What do a best friend hiking trip in Sweden and a bad Ouija board experience during a solar eclipse have in common? Well, nothing actually – but they are both the premises of two recent horror movies that hit the wonderful world of Netflix. Let’s start with these poor bastards that did some hiking in Sweden:
The Ritual (2018)
This one took me by surprise. A British horror film (directed by David Bruckner) set in Sweden that follows four friends who keep a pact to go on a hiking expedition after another one of their friends was killed six months prior. Now of course, when you have people hiking in some creepy woods in a horror movie then bad shit’s going to happen. The rub with The Ritual is that it’s pretty unpredictable. A hybrid of The Blair Witch Project and The Wicker Man with a little monster action thrown in, this movie is beautifully shot and packs the emotional punch lacking in a lot of horror movies. It also packs a pretty great literal punch towards the climax. And The Ritual is creepy. Did I mention it’s creepy? Yeah. Go watch it.
(4 Out Of 5)
There have been some decent Ouija board related horror movies throughout the years (Witchboard, Ouija: Origin Of Evil), but none that have really hit me where it hurts like this new offering titled Verónica. A spanish horror film directed by Paco Plaza (who gave us the impressive Rec franchise) that manages to take the somewhat tired ‘possession’ storyline to new creepy and emotional levels. The plot is fairly standard (a girl and her friends attempt to use a Ouija board to speak to her dead father during a solar eclipse), but manages to still be riveting. The acting is superb (especially Sandra Escacena playing Verónica) and Paco Plaza has a knack for utilizing the camera so well, especially during those ‘wait, did I just see something in the background?‘ shots. I felt it could have been trimmed by about 10 minutes or so, but that’s a minor complaint for a movie like Verónica. Go watch it!
As I was scrolling through the ‘Horror’ section on Netflix a few weeks ago, I realized that I’m just bored with a lot of the offerings on there. Then my friend Chris told me about something that he and his son had watched. Something gloriously bad. Something from the 80’s. Something called Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell! Who’s Mad Ron, you ask? This is Mad Ron!
Oh, hi Mad Ron! He sure looks like a character. Ok – so what the hell is Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell? Well, it’s a terribly shot movie from 1987 where a ventriloquist named Nick and his zombie dummy named Happy show the audience in a movie theater (who happen to be zombies) old schlocky trailers and TV spots from various horror movies from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. While this is going on, Mad Ron is locked up in the projection room (see pic above) for everyone’s safety. In between the trailers are spoofy shorts involving the zombies in the movie theater that seem to go on forever…..and ever…..and ever. Oh hey look – that zombie is pouring blood on his popcorn instead of butter! For 15 minutes. We got the joke in the first 30 seconds.
This movie screams the 80’s and that’s what I loved about it. And I actually saw some trailers that I had never seen before, like Three On A Meathook or The Maniacs Are Loose. There are some old favorites as well like Deep Red, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Black Christmas (under one of it’s original titles Silent Night, Evil Night). It almost felt like I was watching a snuff film at times, and I may or may have not taken a shower after my viewing. So, if you enjoy 80’s horror or just really bad movie productions – then please do yourself a favor and seek out Mad Ron’s Prevues From Hell on Netflix. If it’s been taken down from there, then seek it out on DVD on Amazon. Now take a bow Nick and Happy!