House of Tortured Souls

Rowdy Roddy Piper Lives!

By Machete Von Kill

Rowdy Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper Lives! Well, on film anyway. Pro wrestling and horror fans were saddened by the sudden passing of Rowdy Roddy Piper on July 31, 2015. Today comes news that Piper's final screen performance, a horror short film called Portal to Hell!!! has released a trailer.

In Portal to Hell!!!, Piper portrays Jack an apartment superintendent, who, while already overwhelmed with the his day to day duties, is now given another mess to deal with. There is a portal to hell in the basement of the building! Only Jack can save us from Cthulhu (yes, you read that right, Rowdy Roddy Piper vs Cthulhu) now.

Written by Matt Watts and directed by Vivieno Caldinelli, Portal to Hell!!! is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. No word yet on a U.S. Release date.

Roderick George Toombs was born on April 17, 1954 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Rowdy Roddy Piper, as he came to be known, was a pro wrestler from 1973-87 in the NWA, Pacific Northwest, California. Piper has starred in such cult classics as Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988), in which he played the lead Sam Hell, and John Carpenter's They Live, a scathing commentary on greed and commercialization (1988), in which he played Nada, once again the lead role.

For now, take a peek at the man to battle Cthulhu in this trailer.

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Turns 40

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Turns 40

By Stephanie Roisland

The Rocky Horror Picture show - Rocky' birthday party.

The Rocky Horror Picture show - Rocky's birthday party

On this day, August 15th, in 1975 (that's 40 years ago for you dumbasses), The Rocky Horror Picture Show was born. The screenplay was written by Jim Sharman and Richard O'Brien, it was based on a 1973 British- American musical and stage production. This horror comedy/ musical was directed by Sharman and he was joined by O'Brien who wrote the music, lyrics, and book. O'Brien also played Riff Raff" in the film and co-starred also side some of the Royal Court Theatre, Roxy Theatre, and Belasco Theatre cast members. It was shot in the U.K. at Bray Studios and also at an Estate named Oakley Court. Its estimated budget was between $1.2 and $1.4 million dollars, and its U.S. gross was $139.9 million.

In an era where sci-fi was booming, time warp had a whole new different meaning to us. We all remember dancing to that catchy tune with (Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Richard O'Brien). A musical classic that will always bring a smile to fans faces. I have never had the privilege of seeing it on Broadway, but I have heard that it is an amazing piece to watch in person. The dancing, the sass, and the B movie vibe have sent audiences into uncontrollable laughter.

To this day The Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of the only movies that still holds midnight showings - with full audience member participation. The participants show up dressed in character clothing and act out their favorite scenes in the film. It is becoming more and more rare that these shows are scheduled, so if you see one at your local theatre... attend! It is an experience that will knock your socks off.

As we celebrate this cult classic's last 40 years of memories, madness, and Dammit Janets, we are still truly amazed by the impact it has made on the world. From DVDs , music soundtracks, clothing and housewares, it has paved the way in more aspects than people may think. Costume designer Sue Blane has been heard stating "the costumes from the movie have directly affected the development of the punk trends. Ripped clothing, torn fish nets, and dyed hair". Dr. Frank-N-Furter's (Tim Curry) character has lessened the stigma behind transgenderism and transvestitism. This comedy/musical opened many of people's eyes to a world of just simply being comfortable in ones own skin.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show collectible colored vinyl.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show collectible colored vinyl

I know we all enjoyed "A Creation" (Peter Hinwood) and his magical part in this classic. The women melted over him, the men envied him and some just really enjoyed his amazing gold underwear. From Eddie, Magenta, Riff Raff and Columbia to Dr. Frank, Dr. Scott, the criminologist, Frank and Betty" these character shared in the making of history. One filled with fun, filth and Transylvanians.

This movie (as sad as it sounds) was the highlight of many actors careers. We are not saying that their other roles following The Rocky Horror Picture Show were less important, but these are the characters for which they will always be known. Just as Kane Hodder will always be Jason to the world, so, too, will Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and Meatloaf be Magenta, Columbia, Janet, Brad and Eddie.

So here is to 40 more years of smiles and laughter. Long live The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the memories it brings you. May you awaken your children to cult- classic history and show them the meaning of making art, true art.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

BREAKING NEWS: The Exorcist Is Returning

By Stephanie Roisland

The Exorcist movie poster

It is confirmed, folks. The Exorcist is returning! Morgan Creek Studios and Warner Brothers will be pairing up in a modern version of The Exorcist. The 1973 horror classic remake will be a 10 part television miniseries, distributed internationally by Warner Brothers, and co-distributed domestically with Morgan Creek Studios. It seems that Morgan Creek is finally making good on their licensing of The Exorcist which expires in 4 years. With all the recent buzz and success of possession and exorcism movies, I can't say I blame the timing. This section of horror has been stagnant in the past years and now is the time to jump. Movies like The Last Exorcism, The Possession of Emily Rose, and The Taking of Deborah Logan have stirred a true spark in horror fans everywhere .

The man behind this truly frightening endeavor will be Sean Durkin, director of Martha Marcy May Marlene. The series will portray the events leading up to the possession and the effects it had on the McNeil Family during and after the young girl's experience.

A network has not been announced, we are all curious as to where the series will land. Cable would be the only option that I can see; Showtime or HBO would be ideal places for a series like this. With their recent success and numbers on other series, it would be beneficial for both parties involved.

I know this news brings a long list of questions to the table. Will we see the McNeil Father (even at a glimpse), will we get to see into the Vatican Corridors and how this hushed issue of possession is dealt with in the church? What will be the limitations for language and vulgar scenes, and the use of the sacred crucifix? Most of all we want to know, who will be our Reagan? Is she a new face to the acting world or is she a hidden actress whose full potential we have yet to see?

the-exorcist2We do know that we will be seeing the faces of Julia Roberts, Ian McKellen, Al Pacino, Mila Kunis, Dustin Hoffman, Henry Cavill, Bella Thorne, Christopher Nolan, Johnathan Nolan, and Hans Zimmer in the miniseries.

We will keep you informed as far as a network, release dates, and, of course, Reagan's casting as they become available.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 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: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)

By Dixielord

I'm not a fan of remakes. It's something to which most of my close movie-watching friends can attest. Still, I almost always end up giving them the benefit of the doubt and checking them out. Thus, when I heard that Spike Lee was doing a remake to what I consider a classic - an underrated horror film - I wasn't really excited. However, I also knew that I would end up watching it. The movie in question was Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, a remake of the 1973 film Ganja and Hess.

Ganja and Hess, directed by Bill Duke, used vampirism as a metaphor for drug and other addictions. It starred Duane Jones from Night of the Living Dead and was screened at Cannes film festival. Many think it is one of the most important black films of the era.

Stephen Tyrone Williams in Da Sweet Blood of JesusDirector Spike Lee has called Da Sweet Blood of Jesus a story about “humans addicted to blood”. Lee took the crowd sourcing route to maintain creative control of the film. This is where things get interesting. Spike Lee refuses to use the word vampire to describe the characters in the film. He was secretive about the plot of, and rumors spread that this was intended to be a remake of Blacula, a blacksploitation horror film better known to the general public than Ganja and Hess.

Instead, supporters and fans got what Lee referred to as a “new kind of love story”, which is, in fact, a near shot-for-shot remake of Ganja and Hess. Sweet Blood stars Stephen Tyrone Williams as Dr. Hess Greene and Zaraah Abrahams as Ganja Hightower. The plot follows so closely to the original 1973 film that a synopsis for one works for both.

Dr. Hess Greene is a cultural anthropologist and collector of African art. He is fascinated, in particular, with the work and myths of the Ashanti people (Myrthrian in the original). While researching an ancient Ashanti dagger he is attacked and killed by his unstable assistant, who then kills himself. The ritual dagger, however, causes Dr. Greene to be revived with a taste for blood, and apparently the desire to only drink it off the floor-not from the victim’s neck.

As Hess looks for victims to satisfy his blood addiction, he is eventually contacted by Ganja Hightower, the ex-wife of his deceased assistant. She moves into Greene's home, and the two eventually become lovers. Afraid of being alone, Hess transforms Ganja into another blood addict. While she takes to the bloodsucking life with relish, Greene tires of immortality and looks for a way out.

Remakes are doomed to be compared to their original source material. It's just a fact you can’t get away from. I wanted to review and judge Da Sweet Blood of Jesus as much as possible on its on merits, but found in fairness that I had to re-watch Ganja and Hess. I'm still going to try and judge it mostly on its own merits, or lack of merits, with a brief comparison of the two.

On the positive side, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is beautifully filmed. The opening dance scene, accompanied by a Bruce Hornsby score, is fun and light although weirdly out of place. As a matter of fact, the entire film is light, with only a few scenes happening at night. This seems strange for a vampire film, which Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is despite director Lee's denial. The musical score was another bright point throughout the movie but didn't seem to match the scenes they accompanied.

What I liked most about Da Sweet Blood of Jesus was the story itself. It revolved around using vampirism as a metaphor for addictions, especially to drugs. It also focused on how you can either find salvation and escape from the addiction or you can wallow in its excess. This was what kept me watching Da Sweet Blood of Jesus despite its flaws. Yet how can you credit a film for its story when basically it's the same story you have seen before and with much better execution? I really don’t think you can. It’s almost the exact same story as Ganja and Hess with only a few changes. Most of these changes were unnecessary at best, while others actually hurt the story, especially the scene in the club which is shortened from the original. It changes the whole feeling of the scene and the overall character of Hess Greene.

There were some confusing plot elements that weren't fully explained that hurt my enjoyment of the film. One of the most glaring issues was what happened to the victims of the vampires. It appears that anyone killed by Lee's “blood addicts” became blood addicts themselves. They too are cursed with immortality and a need for blood. However, their final fate is left somewhat up in the air. We do see one victim being buried alive (or undead) without being dispatched. We see another victim wandering around apparently infecting others. In a classical vampire film this would work, but here it seems out of place. Dr. Greene is at least bothered by what he has become. To allow a victim to wander around infecting others or to callously bury them “alive” seems extremely sadistic and out of character.

What is most disappointing and what kills the film for me, is the acting. I can't recall ever hearing dialogue delivered as flat and emotionless as the lines delivered by lead Stephen Tyrone Williams. His conversations throughout the film are painful to watch and listen to. At certain points, I was almost convinced that this was all some twisted joke that only Spike and his cast were in on.

His costar, Zarrah Abrahams, tries to cover for Williams by overacting and overemoting every other line and screaming for no apparent reason. Her interactions with the butler Seneschal, played by Rami Malek, are absolutely idiotic. The entire character of Seneschal seems to be a bad joke - a stereotypical caricature of a gay man that belongs in another age.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus moves along as a snail's pace, similar to the pace of the original. Unlike its predecessor, however, Lee's film doesn't have the acting to keep the audience interested as the story unfolds. Not just the dialogue, but the characters are almost expressionless during most scenes. The times Williams does show emotion it's completely unbelievable, and Abrahams' acting and emoting is all over the place.

Stephen Tyrone Williams and Zaraah AbrahamsOverall, there really isn't much to recommend about Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, which you can’t find better executed in Ganja and Hess. It’s a better looking, better photographed film; but, for me, the grainy look of the older movie was part of its magic. Both films contain quite a bit of male and female nudity, including male full frontal nudity, and sex in both films. There is also a bit of full frontal female nudity and a hot lesbian scene in Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

The only real reason to watch the new film over the original is that it’s easier to find. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is streaming on Netflix as well as readily being available on DVD. Ganja and Hess, as far as I know can only be streamed from Fandor, but there is a now a decent DVD release so it can be found, and in this case, it’s worth the effort to find the original. Over all, I’m giving Da Sweet Blood of Jesus a very generous 2 out of 5 stars. It's a pretty film with pretty music, but over all it doesn't hold up to the original.

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

INTERVIEW: Daniel Phillips SFX Make-Up

By Machete Von Kill

Daniel beginning the JokerOn July 30, 2015, the small town of Grayling, Michigan, welcomed Hollywood make-up artist and SYFY Face Off season 6 competitor Daniel Phillips as part of the Crawford County Library Summer Reading Program. Phillips entertained and informed the large crowd with a short history of special effects make-up in cinema, complete with slide show, and then a live demonstration in which he transformed his son into The Joker from DC Comics' Batman. After the demonstration, Phillips participated in a meet and greet.

During the meet and greet, he was asked to review a make-up portfolio by 15-year-old Kali Kochiss of nearby Gaylord. I spoke to Kali about her SFX make-up and her conversation with Philips. Remember her name because you will see it in the future.

 

House of Tortured Souls: How did you get into the world of SFX make-up, and how long have you been learning your craft?

Kali Kochiss: I was 14, and I got into it because I've always loved make-up. I was watching make-up videos, and I came across this girl who made herself into monsters with make-up. So I was like "wow, I can do this", you know? The whole thing was so fascinating to me.

 

HoTS: Are you totally self-taught? Or have you had any formal training?

KK: Nope. I just started experimenting.

 

HoTS: Are you planning on formal training after high school?

KK: Yes, I plan on going to cosmetology school and then from there to FX make-up.

Rustic-Tulips-leg

 

HoTS: Tell me a little about your meeting and conversation with Daniel Phillips. Do you feel it gave you a push to continue?

KK: He told me not to doubt myself and to keep pushing forward. He inspired me, but not as much as my pepa, who is an artist. He (Phillips) gave me his personal email address so I can send my work for his critique. He also offers different classes that I plan on attending.

 

HoTS: Who in the business do you look up to? Any favorite monsters?

KK: I love Frankenstein, the Boris Karloff version, and I really like Rick Baker.

Kali's work can be viewed on her Facebook page Rustic Tulips Make-up and Special Effects.

 

With the help of a friend from high school (Hollywood sound guy extraordinaire Michael Amman, who worked with Phillips on the 2013 John Rhys-Davies drama Return to the Hiding Place) and social media, your girl, Machete was able to speak to Daniel and ask a few questions.

Daniel Zombie

House of Tortured Souls: Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I was at your presentation for the Crawford County Library, so I have to ask, how did you get involved with the library and had you been to Grayling before? Do you do a lot of appearances?

Daniel Phillips: I got got involved by one of the staff contacting me and asking if I would be interested in coming up for their program, and of course I said yes! I was in Grayling years ago but had not been there in many years. So it was nice to reacquaint myself with the cool little town. Because of the show Face Off I have been asked to do a lot of comic cons and such. It's kinda funny to get asked. I still feel it's weird. Heck, I'm just a little Detroit make-up artist who is very fortunate to be able to do this crazy stuff for a living.

 

HoTS: Are you very involved in the pop-culture/convention scene?

DP: I am becoming more involved in the scene because of Face Off. If they keep inviting me, I'll keep coming back. Lol, we will see.

 

HoTS: What are you working on/involved with right now?

DP: Well I am actually working on something outside of the film industry. I hooked up with the folks over at ORR Prosthetics and I'm helping with some actual prosthetic fabrication for amputees. It's been very rewarding so far. I am also in talks to start pre-production on another film. I just can't talk too much about it right now, but it's gonna be great with a lot of very cool character makeups.

 

HoTS: How did you get into SFX make-up?

DP: I always had a love for horror films. As a kid, they never scared me, I just wondered how'd they do that? So I started researching and trying to figure out on my own...yep before the Internet, I actually had to read books. LOL.

 

HoTS: Who in the industry do you look up to? Anyone you'd really love to work with?

DP: My influences are many, but a few of the people that I respect are guys like Howard Berger, Rick Baker, Kevin Haney, guys like that. These guys are innovators and will always remain in my mind, the best. I would love to work with Rick Baker someday.

Filling in the shadows and definition lines

HoTS: Do you have a favorite genre of film to work?

DP: I love doing character type movies. Movies without a good story really do not do it for me anymore.

 

HoTS: Which is your favorite make-up you've done so far? Any favorites from others in the industry?

DP: I really like sculpting old age make-up, so probably an old age makeup I have done..they are very hard to do. Rick Baker's apes from Greystoke remain a favorite of mine and also old age make-up from Dick Smith on David Bowie from The Hunger...just groundbreaking for its time. Plus I'm a little partial because I trained under Dick's guidance.

 

HoTS: Since House of Tortured Souls is a horror website, I have to ask what's your favorite horror movie make-up?

DP: Dick Smith's work on The Exorcist.

 

HoTS: Favorite movie monster?

DP: I'm a big fan of werewolves when done right, such as Rick Baker's Wolf-man.

 

HoTS: Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees?

DP: Pinhead would kick both of their asses!

 

HoTS: Thanks so much for your time! How can people keep up with your work?

DP: People can keep up with my work via Facebook or my website.

Posted by Alan Smithee in INTERVIEWS, 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
GAME REVIEW: The Letter (2014)

GAME REVIEW: The Letter (2014)

By Nick Durham

What the fuck did I do to deserve this? No, seriously. What the fuck did I do to deserve having to play this fucking game? Who did I fuck over in this life or a previous life that has led to me willfully accepting the punishment that is playing?

The Letter? No, you know what, no one answer that. That would be too long a list.

Anyway, The Letter is a first person survival horror game where you take the role of a young man searching for your father who has mysteriously disappeared. Your journey starts in a bedroom and leads to a construction site where dear old Dad was working...or something like that anyway. In all honesty I didn't get too far in The Letter, but I'll get to why exactly in a minute or two. Along the way on your journey you'll walk around a lot in dark areas...and that's pretty much it. To call this game boring is saying it lightly. Literally absolutely fucking NOTHING happens in this fucking game. NOTHING!

Despite the fact that The Letter is boring as sin, this isn't even the game's biggest crime, not even close. First off, when the game first loads, look at that title screen. Did someone make this in fucking Microsoft Paint? Because that's what it looks like. Not to mention the game's graphics overall are untextured, super cheap looking garbage. I've seen early generation PS1 games that look way, way better than this piece of shit. Now I've been playing video games for a majority of my life, and I know firsthand that graphics don't necessarily make a game good or not. That is very true. There's plenty of super fun and enjoyable games that look like shit, but manage to be a great time. This is not fucking one of them.

Second of all, the control scheme for this game is fucking awful. This is mainly because the game's vertical axis is reversed...AND THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY TO CHANGE IT! That's right. You press one way to move, you move the opposite way. Great controls for a survival horror game right? Not to mention the fact that, as previously mentioned by me so eloquently right above, THERE'S NO FUCKING WAY TO CHANGE IT! I can forgive the graphics, and I can forgive the lack of horror, but I just can't forgive this. Not at all.

To make matters worse, the game is just so fucking cryptic. Cryptic games used to be the norm back in the 8 and 16-bit days, and they could be fun (and frustrating) to figure out. Figuring them out here is not fun, it's problematic, mostly because of the game's super shitty mechanics. Even just trying to get out of the first room, THE FIRST FUCKING ROOM, turned into a head scratcher. Like seriously...fuck all this.

Upon further investigation, I learned that The Letter flopped on IndieGoGo, only managing to secure over 300 bucks instead of the $5,000 originally set as the goal. The game was dumped upon the Nintendo e-shop for $1.99, and the outcry from Nintendo's Mii-verse is deafening. People feel ripped off, and they rightfully should. It doesn't take long to realize that "The Letter" is not a finished game, not by a long shot. It is, at its heart, a failed attempt at using crowd-funding to make a game, and then failing even further in terms of releasing a knowingly unfinished product with the hopes of churning out some kind of profit. A product crafted by inexperienced game developers that churned this steaming digital turd out as quickly as possible. Why am I shitting all over it like I am? Because the crew behind this promised over and over that The Letter would be granted consistent updates from its launch day to provide an overall better gaming experience. Guess how many updates have happened since the game was released in the beginning of 2015? Not a single fucking one. That is basically what we call a scam folks. Not a super expensive one, but a scam nonetheless.

On the flip side of that, it costs 2 bucks, so I know there are some of you that may be saying "come on Nick, it's only 2 bucks, what did you really expect?" Well, for starters, I expected something that played like a competent video game. I've played free-to-play games on my fucking phone that are way more in-depth than The Letter could ever hope to fucking be. I know it's only 2 bucks, but you know what? I still want my fucking money back.

Rating: 0/5

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

BREAKING NEWS: Leonardo DiCaprio as H.H. Holmes

Leonardo DiCaprio as H.H. Holmes

By John Roisland

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Leonardo DiCaprio attends an event for being named UN Messenger Of Peace at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

So it is official and an H.H. Holmes movie is in the works. Paramount Pictures has closed the deal, and Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese is set to direct The Devil in The White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. Leonardo DiCaprio, who starred in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Gangs of New York (2002) - both directed by Scorsese, is set to take the lead role. He will be playing Dr. H.H. Holmes, who is considered to be the world's first serial killer. Holmes is said to have killed up to 200 victims by the end of the 1800s .

Robert DeNiro is also said to be attached to the film, but no dates have been issued for production or release as of yet. Will this finally be it for Leo as his fight for the Oscar continues? Maybe THIS time, Leo, maybe this time.

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

Room 237 or Stanley Kubrick's Shining Vision of the US?

By Woofer McWooferson

Writer and Director: Rodney Ascher; Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner; Rating: NR; Run Time: 102 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: UK; Language: English; Year: 2012

Room 237 begins with a lengthy disclaimer about the expressed opinions not being those of the filmmakers, and it's not difficult to see why this disclaimer was added. Stanley Kubrick was a master filmmaker, a director whose every scene is packed with clues and symbols that may not be evident on a first or fifth viewing. This documentary examines possible interpretations of many aspects of Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, a masterful examination of life and death, the natural and supernatural, the real and unreal, penned by the king of horror Stephen King. Because there are multiple interpretations presented, Room 237 seems, at times, haphazardly put together. We move back and forth through The Shining as each theory addresses various aspects of the film that supports that specific interpretation.

Room 237 feels stilted and sometimes forced, but the overall documentary is an interesting examination of Kubrick's reinvisioning of The Shining as well as the minds of the participants. Indeed, we cannot help but bring our own experiences into our interpretations, but the key is to remember that we must look at the larger picture – something some of these critics seem to neglect. Theories range from the plausible to the confusing and finally to the downright comical. Since Kubrick's films are layered with detail and significance, not all theories can be dismissed, but how can we tell which is right? Kubrick may have included aspects of all of these theories, but I'm not entirely convinced. It will take many more viewings for me to weigh in on those.

5/10 claws – the pace is uneven, but it is worth at least one viewing

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Resident Evil HD Remastered (2014)

GAME REVIEW: Resident Evil HD Remastered (2014)

By Nick Durham

Good fucking grief, how many times can you remake this fucking game? The original Resident Evil came out in 1996 believe it or not, and I have fond memories of playing the shit out of it in my youth and feeling a sense of accomplishment when I finally beat the damn thing. That in itself is a small triumph. This was when the Internet was in its infancy and just looking up walkthroughs online like you can today wasn't a thing (and I didn't believe in strategy guides because strategy guides are for pussies), and I think I spent more money renting the damn thing so many times than the actual game was worth.

All that is beside the point, however, as going back to the original Resident Evil today makes you realize that the game has not aged well at all. Its super cumbersome controls and the historically atrocious voice acting combined with the glitchy and frustrating AI tarnishes the memories I have of it...but that didn't stop Capcom from first releasing a Director's Cut of the game a few years later (around the time Resident Evil 2 first came out) that supposedly fixed some issues (spoiler alert, it didn't). Then, in 2002, Capcom completely remade the game for the Nintendo Gamecube. This version fixed a lot of the problems that plagued the original, with new graphics and gameplay elements that made the game more enjoyable than ever. So really, how does remaking the game in HD for modern consoles end up faring?

For starters, Resident Evil HD Remastered is basically almost the exact same as the Gamecube release 13 years ago. Granted there are quite a few graphical touch ups here and there, with upgraded texture mapping, backgrounds, and character animations. All these touch ups really do help make the game look absolutely beautiful, no doubt about that. I've never seen an old school-type Resident Evil game look so goddamned good. Seriously, there are parts in this game that are jaw-dropping. Capcom really did outdo themselves in the graphics department here, there's no doubt about that.

In terms of the actual gameplay elements, you get to choose between the original control scheme or an updated take on them, which is a nice touch because playing with the original tank-like controls these days makes me want to pull my fucking hair out. If you've played the game at all before in any iteration, then you're likely not going to be frightened by any of the game's offerings of shocks and scares, because you've already seen them before. That being said, they can still be nerve-wracking, and super enjoyable to boot.

The flaws of Resident Evil HD Remastered are mostly the same flaws that have appeared throughout the early entries of the series. The super limited camera angles can be a major pain in the ass, but if you've played the old Resident Evil games for any length of time, you already know this. Not to mention the fact that the game's inventory system is so goddamn dated and annoying that it just never really works all that well. Granted it never has, and granted that this is a survival horror game we're talking about (and the name of the game with that genre is trying to think ahead because you have to, well, fucking survive), but even still it feels like one of the most dated aspects of the game.

Flaws aside, Resident Evil HD Remastered is a blast to play regardless. It will make you remember just what made you fall in love with the franchise in the first place, and will also help ease you away from any recent bad memories that the much maligned Resident Evil 6 managed to create. So, whether it's your first time playing the original Resident Evil or your hundredth, check out this HD remake. You won't be disappointed.

RATING: 4/5

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

MUSIC REVIEW (RETRO): Demon Knight Soundtrack

By Nick Durham

demon knight

Has it really been 20 years since Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight first came out? It's hard to believe that it's really been that damn long. It's even harder to believe that Tales from the Crypt has been off the air for almost that long as well. With all that in mind, Tales from the Crypt has always held a special place in my heart. The TV show itself was basically my own personal introduction to horror in my youth, and while I still enjoy Demon Knight to this very day, it's the film's soundtrack that has resonated with me even more so than the actual film.

Like how the show was an introduction of sorts for me to the horror realm, the soundtrack to Demon Knight was an introduction for me to metal music that wasn't somehow related to Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica. This was the first time that I can remember hearing Pantera, Ministry, Megadeth, and others that would continue to resonate with me as I got older, and helped mold my love of the metal genre. Even though most of the tracks featured here are from previously released material from their respective artists, they all manage to fit the atmosphere not only of the film, but of the comic book horror lunacy of Tales from the Crypt as a whole.

Opening track "Cemetery Gates" is a classic single from Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell", only here we get an edited take on it that shaves about a minute and a half off the run time. Ministry's "Tonight We Murder" is lovely, while Machine Head's "My Misery" seems to be an original track provided for the film. Megadeth's "Diadems" sounds like a B-side from the "Rust in Peace"/"Symphony of Destruction" era, and Melvins provides "Instant Larry", which is pretty damn kicking.

The legendary Henry Rollins is here with Rollins Band (who else would he be with?) providing "Fall Guy", which isn't really anything special in all honesty, but Biohazard's "Beaten" and Sepultura's "Policia" more than make up for it and make me want to smash my head into a wall in a good way. Filter is here with the only song they're known for besides that fucking annoying ass "take my picture" song from the end of the century, with "Hey Man, Nice Shot", which may be about Kurt Cobain or Bud Dwyer. Take your pick. Finally the soundtrack ends with the lone hip-hop track here, "1-800-SUICIDE" by Gravediggaz. I've never been into hip-hop too much, but this song is wonderful. Not to mention the fact that I can still recite the whole thing word for word to this day.

In closing, the Demon Knight soundtrack may appear to be nothing special at first glance, but for those that were around when all this originally hit, it will hold a special place in your heart. I still listen to many of the songs featured here to this very day, and because of this soundtrack, it helped me discover so much wonderful music as the years would go on. Maybe I'm talking it up a bit more than what it's worth because of the sake of nostalgia, but I can't help myself. It was special to me then, and it's special to me now. Check it out if you never have before.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MUSIC 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

BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)

The King of Horror Wrote a Series,
and Constant Readers Followed
A Short Review of The Gunslinger

By Woofer McWooferson

gunslinger

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

The opening line of Stephen King's The Gunslinger is one that Tower Junkies (as fans of The Dark Tower series call themselves) know well.

The Gunslinger is the first of eight novels (thus far) that comprise Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The series combines horror, science fiction, westerns, drama, romance, and intrigue into what King himself calls his magnum opus. Although this first book is a far different style and subject than most of King's fans expect, it is still clearly a King novel. Constant Readers (as King refers to his fans) are dropped into the middle of the gunslinger's pursuit of the elusive man in black as they trek across an unforgiving desert.

The Gunslinger is established as a western immediately but other elements and influences fall into place as the story unfolds. King's typically florid and descriptive prose is abandoned in favor of a languid and sparse style that matches the dry desert we cross with Roland, the gunslinger. Indeed, the Constant Reader gains keen insight into Roland's character and world as he travels. Other facets to Roland's quest are revealed as we follow his interactions with others (for there are a few souls who brave desert living, some in towns and some alone). On this journey, King introduces Constant Readers to what will be hallmarks of the series. We learn that the gunslinger has been chasing the man in black for a very long time, and his single-minded determination ensures that he will not stop until he catches him. We learn a little about his past and that he is last of his kind, a sort of enforcer whose effort to catch the man in black is but a portion of his true quest. We learn the measure of both the gunslinger and the man in black, and we learn that we have much, much more to learn.

To say much more would deprive the Constant Reader of the pleasure of experiencing The Gunslinger for the first time. As noted before, The Gunslinger's prose, tempo, and style may deter some, but it is appropriate and the Constant Reader will be well rewarded for continuing.

NOTE: There are numerous references to The Dark Tower series in many other King novels and stories. After King completed The Dark Tower series, he revised The Gunslinger to reconcile some issues between what he wrote in college with the rest of the series. This is known as The Gunslinger, Revised Edition.

Spoiler Alert: The man in black is neither the Dread Pirate Roberts nor Johnny Cash.

Watch for my reviews of the rest of the Dark Tower series as I once again follow the gunslinger and the man in black.

8/10 claws

Posted by Alan Smithee in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

The Bloody Benders of Kansas

The Truth Behind
The Bloody Benders

By Stephanie Roisland

b868d527241e449deb30c3924fd47df5

I touched on the story of the this morbid family a bit in my movie review for Slaughter, rumored to be loosely based on The Benders, also known as "The Bloody Benders". After watching Slaughter, I had to do a piece on the family, and I really enjoyed researching and writing about them. In 1870, the same year the Ingalls family left the Labette county area to move back to Michigan, the Bender family moved in. A handful of families moved to Labette County that year, but two of them left that same year. The families that remained were quiet and stayed to themselves, except the Benders.

The family was of a foreign religion to the Kansas homesteaders living in the area as they were spiritualists, and they were making their mark in the community. They settled near the Great Osage Trail, a trail innumerable people traveled on their way to settle in the west. The family consisted of John Bender "Pa", he made a 160 acre claim in the area, his son John Jr., sometimes referred to as "Thomas", who made a claim on a smaller land parcel that adjoined the family's but he never worked it, (Some neighbors said he was a half-wit and others say it was just a ruse.), Elvira Bender "Ma", and daughter Kate Bender. Ma and Pa were, as far as anyone knew, of German decent and mostly spoke in German. They did in fact know English, but it was so accented that it was almost completely indecipherable.

The family built a one bedroom house for their residence and business. They opened an inn and general store. A curtain divided the home into two areas: the front was the public inn and store, and the back was the living quarters. Often, travelers on the Osage Trail would stop to refresh themselves with rest, food, and water. They were also able to resupply their wagons with water, liquor, tobacco, horse feed, black powder, and other supplies from the Bender store. More often than not, travelers would stay the night.

Daughter Kate was the most outgoing of the Bender family. She often referred to herself as a fortune teller and healer. It was also rumored that Kate was a prostitute. The community was often overheard talking about Kate and Ma being witches and studying witchcraft. An attractive young woman, Kate drew extra business to the Bender place when she was around. More often than not, she could found traveling to spiritualism lectures and holding her own healing services.

It was discovered some time later that none of the members of the family were actually named Bender. As a matter of fact, only two members were even related, Ma and Kate. Pa was born John Flickinger around 1810 in the Netherlands or Germany. John Jr.'s real name was John Gebhart. Ma was born Almira Meik, and her first husband was Mr. Griffith, with whom she bore 12 children. Kate was born as Ma's 5th child and was named Eliza. In fact, Ma was married several times prior to marrying Pa, and every husband Ma had died of a head wound (surprise, surprise). It was said that Ma murdered her oldest three children because they were witnesses to her murdering her husband. It was also stated that John Jr. and Kate may have been married, and neighbors recall them actually being common law to one another.

l15crop

Hundreds of men passed through Kansas seeking their fortunes in the west and were never heard from again. In those times it was quite common for adventurers and travelers to be out of reach for some time or to be found dead. So it took a great while for the many disappearances to draw attention to the Labette County area. Over the years, more and more travelers dropped off the radar after passing through the area. Some were found dead, murdered in the area, but no one knew who could be responsible. In 1872, George Loncher and his infant daughter left Independence, Kansas to settle in Iowa after his wife, the child's mother, had passed away. After some time passed and Mr. Loncher never arrived in Iowa, Dr. William York, a close friend of Loncher's, went to seek him out. He followed the Osage trail all the way to Fort Scott questioning people about Mr. Loncher and his daughter. On his way back to Independence, Dr. York himself disappeared.

bloody-benders-knife

That's when the story takes a sinister turn.

Dr. York had two very powerful brothers who were hell bent on finding him, Colonel Ed York and Kansas Senator Alexander York. Colonel York led an investigation to Labette County. They questioned the Bender family because of the accusations made against Ma wherein a women claimed that Mrs. Bender had threatened her with a knife. The investigators held a township meeting at the schoolhouse and voted to search each and every homestead for evidence or any sign of murder. Colonel York and both Bender men were in attendance at the meeting. That night the weather turned, and it was several days before the individual home searches could be done. In the meantime, a neighboring family mentioned that the inn looked empty. The Benders had fled. Two days later, several hundred volunteers went to perform the search, among them was the Colonel. The Benders' wagon was gone, and it looked like they left quickly, taking only a minimal amount of belongings, mostly clothes and food. What the searcher find on the property is chilling. A trap door was located on the families side of the dividing curtain in the inn. It revealed a horrid smelling cellar, empty but covered in human blood. Their cabin was moved from the spot, and the ground was excavated to no avail.

Neighbors recalled that the garden on the property always seemed to be freshly plowed. The investigators then turned their main focus to that garden, working through the night and into the next day. What the volunteers and township uncovered was a heinous act of hate and rage.

bendersyard1

The first body uncovered was that of Dr. York. Seven more bodies were found that night and one the next day. The heads were bashed in and the throats cut, with the exception on Mr. Loncher's infant daughter, who was said to have been buried alive under her dead father. Another child's body was unearthed, she was estimated to be about 8 years olds and was badly mutilated. While only ten bodies were found at the farm, 21 murders have been tied to the Benders. (Imagine how many we aren't aware of and never will be.)

From what investigators can piece together, guests of the inn were persuaded into sitting in the seat of honor, strategically placed against the separating curtain. While eating, the guest was bludgeoned in the head with a hammer from behind, throat slit, and then dropped into the cellar. A Mr. Wetzell recalls his visit once at the inn, he declined to sit in the honor seat at which point Ma became very angry and abusive to him. When he saw the two male Benders appear from behind the curtain, he and his traveling companion left the inn. Mr. William Pickering told an almost parallel story to the investigators.

In all, it is estimated that the Benders only collected about $4,600 from the victims they murdered, but they also acquired a few livestock. News of the crime sent shockwaves through the newspapers and media, drawing much attention from curious people. The Benders' wagon was recovered many miles away, but there was no sign of the family. Eventually, twelve men were arrested for the receiving and selling of the stolen items. Senator York put up a reward of $1,000, and the Governor added another $2,000 for the apprehension of the family. The reward was never claimed. Many vigilante groups laid claim to the murder of the Benders, but no evidence was ever presented to confirm that. A railroad worker testified to seeing the two older Benders boarding a train to Humboldt, and the two younger members board a train to Texas or New Mexico.

Nobody ever discovered what happened to the Benders, but it was rumored that Ma murdered Pa over stolen property not long after they fled. It was also rumored that Pa committed suicide in Lake Michigan in 1884. After 145 years, it is likely that we will never know what truly happened to the Bender family. Their home was disassembled piece by piece and kept as souvenirs by the curious. Nothing remains today of the homestead to show the exact location of the crime. However, people claim you would know if you were in the right location, as the land is haunted by the murdered... The victims of the Bloody Benders.

Bloody-Benders

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in BRUTAL REALITY, 2 comments

Abnormal Musings and Freakish Facts #1

By Stephanie Roisland

Human head

 

Fact #1: The human head remains conscious for about 15-20 seconds after it has been decapitated.

 

 

France Hung a Pig

 

 

Fact #2: In 1386, a pig in France was executed by public hanging. It was accused for the murder of a small child.

 

 

Triskaidekaphobia

 

Fact #3: Triskaidekaphobia is the intense fear of the number 13.

 

 

Guillotine

 

 

Fact #4: France still used guillotines for executions in 1977. That same year in The United States, Star Wars: Episode IV was released.

 

 

 

Friday the 13th

Fact #5: Fidel Castro and master of psychological thrillers Alfred Hitchcock share the same birthday, on Friday August 13th. Hitchcock's being 27 years earlier in 1899, and Castro's in 1926.

 

 

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, 0 comments

Terrence Evans aka Uncle Monty Dies at 81

By Stephanie Roisland

Terrence Evans as Uncle Monty

Terrence Evans as Uncle Monty

Terrence Evans aka Uncle Monty from the 2003 version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the 2006 Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, has died. He passed on August 7th, 2015 in Burbank at the age of 81. He was also well known for his roles in Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Terminator 2, and Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider.

Terrence Evans (Uncle Monty)

Born on June 20, 1934 in Los Angeles, California as Terrence Horace Evans, Evans stood 6'6" and began acting in 1970. His first role was as a postmaster in the TV movie The Young Country. Evans went on to act in such TV shows as Quincy, M.E., Hart to Hart, Little House on the Prairie, The Incredible Hulk, and The Greatest American Hero. To horror fans, however, Evans is best known for his role in the Texas Chainsaw films.

No known causes have yet been disclosed as to the reason he passed. He is survived by his wife Heidi, two children, two step-children and a grandson.

Terrence Evans was an icon to many and his talents will be missed by many, including the staff here at House of Tortured Souls.

Rest easy, Terrence.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Slaughter (2009)

8 Films To Die For: Slaughter

By Stephanie Roisland

Well, to start, here is a little history of the After Dark film series 8 Films to Die For for you. Hosted by After Dark Films, the Horror Fest was an annual horror film fest featuring eight independent horror films. It started on 11/17/2006 and completed its duration on 2/4/2011. In 2011 it was replaced with a series called After Dark Originals. This came as a true disappointment to fans. As bad and almost comical as some of the releases were, there were a handful of amazing creations that were brought into the daylight. The series is scheduled to return this Fall, in October, with a film called Re-Kill. It is to have a very limited theatrical release nationwide. The host After Dark Films has since established a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, I look forward to seeing the future products of the new-found relationship. Now on to my first review...

Slaughter

After Dark Horrorfest III and Lionsgate released in 2009

Slaughter

This movie is rumored to be loosely based on a 145-year-old true story of the Bender family from Kansas. In all actuality, the Ingalls family lived in their home, in the same area as the Benders for about a year before heading back to Wisconsin. Their Kansas home later became the basis for Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie book series. I guess Laura left out the part about being neighbors with one of the first documented families of serial killers!

Amy Shields plays Faith, a battered woman looking to escape an abusive relationship. Her best friend Cathy (Antonia Bernath) helps her move to another town to start over. While celebrating her newly found independence at a club that night, she rescues a young girl from her abusive date. That's when she meets Lola (Lucy Holt). After exchanging numbers and getting together on Lola's family farm, Faith decides to take Lola up on her offer for a roommate. "You know, every young girl should move to a rural country home where you don't know anyone or their history"!

As the days pass by, the family's slaughter house becomes a point of interest to Faith. She believes there is more to the building than what meets the eye. (This is a typical thought process for a character in a horror movie. Some people don't get it. Stay the fuck away from the Slaughter house!)

Every night the girls go out on the town, Lola's older, wealthy one night stands seem to disappear. (Did I mention Lola's character is a whore in this movie?!) Faith suspects the abusive, creepy Father (David Sterne) is doing away with the men, but that just isn't the case.

What unravels next is a sadistic story of rage, abuse, seduction, and, my personal favorite. slaughter! Faith is really a psychotic murderer who kills the men she fucks. Then the family butchers them and feeds them to the pigs. (We all know... pigs eat anything!)

Faith is up next, but it's Daddy this time trying to keep Lola's dirty little secret. He finds Faith snooping around the slaughter house, so he drugs, knocks out, and binds Faith. He then rolls her into the lake on the farm. Down under the water she gets a glimpse of the story in full. The graveyard of cars at the bottom of the lake, believe it or not, is larger than the number of Saw movies released! All of a sudden, when it looks like the end, it's Lola to Faith's rescue... or so she thinks.

Lola wants to start a new life - no family, no ties, no molars to trace. Lola wants to be Faith; that means Faith, has to be Lola, when they find her body. Lola must take out any and everyone in her path, especially her family... baby brother included. The bitch makes getting away with murder a severe understatement!

In Lola's mind there is nothing happening that a little planning, a shotgun, and a fire can't fix. So the moral of the story here folks is a family that slaughters together... all fucking die.

For me, this movie was a good watch but a little slow, and lacked detail. If you kill, I want to see it, not just the aftermath or a quick screen pan over the scene. It honestly could have used more blood in my opinion, but all in all, not a bad flick.

The characters were well cast, and I really enjoyed David Sterne's role as the father. He was creepy, stern, and quiet. His character was a bit abusive, but that's just because he was trying to protect his children. I would recommend giving it a watch.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars from me.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Manhunt (2003)

GAME REVIEW (RETRO): Manhunt (2003)

Manhunt:
A Game of Survival Through Execution

By John Roisland

Manhunt cover

Created by: Rockstar games

Released: 11/18/2003 for PS2 format and 04/20/2004 for Xbox and PC in the US.

Ever since I was a child, I have always had this same recurring dream. In my case, nightmare would be a better word. It is of me running through the dark city streets being chase by violent thugs. These nightmares lasted into my early 20s and then proceeded to fade away. One day, when I was about thirty two, I popped this game I had gotten into my old Xbox. I saw that my nightmares had virtually come to life in the video game Manhunt.

The basis of the game is that you are a prisoner on death row. At your execution you are heavily drugged instead of being given a lethal dose and are unconscious but not dead. You wake up in a dark room, thinking you were dead, as does the rest of the world. You are given instructions from a voice over a speaker on just exactly how you can regain your freedom. All you have to do is play a game,. All you have to do is survive.

You were purchased by an anonymous wealthy party to be used in a live action snuff survival game. The objective is to survive and make it through just a few abandoned city blocks. As you play, you will encounter different gangs in the city.

One thing I enjoyed about this game is that each gang was different, diverse. Some wore masks, and some were skin heads. There was even one wearing a pig's head as a mask. He reminded me of Leatherface - complete with a chainsaw.

You could play the game in a strategic manner by throwing a rock or a bottle in the distance. This would distract your opponents and you could escape confrontation free. Chances are there wil be at least one member far too smart for this maneuver, and you will have no choice but to fight and fight to the death.

The beatings were always brutal and the deaths were gruesome. Keep in mind the entire game is being videotaped by your purchaser. You will often hear the video "Director" talking or yelling for more action - he has to get his ratings.

The quality of the game is good, but the map of the game in its entirety is huge. There is a bit of grainy quality to the video when you are being taped, giving it a found footage kind of feel. At certain times when you sneak up to kill a person, then the surprise is on you. The video records the killing from the front, in slow motion, giving you a very raw video quality of the execution.

If you were to eat a copy of the film The Running Man, and follow that with a snack of The Purge 2, you would shit out the game Manhunt. The game in its earlier days, had been banned from most countries due to its high levels of violence. Just because it shows you hacking off a guy's head and then saving it in a duffel bag and use it later as a diversionary tactic... What's wrong with that?!

If you are lucky enough to get hold of this game and a format to play it on, do so. It is a blast. There are enough executions available that would make even Fred Vogel proud.

7 out of 10 stars, even with its age!

Posted by John Roisland in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

PRODUCT REVIEW: Trick ‘r Treat Sam Action Figure Collectible

By John Roisland

Trick 'r Treat Sam action figure collectible

Trick 'r Treat Sam Action Figure Collectible

Coming from a true horror fan of the Trick 'r Treat movie, this little guy has been sweeping through the horror community like a plague. Sam has been expertly crafted to perfectly reflect the enigmatic character from the movie.

I so enjoy the great detail taken with Sam's burlap, face and even in his eyes. It just makes me smile. These pieces are becoming more and more rare and expensive. So what can I say? If you can get your hands on one, do so. It would make a great addition to any horror collection.

For the uninitiated, Trick 'r Treat is a clever little horror film written and directed by Michael Dougherty and based on his 1996 animated short film Season's Greetings. Produced by Bryan Singer, Trick 'r Treat was not released until 2009 although it was previously scheduled for release in 2007 and 2008. Trick 'r Treat stars Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker with Quinn Lord as Sam. Trick 'r Treat was so well received that a sequel, Trick 'r Treat 2, is in the works. Trick 'r Treat 2 also will be written and directed by Michael Dougherty, but no other details are available at this time. IMDb lists the film as in production, and fans of the first film are eagerly waiting to see Sam in action again.

Made by Neca Toys. Trick 'r Treat Sam action figure collectible stands 3x2x7 inches and includes interchangeable heads, lollipop, candy bar, candy sack, display base, and two carved pumpkins.

Price is $160.00+ tax and well worth the investment. Trick 'r Treat Sam action figure collectible is worthy of being passed down through the years.

Posted by John Roisland in PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments