Weekly Shudder – SADAKO VS KAYAKO

Weekly Shudder (temp name) will be an ongoing series of blogs/reviews of movies that are part of the online streaming service, Shudder, library.


I’ve had the Shudder service for about a year, maybe a little more, and I love how the library has grown.  There is such a wide variety of selections in the sub genres of horror that whatever you like is bound to be on Shudder.  For my first review, I decided to take a look at the Shudder exclusive release (for North America) of SADAKO VS KAYAKO, written and directed by Koji Shiraishi.  This movie is a cross promotion of the RINGU series and the JU-ON: THE GRUDGE series of horror films, somewhat similar to our own FREDDY VS JASON film.


The movie follows the same basic premise as the standalone RINGU and GRUDGE movies.  Two girls unwittingly watch the video tape and are cursed by Sadako. Meanwhile a high school student, Suzuka, who has moved into a house, with her family, next to THE GRUDGE house and is being lured to enter the cursed residence via visions sent by Kayako.


SADAKO VS KAYAKO focuses on the RINGU side of the story, as there is more material to that curse to mine as the two cursed girls’ frantically look for help, while Suzuka has no idea she’s in any danger or what the house next to hers represents.



The two stories eventually converge to give viewers the fight promised in the title of the movie…kind of.  I won’t reveal the resolution, but if you’re looking for a battle a la Freddy and Jason, then bring your expectations down.  Having noted that; however, the movie is enjoyable and has a story that fans of RINGU or THE RING will enjoy, especially after the terrible American sequel RINGS came out recently.


The story adds elements to both franchises without breaking the rules set before in previous movies.  If the producers wish, SADAKO VS KAYAKO also sets up a potential recharge of both franchises going forward.  Whether they follow this route or not, I’m very interested in what comes next for these franchises.


Goodbye to 2016, Welcome 2017

Happy New Year everyone, and greetings from the New Jersey headquarters of Patrick + Selana vs Evil!  It’s the second week of January 2017 and I’ve been thinking about what a great year of horror we had in 2016.  Not only in movies, but horror on television was at an all-time high in quality and creativity.

In the movie world indie and studio films were giving us great variety in horror.  James Wan brought us another great addition to his catalog of movies with THE CONJURING 2.  In the indie world, we were treated to one of the best movies of the year and certainly the top horror movie of the year, THE WITCH written and directed by Robert Eggers.  And Asian horror continues to send unique and exciting horror cinema to our shores with movies like TRAIN TO BUSAN and THE WAILING.

Television continues to bring the horror to fans.  The Walking Dead pulls in unprecedented numbers of viewers and ups the gore every season, FX continues to bring fans American Horror Story and Scream Queens to varying degrees of success.  The Soska Twins brought us season 2 of the game show Hellavator, a kind of look inside what scare attractions are like; fun and adrenaline pumping.

The biggest surprise was the TV show, The Exorcist.  As a fan of the movie, I had zero expectations for a show that I would like, especially after the sequels and prequels fell so far short of the original’s brilliance.

Fortunate for us horror fans, 2017 is looking to be another great year!

If you’re on the lookout for classic and cult horror movie reissues, then there is no limit to what is available to fans.  It’s overwhelming!  There are boutique labels like Scream Factory and Arrow Video pumping out long forgotten (in most cases) movies.  Garagehouse Pictures has been releasing trailer compilations Trailer Trauma (three of them!) and Kung-Fu Fury.  If, like me, you’re a fan of trailers from the 60s, 70s and 80s then these compilations will sate that trailer sweet tooth.

In addition to those labels there are online shops that cater to fans of the cult movie, like Diabolik DVD out of Philadelphia.  They bring the convention table online.  Once movies that could only be found at conventions are now available at a click of the mouse.  www.diabolikdvd.com

Shudder, the online subscription streaming service, continues to grow its carefully curated catalog of horror movies.  The service has even branched out a bit and offered, on streaming, Rob Zombie’s 31 movie with all the extras that come on the blu ray (commentary, 2-hour making of documentary). Adding the special features, to me, is unheard of for streaming services and I hope it’s a trend that continues.  If you haven’t signed up yet, get to it.  It’s only $5 a month and if buying blu’s hits the wallet a little too hard, Shudder will help you watch the movies you want to see at a fraction of the cost.

It’s difficult for me to speak on gaming as much, as I don’t play many video games. But I did see that a new Friday the 13th video game was funded through Kickstarter!  It looks like a Mortal Kombat style game with various versions of Jason and even a gameplay where gamers can play Jason or Leatherface in ferocious battle.  The screen grabs and video I have seen all look great, so this is a video game that I am looking forward to playing.

Lastly, of course, is the status of the podcast itself.  “What is happening?!” you might be asking if you are a loyal listener.   I don’t have a great answer to that, aside from life happens and when personal matters start arising it becomes difficult for co-hosts living on different sides of the country to schedule time together to record.  A podcast that may be 90 minutes in length actually takes up to 4 hours to record, and then time is needed for Selana to edit the recording, for me to review the edit, add an intro song and/or special effects and then post.  It’s a bit of a laborious task, but one we love to tackle because Selana and I LOVE horror, and we want to push the genre in our own way.

If you follow our Twitter account, @psevilpodcast, you will notice that I tweet and retweet often on that account, and the tweets should automatically update to our Facebook account.  We also have an Instagram account which is linked up to our Twitter, @psevilpodcast (same as Twitter).

Selana has been hitting some college classes which has taken up a lot of her time, and I had a major death in the family which took up a lot of my time!  And I got engaged on NYE, which took up some of my time.

Selana and I are planning on doing some recording in the coming weeks before she returns to school, and I got a lot of blu’s over Halloween and Christmas that I need to watch.  I’ll be commenting on those movies on Twitter, as well as trying to see more new release horror movies in 2017.  I will also be taking advantage of this blog platform a little more and introducing an as yet unnamed segment where I watch a movie on Shudder a week and review it.  You don’t realize how many movies you HAVEN’T seen until you look at the streaming library on Shudder, and I’ve seen plenty.

On a parting note I have two book recommendations for you.  Both are compilations of horror movie reviews, hundreds of reviews actually.  If you think you’ve seen a lot of horror movies, your bubble will be burst when reading these books.

First is a book by movie critic Scott E. Weinberg, @scottEweinberg on Twitter: “Modern Horrors: An A to Z of Horror Movie Reviews” available as a Kindle book.  From Amazon:  ‘An A to Z of Scott Weinberg’s horror movie reviews (over 800!), from 2000 to 2015.

“Scott Weinberg has had a profound impact on the psyche of my career more than any other film critics out there.” – James Wan, director Saw and The Conjuring

“A supremely knowledgable and sharply incisive reviewer, Weinberg knows and loves horror cinema as much as anyone I know.” – Scott Derrickson, director of Sinister

“Brutally honest, calls it likes it is. Agree or disagree with his reviews, he is a fan of cinema and knows the art.” – Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saw II-IV

“At its best, film criticism serves as an intimate, passionate dissection of cinematic form and content at the hands of a doctor you trust. I’ve always felt comfortable with Dr. Weinberg’s operating table, whether I was laying on it or merely observing from the operating theater.” – Lucky McKee, director of The Woman’


Next up is a book by critic Brian Collins, @BrianWCollins on Twitter:  “Horror Movie A Day: The Book” available as a Kindle book.  From Amazon:  “For over six years, Brian Collins watched and reviewed a different horror movie every single day. Most of them stunk. With over 2500 reviews on the Horror Movie A Day website, finding the worthwhile ones can be a chore, so Collins has curated a selection of choice films – 365 of them in fact, one for every day of the year. Each month has a different theme and offers a variety of films within that theme for your viewing enjoyment.”


That’s it from New Jersey Headquarters!  I have a ton of blu’s to get through and some flicks to watch on Shudder.  Fly the horror flag high in 2017!


The Exorcist TV show…it’s good!

exorcist-title-1200x545_cExpectation is a funny thing. When we hear a new Marvel project is coming out (movies or Netflix show), fan expectation is high.  When Stephen King announced a sequel to “The Shining” that involved psychic vampires, fan expectation was pretty low.

That expectation of the quality of a product can greatly affect how we perceive if something will be good or bad before it even hits the market, and sometimes those preconceived conceptions cloud our judgments.

Fox Network premiered their new TV show, The Exorcist, on September 25th.  Its name taken from one of the most popular and lauded horror movies of all time.  Certainly the name brings attention to the show, but also burdens it with expectations of being of a quality to honor the movie that the show is named for.  Smartly, the producers are not remaking the story of the MacNeil family and the two priests who helped them against the demon who had invaded their family.

ex-s1_103-bts-sc8_jw-0055_hires1Having watched the first three episodes, there is no one more surprised than me that The Exorcist TV show is actually quite good. My greatest worry was that the show would fall onto tired possession tropes that were highlighted in the show trailer, such as the possessed contouring her body into strange angles while running in the attic and the general look of a possessed person.  What they have done successfully, so far, is take those tropes that we are accustomed too and even expecting and turned them slightly against us.  For instance, in the premier episode, a possessed boy begins to turn his head a la Regan and the audience expects the head to turn all the way around and mock the priest.  But defying expectation, the neck snaps and kills the possessed boy.  The priest loses to the demon.

ex-s1_103-sc-9-jw_0195_hires1The Exorcist is blazing forward with excellent writing paired with an amazing cast of actors. The show is setting up a big showdown between the church, our exorcists and the demon(s).  I’m eager to see how this all plays out and what the end of the season will bring us.

I never thought I’d say this about this franchise again, but I’m looking forward to what comes next in the world of The Exorcist.

The Exorcist airs on Fox TV on Friday nights at 9 p.m.


BLAIR WITCH…what happened?


(author note: As of this writing, I have not yet seen BLAIR WITCH.  I know, ironic.  This isn’t a review of the film or a commentary on the quality of the film, but rather my opinion on why the movie did not perform to expectation on opening weekend. I will be seeing BLAIR WITCH on 9/21).

Where did it go wrong? BLAIR WITCH had strong buzz coming out of ComicCon and festivals, the movie was called the true sequel to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, it is helmed by an up-and-coming director Adam Wingard (YOU’RE NEXT and THE GUEST) and it was generating positive reviews at festival screenings.

Then the opening weekend box office numbers hit.

$9.5 million. A bust, a bomb, DOA according to the internet.  Heck, BOOK OF SHADOWS made more on its initial weekend.  By comparison, the Fede Alvarez horror/thriller DON’T BREATHE pulled in $5.6 million in its 4th weekend in theaters to bring the movie’s total haul to over $75 million (domestic).

After creating some good word of mouth out of the festival circuit, the movie now sits at 36% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and 42% audience score.

I have a theory: people didn’t really want a sequel to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.  When the original was released, the internet was in its infancy regarding the ability to connect people across the world.  The movie was an event because of the circumstances built up around the movie, not so much the movie itself.  THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was a legendary and genius creation of marketing across different medium platforms, while keeping true details of the movie a secret.  There were people who didn’t know the movie was a fiction, and it was presented as a kind of snuff film, a document of three college students traveling to their death.

In the years since the original movie’s release, it has been dissected and released on video and the story told of how the movie was made. Essentially, what made THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT so chilling and effective had been robbed from it, squeezed dry by an ever expanding internet and an attempt at a meta-sequel.

Horror fans half my age who are just discovering THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT wonder what the fuss was about. They have been deluged with found footage movies, especially with the monster hit franchise PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.  THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT doesn’t hold sway over the next generation of horror fans.  At best, it’s an interesting time in movie history.  I know there are people who can’t comprehend that there weren’t online sites spoiling the secrets of the movie before it came out, or fans who saw the movie and immediately shared the secrets to their friends online.  But that wasn’t the world then, and today’s fans have trouble envisioning that era.

But, I don’t think the BLAIR WITCH property is something that should be abandoned. It did double its reported budget of $5 million on opening weekend and there is an interest in this franchise still, I believe.

The BLAIR WITCH future may be on television, in a series, and losing the found footage/first person POV filming. It may work best as an investigation show, following investigators as they interview townsfolk and investigate the disappearances, allowing the show to delve deep into the folklore and mystery of the Blair Witch.

Will it happen? I have no idea.  I hope it does.  I’m a longtime fan of the franchise, yes even BOOK OF SHADOWS.  But the days of our favorite witch being a viable movie property are over.  Someone call Netflix and get a series ordered!