MOVIE REVIEWS

We want to hear your thoughts!

Bandit Motion Pictures : The Bad Man

Bandit Motion Pictures : The Bad Man

The Bad Man, the newest release  from the creative mind of Scott schirmer and all the crew at bandit motion pictures have done it again with what is probably their darkest film yet. Scott Schirmer (writer /director/producer Plank Face, Harvest Lake , Found) brings you the story of a clown and a young couple.

The Bad Man stars Ellie Church (Plank Face, Frankenstein Created Bikers, Headless, Harvest Lake, Space Babes from Outer Space) as Mary, Jason Crowe (Space Babes from Outer Space, Harvest Lake) as P.J. and Arthur Cullipher as Lawernce the Clown.

The basis of the story is Mary and PJ are visiting a B&B that Mary’s recently deceased grandmother owned. While their Lawernce shows up claiming to have a previous reservation for the night. Reluctantly the couple agree and let Lawernce stay, …after all, its only for one night.

Mary awakens the next morning alone only to find Lawernce, who is now in clown makeup, carrying a unconscience , gagged and bound PJ around the house. Mary is quickly over powered after threatening to kill the clown by Clowns gimp, a slender man in black jeans, black boots and a gas mask.

The movie moves along with our young couple being drugged, raped, humiliated and tortured all while Clown is breaking their will and turning them each into his own creatures. Mary he now has dressed as a baby doll in white dress , with Betty Boop style make up and PJ is now his dog, on all fours, with a choker collar that the gimp has taken to in a not so friendly manner.

Now im not going to give away any spoilers on the ending, but the story moves on only to find out that this breaking of the will is a part of an entire sub culture where people own humans that are totally submissive,  broken spirited pets/slaves.

There is a nice cameo by Alyss Winkler as Mantis and Ellie Church does a great job as does Crowe, but Arthur Cullipher’s performance hands down made this film. Cullipher’s performance was simply brilliant and at times will give you chills. He is everything that clown fearing folk fear. From happy go lucky , laughing and giggling to as a circus clown does, to the sleaziest and most violent , all while in clown make up.

The Bad Man is a solid film but kind of a slow burn at times…but it always keeps you. A power that Scott Schirmer seems to have is to be able to never give away to much at once, but always keep his audience captive.

So did I like The Bad Man, YES!  The Bad Man a solid film that takes you down a very dark road!

 

Keep It Evil


Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
Trailer Review: DIS the new movie from Unearthed Films coming this January-House of tortured Souls

Trailer Review: DIS the new movie from Unearthed Films coming this January-House of tortured Souls

When it comes to surprises Unearthed Films is no stranger to them. It was revealed this week that the film DIS (2017) will be released in Jan. The trailer which I saw blew me out of the water. The film has a feel of part indie art film to graphic twisted nightmare. The plot follows: an ex-soldier with a criminal past takes refuge in the woods. A demonic figure seeks the seed of killers and the blood of the damned to feed his mandrake garden. DIS is an infernal descent into the root of the mandrake legend and a man who wanders too close to that legend and the unnamable terror behind it. What you sow you will reap. The movie gives us interesting details but no real spoilers. Which is great because it’s best to walk in with no real idea of what to expect. I’m sure there will be gore, brutality, insanity with a story. The film stars Bill Orbest Jr. Who you might recognize from Circus of the Dead (2014) Death Camp (2018) and even Criminal Minds (2014) who is no stranger to horror. So, after the holidays are over the turkey has been devoured and the Christmas presents have been opened. Sit back and enjoy this film as we venture into the new year with a new film that will for sur be talked about for a while!

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, 0 comments
Domestic Hell local movie that shows real horrors

Domestic Hell local movie that shows real horrors

I’ve reviewed numerous films all over the U.S. so I was really happy to finally review a local film shot here in my back yard. I recently got to watch the film Domestic Hell (2018) by Colin Bressler. I would see advertisements of the film having it’s premiere in my city. I reached out to them and introduced myself and explain who I am. I was lucky enough to view the film before screening and take in what the cast and crew was able to pull off. So let’s break it down. The plot is: A couple in a open marriage kidnap a girl being held against her will. The Husband has become abusive towards his wife and hostage, We then find out that the husband has created a blood lust towards innocent women. Making the decision for the wife to stay or just work things out and the friend trying to locate her missing friend. The film doesn’t have any major stars but the cast does have potential for acting where at times felt too real in certain scenarios almost as if they were giving an emotional testimony of their pain. Given the film may not an over the top gore you may know me to review, but I couldn’t help but check out the film. I have to say there is that feel of The Last house on the left (1972) in reference to the husband and to where his captive wife who has developed somewhat of a Stockholm syndrome for her husband even though during the film she can’t help but feel bad and worried for her own life as she’s also a victim. The director set out to make a horror movie where it’s the horrors of real life about Domestic abuse. I have to give the Director credit for turning out a captivating story where we felt compassion, fear and sorrow for these characters where as even though it may not be a big budget film  they give it their all for this which I’m glad to see since this is a horrific scenario. Including a satisfying ending that wraps up the story very well. The film Domestic Hell is a terrifying ordeal, but a joy for the movie goers who are looking to see new talent bring something to the big screen. If given the opportunity watch the film or if you’re in the San Antonio area stop by for the premiere part of the proceeds at the door will be donated to the Domestic Violence Shelters which I think is a great reason to see this movie. The link for the viewing can be found here.

Posted by Jai Alexis in EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Malvolia’s Annual Halloween Party 2018! – House Of Tortured Souls

Malvolia’s Annual Halloween Party 2018! – House Of Tortured Souls

She’s backkkk! The Queen of Screams has returned for what seems to be another Halloween party and everyone is invited. 

Los Angeles, CA October 25, 2018: Malvolia: the Queen of Screams has released footage from her
annual Halloween Party. A fear driven evening that consists of a game, a challenge, and a terrorizing evening.
Four unexpected party goers find themselves “waking up” in the abandoned Kirkbride Asylum only to be greeted
with a death and the Queen herself. After “greeting” and explaining to the guests why they are there, they are
brought onto a journey throughout the Asylum by Malvolia’s trusted bartender/demonic butler, Victor, only to then
face a challenge of sorts. With a cast of characters Malvolia has in her Lair, you are bound to see some familiar
killers throughout the episode.
True horror fans may relate the episode to their favorite cult classics with new victim’s names being “Sydney”, (or
Sidney from Scream), “Nancy” and “Glen” (Nightmare on Elm Street) “Jack” (The Shining), and “Adam” (SAW).
Also, with Malvolia stating that she “wants to play a game” and also asking at the end “What’s your favorite
scary movie?”
Written by the series creator, Jennifer Nangle, directed and edited by one of the series’ producer’s, Richard Trejo,
and shot by Paul Stephen Edwards, this film will see all forms of gore, terror, darkness, and mysticism.
Fun Fact: Nangle grew up down the road from Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, MA (Session 9) which was
designed by Boston architect Nathanial Jeremiah Bradlee who based the layout off the “Kirkbride Plan”. Hence
calling the party location: “Kirkbride Asylum”.
The film was produced by Jennifer Nangle, Charles Chudabala, Hunter Johnson, Richard Trejo, and Paul
Stephen Edwards. Practical SFX was done by Chronix EFX.
Cast: Jennifer Nangle as Malvolia (10/31), Garrett Lee as Victor (It’s Lurking), and Charles Chudabala as Charles
(Crossbreed) lead the cast which also features many of the indie horror scenes rising and veteran talents, including: Brialynn Massie as Bria (Vengeance), Hunter Johnson as Hunter (2Jennifer), Raymond Vinsik Williams as Jack (From Jennifer), Amanda Cano as Nancy (That Night), Danielle Inks as Sydney (Infernal), Cyrus Soliman as Adam (Safe), Adam Schaudenecker as Glen (Lilith), with Thomas Haley as the Movie Exec (The Crossing).

All true horror fans will be enticed by the Saw like vibe with quirky humor and one liners,and did I mention the gore and blood? Oh the BLOOD!!

Being a horror fan, this caught my attention with the creative eye catching similarities to my favorite cult classic films. Jenn was kind enough to let us have a sneak peak and I wasn’t disappointed! Jenn and her amazing team delivered and I can’t wait to see what they will work on next!

Audience Link below ⬇️⬇️:

Link to the trailer:

 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Housewife

Housewife

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, THRILLER, 0 comments
Bounded by Evil is the newest supernatural movie coming soon

Bounded by Evil is the newest supernatural movie coming soon

When it comes to watching Indie horror movies it’s rare I get to see a supernatural film I was fortunate to watch the film BOUNDED BY EVIL (2018) written and directed by Eli Gray. The film is about “A seasoned writer working on his next novel while simultaneously facing a demonic force that’s lurking over his family.” I have to say the movie grabbed my attention with the lighting or set designs with its calm before the storm feel. The film feels like a lucid dream through where you as the audience member feel as if this is happening to you. Through out the film we see and hear pieces of a radio broadcast which plays a part for lead actor and producer JP DeStefano who plays the writer tormented by someone or something. Even though the film consists of others who are affected by the spirit we slowly begin to see him go insane from what’s going on. Now the main point is that yes it may take time to build up, but this is a lot of movies with character development which we find in the end what’s really going on. I won’t spoil the ending but say the film does have some interesting FX where we wonder if it was practical or computer generated. The movie doesn’t rely on over the top gore or anything to sell the film, but it does keep you entertained as there are several times you may jump including the ending which made wonder if they were going to do this, but ended up doing something else. I would say the best time to watch this film would be late at night like I did where I sat thinking, so how do I go to bed now? You can watch the trailer below

 

Posted by Jai Alexis in COMING SOON, HALLOWEEN, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Blessed are the children is a modern day story with an old school feel.

Blessed are the children is a modern day story with an old school feel.

Chris Moore has delivered a movie that uses today’s social commentary with an 80’s feel for a horror movie I saw “Blessed are the children” (2016) The film is about Traci Patterson (KALEY BALL) who decides to get an abortion after finding out she’s pregnant. After wards she seems to be haunted by someone or a group of people for her choice along with her friends Mandy Crane played (Keni Bounds) and Erin Peters (Arian Thigpen). From looking at the cover one would think this is a super natural film. Quite the contrary this is an old school slasher movie. While watching the movie I couldn’t help but feel, wow this is a good indie drama which for the first part plays out as it slowly builds up to the horror aspect that Chris quickly reminds you after all. When I talked to him about his film he stated “I like to ground my horror in a little reality” Chris has a deep-rooted passion for horror as you see the film with the opening credits which pays homage to the 80’s as well as the film itself which has a feel of old school slasher films. The killer has one intention punish the wicked for their sins. While watching the film there is one thing that caught me off where the film takes a turn. An interesting turn which I won’t spoil but kept me intrigued on how they were going to go forward and not be a typical Hollywood film of protagonist vs antagonist. At first the film has minimal gore to finally delivering more and more. I’m glad to see because with the film on such a shoe string budget Chris found a way to tell a great story with some clever fx, great acting as well where you enjoy the characters and see them as real friend’s vs actors pretending to be friends. The film does a great job of not really showcasing the killer’s face even at the end when you think we may see the person and find out more when we just know the basics, but then again should we really know more? Chris uses the simple formula of telling a great story. Cutting to the chase (no pun intended) without wasting the audience’s time. The movie comes out Tuesday to own or rent. Which if you are wanting to know where. Here is a link for the film

Posted by Jai Alexis in FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, 0 comments
Extremity is the haunted attraction movie we need

Extremity is the haunted attraction movie we need

I recently did a trailer review for the movie Extremity. My anticipation and excitement grew for the film however there was that small bit of worry looming in the background thinking please don’t suck and please don’t end up being a run of the mill horror movie that fails on delivery. How wrong I was. Let’s breakdown how Extremity might be the horror movie you weren’t expecting with a subject that has been told before.

Extremity follows Dana Christina as she is still grieving over the tragic suicide of her sister. After countless sessions of therapy she still hasn’t gotten over anything and is still back to square one. With the newest haunt extreme attraction known as Perdition she ultimately signs over any freedom she has over to this attraction. The film takes place out in the middle of nowhere during winter and is being recorded by a Japanese film crew The people who go by Skulls, work for the attraction free range to do whatever, the movie relies on the participants fear what scares them including a list of things they don’t like or want to see which pretty much gives them an open door to do just that.

The film goes back and forth from present day to the past of Alison as each room unlocks a further piece of her troubled life whether it’s visits to her Therapist, arguments with her girlfriend to even going as far back as dealing with issues of her physical/sexual abusive Father. What I like about this film is that is not only uncovers the layers of the main character’s personal hell we also see the folds unwrap for the characters all around her. Such as the owner played by Chad E. Rook who’s dealing with financial burden and the custody of his child to even the Japanese reporter who is covering the whole show where she is only being used for her body by the camera  guy. It gives you a sense on just exactly what troubles not only the main character has but everyone else around thus creating tension for everyone which makes dispensing fear tactics a lot of more useful since they’re releasing their anger out on the participants. As stated what I love about this film is that it does a great job with character development where we actually worry for the character since there’s no time limit and there’s no safe words to stop the event. We begin to wonder what will happen to her at the end? Don’t expect to see a Saw or Rob Zombie kind of movie there isn’t a whole lot of gore or even that much torture porn, this film relies on psychological factors, but there some a few scenes that entice the audience for fans of Anthony Diblasi’s previous work such as Dread and Last Shift.  The film even had a satisfying ending that wrapped up everything for the character along with the characters in the film where we get what we want: Closure. I won’t spoil it for you but the ending song “Stripped” by Depeche Mode works perfectly. Over all this is the kind of horror film we want where underneath the mask we reveal our true selves and this is what this movie did for us. Revealed it’s true form: a horror film that isn’t afraid to go to the extreme and be different.

Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
How Al Bundy is connected to Child’s Play

How Al Bundy is connected to Child’s Play

The other day I’m watching television eating cereal. Just a normal night off for me when I’m not working. Frankenberry in my bowl as Married with Children is playing. Which in my opinion is one of the best tv shows around! I’m watching a specific episode that comes to mind now this show has had some big amazing stars, Robert Englund, Anthrax, King Kong Bundy, Bubba Smith, but there’s one person who has a huge part in horror movies. I’m not talking about Ed O’Neil or Katey Sagel who in Sons of Anarchy has a scene with Henry Rollins wearing A Michael Myers Mask. No, I’m talking about a character that kind of shares a connection to the Child’s Play movies. I’m talking about the Al Bundy.

Now just hear me out. Basically, in this weird cosmic way the two are connected? Not officially, but it’s a cool way to reference the two. Both the show and Movie take place in Chicago. Ok so let’s talk about this because this isn’t so much click baits or just a bs story. It’s a tribute to one of my favorite Doll/Puppet movies now with controversy of the remake coming out most fans are honestly not for it. Sure, we’ll see it except this isn’t something we’re not looking forward to.

The movie for those who haven’t seen it Child’s Play is about a young boy Andy Barclay played by Alex Vincent who’s been with the series except for Bride and Seed. He gets a good guy who happens to be possessed by known serial killer Charles Lee Ray played by the greatest character actor today Brad Dourif. If you’re not familiar with his work by now, you’ll know him by his voice. The film is amazing with a great storyline directed by Tom Holland who is a master of horror starring and directing in horror it makes you think perhaps it’s the child behind everything only until the big reveal it is the doll and it gets terrifying. To this day I still get creeped out seeing Chucky walk down the hall burnt white milky eyes holding a knife. Now the film boasts a lot of actors. Including Chris Sarandon who was in Fright Night playing the lead character Jerry Danridge and he was also the voice of Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas.

Speaking of voices that’s the point of this. Watching the episode of Married with Children it was the episode where we see a young Al Bundy the name of the actor was Edan Gross who has starred in a couple of episodes along with a few horror movies and tv shows, but his biggest role would probably be being the voice of the Good Guy dolls. I looked up the name after the movie played to find the name of the actor. I then went to see that his roles on Married with Children ended in 1988 which was the same year Child’s Play came out. So, in the end of the day the iconic voice of the doll from Child’s Play was played by the most iconic tv character I can think of Al Bundy (Young Al Bundy mind you).

Posted by Jai Alexis in Categories, EDITORIALS, MOVIE REVIEWS, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
Movie Review: UPGRADE (2018)

Movie Review: UPGRADE (2018)

Even if you’re not familiar with the name (and as a horror fan, you should be), there’s a reason why LEIGH WHANNELL is on everyone’s radar at the moment. As a director/producer/writer/actor, together with frequent producing partner JAMES WAN (who I know you’ve heard of), Whannell’s had a hand in the creation of some of the most successful horror efforts from the last two decades, including the franchises for SAW, INSIDIOUS, THE CONJURING and ANNABELLE, be it in front of or behind the camera. (And in some cases, it’s been both.) So it should come as no surprise whatsoever, that this talented man’s ever-creative brain spat out the concept for the remarkable sci-fi/action/horror thriller, UPGRADE.

Grey Trace (potential Tom Hardy stand-in LOGAN MARSHALL-GREEN from PROMETHEUS, SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING and DEVIL) isn’t just your everyday, garden-variety Luddite in the not-all-that-distant future. He’s not seeking to ‘destroy the system’ that controls this world, but he sure as hell isn’t going to be a part of it. He listens to gut-bucket blues while he works on restoring ‘analog’-based cars, for very rich people who collect them. But he doesn’t love his cars or his music half as much as his beautiful wife, Asha, (MELANIE VALLEJO), and no, he doesn’t mind at all that she’s the “pants-wearing breadwinner” of the family.  Alas, the ‘happy-life’ set up must end, as they all must for a movie like this to work, and thanks to a malfunction in the cab that’s supposed to be bringing them home, the lovebirds instead end up in a really bad part of Grey’s old ‘hood, where a band of thugs decides to kill Asha, and leave Grey permanently paralyzed instead of dead.

Wouldn’t you know it, though: there’s an app for that. One of the rich people he sold a refurbished car to is a Steve Jobs/Elon Musk-type technological wunderkind named Eron Keen (HARRISON GILBERTSON). Yes, his appearance is foreshadowing that’s about as subtle as a Keith Moon drum solo, and yes, he does turn up again after Grey’s ordeal, to give him a way to walk again, but more than that, a means by which avenging his crippling and his wife’s murder will be a breeze.

That way is a computer chip called ‘STEM,’ but calling it a “computer chip” is like calling Mount Kilimanjaro a molehill. STEM not only helps operate Grey’s damaged central nervous system and thereby his arms, legs and the rest of his body, but it can help him do some pretty incredible things…like, kick the living shit out of bad guys. And then we and Grey soon realize…he’s not the only ‘modified human’ running around out there. And when he’s not looking for them, they are most certainly out to get him!
However, as wondrous technological developments always do in movies like this, STEM is not without its own set of problematic glitches and side effects, and to say anything more than that would reveal some devastating Act Three spoilers, including the most important twist of all in the story, which isn’t ‘early M. Night Shyamalan’-badass, but pretty close.

I don’t know how much training Marshall-Green had in physical conditioning and movement before shooting, but however long and/or grueling it was, the end results were more than worth it.  His performance is incredible, especially the way he defines Grey’s bodily control under STEM’S influence as totally and spell bindingly different than it is under his own steam.  And all without the aid of CG or other special visual effects, save for some dazzling angles that Whannell employs, thanks to the amazing camera work of DP STEFAN DUSCIO, and also in no small part to the stunt team, led by coordinator CHRIS ANDERSON, with stunning fight choreography by CHRIS WEIR.

BENEDICT HARDIE (HACKSAW RIDGE, NEKROTRONIC) makes a great anti-heroic counterpart for Grey as Fisk, the ‘bad guy’ seemingly responsible for everything that happens, though you discover in pretty short order, that his motivations are far beyond those of the kind of average thug-villain who’d usually be playing this role.  I also love the obvious nod to the late Douglas Rain’s voice performance as “HAL 2000” in Kubrick’s “2001”. If there’s any justice in this world, the smooth, even and undeniably creepy tones of SIMON MAIDEN’S “STEM” voice will become just as iconic.

There’s no way to herald anyone on this picture without including the eye-popping work by the makeup FX team here.  The impressive key sequences would have come across so much better if they hadn’t already been ‘spoiled’ in the “Red Band” version of the trailer.  Even having said that, they’re still amazing as hell when you see them in context.

There aren’t a whole lot of complaints I have about this one, but there is one aspect that bears mentioning: I know the previews sell this as a testosterone-fueled, dystopian thrill ride for the ‘dudes’, and yeah, I’ll admit that was part of the allure for me. But that also means the female characters get short shrift…again. The death of Grey’s wife, Asha, pretty much propels the entire plot into motion, although Vallejo gets to do little more than look pretty…even when her character is dying.

I can understand the casting of BETTY GABRIEL as Det. Cortez, the cop who begins to realize there’s more to her ‘crippled’ suspect than meets the eye.  Between her spellbinding performance in Jordan Peele’s GET OUT, plus her growing resume of appearances in other genre movies like UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB and THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR, she’s quickly becoming the next “IT-Girl” for horror and sci-fi fans. But I really wished they’d given her more to do because hers is the kind of character you want to know more about. The antagonistic-yet-empathetic relationship between her and Grey could have been developed much more extensively than it was.

The one place where the minimal development of female characters works comes about, when at a crucial moment in the story, Grey hooks up with a mysterious uber-hacker named “Jamie” (KAI BRADLEY). In their scene together, which probably is all of about three minutes in length, we are completely captivated by her, not just because of the interesting aura she projects, thanks to Bradley’s performance, but because of several things she says to Grey and about him, throwing hints out there about what’s going on – there’s more to this story than we think there is, Jamie warns us. And that has me looking forward to a sequel, which I hope Whannell intended. Which I also hope includes Jamie’s return.

I’m glad that my concerns about Whannell were completely groundless. Though I’ve enjoyed his work as both an actor and a filmmaker, I was wondering if he considered his niche to be splitting time between the writer’s room, producer’s desk, and acting. UPGRADE is only his second film where he took over the director’s chair (his first time was in 2015 with INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3), but if UPGRADE is any indication of where he’s going with his creative knack, I’m looking forward to the UPGRADE sequel…or wherever he decides to go next. Count me in! And please accept four out of five bone-crushing stars of gratitude!

Posted by Samuel Glass in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, THRILLER, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
House of Tortured Souls Reviews Hell Fest

House of Tortured Souls Reviews Hell Fest

There is one thing I really enjoy and that is seeing movies before they are released! I had the pleasure of being able to see Hell Fest the night before its release nationwide on September 28th. Hell Fest is a new Halloween movie that delivers on the scares and on the laughs. The movie stars Tony Todd, Amy Forsyth, Bex Taylor-Klaus, and Christian James, among several other very talented actors.

Hell Fest is a traveling carnival that delivers rides, games and haunted mazes to various towns across the country. This particular carnival has the added bonus of a killer who is picking off random people and leaving their bodies for the crew to find after the fun is over. The stars of the movie are in the killer’s sight and it is up to them to escape or risk death. What is fun about the killer is there are parts where it may be misleading as to which person in the park is the killer is, so you are drawn in.


This movie is filled with incredible death scenes. Those scenes are very well done and even made me cover my eyes a couple times. There were jump scares that made the whole audience jump but there were also some laughs to be had. Will the young adults make it out of Hell Fest and live to tell about the terror of that Halloween night? I won’t tell if they do but I will say that Hell Fest is a must see for all horror movie lovers to watch.  Overall, this movie was very well done and I can’t wait to see it again! I give this movie a solid A+.

 

Posted by Graveyard Girl in Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015)

American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015) / Fair use doctrine.American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock is the second installment in the American Guinea Pig film series, a tribute to the original Japanese Guinea Pig film series started by Hideshi Hino. Bloodshock is directed by special effects guru Marcus Koch and written by Unearthed Films’ CEO Stephen Biro.

American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock is a black and white arthouse extreme horror film with a run time of an hour and thirty-eight minutes. It follows two patients, Male Patient (Dan Ellis) and Female Patient (Lillian McKinney), who are captured by a deranged doctor and subjected to extreme torture. The doctor also collects their blood during the experiments for his own personal use to get high. This is a very bleak and disturbing film, and you’ll find the patients exchanging nihilistic notes between the padded walls.

American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015) / Fair use doctrine.Even though the majority of this film is in black and white, the gore is still extremely graphic. Some scenes include pulling out teeth with pliers, using a wire to saw bone, getting punched repeatedly in the face, and being cut all over. Hats off too OddtopsyFX for the incredible special effects as it all looks and feels real. The atmosphere is another memorable part of Bloodshock, and throughout the whole film, you experience a dark, hopeless feeling. The cinematography is well done with lots of close-ups on the shocking imagery. The soundtrack also plays a huge role with its ambient noise sounds at all the perfect moments. My favorite and most memorable part is the ending.

Spoiler
The End
American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015) / Fair use doctrine.They end up taking revenge on the doctor and start having sex with each other covered in blood while ripping each other's wounds open creating more carnage — all while it changes from black and white into color.

American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock (2015) / Fair use doctrine.It's an extremely beautiful and mesmerizing scene. It's one you have to see to believe, and it will definitely keep all the gorehounds satisfied.

Overall Bloodshock is a refreshing second entry to The American Guinea Pig series, its something more than just a torture porn flick because there's a lot of heart and feeling behind it. If you haven't seen American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock, I highly recommend it as well as the other three films — Bouquet of Guts and Gore, Sacrifice, and The Song of Solomon — in the American Guinea Pig series.

Posted by Jazmin Peters in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) – A Short Film with Lots of Talent

HoTS EXCLUSIVE: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) – A Short Film with Lots of Talent

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.In high school, I took a communications class. Growing up, my concept of what filmmaking was was almost an Orson Welles level of perfection, not accepting anything less. We were just teens in high school writing goofy scripts and shooting films with expensive cameras and editing tools. Believe me, I wish I knew back then what I know now. It wasn’t easy at times sitting in the editing room hearing and watching the same footage repeatedly, but it was all worth it and, honestly, it’s such an adrenaline rush. Believe me. Therefore, most directors go to the premieres or screenings incognito focusing on the reactions of the audience instead of the premiere. They see what works, what doesn’t work, and who laughed at what part.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I heard about an upcoming local film festival in my town called Creeper Film Fest. Working for House of Tortured Souls, I do my best to attend as many cons, expos, and film releases — even the local stuff — to get exclusive info, exclusive showings, or just meet some nice people. Recently, I talked to award-winning director Matthew Mark Hunter from MMH productions. We had a nice talk about his upcoming movie Nightmares Unleashed, and I explained that I’ll do my best to make it to the screening and review his movie. He was nice enough to send me a link to the movie, and I finally got time to watch it, so here’s my honest and fair review. After years of learning the craft and wearing others’ shoes, I learned to see their movie from their vision or their heart from their vision.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Nightmares Unleashed is a short film and runs just under 15 minutes. It doesn’t need a whole lot of time to get to the point, but it does a great job getting there. Some would say, “Oh, you used cheap FX and cheap tactics”, and, sure, you can say that if a film has a huge budget but cuts corners. Instead, Matthew uses some great practical and effective ways of getting shots and FX for his movie. The official plot is as follows:

A young girl loves watching horror films but always gets nightmares from them. She gets grabbed into the TV one night and must escape her worst nightmares through the movies.
As I stated before, Matthew didn’t have a big budget, doesn’t have movie stars, and doesn’t even have a huge crew. Nightmares Unleased is all guerilla filmmaking with a lot of heart from friends and family.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Another piece of info he was glad to share was that he tried to make the film as real as possible, so the worms from the worm zombie’s (Chris Wiggins) mouth, are real worms. That’s right. He had real worms put in his mouth. That’s hardcore! And that’s the level of dedication this movie gives to the audience.Matthew also revealed that all the tools on and around the workbench are real, so our corpse (John Polace) had real saws and knives hanging above him. Matthew further told me:

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.When the little actress (Autumn Johnson) first saw the Joseph makeup — she was always scared of — clowns, so when we did the scene of Joseph the Jester (Matthew Mark Hunter) jumping out of the closet the first time, she got really freaked out.

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I didn’t see the movie as a cheap, low budget, amateur movie effort. Instead, I saw this as a film done by a director who’s going out and doing what he loves best: making movies. So, if you get a chance check out Nightmares Unleashed, do so. And check out other Indie films and filmmakers. Talk to them, and if they ever start a go fund me, donate. Believe it or not, even your favorite filmmakers were once like Matthew, out in his backyard and making a film with heart and soul and with friends and family.

Polace had real worms in his mouth. Worms. That’s hardcore and, honestly, that’s the level of dedication this movie gives to the audience!

Creeper Film Fest: Nightmares Unleashed (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Jai Alexis in HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 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
MOVIE REVIEW: Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) (1981)

MOVIE REVIEW: Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) (1981)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Any horror fan worth their weight in shrunken heads, has at least heard of Italian director Ruggero Deodato’s infamous carnival of cannibal carnage, Cannibal Holocaust, and how its notoriety set off a mini-explosion of cannibal knock-offs during that same period. Not to be bested, City of the Living Dead helmer Umberto Lenzi wanted to see if he could equal, if not top Deodato’s, claim to ‘fame’, and the result was a nearly identical ‘homage’ to Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox (retitled under numerous names as most films of the period were but recognized mostly under the alternative Make Them Die Slowly).

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.You’ve got to hand it to the Italians; when it comes to mixing and matching hybrids, they go for broke, which makes for some of the goofiest, most unexpected plot twists and turns you’ve ever seen! Not content to simply settle for Cannibal Holocaust’s scenario of having ‘students’ going into the Amazonian wilds for anthropological reasons, Lenzi begins his screenplay as…wait for it…A CRIME THRILLER.

The story immediately starts off with a bait-and-switch, with a guy who we think will be a major character, until he’s promptly murdered by two goons in a New York apartment. Turns out they’re looking for a guy named Mike, who swindled them out of a lot of money, and unfortunately for him, they didn’t believe he had no idea where Mike was.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Enter the cops, as the murder case is headed up by Lt. Rizzo (Robert Kerman) and Sgt. Ross (Venantino Venantini). If Rizzo looks familiar, he should. Kerman also appeared in Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust, underscoring the intentional similarities in the two pictures. But just wait…Lenzi encroaching on Cannibal Holocaust’s turf doesn’t stop there!

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cut to: somewhere near Bogota, Colombia. (Yeah, the transition is just that abrupt – get used to it!) Gloria Davis (Lorraine De Selle) has come here with her brother Rudy (Danilo Mattei aka Bryan Redford) and her best friend, the model/actress/free-spirit Pat Johnson (Zora Kerova), for something of a dual purpose. It’s for an adventure in the Amazon, sure, but Gloria is also a student of anthropology (shades of Cannibal Holocaust!), who is here to work on a dissertation that will disprove the entire concept of cannibalism and expose it as a myth created by colonialists who wanted to paint indigenous tribes as some kind of evil threat to more “civilized” people and, therefore, justify their extermination.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.It takes a while for the fun to begin— nearly the entire first act — as Gloria, Rudy, and Pat eventually make their way down the Amazon River and begin their trek into the jungle to find the village that is the center of Gloria’s intended research. The usual ‘antics’ take place along the way: a cute little — lemur? Anteater? I’m not sure what the hell it was, but it was given to Pat by a native on the boat trip— is horrifically crushed to death by an anaconda (and probably eaten later, off-camera); the jeep gets stuck; and they wind up having to make their way to the location on foot.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Dying screams of agony lead them to a clearing where they find the slashed and impaled bodies of another native man and woman, and wouldn’t you know it — here’s where our intrepid heroes run into…MIKE! As in the “Mike” everyone’s looking for back in NYC. Mike Logan (Giovanni Lombardo Radice, the iconic star of such Lenzi hits as House on the Edge of the Park and City of the Living Dead, billed here as John Morghen) runs into them with his wounded buddy, Joe Costolani (Walter Lucchini aka Walter Lloyd) in tow.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.When questioned by Rudy about what happened to them and the two dead bodies, Joe recounts a fantastic tale of looking to score some “really good shit” down here, when they ran afoul of a native tribe that enjoys snacking…on humans. He and Joe barely make it out alive, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. Having seen enough of these, it’s not hard for the audience to see from the jump that Mike is more full of shit than a livestock farm. Pat, however, is immediately intrigued. (I guess you know where THAT’S going.)

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.The now-enlarged group of five finally does make it to Gloria’s village, but for the most part, they find it nearly deserted, save for a bunch of elderly indigenous men, some women, and a few kids…none of the young men around whatsoever. And things are just about to get a lot stranger…and dangerously awkward.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.

It takes a good little while to get to the “making them die slowly” part, but remember: it’s not about the destination, but the JOURNEY. Mike turns out to be an even bigger asshole than any of them realized, and it’s his actions that bring about the gruesome retribution from the natives, well-deserved or not. And unlike the jaw-droppingly realistic effects of, say, The Green Inferno, the practical and visual work here may elicit more giggles than screams from viewers since a 21st Century audience can’t help but notice how painfully “primitive” the bloodletting is. (Though it was probably anything but for moviegoers of that time period.)

The same thing that has many overly sensitive horror fans concerned about Cannibal Holocaust is present in Cannibal Ferox: the real-time, on-camera killing of animals. The anteater-thing that was Pat’s pet, as well as a large turtle that the natives dismember and eat ‘au naturel’, will probably be more of a turn-off to some than what happens to the humans. Yes, the anaconda sequence seems especially cruel, as it feels more like something set up intentionally by Lenzi in order to get some exploitative footage.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.But to be completely realistic about it, anyone who’s seen a nature documentary has witnessed everything you’ll see here in the way of animal deaths and worse. The butchering and consumption of the turtle are so matter-of-fact, you can pretty much tell that it wasn’t the first time the tribe had consumed such a meal and probably wouldn’t be the last. Yes, it’s questionable that something so unsettling should have been used as the basis for entertainment, but it’s a bit hypocritical to dwell on this as an issue if you’re going out after the movie for a Wendy’s Triple if you get my drift.

But back to the movie. The NYC/Amazon scenario split keeps you wondering if it’s all going to come together eventually in a way that makes any kind of sense, and I guess it does at the climax.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.Whether or not Cannibal Ferox one-ups its Cannibal Holocaust predecessor is up for you, the viewer to decide. For my taste, it’s just way too close to call. The very “Seventies” message that the violent nature of “civilized” man is contagious seems rather quaint now, or way too obvious to take seriously from a film that — let’s face it — hasn’t aged very well. As expected, the scenery chewing and horrendous English dubbing job are present as usual, though no one can ever say the cast wasn’t up to Lenzi’s demands. Everyone gives their best, and Radice is especially hissable as the amoral Mike.

Cannibal Ferox (1981) / Fair use doctrine.As for the direction, Lenzi is very similar to his contemporaries — Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, etc.— in the way that nothing ever stands between him and telling the story. Crappy acting, substandard special effects, iffy locations, hiccups in photography and/or editing — none of it matters. You may scream, cry, puke, be repulsed or tickled pink…entertainment is the main objective, and there’s no way that anyone into the human fast-food sub-genre WON’T be completely captivated. And there’s something to admire in that determination and sense of commitment — even if it’s only good enough for grindhouses and drive-ins.

For never being boring and maintaining its promise of off-beat entertainment at the very least, Cannibal Ferox gets two-and-a-half leg-gnawing stars out of five.

Posted by Samuel Glass in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Mandy (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Mandy (2018)

You came, I saw, and I love you

In Mandy, Nic Cage takes revenge on a crazy religious cult in the woods with a homemade battle ax. STOP DRILLING YOU HIT OIL! That’s pretty much what sold me on the plot for Mandy, the second film by director Panos Cosmatos whose first film was Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010). Set in 1983, Red Miller (Nicholas Cage) goes after a religious cult that brutally murdered his wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). If you have seen his first film, you know what to expect in this; if not, then fair warning — watch the movie with an open mind. Although the film plays out like an 80s-themed slasher movie, it’s almost far from it. Let’s examine this movie further.

Mandy (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Although set in the 80s, it doesn’t have an 80s soundtrack with well-known music. There is a synthesizer, though, along with a Friday the 13th reference to Crystal Lake from Mandy (Andrea Riseborough of such works as Hidden (2015), Waco (2018) (TV mini-series), and Black Mirror (2017) (TV series)). Admittedly there is a real Crystal Lake, Nic Cage himself said that he drew inspiration for his character from Jason Voorhees, so perhaps he wants to give that nod since his character evolved in the woods.

Mandy (2018) / Fair use doctrine.As may be obvious, Mandy is not like any other Nicholas Cage film. From the picture of Cage all bloody and glimpses in the trailer, one would expect a cheesy B horror movie with over the top gore and one-liners. Not at all! The film plays out like a heavy metal live action movie, and at times, it just feels like a dream as Red goes through moments of despair, guilt, and regret. Cage is complemented by a host of character actors, from Richard Brake (31, Halloween II (2009)) to Linus Roache (Batman Begins) to Bill Duke (Payback, Predator), who definitely deliver. The scenes with the cult aren’t over the top, which is good because not once do the characters trail off and leave the idea of the movie on its own. The bikers, though, don’t dress or sound like bikers. Think something out of Mad Max with a distorted voice that almost sounds animalistic. This raises some interesting questions on the cult’s story because there’s really no back story – for anyone on anything.

Mandy (2018) / Fair use doctrine.I saw the movie at night, and it stuck with me — not in a bad way but almost as if I were dreaming too. This, by the way, got me thinking about the end when Nicholas Cage is driving away, caked in blood caked and looking out of his mind. This is not Hollywood Nic Cage but a genuinely insane Nicholas Cage.

Final thoughts: Watch the movie, and watch it at night with an open mind because this is without a doubt an interesting movie, and I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait another eight years for Panos Cosmatos’ third film.

Posted by Jai Alexis in MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Predator (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Predator (2018)

The Predator: Hit or Miss

The Predator (2018) / Fair use doctrine.When I first heard that The Predator was coming back to the big screen I thought, ‘Well how are you going to top Predators?’ For my money, Predators is the best sequel to date and has the most legendary opening sequence in a movie ever. The news of Shane Black and Fred Dekker being on board, however, convinced me this was going to be top notch fun, gory, and worth the sequel.

I eagerly attended the first showing on Sunday, 16 September, only to find I was proven wrong – which is a major let down. Black and Dekker (haha) know their stuff and should’ve put together a great movie. With comedy, horror, and even family elements, The Predator struggles to find its focus. On the surface, The Predator is about a young boy who receives a gift of Predator items (WHY?) that eventually turn on a beacon which puts the Predator on a wanted list for being hunted {Or for hunting other creatures?}. The alert causes a problem for Earth since Predators aren’t friendly with anyone. A group of ragtag soldiers who suffer from PTSD ultimately are enlisted to do what’s right, help the kid, and…save the world?

The Predator (2018) / Fair use doctrine.As the film starts, there are actually some great action sequences, nice gore, and even a bit of a character development where you find yourself invested in the main character, Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook, whom you’ll remember as Pierce, the villain, in Logan (2017)). After the spacecraft and presence of the aliens (Predators not Xenomorphs) are revealed, the government steps in and the movie takes a hard turn into Superficialville. Character development and, indeed, care of any characters steps out.

‘But,’ you may think to yourself, ‘This an action horror sci-fi movie. Does character development matter? We’re here for the blood and guts?’

The Predator (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Well, kind of, yes. What I mean is this: When you attend a movie, you invest your time. In return, you expect to be entertained. You expect to see characters to whom you can relate or for whom you actually feel – especially when they die.

Hell, it took me a good while to realize that Thomas Jane was in the movie – not because of great method acting, but I just didn’t realize it was him. With an actor like Thomas Jane, you would expect that he would be front and center. At the very least, he should be cast in a better or more significant role. However, with this movie, you don’t get that. The deaths feel rushed, and the camera doesn’t exactly linger on the gore. It was almost blink-and-you-miss-it shots of the kills. Perhaps this was to avoid delays from the MPAA or maybe another unknown reason. We may never know.

The Predator (2018) / Fair use doctrine.Overall, The Predator doesn’t really hold up to the previous films in the franchise – gore- or action-wise. Sure, there are a few nods to the previous films but not enough to keep you entertained. From the sci-fi/horror aspect, it could have worked as any other alien movie, but as an entry in the Predator franchise, it doesn’t. Peppered with forced jokes as an attempt to engage the audience, it falls flat because they didn’t really fit the movie. At times, the movie felt overlong and drawn out – not good for film with a scant runtime of 107 minutes. My excitement swelled as the ending approached. Would there be a possible connection to the previous films? Or even something better?

I won’t spoil the movie, but it was almost a slap in the face to the fans of the franchise to see this. HINT: Think uber Jason from Jason X but with no delivery of any kind. It was just a big let down.

My advice: Wait until The Predator comes on Netflix or hits Redbox. It just barely made number one this weekend, so perhaps a sequel or another reboot will help the franchise.

The Predator (2018) / Fair use doctrine.

Posted by Jai Alexis in HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

REVIEW: South Mill District (2018) (Short)

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

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

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

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

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Rejuvenator (aka Rejuvenatrix) (1988)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Rejuvenator (aka Rejuvenatrix) (1988)

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.Oh, brother. If you love “So Bad It’s Good” movies (or ‘SoBIG’s’, as I usually refer to them), you gotta love the drive-in ‘classic’ and direct-to-video “disasterpieces” from the mid-to-late Seventies, definitely the Eighties, and even some entries from the Nineties and beyond. So, if you’ve never seen 1988’s The Rejuvenator (aka Rejuvenatrix), set your “phasers” on “to be STUNNED!” This is a SoBIG trash wallow at its very finest; a mishmash of all the best aspects of films that actually have gone on to become classics in their own right.

If Death Becomes Her, Sunset Boulevard and David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly were involved in some kind of horrific car crash, the result, pulled from the tangled, mangled mess of wreckage, would be this little gem. A no-name cast, the community theater-level acting, and some surprisingly good practical effects (for this micro-micro budget), make this a good/bad movie lover’s glistening wet dream.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.The Rejuvenator begins with your garden-variety, B-movie mad scientist, Dr. Gregory Ashton, (John McKay) is doing some, shall we say, unorthodox work in the field of gerontology and biology. Not that he’s actually studying elderly people, but he IS trying to find a way to retard or even reverse the aging process. And naturally, as the movie begins, he’s not having the best of luck in refining said process, as a deformed lab animal kills other test subjects before meeting its own sticky, gooey demise.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

Ashton’s research is being funded mostly by the vain, petulant, grandiose fading Hollywood actress Ruth Warren (Jessica Dublin), whose agenda for supporting his work is – what else? – to make herself younger again, so she can make her ‘huge big-screen comeback,’ and show the rest of the dime-a-dozen starlets and ingenues how it’s done. It’s not helping matters any that Ashton is constantly being spied upon by his sleazy, unctuous colleague, Dr. Germaine (Marcus Powell), superior sneer and upper-crusty accent included.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.The good doctor and his benefactress aren’t without their own unrequited admirers, though. Ashton is assisted in his research by Dr. Stella Stone (Katell Pleven), a woman who is actually smart and beautiful…not the usual direction that kind of role takes in this kind of picture. Ruth’s not-so-secret admirer is her manservant, Wilhelm, (James Hogue, obviously filling the Erich von Stroheim role from Sunset Boulevard), a former ‘paramour’ from her halcyon days, who is now content to wait on her, hand-and-foot if that allows him to continue to be close to her. (Yes, I see you rolling your eyes, but it’s that kind of movie!)

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

Threatened with losing his funding if he doesn’t come across with the goods, and soon, the harried Dr. Ashton has no choice, but to do what just about all ‘mad-doctors’ do in his situation: he complies. He injects Ruth with the serum he has “almost” perfected, and after the required flurry of surprisingly good low-budget makeup effects, (provided by Ed French, Dan Frye, and Bruce S. Fuller), Ruth magically is converted into…ANOTHER ACTRESS!

You heard me. The stunning ‘new edition’ of Ruth has renamed herself “Elizabeth” (Vivian Lanko, who pulls double-duty here as the “improved” Ruth and as The Thing She Turns Into), whose backstory is now “the young niece of Ruth Warren, who is taking care of her estate, while her aunt goes away on a very long retreat.”

If you’ve seen enough of these monstrosities, (yes, that pun IS intended), you know where this is headed. Being an Eighties film, there has to be enough satisfactory sex and violence, so the sex part comes in when Elizabeth shows Dr. Ashton her gratitude for the miracle he’s worked for her. Wait, don’t leave! There’s so much more…

All the while, in the background, Dr. Stone and Wilhelm skulk around, mooning after their respective objects of desire and imagining what it would be like to finally be with them romantically. (There’s a dream sequence involving all the principal characters that includes a ‘dance number’ you have to see to believe!)

But, back to the ‘youth’ serum. You might recall that I mentioned it was “almost perfected”? Well, it has some pretty disgusting side effects, including the desire to murder random people and remove their brains – Oh, didn’t I mention that? Ashton’s serum is synthesized from human brain tissue, and one of the problems is that the more serum is used, larger and larger doses become required as the body builds up a tolerance to it with each application.

What would an Eighties schlockfest like this be without the opportunity to mix even more sex and violence onscreen? When Elizabeth’s sexual appetites increase with her new youthfulness, she ‘graduates’ from Gregory, moving on to random strangers, and eventually going out on her own to prowl the nightlife, going into the most retro-tastic club you can imagine, where the hot, big-haired, heavy-metal all-girl band called The Poison Dolly’s are playing!

The tunes, which sound like the kind of stuff that The Runaways turned down, are sublimely terrible, and of course, the band is dressed so that not too many people are really paying much attention to the “music.” When the serum begins to wear off and Elizabeth resembles a putrid pumpkin more than Cinderella, this is where the aforementioned murder of some posh poseur happens outside the club…in a phone booth, no less! (Remember those?)

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.From here, it’s all pretty much by-the-numbers. Greg Ashton struggles, along with Stella, to try and artificially synthesize the formula in the lab successfully, so that brain tissue from cadavers will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, the suspicious and jealous Dr. Germaine is closing in to shut down Ashton and his lab for good, snatching the research results for himself. And all the while, Elizabeth’s transformations grow more and more extreme, as does her need to hold onto her newly-found youth – at any cost.

Am I making this direct-to-video hoot sound better than it actually is? If so, my sincere apologies. But this IS entertaining enough that it wouldn’t surprise me if the MST3K/RiffTrax guys or Elvira have already worked their magic with it.

Brian Thomas Jones’ script (adapted from Simon Nuchtern’s original screenplay) and direction, rises above a first-year film school student’s initial project…but not that far above it. Just about all of the actors walk through this like it’s something to pad their resumes with, but not much else, although as the Dollar Store version of “Norma Desmond”, Lanko and Dublin seem to be having the most fun, playing the venial and selfish “Ruth/Elizabeth”. As funny as it plays when the “switch” occurs, Lanko’s not half-bad keeping the continuity going with the character.

It’s probably not even coincidental, the similarities between The Rejuvenator and another film that came out three years before it, Stuart Gordon’s celebrated Lovecraft adaptation, Re-Animator. For all we know, Re-Animator probably had the same level budget but better actors, a seasoned director at the helm, and the ridiculously gory effects of monster master John Carl Buechler.

At the end of the day, just like some of its counterparts, The Rejuvenator makes a great, fun, bad time-capsule worthy window into a crazy-ass decade, as well as a throwback to When DTV Low-Budget Movies Ruled The Earth. The makeup effects guys went on to establish some pretty impressive credentials, even if the cast and creative team did not. But for all the work that went into this, good, bad or indifferent, I feel perfectly fine in awarding it two-and-a-half out of five stars.

The Rejuvenator (1988) / Fair use doctrine.

Oh, and side note: like so many rarities that were only released originally on VHS tapes, I was “lucky” enough to stumble over The Rejuvenator, while surfing YouTube, where it’s one of their free movies. There are other places where you might be able to get it, but I strongly suggest that if you find yourself really jonesing to see this, get to YouTube now while it’s still available.

Posted by Samuel Glass in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SCI-FI HORROR, VIDEOS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Terrifier (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Terrifier (2017)

Terrifier has hit Redbox recently and is now streaming — and trending — on Netflix, and wow what waves it is making! Terrifier is an 80s style horror film directed by Damien Leone, who brought us such title as All Hallows Eve (2013), Frankenstein vs. The Mummy (2015), and The 9th Circle (2008). The Indie horror film has a small cast that is lead by a brilliant performance from newcomer David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown, a rather sadistic homicidal clown.

The basis of the story is that two young ladies (Jenna Kanell and Catherine Corcoran) who are out partying on Halloween night get stranded in an old building due to a flat tire. One girl calls her older sister (Samantha Scaffidi) to come to the rescue and pick them up. Waiting for them inside is Art the Clown, who they had a small run in with at a local pizza joint earlier.

To say Terrifier is an amazing film would be inaccurate, but it is definitely a fun horror film. At times it has almost a slow burn feel, but it’s not a boring film by any means. There is a great deal of blood and gore in the film and a few scenes which I was rather surprised by. Sadly in the mix of the kill scenes, some were beyond expected and fairly gruesome, while others made you wonder just what kind of film you’re in for because of the cheese factor with certain special FX. The cheese factor, however, adds to its 80s feel and is actually charming.

The film does such a good job of creating the feel of an 80s slasher film that if the film had been released at that time, Art the Clown would easily be an iconic horror character today. I really don’t know if it’s the character or the performance because Thornton really brings Art the Clown to life!

In light of the recent trend of clown-based films, from Stephen King’s IT and a new Pennywise to Billy Pons’ Circus of the Dead (awesome fucking film, by the way), Art the Clown finds a way to make your skin crawl like no other. From a look that he gives to the way a clown would walk, he’s comical in his own sense while downright brutal as hell!

Terrifier, overall, is a fun bloodbath of an Indie horror with a great new killer character. So get out and rent, steam, whatever you gotta do, but check out Terrifier. Support the Indie horror scene, and be on the lookout for David Howard Thornton on the convention circuit.

Keep it Evil…

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments