Links with top notes of nightmare and mystery
Count down the 12 days to Halloween with these recent horror flicks from local filmmakers.
The latest from prolific producers and crowd-funders Michael and Sunny Mahal, Bloodthirst features their usual combination of recognizable B-movie stars alongside local performers. Shot entirely at the Nelson ghost town, it’s a post-apocalyptic thriller about a nomadic hunter (Costas Mandylor) taking down a clan of ravenous vampires. Longtime local director Michael Su puts together a cross between Mad Max and From Dusk Till Dawn, with Tara Reid as the scarlet-clad vampire queen. Available October 31 on DVD and for digital rental/purchase.
Kelly Schwarze has been making movies in Vegas for more than two decades, and he continues his foray into horror with Darkest of Lies, a slow-burn psychological thriller about a couple whose new house may be home to an evil presence. It’s also possible that combat veteran and recovering addict Travis (Christopher Brown) is just paranoid and unstable, unable to handle his lawyer wife (Hailee Lipscomb) working long hours at her new firm. Schwarze keeps things ominous and uncertain as Travis slowly becomes more unhinged. Streaming for free with ads on Tubi and the Roku Channel.
Filmmaker Dutch Marich has single-handedly put his hometown of Ely on the cinematic map, and the first Horror in the High Desert garnered acclaim from The New York Times and NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. The sequel, Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva is even more polished, expertly emulating the style of true-crime documentaries to tell the story of the title character (Solveig Helene), who disappears from her makeshift trailer home in rural Nevada. Marich makes the story seem disturbingly real, juxtaposing matter-of-fact interviews with freaky found footage. Streaming for free with ads on Tubi, and available for digital rental/purchase.
The second feature film directed by professional special effects artist and Boulder City Monster Museum owner Tom Devlin, Las Vegas Frankenstein is a goofy horror comedy about a Vegas stage hypnotist (Vincent Cusimano) who discovers the secret to reanimating the dead when he inherits the secret diary of Mary Shelley. Of course, he plans to use that secret as part of his act, and ridiculous complications ensue. Devlin mixes silly self-aware humor with his talent for well-crafted gore effects. Available on Blu-ray from the Monster Museum and at plan10pictures.com.
- The Puppetman, the fourth feature from Vegas-based filmmaker Brandon Christensen, is a dark tale of demonic possession that takes some unexpected turns. Alyson Gorske is excellent as a college student whose troubled past catches up with her when her friends start dying in horrific ways, just as her father is about to be executed for her mother’s murder. Christensen stages some gruesome deaths, but he also tells a thoughtful story about generational trauma and letting go of the past. Streaming on Shudder and AMC+.