Candace Stone

After recently watching American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice, I was so impressed with it that I reached out to the director Poison Rouge. I was surprised and delighted to learn that Sacrifice was her debut film and even more delighted when she consented to an interview. Actor and director Poison Rouge is quite the talent, and if you haven’t watched American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice already, I highly recommend you do so.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I’m very excited to connect with a talented woman who also loves extreme horror. Did you always want to be a director/actor?
Poison Rouge: No, thank you for your time and for supporting Indie films. Actually, I don’t yet know who I am or what I want to be in life, I just want to live it day by day. The fatal meeting with Domiziano (Christopharo) changed a lot of things for me, around me, and inside me. We first met at a tattoo shop where he was working. He did a tattoo for me, and we became friends and have been ever since. Now I see something — and someone — in myself that I didn’t see before. He suggested that I act in his sideshow first, then in his first feature film House of Flesh Mannequins (2009).
House of Flesh Mannequins (2009) / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: What was your inspiration for this film?
PR: The story was already written. It was originally conceived as a horror comedy that Domiziano wanted to direct as the first chapter in his Trilogy of Death. The lead role was created for a woman, but the actress abandoned the project two weeks before starting. Domiziano asked me to take her place, and later he decided to give the direction of the movie to me so he could follow the second production (Torment). I turned the character into a male and removed the comedic tone to obtain something darker.

HoTS: Why did you choose to start with such an extreme film?
PR: Life decided for me, and I always accept the gifts that life gives me daily.

HoTS: I noticed a lot of well-researched references to the Goddess Ishtar. Why did you choose her or what is her significance to you?
PR: I love the fact that she is the goddess of sex, life, and destruction. The heart of motherhood in some ways. She’s a strong female figure that really describes the power of a woman outside stereotypes.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: What films and directors are your favorites and influenced your style?
PR: My favorite movies are any ones that involve Sly Stallone; I just love him! Especially Rocky.
In horror, my favorites are all the classics — Carpenter, Polanski, and Friedkin, etc.
I don’t think I really have a style yet. It’s impossible after only one feature, but I have a vision. My passion for art and painting is very visible in Sacrifice.

HoTS: I loved the gore and the practical FX in this one. I heard a rumor that the penis mutilation scene is partially real. Is that true? Please explain!
PR: Haha! You should watch the extras on the DVD to know more about it. I won’t say another word!
The FX are great and very realistic. Domiziano (aka Athanasius Pernath) is a master.

Interview: Poison Rouge with Domiziano Christopharo / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: It’s really cool that your first film was picked up by Unearthed and is part of the American Guinea Pig series. Was it made specifically to be part four of AGP or was that something that happened after the fact?
PR: It was already in the works by Domiziano to be the first in his Trilogy of Death. He was planning for it to be the first Italian extreme horror saga. The references in the first film Sacrifice are from He Never Dies, the third installment in the Japanese Guinea Pig saga. Stephen Biro noticed us from the start and followed us every step of the way. He found the final result worthy of his American Guinea Pig series, and the rest is history!

HoTS: On a personal note it’s my understanding that you’re quite an accomplished bodybuilder and boxer. How did you get involved in it?
PR: Because I love Rocky and Stallone! He was my inspiration in filmmaking and made me want to act. It was only a natural next step to start fighting for real, too.
Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: I’d like to thank you, Poison, and Domiziano Christopharo again for agreeing to chat with me. You’re both talented artists and lovely people. I look forward to seeing your next film. After this incredible debut, I’m eager to see what you will do next.

Buy American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice at Unearthed Films

Check out the trailer for American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice.

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INTERVIEW: Poison Rouge – Director, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

INTERVIEW: Poison Rouge – Director, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

After recently watching American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice, I was so impressed with it that I reached out to the director Poison Rouge. I was surprised and delighted to learn that Sacrifice was her debut film and even more delighted when she consented to an interview. Actor and director Poison Rouge is quite the talent, and if you haven’t watched American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice already, I highly recommend you do so.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I’m very excited to connect with a talented woman who also loves extreme horror. Did you always want to be a director/actor?
Poison Rouge: No, thank you for your time and for supporting Indie films. Actually, I don’t yet know who I am or what I want to be in life, I just want to live it day by day. The fatal meeting with Domiziano (Christopharo) changed a lot of things for me, around me, and inside me. We first met at a tattoo shop where he was working. He did a tattoo for me, and we became friends and have been ever since. Now I see something — and someone — in myself that I didn’t see before. He suggested that I act in his sideshow first, then in his first feature film House of Flesh Mannequins (2009).
House of Flesh Mannequins (2009) / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: What was your inspiration for this film?
PR: The story was already written. It was originally conceived as a horror comedy that Domiziano wanted to direct as the first chapter in his Trilogy of Death. The lead role was created for a woman, but the actress abandoned the project two weeks before starting. Domiziano asked me to take her place, and later he decided to give the direction of the movie to me so he could follow the second production (Torment). I turned the character into a male and removed the comedic tone to obtain something darker.

HoTS: Why did you choose to start with such an extreme film?
PR: Life decided for me, and I always accept the gifts that life gives me daily.

HoTS: I noticed a lot of well-researched references to the Goddess Ishtar. Why did you choose her or what is her significance to you?
PR: I love the fact that she is the goddess of sex, life, and destruction. The heart of motherhood in some ways. She’s a strong female figure that really describes the power of a woman outside stereotypes.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: What films and directors are your favorites and influenced your style?
PR: My favorite movies are any ones that involve Sly Stallone; I just love him! Especially Rocky.
In horror, my favorites are all the classics — Carpenter, Polanski, and Friedkin, etc.
I don’t think I really have a style yet. It’s impossible after only one feature, but I have a vision. My passion for art and painting is very visible in Sacrifice.

HoTS: I loved the gore and the practical FX in this one. I heard a rumor that the penis mutilation scene is partially real. Is that true? Please explain!
PR: Haha! You should watch the extras on the DVD to know more about it. I won’t say another word!
The FX are great and very realistic. Domiziano (aka Athanasius Pernath) is a master.

Interview: Poison Rouge with Domiziano Christopharo / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: It’s really cool that your first film was picked up by Unearthed and is part of the American Guinea Pig series. Was it made specifically to be part four of AGP or was that something that happened after the fact?
PR: It was already in the works by Domiziano to be the first in his Trilogy of Death. He was planning for it to be the first Italian extreme horror saga. The references in the first film Sacrifice are from He Never Dies, the third installment in the Japanese Guinea Pig saga. Stephen Biro noticed us from the start and followed us every step of the way. He found the final result worthy of his American Guinea Pig series, and the rest is history!

HoTS: On a personal note it’s my understanding that you’re quite an accomplished bodybuilder and boxer. How did you get involved in it?
PR: Because I love Rocky and Stallone! He was my inspiration in filmmaking and made me want to act. It was only a natural next step to start fighting for real, too.
Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: I’d like to thank you, Poison, and Domiziano Christopharo again for agreeing to chat with me. You’re both talented artists and lovely people. I look forward to seeing your next film. After this incredible debut, I’m eager to see what you will do next.

Buy American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice at Unearthed Films

Check out the trailer for American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice.



Posted by Candace Stone in FEATURED ARTISTS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

South Mill District is a short film by Joe Meredith. It’s his directorial debut and runs about 25 minutes. He does everything himself including write, film, produce, FX, act, and direct. Simply put: I loved this film. It was an amazing little shocker with tons of class and art.

In a world ravaged by an alien attack, we follow two post-apocalypse survivors Drennan (Joe Meredith) and Luci (Joe’s wife, the lovely Cidney Meredith). After the alien invasion, the EonCorp started experimenting with the havoc virus and used alien DNA in spiders to create a symbiotic relationship between the infected spiders and humans. The infected spiders consume and distort their human hosts until the regeneration process is complete. The EonCorp keeps the infected human hosts and mutant spiders contained in the South Mill District under quarantine.
South Mill District (2018) / Fair use doctrine.
For a first film and an Independent film, South Mill District is an ambitious project. The premise is a bit convoluted, and the film doesn’t have the luxury of a Hollywood budget, but it has a lot of heart. You can see and feel the amount of love that went into the making of this film. It’s beautifully shot in an excellent location that really captures the desolate post-apocalypse feel. The camera work is top-notch, and I adored the use of colored lighting.

What stands out the most is Joe’s artwork and the incredible creatures in this film. The use of stop motion to bring handmade aliens, spiders, fetuses, and other bizarre paper mâché creatures to life in this is gorgeous. Each creature is uniquely detailed, and you can see the painstaking care that went into each one. The crawly, bloody sound effects also help bring them to life, and the creatures definitely have a “Thing” vibe to them that fans will easily recognize.
South Mill District (2018) / Fair use doctrine.
Some of the highlights of South Mill District include Luci puking up her intestines, a walking brain, and many stop-motion spiders eating their hosts or emerging from the human wreckage.

I was really stoked to learn there is an upcoming sequel called Teratomorph, and I will keep everyone posted as I learn the details and watch out for my upcoming interview with Joe Meredith.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice is the debut film by Italian director Poison Rouge and the fourth installment in the series. It was produced by Domiziano Cristopharo (Red Krokodil) and released by Unearthed Films.

You would have trouble discerning that this was Rouge’s first film because it’s artfully shot, well researched and beautifully made. Take a look at the trailer before we continue.

American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice follows a young man named Daniel (Roberto Scorza) who returns to his childhood home where a trauma took place. We are not given the details of the incident that happened, but we can guess by Daniels’s emotional and physical scars that it was tragic and took its toll on his psyche. Daniel’s body is covered with self-harm scars and he hears voices. Throughout the film, he speaks in his mind to the Goddess Ishtar (Flora Giannattasio) of personal sacrifices and an end to the pain.

At the beginning of the film, Daniel goes into the bathroom with a backpack, he lights thre white candles unpacks some tools and goes to town on himself.

This is where the film earns it’s Guinea Pig status; it has all the violence and brutality that you would expect and hope for. He starts by cutting a huge vagina-like gash in his hand, and while he’s licking it, you see flashes of cunnilingus being performed. He moves on to trepanning or boring holes into his skull. I was reminded of Andrey Iskanov’s Nails at this part (I wonder if Rogue is also a fan?) He then violently removes a toenail, and I confess I suffered through this part. Nails and compound fractures get me every time! He moves on to extreme penis mutilation by inserting a screwdriver into his urethra. I commend the FX team on the most realistic looking penis prosthetic ever used in both the mutilation and castration scene. In the end, he finally eviscerates himself in the bathtub and bleeds out. After he recedes under the surface of the bloody water, Ishtar emerges.

On the surface, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice may just seem like a tight little torture/body horror, but I believe it’s much more than that. I feel that the Goddess Ishtar was well researched and even the casting was done intentionally to line up with her mythos. Scorza has a very androgynous quality to him and ends up transforming into a woman. Ishtar is said to have transformed men into women and is associated with androgynous people and hermaphrodites, and Daniel carves an eight-pointed star — a symbol of Ishtar — into his forehead. Both the flashbacks and his death are in water also associated with Ishtar. I love a film that knows its shit and hides Easter eggs throughout.

For this excellent film and incredible debut 5/5 shocks

Pre-order your copy of American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice at Unearthed Films today!
Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Orozco the Embalmer (2001)

DOC REVIEW: Orozco the Embalmer (2001)

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.Orozco the Embalmer is a frank documentary made by Japanese director Kiyotaka Tsurisaki and following  Columbian embalmer Froilan Orozco.

I, myself, pursued a career as an embalmer; I thought of it as a caregiving job. No matter what level of kindness someone was shown in life, this is a final chance to be shown love and care before your soulless body is placed back into the earth. Every care and effort should be put into preserving the body and its previous occupant’s dignity. This movie isn’t that…

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.If you are a true crime or real gore fan, then you will enjoy this, but if you are looking for answers or peace of mind, you will not. This film is more about extreme poverty and one man’s compassion than it is about embalming or death.

Orozco the Embalmer takes place in one of the poorest parts of Columbia with one of the highest crime rates. Death is commonplace and bodies are found around every corner and down every alley. The dead and murdered are stripped and examined in the street in front of onlookers — including children. Many of them would be left to rot if not for one man: Froilan Orozco.

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.The embalming process in this film isn’t really embalming, at least not as we know it here. It’s more like stuffing using what’s on hand, MacGyver embalming if you will. It’s actually in some ways closer to older methods of taxidermy. Little care is shown to the bodies as they’re handled roughly, gutted, stuffed with plastic bags or dirty rags, and hastily sewn back up. It’s a very different process than you would see in North America where it’s done in a way that’s as non-invasive as possible. A needle is inserted into a major artery, and chemicals are pumped through the veins pushing the blood out. The body doesn’t need to be opened up unless an autopsy is performed. Orozco’s compassion isn’t for the dead but for those they left behind. He performed the procedure for families with little or no money, the families often unable to pay, so they could rest knowing their loved ones received a proper burial.

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.Orozco embalmed more than 50,000 bodies before his death. He died during the making of the film from complications of a hernia caused by lifting too many bodies.

What I liked about Orozco the Embalmer was that it was raw. A look into the third world and the callousness of life. Imagine living in an environment where death is so commonplace that life loses its meaning. The film was beautiful and cathartic in its own dispassionate way.

Be warned that it does deal with real death and violence including woman and children. It’s honest and completely uncensored.

5/5 shocks for this glimpse into death

Posted by Candace Stone in DOCUMENTARIES, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Rampo Noir (2005)

MOVIE REVIEW: Rampo Noir (2005)

Rampo Noir (2005) is a Japanese arthouse, horror film, based on the works Kagami-jigoku (The Hell of Mirrors) (1926), Mushi (Insect) (1929), Imomushi (The Caterpillar) (1929), and Kasei no Unga (The Martian Canals) (1926) by Edogawa Rampo. It’s sort of like a modern-day Kwaidan. Although it does deal with some extreme themes and has horror elements, I wouldn’t classify it as either. It’s a bizarre, slow-moving arthouse through and through. The film is an anthology and features four segments by four different directors.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The first segment is entitled “Mars Canal” by Takeuchi Suguru. This segment has no dialogue and actually almost no audio at all other than one brief period of loud shrieking sound. The entire segment is only about 7 minutes long in total making it the shortest of the four. It’s a lot of violent, silent, nudity. The silence somehow heightens the beauty of the imagery and although it was short, I really enjoyed this one.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The next segment is called ”Mirror Hell” by Akio Jissoji. This one was probably my least favorite out of the four. It combines the stories of a bunch of women attending a tea ceremony school a traditional Japanese mirror maker and a group of detectives. Many of the women in the school fall in love with the mirror maker and they are killed one by one in a bizarre manner. The story is about jealousy, betrayal and becoming our own god. Lots of beautiful imagery and a great idea for a story but it ended up being painfully slow and fell flat for me.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The third segment is called ”Caterpillar” by Hisayu Sato and is probably the most extreme of the three. It’s about a soldier who comes back from war a hero but horribly disfigured. He’s missing his limbs and can really only wiggle and drool. His wife still loves and cares for him calling him her “caterpillar”. It watches like Japanese fetish porn and has some unconventional sex scenes… that’s all I’ll say about that.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The final segment is called ”Crawling Bugs” by Atsushi Kaneko was my favorite of the bunch. After the dull lighting of the first three, the color enthusiast in me rejoiced at the vivid pallet in this one. However, while the color and style in this one pop it’s quite boring to watch beyond that. Basically, we follow a fashion model and her relationship with an artist who is obsessed with germs. He ends up killing her and dismembering her corps and turning her into a human corpse doll. It sounds far more interesting than it actually was.

I recommend this to arthouse film buffs and the seekers of the strange/obscure, but if like me you’re seeking out extreme or fast-paced art this won’t be for you.

2.5/5 shocks for this film Rampo Noir

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Lure (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Lure (2015)

The Lure (2015)The Lure (2015) by Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska is a retelling of The Little Mermaid and should be sought out by every and all obscure, foreign, horror and arthouse film lovers. It’s a dazzling, glitzy punch to the eyeballs. It’s one movie that is every bit as good as the trailer and then some. I should point out that I have a mermaid fetish and this film has become my new favorite thing in life.

Full Disclosure: The Lure is a musical. If that’s a deal breaker, please exit the review now.

It is, in fact, a musical but it’s a sexy, disco, mermaid horror with tons of erotic and emotional appeal.

Spoilers!!!

The Lure (2015)Two mermaid sisters, Silver and Golden, lure men from the beach for food. One night they get adopted by their would be meal: a sleazy nightclub band. Through a bizarre set of circumstances, they end up joining the act. Just like in Splash, once they’re out of water, they form legs… but have no genitalia or ass crack “smooth as a Barbie”. Silver and Golden perform nightly at the club and become popular fast. Everyone wants them. Silver falls in love with one of the band members, Mietek, while Golden yearns to be back in the sea.

Ultimately, they are still animals and Golden resorts to old animal instincts and kills a club patron. Golden meets Triton, another creature of the sea, who warns her of a terrible fate: if a mermaid falls in love with a man and he marries someone else, she must eat him before dawn or she will turn to sea foam.

As Silver’s love for Mietek grows, she decides to get a tail-ectomy/leg transplant in order to satisfy him sexually. After the comical operation — she’s kept on ice like a fish in the market during surgery — there are complications, and Silver and Mietek are still unable to copulate. He falls in love with someone else and marries her. On the night of the wedding, Silver is unable to kill him and decides to turn to foam in his arms instead. Stricken with grief, Golden tears out his throat and returns to the sea.
The Lure (2015)
A beautiful love story, and a tragic tale of humans exploiting animals.
Some of the highlights include:

  • hot mermaid on girl sex scene
  • fish hole fingering
  • killer mermaids
  • Rad Polish disco music
  • glitter

The Lure (2015)

5/5 glamourous shocks for The Lure

Posted by Candace Stone in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

964 Pinocchio (1991) is a Japanese cyberpunk film by Shozin Fukui. The experience is somewhat indescribable and it’s one of those films you just have to “go with” and not overthink.

The first 30 seconds or so of the film really reach out and grab you because a lot is happening… a three-way in a hospital to be precise. The male participant – Pinocchio is a memory-wiped sex slave that has been mentally and physically altered. He is thrown out of the facility after he fails to hold a lasting erection.

As he’s wandering aimlessly through town, he stumbles across Himiko, a homeless street artist. He indicates to her that he’s hungry (he can’t talk at this point), and she takes him under her wing. What we don’t know at this point is that Himiko has also been mind-wiped and altered.

The two begin to undergo a simultaneous transition. Pinocchio appears to be melting and convulsing. Himiko flees and vomits up everything she’s ever eaten. This is probably the longest puke scene in a movie I’ve ever watched. More just keeps coming up in large piles that are the consistency of wet house insulation. She lays on top of it, runs her fingers through it, and then rolls in it and eats it. When Himiko returns, Pinocchio is lying in the center of a circle of what I can only presume is his guts.

Himiko turns on Pinocchio and chains him up. She informs the sex company of his whereabouts. He breaks free and drags the cinder block he’s chained to through town until he reaches the lab. He kills his tormentors, and both he and Himiko evolve into weird, big, rubber-headed creatures. His last line is that everything all makes sense now. Maybe to him it does, but there are a lot of questions left unanswered to the audience.

I liked this movie a lot despite its flaws and its tendency to draw certain scenes out to the point of being annoying. It also doesn’t make a ton of sense, not just because it’s weird but because it establishes certainties and then goes against them without explanation or reason.

I give it 3/5 shocks. You can order a copy cheap from Unearthed or watch it free on Youtube.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

Shogun’s Sadism (1976) by Yuji Makiguchi is a really fun, Japanese, exploitation, period piece.

First, let me just tip my hat to the Japanese on their unparalleled ability to torture and cause human suffering, no one does it better than Japan.

Shogun’s Sadism starts with old stock footage of war atrocities and the first shot is of a girl being boiled alive… it doesn’t mess about. It’s scene after scene of intense torture with brief explanations of the “crimes” committed and the form of torture being used.

The film features two different stories that take place during the Edo period in Japan (between 1603-1868). Although the film is fictional it does mirror actual forms of torture and beliefs held during that time period.

The first story is of a young woman named Toyo who saves the life of Lori, a Samurai, by sucking the poison out of a snake bite for him. She brings him to her family home and cares for him, and the two fall in love. It’s later discovered that Toyo and her family are Christians and must be executed. During the Edo period, Christians were tortured until they confessed and often killed for choosing Jesus over the Shogunate (feudal military government). When Toyo is brought before the government for her crimes Lori does nothing as he watches her be raped and abused repeatedly and then kept as a personal concubine by his superior. Toyo suffers many horrible injustices and eventually Lori and her escape only to be brutally killed.

The second story, while still good, is definitely a bit more silly or comedic. It takes place in a brothel where a young man claiming to have a rich family turns out to be poor and unable to pay his bill. In order to pay off his debts, he has to stay and work at the brothel for a year. He falls in love with one of the girls and after witnessing a forced abortion and then the death of one of the other girls, he decides to escape with her. The two become petty criminals and are eventually caught. He’s killed, and she’s sold back into prostitution.

In case you aren’t convinced of the brutality here are some of the things you can expect to see:
SPOILERS!!!!

  • human branding
  • stake burnings and spearing
  • snake pit torture
  • rape, including double penetration gang rape
  • forced abortion
  • beheading
  • castration
  • And my personal favourite execution by bulls pulling a woman’s limbs off.

4/5 historically accurate shocks for this film

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, REVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

House of Tortured Souls’ very own Jonathan Patrick Hughes is making another movie called Hallowed Be Thy Name, and I am the lucky one to interview him about it. I’m a big fan of his short film (S)AINT NICK. A dirty Christmas movie about a greasy stepdad who gets his up and comings. The film was picked up by Troma for a horror anthology entitled 12 Slays of Christmas, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.
House of Tortured Souls: First of all let me say thanks for the opportunity to chat with you about your new film, as you know I loved (S)AINT NICK. Will this new film also be a short or feature length? And will it be a Christmas film again?
Jonathan Patrick Hughes: Hallowed Be Thy Name is a short film, but nothing like (S)AINT NICK. It’s a complete 180, this is more like if David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock made a Twilight Zone episode. This one takes place on Halloween.
HoTS: What inspired you to make this new movie?
JPH: I was inspired by David Lynch mostly and that meant I had to leave my comfort zone and try something different than just cutting people up into pieces. I always enjoyed psychological thrillers, much like Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Lost Highway, and Cape Fear.
HoTS: You mentioned that Rob Zombie was a huge influence on your style on (S)AINT NICK How will this one be different or similar?
JPH: Rob Zombie was the only reason why I wanted to make (S)AINT NICK. I’m a huge fan of his work, except Halloween 2 (Sorry, Rob)
This is a very different type of film, it’s not vulgar or difficult to watch, it’s more about getting inside an audiences head and having them watch the film over and over again, to really think about what is really going on, especially the ending.Answer2.
HoTS: It’s my understanding that you had the chance to work with Zane Hershberger. What was that like?
JPH: Zane Hershberger is someone I see myself working with over and over again. He is by far, the most fun I’ve had making a film with. He’s easy going, funny and his vision is balls to the wall insane. He just loves doing what he does and when people see the finished product, they’ll understand what I mean. He just made everything look better than what I imagined in my head and I can’t wait to work with him again.
HoTS: I personally am excited to see you step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at a psychological film this time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good hack and slash, but it takes real talent to get inside someone’s head and terrify them psychologically. The fact that you’re willing to try new things and be versatile is why I believe you’ll go far as a filmmaker.
When making a good thriller having a good cast is key and the acting can make or break the film. What can you tell me about the cast in this one?
JPH: The cast in this film really outdone themselves! Tyler Manko plays Sam Hayne, a detective who has been searching for his wife and child since they disappeared on Halloween, six years ago.
Alexis Polce-von Schwedler plays Octavia Burke, a woman whom Sam believes is responsible for the disappearances.
These two together REALLY knock it out of the park. The chemistry, the emotions, as well as the trickery that goes on throughout the film. It just boggled my mind to see them out of character and whenever I called action, seeing them within seconds get into their character. Tyler and Alexis really outdid themselves and I’m highly proud to see what they pulled off during the filming.
Sable Griedel, who was in The Barn, and 10/31 is also one to look out for. She was amazing and very professional. Sable plays Olivia Hayne, Sam’s wife. Her appearance is both shocking and well received. Sable was a real joy to work with.
Leeana Hergenreder, (S)AINT NICK, has a special appearance as Octavia’s co-worker. I’ll never make a film without Leeana. She already knows what I’m looking for and what I need from her. There is very little direction with her because we are so in sync while making a film. It’s crazy.
Patrick Honan, who portrayed a voice over as Dr. Hoffman in (S)AINT NICK, plays Detective Barnes. I can’t say too much about his character, but what I can say is that Patrick is a great person to work with. He’s new to acting, but still delivers his lines like a true detective.
Last, but not least Rosie plays Sam’s Daughter, Chloe Hayne, and this was her first time in front of cameras, but she’s done theatre work. Rosie was phenomenal, very understanding at what I was looking for and really nailed her part. She’s adorable, and she is definitely someone that I’d love to work with in the future. It’s so hard to find young talent these days, but she outdid herself and really helped the film with her part.
HoTS: I know your last film was picked up by Troma will this one be also and when can we expect to see it?
JPH: As a matter of fact, Hallowed Be Thy Name has been picked up by Dustin Ferguson as part of the second season for Tales From The Grave and will be released as a webisode and then on DVD from Screamtime Films. From what I understand, they are going to show [one] episode per week starting in September. I’ll make sure it’s announced as soon as I know everything.
HoTS: Finally, is there anything you would like to add or think fans should know?
JPH: I think people are going to be puzzled and confused, at first. This is def something that should be viewed more than once before giving it an actual thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s very psychological and one of those WTF? type of films. I already know people will feel as if the film doesn’t make much sense. Haha, that’s when you need to watch it again until it does make sense.
Thank you again, Jonathan, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me for a few moment. I’ve really enjoyed this and look forward to seeing your new film.
Posted by Candace Stone in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Gutterballs (2008) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Gutterballs (2008) [SPOILERS]

Gutterballs (2008) is a Canadian extreme horror set entirely in the Xcalibar bowling alley (Surrey, BC). It’s essentially a rape revenge with a slight twist.

The film is horribly acted, feels like a slasher made by porn stars for porn stars, and despite the low budget and less than Oscar-worthy acting, it still ends up being a great little movie. The gore and practical effects are superb. The kills are inventive and fresh, and the rape scene was genuinely disturbing.

A group of friends go bowling after hours and compete against one another. It’s a typical mix of teens from the 80s: you’ve got your token jocks, rockers and rockettes, skanks, and even the trans community is represented. The jocks compete against the rockers. The group of jocks gets drunk and rowdy and roughs up the transgender member of the group, and a bit of a brawl breaks out. In order to stop one of the jocks from beating up her friend, one of the girls drops a bowling ball on his foot. The group gets kicked out of the alley early but vow to have a rematch the following night. They all go their separate ways except the girl who dropped the bowling ball goes back in the alley in search of her purse. She runs into the group of jocks, and they brutally gang rape her. This scene is long and excessive; it imprints itself on your brain. I found it to be a lot harder to stomach than most scenes of this nature because it was extremely graphic and felt like it went on forever. I was completely emotionally depleted by its finish. It’s been a while since I was truly disturbed by a scene in any movie.

The following night the group all comes back for a bowl-off. The group starts getting picked off one by one with some of the most original kill scenes put to film. You can look to find quite a few hat tips to other movies in this and have fun picking them out. I was a tad disappointed by the “twist” ending, but overall I was pretty impressed with the film.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Here are some of the extreme and disturbing bits you can expect to see:

  • A brutal and graphic gang rape using a bowling pin
  • Death by 69 (extra points for creativity)
  • An incredibly up close and personal penile mutilation
  • Sodomization with a bowling pin
  • Tons of nudity, sex, violence, and gore in this one

4/5 shocks for Gutterballs

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Takashi Miike’s Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike’s Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)Ichi the Killer (2001) is one of Takeshi Miike’s best films. It’s a Yakuza gangster, extreme horror based on the Manga of the same name by Hideo Yamamoto. The movie watches like a manga book and some of the characters look as though they walked right off the pages and into the film. With fantastic, brightly colored costumes and bizarre quirks, the characters are what makes this one extra special. Ichi the Killer is an intelligent film unlike a lot of shock Japanese cinema, and you’ll need to pay attention to catch everything. Definitely check it out on the new 4K BD it’s worth every penny. The 4K really makes the costumes bling, the scars stand out, and the blood pop!

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Nao Ohmori, Tadanobu Asano, Paulyn Sun, and SABU in Ichi the Killer (2001)

The Plot: Well… there’s a lot of it in this one and I’m going to do my very best to make sure you know how great the film is while still keeping it spoiler free. It starts out with the leader of the Anjo gang going “missing” and then two rival gangs fighting over his absence. The new leader of Anjo’s gang, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) steps in to investigate the missing boss and goes on a bit of a rampage while trying to find him. The movie should really be called Kakihara the Killer since he’s the real hero in this, brutal as hell, unflinching, relishing every sadistic act — even his own mutilation and beatings. Kakihara is a beautiful character, well written, well acted, and impeccably dressed. I loved every minute he was on screen. His presence was palpable. His features are unforgettable, his face is scarred and sliced open across his cheeks (a Glasgow smile) and held closed with metal hoops, his hair is bleached blonde, and his outfits are gaudy and brilliant – each outdoing the last.
Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)While Kakihara is busy enforcing and investigating, Ichi (Nao Omori) is also killing but with a lot less style and a lot more crying. He’s been brainwashed to believe that he was badly bullied and believes that a high school girl who tried to save him was brutally gang-raped in front of him while he was unable to save her. He’s riddled with guilt and can be coaxed into killing anyone if he is told that person is a bully. He wears razor shoes and does some fancy footwork making the blood spray and the guts splatter. Ichi is controlled by Jijii (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) a seemingly innocent bystander in the whole thing. The gang members even lovingly refer to him as the “old fart”. Jijii is far from innocent though and is pulling the strings on both sides to pit the rival gangs against one another for his own personal gain. He uses Ichi as his pawn and eventually has him target Kakihara. A final battle is, of course, inevitable, and there are many twists and turns along the way that I am purposely leaving out in order not to spoil things.
Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

I highly recommend you check out Ichi the Killer for yourself. It’s a flawless masterpiece that belongs in a museum. I personally loved it and give it a 5/5
Kakihara smoking in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer (2001)

Posted by Candace Stone in FEATURED ARTISTS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Incident in a Ghostland (2018) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Incident in a Ghostland (2018) [SPOILERS]

I had the opportunity to watch Incident in a Ghostland by Pascal Laugier (Martyrs director) last night. It has been my most anticipated movie release of the year. I had to wait a full 24 hours before doing the review in hopes that my opinion would change, but it’s with a very heavy heart that I sadly report I didn’t like it.

Crystal Reed in Incident in a Ghostland (2018)
I suppose it’s important to point out several things before we get into it.

First, it’s not Martyrs, it’s not even on the same planet as Martyrs and if you’re expecting Martyrs quality you will be even more disappointed than I was. I went in with the expectation that it wouldn’t be Martyrs and still felt robbed. It’s hard to lower your expectations when you know what the director is capable of.

It’s not extreme, and it’s not French. It isn’t graphic enough to be extreme and the few words of French spoken are dismissed. Good news for those of you who hate subtitles.

It’s a good horror movie, it’s not great. It’s nothing fresh and nothing to write home about.

One thing I did really like was the tributes to H.P. Lovecraft and Canadian author Nick Cutter. There were a few fun literary Easter eggs hidden throughout the film that I enjoyed. I also enjoyed Mylene Farmer’s performance.

Mylène Farmer in Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

The movie is about two sisters Beth (Emilia Jones) and Vera (Taylor Hickson) and their mother (Mylene Farmer) who, after the death of their aunt, are moving into her country home. Beth is an aspiring writer who loves H.P. Lovecraft, and Vera is a bit jealous of her writing and her relationship with their mother.

A quick foreshadowing in the form of a newspaper article is given about a serial killer on the loose – a serial killer who murders parents and keeps the children. As the family is on their way to the new home, they encounter a candy truck on the road with menacing individuals inside, but they brush it off. Later that night, their home is invaded by the candy truck drivers, but the trio prevails and thwarts their attackers.

Fast forward to years later and we find Beth (Crystal Reed) in her home with her husband and child now a successful writer. She receives a distressing call from her sister Vera (Anastasia Phillips) and decides to head back to the country home where her mother and sister still live. Vera, unable to cope with the attack, has gone crazy and locks herself in the basement most of the time, and their mother has turned to drink. The big “twist’ is revealed shortly after making the movie marginally better and bearable until the predictable happy ending.

Emilia Jones and Taylor Hickson in Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

You can expect lots of jump scares, “scary” dolls, nods to Rob Zombie and other fanboy tributes and clichés in this one. You won’t, however, find anything truly original or up to the standard that Pascal Laugier is capable of. In my opinion, Laugier is brilliant and Martyrs is God tier filmmaking, and it’s my hope that this film is not what we can expect from him in the future.

2/5 disappointed shocks for this film

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) [SPOILERS]

Tetsuo, the Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto is a gnarly cyberpunk fetish film. Filmed in black and white and employing very little dialogue… it’s not really needed because there’s enough going on without it Tetsuo, the Iron Man has a cool techno/industrial, pulsing, fast-paced vibe.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

The film starts out with “The Man” or “The Metal Fetishist” (Tsukamoto) inserting a metal pipe into his thigh, then losing his shit when it starts to fester and maggots show up. He runs out into the street where he is hit and presumably killed by “The Salaryman” (Tomorowo Taguchi) and his girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara). They take his body and dump it into a ravine and then get it on in front of the corpse because nothing gets you as hot as killing someone… right?

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

Later that night, The Salaryman notices a piece of metal sticking out of his cheek that he can’t get rid of. He has a nightmare where his girlfriend has a metal pipe coming from her hoo-haw and she rapes him with it. This scene is actually pretty great, she does this weird ass interpretive dance and licks her pipe before slamming it into his.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

For some reason, everyone is super sweaty all the time. When he wakes up, The Salaryman and his girlfriend have sex and eat erotically, as in she licks a wiener. The whole time, however, The Salaryman hears metal scraping, and then he starts to transform. He runs into the bathroom afraid of what he’s becoming and tells his girlfriend to stay away. She says nothing bothers her and goes in anyway, and that’s when we see it… The drill dick!!! Yes, you read that right: his genitalia is now a large spinning metal drilldo. At first, the girlfriend is scared and starts stabbing him, but every time she stabs him, more metal sprouts out of his body. She then becomes turned on and rides the drill to death.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

We discover that The Metal Fetishist isn’t actually dead and the two have an epic metalman duel until they eventually meld together into one giant metal man tethered by a metal pipe umbilical cord. The Metal Fetishist vows to turn the whole world into metal and let it rust, scattering it into the dust of the universe. Game over.
4/5 cyberpunk rock shocks for Tetsuo, the Iron Man

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
EXTREME REVIEW: The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009) [Spoilers]

EXTREME REVIEW: The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009) [Spoilers]

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang is an excellent Serbian movie directed by Mladen Djordjevic. It’s been referred to as “the other Serbian Film” although it has almost no similarities other than it’s Serbian and extreme. So no need to panic, no babies or children are harmed in this one.

This one is a bit difficult to tackle without spoilers, so I’m going to say mild spoilers from this point on and I’ll give you a heads up when I go into major spoilers.

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009)

The film is about Marko (Mihajlo Jovanovic), a young enthusiastic film student fresh out of college. He’s bright-eyed and full of great ideas for an artsy horror/fantasy film. Unfortunately, Serbia has no market for such films and although his father is rich he won’t help with funding. Discouraged and down, Marko goes to a bar where he meets Cane (Srdjan Miletic) one of the top porn directors in Serbia. He offers Marko a job, and Marko accepts in hopes of earning enough money to make his film. After Cane shows him the ropes, Marko uses a few of the actors to make artsy political pornos, and the short film of a killer strain of weed that turns people into sex zombies is actually pretty brilliant. Cane, however, didn’t think so and was pissed that Marko went behind his back. He has his cop brother beat him up and run him out of town.

Marko gets together a group of “actors” and convinces them to join his traveling show: the first pornographic playhouse in Serbia. They buy a really cool van, paint it up all dirty, and hit the road. The rest of the movie follows their struggles in various towns. The show doesn’t go over well, and they get kicked out of town after town until they meet Franz, who offers them a different type of job that they end up accepting for the money. Then we witness the break-up and demise of the gang.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Some of the more disturbing aspects of the film include:

  • The entire group being gang-raped at gunpoint after townsmen follow them from the last town they performed in. This scene was brutal, and I thanked god when one of them started to laugh in the face of their attacker because the scene needed a break.
  • Franz’s job offer was for the gang to do snuff films. The participants were willing, and their surviving family members were well compensated. This is where the film takes a profound turn and even though the participants are willing, we still experience the consequences of taking a life.
  • A horse blowjob that looks pretty real…
  • The death of a goat.
  • The death of everyone in the porno gang.

While the first half of the film was colorful and happy if somewhat disturbing, the second half becomes bleak, overly long, and depressing. It’s a hard watch in more ways than one, but it needs to be seen by any true extreme cinema fan.

4/5 Shocks for this film

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009)

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
EXTREME REVIEW: Marian Dora’s Cannibal (2006)

EXTREME REVIEW: Marian Dora’s Cannibal (2006)

Cannibal is a 2006 film by Marian Dora based on the true story of Armin Meiwes that happened in Germany. It’s the story of a man who posts an online ad looking for another man to be his lover and let him cannibalize him, and he actually finds a willing participant.

Cannibal starts out with a businessman, The Man, meeting multiple potential partners all of whom, of course, are not willing to be eaten. Finally, he comes across a man, The Flesh, who is suicidal and wants to be killed by someone else. The two meet up and hit it off immediately. They court each other, reading passages from a beloved childhood favorite, dining, frolicking, and making love. The two men seem to become genuinely fond of each other.

At last, the pair enter a room set up with a camera and prepare to proceed with the original plan of cannibalism. The Flesh (neither are given actual names in the film, and there is very little dialogue) asks The Man to bite off his penis. After two failed attempts, I assume because of The Man’s new affection for The Flesh, The Flesh asks to be taken home. At the train station, the pair regroup, make up, and decide to try again. Once home, The Flesh takes stronger drugs, a record is put on, and then it’s down to business.

From this point on, it becomes an endurance test for the audience, and it makes for rather unpleasant viewing. The Man finally cuts off The Flesh’s penis, cooks it, and the two try to eat it together, but apparently, it not only tastes bad but has the consistency of rubber. So heads up future cannibals: stick with Oscar Meyer. The Man then puts The Flesh in a hot bath to let him bleed out. During this time, the two share a heartfelt goodbye, and The Flesh asks The Man to consume everything and to make sure nothing is left of him. Once The Flesh is dead, The Man drags his body — spraying shit and puke — out to the barn only to discover that The Flesh still draws breath. The Man stabs The Flesh in the neck and kisses him while he dies. He then proceeds to process the body like it’s a dead hog. This scene has great gore and is well done. I particularly like that he beheads him and positions the head so it can watch what he’s doing. Once the body has been processed he prepares a feast and dines on his lover.

My thought on Cannibal is that it’s ultimately a love story between two men — The Flesh wanting to be loved and consumed and The Man wanting to love and consume and truly have his beloved inside of him. They make a choice to be together forever and share in an experience that maybe only two people ever have.

5/5 for this haunting love story

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
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