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LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 2: Habit (1995)

LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 2: Habit (1995)

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By Nick Durham

The second film in Scream Factory's Larry Fessenden Collection is the Independent Spirit Award winning Habit, which was filmed in 1995 and released in 1997. This was the film that really started getting the ball rolling on Fessenden making a name for himself within the realm of independent horror. While No Telling and his short films were interesting and original to say the least, it was this film that really announced his presence to the genre. It should also be noted that this is a remake of Fessenden's own 1982 short film of the same name, which expands on everything presented there in terms of character and atmosphere.

Habit is a vampire film in which our lead character Sam (Fessenden) finds himself at a crossroads in his life. His father has just passed away, and he's broken up with his long-time girlfriend as well. Finding solace in booze and his bohemian lifestyle in 90s New York City, Sam meets the sexy Anna (Meredith Snaider) at a Halloween party. They eventually engage in a kinky sex-charged relationship and soon things begin to turn a little strange. Sam finds himself getting sicker and weaker, while Anna continuously enjoys sinking her teeth into him. Eventually he realizes what she is, and then things start to get nasty.

As I said above, Habit received a shitload of acclaim upon its original release from the indie circuit, and it's easy to see why. This is a decently original take on vampirism, and it manages to overcome any of the clichés that come with it too. For being super low budget, the film is well-shot and features some great shots of New York City as well. The acting is great all around, particularly from Fessenden as our lead who finds himself deteriorating more and more with each passing day.

Special features wise, Scream Factory's Blu-ray contains a commentary from Fessenden as well as a making of documentary. The Habit short film is included as well, and so is Fessenden's N is for Nexus short from ABCs of Death 2 and a making of for that to boot. There's a weird music video thrown on here as well that Larry was behind too. So yeah, there's some good stuff here for sure.

So yeah, Habit is definitely one of Fessenden's best films to be sure. If you've never seen it before, I strongly recommend giving it a look. It's not likely you'll find a more unique vampire film from the mid-90s era.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 1: No Telling (1991)

LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION REVIEW PART 1: No Telling (1991)

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By Nick Durham

Larry Fessenden is a weird fucking dude man. He's a one man sow of writing, directing, producing, acting, and more besides. Go to iMDB and look at this fucking guy's filmography: he's produced and acted in so much stuff it's hard to comprehend. He's had his hands in almost everything in terms of independent horror (or close to independent horror) ranging from Stake Land, We Are Still Here, I Sell the Dead, House of the Devil, and tons more besides. In terms of writing and directing, Fessenden has made a hell of an impact in the world of independent horror. Scream Factory and IFC have decided to bestow upon us a wonderful collection of four of Fessenden's films in one handsome Blu-ray set. The Larry Fessenden Collection features No Telling, Habit, Wendigo, and The Last Winter; four films that are definitely different from the rest of the independent horror pack.

The set begins with 1991's No Telling; Fessenden's feature length horror debut after directing a string of well-received short films in the 80s. This film revolves around scientist Geoffrey (Stephen Ramsey) and his wife Lillian (Miriam Healy-Louie) moving to the rural countryside. What should be a nice and relaxing environment becomes nightmarish for everyone as Geoffrey sink deeper into his experiments and projects involving pharmaceuticals, animals, and some very, very bad things.

I'm going to tell you all right now: No Telling is hard to watch because of the graphic animal carnage. It's never super exploitative though, as Fessenden knows when enough is enough and when to make the camera pan away. The heart of the story is a mix between showing the degradation of the marriage between Geoffrey and Lillian as he becomes more obsessed and unhinged with his work. That, and the social commentary on animal testing/experimentation, makes for one shocking and intelligent flick. If there's any drawbacks to this, it's that like I said: this is really hard to watch. When the experiments take a Frankenstein-esque turn...holy shit. Fucking hell, this definitely isn't for everyone. The film's conclusion is also pretty abrupt and anticlimactic, and we never get the satisfaction of seeing those that deserve it get theirs in the end. Then again, maybe that's the point Fessenden was trying to make: this kind of shit continues to happen in the real world, even to this very day.

Like just about all of Fessenden's future work to come, No Telling is a startlingly original and thought provoking horror story. If it weren't for the depictions of animal mutilations, I would recommend this to everyone I possibly could, but that in itself stops me from doing so. It's not that the depictions are that extreme and over the top; it's just that shit like that gets to me. I can watch a guy get his cock chopped off and eaten by cannibals, but I can't watch bloody experiments on mice and dogs. Color me weird I guess.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Den (2013)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Den (2013)

By John Roisland

The Den poster

Back in 2013,  director Zachary Donohue brought us his major debut with The Den.  Released by IFC, Cliffbrook Films and Onset Films.  The story of Elizabeth ( Melanie Papalia ; Extraterrestrial /Smiley), who has been given a grant to study peoples behavior while online, in a  web chat group called...you guessed it, The Den. While online she runs into all sorts of people as you would expect, from all walks of life; friendly, rude, funny, perverted and yes, even scary. Things are seeming to be  fine as our girl chats it up with whom ever is online and will chat. As she  chats it up with lonely guys asking to see her boobs, woman screaming at the webcam,  guys jerking off, and oh yeah, a murder.

So, Elizabeth contacts the police, shows them her computer, and replays the video of the murder for the cops. The cops aren't into big of a hurry to draw their guns as they tell her,"it looks real". Problem is , there are tons of these violent acts that are actually staged and sent over the internet to frighten people.

 

 

 

 

Going home things start to happen. Such as her laptop being controlled from an outside source and and sending people false emails and basically controlling her every move, and   her boyfriend, played by David Schlachtenhufen disappears.

This mystery killer, has now made Elizabeth the lab rat in her own study. Violent acts happen by this killer and our girl gets to see it all first handed as she is sent the live videos feeds thru the chat room.

The story kind of drifts for a small while, and for a second you might think you were watching a screening of Unfriended 2 ( ! if there was one). See the entire film is shot on webcams or phone cams. Although I must give them credit, they did  a pretty decent job at it, and seemed  to have coverer all angles. With technology what it is today, sometimes its hard to determine what's real, and what's not.  And they did a good job of presenting that to you as a viewer. The film does carry a decent suspense level,.. and even a scene that I knew was coming, but still jumped!

While I'm not going to give the ending a way, NO SPOILERS,  I will just say that the ending was good. Hell, the ending actually surprised me! Lets just say it proved a lot about humanity and the  all mighty dollar!

This IS currently showing on Netflix, give it a shot!

6/10

 

Stay Evil

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