Thursday, October 18, 2018

Vengeance of the Zombies


Vengeance of the Zombies (1973) aka La rebelión de las muertas
Dir. León Klimovsky
Written by Paul Naschy
Starring Paul Naschy, Rommy, Mirta Miller



            Paul Naschy (born Jacinto Molina) seems like a good guy. He was the kind of dude who tried his hand at a lot of different things in his youth; he was a pro weightlifter, a comic book artist, a Western paperback novelist, an album cover designer, and was alternately working as a wrestler and actor well into his 30’s. But it was when he sold a script about an errant werewolf titled La Marca del Hombre Lobo (THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN) and ended up getting cast in the title role (the Wolfman, not the Mark) when Lon Chaney Jr. turned the part down* that he saw his true destiny: he would become “The Spanish Lon Chaney,” a horror icon of many faces, and a genre icon in his native Spain and around the world. And so it was. He was a prolific worker; nearly always writing his own scripts, often producing and occasionally directing as well, over the course of a lengthy career he cranked out dozens of low-budget horror and action pictures, including no less than 16 werewolf movies. I like this guy.

            I like him so much that I wish I liked his movies better, especially since I spent something like a hundred bucks on his two available Blu-Ray anthologies and am now doomed to watch them all. Which is not to say that they’re completely worthless; there’s a lot to like about them! In keeping with his Lon Chaney image, they usually have Naschy himself in some kind of weird makeup or disguise, there’s almost always a couple scenes of nasty (though unconvincing) gore, and there’s never any shortage of pervy, leering nudity. In theory, all that should add up to fun, feisty little slices of Euro-sleaze, but in practice his movies tend to be oddly inert, somnambulant experiences, grinding in slow motion through deadening scenes of generic noncharacters sitting around in poorly-lit apartments droning on about nothing, only occasionally punctuated by a few minutes of weird, dreamy horror footage.



            Alas, that describes VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES pretty much exactly. There’s enough effort being made that it doesn’t feel like a total insult, but not enough to ever add up to much. It’s the kind of movie that you finish, and then your girlfriend asks how it was, and you try to describe it but you just feel like you’re relating some kind of hazy, half-remembered dream, and the more you try to explain, the more confusing it becomes until now you’re not really confident about what you just saw, and she’s trying to be polite but it’s clear this is not interesting and so you just kinda peter out in embarrassed frustration.

            Speaking of which, the plot is pretty simple and easily explained, because basically there’s this woman Elvira (Romy [no last name, and amusingly misspelled “Rommy” here], THE KILLER WITH 1,000 EYES) who has a nightmare about her father being killed, and then he is killed, and then for some reason she goes to live with some kind of Indian guru (Naschy, in unfortunate Indianface), at his estate, run by his intimidating second-in-command (Mitra Miller, EYEBALL), but then there’s also some kind of giallo-esque killer going around wearing a cape and black fedora with his face obscured by variety of unfortunate ethnic stereotype masks, and sometimes he stabs or strangles people or just kind of lurks around various London locales, and sometimes he also seem to use Voodoo to command a couple of female zombies to kill people? And there’s some guy, (Victor Barrer, credited as “Vic Winner,” IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH and a Naschy regular) who’s always wearing suits, he’s definitely going to nondescript rooms and talking to people, I know that much, and then I think there’s like a scene in a morgue where the masked guy comes in and murders a guy eating a sandwich, and then all the corpses sit up and they’re all women wearing transparent gowns, and they run off with him, and um, let’s see, there’s this part where someone has a dream where Paul Naschy is a bare-chested goat-horned devil, that was cool. I think there’s a twist where he has an evil twin or something? There’s definitely at least one more Paul Naschy in there, I’ll tell you that much, and also an indeterminate number of pretty European women who sit or stand in sparsely furnished rooms and take their clothes off, or maybe it was just one and she does it a couple times? And I seem to remember they’re trying to do something with Voodoo, and wasn’t it because they wanted revenge on the British because of colonialism or something, it seems like it didn’t make a lot of sense but it struck me as probably pretty racist, I remember that much and... um, I think something else happens to, I’m not really sure. Yeah. Hmm. Anyway, did you have any dreams?



            There’s definitely a few highlights in there, but even on Blu-Ray, looking about as pristine as you’re ever going to see it, a lot of photography is way too dark for you to really make out what’s going on (and the rest is ugly), the sound mixing is a muddy mess, the music (by Juan Carlos Calderón, who has a song in TOMMY BOY?) is all wildly inappropriate funky jazz-fusion (it might even be a fun score in livelier movie, but in something this slow it just highlights how much fun you’re not having), the story is vague to the point of nonexistence, and even the subtitles have a bunch of grammatical errors which reduce the already incoherent dialogue into nonsensical gibberish. It’s not like we’re translating from Nepalese to Cherokee guys, you’re telling me it was too hard to find someone fluent in both Spanish and English? I don’t think that’s too much to ask here.

            In a lot of ways this is, then, a pretty objectively bad movie, and yet, there’s something there. Maybe it’s just because I’ve already invested so much in collecting Paul Naschy movies that I’m lying to myself, but Naschy himself remains a compelling presence, and the movie definitely picks up whenever he’s on-screen (in fact, a big part of the problem is that even with three roles, he’s not around nearly enough). And even if the direction fails to make much of it, I can’t fault his instincts for solid horror imagery. His masked giallo slasher is totally standard, but an effective design, his dream sequence devil is an inspired creation, and his treatment of the chalk-faced Voodoo zombies (while obvious deeply rooted in some very problematic straight-up racist tropes) is about as classic as horror iconography gets. It’s also kind of interesting in itself to see the ol’ Voodoo zombie model --a relic of a handful of astoundingly racist black-and-white cheapies from the 30’s and 40’s which were never particularly prevalent and had been almost entirely killed off by the advent of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD five years prior-- show up in swingin’ 1973 London. If nothing else, the addition of nudity adds a queasy psycho-sexual dimension to the otherwise decidedly old-fashioned images of glassy-eyed ghouls rising from their graves.



            Like many Paul Naschy movies, when you type all that out, it seems like you must have just described a good movie, or at least a fun one. Alas, everything good about the film is almost completely negated by its draggy, flat direction (by León Klimovsky, an Argentinian dentist who had emigrated to Spain in the early 50’s to become a director, and had become Naschy’s go-to guy since 1970’s La Noche de Walpurgis) and its aimless anti-narrative. This final complaint falls squarely on Naschy; from what I’ve seen of his work, his intuitive grasp of horror tropes was consistently hobbled by his total inability to craft even rudimentary narratives to showcase those horror tropes. The whammy is actually mostly there, but it desperately needs better structure for it to have the impact that it ought to. His movies tend to lack even crude, vestigial character arcs, completely neglecting any kind of framework that could meaningfully be called a “story.” In some cases, such as HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB, this is taken to extreme, almost absurdist levels, where not a single character from the film’s first act appears in the climax. In this case, it just means that there's no identifiable protagonist of any kind, and even though the film begins and ends with Elvira, she never actually accomplishes anything or has any conflict, she's just sort of around being vaguely menaced by who-knows-what-exactly. Finely-tuned writing is a rarity in the horror genre, and seldom particularly germane to a film’s success, but without any story structure at all, films like VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES struggle to build momentum, resulting in a ungainly string of largely disconnected moments which end up being less than a sum of their parts.

People often complain about the horror genre being too derivative, but frequently the ability to draw from a basic story template (slashers, for example, with their rigid story structure**) allows the genre faithful to focus on the monsters and murders that are their real interests and their real talents, without getting bogged down in reinventing a formula that works. Naschy largely abandons basic horror formulas; the result is some genuinely unique plots (can you think of another horror movie about a Hindu cult leader who may or may not moonlight as a Voodoo zombie avenger?) but, unfortunately, not too many that actually work.

But oh well. I’m still rooting for Naschy, and with 100+ movies in his filmography, there’s sure to be at least a few where it all comes together. Even Jesus Franco had a couple of good ones. This one’s more miss than hit, but it’s an interesting enough oddity to be worth my time, if not yours.  

* Or was passed over because of age, illness or infirmity; sources seem to differ

** See Vern’s “Blues Theory of Slashers” 



CHAINSAWNUKAH 2018 CHECKLIST!
Searching For Bloody Pictures

TAGLINE
A Modern Day Gothic Tale Of Horror And Fear.
TITLE ACCURACY
If I understand the killer’s motivations correctly, Vengeance does have something to do with it, though the Zombies are just henchmen who aren’t really getting vengeance on their own behalf.
LITERARY ADAPTATION?
No
SEQUEL?
Naschy made a handful of other movies with Zombies in them, but none seem directly related to this one.
REMAKE?
None
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Spain, though shot in England
HORROR SUB-GENRE
Zombies (Voodoo variety), Slasher, Evil Cult
SLUMMING A-LISTER?
None
BELOVED HORROR ICON?
Naschy.
NUDITY?
Yup
SEXUAL ASSAULT?
He impales two people while they’re doin’ it
WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK!
None
GHOST/ ZOMBIE / HAUNTED BUILDING?
Zombies
POSSESSION?
Yeah
CREEPY DOLLS?
Voodoo dolls, though they’re more practical than creepy.
EVIL CULT?
Yes, though ironically if I understood this correctly (spoilers) the main cult guy is actually an innocent victim of a different cult.
MADNESS?
None
TRANSMOGRIFICATION?
No
VOYEURISM?
Maybe, I dunno.
MORAL OF THE STORY
I think I’d have to understand the story better than I do to come up with a moral.



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hideaway




Hideaway (1995)
Dir. Brett Leonard
Written by Dean Koontz (novel) Andrew Kevin Walker and Neal Jimenez
Starring Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahi, Jeremy Sisto, Alfred Molina, Alicia Silverstone



"[My Dad is], like, really on edge - dying and all, you know?"

            When I reviewed THE DEAD PIT last year, I laughed about this extremely earnest IMDB review of that movie that offers the criticism that it “touches on controversial subjects like performing illegal lobotomies on patients, but never digs deep enough to leave a lasting impression on the viewer,” (this from a movie about an amnesiac woman running around a mental institution in her underwear with a compulsive bomber, trying to convince the staff that her evil doctor dad has returned from the dead as some kind of zombie wizard) but concedes that it is “A must see for [Brett] Leonard fans interested in his filmography.” Hey, I figured, even the director of THE LAWNMOWER MAN must have a mom or sister or somebody who wanted to try and say something nice on the internet about his movie, resulting in bit of writing so well-meaning and obviously phony that it’s actually kind of heartwarming.* I never even considered the review might have been written in earnest because, come on, what Brett Leonard fans?

But now, having seen DEAD PIT, LAWNMOWER MAN, his acting role as “Klown Performer (uncredited)” in KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE and now HIDEAWAY, I’m in serious danger myself of courting the label of “Brett Leonard fan interested in his filmography.” Well, probably not the “fan” part, thankfully, but I must admit, there exists within me a minute but unmistakable openness to watching VIRTUOSITY, and maybe even MAN-THING at some point in my life. Not because there’s even the slightest, most flickering possibility that they might be good, of course, but because there is something to Leonard’s films (at least the three I have seen), some kind of bizarre alchemy between their abject, farcical shittiness and their absolute, unshakable certainty that they’re blowing your fuckin’ mind. It’s not quality, oh god no. It’s not even comedy, for the most part, because they’re mostly too boring for that. But it is, honest to goodness, the mark of an auteur. A powerfully shitty one, to be sure, but an auteur, nonetheless, a unique artistic impulse that you couldn’t fake or imitate.

This image depicts the process whereby movies are ectoplasmically excreted from Brett Leonard's body.

In fact, I noticed one of Leonard’s most notable auteurial ticks almost immediately: terrible, terrible early 90’s CGI, and lots of it. To get to it, though, we’ve gotta make it through a few minutes of live action preamble. Fortunately, this is the best part of the whole movie, as aspiring Satanic killer Jeremy Sisto (very soon to flirt with mainstream success thanks to CLUELESS before lapsing into a comfortable career playing horror villains and TV detectives) poses two female corpses (his mother and sister, it will later be confirmed) in a praying position using barbed wire, goes upstairs to his satanic lair / bedroom, takes off his shirt, puts on some rockin’ industrial metal (possibly KMFDM’s Go To Hell, which is listed first on the soundtrack?), hail’s Satan, and sacrifice himself to the dark one by falling into an elaborate sacrificial knife cradle thing. Too late, his dad arrives home to discover what he’s done, though for some durn reason that surely has nothing to do with him being the one recognizable cast member who serves no obvious narrative purpose that would justify hiring a name actor, they awkwardly cut around showing his face at this time.

But who gives a fuck about Dad, when we can follow the killer on his celestial journey into CGI hell? It looks like this, but for the entire credits sequence:



“This movie shows where it is you go, and what happens to you, in a way that has never been seen in its, uh, elaborateness,” Jeff Goldblum accurately explains in this breathless five-minute promo for the movie.

But wait, it’s only five minutes into the movie, and our presumed villain is already dead and in Hell. So what exactly is this movie about? Well, to answer that question, we skip ahead some unspecified amount of time, and embed ourselves in the tragedy-scarred but loving and comfortable family of Hatch Harrison (Jeff Goldblum, “Freak #1” in DEATH WISH), his wife (Christine Lahti, a twice-Oscar nominated actress with a lengthy career of well-received dramas none of which you or I will ever see, a fact which I mention only because it adds pathos to her punishingly thankless role as “threatened wife” in a Brett Leonard movie) and their ill-defined sexy (?) young daughter Regina (Alicia Silverstone, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, whose role [and likeness on the poster] I suspect became more prominent when it began to look like her upcoming CLUELESS [also featuring her HIDEAWAY co-star Jeremy Sisto!] would be a big hit). There is a lot of saccharine hugging and meal-preparing and a surprising amount of time with a shirtless, ripped Jeff Goldblum. But then tragedy strikes: there is a car crash, an pointlessly distended action sequence with the car in the water, and at the end, Goldblum dies.

Well, we’re now 15 minutes into the movie, and now both the assumed antagonist and the assumed protagonist are dead, so what in the world is this movie abou…? ah, here we go, Dr. Herbert West Dr. Jonas Nyburn (Alfred Molina, that guy who won’t throw Indy the whip at the beginning of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) is here with an unspecified experimental procedure which reanimates the dead. This seems like a pretty big deal which would be worth exploring in some detail or at least commenting about, but actually it’s just a minor plot device which is necessary only to explain why Jeff Goldblum can still be the main character after he died and also got a CGI tour of heaven (in his case, tinted blue instead of red. In a way that has never been seen in its, uh, elaborateness!). So he’s back, and, in what is unquestionably the movie’s greatest moment, he takes the opportunity to bang his wife, and when he orgasms, the camera zooms in on his eyeball and you can see CGI heaven in there!



This doesn’t prove to be, like, a supernatural premonition or anything, it’s just that, isn’t really good sex basically like heaven? HIDEAWAY posits that it is. I mean, he’d know. He was just there.

Anyway, right, the plot. So basically what happens is that a newly reanimated Hatch starts to have dreams, and eventually waking visions, of murdering people. He’ll black out, have a vision of murdering someone, and come to in some different place a little while later, in one instance with blood on him. And sometimes in his visions he sees Jeremy Sisto, and sometimes we see visions of Jeremy Sisto being replaced by Jeff Goldblum. So, what, did his little jaunt to the afterlife cause him to come back possessed, or something? At first it seems basically certain that he’s moonlighting as a possessed killer, but then he tries to bring the cops to the murder scene, and there’s no sign of a body or anything out of the ordinary.

What’s going on here? Well, the genius of HIDEAWAY is that it communicates the story so poorly that it takes one of the most mercilessly rote thriller plots in history and actually makes it seem mysterious, primarily because it's not initially clear what chronological relationship the opening sequence with Sisto and the subsequent death of Hatch share. Are they simultaneous? Did one happen years before? Is one set in the uncertain future? What the fuck is going on? Is Hatch psychically remembering things Jeremy Sisto did years ago? Is Hatch actually Sisto, somehow? Split personality? Premonition? Possession?

Touchdown!


It turns out to be (sort of spoiler, although I’m pretty sure this was meant to be clear and it’s only made interesting because the movie makes such a muddled mess out of a straightforward scenario) the most dull possibility: Jeremy Sisto (who the movie inexplicably begins to refer to as “Vassago” at some point, so I will do the same) is actually alive again, thanks to the same miraculously reanimating shvitz or whatever it was that brought back our hero, and now they are psychically linked due to their shared time in the CGI beyond (think of it as a hilariously convoluted BLOOD LINK). That makes, unfortunately, for a rather dull narrative with an inactive, ineffectual protagonist who spends most of the runtime trying to catch up to what the audience already knows, and the remainder trying to convince various skeptical and dismissive authority figures (his wife, a detective [Kenneth Welsh, Windom Earle on Twin Peaks], his psychiatrist [Don S. Davis, Maj. Briggs on Twin Peaks], his psychic [Rae Dawn Chong, COMMANDO]) to do something to stop the carnage. Or, that failing, at least to convince them he’s not nuts (his strategy towards goal is to shout incoherently at everyone about the voices in his head, which does not prove to be the best approach). Meanwhile, it turns out that “Vassago” can see through Hatch’s eyes too, which turns into a serious inconvenience when he becomes obsessed with making Regina his next victim. Oddly, he fixates on her not because of his psychic connection with her dad (that just makes the stalking more convenient), but because he happens to coincidentally run into her at some kind of goth metal nightclub that they both apparently frequent. Golly, small world, ain’t it?

Watchng the movie in 2018, the most enjoyable aspects are provided by the dated 1995 aesthetic, amplified to absurd magnitude by the film’s feverish attempts to be stylish and trendy. Any time Goldblum is wearing clothes, expect them to be roughly the size of a standard circus bigtop tent; every time a song plays, expect it to be some kind of edgy industrial metal. And most of all, expect that every time Jeremy Sisto appears, he will look like he’s auditioning for “most disaffected teen in the Matrix”:



It turns out he’s actually wearing those sunglasses all the time even at night because he suffers from a condition which I believe is medically identified as “metaphor-induced light sensitivity,” commonly known as “Riddick Syndrome,” where he can see perfectly in the dark, but light hurts his eyes. The movie is either A) uncharacteristically restrained on this point, relying on a commendably cinematic “show-don’t-tell” style of visual communication which allows the viewer to realize this fact only very late in the proceedings or B) incoherent enough that it fails to communicate this point for most of its runtime. It keeps seeming like this will be a relevant detail, but, like the fact that Vassago and Hatch (sometimes, when the movie remembers) psychically share pain when one of them is injured, it turns out to not matter at all. Guess it’s just one of those eccentric little details that provide the nuance and texture you demand in a movie that begins with a character’s face on a CGI blob flying into a huge Koosh ball made of screaming red skeletons.

Goldblum is Goldblumy enough to be worth watching, and “Vassago” --who is incorporating the corpses of his victims into a large-scale piece of industrial art in his secret lair in an abandoned amusement park**-- is a big enough cheeseball that he’s pretty entertaining. You’ve also got the silly 90’s fashion, the atrocious CGI, and the openly ludicrous (but absolutely dead serious) plot to keep you entertained. That’s enough to keep its reasonable 96 minute runtime from becoming a total slog, because you’re never too far away from something agreeably silly happening, but even so, the movie is pretty draggy and dull for long stretches, especially in the middle (as Hatch very, very slowly begins to acknowledge and understand what the audience already knows from the poster's tagline). It’s obviously never going to be anywhere in the same time zone as actual suspense, so when it’s also not very eventful, you’re not left with a lot to hold onto. But with some friends and a good supply of booze, it’s certainly batty (and Goldblumy) enough to generate a good time, if you’re in the mood for a particularly egregious slice of 1990s unselfconscious hackery.



Speaking of unselfconscious hacks, Dean Koontz (author of the novel of the same name which served as the basis for this script) was apparently very unhappy with the movie and tried to have his name removed. Stephen King had the same reaction to LAWNMOWER MAN (and how shitty does your movie have to be before Stephen King wants his name removed? His name is on THINNER and THE LANGOLIERS and MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!) but I’d say King’s umbrage was more justified, because while Koontz complained about the movie’s supposed infidelity to his novel, the only major difference I can detect in a side-by-side comparison of the two synopses is that in the book, Alicia Silverstone’s pointless daughter character is younger, and is in the process of being adopted. Or, as Koontz put it:

Although she isn’t the female lead, a young disabled girl named Regina is the heart of HIDEAWAY both in terms of plot and thematic structure. She is a symbol of innocence, of purity. The antagonist, Vassago, is actually Evil personified, and like most evil with a small e and like all Evil with a capital E, he is motivated more powerfully by the desire to destroy innocence and pollute purity than he is by anything else. In a structural sense, therefore, Regina is the sun, while all the other characters are planets revolving around her. Without Regina–ten years old, disabled, charming, acerbic, funny, indomitable–the story doesn’t just collapse: it evaporates.

 That sounds like the absolute most asinine concept ever conceived by man, which raises the interesting question of whether it’s possible that Brett Leonard actually slightly improved this story. And that’s the only difference Koontz mentions in his nearly 3,000-word victory lap on the merits of his novel vs the movie. As far as I can tell, every other moronic plot detail came directly from him. I may, perhaps, be disposed to treat him uncharitably in light of the insufferably smug tower of self-pity / self-congratulations he published on his website regarding all those mean old atheists who wrote him angry letters about the pervasive religiosity in HIDEAWAY [I would badly love to edit what follows for concision, but I think you need to experience it in its full masturbatory glory to understand just how unendurable the whole experience is]:

The hate mail generated by HIDEAWAY came entirely from atheists. I hasten to clarify that not all atheists are intolerant or cranks. Like believers, most just want to get along, to have their share of Starbucks cappuccinos and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, to know true love or at least true affection, to buy cool shoes, and to avoid being caught in the crossfire between rap stars at the Vibe Awards.

My fifty seethingly angry correspondents were furious with me because the story line of HIDEAWAY assumed the existence of God and Heaven. They accused me of corrupting the minds of innocent youth, of being a paid shill for the Vatican, and of being a moron.

 I found it curious that none of those letters chastised me for the fact that the story line of HIDEAWAY also assumed the existence of Satan and Hell. I could only suppose that they considered it enlightened and healthy to instill in our innocent youth a belief in things demonic, though I didn’t see how that squared with atheism.

            While I haven’t completely cataloged ever other possible competitor, I feel pretty comfortable with my working hypothesis that this is the single most insipid thought that any adult has ever put into words. One gets the sense that Koontz may harbor a sense of superiority about his own cleverness which is not necessarily backed up by evidence, a suspicion strengthened by the fact that his screed also includes the line “I don’t mean to compare myself to Dickens,” which is true in the sense that he then goes on to imply that I bet Charles Dickens never had to put up with this shit. So honestly I’m kinda thinking he and Leonard deserve each other.

PS: Also, nearly half of his “notes from the author” consists of his angry, one-way correspondence with the Japanese CEO of Universal/MCA, who he exclusively calls --and this is true and I urge you to check for yourself if you don’t believe me-- “Mr. Teriyaki.”

This was posted in 2010.

Which makes it just possible that Leonard might actually be too good for this material.

* Even the most doting mother in history would feel obligated to tactfully point out that plot makes no sense, otherwise it just wouldn’t be believable.

** Remember --and I must stress this part now because you will have reason to doubt by the end of this review-- this story was written by an adult man whose books have sold over 450 million copies and who is widely regarded as one of the most successful fiction writers in history.



CHAINSAWNUKAH 2018 CHECKLIST!
Searching For Bloody Pictures

TAGLINE
Hatch Harrison was pronounced dead on arrival. After two hours, the doctors brought him back. But he didn't come back alone.
TITLE ACCURACY
No obvious meaning of any kind. Maybe his full name is Hatch Hideaway Harrison?
LITERARY ADAPTATION?
Yes, from the novel by Dean Koontz.
SEQUEL?
None
REMAKE?
None
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
USA
HORROR SUB-GENRE
Serial Killer / Psychic / Satanism
SLUMMING A-LISTER?
Oh, the whole cast.
BELOVED HORROR ICON?
Jeremy Sisto has a long enough horror career to count. And Brett Leonard is by no means beloved by anyone, but he just might be iconic. Oh, and Andrew Kevin Walker wrote SCREAM my mistake, BRAINSCAN, SE7EN, and SLEEPY HOLLOW.
NUDITY?
None
SEXUAL ASSAULT?
None
WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK!
None that I recall
GHOST/ ZOMBIE / HAUNTED BUILDING?
No
POSSESSION?
At first it seems like Hatch is possessed, but it turns out he’s not. Then at the end, maybe it turns out that “Vassago” was possessed by some kind of Helldemon?
CREEPY DOLLS?
None
EVIL CULT?
None, though “Vassago” is definitely operating in a Satan-worshipping mode, he seems to be on his own.
MADNESS?
Much talk about it, but Hatch turns out to be totally sane. I mean, I guess the serial killer is insane.
TRANSMOGRIFICATION?
No
VOYEURISM?
Very much so, with the two leads seeing through each other’s eyes.
MORAL OF THE STORY
If you’re ever in the position to be miraculously brought back from the dead through unspecified means, ask about the side effects first.