HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Nineteen – 10/19/18

10/19 – 2005: THE DESCENT

Thanks to films like DOG SOLDIERS, NEIL MARSHALL has now become the ‘go-to guy’ for action movies, especially when it’s action/horror. But the other great film that cemented his position was THE DESCENT, a subterranean ‘monster mash’, with something you don’t see everyday…an entire cast of kick-ass female characters!

Sarah (SHAUNA MACDONALD) and her ‘band of sisters’ are off on an adventure, as her buds rally ‘round her, to help her through the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter in a terrible accident.

Are you thinking “Lifetime” movie right now? Forget it. Sarah and her friends aren’t here for a book club…their idea of kicking back is going spelunking, which means exploring underground caves, for those not familiar. And in this case, it means previously uncharted caves, adding to the excitement.

And the terror. If you have seriously bad claustrophobia, you may want to leave now, because even though I don’t, there are a couple of harrowing sequences when I had to remind myself to breathe!

And just to make it interesting, how about throwing in an unexpected band of C.H.U.D.s to keep things lively? (If you never saw that movie, that stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, which these beasties definitely are.)

So the battle against fears both rational and irrational suddenly turns into a ferociously bloody fight for survival, as the creatures respond to what they think of as a ‘dinner bell’, with our spelunking sisters being the main course on the menu. Who will make it out alive, if anyone? There’s some further wrinkles developed in the story, that makes the answer to that question even more intriguing. An answer you’ll love to discover…when you’re not biting your nails down to the quick!

In spite of two different controversial endings, (both which are available on the Blu-Ray and some DVD versions), THE DESCENT garnered enough of a following to spawn a sequel, which of course can’t touch Marshall’s deft hand directing the first one.  But that’s also still worth a look.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: 2005 was also “Ground Zero” for the explosions of SAW II, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, LADY VENGEANCE, THE JACKET, HARD CANDY, LAND OF THE DEAD, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, NOROI: THE CURSE and THE CALL OF CTHULHU.


Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN ( 2018 ) 40 YEARS OF TERROR – MOVIE REVIEW

HALLOWEEN ( 2018 ) 40 YEARS OF TERROR – MOVIE REVIEW

On October 19, 1957, Michael Audrey Myers was born and on the night of Halloween, 1963, he stabbed his older sister, Judith Myers to death. Being held at Smiths Grove’s Sanitarium for 15 years, until he escapes on October 30, 1978. On Halloween, he murdered 5 people trying to get to his main target, Laurie Strode ( Jamie Lee Curtis ). But his Doctor shot him 6 times. After falling off a balcony, he was arrested and taken back to Smiths Grove, where he remained for the next 40 years.

The film opens with two British people who run a podcast and are visiting Smiths Grove to see if they can get Michael to speak by showing him his infamous mask, while instigating him. ( not a very wise decision ) from there the opening titles begin with the same orange text and a reverse time lapse of a rebuilding jack o’ lantern.

Ignoring everything that happened after the events of the first one, the film picks up 40 years later and Laurie Strode has been preparing herself for the day that Michael would escape again and come back for her. Lautie is armed to the teeth with various weaponry and booby traps that surround the inside of her home. Laurie has suffered an incredible amount of trauma, leaving her to have a not so great relationship with her daughter, Karen ( Judy Greer )

Her granddaughter , Allyson sides with her, feeling bad with no real understanding who Michael is and why he is the way he is and why he chose Laurie as his main target back in 1978.  All she knows is that he did some real damage to her and after 40 years, he is still traumatized.

On the night of October 30, 2018. Michael is being transported to another maximum security, where he is to remain for the rest of his days. The bus crashes and Michael is loose.

Once Michael gets his mask at a nearby gas station, he makes his way to Haddonfield, with a body count that puts the original to shame. Michael Myers is more brutal than ever before with some clever death sequences.  No spoilers, but his favorite weapon is not the only thing he uses to dismember his victims. The film has some over the top jaw dropping practical gore effects as well as a story that is so neatly scripted, you can tell the filmmakers did their research and they did it quite well. John Carpenter signed on as executive producer and also scored the film with his son, Cody Carpenter. Of course we get the infamous theme that everybody cheers during, but we also get some very nice additional music pieces that also fit very well within the film.  The mask looks great and in some scenes it looks even better, because of the lighting and shadows used, much like in the original.

For fans of the franchise, you will find easter eggs scattered throughout the film that are clever nods to the other sequels. That was a nice touch.

Overall, Halloween 2018, is a great follow up to the original with some great tension, kills and a battle  sequence between Myers and Strode that feels like an amazing Pay Per View event that viewers have been dying to see for a long time.  Halloween is now in theaters and you all should flock to the theaters ASAP and see this film. It’s an amazing follow up and should be recognized by not only the fans, but for people who just love horror movies.

Posted by Jonathan Hughes in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
Essence is coming soon and you can help!

Essence is coming soon and you can help!

I had the pleasure to see the teaser trailer for the new film by Jeff KACMARYNSKI’SESSCENSE” the film has a real late 70’s vibe to it from what I saw and have to say I’m intrigued along with the grindhouse feel of the style of old film. The trailer gave a little bit of what to expect but didn’t reveal all too much which is good because seeing this I’m interested to see what will transpire and want to walk in  surprised on how it escalates. I was lucky enough to get a little more information from the Director on the plot and inspiration of the film “After the death of her son, Joanna discovers a hidden room in her home, with a power that could lead her back to him. However, the room instead, unleashes a malicious cosmic entity, that feeds on her fears and sanity, ultimately unleashing a terrible mind game. Our cast includes legendary Lynn Lowry, and veteran actress Maggie Wagner. We are doing a very psychedelic surreal horror film, influenced by Cronenberg, Lynch, Lovecraft , Argento and Fulci.” I have to wonder will we see body horror, over the top gore that will get under our skin? One thing is fore I myself can’t wait to see more. This will be his first feature film that he’s done since his shorts he did some time back DEAD THERAPY is featured in Wild Eye Releasing’s movie WELCOME TO HELL which all have won several awards. Right now there’s a indigo campaign so if you like to contribute by all means even a share helps! For more information here’s a direct link to the Indigogo campaign

 

 

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, FEATURED ARTISTS, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Eighteen – 10/18/18

10/18 – 2004: SHAUN OF THE DEAD/DAWN OF THE DEAD

What the hell do you do with a year that not only gave us one of the best remakes ever of a George A. Romero masterpiece, but also the great horror dramedy that was inspired by the original version of said film?  Why, you review them both, of course!

The now-famous horror-comedy team of SIMON PEGG and NICK FROST, together with their frequent partner-in-crime, director EDGAR WRIGHT, had long since been fans of Romero’s entire body of work, when they began to cook up their own impossibly nutty take on not just that film, but the entire zombie genre, SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Think of what would have happened if the MONTY PYTHON group had gotten hold of the original script for DAWN, and put their own special “stamp” on it, and you’re pretty much there.

 

Pegg plays the titular electronic store clerk Shaun, of course…a rather ordinary bloke living a rather ordinary existence, save for a few unfortunate things…like his strained relationship with his mum, and his girlfriend, who’s now his ex. And like every guy who’s been through this, even though he has his best bud and roomie, Ed (FROST) who has his back like always, nothing is going to be the same for him, until he has his girl, Liz (KATE ASHFIELD) back.  But there is the bothersome matter of a zombie apocalypse to deal with, right in the middle of his “get my ex back” campaign.

  

There’s plenty of action in this, in between the guffaws and gaffes, not to mention enough bloodletting to satisfy gorehounds who might otherwise be inclined to skip it.  But as writers, Pegg and Wright never forget to give us fully-realized characters, and some stunning and memorable setpieces, including a look at Shaun’s daily routine in before-and-after apocalypse mode, which even with repeat viewings is still as funny and frightening as it was the first time.

A dead-on (pun intended) skewering of everyday British life, pop culture and the human condition (not to mention the condition of the undead who were once your family, friends and neighbors) SHAUN is never less than a brilliantly-conceived, funny-as-hell, sometimes gory and sometimes even touching tribute from two absolute super-fans of not just George Romero, but the sub-genre of horror that he singlehandedly created. In fact, the mutual admiration society they had going on was so intense, that George actually gave both Simon and Nick cameos in LAND OF THE DEAD!

Which brings us to the ‘new and improved’ version of DAWN. If it had been any other writing/directing team, I could imagine this remake of a classic would have sunk from the multiplexes without a trace. Until you consider that the writer and director in question are JAMES GUNN and ZACK SNYDER.  Now we’re talking!

The original DAWN opening, somewhat picking up from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, was pretty scary stuff, and you’d think that there wouldn’t be too many ways to make it scarier. But that’s where Snyder and Gunn say “Here, hold our beers.”

A family morning wake-up call has never been more horrific.  In the blink of an eye, the drowsy family morning routine of Ana (SARAH POLLEY) goes from being blasé, to a total bloodbath, when their infected daughter bites and kills her husband, turning HIM into an undead flesh-eater. The shocking sequence where she escapes, only to witness her entire neighborhood descending into mayhem is as unforgettable as anything Romero ever pulled off.

  

That’s not the only place where Gunn as a screenwriter stuck to the original Romero story beats, but still brought his own vibe and dark sense of humor to the proceedings. As Ana takes her chances with a group of survivors who decide to hole up in a local mall, just like in the original, the story pulls in the rest of the outstanding cast including VING RHAMES, JAKE WEBER, MICHAEL KELLY, TY BURRELL and MEKHI PHIFER.

And Phifer’s other half in the film, Luda (INNA KOROBKINA) is very, very pregnant, soon providing us with the horrific answer to a question we didn’t exactly get from, say, THE WALKING DEAD: what happens to pregnant women in the zombie apocalypse, who give birth to…well, you fill in the blank.

Not the biggest ‘feel-good’ zombie film in the bunch by a long shot (and those who have seen it multiple times know exactly why), this DAWN remake still stands tall as one of the better ones in the scads of Romero tributes, knockoffs and wanna-be’s.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: SAW, THREE…EXTREMES, SHUTTER, THE VILLAGE and GINGER SNAPS II: UNLEASHED were just some of the other goodies dropped on horror fans in 2004.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
Monikke Shame from Dragula Season 2 live in San Antonio

Monikke Shame from Dragula Season 2 live in San Antonio

 

I just got off work and headed down to the Webhouse to see a drag show. Not just any drag show, but Shawn Benet’s Madhouse. This was an event that I couldn’t afford to miss, Monikke Shame was headlining from Dragula season 2 and even though I missed the first part of the show from what I hear the first half amazing with the cast including Monikke using a stapler to staple tips to her body I told myself, “At least don’t miss the second half.” I do regret missing Miss Taint and Paradox Rei’s first half act. The neighborhood was quiet and dark it looked like something out of a horror movie no sounds or people. As I parked my car there were patrons coming in and out of the club. Smell of amazing food in the air provided by Webhouse which from what I been told have the best ribs in town as the song Bad Reputation by Joan Jett is playing. How appropriate. Walking into the club it was right when the first half ended D.J. Mr. Grim who is also the husband to Shawn Benet a power duo that has been working effortlessly together in the alternative drag scene together as I made my way in I was greeted by friendly faces and familiar performers I’ve seen numerous times c

hatting about or getting ready for the next performance. I immediately felt at home like all of Shawn’s shows. As stated Shawn has worked very hard to get where he is today from his very first performance to now hosting shows working with huge talent from Dragula season 1 and 2 and even working with his Haus being the first to bring Disasterina, Felony Dodger, and Monikkie Shame to Texas. Haus of Coven featuring Shawn Benet, Paradox Rei, The Lady Mystere Lopez, Nova Cain to newest member Miss Vanta Black. Shawn has made sure that every show is filled with something different, something cool and something for everyone. The vision his Haus has is: All drag is valid and that everyone should be themselves and

perform how they want to perform. I met him briefly as he was getting ready and he was able to say something quick: “My goal is to provide opportunites for performers who would normally be rejected from our cities drag community and to alter the perceptions of what drag is in this town” The second half began. Shawn came out doing a Zodiac killer theme. The theme for the evening was Masquerade as stated this isn’t your typical drag show. Imagine Gwar doing theater art showcases, but not so much blood or fake body parts flying around. Well that depends on who’s performing the night. The performers each bring something different to the stage showing off amazing make up, outfit and performances. The house was packed with some many people which is always best to show up early to make sure you get a good seat but with the venue itself it may not be huge but no matter where you are you’ll always see the show. Shawn does a great job not only bringing local talent but so many talented performers from around Texas showcasing their talents and making them feel at home especially the main events. Who Shawn and her husband treat as best friends showing them around the city and hanging out. There isn’t one person who stole the show but more so that everyone was amazing on stage whether it was (Britni Lebosabitch) doing their rendition of Closer by Nine Inch Nails with an assistant that the act became versatile of pain and pleasure to Twiggy Belladonna doing aerobatic splits where they’re fluid with their dance moves. Some performers I was watching for the first time such as Tessa Flowers from Houston who felt more like a headliner with their performance which got everyone hyped up for the headliner. Monikke Shame came out dancing, lip syncing to Lady Gaga throwing out fake pills of Xanax to the crowd. Coming out wearing one of her iconic mask. Imagine Leatherface doing drag performing to pop music. The crowd was cheering and hollering in support to this form of drag. Dragula may believe in horror/filth/glam but Shawn Benet believes in all drag is valid and if you’re looking to perform

with any look any style then try out. If you missed this show don’t miss their upcoming show with Erika Klash as well as their house shows and Voodoo.

Posted by Jai Alexis in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, EVENT REVIEWS, EVENTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Seventeen – 10/17/18

10/17 – 2003: HIGH TENSION (a.k.a. SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE)

Ah, yes…HIGH TENSION; the film that had me hating on director ALEXANDER AJA and writing/producing partner GREGORY LEVASSEUR so much, that I categorically refused to watch anything they put out for years. The movie was that good…and the ending that infuriating. (They eventually won me back with their remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES.)

It was only in English class in school, that I was ever introduced to the concept of the “unreliable narrator.” I don’t remember ever having seen it in film before HIGH TENSION, and once I did, I decided I really didn’t like it. And from the response of the audience I was with, I knew I wasn’t alone in that sentiment.  Maybe it had so much to do with the first two thirds of the movie being one of the best, bloodiest, most nail-biting slashers that had come along in a very long time. Being strung along in that context does not work well for those who invest heavily in the characters and the scenario.  And how could you not?

The film opens with two young college girls traveling through the beautiful but very remote French countryside. Marie (CECILE DE FRANCE) and Alexia (MAIWENN, a.k.a. MAIWENN LEBESCO of THE FIFTH ELEMENT), are on break, of course, and going to spend their time off at the farmhouse of Alexia’s parents. It’s supposed to be the most tranquil, ideal getaway. Which is going to become an absolute fucking nightmare.

Because not all that far off, a deranged killer (PHILIPPE NAHON) is on the loose, and from the stunningly gross first shot we see of him, we know that anyone in his path is in for a world of hurt…and worse.

We get the usual welcome home as the girls reach their destination, Alexia’s parents welcome them, and they get settled in.  Everything is fine…until Alexia’s father answers the doorbell in the middle of the night. Bad move, dad.  What follows that knock is two acts’ worth of some of the most bloody (literally) brilliant, harrowing and horrific scenes of suspense and carnage this side of De Palma. The first time I saw this, I just knew I was watching a modern classic unfolding before my wondering eyes.

After viciously laying waste to the family, The Killer snatches up Alexia and takes her hostage..for  Gawd only knows what.  And Marie, who has managed to duck him at every turn, goes to save her best friend, and you root for her to succeed every step of the way.

Then…along comes the final act.

It wasn’t that long ago that I hated this movie so much, that in a purposefully vindictive act of sabotage, I would have spoiled the entire film for you, here and now, just to spare you from the feeling of outrage and betrayal that I felt when it was all said and done.  But no, I’m not going to do that – I’ll take the high road.  I’ve a better understanding now of what Aja and Levasseur intended, and though I still may not like it, I do respect it with some time gone by.

So I will just let you do the viewing, and you can decide how you feel about the film as a whole. But De France and Maiwenn are fantastic, playing their roles the way they were directed to, and the audience’s investment in them and the other characters really helps with the shock value, when the blood, bone and brains start to fly.

To sum it up with just my opinion: HIGH TENSION is a film with bite, that also sucks. Depending on how you look at it. And I guess, taking into account the definition I used before about what ‘art’ is, it’s also a very ‘artfully’ realized piece of horror cinema.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT:  Also terrifying audiences that year: A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, GOZU, IDENTITY, DEAD END, OPEN WATER, DARK WOODS, thr remake of WILLARD, and the remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Sixteen – 10/16/18

10/16 – 2002: MAY

“If you can’t find a friend…MAKE ONE.”

Not the exact tag line, but it does capture the main idea behind what I have come to regard, as the best film that writer/director LUCKY MCKEE and his main muse, ANGELA BETTIS, have ever collaborated on. And we’re talking about a duo who also gave us the excellent MASTERS OF HORROR episode, “Sick Girl”, and the movie that almost ran people out of the theater, THE WOMAN, McKee’s excellent team-up with late, great horror author JACK KETCHUM (THE GIRL NEXT DOOR).

I have always been of the half-joking opinion, that there should be a law that states that Angela never be allowed to do movies with any other director but Lucky, and MAY is the reason why. It’s a brilliant, horrific and heartbreaking meditation on loneliness, self-hatred and just that overall feeling of “not being able to fit in.” What would have happened in CARRIE, how would the story have played out if she’d still been bullied, maligned and ostracized, but she had no telekinetic powers to lash out with? MAY provides one truly unsettling and yet also depressingly dark answer to that question.

Bettis, of course, plays the title character, but before that, we see her as a young girl – lonely and isolated, and her condition with a lazy eye doesn’t help things at all.  Her mother gives her a “friend’ to keep her company: a doll in a glass case. But not just any doll.  This is one of the creepiest dolls I think I’ve ever seen in film history – it makes ANNABELLE look like Raggedy Ann!

The grown-up May, some years later, loves to sew and make things. That aptitude translates into what she does for her day job, working for a veterinarian, helping with the animals and even with some surgeries.

Her lesbian co-worker, Polly, (ANNA FARIS with one of her great, subtly funny turns) has something of a crush on May, but things between them stay mostly in the ‘friend zone’.

It’s only when she meets a hunky mechanic named Adam (JEREMY SISTO), that May begins to see the possibilities of having a life beyond her mostly solitary existence. It’s her ‘uniqueness’ that draws both Adam and Polly to her, who consider themselves to be equally “weird” people, but there’s more than a bit of miscommunication going on here.  While their own “off-beat-ness” is something of an affectation, what they’re reading as “quirky” and “interesting” about May is a whole hell of a lot more than that: May’s sanity is hanging on day-by-day, by the slenderest of threads, and it wouldn’t take much at all for it to snap like a rotten twig.  As Adam and May begin to date, he soon realizes because of certain behaviors she exhibits, that this poor girl just simply isn’t ‘all there’ and breaks it off with her.

Then, Polly decides that it’s the perfect time for them to take their friendship to the next level, until she, too, begins to see and sense what Adam did, and she also shuts May out of her life.

Remember what I said about her sanity, and about how it wouldn’t take much for her to lose it? Seems like bald-faced rejection is what finally does the trick.

I don’t want to say anymore than I have to, except that it all leads to an inevitable, bloody and devastatingly sad conclusion. All this girl ever wanted was a true friend, and even at the climax, she never really gets one.  If there were any justice in the cinematic world, Bettis should have gotten an Oscar nod out of this singular and unforgettable performance, but I doubt that the Academy, even though they recognized a movie like THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS – they weren’t quite ready for a film like MAY.

McKee knows at all times exactly what kind of audience he’s aiming for, and he hits the bull’s-eye every time. He does character-driven pieces like no other filmmaker I know, and MAY offers a seductive promise of a neo-Gothic brand of horror, to those fans who are always hungry for something that ventures pretty far off the beaten path of “mainstream” thrills and chills. He likes to examine the human condition in a way that is unapologetically blunt and in-your-face. You can see these attributes in most of his work, but not as sharply defined as it is in MAY.

Sisto, Faris, as well as indie fave JAMES DUVAL and WILL ESTES, all give great performances as friends or friends of May’s ‘friends’, but the responsibility for reaching out and touching the audience most profoundly, rests on Bettis’s slender shoulders, and she is more than capable of handling that task. I don’t hear too many people discussing this movie anymore, which is a damn shame. If any film is deserving of a much wider audience, MAY is definitely one of them.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT:  This is also the year that gave us RED DRAGON, DOG SOLDIERS, BUBBA HO-TEP, JU-ON: THE GRUDGE, THE RING, DARK WATER, SIGNS, THE EYE and 28 DAYS LATER.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Fifteen – 10/15/18

10/15 – 2001: FRAILTY

When the world lost BILL PAXTON, it didn’t just lose an endlessly talented, gifted actor. It turned out that he was one helluva director as well, whose abilities behind the camera will now never be fully realized. But at least we have one great example of what we could’ve expected, in the only film he helmed before his untimely passing: FRAILTY.  If you love thrillers with premises and endings that will keep you up with the lights on, and talking about it with friends and family for weeks after seeing it, FRAILTY will be more than happy to oblige you.  There have been similar films about faith, religious mania, and how someone affected by both could have trouble separating the real from the unreal. But this is a movie that goes a whole lot farther than that…

Fenton Meiks (MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY in one of his best performances), walks into an FBI office one night and announces that he has important information on the man known as the “God’s Hand Killer”, a statement that immediately grabs everyone’s attention. But Fenton also states that he won’t speak to anyone but the lead investigator on the God’s Hand case, one Agent Wesley Doyle (POWERS BOOTHE).

Doyle immediately turns all of his attention to Fenton, who confesses on the spot that he just finished burying his brother, Adam, in the family rose garden, “just like he promised”, since it was Adam he fingers as the killer the Feds are looking for.  After confirming this by contacting the office of the sheriff of the town Fenton is from, he asks exactly how Fenton knows that Adam was the “God’s Hand” Killer.  Rather than answer him directly, Fenton shifts gears, and by way of explanation, begins to tell the agent all about his dark family history.

It was up to widower Dad Meiks (PAXTON) to raise his two sons alone. But things begin to careen off the rails, when late one night, Dad wakes up his sons to tell them that he has received a message from God, via an angel: he and his family have been chosen to become “God’s Hands”, and to rid the earth of demons – demons disguised in human form. Where the younger boy, Adam is psyched to have been given such a task – kind of like a superhero – the older Fenton had pretty much determined that his father’s cheese done slid off his cracker, (as Stephen King would say.)

As much as Fenton hopes this is just a crackpot idea that Dad has that will eventually be forgotten…no dice. Dad soon starts collecting things that he was ‘shown’ he should use to prepare for their ‘holy mission’: an axe, some rope, a length of pipe – things a serial killer would use. And not long after that, things get even worse: now, Dad has an actual list of people that “God” has tasked them to take out.  To Fenton’s growing dismay, things begin to escalate – especially when Dad brings home the first victim. It’s then that a battle of wills begins between father and son, with the youngest caught in the middle.

The story alternates between Fenton’s flashback tale, and the uneasy bond he forms with Agent Doyle. The resulting climax isn’t just jaw-dropping, you will want to see this twice, maybe three times, just to confirm what this movie is asking you to do at its very core – more of an act of suspension of belief, rather than disbelief.

A labor of love for Paxton, BRENT HANLEY’S incredible script offers more of a reversal/”fake-out” version of THE SIXTH SENSE’S stunning climactic twist reveal, and you can tell from the way that he crafted the picture, Paxton was looking forward to the intense shock to the system that audiences would experience at the end. And he was right, because I have only seen FRAILTY once, yet that ending still haunts me.

He is amazing as Dad Meiks, so surefooted and iron-willed, armed with this “mission from God”, while MATT O’LEARY and JEREMY SUMPTER as the younger Fenton and Adam, respectively, give very well-modulated performances for child actors.  McConaughey portrays Fenton as one cool customer, and Boothe does a wonderful job of portraying the blinkered Doyle, who is so determined to get answers about the identity and whereabouts of the “God’s Hand” Killer, he never contemplates for a second that getting the answers may not be the triumphant achievement he’s expecting.

FRAILTY is part of the legacy that Bill Paxton left us, of a talent he was only beginning to explore. I’m saddened by the fact that we won’t get any new films from him as a director or actor, but grateful that we have things like this to remember him by.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: 2001 was also the launchpad for THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, THE OTHERS, PULSE, ICHI THE KILLER, SESSION 9, JOY RIDE, FROM HELL, BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF and THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Fayetteville NC Comic Con To Showcase Horror Icons

Fayetteville NC Comic Con To Showcase Horror Icons

This weekend is the annual Comic Con for Fayetteville, NC. In addition to the many comic book artists and creators featured at the event, there is a new twist this year.  Fayetteville Comic Con ventured to the horror side a mere week and a half before Halloween. Tony Todd headlines the horror guest this year. Fans will of course recognize Tony as Candyman in the 1992 film and sequels. Todd also had featured roles in Hatchet and Hatchet 2, Death House and the new film, Hell Fest.

Tony Todd as Candyman at Days of the Dead - Charlotte, NC – 2018 / Image: Crypt Keeper Kent Fayetteville Comic COn

Fayetteville Comic Con

If Tony Todd was the only horror icon appearing at Fayetteville Comic Con, that would be a nice effort. Fayetteville Comic Con however, features an amazing lineup. Iconic makeup artist and creator, Tom Savini joins the fun at Fayetteville Comic Con. Known for his work in the Friday The 13th series and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Savini for decades has created monsters and creatures forever remembered.

Speaking of Friday The 13th, Warrington Gillette will make his way to Fayetteville. Gillette is one of the many actors that have donned the mask (or potato sack) of Jason Voorhees.  Gillette played the role (with Steve Dash) in Part 2.

Fayetteville Comic Con

Fayetteville Comic Con

Fayetteville Comic Con has also gone old school. The legendary Butch Patrick, known as lovable Eddie Munster on The Munsters!  Butch is not coming alone either. Coming with him are props AND The Munsters cars from the show! Butch Patrick will also be a guest of Larry K on Fayetteville’s 98.6 BOB FM this Friday morning at 7 AM!

Mark Dodson, known for his voice work on Gremlins and Gremlins 2, along with WWE Hall of Famer Hacksaw Jim Duggan round out the horror guests. Many fans may not realize that Hacksaw Duggan has acted in several films and had a starring role in Cody Knotts’ Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies in 2014. If you are a wrestling fan and horror fan, this film should be on you watch list, by the way.

Fayetteville Comic ConFayetteville Comic Con

The event will happen at The Crown Complex in Fayetteville, NC. A complete list of all of the guests, panel times, photo ops and more can be found on the FAYETTEVILLE COMIC CON website. There you can also buy tickets. You can also visit them on FACEBOOK.

All in all, Fayetteville Comic Con has heard the horror community loud and clear. They responded with a tremendous group of actors and icons from the horror world. They also booked horror guests that are “likable”. Each of the guests does have a reputation of being a great guy to meet as a fan at shows. Fayetteville got this lineup right made it fun to countdown to.  See everyone this weekend!

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Fourteen – 10/14/18

10/14 – 2000: PITCH BLACK

When RIDLEY SCOTT’S ALIEN threw down the gauntlet for other filmmakers who braved exploring the sci-fi genre, and all the sub-genres therein, there were a lot of misfires that fans got out of the deal; a lot of copycat wannabes, and ideas that were tremendous on paper, but they just didn’t pan out.  Luckily for us, PITCH BLACK happens to be one of the ones that did.

Carolyn Fry (RADHA MITCHELL – SILENT HILL, THE DARKNESS) is a pilot on a routine trip, hauling cargo and passengers, including a group who are off to start a settlement on another planet.  When a freak meteor storm cripples the ship and makes it necessary to ‘lighten the load’, she has two choices: eject the cargo or the passengers. But before she can make the most damning call of the two, the ship crash-lands on an unfamiliar planet that happened to be nearby.

Two problems quickly become apparent: the first is that two of her passengers happened to be a bounty hunter named Johns (COLE HAUSER, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN), and his ‘cargo’…a legendary dangerous convicted criminal named Richard B. Riddick (VIN DIESEL, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS). And now Riddick has disappeared, and is out there…watching, waiting to make his move.

The second problem? They quickly find out that they’re not alone, the hard way. Vicious, carnivorous alien creatures live on this planet, just underground…and because the light is death to them, they only come out at night to hunt and to feed, when it gets dark.

The planet, once site of its own settlement is now desolate, with not a soul to be found. And Carolyn and the survivors of the crash soon find out why.  Every number of years or so on the planet, a total eclipse occurs, leaving everything in complete, utter darkness. And lucky them…they just got stranded not long before the next eclipse is set to happen. They may have been travelers before…but now, they’re about to become snacks.

Working from a screenplay crafted by director DAVID TWOHY, with JIM AND KEN WHEAT (THE SILENT SCREAM, LIES), PITCH BLACK is a clever, nerve-wracking thrill ride with a damn good scenario, that almost bests what are considered to be the top sci-fi horror classics – even ALIEN itself.

Plus it has a fantastic supporting cast that includes KEITH DAVID (THEY LIVE, John Carpenter’s THE THING), CLAUDIA BLACK (FARSCAPE) and LEWIS FITZ-GERALD (BREAKER MORANT, THE WOLVERINE).

Twohy has a knack for working with modestly-budgeted, well-scripted sub-genre films, as he proved all too well before with WARLOCK, (starring JULIAN SANDS in the title role,) and the underrated, underwater ghost chiller BELOW. He keeps the pace brisk, the suspense taut and follows the Golden Rule of never showing the audience too much of the creatures, designed by master effects artist PATRICK TATOPOULOS (STARGATE, DARK CITY).

Though some characters here are better developed than others, everyone gives memorable performances, particularly Mitchell, Hauser and David.  But it’s Diesel’s Riddick that you walk away from the film remembering most. A murderous convict who barely considers himself to be human, PITCH BLACK becomes as much about him trying to locate some shreds of humanity left in his blasted soul, and actually doing it, under the direst circumstances that anyone could possibly imagine.

So unforgettable was his portrayal, that Universal attempted to cash in with a sequel, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, which is still being debated today as to whether or not it was a worthy follow-up. (It has DAME JUDI DENCH in it, so call me biased.)

In any case, it’s yet another great choice for your upcoming ‘Halloween Horrorthon’. In fact, if you really want to get a good group debate going, double it up with ALIEN and see which one comes out the victor!

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: 2000 also gave us AMERICAN PSYCHO, GINGER SNAPS, BATTLE ROYALE, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, FINAL DESTINATION, THE GIFT, JU-ON (a.k.a. THE GRUDGE) and WHAT LIES BENEATH.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, HORROR HEROES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
Fell Beauties: A new Bizarro-Horror Novel by Leigham Shardlow

Fell Beauties: A new Bizarro-Horror Novel by Leigham Shardlow

Fell beauties is a new novel from the new bizarro authors series line published by Eraserhead Press (one of the leading Bizarro publishers). It’s Leigham Shardlow’s first book and in this critics opinion, a solid first entry.

I am still new to the Bizarro genre, but I know what I like and I like this. The first paragraph hooks you in, and keeps you interested throughout. It begins with beauties – actually beautiful people falling from the sky. A beautiful Adonis is rocketing towards earth and dies in a mixture of orgasm and crunching bones. The bodies continue to rain on Disfigure-Berg “the last ugly city on the planet”. Anyone out in the street is killed by a body slamming them into the pavement or bone shards impaling themselves on their arteries. Even children are not spared (bravo!) in the vivid imagery described in this novel and this is only the beginning.

Fat Janet or “Obese Janet to her friends” is our heroine in this journey.  She’s a highly relatable character, an introvert whose friends include her multiple cats, her stories, and mass quantities of comfort food. As the bodies are piling up and she’s seeking shelter from the devastation she is rescued by our hero Isaac. Isaac is a tragic character having lost his husband, he’s still coming to terms with his death when he comes to Disfigure-Berg on a mission to take down the Church of Skin.

Our villain Cardinal Slice was a former Doctor, a leading plastic surgeon to the beautiful people until botching too many surgeries including Isaacs husbands resulting in his death. Banished to live among the ugly people as a homeless man, he seizes the opportunity to take back his position of power when the bodies start to hit. He holes up in the Church of Skin and starts to transform it’s inhabitants, promising them beauty. He deceives them and  instead creates unholy, awful creatures.

I see the Church of Skin as society itself. It’s the need for people to conform to social standards of beauty and sameness. The Church of Skin (just like any other) is judgemental and expects that you conform to their notions of rightness even if it means your own personal suffering.

Poor Fat Janet gets the worst of it, having to traipse through tunnels of dead bodies and swim through a lake of innards. She steps up though  and becomes an unwilling model of human strength. Her friendship with Isaac is a heartwarming tribute to humanity, a friendship we all hope for. Despite the ugliness of society in the end Fat Janet becomes something beautiful.

I liked this book for the disgusting horror aspect, but more importantly the social commentary. It’s subtle so as not to be preachy, but obvious enough to get it’s point across. Enjoy it for the gore or dig deeper and get woke, either way it’s a solid read. buy it here:https://www.amazon.com/Fell-Beauties-Leigham-Shardlow/dp/1621052591

Posted by Candace Stone in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, FICTION AND POETRY, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, REVIEWS, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day THIRTEEN – 10/13/18

10/13 – 1999: THE SIXTH SENSE

How in the wide, wide world of sports could it be possible to make and break your career right out of the gate, with your first smash box office hit? Ask extremely controversial director M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN, because that’s exactly what happened with THE SIXTH SENSE, one of the best paranormal ‘mind-fuck’ chillers ever made. And there had been some really good ones that came before, and that followed it. But none had quite the same impact that this did, only the third film he’d made.

BRUCE WILLIS, whose last big film the year before, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, didn’t exactly set multiplex box offices aflame (although now it’s a beloved sci-fi cult classic) stars here as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a disillusioned child psychologist. Tragically attacked by one of his former charges, who then commits suicide, Malcolm considers himself a failure, and is looking for redemption from the horrific debacle.

His potential chance comes in the form of Cole Sear, the role that defined the career of HALEY JOEL OSMENT, although he’d done some films and TV before, including a small role in FOREST GUMP. As the famous line goes, Cole sees “dead people”, who don’t seem to know they’re dead, and worst of all – they all want to talk to him, though he has no idea why he has this connection to the spirit world.

It’s Malcolm who finally seems to be the most helpful adult that Cole can confide in, as he advises him to listen when the spirits communicate with him, to see what it is that they want. And as it turns out, they want many different things. Perhaps the second most stunning sequence in the film is Cole’s encounter with the ghost of a young girl named Kyra Collins, (future star of “THE O.C.” MISCHA BARTON), whose untimely death via a mysterious illness, turns out to be a lot more than her family knew about.

Shyamalan’s greatest gift isn’t just the cleverness of the storytelling. He has real empathy for all of his characters, even the unlikable ones, and therefore you become equally invested in them.  So much so, that until you’ve seen this multiple times, you don’t realize how he’s setting you up for one of the most stunning ‘reveals’, not just in horror film history, but film in general.  And that’s how he also managed to make and then break himself all at once. Not unlike ORSON WELLES did with CITIZEN KANE, Shyamalan made one of the most audacious debuts to come from a fledgling director up to that time period, and in the films that followed, audiences expected every “Shyamalan twist” to be just as gasp-inducing as the first time. But he soon discovered that the hardest act to follow was himself.

Willis gives one of the best performances of his career outside his usual forays into action blockbusters, (DEATH BECOMES HER has the other great turn). HALEY JOEL OSMENT seemed destined for super-stardom, as one of the least saccharine, real little kids ever to break into cinema. OLIVIA WILLIAMS has what amounts to a cameo as Malcolm’s wife, Anna, but what she does is effective and vitally important to the story, and she’s perfect for it. DONNIE WAHLBERG as the distraught former patient, whose horrendous act of violence sets the plot in motion, shows where the acting chops in that family really are.

But the one to really watch here is TONI COLLETTE, as single mom Lynn Sear. I would go as far as to put her performance right up there with ELLEN BURSTYN’S in THE EXORCIST. As a mother desperately trying to understand what’s going on with her kid, and feeling nearly powerless to help, she neither overplays or underplays it, hitting the sweet spot particularly in a scene that is a tear-jerker: when she truly comes to believe in her son’s abilities, as he reveals something to her that he couldn’t have possibly known about otherwise. (Everyone who’s seen it remembers that scene.) In fact, watching it back again, it comes as no surprise that THE SIXTH SENSE was nominated for – you got it – SIX Oscars, including nods for Osment, Collette and of course for Shyamalan’s directing.

After a rough period of diminishing returns on his features, that seemingly began with LADY IN THE WATER, going rapidly downhill from there, “Night” has made a considerable comeback with THE VISIT, SPLIT, and the soon-to-be-released GLASS. (I wonder if that one holds any interest for me? Hmmm…)  But THE SIXTH SENSE is that one that every director wishes they had in their arsenal, but also fears…because it’s that ‘lightning-in-a-bottle’ that you can only really capture once, and never again.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: This was the same year that also gave us RAVENOUS, AUDITION, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, STIR OF ECHOES, SLEEPY HOLLOW, and existenZ.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, PARANORMAL, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments

SID HAIG Turns Dreidels Into “DREAD-DLES” In The New Holiday Shocker HANUKKAH

Remember the old joke about holiday slasher movies eventually covering every holiday on the calendar? (People still want to know what happened to Eli Roth’s plans to make his GRINDHOUSE ‘fake trailer’, THANKSGIVING into an actual film!)

Well, it really isn’t a joke anymore! Beloved cult icon SID HAIG is now starring in the upcoming slasher HANUKKAH, co-starring CHARLES FLEISCHER (WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, ZODIAC), P.J. SOLES (HALLOWEEN, CARRIE, ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL), CAROLINE WILLIAMS (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, TALES OF POE) and writer/actor JOE KNETTER (ZOMBIE BUKKAKE).

The sophomore feature of writer/director EBEN MCGARR (SICK GIRL), HANUKKAH’S plot goes a little something like this:

“Obediah Lazarus is the son of Judah Lazarus, the original Hanukiller. In 1983, Judah terrorized NY for seven nights and was preparing to sacrifice his eight-year-old son, Obediah, on the eighth night. Judah was convinced it was God’s will, like Abraham and Isaac, to sacrifice his only son to God. Luckily for Obediah, police tracked Judah down and stopped the sacrifice, but Judah was gunned down in the process. Warped by hatred with no guidance, Obediah Lazarus becomes a religious extremist, intolerant of non-Jews, “bad Jews”, and those he perceives to be enemies of the Jewish faith. He is about to unleash eight nights of horror. A group of Jewish teens are getting ready to party for the holidays, but are in for a Festival of Frights. With the help of a wise Rabbi, they deduce that the murder victims have violated Judaic law and that their only chance at survival is to embrace their faith.”

Does this mean that we’ll be seeing a menorah used as a blunt instrument? Watch for the release of HANUKKAH to find out!

Trailer For HANUKKAH:

Posted by Samuel Glass in CAST AND CREW NEWS, COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Twelve – 10/12/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Twelve – 10/12/18

10/12 – 1998: FALLEN

When you look at the filmography of an actor like DENZEL WASHINGTON, you don’t see a lot of missteps.  Lots of different, fascinating, captivating performances in a wide range of projects, in various genres. You know what else you don’t see? A lot of horror/sci-fi/fantasy films.  That can’t be coincidental. Denzel doesn’t seem to be the kind of actor that gravitates towards monster and slasher films by choice.  In most cases, one could hardly blame him.  We know there’s a lot of trash out there…because we have to watch it.  So it has to be one special script that can attract the attention of a Denzel Washington (or someone of his type). Something so amazingly different, that once he read it, he was immediately on board with doing it.  FALLEN just so happened to be that story.

Written by NICHOLAS KAZAN (FRANCES, AT CLOSE RANGE, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE) and directed by GREGORY HOBLIT, (a TV director known mostly for HILL STREET BLUES, L.A. LAW and N.Y.P.D. BLUE, until he directed 1996’s PRIMAL FEAR, which introduced movie audiences to EDWARD NORTON), FALLEN isn’t your average script by any definition of the word. Skipping much of the blood and gore that a film like this would usually rely on and goes for the psychological chills instead.  Not to mention – it takes a ROLLING STONES tune not known for being inherently creepy, and changes all that in the blink of an   eye.

FALLEN casts Denzel as Detective John Hobbes. Every good detective has his nemesis, and John’s was the notorious serial killer Edgar Reese (a fantastic turn by THE PROPHECY’S ELIAS KOTEAS). It’s been Hobbes’ determined efforts that finally landed Reese into the gas chamber seat he so richly deserves.

But on the day of Reese’s execution, as Hobbes sits with the other witnesses, Reese does something unexpected…and chilling. As they’re strapping him in, he sings directly to the cop – The Stones classic “Time Is On My Side”.  An attempt by a deranged psychopath, to make one last show of braggadocio? You would think so.  Not so fast, though. When dead bodies start turning up, killed in the same manner that was Reese’s M.O., and John starts getting hang-up calls in the middle of the night – something that Reese loved to do to taunt him – John starts to get the feeling that even though he saw Reese die, none of this is really over.

Then, suddenly, random strangers begin singing “Time Is On My Side”…to HIM. And that’s where shit really starts to get real.

Reese was ‘nice’ enough to leave him several clues, which lead John to articles about a celebrated cop named Robert Milano, who was not only eventually disgraced, but ended up committing suicide. His boss, Lt. Stanton (DONALD SUTHERLAND) balks when he hears Milano’s name and warns John to drop it, but hey, would any cop that Denzel plays drop anything?

His sleuthing eventually leads him to Milano’s daughter, Gretta (EMBETH DAVITZ), a student of theology who has even more dire warnings about this case than Stanton did. Still refusing to turn it loose, John hikes up to the old Milano family vacation cabin, out in the middle of nowhere, where Robert decided to air out his head with a bullet.

Kind of ironic that Koteas, who played a good guy in THE PROPHECY, plays the baddie in FALLEN, which is headed in almost the same direction as the previous film.  Do I mean…ANGELS again? Why, yes, I do, and not the good ones.

Meet AZAZEL.  

If Pazuzu from THE EXORCIST had an evil older brother, Azazel would be it. Possessing people by the power of touch, he’s one of the FALLEN (get it?) who has a bone to pick with both mankind and The Deity Who Made Them, and for him…payback’s a bitch. He doesn’t exactly care about John Hobbes, but since the cop came after him while he was hiding out in Edgar Reese’s body, why not have a little “fun” destroying his life, the same way he did Milano’s?

And so the battle of wills begins between a man and the demonic angel who has it in for him.  Will it be a win, a loss, or a ‘draw’? Check out FALLEN and see!

Besides Sutherland and Davitz, the cast also boasts ROBERT JOYJAMES GANDOLFINI and AIDA TURTURRO (in a small cameo), both pre-SOPRANOS; GABRIEL CASSEUS as John’s sweet, mentally-challenged brother, Art, and giving one of his best and most frightening performances – JOHN GOODMAN as Jonesy, John’s partner of over a decade. Goodman wasn’t known for playing baddies yet, though the Coen Brothers gave him wackadoos to play that were pretty close, (especially in BARTON FINK). The real douchebags he would eventually play in films like DEATH SENTENCE were far off yet, but you can see hints of that in his performance here.

DP NEWTON THOMAS SIGEL seems to have a gift for making Philadelphia look creepy, and he uses that talent to full advantage here. And TAN DUN’S dark, ambient score is never intrusive, which is a good thing for a movie that’s heavier on creeping dread and unease, than buckets of brains dashed across the screen.

All-in-all, FALLEN is one more excellent recommendation one can make to that person that hates horror films, but loves Denzel Washington movies.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: 1998 was also a year that included BLADE, RINGU, THE X-FILES, THE FACULTY, APT PUPIL, and JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRE$.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, OPINION, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Extremity is the haunted attraction movie we need

Extremity is the haunted attraction movie we need

I recently did a trailer review for the movie Extremity. My anticipation and excitement grew for the film however there was that small bit of worry looming in the background thinking please don’t suck and please don’t end up being a run of the mill horror movie that fails on delivery. How wrong I was. Let’s breakdown how Extremity might be the horror movie you weren’t expecting with a subject that has been told before.

Extremity follows Dana Christina as she is still grieving over the tragic suicide of her sister. After countless sessions of therapy she still hasn’t gotten over anything and is still back to square one. With the newest haunt extreme attraction known as Perdition she ultimately signs over any freedom she has over to this attraction. The film takes place out in the middle of nowhere during winter and is being recorded by a Japanese film crew The people who go by Skulls, work for the attraction free range to do whatever, the movie relies on the participants fear what scares them including a list of things they don’t like or want to see which pretty much gives them an open door to do just that.

The film goes back and forth from present day to the past of Alison as each room unlocks a further piece of her troubled life whether it’s visits to her Therapist, arguments with her girlfriend to even going as far back as dealing with issues of her physical/sexual abusive Father. What I like about this film is that is not only uncovers the layers of the main character’s personal hell we also see the folds unwrap for the characters all around her. Such as the owner played by Chad E. Rook who’s dealing with financial burden and the custody of his child to even the Japanese reporter who is covering the whole show where she is only being used for her body by the camera  guy. It gives you a sense on just exactly what troubles not only the main character has but everyone else around thus creating tension for everyone which makes dispensing fear tactics a lot of more useful since they’re releasing their anger out on the participants. As stated what I love about this film is that it does a great job with character development where we actually worry for the character since there’s no time limit and there’s no safe words to stop the event. We begin to wonder what will happen to her at the end? Don’t expect to see a Saw or Rob Zombie kind of movie there isn’t a whole lot of gore or even that much torture porn, this film relies on psychological factors, but there some a few scenes that entice the audience for fans of Anthony Diblasi’s previous work such as Dread and Last Shift.  The film even had a satisfying ending that wrapped up everything for the character along with the characters in the film where we get what we want: Closure. I won’t spoil it for you but the ending song “Stripped” by Depeche Mode works perfectly. Over all this is the kind of horror film we want where underneath the mask we reveal our true selves and this is what this movie did for us. Revealed it’s true form: a horror film that isn’t afraid to go to the extreme and be different.

Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Eleven – 10/11/18

10/11 – 1997: LOST HIGHWAY

For viewers who are about linear, sensible, relatable storytelling with the whole ‘beginning-middle-and-end’ thing going on, DAVID LYNCH has always been a tough nut to crack. If you cannot accept that it’s about his own unique vision, and just go along for the ride, then it’s best to avoid his body of cinematic work. Even his more accessible films like WILD AT HEART and BLUE VELVET, still never stray far from his strange sense of playing with time, identity and very unreliable narrators and narratives. And nowhere is this more true than in his seemingly undecipherable horror-melodrama, LOST HIGHWAY.

Some critics and Lynch fans have called it a meditation on the creative process itself; others have called it yet another chronicle of dissociative identity disorder, as in Adrian Lyne’s JACOB’S LADDER, or Alexander Aja’s macabre murderfest, HIGH TENSION (a.k.a. SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE). In any case, a film where BILL PULLMAN suddenly morphs into BALTHAZAR GETTY, isn’t going to be something you casually pull up on Netflix for date night.

Fred Madison (PULLMAN) is a musician by trade, specifically a sax player.  He and his wife, Renee (PATRICIA ARQUETTE) have been having problems of late, with Fred convinced that she’s having an affair, while he’s out working. Meanwhile, they experience the kind of random weirdness that any couple in a David Lynch film would – with one of the most startling things being the tapes.

The tapes? Yep – mysterious video tapes in plain brown envelopes that just appear on the Madisons’ doorstep. And each time they play them, it’s a view of their house, with the ‘cameraman’ coming in a bit closer each time. Strange, for sure, and you’d think they’d be more alarmed about it.  But they don’t feel the need to get the cops involved…until one of the tapes turns out to have been shot not just inside the house, but in their bedroom…while they were sleeping.

But things are about to get even more effed up. At a party, Fred meets a “Mystery Man” (probably the strangest and most unsettling role that ROBERT BLAKE ever had in his career), who seems to know Fred…very well. Something this man does during their encounter plays like a party trick…or is it a warning? A way of explaining events that haven’t happened yet?

You won’t have time to think too hard about that, because shortly after that party, Renee Madison is found brutally murdered, and Fred goes up for it immediately.

But wait. If you thought things were strange before, here, hold David’s beer. While Fred is locked up in jail, awaiting arraignment, weird lights flash in the cell, Fred seems to have one hell of a headache, and then suddenly…he’s just not there anymore.  He’s been replaced by a much younger guy, named Pete Dayton (GETTY). Completely flabbergasted, since Fred Madison is their alleged perp and not Pete, the cops have no choice but to let him go.

While Fred played music, Pete’s a mechanic, and he works for a very volatile gangster who goes by the name of Mr. Eddy (the late ROBERT LOGGIA, adding another great role to his already impressive collection.) Eddy has a stunning blonde girlfriend named Alice Wakefield, and isn’t it rich, that except for the platinum blond hair, Alice could be Renee Madison’s twin sister?

Pete is immediately smitten with Alice, of course, and a dangerous affair begins between the two of them. But as if Pete didn’t have enough problems already, there’s the ‘small’ matter of how the hell he managed to wake up in Fred Madison’s cell. Pete’s parents (GARY BUSEY and LUCY BUTLER) seem to know all about how that happened, and it has something to do with a “mysterious man” they met.

Starting to get it now? No? That’s probably intentional, as it seems to be with most Lynch films.  You always seem to be just on the edge of figuring out what the hell is going on, and then the answer is snatched away again by another weird, random event or characters.

The rest of the film is just like that: feeding you clues and hints about how Fred’s and Pete’s lives intersect; their connection to Renee/Alice, and the part that the Mystery Man plays in all of it – someone whom even Mr. Eddy seems to know. And yes, Fred does eventually come back into the picture, but how it happens and what it means, takes a whole lot more time and ink to ponder than what we have here.

If the ambiguities of TWIN PEAKS were a major turn-off for you, and/or you just don’t care for Lynch’s work, anyway, you might want to stay as far away as possible from LOST HIGHWAY. It makes it more than a little difficult to judge the quality of the performances, if you have absolutely no idea what the hell the characters are supposed to be doing in the first place. But the cast – at least to me – seemed to be doing pretty well.  And there’s the usual raft of cameos from a diverse range of actors that goes from HENRY ROLLINS, to GIOVANNI RIBISI and NATASHA GREGSON WAGNER. Hell, even RICHARD PRYOR (in his last screen appearance) turns up for a hot minute!

Technically, as with Lynch’s other films, it’s damn near perfect. DP PETER DEMING, who shot all of the SCREAM sequels after the original, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, and would shoot MULHOLLAND DRIVE for Lynch after this, does his part to…enhance the weirdness, I guess? And of course, no Lynch film would be complete without the presence of composer ANGELO BADALAMENTI, who does one of his best jobs creeping out viewers since the TWIN PEAKS score, while NINE INCH NAILS’ frontman TRENT REZNOR kicks major ass on putting together the soundtrack, one of the best ever for a Lynch film (it introduced me to RAMMSTEIN, SMASHING PUMPKINS and a LOU REED cover I’d never heard before!)

They say that if something is a piece of art, it’s not going to be a thing that everyone can agree upon, which I guess means that LOST HIGHWAY is definitely art.

Back in my video store clerking days, I issued a challenge about HIGHWAY, to co-workers and customers alike: I would come out of my own pocket to pay $100 to anyone who could sum up the plot of this film, in a way that made complete sense as a straightforward, logical narrative.

Take this as a recommendation, a warning, or whatever you like…I never had to pay up.

Other “HONORABLE MAYHEM” of the cerebral kind released that year included CUBE, EVENT HORIZON, FUNNY GAMES, THE KINGDOM, THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE and SCREAM 2.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

10/10 – 1996: SCREAM/FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

1996…It was a draw for me; too tough to narrow down the list of all the great flicks I had to choose from. I finally managed to whittle it down to two: SCREAM, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. Both are as important and influential to the genre during this time, yet both are certainly unique: one redefined what fans had thought of the teen slasher genre, while the other took vampire lore to a whole new place unconsidered up to that point.

Legendary director WES CRAVEN had always been an innovator of modern horror, re-establishing himself in several sub-genres over the course of many decades. With LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, he’d done things that most directors in the field never achieve over the course of their entire careers. So when he was looking for the next big thing, he wasn’t even considering sticking with horror, when he crossed paths with a brilliantly subversive script by DAWSON’S CREEK scribe KEVIN WILLIAMSON; a nicely-nasty little number called “SCARY MOVIE”, which was soon to beretitled…SCREAM.

Snarky, self-reverential, almost to the point of being a bit too “nudge-winky” at times, nevertheless, SCREAM never once forgot to bring the laughs, the scares AND the gore in ample supply.  A slasher of teens begins to decimate the youth population of the little bedroom community of Woodsboro, but if that wasn’t bad enough, said killer seems to be every bit as smart as the “Scooby Gang wanna-be” group of horror-loving kids, who soon realize that their stalker not only knows the ‘rules of horror’ as well as – if not  better than they do, and he’s not only using the playbook to take them out one-by-one, but he (or she?) is even bending and changing the rules! Much like Williamson’s TV creation, the cast couldn’t have been more suited as an ensemble, even though the standout was DREW BARRYMORE, if only for the mere fact that she pulls a “Janet-Leigh-in-PSYCHO” on the audience in the first few moments of the film – a shock that has since become legendary, even though people still remember where the idea came from!

NEVE CAMPBELL, SKEET ULRICH, ROSE MCGOWAN, JAMIE KENNEDY, MATTHEW LILLARD, W. EARL BROWN, LIEV SCHREIBER, COURTNEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE (who married and divorced over the course of the franchise); JOSEPH WHIPP (who could’ve been playing the same character from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – and probably was!), plus unexpected cameos from LINDA BLAIR and HENRY WINKLER going way out-of-typecasting as an asshole of a principal…It didn’t get any better than this! Plus Craven’s direction, with tongue firmly-in-cheek the entire time, could have you rolling your eyes and chuckling one minute, and yes, SCREAMING the next! This film helped usher in a new age, where the movie and the characters were as smart – if not smarter than the audience that eagerly made SCREAM a box office smash!

Meanwhile, thanks to buddy and sometime collaborator QUENTIN TARANTINO, cinematic ‘one-man-band’ ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was having fun playing “Dr. Frankenstein”, by smashing two unexpected sub-genres together, if not three: serial killers, true crime…and vampires.  FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is the kind of film you never expect…until it bops you upside the head from seemingly out of nowhere!

The notorious Gecko brothers, handsome and sarcastic Seth (GEORGE CLOONEY) and ‘quiet, reserved’ Richard (no less than TARANTINO himself) are cutting a swath of robbery, assault and murder across the Southwest.  The “murder” part of their spree is owed mostly to Richard, who just can’t curb his impulses to kill and rape people. Well, to be a bit more specific, he kills and rapes womennot the men, let’s be clear on that (as Richard would probably say himself.)

Their antics – but especially Richard’s body count – has made it necessary to hotfoot it South of the Border, and maybe lay low somewhere in Mexico, until things die down…If they do. Along the way, as they change vehicles, they hijack an RV and the vacationing family inside it and skip town.

The intent was to just keep on going until they reached their objective, but all that changes when they make a fateful detour to a truck stop on the way.  But not just ANY truck stop: The “TITTY TWISTER.” A blood-and-guts dive that definitely lives up to its name…in more ways than one. And its hours of operation are…well, you know the title.

The bar has some of the most gorgeous dancing girls you ever saw, but they’re all woofers compared to the luscious, insanely beautiful main attraction, a hypnotic dancer who goes by the name of ‘SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM’.  No one into women could possibly resist her, and all men should, as Seth and Richard quickly discover, along with the rest of the hapless ‘Twister’ patrons, when the girls, the bouncers, the bartenders, everyone who ‘works’ there, finally reveal their true faces.  They’re all flesh-and-blood hungry vamps, and less the TWILIGHT variety than the FRIGHT NIGHT kind.

Rodriguez knew exactly what the fans wanted from Quentin’s script, and together, they sure gave it to us…stylish, sensual, sexy and soaked in red. And the Tarantino/Rodriguez combo attracted a cast that was instant boxoffice catnip, right down to the cameos: HARVEY KEITEL, JULIETTE LEWIS, FRED WILLIAMSON, TOM SAVINI; the stunning SALMA HAYEK as “SANTANICO”; everybody’s favorite badass, DANNY TREJO, plus CHEECH MARIN, MICHAEL PARKS, JOHN SAXON, KELLY PRESTON, MARC LAWRENCE; even a special appearance by Robert’s favorite “Hell House band”, TITO AND TARANTULA…Hell, you just knew that if he wasn’t already starring in it, Quentin would have probably directed this one, too!

The “Titty Twister” sequences – especially the gore-soaked fight scenes – are now a thing of legend, (check out Savini’s “special weapon” and the reason why his character’s nickname is “Sex Machine”!) and the closing shot is as breathtaking as any iconic final scene from the best and most unforgettable horror films, (I’d compare it for impact to the last shot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; in fact, DAWN’S final shot is probably a tad better.)

But for thrills, chills and maximum blood spills, whether you’ve seen these movies a hundred times or not even once…you can’t go wrong with these choices for a monumentally successful Halloween Night of Frights!

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
I remember Gore De Vol!

I remember Gore De Vol!

I must admit I was not familiar of Count Gore De Vol. Growing up I LOVE watching the kooky horror hosts who have the cheesy set, the interesting outfit, dad jokes but with a PHD in horror trivia, so I stumbled upon his Facebook page thinking, oh cool a horror host showing movies either at con’s, theater shows or what not. Friends were like “ARE YOU KIDDING?! DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS?!” Count Gore De Vol is a living breathing legend of not just the Washington D.C., Virginia are he’s a legend through out the world. This is discussed in the most recent documentary “Every other day is Halloween” right now you can watch it on Amazon Prime if you haven’t please watch this!

Growing up I would watch cartoons full blast, but then the cartoons would end sometimes you would see the old westerns, old Italian action movies poorly dubbed to the Godzilla movies. Except my biggest thrill was watching the old Saturday afternoon or evening horror shows. Watching them quietly up to the screen so my folks wouldn’t see or tried not to get scared growing up these hosts shaped me into who I am. Then after a while the horror hosts went away. Given there was Svenghoulie then I stumbled upon Count Gore De Vol I added him on Facebook checking out his posts never really realizing who was on my friends list. After seeing the trailer running home from my day job watching the movie was my main priority. Within a few minutes tears ran down my face seeing The Count be The Count my childhood was relieved watching old clips hearing fans alike praise him. Count Gore De Vol began his career as Bozo the Clown doing a kid’s game show to Captain 20 other kids host he soon realized that he wanted to do an adult show showing classic horror movies on a Saturday night. The first season blew up in a big way on this small show it was beating the first season of Saturday Night Live. Time progressed, and times were changing The Count didn’t give up he didn’t say well the fun is over. For the Count he learned a newer audience the internet. Given this was a time where we had Dial up. You want to talk about first world problems? Try dealing with Dial up. Time changed but Count Gore De Vol never changed this wasn’t a job this wasn’t a gimmick just for a guy given a cape.

This was a way of life that he has forever left a mark on this world. Thanks to him there’s even a society of horror hosts who he’s helped being on there shows or inspiring. Seeing this movie, it’s warmed my heart knowing he’s the real deal. A genuine good guy who’ll listen to the horror fans, smile for the kids. I can honestly after seeing this I am now a fan of his work and hope that if he’s reading this he has inspired me more for the art of horror. Count Gore De Vol thank you for giving me something to believe in and know I’ll never be alone in a  world of monsters, creatures, the living dead and my favorite vampire.

Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, DOCUMENTARIES, DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, FAMILY HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, HOSTED HORROR, REVIEWS, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
Life of Agony 9/30/18 Baltimore Soundstage

Life of Agony 9/30/18 Baltimore Soundstage

For Nearly 30 fuckin years……damn, I have been a fan of Brooklyn based hardcore band Life of Agony. When I heard they were coming to my town, and then found out it was on a Friday night…OH WE ARE GOIN!I spent many of my younger years, listening to , and going to as many shows that i could when ever the band came around, well its a few years later and I sure as hell didn’t want to miss it!

The show originally was slated for Friday September 13th, the same night we were supposed to get hit with a hurricane. Just my damn luck! Luckily the tour rescheduled for the 30th…a Sunday….SUNDAY, REALLY?!?! Fuck it, I’m still there!Baltimore Soundstage here we come!

The night started off being fortunate enough to have been able to schedule a video inter with bands bass player, Alan Robert, who talked with us about being on the road, meanings behind many of the lyrics, his artwork and him doing laundry! We spoke and hung out for close to 30 minutes. My wife Steff and I had such a great time talking with him, very hospitable, genuine good person! I must also admit, having been such a huge fan of the band, i was actually a bit shaky when he first entered the room with us.

As the show got under way, local Baltimore Hardcore band End It All kicked things with a short, but very powerful set! These guys are doing a few shows in the west coast soon so show support and get your ass to see them, they are so worth it!

Next on stage, and pretty much arriving and jumping on stage due to car issues, Silvertomb. Many of you were or like me still are fans of the once great goth rock band Type O Negative. Silvertomb is comprised of guitarist from Type O Negative Kenny Hickey and drummer Johnny Kelly as well as Joseph James from Agnostic Front. I knew of the band, but sadly hadn’t actually heard their work yet. I’m here to tell ya, after the somewhat short set, I am a fan! Kenny fronts Silvertomb so perfectly, and the band is just tight as hell!! Great emotionally strong sound and lyrics with a very strong stage presence made for a very memorable show. It was also great to see the guys playing again since TYPE O Negative was such a huge part of my life.

Then the time came for the moment we were all waiting for. Now mind you, this is now on a Sunday, the crowd about 1/3 its capacity , so that was kind of upsetting, but they were true fans and were just glad to see the band! The band came on stage and everyone went nuts, even the band. The band kick it right in to high gear from the get go. Playing such a perfect mix of old school, and all thru the years. We were up front for a while then slowly made our way back so we could just relax and take in the show it self.

The energy pouring out on stage is incredible! Many bands after this many years of playing just start slowing down. Not the case with Life of Agony! They were all over the stage, and totally giving love to the fans, and further most, to each other. You can easily see that after so many years together they are so much more than just a band, they are family and that made the show even that much more enjoyable! But still, when they played River Runs Red, the place still goes nuts!!

 

This was the last show of this leg of the tour, everyone was going home, then they were off to conquer Europe . So that made it kind of a special show. What really made it though, was when Silvertomb came out on stage while during ‘s. Life of Agony set with a birthday cake with lit candles and all to sing Happy Birthday to Alan. The entire crowd  joined in as we all wished Alan a Happy Birthday!

 

 

All and all do i wish there had been a larger crowd, only for the band’s sake. As far as I was concerned it was perfect, a more intimate show if you will, and the guys are just as good now if not even better live than they once were! They killed it!!!

Be sure to take a minute, actually 15, and check out the great video interview that Alan Robert did with us prior to the show! Thanks again Alan!!!

www.lifeofagony.com

 

John and Steff w/ Alan Robert of Life Of Agony

 

Keep It Evil

 

Posted by John Roisland in Categories, EVENT REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, MUSIC REVIEWS, 1 comment
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Nine – 10/09/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Nine – 10/09/18

10/09 – 1995: THE PROPHECY

First ROSEMARY’S BABY, then THE EXORCIST, then the blockbuster success of THE OMEN opened the floodgates for religious-minded, Satanic-tinged thrillers.  They were always lighting up cinema screen with varying degrees of quality and success (THE DEVIL’S RAIN, anyone?), but for the most part, they were well done and managed to bring the chills and keep the creepiness factor turned up to “eleven.”  One of the better entries into the “Sweepstakes of Sin” was THE PROPHECY, brought to us care of filmmaker GREGORY WIDEN, (HIGHLANDER, BACKDRAFT), with a different spin on things than usual, and a solid cast to bring as much gravitas to the story as any of the better films about the anti-Christ and mankind facing possible Armageddon.

The scenario here takes the “What If?” approach about the Bible. Angels are not only real but battling with each other. Just as the story goes, God’s Once Most-Favored Creations aren’t real happy with Sky Daddy throwing them over, to concentrate all his love and care on his other Most-Favored Creations: HUMANKIND. In fact, it’s caused a rift between them. On the one side, there’s the angels like ‘Simon’ (ERIC STOLTZ of MASK, THE FLY 2 and KILLING ZOE), who aren’t all that fond of humans, but are willing to “go along to get along” with their Father, while on the flip side of things, you have Gabriel (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, delivering one of his usual delicious, balls-to-the-wall performances), who would love nothing more than to see mankind obliterated, and will go through as many of his winged brethren as he needs to, in order to make it happen.

 

A series of “strange and deadly occurrences” stemming from this “angel war” engulfs several unsuspecting humans: Detective Thomas Dagget (ELIAS KOTEAS of CRASH, ZODIAC, GATTACA and FALLEN), a failed priest-turned-cop; Katherine (VIRGINIA MADSEN from CANDYMAN, DUNE and ELECTRIC DREAMS), a teacher at a small Southwestern school for Native American children, and Mary (MORIAH “SHINING DOVE” SNYDER in her first major movie role), one of Katherine’s students.

The “prophecy” of the title is all about this centuries-long war of angels, which has been at a draw so far, but it has been said that if the ‘anti-human’ angels can take possession of humankind’s most evil soul, they can use that evil to win the war, bring about the “End Of Days” and destroy “the talking monkeys”, as Gabriel and not a few of the other angels derisively refer to them. The Holy War comes to Earth as Simon finds the owner of that ‘black soul’, one Col. Hawthorne, and takes the soul, hiding it away inside the body of innocent little Mary, before dying at Gabriel’s hand.

Eventually, the ‘strange case’ that Dagget is now working and the sudden strange behavior of Mary brings him and Katherine together, just as Gabriel is looking for all three of them. It means nothing at all to him, to kill anyone who gets in the way of his search for the little girl, and he’s not above raising the dead to help him with that search. ADAM GOLDBERG (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and AMANDA PLUMMER (PULP FICTION) portray Jerry and Rachael, respectively; two of the unfortunate souls who end up in Gabriel’s brutal clutches.

And just as it looks like it’s really about to become ‘crunch time’ for mankind, who should show up, but Lucifer himself! What role he plays in all of this is up to you to find out – I won’t spoil the terrific ending – but just knowing that VIGGO MORTENSEN plays him, should have you sprinting for wherever you get your movies from, to grab this gem. It’s only a cameo, but at least for me, that performance packs every bit of the punch he had as Aragorn in THE LORD OF THE RINGS franchise.

The special effects might seem a little on the primitive side these days, considering, but the kind of ambitious canvas that Widen loves to paint his stories on will never be out-of-style. See it for the performances, for the thrills of the story, and for a totally different perspective on angels…especially on the fallen one that “God favored above all others”…

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
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