last house on the left

Domestic Hell local movie that shows real horrors

Domestic Hell local movie that shows real horrors

I’ve reviewed numerous films all over the U.S. so I was really happy to finally review a local film shot here in my back yard. I recently got to watch the film Domestic Hell (2018) by Colin Bressler. I would see advertisements of the film having it’s premiere in my city. I reached out to them and introduced myself and explain who I am. I was lucky enough to view the film before screening and take in what the cast and crew was able to pull off. So let’s break it down. The plot is: A couple in a open marriage kidnap a girl being held against her will. The Husband has become abusive towards his wife and hostage, We then find out that the husband has created a blood lust towards innocent women. Making the decision for the wife to stay or just work things out and the friend trying to locate her missing friend. The film doesn’t have any major stars but the cast does have potential for acting where at times felt too real in certain scenarios almost as if they were giving an emotional testimony of their pain. Given the film may not an over the top gore you may know me to review, but I couldn’t help but check out the film. I have to say there is that feel of The Last house on the left (1972) in reference to the husband and to where his captive wife who has developed somewhat of a Stockholm syndrome for her husband even though during the film she can’t help but feel bad and worried for her own life as she’s also a victim. The director set out to make a horror movie where it’s the horrors of real life about Domestic abuse. I have to give the Director credit for turning out a captivating story where we felt compassion, fear and sorrow for these characters where as even though it may not be a big budget film  they give it their all for this which I’m glad to see since this is a horrific scenario. Including a satisfying ending that wraps up the story very well. The film Domestic Hell is a terrifying ordeal, but a joy for the movie goers who are looking to see new talent bring something to the big screen. If given the opportunity watch the film or if you’re in the San Antonio area stop by for the premiere part of the proceeds at the door will be donated to the Domestic Violence Shelters which I think is a great reason to see this movie. The link for the viewing can be found here.

Posted by Jai Alexis in EVENTS, EXCLUSIVE, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

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

10/10 – 1996: SCREAM/FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

1996…It was a draw for me; too tough to narrow down the list of all the great flicks I had to choose from. I finally managed to whittle it down to two: SCREAM, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. Both are as important and influential to the genre during this time, yet both are certainly unique: one redefined what fans had thought of the teen slasher genre, while the other took vampire lore to a whole new place unconsidered up to that point.

Legendary director WES CRAVEN had always been an innovator of modern horror, re-establishing himself in several sub-genres over the course of many decades. With LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, he’d done things that most directors in the field never achieve over the course of their entire careers. So when he was looking for the next big thing, he wasn’t even considering sticking with horror, when he crossed paths with a brilliantly subversive script by DAWSON’S CREEK scribe KEVIN WILLIAMSON; a nicely-nasty little number called “SCARY MOVIE”, which was soon to beretitled…SCREAM.

Snarky, self-reverential, almost to the point of being a bit too “nudge-winky” at times, nevertheless, SCREAM never once forgot to bring the laughs, the scares AND the gore in ample supply.  A slasher of teens begins to decimate the youth population of the little bedroom community of Woodsboro, but if that wasn’t bad enough, said killer seems to be every bit as smart as the “Scooby Gang wanna-be” group of horror-loving kids, who soon realize that their stalker not only knows the ‘rules of horror’ as well as – if not  better than they do, and he’s not only using the playbook to take them out one-by-one, but he (or she?) is even bending and changing the rules! Much like Williamson’s TV creation, the cast couldn’t have been more suited as an ensemble, even though the standout was DREW BARRYMORE, if only for the mere fact that she pulls a “Janet-Leigh-in-PSYCHO” on the audience in the first few moments of the film – a shock that has since become legendary, even though people still remember where the idea came from!

NEVE CAMPBELL, SKEET ULRICH, ROSE MCGOWAN, JAMIE KENNEDY, MATTHEW LILLARD, W. EARL BROWN, LIEV SCHREIBER, COURTNEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE (who married and divorced over the course of the franchise); JOSEPH WHIPP (who could’ve been playing the same character from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – and probably was!), plus unexpected cameos from LINDA BLAIR and HENRY WINKLER going way out-of-typecasting as an asshole of a principal…It didn’t get any better than this! Plus Craven’s direction, with tongue firmly-in-cheek the entire time, could have you rolling your eyes and chuckling one minute, and yes, SCREAMING the next! This film helped usher in a new age, where the movie and the characters were as smart – if not smarter than the audience that eagerly made SCREAM a box office smash!

Meanwhile, thanks to buddy and sometime collaborator QUENTIN TARANTINO, cinematic ‘one-man-band’ ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was having fun playing “Dr. Frankenstein”, by smashing two unexpected sub-genres together, if not three: serial killers, true crime…and vampires.  FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is the kind of film you never expect…until it bops you upside the head from seemingly out of nowhere!

The notorious Gecko brothers, handsome and sarcastic Seth (GEORGE CLOONEY) and ‘quiet, reserved’ Richard (no less than TARANTINO himself) are cutting a swath of robbery, assault and murder across the Southwest.  The “murder” part of their spree is owed mostly to Richard, who just can’t curb his impulses to kill and rape people. Well, to be a bit more specific, he kills and rapes womennot the men, let’s be clear on that (as Richard would probably say himself.)

Their antics – but especially Richard’s body count – has made it necessary to hotfoot it South of the Border, and maybe lay low somewhere in Mexico, until things die down…If they do. Along the way, as they change vehicles, they hijack an RV and the vacationing family inside it and skip town.

The intent was to just keep on going until they reached their objective, but all that changes when they make a fateful detour to a truck stop on the way.  But not just ANY truck stop: The “TITTY TWISTER.” A blood-and-guts dive that definitely lives up to its name…in more ways than one. And its hours of operation are…well, you know the title.

The bar has some of the most gorgeous dancing girls you ever saw, but they’re all woofers compared to the luscious, insanely beautiful main attraction, a hypnotic dancer who goes by the name of ‘SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM’.  No one into women could possibly resist her, and all men should, as Seth and Richard quickly discover, along with the rest of the hapless ‘Twister’ patrons, when the girls, the bouncers, the bartenders, everyone who ‘works’ there, finally reveal their true faces.  They’re all flesh-and-blood hungry vamps, and less the TWILIGHT variety than the FRIGHT NIGHT kind.

Rodriguez knew exactly what the fans wanted from Quentin’s script, and together, they sure gave it to us…stylish, sensual, sexy and soaked in red. And the Tarantino/Rodriguez combo attracted a cast that was instant boxoffice catnip, right down to the cameos: HARVEY KEITEL, JULIETTE LEWIS, FRED WILLIAMSON, TOM SAVINI; the stunning SALMA HAYEK as “SANTANICO”; everybody’s favorite badass, DANNY TREJO, plus CHEECH MARIN, MICHAEL PARKS, JOHN SAXON, KELLY PRESTON, MARC LAWRENCE; even a special appearance by Robert’s favorite “Hell House band”, TITO AND TARANTULA…Hell, you just knew that if he wasn’t already starring in it, Quentin would have probably directed this one, too!

The “Titty Twister” sequences – especially the gore-soaked fight scenes – are now a thing of legend, (check out Savini’s “special weapon” and the reason why his character’s nickname is “Sex Machine”!) and the closing shot is as breathtaking as any iconic final scene from the best and most unforgettable horror films, (I’d compare it for impact to the last shot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; in fact, DAWN’S final shot is probably a tad better.)

But for thrills, chills and maximum blood spills, whether you’ve seen these movies a hundred times or not even once…you can’t go wrong with these choices for a monumentally successful Halloween Night of Frights!

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Last House on The Left (1972)

By Nick Durham

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With the passing of Wes Craven, I've been going back through a number of his films that I haven't seen in a while. With that in mind, please know that I mean no disrespect to the man at all with the words you're about to read here about his infamous debut feature film. Anyone who knows me well knows my feelings about The Last House on the Left, and in retrospect, it's easy to see why, too, especially when you watch this movie again if you haven't seen it in a long time.

Keeping all that in mind, I'll say here and now (and again for anyone that actually knows me) that I fucking hate this movie so much. I really, truly do. I hate everything about it (almost). From the super out of place goofy interludes featuring bumbling Podunk cops, to the flat out atrocious dialogue, I despise this movie and I'm not afraid to say it. Not one fucking bit.

All that being said now, I will also say here and now that I respect Wes Craven's original The Last House on the Left, because despite how much I shit on it, it remains a powerful film that was a product of its time. It also set the beginning stage for one of the biggest and most revered directors in modern horror history. So yes, I respect this movie and loathe it all in the same breath.

You all know the film's synopsis by now, so there's no need for me to go through it again. What I will say is that this re-working of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring still manages to pack a punch all these years later believe it or not. That scene where Mari, knowing she's going to die after being brutalized by Krug and his crew, walks out into the lake and awaits being shot to death, is truly a powerful piece of filmmaking. The late David Hess, who would end up making a career out of playing sick fucks, is a terrifying villain. Other than those two pieces of the film, I can't stand the rest of it. To this very day, I still can't.

Now, as a die hard horror nut, I've seen much worse films that feature much more graphic cruelty and violence, but I have a hard time watching rape scenes in ANY film. I often get a lot of shit from fellow horror fans/friends of mine because I won't watch A Serbian Film or the August Underground flicks. I just can't do it and I fucking refuse to as well. With The Last House on the Left, the brutality on display here is relatively tame compared to what we've seen in the years to come since its 1972 release, but it's the way the film is shot that has always made it so disturbing to me. The film's low budget and Craven's ingenuity give it an almost pseudo-documentary feel, much like Tobe Hooper would do with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre just a couple of years later. That gritty sense of realism makes it all the more disturbing. I can mostly deal with that, but when you get the aforementioned scenes of bumbling idiot cops (complete with bumbling idiot music), the overall effect gets lost. You wind up thinking to yourself, "what the fuck am I watching? Is this a super dark comedy or some shit?"

So yeah, that's my thoughts on Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left. No matter my feelings towards it, I have the utmost respect for it, and I always will. Thankfully Craven would end up refining his style and churning out some genre classics that we all know and love, but everything began here with The Last House on the Left. That alone is reason enough for you to see it if you've never dived into it before, but don't expect to keep it around for repeat viewings.

My honest rating: 2/5

Legacy rating: 4/5

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