My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022) Review: The power of Boy George compels you

Yeah, I know, this was supposed to be a musical review of K-12 – but after about 15 minutes I realized I absolutely wasn’t interested in watching an extended  music video/concept album and wanted to watch something else. So, here we are. I would apologize, but I’m not sorry. I’ve said it before, life is too short for movies you don’t actually feel like watching. Lets clear this house bay-bee.

So, My Best Friend’s Exorcism is adapted from the novel by Grad Hendrix – which I haven’t read and so I won’t be able to speak to how this works as an adaptation or anything like that, but I will say it has maybe piqued my interest in checking out the book so that’s an endorsement I guess isn’t it? Alright, so what is it then?

Directed by Damon Thomas (Killing Eve), written by Jenna Lamia (90210), and starring Elise Fisher (Eighth Grade), Amiah Miller (Lights Out), and Christopher Lowell (Glow) – there’s a lot of mixed signs here, and it doesn’t really surprise me that this movie didn’t seem to receive a huge amount of advanced promotion. Or at least I didn’t hear a single god damn thing about it.

This is a story set in the ’80s, because that’s all we know how to do right now, and centers around the story of, well, two best friends struggling with one friend’s impending move, who drop acid at a gathering and one of them becomes possessed, a classic thing we can all relate to. The story follows all of the standard tropes and trappings of just about any exorcism story you’ve seen, and while it won’t redefine a generation or anything, honestly, the movie is extremely charming and even teeters into being genuinely creepy (“The first one was 11 feet long” *shudders*).

I’d say the one place that the movie falls down is in its brief trip down the “friend thinks her friend was raped” cul-de-sac. IT’s one of those situations where the movie hasn’t really earned what it’s doing and also doesn’t unpack or address it enough, so it feels like a movie trying to take on something serious and dropping the ball. It’s not offensive or anything, it’s just sloppy, and there is definitely something that you can do with that if the script was a bit stronger, but here we are. Maybe the book is to blame, but I wouldn’t know and so it falls on the script.

The performances are all fine, Lowell is genuinely funny as one of a trio of faith-based body builders who serves as the exorcist. Their whole thing is very funny and absolutely worked for me. Also, there’s a scene in broad daylight where our possessed girl throws up on an asshole and it’s just a beautiful moment. It’s also nice to see Elsie Fisher in something entertaining after the absolute dog-shit that was the most recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre. She deserves all the success after really coming out strong with Eighth Grade, so I’m always happy to see her in stuff.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism is pretty light fare, not a kid’s horror film by any stretch, but just a bit of fun Halloween fare that is well worth taking a look at if you’re looking for something new and that isn’t going to overstay it’s welcome. While it does take a stab at a couple of things that it … maybe didn’t need to, it’s a solid effort and a well acted little movie. You could do much worse, and you know you’re looking for something to watch this month. Plus, the soundtrack is pretty fun, so that’s also good.

31 Days of Horror… musicals: Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead review

Troma is one of those things that I had always heard about but never ventured into, I have a vague memory of seeing Tromeo and Juliet but I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it so I’m comfortable saying that Poultrygeist is my first step into the world of Lloyd Kaufman and Troma and… well. I don’t know what I could have possible expected.

Released: 2006
Starring: Jason Yachanin, Kate Graham, and Allyson Sereboff
Directed by: Lloyd Kaufman

So, to start right off the bat, it seems kind of pointless to talk about the movie being offensive. There is no shortage of slurs or racist or homophobic jokes from start to finish. The whole thing is in extremely poor taste, and that is Troma and Kaufman’s whole thing. So, I’m not going to do any pearl clutching about this and instead take it for what it is and acknowledge straight up: the movie is offensive – and it is trying as hard as it possibly can to be offensive. It wants you to be upset by it, and it does a pretty great job doing that. Truly, it pushes that boundary so far that there are these glimmers of brilliant satire, though it’s not always clear who the joke is. Unfortunately, the simplest comparison is to South Park, where everyone is being skewered, and so … no one can really be offended? I guess? It weirdly also makes the movie feel about 30 years older than it is, that’s down to the quality of the camera as well, but something about the tone makes it feel like such an old movie.

Off colour jokes and uncomfortable n-words aside, where the movie shines is in the gore and practical effects. They’re not realistic in the slightest, but holy fucking shit are they fun. The chicken zombies are fun, the barrage of spraying blood and slime is fun, the gross sexual body horror shit is fun, there’s a lot to like here that you’ll have fun with if you kind of go in understanding what Troma’s whole deal is. Kaufman is kind of a horror/schlock Mel Brooks, cranked up to 11 and it is going to work for some and not for others.

So the question is, did this first foray into the gross world of Troma work for me?


No it didn’t.

Honestly, the movie is what it is, you know what you’re going to get and it is exactly what I expected in that regard. The big problem with Poultrygeist, though, is that it is too fucking long. Holy god damn shit. This movie with this story and tone needed to be… 75 minutes, maybe 80 if you really felt like you had something to say. This movie is an hour and forty two god damn minutes – that is so much closer to two hours than it has any right to be, and it absolutely crushes the movie.

The final battle with the chicken zombies in the restaurant goes on for so long and completely kills the wild anarchic pace that it had set up to that point. The movie essentially comes to a grinding halt and spends the third act just wasting everyone’s time. More than once I thought “surely this has to be the ending” and it would go on another 10 minutes. It’s really too bad, because the movie basically works for what it is. You could have cut off 30-40 minutes and lost nothing.

This is one of those things where your mileage may vary, but honestly a movie that started off with a kind of fun and punk rock energy sure careened off a cliff and turned into a real fucking waste of my time.

You’ll notice as well, that I didn’t mention the musical elements of the movie – because they are basically inconsequential and pointless, but I guess to make this technically a musical so…everyone wins.

Hellraiser (2022) Review: I have such sighs to show you.

Ever since Jamie Clayton was announced as taking on the role of “The Priest”, a role made iconic by Dough Bradley in 1987, there have been hot takes and big feelings all over the internet. The biggest and hottest being the internet cry-baby set who get upset whenever a woman does anything for any reason, there were cries of this movie being yet another example of going “woke” and ruining the original, etc etc etc. So, now that this huge deal of a movie has come, has the apocalypse happened? Are all the cis men being fired from all the movies that exist? Is horror forever dead?

I suppose I’ve kind of shown my hand with the title of this review, but just in case I’ve not – obviously my hilarious build up in the first section was all to say that Hellraiser (2022) is just… fine. Far from the genre-defining masterpiece or disaster that the pre-release reviews from people who hadn’t seen it, instead it falls right down the middle of the road and left me feeling kind of meh about the whole thing. Running at 2 hours, it easily overstays its welcome by 30 or 40 minutes.

Lets get to the positives first though, and likely address the question on everyone’s mind: how is Jamie Clayton as “the Priest”. The short answer is, she’s great. She carries herself with the same gravitas as Bradley did, her makeup is solid, and she really is a frightening presence in the movie. Unfortunately, she is criminally under-used and makes extremely brief appearances across the two hours, and unfortunately her presence is not such that she is a “Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs” type performance. The cenobites all look great, honestly, and are creepy when they show up – but again, the bulk of the movie has them flitting about in the background until the third act.

The movie is also basically well acted by the human cast, and it looks pretty good. As movie, on paper and in aesthetic, it’s basically a good movie. Unfortunately, it falls apart in the writing and most of the effects. What worked so well about the 1987 film was the relative simplicity of the plot and the extremely gross wet puppets and practical effects. This movie has decided to go… a different route. There are some practical effects on the cenobites, but everyone is noticeably free of goop, and many of the more extreme kills happen in shadow and darkness, so it never seems to want to commit to going as far over the top as it should. The cenobite make up isn’t especially realistic, so having some goofy and over-the-top effects would be in the spirit of the original for sure.

Then there are the CGI effects which… aren’t great, and if anything only shed light on the differences between the original and this one in ways that aren’t particularly flattering. All of that said, the Lament Configuration prop in its various configurations  is pretty solid. Also the weird machine one of the characters has driven into him has a pretty cool and fun vibe to it, even if it doesn’t necessarily make sense.

I wonder if there is just an issue here with adaptation. Lovecraft and Barker both seem to suffer in adaptation – there is this effort to over-explain the worlds that either author’s work has created, when what works and makes it unsettling is how much is unknown. Describing the unknown thing in the walls that no human can fathom kind of  takes the edge off of it. Y’know? There is a lot of lore here and it all feels forced and unnecessary. My enjoyment of the Hellraiser world didn’t come from fully understanding the motivations and intricacies of the cenobites, the fact that they are so detached is what makes them scary.

All in all, the movie is basically fine but really not worth all of the discourse that has been going around about it. What you’ve got is essentially a fine horror movie that is being built up into this other thing that it just isn’t. It needed more wet puppets and to be much shorter. I’m sure I’m going to be in the minority here with this middle of the road review, but what can you do? 2022 hasn’t delivered a ton of great horror, hopefully it improves.

31 Days of Horror… musicals: The Devil’s Carnival review


After Repo! The Genetic Opera, I confess that my hopes were high for this one. Bousman and Zdunich had built up some good will with that beauty, and hey, who knows maybe they won’t piss it away almost instantly. Right?


Wrong. This movie was on no longer than 3 minute when it absolutely pissed away all of the good will that Repo had built. In less than an hour, the thing still manages to be bloated and over-stay its welcome – which really is a feat unto itself. It takes a special movie to not even have an hour’s worth of story to tell.

There is a reasonable amount of visual style on display here, while it is very clear the budget is lower than the previous effort, there really is work done to make the movie look distinct. You also have Zdunich turning in a criminally under-used performance as Lucifer. Featuring in two songs, and one is the most boring song I’ve ever heard – helped in no small part thanks to Sean Patrick Flannery’s absolutely baffling performance – and the other comes right at the end of the movie.

As charismatic as Zdunich is, even his presence can’t save this movie. There isn’t a memorable song in the entire thing, and some are just shrill chaos that goes on forever. Aside from Zdunich, there’s also not a memorable character in the fucking movie, even though it spends longer than it should trying to build up these lore-heavy yet nameless characters. The whole thing is just so unbelievably tedious and it really doesn’t seem like any of the actors want to be there at all. Also, as a side note, the movie stars the lead singer of Five Finger Death Punch – Ivan Moody – who is a real class-A asshole who has been arrested more than once for assaulting women. So, y’know, fuck this movie and that guy just on that front. The only thing I can say in defense of this movie casting him is that his formal charges are from a few years after the movie came out, so unless he turns out to be in the sequel I suppose they could plead ignorance. That said, Fuck Ivan Moody.

Alright lets talk about my little disclaimer – there is a scene late in the movie which is lit, essentially, entirely by strobe light. It goes on forever, and it I genuinely had to stop looking at the screen. It’s irresponsible and absolute trash filmmaking. There are ways to create a strobe effect that aren’t going to put your audience at risk of seizure. I’ve seen plenty of movies with flashing screens and never had to look away, but had to look away from this. Also, dear god, I feel so bad for the editor of this movie, but that’s a whole other problem.

Honestly, I’ve given more words to this thing than it deserves. It’s the shortest movie that I’ve almost turned off. What a miserable experience. My alternate review would have just been an extended fart sound. So, I guess that’s my new review.



31 Days of Horror… musicals: The Lure review

Hooooooooo baby. This is a weird one, and I still haven’t got a single fucking clue if I really liked this or not. Also this is definitely just going to be a review of this one movie, and no that’s not a hilarious misdirect, so lets do it. Continue reading 31 Days of Horror… musicals: The Lure review