Hell Fest

Buy the ticket, buy the danger.

A group of teenagers aim to kill some time at an amusement park, but deep inside the establishment lurks a real slasher doing his bloody business under cover of darkness.

Most of the things which jump out at you from the shadows are just there for good-time thrills, but others, well, they come equipped with sharp knives and a severe lack of a conscience.

This is not a classic by any means, but it has a couple of nice jump scares, and a creepily-effective finale, and sometimes that’s enough.

Call me easy, I guess.

Wild Love

Um, yeah, so probably not for the kiddos.

Come to this gnarly man vs. animal slugfest with the right attitude and it’s frequently hilarious.

Don’t, and you’ll probably be the one huddled over in the corner, whispering, “What is wrong with you?”

A lot, apparently.

I don’t want to spoil things, especially for a film which is just a zippy seven minutes, so let’s just set the table like so — a human couple make an error in the woods, and come to regret it. Big time.

Go, enjoy … then prepare your angry emails.

 

Battle Royale

Taboo to mainstream.

What a long, strange trip for this tale of Japanese schoolkids forced to fight to the death on a far-flung island.

The final film from a 40-year career for director Kinji Fukasaku, it predates The Hunger Games novels by almost a decade, and originally could only be seen on often-fuzzy bootleg tapes.

Nowadays, I can just fire up my Roku and find this ripe slice of the ol’ ultraviolence on any of a hundred streaming channels.

Either way, it was, and is, a punch to the gut in a way no PG-13 blockbuster ripoff/homage can ever be.

Alone (2020)

Tired title, decent film.

There are two 2020 movies with the same name, and a brief look at IMDB finds about 12,000 other uses of the title.

The one we’re talking about is a tense thriller found on Hulu.

Keeping things lean-and-mean, it’s mostly a two-character piece, with a creepy dude and an iron-willed woman battling after the former kidnaps the latter.

Things take a turn when the grieving widow busts free, setting up a war of wills (and the occasional handy car jack).

Not going to win any Oscars, but perfect for a lazy afternoon under the blankies on the recliner.

Night Terror

Punch the gas and don’t look back.

Six years after Duel set the standard for the genre, Valerie Harper joins the “being chased by a psycho on the open road” club in this fun 1977 TV movie.

This time out, our heroine witnesses a police officer gunned down on a dark and desolate stretch of highway, then is pursued by the remorseless killer.

Played by Richard Romanus, the bad guy is extra-creepy, the kind of dude who terrorizes greasy spoon waitresses in his spare time, and speaks through a voice box for that added WTF effect.

Buckle up, folks.