Extreme Horror

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Exclusive Interview with Lex Ortega

Exclusive Interview with Lex Ortega

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

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




Posted by Candace Stone in BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Up Close and Personal with Stephen Biro

Up Close and Personal with Stephen Biro

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

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

Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Domiziano Cristopharo has been wowing audiences in his native Italy for years. So it’s a true pleasure that he is now taking the US by storm. Thanks to the 2018 release of the Director’s Cut Blu-ray of his 2012 film Red Krokodil, Domiziano reached a whole new audience. Red Krokodil chronicles the downward spiral of drug addiction and proves that Domiziano is no stranger to body horror.

Domiziano Cristopharo

His penchant for the grotesque is showcased in his work, and he doesn’t hold back, which is a real treat for those of us that prefer the more extreme end of the horror genre. As a fan who prefers foreign horror, I was honored to speak with Domiziano recently, and to find out what it is that fuels the man behind the lens, and to get a sneak peek at what he has in store for us.

Domiziano Cristopharo

House of Tortured Souls: I read that you’re often compared to Dario Argento and that you’re the first Italian director to revive the erotic/horror genre. How does it feel to be described that way?
Domiziano Cristopharo: Actually, I was recently even described – by a very kind critic – also like a “mix between the Fulci’s trilogy of hell and contemporary American horror” (and this is a comparison that really makes me feel proud to exist)… but I don’t know, I don’t see resemblances in my works, and I would love to be closer/similar just for a 10% to a master like Fulci or Bava.
HoTS: You made your first film, House of Flesh Mannequins, in 2009. What did you do before you got into film, and what inspired you to do it?
DC: I work in tv, stage and film industry by age of 14. My principal job till 20 was acting then I started professionally to realize fx make up, and write screenplays. My intention was to sell the script but was rejected for years in Italy ’cause the contents. So I tried to send it in USA and I was lucky: empire films produced it and gave me the direction of the movie too.
HoTS: Do you feel there is a difference between Italian horror filmmaking and American horror filmmaking?
DC: More than a difference, I see an abyss. I started in 2008 and I did more than 25 films ’till now (including collective projects and productions). In 2011 after my third film I quit work with Italy and Italians. This helped me to become more productive and find a really active market and a field where I get the chance to grow up as a person and as an artist. In Italy I had just two small distributions in those years, DVD of my films are still available only by import. No support at all and useless to mention the hate and rage that fill this field… Favorite sport of other directors and horror fan here is to create a shitstorm round people who have even a small success. Bad, bad, bad.

Domiziano Cristopharo

HoTS: A lot of your work can be described as extreme horror. What is it that attracts you to that part of the genre?
DC: I always loved to explore excesses, I think is useless to offer to an audience – especially as indie – something that already exists. But my concept of extreme is not related in blood, I don’t even use much of it in my films. Extreme is a feeling, is to dare, to show something forbidden, something not socially accepted, not only murders but evil thoughts, nasty actions, uncomfortable secrets. This is also what makes my lead roles so intense and in same time scares actors so much that I hardly find people to hire.
HoTS: You recently helped produced Sacrifice, one of the latest installments to the American Guinea Pig series. What are your thoughts on the rumors that viewers walked out of early screenings of the film due to content?
DC: Aren’t rumors at all. In France, during the “Sadique-master” (a festival dedicated to extreme movies) three people fainted and one puked. In Italy during the “optical theater festival”, a girl fainted and we needed more than 1 hour for reanimate her… Was scary. I’m very proud of SACRIFICE, is the first part of an extreme trilogy (second part is TORMENT by Adam Ford and XPIATION, just concluded, by me) may be the first extreme Italian series by decades. Biro caught the potential of those films and he wanted it so badly in the AGP saga.
HoTS: Poison Rouge was an actress in your first film, and she also directed Sacrifice. What made you want to collaborate with her again?
DC: She acted with me on stage first, we had a sideshow called BLOODY CABARET; then she played in many films: from the debut in FLESH MANNEQUINS to HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE and PHANTASMAGORIA. She also always helped me on set as assistant director.
SACRIFICE was in my thoughts written for a female role, but I had troubles with the actress…
So I asked Poison to replace her, and then finally I gave to her the direction of the movie.
HoTS: What’s your favorite scary movie?
DC: Dunno, I have many… I love classics… and for sure Carpenter, Fulci, Bava, Cronenberg… But also Polanski, Jodorowski, Lynch
Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Takashi Miike’s Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike’s Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)Ichi the Killer (2001) is one of Takeshi Miike’s best films. It’s a Yakuza gangster, extreme horror based on the Manga of the same name by Hideo Yamamoto. The movie watches like a manga book and some of the characters look as though they walked right off the pages and into the film. With fantastic, brightly colored costumes and bizarre quirks, the characters are what makes this one extra special. Ichi the Killer is an intelligent film unlike a lot of shock Japanese cinema, and you’ll need to pay attention to catch everything. Definitely check it out on the new 4K BD it’s worth every penny. The 4K really makes the costumes bling, the scars stand out, and the blood pop!

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Nao Ohmori, Tadanobu Asano, Paulyn Sun, and SABU in Ichi the Killer (2001)

The Plot: Well… there’s a lot of it in this one and I’m going to do my very best to make sure you know how great the film is while still keeping it spoiler free. It starts out with the leader of the Anjo gang going “missing” and then two rival gangs fighting over his absence. The new leader of Anjo’s gang, Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) steps in to investigate the missing boss and goes on a bit of a rampage while trying to find him. The movie should really be called Kakihara the Killer since he’s the real hero in this, brutal as hell, unflinching, relishing every sadistic act — even his own mutilation and beatings. Kakihara is a beautiful character, well written, well acted, and impeccably dressed. I loved every minute he was on screen. His presence was palpable. His features are unforgettable, his face is scarred and sliced open across his cheeks (a Glasgow smile) and held closed with metal hoops, his hair is bleached blonde, and his outfits are gaudy and brilliant – each outdoing the last.
Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)While Kakihara is busy enforcing and investigating, Ichi (Nao Omori) is also killing but with a lot less style and a lot more crying. He’s been brainwashed to believe that he was badly bullied and believes that a high school girl who tried to save him was brutally gang-raped in front of him while he was unable to save her. He’s riddled with guilt and can be coaxed into killing anyone if he is told that person is a bully. He wears razor shoes and does some fancy footwork making the blood spray and the guts splatter. Ichi is controlled by Jijii (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) a seemingly innocent bystander in the whole thing. The gang members even lovingly refer to him as the “old fart”. Jijii is far from innocent though and is pulling the strings on both sides to pit the rival gangs against one another for his own personal gain. He uses Ichi as his pawn and eventually has him target Kakihara. A final battle is, of course, inevitable, and there are many twists and turns along the way that I am purposely leaving out in order not to spoil things.
Takashi Miike's Masterpiece: Ichi the Killer (2001)

I highly recommend you check out Ichi the Killer for yourself. It’s a flawless masterpiece that belongs in a museum. I personally loved it and give it a 5/5
Kakihara smoking in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer (2001)

Posted by Candace Stone in FEATURED ARTISTS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Phil Stevens’ Lung II (2016) [SPOILERS]

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

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

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

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

Spoiler Alert Nosferatu

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

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

Posted by Candace Stone in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
EXTREME SCENE: Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

EXTREME SCENE: Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

Sometimes as horror lovers, especially extreme cinema fans, we have to dig deep and look to the past to find what we’re looking for. The 70s were a great decade for horror and exploitation movies, and I find a lot of hidden gems there.

Last House on Dead End Street (1977) is more of an exploitation film than anything else but it’s also subtly extreme cinema. It was made by film students who, after making it, were so ashamed they didn’t want their names attached to it. It really has something to offend everyone – I love that about it. The whole thing watches like a softcore porn combined with an arthouse and a grindhouse film.

Last House on Dead End Street is about Terry, a man newly released from prison for a drug charge, who wants to get back at society. He sets out to create a snuff film, “something really different”. At a party, Terry meets Jim Palmer, a pornography director, and his gay friend and film executive Steve, and they agree to team up to make a movie. During the party, Jim’s wife comes down donning blackface and gets whipped repeatedly while delighted partygoers watch and cheer, “Harder! Harder!” For some reason, Terry decides that the other two are taking credit for his masterpiece. After raping Jim’s wife, Terry Kidnaps her, another female porn star, Jim, and Steve to star in his snuff film.

The last 20 minutes or so is where it really breaks loose. The four victims are tied up and removed to be killed one by one. The whole sequence is a pulsing, whispering, echoing, eerie, flashing look into madness. The slowness of the kills and almost graceful movement alongside the pulsing music make it hauntingly beautiful as well as disturbing.

Jim’s wife gets the worst of it;, Terry and his film crew slowly slice her face, taunt her and remove her legs. By the end when they cut open her abdomen and remove her insides, she doesn’t flinch, unblinking and resigned to her fate, her silence far more disturbing than if she were screaming.

This movie makes an educated effort in offending by either showing or implying:

  • Animal slaughter
  • Beastiality
  • A graphic sex scene between horses
  • Blackface
  • Rape
  • Homophobia
  • Torture
  • Branding a human
  • Mutilation
and so much more…

I can’t claim that all extremists will love Last House on Dead End Street, but it’s worth their consideration.

Posted by Candace Stone in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore (2014)

By Travis Love

AGP 2

Writer and director: Stephen Biro
Starring: Ashley Lynn Caputo, Caitlyn Daily, and Lilly Dickenson

Since the making of Stephen Biro's American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore was announced, there has been a clamoring to see this film. After watching it for the first time, I wonder: is it warranted? Emphatically so. This film isn't just cinematic viewing, it's an exercise in testing personal thresholds regarding how much the viewer can actually stomach and still continue watching. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore will test your limits.

The grainy and gritty feel blurs the lines of believability and causing you to reassure yourself, "It's just a movie. This isn't real", but no matter how much you tell yourself that, it has the uncanny ability to allow a little shred of doubt to seep in. The torture is cathartic, unbridled, and animalistic, and at no time do you feel what you're watching is anything other than an obligation to take a life deemed worthy of this "attention".

Orders are barked from masked men filming, shouting their directions like circus trainers would to an animal that without direction would lash out uncontrollably. The imagery you're privy to is nothing short of grotesque and demented, and the FX are so lifelike that you easily become sucked into the atrocities that unfold.

This film firmly places its foot down defiantly, and its claim is simple: You will watch everything we have to show you. If you feel sickened, then you receive no sympathy. You have only yourself to blame. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts and Gore unapologetically captures your attention and holds it prisoner the entire duration of the film, and I, for one, can only show my gratitude to Stephen Biro and everyone involved for doing so. Thank you, Mr. Biro.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: House of Whores (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: House of Whores (2015)

By Amy Lynes

HOW

Director: Paul Arnone, Tom Komisar and Daniel Murphy

Starring: Linda Schrader, Linsey McIntire,
R.J. Cecott, Maella Cai Vane, and Nurse Hatchet

Wow...Where do I even begin with this one? House of Whores was unlike anything I have seen thus far, and I have seen my fair share of shocking and unexplainable shit. It isn't often that I am stunned into silence, but this movie managed to accomplish just that. For close to a half an hour after the credits rolled, I was still sitting there, trying to figure out just what in the actual fuck I had just witnessed.

The movie starts off with sexy “Nurse Hatchet” warning that the movie could be considered graphic and disturbing by some viewers, which she underscores by dancing seductively and smearing blood all over herself.

Then it starts of with some sleazy asshole auditioning young women for his film project, Double Fisting. He has assembled three young actresses and, based on the cheesiness of his questions alone, it's obvious that he's a real dirtbag and is most likely just looking to get laid and maybe see some weird and kinky shit along the way.

The poor, unsuspecting girls are trying to get cast in this guy’s shitty spank film when three completely fucked up, psycho ass clowns (Smasho, Slasho, and Shago) suddenly bust in on them and a whole new kind of movie begins to go down.

As the title suggests, House of Whores is a sick, sleazy, and sexually violent Indie horror film, complete with new ways to rape and torture. Thanks to this film I will never look at a cheese grater, toilet brush, or a drill quite the same way again. Pain, suffering and unrelenting brutality are swiftly doled out to the unlucky ladies who had the misfortune of showing up for this casting call from hell and it is not pretty. And by the time these clowns are done with them, neither are they.

Even though its run time is only somewhere around an hour, we have a sort of intermission period every so often, a break from the carnage that allows Nurse Hatchet center stage with her sexy, blood covered dance. As much as I love her and have been a longtime fan, it seems to distract from the film and like maybe it would have been better suited as part of the bonus features as it really has nothing much to do with the storyline. I didn't really understand it, although it is nice to see her getting more exposure.

Those with an aversion to a plethora of body fluids or a weak stomach, will want to avoid this movie. I kind of wish I had. It was nauseating and, as I mentioned earlier, I have seen more than my fair share of extreme movies and nothing much bothers me. But this film? House of Whores depicts a laundry list of vomit-inducing acts, from forced rape to Dirty Sanchezes and shit eating. At one point it actually made me gag. This movie is for those who are into really sleazy and downright gross exploitation or snuff films and who aren't easily disgusted. I know there is an audience out there for this type of film. A large one, in fact. I am just not one of said audience members. Still, I give the filmmakers a lot of respect for taking on a film like this. Not all filmmakers are this brave with films such as this.

This movie spits, defecates, and bleeds all over its viewers and makes no apologies for it. Zero. But I suppose that’s part of the allure and most likely what the filmmakers set out to do with it. If that's the case, it has done its job rather effectively and this little Indie film is a raging success.

My stomach just couldn't take it. When it was over, I was nauseated, I felt like I needed to be disinfected, and I kind of hated myself for sitting through the whole thing.

And viewers beware! House of Whores 2: The Second Cumming will be on it's way soon...

Rating 5/10

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015)

Reflecting on The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)

By Woofer McWooferson

Human Centipede 3

WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS

Writer and Director: Tom Six; Stars: Bree Olson, Eric Roberts, Laurence R. Harvey, Dieter Laser; Rating: NR; Run Time: 102 min; Genre: Horror; Country: Taiwan; Language: English; Year: 2015
The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) is the final film in Tom Six's grotesque body horror trilogy. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) continues the meta concept by beginning with the end of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), including the end of The Human Centipede (First Sequence) that is in The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Thus, we are watching a film based on a film based on a film. As with The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) firmly follows the grand tradition of franchise sequels by being bigger, badder, and bolder than the previous films. If The Human Centipede (First Sequence) pushed the envelope, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) threw it over the edge, and The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) farted on it, set it on fire, and then pushed it over the edge, taking the viewer along for the ride. Had this been the first film, we would not have seen another, let alone two.

The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) focuses on the warden of a vastly over budget prison that is facing closure and his harried prison accountant. Bill Boss (Deiter Laser) is even more outrageous than the mad Dr. Heiter in The Human Centipede (First Sequence) while Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey) is more intelligent and confident that Martin in The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Butler, having shown The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) to Boss, believes he can solve the budget issues if only Boss would listen. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) takes the viewer on a tour of the prison via the deranged actions of Boss himself. Butler follows Boss from one horrific moment to the next, all the while the attempting to mitigate the cost of the warden's actions and relate his proposed budget solution. We do not question Boss' insanity, depravity, and egomania; nor do we question Butler's sincerity in trying to keep the prison solvent.

Centipede veterans Peter Blankenship, Akihiro Kitamura, and others return for the outrageous grand finale. Other notable actors include adult film star Bree Olson as the warden's assistant, fan favorite Eric Roberts as the governor, and Tommy 'Tiny' Lister as the inmate who becomes the lead segment. Tom Six plays himself in a small role, reinforcing the idea that the first two were films and that this one is reality.

The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) is disgusting, disturbing, and demented, and as such it succeeds magnificently. It takes its role as a typical horror sequel seriously, so there is no filter and no regulator; the horror and the gore start immediately and do not end until the credits roll. Once again, this is not for the easily nauseated, faint of heart, or children.

Check out my introduction to this series and my reviews of The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence). Watch for my overall review of the series as a whole.

6.5/10 claws

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)

By Woofer McWooferson

Human Centipede 2

Writer and Director: Tom Six; Stars: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie; Rating: NR; Run Time: 91 min; Genre: Horror; Country: Australia; Language: English

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a worthy follow up to the original film. Where The Human Centipede (First Sequence) keeps the gore to a minimum, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) embraces it. Beginning where The Human Centipede (First Sequence) ends, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) eschews the franchise tradition of making a prequel or sequel and, instead, sets The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) in a world where The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is a movie. As the end of The Human Centipede (First Sequence) rolls, the camera pulls back and we see that Martin (Laurence R. Harvey), a parking garage security officer, is transfixed. Within minutes, Martin begins his sadistic and insane quest to create his own human centipede. Released in B&W due to excessive gore, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) also employed few locations, a minimal cast, and nominal dialogue. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) leads viewers into the dark and twisted labyrinth of Martin's mind where his obsession with The Human Centipede (First Sequence) eventually obliterates all other aspects of his life.

At home, Martin is a mildly mentally challenged man whose mother still controls most aspects of her son's life. Powerless and abused, The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is his only escape. As his mother's abuse escalates, Martin's mental state declines, and he retreats further into his dark fantasy life. Unable to execute his fantasy at home, he rents a warehouse and where he stores his victims as he gathers the 12 people he needs for his centipede. Martin's segments, for he does not think of them as individuals, are drawn from wherever he can get them. Unlike the mad doctor in The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Martin has no medical training and cares not for the aesthetics of his centipede, only the total length and number of segments matter.

Where The Human Centipede (First Sequence) was deft and dramatic, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is bold and brassy. There is no long lead in to give us insight into Martin, rather it is presented throughout the movie as Martin interacts with his mother, neighbors, and doctor. Laurence R. Harvey conveys everything we need to know about Martin with his body and the occasional grunt. Facial expressions, posture, and stride all speak of an unstable man buffeted by life and longing for control. Martin has none of the skills of the mad doctor from The Human Centipede (First Sequence), but he makes up for this in enthusiasm and ingenuity. Incredibly, he persuades Ashlyn Yennie, who plays herself, to “audition for a Quentin Tarantino film” so that he can incorporate her as a segment. With each new segment he captures, his self-confidence increases, and he is, by the end, a god in his own mind.

As with The Human Centipede (First Sequence), The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is definitely not for the weak stomached, faint of heart, or children. If, however, you liked The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and are fond of grotesque and twisted body horror, you will not be disappointed.

Check out my review for The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and my introduction to The Human Centipede trilogy. Also, watch for my review of The Human Centipede (Final Sequence) as well as an overall review of the series as a whole.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

By Woofer McWooferson

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) movie poster

Writer and Director: Tom Six; Stars: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura; Rating: R; Run Time: 92 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2009

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is one of those rare movies where viewers are well aware of the premise and yet are delightfully surprised by the execution – if the viewer is not easily nauseated. Writer and director Tom Six transforms a minimal cast, typical setup, and standard location into a dark comedy that is just serious enough to set the stage for the coming sequels. Six makes the most of the performances, and we feel the terror and revulsion that the victims endure. When The Human Centipede (First Sequence) was released, horror fans were already divided into two camps: 1) hard core fans who have to see everything and 2) those repulsed by the concept. Six himself admits there is no middle ground, only those who love it and those who hate it.

The movie centers around Dr. Heiter and his mad crusade to connect three humans together in a grotesque ass to mouth procedure (100% Medically Accurate!). Writer and director Tom Six sets a languorous pace, allowing viewers get to know Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams), Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), and Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) as the horror grows exponentially. We empathize and sympathize with the would-be segments as they are joined and then trained by the mad doctor. The horror, nausea, and revulsion that they experience is palpable, and the ego-maniacal insanity of Dr. Heiter is both unquestionable and unwavering. By the time the characters become segments, we are lost in their sorrow and anguish, shuddering both internally and externally. The end is more powerful than one would expect from a movie with this premise, but it works and it brings us back to the sobering reality of the situation.

In spite of its flaws, it's a better horror movie that most credit it. Indeed, Six ensures the film maintains an extremely dark comedic layer by allowing Dieter Laser free reign as the mad doctor and by the “100 Medically Accurate” disclaimer. The mad doctor's house is beautiful, allowing for some incredible cinematography. The movie begins and ends with long pan shots that draw us into the film as it begins and drawing us out as it ends. Between these we are treated to a movie that pushes the bounds of taste aside and strides through with a purpose. While the gore level remains quite low, this movie should not be viewed by very young children. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is not for the easily disgusted, but it is for cult film fans. And Tom Six has only begun.

Check out my introduction to The Human Centipede trilogy and watch for my reviews of The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) and The Human Centipede (Final Sequence) as well as an

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments