Thursday, November 29, 2012


So, it looks like [REC]4 might be dropping us back into the storyline of the apartment complex again. I've yet to see [REC]3 - it looks great, but people don't seem to be too thrilled with it. At least I have not heard the same kind of buzz about it that the first two had.

[REC] 1 and 2 had a flow and a tight story that - if you could stand 3.5 hours or so of hand held camerawork - could be watched together to form a long form horror epic that would knock your socks off. It would be cool to do some sort of follow up story to seal the deal.

Or, maybe the first two should have been it and everything after should be forgotten? PARANORMAL ACTIVITY sort of drove itself into the ground as did the FINAL DESTINATION franchise, though I heard the last one filled the series with more to speak. :)

What are your thoughts? Let us know!

INTERNATIONAL TRAILER (Contains scenes from [REC]1&2 with spoilers)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Sleepover

Well, THE SLEEPOVER is a fantastic short. It's well shot, the acting isn't bad and the story is a lot of fun. My one gripe is that it might have benefited from a little tightening up around the edges, but this is in NO WAY a dig at the overall production. It's fantastic and really dark.

From the VIMEO site:
2012 Official Selection of Fantastic Fest, Shriekfest, Knoxville Horror Fest, Vassar FilmFest, and winner of "The Cabin In the Woods"/Lionsgate/Vimeo contest! THE SLEEPOVER is a proof-of-concept for a feature film about a town living "between the sequels" of its infamous masked killer. Please support us and stay in touch by liking us on Facebook 
( ) or following along on Twitter @DerryMASK

Check it out! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Demon Knight

I just revisited Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight and I'm so glad that I did!

Heather Wixson (@thehorrorchick) was talking about how good it was via Twitter and I had a vague memory of the film, but couldn't really remember it. I looked it up on my best friend NETFLIX and saw that they had it streaming, so I dug into it and had a LOT of fun with it.

Demon Knight is one of those strange films that looks slightly wonky on paper. The battle of Good and Evil as they fight over the last key - filled with the blood of Jesus - that demons can use to focus the power of the Cosmos.

What?! Never mind that - it really doesn't matter. What DOES matter is that Billy Zane, William Sadler, Jada Pinkett (Smith), Thomas Haden Church, CCH Pounder and THE DICK MILLER all star in this film and that it delivers up some great, 1995 comedic horror. Zane is fun and over the top as The Collector. It's some of the more fun Zane stuff. That cool, suave asshole character that he's so good at.

The film is packed with demon possession, "state of the art" effects and some great "trapped in a house" action. The practical effects work was pretty good, too. the Tales from the Crypt wrapper story is fun, too. The Crypt Keeper is allowed a little more screen time and presence and it works to "seal the deal" and make it very Tales feeling.

The history of the film was interesting as well. In a nutshell, the original script was written in 1987 and was going to be directed by Tom (Child's Play) Holland, but he got called off to direct the Fatal Beauty flop. Another draft was written by Mark (Pumpkinhead) Carducci and that was going to be directed by Mary (Pet Semetary) Lambert, however when Pet Semetary II came and failed, people didn't want to back the film and it submerged again. Finally, Joel Silver and Silver Pictures snagged it and opted for a three movie TALES spin - Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood and Ritual (released without the TALES tag with it).

Demon Knight even had two options for plot based on budgets - one with and one without monster demons. Version one would have a bible salesman "Collector" character who would have minions in black suits and sunglasses (See: The 90s) and those minions would later be revealed to be the demons in question. Yes, I thought that sounded horrid as well. I'm glad they went with option two with real monster demons stomping around and demon possessions popping!

This is cult goodness, really. It has a horrid rating and critics tend to bash it, but I found it did everything it set out to do. It had some giggles, some blood and a lot of good, demon fun. Check it!

Jordu Schell

Artist Jordu Schell creates some amazing sculptures and his work comes alive in some truly creepy ways. The Schell Studio has been kicking out creatures and visions for over ten years for everything from AVATAR to RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD to STAR TREK. The dynamic range of the work is fantastic.

