Tag Archives: I Watch Them So You Don’t Have To

Haunting on Fraternity Row – I Watch Them So You Don’t Have To

Welcome to the second post in my I Watch Them So You Don’t Have To series (see #1 here). I thought it might be fun to share some of the lesser recognised horror ‘gems’ I stumble across, just because.

I’m quite sure nobody else really cares but I do. I love the idea of people getting the films they want to make made, usually on a shoe-string budget – and I want to appreciate them for what they are. The movies I choose to include in this series all have a little something I like, even if it’s difficult to define what that is.

Sure, we’ll explore some shaky pieces, hence you maybe not wanting to dedicate your own time to them – but don’t worry, I got you. I’m aiming to regularly review an indie horror as often as possible. Aren’t you lucky?

Let us begin…

Haunting on Fraternity Row (2018) or The Party Crasher (UK title)

A fraternity house throws their big “Winter Luau” party but when fraternity brothers and coeds begin dying horrible deaths they discover an evil entity has taken over the house.

Director: Brant Sersen

Starring: Jacob Artist • Jayson Blair • Shanley Caswell

*Minor spoilers*

The premise here is simple: a gang of super douchey frat boys are throwing one last party before they graduate and disperse separately into the real world. The theme is Winter Luau and nothing’s going to stop it going off with a bang. Not even an ancient curse on the frat house itself, no sir.

No sorority stereotypes here, no way

Well, Haunting on Fraternity Row begins with dozens of college stereotypes, the boys themselves are almost all stoners and scumbags, there’s the heinous Queen Bee, the sluts, the girl next door and the med student. The pitiful pledges and the gross teen brother who’s gate-crashed the luau against his older sibling’s wishes. They’re all here, basically – and you know what, as rotten as most of them are, there are a couple of stand-out characters that I actually wanted to root for.

As the boys and their pledges prepare for their big party, they wind up in the basement where they uncover a secret room via a crudely crafted tunnel. In the room they find an old chalice that head douche Tanner (Jayson Blair) claims for his own. Unsettled but otherwise distracted by the promise of booze and babes, the gang get on with it. With the exception of Dougie (Ashton Moio), who’s the only one smart enough to do some Googling.

Why not trust the guy in the RAD cap?

Turns out there was an incident in the house in which the previous owner killed all his dinner party guests, then his wife and himself. And it might well be that he hasn’t quite crossed over yet. Could his demonic soul be connected to the chalice – and are our teens in big trouble? You bet your oiled up bikini bod they are!

Luckily everything is caught on camera, as several of the pledges are tasked with capturing all the fun. But before the carnage begins, Nice Guy Jason (Jacob Artist) is too shy to approach his long-term crush Claire (Shanley Caswell), who likes him back. BFF Maggie (Molly Tarlov) is pushing her to get a life (and into Jason’s jocks), while pining over Tanner herself.

Meanwhile, Grant (Cameron Moulène) tries desperately to please his overbearing girlfriend Liza (Claudia Lee), who’s daddy is going to set him up with a hedge fund career once college is done. I must say that I’m not mad at some of the character development. Often in college movies this kind of detail is overlooked so you’re cheering for these 2D idiots to be slaughtered – in this case, you actually will some of them to live.

“He’s behind you!”

I’m firmly on Team Dougie as he’s the only one really interested in uncovering what the fuck is going on. He’s a practical soul and I appreciate that, unfortunately his drug usage goes against him and nobody believes him. Dammit. I also love Jason and Claire, two decent humans with the rest of their lives in front of them – if only they can get out of the house. Maggie is a total babe too, probably the most well-rounded female character in the piece.

Effect wise we’re talking extremely low-budget but at least it doesn’t play its hand too soon or too much. As the students are picked off one by one, there are some choice horror moments. What I feel about this movie is that its creators love and appreciate the horror genre, spinning a tried and trusted horror trope (frat bros & coeds) into something a little fresher, if not completely original.

It might not change the world and it might not leave a lasting memory but there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.

⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Easter Horror Movies – I Watch Them So You Don’t Have To

To celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I thought I would do something extra special on the blog.

So, while you’ve been munching chocolate for breakfast, I have been exploring a small selection of crappy Easter horror movies (and munching chocolate for breakfast). Apparently the Easter horror sub-genre is really a thing and while it was hard to get hold of a lot of them, I did my best.

*Minor spoilers*


JESUS Christ

Holidays (Segment: “Easter”) (2016)

HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions.

Nicholas McCarthy‘s segment “Easter” is a nightmarish short, playing on childhood fears and things that go bump in the night. I almost didn’t want to feature the above image because it is pure nightmare fuel and the story itself, while super simple, isn’t much fluffier.

A young girl gets freaked out on the night before Easter when her mum tells her about an impending visit from The Easter Bunny. Worried she might accidentally disturb him in the night, mum tries to explain the bunny’s connection to JC as his holiday mascot. When she does wake up and meets the bunny for herself, she soon realises he is nothing like his wholesome description.

Let me assure you that the image of the resurrected Jesus/Easter Bunny hybrid of this story will not leave you quickly. He’s grotesque in every way, popping baby chicks out of the holes in his post-crucifixion palms. He’s not evil per se, just otherworldly and he’s not about to let the girl off now she’s the first child to ever see him IRL.

For a short film I think this packs a pretty decent (and macabre) punch.

🐣🐣🐣🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Hop it

Cottontail (2017)

A notorious Serial Killer known as ‘Cottontail’ faces a slew of personal issues as he falls in love with the girl of his dreams, all the while trying to put together his ultimate ‘Easter Egg Hunt’.

This plays like a high school media studies project but isn’t a terrible premise. Cottontail the notorious serial killer wears his ‘skin suit’ 364 days of the year but for one day – Easter Sunday – he gets to be who he really is: a very bad bunny.

CT swears down that nothing has happened in his life to turn him into a psychotic mass murderer but there are red flags. While he works on his physical fitness for the big day and gathers together a like-minded group for his Easter ‘game’ – he laments a broken heart and his feeling of guilt towards his family.

He’s surprisingly sensitive is our antagonist and when he falls for moll Carmela, a similarly beautiful monster – he realises he’ll do anything for love. Which is all kinds of cute if you can overlook all the horrific murder, obviously.

This is… not good. But it’s kind of fun and the earnest narration by our bunny is quite endearing. The masks are cool too.

🐣🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Only the very best FX for this blog post

The Beaster Bunny! (2014) – also known as: Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell

A giant bloodthirsty Easter bunny starts viciously killing the local townsfolk. When the Mayor refuses to act and the attacks grow more gruesome, the town finds its very survival in the hands of a wannabe actress and a crazy dog-catcher.

This is an absolute travesty but it has a certain charm. I mean, I’m a sucker for crazed giant animals stomping humans like ants, especially obnoxious ones. Meanwhile, the film’s director seems to be a sucker for boobs – since almost all his female victims either lose and/or are stripped of their clothing before their respective death scenes.

This gives it a seedy feel which I can’t even be bothered to rage at. Anyway, it’s all pastiche right? Needless to say there are a lot of lame jokes and observations (young people are obsessed with social media!) peppered throughout, some truly atrocious but enthusiastic acting and the worst FX I’ve ever seen.

Want to know an Easter secret? I paid £3.49 on Amazon Prime for this monstrosity – and I couldn’t even finish it. So I don’t know why there’s a giant Easter bunny terrorising this town or how it ends. I suspect I’ll live with my decision though.

🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Hello boys

Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)

Eggs of the small, furry alien carnivores are left behind on Earth and, after hatching, again set their appetites on the town of Grover’s Bend.

The sequel to 1986’s Critters has a tenuous link to Easter but fuck it, it made the list anyway. After the events of the first film, a couple of Grover’s Bend locals unwittingly discover a nest of eggs left behind by our alien buddies. Keen to turn this find into a profit, they sell them to an antiques store in town where they’re sold as Easter eggs to a nice old lady. What could possibly go wrong?

Thankfully, there are a gang of space bounty hunters on the case to clear Earth of the Critters – but until they arrive, lots of high jinx and murder ensue. Exactly what you need to celebrate your favourite chocolate based holiday.

Well, this has an unfair advantage perhaps in the sense that it holds cult status and production values of more than $5 (looking at the last two movies in this list) – so it’s better all round. And it’s also nice to see the Critters again honestly. Sure, they’re no Mogwai and pals but they are a slice of kitschy horror history.

🐣🐣🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Uh, wrong blog post, guys…

If you’re interested in exploring this niche pocket of horror movies, then I have a list of titles for you. I think I’ll line some up for next year:

  1. Easter Casket (2013)
  2. Easter Sunday (2014)
  3. The Night Before Easter (2014)
  4. Serial Rabbit (2005)
  5. Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! (2006)
  6. Easter Bunny Bloodbath (2010)
  7. Peter Rottentail (2004)
  8. Kottontail (2007)
  9. Bunnyman (2007)
  10. Night of the Lepus (1972)

Happy Easter All!