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ill Will's Modern Nasties part 1: Snuff 102

ill Will's Modern Nasties part 1: 

Snuff 102 (2007)

Written & Directed by Mariano Peralta

Starring Yamila Greco, Silvia Paz, Andrea Alfonso, Eduardo Poli,

Julian Alfonzo, Rodrigo Bianco, Salvador Haidar, Lucas Delgado

If you don't know what the 'Video Nasties' are, please give yourself a good slap and then go look it up. As someone  who was born into the video nasty era I've grown up loving horror, especially the more bloody and gory stuff.

Along with that fondness I also acquired a hatred for censorship in all forms, especially censorship of film. I do believe that without the video nasties and the slashers of the 80's we wouldn't have modern extreme cinema, all that weird, obscure, sick and sadistic stuff that's been pouring out of the underground over the last 20-30 years. That indie DIY stuff, the films that only get shown at certain festivals, a far cry from Sundance and Cannes. Films that are so fucked up they don't get approved for release on either side of the pond so they have to be released independently or bought directly from the filmmakers themselves. Yes I'll be delving into those ones, the infamous films that hardcore horror fans have on their STF (sick twisted fuck) lists. If there was a crackdown on horror again and we fell back into another video nasty era, these films would definitely make the banned list. Some films I'll be revisiting, others I'll be viewing for the first time. Here we go...

Snuff 102 is a 2007 film from Argentinian filmmaker Mariano Peralta. Going into this film as a first time viewing and knowing nothing about the plot I must admit I did find it a bit hard to follow at first, but with a little concentration the pieces began to fall into place. 

After seeing news reports on a serial killer known as The Road Killer, an investigative reporter decides she wants to write a piece on snuff films. She acquires evidence and CSI reports and interviews from the Road Killer case. She then gets in contact with a guy simply known as 'the film critic', except this guy is no Siskel or Ebert - he's line of expertise is dark cinema, rough hardcore porn, bondage and S&M, scat/piss/vomit porn, mutilations, animal killings, real death and executions and all that other good stuff you can find in the dark web. 

As her interviews with this guy go on and on you can see that she is becoming equally more and more fascinated and disgusted by him. Especially when she asks him what his thoughts on snuff films are...  That description may seem pretty straight forward but the film itself is played out in a non-linear fashion. It's basically the story of 3 girls who are bound and gagged and locked in a dark room together by a killer who is recording the whole thing. The story jumps back and forth showing how each of the girls lived before their abduction and how they got where they are.  There's nothing more I can really say about the plot without giving away the whole thing. what I can say is that Snuff 102 is one of the sickest, most realistic looking depictions  of the making of a snuff film I've ever seen. Is it the Citizen Kane of horror? Hell no, it should be enough to please most fans of the faux-snuff horror sub genre though. 

I can sit through most extreme and disturbing horror films with ease because I'm not a moron and I can tell the difference between fiction and reality. A Serbian Film is one of my favourite modern horror films and that's probably going to be reviewed as part of my Modern Nasties series as well. The reason I refer to the difference between reality and fiction is because obviously a lot of people cant tell one from the other.

When Peralta premiered Snuff 102 at the Mar Del Plata Film Festival in March of 2007 he was attacked after the screening by hordes of angry viewers and he was beaten to a bloody pulp. What a bunch of fucking retards! Yes no one wants to see a heavily pregnant woman get punched in the face repeatedly, have her head and her stomach stomped on but at the end of the day this shit does happen in real life. If a director and two actors have the balls to reenact it on camera then kudos to them. It doesn't make them sick or demented, it makes them brave and creative.

I find it annoyingly similar to when people refer to A Serbian Film as if it's actually real child porn just because an actor pretends to fuck a doll in it and anyone who likes the film is looked at like some sort of pedo. Fuck off! Peralta claims he intended the film to be a violent and misogynistic slap in the face and uncomfortable to watch. (Mission accomplished sir!) He said it was heavily influenced by Passolini's Salo and he also says Gasper Noe's Irreversible is one of the best films he's ever seen. The three girls were nameless and referred to as Victims 100,101 and 102 - this was a metaphor to say that at the end of the day we are all just numbers. He used a pregnant woman as the first victim to show pregnancy as a symbol of hope, so when there was no more pregnancy ( a nice way of putting it) then there was no more hope. Actress Andrea Alfonso was really 7 months pregnant during filming and often feared for the safety of her unborn child throughout the shoot. Snuff 102 is very similar to A Serbian Film not just because of the snuff theme but because the directors of both movies intended the violence and despair in their films as a metaphor for the society they grew up in. 

Snuff 102 had a very limited release in 2007 on DVD-r sold by the director himself. The original copies sold fast and quickly became like gold dust to extreme horror collectors. Most of those who got them made copies to give to friends and bootlegs of the film circulated the globe for 9 years until the film finally got an official release on DVD last year from Massacre Video.

An obscurity for being a horror film from Argentina but also very strange that most of the cast and crew never worked on films again after it, including the director. I suppose being almost beaten to death by a group of neanderthals for nothing other than creating a piece of expressive art would put most people off filmmaking for good. This film is definitely not for the easily offended. It can be slow and slightly confusing at times and is shot in a very experimental style, covered in a grainy distressed filter to give it that grindhouse look. The gore is outstanding, sometimes a little bit too good and might be hard on the eye and stomachs of those with a weaker constitution. Fans of the Guinea Pig and August Underground series should definitely check it out. Thankfully it can be bought easily from Massacrevideo.com, Amazon or most good online dvd stores.

Eyes of my mother

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

Written, Directed & Edited by Nicolas Pesce

Starring Kika Magalhaes, Olivia Bond, Diana Agostini, Paul Nazak, Flora Diaz, Will Brill, Clara Wong, Joey Curtis-Green

"A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life."

In what I assume is 50s/60s  rural America, a family's lives are destroyed and changed forever one day when a serial killer comes calling to their door. The father arrives home from work late to catch a psychotic killer in the act of brutally murdering his wife as his young daughter Francisca waits in terror in the next room. What happens next is out of the ordinary but while watching you have to ask yourself, would I do the same? If not then what? Spoiler alert : Rather than calling the cops and go through the whole legal rigmarole, the father beats the living shit out of the killer and chains him up in his barn. As a lonely child with no friends Francisca forms a strange bond with the killer, nursing his wounds and saving him from starvation by feeding him dead rodents. 

Skip to ten or fifteen years later Francisca has grown into a beautiful young woman, the killer is still chained up in the barn and the father has passed away. Unable to let him go for fear of loneliness the daughter doesn't bury his body, instead she just treats him like an invalid, changing his clothes, bathing him, moving him from his bed to the sofa and chatting to him as if he was alive. It's hard to tell if he is actually dead or completely paralysed from a stroke, either way it was a situation I found both equally deranged and devastating. One night she goes to bar, picks up a girl and takes her home but things go pear shaped really fast. Soon after that the killer almost escapes but doesn't get far. She finally decides to dispose of her father but not before chopping him up into pieces, keeping the good bits in the fridge for consumption and burning the rest. Now she is truly alone, but not for long. She drags an innocent woman and her newly born baby into her world of hurt. What she does to them is even more sinister than what she went through as a child.

Gorgeously shot in black & white , creepy and atmospheric with minimal to zero score. First time writer/director Nicolas Pesce has crafted one of the finest horror films of 2016 and probably the last decade also. Great performances from all the cast especially Olivia Bond and Kika Magalhaes who play young Francisca and old Francisca respectively. Bizarre, bleak and beautiful, real horror fans should make it their business to check it out asap.

31 (2016) Review

Written & Directed by Rob Zombie

Starring Sherri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Brake, Meg Foster, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Lew Temple, 

Kevin Jackson, Judy Geeson, Lawrence Hilton-Jcobs, Jane Carr, Pancho Moler, Elizabeth Daily & Ginger Lynn Allen

 

The movie begins with Doom-Head spending a few minutes of eerie fourth wall breaking monologue introducing himself to both us the audience and a potential victim. Doom-Head, (played by criminally underrated character actor Richard Brake, lesser known for playing slimeball assholes in films such as Doom, better known for killing Bruce Wayne's parents in Batman Begins and playing The Night King who led the White Walkers and raised the dead at Hardhome in Game of Thrones), here he looks like a demented cross between Captain Spaulding and Ledger's Joker. Roll credits and we find out the movie is set on October 31st 1976, that would be exactly one year before the events of House of 1000 Corpses and I assume that's where the title '31' comes from. Our band of merry, soon to be dead protagonists are carnival workers on a road-trip cross country, Sherri Moon Zombie (no surprises there), Meg Foster, Jeff Daniel Philips aka bearded DJ guy from Lords of Salem and a few others are along for the ride.

They pull in at a gas station to fill up on fuel and refreshments when out of the blue pops Eliabeth Daily aka E.G. Daily. If you don't know who she is look her up, she's hot, and talented of course, her character's name is Sex-Head so I'm hoping she's gonna be some sort of Harley Quinn-esque killer clown. Interesting side-note, I've always fantasied about E.G. Daily as a slightly older Harley Quinn and strangely enough one of her best friends is Tara Strong - the voice of the original Harley in Batman:The Animated Series! They've both worked on various shows doing voice work together over the years, most notably Rugrats and The Powerpuff Girls. But hey, I'm rambling - and hoping E.G. gets 'Harley'd' up in some clown make-up later on.

So the gang are back on the road and its after dark, they're stopped by a roadblock made up of scarecrows. When they get out of the van to investigate their nightmare begins. They find themselves tied up in a giant compound known as Murderworld, and there they meet their hosts Father Murder (Malcolm McDowell and Sister Dragon (Judy Geeson). They explain to them their predicament - they must participate in a game called 31 where they have to last 12 hours fighting for their lives in a demented cat and mouse survival game against a gang of psychopaths dressed as clowns.

We're  introduced to each of these clowns individually, each with 'Head' in their name for some reason - first up is Sick-Head (Latino-Nazi midget clown). Then we meet Schizo-Head & Psycho-Head, two chainsaw wielding redneck brothers played by David Ury and Rob Zombie regular Lew Temple. Then we get Death-Head, a 6ft 9 tutu wearing, spiked baseball bat wielding German giant. And finally we get to see Sex-Head in all her crazy clown psycho bitch glory. Not quite Margot Robbie but I'd still give her one.

Before they use their back-up plan and set Doom-Head on the survivors they tease us with two others - Rage-Head and Bash-Head, maybe they're saving them for a sequel? Anyway, Doom-Head gets a phone-call rudely interrupting him while he's banging porn star Ginger Lynn Allen. Here she's playing a hooker called Cherry Bomb, in The Devil's Rejects she played a hooker called Fanny. I think it would've been a cool little connection between both movies if she played the same prozzy, but hey that's just me.

Doom-Head is one of the coolest killers I've seen in a horror movie in a long time, just awesome, definitely action figure worthy (NECA or McFarlane get on that shit!). His performance here leads me to believe he would make a perfect Joker in a darker Batman movie, maybe if DC ever had the balls to adapt Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum graphic novel to the big screen.

The ending is as epic and unpredictable/predictable as you'd expect from a Zombie film but all in all I enjoyed the hell out of it. As I've said all year 2016 has been a fairly shitty year for horror in my opinion and 31 was the only horror film I've been really looking forward to. I wasn't disappointed. The story itself is far from original, actually it's one thats all too familiar since the dawn of time and since the early days of cinema. Most notably the 1932 film The Most Dangerous Game based on the 1924 book by Richard Connel, this 'man hunting man for sport' story has been rehashed and retold over and over throughout the years - the infamous Australian video nasty Turkey Shoot aka Blood Camp Thatcher, Surviving The Game with Ice T, Hard Target with Van Damme, The Condemned with Stone Cold Steve Austin etc. The most famous though would be the epic Battle Royale. Take that familiar story, stick it in the 70's with typical Rob Zombie characters spouting out typical Rob Zombie style dialogue and you get 31. It's basically an old-school slasher film but instead of one psycho killer we get a gang of them. It's not Zombie's best film by any means but it's a hell of a fun ride with plenty of surprises and sick shocks along the way. Obviously Rob Zombie haters will hate it before they even see it but anyone who enjoyed both Firefly family outings and either of Zombie's forays into Haddonfield should enjoy the shit out of 31. And it's serious jerk-off material for Juggalos. Send in the clowns....

In The Deep (2016) Review

Directed by Johannes Roberts

Written by Johannes Roberts & Ernest Riera

Starring Mathew Modine, Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, 

Chris J. Johnson, SantiagoSegura & Yani Gellman

 

Like a lot of horror fans I usually celebrate Discovery Channel's annual 'Shark Week' by watching a mixture of good killer shark movies and some really shitty/so-bad-they're-good ones. For some reason this year Shark Week completely passed me by, it was almost over by the time I even realised it was Shark Week. Oh well, there's always next year. I did get to see Jaws on the big screen though which was pretty awesome, even more so as it was its' 40th anniversary a few months ago. There hasn't been that many shark movies out this year, the only one I can recall that got a major cinema release was The Shallows. I still haven't seen that but surprisingly I've heard nothing but good things about it so I'm looking forward to seeing it, plus it has Blake Lively aka Mrs. Deadpool running around in a bikini so that's always a bonus. So back to the film at hand - In The Deep. I literally heard nothing about this film until a couple of weeks ago when some of my American friends said they watched it online and were really surprised that it didn't get a theatrical release. What I find very strange is that even-though Dimension are releasing it on DVD this week, apparently Freestyle Media have acquired the rights to release it theatrically in 2017 so maybe the DVD release will be put on hold until after that.

Another strange thing is that the original title of The Shallows was In The Deep, when the producers of The Shallows heard there was another shark movie due for release with the same title they renamed it The Shallows, but when the producers of this movie In The Deep heard there was another movie with the same name they re-titled it 47 Meters Down, but then changed the name back to In The Deep when they heard The Shallows was the new title of that movie, or something along those lines.

In The Deep tells the story of two sisters Lisa and Kate who are on vacation in Mexico and decide to go deep sea shark watching  from the safety of a cage. Lo and behold the chain lowering the cage snaps sending the sisters plummeting to the ocean floor. With their oxygen running low and a frenzy of great white sharks (yes, that's what a large group of sharks is called) circling them they have less than an hour of air left to figure out how to get back up to the surface to the safety of the boat.

Mathew Modine stars as Taylor the boat's captain/tour guide. Modine is best recognised for his role in Full Metal Jacket but I haven't seen him in a lot of big things over the years until recently he starred in this years biggest Netflix show Stranger Things. Also starring in this is Claire Holt, fans of TV's Vampire Diaries and The Originals should definitely be familiar with her. The big surprise for me was seeing Mandy Moore (remember her?) pop up in this as the main star. For those unfamiliar with Mandy, she was an American pop princess around the same time in the nineties when Britney and Christina were in their prime, then she gave up singing shit music to pursue an acting career. I don't recall seeing her in anything other than a few episodes of Scrubs and Entourage but that was about ten years ago. 

Anyway, there isn't much I can say about the movie itself without giving the whole thing away. The way the film begins if you didn't already know it was a shark movie (the clue is in the title) you'd be forgiven for thinking this was another tourist in trouble/ torture porn type flick - two beautiful American girls on vacation in a foreign land, and the two Mexican dudes they meet up with definitely have a rapey vibe about them. It's ok though, as soon as they get on the boat you know they're fucked anyway with a giant shiver of sharks(yep, that's another name for a group of sharks) to worry about.

When the chain breaks and they sink to the bottom just about everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong, so even though the movie gets off to a slow start as soon as they hit the water it's non-stop tension. At almost 90 minutes long I reckon over an hour of the film is set under water giving it a really claustrophobic feeling and setting it apart from most generic shark flicks. It's very much like 'The Descent with sharks', now there's your cheesy dvd cover blurb right there fuckers! For a change the cgi sharks looked great and very realistic, (this ain't The Asylum). The story is solid, it looks great and good performances from all the cast, I can honestly say this is the best sharksploitation movie I've seen in a long time, until I see Sharknado 4 of course.... I give In The Deep 4 shark bites out of 5.

Sinister Squad review

Sinister Squad (2016)

 

Written & Directed by Jeremy M. Inman

Produced by The Asylum

Starring Johnny Rey Diaz, Lindsay Sawyer, Isaac Reyes, Fiona Rene

Christina Licciardi, Trae Ireland, Joseph Michael Harris, Talia A Davis & Nick Principe

 

"When a supernatural cult threatens Earth, Alice must assemble a team of fairy tale villains to face the literal forces of Death."

Those crazy fuckers at The Asylum are at it again with there 'mockbusters'. For those of you unfamiliar with the term or The Asylum's usual forte check out some of my previous reviews or just go and stick on the Syfy Channel. Think of films like Atlantic Rim, Transmorphers, Alien VS Hunter etc. and you'll get the picture. A few weeks ago I saw Independent's Day (awful crap) and I see that they have a movie called Ghosthunters out as well, undoubtedly crap as well but probably a masterpiece compared to the Ghostbusters reboot that it's ripping off. Obviously Sinister Squad is there take on DC Comic's Suicide Squad (and possibly Marvel's Sinister Six) which is due for release next month. Writer and director Jeremy M. Inman had another Asylum movie out last year - Avengers Grimm, where he basically tried to rip off Marvel's Avengers but replaced all the superheroes with fairy-tale characters so he wouldn't get sued for copyright. That movie sucked balls so hey why mess with a winning formula? Yep, he did it again - ripped off the Suicide Squad plot (or what we got from the trailers) and replaced all the villains with fairy-tale characters.

 

The film begins with a guy called Piper (obviously named after the Pied Piper of Hamelin) and  blonde chick with pigtails called Goldielocks, (Goldie for short) as they chase down a guy called Stiltskin. Neither Piper or Stiltskin bear any resemblance to the fairy-tale characters they're supposed to be based on or the Suicide Squad characters they're ripping off. Goldie doesn't have any bowls of porridge or bears following her but with her hair in pigtails and the clothes she wears it's obvious she's meant to be their Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie she ain't but she does look a little bit like porn star Lexi Belle, I've had a lot more fun watching Lexi Belle's movies though.

So along comes the leader of the gang Alice who looks like a brunette Madonna and has an even worse British accent than she does, along with her two henchmen Tweedledum and Tweedledee. They capture Stiltskin and bring him back to their asylum. As Alice assembles her team of bad guys we get a Guardians of the Galaxy style line-up scene where we are introduced to each of the villains. After Stiltskin (Hannibal Lecktar mask and all) there's the Big Bad Wolf and then we meet their version of The Joker - a knife wielding tall black Shaft lookalike. "They call him Bluebeard, for obvious reasons..." What fucking reasons? Is his beard blue? Is he a pirate? No, he's got a beard and he's wearing a blue coat - very fucking clever and obvious, not. Alice then sends Piper and Goldie off to track down Carabosse, a cannibal witch with big razor teeth. Carabosse is obviously their take on Suicide Squad's Enchantress, ya gimme Cara Delevingne any day. Carabosse is in love with Death and the squad's mission is to go to the underworld to fight Death and his messengers to retrive some magic mirror or some crap. Death is played by Nick Principe, a great character actor who is really slumming it here. Check out Ryan Nicholson's Collar to see Nick in a decent role. Then we meet some black chick called Gelda who has some sort of mind control powers and the final member of the squad we meet is The Hatter, not sure if this guy is a junky or a hipster but he looks like a cross between Johnny Depp and Jamiroquai. They feed him magic mushrooms so he can see the future and blah blah blah you know the rest. I wish someone fed me magic mushrooms before I watched this turd. 

 

 I've been doing my best for a while now to stick with my policy of not shitting all over movies that are so bad they piss me off and instead just review films that I enjoy so I can give them a positive review and not sound like a cranky old bastard all the time. Movies like this are so bad that it's hard not to vent. I'm sure if Jeremy M. Inman escaped from The Asylum (see what I did there?) he could probably make a decent original movie that isn't ripping off something else, more than likely though his next film will be Doctor Weird, Doctor Slightly Odd, Judgement League or some bollocks like that. Admittedly I do enjoy a lot of Asylum movies but unfortunately this wasn't one of them. They say these kind of movies are made for stoners so maybe it's time I took up smoking?

Feed The Black review

Feed The Black (2016)

Written & Directed by Klayton Dean

Starring Tyler Berry, Kaya McKenna, Tom Driver, 

Rhys Evans, Mog Wilde & Alex Burton

 

The film begins in complete blackness with a voice-over introduction from director Klayton Dean - this is far from a William Castle/Vincent Price style gimmick but more like an invitation from Anton Lavey himself. Throw some evil sounding Gregorian Monk chants into the mix and this journey is off to a creepy start. A young woman visits her mother's grave on a nice sunny day. The gorgeous cinematography of this scene filled with melancholic orchestral strings as the girl slowly strolls through the graveyard and kneels before her mother's grave really shows us both the sadness and the beauty of death and mourning. Something lurks in the shadows and watches her - is there someone really there or is it just the darkness in her soul? The following scene would lead you to believe the latter. A scene filled with religious, sacrilegious and fast-paced frightening imagery -like a kaleidoscope to hell. The young girl overdoses and it brings her over the edge, another plane of existence? Another time or a past life perhaps?

She wakes up in a forest, lost and confused with nothing but a white sheet around her. She wanders until she reaches a small but lively village, an old village that seems to be a couple of hundred years into the past. She knows she looks as much out of place as she feels so she scurries though quickly. She comes to an old graveyard where she sees a little girl dancing through it, curiously she follows her. Like lambs to the slaughter... 

 

I wont give away too much but the ending is a bit of a mindfuck, in the best way possible of course. At a running time of just over 30 minutes with hardly any dialogue there is a lot to take in, lots to see, plenty to witness. It's the loudest silent movie I've ever seen, multiple viewings advised. While it would be simple to throw out comparisons to Jodorowsky, Zulawski, Gasper Noé, David Lynch, Ken Russell, or even more modern masters of satanic surrealism such as Ben Wheatley or Robert Eggers, it's fair to say that even though Klayton Dean proudly wears his influences on his sleeve he still manages to conjure up a unique style of his own. I've been following Klay's film career closely since his early days reviewing other people's movies on YouTube and to watch him grow from strength to strength as a filmmaker over the years is nothing short of amazing. I can't wait to see what he does for his feature length directorial debut and if Lucifer or the Old Gods are good to us that day wont be too far off. Speaking of feature length films, keep an eye out for 'In League With The Devil' which will be produced by Klay's company Suspiric Noir. Described as "Hammer Horror meets John Carpenter in this story of family and satanism" it definitely has me intrigued. But before then make sure you check out Feed The Black - one woman's psychedelic descent through loss, loneliness, drug abuse and evil in it's purest form.

Zombie Fight Club (2014) Review

Zombie Fight Club (2014)

 

Directed by Joe Chien

Starring Andy On, Michael Wong, Jessica Cambensy, Jack Kao,

Sharon Hsu,  Terence Yin, Hans Chang, Abby Fung & MC HotDog

 

"It's the end of the Century, at a corner of the city in a building riddled with crime. Everyone in the building has turned into zombies. After Jenny's boyfriend was killed in a zombie attack, she faces the challenge of surviving in the face of adversity. In order to stay alive she struggles with Andy to flee danger. The originally kind and warm hearted chemistry teacher, after the kayos has broken out is now the zombie leader and has transformed into a cruel, vicious and selfish character. Violent activists match prisoners against zombies in a malicious killing game, the good side of humanity has seemingly all but vanished. Now that all order is lost, how will humans create a new century?"

 

Zombie Fight Club is a 2014 Taiwanese film from director Joe Chien who had previous minor horror hits with Zombie 108(2012) and The Apostles(2014). Although Zombie Fight Club had been released in some countries and doing the rounds since 2014 it got its' UK release at the Film 4 Frightfest last year and was released on DVD in The UK and Ireland last August.

As the blurb on the DVD cover reads it may be "The Raid meets Dawn of the Dead" but it could never be as great an action movie as The Raid nor could it hold a candle to Romero's undead masterpiece. It is however fairly entertaining and not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. It gets its' obvious comparisons to The Raid from its setting which is in a big tower block and its plot is made up of the intertwining stories of some of the residents within. You have the hot courier girl in her tiny tight daisy dukes (played by the ridiculously beautiful Sharon Hsu), she's delivering a package to some party boy and his hot girlfriend (played by the equally beautiful Jessica Cambesy), they're having a big party and their rapper buddy calls over with a flock of bitches. You also have the drug dealers and the SWAT team and crooked cops on their way up the building to bust them. (very Raid-ish)

 

Obviously a zombie virus breaks out and spreads through the apartment block like wildfire, with some people locking themselves in their homes for safety and other trying to fight their way to the nearest exit. The zombies look cool at first but eventually some of them begin to mutate, very similar to the zombies in Resident Evil. The gore may be CGI but doesn't look too bad , the thing that ruined it for me was the overuse of CGI blood for all the splatter effects. This could've been easily avoided with the used of squibs, or just less CGI.

As the residents fend off the zombies we're treated to some good action sequences and fight choreography - mostly from martial arts superstar Andy On and the rest of the SWAT team. We even get a slightly disturbing home invasion situation thrown into the mix for good measure which slows the tempo down but keeps things interesting.

Finally the remaining survivors get out of the building and the movie jumps to one year later. I'm not sure if the virus has spread worldwide or just throughout the city but we end up with a Mad Max type of apocalyptic scenario where a familiar face has become ruler of the city and has enslaved most of the survivors. Here the film definitely gets its' inspiration from The Walking Dead as the ruler forces the enslaved survivors to compete against the undead in a... wait for it... Zombie Fight Club! This ruler guy even has a zombie daughter who he keeps chained up and hidden away in his living quarters - very Governor-ish. In this fucked up apocalyptic dungeon we're treated to some prison rape, dinner table rape, fat chick on chained up guy rape and all sorts of delights.

The ending is a bit predictable but I honestly couldn't see it going any other way. Not knowing anything about this film going into it I assumed by the name and cover that it was going to be another crazy Jap-splat flick in the vein of Tokyo Gore Police or The Machine Girl. Since it was made in Taiwan and not Japan it definitely lacked some of the craziness that is usually injected into Japanese horror but it was far from plain and boring. What it may lack in originality it makes up for with pace, memorable characters, cool looking sets and locations, awesome zombie make up and non-stop action. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of zombie films and you're sick of the continuous low budget boring undead crap coming from the US and UK.

Also worth checking out is a movie that was even more "The Raid meets Dawn of the Dead" than this was, and came out 2 years before The Raid! - The Horde aka La Horde(2009) is a French film directed by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher. Fans of fast paced gory zombie flicks wont be disappointed. Actually it would make a cool double feature with Zombie Fight Club so check them both out asap!

Blood Harvest review

The Blood Harvest (2016)

 

Written & Directed by George Clarke

Starring Robert Render, Jean-Paul Van der Velde, Griffin Madill, Alan Crawford,

Liam Rowan, Rachel Galloway, Mathew McCreary, Rachel Stewart

"Onus meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in a twisted game of kill or be killed." That's the official IMDB synopsis for the film, it would make a lot more sense if anyyone had seen or heard of 'Onus' but after a little research I found that it's director George Clarke's next movie which is due out this summer. So why compare your film to a film that hasn't even been released yet? I don't know, it's late and I'm grumpy. Maybe he made Onus before Blood Harvest but Onus took longer in post-production? Anyway.... The Blood Harvest is set in Northern Ireland where a couple of crazed killers are on the loose.

Detective Jack Chaplin is on the case but after the latest murder occurs he gets a phone call from his captain telling him that his recent report on the case claiming that the killers could be vampires is a crock of shit so he's off the case and suspended. 

Naturally Jack isn't pleased with this so he tells his captain to go fuck himself and gets himself fired in the process. 

Meanwhile the body count rises and Jack's good friend Detective Hatcher and his partner Ward are now on the case. It looks like they haven't a fucking clue what they're doing so Hatcher goes to Jack with info on the latest killings asking him for his help. Determined to crack the case and prove to everyone that the killers are vampires or at least not human. Jack gets stuck in with some solid police work and figures out where the killer's hideout is. With his sharpened wooden crucifix and garlic dipped in holy water (if that doesn't kill vampires I don't know what the fuck will!) he makes his way to the abandoned farm where the killers are hiding. Will Hatcher find the balls to help him? Is his partner Ward as crooked as he seems? You'll be asking yourself these questions and more and then near the end you get slapped in the face with a big twist that is literally out of this world.

 

Now lets talk about the bad stuff. I first heard about this film in one of my favorite horror magazines which shall remain nameless for legal reasons and who knows I might even get a job writing for them one day... The reviewer really shat all over this but his two main problems were the ultra low budget and the capability (or lack there of) to understand the thick Northern Irish accents. As a fan of low-budget horror and an Irish person who can understand thick Northern accents fairly well I didn't have a problem with these things. One thing that wrecked my head a bit though was the overuse of shaky cam, thankfully it only occurred a few times in the film but when it did it was bad. So bad that during a chase scene I felt a bit dizzy and nauseated - and it's not even a found footage movie! But like I said it only happens a couple of times so it didn't ruin the film for me. The two killers had cool masks, one looked like something Daft Punk would where for Halloween and the other looked like a steaminess gas-mask, as seen on the DVD cover. What the DVD cover doesn't show you is that the killer with the steam-punk gas-mask is wearing a hipster t-shirt with a rocket ship design on it. Maybe he was a David Bowie fan? Or maybe it's a little inside joke throwing clues at the big twist reveal near the end. Then when he finally takes off the mask and you're expecting a hideous deformed mutant we get a guy who looks like Aidan Gillan aka Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish from Game Of Thrones! Not making fun of the actor, he really does look like him. Even-though he doesn't look like a mutant hillbilly he acts like one, all hunched and twisty-faced, a bit like the hitch-hiker from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Then his brother the other killer takes his mask off, acting psycho and jumping up and down like he's auditioning for Wrong Turn 28, he really looks like Ed Shearan on a bag of Es. Just joking, even-though their performances might have been a bit OTT they were still good as were everyone else's. For such a low budget film it had some really good gore as well. Definitely worth a look for fans of low-budget horror and it's always nice to see horror films coming out of this wee green isle of ours. The only other film by George Clarke that I've seen is his first film 'Battle Of The Bone', an enjoyable zombie flick from 2008. If you enjoy low-budget zombie films then that's definitely worth checking out. I give The Blood Harvest 2 and a half eyeballs out of 5.

Plan 9 review

Plan 9 (2015)

 

Written & Directed by John Johnson

Based on the original screenplay by Edward D. Wood Jr.

Starring Brian Krause, Mister Lobo, James Rolfe, Monique Dupree,Mathew Ewald, 

Matt Sloan, Addy Miller, Conrad Brooks, Aaron Yonda, Amy Hart & Sara Eshleman

 

"Plan 9 is the story of Nilbog, a small town with a big story. The beginning of an invasion! These aliens have a different plan for the inhabitants of Earth. To resurrect their dead as their own army set with but one goal: to wipe out all mankind! This night will decide the fates of all who walk the planet and thought they were the top of the food chain."

The movie begins with Criswell (Mister Lobo) on the set of a remake of Plan 9 From Outer Space, Criswell is a bit of a douche and he'd rather be somewhere else. This opening intrigued me because I usually enjoy movies within movies, or movies about the making of movies, Man Of A Thousand Faces and Tim Burton's Ed Wood being two of my favourites. That cool 'movie within a movie' plot device only lasts a few minutes though, it ends the second Criswell walks out of the shitty film studio onto the streets of a fictional town called Nilbog. That's goblin spelled backwards, an obvious nod to Troll 2 - a movie that is usually sitting right next to the original Plan 9 on most 'worst movie ever' lists or  'movies that are so bad they're good' lists. For yours truly it's the latter.  So Nilbog seems like a typical average boring American town where nothing really exciting happens, until one day a big ass meteorite crashes nearby. Black slimey shit oozes out of the meteorite and seeps into all the town's graves reanimating the dead. Also the meteorite sends out shockwaves that fuck with everyone's heads and turns the town crazy. It's aliens (insert Giorgio A. Tsoukalos meme/impression here) and they've come to take over the earth by using mind control, zombies and all other types of weird shit. 

I remember hearing about this and seeing a teaser for it 6 years ago and I wasn't impressed. I'm not sure what the whole story is but it seems to have been sitting in limbo since then.  For me remaking Plan 9 From Outer Space is like remaking E.T. I forgot about it for ages until it popped up before my eyes the other day and I said to myself the same thing I say before watching most remakes - "Fuck it, can't be worse than The Fog remake...." .Thankfully it wasn't. It was pretty much an ok low-budget zombie flick but it definitely lacked the charm of the original. As an Ed Wood fan i'm definitely biased so non-Ed Wood fans might enjoy it more. Kudos to John Johnson for doing his best to stay true to the original though with TV horror host Mister Lobo playing the part of Criswell, a big bald guy who looks like Tor Johnson and even a pale goth chick looking slightly like Vampira. I found it hilarious that he had a guy who looked absolutely nothing like Bela Lugosi playing his part, with or without the cloak over his face - and he doesn't look anything like Wood's chiropractor Tom Mason either! 

(only fans of the original will get that joke) 

John Johnson is obviously a fan of Troll 2 and this wasn't the first time he had a town called Nilbog in one of his movies, he also had it in his trilogy of Skeleton Key movies and i'm not sure if he did it with any of his other features or shorts. He also cast James 'The Angry Videogame Nerd' Rolfe in Plan 9 which is bound to appeal to a lot of geeks out there and Brian Krause which might appeal to fans of Charmed. It had a nice bit of gore in it as well making it more like a modern zombie film than anything like the original. Plus it had some cool tunes in it, going from classic 60's rock n roll one minute to pumping 80's style synth-wave the next.

At the end of it, all Plan 9 isn't a terrible movie and it's not the worst remake I've seen. I guess I just didn't love it because the original means so much to me. That being said i'm sure it meant a lot to the director as well and he did a pretty decent job of retelling it in a modern way with some added humor and without shitting all over Ed Wood's grave. 

I give it 2.5 reanimated corpses out of 5.

The Demolisher (2015) Review

Written, Produced & Directed by Gabriel Carrer

Starring Ry Barret, Tianna Nori, Jessica Vano, Bruce Turner, Gerrit Sepers, 

Owen Fawcett, Andrew Bussey, Duane Frey & Duncan McLellan

Synopsis: "Bruce (Ry Barrett) is an ordinary repairman tormented by a crippling sense of responsibility for his disabled wife Samantha, an ex-policewoman (Tianna Nori), the survivor of a gang-related assault. Bruce's increasing hyper-sensitivity to the injustice suffered by his wife steer him down a dark path of vigilantism, and with his rapidly disintegrating mental health, paranoia and overwhelming sense of doom, Bruce channels his inner rage towards a young woman, Marie (Jessica Vano) and finds refuge in a world of extreme violence. Both a character study and a psychological examination of trauma, The Demolisher is an unapologetic portrayal of what can happen when a fragile mind is pushed too far."

Screened at last years Vancouver International Film Festival, The Demolisher was met with mixed reviews - mostly bad it would seem. I can see why a lot of viewers would be displeased with the end result as the posters for the movie would lead most to believe it was a modern grindhouse/ 80s homage/ gritty revenge thriller. While it is all of those to a certain extent it comes across as more of an arthouse film with beautiful cinematography, lots of slow motion , drawn out scenes of city landscapes saturated in neon and less dialogue than you would expect in most violent revenge movies. Think less 'Death Wish' and more 'Drive', but on a far smaller budget of course. While most people probably would've preferred if the director opted for the modern grindhouse look, or should I say the post-Tarantino/Rodriguez' Grindhouse look that so many attempted to copy afterward and failed each time with the odd exception here and there, I applaud Gabriel Carrer for taking the time to add his preferred style to the movie rather than taking the easy route - it takes a lot more time and effort to make a film look beautiful and stylish than to just throw a sheet of grain over the entire thing to try to make it look like it was shot in the 70s or 80s. That being said I did feel like the whole thing was more style over substance. Most of the scenes in between dialogue felt like clips of music videos and the story wasn't entirely original, but hey what is these days? 

However I did feel that it was a bit of a fresh take on the revenge thriller and I honestly wasn't bored once throughout. I quite enjoyed it actually. I really routed for Bruce as he spent most of his days looking after his crippled wife and spent the rest of his time going around in riot gear beating gang members to death with a big fucking police baton or whatever other weapon he could use. Gang members who might I add wore a strange patch with a crazy looking monkey on their backs - I would've picked something with a skull on it but that's just me. In fairness, no one is gonna take you gang serious if they're called The Monkeys.... At first I wasn't too sure what the director was doing with the two lead characters Bruce and Marie and their separate story-lines and how those characters were relevant to each other but then when their paths finally crossed I think it worked out well. And just like most good movies nowadays it had plenty of over-the-top violence and a pumping Carpenter-esque synth score. I know I tend to use that term a lot in my reviews but hey, I'll stop using it when composers stop paying homage to John Carpenter with their film scores. Like I said, fans of faux-grindhouse flicks might be disappointed with this one but those who enjoyed films such as The Guest, Blue Ruin or Bellflower should definitely check it out. 

I give it 3 brutal bloody batons to the face out of 5.

Cabin Fever (2016) Review

Cabin Fever (2016)

Directed by Travis Zariwny

Written by Randy Pearlstein (based on the original screenplay by Eli Roth)

Starring Mathew Daddarrio, Gage Golightly, Nadine Crocker, Samuel Davis,

Dustin Ingram, Louise Linton, Randy Shulman & Jason Rouse

 

"A group of five friends are terrorized at their getaway cabin. A remake of the 2002 film, 'Cabin Fever'."

Yep, that's the official synopsis for this movie so that says a lot about how much effort was made to do something different or original with this remake compared to the 2002 Cabin Fever. Remember the 1998 remake of Psycho? The one that was literally a shot for shot carbon copy just with different actors? Ya I think you get the jist. There's absolutely no point in me going into detail about the story, if you've seen the original film then you already know. If you haven't - shame on you! I'm a fan of Eli Roth, have been since I first saw Cabin Fever in the cinema back in 2002. It was the first horror film that I had seen in a while that felt like an 80's horror film, without actually trying like most films these days do. The grittiness, the gore, the cheesy dialogue and funny one-liners, the nods to the classic horror films like Evil Dead (obviously) and Last House On The Left. 

(David Hess' music fits perfctly in just about any good horror movie) but this remake doesn't have any of that. It does have pretty much all the same characters, same names just different actors. Same plot, same setting, just different dialogue. 

I know, already you're probably asking yourself "Why fucking bother?"

OK it starts a little differently, Henry the hermit catches a rabbit for dinner and brings it back to his campsite to tell his dog the good news. When he goes to wake the dog up the second he touches him the dog rolls over dead and rotted to the core and basically explodes all over him. Henry yells out the dog's name "Pancakes!" as we also see it written on his food bowl, obviously a nod to the original.

Then we meet our five protagonists, 3 guys and 2 girls with all the same names as the original. They pull up outside the store where they meet the 'pancakes' kid in the original except this kid has a stupid paper bunny mask on, he doesn't do kung-fu and he doesn't scream "pancakes!" Also there's no hilarious racist "those are for ni**ers" old man!? He was one of the funniest ,most stand-out characters in the original and they dont even bother to try and replace him? The Bert character in this steals a Snickers bar from the store but the scene isn't even the slightest bit funny like in the original.  Also the guy playing Bert is more of a really annoying obnoxious gamer geek while in the original James DeBello's Bert was more of a wisecracking stoner/jock kinda dude, and way more tolerable. They really hammer home the fact that this new Bert is a hardcore gamer when then get to the cabin and he complains about not having any games to play - What, did you think they'd have a PS4 and an XBOX360 set up,ready and waiting for you? In a cabin, in the woods, in the arsehole of nowhere? You fuckin idiot. Aso the cabin was way bigger and more luxurious than the one in the original so it wasn't one bit creepy. Cabin in the woods? More like condo in the woods.

Later on when they're all gathered around the campfire, Paul tells the same story about the bowling alley that Ryder Strong's character told in the original, except in his version we got clips to go along with his story, making it way better. In this version of the story we get sweet fuck all. Intersting fact: Paul in the remake is played by Mathew Daddario, his sister is the beautiful Alexandra Daddario star of Texas Chainsaw 3D, Burying The Ex, San Andreas and soon to be in the Baywatch remake starring Dwayne Johnson. She was also in season 1 of True Detective and showed Woody Harrelson and the rest of the world just how perfect her juggs are. Also in this campfire scene we meet Grim the happy stoner and his dog Dr. Mambo, except in this movie he isn't really the happy stoner that Eli Roth played but more of a creepy hillbilly.

All the same crap happens so if you've seen the original there's no point in going through it all. People get infected, people die. Another difference is Deputy Winston who was fucking hilarious in the original, played by Giuseppe Andrews "Ya, party maaan!" in this is played by a more straight faced female. She's hot, even with a dodgy scar under her eye but she definitely lacks the comedic impact that her character had in the original. For the rest of the movie just about everything is the same. As a fan of the original I've seen it quite a few times so I sat through this hoping that they would try something different, other than leaving the best characters out and giving Winston a sex change. But they didn't and it's a shame. At least with remakes such as Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn Of The Dead, they changed things up a bit and tried something different. What is the point of remaking something if its practically the exact same movie? The gore was toned down a bit in a lot of scenes but then in a few others it looked good, like the shovel to the face scene, that was cool but not cool enough to save this waste of time. At the end there is a mid-credit scene with a bit of a twist/reveal type plot device that might be relevant if a direct sequel happens but more than likely it wont. We'll probably just get another straight-to-dvd loosely linked sequel that no one will give two shits about. 

Anyone who hasn't seen the original or anyone who saw the original years ago and hasn't seen it in a few years might want to check this out, you might enjoy it but I doubt it because it lacks just about everything that made the original good. Anyone who is a big fan of the original and has seen it a few times I'd advise you not to bother with this as you will only get annoyed and feel like you are owed an hour and a half of your life back. And to make things worse I think the supposed sequel to Cabin Fever 3:Patient Zero (which I enjoyed) got shitcanned to put this into production instead...

Speaking of zero, I give this zero infected dead dogs out of five.

Eaters (2015) Review

Five friends (3 guys,2 girls) are driving across the New Mexico desert and when they pull over for a break at a rest stop one of the girls goes missing. The only other people at the rest stop were a small gang of bikers called The Demons so naturally the guys blame them, especially since they had a van with them. They guys just happen to have a few guns in the trunk of the car so they follow the bikers, pull them over and hold them at gunpoint demanding to know where their friend Jill is. The overuse of swearing in this scene may offend or just annoy the fuck out of some people, with dialogue like "Listen you motherfuckin' fuckers,  you better tell us where she is you stupid fuckin' fucks!", or something along those lines. One of the guys searches the van and doesn't find her but he does see a shitload of drugs in the back. They slash their tires and cut their fuel lines and go on their merry way to continue their search for Jill, leaving some seriously pissed off bikers in their dust. As the group of friends argue about where Jill could be one of them has a bright idea - "Maybe it was that strange suspicious looking Cadillac that passed us further down the highway?"

No fucking shit Sherlock. They're running low on gas so they decide to pull in to a small town called Boot Heel, Boot Heel is a creepy deserted ghost town that looks like an abandoned set from an old Eastwood movie.

The friends argue among themselves some more and when Jude and Nolan come to blows Nolan takes off on his own to search the town. Soon afterwards the rest of them start panicking because they keep hearing and seeing things.

(seriously, am I the only one who can clearly hear someone screaming in the background?) Jude finds the creepy Cadillac and runs to tell the others, then they spot the biker's van rolling into town so they go and hide. The two bikers get out of the van and immediately spot the car of the asshole kids who held them at gunpoint earlier, so they slash the tires to stop them from escaping.

Shortly after that a creepy kid whistling a creepy tune appears out of nowhere and the idiot bikers decide to pick on him. Not a clever thing to do to someone who looks like an Amish version of Sam from Trick R Treat. His older brother (I assume) comes to his rescue with a giant hammer and gives the two bikers a clobbering that Thor would be proud of. Here we also get to see one of the coolest head smashing scenes I've witnessed in a horror film in a good while. Back to Nolan who just woke up in tied up in a barn, his girlfriend Jill is also tied up and unconscious in there so I guess that's that mystery solved. Some Frankenstein wannabe in a gas-mask comes along and starts cutting them up and we soon realize that they're being ground up for meat. 

OK they're cannibals fair enough, but why do they need gas-masks to process meat? 

And why the fuck is everyone in this town dressed up like Amish scarecrows?

Soon the rest of the bikers come riding up to Boot Heel and bump into Alice and Dillon who are doing their best to get out of town. Dillon tries to bargain with the bikers but just when he thinks he's home and dry - Bang! So I guess the wedding is off guys?

Alice jumps out guns blazing and takes out one of the bikers in the process. The one remaining biker, the douchebag leader with the terrible wig finally arrives in town to retrieve his van full of drugs but he soon gets distracted by the cannibals. Alice comes along soon after him to see if she can rescue whats left of her friends. She finds Jude and they realize they are the only survivors. 

"Why are they doing this?" she asks him, then Jude replies with a long speech that begins with "In the war, I saw things...."

At that moment all I could see was Herman Hermann the Vietnam vet from The Simpsons giving a "I've seen things man!" rant so I couldn't help but laugh out loud. After a lot of creeping around they finally manage to escape but since they're both limping the 'Eaters' soon catch up with them. They're quickly surrounded by dozens of them so Jude tells Alice to make a run for it while he tries to hold them off with his shotgun. She makes it to the highway and passes out but is eventually found and picked up by a passer by.

As we don't see the person's face as they pick her up, when Alice wakes up in the truck you'd expect a big reveal  like the driver has one of the masks on - SPOILER ALERT! - nope, just some random weird looking hillbilly. Then we see that the biker leader survived as well but not for long as he gets run over by a truck . The truck stops and guys get out to help him, and just like before when you're expecting them to be the masked cannibals - nope, just some random pig fucking hillbilly....

When I saw that this had a 3.1 rating and some woeful reviews on IMDB I was expecting it to be a disaster, even more so when I realized it was directed by the same guy that made Day Of The Mummy - a film so bad that I didn't even bother reviewing it, I did stick it on my 2014 shitlist though. Eaters (not to be confused with the 2011 Uwe Boll produced Italian zombie movie) was slightly better than Day Of The Mummy but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they are fans of backwoods redneck cannibal flicks in the vein of Texas Chainsaw, Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn etc. but nowhere near as good. It had some decent gore here and there, the hammer skull crush scene being the best by far. I'm sure lots of people were duped into buying this judging by the cover that it would be some sort of atmospheric creep-fest and honestly with the location, the masks and the creepy kid whistling (I think it was to the tune of Silent Night) this had piles of potential to be creepy as fuck but unfortunately it just didn't work out that way. More of a back story for the killers and characters that people could invest some feeling in and not just looking forward to them dying a brutal death would have went a long way. Fans of low budget horror who are forgiving of questionable acting, thin plots and dodgy wigs might enjoy this as an appetizer but horror fans looking for something filling should dine elsewhere. 

I give Eaters 1.5 crappy wigs out of 5.

L.A. Slasher (2015) Review

Directed by Martin Owen

Written by Martin Owen, Elizabeth Morris, Abigail Wright, Tim burke & Sean Decker

Starring Mischa Barton, Danny Trejo, Dave Bautista, Brooke Hogan, Tori Black, Drake Bell, 

Ashlynn Yennie, Barbara Nedeljakova, Elizabeth Morris, Korrina Rico, Marisa Lauren,

Frank Collison, Abigail Wright & Andy Dick

 

"Driven to rage over the tawdry excesses of reality television, a self-appointed cultural crusader kidnaps several very famous nobodies to make his point- but his crimes only generate more tabloid frenzy."

 

As someone who really despises reality TV and things like The Kardashians I had higher than average hopes that I'd enjoy this film - a serial killer in LA who goes on a rampage in LA killing useless socialites and wannabe reality TV stars and anyone who is rich and useless and basically just famous for being famous, sounds almost like a perfect recipe for a slasher movie.

 Not exactly. While it looked and sounded amazing I think a lot more effort should have been put into the writing - a better story, better dialogue and better character development could have made this film amazing. The soundtrack was a mixture of 80's music and modern synth-wave and the filmmakers went for the 'neon' look that a lot of filmmakers seem to be going for these days since Gasper Noé and Nicolas Wending Refn made if popular and we've seen if used more recently in 80's throwbacks such as Franck Khalfoun's Maniac and David Robert Mitchell's It Follows. The killer dresses in a sharp white suit, white gloves and a crazy unique looking mask that looks like someone who has overdone it on their face with plastic surgery, fitting for the city that it's set in I thought. His voice sounds like a cross between Deadpool and Roger from American Dad, then as I watched the end credits I realised it was Andy Dick. 

The editing is really quick and sharp, we even get constant onscreen pop-ups of social media updates from the killer and most of the cast, blatantly hammering home the fact that everyone feels the need to tell the world their every move these days. I think the main problem with the film is the fact that none of the main characters are very likable, the only likable characters are also the only noticeable actors - Dave Bautista and Danny Trejo being a prime example. Their portrayal of two drug dealers could've been great if they had more than five minutes screen time. A funny scene with them and a rich chick trying to buy drugs from them in a motel room is definitely one of the highlights of the entire film. Eric Roberts also pops up as the sleazebag mayor of LA, another waste of a part that should've been more than just a cameo. We also get annoyingly brief glimpses of Brooke Hogan, porn star Tori Black, star of Eli Roth's Hostel Barbara Nedeljakova and Ashlynn Yennie of Human Centipede fame. 

 

Finally, another huge problem I had with this film is the gore, or the lack of it. I know not all slasher movies need to be blood soaked and filled with gore to be great, John Carpneter's Halloween and Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre being perfect examples. But those two movies were oozing with atmosphere and dread - LA Slasher seriosly lacked all of that. It felt more like an episode of Scream Queens or MTV's Scream, except even those have cool kills and gory death scenes. In LA Slasher the kills were either too quick to notice or done off screen. I really hate to shit all over movies that I watch and review but altogether I saw this as a big disappointment and a waste of a cool concept and a good cast. I am the forgiving type though and I'll eventually go back and watch it again to see if I am being too harsh, maybe I'll enjoy it a lot more second time around. In the mean time I'll stick to 80s slashers I grew up with. I give L.A. Slasher 2 dead reality tv stars out of 5, trust me if I could I'd give a whole lot more....

The Package review

The Package

 

Directed by Damon Rickard

Starring Dan Palmer & Tom Gordon

 

SYNOPSIS: A missing package becomes the subject of increasingly violent tensions between two mysterious colleagues. With their lives on the line, how far are they prepared to go to find it…..or keep it hidden.

 

Writer/Director Damon Rickard says: "The Package was born through the idea that as a society we are quick to judge a situation based solely on what we see and from that take sides. For example you see someone punch someone else and then start kicking them when they’re down. Naturally your sympathy falls in line with the person you see as the victim. What you don’t know is anything that happened before.

I wanted to play with the idea of joining a situation in the middle of it and utilizing the audience’s presumptions on who the “good guy” is and who the “bad guy” is. I cast the actors specifically as neither one immediately has the look which tends towards one decision. They both could be either and I wanted the narrative to then bring each audience member to their own conclusions. Even at the end you may have differing opinions.

I was also very careful not to let what is in The Package become the focus as this would distract from what I was trying to do in the film. For me The Package is very much like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction however you may or may not get to find out what is inside in this one. The film borders the thriller/horror genres. The horror comes from what they are prepared to do or go through in order to get what they want with the thriller element coming from the building tension between them as the film progresses.

The look of the film is from a very talented crew I assembled including Director of Photography Richard Bell, whom I worked with previously on The Tour. I wanted it to be beautifully lit to showcase the stunning location, which was a disused Victorian fort in Portsmouth, England and I also wanted it to have a slightly washed out look which contrasts the blacks against the location, giving an overall stunning but gritty feel to it."

 

iLL WiLL's review:

I had the privilege of seeing Damon Rickard's first short film The Tour in my own city when it was doing the festival route last year and I was really impressed by it. His second short film The Package stars Tom Gordon who will be familiar to anyone else who has seen The Tour, and with 2 beautiful scream queens like Jessica Cameron and Heather Dorff stealing all the spotlight I'm sure any actor would've found it hard to shine but Tom didn't fail to impress. After his performance in The Tour I knew The Package would be entertaining.

Also starring in The Package is Dan Palmer who most hardcore horror geeks will recognize from minor cult classics like Freak Out, Evil Aliens and the more recent Stalled. He was even in Edgar Wright's pre-Spaced indie film 'A Fist Full Of Fingers'! The worst thing about trying to review short films is there isn't really much you can say without spoiling some (or all) of the film for people who haven't seen it yet, especially ones like this that are tightly wrapped with a massive twist ending.

What I can say is that it is well written, well directed and well acted, and at just over 14 minutes long it definitely doesn't outstay its' welcome - like all good short films it keeps you wanting for more. I would say it's 'nail biting stuff' but after watching a certain scene in this you wont want to look at your nails for a very long time! Yes, fans of 'torture porn' such as Saw or Hostel will be licking their lips to the various scene of grievous bodily harm and by the end of it you'll be screaming "What's in the package!" louder than Brad Pitt screaming "What's in the box!" at the end of Se7en. I'm sure you'll find what's in 'The Package' far more terrifying than Gwyneth Paltrow's severed head though. Both The Tour and The Package are awesome little shorts that would fit in nicely to a cool anthology series so hopefully Damon makes a few more wicked shorts and they get released on dvd so the world can see them, and deservedly so. Also we really need to see a feature length film from Mr. Rickard, I'm sure with a bigger budget and more time to play with he could create something amazing.

I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine (2015) Review

Directed by R.D. Braunstein, Starring Sarah Butler, Jennifer Landon, Doug McKeon, Gabriel Hogan, Karen Strassman. Joshua Kovalscik

 

When I saw that I Spit On Your Grave 3 had just been released this week I decided that since I hadn't seen the 1st 'I Spit' film from 2010 in a long time I'd have myself a double feature and watch part 1 and 3 back to back. Those unfamiliar with the series or with the new movie might be asking why the fuck did I skip part 2? Well, the 1st I Spit On Your Grave released in 2010 (itself a remake of Meir Zarchi's infamous 1978 video nasty) was followed 3 years later by I Spit On Your Grave 2, a sequel in name only. Both the 2010 and 2013 movies were helmed by the same director Steven R. Monroe but both had completely different stories, characters and settings. I really enjoyed part 2 but lets talk about my double bill of 1 and 3. 

Part 1 still holds up and is quite enjoyable in a sick twisted kind of way but it's still a hard watch, especially in the company of a female (don't watch it on a 1st date). Like any reasonably sane person I find any rape scenes in films hard to watch, but still I really enjoy most films in the rape-revenge genre. It may be hard to sit through a long violent rape scene but it's always worth it to see the victim get their vengeance in the most brutal ways imaginable, and that she does. Jennifer Hills (played by the beautiful Sarah Butler) escapes the big city and rents a cabin in the woods so she can concentrate on her writing in peace. (When will people learn that cabin and woods in the same sentence never go well together?) Shortly after her arrival a gang of local rednecks attack and rape her, and the local sheriff isn't much help either. The rape scenes may not be as graphic as films such as Irreversible or A Serbian Film but with lines like "Show us your teeth show horse" and "Don't worry sweetheart - I'm an ass man" they don't need to be. Overall it has some brutal and inventive ways to kill a man such as being tied to a tree with eyelids pried open for the crows to peck out, dipped head first in an acid bath, cock chopped off with hedge trimmers and shotgun up the ass - still made me cringe and squeeze my ass cheeks in pain. Spoiler Alert!

The film ends with her just after getting revenge on all of her wrong doers, walking away with a beautiful but disturbing smile on her face.

 

I Spit On Your Grave 3 begins some time later (presumably a couple of years) with Jennifer Hills working in a shitty 9 to 5 office job and constantly getting flashbacks of her experience. Now she goes by the name Angela and has absolutely zero trust in anyone. She sees a shrink regularly but also goes to group therapy for people effected by rape and violent sex crimes. There she meets a new friend Marla who is outgoing, rebellious, up front and crazy in all the right ways. Marla teaches Jennifer that it's OK to lash out at those who do you wrong, usually violence is the best solution and that there's nothing to feel guilty about wanting to seek vengeance on the guilty. Then a tragic turn of events drives Jennifer over the edge again and since she has no one left to get revenge on she gets revenge for her new friends in her therapy group. When the body count starts rising and each body is connected to the people in Jennifer's group therapy class the cops grow more and more suspicious and quickly start closing in on her.


Once again we're treated to rapists, paedos and scumbags getting their comeuppance and once again we get more new brutal ways to torture and kill men. Each of those scenes had me squeeming. squirming and picking my jaw up off the floor and looking at my girlfriend in disbelieve and agony. Even though I was really happy to see the return of Sarah Butler as Jennifer Hills and to see where her story took her, I thought the film started off really well but unfortunately it began to fall apart towards the end. It's as if the writers ran out of ideas or else just couldn't decide how to finish it. It was just as vicious and gory as the other films and since there was less rape and a lot more revenge this felt like a female version of The Punisher or Death Wish which is all good in my book, one thing I didn't like though was how towards the end of the film, the crazier Jennifer got the more unlikable she got, and she gradually went from being the hero to the villain.  Still though, the slightly odd and undecided ending left it either open for interpretation or open for another sequel. Personally I'd like to see a sequel where Sarah Butler's Jennifer Hills character meets up with Jemma Dallender's Katie Carter character from I Spit On Your Grave 2, they become friends in therapy class, prison or an asylum, they escape and go on a huge murderous rampage together - like a psychotic version of Thelma & Louise, or those 2 French chicks from Baise Moi!

Not as enjoyable as the first 2 films in the series or the original but still definitely worth a watch for fans of the rape-revenge genre. 

I give I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine 2.5 severed cocks out of 5!

Tremors 5:Bloodlines (2015) Review

Directed by Don Michael Paul

Written by Brent Maddock, John Whelpley & S.S.Wilson

Starring Michael Gross, Jamie Kennedy, Natalie Becker, 

Lawrence Joffe, Zak Hendrikz & Emmanuel Castis

"The giant, man-eating Graboids are back and even deadlier than before, terrorizing the inhabitants of a South African wildlife reserve as they attack from below-and above."

The movie kicks off with Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) in the desert doing an intro for his Discovery/TLC (probably YouTube) type reality show where he hunts for Graboids. He gives us a nice rundown and recap of what the Graboids are, the various types  he's encountered and how he's the foremost expert in the world on the subject of Graboids and how to hunt and kill them. Thanks to Burt they've been contained to the northern hemisphere, or so he thinks - cut to South Africa where we meet two bumbling hunters searching for game in the desert when they run into some 'deep' trouble. (Anyone who couldn't understand a word Sharlto Copley said in District 9 will love this!) Meanwhile back in the Mojave desert in Nevada, Travis Welker (Jamie Kennedy in his best performance since... Bermuda Tentacles?) is arsing around on a dirtbike looking like cannibal fodder from The Hills Have Eyes 2. He bumps into Burt and it turns out that he's his new cameraman reporting for duty. Soon after they get acquainted a guy claiming to be from the South Africa Wildlife Ministry arrives looking for Burt's help with the recent Graboid attacks over there. After some negotiating Burt and Travis agree to go to South Africa to help hunt the Graboids. After they arrive, meet the locals and settle in the village comes under attack by more Graboids, but they're no ordinary Graboids - they're the latest mutated version known as Assblasters. They have feet to help them run and wings to help them fly (sorry, glide) and they got their name because they literally shoot fire out of their ass to make them glide faster, I shit you not....

 

To be 100% honest I was never a huge Tremors fan. Sure I remember renting the original and part 2 back in the video store heydays and I picked them up cheap on DVD years later but I was never too pushed to check out the other sequels or the short-lived TV show. I always looked at the Tremors franchise as a bit bland, a bit 'samey' and too gore-less and un-scary for my taste buds. When I heard Tremors 5 was being made with Michael Gross reprising his role I was slightly happy but not as excited as I am for things like Phantasm V or Ash VS Evil Dead. Still though, always happier to see a long overdue sequel than a shitty half-assed remake. Well after watching Bloodlines I have to say I was nicely surprised. It made realize that I need to lighten the fuck up and just appreciate the Tremors movies for what they are - good, oldschool monster flicks. It was nice to see the Graboids in a different setting, sure it was still a desert but at least it was a desert on a different continent. Michael Gross is great as the not-so-past-his-prime monster hunter and Jamie Kennedy is equally good as his wisecracking sidekick. It's full of action, cheesy one-liners and actually had some impressive cgi for a change compared to most low to mid-budget monster movies these days. Fans of the original should definitely enjoy it.

 

 I really 'dug' this installment to the Tremors franchise and it has definitely inspired me to revisited the first 2 movies and also check out the 3rd, 4th and the TV series. Also i'm gonna check out the book  'Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial guide to Tremors' by Jonathan Melville which came out earlier this year. On a side note, I personally would love to see the Tremors movies take a more ridiculous, over-the-top route like the Critters, Hellraiser and Leprechaun franchises did with the next installment if it does happen. I want to see Tremors... in space! Think about it - years into the future, earth's first colony on the moon, or maybe Mars. The colony gets attacked by Graboids - maybe someone accidentally brought eggs from earth, maybe the Graboids were there all along.... I know it would look like a rip-off of Dune but in this day and age who gives a shit? I want tremors in fucking space!! 

In the meantime I give Tremors 5:Bloodline 3.5 big ugly worms out of 5 - go check it out.

Harbinger Down (2015) Review

Written & Directed by Alec Gillis

Starring Lance Henriksen, Camille Balsamo, Giovonnie Samuels,

Reid Collums, Matt Winston, Michael Estime, Milla Bjorn, Jason Speer,

Mick Ignis and Winston James Francis

 

“A group of grad students have booked passage on the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on a pod of Orcas in the Bering Sea. When the ship’s crew dredges up a recently thawed piece of old Soviet space wreckage, things get downright deadly. It seems that the Russians experimented with tardigrades, tiny resilient animals able to withstand the extremes of space radiation. The creatures survived, but not without mutation. Now the crew is exposed to aggressively mutating organisms. And after being locked in ice for 3 decades, the creatures aren’t about to give up the warmth of human companionship.”

 

June 25th 1982, Arctic Circle. (1982? Is this a sequel to The Thing!?) A Soviet spacecraft with one passenger on board hurtles towards the earth. Cut to now - Dutch Harbor, Alaska. (Hang on, is this a found footage movie? It didn't look like on in the trailer. What's the deal with the stupid FF shakycam!?) Anyway, 3 people getting ready to go on a trip while one of them films it. For a minute there I thought either Michael J Fox was holding the camera or else this was gonna be another shitty found footage movie, thankfully as soon as they board the ship the found footage style crap stops. So Sadie and Ronelle are students (marine biology, I assume) who along with their professor Stephen (Matt Winston - son of FX genius Stan Winston) they are studying whales so they hitch a ride on the Harbinger, a crabbing ship captained by Graff (Lance Henriksen) who happens to be Sadie's grandfather. So after a while and the whole "introduce the audience to the crew who are a typical bunch of misfits" routine, their satellite picks up an object frozen in ice which is attracting the whales. They net it and bring it on board to investigate it - 

an oh too familiar scenario that never ends well...

 

Surprise surprise it's the Soviet spacecraft, finally found after being frozen in ice for over 30 years. Professor Douchebag throws a hissy fit because he thinks the spacecraft is a valuable discovery and he wants to claim it for himself, even though it was Sadie who first spotted it on the satellite so according to maritime law all credit should go to her. Meanwhile back at the spacecraft, a blob of black slimy scary crap that slithers and slides and sprouts tentacles has seeped out of it and begins making its' way around the ship taking people out one by one.(Spoiler Alert!) Professor Douchebag gets infected, overheats and has a different kind of fit. As the rest of the crew try to save him he mutates 'Norris' style and dies, cue the theory that everyone on the ship has been exposed so anyone could be infected, followed by 

mass hysteria, paranoia and panic.

 

Is it just me or is it the older Lance Henriksen gets the more he looks like Tobin Bell? No, ok then. 

Anyway, Henriksen is one of my favorite character actors. He's been in a lot of classics of the years - Aliens, Terminator, Near Dark, Pumpkinhead and the epic tv show Millennium to name a few. Admittedly he's been in a few stinkers over the years as well but he's one of those actors that has such a presence and charisma about them that they can make even the shittiest films somewhat enjoyable. Thankfully Harbinger Down isn't one of the shitty ones, actually it's probably Henriksen's best film in years. Written and directed by Alec Gillis and produced by Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. who both own fx company ADI (Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc) This was Gillis' first time directing a feature but he has had years and years of experience in the movie industry as a special effects artist, practical not shitty cgi. A student of Stan Winston, Gillis has worked on some classics over the years such as Battle Beyond The Stars, Galaxy Of Terror, Aliens, The Monster Squad, Alien Nation, Leviathan, Tremors, Wolf and Starship Troopers to name a few. He also did the practical creature fx for the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, before the filmmakers ruined it and replaced them with cgi. 

Harbinger Down boasts about featuring only practical, animatronic and make-up effects, and in a time where Stan Winston is no longer with us, Rob Bottin is gone AWOL and Rick Baker has retired - it bloody well should boast about having only practical fx! That being said the effects are definitely the high point and the main attraction of the film. The setting is great, it gives an ice cold claustrophobic and tense feel to the whole film from beginning to end. It's easy to criticize the script and direction for not being as good as they should've been but since this is Alec Gillis' first film I think people should chill, give the guy a little leeway and give credit where credit is due. It may not be a masterpiece but it reeks of atmosphere and is put together really well, well enough for any easy going horror fan to enjoy anyway. It's clear that Gillis is a big fan of Alien and Carpenter's The Thing as this film has a nice mixture of both. It even has a little nod to Jaws -"We're gonna need a bigger bucket". Yes this might be a first time director's movie but don't let that put you off, it's an enjoyable popcorn flick that oozes 'Corman-ism'.

Dark Was The Night (2014) Review

Dark Was The Night (2014)

 

Directed by Jack Heller

Written by Tyler Hisel

Starring Kevin Durand, Lucas Haas, Bianca Kajlich, Nick Damici, Steve Agee,

Heath Freeman, Sabina Gadecki and Ethan Khusidman

"An evil is unleashed in a small town when a logging company sets up shop in the neighbouring woods."

"Isolated and threatened, a mysterious force hidden within the trees outside the small town of Maiden Woods, strikes fear in the townspeople as Sheriff Paul Shields attempts to overcome the demons of his past while protecting those that he loves."

I was nicely surprised by this as I hadn't heard much about it other than the fact that Kevin Durand was in it. I always thought he was a cool character actor seeing him pop up in lots of cool stuff over the years (Stargate SG1, Dark Angel, Lost, X-Men Origins:Wolverine, Legion, Resident Evil: Retribution and loads more) but recently with TV's The Strain and now with this movie he is definitely proving to everyone that he can hold his own as a leading man. A few other familiar faces are in it as well, Nick Damici (Stake Land, Cold In July, and a film I consider one of the best werewolf film last year's Late Phases), Lucas Haas (Mars Attacks, The Tripper, Inception) and Bianca Kajlich (the beautiful brunette chick from tv's Rules Of Engagement). This is director Jack Heller's 2nd movie, his 1st was the 2011 film Enter Nowhere starring Sara Paxton and Scott Eastwood - a cool slow-burner with a Twilight Zone feel to it which I remember enjoying.

Just like Enter Nowhere , director Jack Heller kept Dark Was The Night moving at a slow pace for the majority of the movie, and thankfully it worked. I'll take far separated moments of suspense drowned in atmosphere as chilling as the climate its set in over cheap "boo" jump-scares any day of the week. I assume the budget was low but it doesn't show anywhere, the cinematography really brings the location to life and makes it feel as cold and isolated as it should but yet it still looks beautiful. All the actors put in top performances but Kevin Durand really stands out from the crowd. Maybe it was just the snow and the 'man vs creature' scenario but Durand's performance had a bit of a McReady vibe about it (if you don't know who McReady is please kill yourself now). Ok enough blowing smoke up everyone's ass, is this film a masterpiece? No, but its a really enjoyable monster flick and the best Jersey Devil film I've seen since...? The only little fault I can really complain about is the monster - we saw very little of it until the end other than a foot here and a claw there which was cool and worked because it looked practical, then they had to go and ruin it with a big CGI ugly motherfucker! It didn't ruin the whole film , just that moment but still - 

bring back the days of 7ft giants in cheesy rubber suits!!

OPUS DEI (2015) Review

OPUS DEI (2015)

Directed by George Najdzien

Starring Tom Driver as The Priest and

Timothy Cullingworth-Hudson as The Cop

I was lucky enough and delighted to be asked by the guys at Terror Visions to have a look at a rough cut of their latest release "OPUS DEI", and to no surprise just like their other short films this one also blew me away. This time round Klayton Dean produced and edited the film while George Najdzien stepped behind the camera to direct. It stars Tom Driver and Timothy Cullingworth-Hudson who both put in great performances in a film that is short and (not so) sweet at just under 10 minutes in running time. Unfortunately it's the kind of film that I can't go too much into detail about without ruining it so I'll do my best ...

 

There's no better way to creep the shit out of the audience by starting your film with the sound of creepy kids repeating prayers at high speed! What starts off looking like a man of the cloth giving Sunday Service in an empty field soon takes a dark turn as the camera pans back and reveals that the priest is reciting quotes from the bible to a man in front of him - the man is a cop who is bound, gagged, bloody, beaten and on his knees. Why is the cop there? What has he done to deserve this? What drives a holy man to this kind of madness? Well all is revealed in an ending that will surely cause a fuss and upset a lot of people - mostly bible bashers and the PC brigade or just blind idiots who are afraid of the truth, because realistically this kind of thing happens all the time. If you're intrigued then check out the trailer below and keep an eye on the Facebook page for further details of the film's release. Fans of shock cinema and twisted little shorts wont want to miss out...

Cariosus (2015) Review - NSFW!

Written, Edited & Directed by J.Nitro

Starring J.Nitro, Robert Romano, Simon Hunt, Tina Bailey,

Jimmy Short, Tasha Brady, Jessica Osment, Anna French,

Angel Hess & the voice of Kulfie

Cariosus begins with a seemingly regular guy narrating and showing us how a normal boring day for him ended up with the brutal slaying of an innocent woman. Carefully planned and thought out, he talks us through how he went to her secluded house late at night where he knew she was alone, silently crept in and stabbed her to death.

Eighteen days after his first murder he kills again and what started out as a couple of random thrill-kills soon becomes an addiction for him and escalates into a massacre.

We're then treated to a crazy montage of non-stop killing, women and men, kill after kill, each one different but just as shocking as the rest. Then late on Halloween night he gets careless for the first time ever and leaves evidence at the scene of one of his murders. He knew it was coming, soon afterwards he gets a knock on his door.

Cops everywhere - but he isn't going down without a fight....

Johnny Nitro is a filmmaker who's been gaining some recognition in the YouTube horror community for a few years now, as much for his love of collecting the most goriest, sickest, fucked up horror films out there but also for some of the homemade horror shorts he created as well. Cariosus is his first attempt at unleashing one of his creations on dvd to put it out there for the gore-hounds of the underground horror scene to enjoy and after one viewing by yours truly I'm quite certain they will enjoy it.

It's easy to see J.Nitro was inspired by the likes of Fred Vogel, Lucifer Valentine etc. but his style of filmmaking is distinctive in it's own way - Sometimes it looks like found footage mixed with regular footage, kind of like a police reenactment video but with a lot more creativity and thought put into it and with all the gory details left in. The score was great - very slow, moody and unsettling but the gritty/choppy editing and the killer's narration mixed with snippets of news reports, police radio calls and interviews kept the whole film moving at a fast pace and at 30 minutes long it definitely doesn't outstay it's welcome. Also plenty of gore for those with a preference for the red stuff. 

I was lucky enough to be asked to review the film because only a limited number of special edition copies (with handmade stitched together with human skin!) were made. As far as I know those were swiped up promptly but a number of regular edition dvds with awesome artwork from J.Nitro himself will be on sale somewhere fairly soon. Keep an eye on the EGS for further details of that release, underground horror fans, gore-hounds and sick-twisted-fucks wont want to miss out on grabbing a copy for their own collections so they can watch it from the (dis)comfort of their own homes.

Written, Edited & Directed by J.Nitro Starring J.Nitro, Robert Romano, Simon Hunt, Tina Bailey, Jimmy Short, Tasha Brady, Jessica Osment, Anna French, Angel Hess & the voice of Kulfie