Monday, October 11, 2021

The Stephening Day 2: Sleepwalkers (1992)


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man, in possession of a blue trans-am, must be in want of a high school virgin to feed to his shapeshifting mother/lover.  

So goes Sleepwalkers, the film that dares to combine explicit incest and sexual assault with cute cats and campy one-liners.  I think it somehow works, not really in bringing together unlike things to create a brand new wonderful flavor, but rather just careening from scene to scene of omg wtf like is this for real.  

Madchen Amick performs an uncomfortably long dance solo with a floor sweeper in a movie theater lobby. Alice Krige stabs a cop with a corncob and then tells grain-impaled corpse to eat its vegetables. Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld) plays an aggressive pedophile creative writing teacher. Ron Perlman is in it.  So is Mark Hamill for some reason. The shapeshifters can not only shapeshift but become invisible and also have a car that can turn invisible, and their only weakness is cats.

Cats.  I really just want to talk about the cats. 

According to Amazon, Sleepwalkers is "Terrifying, Gritty, Bleak."  To this I would also add: "Totes Adorbs."

Last week I had my face melted by the pyrotechnics of Firestarter. But that doesn't hold a candle (cat-dle?) to the feline training-technics of Sleepwalkers.  How do you train a herd of cats to act together?  Oscar-purrthy performances all around.  I know I know, but look at their tiny little faces! Their little paws!

The only ones not amused are the shapeshifters, who, isolated and driven out from society, are forced, like a lonely soul scrolling into the night, to confront angst's perennial foe: oodles of cuteness.  

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The Stephening, Day 1: Firestarter (1984)


Starting with Firestarter seems appropriate because it's right there in the title. It's not called Firelighter or Fireigniter, after all.  

I had never seen Firestarter, hadn't read the book, and just sort of missed it in the marathon of 80s horror VHSes we churned through during the latchkey years.  I had sort of filed it away under "not a great adaptation of not a great King novel" and gave myself a pass not to watch it. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

October 2021: The Stephening, A Rock, Paper, Hatchet One Offffff


Always kind of awkward when your blog goes dormant for years.  Especially awkward is that first post back.  This is that first post back. So so awkward *shuffles feet* Uh, hey?  How you been?

But wait, before you pop the champagne and tweetstorm about the return of your second-to-least favorite crap blog about horror, I should tell you that we're not really back for good.  That's right, this is just a for funsies one-off for October.  Because we all need an October project, and I've got an assignment for you!  Or actually for me! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

FAMILY BLOOD (2018) [Joe's Review]

In Family Blood, a mom with addiction issues becomes a vampire. Will her uncontrollable urges tear her family apart or will her vampire boyfriend do it first?!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

FAMILY BLOOD (2018) [Paul's Review]

In Family Blood, a recovering addict mom meets a mildly handsome vampire at a support group.  Not answered by movie: what other methods has the vampire tried to kick his habit first?

“Hi, my name is Vlad, and this is my first time.” “Hi Vlad.” “Hey, well, uh, I’m not sure where to begin.  At first I thought I could control it, you know, just kicking a couple back after dinner or at the game.  But then it was every night and I started to sleep through the days.  I guess it really hit home when I up and murdered my whole family.  There I was, just really going to town on my wife’s neck, when I looked up into the mirror and . . . you know how it goes, I didn’t recognize myself, it was like I wasn’t there. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018


My favorite thing about I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is the opening line:

I have heard myself say that a house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living. It can only be borrowed from the ghosts that have stayed behind.

Why is she attributing a quote to herself? Does this mean this is something she’s said before? When the fuck did she say that? At a dinner party?

Monday, June 4, 2018


I first watched IATPTTLITH in December 2017.  It is now halfway through 2018 and no review.  Joe and I went strong for two years, reviewing direct-to-streaming horror movies with gusto and verve and esprit.  And then IATPTTLITH happened.  Would this be the way the experiment of Rock, Paper, Hatchet ends?    

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

SATANIC (2016) [Joe's Review]

In Satanic, a hapless group of Millennial friends inadvertently enters a contract with the devil to go to Hell. And Hell, it turns out, is made of white plastic tarps and spray paint.

My approach with Satanic was to watch it in pieces (I have two young children, so my "me" time generally comes in 15 minute chunks, which is about 10 minutes more than what my wife gets). So, the beginning and middle of this review reflect that approach. And then like a month passes and I just bang out the rest because Paul realizes that today is the blog's two year anniversary and we have to get something up! Anyway, enough about us.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

SATANIC (2016) [Paul's Review]

Hey fucktards!  Yes, I mean you, fucking goth troll dick.  Don’t be such an asshole, megabitch.  God, you’re such a prick, cumball.  Bro, I mean goth snobs.  Blow cock.  No, blow devil cock.

All of the words in the previous paragraph are spoken at some point by the terrific cast of characters in Satanic.  Being some percentage Irish, I appreciate a strong and habitual exercise of swearing: in jest, in argument, and sometimes just in exasperation at the universe.  However, I gotta admit, even I was starting to feel a bit Annie Wilkes halfway through this one.   It would not be out of character for any of these angelic youth to go to the store and demand F-ing pig feed and ten pounds of that bitchly cow corn.

Monday, October 16, 2017


The Axe Murders of Villisca is a very high-school horror movie. Nothing makes sense, everyone is upset, people are themselves one minute and someone else the next, and the sex is all wrong.

Monday, August 28, 2017

THE AXE MURDERS OF VILLISCA (2016) [Paul's Review]

I watched “The Axe Murders of Villisca” with my Gay Friend.  Many of my friends are gay, but only one specifically requested, nay, demanded that he go by “Gay Friend”—“capitalized, ok?” he insisted—for this review.  I just wanted to get that out of the way at the beginning, since I need you all to know that I don’t go around referring to my friends as “here’s my Gay Friend,” and “this one is my Straight Friend, and over here we’ve got my Millennial Friend, my Vegan Friend, my Republican Friend, my Imaginary Friend, my Feline Friend, etc. etc.  Most of my friends are just friends, except for my cats, which are just cats (calling an 8 pound thing that regularly draws blood from you a “friend” doesn’t seem right, unless it’s an infant vampire who always remembers your birthday).

ANYWAYS.  When Gay Friend thought it might be fun to watch the next Rock, Paper, Hatchet movie with me, I said something like “sure, but it’s probably going to suck.”  And I was worried, because the next movie was called “The Axe Murders of Villisca” and an unpronounceable title does not a shining first impression make.  And if it sucked, then Gay Friend would become the Gay Friend Who Won’t Watch Another Horror Movie With Me Again.  But those fears were unfounded!  Because I’m here to tell you that “The Axe Murders of Villisca” is way easier to pronounce than it looks, and that it’s way better to watch than to pronounce!

Monday, July 17, 2017

HAVENHURST (2016) [Joe's Review]

Havenhurst seems like the nicest halfway house ever. But ***SPOILER ALERT*** it’s really one of the meanest!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

HAVENHURST (2016) [Paul's Review]

Here’s the offer.  You can live, rent-free, in a pristine, old-money, New York apartment with tall ceilings, wainscoting up to here, immaculate furnishings and updated appliances.  But, in return, you have to give up one of your most beloved vices, let’s say drinking.  We all like the occasional tipple, right?  But in this rent-free, fantastic apartment in the Havenhurst building, if you have one drink, you DIE!  So, what do you do?
Right, ok, so it would seem an easy decision, sitting there in your reasonably-priced house somewhere west of Manhattan.  Nope, you think, I’ll pay for my rent and my FREEDOM, prop my feet up on my  worn craigslist coffee table (wow, that thing’s still here?  I meant to replace it years ago, but it still holds drinks up, I suppose) and watch Havenhurst, which you heard from this blog was actually pretty ok, while sipping on a scotch and soda.  That’s what you drink right?  Thought so. 

But those of you that have looked for housing in Manhattan lately might pause.  I’d like some more information, you say.  What’s the square footage?  What’s the policy on pot?  I’m not saying I’d take it, but it’s worth poking around a little bit, reading the fine print, you know?  Here, on page 634, line 15, the lease says “or you will DIE!”   Can you tell me, is it a quick death? 

So Havenhurst.  It's actually pretty OK!  After a pre-title sequence in which a guy and a girl doing blow in their apartment get dead, the plot opens with the alcoholic Jackie (Julie Benz) leaving rehab.  Through the philanthropy of Eleanor Mudgett (played with flair by Fionnula Flangan, and attired with, uh, ambition by suits made entirely of lapels), recent rehab patients can live, for AS LONG AS THEY LIKE WITHOUT RENT, in her tudor-style Havenhurst building on the upper east side.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Four More? Sure!

It's been real nice conversing like this round the fire.  But now the moon is high, and the bats are flying.  I'd say its 'bout that time we be headin' along, pardner.

But before we go, let's survey the trail ahead. 

1. Havenhurst

2.  The Axe Murders of Villisca

3.  Satanic

4.  I am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House 

See you down the road a bit!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

First Half of 2017 Wrap!

Well, hey there.  Remember what we said back in January about Rock, Paper, Hatchet picking up the pace and turning stuff out on a regular schedule?  Neither do we!

It took us half a year to cover the previous four movies.  That's not so great.  But Joe just had a baby.  And that's really great!  It's great for him because babies are reportedly really awesome things to have.  And it's great for me because, besides being happy for him, I now have a plausible excuse for only writing four reviews in six months!  How could I, in good conscience, have written any faster when Joe was working so hard with his new responsibilities?  It would have been WRONG.

But hey, while I've got you on the line, I want to humblebrag that RPH has had a noticeable uptick in pageviews recently.   A lot of this has to do with our reviews of movies that almost no one else reviewed--"Fairlane Road," "The Secrets of Emily Blair," and "The Hollow" for example.  So thank you for the pageviews and the lone Google+ recommendation we got!  It still blows me away that people we don't even know find these reviews randomly and actually read them.  And it isn't even just Ukrainian spambots anymore!

Though, come to think of it, I don't know where our loyal spambots went to.  Did we say something offensive?  I'm not sure how to alienate unconscious strings of benignly parasitic code--but we did it! Either that or they watched Awaken on our recommendation and it melted their little mechanical brains.

Now, to the rankings!

PAUL'S RANKINGS (with links to his reviews)

1.  Bleed (2016):  A collection of thirty-somethings are stalked by ghosts and a rural cult for the possession of an unborn suburbanite.  It doesn't make a lick of sense, but the fact that it doesn't try is sort of refreshing.

2.  The Rezort (2016):  Trouble goes down at an island resort where people pay to kill zombies with machine guns.   The red camo shorts made an impression on me.  That's how easy it is to make it to number 2 in this four-way pillow fight.

3.  Clinical (2016):  Something about a psychiatrist that wallows in seemingly endless therapy sessions.  There are no red camo shorts in Clinical, but it does have a gruesome gross-out scene near the end that warrants putting it above . . .

4.  The Secrets of Emily Blair (2016):  Emily Blair is possessed by a demon and only two priests and a well-groomed fiance can save her!  This is done by baby-birding her holy water.  I'm not shitting you.

JOE'S RANKINGS (with links to his reviews)

1.  Clinical (2016):  Normally when someone asks you to rank a short list your imagination begins whirring with possibilities. "Which one will I choose first," you wonder, "which will receive the honor of my favor?" Now imagine saying these things to yourself while looking at a Del Taco menu and share in my hopelessness. "Which permutation of guacamole, steak, and french fries is superior to the others? Are there any ingredients in the Epic Bacon Ranch Chicken Avocado Burrito not included in the title?"

Clinical is my first choice because it had one thing I really liked in it. So while it may be the Epic Bacon Ranch Chicken Avocado Burrito of cinema, at least it had bacon.

2.  The Secrets of Emily Blair (2016):  Did you know there's a secret menu of food items at Del Taco known only to the most dedicated consumers of trash? What a perfect metaphor for RockPaperHatchet! We are the Del Taco Secret Menu of blogs. And that can only mean that The Secrets of Emily Blair is the Buntaco - the least congruous thing on the menu. And even more confusing than the dislocated forest-of-the-soul story-line it attempts is the fact that it attempted it in the first place. Why is it 2nd and not 4th? Buntac-if-I-know.

3.  Bleed (2016):  Did you know that at Del Taco you can "Go Bold" and they'll put Secret Sauce and fries on whatever you just ordered? Bleed goes bold with an incredibly unlikely rape scene and the murder of a pregnant woman. And I guess french fries. I'm just slapping shit together here because I am the Del Taco employee of bloggers.

4.  The Rezort (2016):  The Stoner Burrito is like a half pound bean and cheese burrito with french fries in it. That's it? Yes, that's it. And that's exactly the same reaction you'll have to The Rezort, unless you're high enough to be impressed by french fries in a bean-n-cheese burrito. In which case, do we have the movie for you!