Author

Wes Black

Wes Black writes TV that occasionally almost gets made. Almost. He sleeps surrounded by musty old paperbacks, and will likely die in a house fire. You can stay up to date on this by following him on Twitter @cenajorts

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The Shot-on-Video Devolution, Pt. 2

Last week, things got a little out of hand. It all started with the rise of the camcorder trash-auteur—but soon there were woodchipper massacres, black devil dolls from hell, and the carnal delights of an invisible ghost son sexily blowing at his mother’s hair.

You’ll be begging to go back there soon enough.

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The Shot-on-Video Devolution, Pt. 1

In the days before the analog extinction, a most prominent purveyor of physical media emerged. Now a fetishized monument, it was at the time considered by many to be a scourge upon the once proud institutions of the drive-in and the grindhouse. Tumbleweeds rolled across vacant lots once lined with cars—their windows steamed, the vans a-rockin’ while the fleapit movie houses of New York’s 42nd Street were on the docket for Disneyfication. Overtaking their spot atop the movie watching world was the video rental shop. Or, as it was known by the ancients, the video store.

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What Do You Get When You Cross Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Satanism, and Birds With Knives?

Italy: there is perhaps no other country with so rich, so bountiful a culture of the arts. It’s the soil from which opera grew, the birthplace of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Caravaggio, the hub of the fashion world, and it’s the very land where La Rotunda and the Colosseum stand to this very day.

But it’s their inventiveness in the art of the cinematic pseudonym that towers above even the most celebrated of structures. Each finely crafted by the artisans of the industry to soothe the average American with a strongly-rooted aversion to foreigners. To fool one into believing you’re watching a film that is totally not from Italy, we swear.

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A Primer on Defense Against the Demonic Arts

On the list of things that can really put a damper on your day, demons are surely up there. Vomiting, speaking in an extremely deep voice, and being forced to disembowel your friends in a secluded cabin are but a few of the common annoyances a demon can bring into your life. In rare cases, they can even lead to the kissing of Satan’s butthole. To protect yourself from these threats, you must first know your enemy. Which is why I’ve decided to teach this advanced course in demonology.

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Midnight Void: I’m Not Your Wolf Man, Guy

There are films that simply belong to another place—a place reserved for the indefinable, the indefensible, the irredeemable, cinematic slime banished long ago to a dimension that is accessible only in the darkest hours. So leave your humanity behind, embrace the social mutant within, and enter… the Midnight Void.

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How the Australian Government Funded a Wave of Bizarre Horror Films, Embarrassed the Critics, and Kickstarted the Careers of Hollywood Writers

In 1975, Peter Weir’s haunting Picnic at Hanging Rock cast a spell on viewers worldwide; the ambiguous tale lulled its audience into a dreamy haze with the mystery of three schoolgirls vanishing at the titular Hanging Rock. The picture heralded a New Wave of Australian cinema, and local critics were ecstatic to have such a work represent the continent to filmgoers across the globe.

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Midnight Void: Night Train to Terror

God and the Devil share a cabin aboard a train barreling through the night. A Night Train to Terror, if you will. Oh, I almost forgot, in the car up ahead there’s this breakdancing guy in DayGlo sweats. He’s the lead singer of this band, and they only have one song. I know they only have one song because they perform it over and over, and over again. There’s also a saxophone player, he gets a solo at one point. But back to the night train. Its destination could only be one place, a place we know all too well by this point: The Midnight Void.

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Dracula Sucks! Vampires on VRV!

Before you get too excited, this is not a comprehensive critical dissection of Dracula Sucks, the 1978 X-rated adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic, starring “The Elliott Gould of Porn” Jamie Gillis as Count Dracula. But since you’ve already got me talking about it, I need to air the one gripe I have with that movie. You can’t just title your film Dracula Sucks, and then not deliver. I get the intended double entendre, and on the surface it’s clever. But at the end of the day it’s nothing more than an empty promise, and a broken dream.

Now that that’s off my chest, it’s time to move on to the actual topic of the day: Vampires. And not just any vampires. No, this is about vampires who aren’t musty old Dracula, because frankly Dracula sucks —except of course in the movie that’s literally called Dracula Sucks.

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Holiday Hack’em Ups on VRV!

It’s that time of the year again when there isn’t a single holiday worth a damn in sight. July 4th is a distant memory, the fall and winter festivities are a dot on the horizon, and does anybody really care about Labor Day? But hey, it’s always a murder holiday in our hearts, and in the realm of horror, the holidays have long played host to murder…

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Barf Bags Not Included: Italian Zombies Invade VRV!

Zombies: I’m sick of them, you’re sick of them. The only thing that could possibly make me cringe harder than a zombie is a pirate — and if you make a zombie pirate joke, I will stand up and walk away. But it’s not just a mere case of overexposure. They’ve become too safe; they’ve become Sunday night TV with the fam. And zombie movies should be like porn: you watch them alone or with a group of like-minded companions, but never with your family.

Frankly, they belong in the gutter. I like the gutter, you like the gutter. The Italians, they LOVE the gutter. Pick any disreputable film genre, and the Italians have not only dragged it down into the gutter, but tossed a bucket of maggots on top and bathed it in an overturned port-a-potty. They’re a beautiful people.

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Midnight Void: I Drink Your Blood

Hippies, man, with their crummy homemade deodorants and annoying bongos and jam bands with songs that never end (and don’t even get me started on the various hemp products). You know what happens to hippies in The Midnight Void? They get rabies. That’s right, and if you’ve never seen a hippy with rabies, well then that means you’ve never seen…

I Drink Your Blood

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Habit Forming, Mind Controlling, Life Absorbing: The Films of Larry Cohen on VRV!

Larry Cohen is a genre unto himself. A movie is no longer horror, comedy, action, or thriller when Larry Cohen is involved, it’s simply a Larry Cohen film. Who is Larry Cohen? Why do I insist on writing “Larry Cohen” over and over?

Larry Cohen is a writer. Larry Cohen is a producer. Larry Cohen is a director. Often, but not always, Larry Cohen is all three at once. Starting out in television in the early 1960s, he created The Invaders, Branded, and Coronet Blue (which heavily inspired The Bourne Identity), while simultaneously cranking out scripts for the top shows of the era, such as The Defenders and The Fugitive. In 1972 he made his directorial debut with Bone aka Dial Rat for Terror, a scorching racial satire about a black thief/rapist invading the home of an upper-class white family in Beverly Hills. It also contains a scene where someone slips on a banana peel.

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Midnight Void – Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou

Canada: a country best known for its free Medicare, hunky Prime Minister, maple syrup porn, and, during the ’70s and ’80s, a much-abused film industry tax incentive program that sent The Great White North spiraling into a little place we like to call… The Midnight Void.

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So Your Child Has Been Possessed: The VRV Guide to Possessed Children in Film

Kids are the worst: they’re shrill, dangerously uncoordinated, easily bored, and don’t always poop in the toilet. So who has the patience to deal with one that’s been possessed? Certainly not you, that’s for sure. Thankfully we at VRV are the leading experts in the field of possessed children, and are here to guide you through — or even help you avoid — the often trying predicament that is your already horrible kid being possessed.

Okay, so legal has just informed me that I’m required to share the following:

VRV, VRVBLOG, and its parent company Ellation Inc holds no expertise or authority, nor provides any services in the fields of possession, children, or possessed children. We do, however, have several programs featuring possessed children available for you to stream with your Premium subscription.

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Midnight Void: Raw Force

Never trust brochures. Don’t open them, and if you do open one, don’t read it. If you see one lying in the street, just leave it there to be run over. Why this hatred and distrust of brochures? Let me tell you about Mike from the Burbank Karate Club. He read the brochure for this place called Warrior’s Island, which claimed to be where “monks raise dead martial artists from the grave.” What the brochure failed to add is that the only reason these monks have this power is because they lock nude women up in bamboo cages, slather them in BBQ sauce, and eat them. It also neglected to mention that the women come from a man with a Hitler mustache who sells them in exchange for wicker baskets full of “uncut, AA-grade” jade.

But back to Mike and how his belief in brochures ensnared him and his fellow karate clubmates in a web of cannibalism, kung fu, and kung fu zombies. It’s a story for the ages. A story depicted in the film Raw Force, one that could only exist here, in the Midnight Void…

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Midnight Void – 1990: The Bronx Warriors

The film scholars who have long touted neorealism as Italian cinema’s golden age are nothing more than the perpetrators of a lie. The masterminds behind a grand deceit meant to distract you from the true golden age of Italian cinema: the age of the rip-off. From roughly the late 1960s through the 1980s, a shameless wave of sleaze-coated copycats splattered the silver screen.

For Conan the Barbarian fans, please allow me to (not) recommend Ator, the Fighting Eagle. Did Jaws make you afraid of the water? Well, Cruel Jaws will make you afraid of ever watching Cruel Jaws again. The late, anti-great Bruno Mattei — agent of chaos that he was — once directed an Aliens knock-off and called it Terminator 2.

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For Sale (It Haunted): A Listing of Haunted House Films on Shudder

We’ve all been there. You find the perfect place: spacious, high ceilings, swimming pool. Sure, it’s a little pricy, but perfection doesn’t come cheap. The only catch: your realtor forgot to tell you it was built atop a Native American burial ground that was also the site of a tragic quadruple murder-suicide-black magic ritual. Before you know it, the kitchenware is floating down the hall, your TV is demanding a blood sacrifice, and an unfriendly spirit has taken to watching you on the john.

It’s the worst.

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Midnight Void: Silent Rage

There are films on Shudder that simply belong to another place, a place reserved for the indefinable, the indefensible, the irredeemable. Cinematic slime banished long ago to a dimension that’s only to be visited at the midnight hour. So leave your humanity behind, embrace the social mutant within, and enter the Midnight Void…

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Altered Beasts: When Animals Attack on VRV!

An insidious entity lurks within the dark recesses of VRV. An unholy apparition, an indescribable thing from the depths. Ancient texts — inked in blood and bound in flesh — prophesied its arrival. They called it…Shudder, the premier human-curated horror streaming service, its vast catalog of films waiting to be unleashed upon humanity like a plague.

Terrifying, no? But that’s why I’m here: to guide you down the shadowy corridors, holding a cobweb-covered candelabra up to one horror sub-genre at a time. So join me, join me and gaze at the horrors of… When Animals Attack!