www.Houseoftorturedsouls.com

We want to hear your thoughts!

About Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday

About Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Nemeth's Black Friday (2018)


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

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

4/20 Massacre (2018), 1 of 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Flowers (2015)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

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

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

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

Long Weekend (1978)

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

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

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

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

Dark Age (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)

Fortress (1985)

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

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

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

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

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

INTERVIEW – HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Phil Stevens

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

Phil Stevens Interview

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

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

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) title card

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

Phil Stevens' Flowers (2015) writing on the wall

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

Flowers 02 Crowdfunding on the Web

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

Phil Stevens on the Web

Posted by Candace Stone in EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Gruesome Twosome: An Exclusive on Chris Alexander’s Two Upcoming Features

Gruesome Twosome: An Exclusive on Chris Alexander’s Two Upcoming Features

Chris Alexander is no stranger to the horror genre and this year he has not one but two projects in the works. The massively talented former editor-in-chief of Fangoria Magazine stopped by to give me the skinny on his two latest projects and what fans can expect.

Chris Alexander - Space Vampire (2018)Space Vampire (2018)
Director: Chris Alexander; Writer: Ali Chappell; Star: Ali Chappel; Rating: UNK; Run Time: UNK; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

Plot: An alluring space alien falls to earth with the mission to drain women of their life energy making her unstoppable. This film wonderfully harkens back to surreal dreamscapes of Rollins with a dash of Hopper’s Lifeforce for good measure.

Chris has this to say about the project:

Space Vampire is my fifth feature and once more functions as a vessel for both my music and my obsessions with more dreamlike, psychological and experimental strains of horror cinema, specifically the personal, meandering works of Rollin, Franco, and Herzog. Rollin especially, with his fixation on tragic female vampires. This picture takes its title nod from Colin Wilson’s novel The Space Vampires, which was, of course, adapted for the screen as Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce but the movie itself is more informed by films like Under the Skin and the opening stretches of The Man Who Fell from Earth. I love the idea of following unnatural characters lost in familiar landscapes, almost child-like and driven by whatever addiction they are chained to. I make these movies for me and all my movies are – for better or worse – interconnected by theme, mood, style, sound.

And when asked what stage it’s in, he added:

I’m still editing. Its very abstract. But I am getting the “feel” of it….finding the rhythm.

Chris Alexander - Underneath An Anthology of Terror (2018)Underneath: An Anthology of Terror (2018)
Directors: Chris Alexander, Andre Becker, Cory Ivanchuk, John Nicol; Writers: Chris Alexander, Andre Becker, Cory Ivanchuk, John Nicol; Stars: Brent Baird, Nicholas Koy Santillo, Nichole Kawalez, Ali Chappell, Colin Bailey, Rebecca Kilburn, Tammy Stewart, Mike McMurran, Joshua Kuchma; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 95 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2018

Plot: In the vein of Creepshow and the more recent VHS series comes Underneath an anthology featuring five exciting voices in the horror genre.

I always love a good horror anthology and Chris, along with other talents – including Andre Becker, Cory Ivanchuk, and John Nicol, are sure to conjure up some fun and scares. Chris had this to say:

Underneath is the new anthology feature from my good friend and colleague John Nicol. Similar tastes in more abstract cinema. So when he asked me to contribute a segment I agreed. My short is really about how we have perverted our connection to the natural world with endless distraction and illusion. It’s about a woman becoming undone by the fixation on finding “nature”. She eventually regresses fully to an animal state. So, in the context of the short, it is a happy ending! Unsure what John will be doing release wise with Underneath but Space Vampire is the second film from my Castle Films imprint that I operate with filmmaker David DeCoteau, creating more artful and expressive micro-budget genre films.

I for one am very excited for both of these films and will be eagerly awaiting them later this year. Of course, I like to give a huge thank you to Chris Alexander for taking the time to talk to chat about his amazing new projects.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

Lung II by Phil Stevens was one of the weirdest little indie films I’ve ever seen with a Lynch/Cronenberg vibe throughout. I really enjoyed it.

A follow up to Flowers, Lung II was a continuation of the same theme. Phil Stevens said that “after the trauma of making Flowers, it was something he needed to do for therapeutic reasons”. The film is in black and white (I’m hoping a color version exists somewhere in the underground) and like Flowers has no dialogue. It’s also a dreamy artistic vision except for a lot more bizarre. Flowers was a cathartic pilgrimage through purgatory for the female murder victims of a serial killer and Lung II was the killer’s slow journey into insanity.

Throughout the film, we follow a serial killer (played by Stevens himself) as he slowly awakens and comes to realize what he’s done through flashbacks and the discovery of a body trail. During his travels, he comes across no shortage of corpses and weird Freudian Lynch monsters.

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

Lung II works its way backward going from body to body. It starts out in what appears to be a psych ward with a naked dude (Phil Stevens) on the floor. If you’ve ever had the urge to see Phil Stevens naked here’s your chance ladies and gentlemen! He sort of fumbles out into the woods where he comes across his future self, disposing of bodies. He continues to stumble along from gory crime scene to crime scene sometimes finding bodies sometimes finding these bizarre blobby sex monsters. My personal favorite is the half dick half vag monster that he finger-bangs until it sprays blood. In a few scenes, he pulls glass out of various cuts and you might be thinking what’s the deal with the glass? Don’t worry; all will become clear soon. I found the part where he was pulling glass out of his foot particularly uncomfortable, but I kind of have an anti-foot fetish and can’t stand foot injuries.

After a hard day of self-realization, the last stop or last flashback is at his own home. He arrives home after a long day at work (presumably) to find his wife in bed with another woman, he loses his shit and kills them both with a baseball bat before he has a chance to consider consequences. Something in him snaps while he’s sitting there sniffing their panties. He tries to commit suicide by dropping a tv on his head (this is where the glass comes from!) but fails and from this point on he loses his humanity piece by piece.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Miike’s Hidden Gem: Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

Miike’s Hidden Gem: Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

No other creature is like a human being… Even wolves do not prey on each other, but humans will eat each other alive.

One of Takashi Miike’s most overlooked gems is probably Fudoh: The New Generation. It was a V movie — or straight to video movie —bmade in 1996. It’s a typical, not so typical Yakuza gangster film.

While the story of Fudoh is somewhat predictable, the method is not. We start out with two brothers, sons of the Yakuza boss Mr. Fudoh. The older son Ryu is murdered in front of the younger son Riki by their father. Riki doesn’t let on that he sees it happen and plots revenge. Years later, Riki has a trained group of youth assassins that essentially run his high school. I love the casual mix of children and violence in this film; it’s both bold and refreshing. He also has two young boys who are pretty handy with a gun and taser, not to mention two of the cutest kids you’ll ever see, which only adds to the disturbing factor.

While all of the assassins and assassinations in this film are top notch, Mika the girl with a vagina blow dart takes the cake. I wonder where one even buys custom zipper panties and vagina darts? I assume Walmart. Mika also has a secret reveal later on. Her dart through the ear kill is epic and something you won’t want to miss!

One by one, Riki’s friends begin to die in mysterious ways. The predictability comes in here when a surprise half-brother is revealed and, of course, an epic duel ensues. It obviously ends with a final revenge battle between Riki and his father but with a couple little tricks up its sleeve.

When I’m going into an extreme film I like a break down of the film’s highlights before I invest, so here are a few goodies you can expect to see:

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

  • Children playing soccer with a severed head
  • Lots and lots of spraying blood and beheadings, one really cool scene with a boss being poisoned inside a car and basically melting
  • Period vagina darts
  • Surprise hermaphrodite sex
  • An electrified vibrator in the bum
  • Prostitute acid bath

And some other great stuff that if you’re sick like me, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Sargad (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Sargad (2017)

SargadRecently, I was given the pleasure to watch Sarah Giercksky’s film Sargad. Written by her and also starring her, Andres R. Ramos directs this gem of an independent, low budget revenge flick. Giercksky plays the role of a girl named Elina who has gone out to a cabin with her mom and little sister to scatter her father’s ashes. What at first glance seems to be a pretty basic revenge flick, turns into a film with multiple levels of depth and intensity.

Sarah Giercksky as Elina in Sargad (2017)When Elina and her family go out to scatter the ashes, three men arrive to harass, torment, and assault Elina and her family. This is when the film gets violent and one of the men forces Elina to get out of her pants and stabs her in the gut and leaves her for dead while they take her mother and little sister back to their cabin. With the harshly stark reality portrayed disturbingly well, we see Giercksky embrace all of the agony and terror of someone who was abruptly stabbed, the blood pouring from her as she crawls and attempts to get to her feet. Once she has gotten to her feet, she hurries back to the cabin in search of her mother and sister. This is when we get a rather visceral, toe curler of a scene where Elina gives herself first aid with an office stapler and duct tape.

This first aid scene gives Giercksky a fantastic opportunity to show her acting skills as we see her facial expressions and hear the pain you would expect to see from someone stapling a stab wound. Shortly after this, Elina finds out that her mother and sister were both brutally assaulted and killed. This is where we get to see Elina begin her delightfully brutal path of vengeance upon these three men who took everything from her.

Sargad (2017)So as to not reveal all of the fantastic plot elements that Giercksky incorporated into the film, I’ll just say that there’s some twists that alone make this a very worthwhile film to watch. And for all of my fellow sadists who have a passion for the brutal, Giercksky gave Elina a fantastic level of sadism. One instance that is still ingrained upon my mind being that of when she takes a knife to the penis of one of the men cutting down the middle of it lengthwise and then stapling it back together.

Sargad (2017)As a man, I had to grit my teeth and thank heaven, hell, and everything in between that it wasn’t my genitalia being mutilated!

Overall, with the title Sargad, which translates to Wounded in English, you get to watch a phenomenal tale of revenge unfold and I highly recommend it for all my indie film lovers! I will certainly be watching to see where Sarah Giercksky’s film career takes her both in her writing and in her acting, I’m quite confident that she has quite the future ahead of her in the industry and I am excited to see what she puts out next!

Sarah Giercksky as Elina in Sargad (2017)

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, THRILLER, 2 comments
The Best of Miike: Gozu (2003)

The Best of Miike: Gozu (2003)

For my Best of Takashi Miike series, I’m going to start with Gozu. I want to say it’s my favorite film of his, but I’m not sure that it’s even possible to have just one favorite with him. Every time I think I have it nailed down, I watch another one of his films and think, ‘no this is my favorite’. And then the next film I think the same thing.

Gozu’s original Japanese title Gokudo Kyofu dai-gekijo:Gozu translates to Yakuza Horror Theatre; Cows Head. There is no shortage of bizarre cow and milk-related scenarios in this one and as the cover of the film suggests, there is, in fact, a man in tightie whities with a gigantic cow head and a rather large and slimy tongue. I honestly could have watched an entire movie about the cow head dude but unfortunately, he only got about a minute of screen time. In that sense the film was misleading but it was bang on in the bizarre department.

Takasi Miike's Gozu (2003)

The film starts out by introducing us to Ozaki (Show Aikawa), a Yakuza member that has seemingly developed some sort of dementia, believing that small animals and inanimate objects etc. are trained Yakuza killers. Minami (Kimika Yoshino) is asked to take his Yakuza brother Ozaki on a little trip and kill him before he causes further embarrassment. During the trip, they hit a little bump in the road while driving and Ozaki is killed. A panicked Minami heads into a restaurant to seek help and when he returns to his car, Ozaki’s body is missing. After searching all day for the body and still coming up empty, Minami ends up at the Masakazu Inn, a sort of Japanese version of Motel Hell. The Inn is run by a brother and sister with a whole host of their own issues, and it’s from this point on that describing the film becomes an exercise in futility. The events that follow can’t be put into words. I will tell you that you can expect to see sexual misconduct involving a lactating old woman, a séance, a talking pussy, an awkward sex scene between brothers and the piece de resistance: the graphic birth of a grown man from a tiny 100-pound Japanese woman.

All of Miike’s films have an identifiable style and can tend to be on the slow side. Gozu is no exception, it requires patience and a love of film. Miike won’t be rushed while telling his story because perfection takes time.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Deep Web XXX (2018) [Spoilers]

MOVIE REVIEW: Deep Web XXX (2018) [Spoilers]

Deep Web XXX (2018)In Deep Web XXX, the viewer is introduced to a collection of sick and twisted depravities that a man finds on the deep web. With a unique narrative approach, I found myself deeply engrossed in the film and wondering what the directors came up with next. With the narrative around an individual who joins a deep website known as Queen of Hearts where individuals film and share their depravities with the deep web audience. Now, for those who are not aware of what the deep web is the opposite of the normal internet in that it is the invisible, underground, and quite illegal side of the Internet. Not all of it is illegal, but the majority of the deep web is certainly not the sort of thing you tell people that you’re exploring. That having been said, let’s dive into the film.

Consisting of multiple segments, each directed by a different individual, each segment of Deep Web XXX is a video that the main individual (performed by Mark Thompson-Ashworth) pulls up on the Queen of Hearts site. So as to not ruin one of the key elements to the film, I won’t be going into all the details of each segment because the film is an exploration of the dark web and what one might encounter there. As the film progresses, we learn that the deviant individual who is watching all these videos is essentially viewing them for a bit of extra encouragement for his personal recording.

Deep Web XXX (2018)Each segment is rather compelling in its own right and each is disturbing in its own way, but I want to focus on the third segment that Domiziano Cristopharo directed titled “Cruising,” involving some infrared cameras and an extreme BDSM club. Beginning with a naked man tied to a St. Andrew’s cross, we watch as another man in leather flogs the individual and we see that the individual is already bleeding from the flogging. Proceeding from there, we follow the man who was doing the flogging down some stairs into a basement. During this segment, the camera assumes the first-person viewpoint, and we end up privy to a rather extreme scene. The scene in question involves the sadist from above preparing his arm with a long latex glove that he applies a copious amount of lube to and then turns to face an individual suspended in a sex swing. This is the scene that curled my toes a bit as we watch a man being anally fisted to death. Cristopharo has certainly outdone himself with this segment showing his skills in cinematography and in filming an extreme scene in a discreet, but not completely in your face manner.

Cristopharo also does a fantastic job of directing the overarching scenes involving the man watching the videos and the end when the same man decides to follow through with his own act of violence. Following the man, we watch him enter the bathroom where he has an individual tied up in the bathtub. While not one of the most extreme scenes of the film, we watch as the man pours acid upon his victim’s face and observe the acid burning away skin and flesh. Overall, I was very pleased with the complete film and found that Deep Web XXX was a well written and well-executed film. If you like viewing something extreme and artfully unique, then I highly recommend Deep Web XXX. Keep in mind, though, that it is not for the faint of heart.Deep Web XXX (2018)

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
International Screams: Wekufe aka Wekufe: The Origins of Evil (2016)

International Screams: Wekufe aka Wekufe: The Origins of Evil (2016)

Director/Writer: Javier Attridge; Stars: Matias Aldea, Paula Figueroa; Rating: Rating; Run Time: 80 min; Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller; Country: Chile; Language: Spanish; Year: 2016

Wekufe (2016)This week in International Screams we take a look at an exciting new director from Chile. Currently he is working on an exciting project called Wander Tales a horror anthology with other talented directors, including Todd Nunes (All Through the House), Nick Hunt (The Dark Heart of Jason Voorhees: The Making of The Final Friday), Stu Jopia (Good Tidings), and Bill Pon (Circus of the Dead, Doll Boy) just to name a few. Wekufe is Javier’s first feature and he digs deep into some frightening local history.

Wekufe (2016)A student named Paula (Paula Figueroa) and her filmmaking boyfriend Matias (Matias Aldea) travel to a remote village in Chile to get to the root of a local boogeyman in connection with a series of ghastly crimes including rape, incest, and pedophilia. But is it really a mythical terror or is this just an excuse to justify these horrible acts? Wekufe starts by cleverly referencing the found footage genre, but sadly it doesn’t go far enough to actually subvert those troupes and sometimes falls into the same trappings as others. The other problem with the film is that it’s dull in spots, and at a scant run time 80 minutes, parts of it feel like padding. I really wish the film could have amped up the tension as much as the end does.

Wekufe (2016)Wekufe does have its strengths, and Attridge plays the eerie local myths for all its worth, giving the film a nice unnerving quality. It’s also very interesting, especially if you know nothing about the culture or the legend which the film is steeped in. This is certainly a movie that builds to a great ending which is chocked full of creepy atmosphere and has a nice grisly pay off at the end. The filmmakers also take advantage of the great locations and the cinematography adds to its otherworldly feeling. Flaws aside, Wekufe is a solid found footage horror film, and it’s clear that Javier has a passion and drive for the genre which will take him very far in it. Even more impressive though is the fact that this is his very first feature and though its rough around the edges shows the start of a bright future. Very excited for his next film.

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Savageland (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Savageland (2015)

Zombie movies are never really about zombies. At least the good ones aren’t. There’s always some social or political message being conveyed, and Savageland is no exception. At its heart, it’s more of a social statement about immigration and bigotry than a horror film, but we’re going to overlook the message and focus on the horror.

Savageland presents itself as a documentary about a small southwestern town that is virtually wiped out overnight. The story follows a photographer accused of mass murder and is told and illustrated by the pictures he took on the night in question.

The use of still photography adds a certain creepy element to the film, which probably couldn’t have been achieved if they had gone with the found footage format. In addition, the pictures themselves are quite eerie and haunting. Another benefit of using photos as opposed to film is that there is no poorly done CGI that seems to be rampant in the lower budget horror films.

Savageland (2015)The documentary style leaves a bit to be desired as it feels a bit more polished than it probably should, and the story starts out a bit confusing. However, once it gets rolling, it’s a pretty solid film, and the still photos are not overused, which leaves the viewer wanting to see more.

My only real issue with Savageland is that several characters are over the top caricatures of Southern rednecks and “bleeding heart liberals”. Now, I’m sure that people like that really exist, but both of those tropes are vastly overused, in my opinion.

I recommend Savageland to anyone looking for something a little different in the horror genre. If you like the found footage films, you’ll probably find Savageland worth watching, as it falls along those lines. If you don’t like the found footage films, you might still enjoy it, as there isn’t much in the “shaky cam” department.

Posted by Richard Francis in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi Miike: An Introduction

Takashi MiikeOver the upcoming weeks, I’m going to try and attempt to cover what I feel are the best films by Takashi Miiike. For those of you who don’t know his work, you’re in for a real treat and for those of you who do you can just follow along and smile knowingly. With over 100 films to his name, it’s hard to pick just one to cover.

Miike is a Japanese filmmaker that really covers every genre and has something to offer every film enthusiast. He does everything from heartwarming family films like Zebraman (I recommend this even if you don’t have a family) to extremely violent films like Ichi the Killer and Yakuza Apocolypse. I personally love his extreme stuff and that will be my main focus. I will try and cover all his bigger titles except for two: his latest release Blade of the Immortal and Audition. Our own Spencer Evatt has you covered there, so watch for those in the near future. I will also try and cover a few of his lesser-known works that I think are noteworthy and deserve some love.

Takashi MiikeMiike tends to have a lot of controversy surrounding his films and he receives a lot of criticism for some of the ultra-violent content, graphic gore, and sexual “perversions”. He’s known for his dark sense of humor and bizarre themes. He started his career in 1991 with mostly straight to video releases, his first theatrical release The Third Gangster didn’t generate much interest. In 1995, his third theatrical release Shinjuku Triad Society finally started to catch the public’s attention and at last, in 1999, his film Audition (based on Ryu Murakami’s book of the same name) got him recognized internationally. Audition probably still remains his most well-known work worldwide. No one else on the market does it quite like Miike, and I’m excited to introduce him to new fans and maybe help old ones discover a film they don’t already know about.
Takashi Miike

Posted by Candace Stone in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
EXTREME BIZARRO FICTION: Adolf in Wonderland (2013)

EXTREME BIZARRO FICTION: Adolf in Wonderland (2013)

Adolf in Wonderland by Carlton Mellick III ended up being more in some ways and less in others. More profound and less Wonderland to be exact. It was actually a tight little story about perfection, societal norms, and beauty as it’s seen in the eye of the beholder.

Adolf in Wonderland by Carton Mellick IIIAdolf in Wonderland is beautifully written, in an almost poetic manner that at times can be a bit tedious but for the most part, I found refreshing. It takes place in a dystopian future or maybe past? Where Hitler won and imperfection is illegal and has almost been eradicated. Two young SS officers are sent to a fringe-like village to seek out one of the last imperfect men. What they find instead is a chaotic abomination full of mutants, impossibilities, and madness. The two officers are separated upon their arrival and we follow the slightly younger one. He has lost most of his memory including what his name is but everyone he meets calls him Adolf Hitler because it’s the name written on his uniform. His only recollection is that he is on a mission to find an imperfect man and kill him. He can’t quite remember exactly what the imperfection is or who he is searching for so instead he tries to find his briefcase and a picture of the man in question. Along the way, he meets no shortage of oddball characters and gets into many unsavory situations.

Women are treated as pets and must wear a collar at all times to show they’ve been wed and have an owner. Once they produce offspring they are to be put to sleep having fulfilled their purpose. This little aspect of the story actually highlights an overlooked issue of misogyny coming from other women.

I was disappointed that other than the title and the nonsensical nature of the story, Adolf in Wonderland really had nothing to do with Wonderland at all. It was a good book but not quite what I was hoping for. This was my first attempt at Mellick’s work, and I think that although this one didn’t exactly blow my wig back he definitely deserves another try. I give this book a 3/5, and I’m eager to proceed to the next.

Posted by Candace Stone in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF  MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

The last three days have been a whirlwind of screening delight at the second Sydney Monster Fest . From 7 pm on Friday, 9 March 2018, night until 11 pm on Sunday, 11 March 2018, Monster Fest screened a total of twelve films, and of those twelve, two were short films.

Unfortunately, there were two films I could not attend due to time restraints. These were Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Cold Hell (a German thriller about a woman in hiding following witnessing a murder) and Luke Shanahan’s Rabbit (noted as a strong, well driven Australian thriller surrounding the disappearance of a girl’s sister). Next year I shall be clearing my schedule to attend all of the screenings available as both, I felt, offered so many possibilities as a film fan, and I did want to see them.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 1 of 3

At Monster Fest, Australia served up some more homegrown horror with the two shorts Edward and Melissa LyonsAlfred J Hemlock (an impressive revamping of the better the devil you know style dealings with a hilariously lovable comedic twist- that kick-started the festival ahead of the opening screening) and Ren Thackham’s and Fliss Keep’s Tightly Ground ( a boring and rather overindulgent hipster attempt at satire with a bit of murder thrown in). As well as the films like Steven Spiel’s superb Living Space (an awesome time looping thriller featuring some pure moments of amazement – including a human swastika!), Daniel Armstrong’s Tarnation (which despite an impressively campy premise was ultimately an abysmal film featuring a group of annoyingly bad actors facing perils of obscure concepts – penis bugs, demonic unicorns and zombie kangaroos all sound great but if executed poorly are not as fun as hoped), and the standout Mystery Movie that ended the festival Chris Sun’s desperately anticipated BOAR.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 2 of 3

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 3 of 3

BOAR is a beast of a film all of its own which features a huge quality bag full of lovable Australian larrikin humor, great creature effects and a cast of likable and deliberately unlikeable characters. Switching from the douchebag boyfriend Robert (played so well by Hugh Sheridan), to the hulking gentle giant uncle Bernie (played adorably by Nathan Jones) and even familiar faces such as John Jarratt, Bill Moseley, and even Steve Bisley, Sun has his star-studded cast guide this film superbly through the sentimental, the comedic and the terrifying!

From the USA, Monster Fest secured screenings of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2: Prey at Night (which for me knocks the original out of the picture through its musically rich murderous antics and opened the festival with a bang alongside Alfred J Hemlock), the 1987 classic Fred Dekker film The Monster Squad (I had never seen this and am a huge lover of it now!!!!) , and  their 4K restoration screening of the classic George. A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (crisper clear quality without losing the original film’s awesomeness).

Canada served up Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, an impressive occult themed film about the suffering that follows a loss. It starred The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Vancouver actress Nicole Munoz (both dove deep to create likable and unlikeable aspects to their tortured characters).

Lastly, from Turkey came the Can Evrenol film Housewife, an inexplainable romp into the insanity that it displays thoroughly throughout. With dream realms, surreal ongoing and a beginning classic to any horror film, you will not be let down by this film. Brilliant!!

All in all, Monster Fest was a thoroughly amazing viewing experience and I cannot wait for any further screenings throughout the year or events like this one. I will be there!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EVENT REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Love me Deadly (1973)

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Love me Deadly (1973)

Love Me Deadly (1972) / Fair use doctrine.Love Me Deadly is a bewildering film as I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t exist, but it does anyway. Lindsay Finch (Mary Charlotte Wilcox) has style, beauty, and money, but behind all that perfection lies a dark secret. Because instead of having any hot hunk she wants, she prefers them cold and dead. Soon she becomes mixed up with a crazy cult that is also interested in the loving dead. Take an early ’70s melodrama, mix in some hammy acting, throw in some half-baked horror elements and a light sprinkle of sleazy necrophilia and you have the makings of something…surprisingly unremarkable in every way.

Love Me Deadly (1972) / Fair use doctrine.

Love Me Deadly has everything an epic so-bad-it’s-good outing should have; however, not even the terrible credit music can prepare you for this incredibly unwatchable celluloid mish-mash. Basically what you have is a dime store soap opera that for some baffling reason makes a half-assed attempt at the sleaze/horror genre. It’s like all the pieces are right there, but they just do not fit together. The film, as suggested by the title, explores necrophilia, a subject that is guaranteed to make you squirm… Except, of course, for this movie, because the material is handled with kid gloves for whatever reason. And this is really where the film lost me because why even bother going that route if you can’t deliver something disturbing and edgy? And maybe worst of all, fellow bad cinema junkies, it’s so painfully dull it will have you bored stiff. (Sorry couldn’t resist the bad pun.) I will give the film some credit for having a few nice twisted touches, but sadly it’s not nearly enough to save the film from collapsing into itself. I’m not even sure who this film is supposed to be aimed towards as it’s too strange to be a straight-up drama, yet it lacks the punch to even really be considered a horror/exploitation film. I so wanted to like this movie, but it is really lacking in virtually every department — from the wooden acting to the lazy and often times overdrawn plot (which is also pretty predictable).

Love Me Deadly better left on the shelf along with your Stretch Armstrong doll and your bell-bottom pants. Truly for the brave hardcore trash fan, but you might as well just watch Nekromantik instead.

Love Me Deadly (1972) / Fair use doctrine.

For more help exploring some little-seen oddities, my fiends, check out my new book The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema, and let me know what you think.

The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema (2017) by Mike "Gorehound" Vaughn

Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

SacrificeIn American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice, we see the fourth film in the American Guinea Pig series from Unearthed Films. Produced by Domiziano Cristopharo and directed by Poison Rouge, we are introduced to Daniel (Roberto Scorza) a very psychologically scarred individual who has returned to his childhood home. As the film progresses, we are introduced to harsh self-mutilations and torture, which Daniel inflicts upon himself. Deeply disturbed, we see that Daniel has multiple scars from past woundings that he has given himself. Further, we find out that this latest instance is Daniel’s attempt at a sort of self-enlightenment with the hope being that his sacrifice will bring the goddess Ishtar to guide him.

To say that Sacrifice is unsettling would be an understatement, but its disturbing nature will keep you completely engrossed until the film’s ending. Going into the bathroom in his childhood home, Daniel unpacks Sacrificea couple of white candles and a number of metal implements, which is my only complaint in that we don’t get to see him use all of them. For an American Guinea Pig film, I must say that Daniel’s self-mutilation starts off rather tame with some deep slashes across his wrist that he ties off with a cable tie. After this, things get a whole lot darker and a whole lot more brutal. Daniel’s next implement is a razor blade that he uses to carve a marking into his forehead. From there, he takes out a power drill, first testing it upon his inner thigh and then using it upon his forehead where he had carved the marking. With this scene, we even get to hear as the drill crunches through his skull some.Sacrifice

I can’t really do the film justice telling the plot because there are so many psychological factors going on and even a stream of consciousness from Daniel during everything. Daniel goes from wanting to perform this big sacrifice for Ishtar as the book states to the revelation that he has made a big mistake. Near the end of the film was the particularly toe-curling moment for me when Daniel sounds himself (usually involves slipping a very thin piece of wire into one’s urethra to create pleasure) with a Phillips head screwdriver. The film is unabashed in its no-holds-barred approach to showing everything. Nothing in this film is ever implied or mentioned in speaking; it is shown in all of its intense brutality.

SacrificeOverall, I rather enjoyed Sacrifice and think that Poison Rouge has made an incredible film with numerous psychological and emotional levels. I highly recommend Sacrifice to anyone who is into gory flicks involving lots of torture and some rather dark moments deep inside the psyche of a man who is heavily disturbed.

There is still no word from Unearthed Films as to when it will be released, but I will make sure to keep all informed as I learn more!

Posted by Spencer Evatt in BRUTAL REALITY, GORE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MUSIC: Sinister Fate – Blood Pact (2016)

MUSIC: Sinister Fate – Blood Pact (2016)

Horror rock is still kickin’ these days. For the longest time, it was all I ever knew and by far the most fun subgenre of punk and metal. Nothing was off limits in horror rock, and what made it more of a fun time than most other genres was the actual all-inclusiveness of everyone. Not saying other genres/subs don’t. You go to a hardcore, metal or OG punk show, you’ll see 90% white males…even though we don’t hate…that’s what’s there…the other 10% is scattered among women as well as other ethnicities so with horror rock/punk how it differs is a wide rainbow of a crowd as well as on stage. Did you know there are also Christian horror punk bands? That’s…odd. Yes, it is; however, it’s a testament (no pun intended) to how this particular subgenre is pretty open to anything. I guess no more odd than Christian black metal now that I think about it, but we’ll discuss that later.

The Chicago-area band Sinister Fate came to us with their album BLOOD PACT. I didn’t listen to the album at first; I did a little research on the band and watched some videos. My first impression was far from what I normally get from horror bands. Their videos are very reminiscent of the 90s style Gwar videos. Ya know, handheld shaky camera, choppy editing, Tromaesque splatter effects. So I instantly fell in love with this style. I also was impressed that there are female participants in the band. Again, this is rare for a lot of other genres but in horror rock, it’s very normal.

What really sealed this band for me was the guitarist. This chick really wails on this thing. Her playing is absolutely amazing, from just riffs down to solos. She really takes it and shows what’s up with guitar playing.

The music begins and this is definitely horror rock. BLOOD PACT is just an EP-style, 6-track short album. However, it gives you what you need to know about this band. The album as a whole is executed beautifully. I can say that if you’re a fan of any horror business, then this is a band to definitely check out.
Sinister Fate - Blood Pact
Track by Track (not in order as they appear on the album):

  • The Monster Within: This track is like a solid break down style track, a lot of palm muting and kind of a slower pace. However, it gets the point across on what the song’s feel is all about. Lyrically very dark, and a nice look into the writer’s head, that guitar solo though…Just listen and enjoy this.
  • Trust/Obey: Another slower, heavier/slow paced track. Vocally reminiscent of older Frankenstein Drag Queens, lyrically super intense and “demanding”…yeah we’ll say demanding. Very catchy and fun.
  • Decay: Starts out very spooky sounding musically, almost like they’re going for an epic battle in a back alley. Not like “Beat It” style, but more like A Clockwork Orange vs. The Warriors type of battle. Then carries on in the same fashion, maybe my imagination just sees images too much I don’t know, but this is what I get from it.
  • Kill the Pain: I don’t care, I love this guitarist. This track is pretty straightforward, I listen to lyrics and wonder if there’s more of a personal meaning behind them or if someone is just trying to fit the genre. However, it sounds very personal and has the same feeling through the music.
  • Six Feet Under the Big Top: Oh circus style and creepy on the intro, then some crunchy heavy stuff happening. A very cool number that, tells a fun story of murder and mayhem
  • Sympathy from the Devil: A more upbeat almost poppy tone with this song, and catchy as all hell, If you’re going to listen to this band then listen to this song first.

Overall, BLOOD PACT is great to listen to, the band as a whole are all talented and know their stuff very well. About the album: It runs together from track to track a lot of them being so similar it’s hard to tell them apart musically and vocally. By this I mean, musically it’s the same arrangement, not the same notes and so forth but the same blueprint for each track. Vocally flows the same way, same influx like before a chorus and so forth notes carried out, blah blah musical mumbo jumbo. This works well for some bands, and if it works don’t fix it, is the common consensus. However, I can see a lot more coming from this band maybe some faster tunes and a bit of a change in arrangement from track to track. This would really send this band into outer space and put them up there in the horror world.

Sinister Fate - band

Posted by Schock in MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

MOVIE REVIEW: Annihilation (2018) [SPOILER FREE]

Annihilation (2018)Annihilation is adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s book of the same name, and I had intended on doing a review based on the movie and book comparisons. After having seen Annihilation, I have decided against that because both the book and movie are excellent in their own way and each has a completely different feel. You can love the book and still love the movie separately; the book was cold and dark with almost no character development at all, whereas the movie was beautiful, bright, and mesmerizing, with a ton of character backstory.

Annihilation (2018)Natalie Portman stars as Lena, an ex-soldier turned biology professor who has recently lost her husband. Her husband Kane (Oscar Isaac), also a soldier, went missing during his last expedition. Twelve months later he reappears with almost no memory of where he was or what happened. He becomes very ill and has to be rushed to the hospital by ambulance. On the way, they’re stopped by a military convoy and both Lena and Kane are sedated and taken to a facility. When Lena wakes, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) immediately begins questioning her about how her husband returned and what he said about where he was. Dr. Ventress then explains that her husband is the only survivor to ever come back from Area X — the area the mysterious “shimmer” covers. The Shimmer began when an unknown force or object crashed into a lighthouse and then began to spread across the land, consuming or taking over everything it touched. The shimmer is beautiful and looks like the inside of a psychedelic soap bubble. It’s at this point in the movie that you’ll start to be sucked in by the beauty.

Annihilation (2018)Expeditions are repeatedly sent into Area X to try and find out what’s happening but no one has ever returned to until Kane, and when he does come back, he’s dying and has no memory. Lena asks to go on the next expedition in order to find a way to save her husband. Less than a week later, Lena, Dr. Ventress, Josie (Tessa Thompson), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), and Shepard (Tuva Novotny) set foot in The Shimmer to try and find some answers.

Annihilation (2018)Annihilation can’t really be put into one box; it’s sci-fi, it’s horror, it’s a modern-day arthouse, a thriller, and a drama. Some of the horror scenes were genuinely terrifying, and the gore was on point. It’s filled with excellent creatures and stunning and imaginative visuals driving a sexy, intelligent storyline. I can honestly say Annihilation is one of the best new films I’ve seen in the last ten years. I highly recommend watching it and I give it an 8.5/10.

Annihilation (2018)

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments