Candace Stone

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) posterI recently had the pleasure of seeing Flowers by Phil Stevens. It was such an amazing and beautiful film that I decided to reach out to the director and tell him how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, Phil Stevens turned out to be one of the nicest, coolest, down to earth guys. I was delighted to learn of his plans to make a sequel to Flowers, simply called Flowers 02. He also graciously agreed to do this interview and give us an exclusive look at his new project.

Phil Stevens Interview

House of Tortured Souls: First off, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Flowers and really excited to talk to you about your latest project. What type of film can we expect? Do you think it will be more extreme or more artistic than the last?
Phil Stevens: Extreme is too broad a category, I mean of course yes it will be extreme but it’s more of a survival horror where everyone is being attacked by something. I actually didn’t think I was making an extreme film when I made Flowers. I thought the complete opposite. When Flowers came out, I thought people were going to be like, “Here’s this guy with his artsy movie called Flowers“. It turned out to be this surreal horror that people seemed to really enjoy. The last word I ever expected to read describing my film was “beautiful”, but it seems to come up in every single review about the movie.
PS: In Flowers, the house itself was the enemy almost. But in Flowers 02, not only is it the house, but there are entities in all the rooms –sometimes more than one. It’s all leading to this grand finale involving the killer and all his misdeeds. We’ll get a backstory and more of a look at his life. There will be new rooms with new themes and sort of a past, present, and future look at the killer. My favorite movie of all time is Day of the Dead, and I always wanted to make a zombie film, but I wanted to do it in my own way. Finally, in this we get to do that, and it’s so fun.

HoTS: That all sounds awesome! Why did you choose Indie and underground filmmaking rather than mainstream?
PS: I spent most of my life drawing and painting. I started drawing my own comics, and then I discovered the Beta-max camera and started making films for myself. Drawing is my first love, I don’t want a career in filmmaking; I see it as a hobby, a really expensive hobby. I’m a fan of Indie films myself and knew that it was only natural that I would go that route. I think that everyone who makes movies would like to think that one day they’ll go to Hollywood and make a big epic movie with a budget. That’s the real dream having a budget.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) title card

HoTS: I understand that for an Indie director, getting funding is always an issue. You’ve started a crowdfunding campaign, correct? Maybe you could tell our readers a bit about that and how they can contribute.
PS: Crowdfunding is a big deal because you’re giving us the means to make a movie that we otherwise would not be able to make. It’s been tougher to get funding in the last few years because either fans don’t know about it or they’ve been screwed over in the past by other directors.
PS: My job is making and selling art. I’m actually on disability from an accident that happened when I was 10. I fell out of a tree, and now I have soft neurological brain damage so I can’t have a regular 9-5 job. I spend a lot of time drawing and painting and doing commissions. I grew up with severe agoraphobia, crowds give me severe anxiety, which is another reason making movies is so important to me because it gives me a chance to work in a group environment while doing something I love.
PS: Here is the link to the Flowers 02 crowdfunding campaign. Even a 5$ contribution will get you some really cool exclusive swag!
HoTS: So how does one get a piece of your artwork?
PS: My Facebook page Manomatul Art or my website Insomnia Collectibles, and I’m also on deviant art.
HoTS: All of the actors/actresses in Flowers were amazing. Will we see any familiar faces in the sequel?
PS: Yes! You actually will see some returning Flowers in a subplot of Flowers 02. Absolutely. You’re going to see some of them, but I can’t reveal who yet.
HoTS: It’s my understanding you used your home in the first film… what was that like?
PS: Using my own home to make Flowers was a blessing and an absolute nightmare. We scouted a lot of warehouses, and they were all in really bad neighborhoods. We just didn’t feel safe having our equipment there. We decided the next best thing and the safest thing was our house. I hated it, there was so much debris and equipment everywhere. My wife (Colette Kenny Mckenna) and I lived an entire summer in that. I actually spent my 30th birthday inside the dining room set, it was surreal. Some of my friends I hadn’t seen in a while would come over and a say, “This is absolutely insane. What are you doing?” My wife and I both ended up with really bad respiratory infections from the room with all the gouged out drywall. We were constantly breathing it in for three months, and we got really sick.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) writing on the wall

HoTS: Do you do your own practical fx?
PS: Yes, I used to more but with Flowers, it was an all hands on deck kind of thing and my wife and I did months of fx testing. We found some great local talent. My wife, Krystle Fitch, and Anastasia Blue did the fx and also acted in the movie.
HoTS: Do you have a dream location if money were no object?
PS: Actually yeah, I don’t know where that location is but I know what it looks like. The whole reason I wanted to make Flowers 02 was it’s supposed to fund my next film, Paradise, which is the serial killer’s hell kind of. I want it to involve a lot of ocean and beach sequences, stuff you don’t tend to see in an underground film. I’ve been working on it for three years, and it’s probably going to be my swan song film. The first film is purgatory, the next is hell, and the last one is paradise. That will be the last movie I do, and Flowers 02 is the way to get there.
HoTS: Do you have any directors who inspire you?
PS: I’m inspired by Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man). I’m a huge, huge fan of Asian cinema in general, so Takashi Miike (Audition) obviously and Kim Ki-duk (The Isle). What inspires me about Kim Ki-duk is that he doesn’t use many words, and his main characters don’t talk but everyone around them always does. I love all things artistic, I loved Andrey Iskanovs’ Nails so much. I also like Akira Kurosawa, his movies are beautiful; the cinematography is incredible and his movies top movies that are made to this day. A lot of my inspiration comes from Asian cinema.
HoTS: I just want to take this opportunity again to thank you and say what a fun time I’ve had talking with you today. I wish you the best of luck with Flowers 02 and can’t wait to see it.
PS: Thank you. I had fun today, too!

Flowers 02 Crowdfunding on the Web

Check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02. Then click the link below to donate!

Phil Stevens on the Web

INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) posterI recently had the pleasure of seeing Flowers by Phil Stevens. It was such an amazing and beautiful film that I decided to reach out to the director and tell him how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, Phil Stevens turned out to be one of the nicest, coolest, down to earth guys. I was delighted to learn of his plans to make a sequel to Flowers, simply called Flowers 02. He also graciously agreed to do this interview and give us an exclusive look at his new project.

Phil Stevens Interview

House of Tortured Souls: First off, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Flowers and really excited to talk to you about your latest project. What type of film can we expect? Do you think it will be more extreme or more artistic than the last?
Phil Stevens: Extreme is too broad a category, I mean of course yes it will be extreme but it’s more of a survival horror where everyone is being attacked by something. I actually didn’t think I was making an extreme film when I made Flowers. I thought the complete opposite. When Flowers came out, I thought people were going to be like, “Here’s this guy with his artsy movie called Flowers“. It turned out to be this surreal horror that people seemed to really enjoy. The last word I ever expected to read describing my film was “beautiful”, but it seems to come up in every single review about the movie.
PS: In Flowers, the house itself was the enemy almost. But in Flowers 02, not only is it the house, but there are entities in all the rooms –sometimes more than one. It’s all leading to this grand finale involving the killer and all his misdeeds. We’ll get a backstory and more of a look at his life. There will be new rooms with new themes and sort of a past, present, and future look at the killer. My favorite movie of all time is Day of the Dead, and I always wanted to make a zombie film, but I wanted to do it in my own way. Finally, in this we get to do that, and it’s so fun.

HoTS: That all sounds awesome! Why did you choose Indie and underground filmmaking rather than mainstream?
PS: I spent most of my life drawing and painting. I started drawing my own comics, and then I discovered the Beta-max camera and started making films for myself. Drawing is my first love, I don’t want a career in filmmaking; I see it as a hobby, a really expensive hobby. I’m a fan of Indie films myself and knew that it was only natural that I would go that route. I think that everyone who makes movies would like to think that one day they’ll go to Hollywood and make a big epic movie with a budget. That’s the real dream having a budget.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) title card

HoTS: I understand that for an Indie director, getting funding is always an issue. You’ve started a crowdfunding campaign, correct? Maybe you could tell our readers a bit about that and how they can contribute.
PS: Crowdfunding is a big deal because you’re giving us the means to make a movie that we otherwise would not be able to make. It’s been tougher to get funding in the last few years because either fans don’t know about it or they’ve been screwed over in the past by other directors.
PS: My job is making and selling art. I’m actually on disability from an accident that happened when I was 10. I fell out of a tree, and now I have soft neurological brain damage so I can’t have a regular 9-5 job. I spend a lot of time drawing and painting and doing commissions. I grew up with severe agoraphobia, crowds give me severe anxiety, which is another reason making movies is so important to me because it gives me a chance to work in a group environment while doing something I love.
PS: Here is the link to the Flowers 02 crowdfunding campaign. Even a 5$ contribution will get you some really cool exclusive swag!
HoTS: So how does one get a piece of your artwork?
PS: My Facebook page Manomatul Art or my website Insomnia Collectibles, and I’m also on deviant art.
HoTS: All of the actors/actresses in Flowers were amazing. Will we see any familiar faces in the sequel?
PS: Yes! You actually will see some returning Flowers in a subplot of Flowers 02. Absolutely. You’re going to see some of them, but I can’t reveal who yet.
HoTS: It’s my understanding you used your home in the first film… what was that like?
PS: Using my own home to make Flowers was a blessing and an absolute nightmare. We scouted a lot of warehouses, and they were all in really bad neighborhoods. We just didn’t feel safe having our equipment there. We decided the next best thing and the safest thing was our house. I hated it, there was so much debris and equipment everywhere. My wife (Colette Kenny Mckenna) and I lived an entire summer in that. I actually spent my 30th birthday inside the dining room set, it was surreal. Some of my friends I hadn’t seen in a while would come over and a say, “This is absolutely insane. What are you doing?” My wife and I both ended up with really bad respiratory infections from the room with all the gouged out drywall. We were constantly breathing it in for three months, and we got really sick.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) writing on the wall

HoTS: Do you do your own practical fx?
PS: Yes, I used to more but with Flowers, it was an all hands on deck kind of thing and my wife and I did months of fx testing. We found some great local talent. My wife, Krystle Fitch, and Anastasia Blue did the fx and also acted in the movie.
HoTS: Do you have a dream location if money were no object?
PS: Actually yeah, I don’t know where that location is but I know what it looks like. The whole reason I wanted to make Flowers 02 was it’s supposed to fund my next film, Paradise, which is the serial killer’s hell kind of. I want it to involve a lot of ocean and beach sequences, stuff you don’t tend to see in an underground film. I’ve been working on it for three years, and it’s probably going to be my swan song film. The first film is purgatory, the next is hell, and the last one is paradise. That will be the last movie I do, and Flowers 02 is the way to get there.
HoTS: Do you have any directors who inspire you?
PS: I’m inspired by Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man). I’m a huge, huge fan of Asian cinema in general, so Takashi Miike (Audition) obviously and Kim Ki-duk (The Isle). What inspires me about Kim Ki-duk is that he doesn’t use many words, and his main characters don’t talk but everyone around them always does. I love all things artistic, I loved Andrey Iskanovs’ Nails so much. I also like Akira Kurosawa, his movies are beautiful; the cinematography is incredible and his movies top movies that are made to this day. A lot of my inspiration comes from Asian cinema.
HoTS: I just want to take this opportunity again to thank you and say what a fun time I’ve had talking with you today. I wish you the best of luck with Flowers 02 and can’t wait to see it.
PS: Thank you. I had fun today, too!

Flowers 02 Crowdfunding on the Web

Check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02. Then click the link below to donate!

Phil Stevens on the Web




Posted by Candace Stone in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

Lung II by Phil Stevens was one of the weirdest little indie films I’ve ever seen with a Lynch/Cronenberg vibe throughout. I really enjoyed it.

A follow up to Flowers, Lung II was a continuation of the same theme. Phil Stevens said that “after the trauma of making Flowers, it was something he needed to do for therapeutic reasons”. The film is in black and white (I’m hoping a color version exists somewhere in the underground) and like Flowers has no dialogue. It’s also a dreamy artistic vision except for a lot more bizarre. Flowers was a cathartic pilgrimage through purgatory for the female murder victims of a serial killer and Lung II was the killer’s slow journey into insanity.

Throughout the film, we follow a serial killer (played by Stevens himself) as he slowly awakens and comes to realize what he’s done through flashbacks and the discovery of a body trail. During his travels, he comes across no shortage of corpses and weird Freudian Lynch monsters.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Lung II works its way backward going from body to body. It starts out in what appears to be a psych ward with a naked dude (Phil Stevens) on the floor. If you’ve ever had the urge to see Phil Stevens naked here’s your chance ladies and gentlemen! He sort of fumbles out into the woods where he comes across his future self, disposing of bodies. He continues to stumble along from gory crime scene to crime scene sometimes finding bodies sometimes finding these bizarre blobby sex monsters. My personal favorite is the half dick half vag monster that he finger-bangs until it sprays blood. In a few scenes, he pulls glass out of various cuts and you might be thinking what’s the deal with the glass? Don’t worry; all will become clear soon. I found the part where he was pulling glass out of his foot particularly uncomfortable, but I kind of have an anti-foot fetish and can’t stand foot injuries.

After a hard day of self-realization, the last stop or last flashback is at his own home. He arrives home after a long day at work (presumably) to find his wife in bed with another woman, he loses his shit and kills them both with a baseball bat before he has a chance to consider consequences. Something in him snaps while he’s sitting there sniffing their panties. He tries to commit suicide by dropping a tv on his head (this is where the glass comes from!) but fails and from this point on he loses his humanity piece by piece.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Miike’s Hidden Gem: Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

Miike’s Hidden Gem: Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

No other creature is like a human being… Even wolves do not prey on each other, but humans will eat each other alive.

One of Takashi Miike’s most overlooked gems is probably Fudoh: The New Generation. It was a V movie — or straight to video movie —bmade in 1996. It’s a typical, not so typical Yakuza gangster film.

While the story of Fudoh is somewhat predictable, the method is not. We start out with two brothers, sons of the Yakuza boss Mr. Fudoh. The older son Ryu is murdered in front of the younger son Riki by their father. Riki doesn’t let on that he sees it happen and plots revenge. Years later, Riki has a trained group of youth assassins that essentially run his high school. I love the casual mix of children and violence in this film; it’s both bold and refreshing. He also has two young boys who are pretty handy with a gun and taser, not to mention two of the cutest kids you’ll ever see, which only adds to the disturbing factor.

While all of the assassins and assassinations in this film are top notch, Mika the girl with a vagina blow dart takes the cake. I wonder where one even buys custom zipper panties and vagina darts? I assume Walmart. Mika also has a secret reveal later on. Her dart through the ear kill is epic and something you won’t want to miss!

One by one, Riki’s friends begin to die in mysterious ways. The predictability comes in here when a surprise half-brother is revealed and, of course, an epic duel ensues. It obviously ends with a final revenge battle between Riki and his father but with a couple little tricks up its sleeve.

When I’m going into an extreme film I like a break down of the film’s highlights before I invest, so here are a few goodies you can expect to see:

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

  • Children playing soccer with a severed head
  • Lots and lots of spraying blood and beheadings, one really cool scene with a boss being poisoned inside a car and basically melting
  • Period vagina darts
  • Surprise hermaphrodite sex
  • An electrified vibrator in the bum
  • Prostitute acid bath

And some other great stuff that if you’re sick like me, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Best of Miike: Gozu (2003)

The Best of Miike: Gozu (2003)

For my Best of Takashi Miike series, I’m going to start with Gozu. I want to say it’s my favorite film of his, but I’m not sure that it’s even possible to have just one favorite with him. Every time I think I have it nailed down, I watch another one of his films and think, ‘no this is my favorite’. And then the next film I think the same thing.

Gozu’s original Japanese title Gokudo Kyofu dai-gekijo:Gozu translates to Yakuza Horror Theatre; Cows Head. There is no shortage of bizarre cow and milk-related scenarios in this one and as the cover of the film suggests, there is, in fact, a man in tightie whities with a gigantic cow head and a rather large and slimy tongue. I honestly could have watched an entire movie about the cow head dude but unfortunately, he only got about a minute of screen time. In that sense the film was misleading but it was bang on in the bizarre department.

Takasi Miike's Gozu (2003)

The film starts out by introducing us to Ozaki (Show Aikawa), a Yakuza member that has seemingly developed some sort of dementia, believing that small animals and inanimate objects etc. are trained Yakuza killers. Minami (Kimika Yoshino) is asked to take his Yakuza brother Ozaki on a little trip and kill him before he causes further embarrassment. During the trip, they hit a little bump in the road while driving and Ozaki is killed. A panicked Minami heads into a restaurant to seek help and when he returns to his car, Ozaki’s body is missing. After searching all day for the body and still coming up empty, Minami ends up at the Masakazu Inn, a sort of Japanese version of Motel Hell. The Inn is run by a brother and sister with a whole host of their own issues, and it’s from this point on that describing the film becomes an exercise in futility. The events that follow can’t be put into words. I will tell you that you can expect to see sexual misconduct involving a lactating old woman, a séance, a talking pussy, an awkward sex scene between brothers and the piece de resistance: the graphic birth of a grown man from a tiny 100-pound Japanese woman.

All of Miike’s films have an identifiable style and can tend to be on the slow side. Gozu is no exception, it requires patience and a love of film. Miike won’t be rushed while telling his story because perfection takes time.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi MiikeOver the upcoming weeks, I’m going to try and attempt to cover what I feel are the best films by Takashi Miiike. For those of you who don’t know his work, you’re in for a real treat and for those of you who do you can just follow along and smile knowingly. With over 100 films to his name, it’s hard to pick just one to cover.

Miike is a Japanese filmmaker that really covers every genre and has something to offer every film enthusiast. He does everything from heartwarming family films like Zebraman (I recommend this even if you don’t have a family) to extremely violent films like Ichi the Killer and Yakuza Apocolypse. I personally love his extreme stuff and that will be my main focus. I will try and cover all his bigger titles except for two: his latest release Blade of the Immortal and Audition. Our own Spencer Evatt has you covered there, so watch for those in the near future. I will also try and cover a few of his lesser-known works that I think are noteworthy and deserve some love.

Takashi MiikeMiike tends to have a lot of controversy surrounding his films and he receives a lot of criticism for some of the ultra-violent content, graphic gore, and sexual “perversions”. He’s known for his dark sense of humor and bizarre themes. He started his career in 1991 with mostly straight to video releases, his first theatrical release The Third Gangster didn’t generate much interest. In 1995, his third theatrical release Shinjuku Triad Society finally started to catch the public’s attention and at last, in 1999, his film Audition (based on Ryu Murakami’s book of the same name) got him recognized internationally. Audition probably still remains his most well-known work worldwide. No one else on the market does it quite like Miike, and I’m excited to introduce him to new fans and maybe help old ones discover a film they don’t already know about.
Takashi Miike

Posted by Candace Stone in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
EXTREME BIZARRO FICTION: Adolf in Wonderland (2013)

EXTREME BIZARRO FICTION: Adolf in Wonderland (2013)

Adolf in Wonderland by Carlton Mellick III ended up being more in some ways and less in others. More profound and less Wonderland to be exact. It was actually a tight little story about perfection, societal norms, and beauty as it’s seen in the eye of the beholder.

Adolf in Wonderland by Carton Mellick IIIAdolf in Wonderland is beautifully written, in an almost poetic manner that at times can be a bit tedious but for the most part, I found refreshing. It takes place in a dystopian future or maybe past? Where Hitler won and imperfection is illegal and has almost been eradicated. Two young SS officers are sent to a fringe-like village to seek out one of the last imperfect men. What they find instead is a chaotic abomination full of mutants, impossibilities, and madness. The two officers are separated upon their arrival and we follow the slightly younger one. He has lost most of his memory including what his name is but everyone he meets calls him Adolf Hitler because it’s the name written on his uniform. His only recollection is that he is on a mission to find an imperfect man and kill him. He can’t quite remember exactly what the imperfection is or who he is searching for so instead he tries to find his briefcase and a picture of the man in question. Along the way, he meets no shortage of oddball characters and gets into many unsavory situations.

Women are treated as pets and must wear a collar at all times to show they’ve been wed and have an owner. Once they produce offspring they are to be put to sleep having fulfilled their purpose. This little aspect of the story actually highlights an overlooked issue of misogyny coming from other women.

I was disappointed that other than the title and the nonsensical nature of the story, Adolf in Wonderland really had nothing to do with Wonderland at all. It was a good book but not quite what I was hoping for. This was my first attempt at Mellick’s work, and I think that although this one didn’t exactly blow my wig back he definitely deserves another try. I give this book a 3/5, and I’m eager to proceed to the next.

Posted by Candace Stone in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: Cows (2015) by Matthew Stokoe

BOOK REVIEW: Cows (2015) by Matthew Stokoe

I burnt through the pages of Matthew Stokoe’s Cows in a fever fueled by my own disgust, half needing it to end and half wishing it never would. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel filthy just for reading and then demented once you realize you’re enjoying it.

There is nothing else out there like Cows. It’s the most extreme piece of literature I’ve ever read. When I was reading it, at times I needed to cover my eyes or look away, but unlike a movie, it doesn’t just keep playing and when I was inevitably forced to look back, the words were right where I left them, waiting to assault my eyes with more alphabet poison.

The short of it is, a young man named Steven lives in a small flat with his mother aptly called the Hagbeast. Poor Steven has endured nothing but hardship and abuse at the hands of the Hagbeast who has slowly been trying to kill him with bad food his whole life. Now a young man of 25 years, he’s gotten a job at the slaughterhouse and hopes to break free of the torture and squalor and imitate something that resembles a life he’s only ever seen on TV. Upstairs lives a young woman named Lucy, Steven hopes to incorporate her into his new Brady Bunch life. Unfortunately, Lucy is obsessed with the idea that she has a black spot in her body a “poison” that must be found and cut out. This obsession eventually comes to a head and is the final straw that thwarts Steven’s plans of any kind of happiness in the human world.

At the slaughterhouse, he meets a man called Cripps who teaches him the art of killing and how he can be free and strong once he has killed. He begins to believe Cripps and decides his only course of action is to kill his mother. Also, at the plant, he meets a talking cow simply called “the Guernsey” that needs Steven’s help. The Guernsey and other cows that managed to escape slaughter live in tunnels under the city and want to kill Cripps, to get revenge for all the wrongs he’s committed against cows. Revenge and hatred are a common theme throughout the story.

This book has all manner of vile atrocities that Stokoe just keeps hammering you with, but instead of using a hammer he uses a 2×4 and smashes you in the senses with it. Don’t read the book if you can’t handle shit, and I mean a lot of feces. They eat it, get covered in it, walk in it, and there is even a death by shitting down someone’s throat. If you can’t handle animal cruelty, or all types of cruelty for that matter skip this book. If you’re pro-life and can’t stomach a graphic home abortion, then give this one a pass. If however, you’re down with bestiality, rape of just about every kind, child abuse, and lots of bodily fluids, then definitely check out Cows.

Although I’ll never read this one again, I still highly recommend it to extreme cinema and literature lovers. It’s well written, but I honestly could have done without the talking cows and silly ending. It would have had far more impact without them. I still give it a 4/5 for originality and raw brutality.

Posted by Candace Stone in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, BRUTAL REALITY, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

Annihilation (2018)Annihilation is adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s book of the same name, and I had intended on doing a review based on the movie and book comparisons. After having seen Annihilation, I have decided against that because both the book and movie are excellent in their own way and each has a completely different feel. You can love the book and still love the movie separately; the book was cold and dark with almost no character development at all, whereas the movie was beautiful, bright, and mesmerizing, with a ton of character backstory.

Annihilation (2018)Natalie Portman stars as Lena, an ex-soldier turned biology professor who has recently lost her husband. Her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac), also a soldier, went missing during his last expedition. Twelve months later he reappears with almost no memory of where he was or what happened. He becomes very ill and has to be rushed to the hospital by ambulance. On the way, they’re stopped by a military convoy and both Lena and Kane are sedated and taken to a facility. When Lena wakes, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) immediately begins questioning her about how her husband returned and what he said about where he was. Dr. Ventress then explains that her husband is the only survivor to ever come back from Area X — the area the mysterious “shimmer” covers. The Shimmer began when an unknown force or object crashed into a lighthouse and then began to spread across the land, consuming or taking over everything it touched. The shimmer is beautiful and looks like the inside of a psychedelic soap bubble. It’s at this point in the movie that you’ll start to be sucked in by the beauty.

Annihilation (2018)Expeditions are repeatedly sent into Area X to try and find out what’s happening but no one has ever returned to until Kane, and when he does come back, he’s dying and has no memory. Lena asks to go on the next expedition in order to find a way to save her husband. Less than a week later, Lena, Dr. Ventress, Josie (Tessa Thompson), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), and Shepard (Tuva Novotny) set foot in The Shimmer to try and find some answers.

Annihilation (2018)Annihilation can’t really be put into one box; it’s sci-fi, it’s horror, it’s a modern-day arthouse, a thriller, and a drama. Some of the horror scenes were genuinely terrifying, and the gore was on point. It’s filled with excellent creatures and stunning and imaginative visuals driving a sexy, intelligent storyline. I can honestly say Annihilation is one of the best new films I’ve seen in the last ten years. I highly recommend watching it and I give it an 8.5/10.

Annihilation (2018)

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
EXTREME SCENE: Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

EXTREME SCENE: Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

Sometimes as horror lovers, especially extreme cinema fans, we have to dig deep and look to the past to find what we’re looking for. The 70s were a great decade for horror and exploitation movies, and I find a lot of hidden gems there.

Last House on Dead End Street (1977) is more of an exploitation film than anything else but it’s also subtly extreme cinema. It was made by film students who, after making it, were so ashamed they didn’t want their names attached to it. It really has something to offend everyone – I love that about it. The whole thing watches like a softcore porn combined with an arthouse and a grindhouse film.

Last House on Dead End Street is about Terry, a man newly released from prison for a drug charge, who wants to get back at society. He sets out to create a snuff film, “something really different”. At a party, Terry meets Jim Palmer, a pornography director, and his gay friend and film executive Steve, and they agree to team up to make a movie. During the party, Jim’s wife comes down donning blackface and gets whipped repeatedly while delighted partygoers watch and cheer, “Harder! Harder!” For some reason, Terry decides that the other two are taking credit for his masterpiece. After raping Jim’s wife, Terry Kidnaps her, another female porn star, Jim, and Steve to star in his snuff film.

The last 20 minutes or so is where it really breaks loose. The four victims are tied up and removed to be killed one by one. The whole sequence is a pulsing, whispering, echoing, eerie, flashing look into madness. The slowness of the kills and almost graceful movement alongside the pulsing music make it hauntingly beautiful as well as disturbing.

Jim’s wife gets the worst of it;, Terry and his film crew slowly slice her face, taunt her and remove her legs. By the end when they cut open her abdomen and remove her insides, she doesn’t flinch, unblinking and resigned to her fate, her silence far more disturbing than if she were screaming.

This movie makes an educated effort in offending by either showing or implying:

  • Animal slaughter
  • Beastiality
  • A graphic sex scene between horses
  • Blackface
  • Rape
  • Homophobia
  • Torture
  • Branding a human
  • Mutilation
and so much more…

I can’t claim that all extremists will love Last House on Dead End Street, but it’s worth their consideration.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
WiHM: Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa

WiHM: Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa

Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa She Wolf of the SSThis next lady’s contribution to horror may be a little controversial, but I still feel that Dyanne Thorne’s character Ilsa deserves some love during women in horror month.

I found myself struggling to write this to not sound like a Nazi sympathizer and to not glorify the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. I hope that before the social justice and keyboard warriors attack, they consider the reasons I choose to salute her.

Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa She Wolf of the SSIn case you aren’t familiar with the Ilsa character she starred in a triology of cult/Nazisploitation films called Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks, and Ilsa, the Wicked Warden. The first two films are directed by the Canadian (yay Canada!) director Don Edmunds and the third by popular Spanish cult director Jesus Franco. Thorne plays a tough female leader as Ilsa in all three and they’re all great movies, but She Wolf of the SS is my favorite and will be my focus in this tribute.

Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa She Wolf of the SSIlsa She Wolf of the SS is the only Nazisploitation film in the trilogy and is by far the best, but I’d argue that it’s more about feminism and female sexuality than Nazis. Ilsa is a Nazi Komandant, in charge of a “medical” camp. She is hell bent on proving that woman are inherently stronger than men and have a much higher threshold for pain. She works endlessly to prove this by inflicting all kinds of sadistic torture upon the women who enter her camp. It’s nearing the end of the war and Germany is in desperate need of reinforcements and she wants to demonstrate that women would make far greater soldiers than men. She finally proves this after subjecting the women to gangrene, whippings, gang rape, an electrified dildo (and I don’t mean it vibrates), genital mutilation, and syphilis. She’s gratified when she finds a star test subject who can withstand all of the above and still fight back.

While Ilsa works hard during the day she also works hard at night choosing a different male prisoner each night to sexually satisfy her. When they fail to meet her needs, she has them castrated until she finally comes across an American prisoner who is able to hold an erection indefinitely. Her sexual prowess leads to her unfortunate demise as the American ends up seducing her and killing her.

Dyanne Thorne as Ilsa She Wolf of the SSA couple of fun facts regarding Ilsa:

The set of She Wolf was actually the recycled set of Hogan’s Heroes and since the show had already been cancelled they were allowed to burn it to the ground for the final scene of Ilsa, saving them the cost of having it demolished.

Dyanne Thorne now performs weddings in Las Vegas and rumor has it that if you pay enough she will dress up as Ilsa.

I’ll always love Ilsa for her ability to command respect, her strength and indifference when it comes to her work and most importantly for her shameless sexual expression.

Posted by Candace Stone in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Dana Scully

WiHM: Dana Scully

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge this next woman’s contribution to the horror/sci-fi genre. Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Dana Scully simply has to be honored or else I have to turn in my license to practice horror.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-Files

If you see Ripley as the mother of the strong female character in horror/sci-fi film (as I do) then it follows that Scully is the continuation and growth of that same standard. The X-Files was already groundbreaking television but Dana Scully kicked the shit out of the way we view women in the law enforcement field.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-FilesThe pilot episode of The X-Files aired in September of 1993. I was 11 years old and still remember a young fresh-faced Dana Scully arriving at the FBI. An immediate difference that I noticed as a kid was the amount of respect she commanded from her peers and even superiors. She was a highly intelligent, well-educated doctor and undergraduate of physics – a no-nonsense scientist that wasn’t a second banana or a sidekick to a male lead. Scully always held her own and in many ways was made to look superior to Mulder (David Duchovny). She was sent to essentially babysit him and disprove his work. Although she was never fully convinced and was always the female Spock of logic, she handled the situation with grace. She respected Mulder and acknowledged his intelligence and ideas even though they were counter to her own beliefs. She didn’t scoff or belittle and even grew to have affection for him.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-FilesI believe in some ways that Chris Carter the creator of the show went out of his way to make Scully’s importance stand out. At times I almost feel it was reverse sexism and Mulder was made to seem a bit of a mimbo (male bimbo). I’m not complaining because it was successful in shattering previous notions of “the boys club” and that women could only be secretaries and were too delicate to be out in the field. Scully excelled in the field and never shied away from getting her hands dirty – not to mention she was a great shot. Both roles did an excellent job of highlighting a healthy partnership. Mulder was always able to give Scully credit and admit when she was right, and Scully would do the same even if she couldn’t always get on board with his crazy. The other thing I felt was so important to the purity of the Scully character was the fact that she and Mulder refrained from “extracurricular activities” if you know what I’m saying. In case you don’t I mean, they kept it professional instead of getting to sexy time by the end of season one as a lot of other shows did. It created a new formula that is still popular on television today, the “will they won’t they” phenomenon. It makes every touch and every subtle glance all the more exciting for the viewer.

If you loved Scully and can’t get enough Gillian Anderson then I highly recommend checking out some of her other work. Some of my favorites were Bleak House, The Fall, and American Gods. Gillian Anderson is also an accomplished writer having written a trilogy: A Vision of Fire, A Dream of Ice, and The Sound of the Seas. Most recently she co-wrote We: A Manifesto for Modern Women and co-starred in Season 11 of The X-Files.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-Files

Posted by Candace Stone in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WIHM: Rodleen Getsic’s tortured performance in The Bunny Game

WIHM: Rodleen Getsic’s tortured performance in The Bunny Game

An extreme cinema actress I feel is worthy of much praise is Rodleen Getsic and her phenomenal portrayal in The Bunny Game.

Rodleen Getsic in The Bunny Game

While the film itself seems to get nothing but hate amongst both the horror and extreme cinema communities alike (I don’t share this view personally), Rodleen’s performance still gets mostly praise.
Rodleen Getsic in The Bunny Game
The reason I choose her and why I think her role was special is due to the immense physical and emotional abuse she willingly endured during the making of the film. Her dedication to the role is apparent, and she stated that she dug deep within herself and drew upon past abuses to bring authenticity to the role.Rodleen Getsic in The Bunny Game The director (Adam Rehmeier) of the film stated that other than drug and alcohol abuse nothing in the film was staged. So what does that mean? What all was portrayed in the film?

It means that Rodleen agreed to endure some pretty vile acts of torture for the making of this film. She describes her participation as “more art than film”. She wanted “to use the production as a cathartic process, to really purge some of the traumas she had”. She would fast before shooting and be in a meditative state during scenes. For the more physical demands she drew strength from a rape and other sexual abuses from her youth. Rodleen Getsic in The Bunny Game She stated, “I’ve had some intense experiences that most people might not have lived through” and “The reasons why I made this film keep emerging. But really I wanted to move through the what-ifs and show I could make it through”. She finally goes on to say, “Part of my soul did die in making this film”.

So just what all did she endure for the making of the film? Rodleen Getsic in The Bunny Game I can only assume that if nothing was staged, she was beaten, raped, spit and urinated on, had her head violently shaved, suffocated and even branded (she has the scars to prove this).

Getsic is a method actress and artist of the highest quality and she deserves proper recognition and praise. Her dedication to the role makes this movie so much more than just “torture porn” it adds layers of depth and allows us to share in someone else’s life changing experience. I found it both moving and profound and I commend her for her impressive contribution to extreme cinema.

Rodleen Getsic

Posted by Candace Stone in WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: The Women of Martyrs (2008) [SPOILERS]

WiHM: The Women of Martyrs (2008) [SPOILERS]

Martyrs (2008)

House of Tortured Souls Salutes the women of Martyrs for WiHM

I wanted to write a piece on the women of Martyrs for Women in Horror Month. It’s my favorite movie, and I thought it would be really easy to write about but as it turns out, it wasn’t, because although I feel all the women deserve recognition there is one who is far more important to me than the others.

I’d like to point out a couple of quick things before we proceed, first of all this is intended for those who have already watched the film so if you haven’t yet (my god! Why the hell not? Please stop what you’re doing and watch it this instant!), this will definitely spoil it for you. Second, this is about Pascal Laugier’s 2008 version not the American abomination that came out in 2016. Last, I’m choosing to focus more on one character, but that is not to say that they all weren’t well acted and worthy of praise. Now, with that out of the way, let us continue.

Martyrs (2008)There are four main women of importance in this film, each with a different story to tell. All their stories are flawlessly woven together and one cannot exist without the other. Where the tendrils of each story latch onto the next, they also snuff out the previous story in succession. As Lucie’s (Mylène Jampanoï) story intersects with Anna’s (Morjana Alaoui), it ultimately leads to the untimely death of Anna. When Anna meets Sarah (Emilie Miskdjian), emaciated with metal bolted into her body, nothing more than a shell, her death too is imminent and it prompts the introduction of the Mademoiselle (Catherine Béginand the death of both Sarah and Anna. Finally, the death of Anna leads to the death of Mademoiselle. A perfect clockwork orange. Though each woman has a role, Mademoiselle is arguably the most important character and the bow that neatly ties it all together. Without her, we have nothing more than the polished Hollywood turd that is the American version. A bland, watered-down, meaningless piece of cinema intended to placate the plebs.

Catherine Bégin as Mademoiselle in Martyrs (2008)

Catherine Bégin as Mademoiselle in Martyrs (2008)Mademoiselle is the key to everything, without her you have a torture porn, with her, the suffering you just endured alongside Anna is given meaning. Her character leaves you questioning your entire existence and makes all the violence beautiful and poignant. Mademoiselle was pivotal to Anna’s transcendence into martyrdom and was privy to whatever it was that Anna whispered. Of course, you should hate Mademoiselle, but I’ll go on record to say that she is my favorite fictional character to ever grace the silver screen. No movie death was more traumatic or terrifying than hers. It was so final, and then we’re left in the dark wondering… what did she say? No monster or serial killer has stripped my life of its values and kept me awake at night wondering why.

So thank you, Catherine Begin, for your portrayal of Mademoiselle. Simply Brilliant. I humbly salute you for your contribution to horror.

Catherine Bégin

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Cristie Whiles

WiHM: Cristie Whiles

I personally love extreme horror and want to honor some of the best or worst (depending how you see it) ladies in the genre for Women in Horror Month. The first lady I want to discuss is Cristie Whiles, you may know her better as Crusty from August Underground’s Mordum and August Underground’s Penance. I truly despise her character, Crusty, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever loathed any other fictional person quite so much. She’s an absolutely disgusting excuse for a human being. Her constant shrieking mixed with her hyena laugh grates on the soul, and her heinous acts, especially towards other women, make her despicable. I’m not easily disturbed, and an actor has to work pretty hard to provoke a real emotion in me so I applaud Cristie Whiles’ ability to do both. Although I hate her character, I’m impressed with both her writing and acting skills. She did such a convincing job as Crusty that I can’t be sure if I met her in real life that I would be able to restrain myself from verbally or physically assaulting her – again, well done, Cristie.

Before she got involved in cinema, Cristie was an artist and attended The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She expanded her talents to include screen printing, make-up, special effects, and filmmaking. Cristie was a co-founder of Toetag Pictures but stepped down in 2009 to focus on her clothing company called Sunshine Tattoo Parlor.

Cristie Whiles as Crusty

Cristie had never planned on being in the film industry to begin with, but her longtime friend Michael Schneider (a Toetag alum) asked her to do some of August Underground’s Mordum’s artwork and backgrounds; she also ended up writing and directing as well. She states that the character was an idea taken from her demon paintings, and now that the films are done, she is completely purged of that character and “done with that era”. Cristie felt that Penance was made too soon after the completion of Redsin Tower but was still fairly happy with the end result. After its completion, she felt she needed to move on from Toetag.

Due to the nature of Crusty, Cristie ran into problems with sexual harassment and creepy emails. She says she created the character with “intentions to make people aware of the pain abuse causes without sugar coating a detail.” Well, I guess mission accomplished because as viewers we were spared no detail, no matter how unthinkable.

Cristie Whiles as Crusty

It seems at this point we probably won’t see a lot more from Cristie in the film industry. She did say “you never know,” but her focus is more on her art and clothing line. Her character Crusty will go down in history as one of the best and most horrible portrayals of a female serial killer. If you haven’t already seen them, check out the August Underground Trilogy and judge for yourself.

Cristie Whiles

Cristie Whiles

Posted by Candace Stone in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Ellen Ripley

WiHM: Ellen Ripley

Ripley Alien: Paradise Lost

What will we learn about Ripley in Alien: Paradise Lost?

When asked to do a piece for women in horror month there was no hesitation on who I would choose first. I chose Sigourney Weaver’s timeless character Ellen Ripley, a woman I’ve admired and tried to emulate my entire life.

The role of Ellen Ripley was perfectly cast using Sigourney Weaver, and I can’t imagine anyone else as Ripley. Sigourney has the perfect physical demeanor for the role, tall, lean, handsome, not traditionally beautiful but beautiful nonetheless. The reason I bring up her looks is not to objectify her but to point out the care taken so that her appearance wouldn’t be objectified. Her actions, intelligence, and leadership make her attractive.

Sigourney Weaver of Alien 5

Will Sigourney Weaver return for Alien 5?

Sigourney Weaver was highly praised for her role and even nominated for an Academy Award, which is no small feat because the academy doesn’t give much recognition to horror and sci-fi films, and it continues to be that way even today.

Let’s focus a bit on who the character of Ellen Ripley is and why she’s an important female character in horror (possibly the most important) and an important role model to women in general.

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen RipleyEllen Ripley encompasses a lot of roles, many of them not traditional roles for females especially considering the time these movies were made. She’s an important crew member (warrant officer) aboard a spaceship – The Nostromo and later works her way up to Lieutenant (first class). She’s viewed as an equal and integral member of the ship’s team. Even when she argues and is rude she is never shut down for being a woman she’s shut down for being an ass. We see her in the role of mother when she meets and cares for Newt and when we learn of the loss of her own daughter Amanda. We see her as a caring animal lover to her cat Jonsey. We see her in the role of lover but not as arm candy as an equal half of a partnership. We see her as a leader, both as physically and intellectually competent as her male counterparts. Ripley makes the tough calls but is willing to take risks and sacrifice her own personal safety when protecting those she cares about, while still managing to look badass doing it.

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen RipleyRipley will always be my favorite woman in horror and my personal hero. It is my hope that one day when women are viewed equally in the horror community, she will be recognized as the mold that all other strong female characters were cast from.

Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley

Posted by Candace Stone in SCI-FI HORROR, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
COMING SOON: The Final Interview from Fred Vogel

COMING SOON: The Final Interview from Fred Vogel

Being a pretty big fan of Fred Vogel and the August Underground trilogy, naturally, I was pretty excited to learn about his upcoming movie The Final Interview. It will be the first movie he’s come out with in over six years and it won’t be like anything we’ve seen before from him. The film won’t be a Toetag pictures production. The movie is being produced by Vogel, his wife Shelby (Redsin Tower), and Ross Putman. Vogel hopes to “get out a little further and infest mainstream” with this film.

The Final Interview (2017)

The Final Interview stars a few well-known actors including Grainger Hines (TV’s Castle and Criminal Minds) as Oliver Ross an alcoholic newscaster desperate for ratings. You may also recognize Diane Franklin (Terror Vision and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) as the station’s owner. Ross hopes to save his career and fix his declining ratings by interviewing a murderer on death row on the day of his execution.

 

The Final Interview (2017)During his introduction to a teaser trailer, Vogel gives fans a heads up that “this one will be different, don’t expect guts and gore”. He goes on to say he couldn’t be more pleased and this is his best work yet. For us extreme cinema fans this may sound like disappointing news, but I’m actually looking forward to seeing what he can do as a “serious” director with more of a budget. The trailer itself looks fantastic and has a definite seventies exploitation feel to it. Vogel describes the film being a “thriller and an intense drama”.

The Final Interview (2017)I’d like to just clarify that I myself am in no way affiliated with the film or Fred Vogel, so this next part is purely in the interest of providing information and helping Indie movies succeed. Vogel is asking fans for what he calls donations or “Fred Funding”. For a donation of $120, fans will get a signed movie t-shirt, signed poster, and their names mentioned in a special thanks in the credits. If you’re interested in contributing or just want the exclusive swag like I do, you can use your PayPal account and make a donation to thefinalinterviewmovie@gmail.com.

Check out the teaser trailer.

One more thing Vogel fans can look forward to is another movie he has on the go called The Pittsburg Body Removal. I can’t give you many details at this point other than the project was started in 2015 and sounds like it will be a Toe Tag Pictures production. I will keep you posted as I learn more. As Vogel likes to say “stay sick” horror fans.

The Final Interview (2017)

Posted by Candace Stone in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
Grotesque: A Guilt-Free Pleasure

Grotesque: A Guilt-Free Pleasure

Grotesque (2009) is a Japanese torture porn film directed by Koji Shiraishi.
First of all, I’d like to say I’m not a big fan of the term “torture porn” as it’s used in a derogatory fashion by film snobs to discredit an entire genre and I find it offensive, but when it comes to the movie Grotesque there is simply no better description. The antagonist, a “doctor”, kidnaps a young couple and tortures them for sexual arousal, promising their release if they succeed in making him excited, making this torture porn by definition.

The movie is honest about what it is and doesn’t pussyfoot around pretending to have a plot or trying to develop characters; it just dives right in.

Grotesque (2009)

****HERE THERE BE SPOILERS****

Our young couple wakes up gagged and tied to a table and is asked if they would die for each other. There is a brief little flashback to offer us some insight and let us know they were on a first date; that is as much backstory as the viewer will get.

From there it gets all molesty. I appreciate the fact that this movie advocates equality between the sexes because both are manhandled accordingly, and every torture is doled out evenly.

After the molestation, we proceed to chainsaw surgery, the removal of nipples, nails to the scrotum and a graphic penis removal, which succeeds in finally arousing our good doctor, and he woefully admits that they have won (curse them!) and will be released.

The two wake up in a sterile hospital room where all their parts (except one) have been reattached and they’re healing nicely. I was a tad confused at first in this scene and wasn’t sure if it was a dream – it’s not. Either way, it gives us a chance to catch our breath before the next onslaught.

Their tormentor reappears and promises to release them once they are healed. He then changes his mind and back to the racks they go.

The next scene was a real nail-biter. The male protagonist is given an intestine tether (his own) and has the chance to save the female… he almost makes it and you truly are rooting for him along with the doctor who is shouting encouragements at him.

The end of this movie is a bit silly and provides comic relief after the hard watch the viewer has just endured. The comedy paired with the fact that we have no attachment to the characters makes this movie a guilt-free pleasure allowing us to walk away with minimal psychological damage.

5/5  for Grotesque

Grotesque is not a fantastic movie, but it accomplished everything it set out to do.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: Alien: Out of the Shadows (2014)

BOOK REVIEW: Alien: Out of the Shadows (2014)

Alien: Out of the Shadows was published in 2014 and is part of a trilogy of original stories based on the Alien films by Ridley Scott. Each book has a different author, this one was written by Tim Lebbon and takes place between the first and second movie.

This novel is a stand-alone story so knowledge of the movies isn’t necessary but it helps as they do make references from time to time. If you haven’t watched the Alien movies yet, seriously get on that shit immediately.

Alien: Out of the Shadows is about a man named Hoop, an engineer on a mining crew stationed on planet LV178. During a storm, their ship the Marion is knocked out of orbit as one of the mining shuttles returning from the planet crashes into a loading dock blowing it up and many of the Marion’s inhabitants. The remaining crew aboard the Marion watch in horror on closed circuit tv as another one of the shuttles trying to escape the planet has its occupants killed one by one first by the face huggers and then their offspring.

With the Marion being knocked out orbit it gets closer and closer to the planet’s atmosphere where it will inevitably burn up. Despite all efforts to contact Earth, no response comes back. Over 70 days later, the remaining crew of the Marion are still trying to survive and figure out how to make it to safety. A strange ship docks in the only remaining docking station left and the crew is optimistic that it’s someone responding to their distress signal. To their bewilderment and dismay when they get inside there is one woman and her cat asleep in the stasis pod, one Ellen Ripley.

Ripley awakens to find that she has been in stasis for 37 years and she’s now on a doomed ship infested with the aliens she thought she just left behind. I really enjoyed reading Ripley’s thoughts and perspective on the situations that occur in this book. Her characters mind read exactly how I imagined it.

In order to have any chance of getting home Ripley, Hoop, and the remaining crew must go to the mines on planet LV178 in order to find a much-needed battery to secure their flight home. While on the planet they encounter more of the aliens, face huggers and even an entirely new species of alien. Here is the only part I wish the reader was given more information, the new species of alien were interesting and I would have liked to know more about them. The whole book, however, is written in a way that lets you know time is of the essence, compelling the reader to panic and read frantically at times and making it unbearable to put the book down.

I wondered how they could make a book that fit between the first two movies work in terms of how they could dismiss its existence in the second movie but it works and it works well.

Any fans of the movies and fans sci-fi, in general, should definitely check out Alien: Out of the Shadows. I personally can’t wait to read the next book in this series Alien: Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore. As a completist and avid fan of the movies, I also want to check out the movie’s novelizations.

Posted by Candace Stone in FICTION AND POETRY, 0 comments
Brace Yourself for Tom Six’s The Onania Club

Brace Yourself for Tom Six’s The Onania Club

Tom Six Twitter pic-The Onania Club filmingFans of Tom Six and The Human Centipede films can get ready to be shocked all over again with his upcoming film The Onania Club! The film is hopefully set to drop later this year but, as of now, there is no official release date. You can also follow The Onania Club page on Facebook for further updates.

The Onania Club Facebook page-Tom Six tweetAfter the second Human Centipede film, fans were expecting something really special for the third one but it didn’t live up to most people’s expectations. I didn’t hate the movie I just felt they were released in the wrong order the third should have been the second and the second should have been the big finale. A lot of critics were making claims like “he’s beginning to believe his own hype” and “ It’s time for Tom Six to grow up”. I disagree, I feel his films are exactly what they claim to be – shocking, disturbing, and extreme. As for “the hype”, he skillfully creates it himself. Masterfully marketing himself as an accomplished shock peddler, he has people worked into a frenzy before his movies even come out. That being said I’m ready for something new from him and eager to see what he else he can do.

Tom Six tweet - Part of a frame from The Onania ClubFor those of you who don’t know (I certainly didn’t), Onania or Onanism is a form of masturbation and or the act of “pulling out”. That is the only real clue we’re given. Other than that, unfortunately, I can’t tell you a whole heck of a lot about The Onania Club because he’s being incredibly tight-lipped about the whole thing. During an interview, Tom stated,

The Onania Club will be a very original, highly perverted black comedy that will shake up the world yet again.

He goes on to say the film will be:

The most politically incorrect inhumane horror flick ever unleashed on mankind.

He also feels it will be far more extreme than The Human Centipede franchise… I certainly hope so, Tom. I am ready to be wowed, and I think if anyone can accomplish a genuine shocker, it’s Tom Six.

Posted by Candace Stone in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

Being a huge fan of Martyrs (2008) I was pretty excited to learn that its director Pascal Laugier is making a new film called Incident in a Ghost Land. The film is set to release sometime in April of this year.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

The film stars the incredibly beautiful Mylene Farmer, a very famous French singer in real life, successfully selling more than 30 million records in France. She is considered one of the most successful recording artists of all time in France. Alongside Farmer co-stars Crystal Reed (from TV’s Gotham) and Anastasia Philipps (a lovely young Canadian Actress).

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)The script is described as having a Stephen King vibe to it and the film as “dark” and “scary”. It’s about a mother Colleen (Farmer) and her two daughters Beth (reed) and Vera (Philipps) who upon the death of Colleen’s aunt inherit her house. On the first night in their new home, there is a home invasion and Colleen is forced to fight to save her daughters lives.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)Sixteen years later, Beth becomes a famous horror writer and has a happy family; on the other hand, Vera can’t cope with her past trauma and has become mentally unstable and paranoid. The two sisters continue to live in the dead aunt’s home. Mother and daughters reunite and the strange events begin.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)Incident in a Ghost Land sounds a bit “vanilla” and like a story that has been done a thousand times before — not the extreme cinema experience I was expecting. The trailer did nothing to improve my opinion, so I decided to revisit the original Martyrs trailer to see how the two lined up. The Martyrs trailer definitely appears more violent and extreme from the get-go, but it doesn’t reveal much of the actual story or the depths it goes to. At a first glance, it looks like a gritty revenge movie. I’m hoping Incident in a Ghost Land will also be much more than what we see on the surface, and I remain optimistic and excited for its release.

Posted by Candace Stone in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments