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EXTREME REVIEW: Doll Syndrome (2014) [Minor Spoilers]

EXTREME REVIEW: Doll Syndrome (2014) [Minor Spoilers]

Doll SyndromeIn Domiziano Cristopharo’s 2014 film Doll Syndrome, one gets the privilege to see Domiziano at his finest. Doll Syndrome is first and foremost a work of art superbly directed by Domiziano and beautifully written by Andrea Cavaletto. Telling the story of a loner who begins to become obsessed with a woman he encounters on the street, we watch this man become a dangerous and disturbing stalker. The way Domiziano directs this beautifully disturbing film the viewer is made privy to every twisted and even odd thought that crosses the loner’s mind.

Doll SyndromeI can confidently say that watching Doll Syndrome and the obsession grow, I felt a deep sense of foreboding as I watched this man follow this girl nearly everywhere and even as he just watches her from afar. A rather graphic film on multiple levels, each scene certainly adds to the feeling of unease you get watching the man progress. Beginning with some basic scenes of masturbation in front of the window in his apartment and building to his purchasing an inflatable sex doll for him to practice his fantasies on, we see his progression deeper and deeper into himself as well as in his obsession with this girl.

Doll SyndromeWhilst most of Doll Syndrome’s sexual scenes are not disturbing in the acts, they are incredibly graphic and progress to the inclusion of self-harm that do make them disturbing. Add the fact that with the sex doll, he is constantly fantasizing about this woman — even when he is using a fabric stapler on various parts of the doll — and it becomes quite disturbing. Not the most disturbing moments of the film by a long shot, but if I were to reveal everything, then where’s the fun in watching it? I will say that this film is not for the faint of heart, and it involves some extremely brutal scenes of torture and self-harm, but for those who are into the extreme side of film, I cannot recommend it enough.

In addition, Doll Syndrome will be available to purchase on 5/22 from Amazon and is up for preorder, and I encourage everyone to support Domiziano’s work!


Posted by Spencer Evatt in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Remembering Margot Kidder

Remembering Margot Kidder

Everyone at House of Tortured Souls is saddened to learn of the death of actress Margot Kidder. Kidder passed away at her home in Montana on Sunday. She was 69. Margot Kidder spent 50 years acting, with her first credit coming in an episode of Wojeck in 1968. She would gain her most notable role 10 years later. In 1978, Kidder wowed audiences opposite Christopher Reeve in Superman, playing Lois Lane.  She would keep that role in Superman’s 3 sequels.

Horror fans will remember Kidder from 1979’s The Amityville Horror where she played Kathy Lutz, opposite James Brolin. She continued acting all the way through 2017.

Kidder’s toughest role may have come in 1996 when she had a manic episode. The episode caused her to become homeless for a while, and she was reported missing for four days. She would be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and be under doctor’s care. Years later, Kidder, who was open about her disorder would become an advocate for mental illness. She had stated that she had not any episodes in many years after being on medication.

Margot Kidder in Brian DePalma's Sisters (1973)

Kidder was scheduled to be at Motor City Comic-con this upcoming weekend in Detroit. Officials have not released a cause of death at this time. Our thoughts here at House of Tortured Souls are with Margot’s family.

Rest In Peace, Ms. Lois Lane.

Margot Kidder
1948-2018

Woofer's Paw Print icon microscopicEditor’s Note: If you know someone who is or might be suffering from mental illness, please reach out and be that friend.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre – Interview with Vanessa Rose Parker, 3 of 3

EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre – Interview with Vanessa Rose Parker, 3 of 3

Well, we held it as long as we could, but it’s time to exhale and enjoy as we finish up our 4/20 MASSACRE exclusive with an interview with Vanessa Rose Parker.
House of Tortured Souls: What was your first impression of the 4/20 MASSACRE script?
Vanessa Rose Parker: Honestly, I have been working on this project in so many forms that I don’t remember my initial thoughts about it. I remember that I got really excited by the prospect of an all-female main cast. I wanted to make sure that we were treating each character with respect and humanity. We spent a lot of time crafting backstories for each character that would give each actor something unique to work with and give each character a moment to shine.
Jamie Bernadette and Vanessa Rose Parker in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

Jamie Bernadette and Vanessa Rose Parker in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

HoTS: Are you a fan of the genre?
VRP: Yes! I am a horror fan. I absolutely love being scared. And there are certain things that will get me every time… demons and scary ghosts, specifically. I don’t know if it is my lapsed Christian upbringing, but the supernatural world scares the shit out of me! Now there are certain sectors of the genre that aren’t my favorite, like torture porn. But even with that, I think there are exceptions that prove all horror sub genres can be done well.
HoTS: I heard you did your own stunts. What was that like?
VRP: Stunts were a little intimidating. But I worked with our amazing stunt coordinator, James Gregory, and he really took care of me. He patiently took me through everything step by step and always made me feel very safe on set. My biggest stunt involved running in the forest, being shot through the leg with an arrow, and falling to the ground. When it came to actually shooting it, my husband/director, Dylan Reynolds, didn’t seem satisfied with my performance. He made me do so many takes of it! Eventually, he seemed to give up and want to move on. Then during the editing process, Dylan came out and apologized for being hard on me that day…. he used the first take!
HoTS: What would you say was the most difficult or challenging aspect of this shoot?
VRP: The most challenging aspect of this project was the budget and time restraint. We only had ten days to shoot. Seriously, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to take all ten off of work because I didn’t have enough vacation time. But the gods of indie movies shown down upon us and everything worked out. So many wonderful and talented people were willing to work with us and added their hearts to our project. I think it really shows.
HoTS: Would you mind recounting one memorable behind the scenes story?
VRP: After long days of shooting, the cast and crew would get together in the cabins’ common room, drink, and play games. One night we split into two teams and played Encore, a singing word challenge game. It was so evenly matched and got so competitive that the game went on into the wee hours, but we were too stubborn to quit. At about 2 am, when we had a 6 am call, we finally called it a tie. Marissa Pistone (plays Michelle) and I were the heads of each team and we were practically crying to stop, but neither of us would back down. Marissa is a beast. Consider yourselves warned!
Justine Wachsberger, Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Marissa Pistone, and Stacey Danger in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

Justine Wachsberger, Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Marissa Pistone, and Stacey Danger in 4/20 Massacre (2018)

HoTS: What are you working on currently?
VRP: Currently, we are focused on getting this movie out into the world! But then after a little Caribbean vacation, we are going to regroup and see what we’d like to tackle next.
So there you have it, Souls. The final 4/20 MASSACRE exclusive. I’d like to thank Vanessa Rose Parker for her time. Don’t forget to check out my review as well as my interview with 4/20 MASSACRE writer/director Dylan Reynolds.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR COMEDIES, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Pirating Movies: A Dagger In The Heart For Filmmakers

Pirating Movies: A Dagger In The Heart For Filmmakers

So we all know Ash vs Evil Dead was canceled recently and that star Bruce Campbell lashed out against those who were illegally downloading the show. Unfortunately, pirating movies and TV shows has gone deeper than that, and it has made life for filmmakers even more challenging.

RIP Ash vs Evil Dead

Now let me start off by saying I am not here to get into an ethics battle with anyone. I would hope that anyone reading this can tell the difference between right and wrong and that pirating is stealing. What I have seen on social media recently, however, is a bit troubling.

Being in the infant stages of my own filmmaking career, I have faced the number one challenge that can stop many inspired writers and directors dead in their tracks…funding. Getting someone to believe in your project as much you as do is impossible, but getting them to believe in you can be done if you are passionate enough and have a great pitch.

The problem, however, is that investors want to see projections for how fast they will get their investment back and also a profit — especially with horror. So a good sales deck will show how similar titles fared in box office, VoD, and DVD sales. This is where filmmakers can face a battle against which they cannot properly defend themselves. Numbers in the sense of dollars can be deflated because advances in technology enable people with better and faster ways to steal movies and TV shows and, in some cases, profit from doing so.

I don’t know if the numbers are in fact true that Ash vs Evil Dead was the most illegally downloaded show of all time. I think it is very plausible. Here are couple examples of actual horror stories I’ve seen from people and tell you the effect it has had on them.

There is a filmmaker who made a zombie film starring Tony Todd that was released last year. DVD sales were not what was projected or even safely targeted. This filmmaker was informed that his movie was uploaded to YouTube and had been watched over 300,000 times. Even if he made no sales and had only VoD rentals, that still would have generated over $1,500,000 in those rentals. But that’s not what happened.

The general reaction when the filmmaker took to social media to express his frustration only added insult to injury. The reactions were almost as bad as the thefts themselves.

At least your film was watched 300,000 times.
Be glad people like your film enough to watch it.

Anyone who lives in a city larger than 100,000 people has some sort of outlet mall, flea market, dirt mall, etc. I have yet to see one where 3-4 “vendors” were not selling $3-$5 films they had downloaded and burned to DVD. These include films that had just been released in theaters. These people are profiting from someone else’s work. What’s worse is that the people buying them are enabling it to continue.

What’s the point of all of this? Indie filmmakers (especially in horror) clear enough hurdles just to get a film made. Many people who sell and watch these films may think that Hollywood has enough money and they’re not hurting anyone. But it’s the people who are trying to break into the business and the Indie filmmakers who want to make something a little different who are suffering.

What can you do? That’s a good question.

For starters, these thieves hocking illegally downloaded movies need to be shut down. The next thing you can do is show support for the movies you love. Attend a con and tell the stars how much you enjoyed the movie. Subscribe to a page or blog, follow House of Tortured Souls (cheap plug, but I saw my shot). Keep the horror voice alive.

Crypt Keeper Clint with Joe Bob Briggs

These little things can keep the shows we love on the air. They will also let the world know that we horror fans have a strong voice and WILL be heard. Want proof? Through a social media campaign, Joe Bob Briggs asked his supporters to send videos to Shudder. They asked Shudder to bring him back. Joe Bob returns June 22nd for a 24-hour marathon. That was due to all of those fan videos creating a demand that Shudder couldn’t ignore.

Never underestimate the power of your own voice and don’t hurt what you love by stealing to save $10-$20.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EDITORIALS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Death-Scort Service (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Death-Scort Service (2015)

In Death-Scort Service, written by Chris Woods and Sean Donohue, and directed by Donohue as well, we are introduced to a delightful exploitative horror flick with enough blood, guts, and boobs to make any viewer rather pleased. I know that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire film and all of its gory fun. Death-Scort Service is well-written with a rather surprising twist ending that I won’t spoil for anyone, but I can say that the ending itself took me by surprise. Filled with various brutal killings, each of which was rather ingenious in their sadism and brutality, Death-Scort Service really delivers.Death-Scort Service

Death-Scort Service tells the story of some prostitutes who begin to realize that there’s a “john” calling girls to meet — girls he then brutally murders before mutilating their corpses. To say that it is a gory film would be an understatement. The blood flows in a delightfully liberal way that makes any gorehound overjoyed. In addition, the extreme levels of nudity help to give a fantastic exploitative feeling that any fan of exploitation or grindhouse will love. There’s almost as much nudity as there is blood and gore. Woods and Donohue even incorporated some rather comical moments that drew some chuckles out of me.

Concerning the extreme brutality, one scene, in particular, was ingrained into my mind, a scene that I found to be delightfully sadistic. In fact, it made the little sadist in me very intrigued. Tying one of the victims down, the killer spread the woman naked legs and arms wide open. Going away for a moment, the killer returns with a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire. Taking brutality to another level, the killer proceeds to use this weapon as a dildo upon his victim. I’ll let everyone use their imaginations there and encourage you to watch the film if you love gory exploitation films full of nonstop nudity, sex, and gore.Death-Scort Service

While this film is not for the faint of heart, I will say that any gorehound would love it. Death-Scort Service is a fun, well-written piece of exploitative horror and if you’re a fan of that sort of film, then all I can say is watch it, you won’t be disappointed. I appreciate Chris Woods providing me with a screening copy of it and the sequel. I will be reviewing the second Death-Scort soon, and right now Chris Woods is working on getting funding together for Taste Me: Death-Scort Service Part 3. In fact, there is still time left to buy into the Indiegogo campaign, and I highly encourage you to support Chris and his team if you have some extra money. Don’t just watch his next Indie exploitation flick, be a part of bringing it to production!

Death-Scort Service

Posted by Spencer Evatt in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with 4/20 Massacre Writer/Director Dylan Reynolds, 2 of 3

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with 4/20 Massacre Writer/Director Dylan Reynolds, 2 of 3

Smoke ’em if you got ’em because it’s time for the interview with 4/20 MASSACRE writer/director Dylan Reynolds.
House of Tortured Souls: What I really admire about 4/20 MASSACRE is that it has a lot more depth than one might expect, were you afraid of alienating fans expecting just a mindless slasher?
Dylan Reynolds: Yeah- that’s always been a bit of a concern. In many ways the movie is a “Trojan Horse” and we sneak in elements of an indie drama within the framework of a campy slasher flick. I wanted to do that because I knew it would be something “a little different” and therefore it might be more memorable. On the other hand — the audience we’ll probably attract may not be into those elements — and the audience who might actually appreciate what we did wouldn’t necessarily watch a movie called 4/20 MASSACRE.
HoTS: I read in an interview where you had some nice Easter eggs for die-hard slasher fans?
DR: Yeah- there’s a number sprinkled throughout- including some shots/sequences that mirror The Burning and Friday the 13th Part 2. Jamie Bernadette’s character is named Jess — who is the Final Girl in Black Christmas. There’s a line where they say they are going to “Higgin’s Creek”— which is a nod to the location in Friday the 13th Part 3 [“Higgin’s Haven”]… plus a number of others — I tried not to be too blatant.
HoTS: Would you say this is homage to holiday horror, 4/20 being a holiday of sorts?
DR: Most definitely — this was my contribution to the long and proud tradition of “holiday slashers” lol.
HoTS: Let me ask about your process as a director for a moment. How open are you to suggestions from cast/crew and do you allow actors to improvise lines?
DR: I try to give a general framework/ blocking and allow the actor’s the freedom to “play”. The best thing I figure I can do is create the atmosphere for creative people to do their thing. I encourage what I like to call “improvisation between the lines” — meaning, of course, there’s written dialogue but I like to allow takes to go on a little longer or give them a little head — I think this gives the scenes a more natural flow and feel. I also try to encourage actor’s to “give me some options” so I can cherry pick the moments in the edit.
DR: I of course have a shot list — some storyboards- an outline etc. but often you have to be flexible on a low budget film. I think the old adage is that you spend months making a plan only to get to set and have to throw it all out the window. Therefore a production is ultimately a collaborative effort with the crew. I try to communicate what I envision and we all collectively try to accomplish the goal — which is to tell a story and get all the shots we need to tell said story.
James Gregory in 420 Massacre (2018)

James Gregory in 4/20 MASSACRE (2018)

HoTS: How hands-on are you as a director, for example do you give them much guidance or do you allow them to find the character themselves?
DR: For this film- after we secured our cast I met with each of the actor’s individually to discuss the character… a general discussion of what I was thinking- what ideas or questions they had etc. Then like I said- I just tried to allow them the freedom to be creative and bring the character to life.
HoTS: What was the most difficult or challenging aspect of this production?
DR: It was a low budget film shot in 10 days out in the middle of nowhere… so about all the stress, you can imagine with no budget — no time — and the all-around lack of resources would create. But those negatives were countered with a lot of positive… namely it was a bunch of adults who went camping and “played make-believe” during the day and drank and shared some laughs at night.
HoTS: The stuntman coordinator James Gregory actually taught the actors to do their own stunts is that correct?
DR: Yeah, and James also played the killer (The Shape) and designed the costume. We did a “stunt rehearsal day” where we brought in all the actors to go over their individual “falls” and/or “taking punches” and what the game plan was for the scenes involving their “stunts”. Jamie Bernadette had the most work because she had some extended fight sequences during the film.
HoTS: Was it fun directing a stunt-heavy feature such as this?
DR: For sure- there’s a lot to plan out and it’s ridiculous how much coverage you end up having to get just to cut an “action” scene together. And truth be told we weren’t doing anything super complicated in 4/20 MASSACRE — and even then it got pretty involved. Therefore the experience did give me a stronger appreciation of directors who can direct action well… it’s probably the most “director reliant” form of filmmaking.
HoTS: What would you say was the weirdest or most surreal moment during this shoot?
DR: Hmmm… I can’t think of any one “surreal moment” really. I guess there were times after a long day of shooting when I was walking around decompressing and/or thinking about the next day’s schedule and I would have a “moment of clarity” and realize how awesome the whole experience was. We were all out here making a movie, and I was fulfilling my dream. I can’t think of anything much cooler than that.
HoTS: Any scenes that didn’t make the final cut? If so, I’d love to hear about them.
DR: I don’t think any full scenes got axed actually. For the most part. the cuts came “within the scenes”… usually because I wrote too much dialogue that needed to be trimmed back or “tightened”.
HoTS: Do you plan on hitting any of the conventions this year and if so feel free to plug them?
DR: I don’t have any plans for a “horror convention tour”! That may change… I was thinking of going to Monsterpalooza in April and try to hand out some postcards… maybe bring some 4/20 MASSACRE DVDs along with me.
HoTS: Can you at all hint or talk about a follow up to 4/20? Also, what are you working on at the moment?
DR: I have ideas for a 4/20 MASSACRE Part 2. I have a general plan to do a different slasher sub-genre with each installment. Part 1 was a “backwoods slasher”, and with Part 2, I wanted to make a Gialloesque “slasher mystery”. Hopefully, this film will do okay and I can make some money back and “flip it” to make another one… we’ll see.
And that’s the word on 4/20 MASSACRE from writer/director Dylan Reynolds. Don’t forget to check out my review, and stay tuned for the final part of my 4/20 MASSACRE article triolgy.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
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
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
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
Gruesome Twosome: An Exclusive on Chris Alexander’s Two Upcoming Features

Gruesome Twosome: An Exclusive on Chris Alexander’s Two Upcoming Features

Chris Alexander is no stranger to the horror genre and this year he has not one but two projects in the works. The massively talented former editor-in-chief of Fangoria Magazine stopped by to give me the skinny on his two latest projects and what fans can expect.

Chris Alexander - Space Vampire (2018)Space Vampire (2018)
Director: Chris Alexander; Writer: Ali Chappell; Star: Ali Chappel; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

Plot: An alluring space alien falls to earth with the mission to drain women of their life energy making her unstoppable. This film wonderfully harkens back to surreal dreamscapes of Rollins with a dash of Hopper’s Lifeforce for good measure.

Chris has this to say about the project:

Space Vampire is my fifth feature and once more functions as a vessel for both my music and my obsessions with more dreamlike, psychological and experimental strains of horror cinema, specifically the personal, meandering works of Rollin, Franco, and Herzog. Rollin especially, with his fixation on tragic female vampires. This picture takes its title nod from Colin Wilson’s novel The Space Vampires, which was, of course, adapted for the screen as Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce but the movie itself is more informed by films like Under the Skin and the opening stretches of The Man Who Fell from Earth. I love the idea of following unnatural characters lost in familiar landscapes, almost child-like and driven by whatever addiction they are chained to. I make these movies for me and all my movies are – for better or worse – interconnected by theme, mood, style, sound.

And when asked what stage it’s in, he added:

I’m still editing. Its very abstract. But I am getting the “feel” of it….finding the rhythm.

Chris Alexander - Underneath An Anthology of Terror (2018)Underneath: An Anthology of Terror (2018)
Directors: Chris Alexander, Andre Becker, Cory Ivanchuk, John Nicol; Writers: Chris Alexander, Andre Becker, Cory Ivanchuk, John Nicol; Stars: Brent Baird, Nicholas Koy Santillo, Nichole Kawalez, Ali Chappell, Colin Bailey, Rebecca Kilburn, Tammy Stewart, Mike McMurran, Joshua Kuchma; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 95 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

Plot: In the vein of Creepshow and the more recent VHS series comes Underneath an anthology featuring five exciting voices in the horror genre.

I always love a good horror anthology and Chris, along with other talents – including Andre Becker, Cory Ivanchuk, and John Nicol, are sure to conjure up some fun and scares. Chris had this to say:

Underneath is the new anthology feature from my good friend and colleague John Nicol. Similar tastes in more abstract cinema. So when he asked me to contribute a segment I agreed. My short is really about how we have perverted our connection to the natural world with endless distraction and illusion. It’s about a woman becoming undone by the fixation on finding “nature”. She eventually regresses fully to an animal state. So, in the context of the short, it is a happy ending! Unsure what John will be doing release wise with Underneath but Space Vampire is the second film from my Castle Films imprint that I operate with filmmaker David DeCoteau, creating more artful and expressive micro-budget genre films.

I for one am very excited for both of these films and will be eagerly awaiting them later this year. Of course, I like to give a huge thank you to Chris Alexander for taking the time to talk to chat about his amazing new projects.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 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
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
CON REVIEW: Monster-Mania Con 39

CON REVIEW: Monster-Mania Con 39

Monster-Mania held its 39th show last week, this one in Cherry Hill, NJ. Their lineup, a dream list of who’s who in horror. Tim Curry, John Carpenter, Richard Dreyfuss, Sean Astin, and 6, yes count them 6 actors (Steve Dash, Ted White, Tom Morga, CJ Graham, Kane Hodder, and Ken Kirzinger) who have all played Jason Voorhees in some fashion were among the mega guest list for this show. Add in Kathleen Turner, Joe Pantoliano, Terry Kiser, Paul Reubens, and 5 of the new IT kids, and you are going to draw a crowd A notable absence was Randy Quaid, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Let’s address the hiccups first and there were a couple. When you bring in a lineup like the one described above, there are going to be a lot of people. If you have been to a convention, you know Friday night can be slow or at peak, steady with the crowds coming. That was not the case for Monster-Mania. The Friday night attendance rivaled a lot of shows’ Saturday crowds. Also, it can be tough and in some cases impossible to know what some guests will draw as far as fans.

A perfect example is the kids from the film IT (2017). In Atlanta for Days of the Dead, two of the young actors were there and had some eager fans wanting to meet them, but it was a good steady pace. In Cherry Hill when 3 more of their co-stars were added, young fans came in by the hundreds at a time.

Also, lets address kind of a big story from Friday night. I was there and heard at least 4 different versions of what happened, so let’s just clear the air on this. Kane Hodder and his co-star from Death House Steve Nappe were sitting next to each other. A fan gave Kane a machete to sign (as is normal with any Jason actor). Kane pretended to cut Steve’s arm. The blade was very real and very sharp and when Steve got distracted he moved, so he was cut in the forearm with it. He got stitches and was back later on. It was a freak accident and nothing more. Case closed.

Saturday, everyone knew the crowd would be massive. I do not believe anyone could have anticipated how massive. The Fire Marshall had to be brought in and did not allow anyone else in the hotel, fans in line for photo ops were lined up outside and ticket sales were cut off before Noon. That is what kind of numbers I am talking about here.

The photo op situation was its own monster. When there are a lot of photo ops all scheduled back to back in the same room and some of the guests have to get into costume, it will cause delays. Tim Curry was the only one (up until Saturday night) that had a specific area for just himself doing photo ops. Everyone else was in one area. The thinking behind this is that many fans buy several photo ops (I bought 4) and this gives them a chance to not miss any due to them being scheduled at the same time. Tim’s went all day because he was only doing photo ops, so you could go when you wanted.

Mix the delays with the fact the IT kids photo ops may have been oversold and delays are inevitable. How do you fix this in the future? Some cons limit the number of photo ops for each guest. The downside to that is you may limit who attends the show. There is no perfect answer for that. Credit the staff when the photo ops were going, they were moving. I did hear some cars in the parking lot were broken into. I don’t have any insight or any facts on this, so I won’t address it further.

What do you do if you are a guest and your scheduled photo op is delayed? If you are Sean Astin, you talk to the group of fans waiting for the op. Astin came into the room where all of the fans were waiting and to his credit, hosted a 7-10 minute impromptu Q & A. He talked about a live show he would be performing in the following night and gave his thoughts on his favorite characters that he has portrayed. First class, Sean…first class all the way.

Let’s talk Randy Quaid. He was scheduled for Friday and Saturday. I have yet to attend a show where no guest has canceled and this is no exception to the rule. On Friday, Monster-Mania posted on their Facebook page, that they had spoken to Randy and he was stuck in New York. Randy then canceled altogether on Saturday. To his credit, he offered to call or send a picture to any fan who was disappointed. All they had to do was send his Twitter a direct message. I can’t speak for every fan that reached out, but he did deliver when I did.

I will not end on any negative marks and so far this show seems like it was a giant disappointment…it really wasn’t. Were the lines insanely long? Yes. Were there way too many people? Yes, I mean the Fire Marshall enforced the rules. Does Monster-Mania have a few things they need to figure out before their 40th show this summer? Of course, they said that themselves. But let’s focus now on a lot (and there was a lot) of good that came from the show.

The guests were friendly and a lot of fun to talk to. There were a LOT of vendors to visit and choose from. There were some very creative fans that took their cosplay seriously and came up with some memorable costumes. They also had TNP – Philly’s Own Rocky Horror Cast, put on a whole performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with prop bags for the viewers and the movie in the background and full partici……..pation from the audience. I will say here and now, that performance by that cast was nothing short of spectacular. It was truly an experience and if you live near Philadelphia, you should catch one of their show.

As a fan, I had no trouble meeting all of the people I wanted to meet and get the photo ops I wanted. I know it was very frustrating for a lot of fans. I know some people were angry, but I didn’t let some delays damper meeting some bucket list celebs. This was a very difficult show to put together, and was the space too small for a show of this magnitude? Probably. But the flip side is, “why don’t you guys get so and so as a guest?” So, let’s credit the organizers of Monster-Mania for bringing in guests that have never been to their show, are huge names and are people some of us will only meet once in a lifetime.

Conclusions. Was this show perfect? Of course not. Did they make people upset? Yes. Did they also gain some new fans? Probably. This was a swing for the fences. There are a lot of shows in New Jersey and 3 of them happen in a 6 week period of time. You have to try new things or the competition will eat you alive. It benefits the fans because we can take advantage of seeing a lot of our favorite horror stars and heroes. A great attempt will often result in speed bumps.

Overall Grade B-

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 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
Introduction: MY Spotlight Independent

Introduction: MY Spotlight Independent

Greetings, Souls! Woofer here to report on MY Spotlight Independent, a division of  MY Production, our newest advertiser. If you’re an Indie filmmaker, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.

Who or What is MY Production / MY Spotlight Independent

MY Production is a UK-based company whose MY Spotlight Independent division distributes video content, including feature films, series, short films, documentaries, and promotional videos, on Amazon Prime SVOD and TVOD in both the United Kingdom and United States at zero cost to the content owner. Unlike many distribution companies, MY Production pays the content owners before themselves. Furthermore, MY Production offers competitive production and post-production services, such as writing, directing, producing, editing, composing, transcoding, subtitling, audio post, quality control, digital technical servicing (for any requirements that your broadcasters may require), and DVD and Blu-ray authoring. Phew! That’s a lot in one place.

MY Spotlight Independent – Distribution

Created by filmmaker, editor, and technical servicing specialist, Mumtaz Yildirimlar, MY Spotlight Independent aims to assist filmmakers in getting their work out for the world to see. Mr. Yildirmlar has helmed over seven feature films from start to finish, arranging screenings, premieres, sales, distribution, and the technical delivery of those films globally.

MY Spotlight Independent provides a platform for both individuals and companies of all shapes and sizes.

MY Spotlight Independent even guarantees the release of content on Amazon Prime SVOD and TVOD service in the UK and US with the customer paying nothing! MY Spotlight Independent handles the marketing and post-production costs in-house, including closed caption creation, quality control, artwork, transcoding, metadata, packaging to Amazon’s specifications, administration, reporting, and taxes (UK and US). Best of all, MY Spotlight Independent offers agreements that will not encumber the client for years and can be canceled at any time, giving the client the freedom and flexibility to sell content to other buyers.

My Spotlight Independent’s Partners and Sponsors

Here’s a partial list of My Spotlight Independent’s partners and sponsors.

MY Production Team

Mumtaz Yildirimlar, CEO, MY Spotlight IndependentMumtaz (aka Taz) is an experienced film-maker and technical servicing specialist. With a reference of working for Warner Brothers and Deluxe Media for over 13 years, Taz has enhanced his expertise in the film business. In addition, Taz is an advanced editor and composer. He is experienced in production/post, digital technical servicing and distribution. Being a film-maker and editor himself, has enabled him to fully understand the demands and complications of making and delivering a film from start to finish. He will work at any time of the day or night to ensure a deadline is met where physically possible.
Shen Yildirimlar, Director, MY Spotlight IndependentShen is involved in all areas of the business. Her 18 year strong corporate world experience has equipped her with the skills and foundations necessary to run and grow a business. Shen helps with our administration, acquisitions, marketing and communications processes. Shen is a warm, friendly and very passionate person, with a keen eye for talent, who will go out of her way to help our people grow.
Sefika Tulin, Reporting & Finance, MY Spotlight IndependentSefika Tulin is an experienced accountant with over 35 years experience in account management, royalty reporting and payroll. Sefika is responsible for generating all the royalty reports and making payments to our partners under the MY Spotlight Independent division.

MY Spotlight Independent Is Hunting for Content

Do you have a film in need of a distributor? Then MY Spotlight Independent is looking for you.

MY Spotlight Independent Contact Information

Connect with MY Production / MY Spotlight Independent on Social Media

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in ADVERTISER, STAFF PICKS, 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

WiHM9 Blood Drive, PSA #2 – B[e] Positive

Happy second PSA of Women in Horror Month, Souls! House of Tortured Souls is pround to present the second entry in this year’s Women in Horror Month Blood Drive.

Today’s PSA comes to us from Los Angeles writer/director Joe Magna.

Oh, and before we continue, here’s the obligatory disclaimer (not that we need it, right Souls?):

DISCLAIMER: This IS Horror, boys and grrls, so SOME of these do have VERY naughty content. Blood. Gore. EXTREME gore. Disturbing situations. Nudity. Sexual situations. Violence. Language.
If you are SENSITIVE to this kind of content, be a mature human being and just don’t watch. No need to spoil the fun for us fellow weirdos. We’re not hurting anyone. It just REALLY looks like we are 😉

And without further ado, behold the amazing second Blood Drive PSA of Women in Horror Month:

B[e] Positive

By Joe Magna

MINI BIO:

Joe Magna is a Los Angeles-based Writer & Director, specializing in surreal fantasy and candy-coated nightmares.
Joe’s creative work spans through Television, Film and Theme Park development.
In addition to recently writing and directing the short film “B[e] Positive” for the Twisted Twins’ WIH Massive Blood Drive, Joe Magna will be releasing two additional short films that he wrote and directed, coming soon in 2018.
Joe Magna is currently working in creative development on several Theme Park attractions overseas.

ON WiHM:


I celebrate Women in horror month every month. Without the wonderful women of the horror genre, we would have no Frankenstein [thank you Mary Shelley]. We would have no Creature from the Black Lagoon [thank you Milicent Patrick]. And we would cease to exist.

I think these days more than ever, we need to remind ourselves that each of us emerged bloody and crying from the womb of a brave and strong woman.

It is my pleasure to be a part of this collection of short films that celebrates the wonderful women of Horror.

ON BLOOD DONATION:


Blood is life. It’s in all of us. For most of us, it flows in abundance.
But there are those out there less fortunate.
Donating blood means donating life. Now more than ever, we need to band together to help our brothers and sisters in need.
Not all of us can donate financially. But nearly all of us can donate the fluid of life to help someone else live theirs.
It’s truly in you to give . Thank you for donating blood. Thank you for being a true hero.

CAST & CREW:

Writer, Director, Editor: Joe Magna
Cinematography, Music, Sound Design: Richard Trejo
Production Design: Alex Napiwocki

Starring:
Jill Evyn
Stephanie Gail Williams
Christina Westbrook
and Noel Jason Scott as Harvey Winesnob

Check out the first PSA:

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 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