27 April 2015

Tusk 2014 - REVIEW

I'm a pretty big Kevin Smith fan but mainly of his comedy films.  The past few years he has done a few different movies including this one entitled Tusk.  The idea coming from one of his podcast's and put to a vote on twitter to weather or not he should make a movie based upon this concept.  Going into this one I have heard soooo many mixed reviews from "it's the best movie I have ever seen" to "Tusk is absolutely horrible".  I do know it did not spend much time in the theater. I went to see it just a few weeks after it was released and no theater around me was playing it at all.

Wallace (Justin Long) is the host of a podcast called "The Not see Party" with his best friend Teddy (Haley Joel Osment).  Wallace takes a trip to Canada to interview a kid from a video on Youtube that they featured on their podcast.  When Wallace gets there he gets the news from the family that he has passed away and now Wallace has nothing to cover in Canada.  Stopping at a local restaurant he finds an ad hanging on a wall for someone to listen to life stories being told by a guy who is near the end of his life named Howard Howe (Michael Parks).  Wallace does just that.  Drinks tea with Howard and listens to his stories.  The most intriguing being the story he is telling about the Walrus.  Little does Wallace know his tea is drugged and he passes out.  Howard doesn't plan on killing Wallace, just merely turn him into a human Walrus.

First of all I have to say that the concept of this story is beyond fucked up.  Honestly I am surprised that Kevin Smith is the one that was the one to write this.  Kevin is known for his comedy work not a fucked up Rob Zombie like story.  That is not to say I do not like this movie cause I did but its just strange.  Tusk is one of the most original horror movies that has come out in years, in a time when Hollywood keeps saying "what other movies can we remake".

Not only is Kevin Smith a favorite director of mine he also uses a pretty standout cast with Justin Long taking the lead and a fantastically creepy performance from Michael Parks.  Even a surprise appearance from Johnny Depp as an ex cop that is hired to find Wallace when he goes missing.  Seriously with a cast like that how could you not have a ton of fun with it.

This movie is probably not for everyone but this horror fan really enjoyed this film.  I think this one is very underrated and deserves a little more recognition that it deserves.  I would definitely rather watch something like Tusk than regurgitated crap being spewed out in Hollywood right now.  I give this movie 6 out of 10 stars.

Artsploitation Films Returns with a Vengeance - PRESS RELEASE

Artsploitation Films Returns with a Vengeance

The Indie Distribution Company Announces a Diverse Slate of Genre Films

April 22, 2015 (Philadelphia, PA) - After a hiatus of 16 months, alternative North American film distribution company Artsploitation Films (www.artsploitation.com) has announced its upcoming summer line-up of international films. From the comedic to the horrific; the unsettling to the blood-curdling; and from the erotic to the controversial, the films showcase the best and most innovative genre movies the world has to offer.

The announced selection of 10 titles begins June 9th with the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the German slasher film and film festival favorite DER SAMURAI and features films from 6 different countries. Showcased is a cross-dressing, samurai sword-wielding killer (DER SAMURAI); a middle-class snuff-making suburban couple (THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES); a group of cub scouts who should not have gone into the woods (CUB); a porno director’s bed-hopping search for his next female star (TRANSGRESSION); a young girl tormented by psycho-sexual dreams (HORSEHEAD); a money-desperate drug dealer who will stop at nothing (DEALER); a kidnapped woman more duplicitous than her abductors (RECKLESS); and, coming this Fall, a severed hand bent on bloody revenge…and bodily reunification (BLOODY KNUCKLES). And there is not a G–rated children’s film in the bunch!

There will be several limited theatrical releases (FEVER and DEATH IN BUENOS AIRES this summer) and most films will go out day and date on DVD/Blu-Ray and VOD. Artsploitation’s founder, Raymond Murray, sums up the company’s acquisitions philosophy as, “We seek entertaining and provocative films that encompass our admittedly left-of-center film esthetic. My goal is to find films that my team and I love but then the hard work begins: connecting each film with its targeted, often quite specialized audience. And remember, hundreds of fictional men, women and children have been killed, kidnapped, tormented, or have had their blood sucked out of them and the least we can do is connect their stories with their future fans.”

The slate of titles are below with more films to be announced in the coming weeks.

(2014, Germany, Director: Till Kleinert)
Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: June 9, 20015

A young police officer stalks a cross-dressing villain with a sword and a predilection for beheadings.

"A fantastic piece of cinema...beautiful and blood drenched."
- Ain't It Cool News

Bonus features:
Director's commentary
Making of featurette

(2013, USA, Directors: Jay Lee and Jim Roof)
DVD Release Date: June 16, 2015

This grisly horror-comedy follows a nice couple who happen to also be serial killers and snuff filmmakers.

"One of the greatest horror films of the century."
- Film Radar

Bonus features:
Director's commentary
Sizzle reel
Gag reel

(2014, France, Director: Romain Basset)
Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: June 23, 2015

A shocking horror-fantasy about a young woman haunted by nightmares involving a horse-man.

"Well acted, gorgeously and nightmarishly executed."
- Ain't It Cool News

Bonus features:
Making of featurette (60 minutes)
Four short films

(2014, Belgium, Director: Hans Herbots)
Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: July 7, 2015

A murder-mystery about a cop seeking a maniac who torments the parents before abducting their kids. Based on the international best seller by Mo Hayder.

"Exceptionally well made…incredibly creative and the twists come as huge surprises."
- Influx Magazine


(2014, Netherland, Directed by Joram Lürsen)
DVD Release Date: July 14, 2015

A wealthy beautiful woman is kidnapped by two ex-cons but their plan goes all wrong in this twisted thriller. Based on 2009's The Disappearance of Alice Creed.


(2014, France, Director: Jean-François Davy)
DVD Release Date: July 28, 2015

A semi-documentary about a seasoned French erotic filmmaker who goes on an unusual flesh and sex filled tour of Eastern Europe in search of his next leading lady.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/124357796

Bonus feature:
Director's cut of EXHIBITION, Jean-François Davy's 1975 documentary on the French porn industry.

(2014, Belgium, Director: Jonas Govaerts)
Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: August 18, 2015

A camping trip turns into a carnage for a troop of cub scouts as a killer, aided by his feral young assistant, stalks them with deadly traps.


Festival screenings:
2014 Toronto International, 2014 Sitges Film Festival, 2014 London Film Festival

(2014, Germany, Director: Curtis Burz)
DVD Release Date: August 25, 2015

A psycho-sexual drama in which a middle-aged family man’s sexual attraction to his daughter’s young friend threatens the stability of his family.
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/120181262

(2014, Argentina,
Director: Natalia Meta)

DVD Release Date:
September 8, 2015

A rookie cop to goes undercover in Buenos Aires’ gay underworld to solve a murder in this crime thriller that was one of Argentina’s top grossing films of 2014.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-CB7GLfhMk

(2014, France, Director: Jean-Luc Herbulot)
DVD Release Date: September 29, 2015

A stylish, violent thriller about a drug dealer who is thrown into an urban hell when a deal goes sour.


22 April 2015

Mother's Milk 2012 - REVIEW

Fetish is defined as a course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment. Usually when someone talks about a fetish, people immediately jump to some kind of sick, twisted sexual thing when in fact, there are a lot of non sexual fetishes. For example, someone (me) may have a shoe fetish in which they feel compelled to buy all kinds of super awesome shoes. Oh c'mon, like you guys don't have an irrational commitment for something. Doesn't really matter because most of time when we're talking horror films and fetishes it generally always leads to some kind of sexual thing. Such is the case here.

Claude (Casey Chapman), is a statistics professor with a bit of a dark side. You see when he was very young, his mother died in a house fire leaving him not only traumatized but with a dysfunctional craving for breast milk. When internet videos no longer get the job done, he decides to satisfy his depraved hunger by kidnapping new mother (or so he thinks), Kim (Mackenzie Wiglesworth). After discovering that she in fact isn't a new mother, he decides to induce lactation through chemical means. When that doesn't work, he presents her with a turkey baster full of his semen in the hope that she'll become pregnant. What follows is several months (I think) of captivity in which the audience gets to know a little more about the abductor and the abductee. The longer Kim is with Claude, the more attached to her he becomes leading him closer and closer to an imminent psychological break down.

Mother's Milk unfortunately fails to live up to it's original synopsis or even the movie poster for that matter. Advertised as a "psychological thriller" and with little blood or action, the film plays more like a late night Lifetime movie. However, if you took out all the unnecessary scenes and put a little polish on it, Mother's Milk could've been quite a successful short film. As it stands, the film just doesn't have substance to sustain the 94 minute run time. For example, there is almost ten full minutes of Claude serving and eating home cooked gourmet meals in front of his defiant captive who had previously refused to eat something he cooked. 

The concept for the film, while different than the norm, falls flat in execution. Writer/Director Edward Pionke wants viewers to believe that someone as sadistic as Claude has such an overwhelming need for breast milk that he is willing to kidnap someone for it; but at the same time has the patience to wait months on end for his victim to begin lactation. While not an impossible notion, it does come off as a little far fetched. There is also little in the way of confrontation from Kim. No fighting, kicking or screaming whatsoever. A woman yanked off the streets while running with a baby you'd think would put up more of a fight leading to more conflict and less complacency. 

Another major distraction was the sound recording. The music while creepy in essence, was sometimes so loud that it played over important parts of dialogue which is never a good thing. Chapman, while incredibly talented, is very soft spoken through out the majority of the film and it's unfortunate that production quality masked parts of his performance. 

I wouldn't recommend Mother's Milk to hard core horror fans. Definitely don't go into it expecting to see a lot of blood, gore or nudity because aside from one or two boob shots and some smeared blood, there is none. If you're looking for a character piece or glimpse into the psyche of a fetish freak, I'm afraid you won't find much of that either. 

The film is available for purchase on Amazon but I would be remiss if I didn't suggest waiting for it to stream for free somewhere. 

19 April 2015

Headless 2015 - REVIEW

Here we have another blind buy of mine after hearing all the rave reviews of this indie film that was coming in.  The company that put this one together was at Horrorhound Weekend this past March and had a slew of copies for sale.  Considering this is a spin off of the movie Found that is one of the best indie horror films out there in my opinion.  This is sure t be a slam dunk, right?  It really is amazing what filmmakers are able to do with a limited budget.  I mean if you have a good story and some decent acting you got a pretty good shot.

This film takes place in 1978 and pretty much goes right into it.  To sum it up this is about a man who was abused as a child and kept in a cage and is now a serial killer that has a lot of different interests.  Namely chopping off heads and fucking the chopped off head.  He is also accompanied by a younger version of himself that directs him in his behavior.  What you are in store for is a roller coaster ride of brutality, cannibalism, necrophilia and a lot more.

To be honest with everyone it took me 3 viewings of starting it over and over to get through the whole film.  I had to tell myself to stop being such a cunt and just watch the damn thing.  The end result is that underneath everything I am about to say I really did like this movie and admire the originality of it all.  Headless is very over the top with gore but I kind of like that.  The story is fucking disturbing and demented as anything I have ever watched.  I don't even think Rob Zombie can make something this fucked up.  The main thing that bothered me was the necrophilia.  I am not a big fan of it and while it oddly went with the story of this film I just don't like to watch that.  Getting past that is what I considered to be the hardest but if you can you are in store of one hell of a ride.

I wasn't really overly impressed with the acting in Headless but it wasn't bad.  Ellie Church does a nice job in the lead and I look forward to seeing her in more films down the road.  The other performance I really enjoyed was the part of the masked killer played by Shane Beasley.  I thought he did a standout job acting with the mask on.  Just like Jason Voorhees you have to act and show emotions all without words.  That's really not an easy thing to do.

If you are looking for something different, dark and sinister I highly recommend this one.  Headless is not going to be for everyone but I can see now how it has gotten all the positive reviews.  I would have to give this one 7 out of 10 stars.

17 April 2015

Unfriended 2015 - REVIEW

It's not very often that I go out to the theater for a new release. Hollywood has become so inundated with remakes, reboots, prequels and whatever else they can come up with to pull from existing films that it's hard to get excited when big production companies release something new. Besides, in this day and age when just about everything you do is recorded on social media, I'm surprised it took this long for a film like this to come out. When I got the chance to sit in on advanced screening of Unfriended, I thought "Meh, why not".

The film begins with Blaire (Shelley Hennig) Skype chatting with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm). Soon, five of their other friends join in and a split screen chat party ensues. It's not long before a cyber interloper crashes the party. Thinking someone is playing a joke on them, Blaire does a little digging and finds the account belongs to Laura Barns (Heather Sossamon), a friend of the group that committed suicide exactly one year earlier. After a short discussion about who could be behind the hack, everyone puts their hands up only to have the the intruder continue sending messages. Hurling insults, making threats and revealing secrets, "the ghost" slowly turns the group against each other and then the supernatural activity begins.

 Unfriended (originally titled Cybernatural) plays out on multiple windows from Blaire's laptop. There's the main Skype windows where you find the usual suspects, Blaire, her boyfriend, his best friend, the fat dude, the bitchy but cool chick and the uber sensitive chick. Then there are the background windows, private iMessages, Facebook chats, YouTube videos and Safari search engines all quite brilliantly set up by Russian director Levan Gabriadze. It's definitely a new take on an old story, i.e., a vengeful ghost returns to torment those who wronged them in some way.

Unlike most films, what you see in the trailer is pretty much what you get. There really isn't much more in the way of a plot. Gabriadze does a good job at increasing the tension at the right moment and keeping the momentum of the film going throughout.

Writer Nelson Greaves did a stellar job on the dialogue (spoken and written). It all seemed to be pretty right on with the level of texts I get from my own teenagers; lots of "ughs" and abbreviations and over exclamating (is that even a word?).

Overall, I found Unfriended to be quite enjoyable and would recommend it, especially as a starter horror as it doesn't have a ton of jump scares or blood. It's quite a successful little experiment in meta horror. Let's just hope they don't get carried away with sequels. 

A word of advice though, if/when you go to the theater to catch this one, sit as far back from the screen as you can because trying to follow all the mouse clicks and screen changes is worse than watching a live tennis match and you could quite possibly end up with whiplash.

16 April 2015

Official Teaser for Upcoming Horror Film 'Circle' Released

Votiv Films and Taggart Productions are pleased to release the first official trailer for their psychological thriller, Circle. The story, written and directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione, features 50 strangers held captive in a deadly, mysterious chamber, forced to choose the one person among them that deserves to escape with their life.

Reminiscent of Stuart Hazeldine’s paranoid horror feature Exam (2009) and 2009’s claustrophobic thriller The Killing Room, Circle is a genre-bending, real-time examination of the many ways in which we see one another and the lengths we will go to in order to ensure our own survival.

Starring Carter Jenkins, Mercy Malick, Cesar Garcia, Allegra Masters, Michael Nardelli, Autumn Federici and Julie Benz, horror and thriller fans can now take their first look inside the Circle!

The film is now complete and is beginning the distribution phase. Another longer trailer will be released soon, so be sure to stay tuned for more on one of this year’s most exciting films.

08 April 2015

Patricia Chica's "A Tricky Treat" is Set to Screen at the 68th Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner - PRESS RELEASE

A Tricky Treat, the new horror-comedy directed by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Patricia Chica and executive produced by Tara Kurtz will launch at the Short Film Corner of the 68th Cannes Film Festival. The director and producers will be on-hand for screenings at the festivals Film Market.

Vividly gory and uncomfortably playful, the film revels in the shocking fate of a man kidnapped by a very strange family and offered as a plaything to two children.

A Tricky Treat director Patricia Chica notes, “I wanted to create an interesting metaphor, using role reversal, about how humans become voraciously consumptive for the sake of ceremonial tradition—slaughtering masses of turkeys for Thanksgiving, leveling vast acres of trees for Christmas, and harvesting fields of pumpkins for Halloween."

The cast includes Leonard Waldner, as the captive, and the sinister family members are played by Steve Brewster, Andrea Fletcher, Keira McCarthy and newcomer Marco Reilly. The short's script was written by Kamal John Iskander (Jesus Comes to Town, The Gospel according to Charlie).

Patricia Chica (director-producer), Grace Santos (producer), Byron A. Martin (producer) and Tara Kurtz (executive producer) will participate in the exhibition at Cannes. The team will also take meetings at the Film Market regarding their next feature film projects: Montréal Girls (a coming-of-age dark comedy, written by Kamal John Iskander) and Wolverine Hotel (an edgy, dark thriller written by Canadian Andrew Lynch), both directed by Patricia Chica.

“Deliciously vile.” —Fangoria Magazine

“A dainty little treat.” —Horror Movies Uncut

“Gorey, disturbing, and the payoff is perfect!” —Film Classics Virgin

“It does more in the short time given it than some movies do in 90 minutes. It’s visceral, bloody, creepy and has a certain delicious ending.” —Horror Cabin

“You’re gonna love the TWILIGHT ZONE-esque ending!” —Zombie Prank



A Tricky Treat is a Canadian-American production that was executive produced by Tara Kurtz (Blue Weekend, Something About Her), written by award winning filmmaker-screenwriter Kamal John Iskander (Jesus Comes to Town, Montréal Girls), produced by Patricia Chica, Grace Santos(Odessa, Election Night), and veteran Byron A. Martin (Serpent's Lullaby, Wolverine Hotel). Co-executive producers include Adonai Interiano of HNI Productions, and Australian artist Morris Umali. The special effects supervisor is Danny McCarthy of 800 lb Guerilla. The VFX were created in the Ukraine by Fame Cube Production (Henry Lipatov, VFX supervisor) and the post-production was executed in Toronto by RedLab Digital. Imad Rhayem did the direction of photography, Gabrielle Giraud did the production design and Valentina Badaracco did the makeup.

PATRICIA CHICA is a Canadian/Salvadorian multi award-winning director-producer who has built a loyal audience and cult following internationally. Dread Central put her on the list of the “Rising Female Filmmakers” to watch. She specializes in high-quality and highly-profitable author driven genre films that have great commercial appeal and that uplifts the audiences. One of Patricia’s principles is to always depict strong characters, with mood and tone, and exhibit visual ingenuity while delivering an engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining story. This is the third year in a row that Patricia Chica has a film at the Cannes’ Short Film Corner. Last year, her acclaimed fantasy tale Serpent’s Lullaby was part of the “Coup de Coeur” selection.
• • •
Web site: www.PatriciaChica.com
Twitter: @PatriciaChica

Originally from the West Coast, TARA KURTZ has worked in all facets of film development including production, location management, casting, and distribution. In addition to producing, Tara has extensive experience in talent management as one of the partners of Hummel Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her feature credits include Something About Her and Blue Weekend for Cineville Productions. A Tricky Treat is Tara’s first collaboration with Patricia Chica, one of many to come.
• • •
Twitter: @Kurtz_Tara
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6225473/

First Official Images for the Indie Horror Film "Circles" are Released - PRESS RELEASE

Votiv Films and Taggart Productions have released the first official images from their upcoming psychological thriller Circle. The film, written and directed by Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione is an intense real-time thriller, which uniquely examines humanity under the worst possible circumstances.

In a massive, mysterious chamber, fifty strangers awaken to find themselves trapped with no memory of how they got there. Organized in an inward-facing circle and unable to move, they quickly learn that every two minutes one of them must die... executed by a strange device in the center of the room. At first the attacks seem random, but soon the strangers realize that they, as a group, have the power to decide who will be the next to be killed. A vote. A chance to control the machine. But how can they choose who deserves to die? And what happens when there is only one person left?

The first official images showcase the stark, bold aesthetic developed by Director of Photography Zoran Popovic and Production Designer Tom Lisowski. Reminiscent of the austere settings in Vincenzo Natali’s The Cube (1997), it was designed to give the strangers no place to hide; forcing them to face each other - and the deadly machine at its core - through each harrowing round. Intrigued by the idea of fifty strangers trapped together, Directors Hann and Miscione drew inspiration from the classic drama 12 Angry Men (1957), which locked its characters in a single room and focused on the differences and relationships of 12 jurors tasked with determining a man’s guilt. This, along with iconic genre influences such as The Twilight Zone(1959), helped inform Circle’s central premise. “From the beginning we wanted to tell a story about people and what they do when they’re thrown into a terrifying, no-win situation. What do we become when we have no way out?”

Circle stars: Carter Jenkins, Julie Benz, Mercy Malick, Allegra Masters, Michael Nardelli, Autumn Federici, Lawrence Kao, Kevin Sheridan and Cesar Garcia.

A trailer for the film will be released soon. Stay tuned!

Stills are available in their original form here:


Directors/writers: Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione.

Follow Circle on social media for all the latest updates!