Travis Love

By Travis Love

Flowers

Directed by Phil Stevens and released on October 27, 2015, by Unearthed Films, Flowers is an Arthouse horror film that delves into the grim tale of six women who awaken disoriented and unaware of how they’ve arrived in this state of surreal, dream-esque purgatory, until they discover they’ve all suffered the same grisly fate at the hands of the same demented aggressor. Abandon all hope ye who awaken under a porch surrounded by body filled Glad trash bags.

Watching Flowers and trying to convey to someone what it is, is the equivalent of trying to explain how Pornhub works to a blind man. He really doesn’t understand what you mean because he’s never experienced it before for himself (unfortunately braille Pornhub never caught on…sorry Stevie Wonder). The film is as dark and depressing as it is morbidly fascinating and eerily beautiful, with equal aspects macabre and performance art combing to create one of the most truly genuinely unique cinema experiences you could ever hope for.

The fact that there is no dialog in the film allows you to immerse yourself fully in the imagery, taking in every minute detail of the scenery. The scenes piece together almost like Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, with each character feeling like they’re in their own circle of hell. Each character transitions to a different person and tale as they crawl from underneath the porch, to under the house, to the bathroom through a hole in the floor and so on. Past events with the victims are tied to Polaroids that they either awaken with, or discover during their venturing through the house. Each picture triggers a memory for each character that holds some barring on their life before and their personal encounter with the antagonist.

As far as gore goes, Flowers even delivers artistically in that regard as well, with scenes that run the gamut of twisted and perverted (fondling the intestines of a disemboweled victim before warming up her dead body like a gas station burrito necrophilia style) to ethereal and metaphorical (a victim discovering she’s hollow on the inside and begins stuffing what she believes are her internal organs inside the open cavity, but to the outside perspective she’s only stuffing her gaping hole with earth and worms). Morbid imagery has never looked so enthralling and engaging.

In conclusion, Flowers achieves what so many films set out to do, it establishes its originality and individuality proudly in leaps and bounds and sets a precedent that films can be artistically beautiful and engaging while at the same time brooding and aberrant. Do yourself a favor and let Flowers put something hauntingly beautiful inside you…and possibly some fingers as well.

Rating: 8/10

-Travis

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

By Travis Love

Flowers

Directed by Phil Stevens and released on October 27, 2015, by Unearthed Films, Flowers is an Arthouse horror film that delves into the grim tale of six women who awaken disoriented and unaware of how they've arrived in this state of surreal, dream-esque purgatory, until they discover they've all suffered the same grisly fate at the hands of the same demented aggressor. Abandon all hope ye who awaken under a porch surrounded by body filled Glad trash bags.

Watching Flowers and trying to convey to someone what it is, is the equivalent of trying to explain how Pornhub works to a blind man. He really doesn't understand what you mean because he's never experienced it before for himself (unfortunately braille Pornhub never caught on...sorry Stevie Wonder). The film is as dark and depressing as it is morbidly fascinating and eerily beautiful, with equal aspects macabre and performance art combing to create one of the most truly genuinely unique cinema experiences you could ever hope for.

The fact that there is no dialog in the film allows you to immerse yourself fully in the imagery, taking in every minute detail of the scenery. The scenes piece together almost like Dante Alighieri's Inferno, with each character feeling like they're in their own circle of hell. Each character transitions to a different person and tale as they crawl from underneath the porch, to under the house, to the bathroom through a hole in the floor and so on. Past events with the victims are tied to Polaroids that they either awaken with, or discover during their venturing through the house. Each picture triggers a memory for each character that holds some barring on their life before and their personal encounter with the antagonist.

As far as gore goes, Flowers even delivers artistically in that regard as well, with scenes that run the gamut of twisted and perverted (fondling the intestines of a disemboweled victim before warming up her dead body like a gas station burrito necrophilia style) to ethereal and metaphorical (a victim discovering she's hollow on the inside and begins stuffing what she believes are her internal organs inside the open cavity, but to the outside perspective she's only stuffing her gaping hole with earth and worms). Morbid imagery has never looked so enthralling and engaging.

In conclusion, Flowers achieves what so many films set out to do, it establishes its originality and individuality proudly in leaps and bounds and sets a precedent that films can be artistically beautiful and engaging while at the same time brooding and aberrant. Do yourself a favor and let Flowers put something hauntingly beautiful inside you...and possibly some fingers as well.

Rating: 8/10

-Travis

Posted by Travis Love in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Visceral: Between the Ropes of Madness (2012)

By Travis Love

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Directed by Felipe Eluti and released March 24, 2015 by Unearthed Films, Visceral: Between the Ropes of Madness is a descent into depravity as a washed up boxer finds himself at the mercy of an unimaginable evil that lives in his psyche. As his torture escalates at the hands of this female visage, his grip on reality slowly spirals into madness and he seeks out victims to inhumanely torture at the request of his mentor in torture, the nameless female figure. When a man has lost it all, what is left but the raw carnal need to inflict pain on those that he stumbles upon?

Story wise the movie keeps you disoriented by shuffling from past, middle, and present with only head and facial hair as a signifier that any amount of time has passed. One minute you start off in the beginning as The Boxer is furiously training, and then the movie interjects snippets of morbid visions of a bleeding duct taped victim strung from the ceiling. The film definitely keeps you on your toes without allowing you a structured timeline, but with The Boxer losing his grip on sanity, it helps to symbolize his decent into darkness.

The moments between The Boxer and his female tormentor at no point feel like they're just a mental fabrication. They feel unbelievably real and, for that reason, straddle the line of reality and believability. The method by which she tortures him is a twisted, morbid spin on the whole mistress/slave dominatrix BDSM fetishism, and much of the film finds bondage in general via ropes showcased very attentively as The Boxer intricately ties complex knots with great care, binding his victims before mercilessly torturing them.

The torment that the Boxer unleashes on his victims is, at times, anywhere between savagely brutal and mentally cruel. During one scene he binds a female victim to another male victim and after murdering the male victim, leaves him bound to the still alive female to decompose, her face pressed firmly against his corpse. The majority of the torture scenes are sadistic and callous, with eyes being cut out and the open wound being used for sexual gratification in an intense boundary pushing scene that is both disturbing and mesmerizing.

In conclusion, Visceral: Between the Ropes of Madness is an absolute exercise in extremes balanced with the morbid beauty of the fetish culture of bondage. For viewers who seek out extreme horror regularly, this film delivers every bit of the gruesome, morally absent violence that you could ever want. This film is the equivalent of a Mexican cartel decapitation video fisting 50 Shades of Grey, and you will never be the same afterwards.

Rating: 7/10

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MOVIE REVIEW: Revenge Is Her Middle Name (2011)

By Travis Love

Revenge

Directed by Anthony Matthews and released in 2015 on Unearthed Films Revenge is Her Middle Name tells the story of a calculative downtrodden hooker named Kat, who has plans of changing her life for the better by any means necessary. Unfortunately for Kat, her pimp doesn't hand out a severance package or 4-Ho-1k to hos that betray him. What follows is an unbridled ride full of twists and turns and a few tricks pulled by the whore with a bloodlust for gore.

The plot line is as follows:
1.) Kat discovers that after countless tries she's finally become pregnant with the assistance of her dope fiend boyfriend.
2.) They formulate a plan to rob Kat's pimp to keep themselves in drugs, upon robbing her pimp Kat backstabs her boyfriend and bolts for a better life.
3.) Her pimp catches up to Kat after a some time and his posse has an all-you-can-rape buffet leaving Kat broken, bleeding, and childless.
4.) Kat begins to hunt down each member of her pimp's posse and dishes out her gruesome revenge Costco bulk style leading to her eventual main target...her pimp.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the gritty depression of Combat Shock and the unmerciful brutality of I Spit On Your Grave hooked up, and bumped genitals on a soiled mattress in a seedy alleyway? Well this movie is totally the bastard love child of that hump session in the best way possible! Every bit as dirty as it is bloody, the film leaves you feeling tainted by its unbelievable filthy sexiness, but begs you not to use protection so that you can enjoy the feeling (oh and you will!).

If anything can be said of 'Revenge is Her Middle Name' it's that it wins the hearts of Revenge film aficionados like a hooker shooting ping pong balls out of her ham wallet at a bachelor party, it makes you stare at it in awe and bewilderment. The story is filled with unapologetic risqué dialog that is every bit as enjoyable as the violence. During the rape scene you feel the tension building to the boiling point that will eventually explode into a tidal wave of epic revenge!

