30 December 2011

The Code 2011 (Short Film) - REVIEW

Your first date with someone is always the most important. You have to make a good impression, make sure you don’t run out of things to talk about, and most importantly watch out for zombies!

The Code begins with Chad (Daylon Walton) and Vanna (Tamara Voss) alone on a grassy hillside, talking and getting acquainted. Chad is sweet talking her about to make his move when they are interrupted by a slew of zombies. Turning around to run away they are greeted by a masked killer named Carl (Todd Terry). One of the zombies named Shaun (Taylor Brandt) tells Kyle to take off his mask that he is actually there on the wrong night. They switched weeks and it was updated in the Google calendar. Later a vampire named Neil (Ben Cody Rogers) also shows up to partake in the killing along with Bigfoot (Jason Walter Vaile). Bigfoot is sent away immediately because 4 different sets of killers is obviously too many. Shaun the zombie is forced to get out “The Code” to settle the debate on who gets to kill the couple. As he is reading they realize that the woman they want to kill is no ordinary woman but is Vanna Helsing. It is Vanna who does the slaying to everyone’s disappointment.

The Code was recently featured at the Splatterfest Festival in Houston and won 11 awards. Best Film, Best Director, Best Splatter and Audience Favorite Film just to name some. The writing in this short film is excellent. This could easily be made into a feature film. The acting is great with everyone being able to deliver. There is comedy, horror and of course splattering blood.

I thought this film was fantastic. I never had so much fun watching a film that was 6 minutes long. The delivery of the humor is what made the movie for me. Taylor Brandt did an outstanding job along with everyone else that was involved with the project. Definitely a 2 thumbs up in my book. Makes you want to ask the next woman you take on a date if she is monster slayer.

Be sure to stop by and "LIKE" The Code's Facebook page then head over and check out the full short on Funny or Die.

Reviewed by J.R. Watkins

24 December 2011

Puppet Master: Axis of Evil 2010 - REVIEW

Everyone loves low budget cheesy horror movies right? If not, why not? You have all the elements of a great movie. They are scary (sometimes) there is comedy and average to bad acting. Charles Band always manages to include all of these factors in his movies which always makes for a good hour and a half of horror movie fun.

The year is 1939 and Andre Toulon (William Hickey) has just committed suicide. The Nazis discover this in his hotel room and rummage the room looking for his coveted puppets to find the secret of bringing the inanimate to life. The Nazis walk out of Toulon’s room and one bumps into a hotel worker by the name of Danny Coogen (Levi Fiehler). Danny is a craftsman at the hotel and was going to discuss his art with Toulon, only to find him dead. Danny finds the puppets and takes them home, but has no idea what he has involved himself in. Danny finds himself in the middle of WWII in America as Germans and Japanese conspire together to blow up the American bomb manufacturing plant that his girlfriend Beth (Jenna Gallaher) works at.

The main puppets appearing in the movie is Tunneler, Pinhead, Blade, and Jester. A new puppet is also introduced in this installment named Ninja. Being a Puppet Master movie the important acting is not done by the human cast it is the puppets which in Axis of Evil seem to steal the show (mainly because the other characters are not as likable as in the past Puppet Master installments in the series).

While Axis of Evil is in a long line of direct to video releases from Full Moon Features, it does have some merit. The movie is left wide open for part X to pick up, which is in production as we speak. I am a fan of low budget, direct to video movies, with Full Moon Features movies being my favorite of this category. Charles Band has made some masterful movies over the years, and Axis of Evil is no exception. I’m sure when a series gets to number 9 ideas begin to run out. Not the case here. The storyline is well thought out and pretty darn clever to branch off to another storyline were the first movie starts. So make some popcorn, relax and enjoy watching the Nazi’s getting whipped up on.

Reviewed by J.R. Watkins

18 December 2011

Silent Night, Deadly Night 1984 - REVIEW

A Classic for the holiday season. One of the most controversial horror movies of the 80’s and also one of the best. While this movie lacks the big name talent it doesn’t lack a body count, nudity, and of course Santa Claus with an axe. Starring in the lead role is Robert Brian Wilson as Billy , and it’s also worth noting that the original scream queen herself Linnea Quigley makes an appearance of an unfortunate victim.

Silent Night Deadly Night starts out with Billy (Danny Wagner) in the backseat as his Mother and Father are driving through what seems to be the middle of nowhere to visit Grandpa at a nursing home. After arriving, Billy’s parents talk to the Grandpa’s doctor and leave Billy with Grandpa. He snaps out of his catatonic state revealing to Billy that if you are naughty Santa will not bring you presents but he will punish you instead, scarring Billy to his core. While driving back from the nursing home Billy’s Father stops to help a broke down motorist dressed as Santa. Santa then pulls a gun killing his father as Billy escapes the car and hides in the brush. Santa pulls Billy’s Mother from the car pins her to the ground and slits her throat.

The story then picks up years later as Billy and his Brother Ricky (Alex Burton) are in an orphanage now run by nuns which we all know are wicked and will scare the piss out of you. Billy is subject to beatings from Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) for being “naughty”. While kindly Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick) feels he remembers his parents murder and feels the evil is still in him. Mother Superior feels Punishment is the only thing he needs.

Picking up 10 years later Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is now 18 yrs old and with the help of Sister Margaret he obtains a job at a local toy store. Life is seeming relatively normal until he is asked to dress up as Santa for the little kids. This disturbs Billy, and as a result after the store employee Christmas party on Christmas Eve Billy starts this reign of terror to punish all the “naughty”. With a killing spree that would make Jason Voorhees proud.

Silent Night Deadly Night spawned 4 sequels while only parts 2 & 3 are direct sequels to the original story. This by far is the best of the series and will make you think twice about being naughty as we all know Santa is watching.

Reviewed by JR Watkins

17 December 2011

Scream 4 2011 - REVIEW

Scream 4 was made in 2011 but it was almost like taking a step back in time to the 1990’s. Full of nostalgia along with the usual cast of characters. Reprising their roles from the original 3 movies are Neve Campbell as Sydney Prescott, David Arquette as Dewey Riley (now the Sheriff), and Courtney Cox as Gail Weathers – Riley.

The storyline is drawn out nicely and somewhat predictable. I mean how much more could they really do with it, but they did a good job of bringing the old characters back and introducing new ones to relate to this generation. Young stars include Lucy Hale, Britt Robertson, Hayden Panettiere, and Erik Knudsen. Most of these actors and actresses are virtually unknown but so was Neve Campbell when the first Scream came out.

Sydney Prescott now an accomplished author comes back to the town she grew up for her book tour. Low and behold the murders start again. Dewey, now the Sherriff of Woodsboro and married to Gail Weathers (looking a little rough I might add) find themselves in the middle of it again. As far as the rest of the story goes, you already know it. The phone calls start along with the murders, Sydney and her relatives are terrorized by someone with a voice box and a ghost face costume.

Like I said earlier the storyline is good and predictable at times. Nonetheless still a fun movie to sit back and enjoy. Not too scary, but enjoyable

Reviewed by JR Watkins

14 December 2011

The Body Count Reaches World Records in Breaking Glass Pictures’ The Summer of Massacre

Philadelphia, PA — Breaking Glass Pictures/Vicious Circle Films has announced the January 10 Blu-Ray/DVD release of the horrifying gore fest The Summer of Massacre (SRP $29.99 Blu-Ray/ DVD $24.99). The Summer of Massacre sends viewers on a tour through the mind of madness, as multiple killers strive to create the biggest and bloodiest body count imaginable. Featuring 8 killers in 5 carnage-drenched stories, The Summer of Massacre lives up to its name with the highest body count ever recorded in a film by The Guinness Book of World Records.
Ungodly brutal beatings turn Chris into a fiend that sets off a bloody rampage. Beauty is truly only skin deep - Watch a young paraplegic fight for her life as her older, beautiful sister tries to murder her.

It’s been 36 years since Jesse’s biological father raped his loving mother. Now, after hiding and running their entire lives, he has found them. A group of Christian teenagers are stalked, maimed and burned by a local legend in a haunted forest.

Three legendary serial killers terrorize downtown Los Angeles and their killer plan is to go out with a real bang.

The Summer of Massacre is a 100 mph slasher ride through the sweltering heat of summer and insanity. Packed with enough gore to turn every type of stomach, The Summer of Massacre delivers a pile of corpses that The Guinness Book of World Records has awarded “biggest body count” in all of film history.
Writer-Director Joe Castro (Terror Toons 1&2, The Jackhammer Massacre) introduces another original tale -- the first ever anthology/slasher film that presents eight killers in 5 gore fest tales. The Summer of Massacre features Brinke Stevens (Slumber Party Massacre), Nick Principe (Laid to Rest), and Cleve Hall (Nightmare).

The Blu-Ray/DVD release will come loaded with numerous HD special features, including: a director’s commentary, a behind the scenes director’s diary, interviews with Brinke Stevens, cast audition tapes, and Joe Castro’s “Childhood of Massacre” a short film furthering the bloodshed.
For more information on The Summer of Massacre including interviews and final DVD copies, please contact Justin@bgpics.com

13 December 2011

All American Zombie Drugs Texas Premiere

Growing up in a home where the accomplishments you made were secondary to everything else either crushes your self esteem or creates somewhat of an overachiever. If I had to pick one, I'd say I'm the latter. Not to the point of annoyance... ok well maybe but that's not the point. The point is that it makes it hard to do things you're proud of because even if everyone else thinks it's great, to you it's just mediocre. So, when the time came to say goodbye to Alex Ballar and Beau Nelson, I felt like we had accomplished something to be proud of. I didn't have anything to do with the film so I can't take credit for the cheers and laughs it produced but I was damn proud to be a part of getting it here and having a successful run and raising money for a great charity. It was honestly a bit surreal to be surrounded by so many friends and family. I just stood back and watched it unfold and was genuinely proud to see them having such a great time.

Alright, enough of that... The guys got a great response from the film and we knocked it out of the park on donations for Operation Kindness. We had a great group of friends and family helping along the way so they of course deserve some acknowledgment... My brother John Pace for helping put it all together. Stacia Langenheder was the main contact for Operation Kindness plus she kept me level headed and calm for the most part. Wolfgang Weber and Gloria Shuri Nava (AKA Glowpinkstah) for coming all the way in from CA to be a part of the festivities. Angelika Film Center and Trinity Hall in Dallas for allowing us to use their facilities. The volunteers from Operation Kindness who brought all the beautiful animals out for us to see and interact with. Our super cool photographers Mason Pelt, William Shea and Deborah Frances. The local filmmakers who made the trip out in support Jason and Lewaine Heath, Kristen Hall, Joshua Moreno, Robert Luke and Kevin A. Green. Our esteemed emcees Ken Harrelson with AngryPuppyFilms and Devin Pike. And last but certainly not least, to Alex and Beau for taking the time out of their busy schedules and allowing us to use their film as a platform to raise awareness for Operation Kindness and give some holiday love to our fuzzy little friends. We definitely couldn't have done it without you!!!

Stay tuned and keep a look out for all the red carpet pics coming up very soon!! Thanks again to everyone who came out in support!!

04 December 2011

Chain Letter 2010 - REVIEW

There are so many things about horror films these days that disturb me and not in a good way. I'd really like someone to explain to me why filmmakers take iconic actors, good actors, dare I say even great actors, and stick them in roles that are beneath them. Is it to bring in an older audience? Is it because they idolized them as children? Or is it because they actually watched their film and realized just how shitty it was and decided they needed something else?

A group of high school friends all receive a chain e-mail claiming that someone close to them will soon die if they fail to keep the message circulating. At first Jessie Campbell (Nikki Reed) thought it might just be a sick joke, but when her friends break the chain and people start to die, she realizes it's only a matter of time until the Chain Man comes to claim her, too.

I'm completely over the whole cliché high school cast. You know, the cast that's suppose to be in their teens but are actually laughably in their mid-twenties. It's ridiculous! Filmmakers, I'm sure there are teenagers out there who would LOVE to get their start in your below average horror film. Take the time to look for them! I suppose most of the blame here can be put on the writer. Not one single character was developed enough for an audience to want to root for them. We're introduced to them, then they're gone, killed in some violent, grotesque manner. Brad Dourif and Keith David do the best they can with the laughable script they were given. I'm not a Betsy Russell fan at all. Yes, I know she's a member of the beloved Saw franchise, I just don't think she's that great of an actress. Let the hate mail ensue... you could even send me a chain letter if you'd like. I promise I won't forward it and you can send the evil, technology hating blacksmith Michael Bailey Smith to get me.

Which brings me to my next question... what the fuck was the point of this film?? Were they trying to convey the message that those who give up their privacy in trade for the newest, most convenient technology don't deserve safety? Is that message even relevant this day in age? Ok that's two questions but don't we all know that there are giant masked men with bloody faces wrapped in gauze who are members of a technology hating cult out there waiting to get us. Jesus Christ I feel like a dumbass just typing that! If deleting every chain email or text you get is motive for a gruesome death, I'd have been dead about 1000 times over. Hmm, I wonder if that's what hell is like? Dammit, I hope I didn't just give someone an idea for another dig my eyeballs out with a spoon film. If I did, I apologize. Feel free to send me a chain letter. Heh, I think that'll be my new catch phrase whenever I say something offensive and piss someone off. (I'd be saying that A LOT!) So, if for some reason you're still not convinced to never bother turning on this shitfest, don't say I didn't warn you. Yes, the first 5 minutes or so may make you reconsider but trust me, it's all down hill from there. It's sloppily done, badly written and honestly my 6 year old could've executed it better. Given that I am the "Gore Whore", I will admit that there are some really great effects but it's still not enough to save it.

02 December 2011

Indemnity 2010 - REVIEW

There's an old adage that says "Anything is possible if you put your mind to it." Let's explore that a bit... Is anything possible if you put your mind to it?? I suppose so. I mean even William Hung made an album, M. Night Shyamalan makes an ass load of money with every shitty movie he makes and some people actually give a shit what I have to say so hey, I guess anything really is possible.

That said, I don't know where this "anyone with a camera can be a filmmaker" thinking comes from. I guess with the advantages of social media and all that it encompasses it IS easier to get your stuff seen. But, there are clearly people making films, independently produced and studio produced, who shouldn't be. Another adage that comes to mind is "Don't quit your day job."

What I do LOVE about indie filmmakers and their use of social media and things of that nature is that eventually the cream will rise to the top. Yes, it takes a lot of hard work and it's definitely not always easy to raise the funds that are needed to get it done. So, even when I see a bad indie film, I still have a certain respect for the people that worked hard and brought that script to life. Am I contradicting myself... probably just a little but it's the same like any other would be profession. Just because you're not that great at it, doesn't mean you didn't try your hardest and in my opinion YOU DESERVE A FREAKING COOKIE! But I don't have any, come back later.

William (David Dietz) thought he’d finally found the love of his life, but something went horribly wrong. Now, he finds himself alone and on the run – pursued across the country by a woman consumed with rage, who now only wishes to see him dead. And heaven help anyone foolish enough to get in her way! Taking refuge in a rural watering hole, William finds an unlikely ally in Joe (Dan I. Radakovich), a bartender battling his own demons. But as William opens up to him over several drinks, Joe begins to wonder if the stranger is simply a victim of circumstance… or if he is hiding a much darker secret...

Dietz himself gives the best performance of the fairly green cast. Did I mention that he was also the writer, director, producer and editor on this project? No, well he was. I thought Radakovich did a pretty good job too. Occasionally his lines seemed a bit unnatural but not so much that it was distracting. For me, Crystalann wasn't very convincing. Given that she's suppose to be a scorned lover out for revenge, I expected to see one pissed off vengeful bitch. But I didn't get that. Wow, never thought I'd hear myself say someone NOT being a bitch was a bad thing.

The biggest issue I had with this film was that some of the scenes, especially the dark ones, were horribly grainy and had too much of a blue tint to them. I'm not sure how that all works as I've never had to render or edit a film, I'm sure it's not an easy task but in this case it seems quite possible it was retouched too much.

All in all, Indemnity is worth a watch and I think with the right tools Dietz can rise to the top and reach his full potential as a filmmaker. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Indemnity is available on the film's website for $1.99 and is expected to hit DVD in March 2012.