Dennis suggests ‘Six Films to Keep You Awake: A Real Friend/ The Christmas Tale’ (in Horror). To explain: these two hour-long films are on the same disc, part of a Spanish ‘Masters of Horror’-like cable series. I’ve seen two of the other four and really liked Alex de Iglesia’s The Baby’s Room, which I reviewed some time in the past, but these two are nearly as good. Both centered on children coping with the terrifying, bewildering facts of the adult world in their own ways, they each contain chills, gore, and a ghoulish sense of humor, along with some sad, touching examples of children having to deal with things that their grownups should never have exposed them to. A Real Friend follows the daily adventures of a lonely, horror movie-loving little girl who retreats from upsetting reality with the help of her imaginary friend. Who appears to be Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As her single mom worries and a mysterious possible vampire appears to her at odd times, she and her monster pal try to make sense of things. Menacing, darkly comic and surprising. The Christmas Tale follows a group of ebullient, adventurous young friends as they find a wounded woman in a Santa suit in a hole in the woods and, in keeping with the high spirits and childish innocence, decide to starve her until she tells them where she hid the robbed bank loot they discover she’s stolen. This one’s a fiendishly-black comic horror, with the kids at first being introduced as a Goonies-like wacky bunch (complete with secret clubhouse, peppy theme music and animated on-screen introductions), only to reveal their darker, more grown-up greed, manipulation, and treachery. Remember- children are evil! One word of warning: the weakness of both of these neat little movies, and of this series as a whole, is their need to slap a ‘Twilight Zone’-style twist ending one each one; it works just fine in The Baby’s Room, but it almost ruins both of these.
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