horror movie

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

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
WiHM: Lori Lethin

WiHM: Lori Lethin

Lori Lethin in Bloody Birthday (1981)Lori Lethin, I suspect, is not a name known to a lot of horror fans; however, I think it’s high time we celebrate her brief but interesting career. Like most actors, Lori got her start doing guest spots and in a short amount of time was on everything from Charlie’s Angels and The Dukes of Hazard as well as the infamous After School Special turned short film The Wave, based on a horrifying real-life experiment in an American High School. It was in The Wave were she began to flex her dramatic muscles, but it would be Bloody Birthday released at the height of the slasher craze which would provide her most memorable role. It’s clear from the start that Lethin exudes a natural charm and embodied the perfect girl next door, and the perfect final girl. It was this sweet, innocent demeanor that played well against the three murderous kids in Bloody Birthday and a deformed man in The Prey.

Lori Lethin in The Prey (1984)But her range wasn’t limited to just episodic television or horror and she turned in a great performance in the now cult classic The Day After, a highly unnerving depiction of nuclear fallout at the height of the Cold War. She continued to do guest spots throughout the 80s, and she once again went back to her queen scream roots in the meta-horror film Return to Horror High (1987), a film most notable for starring a relatively unknown George Clooney. Again Lethin stretches her talents by not only playing multiple characters in the film within a film by playing against heavyweights like Alex Rocco. She would only do one other film and a few more guest spots before retiring from acting.

Lori Lethin in The Day After (1983)After bowing out of the limelight, she worked hard to earn her degree in clinical psychology and works with recovering addicts. Though her filmography isn’t huge, the films she did appear in are better because of her and you can’t deny she had a way of lighting up a screen. So let’s raise a toast to this unsung scream queen and truly Lori Lethin can have her cake and this time eat it too!
Lori Lethin in Bloody Birthday (1981)

Posted by Mike Vaughn in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE Pre-Release Review: Death House (2018)

EXCLUSIVE Pre-Release Review: Death House (2018)

Who prays for Satan, the original sinner?

This is the opening line to the highly anticipated film Death House. Originally written by the late, great Gunnar Hansen (co-written by B Harrison Smith, who also directs the film), Death House has been called by some “The Expendables of Horror”. In reality, it is a 90-minute cross-genre, mixing horror and action. So sit back, buckle up and let’s take a ride through Death House.

Death House is a virtual who’s who in the horror world. It is easier to tell you which horror icon is NOT in this film. Kane Hodder leads the pack on this all-star lineup. He is joined by Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace, Sid Haig, Felissa Rose, Tiffany Shepis, Sean Whalen, Vernon Wells, RA Mihailoff and I can go on.

Bill Moseley and Michael Berryman in Death House (2018)

The story follows Agents Boone (Cortney Palm) and Novak (Cody Longo) as they prepare to take an in-depth journey into “Death House”, a federal maximum security prison that does experimental testing on its inmates. The Prisoners experience virtual environments and studies are run in their natural environments prior to confinement. There are 9 levels of the Death House, with the 9th level holding “the 5 Evils”. This is going to be a key thing to pay attention to in the film. The agents take a virtual reality tour of the prison, its history, and are “introduced” to some of the prisoners.Satans in Death House (2018)

As the agents are touring the prison, the electricity goes out and all hell breaks loose, as do the prisoners. The prison runs on auxiliary power (it will be explained why they cannot restore power right away). The prisoners are able to leave their cells and begin to roam the prison, leaving dead guards in their wake. Like any great film where an escape is needed for survival, there is only one way to escape…get to the 9th level.

That is the general plot of the movie, without giving any key plot spoilers away. Time for my thoughts on this film. When I said that it is a roller coaster, I meant it. This movie takes you on a ride for 90 minutes and when you are done watching it, you have to ask yourself if you just watched or experienced your very own virtual reality tour. You will want to applaud when you see all of your favorite icons appear on screen and there are a few surprise cameos that are sure not to disappoint.

Speaking of things not disappointing, let’s talk about Kane Hodder. His performance in this film is nothing short of award-winning. In an ensemble cast of mega icons, he stands out. Following a private screening at Scare-A-Con, this past June,

Kane Hodder in Death House (2018)Caroline Williams said, “no one will ever call Kane just a stuntman again”. This has been referred to as “Kane Hodder’s movie” and I have no argument against that. Kane will always be known for his voiceless monsters (Jason Voorhees and Victor Crowley especially), but in this particular performance, he kills any rumors that he cannot be a leading ACTOR. He is absolutely brilliant in this movie.

I will admit, this movie will take watching more than once to truly grasp. Let’s be honest though, how many of us got the concept of Fight Club the first time through (put your hands down because you know just like me, you went back and watched it again after you figured it out)? Does this make Death House a bad film because you may have to go back and re-watch it? Of course not. Maybe you were in awe of the cameo to come on screen and missed something. There could be a lot of reasons why this may take seeing 2-3 times before you grasp everything. Guess what? That is by design and WHY this movie works as well as it does.

Let’s now address the white elephant in the room. This is NOT Freddy vs Jason vs Leatherface or any combination. Death House is a stand-alone movie that does pay homage to a lot of the classics that made us fall in love with horror. But it is not a retread, a reboot or anything like that. It has its own identity. It mixes the gore that the diehard slasher fans love, with the action the adrenaline junkies crave and also throws in a strong psychological plot that the thinkers lust after. This truly has something for EVERY horror fan.

Tony Todd in Death House (2018)

I’ve heard some people complain that the lighting was terrible, and the movie was too dark. I have 2 comments on that. Number 1, there was a power failure and all anyone has are flashlights, so how much light can there realistically be and give this movie the feel it is going for? And second, how many of us walk through a GREAT haunted house with little light? That type of haunted house where there was a new surprise at every turn. That one great haunted house where, when you are done, you want to go back! That is exactly what you feel while you experience Death House. I no longer say watch Death House, I say experience it.

Final thoughts

There are a few things I want you to take away from this before you Barbara Crampton, Cody Longo, Dee Wallace, Cortney Palm in Death House (2018)go and experience Death House. Dee Wallace is a living legend and her portrayal of Dr. Fletcher stands toe to toe with her performance as Donna Trenton in Cujo (and I am not kidding). Kane Hodder is a legit actor and no longer “just a stuntman” or “just great on-screen monster.” As I have mentioned time and again, this is a 90-minute roller coaster ride that will leave you wanting more. This movie was Gunnar Hansen’s dream and his baby. Go see this for Gunnar and view his vision. I wish he could be here to see this come to fruition. He, however, left it in great hands. You can see what Gunnar wanted, through the eyes of B. Harrison Smith.

And last, this movie is not your typical good vs evil. It was never intended for that. This shows that good is dependent on evil and evil dependent on good. The two cannot exist without the other. If you ever have an opportunity to meet and talk with B. Harrison Smith at a convention, he talks about this very thing.  This is actually the oldest storyline in existence. Was Lucifer not a fallen angel? The very opening line of the movie which I will remind you of is, “Who prays for Satan, the original sinner?” That line narrated over the opening credits is not just a cool way to open a movie. This film is the ultimate example of you cannot have evil without good and good without evil.

Death House was scheduled to open this weekend, but unforeseen circumstances created a delay. Next weekend it will open in LA and the following week it will expand to more markets including Philadelphia, (wherein the suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ, Monster Mania Con is going on that weekend and will have at least 2 stars from Death House, including Kane Hodder).

Overall Grade on Death House:

A+ and I wish I had a 3rd hand so I could give it 3 thumbs up.

For more on Death House and all updates on where and when you can experience this thrill ride, visit their official social media sites:

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EXCLUSIVE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Hellraiser: Judgment (2018) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Hellraiser: Judgment (2018) [SPOILERS]

Writer/Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe; Stars: Damon Carney, Randy Wayne, Alexandra Harris, Heather Langenkamp, Paul T. Taylor, Gary J. Tunnicliffe; Rating: N/A; Run Time: 81 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

The Butcher from Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)When I first heard rumors of Hellraiser: Judgment, I was excited. Then I learned that Doug Bradley wouldn’t be in it. Again. My expectations dropped. While better than the ninth installment, it still falls short of what Hellraiser fans want and doesn’t even come close to capturing the feel of the first three. That said, it might have been a decent movie had it not tried to shoehorn itself into the Hellraiser universe.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Gary J. Tunnicliffe and Paul T. Taylor in Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)Despite a faux Pinhead, the opening scene is intriguing and hints of a new approach to the Cenobites and how they interact with humans. The box, it seems, is no longer sufficient to lure in pleasure- and pain-seekers and they are attempting to find new ways to attract the immoral to them. The addition of a bureaucracy to Hell (more like the Christian Hell rather than The Labyrinth) is not a new concept, but the execution is interesting if a bit hackneyed at times. However, it quickly goes downhill and begins employing gimmicks and jump scares in place of real horror. Once again we are presented with a detective story, but this time the murderer kills according to the ten commandments. How very Seven of it. Once the tale plays out and the murderer is revealed, no one is surprised. Indeed, it is telegraphed throughout and not the bombshell it should be.

Mike J. Regan in Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)The one aspect that is interesting is the depiction of Hell, God, and the afterlife, but these do not necessarily align with the actual Hellraiser universe. In this movie, we learn that God is “in on it” in that He allows evil to exist for without it, man cannot know true evil. This has long been speculated regarding both the Christian God as well as other “creators”, but the Hell of the Hellraiser universe is widely accepted as being an extra dimension rather than the biblical Hell, making this something outside of the mythology. While it is an admirable attempt to expand the universe, it ultimately doesn’t work because it goes too far astray from Clive Barker’s original universe. I would like to see this in an original, non-Hellraiser film, but such a film would definitely be compared to the Hellraiser series without radical changes.

The Surgeon from Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)The effects in Hellraiser: Judgment are solid, which is to be expected from someone who worked as closely with Hellraiser as Gary Tunnicliffe did, but effects alone do not make a good movie. Moreover, they tried far too hard to cram in the Hellraiser universe, even going so far as to repeat lines and duplicate items from previous Hellraiser movies. This, more than anything, felt forced rather than natural. The acting is competent but not spectacular, and Pinhead has little to do with the movie beyond tying it to the franchise. All in all, Hellraiser: Judgment is not a bad movie, but it’s also not a good movie. To be fair, Barker set the bar pretty high, and I applaud the attempt to bring something new to the mythology, but I wish Tunnicliffe had stayed closer to the source material and brought back the original (and only) Pinhead – Doug Bradley.

Final verdict: 4/10 claw marks, worth a watch but, as Mom used to say, nothing to write home about

Gary J. Tunnicliffe and Damon Carney in Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, 0 comments
Will You Venture Into The Woods Once You See The RItual (2017)?

Will You Venture Into The Woods Once You See The RItual (2017)?

The Ritual (2017)New to Netflix and only seen prior at its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, comes The Ritual.

Cast of The RItual (2017) at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival / Image: Ian Goring for TIFF Midnight Madness

Cast of The RItual (2017) at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival / Image: Ian Goring for TIFF Midnight Madnesss

Within its modest 94 minute run time, David Bruckner has directed a mesmerizing forest freak show within his film The Ritual.

The script is superbly written by Joe Barton and guides us as we dive into this unfamiliar, and at times downright bizarre, cinematic adaptation of British writer Adam Nevill’s novel.

A group of four men – Luke, Hutch, Phil, and Dom – suffer the loss of their fifth group member Rob.

Luke and Rob experience a store robbery gone wrong and it is clear early on following these events that Luke is wrestling with the choices he made.

Feeling guilty for not trying to step in and disarm Rob’s killers, Luke relives the moment throughout the film in strange, twisted nightmares.

Rafe Spall (Shaun of the Dead, Green Street Hooligans, Prometheus, Dracula (2006)), son of Timothy Spall, leads the film as Luke. We feel his hurt and pangs of guilt so sorrowfully that we empathize with his plight from the start.

Luke’s friend Dom is played by Sam Troughton (AVP, Spirit Trap), grandson of Patrick Troughton. Troughton flicks brilliantly from helpless to heartless throughout the film. At times we sympathize, like when he is injured, but at others, we see him as uncaring and cold.

The Ritual (2017)Phil is played by Arsher Ali (Wallander, The Missing, Doctor Who) and at times, Phil just goes with the flow or reluctantly accepts the role of leader of the group, yet at others, he amazingly shows us a confused fear that is unmissable.

Last is Hutch, played by Rob James-Collier (Downton Abbey, Shameless, Coronation Street). Hutch is the most understanding of Luke’s plight. He is forgiving and caring and naturally tries to lead his friends to safety.

As the four men travel to Sweden and hold a private memorial for Rob on a breathtaking hillside, it is following this beautiful ceremony that things take an ugly turn.

One by one the guys become confused. Lost in each own’s horrifying nightmares and flittering between the forest and an isolated cabin, like a strange Blair Witch-like rollercoaster, the foursome dwindle in numbers as a small odd community begin their Nordic ritual for the Jotunn.

Will they all escape? Who will come out of the woods today?

Sam Troughton, Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, and Arsher Ali in The Ritual (2017)

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Screw Calgon…Crowley Take Me Away

Screw Calgon…Crowley Take Me Away

As a loyal member of the Hatchet Army, I have been counting down the days for the VOD/Blu-ray release of Victor Crowley. This is the fourth installment of the Hatchet series from the sick mind of Adam Green (love you, Adam). That day is finally here, and I couldn’t have been happier when I got home and had this baby waiting for me. Thank you, Amazon.

Victor Crowley (2018)

Let’s talk synopsis… In my own words: Greedy survivor with brilliant manager crashed in swamp with misfit crew while wannabe director is busy stirring up old demons. Queue puns, ham acting, and lots and lots of GORE.

Yep, those are the makings of a great movie, so let’s get started.

I put this bad boy in tonight (fresh from the Amazon package), popped a Feisty Cherry Diet Coke, and was on my way. And I could not have been happier. The humor and ham right from the get-go warmed my heart. It was great to see good ol’ Hatchet Face again brought back to life by Kane Hodder. Then everyone’s favorite coward/hero Andrew Yong (Parry Shen). It was like a family reunion: wonderful familiar faces and then a few cousins you were not as familiar with that you get to know.

Young aspiring director, boyfriend, and her friend (Laura Ortiz from The Hills Have Eyes (2006)) travel to Louisiana to pitch an idea for a movie about the Honey Swamp Massacre to Andrew Yong. Keep going and you see the beautiful Felissa Rose, as the brassy publicist/manager to Andrew Yong. Felissa is best known for her role as the young Angela in Sleepaway Camp, Death House, and a slew of other bloody good Indie horror. She was brilliant as Kathleen and, at the risk of hurting Kane’s feelings, she kind of stole the show at first. After convincing Andrew to go back to the swamp for an exclusive interview (with who ends up being his ex-wife talk show host) on site, they board a plane to the bayou and introduce the new crew of misfits, one being the talented Tiffany Shepis as Casey, the on-screen love of Austin (Brian Quinn). Casey will have you almost in tears at one point if you have any heart at all. It is an interesting addition to the horror of the film.

After everyone gets to the swamp, the real fun begins. The director and her so-called team now include a tour guide who is really an actor according to him. This guy… you will love this guy – Dillon – portrayed by the wonderful David Sheridan. Yes, the same David Sheridan who we all loved as Doofy in Scary Movie. Once they all meet up, heads start to roll, and it couldn’t be more beautiful. You could tell that the entire cast had a freaking blast on this film.

The use of practical effects over CGI has always been one of the reasons I adore these films. The blood and brains and appendages look great and just a bit over the top… in good ol’ Hatchet fashion. And, just when you think after three Hatchet movies that you have seen it all, they show you some kills that just make your jaw drop. Don’t make any plans to have spaghetti or hamburgers when you put this movie on unless you have a strong constitution.

Be sure watch this all the way through. I won’t give anything away but sometimes it pays to sit through the credits. Just ask any Marvel fan.

Overall, this a strong addition to an already excellent franchise. With a great combination of an 80s camp film and the bloody gore we all want, I would say this is my second favorite of the series with the first being the original. Just can’t beat a classic. Adam Green and his crew have put together a hell of a movie, and I suggest that any Hatchet Army member out there take the ride. You won’t be disappointed, but make sure to keep your hands and feet in at all times.

Tech Aspects (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)

  • Cast Commentary — Writer/Director Adam Green and Actors Parry Shen, Laura Ortiz and Dave Sheridan
  • Technical Commentary — Writer/Director Adam Green, Cinematographer Jan Michael Losada, Editor Matt Latham, and Make up FX Artist Robert Pendergraft
  • Raising the Dead — Again Interview with Adam Green
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Trailer/Teaser

Happy Nightmares!
ZombieGurl

Posted by ZombieGurl in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
The Lullaby (2018)

The Lullaby (2018)

Hey guys, Horrormadam here to bring you a new film. The amazing people at Uncork’d Entertainment, the people who brought us Camera Obscura, Almost Dead, and Rebound were kind enough to send me a screener on their new film The Lullaby IN THEATERS AND ON DEMAND MARCH 2.

The film is directed by Darrell Roodt (Dracula 3000, and Dangerous Ground), and written by Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo (Trouvoete), and stars Brandon Auret (Elysium, District 9, Blood Drive), Reine Swart (Z Nation, Dominion), Thandi Buren (Racing Stripes, Dead Easy), Deanre Reiners (The Tate Experiment), and Dorothy Ann Gould (Friend Request).

BURBANK, CA : You’ll wish you never brought your baby home.

The writer ,Tarryn-Tanille Prinsloo, gives us a description:

Returning to her hometown, Eden Rock, and overwhelmed by the birth of her firstborn, Chloe van Heerden (19) tries to come to terms with motherhood. Despite the support from her loving mother, Ruby (35), Chloe struggles with the demand of being a new mom. The incessant crying of her baby, the growing sense of guilt and paranoia sends Chloe into a dark depression. With a heightened urge to protect her son, Chloe sees danger in every situation. Distraught she pays a visit to family psychologist Dr. Timothy Reed (40s) who diagnoses her intrusive thoughts and feelings of anxiousness to a mild case of baby blues. Yet the thoughts grow worse and more violent. Chloe starts to hear voices and humming of a childhood lullaby and sees flashes of a strange entity around her child. Convinced that the entity is real, Chloe does everything in her power to protect her son. Her decline reaches fever pitch, and everybody seems to be moving against her. Desperate, Chloe finds solace in the arms of her childhood friend, Emile Hess (20s). The world around Chloe implodes and it becomes clear that she and her child are in imminent danger. But from what? Is Chloe haunted by evil or is it just the baby blues?

The film looks very creepy and I am really looking forward to it and I hope you will enjoy it also!

Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Always Shine (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Always Shine (2016)

Films about the harsh world of acting and show business have been a thing since virtually the medium itself. Classic titles like Sunset Boulevard and more recently Maps to the Stars are wonderfully dark, self-reflective meditations on ambitions and stardom and the meaning of celebrity worship. So when I saw the trailer, I was curious what 2016’s Always Shine would bring to the sub-genre. After nearly ninety minutes, very little it seems. The film centers around two young women, Anna (Mackenzie Davis) and Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald), trying to earn a living in the ultra-competitive world of acting. They also use to be close friends. It’s clear that their relationship is extremely rocky, to say the least, so they decide to spend the weekend at Big Sur to reconnect and unwind from the pressures of work. However, as you might have guessed, the weekend isn’t all sunshine and campfire songs as tensions boil over with deadly consequences.

Caitlin FitzGerald and Mackenzie Davis in Always Shine (2016)

Caitlin FitzGerald and Mackenzie Davis in Always Shine (2016)

Sophia Takal (V/H/S, Stephanie (segment “Second Honeymoon”)) tries to give us her take on Lynch’s neo-noir haunted sexual thriller Mulholland Drive but sadly it’s just a pale photocopy. Shine starts out strong, providing decent character development even building some tension, but sadly the film falls flat in the second and third act and limps its way to the end credits. It doesn’t deliver the same knockout punch as the brilliant Starry Eyes (also about an ambitious actress) and feels shallow in its characters. Probably the biggest sin is it lacks any real originality making it utterly forgettable. The one bright spot in this muddled mess is the acting which is solid. Rising star Mackenzie Davis gives a chilling and understated performance, and I have no doubt she is destined for stardom. I love films about the film industry and overly ambitious actors trying to claw their way to the top, but Always Shine feels like a lazy re-working on other better films. Worst yet it feels uninterested in being daring and pushing the envelope like, say, Neon Demon (sort of in the same sub-genre though with models instead of actors). Bottom line: skip it, and watch any of the above-mentioned titles instead.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Grotesque: A Guilt-Free Pleasure

Grotesque: A Guilt-Free Pleasure

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

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

Grotesque (2009)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/5  for Grotesque

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

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Ben Young, Writer/Director of Hounds of Love (2016)

INTERVIEW: Ben Young, Writer/Director of Hounds of Love (2016)

Following the huge international success of Australian writer and director Ben Young’s film Hounds of Love (2016), the House of Tortured Souls’ own Michelle MIDI Sayles had the opportunity to ask him some questions regarding his films, cast, changes in his life since the release of Hounds of Love, and the Australian Film Industry.
House of Tortured Souls: Recently you have gained a lot of success with your brilliant film Hounds of Love. How has that felt coming from such humble beginnings in Western Australia?
Ben Young: It’s truly is very surreal. At best I hoped perhaps the film would get in a festival or two. It was a real surprise and very humbling to have it premiere at Venice and receive the response it did. Less than a year after shooting, I was in Serbia making a US production with 20 times the budget and actors whose work is been admiring for years. Feels weird even to think about the crazy ride!
Hounds of Love (2016)

Emma Booth as Evelyn White and Stephen Curry as John White in Ben Young’s Hounds of Love (2016)

HoTS: The direction and plot of Hounds of Love echoes the infamous Birnie’s case and other profiles of killer couples, how much of an interest in the element of true crime do you have yourself?
BY: It’s not based on any particular crime/s. I read a book on woman serial murderers and found the psychology of female killers to be very different from that of males. In further research, I found 9 cases involving couples who killed together. It was a subject I hadn’t seen explored in film before so decided to give it a crack. I’m interested in realism on screen so for that reason and often drawn to true crime. For me, a story is all the more engaging if there is an element of truth to it.
HoTS: Your stars Stephen Curry, Emma Booth, and Ashleigh Cummings each have been very kind and praising towards your approach to them throughout the filming process, and it is very well reflected in their amazing performances. How did you find such phenomenal talent for Hounds of Love?
BY: I was lucky really. I wrote the film for Emma. We’ve been buds for 20 years and I truly believe her to be one of the greatest acting talents on the planet. She initially turned the role down but for one reason or another changed her mind at the last minute.
Steve was never [who] I thought of [for the part] but was suggested by our wonderful casting director Anousha. I right away loved the idea because he does not come across like your typical serial killer, which in reality most of them do not. He wanted to do the role and he and I had a long chat. He’s gracious and charming and agreed to audition. After his first take, it was pretty clear I was going to be lucky to have him.
Ashleigh was the last to come to the party. Strangely I’d used pictures of her from Puberty Blues (2012) in my pitch document but thought she was a little old for the character. When she came in and tested I was speechless. There’s something so artificial about the audition process, but somehow Ash was able to transform immediately and deliver a take worthy of the film in that bright little room in Sydney just minutes after meeting me. She was so good, I thought it worth changing the character a little for.
HoTS: Hounds of Love has received some impressive accolades so far already, especially for your leading ladies and yourself. Why do you think so far Stephen Curry (whose performance was equally beyond amazing) hasn’t received the same?
BY: All awards are a lottery! It depends on who you’re against, who’s judging and what kind of a mood they’re in. I think a film like this about women is not so common, so the female themes may have distracted from him. Also, it was a phenomenal year for Australian film with strong male performances in many bigger films that received much wider distribution. It’s hard for the little guy to be noticed!
Hounds of Love (2016)
HoTS: Do you plan to continue making films in Australia or will we see you moving to LA in the future?
BY: I’ve been in LA for the better half of a year working on the new film, BUT I’ll be back in Australia very soon to work on a film I’m very excited about.
HoTS: You’re currently working on your newest project Extinction, can you tell us a little bit about it?
BY: It’s a story about a dude who must reconnect with his family emotionally if he’s to save them from an otherworldly invasion. We shot in Serbia during the first half of 2017 and I’m just finishing it up now. I worked with Michael Pena, Lizzy Caplan, Emma Booth, Mike Colter, Israel Broussard and many other great actors on it. It was fun to try my hand at science fiction and together with the team, I’ve tried hard to make something a little different which I hope an audience appreciates.
Ben Young, writer/director, Hounds of Love (2016)

Ben Young, writer/director, Hounds of Love (2016)

HoTS: What do you think of the Australian movie scene itself, and its rise in popular culture within the last decade through filmmakers like Greg McLean, Leigh Whannell and James Wan and even the likes of Joel and Nash Edgerton?
BY: I think it’s really hard to make films in Australia. It’s really great to see filmmakers like those you’ve mentioned really making a name for themselves internationally. I hope it continues that way. In Australia, you’re very unlikely to get rich from film, so I feel like the filmmakers we have a driven by passion which comes across in their work ethic.
HoTS: What advice can you give to any filmmaker around the globe working on projects right now, within the independent film market?
BY: Be bold. Make choices that are risky and be true to your own vision. No one wants to see another version of Hounds of Love or anything else so find your own story and tell it in a way that only you could. To break through your film must have an element that makes it stand out amongst others in its genre. This will come from bold choices.
It might sound obvious, but cast good actors and pay them. Even if you don’t pay yourself. One off performance and the whole world you are creating will come tumbling down.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in INTERVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

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

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

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

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

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

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

Posted by Candace Stone in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
Happy Birthday Betty White!

Happy Birthday Betty White!

Hey, guys Horrormadam here just wanting to wish Betty White a Happy Birthday! Now I know you are thinking why is Betty White on a horror site? Because I love the movie Lake Placid and even though it had great actors like Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, and Brendan Gleeson, Betty White stole the movie with her crazy antics and saucy language. So for the nonagenarian, she was born on January 17, 1922, which is impressive on its own, we here at House of Tortured Souls say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BETTY WHITE! May you live another 96 years because you make us smile.

Betty White in Lake Placid feeding the crocodile

Betty White - If I had a dick

Lake Placid

Posted by Horrormadam in CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Clown (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Clown (2014)

I finally got a chance to view the highly anticipated 2014 Clown. First, let me clarify because too many people are under the wrong impression... THIS IS NOT AN ELI ROTH FILM!!! The film itself was written by Christopher Ford and Jon Watts and was directed by Jon Watts as well. Eli Roth was one of the producers for the film, along with three others and six executive producers... That does not make this an Eli Roth film. So many are saying this is one of his films, and it’s not! Why not just ask Jon Watts how it was to work under Roth during the making of Clown? Then kick him in the nuts as well!

Clown (2014) / Fair use doctrine.

Now that that's out of the way... I had been wanting to see Clown since first having read about and, of course, later having seen trailer for it. Well, God Bless America, but what do I happen to see on Netflix but Clown?! I was thrilled!!!!

The storyline of Clown is of a good dad trying to be the hero to his son’s birthday party when he finds an old clown outfit and wears it to the party after the hired clown cancels at last minute. Good dad to the rescue! Now for the bad part…

After the party is over, Dad can’t get the costume off. It literally is stuck on his body. One might almost say that it is becoming one with his body. After some research, he discovers that the outfit he put on is, for lack of better words, possessed by a once demonic clown who killed and fed off children. I'm not going to say much else about the film because I do hope many of you give it a chance. It is a solid film and deserves to be watched. My review isn't so much a bad movie review as it is a let down on how much potential I think it had. There is honestly a difference!

I don't think I've been so on the line with a film in a very long time! Clown holds so many high points, very dark, very disturbing high points. Clown also holds so many low, predictable, and almost generic points to it. Just when you think it’s great, it pulls some cheesy shit and, to me, it would just fall to hell.

I didn't expect much from the film even though I wanted to see it for so long, I still didn't have very high expectations, and I was wrong. It is a good solid film. I just think if they had stuck with their original dark thoughts and finished that way, it would have been even better.

I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did. Sadly, if I were to give Clown a numerical rating, it would probably be a 3 or maybe a 4, not because of how bad it was because, honestly, it wasn't...but because of how great it really could have been!!

I will say this, the dad, or Kent, played by Andy Powers was spot on. From the role of loving father through his changing ways, shall we say, he did a great job. And I MUST, MUST, MUST say this, let’s call it, the rainbow-colored splatter: GENIUS!!!

Clown is on Netflix. Give it a shot, and let House of Tortured Souls know what you think!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Share You Love For The Strangers in the #StrangersFanArt Contest!

Share You Love For The Strangers in the #StrangersFanArt Contest!

Fans of THE STRANGERS are invited to share their love in the form of art for the #StrangersFanArtContest!

Submissions for The Strangers: Prey at Night fan art contest are being accepted on the film’s official social channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from now until Friday, February 9, 2018. Submissions should be posted with the contest’s official hashtag: #StrangersFanArtContest. The winner will be announced on Friday, February 16, 2018, and will see their art unveiled in an installation in Los Angeles, CA, the week of March 5, 2018. They will also receive a $500 cash prize.

@j.dillustraion (original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BdqOnOvHDPA/

Image: @j.dillustraion (original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BdqOnOvHDPA/)

CONTEST TIMELINE

  • Monday, January 15, 2018: THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT Fan Art Contest launches
  • Friday, February 9, 2018: Submissions close
  • Friday, February 16, 2018: Winner is announced

PRIZING

  • Week of March 5, 2018: OOH installation is unveiled

Winner will receive a $500 cash prize and their art will be unveiled in an installation in Los Angeles, CA, the week of March 5, 2018.

Posted by Horrormadam in ART AND VENDORS, CONTESTS, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Trailer 2 for Victor Crowley Looks Bloody Amazing

Trailer 2 for Victor Crowley Looks Bloody Amazing

As a proud member of the Hatchet Army, I was beyond excited today to see the second official trailer for Victor Crowley come out. In a day of teen horror and enough paranormal movies to drown you, it is good to see a healthy dose of good ole campy slasher fun. You can never go wrong with that!!!

If you need a reminder, this is the fourth installment in the insane Hatchet series from director Adam Green. It picks up a decade later, lone survivor Andrew Yong’s (Parry Shen) claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the horrific massacre have been met with great controversy, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.

Victor Crowley

Just from the trailer alone, it looks to be the best sequel in my opinion. Reprising his role from the past movies is the indestructible Kane Hodder and new Hatchet Army recruits Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Tiffany Shepis (Night of the Demons (2009)). I had a chance to talk to Felissa a bit about her experience with Adam and the Victor Crowley gang. In Felissa’s own words:

Victor Cowley is the best! It was magical, and Adam Green is my favorite and so grateful that he cast me. It’s a dream.

This film looks to give us all the best deaths and insane laughs you would expect from the series. It looks to be a great ride, and I cannot wait to do a full review when I get to watch it.

This blood-soaked party comes out on Blu-ray and VOD on February 6, 2018. Be sure to reserve yours now. Also, visit the official sites for more information.

Victor Crowley Blu-ray

Happy nightmares,
ZombieGurl

Posted by ZombieGurl in HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Dreaming Purple Neon (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Dreaming Purple Neon (2016)

Dreaming Purple Neon is a 2016 independent horror film by Extreme Entertainment and released by Unearthed Films. It was both written and directed by Todd Sheets, who has also brought us such goodies as Spirits (2014) and Bone Hill Road (2017).  Dreaming Purple Neon is a pure 100% Indie horror B flick at it finest!

The basis of the story is that Purple Neon, a beautiful glowing drug, turns its users into demonic creatures that follow the word of High Demoness, Abaddon. She, in turn, uses her now-demon slaves to brutally kill and take over the world.

 

When a drug dealer’s stash goes missing at the hands of his new office girl, he and his thug trace her down at a dentist office building where she’s meeting a friend to go out for the night. After the doors are locked, however, it’s more than just drug dealer revenge. The entire building is locked down and being taken over by the cult of Abaddon in order to use a young girl, one of the dentist’s patients, as a vessel to conjure Abaddon into the living. This is where things get fun — from a naked seance to a bitch with horns for nipples, shit just got real!

When Dreaming Purple Neon starts, it looks like it’s going to be a bad Indie film, but it turns into a bloodbath! Todd Sheets was able to physically take what I’m going to call the normal, the everyday life on film, and perfectly mesh it with what I will call the underworld. You are transported visually through the chaos as it spreads through the film till you are completely submerged into a world of blood-soaked violence. Sheets’ use of color schemes throughout the film is brilliant but yet not overdone.

From the start of the film, I really wasn’t expecting much out of the kill scenes. Boy, was I wrong! Todd Sheets gives audiences full-on, over-the-top, blood-spewing death! Cannibalism, murder, possession, power drills and Gene Simmons — what more could you want!

Dreaming Purple Neon delivered in many ways and is a mind trip of a great Indie horror film. I can’t wait to see what Todd Sheets brings us next!

 

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Houses October Built on HoTS LIVE!!!

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Houses October Built on HoTS LIVE!!!

The Houses October Built and the recent follow up release, The Houses October Built 2, are two of my favorite films! Let's face it. With the abundance of horror films being made either through Hollywood budgets or Indie fan-funded projects, there's a shit ton of mediocre to bad horror being produced. Since October is the month for horror and scares and with Halloween just around the corner, the options for viewing are endless. During this season I try to stick with Halloween-themed films.
In 2014, I first viewed The Houses October Built. It instantly became part of my personal top five horror films! And, in keeping in with my Halloween-themed films, it's about a group of friends who travel from haunt to haunt in search of the extreme. Now, I ask you: what can be more Halloween than haunts?
Then 2017 came, and the crew released the follow-up, The Houses October Built 2. This sequel answered questions that had left audiences pondering in the closing frames of the original, kept the viewer's Halloween spirit engaged, and ended with an entirely new set of holy-shit-what-the-fuck questions.
After viewing The Houses October Built and launching House of Tortured Souls, I had been trying to get in touch with any or all staff for a written interview. However, once I tracked down the right people through social media, there were always scheduling conflicts. Time went on, and I had resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't going to happen. Still, I proudly supported the films and helped out the best I could on social media by sharing their posts.
It was this past Thursday, October 19, 2017, at approximately 2:30 pm EST when I figured what the hell and sent an email to them in hopes of setting up an interview sometime within the next few years. With part 2 only having been out for a few weeks, I knew they would be busy, but I also figured why not give it a shot? Within an hour, I got a response asking if I was available that day. Long story short, within two hours, both writers/directors/stars of both The Houses October Built parts 1 and 2, Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews, were staring me in the face live through a House of Tortured Souls LIVE video podcast.
We had a great chat, and it was a thrill to have met them and an honor to have them on the show. The guys discuss the origins of the film, working together, haunts, and even dabble in what may be next! So join me as I bring you my afternoon with Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews of The Houses October Built!
Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Devil’s Candy (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Devil’s Candy (2015)

The Devil's Candy poster / Fair use doctrine.The Devil's Candy is a 2015 horror film both written and directed by Sean Byrne (The Loved Ones (2009)) and starring Ethan Embry, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Shiri Appleby, and Kiara Glasco. I must admit - if not for the recommendation from a friend regarding this film, I may never have seen it. I'm glad he told me about it! The Devil’s Candy seemed to be kind of a sleeper hit that really packs a punch!
The Devil's Candy is the story of a young family who purchase an old farmhouse in southern Texas and quickly realize that along with the mortgage comes a horrific history that threatens them all. Ethan Embry plays Jesse Hellman, a loving husband, father, metal head, and painter. After moving into the family's new home, Jesse becomes almost possessed through his painting. Pruitt Taylor Vince co-stars as Ray, a man who suffers from demonic voices in his head, has been on an ultra-violent killing spree of young children, saying he needs to feed them to him. But Ray is also having a homecoming – to the same home that Embry and family now inhabit.
As Jesse's paintings become more and more detailed and violent, Ray gets closer and closer to the home, as do his abductions and brutal murders. Ray suffered from violent tendencies as a child, even being hospitalized due to them, and now he wants to come home.
Ethan Embry, known for playing fun-loving, almost goofy, characters (Dutch, Empire Records, Can't Hardly Wait), may seem an odd choice. In my opinion, though, Embry needs more serious/darker roles because HE NAILED IT! Although he plays the good guy and proud father in The Devil's Candy, he displays a dark side through his character’s possession and is brilliant!
The Devil's Candy - Pruitt Taylor Vince 02 / Fair use doctrine.Co-star Pruitt Taylor Vince (Constantine, Monster, and Identity) is NEVER a letdown in his performances, and his stellar job as Ray Smilie is so believable that he gives you nightmares during the day.
The Devil's Candy - Ethan Embry / Fair use doctrine.The film moves quickly but doesn't skip ahead or leave any stone unturned in the storytelling. My only gripe with lies with the film’s lighting. While all normal shots are filmed fine, too many of the action scenes are near unwatchable. I've viewed the filmed a few times now (yes, I'm a fan of it), and it’s just too dark no matter how the lighting is in the room. I’ve even tried adjusting the contrast on my TV set. Still not helping. Don’t get me wrong; I don't mind when a film has off screenshots that make you use your own imagination. Oftentimes it’s more effective - and disturbing. But when a scene is shot on film for the audience to view but is too dark for viewers to make out anything, then I have a problem with it.
The Devil's Candy is currently playing on Netfilx, and I seriously can't stress enough that you should sit down and watch this it. Truly this is one of the best overall horror films I've seen in a while.The Devil's Candy title / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: The Houses October Built 2

EXCLUSIVE PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: The Houses October Built 2

Exclusive Look at The Houses October Built 2

Director: Bobby Roe; Writers: Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe; Stars: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe, Mikey Roe, Jeff Larson; Genre: Horror; Rating: Unrated; Runtime: UNK; Release Date: 22 September 2017
The Houses October Built 2 is the highly anticipated follow-up to the sleeper hit The Houses October Built (2014). While the original kind of flew through under the radar, it has since gained a huge cult-like following of fans - myself being one of them!
To summarize the original for any one who may not have seen it, five friends in an RV tour parts of the southern states in search of the ultimate haunt. While on this quest, they catch wind of a strange and intriguing haunt called The Blue Skeleton. Sensing this is just the thing they’ve been searching for, they begin to pursue The Blue Skeleton. Through word of mouth and clues that are mysteriously given to them, they eventually find themselves in the middle of what quickly becomes a life or death haunt, ultimately bringing viewers to a satisfying cliffhanger. As the film ends, viewers are left wondering WHAT HAPPENED!?!
The Houses October Built 2 is the highly anticipated follow-up to the sleeper hit The Houses October Built (2014). While the original kind of snuck through under the radar, it has since gained a huge cult-like following of fans - myself being one of them! >The Houses October Built 2 picks up right where the original left off and answers all the questions generated at the end of the first film! Fast forward to one year later. The group is now both famous and infamous in the haunt industry from having survived their encounters with The Blue Skeleton – encounters which were live streamed – and are now sought after to make celebrity appearances at haunts nationwide. Instead of seeking unique and terrifying haunts, the tables have turned and the haunts are seeking out them. So back to the RV they go!

Through the group’s stops and travels, however, viewers are shown a blueish colored feed of the group as they are videotaped – one of the group in particular. Brandy, who has been nicknamed Coffin Girl, seems to be targeted. On their journey, the group stop at a few very cool haunts, including haunted hay rides, a Zombie Pub Crawl, and (for the physically fit) a Zombie-Run! One of the haunts, however, was a tad more extreme than the others - something Brandy is now totally against as her last trip has left a few mental scars.
As in the first film, lead Zack Andrews is still on the lookout for the extreme and eventually catches wind of one and off they go. Keep in mind that the further the group goes down the rabbit hole, the more intense and disturbing the secretive videotaping becomes.
I'm not going to go any further because I refuse to give away any spoilers away. I will say one thing, however, and that is that the first film really left viewers wondering. Hell, three days after I first watched The Houses October Built 2, I was still in my head asking myself, “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” LOL!!! Folks, the cast and crew did it again. And, as with the first film, when you think it’s over and you start to understand what happened, pondering it more deeply and questioning everything that has gone before, BAM!
The Houses October Built 2 stars the same great cast and continues showcasing great real life haunts and Halloween events. This haunt realism was a big part of the original film’s appeal, garnering a huge fan base with a very small character base. Filling the film with actual haunt actors, The Houses October Built gave complete credit to the hard-working haunt actors as well as both supporting and helping revive the life and spirits of haunts across the world!
I don't know if The Houses October Built 2 can ever be any better than its original, as I adore the film, but it gives it one hell of a run! Zack and Bobby – you two are incredible! Great job!
SUPPORT THIS FILM, LIMITED CITY THEATER SHOWINGS,
VOD AMAZON PRIME, 9/22/17!
Keep it Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in EXCLUSIVE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
EDITORIAL: In Defense of: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

EDITORIAL: In Defense of: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Hello, horror fiends. In my new series “In Defense Of...”, I look at movies often loathed, you know, those fugly, redheaded, stepchildren in the genre. But are they really worth the hate? After all, a lot of now classic horror films were once looked down upon by other like-minded genre fans. Day of the Dead (1985) is a prime example. So all I ask is your time and open mind because you never know, you might just see a movie in a totally new light.
Oscar nominated director Joe Berlinger seemed like an interesting choice when it was announced he would helm the sequel to the mega hit The Blair Witch Project. Berlinger is known for award winning documentaries such as Brother's Keeper and the hugely successful Paradise Lost trilogy. He is currently directing a project about Ted Bundy (Zac Efron is slated to play Bundy).

Opening Statement or Sequels Don't Always Suck

For my first film, I want to look at the ill-fated sequel to the smash hit The Blair Witch Project (1999). Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was looked at by many fans as a quickly slapped together film to keep the Blair Witch money train chugging along. But it's really not the cinematic turd we unfairly dismiss it as. I’m going to use the term ballsy a lot because that is exactly what the Joe Berlinger was when attempting to tackle the sequel to the huge runaway hit the first Blair Witch was. He could have taken the easy route and simply sent another batch of kids in the woods screaming and looking into the camera and sobbing etc., but he didn’t. Instead, he chose to take the template of the first film and do what a good sequel should do, which is expand the mythos and take the series in a different direction.

Studio Interference

When defending Blair Witch 2, you have to have some context. The director’s vision of Blair Witch 2 is totally different than what we see in the final product all thanks to studio interference. For example, key scenes were re-arranged along with additional violent scenes, etc. It was further confused by adding Book of Shadows to the title when, in fact, there is no book in the movie. That, my friends, was - you guessed it - the studio suits’ bright idea and not the director’s. On a side note, I’ve heard of fans making their own “director’s cut” versions using details from the shooting script and listening to the commentary. (SERIOUSLY, the commentary is amazing. You must listen to it. ), and (surprise, surprise) it's much better. Sadly, the odds of seeing an official director's cut is slim because Artisan (now Lions Gate) doesn’t really do a lot to cater to fans. Even The Blair Witch Project (1999), a film that put them on the map, didn’t get a tenth-anniversary release because I guess they figured why bother.

What Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Got Right

After viewing last year’s stinkfest which was Blair Witch, it only reinforced the idea that Blair Witch 2, for all its flaws, at least attempted to explore interesting themes and ideas. Not only does it all but ditch the whole found footage concept, which is pretty ballsy in and of itself, it is a clever take on Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author. Each character in Book of Shadows represents an aspect of the film. Jeff is the opportunist cashing in on the film; Kim is the goth girl who was drawn into the film’s dark themes and subject matter; Tristine and her husband are the brainy skeptics; and Erica is the Wiccan who found the film to be offensive to the witch community. Again this is so much more interesting than simply another batch of kids going off into the woods... God, I hate Blair Witch (2016).
In short, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is much more lofty than the remake/rehash we got last year. With the filmmaker's background in documentary film, he explores blurring the lines between fiction and reality and the very real danger in doing so. Also, the cliché imagery throughout is purposefully placed because the young people are so steeped in media that it’s the only way they relate to things once shit gets weird. The fact that The Blair Witch Project exists (in the sequel’s context) as a work of fiction rather than a part of its own universe is another incredibly ballsy move and helps to further echo its core theme while also giving an interesting slice of meta. Its cast is solid and the pacing moves at nearly breakneck speed. It also has a pretty good soundtrack which is now nostalgic for people of my generation.

Closing Statement or Before You Pass Judgment

I'm the first person to admit Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is flawed largely due to studio tampering, but it doesn’t deserve the 4.0 rating on IMDb! It attempted to give the audience something a little more challenging than simply a run of the mill cash grab remake (which, AGAIN, Blair Witch (2016) totally was) by introducing interesting themes and concepts. Thankfully, I’m not alone in my respect for this film, and it seems other fans are coming out of the woods and proudly reclaiming Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. I still hold out hope that Lions Gate will release a director’s cut to allow fans to see the film as the filmmaker intended.
Michael Vaughn is a published genre writer and has appeared in Fangoria, Scream (UK) in print as well as sites like FilmsinReview.com. He also owns the blog “Gorehound Mike's Weird Cinema”. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema, which compiles over 300 reviews spanning films from all over the globe and covering multiple genres.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 0 comments