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HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Nineteen – 10/19/18

10/19 – 2005: THE DESCENT

Thanks to films like DOG SOLDIERS, NEIL MARSHALL has now become the ‘go-to guy’ for action movies, especially when it’s action/horror. But the other great film that cemented his position was THE DESCENT, a subterranean ‘monster mash’, with something you don’t see everyday…an entire cast of kick-ass female characters!

Sarah (SHAUNA MACDONALD) and her ‘band of sisters’ are off on an adventure, as her buds rally ‘round her, to help her through the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter in a terrible accident.

Are you thinking “Lifetime” movie right now? Forget it. Sarah and her friends aren’t here for a book club…their idea of kicking back is going spelunking, which means exploring underground caves, for those not familiar. And in this case, it means previously uncharted caves, adding to the excitement.

And the terror. If you have seriously bad claustrophobia, you may want to leave now, because even though I don’t, there are a couple of harrowing sequences when I had to remind myself to breathe!

And just to make it interesting, how about throwing in an unexpected band of C.H.U.D.s to keep things lively? (If you never saw that movie, that stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, which these beasties definitely are.)

So the battle against fears both rational and irrational suddenly turns into a ferociously bloody fight for survival, as the creatures respond to what they think of as a ‘dinner bell’, with our spelunking sisters being the main course on the menu. Who will make it out alive, if anyone? There’s some further wrinkles developed in the story, that makes the answer to that question even more intriguing. An answer you’ll love to discover…when you’re not biting your nails down to the quick!

In spite of two different controversial endings, (both which are available on the Blu-Ray and some DVD versions), THE DESCENT garnered enough of a following to spawn a sequel, which of course can’t touch Marshall’s deft hand directing the first one.  But that’s also still worth a look.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: 2005 was also “Ground Zero” for the explosions of SAW II, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, LADY VENGEANCE, THE JACKET, HARD CANDY, LAND OF THE DEAD, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, NOROI: THE CURSE and THE CALL OF CTHULHU.


Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Eighteen – 10/18/18

10/18 – 2004: SHAUN OF THE DEAD/DAWN OF THE DEAD

What the hell do you do with a year that not only gave us one of the best remakes ever of a George A. Romero masterpiece, but also the great horror dramedy that was inspired by the original version of said film?  Why, you review them both, of course!

The now-famous horror-comedy team of SIMON PEGG and NICK FROST, together with their frequent partner-in-crime, director EDGAR WRIGHT, had long since been fans of Romero’s entire body of work, when they began to cook up their own impossibly nutty take on not just that film, but the entire zombie genre, SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Think of what would have happened if the MONTY PYTHON group had gotten hold of the original script for DAWN, and put their own special “stamp” on it, and you’re pretty much there.

 

Pegg plays the titular electronic store clerk Shaun, of course…a rather ordinary bloke living a rather ordinary existence, save for a few unfortunate things…like his strained relationship with his mum, and his girlfriend, who’s now his ex. And like every guy who’s been through this, even though he has his best bud and roomie, Ed (FROST) who has his back like always, nothing is going to be the same for him, until he has his girl, Liz (KATE ASHFIELD) back.  But there is the bothersome matter of a zombie apocalypse to deal with, right in the middle of his “get my ex back” campaign.

  

There’s plenty of action in this, in between the guffaws and gaffes, not to mention enough bloodletting to satisfy gorehounds who might otherwise be inclined to skip it.  But as writers, Pegg and Wright never forget to give us fully-realized characters, and some stunning and memorable setpieces, including a look at Shaun’s daily routine in before-and-after apocalypse mode, which even with repeat viewings is still as funny and frightening as it was the first time.

A dead-on (pun intended) skewering of everyday British life, pop culture and the human condition (not to mention the condition of the undead who were once your family, friends and neighbors) SHAUN is never less than a brilliantly-conceived, funny-as-hell, sometimes gory and sometimes even touching tribute from two absolute super-fans of not just George Romero, but the sub-genre of horror that he singlehandedly created. In fact, the mutual admiration society they had going on was so intense, that George actually gave both Simon and Nick cameos in LAND OF THE DEAD!

Which brings us to the ‘new and improved’ version of DAWN. If it had been any other writing/directing team, I could imagine this remake of a classic would have sunk from the multiplexes without a trace. Until you consider that the writer and director in question are JAMES GUNN and ZACK SNYDER.  Now we’re talking!

The original DAWN opening, somewhat picking up from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, was pretty scary stuff, and you’d think that there wouldn’t be too many ways to make it scarier. But that’s where Snyder and Gunn say “Here, hold our beers.”

A family morning wake-up call has never been more horrific.  In the blink of an eye, the drowsy family morning routine of Ana (SARAH POLLEY) goes from being blasé, to a total bloodbath, when their infected daughter bites and kills her husband, turning HIM into an undead flesh-eater. The shocking sequence where she escapes, only to witness her entire neighborhood descending into mayhem is as unforgettable as anything Romero ever pulled off.

  

That’s not the only place where Gunn as a screenwriter stuck to the original Romero story beats, but still brought his own vibe and dark sense of humor to the proceedings. As Ana takes her chances with a group of survivors who decide to hole up in a local mall, just like in the original, the story pulls in the rest of the outstanding cast including VING RHAMES, JAKE WEBER, MICHAEL KELLY, TY BURRELL and MEKHI PHIFER.

And Phifer’s other half in the film, Luda (INNA KOROBKINA) is very, very pregnant, soon providing us with the horrific answer to a question we didn’t exactly get from, say, THE WALKING DEAD: what happens to pregnant women in the zombie apocalypse, who give birth to…well, you fill in the blank.

Not the biggest ‘feel-good’ zombie film in the bunch by a long shot (and those who have seen it multiple times know exactly why), this DAWN remake still stands tall as one of the better ones in the scads of Romero tributes, knockoffs and wanna-be’s.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: SAW, THREE…EXTREMES, SHUTTER, THE VILLAGE and GINGER SNAPS II: UNLEASHED were just some of the other goodies dropped on horror fans in 2004.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Smoking Hot with … Bong of The Living Dead (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: Smoking Hot with … Bong of The Living Dead (2017)

Yes, you read that correctly, this review will be about the recent release of a film titled Bong of the Living Dead, a new breed of Zombie film that has so much beautiful sentiment it actually surprised me!

Again, this is an actual moderately action-packed stoner film involving a group of potheads and their antics during an untimely zombie outbreak.

Of course, when you hear the title, you will prejudge based on your views on the prior Evil Bong films. This is not affiliated with those films in any way, shape, or form.

Ted (2012)

Ted (2012) – No, not that bong.

Bong of the Living Dead features a group of twenty-something adults who have known each other since they were kids.

As kids, our hazy leader Christ Moser (played by Eric Boso, previously seen in short films) establishes himself as a self-proclaimed zombie aficionado. He spends a lot of his days mulling over how he would react to a zombie apocalypse, usually while smoking his bong.

Also in the friends’ group is Kate Mitchell (Tiffany Arnold, who appears in Lilith with Jessica Cameron). Kate is a doctor now with much less regard for Christ’s discussions and thinking more logically about the possibility of an attack of the undead.

Joining this duo is Daniel Alan Kiely as Hal Rockwood, Laura. E. Mock as Tara Callahan, Dan Nye as Jon Lance, and Cat Taylor as Danielle Dewitt.

Each adds some genuinely funny moments to this oddly conceived film and balance the humor with their genuine care and compassion for each other.

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, and Laura E. Mock in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, and Laura E. Mock in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

Obviously, there are nods to films notable within the zombie sub-genre and Night of the Living Dead is discussed in one of their Zombie talks. as well as Land of the Dead in relation to guns within the Zombie film world.

When the actual news breaks on TV about the onslaught of Zombies, naturally some are excited and others more reserved within the group.

That said, the original onslaught is quite less than anticipated and notably disheartened, they instead all return inside to…you guessed it…get high!

Hours pass and the news reports worsen to the point that one newscaster reports, “You’re fucked, Columbus!” Even worse, a politician begins a campaign (Councilman Ted Swanson) with the cheesiest slogan, “Don’t be a problem, zom-bee the solution”.  All of this prompts our collective ensemble to again get high, and we are treated to a montage of zombie preparations before they attempt to venture outside. A few of the neighbors are devoured by the increasing horde and things begin to take a zombie-like twist for the worst.

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, Laura E. Mock, and Cat Taylor in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

Daniel Alan Kiely, Tiffany Arnold, Eric Boso, Dan Nye, Laura E. Mock, and Cat Taylor in Bong of the Living Dead (2017)

This is where they take a downward spiral. Zombies overtake, some are hurt, even killed. The usual plot aspects of a zombie film. However through a series of horrific moments, and even the news guy shooting himself, our gang begin to recall their fond memories with one another. Tied in with such an amazingly emotional score, it pulls oddly at your heartstrings – not something I anticipated – and creates an almost beautiful climax.

I think people will prejudge Bong of the Living Dead, but in those moments it showed real heart and actually became so much more than a stoner zombie viewing.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
My IDOL George Romero Finally Gets a Hollywood Star!

My IDOL George Romero Finally Gets a Hollywood Star!

They're Coming for You, George...
(And it's about time!)

Star of the Dead

By Tammie Parker

George Romero - Night of the Living DeadGeorge Romero made zombies famous in Night of the Living Dead and redefined the genre while doing so. But not only did he direct the movie, he also helped write it. The man is a zombie genius! Almost all of us learned how zombies walk, move, moan, and what they look like (Hint: Not so good.)  from this movie. How real the movie looked (especially for the time period) made it truly disturbing to many viewers, and the concept of using radio broadcasting to report on what was happening was beyond creative. Lest we forget, Romero also encouraged the actors to perform with conviction, to bring realism to the drama, as evidenced with Barbara's nervousness and getting the shakes and Ben's slap to bring her back to reality, or the doomed family in the basement who, nevertheless, remain steadfast in their resolve to remain n the basement and to keep the others out, He made us feel for these people, and that made it all the more frightening.

 

Dawn George RomeroGeorge later blessed us with more to the story - Dawn of the Dead (1978),

 

 

 George RomeroDay of the Dead (1985),

 

 

 

zombies-georgeromaro-landofthedeadLand of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009), and a work in progress Origins (a prequel). Thanks, George!

 

This, of course, has made so many zombie fans (myself included) obsessed with Mr. Romero!

Zombies with George Romero

 George RomeroHell, look here! Even the zombies love him!

 

 

 

zombies-georgeromaro-blackopsSome big fans include the creators of Call of Duty: Black Ops- Zombie map, Call of the Dead

 

horrormovies-silenceofthelambs-georgeromarocameoAnd director Jonathon Demme gave him a cameo in Silence of the Lambs!!Did you notice him?

 

Crazies George RomeroBy no means is Romero just for the zombie lover of course, He loves horror in general. He directed the original The Crazies, and the cult vampire movie Martin, and how about the Monkey Shines, huh? Pretty weird stuff, George! He even directed the commercial for the video game Resident Evil 2

George has also worked with Stephen King.

Stephen King and George RomeroThey created the comic book throwback movie Creepshow.

 

 

 

horrormovie-thedarkhalfAnd Romero also directed The Dark Half - boy, were the sparrows flying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

During his 50 years in the film industry, he has written, produced, and directed many films and even had a television show called Tales from the Darkside (Rumor has it that Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, will be working on a new version of Tales... yet another King tie). So why did it take so long for him to get a star?

zombies-georgeromaro-creepyglow

 

 

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HEROES, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
Zombies: To George A. Romero

Zombies: To George A. Romero

Zombies: A Tribute to George A. Romero

George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead forever changed our view of zombies. Since then, he has released five additional zombie movies. On this day in 2005, George A. Romero's Land of the Dead was released theatrically. House of Tortured Souls pays tribute to Romero and his zombies with two poems by our resident poet Rich Orth.

 

Zombie silhouettes designed by Freepik

Sea Escape!
©Rich Orth

Lost Johnny this morning
God them bastards are fast
Wish Romero did more research
Maybe we'd be able to last
They function, predators
on top of their game
Snuffing us out
like flickering flames

Zombie silhouettes designed by Freepik

Savagely killing....

Only to have our friends
rise again
Our numbers diminish
For every one we kill.... 4

seemingly
appear to return.........
We've run out of land
There is no high ground
Surrender not an option
Suicide may be the only escape
Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikI last flight..to the Ocean
we flee
With the slightest notion of what
to expect
Upon the seas
Marauding Pirate zombies
or zombie serpents
So must shit has hit the fan
Nothing would surprise me..............

 

Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikZombie Preamble!
 ©Rich Orth

In this city of sin
Where life is a gamble
Heard my first rendition
Of the Zombie preamble
Now a majority rule
Constitution theirs to change
We the Living Dead people
In order to form a more perfect union
Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikNo matter how deranged
Basically are saying .."Screw You"
We want your brains, only as hors d'oeuvres
You are merely
Soylent Green
A way to a means
As we march on, well lumber that is
Eating your young
Killing your bitches
******
Well since that day
I've been in hiding
We sit here now
Zombie silhouettes designed by FreepikTime is bidin'
Immoral Majority take heed
Will fight for your second death
Should there be need
Enjoy the top
While you can
Cause one shot
to the head
And your ass again
will be dead

 

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Zombie silhouettes designed by Freepik

Posted by Alan Smithee in FICTION AND POETRY, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

HISTORY OF HORROR: JUNE

By John Roisland & Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in June.

June 1 – 7

June - Phantasm

 

06/01/1979
Phantasm released theatrically

June - Poltergeist (original)

 

 

06/04/1982
Poltergeist released theatrically

June - Robert Englund

 

06/06/1949
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street actor) born

June - The Omen (remake)

 

06/06/2006
The Omen (remake) released theatrically

June 8 – 14

June - Hostel 2

 

06/08/2007
Eli Roth’s Hostel Part II released
theatrically

June - Damien: Omen II

 

06/09/1978
Damien: Omen II
released theatrically





June - Poltergeist III

 

 

06/10/1988
Poltergeist III released theatrically

 

June - Tales from the Crypt (original)

06/10/1989
Tales from the Crypt premiers on TV

June - Rosemary's Baby

 

06/12/1968
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby released theatrically

June - Jason Voorhees

 

06/13/1946
Fictional mass
murderer
Jason Voorhees is born

June 15 – 21

June - Herschell Gordon Lewis

 

06/15/1929
Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast, The Wizard of Gore) actor, filmmaker, and Godfather of Gore born
June - Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

 

06/15/1948
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein released theatrically
June - Gremlins 2: The New Batch

 

06/15/1990
Gremlins 2: The New Batch released theatrically

 

June - Psycho

06/16/1960
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho released theatrically
June - Jaws 2

 

06/16/1978
Jaws 2 released theatrically

June - Lucio Fulci

 

06/17/1927
Lucio Fulci
(The Beyond,
City of the Living Dead
writer, director) born

June - The Exorcist II: The Heretic

 

06/17/1977
Exorcist II: The Heretic released
theatrically

June - Willard

 

06/18/1971
Willard released
theatrically

June - Haute Tension

 

06/18/2003
Haute Tension
released theatrically in France

June - Daria Nicolodi

 

06/19/1950
Daria Nicolodi (Dario Argento’s Opera actress) born

 

June - The Twilight Zone06/19/1964
The Twilight Zone original TV series ends its run

June - Jaws

 

06/20/1975
Jaws released theatrically

June - Frenzy

 

06/21/1972
Frenzy released
theatrically
June - Lifeforce

 

06/21/1985
Lifeforce released theatrically

June 22 – 28

June - Bruce Campbell

06/22/1958
Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead (1981), Army of Darkness actor) born

June - Elvira's Haunted Hills

 

06/23/2001
Elvira’s Haunted Hills released
theatrically

June - Land of the Dead

 

06/24/2005
George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead released theatrically

June - The Omen (original)

 

06/25/1976
The Omen released theatrically
June - The Thing

 

06/25/1982
John Carpenter’s The Thing released theatrically

 

June - Peter Lorre06/26/1904
Peter Lorre (The Comedy of Terrors
actor) born

June - Dark Shadows

 

06/27/1966
Dark Shadows premiers on TV

June - Blade the Series

 

06/28/2006
Blade: The Series premiers on TV

June 29 – 30

June - The War of the Worlds (remake)

 

06/29/2005
War of the Worlds released theatrically

June - Vincent D'Onofrio

 

 

06/30/1959
Vincent D’Onofrio (The Cell actor) born

 

Keep it Evil

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments