31 May 2012

We Are What We Eat 2012 (Short Film) - REVIEW

Zombie movies have made quite a big breakthrough to start out this decade.  On the big screen you have Zombieland which mixed zombies with tons of humor.  Zombieland did very well in the box office and on DVD it was a hit.  Following the success of Zombieland came the weekly T.V. series The Walking Dead.  As everyone reading this knows The Walking Dead is the one of the most watched and most popular shows on the air.  They don't make nearly enough episodes but that's a discussion for another time.  The zombie craze has taken over once again on the heels of a box office hit and a small screen T.V. show.  Everyone is trying to cash in and put their mark in Horror.  That's exactly what we have here.

As Nicole (Lucy Joyce) walks into what seems to be study hall, late her teacher (Chris Bearne) asks for a note.  She does not have one and has an lame excuse as well.  She is excused and takes her seat.  Her boyfriend then proceeds to walk in and his excuse is not tolerated.  He asks Nicole to meet him after school, but when she does she notices his backpack laying on the ground and he is on the side of the little trial bloody and formidably looks to be a zombie.  Nicole is bitten, she goes home and takes care of her wound on her ankle.  The next day she is walking to school with her boyfriend and he seems to be fine now and her wound has disappeared.  Has she imagined the whole thing?

This short film does last 10 minutes and shot a record breaking 220 shots in 2 days, at 6 locations with 27 zombie extras.  They must have been awfully motivated to get that much done in that short amount of time.  You would think in that time the production itself would be rushed and not very good.  It's quite the opposite.  I viewed it in HD format, it looked great.  I was rather impressed with what they did with this movie production wise.  Usually in this section i comment on the direction and acting as well, but I am going to deviate from the Twisted Central formula and save that for the section to includes my opinion.

Here we go, this is what I think of this overall movie.  I am going to come right out and say I did not like it.  While the production quality was good the direction and acting was terrible.  There was really no back story, there is no explanation why everyone is fine one day then the whole school are zombie's the next day.  I know it is a short film but I have viewed shorts that were half the length with more back story than this offered.  Yes, they seem to have shot 220 shots in 2 days but the storyline suffers, the acting does and you can tell it was rushed.  I understand there are budget constraints but I am not a fan of things that are rushed.  This is not a movie that will cash in on the zombie craze, not at all.  Stay twisted everyone!

27 May 2012

Scalene Coming to DVD and Blu-Ray - PRESS RELEASE

The Truth is Just a Point of View in Breaking Glass Pictures’ Edgy, Preceptual Thriller Scalene

  May 14, 2012 - Philadelphia, PA — Breaking Glass Pictures is proud to announce the July 31 Blu-Ray (SRP $29.99) and DVD (SRP $24.99) release of Scalene, a dark, edgy thriller that asks you to decide the truth for yourself in the face of tragedy. 
Written and directed by Zack Parker, and starring Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale (“Justified”, “A Gifted Man”), Hanna Hall (Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Virgin Suicides) and Adam Scarimbolo (Stake Land).  Scalene brings the best and the worst in everyone to the surface in a twisted, layered tale of betrayal, lies and revenge.

  Scalene is a perceptual thriller told from three points-of-view revolving around the rape of a female college student by a mentally handicapped man and his mother’s subsequent breakdown. In the varying views, the absolute truth takes a backseat to who can tell the most convincing tale. What really occurred, and who will you believe?

 Scalene is the winner of the Dances with Films Best Feature Grand Jury Award and took home the awards for Best Feature and Best Director from the Cincinnati Film Festival.  The New York Times called it a “disturbingly clever drama” while the Village Voice said that “strong performances and a Hitchcock-trained eye build unnerving tension.”

Trailer:  Scalene (Trailer)  

The DVD release will come packed with special features including a prologue to the in-depth featurette Perceiving Reality: The Making of Scalene, and the Dances with Films world premiere Q&A and Awards Ceremony featurettes.

  The Blu-Ray will exclusively include the full Perceiving Reality: The Making of Scalene: The Making of Scalene featurette, along with the DVD extras.

  For more information on Scalene including interviews, screeners and final DVD and Blu-Ray copies, please contact Justin@bgpics.com


13 Witches 2012 Webseries - News Update

From driector Sabine Mondestin comes a web series entitle 13 Witches.  This is about 13 sisters who practiced Paganism back in the 1700's and were accused of witchcraft.  They were tortured and burnt alive at the stake.  They are reincarnated into present day to seek their revenge. 

So far 3 episodes out of 20 have been released.  I recently caught the latest installment and i was rather intrigued, so I watched the other 2 episodes.  It stars Sabine Mondestin, Steve Lareau, and many others.  You can catch the series on youtube and the series will be weekly.  With 20 episodes that are about 10-12 minutes in length it doesn't take alot of time to watch and makes a nice new horror series to catch this summer. 

Catch the latest episode here: http://www.youtube.com/user/13WitchesWebSerie

19 May 2012

Twisted Central Interviews Kat Sheridan

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Kat Sheridan a new actress to the Horror genre.  Hope you enjoy!

TC: First i want to thank u for taking the time to talk to us here at Twisted Central
KS: Thank you so much. Its an honor to talk to you and reach out to your readers!

TC: How did you get into acting?
KS: I wanted to be an actress since I was quite young. At 5 years old  my mom enrolled me in all sorts of "artistic" classes for kids (dance, painting, sculpting, etc.), and when I took my first acting class at the Seattle Children's Theatre, it stuck.  I just fell in love with the idea that playing make-believe could be a job, a career even. I put on a lot of plays as a kid with my friends, and when I started to take more complicated classes I realized I could go further with it, that there was so much more to learn and experience.  I memorized my first Shakespearean monologue at 6.  It was from 'Hamlet'. The rest, as they say, is history.

TC: What about the Horror genre do you like?

KS: I love that the Horror genre allows us to indulge our fears vicariously without actually having to go into the woods, in the dark and sit and wait for something twisted to find us.  We all have fears, fears of things that go bump in the night and fears that hit much closer to home. I think horror movies provide a sort of healthy outlet for those emotions.  And they're just fun!  The campiness of many of them, the visual stimulation, the dark humor, the often in-your-face effects, the nudity, the psychological twists and turns, the supernatural elements, the creatures, the exotic mixed with the familiar/everyday...My gosh, what's NOT to like?! And beyond the blood and terror, the writers very smartly paint an allegory, a cautionary tale, or a commentary on society that is often subtle and complex.

TC: What was the first movie that you starred in?
KS: I have worked on some indie features that are still in post, but the most significant one I can talk about is "The Red House".

TC: Do you have any upcoming movies coming out?
I've been acting since I was young, but mostly on stage.  I'm newer to the television/film industry, and "The Red House" will hopefully get me more exposure and open up new opportunities. It should open later this year! I am also co-producing a low budget found footage horror film about vampires called "Night of the Carnivores" with Derek Easley Pictures, so I am excited about bringing you more details on that as they arrive! We have a great location some talented actors and makeup people involved, and a pretty awesome creature actor attached.

TC: What kind of part do you play?
KS: In "The Red House", I play Chelsea, a ditzy but good-hearted New Age enthusiast.  She's friends with the main character, Shelby, and the girlfriend of Travis, the only male of the small group of friends that are staying at the house.  Chelsea is all about auras and power crystals and reading energy, and she senses something "wrong" with the Red House before anyone else does.  She was a great character to play, very free-spirited and fun , but quite serious about her New Age beliefs.  She's funny and endearing at the same time.

TC: When will it be out?
KS: There will be a screening of it soon, but it depends on the distributors when it opens wide.

TC: So how long have you been a fan of Twisted Central?
KS: I first noticed Twisted Central in 2011. While working on "The Red House" I started researching horror more as a genre, watching more films, and checking out Fangoria and horror websites and blogs.

TC: Do you have anything else you would like to say to the fans of Twisted Central?
I love horror and fans or all things scary! I will be promoting some projects at the Long Beach Comic and Horror Con in early November. I am also co-producing and acting in a web series about cosplayers called "Just Cos". I get to wear a lot of fun and sexy outfits, so check that out! And please follow me on Twitter, and subscibe to me on YouTube and blogger! I want to keep you all up to date on my films and projects!

13 May 2012

Billy Don't You Lose My Number! - INTERVIEW by Terri Wilson from In the Comfy Chair

My good friend over at In the Comfy Chair recently had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Hurley of Pumpkinhead fame. AND, since this is easily my favorite horror film of the 80's, she's allowed me to publish that interview here. Many, many thanks to Terri for sharing and be sure to check out the original interview here

Billy Don't You Lose My Number! 

Last year I watched the 1988 Lance Henriksen film Pumpkinhead for the first time, and like many before me, I thought, “That little Billy is stinkin’ adorable.” I pondered what-ever-happened-to Matthew Hurley, the young actor who played him, but a quick check of IMDb left me with more questions than answers. So an IMDb glance led to several days of googling, led to several weeks of social network surfing, and finally after several marginally obsessive months of putting together a string of clues, I found him! Put the Pumpkinhead back! Billy’s just fine!

Matthew Hurley, now 32, didn’t seem to blink an eye when a total stranger messaged him out of the blue, asking if he was the Pumpkinhead kid. In fact, he quite graciously agreed to be interviewed and even dug up some pictures to share with you, dear readers. So without further ado, here’s that Pumpkinhead kid!

Terri: How did you get started as an actor? You were pretty young, yes?

Matthew: A family friend thought I was an outspoken, silly kid with a flair for the dramatic tones in life. They suggested it to my parents and knew some places to check out for child actors, so we did.

As best I can remember, I was 5-6 when we found an agent, and started taking pictures and doing interviews. So yes, I was a pretty young little guy.

Terri: I’ve read your comments on the IMDb message board, so I know that your listing has been fused with another actor. Not an unusual occurrence for IMDb. Just to set the record straight, what roles did you have in your career?

Matthew: IMDb. Yes. Great resource for movie fans like myself, but being a victim of misinformation myself, I have commented, emailed and attempted contact to have this old issue squared away. Nothing happened. lol

Pumpkinhead, Checking Out, Bride of Boogedy and pretty much all things pre-1990 are mine. I haven’t checked it out in a while, but I did some TV roles and lots of commercials in the 80′s.
After having said that just now, I feel alot older!

Terri: I don’t think you were active in films for very long, were you? Did you lose interest in acting or did life just lead you in a different direction?

Matthew: Not too long, no. I didn’t really choose to leave the field. We moved to Northern California for family reasons, and I guess it just kinda got left behind. I do remember my last interview process. I was to be the voice of Charlie Brown. We did a lot of phone interviews, but ultimately the long distance kinda poured water on that fire. My dream to this day is to be a voice actor! I love performing voice impersonations and making up stuff. I’ve been told I have a great Michael Jackson impression.

So this is kind of a mixed bag for me. As a child I didn’t care too much for the acting gig, but now I kinda wonder “what if?” sometimes. I think as an adult I would love it now.

Terri: I understand that you are married with a family and that you are a youth minister. Tell us a little about what you’re up to nowadays.

Matthew: I am happily married to my beautiful wife, Jolene, for almost 13 years now! We have 2 amazing, full of life, very handsome boys. Jacob Alexander (11) and Parker Elliott (7). I couldn’t have designed a more wonderful wife and kids than what I have been blessed with!

I am the Youth and Worship Ministries director at a small church with a big name lol (Pelican Bay Evangelical Free Church) tucked away in the beautiful redwood trees of Crescent City, California. I serve there as a Youth Pastor to some awesome teenagers and young adults and serve as a Worship Leader for our church. Our music team (band) has some amazingly talented people from all kinds of backgrounds and we try to make great music for our Lord each week as a “Thank you” for all He has done for us! I love life and both of my beautiful families! I feel so very blessed.

Terri: Besides work and family, what activities/hobbies keep you busy?

Matthew: How much time do you have? lol

Well, I play music for a living, but it’s also my biggest hobby, I’d have to say. I’m a songwriter and I record stuff when I can, so that’s kinda all day, everyday for me. Inspiration strikes anywhere!

I’m a huge fan of fancy metal items with triggers that expel fast moving pieces of hot spinning lead at a target downrange and make a very large “bang” sound. Target shooting and firearms training is probably my “most favorite-est” thing to do aside from music.

Matthew (cont): When time allows, I’ll play lots of video games. Pretty much online Xbox360 shooter games. Gears of War, Call of Duty, Borderlands, those types. I am a big time movie lover/collector. I surf longboards in the chilly pacific ocean of the “real” nor-cal.

I played paintball for 17 years until recently (chronic foot pain slowed me down too much to keep at it). I was one of the founding members and Captain of Edge Zero Paintball, a small scenario team that traveled to some great events in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon area). Ever heard of SuperGame? lol
I repair computers for people when I’m not doing the rest of these things I am also a giant nerd/geek about computers and various kinds of technology. If it needs batteries or has a screen, I’m probably gonna be interested in looking at it lol.

Terri: I don’t know how aware you are of the massive fan-following that Pumpkinhead has. And I attribute a lot of that to the father-son relationship that grounds that movie in reality. If not for the emotional attachment the audience has for you and the grief felt for Lance’s character, the movie could easily have become just another monster flick. What do you remember about filming it?

Matthew: I was actually totally unaware of it until now! (Terri: I might have found a new skill in regressive therapy!) It was so long ago, and my life now is so different, I kinda forget about it until someone brings it up.

Wow, here goes…

I’ll start with Lance.

First of all, he may be the nicest guy around! I remember meeting him pre-production as a small kid, and how gentle and genuinely caring he seemed to be towards me. Pumpkinhead was my first film, so naturally, I was a little nervous. At some point before filming he must have spoken with my mom and dad about things that would help me on the set to have to calm me or keep me comforted. My first day of filming, I recall it being like 106-107 degrees out in the mountains for the store scenes. I was already gonna have a bad day. I was taken to my trailer and inside was a cage with 2 bunnies in it. They were from Lance. I instantly felt a bond to him off-screen. I was so grateful to him for thinking of me in such a kind way. He was like that each day of filming, my friend off camera. Perhaps on-screen, that could be where it came from.

The Director was wonderful! Stan Winston, his fx crew, and I had spent a bunch of time together pre-production for all the makeup/plaster/dummy making stuff, so we had a good setup to work together. I think they actually let me make the necklace in the movie! Stan and my parents went to great lengths to try and keep as much of the “bad stuff” (monster costume) from my eyes during filming. I don’t think I even knew much about the film until I saw the premiere lol. Stan and I kept in touch every few years until he sadly, as you know, passed away. What a kind man. I will never forget his kindness to me, as best I can tell, he was a good role model to me at a young age.

The cast was so kind to me! All of them were such nice people and it was a great place to be to make a scary movie lol. It’s kinda funny how much effort goes into acting if you have to be a bad guy! John D’Aquino was a really great person to work with. When I saw the film and he was kinda the bad guy, I couldn’t believe it!

Growing up, when Mayim Bialik was cast as Blossom, I told my friends we had worked together as younger kids. They all rented Pumpkinhead.

I specifically remember Cynthia Bain. I think I had a crush on her! lol She was another wonderful and helpful person on the set and off. After filming, she contacted my parents, and asked to spend the day with me. We went to the mall together, had lunch, and just had fun talking about monsters and movies and our experience making the film.

Some very fond memories. I’d have to ask like I did for John, this cast was in a horror movie?

Terri: How old were you? You looked to be about 5.

Matthew: I think I was 7 during filming. Other than my goatee, a few pounds and real glasses, not coke bottles, I don’t think I have changed much.

Terri: You really haven’t! The picture at the top of this page is absolutely how I knew I’d found the right Matthew Hurley! In the last couple of years, I have been introduced to the phenomenon of horror conventions. Think Star Trek convention, but with lots more fake blood. (At least, I hope it was fake.) I have seen several former child actors make appearances at these conventions. Some of them are still actors and some have different careers altogether. Would you ever have any interest in meeting the fans in that type of environment?

Matthew: I don’t know. I have never been asked! I suppose. As a Star Wars fan (original trilogy, I stress), I would enjoy going to something like a Star Wars convention. I guess if it would make Pumpkinhead fans happy, I’d consider it, if I ever had an invite.

Terri: You mentioned music before. Are you involved in any other performing arts?

Matthew: I did some theater in high school and have penned a few small skit type things for events, performed in a few over the years. I have some friends in the local theater group trying to get me to reprise my role as Orin Scrivello, DDS from Little Shop of Horrors coming up lol.

Voice acting, like I mentioned, I do as a hobby. I sing and play guitar and sometimes a few other instruments. I have done lots of songwriting and have been blessed to have recorded 3 albums over the years. Good times…good times.
Terri: And last but not least, what’s up with the “Matches” thing?

Matthew: The matches thing? hahaha. Everyone named Matthew gets called Matt or something simple. A little old German lady I knew growing up used to call me her “little matches,” accent and all. It kinda stuck where I was working. And I played alot of video games; I didn’t want to have Matt or something like that as a profile name or email address so I used that. It just stuck with me. lol Most of my friends, and certainly my wifeypoo call me that. The only time Jolene uses my full name? That means I’m in trouble!

Many thanks to Matthew Hurley for accepting my invitation to stroll down memory lane. And hey, all you horror con organizers out there! Isn’t 2013 the 25th anniversary of Pumpkinhead? Give this guy a call! Surely the Mayans wouldn’t be against a little ’80s horror film reunion.

Huff 2012 - REVIEW

Most of us are raised to believe in fairy tale endings. The girl gets the guy and vice versa. Good triumphs over evil and missing children always find their way home. As we grow older and wiser to the ways of the world we realize this isn't always the case and not everyone gets their happy ending. Now if you go back in history and read the original versions of fairy tales, what we grew up with is far from the way the story actually goes. The history of fairy tales began with our primitive ancestors and grew to reflect the uncertainties, traumas and dramas of the age. In the original Red Riding Hood tale, there was no Grandmother, only a ravenous wolf who misdirected Red so he could eat her. Yep, in the original tale, Red didn't escape the wolf. Some of the very early tales even have Cinderella as a murderous daughter who was punished with a life of chores for killing her first step-mother. Sleeping Beauty wasn't awakened by a kiss from a handsome prince, it was the nudging of her newborn twins that actually woke her and Goldilocks, well she became a hearty meal for the three bears. Take the Brothers Grimm for example, they were notorious for writing very gruesome tales that rarely ended in "happily ever after".

Lorelei (Elina Madison) finally realizes that she hasn't done whats right by her three daughters. For seven years she's trapped them in a home with an abusive, drug running, pedophile step-father who hides behind the Bible. Seeing the err of her ways, she decides to steal Huff's (Charlie O'Connell) drug money and send the girls off in search of a better life. The girls split up thinking it will be harder for Huff to find them. But, there's nothing worse than a pissed off drug runner with a tendency for violence. Once Huff wakes up from his drunken slumber and realizes his money is gone, he sets off in a bloody pursuit to get it back.

From the onset, the most recognizable face of this cast is Charlie O'Connell. Hell, he's been in everything from Sliders to Dude Where's My Car to 2-Headed Shark Attack. The best thing about it though, is this isn't the Charlie O'Connell we're all used to seeing. This is a much darker Charlie and it's frightening how well he pulls it off. He gives the most powerful, brutal, intense performance of his career right here and he nails it. I've always seen him as this cute, charming good guy but not anymore... nope... he's skeery! I was also surprised to see two of my favorite actors show up. Who, just in case you didn't know, are father and son, Rance and Clint Howard. Both had rather minor roles but as usual, played them to perfection. The rest of the cast were relatively unknown to me until now. Gorgeous, gorgeous girls who know how to play it up on screen. Madison is an emotional wreck (because she's supposed to be) and you instantly feel for her. A woman trapped in a marriage of convenience who only wants what's best for her girls and she makes it look effortless. Now, it's the naming of the girls where we get our first glimpse of the "Three Little Pigs" aspect of the film. Brixi (Marie Bollinger),  Styx (Jenna Stone) and Shay (Elly Stefanko). Bollinger is more than effective as the self sacrificing, God fearing "good girl" quoting Bible verses to deflect the attentions of her pervert step-father away from her sisters. Stone is the rebellious one who wants nothing more than to escape the hell she's in and she's extremely convincing. Stefanko is the cute but naive baby of the family and you'd think, this being her first film, there'd be some kind of learning curve for her but she delivers a rather flawless performance. Natasha Alam is Huff's girl on the side who is trying to escape her own nightmare. Little does she know, she's stepped right in the middle of another one.

I must admit when I was first approached to review Huff, I had my doubts. I mean really, a film based on The Three Little Pigs? My perception of films is so skewed these days. However, even after reading other reviews on here, writer Cort Howell was convinced that I'd enjoy it and he was right. The thing about it is, Huff could've easily gotten very gimmicky and gone downhill fast but Howell and director Paul Morrell made damn sure it never went in that direction. The references are very subtle and if you didn't know it before hand, you'd probably never put the two together and that just makes it a more solid film. We here at Twisted Central love the Indie film circuit (when it's good) and what it all boils down to is that Huff is an intense, compelling play on a childhood favorite that is a must see for genre fans. Kudos to the Huff team and I can't wait to see what else Windchaser Pictures has in store for us!

Puppetmaster 1989 - REVIEW

The year was 1989, hammer pants were still in fashion and artists like Richard Marx, Debbie Gibson and The New Kids on the Block were topping the charts of music.  Meanwhile Charles Band had started a new production company called Full Moon Productions.  Fresh off of his previous creation called Empire Pictures which gave us the ever classic Re-Animator.  Charles had no idea when he released Puppetmaster that he just made a cult classic that would have 9 installments with a 10th on the way.

In 1939 at the Bodega Bay Inn a famed puppeteer in Germany is staying, Andre Toulon (William Hickey).  While making some touch up work on his Jester puppet Andre knows that the Nazi are on their way to kill him and steal his ancient secret of giving life.  Just as the Nazi's burst into the room Andre kills himself so his secret stays safe for the meantime and they do not get their hands on it .  Back to present day were a group of people who all have physic powers have a vision involving their friend and business associate Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F Skaggs).  Neil draws them all to the Bodega Bay Inn for what?  No one is really sure but the all follow their physic vision and go there.  Upon arriving they learn from Megan Gallagher (Robin Frates) that her husband Neil is in fact dead and gave instructions not to bury him till the group all got their.  Learning that Neil was a very evil and manipulative man that he had been there working on a project even just before his death.  Since Niel committed suicide so suddenly no one knows what he was working on and its a bit suspicious that he brought all of them there after his death.  What is the group in for?  They are about to find out what Neil discovered and even meet some tiny doll size friends on the way.

This instant classic changed the view of direct to video as we know it today.  While it was not the first direct to video movie ever made it certainly was one of the best and set a precedent for all others to follow.  Charles Band is a pioneer in the direct to video market releasing all of Full Moon's collection in that manner.  Nothing on the big screen at all.  That's not to say his movies do not have the big screen quality because they did.  Puppetmaster was actually scheduled to be released in theaters and then pulled to go straight to the video stores instead.  The acting in Puppet master was very good, not great but good.  All of the characters had their certain powers and quirks that they brought to the table and in that respect the character development was awesome.  Of course we cannot forget the real stars of this movie, the puppets.  Featuring Blade, Tunnler, Pinhead, Jester and Leech woman.  Each one like the group of psychics have a certain strength, something that makes each one of them unique.  This was the first of many great Puppetmaster's to follow.

About a year ago I bought the set that was released of all 9 Puppetmaster movies.  Packed with the original DVD title screens with all the Full Moon special features in tact, such as Video Zone.  Video Zone was a look behind the scenes of the current movie you were watching and also a look at a new Full Moon movie that would be released.  This is not on all of the films but is on Part 2 through part 5 I believe.  After that Video Zone was something they stopped doing.  I did not see all the movies in order, but none the less I still knew which one started it all and always had a great deal of respect for the first film.  To date part 1and part 9 are the only to be released on Blu Ray.  I purchased a copy of the Blu Ray also and it looks simply pristine.  I find it always interesting to know which puppet is your favorite.  Mine of course if Blade.  Probably the most popular of them all but also the most bad ass.  So which one is your favorite?  Stay twisted everyone!

12 May 2012

The Divide 2011 - REVIEW

The one truth in life that you can count on is that no one is perfect and no one has ALL the answers. Growing up, when things were bad, I was always told "It could be worse". Of course when you're young everything bad that happens always feels like the end of the world. As you age, you realize it's true. Bad things happen and you get up, dust yourself off and either try again or start over because.... it could be worse.

In this graphic and violent, post-apocalyptic thriller, nine strangers, all tenants of a New York high-rise apartment, escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the building’s bunker-like basement. Trapped for days underground with no hope for rescue, and only unspeakable horrors awaiting them on the other side of the bunker door, the group begins to descend into madness, each turning on one another with physical and psycho-sexual torment. As supplies dwindle, and tensions flare, they grow increasingly unhinged by their close quarters and hopelessness. Each act against one another becomes more depraved than the next. While everyone in the bunker allows him or herself to be overcome by desperation and lose their humanity, one survivor holds onto a thin chance for escape, even with no promise of salvation on the outside.

I get such enjoyment from watching Michael Biehn on screen. He has the ability to morph into any character he's given, becoming everything from a soldier to a maintenance man, and pull it off like very few others can. In my opinion, this is one of the best performances of his career. It also didn't hurt that he was surrounded by a very solid, talented cast. Everyone of them portrayed their characters quite flawlessly. Ashton HolmesLauren German, Ivan Gonzalez and Biehn stay pretty even keeled throughout, their personalities not really changing much but every other character makes a believable transformation into someone totally unrecognizable. Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Eklund make the biggest and probably the most convincing changes throughout the film. Rosanna Arquette takes on the role of a mother who is desperate to save her daughter (Abbey Thickson) from certain death. Even Courtney B. Vance, who I'm used to seeing as a mild mannered, sure of himself, never breaks under pressure type guy, succumbs to the paranoia of being trapped with no way out.

Director Xavier Gens shows us the best and worst of humanity in The Divide. It's an intense ride that delves into the psyche of the mind and shows how desperation can turn even the most mild tempered person into an unimaginable monster. I've seen a lot of films that attempt this and fail miserably but where others fail is exactly where Gens succeeds. The film is very well paced with some really great camera work. It's obvious that time was spent developing the characters and making their transformations believable. Writers Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean have crafted what I can only assume will easily become a cult classic among horror and Sci-fi fans alike. Whatever you can imagine about being trapped in a basement with eight other people is probably not near as bad as what Gens throws at you. This is a brutal, no holds barred in your face film with a haunting score that only serves to intensify the overall atmosphere. 

When it was all said and done, I was left with a few questions but it was more to satisfy my own curiosity than anything else and didn't really detract from the overall concept of the film. There was more blood and gore than I expected and it's all done very well. If you're squeamish in any way, I'd steer clear of this one. Not only does it have some pretty gory content, there are also some very violent sexual scenes that could make some viewers uneasy. I would recommend this to any fan of the genre, it's definitely worth a watch or maybe even two. 

The Victim 2011 - REVIEW by Scott Shoyer with Anything Horror

THE VICTIM is the solo directorial debut from genre actor, Michael Biehn (in 2010 he co-directed THE BLOOD BOND with Antony Szeto). I’ve posted a few articles about the progress of this film over the last year, and then suddenly it went silent. So I was pretty happy that THE VICTIM was being screened at this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend and made a point to check it out. I’m glad I did for two reasons. First; it’s a fun film, and second; Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, and Danielle Harris were all in attendance to watch the film with us and hold a Q & A after the screening (only Biehn and Blanc were there for the Q & A). It’s always nice to get the “inside scoop” from the director and leading actor/actress in a film. So let’s get to it.

THE VICTIM stars Michael Biehn as Kyle (a nod to his role in THE TERMINATOR), a self-imposed recluse who holes up in his uncle’s unused cabin in a very remote area in the woods. He’s there to get his life together and get over some trauma from his past (what this is is only hinted at in the early parts of the film). One night while he’s trying to get some work done, a frazzled and panicked girl, Annie (Jennifer Blanc), starts pounding on his door to let him in. He reluctantly does and she tells him she’s being chased by two guys who wanna kill her. Oh yeah; the two guys are cops. Oh yeah; and one of the cops is going to be the next sheriff of the county!! Don’t worry, I didn’t spoil anything. These facts come out very early in the film. Annie tells him that she and her roommate Mary (Danielle Harris) were partying with the two cops out in the woods when things got a little outta control. From this point the film twists and turns as it makes us question who is ‘good,’ who is ‘bad,’ and who is really the victim. You’ll find yourself putting every character in the film under a microscope as you try and figure out where everything is headed.

Biehn, who also wrote the screenplay, does a really nice job keeping the tension high and the plot moving along at a nice pace. During the Q & A we find out that THE VICTIM was shot on a micro-budget and there were a lot of things Biehn wanted to do in the film, but he was limited by the budget. The first thing you’ll notice is that for the content, there’s a surprising lack of blood and gore. Again, this is attributed to the budget (Robert Hall’s Almost Human f/x company handles the effects). But the film doesn’t suffer from the lack of gore. Sure it would’ve been nice to have a gorier film, especially since this is Biehn’s homage to grindhouse flicks, but he manages to fill the story with a lot of exploitation elements that all work together. We get sex, drugs, corrupt cops, a serial killer, torture, and violence towards women. As Biehn told us after the screening, he tried to fit as many exploitive elements into the film as he could that wouldn’t cost a lot of money (i.e, no zombies or excessive gore). He seemed genuinely happy with the film and he should be. It’s a fast-paced throwback film with a solid plot and overall good acting.

Starring as the corrupt cops are Ryan Honey as Harrison (the future sheriff) and Denny Kirkwood as Cooger (a narcotics cop). Both did solid jobs but Honey was the one actor who seemed to get a little over-the-top at times. In his defense, though, his character was the most complex one in the film. Harrison is essentially a wolf in sheep’s clothing; a sociopath who somehow got on the right career path. There are times, though, when his acting seems to get away from him and he over does it. He also has a really distracting, cheesy, 1970’s mustache that was a nice touch. It made him seem all the more crazy and it also situated THE VICTIM nicely in the grindhouse-era.

Biehn and cinematographer Eric Curtis do a nice job capturing some really nice scenes. Biehn told us that he utilized a “Day for Night” technique where all the night shots were filmed during the day time. This is a method he picked up from Xavier Gens, who used this technique in his film FRONTIERE(S). Biehn picked Gens’ brain about this technique when he starred in Gens’ film, THE DIVIDE. It was a nice choice because Biehn captured some very cool scenes and shots with creepy looking shadows and managed to make the ‘dark’ seem like a menacing character itself. At the screening the film played a little darker than Biehn would’ve liked (not a problem with the film itself but with the equipment and screen it was shown on) and let us know that on the right screen THE VICTIM plays a little “lighter.”

THE VICTIM is overall a solid film that will grab you from the opening shot. Biehn nicely builds up the tension throughout the film and delivers an explosive conclusion. There are times when watching where you’ll say to yourself, “This scene would’ve been even better with more gore,” but this lack of over-the-top gore doesn’t hurt the overall experience of the film as it is. At the end of the day, THE VICTIM is a fun and intense exploitation film that’s an homage to the grindhouse films of yesteryear. This is a solid directorial debut and I’m looking forward to seeing what Biehn comes up with next.

My Summary:
Director: Michael Biehn (& screenwriter)
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer (Anything Horror) at the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012

10 May 2012

The Possession Poster

Lionsgate has released a new poster for The Possession, which hits theaters nationwide August 31. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joanna Levesque and Kyra Sedgwick star in this upcoming horror-thriller, about a malicious spirit which is set free after a young girl purchases a seemingly-harmless antique box. The film is directed by Ole Bornedal. Check out this 1-sheet, which gives a new meaning to the slang term "face-palm".

Source: MovieWeb.com

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies 2012 - REVIEW by Scott Shoyer with Anything Horror

 If your first thought here is, “I think the title is actually ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER,” well you’re wrong. If you’re now thinking, “Aahhh; it’s a mockbuster ... we must be dealing with The Asylum,” well then you hit the nail square on the head. ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES is indeed a ‘mockbuster’ (a lower-budgeted version of a big Hollywood release) being put out by The Asylum. Now before you roll your eyes I must remind you that The Asylum has recently put out 2-HEADED SHARK ATTACK (my review) and NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (my review), two way above average cheese-fests that were a lot of fun. Can The Asylum extend their hot streak to ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES? The film is still going through some final tweaking in post-production, but I was able to catch a screening of it at this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012. This will be released May 29, 2012.

The film opens with a young Abe Lincoln (Brennen Harper) doing some chores around the old log cabin. While out chopping wood he hears some screams from inside the cabin and goes off to investigate. It seems dear old mom turned into a zombie and is chained up in bed. Dad tried to put her outta her misery but messed up and shot himself (?!?). So it’s left to ‘lil Abe to clean up the mess. Cue gunshot and opening credits. Now ‘lil Abe is all grown up and the sixteenth President of the United States. It seems Abe (now played by Bill Oberst Jr.) is up to his nipples in the civil war and a raid on a strategic fort ended badly for the Union. Now rumors are starting to spread about dead soldiers and civilians re-animating and attacking the living. But old Abe knows this isn’t a rumor; he fought the deadly virus and saw its effects when young and knows this is a problem that must be dealt with quickly and effectively.

In order to deal with this new zombie threat, Abe puts together the best men in the newly formed Secret Service and sets out behind enemy lines. He plans on both putting an end to the zombie plight and to take the strategic fort and tip the scales in the civil war. All the familiar characters are here: John Wilkes Booth, Edwin Stanton, Pat Garrett, Mary Todd Lincoln, a young Teddy Roosevelt, and General Stonewall Jackson. Of course not everything about them is historically accurate, but it’s fun to see how writers Karl Hirsch, J. Lauren Proctor, and Richard Schenkman (who also directed) weave them into the story and play around with their historical personas.

After the setup and Lincoln and his posse arrive at the fort, the shit hits the fan and they find themselves trapped, having to fight for their lives against the rather goofy looking zombies that have surrounded the fort. The good news is that there’s a lot of zombies. The bad news is that most of them consist of a little greenish pancake makeup and fake blood on their faces and clothes. The rest of the film plays out pretty much as you expect it to. There is, though, one particular element that makes ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES pretty fun: actor Bill Oberst Jr. In general, the writers never take themselves too seriously and they try to keep everything moving along at a good pace. There’s a few moments that drag on and a few clever moments with some of the historical figures, but overall ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES suffers from a rather bland story. Luckily the filmmakers were smart enough to hire Bill Oberst Jr. to play the lead. Oberst puts in a really great performance and plays the role with a lot more sophistication than is written. He manages to find a really nice balance of playing the role of Lincoln as a serious and brooding statesman as well as a zombie-slaying, one-liner dropping badass (in one scene Abe screams out, “Emancipate this,” as he beheads a zombie). He blends this performance perfectly and makes it believable. Oberst is really great in this role. The other cast members are a mixed lot, some doing a good job while others over act like you expect to find in a film by The Asylum.

But the biggest problem here is, as mentioned above, the rather bland plot. There’s nothing that really grabs you (other than Oberst’s performance). The zombie killing scenes are filmed in a more “action flick” fashion than as a horror film. Everything, of course, is CGI here; the blood, most of the flames, a lot of the beheadings, and this is a shame. Just imagine an excessively gory flick about Abe Lincoln kicking some serious zombie ass all covered in blood and guts. That would’ve been badass. But what we get in ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES is your standard action kills of CGI beheadings and inconsistent moments where sometimes you need a headshot to kill the zombies while other times you can simply stab them in the chest to kill them. As I mentioned above, there’s a lot of zombies in this film to keep the main cast in constant danger, but they aren’t the best looking or acting zombies around.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES isn’t the best film The Asylum has put out, but on the other hand it’s not the worst either. There’s some fun elements in the story (playing around with history) and some pretty bland elements (the plot, unfortunately). But Bill Oberst Jr.’s performance alone is worth watching this one. He really owns this role and does a fantastic job. Just don’t expect to have bodies four score and seven men deep (sorry; couldn’t help myself).

My Summary:
Director: Richard Schenkman
Plot: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 4 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 4 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer (Anything Horror) from the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012

09 May 2012

Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead 2011 - REVIEW by Scott Shoyer with Anything Horror

Aahhh yes … just read that title again!! The Texas FrightmareWeekend 2012 dug deep for this one (hee hee)!! This was listed on the program as a “Secret Screening” due to it not being picked up yet for North American distribution. The title, ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD, captures exactly what this film is all about. This is another crazy, over-the-top Japanese, comic book-style action and gore film from the same mind that brought you The MACHINE GIRL, ROBOGEISHA, and MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD (which I saw at last year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend). This also proves something that I’ve been wondering about for a while now: Director Noboru Iguchi has a huge ass fetish. No, I’m not saying he likes huge asses, only that his fetish for the human derrière is a consuming theme in most of his films. And not just the ass itself, but things going in and coming out of the ass as well. This theme of his comes to a head (or should I say ‘tail’; hee hee) in ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD.

Let’s cut to the chase: Did I enjoy ZOMBIE ASS? The short answer is yes. But mind you that I saw this film at a horror convention with other fanatical horror fans at midnight after everyone in the audience had a few cocktails (that’s putting it mildly). In other words, I saw this with the right crowd. Would I get the same experience if I watched it at my house alone? Most likely not. I will admit, though, that there are more than a few laugh-out-loud moments in ZOMBIE ASS that would’ve had me laughing even if I was alone. Just in case you don’t realize it, ZOMBIE ASS is full of toilet humor (come on; the word ‘toilet’ is in the friggin’ title), fart humor, shit humor, and some downright good old fashioned gross out humor. Still with me?

The film begins with four teens heading up to the mountains to go fishing. Pretty Megumi (ArisaNakamura) is still trying to overcome the suicide of her sister, Ai, who killed herself due to being relentlessly tormented by bullies at school. Megumi, who has a penchant for generic-looking female sailor outfits, promised herself she’d never feel weak again and has since taken up and mastered karate. Megumi can now kick some serious ass (hee hee). She lets her friend Aya (Mayu Sugano) talk her into accompanying her, her delinquent, drug abusing boyfriend Tak (Kentaro Kishi), their goofy friend Naoi (Danny), and their very hot wannabe-model friend Maki (Asana Mamoru). Once they get to the mountains, Maki tells them the real reason they’re up there is to catch a trout in order to find a particular parasite that she can swallow to make her not just thin, but “Super model thin.” Hey why not; it beats eating that shitty Weight Watchers food!! In a rather disgusting scene (one of many here, folks), Maki cuts a very long and ugly parasite out of a trout and proceeds to swallow it down in one gulp. A little while later Maki is doubled over with intense stomach pains proceeded by excessive farting (excessive farting) and finally the feeling she’s gonna shit her (sexy) panties (sorry; she’s a pretty hot gal). Before you can wipe the tears from your eyes from laughing so hard at her farting, she’s squatting over a hole in an outhouse ready to unload when she’s attacked by a group of shit-covered zombies coming up out of the hole. Disgusting? Definitely. Funny? Absolutely!!

The kids then find themselves being saved by Dr. Tanaka (Kentaro Shimazu) who lives out in this remote village with his daughter Sachi (Yuki). Little do they know that the good doc is out there experimenting on the parasites and zombies in order to keep his little girl alive. Now our gang must fight off a horde of shit-covered zombies as well as a crazy doctor, his equally insane daughter, and swarms of anal-penetrating butt parasites!! Yeah; this one is bat-shit crazy (hee hee), completely over the top (even for a Iguchi film), and does it’s best to out-gross itself with each passing second. Just when you think this film has bottomed out (hee hee) it manages to delve deeper into a Freudian cache of poop humor, girls getting anally wrecked by parasites, excessive farting to the point where a character takes flight, and ultimately a fight with the Queen Parasite that ends poorly for everyone involved. The whole time we experience this we get shot after shot of really pretty/sexy girls in panties and even get a scene of borderline lesbianism. Yup, ZOMBIE ASS has a little something for everyone!!

So is this fun or just silly, childish toilet humor from an anally obsessed Japanese director? Yes!! It’s like dipping a chocolate bar into peanut butter (I bet you’ll never look at a Fece’s Peanut Butter Cup again the same way … Reece’s, I meant ‘Reece’s’). ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD is what it is and Iguchi makes no apologies. This is a hilarious film that takes crazy Japanese horror films to a whole nutta level. This is best enjoyed with a group of like-minded friends, lots of alcohol, and a few women in the group. No matter how prude your guests are, they won’t be able to stop themselves from smiling and giggling at various scenes. Most times when you say a movie is “shitty” that’s not a good thing; but here it’s a high compliment!! Check this one out and have a shitty time. I mean that.

My Summary:
Director: Noboru Iguchi (& co-writer with three others)
Plot: 3 out of 5 turds
Gore: 8.5 out of 10 brown travelers
Zombie Mayhem: 4 out of 5 wet farts
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer (Anything Horror) from the Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012