Girl on the Third Floor (dir. Travis Stevens) -- This movie is an absolute goopy squicky and dare I say sexy blast, and I feel a little betrayed that none of you told me to see it immediately. I've had the screener for literal months, since it screened at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, but it kept slipping through the (gooey, vaguely anatomical) cracks until this past weekend, and as far as I'm concerned now that I have seen it I have a new classic fave I'm going to be revisiting often.
WWE star C.M. Punk, a sultry mix of Bruce Campbell & James Ransone rocking the snuggest pair of dad-khakis you ever done seen and who this movie leers at like a prime slab of tattooed beef -- I was entirely unaware of him before this but I am now fairly to wildly besmitten by him -- plays Don, a husband and father-to-be who's moved into a small-town fixer-upper a few weeks early to do the fixer-upping before his wife comes to town. Turns out the house has a bad bad dirty down-low and poisoned history, one that begins manifesting itself in all kind of goopy white sprays of liquid onto Don's face. And yes, it's every bit as disgustingly eroticially charged as that sounds. This movie feels like Clive Barker's Evil Dead, and I loved every slimy perverted and sick minute.
Birds of Prey (dir. Cathy Yan) -- About as much fun as I have had with any superhero movie since the Marvel Age of Ultra Dominance began. I'll probably always prefer the older simpler school a la Richard Donner's Superman or Tim Burton's Batman Returns and up through Sam Raimi's Spider-man oh my, but in our current age of loud comic book theatrics this is about as good as they get. Which is good! Very good! It even somehow makes Suicide Squad look better in retrospect, just for the act joining Margot Robbie up with the character of Harley Quinn, even though I say that without any intention of ever sitting through Suicide Squad again in my entire life sans gun or hammer or hyena held to my head.
They should take this fun can-do psycho attitude off and make a Captain Boomerang movie too, so I can enjoy and properly appreciate that film's other great casting coup (and I love that Jai is, as far as I noticed, the only SS character to get a nod here by Harley). Anyway I'll let the female critics further underline and accentuate all of the smarts and fun this thing has with taking a baseball bat to boy's club, but the film earns those feminist accolades and then some. And then the gang struts right past didacticism to also be just a riot of good time entertainment, full of pop and fizz and punches to the nuts. This is how you do it.
The Turning (dir. Floria Sigismondi) -- Much to my Mackenzie-loving chagrin Floria Sigismondi's reworking of Henry James' classic story of a nanny's adolescent hauntings doesn't really work. But there's something gorgeous and sad about it all the same that I admire, and the vague ending-less ending, which is what I've seen the most maligned, might actually be my favorite bit? If you want atmosphere, nothing but atmosphere, this isn't a bad way to get it -- Sigismondi has crafted an astonishingly pretty thing. And ghost stories as far as I'm concerned should feel unfinished and underwater, which is what I feel frustrated a lot of people here. I might be talking myself into liking this more than it deserves, but it sure didn't deserve that ridiculous F-grade Cinemascore rating it got. I feel as if people will rediscover this at home where they'll be more patient, more willing to soak in its murky stew.
Satanic Panic (dir. Chelsea Stardust) -- Another horror gem of 2019 that heretofore slithered by me unnoticed before now - I did a randomly decided upon double-feature of this with Girl on the Third Floor which led to a whole lotta surprise pulsating vagina things in one sitting. But I'm down with that! More surprise pulsating vaginas, please! They liven things up. This is basically the movie that I had hoped the failed not-a-slasher slasher flick Slice was going to be but wasn't, only instead of having a pizza delivery dude fighting a plain ol' serial murderer we've got a pizza delivery gal named Sam Craft (played by a totally charming Hayley Griffith) facing down a suburb fulla cornball sexy Satanists. Cornball sexy Satanists led by Rebecca Romijn not-Stamos at her cornball Femme-Fatale sexiest! Satanic Panic is a heckuva Haxan hoot.