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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
Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

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

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

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

Long Weekend (1978)

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

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

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

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

Dark Age (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)

Fortress (1985)

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

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

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

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

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Ben Young, Writer/Director of Hounds of Love (2016)

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

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

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

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

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

HoTS: What do you think of the Australian movie scene itself, and its rise in popular culture within the last decade through filmmakers like Greg McLean, Leigh Whannell and James Wan and even the likes of Joel and Nash Edgerton?
BY: I think it’s really hard to make films in Australia. It’s really great to see filmmakers like those you’ve mentioned really making a name for themselves internationally. I hope it continues that way. In Australia, you’re very unlikely to get rich from film, so I feel like the filmmakers we have a driven by passion which comes across in their work ethic.
HoTS: What advice can you give to any filmmaker around the globe working on projects right now, within the independent film market?
BY: Be bold. Make choices that are risky and be true to your own vision. No one wants to see another version of Hounds of Love or anything else so find your own story and tell it in a way that only you could. To break through your film must have an element that makes it stand out amongst others in its genre. This will come from bold choices.
It might sound obvious, but cast good actors and pay them. Even if you don’t pay yourself. One off performance and the whole world you are creating will come tumbling down.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in INTERVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
FIRST LOOK – Upcoming Release for Domiziano Christopharo’s Red Krokodil (2012)

FIRST LOOK – Upcoming Release for Domiziano Christopharo’s Red Krokodil (2012)

Set for January 23, 2018, Unearthed Films’ CEO Stephen Biro contacted House of Tortured Souls with a digital press kit for the DVD/Blu-ray release of Red Krokodil.

According to the press release, here’s what we can expect:

Red Krokodil is the story of one man (played by Brock Madson), addicted to the mind-numbing drug Krokodil. He finds himself alone in a post-nuclear city similar to Chernobyl. His physical decay, caused by the massive intake of drugs, is mirrored by his inner world, as reality mixes with hallucinations.
The decomposition of the flesh caused by Krokodil is severe in its graphic, yet slow destruction, madness, and desperation are rampant as one man’s addiction to the drug runs out of control.
Director, Domiziano Christopharo depicts a psychological condition that brings a total detachment from oneself and from the surrounding world, Red Krokodil is a dark trip, with no way out.

Domiziano Christopharo is an Italian independent film director known for having worked with various notable filmmakers in the past, including Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), Frank Laloggia (Lady In White), and Carlo De Mejo (City of Living Dead).

Christopharo is also known for his ongoing work to try and revive the erotic horror genre, familiar to many fans of the Giallo movement as well as fans of filmmakers such as Fellini and Argento – often having reviewers drawing comparisons with the two filmmakers and his own work.

Christopharo’s body of work includes House of Flesh Mannequins (2008), The Museum of Wonders (2009), Hyde’s Secret Nightmare (2010), Shock – My Abstraction of Death (2011), HP Lovecraft: Two Left Arms (2012), Doll Syndrome (2014), and much more.

Many have characterized Christopharo’s work as being pornographic in nature, but he prefers to respond with a quote from Picasso:

Art is never chaste and we should keep her away from pure ignorants. If it were chaste, it wouldn’t be art at all.

So far reviews have been favorable for the film’s release with Steven Paul from Beneath The Undergound calling it a film in which “you will know that you have truly experienced something special”, Barbara Tourette from Dark Veins saying “Brock Madson’s performance is a mirror of the psychic and physical consequences caused by Krokodil”, and Seth Poulin from Celluloid Terror defining it as having a “powerful message…that is open to personal interpretation and what you take the film for is exactly what it is”.

To nab your copy, visit the Unearthed Films Official Web Site.

Red Krokodil (2012)

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Bright (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Bright (2017)

After hearing such a negative buzz about the recently released $90 million Netflix film Bright, I decided to objectively view it for myself. A couple of days ago Netflix announced that Bright 2 is already in pre production – when in actual fact it was planned before the release of Bright itself on December 22, 2017. In the scarce time since Bright was released, the Internet has been awash with mixed reactions, from absolute adoration to complete and total loathing. Many were disappointed by director David Ayer’s recent comic book entry Suicide Squad and Max Landis‘ recent hurrah about rebooting his father’s infamous film An American Werewolf in London were skeptical that either were great filmmakers and questioned the choice of Will Smith in the lead alongside Joel Edgerton.

BrightBright is the story of our world, seen in an alternate universe in which Orcs, Fairies, and Elves inhabit alongside Humans. The Orcs are oafs who are all for a world free from the humans, who prejudge them all as criminals. The Fairies are annoying little cretins, who seemingly do no more than annoy humans. And the Elves are the highest rolling society. Wealthy, attractive and simply the royalty/ celebrities of this other world order.

Smith plays human police officer Daryl Ward. A man run down by his job and awaiting his retirement in the coming years with some annoyance. Ward has recently been partnered with Nick Jakoby (played by Joel Edgerton), a “non-blooded” Orc – meaning he belongs to no clan and is ostracised by his own- who is simple and still learning to understand humans. Smith is not difficult to watch, but like his prior roles in films like I Am Legend and Suicide Squad, it is basically regular old Smith performance on screen. Edgerton, on the other hand, is a goofy gem. His bumbling but well-meaning performance of Orc Officer Jakoby is easily as enjoyable as Mandy Patinkin in Alien Nation (a 1988 film that I feel is echoed in this movie through some of its sentiments). I did feel the duo bounced off one another well but that Smith’s delivery was a tad too dry at times.

Joel Edgerton, Lucy Fry, and Will Smith in Bright

Joel Edgerton, Lucy Fry, and Will Smith in Bright

Like Alien Nation, Bright finds its feet exploring a subplot of awkwardness between these two cops and a division unhelped by the corruption around them. Stumbling upon a young Elf called Tikka (amazingly portrayed by Lucy Fry – famous for her role in the first season of the Australian t series of Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek), who is frail and afraid of her heroes. Tikka is a Bright, a magic Elf with powers to unlock both good and bad forces. Tikka is being pursued by the beautiful Leilah (portrayed by Noomi Rapace from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo film series). Leilah is cold, ruthless and has a thirst for the darker side of magic, quite literally obliterating anyone in her path with her two Elvish goons. Also pursuing our troubled trio is a pair of Elf detectives also keen to learn about what the threesome are protecting.

With enough car chases, explosions and high octane injuries and deaths, this is definitely a film that only lets up when needed and keeps a steady pace through its nearly two-hour runtime. I won’t ruin the fun of this film with more details but will say the negativity it has received online is heavily unwarranted as it is a fun and interesting watch.

Noomi Rapace in Bright

Noomi Rapace in Bright

Fans of mythical beings or action films will enjoy those aspects of Bright. I can only hope Landis and Ayer can produce the same (or better) quality film the second time around. Smith and Edgerton have both already confirmed their return in Bright 2 and it is slated for release later this year on Netflix.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

With Christmas upon us, we venture through the veritable treasure trove of dark stories of yuletide fair. Here is a short list of 9 Christmas tales and traditions used originally to promote the darker (and in some cases oddly comical) side of the holiday period. Whilst some are purely laughable by today’s standards, others are still used to scare children into being good all around the world.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

1. KRAMPUS:

Krampus / Fair use doctrine.The most obvious on the list and easiest to recognize, KRAMPUS has gained a notoriety with horror fans through various films in recent years.
KRAMPUS is a Christmas character from Austria, who on KRAMPUS Night (December 5th) each year appears to scare and maim. Some say he is Santa Claus’ evil twin brother and, like his brother, has a duty each year to perform. Unlike his kindly brother who delivers gifts to good girls and boys, KRAMPUS has the opposite job and will beat and punish all of the naughty children.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

2. CAGANER:

The Shitter / Fair use doctrine.This odd little custom is used in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
As usual, a nativity is set up and decorated with the expected characters on display – Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three wise men and perhaps a shepherd. However, in these three countries, you may also add a character known as CAGANER.
CAGANER is literally translated as ‘the crapper’ or ‘the shitter’, and his figurine (which traditionally depicts a man, pooping with his pants around his knees and with a pile of poop at his heels) is usually placed in the corner of a traditional nativity scene. Children are encouraged to find him, as part of their Christmas ritual. The CAGANER is not a new custom, having been around for a few hundred years. It is a bit of a shitty custom, I know, but I will admit I was intrigued by the concept of a man crapping in my nativity scene.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

3. WITCHES:

Brooms - WitchesIn Norway each year, it is perceived that WITCHES and evil spirits will ascend on the towns in search of brooms to ride on to do their evil bidding on Christmas Eve. To thwart this evil, the Norwegians will hide all brooms on Christmas Eve and fire a warning shot outdoors with a shotgun.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

4. FRAU PERCHTA:

Frau Perchta / Fair use doctrine.Continuing on with our witch folklore, FRAU PERCHTA is another occult Christmas legend from Austria and Germany. It is known that FRAU PERCHTA visits children through the 12 days of Christmas, from December 25th until January 6th. She is seen as both good and bad.
Thought to have descended from an Alpine goddess of nature, FRAU PERCHTA will reward good children.
However, she is very well known for her gruesome punishments for the bad, including one fearful tale of ripping out internal organs and replacing them with garbage.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

5. HANS TRAPP:

Hans Trapp / Fair use doctrine.In certain regions of France, the tales of HANS TRAPP circulate as an anti-Santa.
Dressed like a raggedy scarecrow when he visits, HANS TRAPP was a wealthy man who worshiped Satan and became greedy and evil.
The stories say that HANS TRAPP was about to eat a small boy when he was punished by God and struck by lightning, killing him instantly. However, his dark soul still returns to scare children (looking like a scarecrow) each Christmas, as a reminder that they still have time to be good.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

6. PERE FOUETTARD:

Pere / Fair use doctrine.PERE FOUETTARD was an evil French butcher who many still fear today.
Said to be a ghoul whose name translates as ‘Father Whipper’, PERE FOUETTARD lured children to their deaths whipping and cutting them (primarily by slicing their throats).
A gruesome tale of 3 young boys he led into his butcher’s shop, was the one that cemented his fate as a part of Christmas’ evil side.
It was there that he murdered them, chopped them up and salted the remains.
St. Nicholas came to the boys’ aid and resurrected them, before enslaving PERE FOUETTARD as his dispenser of punishment, by whipping them naturally.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

7. WEREWOLVES:

Werewolf / Fair use doctrine.Yes …I said WEREWOLVES!
According to varied legends, Lycanthropy is very much included as part of some countries Christmas legends.
In The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Olaus Magnus (a Swedish folklorist) wrote regarding werewolves gathering on Christmas night to “rage with wondrous ferocity against human beings, by attacking their homes and devouring the inhabitants”.
This was supposedly in Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania.
However, that is not all of the Christmas-werewolf connection.
In modern times, it has since been reduced to merely being born on Christmas Day is cause enough to believe that person will become a werewolf.
It is seen that being born on December 25th is mocking Jesus Christ and so you must be punished.
Sorry to all you December 25th born children, perhaps steer “clear of the moors”?
Flashing colored Christmas lights

8. GRYLA:

Gryla / Fair use doctrine.GRYLA is an Icelandic legend of a woman with 13 sons (known as the YULE LADS) and her cat Jólakötturinn (see story available on this page about the YULE CAT).
In Iceland, it is customary to receive a gift of new clothes to wear on Christmas Eve. Usually, good workers receive clothes as a gift from employers, and children from their parents.
For those children considered naughty, who do not receive new clothes in time for the festive season, GRYLA comes out from her home and seeks them out -to devour them.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

9. THE YULE LADS:

Like their mother GRYLA, THE YULE LADS were not at all nice to encounter during the holidays. Tales of their numbers vary from five to thirteen, and their antics range from mere pranks to acts of cannibalism.
Either way, these ‘lads’ were to be feared and were usually seen as henchmen for their mother.
In more recent years each of their 13 characters has evolved (since a poem published in 1932 by Jóhannes úr Kötlum) and THE YULE LADS have been seen as more impish, mischievous and less aggressive. In fact with recent toys, stamps and images available they appear more like the seven dwarves than evildoers.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in FEATURED CONTENT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, STAFF PICKS, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments