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MOVIE REVIEW: Leaf Blower Massacre 2 (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Leaf Blower Massacre 2 (2017)

So I was asked to review a film called Leaf Blower Massacre 2. Being a fan of all types of horror, I eagerly accepted. I received two DVDs and have yet to watch the second film, Dirty Sanchez, but the title intrigues me. On the other hand, I was intrigued by Leaf Blower Massacre 2, and my expectations were not fulfilled.

Let me say to start that I expected the movie could execute the title premise in a couple of ways and make it work. It could be a great cheese horror film based on the leaf blower weapon premise alone. While it touched on comedic kills a couple of times, there was something lacking to tip the kills completely into the comedic or horrific arenas. I’m not entirely certain the director was aiming for one or the other but rather whatever works. Unfortunately, having worked on and literally written manuals on several breathing air compressors, I couldn’t help but think about the air pressure level of a leaf blower during a critical scene.

Leaf Blower Massacre 2 (2017)Leaf Blower Massacre 2, written by Michael Wade Johnson and director Anthony Cooney, follows two parallel stories involving the deaths of coeds; the first story revolves around two detectives (Michael Schmid and Tommy Nowicki) who are investigating the murders, and the second story involves a college professor (Shavar D. Clark) who had taught all of the victims. As the stories merge, the reveal is not as surprising as it could be.

The Pros:

  • Works as a standalone film (The movie itself was a sequel to a film I hadn’t seen, but that wasn’t much of a detriment to the enjoyment.)
  • Practical effects
  • Interesting choice of weapon
  • Cinematography
  • Ari Lehman as Phil the Security Guard

The Cons:

  • Acting seemed forced, alternately flat and exaggerated
  • Bad screen presence/chemistry between the leads
  • Audio was muffled at times and vaguely echoed at others

Leaf Blower Massacre 2 (2017)Overall, Leaf Blower Massacre 2 comes off as a decent student film, and the actors will improve with experience. The biggest problem that I saw was that it took a serious approach with a weapon begs to be satirized. Taking a more comedic approach would have helped to smooth over some of the awkwardness and enhance rather than detract from the film.

Final Score: 5 of 10 claw scratches


Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
REVIEW: Safe 2018 (Short)

REVIEW: Safe 2018 (Short)

Safe (2018)

Directed By: Tim Earnheart

Written By: Tim Earnheart

Starring: Nadine Nagamatsu, S Joe Downing, Ayuba Audu, Reeve Barceloux, Corrie Fleming

I had the pleasure of reviewing the short film Conduit at last year’s Shreikfest. It was a nice mash-up of action and horror and on a limited time and budget managed to tell a cool little story. This year I was extremely lucky to get an early preview of Mr. Earnheart’s latest short film entitled Safe. A woman’s (Nadine Nagamatsu) home is broken into by three masked men. They promptly demand the contents of a safe but not without some deadly consequences. Similar to Conduit, Earnheart masterfully subverts genre expectations and fuses the horror/home invasion genre with action and sci-fi. That seems like a recipe for disaster however with some clever writing and less is more approach it works surprisingly well. Further elevating the material is some on-point editing that creates a nice action-packed pace that keeps you glued from start to finish. Also, Earnheart shows off a nice crisp visual flare and employs some interesting camera work giving everything a polished look on a budget. Shout out to a great cast headed up by Nadine Nagamatsu who was in Tim’s previous films including Conduit. She brings a nice range to the part and thankfully doesn’t ham things up. On the surface, Safe seems like a typical slice`em up home invasion but thankfully it’s not. Once again I was very pleased that Tim can take a well-worn horror sub-genre and totally flip it on its head while injecting some great visual effects and action. I would love to see Safe turned into a feature film because it has such a great story that could easily be expanded on. Once again I was totally impressed by this young and up-and-coming writer, director.

Check out his other works — Conduit (Short) (2017), Working with Damian (Short) (2016), and Chapter 2 (Short) (2016).

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Begins Filming

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Begins Filming

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / Fair use doctrine.As a kid, I was deeply interested in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but what really sold it was the artwork. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark were children’s stories with illustrations of things like rotting corpse brides, spiders coming out of a girl’s face, and disfigured salesmen. “The Drum” is by far my favorite story with a truly terrifying ending that didn’t need any illustration. Your mind couldn’t even draw what you heard.

As years went by, the books sold out every Halloween. Except during a time when the books were reprinted without the artwork. Yup, that really happened.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / Fair use doctrine.The books hold a special place in all of us ― old and young ― who read them. For the young, this was an introduction to horror literature, and for the old, it was a return to simpler horror.

Several years ago there were rumors that Guillermo Del Toro was interested in adapting the books into a film. The Internet (myself included) went crazy in anticipation. Initially, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was going to be an anthology. Then talks of the film grew quiet, and other films were released. Still, it was somehow in development; that much was certain.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / Guillermo del Toro
Zoe Margaret Colletti to be in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / IMDbAt first, Del Toro was going to direct, but the project passed down to André Øvredal, who directed The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) and Trollhunter (2010). The film is written by Kevin Hageman and Dan Hageman who also co-wrote The Lego Movie (2014). Del Toro will be producing and will be heavily involved. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has also cast its first star, Zoe Colletti, who will play a character named Stella Michaels.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a huge deal during a year that seems rife with horror novel adaptations. With Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, IT: Chapter 2, and Pet Semetary (remake) being hot novel-to-screen adaptations, this season may well introduce a new generation of fans to the books and maybe, just maybe, even make the fans of the books excited to see their beloved characters on the big screen.

I’m extremely excited for this movie. Or maybe movies? Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has enormous potential for a trilogy. Shooting started this week, so does that mean we could see a 2019 release? House of Tortured Souls will be following all the details of the movie through production and right up to the release, so be sure to check back for updates.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Jai Alexis in CAST AND CREW NEWS, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Death House Announces DVD Release Date

Death House Announces DVD Release Date

This morning, co-writer (along with the late Gunnar Hansen) and director B. Harrison Smith, gave the news that fans have been anticipating. Death House finally has a release date for DVD. The DVD drops December 11, 2018Cleopatra Entertainment, will announce the VOD release on another date.

Released in select theaters this past winter, fans have been on edge waiting for this announcement. The film tells the tale of Agents Novak and Boone and their virtual tour of Death House, an experimental prison. The film stars Kane Hodder, Felissa Rose, Dee Wallace, Sean Whalen, Sid Haig and many more horror icons. I reviewed Death House in February.

Death House (2017) / Harrison Smith

The VOD release date is slated to drop before December, but that is also the norm for many films. Cleopatra Entertainment is expected to issue a press release in the next few days. Keep watching House of Tortured Souls for information on this. While December 11th cannot come soon enough, we are however excited we have the release date for at least the DVD and fans have begun the countdown!Death House (2017) / Harrison Smith

Pre-order from AMAZON here!

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Lure (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Lure (2015)

The Lure (2015)The Lure (2015) by Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska is a retelling of The Little Mermaid and should be sought out by every and all obscure, foreign, horror and arthouse film lovers. It’s a dazzling, glitzy punch to the eyeballs. It’s one movie that is every bit as good as the trailer and then some. I should point out that I have a mermaid fetish and this film has become my new favorite thing in life.

Full Disclosure: The Lure is a musical. If that’s a deal breaker, please exit the review now.

It is, in fact, a musical but it’s a sexy, disco, mermaid horror with tons of erotic and emotional appeal.

Spoilers!!!

The Lure (2015)Two mermaid sisters, Silver and Golden, lure men from the beach for food. One night they get adopted by their would be meal: a sleazy nightclub band. Through a bizarre set of circumstances, they end up joining the act. Just like in Splash, once they’re out of water, they form legs… but have no genitalia or ass crack “smooth as a Barbie”. Silver and Golden perform nightly at the club and become popular fast. Everyone wants them. Silver falls in love with one of the band members, Mietek, while Golden yearns to be back in the sea.

Ultimately, they are still animals and Golden resorts to old animal instincts and kills a club patron. Golden meets Triton, another creature of the sea, who warns her of a terrible fate: if a mermaid falls in love with a man and he marries someone else, she must eat him before dawn or she will turn to sea foam.

As Silver’s love for Mietek grows, she decides to get a tail-ectomy/leg transplant in order to satisfy him sexually. After the comical operation — she’s kept on ice like a fish in the market during surgery — there are complications, and Silver and Mietek are still unable to copulate. He falls in love with someone else and marries her. On the night of the wedding, Silver is unable to kill him and decides to turn to foam in his arms instead. Stricken with grief, Golden tears out his throat and returns to the sea.
The Lure (2015)
A beautiful love story, and a tragic tale of humans exploiting animals.
Some of the highlights include:

  • hot mermaid on girl sex scene
  • fish hole fingering
  • killer mermaids
  • Rad Polish disco music
  • glitter

The Lure (2015)

5/5 glamourous shocks for The Lure

Posted by Candace Stone in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)Growing up, I always loved watching the Puppet Master movies. As I got older, I began to realize the movies didn’t make a whole lot of sense — then again, the movies are about killer puppets coming to life and Nazis wanting a secret formula to re-animate the dead.

Puppet Master: The Littlest ReichPuppet Master: The Littlest Reich

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is the latest film in the franchise and is a new branch to the storyline. The film is about a group of people meeting at a convention for the Andre Toulon Murders that took place in the late 80s. Naturally, the murders begin all over again. I was skeptical at first since I’m a huge Puppet Master fan and the pictures didn’t really convince me. I was especially disappointed in the new looks, but I sat down and watched the movie with an open mind.

Puppet Master: The Littlest ReichFirst, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a great little flick and an excellent addition to the franchise with its new look and perfect balance of over-the-top gore. Yes, some of the original puppets are back some with new designs, and new puppets have been added to the group — including what appears to be a few toys. The story showcases a darker tone for not only the puppets that are clearly being controlled by Toulon but also for Toulon himself. Forget the loving, Nazi-fighting Toulon; this Toulon is much creepier. Udo Kier, who plays Toulon, has a very interesting take on the character, and Kier has definitely made his mark in the franchise.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich does have some humor but not enough to weaken the horror aspect or riddle the film with shock jokes. At first, it may seem like Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich didn’t cover all the ground, but from the looks of things, we may see a trilogy from this new branch of the Puppet Master storyline.

Overall, I say buy this movie if you’re a Puppet Master fan, and if you’re not, it’s a great movie to watch with friends and a good way to learn about what started this new direction.Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)

Posted by Jai Alexis in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, NEW RELEASES, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, THRILLER, 0 comments
HoTS Review: Party Night (2017)

HoTS Review: Party Night (2017)

Party Night / Troy EscamillaThis week I sat down to watch Party Night, the debut film of filmmaker Troy Escamilla. Party Night tells the tale of a group of six high school students on prom night. The film runs just over an hour, so it is a feature but not a long one. Let’s jump into this one with a brief description.

As mentioned six high school students decide to have their own post-prom party, rather than attend the school’s. There have been reports of five girls that have gone missing, but this does not prevent the teens from going off to do their own thing. They head to a house owned by the uncle of Nelson, one of the six. While changing into more comfortable clothing, Amy sees someone looking in the window. Molly checks but sees nothing. The kids gather back in the living room and discuss watching one of the 80s slashers Nelson’s uncle has. Molly and Travis step outside and after an argument, Molly goes off by herself. One by one the killer picks off these unsuspecting teens until there is one final battle. The question is who survives and how do they escape, if at all?

Party Night / Troy EscamillaThat is the very brief plot with no spoilers. Let’s talk now about the film itself. First, let me begin with my critiques of the film. I will qualify this by saying that we are dealing with a low budget debut film. The camera work in the very beginning was slightly shaky. That does stop early in the film, however. The biggest nitpick for me was the killer and motivation for his/her deeds was not clearly identified. You will have to pay very close attention to get it.

Party Night / Troy EscamillaHaving said that, let me highlight some things that worked. This film had a very small cast, so there are not a lot of background people you have to pay attention to. Every character has a purpose. This also is a tribute to the lost art of the “80s slasher”. There are no CG effects, the blood looks like corn syrup, the dialogue has its cheesy moments and people die horrific deaths. That is a simple formula that has worked for over 40 years and will always have my attention. There are several 80s movie references. One character says, “this isn’t Camp Crystal Lake” and Slaughter High is mentioned. One character, Andrew, suggests they play “Strip Monopoly”. That works for me in a tribute film.

Troy Escamilla debuted this film last year, and it hits DVD/VOD platforms September 11, 2018. This movie won’t be a blockbuster, nor is it intended to be one. Party Night a fun slasher film that will make you realize these are dumb (but not stupid) teenagers. They will be in compromising situations. When you see Andrew and Olivia have sex, you try to figure out how they will die. That is not a spoiler, by the way. Having sex in a slasher, it becomes not an if, but when you get killed moment. Overall, this movie works for the audience intended. The film creates nostalgia. As mentioned, this film is the debut film for Escamilla. He follows this with Stirring. Party Night is fun and despite its small flaws, does make an entertaining movie to watch.

Overall Grade: B

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Adam Marcus To Host A Double Feature At Horror Hound

Adam Marcus To Host A Double Feature At Horror Hound

Horror fans attending Horror Hound Weekend this Friday in Indianapolis are in for a treat. Screenwriter and director Adam Marcus, who sent Jason to Hell 25 years ago, will be hosting a double feature. Marcus and Kane Hodder will introduce the Director’s Cut of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. This version has been seen by some, but never on the big screen in the US. Adam Marcus gives us a preview of what to expect this Friday night.

Adam Marcus

Jason Goes to Hell will be seen on the big screen in the cut that was only shown overseas in its initial release. This is the cut that Dean Lorey and I did the commentary on when the DVD was released. It’s the unrated version that existed before the MPAA neutered it. The gore is intact. Kane Hodder and I will be there to intro the film and Q & A with the fans! I’m so freakin’ excited to show this cut of the film, especially with the greatest actor to wear the mantle of Jason, Kane Hodder!!! Come on now!

Jason Goes To Hell

Many fans in the United States have not seen this version, however, and for 25 years have been screaming for it. Fans will have the opportunity to truly see Marcus’ vision and maybe discover a new favorite version of a kill by the iconic slasher. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday screens at 7:00 this Friday night.

As if that weren’t enough, immediately following Jason Goes To Hell, Marcus will screen a second film. The film is Secret Santa and is the latest film from Adam Marcus. Marcus explains what the fans can expect with his holiday horror film.

Adam MarcusAs far as Secret Santa is concerned, here’s what horror fanatics can expect… “This is the most outrageous, offensive, in your face Christmas Horror movie I could come up with. It’s a horromedy that, trust me, does not skimp on the red stuff and will have you talking long after the lights come up. I will be there with a couple of the brilliant, gorgeous ladies from the cast. It’s going to be an amazing night with something to offend everyone… and that’s my gift to you! Happy Horrordays, Everyone!

Adam Marcus

Fans have been anticipating an unrated version of Jason Goes To Hell, but Secret Santa is new and I’m looking forward to it. I, however, am a huge fan of holiday horror and from what Marcus is promising, this looks to be a pre-holiday treat. Secret Santa will immediately follow Jason Goes To Hell. Marcus will introduce it at about 9:00. Fans are still able to purchase tickets to Horror Hound on their Horror Hound. They need to hurry, however, as the show kicks off on Friday night.

Secret Santa Facebook Page
Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

964 Pinocchio (1991) is a Japanese cyberpunk film by Shozin Fukui. The experience is somewhat indescribable and it’s one of those films you just have to “go with” and not overthink.

The first 30 seconds or so of the film really reach out and grab you because a lot is happening… a three-way in a hospital to be precise. The male participant – Pinocchio is a memory-wiped sex slave that has been mentally and physically altered. He is thrown out of the facility after he fails to hold a lasting erection.

As he’s wandering aimlessly through town, he stumbles across Himiko, a homeless street artist. He indicates to her that he’s hungry (he can’t talk at this point), and she takes him under her wing. What we don’t know at this point is that Himiko has also been mind-wiped and altered.

The two begin to undergo a simultaneous transition. Pinocchio appears to be melting and convulsing. Himiko flees and vomits up everything she’s ever eaten. This is probably the longest puke scene in a movie I’ve ever watched. More just keeps coming up in large piles that are the consistency of wet house insulation. She lays on top of it, runs her fingers through it, and then rolls in it and eats it. When Himiko returns, Pinocchio is lying in the center of a circle of what I can only presume is his guts.

Himiko turns on Pinocchio and chains him up. She informs the sex company of his whereabouts. He breaks free and drags the cinder block he’s chained to through town until he reaches the lab. He kills his tormentors, and both he and Himiko evolve into weird, big, rubber-headed creatures. His last line is that everything all makes sense now. Maybe to him it does, but there are a lot of questions left unanswered to the audience.

I liked this movie a lot despite its flaws and its tendency to draw certain scenes out to the point of being annoying. It also doesn’t make a ton of sense, not just because it’s weird but because it establishes certainties and then goes against them without explanation or reason.

I give it 3/5 shocks. You can order a copy cheap from Unearthed or watch it free on Youtube.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

Shogun’s Sadism (1976) by Yuji Makiguchi is a really fun, Japanese, exploitation, period piece.

First, let me just tip my hat to the Japanese on their unparalleled ability to torture and cause human suffering, no one does it better than Japan.

Shogun’s Sadism starts with old stock footage of war atrocities and the first shot is of a girl being boiled alive… it doesn’t mess about. It’s scene after scene of intense torture with brief explanations of the “crimes” committed and the form of torture being used.

The film features two different stories that take place during the Edo period in Japan (between 1603-1868). Although the film is fictional it does mirror actual forms of torture and beliefs held during that time period.

The first story is of a young woman named Toyo who saves the life of Lori, a Samurai, by sucking the poison out of a snake bite for him. She brings him to her family home and cares for him, and the two fall in love. It’s later discovered that Toyo and her family are Christians and must be executed. During the Edo period, Christians were tortured until they confessed and often killed for choosing Jesus over the Shogunate (feudal military government). When Toyo is brought before the government for her crimes Lori does nothing as he watches her be raped and abused repeatedly and then kept as a personal concubine by his superior. Toyo suffers many horrible injustices and eventually Lori and her escape only to be brutally killed.

The second story, while still good, is definitely a bit more silly or comedic. It takes place in a brothel where a young man claiming to have a rich family turns out to be poor and unable to pay his bill. In order to pay off his debts, he has to stay and work at the brothel for a year. He falls in love with one of the girls and after witnessing a forced abortion and then the death of one of the other girls, he decides to escape with her. The two become petty criminals and are eventually caught. He’s killed, and she’s sold back into prostitution.

In case you aren’t convinced of the brutality here are some of the things you can expect to see:
SPOILERS!!!!

  • human branding
  • stake burnings and spearing
  • snake pit torture
  • rape, including double penetration gang rape
  • forced abortion
  • beheading
  • castration
  • And my personal favourite execution by bulls pulling a woman’s limbs off.

4/5 historically accurate shocks for this film

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HoTS Review: Livescream (2018)

HoTS Review: Livescream (2018)

So this week I watched a different kind of film called Livescream. Imagine if you will, a movie that has 1 speaking actor and looks more like a live stream video than a movie. It may not sound exciting. Enter the exception to the rule, with Michelle Iannantuono’s 1-hour film, Livescream.

Livescream / Michelle Iaanantuono

Livescream opens with Scott, played by Gunner Willis. Scott is a popular online gamer, who plays new games on his live stream while his followers watch. He has, at the beginning of the film, 225 users online who comment in the chat box while he answers. Scott announces his upcoming gaming plans and introduces a new game suggested to him called Livescream. It is a horror game that supposedly interacts with his audience. Scott chooses the hardest level of the game called “Nightmare” and is warned he only has 5 lives. The game also refers to him by his name and Scott finds this weird.

Livescream / Michelle Iaanantuono

The game begins and looks like most first-person games. I got an old school vibe of Doom (the game, not the movie), while watching. Scott encounters a monster who kills his player for the first time. This is where the movie begins to twist. One of Scott’s viewers tells the room he hears the same monster in his house and then exits the chat room. Many of the viewers feel this is a prank, and Scott continues but is concerned.

Livescream (2018) / Michelle Iaanantuono

The next round has a feature where if Scott hits a button, he can see nine of his followers. Scott faces a clown and his character dies. The nine “players” appear again, and one is killed in front of the group.

Livescream / Michelle Iaanantuono

This has now taken a serious turn and Scott wants to quit. He receives a warning that quitting will make all of his viewers and him die in real life. All but 11 viewers exit the chat/stream. The game tells Scott to choose two people and let the rest leave. JumpingWolf (his moderator) and JohhnyDope (a viewer who logs on to troll everyone) volunteer.

Livescream / Michelle Iaanantuono

Everyone else leaves the chat. As expected, Scott dies 2 times in the game, which leads his followers to do so in real life. Scott does, in fact, beat the game, but must answer the fateful question, “Would you kill someone else to save your own life?” We get that question answered as the movie ends.

Livescream (2018) / Michelle Iaanantuono

There is the plot. Here are my thoughts. This movie is original and takes a huge risk, but has the potential for high reward. We have 1 person speaking for an hour, and we see one kill. This type of movie should not work according to every movie we have ever seen. However, it not only works, but it makes you watch in a different way. You do not feel like you are watching a movie. You feel like you are one of the viewers. This will make you care about Scott.

My only criticism of Livescream is I would have liked to see the viewers get killed to make it more emotional for Scott. Trust me, he does get emotional in this, but to give it a visual of losing his viewers would put it over the top. Do not let that fool you though. This still has a lot of things that may make you jump and does provide some scare because it feels like you are there.

Overall Grade: Solid A.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

House of Tortured Souls’ very own Jonathan Patrick Hughes is making another movie called Hallowed Be Thy Name, and I am the lucky one to interview him about it. I’m a big fan of his short film (S)AINT NICK. A dirty Christmas movie about a greasy stepdad who gets his up and comings. The film was picked up by Troma for a horror anthology entitled 12 Slays of Christmas, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.
House of Tortured Souls: First of all let me say thanks for the opportunity to chat with you about your new film, as you know I loved (S)AINT NICK. Will this new film also be a short or feature length? And will it be a Christmas film again?
Jonathan Patrick Hughes: Hallowed Be Thy Name is a short film, but nothing like (S)AINT NICK. It’s a complete 180, this is more like if David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock made a Twilight Zone episode. This one takes place on Halloween.
HoTS: What inspired you to make this new movie?
JPH: I was inspired by David Lynch mostly and that meant I had to leave my comfort zone and try something different than just cutting people up into pieces. I always enjoyed psychological thrillers, much like Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Lost Highway, and Cape Fear.
HoTS: You mentioned that Rob Zombie was a huge influence on your style on (S)AINT NICK How will this one be different or similar?
JPH: Rob Zombie was the only reason why I wanted to make (S)AINT NICK. I’m a huge fan of his work, except Halloween 2 (Sorry, Rob)
This is a very different type of film, it’s not vulgar or difficult to watch, it’s more about getting inside an audiences head and having them watch the film over and over again, to really think about what is really going on, especially the ending.Answer2.
HoTS: It’s my understanding that you had the chance to work with Zane Hershberger. What was that like?
JPH: Zane Hershberger is someone I see myself working with over and over again. He is by far, the most fun I’ve had making a film with. He’s easy going, funny and his vision is balls to the wall insane. He just loves doing what he does and when people see the finished product, they’ll understand what I mean. He just made everything look better than what I imagined in my head and I can’t wait to work with him again.
HoTS: I personally am excited to see you step out of your comfort zone and try your hand at a psychological film this time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good hack and slash, but it takes real talent to get inside someone’s head and terrify them psychologically. The fact that you’re willing to try new things and be versatile is why I believe you’ll go far as a filmmaker.
When making a good thriller having a good cast is key and the acting can make or break the film. What can you tell me about the cast in this one?
JPH: The cast in this film really outdone themselves! Tyler Manko plays Sam Hayne, a detective who has been searching for his wife and child since they disappeared on Halloween, six years ago.
Alexis Polce-von Schwedler plays Octavia Burke, a woman whom Sam believes is responsible for the disappearances.
These two together REALLY knock it out of the park. The chemistry, the emotions, as well as the trickery that goes on throughout the film. It just boggled my mind to see them out of character and whenever I called action, seeing them within seconds get into their character. Tyler and Alexis really outdid themselves and I’m highly proud to see what they pulled off during the filming.
Sable Griedel, who was in The Barn, and 10/31 is also one to look out for. She was amazing and very professional. Sable plays Olivia Hayne, Sam’s wife. Her appearance is both shocking and well received. Sable was a real joy to work with.
Leeana Hergenreder, (S)AINT NICK, has a special appearance as Octavia’s co-worker. I’ll never make a film without Leeana. She already knows what I’m looking for and what I need from her. There is very little direction with her because we are so in sync while making a film. It’s crazy.
Patrick Honan, who portrayed a voice over as Dr. Hoffman in (S)AINT NICK, plays Detective Barnes. I can’t say too much about his character, but what I can say is that Patrick is a great person to work with. He’s new to acting, but still delivers his lines like a true detective.
Last, but not least Rosie plays Sam’s Daughter, Chloe Hayne, and this was her first time in front of cameras, but she’s done theatre work. Rosie was phenomenal, very understanding at what I was looking for and really nailed her part. She’s adorable, and she is definitely someone that I’d love to work with in the future. It’s so hard to find young talent these days, but she outdid herself and really helped the film with her part.
HoTS: I know your last film was picked up by Troma will this one be also and when can we expect to see it?
JPH: As a matter of fact, Hallowed Be Thy Name has been picked up by Dustin Ferguson as part of the second season for Tales From The Grave and will be released as a webisode and then on DVD from Screamtime Films. From what I understand, they are going to show [one] episode per week starting in September. I’ll make sure it’s announced as soon as I know everything.
HoTS: Finally, is there anything you would like to add or think fans should know?
JPH: I think people are going to be puzzled and confused, at first. This is def something that should be viewed more than once before giving it an actual thumbs up or thumbs down. It’s very psychological and one of those WTF? type of films. I already know people will feel as if the film doesn’t make much sense. Haha, that’s when you need to watch it again until it does make sense.
Thank you again, Jonathan, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me for a few moment. I’ve really enjoyed this and look forward to seeing your new film.
Posted by Candace Stone in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Tristan Takes Charge!

Tristan Takes Charge!

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

Indie horror darling Tristan Risk is at it again, this time taking on the role of director for her very own short film entitled Parlour Tricks. Risky, as she is lovingly referred to, is a well-rounded artist, to say the least. She has starred in countless burlesques and sideshows, created insightful, personal pieces of writing on her website Little Miss Risk and portrayed some memorable characters on film both in and out of costumes and special makeup (American Mary, Harvest Lake, Frankenstein Created Bikers) I will go as far to say that Miss Risk is worthy of the title ‘Renaissance Woman’ as she continues to add to her list of accomplishments.
Parlour Tricks / Tristan RiskAs for her latest endeavor though, Parlour Tricks is delightful, fun, and quirky — much like Tristan is herself. It’s a tale of feuding relatives attempting to contact their departed Aunt in the afterlife, not for the need of closure or to relay how much she meant to each, but rather for selfish and greedy reasons. Sitting at seven and a half minutes, the short film is a quick and enjoyable watch that utilizes its black and white format beautifully. The cast and crew come together wonderfully in what is perhaps a passion project and quite possibly the first of many directorial efforts led by Tristan Risk out of her House Of Hiss, successfully throwing her hat in the ring for future features led by females.

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

The High Priestess of Lowbrow took a few moments to answer some questions for us here at HoTS and we couldn’t be more pleased to share what she had to say!
House of Tortured Souls: What prompted you to dive into directing? Has it been something you always have thought of doing?
Tristan Risk: I had always had it at the back of my mind, but I think it mostly came from writing and wanting to see those stories come off of the page, and I had this idea to get someone else to direct. I am not technically trained, so I was worried I needed to know about lens and craft before diving in. Fortunately, I had really great support from my circle of Topher, Jordan, and Burns, who encouraged me to just do it, and so I went with majority rules.
 Tristan RiskHoTS: You are a ridiculously talented burlesque performer and can easily perfect some sideshow abilities such as fire eating and the ‘hair hang’. Do you happen to have a special place in your heart for the body horror sub-genre? Do you have any favorite horror films?
TR: Body horror is the most frightening of subgenres for me. Because I’ve always made my living off of my body, the ideas, and themes it. The idea that we don’t have autonomy over my body is frightening, and while as a woman we face this every day with not having access to health care that meets our needs with regards to our reproductive health. So rather than have an existential crisis over that, we watch Martyrs and Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
HoTS: How long was filming and post-production for Parlour Tricks?
TR: We shot Parlour Tricks in one day on a Saturday in March. The post took a little bit longer as everyone was donating their time to polish it off, but Jordan had us a working edit right away so we got it done quickly, and were able to start sending it to festivals quickly. I’m not sure how long it generally takes, but I’m happy to let people take their time and do the job to their satisfaction.
HoTS: Parlour Tricks is a very fun and offbeat short, rather lighthearted. What made you want to go this route with your film?
TR: I don’t think it’s any shock for anyone who has read my writing to know I can go to very dark and graphic places. I love comedy, and while I enjoy all things horror, I wanted to try something different and showcase a side of myself that I don’t often get to display when I’m in front of the camera. I think I also did it as a mild admonishment to people who are thinking I’d go the safe, shocking route, and that one should always expect the unexpected.

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

HoTS: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
TR: I just wrapped with the Cronenberg remake of Rabid with the Soska sisters in Toronto, Canada. So when that comes to screens I’m very excited and proud to be part of that production. I’m planning on shooting three of my short films, and to work on some features in the future.
HoTS: How has your time on set of the Soska-led remake of Rabid been thus far? Anything you can share with us regarding your character?
TR: The production was full of challenges, but the amazing camera crew and delightful cast, it was an amazing display of tenacity and talent in equal measure. I was so impressed by the crew and in particular our director of photography, Kim Derko, and our camera operators Paula Tymchuk and Tamara Jones. They stood out for me and showed skill and grace, and everyone from all the departments put their blood and souls into this. I’m fiercely proud to be among all of these people’s number in helping contribute to the making of this film.
At this time I’m not sure I’m permitted to reveal the names of what I play at this time. However, I can share that I do play multiple roles in this film that showcases my skill set as well as a new batch of skills previously not used in any other film. I’m very excited to be able to pop up in a few unexpected places and in such a striking film.
 Tristan RiskHoTS: If YOU could remake any film, what would it be?
TR: Oddly enough, I’ve been tapped to contribute and collaborate on another remake, but I’m going to keep that in a quiet whisper for the time being. If I had my pick of films to recreate and reimagine, I’d be tempted to take on Splash. I’m dying to shoot underwater and feature mermaid myth and lore. I even swim in til myself and have worked as a professional mermaid. I’m wanting to feature all the deep diving babes I’ve met over the years who I think could sell the idea.
HoTS: You have toured in over a dozen different countries in various burlesque and sideshows, modeled, and of course acted. Now you can officially add writer and director to your resume. Out of all these creative hats you have worn, do you have a favorite at all? What drives your need to seek such artistic outlets?
TR: I think just a desire to create. So much of it is visual mediums, and I can translate the write to the visual so easily. I’ve always found release in using my ideas to shape my reality around me, and films give me access to a wider audience to do that. I love live shows and it’s frustrating to channel so much energy into a performance where only a handful of people can experience it. While the stage is my first love, I am always ready to have a long-time affair with the screen, and willing to switch between behind and in front of the camera.

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, REVIEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
An Introduction to Sam Hel and the World Of Cat 4 Collective

An Introduction to Sam Hel and the World Of Cat 4 Collective

Sam Hel is a filmmaker whose current release An Ultraviolent Colour is available through Cat 4 Collective. His collaborations with Adrian Baez on films such as Summerland and The Devil In Me to create the “Suicide Trilogy” have been gaining notoriety within the Indie short film scene, and Sam agreed to speak with the House of Tortured Souls on the evolution of his films.

House of Tortured Souls: The recent release of An Ultraviolent Colour is quite phenomenal. How did you pick such an amazingly well-rounded lead actress to showcase your script and directing style so brilliantly?
Sam Hel: Thank you. In Los Angeles, it is very difficult to find models and actors to be a part of a movie that contains graphic material. It was actually supposed to be more graphic as Emily has a history of sexual abuse in the story. I was told to tone it down or we would never find someone here. Which was almost the reality.
A. Baez and I looked high and low for actors models and even friends to be Emily. A. Baez was the one who had priorly talked with Mercedes, and she was 100 percent on board with the idea and came to Hollywood to shoot it.
I just gave her the background information and where Emily is at in her life. Mercedes took the character and went with what she felt would be the closest. She even went on with rants and dialogue while shooting that I still don’t know if they are made up or she really experienced in her life.
HoTS: An Ultraviolent Colour is part of the “Suicide Trilogy”, can you describe to viewers how the film’s flow together?
SH: The common ground we both agree on is that each story very much takes place in a warped version of the mind. Every character has a problem mentally that led them down that road, and there was no one to help them in their time of need. In Entrails and Amour, the love of her life left and she was alone. In The Devil In Me, she was alone lived a secluded life and idolized someone who praised death. An Ultraviolent Colour tackles abuse with no outside help and an enabler supporting her wishes.
HoTS: Summerland and The Devil In Me are very involved films about character exploration. Where do you find your influences with such subjects?
SH: I try to find a lot of documentaries or videos about unique people. I also like to read about strange situations and stories. Once I have an idea, I usually do weird things to continue writing mainly sleep deprivation. I keep a notebook next to me. That is when the what-the-fuck ideas come in. Either visually or within the dialogue. It’s also good that I’m close with my partner and he does not sleep either.
HoTS: Recently you announced work beginning on I Cut Your Flesh. What can you tell us about this production?
SH: I am into documentaries. I am also into visually fucked up things. I enjoy interesting people. I struck up a friendship with a lovely girl who has a fascination with being cut pierced and playing with blood. If people continue purchasing our movies we will begin working on a series of these real pain documentaries.
The movie is truly in the same vein as shockumentaries and documentaries on oddities. I wanted to make controversial documentaries and shockumentaries like Traces of Death junk films, Japanese extreme fetishes, or death documentaries. That seems somewhat impossible at the moment. This is the closest in extremity I can get at the moment. Plus it is funny to make my cameraman shoot it as he cannot stand the sight of real death or blood.
HoTS: Is there anything you’d like film fans to know about yourself, your work, or Cat 4 Collective?
SH: As long as there are people wanting to view our movies and supports us by purchasing our products we will continue moving forward. I will always continue photographing or shooting but I like to share my work. Sadly it costs to create and it costs a lot in Los Angeles. We have a lot of extreme and unusual ideas that I feel have not been explored in a while.
Our websites are www.cat4collective.com and www.samhel.com.

Sam Hel’s latest film An Ultraviolent Colour focuses on one person Emily. Emily has been abused all her life and that is the only way she knows love. She decides to make a movie as a love letter to the world.

Emily’s spiral into self-abuse is evident on screen, as she slowly begins a detrimental slide into self-harm. She begins by letting us watch her line the bathroom with plastic sheeting in anticipation of what is to come.

We see the anguish in her face and understand though she is numb to so much, pain is merely a pleasure for her. This is conveyed so wonderfully raw and vulnerable by Mercedes, the young actress playing the damaged, fragile and tormented character of Emily.

She is tormented and sadly seeing no way free. The film climaxes in a sea of musical screaming and thrashing music.

The score, having been a secondary character throughout the film, reflects Emily’s torment with moments of quite manic and others more ethereal melodies. Featuring music by STALAGGH and SADWRIST, An Ultraviolent Colour features a score that is impacting on the viewer.

Sam Hel creates angular shots of his beautifully tragic lead actress, that encourages us to not only continue to watch on horrified but also feel emotional towards her plight. Sam Hel’s prowess as a filmmaker is cemented with this gutsy effort, and I will watch on developments on future films such as I CUT YOUR FLESH.

Interview: Sam Hel

Mercedes as Emily

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Domiziano Cristopharo has been wowing audiences in his native Italy for years. So it’s a true pleasure that he is now taking the US by storm. Thanks to the 2018 release of the Director’s Cut Blu-ray of his 2012 film Red Krokodil, Domiziano reached a whole new audience. Red Krokodil chronicles the downward spiral of drug addiction and proves that Domiziano is no stranger to body horror.

Domiziano Cristopharo

His penchant for the grotesque is showcased in his work, and he doesn’t hold back, which is a real treat for those of us that prefer the more extreme end of the horror genre. As a fan who prefers foreign horror, I was honored to speak with Domiziano recently, and to find out what it is that fuels the man behind the lens, and to get a sneak peek at what he has in store for us.

Domiziano Cristopharo

House of Tortured Souls: I read that you’re often compared to Dario Argento and that you’re the first Italian director to revive the erotic/horror genre. How does it feel to be described that way?
Domiziano Cristopharo: Actually, I was recently even described – by a very kind critic – also like a “mix between the Fulci’s trilogy of hell and contemporary American horror” (and this is a comparison that really makes me feel proud to exist)… but I don’t know, I don’t see resemblances in my works, and I would love to be closer/similar just for a 10% to a master like Fulci or Bava.
HoTS: You made your first film, House of Flesh Mannequins, in 2009. What did you do before you got into film, and what inspired you to do it?
DC: I work in tv, stage and film industry by age of 14. My principal job till 20 was acting then I started professionally to realize fx make up, and write screenplays. My intention was to sell the script but was rejected for years in Italy ’cause the contents. So I tried to send it in USA and I was lucky: empire films produced it and gave me the direction of the movie too.
HoTS: Do you feel there is a difference between Italian horror filmmaking and American horror filmmaking?
DC: More than a difference, I see an abyss. I started in 2008 and I did more than 25 films ’till now (including collective projects and productions). In 2011 after my third film I quit work with Italy and Italians. This helped me to become more productive and find a really active market and a field where I get the chance to grow up as a person and as an artist. In Italy I had just two small distributions in those years, DVD of my films are still available only by import. No support at all and useless to mention the hate and rage that fill this field… Favorite sport of other directors and horror fan here is to create a shitstorm round people who have even a small success. Bad, bad, bad.

Domiziano Cristopharo

HoTS: A lot of your work can be described as extreme horror. What is it that attracts you to that part of the genre?
DC: I always loved to explore excesses, I think is useless to offer to an audience – especially as indie – something that already exists. But my concept of extreme is not related in blood, I don’t even use much of it in my films. Extreme is a feeling, is to dare, to show something forbidden, something not socially accepted, not only murders but evil thoughts, nasty actions, uncomfortable secrets. This is also what makes my lead roles so intense and in same time scares actors so much that I hardly find people to hire.
HoTS: You recently helped produced Sacrifice, one of the latest installments to the American Guinea Pig series. What are your thoughts on the rumors that viewers walked out of early screenings of the film due to content?
DC: Aren’t rumors at all. In France, during the “Sadique-master” (a festival dedicated to extreme movies) three people fainted and one puked. In Italy during the “optical theater festival”, a girl fainted and we needed more than 1 hour for reanimate her… Was scary. I’m very proud of SACRIFICE, is the first part of an extreme trilogy (second part is TORMENT by Adam Ford and XPIATION, just concluded, by me) may be the first extreme Italian series by decades. Biro caught the potential of those films and he wanted it so badly in the AGP saga.
HoTS: Poison Rouge was an actress in your first film, and she also directed Sacrifice. What made you want to collaborate with her again?
DC: She acted with me on stage first, we had a sideshow called BLOODY CABARET; then she played in many films: from the debut in FLESH MANNEQUINS to HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE and PHANTASMAGORIA. She also always helped me on set as assistant director.
SACRIFICE was in my thoughts written for a female role, but I had troubles with the actress…
So I asked Poison to replace her, and then finally I gave to her the direction of the movie.
HoTS: What’s your favorite scary movie?
DC: Dunno, I have many… I love classics… and for sure Carpenter, Fulci, Bava, Cronenberg… But also Polanski, Jodorowski, Lynch
Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Slender Man (2018) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Slender Man (2018) [SPOILERS]

Slender Man - Real Story / Image: Chicago TribuneI had the pleasure of seeing Slender Man over the weekend, and I was very impressed with the outcome of the movie. As a horror movie lover, I have very high standards for how the movie should turn out. Slender Man, in this case, intrigues me. For those who may not be familiar, Slender Man (also known as a creepypasta Internet meme) is a tall, very unnaturally thin man with a featureless face who wears a black suit. He is known for stalking, traumatizing, and abducting children. There was even a panic in Wisconsin back in 2014 when two 12-year-old girls took their best friend into the woods and nearly stabbed her to death in order to summon Slender Man. Out of respect for the families, some theaters in nearby counties are not showing this movie.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Slender Man (2018) / Image: IMDbThe start of Slender Man was pretty fast-paced, one which I enjoyed instead of waiting the 1-1/2 hours for the story to pick up. It shows the chemistry between four best friends Wren (Joey King), Hallie (Julia Goldani Telles), Chloe (Jaz Sinclair), and Katie (Annalise Basso). One night, the girls went to hang out at Katie’s house. They had overheard the boys in school talking about summoning up Slender Man , so they searched online and found the video and various images — including Slender Man (Javier Botet) himself. They eventually laugh it off even though he was lingering on their minds. A week after they summoned Slender Man, Katie goes missing on a class field trip. Eventually, her three friends realize that she was participating in online occult practices hoping to be taken away by Slender Man in order to escape her reality of living with an alcoholic father.

Slender Man (2018) / Image: IMDbThe girls do some investigating and find out that they can get Katie back in exchange for something that means the most to them. They decide to venture out into the woods hoping to see Slender Man, but cannot make eye contact at the same time. Eventually, each girl makes contact with him while Wren becomes obsessed with research in order to put an end to this once and for all. The result is that the only way to end this once and for all is to surrender to Slender Man, which ends up being the only choice they have in order to save Hallie’s younger sister Lizzie (Taylor Richardson) who summoned Slender Man. In the end, the camera zoomed in to a picture of the four girls with Lizzie narrating about her sister’s experience, thus showing how the myth of Slender Man creates a vicious circle among teenagers who summon him up out of curiosity.

All in all, the acting was a little unbearable but I do give credit to director Sylvain White for staying on track with the storyline and to Javier Botet who made the movie as the titular Slender Man. The beginning started off strong and the graphics alone were believable and well done. Midway it felt like the movie should have ended a few times, and it dragged a little until the end. Overall, I grade Slender Man a C.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW:  The Meg (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Meg (2018)

The Meg (2018) posterLet’s get this out of the way right now. Jaws is the best shark movie ever. Jaws has always been the best shark movie ever, and will forever be the yardstick by which all shark movies are judged.

With that being said, The Meg is no Jaws. Hell, it’s not even Sharknado.

The Meg is directed by Jon Turteltaub (Phenomenon, National Treasure) and stars Jason Statham (Ghosts of Mars, Crank, The Expendables), Bingbing Li (Resident Evil: Retribution, Guardians of the Tomb), Rainn Wilson (The Office</em>, House of 1000 Corpses, Super) and Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, xXx: Return of Xander Cage). It is based on a book written by Steve Alten called Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror.

The Meg (2018)I remember reading the first three books in the series some time ago, but I wouldn’t consider them “great” as I don’t really recall too much about them. The film itself had been in development hell for a number of years, and truthfully I’m kind of surprised it even got made at all.

The story centers around…does it really matter? A giant fucking shark. That’s all that matters. There’s a giant shark. It eats shit and fucks shit up. Isn’t that what really matters? You better say “YES!” to that question because if you want more than that you’re going to have to look elsewhere.

The film itself is abysmal. The acting is terrible. Some sequences make the film look like it was Frankensteined together from other films. Characters are never explored. The dialogue is trite and pointless. The story is predictable and so clichéd that there are no surprises or suspense.

The Meg (2018)At no point does the audience feel any sort of connection or empathy towards any of the characters. Except maybe the little girl, Meiying (played by Shuya Sophia Cai). We can relate to her because we too are just along for the ride with no real say as to what happens.

Too much time is spent brushing over all of these hollow, empty characters that it wastes precious time that could be spent watching a giant CGI shark fuck shit up.

As much as I love shark movies, I really can’t recommend this one. If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen all the best scenes. Save your money and wait for the next Sharknado film.

Posted by Richard Francis in MOVIE REVIEWS, NATURE STRIKES BACK, 0 comments
MOVIE Review: The Taxidermist

MOVIE Review: The Taxidermist

The Taxidermist/Luke RamerThis week I sat down to watch the Indie horror film The Taxidermist. The title alone intrigued me, as there are not a lot of films that tackle this premise. The Taxidermist is the story of Leo, a struggling artist in the taxidermy field. His wife Veronica works while Leo is a stay-at-home dad who picks up taxidermy jobs. One evening while working in his garage, Leo is paid a visit by a man named Kristoff who presents Leo (whom he calls the best in his field) with an unusual request. He wants Leo to stuff and mount his wife. Leo turns down the request, but Kristoff offers $30,000. Leo thinks but still denies the request. Kristoff leaves disappointed.

Leo and Veronica’s daughter Abigail receives a diagnosis of cancer, which causes friction between the couple as they cannot pay the bills. Faced with no options, Leo calls Kristoff and accepts his previous request to stuff and mount his wife. Leo begins his work and drinks while completing it. After he finishes, while in a drunken stupor, he envisions the mounted corpse coming to life and seducing him. This creates a masturbation scene with Leo and the corpse.

The Taxidermist/Luke RamerLeo astonishes Kristoff with the finished product and is paid the $30,000. Kristoff, of course, wants more work done and tells Leo there is an exhibit coming up. He offers Leo half a million dollars to produce 10-12 more “works of art”. Leo accepts the offer and gets to work on the bodies brought to him. Leo receives an invite to attend a masquerade event where his work is on display. During a Q and A, Leo explains his art where he explains his process and motivation.

The Taxidermist/Luke RamerDuring the exhibit, Leo discovers his work is being used for sexual purposes and becomes enraged. He burns the house down with everyone inside. Leo snaps. He goes home and in the morning shows Veronica all of his money and one example of the art he created.

There is the plot with no real spoilers. I loved the premise of the film because, as I mentioned before, there are not a lot of films that tackle taxidermy. The plot was solid, and it was fun to see which direction the film would go.

The Taxidermist/Luke RamerThere were, however, a few hiccups in the story and production. Let me qualify this by saying that this film is a low-budget Indie film and with a low budget come sacrifices. There are a couple scenes (one in particular with the couple arguing) where the audio fluctuates and does not keep to one level. There are some cracks in the audio as well. The ending of the film comes with little surprise, and I figured it out in the first 30 minutes. I find that difficult in horror because it leaves little to the imagination.

For the positives. The taxidermy scenes were done extremely well. The music complementing them added a nice touch as well. The premise made the film interesting to sit and watch also. The realism of the art of taxidermy made the story flow because it gave visuals. The real issues the couple faced added an accurate look at daily life.

Overall, this film showed several pros and cons. The original storyline is a major plus. It does move slowly in the first half hour which does not draw the viewer in, and that is a con. What filmmaker Luke Ramer achieved, though, was the creation of a character — Leo — that viewers will care about. He is not evil or twisted when the film begins, but he makes a choice out of necessity which leads him down this path of human taxidermy. All in all, The Taxidermist is not a great film, but it is passable. If given a larger budget, Ramer could have pieced together a knockout film based on his premise alone.

Overall Grade: C

Watch the trailer and let us know what you think.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Gutterballs (2008) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Gutterballs (2008) [SPOILERS]

Gutterballs (2008) is a Canadian extreme horror set entirely in the Xcalibar bowling alley (Surrey, BC). It’s essentially a rape revenge with a slight twist.

The film is horribly acted, feels like a slasher made by porn stars for porn stars, and despite the low budget and less than Oscar-worthy acting, it still ends up being a great little movie. The gore and practical effects are superb. The kills are inventive and fresh, and the rape scene was genuinely disturbing.

A group of friends go bowling after hours and compete against one another. It’s a typical mix of teens from the 80s: you’ve got your token jocks, rockers and rockettes, skanks, and even the trans community is represented. The jocks compete against the rockers. The group of jocks gets drunk and rowdy and roughs up the transgender member of the group, and a bit of a brawl breaks out. In order to stop one of the jocks from beating up her friend, one of the girls drops a bowling ball on his foot. The group gets kicked out of the alley early but vow to have a rematch the following night. They all go their separate ways except the girl who dropped the bowling ball goes back in the alley in search of her purse. She runs into the group of jocks, and they brutally gang rape her. This scene is long and excessive; it imprints itself on your brain. I found it to be a lot harder to stomach than most scenes of this nature because it was extremely graphic and felt like it went on forever. I was completely emotionally depleted by its finish. It’s been a while since I was truly disturbed by a scene in any movie.

The following night the group all comes back for a bowl-off. The group starts getting picked off one by one with some of the most original kill scenes put to film. You can look to find quite a few hat tips to other movies in this and have fun picking them out. I was a tad disappointed by the “twist” ending, but overall I was pretty impressed with the film.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Here are some of the extreme and disturbing bits you can expect to see:

  • A brutal and graphic gang rape using a bowling pin
  • Death by 69 (extra points for creativity)
  • An incredibly up close and personal penile mutilation
  • Sodomization with a bowling pin
  • Tons of nudity, sex, violence, and gore in this one

4/5 shocks for Gutterballs

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HoTS Review: Raleigh SuperCon (July 27-29, 2018)

HoTS Review: Raleigh SuperCon (July 27-29, 2018)

Last weekend (July 27 – 29, 2018) I attended the Raleigh SuperCon! This convention was held at the very spacious Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. The SuperCon celebrates horror movies, Disney, anime, and various other characters. Musical guests included Alice Cooper and my personal favorite, Joey Fatone of NSYNC fame. Some of the guests included were William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Catherine Tate, and Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob Squarepants.

Raleigh SuperCon 2018 / Image: Celeb Photo Ops

Cosplay was evident everywhere! Outfits ranged from the most popular, (Deadpool), to anime, to Star Wars, (slave Princess Leia) to furies (humans dressed as animals). Many elaborate costumes were displayed proudly by the people who took the time and creativity to make these costumes. One of my personal favorites was Ludo and a fiery from the 1986 movie Labyrinth.

SuperCon / Amy Narramore SuperCon / Amy Narramore

Saturday night brought out the creatures of the night for The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a shadow cast provided by the Pineapple Shaped Lamps.  They are a comedy and improv group based out of Wilmington, North Carolina. Barry Bostwick (Brad Majors) and Patricia Quinn (Magenta) joined the cast to introduce the film and talk with the audience for a few minutes. As an added and very big surprise, Patricia Quinn joined the shadow cast in dancing to the Time Warp!

Raleigh SuperCon 2018 / Image: Amy NarramoreRaleigh SuperCon 2018 / Image: Amy Narramore

This was the first time that I attended the Raleigh SuperCon and I must say that I will go again next year! I give this convention an A+ for an amazing time with wonderful guests! It was well organized and had a lot of different exhibits and guests for everyone! Plus, I really enjoyed the warm and welcoming environment that was felt throughout the community.

Raleigh SuperCon 2018 / Image: Amy Narramore

Posted by Graveyard Girl in EDITORIALS, EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments