“The form may be familiar, but the message is timeless.”

The Mortuary Collection, directed by Ryan Spindell, is a film that played at Toronto After Dark back in 2019 (if you like this review, go check out Andres’ review from the actual festival), but gets its official release on Shudder on October 15th, 2020. Not since Trick R’ Treat (2007) and V/H/S (2012) have we gotten an entertaining, spooky and mildly comedic horror anthology. 

When The Haunting of Hill House was released in 2018, many discussed the exploration of grief and how every single of the Crain children represented a stage of the grieving process. By showcasing each stage by the way of each child, the show was able to explore the trauma that they all had suffered and how each of them handled it years later. It was brilliant and helped craft a series that even two years later, upon multiple rewatches, different layers can be found within it. With the release of the second season, many will look at it expecting to watch Hill House all over again. But the truth is, Bly Manor is the exact opposite of Hill House. The show outright says it by the end.

(And this is where I warn you about spoilers for the season. Come in at your own peril. Good, let’s continue.)

Last night, Prime Video and Blumhouse held an online premiere for two seperate films at the same time, and The UnderSCENE was invited to last night’s premiere. Andres attended Black Box, and Alex attended The Lie. Doors opened at 9pm (or 6pm PST), and there was rotating slides of frames from the film, like there would be during an early screening or premiere. After 30 minutes, the film began. And then there was an online interactive escape room that included tarot card readings with celebrities (Ruby Rose, Malcolm-Jamal Warner made appearances). It was such a fun experience, and would have been great if it was possible to attend IRL, but from the comfort of our living rooms, with guests from many cities, it made for a lot of fun.

Here are our two reviews.

The first season of Mike Flanagan’s Haunting of anthology series, The Haunting of Hill House showed us that ghosts are real but they are linked to the living in unexpected ways, namely family guilt and trauma. The Haunting of Bly Manor explores the supernatural and its relationship with another very natural human emotion; love. Once again we are brought into a tense and mysterious story with surprisingly relatable and flawed characters, for the horror genre, and that just makes the horror itself so much more heightened. Bly Manor is not as scary as its first season but it does make up for it in genuine mystery and strong character work.

Scare Me is directed by Josh Ruben (best known for his work on CollegeHumor). He also plays Fred, an aspiring novelist who goes to a cabin to focus on writing his book. He meets Fanny (Aya Cash), a bestselling horror author also working on her next novel. When the power goes out, Fanny makes her way over to Fred’s cabin and they enter a competition to tell the best scary story. 

When I had the chance to write a retrospective look-back on this film, I was beyond thrilled. Not only is today the 25th anniversary of it’s release (which also happens to be my birthday), but it’s one of my favourite films from one of my favourite directors, David Fincher. Films like Fight Club, Zodiac, The Social Network and Gone Girl never fail to rope me in with their superb writing, twisty plots and dark character drama (no matter how many times I’ve watched them). But before all those, there was one film that truly established Fincher’s style, and practically changed the game for the psychological-thriller genre. That film was Se7en.

From a young age, the horror genre has always stood out to me. It was the ultimate escape from reality and the pure adrenaline from being scared shitless was my go to for a good time. The more I got into film, I realized that a large part of why I enjoyed certain films came from whether or not I liked or could relate to the characters. I mean, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character in I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) is quite literally why it’s one of my favorite movies. But the older I got and the more I began to understand who I was, I started to notice that I wasn’t necessarily seeing someone like me in horror. There was never the gay friend in a slasher movie, the queer kid who’s part of a family living in a haunted house, or even a gay couple in a home invasion, etc. Thankfully that’s finally changing.