Anthony Matthews is definitely a talent to watch as his writing finds something often missing in indie cinema, actual plot twists. So many times during the film it directs you to one conclusion but immediately finds betrayal or hidden facts that don't come into play until later..or sometimes until the very end of the film. It's amazing when a film doesn't just give you all facts in a linear fashion, but leaves surprises and story arks to keep you on your toes.

The violence unleashed upon Kat's transgressors is completely bloody and cathartic as she dispatches her own brand of twisted justice. Sometimes dehumanizing and humiliating her victims before slitting their throats cold and void of any emotion but rage. The glory hole scene alone will have you covering your mouth in the grandest "Holy fucking shit!" moment ever. Horror nerd boners will be bountiful upon watching this film.

In conclusion Revenge is Her Middle Name has to be hands down one of my personal favorites to be released this year. If revenge films are your jam then you owe it to yourself to find this film and love it to death like that hamster you wouldn't quit petting in grade school. To quote Kat's pimp, "Blood and semen will spray in a frenzy of revenge", and I loved every minute of it!

Rating: 9/10

-Travis

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MOVIE REVIEW: Creeper (2012)

MOVIE REVIEW: Creeper (2012)

By Travis Love

Creeper-movie-poster

Directed by Matthew Gunnoe and released in 2015 by Unearthed Films, Creeper finds a group of women fed up with skeezy Internet pervs heavy breathing over them like an eight dollar beach raft, so they decide to teach one of their unlucky admirers a lesson through physical degradation. But when humiliation goes too far, who is really the victim?

The beginning of the film starts off in full gear as a girl wakes up in a metal dog crate completely naked and disoriented. As she tries to regain her senses, a zip line attached to the cage pulls taut across the lake where the crate is banked. It rapidly pulls her under the water as she screams bloody murder. Welcome to What-the-fucksville; population: You.

As you come to find out, the series of events that lead to this scene are as follows:

1) Buxom, clothing-impaired typical slasher victims tire of Internet pervs and create a plan to find one special perv and punish him thoroughly (cue Jerry).
2) Humiliating Jerry is no longer cutting it, so the plan turns to ridding the world of Jerry and his 1980s youth pastor haircut via good ol' fashioned murdering.
3) Murder of Jerry is botched worse than a home abortion, and now Jerry is loose and ready to do more than just watch (perhaps with pants still off though).
4) Torture traps and mind games galore, survival of the fittest (or with the girls being nude the majority of the film, it's more like survival of the tittest).

As far as Jerry's revenge, some of the torture lacks the real impact that you'd be expecting, so many times you think that something gruesome has happened beforehand (i.e. decapitated head in a box), but are quickly let down by reality (the head is still attached to the victim who is only covered in blood and buried up to her neck and very much alive). The traps set are mostly explosives or Jerry driving after them in a jeep like a psycho designated driver during beach week. The kills are handled by the same CGI-kill-blood-splatter on the camera effect which leaves a good bit to be desired in the gore department. All in all, it had good ideas but relied too heavily on "Let's explode stuff with a CGI grenade effect!". Shoving a victim’s face into a canned chili fueled shit bucket (latrine) shouldn't have been a highlight (commendable though).

In conclusion, the acting in Creeper is pretty solid for an Indie horror, and the dialog and cat-and-mouse appeal are highly enjoyable. Unfortunately, the torture and actual revenge didn't deliver quite like the opening scene promised. If the imagery would've been as gruesome as the tension that built throughout the movie, this movie would've been perfect, but like a hand job from an amputee...it just wasn't there.

Score: 4/10

-Travis

Posted by Travis Love in MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Death-Scort Service (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Death-Scort Service (2015)

Death-Scort Service

By Travis Love


deathscortPOSTER

Directed by: Sean Donohue

Released in 2015 through The Sleaze Box/Gatorblade Films Death-Scort Service finds a rag tag band of escorts at the mercy of a faceless murderer, who's only interested in penetrating them repeatedly with sharp objects...without a condom. (You don't have to pay for sex if you slayed that ass for real.) Within the first few minutes of the film beginning you are greeted with a warm feeling of familiarity, not in a redundant kind of way, but like someone put on an old late 70s early 80s slasher film that you've enjoyed countless times.

Everything from the soundtrack to the cinematography has a thick sense of nostalgia to it, harkening back to a time before polished production cleaning away any imperfections and convoluted plot lines that go out of their way to confuse the viewer; sometimes simplicity is a wonderful thing. With so many films trying to capture the feel of classic slashers and only making a by-the-books rendition of Friday the 13th for the now, it's a truly amazing feat when a new film not only manages to place you in the same feeling that Maniac gave you upon your first viewing, but makes the appeal of it new and relevant as well.

