House of Tortured Souls

I had a chance to view a new film called The Fear Footage. The film starts off as footage found on the body camera of Deputy Cole. It says that on April 19, 2016, the Darkbluff County Sheriff’s Department received calls from residents on Hanmanor Road. One of the houses had been demolished a year prior. It has now reappeared mysteriously. Deputy Cole was sent and never seen from again. Viewers are urged to call the Sheriff’s Department if they have info on the footage or Deputy Cole’s whereabouts.

That is the lead-in for the film. The movie uses a lost art form of first person point of view (POV). We see the film from Deputy Cole’s vantage point as he goes into the house. He now has his gun drawn and is looking for anything suspicious.

Deputy Cole finds a VHS cassette title Fear Footage and puts it into the VCR. He plays the tape and views several segments from different people who are taping moments in their lives. One is a boy who is getting ready for his birthday party. The next is a group of storm chasers. The third and final is a man who is hearing strange sounds from the woods and is trying to document them. Not all shots are first person, but 90% of the film is presented in that manner.

There is a moment that is key. Between two of the segments, the Deputy finds a diary in the house with some disturbing entries. They revolve around the writer finding a tape and its effects on her.

What works in The Fear Footage is the effect for the VHS. You see the grainy “snow” effect that happens when you watch an old VHS cassette. Also, the film seems less like a movie and more like a found footage tape. With almost everything in first person, you can only see from one viewpoint. The advantage is you can’t see around corners and can’t see any potential surprises until they happen.

The knock on this film will be that it is a lot like The Blair Witch Project because it uses the first person, single camera POV. However, any film that uses that approach will draw a comparison to The Blair Witch Project. The main difference between the two is there is far less camera movement in The Fear Footage. For those who got motion sickness or migraines while watching The Blair Witch Project, you won’t feel that with this film.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this is that it uses little special effects. It gives you some good scare moments without using thousands of dollars on effects to do so. This makes it seem like it is more of a real footage tape than a movie.

There are slow parts to this film, but it is almost necessary. There are also some nice surprises and moments that, if watching in the dark, will give you a good jolt.

Viewers who watch The Fear Footage must decide if the house or the videotape is causing the things we see. Overall, this is a very entertaining film that will make you think. You will try to anticipate what may come… it’s not always the case. And what did happen to Deputy Cole? And how did the house mysteriously appear after its demolition? Those questions, you will have to answer on your own!

HoTS Exclusive Review: The Fear Footage (2018)

HoTS Exclusive Review: The Fear Footage (2018)

I had a chance to view a new film called The Fear Footage. The film starts off as footage found on the body camera of Deputy Cole. It says that on April 19, 2016, the Darkbluff County Sheriff’s Department received calls from residents on Hanmanor Road. One of the houses had been demolished a year prior. It has now reappeared mysteriously. Deputy Cole was sent and never seen from again. Viewers are urged to call the Sheriff’s Department if they have info on the footage or Deputy Cole’s whereabouts.

That is the lead-in for the film. The movie uses a lost art form of first person point of view (POV). We see the film from Deputy Cole’s vantage point as he goes into the house. He now has his gun drawn and is looking for anything suspicious.

Deputy Cole finds a VHS cassette title Fear Footage and puts it into the VCR. He plays the tape and views several segments from different people who are taping moments in their lives. One is a boy who is getting ready for his birthday party. The next is a group of storm chasers. The third and final is a man who is hearing strange sounds from the woods and is trying to document them. Not all shots are first person, but 90% of the film is presented in that manner.

There is a moment that is key. Between two of the segments, the Deputy finds a diary in the house with some disturbing entries. They revolve around the writer finding a tape and its effects on her.

What works in The Fear Footage is the effect for the VHS. You see the grainy “snow” effect that happens when you watch an old VHS cassette. Also, the film seems less like a movie and more like a found footage tape. With almost everything in first person, you can only see from one viewpoint. The advantage is you can’t see around corners and can’t see any potential surprises until they happen.

The knock on this film will be that it is a lot like The Blair Witch Project because it uses the first person, single camera POV. However, any film that uses that approach will draw a comparison to The Blair Witch Project. The main difference between the two is there is far less camera movement in The Fear Footage. For those who got motion sickness or migraines while watching The Blair Witch Project, you won’t feel that with this film.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this is that it uses little special effects. It gives you some good scare moments without using thousands of dollars on effects to do so. This makes it seem like it is more of a real footage tape than a movie.

