tobe hooper

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

We don’t get very many all-star horror anthologies these days, in terms of the talent either in front of or behind the camera.  A lot of that might be owed to the fact that we’ve lost quite a few of our icons in the past few years: source professional thesis proposal editor service for school go here https://aspirebhdd.org/health/generic-viagra-for-woman/12/ see enter site popular critical essay on founding fathers furosemide 40 mg canadian pharmacy phd accounting thesis topics thesis university college dublin cheap movie review ghostwriting service us go to link http://technology.swbts.edu/faculty/freelance-essay-jobs/18/ popular critical thinking editor site for phd http://www.nationalnewstoday.com/medical/buy-liquid-viagra-uk/2/ cialis with dapoxetine tipos de viagras introduction examples for essays about yourself customized term papers and research papers teacher homework checklist printable hr assignment source link http://go.culinaryinstitute.edu/how-do-i-add-an-email-account-to-my-ipad-mini/ writing help websites philosophy of nursing essay fake viagra online source site top critical thinking writers services usa free cialis trial buy accutane online go here https://www.go-gba.org/15266-essay-persuasive/ Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cohen, and besides the beloved Sid Haig, too many great actors to review without things getting painful.  So as a few new opportunities to review these collections arise, how is the sub-genre faring thus far? Let’s take one of the more recently buzzed-about examples and see…

NIGHTMARE CINEMA is the work of a rotating “tag team” of directorial talent, spearheaded by MASTERS OF HORROR creator/showrunner Mick Garris (also director of several Stephen King adaptations, including his celebrated mini-series rendering of King’s beloved epic, THE STAND). The guest helmers include Alejandro Brugues (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Joe Dante (who should require no introduction, but hey: if you haven’t already seen GREMLINS, THE HOWLING or the original PIRANHA about a dozen times each, what the hell are you doing here???), Japanese gore-master Ryuhei Kitamura (VERSUS, NO ONE LIVES and the film version of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and David Slade (the unsettling HARD CANDY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and the controversial “Bandersnatch” episode of BLACK MIRROR.)

The wraparound story features a mysterious character known as “The Projectionist” in a creeptastic old grindhouse that the subjects of the tales find themselves irresistibly drawn to.  As they’re seated inside, the lights go down and the “movie” begins, not only do they discover that they’re the ‘stars’ of their own shows, but the climaxes reveal what their fates actually were. (Spoiler alert: nobody in this flick “lives happily ever after.” Usually.)

It’s a great format to present the stories in, as done in the old-school Hammer and Amicus traditions, and also as in those collections, the quality of the stories vary from one to the other.

In “The Thing In The Woods”, the opener that kicks things off, a group of friends finds themselves in a “FRIDAY THE 13TH slasher scenario, with each person dying horribly one-by-one at the hands of a masked killer called “The Welder”. But there is what I thought was a very clever twist mid-tale that turns the entire crazed killer trope on its head, as the tried-and-true convention becomes something else entirely. Director Brugues shows a great twisted sense of humor with this one, not unlike the tone James Gunn struck in his loving tribute to genre horror, SLITHER, which makes me curious to see JUAN OF THE DEAD, the movie that put him on the map.

Next, seasoned vet Dante puts a new spin on an old classic in “Mirari,” featuring classic movie and TV legend Richard Chamberlain. He is the ‘Dr. Mirari’ of the title; a renowned plastic surgeon charged with helping improve the looks of a disfigured young lady, whose fiancée is helping her in this endeavor, thanks to the generosity of her well-heeled mother-in-law-to-be. If you’re at all familiar with the original TWILIGHT ZONE, there’s an episode this segment draws from, called “Eye Of The Beholder.” However, it takes the premise of that story into a direction that only dyed-in-the-wool horror buffs will probably see coming.

If you’re familiar with his work at all, you know Kitamura for three things: lots of action, a dark and twisted perspective on the world and the ‘human condition’, and blood…lots and lots of blood.  And with “Mashit”, he doesn’t disappoint, in this gore-dripping saga of a priest and a nun at a Catholic boarding school, who must deal with a demonic threat that will engulf and destroy them and the kids, if they fail in their mission to vanquish it. Kitamura gives his usual bloodletting a bit of a Fulci-esque kind of twist, with the inclusion of religious iconography, so the episode does have that bit of giallo horror flavor going for it.

 

Slade gets what’s probably the most disturbingly mind-bending story of the bunch, “This Way To Egress”. At the office of a therapist she’s visiting, a woman finds that one of two things is happening: the therapy obviously isn’t working, as her grip on reality continues to slip into chaos, and she watches the people and the very walls of the building around her rot and decay. Or: she’s somehow begun to see that nothing in the world is as it seems, and she’s being driven mad by the realization of what lies underneath the veil.

The final story, “Dead”, pretty much gives itself away in the title. A young piano prodigy is the sole survivor of a carjacking-gone-wrong that results in the death of his parents. His own near-death brush leaves him open to seeing and communicating with the spirits of those who have passed over, in the hospital where he ends up. It’s a weird and unsettling ‘gift’ straight out of similar stories like GHOST, and just like in that movie, not only are some ghosts not ‘Casper-friendly’, but there are specific ones who have an agenda for the boy…and it’s not a good one. Director Garris uses this last story to bring the entire film full circle.

Let’s talk quality first. As the stories go, it’s my opinion that Brugues’ episode is the most clever, with its Eighties direct-to-video throwback vibe and darkly funny ending; “Egress” is the most imaginative, with its nods to Lovecraft, David Cronenberg and SILENT HILL (both the movie and the games).  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or what horrible oozing visual you’re going to be subjected to at any given time, which shouldn’t bother a “hardened” horror vet like myself…and yet it does, thanks especially to the strong psychological horror bent of the story, a stunning performance by Elizabeth Reaser, and makeup/visual effects that are far above in their quality what appears in the other episodes. So for me, “Egress” definitely takes the top spot, with “The Thing…” coming in a close second.

It’s no surprise at all that Kitamura’s vignette is the one that will satisfy gorehounds the most. Once upon a time, it was considered an almost unbreakable taboo to put kids in any kind of dire peril in any film let alone a horror film, and this is a convention he takes a mad glee in slashing through (literally), as the demon known as “Mashit” wreaks unholy havoc upon the school and all who live – and die there. I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible, but the bottom line of the tale is this: even the secrets you think you can keep from yourself will be revealed sooner or later, and the outcome is never good.

However, where “Mashit” fails is the under-development of the characters. It’s not a good sign when you aren’t really rooting for anyone, and it’s worse still when the “heroes” are members of the clergy…and you still don’t care all that much what happens to them.  I suppose this may have been intentional, considering the turn the story takes as it nears its gruesome climax.  Where that is unsuccessful, though, “Dead” manages to instill nothing but empathy in the audience, thanks in huge part to the performances of newcomer Faly Rakotohavana as Riley, the child prodigy, and Annabeth Gish as his late mom, Charity.  Lexy Panterra also gives a great supporting turn as Riley’s smart-assed next-door “roommate”, Casey. The chemistry between the actors, and Garris’s touch as a director with ensembles is what elevates it to third place over “Mashit.”

Surprisingly, Dante’s “Mirari” is the one that comes in last. An episode that wouldn’t be at all out of place as an episode of HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, though it boasts a reliable performance from Chamberlain, it still plays as somewhat derivative. The same could be said of “Dead” as well, but it’s the handling of the stories that determine their effectiveness. Even with the clever twist at the end, Dante can’t avoid the curse of “been there, seen that” in this particular story, while the emotional heft of “Dead” is the main thing it has going for it, helping it overcome the familiarity “hump.”

And speaking of that, since CINEMA is intentionally paying homage to past horror anthologies, the music clearly reflects this, provided by several different composers. Kyle Newmaster tips his hat to John Harrison’s great theme for the immortal CREEPSHOW with a very familiar-sounding riff on it, followed by some good Marco Beltrami-type flourishes in the score for “Woods.” Fan favorite Richard Band does his thing on “Dead” and really has a lot of fun with “Mirari” as he “mirrors” some leit-motifs of his own, cribbing from Alan Silvestri’s wonderful DEATH BECOMES HER score.  Composer J.G. Thirlwell goes for creepy Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross-like discordance and ambiance on “Egress”, while Aldo Shllaku goes full-on Simon Boswell/Claudio Simonetti/GOBLIN with the score for “Mashit”, which does help with its gonzo giallo touches. (And by the way – the sound design on “Egress” really ramps up the skeevy feel of the visual effects, so kudos to that team.)

And finally, the glue that binds this all together: the wraparound sequences. Handled by Garris in addition to the “Dead” episode, they feature Mickey Rourke, having a blast as “The Projectionist.” As with any classic anthology, you need a strong premise to hold it all together, and barring that, a narrator like “The Crypt-Keeper” or “The Creep” with a strong enough presence to keep viewers engaged. Rourke’s performance – which for me is one of the best he’s given in a while – has been debatable among fans to say the least, but I find less fault in his acting, or Garris’s direction, than I do in the scripting of the “binder.”

It’s pretty obvious what purpose The Projectionist serves, but I would’ve liked to have seen the ultimate fates of the doomed characters made more clear. And the gorier their demises, the better, even with what happens in the climax of each tale. But as the disclaimer always states, this is just how things resonated with me…Your ‘mileage’ may vary.

I don’t think a NIGHTMARE CINEMA series would be all that bad an idea. It was fun enough that a weekly two-story installment (similar to Shudder’s CREEPSHOW revival) would be something I’d welcome into my schedule, if they decided to go with it.  Overall, I give CINEMA three-and-a-half out of five stars!

Posted by Samuel Glass in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
HAUNT: A REVIEW

HAUNT: A REVIEW

Eli Roth. As I’ve always said, comparing his directorial efforts like HOSTEL, CABIN FEVER, and his homage to Ruggero Deodato and Italian cannibal films, THE GREEN INFERNO, to his reduced involvement in other films such as AFTERSHOCK, which I really liked, I prefer his producing and acting work to when he puts on all the hats, (writing/producing/directing). Even though HAUNT suffers by comparison to some other films of the same bent, with even more meager budgets, this film just convinces me that my previous opinion about him still holds true.  The basic problem for my taste is that Roth’s tendency to see everything through a “bro-tastic” lens, complete with the borderline juvenile humor that comes with, doesn’t wear very well after a couple of repeated viewings of things where he has more creative input, so it’s less of a problem when he produces, but leaves the heavy lifting up to other writers and/or directors.

Such should have been the case with this movie, the brainchild of writers/directors Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, who hit a major home run co-writing the script for the first installment of A QUIET PLACE, with that film’s director and star, former ‘THE OFFICE’ ensemble member, John Krasinski.  But for a film that really wowed fans with its unique presentation of a tried-and-true premise within the sub-genre of monster movies, HAUNT won’t provide much of the same potential the duo displayed before, to bring something fresh to the table.

The plot is pretty straightforward as these kinds of movies go. A group of friends, including Nathan (WILL BRITTAIN) and Harper (KATIE STEVENS), are “steered” towards a remote extreme haunt, while out looking for some Halloween night hijinks. Impressed by the eerily silent clown that eventually gives them entrance, after they sign their lives away (literally) and give up their cell phones and the car keys, the night begins to take that deadly turn we all expect it will, as the group begins to suspect that the murder set-pieces they witness throughout the haunt are not faked instances of “smoke-and-mirrors”. Fears most definitely confirmed as they start getting picked off one-by-one.

Highly original? Not even close, especially if you’ve already grown used to this scenario, courtesy of past films like the Tobe Hooper classic, THE FUNHOUSE, or the now-highly controversial creepfest, CLOWNHOUSE. More recently, the franchises for HELL HOUSE LLC and THE HOUSES THAT OCTOBER BUILT are fresher examples.

The qualities that set HAUNT apart from other entries in the haunted-attraction-gone-very-wrong genre are three things: a couple of setups that are clever, (but not really the kind of thing you haven’t seen before and done better in similar films); a little bit of a ramping-up on the gore, and the truly frightening revelation of the killers’ identities behind the funhouse costumes, as dyed-in-the-wool psychopaths. No long expositions or background stories needed here, kids: these killer clowns are who they are, and do what they do, because they love it. Which is always more viscerally arresting and unsettling than that usual “Daddy Didn’t Love Me/Mommy Loved Me Way Too Much” trope.

It also makes certain reveals a lot more effective as shock scenes, but that’s about as far as I want to go in the way of spoilers. The acting by the entire cast overall isn’t anything to make you sit up and take notice, though the guys playing the haunt workers are pretty solid.  Genre fans may or may not recognize him as the guy in the “Devil” mask here, but DAMIEN MAFFEI is the only “name” in the cast, having appeared as one of the titular killers in THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT sequel.  The special visual and makeup effects teams are the real stars here, and one particularly gross bit is a callback to a recent scene in the “Bad Superboy” shocker BRIGHTBURN.

I wish I could point out more remarkable aspects to recommend, but it’s basically not-too-tame yet not-really-horrifying fare. The standard stock characters are here to get killed off, and you do feel empathy for them…well, sort of. The climax, as they usually do, hints that room might be found for a sequel, but it would really have to raise the stakes and the production values to warrant that. (I hope.)

I really can’t give HAUNT much more than two-and-a-half out of five stars.

Posted by Samuel Glass in HALLOWEEN, MOVIE REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, 0 comments
In Remembrance:  Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper didn’t just change the face of horror, I credit (or blame, depending on who you talk to) him with changing the direction of my life. I don’t say that lightly. Not many movies or directors have impacted me as much as his films.
I grew up during the video rental craze of the 80s. I also grew up in a house where horror wasn’t a popular genre. So anytime we went to the local video rental place, I would always browse the horror section looking at all the boxes of all the movies that I would rent if only my mom would let me.
Not too many of those boxes stood out or left a lasting impression on me. Except two. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first of those two. It was like the Holy Grail of horror movies in my opinion. Even when my parents started letting me rent scary movies, they always told me “No” when it came to that one. I still remember the first time I got the okay to rent The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was a defining moment in my young, impressionable life. It also changed my life forever.
Up until that point I had not seen a lot of horror, and a lot of what I had seen was pretty straightforward stuff. Universal classics, 70s Hammer horror, and Roger Corman cheapies. I had no idea what I was getting into when I popped in the video tape after everyone else in the house had gone to bed.
This was the first movie that caught me by surprise. It blew me away. I had never seen anything like that before. The brutality and the stark tone set it apart from anything I had ever seen before. I remember rewinding and re-watching scenes over and over. For a movie with very little blood, it came across as one of the most gut-wrenching watches I had seen up until then.
That was the moment I knew that I wasn’t going to just be a fan of horror. I was going to be one of those “horror people”.
After that, I knew I had to seek out the other works of Mr. Hooper. I watched every single one I could find. Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot both left lasting impressions on me. The Fun House and Lifeforce were enjoyable and interesting. But nothing seemed to grab my attention with the same force as the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
It’s a fair bet that no movie will ever have the same impact on me as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And as much as I wanted to discuss how much I loved Poltergeist and The Apartment Complex, I really don’t think anything I could say will compare to how I feel about that one film.
Although I never met the man, I feel as though his contribution to entertainment helped shape who I am. His legend and legacy will live on in all of the filmmakers that continue to be inspired by his work.
Posted by Richard Francis in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, 0 comments
In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

In Remembrance: Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper: Gone But Not Forgotten

It is with heavy heart that we report the passing of the ever so great Tobe Hooper - the man who brought us many, MANY great horror flicks, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Poltergeist, The Fun House, Lifeforce, Salem's Lot, and Toolbox Murders - among others. His legacy of horror films are what spawned fear and intrigue on several levels for all of us here at House of Tortured Souls. We will be paying tribute to him, so stay tuned to find out how his work has influenced our work and our lives.
Here's a list of his directorial credits alone:

  • Djinn (2013)
  • Destiny Express Redux (2009)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “The Damned Thing” (2006)
  • Masters of Horror (TV Series) – “Dance of the Dead” (2005)
  • Mortuary (2005)
  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Taken (TV Mini-Series) (1 episode) – “Beyond the Sky” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Cargo” (2002)
  • Night Visions (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “The Maze” (2002)
  • Crocodile (Video) (2000)
  • The Others (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Souls on Board” (2000)
  • Dark Skies (TV Series) (1 episode) – “The Awakening” (1996)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Turnabout” (1995)
  • Nowhere Man (TV Series) (2 episodes) – “Absolute Zero” (1995)
  • The Apartment Complex (TV Movie) (1999)
  • Prey (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Hungry for Survival”: Unaired Pilot (1998)
  • Perversions of Science (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Panic” (1997)
  • The Mangler (1995)
  • Body Bags (TV Movie) (segment “Eye”) (1993)
  • Night Terrors (1993)
  • Tales from the Crypt (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Dead Wait” (1991)
  • Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories (TV Mini-Series documentary) (1 episode) – “Ghosts R Us/Legend of Kate Morgan/School Spirit” (1991)
  • I’m Dangerous Tonight (TV Movie) (1990)
  • Spontaneous Combustion (1990)
  • Freddy’s Nightmares (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1988)
  • The Equalizer (TV Series) (1 episode) – “No Place Like Home” (1988)
  • Amazing Stories (TV Series) (1 episode) – “Miss Stardust” (1987)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)
  • Invaders from Mars (1986)
  • Lifeforce (1985)
  • Billy Idol: Dancing with Myself (Video short) (1983)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Fun House (1981)
  • Salem’s Lot (TV Movie) (1979)
  • The Dark (replaced by John Cardos, uncredited) (1979)
  • Eaten Alive (1976)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • Eggshells (1969)
  • The Heisters (Short) (1964)

Now, pop in a classic, grab your favorite snack, and celebrate the scares that he gave us.

Poster Gallery of Some of Tobe Hooper's Films

Click for larger image.

Posted by Schock in TRIBUTE, 0 comments
History of Horror in January

History of Horror in January


Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in January. Click on thumbnails for full images.

January 1 - 7


1/1/1940 – Frank Langella (actor in Dracula (1979) and The Ninth Gate) born

19400101_Frank_Langella_Deauville_2012 / Image: Georges Biard



Cuba Gooding Jr. / Image: WireImage.com


1/2/1968 – Cuba Gooding Jr (actor in American Horror Story) born



1/2/2004 – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins released on DVD

20040102_tremors-4-the-legend-begins / Fair use doctrine.



19590105_Clancy Brown / Image: Frazer Harrison - © 2011 Getty Images

1/5/1959 – Clancy Brown (actor in many horror films) born



1/6/2006 – Hostel released theatrically

20060106_Hostel / Fair use doctrine.



20060106_BloodRayne / Fair use doctrine.

1/6/2006 – BloodRayne released theatrically



1/7/2005 – White Noise released theatrically

20050107_White Noise / Fair use doctrine.

January 8 - 14


19470108_David Bowie / Fair use doctrine.

1/8/1947 – David Bowie (actor in Labyrinth, The Hunger, and other horror movies) born



1/8/1988 – Return of the Living Dead Part II released on VHS

19880108_Return of the Living Dead Part II / Fair use doctrine.



20050111_Resident Evil 4 / Fair use doctrine.

1/11/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in North America



1/12/1940 – The Invisible Man Returns released theatrically

19400112_The Invisible Man Returns / Fair use doctrine.



19650112_Rob_Zombie_Comiccon / Image: Lindsey8417

1/12/1965 – Rob Zombie (musician, singer, artist, director of House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and Halloween (2007)) born



1/12/1990 – Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III released theatrically

19900112_leatherface_texas_chainsaw_massacre_3 / Fair use doctrine.



19390113_Son of Frankenstein / Fair use doctrine.

1/13/1939 – Son of Frankenstein released theatrically



1/13/1974 – The Satanic Rites of Dracula released theatrically

19740113_ Satanic Rites of Dracula / Fair use doctrine.



19950113_demon-knight-title / Fair use doctrine.

1/13/1995 – Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight released theatrically



1/14/1981 – Scanners released theatrically

19810114_Scanners / Fair use doctrine.

January 15 - 21


19150115_Der Golem / Fair use doctrine.

1/15/1915 – Der Golem released theatrically



1/16/1948 – John Carpenter (director, screenwriter, producer, and composer of scores for many horror films) born

19480116_John Carpenter 2010-Nathan Hartley Maas / Image: Nathan Hartley Maas



19650116_the-outer-limits / Fair use doctrine.

1/16/1965 – The Outer Limits ends its run on television



1/17/1962 – Denis O’Hare (actor in American Horror Story) born

19620117_Denis O'Hare / Image: Alexander Berg - © 2006



20020118_Long-Time-Dead-Poster / Fair use doctrine.

1/18/2002 – Long Time Dead released theatrically in the United Kingdom



1/19/1809 – Edgar Allan Poe born (d. 1849)

18090119_Edgar_Allan_Poe;_a_centenary_tribute / Fair use doctrine.



19900119_tremors / Fair use doctrine.

1/19/1990 – Tremors released theatrically



1/19/1996 – From Dusk Till Dawn released theatrically

19960119_From Dusk Till Dawn / Fair use doctrine.



20020119_Dark Water (Japan) / Fair use doctrine.

1/19/2002 – Dark Water (2002) released theatrically in Japan



1/20/1970 – Skeet Ulrich (actor in Scream) born

19700120_Skeet_Ulrich_2010 / Image: Thomas Attila Lewis



19870120_Evan Peters / Image: Allen Berezovsky - © 2012 Getty Images

1/20/1987 – Evan Peters (actor in American Horror Story) born



1/20/2006 – Underworld: Evolution released theatrically

20060120_Underworld-Evolution-2006 / Fair use doctrine.



19560121_Geena Davis / Image: Steven D Starr - © gettyimages.com

1/21/1956 – Geena Davis (actor in Beetlejuice, The Fly) born



1/21/1998 – Resident Evil 2 released on the PlayStation in the United States

19980121_Resident_Evil_2 / Fair use doctrine.

January 22 - 28


19320122_Piper Laurie / Image: Theo Wargo - © WireImage.com

1/22/1932 – Piper Laurie (actor in Carrie) born



1/22/1959 – Linda Blair (actor in The Exorcist) born

19590122_Linda Blair. / Image: Rebecca Sapp - © WireImage.com



20000122_ring-0-birthday / Fair use doctrine.

1/22/2000 – Ring 0: Birthday released theatrically in Japan



1/23/1981 – Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror released theatrically

19810123_Burial Ground / Fair use doctrine.



20040123_the-butterfly-effect-original / Fair use doctrine.

1/23/2004 – The Butterfly Effect released theatrically



1/25/1926 – Ted White (Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) born

19260125_Ted White / Fair use doctrine.



19430125_Tobe Hooper_Cannes_2014 / Image: Dark Attsios

1/25/1943 – Tobe Hooper (director of numerous horror films) born



1/25/2000 – The Dead Hate the Living! released on DVD

20000125_Deadhatetheliving / Fair use doctrine.



20050125_All Souls Day / Fair use doctrine.

1/25/2005 – All Souls Day released on DVD



1/26/1999 – Castlevania 64 released on the Nintendo 64 in the United States

19990126_Castlevania_N64 / Fair use doctrine.



19400127_James Cromwell / Image: Ryan Rogers http://ryan-rogers.com/ - © Copyright 2011, Ryan Rogers Photography

1/27/1940 – James Cromwell (actor in many horror productions) born



1/27/2005 – Resident Evil 4 released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan

20050127_Resident Evil 4 (Japan) / Fair use doctrine.



20050128_Creep-2004 / Fair use doctrine.

1/28/2005 – Creep released theatrically



1/28/2005 – Hide and Seek released theatrically

20050128_Hide and Seek / Fair use doctrine.

January 29 - 31


19980129__Resident_Evil_2 / Fair use doctrine.

1/29/1998 – Resident Evil 2 released on the PlayStation in Japan



1/30/1976 – Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma released theatrically

19760130_Salo / Fair use doctrine.



19980131_ringu / Fair use doctrine.

1/31/1998 – Ringu released theatrically in Japan



1/31/1999 – Silent Hill released on the PlayStation in North America

19990131_Selent Hill PS1[ntsc][front] / Fair use doctrine.



20030131_final-destination / Fair use doctrine.

1/31/2003 – Final Destination released theatrically

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By John Roisland

To understand my top five, you must first close your eyes and think back to a night where the skies are the deepest darkest blue but are still crystal clear. The night is lit by a million stars and the glow of the moon as it dances in and out behind bare trees. It’s a cool crisp night where you hear the slight wind whispering through and rustling the leaves that have fallen and in the distance the sound of children giggling and laughing as they run from house to house yelling trick or treat as the doors. And the smell, the smell of burning leaves in someone's bonfire now fill the autumn air.

These are the memories that I have that sticks with me so vividly during the entire autumn and Halloween Season. This is still today after 44 years on this planet, my favorite time of year! Which is why it was so important for me to share with you my everlasting memories of Halloween night, as well as share with you my top five favorite movies to watch at Halloween.

Now when I first came up with this idea and I shared it to the staff I figured top five, it's going to be a piece of cake, and then I started taking some time and mulling over what my personal favorite movies are for Halloween. Keep in mind this isn't any of our top five horror movies, this is just the top five movies to watch at Halloween. It then dawned on me Wow, I'm a real ass because this is really hard to do! There are a million horror movies out there to watch, especially during the Halloween season, and to narrow it down to the top five has become quite a chore.

The movies that I have to present to you, I am somewhat basing around the Halloween season in the movie itself, not all of them but a few of them. As much of a horror buff as I am, I have actually always enjoyed movies that have taken place on Halloween.

So you might be surprised when don't see any of your top iconic Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street installment - or anything of that nature.

I do thoroughly enjoy Halloween - all aspects - the sounds, the sights, even the smells! Nothing to me is more invigorating then walking outside at night and smelling burning leaves in the Autumn air. So, when picking my top five movies, I try to incorporate my love for Halloween with them.

My top five - not in any order, just my top!

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy_hollow-preview

The legend of The Headless Horseman has always been my all time favorite story ever since I was a child. Fist hearing it when i was young, the story stuck with me to this day and age. Tim Burton‘s rendition of it, in my opinion, did it proud. With its dark images and setting, it is a must watch for me!

John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)

How can you not?! Not only is Carpenter personally my favorite director, but this film raised the bar and set standards for horror films….and it’s at Halloween, so score!

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Monster House (2006)

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I first saw this film as a rental for my kids. The day it was returned to the store, I bought it! This animated kids Halloween film has a very dark overtone to it that I love, and brings out the Halloween spirit in me! Sad thing was that I enjoyed more than the kids…

The Houses October Built (2014)

Now, those of you who know me know that this movie had a profound impact on me. I love every aspect of this film, and it has become one of my top movies. The film is based at Halloween and centers around local haunts. Brought to you by Zach Andrew and Bobby Roe, this film is a must for the Halloween season.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

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Now, the last film I bring to you may not have anything to do with Halloween in any way, shape, or form, and as a matter of fact, it is not only my all time favorite horror movie, it’s my all time favorite movie – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This 1974 Tobe Hooper film blew the door off the horror film industry and has remained an all time classic. This gets a watch every Halloween!

I do hope you enjoyed my list and as founder and president of House of Tortured Souls , I do sincerely wish you and your entire family for all the generations to come, a very Happy Halloween!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

Boogeyman 2: Masters of Horror

By Woofer McWooferson

Boogeymen 2-1

 

Director: Mike Mendez, Dave Parker; Writers: Curtis Bowden, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Gary Shenk; Stars: Dario Argento, Bruce Campbell, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Guillermo del Toro, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, George A. Romero; Rating: U; Run Time: 90 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2002

“Their movies gave you nightmares. Now the most diabolical minds in horror are coming together in the ultimate Halloween horror special – Masters of Horror.”

The 2002 documentary Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror is hosted by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and features some of the greatest names in horror movies, from Dario Argento to Guillermo del Toro. Divided into three parts, it asks the great questions all horror fans have:

Part 1: Why Do We Like to be Scared?
Part 2: What Scares Us?
Part 3: (Where Do They Get Their Ideas?)

Parts one and two are rather brief and hop from director to director as each answers why we like to be scared and what scares us. As to why we like to be scared, answers range from “why do some people like to ride roller coasters” to “preparation for our own deaths” and all are equally valid since why we like to be scared is as unique as each of us. When it comes to what scares us, however, most of our fears are the same, from death (of self or loved ones) to the dark (or what lies in it), and this is the bread and butter of these directors.

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

Part three, however, is much longer and divided into six sections with each section focusing on one director. These sections and the featured directors are:

The Reality of Horror (Wes Craven)
The Horror of Innocence (Guillermo del Toro)
The Rebel of Horror (John Carpenter)
The Horror of Society (George A. Romero)
Transforming Horror (John Landis & Rick Baker)
The Beauty of Horror (Dario Argento)
Living the Horror (Tobe Hooper)

Highlights of the documentary include:

• Craven discussing the making of The Serpent and the Rainbow and how The Last House on the Left managed an R rating.

• del Toro recounting his introduction to the supernatural while still in his crib, the influence of Universal monster movies on him, and how he established a special effects company in order to create Cronos.

• Carpenter talking about the change in audience sensibilities and the effect it had on the horror industry in the 70s and 80s.

• Romero revealing his fear of being typecast and his eventual return to the dead films.

• Landis and Rick Baker explaining how they created Schlock and why An American Werewolf in London is a watershed film in special effects work.

• Argento discussing his films as works of art where each shot is framed for both beauty and horror.

• Hooper recounting the horrors behind the scenes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, including the effects that the gruelling shot had on the cast and crew.

Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper

Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror also includes commentary from Gunnar Hanson, Tom Savini, and KNB Effects and is full of clips from the movies being discussed as well as movies that exemplify the topics being described.

Is this for everyone? No, but it is damn good fun and a must for horror lovers.

7/10 claws

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Spontaneous Combustion (1990)

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Spontaneous Combustion (1990)

Spontaneous Combustion

By Woofer McWooferson

Director: Tobe Hooper; Writers: Tobe Hooper (story and screenplay), Howard Goldberg, Stars: Brad Dourif, Cynthia Bain, Jon Cypher; Rating: R; Run Time: 97 min; Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 1990

Spontaneous Combustion movie poster.

Spontaneous Combustion movie poster.

Best known for 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, writer/director Tobe Hooper decided to take a stab at the telekinetic phenomenon of pyrokinesis in 1990 with Spontaneous Combustion. The script was written in three weeks, or so says IMDb, but it plays like it only took three hours. Indeed, there is little to recommend this movie beyond Brad Dourif's performance for it has been done before and done better. Six years prior, Stephen King's Firestarter, hit the big screen with names such as Martin Sheen, Louise Fletcher, and George C. Scott attached, and Hooper's inevitably fell short of the admittedly mediocre King adaptation.

The spontaneous combustion begins.

The spontaneous combustion begins.

As with King's story, two young people allow themselves to be guinea pigs, resulting in a child born with pyrokinetic powers. In Spontaneous Combustion, they agree to be treated for radiation resistance and then are purposefully exposed to an atomic blast. Though they survive long enough for their child to be born, they are incinerated via spontaneous human combustion shortly after greeting their son. The movie then fast forwards twenty years to reveal their son Sam (Brad Dourif) has been raised by the man responsible for their deaths. Seemingly from nowhere he begins to exhibit the pyrokinesis that begins to burn him from inside. Eventually he finds out the truth about his family and exacts the revenge we all know is coming.

Brad Dourif Exacts Revenge in Spontaneous Combustion

Brad Dourif exacts revenge in Spontaneous Combustion.

Dourif pours everything into the role, but even his intensity is not enough to elevate this movie to repeated viewings. Fraught with bad dialogue, a predictable storyline, an unnecessary love triangle, and horrifically dated 80s fashion, Spontaneous Combustion leaves much to be desired. Although Tobe Hooper has been directing since the 1960s, his most acclaimed film, as noted earlier, remains the 1974 watershed of horror The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Because of this groundbreaking film, Hooper's films tend to be more harshly judged than might be fair to the director. Still, I don't think it's too much to say that Tobe Hooper's Spontaneous Combustion probably should have spontaneously combusted before distribution.

5/10 claws – For hardcore fans of Hooper and Dourif only.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW: Djinn (2013)

MOVIE REVIEW: Djinn (2013)

Djinn_poster

By Nick Durham

What the fuck happened to Tobe Hooper? That was my first thought when watching Djinn; the long delayed Arab/English horror film that has been sitting on the shelf since being originally filmed in 2011. But then throughout the course of watching the film, I remembered something: Tobe Hooper hasn’t been the same director that he was in decades.  Here’s the thing: Hooper will forever be a horror icon for crafting the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, along with Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot. He’s helmed some super enjoyable films as well, including The Funhouse, Lifeforce, and Spontaneous Combustion; but over the past couple decades, he’s been a shell of his former self with his work. Djinn is not excluded from that sad, sad fact.

Djinn revolves around an Emirati couple who return home from America after the death of their infant child. Their glorious new high-rise apartment building though appears to be built upon a part of land that also houses some very, very malevolent spirits that have ties to the local culture. Soon enough our couple realizes that things aren’t all what they seem with their home, or with their new neighbors either. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some very bad things are going to happen, and no one is coming out of this one hundred percent intact either.

Djinn actually features a ton of promise from its first shot onward. There are some genuinely creepy images and moments peppered throughout the film, but sweet fucking Christ does it ever plod along. Seriously, the pacing of this film is all over the fucking place. One minute things are moving at a brisk pace, the next minute they slow to a crawl. It feels like a decent amount of footage was left on the cutting room floor, which would explain the erratic pacing. Considering this film sat on the shelf for a few years (released in some parts of the world in 2013, and the rest over the following two years), this wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

The acting isn’t too bad (mostly), but despite the creepy moments that Djinn does offer, it doesn’t pack nearly enough scares, tension, or suspense. Back in the day, no one could do scares, tension, and suspense like Tobe fucking Hooper. Until you’d see his name in the credits, you would never know that he helmed this, that’s why it’s so hard to believe that this is the same guy that graced us with a handful of classic films decades prior.

So yeah, Djinn is a stinker, but in all honesty, I didn’t really expect it to be much else given Hooper’s previous few works. It’s available on Netflix right now, though I can’t say I really recommend it, no matter how bored you may be. What happened Tobe? Seriously, what the hell happened?

Rating: 2/5

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

EDITORIAL: Remembering Mr. Hansen

By John Roisland

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Early this morning, my wife Stephanie woke me up to tell me of the heart breaking news of the passing of Mr. Hansen. As most or many of you know, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my personal favorite horror film, and at that, Leatherface is my favorite horror character. Mr. Hansen, to me, IS Leatherface. There are others who have played the role, but, I'm sorry, none compare to Mr. Hansen's portrayal.

Now, I, as many of you have, had the chance to meet him. Mine was at Spooky Empire in Orlando in 2007. I was there with a group of friends from Florida, and this was my very first convention. It's kind of funny. It was about six on a Friday evening, and the convention was rapidly filling up. I was getting tattooed by my good friend Kelly Rogers, who owns and works at Gearhead Tattoo out of Cape Coral and we were all taking a smoke break outside. While out in the hallway, here comes Mr. Hansen, a mountain of a man, headed my way. I can still remember yelling OH SHIIIIT!!!! as I ran back into the the tattoo room, literally diving over the vending table, knocking all kinds of shit over, digging through my backpack to get my camera. I made it back to the corridor just in time as he had just got to where I was.

Out of breath I said said his name, he stopped, turned and looked down at me, "Yes?" was all he said. I kindly explained what I had just done, and asked if I could trouble him for a moment of his time . He agreed, the photo was taken, I said, “Thank you, and it was an honor to meet you, sir”. He looked down and stared at me for a second with that deep look of his, and disappeared into the crowd.
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Was I a bit star struck? Yeah I guess I was, but also know that Mr. Hansen was the first celebrity that I had met at the convention...I also know that I could have honestly gone home after that. It couldn't have gotten any better. And yes, I did go and actually visit Mr.Hansen at his table later during the convention, spoke with him, and had apologized if I had made a spectacle of myself earlier. He just smiled and we shook hands. I don't think I will ever forget meeting him, nor will I ever forget Mr. Hansen.

Feeling broken by this news...

You are deeply missed, sir.

Stay Evil

Posted by John Roisland in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments

OBITUARY: Gunnar Hansen

RIP Gunnar Hansen

By Woofer McWooferson

Gunnar Hansen

Actor Gunnar Hansen passed away from pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine on November 7, 2015. Hansen, who is best remembered as the original actor behind the human mask face of iconic killer Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's original The Texas Chain Saw Mssacre. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, Gunnar moved with his parents to the US at age 5 with the Hansen family settling in Maine. At age 11, they moved to Texas, where Hansen attended high school at Austin High School and college at the University of Texas at Austin. In college Hansen doubled majored in English and mathematics, pursing graduate work in English and Scandinavian Studies.

Although he dabbled in theater in college, it wasn't until 1973 that he was interviewed by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, eventually landing the role as Leatherface, the iconic chainsaw wielding cannibal in 1974's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This was followed by The Demon Lover in 1977 after which Hansen took a decade-long break from acting. During this break, Hansen worked as a magazine writer and a magazine and book editor. Hansen returned to film in the horror spoof Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and has worked steadily in film since. Because of his imposing size (Hansen is 6' 4" or 1.93 m), he was usually cast as bad guys in horror movies, further endearing him to the horror fandom.

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In addition to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Demon Lover (1977), and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Hansen has starred in Campfire Tales (1991), Freakshow (1995), Mosquito (1995), Repligator (1996), Chainsaw Sally (2004), and Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (2009).

Freakshow

In 1993 Hansen published a nonfiction travel memoir, Islands at the Edge of Time: A journey to America's Barrier Islands. From the description:

Islands at the Edge of TimeWeaving in and out along the coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina, poet and naturalist Gunnar Hansen perceives barrier islands not as sand but as expressions in time of the processes that make them.

In 2013 he wrote the nonfiction book Chain Saw Confidential: How We Made the World’s Most Notorious Horror Movie, detailing the making, distribution, and reception of 1973's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. From the description:

Chainsaw ConfidentialA critically acclaimed poet and author, Hansen tells the real story of the film, debunking myths, giving behind-the-scenes details, and offering insights on the film's reception and our enduring fascination with the horror genre today.

 

RIP, Mr. Hansen, you will be missed.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, HORROR NEWS, OBITUARY, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Poltergeist (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Poltergeist (2015)

They're Here...

And if you're a fan of the original, it's going to piss you off

By Amy Mead

Poltergeist poster

Directed by Gil Kenan

Starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie Dewitt, Kennedi Clemens, Jared Harris, Jane Adams and Saxon Sharbino

The Bowens are a family of five, consisting of Mom (Amy), Dad (Eric), and three kids (Kendra, Griffin, and Madison). They move into a new suburban home due to some financial woes and the children do not seem pleased about it. Meanwhile, Eric and Amy appear as though they are under a great deal of stress.

Almost immediately strange things begin happening within their new home. Strange noises in the walls, the electricity keeps flickering, cell phones are burning out, and there are "people" appearing in the TV talking to the youngest member of the family, little Madison. The whole family wakes up and Madison announces that "They" are here and the family soon discovers that the cemetery was "moved" when their subdivision was built, which of course, it wasn't. Their house does indeed rest upon the unmoved bodies, but they don't know that. Yet.

Shortly after moving into their new home, Eric and Amy attend a dinner party one night, leaving the three children at home, and in short order, Madison is lured to her bedroom closet and taken by unseen entities, clown dolls are coming to life, and trees are attacking poor Griffin, while a viscous goo seeps out of the floor, sprouting hands and attacking Kendra. It seems as though the attacks were a diversion by the spirits so that they would be able to get to Madison alone and lead her into the spirit world with them. Eric and Amy return home to find Madison missing and, after hearing her voice emanating from within the television, the family are forced to seek help from paranormal experts to find out if there is a way to get Madison back to her family where she belongs.

If you've seen the original, you pretty much know the rest, and how it all shakes out for the most part...

Poltergeist 2015 is an extremely watered down version of the beloved Tobe Hooper classic from 1982, that had almost no scares, thrill, or apprehension to it whatsoever. The scares are weak and seriously lacking in tension. It's almost as if the producers were holding so fast to that precious PG-13 rating that they forgot there was supposed to be a certain element of fear involved, making for a far less dramatic impact. I felt like there was no art behind it, they were just here for the cash cow that remakes invariably seem to be.

The acting is pretty much the only thing that wasn't a complete let down in Poltergeist 2015. There were some damn good performances, particularly from the younger cast members, ALMOST making it worth a one time watch. ALMOST.

I am not usually a remake snob and am generally willing to give almost anything a chance...This is one where I wished I hadn't watched it at all, let alone for $7.99 on VOD. But watch it I did, and I fucking HATED it. I should have known better, but for whatever reason (I think it must have been due to Sam Raimi's involvement), I had to see how big of a trainwreck it was. And holy shit, was it ever. I still want my time and money back and it's been a week.

There was nothing about this film that resonated with me in any way, shape, or form. Even going in expecting next to nothing, I was still a bit disappointed. One of the reasons I don't bitch too much about the endless stream of remakes is because I believe that they have the potential to gain the original films new followers. This version was so extremely unentertaining that I just don't see that happening.

Give me the brilliant Tobe Hooper version over this pointless, steaming pile of crap any day of the week. It's the only one worth watching.

I give this one 3/10 and that's only because I crush on Sam Rockwell and I am in a good mood.

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

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Eaten Alive (1980)

By Nick Durham

eaten alive

When you find a movie called Eaten Alive, there's probably two thoughts as to what kind of movie it is that pop in your head: is this a cannibal movie, or is it a fucking porno? Wait what? There is a cannibal movie called Eaten Alive? Okay, that makes sense I guess. What else is it? There's like over a hundred porno movies that have some variation of the phrase Eaten Alive in it? Okay, that makes sense too I guess. No matter what type of Eaten Alive strikes your fancy, I think you'd be better off with either the cannibal one, or any of the porno ones, than you would be with this fucking thing.

Anyway, Eaten Alive is Tobe Hooper's 1977 follow up to his landmark smash hit The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Only instead of revolving around chainsaw-wielding inbred hillbilly cannibal maniacs, this revolves around...well, inbred hillbilly maniacs and a giant fucking crocodile. The crocodile lives next door to a run down hotel owned by the mentally deranged Judd (Neville Brand), who often supplies the croc with fresh victims of those that cross his path. We get to meet a variety of people, including a fucked up couple (William Finley and Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre lead Marilyn Burns) and a dude named Buck (a pre-A Nightmare on Elm Street Robert Englund) that likes to do stuff that begins with the letter F and ends with -uck.

Okay, let's just get this out of the way: Eaten Alive is a terrible movie. I know this film has its fans, but holy fucking hell I can't stand this flick. Usually I wholeheartedly enjoy this kind of shit, but there's always been something about Eaten Alive that has rubbed me the wrong way. Whether it's the overall tone of the film to the fact that when compared to the magic Hooper made with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, this thing just can't compare. It almost comes off as being an ill-conceived parody of monster movies and backwoods living...without any laughs. Plus, it just drags on and on and on and feels like that it is NEVER going to end.

Now I could spend all day shitting on this movie, but I won't, because somehow this managed to get a wonderful Blu-ray release. Arrow Films, whom I worship day and night, has provided Eaten Alive with a fantastic physical media release here, more than this fucking movie deserves. The film's picture and sound have been remastered, a commentary by one of the film's writers and a couple actors (curiously nothing on the commentary from Tobe Hooper or Robert Englund), a new introduction from Hooper, new and vintage interviews with Hooper, Englund, and Marilyn Burns, and a featurette about the story of Joe Ball; the real-life Texas bar owner that the film is loosely based upon. Yes, Arrow has packed in a shitload of features for this fuckfest for some odd reason, don't ask me why.

To wrap things up here, I really dislike Eaten Alive something fierce. That being said, if you are a fan of this film, this Blu-ray release from Arrow Films is definitely worth picking up just for the special features alone. There's no denying that Arrow has given this film a treatment that it really doesn't deserve, but if you somehow enjoy this flick, by all means pick this release up. For the rest of us, we can keep pretending this movie never happened, just like Tobe Hooper has been pretending the past few films he's directed never happened either.

Rating: 2/5 (but the Blu-ray is super-mega-crocodile-tits)

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