Simon Alderwick watches and shares his thoughts on the gruesome pick and mix of horror movies available on Shudder. This week he looks at Heathers, A Nightmare Wakes, The Mummy and The Queen of Black Magic.
What to say about Heathers (1988)? All I will say is you have to watch this movie. It’s awesome. Not enough? OK, it’s a black comedy about teenage suicide, coercive relationships, popularity and peer pressure. If it wasn’t for the steady string of laughs it would be too bleak to endure, but with the gallows humour it becomes a razor sharp satire of some of the darkest aspects of modern society, if anything more relevant now than when it was made.
I wanted to enjoy A Nightmare Wakes (2017), a period piece based on Mary Shelley. If you like Bridgerton and Downtown Abbey, and if you’re scared of your own shadow, maybe you’ll enjoy it. I found myself looking up Mary Shelley on Wikipedia. Turns out she wrote Frankenstein (that’s a joke – I already knew that, but I didn’t know much more about her). Having watched the film I still know very little about her, as I fell asleep halfway through, although that is probably more to do with the beers I was consuming than the slow build tension the film was serving.
The Mummy is a British Hammer Horror film from 1959. It’s the first Hammer Horror film I’ve seen and I thought it was really cool. It has a great storyline which draws you in. I thought the backstory was a bit explainy by today’s standards (a flashback to ancient Egypt midway through the film), but overall it was a great experience and I’ll definitely be catching up on more Hammer Horror classics.
The Queen of Black Magic (2021) is an Indonesian supernatural horror. You know when your car hits a deer, whilst driving on a remote backroad, as you take your wife and kids to the orphanage you were brought up in, that you are in for a bad time. The orphanage turns out to be creepy as fuck, and the tension builds over the first 40 minutes of the film. The next 40 minutes offers scares at a pace that is almost overwhelming. The finale is brutal, almost epic, leaving you exhilarated if not altogether queasy. If you can handle creepy crawlies, gore and witchcraft, this is a nail biting, skin crawling experience, executed in style and delivered with knockout precision.
Simon Alderwick is a poet and songwriter from the UK. His work is featured or forthcoming in Whatever Keeps The Light On, Re-side and the Squiffy Gnu anthology, among others. Follow him on Twitter @SimonAlderwick.