The Modern Horror Series Does It Right: Queer Representation

Has everyone rehydrated after sobbing their eyes out? Before we get started, we’re going to talk about the third episode of The Last of Us, so take caution as plot points will be discussed. We’ll also be discussing The Haunting of Bly Manor, which you should watch if you haven’t already. If you haven’t already put it together with the title and the two series, we’re discussing queer representation in horror series.

As a queer woman that consumes horror media like a child consumes candy, queer representation has been quite a hit or miss. We’ve had American Horror Story, which has the representation in numbers but is riddled with stereotypes and biphobia. Before the 2010s, there were films that were had implicit queer representation. Recently, we’ve had Jennifer’s Body and it can be traced all the way back to the 1960s with The Haunting. However, the 2020s have given us two distinct queer relationships that shine through the tragic settings. We’re going to discuss them individually.

SPOILERS ARE DISCUSSED FOR THE FOLLOWING: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR, THE LAST OF US, THe Walking Dead, supernatural, killing eve, game of thrones, The 100

The Haunting of Bly Manor: A Sapphic Love Story

2020 started off as a vile year full of sickness, death and depression. However, one thing I was looking forward to was a new Mike Flanagan series. The Haunting of Hill House rocked my world on its release. It too had fantastic queer representation, though it wasn’t the forefront. The Haunting of Bly Manor was a different beast. Time looping, confusing and fascinating–it was an experiment that paid off content wise. What I was not expecting was crying so hard I felt like I was going to throw up over the storyline of Dani and Jamie.

Examining Dani and Jamie's Beautiful and Heartbreaking Relationship in THE  HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR - Daily Dead

Their Sapphic love story can be summed up in a Taylor Swift song title: sad, beautiful, tragic. Heterosexual love stories thrive on the will-they-won’t-they tension that grows over a story arc. This time, we get to see that explicitly through two women. There’s no drama around the circumstances on how they’re in love. There’s also no dramatic coming out sequence that verifies that ‘allows’ them to fall in love. They are simply falling in love like a typical romance we’ve seen on screens before–and it was refreshing. Before I delve into it more as well as compare it with episode 3 of TLOU, let’s get into how these tragic love stories are not in coherence with a harmful trend in media.

Bury Your Gays: A Harmful trope

While both of the storylines I’m discussing end tragically–in one or another’s death–these do not fall into the ‘bury your gays’ trope. ‘Bury Your Gays’ comes from the trend in media of an LGBTQ+ character finding happiness and then, in a shocking, unnecessary turn of events, they are killed off. This usually comes out of nowhere, and it’s a cheap trick to make a bunch of people cry and get upset as if it was some shocking plot twist and intended from the start. It’s lazy writing and seems like a cop out from writers–almost like they’re scared of writing a queer experience themselves and won’t bring in writers to finish out a character’s storyline.

Bury Your Gays: a queer betrayal
This one was one of the biggest disappointments–should’ve ended with Phoebe Waller-Bridge at the helm.

Examples of this trope being used: Charlie in Supernatural, Villanelle in Killing Eve, Denise in The Walking Dead, Poussey in Orange is the New Black, Lexi in The 100. One even involves Pedro Pascal with the death of his character Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones. All unnecessary in the scheme of plot and brutality.

The Haunting of Bly Manor and The Last of Us did not do that, however. It ended sadly and in deaths, but we got to see them fall in love and be happy. There was no tragic ‘cusp of happiness.’ They were happy. They were in love, and it was on display. It didn’t end on shocking nor surprising terms. We knew what was going to happen when the bad things began–it was not to shock the audience. This led to true grief and no anger towards the writers–they did it right. They also did it in less time than the worst writers that draw out their queer character’s storyline only to kill them off.

The Last of US: Long, Long time

The Last of Us already had me impressed, but nothing took my breath away quite like this episode. We got a two-decade love story in 60 minutes, and it was something beautiful. We follow Bill and Frank, who weren’t fully fleshed out in the game–Frank was already dead when we meet up with Bill. This allowed for a lot of flexibility with his story and how to adapt it to the screen. What we got was a sweet, gentle love in a messed-up world. We saw them bicker about paint, we saw them laugh and eat strawberries. We saw them spontaneously and thoughtfully in love.

The queer romance between Bill and Frank is beautiful.

The end of their story is a tragic one. It is not violent, however, as someone may expect in a zombie-style show. There was no such thing as a gentle death on The Walking Dead. Bill and Frank got to grow old together. They discussed how scary love is. They talked about queer sex like it was sex–we saw that first time awkwardness on screen. It was relieving to see something so endearing about a queer relationship without fetishization or stereotypes. It was pure love like every relationship should be. There is a reason “Long, Long Time” is being compared to the Pixar movie, UP–it was a life complete we were mourning.

Comparing Bly manor and Long, long time

A queer love story ending tragically.

There isn’t much more to say in comparing these two, other than we have a queer love story that ends tragically by forces out of their control and another queer love story that ends tragically in a good way. It was not death for drama. Their deaths were meaningful and inevitable–either by the cruel curse of the Lady in the Lake or by a man not letting the love of his life die alone. Queer representation can always improve; however, it seems like The Last of Us took from notes from media that came before it. They approached Bill and Frank’s story with the same melancholy delicateness that Flanagan did with Dani and Jamie’s.

How Bill and Frank Are Queer Representation that isn't 'Bury Your Gays'

As I’ve said before, queer stories should not be solely about the common traumas. Not every LGBTQ+ story needs a dramatic coming out story nor do we need to watch the character we love bullied and terrorized. The community already deals with those things enough. If TV is meant to be an escape from it all, every piece of media that represents us shouldn’t focus only on that. We want to see romance and comedy. Drama that is about universal stuff. These shows are not released to push a ‘woke’ narrative. If you’re claiming it is, you need expand your horizons and stop watching things that cater only to you.

The love stories here are sad and magnificent–and we got them from the horror genre. I think I’m going to love them (and cry about them) for a long, long time.


What’s Next

I still haven’t recovered, and I don’t plan on doing so. TikTok also won’t let me go–I keep getting bombarded with the most beautiful, sad edits of those two. The Void of Celluloid is on visual platforms with regular content. Therefore, check out the TVOC TikTok and Instagram. It is Black History Month as well as Valentine’s Day coming up, so I am going to do a few articles here and there about Black horror cinema and television as well as some recommendations on what to watch for the holiday and over the course of the month. Stay tuned for that.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here. You can follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

What’s Coming this Month: February 2023

We made it through January and here we are in February. While February can be sleepy for film releases, there is plenty in store this month, especially on streaming services. There are only two non-new releases (at least in wide release) on this list of what’s coming this month. There are highlights this month–such as Cocaine Bear–and there are questionable releases. However, it’s worth noting what is coming out and when. Check it out below.

Coming to Theaters

February 3rd: Knock at the Cabin

February Horror 2023

The latest M. Night Shyamalan film is upon us as of today. Its trailer insists it will keep you guessing, but does that have to be said for his films? Known for their iconic twists, I don’t think so. With a star-studded cast, notably the return of Rupert Grint to the silver screen, the performances will carry this film. However, I haven’t gotten my hopes up for a Shyamalan film in a while, so I don’t know how this one is going to go. February is a dry month for films anyways, so this might be your best option.