Mark Powell

Artist Mark Powell creates some truly creepy and wild miniatures. These mini nightmares are fantastic, creepy and cool. They seem like H. R. Giger meets Silent Hill - the stuff that tends to haunt you after you see it. And, the stuff you would never really want to be a part of if it were real.

You can find more images in his Gallery -


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Ugly (1997)

THE UGLY is a interesting little nugget. A female psychologist is allowed to interview a convicted serial killer. Her study looks into the killers mind as she tries to sort out who he really is and what's going on in the dark space that is his mind. I'm not sure she likes what she finds.

This is a New Zealand production with some fantastic acting and truly creepy subject matter that may appeal to the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS set. No, it's not SILENCE, but it's similar in many ways. Learning about the killer through the interview process was interesting and seeing what is going on in his head is scary and jarring. 

Take a look - I think you'll dig it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mullberry Street

I REALLY liked this low budget little nugget! Story comes first. Acting second. Then everything else you want in a good scare picture – effects and monsters and creeps. To me, that is a success. Tossing blood around the screen for 70 to 90 minutes takes no skill. Jump-scares are a bore. But, if you tell a good story and have some acting talent behind you, you can tell a good, creepy tale and have it really get to people.
Not quiet a “zombie” movie, but it does have some zombie movie aspects to it. A fun little rat disease picture, MULBERRY STREET delivers some good old movie fun and some people you actually want to see live through the movie. Check it out, keep the lights low and make sure your feet are up off the floor......

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Horrible Way to Die

I missed A Horrible Way to Die when it came out. Then, I saw that it was on Netflix and added it to my list, but the title and the cover art put me off, honestly. I didn't want to see some torture flick - it's just not my scene for the most part.

A.J. Bowen (The Signal / House of the Devil) starring and some positive feedback got me to take a shot with the film and I'm really glad I did. It's not SAW. Not even in the same ballpark, thank goodness. This is a thoughtful film with some fantastic performances and a great story - items that are all missing from everything after the original SAW film. :::grin:::

The film tells the story of Sarah (Seimetz), a woman trying to overcome a drinking problem and a very...very bad relationship. She meets Kevin (Swanberg) and things seem to be looking up. She's letting Kevin in and she's getting used to the idea of having her life back. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend and wanted, escaped serial killer Garrick Turrell (Bowen) might have something to say about the state of her future plans.

A.J. Bowen, Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg turn in stellar performances here. They are real and deep and thoughtful with some true punch. Everyone knocks it out of the park. There is a weight to the relationships and a mood that is set by the delivery that is hard to find in genre films in general. The true horror here is the reality that life tosses some major shite at some people and you just need to deal with it before it deals with you. It's rough and somber and dark, but it wasn't hard to watch.

Simon Barrett's script is clever and gritty without being melodramatic or silly. And Adam Wingard's direction wraps everything up and slaps a giant bow of awesome on the whole of it. The style really puts you in every scene - for better or worse.

And the biggest and most welcome return here is that I actually - pardon my French - gave a shit about the characters! Man, how I hate the "set 'em up and knock 'em down" nature of some genre films. (As some of you return readers already know See: Rants) I need to feel invested in the well being of the characters if I'm going to care about the film or the resulting trauma it may have in store for them.  

A Horrible Way to Die has you pulling for everything to work out in the end for everyone. Sadly...well...this is a horror film at the heart of it. Things just wont work out for everyone here.

This isn't an easy film to watch, but it's a great film and well worth a little discomfort. If you see it, let me know if you agree or disagree and why.   Let's talk! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The ABCs of Death trailer

 "Excitement, party of one."

Now here is something I can get behind wholeheartedly. I may have to organize some sort of group gathering to ensure that I am surround with like minded folks when I go to see this in the theater. Seeing V/H/S in a theater with about eight other people was quaint, yet sad. More people needed to see the fun, return to horror horror that is V/H/S!

When I originally heard about ABCs, I was so very happy. 26 crazy shorts by 26 crazy folks in one crazy film sounded fantastic to me. But, then I started to wonder if it was all going to come together properly. Was it going to be too much? Would things be varied enough to remain interesting?

After seeing this trailer, I think the answer is that this film is going to be a weird, roller coaster ride through a sick and strange, ever changing landscape of horror! I can't wait!

The idea is simple. 26 directors. 26 ways to die. A through Z. Some Directors were asked to make something and others submitted ideas to be voted up or down. It was a fun and interesting way to compile an anthology film together.

You can see some of the "T" submissions here.

World War Z Trailer

I've been sitting on the WORLD WAR Z trailer and watching it every other day or so to see if I could get a little more excited about the project as a whole. Turns out I can, but just a bit.

The World War Z novel was fantastic. The story was rich and powerful and was based in a reality that sold it 100% for me. It was a disaster novel more than a zombie novel. It happened to have zombies instead of nuclear war or plague as it's base. It was a "people over trauma" story that did a fantastic job speaking to humanity pulling together to overcome. We got to hear stories from all over the world. We got to see what happened in various areas and how they made it through. We got to hear personal stories about individuals taking on the worst natural disaster since the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the Earth.

Unfortunately, the trailer makes this look like Brad Pitt overcoming being away from his family.

Now, the only reason I choose to do a little WWZ bashing here is that trailers usually make things - even the worst drivel to shame the silver screen - look like it has promise. The DAY OF THE DEAD remake trailer sold me on the chance that it might be watchable without wanting to spit at the TV every five to ten minutes. But the WWZ trailer managed to make me less excited about this movie than the news of it being a big train wreck of a project already had. How did that happen?

Now, I have not made a movie. Not even close. I manage to hack out these little articles that a handful of people read at best, so I'm not going to sit and do the classic "well, this film is going to COMPLETELY SUCK! I would have done..." thing. That's silly. Armchair critique is not my forté. :)

However I will say this - forgive me in advance.

I can take the Pitt-centric nature of the trailer. The drama. The family stuff. All of it. But, I wish the zombies didn't look like ants. They scramble around and fleet foot it down streets and up in piles and it's so distracting! It's just a personal thing. It reminded me of 3D in video games from years ago. We were wowed back then, but now it seems juvenile. It was a funny choice to make.

That being said, I think that the trailer looks beautiful overall. There are subtle things within it (if you look carefully between the cuts of Pitt :)  )   where you can see great stuff like explosions that send zombies flying in a ripple wave and the sheer scope of numbers of them on mass. That seemed to match what was said in the book.

I can only hope that this is one of those rush trailers with effects footage that is not 100%. I still remember a large cable attached to Batman as he swoops down into the museum in the Burton BATMAN trailer that was missing in the final film.

Maybe the zombies will slow down a bit and look a little more human and a little less insect-like in the final product.

Either way...I'll still see this on the big screen. :)

This fan made trailer seems to have hit the mark more than this Pitt Epic, however. Nice job finding and chopping scenes from various zombie films into one, WORLD WAR Z trailer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp is one of the most BONKERS horror films ever made. It grossed something like 11 million dollars and cost about 300k to make. It knocked Jaws 3D out of the number one spot. Why? How? Because it does everything right. Everything.

Angela and her cousin Ricky are off to camp. Poor Angela survives a horrible boating accident in which her father and brother are killed and goes off to live with her aunt. The aunt decides that it's time for Angela to get out and about, so she sends her off to camp with her cousin. Cousin Ricky watches over her and is her protector in the somewhat rough camp setting. Angela doesn't speak much. She simply stares with large, doe eyes and takes in the world around her. Kids can be cruel. So cruel.

We see a "trope-a-torium" of characters roll through. Jocks, nerds, mean girls and more. The counselors are a mixture of lovely people and horrid people. The camp owner runs a tight ship and smokes a lot of cigars. And the kids at the camp are a strange and creepy mix of real kids ages 10ish to 17 and adults - age about 20 to 26 -  playing kids. They interact and run a muck in the camp and no one mentions much about it. They just play it all off like it's not frucking crazy to see real kids and fake kids together on screen. This adds to the overall "Wait....what the HELL is going on here?!" nature of the film as a whole.

But, the real question here is who is killing all the bad kids at the camp? Who? Angela? Cousin Ricky? Big, Italian Muscle Guy? Mean Girl Judy? Evil Meg?

This film is a must - absolute MUST - see. The dialog stumbles out onto the screen awkwardly and insanely at times. The film was written and directed by Robert Hiltzik who only did this film and Return to Sleepaway Camp which is almost just as good as this film. His direction is...interesting. The folks over at the ever awesome HOW DID THIS GET MADE? podcast stated that this film looked like kids at camp had access to cameras and decided to make a movie while at camp. (A great and equally crazy episode of their podcast, by the way) There are amazing 80s styles to take in, strange scene setups and some of the most awesome kill scenes ever shot. :::laughing:::

"Kids" play with water balloons on the roof of a cabin. Why is this allowed? Dunno, but it's awesome.

We see a a baseball game - almost a WHOLE baseball game - played. Why? Dunno, but it's awesome. Especially seeing that it looks like young kids are beating adults at baseball.

But, all this is secondary to the time and effort spent on these death scenes. Death by boiling water, by bees and by curling iron and...much much more. And there are some really, really disturbing sexual situations in this film. Like, all over the place. A pedophile camp cook leers at the kids and talks about the new crop of them coming in - like there is a whole history of wrong that's happened before. Kids let loose all over the place talking about sex ALL the time. Even the camps 60 plus year old leader who sets up a date with one of the teen camp counselors. It's creepy. Having been to a co-ed camp myself, I can honestly say that all of this probably did and does happen at camp. It's crazy to release teen boys and girls into the woods with 20-somethings watching over them. It's crazy in and of itself.

If you're looking for the ultimate party horror movie, this is it. It's so over the top and so nutty that it's bound to be a crowd pleaser. And, if the crowd happens to have lived through the 80s, it's even better. It never gets old.

They have the whole film up on YouTube. Take a look!

Sugar Hill

Let me start this off by saying I'm a person of Native American, African American and South American descent. I also like knowing about the history of said peoples in the media, but I have not made a big effort to see much in the "blacksploitation" arena. So, I thought that a nice way to start the exploration off would be in some blacksploitation genre cinema.

For those questioning what the heck blacksploitation is, it was basically a style of film created to hit a more urban, ethnic audience after people realized that they had money to spend in the theater as well! heheh So, films like BLACK DYNAMITE and SHAFT were born. They featured black lead characters and "black situations" that producers thought would appeal to black audiences and get them out to spend some cash. Unfortunately, many of these were made by people cashing in on stereotypes. Even more unfortunate was that fact that it still worked and got people into theater seats. 

Wow. Sugar Hill was a fantastic choice, I believe. (I almost went with Blacula. A trained, black Shakespearean actor in the role is something I need to see in it's entirety.)

Sugar Hill tells the tale of Diana Hill - dubbed "Sugar" by her loving boyfriend. Sugar and her man are happy and doing well. He runs a club and is doing very well. Well, that is until the mob makes him an offer he CAN refuse. He does so and is murdered by them. Sugar exacts her revenge on them one by one with the help of the voodoo god Baron Samedi and his zombie army. Sound good? That's only because it is! :)

Baron Samedi is friggin' awesome! He's over the top and nutty with his top hat and cane. Sugar Hill is a powerful and strong black woman who takes matters into her own hands. And, none of the black people in the film are "shuckin' and jivin'" like I've seen in trailers for other blacksploitation films. These characters speak well and have good jobs. They are not pimps and hos, as it were. I loved that. The acting, while very 70s, isn't bad and the film works really well as a complete story. I have to say, I was a little shocked. :)

The zombies? Not horrible. You can tell that the effects budget or skill wasn't there, but they had one thing going that I really enjoyed - these crazy, shining and bulging gold eyes. A simple trick, but effective. It really made these zombies stand out. It was also fun to have them as voodoo based and not your toxic or plague zombies that you see so much of today. Their cobweb covered, slow moving way was fun and came across well.

The Director on this was Paul Maslansky. This was his only film behind the director title, but he went on to produce several films including the POLICE ACADEMY movies and the ever creepy RETURN TO OZ

I cut this film a LOT of slack due to where it came from, what I was watching it for and the time period in which it was made. I really didn't need to cut it slack, however. It held my attention and will be one that I go back and watch again at a later date. It was a fun filled time capsule that was well worth viewing.