31 December 2010
As hard as I searched the depths of my brain (yes it's deep in there), it pains me that I was only able to come up with 5 horror films to grace my "Best of" list. 2010 came and went without much in the way of horror. I guess I can consider myself a failure in that I wasn't able to watch more. Perhaps if I had, I could've come up with a longer and much better list. Here's to hoping 2011 has much more in store for us!!
5. HATCHET II Adam Green's follow up to his 2006 underground hit burst onto the big screen with an abundance of controversy. It lasted a mere two days in theaters (even less in Canada) before it was pulled due to "inappropriate subject matter" *eye roll*. Had he given in and chopped it to pieces I'm sure it would've been alotted to run but alas, this was something he refused to do (You go Adam!!). But never fear, Victor Crowley and all his deformed glory is now available On Demand and I have no doubts that DVD sales will hit an all time high for this bloody franchise!
4. FROZEN Adam Green once again blew audiences away when he weaved this tale of skiing gone awry. Personally, I've seen it about 4 times this year and I didn't even buy it until mid October. No one can say that Green doesn't know how to tell a story. Yes, he gave us all the old school horror we could handle with Hatchet but Frozen proves that Green can create a very intense atmosphere with nothing more than three actors stranded on a ski lift.
3. THE CRAZIES Having a remake on my "Best of" list is something I never thought would happen. Most people would call me a remake hater but that's truly not the case. I would say I'm a bad remake hater. Breck Eisner does an excellent job taking a classic and putting his own spin on it with class and grace. The Crazies is definitely a film worthy of my list.
2. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE Not only did Adam Green make my list twice but now I have two remakes on my "Best of" list for this year. Considering the amount of remakes two is merely a drop in the bucket. There's something to be said for a somewhat rookie director to have the balls to take such a classic and turn it into a modern day hit. I loved everything about Steven R. Monroe's take on I Spit on Your Grave. It's a film that I would definitely watch again and will certainly buy when it comes out on DVD in February 2011!
1. DEVIL Ahahahahaha! Just kidding!! I guess my list is only a top 4!
And there it is... my top 5, er 4, of 2010! I look forward to seeing what 2011 has in store for horror and I hope it's a good enough year that I'm able to do a top 20 at the end of it! You freaks stay safe and have a very happy New Year!!
28 December 2010
We've all heard bad jokes at least once in our lives. Jokes so bad that you just kind of shake your head and think "Who comes up with this shit?" Well, I have found the definitive answer to that question.... it's all Mr. Monster Matt Patterson's fault. What!? Don't think I'm mean for saying that, he takes great pride in it! He's even put a whole book together full really bad Monster jokes (which I will be reviewing very soon)!
He's had his share of struggles, as all writers do, but I recently received a press release saying his book has been acquired by Pill Hill Press. I personally, am very proud for Monster Matt... if anyone deserves it, he does!
READ BELOW FOR PRESS RELEASE
Book publisher Pill Hill Press, has acquired "Monstermatt's Bad Monster Jokes Vol.1", written by Monstermatt Patterson and illustrated by Kyle Kaczmarczyk, with a forward by Joe Moe, for their non-fiction imprint, WestNeb Books.
After a brief and successful run with a previous publisher, author Monstermatt Patterson and his team left in hopes of finding a firm to move the book forward. It wasn't long before the duo found a suitor in Pill Hill Press/West Neb Books.
According to Monstermatt, "They were still interested, even after reading the book!Now, that's scary!"
The book is a self described collection of over 400 bad jokes, rancid rhymes, putrid puns and sophomoric song parodies with illustrations focused on horror films, monsters, sci-fi, superheroes and some pop culture for good measure.
Monstermatt says "With WestNebBooks taking over, we can get back to reaching our growing audience one bad joke at a time. It's what I love doing. I love the interaction between myself and the audience. Groans after my punchlines are a tasty morsel to me. What amazes me is how quickly people responded to the book. Kyle's illustrations are brilliant and right on the mark. They grab the reader's attention and make them want to dig in!"
And dig in the readers have!! At book signings fans have become smitten with the self depreciating humor which has been described as a combination of Mad Magazine-meets Famous Monsters Magazine.
"We've been reaching a fairly wide demographic from age 10 to age 60. It's great to see them read a little and shake their heads or chuckle. The drawings get a great response, in those ways as well. They really drive the gags home!" says Monstermatt.
Fan mail continues to come in with the most frequently asked questions being:
When will the book be available again?
Will there be a "Monstermatt's Bad Monster Jokes Volume 2"?
According to Pill Hill Press and WestNeb Books editor Jessey Marie Roberts, the book will be the first for the new imprint. They have proposed an early 2011 release for Volume 1 and Volume 2 is currently being written with no release date yet.
What can readers expect? Bad jokes like:
Does the 666 on Damien Thorne's scalp mean he's the Devil?
No, it's his "credit score"!
Where do Androids go for marital aides?
What do you get when you cross a Vampire and a podiatrist?
What smart phone do Gravediggers like?
What coffee drink does The Phantom of the Opera like?
And many, many more...
Here's what reviewers are saying about the book.
"The book is purely enjoyable"
Sonar 4 Landing Dock Reviews.
"You'll go back to the beginning and start reading it again! A very enjoyable read by two rising stars!"
"I laughed, I groaned, I shook my head in disbelief! I highly recommend this book!"
The Monster Librarian
The book will be available at major online book retailers soon. For more information and updates please visit PillHillPress.com
To keep up with Kyle and Monstermatt,follow them on Twitter at:
21 December 2010
When I started this site back in March I never thought it would be anything more than me just throwing out my opinion of films. I never expected much out of it except the joy of writing. I sure never thought anyone else would read it so imagine my surprise when I'm asked to cover the premiere of a film. I've been to film festivals and horror conventions but never "invited" to watch and review a film. I was giddy (well as giddy as I get) with excitement. But of course knowing myself like I do my excitement was short lived. I tend to NOT have a filter and I'm honest to a fault at times... I knowingly admit this... so after I got over giddy, my second thought was "Oh God, what if I don't like it? Then what do I do?" I've been reamed by filmmakers on occasion for being too honest. I don't set out to hurt anyone's feelings or purposely bash someone's film I just do......... me.
In small towns like Possum Walk, secrets can be hard to keep. For Faith Carpenter (Maggie Conwell) her secret could be downright deadly: She’s pregnant…and a virgin. Her father, (Parrish Randall) a local preacher with dark, violent secrets of his own-tightens his grip on her driving a wedge between them. But both of them will have to put aside their differences to deal with the darkest secret Possum Walk has ever known... a serial killer who has chosen the little town to be his bloodiest venue yet.
Normally I don't expect much from the cast of a small budget film... maybe I've been watching the wrong films... but I was pleasently surprised. The two main characters Conwell and Indie veteran Randall gave solid performances. I just recently found this whole "Texas Indie Film" thing but I'm quickly becoming a fan of Randall. He's definitely a chameleon when it comes to his roles. Tyler Tackett, who could easily pass for a young Jonathan Cherry, had a pretty challenging role considering he'd only done two other films prior to Possum Walk but he handled himself nicely. Andrew Sensenig and Victoria Lane weren't really given much to do until the end but pulled it off well. Jennifer Peebles cracked me up. Yes, her dialogue was a little cliche and cheesy at times but she brought such life to the character that I didn't really even care about the dialogue. That wedding scene was fucking hilarious!
I know where writer/director Jeremy Sumrall was going with this film. I'm just not quite sure if it ever got there. I had a hard time figuring out what the true focus of the film was suppose to be. Was it the pregnant virgin or the inner turmoil of the preacher man himself or how about the serial killer? Sometimes there can be so much information thrown at you at once that it becomes overwhelming. To steal a line from a colleague - I think it suffered a bit of an identity crisis.
Robert Luke did find some great small town locations that were perfect as a back drop. Being from a town where everybody knows everybody I can say with first hand knowledge that the atmosphere they created was pretty spot on. The scene where Kristen Hall is walking down the road and you can see nothing but empty fields was one of the best shots in the entire film.
One thing I just didn't get, and it's possible that it went right over my head, was the slasher aspect of the film. There was never really any explanation of why the killer was killing. Did he/she do it just for the fun or was there some ulterior motive behind it? Given that I know who the killer is, it's easy to assume that he/she does it just for shits and giggles but it's just too hard to say for sure. I think expanding on the pregnant virgin and crazy preacher daddy story (leaving out the slasher part) would've made for a more cohesive film. All in all, I thought it was a good effort on their part. Would I watch it again, probably not but it's at the very least entertaining. The effects were good for the budget they had to work with. There was lots of blood which bodes well for a Gore Whore like myself. I applaud the work of everyone involved, I know it's not an easy thing to do. It was obvious that everyone involved with the project put their best foot forward and worked really hard. I definitely look forward to seeing what the Possum Walk family does next!
04 December 2010
I found this film the other day on Chiller TV and I was apprehensive to say the least. Chiller is known for highlighting the lower budget B-movie but I've seen some pretty great ones on there as well. After a day or two I was finally able to sit down and watch it. I was extremely excited to see that one of my new favorite directors, Steven R. Monroe (I Spit on Your Grave 2010)had done it. What's more, composer Corey A. Jackson was also involved in this straight to DVD thriller.
On her 21st birthday, Celia (Monica Keena) and her friend Justine (Jessica Stroup) head out to a frat party. Celia is still struggling over the death of her Grandfather Joe (Tim Thomerson) and blames herself for the death of her mother during delivery. While at the party, she is drugged, raped and murdered. She awakens in the spirit world alone and understandably scared. Once she returns back to the main room, she is met by her Grandfather. But is it really him or is it a "Soul Eater", creatures that roam around outside the house who look human but can transform into a zombie type creature that corrupts innocent souls. Aided by Donovan (David Anders), her guardian angel, she tries to learn the rules of the spirit world, however as she goes on, she realizes that things in the spirit world aren't as they appear to be and she just may be in a place far worse than hell itself.
Anders is impressively precise and mature throughout. He delivers his lines with confidence which makes him extremely believable. Not to mention how well he pulls off the "Am I good or bad" part of his character. He was one of the best things in this film. The other? Why Tim Thomerson of course. He steals the show as the Soul-Eating Grandpa and commands the scene every time he's in it. Or maybe I'm just a huge Tim Thomerson fan... could be. Keena does her usual horror damsel thing well. I don't remember ever seeing anyone in a horror movie that is quite as good at crying as she is. This kinda makes up for her laughable running scenes. I was literally LOL'ing every single time she went running down the road. And WTF is up with her lips?? Monica, Monica why would you do that to yourself?? I had to rewind a couple of times to hear the dialogue because I was so distracted by her HUGE upper lip that never seems to move.
I'm sort of on the fence about this film. It was enjoyable and somewhat interesting, but I couldn't help but feel that it could've been so much more. Maybe with a higher budget or a better script we could've seen something really special. The plot structure was good but I think the dialogue really hurt it. There were several things I didn't understand AT ALL. We're taught (or at least I was) that when you die you pretty much stay at that age in your afterlife yet Anders character aged significantly since his death when he was eight.
Also are writers Philip Daay and Jane Whitney trying to tell us that everyone who dies is thrust into this limbo and given a choice between heaven and hell? I would hope death is a little more fair than that... On one hand you have Keena who is the victim. She's guilty of nothing more than too many botox injections and yet she still has to pass the tests put before her. On the other hand there's Doug (Chris Engen), a rapist and murderer who is given the same chance for redemption? I'm not sure that part was thought out well enough. The good news? Jackson excels at his part and does a great job at creating a tense and disturbing score. Monroe does his thing and as usual makes a lower budget film seem as if it had a budget of 4 million. He keeps it moving at an exhausting pace and creates a disorienting, nightmarish atmosphere. He is clearly becoming a master of darkness and shadow and does a great job at creating an ambiance of dread with little more than some incredibly effective mood lighting. As the lights go out, the suspense is amped up through what is happening and the race to get moving generates some good moments.
I'd say this one is good for a one time watch. It's nothing fantastic and it's not perfect (like me) by any means but it's entertaining. Don't go into it expecting to be scared or gross out. It's not really a horror film for gore hounds or those looking for a huge monster fest but it you want to see something a little different than the usual blood bath then it should do the trick. Just keep that in mind if you decide to watch it.
27 November 2010
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. What this genre needs is (figuratively speaking) fresh meat for fans to sink their teeth into. We've been so bombarded with remakes... oh I'm sorry the new term is "reboot"... lately that we've lost faith. Well, I can't really speak for every genre fan so I guess I should say I've lost faith. It's not only remak... er, reboots... it's the lack of quality. Most of the big budgeted production that have come out lately have been dull and boring or just overall crap. Hollywood horror appears to have lost it's shine. But never fear because there is a hero in our midst and his name..... is..... Leslie Vernon.
In a world where supernatural killers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger are real, journalist Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) and her crew have been given the opportunity to join the next great slasher, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), as he plans to seek his revenge on the town of Glen Echo. The legend of Leslie Vernon is this... There once was a boy, spawned from a vicious rape, who murdered his parents. The angry townspeople, thinking the boy was evil, cast him over the falls and into the icy river never to be heard from again. Well sorta. Taylor and her crew film Leslie, documentary style, as he meticulously plans his murder spree. When the big night comes, things take a sinister, dark turn, and their documentary becomes much less important when the tables are turned.
Baesel's character is so well written and he does a spot on performance transitioning in and out of his dual personas. He said in an interview that he got inspiration from the Silence of the Lambs character Dr. Hannibal Lecter and I could see that. I read reviews that said he seemed too cartoonish but I didn't get that at all. To me he came off as likeable and funny and charasmatic. Goethals also brings her A game to the screen. The chemistry between their characters is solid and at times heartfelt. Even the teens gave an impressive performance.
Hmm, what to say about this film? I've been sitting here for an hour now going over it in my head and can only think of two words... ORIGINAL and PERFECTION... I guess I'll work off of those two words. For all of you in the middle of an eye roll right now, c'mon. How many horror films have you seen that totally deconstruct the basics of the slasher sub-genre? Ever wanted to know why the victims of this type film always get caught? How bout why the lowly virgin is always the one to live? Pretty much every question that you can come up with about the stupid actions of slasher victims is addressed in this "mockumentary" style horror flick.
Scott Glosserman and David J Stieve managed to write a script that not only pokes fun at this particular genre but did it respectfully. Non-horror fans probably won't get the inside jokes of having Kane Hodder appear as Freddy Krueger's one time neighbor or having Robert Englund show up as a "Dr. Sam Loomis" type character or even the cameo by the legendary Zelda Rubinstein. But fans of the genre will definitely pick up on all the subtle and not so subtle inside jokes.
I read several reviews comparing this film to those of the Scream franchise. I don't know what the hell they've been smoking but I don't get that AT ALL. I feel this film is in a class of it's own. I don't think I've ever seen one quite like it. It's original and intelligent and classy. The twists are a bit predictable and the gore is minimal but I'd say it's definitely a must see for any horror fan. For those who say it's not a believable story or that say it's asking too much to believe slashers are real, go pull that stick out of your ass and stop over analyzing EVERYTHING. They call it fiction for a reason.
18 November 2010
There are lots of advantages to attending indie film festivals. You get to watch new, creative films come to life on the big screen. Some of which have never been seen by an audience before. Films shot with little to no funding and in little to no time. I got to watch several short films at the DOA Blood Bath Film Festival that were written, shot and edited all in one weekend. For the most part they were fresh and creative and actually very well done. But again, they were shorts and I think sometimes working on a tight schedule can be effective but not so much in a feature. I'll elaborate more on that in a moment.
This story centers around Bill (Jeff Dylan Graham) who is one very sick puppy. The recent break up with the love of his life has sent him into a tailspin of delusion and madness. Which only intensifies when he wakes up from a drug induced sleep to find a body in his bathtub. He tries desperately to reach his ex-girlfriend Jenny (Katie Walters) for some kind of support. Not being able to reach her just pushes him deeper and deeper into depression. He's pretty much at his breaking point when his long time friend Derrik (Kristian Day) shows up. Bill confides in Derrik about his little visitor in tub and after some discussion, they agree the body should be disposed of before anyone finds out. Unfortunately Jenny shows up before that can happen. Unfortunately for Bill and his friends, the truth is far more complicated than any of them could've predicted.
Let me first start off by saying that Graham is the bright point of this film. His performance was solid and he seemed really immersed in his character which is probably why he took home the award for Best Performance in a Feature. That said, I wasn't at all impressed by the film itself. The twists and turns thrown in to surprise the viewer were completely predictable. I had it figured out within the first 5 minutes. What was meant to be a psychological thriller just came of as bland and even boring at times. Other than a couple of outside shots, the whole film took place inside one small apartment which I'm guessing they were hoping to create a claustrophobic atmosphere but even that didn't really work for me. The score was so irritating it became deafening at times and didn't do anything to enhance the film. You may be asking why I'm being so hard on this film when I took extra steps to be constructive with my criticism of another film from the festival. I'm gonna answer that now...
I can't remember all of what was talked about during the Q&A but it was something about another film, the firing of an actor, a hotel room... Oh and 90 WORDS ON A PAGE! That's right, there was no script for this film at all. Just 90 or so words scribbled in a note pad and 3 days of shooting. And let me tell you, it showed. I seem to also remember some talk of "coming up with something new and different". This is where it gets pretty over the top ridiculous for me. I'm not sure how someone can say they wanted to bring something new to the table when this is clearly a blatant rip off of Adam Green and Joel David Moore's Spiral. From the lead actor's gentle psychosis right down to the hallway shots of the bathroom door. The only difference was Green's film had substance and this one didn't. Then again, I'm not sure how much substance can be reached in a mere 3 day shoot. I'm not a film expert but it doesn't seem to me that Marcus Koch and his team put their best foot forward on this project. I think they were just jazzed to make a film and decided to go with it.
In the end Fell really should've been F-A-I-L. If you're looking for an taut psychological thriller, I'd recommend a viewing of Spiral instead.
15 November 2010
Kodie was the final film shown on opening night at the 2nd annual DOA Blood Bath Film Festival so there was a lot of build up. As we were walking around we overheard most of the crowd saying this was the film they were anticipating the most. Of course with all the buzz, we began to get more and more jazzed about it. It's a hard thing being a reviewer sometimes. Especially when it comes to Indie films because you know that these people are probably the hardest working filmmakers out there. They literally dump their heart and soul into each and every project.
David (Jayson Champion) a paranormal investigator, has come to a point in his life where everything he cares about is being ripped away in domestic turmoil. He soon finds himself and his team caught in a world of an enraged murderous little girl named Kodie (Jennifer Stone), in the form of a Teddy bear. Set forth by a witches curse, she rips, eats, dismembers and lays waste to the abusive hearts of the town, leaving them in a pool of red chaos and mangled corpses. Now they must free themselves from the torment of Kodie's ruthless brutal Hell. (Written by Abel Berry)
And this is where it gets hard, on one hand I know that each one of these films were made with little to no funding. On the other hand, I also feel that it doesn't always take an ass load of money to make a great film. I don't want to condemn this film or the filmmaker. I'm not here to make anyone feel like shit. But I'm also not going to adjust my opinion based on the fact that I had a conversation with someone in it. It wouldn't be fair to them or to my readers (yes, I have readers :p).
I would've liked to have seen some further exploration on David's struggle to keep his life from falling apart. That would've connected me more to his character. Instead what we got was a shot of him drowning his sorrows in a bottle while holding a picture of his kid. Then a brief but heated phone conversation with his ex. Digging into that a little deeper would've made his character seem more real.
Another thing that bothered me is that I wasn't sure if they were really going for a comedic feel or not. It was hard to distinguish between what was intentionally funny and what wasn't. Any funny line or scene that came along seemed forced and awkward. For example when David's character was having a beer with Jasper (Abel Berry) there was a good 30 seconds where they just uncomfortably stared at each other. I guess it's entirely possible that it was done on purpose but I felt uneasy just watching it.
In a nut shell, I didn't think the film was great but I do think that Abel Berry is a very talented filmmaker and given the right tools, could really go places. I applaud anyone who has the skill and ambition to bring their vision to life. I wish him luck and look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
06 November 2010
Synopsis: A short film based on an unsolved crime that triggered a bizarre series of murders through out North Carolina.
Kill Devil Hill is a debut horror short of Robert "Ace" Jordan and focuses on an unsolved crime case from Kill Devil Hills, NC. The 12 minute short follows the Reed family Jamie (Melinda Bennett), Jesse (Taylor Graham) and their children Joey (Aiden Miranda) and James (Hunter Miranda) as they're preparing to call it a night. What transpires is a horrific tale of possession murder. I won't get into the details because I don't want to give away any spoilers.
For a piece that was shot in approximately 37 hours over 3 days it's remarkably well done. The film is put together nicely although in some parts, the transitions are a little long. There's a bit of CGI introduced that could've been left out and not hurt the film at all. What I find incredible is that for a 12 minute piece it had it all. The tension was there, the acting was spot on and Rob Gokee did an awesome score that only served to enhance the tense feel of the film. If I hadn't read ahead of time that it was a first time directing thing, I'd never have known it.
The biggest thing for me is that by the end, I wanted more but not in a bad way. I think it has the potential to make a great full length feature. A little more explanation to what was going on would've been good but it's not something that you absolutely need to get through it. Every aspect of the film is very well done. I hope to see more from the folks over at Jordanfilm Empirical Pictures very soon!
26 October 2010
Like most of my friends and colleagues, I'm not a horror movie snob. I enjoy the occasional fun film. You know, the typical B-movie full of cheesy one liners and bad jokes. Yes, I thoroughly enjoy films like Sleepaway Camp and the original Piranha but that's because they have that something special. I can't tell you what it is I just know they have it. This one, however, is one of those films I look at and say "How does someone get funding for this CRAP!?" I know so many great writers that have stacks and stacks of scripts sitting on a desk with a stack of denials just as high next to it. I'll be sure and tell them to dumb it way down before submitting it again. I guess it's all about perception and opinion. No doubt not everyone will agree with me all the time. I'm sure there are people out there that actually bought this film, God forbid, because they liked it so much. Rest assured, this will NOT be one you'll find on the shelf at my house.
High schooler Mackenzie Carpenter (Leighton Meester) thinks her biggest problem is dying of boredom in the bucolic wasteland of Orange County... until her classmates start disappearing and Horny The Clown (Van De La Plante), the mascot for local burger favorite HELLA-BURGER, begins madly stalking her. It isn't until Mac discovers her unbelievable connection to Horny and his victims that she realizes, if she's going to live to see 18, she must come face-to-face with the... killer clown in the bloodiest week Blanca Carne, California, has ever known.
Meester gave her same old wooden performance. I swear that girl only has two expressions... pouty and grouchy. I didn't even know who Nicholas D'Agosto was and honestly, after this I still won't. Melora Hardin seemed to put up some kind of effort at least. In a subtle twist of irony, Morgan Spurlock, producer of the documentary Super Size Me made an appearance. No doubt an inside joke referencing how fast food can kill you. I had a hard time believing even bad actors could say all the crappy dialogue with a straight face. The only shining star in the bunch was Lola Glaudini of Criminal Minds fame. According to Criminal Minds spokesperson, Glaudini quit the show saying she didn't like living in LA. Had she actually left, she might not have ended up in such a shitty movie. Hmm, wonder where she is now? Let's have a look....... ahh, a new TV show, Persons Unknown, with that one guy... yeah, he's cute. SHIT... I'm in the middle of a review. Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, the rest of the cast wasn't memorable in any way and they all died so who cares. (kidding)
Watching this, I kinda felt like I was stuck in Halloween III: Season of the Witch I didn't really wanna watch it but there was this unstoppable force that made me and by the half way point I totally expected brain goo to come seeping out of my eyes. The plot was lame, the script was lamer (is that a word). I'm not sure what Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn were thinking when they came up with concept. While there was a good bit of gore and a few somewhat clever kills, there wasn't enough to make up for the abundance of ridiculous things going on. First you have a supernatural killer clown, who I'll admit was a bit on the creepy side, then there's the dried up back story that's way over used. I don't even wanna mention the useless, dimwitted, overweight cop that is constantly chowing on something while there are dead bodies laying at his feet. There are so many TV, movie, music and political references that I lost count. Oh and did I mention that the supernatural killer clown communicates through Ouija Boards, Magic 8 Balls, Etch a Sketches and gumball machines? Yeah...... There are also some major directing or editing errors. Meester's hair is dark brown with burgundy stripes in one shot and in the next shot it's blond. How does that get by? So... so much wrong with this film. And of course the end leaves an opening for a sequel which I've just learned is in production... God help us all. The fact that I sat through this entire shit fest is a testament to my mood and seriously makes me question my judgement. As a matter of fact, the best part of the whole thing was the end where they showed the bloopers. That was more entertaining than the film itself.
I don't normally add taglines and quotes in my reviews but I'm gonna make an exception for this one. The tagline is: At Hella Burger, It Won't Be The Food That Kills You... But You'll Wish It Did. If that's what it takes to unwatch this one, then I'm game. If nothing else, this one could win an award for the dumbest dialogue in a film with this quote: "What's this all got to do with Horny the Clown? I grew up with that lovable son of a bitch. It's kinda like finding out Captain Kangaroo has pieces of Mr. Green Jeans in his freezer." Movie gold my friends... movie gold.
23 October 2010
The original Night of the Demons came out when I was 14 and I remember watching it so much I could recite almost every line. Yes, it was a cheese fest of Pont l’Eveque proportions but it was fun. It was the perfect example of how good a low budget film can be. So of course hearing they were remaking it sent me running to the nearest pharmacy for a giant sized tube of blistex to rub on my severely chapped ass.
Maddie Curtis (Monica Keena) and her friends Lily Thompson (Doria Baird) and Suzanne Reed (Bobbi Sue Luther) are ready for a great Halloween night. They're going to a party thrown by their friend Angela Feld (Shannon Elizabeth) at the notorious Broussard Mansion in New Orleans. Over eighty years ago, six people disappeared from the mansion without a trace and the owner, Evangeline Broussard, hung herself. Maddie and Lily run into their exes, Colin Levy (Edward Furlong) and Dex Thrilby (Michael Copon), while Suzanne parties it up. Good times end, however, when the police bust up the party. After the rest of the guests leave, Angela, Maddie, Lily, Dex, Colin, Suzanne and their friend Jason Rogers (John F. Beach) discover a horrible secret. Their cell phones don't work. The mansion gates are now mysteriously locked. Soon it becomes clear that supernatural forces are at work at the Broussard Mansion, and that there may be more to the tale of Evangeline Broussard than anyone knew. As it turns out the Broussard Mansion really is home to something evil, demons that need to possess seven vessels to break free of an ancient curse. One by one the guests fall victim, transforming into hideous creatures.
The script wasn't anything overly fantastic but the cast does a decent job at picking up the slack. I'm not a huge fan of Edward Furlong and now I remember why. He was such a better actor when he was younger... you know, when he actually tried instead of just showing up to collect a paycheck. You'd think the overweight drug addict/dealer would come a little more natural to him but alas, it seemed he spent more time trying to yank up his pants than actually focusing on his character. Speaking of drug dealers, what was up with the foreign drug lord? I didn't get it AT ALL. Linnea Quigley, Suzanne from the original, made a cameo or at least her cooch did anyway. While there really wasn't any one performance that stood out for me I think they all did a decent job with what they were given. And low and behold, who did I spy with my little eye?? None other than Victor freaking Crowley! I had to rewind it to make sure I wasn't seeing things.
Adam Gierasch said from the get go, he wanted to make a film that he would've wanted to watch as a teenager. If that's the case, I guess he pulled it off. The original was a pretty cheesy teen film and this one follows suit. It's what some would categorize as a party film. Gierasch and Jace Anderson stuck pretty close to the original only veering off in a few places. They kept the infamous lipstick scene and even went so far as to ramp it up a bit. The effects for the most part were pretty good. The first couple of demons were pretty bad ass and there's a face rip that rivals others I've seen. I don't think fans of the original will be disappointed, as far as remakes go, this is one of the better ones.
21 October 2010
Jeremy C. Shipp is an American novelist and short story writer of Bizarro fiction and horror. He's been published (or will be published) in Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Pseudopod, Withersin and most recently in Brain Harvest. He's been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for his novel, Cursed. And best of all, he is one of the nicest, most down to earth guys there is. Whether you're chatting with him on Twitter or friending him on Facebook he always gives 110% to the conversation. Shipp lives in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage with his wife and cats. He also has a legion of yard gnomes and some creepy attic clowns.
This was my very first interview and I was super lucky for it to be with Jeremy. He's an all around nice guy who makes you feel at ease when talking with him. Read below for our little chat and be sure to check out his website!
TC: When did you fall in love with this type of writing, i.e. horror, fantasy?
JCS: I loved horror and fantasy storytelling as far back as I can remember. Even as a kid, my brothers and I would play make believe and our recurring characters included the Grim Reaper, a mummy, and a floating mouth that could eat people and send them to various dimensions like the one where giant worms rule the world. In fourth grade, I wrote my first full length short story. It was about a green alien named Chomper who liked to eat everything around him. He also had an affinity for opera.
TC: What was the first story you ever had published?
JCS: My first published story was called “Love Thy Demon.” The story was dark and funny and twisted, and also not very good.
TC: How has your success with writing affected your personal life?
JCS: Now when a family member asks me “Any good news?” instead of saying “Nope” I usually have something good to report.
TC: How much research goes into each book/short story?
JCS: For novels like Vacation and Cursed, I research so much that my brain ends up going supernova. I research less for my short stories, although I am a bit obsessive, so even if I’m writing an absurd story about a zombie polar bear, I’ll spend way too much time researching polar bears.
TC: Are any of your characters based on real life people?
JCS: None of my characters are exactly like anyone I know. However, I sometimes imbue my characters with personality traits that remind me of real people. For instance, Nicholas from Cursed uses lists to create order out of the chaos of his life, the way that I do from time to time.
TC: What inspires you most when you write?
JCS: My family, my friends, my cats, strangers I overhear on the street, world events, dreams. Most of my inspiration though comes from a magical tap-dancing troll who lives in my spleen.
TC: How do you feel about being categorized as a "Bizarro" writer?
JCS: I love writing and reading weird fiction, and so it’s a pleasure to be a part of the Bizarro fiction movement. If anyone reading this would like to learn more about Bizarro, I’d recommend visiting this site: bizarrocentral.com.
TC: Can you give us a hint of what you’re currently working on?
JCS: Primarily, I’m working on a middle grade fantasy novel and a new horror story collection. I’m also trying to organize a civil war reenactment in my garden with yard gnomes and coconut monkeys. Not as easy as it sounds.
TC: Has there been any mention of a book to screen adaptation of any of your work?
JCS: There is a story to stage musical adaptation in the works. The musical is based on my short story “Nightmare Man.” In addition, there is some interest in a film adaptation of Cursed, so fingers and toes crossed.
TC: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
JCS: I enjoy hiking in the hills, playing the piano, yakking with yard gnomes, burying my brain in books, moving mangoes with my mind (and fingers).
TC: I'm sure EVERY writer at some point has had to deal with rejection. For other aspiring writers out there, can you tell us how you handled rejection?
JCS: At the beginning of my career, rejection letters were painful for me. I took them personally because I was seeking validation from others, rather than building up my esteem from within. Once I learned that I didn’t need anyone to validate my writing in order for my writing to be worthy, then rejections didn’t bother me anymore. Ultimately, I used all my early rejection letter to construct a papier-mâché statue of Buddy from Charles in Charge. Very empowering.
TC: What are some of your favorite movies or books?
JCS: A few of my favorite books: The God of Small Things, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Giver, A Clockwork Orange, Slaughterhouse-Five, Original Wisdom, Wicked, Let the Right One In, Kafka on the Shore, Holes. Some of my favorite movies: Oldboy, The Happiness of the Katakuris, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Dead Alive, Memento, The City of Lost Children, Lagaan, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.
TC: Any chance that you'll be doing a book tour around Dallas?
JCS: I did a signing in Dallas a couple years back, when I was visiting the set of Egg, the short film I wrote. I’d love to tour Dallas sometime soon. Oh, and you can watch Egg in its entirety here.
TC: What advice do you have for new writers?
JCS: Write every day. Write even when writing is the last thing in the world you feel like doing.
TC: As I was reading Sheep and Wolves, a little tennis ball came randomly rolling by. Any chance I missed some fine print about receiving a free yard gnome with every purchase?
JCS: Owning a copy of any of my books tends to attract yard gnomes as well as anthropomorphic onions. Be warned: these onions will make you cry. They tell such sad stories.
You can visit his website by clicking here.
You can check out and order some of his works here.
Thanks once again to Jeremy for being such a gracious guest!
15 October 2010
We would like to thank everyone who submitted their photos. We got some really great pictures and you guys really made it hard for us to pick a winner. However, there was one stand out photo that we all agreed was our favorite of the bunch.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE........
Congratulations to: Jennifer Kelly (AKA @wiccanz) email us at email@example.com with your information!
We also had some entries that we would like to honor as they were awesome as well!
Scanners style head explosion sent to us by Alex.
Ferocious freakiness sent to us by Kimberly.
Again, thanks to all who submitted a photo I wish we could've crowned you all!
13 October 2010
Directors and actors these days have to be careful. Remakes of horror classics can make a lot of people angry. Me personally, I'm not a fan of remakes at all, especially when they're poorly done. I hate when film makers take originals and turn them into glorified garbage. When they twist the personas of the main characters to make them unlikeable nothings. Perfect example, and this is just my opinion you don't have to agree or like it, is Rob Zombie and his ridiculous interpretation of the Halloween movies. So now, director Steven R. Monroe teams up with writer Stuart Morse to revamp this very controversial 1978 classic. After hearing the news I admit, I was skeptical. Even as I sat down in the theater to watch I couldn't help but think I just wasted $10 and another 117 minutes of my life.
Writer Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) takes a retreat from the city to a charming cabin in the woods to start on her next book. But her presence in the small town attracts the attention of a few morally deprived locals who set out one night to teach this city girl a lesson. They break into her cabin to scare her. However, what starts out as terrifying acts of humiliation and intimidation, quickly and uncontrollably escalates into a night of physical abuse and torturous assault. But before they can kill her, she sacrifices her broken and beaten body to a raging river that washes her away. As time passes, the men slowly stop searching for her body and try to go back to life as usual. But that isn't about to happen. Against all odds, Jennifer survived her ordeal. Now, with hell bent vengeance, her sole purpose is to turn the tables on these animals and to inflict upon them every horrifying and torturous moment they carried out on her... only much, much worse.
Given that this was Butler's first major role in the film industry I wasn't convinced she could pull off such a complex character. I would imagine even a seasoned actor would have a hard time getting into this role. You have take into account what this character is subjected to throughout this film and the emotion that's involved. I'd love to interview her to find out how she mentally prepared herself for such a role. ANYWAY, I thought without a doubt she pulled it off. She brought a much needed innocence to the character and made it easy to feel for her. She is equally as effective when she comes back to exact her revenge if not more so. Chad Lindberg portrayed the mentally challenged man who's bullied by the thugs he grew up with to get in on the gang rape. He captured the fragile, but still capable of violence Matthew with perfection and when it was all over with, you actually felt for the character (even if it was just a little). He delivers a multi-dimensional, impressive performance and his talent shines through like never before. Those were the two outstanding performances for me so I wanted to make sure and highlight those. Not saying that Daniel Franzese, Jeff Branson, Rodney Eastman and Andrew Howard didn't do a great job because they did. I just had a certain appreciation for depth that Butler and Lindberg brought to their characters. And roll me in butter and call me a biscuit is that Tracey Walter I see pulling a cameo?? I think I remember him most for his portrayal of Arnold in Raggedy Man. That's probably an odd memory given as much work as he's done but I can't help it. God, I love him!
So, on to what I thought about the film. The rape scene is extremely hard to watch and no doubt most people will find it a bit uncomfortable. I know I did. It's shockingly brutal and so intense it's unreal. But that's what it's intended to be and it never apologizes for that. The intensity may dull down just a tad but it pretty much holds up the entire film. Monroe did a spot on job with the direction and captured the contrast between tranquility and chaos perfectly. Stuart Morse brings a brilliant script to the table with great dialogue and just the right amount of suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. I know I've seen the original film but for the life of me the only scene I can remember is the one in the bathtub. Doesn't matter, the point is this film isn't an exact duplicate of the original, some things were changed but plot wise there's no difference at all and that's what makes it outstanding. So, who am I to judge how great or bad a film is? No one. So why does what I have to say matter? It doesn't. If you wanna see it, you're gonna see it no matter what I say. I'm not Dread Central or Shock Till You Drop I'm just me. A person who loves horror films and will tell you honestly what I think of them and my opinion of this film is that it's easily THE BEST REMAKE OF THE YEAR. Take it or leave it, like it or not. It doesn't really matter to me.