonafide horror classic, almost universally praised. To boot, “Trick r Treat’s” mascot, the burlap sack wearing, jagged lollipop adorning Sam has become one of the modern horror icons, whose bred a legion of fans (as well as a slew of merchandise).
Once upon a time TV movies were an event. They meant something. They were used sporadically during the year for various networks as a means of attracting big ratings. Once upon a time TV used TV movies as a means of competing with theaters, and ever since that’s become something of a lost medium. Even when I was a kid, the nineties were filled with TV movies both of the Stephen King multi-night variety, and occasional biblical epics, and or science fiction epics like “Taken,” or “Noah.” It was an interesting time. “Dead of Night” is one of the various TV movies that’s gone from TV movie to well acclaimed horror movie, and that might be because of Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson.
It makes sense that Shout Factory would package “Tales from the Crypt” with “Vault of Horror” since both horror films are essentially a part of the same universe, and are adapted from the genius EC Comics brand. In “Vault of Horror” you can even see one of the characters sit beside a stack of EC Comics while turning to continue reading a “Tales from the Crypt” novel. It’s a good thing too since both films are stellar horror anthologies, practicing the tradition of EC Comics’ storytelling formula that involves revenge, irony, plot twists, and turning the tables on characters at every turn. If you can spare the time, these films deserve to be viewed as a double bill, because it’s a master class of storytelling and creeps.