Horror movie reviews

[Film Review] Escape Room doesn’t let interest escape despite being PG-13

[Film Review] Escape Room doesn’t let interest escape despite being PG-13

When I first saw the trailer for Escape Room I was intrigued, excited on the release of the first horror movie of the year. It reminded me of the Cube (1997) but with a bigger budget and over the top fx including the deaths such as the predecessors Saw, Hostel, Battle Royale, Belko Experiment where we need to see all of the above to satisfy our blood thirsty pallet. However, when walking into the theater I saw the kiss of death for a horror movie “PG-13” I was already writing my negative review for the film in my head. The film was actually, great! Hear me out on this because hopefully you’ll give the movie a chance which it deserves despite maybe a few minor things I wish were changed. Like Saw and Cube, Escape room has puzzles that need to be solved or suffer the consequences of death. Escape Room opens up with one of the characters (BEN) played by (LOGAN MILLER) falling through the roof trying to solve a puzzle in what appears to be a study room. The sound of the score shows us that the film is starting off intense and it doesn’t let down with a good storyline to boot. The film starts off by introducing the characters Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Tyler Labine, Adam Robitel, Nik Donai, Jay Ellis, Jessica Sutton, Jamie Lee Money whereas the official plot of the film is as follows: Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and must use their wits to survive. The film introduces us a different room representing the person’s personal drama where as the first room “The Hot room” showcasing Deborah’s character about a fear for being burned. Which is interesting because the rooms showcase their greatest fears that helped them escape and now, we have to wonder are they to survive again. What kept me going aside from the story was there was no need for romance or even too much comedy. There is some but not a whole lot in the film to make up for the gore and violence since it’s pg-13, including making any of the female characters as sex appeal. The actors and actresses did a great job portraying real people with severe issues of PTSD that they are reminded in every room. Now don’t get me wrong the movie is violent but not over the top where it comes off silly or even as “torture porn” it showcases great scenes which left me satisfied. Yet, like always let’s discuss the bad. The film does have an interesting ending where we learn the true nature of the beast on why and kind of who is behind this. Which is great and all for some closure, but the big reveal sets up a possible franchise but at the same time deludes the film where it’s kind of loses its charm? Overall, it’s something I can forgive if they keep the momentum of the first film going forward and maybe change the reveal a little more. So, over all the film is very much worth seeing, worth owning or worth renting. It’s the first film of 2019 and it looks like it’s going to be a good year for horror.

Posted by Jai Alexis in CAST AND CREW NEWS, FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR GAMES, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, 0 comments
New Year, New You Review-House Of Tortured Souls

New Year, New You Review-House Of Tortured Souls

With saying goodbye to 2018 and restarting fresh in 2019 with a brand new attitude and the cliched “New Year, New Me” comes New Year, New You the latest installment to the Into the Dark series on Hulu. Into the Dark is a horror anthology series produced by Jason Blum in  which each episode focuses about a holiday and is released each month. 

The fourth episode in this installment, New Year, New You was directed by Sophia Takal. It focuses on four girls that were friends in high school who reunite in an extravagant home on New Years that result in confessions and reliving trauma. The collective cast stars Suki Waterhouse (The Divergent Series:Insurgent, The Bad Batch), Carly Chaikin (The Last Song, Mr. Robot), Kirby HowellBaptiste (Killing Eve, A Dog’s Purpose), Melissa Bergland (Winners & Losers), and Isabella Acres (Better Off Ted).

The film starts off showing flashbacks to someone falling out of a window in Alexis’ (Suki Waterhouse) home. It then pans to Alexis who now has a very noticeable scar on her face and windows that are more secure. You think you may have made a connection on what could have happened, but you will be surprised my horror friends. 

Now we skip to Kayla ( Kirby HowellBaptiste) and Chloë (Melissa Bergland) who are driving in Kayla’s unreliable car through a downpour on their way to join Alexis. We have seen it all in many horror flicks and you are probably guessing that the car breaks down and they have to walk to the house in the downpour, you are correct. Alexis greets the girls at the door where they set up balloons and talk about their normal boring lives while anticipating in Danielle’s (Carly Chaikin) arrival. The girls had doubt at first, Danielle is very popular and has quite the viewers on her channel about self-improvement and even has the fake cutesy attitude. 

With how famous Danielle is, she arrives pretty late to the party. Upon her arriving you can already sense the tension between her and Alexis. Chloë and Kayla seem to be in awe of Danielle and they all have different personalities which seemed to play off each other in a realistic way when just like how you have a friendship with a good friend. With not reuniting in a while, it seems like their friendship picked up right where in ended. 

The party gets going as the girls settle down and start to play the game ‘Never Have I Ever.’ During that time is when Alexis loses it to which the girls end up targeting Danielle and tying her to a chair. There is clearly unfinished business between Alexis and Danielle. To which Waterhouse and Chaikin steal the rest of the movie. Their chemistry is very believable and you can see the passion that they have to make a ‘mean girls’ vibe. 

The rest of the movie focuses on all sorts of betrayal and heated secrets from the past. It’s a thriller to where you think it’s predictable on how far each girl will go to dismiss the happenings of their pass including blame games to what happened to a girl they knew named Kelsey. It had the perfect amount of betrayal and suspense that will leading you guessing who fell out of the window as you see it happening in the beginning of the film.

Check out the trailer below and if you are into psychological thrillers then check this out on Hulu, you won’t regret it. ⬇️⬇️

Overall Grade: B+

 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in ANTHOLOGY, Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, THRILLER, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Incarnate (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Incarnate (2016)

Incarnate is a movie. I saw it. I'm tempted to end it here, but that wouldn’t be fair to anyone. Except maybe the people responsible for making Incarnate. Well, I should probably start with what I liked about the film. That's fair, right? Well, then, for the good parts: It was dark, slick, with a compelling and visually pleasing female lead front and center. Wait, that's not Incarnate! That's my mother fucking diet Coke-filled Rogue One cup I got at the concession stand! And that's the best thing about Incarnate.

Hello? Is this my agent? You're fired!

Oh shit, bra, you being hard on that movie. Yes, I am. I would say I hated it but that's such a small unassuming word. If Incarnate were a puppy, I would have it put down. I would record the process and post it to the Internet as a warning for other puppies. By now, you are probably wondering what brought on this attack of obvious hyperbole. There were many things. Many things which all amount to one base thing. The film was lazy, and it insults its audience.

Well, shit. I guess winter did come.

The plot as it were, a person (Aaron Eckhart) is able to enter the mind of possessed people. He does this to force the demon out. He heard about a kid possessed. The church comes knocking.

“U exorcise dat kid”

“No I not gonna exorcise dat kid”

“Y U no Exorcise dat kid?”

“Cause I haz sads for my dead family”

“Demon in dat kid killz your family”

“Ok I exorcise dat kid”

It's all cliché. It's all formula. Paint by numbers and to hell with Bob Ross.

Aaron Eckhart is trying his hardest to look and sound like Sean Bean. Seriously, the first time I saw him, after the opening they stole from Inception, I said, “Damn he looks just like Sean Bean. Shit that means hes gonna die”. Guess what happens ***spoiler alert*** he dies deader than Ned Stark. Seriously if the Sean Bean foreshadowing wasn't enough, Incarnate goes out of its way, over and over and over to let you know he's going to die. So all suspense about your main character is gone.

Incarnate sucks. Here's a kitten.

But I decided to give it a chance. Knowing the ending of a movie doesn't necessarily ruin it for me. I mean I knew Liberty Valance was gonna die, but I still loved that film. It's in the damn title. So, onward.

I pride myself in not being an overly picky viewer. Hell, look at my reviews. But here is a little thing that bugged the shit out of me. Mostly because there was no reason for it. The little kid possessed by a demon is asked its name. It goes though this evil sounding litany, some of which - names and timeline - struck me odd, but oh well - until... “After the deluge, when the angels took human women, my name was Passion”.

Now, I am paraphrasing a little, maybe, but the key part, “after the deluge”... No. Seriously, no. What the fuck - no. Did you actually research this or just hear somewhere “Hey, dude, the bible says angels raped women”. Fucking lame ass shit; read a goddammed bible. The deluge, aka the flood, happened after the angels came upon human women and children were born to them. In the Apocrypha, Book of Jubilees, I think, it’s even stated that the deluge was caused specifically to cleanse the earth of this ungodly offspring.

Now you are possibly saying “That’s such a small thing. Is it really important?” It's important because it works just as well if you say it right. “Before the deluge”. But the writers are either to lazy to research at all, to dumb to understand, or just don’t give a shit because they think fans wont notice. Well, I noticed and as much as I tried to ignore it, I was bothered during the entire film. Did I mishear it? Maybe they meant this. It bothered me. On its own, that would have been a small itch, an annoyance, but it's part of a whole.

Nit pick number two. The hero has to go into a dimension inside the child’s mind to evict the demon. He wont use the word exorcise because he hates the church. GRRRR church. Sean Bean, Aaron Eckhart hates you. Well, in this dimension, we are told over and over that time stands still. Yet you have to get out in eight minutes or you die, or something. But......if time stands still it doesn’t matter how long you are inside. Time stopped, remember? Yet we have the faux suspense of seeing clocks and counters, and people rushing and, chill out, he got forever, time be standing still, y'all.

The film ends with what seems like fifteen solid minutes of fake out after fake out, and each false ending you know is a fake out, you know it's a “twist”, and you know what's coming next. Every fucking twist is telegraphed or just so obvious that you feel like you must have stolen a copy of the script.

So what do we have? Predictable and utterly preposterous plot (lifted from Inception), lazy writers, over dramatic acting, CGI eyes on the demons, and no scares at all. Not a single fucking jump or even twitch in the whole film. Incarnate is boring, and manages to be both confusing and predictable at the same time. The characters do completely illogical, irresponsible, and ignorant things for no reason.

Incarnate Works on the Theory That Horror Fans Are Dumb and Will Watch Anything

I felt insulted as a viewer and as a fan of horror films. I feel dirty for paying money to see this. Please give me my money back. I feel like I gave my PayPal password to a Russian porn bot, and she laughed at me online. I knew this movie wouldn't be good. Knew that going in. It had the look of suck. But I convinced myself it go. And I did want to get one of those sweet Rogue One cups. But I didn't expect to hate it this much. At least I got my cup, and it is sweet.

Incarnate stars Aaron Eckhart (Batman: The Dark Knight), David Mazouz (Gotham), Clarice van Houten, and some other people. Brad Peyton (San Andreas) directed. See it at your own risk.

1 dimly burning Christmas star out of 10

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

By Dixielord

Guillermo Del Toro definitely knows how to make a big beautiful film, but can he do a horror movie? His last ghost movie, Mama, just didn't do it for me. The wispy CGI ghosts just don't do it for me, and while it wasn’t a bad story, the ghosts bored me more than frightened me. But now he tries again with Crimson Peak.

Crimson Peaks Jessica Chastain

Crimson Peak's Jessica Chastain

Crimson Peak is a big scale Gothic ghost story starring Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska (Stoker). And let's get it straight if I try and type Mia's gull name over and over I'm going to eventually fuck it up, so from now on, I'm sticking to Mia.

Mia plays Edith Cushing, the heir to her father's fortune who is haunted by the ghost of her dead mother. She finds herself, and her father's money courted by the titled, but broke, Baronet Thomas Sharp played by Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Thor). This doesn't sit well with her father played by Jim Beaver (Supernatural), or the president of the local biker club, whoops, local doctor and childhood friend Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy). After her father's murder, she agrees to marry Hiddleston and move to his ancestral home, known by the locals as Crimson Peak. There the hauntings continue and animosity grows between Mia and her sister in law Lucille played by Jessica Chastain (Mama). Back in America the jilted Dr. McMichael (Hunnam) investigates and finds things the good Baronet is hiding things. He rushes to Crimson Peak to save Edith, but with her health mysteriously declining and winter setting in, will he be in time?

Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak

Mia in Crimson Peak

With Crimson Peak, Del Toro has crafted a truly beautiful film. Even his ghosts, beyond the black wispy phantoms, he has added a blood red to go with the films title and theme. The ghosts also have a bit more substance than those in Mama. As they rise out of the floor and walls of the dilapidated castle, I'll admit they made me jump a couple of times. I'm still not a big fan of the CGI ghost, buy they looked better than in Mama. They seemed to have more substance, which made them a bit more realistic and creepy.

The scenery likewise is beautiful to behold. The manor home that is falling apart and especially the white snow, dyed red by the clay that gives Crimson Peak it's name. Then add to that the cast of beautiful people in Hunnam, Hiddleston and Mia, and you have a film that is a visual treat.

But is it scary? Like I mentioned above, it actually gave me a few startles and I cant complain about that. Mostly however, Crimson Peak is a Gothic ghost story, more focused on romance and mystery than horror. It harkens back to when ghosts were more of a protective and warning spirit than an agent of chaos. While the ghosts do provide some scares, they necessarily where the horror lies in Crimson Peak.

The main story here is the mystery that Crimson Peaks holds. What happened to the mother of Thomas and Lucille? What is the relationship between the two siblings and what is the secret that he desperately tries to hide from Edith? And can Jax move on from his father’s death to lead the club, wait no, another project...

Charlie Hunnam in Crimson Peak

No motorcycles or giant robots for Charlie Hunnam in Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak ends up being a bit of a tragedy, and I wont give away any more than I have already. Go see it. It's not a grand horror movie, but it is a well acted, and beautiful ghost story with a real Gothic feel. I'm giving it 7 and ¾ stars out of 10.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Paranormal Island (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Paranormal Island (2014)

By Dixielord

Briana Evigan stars in Paranormal Island

Paranormal Island movie poster

I'm really not a big fan of the Paranormal Activity films, and I'm also not a fan of knock off horror. Those films try to lure you in by using a title that makes you think it's connected to a more popular film or series. So I'm not sure why I ended up even watching Paranormal Island, directed by Marty Murray, which seems like it could fit into either, or both. I would hate to think that the main reason I watched this was due to Briana Evigan (The Devil's Carnival) being in the cast, but it was Briana Evigan.

Briana is a beautiful girl but it wasn't as sleazy as it sounds; I just assumed her involvement meant it wouldn't be a total cheap waste of time. So I took a chance with a blind VoD rental from Amazon. While I can't say I was thrilled with the film, I didn't end up crying over a wasted fours bucks. Luckily the film also starred Lance Henricksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Near Dark, etc. etc.), and note to filmmakers, having Lance in the top credits, might gain you a few extra rentals. (Working on this article, I found he was given top billing on the poster.)

In Paranormal Island a group of teens take jobs bartending at a club on an island. The island is rumored to be haunted by an evil spirit called the Caretaker. The Caretaker was once the owner of the club and killed himself after losing it in a poker match. Now he kills anyone who spends the night on the island. Which is a great island to have a club on. The kids, of course, miss the last boat off, and have to struggle to survive and escape the Caretaker, and possibly other spirits trapped on the island.

Let's for a minute not even mention the silliness of having a club on an island where everyone staying overnight dies. Or the fact the club stays open till Midnight. Or the fact the last ship leaves at 2 a.m. So apparently the ghost kills anyone on the island from 2:30 until 6 or so. And let's definitely not mention the fact the filmmakers don’t know much about poker hands, as evidenced at the beginning of the film. So taking that the films premise is a bit silly, what are we left with? Lance Henricksen and Briana Evigan.

Paranormal Island is far from the worst film I have ever seen (looking at you Grizzly Falls). That being said, there really isn't a lot to recommend it either. There's no gore, not a lot of suspense or mystery, and only a couple of weak scares. Mostly like the lame ass Paranormal Activity films it's moving furniture, noises and people saying “what's that”. Unlike the Paranormal Activity series, there are a few actual ghostly appearances before the final scene and a couple of people do die. Not that you care about any of the characters so it's just meh.

Also like the Paranormal Activity films there's way too much time where nothing is happening. At the opening of the film the interactions are a bit interesting, letting us know a bit about the characters. But once on the island the pace is just too slow and just barely held my attention.

In the end there's only two reasons to watch Paranormal Island at all. The first is Lance Henricksen. The man is a living legend of film, especially horror, and if you don't know who he is or what he has done... Dude, what the fuck? Go do some research and watch some movies. Paranormal Island doesn't give him a lot to work with. There's nothing new, the character looks and acts like a lot of his other recent characters, but it's still Lance and he's always worth the price of admission.

The second reason is Briana Evigan. The film gets an extra star because she spends most of Paranormal Island in a bikini. Don't hate on me; these are my stars, and I'll give 'em like I want to. While there is no nudity in Paranormal Island (bummer), Briana's bikini is very small, and there are a couple nice shots of her BJ and the Bare (sic) ass-crack. If I find out that was a body double, I'm joining a monastery.

Briana Evigan in a bikini in Paranormal Island

Bikini clad Briana Evigan in Paranormal Island

So for a not very interesting story that's only slightly more interesting than the first Paranormal Activity, I can only give Paranormal Island 2 stars. However, yes I am giving it an extra star for Briana's bikini and booty. Then one more star for Lance Henricksen for four stars total. That's really, really generous, and if Briana used a booty double, I'm taking one star back before leaving for the monastery.

So that's 4 out of 10 stars, not a total waste of time, but best advice wait till it's on Netflix.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW: Morituris: Legions of the Dead (2011)

MOVIE REVIEW: Morituris: Legions of the Dead (2011)

By Nick Durham

morituris

A modern movie that claims to be a throwback to old school 80s Italian horror? A movie featuring undead gladiators that slaughter all those that wind up in their path? Where the fuck do I sign up?!?!?!? That's what Morituris: Legions of the Dead claims itself to be. Does it deliver the goods that it promises though? Well...it does. Kind of, I guess, but it does.

Before you read any further, I am going to warn you all that spoilers are ahead. Normally I don't delve into spoilers because I fucking hate them, but to understand why I feel the way I do towards this film, I think giving away the details is necessary. So if you haven't seen Morituris and you want to, don't read any further than this paragraph. For those that have seen it, please continue onward.

Anyway, Morituris starts off with a random family meeting off-camera deaths, and then jumps to a trio of Italian guys and the two Romanian chicks they've picked up driving to a rave and having a grand old time drinking and doing drugs. Well, guess what? There is no rave. They're going to the woods for these guys to beat these chicks up, rape them, and eventually murder them...all of which is shown in extraordinarily graphic detail. In between all this is a friend of theirs at another location who is doing some atrocious things to another female, involving a scene with a mouse straight of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. Eventually the undead gladiators arise, and not only dispatch the rapists, but the girls as well in truly grisly fashions.

Now here's the thing: Morituris believes itself to be a modern day exploitation movie, and I guess it kind of is. That being said, this film is so blatantly fucking misogynistic that it's a shock to the system. Not to mention the fact that there is literally no rhyme or reason as to why these undead gladiators do what they do, other than hinting at the fact they kill all those that infringe on their territory. That in itself is all well and good, but come on, give us something more than that. Not to mention the fact that with any good exploitation movie, the female victims usually get some sort of comeuppance in the end. Here, both die after having horrible things happen to them. Even though the rapist fuckheads die terribly, there's no retribution for the ladies. That makes this whole ordeal empty and shocking just for the sake of being shocking. That's not what makes a film an exploitation film, that just makes it a load of horseshit that cries out "pay attention to me".

So, yeah, I really don't have much else to say about Morituris. The acting isn't bad and the gore effects are pretty good, so there's that at least. Everything else about this film can go dive into a hellhole for all I care. If you've never seen the film and read all of the above and any of this sounds up your alley, then by all means check it out I guess. If not, well...trust me when I say you're not missing out on anything at all.

Rating: 1.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Jungle Holocaust (1977)

MOVIE REVIEW: Jungle Holocaust (1977)

Ultimo Mondo Cannibale

By Nick Durham

JunlgeHolocaust3
I've been on a bit of a cannibal kick lately. This is mostly because of the looming release of Eli Roth's much-maligned The Green Inferno, but in all honesty, that's beside the point. The cannibal film, much like the giallo, is a seemingly lost sub-genre of horror that experienced a boom back in the day, but has sadly been all but forgotten in recent years. Going back over the many cannibal films of years past, I came across Jungle Holocaust. Released before the more infamous Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, Jungle Holocaust isn't remembered all that fondly. However, there's good reason that Jungle Holocaust isn't as revered as either of its more well-known brethren...

...and it's because it fucking sucks.

Directed by future Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato, Jungle Holocaust tells the story of an oil prospector named Robert Harper who, along with a couple others, lands in the middle of the jungle. Before you can say "what's cooking", Robert runs afoul of a cannibal tribe that proceeds to capture and humiliate him, which ranges from being stripped naked to having his dick fondled (seriously) to witnessing the fine delicacies of cannibalism. There're also assorted moments of rape, animal death, and hilariously dubbed voices as well. This is a cannibal movie after all, what the fuck else would you expect?

Anyway, it isn't long before a native girl frees Robert (and gives him a handjob...before he rapes her later on...which she seems totally okay with...because reasons) and they're on the run, with the cannibals on their heels. Will Robert ever make it home? Do we even care? Fuck no, because he's so fucking unsympathetic that it isn't even funny. Granted I usually wish everyone involved in these films meets a brutal and gory death, but this guy in particular? Eat him. Eat him alive. Eat him until you're all full. Fuck, I'll carve off a piece, too, if I have to. I like to participate in group activities after all.

The only thing really notable at all about Jungle Holocaust is that Ruggero Deodato made this before Cannibal Holocaust, which I already mentioned. That's pretty much it. It's a shit movie plain and simple. Even the actual cannibal action is lacking. For a movie of its type, it is nowhere near as graphic or unflinching as others of its ilk. Well, then again, it does claim to be a "true story" (seriously), so I guess that's something?

Yeah, this is a true story...and those actors aren't dubbed either. I hope the handjob that the real Robert Harper (I can't believe I just fucking typed that) received in the jungle made the whole ordeal worth the trip. So, yeah, let's just ignore that shall we?

If you're new to the cannibal genre, don't put Jungle Holocaust high on your watch list. It's notable only because Ruggero Deodato learned his lessons from this as shown in the monumental Cannibal Holocaust a few years later, and that's pretty much it. Oh, and the look on the female native's face while giving the previously mentioned handjob is unintentionally hilarious, so I guess there's that too.

Fuck this movie.

Rating: 1.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 2 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Starry Eyes (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Starry Eyes (2014)

By Amy Lynes

Starry Eyes

Directed by: Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer

Starring: Alex Essoe, Noah Segan, Amanda Fuller, Fabianne Therese, and Pat Healy

Sarah is a young girl seeking fame and fortune as an actress, and doing everything she can to make it to the big time in Hollywood. She spends her days working at a horrible chain like restaurant called Big Taters where she is constantly hounded by her jerk of a boss (Pat Healy) who is less than thrilled about the time she takes off to audition and alternates between oogling her and harping on her.

Every day she goes on countless auditions and attends classes, hoping that each one will lead to her big break. She wants (and needs) a part so badly that after each botched audition, she indulges in fits of rage, screaming, kicking, and ripping out clumps of her hair.

After responding to an online ad for talent, she lands an audition for a film called The Silver Scream with Astraeus Pictures, a once illustrious production company. It could be the role of a lifetime. Her “gateway” part. Or so she thinks.

When she freezes up, the casting directors (Maria Olsen and Marc Senter) seem uninterested, and the audition does not go well. She runs from the room in a panic and finds the nearest restroom to indulge in one of her usual self-harm sessions. When she finally composes herself, she opens the door to the stall and finds the female casting director standing there with a strange gleam in her eye. She asks Sarah to return to the audition and try again, only this time showing them what she had just been doing in the stall. With much trepidation, Sarah consents, gives one hell of a performance, and succeeds in captivating them.

She is then called back for a series of auditions that become increasingly strange in their demands, until she is ultimately told that if she performs certain “favors” for an elderly producer (Louis Dezseran), this dream “gateway” part is hers. She initially bolts but the call of fame and fortune are too much for her, and a few days later she returns. Of course, by doing so she sells her soul to the devil.

Shortly thereafter, she begins to change, both in her demeanor and appearance. In addition to becoming irritable and violent, which is seen when she gets into a heated argument with her boss and slaps him across the face, the usually meek and mild mannered Sarah is changing on the outside as well. Her skin takes on a mottled and decaying appearance, she begins losing her hair, vomiting blood, and her fingernails peel off with ease. She is transforming into someone else, something else...

Starry Eyes is a very moody and atmospheric film with heavy supernatural/ Satanic undertones. It is bit of a slow burn and you are left guessing for a good portion of the film, but I still found it to be very entertaining and original. When things really get going, Sarah's life spirals out of control with a shocking quickness, and you can't look away.

Once Sarah has her lapse in judgment and goes against who and what she is, things charge full steam ahead into something truly terrifying. The climax, filled with a sudden carnage and brutality, could damn near leave one breathless. The rapid pace of the film's end is a drastic and bloody departure from the way it begins. The sheer brutality of the violence that she exacts on her friends is both equally unexpected and disturbing but necessary to the story and her rebirth into someone new.

Starry Eyes tells a story that is not necessarily a new one, but the manner in which it is told is a breath of fresh air from the the slow, typical style of the Satanic themed films of the 70s. It is told on a much more majestic and unsettling scale that highlights the directing team of Kolsch and Widmyer and the underlying theme of rebirth and transformation.

The camera work is stunning, the smooth editing makes transitions from scene to scene nearly flawless, the soundtrack lends itself well to the film and most of the acting was on par and/or better than I had expected. I was taken with Noah Segan's performance as well as Alex Essoe's. She does a phenomenal job in the titular role, which is also her first starring role. Be expecting to see more from her in the future.

If you enjoy the more modern Satanic themed films such as The House of the Devil, then Starry Eyes could very well be up your alley. I enjoyed it so much that before I had even returned my rental copy, I had purchased a copy of my own.

If you haven't seen it, I strongly urge you to remedy that and check it out as soon as possible. It was truly one of my favorite films of 2014.

I give it a strong 8/10 rating.

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

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Videodrome (1983)

By Nick Durham

Videodrome

It's really hard to say anything about David Cronenberg's classic Videodrome that hasn't been said a million fucking times already. It remains one of the director's crowning achievements in a filmography that features a number of classics, as well as a classic of body horror. The fact that Criterion decided to add this film to their prestigious lineup (that somehow also includes Michael Bay's Armageddon... no, I'll never understand that) speaks to the lasting effect that Videodrome has had on all of us.

James Woods, in the most unnerving performance of his long career, stars as Max Renn, the proprietor of a sleazy cable TV network that specializes in softcore porn and hardcore violence. He stumbles upon a feed for a mysterious pirate broadcast of torture and murder called Videodrome, and it isn't long before Max starts losing his mind...or does he? The thing with Videodrome is that you keep questioning yourself as to what you're seeing unfold on screen. Is it real? Is it in Max's head? Is Debbie Harry really so goddamned sexy? These are the questions you'll be asking yourself throughout the film's running time.

I could talk more about the film's intricate story and plot, or about Rick Baker's disgusting and groundbreaking effects work, but instead I'm going to focus on the special features of this Criterion Blu-ray release. They are pretty much identical to the special features included on the DVD release from years back, which is absolutely fine because they were wonderful then and are wonderful now. The film is presented here in all its uncut glory with a beautifully restored picture. There's commentary from Cronenberg as well as Woods and Harry, Cronenberg's short film Camera from 2000, documentaries and interviews, complete footage of the Samurai Dreams softcore flick that Max views in the beginning of the film, and a vintage roundtable discussion between Cronenberg, John Landis, John Carpenter, and Mick Garris. All these features make this disc more than worth its price tag.

I know I've gushed before about releases from Arrow Films and Grindhouse Releasing, saying that they are the Criterion Collection for horror films, and that remains the absolute truth. That being said, there's nothing quite like a Criterion Collection release, and their release of Videodrome is something spectacular indeed. Do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP. You won't regret it.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW: The Editor (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Editor (2014)

By Nick Durham

Before I speak anything in terms of the brilliance of The Editor, the first thing you need to know about is the crew behind it: Astron-6. Featuring Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, and Conor Sweeney, Astron-6 is the Canadian troupe that is responsible for the hilarious and brilliant Father's Day released by Troma in 2011 (and, seriously, go watch that like right now) as well as the low budget and super enjoyable green-screen romp Manborg. Seriously, go watch their work before you watch The Editor. Doing so will really make you appreciate just how far technically these guys have come within the past few years.

Anyway, The Editor is the crew's tribute/take on the giallo. A lost and too often underappreciated horror sub-genre, it's rare that we get a giallo anymore (let alone a good one...seriously, Argento, what happened to you?), and here we get not only a pretty good one, but a rousing and hilarious tribute as well. The story revolves around once prominent film editor Rey Ciso (Brooks) who, after a horrifying accident, is left with wooden fingers. Now editing grindhouse filth, Rey finds himself in the center of a series of grisly murders, as well as being hounded by a very "passionate" cop (Kennedy), and dealing with his fallen-star wife (Nurse 3D star Paz de la Huerta). All that is only the tip of the iceberg, though, as things aren't all what they seem, and when shit hits the proverbial fan, trust me, it really hits the fan.

As I said before, The Editor is definitely the most technically impressive film Astron-6 has given us so far. The camerawork, set design, costumes, and everything in between is both a loving tribute to the giallo as well as poking delightful fun at the all too prevalent shortcomings that the genre would feature as well. The performances from nearly everyone involved are wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, and the cameos and small roles from genre stalwarts like Udo Kier, Laurence Harvey, and the super sexy Tristan Risk will definitely bring a smile to your face.

With all of that praise in mind, there's one thing you should keep in mind: The Editor is definitely not for everyone. If you're not into giallos or have no experience with them, you're not going to get much enjoyment here. You're bound to laugh your ass off quite a few times, but you'll miss all the surprising nuances and in-jokes that are peppered throughout nearly every frame of the film. That being said, you'll be missing out quite a bit, and that will kill how super enjoyable the film truly is.

I can sing the praises of The Editor day and night, and in all honesty I kind of want to, but I digress. This is a truly wonderful take on the giallo, and saying that it's worth your time and attention is saying it lightly. The fine folks at Scream Factory finally blessed us with a home video release after it garnered tons of praise on the festival and genre circuits, and with good reason. Go watch it, right fucking now.

Rating: 5/5

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Night of the Demon (1980)

By Dixielord

NOTD

Night of the Demon is a 1980 entry into the Bigfoot horror sub genre. It also has the honor of belonging to the group of films collectively known as the “video nasties”. The video nasties were a group of films banned by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) for release in Britain. Most of the videos were banned due to excessive violence and gore, and for just being nasty. Night of the Demon fits that last part very well it is a very mean and nasty movie.

This isn't the 1957 demonic horror movie, nor the 1988 film that helped make Linnea Quigley into a horror superstar. While both of those are good movies and the 88 film definitely has its share of gore and disturbing imagery (lipstick anyone?), neither of them comes close to the nastiness of Night of the Demon. The other two films win out in a comparison of technical virtue, hell there really isn’t any competition, but Night of the Demon wins in any contest of sheer depravity.

Night of the Demon concerns a professor who leads a group of students into the woods with the stated purpose of debunking the Bigfoot myth. It is told in flashback by the professor who is severely disfigured and in a hospital at the beginning of the film. As they search for proof the professor tells his group tales of people killed and savaged by Bigfoot. These stories include the film's most infamous scene, where Bigfoot manually emasculates a biker who picked the wrong spot to stop for a pee. The tales also include a bizarre, and almost comical scene where Bigfoot kills two young girls. Once in the woods they hear stories of a strange cult active in the back woods that might worship Sasquatch. They also hear about Crazy Wanda who had a run in with the Demon and lived to tell the tale. At first skeptical, as they dig deeper, and encounter more evidence, they suddenly find themselves stalked by Bigfoot. The students are attacked and find their only means of escape cut off. They take shelter at Crazy Wanda's cabin, where they learn the horrible secret of Bigfoot and face the monster in a bloody showdown that leads us back to where we started.

Based solely on it's technical merits, Night of the Demon isn't a film I would recommend to anyone. The effects are just short of laughable, with fake looking blood and body parts to a shaggy Bigfoot suit that looks like what it is, a man in a shaggy Bigfoot suit. The story line goes from serious depravity to scenes that make you wonder if the director is playing it for laughs. The one scene where Bigfoot forces to young girls to stab each other to death with their own knives is just so unbelievable it looks like it shouldn’t be in this film. It looks more like a Three Stooges gag gone too far than a serious scene in a horror movie.

The movie has a grainy cheap feel to it that actually helps it out a bit, reminding me of my old days of watching horror movies late at night on a snowy screen. The copy I viewed from Amazon, it's a but hard to find on DVD, was not a great transfer with lots of noise and the occasional vertical roll. The pacing is almost painfully slow up until the final battle royal, which is shown in slow motion. With the slow motion and the lighting of the cabin, it projects an almost dreamlike, ethereal feel. The acting is amateurish, ranging from deadpan unemotional delivery to overly dramatic at times. Overall the movie looks like a no budget film from a beginning director with not a lot of talent.

With all that said, I find myself liking this Night of the Demon more and more with each viewing. I'm not even sure why. The Bigfoot, while not a horror staple has always terrified me. I remember being frightened by Charles B. Pierce's The Legend of Boggy Creek as a kid, and was always convinced we had a Sasquatch living in our bottom-lands. Growing up I probably did more research and reading about the creature than any other horror subject, with the possible exception of vampires. At some point I came to accept that logically Bigfoot, like Santa, couldn’t exist. But late at night, alone on a dark road, or reading a report of a Sasquatch siting, I still get chills. Reading my own draft of a Bigfoot fiction I am-trying to write gives me chills. So maybe this fear of Bigfoot makes me like Night of the Demon just a bit more than I should.

So I mentioned earlier I can't recommend this on it's technical merits. This isn't a good film. It's not even a so bad it's good film. Now that's not to say there aren’t a couple good things about it, there are some extremely disturbing scenes, some so ridiculous you have to see them scenes, and the creature at times is actually creepy. Add that to a somewhat dreamlike atmosphere and look makes it watchable especially for fans of exploitation and horror films.

But the main reason I would recommend this Night of the Demon to anyone, is that it is a legitimately mean and nasty piece of horror cinema. It fits in perfectly with films like The Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, and The Hills Have Eyes.

Film makers today don’t know how to make a mean film. They can say it's “more extreme” than the original like they did with the remake of I Spit on Your Grave, but they really don’t know what extreme means. Night of the Demon is a extreme film. It's a mean, no remorse, brutal FUCK YOU movie. This Bigfoot doesn’t just kill you, he makes you suffer. This Bigfoot will rip your dick off, then let you wander off to die slowly, instead of ripping you apart. This Bigfoot will hold you on a hot stove till your face burns off then leave you there. This Bigfoot will rip your intestines out then beat your friends with them. Some people may look at that and think, “Wow that's stupid.” I look at it and say, “That Bigfoot is one mean motherfucker and he doesn't give a shit.” This Bigfoot doesn’t want to kill you he wants to make you suffer.

Of course there is a reason why the Sasquatch is so pissed off in Night of the Demon. I'm not going to spoil that for you though. The secret is brutal, but this is a brutal film. Night of the Demon is a legitimate no holds barred video nasty. It might not be as technically well done as some of the others, but it holds up where it counts.

Night of the Demon isn’t a movie for your granny, unless she is a real sick old lady. It's not for the kids, although honestly I think my preteen nephews would laugh at a lot of the kills due to the shitty effects. Last but not least it is not a movie for the stick up the ass elite movie goer. But if you are a fan of the sick and twisted films of the mid seventies and early eighties, it is a must see. I cant guarantee you will like it, but I do guarantee you will ask, “What the fuck?” at least once.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 2 comments

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Spider Baby (1968)

By Nick Durham

spider baby
There're a lot of films I've seen over the years that have managed to make me say out loud, "What the fuck did I just watch?" Spider Baby is one of them. From exploitation director extraordinaire Jack Hill (who would go on to direct Foxy Brown, Coffy, and one of my all time personal favorites in Switchblade Sisters) and featuring the legendary Lon Chaney, Jr. in one of his last roles, Spider Baby is a nasty little gem and an underappreciated classic.

Chaney plays Bruno: a guardian and caretaker for three siblings who suffer from a strange genetic disorder that causes them to de-evolve. Bruno has always had his hands full, but things soon become a bit more complicated when some distant relatives show up to the decrepit mansion they all live in to claim the property. What happens next is some pretty nasty shit, with sanity and various body parts lost in the process.

Darkly humorous and peppered with some very freaky moments, Spider Baby is a treat. The performances from Chaney and the three siblings (which features a young Sid Haig!) are wonderful and somehow still terrifying to this very day. Granted some elements of the film itself haven't aged all that well, but it still manages to be an effective little piece of trash regardless. Originally filmed in 1964, the film didn't get officially released until 1968, and went through a whole lot of different titles in the process as well. Thanks to midnight showings over the years and word of mouth, Spider Baby has managed to become a beloved film of the era, and continues to be discovered and re-discovered as the years go by.

I know I've raved about other releases from Arrow Films before, but their release of Spider Baby is another wonderful Blu-ray package. The picture quality has been remastered, with it's stark black and white cinematography looking simply beautiful. There's a feature length commentary from Jack Hill and Sid Haig, as well as Hill's 1960 short film The Host (also starring Haig) included here as well. There's a panel discussion on the film from 2012, a rarely seen alternate opening sequence, new interviews, video of Hill revisiting the old house the movie was filmed in, and the typical collectors booklet that all Arrow releases include, among other features packed in here as well.

Like I said before, Spider Baby is a supremely underrated exploitation/horror film from an era where films like this were rarely seen. This release of it from Arrow Films is a must have for collectors and aficionados of this type of wonderful trash. Do yourself a favor, pick it up...even if you've never seen it. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Contamination (1980)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Contamination (1980)

By Nick Durham

contamination

My trek through European splatter trash will never end.

Contamination is, as you can probably tell just from the cover, a 1980 Italian rip-off of Ridley Scott's classic Alien, which had achieved monumental success just a year prior. Armed with probably about a quarter of the budget (if I'm being generous) of the budget Alien had, Contamination is a super trashy and cheap cash-in on a much more revered film, much like Bruno Mattei's Hell of the Living Dead is a bonafide Dawn of the Dead rip-off, only this is directed by the guy that made the sci-fi shitfest Star Wars rip off known as Starcrash, and a really shitty Hercules movie starring Lou fucking Ferrigno. Even though it sounds like I'm shitting on Contaminationin this opening paragraph, believe it or not, I have a love for this Italian-branded fecal matter, and Arrow Films has blessed us once again with a beautiful Blu-ray release of the film.

The film's storyline, and I use the term loosely, revolves around a ship drifting into harbor containing a shitload of strange eggs. The eggs of course, are alien in nature, and explode, disgustingly mutilating anyone around them. Turns out there was a mission to Mars sometime prior, and the one drunken astronaut that returned may have some clues as to why these things are on Earth. What follows is a plot to destroy humanity, and quite possibly one of the most laughably awful movie monsters in the history of celluloid.

I know it sounds like I am shitting on Contamination, but I'm doing so out of love. I've always had a soft spot for this film. I know it's bad, I know it's cheap, I know it isn't anything you're likely to remember fondly...but goddammit, I adore it. It attained its fair share of notoriety upon its original release, being labeled as one of the infamous Video Nasties in its day, due to the exploding splatter effects shown mostly in slow motion. The effects, while ridiculously fake looking, are somehow a sight to behold. I know that sounds like it makes no sense, but trust me, watch it. There's also a soundtrack provided by Goblin (!) that is absolutely wonderful.

The Blu-ray rlease from Arrow Films features a bevy of special features that we've come to expect from the label. There's a commentary from super fan and filmmaker Chris Alexander, new documentaries and interviews with director Luigi Cozzi and star Ian McCulloh (who you know from Fulci's Zombie among other splatterfests of the day), a collector's booklet, and even a digital graphic novel based on the film's original screenplay. That's only a handful of what all is in this package, and it is glorious.

All in all, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that Arrow Films has provided us with another wonderful release of a wonderful piece of trash from yesteryear. This Blu-ray is a wonderful addition to your collection if any of what I described of the film seems to be up your alley at all. As for the film itself, Contamination is a gloriously goofy and entertaining Alien rip-off that represents what makes this type of Eurotrash so enjoyable. Pick this up.

Rating: 4.5/5

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Avenged (2013)

By Dixielord

Avenged

I freely admit that I'm a fan of the brutal movies of the 70s and 80s. Today's film makers just can't seem to get that visceral feel that was rampant back then. At least not often, but director Michael Ojeda managed to capture a lot of that brutality in his 2013 film Avenged.

Avenged (originally titled Savaged) is the story of Zoe, a hearing impaired young woman driving across country to move in with her boyfriend. Along the way she stumbles across the murder of a young Native American at the hands of a group of locals. Zoe is kidnapped, raped and eventually killed, but that's far from the end of things. Seeking to heal her, a local shaman manages to bring her back from the dead, but she doesn't come back alone. Her body is now possessed by the spirit of a legendary Native American warrior and is also fast falling apart with decay. She sets out to get revenge on the men who killed her before her body rots away.

Although Avenged is far from a perfect film, there's a lot to like about it, especially for horror fans. It's a bold, no holds barred movie. The bad guys are really bad, racist murderers with no redeemable values. They brutalize Zoe and you can't wait to see them get theirs. They reminded me a lot of Krug and friends from The Last House on the Left. Rodney Rowland plays the Trey, leader of the band as it were. He's a nasty fucker but one that oozes charisma along with hatred. Physically he reminds me a lot of Jeff Branson from the 2010 remake of I Spit on Your Grave, but he's a whole lot nastier. He has a hatred of Natives spurred on by his friends and family. He enjoys what he does and he is remorseless in his torture and rape of Zoe.

Zoe, played by Amanda Adrienne, is both hero and victim. She starts out as the classic exploitation victim, helpless at the hands of evil. Even with her disabilities she fights back against her tormentors. She is a tough independent woman but all her fighting is in vain. After her possession, she becomes the invincible warrior, spreading death and mayhem on the ones who did her wrong. With very little dialogue, Adrienne makes us feel for Zoe, and she's also bad ass in the fight scene.

However, the spirit is never fully in control, so while we cheer on her revenge, we still see see the results of her suffering. We see her falling apart and know, even if she gets her revenge it isn't going to end well. That's a key feature in a good exploitation film: while the good guys may win, there's always a price and seldom a happy ending. You wont get a fake happy ending, or M. Knight twist coming out of nowhere. In Avenged the movie plays out like it should, like it has to.

AvengedAs sadistic as Avenged is, it doesn't linger on the rape scenes. It shows just enough so we can be horrified, but not enough to risk it being titillating. While the camera doesn't linger on Zoe's torture, the bad guys are taken out in sadistic glee with knives, arrows and bare hands. Most importantly, it makes you care about the character of Zoe and her boyfriend. It's hard to make a movie work if you don’t care about the lead character, especially in a violent movie.

The special effects are good enough considering the limited budget. There are a few digital effects that were a bit weak, but overall it doesn’t hurt the film. The acting is solid all the way through and anchored by great performances from Rodney Rowland and Amanda Adrienne.

If you like real, gritty horror, horror that hearkens back to the 70s, I think you will enjoy Avenged. It's low budget but it's done well. It might not be a great film, but it's a fun film and it's worth checking out. I'm giving it four out of five stars.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Dracula 3-D (2012)

By Nick Durham

dracula3d

What the hell happened to Dario Argento?

I know this topic has been covered so many times before that it's grown redundant as fuck, but seriously, what happened? So many of his films have resonated with me over the years since I'd first seen them, from Suspiria to Phenomena to Inferno to Tenebrae; his body of work has meant a lot to me personally. That's why it kills me to see Dracula 3-D, because watching this cinematic abortion is the equivalent of seeing Argento's career die a slow and agonizing death. I thought Giallo and Do You Like Hitchcock? were bad...but Dracula 3D is something else entirely.

From its opening titles onward, you know you're in for a smorgasbord of supreme shitiness. You know that brilliant cinematography and film framing that Argento films have always been known for despite their varying overall quality? There's none here...like at all. Everything in this film just looks so cheaply put together. I've seen shot-on-video trash that looks better than a majority of this film's production. Maybe I'm just being too picky, but none of it is made any better thanks to the schlocky 3D. Watching the film in 2D kind of reduces how cheap everything looks surprisingly, so maybe that's the way to go if you feel like punishing yourself by watching this piece of shit.

The film's storyline doesn't adheres to the source material off and on, which is fine honestly, because not every film adaptation of Dracula needs to be one hundred percent faithful, I mean look at the Universal Dracula and Hammer's Horror of Dracula; those films are perfect. Now comparing either of them to Dracula 3-D is like comparing a juicy t-bone steak to a piece of kangaroo meat posing as a McDonald's hamburger patty, but I digress. We get the usual characters with the Count (Thomas Kretschmann), Van Helsing (Rutger Hauer), Harker (Unax Ugalde), Mina (Marta Gastini), and Lucy (Asia Argento); all of whom range from atrociously bad to hilariously bad in their performances. Hauer in particular looks like he wants to wink at the camera whenever he's on screen like hey guys, I know I'm in this piece of shit...I need to pay the rent. Now maybe this isn't all necessarily the fault of the actors, considering I'm sure they all know the absurdity of what they're involved in. Asia has no excuse though, she's used to this by now. I hope when Father's day rolls around in the years to come since the film's release she gives dear old Dad a punch in the groin for this.

The other thing about Dracula 3-D is its running time. Clocking in at close to two full hours, the film drags and drags and drags. Maybe if it were packed with more ridiculous moments like Dracula turning into a praying mantis (yes, you read that right), things might be a little more enjoyable, but alas, that's not the case. The film just plods onward, always threatening to bore you to tears, and once something occurs that gives you a slight sense of hope that things might not be so bad, you get fucked in the head back to reality of how un-engaging, poorly put together, and overall just plain lame this film truly is. I really can't believe this is from the same guy that gave us Suspiria and all the other films of his that we've raved about for years and hold near and dear to our hearts. Seriously, what the fuck happened?

No matter how much shit I talk on Dracula 3-D, it doesn't do the shitiness of the film justice. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I really recommend you watch it just to see what I'm talking about here. I'm dead fucking serious. I can't guarantee you'll make it through the whole way, but I can recommend you'll find something funnier than Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It could ever hope to be. In fact, I think we should all start a drinking game just for this movie. Every time you hate yourself for watching it, take a shot. You'll be so smashed you may be declared legally dead within the first twenty minutes or less.

 

Rating: 1/5

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Creep (2014)

By Nick Durham

creep3

Every now and then when I have nothing to watch, I scour Netflix in the hopes of finding something I've never seen before, and/or isn't a steaming pile of horse shit. More often than not, anything I find I hasn't seen winds up being horse shit, but every now and then, I find a hidden gem buried within the countless turds. In the case of Creep, I didn't exactly find a gem, but I did find something that wasn't a steaming turd either, so in this case I'll take what I can get.

A found-footage-ish flick, Creep stars Patrick Brice as Aaron, a videographer who answers a Craigslist ad posted by Josef (Mark Duplass of The League). Josef is looking for someone to record footage of him for a whole day, claiming to Aaron that he is terminally ill and wants a video chronicle for his unborn child. Aaron happily accepts the wad of cash he's offered, and he gets to work. However, it isn't long before both Aaron and the audience realize that something is a little off about Josef, and before we know it, things take a really strange turn.

Without spoiling anything, Creep manages to work for what it is thanks to the performances of Duplass and Brice. Duplass, known more for his comedic side on FX's "The League", really manages to flex some dramatic and creepy (no pun intended) muscles here, and Brice is more than believable as the bewildered cameraman that goes from curious to frightened to combative. Both actors also co-wrote the film, with Brice also serving as director. Considering all the different hats both men are wearing for the production of Creep, combined with the fact that they are really the only people appearing on screen, really speaks volumes about each of them as filmmakers and performers.

Though Creep does have some eerie atmosphere and a sense of not knowing what the fuck is going to happen next, there are some long stretches that are just plain boring. Considering this is only an 82-minute long film, that's not a good thing. By the time all the pieces come together in terms of who Josef really is, the audience is left saying "duh" for the most part, but the journey to get there is a mixed bag. This is one of those cases where the sum of the parts isn't quite as good as the sum elements themselves.

In closing, you could do a lot worse than Creep. Found footage films seem to be dying out (mostly), but Creep manages to prove that the end result of these types of horror films don't have to rely on cheap scares or gimmicks to hold a majority of your interest. Like I said before, it isn't anything special, but there are way, way worse ways to spend an hour and a half. Check it out while you can, you'll probably get a bit of enjoyment out of it.

 

Rating: 3/5

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

MOVIE REVIEW: The Human Centipede Trilogy Introduction

The Human Centipede Series: Introduction

By Woofer McWooferson

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

Some movies (including The Human Centipede) and their sequels are billed as not suitable for the faint of heart, some assert they're based on true stories, and some claim to be beyond the limits of decency. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and its sequels, comedic horror of the most disturbing kind, assert medical accuracy as only medically inaccurate yet horrifically disgusting movies can. The Human Centipede films were inspired by what writer/director Tom Six jokingly said would be a great punishment for child molesters: sewing their mouths to the asses of sweaty, long haul truck drivers. Exactly how this idea transformed into a trilogy of films that hold no punches when it comes to the gross out is something only Tom Six can answer. Regardless of the evolution of the idea, The Human Centipede trilogy have carved a gross niche in the body horror genre.

Six, born 29 August 1973 in Noord-Holland,Netherlands and known for wearing RAF-style sunglasses, Panama and cowboy hats, and light-colored linen suits, says of his films, "I try to create original films, why write stories that are done a hundred thousand times? Create something new, push boundaries, why else bother?" and "I don't like happy endings in films, only at massage parlors." Indeed, his films clearly reflect his philosophy, something not always possible for filmmakers in today's world. Among his influences are his favorite films La Grande Bouffe (1973), The Idiots (1998), Crash (1996), Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), and Fitzcarraldo (1982). Salò's influence is quite clear in The Human Centipede trilogy.

Check out the rest of my commentary on this trilogy:

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
The Human Centipede (Full Sequence)
The Human Centipede (Final Sequence)
The Human Centipede Trilogy Final Observations

Stay spooky.

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Hell of the Living Dead (1980) & Rats (1984) – Double Feature

Hell of the Living Dead
&
Rats: Night of Terror

By Nick Durham

Hell of the Living Dead cover

Distributed by Blue Underground

Blue Underground has been behind some of my favorite DVD and Blu-ray releases over the past few years. Daughters of Darkness, Dead & Buried, Stagefright, and the Maniac Cop sequels are just a few of the home video releases that the company has poured a lot into in terms of picture restoration and extras, making them well worth adding to your collection. The films themselves tend to range in terms of overall quality, but it can usually be assured that you get your money’s worth in terms of overall content included. Anytime I hear of a film getting the release treatment from Blue Underground, I’m usually excited…even if said film is a pile of horse shit.

Which brings me to this double feature of Bruno Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead and Rats: Night of Terror. Two fairly terrible films from one of the biggest schlock-meisters to come out of Italy in the history of ever. How do they hold up given an HD treatment from the fine folks at Blue Underground? Well, to put it bluntly: you can put lipstick on a corpse and it’s still a festering sack of rotten flesh, but I digress.

Hell of the Living Dead is one of many cheap films to come out of Italy in the wake of the massive international success of George Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead. Right down to blatantly using the SAME EXACT FUCKING MUSIC SCORE from Romero’s beloved zombie opus, to featuring our crack team of gung-ho commandos dressed in the same uniforms as DOTD’s Ken Foree, Hell of the Living Dead is one of the biggest zombie film rip-off’s in cinematic history. I’m not kidding. I’m sure Romero would have sued but I’m also fairly certain the line to sue Mattei was backed up around a street corner somewhere (seriously, look up Mattei sometime, you’ll see what I mean).

Anyway, Hell of the Living Dead features many unintentionally hilarious moments, nonsensical plot threads, overdubbed stock footage, and some of the most cringe-inducing, yet ridiculously entertaining, dialogue I’ve ever heard in my whole life. That, and our female lead decides to get naked and paint herself up in order to “infiltrate” a tribe of natives…don’t ask why, just go with it, you’ll enjoy it all a lot better. That is the strange thing about Hell of the Living Dead; for as awful as it is, you can’t help but enjoy it despite its faults and overall cheap feel. It’s fun in spite of itself, and it features a hysterical climax that just might make you applaud its awfulness.

The second part of our double feature of shit is Rats: Night of Terror. Now this garbage features a crew of post-apocalyptic bikers running afoul of blood-thirsty rats when they decide to bed down in an abandoned village. If you thought Hell of the Living Dead was nonsensical, then Rats will really make you howl with laughter. It does feature some relatively gross effects work and at least a couple memorable characters, so it isn’t a total loss. The most miraculous thing about Rats is that, like Hell of the Living Dead, it manages to be somewhat entertaining despite its absurd amounts of overall badness. That, and the ending is a total fucking hoot.

In terms of special features and all that, each film features various interviews and trailers that had been seen before on previous releases for each film. It’s not surprising there’s nothing new here in terms of supplemental material, and in all honesty we should be glad we get anything at all for either of these films. The films themselves look pretty good in HD, which isn’t a surprise either considering that Blue Underground usually does a great job with picture quality, but there’s something about the sound quality that seems a little off, at least to me personally. I can’t quite put my finger, or rather my ears, on it necessarily. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, if you love older schlock by way of Italy, you really can’t go wrong with Hell of the Living Dead or Rats: Night of Terror. Both films are atrociously enjoyable, and having them together on the same disc is a nice little touch that aficionados of this horse shit (like me) will find plenty of enjoyment with. Just remember one thing kids: when it comes to movies like these, you can always do worse. Much…much…worse.

Overall rating: 3/5

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