Regular readers know that I have a penchant for schlocky horror movies. Knowing this fact well, Audre Myers, a regular contributor at Nebraska Energy Observer and a frequent commenter on this site, e-mailed me last week with a recommendation to check out Shudder, the horror streaming service. She isn’t the first to recommend the service—a colleague of mine has been singing the service’s praises for several months, but I kept putting it off for the same reason folks are slow to subscribe to my SubscribeStar page: whenever I thought to sign up, I didn’t have the time to do so.
Regardless, Audre sent along a YouTube video by Jade The Libra, a woman dressed like a witch and talking about which stores tend to put out their Halloween decorations first. Jade is some kind of Shudder affiliate, and entering promo code “JADE” gives new subscribers a free month of the service.
With that enticement—and without the lame excuse of lacking time—I signed up for the annual membership. Since subscribing (just about five days ago), I have pretty much only watched Shudder. If I weren’t paying a mere $2.15 a month for Hulu—and sharing it with three or four family members—I’d probably drop it entirely in favor of Shudder. After all, other than Bob’s Burgers, I pretty much only watch horror and thriller films on Hulu (as well as plenty of weird sci-fi flicks).
But I digress. That cloying endorsement of Shudder is my long way of introducing the subject of this week’s Monday Morning Movie Review, which is the second flick I viewed on the service. The film is 1960’s The City of the Dead (known as Horror Hotel in the United States—I like the original title better), a story about a coven of witches who have taken over the town of Whitewood, Massachusetts.
Thanks to Audre Myers at Nebraska Energy Observer and the documentary Missing 411, I’ve become interested in Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Yeti, etc., etc.—cryptid humanoid megafauna of various stripes. I’m not sure if they exist, but I’m open to the possibility. Indeed, I want to believe they are out there, wandering in the deepest forests of North America, living their secretive, hairy lives.
So I was quite interested to watch the Hulu series Sasquatch, a three-part true-crime documentary about an alleged Bigfoot attack in Northern California in 1993. The attack left three Mexican migrants dead on a pot farm, with their murders unsolved to this day. Indeed, it seems (from the documentary) that the murders were never actually reported to the authorities.
Let me say up front: while the documentary was quite good, it was incredibly disappointing: an egregious example of bait-and-switch.
When I was in college, I formed this ridiculous pseudo-band with a suitemate of mine (who has, apparently, now gone down some dark roads) called Blasphemy’s Belt, which my bio on another band’s website refers to as an “electro-pop humor duo.” I can’t remember how we came up with the name—our music wasn’t particularly or purposefully blasphemous (or good), and while we wore belts, they weren’t outrageous (just to keep our pants up)—but it was apparently catchy enough that people picked up on it.
The Belt never performed live, other than for an annoyed roommate, and a highly grating pop-up concert (at least, that’s what hipsters would call it nowadays) on our floor’s study room, but we generated enough buzz to get people to vote for us in a “Best of Columbia” survey in The Free Times. We didn’t win anything, but it was an object lesson in how enough hype can make people believe you have substance when you really don’t.