Now that September is almost over, I can finally share my July & August TV and film wrap-up (oops, for being über late!). Since July and August were the last two months before my Uni journey began, I took supreme advantage of the free time and watched as much stuff on my various watchlists as I possibly could!
It was mostly a couple months of horror films and a few documentaries, which is definitely a strange combination. I blame my mum entirely for the documentaries as they were all nature-related and she kicked it off when I visited one weekend for lunch. She was in the mood to watch animal shows and that led from one to the next and the next.
Aside from those nature documentaries, I have been enjoying my ride through the horror genre, especially as I’m learning to understand a lot of underlying elements that make horror so bloody brilliant. My goal is to keep watching older films for the rest of the year, but we’ll see how that goes given that Uni is in full bloom.
I’ve shared all the media consumed for July and August below, including where I streamed it, if streamed, a brief synopsis, succinct musings, and content warnings. If you have any questions or inquiries about more specific triggers, please let me know in the comments!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) [Shudder]: A slasher film that revolves around a bunch of young adults who fall victim to a family of murderous cannibals after they stop to visit a small homestead. The film was marketed as a True Story as a form of social commentary on the political climate at the time. The film wasn’t scary in the traditional way one would expect from the slasher genre. Rather, it’s extremely unsettling and disturbing with the fear and madness of impending death and torment becoming incredibly palpable. It makes you severely uncomfortable and contemplative, and that’s why I would consider this to be one of the most horrific films I’ve seen. It’s believability coupled with the exposition on American war-era climate was outstanding. I would RECOMMEND this to die-hard horror fans. However, the movie does have supremely distressing themes and imagery, so I would proceed cautiously if you do choose to watch it. CW: Graphic depictions of animal corpses and human remains. Moderate blood and gore. Graphic violence. Strong language. Moderate sexual innuendo. Graphic, disturbing representation of madness induced by severe trauma. Poor treatment of disabled person.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) [HBO]: This slasher is a remake of the original and follows young adults who pick up a hitchhiker that eventually leads the youngsters to seek help, which brings them into contact with a family of murderers. I didn’t think it was nearly as disturbing as the original, but it does depict the violence in a way that can feel rather real and authentic, and that is what makes this movie so damn scary. It’s definitely not for kids at all, even young adults (13+), mostly due to the nature of the suicide that takes place. I would RECOMMEND this to fans of slashers and people who liked the 1974 version and are curious about the remake. CW: Graphic violence. Graphic and super disturbing on-screen suicide (gunshot). Graphic blood, gore, torture, and depiction of corpses including animal corpses. Strong language. Strong sexual innuendo. Moderate depiction of drinking and drug use (marijuana).
Fear Street 1994 (2021) [Netflix]: A horror, slasher film about a young girl that becomes possessed after coming into contact with the burial ground of a long dead lady rumoured to be a witch, causing the killers of the past to come alive again. There were so many things that I loved about this movie. It’s a fantastic tossback to retro slasher films from the 80s and 90s, which made my heart just swell with nostalgic glee. It was very visceral yet unafraid to call out some of the sillier and obviously ridiculous parts of the slasher genre. I also loved that it had a diverse cast of characters, some unique kills, and didn’t shy away from being genre-bending as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for horror and slasher fans. CW: Graphic violence, blood, gore, and deaths. Strong explicit language. Moderate sexual innuendo. Brief queerphobia. Drug and alcohol use and solicitation (brief). High school bullying. Depiction of car accident. Cautionary warning for hemophobia and nyctophobia.
Feat Street 1978 (2021) [Netflix]: This is a sequel to the previous film where we get to see one of the past spree killing events that was referenced in the first film, and it also has some overarching plot things that set it up for the final film. This reminded me so much of Friday the 13th and other camp-related horror flicks. It doesn’t shy away from being campy (mwahaha puns) and making fun of itself, which are elements of horror, specifically modern horror, that I find to be a lot of fun (if done well). A couple of the twists in 1978 were predictable but they have an interesting take on them that kept it from being bland, and I also liked a couple of dynamics that caught me by surprise. I thought it was neat sequel. It may seem like a prequel, but it’s very much not to be seen after 1994 for plot reasons. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. CW: Graphic violence, blood, gore, and deaths. Strong explicit language. Strong sexual content and sexual innuendo. Moderate nudity. Alcohol and drug use. Moderate bullying. Scenes involving graphic depictions of insects. Cautionary warning for hemophobia, nyctophobia, and claustrophobia.
Fear Street 1666 (2021) [Netflix]: The final film in the trilogy takes us back to the origins of everything that occurs in films one and two. This was extremely difficult for me to watch because it has very strong themes of elements that make my skin crawl with past trauma, and also because it’s just maddening shite. But I had to remind myself that it takes place in 1666, so the perception of what is “acceptable” and “normal” versus what isn’t are vastly different than 2021. I do question one specific scene from a visual standpoint that I felt was really problematic, but aside from that, it was a good film. It doesn’t have the same kind of cheesy humour as the previous two films. The tone is super serious and malevolent and deeply disconcerting, which helps to bring out the eeriness of the overarching plot quite well. I definitely RECOMMEND it if you’ve seen the other two films and want to round off the trilogy. It’s a great end to a very interesting story, but do know that it’s far more disturbing than the other two films in unexpected ways. CW: Graphic violence, blood, gore, and death. Strong language. Moderate sexual content and innuendo. Brief scene of attempted sexual assault. Strong themes of homophobia, sexism, and misogyny. On-screen lynching of a Black woman by white townsfolk. Strong scenes of ostracism and society-based bullying.
Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007) [Starz]: The supernatural horror sequel to House on Haunted Hill where a bunch of people return to the house to hunt down some super rare and valuable treasure thingy. Holy Boss Man, this was horrendous, atrocious, godawful and all other synonyms you can come up with. Why was this film made? It was so utterly pointless and boring. The special effects are utter crap, the plot is absolutely laughable (and I would question if “plot” is what I’d even call that attempt at a story…). Definitely NOT RECOMMENDED at all, especially if you were a fan of the first film. CW: Graphic violence, blood, gore, and deaths. Disturbing on-screen depictions of torture of psychiatric patients. Strong language. (There may be more, but I only watched half the film, so those are the only ones I’m aware of.)
USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (2016) [Prime]: A biographical suspense drama that follows the crew of the USS Indianapolis during the Second World War. After their ship is torpedoed, it goes down, stranding the soldiers in shark-infested waters until rescue teams can get to them. I didn’t know this was a true story. I mostly picked it up because it had the phrase “shark-infested” in the summary. I’m a sucker for shark films and that’s all I really needed to watch this. Learning that the fate of the leader of the crew was what actually happened was so heart-breaking. It made me mad because he became fodder for political bullshite. But if you put that aside, it was a good movie. It’s very suspenseful and tense. We don’t see the sharks as much as we would in something more like Deep Blue Sea or Jaws, but I felt that added more to the anxiety and terror of watching these soldiers floating in the water, wondering who will make it and who won’t. I would RECOMMEND this to people that like movies that have decent suspense and tension, but if you’re not a fan of sad endings, then I would definitely pass. CW: Strong language and deaths. Mild sexual innuendo. Suicide (off-screen).
The Babysitter (2017) [Netflix]: A satirical supernatural horror, slasher film about a young boy who has the best babysitter around. One weekend when his parents leave for some time to themselves, the boy learns that his perfect little babysitter isn’t the sweetheart he’s also seen her to be. This was hilarious. When I say it’s satirical, I mean it’s satirical as fuck with respect to the slasher genre, and that is what made it so much fucking fun. Plus, the babysitter is hot and it was nice staring at her for an hour and a half. I’d definitely RECOMMEND this to fans of satire that don’t get queasy easily. CW: Graphic violence, blood, and gore. Strong language. Some strong sexual content and innuendo. Brief on-screen depiction of tarantulas (arachnophobia people please be AWARE). Alcohol and drug consumption by minors.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020) [Netflix]: A sequel to the previous film that wraps up the whole story completely. The special effects weren’t as great. It’s still funny and full of satirical ooey gooey awesomeness, but it also lacked something vital and that made it slightly disappointing. Even so, that doesn’t make it a bad film. It’s fantastically entertaining and gross, and a good follow-up to the predecessor. I’d RECOMMEND this to anyone who saw the first film and enjoyed it. CW: Graphic violence, blood, and gore. Strong language. Mild sexual innuendo. Alcohol and drug consumption by minors.
