[Month of Horror] Night Visions: Now He’s Coming Up the Stairs/The Gate/The Backwater Gospel

Night Visions

Now He’s Coming Up the Stairs

A psychiatrist with the ability to absorb the illnesses of his patients comes upon a situation that may be more than he can handle.

Yes, I cribbed that summary from the show’s Wikipedia page.

Yes, I am ashamed of myself.

One confession done, here’s another.

At some point I grew tired of TV shows. Could not force myself to watch them. Told myself something had to give between the reading, the tv, and the videogames, might as well be the TV.

Watching Now He’s Coming Up the Stairs, it occurs to me this apathy started around the same year this series came out.

There is something entirely too familiar about this story. The acting, the direction, I don’t know what. It just felt too much like something I’ve watched a thousand times before. Or struggled to watch a thousand times before.

How bad did it get? Well the episode comes with two stories and I’m only talking about one. How bad do you think it got?

I had a similar problem earlier in the month. I tried to watch an episode of Ghost Story staring Jason Robards (of all people) and I didn’t make the halfway point. Too dull.

Or seemingly dull. Same thing, though, when push comes to shove.

All of this might seem to point towards me carping about Now He’s Coming Up the Stairs. And I did have problems. The script could have used a rewrite, maybe even shortening. Certain parts to my mind didn’t add up. There was entirely too much Luke Perry.




Those, though, might be considered Cullen Carps and discarded. The moment Our Hero begins his latest attempt to help someone on is gripping stuff. Well worth the wait getting there.

In other words, it does it’s job. Maybe not a great episode, but certainly a good one (1.5). I kind of like it (1.5) and might seek out some more. Especially the ones directed by the Great Joe Dante and Not Really That Bad Toby Hooper.

Though I’m not finishing the episode Now He’s Coming Up the Stairs belongs to. That story just ain’t clicking with me at all.

Oh, and Henry Rollins as Rod Serling? Really? Nothing against the guy, but really?

3 out of 4

The Gate

A couple of kids open up a gate to Hell. Typical weekend, actually.

This is yet another one of those films I can slip on and watch anytime and still get a kick out of it. Yeah, the effects can be lame, and yeah, the acting is only just adequate. Watching it this time I thought it would have worked better if it was a wee bit shorter.

And more Italian leaning. If you catch my drift.

But you know what? When it works, it works. It’s funny most of the time, and it has more than a few truly nightmarish moments. The final monster is one of cinema’s best.

It’s a good movie (1.5) that I love (2.0).

Oh, and the Dark Gods as malicious pranksters? I can almost see that.

3.5 out of 4

The Backwater Gospel

An agent of death comes to a backwaters town.

I didn’t like this cartoon short the first time I watched it, and I can’t now say why. It’s perfect, nasty in the way Horror should be nasty.

Great stuff (2.0). But do I love it? Yeah, maybe I do. (2.0)

Oh, and the Undertaker’s smile? Yeesh.

4 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Last Bus Home/Trick or Treat

Last Bus Home

A young woman and a young man wait for a ride in the dark of night.

Same premise as with our previous subject, Waiting, with a young woman experiencing difficulties while waiting for a bus. Short, well acted, but not particularly scary.

Good (1.5), but I didn’t get the same kick as the earlier film. So maybe a meh (1).

2.5 out of 4

Trick or Treat

A couple faces a persistent Trick-or-Treater.

This one, though, is a delight. Well acted, decent story, it made me wish it was longer. Not scary but creepy, very creepy.

I’ll say good (1.5) and liked (1.5)

3 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Who’s Hungry?/Leave/Run

For the record, I also watched There’s a Man in the Woods again. Take that for what it’s worth.

Who’s Hungry?

A brother and sister run after the wrong ice cream truck.

This is a very charming little animate short. No dialogue, just action, and it really doesn’t waste time. I didn’t find it scary or particularly thrilling, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to be. I looked up Horror Short Anime Film and this popped up with the other suggestions that didn’t look like anime. It might have just been made to entertain.

Well it succeeded. It’s pretty good (1.5) and I rather liked it (1.5).

3 out of 4


A doomed tree grove takes steps to save itself.

This short shares problems with a lot of other shorts. All it is is a single scare, built up to, then executed. It feels more like the start of something rather than a complete whole.

Which would be okay, I guess, had it been scary. It wasn’t. Nicely shot, a little too dark, and one hopes the film makers move on to better things.

Two mehs. I dunno if I should put the numbers in or not. But you get the idea.

2 out of 4


A man goes into the woods in search of a missing woman.

Then there’s this flick.

It’s shot on a Go-Pro on a head rig and shows. It’s antagonist makes no sense; there are whole scenes that that make no sense. Is this something the man is actually seeing? A recording? What?

What dialogue it has is written out on screen. Not sure why. All it all, the whole thing has the feel of a Horror Walking Simulator. Just really kind of off putting, especially when the main character refused to move where my mouse told him to.

These are the jokes folks.

That aside, Leave is the better made film. By a large margin.

So why am I giving this a low good (1.5)?

Because Run, nonsensical as it is, does it’s God damn job.

Four freaking jump scares. One I saw coming a mile away and still jumped. It ain’t fine art, but it’ll do until something better comes along.

Seriously, I liked it (1.5) far more than it deserves. If I hadn’t rewatched There’s a Man in the Woods it would have been the best thing I saw today.

3 out of 4

[Month of Horror] This Dark Thought/There’s a Man in the Woods/Homesick

Three shorts, all on You Tube. All dealing with kids in some fashion or another. Not my intent to do a theme today. Interesting nonetheless.

This Dark Thought

A young astronomer has a bad night while babysitting her infant sister.

Looking for words, here.

This animated short is well done. It has no dialogue, yet it tells a cohesive story.

Too much baby crying, which is petty considering the nature of the tale.

It didn’t really work for me (1.0), but I have a hard time saying it was bad. Low good (1.5), I think.

Your mileage might vary.

2.5 out of 4

There’s a Man in the Woods

A teacher has to deal with a bratty kid.

I watched this one last year, I think. Can’t for the life of me remember what I thought of it then.

Here, though, is another animated short, with art a lot less polished that our previous subject. Serviceable enough for the story and never really bad. Just not my style.

Outside of that? No complaints. Told as a poem, it builds and builds right up to the end, like a good Horror piece should. We’ll give it a low great (2.0), not that that matters. I liked it (1.5). Might watch it again next year. Or sooner.

3.5 out of 4


A young boy waits at home for his mother.

As with This Dark Thought, this is not a bad little flick. The main character in it, a little boy, does his part quite well. It’s well shot, you get the feel for what’s going on.

It’s just I didn’t care. Like at all. And it sort of peters to a stop. You think there should be more, and there just isn’t.

Of the three, this is the big loser of the night. Meh (1) is sort of harsh, but one brief jump scare ain’t cutting it this time. Maybe I’m just not the audience for this (1).

2 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Second Week Summation

Told you no repeat of the ten movie watch. This week I watched eleven. And skipped a day.

The movies are as follows:

  • Blackbird (Short)
  • In Vaulted Halls Entombed (Netflix Show episode)
  • Chainsaw Maid (Animated Short)
  • Deadstream (Feature)
  • Waiting (Animated Short)
  • Dagon (Animated Short)
  • Laura Hasn’t Slept (Short)
  • Withered (Short)
  • 2AM: The Smiling Man (Real Short)
  • This Is Not a Test (Short)
  • The Shrine (Feature)

Note: Unless noted otherwise, the shorts I watch for these reviews are on You Tube. Except for Laura Hasn’t Slept , which has been pulled by Paramount.

Looks like more shorts than features. Not my intent for this series, but real life writes the plot. I’m already doing better for Week 3.

Only two of these were perfects. No film dipped below 2.5 points, which might be an improvement. Depending on where you stand on the matter.

The top three, in order of preference more than quality:

1. (tied) Deadstream/Chainsaw Maid

3. The Shrine.

Though 2AM comes close to edging out The Shrine.

The worst flick I watched would be Blackbird.

Film pushing the Short category to its limit: Dagon. Really, it’s more of an audio with pictures.

Two weeks down. A new week begins…

[Month of Horror] Laura Hasn’t Slept/Withered

Laura Hasn’t Slept

A woman seeks counseling about her dreams.

Note: Unless noted otherwise, the shorts I watch for these reviews are on You Tube. Except for this one. This one has been pulled by Paramount. Which is their right.

Right at the end of September I watched the hit Horror flick Smile in a theater. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen a hundred times before. I’d guessed the end well before we got there. All said, though, it was a good representation of its plot, it had good scares, and while it has some padding here and there it wasn’t a bad time. I liked it.

So when I learned it was based on a short film, today’s subject, I sought it out on You Tube.

It has a plot you’ve seen before. You’ll guess the ending way before you get there. And there’s some padding where you probably don’t need it.

And like Smile, I had a blast with Laura Hasn’t Slept. It is an extremely well made example of its kind.

I would even go so far as to say this is the better of the two films.

Great flick (2.0). Not sure I’d say I loved it, so we’ll go with like (1.5)

3.5 out of 4


A man digs up something nasty in his garden.

This one I wasn’t so lucky with.

Oh, it’s fine. It has some jump scares that made me jump (at least one that really shouldn’t have, so props for that). And it wasn’t too irritating.

It’s just that there’s something missing.

Part of it is the acting, which really isn’t good. It’s also a bit lack luster in places in terms of direction and special effect.

But what really kills it is that it suffers from a lack of motivation for what was going on and no set rules for the antagonist. It does what it does because of plot.

This is a common problem with a lot of shorts. I realize that sometimes you don’t need a motivation. Laura Has Slept‘s villain doesn’t say why he’s doing what he’s doing, or what he gains out things. But there’s an in-story reason why this doesn’t matter.

No such luck here.

All that said, I don’t think a meh works for it (it did do its job and scare), so we’re saying a low good (1.5). Personally I’m sort of meh on it all together (1.0)

2.5 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Waiting/Dagon (Short)


Two women wait for a ride in the dark of night.

Short films tend to be hit or miss, but I’ve been finding the cartoons to be more hit than miss. This particular little flick I found on You Tube is no exception to this.

It’s basically animated with no voice acting. Still, it’s a good tale well told (1.5) and I rather enjoyed it. (2.0)

3.5 out of 4


An escaped prisoner of war discovers that he might have been better off not escaping.

This particular short (again on You Tube) really isn’t a movie. What very little animation it has is even more basic than Waiting; the rest is (admittedly well done) drawings inspired by the H. P. Lovecraft story.

The whole thing is showcase for the reading, which comprises I believe the entire text. The reader does a great job with the telling of the tale.

The problem is that Dagon isn’t one of Lovecraft’s best works. First published, not a bad effort, but he gets a lot better.

All said and done, a good effort (1.5). I kind of like it (1.5).

3 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Blackbird, In Vaulted Halls Entombed, Chainsaw Maid


In Vaulted Halls Entombed

It’s probably telling that I watched both of these and honestly considered not mentioning either of them

Blackbird is about an amnesiac who rescues a woman who’s running from the masked man who held her prisoner. Which probably tells you all you need to know about the “shocking twist” at the end of the film.

In Vaulted Halls Entombed, meanwhile, follows a group of soldiers entering the wrong cave. It was a part of the Love, Death, and Robots cable series, and thus was very well animated. It, also, was very, very dull. That I read the story it was based on probably didn’t help matters. Though let’s also consider I’ve watched Deep Red multiple times and still felt a thrill with that.

So, anyways, both films are well produced, well acted, and, honestly? The stories on the surface aren’t that bad.

It’s just both of them came off as lifeless as hell.

In Vaulted Halls Entombed is the worse in this regard. I watched people torn a part and I. Just. Didn’t Care. It was boring. Not something I associate with the series it’s a part of. Well, more or less.

Both I’d say were good flicks (1.5) that I’m very meh about.

2.5 out of 4

In Vaulted:
2.5 out of 4

Chainsaw Maid

Now in comparison, take this short, which I watched between the previous two (I had such high hopes for In Vaulted Halls Entombed) It’s a badly animated clay flick about a maid defending the people she works for from the Undead. It has absolutely no dialogue, its plot is an excuse for a series of clay gore effects, and it steals music from Twin Peaks. It is as goofy as hell with no scares whatsoever.

This one I love to death.


It’s the bomb.

Before the reboot, this was my most linked video by far. Seriously, it wasn’t even close.

In fact, let’s get that merry-go-round started right now:

I adore this movie.

Does it say something about my taste? Probably. It’s still today’s winner by far.

Calling it great is probably pushing it, but I’m doing it anyway. Chainsaw Maid is great (2.0). I love this little flick (2.0). I does my heart good to see it.

4 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Shinsen/I See You

More shorts. This time the animated variety.


A young warrior steals food from the wrong shrine.

Coming in at just under three and a half minutes, there’s very little time for anything like character building or plot. Sometimes that’s enough.

In this case, it isn’t. It’s not a bad little short. It’s just too short to be effective with the story it’s trying to tell.

That said, it’s very well animated. So it might not quite deserve the meh (1.0) I’m giving it. Nor does it deserve a good, I think. In any case, I’m kinda meh (1.0) about the whole thing.

2 out of 4


A house cleaner finds cleaning a haunted house a difficult task

While a bit light hearted, this little feature does stir up the occasional bits of dread. It has enough time to build up its two characters and was decently animated (sort of stop motion).

Now to be honest I did see the ending coming a little ways before the half way mark. But it’s a nice, charming short that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Of the four shorts I’ve watched for this series, this is the one I’m most likely to rewatch just for the hell of it.

It’s a good short (1.5) that I liked a lot (1.5)

3 out of 4

[Month of Horror] Rood/Eldritch Code

I don’t have a lot of luck with Short Horror films. They tend to be basic, built around a single moment or scare. When they’re good, they’re very good. When they’re not… they tend to be a waste of time.

But an under an hour waste of time. So it’s hard to complain.


Rood tells the story about a man trying to summon a writer through a door. That’s… it. It was an award winning flick, and it’s not badly made. Acting’s fine, it might be a wee bit over directed.

Where we get into problems is with the story. Outside of a book of Lovecraft stories shown in passing, we have no real idea what’s going on. The man has a camera set up, so he wants to record something, but what he hopes to achieve we don’t know. It all wraps up with a jump scare that really doesn’t work.

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across an award winning Horror flick that failed to move me. Wonder what I’m missing.

I’m going to say a low good (1.5) because outside the story its not terrible or anything. Personally, though, I kind of just didn’t care (1.0).

2.5 out of 4


An IT guy tries to stop a virus from infecting his company’s computers. A virus named Cthulhu, MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Eldritch Code works far better than Rood. It has more characters, a plot that makes a degree of sense, and while not earthshakingly directed really not bad.

It wears its roots on its sleeves, and while I don’t think it meshes with what Lovecraft wrote, it feels more like a Lovecraft story than Rood did. It’s ending also is less than satisfying, but not, I think, enough to ruin things.

Another low good (1.5), but I liked it a little more (1.5). It’s a part of an anthology series on You Tube called Dust and it made me curious enough to subscribe to see what else they come up with.

So job well done.

3 out of 4