Film Review: “Infinity Pool” (2023)

“A shitty book, six years ago, that no one read”

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

A malevolent, analog nightmare that continues last year’s horror pattern of casting our gaze on the rich. Above all, though, it illustrates the importance of supporting small writers like the main character (and me) lest they end up in a wretched crucible of events orchestrated by a member of the Cronenberg clan.

Indeed, Alexander Skarsgard is a small writer with a “shitty book, six years ago, that no one read” playing wealthy with his wife’s money, and because of this, a synthwave mix of gore, sex and The White Lotus befalls him. Read the books of the local writers in your life. You will be saving us from such a fate.

Someone has a skull tattoo and someone else gets their head bashed in, so you can see their skull. No full skeletons.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Or perhaps we deserve such a fate. Either way:
https://nickperilli.com/cul-de-sac/.”

Film Review: “SKINAMARINK” (2023)

“Why is mommy crying?”

The Matrix (1999)

A distant, unknowable lo-fi horror about the corners, angles, and childhood shadows of our homes. An effectively terrifying detour somewhere on the path from The Blair Witch Project to Paranormal Activity. An aesthetic in which something lurks in the fuzz.

There are no skeletons.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Someone brought a child to the showing I was in, so I wasn’t sure when the child making noise and screaming was real or onscreen. It honestly added to the experience.”

Film Review: “M3GAN” (2023)

“Well hold on, I thought we were having a conversation here.”

The Princess Bride (1987)

There are no human skeletons in M3GAN, but there are robot, Terminator-esque humanoid skeletons, which we can count. Also, it’s a fine, darkly comic rendition of Chucky mixed with AI gone horribly wrong in ways that would have been obvious to anyone but the characters in the movie, all told with the wonder of a screwed up child.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The film does surprisingly little to set up the Battle Angel Alita vs Chucky vs M3GAN crossover film that we know is coming.

Film Review: “Bones and All” (2022)

“Eat the whole thing. Bones and All.”

Bones (2005-2017)

Hey that’s the name of the movie! A well journeyed road trip romance between two young people who just happen to need to eat human flesh. That added horror wrinkle enhances the proceedings considerably, as does the fascinating work done by all involved. Could it be a metaphor for drug use? Sure, but that cheapens the thing a bit. It cheapens Michael Stuhlbarg’s quick, uncomfortable turn as an overalls wearing cannibal creep! Instead, I’ll say it’s about desire in all ita forms.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The central couple aren’t quite Hannibal and Will Graham, but the chemistry is almost there.”

There are enough bones and mention of bones in the movie to say that yes, there are skeletons in Bones and All.

Film Review: “Bodies Bodies Bodies” (2022)

“He’s a Libra moon, which says a lot!”

A fun, hyper modern Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery party in which the clever whodunit aspect is ancillary to the toxic relationships of the 20-something characters and the chiseled 40-something physique of Lee Pace.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Pete Davidson represents my millennial generation here, finally bridging the gap between the Amandla Stenberg and Lee Pace generations.”

Skeleton count: 0

Film Review: “NOPE” (2022)

“We don’t deserve the impossible.”

An effective, inventive, sci-fi horror with satirical Hollywood elements that, above all, made me think about the natural universe and the grand morality of humanity’s relationship with its denizens, from the horse actors to primates to people, aliens and beyond.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “The characters probably make some of the most intelligent and genuine in-the-moment decisions in film history.”

Film Review: “The Black Phone” (2022)

“It doesn’t work. Not since I was a kid. Hang it up.”

The Greatest Showman (2017)

The darkest rumors of our childhoods made manifest. A simple, engaging horror story crafted into a tight, capable film with, unsurprisingly, vibes of Sinister throughout. Set in a utopian 1970s in which the authorities actually believe children when they tell them about their prophetic dreams.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I would still accept Ethan Hawke’s offer to show me a magic trick. No questions asked.”

Skeleton count: 0, but there are multiple ghost children which count as allusions to skeletons.

Film Review: “Crimes of the Future” (2022)

“We’ll need to start cutting faster.”

Dracula (1931)

Surgery is the new sex in Cronenberg’s fleshy, analog future. Viggo Mortensen dresses as a ninja and Gollums his way through a noir setting while getting his organs removed for art. The true answer to our species’ waste problems are laid bare and autopsied.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “Cronenberg should have popped up during one of the jaw dropping surgery scenes and quoted John Wick, saying ‘People keep asking me if I’m back. Oh yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.'”

Film Review: “Men” (2022)

“I didn’t come here to be afraid.”

A haunting, modern parable that begins in wtf territory and only journeys deeper into it from there. The worst behaviors of people of my gender are all shown through the lens of horror and rendered with the same face, but that doesn’t dampen the impact of what’s being said.

I was chiefly reminded of Darren Aronofsky’s Mother while watching this, in part because of the mounting wtfery but also because it’s a male director and writer telling a story that almost demands the perspective of a woman to reach its full potential. There’s definitely a conversation to be had about that.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “It’s also a bit Twilight Zone-esque, with some bits of cosmic horror seeping in. I was reminded of the TZ episode The Invaders,” where Agnes Morehead is terrorized by little invaders that turn out to be men from Earth!”

Film Review: “Morbius” (2022)

“Not that kind of vampire.”

The Little Things (2021)

There’s a bit of welcome schlocky Hammer Horror in this new entry into the Spider-Man adjacent genetic anti-hero Sony Playstation Universe (SAGASPU), but not nearly enough. It’s all so suitably hammy and self-serious, but more blood, more horror, and choosing Buffy the Vampire Slayer style prosthetics over CGI would have really sold it. Still, if you dig the weird, messy vibes of Venom and like Matt Smith stealing the spotlight from people, you will find something to enjoy.

My VHS cover pull-quote: “I still stand by my Venom 2 review where I said there is plenty of room for these janky 90s/early 00s style comic book movies amidst the cinematic universes, destined to be played on FX until the end of time. For the bored children. For the drunk bar patrons. For the tired vacationers. For the people, damn it.”