Thursday, December 13, 2018


I see a good amount of screeners. Not as many as I would like, but I'm very happy that I got into the "Screener Club" - especially when I get to see films like LIFECHANGER and I'm able to give it some positive press!

Fans of THE HIDDEN and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS will want to check this film out for sure. This is writer/director Justin McConnell's first feature film and it's a fantastic offering.

And, as usual, no spoilers.

We're told the tale of a creature who is basically a life stealer. It "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS" up a person's body and memories, then moves on. However, unlike Invasion, the effects of the change are wearing off faster and faster with each change. In years past, it seems like it was months before the creature had to jump bodies. Now, it's hours. But, what's the endgame here?

I loved the film. We have a being who is just trying to stay alive. To be alive. And the "room" is shrinking on it hour by hour. It was a fantastic metaphor for life at times. "I'll just do this to buy myself some time. And this....and this...and this other thing..." all the while you are running around trying to stay afloat. Stay alive. The film nails the feeling and manages to do it in a way that doesn't come off as over emotional or "emo". And that's all because of Justin McConnell's direction, his writing, his actors, and Sasha Moric's cinematography.

The cast does an amazing job playing two roles for the most part - pre-creature and post. However, it's never over the top and "BIG BAD" unlike some of these body swap offerings. The creature here is very human in it's thinking and life seeking. It never comes off as alien or robotic. I think that helps to sell the tale. There are some grand performances in the film. I was entranced. Sad to say, Bill Oberst Jr. was in the film only as a voice. I would have loved to see him as one of the characters.

The film is beautifully shot and the lighting is grand. I'm always thrilled when these films present a great story, with awesome acting, but also manage to nail the cinematography and lighting as well. The results are always winning, in my most humble opinion.

AND PRACTICAL EFFECTS!!!!!!!   Dear LAWD!!! Thank you! hehehehe  

Not only practical, but really good. The balance of story and shocks play together very well. We dip into some dialogue and plot depth, but moments later something really horrid happens and the energy is picked up again. Loved it.

I'm going to wrap up there because I don't want to go to "fan boy" on this film, but suffice it to say you should seek the film out and give it a shot as soon as you can. It's super solid and presents a very interesting perspective on love, life, guilt, and human suffering without being too heady or preachy about it.

WELL worth a viddy.   ON DEMAND JANUARY 1ST, 2019!!!! 

FANTASTIC work from....

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lora Burke ... Julia Wilson
Jack Foley ... Robert
Elitsa Bako ... Emily Roberts
Rachel VanDuzer... Rachel
Steve Kasan ... Detective Freddie Ransone
Sam White ... Sam Richardson
Bill Oberst Jr. ... Drew (voice)
Peter Higginson... Andrew
Adam Buller ... James
Brian Quintero... Tommy
Uche Ama ... Jen
Mark Rainmaker... John
Ry Barrett ... Richard
Michelle D'Alessandro Hatt... Mary Richardson
Daniel Faraldo... Bill

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Night Eats The World

I've been slowing my posts down quite a bit, but I've heard some folks speaking about this film with big negatives and I wanted to get a little love for it out in the world. A podcast I listen to really trashed the film calling it boring and saying it doesn't really bring anything new to the table, but I can not agree with that at all. I think the film brings a lot to the mix and breathes a the zombie to speak.

Anders Danielsen Lie plays Sam and we see him at a party in Paris as he tries to get a few items back from his ex who is now happy with another man. Sam, frustrated by the amount of time it's taking to simply grab a box, dives into one of the back rooms to wait, but falls asleep in the process. And things go to hell while he sleeps. We follow his process as he discovers that zombies have taken over overnight and as he makes an effort to plan out his new life.

Now, the film is a slow burn character study, not an action based zombie horror fest, but there are some really horrific moments for sure. Sam needs to work out what's going on and as he plans out his moves, he has to not only process what's going on, but also needs to plan for what could possibly be a very long time held up in a single apartment building. This won't thrill everyone, but seeing as I've had several conversations with horror fans about this very subject of staying alive in a post-zombie world, I'm sure many people will love seeing this play out.

"Is this place a good place to hold up in a zombie outbreak? No way - look at those windows! And what would you do for food? How long could you wait it out alone?" many discussions. :)

The zombies are interesting here as well - silent except for the clicking of their jaws clacking together. The first time we see them really sent a freaky jolt through me, actually. There are some fantastic zombie makeup applications as well. And, yes, all practical with no CGI blood sprays that I noticed! ::::cheers::::

Now, the film does have a 28 Days Later feel and as far as that goes, it's not "new", but the writing and acting really set this film apart. There are some really tense moments in here as well as some genuine thrills.

It's a solo story that does a deep dive into survival and loneliness.  I think it's well worth a viddy!

Directed by 
Dominique Rocher

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)  
Pit Agarmen ... (novel)
Jérémie Guez ... (screenplay) (adaptation) (dialogue)
Guillaume Lemans ... (screenplay) (adaptation) (dialogue)
Dominique Rocher ... (screenplay) (adaptation) (dialogue)

Friday, November 9, 2018

Bloody Ballet

Ok, I'm going to come out and say the one "flaw" that I had with BLOODY BALLET (2017) - the plotting was strange and confused. I was scratching my head through the whole film. "Wait...we're back at this guy? But...ok....  Oh...and now we're back with her? Gees...ok..." :::sigh::: That being said...I really enjoyed everything else immensely!

The aforementioned plot revolves around a woman in the ballet and a man doing...ghost research? ANYWAY...people start dying in horrible ways. Don't get your hopes up for a bloody ballet - there isn't one. And, if you choose to give this a watch, stick with it through the one of two parts where it seems to be running off the rails. They get back on track rather quickly. Moving on!

I'm not 100% sure they were going for this (though, if they weren't, they nailed it like a blindfolded bullseye!) , but they nailed the "70's girl think she's going mad as people die around her in horrible ways at the hands of a creepy killer" film style that I love. They really hit many of the marks.

She visits her psychiatrist trying to work out answers.
She keeps getting reports that her friends and fellow ballerinas are dead.
And, she wonders if her past is playing into all of it - the gruesome murder of her parents at the hand of an unknown killer.

It's 70s Italian thriller style perfection from this American thrill. The film also slips some wild synth score nuggets into the mix that drives the vibe home expertly.

And they go for it on the gore front as well. They really go for it. There are some nasty little bits and some creepy crap scenes that really made me smile.  Bloody Ballet manages to slip through several genres rather expertly - the main thing that held my attention all the way through the film.  Slashers, ghosts, some gialli love...all twisting around a little psychological horror. It was a lot of fun!

The cinematography is fantastic and the production quality is grand. The acting is solid and fights through the storyline flaws managing to make the film work even if there are some odd holes and disjointed story connections. I totally get what they were going for and by the end I did find myself nodding and shrugging like, "Why...they got there..." , but there were some funny WTF moments in there for me.

All in all, BLOODY BALLET was a lot of fun. It felt like my VHS days. Well worth a viddy!

Oddly, I couldn't find it on IMDB.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Witch in the Window

Well well well....
Every once in a while you get a little film that ticks all the boxes without having major cash behind it. THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW manages to tell a great story, showcase some solid performances, and hums along at a wonderful pace. It's like a good book. The gothic tale spins out at one our and seventeen minutes and is now on my WIN list for small, atmospheric films like I AM A GHOST, THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN, I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSETHE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH, and THE MOOSE HEAD OVER THE MANTEL .

The tale is small and simple. A man and his son move into an old house to fix it up. The Father hopes that it may mend things between him and his wife. A place to rekindle their love and their lives. But, as usual, there is something in the house that might ruin all of those hopes and dreams.

The direction and cast are so solid here. The acting is rock solid and the turns the story takes are fantastic. Like a warm blanket, the film wraps itself around you and snuggles you in tight as you feel warm and cold all at once. The scares are pretty good and there are some moments that sent a chill up my spine.

Andy Mitton wrote and directed the film and I was really happy to see him behind the wheel. I loved WE GO ON and YELLOWBRICKROAD and was eager to check this offering out. And, BOOM - loved it. He writes characters that feel real. Interactions and events feel really. And, with the acting of people like Alex Draper (also from YELLOWBRICK) and the young man Charlie Tacker ( who really nailed it, thank the heavens ) Mitton was able to get a very solid spooky offering into the mix on the SHUDDER lineup. Seeing Tacker in this made me get a little excited about the LADY IN WHITE remake, too.

If you want a slow burn ghost story to watch one chilly night this fall, give THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW a look...and stay.  :)

Interview with Mitton from the FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL can be found here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

I love HILL HOUSE in all it's iterations.

The films to date have been solid. Two out of three were fantastic. One was a train wreck, but still fun to watch. The books are fantastic. The concepts in all are fun and engaging. So, when I heard that they were doing another version I was super excited. That is, until I saw the trailer.

"What?! Gawd damn it - they changed everything.'s about a family now? Bet it'll be packed with jump scares, clowns, nuns, and dolls. Stupid people changing a great thing. Just give me the Jackson or Matheson book. BOO!"  And, I stomped off to sulk.

But...holy cow....this is a fantastic vision for the Hill House legacy. Complex and super engaging, this new version had me talking and talking about the show and wanting to just sit and watch the whole thing in one sitting!

Do yourself a favor - Don't watch any trailers for this. Don't Google-up any images. Just watch. The images I have in this post are spoiler free. 

Avoiding spoilers....
The story is about a family. Not ghosts, but a family. I believe that's what makes it so strong. The parents move into homes, redo them and get them looking grand, then sell them for profit. The kids are used to the whole show and are eager to get the Hill House done so they can move on to their final new home - a dream home they will never have to move from again. This is the big score, the Hill House. Once it's done, they'll be all set. But as is the case with films when people start talking about the bright snd shiny future, things have a tendency to fail and not go the way plans state.

As the children grow up and face their adult dramas, they remember life in the Hill House and see how it's affecting their adult selves.

Now, that seems simple and very Little House on the Prairie, but it's not. My simple breakdown of what's happening has been super simplified. The storytelling here is complex and smart. We see present day all the way back to the first day they moved in. Non-linear scenes blend timelines and story arcs expertly as the stories - both past and present, unfold. We're shown, not told which I completely loved! Basically, Mike Flanagan's writing says, " are the players. Let's go. Keep up, ok?" and it leads you forward flashing back and forth in a beautiful dance. The story moves along going from the present day back to various stops in the past to tell the tale and I never once felt lost or confused. It all just makes sense the way it's laid out.

Am I making this sound like I loved it? Oh, that's only because I did love it. With my whole heart. :) 
The acting really made it here. The kids and their adult selves feel like they really are matched perfectly. Using Henry Thomas as the young father Hugh Crain and Timothy Hutton as the older Crain was amazing. They both take on little character traits that make the transition perfect. Carla Gugino is mesmerizing. The entire cast is rock solid and never feels like they are going to far over the top dramatically, but they nail every emotion throughout.

Ghosts from one scene in the first episode
And ghosts. There are some amazing ghosts in here and they all have grand looks. My wife saw one scene (she's not a horror lover) and her comment was, "Jesus....that's...just so scary..." before leaving the room with a BYE tossed over her shoulder. hehehe . And the fun thing is that there are hidden ghosts throughout the Hill House moments that I completely missed on first viewing. ((I've started it over again from the beginning)) I'm keeping more of an eye out now as I watch and I'm literally muttering "How the hell did I miss that the first time?" as I watch. It's a fantastic game that makes a rewatch even better.

The look and feel of the house is amazing as well. There are family scenes that are light and bright in the day - nothing to fear. But, the night scenes.... whew....those are a different story all together.

I'm not going to say much more. I don't really want to let anything slip about this series.

If you love a good drama, great storytelling, and some fantastic, gothic chills, you're going to want to drop everything, head over to NETFLIX, and fire up The Haunting of Hill House ASAP. It's a fantastic journey.

GIALLOctober: The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (1974)

GIALLOctober continues with THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS from 1974

A fantastic WHO DONE IT giallo mystery.

Sadly, due to a few real life situations, GIALLOctober wasn't as big as I thought tit was going to be. I still have a few videos in mind to take on, but I'm not going to be able to do the lineup I had originally wanted. Ah, life. :) a special bonus...a silly little BEHIND THE SCENES vid! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

GIALLOctober: EYEBALL (1975)

GIALLOctober Video Series - EYEBALL (1975)

The video series keeps rolling along as I talk about EYEBALL from 1975. What a wild film this was. I really dug it.

Comments welcome!

Channel Zero Series

The CHANNEL ZERO offerings are very solid and are filled with fantastic visual eye candy and creepy tales. The stories are based on "CREEPYPASTAS" which are basically online creepy tales created by online users. The lore is always something strange and creepy that is supposed to be based on true events.

Is that enough to support watching the episodes?


There are currently two series from the CHANNEL ZERO - Candle Cove and No-End House.

CHANNEL ZERO - Candle Cove
Now I thought this was the more solid offering between the two. A child psychologist heads back home to see if his twin brother's disappearance has something to do with this creepy show that used to reveal itself to children on seemingly blank TV screens. The parents never new what happened all those years ago when children started disappearing and acting ever so strange. What will this investigation unearth?

The story and characters here are grand. The complexity of the story and backstory and what the past does to those living now was really rather interesting. The creepy figures that make appearances in the show are really the stuff of nightmares. And, since both series are only six episodes long, CANDLE COVE doesn't overstay it's welcome.

In this one, the story revolves around a mysterious house that appears in various locations at random times for a few nights, then disappears. People are notified of it's location through strange videos that play randomly on phones and TVs. If you find the magic horror attraction, you'll be lucky enough to walk through six rooms that will change your life. But...what is the house and what are it's plans for you?

I had different feelings about this section. While the concept was great, I felt that it was a little too long and that it would have been a super solid, four episode series instead of the six episodes it took to tell the tale. The otherworldly feel of it also removed it from feeling like it could happen to you in your world, so some of the post viewing creep factor was removed. However, it did bring a lot to the table and was a far more emotional experience than Candle Cove for me, even though I found it lighter on the creep factor.

Both are currently running on SHUDDER here in the US at the time of this posting.

Well worth a viddy...AFTER you watch Netflix's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, that is!

Two new offerings are around on SYFY - CHANNEL ZERO:  Butcher's Block and The Dream Door. Butchers Block looks like it will be interesting, but I fear that it might substitute strange visuals for story. DREAM DOOR looks very creepypasta and seems to have more of the CHANNEL ZERO feel I dug from Candle Cove. We shall see.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Giallo A Venezia (1979)

If you like your gialli sleazy, naked, and gross, have I got one for you! GIALLO A VENEZIA from 1979 is all that and then some!

Jeff Blynn is the untra-hip Inspector Angelo De Pol and he just got a case that has him pealing eggs and waving his hands around like crazy. :::grin:::  I'm not sure what Jeff was up to in the film, but his character eats eggs throughout as he tries to sort things out. He's the only thing bigger than his constant hand gestures is his amazing hair. But...I digress.

Fabio (Gianni Dei) and Flavia (the stunning Leonora Fani) are found dead near a canal and there are several odd points in the crime scene that get the giallo crime gears moving. The story itself is rather straight forward when the film starts, but it takes a few grim turns that make this film a challenge to watch. See, we find out in flashback that ole Fabio is a bit of a pervert. He loves being watched when making love to his wife and the stakes keep getting higher and higher as he turns his flailing sex life around by acts of violence and swinging. Flavia loves him, so she plays along, but her enjoyment drops rapidly as the stakes are raised.

We're "treated" to some really sleezy and naughty sex scenes that reveal some of Director Mario Landi's sexy cinema movie stylings. A  failed sex attempt leads to a lengthy masturbation scene which dives RIGHT into rape. We have explicit wife sharing in a theater and a really, REALLY nasty murder scene involving a prostitute, a classic mirrored sunglasses killer,  and a pair of scissors that was one of the most sexually violent scenes I've seen. The film leans more towards a sex thriller, really.

The only thing that really made it worth a watch to me was the De Pol character and the madness that surrounded him. I mean...the friggin eggs all the time was a strange character highlight. It's just bonkers. And when he comes up with theories, he gesticulates and emphasizes with his hands so much it's a beautiful distraction. And lastly, it seems like he has one outfit that he wears all the time. Very wild.

As a giallo, Giallo A Venezia is not high on my re-watch list. I doubt I will ever watch it again. It's a fine mystery and the story is well done even if it's SUPER dark and disturbing. However, it does fit the gialli criteria for VIOLENCE and SEXUALITY, so if you have a strong stomach and like your crime giallo packed with sex and hip organ music, this is the film for you.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Death Laid An Egg (1968)

DEATH LAID AN EGG has to be one of the most odd of the gialli films. There's a special level for some of these films. They have all the aspects you'd expect to see in a giallo film, but they also have a few extra bits and bobs that push things into a very strange space. That's Death Laid an Egg for sure.

We have a group working on a sort of...super chicken project. They are trying to create the perfect chicken on this high tech chicken farm. We have the husband, Marco (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and wife, Anna (Gina Lollobrigida) - scientists working on the project. And they have a lovely little beauty staying with them - the alluring Gabrielle played by Ewa Aulin. Of course, a love triangle forms and things go off the rails rather quickly. However, there are other aspects of the film that come up that are just...bonkers. Chicken talk turns to wild ramblings about chickens in smoking jackets. The "perfect chicken" is created at one point, but it's a headless, legless, living chicken mass that's a mutant. Very odd. The music is odder still - discordant and grating. It really helps to create a on-edge atmosphere.

All the odd chicken madness aside, it's actually a rather interesting little mystery with a lot to offer. Big thanks to the DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS PODCAST for their coverage of the film in their three part, art giallo series FOOTPRINTS IN DELIRIUM: Exploring the Art Giallo! If you have not heard it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It's fantastic. (linked above)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The House of the Yellow Carpet - La Casa del Tappeto Giallo (1983)

What an odd little movie this is. I think I liked it, but it's odd.

Running very much like a play with four actors, we meet Franca and Antonio and the titular yellow carpet. The two are trying to sell the massive carpet and they have someone coming to look it over. Antonio runs off to do something leaving Franca home by herself when the man in need of a carpet arrives. And then...things go sideways. I'll say no more about it.

Like I said, it runs like a three act play. There are only four characters in the whole of it and it takes place in an apartment that is rather small, so there's a claustrophobic feeling throughout the film that adds to the tension. It's a slow burn, but I really liked it.

All four actors are grand. Erland Josephson, Béatrice Romand, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, and Milena Vukotic were all super solid in their roles. That really needed to be the case here. If one or two of them failed, the whole film would fall to pieces. 

Carlo Lizzani's direction is grand here as well. The man has 73 director credits and another 48 writing credits. I'd love to see more of his work.

If you are looking for a giallo style mystery with less blood and guts and more story and acting, you'll want to check out The House of the Yellow Carpet! It's a great watch.