There are slow parts to this film, but it is almost necessary. There are also some nice surprises and moments that, if watching in the dark, will give you a good jolt.

Viewers who watch The Fear Footage must decide if the house or the videotape is causing the things we see. Overall, this is a very entertaining film that will make you think. You will try to anticipate what may come… it’s not always the case. And what did happen to Deputy Cole? And how did the house mysteriously appear after its demolition? Those questions, you will have to answer on your own!




Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in COMING SOON, MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Incident in a Ghostland (2018) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Incident in a Ghostland (2018) [SPOILERS]

I had the opportunity to watch Incident in a Ghostland by Pascal Laugier (Martyrs director) last night. It has been my most anticipated movie release of the year. I had to wait a full 24 hours before doing the review in hopes that my opinion would change, but it’s with a very heavy heart that I sadly report I didn’t like it.

Crystal Reed in Incident in a Ghostland (2018)
I suppose it’s important to point out several things before we get into it.

First, it’s not Martyrs, it’s not even on the same planet as Martyrs and if you’re expecting Martyrs quality you will be even more disappointed than I was. I went in with the expectation that it wouldn’t be Martyrs and still felt robbed. It’s hard to lower your expectations when you know what the director is capable of.

It’s not extreme, and it’s not French. It isn’t graphic enough to be extreme and the few words of French spoken are dismissed. Good news for those of you who hate subtitles.

It’s a good horror movie, it’s not great. It’s nothing fresh and nothing to write home about.

One thing I did really like was the tributes to H.P. Lovecraft and Canadian author Nick Cutter. There were a few fun literary Easter eggs hidden throughout the film that I enjoyed. I also enjoyed Mylene Farmer’s performance.

Mylène Farmer in Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

The movie is about two sisters Beth (Emilia Jones) and Vera (Taylor Hickson) and their mother (Mylene Farmer) who, after the death of their aunt, are moving into her country home. Beth is an aspiring writer who loves H.P. Lovecraft, and Vera is a bit jealous of her writing and her relationship with their mother.

A quick foreshadowing in the form of a newspaper article is given about a serial killer on the loose – a serial killer who murders parents and keeps the children. As the family is on their way to the new home, they encounter a candy truck on the road with menacing individuals inside, but they brush it off. Later that night, their home is invaded by the candy truck drivers, but the trio prevails and thwarts their attackers.

Fast forward to years later and we find Beth (Crystal Reed) in her home with her husband and child now a successful writer. She receives a distressing call from her sister Vera (Anastasia Phillips) and decides to head back to the country home where her mother and sister still live. Vera, unable to cope with the attack, has gone crazy and locks herself in the basement most of the time, and their mother has turned to drink. The big “twist’ is revealed shortly after making the movie marginally better and bearable until the predictable happy ending.

Emilia Jones and Taylor Hickson in Incident in a Ghostland (2018)

You can expect lots of jump scares, “scary” dolls, nods to Rob Zombie and other fanboy tributes and clichés in this one. You won’t, however, find anything truly original or up to the standard that Pascal Laugier is capable of. In my opinion, Laugier is brilliant and Martyrs is God tier filmmaking, and it’s my hope that this film is not what we can expect from him in the future.

2/5 disappointed shocks for this film

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
The First Trailer For Halloween (2018) Is Here!

The First Trailer For Halloween (2018) Is Here!

While we are 4 months and 11 days (not that I am counting) from the premiere of the new Halloween film, the first trailer is finally here! October 19th (a week before my birthday) is a day fans of the franchise are waiting on, but today is also pretty special. It’s our first look at the trailer that puts the Halloween “Dream Team” together for the first time in decades. Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle will be together for the first time since 1978, when Castle played The Shape.  John Carpenter who created all of the characters is also on board with the music.  Carpenter also serves as an Executive Producer.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode in the new Halloween.

 

John Carpenter will serve as an Executive Producer in the new film.

 

Nick Castle as Michael Myers in the new Halloween.

Halloween will pick up 40 years after the first film and will disregard any of the sequels (and remakes). This has upset some fans, while others are just thrilled to see “the band back together”. The trailer is below. Rest assured, I will be there opening night to see this final battle of Laurie vs Michael!

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) [SPOILERS]

Tetsuo, the Iron Man by Shinya Tsukamoto is a gnarly cyberpunk fetish film. Filmed in black and white and employing very little dialogue… it’s not really needed because there’s enough going on without it Tetsuo, the Iron Man has a cool techno/industrial, pulsing, fast-paced vibe.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

The film starts out with “The Man” or “The Metal Fetishist” (Tsukamoto) inserting a metal pipe into his thigh, then losing his shit when it starts to fester and maggots show up. He runs out into the street where he is hit and presumably killed by “The Salaryman” (Tomorowo Taguchi) and his girlfriend (Kei Fujiwara). They take his body and dump it into a ravine and then get it on in front of the corpse because nothing gets you as hot as killing someone… right?

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

Later that night, The Salaryman notices a piece of metal sticking out of his cheek that he can’t get rid of. He has a nightmare where his girlfriend has a metal pipe coming from her hoo-haw and she rapes him with it. This scene is actually pretty great, she does this weird ass interpretive dance and licks her pipe before slamming it into his.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

For some reason, everyone is super sweaty all the time. When he wakes up, The Salaryman and his girlfriend have sex and eat erotically, as in she licks a wiener. The whole time, however, The Salaryman hears metal scraping, and then he starts to transform. He runs into the bathroom afraid of what he’s becoming and tells his girlfriend to stay away. She says nothing bothers her and goes in anyway, and that’s when we see it… The drill dick!!! Yes, you read that right: his genitalia is now a large spinning metal drilldo. At first, the girlfriend is scared and starts stabbing him, but every time she stabs him, more metal sprouts out of his body. She then becomes turned on and rides the drill to death.

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)

We discover that The Metal Fetishist isn’t actually dead and the two have an epic metalman duel until they eventually meld together into one giant metal man tethered by a metal pipe umbilical cord. The Metal Fetishist vows to turn the whole world into metal and let it rust, scattering it into the dust of the universe. Game over.
4/5 cyberpunk rock shocks for Tetsuo, the Iron Man

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Andrew Lincoln Set To Leave The Walking Dead

Andrew Lincoln Set To Leave The Walking Dead

Hold onto your seats fans of The Walking Dead because this is a big one. According to several sources this evening, Andrew Lincoln will leave the show before the end of Season 9. Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, has been the main protagonist of the show since it began in 2010.

Image: Entertainment Weekly

Several outlets including Collider (who was the first to report the story) are reporting that Lincoln will leave and do so early in the season. Entertainment Weekly is also reporting the story and according to the article, they have confirmed with a source. (Andrew Lincoln To Leave The Walking Dead In Season 9).

Neither Lincoln or AMC, the station that airs the program have commented publicly or are looking to do so anytime soon. However, if this story is true, there are rumors that Norman Reedus’ character, Daryl Dixon would take the place as leading protagonist. Those who saw the Season 8 Finale may remember that the season ended on a cliffhanger.

Jesus and Maggie - Will Rick (Andrew Lincoln) join Maggie

Maggie and Jesus were discussing Rick’s decision to keep Negan alive. They agreed that Rick was wrong and Daryl agreed. The feeling was that they would not allow him to get away with that move. This could mean a struggle from within as we begin Season 9 this fall.

In the above-mentioned article, Andrew Lincoln has been quoted as saying,

I can’t wait to see this next episode. It’s really interesting. It’s very different in a good way. In an exciting way. It’s more reminiscent of the pilot than any other season that we’ve embarked on, which makes me very happy. It’s a good time for it, a really exciting time for it. I feel like season 1. It’s a big year, and I’m excited for it.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) have a talk.What does all this mean? Those who know the answer to that are not saying. What is interesting is that this story broke now and not closer to the fall. There is no hint as to what will happen to Rick Grimes. He may join Morgan on Fear The Walking Dead. However, the speculation is that Rick will be killed off.

The question I am sure many fans of the show will try to answer is by whom. Will Negan seek revenge? Will Rick become a liability by those he trusts? One thing is for certain. There has not been a question this pressing for TWD since fans waited to find out who Negan killed at the end of Season 6.

TWD, S08E05, Rick Grimes sees a helicopter / Fair use doctrine.

The other question is will the show survive without Rick Grimes? One thing we do know is come this fall, we may be forced to find out. Stay tuned, because I am sure this is only the beginning of this story!

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in CAST AND CREW NEWS, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: Days of the Dead – Charlotte, NC – 2018

CON REVIEW: Days of the Dead – Charlotte, NC – 2018

For the first time, the Days of the Dead convention invaded Charlotte, NC this past weekend. They brought in a big lineup that included horror and rock icons. Some of those names are Heather Langenkamp, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Linda Blair, Tony Todd, Dee Snider, and Vinnie Vincent.

Friday night was night 1 of the event and at the end of the night was a Hall of Fame Induction. Days of the Dead honors a popular guest who has helped evolve the show and also an Indie Film Maker. The Charlotte show’s inductees were Heather Langenkamp and Tommy Faircloth. Langenkamp, of course, is known for her work in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Faircloth is a Carolina native who has made films for years including Family Possessions. He is working on a new project called Nun’s Curse, which he has a crowdfunding campaign going. So congratulations to both Heather and Tommy!

 

This con was similar to most cons as there were panels, photo ops and chances to meet and get signatures from popular horror icons. The panel I found the most interesting was the Friday The 13th Part 6 panel. There were five cast members (CJ Graham, Thom Mathews, Darcy DeMoss, Tom Fridley, and Kerry Noonan) along with writer/director Tom McLoughlin. This had been the first convention appearance for Noonan, so this group has not been together since filming ended 32 years ago.

Now having traveled to several conventions just in this calendar year, I have seen a lot of great and some not so stellar moments. I have seen some things happen at shows that angered a lot of fans. Days of the Dead did not seem to have those issues this past weekend. Let me qualify this by saying that yes, I was a volunteer at this show. I have volunteered at several shows though. Does that mean that Days of the Dead has mastered how to put on a show? Not exactly.

They have put on 26 shows now in the last decade, so after a while, you learn what can and cannot work. I will also say they did have an advantage that some of the other conventions did not have. Timing. Days of the Dead came after some other shows that had problems. A lot of volunteers do work more than one show, and they post on social media about their experiences. Thus, the staff at Days of the Dead were able to see what problems other conventions experienced and had time to make sure they would not happen at their show. Again, this was their 26th show, and they have run in at least six states. They also hosted an open forum for fans to voice their ideas, issues, suggestions, complaints, etc. They wanted to ensure the fans knew they had a voice.

Let’s talk attendance. The attendance was not nearly what other shows have done. This has caused some people to say the show was unsuccessful. There have been shows in other cities where the crowds were so massive that the fire marshals were called. It’s a double-edged sword. Is there a perfect amount of people that is just right if this was too small and others were too big? I don’t have the answer to that.

What made this show work was that they secured a hotel big enough for fans to spread out. There was also a rhyme and reason for the celebrity layout. The celebrities all seemed to have a great time, including Kerry Noonan, who was often seen having fun with the fans.

What made this show seem to flow smoothly (at least from the perspective that I saw) was that Days of the Dead used a wash, rinse, repeat method. They booked a lot of celebrities that they have used at other shows, and they mixed them with some first-timers. They also used the same core volunteers and staff members that work most of, if not all of their shows.

Were there some hiccups? Sure. Tony Todd had an unexpected family issue come up and was not available for the show on Sunday. I was assured everything is okay, but it had to be taken care of. Life happens, and these celebrities are just like us. Were there some issues with the hotel? Yes. Was the crowd smaller than expected? Yes. But this was the first show Days of the Dead has run in North Carolina, and there are growing pains when you are dealing with a brand new venue and city.

There were some very creative fans that put their cosplay skills to use. There was an entertaining band called Elzig (a cross between Elvis and Danzig) that played the afterparty.

So final analysis. Was this a perfect show? Of course not. Has Days of the Dead found a formula that works for them? Yes. Were there things that could have gone better? I am sure that there are. Most of the fans that I spoke with were extremely happy and excited. Some fans voiced that there was not clear signage of where the panels were being held, but they were happy that team members on the floor were able to guide them in the right direction. Are there changes Days of the Dead can do make improve before their next show? Yes. That will always be the answer, though. This was overall a very successful show, especially for their first run in a new city.

Overall Grade: A

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXTREME REVIEW: The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009) [Spoilers]

EXTREME REVIEW: The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009) [Spoilers]

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang is an excellent Serbian movie directed by Mladen Djordjevic. It’s been referred to as “the other Serbian Film” although it has almost no similarities other than it’s Serbian and extreme. So no need to panic, no babies or children are harmed in this one.

This one is a bit difficult to tackle without spoilers, so I’m going to say mild spoilers from this point on and I’ll give you a heads up when I go into major spoilers.

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009)

The film is about Marko (Mihajlo Jovanovic), a young enthusiastic film student fresh out of college. He’s bright-eyed and full of great ideas for an artsy horror/fantasy film. Unfortunately, Serbia has no market for such films and although his father is rich he won’t help with funding. Discouraged and down, Marko goes to a bar where he meets Cane (Srdjan Miletic) one of the top porn directors in Serbia. He offers Marko a job, and Marko accepts in hopes of earning enough money to make his film. After Cane shows him the ropes, Marko uses a few of the actors to make artsy political pornos, and the short film of a killer strain of weed that turns people into sex zombies is actually pretty brilliant. Cane, however, didn’t think so and was pissed that Marko went behind his back. He has his cop brother beat him up and run him out of town.

Marko gets together a group of “actors” and convinces them to join his traveling show: the first pornographic playhouse in Serbia. They buy a really cool van, paint it up all dirty, and hit the road. The rest of the movie follows their struggles in various towns. The show doesn’t go over well, and they get kicked out of town after town until they meet Franz, who offers them a different type of job that they end up accepting for the money. Then we witness the break-up and demise of the gang.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Some of the more disturbing aspects of the film include:

  • The entire group being gang-raped at gunpoint after townsmen follow them from the last town they performed in. This scene was brutal, and I thanked god when one of them started to laugh in the face of their attacker because the scene needed a break.
  • Franz’s job offer was for the gang to do snuff films. The participants were willing, and their surviving family members were well compensated. This is where the film takes a profound turn and even though the participants are willing, we still experience the consequences of taking a life.
  • A horse blowjob that looks pretty real…
  • The death of a goat.
  • The death of everyone in the porno gang.

While the first half of the film was colorful and happy if somewhat disturbing, the second half becomes bleak, overly long, and depressing. It’s a hard watch in more ways than one, but it needs to be seen by any true extreme cinema fan.

4/5 Shocks for this film

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang (2009)

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
EXTREME REVIEW: Doll Syndrome (2014) [Minor Spoilers]

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Spencer Evatt in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre – Interview with Vanessa Rose Parker, 3 of 3

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

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

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

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

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

HoTS: What are you working on currently?
VRP: Currently, we are focused on getting this movie out into the world! But then after a little Caribbean vacation, we are going to regroup and see what we’d like to tackle next.
So there you have it, Souls. The final 4/20 MASSACRE exclusive. I’d like to thank Vanessa Rose Parker for her time. Don’t forget to check out my review as well as my interview with 4/20 MASSACRE writer/director Dylan Reynolds.
Posted by Mike Vaughn in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR COMEDIES, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Takashi Miike’s Blade of the Immortal (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Takashi Miike’s Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Takashi Miike's Blade of the Immortal (2017)
Blade of the ImmortalAdapted from the critically acclaimed manga, Blade of the Immortal, Takashi Miike’s 100th film, introduces us to an incredibly beautiful story about Manji (Takuya Kimura), a samurai haunted by his past and cursed with immortality, and Rin Asano (Hana Sugisaki), a girl whose parents are killed by Anotsu Kagehisa (Sôta Fukushi) and his Ittō-ryū. Swearing revenge, Rin approaches Manji to request his services as a bodyguard. Eventually, Manji gives in and agrees to be Rin’s bodyguard as she seeks to avenge the death of her parents. Now, to those not too familiar with Miike’s work, he is one of the best in the business when it comes to an extreme amount of stylized violence combined with a deep story, thus making one hell of a film.Blade of the Immortal

With this film, Miike does not disappoint in the least; it is full of blood and guts, over the top stylized violence, and a beautiful story of revenge and redemption. At nearly two and a half hours long, viewers are given a story that moves at an incredibly quick pace and leaves one feeling as if the film was only two hours long. With each fight scene beautifully choreographed and showcasing a number of brutal weapons, viewers are also given the pleasure of watching a samurai film that is not just dueling katanas. It is certainly a refreshing take on revenge films, and I honestly found it delightful to watch as Manji slices through person after person with a variety of bladed implements.

Blade of the ImmortalIn my opinion, Blade of the Immortal is one of Miike’s best films to date and shows his mastery of cinematography, violence, and story-telling. His hundredth film really delivers, and I was not disappointed in the least. I’ve even found myself going back to it a number of times for the artfully choreographed fight scenes — not to mention, the final thirty minutes or so is a fantastically violent battle of Manji versus hundreds with him dispatching them however he can so that he is not overwhelmed. This scene alone exhibits every side of Miike’s artful mastery of filmmaking, and it will keep you enraptured and unable to look away as every shot has been done precisely. For Miike fans, I cannot recommend this film enough, and for people new to Takashi Miike’s work, this is the perfect starting point!

Posted by Spencer Evatt in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Death-Scort Service (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Death-Scort Service (2015)

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

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

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

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

Death-Scort Service

Posted by Spencer Evatt in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXTREME REVIEW: Marian Dora’s Cannibal (2006)

EXTREME REVIEW: Marian Dora’s Cannibal (2006)

Cannibal is a 2006 film by Marian Dora based on the true story of Armin Meiwes that happened in Germany. It’s the story of a man who posts an online ad looking for another man to be his lover and let him cannibalize him, and he actually finds a willing participant.

Cannibal starts out with a businessman, The Man, meeting multiple potential partners all of whom, of course, are not willing to be eaten. Finally, he comes across a man, The Flesh, who is suicidal and wants to be killed by someone else. The two meet up and hit it off immediately. They court each other, reading passages from a beloved childhood favorite, dining, frolicking, and making love. The two men seem to become genuinely fond of each other.

At last, the pair enter a room set up with a camera and prepare to proceed with the original plan of cannibalism. The Flesh (neither are given actual names in the film, and there is very little dialogue) asks The Man to bite off his penis. After two failed attempts, I assume because of The Man’s new affection for The Flesh, The Flesh asks to be taken home. At the train station, the pair regroup, make up, and decide to try again. Once home, The Flesh takes stronger drugs, a record is put on, and then it’s down to business.

From this point on, it becomes an endurance test for the audience, and it makes for rather unpleasant viewing. The Man finally cuts off The Flesh’s penis, cooks it, and the two try to eat it together, but apparently, it not only tastes bad but has the consistency of rubber. So heads up future cannibals: stick with Oscar Meyer. The Man then puts The Flesh in a hot bath to let him bleed out. During this time, the two share a heartfelt goodbye, and The Flesh asks The Man to consume everything and to make sure nothing is left of him. Once The Flesh is dead, The Man drags his body — spraying shit and puke — out to the barn only to discover that The Flesh still draws breath. The Man stabs The Flesh in the neck and kisses him while he dies. He then proceeds to process the body like it’s a dead hog. This scene has great gore and is well done. I particularly like that he beheads him and positions the head so it can watch what he’s doing. Once the body has been processed he prepares a feast and dines on his lover.

My thought on Cannibal is that it’s ultimately a love story between two men — The Flesh wanting to be loved and consumed and The Man wanting to love and consume and truly have his beloved inside of him. They make a choice to be together forever and share in an experience that maybe only two people ever have.

5/5 for this haunting love story

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: Interview with 4/20 Massacre Writer/Director Dylan Reynolds, 2 of 3

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

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

James Gregory in 4/20 MASSACRE (2018)

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

THIS JUST IN: Ash vs Evil Dead Canceled

Since Starz moved Ash vs Evil Dead to Sunday night, the ratings have never recovered and the fan favorite has been canceled. That’s right. In spite of scores like a 99% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (94% on the Audience Tomatometer) and 8.5 stars on IMDb, Ash vs Evil Dead has been staked, leaving fans disappointed and wanting more.

Word hit when Bruce Campbell tweeted earlier this afternoon:

Ash Vs Evil Dead has been the ride of a lifetime. Ash Williams was the role of a lifetime.
I will always be grateful to Starz, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and our tireless fans for the opportunity to revisit the franchise that launched our careers. Thank you!
RIP Ash vs Evil Dead - Bruce Campbell's tweet

Ash vs Evil Dead, which starred Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, and Lucy Lawless in addition to Bruce Campbell, saw Ash drawn back into fighting the Deadites long after the events in the movie franchise. Like the movies – especially the two sequels, Ash vs Evil Dead was a fun and gore-filled but cheesy romp through one outrageous event after another. Ash vs Evil Dead not only gave us more of the Ashley J. Williams we all know and love, it also gave us more about Ash and his family. We learned of Ash’s guilt and suffering after his sister’s death as well as his ostracization by nearly everyone in his hometown. We meet his father – and Lee Majors playing Ash’s father was positively inspired casting – as well as his daughter, and there are hints of more… so much more… to come. Alas, unless something changes dramatically at Starz, those hints are all we’ll ever have.

I’m glad to see that Bruce has a groovy attitude because I and other fans of the show are bummed.

House of Tortured Souls wishes Bruce and everyone else involved in the Evil Dead film franchise and TV series the best.

Thank you.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR NEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, 0 comments
About Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday

About Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday

ESSEN-77 media releases the promo video/trailer for director Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday.

The promo video/trailer is a prequel ultrashort that segues into a montage of images from the 17-minute short film. The film is already being celebrated by critics, journalists, film historians and those who look for cutting-edge experiences with teeth.

Stephen Nemeth (camera, American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock) wrote, produced, photographed, directed, composed/ performed the score and created the special effects. Nemeth also appears in a cameo as the Devil’s Advocate in the prequel ultrashort portion of the promo video/trailer. Black Friday promises to pose questions instead of answers and challenges the audiences to think for themselves about the extreme behaviors onscreen.

Stephen Nemeth was camera/second cinematographer for American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock, the second installment of the American reboot of the famous Japanese extreme horror franchise, the Guinea Pig series, and created the Behind the Scenes of Bloodshock feature-length documentary on the three-disc collectors’ edition release from Unearthed Films. In 2013, Nemeth directed the Locus series of metaphysical stalker thriller shorts and the home invading/domestic violence short Deathlust (2014). Recently he wrote, directed, and shot the music video for Chris Sullivan’s “By The Light Of Radio”, a nostalgic throwback to a simpler magical time where the radio tuner dial illuminated the bedrooms of youngsters exposing them to the sounds of 70s and 80s rock and roll artists like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

He also currently appears onscreen with Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club) and Peter Hedges ( novelist/ screenwriter, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?) in Little Sister, streaming on Netflix and available on Blu-Ray from Kino/Lorber.

Keep an eye out for Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday, and let House of Tortured Souls know what you think.

Stephen Nemeth's Black Friday (2018)

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASE, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE: 4/20 Massacre (2018), 1 of 3 – Review

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

4/20 Massacre (2018), 1 of 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

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

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

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

Long Weekend (1978)

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

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

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

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

Dark Age (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)

Fortress (1985)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

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

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

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

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) posterI recently had the pleasure of seeing Flowers by Phil Stevens. It was such an amazing and beautiful film that I decided to reach out to the director and tell him how much I enjoyed it. To my surprise, Phil Stevens turned out to be one of the nicest, coolest, down to earth guys. I was delighted to learn of his plans to make a sequel to Flowers, simply called Flowers 02. He also graciously agreed to do this interview and give us an exclusive look at his new project.

Phil Stevens Interview

House of Tortured Souls: First off, let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Flowers and really excited to talk to you about your latest project. What type of film can we expect? Do you think it will be more extreme or more artistic than the last?
Phil Stevens: Extreme is too broad a category, I mean of course yes it will be extreme but it’s more of a survival horror where everyone is being attacked by something. I actually didn’t think I was making an extreme film when I made Flowers. I thought the complete opposite. When Flowers came out, I thought people were going to be like, “Here’s this guy with his artsy movie called Flowers“. It turned out to be this surreal horror that people seemed to really enjoy. The last word I ever expected to read describing my film was “beautiful”, but it seems to come up in every single review about the movie.
PS: In Flowers, the house itself was the enemy almost. But in Flowers 02, not only is it the house, but there are entities in all the rooms –sometimes more than one. It’s all leading to this grand finale involving the killer and all his misdeeds. We’ll get a backstory and more of a look at his life. There will be new rooms with new themes and sort of a past, present, and future look at the killer. My favorite movie of all time is Day of the Dead, and I always wanted to make a zombie film, but I wanted to do it in my own way. Finally, in this we get to do that, and it’s so fun.

HoTS: That all sounds awesome! Why did you choose Indie and underground filmmaking rather than mainstream?
PS: I spent most of my life drawing and painting. I started drawing my own comics, and then I discovered the Beta-max camera and started making films for myself. Drawing is my first love, I don’t want a career in filmmaking; I see it as a hobby, a really expensive hobby. I’m a fan of Indie films myself and knew that it was only natural that I would go that route. I think that everyone who makes movies would like to think that one day they’ll go to Hollywood and make a big epic movie with a budget. That’s the real dream having a budget.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) title card

HoTS: I understand that for an Indie director, getting funding is always an issue. You’ve started a crowdfunding campaign, correct? Maybe you could tell our readers a bit about that and how they can contribute.
PS: Crowdfunding is a big deal because you’re giving us the means to make a movie that we otherwise would not be able to make. It’s been tougher to get funding in the last few years because either fans don’t know about it or they’ve been screwed over in the past by other directors.
PS: My job is making and selling art. I’m actually on disability from an accident that happened when I was 10. I fell out of a tree, and now I have soft neurological brain damage so I can’t have a regular 9-5 job. I spend a lot of time drawing and painting and doing commissions. I grew up with severe agoraphobia, crowds give me severe anxiety, which is another reason making movies is so important to me because it gives me a chance to work in a group environment while doing something I love.
PS: Here is the link to the Flowers 02 crowdfunding campaign. Even a 5$ contribution will get you some really cool exclusive swag!
HoTS: So how does one get a piece of your artwork?
PS: My Facebook page Manomatul Art or my website Insomnia Collectibles, and I’m also on deviant art.
HoTS: All of the actors/actresses in Flowers were amazing. Will we see any familiar faces in the sequel?
PS: Yes! You actually will see some returning Flowers in a subplot of Flowers 02. Absolutely. You’re going to see some of them, but I can’t reveal who yet.
HoTS: It’s my understanding you used your home in the first film… what was that like?
PS: Using my own home to make Flowers was a blessing and an absolute nightmare. We scouted a lot of warehouses, and they were all in really bad neighborhoods. We just didn’t feel safe having our equipment there. We decided the next best thing and the safest thing was our house. I hated it, there was so much debris and equipment everywhere. My wife (Colette Kenny Mckenna) and I lived an entire summer in that. I actually spent my 30th birthday inside the dining room set, it was surreal. Some of my friends I hadn’t seen in a while would come over and a say, “This is absolutely insane. What are you doing?” My wife and I both ended up with really bad respiratory infections from the room with all the gouged out drywall. We were constantly breathing it in for three months, and we got really sick.

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) writing on the wall

HoTS: Do you do your own practical fx?
PS: Yes, I used to more but with Flowers, it was an all hands on deck kind of thing and my wife and I did months of fx testing. We found some great local talent. My wife, Krystle Fitch, and Anastasia Blue did the fx and also acted in the movie.
HoTS: Do you have a dream location if money were no object?
PS: Actually yeah, I don’t know where that location is but I know what it looks like. The whole reason I wanted to make Flowers 02 was it’s supposed to fund my next film, Paradise, which is the serial killer’s hell kind of. I want it to involve a lot of ocean and beach sequences, stuff you don’t tend to see in an underground film. I’ve been working on it for three years, and it’s probably going to be my swan song film. The first film is purgatory, the next is hell, and the last one is paradise. That will be the last movie I do, and Flowers 02 is the way to get there.
HoTS: Do you have any directors who inspire you?
PS: I’m inspired by Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man). I’m a huge, huge fan of Asian cinema in general, so Takashi Miike (Audition) obviously and Kim Ki-duk (The Isle). What inspires me about Kim Ki-duk is that he doesn’t use many words, and his main characters don’t talk but everyone around them always does. I love all things artistic, I loved Andrey Iskanovs’ Nails so much. I also like Akira Kurosawa, his movies are beautiful; the cinematography is incredible and his movies top movies that are made to this day. A lot of my inspiration comes from Asian cinema.
HoTS: I just want to take this opportunity again to thank you and say what a fun time I’ve had talking with you today. I wish you the best of luck with Flowers 02 and can’t wait to see it.
PS: Thank you. I had fun today, too!

Flowers 02 Crowdfunding on the Web

Check out the fundraiser video on contributing to Flowers 02. Then click the link below to donate!

Phil Stevens on the Web

Posted by Candace Stone in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments