Michelle MIDI Sayles

As part of our celebration of Christmas for the House of Tortured Souls I will be examining Cannibal Claus, a piece of seasonal fun that is everything the synopsis says and more! Basically Santa is a little bored this year and needs to get his “Jolly’s” . He’s looking for some fun , murderous escapades and a few “Ho Ho Ho’s” along the way.

Bob Glazier

Firstly I feel a desperate need to say that this Christmas film is DEFINITELY not for the kiddies (or any prudeseither). Instead it is a literal 65 minute descent into sexually fuelled homicidal madness, with that sparkle of the holiday season. It is just the perfect fit for viewing, by any horror fan with a love for pure cheesy goodness. Early on we are introduced to our perverted but insatiable Nick Cringle and his

Krystal Pixie Adams, Bob Glazier, And Stephanie Jensen

escapades. He breaks into homes ,kills people, dismembers and eats them. In one particular scene Cringle (played by Indie horror gem Bob Glazier) proclaims “I think it’s time for some head”, before he then proceeds to face fuck the dismembered head of one particular blonde bimbo! Yes as the body parts begin to fly, viewers can see the amazing prosthetics and gore on screen . And it is such a thrill to watch. Even on it’s meager $1200 budget this blending of gore ,cheesy gags and of course sex sex sex is pure genius. From a drug dealer snorting cocaine off a girls ass, to women in barely anything I honestly didn’t find it at all sexist . Please remember it’s all just in good christmassy fun . Akin to Bruce Willis uttering “Yipee ki Yay motherfucker” in Die Hard, I felt myself lighten up and have a laugh throughout Cannibal Claus. Especially when Cringle said “Ho ho ho motherfucker!” Bob Glazier is a devious delight as our Nick Cringle, and is joined by an ensemble of actors and actresses . These are indie stars who clearly enjoy the Sleaze Box filmmaking world (like the sci fi film makers Asylum casts ). Glazier himself goes all

Mady Giovannelli And Lucia Giovannelli

out (quite literally in one scene) to impress us as the homicidal, people eating, holiday favourite. Glazier has two sexy elves in tow, played saucily by Krystal Pixie Adams and Stephanie Jensen We also meet Nick’s character as a child, played by the adorable Lucio Giovannelli. And even his parents are being played by his actual real life parents Mady Giovannelli and Alberto Giovannelli. All three portray the family very genuinely through a series of shots, involving our murderous Santa’s upbringing. This makes the movie Bad Santa look tame and is definitely going to be a new addition to my beloved laughs during the silly season . This Santa surely is dreaming of a “white christmas” and with the films tagline “You’re only as good as you taste”, I doubt you cannot laugh as hard as I did watching some scenes. Florida based Writer/ Director Sean Donohue is known for his work on films like Death Scort, Death Scort 2, Die Die Delta Pi and various shorts.With Cannibal Claus he creates the perfect addition for the holiday season, to be enjoyed by fans of the independent horror world. This was my introduction to the wild world of Sleaze Box. And I found it to be a combination of repulsion and hilarity ( I kid you not I was wheezing, due to the fact I was laughing so hard!!) and now I must check out more in the future.

 

Hailing from Sydney Australia and injecting a dose of Aussie Flavour to her reviews, Midi began her horror love in Birmingham England at a very young age and is always trying to find the next local or indie horror talent to share with the world.
Examining Sean Donohue’s Cannibal Claus (2016)

Examining Sean Donohue’s Cannibal Claus (2016)

As part of our celebration of Christmas for the House of Tortured Souls I will be examining Cannibal Claus, a piece of seasonal fun that is everything the synopsis says and more! Basically Santa is a little bored this year and needs to get his “Jolly’s” . He’s looking for some fun , murderous escapades and a few “Ho Ho Ho’s” along the way.

Bob Glazier

Firstly I feel a desperate need to say that this Christmas film is DEFINITELY not for the kiddies (or any prudeseither). Instead it is a literal 65 minute descent into sexually fuelled homicidal madness, with that sparkle of the holiday season. It is just the perfect fit for viewing, by any horror fan with a love for pure cheesy goodness. Early on we are introduced to our perverted but insatiable Nick Cringle and his

Krystal Pixie Adams, Bob Glazier, And Stephanie Jensen

escapades. He breaks into homes ,kills people, dismembers and eats them. In one particular scene Cringle (played by Indie horror gem Bob Glazier) proclaims “I think it’s time for some head”, before he then proceeds to face fuck the dismembered head of one particular blonde bimbo! Yes as the body parts begin to fly, viewers can see the amazing prosthetics and gore on screen . And it is such a thrill to watch. Even on it’s meager $1200 budget this blending of gore ,cheesy gags and of course sex sex sex is pure genius. From a drug dealer snorting cocaine off a girls ass, to women in barely anything I honestly didn’t find it at all sexist . Please remember it’s all just in good christmassy fun . Akin to Bruce Willis uttering “Yipee ki Yay motherfucker” in Die Hard, I felt myself lighten up and have a laugh throughout Cannibal Claus. Especially when Cringle said “Ho ho ho motherfucker!” Bob Glazier is a devious delight as our Nick Cringle, and is joined by an ensemble of actors and actresses . These are indie stars who clearly enjoy the Sleaze Box filmmaking world (like the sci fi film makers Asylum casts ). Glazier himself goes all

Mady Giovannelli And Lucia Giovannelli

out (quite literally in one scene) to impress us as the homicidal, people eating, holiday favourite. Glazier has two sexy elves in tow, played saucily by Krystal Pixie Adams and Stephanie Jensen We also meet Nick’s character as a child, played by the adorable Lucio Giovannelli. And even his parents are being played by his actual real life parents Mady Giovannelli and Alberto Giovannelli. All three portray the family very genuinely through a series of shots, involving our murderous Santa’s upbringing. This makes the movie Bad Santa look tame and is definitely going to be a new addition to my beloved laughs during the silly season . This Santa surely is dreaming of a “white christmas” and with the films tagline “You’re only as good as you taste”, I doubt you cannot laugh as hard as I did watching some scenes. Florida based Writer/ Director Sean Donohue is known for his work on films like Death Scort, Death Scort 2, Die Die Delta Pi and various shorts.With Cannibal Claus he creates the perfect addition for the holiday season, to be enjoyed by fans of the independent horror world. This was my introduction to the wild world of Sleaze Box. And I found it to be a combination of repulsion and hilarity ( I kid you not I was wheezing, due to the fact I was laughing so hard!!) and now I must check out more in the future.

 


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Remebering Kristin Marie Kology At Spooky Empire

Remebering Kristin Marie Kology At Spooky Empire

    Stickers available at Spooky Empire

Kristin Marie Kology was a wonderful woman, who’s life was tragically cut short on Wednesday May 30th, 2018.  At 4:13pm that day, Kristin drew her last breath and departed this world. She knew she was loved and adored by all who knew her. She was in the presence

Kristin Marie Kology And William Forsythe

of those nearest and dearest to her.  Finally, she was at peace.  Kristin was a pillar of the horror community. Many knew her devotion to independent filmmakers. She had a passion for promoting independent filmmaking, that would be screening at festivals each year. For some time Kristin was often be seen at conventions and gigs, making new friends, and being the amazingly beautiful soul that everyone gravitated towards. Kristin was diagnosed with stage four Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma in   May,2017. Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma affects only one in a million, and is a rare and aggressive form of cancer. It has very little treatment

Kristin Marie Kology

and affects mainly people under the age of five years old, or between the ages of thirty and forty years old. The survival rate for most with Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma extremely low, with a very dismal survival rate being for approximately five years. When diagnosed Kristin had a 16cm tumor on her adrenal gland, as well as a 6cm tumor on her liver and small nodules on her lungs. Despite the gruelling treatments she faced, Kristin was always in good spirits. She was a devoted friend and always available to those who loved her Violence And even a traumatic

brain injury. None of this however dimmed her drive to always help

Kristin Marie Kology with her Mother Susan Milam and stepfather George Milam

others. Kristin even became an advocate against domestic violence, offering support to any others who survived it. This weekend Kristin’s life will be celebrated and people will be given an opportunity to help fund research for Adrenal Cancer.  At SPOOKY EMPIRE in Orlando,Florida, this weekend Susan Milam (Kristin’s mother) and others, will be there to celebrate Kristin’s life. They will have their own stall, to raise much needed funds to help research more medical solutions to help sufferers diagnosed with Adrenal Cancer.  The stall will include donated items for sale, from  Kristin’s friends and those she even herself helped. It will include movie posters and dvds provided by a film producer, artworks from a Seattle artist, and specially designed bat stickers (pictured) in memory of Kristin and her fight.  If you are there from this weekend from October 26th until 28th, please drop in and

Kristin Marie Kology And William Forsythe

support this worthy cause and an amazing woman who was such an inspiration in our horror community. If you cannot make the event you can also donate in two ways.  Either online via :For Donations. Please click here  Or by sending donations to (address them to Michigan Medicine- in memory of Kristin Marie Kology).  

Michigan Medicine Office Of Development,

1000 Oak  Suite 100,

Ann Arbor,

MICHIGAN,

48104.

 

 

 

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Exploring “The Empty House”

Exploring “The Empty House”

 

 
The Empty House is a 2018 short film, which runs for approximately 14 minutes.
Released by writer/Director/producer duo Jeremy Waltman and Adam Lucas, this short film explores a dark thriller theme within its limited duration.
 
Waltman and Lucas have produced several short films together. This includes 2015’s 71 minute Comedy film It Plays Like Love, and 2013’s 77minute Dramatic film Locomotive.
Both films are available on Amazon and through Vimeo on Demand.
 
The Empty House has officially been selected to screen its premiere, during the MORBIDO FILM FEST in Mexico City, Mexico.
The festival runs from Wednesday October 31st until Saturday November 10th.
This short film stars Joseph Culp (known for his roles in 1994’s Fantastic Four as Dr Doom, and a reoccurring role as Archie Whitman on TVs Mad Men)as Charles. Rya Kihlstedt (who has appeared on TV in Heroes Reborn  and Dexter) appears as Marie. Alison Gregory (a fresh faced actress who’s previously appeared in Two Guys) is Julie. And Tom Walker (From Netflix’s Daredevil and Henry Danger)is Alexander.
The premise is simple.
In the town of Blairsville sits the empty house. Julie has just arrived for a big money job before her baby is born. However all is not right with the couple who have called her there.
At first we see a man (Culp as Charles) sitting upright on a bed. He is seemingly anguished, as a melodic violin pierces the silence.
We see the houses simplistic facade and the film’s title. It feels foreboding and ominous.
A woman (Gregory as Julie)is being driven elsewhere, by a chauffeur, towards the house by another man (Walker as Alexander).
Julie is clearly distracted.
We see her talking to Charles and then see flashes of memories, of her taking a pregnancy test earlier on.
As the film slowly rolls we discover that Julie has been called to the empty house. Charles and his lush of a wife Marie, wish for her to redecorate their home for them.
Charles is abrupt, cold, unsympathetic and shadows Julie in their scenes.
Culp delivers a powerful performance of a sinister and darkened soul, with a motive that is unnerving.
As Julie meets Marie unexpected, we get the feeling that Marie (Kihlstedt) isn’t at all happy with what’s to come. Or even her husband himself.
Kihlstedt gives one hell of a staggeringly impressive take on the seemingly drunken and disheartened wife. We feel like she is constricted, by her own choices.
Gregory plays Julie as fragile.
She’s not weak, but in some scenes clearly rattled.
We see Julie’s confidence dwindle, as the short plays out and her demise is harrowing.
This shows Gregory’s ability to bring her natural performance to the forefront, amongst so much well placed chaos.
Walker plays the Chauffeur Alexander.
Alexander is clearly a nervous and unwilling participant in the ploy of Charles and Marie. Yet he follows through delivering Julie unsuspectingly to them and fails to aid her later on. He isn’t cold like his bosses though. At moments we see tinges of regret and disgust. This creates a more human outlook, on Alexander’s own part in the whole thing.
As the short evolves our main players are depicting a tangled and depraved story of murderous mayhem. It is very intriguing.
The narrative is well considered, and is a clear demonstration of the talent between Waltman and Lucas as a team.
It is clear to see why The Empty House has been officially selected, for the MORBIDO FILM FESTIVAL. Waltman and Lucas have created some interesting characters, who each bring a different perspective on a dark situation for the viewer to enjoy.
I am sure festival goers will enjoy this short, as much as I did.
The trailer for The Empty House
https://vimeo.com/246686353

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MIDI’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2018

MIDI’S COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN 2018

Each year I Countdown to Halloween and explore 31 Horror films that examine a variety of sub genres. I combine films both new and old. I explore the mainstream and indie. And I select from purely the good, bad and ugly (yes there are some truly awful films available to fans for laughs).

This year  I will be explaining each film for the House of Tortured Souls as I countdown to Halloween. Be warned that some of the small pieces on each film, are based on a sub genre and may in fact provide a spoiler or two.
OCTOBER 1
First sub genre I had set myself is to find a film with a Child Vampire. I chose  30 Days of Night  which has a scene involving a young girl vampire, in a pack that has over run the town of Barrow, Alaska.  Obvious other choices were Interview With A Vampire and Near Dark.
OCTOBER 2
On day two I was exploring films with people who could be considered Freaks so this time I selected The Abominable Dr Phibes
starring Vincent Price, as a mutant mourning his beloved.
Although Freaks by Tod Browning is my fave film in this vein, Phibes was the first horror film I saw when I was 3. It will forever be imbedded in my memory.
OCTOBER 3
Taking it to another level on day three, I wanted to find a film involving the strangest or most unique Horror Parents . This led me to select  It’s Alive (movie)for obvious reasons . Let’s face it , that kid had a face only a mother could love! A mutated baby literally is born and goes on the run leaving a wake of murderous terror. Not only is this film awesome fun, it also spawned 2 sequels and a remake!!
OCTOBER 4
I investigated the infamous adoration for films with that ultimate Twist Ending, selecting the Summer Camp Classic Sleepaway Camp
This of course was one of many options but discovering what is “wrong with Angela” is always great. Other possibilities are films like The Perfect Getaway (in which the twist is revealed midway through the film, yet doesn’t ruin the pace). Also included could be The Sixth Sense, And Switchblade Romance (aka Haute Tension).
OCTOBER 5

For my selective viewing for an impressive Indie horror film was Phil Stevens Flowers.The film is silent. It has such

Hereditary

strong visual imagery and features the demise of a group of beautiful women (the flowers themselves). Stevens is currently in production on Flowers 2.

OCTOBER 6
Was the sub genre of crime as told through the True Story narrative, I chose the film Dear Mr. Gacy. This film is inspired by the Jason Moss’ book The Last Victim. Moss discusses a relationship he created with the serial killer as he studied him in college. It is also sad to know that Moss was so affected, by the stranglehold Gacy ended up having on his life.  His psyche was fractured and in 2006 Moss committed suicide. I highly recommend the book as well as this film. It proves the power of those with such depraved impulses as Gacy.
OCTOBER 7
I was was trying to avoid the usually popular picks for the sub genre of Sea Creatures. I wanted to avoid The Deep, Jaws and Orca. Instead I landed on the highly memorable and classic Universal icon the Creature from the Black Lagoon
OCTOBER 8
A simple sub genre in which of course A LOT of possibilities popped up, to view limbs replaced with weapons. For me this is a film I enjoy, in its true GrindHouse style. It has a strong female lead, that pulled me in. With the teaming of Tarantino and Rodriguez , I had to go with the machine gun leg of Rose McGowan in Planet Terror
OCTOBER 9

The selection as a huge foreign film fan was tricky, and I had to find one Asian Horror film. In the past I have enjoyed the likes of Ringu, JuOn, Phone, The Red Shoes, One Missed Call and Shutter. However I felt a revisit to the

Train To Busan

surprise runaway Zombie hit  Train To Busan was a good idea- and having only seen it once upon release, I wanted to see if it still was as enjoyable (which it is).

OCTOBER 10
This day was Lloyd Kaufman’s empire known affectionately as Troma films, I had to try and find one that I loved to watch as my choice from their stock. This was easy as I love the campy cheesy quality of a good Troma film , from Poultrygeist to Tromeo and Juliet. I decided on One of Troma’s most lucrative franchises with the lovable film  The Toxic Avenger
OCTOBER 11
I realised some franchises have MORE than their fair share. From Nightmare on Elm St (9 films), Friday the 13th (12 films) , or even Halloween ( 11 films) many sequels were imaginable, but for me my taste was drawn to the Children of the Corn Franchise (which has 10 films with the release of Runaway in recent months). Out of those sequels (and a remake) I chose Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return, because it is the first film after the original to reintroduce Isaac – one of the horror film worlds most messed up child preachers in history.
OCTOBER 12
For European horror my mind raced straight to  Mörderische Ferien (aka Flashback:A Murderous Vacation), a quirky German teen horror film, that featured campy gags, a psycho on the loose, bumbling cops and some fun kills. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a diamond in the rough and I liken it’s cheekiness to the original Scream film by Wes Craven.
OCTOBER 13
I was tasked with finding a horror movie starring Robert England, but It had to be anything but his role as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. With options like 2001 Maniacs and Urban Legends available I recalled The Mangler and viewed that. A film based on a short story from Stephen Kings  collection, that has since inspired two sequels.
OCTOBER 14
Horror Creatures dominated the day, so I thought long and hard about all sorts and settled on  Zombeavers. A simple comical romp with manic beavers at a lake side cabin, and a group of foolish college kids.
OCTOBER 15

Pinnochios Revenge

I decided on a film for my ghostly theme, with a classic spooky story featuring George.C.Scott called The Changeling .

This was my favourite pick for the ghastly ghost genre and although I enjoy films like the original version of The Haunting, Rose Red an others with various paranormal entities, The Changeling is an atmospheric joy to rewatch.
OCTOBER 16
An obvious choice for day 16’s infamous horror hotel themed entry , was to go with the mother loving Norman Bates insanity of Alfred Hitchcock’s PsychoPsycho epitomizes the horror hotel themes, with the “mother” of all memorable moments, but I will give shout outs to other possibilities such as Horror Hotel, Motel Hell, And Room 1408 ( which has actually been picked for another sub genre day in this challenge).
OCTOBER 17
Re examining the Psychotic Hitchhiker sub genre for day 17, I decided against the classic Hitchhiker films or even The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and went with a modern Ozploitation thriller called Gone (aka Middle of Nowhere). The film starred Scott Mechlowicz , Amelia Warner and Shaun Evans and followed an American and two British tourists backpacking in Australia with deadly consequences.
OCTOBER 18
The 18th choice calls for me to watch  a 2017 Film and I thought this was a perfect chance for me to re explore one that had a dismal run cinematically upon its release. I found it to be an entertaining and seemingly good film, but The Dark Tower  was a far cry from the nature of the original source material developed over many books by Stephen King.
OCTOBER 19
My 19th watch is a film released in 2018, so I thought I would take this opportunity to return to Hereditary. Originally when I saw this film it was such a slow build intro I lost interest and was unable to finish it so I hope as I do so I will complete it today.
OCTOBER 20
I will turn to Horror with a number in the title. With many options open to me I looked at 2001 Maniacs, Germany’s 666: In Bed With The Devil And found Stephen Kings Room 1408. An interesting and twisted story of a hotel room from Hell, this is a great little film with a strong cast.
OCTOBER 21
I needed  a film with a strong female killer. I will be avoiding  Switchblade Romance, Mothers Day, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Fatal Attraction. Instead I feel that Guillermo Del Toros psychotic sister in his film Crimson Peak was a great choice – and I am a huge fan of this film and it’s themes throughout.
OCTOBER 22
The 22nd for me is the most fun sub genre and one of the lesser appreciated, Disney Horror! Yes these films actually were made , exist and are awesome fun to horror fans. You can go for the slightly thrilling or the fun and goofy kids fodder. I went with the latter . My favourite Disney Horror is actually Something Wicked This Way Comes, that starred  freakishly awesome Johnathan Pryce in the role as Mr Dark. However I wanted a calmer, shorter film for my viewing and went with Richard Masur (best known as Adult Stanley Uris in the 1990 IT miniseries) in the film Mr Boogedy. It also has a sequel ,as they were hugely popular films during my childhood.
OCTOBER 23
Joyfully I found my 23rd film choice at this years Sydney Film Festival, when I attended a screening for the Supernatural New Zealand film The Changeover. With a young fresh cast and some more familiar faces (Timothy Spall and Melanie Lynskey), it is a strange and yet engaging story of a girl coming into her powers and using them to save her family from an evil force.
OCTOBER 24
I attended the premiere screening of my 24th film in Sydney at MonsterFests Travelling Sideshow. And it was such a powerfully musical film I had to use it for Best Soundtrack. The Strangers 2: Prey At Night didn’t have to try too hard to impress, with the delightful antics of our insane trio on screen being played out to 80s hits with gusto!
OCTOBER 25
On the 25th I will avoid the predictability of Dolls, Chucky, Annabelle , Puppetmaster or Demonic Toys for the Doll/toy Horror film. Instead I am returning to view an oldie that I have enjoyed before, called The Pinocchio Syndrome (aka Pinnochios Revenge). It’s about an evil Pinocchio puppet that once you cut his strings becomes a killer.
OCTOBER 26
My usual pick for the Worst Horror film for day 26 is abysmal
Dracula 3000 ,and if you have seen it you’d understand. This year I thought I would go with one, that I often refer to as the BEST film for drinking games. It is called Grim Weekend (aka S.I.C.K). Grim Weekend and follows a hopeless bunch, who venture off on a mini break and are beseeched by a psychotic clown. Sounds fun right? Sadly this film has a score that is cheesy, effects that are lame and a cast so utterly annoying it is only good for games. Have the shots ready and let’s play.
OCTOBER 27
On the 27th I will inspect the aspect of Horror Tv Episodes with We All Scream for Ice Cream (Masters of Horror episode). It is an impresssive part of a large collection done by talented directors. This anthology series has some intriguing storyline’s and very colourful characters.
OCTOBER 28
For the 28th I needed to focus on choosing a film that had Great Poster Art. I couldn’t ignore the awesome screaming, burning human on the cover of David Croenenbergs 1981 supernatural horror film Scanners. Any artistic eye can see the beauty in that image, as much as any other.
OCTOBER 29
My least enjoyed sub genre is the Found Footage one. So on the 29th having to pick one from the few I enjoy was taxing. Being able to sift through some good ones I like, such as Afflicted and Cannibal Holocaust, I remembered the immensely impressive  The Poughkeepsie Tapes.
OCTOBER 30
Being the youngest of three children obviously for horror siblings, my immediate thought was my brothers (just kidding and yes they know I love them dearly). No instead I selected the classic black and white film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starring feuding actresses (and on screen sisters) Bette Davis And Joan Crawford.
OCTOBER 31
To round out my viewing pleasure this month, I will end on a more jovial note with a horror musical. I put aside my usual fun choices of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, Repo: A Genetic Opera or even Little Shop Of Horrors. Instead I opted for 2014’s Stage Fright.
I always encourage others to explore a variety of films when embarking on creating a watchlist. Watch as much of the things you don’t get to. Watch new films. Watch old films. Watch films from various parts of the world. And always include the good,the bad and the ugly.
And have a Happy Halloween!
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in Categories, EDITORIALS, HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
RETRO REVIEW: Slugs (1988)

RETRO REVIEW: Slugs (1988)

Enter the nightmare-fueled world of the 1988 Spanish American film Slugs (aka La Muerte Viscosa), directed by Juan Piquer Simón.

Wrong Mike Brady in Slugs (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

No. Not THAT Mike Brady.

Slugs is a film about people who are dying mysteriously and gruesomely, and nobody has a clue what the cause is. Only health worker Mike Brady has a possible solution, but his theory of killer slugs is laughed at by the authorities. Only when the body count begins to rise and a slug expert from England begins snooping around, does it begin to look like Mike had the right idea all along!

First things first! I was left calling out ‘Poor Mike’ at my screen as no one wanted to believe him, despite the mountain of evidence.

We are introduced to a simple small town and a series of disastrous deaths – let’s just say in one particular scene the householder is demonstrating an ‘explosive’ personality. We meet our large slimy villains who bite.

Slugs (1988) / Fair use doctrine.It was after the first death I wondered why no one considered throwing salt on that slug bastard and just being done with it?? Yet these SAVAGE beasts (yes I am using savage jokingly, as the slugs are not at all menacing) avoid an easy eradication. An ingested slug provides some tense “will he or won’t he” moments and some hilarious results, including a dissolving face (which authorities claim is some form of food poisoning – Hmmmm guess we better not eat there again??). It is probably one of the highlights of the film in a combination of “WOW” and “EEEWWW” .

There is no shortness of scantily clad people, sexually charged moments, or comedic love scenes, but they are often halted by the slugs. In fact, the whole film is a hilarious romp of insane proportions and has some of the daftest, most dated dialogue.

Slugs (1988) / Fair use doctrine.Don Palmer is Mike’s only hope for spreading the word on this plague of slugs. This is a much better choice than our ‘English expert’.

The acting in this film is just so awful to watch, but the hilarity of the deaths and the storyline itself kept me watching. I won’t bother naming the actors as that really won’t entice you into wanting to watch it, but I will say it is fun enough.

I will also add however one star really did shine. The most talented member of the cast that displayed the most talent was of course …..the slugs!!!! So, well done, our slimy friends the slugs!

This film will ultimately leave you feeling SLUGGISH (sorry I had to get one bad pun in there) but is actually a really fun watch, despite the cheese factor.

A must-see for any fan of horror, at least once.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, NATURE STRIKES BACK, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BOOK REVIEW: Chris Sun’s ED (2016)

BOOK REVIEW: Chris Sun’s ED (2016)

Exploring the novel ED
by Chris Sun

Chris Sun is known for his work in Australia as one of the leading local filmmakers. His films reach as many fans in the independent horror circuit worldwide, as those of the likes of popular Australian filmmaker Greg McLeanChris has created various independent films and is known for his hit Charlie’s Farm (2014), Daddy’s Little Girl(2015), and the upcoming November 23rd release at Melbourne’s Monster Fest, front-runner BOAR (2017). ED marks Chris’ debut novel and is available for purchase directly from Slaughter FX, along with Chris’ films.
Charlie's Farm (2014) / Fair use doctrine.Daddy's Little Girl (2012) / Fair use doctrine.Boar (2017) / Fair use doctrine.

This is my first review of a horror novel, but once I finally began to read Chris Sun’s ED, I was immediately immersed in the seedy strip club, creative body horror, and sexualized world of Sun’s forward-talking serial killer lead.

In ED, we meet Larry Penklesten, a cocky, self-assured, and handsome car salesman with an incredibly dark and secret world of his own. When Larry isn’t out getting quite literally fucked (or fucking someone) royal, he’s trolling for his next victim. That is because Larry thinks the ghost of the Butcher of Plainfield himself, Ed Gein, visits him and mentors him through his murderous blood lust. Larry has (as described feverishly) a really big cock, that is able to magically pleasure any woman willing to ride it!

The language and atmosphere Sun carves out in those sexual scenes, are enough to make a girl’s thighs sweat with desire. Each sexual encounter is written so vividly that every thrust and gasp of orgasmic pleasure is palpable. The scene between Larry and Evie in a strip club bathroom is imprinted in my mind days after finishing the novel (pages 245-249 for anyone interested). Larry is also great at his job, which creates a desirability within his work place with both males and females on varied levels.

Ed (2016) / Fair use doctrine.We know that Larry loves the ladies, but ultimately Larry loves to fuck and kill so much more. His differing styles and attitudes toward each victim he mutilates made me recoil in both shock and awe. Throughout the novel, Larry kills a series of prostitutes and strippers, or people looking for gay or even group sex in online forums. He selects his victims carefully either online or in person at strip clubs, bars or on the street, and he likes to murder and dismember his victims.

Sun’s careful use of language creates a vivid picture of Larry’s playful rearranging of the bodies as he intriguingly turns humans into various items of furniture. The descriptive prose and first-person narrative Sun employs — through Larry’s eyes — helped me to feel in tune with Larry’s behavior. The reader is immersed in the scene and assaulted by the sights, smells, and visuals of the world that Sun creates, and we are lost within it all.

The reader feels each knife stab, each stitch threaded, each bone crunch; in a dramatic flair, many horror readers are accustomed to when reading books by the largely published writers.

I loved how Sun investigated Larry’s mental instability through his urges.

The scenes with his victims’ ghosts all verbally abusing him in his car was another of the more memorable for me (very An American Werewolf in London) and his interactions with Ed’s ‘ghost’ are just at times hilarious.

The novel’s climax is told through two stories. I will try not go into too much detail to avoid spoiling the read for anyone who purchases ED. as all HoTAs fans know, I am not a fan of spoilers.

Ed (2016) / Fair use doctrine.The first story twists theperspective we have followed all along, switching the core narrative in a strange fashion and varying the events we have witnessed unfolding thus far. This is a technique I have seen before, and although somewhat confusing at first, it became an interesting moment in the book.

The second follows on from the twisted core narrative and draws us back into the original concepts, making us feel Larry’s harrowing anxiety and panic as a wave of confusion floods him. It takes a moment to find itself again, but once it plants its feet firmly in the ground, we are left with many questions regarding a possibility of a continuation to ED.

The open-ended finale was a great turn of events, and I happily await a possible second book…..or will ED become the next written version of an icon like Jason Voorhees, Hannibal Lector, or Victor Crowley? Or even Chris Sun’s next cinematic adventure?

If you enjoy a very Norman Bates-meets-Patrick Bateman style of story, I think ED is a must have for your bookshelf.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
An Introduction to Sam Hel and the World Of Cat 4 Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview: Sam Hel

Mercedes as Emily

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
What’s HoTs in Mainstream Horror?

What’s HoTs in Mainstream Horror?

This year has seen many exciting releases cinematically and on DVD / Bluray for horror fans, from the thrilling John Krasinski film A Quiet Place to the latest addition to the Children of the Corn franchise Runaway.

As usual, the genre is so varied and in the coming months, 2018 is set to provide us with even more variety to enjoy on both the big and small screen.

Here’s a sample of what’s to come.

Coming to Cinemas

Mainstream Horror: Slender Man (2018)Cinematically we begin with the release of the long-awaited film Slender Man, On August 24th. Based on the 2011 myth created as part of a competition, the film supposedly investigates that and the resulting case where two 12-year-old girls attempted to murder their friend in the woods, claiming it was because of Slender Man in 2014.
Mainstream Horror: The Little Stranger (2018)The next release will be The Little Stranger, which will hit cinemas on August 31st. Starring Domhall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, and Charlotte Rampling, this release focuses on a ghost story and is being described as a stylistic thriller set in a big British country house.
Mainstream Horror: The Predator (2018)Many fans will be excited on September 14th, when The Predator is finally released. This newest installment of the franchise is co-written and directed by Shane Black (who actually played Hawkins in the original Predator film back in 1987) and will feature the Predator within suburbia.
Mainstream Horror: Mandy (2018)On September 14th the film Mandy will hit the big screen. Panos Cosmatos directs this film set in 1983 in the wilderness. The film stars Nic Cage and focuses on a supernatural revenge drama, sinister cultists, and demons on motorbikes.
Mainstream Horror: The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)The House With A Clock In Its Walls will arrive on September 21st. It is about a 10-year-old boy who awakens the dead, a sleepy town becomes filled with all kinds of interesting and dark creatures. This is Directed by Eli Roth and stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, and Kyle McLachlan.
Mainstream Horror: Halloween (2018)October wouldn’t be perfect without the release of the long-awaited return of John Carpenter with his beloved Halloween on October 17th. Following the original release (as a direct sequel), we will pick up 40 years later, with Laurie yet again having a face-off with Michael.
Mainstream Horror: Suspiria (2018)On November 2nd we will see the controversial release, of the long-awaited American remake of Dario Argento’s classic film Suspiria. The film focuses on the darkness that envelopes a dance troupe, focusing on an ambitious young dancer and a grieving psychotherapist. Will fans embrace this remake? Only time will tell.

Coming to DVD and Blu-ray
As for the big DVD and Blu-ray releases coming in the remainder of the year, most will help fans revisit some of the biggest releases of this year so far.

Mainstream Horror: Boar (2017)On August 15th, Australian filmmaker Chris Sun’s Boar is released on DVD and Blu-ray and on demand. For preorders, you can head to Sun’s website for Slaughter FX and secure a copy early. The film is centered on a large boar terrorizing a family and members of a small outback community. It stars Bill Moseley, Nathan Jones, and John Jarratt.
Mainstream Horror: Cargo (2017)On September 5th Cargo will be released.  Cargo features Martin Freeman in this story about the aftermath of a pandemic and one desperate infected father’s struggle to find his infant child and protect her, even from him.
Mainstream Horror: Hereditary (2018)Two weeks later on September 19th, fans will be able to get their own copy of the film Hereditary in stores. It stars Toni Collette in a chilling film about a mother dealing with grief while trying to understand her daughter’s strange behavior. With a mixed reaction at the box office, will fans flock to buy their copy?
Mainstream Horror: Mary Shelley (2017)And finally, on November 14th, we will get the Mary Shelley DVD and Blu-ray release. Starring Elle Fanning, this is a retelling of the story of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley that did quite well at the screenings it had in April and May at various film festivals.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
What’s Hot on the Indie and Straight to DVD/VOD Scene?

What’s Hot on the Indie and Straight to DVD/VOD Scene?

Here’s a quick look at what’s hot in the Indie horror and more lesser known horror scene in the coming months, as it is set to erupt with DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD releases for fans.

American Guinea Pig: The Song of Solomon (2018)On August 7th we have already seen the releases of films like the dramatic horror film MARROWBONE with Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), a Bluray release of Dante Tomescelli’s 1999 film DESECRATION, the dramatic fantasy thriller WILDING (starring Liv Tyler), FLORA a thrilling sci-fi film about the discovery of a deadly bacteria, Canada’s own occultist gem PYEWACKET (starring The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden), a film called DEADSHACK (starring Lauren Holly), and the creepy looking GEHENNA: WHERE DEATH LIVES (featuring both Doug Jones and Lance Henriksen). Finally, yesterday we got the long-anticipated new piece of Stephen Biro’s series of horror films – AMERICAN GUINEA PIG: THE SONG OF SOLOMON – starring the likes of horror alumni such as Jessica Cameron and Jim Van Bebber.

HERE’S A LIST OF WHATS TO COME BY THE NEW YEAR:

AUGUST 14th

What Still Remains (2018) / Fair use doctrine.WHAT STILL REMAINS ― This dramatic thriller stars Mimi Rogers and Colin O’Donoghue as two people who face a world struck with an epidemic that has ravaged their lives and those they love.

AUGUST 17th

Summer of 84 (2018) / Fair use doctrine.POOL PARTY MASSACRE ― a comedic horror romp about a slasher loose in a swimming complex slicing up socialites.

AUGUST 24th

Summer of 84 (2018) / Fair use doctrine.SUMMER OF 84 ― the story of a teenager who begins to suspect his neighbor (a local cop) is a serial killer. He enlists the help of his pals and the game becomes all the more deadly.

AUGUST 28th

Upgrade (2018) / Fair use doctrine.UPGRADE ― a new sci-fi revenge thriller offering from Horror writer /director Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious, Dead Silence), and starring Logan Marshall-Green.

AUGUST 31st

Boarding School (2018) / Fair use doctrine.BOARDING SCHOOL ― a horror film set in a boarding school revolving around a strange boy and the mysterious headmaster and his wife.
Blood Fest (2018) / Fair use doctrine.BLOOD FEST ― a horror comedy about a diabolical rock show where attendees start dying and featuring Tate Donovan and Zachary Levi.

SEPTEMBER 28th

Hell Fest (2018) / Fair use doctrine.HELL FEST ― a horror-themed amusement park becomes a serial killer’s joyous hunting grounds one night, featuring iconic horror actor Tony Todd.

OCTOBER 9th

Welcome to Hell (2017) / Fair use doctrine.WELCOME TO HELL ― an anthology horror film about a terrifying coven of tales featuring Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Bill Oberst Jr (the amazing Papa Corn from Circus of the Dead).

OCTOBER 23rd

Trauma (2017) / Fair use doctrine.TRAUMALucio A. Rojas writes and directs this action horror film about four Chilean friends who are attacked brutally by a father and son duo. The foursome decides to confront their attackers, only to discover their attackers are part of the darkest period in Chilean history.

OCTOBER 26th

Overlord (2018) / Fair use doctrine.OVERLORD ― rumored to be a possible piece of the Cloverfield film saga, this movie focuses on two American soldiers on D-Day behind enemy lines. With some impressive looking gore, it’s set to have fans of horror interested. Stars Iain De Caestecker (In Fear), Pilou Asbaek (Ghost in the Shell), and Wyatt Russell (Black Mirror).

OCTOBER 31st

American Antichrist (2018) / Fair use doctrine.AMERICAN ANTICHRIST ― the 5th film from Filmmaker Dakota Ray (aka Dakota Bailey) will Feature a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by deviants and plans to take the viewer on a surreal, nihilistic voyage of death, drugs, immorality, and religion.

NOVEMBER 13th

Stirring (2018) / Fair use doctrine.STIRRING ― (aka MRS. CLAUS ― ). – 10 years after a murder/suicide in a sorority, the younger sister of the girl who was murdered joins the same sorority and during a Christmas party, someone begins killing the party goers. This movie pays homage to the 80s style slasher and gives a plot twist or a few. Be sure to read the HoTS official review of Stirring.

DECEMBER 8th

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) / Fair use doctrine.ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE ― a comedy horror musical (yes, kiddies, MUSICAL) about a zombie attack on the sleepy town of Little Haven — at Christmas!

HONORABLE MENTION

Klagger (2010) / Fair use doctrine.KLAGGER ― (a feature-length film based on the 2010 short) is directed by Casey Crow and Casey’s brother and producing partner, Gene Crow. The KLAGGER feature will expand the story of Joseph Klagger’s death in 1977 and how his malevolent spirit terrorizes a small demolition crew employed to raze the factory he died in 36 years earlier. Coming to cinemas.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
The OCCUPATION Is Coming from Luke Sparke

The OCCUPATION Is Coming from Luke Sparke

Occupation (2018) The Conquest BeginsI was fortunate to get a chance to meet up with Australian filmmaker Luke Sparke at the Supanova Convention in Sydney on June 16, 2018, and afterward, attend his special Q & A session to discuss the worldwide release of his latest film Occupation.

Also in attendance was some of Sparke’s amazing Australian and New Zealand cast including Dan Ewing, Rhiannon Fish, Stephanie Jacobsen, Izzy Stevens, Zachary Garred, Felix Williamson, Trystan Go, Charles Terrier, and Ben Chisholm.

Ewing and Chisholm have both appeared previously in Sparke’s debut feature film Red Billabong back in 2016 (the first film premiere I attended), which was the story of two brothers and an ancient battle with a mythological Australian being.

Sparke has revealed that a prequel to Red Billabong is in fact in the works and will feature other indigenous creatures, such as the Yowie. The story will be set during the roaring 1920s near Uluru in the Northern Territory (Australia) – infamously known for the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain in 1980 (aka “A dingo ate my baby” case). This prequel is still in the development stage but very much in production, and Sparke himself says, “There was so much I can do in that world of the Bunyip, that I didn’t get to explore in Red Billabong. I’m excited for what we can expand on.”

Occupation (2018) alien at Supernova ConventionSparke’s newest film is due out in the USA on July 20, 2018 and in Australia on July 12, 2018). Surprisingly, a sequel to Occupation was already announced on May 31, 2018, with details yet to be made clear (to avoid spoilers on the first film). The second script has been in the works since November of 2017.

During the Q & A, attendees were treated to a 90-second clip from Occupation that featured a bit of intriguing story-line elements, stunning visual effects, and some impressive creations for our alien antagonists.

Next came a behind the scenes video diary look at some of the footage, and Temuera Morrison began to speak about the film and the plot, saying, “You stop for a pie somewhere and all hell breaks loose.” He praises the diversity of the cast that Sparke has assembled before we meet Rhiannon Fish, who praises Temuera Morrison’s amazing guidance of the younger cast and explains how the rain machines cause a mild form of PTSD. Charles Mesure interjects to discuss the concepts of aliens invading a small Australian country town followed by Jacqueline McKenzie’s praise of Sparke’s ingenuity employing the $6 million budget to maximum impact and creating such amazing visual effects. Dan Ewing appears on-screen and says, “Luke has made such a human piece. The best part is when you get to blow stuff up.” Finally, we are treated to an array of fantastic looking stills, and he joins the cast in attendance on stage.

  • Luke Sparke: It is a fantastic Australian-made thrill ride with dark and light themes, a fun action adventure that Aussie films are lacking at the moment. The inspiration was that I was the child of the 1980s and in LA pitching films, and I came up with this based on loving sci-fi and six months later we were filming. Dan found out at Hog’s Breath Cafe.
  • Dan Ewing: Yes, we were at lunch when Luke told me about it and the richness of the characters. It was exciting.
  • Stephanie Jacobsen: I was in LA and said to my agent that I wanted to go back to Australia and do a sci-fi film, and strangely two weeks later got offered script, read it, leapt at it, and signed on.
  • Zachary Garred: I was sent an email, and it was, of course, ambitious and exciting, so it was an easy yes.
  • Rhiannon Fish: I was just so excited and wanted to sign on immediately!
  • Trystan Go: I was happy to work in the family law and for this, I assumed I would be able to shoot aliens.
  • Charles Terrier: Luke actually played a joke on me and said, “Ahhhh you didn’t get it just move on”. Then [he] said “Nah, I’m fucking with you”, and laughed.
  • Ben Chisholm: I said yes and wanted it to become a country and western. And to fight aliens.

The next question posed was regarding the Australian setting because we have all seen the USA being attacked and fighting back.

  • Luke: Yeah, it’s been done. So we turned it on our own shores, and we get to see those people we all know and they all band together and fight back, which is what the Aussie spirit is all about!
  • Charles: It was cool learning the military histories and all from that background and hanging out with ex-servicemen and learning from them.
  • Dan: It was a surprise for me how rich and how deep the characters were…. how cool they are and how much you care about these characters.
  • Trystan: It was so visceral that you can’t help [but] amazingly get involved in the story.
  • Luke: The fact [that] this is opening in USA cinemas is a testament that the cast and crew were amazing.
  • Rhiannon: Well, going from The 100 and then returning to do Aussie sci-fi was fun. I do love the world of sci-fi because anything is possible, but the difference is that Australia is home and it is wonderful to get to come back and work on an incredible film here.
Occupation (2018) panel at Supernova Convention

L-R: Stephanie Jacobsen, Dan Ewing, Izzy Stevens, Rhiannon Fish, Trystan Go, and Writer/Director Luke Sparke.

The cast was then asked how they relate personally to their characters.

  • Stephanie: For me, she kind of assumes the big sister role and is very protective, as I am. That’s how I related to her.
  • Dan: I think it is okay for people to not be okay. Men are so often ruled by their egos. At times I was sharing my pains, depressions, or my demons as my character, and we see him develop and grow as a man.
  • Izzy: I gained independence at an early age, and I related to that in Isabella, and I did think I was like that and knew a lot and protected my family.
  • Rhiannon: I felt like it was far less of a stretch, and she was just easy to relate to.
  • Trystan: He is a teenager, and I am in high school. (laughs)
  • Zachary: Well…homeless Dennis has stayed on a few couches and backpacked a little, ’cause he’s shifty and a survivalist. And that’s what I try to do and find that gold inside it.
  • Ben: I am an asshole, and he’s an asshole. Nah, I loved his loyalty and how it puts him in opposition with other characters.
  • Felix: Major Davis is a kick-ass soldier and we have absolutely nothing in common, but I did enjoy the adventure of pretending to be him and enjoyed it.

Destroying the opera house is becoming a regular thing, and not too many real invasion stories, but Australia seems to be ripe and worried about big invasions. How did you think you could bring a new twist to the film within the genre?

  • Luke: What I wanted to bring was —for the big fans of films like Red Dawn, like me — I wanted to bring something more to this film. The working together, fighting aliens, those ten people who wouldn’t have had anything to do with one another anyway. A real sense of reality, the past and bringing that to the story. Not trying to save the world, but the sense of reality and character and to see where it goes from there.
Occupation (2018) panel at Supernova Convention

L-R: Felix Williamson, Ben Chisholm, Charles Terrier, Zachary Garred, Stephanie Jacobsen, and Dan Ewing.

Did you find yourself looking for other influences, like hanging with military guys, specifically Australian military? What assistance did you get?

  • Luke: I went to the military, and the ADF (Australian Defence Force) didn’t wanna be involved. So I got ex-military involved instead.
  • Dan: Matt was more originally that Captain America type of leader, but his injury led him into a depression and made it so that the aliens were the least of Matt’s problems.
  • Zachary: Dennis was originally a tattooist, and Luke couldn’t find a parlor grungy enough for his character, so Luke dropped the character and I spoke to Luke and ran with our concept of Dennis from there.

The logo is the second commandos insignia. How did you get permission to use it, and what Australian laws allowed the film’s use of firearms?

  • Luke: Yes, it is. Of course, [for] the logo… we went to the lawyers and spoke with the army brand manager. We told them what we were going to be doing with it, changed it enough to look somewhat different, and they were fine. As for the weapons, Armour in Queensland helped us, and we used best from Sydney. We used proper licenses to shoot at a quarry and it became very loud. The next day was a huge thing on Facebook because we made too much noise, much more than expected.

Are there any drop bears in Occupation?

  • Luke: Actually the AFL team in the film is called the drop bears.

Finally, how did you decide to base it in more of a country town than in the cities like Balmain or Cronulla?

  • Luke: International people think of country or the bush with Australia, and you do see Sydney throughout the film. Small town Australia is very personifying and that small town country feel and the budget as well….but the big things have small beginnings.
Occupation (2018) panel at Supernova Convention

L-R: Ben Chisholm, Charles, Zachary, Stephanie Jacobsen, Dan Ewing, Izzy Stevens, Rhiannon Fish, Trystan Go, and Writer/Director Luke Sparke

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, SCI-FI HORROR, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
DREW BARRYMORE: From Child Star to Cannibalistic Leading Lady

DREW BARRYMORE: From Child Star to Cannibalistic Leading Lady

Drew Barrymore with General from Cat's EyeDrew Barrymore has spent her life in front of the camera in a variety of roles but is especially known with genre fans in recent times for her portrayal of Sheila Hammond in two series the Netflix show The Santa Clarita Diet.

Barrymore’s first role was uncredited in a made for television movie Suddenly, Love in 1978 (when she was merely two years old and played a baby boy named Bobby).

Drew BarrymoreIt wouldn’t be until two more years late, in 1980, that Drew would play Margaret Jessup in Altered States, which was also the debut film for William Hurt. Altered States reflected a disturbingly surreal element of humanity and was more psychological than horrifying.

A year later Barrymore hit the big time, starring as the adorably lovable Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s E.T -The Extra-Terrestrial. E.T. was a huge success and grossed nearly half a billion dollars at the box office and was the highest-grossing film of 1982, cementing Barrymore as quite an in-demand child star.

Drew Barrymore in FirestarterIn 1984 Barrymore scored the coveted role of Charlene “Charlie” McGee in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Firestarter, playing the film’s pyrokinetic lead. Starring alongside industry heavyweights George. C. Scott and Martin Sheen, Barrymore dominated her screen time and delivered a powerful performance of a young girl driven by her love for her father.

A year later Barrymore would star in yet another Stephen King adaptation, in the anthology film Cat’s Eye. King reportedly wrote the screenplay with Barrymore in mind for the role as she had impressed producer Dino De Laurentiis with her work a year earlier on Firestarter.

Drew BarrymoreThrough the rest of the 80s, Barrymore played parts in shows such as Amazing Stories, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, and CBS Schoolbreak Special. It wasn’t until 1989 when Barrymore was 14 that she returned to genre films with the serial killer thriller Far From Home, as Joleen  Cox. The film was a flop, despite the fact it featured some horror alumni such as Richard Massur (IT), Jennifer Tilly (Bride Of Chucky), and Matt Frewer (The Stand).

This seemed like a decline in Barrymore’s career until three years later when she would star in the seductive 1992 Katt Shea thriller Poison Ivy. As Ivy, Barrymore befriends Sylvie Cooper (played by Sarah Gilbert) and seduces Sylvie’s father Darryl (Tom Skerritt). Barrymore delivered a sultry and fragile performance as the film titles vixen and regained her hold on Hollywood, yet again being seen as a talented actress.

Drew BarrymoreFollowing the success of Poison Ivy (which would spawn three sequels since), Barrymore appeared in Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Sketch Artist, Guncrazy, and No Place To Hide in 1992.

In 1993 Doppelganger was released. Barrymore played Holly Gooding, a young woman with a strange double. It wasn’t as successful as hoped, but has since become popular with fans.

Later that year Barrymore would play Long Island teenager Amy Fisher, in The Amy Fisher Story – based on the true story of a teenager who shot her adult lover Joey Buttafuoco’s wife. The film was well received at the time, and Barrymore praised for her portrayal of the wayward teen and the crime that shocked the world.

For the following years, Barrymore took more romantic roles and in 1995 even appeared as Sugar in Batman Forever, one of the villain Two-Face’s (played by Tommy Lee Jones) girlfriends.

However in 1996 came a pivotal moment in Barrymore’s career, taking on a role as a victim called Casey Becker rather than the lead she was originally offered. In Wes Craven’s/David Williamson’s Scream, Barrymore’s role became as infamous as Janet Leigh’s in Hitchcock’s Psycho 36 years earlier and has since been part of one of Horror’s most memorable on-screen deaths for over two decades since.

Drew Barrymore in ScreamFrom Scream, Barrymore took more light-hearted roles – for which her fans adore her- in films such as The Wedding Singer, Ever After, and Home Fries.

It was in 1999 that Barrymore launched her production company Flower Films and their first film Never Been Kissed (which reunited her with former Doppelganger co-star Sean Whalen – known as Roach from The People Under the Stairs – and Scream co-star David Arquette) was released.

Drew BarrymoreIn 2001 she returned to the genre in Donnie Darko as Karen Pomeroy. The sci-fi/thriller film still has fans divided to this day over the interpretation of what it means.

Following commercial success with the Charlie’s Angels film reboots and a dramatic role in Driving in Cars With Boys, Barrymore has built her career for the last decade primarily in producing films and starring in romantic and dramatic roles.

Drew BarrymoreIn 2017 Netflix released the first series of The Santa Clarita Diet. The show is a horror comedy, about the strange death of Sheila Hammond. However Sheila isn’t quite dead, she’s undead and has a hankering for human flesh. It is up to her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant), daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and their young neighbor Eric (Skyler Gisondo) to help figure out how Sheila became what she now is and try and change her back to normal.

The show has run for two seasons already and confirmation for series three has been announced. Fans are enjoying the dark humor and balance between the comedy itself and grotesque gore. It has been an enjoyable and hilarious show to watch and personally a great reintroduction to genre fans for Barrymore’s skills as a comedienne and her abilities within the genre.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Smoking Hot with … Bong of The Living Dead (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Smoking Hot with … Bong of The Living Dead (2017)

Yes, you read that correctly, this review will be about the recent release of a film titled Bong of the Living Dead, a new breed of Zombie film that has so much beautiful sentiment it actually surprised me!

Again, this is an actual moderately action-packed stoner film involving a group of potheads and their antics during an untimely zombie outbreak.

Of course, when you hear the title, you will prejudge based on your views on the prior Evil Bong films. This is not affiliated with those films in any way, shape, or form.

Ted (2012)

Ted (2012) – No, not that bong.

Bong of the Living Dead features a group of twenty-something adults who have known each other since they were kids.

As kids, our hazy leader Christ Moser (played by Eric Boso, previously seen in short films) establishes himself as a self-proclaimed zombie aficionado. He spends a lot of his days mulling over how he would react to a zombie apocalypse, usually while smoking his bong.

Also in the friends’ group is Kate Mitchell (Tiffany Arnold, who appears in Lilith with Jessica Cameron). Kate is a doctor now with much less regard for Christ’s discussions and thinking more logically about the possibility of an attack of the undead.

Joining this duo is Daniel Alan Kiely as Hal Rockwood, Laura. E. Mock as Tara Callahan, Dan Nye as Jon Lance, and Cat Taylor as Danielle Dewitt.

Each adds some genuinely funny moments to this oddly conceived film and balance the humor with their genuine care and compassion for each other.

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, and Laura E. Mock in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, and Laura E. Mock in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

Obviously, there are nods to films notable within the zombie sub-genre and Night of the Living Dead is discussed in one of their Zombie talks. as well as Land of the Dead in relation to guns within the Zombie film world.

When the actual news breaks on TV about the onslaught of Zombies, naturally some are excited and others more reserved within the group.

That said, the original onslaught is quite less than anticipated and notably disheartened, they instead all return inside to…you guessed it…get high!

Hours pass and the news reports worsen to the point that one newscaster reports, “You’re fucked, Columbus!” Even worse, a politician begins a campaign (Councilman Ted Swanson) with the cheesiest slogan, “Don’t be a problem, zom-bee the solution”.  All of this prompts our collective ensemble to again get high, and we are treated to a montage of zombie preparations before they attempt to venture outside. A few of the neighbors are devoured by the increasing horde and things begin to take a zombie-like twist for the worst.

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, Laura E. Mock, and Cat Taylor in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, Laura E. Mock, and Cat Taylor in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

This is where they take a downward spiral. Zombies overtake, some are hurt, even killed. The usual plot aspects of a zombie film. However through a series of horrific moments, and even the news guy shooting himself, our gang begin to recall their fond memories with one another. Tied in with such an amazingly emotional score, it pulls oddly at your heartstrings – not something I anticipated – and creates an almost beautiful climax.

I think people will prejudge Bong of the Living Dead, but in those moments it showed real heart and actually became so much more than a stoner zombie viewing.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HORROR NEWS: Chase Dudley’s Beasts of The Field

HORROR NEWS: Chase Dudley’s Beasts of The Field

Beasts of the Field is the latest collaborative effort from filmmaker Chase Dudleyand, his frequent writer,Brett Slabchuck and is currently in pre production. The movie Beasts of the Field is set for a 2019 release and has already cast its seven principal cast members.
Actors already cast in their roles included are:
Robert Mukes is Bigby in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Robert Allen Mukes as Bigsby. Mukes comes from such genre films as House of 1000 Corpses, Westworld, Slumber Party Slaughter, and Backwoods.
Bishop Stevens will star as James. Stevens is a former WCW/WWE wrestler who has starred in the films Mom and Dad and Family Blood.
Bishop Stephens is James in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Berna Roberts is Clarissa in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Berna Roberts features in the cast as Clarissa. Roberts has previously been seen in films like Ugly Sweater Party, Slaw, Puppet, and Tower Of Blood.
Emmanuel Carter plays Lester. Carter has been seen before in the movies Twice Born, and Power Rangers :Zenith.
Emmanuel Carter is Lester in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Tony Beckham is Horty in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Tory L. Beckham Stars as Horty. Beckham has previously appeared in two of Dudley’s films Marvelous Mandy and Payday as well as the recently released film Mom and Dad.
Savannah Schafer is Reid. Schafer has been seen previously in roles In movies such as Hell Night, Hell Night: Devils Pass, and Night of 1000 Clowns.
Savannah Schafer is Reid in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Ashley Nune is Kyra in Chase Dudley's Beasts of the Field (2019)
Lastly is popular indie actress Ashley Mary Nunes as Kyra. Nunes had been seen in films like All Through The House, Death Ward 13, Scary Larry, and the upcoming Safe Place.
The story of Beasts of the Field is simple. The film will be a dramatic horror thriller revolving around a delusional cryptozoologist and a psychopathic television presenter who lead an amateur expedition into the Wild forests in hopes of finding the legendary Thunderbird, which they believe is the ancestor of a prehistoric Pteranodon.
Steve-O Shephard will preview the special effects having previously worked on effects for Dudley’s film Payday.
And cinematographer and film editor Eddie Brown Jr has joined the team (having previously worked on films like Payday, Marvellous Mandy, Camera Phone, and Camera Phone 2).
Beasts of the Field will commence principal shooting in the near future.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
About Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday

About Stephen Nemeth’s Black Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Nemeth's Black Friday (2018)

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in HORROR NEWS, PRESS RELEASES, 0 comments
Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

Savage Australia – Three Films of Ozploitation Importance

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

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

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

Long Weekend (1978)

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

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

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

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

Dark Age (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

Savage Australia - Dark Age (1987)

Fortress (1985)

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

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

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

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

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Evolution of a Filmmaker: Studying the Films of Dakota Bailey

The Evolution of a Filmmaker: Studying the Films of Dakota Bailey

Dakota BaileyDakota Bailey is a Denver-based filmmaker with a growing following of loyal fans eager to view his films, that reflect on ultra-realistic exploitation involving both a subculture of crime and horror.

In January, Bailey released his fourth independent film The Rise And Fall of An American Scumbag. The film was intended as a continuation of an earlier film of his called American Scumbags and production on the film took approximately six months.

Bailey started his career creating short films, that reflect a Denver subculture of drug-induced mayhem.

Each short included some interesting musical scores, Bailey’s signature mixture of characters, and a bird’s eye view of a gritty town on the brink of destruction.

Alaskan Cinder in Dakota Bailey's The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag (2017)He began his career with the creation of his first short film American Scumbags: A Day In The Life of A Drug Dealer in 2015. This was followed by four more shorts within the  year – Satan’s Coming For You, My Master Satan, I Spread Hate Like Herpes and Nights Of Depravity.  In 2016, Bailey released the anthology horror film My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence. He followed up later in the year with his unforgettable and popular film American Scumbags. In 2017, fans were treated to the impressive The Acid Sorcerer.  It was following that when Bailey began work on his latest film.

Titled The Rise And Fall of An American Scumbag, the film features several entwining stories that revolve around several intriguing and shady characters. This includes Johnny (Dakota Bailey) an unstable, drug-addicted hitman, Billy (Darien Fawkes) a sadistic sociopath with a scheme to murder his father for his life insurance policy, and wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran vigilante Wheeling Deals (L.B.). The film documents each character’s rise and eventual self-destruction and takes the viewer on a dark and twisted journey full of drugs and death.

Marla Rose in Dakota Bailey's The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag (2017)With this new film, Bailey twists the narrative a little and makes for a compelling and inviting storyline that tangles with depravity, yet has some heart. I really felt Billy resonated well on screen and his angst versus his moral code is explored so wonderfully that Darien Fawkes‘ abilities shine on-screen even more so than they did previously in American Scumbags.

Mish-mashed within the amazing imagery of graffiti art, a town in decline, and religious symbolism, the film seeps into your subconscious and draws you in through a sea of heavy music. Again, Bailey uses the focus of drug-fueled insanity to create the film’s ambiance. The desperation, depravity, and daily grinding lifestyle of each character is clear and precise. From Billy’s need to break free of his dangerous monotonous life and start fresh elsewhere, Johnny’s insatiable lust for his next hit, and even Wheelin’ Deals desires to set the world straight in some skewered act of morality, The Rise And Fall Of An American Scumbag has many layers to its developed and well-conceived plot.

We explore Bailey’s familiar concepts of drugs, anxiety, violence, and desperation. However, The Rise And Fall of An American Scumbag will leave you stunned by its original and shocking sentiments. Each story connects with the other, much like films such as Go (1999), 200 Cigarettes (1999), and The Rules of Attraction (2002), creating an impressive end result that is equally strong and cleverly depicted.

This film is a testament to Bailey’s ability to grow as a filmmaker and master storyteller. Allowing his characters to evolve from scripted storylines to a more narrative style of the fly on the wall personas, he involves us on a newer level and engages with his audience wonderfully.

Secure your own copy of The Rise And Fall Of An American Scumbag.
Dakota Bailey in The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag (2017)

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 2 comments
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF  MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

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

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

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

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

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

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

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

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

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EVENT REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

In a couple of days, the MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow will hit Sydney Australia, beginning the Australian run of early year premieres and film screenings with Q & A sessions.

This year’s screening list varies from new to old, funny to horrifying and even local to foreign horror.

The MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow is held at the Event Cinemas, 505- 525 George Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The screenings will occur over three days beginning in the evening on Friday, the 9th of March, and finishing with the final screening at 9:30 pm on Sunday, the 11th of March.

The screening list is as follows:

FRIDAY, 9 MARCH 2018

7:00 pm — The Strangers Prey At Night

MonsterFest - The Strangers: Prey at NightThis is the Australian premiere of the American film The Strangers Prey At Night and it will screen hours before the official international release of the film. Before the film screens, patrons will also get the chance to view the Australian horror comedy short Alfred J Hemlock.

930 pm — Pyewacket

MonsterFest - PyewacketThis is the Sydney Premiere of the Canadian horror thriller occult independent film Pyewacket , featuring former The Walking Dead star Laurie Holden.

SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2018

2:30 pm — The Monster Squad

MonsterFest - The Monster SquadThis will be a screening event of the classic 1987 family-friendly action horror comedy film The Monster Squad.

4:30 pm — Night of The Living Dead (4K Restoration)

MonsterFest - Night of the Living DeadThis is the World Premiere of this 1968 George.A.Romero zombie classic since it has had a 4K restoration and will be crisply screened for MONSTERFEST patrons.

7:00 pm — Living Space

MONSTERFEST proudly presents not only the World premiere of the Australian independent horror film Living Space but also MONSTERFEST will be hosting a Q & A session at the event with writer/director Steven Spiel, producer Natalie Forward, Cinematographer Branco Grabovac and stars Emma Leonard, Georgia Chara, and Leigh Scully.

9:30 pm — Rabbit

Vendetta films presents the Sydney Premiere of Rabbit, an independent Australian horror film and will be including a Q & A session with writer/ director Luke Shanahan and producer David Ngo.

SUNDAY, 11 MARCH 2018

2:15 pm –Tarnation

MonsterFest - TarnationAnother Australian film’s Sydney Premiere, Tarnation, is presented by Monster Pictures and features a crossbow-wielding paraplegic, possessed cultists, penis bugs, a demonic unicorn, and a zombie kangaroo. This screening will also be shown with a short 7-minute film called Tightly Ground which will also be making its Sydney debut.

4:30 pm — Housewife

This fresh slice of Turkish horror called Housewife is set to get Australian horror friends talking with it joining the MONSTERFEST line up for its Sydney premiere.

7:00 pm — Cold Hell

Also stepping onto the line up will be the Sydney premiere of the German horror film Cold Hell.

9:15 pm — ???????Mystery Screening???????

This screening is a mystery to all who attend and will not be announced until just before the film hits the screen at its Sydney premiere. All patrons know is that it is an Australian creature feature and will have an amazing bevy of local talent within it.

Speculation is that it will be Chris Sun’s Boar finally making its way to Sydney (only having screened once at its world premiere in Melbourne at MONSTERFEST’s Opening Night Gala in November). Fans are very hopeful…and so am I!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
Women In Horror Month Special Meet Innuendo’s Own Saara Lamberg

Women In Horror Month Special Meet Innuendo’s Own Saara Lamberg

WiHM: Saara LambergSaara Lamberg is a fresh face in the film scene, but her imprint is growing each day throughout the world.

Known for acting in, directing, writing and producing her own short films including Waiting For Eva, Finding No, Instant Photo and Half , Lamberg’s foray into the feature length film world has been strong.

In 2017 Lamberg released her first feature Innuendo-The Bad Twin.

Innuendo is a quirky thriller about two sisters, Tuuli and Saavi, who were raised in a somewhat oppressive and heavily religious home. When one branches out into the real world and leaves Finland for Australia, her life strays drastically from the path of her controlled childhood. In just a short time, she learns first hand about love, murder, and who is actually bad.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

Innuendo is told by switching between two time periods, the girls’ childhood under a religious rule and the carefree life, free from that.

Lamberg creates an atmosphere of both confusion and awe for her viewers towards her characters.

WiHM: Saara Lamberg

In Thomas (played sweetly by Andy Hazel) we see a kind young man who feels let down and ignored by Tuuli. In Ben (portrayed amazingly and manly, yet with such a soft kindness by Brendan Bacon) we see Tuuli’s behavior flitter from good and bad and honestly feel he can help her find herself. In Linda (Karina Sorelli) and Lucky (Andrew Jans-Brown) we see a comfortable, natural love story unfold, that is sadly twisted up in Tuuli’s dark world.

The younger version of Tuuli and Suvi was played by Saga Tegelberg. She takes on the dual roles with ease and portrays both the sweet and innocent twin, as well as the rougher and unsettled one.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

 Eeva Putra and Juha-Pekka Mikkola play Tuuli and Suvi’s mother and father and on screen display the unease they feel of raising their second daughter extremely well.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

Most amazingly of all is the fact that Lamberg not only wrote, directed and produced this film, but she is also its lead actor.

Lamberg plays the dual roles of the adult versions of Tuuli and Suvi. She plays the awkward and unique women so well and I was in awe of her performance, as she delved into the quirky, innocent, and yet evil world of a woman learning to live.

There is no doubts in my mind that Lamberg’s future within the film industry is very bright and the success of Innuendo is further proof of that.WiHM: Saara Lamberg

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

With a career as long as your arm and a keen investment in varied genres, Katt Shea has been a popular female actress and filmmaker to film fans for nearly forty years.

Her first acting job on screen was as Rita in the TV movie The Asphalt Cowboy in 1980, and from then on, she acted in films like My Tutor, Scarface, Preppies, and Psycho III.

Stripped to Kill (1987) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1987, Shea then stepped behind the camera and became the writer (alongside Andy Reuben) and director on her first film Stripped To Kill (which got a sequel two years later with Stripped To Kill 2: Live Girls). Stripped To Kill was a dramatic crime horror focused on the investigation of the death of a girl in a strip club and one detective’s need to go undercover as a stripper to solve the crime. It has an oddly beautiful mix of stripping and crime solving for the fans of 80s films.

She continued her directing career with another film about the world of strippers with the vampiric romp, Dance of the Damned and Streets (a film about runaways in Venice being hunted by a psychotic cop).

Dance of the Damned (1989) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1992, Shea would become an even bigger name worldwide, with the release of her popular sexual thriller Poison Ivy. The film starred Hollywood child darling Drew Barrymore (now nearly a young woman) alongside the likes of Tom Skerritt, Sara Gilbert, and Cheryl Ladd. The film focused on a sexually alluring femme fatale, her friendship with another confused young woman, and the lengths she will go to to have anything she desired.

Poison Ivy was so popular with audiences, it spawned three sequels with heavy female influences on either the script or direction each time.

Following the success of Poison Ivy, Shea’s next project was co-writing and directing the low budget Roger Corman produced made-for-television film Last Exit To Earth. This was a film, amidst their formidable friendship and filmmaking career and Corman has even stated in the past when interviewed regarding Shea:

She is a talented director. She’s particularly good with actors, having been an actress herself. She’s taught herself about the camera and has gotten better with each picture.

Streets (1990) Written and directed by Katt SheaThree years later, however, horror fans were treated to the fun and meaningful film Carrie 2: The Rage.

Shea directed this enjoyable teen follow up to De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie. The film even starred Amy Irving, who returned as Sue Snell for the second time and introduced the impressive Emily Bergl in her first film role.

Though Carrie 2: The Rage received mixed reviews, personally (as a fan of adaptations of King’s books) I can appreciate this film more than the 2002 remake with Angela Bettis.

Since beginning her career, Shea has always impressed others with her kindness and care. This has led to her career as an acting coach and has made a lucrative career as such by helping prepare new as well as established actors for roles within the industry. She has continued to sometimes make and act in films over the years and never regrets a moment of it.

The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) / Kate Shea as the Deputy DA

I like every single film I’ve ever made , I really do. Other people call them exploitation films, but to me what I was doing was never exploitative. I always had a strong point of view about my intention; it was never just to make money or to titillate or to horrify. I always had my purpose and I made those movies myself. I can’t imagine sitting around and trying to piece together elements that I think other people want to see. That would be so boring!
—Katt Shea

Katt Shea

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments