FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

May 5, 2021

News you can...well, I won't say "use"...

...but it is, in fact, news! News of the big variety, even! Beginning with Rue Morgue magazine issue #200, which is on newsstands now, I am officially a columnist! I have a column!

I tells ya, I feel like Marilyn vos Savant of Parade magazine, or maybe some other columnist. Anyway, it's called "Devil's in the Details" and in it, I talk about some of the stupid horror movie details I can't stop obsessing over. If you like reading my stuff here at Final Girl, I think you will like it. If you hate-read my stuff here at Final Girl, perhaps consider hate-reading that as well! I will also continue to contribute reviews and the occasional feature for yon Morgue, but the column is special, and it makes me both pleased and proud that it's a thing. Rue Morgue is available wherever the finest magazines are sold, naturally, but you can also subscribe and have someone (a postal worker, presumably) bring it straight to your door. Huzzah!

Also! I found out yesterday that I won a Rondo Award?? Or more specifically, I was inducted into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame??? What in the world! I am truly honored, truly, so thank you to everyone who sent 'em my name. I am still in shock.

I am also in shock because whomever that woman in the photograph is that accompanies the little write-up about me/Final Girl, she is not me. At least, I don't think she is? Then again, this has been a long pandemic so who knows. Do I recognize myself anymore? Am I even alive? 

Anyway, you can read all about the winners and see that mystery photo right here. Please, no one ever tell them that it is not me! I want her to be there forever, as it is honestly completely fitting that there is a picture of some random woman on the thing where I won a thing. I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way!

May 4, 2021

April, rounded up

I'm willing to bet that every time you booted up your computer and logged on to the world wide web solely to check out the doings here at The Old Final Girl Place only to find that the site has not been updated since January--wait, can that be true? January??? And it is now *looks at post title* after April? That cannot be! I thought I updated in March! What is time, even, anymore?--you thought wow, I can't believe that jerk hasn't updated. She really hasn't watched anything since Alley Cat? Surely she would have written something here if she had. I guess she died?

Jokes on you, reader, and also on me, for no, I am not dead! Not on the outside, anyway. And also I have watched a lot of stuff since Alley Cat! I know we vowed never to keep secrets from one another and I should have fucking updated a few times in the last several months (sorry, I still don't accept that it has been that long), but in my defense, I am just so lazy about writing here these days. But in April I started keeping track of the things I've watched--now see, you would think that I'd at least update that Letterboxd account of mine with this information, maybe, but instead I just write things down on a piece of paper. But today I am momentarily casting off my lazy Luddite ways to blab a bit all at once about some of those things I watched. I hope you're happy!

DON'T CLICK (2012)

If there are two things I have repeatedly professed my love for over the years here at Final Girl, they are Asian horror movies and internet-flavored horror movies. I will watch anything and everything that falls within either of those two categories, and chances are very very high that I will lurve anything and everything that falls within either of those two categories. It is no surprise, then, that I was wicked fucking psyched to check out Don’t Click, a 2012 South Korean film about what happens when internet trolls collide with a cursed video that changes upon each viewing.

I was expecting some standard…well, Sadako/Samara-esque scares filtered through the online lens and sure, Don’t Click has ‘em. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was that this film would pack such an emotional wallop as the lives of sisters Se-hee (Park Bo-young) and Jung-mi (Kang Byul) unravel as they try to save Jung-mi from the curse. Terrific performances from the two leading actresses drive home how high the stakes are in this one. I really dug this one and while it hasn’t kept me up at night all terrified-like, it’s been on my mind just the same.


Okay, if the Asian/internet crossroads of Don’t Click had me puking in my pants with excitement, just imagine my pants-filling (gross) excitement over the 2014 Japanese film Death Blog. After all, IT’S CALLED DEATH BLOG. DEATH BLOG! In Death Blog (DEATH BLOG!), a shy high-schooler starts an anonymous blog only to be…harassed? Stalked?…by an anonymous commenter, but also there is kind of a curse? And people she mentions get killed by…someone? Look, I was into this one from the jump because first of all, this film is not afraid to ask the questions I’ve been asking myself since Final Girl’s earliest days.

But oh wow, this movie is such a mess. The budget was obviously incredibly low, which is fine of course but the limitations give Death Blog (DEATH BLOG!) that sort of overlit, tinny-sounding, sparsely designed, shot on video feel, if you know what I mean. Honestly though, that’s the least of its problems. Even the overacting from J-pop idol Kana Nakada would have held a certain appeal if the directing and editing had been something more than completely inept. The story is a confusing mess that makes zero sense before it abruptly ends. There is no explanation, no resolution, and no real plot. Reader, I remain beyond shocked that after all these years, I have finally seen an Asian horror movie that I did not enjoy! Again, though, it’s called Death Blog (DEATH BLOG!), so I’m sure that within a year or so I’ll think back on it and say to myself, “I love Death Blog so much! That movie was perfect!” 

You know what? I feel it happening even as I type this. DEATH BLOG RULES!


This 2017 anthology flick kept pinging my radar, moving closer and closer with each blip, until it was finally in the room. A debunker of the paranormal investigates three unexplained…you know, ghost stories. Will the debunker become the debunked? Or something like that?

Anyway, I was mostly in it to win it with this one, at least in the early goings. Some of the stories gave me a case of the gen-u-ine willies before the film as a whole unfortunately disappeared up its own ass by dropping a series of twists. I was left with an “oh, okay, I see, sure, I guess” feeling and some mild disappointment that the twists were the reason that none of the stories had any kind of resolution. Mostly I’m just thankful the pinging has stopped.


Yes, another South Korean horror film. Listen, between the DVDs I have piled up and the Asian movie streaming service I subscribe to, I can—and often do—eat this shit for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more. So sue me! It’s my life, and I will not apologize for anything except maybe for those times I said that The Descent Part 2 and The Ring 2 were “not” “bad”! Then again, it's your fault if you believed me.

A group of high school students skip classes to have a little fun and wind up at an abandoned amusement park haunted house with a nefarious history. Once inside, you know how it goes; it goes ghosts, my friends. Was this good? Not particularly. Do I care? Not particularly. Did I enjoy it? Yes I did. The ghost face effects look like filters from a $0.99 iPhone app, sure. The scares are not particularly scary, uh huh. But you know what? It did that thing that many Asian horror films do, which is part of the reason why I love them so much: the horror is entwined with sadness, giving even average stories some emotional heft that pulls me in. Characters, such as The Whispering’s Eun-ha (So Joo-yeon), are often haunted not only by actual ghosts but also by the lingering repercussions of their own actions or those of others. Sometimes the past is reconciled peacefully, sometimes not, but either way it’s always bittersweet and I’m a total sucker for it. Again I say: so sue me!


Nothing but respect for this pioneering entry in the found footage about extraterrestrials invading a family gathering in 1983. It’s got some moments of creepiness, a delightful grandma, a memorable ending, an undeniable sense of authenticity, and oodles of both charm and moxie. Had I seen this upon release—ten goddamn years before The Blair Witch Project—my brain would have exploded. I am weak for found footage films, and I hope that no one ever comes to their senses and stops filming while things fall apart around them.

SABRINA (2018)

If you think I wasn’t going to be all over an Indonesian horror movie about an absolutely hideous haunted doll, well, this must be your first time here. Hello, welcome, now you know. Write it in your diary tonight so you never forget!

While the titular hideous doll does run around a tiny bit in one scene, her antics are largely confined to things like “eyes moving side to side” and “sitting.” In fact, overall this isn’t even a killer doll movie, despite it being the third in a series of evil doll movies. Oh no, this is some straight-up Indonesian The Conjuring shit, complete with a married couple of Christian-flavored paranormal investigators. Like her American counterpart Annabelle, Sabrina is merely a conduit for demonic activity, and the demonic activity is largely what’s served up here.

I’ve seen some bonkers Indonesian horror movies in my time, films such as Mystics in Bali and The Queen of Black Magic, and Sabrina certainly achieves plenty of bonkitude. Knife fighting with demons, levitating possessed people, ghost hunting via iPad app, a demon with Kenny G hair (and a big hook nose? that gave me uncomfortable “is this like an awful Jewish stereotype thing? because there are implications as it battles with the good God-fearing Christians?” feelings) (maybe it was just bad makeup?) (please?) …listen, if this movie wasn’t so heavy on that God-fearing Christian angle—and boy, it was pretty heavy—I would really be singing its praises. Not that it necessarily would deserve them! Regardless, but I sure had fun with it. Hot trash.


If you’re going to watch this Thai horror flick—and maybe you should?—I definitely recommend going in completely blind beyond the simple premise of “an aspiring actress gets a gig re-enacting crime scene photos for the media and is eventually haunted by the spirits of the victims.” This movie has a lot of surprises in store, and it’s worth watching them unfold unspoiled. Mind you, the surprises don’t all work; it goes on a bit too long and the ending is definitely of the “wait, what? who? what’s going on?” variety, but there are some scares (along with some 1:1 rip-offs of the American version of The Ring), some powerful sequences about the violence perpetrated against women, and a charming lead performance from Pitchanart Sakakorn.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about The Victim is that apparently these crime scene re-enactments are an actual thing. The Thai Royal Police take handcuffed convicted criminals to the locations where actors portray real victims, and the photos are published in the daily newspapers. It’s wild. Writer/director Monthon Arayangkoon wondered what kind of effect those gigs would have on the actors over time; add in some folklore from a culture where ghosts are generally considered very real and some purportedly real on-set hauntings and well, you’ve got The Victim.