serial killers

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)

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
TV Show Review: The Alienist, S01 E01

TV Show Review: The Alienist, S01 E01

After watching the first episode of the new and much-anticipated show The Alienist, I can see why there’s so much hype about it. Based off a historical novel, we watch as Dr. Lazlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) works with John Moore (Luke Evans), an old friend from university, to solve a string of child murders in New York City. So as to not spoil the episode, I will not give out too many plot details, but it does warrant noting that Dr. Kreizler is an alienist, what people in the late 19th century called psychologists. Beginning with Kreizler being informed of a boy prostitute murdered, he sends for Moore, who happens to be an illustrator for the Times, and requests that he go and draw the corpse. Quickly, we’re shown the grisly nature of the murder, butchered beyond recognition with his entrails strewn about his feet, one hand severed, and his genitalia cut from his body.
The Alienist (2018)

With this first murder being so, I couldn’t help, but feel as if I were watching an American rendition of Jack the Ripper, with a few adaptations. However, it is distinct enough from the famous Ripper that I found the pilot episode to be rather engrossing and make me curious to know more. Who is the sick fucker that is killing boys? What happened to the killer that has led him to take this path of violence? Dr. Kreizler asks many similar questions and realizes that he will have to dive into some very dark places to learn more about this psychopathic killer. With superb performances from both Brühl and Evans, I am looking forward to the rest of the season and to see how the story unfolds. Not to mention a fantastic performance from Dakota Fanning, who, whilst she did not have a lot of screen time for the pilot episode, certainly showed a command of the screen as historical figure Sara Howard. The first female to work for the NYPD, and the first of many historical figures that are promised to appear throughout the show. I am excited to see Fanning have a continuing role on the show and from what I can see of the teaser for this season, it seems that her role increases in importance as well.
The Alienist (2018)

The Alienist airs on TNT on Monday nights at 7:00 pm Eastern Time.

The Alienist (2018)

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
August Underground Trilogy Part 3 of 3: Penance (2007)

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

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

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

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

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

August Underground's Penance (2007)Director: Fred Vogel; Writers: Allen Peters (characters), Fred Vogel (characters), Cristie Whiles (as Cristie ‘Crusty’ Whiles), Fred Vogel; Stars: Cristie Whiles, Fred Vogel, Shelby Lyn Vogel; Rating: Unrated; Run Time: 84 min; Genre: Horror; Language: English; Year: 2007
Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
August Underground Trilogy, Part 2 of 3: Mordum (2003)

August Underground Trilogy, Part 2 of 3: Mordum (2003)

August Underground's Mordum (2003)In August Underground’s Mordum, Fred Vogel’s second film of the August Underground trilogy, the viewer is assaulted by some of the most grotesquely atrocious acts of violence and depravity known to man. A found footage film, we are first introduced to characters Peter, Crusty (his girlfriend), and her brother Maggot. The first scene certainly sets the tone with Peter running the camera and catching his girlfriend having sex with her brother. Enraged Peter erupts into a nonstop barrage of verbal abuse towards Crusty, who then quiets him down by taking a jagged piece of glass and carving into her stomach with it, which in turn arouses Peter. To say this is fucked up is an understatement as we are quickly taken to the next scene in a crack house where they proceed to murder the owner with a hammer, but it is when our group of sadomasochistic serial killers return home that things escalate to another level.

August Underground's Mordum (2003)I won’t bother to delve into every act of violence that is perpetrated on the screen, but I will say that it is certainly an extreme film up there with the likes of A Serbian Film and Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh & Blood. The film includes everything imaginable and then some, some that I found to be rather creative in a sadistic sort of way. This includes forcing a man to perform a penectomy (never knew there was a word for removal of the penis) upon himself with a pair of cuticle scissors and disemboweling a woman alive and fucking the slash wound in her corpse. I guess with that being said, I should issue a strong warning that August Underground’s Mordum is not for the faint of heart. Being done as found footage, one feels as if they are truly there watching some snuff film that just happened to be lying on the street. The camera work is what one would expect from a pseudo snuff film: the camera moves erratically, the picture can be grainy at points, and you can see where they had to change “tapes” while filming their exploits.

Overall, I found August Underground’s Mordum to be rather entertaining and engrossing at points. However, I cannot emphasize enough that this film is not for everyone. One of my friends took it upon herself to watch it and made it about twenty minutes before having to stop because it disturbed her so much. I did find it disturbing at points, but not because of the brutality so much as the realism and the possibility that there are people out there who truly do commit these sorts of acts. That having been said, if you like extreme found footage films that are pseudo snuff, then give it a go!

3.8 out of 5 stars

August Underground Mordum (2003)Directors: Jerami Cruise (as Cruise), Killjoy, Michael Todd Schneider (as Maggot), Fred Vogel (as Fredenstein), Cristie Whiles (as Crusty); Writers: Killjoy, Cristie Whiles (as Crusty), Fred Vogel (as Fredenstein), Jerami Cruise (as Cruise), Michael Todd Schneider (as Maggot), Fred Vogel (film August Undergound), Allen Peters (film August Undergound); Stars: Cristie Whiles, Fred Vogel, Michael Todd Schneider (as Michael T Schneider), Jerami Cruise, Killjoy; Rating: Unrated; Run Time: 77 min; Genre: Horror; Language: English; Year: 2003
Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
August Underground Trilogy, Part 1 of 3: August Underground (2001)

August Underground Trilogy, Part 1 of 3: August Underground (2001)

Being a fan of the more extreme horror films, when the opportunity presented itself for me to purchase copies of each August Underground film, I could not in good conscience turn it down. Hearing of the notoriety of the trilogy itself, especially Mordum, I wanted to watch and critique each film. This is the first part of my run critiquing this trilogy, so without further ado, here is August Underground.

Part of the found footage genre, August Underground revolves entirely around Peter (Fred Vogel) and his buddy as they go about a rape, torture and murder spree. Very early on, we are confronted with the sadistic violence that is what gave August Underground its question, “The sickest film ever made?” on the cover of the special edition DVD release. At the start, Peter invites his buddy manning the camera to follow him to the basement where a woman named Laura is tied naked to a chair. Quickly, it is revealed that Peter has already slaughtered and even castrated Laura’s boyfriend, whose remnants are in the bathtub in the adjacent room. The torture that we are given a front row seat that involves smearing feces over the poor woman, including over where her nipples had once been until Peter and company decided to slice them off her.

Following our introduction to Laura, Peter and his unnamed cameraman pick up a female hitchhiker whom Peter forces into performing oral sex upon him and even begins raping her before he beats her to death. The film then cuts back to the basement with Laura being tormented by Peter and his friend. During this scene, Peter decides that it would be funny, much to the horror of Laura and the viewers, to take a toe off her boyfriend’s corpse, force it into her mouth, and duct tape her mouth shut. Progressing from there, the pair go out for the evening and return to find that Laura has finally died, much to their rage and frustration.

Shortly thereafter, the duo go on a road trip, which ends at a tattoo parlor where they assault, kidnap and ultimately torture and kill the twin brothers who run the parlor. The last part of the film has our duo doing cocaine with two prostitutes. Fast forward and once the cameraman is through having sex with his prostitute, the two venture into the basement where Peter is beating the other prostitute to death with a hammer while sodomizing her. The film abruptly ends when the duo chase the other prostitute and the camera is dropped.

Overall, I found August Underground to have some shocking moments to it and certainly some grotesque moments, but to answer the question on the cover of the DVD case, I did not find it to be the sickest film ever made. It certainly reflected some elements similar to that of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but with a much lower budget. As an independent underground film, though, I must say that they do very well with the small budget that they have to use. I would have to give is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

August Underground Mordum (2003)Director: Fred Vogel; Writers: Allen Peters, Fred Vogel; Stars: Fred Vogel, Kyle Dealman, Casey Eganey, Dan Friedman; Rating: Unrated; Run Time: 70 min; Genre: Horror; Language: English; Year: 2001
Posted by Spencer Evatt in GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Writer/Director Jared Cohn

INTERVIEW: Writer/Director Jared Cohn

Where we talk Dead AfterLife, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Serial Killers, and Mental Fitness

Jared Cohn We're All Animals - chilling / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Horrormadam here, guys, and I had the privilege of interviewing actor/director Jared Cohn. Best known for 13/13/13, Hulk Blood Tapes, and Feed the Devil for acting and Hold Your Breath, The Horde (which got a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes), and Little Dead Rotting Hood for his directing.
For those who do not know yet, Dead AfterLife is a currently in development film written by Michael Joy. And Michael knows horror, he is the CEO of Marketing Macabre, CEO of Joyhorror Entertainment, Director of Marketing for Artsploitation Films (that just released Red Christmas starring Dee Wallace), and Operations Manager for Horrornews.net. I am really looking forward to Dead Afterlife because of its unique and interesting premise. Imagine watching your own funeral as a ghost and then the unthinkable happens, your undead body climbs out of your coffin and starts killing and eating your friends and family. Pharmaceutical Scientist, Donald Conlee faces this conundrum after he’s murdered and is administered his own “Awake”, super drug. His death was only the beginning of his problems. The Gatekeeper has given Donald a time limit to return his Zombie-self to the ground, or else his soul can never gain entrance into Heaven. To complicate matters, he finds out that his murderer is at the funeral and his girlfriend is in grave danger. How can a couple of disgruntled gravediggers and a hearse driver help Donald’s lost soul find the way? Or maybe the real question is how can the spirit world defeat the living dead?

Jared Cohn on Stepmother / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

House of Tortured Souls: Is that an amazing premise or what? I asked Director Jared Cohn about this budding horror film.
Jared Cohn: I am a big fan of Michael Joy and looking forward to working with him, he is plugged into the horror community. Look this is a really cool story we got ghosts vs zombies, we got amazing talent on board to act in this. This project is gonna be a bad ass horror movie, straight up. It’s ghosts and zombies fighting each other, it’s gore there’s lots of blood, there is death and a funeral, it can’t lose.

Jared Cohn working on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

And Jared wasn’t kidding about the amazing talent. They just signed on Dee Wallace (Cujo, The Howling), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Bill Moseley (The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses), Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley in Hatchet, and Jason Voorhees from some of the Friday the 13th films), Bill Oberst Jr. (Scream Queens, Priest), David Gere (Bleed For This), Andy Gates (Garden Party Massacre), David Vescio (Hick), Mindy Robinson (Lizzie Borden’s Revenge), WWE wrestling star Diamond Dallas Page( Devil’s Rejects), And first timer professional wrestling legend,The Universal Heartthrob, Austin Idol.
Jared Cohn with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn with William Shatner

HoTS: I was really excited about the prospect of seeing ghosts fighting the living dead on film and asked Jared about that.
JC: I am a fan of practical effects and I would also love to incorporate some CGI to enhance the ghosts visually. Really want to do something cool and a little different if we really want it to be scary and to pay homage to some of the great classics. That would go a long way towards making it look cool, make it look good. But in order to do that, you have to rely on the resources that are available. Which some could consider a cop out answer but it’s true. I would love someone like Vincent Guastini (Under The Bed, Requiem For A Dream, V/H/S Viral, and The Dark Tapes), he does creature suits, ghosts, zombies, makeup. To get someone like him on board would be amazing, but he is not cheap. But he would make amazing looking ghosts and zombies, those are the kind of things you need obviously if you want that big budget look, you need those premium people. We are still waiting on the financing to go through though but it is getting a lot of press so it is just a hurry up and wait game, but I am extremely excited to get going.

Jared Cohn sunlight / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

HoTS: I then had to ask Jared about a film that I saw on IMDB that he is directing that is in post-production called Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash because I am a fan of the band and found this title so intriguing.

JC: I got the movie shot, there are just some legal difficulties going on. Kind of waiting until March to see whats going on with that one. I’m very proud of that movie so I am really hoping it can see the light of day. It happened because of Cleopatra Entertainment, I love those guys. They gave me great opportunities to make movies, big fan of that company. I am going to be doing some music videos for them that I am very excited about. I used to do a lot of music videos back in the day in New York. I like getting back to my roots. I used to do more cinematography, stunts, editing, and camera work and lately I have been focusing on acting and directing but it is so great to go back and relearn everything and expand.

Jared Cohn on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

When researching the film, I found that Jared wrote the film from a story by Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle. It depicts the band’s tragic history centering on Pyle and his experiences of the events surrounding the chartered-plane crash on October 20, 1977, that killed original band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, Steve’s sister. An assistant road manager and the two pilots also died in the crash after the plane ran out of fuel over Mississippi after the final show of the Street Survivors tour. Ian Shultis, Taylor Clift, Samuel Kay Forrest and Rich Dally III have been cast in the film and the legal battle continues.
HoTS: Next, I asked Jared about his film Death Pool starring Sara Malakul Lane (Jailbait, Kickboxer Vengeance), Randy Wayne (Hellraiser Judgement, Hold Your Breath), James Cullen Bressack (Bethany), and Shawn C. Phillips (WTF!, Cannibal Cop). I just loved how this film dealt with the whole cult of personality. The premise is this:
Johnny Taylor has a big problem: he LOVES to drown good-looking girls. When he sees water and attractive females together, something in his head begs him to kill – the psychological result of a traumatic near-drowning during his childhood at the hands of a twisted babysitter. Fighting the urge to act on his sinister thoughts most of his adult life, Johnny finally succumbs to his dark instincts when the only work he can find is around water, cleaning pools. Filled with colorful characters, beautiful women and set against the backdrop of the LA party scene, Death Pool encapsulates the desire for fame, the lust for desire, and the urge to kill.

JC: I think that was one of the more interesting movies that I have made, it had a message. Social media, fame, the upsides and the downsides, and the reactions of people to someone who is killing people. There are a lot of serial killer groupies. It’s nutty, but in a weird way it is understandable also. There are many people out there that are contemplating killing someone, not that they go out and do it but it’s the idea. To analyze the psyche behind those people who do these things, those that find that extreme violence is their only outlet is interesting.
Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner

HoTS: I also asked him about who his directing influences might be.
JC: I think that Alejandro Inarritu (Amores Perros, Birdman, The Revenant) and Damian Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) have really great style. There are so many great and talented people out there.
HoTS: We then talked about what he is doing for 2018:
JC: I am keeping positive, focusing on mental health, and spirituality. You can be the busiest and most successful person in the world, but if you are not feeling great mentally, physically, and spiritually, you cant get your best work done. So I am trying to raise awareness, you know, help people who feel like they could use a boost in life. I would like to give back rather than just make movies. I would like to help people. Many people are suffering quietly, and I want them to know that they are not alone. If I can do something in that regard, it makes me feel better. Not that this is about me, I just want to give back. I’ve made some mistakes. I have some regrets, so I understand the challenges. It is good to talk about, doing interviews, and talking about various movies and being able to bring awareness to the problem of people’s mental health.
Lastly but cool as hell is the fact that Jared became a licensed FAA 107 certified drone remote pilot for taking absolutely stunning aerial shots for filmmaking and commercial use. Check out Drone-Shots.net to find out what’s available. He is also a Pro-paintballer and a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate.

Jared Cohn with drone / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Please check out more on him at:
Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

We here at The House of Tortured Souls love horror. It's kind of our jam. And we love to see good horror get recognition. It can be argued that horror is more popular than ever, there are more conventions, festivals, and awards than ever. However, one thing bugged us here at HoTS, and from responses online, we weren't the only ones. Some awards, not to call names (message me), stretch out the word horror way to far. Seriously Deadpool? Captian America: Civil War? I love me some Cap, and who can talk smack about Ryan Reynolds' red spandex covered ass, but it's not FUCKING horror.
So we said “Screw it. Let's do this”. So here we are with the first annual House of Tortured Souls Awards. Neato huh? We can't promise we wont make mistakes, can't promise we don't stutter step and come in a bit late (I planned to have this April 1st), but we do promise to keep it horror. No super heroes, no Tarzan, and no funny South African robots! What we got? Serial killers, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons, we got 'em. No there are films that straddle that line of horror/ thriller. We accept that, but repeat after me, no friggin superheros or Jedi.
We are still learning, but we decided to jump in with both feet and stomp the shit out of it. We asked our staff to pick their favorites in a group of categories. Rules are the films have to be originally released in a mass audience format. So feature films released to VoD, DVD, or theater, for the FIRST time in 2016 are eligible. Secondary release to DVD, does not qualify it for 2016. Thus, a film released to theater in 2016 will qualify for 2016. If it is released to DVD in 2017, it would not qualify for 2017.
There is a slight difference for independent films. Since most of them will not get a wide release theatrical release, and it might be years before a VoD or DVD release. For independent films, they may be considered, if they have had a major festival release, are currently (award year) touring the festival circuit, or have a release to VoD, DVD, or theater, AND have not been nominated in a previous year. There's a logic there as many Indie may tour the festival circuit for a couple years, this allows them a chance to be seen, but not to win multiple years. The HoTS staff will select four nominees per category, in case of an unbreakable tie (which we had a couple of), we may select five nominees in some categories. It's a work in progress, but we think this is fair.
So without the proverbial further ado, here are the nominees.

Best Horror Movie 2016*

  • Green Room
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • The Witch
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • 31

Best Horror Director 2016

  • Jeremy Saluner – Green Room
  • Andre Overdal – The Autopsy of Jane Doe
  • Roger Eggers – The Witch
  • Rob Zombie – 31

Best Actor Horror 2016

  • John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Anton Yeltsin – Green Room
  • Patrick Wilson – The Conjuring
  • Richard Brake – 31

Best Actress Horror Movie 2016

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Vera Farmiga – The Conjuring
  • Anja Taylor Joy – The Witch
  • Blake Lively – The Shallows

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Stephen Lang – Don’t Breathe
  • John Gallager Jr – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Christopher Lloyd – I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • Patrick Stewart – Green Room

Best Supporting Actress Horror 2016

  • Imogene Poots – Green Room
  • Kate Dickey – The Witch
  • Ella – The Monster
  • Madison Wolfe – The Conjuring 2

Best Television Horror

  • Stranger Things
  • Bates Motel
  • Ash versus Evil Dead
  • American Horror Story
  • The Exorcist

Best Actor TV Horror

  • Bruce Campbell – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Freddie Highmore – Bates Motel
  • Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead
  • Alfonso Herrara – The Exorcist

Best actress TV Horror

  • Vera Farmiga – Bates Motel
  • Millie Bobbie Brown – Stranger Things
  • Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist

Best Supporting Actor TV Horror

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead
  • Ray Santiago – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Max Theriot – Bates Motel
  • Gaten Matarazzo – Stranger Things

Best Supporting Actress TV Horror

  • Kathy Bates – American Horror Story
  • Lucy Lawless – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist
  • Olivia Cooke – Bates Motel

Best Indie Horror Movie

  • Circus of the Dead
  • The Barn
  • Plank Face
  • Family Possession

Best Indie Horror Director 2016

  • Billy Pon – Circus of the Dead
  • James Bickert – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Justin M Seaman – The Barn
  • Scott Schrimer – Plank Face

Best Indie Actor Horror 2016

  • Parrish Randal – Circus of the Dead
  • Nathan Barret – Plank Face
  • Mitchell Muselino – The Barn
  • Fred Lass – Bubba the Red Neck Werewolf

Best Indie Actress Horror 2016

  • Tristan Risk – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Chanel Ryan – Circus of the Dead
  • Susan M Martin – Plank Face
  • Lexi Dripps – The Barn

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Bill Oberst – Circus of the Dead
  • Laurence Harvey – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Mitch Hyman – Bubba the Redneck Werewolf
  • Will Stout – The Barn

Best Supporting Actress Horror

  • Ellie Church – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Alyss Winkler – Plank Face
  • Lizzie Mears – Family Possessions
  • Brigid McCauley – Plank Face
(*Five nominees due to a tie.)
Posted by Allen Alberson in CONTESTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
Charles Schmid – The Pied Piper of Tucson

Charles Schmid – The Pied Piper of Tucson

Charles Schmid headshot / Fair use doctrine.
On May 15, 1964, in Tucson, Arizona, a 15-year-old girl named Alleen Rowe went for a drive with a guy known as “Smitty.” Smitty was older, in his early 20s, and Alleen couldn't believe her luck. She was invited on a date with the most popular guy in town. He had his own place and threw wild parties where he let high school kids drink as much as they wanted. He was sophisticated, wearing “stage make-up” like a movie star, and a little dangerous: he walked with a limp, which he said was the result of a run-in with Mafia thugs. She didn't even mind that his friends, John and Mary, were tagging along; she knew eventually she would be the center of Smitty's attention.
It was late when they stopped in the desert. Smitty beckoned Alleen out of the car and John came with them. Mary stayed behind, listening to the radio. Once outside, Smitty turned amorous and rough. His friend's presence didn't even bother him; John just faded into the background while Smitty went after Alleen, whether she wanted him or not. When he was done, when she thought he would take her back to the car and home from their “date,” he put his hands around her throat and squeezed hard. Alleen was the center of his attention until her last breath. She had been lured to her death by the Piped Piper of Tucson.
Charles Howard Schmid was born on July 8, 1942. He was the adopted son of Charles and Katherine Schmid, a wealthy couple who ran a nursing home. He had a rough relationship with his adoptive father, fighting often, but his parents still indulged and supported him financially. After he was kicked out of school for stealing, his parents gave him his own quarters on their property and a monthly allowance of several hundred dollars.
Charles was insecure about his appearance and height. He wore thick pancake make-up and applied a beauty mark, and sometimes pinched his lower lip to get a “pouty look” like his idol, Elvis Presley. He was only 5'3", so he stuffed crushed paper in his boots to make himself appear taller, though it only gave him an odd gait. He threw parties at his apartments, getting the attention and admiration he craved by providing underage kids a place where they could drink and do drugs without fear of being caught. Girls gave themselves to him eagerly.
One girl told her mother she had been invited to join a sex club and that if she didn't get in, she would be “a nobody.” That girl was Alleen Rowe, Schmid's first victim. He had one of his girlfriends, Mary French, lure Alleen away with them so he could satisfy his curiosity about what it felt like to kill a girl. He buried her in the desert but didn't bother to stay quiet about the murder in his social circle. Presumably, his admirers only kept his secret because they didn't want to risk losing their party spot. One of his girlfriends, 17-year-old Gretchen Fritz, the daughter of a prominent surgeon in Tucson, did threaten to tell the police about the murder, but only when Charles wanted to break up with her. He invited her to his place so they could talk things over. She brought her younger sister, 13-year-old Wendy. Schmid strangled both girls and buried them in the desert.
Having more victims didn't make him any more secretive or cautious. He bragged to his friend, Richard Bruns, about what he had done and took him to see the bodies. Richard was wracked with guilt, suffering nightmares and paranoia that his girlfriend would be Schmid's next victim. He went to the police and told them all he knew.
Charles Schmid was arrested on November 11th 1965. John Saunders and Mary French were also arrested for their participation in the murder of Alleen Rowe. Mary French got four years in prison and John Saunders was given a life sentence. Schmid received a death sentence but it was commuted to life imprisonment. He escaped with another murderer in 1972 but was recaptured after a few days.
He was stabbed by a fellow inmate in 1975 and died over a week later.
For a deeper exploration of a narcissistic sociopath who craves followers and followers so desperate for excitement they will be complicit in whatever he does, read Joyce Carol Oates' iconic short story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been” or Jack Ketchum's excellent novel, The Lost, or watch the 2006 film adaptation of The Lost directed by Chris Siverston, all based on the Charles Schmid case.
Charles Schmid police car / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Laura D. James in BRUTAL REALITY, 2 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: House of Manson (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: House of Manson (2014)

By Dixielord
The story of Charlie Manson and America's most dysfunctional family is one with which most of America is familiar. With documentaries, pseudo documentaries, feature films, and interviews, it is well trod subject matter. For me, the gold standard has always been the 1976 television film Helter Skelter. Likewise every Charlie since then, even the real Charlie Manson, is measured against the performance of Steve Railsback. Now we have a new movie dealing with the Manson family and the Tate-Labianca murders. Brandon Slagle's House of Manson goes back to the beginning, and chronicles Manson's rise from rock star wannabe to murderer.
House of Manson poster
Photo credit Micro Bay Features and House of Manson
House of Manson, told mostly in flashbacks, introduces us to Charlie (Ryan Kiser) in jail awaiting trial for the Tate-Labianca murders. Under questioning from his lawyers, we see what lead him to this point. Kiser is one of the best things about House of Manson. He plays Charlie as a charismatic, likable young drifter. Yet we see touches, glimmers of his anger and insanity slip through every now and then. It's a different, more mellow Manson than the one familiar to us, but it makes it easier to believe he could become a leader - a leader that people would commit murder to please. He's far from the hectic, erratic real life Manson we have come to know from interviews and TV specials.
Because it deals with the early days long before the murders, the first part of the film moves at a slow pace, but it never gets boring. Kiser's charm and smile draws you in just like Manson drew in his followers in the late 60s. The slow pacing is a deadly trap, though, because when we get to the murders, it gets brutal really fast.
Things do get mean in House of Manson
Photo credit House of Manson
Slagle manages to make the murders brutal and horrific while limiting what we actually see. It's not a gory, graphic blood-fest, and it's more effective because of that. It's not easy to watch the murders, especially the stabbing death of pregnant Sharon Tate (Suzi Lorraine). For those who think gore is disturbing, watch the frenetic stabbing death of Tate as she begs for her life. This is disturbing - all the more so because it happened. The murders play out very close to the actual events, as told by witnesses, and crime reports.
This could have easily been a exploitative, gratuitous look at the Manson crimes. Kudos to Slagle for holding back, for taking a less sleazy, more serious look at Manson's life and crimes. The lack of gore will possibly be a turn off to horror fans, but it shouldn't. Some may even argue that House of Manson isn't a horror film. I disagree. The story of Charlie Manson is a horror story. It's no less a horror film than Silence of the Lambs just because it's not fiction. Kiser's performance and Slagle's direction make it all the more horrific because it feels real. This Manson could be someone we all know. He could be real. He could be our friend. That's scary.
House of Manson is directed by Brandon Slagle, and along with Kiser and Lorraine, stars Tristan Risk as Abigail Folger, Reid Warner as Tex Watson, Erin Marie Hogan as Linda Kasabian, and Devanny Pinn as Susan Atkins. House of Manson is available on Video on Demand now.
Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Maniacts (2001)

MOVIE REVIEW: Maniacts (2001)

Just Two Crazy Kids In Love

By Woofer McWooferson

Writer and Director: Curt Cressler (as C.W. Cressler); Stars: Jeff Fahey, Kellie Waymire; Rating: R; Run Time: 92 min; Genre: Action | Comedy | Drama | Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2001

maniacts-3

While IMDb classifies Maniacts only as Action | Comedy | Drama, I've taken the liberty of adding horror because it touches on our genre as well as any of the categories they assigned it. Sometimes compared to Natural Born Killers, Maniacts is one of those rare gems the dedicated horror fan finds by accident. Loosely the story of two serial killers who fall in love while both are in the Edgemare Institute for the Criminally Insane, Maniacts is a dark comedic commentary on the treatment of the mentally ill and society in general. Written and directed by Curt Cresslar (as C.W. Cressler), Maniacts also questions what is sane and insane, noting that “being good and doing what's right, they aren't always the same thing”.

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Joseph “Joe” Spinelli (Jeff Fahey) is dubbed the Blueblood Killer for his having killed only members of elite society, arrives at Edgemare where Elizabeth “Beth” Windsor (Kellie Waymire) is already incarcerated. Known as the Hitch-Hiker Killer, Beth becomes amazingly strong when she is angered – strong enough to snap a man's neck - feat that Joe finds entrancing and endearing. Reaching out to Joe, Beth shows appreciation for the shock value of Joe's pranks, seeing a touch of the artisit in his handiwork and attention to detail. Although his stunts land him in solitary, Joe finds them rewarding enough to continue since Beth appreciates them as much as he loves doing them. 

Beth, meanwhile, has to reconcile herself regarding Joe. As she finds herself interested in him, Beth asks him if he has killed any actually bluebloods. Believing herself to be a descendant of Queen Elizabeth, it would be unthinkable of her to continue associating with Joe if he had killed actual bluebloods. Lucky for both of them, he had not, and the two are free to continue their budding relationship. Even luckier, they have a friend inside an otherwise completely corrupt asylum. Mason (Mel Winkler), an ex-felon asylum attendant, sees what the rest of the staff cannot or do not want to see: the sadistic methods of the matron and her staff of bullies are destroying any chance that these – and any of the other – inmates have.

Jeff Fahey is always good, regardless of the genre, and he excels in this multi-faceted piece. We laugh with him, we cry for him, and we want to help him. No matter what he goes through, we cannot help but feel for him. Kellie Waymire as Beth is enchanting. Small, perky, happy, thoughtful, and charismatic, Beth is the perfect partner for softspoken Joe. Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy) plays the inmate's matron with a quite a bit of a nod to Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Matron Knull, however, is more of a caricature of Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched allowing us to laugh in a way that Ratched could not. There was no comedy there; only brutal reality.

Matron Knull is assisted in her sadistic handling of the day-to-day operations of the asylum by her questionable staff, the appropriately named Bull (Bob Koherr) and Carp (Simon Brooke). Meanwhile, the director, Dr. Denton Speck (Bob Bancroft), is more than happy to allow Knull to run the place as it leaves him open to pursue his political aspirations. When things take a turn for the truly dark, Mason is unable to continue to allow the corruption he sees and helps Joe escape. Everything changes when Joe returns for Beth.

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While it is not strictly horror by any means, Maniacts manages to portray the horror of contemporary society with humor, poignancy, drama, and a bit of action. Maniacts is a dark comedy, heady and worth watching more than twice.

NOTE: There is an edited version without the blood. Do not watch that one.

7/10 claws – Dedicated to actor Joe Spinell.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments