Evil at the Door (2022)

For almost a hundred years, The Locusts have treated their followers to one night — three hours — where they can do anything they want to a selected home and any of the people they find inside. The Locusts have selected the home of Daniel (Matt O’Neill, Candy Corn) and Jessica (Sunny Doench, Coffin). Complicating matters is that there may be a Locust who isn’t on the same side as everyone else, plus Jessica’s sister Liz (Andrea Sweeney Blanco) is hiding under the bed trying to escape.

Like a combination of The Strangers and The Purge, the film begins with John Doe (Bruce Davison, who has nearly 300 credits, but may be best known for being in X-Men as Senator Kelly; you may also recognize him from The Lords of Salem or The Crucible) invites the cult’s member to initiate the Night of the Locusts.

A family that barely gets along being surrounded by four cult members who can get away with anything that happens. Great set-up, right? Yes, it is. The execution — CGI stabbings instead of practical effects and costumes that look like the Wish version of Ghost from Call of Duty — take away the good will that the opening created.

Fans of TV’s Dynasty and The Colbys will, at least, be happy to see John James (Jeff Colby!) show up. His next movie is My Son Hunter, playing President Biden. It’s directed by Robert Davi and stars Gino Carano so…

Director, writer, producer, editor and one of the actors — he’s Truman — Kipp Tribble did more than just two or three things on this movie. I wish that he could have followed up on pieces he set in motion. That said, he’s figured out how to pull this movie together with a small crew and a low budget.

Evil at the Door can be found on digital and VOD platforms on January 28, one week after it debuts on the Terror Films Channel. You can learn more on the official Terror Films website or visit this movie’s official Facebook page.

The Runner (2022)

I’ve never heard of the band Boy Harsher — the darkwave/new industrial duo of vocalist/lyricist Jae Matthews and producer Augustus Muller — but their music is the inspiration for this 40-minute film, which goes along with their new concept album, The Runner, set for release on January 21 (preorder here or order from their Big Cartel page).

There was also a limited edition drone pedal that went with this, but that’s sold out.

Written, directed and produced by the band, it has performances by King Woman’s Kris Esfandiari, FlucT’s Sigrid Lauren, and Lucy’s Cooper Handy. It’s the story of a woman (Esfandiari) traveling to a secluded town where her violent compulsions are slowly revealed. At the same time, Boy Harsher performs on a public access channel and their music provides a sinister undertone to the woman’s descent deeper into darkness.

This short film definitely has style to spare and a look that recalls 80s direct to video erotic thrillers mixed with no small amount of blood. It also has somewhat of a making-of mixed in, which is pretty intrigiuing. It definitely did its job, making me research the band and take notice of them.

The Runner is streaming this month on Shudder.

You can learn more about Boy Harsher on their official site.

The Surprise Visit (2022)

Juliette and her husband plan on surprising her mother, who ends up being out of town, which is what her gardener (Eric Roberts, who in the mid 1990s was present for a deal I made with several demons to secure the future release of several Italian and American exploitation films on a format that would come to be known as 4K; you’re welcome and I’m cursed to watch every movie Mr. Roberts makes) tells them. At the same time, his junkie son and his pregnant wife are planning on stealing from the same mansion.

Director Nick Lyon has made quite a few movies like Isle of the DeadRise of the Zombie and Species: The Awakening, which gives him the experience to make this movie filled with nail-biting moments. It’s an interesting idea to pit two couples against one another from different castes and at different moments in their lives.

This movie claims to be based on a true story. You know that as soon as I saw that, I was going to watch this.

The Surprise Visit is playing in theaters and is also available on demand.

Monsters in the Closet (2022)

When famous horror author Raymond Grant dies under mysterious circumstances, his daughter returns home — oh man, how many times do I have to tell horror movie characters to never go back home and never settle affairs and never try to get any answers — to investigate his death.

Jasmin learns that her father wasn’t just writing about black magic, he was using it to finish his new book. And when the audiobook gets played, all manner of creatures emerge into our world. This story forms the story around several other shorter tales that play out in this anthology.

In “Please Kill Me Again,” a woman (Denyse Arlene Hollis, who co-wrote the story) is bitten by zombies and then decides that she wants to be killed by a human so she doesn’t have to live in that undead body. “Home Improvement” shows what happens when Tian and Zeke ( Luke Couzens and Carmilla Crawford) can’t agree on a plan to fix up their new home  with potentially horrifying results. “The One-Percenters” is about just how far the rich will go to cover up a crime — even a camping trip with numerous people isn’t safe. Finally, “Frankenstein’s Wife” is about a man accidentally killing his wife and bringing her back again and again until she’s happy.

All horror anthologies — even the best ones — have their highs and lows. This one has many more highs though, which is more than I can say from the majority of the unconnected horror portmanteau movies that get sent out way. The connective story and writing by The Snygg Brothers makes this one a winner.

Monsters in the Closet is available on digital and on demand from Gravitas Pictures.