Underworld (2003) [Hulu]: A supernatural action flick about a vampire warrior that becomes intertwined in a generational war between vampires and werewolves while developing floofy feels for a human who’s being pursued by a clan of werewolves hellbent on vengeance. I picked this up one night when I couldn’t figure out what I was in the mood for and friends had recommended this to me in the past. I liked it overall. It has good action and nice dark fantasy violence, and an interesting story, but I mostly stayed for Michael Sheen. Why lie? I enjoy his acting and a young Sheen can be rather charming. I would RECOMMEND this to people that like dark fantasy. CW: Strong violence, blood, and deaths. Strong language. Some human/werewolf experimentation and torture.
Star Trek (2009) [Blu-Ray]: A smarmy kid of an infamous hero gets shanghaied into joining Starfleet Academy where he shall try and pursue captainship in less time than it’s taken anyone else. In the process, he pisses off tons of people and gets pulled into a mission that will define his entire future. I rewatched this because I recently acquired the trilogy set for the Kelvin Timeline films, and I was in the mood to see Zachary Quinto’s Spock. Full disclosure: I’m not too familiar with the original Star Trek franchise, but I really enjoyed this film for what it was, mostly the characters and dialogue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for folx that either want a decent Star Trek film, especially if you don’t have much experience with it, or people that want to watch a fun sci-fi action title. CW: Violence. Genocide. Brief Language. Brief sexual content and mild innuendo. Mild racism and bullying.
Carrie (1976) [Showtime]: A sixteen year old girl is constantly bullied and tormented at her high school. When a couple people show her an act of kindness, she feels that maybe things aren’t so bad, until a horrible prank leads to terrifying consequences. This is one of those quintessential horror films that has created a foundation for many that have superseded it yet I had never seen it before now. There is so much shit to unpack in Carrie and that made it disturbingly thrilling. I ended up liking this so much more than I initially anticipated for that reason alone. It’s definitely a dated film, however, and has its problematic content, so if you decide to watch it, just keep that in mind. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. CW: Strong scenes of bullying, sexism, and psychological abuse. Strong language. Sexual innuendo. Depiction of religious oppression and child abuse. Nudity. Strong blood. Mass death. Suicide. Alcohol consumption and smoking by minors.
Mindhunters (2004) [HBO]: A bunch of FBI trainees are taken to an island for their final examination, but find themselves in a fight for survival when they realise they’re trapped on the island with a serial killer. I love crime thrillers, and fucked-up crime psychological stuff. BUT this film left me really fucking traumatised. Within the first twenty minutes of the film, there is a scene where a dead and mutilated cat is literally strung up for the trainees to discover. It’s on-screen and… absolutely fucking terrible. I did look up content warnings and most of them said that there was a mild scene of a cat corpse and that it was brief. This was neither. The movie itself is a bit formulaic, but it’s extremely dark and has a decent thriller aspect. Even so, personally, I couldn’t really enjoy it after that awful cat scene. It’s a humongous trigger for me… As such, I’d say I’m INDIFFERENT about recommending it. CW: Graphic depiction of dead and mutilated cat. Strong language. Graphic violence, blood, gore, and death. Sexist dialogue. Some misogyny. Alcohol consumption and smoking.
Revenge of the Bridesmaids (2010) [DVD]: A romcom film (originally a made-for-TV film) about a group of friends who become bridesmaids of their enemy in order to reunite their best friend with the love of her life. I’m not typically someone who enjoys romance or romcoms at all, but for some reason, I really love this movie. It has cheesy humour and Raven Symone’s character is the best fucking thing. Her sass and sarcasm gives me so much life. I usually watch this when I need a quick pick-me-up on an unexpectedly shitty day. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for folx that want a fun, ridiculous romcom. CW: Fatphobia and mild racism. Mild language. Preparation and consumption of food. Alcohol consumption. Mild sexual innuendo.
The Glass House (2001) [Starz]: A psychological thriller about two teens who are adopted by colleagues of their father after the father and mother die in a car accident. I remember when this film first came out and I checked it out from Blockbuster (oh yeah, I’m as old as Moses) because everyone said it was scary. Well, I didn’t remember shite about this film, so when it popped up on Starz, I rewatched it when I couldn’t sleep. This film is not scary at all, and it’s also tediously predictable. Nonetheless, it can be a bit atmospheric and it isn’t a bad suspense thriller, by far. It won’t blow any minds, but it’s decent entertainment. In that sense, I’d RECOMMEND it to fans of such films. CW: Death of parents. Child abuse. Drug Abuse. Some language. Depiction of car accidents. Moderate violence and some blood. Alcohol consumption. Preparation and consumption of food.
White House Down (2013) [Starz]: A divorced father takes his White House obsessed daughter in for a tour after a job interview for a secret service position and quickly discovers that the place has been put on lockdown when domestic terrorists invade said White House and take all the peoples hostage, including his daughter. This is one of those non-stop action flicks that I like to watch while I work because it’s just fun. The chemistry between Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum is awesome and their quips back and forth are great for a random chuckle. I also like seeing Channing Tatum as a dad to a sassy ass pre-teen. I feel that comedic action roles are an excellent fit for him, more so than the over-sexualised and ooey, gooey romance crap (but that’s just me). For good, fun action and decent actor-pairings (non-romantic), I definitely RECOMMEND this. CW: Constant action and violence (mostly gun violence) and death (non-graphic). Some strong language. Domestic terrorism and corruption.
Christine (1983) [Starz]: A supernatural horror film about a geekoid high-schooler who buys a junked out vintage car, not realising its evil as fuck, and restores it himself, thus building an intimate bond with said car in the processes. Okay… so, I won’t lie. If my car loved me enough to defend my honour and kill my enemies, I’d be low-key flattered. Especially if that car is an AE86 (of course!). Jesting aside, I loved this movie! It was cheesy in the way one would expect from an 80s film, but it was also really interesting and very unique from other horror shtick I’ve been watching lately. I love the idea of a loyal, invincible car completely having their human driver’s back… and front and everything else. The car lover in me just cannot resist it. Plus, it’s just fantastic campy horror. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. CW: Strong language. Some strong scenes of bullying. Some sexual content. Some strong violence and blood. Disturbing deaths. Alcohol consumption by minors. Brief sexism and brief domestic abuse.
Devil’s Knot (2013) [Starz]: A biographical crime drama about a small town where three eight-year-old kids go missing. When their bodies are found, the police find three teenagers that they’re absolutely convinced were the culprits behind the murders. I had no idea this was based on an actual event when I watched it. As a film, it was frustrating to watch because of how incredibly rushed everything was. There was no consistent flow between the major events of the story, and that never allowed me to get fully invested in what’s going on, which I really like to do with thrillers. It also made me incredibly mad to learn this was an actual event that had occurred. The incompetency of the whole ass trial was… bro, don’t even get me started. As it stands, I DO NOT RECOMMEND the movie because it’s not a very good film, regardless of whether its fiction or not. CW: Child disappearance and murder. Discussions of child abuse including sexual abuse, and torture. Brief nudity. Strong language. Corrupt and incompetent policing. Alcohol consumption.
Uncanny Annie (2019) [Hulu]: A group of friends get together on Halloween to share the one-year anniversary death of one of their own. When they pull out a boardgame to honour him, things escalate from the sad and grieving to shocking and gory quite quickly as they realise the game is supernatural. This has been on my watchlist since it first popped up on Hulu, but I kept putting it aside for other films. I wasn’t expecting to like it, mostly because I assumed it would become quite clichéd, yet I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it takes those tropey titbits and turns them on their head. It kept the film interesting and it was exciting to see who would survive this boardgame from Hell, if any of them did. The underlying narrative is slightly predictable but because there are original takes on all the other aspects, it didn’t feel boring or monotonous or overplayed, but nicely complementary. I’d definitely RECOMMEND this to fans of supernatural horror. CW: Strong bloody and gory deaths. Strong language. Preparation and consumption of food. Alcohol and drug consumption. Some sexual content. Brief mention of infidelity. Brief scene of death via drowning. Some disturbing imagery.
Twisted (2004) [Starz]: A psychological thriller about a cop who gets put on a case hunting a serial killer that is murdering the people she’s had sex with. I only watched this because it had Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson in it and I loved them in Double Jeopardy. The film is interesting in that it highlights the masculinity of a woman who embraces her own strength and personal sense of masculinity in a job that is usually dominated by men. Combine that with a complicated familial history, the dynamics of the crime are curious to an extent. I only wish that it wasn’t all so on the nose, like the film kept telling us what to think and believe versus allowing us to use our own perceptions to figure it out. That sucked the suspense out of it. Plus, the culprit is very easy to ascertain within the first half hour of the movie. It’s another one of those entertaining thrillers, but won’t be a treat above the average at all. RECOMMENDED. CW: Strong language, violence, blood, and death. Strong sexual content and nudity. Strong consumption of alcohol. Non-consensual drug use. Strong sexism and misogyny. Some brief bullying.
All I See is You (2017) [Showtime]: A psychological drama about a blind woman that regains her sight after she has a corneal implant, which then causes some strife in her marriage. This was one of those unexpected, midnight insomniac-driven watches and it was so damn good. It’s not an easy one to watch as the marital problems that begin to take root are uncomfortable and at-times way too real (especially if one has experienced similar difficulties themselves), but that’s also what makes the movie so compelling. It’s a slow-burn but never feels like it’s taking too long to get to the point either. It builds tension and momentum one layer at a time and it makes the narrative and suspense rather cerebral. All in all, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for folx that are into slow-burn, intellectual dramas.
Below (2002) [Showtime]: A submarine horror film about a US Navy sub in 1943 that experiences some dark and disturbing supernatural shtick while they’re patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. I’m obsessed with underwater and/or oceanic-type horror, and there really isn’t enough of it across multiple mediums. This was good. The tension was so fucking distressing, which heightens the sense of claustrophobia, eerie mysteriousness, and the terrors of being smack dab in the midst of a war. The horror elements are wonderfully emphasised because when one spends so much time that far deep under water, it’s natural that the sounds and pressure will begin to fuck with one’s mind. So, are the marines losing their minds due to their environment and the pressures of their current location, or is there truly something haunting the shite out of them? It’s exciting, thrilling, and makes for a very anticipatory experience in wanting to know what the hell is going on. I’d definitely RECOMMEND this to fans of underwater and wartime horror. CW: Strong language. Sexism. Disturbing imagery. Cautionary advisory for claustrophobia, nyctophobia, and thalassophobia.
Chasing Coral (2017) [Netflix]: A documentary film that revolves around the study of coral life around the world and how fast they’re dying off, and the potential repercussions this can have on our ecosystem globally. I’ve been interested in learning more about our planet, what’s dying and how we’re negatively impacting the world so that I can do my part in helping to reverse the damage. This was recommended to me by my cousin and I’d HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. It’s informative, evocative, and really fascinating. Helps to put the bigger picture in perspective rather well. CW: Some strong language. Dying ecosystems and animals.
Hidden Japan (2020) [HBO]: A short documentary about the climate zones, natural habitats, and dwellings in Japan and the animals/plant-life it supports. I research a lot about Japan with respect to history, cultural, socio-economic dynamics (as per my majors of study), and much more, but I rarely get a chance to really dive into the natural wonders of the country. I’m glad I took forty-five minutes out of my day to watch this because it’s so beautiful. Some of the most beautiful things in nature can be found in Japan and, honestly, I can’t wait to explore some of it when I get an opportunity to visit. Any nature documentary fans and fans of Japan should definitely give this a viewing. RECOMMENDED.
Our Planet (2019) [Netflix]: A nature documentary series on Netflix that explores the world’s natural beauties as well as how climate change and human irresponsibility is impacting all living creatures on a global scale. What blows my mind about watching things like this is seeing how life has evolved to sustain one another in a mutually vibrant way. I find it to be really thoughtful and inspiring, as well as sad and heart-breaking when that mutual preservation is threatened by such idiotic things (i.e.: human things). Anyhoo, this is gorgeously shot with breathtaking landscapes and awesomely bright close-ups. Plus, David Attenborough’s narration is peaceful and serene. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. CW: Animal deaths.
Cold Case Seasons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (2004-09) [HBO]: A crime procedural drama about a female detective and her colleagues that specialise in solving cold cases (or cases that have been open and unsolved for years and years and years). Okay, so it’s safe to say that I got super caught up in this and pretty much binged it whenever I could. It’s really neat to see how the cops solve cases that are thirty to fifty, or even seventy years old, using the wonders of modern things. Plus, I developed a crush on Scotty and relished every moment he was on-screen. Content warnings vary by episode, but generally consist of death and dead bodies. Hefty violence including gun violence, stabbings, hit-and-runs, and serial killings. Blood and occasional gore. Sexual violence. Child abuse, abandonment, and death. Robberies. Mild language. Some sexual innuendo. One episode does have a graphic depiction of white men lynching a black man, and another segment has a brief scene of white men gang-raping a black woman (occurs in 60s and 50s respectively).
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Seasons 1 & 2 (1969-70) [HBO]: A group of meddling kids and their fabulous dog help solve crimes. My ultimate comfort watch, I binged the first two seasons one weekend when I was fighting a terrible bout of depression and loneliness. I will always HIGHLY RECOMMEND this because it’s cartoon gold, baby. CW: Mild violence and consumption of food.
Stargate SG-1 Season 8 (2004) [Netflix]: A military sci-fi series about teams of Air Force members who go through an intergalactic gateway to travel between planets and explore the galaxy. Yeah… I’m not a big fan of the last three seasons. There are episodes that I love within each, but as a whole, I just miss Jack O’Neill too damn much. Nevertheless, I still love this goddamn show and will always, always HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to fans of sci-fi action! Content warnings vary by episode but generally include: Action-adventure military violence. Mild language. Portrayal of enslaved and oppressed peoples. Torture (non-graphic). Human experimentation. Near drowning. Death and near death of comrades. Body horror.
Criminal Minds Season 1-2 (2005-06) [Netflix]: A crime drama that centres on a special unit of the FBI that focuses entirely on hunting down and capturing serial killers and criminals. This is a re-watching for me as I needed background noise while I worked (something that helps when I’m having bad ADHD days). Content warnings vary by episodes, but usually consist of very hefty and detailed looks at brutal death, rape, child abuse (all forms). Sadistic acts of violence and torture. Kidnapping. Psychopathy. Gaslighting.
We Are Lady Parts (2021) [Peacock+]: A comedy-drama series that follows a group of Muslimah who’re in a punk rock band. Um, I fucking love this show. It has badass fucking music. Strong Muslim ladies who try to navigate a bunch of bullshite expectations and issues from their familial lives, complicated religious and Queer identities, and much more. It’s so marvellously written, acted, and performed that I’d go so far as to say that it’s the best TV show I’ve seen in all of 2021. Progressive, intersectional, hilarious, and did I mention that it has fucking badass music? Content warnings vary by episodes but generally include: strong language; some sexual content; some anti-Islamic sentiments; sexism and misogyny; smoking and vaping; preparation and consumption of food.
Monthly Comfort Re-Watches
- I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
- I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
- Deep Blue Sea (1999)
- The Mummy (1999)
Okay, so writing out this wrap-up has taught me not to combine two months together because with my recent watching habits (yay, no life), they can get pretty fucking long. Oops. Thanks for sticking around until the end. If you ever wanna chat movies with me (I’d be thrilled to do so!), feel free to hit me up here on the blog or the other social caves I like to chill at.