Candace Stone

House of Forbidden Secrets is my first experience with a Todd Sheets film, but I assure you it won’t be my last. This is a film made for fanboys and girls, chocked full of Easter eggs and an incredible cast. I geeked the fuck out while watching and had so much fun. Fans of Olaf Ittenbach, The Exorcist and Troma will love this film. Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo appearance as a drunken grandpa watching The Toxic Avenger with his grand-daughter, and if that wasn’t exciting enough Dyanne mother fucking Thorne (Ilsa She wolf of the SS) is in it!!! Her character is everything I was hoping it would be and she still looks fucking amazing in her 70’s.

The plot is a simple one we all know and love, a haunted house with a sordid past. At the beginning a séance is performed that unleashes an ancient evil at Shadow View Manor, an old manor turned into a business office. Jacob (Antwione Steele) a new security guard is on his first shift and just learning the ropes. Cassie (Nicole Santorella)  and Hannah (Michaela Paxton Tarbell) are holding a séance for a tv show and invite Jacob to join in. The séance goes awry, and soon menacing entities start wreaking havoc in the manor. No one can leave and as they struggle to escape they’re picked off one by one.

At the end we’re left with only Cassie and Jacob who are both sensitives. Cassie starts to get visions of the past and we learn that the manor was originally a seedy brothel ran by Gretta (Dyanne Thorne). One of the best customers of the brothel is the local priest Elias Solomon (Lew Temple) who gets one of the girls pregnant. Gretta blackmails him, threatening to tell everyone unless he pays 20,000. Elias promises to return in a couple days with the money. When he returns several days later he brings a bunch of thugs and it turns into a whore house massacre. Up until this point the kills have been spaced out and have lots of fun gore, but the finale is a blood bath that will give any gore fan a boner.

Besides the fact that it’s obviously low budget and there is some minor pacing problems (it drags a tad in places) this was a solid film. If you want a Hollywood blockbuster look elsewhere, true fans of the genre will love this and be delighted with all it has to offer.

Uneathed  Films will be releasing a Blu-ray on November the 13th you can pre-order here

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House of Forbidden Secrets

House of Forbidden Secrets

House of Forbidden Secrets is my first experience with a Todd Sheets film, but I assure you it won’t be my last. This is a film made for fanboys and girls, chocked full of Easter eggs and an incredible cast. I geeked the fuck out while watching and had so much fun. Fans of Olaf Ittenbach, The Exorcist and Troma will love this film. Lloyd Kaufman makes a cameo appearance as a drunken grandpa watching The Toxic Avenger with his grand-daughter, and if that wasn’t exciting enough Dyanne mother fucking Thorne (Ilsa She wolf of the SS) is in it!!! Her character is everything I was hoping it would be and she still looks fucking amazing in her 70’s.

The plot is a simple one we all know and love, a haunted house with a sordid past. At the beginning a séance is performed that unleashes an ancient evil at Shadow View Manor, an old manor turned into a business office. Jacob (Antwione Steele) a new security guard is on his first shift and just learning the ropes. Cassie (Nicole Santorella)  and Hannah (Michaela Paxton Tarbell) are holding a séance for a tv show and invite Jacob to join in. The séance goes awry, and soon menacing entities start wreaking havoc in the manor. No one can leave and as they struggle to escape they’re picked off one by one.

At the end we’re left with only Cassie and Jacob who are both sensitives. Cassie starts to get visions of the past and we learn that the manor was originally a seedy brothel ran by Gretta (Dyanne Thorne). One of the best customers of the brothel is the local priest Elias Solomon (Lew Temple) who gets one of the girls pregnant. Gretta blackmails him, threatening to tell everyone unless he pays 20,000. Elias promises to return in a couple days with the money. When he returns several days later he brings a bunch of thugs and it turns into a whore house massacre. Up until this point the kills have been spaced out and have lots of fun gore, but the finale is a blood bath that will give any gore fan a boner.

Besides the fact that it’s obviously low budget and there is some minor pacing problems (it drags a tad in places) this was a solid film. If you want a Hollywood blockbuster look elsewhere, true fans of the genre will love this and be delighted with all it has to offer.

Uneathed  Films will be releasing a Blu-ray on November the 13th you can pre-order here


Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HoTS Gets an Exclusive look at Hallowed Be Thy Name

HoTS Gets an Exclusive look at Hallowed Be Thy Name

Jonathan Patrick Hughes has done it again! Another great short film called Hallowed Be Thy Name. The short was picked up by Tales From The Grave and is featured at the end of season 2. Fans of Jonathan’s first short (S)AINT NICK, will be surprised at how different the two films are by comparison. (S)AINT NICK is heavily influenced by Rob Zombie and is a vulgar torture film with despicable characters. Hallowed Be Thy Name is a far more serious horror it’s roots deep in psychological terror.1

Hallowed Be Thy Name is a psychological slow burn, a tribute to noir films with obvious hints of David Lynch and The Twilight Zone. Hallowed Be Thy Name is cleverly written and seeks to scare us through dialogue and tricky word play. You will want to pay close attention to the names and what is being said. I actually had to watch it twice to get it.

Hallowed Be Thy Name is a Halloween themed film, about a broken man Detective Sam Hayne (Tyler Manko). We learn that Halloween is a very important time for Sam and his family… at least it was until his wife and daughter went missing. Beside himself with grief and despair Sam resorts to some pretty extreme tactics to find his missing loved ones.

He kidnaps rookie nurse Octavia Burke (Alexis Polce Von Schwedler) and duct tapes her to a chair. It appears that everywhere Octavia goes she leaves a trail of death and destruction. While questioning Octavia, Sam starts mapping out where all her past “crimes” have taken place and a very clear pentagram pattern becomes visible (I liked this part very much) alluding to the occult and  witchcraft. It becomes obvious that Octavia is not the innocent bystander she claims to be, but exactly who she is or what is not as easy to figure out. I can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention to the names and Octavia’s words is, this one is a certified mind fuck.

Be sure to check it out on Youtube within the next couple days or else you’ll have to wait until Screamtime Films LLC releases it in 2019. Click Here to watch!

 

Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, HALLOWEEN, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Exclusive Interview with Lex Ortega

Exclusive Interview with Lex Ortega

I’m a huge fan of the film Atroz by Lex Ortega. In my opinion it’s one of the best extreme horror films made in the last 10 years… maybe ever. It’s unrelenting and brutal beyond imagining.  I’m incredibly excited to have this opportunity to talk with Lex Ortega about it and his future plans to make films.

  • HoTS:  Before making Atroz you were the mastermind behind Mexico Barbaro what made you decide to make Mexico’s first horror anthology movie? How was it received?
  • Lex: Actually I was on the metro and I was thinking what shortfilm should I do next? Then I realized there were a lot of directors thinking the same thing, trying to get their films on festivals, paying fees, trying to finance themselves their production, etc. So I got the idea to unite efforts and make an anthology, in this case we could get distribution, promotion for us as directors, in overall a better projection than a single shorfilm, and maybe have an economic retribution for our job. It had a great reception from the audience all over the world, we got distribution around 8 counties and Netflix America (all continent), and we were in around 50 festivals all over the world.
  • HoTSAtroz was insanely brutal, in the opening it says 98% of the 27,500 murders per year in Mexico go unsolved. Did you make the film as a social commentary, meant to shed light on the level of violence there or did you just want to make an extreme film? Personally, I respect both.
  • Lex: It started weird, at the beginning I just wanted to shoot a torture sequence with no credits and release it on the internet as a supposed “Snuff film”, then I realized a lot of talent was getting involved, as well as my savings that I was going to invest on it so I decided to make it an actual shortfilm (the first video tape you see on the feature), after it was done, I was getting censorship and lots of comments on how brutal this short was. THAT WAS A PUMP OF GAS FOR ME! and I said, I want to scream louder about these topics, then making the documentary investigation to create the profile of the main character (Goyo) I got into these hard numbers you mention, and I turned the story into a social critique to the institutions, from our first social contract that we have as individuals such as family, to the state, and politics that are supposed to be there to protect us as a society.
  • HoTS:  Is your movie an accurate portrayal of violence in Mexico?
  • Lex: In certain ways yes, we don’t have a specific record on serial killers like the US, and in my personal opinion that is because a lot of murders that happen in Mexico are attributed to the Narco, and there is no investigation about it.
  • HoTS: I imagine Atroz might be bad for tourism, how did the Mexican people receive it?
  • Lex: I don’t make tourism promotions, I do horror films so I really don’t mind. When must people watch Atroz they’re shocked, and that makes me happy for 2 reasons, the first one is that for me cinema has to make you feel something, it doesn’t matter the genre, if not, it means it is not working. And second and most important is seeing people freaking out watching violence tells me that we haven’t normalized violence yet, by the time we watch graphic violence and we feel nothing it means that we don’t have empathy for each other, then we will be rotten as a society.
  • HoTS: As a Canadian I was excited to learn you came here to go to a very prestigious school in Montreal. What made you decide to attend the Trebas Institute? How did you like your stay here?
  • Lex: Oh man Canada is very important for me, it means a lot in my life. I was living in beatiful Montreal studying Sound Engineering, How I got there? It was weird, I was studying the second semester of Civil Engineering at UNAM (the biggest university in Latin America) in 1999 it went on strike for over a year and a half, so obviously I couldn’t keep studying there, my dad told me I had to start over in a new university because it seemed like the strike was going to take forever, so I told my old man that I was going to start over but this time I wanted to study what my real passion is, and he goes: Ok, so where and what are you studying? I told him Sound Engineering, but that career didn’t exist in Mexico at that time so I started looking for schools around the world and a good friend of mine went on vacation to Canada from coast to coast and I asked him what was the city he liked the most and he said Montreal, so I applied to Trebas in Montreal and I got it.
  • HoTS: Atroz is presented by extreme horror legend and director of Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodato, how did you manage to score such an amazing endorsement?
  • Lex: I meet Ruggero back in 2004 in Bogota, Colombia, me and the producer Abigail Bonilla were presenting Mexico Barbaro in a fest called Zinema Zombie Fest and Ruggero was also a guest from the festival.  We were promoting the crowd funding at that time so Ruggero helped fund it, but further than the economic help he gave us I wanted him to endorse the film.  We asked him if we could use his name on the promotional advertisement for the movie, at that time he was like: Ok, but I would like to see what it is about. When we finished the film we sent it over and he loved it and he said yes to our request and became an associate producer of the film.
  • HoTS: Do you have future plans to make more extreme movies?
  • Lex: Of course hermano!!!, personally I don’t want to do the same thing over and over, I am not interested to make things other than horror.
    The horror genre is huge and I would love to dig deeper into it, to other topics and subgenres, but I definitely like to tell stories in a violent way, where antagonists are not just bad, I want them to be real sons of bitches.
  • HoTS: What are some of the movies and directors that inspired you to get into film?
  • Lex: If I had to pick a top 3 I would say, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Cannibal Holocaust.
  • HoTS: It’s my understanding that you are also a talented musician, what can you tell fans about your band?
  • Lex: I don’t know if I’m talented but I really love music, it’s very important in my life and career, that’s what made me start in the industry. It was music that made me decide to study Sound Engineering, then after working on a studio making sound design for films, that made me decide to grab a camera and shoot my first short film called “Devourment”.  I didn’t know how to direct a film at that time, all I knew was that my premise was: How do zombies hear us?, what if a human screams, sirens and helicopters are so loud and annoying for them, that they just want it to stop and attack to get it done?I started a band called “The Massacre Must Begin” with a couple of friends back in 2009 (Our album is on Atroz’s bluray that Unearthed Film released in the US), then we  broke up, some of them became parents, I guess our interests changed.Now, this week you will be able to hear my new band’s album on Spotify, Apple Music, Itunes and all the streaming platforms. We are called Belibette and we’re relasing our first LP calle 72 Huries, it’s a strong-in your face technical Grindcore. So go and listen to it!
  • Thank you very much for answering all my questions, I enjoyed your answers very much and look forward to watching the next disturbing film you make. I’d also like to thank John Roisland for setting up this interview and being our go between and just an all around good guy. Thank you both for the opportunity.
Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Up Close and Personal with Stephen Biro

Up Close and Personal with Stephen Biro

In the world of horror there are many sub-genres ranging from the creature feature to the slasher. The hottest new trend on the rise caters to those who lust for gore and the extreme. The rise of extreme horror movies increases everyday with some attributes seeking to push the boundaries of sanity. House of Tortured Souls has the good fortune to sit down and chat with the man who has taken extreme horror by the reigns and made it his bitch, Mr. Stephen Biro! Join Candace Stone and John Roisland as we get the skinny from the godfather of extreme horror

  • 1. HoTS: First, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, we’re all huge fans of yours and Unearthed films. We know you’re a busy guy and appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions. This past weekend was your birthday or “The day of the Biro” an event fans were really excited to partake in. How did you spend your special day?
  • Biro: Well… I actually checked a menu design for a future film, packaged orders and worked. Didn’t go out, no parties or cake. Now… I think the only thing I really missed was NOT getting a birthday blowjob. I miss those, but alas… being single does that.
  • 2. HoTS: The American Guinea Pig series is a huge success and fans are thirsty for more, is there a possibility of an Alien themed installment? It would be difficult to make a good alien on a budget, but it would be a damn shame to miss an opportunity to make a film with an extreme alien anal probing scene (that we can only hope it will have).
  • Biro: Were in talks… with a director/fx man you all know and love. The trick would be the alien design. We couldn’t half ass it… but we’re trying to figure some things out. Also figuring a Frankenstein sort of laboratory sort of thing I was pitched recently as well. It all takes time. Can’t tell you who would be involved as well cause it is another director/fx person we all know and love. Lot of love for our fx people cause if we’re going to try to outdo or match Bouquet of Guts and Gore and the rest in AGP… that’s some serious special effects.
  • 3. HoTS:  Extreme gore films are becoming more and more popular, each director is going to try and out extreme the competition but where do you personally draw the line when it comes to gore?
  • Biro: Me personally? My films, I don’t want rape, pee, poo, semen, ejaculate, vomit or really sexuel violence. I mean, I could do a massive sexuel violence film. I’ve always wanted to do the orgy scene from a little ole comic book called Faust. The satanic orgy scene in issue 10 would be outrageous… would need porn actresses and actors in it to pull it off. But that’s in the stuff I want to make. Now when other filmmakers do it…. they can go wherever they want, unless it like glorifies rape. I won’t touch that stuff. It all depends really. We have released our share of films I would never make. But then again, I have turned down films with a lot of poo. LOL
  • 4. HoTS: You’ve mentioned your Christian faith before, how does it affect the movies you choose to release? Does it prevent you from taking on certain types of films or are there certain types you just won’t touch?
  • Biro: Not much at all… I’m forgiven of my sins.  I won’t do real death videos because they are out there by the dozens. Profiting off of the misery of others is evil. I don’t even like the true crime stuff cause someone is making money off the death of innocents. We did release Cannibal but that was someone who volunteered to be eaten. Texas Chainsaw is loosely based on Ed Gein but it wasn’t using his name to sell it. I’ve seen plenty of movies based on serial killers… but I think it’s a hack sort of thing to be honest. Make money off the deaths of others… not my style. Now, back before I found my faith I did sell real death videos… so I am guilty on that account. I can understand when you’re young, interested in death and want to watch it, study it and know what death can be like cause we are ALL going to die but… not my style anymore.
  • 5. HoTS: Do you get negative feedback from others in the Christian church? How do you handle that?
  • Biro: I haven’t been to church in a long time… I’ve tried some churches, went to one were they were speaking in tongues and that just pissed me off actually. Went to a Catholic church once and listened to the priest bitch for 20 minutes at the congregation for not giving them 10% of their money so they can make this mega church even bigger, so that pissed me off as well. As you can tell, some churches piss me off. They’re usually corrupted in some sort of way. I’d like to find a cool church… I’ve read the Holy Bible 3 and a half times… should probably read it a bit more but I have a hard time finding a KJV that is actually a real KJV version. So many are not, sort of crazy. I had one, gave it to my Mom and she gave it to someone else. hopefully, it found a good home
  • .6. HoTS: Can we expect to see more out of print Chinese films in the future? What’s the biggest challenge in releasing them?
  • Biro: We hope so… hardest part is getting your hands on a print of any film. They didn’t bother to store them correctly so a lot of mold and they usually just threw them out after the theatrical run in China, and everyone is about the 2k or 4k scans.
  • 7. HoTS: You’re also an accomplished author having written several books; do you have any plans to write more? Check out Hellucination: A Memoir here
  • Biro: If I ever get the time. Moving into producing films takes a lot of time as well as Unearthed Films swallowing up a lot of time. I do enjoy screenwriting, not as heavy as writing a novel so that’s what I have been doing lately.
  • 8. HoTS: Every director will face their share of negative feedback, you have been praised for how well you handle it. You share all reviews good and bad which is commendable, but how does it affect you personally?
  • Biro: Sometimes, it’s like… you stupid mother fucker. I enjoy them though. Some people just can’t wrap their mind around making an indie film and they all think a film should be so polished and expensive, it shines so bright but sometimes, you can only polish a turd so much and it still stinks. But then again, everyone’s a critic these days. Some people know what we do, others don’t and if someone shits all over us… they usually didn’t buy the film. The worst reviews are usually people who stole the film. IMDB is full of them. IF you go out of your way to buy an Unearthed Film… you know what you’re in store for and you’re going to enjoy it.
  • 9. HoTS: A lot of young hopefuls come to you looking for advice and you tell them not to get into film, why is that? Was it a difficult road for you?
  • Biro: Mmmm, because it is a total shitty business. I’m going to sound like a total dick here BUT… it’s better to know what you’re getting into than going in all bright eyed and bushy tailed just to get eaten alive. People rip you off, all the time. People lose their ass all the time. Look at it this way. 95% of all films lose their ass, can’t even make their budgets back and I am talking ALL films worldwide. Even the studios lose their asses.. Now… lets just say, you went to film school. Spent 70 grand in tuition and now, know how to make a film. Say you pull it off. You made a real good film. Now what? Now you got to step into the film festival trap. 40 bucks, 60 bucks and even up to 100 bucks just to submit and hope they pick it up. You and about 200 other filmmakers, or 300, 400… 1000 others. Did you know there is over 8500 film festivals in the world right now? Did you market the film? Did you know what you were doing? Marketing and promotion is another side of the battle. What? You made a free Facebook page… now the distribution trap. Do you know anything about contract negotiations? Do you know anything about IFTA? Arbitration? IFTA Arbitration? Assignment for the benefit of creditors? Do you even know what Force Majeure is? Royalty payments? Marketing cap? Return reserve? Well, you’re going to sign a contract with all of this in it so you better know it. What about international sales to other territories? Do you have reps you can trust? Can you even find a rep and sign a contract that your not going to get screwed over? Well, all of the above I mentioned in that contract you’re going to sign to a company in the US will be for sure, in the contracts, if you ever get a chance for international sales to other countries. Do you know how to negotiate a deal? Know what’s fair? Know what is too expensive? Do you know that the industry is flooded and it is very hard to get noticed. Do you know which companies rip people off? I do… I know all of this and a ton more and they don’t teach this in school and not even in film school. These are the pitfalls of the business and it’s filled with sharks, piranha’s, gators and vultures. I’m not going to get into torrents and piracy. It’s called show business… it’s a business. If you don’t know the business side of it… then why am I going to tell anyone to get into it.I’ve been in the horror business for over 20 years total. Getting traction now. I have a distribution company, I know how to do my own international sales. I even know what to do when I am getting fucked. I got screwed out 1.4 million dollars our 3rd year of business and my partner has been in it for 40 years… and we still got screwed. I’ve sued other companies and had people try to rip me off with screenplays. I’m in the middle of suing a company right now for another filmmaker as we speak. It’s been a very difficult road but it’s a difficult road for everyone that is going to last in this business. I got horror stories man… make the hair stand on end. Now you can say… I am doom and gloom and you’re fucking right. But… I am being honest here… wouldn’t you want to know the pitfalls and truth of what you’re getting into rather than me saying, “Go for it man! Your going to make millions!” Or would you rather hear a veteran of the industry say, “You’re going to get fucked, watch your ass and this is what you look out for.”
  • 10. HoTS: During your recent Live Facebook video you mentioned a podcast, when and where can fans expect to hear it? Who will you be doing it with?
  • Biro: I’m working with Brad Slaton of the Picking Brains Podcast that is now defunct but still available to hear past episodes. He’s a great interviewer and sort of crazy like me. Well, exactly as crazy as me… but not really since he has been podcasting for a lot longer than me It will be just us, chatting away, talking about everything really. You would figure it would be horror based and it will be, a bit but it will be more of a crazy sort of thing. I don’t think anyone will actually be ready for it. It’s a bit more entertainment but devious, fucked up that’s going to offend a lot of people. Well, normal people. Were going to see where it goes… It’s called… Stephen and Brad… The Podcast. Should be crazy interesting to say the least… it’s happening very soon, sooner than you think
  • HoTS: Thank you again Stephen, for this awesome interview. we appreciate your honesty and candor and enjoyed your answers immensely. Best wishes to you and everyone at the Unearthed family.
Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, EXCLUSIVE, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Housewife

Housewife

After watching Housewife by Turkish director Can Evrenol  (Baskin) two things are apparent, one this is definitely not Baskin and two this is a far more serious attempt at filmmaking. I love Baskin and went into Housewife expecting something similar, while I was mildly disappointed to find it was completely different I was also impressed with the stark contrast in style. It should be noted that I usually watch and review extreme cinema and that is where my passion lies, but I want to give my best unbiased opinion on this one. 

Housewife starts in the childhood home of our main character Holly. The opening scene is Holly and her sister Hazel playing until Hazel gets her first period. Holly scared and not understanding what is happening screams for their mother (Defne Halman) an over zealous fanatic who whisks Hazel away quickly to “tend” to her. A great tragedy befalls the family that night resulting in loss of life and repressed memories.

Now fast forward to adulthood filled with regret, mediocre sex and an unhealed past. Holly (Clementine Poidatz) not fully recovered from the events that took place so many years ago still experiences it’s lingering effects. Things change quickly when a long lost friend Veronica (Alicia Kapudag), resurfaces in the lives of Holly and her Husband (Ali Aksoz). Veronica claims she has been changed and asks the couple to attend a seminar with her. Although somewhat reluctant the two attend a cult like seminar hosted by charismatic leader Bruce O’hara (David Sakurai). Claiming he can enter peoples dream mazes. O’hara singles out Holly referring to her as the one. Holly accepts his invitation to help her and that’s when shit gets weird… Up until this point the film has been a slow burner, grey and bleak feeling, interspersed with intensely sexual moments including a sizzling threesome and self loathing masturbation. Once O’hara enters Holly’s dream maze, colour pops, reality becomes difficult to separate from dream and brutal gore ensues. There isn’t a ton of gore in this one, but we do see a nice glimpse into Evrenol’s love of it. 

Without spoiling the end I can tell you that it’s distinctly Lovecraftian in nature and feels like not enough. It’s not enough because you don’t want it to end right where it does, you try to will it into taking you there, and to push a little further, but it’s also better left alone to make you wonder what happens next.

My biggest disappointment with this film was that it omitted a lot of the Turkish charms that Baskin had, opting to use English over Turkish and using a more American feeling backdrop. A lot of amazing horror films are coming out of Turkey and I personally enjoy them for being different.

Overall the film is unique and well made and from a non-extreme horror movie perspective I’d say it’s a solid 4/5.

 

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, THRILLER, 0 comments
The Official Albert Fish Tour

The Official Albert Fish Tour

Albert Fish was an American serial killer. He was a child rapist and a cannibal, boasting he had killed 100 children “one in every state”.  I’ll be taking a look at America’s only official Albert Fish tour and the man behind it, Michal Bajer. I first met Michal Bajer in my favourite and in my opinion the best group on Facebook The Holy Mountain: Dr. Caligari’s Cult Movie Utopia (join group here:  I was fascinated with his personal story and felt it was beautiful and important. I was also very curious to learn more about his tour. He agreed to give me the details of the tour and the reasons why he started it in a candid fashion.

 

        • HoTS: Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me, I understand this interview will be somewhat personal in nature. Can you please tell us what the tour entails?
        • Michal: Of course! The tour entails 2 main stops: Wisteria Cottage in which Albert Fish committed his most infamous (though certainly not his most despicable crime) as well as his burial grounds at Flushing Cemetery. There are plans to expand to other areas in the NY area such as the former residence of the Budd’s, but this is permitting time allowance. During the tour, I tell the guests (since it is a long car ride) the detailed autobiography of Albert Fish, as well as allow them to view memorabilia related to Albert such as books, films, curio tidbits and actual case photographs from the time period.
        • HoTS: Why did you choose Albert Fish?
        • Michal:This is going to be a long answer, so please bear with me! My fascination, if you will, with Albert began in my earliest years. I was and am to this day a tremendous history buff. The less than savory aspects of history, especially American, intrigued and tantalized me to no end as I poured over countless stories of wicked men and women. It was a natural progression from the gunmen and outlaws of the West to the mobsters and gangsters of Chicago, to finally discover the world of serial killers. The first book I ever read on the matter was called “Serial Killer Encyclopedia” by Harold Schechter and it contained numerous criminal cases that I found both intriguing and tantalizing. However, the only case which piqued both my absolute revulsion and curiosity was that of Albert Fish. I thought at first it was an exercise in horror-writer one-upsmanship. Surely, no individual could have committed acts so vile and so close in my state? From there on, the ball eventually started rolling as I began to acquire more and more data on his life and deeds. No horror film, story or fictional piece of media ever, truly chilled me as much as his life did. Proving that life is the author of the most bizarre stories.
        • HoTS: How did you decide to start doing the tour?
        • Michal:This too has a tale. I grew up fascinated and an ardent reader of Weird NJ. Embarking on the road less traveled seemed to me almost a beckoning call, the proverbial moth to the flame if you will. Over time, I became interested in places that possessed an acute and uncanny history. I promised myself I would visit these places and if possible, spread the information and experience with others! Accumulating all this knowledge, while self fulfilling, isn’t nearly as gratifying as having the chance to share it with others. It took me a whole 6 months of planning, mapping out areas and fine tuning details to make sure it was, above all, an informative and dare I say educational experience. I looked at the way essentially people handled the Dahmer tour in Milwaukee and said “I want the complete opposite of that. Less theatrics, more history”. As of now, I charge nothing as it has mainly been what I consider a series of test runs. Next year, I plan to visit Wisconsin and hit up both Dahmer’s and Gein’s haunts. Then I will plan accordingly and charge. However, since this is a one man operation I have no intention of overcharging or fleecing the people who come. My intention is too make enough money to cover the costs of the current tour, and hopefully have a little left over that can go DIRECTLY into the very next one. This is a passion project, above all. My desire to share knowledge comes first, my capitalist ambitions come second, so I make a better tour guide and historian than businessman I’m afraid.
        • HoTS: How can people take the tour?
        • Michal:The beginning tours were personal invite only, but I am changing that very soon! A website will be open very soon and until then, it is best to contact me through my Facebook until I figure out exactly what social media I want to use in the future. I am a member of a few true crime groups on FB as well, so be on the lookout for posts from me in the meantime!
        • HoTS: At one point you were close to suicide, but you have stated that your love of extreme films and serial killer trivia saved your life. Can you share how?
        • Michal:It should come maybe as now small shock that I didn’t always have the most positive outlook on life and did attempt suicide a 2nd time over a year ago. A lot of personal turmoil was apparent in my life and I was very close to ending it all. Surprisingly, what offered me the most comfort and understanding was the film Melancholie Der Engel by Marian Dora, perhaps the only film that ever truly resonated with me and moved me to the nth degree. I owe Marian Dora a lot, and after I went voluntarily into therapy, I decided I needed to focus on a goal. Ironically enough, subjects dealing with death opened up a new avenue of life and inspiration for me.
        • Hots: Thank you again for your time, your story resonated with me he first time I heard it and I am excited to share it with others. Hopefully one day I’ll get to take the tour myself.
Posted by Candace Stone in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, EXCLUSIVE, 0 comments
Fell Beauties: A new Bizarro-Horror Novel by Leigham Shardlow

Fell Beauties: A new Bizarro-Horror Novel by Leigham Shardlow

Fell beauties is a new novel from the new bizarro authors series line published by Eraserhead Press (one of the leading Bizarro publishers). It’s Leigham Shardlow’s first book and in this critics opinion, a solid first entry.

I am still new to the Bizarro genre, but I know what I like and I like this. The first paragraph hooks you in, and keeps you interested throughout. It begins with beauties – actually beautiful people falling from the sky. A beautiful Adonis is rocketing towards earth and dies in a mixture of orgasm and crunching bones. The bodies continue to rain on Disfigure-Berg “the last ugly city on the planet”. Anyone out in the street is killed by a body slamming them into the pavement or bone shards impaling themselves on their arteries. Even children are not spared (bravo!) in the vivid imagery described in this novel and this is only the beginning.

Fat Janet or “Obese Janet to her friends” is our heroine in this journey.  She’s a highly relatable character, an introvert whose friends include her multiple cats, her stories, and mass quantities of comfort food. As the bodies are piling up and she’s seeking shelter from the devastation she is rescued by our hero Isaac. Isaac is a tragic character having lost his husband, he’s still coming to terms with his death when he comes to Disfigure-Berg on a mission to take down the Church of Skin.

Our villain Cardinal Slice was a former Doctor, a leading plastic surgeon to the beautiful people until botching too many surgeries including Isaacs husbands resulting in his death. Banished to live among the ugly people as a homeless man, he seizes the opportunity to take back his position of power when the bodies start to hit. He holes up in the Church of Skin and starts to transform it’s inhabitants, promising them beauty. He deceives them and  instead creates unholy, awful creatures.

I see the Church of Skin as society itself. It’s the need for people to conform to social standards of beauty and sameness. The Church of Skin (just like any other) is judgemental and expects that you conform to their notions of rightness even if it means your own personal suffering.

Poor Fat Janet gets the worst of it, having to traipse through tunnels of dead bodies and swim through a lake of innards. She steps up though  and becomes an unwilling model of human strength. Her friendship with Isaac is a heartwarming tribute to humanity, a friendship we all hope for. Despite the ugliness of society in the end Fat Janet becomes something beautiful.

I liked this book for the disgusting horror aspect, but more importantly the social commentary. It’s subtle so as not to be preachy, but obvious enough to get it’s point across. Enjoy it for the gore or dig deeper and get woke, either way it’s a solid read. buy it here:https://www.amazon.com/Fell-Beauties-Leigham-Shardlow/dp/1621052591

Posted by Candace Stone in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, FICTION AND POETRY, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Local Legends and Creatures of North America Part 2

Local Legends and Creatures of North America Part 2

I hope you all enjoyed part 1 of my exploration of creatures and legends of North America. If you missed it find it here: Lets take a look at 5 more of my favorourites from this continent before crossing the Atlantic.

#1 Bigfoot or Sasquatch

Bigfoot can be found in many forests across North America, but the most sightings have been reported along the Pacific coast, especially Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
Bigfoot is described as a tall, upright or bipedal, ape-like creature. Not quite man not quite ape, with a body completely covered in fur and in some cases reported to be as much as 9 feet tall. There are different variations of his temperament, some claiming that the bigfoot is simply a large animal, probably nocturnal and most likely a herbivore. Other legends suggest he’s a blood thirty beast and even uttering his name will cause him to come and take you away.

The modern-day Bigfoot’s legend originated in 1958 as a simple article in a small local newspaper. Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times did a small write up on some large footprints found near a logging site in California. He jokingly wrote that “maybe we have a relative of the abominable snowman”. People loved the article and rolled with it, inventing the name “Bigfoot” and the rest is history.

Books to read: The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch Yeti and Cryptid Primates by Nick Redfern buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Bigfoot-Book-Encyclopedia-Sasquatch-Primates-ebook/dp/B0110IBO9Q. Monster by Frank E. Peretti check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/65684.Monster

Movies to watch: Exists see trailer here:https://youtu.be/vNKqNBey9MQ,Willow Creek see trailer here: https://youtu.be/QPlc9UY2iuQ, Abominable see trailer here: https://youtu.be/mtpF7bWAnts, and Primal Rage see trailer here: https://youtu.be/m_c-G_6JKzA

#2. Bloody Mary

Who hasn’t played Bloody Mary? You light a candle stand in front of a dark mirror and chant her name 3 times (or more depending on the variation) in hopes that a scary witch will appear covered in blood and cause you bodily harm. It’s actually a pretty bizarre thing to do, now that I stop and think about it. Looking at it as an adult made me curious as to where the legend began.

Originally the ritual was meant to show a young unwed woman her future husband. The young girl was supposed to walk up the stairs backwards holding a candle and a hand mirror. The goal was to catch a glimpse of her future lovers face, but if for some unfortunate reason she happened to see a skull it meant she would die before ever being wed.

Whether you want to see a bloody apparition or your future husband, there is actually a pretty good chance that you will. It’s actually a proven scientific phenomenon coined the “strange face illusion” by Giovanni Caputo. If you stare at your face in a mirror in a poorly lit room for a prolonged period of time it will cause hallucinations. The brains facial recognition system goes haywire thus causing us to see something other than ourselves, sometimes something scary.

Book to read: Mary: The Summoning check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17661402-mary by Hillary Monahan

Movies to watch: Urban Legends: Bloody Mary watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/kKWa-voJcR0, Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975)

#3 The Montauk Monster

This is an especially interesting legend to me because it’s current, plausible and there is actual HD colour photographic evidence.

In July of 2008 an unidentifiable creature washed ashore on the beach of Montauk New York. It was discovered and photographed by 26 year old Jenna Hewitt. She was at the beach with friends and saw a small gathering of people standing around something. At first the creature was thought to be a racoon (seriously that isn’t a damn racoon!), but there is no way to find out since the body mysteriously disappeared. Several unsubstantiated claims stated that “a guy came and took it” no one knows who or where though.

There is a possibility that it was an animal from Plum Island. Plum Island is the animal disease center of New York. There has been speculation that unethical animal testing is still continuing to happen there. During the cold war biological weapons were tested on livestock and the facility still remains a place of mystery and controversy. Maybe the creature was the result of some horrific experiment gone wrong. One thing is for sure the public will never know what really happened.

Book to read: The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18371375-the-montauk-monster (honestly anything by him is good)

#4 La Llorona or The Weeping Woman

The legend of La Llorona takes us to an unnamed rural village in Mexico, where there once lived a young woman named Maria. She came from a poor family, but was well known for her exceptional beauty. One day a wealthy man of status was passing through her village and was said to have been stopped in his tracks by her beauty. He fell in love with her and proposed marriage. While her family was thrilled that she was marrying a wealthy man his family was extremely disappointed in his choice. The young couple chose to stay in Maria’s village away from his father. After some happy years passed Maria gave birth to twin boys. Maria’s husband was always travelling and had very little time to spend with his family, he slowly began to fall out of love with her and finally left one day never to return. Some time later as Maria and her boys were walking along the river she spotted her husband with a younger more beautiful woman in his carriage, in her frustration and shame she tossed her boys into the river where they drowned. Once she realized what she had done she dove in after them and drowned herself. At the gates of heaven, she was asked where her children were and not permitted to enter until she found them, so she roams the earth for eternity searching for her dead children.

She can still be heard crying and searching for her children, but if you do hear her wailing run the other way! Her cries bring great misfortune and even death. Keep your children close so she doesn’t steal them confusing them for her own.

Books to read: Hell House: & Other True Hauntings from Around the World by Allison Vale check it out here: https://books.google.ca/books/about/Hell_House.html?id=ih0-CZ8XF-IC&redir_esc=y (awesome book, one of my personal favourites), Prietita and the Ghost Woman by Gloria E. Anzaldua

Movies to watch: The Curse of La Llorona… coming soon. Watch the trailer here:https://youtu.be/jjSShe-0AwM
#5 Marie Laveau


Marie Laveau was a real person said to have done extraordinary things, whether she did perform any magical feats or not she is still one of my personal heroes.

She was born in 1801 in the French Quarter of New Orleans a free woman (fairly uncommon in that time and place for a woman of colour). Not much is known about her early life except who her parents were and where she lived. What we do know and what makes her interesting is that she grew up to be the voodoo queen and was said to have “walked the streets like she owned them”. Marie was also a devout Catholic and attended mass regularly. She began her career as a hairdresser and became a nurse during the yellow fever epidemic. She was very skilled with medicine and healing and knew how to prepare and use medicinal herbs. Concerned with the welfare of people’s souls Marie often stayed with people for their last moments and served them their last meal. She even helped criminals condemned to die at the gallows.  She was said to be an extremely beautiful and benevolent person, unless crossed.

Marie was believed to be clairvoyant knowing everything about everyone. She prepared some of the most potent grigri bags (talismans) that were said to cure any disease or make people do whatever she wanted them to do. She was rumored to own a large snake named Zombi. Due to her persuasive personality and political connections she was allowed to perform voodoo rituals inside the Saint Louis catholic church, a practice that anywhere else or done by anyone else would be considered blasphemy. One of her most important accomplishments as a voodoo priestess and the case that convinced even the skeptics was freeing a man on trial for murder. His father came to her begging for help and offered her a house in exchange for his sons freedom. She is said to have prayed for days and even suffered physical torture. She placed 3 Guinea peppers (extremely hot peppers) in her mouth and held them there for hours. She snuck in on the day of the mans sentencing and put the voodoo peppers under the judge’s chair, it was believed that In exchange for her suffering the voodoo spirits set the man free. She was rewarded with a beautiful home on St. Anne’s or so it’s said and now had proven her ability to sway even the justice system. It’s said that all voodoo needs to succeed is for people to believe in it.

People still travel to Laveau’s grave in hopes of getting wishes granted. It’s believed that if you draw an x on the gravestone, turn around 3 times, knock on the tomb and yell out your wish it would be granted. If the wish was granted you needed to return with an offering and circle the x. You can only visit now on a guided tour that is definitely on my bucket list. You can take the tour here: https://freetoursbyfoot.com/new-orleans-tours/walking-tours/st-louis-1-cemetery-tour/
Books to read: Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau by Martha Ward buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Voodoo-Queen-Spirited-Lives-Laveau/dp/1578066298, Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewell Parker Rhodes
What to watch: The History channels: Voodoo Secrets, watch it here:https://youtu.be/TIPzaDRjCVc

Thanks for reading my follow up on North American legends, we’ll travel to Europe next and scope out their creatures and folklore.

Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 0 comments
Interview with the director of Visceral Felipe Eluti

Interview with the director of Visceral Felipe Eluti

If you haven’t already watched Visceral by Felipe Eluti (check out the trailer : https://youtu.be/NsfmqIu8IGA”>HERE) and if you’re a fan of extreme horror I recommend watching it immediately. It’s been a fan favorite in the underground community for a while now. Made in Chile it’s about a boxer who loses the big fight. After the loss and what would appear to be brain damage from multiple concussions he’s unable to cope and loses his grip on reality. He goes into a downward spiral and begins murdering and torturing using many creative bondage scenarios. The main character is played by Eluti himself and today I’m going to ask him a few questions about the film, and his upcoming film called Shadowplay.

  • HoTS: First of all thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me I’m a big fan of your work. My first question is how did you come up with the idea for the film?
  • Felipe: The idea for Visceral was born thanks to many horror movies and real life psychopaths in general. I felt that a really extreme film was missing, a film that was not afraid to tell such a dark story.
  • HoTS: How did you find it playing a serial killer? It was a really brutal character how did it affect you?
  • Felipe: That’s a very personal question… you always have to know how to distinguish from the role one is playing with the person one is. When one acts, one can inquire into the darkness of the mind, but it’s only to play the character not in my normal life.
  • HoTS: there is a really graphic genital mutilation scene in Visceral that happens to your character is that hard for you to watch?
  • Felipe: I think the character deserved the punishment and the idea that the character never wins is exciting
  • HoTS: There was a lot to do with boxing in the film are you a boxer or just a fan of the sport?
  • Felipe: I practiced boxing only for the role, but personally I don’t enjoy the sport or participate in it. I’m a vegetarian  and a pacifist.
  • HoTS: There was a lot of bondage and rope in the film were you going for a BDSM theme?
  • Felipe: When my friends (Thomas Smith and Cristobal Rivera) and I looked at the film aesthetically and the script we came to the conclusion we needed it to add more perversion. We added it in and it worked.
  • HoTS: I understand you’re working on a new film called Shadowplay, what can you tell us about it?
  • Felipe: It’s different from Visceral, it’s much less violent. It’s more personal and focuses on a couple relationships. However there is still an element of terror, cosmic horror and Lovecraft style.
  • HoTS: How did you get into filmmaking?
  • Felipe: I studied film, it’s my profession. Since I was little I loved movies, music, and comics. When I had to choose a career I decided I wanted to make films.
  • HoTS: How are your films received at home in Chile vs North America?
  • Felipe: Visceral is better known outside of Chile, here I’ve been unable to show it many times because of its level of brutality. I am like Sugar Man, better known in other countries than in my native land.
  • HoTS: How did you get involved with Stephen Biro and Unearthed Films?
  • Felipe: Stephen contacted me after my film went through many festivals and realized that it was definitely for Unearthed.
  • HoTS: Finally just for fun what are your top 10 favorite movies?
  • Felipe: This is difficult since there is always more than 10, but here we go… Haze by Shinya Tsukamoto, Nekromantik  by Jorg Buttgereit, Blue Velvet by David Lynch, A Clockwork Orange by Kubrick, Phase IV by Saul Bass, The Dead Zone by Cronenberg, A Zed and Two Noughts by Greenway, Akira by Otomo, They Live by Carpenter, The Dawn of the Dead by George Romero, Phenomena by Argento, City of the Living Dead by Fulci and I’m already over ten.
  • HoTS: Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. I really look forward to seeing your new film Shadowplay and wish you the best on all your future projects.
  • Felipe: Thank you very much for your interest in my films, I send greetings to all my fans and lovers of extreme cinema.
Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, EDITORIALS, EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Local Legends and Creatures of North America

Local Legends and Creatures of North America

Tis the season to explore all things that go bump in the night, keep us awake and give us a fright! Please join me as I look at local legends across North America, their origins, and the best books and movies to see on the subject.
#1 The Wendigo

The Wendigo comes from Algonquin legend and is native to the Atlantic coast of Canada and the USA. There are several variations of the beast, but most popular is that the creature is a forest dwelling, evil spirit.
Physically it’s described as a giant with elongated limbs and protruding or visible bones. It often is said to have antlers or be half man half deer. The beast lives primarily off the flesh of humans and is associated with greed, famine, starvation and winter. Although the Wendigo is much larger than man it’s usually very thin and emaciated due to an increase in size after every meal. The wendigo is never full because it grows in proportion to each meal it eats.
A human Wendigo can occur when a man is overcome with greed, or resorts to cannibalism.

The book to read: The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood. Listen to the story here :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVCNUOk-O9E
Movies to watch: Ravenous (1999), and Wendigo (2001)

#2 The Blair witch

We’ve all seen the movie The Blair Witch Project or at least heard of it, but where did the story originate from? The directors based the film on the case of Elly Kedward an Irish settler.
In 1785 in the town of Blair located in Maryland several children came forward accusing Kedward of luring them into her home and taking their blood. The townspeople found her guilty of witchcraft and banished her to the forest. They left her in the woods bound to a cart during a particularly harsh and cold winter. As the time passed and no more was heard or seen from her, she was presumed dead.
In the middle of winter in 1786 everyone involved with Kedward’s death disappeared along with half the towns children. The remaining residents flee believing Blair is cursed. In 1824 Burkittsville is built over the corpse of Blair.
In 1825 11 witnesses come forward to testify that a ghost like hand reached up and dragged a 10-year-old girl into the Tappy East Creek. Bizarre greasy bundles of sticks are said to have clogged the creek for 13 days after the drowning and the girl’s body was never found.
In 1886 an 8-year-old girl goes missing in the forest, several rescue teams are dispatched to find the missing girl who eventually returns on her own. One of the search parties doesn’t return and are discovered at Coffin Rock weeks later. The five men are found tied together hand to foot and disemboweled in an advanced stage of decay. When a recovery team returns to the rock hours later the bodies are missing.
From 1940-1941 8 children go missing. A local hermit Rustin Parr enters the market shouting “I’ve finally finished”. Local authorities discover 7 of the 8 bodies behind Parr’s home buried in shallow graves. The 8th victim was still alive and found in the basement standing in the corner. Parr claimed to have heard an old woman’s voice ordering him to kill the children. Parr was tried and hung for his crimes.
In 1999 The Blair Witch project is released, people believe that it’s real. The movie makes millions and paves the way for every dickhead with a handheld camera to make a shaky, poorly edited movie.

Books to read: The Blair Witch Files – various authors (read all 8, they’re each an independent story) buy them here: https://www.thriftbooks.com/series/the-blair-witch-files/53167/

Movies to watch: The Blair Witch Project, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, Blair Witch (2016)

#3 Ogopogo
The Ogopogo or Naitaka is a large serpent like lake monster found in the Okanagan lake in British Columbia. The Ogopogo is reportedly 40-50 long and resembles the Basilosaurus dinosaur. It’s Green in color with a reptilian or horse shaped head (depending who you ask). It was First seen by Canada’s first nations people as far back as the 19th century. The first Nations called the creature Naitaka and believed it was a bloodthirsty killer demanding a live sacrifice from travelers in exchange for safe passage. Hundreds of years ago before entering, the natives would drop chickens and other small animals into the lake to appease the giant water spirit.
In 1946 a group of 30 car loads of people all claimed to have spotted Ogopogo although no proof was presented. All videos and sightings have been labelled inconclusive.
The creature has never been reported to have hurt anyone and is mostly happy to do its own thing, it may even possibly be a bottom feeder living off plankton and small fish.
I’ve spent many summers on the lake trying to catch a glimpse myself, but sadly never saw the creature.

Books to read: In Search of Ogopogo: Sacred Creature of the Okanagan Waters by Arlene B. Gaal. Buy it here: https://www.amazon.ca/Ogopogo-Arlene-B-Gaal/dp/0888394829

Movies to watch: Mee-Shee: The Water Giant (renamed due to aboriginal protest)

#4 Chupacabra
The Chupacabra was originally discovered in Puerto Rico, but now has many sightings in North America mainly in Mexico and some of the Southern states. Chupacabra literally translates to Goat-sucker and is associated with killing livestock. It kills by draining the animals blood and sometimes removing their organs through three holes in the chest. Its kills are purely vampiric as the flesh is not consumed only the blood.
The Chupacabra is described as a large animal (the size of a small bear) with spines from its neck to the bottom of its tail. Alternatively, it’s described as dog-like in nature with little to no fur. It has large fangs and claws and very pronounced eye sockets.
All reports and sightings have been deemed inconclusive by leading cryptozoologists.
Books to read: Tracking the Chupacabra by Benjamin Radford buy it here: https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/138-7302764-1050759?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=tracking+the+Chupacabra,
Movies to watch: Indigenous (2014), Chupacabra Territory (2016)

#5 The Jersey Devil or Leeds Devil
The Jersey Devil is native to New Jersey USA and was originally called the Leeds Devil. The creature is said to live in the pine barrens of Southern New Jersey. Its description varies, most commonly its described as a flying biped with hooves, a goat head, bat-like wings, horns, small arms and clawed hands. The Jersey Devil has a high-pitched banshee scream that can be heard at a distance.
The legend begins in 1735 with the Leeds family. A mother of 12 becomes pregnant with her 13th child and in her exhaustion and desperation curses the child in her womb. When the child is born it turns into a monster, growling and snapping, it kills the midwife before flying up the chimney and heading into the pines. Some variations of the tale suggest the mother was a witch and the father was the devil himself.
There are many reported sightings of the beast, but skeptics believe that it was a boogeyman invented by bored English settlers. There was also a general disdain for the Leeds family which could have spawned the unfavorable rumors.

Books to read: The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea, buy it here:https://www.amazon.com/Jersey-Devil-Hunter-Shea/dp/078603887X

Phantom of the Pines: More Tales of the Jersey Devil by James F. McCloy 
Movies to watch: The Barrens (2012), The Last Broadcast (1998)

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these fantastic creatures of legend as much as I did, keep a look out for my follow up on the Local Legends of Europe.

Posted by Candace Stone in Categories, EDITORIALS, EXCLUSIVE, HORROR HISTORY, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Writer/Director/Actor Joe Meredith

INTERVIEW: Writer/Director/Actor Joe Meredith

Joe Meredith's Teratomorph - Coming Soon / Fair use doctrine.After watching the short film South Mill District by Joe Meredith, I said to myself, “Holy shit! That was awesome and why aren’t more people talking about this guy?” If I was capable of and ever wanted to make a film, this is what I would aspire to make. Luckily for me, Joe is a super nice guy and was willing to chat with me about the making of his first film and his upcoming sequel Teratomorph.

House of Tortured Souls: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview with me and discuss your films. Where did you get the idea for South Mill District? It’s a huge and detailed plot. Was it something you had been formulating for years?
Joe Meredith: It’s actually a continuation of a narrative world I developed as a kid and into my teen years. All of the things like the “alien war” that the character Drennan talks about in the movie actually exist in a shoebox I have under my bed that has comics and sketches and short stories and things I did over a period of years. Recently, I noticed that elements from those stories have been creeping back into my drawings and newer writings, so when I got the nerve up to make a movie, I decided to make it a return to that old saga, which is why the movie is probably really confusing to a lot of people because it has this detailed backstory that nobody really knows but me.

HoTS: I loved the use of lighting in the film and the camera work was so crisp. Did you go to film school?
JM: I never went to film school. I used to make short movies with friends growing up. As a kid, I always had a camera, and no matter how ridiculous the movie ideas were, I was always serious about it. The lighting in South Mill District was all about separating it from a realistic look and making it more like a comic book or cartoon, where the colors in the lighting provided the atmosphere.

HoTS: The FX and gore were also really fun. I especially liked the scene where Cidney Meredith pukes up her intestines. Was it weird “killing” your wife on camera even though you knew it was fake?
JM: I owe it to her for encouraging me to step back into filmmaking after many years of not wanting to do it. She was a trooper about some of the gross things she had to endure, and if I had a director’s cut released, you would see that she went even more savage than throwing up intestines. It was all a process of getting the scene right, so I never felt a moral dilemma from her death sequence. There were probably some moments of anxiety for her, but with me, she was always safe doing whatever scene needed to be done. The more realistic gore FX like the intestines and the heads that the spiders crawl on were all created by James Bell, whose own movies were a huge influence for me to make movies again.

HoTS: The creatures and spiders were the best part of this film by far. Did you make them all yourself? I also loved the stop-motion technique used but have heard it’s a long and slow process. How did you find it?
JM: I made all of the stop-motion puppets myself, and then James Bell created the human gore FX. The alien creature suit used at the end of the movie was made by Toby Johansen. As a kid, I did stop motion videos with action figures. It was much easier to do it with a video camera than the way I did with South Mill District, which was with photographs. The stop-motion could’ve been better, and technically, I didn’t do it the “right” way, but I think it worked for what was needed. The spiders were definitely supposed to be a focal point for South Mill District, and then its sequel is more about the mutations caused by the infectious venom of the spiders.

HoTS: You’re a fantastic artist, and fans of Phil Stevens will recognize your work on the covers of his films. Do you sell your work or have any plans to in the future?
JM: Thank you. I knew Phil as an artist-illustrator himself before I even knew he was a filmmaker, and we started out gushing over each other’s illustrations, so when he wanted me to do art for his movies, I was really enthusiastic to do it. I don’t sell art usually, but I will at some point soon.

HoTS: I actually learned about South Mill District after seeing posts about its sequel Teratomorph. There has been a lot of hype in the Indie community about it. What can you tell us about it?
JM: Teratomorph is a sequel, but it can also stand alone. It takes place in a more rural area outside of the South Mill District and shows an evolution of the alien virus caused by the spiders. It stars my 8-year-old son Elijah, who plays as a vagrant kid who is infected by the virus, and its effects are unique in comparison to what was seen in South Mill District. It has some creatures that I hope are going to be really cool for people who are fans of creature movies.

HoTS: what’s the hardest part of being an Indie film director for you? Why did you choose to go into such a difficult field?
JM: Mostly just working from nothing is the hardest part, but then again that’s not so fair to say because I have friends and talented people who are all willing to contribute to my projects in any way they can. And that’s something I’m very grateful for. I love creating things. I don’t think I’ve chosen filmmaking as the ultimate means of making things. It’s just a cool outlet I have to work with.

HoTS: Do you have any plans in the future to make feature-length films? Or will you continue to make more shorts?
JM: Yeah, I think I’ll do a feature at some point, especially if I have an idea that I can’t resist turning in to a feature film. And I know I’ll also continue short films as long as I think maybe it’s something other people haven’t seen before.

Art by Joe Meredith / Image: Joe MeredithHoTS: You have such a unique style. What films and directors have inspired you?
JM: I’d have to say among my picks for greatest movies of all time are John Carpenter’s The Thing and James Cameron’s Aliens. Cronenberg’s The Fly is also up there in the greats for me. Video games like Resident Evil also fuel ideas for me. James Bell is an outstanding filmmaker in the Indie realm, and his movies are something I hold in high esteem because the vision he presents is something truly individual. And any other movies that explore surreal ideas are a plus for me. That’s actually a hard question because I could go on and on about all the movies and directors that have blown my mind.

HoTS: Where can people buy your films and when can we expect to see Teratomorph?
JM: Teratomorph will be done soon. I think it could be available by the year’s end if not early in 2019. South Mill District is gonna be available again soon, and Teratomorph will also be available in the same place which is at http://joemeredithart.storenvy.com.

HoTS: Thank you again for agreeing to do this interview! I really enjoyed your answers and look forward to what I expect will be great things from you.

Posted by Candace Stone in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Poison Rouge – Director, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

INTERVIEW: Poison Rouge – Director, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

After recently watching American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice, I was so impressed with it that I reached out to the director Poison Rouge. I was surprised and delighted to learn that Sacrifice was her debut film and even more delighted when she consented to an interview. Actor and director Poison Rouge is quite the talent, and if you haven’t watched American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice already, I highly recommend you do so.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

House of Tortured Souls: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I’m very excited to connect with a talented woman who also loves extreme horror. Did you always want to be a director/actor?
Poison Rouge: No, thank you for your time and for supporting Indie films. Actually, I don’t yet know who I am or what I want to be in life, I just want to live it day by day. The fatal meeting with Domiziano (Christopharo) changed a lot of things for me, around me, and inside me. We first met at a tattoo shop where he was working. He did a tattoo for me, and we became friends and have been ever since. Now I see something — and someone — in myself that I didn’t see before. He suggested that I act in his sideshow first, then in his first feature film House of Flesh Mannequins (2009).
House of Flesh Mannequins (2009) / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: What was your inspiration for this film?
PR: The story was already written. It was originally conceived as a horror comedy that Domiziano wanted to direct as the first chapter in his Trilogy of Death. The lead role was created for a woman, but the actress abandoned the project two weeks before starting. Domiziano asked me to take her place, and later he decided to give the direction of the movie to me so he could follow the second production (Torment). I turned the character into a male and removed the comedic tone to obtain something darker.

HoTS: Why did you choose to start with such an extreme film?
PR: Life decided for me, and I always accept the gifts that life gives me daily.

HoTS: I noticed a lot of well-researched references to the Goddess Ishtar. Why did you choose her or what is her significance to you?
PR: I love the fact that she is the goddess of sex, life, and destruction. The heart of motherhood in some ways. She’s a strong female figure that really describes the power of a woman outside stereotypes.

Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: What films and directors are your favorites and influenced your style?
PR: My favorite movies are any ones that involve Sly Stallone; I just love him! Especially Rocky.
In horror, my favorites are all the classics — Carpenter, Polanski, and Friedkin, etc.
I don’t think I really have a style yet. It’s impossible after only one feature, but I have a vision. My passion for art and painting is very visible in Sacrifice.

HoTS: I loved the gore and the practical FX in this one. I heard a rumor that the penis mutilation scene is partially real. Is that true? Please explain!
PR: Haha! You should watch the extras on the DVD to know more about it. I won’t say another word!
The FX are great and very realistic. Domiziano (aka Athanasius Pernath) is a master.

Interview: Poison Rouge with Domiziano Christopharo / Fair use doctrine.

HoTS: It’s really cool that your first film was picked up by Unearthed and is part of the American Guinea Pig series. Was it made specifically to be part four of AGP or was that something that happened after the fact?
PR: It was already in the works by Domiziano to be the first in his Trilogy of Death. He was planning for it to be the first Italian extreme horror saga. The references in the first film Sacrifice are from He Never Dies, the third installment in the Japanese Guinea Pig saga. Stephen Biro noticed us from the start and followed us every step of the way. He found the final result worthy of his American Guinea Pig series, and the rest is history!

HoTS: On a personal note it’s my understanding that you’re quite an accomplished bodybuilder and boxer. How did you get involved in it?
PR: Because I love Rocky and Stallone! He was my inspiration in filmmaking and made me want to act. It was only a natural next step to start fighting for real, too.
Interview: Poison Rouge / Fair use doctrine.
HoTS: I’d like to thank you, Poison, and Domiziano Christopharo again for agreeing to chat with me. You’re both talented artists and lovely people. I look forward to seeing your next film. After this incredible debut, I’m eager to see what you will do next.

Buy American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice at Unearthed Films

Check out the trailer for American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice.

Posted by Candace Stone in FEATURED ARTISTS, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

South Mill District is a short film by Joe Meredith. It’s his directorial debut and runs about 25 minutes. He does everything himself including write, film, produce, FX, act, and direct. Simply put: I loved this film. It was an amazing little shocker with tons of class and art.

In a world ravaged by an alien attack, we follow two post-apocalypse survivors Drennan (Joe Meredith) and Luci (Joe’s wife, the lovely Cidney Meredith). After the alien invasion, the EonCorp started experimenting with the havoc virus and used alien DNA in spiders to create a symbiotic relationship between the infected spiders and humans. The infected spiders consume and distort their human hosts until the regeneration process is complete. The EonCorp keeps the infected human hosts and mutant spiders contained in the South Mill District under quarantine.
South Mill District (2018) / Fair use doctrine.
For a first film and an Independent film, South Mill District is an ambitious project. The premise is a bit convoluted, and the film doesn’t have the luxury of a Hollywood budget, but it has a lot of heart. You can see and feel the amount of love that went into the making of this film. It’s beautifully shot in an excellent location that really captures the desolate post-apocalypse feel. The camera work is top-notch, and I adored the use of colored lighting.

What stands out the most is Joe’s artwork and the incredible creatures in this film. The use of stop motion to bring handmade aliens, spiders, fetuses, and other bizarre paper mâché creatures to life in this is gorgeous. Each creature is uniquely detailed, and you can see the painstaking care that went into each one. The crawly, bloody sound effects also help bring them to life, and the creatures definitely have a “Thing” vibe to them that fans will easily recognize.
South Mill District (2018) / Fair use doctrine.
Some of the highlights of South Mill District include Luci puking up her intestines, a walking brain, and many stop-motion spiders eating their hosts or emerging from the human wreckage.

I was really stoked to learn there is an upcoming sequel called Teratomorph, and I will keep everyone posted as I learn the details and watch out for my upcoming interview with Joe Meredith.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice (2017)

American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice is the debut film by Italian director Poison Rouge and the fourth installment in the series. It was produced by Domiziano Cristopharo (Red Krokodil) and released by Unearthed Films.

You would have trouble discerning that this was Rouge’s first film because it’s artfully shot, well researched and beautifully made. Take a look at the trailer before we continue.

American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice follows a young man named Daniel (Roberto Scorza) who returns to his childhood home where a trauma took place. We are not given the details of the incident that happened, but we can guess by Daniels’s emotional and physical scars that it was tragic and took its toll on his psyche. Daniel’s body is covered with self-harm scars and he hears voices. Throughout the film, he speaks in his mind to the Goddess Ishtar (Flora Giannattasio) of personal sacrifices and an end to the pain.

At the beginning of the film, Daniel goes into the bathroom with a backpack, he lights thre white candles unpacks some tools and goes to town on himself.

This is where the film earns it’s Guinea Pig status; it has all the violence and brutality that you would expect and hope for. He starts by cutting a huge vagina-like gash in his hand, and while he’s licking it, you see flashes of cunnilingus being performed. He moves on to trepanning or boring holes into his skull. I was reminded of Andrey Iskanov’s Nails at this part (I wonder if Rogue is also a fan?) He then violently removes a toenail, and I confess I suffered through this part. Nails and compound fractures get me every time! He moves on to extreme penis mutilation by inserting a screwdriver into his urethra. I commend the FX team on the most realistic looking penis prosthetic ever used in both the mutilation and castration scene. In the end, he finally eviscerates himself in the bathtub and bleeds out. After he recedes under the surface of the bloody water, Ishtar emerges.

On the surface, American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice may just seem like a tight little torture/body horror, but I believe it’s much more than that. I feel that the Goddess Ishtar was well researched and even the casting was done intentionally to line up with her mythos. Scorza has a very androgynous quality to him and ends up transforming into a woman. Ishtar is said to have transformed men into women and is associated with androgynous people and hermaphrodites, and Daniel carves an eight-pointed star — a symbol of Ishtar — into his forehead. Both the flashbacks and his death are in water also associated with Ishtar. I love a film that knows its shit and hides Easter eggs throughout.

For this excellent film and incredible debut 5/5 shocks

Pre-order your copy of American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice at Unearthed Films today!
Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Orozco the Embalmer (2001)

DOC REVIEW: Orozco the Embalmer (2001)

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.Orozco the Embalmer is a frank documentary made by Japanese director Kiyotaka Tsurisaki and following  Columbian embalmer Froilan Orozco.

I, myself, pursued a career as an embalmer; I thought of it as a caregiving job. No matter what level of kindness someone was shown in life, this is a final chance to be shown love and care before your soulless body is placed back into the earth. Every care and effort should be put into preserving the body and its previous occupant’s dignity. This movie isn’t that…

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.If you are a true crime or real gore fan, then you will enjoy this, but if you are looking for answers or peace of mind, you will not. This film is more about extreme poverty and one man’s compassion than it is about embalming or death.

Orozco the Embalmer takes place in one of the poorest parts of Columbia with one of the highest crime rates. Death is commonplace and bodies are found around every corner and down every alley. The dead and murdered are stripped and examined in the street in front of onlookers — including children. Many of them would be left to rot if not for one man: Froilan Orozco.

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.The embalming process in this film isn’t really embalming, at least not as we know it here. It’s more like stuffing using what’s on hand, MacGyver embalming if you will. It’s actually in some ways closer to older methods of taxidermy. Little care is shown to the bodies as they’re handled roughly, gutted, stuffed with plastic bags or dirty rags, and hastily sewn back up. It’s a very different process than you would see in North America where it’s done in a way that’s as non-invasive as possible. A needle is inserted into a major artery, and chemicals are pumped through the veins pushing the blood out. The body doesn’t need to be opened up unless an autopsy is performed. Orozco’s compassion isn’t for the dead but for those they left behind. He performed the procedure for families with little or no money, the families often unable to pay, so they could rest knowing their loved ones received a proper burial.

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.Orozco embalmed more than 50,000 bodies before his death. He died during the making of the film from complications of a hernia caused by lifting too many bodies.

What I liked about Orozco the Embalmer was that it was raw. A look into the third world and the callousness of life. Imagine living in an environment where death is so commonplace that life loses its meaning. The film was beautiful and cathartic in its own dispassionate way.

Be warned that it does deal with real death and violence including woman and children. It’s honest and completely uncensored.

5/5 shocks for this glimpse into death

Posted by Candace Stone in DOCUMENTARIES, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Rampo Noir (2005)

MOVIE REVIEW: Rampo Noir (2005)

Rampo Noir (2005) is a Japanese arthouse, horror film, based on the works Kagami-jigoku (The Hell of Mirrors) (1926), Mushi (Insect) (1929), Imomushi (The Caterpillar) (1929), and Kasei no Unga (The Martian Canals) (1926) by Edogawa Rampo. It’s sort of like a modern-day Kwaidan. Although it does deal with some extreme themes and has horror elements, I wouldn’t classify it as either. It’s a bizarre, slow-moving arthouse through and through. The film is an anthology and features four segments by four different directors.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The first segment is entitled “Mars Canal” by Takeuchi Suguru. This segment has no dialogue and actually almost no audio at all other than one brief period of loud shrieking sound. The entire segment is only about 7 minutes long in total making it the shortest of the four. It’s a lot of violent, silent, nudity. The silence somehow heightens the beauty of the imagery and although it was short, I really enjoyed this one.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The next segment is called ”Mirror Hell” by Akio Jissoji. This one was probably my least favorite out of the four. It combines the stories of a bunch of women attending a tea ceremony school a traditional Japanese mirror maker and a group of detectives. Many of the women in the school fall in love with the mirror maker and they are killed one by one in a bizarre manner. The story is about jealousy, betrayal and becoming our own god. Lots of beautiful imagery and a great idea for a story but it ended up being painfully slow and fell flat for me.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The third segment is called ”Caterpillar” by Hisayu Sato and is probably the most extreme of the three. It’s about a soldier who comes back from war a hero but horribly disfigured. He’s missing his limbs and can really only wiggle and drool. His wife still loves and cares for him calling him her “caterpillar”. It watches like Japanese fetish porn and has some unconventional sex scenes… that’s all I’ll say about that.

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

The final segment is called ”Crawling Bugs” by Atsushi Kaneko was my favorite of the bunch. After the dull lighting of the first three, the color enthusiast in me rejoiced at the vivid pallet in this one. However, while the color and style in this one pop it’s quite boring to watch beyond that. Basically, we follow a fashion model and her relationship with an artist who is obsessed with germs. He ends up killing her and dismembering her corps and turning her into a human corpse doll. It sounds far more interesting than it actually was.

I recommend this to arthouse film buffs and the seekers of the strange/obscure, but if like me you’re seeking out extreme or fast-paced art this won’t be for you.

2.5/5 shocks for this film Rampo Noir

Rampo Noir (2005) / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Lure (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Lure (2015)

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

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

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

Spoilers!!!

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

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

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

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

The Lure (2015)

5/5 glamourous shocks for The Lure

Posted by Candace Stone in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

MOVIE REVIEW: 964 Pinocchio (1991)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Shogun’s Sadism (1976)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/5 historically accurate shocks for this film

Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, REVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

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