Fun news: Each Tuesday in June, FANGORIA will be presenting Terror Tuesdays on the streaming service Pluto TV, a triple feature of horror films personally selected by a member of the Fango fam. Each week, one of us will curate three titles with a theme of some sort, and the party starts every Tuesday night at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific on the Pluto TV Terror channel. It's all free!
I’m kicking things off this week with a hat trick of underloved “B” movies: Beyond Re-Animator, Burnt Offerings and Byzantium. (It’s maybe a testament to Pluto TV’s wealth of offerings, and definitely not my own laziness, that I didn’t get past the second letter of the alphabet on their massive list of titles.)
First up is the third and (to date) final film in the Re-Animator series, 2003’s Beyond Re-Animator. This Brian Yuzna-directed entry finds Jeffrey Combs’ Herbert West in prison for his crimes, his re-animating days behind him, when a young scientist with a connection to Herbert’s past comes calling, looking to drag Dr. West back to his old ways. It doesn’t take a lot of coaxing, and soon the very dubbed prison inmates (along with their corrupt keepers) are contending with hordes of the undead. While it’s true that Stuart Gordon is long gone, as are most of the previous cast members, Yuzna and Combs resurrect some of that gonzo magic inside the walls of a creepy prison. PLUS: this is very likely the only film in history to feature a post-credits sequence in which a rat has a kung-fu fight with a severed human penis. Your move, MCU.
A friend told me that TBS once ran a snarky ad for Burnt Offerings that claimed “with an ending so predictable, you’ll swear you wrote it yourself!” I’ve never seen that ad, but it’s burned into my brain forever, and with that tagline in mind I want you to remember that Burnt Offerings is about the journey, not the destination. In Dan Curtis' (Dark Shadows) 1976 film, a family led by Oliver Reed and Karen Black rents a haunted house for the summer and, well, fares poorly. Burnt Offerings hits that sweet ‘70s spot in which an eclectic, aging cast (Bette Davis! Burgess Meredith!) find themselves on a chaotic genre project together, and realize the only way out is through it. For 116 delirious minutes, Hollywood legends gnaw the scenery and go for broke, as if there’s a prize for Most Acting awaiting them at the end.
Bringing the Bs home is Byzantium, an unjustly slept-on vampire epic from Neil Jordan (The Company of Wolves, Interview with the Vampire) starring Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, and Sam Riley. Unlike a lot of women-centered vampire stories, this one eschews the usual lesbian subtext for a compelling mother/daughter story that spans centuries, and if secret vampire societies, beautiful locations, and seeing the luminous Gemma Arterton rip off dudes’ heads are of interest to you, Byzantium will richly reward you. I suspect it came out four years too soon.
It all starts tonight at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific on the Pluto TV Terror channel. Enjoy the meal and come back next week for another trifecta of terror!