(1968) Hour of the Wolf

I’m absolutely blown away and as much as I’d like to take a day to digest this, there’s just so much going on here that I feel the need to get out what I can immediately.

Hour of the Wolf is a top to bottom, beautifully produced psychological, surrealist nightmare. The first half of the film is fueled by pure intrigue through the perplexity of events that unfold. Like most surrealist films, a portion of your attention is devoted to figuring out what’s real and what isn’t. To speak to that aspect specifically, not a whole lot is left to the imagination, at least through my interpretation. I definitely feel like this inspired filmmakers like David Lynch to push some of those boundaries, eliminating the extra explanation and leaving more up to the viewers interpretations.

The ending itself was just so fucking enthralling and I’m sorry for tossing out overused buzz words but I really mean enthralling. The last half hour was watched literally mouth agape, hands on my face. I couldn’t believe what this film was evolving into, or at least I was most certainly not expecting it.

I’m sure there’s a few, well thought out explanations of the meaning of this film but I’m satisfied enough with my own. I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this to not look up anything, if you’re reading this, you already know too much!

9.5/10

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(2016) We Are the Flesh

This really hit for me and stretched my own personal boundaries of what I believed a filmmaker can acceptably do when trying to convey something so important. I wish I could give you some background on either the director or actors but I have nothing.

The acting, across the board, is just exceptional. The main villain, if you’d like to call him that, is like fucking instantly iconic. His performance and even just facial, you know, fucking expressions and shit- my god man, so good.

The set itself is mesmerizing. It opens, shot in this gritty, post apocalyptic setting and just transforms into the literal womb of hell. Even sonically, just the details and short, timed silences; it’s a work of art.

That’s all I have for you boys, I’m still kind of reeling from this one.

8.5/10

(1962) The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock

Barbara Steele is a great lead in this one. The film really managed to pull together a pretty good atmospheric horror with a somewhat twisted and creepy ending.

IT does suffer from some 1960’s flaws such as some choppy dialogue and big jars of poison labeled “Poison”. Overall though, I think this was pretty…alright.

It’s only major downside is that it’s boring. It’s not a particularly lengthy film so I kind of think this is a deal breaker in terms of something I would recommend. It’s an admirable effort for 1962 but it doesn’t withstand the test of time.

6/10

(1983) The Day After

Well I guess this is Tv movie month over here at YOH. If they keep coming in on this level of quality, I certainly won’t be mad about it. The Day After is a great nuclear war movie that manages to really dial in on the horror aspects of it all.

John Lithgow is in it, nothing really crazy coming out of his performance but it’s still cool to see a younger version of an actor I respect so much. The acting overall is solid, a bit overdramatized for me to praise any realism but the film was explicitly conscious of that fact so no points off.

I want to wrap this review up quickly but let me just praise the creative visual effects. The actual bomb going off, as well as the creepy, rural, post-apocalyptic setting were so fucking cool. It’s worth a watch just for this alone.

This is an easy recommendation for me, it’s a bit long but well paced and has a unique atmosphere in a sea of similar films from this era.

7/10

(2016) A Dark Song

This one quite literally came out of nowhere. I hadn’t heard of it until today and decided to just say fuck it and give it a whirl.

For the most part I would say this is a really strong film from first time feature director Liam Gavin. I’d say the first 3/4 of the film will be somewhat universally praised by horror fans. It’s an excellent slow burn style horror that has a constant tension while feeding you enough details to keep the plot moving. Both performances are fantastic and it really sucked me in, despite being tired while watching this and having a limited attention span.

The last act is really the only thing to talk about and I’ve left this review half written for an entire day because of it. I simply do not fucking know how to rate this film. I can’t even fathom how they came to the decision to have such a bold ending. It’s truly a make it or break it moment and I wouldn’t fault anyone for saying this movie is trash because of it. I bought it though, I was into it enough that the big reveal seemed fittingly bigger than life itself.

This film isn’t perfect, it’s way too ambitious and that’s not a compliment. I think there’s an entire 8 minute long segment at the end that absolutely detracts from the final product. I didn’t hate the practical effects but they were¬†simply cheap.

Gavin over exerted himself here and I wish; and I mean I seriously crave for a better budget in some segments. However, it’s still a very strong effort and remained one of the more engaging films I’ve seen this month. The buildup was just so perfect and tactful. I look forward to discussing this in my end of month list. My criticisms remain subsequent to my enjoyment.

I feel something special with this film that I haven’t felt for a first time director in a while. This director has vision and talent beyond what modern horror film makers are doing. That’s not an exaggeration, I’m absolutely floored with the creative decisions on this project, despite being underwhelmed by the special makeup effects.

I reached out to Liam the director for a Q&A so I’ll update this with that if he decides to participate. It’s the first time I’ve reached out to a director on here so we’ll see how that goes.

7/10

(1971) Daughters of Darkness

This one didn’t really hit for me. I liked the story and thought the performances were alright but all the elements separately just weren’t bold enough to keep me interested.

This is another kind of erotically themed horror where I just don’t get enough of it. Nothing really seamed interesting of devious enough to grab me and well, yeah.

It’s just boring; it might be a good movie and maybe I’m having an off day but that’s my honest opinion. The closing shots were excellent though and I do give some credit to the overall dreariness of the films production, even if that ties directly into my biggest complaint.

5.5/10

(2016) The Void

There’s certain horror films that almost defy contemporary rules of narrative and this one is one of them. You’re trust into a world that only works if all the elements are in full gear to allow you to just go with it and this film is a perfect example of a film that does it successfully.

There’s so much influence here that it’s almost tiresome to mention. Tons of Hellraiser vibes, tons of Carpenter shit, tons of fucking whatever shit and an ending that pays homage to one of my favorite horror movie endings of all time, Fulci’s The Beyond (which isn’t a great movie just a dope ending).

The criticisms for this movie are stupid as fuck just panning through reviews. I mean, it has fucking critical aspects but for instance, the top comment on the /r/horror reddit discussion is about lack of body horror. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. By laugh I obviously mean get slightly frustrated and die inside.

Anyways, all my ranting aside, I fucking- no sorry, I FUCKING LOVED THIS. It’s fun dude, this is FUN horror. This is fucking HORROR. It’s not perfect, it’s way too ambitious to be perfect but it’s the most enjoyable film I’ve seen in a long fucking time.

8/10