February 15th: winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey Trailer, Cast & Everything We Know So Far

Oh boy. The stories of A.A. Milne have recently become public domain, and Disney doesn’t fully own the rights. Within that loophole came this film, which will wreak havoc on us in a few weeks’ time. I don’t really like having my childhood messed with in this way, so I don’t know what to say about it all. However, I hope it delivers on camp and ridiculousness, because there’s no way to make a serious film with this concept and if they try, it’s not going to go well. I am terrified and horrified–Pooh Bear would never.

February 24th: Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Bear - Rotten Tomatoes

Speaking of bears-that-would-never, I am excited for this film. Elizabeth Banks is pulling the reigns for this creature feature, in which a drug fueled incident turns an unassuming bear into an apex predator. While the real story it is based on is quite sad, it seems like we’re going to lean into the ridiculousness by personifying the bear and framing it as a horror comedy from the get-go. It looks violent, it looks funny, and it looks absurd. I’m here for it and its coked-up nonsense.

Coming to Streaming

February 1st: Cooties on HBO MAx

Cooties (2014) - IMDb

This is not a new release; however, it is one that was unsung. Cooties is a legitimately funny zombie film that is oriented around children. I assume that it didn’t reach peak popularity due to the implied violence towards children, however they’re chicken-nugget-turned zombies. Kick back, have fun and laugh at this amazing ensemble cast playing distressed elementary school teachers that end up in a deadly mess.

February 2nd: Skinamarink on Shudder

How 'Skinamarink' Became the Internet's New Horror Movie Obsession - Variety

This was mentioned in my last monthly lineup, but it is to be noted that it is finally getting its streaming release. This experimental indie horror is still making waves, and its recent box office success with its limited release is a feat in its own. Whether it is up your alley or not, it is impossible to deny that this is revolutionary for indie horror and how word-of-mouth can get you so far, especially on social media. Boo for pirating in its early stages, but yay for a wide release after so much anticipation.

February 9th: Piggy on Hulu

Piggy February Hulu

This film made waves in the festival circuit. The Spanish horror-thriller is coming to Hulu early this month. It is a film that focuses on obesity and bullying and has a morally tricky story at its core. When an overweight teen witnesses her regular bullies snatched up by a kidnapper, will she admit what she saw or protect the person that put a cease to her daily torment? It’s a puzzling dilemma that garners moral questions and sympathy. It’s uncomfortable and unruly, much like high school in general.

February 14th: Halloween Ends on Amazon Prime

Halloween Ends' on Amazon this February

It is not jailed on Peacock anymore. Halloween Ends is coming to Amazon Prime. While this film is incredibly disappointing, it is worth watching to receive closure on this new trilogy and the overarching legacy of Halloween in general. It might be a hate-viewing, but it’s a viewing that is included in a service you already pay for. Therefore, it will hopefully continue the message of not wanting any more Halloween films. We’ll see.

February 22nd: The Strays on Netflix

The Strays February Horror

This film looks interesting and if you’re still around after the Netflix crackdown, it should be at the top of your list to check out. It looks as if Jordan Peele and Ari Aster collaborated on a movie, which is intriguing and terrifying, nonetheless. However, the trailer and synopsis didn’t make it clear what this is necessarily about–not a bad thing but leaves expectations a little muddled. Keep an eye out for this when it drops.


What’s NExt

Next post is going to be discussing the third episode of The Last of Us and how we’re getting some amazing queer love stories from the horror genre. Also, as it is Black History Month, I plan on also going into the convoluted and complicated history the horror genre has in regard to tropes and lack of representation and how it’s improving drastically. As for day-to-day stuff, TikTok has been popping off with recent videos and discussions about remakes, online horror and more, so be sure to check that out.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

She is the Moment: A Review of M3GAN

January is usually a dud for horror movies. They are low budget and usually low effort, leading to box office bombs and terrible, forgettable pictures. Therefore, it is a shock when we have a film in theaters that has people buzzing. It’s positive buzz as well, rather than the so-bad-it’s-good kind of buzz. Therefore, I had to go see for myself if it really is what everyone is making it out to be.

It ended up being all I wanted. The latest release from Blumhouse: M3GAN is the moment, and exactly the moment we needed this January. With its only big flaw being the first act, M3GAN is a worthwhile one-time watch that will make a great franchise for Blumhouse to expand on and also encourage the company to go with more independent projects due to this financial success. Let’s get into it.

When it’s meta, anything goes

The biggest factor that led to my enjoyment of M3GAN is its self-awareness. It never takes itself too seriously once it kicks off and knows what people want and expect it to be. Sometimes when films are anticipating poor or lackluster reception, they brace themselves and try to throw in some major twist in hopes things seem profound. Nothing is worse than watching a film that doesn’t know it’s a bad film.

Shot of M3GAN

M3GAN clearly anticipated its reception and instead went the meta route. This allows a film to laugh with us rather than just us laughing at it. It knows exactly what it wants to be and knows what we expect it to be, therefore it’s going to give it all to us unapologetically. What we get is a film filled to the brim with camp, but its message doesn’t get lost in all of it because it allows us to laugh and interact with it. It’s playing with its audience the entire time.

And the OScar Goes to… the girl who played M3GAN!

New M3GAN Featurette Serves As Reminder For M3GAN's Imminent Arrival -  Fangoria

Yet again, we have another example of younger actors knocking out of the park, and then some. We have another complex, kind of cold character in the always brilliant Allison Williams. However, I’m giving the credit to Violet McGraw who played Cady as well as the two actresses who collaborated in creating M3GAN herself: Amie Donald and Jenna Davis. The physical comedy of this film is top notch; therefore, Amie Donald deserves so much credit for playing such a crazed, unhinged AI android. There is a scene in which she full on runs on all fours that had me cackling and impressed that someone could do it so smoothly.

On top of that, Jenna Davis contributed her vocal chops quite a few times–which is arguably my favorite moments of the film. Whenever M3GAN broke out into song, I wheezed. On top of the delivery of M3GAN’s dialogue, the film knew that the robot was the star of the show and casted it accordingly. Paired with some more over-the-top performances from the gullible people asked to back M3GAN’s development, the performances really sent this film home after, again, a slow start.

The Dangers of AI: The MEssage REmains

Exclusive Clip: Watch M3GAN Show Allison Williams Who's Boss – Rolling Stone

Was I laughing almost the entire time? Yes. Was the meaning lost in all of it? Absolutely not. M3GAN has a very crystal clear, Black-Mirroresque message of the dangers of AI and becoming attached to technology. It also has introspection on grief and trauma with talks of attachment theory and children’s exposure to unfiltered technology for too long, too early. Whether it be Gemma’s diminishing empathy due to overworking with robots or Cady’s extreme emotional attachment to M3GAN, the message is heard loud and clear.

One of the most important parts of this movie was M3GAN confronting Gemma on messing with code that Gemma herself didn’t understand. It is a harsh reality of AI–almost every unmoderated instance developed much faster than expected. If AI is unchecked, it could turn dangerous really fast as a ‘conscious’ should not have access to all of this information. We also shouldn’t rely on AI to provide us things either. AI art may seem harmless, but we don’t know the extent of how much data it consumes and how many adjustments these systems have left before they’re out of control of the people who made them.

Final Verdict

M3GAN, Universal Studios, Blumhouse
M3gan: Solid 7/10

Rating: 7 out of 10.

While I sing its praises high, M3GAN is one of those films that will remain great if we keep the amount of watches low. I think it is a highly effective first-time watch with unsurmountable camp. However, I don’t necessarily want to go through the first fifteen minutes of the movie again, as that part was the weakest part of the whole thing. They’ve already set a sequel up for M3GAN. It quietly started production and announced itself opening weekend. I think this is the first time that a franchise is a smart move, as its villain can be in different mechanisms. Also, I want to hear “Titanium (M3GAN’s Version)” one more time.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

What Final Girl are You?

Whilst juggling life, I have gone to the textbook of variety article pages–the standard quiz. Yes, this is in the theme of a Buzzfeed quiz, but hang with me. It’s all about horror: specifically final girls. I love these kinds of quizzes and they will a remain a guilty pleasure.

What Final Girl are You?

Ever wanted to find out what final girl you were? Well, The Void of Celluloid has you covered. Short but sweet. Find out using the quiz below and see if you get what you expect. There are ten different results ranging through the years, so try your hand if you’re like me and get the answer you truly want. The Void of Celluloid also has a whole article on these lovely ladies that you can view here if you’re itching for more: The Final Girl: How Wes Craven Saves the Day.


What’s Next?

Not much to say on this sleepy Wednesday other than praising the final girls, but coming up on Friday is TVOC’s review of M3GAN. After weeks of trying and failing, I was finally able to catch it in theaters and I have plenty of thoughts on it. Be sure to look out for that. The Void of Celluloid has new articles every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. As for other platforms, I post daily on TikTok and Instagram, so be sure to check those out and follow for more content. There is no harm having more horror in your life.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

The Best and Worst of Anthology Horror: A List

Anthology horror has risen to one of the more popular subgenres of horror, and it is easy to see why. The idea of shortened, contained scares are appealing to both the binge watcher and the casual TV viewer. The subgenre has such beautiful roots too, since anthology horror found its home in the imagination of Rod Serling in 1959 with his groundbreaking series, The Twilight Zone. Since then, the subgenre has been tackled in many different ways. Some go the route of a feature film; some continue the episode-by-episode short story. Nevertheless, anthology continues to dazzle us.

These suggestions are sorted in order from least likely to suggest to most likely to suggest to someone. There are brief reviews with each in explaining why I put them here, but there will be no spoilers anywhere in this post. If you’re wondering if you’ve seen this before, this is a redux of the very first post on The Void of Celluloid–I just knew I could do it better this time. Now, onwards with the last place pick and up.


Tied for last Place: Holidays, THe ABCs Of death Series

Photo example of anthology horror Holidays
Holidays, XYZ Films (2016)

I do understand that I stated these are watchable, and while these films cause me pain, they’re not unwatchable. While there are good individual stories in these films, their entireties are not worth your time. Holidays was especially disappointing, because Kevin Smith did the Halloween short for Holidays. Now, one of my favorite directors meets my favorite holiday should have been an easy knockout for me, and I was ready to grant it a little grace, but oh boy, it was bad.

As for The ABCs of Death, I admire the concept of a collection of international short horror films, but some of the films were either too disturbing to the point I wanted to turn it off or way too ridiculous (for example, F is for Fart) that it took me out it completely. If that intrigues you however, then definitely go show these super-indie darlings some love. If not, avoid them as their redeeming qualities don’t outweigh the bad parts for casual horror fans.

AMerican Horror Story seasons 3-11

Photo example of anthology horror series American Horror Story
American Horror Story: Coven (2013), FX Television

I took a lukewarm stand two years ago–I’m ready to ream. American Horror Story‘s later seasons gradually got worse as they went on, despite recalling content from AHS: Murder House and more. Despite being Ryan Murphy’s claim to fame post-Glee, this series is obviously on the back burner of his overflowing project stove. While seasons 3, 4 and 5 have their redeeming moments–yes, I love Gaga–the first two seasons have separated themselves due to the downward trajectory of AHS and it started with those seasons. It will end whenever FX stops it.

Ryan Murphy has overstayed his welcome when it comes to horror television, and American Horror Story is tired and lethargic now when it was once so mystifying before. With most of the original cast moving on from the series, it is time to lay it to rest in these next few years. I’m pleading to Mr. Murphy to refocus his energy from retraumatizing victims of notorious serial killers to ending American Horror Story on a high note rather than the dumpster fire state it’s in now.

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Photo example of Twilight Zone: The Movie
Dan Aykroyd in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Warner Bros.Studios

Yeah, this film. This film suffered in production hell and was shadowed by the tragic, notorious helicopter accident that occurred on its set. That doesn’t stop it from being a decent film, but its history should be kept in mind when viewing–especially since the victims of this crash remain in the film and their deaths were completely unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. Due to unsafe conditions as well as other illegal activities at the fault of John Landis and careless others–Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen were killed while shooting a highly dangerous and unnecessary scene. There is a more detailed video here which goes into the other disgusting things that goes more into the nitty gritty details that was fascinating and heartbreaking all at once.

With a story from Steven Spielberg as well as memorable moments from Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow, it is a film that goes under the radar for many. However, with its heavy history and background makes it a hard watch. Despite it all, this film is a good film with genuine storytelling. It should never go without the context of what happened, and John Landis doesn’t deserve any praise due to it–what he did was monstrous and unforgivable, and his seemingly callous nature makes it worse.

Creepshow 2

Photo example of Creepshow 2
Creepshow 2 (1987), Laurel Entertainment

While the first one is admired for its cheesiness, but this sequel doesn’t hold a candle to the first one. While its budget quadrupled from the first and the special effects seemingly improved, it is extremely campy and leans more on the comical side. This adds a layer of meta-ness to the feature which blurs out its flaws and leaves us with an adequate sequel and a second helping of the greatness Creepshow provided.

Stephen King and George A. Romero were still behind the wheel (quite literally in King’s case). Therefore, the writing is still on par. Probably the worst crime of this film is that it is too campy. Where there’s a will for camp, there’s a way to view and enjoy, so despite it laying it on thick, the film can be a fun time. Approach this one with a not-so-serious mindset and enjoy another journey with The Creep.

Cat’s Eye

Anthology Horror
Drew Barrymore in Cat’s Eye (1985), MGM

Awe, isn’t lil’ Drew Barrymore adorable? Cat’s Eye is a more accessible anthology film by Stephen King, in which the viewer follows a cat around through three chilling tales, which seems to be the magic number for King. I remember watching this when I was younger, around age 10, and remember it being rather tame. Its quality short stories from King and the groundbreaking for a flowing anthology film rather than broken up, separate stories is the reason it deserves a space on this list.

Keep in mind this is a PG rated 80s horror movie. It is not meant to be terrifying. It’s spooky instead, barely a degree above Goosebumps. Taking that into account will lower the expectations to make this film an enjoyable experience. Since it is so tame, I would consider this film a starter-horror for younger audiences or horror newbies looking for a chill up the spine.

Fear Street Series

Fear Street Trilogy Review: Dark, exhilarating, flawed but engaging tribute  to the slasher genre- Cinema express
Fear Street Trilogy (2021), Netflix

It was exciting to see R.L. Stine’s name attached to a modern production, especially one that was promising some gory, grown-up scares. These movies are fun and have a few creative tricks of its sleeve (yes, THAT misfortune in the bakery) but overall, it is an homage to the ones that came before. It’s campy and predictable, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fun romp for sure. It’s a surprisingly brutal installment to the seasoned anthology horror genre.

The second part is a very good horror film and homage to the slashers that came before, the first part had a Scream vibe and the third one fell flat as a The VVitch wannabe, finally picking up in its last twenty minutes. I am curious to see what else the creators plan on dishing out in the rumored future installments. Also, it is the only film on this list to have LGBTQ representation–something the horror genre struggles with–so major props to them as there are quite a few modern anthology horrors that do not have any,

The Mortuary COllection

The Mortuary Collection Review: Five Horrific Twisted Tales
The Mortuary Collection (2019), Trapdoor Pictures

Theis the only one tied to an exclusive subscription just for horror. This is a fun and creative–though predictable–horror film through the subscription Shudder. Shudder recently did a revamp on Creepshow, and while it is not on this list, it is a worthy revival that I cannot recommend more. The Morturary Collection has a very smooth blend of gore, scares and chuckles throughout the film, being sure to not let up until the credits roll.

It has a lot of good twists and turns and is the gorier one on the list, so if you’re into more intense horror, especially body horror, this one should be on your watchlist. It is a treat with spectacular performances from new and familiar faces alike. Euphoria fans, if you ever wanted to watch Nate Jacobs go through hell, the story with Jacob Elordi should provide the catharsis you crave.

American Horror Story Seasons 1 & 2

Anthology Horror
American Horror Story: Murder House (2011), FX Television

Finally, here is the beginning of the series. I absolutely adore these first two seasons and their re-watchability factor is extremely high. I’ve seen the first season multiple times, so much so that it has become a comfort show of mine. As far as critical acclaim goes, the second season is the best of the whole series–even with its wacky tangents. These seasons are impressive and caused a splash back in the day. They also stand strong enough to be separated from the rest of the series–when I talk about AHS being a good show, I’m talking about these two seasons.

There is also a complexity in characters in both seasons, brilliantly acted by Zachary Quinto, Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe and Evan Peters. It has its touch of cheesiness, but that can be expected from a horror series made the same creator that made Glee. Nevertheless, this was and still remains to be highly influential horror television, and it’s sad that creators have dropped the ball on its latest iterations. Sometimes it is not the best to juggle multiple projects at one time.

V/H/S

Anthology Horror
V/H/S (2012), Bloody Disgusting

This film started the reign of Brad Miska in regard to horror anthology of the 2010s. Miska served as producer of this iconic found-footage anthology film and with the involvement of Bloody Disgusting, this film was met with wide acclaim from horror audiences. With the most notable segment of the first iteration “Amateur’s Night” being the launchpad of director David Bruckner, it is one of the more disturbing films on this list and definitely doesn’t fall into a “starter-horror” situation. Instead, this is catered to the commonly desensitized horror fan that is looking for a good scare–V/H/S 2 specifically.

V/H/S spawned several sequels which has brought forth some amazing filmmakers and has entertained us both in the past and the future with future installments. It’s a clever way to compile short films into something that is accessible, and it has remained independent which allows for independent filmmakers to helm a segment–which has led to debut feature films, like Chloe Okuno’s Watcher. Yes, she is the one that gave us the blessed Raatma.

Southbound

Anthology Horror
Southbound (2015), Willowbrook Regent Films

As I mentioned in the previous segment, the films from this team are not for the faint of heart. Southbound is more of a flowing cinematic anthology rather than the found-footage format that Miska started out with. It brings back most of the directors from the first V/H/S as they tell ghastly stories centered around a wild batch of characters. In describing the impact of this film, I have only watched once, which was about five years ago.

The visuals and stories were so impactful, that it skyrocketed to the top of my mental list when brainstorming for the topic. I am still patiently waiting for this film’s spotlight, as it is a dark but memorable watch that really shows what these seasoned filmmakers can do. Southbound is hauntingly beautiful at times and grotesque at others–which is what makes it so high on this list.

Goosebumps/Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Anthology Horror
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-1996), Nickelodeon Productions

This is legendary anthology horror that everyone and their moms can recognize. Are You Afraid of the Dark? dominated Nickelodeon. Goosebumps lurked on Fox Kids. The child-oriented scares were unavoidable, and legacies were born. While it is seemingly controversial today to have scary things on kids’ networks, it was not an uncommon sight for the 90s to the early 2000s and inducted a lot into the genre.

This is as “starter-horror” as it gets. Both Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? established whether or not millennials liked to be scared or not. Both mild yet creepy, it is no coincidence that both have experienced reboots in one form or another to enlighten today’s younger audience. They offer nostalgia to many audiences and most people under the age of 35 can say that one of these series got them into horror.

Tales from the Crypt

Anthology Horror
Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996), Home Box Office

A classic serving us an icon that was The Cryptkeeper. Horror fans and 90s kids alike remember Tales from the Crypt fondly. It was an anthology series based on the same comics that inspired other works such as Creepshow. Therefore, it was a quick classic that found its home on HBO for over seven years. It remains a staple for horror television and delivered spooky and cooky tales…from the crypt.

It also brought in a multitude of talent to tell different stories each week. Always hosted by the iconic puppet host The Cryptkeeper, Tales from the Crypt is a delightful trip down memory lane back to Jim Henson-style stories of the late 80s. Every episode holds up brilliantly because it never took itself too seriously and embraced the cheesefest that was its content. Therefore, I consider it a delight to watch as a horror fan, young and old.

The Haunting Series

Watch The Haunting of Hill House | Netflix Official Site
The Haunting of Hill House (2018), Netflix

The only horror series that I will ever advise to have tissues with you at all times is The Haunting series. Mike Flanagan–our modern horror saint–takes the chilling classic tales of The Haunting of Hill House and The Turn of the Screw and–with his careful personal touches–crafts terrifying, melancholic masterpieces. Bending through time with stories that span decades, these series are poised and will go down as some of the best horror television of all time, if they aren’t already considered that.

The Haunting series have loveable characters, terrifying ghosts and is also one of the most diverse casts in the horror scene as of late, including a beautiful Sapphic love story in The Haunting of Bly Manor. Much like Ryan Murphy and his ragtag regulars, Flanagan has his Flanafam, which always deliver the best performances in anything they do, making each of his projects a delight to watch time after time. Again, bring tissues with you, especially for Bly Manor.

Tales from the Hood

Anthology Horror
Tales from the Hood (1995), 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks

This film has been and is currently seeping with social relevance. Tales from the Hood is a storyteller-based anthology flick, which tells four stories. The first story is particularly disturbing following the recent events that occurred in 2020. Sadly, this classic seems to be swept under the rug. More people need to take note on its impacts in film–particularly the horror genre in which stereotypes and violent tropes have been in use for several years.

It speaks on generational trauma, police brutality and many more social topics by using the conventions of horror to showcase how the reality of things is much more horrifying than the fiction. Tales from the Hood recently got a sequel from its original creators in 2018 and both films were produced by Spike Lee’s film production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. It delivers horror as well as it delivers its metaphors and commentary, therefore it deserves the higher spot on this list.

Creepshow

Anthology Horror
Creepshow (1982), Laurel Show Inc.

A-ha, the blueprint of anthology horror as a singular film makes its appearance in the top three, of course. This lovely brainchild of Stephen King and George A. Romero is a cheesy delight and remains the posterchild of anthology horror. The use of original storytelling in the height of Stephen King adaptations paid off well for the movie’s success and budget. In pair with the original stories, the film takes inspiration from the classic horror comics of the 1950s–most notably Tales from the Crypt.

While you’ll giggle at times, it remains one of those cult classics that will stand the test of time, which its sequel and its very recent reboot through Shudder proved. The visuals are impressive despite its B-movie budget and this film knows to not take itself too seriously, so it has aged like a fine wine over the years. You can’t wear your horror badge too proudly if you haven’t sat through this one.

Trick ‘r’ Treat

Anthology Horror
Trick ‘r’ Treat (2007), Legendary Pictures

This film has a very special place in my heart and the fact I’ve seen a rapid increase of merchandise come Halloween time proves it has found its footing in more mainstream horror. This is one of those films that survives the phenomenon of straight-to-DVD due to its creative storytelling, format and aesthetic. Michael Dougherty is responsible for this film, with it being a precursor to his more well-known holiday horror Krampus (though that is debatable given the rising interest in this film). Trick ‘r’ Treat focuses on the urban legends of Halloween as we follow several stories that are in observance of Samhain himself–in the most adorably sadistic get up we’ve ever seen a horror figure have.

Upon my discovery of this movie in 2009, there is not a Halloween that goes by that I do not watch this movie at least once. Sure, it can be a little messy in its storytelling at times, but it is a perfect anthology that braids into each other, notes its inspirations and improves upon it. Please watch it if you haven’t, and for those that have made it tradition like me, rock on. Now let’s hope that sequel comes out soon.

The twilight Zone

Anthology Horror
The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), CBS Productions

If mentioned in the introduction, it needs to top this list. This is the only suitable place for this revolutionary TV show to go, as we would not have the formatting for anthology horror without it. Rod Serling was a master storyteller, providing nearly every story for the show in its 150-plus episode run. It has inspired countless others and changed the way people approached television. The Twilight Zone was not a show that you needed to watch every time to keep up, but you would kick yourself if you missed an episode.

It goes without a doubt that Rod Serling will be one of the greatest on the small screen. His craft proved brilliant by the generations that The Twilight Zone crosses, whether it be copious amounts of reboots trying to revive that original charm or a kid recognizing the theme song from Disneyland, The Twilight Zone will forever remain a classic as well as the golden standard on how to put short story to screen.


What’s Next

That is my redux on anthology horror. Obviously, I can’t get all of them in here, or we’d be here forever. These are ones that I personally experienced. Therefore, I would love to hear what your favorite anthology horror film or show is out there and if you agree with the ones already mentioned. As for what’s next on TVOC, stay tuned for updates on The Last of Us, reviews of recent horror films and other fun tidbits. We’re here three times a week and every day on Instagram and TikTok.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

The Last of Us Delivers Convincing, Heartwrenching Horror

I think there has been a hole in my heart for a good zombie show. The Walking Dead fell off the wagon years ago for me personally, and Netflix wrongfully cancelled Santa Clarita Diet. However, when HBO announced an adaptation of one of the greatest video games of all time, The Last of Us, I was tracking it like a hawk. I also had some concerns about it, because there is a bad reputation for video game adaptations.

It premiered this Sunday. Oh boy, it does suffice that show hole and reopened old wounds caused from the game’s initial release nearly a decade ago. The Last of Us is even better with more context and honors its source material in the best way a game-TV adaption could. It also teaches a lesson on how a game can lay out cinematic scenes and they shouldn’t be messed with. Spoilers from Episode One/Beginning of the Game will show up in this discussion, so here’s your warning.

The Casting: Could fill a bucket with my tears

The Last of Us announced its casting of the two leads a while ago, and it already seemed to be a perfect fit for Joel and Ellie. I have been shivering with anticipation ever since. Not to mention that HBO was already stomping ground for Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey. Both starred in Game of Thrones and delivered in their respective roles–Pedro Pascal’s Oberyn has one of the most disgusting/memorable deaths in the entire series. Knowing their capabilities makes them a shoo-in for Joel and Ellie, who are deeply complex and traumatized.

The Last of Us | Official Website for the HBO Series | HBO.com

The icing on the cake is the casting of the supporting characters. Watching it all come together in the premiere was a satisfying yet deeply harrowing experience. Even (I would say especially) the casting of Sarah was perfect. It laid down the foundation for a perfect emotional setup for the rest of the show. The first half of this premiere was anticipated by many fans. It was just as heartbreaking if not more, and that is mostly due to Pedro Pascal and Nico Parker delivering on the father-daughter relationship in the short time they had. Tears were shed–lots of tears.

The Context: Adding to an Adaptation doesn’t need to be bad

Some concern was the length of the show and the inkling that something might change. It is common that adaptations stray from their source material, which can occur in both good and bad ways. Horror fans have been wounded before with adaptations of Silent Hill and Resident Evil going south time and time again. Unnecessary backstory can be a drag. However, if what is added adds gravity to the situation and makes the content stick the landing, I am all for it.

The Last of Us | Sarah's Death (Scene Episode 1) - YouTube

The Last of Us did just that. The way this show opens grounds the show in our reality with a brief explanation of the fungus and how something like this could happen. If climate change wasn’t harrowing and terrifying before, this takes it to a new level. On top of some logical explanations, we get some emotional backstory. When you’re playing a video game, you are more attached to the events going on rather than simply observing it. For the beginning to deliver, there needs to be some context. Sarah’s death is significant to Joel’s character, and the context to the events and how close their relationship was necessary.

Capturing the Game: Don’t Change Those Shots

The Last of Us remains one of the most cinematic video games out there. The shots were laid out for any adaptation to come. Therefore, there was a bit more concern than usual on how the creative vision on the show creators were going to mesh with the existing source material. The show runners seemed to be aware of this concern. The Last of Us is truly breaking that game-to-show adaptation curse simply by not messing with its source material.

Who plays the TV host in HBO's The Last of Us? Meet Josh Brener

The truck scene in the premiere is a near shot for shot recreation of the game’s opening. Watching it replicated with real people caused me to react like I was watching it again for the first time. When something is able to recreate that first time feeling, it’s a home run for me. The gasps of shock that would come out of my mouth even though I knew what was going to happen were loud. It shook me to my core, and it’s been a long while since an adaptation was able to do that for me. I can only hope that it continues to do so.

What’s Next

That is my brief thoughts on The Last of Us, which will be airing on Sundays on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max. What did you think of that first episode? Let me know down in the comments. Who knows what other horror games they will adapt, but I am expecting an Outlast adaptation down the line–if they’re willing to go there. I also would love to see a Silent Hill TV adaptation because those brilliant games need a redo. As far as what’s next on The Void of Celluloid, some reviews and other listicles are sure to be on the horizon, but currently we are the most active on TikTok and Instagram, so be sure to check those out.

Thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

So Bad It’s Good: The Modern Creature Feature

As we all know, not every creature feature is going to be Jaws. Sure, there was a time that they tried to be and failed. However, the more they failed, the more self-aware they became. The quality of a film is not linear, but rather circular. The polar opposites are bad and good, but there are grey areas present. There’s a reason that when films reach a certain level of bad that they become good again.

It is simply due to absurd comedy. These so-bad-they’re-good movies have things that are so insane or stupid that causes us to laugh harder than if we’re watching a traditional comedy. Bad CGI, cheesy dialogue, and ridiculous plot points contribute to this ultimate factor that makes these creature features guilty pleasures for majority of us. They are the movies we watch when we want to laugh and react in complete disbelief. So here are a few of those ‘bad’ films that are some of the most entertaining and hilarious watches to this day.

Zombeavers (2014)

Zombeavers' Review: Surprisingly Not a Porno, But Still Fun - High-Def  Digest: The Bonus View

Yes, the villain is given away in the title. Zombeavers is exactly what it sounds like, and it is truly a delightfully stupid movie. It is self-aware, so it is comforting to laugh when you know the creators were in on the joke. This one is personally my ‘least favorite’ of the list, but it still is a fun time. The setup is typical–horny college students on vacation are terrorized by a sinister entity. This sinister entity just happens to be zombified beavers.

Not only is there zombified beavers, but there are also Werebeavers, which are actually disturbing. However, the zombie beavers are bloody, glorified hand puppets for majority of the movie. They also hint at zombie bees at the end, so there might be a sequel down the line titled ‘Zombees.’ These kinds of films can go on forever, but Zombeavers is in fact worth your time if you’re down for campy, raunchy fun.

Godzilla (1998)

You can’t mention so-bad-it’s-good films without mentioning this monstrosity. I personally grew up with the 1998 Godzilla, and much to my mom’s dismay, I loved this movie as a little kid. It was scary, but exciting–but I had low standards as a four-year-old. I watch it now, and oh boy, it’s terrible. However, the cheesiness in this film makes it watchable and more importantly, it makes it laughable. It’s a cinematic mistake that we should never forget as it is Hollywood’s first portrayal of the monster.

Godzilla (1998) - Movies on Google Play

The odd choice of Matthew Broderick paired with the weird ‘fivehead’ that Godzilla has are some of the glaring issues. However, if you think about it in terms of Ferris Bueller fighting a T-Rex mutant, that’s the stuff dreams are made of. It is one of the most cliche action movies of all time, but there is a reason it remains on television to this day. It’s in the same category as Waterworld: you don’t seek it out, but you will watch the whole thing if you come across it accidentally.

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Wait, is that ScarJo? Why, yes, it is. Eight Legged Freaks is an oddball horror comedy that is exactly what it sounds like. Freaky spiders. In fact, freaky, HUGE spiders. This resided on Netflix for the longest time when they started Instant Streaming, so you may have watched it once upon a time. It demands a revisit however, because this film is highly underrated for what it delivers.

Eight Legged Freaks' Remains a Criminally Overlooked Horror Comedy - Bloody  Disgusting

It’s genuinely creepy for arachnophobes, as the design of the spiders are borderline gross. However, with the Syfy style graphics and the ridiculous plot, it makes for an undeniably entertaining watch. It has a similar comedic timing to Tremors, so there is sure to be a few belly chuckles that the movie intends. It knows it’s a ridiculous creature feature and lives up with the rest of them on purpose rather than by accident. This one is hugely underrated in my opinion.

Lake Placid (1999)

This one is my personal favorite. Lake Placid is a fun film that has a stacked cast–not the main stars though. I’m talking about Brendan Gleeson and the late and more-than-great Betty White. Both of these actors steal the show and paired with an obnoxiously gigantic crocodile, you’re in for a hilarious treat. Lake Placid does suffer in dialogue and doesn’t explain where the thing came from, but it’s here and ready for some carnage.

Lake Placid: So Bad It's Good

Betty White is actually the instigator for a lot of the events in the film. So not only does she bless us with her presence, but she also blesses us with her badassery. I miss her. The effects here are actually not bad in comparison with the other films–which makes it stand out and make the future special effects engineer in me happy. Most importantly Lake Placid is the film that brought Betty White back into the mainstream, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

This is the film that comes to mind when I think of so-bad-it’s-good movies. Deep Blue Sea is hilarious and outrageous in all of the best ways. In fact, it’s insulting to even think that Sharknado is the top so-bad-it’s-good film. To start it all off, the cast in this film is fully loaded. I mean, we have LL Cool J, Samuel L. Jackson, Stellan Skarsgard, Saffron Burrows and Thomas Jane. Therefore, no matter how bad the writing is, we’re still guaranteed something entertaining because these people are known for acting their asses off–whether it be in a good or bad way.

Deep Blue Sea 1999: So Bad It's Good

It also has one of the most iconic speech scenes in film history, and we don’t even get to see him finish. Paired with some of the worst computer-generated sharks you’ll ever see, this film is a cheesy classic that is a rite of passage for any movie fan. This film paved the way for those SyFy films we all know but will most likely never watch. However, it’s a badge of honor to have this film on your shelf.

What’s Next?

This concludes my summarization of the five creature features that come to mind. I know there’s plenty out there that I haven’t even touched on, but I would love to hear which creature feature is your favorite–both in the good and the bad way. Currently, The Void of Celluloid has been very active on TikTok and other social media, so if you prefer your daily dose of horror in small video shorts, go and check that out. Stay tuned for my review of M3GAN and hopefully Skinamarink this month as I seem to have a reason to go see a horror film in theaters in January. Maybe the curse has finally been lifted.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

Remake Schmemake: Shameful Remakes that We Need to Forget

Let me paint a situation. You’re doing your daily doomscroll, already not in a great mood, and find out that your favorite movie of all time is getting a remake. It has a larger budget, but they’re butchering the script and they’re putting Michael Bay behind the camera. Oh, and the meaningful ending that has that one quote which you have hanging in your office? They’re completely changing it and your favorite character is dying for dramatic effect.

This is what it feels like every other week in the horror community. Currently, we have a remake of The Exorcist on the way, which is a horror film that I never thought someone would have the gall to touch. Yes, it’s a ‘reboot sequel’ technically, but it seems like it’s going to take the same stride as Top Gun: Maverick: a ‘requel’. A sequel with the exact same plot as its predecessor. Top Gun: Maverick did it perfectly. They never do it quite right for horror movies–Evil Dead II is an exception.

This got me thinking, however. There are so many films that never should have been remade, but there are some so abhorrent that I would much rather them be wiped from my mind than have to watch them again. Extreme? Yes. Necessary? Oh, yeah. Here are a few of these remakes. Plot points will be discussed in detail; therefore, a spoiler warning is in order.

SPOILER ALERT

Pet Sematary (2019)

Oh boy. We’re starting off with something that had so much potential but fell short by way more than it should have. Stephen King novels usually get adapted time and time again. There’s a reason for that: they’re usually emotionally rough stories with depth and meaning. Pet Sematary remains one of his most tragic stories. Instead of sticking with the original storyline, they decided they would make it ‘less tragic’ by having the older sister die instead of Gage. Eh hem, children are still dying.

Terrible Remake: Pet Sematary

This was obviously a budget and time decision as Gage is a very demanding role to cast for someone that age, however, the original 1989 adaptation did it perfectly with its casting, so why change it? This film didn’t add anything to the original, was less faithful to the source material, and completely ruined the character of Jud and the context of his character–his wife’s subplot is a very important component of the original story. This one is not even worth the attempt to watch, and the 1989 adaptation is a fantastic horror film anyways.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Remember kids, just because you can use CGI doesn’t mean it will improve it. The 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street has revolutionary special effects with their rotating room being the most notable. Not to mention, the practical makeup on Robert Englund makes Freddy Krueger tangible–like you can almost feel every gross bump on his body. The 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street intended to modernize this concept. However, it didn’t hit the mark. In fact, it blew right past it and went right into the dumpster.

Oh boy, terrible: A Nightmare on Elm Street

The special effects in this film look so fake and there was no attempt for anything practical that all of the scares and that attack of the senses the original created are absent. The most disappointing part about it all is Freddy’s face. The motion tracking is terrible–he looks like a mediocre hologram the whole time. They probably would’ve saved some money and some time if they blended in with practical effects, but even then, the source material shouldn’t have been touched for a full-blown remake.

Poltergeist (2015)

I will never forgive, and I still want to forget. This film is atrocious and almost shouldn’t even be considered a remake. It is so distant from its source material that half the time, I felt like I was watching a completely different movie than what it claims to be–which is easy given that the names are completely different. Even then, the movie is still terrible. The original Poltergeist really has the Spielberg touch. The family takes the forefront; horror is in the background. This film has got it all twisted.

Yes, the clown is ultra-creepy, it's still bad: Poltergeist

A distinct scene in this film almost made me turn it off the first time. I wish I had, honestly. The notable scene when the mother of the original goes to fetch Carol Anne. Their other children are not in the house with them, and it is the parents taking the responsibility to fetch her, working as a team and accepting the dangers as they come. The remake the parents instead send their incredibly young son to go retrieve their daughter. I know plenty of parents–no one in their right mind would task such a dangerous and major responsibility to their other child. This scene killed any essence of the original the remake had left and had me wishing for it to be wiped from the face of the planet.

The Fog (2006)

I consider the original to be one of John Carpenter’s unsung heroes. The Fog has been forgotten because this remake occurred–and it’s bad. A usual fatal flaw of horror remakes is too much backstory (I’m looking at you, Rob Zombie). This remake is the epitome of the backstory ruining the horror. Sure, there isn’t much background to why the events in the original happen, but it knows what it is. The original keeps up the pace and crafts an interesting story without getting into the nitty gritty details.

It's So Bad: The Fog

This film has all of these moving pieces that never connect to each other, and while it has visually grisly deaths, there is absolutely no buildup of suspense present in the film. Without this buildup, there is no way for this film to actually deliver scares. Therefore, it is a bloated, slow, boring watch that delivers absolutely nothing. It’s a snoozer and one of the worst critically received movies of all time.

Martyrs (2015)

This one is one of the most notorious out there. The original Martyrs is a disturbing feat of cinema; something that you never want to endure again. However, whenever there is a foreign horror film out there that is garnering praise, the US cinema companies must remake it. This one, however, left a poor taste in everyone’s mouth. The original French film is one of the most difficult films to watch out there, but its criticisms of Roman Catholicism and the idea of sainthood achieved through torment leaves it a rich analysis piece that is rewarding and will stick with you.

Deplorable: Martyrs

However, its remake tried for the box office success rather than the story and was trying to feed off the success of the torture porn renaissance that occurred in the early to mid 2000s. Jason Blum himself hates that Blumhouse remade this movie. All of the violence and gore that was once meaningful in the original is mindless and unnecessary. The ambiguity and weight of the film’s ending is also missing. This horrendous remake reduced it all to just torture for torture’s sake. It is deplorable.


What’s Next?

I feel like going over five of these films will drive the point home. Horror remakes are usually bad. Horror ‘requels,’ though rarely done, usually follow the same pattern. Reboots are a different story, which we will talk about another time. I have mixed feelings on reboots, but I do not need to categorize them with these dumpster fires. All of these remakes are genuinely films I would never touch again. Is there a remake out there that’s redeemable? What would that be? Let me know in the comments.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

The Void’s Top Ten Horror Films of 2022

It was a fantastic year for horror this previous year. Nearly every month, something notable dropped. Sure, we had some ugly ones (I’m looking at you, Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but we also had some great ones. 2022 is going to be a year that we talk about when we look back on film history, and horror is a standout genre in that discussion. My top three picks will remain in people’s mouths for sure. Due to awards season always looking bleak for this genre, I am taking it into my own hands to give these films the praise they deserve.

Already looking forward to the new year? I also talked about my top five most anticipated horror films for 2023, which you can check out here. If you would rather a starter guide to horror and have no idea what I’m on about, I made a series just for you, which you can check out here. Nevertheless, let’s move on and discuss my top ten picks for this previous year.

10. The Black Phone

The Black Phone' review: Ethan Hawke embodies fears of Stranger Danger  generation | Mashable

While I consider this one more of a thriller, The Black Phone stands out this year for the outstanding performances it provided. Not only did Ethan Hawke kill it as the diabolical Grabber, but its two lead protagonists are sure to be rising stars. Sure, this film did have its plot holes, but it is easily corrected by imaginative autofill or reading the source material, which is a quick read. A slow burn in an entertaining way–I was a fan. You can read my review for this film here, but there is definitely enough here to make my top ten.

9. Studio 666

Foo Fighters Made a Horror Film. Because Why Not? - The New York Times

Speaking of endearment behind films, Studio 666 is a beautiful, hilarious ode to the Foo Fighters and what they were and still are. Taylor Hawkins was a tragic loss this year, and it happened so quickly after the release of this celebratory film. However, it is honestly a heartwarming and heartbreaking tribute to the glorious friendships in that band. It’s still a fun watch however, with goofy scenes followed by grisly kills. I definitely don’t recommend it to the merely acquainted fans, but if you’re in on the jokes already with the Foo, then you’re in for a grand ol’ time.

8. Watcher

Watcher: The Void's Top Ten

Watcher was a fantastic watch. This is Chloe Okuno’s debut feature film after co-directing V/H/S ’94, a fun anthology from the previous year. Her and Maika Monroe are a match made in heaven as a shocking, disturbing tale takes form over a fast hour and a half. The paranoia you will feel during this film is exemplary and will have you checking out your windows for suspicious activity–or make you too scared to even do so. This was a terrifying watch when I lived in my downtown apartment.

7. Sissy

Sissy: The Void's Top Ten

I just recently reviewed this film right here on TVOC, so be sure to check it out if you want some more details. Sissy is the unsung hero of 2022. A smaller, indie film that was released as a Shudder exclusive made me laugh and gasp the whole way through. It’s the first horror film that accurately spoofs the influencer generation in the best way without making fun of the concept. It also is an introspective look on trauma and how severe things can get if its triggered. While that might be in a satirical way, there is still some endearment behind it all.

6. The Menu

The Menu: The Void's Top Ten

Alright, this one definitely leans more towards the thriller-comedy, but the concept alone is horrifyingly brilliant that I had to include it on this list. No, this film isn’t about cannibalism like the trailer made it seem like it was, but rather about the horrors of the service industry–something that a lot of us can relate to. There are brilliant performances all around in this movie, the story is exciting, and it is full of twists and turns. This film is available for streaming on HBO Max as of January, so watch it as soon as you can. It is just as good on the rewatch as well. This one isn’t in my top five only because it is barely horror.

5. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies: The Void's Top Ten

This one looked like it might have been a stinker this year, but it ended up being one of my favorites. Bodies, Bodies, Bodies is a brilliant horror comedy that has one of the best twists I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. While the first twenty minutes of this movie take a while to get going, you’ll be hooked once it kicks off. If you’re skeptical throughout, I beg you to wait for the ending. It clicks everything into place and steps it up from a fun time to a great, hilarious time. This one has stuck with me and made it pretty high on my top ten list.

4. Fresh

Fresh: The Void's Top Ten

Who knew dating could be just as horrifying as cannibalism? This one IS about cannibalism, even though the first twenty minutes play out like a traditional romcom. Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar Jones deliver a performance that leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout its runtime. I feel like this one deserves a revisit as it was huge and then disappeared as the year went on. It is gross, but if you can get past it, there is a worthwhile film in there with a final act that makes it all worth it in the end, two times over.

3. Pearl / x (TIE)

Pearl: The Void's Top Ten

This one is a tie, because one would not exist without the other. Ti West has returned in triumphant fashion with his films X and Pearl. This is the quickest trilogy ever to exist once Maxxxine drops this year. Not only is it the quickest, but it’s also dripping with quality. X and Pearl are both effective horror films that tell the most outlandish stories that provide metaphors on aging, inhibitions, sex and more. It is female rage incarnate with Mia Goth playing the starring role, and I am eating it up, not leaving a crumb.

2. Nope

NOPE: The Void's Top Ten

Alright, some may argue this isn’t a horror film. It’s definitely a genre fusion, leaning more towards sci-fi and comedy, but has some standout horrifying moments that makes it jump up on this list for me. The Gordy situation as well as the entire Star Lasso experience are some of the more disturbing things I’ve seen in a film in a while. NOPE is a fantastic film and while Get Out is a masterpiece and one of my favorite horror films of all time, this is my favorite of Jordan Peele’s releases so far. I wrote an entire article on what the Gordy scene is even about, I loved it so much.

1. Barbarian

Barbarian: The Void's Top Ten

You had to see this coming. Barbarian is inventive and will go down as a legendary horror film. It’s hard to believe that this is Zach Cregger’s first horror film. He completely knocked it out of the park. This film has its immaculate twists and turns, making it a fun, disturbing and memorable watch. I simply laughed in disbelief the entire time due to how great this movie is. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it as soon as possible and go in completely blind. It’s truly a trip and an experience you won’t forget. I don’t even want to write about it because I don’t want to give it away, but it is possibly in my top ten of the decade.

What’s NExt

Thank you for hearing me out on these top ten films. What are your thoughts on these films? Let me know in the comments and I am happy to discuss. As for what’s next, TVOC is posting daily content on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. There will be buttons below to check out that and you can see my lovely face discussing various topics on the regular. Be sure to follow those if you’re into fun facts, history, and the occasional fan edit dedicated to the art that is horror. There usually isn’t many top ten lists, but there is top fives. New blog posts will be posted Monday, Wednesday and Friday as regularly as possible.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

Sissy: The Gen-Z Slasher You’ve Never Heard About

I’ll admit it. I’m lame and don’t venture out of the critical buzz bubble as much as I should. I do have a direct link to someone who does, however, and that is my lovely mother. So, when she summoned me to her house for a movie night and said that she found a horror comedy that ‘makes fun of Gen-Z,’ I was skeptical. As someone who resides in Gen-Z, there is good satire out there. Hello, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. However, it usually leans towards cringy, out of touch humor ergo the ‘Gen-Z Hospital’ sketch from SNL.

Sissy Shows Us The Dark Side of Sisterhood | SXSW 2022

However, I put my expectations into a mental box, threw away the key and went in blindly. I ended up enthralled, laughing and wincing at the scathing burns. Someone watched my childhood and kept track of what happened to all of us between the ages of 20 and 25 when the internet flourished and put it into a slasher movie. This isn’t a cringy cyberbully-cautionary tale that I thought it was.

Social Media Addiction: THe Dopamine Response

“Well, your fucking phones are poisoning your minds, okay? So, when you develop a dissociative mental disorder in your late twenties, don’t come crawling back to me.”

– Bo Burnham, “30”
Sissy

Heard that, Bo. A lot of us grew up with our eyes glued to a screen of some sort. Tumblr and YouTube were my vice as I spent my days reading creepypasta, fanfiction and hyper-fixated on YouTubers. It would always feel good to write something and receive several notifications back that your words and content were recognized in some way. It still feels good, obviously. However, there’s the dependence and the defining nature that social media has contributed to most of our lives growing up in this era.

Sissy talks about filling the social void with social media rather than actual interaction and how the dopamine we get from social media is as addicting as any other drug. Therefore, it takes mental tolls that we might not even notice until it’s too late. The most obvious toll is the way we socialize with actual people. Sissy follows Cecelia, a wellness influencer that runs into her childhood friend and gets tied up in past childhood traumas.

A spoiler Free Review: Sissy

This review will not go into distinct detail about this movie, because everyone should go and immediately watch it. It twists, and it twists hard. Sissy is a brilliant modern horror that finally feels like it’s in the modern era rather than leaning into the stereotype of the younger generation. It is a film about childhood trauma and dealing with it in adulthood. Childhood trauma is way more severe than people make it out to be, there is a reason therapists inquire about it first and can track down our problems due to it.

Sissy (2022) - IMDb

Sissy follows Cecilia, who already doesn’t seem to practice what she preaches, as she is faced with everything that went wrong with her childhood all at once. The film overall acts as an effective yet extremely humorous commentary about influencers and how we should humanize them and also take them with a grain of salt. It also really plays into the female rage trend that we’ve seen in the past few years, which is always a plus for me personally.

Violent, brutal and brutally honest, it’s a horror-comedy that everyone has slept on last year and should move quickly to the top of your horror viewing list. Especially if you want a good laugh, it is very funny both in traditional comedy and an absurdist way. The main point to mention is Aisha Dee’s performance and how she should be everywhere. She is so convincing and sympathetic as Cecilia and has already solidified her status as an impressive horror actor with her Channel Zero performance. You can watch Sissy now on Shudder, which is a mandatory subscription as a horror fan.

Rating of Sissy

Sissy (2022) - IMDb

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

What’s Next

Coming up next on The Void of Celluloid, I’m going to take you through my top ten horror picks of 2022 now that the year feels fully behind us. There was a lot of consulting for these picks as this year presented quite a few titles and a lot of genre blending. TVOC just recently did a series on starter horror, which you can check out here. I am also posting daily content on the TVOC TikTok/Instagram/YouTube, so be sure to follow those and check out what’s going on over there.

Thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.