Horror

In August Underground’s Penance, we are introduced to the final and, in my opinion, the weakest film of the trilogy. Following the found footage style of the first two films, we encounter Peter and Crusty on more of their sadistic ventures. Beginning with a man who attempted to escape Peter and Crusty’s clutches, he does not get very far before the couple kills him. Afterwards, Peter and Crusty go about town doing various normal activities including watching some fireworks. For a moment, it even seems that they have progressed past their serial killing phase. Of course, the film then cuts to the basement again with Peter harassing and torturing a man who they have hammered multiple nails into various parts of his body.
August Underground's Penance (2007)After this small stint of torture, Peter and Crusty find themselves under a bridge where they first harass and torment a homeless man, before cutting open a man to disembowel him whilst he is still alive. The juxtaposition between sadistic violence and “normal” behavior occurs again with Peter and Crusty at a party. The next scene occurs at Christmas time with Peter and Crusty invading a home of three where they proceed to celebrate Christmas their way. This first involves Peter bludgeoning the father with a hammer and then murdering and attempting to rape the mother, but is unable to get himself hard so he gives up. At this point, while he is attempting to rape the mother, the daughter of the couple comes down the stairs witnessing the atrocities unfold. Crusty, quickly tackles the girl and strangles her to death. She then opens up a few presents for herself and goes to sleep between the two corpses.

August Underground's Penance (2007)Fairly similar to the other films in that there is a number of murders through bludgeoning to death, Penance does not really stick out until near the end of the film when we first see Peter bludgeoning a man with Crusty drinking some of the blood as it pours from the man. Not terribly shocking with how these two are and with some of the acts that they perpetrated in Mordum (remember that penectomy scene where Crusty performs fellatio upon a severed penis?). The film then cuts to the next scene, which shows Peter carving open a pregnant woman and removing the fetus from her. This is where Peter and Crusty begin to break down and when Peter fails to comfort her, he rapes her.

The film ends rather quickly with Peter getting drunk, abusing a woman and passing out. Once he is asleep, Crusty takes the camera with her to the bathroom where she does her “penance” by killing herself, which is where the film concludes. Overall, as I said at the beginning it was the weakest of the trilogy, and after Mordum, it seems that Vogel had run out of sadistic ideas to bring his trilogy to a conclusion.

I have to give August Underground’s Penance a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

August Underground's Penance (2007)Director: Fred Vogel; Writers: Allen Peters (characters), Fred Vogel (characters), Cristie Whiles (as Cristie ‘Crusty’ Whiles), Fred Vogel; Stars: Cristie Whiles, Fred Vogel, Shelby Lyn Vogel; Rating: Unrated; Run Time: 84 min; Genre: Horror; Language: English; Year: 2007
August Underground Trilogy Part 3 of 3: Penance (2007)

August Underground Trilogy Part 3 of 3: Penance (2007)

In August Underground’s Penance, we are introduced to the final and, in my opinion, the weakest film of the trilogy. Following the found footage style of the first two films, we encounter Peter and Crusty on more of their sadistic ventures. Beginning with a man who attempted to escape Peter and Crusty’s clutches, he does not get very far before the couple kills him. Afterwards, Peter and Crusty go about town doing various normal activities including watching some fireworks. For a moment, it even seems that they have progressed past their serial killing phase. Of course, the film then cuts to the basement again with Peter harassing and torturing a man who they have hammered multiple nails into various parts of his body.
August Underground's Penance (2007)After this small stint of torture, Peter and Crusty find themselves under a bridge where they first harass and torment a homeless man, before cutting open a man to disembowel him whilst he is still alive. The juxtaposition between sadistic violence and “normal” behavior occurs again with Peter and Crusty at a party. The next scene occurs at Christmas time with Peter and Crusty invading a home of three where they proceed to celebrate Christmas their way. This first involves Peter bludgeoning the father with a hammer and then murdering and attempting to rape the mother, but is unable to get himself hard so he gives up. At this point, while he is attempting to rape the mother, the daughter of the couple comes down the stairs witnessing the atrocities unfold. Crusty, quickly tackles the girl and strangles her to death. She then opens up a few presents for herself and goes to sleep between the two corpses.

August Underground's Penance (2007)Fairly similar to the other films in that there is a number of murders through bludgeoning to death, Penance does not really stick out until near the end of the film when we first see Peter bludgeoning a man with Crusty drinking some of the blood as it pours from the man. Not terribly shocking with how these two are and with some of the acts that they perpetrated in Mordum (remember that penectomy scene where Crusty performs fellatio upon a severed penis?). The film then cuts to the next scene, which shows Peter carving open a pregnant woman and removing the fetus from her. This is where Peter and Crusty begin to break down and when Peter fails to comfort her, he rapes her.

The film ends rather quickly with Peter getting drunk, abusing a woman and passing out. Once he is asleep, Crusty takes the camera with her to the bathroom where she does her “penance” by killing herself, which is where the film concludes. Overall, as I said at the beginning it was the weakest of the trilogy, and after Mordum, it seems that Vogel had run out of sadistic ideas to bring his trilogy to a conclusion.

I have to give August Underground’s Penance a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

August Underground's Penance (2007)Director: Fred Vogel; Writers: Allen Peters (characters), Fred Vogel (characters), Cristie Whiles (as Cristie ‘Crusty’ Whiles), Fred Vogel; Stars: Cristie Whiles, Fred Vogel, Shelby Lyn Vogel; Rating: Unrated; Run Time: 84 min; Genre: Horror; Language: English; Year: 2007



Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Fear Town, USA (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Fear Town, USA (2014)

I have a hard time trusting anything associated with Lloyd Kaufman or Troma Films since most are pure dreck. The ones that do succeed though are usually quite entertaining and have a certain trashy charm to them, and Fear Town, USA is one of the most entertaining Troma films that I’ve seen in quite a while.

Feartown, USA (2014) posterFear Town, USA. doesn’t have much to do with fear nor is there even really a town, but it does take place in the USA, so I guess that part of the title is accurate. The story doesn’t really center around any particular character. Instead, it covers a whole slew of stories that all drift and meander into and out of each other. There’s an escaped lunatic, a group of RPG playing “nerds” (who are probably the hunkiest guys in the movie) looking for some action, a girl with a ghostly secret, an obscure cult, a descendant of St. Blevins (You’ll learn more about St, Blevins and the ludicrous reason that they celebrate a day in his honor.) who happens to be hosting a St, Blevins day party, a group that was disinvited to the party, a woman looking for her blind date, an inept cop, a feuding couple, the Devil himself (You know your movie is slightly off the rails when the actual Devil is a secondary character), and a few other subplots that are never really resolved.

The acting is on par with most other Troma films, suffice to say, not very good, but better than some. The humor is lowbrow stoner humor, but well done for that sort of thing. A lot of the subplots and secondary stories are never wrapped up, but that doesn’t really detract from the overall experience simply because the ending is pure lunacy that I can almost guarantee you won’t see coming.

If you like Troma Films, you’ll probably love this one. If you don’t like Troma Films, but enjoy ridiculous humor, you’ll probably enjoy this. If you want a serious attempt at horror or sophisticated humor, you’d be better off looking someplace else.

Posted by Richard Francis in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Back Woods (2001) and Back Woods 2 (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Back Woods (2001) and Back Woods 2 (2015)

My ‘trip’ to the Back Woods

The Underground Classic You’ve Probably Never Heard of…
But Should’ve

I am willing to bet a large percent of you have never even heard of the underground film entitled Back Woods — made with love and no money by a group of young people and released in 2001. I personally came to know this movie by finding it on eBay, and being a lover of the weird dime store oddities, I took a chance and bought a copy (which David later told me was a bootleg to my shock and embarrassment). Back Woods tells the simple and twisted story of Luther (David Hayes), a baby born fully grown with a beard. All is fine and dandy until Mama is killed in a hit and run by a bunch of reckless teens. Now Luther, guided by a woods spirit named Mangina (Joseph Patrick Buck), goes on a killing spree, making the teens pay the ultimate price. Even as the film’s unofficial #1 fan, I can admit it’s not a good movie by any means. But I am sure nobody making this thought they were making an epic. So, yeah, when I watch it, I see the flaws, but I also find it genuinely humorous, and it seems like everybody is having a blast making this ridiculous movie. At a scant runtime, the filmmakers throw enough sleaze, raunchy humor and blood to keep the whole demented family glued. Of course, David cross-dressing and dancing around covered in fake blood makes for good wholesome fun. After my first viddy, I was a fan. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid and was praying to Mangina to smite my enemies.

Fun little trivia: I actually bought a screen used prop from it – which is either really awesome or sad depending on who you ask.

I got to know its star David Hayes, who is an extremely smart man who teaches and has a series of books under his belt despite looking like a redneck butcher. His acting credits include Bloody Bloody Bible Camp (which is a film that NEEDS to be seen by everybody), Werewolves in Heat, and Blown, the tender love story about a killer blow-up doll. When I asked David about a part 2 I got a firm hell no, but I still held out hope. To my delight, I got a message one day asking if I wanted to see a sequel that was filmed a while back but never released. Of course I jumped at the chance, and I was not disappointed. From the opening, Back Woods 2 takes a meta approach and, of course, has a lot of fun ripping on the first film. But it wisely doesn’t simply remake the first film, introducing a host of new characters and situations. In fact, part 2 can almost stand on its own. Like the first film, however, it retains its sick demented charms and throws plenty of blood and some nudity (mostly David’s ass) at viewers. A redneck cannibal Lego man and a porn star with daddy issues are just some of the insane treats viewers have in store for them.

Back Woods 2 (2015)

It’s a really exciting time for people who haven’t seen the original Back Woods as both part one and the sequel are being re-released in one set. With that said, I really hope this finds a loyal following. And who knows… It could be as widely loved as Plan 9 from Outer Space, Troll 2, and The Room.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 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
Winner – Funko Pop Leatherface Autographed by John “Grandpa” Dugan

Winner – Funko Pop Leatherface Autographed by John “Grandpa” Dugan

We Have A Winner!

House of Tortured Souls would like to congratulate YouTube subscriber JackChap1, the lucky winner of our contest. Up for grabs was a Leatherface Funko Pop autographed by Grandpa himself, John Dugan, who was kind enough to record this contest announcement for us:

Watch the winning announcement below:

House of Tortured Souls wants to thank all of our subscribers. Keep spreading the good horror word, and keep your eyes out for more fun contests and awesome videos.

JackChap1 - Winner Funko Pop Leatherface Autographed by John "Grandpa" Dugan

Congratulations, JackChap1!

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in CONTESTS, EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, 0 comments
The Horror Equity Fund

The Horror Equity Fund

Hello everyone! Horrormadam here wanting to introduce you to our new advertisers that have the greatest horror opportunity. I know it is really great when you see that one of your favorite actors is trying to get funding for his or her new movie, and you give them some money through a pledge system and they, in turn, will give you a tee shirt or some other token of their gratitude. The Horror Equity Fund (HEF) will actually let you invest and get a piece of the movie! Before I tell you more about them, take a look at what Sean Patrick Flannery (The Boondock Saints, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter) and Bill Oberst Jr. (Scary or Die and the highly anticipated Death House) had to say:

Horror Equity Fund was born of the necessity for a central place for professionals, fans, and investors to meet, offer services, find opportunities, discover content, and find funding for horror-centric projects. HEF is not a production company, but it offers investors, through direct investment into HEF, the opportunity, knowledge, and ability to participate and profit in this previously inaccessible world of entertainment. Projects include films, video games, AR/VR, live action entertainment, transmedia projects, board and card games, books, toys and other horror-centric entertainment properties.

Like I was telling you, readers, you actually get to invest in horror films not just watch them! Horror Equity Fund brings together the best forces that are needed to fund, create, market, and distribute all projects related to the profitable world of horror. Unlike those platforms that solicit donations or contributions in return for a poster, a broken download, or a pat on the back, projects presented through HEF offer real ownership, royalties, or profit participation. HEF melds the old with the new, as industry-savvy professionals guide the process of efficiently securing funds while keeping visions intact and costs as low as possible.

Projects are submitted for consideration through crowdsourcing on the Federation of Horror, or through professionally vetted sources (agents, managers, script contest winners etc…) What is the Federation of Horror you may ask. The Federation of Horror will gather fans, investors, and content creators in one centralized location. This aggregation will allow them to bring all kinds of horror/thriller related entertainment to the fans and allow the public to partake in the single highest ROI(return on investment)segment in entertainment.

I have always loved horror; it has been the major motivator in my life. One thing I did not know until I met the Horror Equity Fund is that since 2010, the Top Films Based on ROI Have ALL BEEN HORROR! So all of those people who thought I was weird or a little off for liking horror are now seeing what I saw: Horror is one of the greatest genres and the horror community is huge and welcoming! So to have a company like the Horror Equity Fund to invest in means the world to me, and I hope it will for you also. I want to especially thank Marlon Schulman, founder and CEO, and Brian Herskowitz, CCO, for joining the House of Tortured Souls in our pursuit of all things HORROR!

Please make sure to check out their two new projects Star Leaf — Hikers find a secret grove of extra-terrestrial marijuana growing in the Olympic Mountains, and must fight for their lives when they anger the other-worldly forces protecting the plants. And ZBurbs – A Zom-com about the triumph of love trapped in a Zombie apocalypse/government conspiracy that infects one suburban tract home, possibly right next door. “If you were dinner you’d be home by now.”

Posted by Horrormadam in EDITORIALS, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

GAME REVIEW: Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

First Impressions
Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

After spending around 6-7 hours on Friday the 13: The Game this weekend, I feel comfortable giving my initial thoughts. First, when you begin playing, you’re rather limited and begin with the Jason from the third film and you have five camp counselors to choose from. Including Chad Kensington, Jenny Myers, and Kenny Riedell. As you play the game you acquire experience points and level up, the leveling system is what unlocks other Jasons and camp counselors for you. In addition, you earn customization points (CP) that allow you to buy new grapple kills for Jason or perks for the counselors. I was very happy starting out that I got to select a couple of kills for Jason that included ripping someone’s head off with your bare hands, choking someone to death, and, of course, one of the many weapons kills as well. Each Jason has a weapon specifically chosen from whichever part of the franchise that your Jason comes from. So for Part 3, you get Jason’s trusty ax as well as his signature hockey mask that made its first appearance in Part 3. One of Jason’s signature kills with his ax is what I chose starting out – the crotch chop. If you get your hands on a counselor, you get to throw them down and take the ax to the crotch region a handful of times in a rather brutal manner.

Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

For my first Friday the 13: The Game match, I decided to play offline so that I would get to play as Jason without worrying that some other person would be chosen as the beloved killer. Each match begins with a cinematic of Jason coming up behind the counselors as they have a party, and Jason slaughters one of them. Then, the player gets to place himself or herself in the shoes of Jason to slaughter the seven remaining counselors as you see fit. All seven maps play out rather similarly with the premise being that as Jason you slaughter the counselors, and as a counselor, you are trying to survive and escape Jason. Of course, if you’re audacious enough (or crazy as fuck) you can attempt to kill Jason, who I quickly noticed is exactly how he is in the films, a goddamn tank. Flare guns to the face, shotgun shells to the face, and even pocketknives to the neck when a counselor escapes are just a handful of the sort of punishment that Jason undergoes and shakes off without much of a grunt.

From my experiences so far on- and offline, Jason has the upper hand in every confrontation unless the counselors are coordinated and teamed up to defeat him. Granted, every time I have played as a counselor, cooperation amongst players, especially online, is rather lacking at points because after seeing Jason slaughter the first counselor, all you want to do is run like hell and hope you can get a car or boat working to get away from whoever is playing as the sadistic bastard (offline you only have the choice of playing as Jason, but I will address that at some other point).

Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

So far, I have been thoroughly pleased with the gameplay and the intensity that the game provides as a homage to Friday the 13th. The music comes completely from the films with some of the more intense pieces, which start up when you play a counselor and Jason is close to you. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that playing as Jason made the little sadist in me jump with joy. And as a fan of the series, I couldn’t be happier with Friday the 13: The Game because they had Kane Hodder do the motion capture for the kills.

Friday the 13th: The Game (2017)

Posted by Spencer Evatt in GAME REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: 10/31 (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: 10/31 (2017)

Some time back, actor/musician/producer/writer and now director Rocky Gray sent me a press release for a film he was working on called 10/31, he told me to always keep tabs with on it, because as he said, “I think you’re really gonna like it!” So for the past what seems to be eons now of awaited anticipation…and yes, bothering the hell outta Rocky (sorry bro, lol!), he sends me a screener of the film.

10/31

10/31 is an Indie horror anthology film that runs about 135 minutes and is pure enjoyment! First, as many of you know, I love Halloween- based movies. I mean I am a sucker for them! But that’s not to say that there hasn’t been a share of them that I also thought were pieces of shit! This, however, is not one of them!

10/31 is opened by the lovely and talented Jennifer Nangle who plays Malvolia the Queen of Screams, a horror host on a TV in a home on Halloween night, who sets you off on your journey of dark and twisted tales of Halloween.

10/31

This anthology film is full of horrific stories of terror brought to you by some of the newest and up and coming talent and features segments were directed by Brett Dejager – “Halloween Blizzard of ’91”, Rocky Gray – “The Samhain Slasher”, Zane Hershberger – “Trespassers”, John William Holt – “Killing the Dance”, Hunter Johnson – “Malvolia the Scream Queen”, and Justin M. Seaman (yes, who you all just recently saw on our live video podcast!) – “The Old Hag”.

Each story is different, original, and yet horrifying in their own ways, from stories of haunted homes, property owners, a new meaning of roller disco, and even Samhain!

The collaboration of these talented filmmakers really shines in this film. Each of them truly showing their own passion and twisted images of Halloween horror. Brought to life by some great acting which includes Jordan Phipps (Close Calls), Katie Wagrave (Bonejangles), Cindy Maples (Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories) and Chad Burns (Stargazer) to name just a few.

The amount of support and backing in the production, I must say, is very impressive with 20 producers on the film, some of them being a few of the segment directors as well as a handful of others including Nick Ford, Kirby Gocke, and P.J. Starks.

Was waiting for this release of 10/31 a pain in the ass? YES!! Was waiting for 10/31 worth the wait? HELL YES!!

10/31 is a fun, yet horrific downward spiral of tales darkness and horror of Halloween at is best!

Rocky, congrats my friend! 10/31, Rocky Gray

Keep it Evil!

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Insidious Chapter 4 (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Insidious Chapter 4 (2018)

Whenever we see the name James Wan appear, we already know that we are in for a special treat, considering that Mr. Wan makes quality flicks. Everything from Saw (2004) to the highly anticipated Aquaman heading to cinemas December 21, 2018. So, when a third sequel to the Insidious franchise was announced last year, hopes already started to rise sky high.

Writer Leigh Whannell, who wrote and co-starred in all the Insidious films takes us on yet, another dark trip into the further, and it was a lot of fun.

We open in New Mexico, 1953 and we are introduced to a young Elise Ranier (Ava Kolker) and her family. Her mother accepts the fact that she has an ultra-rare gift and can communicate with the dead, whilst her father seems to have a hard time and doesn’t believe in her ghosts stories, so he punishes her severely over and over again. This causes her to leave home to make a fresh start for herself and continue her life with her gift by becoming a paranormal investigator and solving undead puzzles.

One afternoon she receives a phone call from the property she once lived at and decides that she has to return home to face her fears and try to stop the ongoing evil that has been haunting the house for years. Oh, and we can’t forget about her two assistants, Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), who both deliver quick quirky one-liners that cause the audience to burst out with laughter ever so often. When Elise and her duo pals arrive, she already knows that the house is full of spirits and that’s when the heart-pounding moments being to increase heavily and they don’t stop until the last frame of the film.

Even though this is a prequel, there is a lot of fun to be had while watching this film. Lin Shaye is once again superb and it shows the very second she is in frame. You can tell that she put her blood, sweat, tears, and heartbeats into her character and also had fun doing so. Lin Shaye was most definitely the best part of the entire movie. I had more fun watching her act throughout the film then the film trying to make me jump and spill my popcorn.

With that being said, the film has some minor flaws and pacing issues here and there, but we are introduced to a new form of evil and he’s pretty bad ass to look at.

Insidious: The Last Key may not take home any awards or be the best horror film of the year, it certainly won’t be the worst. Insidious: The Last Key was what I expected, a dark adventure into the further with jump scares, funny moments, cool looking creatures and most importantly, the amazing Lin Shaye.

Do yourself a favor and checkout Insidious: The Last Key before it leaves cinemas.

Posted by Jonathan Hughes in Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) Trailer Release!

Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) Trailer Release!

Horrormadam here with the exciting release of the highly anticipated new trailer for Strangers: Prey at Night!

Strangers 2 Official Poster

Strangers: Prey at Night is the new upcoming film sequel to the highly successful The Strangers (2008) starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. So it has been 10 years coming and everyone is anxious to see what The Man in the Mask, Dollface, and Pin-up Girl have been up to. This time around we have a family on a road trip who end up at a sequestered mobile home park to visit family when they find it deserted. In the darkness and desolation surrounding them, they are visited by three psychopaths who will push them to the very limits of their sanity and make them fight for their lives.

The film’s release date is March 9, 2018, and this one is directed by Johannes Roberts of 47 Meters Down and Storage 24. The original screenplay was written by Bryan Bertino who directed and wrote the original The Strangers. The film’s screenplay itself was written by Ben Ketai who did Beneath and The Forrest.

The film stars Christina Hendricks from Mad Men and The Neon Demon, Bailee Madison from Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Bridge To Terabithia, Martin Henderson from The Ring and Smokin’ Aces. My favorite parts of the movie will be played by Damian Maffei as The Man in the Mask, Emma Bellomy as Dollface and Lea Enslin as Pin-up Girl!

So get excited everyone, enjoy the trailer, get ready to be scared out of your wits and always remember: Never Underestimate The Kindness of Strangers!

Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, EDITORIALS, EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, 0 comments
Horror Remakes: Why They Are Not Bad

Horror Remakes: Why They Are Not Bad

Something that weighs on the minds of horror fans every time an announcement of a new movie is coming out, and that one thing is “Will this be a remake”? Now the words reboot, remake, re-imaging, or whatever the wordage may be. These are things that no one likes to hear when you’re a “True” horror fan; however, what makes you a true horror fan? Is it the way we view horror as an art form? Is it the attitude we take towards Michael Bay? Is it the "Robert Englund is the only Freddy" stance? Let’s take a trip through time and explain how re-visioning is how it all started and all the “elite” are not justified in their constant complaining of reboots. Yes, you can have an opinion, but you’re not always right. The fact of the matter is; none of us are right, it’s all perspective of our interests. So allow me if you will, to explain why remakes are essential and going to happen despite all the elitist’s basement dwellers best efforts and internet trolling to stop them.

Nosferatu (1922) / Fair use doctrine.The dawn of the horror age in movies was met with films such as Nosferatu and Phantom of the Opera, both of which were movie adaptations of tThe Phantom of the Opera (1925) / Fair use doctrine.he written word. I’m sure someone in 1929 set in their smoke-filled basement and stated via telegraph “Universal Studios. Stop. The books were better. Stop. Sincerely, Guy you’ll never see.” Then the 1930s come and bring us the Universal Monster films. Again, this was more than likely met with flak from people who read Dracula and Frankenstein and wondered why the movies were nothing like the books. Well, this is considered a re-imaging to adapt to film. Same idea, just a new perspective.

Horror of Dracula (1958) / Fair use doctrine.Throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s all the monsters we loved were re-imagined again in different forms, stories etc. Christopher Lee made Dracula famous again, Peter Cushing put a new twist on the Van Helsing character. We could carry this on but you get the idea. Were these movies met with disgruntled fans of the original Monster movies? Of course, however people of today still give love to Christopher Lee as a horror icon and why? HE WAS IN A REVISION OF FUCKING DRACULA! That is why. These same people complaining about the slasher remakes that were made famous in the 1980’s are the same that have not only the Universal Monsters box set, but the Hammer set right next to it. Have we learned a lesson in horror yet?

Probably not, or you’re looking at your collection thinking it’s a different scenario. It is not, it’s the same concept.

A Nightmare on Elm Street / Fair use doctrine.The slasher and horror remakes of today are no different than those of yesteryear. The remake is essentially laziness on Hollywood running out of ideas but what’s really going on is. They’re burrowing for ideas and then it hits them “Oh, man ya know if I were to make Nightmare on Elm Street, I’d add some backstory it would really help explain a lot of the movie that didn’t make any sense at all in the original”. Well look at that, that’s what, happened. Made more sense and got the story across with a more realistic burned person with boils and all that and not a cheeseless pizza. Not to mention, something that hits the scene “The new Freddy wasn’t funny”. No he wasn’t, and NEITHER WAS THE ORIGINAL! Also “His voice is too deep and creepy.” Ok..um..Horror..mov…ie. Now with that said also, homeboy was burnt up in a fire, his vocal chords probably were soot covered and damaged. I’m sure the writers would issue an apology for realism, but if I were them. I wouldn’t. So, with that said. Let’s take a peek at some other remakes.

Michael BayI’ve read a billion reviews on each, and seeing that Michael Bay was a part of most of them the common thing people say is “Michael Bay sucks, he just blows stuff up.” Ok. Shut up. Without saying that line that EV.ER.Y.ONE says, tell me why Michael Bay sucks. I’ll wait. His movies even Bad Boys were good movies, Transformers was good, as were the Ninja Turtles Movies. Sooo, there’s no justification when everyone says the one thing that does not matter at all on his remakes. I and some of my peers even that I’ve discussed this with have never heard any other reason for Michael Bay to be considered a bad movie maker other than “he blows stuff up”. Which again is all anyone says.

Clancy Brown, Sean Penn, and Robert Lee Rush in Bad Boys (1983) / Fair use doctrine.

Clancy Brown, Sean Penn, and Robert Lee Rush in Bad Boys (1983)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) / Fair use doctrine.Texas Chainsaw Massacre: This movie remake was by far the best of them all. It was not only a very well told story, it took out the cheese of the 70s and added a LOT more gore for today’s horror aficionado. It for sure added a lot better of a factor of scare and realism. There was literally nothing wrong with this movie. If you went into it thinking “the original was better” you’re insane because the original lacked in so many ways in comparison. For the time the original was made, yes it was brutal. Someone saw an idea later, and with less restriction, so they made a movie that should have been made in 1970 whatever.
Halloween (2007) / Fair use doctrine.Halloween/H2: Say what you will about Rob Zombie, his movies went from TCM loosely based films, to the remakes of Halloween and Halloween 2, then the not so great films of Lords of Salem and 31, so yes, his originals lack heavily in my opinion, others here love them, but hey we are still friends and it’s no big deal. However, here’s what’s up with Halloween. I hated Halloween by John Carpenter. Halloween II (2009) / Fair use doctrine.That’s right, I dare say such a thing. It was a boring ass movie. No story, just a lot of “oh there’s a guy and now he’s gone.” Rob Zombie added a lot of backstory, a reason for Michael to be the way he is which made a ton more sense to the movie. The rest are pretty much the same as the original except for bloody gore fests right from the beginning. Again, making it far better than the original ever was. Halloween 2 was just bloody which made it fun, other than that it was kind of like a bad dream the whole time. Rob Zombie, really did a bang-up job with his RE-VISION of Halloween probably the best there ever were or ever will be.
Friday the 13th (2009) / Fair use doctrine.Friday the 13th: This film was great, it wrapped the first 7 movies into one. Did we need 45 sequels before? Nope, not at all. So, this summed them all up awesomely. So, this remake was on point with the rest, gave the backstory briefly, burned through 1 and 2…3…4…5. 6..7 in like 2 hours. Killed a ton of people hilariously and boom. Done. This is what made the movie a great rendition to the Slasher remake series. Got to the point, showed some titties, and lots of senseless killing. Without having 8 sequels for no good reason.
Poltergeist (2015) / Fair use doctrine.Poltergeist: Sucked as a movie not because it’s a remake. It was just awful even as a standalone movie. It was, just no.
Evil Dead (2013) / Fair use doctrine.Evil Dead: Seriously, a fantastically remade movie, and it’s undeniable that this movie had some great storyline, the graphics were classic and disgusting. The blood, my lord Vincent Price, the blood was something to be glorious about. If you didn’t like this movie at all, then just take yo’ self out of horror fandom and go to the kiddie booth where you belong.
Bill Skarsgård and Jackson Robert Scott in It (2017) / Fair use doctrine.Okay, we’ll skip a few and move on to IT. With IT being released a lot of folks have stated it looks like crap. What the fuck movie are you watching? Because it was damn good, although the original was the original and Tim Curry blah blah blah. A true-blue horror fan will watch both back to back and be like “Ok the original was fairly boring and far too hokey”. The remake already is instilling pure terror into people. JUST FROM THE TRAILER! which was like “Fuck..this…shit..wow.” Who cares if Tim Curry or John Boy Walton aren’t in it. Who cares if it’s not made for TV and released on 4 VHS tapes. It is a great film, I wasn’t surprised it was great, I was surprised it was hilarious as well as scary.

Like it or not the remakes will continue as people sit around digging up ideas and say “I’d do this differently.” We can’t stop them, we don’t have to watch them. Over the years, I have seen only four remakes not worth a damn and honestly I’ve seen a lot that were really bad so bad I can’t remember them but the movies right off hand I’m speaking of: Poltergeist, Hellraiser, House of Wax and Carnival of Souls. Every other remake has been stupid good, more graphic, more story and a lot better than the original. A Little tidbit to add to this, Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 *ahem* SAME FUCKING MOVIE! Yes, that’s right same damn movie, can you believe that people say they’re not? Then complain about the remake that was recently made. Look at yourself and wonder why you’re this type of person. Also My Soul to Take Nightmare on Elm Street revision BY WES CRAVEN. If you as a fan paid any amount of attention to Wes Craven’s reasoning and creation of Freddy Krueger you would know that My Soul To Take is taken straight from those interviews, straight from his mind.

So before judging the movie before it comes out. Realize you’re one person with an opinion. Watch the movie as a standalone film and let it fill your heart with joy. We are all horror fans. We all have preferences, and we all have the love of the genre. Dissing on remakes is counterproductive and hypocritical when you have a Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee posters right next to each other. Vincent Price with the black cat and other Poe stories. I dare anyone to say he didn’t breathe new life into Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. So, all of us can climb off our high horses now and enjoy these damn movies that are more awesome than before. Then in 20 years talk shit about people remaking Insidious and The Conjuring.

Posted by Schock in EDITORIALS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW:  Fun Size Horror: Volume One (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Fun Size Horror: Volume One (2015)

Fun Size Horror: Volume One-poster / Fair use doctrine.
We watch a lot of movies. Like, tons of them. Like, so many that a lot of my friends and family think I might have a problem. I don’t think I have a problem. I think they’re just jealous that I can sit around all day watching movies and stuffing my large, misshapen face with Twinkies while they waste their time doing tedious stuff like “work” and “taking care of their families” and “basic personal hygiene”.

So, it goes without saying that we watch a lot of shorts and anthologies around here. Mostly because we have short attention spans, and if one of the stories sucks, we’ve only wasted a few minutes as opposed to an hour and a half. Fun Size Horror: Volume One is exactly the kind of thing that we love around here. Twenty-one shorts with no central theme and in no particular order. A virtual grab bag of different types of horror, covering pretty much every genre of the horror field.

Most of the stories are solid, and a few are outstanding examples of the art it takes to tell a compelling and interesting story in only a few minutes. There are a few duds, but the ones that succeed more than make up for the ones that are lacking. And with pretty much all but one clocking in at five minutes or less, it’s no big loss for the ones that you don’t enjoy.

A lot contain dark humor or have darkly comic overtones. Or maybe they don’t. I chuckled a few times, but that might be more of a comment on my severely damaged sense of humor than it is on the content of what I was watching.

I’m not going to get into each individual story, but I will say that “Mr. Hendrix” and “The Creepy F*cking Kid in Apartment B” are the two best shorts in my opinion. And if nothing else, those two alone are worth checking out Fun Size Horror: Volume One.

Posted by Richard Francis in ANTHOLOGY, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 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
Argyle Goolsby-Darken Your Door Step

Argyle Goolsby-Darken Your Door Step

The long awaited Argyle Goolsby album “Darken Your Door Step” Record hits the streets and we are all welcomed by something hard hitting and very much not what I personally expected.
I’ve known Mr. Goolsby for many years of my life, like 16 years to be exact, and always admired his ability to transition between genres. Since the disbanding of Blitzkid, a celebrated band in the scene that really paved way for the hardworking horror punk scene it’s plain to see that Gools hasn’t lost his mastery. This is a very versatile musician and he truly knows his way around any genre from 50’s croon style to thrash metal, and heavy hitting punk rock. His name is a staple in the horror punk community. The release of this album was a showcase to what he is actually capable of.

What I expected honestly was something more digital/synthesized and maybe almost slower and on the death rock side. Not sure why, but that’s what I expected and not at all what I was handed with this record. However what I did expect were songs about movies. Of which is a common thing in the horror punk genre, it’s rare if there is ever a song that isn’t titled or reference to a horror movie somewhere in it.

The opening is a bit confusing, but what intro isn’t? A number called “Midnight Approaches”. Then we get into “The Uninvited” right from the get go it’s heavy, fast and makes you start bobbin’ your head, and you know you want to fist pump in a live environment, odds are you’re doing it while cruisin’ in your car. Slide this right into “Ghost Light Waltz” another banger, that is straight to the point and punk as it gets. Listening to the lyrics, you can automatically tell what movie it’s about (Carnival of Souls). I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just predictable in most of the horror punk world.

I won’t do a track by track analysis you can do that yourself. It’s a pretty solid record, with a lot of catchy songs and they all go together so well that I listened to it 3x in a row and didn’t even realize it. Some say that’s bad, some say that’s good. I personally enjoy an album that can go and go and go. Because you know it’s decent album and the catchy demeanor of it keeps you there no matter how many times you listen to it consecutively. With all this said, check out the record it’s well worth it, and Goolsby showed that he is unstoppable and will carry on his own musical endeavors from the ashes of Blitzkid and keep doing what he’s doing. No matter what though it cannot be denied that this is a solid horror punk record.

Argyle Goolsby official site
Argyle Goolsby-Darken Your Door Step Full Album

Posted by Schock in MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

CONCERT REVIEW: GHOUL/GWAR RAMS HEAD LIVE 10/26/17

GWAR has been one of my favorite bands for the past 30 years now. Known for playing on or around Halloween in Baltimore I took every opportunity to grab some passes to see them now that I’m back in Maryland after many years of being gone from the area. Rams Head Live in Baltimore was the venue on this Thursday night. A good sized club always brings in big acts and is a pretty cool venue with pretty much not a bad seat( all general admission) in the place. GWAR is one band that to see live is one that I would HAVE to cover for a story. My wife Steff had never seen GWAR before, that alone was almost reason enough to go.

By the time we got there GHOUL was just about to go on stage. GHOUL is a fun mix of GWAR, MENTORS, MISFITS with a touch of MOTORHEAD! Keeping in touch with the Halloween spirit with a horror punk sound. I don’t think Gwar could have found a better band to hit the road with. Both lyrically and their stage presence oozes horror. As for starters, if your not familiar with GHOUL, they all wear burlap sack, masks with bloody mouths, have stage actors that they behead and spray blood out on to the crowd and sing of death and graveyards while they have the look of just committed a nasty home invasion. GHOUL ARE  FUCKING AWESOME!! What a great live act and a great bunch of guys as I was fortunate enough to have run into a few of them after the show.

                                           

Finally,…after a bit of a wait from what seemed to have been some technical issues, GWAR makes their way to the stage. By this time the crowd had started to fill up, sadly it wasn’t to overly packed, but then again it was a Thursday ….and the general age of the crowd…well, we aren’t as young as we once were. GWAR come out on stage and its always something new, every tour. The stage show is creative, overwhelming at times, oh..and bloody violent. Kind of makes you feel like your mixing a Lloyd Kaufman film to shock rock extreme music, in one live nightmare!

This was my first time having seen GWAR since the passing of the late great ODERUS URUNGUS, it was hard waiting to hear some of the old classics, and yet only one was done, Black and Huge. It was actually kind of nice that the band left it alone. Regardless, the stage show over the top as always, and for the club only charging $20.00 tickets, makes you wonder how these guys are making a penny because they really do put a lot into it!

Of course, they always touch on a few big media items such as government and religion, that the boys are always more than welcome to slay and befoul on stage and spray gallons of blood and other bodily fluids on to the audience. From a decapitated priest to Blothar ejaculating on the crowd, it was a wet floor, to say the least!

   

 

It was the same day as the show that the heart-wrenching news surfaced about guitarist Michael Derks, best known to the world as Balsac the Jaws of Death. I had noticed from the get go that he wasn’t on stage. So, just kind of assumed that with the recent medical news that maybe he had decided to take the rest of the tour off…I was wrong. It must have been the third song that Balsac made his stage presence, and what a crowd response he was given, and seemed as if he really played his heart out that night.

                                                      
GWAR played for over an hour and a half. For these aging gentlemen, those costumes, props, lighting, stage theatrics and pure energy, I’ve got to give them credit cause most of the people in the crowd were winded. The last song came around, and how suiting, it was a cover of AC/DC’s If You Want Blood. Not only did they do a great job of the song, they also did a great job of making a complete mess of the venue and everyone that was in it! If you were one of the fortunate ones who hadn’t got spewed or gutted on, you were about to! I honestly don’t think there was a dry place in the club by the end of the song.

As I mentioned earlier, my wife had never seen GWAR before. When they came on stage she and I got split up, I went up to the stage to take photo’s and she went front and center stage in the crowd with old friend of mine who catches them every time they roll into town with his daughter no less. So the band exited the stage, house lights came on, ..and they were, the three of them, all blue and red and I do mean from head to toe soaked in stage spray! The smile on my wife’s face was priceless, she had been GWAR’d!!

GHOUL and GWAR thank you both for the passes and thank you both for such a great show, you guys are the goods!!

Visit Gwar on their website and see all the great things you’ve been missing: Gwar-Official Site of the Gods also check out the almighty and amazing GHOUL on their official site..I’m telling you this band is something to look out for. Ghoul-Official site!

                                                                    
Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in EVENT REVIEWS, MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

INTERVIEW: Death House (2018) Director Harrison Smith

“The Only Way Out… Is Down”

I had the great privilege of interviewing the superb director Harrison Smith on his newest film Death House. Before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about the film.

Death House poster.There is a Fed-Max subterranean government prison that holds humanities worst criminals known as the Death House. It serves as a medical, psychological, and parapsychological research center aimed at eradicating evil. Two federal agents are granted a tour of the center. While on the tour, the unthinkable happens. There is a power outage that releases all of the prisoners, and the agents must fight their way through all of the horror and violence to try to survive. They soon discover that they are being herded down to the lowest depths of the facility. In those depths are a group of supernatural evil beings known as The Five Evils and they may be the agents’ only chance at salvation.

Cody Longo in Death House.

Cody Longo in Death House.

The movie sounds and looks amazing but before I go on I just wanted to say that the media and many articles have labeled the movie, “The Horror Movie genre of The Expendables“. I have to disagree with that. If it were The Expendables we would have a movie with Freddy vs Jason vs Michael vs et. al. Which, to some, may sound interesting but it would lack any substance. The stars in this movie are so much more than their individual roles that they have portrayed, they are true actors who excel at their craft. Let me tell you some of them:

  • Adrienne Barbeau: Escape From N.Y., Creepshow, Swamp Thing, The Fog
  • Kane Hodder: Jason Voorhees in some of the Friday the 13th films and Victor Crowley from The Hatchet films
  • Dee Wallace: The Howling, Cujo, The Frighteners
  • Michael Berryman: The Hills Have Eyes, The Devils Rejects
  • Barbara Crampton: Re-Animator, From Beyond, You’re Next
  • Sid Haig: The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses, Kill Bill
  • Tony Todd: Candyman, Hatchet, Final Destination
  • Bill Moseley: The Devils Rejects, Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Vernon Wells: The Road Warrior, Weird Science
  • Lindsay Hartley: Nightmare Nurse
  • Cody Longo: Piranha 3D, Nashville
  • Cortney Palm: The Dark Tapes
  • Felissa Rose: Sleepaway Camp
  • Vincent Ward: The Walking Dead

Whew, that is a LOT of talent in one film!

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA.

Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, PA. The place had a built-in horror film setting, full of dark history and eerie vibes. It really acts as a functioning character in the film.

IMDb provided a great quote:

This is a solid horror piece, dark, nasty and gore-soaked; not satire or tongue in cheek.

And like Harrison told me, he was writing in a local bar when the ad for Jurassic World came on and it hit him that this movie was “Assault on Precinct 13 meets Jurassic World without the dinosaurs”. So… great actors along with an exciting script and skilled direction. Then throw in stupefying makeup and effects by the Roy Knyrim (Sinister 2) and SOTA FX, and a soundtrack by John Avarese that sets the perfect ambiance. We will finally get what we paid for at the box office!

Death House - Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Death House – Cody Longo and Dee Wallace on set at Holmesburg Prison.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

Cortney Palm in Death House.

House of Tortured Souls: My first question for Harrison was why the horror genre?
Harrison Smith: My first film, The Fields, was based on what really happened to me when I lived and grew up with my grandparents on their farm. The farm came under attack for a short period of time by an unseen presence. We never understood what caused it and we never understood what ended it, so I had personal experience. But also my grandmother and I used to watch horror movies and the old horror TV show Dr. Shock who hosted Saturday morning shows like Scream-In, Horror Theater, and Mad Theater. The movies were captivating. I loved finding out there was a sequel to Frankenstein and that he didn’t die in the burning windmill. There were more like Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man that continued on the story of Lon Chaney. Like when they killed Lon Chaney in the original Wolfman I was like, “Why? He was a nice man, he didn’t want to be The Wolf Man“. I loved it. They were like Saturday morning soap operas. I loved them as a kid, but that time is gone. That is why I like Tom Holland’s Fright Night. I was watching in the summer of ’85 and knew it was a Valentine to an era that was quickly fading and disappearing. At that time, the threat was coming from cable television and the home video revolution, so Peter Vincent was this aging icon of an era long gone trying to stay relevant. Tom Holland got it, and Fright Night works on many levels. So horror movies, for me, were a real escape from the actually really scary shit that happened to me.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

Kane Hodder in Death House. Set piece by PCND/fx.

HoTS: Then I asked him about the abundance of horror movies and shows seem to be throwing back to the ’80s. Movies like It Follows and The House of the Devil and shows like Stranger Things all reflect that age in horror, and Death House has many actors from that era. Why do you think it is a niche we all still enjoy?

Dee Wallace in Death House.

Dee Wallace in Death House.

HS: Director and actor Eli Roth said that the have-sex-and-die concept behind many of the ’80s slasher films was not as relevant today because millennials look at it and don’t get it. There was a study reported by the L.A. Times in an article by Melissa Batchelor Warnke saying that the millennial generation is the least sexually active, so that concept does not translate well. But at the time when Friday the 13th came around, it was a perfect storm of both liberal and conservative values. We had a very conservative administration with Reagan and yet, at the same time, we were known as the party generation. It was a weird flux of things coming together. So Friday the 13th had fun and parties with lots of boobs and tons of gore but with a moral lesson. See what happens when you fuck in the woods? Jason was like a walking STD. So the ’80s made us nostalgic for the ’50s, and now we look back to the ’80s. We are nostalgic for when we grew up. That is why, when making Death House, we always remembered that we were handling peoples memories and that is very important. The new generation gets to fall in love with it like we did. And with regards to the actors in Death House, they were all smart enough to choose great directors and projects that were just starting out, and their careers flourished from those collaborations so they are all still relevant today.

Death House - Kane Hodder arriving on set.

Kane Hodder arriving on the Death House set pictured with Harrison (dressed as an extra for the ward scene). The guy over his shoulder is producer Rick Finkelstein.

HoTS: I did some research on Holmesburg Prison, where you decided to film the movie. Some extremely monstrous things went on there. Any ghosts try to break into acting for the film?

HS: No, I did not experience anything myself. There were a few reports of the cameras acting wonky, but it was really cold there which probably contributed to that. The place itself was perfect for the mood though. There is a great book called Acres of Skin: Human Experiments At Holmesberg Prison 1998 by Allen Hornblum that tells all about the medical experiments and tortures that went on inside the prison. It really lent itself to what we were shooting. I remember when they gave us a tour and brought us into the warden’s office where he had his throat slit. Nothing paranormal happened but everyone was in tune with what had happened there. Dee Wallace said that it was sometimes overwhelming knowing that you were walking by cells where so much abject misery and torture had taken place. It is a building built on misery.

Harrison also wanted to make sure and give a shout out to the administration and the City of Philadelphia and especially the Philadelphia Police Department, who were more than gracious and just all-around wonderful people.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

Death House set design by Joshua Reale.

HoTS: My next question for Harrison was, as a director, what directors influence his work?

HS: Growing up, John Carpenter: Halloween, The Thing, They Live and Tommy Lee Wallace: IT, Halloween III, Fright Night II were major influences on me because they were accessible to me. I used to read Fangoria Magazine all the time and got a subscription to it. I used to read and devour the interviews and not just because of the pictures and oh! there making a sequel to Halloween and I want to see the blood and gore. They did an interview with John Carpenter and he talked about how he made movies and about finding a good crew and sticking with them. And I noticed for the first decade of John’s career he used a lot of the same people in front and behind the camera and that really made an impact on me because Carpenter was very much the founder of the guerilla film movement — that you get a camera, you go out there, and you shoot. That’s what you do, and that really inspired me as a filmmaker. I had a Super 8 silent Kodak camera, and I was learning. I was learning from those interviews in Fangoria and got a really strong base of knowledge. So if you look at my catalog of work so far, you will see many of the same faces. And if you read the credits, you will see a lot of the same names return time and time again. I bring them back because it is like putting the band back together, so to speak, which works for me because it becomes like production shorthand. I would also say Tom Holland of Fright Night and Psycho II fame was another influence because Psycho II made a big impact on me because of the script. I think it is one of the greatest sequels ever made and is very underrated. I wanted to hate it, but 30 minutes into the film I just fell in love with it. When it was over I walked out, called my family to let them know I would be late and went in to see it again. My film Camp Dread is a tip of the hat to Tom Holland. It was more like Psycho II than Friday the 13th.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

Barbara Crampton in Death House.

HoTS: What is the theme for Death House?

HS: The whole pretext of Death House is evil is evil and good is good, but do they need each other? Because when you try to eradicate evil you are, at most, canceling out good as well. There is no need for good if there’s no need for evil. Bill Mosely has a great line in the film, “True evil is nothingness”. That is true hell. If we were to remove the Holocaust from history we would need a litmus test. Dee Wallace’s and Barbara Crampton’s characters think what they are doing is good. Look at the Nazis during the Holocaust. They didn’t think what they were doing was evil. Dee is like Nurse Ratched. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest as a social horror film was a snake pit. Louise Fletcher played it so well because there are real nurses like that. That is the banality of evil. How a modicum of power gives rise to abuse of said power. Are The Five Evils in Death House really evil compared to Dee’s character or Nurse Ratched? They aren’t Cenobites they are regular people like you run into in everyday life. How many times in your own life might you have come into contact with real killers? The Five Evils are normal looking people.

Death House - The Five Evils

Death House – The Five Evils: Vincent Ward, Vernon Wells, Bill Moseley, Lindsay Hartley, Michael Berryman.

The original script for Death House was penned by the incredible Gunnar Hansen, who is best known for playing the mentally-impaired cannibal Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Gunnar left us on November 7th, 2015, from pancreatic cancer. His agent, Michael Eisenstadt, brought producers Rick Finkelstein and Steven Chase of Entertainment Factory to the screening of Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard to meet Harrison. Another writer had taken a stab at rewriting the script, but it turned into Texas Chainsaw meets Friday the 13th meets Saw, but that was not what Gunnar wanted. He did not want torture porn but a high concept horror film. Gunnar liked what Harrison did with it, so Harrison finished writing and then directed it. The actors were all there for their friend Gunnar and with Harrison collaborating with Gunnar before his death, I like to think of this as a love letter to an amazing man and actor that we lost too soon.

Gunnar Hansen, 4 March 4, 1947 – 7 November 2015

I was extremely honored to speak with Harrison Smith and pick his brain. To read more on Death House, I have included some links that come straight from the horse’s mouth. Harrison Smith’s Road To Death House articles.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Harrison with stunt coordinator Jaye Greene and his team.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

Sean Whalen and Felissa Rose on the Death House set in LA.

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to see this film. It has already won the audience choice award along with best feature film from the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO). MPAA said it was gritty, claustrophobic and a hell of a lot of fun. Harrison said it is like a roller coaster ride through a funhouse, and Kane Hodder said it was his favorite film he has worked on. So horror fans get ready for the ride of your life!

I have also included a link to a petition if you want Death House to come to a Regal Cinema near you. It is going to major theaters but I would like to see it in all of them.

So, from myself and the family at House of Tortured Souls, thank you again to the great Harrison Smith and everyone involved with Death House! And just remember readers… “Hell isn’t a word…it’s a sentence.”

Death House - Harrison, Yan Birch and Lauren Compton after filming in LA.

Harrison, Yan Birch, and Lauren Compton after filming Death House in LA.

Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Babysitter (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Babysitter (2017)

The Babysitter All Boys Wish For But Shouldn't

Hello, I am the Horror Madam, and I am honored to be joining all of the amazing writers at House of Tortured Souls!
I thought it would be nice to start out here with a lighter horror film to get my feet wet, so I’m going to talk about a new dark comedy horror film called The Babysitter. It is a Netflix original film released this past October 2017, and it is only available on Netflix at this time.
Emily Alyn Lind and Judah Lewis in The Babysitter (2017) / Fair use doctrine.When The Babysitter starts out, it is reminiscent of a John Hughes movie: a nerdy young boy in glasses with a cute girl just waiting for the bus in front of their nice school. You realize quickly that this is not a normal boy going through puberty while pining for the girl next door, and when the girl's father pulls up in his bitchin' mid-life crisis hot rod and gives our young protagonist grief, you start to get curious. But it’s certainly not horrific. Yet.
Next, we see the boy, Cole, played by Judah Lewis (who, according to IMDb was a finalist to play Spider-Man but lost out to Tom Holland), riding home on his bike. Like you would see in any coming of age tale, Cole is harassed by some neighborhood bullies. Unlike other movies of that ilk, Cole is saved by his extremely beautiful babysitter, Bee, played by Austrailian actress Samara Weaving (who appeared in Mayhem and the amazing Ash vs The Evil Dead). You may be asking yourself, where have I heard that last name? Samara is the niece of the very talented Hugo Weaving from such great films as The Matrix and V for Vendetta. Good genes in that family.
Bee shows up with the sun shining on her making her look like a guardian angel sent from above and the song "Boys Wanna Be Her" by Peaches playing in the background, setting the stage for her character's persona. But what you see is what she wants you to see, hiding her true intentions. More on that in a moment because The Babysitter uses enough of its own foreshadowing.
Samara Weaving in The Babysitter (2017) (bikini) crop / Fair use doctrine.Now we start to see the relationship between Bee and Cole which includes a great dance scene and a short slow motion presentation of their time together including a great homage To Fast Times At Ridgemont High with Bee coming out of the pool in the same bikini that Phoebe Cates wore in said film. We also see a game that Cole made up about what would your Intergalactic Dream Team be when facing The Big Bad. Bee's answer is great and on point showing further that she is a young boy's wet dream.
Cole wants to see what happens when he goes to sleep and Bee's boyfriend comes over, so he pretends to sleep and slips down to see what is going on. There is a group of people with Bee, and they are mixing spin the bottle with a truth or dare game. This involves some very hot girl-on-girl kissing and movie quotes. Notably, one particular line involving Fredo from The Godfather. But I digress. The boyfriend in question is a teenage nerd who is very uncomfortable at the party. He is afraid to kiss Bee, but when she finally calms him down and kisses him it looks like the young man has entered bliss but that is when the madness ensues.Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne in The Babysitter (2017) / Fair use doctrine.
From that moment on, we see so many fun and extremely bloody deaths. And I am not kidding about the amount of blood, at one point I remember thinking that it reminded me of old Monty Python skits where copious amounts of blood just spurt and spurt and spurt again.
Warning: Spoilers
The Babysitter was written by Brian Duffield, who also penned Insurgent and Jane Got a Gun, and Directed by McG (also from Michigan), who is best known for one of the longest-running shows on TV, Supernatural. The parents are played by Leslie Bibb from Talladega Nights and Ken Marino from We Are the Millers and Role Models, who provide even more comic relief.
I really enjoyed this movie for its clever wit, great lines, monstrously bloody scenes, and a killer soundtrack, especially a climax scene with Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. I hope I gave you enough insight without spoiling too much, I hate when reviewers do that. So with that, I leave you with the tagline "That dream girls can be a nightmare". Or maybe they are just the Big Bad.
Posted by Horrormadam in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Megrim (2016) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Megrim (2016) at Shriekfest

Megrim (2016)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Stuart Valberg; Writer: Stuart Valberg; Stars: Max Physer, Pascal Yen-Pfister; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 13 min; Genre: Short, Comedy, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2016
Hello, this is your fiendish reporter reviewing the entries from the Shreikfest horror film festival, 5-8 October 2017. The next film is entitled Megrim written and directed by Stuart Valberg. An unnamed artist (Pascal Yen-Pfister) wants to create a masterpiece, but instead of using oil paints, he decides to choose an unknown man (Max Physer) to donate his blood. From frame one, it's clear that director Stuart Valberg has a nice visual flare, drenching the film with mood and tension. His use of tightly framed medium shots gives an almost unbearable feeling of dread and claustrophobia as does his use of atmospheric lighting. I really enjoyed the stripped down one room stage feel, and its simple and effective plot is clearly having a bit of fun with films like Saw (the artist's reasons seem very Jigsaw-like). This, indeed, is where this short shines, as it is eerie and moody yet has a dark sense of humor which makes it more interesting than a simple bloodbath. The film is just two actors, and both do a fantastic job. Actor Pascal Yen Pfister really shines in this film, and he plays with the razor-thin line of having fun with the role yet not going too hammy and he walks the line brilliantly. While I enjoyed Megrim, I really wished it would have pushed the black comedy just a little further while also providing a little more cat and mouse between the two very talented actors. However, this leads me to my next point, which is that (and I rarely say this with shorts) with some clever writing, I feel like this could easily be translated into a full feature. With a great sense of style and solid writing, Valberg provides an interesting darkly comic spin on the torture porn sub-genre and does it with skill and that will no doubt take him incredibly far as a writer-director.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Tethered (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Tethered (2017) at Shriekfest

Tethered (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Daniel Robinette; Writers: Daniel Robinette, Jeff Cox, Aaron Sorgius, Kayla Stuhr, Jeremy Tassone; Stars: Jared Cook, Grace Mumm, Kayla Stuhr; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 12 min; Genre: Short, Drama, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Hello, again, your fiendish reporter here giving you the low down on the films from Shriekfest. This time we are looking at a short by Daniel Robinette entitled Tethered. A blind boy named Solomon (Jared Cook) is left by his mother in a harsh land. He is tethered to a rope and left a recording by mother explaining the rules on how to survive, the most important being to never ever go beyond the rope. Daniel Robinette turns out a wonderfully bleak yet beautiful horror short that takes a simple premise and milks it for everything its got and then some. He builds a world that is steeped in reality yet has an otherworldly feeling and features a finale that is oh so effective. Cinematographer and co-writer Aaron Sorgius paints an eerie and gorgeous picture with his camera and the location and sweeping camera shots really give this short a more epic and wider scope. Jared Cook does an incredible job and, with little to no dialogue, gives a stellar, almost silent star-like performance. Equally great is Kayla Stuhr in a short but unnerving role. I was really impressed with what Robinette was able to pull off with a paper-thin plot and modest budget. It just goes to prove my point that a scary movie can be made without flashy gimmicks or buckets of blood. And it's refreshing to see a crop of new horror filmmakers that are focusing on plot and visuals to tell a story instead of falling back on tired clichés. Tethered is a tension-filled harrowing and creepy short and I would love to see this expanded into a full feature film.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Play Day (2017) at Shriekfest

MOVIE (SHORT) REVIEW: Play Day (2017) at Shriekfest

Play Day (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Greg Mazzola; Writer: Sophia Rose; Stars: Sophia Rose, Thomas Downey, Jim Nieb, Craig Tate, Harrison Samuels; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK min; Genre: Short, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017
Your fiendish reporter bringing you another offering from the 2017 Shriekfest. In this short, a lonely man named Steve (Thomas Downey) is looking for that special somebody on the Internet. Nothing wrong with that except instead of a dating site he has chosen an online service called Play Day. Little does he know his payment for this might just be in blood. Writer Sophia Rose and director Greg Mazzola manage to take the premise of online love something terribly routine and totally turn it on its head and the end result is incredibly different. The core concept is explored just enough to give the audience a clear idea of what's going on without feeling the need to over-explain things. Also, it tapped into a psycho sexual-dark web theme which I did not expect and was impressed with. On the technical side, Mazzola gives the low budget film a professional gloss with nice visuals, good editing, and a nice score. My one complaint with this short was actor Thomas Downey. While I think he's a solid actor he defiantly went a little too campy which in a certain context is alright but it doesn't help when it somewhat undercuts the creepy vibes the film is building. When Downey starts to go really barking mental I thought the short totally went off the rails but thankfully a good ending helped save it. Play Day may have some issues however I couldn't hate it because it's really interesting and it takes a familiar troupe and completely remixes it, which is something I love to see. I very much hope that Greg Mazzola and writer Sophia Rose expand this into a feature even if it was just 80 mins or so. Overall, Play Day is great little film, and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store.
Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review. Currently, he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema due out in November, 2017.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments