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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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'.

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


Joe Vampire (2012) Review

Directed by Sean Donohue & Mike Niche

Starring Mike Christopher, Erin Cline, Mike Duffau, Slake Counts, 

Anthony Wayne, Joel D. Wynkoop, Ashley Lynn Caputo & Krystal Pixie Adams

 

During the American Civil War, wounded soldier Joe (Mike Christopher) is one of the last men standing after a big battle. As he wonders helplessly through a field of corpses, bloody and slowly dying a vampire appears out of nowhere and bites him, rescuing him from the jaws of death but damning him to an eternal life of blood thirst and darkness...

Present day and Joe gets rudely awakened from his makeshift coffin in his apartment by his asshole landlord Larry (Joel D. Wynkoop) beating on his front door late at night looking for rent money. Later that night after a feed of synthetic blood bags from his fridge Joe goes to a bar for a drink and starts chatting to a hot chick called Melissa (Erin Cline). When he starts hitting on her she politely shows him her wedding ring and turns him down. Soon after that Melissa leaves and a drunk asshole from the bar follows her home, pulls her down an alley and tries to rape her. Joe to the rescue!

Melissa and Joe quickly flee the scene and go somewhere quiet and peaceful to talk about what the hell just happened. When he tries to explain what he is to her Melissa doesn't believe him at first but he eventually convinces her. Once she realizes what he is she wants nothing more than to be a vampire just like him. He tells her to go home and spend time with her family and think about it first but that doesn't change her mind. He has now fallen for her and can't refuse her request and just as he's about to turn her, a blast from his past shows up and ruins everything. We soon find out that Joe isn't the only vamp in town and the others are far more dangerous than he is...

 

Mike Christopher is a cult favorite among hardcore horror fans, especially those who frequent horror conventions. He's starred in dozens of movies but is better known and forever will be known as the "Hare Krishna Zombie" in George A Romero's original 1978 classic Dawn Of The Dead. I've seen him in a few movies but this is the first time i've seen him in a lead role and I have to hand it to the guy, he did an awesome job. I'd definitely like to see him in more roles like this. Drake played by Mike Duffau was great as the 'most annoying bad guy, but in the best way possible' that i've seen in ages - like a cheesy Bond villain with fangs! Slake Counts (what an awesomely appropriate name!)

played an awesome head vamp and Erin Cline played the Melissa character really well, and she's hot which always helps - i'll definitely be looking out for more of her in the future. Good performances from everyone else involved and it was awesome to see appearances from two of my favorite up-and-coming scream queens Ashley Lynn Caputo and Krystal Pixie Adams. 

The cinematography from Mike Niche looked as good as any Hollywood horror production, the team of Sean Donohue and Mike Niche co-directing worked really well.To me this looked and felt like a low-budget Taxi Driver of vampire movies, ya I know that was attempted before with Graveyard Shift but that sucked.

Donohue and Niche also wrote the script along with Mike Lees and they did a fine job on it, with no needlessly dragged out dialogue the film moves along at a nice pace and keeps you interested in the characters and entertained at the same time. Some really funny humor thrown in helped a lot as well, lines like "Don't vampires have long flowing hair? - Only the douchey ones" and "Some of them even sparkle" brought a huge grin to this Twilight hater's face. Obviously this film won't satisfy everyone's taste buds - anyone looking for Dracula Untold, Van Helsing or Blade should look elsewhere, Twilight fans, well they should just get a life. Joe Vampire doesn't suck and he definitely doesn't sparkle...

 

 Also on the same disc are 2 short films that are well worth checking out - in 'Agrizoophobia' a couple and their friend go on a camping trip that goes horribly wrong and in 'Secret Family Recipe' a married couple have some guests for a dinner they wont forget, gives a whole new meaning to 'meat' the neighbors! I'll definitely be checking out the rest of Mike Niche's films and Sean Donohue has a new film coming soon which he co-directed with Chris Woods of The Sleaze Box, I can't wait to see it! I reviewed Sean Donohue's last movie Die Die Delta Pi a while back, check out that review here - 

http://www.emeraldgoresociety.com/dungeon-of-dread-reviews/2015/2/9/die-die-delta-pi-2013?rq=delta 

Check below for the trailer and where you can get Vampire Joe on DVD.

 

Buy the dvd and more - http://www.thesleazebox.com/Shop.html

The Lashman (2014)

Written, Produced & Directed by Cameron McCasland

Starring Shawn C. Phillips, Stacey Dixon, Kaylee Williams, 

David Vaughn, Jeremy Jones, David Chattam and Lee Vervoort

 

The movie opens with a couple getting it on in the woods but their late night banging session is cut short by a psycho killer dressed up in cowboy clothes.

What sets "The Lashman" apart from other killers is that he carries a whip in one hand and an axe in the other - he uses the whip to whip the shit out of his victims, strangle them or to catch them and pull them to him (kinda like Scorpion in Mortal Kombat), then when he's finished with the whip he chops them up with his axe. After he makes short work of the horny couple the opening titles roll.

A film that begins with a topless chick covered in blood running through the woods at night screaming her lungs out always scores extra points with me and this took me right back to the 80s when I watched slasher movies as a kid. Five twenty-somethings are getting ready to go to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of fishing, drinking, relaxing and other stuff, one last getaway before the summer holidays are over. Two couples - Jan and Daniel, Billy and Stacey, and Stacey's geeky brother Bobby. They stop off at Carl's garage on the way to get gas and food. There they meet the local nutjob Eustice who repeatedly yelled 

"The Lashman'll git ya!", an awesome cliché slasher movie character who really reminded me of the crazy old man "You're all doooooomed!" from Friday The 13th. They go to the cabin, get settled and later that night they sit around the campfire chatting and drinking booze. Since no one has ever heard of this Lashman guy that crazy Eustice warned them about, Billy decides to give us all a history lesson -

 

The Lashman was an early settler around those parts who came from the west. He was a leather smith by trade and made his living reworking saddles and he was a master at making whips. He just wanted to settle down and find himself a wife but some of the old locals didn't like outsiders coming into their town. 'One Eye' and his gang followed him home one day, kicked the shit out of him, dragged him along the ground behind a horse and whipped him to near death. An Indian heeler woman found him and tried to nurse him back to health and chanted an incantation over him. This didn't save him but brought his vengeful spirit back instead... Billy's story spooks everyone out and like any good horror movie soon afterwards they hear noises in the woods and see people outside their windows.

The following morning while they're nursing their hangovers and drinking coffee the sheriff drops by to check up on them. He tells them about the couple the cops found murdered in the woods the night before and everyone is freaked out but they do their best to forget about it with some fishing and partying at the lake.

But when the sun goes down The Lashman strikes again, and again, and again, taking out most of the cops until the five friends are trapped inside the cabin fending for themselves with a psychotic killer outside trying to take them out one by one,

Lash by lash...


The Lashman is a movie I’ve been hearing about for a couple of years now and I’m glad I finally got the chance to see it. It took four years (maybe more) to make and I’m sure everyone involved with making it is happy with the final product. It's a by-the-book

low-budget slasher movie with a lot of time, effort and love put into it and it shows.

It's clear that director Cameron McCasland is a fan of the slasher genre because the whole film feels like a love letter to lesser known gems such as The Mutilator, 

The Slayer or even Slaughterhouse. Horror fans will recognise most of the cast, especially Shawn C. Phillips of Youtube fame and dozens of other low-budget films. 

The cast were great, all playing believable characters thanks mainly to the director spending more time than most films in this genre would developing their characters and letting the audience find out more about them as they interact with each other. Some might say this caused the film to slow down in the middle but I think it paid off in the end. After the awesome opening we don't get to see a lot of gore until the last half hour but when the body count starts rising and the kills get cooler and more brutal it had me smiling like a Cheshire cat. The film's ending was a typical horror movie ending that I’m sure will satisfy all fans of the genre. The only problem I could find with the film is the sound editing between scenes wasn't great at times but for a low-budget independent movie from a guy making his feature film debut a tiny problem like that is instantly forgivable. A cool 'Southern Slasher' with a retro feel to it, Cameron Mc Casland is a filmmaker to watch out for and I'm looking forward to seeing what he does next.  And if he wants a funny blurb from me for the DVD cover how about: 

"Better than Whiplash"- ILL WiLL, Emeraldgoresociety.com .... Hahaha

Spring (2014)

Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Written by Justin Benson

Starring Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Jeremy Gardner,

Francesco Carnelutti, Nick Nevern, Jonathan Silvestri.

 

When his mother loses her battle with cancer just a short time after his father also tragically dies in an accident, Evan (Pucci) feels lost and alone in the world. When a bar fight gets him in trouble and his friends tell him he needs a change of scenery he takes their advice and gets the hell out of Dodge. (or L.A.) He grabs his passport and randomly picks Italy as his destination.

Once there he takes in the sights and nightlife and soon bumps into Tom and Sam, two Brits who just want to get pissed drunk and have a good time. Evan clicks with the lads and the following morning the three of them hire a car and go on a road trip down the Italian coast, checking out the beautiful scenery and having great banter along the way. They stop at an old seaside village called Rosaria and while walking around Evan makes eye contact with a really hot girl, then later that night bumps into her again at a bar. He tries to flirt with her but fails, much to Tom and Sam's amusement. 

 

The following morning the two Brits tell Evan they're leaving for Amsterdam but he decides to stay. He takes a job working at a nearby farm and later that day he bumps into the girl again. Her name is Louise and she's a student placed in the town to study its evolutionary genetics (apparently) and they immediately hit it off - they go to a museum, get some coffee, some alcohol, flirting and then they get it on. He wakes up the following morning to find her gone but what we witness before that is pretty scary!

 

He meets her again that evening and she invites him back to her place for dinner. By now we see that Louise is obviously going through some sort of transformation but she takes injections to keep it under control. Evan gets more and more suspicious when he finds one of her syringes, even more so when she refuses to have her photo taken and even weirder that dead animals are turning up all over town. As he falls more in love with her she becomes more distant and eventually tells him they need to stop seeing each other, obviously for fear of his safety.

Devastated he goes to drown his sorrows but as soon as he gets drunk he goes banging on her door. He hears weird noises coming from within and breaks down the door, only to see her at her worst and most hideous. Evan freaks out (as you do) but eventually calms down and comes to terms with what he saw and what she is and she tells him all about her past and why she can't be with him. She reveals that she only has a few days left before her body finally goes through a complete change, along with her mind, one where he won’t recognise her and she won’t remember him. The couple decide to go on a trip to spend their final hours together where she can show him the places and relics of her past lives, and existence spanning over 2,000 years. 

 

Spring is another one of those films that popped up out of nowhere for me as I had never even heard of it before I saw the poster for it just last week. Man I really need to get my radar back on track!

What sold me on it right away was the poster blurb "A hybrid of Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft", not so much Linklater but I’m a massive fan of Lovecraft. Directors Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson are names I'm not familiar with; their most notable work to date is their 'Bonestorm' segment on VHS: Viral, one that I really enjoyed. They also worked together on the 2012 film Resolution which I checked out soon after watching this and I really enjoyed it as well. Benson also wrote the film and Moorhead did the cinematography which says a lot because if anything it's well written and looks amazing. Nadia Hilker who played Louise is a beautiful German actress who hasn't done much yet other than some TV shows in her homeland but I hope to see more of her in the future. Lou Taylor Pucci is no stranger to horror having starred in the 2009 infection movie Carriers and also in the 2013 Evil Dead remake. He is probably better known for playing St. Jimmy in Green Day's Jesus Of Suburbia video. One actor that stood out for me even though he only had a short time on screen was Nick Nevern who played Thomas one of the Brit backpackers. Most people outside of Britain and Ireland probably won’t recognise him as before this he starred in mostly Brit crime and hooligan flicks, this was an awesome change  for him I’m sure and hopefully from now on he'll star in more international films and anything other than his usual ''Danny Dyer'' type roles.

 

So overall I loved Spring, probably more than a some people but I see that it's touring the festivals at the moment and getting a lot of great criticism and deservedly so.

The performances from the two leads was astounding, you truly believed every emotion from them and the more Evan fell for Louise I could feel myself falling for her as well, despite her one tiny flaw. The relationship Evan had with the old farmer Angelo was also very subtle and peculiar but very sweet and believable at the same time. The mixture of practical and cg effects were blended together nicely and I thought they looked awesome, especially the transformation scene. This isn't just a creature feature with a big of romance thrown in, it's a film about dealing with loss, leaving things behind and new beginnings, relationships and sacrifices, true love in all its' beauty and ugliness. If H.P. Lovecraft was alive today and still writing this would be his love story for horror fans - 

an anti-Twilight.


Let Us Prey (2014)

Directed by Brian O'Malley

Written by David Cairns and Fiona Watson

Starring Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh,

Douglas Russell,Hanna Stanbridge, Bryan Larkin,

Niall Greig Fulton, Brian Vernal, Jonathan Watson.

 

Rachel (Pollyanna McIntosh) is a rookie cop starting her first night shift in a small deserted Scottish coastal town.

Local boy racer Caesar is speeding through town and Rachel sees a strange man standing in the middle of the street just before Caesar runs him down. She rushes to the scene of the accident but the man is nowhere to be found.

She sees blood on the front of the car so she arrests Caesar and takes him back to the police station. There she gets acquainted with her new boss is a bit of a creep and a bit of a cunt as well. Two other cops on duty (and having a quickie) get the call to keep an eye out for the injured man and they soon arrive back at the police station with him. The strange man simply known as 'Six' (Liam Cunningham) is hesitant to answer any questions and doesn't say much other than some weird creepy shit. We slowly figure out that everyone in the station , cops and prisoners have skeletons in their closets and 'Six' is there to clean them out. He knows all their darkest secrets and he forces them to remember, letting each of them know that he knows. Everyone soon turns on each other and as the body count rises Rachel realises that this strange man 'Six' is a ghost from her forgotten past and in a building full of liars, killers and psychopaths he is the only one she can trust.

 

With stunning visuals of a deserted coastal town playing along to a Carpenter-esque electro-synth-guitar score the opening of this film reminded me of The Fog, just replace the rolling fog with crows all over the place. Then of course with 90% of the film being set inside a police station it also had shades of Assault On Precinct 13 all over it.

Pollyanna McIntosh was great as rookie cop Rachel, horror fans will remember her best for her performance in The Offspring (2009) and its' 2011 sequel The Woman, both based on books written by Jack Ketchum. She also starred in 9 Lives Of Mara, Bats:Human Harvest, Exam, Burke & Hare, White Settlers and the anthology Tales Of Halloween which is due out later this year. Irish actor Liam Cunningham has the standout role and deservedly so, his character is terrifying and oozes awesomeness at the same time. I've always though Cunningham was one of this country's most underrated actors, he's been in tons of genre films such as Dog Soldiers, Dario Argento's The Card Player, Blood:The Last Vampire, Centurion, Clash Of The Titans and is currently in TV's Game Of Thrones. 

 

The pumping Carpenter-esque score from Irish composer Steve Lynch continues throughout the film keeping it running at a fast and smooth pace but its's dark deserted setting helps it keep its' gloomy and tense atmosphere. Every other character in the film is really unlikable but they're supposed to be so credit to the actors playing them. Gorehounds will definitely get a kick out of this as it has some cool FX and death scenes involving jail cell bars, broken glass, the leg of a table and a battering ram to the face to name just a few.

I already compared it to The Fog and Assault On Precinct 13 but I'm a massive John Carpenter fan and compare just about everything to his films. No one will deny that the film's score wasn't inspired by his music but a lot of films seem to be doing this lately and i'm loving every bit of it! One film that a lot of people will probably compare it to is Devil (2010) which I really enjoyed, even for something that was written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan.

Let Us Prey was an Irish/Scottish co-production so as an Irish man writing for an Irish horror website I'm always pleased to see homegrown horror, even more so when they turn out to be really good.

This film probably wont please everyone, some may find it a bit preachy in places and others might find it a bit disturbing. The ending is a bit crazy and over the top but I really enjoyed it and the big shootout reminded me of Arnie decimating the cop shop in The Terminator.

Brian O'Malley is definitely a director i'll be watching out for in the future and I hope to see more films like this from him. Hardcore horror fans should enjoy the 'hell' out of Let Us Prey just like I did.

I give it 4 and a half bloody shamrocks out of 5

Girl House (2014)

 

 

Directed by Trevor Mathews (Jack Brooks:Monster Slayer, The Shrine) and starring Ali Cobrin (The Hole, Bad Neighbours, Lap Dance), Adam DiMarco (Kill For Me. Radio Rebel) and Slaine (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Killing Them Sofly) Here's a little gem that crept under my radar, I don't recall hearing anything about Girl House till it popped up online a week ago and my buddy John recommended it to me.

After doing a little research and seeing that one of my favourite rappers Slaine was in it I was sold, even more so when I found out it was the directorial debut of Trevor Mathews.

 For those unfamiliar with that name, Trevor Mathews had his big screen breakout as Jack Brooks in the 2007 modern cult classic Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer which was the first feature film from director Jon Knautz. 

Mathews reteamed with Knautz for his second full-length movie in 2010, the criminally underrated The Shrine. I think a lot of people didn't like The Shrine because everyone wanted a sequel to Jack Brooks and assumed Jon Knautz would at least follow it up with another horror/comedy; instead they got a dead serious terrifying tale of cults, curses and demonic possession.

Personally I loved The Shrine and I’m glad to see it has a minor cult following, hopefully that will grow even bigger one day. Trevor Mathews only had a supporting role in The Shrine but he put in a stellar performance as a xenophobic Eastern European villager. 

So now onto his first time behind the camera....

 The movie begins with two girls teasing a chubby kid on his way home from school, pulling his pants down and embarrassing him beyond breaking point. Interestingly one of the girls just happens to be none other than Camren Bicondova, better known as the young Selina Kyle and future Catwoman in TV’s Gotham. A cute little piece of jailbait who's bound to be a hottie, as soon as  she's legal of course.... So jump 15-20 years into the future or now, Kylie Atkins (Cobrin) needs a job to pay for her college tuition so she signs up with Girl House, a secluded highly secured house where every room has a girl with her own online peepshow.  All the girls live in the house and take shifts at going online doing their live shows. Most of the girls are nice to Kylie and make her feel welcome and show her around.

Eventually she finds out about 'Loverboy' (Slaine), a regular Girl House viewer who the rest of the girls think is sweet and innocent but really he's the creepy fat kid from the start of the movie who's all grown up now and is a computer programmer and professional cyber stalker. When he sees Kylie online for the first time it’s love at first sight and he becomes obsessed with her. His obsession grows stronger each day until he finally snaps, uses his tech skills to find out the secret location of the house and when he gets there he goes on a psychotic rampage, taking out everyone who gets in the way of him meeting his dream girl Kylie....

 

I would call this film Peeping Tom for the Big Brother generation with a dash of Psycho, a little pinch of Scream and some Maniac thrown in for good measure.

The scenario of a house with live online streaming from cameras throughout the house may remind most people of Halloween: Resurrection (fuck you Busta Rhymes!) but I found it more along the lines of the 2002 film My Little Eye.

This film also has some surprisingly good gore effects and inventive kills that will please most gorehounds. I recently saw Ali Cobrin star alongside Carmen Electra in Lap Dance, a terrible rip-off of Showgirls with annoying performances from everyone involved, including Cobrin. Thankfully she was a lot better in this film and made a decent 'final girl' worth routing for. The rest of the chicks in the house didn't do much other than walk around with their tits out looking hot and getting hacked up, but yeah they did a pretty good job there. Slaine really surprised me in this. While I was just talking about him with a friend the other day, we joked about how Slaine and Vinnie Jones are very similar, they basically play themselves in every film they're in. But then I remembered my favourite Vinnie Jones role that I’d totally forgot about and one that broke the mold for him, that of Mahogany in The Midnight Meat Train. Well Slaine's role as Loverboy did just the same, a silent, creepy psychopath that is almost the polar opposite of the gangster characters we're used to seeing him portray.

 At first we see him as a reclusive pathetic cyber perv but we then get the scariest cross-dressing maniac since Norman Bates pretended to be Norma Bates or Leatherface turned tranny and chased Renee Zellwegger around the woods. 

 

Girl House is the best slasher I’ve seen this year, ok that's not saying much as it's only February but I’m sure it'll make it onto my top 20, possibly 30 or 2015. It's not very original and hasn't anything we haven't really seen before but what it may lack in originality it definitely makes up for in quality and potential. I say potential because as Trevor Mathews first time in the director's chair this shows signs of great things to come. And hey, if Jon Knautz isn't up for it maybe Mathews could star in and direct 

Jack Brooks:Monster Slayer 2? Most of us would rather see that happen than another Halloween or Friday the 13th reboot.... again....

 

I give this movie 4/5


$kumbagz Review

$kumbagz is the latest release from The Sleaze Box, the guys who previously gave us sick twisted gems such as Amerikan Holokaust, Make Them Die Sleazy! And Naughty, Dirty, Nasty. It was written and directed by John Miller and stars Krystal Pixie Adams 

(Joe Vampire, Die Die Delta Pi), Joe Makowski (Amerikan Holokaust, Make Them Die Sleazy!), Joel D. Wynkoop (Killing Spree, Creep, Lost Faith), Bob Glazier (Amerikan Holokaust, Naughty,Dirty,Nasty) and Jules Sceiro (The Uh-Oh Show, Rat Catching, Amerikan Holokaust)

 

$kumbagz begins awesomely with Stephanie (Krystal Pixie Adams) in bed playing with herself (YES!!) until she's rudely interrupted by her mom beating her bedroom door down yelling at her to get up for work. While she's getting ready her mom and dad ( Joel D. Wynkoop and his wife Cathy Wynkoop) argue with her about being such a failure and give her shit for still living at home.

When she gets to work her boss Mr. Estevez (Herb Kowalski) calls her into his office to give her shit for not being a 'team player' and even though Stephanie agrees to give him a blowjob along with some other strange requests, the psycho asshole fires her anyway just for looking at him the wrong way!

 

Down on her luck and walking the streets she gets picked up by a Good Samaritan named Reo (Joe Makowski) who is nice to her at first and asks if she wants to go back to his place for a drink. He slips a roofie in her drink that knocks her out almost instantly and she wakes up bound, gagged and naked. Stephanie is now Reo's sex slave, trapped in a sleazy dark hotel room with no escape while lowlifes call in to bang her for cash all day every day, he pimps out her body to pay for his expensive drink and drug habit. One day Reo is kind enough to bring her outside for a walk - a quick stroll to the room next-door to score some crack from local dealer 6'9. (John Miller) When they get back to their room Reo accuses Stephanie of making eyes at his dealer and he lets his two buddies and best customers Samir and Mookie (Bob Glazier & Jules Sceiro) double team her for free. Needless to say, they weren't gentlemanly about it and 6'9 hears Stephanie's screams through the wall next-door. He calls in and gives Reo some crack for 20 minutes with Stephanie and rather than banging her he smooth talks her and offers her a better deal and a better life with him.

A failed bank job turns Reo, Samir and Mookie against each other and Stephanie finally escapes. After spending some time surviving by herself on the streets, she bumps into 6'9 one day and takes him up on his previous offer to go work for him. She's back selling that ass for cash again but at least 6'9 treats her with a bit more respect than Reo ever did and he even buys her stuff.

A rival pimp/dealer called Quincy sees that 6'9 and his new girl are rolling in the cash and he doesn't like it. Quincy and his gang kick in 6'9's door and beat the shit out of him and make him watch while Stephanie gets raped, tell him in future they can't do business on Quincy's turf without his permission and without cutting him in on the profits. 6'9 and Stephanie are pissed and plan their revenge by sneaking into one of Quincy's cribs to fuck shit up and the whole thing ends in one big Bonnie & Clyde style epic finale....

 

I know I may have rambled on a bit and gave away half the film but fuck it, it's the kind of film you'd want to talk about and there's a lot more to it than what I've spoken about. Another change of pace from the Sleaze Box guys, $kumbagz is more similar to their first film Amerikan Holokaust which will no doubt please fans who deem that as their best work. I myself love how each of their releases is completely different but I definitely do prefer the grittier, fucked up stuff like Amerikan Holokaust and now $kumbagz. Krystal Pixie Adams is just awesome and gets better (and hotter) with each role I see her in. She's got balls of steel and isn't afraid to get naked and/or covered in blood and roughed up on camera whenever she needs to, a lot of actresses could do with taking a page out of her book. Joe Makowski's performance was great and at times felt like a cross between Michael Rooker in Henry:Portrait Of A Serial Killer and Bill Mosely in The Devil's Rejects - sleazy, creepy and terrifying all at the same time. Great to see Bob Glazier and Jules Sceiro together again and as crazy as ever - fans of their characters in Amerikan Holokaust will love this film even just for them alone. The big surprise for me was seeing director John Miller putting himself in one of the main roles as 6,9 - a great choice on his part because he fitted the role and played it perfectly. His character was sort on an anti-hero, he's a low-life pimp and drug dealer so you're not supposed to like him but compared to everyone else in the film he's a saint so you can't help but route for him. The movie looks great for its low budget and has a grindhouse feel to it without trying too hard like a lot of films these days do. With a lot of action, violence, Blood & guts and some cool Tarantino-esque dialogue it moves along at a nice pace and at just over 70 minutes or so it doesn't outstay its' welcome. Fans of Krystal Pixie Adams and her film Naughty, Dirty, Nasty will definitely enjoy this as it has her in some serious girl-on-girl action that is worth the price of admission alone! If I had to come up with a cheesy blurb for the movie it'd be something like "Natural Born Killers if it was written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark" but there's a lot more to it than that. 

Go check it out for yourself.

Die Die Delta Pi (2013)

Directed by Sean Donohue (If I Can't Have You... , Joe Vampire) 

And Christopher Leto (The Housewife Slasher, Rough Cut, 

Theatre Of The Deranged 2)

and starring Krystal Pixie Adams  (Joe Vampire, House Guest, Naughty,Dirty,Nasty),

Andrea Alfonso (Spin, Housewife Slasher, Pharmboy),

Kristen Avery (Hi-8),

Tanya Christiansen (Don't Go On The Trail,The Ritual),

Mike Christopher (Dawn Of The Dead,The Uh-Oh Show, Joe Vampire), Roxy Vandiver (Spirit Camp, The Pick-Axe Murders part 3:The Final Chapter),

Cyndi Crotts (Brainjacked, Amerikan Holokaust),

Olivia Blake (Rough Cut,Hi-8),

Shade Burnett (Vampire Biker Babes, Bikini Monsters)

and Bob Glazier (Amerikan Holokaust)

 

Sun State University, Spring Break 1986 - the Delta Pi sorority girls are having their annual initiation party and the burning of the house mother dummy.

Some of the popular girls invite shy geek Marissa Chambers along, a girl who's only reason for being in the sorority is because her mother was a legacy and the other girls clearly don't want her there. After some partying and fun the initiations begin and rest of the girls pull a prank on Marissa by covering her in silly string, not the worst thing in the world except it's highly flammable silly string and Marissa trips and falls into the fire and goes up like the 4th of July! Most of the girls and guys run off but some of them run back to the dorm to get help, only to find dead bodies everywhere - while most of them were at the beach partying a serial killer decided it was a perfect night for a massacre!

Cut to the opening credits and we're back in present day. Donna Parker, one of the survivors of the massacre back in '86 now has a daughter Diana who is just starting at Sun State University. After she arrives and meets up with her friends they sign up with the new and improved Delta Pi sorority, its first year back after a long hiatus since '86.

Donna has a bad feeling and is worried about her daughter so she goes to visit the beach where the tragedy happened all those years ago. There she bumps into Allison, another survivor who is now a local cop. They get to reminiscing and Allison tells her that the only other survivor is Katy who is now locked up in an insane asylum.

Donna goes to visit Katy and discovers that Katy admitted herself for fear of her own life. She realizes that Katy is clearly nuts but when she keeps yelling that 'the burnt one' is back Donna gets even more worried. Sure enough, as the new sorority girls prepare for their initiation party and the stoner guys  prepare to get stoned, a killer is back on campus and out for blood. The Delta Pi girls get a lot worse than a paddling and the guys get wasted in more ways than one....

 

From the very start I knew Die Die Delta Pi was going to be a straight up throwback to the slashers of the 80s. Even though only the first 15 minutes or so are set in the 80s the rest of the movie has an old-school slasher vibe that most fans of the genre will enjoy. That first 15 minutes just screamed 80s perfection though, everything from the clothes, the music, the posters and other crap in the girls' bedrooms, even the lingo and bad language dripped of 80s cheesy awesomeness. The only thing they got wrong was the naked chick with the clean shaved pussy - I’ve seen enough 80s porn to know that nobody was shaved back then, slightly trimmed at most. But hey I’m a big fan of a shaven haven so all is forgiven, especially one that beautiful.

As for the rest of the movie it was nicely shot and looked great for a low-budget film.

Top notch performances from all the cast and a few cameos from familiar faces, Bob Glazier and Cyndi Crotts from Amerikan Holokaust and other Sleaze Box stuff and also Mike Christopher who will forever be known as the Hare Krishna zombie in George A Romero's classic Dawn Of The Dead.

The film has some outstanding gore effects courtesy of Marcus Koch, better known for his work on movies such as The Uh-Oh Show, Sweatshop and 100 Tears which he also directed. 

The directors of Die Die Delta Pi, Christopher Leto and Sean Donohue are clearly talented and I’m delighted to have found out about them, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting filmmakers and I’ll definitely be seeking out more of their previous work. Funnily enough I picked up Sean Donohue's film Joe Vampire from The Sleaze Box's website recently as a blind buy so I’ll be checking that out ASAP. Also I heard through the grapevine that The Sleaze Box's Chris Woods and Sean Donohue are working on a new slasher movie together called Death-Scort Service so keep your eyes and ears open for that, I know I will be.


ill Will's Favorite Films Of 2014!

1. Found 

Scott Schirmer's Found is not only an ode to the gory classics that its lead characters Marty and Steve have posters of all over their bedroom wall but it’s also a coming-of-age story similar to Stand By Me, except Marty's older brother isn't a douchebag Keifer Sutherland - he's a psychotic serial killer who likes to keep severed heads in his closet. Found has been doing the rounds and gaining a cult following since 2012 but it only got an official US release earlier last year and then later on in Ireland/UK and the rest of Europe. The gory snuff film within the film known as 'Headless' has also been made into a feature length movie and will be out later this year.

 

2. Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero

A worthy sequel or should I say prequel to the original Cabin Fever and the enjoyable mess that was Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. Check out my review for it here:

http://www.emeraldgoresociety.com/dungeon-of-dread-reviews/2014/2/6/cabin-fever-3-patient-zero 

This movie nicely set up another prequel 'Cabin Fever: Outbreak' which was supposed to be in the works but since Eli Roth announced that he's remaking his original Cabin Fever for some ridiculous and unknown reason, it seems Outbreak is dead. 

 

 

3. Return To Nuke 'Em High Volume 1

This was just awesome in so many ways but if you're not accustomed to Troma and their style of filmmaking then you'll probably hate it. Check out my review here:

 http://www.emeraldgoresociety.com/dungeon-of-dread-reviews/2014/3/13/return-to-nuke-em-high-volume-1-2013 

Volume 2 is due out sometime this year and I can't frakking wait!

 

 

4. Snowpiercer

Ok technically not a horror but more of a horrific glimpse into the future, also every fucker with the "big horror websites" put it on their lists so why the fuck shouldn't I?

Korean director Joon-ho Bong's (The Host) first English language film based on the graphic novel of the same name starring Captain America himself Chris Evans along with a shitload (or should I say train load?) of stars such as Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris. It's basically Mad Max on a train but it has so much character depth, political undertones, over the top action and violence - this is not your average comicbook movie.  

 

5. The Purge:Anarchy 

Speaking of Captain America, his Winter Soldier co-star Frank Grillo finally got a chance to show Hollywood that he's leading man material in this far superior sequel to the fairly average 2013 film The Purge. Everything that film lacked its' sequel made up for , instead of just a family locked in their home with one gang outside this took it out onto the streets with a group of people lead by grillo, trying to make their way across the city while dodging several psychotic gangs and militant/vigilante types also. The third film in the series is due out summer 2016 so i'll be looking forward to that. 

 

6. Cheap Thrills

The Directorial debut from E.L. Katz who is better known for writing films such as Homesick, Pop Skull and Autopsy. With top performances from all the cast Cheap Thrills was shocking, hilarious and a hell of a good time. 

 

7. The Sacrament 

One of the few good found footage films from last year. Check out my review here:

  http://www.emeraldgoresociety.com/dungeon-of-dread-reviews/2014/5/3/the-sacrament-2013

 

8. Wolf Creek 2

The original Wolf Creek is a favorite of mine and I always said i'd love a sequel or a possible franchise. It took long enough but we finally got a sequel and a surprisingly good one at that. A lot more action packed and gory than the original, our favorite Aussie psychopath Mick Taylor returns crazier and funnier than ever. A series of spin-off novels also came out last year which I still need to check out but I hear they're good. Hopefully we don't have to wait another 8 years for Wolf Creek 3.

 

9. Godzilla 

The long awaited return of the King Of Monsters and a film that split audiences, fans and critics right down the middle. Some hated it, some loved it. Check out my review here:

 http:// www.emeraldgoresociety.com/the-abattoir-archive/2014/5/26/godzilla-2014

 

10. Proxy

A story about the horrors of being a parent. All isn't as it may seem in Zack Parker's tale of loss, lies and insanity. A sleeper hit that surprised and shocked a lot of people, myself included.

 

11. Scenic Route

Two friends end up on a road-trip to hell when their car breaks down in the middle of the desert and the heat, the cold and the thirst forces them to show their true colours and they turn on each other. Stunning performances from Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler and an outstanding first effort at a feature film from brother directors Kevin and Michael Goetz. This was released later last year in Ireland and The UK under the new title 'Wrecked' for some stupid reason, Scenic Route is a far better and more appropriate title for it.

 

12. The Den

Zachary Donohue's first feature film The Den was one of last year's most talked about found footage forays and in my humble opinion one of the best and creepiest. Bringing the found footage sub-genre out of the hand-held camera days and into the social media age, much like last year's other hit Open Windows (of which you can read my review here:

 - http://www.emeraldgoresociety.com/egs-news/2014/10/9/open-windows-review-ill-will?rq=open%20windows

 

13. Under The Skin

As someone who is unashamedly and obsessively in love with Scarlett Johansson, I knew going into this film that I was going to be completely biased with it but I still hoped that it had more going for it other than being "an arty horror film with a naked Scar-Jo in it" as i'd heard from the usual unreliable sources. Unsurprisingly I loved it. It's 2 hours of Scarlett driving around Glasgow and the Scottish countryside picking up young and able men for a one night stand to which she brings each one of them back to an apartment which holds a dark pit of nothingness into which she leads them and traps them like an intergalactic 'black widow' spider (Sorry for that Marvel-ous pun) but if that sounds boring just add some Cronenberg/Lynchian pacing and cinematography, hardly any dialogue and an eerie atmosphere throughout. Add a dash of Species here and a touch of Xtro there and you get a sci-fi/horror like no other. Major respect to Scarlett for making such a weird, creative, outside-the-box movie, not a lot of other Hollywood A-listers would have the balls. 

 

14. The Taking Of Deborah Logan

The first feature film from director Adam Robitel and another entry into the overcrowded sub-genre of found footage films, this was also produced by Bryan Singer of The Usual Suspects and X-Men fame. One of the few really good and really creepy found footage films I saw last year but that is mainly due to the stunning performance from 68 year old Jill Larson, the rest of the cast were great as well but Jill Larson as Deborah Logan was just sympathetic, terrifying and outstanding.

 

15. Starry Eyes

This little gem from directors Kevin Kolch and Dennis Widmyer really took me by surprise. A glimpse into the not-so-glamorous lives of a group of twenty-somethings who are all struggling writers, directors and actors in Hollywood, each of which will do literally anything to get their big break. Chock full of cool music and visuals and some of the best gore i'e seen in a movie for ages. Fans of Cronenberg's early 'body-horror' and films such as Contracted and Thanatomorphose should definitely check it out.

 

16. Cold In July

Directed by Jim Mikle (Mulberry St., Stake Land) and based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-tep), Cold In July is an 80's set crime noir starring Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard and Jon Mikle regular Nick Damici. A complex story with plenty of twists and turns, interesting characters and a pot that I can only describe as No Country For Old Men meets 8mm.

 

17. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The first feature film from director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who is better known for directing episodes of American Horror Story and Glee, this is one of those rare remakes that is not only really good and doesn't shit all over the original but also works as a sequel to the original. One of the best slashers to come out of Hollywood in a long time and more than likely the start of a franchise, or at least one shitty direct-to-dvd sequel.

 

18. The Babadook

Director Jennifer Kent's first feature based on her own short film 'Monster' which she made almost ten years ago. The story of a single mother battling her own demons, the loss of her husband and her son's obsession with a creature he believes to be in his closet. Admittedly it took me a while to get into the film as I found the young boy to be beyond annoying but eventually you see why he's acting that way and you realise what a great performance he gives and his mother also. Definitely a slow burner but those with patience will be in for a treat with the creepiness throughout and the terrifying finale.

 

19. Tusk

While I can understand why a lot of people hated this movie I loved it, it's no masterpiece and it would almost be a stretch to even call it a good film but it's on this list because even for all its faults I still enjoyed the hell out of it. I am a massive Kevin Smith fan and he hasn't made a film that I've hated yet, OK Jersey Girl was fairly bad even for a chick flick but who cares? Tusk is a jet black comedy horror with Smith's usual quirky character types and dark humor. Imagine a Canadian remake of the Human Centipede with Michael Parks as the mad doctor... the stuff of nightmares. 

 

20. The Guest

And to finish off my top twenty you have one of my favorite films of not just last year but of this decade. Check out my review http://www.emeraldgoresociety.com/dungeon-of-dread-reviews/2014/12/1/the-guest-2014