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EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre (2018), 1 of 3 – Review

EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre (2018), 1 of 3 – Review

4/20 Massacre (2018), 1 of 3

Director: Dylan Reynolds; Writer: Dylan Reynolds; Stars: Jamie Bernadette, Stacey Danger, Jim Storm, Vanessa Rose Parker, James Gregory, Justine Wachsberger, Marissa Pistone; Rating: N/A; Run Time: 84 min; Genre: Action, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

I have to admit when I got the screener for 4/20 Massacre I was um…how to put this nicely…skeptical of its quality. But hey I am anything but a film snob and while I love all classics in the genre I love a good B-slasher romp. A group of friends goes camping to celebrate a friend’s birthday which falls on — you guessed it — April 20th. Little do they know that they are venturing into pot growing territory or terror-tory in this case, as a killer is dispatching anybody getting near his patch. 4/20 Massacre feels like a film rift with camp however to my delight (not that I don’t love some campy goodness) and, surprise, it didn’t. It actually manages to inject some solid drama to the stab genre. My one complaint would be some of it gets a bit heavy-handed. I do however have to give Reynolds huge props for giving his characters more depth something I think few other directors would have bothered with. Also having a female-dominated cast is a fun and interesting way to subvert genre troupes. The scene where two female characters play out a scene just like a man/female would in a standard slasher is clever and drives home that point. In a film filled with wonderful dunk smelling pot smoke, it’s a defiant breath of fresh air.

Justine Wachsberger, Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Marissa Pistone, and Stacey Danger in 420 Massacre (2018)

4/20 Massacre also does something pretty clever which is, pardon the pun, takes pot shots at holiday-based horrors which were a pretty awesome element. It’s very clear that despite its shortcomings,Reynolds knows how to craft a film and it has slick editing, great camera work (that aerial credit scene is impressive) as well as a nice soundtrack. Another thing that was impressive was the cast that is damn good. Jamie Bernadette, Stacy Danger, Justine Wachsberger, Vanessa Rose Parker, and Marissa Pistone do a fantastic job at bringing a real element to the film and in turn, it really gives it a more polished feel. Even veteran actor Jim Storm (TV’s Dark Shadows, Trilogy of Terror) makes a fun appearance as a sleazy, beer-guzzling park ranger aptly named Rick. Storm has a ball in the role and sure its hammy but damn it’s so entertaining to watch. This being a slice and dice film you live or die with good FX and thankfully this has some well-executed splatter gags especially considering that this was on a modest budget. So many movies rely on a gimmick to get fans talking about a movie, this is as true for Hollywood products as the indie people. And it’s no wonder I was skeptical, to say the least about a movie entitled 4/20 Massacre, however, I am happy to admit I was proven wrong. Sure it tends to be a bit heavy-handed and uneven at times however there really is a solid film in here and I’m not just blowing smoke here…Okay, that was bad.

Bottom Line: Support this filmmaker and rent, buy, and follow 4/20 Massacre on Twitter. Like a good jay, this one should be passed around with a group of friends.

Check back for my exclusive interviews with writer/director Dylan Reynolds and the cast of 4/20 Massacre.




Posted by Mike Vaughn in EXCLUSIVE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

FlowersIn Phil Stevens’ Flowers, we are introduced to a beautifully surreal and intensely disturbed film revolving around six dead women who wake up in a crawl space under their killer’s house. With this film, Stevens has developed a unique style bent on haunting the viewer from beginning to end. Interestingly, there is no dialogue, the film’s story is delivered primarily through visuals and the haunting music that accompanies the various atrocities being committed. In a sense, what I could gather from the film was that these women were forced to confront what happened to them so that they could move on.

The women are each referred to as flowers while the killer is known as The Exile and we get to relive the atrocities that they were put through in an extremely surreal way. In truth, the film tells the entire story in a very abstract and what some might say is an unconventional method, but I think that’s what makes this film so successful in being so disturbing. Anyone can tell a fucked up story with dialogue because the dialogue adds to the intensity and can build plot. The lack of dialogue is completely made up for with the amount of emotion seen in each of the flower’s faces, not to mention the different reactions they have to where they ultimately find themselves.

FlowersNow, reviewing it based on what I see is rather lackluster and honestly not a very successful approach. What I will say is Flowers has taken the grotesque, the disturbed, and especially the blood and gore of intense violence and it has created a work of art. Watching the film, one can see how methodical Stevens was with every single shot in getting his work across. From the scenes of shit-covered walls, floors, and ceilings to the moments when a flower begins to undo the sutures across her chest, every image is beautiful in its grotesquery. That is largely why I have not attempted to state much of what happens in the film, it’s not a film of words but of pictures brought together to create one large work of art.

FlowersIf you have a strong stomach, I cannot recommend this film enough, Stevens’ artistic style is something that will make you watch Flowers again and again. Not to mention the fantastic acting and you have a work of art that will never go stale. Flowers is available through Unearthed Films in DVD or through their new streaming service on Vimeo. In addition, Phil Stevens is raising funds right now for Flowers 2, and I cannot encourage everyone who loves horror enough to contribute.Flowers

Hey, Souls, check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02, and then click the link below to donate! You’ll be glad you did.

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

Focusing on three entries in horror cinema from savage Australia and spanning 1978-87, this article is an exploration of the subject material of the great Australian Ozplotitation movement.

Ranging from the most notable of films, this article focuses on the three Australian Productions Long Weekend, Fortress, and Dark Age.

Each tells a unique and very Australian tale of heartache and disaster within the unforgiving harshness of this sun-kissed country.

Long Weekend (1978)

Savage Australia - Long Weekend (2008)Long Weekend was made in 1978 and featured the tale of two rather clueless city dwellers, who take a trip to the outback. Whilst there the duo foolishly harm Mother Nature and her creatures, causing a chain reaction of evil that is unleashed upon them.

Savage Australia - Long Weekend (2008)Starring Briony Behets and John Hargreaves, Long Weekend is a wonderous examination of how the world would fight back from our polluting, and careless behavior damaging it. The two leads also returned in 2008 as consultants on the remake of Long Weekend– which this time starred Jim Caviezel and Claudia Karvan, and was directed by Jamie Blanks. Both versions were based on the screenplay by Everett De Roche, who also was also responsible for adapting the screenplay for Fortress in 1985.

Directed by Colin Eggleston, Long Weekend is a harrowing cautionary tale for all. What goes around truly comes around.

Savage Australia - Long Weekend (2008)With the changes within the cinema by 1985, to Australian animal horror, in the years following the Azaria Chamberlain case (known as the infamous “dingo ate my baby” disappearance at Uluru) films shifted towards more animal attacks, especially with the 1984 universally adored Razorback.
Savage Australia - Long Weekend (2008)

Dark Age (1987)

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)This is where in 1987 the film Dark Age found its niche, within the world of Aussie animal horror.

Dark Age features a young John Jarratt in the lead role (popularly recognized as the devilish murderer Mick Taylor in Greg McLean’s Wolf Creek franchise), as a ranger named Steve Harris.

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)This film revolved around a massive killer saltwater crocodile who cannot be killed due to local Aborigines consideration that crocs harbored the spirit of others. Harris must fight to protect the local community but also show immense respect to his indigenous locals claim of the land and its inhabitants too.

Dark Age is a clever, well-conceived film and quite positively incorporates the previous times’ political unrest towards the government’s claims over indigenous landmarks (and an infamous movement in the 1970s and 80s down under known as MABO– named after its pioneer Eddie Mabo).

Featuring indigenous actors David Gulpilil and Burnam Burnam, and based on the novel Numunwari by Graham Webb, Dark Age is a true blue Aussie film through and through.

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)

Fortress (1985)

On a more serious note, two years earlier Fortress had been released.
Savage Australia - Fortress (1985)
Based on another novel (of the same name by Gabriel Lord) about the kidnapping of a school teacher and six pupils (aged 5-10 years of age) from the Faraday School in Victoria, Australia on October 6th, 1972, by Edwin John Eastwood and Robert Clyde Boland. Fortress focuses on a dramatic retelling of what happened and adds a somewhat Lord of the Flies edge to it.

Savage Australia - Fortress (1985)Again the screenplay was penned by Everett De Roche (also responsible for writing screenplays for hugely popular Australian films such as Patrick, Storm Warning, Road Games, and Razorback) and this film has a balanced blending of reality and horror.

Arch Nicholson (who also directed Dark Age) had directed Fortress prior and assisted in directing Razorback, but sadly passed away in 1990 with only 6 directorial credits at the time.

The film itself has savage moments and is an emotionally well told, strong re-enactment of the events with a few additions. Like Dark Age and Long Weekend, the Australian climate and factors pull you into the story and increase the experience.
Savage Australia - Fortress (1985)
With three powerful films slowly rising as cult classics of the Ozploitation era, one must ask the general public to watch out for the savage truth behind Australia. With worldwide releases on DVD and BLURAY, it is now creeping globally through popularly fearsome films like Rogue, and the soon to be released Boar, House of Tortured Souls wants to know… are YOU ready to fend off the Aussie invasion?

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014) [SPOILERS]

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

In Stephen Biro’s firsStephen Biro's American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)t film, American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore, we are introduced to a gorehound’s wet dream. Drawing a decent amount of inspiration from Hideshi Hino’s original Guinea Pig film, Flower of Flesh and Blood, Biro adds onto what was already a rather fucked up concept by adding a second victim and providing more of a plot that has some heavy religious connotations. In addition, instead of a single cameraman, we are given multiple perspectives examining all of the mutilation and gore up close. Filmed with an 80s style in mind, we see the cameramen using small, handheld VHS recorders and have to change film at various points.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Stephen Biro's American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)Set in a warehouse, we watch as this group of sadists and filmmakers go through a near-ritualistic approach in dismembering the two women. The main antagonist is known as “The Actor” and it is job to perpetrate all of the various acts of violence while the cameramen watch on and film every gory detail. To start though, the victims are drugged so that they don’t feel any of the pain from the mutilation. Add to that, before any limb is lopped off, tourniquets are applied to ensure that neither woman bleeds out. The deaths are slow and methodically calculated to say the least. Having recently watched Flower of Flesh and Blood, the parallels in this film are incredible down to the last detail. Implements similar to what Hino used are used by “The Actor” as well.

Stephen Biro's American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)So to not spoil all the wonderful scenes of gore, it felt apt to just mention a few of the brutal moments that made the sadist in me dance. From running a straight razor across one victim’s eye to sawing the mouth and jaw in half so that the mouth hangs open limply, Biro has written something uniquely brutal that I think every gorehound will enjoy! I especially liked the use of a box cutter to slice an incision on the skin around one victim’s arm. This then progressed to “The Actor” peeling the skin down off the woman’s arm. That scene is a helluva toe curler and it is done spectacularly well. All of the special effects are well done and none of the gore feels staged or superficial.
If you’re a gorehound seeking some delightful moments of evisceration, disembowelment, and even a scene of cannibalism. I highly recommend watching American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore if you love a good gory, pseudo-snuff film. The film can be purchased directly from Unearthed Films.

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

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 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 Evolution of a Filmmaker: Studying the Films of Dakota Bailey

The Evolution of a Filmmaker: Studying the Films of Dakota Bailey

Dakota BaileyDakota Bailey is a Denver-based filmmaker with a growing following of loyal fans eager to view his films, that reflect on ultra-realistic exploitation involving both a subculture of crime and horror.

In January, Bailey released his fourth independent film The Rise And Fall of An American Scumbag. The film was intended as a continuation of an earlier film of his called American Scumbags and production on the film took approximately six months.

Bailey started his career creating short films, that reflect a Denver subculture of drug-induced mayhem.

Each short included some interesting musical scores, Bailey’s signature mixture of characters, and a bird’s eye view of a gritty town on the brink of destruction.

Alaskan Cinder in Dakota Bailey's The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag (2017)He began his career with the creation of his first short film American Scumbags: A Day In The Life of A Drug Dealer in 2015. This was followed by four more shorts within the  year – Satan’s Coming For You, My Master Satan, I Spread Hate Like Herpes and Nights Of Depravity.  In 2016, Bailey released the anthology horror film My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence. He followed up later in the year with his unforgettable and popular film American Scumbags. In 2017, fans were treated to the impressive The Acid Sorcerer.  It was following that when Bailey began work on his latest film.

Titled The Rise And Fall of An American Scumbag, the film features several entwining stories that revolve around several intriguing and shady characters. This includes Johnny (Dakota Bailey) an unstable, drug-addicted hitman, Billy (Darien Fawkes) a sadistic sociopath with a scheme to murder his father for his life insurance policy, and wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran vigilante Wheeling Deals (L.B.). The film documents each character’s rise and eventual self-destruction and takes the viewer on a dark and twisted journey full of drugs and death.

Marla Rose in Dakota Bailey's The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag (2017)With this new film, Bailey twists the narrative a little and makes for a compelling and inviting storyline that tangles with depravity, yet has some heart. I really felt Billy resonated well on screen and his angst versus his moral code is explored so wonderfully that Darien Fawkes‘ abilities shine on-screen even more so than they did previously in American Scumbags.

Mish-mashed within the amazing imagery of graffiti art, a town in decline, and religious symbolism, the film seeps into your subconscious and draws you in through a sea of heavy music. Again, Bailey uses the focus of drug-fueled insanity to create the film’s ambiance. The desperation, depravity, and daily grinding lifestyle of each character is clear and precise. From Billy’s need to break free of his dangerous monotonous life and start fresh elsewhere, Johnny’s insatiable lust for his next hit, and even Wheelin’ Deals desires to set the world straight in some skewered act of morality, The Rise And Fall Of An American Scumbag has many layers to its developed and well-conceived plot.

We explore Bailey’s familiar concepts of drugs, anxiety, violence, and desperation. However, The Rise And Fall of An American Scumbag will leave you stunned by its original and shocking sentiments. Each story connects with the other, much like films such as Go (1999), 200 Cigarettes (1999), and The Rules of Attraction (2002), creating an impressive end result that is equally strong and cleverly depicted.

This film is a testament to Bailey’s ability to grow as a filmmaker and master storyteller. Allowing his characters to evolve from scripted storylines to a more narrative style of the fly on the wall personas, he involves us on a newer level and engages with his audience wonderfully.

Secure your own copy of The Rise And Fall Of An American Scumbag.
Dakota Bailey in The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag (2017)

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 2 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Sargad (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Sargad (2017)

SargadRecently, I was given the pleasure to watch Sarah Giercksky’s film Sargad. Written by her and also starring her, Andres R. Ramos directs this gem of an independent, low budget revenge flick. Giercksky plays the role of a girl named Elina who has gone out to a cabin with her mom and little sister to scatter her father’s ashes. What at first glance seems to be a pretty basic revenge flick, turns into a film with multiple levels of depth and intensity.

Sarah Giercksky as Elina in Sargad (2017)When Elina and her family go out to scatter the ashes, three men arrive to harass, torment, and assault Elina and her family. This is when the film gets violent and one of the men forces Elina to get out of her pants and stabs her in the gut and leaves her for dead while they take her mother and little sister back to their cabin. With the harshly stark reality portrayed disturbingly well, we see Giercksky embrace all of the agony and terror of someone who was abruptly stabbed, the blood pouring from her as she crawls and attempts to get to her feet. Once she has gotten to her feet, she hurries back to the cabin in search of her mother and sister. This is when we get a rather visceral, toe curler of a scene where Elina gives herself first aid with an office stapler and duct tape.

This first aid scene gives Giercksky a fantastic opportunity to show her acting skills as we see her facial expressions and hear the pain you would expect to see from someone stapling a stab wound. Shortly after this, Elina finds out that her mother and sister were both brutally assaulted and killed. This is where we get to see Elina begin her delightfully brutal path of vengeance upon these three men who took everything from her.

Sargad (2017)So as to not reveal all of the fantastic plot elements that Giercksky incorporated into the film, I’ll just say that there’s some twists that alone make this a very worthwhile film to watch. And for all of my fellow sadists who have a passion for the brutal, Giercksky gave Elina a fantastic level of sadism. One instance that is still ingrained upon my mind being that of when she takes a knife to the penis of one of the men cutting down the middle of it lengthwise and then stapling it back together.

Sargad (2017)As a man, I had to grit my teeth and thank heaven, hell, and everything in between that it wasn’t my genitalia being mutilated!

Overall, with the title Sargad, which translates to Wounded in English, you get to watch a phenomenal tale of revenge unfold and I highly recommend it for all my indie film lovers! I will certainly be watching to see where Sarah Giercksky’s film career takes her both in her writing and in her acting, I’m quite confident that she has quite the future ahead of her in the industry and I am excited to see what she puts out next!

Sarah Giercksky as Elina in Sargad (2017)

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, THRILLER, 2 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
MOVIE REVIEW: Deep Web XXX (2018) [Spoilers]

MOVIE REVIEW: Deep Web XXX (2018) [Spoilers]

Deep Web XXX (2018)In Deep Web XXX, the viewer is introduced to a collection of sick and twisted depravities that a man finds on the deep web. With a unique narrative approach, I found myself deeply engrossed in the film and wondering what the directors came up with next. With the narrative around an individual who joins a deep website known as Queen of Hearts where individuals film and share their depravities with the deep web audience. Now, for those who are not aware of what the deep web is the opposite of the normal internet in that it is the invisible, underground, and quite illegal side of the Internet. Not all of it is illegal, but the majority of the deep web is certainly not the sort of thing you tell people that you’re exploring. That having been said, let’s dive into the film.

Consisting of multiple segments, each directed by a different individual, each segment of Deep Web XXX is a video that the main individual (performed by Mark Thompson-Ashworth) pulls up on the Queen of Hearts site. So as to not ruin one of the key elements to the film, I won’t be going into all the details of each segment because the film is an exploration of the dark web and what one might encounter there. As the film progresses, we learn that the deviant individual who is watching all these videos is essentially viewing them for a bit of extra encouragement for his personal recording.

Deep Web XXX (2018)Each segment is rather compelling in its own right and each is disturbing in its own way, but I want to focus on the third segment that Domiziano Cristopharo directed titled “Cruising,” involving some infrared cameras and an extreme BDSM club. Beginning with a naked man tied to a St. Andrew’s cross, we watch as another man in leather flogs the individual and we see that the individual is already bleeding from the flogging. Proceeding from there, we follow the man who was doing the flogging down some stairs into a basement. During this segment, the camera assumes the first-person viewpoint, and we end up privy to a rather extreme scene. The scene in question involves the sadist from above preparing his arm with a long latex glove that he applies a copious amount of lube to and then turns to face an individual suspended in a sex swing. This is the scene that curled my toes a bit as we watch a man being anally fisted to death. Cristopharo has certainly outdone himself with this segment showing his skills in cinematography and in filming an extreme scene in a discreet, but not completely in your face manner.

Cristopharo also does a fantastic job of directing the overarching scenes involving the man watching the videos and the end when the same man decides to follow through with his own act of violence. Following the man, we watch him enter the bathroom where he has an individual tied up in the bathtub. While not one of the most extreme scenes of the film, we watch as the man pours acid upon his victim’s face and observe the acid burning away skin and flesh. Overall, I was very pleased with the complete film and found that Deep Web XXX was a well written and well-executed film. If you like viewing something extreme and artfully unique, then I highly recommend Deep Web XXX. Keep in mind, though, that it is not for the faint of heart.Deep Web XXX (2018)

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
International Screams: Wekufe aka Wekufe: The Origins of Evil (2016)

International Screams: Wekufe aka Wekufe: The Origins of Evil (2016)

Director/Writer: Javier Attridge; Stars: Matias Aldea, Paula Figueroa; Rating: Rating; Run Time: 80 min; Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller; Country: Chile; Language: Spanish; Year: 2016

Wekufe (2016)This week in International Screams we take a look at an exciting new director from Chile. Currently he is working on an exciting project called Wander Tales a horror anthology with other talented directors, including Todd Nunes (All Through the House), Nick Hunt (The Dark Heart of Jason Voorhees: The Making of The Final Friday), Stu Jopia (Good Tidings), and Bill Pon (Circus of the Dead, Doll Boy) just to name a few. Wekufe is Javier’s first feature and he digs deep into some frightening local history.

Wekufe (2016)A student named Paula (Paula Figueroa) and her filmmaking boyfriend Matias (Matias Aldea) travel to a remote village in Chile to get to the root of a local boogeyman in connection with a series of ghastly crimes including rape, incest, and pedophilia. But is it really a mythical terror or is this just an excuse to justify these horrible acts? Wekufe starts by cleverly referencing the found footage genre, but sadly it doesn’t go far enough to actually subvert those troupes and sometimes falls into the same trappings as others. The other problem with the film is that it’s dull in spots, and at a scant run time 80 minutes, parts of it feel like padding. I really wish the film could have amped up the tension as much as the end does.

Wekufe (2016)Wekufe does have its strengths, and Attridge plays the eerie local myths for all its worth, giving the film a nice unnerving quality. It’s also very interesting, especially if you know nothing about the culture or the legend which the film is steeped in. This is certainly a movie that builds to a great ending which is chocked full of creepy atmosphere and has a nice grisly pay off at the end. The filmmakers also take advantage of the great locations and the cinematography adds to its otherworldly feeling. Flaws aside, Wekufe is a solid found footage horror film, and it’s clear that Javier has a passion and drive for the genre which will take him very far in it. Even more impressive though is the fact that this is his very first feature and though its rough around the edges shows the start of a bright future. Very excited for his next film.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Savageland (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Savageland (2015)

Zombie movies are never really about zombies. At least the good ones aren’t. There’s always some social or political message being conveyed, and Savageland is no exception. At its heart, it’s more of a social statement about immigration and bigotry than a horror film, but we’re going to overlook the message and focus on the horror.

Savageland presents itself as a documentary about a small southwestern town that is virtually wiped out overnight. The story follows a photographer accused of mass murder and is told and illustrated by the pictures he took on the night in question.

The use of still photography adds a certain creepy element to the film, which probably couldn’t have been achieved if they had gone with the found footage format. In addition, the pictures themselves are quite eerie and haunting. Another benefit of using photos as opposed to film is that there is no poorly done CGI that seems to be rampant in the lower budget horror films.

Savageland (2015)The documentary style leaves a bit to be desired as it feels a bit more polished than it probably should, and the story starts out a bit confusing. However, once it gets rolling, it’s a pretty solid film, and the still photos are not overused, which leaves the viewer wanting to see more.

My only real issue with Savageland is that several characters are over the top caricatures of Southern rednecks and “bleeding heart liberals”. Now, I’m sure that people like that really exist, but both of those tropes are vastly overused, in my opinion.

I recommend Savageland to anyone looking for something a little different in the horror genre. If you like the found footage films, you’ll probably find Savageland worth watching, as it falls along those lines. If you don’t like the found footage films, you might still enjoy it, as there isn’t much in the “shaky cam” department.

Posted by Richard Francis in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: My Friend Dahmer (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Director: Marc Meyers; Writers: Marc Meyers (Based on the novel by Derk Backderf); Stars: Ross Lynch, Alex Wolff, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts, Harrison Holzer, Cameron McKendry, Liam Koeth, Vincent Kartheiser; Rating: R; Run Time: 107 min; Genre: Biography, Drama, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017

Ross Lynch in My Friend Dahmer (2017)

High school is a weird and awkward time for most people, and Marc Meyers’ starkly eerie adaptation of Derk Backderf’s best selling graphic novel My Friend Dahmer, takes us through the early years of Jeffery Dahmer, the infamous serial killer and cannibal who shocked the latter 20th century with his crimes. High school student Derf (Alex Wolff) befriends loner Jeffery (Ross Lynch) and joins him in his small circle of friends. At first, they think Jeff is just a quirky dude in the pot-hazed 70s counterculture; however, they quickly realize it goes much deeper and darker then what any of them expect.

Meyers brilliantly shows the horrors and disturbed inner life of Dahmer but masterfully humanizes him and showcases his everyday horrors, such as his bizarre home life and grim hobbies. Refreshingly, the director never gets too carried away and eschews over the top horror style tropes to craft an utterly scary and, at times, heartbreaking portrait. I know a lot of you dig ultraviolent flicks (which I do too), but what really gets under my skin are the more psychological aspects, and Meyers manages to ratchet up the tension to the max without the aid of blood or gore.

Ross Lynch, Tara O. Horvath, and Jack DeVillers in My Friend Dahmer (2017)

The final scene between Jeffery and Derf (Alex Wolff) is bone-chilling and extremely well done. What surprised me the most was how even though this is a dark film, Meyers manages to let some morbid humor combined with frightening foreshadowing bleed into the film. For example, during a chicken dinner, Jeff tells his mother that he likes the dark meat (which is undercooked and blood red in the center further driving the point home) is darkly comical mixed with bitter irony. Also, the scene with Jeffery and an African American bunkmate is awkward and tense but also kind of amusing. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the outstanding cast. Lynch, previously known for cheery Disney outings, gives a star-making performance and completely loses himself in the layered role. His performance as Jeffery is haunting but never feels hammy or over the top, and he conveys worlds of emotion much with a look or body language. Playing Jeffery’s psycho mom is Anne Heche, and I cannot believe I’m writing this, but damn she does a pretty fantastic job. Equally good are the young actors that bring an honest realism to high school life.

Vincent Kartheiser and Ross Lynch in My Friend Dahmer (2017)

My Friend Dahmer isn’t as glossy or shocking as other depictions of the infamous cannibal (as this doesn’t show any of his murders), but for my money, it’s the most honest, unnerving, and compelling journey into the heart of darkness I’ve seen in a long time. Meyers and company take away the sensationalism of the serial killer and strips it to the bare bones, showing us just how this monster ticks. My Friend Dahmer is an incredible film and should not be missed.

Ross Lynch in My Friend Dahmer (2017)

Posted by Mike Vaughn in BRUTAL REALITY, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF  MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

The last three days have been a whirlwind of screening delight at the second Sydney Monster Fest . From 7 pm on Friday, 9 March 2018, night until 11 pm on Sunday, 11 March 2018, Monster Fest screened a total of twelve films, and of those twelve, two were short films.

Unfortunately, there were two films I could not attend due to time restraints. These were Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Cold Hell (a German thriller about a woman in hiding following witnessing a murder) and Luke Shanahan’s Rabbit (noted as a strong, well driven Australian thriller surrounding the disappearance of a girl’s sister). Next year I shall be clearing my schedule to attend all of the screenings available as both, I felt, offered so many possibilities as a film fan, and I did want to see them.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 1 of 3

At Monster Fest, Australia served up some more homegrown horror with the two shorts Edward and Melissa LyonsAlfred J Hemlock (an impressive revamping of the better the devil you know style dealings with a hilariously lovable comedic twist- that kick-started the festival ahead of the opening screening) and Ren Thackham’s and Fliss Keep’s Tightly Ground ( a boring and rather overindulgent hipster attempt at satire with a bit of murder thrown in). As well as the films like Steven Spiel’s superb Living Space (an awesome time looping thriller featuring some pure moments of amazement – including a human swastika!), Daniel Armstrong’s Tarnation (which despite an impressively campy premise was ultimately an abysmal film featuring a group of annoyingly bad actors facing perils of obscure concepts – penis bugs, demonic unicorns and zombie kangaroos all sound great but if executed poorly are not as fun as hoped), and the standout Mystery Movie that ended the festival Chris Sun’s desperately anticipated BOAR.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 2 of 3

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 3 of 3

BOAR is a beast of a film all of its own which features a huge quality bag full of lovable Australian larrikin humor, great creature effects and a cast of likable and deliberately unlikeable characters. Switching from the douchebag boyfriend Robert (played so well by Hugh Sheridan), to the hulking gentle giant uncle Bernie (played adorably by Nathan Jones) and even familiar faces such as John Jarratt, Bill Moseley, and even Steve Bisley, Sun has his star-studded cast guide this film superbly through the sentimental, the comedic and the terrifying!

From the USA, Monster Fest secured screenings of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2: Prey at Night (which for me knocks the original out of the picture through its musically rich murderous antics and opened the festival with a bang alongside Alfred J Hemlock), the 1987 classic Fred Dekker film The Monster Squad (I had never seen this and am a huge lover of it now!!!!) , and  their 4K restoration screening of the classic George. A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (crisper clear quality without losing the original film’s awesomeness).

Canada served up Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, an impressive occult themed film about the suffering that follows a loss. It starred The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Vancouver actress Nicole Munoz (both dove deep to create likable and unlikeable aspects to their tortured characters).

Lastly, from Turkey came the Can Evrenol film Housewife, an inexplainable romp into the insanity that it displays thoroughly throughout. With dream realms, surreal ongoing and a beginning classic to any horror film, you will not be let down by this film. Brilliant!!

All in all, Monster Fest was a thoroughly amazing viewing experience and I cannot wait for any further screenings throughout the year or events like this one. I will be there!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EVENT REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Love me Deadly (1973)

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Love me Deadly (1973)

Love Me Deadly (1972) / Fair use doctrine.Love Me Deadly is a bewildering film as I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t exist, but it does anyway. Lindsay Finch (Mary Charlotte Wilcox) has style, beauty, and money, but behind all that perfection lies a dark secret. Because instead of having any hot hunk she wants, she prefers them cold and dead. Soon she becomes mixed up with a crazy cult that is also interested in the loving dead. Take an early ’70s melodrama, mix in some hammy acting, throw in some half-baked horror elements and a light sprinkle of sleazy necrophilia and you have the makings of something…surprisingly unremarkable in every way.

Love Me Deadly (1972) / Fair use doctrine.

Love Me Deadly has everything an epic so-bad-it’s-good outing should have; however, not even the terrible credit music can prepare you for this incredibly unwatchable celluloid mish-mash. Basically what you have is a dime store soap opera that for some baffling reason makes a half-assed attempt at the sleaze/horror genre. It’s like all the pieces are right there, but they just do not fit together. The film, as suggested by the title, explores necrophilia, a subject that is guaranteed to make you squirm… Except, of course, for this movie, because the material is handled with kid gloves for whatever reason. And this is really where the film lost me because why even bother going that route if you can’t deliver something disturbing and edgy? And maybe worst of all, fellow bad cinema junkies, it’s so painfully dull it will have you bored stiff. (Sorry couldn’t resist the bad pun.) I will give the film some credit for having a few nice twisted touches, but sadly it’s not nearly enough to save the film from collapsing into itself. I’m not even sure who this film is supposed to be aimed towards as it’s too strange to be a straight-up drama, yet it lacks the punch to even really be considered a horror/exploitation film. I so wanted to like this movie, but it is really lacking in virtually every department — from the wooden acting to the lazy and often times overdrawn plot (which is also pretty predictable).

Love Me Deadly better left on the shelf along with your Stretch Armstrong doll and your bell-bottom pants. Truly for the brave hardcore trash fan, but you might as well just watch Nekromantik instead.

Love Me Deadly (1972) / Fair use doctrine.

For more help exploring some little-seen oddities, my fiends, check out my new book The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema, and let me know what you think.

The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema (2017) by Mike "Gorehound" Vaughn

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

SacrificeIn American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice, we see the fourth film in the American Guinea Pig series from Unearthed Films. Produced by Domiziano Cristopharo and directed by Poison Rouge, we are introduced to Daniel (Roberto Scorza) a very psychologically scarred individual who has returned to his childhood home. As the film progresses, we are introduced to harsh self-mutilations and torture, which Daniel inflicts upon himself. Deeply disturbed, we see that Daniel has multiple scars from past woundings that he has given himself. Further, we find out that this latest instance is Daniel’s attempt at a sort of self-enlightenment with the hope being that his sacrifice will bring the goddess Ishtar to guide him.

To say that Sacrifice is unsettling would be an understatement, but its disturbing nature will keep you completely engrossed until the film’s ending. Going into the bathroom in his childhood home, Daniel unpacks Sacrificea couple of white candles and a number of metal implements, which is my only complaint in that we don’t get to see him use all of them. For an American Guinea Pig film, I must say that Daniel’s self-mutilation starts off rather tame with some deep slashes across his wrist that he ties off with a cable tie. After this, things get a whole lot darker and a whole lot more brutal. Daniel’s next implement is a razor blade that he uses to carve a marking into his forehead. From there, he takes out a power drill, first testing it upon his inner thigh and then using it upon his forehead where he had carved the marking. With this scene, we even get to hear as the drill crunches through his skull some.Sacrifice

I can’t really do the film justice telling the plot because there are so many psychological factors going on and even a stream of consciousness from Daniel during everything. Daniel goes from wanting to perform this big sacrifice for Ishtar as the book states to the revelation that he has made a big mistake. Near the end of the film was the particularly toe-curling moment for me when Daniel sounds himself (usually involves slipping a very thin piece of wire into one’s urethra to create pleasure) with a Phillips head screwdriver. The film is unabashed in its no-holds-barred approach to showing everything. Nothing in this film is ever implied or mentioned in speaking; it is shown in all of its intense brutality.

SacrificeOverall, I rather enjoyed Sacrifice and think that Poison Rouge has made an incredible film with numerous psychological and emotional levels. I highly recommend Sacrifice to anyone who is into gory flicks involving lots of torture and some rather dark moments deep inside the psyche of a man who is heavily disturbed.

There is still no word from Unearthed Films as to when it will be released, but I will make sure to keep all informed as I learn more!

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

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

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

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

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

Annihilation (2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
WiHM: Interview with Rakefet Abergel of Jax in Love (2017)

WiHM: Interview with Rakefet Abergel of Jax in Love (2017)

Hey horror fans, Horrormadam here with a Women in Horror interview with the amazing stand-up comedienne, actor (Superbad, Just Go With It, and My Best Friend’s Girl), director (Girls on Girls), and writer (Jax in Love, Live) Rakefet Abergel. We are here to discuss the wonderful short film Jax in Love.
First, let me give you the premise:
A mysterious and lonely young woman, Jax (Rakefet Abergel) is traveling through the expansive desert of the American West, in search of some tangible connection, a kindred spirit or like-minded soul with whom she can bond. When her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, her journey takes a dangerous turn, and we learn this seemingly sweet woman may not be who she seems at all. How far will she go for love? Will she make it out of the desert alive?
—Written by Nick Laskin
I really loved this film and apparently, I am not alone. The awards that are already pouring in are illuminating.
  • Best Actress in a Short — Nightmares Film Festival
  • Best Horror Short — Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival
  • Award of Merit — Best Shorts Competition (Leading Actress)
  • Award of Merit — Best Shorts Competition (Women Filmmakers)
  • Award of Commendation — Canada Shorts Film Festival
  • Best Thriller Short Nominee — Women in Horror Film Festival
  • Best of Fest Nominee — Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival
  • Best Actress Nominee — Independent Horror Movie Awards
JAX IN LOVE was directed by Academy Award Nominee (Best Short Film, Live Action, Seraglio (2000)) Colin Campbell and produced by Jory Weitz, the executive producer of Napoleon Dynamite. It also stars John Gammon (Corey and Lucas for the Win, The Middle), Ben Kacsandi (Rio, Please Tell Me I’m Adopted), Devi Veysey (Breaking Fat), and Laura Wiggins (Rings, Shameless).
I certainly do not want to give too much away but one of my favorite things about the film is the role reversal over what we normally see in these kinds of thrillers. So well acted and engaging, this horror short grabs you from the beginning and leaves you wanting more. It is all-inclusive as a short but the action made me hope that not only would it become a feature but hopefully a series. We need more of the main character out there. So let’s get to it.
House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Rakefet, what was your motivation while writing Jax in Love?
Rakefet Abergel: The whole idea stemmed from the desire to write something for myself that was dark and dramatic versus the comedy roles I was used to booking. I also wanted to cast myself in a part I would never get cast in just because of my type. I want to change the way we look at what a “leading lady” is.
HoTS: Are you a big fan of horror and what made you want to do a horror film?
RA: I actually grew up hating horror films. Lol. Not because they’re bad but because they are so good at scaring the crap out of me. And I don’t like to be scared! Of course, that begs the question as to why I made one, for which the only answer I can give is that it wasn’t intended to be a horror film. I didn’t even know it would become one. But based on test audience reactions I quickly realized that I had the genre wrong. I still don’t necessarily consider it a horror film, it has so different tones to it. But attending all these horror festivals has allowed me to watch more horror films then I’ve seen in my entire life combined and I realized that I have a place in my heart for horror now. I kinda get it now. The allure. Especially with the quality of the genre really changing now more than ever.
HoTS: Do you have any favorite horror films?
RA: I actually do love some horror films. Identity was one of my favorite. And The Sixth Sense. Split. Teeth was really good too. I liked the message. Get Out was incredible. I really like psychological horror. Not so much into all of the blood. But a good mind-sc4.
HoTS: It is Women in Horror Month, who are some of your female real life/ fiction influences in horror or other?
RA: All of the women filmmakers I’ve met over the last few months are so inspiring to me! As far as influences, I don’t know. I suppose I’m influenced by everything I’ve ever seen!
HoTS: You have played a lot of diverse roles. Do you have a favorite?
RA: Jax is probably one of my favorites. If not the favorite. As far as comedy, I really enjoyed playing Jodi Flooger on iCarly. That was a fun role. And getting to work with Adam Sandler in Just Go With It and wear a prosthetic nose was pretty cool too.
HoTS: Have you faced any difficulties being a woman in film?
RA: Sometimes as a woman in our society it’s hard to be taken seriously. That’s been something I’ve come up against. That our stories maybe aren’t as important as the ones men want to tell. That we are too emotional or sappy or feminist or whatever. But I don’t generally care that much about what other people think. Or I try not to. I experienced an inappropriate comment on my own set by a crew member. That was shocking. I was his boss. Paying him. And he decided to make a comment about my body and considered it to be a compliment. Unfortunately, since I didn’t want to jeopardize my film and we were on location and I couldn’t lose a crew member, I couldn’t do anything about it. And that was very frustrating. Even when a woman is in power, she can still be harassed and have no real recourse. It’s very unfortunate.
HoTS: In the movie, can you tell me about the tattoo?
RA: Yes! It’s a heart with a set of car keys inside it. It symbolizes Jax’s love for the road and her quest for love and how she goes about it. We give out replicas at the screenings and people really love the idea, so that’s fun. It was designed by my former editor and forever friend Lindsay McKenna!
HoTS: Is this going to be made into a feature?
RA: Possibly. Or a series. I haven’t decided yet. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Jax.
HoTS: I love that a great stand up artist went so dark, any plans for more along the same lines?
RA: Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 Yes! I love dark. It’s why I wanted to act. I love the drama. Comedy is fun too, but this is a more satisfying genre for me. I’m writing two very, very dark screenplays at the moment that I hope to also star in, so I’m sure there will be more where Jax came from.
I really recommend that you check this film out. It was a lot of fun and I so enjoyed Rakefet’s performance in it. I want to thank her for taking the time to talk with me and to let her know the darker the better for us! And dear readers always keep this question in mind: How far would YOU go for love?

Rakefet Abergel's Jax in Love (2017)

Posted by Horrormadam in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Women In Horror Month Special Meet Innuendo’s Own Saara Lamberg

Women In Horror Month Special Meet Innuendo’s Own Saara Lamberg

WiHM: Saara LambergSaara Lamberg is a fresh face in the film scene, but her imprint is growing each day throughout the world.

Known for acting in, directing, writing and producing her own short films including Waiting For Eva, Finding No, Instant Photo and Half , Lamberg’s foray into the feature length film world has been strong.

In 2017 Lamberg released her first feature Innuendo-The Bad Twin.

Innuendo is a quirky thriller about two sisters, Tuuli and Saavi, who were raised in a somewhat oppressive and heavily religious home. When one branches out into the real world and leaves Finland for Australia, her life strays drastically from the path of her controlled childhood. In just a short time, she learns first hand about love, murder, and who is actually bad.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

Innuendo is told by switching between two time periods, the girls’ childhood under a religious rule and the carefree life, free from that.

Lamberg creates an atmosphere of both confusion and awe for her viewers towards her characters.

WiHM: Saara Lamberg

In Thomas (played sweetly by Andy Hazel) we see a kind young man who feels let down and ignored by Tuuli. In Ben (portrayed amazingly and manly, yet with such a soft kindness by Brendan Bacon) we see Tuuli’s behavior flitter from good and bad and honestly feel he can help her find herself. In Linda (Karina Sorelli) and Lucky (Andrew Jans-Brown) we see a comfortable, natural love story unfold, that is sadly twisted up in Tuuli’s dark world.

The younger version of Tuuli and Suvi was played by Saga Tegelberg. She takes on the dual roles with ease and portrays both the sweet and innocent twin, as well as the rougher and unsettled one.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

 Eeva Putra and Juha-Pekka Mikkola play Tuuli and Suvi’s mother and father and on screen display the unease they feel of raising their second daughter extremely well.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

Most amazingly of all is the fact that Lamberg not only wrote, directed and produced this film, but she is also its lead actor.

Lamberg plays the dual roles of the adult versions of Tuuli and Suvi. She plays the awkward and unique women so well and I was in awe of her performance, as she delved into the quirky, innocent, and yet evil world of a woman learning to live.

There is no doubts in my mind that Lamberg’s future within the film industry is very bright and the success of Innuendo is further proof of that.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments