Tuesday, May 16, 2023

SAN Check

Film: The Void
Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on Fire!

For the first time in two years the They Shoot Zombies, Don’t They list has been updated. A full 112 movies have been added to the list, 52 of which are entirely new. It took me a couple of days to re-do the relevant page on this blog and rework at least some of the Excel files I use to keep track of things. When you’re pursuing a huge list for a long time, the influx of new things is exciting—suddenly, there’s more than the same-old, same-old unwatched movies. That, more than anything, is why I decided to watch The Void today: it’s a new addition.

This is a movie that dives into the deep end of body horror very early and it stays there for a very long time. We’re going to open with a couple of guys shooting someone and then lighting her on fire, something we’ll get back to eventually. But, by the time we’re 15 minutes into the film, we’ve got someone flaying her own face off and killing someone via scalpel-to-eye.

But, naturally, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. After that fiery opening, we meet Deputy Sheriff Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole), who encounters a wounded man (Evan Stern) by the side of the highway. He brings the man to the hospital where Daniel’s estranged wife Allison (Kathleen Munroe) works. We learn eventually that much of their estrangement comes from the fact that their child was stillborn, and the relationship has struggled from that point forward. Also in the hospital at this time are Doctor Richard Powell (Kenneth Welsh), nurse Beverly (Stephanie Belding), and intern Kim (Ellen Wong). We’ve got Kim’s friend/boyfriend Cliff (Matt Kennedy) in a hospital bed, and pregnant girl Maggie (Grace Munro) and her grandfather Ben (James Millington) in the hospital as well.

Shortly after we have everyone at the hospital, something happens, and Daniel walks into Cliff’s room only to witness nurse Beverly pulling a scalpel out of Cliff’s eye. She turns around, her face flayed off, and comes for him, so natural Daniel drops her. Oh, but that’s not going to be the end of things. The sheriff (Art Hindle) shows up to help with what seems to be a confusing situation, and it’s going to get a lot more confusing when something big and tentacled comes out of Beverly. And, soon enough, the two men from the beginning of the movie (Daniel Fathers and Mik Byskov) have shown up with fire axes, and the hotel is surrounded by cultists.

What is going to follow is a lot of body horror, tentacles, and things coming back from the dead and desiring to gift others with this sort of horrible resurrection. I’m not going to go into detail, because the twists and turns of The Void are best experienced without being spoiled. Suffice to say that there’s a great deal of blood and viscera, lots of tentacle-y bits, and plenty of flayed skin.

The Void is another film that seems to follow a sort of unofficial rule that I have noticed over time. Essentially, this rule states that the best movies that touch on the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft are those that do so tangentially. This isn’t a direct telling of any specific Lovecraft story, but it feels very Lovecraftian in a lot of ways. The tentacles are a big part of this, of course, and the gore is a lot more explicit here than Howard Phillips ever did in much detail, but the otherworldliness of this, the cult following, the ritual elements all seem to be at least related to the mythos that Lovecraft created.

The Void is not a movie that I would call fun by any stretch of the imagination, but I do appreciate just how much it dives into the world that it wants to create. This does not hold back on the gruesomeness of this world. Everyone is always in danger all of the time, and what is likely to happen to them is never going to be simple, painless or anything other than horrifying. In other words, there’s always a lot at stake, and every moment feels doomed.

Just be ready for a lot of nastiness. There are buckets of gore—while it is considerably different in most ways, there were moments that brought to mind John Carpenter’s The Thing in terms of the splatter.

Why to watch The Void: It’s a live-action Call of Cthulhu game.
Why not to watch: Lots of body horror.


  1. I'd like to see this. I've heard fucked up things about this film and that's good enough for me. Plus, I love Cthulhu!

    1. It's nasty, but it's the right kind of nasty.

  2. I had to go back into my archives because I know I've seen this, but I couldn't remember what I thought about it. Apparently I was enjoying it until we got to the end of the women's storylines...whatever that means. I no longer have memory of this. lol

    1. That tracks. There's some things that happen near the end that are going to jump back and forth over the sexual assault line, and there's some very abusive relationship things going on here as well. You're probably safe not watching it again.