The story itself is pretty sparse starting out, not needing to weigh you down with back story as to why these hos are being brutally murdered (it's none of your business. The killer paid to murder these hookers fair and square and that's all that you need to know. It's the killer's dime, the killer's crime...you pay for your own murder victim!). With kills ranging from the iconic knife through the back of the head and exiting out of the mouth, to a barbed wire baseball bat being forcefully inserted inside a escort's money making tuna taco, (in other words her vagina...keep up with me, please) this movie makes you want not for gore at all.

In conclusion, what should someone expect when watching Death-Scort Service? If you're looking for a film that delivers massive amounts of old school bloodshed with the warm nostalgic comfortability of your timeless classic era slasher films, then Death-Scort Service might just be your new best friend...your whore murdering, psychotic, knife wielding best friend.

Rating: 7/10

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MOVIE REVIEW: A Plague So Pleasant (2013)

MOVIE REVIEW: A Plague So Pleasant (2013)

By Travis Love

A Plague So Pleasant
Directed by Benjamin Roberds and due to be released 9/29/2015 on Wild Eye Releasing, A Plague So Pleasant is a dry humor, cynical zom-dram-edy (zombie drama comedy) which takes place in a city where, after a zombie outbreak occurred years prior, it has now been decreed that killing zombies is "inhumane" and illegal. Humans live their everyday lives side by side with the undead in an awkward cohabitation. But, when that line is crossed and the law is broken, the town soon finds out that the zombies aren't as compliant as they once thought. Living alongside zombies can be hazardous to your health.

The story finds two roommates caught in the mundane day to day of a normal life (save for being surrounded by enough zombies to fill a Walmart parking lot). During a breakfast conversation, the lead character, Clay Marshall (David Chandler), agrees to help his roommate pursue a relationship with his sister Mia (Eva Boehnke). Complications arise when Marshall's sister refuses to date anyone but her boyfriend Jerry...who just so happens to be a zombie (Jerry Springer WTF moment). The moral dilemma is dropped into Marshall's lap: break the no killing zombies law in order to kill Jerry and help his sister move on to finally receive closure and possible happiness with his roommate or obey the law and watch his sister throw away her life. The choice to carry through with it leads to an onslaught of carnage as one shot fired into the back of Zombie Jerry's skull creates a zombie horde tidal wave loose on the town. Peace is no longer an option.

The cinematography is black and white for the majority of the film, a splash of color transitions after the gunshot to Zombie Jerry's head which is almost foreboding as to the shift in zombie temperament. The dialog is at times hilariously dry and nonchalant, almost like if Shaun of the Dead was too cool to care if you thought it was funny. The gore is what you'd come to expect from a zombie film: legions of undead feasting on internal organs like hungry teenagers at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet (zombie fortune cookie fortunes only say "Gwarsghgrrrr" btw. If you are a zombie, you can appreciate the depth of that fortune). The story itself is heartfelt and sad yet balanced with enough humor and zombie on human violence to keep you from shedding those Lifetime made for TV movie tears.

A Plague So Pleasant firmly sets a precedent that a zombie film doesn't have to be heartless just because a zombie ate it. If you're looking for a laid back, interesting take on a low budget zombie film, this movie will make a soft spot out of your chest cavity by feasting on your heart, and you'll love every minute of it.

Rating: 6/10

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MOVIE REVIEW: My Name Is ‘A’ by Anonymous (2012)

By Travis Love

My_Name_Is_A_By_Anonymous

Directed by Shane Ryan and released through Wild Eye Releasing, My Name is A by Anonymous is a film adaptation of the real life events of thrill killer Alyssa Bustamante. For those not familiar with the case, Alyssa Bustamante was convicted for murdering her 9-year-old neighbor in 2009 - strangling, stabbing, and slitting her throat before burying her body in a shallow grave in the near by woods. The background story is every bit as engrossing and disturbing as the film portraying it.

The film takes a less than straight ahead approach at telling the events that unfold, instead of focusing on one single facet of the story, the story is broken up and told through four individuals who represent Alyssa or parts of her personality (The Performer, The Angst, and The Sidekick). The scenes tend to skip between characters which makes it feel hard to get a grasp of the story at times, but knowing the metal instability of Bustamante it actually helps to place the viewer into her distraught and chaotic state of mind. Certain parts delve into the dark and depressing aspect of who Alyssa is while other parts (mainly The Performer) shows a need to be accepted and admired by others.

Imagery such as the Alyssa character sitting in a bathtub and slowly dragging a knife against her skin, leaving mark after bloody mark, opens a window for the viewer to peer into the twisted mindscape Bustamante was in. Moments where the father is seen in a molesting light as Alyssa screams in the background "Don't touch me!! Leave me alone!" only help to solidify the downward spiral leading towards the upcoming events. The inevitable end is simply executed, no frills just the cold hard reality of what took place when Alyssa took Elizabeth Olten's life as the manifestations each take their turn at inflicting pain on their victim.

This film is a bleak, unconventional look into events that are unbelievably eerie and gut wrenching. Watching someone's mental stability and balance decay, knowing the severity of the real life events that it lead to, makes this morally uncomfortable to watch. But with the style in which it is executed, it's well worth watching to see things from the perspective of Alyssa Bustamante.

Rating: 6/10

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MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)

By Travis Love

AGP 2

Writer and director: Stephen Biro
Starring: Ashley Lynn Caputo, Caitlyn Daily, and Lilly Dickenson

Since the making of Stephen Biro's American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore was announced, there has been a clamoring to see this film. After watching it for the first time, I wonder: is it warranted? Emphatically so. This film isn't just cinematic viewing, it's an exercise in testing personal thresholds regarding how much the viewer can actually stomach and still continue watching. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore will test your limits.

The grainy and gritty feel blurs the lines of believability and causing you to reassure yourself, "It's just a movie. This isn't real", but no matter how much you tell yourself that, it has the uncanny ability to allow a little shred of doubt to seep in. The torture is cathartic, unbridled, and animalistic, and at no time do you feel what you're watching is anything other than an obligation to take a life deemed worthy of this "attention".

Orders are barked from masked men filming, shouting their directions like circus trainers would to an animal that without direction would lash out uncontrollably. The imagery you're privy to is nothing short of grotesque and demented, and the FX are so lifelike that you easily become sucked into the atrocities that unfold.

This film firmly places its foot down defiantly, and its claim is simple: You will watch everything we have to show you. If you feel sickened, then you receive no sympathy. You have only yourself to blame. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore unapologetically captures your attention and holds it prisoner the entire duration of the film, and I, for one, can only show my gratitude to Stephen Biro and everyone involved for doing so. Thank you, Mr. Biro.

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DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

By Travis Love

I AM NO ONE
Tonight's film is none other than JABB Pictures' I Am No One. This 2013 release was written and directed by Jason Hoover. The film is shot entirely documentary style in Chicago Illinois and follows the everyday life of Charles Lake, a man obsessed with gambling scratch offs and a gnawing need to engage in murderous endeavors by night.

The beginning narration sets the tone for the film, the short tale of how the Documentarian came to meet Charles Lake. With that tiny snippet of discussion that took place before filming, "If you think that's scary, you should follow me around for a while", you get that twinge of foreboding wash over you and the dark downward spiral of a journey begins.

During the film, you are witness to multiple series of interviews between the filmmaker and Charles Lake. The interviews are casual, relaxed, and normal. The subject matter of these interviews, however, finds Charles reminiscing over his past endeavors as far back as childhood. Morbid tales ranging from almost beating his childhood baseball team catcher to death with a baseball bat to murdering a middle school child 3 to 4 years prior to the interview. Morbid moments like this engross you in the story that much more.

During the journey, things quickly spiral out of control as you go from watching Charles disassemble random Barbie dolls to the first recorded confrontation of him engaging his victim. I don't want to spoil this scene. so let's just say the brutal moment that occurs is vicious and merciless - to say the least. When the filmmaker tries to capture the aftermath on film, things become immediately hostile and without warning the flood gates are opened as the filmmaker realizes that he's plunged into a darkness that is both terrifying and gruesome.

While I won't ruin the ending scene because it's best left to first time viewers to see with virgin eyes, I will say that the tension in the end scene is so thick that it makes you feel almost claustrophobic. This isn't a gore soaked film, but what it is, though, is a film that proves that you don't need buckets of blood if your story writing is this enthralling and immerses you in it completely.

7/10 for this amazing JABB Pictures feature.

Posted by Travis Love in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments