SCREAMING AT READY OR NOT!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! Hope you’re doin’ well and beatin’ this summer heat with some well-deserved downtime watchin’ scary flicks at your local air-conditioned theater. That’s what we’ve been doin’ after all! In fact, we just got back from watchin’ a 5/5 treat we didn’t expect to like so much, Ready or Not.

When we first saw this flick advertised, we didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. It looked like a bland period piece and felt a little hackneyed with that tired ol’ Most Dangerous Game plot with folks huntin’ other folks for sport. But then a trailer was released showin’ characters in cars and on their cell phones which clued us in this is a modern story, and we caught wind Stephen King was singin’ its praises. So, our rowdy gang of misfits headed for the big-screen for what would turn out to be the best weddin’ horror flick we’ve ever seen!

The plot’s as follows. Grace marries Alex, the estranged son of board game barons, at his family’s estate, but as soon as they say, “I do,” she’s hurried into a weddin’ tradition where new members of the family are initiated by playin’ somethin’ like game roulette. The family reveals through some convoluted backstory how they came into their fortune thanks to a satanic box or somethin’ an ancestor won in a gamble forever ago, and some deal with the devil was struck. In return for their fortune (and their lives), new spouses have to play a randomly selected game on their weddin’ night. Some joke ’bout havin’ played checkers or Old Maid for their initiations, but Grace unfortunately ends up with hide-and-seek which turns out to be devil code for sacrifice. Grace eventually gets a clue she’s in actual danger durin’ the game and spends the rest of the movie fleein’ her satanist in-laws who believe they need to kill her to avoid their own death by mornin’.

Full of fun tension, Ready or Not hits on all pistons with escalatin’ dangers, solid characters, dark humor, thoughtful cinematography, and went above and beyond any expectations we had for it. It’s still the tired ol’ Most Dangerous Game plot essentially, yeah, but the satanist detail really adds somethin’ special with the whole movie keepin’ us on the edge of our seat regardin’ Grace’s fate while wonderin’ if the demonic dealin’s are real or a bunch of hookum. You know it’s a great movie when any endin’ you imagine happenin’ feels equally satisfyin’.  The only thin’ sweeter is Grace bein’ played by Samara Weaving, who honestly should’ve been ‘nough reason for us to run our asses to the theater to begin with.

Samara Weaving first made our radar with her head-turnin’ performance as the killer bombshell in Netflix’s The Babysitter then caught our attention again when she played a memorable deadite casualty in the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead (which someone wrongfully used her gory behind the scene photos as fake evidence of violence at President Trump rallies to stir online controversy). Followin’ those notable acts with a kick-ass performance as a rage fueled woman out for blood in Mayhem, we knew she was securin’ a foothold in the horror genre as its next superstar. After seein’ her stretch her actin’ range to include a final girl who can compete with Carrie White in a horrific fashion show by the end of Ready or Not, it’s clear she’s destined for hall of famer status. Killer, victim, fighter, last girl . . . is there any horror role this gal can’t tackle?!

So, to wrap this love letter up, go seek Ready or Not! It’s a perfect date night movie, there’s plenty of dark humor without it feelin’ stupid for a gang of friends to laugh at, and Samara Weaving is well worth the ticket price alone!!

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

SCREAMING AT SCARY STORIES WITH MANDY!

mandyside copy

Do you want to hear a scary story?

When someone asks that question, the undeniable desire to say yes goes deeper than DNA. Something integral to most souls screams at the darkness and anxiously awaits a response to confirm the horrors we’ve always known are there. The filmmakers behind Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark skillfully explore that timeless concept, and they use the most effective medium known to man: a motley crew of captivating kids.

From The Goonies to Stranger Things, there’s nothing like coming-of-age angst to fuel an adventure, and the Scary Stories ensemble definitely has the “It” factor . . . lovable outcasts with believable quirks. This movie may not resonate with some genre fans who’ve set the meter to one extreme or another—either “Goosebumps” or hardcore horror. The viewer has the feeling that everything is going to be okay, so we’re safe on this ride, but it still takes us through the twists and tunnels of the scariest place of all, our childhood imagination.

I recently watched a documentary on the Scary Stories book series, which is a straightforward presentation of short stories that have been retold in assorted iterations across many cultures and generations. You probably can’t name the writer, because he never became wildly famous, but you’re familiar with one who provided commentary on his work: R.L. Stine. Ironically, like the Scary Stories screenwriters and director, Stine chose to fictionalize and build on the influences of folklore, and that usually is better for the bank account. The original book might have thrived as a nonfiction work for adults had it included all the research the documentary revealed the author had conducted on versions and details of the stories. Of course, the books became infamous, as they were banned from school libraries; in one way or another, their legends outlived the author who collected them.

I mention this because Scary Stories ultimately is a writer’s movie. As in numerous Stephen King classics, the main character aspires to a literary life, but first, Stella, the plucky protagonist, well played by Zoe Margaret Colletti, will have to fight for her actual life as she and her friends discover the real story behind a myth and learn that humans can be monsters.

The film is set in the Vietnam era and uses industrialism, racism, and other timely issues simply as effective context for the characters. Perhaps one of the reasons the movie is both appropriate for the PG-13 demographic and a great summertime escape for adults is that the writers brilliantly avoid personal political and social statements. The moral of the story is a commentary on the importance of telling the right story and not allowing complacency or fear to necessarily perpetuate some of the tales we’ve been told to believe.

If someone asks you to go see this “Scary Story,” say yes!

-Mandy

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

SCREAMING AT THE CHILD’S PLAY LOOPHOLE!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! It’s your favorite animated horror hosts to the end, and we just got back from watchin’ the newest slap in the face from Hollywood, Child’s Play. We feel guilty supportin’ this unnecessary reboot with our hard earned tokens while the original series and its creators are still hard at work producin’ content starrin’ our favorite serial killin’ doll, but this is too weird of a parallel property struggle we had to witness.

See, the first Child’s Play flick was produced by MGM, and the rest of the series from Child’s Play 2 through Cult of Chucky were by Universal which is why you normally see a bunch of box sets missin’ the movie that started it all. So, while Universal keeps the money train rollin’ with non-stop sequels, MGM’s bear huggin’ a piece of that cash cow with their rights to the original. We guess with horror’s recent swing back into killer doll horror with the Annabelle movies and Chucky’s continuin’ success, MGM got the bright idea to get back in on the action with some legal loopholes that allows them to potentially spin their own parallel Chucky movie(s) based on the one flick they have rights to. Boggles the mind, we know, but in a world where everything’s got 20 versions of itself available at once with ’em all bein’ rehashed every couple of years, is it any real surprise?

Anyway, as legal as it may be (much to the dismay of Chucky creator Don Mancini), MGM must still be ‘fraid of potential lawsuits or somethin’, ’cause they decided to start at ground zero and loosely redo the original Child’s Play, nixin’ a lot of Mancini’s material to make their copyright version more their own so not to step on Universal’s toes or confuse simple minded fans which Chucky’s bein’ promoted. MGM guts all of the hoodoo voodoo that traps a foul mouth serial killer’s soul in a hunk of rubber, and replaces it with busted technology to explain a kid’s toy killin’ folks. This absolutely works for differentiatin’ the two franchises, but completely backfires as a movie bankin’ on fans wantin’ to see a Chucky movie.

The original series is such a guilty pleasure to watch ’cause Brad Dourif brings this manic energy to Chucky’s weirdo predicament as a pissed off psycho stuck in a Good Guy Doll, superchargin’ him with a humorously dark personality that’s one of the most developed ‘mong horror movie slashers. When you remove that human element, however, there’s nothin’ left but the gimmick, and that’s what happens with MGM’s artificial facelift of the icon.

‘stead of an off-color character fightin’ to be human ‘gain, Chucky’s now a busted robo-doll with a malfunctionin’ Siri for a brain that gets its wires crossed watchin’ kids laugh at Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and kills anyone who threatens its young owner’s happiness or their friendship. No self awareness, sinister undertones, vulgar commentary, gritty dialogue, desperate motivations . . . MGM reduced Chucky to a soulless piece of machinery that’s simply on the fritz like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey thanks to a suicidal factory worker shippin’ the doll out with all its computer’s safety measures switched off. We were excited when news broke Mark Hamill was voicin’ this version of Chucky, knowin’ his years playin’ the Joker for numerous Batman cartoons could rival Dourif’s vocal stamp on the character, but even he wasn’t ‘nough to elevate Chucky -2.0. Not his fault, of course. He performed MGM’s flat version of Chucky accordingly and was only allowed a split second to slip some Joker in their at the very end.

Regardless of our criticisms, however, we did leave the theater with the opinion this is a good movie overall. Now, don’t misunderstand – it sucks balls as a Child’s Play movie, but has a decently strong ‘nough story that it really should have been its own thin’ with a new horror villain. Rather than slappin’ Chucky’s mug on this for a gaurantee pay day at the expense of his fans, the filmmakers should have themed this after one of them ro-bears at the end of the movie and made the movie a horror spin on Teddy Ruxpin ‘stead of the My Buddy doll.

We know y’all wanna read more of what we got to say ’bout this flick, but this blog’s gettin’ to be as long as a college essay, and we’ve gotta get back to animatin’ the next excitin’ episode of Screaming Soup!. But ’cause we care ’bout ya, here’s our bite-size review of the movie we posted in our R-Rated Review blog earlier this week!

CHILD’S PLAY (2019)

When Andy’s given a factory busted robo-doll named Chucky for his birthday, the toy’s malfunctionin’ iPhone for a brain copies what it sees in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and assassinates anyone it sees as a threat to their artificial friendship. A reimaginin’ of the ’88 horror classic featurin’ a serial killer’s spirit trapped in a My Buddy spoof, this legal loophole of a film ixnays all the hoodoo voodoo in favor of technophobia with the killer ankle biter now written as a confused robot linked with surroundin’ devices it can sic on folks. I think this is a solid movie overall and should really be a vehicle for introductin’ an all new horror villain ‘stead of recyclin’ Chuck for an easy payday. Especially since this robo-Chucky is never self-aware, leavin’ it devoid of any personality or grit that made the original psycho-doll so much fun to watch. The only sour I have to bitch ’bout is the horrible castin’ regardin’ age range, ’cause Andy looks way too old for this toy, and the chemistry between him and his youthful lookin’ mama feels more like siblin’s than parent and child. Cat stranglin’, dissin’ palybacks, bone snappin’, wrong uses of the word “poetic,” stabbin’s, massacred heads, several E.T. nods, killer drones, self-drivin’ car wrecks, pervy maintenance guys, table saws up the crotch, robotic operations, gift-wrapped watermelon’s decorated with cheatin’ lovers’ faces, dead cats, hacked TV bashin’, killer doll vision, kidnapped milfs, fatal freefalls, extremely disgruntled factory workers, retail store massacres, doll lynch mobs, small armies of killer dolls, and Mark Hamill slips into Joker for the briefest second at the very end! 3/5! 

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

SCREAMING AT GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! If any of y’all were ’round to experience the ’90s, one of the biggest letdowns that decade was America’s blockbuster spin on one of Japan’s biggest properties, Godzilla. We here at Screaming Soup! always thought it was a fine movie overall, but we’re far from G-Man fanatics and credit that film’s rockin’ soundtrack for the majority of our fandom it earned. The die hard Godzilla fans, however, simply disliked the drastic change in the big guy’s design, felt he was stripped of all his kingly mannerisms includin’ his signature nuke breath, and hated how he died like a bitch from common army artillery.

It wasn’t ’til 2014 America got ‘nother swing at bringin’ the atomic lizard to the big screen and hit a lot closer to home. This time, the titular behemoth looked like Godzilla, stomped like Godzilla, and even fought other monsters of city crushin’ girth like Godzilla. The only sour for me was how much time was spent with the piss ants runnin’ ’round beneath him. We’re all for some human sideline stories for a sense of perspective, mind ya, but everytime a monster fight broke out, the filmmakers kept cuttin’ to folks tryin’ to survive the collateral damage. Let’s not kid ourselves here. We don’t buy tickets for an IMAX 3D experience watchin’ dirty face actors emote. We buy ’em to see larger than life CGI pixels beat the ever livin’ tar out of each other!

That said, we hurried to the theater earlier (minus Mandy, ’cause she didn’t wanna feel bad seein’ made-up animals whoop up on each other like it’s cock fightin’) and grabbed ourselves a front row seat to see just how much America improved on their last ’bout with Godzilla, and we were not disappointed to say the least! Here’s what we had to say in our R-Rated Review Blog:

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019)

When a scientist builds a fancy bird caller to yap it up with the world’s biggest critters, she manipulates them to wreck the planet in the name of cosmic balance. Things get out of hand, however, ’cause the three-headed dragon Ghidorah’s starts callin’ the shots, and it’s up to Godzilla and a monster stalkin’ organization to restore the natural order. Arguably the best Godzilla flick yet, it definitely blows the other two American attempts at capturin’ Japan’s biggest mon-star outta the water. Lotta kaiju brawlin’, epic globe trottin’, and a cast of root-worthy humans perfectly co-existin’ with impressive special effects exhibitin’ genuine girth. Godzilla vs Ghidorah vs Rodan vs Mothra, volcanic entrances, maybe the lost city of Atlantis, gift wrapped nukes, atomic booms, plane crashes, in-flight ejection meals, two miles worth of dead fish, stormy body odor, nuke beams, three-way dragon’s breath, regeneratin’ appendages, Fenway Park chaos, metamorphosis, wolves devourin’ a dead buck, King Kong references galore, history lesson wall art galore, submarine rescue missions, 3-4 background beasts of city stompin’ size, and Blue Oyster Cult’s tune is finally used in a Godzilla flick! 5/5! 

We strongly recommend ya to see this on the biggest screen with the meanest surround sound you can find, Scream Freaks!

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

SCREAMING AT PET SEMATARY!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! While we’re hard at work animatin’ the next episode of Screaming Soup! ’til our hands are ’bout to literally fall off, we still tear ourselves away long ‘nough to check out the latest horror flicks hittin’ the big scream. Last week, we decided to indulge in a tub of popcorn and buckets of beer while watchin’ the newest Stephen King flick to be recycled, Pet Sematary.

For those out of the loop, King claims Pet Sematary is the scariest novel he’s ever written usin’ events from his own life as inspiration. Like all his books, Pet Sematary was adapted into a 1989 movie followed by a sequel that was a total product of Hollywood King washed his hands of. In nutshell, every Pet Sematary is ’bout a family movin’ to a remote home next to a cursed Indian burial ground. When loved ones start dyin’, a family member finds out the land can resurrect the dead, and tries bringin’ everyone back with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, folks come back different with a mean homicidal streak.

Full confession, half of us here at Screaming Soup! never watched the original flick from ’89. We’ve had a copy of it collectin’ dust on the shelf for years now but never made the effort to check it out. Mainly ’cause we always compared its ankle bitin’ killer to Chucky which is a stupid reason not to watch what so many people told us is the scariest movie they’ve ever seen, but that’s how our fucked up noodles work. Plus, we saw the sequel with the kid from Terminator 2 which we’re big fans of, and didn’t think a possessed little boy story could compete. But with the arrival of the newest take on the film in the wake of Stephen King redux, we finally tried to make a movie night out of it, but Mandy’s got her hang ups ’bout animal deaths, and those of us who already saw it were too scared to watch it again. No shit!

So, we went into the newest Pet Sematary as novice without any thoughts or feelin’s for the original distractin’ us from judgin’ how good or bad it is.

When a doctor’s daughter is taken from him by high speed textin’ and drivin’, he refuses to say good-bye and uses cursed Indian grounds behind his house to resurrect her with violent consequences. This remake essentially follows the same beats as the ’89 Pet Sematary but is a bizarro version with most situations and actions flipped to keep it “unexpected.” We think the film looks great and has a compellin’ cast of actors that includes a talented pussy cat who proves practical pets are scarier than any CGI critter, but the whole thin’ of characters bein’ haunted by ghosts from their pasts feels too disconnected from the plot, and the pacin’ of the family’s reunion with their daughter seems rushed ‘stead of impactful. A decent 3/5 watch overall, but not good ‘nought to wanna see it again anytime soon.

While we still haven’t seen the original Pet Sematary (which will change sooner than later), we are familiar with its theme song by the Ramones we included in our Howl-Inn Grub & Spirits Jukebox Playlist. It’s different, catchy, and makes for a hell of a karaoke song if ya ever get the chance to sing it at the bar the next time ya go out for drinks. We’re bringin’ this ol’ diddy up, ’cause even this got a remake by a band called Starcrawler which has been gettin’ mixed reviews. It’s not radically different and is okay at best, but what do y’all think?

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

SCREAMING AT IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS PROMOS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! We’ve been busier than Crystal Lake undertakers ’round here and for good reason! After we spent last week remindin’ ya’ll ’bout In Search of Darkness, the definitive documentary on ’80s horror, the fine folks behind this highly anticipated factoid flick hit us up with a butt load of sneak peeks and promoted us from sideline cheerleaders to official promoters! Yessir, armed with a bunch of stills and video snippets of interviews with some of horror’s hottest talents, we eagerly got to work preppin’ it for public consumption like only the web’s #1 animated horror hosts can.

Obviously, we aren’t the only online talent contacted for generatin’ buzz ’round this project, so we knew we needed to stand out from the other promoters throwin’ this stuff up on their YouTube channels. Most uploaded the videos the exact same way they were delivered to them, some added an openin’ message explainin’ the documentary to their fans, and others mix different promos together in the same post to hook viewers with a one-stop vid that saves them the trouble of huntin’ for everythin’. We decided to be more interactive than that, and with the filmmakers’ blessin’, hacked the promos up for our own animated presentation that’s in a league of its own.

With the final push for the documentary’s IndieGoGo campaign endin’ next week, we had to be quick on our feet and think of a comedic formula that merged the interview clips with our show in a way we could promote the documentary while havin’ good hearted fun at the interviewee’s expense. After hurlin’ heaps of spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, our first animated promos can be found below with us kickin’ our boots up to Jeffrey Combs and flippin hat over spurs for the beautiful Barbara Crampton. These will be followed by us hecklin’ more insightful conversations in the next day or so with Keith David, Joe Bob Briggs, and the Angry Video Game Nerd. Thanks again to the In Search of Darkness crew for allowin’ us to do this. Enjoy!

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

SCREAMING AT IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! While shyin’ away from all the mama drama stalker flicks definin’ 2019 as late, we’ve been hard at work creatin’ more content while findin’ new ways to network our show to a wider audience. One of these attempts was answerin’ an open call for interviews bein’ requested for an in depth factoid flick claimin’ to be the definitive ’80s documentary of horror, In Search of Darkness.

When we first saw the trailer advertisin’ this project’s Kickstarter last year, sweet sugar pumpkins, we were hooked! If this sample is a genuine taste of what’s to come, we’d be stupid to pass up the chance at bein’ part of somethin’ the horror community’s so enthusiastic ’bout, they gave the filmmakers nearly four times the budget they asked for to finish it! Packin’ in as much material as they can from ’80-’89, the filmmakers are coverin’ all the bases with commentary on horror’s significance to the VHS boom, its unforgettable poster art, and nods to movies as obscure as Xtro to mainstream hits like Friday the 13th. Obviously, there’s goin’ to be interviews, and this ambitious crew’s been proudly updatin’ their followers with a slew of interviews they scored with horror hall-o-fame directors, actors, effects wizards, and even a handful of today’s influencers like us.

Yup, famous online commentators on yesteryear’s horror like the Angry Video Game Nerd and GoodBadFlicks have been officially announced as part of the documentary’s line-up of talkin’ heads, and fangs crossed, we’ll be joinin’ them! After hittin’ up the documentary’s production company, CreatorVC Studios, for what to do, they fired us a list of burnin’ questions we answered in our own animated way. For y’all’s entertainment (’cause even if it’s accepted, there’s no chance it’ll all be used), enjoy our insightful and uncut interview we submitted to the fine people behind In Search of Darkness.

Now, while In Search of Darkness ain’t due for a few months, there’s still a lot you can gain by visitin’ their IndieGoGo page. Ya get all the gritty details for release dates and which talents’ faces they crammed with a camera, and find plenty of deals and opportunities for perks that include early bird digital releases, posters, t-shirts, and even producer credits. Find it all here at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-search-of-darkness#/

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

For all you fearmakers out there workin’ on your next scary feature, remember to shoot it our way as an entry in our Scream Freak Film Contest! Three winners will be reviewed in our 50th episode and promoted to all the Scream Freaks lookin’ for the next big thing Hollywood’s too scared to capitalize on. The deadline is open ’til we publish our 49th episode!

SCREAMING AT ESCAPE ROOM FLICKS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! If you’re claustrophobic, hate riddles, or rather gargle glass than solve puzzles, then you probably ain’t a fan of escape room attractions. Seems to be one of the biggest fads of the 21st century so far, and their numbers continue to grow ‘cross the world as more and more yahoos get their kicks payin’ strangers to lock them in a room with clues that will supposedly release them before a set deadline. It doesn’t take a lot to imagine this scenario as a perfect set-up for a horror movie, and plenty of filmmakers have done just that with varyin’ degrees of success. Makes us wonder how this whole craze got started . . .

At first, we thought Saw might have inspired it all with its story ’bout two guys chained in a gloomy basement full of clues that could help them escape. That’s what we instantly thought of, at least, the first time someone explained what an escape room was to us years ago. To our surprise, however, the origin of escape rooms actually stems from video games.

Blindly throwin’ our trust into the fallible resources of wikipedia, seems the concept of an escape room was first conceived ’round the late ’80s with escape-the-room themed computer games. These point and click adventures then blew up in 1993 with the arrival of the CD-ROM Myst games which took the buddin’ sub-genre a major leap forward with fully interactive puzzle solvin’ environments players could immerse themselves in. From what little research we’re willin’ to do, we can’t find any evidence these games influenced Saw‘s story, which the filmmakers claim was actually inspired by their limited resources, but the similarities Saw shares with escape rooms is there. Regardless, we still think Saw had to have partly stirred some folks’ interests in escape rooms as a pastime, and help develop it from TV and computer screens to a live-action experience.

Escape rooms really started catchin’ on toward the late 2000s as small business and megachain corporations alike were exploitin’ this novel attraction. To compete and stand out from other escape room businesses, companies kept tryin’ to up the ante with more interactive puzzles and crazy themes gamers could pretend to escape; prisons, mummy’s tombs, locked down labs with actors playin’ hungry zombies on chains – you get the picture. It was without question escape rooms would eventually become their own sub-genre of horror, remindin’ audiences of booby trapped escape flicks like the Cube trilogy, the Saw series, and maybe even The Collector movies.

With the premier of the newest escape room flick, Escape Room (such an original title ain’t it?), we’d like to share what few escape room horrors we’ve seen up to this point to compare this newest movie to.

ESCAPE ROOM (2017)

If you take all the grit and twists out of SAW, you get this flick ’bout a rich bunch of yahoos celebratin’ a friend’s birthday in a hush hush escape room that turns out to be some sicko’s unfair game of elaborate booby traps. This film looks amazin’ and boasts some creative kills, but there’s a major lack of tension ’til the last half of the movie, and the endin’ falls flatter than street pizza with accusations and/or reveals that go over my skull. Blind trust birthdays, folks guillotined in the vents, complex puzzle solvin’, crushed wrists, acid shower make-out scenes, caged nudies, stabbin’s, and poisonin’s! 3/5!   

NO ESCAPE ROOM (2018)

A travelin’ daddy daughter duo check into a small town’s escape room with other tourists for fun but eventually figure out they’re all stuck in some haunted time travel experiment with a ghost or somethin’ after them that’s never really explained enough. This is one of them frustratin’ kind of Syfy movies that has a lot of promise but ultimately drops the ball with the escalation of danger draggin’ its feet, scenes spinnin’ its wheels with the same ol’ actions, and me not understandin’ the exact nature of who or whatever’s after the players. Not a bad movie, but you may as well watch folks escape those Cube movies for a more satisfyin’ story. Guts full of keys, severed toilet bowl hands, creepy corpses, offscreen creatures, shadow people, hidden clues, haunted houses, time loops, time travel, ventilation crawlin’, blood drippin’, ghosts I think, calls from the future, hangin’s, wet sirens that are really chain entanglin’ gears, A-Ha paintin’s, time trippin’ restrooms, yanked fingernails, and never drink the complimentary tea! 3/5!

ESCAPE ROOM (2019)

Like nearly every other escape room movie I’ve ever seen, a gang of strangers are mysteriously invited to escape six puzzle rooms for money, but learn soon enough the danger is real, and they gotta be smart or be dead before time runs out. The difference between this and all the other Saw inspired knock-offs, however, is this flick has an ass-load of money behind it and elevates the scope and tension of the rooms and their traps like I’ve never seen before, easily makin’ this the best escape room themed flick I’ve seen to date. That said, as wildly creative as the rooms are, the deaths aren’t anythin’ memorable, even with an all-star cast keepin’ you on the edge of your seat with their performances. Oven baked rooms, freezin’ wilderness simulations, explodin’ ice, upside down bars, musical floors, electric shock paddle deaths, gassed infirmaries, bullets to the head, crushin’ walls, ball trippin’ rooms, needle stickin’, fatal freefalls, and stabbin’s! 4/5!

Reads like the same story over and over again, don’t it? Guess somethin’ with this simplistic of a plot can only have so many outcomes, which burdens the actin’ and creativity behind the danger with how successful one of these flicks can be.

Now, as far as we know, of all the escape rooms reported ’round the world, there’s only been one recorded incident that resulted in a death, and that was just a few weeks ago. An escape room in Poland had a gas leak and five 15-year-old girls suffocated in a fire 1/4/2019. While it’s not the work of some psychopath, these deaths still created a shockwave through the escape room community (specifically Poland) regardin’ safety hazards, and several have been shut down after failin’ inspections.

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

For all you fearmakers out there workin’ on your next scary feature, remember to shoot it our way as an entry in our Scream Freak Film Contest! Three winners will be reviewed in our 50th episode and promoted to all the Scream Freaks lookin’ for the next big thing Hollywood’s too scared to capitalize on. The deadline is open ’til we publish our 49th episode!

And remember to deface your calendars for Screaming Soup!’s first official convention appearance at Mad Monster Party Carolina Feb. 22-24 2019 where you can meet and greet the talents behind your favorite animated horror host show for free autographs!

See ya later, Scream Freaks!

 

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