Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jack Messitt Revisits 'Midnight Movie' on ILHM!!

MIDNIGHT MOVIE hit the Indie Horror circuit by storm back in 2008, and now, director Jack Messitt has brought the evil Radford back to DVD in the ultimate fan edition of the film. Jack dropped by I Like Horror Movies to give us the low down on the bigger, badder, and bloodier MIDNIGHT MOVIE: THE KILLER CUT!

ILHM: Jack, thanks for stopping by! Let's jump back to the beginning. What were the major inspirations behind the first cut of MIDNIGHT MOVIE?

JM: Overall, I wanted Midnight Movie to be the fun ride I remember the 80s slasher films to be. I think that we tried to update that formula to work today, but you can’t help but see both the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series in our film.

When it came to the violence and gore level of Midnight Movie, I wanted the kills to get better as the movie went on. If the movie’s marquee kill starts the film, it makes it tough because you have little place to go from there.

So I decided to set up the kills in the movie to mirror the history of horror. In the beginning, you see just before and just after, like early Hollywood. But as the decades moved on, Hollywood’s kills got more and more gory. So do the kills in Midnight Movie.

And we get all the way to the “torture porn” level… And while it is by far the creepiest scene in the movie, there is a surprisingly small amount of gore. Just goes to show you that the mind will fill in the blanks in a far worse way than a filmmaker can.

ILHM: The "film within a film" concept had been used before, but never with a supernatural killer like Radford. How did Radford's character evolve through the production?

JM: From the first draft of the script, Radford was always a supernatural killer. But his motivation was something that definitely changed over the course of the project.

Originally, the movie in the movie was a just mish-mash of images - like the video tape in The Ring. But I thought that in order to have the audience in the movie stay in the theater for any length of time, there needed to be a story – So after a long process, The Dark Beneath was born.

The movie in the movie was hugely important because it was the backbone of the entire film. The Dark Beneath was Radford’s back story. He was a man so obsessed with his movie scaring people that he embedded his soul into the film itself – in a quest to become the killer from his film.

Radford’s film needed to be something worth that obsession. So when crafting The Dark Beneath, we wanted to create the mythology of a horror movie that, while failing in its own box-office results, influenced a new wave of horror films.

Supposedly shot in 1964, Radford’s film was hugely influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. When he started The Dark Beneath, Radford set out to do what Hitchcock could not. His goal was to completely disregard the Hays Code as only an independent film could do.

In doing so, Ted Radford’s one and only film was a box office failure, mainly because only a handful of theaters would show it. Radford’s incarceration soon after finishing the film did not help much either.

But The Dark Beneath would go on to be a huge influence of the films of the late 60s and early 70s. Traces of The Dark Beneath can surely be found in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other horror classics.

Even the trailer for The Dark Beneath was influential.

http://www.TheDarkBeneath.com

Compare its trailer with that of 1972’s horror hit The Last House on the Left:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W9KPhmYYtg

With the mysterious disappearance of the inmates from the Newhaven Psych Hospital in 2006, a new interest in The Dark Beneath emerged. With this renewed interest, it was picked up by Inquisition Film, a low budget film distributer, and somehow made its way to the Avenue Theater.

And thus, Midnight Movie and Radford as a supernatural villain were born…

--------------------

The killer in the original script was even more supernatural. He thrust his hands into his victim’s head and they turned to dust. I was worried about pulling off this effect well on our limited budget. And I thought that the repetition of the same kill over and over would get stale as the movie went on…

We needed a weapon.

Everything out there has been used in a horror film. We've seen the chainsaw, we've seen the butcher knife. You name it. So coming up with something that could be instantly identified with Midnight Movie was the challenge.

When we were toying with the movie in the movie being a 1930s style film, the killer used a fire poker. But when I switched gears on the style of the movie in the movie, the fire poker was lost and the search began anew.

One day, in a flurry of emails, one of the Producers suggested a corkscrew knife. That’s when the lightbulb went on in my head! In college, I had written a serial killer novel where the killer had this implement that was this metal cone with a handle. You could puncture into someone's chest with it, and as you pulled it out, it had razor sharp edges that would pull out this chunk of flesh. So I took this 15 year-old idea and combined it with the corkscrew knife idea and our killer’s signature weapon was born.

From the first draft of the script, Radford always had a mask. But its design was something we really struggled with. Masks have been done to death in horror movies. To come up with something that is unique and scary was a huge challenge. So, we went through a lot of ideas and a lot of failed designs.

One night when I was really frustrated, I starting scouring the internet for ideas. I kept coming back to two iconic images. One is the Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn poster: the skull and eyes. That image has stuck with me since that movie came out. The other image I kept going back to was Hannibal Lector’s restraint mask in Silence of the Lambs. So I started playing around with them and cobbled together the basic design of our killer. Lunar Effects took my ideas and defined them with a lot of the small details. In the end, I was really happy with how it came together.

ILHM: Few directors have the chance to go back and re-cut their film. Even fewer have the chance to actually re-shoot after an initial release to create an entirely new product. How did The Killer Cut come about?

JM: Because the original film was successful, Bigfoot Entertainment came to me and asked if I would be willing to put together a director’s cut of the film.

There isn’t a filmmaker out there that looks back at their movies and doesn’t see a better way to do things. Look at Spielberg and Lucas – they have retouched classic films. Hindsight is always 20/20, even with cinematic geniuses that had pretty good budgets to work with at the time.

With Midnight Movie, many of the limitations to my original vision were purely budgetary. The ideas were there, just not the means to execute them. So when Bigfoot gave me the opportunity to overcome some of those limitations, I jumped at the chance.

ILHM: What can fans of the original look to expect in The Killer Cut?

JM: I’ve seen a lot of director’s cuts that weren’t better versions of the movie. They were longer, yes, but not better. So when I started The Killer Cut, I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I didn’t want to shove in a bunch of scenes that didn’t belong there in the first place. My goal was to enhance an experience that people already liked. That meant a lot more than just re-cutting the film.

From the start of the original production, I made sure that every penny of our limited budget made it onto the screen – and I think it shows. But there were a few things in the original version that just fell a little flat for me because of those budgetary limitations. The biggest was Radford himself.

I had a lot of ideas on how Radford should move through his environment, but they just weren’t within our budget. With The Killer Cut, we were able to utilize a lot of those original ideas to go back and make Radford a much more menacing villain. Believe me, the visual effects in The Killer Cut help create a totally different mood and feel for the film.

The other goal of The Killer Cut was to streamline a few areas that I felt just weren’t as tight as they could be. So I took the editing room scalpel to the film and made a lot of changes that you won’t notice, but the feel of those areas will be a lot better. And I made a lot of cuts. Even though we added several minutes of new material, the running time of the two films is about the same.

Much of the new footage we added was shot specifically for this version of the film. It was designed to fill in a few holes that myself, and the fans of the original, felt were missing. We really made an effort to enhance the mythology of Radford with the new footage. And the scenes that we extended with footage from the original shoot were enhanced with the new visual effects, making them a completely new experience.

Really, The Killer Cut is a totally different movie - much closer to my original vision. So if you haven’t seen the movie before, this is the version to watch. And if you think you have already seen Midnight Movie, I guarantee that you haven’t seen it like this.

ILHM: How much influence did fans and reviewers have on the revamped version of the film?

JM: The original cut of Midnight Movie fared pretty well with horror critics and fans of the genre, but it was not universally liked – few films are. But I looked long and hard at the negative reviews when I started The Killer Cut. They gave me a place to begin. I really looked at the parts of the film that were mentioned the most in a negative way and did what I could to address the fans/critics specific issues.

If you listen to The Killer Cut‘s director’s commentary, I point out a lot of these specific fixes.

ILHM: Fans will agree that this is the definitive version of the film. Does this version reflect your true vision as you had first intended, or are there still bigger and better sequences that we might look forward to in a sequel?

JM: Without going back and starting from scratch, The Killer Cut is as close as I can get to my original vision for the film.

Yes, I had a lot of bigger ideas for the original script - bigger and better chase sequences, more elaborate kills, lots of things. But a huge part of directing is allocating your resources to make the most out of what you have available.

With our original budget, a lot of my ideas had to be cut or modified to be sure we were able to finish the film. Budget was our biggest obstacle.

Sure, a sequel would still have budgetary limitations. But now that I have a few more years of experience under my belt, I know even more ways of pushing the budget to the limit to get the most out of every dollar. We did a good job the first time - but given the chance at a sequel, I can guarantee that it will be even better.

ILHM: The new additions to the film are seamlessly integrated back into the existing footage. How did you go about re-shooting so that the new material would be so indistinguishable from the original cut?

JM: I was pretty much a one man band in creating The Killer Cut. Yes, I was the writer/director, but I was also the Editor, Cameraman and Producer. It was a major undertaking, but I wanted to make sure that everything was done right.

The reshoots were where my years as a Director of Photography really became a major asset. I had already worked on both the MTV Movie Awards short films as well as Billy Crystal’s Oscar films. So I already had experience in shooting new footage to seamlessly integrate into existing scenes.

ILHM: How have fans received The Killer Cut in the three weeks since its DVD release?

JM: I really couldn’t be happier with the reaction.

My goal was to give fans of the original cut a much better experience. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive that we accomplished that.

But in achieving that goal, we have actually been able to convert more than a few people that did not like the original Midnight Movie into fans of The Killer Cut. In the end, I think that is what I’ll be most proud of.

ILHM: Are there any current sequel plans, and can you divulge where you would like to take the character of Radford?

JM: A Midnight Movie sequel??? That is totally up to the horror fans out there. Bigfoot is actually testing the sequel waters with The Killer Cut. If it does well, I think that the sequel will happen.

So if you want to see Radford back again, you need to start spreading the word that The Killer Cut is available exclusively on Amazon. I have some great ideas of where to take the story, so I hope I get the chance.

ILHM: What other projects do you have lined up next?

JM: For the past few years, my time has been carefully split between screenwriting and working on the television show Bones as a Camera Operator and Second Unit Director of Photography.

As a screenwriter, I have a thriller that is just about to go into production in China – Remote Control. It is like Eagle Eye meets The Usual Suspects. There are a lot of kick ass moments in this one and I can’t wait to see how they pull them off. And since that movie will be for the Chinese market, I’m hoping that the English language version of this script will be my next directing project.

I also have several other scripts that are about to go out, and they cover a wide array of genres. My personal favorite is a big sci-fi movie about the Telepatrol - a crack and hush-hush security team that is sent to catch mutations created by the new mass-transit marvel. Sort of Aliens meets The Fly.

Of course, I have a few horror scripts and I am really excited about a rewrite I just finished - Friday, Bloody Friday. I learned a lot from Midnight Movie‘s single location and this script really takes that concept to a new level. It’s about a small town Sheriff's station that turns into a night of terror when a group of college kids are trapped inside with a psycho cop picking them off one by one. It has a pretty high gore quotient and should be a great time for the effects crew.

Really, with all these potential projects in the works, even I don’t know which one will be next for me.

ILHM: In your opinion, where do the Horror and Slasher genres stand in today's cinema?

JM: Unfortunately, horror is rarely timeless. What scares an audience today will most likely not scare them tomorrow.

Unlike a lot of other genres, horror movies speak to the fears of today. They are scary because of the world we live in. In the 50s, we were afraid of communism. The movies of the time speak to those fears. Do they play the same today? No. Some have stood the test of time, but they are the rare exception.

Really, horror movies have always been hit or miss. For every good one, there have always been a slew of bad ones. And when there is a successful horror film, it spawns dozens of imitations trying to ride its coat tails. Today is certainly no exception. You have to watch out.

While the onslaught of horror remakes is a bit disconcerting, you have to realize that it isn’t just with horror movies. The studios are looking back in the archives to find any kind of a brand. Making old tv shows into movies or remaking an old movie is working because people are going to see them.

Sure, some of them are good and deserve to be rewarded, But too many of them were not thought out enough or needed a few more rewrites. Really, the only way to stop this trend, to get original stories back to the forefront, is to vote with your wallet.

The success of films like Paranormal Activity are great. Not only was it an original story, it did not have the gloss of the recent horror remakes. And whether or not you liked it, it really touched a nerve with audiences.

I hope that served as a wake up call for the studios. There is a market for new stories and the next great horror film is probably going to come from another unknown.

One bright spot in horror is that television seems to have embraced the genre in a big way – The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Killing. Really, that is where I see the real creativity happening. As fans of the genre, we have to make sure to support good horror wherever it is…

ILHM: Where can fans find out more about your upcoming projects and purchase MIDNIGHT MOVIE: THE KILLER CUT?

JM: Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut is on sale exclusively at Amazon.com

DVD

Amazon Instant Video

As for my future projects… Fans can keep clicking onto ILikeHorrorMovies.com - I’ll definitely keep you posted!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
A very special thanks to Jack Messitt once again for taking the time to speak with us tonight! Fans of MIDNIGHT MOVIE are sure to love the revamped new edition, but like Jack said, this version is likely to turn anyone who disliked the original! Stop by Amazon.com to get your copy today:



Read The Full Post HERE!

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Alan Yates and his crew of documentary filmmakers disappear into the jungles of the Amazon while shooting footage of the local tribes, who are believed to be cannibalistic savages. A rescue party led by Professor Harold Monroe is sent out after them, but all that they manage to recover are two of the crew's film reels that are encased in their skeletal remains. What Professor Monroe will discover about the events leading up to their deaths will be more horrifying than anyone could have ever imagined!

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Its name alone conjures up images of death and destruction. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST lives on in infamy as one of the most controversial films ever made. Ruggero Deodato's cult shocker belongs to a pure breed of exploitation filmmaking from the late 70's and early 80's that some embrace and others despise. It is important to note that many films of this time reflected a very reckless and irresponsible period both in America and abroad, a time when the furthest reaches of moral decency had already been crossed. Rape, torture, murder... These things no longer shocked modern audiences. LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE had made sure of that. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is the next step in the evolution of shock cinema, and despite the negative reputation that it has earned over the years, it is a provocative and highly influential piece of cinematic history.

It is impossible to discuss CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST without taking on the topic of animal cruelty. If CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST had been the first film of its kind, it could be argued that the scenes depicting the senseless murder of animals were only added to heighten the level of realism within the context of the jungle setting. This is not the case. Several films had come before it that included similar acts of animal abuse, and, as sad as it may be, the inclusion of such scenes had become characteristic of the genre. Deodato never glorifies the use of violence against animals anywhere within the film; quite the opposite, in fact. The scenes are clearly used to invoke anger and hatred towards the offending characters. In this regard, Deodato ultimately achieves the intended effect, although this is hardly an excuse. Then again, the cynical viewer will see this as being nothing more than cheap exploitation with absolutely no redeeming value other than to shock and disgust. This is a longstanding debate that has divided Horror fans for decades, but the film's merit cannot be decided based on these scenes alone.

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is groundbreaking in the sense that it is the first so-called "found-footage" film, whereby the images shown to the audience should be accepted as being fact. While this form of cinéma-vérité has been copied and imitated repeatedly in the decades that followed, for the time, it was quite unique and revolutionary within the genre. Deodato takes great care in insuring the film's integrity. The footage is raw, gritty, worn, and ultimately unnerving. Early on, Deodato has his characters change lenses and adjust the camera settings, just as a real filmmaker would have to do in the field. Audio cuts in and out at various points, while different portions of the film have been lost or damaged. Deodato also knows to leave in some of the more mundane moments in their journey to show that this is not just a clipshow of grotesqueries, but a true account of the events as they occurred. Everything from the jungle setting to the indigenous tribes and the stomach-churning effects looks authentic. It is no wonder the director faced criminal prosecution when returning to Italy; by all accounts, it actually looks like he went out into the wilds of the Amazon and had his entire cast killed and eaten by cannibals! This is CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST's greatest strength, and what separates it from others like it.

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST also takes a deeper thematic approach than any other film of its kind. It seems rather odd that an exploitation film such as this would even attempt to tackle the subject of sensationalism and violence in the media, but it does, and it does it well. The lengths that the characters go through to get their shots are more sick and depraved than anything the natives could have ever achieved on their own. Here, Deodato also explores the concept of civilization versus savagery in the same way that Wes Craven had done in 1977's THE HILLS HAVE EYES. There is one inherent problem in all of this that critics commonly cite as being its second greatest flaw: the film is entirely hypocritical. It uses the most extreme depictions of graphic violence and gore in order to prove its point, thereby rendering any altruistic alibi a fraud. In concept, the idea behind the film is simply brilliant, but in execution, it becomes guilty of the very crimes which it professes against.

Now, there are also those that watch the film for nothing more than its gooey gross-outs, setting aside the questionable morality of the filmmakers and any deeper social significance in order to enjoy the profuse amounts of blood and guts that drench the screen from beginning to end. There is no denying that CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST features some of the most gruesome gore and disgustingly realistic special effects ever to come out of Italy. Even the hardest of Horror fans will have difficulty digesting some of the cannibal terrors and bodily dismemberment without so much as wincing. Although it has been labeled as being misogynistic based on some of the brutal acts that are committed against the women in the film, the men fare no better than the ladies when it comes time for their punishment. Rape and genital mutilation are only the beginning, but the most iconic image that Deodato creates is that of a female villager who is impaled from the waist on through to her mouth on a giant stake. It is a sad but beautiful depiction of death that is quite symbolic to the plot.

No amount of convincing will ever shift the opinions of those that stand at either side of the spectrum when it comes to CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Ironically, those viewers that take such a profound offense to the film are ultimately the ones that prove its worth. If art is meant to invoke emotion, then CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is art in its purest form. No viewer can walk away unmoved by its powerful images. What is most surprising is how CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST often serves as the scapegoat for the cannibal genre at large, when it is the only film that even comes close to justifying itself beyond being mere exploitation. Similar films like Umberto Lenzi's CANNIBAL FEROX or Sergio Martino's MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD share all of the negative traits as HOLOCAUST, with none of its merits, and yet they rarely face the same persecution. This is what makes CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST a cult-classic and an important piece of Horror history.

Rating: 9/10.
Gore: 9/10.

If you liked CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, check out:
CANNIBAL FEROX, JUNGLE HOLOCAUST, MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD.


Read The Full Post HERE!

Shrieker (1998)

When the herald of hell known as The Shrieker is summoned at an old abandoned hospital, the group of college students living there must rely on ancient spells and alchemy to defeat it. SHRIEKER combines elements from NIGHT OF THE DEMON, INFERNO, and HALLOWEEN in a confused tale of the demonic that surely misses the mark. Just like in NIGHT OF THE DEMON, a spell is cast to summon The Shrieker, and five of the six teens are given marks that signal the demon as to who its intended sacrifices will be. From there, it drifts off into a below-average stalk-and-slash effort with no bloody payoffs during the kills. The creature's primary method of dispatch is a claw across the face, which wouldn't even kill a person to begin with, but that fact is washed away with countless other discrepancies in the uninspired screenplay. Clocking in at a measly 72m runtime, the most shocking element of the film is how anticlimactic the ending is; even the surviving characters comment on how easily the villains are defeated. It is unfortunate that the decent acting and cinematography that went into the film are wasted on such a poor end product.

Rating: 5/10.
Gore: 3/10.

If you liked SHRIEKER, check out:
INFERNO, THE UNNAMABLE, RAWHEAD REX.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dinocroc Vs Supergator (2010)

If you are still reading this review after seeing the title of the film, you know what you are in for. DINOCROC VS SUPERGATOR joins Roger Corman's other trashy creature features like DINOSHARK and SHARKTOPUS as the latest giant monster mash-up, and you can expect all of the same horribly awesome acting, stupendously terrible special effects, and dreadfully boring plot as the others. A secret testing facility headed by the seedy billionaire Drake (David Carradine) unleashes two monstrous mutant reptiles that go on to terrorize the island of Kauai before facing off against one another in the epic finale! Sounds great! This abysmal waste of celluloid has only gained notoriety thanks to a series of clips that have been constantly reused on television's The Soup, most of which focus on the completely unexpected and poorly accomplished death sequences, and Jerry, pool boy extraordinaire. The unintentional humor that surfaces out of this cinematic cesspool is priceless, and worth suffering through the rest of the runtime. Avoid it if you can, but those of you that revel in corny dialog and awful special effects can't do better than DINOSHARK VS SUPERGATOR.

Rating: 3/10.
Gore: 4/10.

Everything you would ever need to see from DINOCROC VS SUPERGATOR has been condensed in the clip below for your enjoyment:



If you liked DINOCROC VS SUPERGATOR, check out:
DINOSHARK, MEGA PIRANHA, SHARK ATTACK 3.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: The Phantom Speaks!

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA:
ANGEL OF MUSIC EDITION

2-DISC DVD SET

THE MASTERPIECE OF SILENT CINEMA IS SILENT NO LONGER!

AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT
www.ThePhantomSpeaks.com
AND
www.MiddleEarthCollectibles.com
ON SEPTEMBER 6th 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - June 29, 2011 - This fall, loyal ‘phans’ and collectors can bring home Lon Chaney’s classic film like it’s never been seen before and with exciting bonus content. This new version of The Phantom of the Opera, appropriately titled The Angel of Music Edition, will feature an all-new dubbed dialogue track with sound effects and a new musical score. Chaney’s classic has been completely re-edited, combining the best of the original 1925 version with the 1929 re-release.

Experience The Phantom of the Opera like never before and ‘feast your eyes – glut your soul’ at the horror of the Phantom as he comes out of the screen in 3D! No special 3D television set required – The Phantom of the Opera: Angel of Music Edition is in anaglyph format and can be viewed with red-and-blue 3D glasses (two pairs are included!).

This 2-Disc special edition also comes loaded with extras, including:

-A History of the Phantom featurette that examines the legacy of The Phantom of the Opera in film, television, and literature
-A motion-comic featuring the ‘organ death’ alternate ending and the infamous ‘cemetery scene’
1925/1929 footage scene comparisons
-A photo gallery of rare Phantom collectibles, memorabilia, and merchandise
-A Phantom of the Opera themed cartoon-short
-Angel of Music Edition 2011 trailer
-Includes 2D and 3D versions
-And more, yet to be announced…

Now, for the first time, watch The Phantom of the Opera as a ‘talkie’ and in startling 3D!

Poised to attract an audience of horror enthusiasts, The Phantom of the Opera: Angel of Music Edition is priced to own at $19.95 (includes shipping).

Read The Full Post HERE!

Win a Date with PLAYING HOUSE's Mayra Leal!!

You've seen the film, now get up close and personal with one of its stars! Maya Entertainment is offering and all-expenses paid trip for one lucky fan to fly out and win a date with the beautiful Mayra Leal, the lead in their newest release PLAYING HOUSE! Be sure to visit the movie's Facebook page located at the link below for the complete list of rules and to enter for your chance to win:

http://www.facebook.com/MayaEntertainment?sk=app_227942507234522


Read The Full Post HERE!

The Unnamable 2 (1992)

Better known to fans as THE UNWATCHABLE 2, this dreadfully boring followup manages to outdo the original only when it comes to poor characterizations, inferior costume designs, and weakened locations. Howard and Carter, the only two survivors that escaped the creature's grasp in the first film, have returned to the Winthrop household armed with the Necronomicon to destroy the nameless beast that lies within. Instead, they only manage to separate the evil spirit from the body of Alyda Winthrop, and it goes on another murderous rampage. This second story dives deeper into the Lovecraftian lore that spawned the original, but it really doesn't make the film any better than before. It can best be compared to the differences found in THE GATE and THE GATE 2, where many of the elements are exactly the same (including the cast and crew in this case), and yet the second film simply falls flat. Removing The Unnamable from the creepy Winthrop House not only goes against the mythology of the creature, but it also removes what little atmosphere the original held. This only leaves bad acting, scattered gore, and mediocre special effects to look forward to. THE UNNAMABLE 2 is better left forgotten on the store shelf, where it can continue to build mystery and intrigue without ever being watched.

Rating: 5/10.

Gore: 5/10.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evil Things (2009)

You have just received a letter from the US Department of Justice which is accompanied by video evidence from a recent investigation that arrives in the form of a DVD, simply titled "The Artifact." The letter reads that the FBI is investigating the disappearance of five friends in the Catskills Mountain range. In an attempt to locate the missing persons, Agent Dominic Perez has requested your help in reviewing the evidence and reporting back with your findings. This is EVIL THINGS.

EVIL THINGS jumps on the "found-footage" trend that has been re-popularized in recent years by films like QUARANTINE and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. The format can be quite effective if done right, or it can completely distracting if done wrong. EVIL THINGS is done right. The shaky hand-held appearance and muffled audio that occasionally occur throughout the film have the opposite effect that they would normally, lending credibility and integrity to the footage. Perez has also selected a cast of believable, real-life people, as opposed to falling back on bland characterizations. The lack of character development is replaced with character interaction, which makes complete sense in this environment. Characters would not be discussing their backgrounds, dreams, and motivations in a natural setting. It is very much like Greg McLean's brilliant WOLF CREEK in this regard.

Because there is so much downtime in between scares, EVIL THINGS looks and feels authentic. It does not simply line up one startling moment after another, but rather builds on the isolation of the location and the growing fear of the characters. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness, since the pace is sure to turn off many bored parties before any real action takes place. Perez plants an early seed of unease as the characters are being stalked by a mysterious character in the opening scenes. While the terror seemingly subsides, the audience is still left wondering where and when the killer will strike. This all leads up to the shocking twist that lands on the front doorstep in the form of "The Artifact" about an hour in, a videocassette that is sure to chill to the bone! EVIL THINGS plays a complete and unexpected reversal on the "found-footage" format, which validates the film and adds a clever new turn for the genre. The implied violence in the end only goes on to prove that Perez is able to craft a frightening terror tale without resorting to gratuitous gore.

EVIL THINGS is one of the better Independent forays into the "found-footage" format, and a welcome addition for fans of REC, THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, and Haneke's CACHE.

Rating: 7/10.

Read our interview with director Dominic Perez HERE!!

If you liked EVIL THINGS, check out:
CACHE, THE LAST HORROR MOVIE, CLOVERFIELD, LONG PIGS, EYES IN THE DARK, WOLF CREEK.



Read The Full Post HERE!

Delirium (1972)

Five murders, all beautiful young girls that were savagely strangled. A psychotic police psychologist is behind the horrific crimes, but his inner anguish and guilt have led him to turn himself in during an elaborate ambush of his own design. When the police set in to catch the murderer based on his advise, Herbert is cut off by another sadistic madman, who steals his victim and throws the police off of his scent. Now, he must work to unmask this new threat before exposing himself as the true killer! Renato Polselli's imaginative Giallo DELIRIUM is everything that an Italian film fan could ask for. It plays on genre conventions without strictly adhering to them, which keeps the suspense and intrigue high as the audience works to sort out the mystery. The film's extravagant style and precise plotting put it leagues ahead of some of the lesser efforts of the 1970's and 80's, with a twist ending that is predictable but well-played. Polselli uses wild camera movements and odd angles during the elaborate murders to recreate the madness of the killer on-screen, while exploring Herbert's fractured psyche in a number of nightmarish dream sequences. A strangulation that occurs under a river rapid in the film's opening is particularly cruel and inventive, but this is only the first of many thrilling deaths. Criminally overlooked and brutally edited for its American release, DELIRIUM can easily compete with similar efforts by genre leaders Lucio Fulci and Sergio Martino.

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked DELIRIUM, check out:
HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS, PHOTOS OF GAIA, AWAKENING THE BEAST, BABA YAGA.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hidden (1987)

When a deadly parasite comes crashing to Earth, it begins hoping from one human host to the next on a destructive rampage through Los Angeles. Detective Tom Beck must team with an otherworldly assassin that is posing as an FBI agent in order to stop the alien menace. Just like the villainous bug in the picture, THE HIDDEN is constantly shifting personalities between a high-octane actioner and a suspenseful SciFi thriller, and it works! Like THE TERMINATOR, THE THING, and MANIAC COP, the film blends equal elements of both genres beautifully thanks to Jack Sholder's key direction and a number of explosive shootouts. Although many of the characters and themes often fall into 80's cliches, they are sharply written to give them a three-dimensionality that doesn't exist in other films. Our hero cop doesn't just have a picture of his family on his desk; we visit his wife and child at home, and we don't want to see him get hurt. Michael Nouri plays the part perfectly, with a streetwise attitude, power, and authority that allow him to excel on screen. Kyle MacLauchlan's suspicious character is given away through much of the clever dialog exchanges that he shares with Nouri, but the fun and mystery in determining his role in all of this is what drives the interest in between the action sequences. MacLauchlan is no stranger to aliens, having debuted in David Lynch's SciFi epic DUNE, and here, the rigid movements and subtle character quirks that he brings to the performance help the audience to suspend disbelief. On top of everything else, the film features a number of slimy special effects by genre vets Kevin Yagher, Robert Kurtzman, and Howard Berger. THE HIDDEN is a huge treat for anyone that may have missed it in the 80's!

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked THE HIDDEN, check out:
THE THING, THE TERMINATOR, MANIAC COP, DEAD HEAT, MEN IN BLACK, GOD TOLD ME TO, THE BEING, ALIEN.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Horror Fans Unite: Bring Leslie Vernon Back to the Big Screen!!

Director Scott Glosserman Launches a New Online Campaign
To Bring Leslie Vernon Back To Life In
BEFORE THE MASK: THE RETURN OF LESLIE VERNON

LOS ANGELES, CA - June 26, 2011 - BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON has become this decade's smash Indie Horror sensation, and now, director Scott Glosserman along with the entire cast and crew of the original film need your help! The BEHIND THE MASK team is looking to pre-sell enough copies of the *exclusive* new Fan Edition of BEFORE THE MASK: THE RETURN OF LESLIE VERNON to fund the upcoming sequel/prequel. This is an exciting and unique new way to involve the fans in the films creation, and it is the ONLY way that we will see the film get made!! Read on for the details, and be sure to visit the official Facebook page to pre-order your copy of BEFORE THE MASK today!!

Before the Mask: The Official Facebook Page



BEFORE THE MASK SYNOPSIS:

HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN SCORNED. With the possible exception of a woman you tried to decapitate...

Taylor Gentry has a score to settle, and she's not about to let a little thing like Leslie Vernon's disappearing without a trace slow her down. And so, in the immediate aftermath of the Harvest Moon killings, the hunter becomes the hunted. But even as Taylor doggedly pursues her tormentor, she slowly uncovers the deeper, darker secrets of his past, and what truly drives Leslie Vernon in his quest to be the best of all psycho-slasher killers. Mind-bending revelations of family history, sibling rivalry, and even the terrifying prospect that he may not be acting alone... as evidenced by a tattered photo of a young Leslie with a paternal twin... all drive Taylor to the very edge of madness, until she's caught once again in a frenetic race to stop Leslie's second coming and save her own soul in the process! With a slasher film first- death by rabid, stampeding rhinoceros, THIS is the horror sequel you WILL. NOT. BE. ...seeing. Come on, now. You didn't think Leslie Vernon would let his story get out before he wanted it to, did you?

Read The Full Post HERE!

The Pyjama Girl Case (1977)

Loosely based on one of Australia's greatest murder mysteries, THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE is a Docudrama-turned-Giallo with split personalities. The film opens with the discovery of a badly burned corpse which two police detectives are attempting to identify. The focus then shifts towards Linda, a cheating wife with a growing list of lovers. As the police continue their search for the killer, Linda bounces back and forth between the arms of her many suitors, with little clue as to how the two stories come together in the end. Flavio Mogherini's twisted sexual thriller is likely to disappoint since it is commonly thrown in with other more prominent Gialli, but this film lacks nearly every defining characteristic of the genre. It is not particularly stylish or engaging, and in fact becomes quite dull as the love triangle quickly overtakes the police investigation, with no murders or eminent danger used to drive the suspense. The faults in the film are more likely the cause of the viewer's unfulfilled expectations than any shortcomings in the production, as both Dalila Di Lazzaro and the great Ray Millard put in strong performances. As the retelling of true events that THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE is supposed to reflect, it is a decent film that may hold more appeal outside of the Horror genre.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE, check out:
THE LAST HOUSE ON THE BEACH, DIE SCREAMING MARIANNE, DELIRIUM.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Watch THE TAINT For Free This June!!

THE TAINT has become an instant cult sensation amongst hard-gore Horror fans, and now is your chance to view the film for FREE online this June!! The full-length feature can be found on Vimeo, or in the embedded video below:

The Taint from Dan Nelson on Vimeo.



Enjoy! Special thanks to Drew Buldoc and Dan Nelson for posting their film for all to see! Read The Full Post HERE!

Black Swan (2010)

Natalie Portman stars as an aspiring young ballet dancer whose personal inhibitions are the only thing holding her back from true perfection. She tries out for the dual roles of the Swan Queen and her evil twin the Black Swan in "Swan Lake," but her restraint and dedication to form prevent her from winning the parts. However, when her director notices a hint of venom in her bite as he tries to seduce her, he is convinced that she has a darker side that is just waiting to be unleashed on stage. As she begins her rigorous training, the pressure of the upcoming performance proves to be more than she can withstand, and her fractured mind descends into a state of madness and paranoia while the feathered beast is awakened within her!

Darren Aronofsky's character-driven psychodrama can competently stand beside the works of Brian DePalma and Roman Polanski as one of the better suspense thrillers of its age, however, its similarities in style and structure to films like SISTERS and REPULSION are unmistakable. While the downward spiral that Natalie Portman's character experiences might reflect the role of Carole in REPULSION, Catherine Deneuve she is not. Her overplayed melodramatics result in a staged performance that is constantly overshadowed by the brilliant Vincent Cassel. Cassel's overt sexual force and commanding screen presence are what drives the underlying tension, and it is a crime that Portman received an Oscar for a passable performance while Cassel was completely overlooked by the Academy. Mila Kunis, on the other hand, is simply out of place and undeserving of the role she has been given. Still, Nina's character struggle has been written strongly enough to overcome each of these obstacles, and the raw power behind Aronofsky's arresting visuals cannot be ignored. Exciting, enigmatic, elegant, and excessive without ever slipping into pretension, BLACK SWAN proves to be yet another masterful effort by the acclaimed director.

Rating: 9/10.

If you liked BLACK SWAN, check out:
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, REPULSION, THE RED SHOES, SISTERS, OPERA.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baba Yaga (1973)

Fashion photographer Valentina is bewitched by the hypnotic Baba Yaga, who places a curse on her camera that causes anyone who is photographed to befall a terrible fate. Baba Yaga then manipulates Valentina into becoming an unwitting slave to her sexual desire. Corrado Farina's ambitious adaptation of Guido Crepax's erotic comic book series is a psychedelic suspense thriller that can be difficult to digest in initial viewings. The story frequently attempts to uncover a deeper social and political significance, however its message seems lost in the ripe metaphors that cloud Valentina's fantasies and nightmares. In order for the audience to survive the film, they too must give in to its surreal dream logic and allow Farina's stylish handling of the material to take over in place of sense and reason. Crepax's comic panels are translated brilliantly on screen, giving life and blood to his black and white images. This is in no small way thanks to the mystifying performances by Carroll Baker and Isabelle De Funes. A strange but alluring film, BABA YAGA is sure to appeal to fans of Harry Kumel's DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS or cult favorite LEMORA: A CHILD'S TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL.

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked BABA YAGA, check out:
VIVA, DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, REQUIEM FOR A VAMPIRE, LEMORA. Read The Full Post HERE!

The Unnamable (1988)

Taken from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft, THE UNNAMABLE tells the tale of a horrific creature that was locked up in the vaults of a forbidden mansion after slaying its family back in the 1800s. Nearly two centuries later, a group of naive college students ignore the local legends and decide to spend the night within its cursed walls, but they will quickly learn to regret it when the creature breaks free from its earthly prison! Lovecraft became a hot commodity after the success of Empire's RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, but this lesser-known entry exchanges the sharp scripting and deliciously dark humor of Gordon's films in place of cheap scares and gratuitous gore. The old, dark mansion is suitably creepy, but the shrill cries of the creature score the only legitimate thrills. Other than that, it is more of the same old story, where the teens are separated and brutally killed for meddling where they don't belong. For as average and boring as the film is otherwise, the gore and creature effects are top-rate, with an incredibly unique design by Chris Biggs. A worthwhile creature-feature for late-80's Splatter fans.

Rating: 6/10.
Gore: 7/10.

If you liked THE UNNAMABLE, check out:
THE RESURRECTED, THE UNSEEN, CASTLE FREAK, XTRO.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Book Review: The Official Splatter Movie Guide (1989)

John McCarty, writer of Splatter Movies: Breaking the Last Taboo of the Screen, now explores the effect that the Splatter film has had on cinema at large in this collection of over 400 reviews spanning through nearly every genre. As predicted in his earlier title, the gore revolution had become far-reaching by the late 1980's, with "creative deaths" stretching way beyond the average Horror film and into Science Fiction, Action, and even the Musical! McCarty, along with two guest reviewers, takes a look back to provide rather subjective opinions on the resulting films. Whether the reader agrees or disagrees with his assessments, two things are always clear: that McCarty is well-read and extremely knowledgeable in the subject matter, and that he is only looking to entertain as suggested by the book's opening. The broad spectrum of titles provides coverage on everything from BLOOD FEAST to BLADE RUNNER, though the main focus still falls within the Horror realm. Several surprising opinions surface that clearly define the writer's personal tastes, though the reviews do strive for some objectivity. While McCarty glosses over some better known film (presuming the reader is already well-aware of their existence), a great deal of time is spent elaborating on many far less-deserving titles. The Official Splatter Movie Guide is a quick read and a great resource for fans new and old, both of whom are likely to find a wealth of new films to fill their morbid curiosities.

Rating: 7/10.


Read The Full Post HERE!

The Hazing (2004)

A college scavenger hunt puts an evil spellbook in the hands of a group of sexy young co-eds, who mistakenly unleash the powers of darkness from within its pages! Rolfe Kanefsky's ultra-gory throwback to the 1980's provides plenty of campy fun in the tradition of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS and THE EVIL DEAD. While the attempts to defy the average teen stereotypes are a bit too forceful, the likeable cast does a great job in bringing the humor of the script to life. Demons, chainsaws, giant killer tongues... THE HAZING has it all, with ambitious special effects for its small budget. It is obvious from the beginning that Kanefsky is not shooting for the next PSYCHO, and only looks to entertain much to the same effect that Mike Mendez had in THE CONVENT. Fans are sure to enjoy the genre references found all throughout the dialog, framing, and editing that frequently winks at THE EVIL DEAD, so sit back and enjoy THE HAZING with a bowl of popcorn and friends!

Rating: 7/10.
Gore: 7/10.

If you liked THE HAZING, check out:
THE EVIL DEAD, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, MURDER PARTY, THE CONVENT, HELL NIGHT.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: Anchor Bay Presents A Horrible Way To Die

"...haunting, powerful and extremely disturbing.”
- Steve Barton, DreadCentral

ANCHOR BAY FILMS PRESENTS
A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE


Discover the Secret -- September 6th on Blu-ray and DVD


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – June 22, 2011 – Forget everything you’ve ever seen in a serial killer movie and get ready for the chiller that stunned festival audiences around the world! Named one of Movieline’s Most Anticipated Films of 2011, Anchor Bay Films releases the atmospheric thriller A Horrible Way to Die September 6th on Blu-ray™ and DVD. Officially selected by such prestigious film festivals as Sitges, the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest, A Horrible Way To Die arrives with an SRP of $34.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $26.98 for the DVD. Pre-book is August 10th.

In the film directed by award-winning director Adam Wingard (Pop Skull), notorious serial killer Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen, House of the Devil, Hatchet II) has just escaped police custody and resumed his killing spree. His former girlfriend and recovering alcoholic Sarah (Amy Seimetz, Alexander the Last) has recently moved to a small Midwestern town and is trying to put her life back together. She regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where she meets fellow addict Kevin (Joe Swanberg). Kevin is romantically interested in Sarah, but she remains withdrawn: her past continues to haunt her and may soon catch up with her, as Garrick is leaving a trail of bodies in his hunt to find her...

Mark L. Miller from Ain’t It Cool News called A Horrible Way To Die “In close and personal with a serial killer…an intimate look at how one madman can affect the lives of so many,” while Scott Weinberg from FEARnet declared it “a crafty and calmly mysterious little road thriller that earns big points for simplicity, intensity and plain old good acting, and Mike Suave from Exclaim.ca enthuses ““...so well constructed that your jaw actually drops.”

Bonus features on A Horrible Way To Die Blu-ray™ and DVD include audio commentary by director/editor Wingard and writer/producer Simon Barratt, a behind-the-scenes featurette and the theatrical trailer.
Read The Full Post HERE!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Press Release: Brooke Lewis Launches Ms. Vampy's Teen Tawk

PHILLY CHICK PICTURES LAUNCHES 'MS. VAMPY'S TWEEN TAWK, TEEN TAWK & IN BETWEEN TAWK' at www.MSVAMPY.NET

LOS ANGELES, CA - June 21, 2011 - Philly Chick Pictures and Brooke Lewis are proud to announce the July 1, 2011 launch of the new Comedy/Family/Talk-Show 'MS. VAMPY'S TWEEN TAWK, TEEN TAWK & IN BETWEEN TAWK' at www.MSVAMPY.NET

"Cause Girls Love To Tawk!"

Ms. Vampy is America's funniest, sassiest and most high maintenance vampire! Her personality is as big as her hair and is often described as Betty Boop meets Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny". She loves pleather and fur and wouldn't be caught "dead" without high heels! But, there's much more to this loveable vampiress from Brooklyn. Following the hit web series "Ms. Vampy" in 2009 and as a prelude to the Halloween Family feature "Vamp It Out", Ms. Vampy is back with "Ms. Vampy's Tween Tawk, Teen Tawk & In Between Tawk" to inspire tween and teen girls in a "tawk" show format, which covers issues that these girls are faced with today. Discussion topics include: Stereotypes; Body image; Self-esteem; Peer pressure; Caring about what others think of you; Being popular; Facing your fears; Following your dreams; And, of course, boys and "Twilight"!

Laugh along with the girls, as the forever young and sassy Ms. Vampy shouts out to Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, "Glee", "TMZ", "American Idol" and many more pop culture faves!

'MS. VAMPY'S TWEEN TAWK, TEEN TAWK & IN BETWEEN TAWK' vampylicious cast includes: Jamie Leigh Belzowski, Victoria Bohush, Thema Chapple, Summer Demma, Kayla Farrish, Laci Kay, Estefania Lahera and Paula Lahera.

'MS. VAMPY'S TWEEN TAWK, TEEN TAWK & IN BETWEEN TAWK' unbelievable producing team includes: Executive Producer, Todd Tucker, Writer/Director/Producer/Executive Producer, Brooke Lewis, Line Producer/Editor, Annette Slomka, Casting Director/Associate Producer, Alison Buck, Director Of Photography, Ace Underhill, Photographer, Paul Mocey-Hanton and Key Hair And Make Up/Wardrobe Supervisor, Nicole Bolin.

"This is the most special project I've created! I want to inspire girls of all ages. I'm still a teenage girl at heart who deals with her own issues and insecurities and if I can make a difference in the lives of tweens and teens today, then I have done my job. VAMP IT OUT!"- Brooke Lewis

Please enjoy 'MS. VAMPY'S TWEEN TAWK, TEEN TAWK & IN BETWEEN TAWK' or "BITE ME"!!

WATCH TEASER:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheMsVampy?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/O6lYoV6_j4A

www.msvampy.net
www.phillychickpictures.com
www.brookelewis.com

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: 4th of July Sale at Full Moon!

To celebrate the 4th of July Weekend
FULLMOONDIRECT.COM will Double Your MONEY!


LOS ANGELES, CA - June 21, 2011 - Check out these great new offers from Full Moon Direct this Fourth of July Weekend!!

Buy $25 - $49 during the sale, get a FREE $25 gift card!
Buy $50-$99 during the sale, get a FREE $50 gift card!
Buy $100-$199 during the sale, get a FREE $100 gift card!
Buy $200 or more during the sale, get a FREE $200 gift card!

· Sale Dates: July 1st thru July 5th

PLUS! Gingerdeadman Replica is only $100! (usually $200!)
http://www.fullmoondirect.com



· If you use a previously issued Gift Card to pay for purchases during this sale, you will NOT receive more free Gift Cards!
· Gift Cards cannot be used to purchase additional gift cards.
· Purchases of Gift Cards during this sale will not be rewarded with another gift card.
· Gift Cards will be issued and mailed to you with your order.

PLUS!!! We will announce the winner of Raffle #2.

One winner will be chosen at random among the Evergreen Cardholders (both Evil Bong Evergreen holders and the Re-Newing Evergreen Cardholders). Raffle Prize #2: A signed, one of a kind, hand drawn and inked page from the original Puppet Master 4-part comic book. Specifically, this art features Blade creeping into the bathroom while his unsuspecting victim takes a bath. Check out these 3 great pics of the page, a detailed close up, and the inked board right next to the finished and colored comic book. You can see the details of the ink shading and white ink used for corrections! The winner will be revealed for the 4th of July weekend.

http://www.fullmoondirect.com
Read The Full Post HERE!

The Burning (1981)

The teens at Camp Blackfoot play a mean prank on Cropsey the Caretaker that leaves him horribly disfigured. Five years later, Cropsey returns to a nearby camp for revenge! Although it is commonly cited as being an imitation of FRIDAY THE 13TH (which, in itself, is an imitation of HALLOWEEN), THE BURNING was allegedly written a year before the seminal camp classic, but it would not be released until a year later. The film follows a strict Slasher formula in the typical Agatha Christie style, where the mindless characters are separated from the group and killed off in a number of grisly fashions, usually after committing some sort of 'sin' like smoking pot or having sex. Each of the campers fall into the average teen stereotypes, but unlike in FRIDAY THE 13TH, they are all likeable kids that the audience doesn't want to see hurt. This is what really separates it from other similar titles of the time like THE PROWLER or GRADUATION DAY, especially since the murder and mayhem doesn't really begin until the hour mark, leaving the teens to carry the film until then. Tom Savini's special effects take center-stage again as Cropsey slices throats, chops off fingers, and slashes foreheads in the bloodiest river rafting trip of all-time! Director Tony Maylam helps to lend credibility to Cropsey's deadly garden shears by constantly having them chop and slice into wooden objects so that the audience never doubts that this is a cheap rubber knife. Despite its complete lack of originality and expectantly one-dimensional characters, THE BURNING is one of the better single-serving Slashers that has developed a huge cult following over the years for its high body count and grueling gore.

Rating: 7/10.
Gore: 8/10.

If you liked THE BURNING, check out:
FRIDAY THE 13TH, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, MADMAN, THE PROWLER.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deep Red (1975)

The death of a psychic kicks off a series of brutal murders at the hands of a sadistic black-gloved killer, and it is up to an inquisitive musician who witnessed the crime to track down the clues that will expose the killer's secret identity! The exemplar for the Modern Giallo is set in Dario Argento's DEEP RED, the standard by which all other films of its kind are now judged. DEEP RED includes every recognizable genre convention, and stretches them to their furthest lengths. The deaths are more brutal, the music is more energetic, but the plot is actually comprehendible for once. Argento employs several of his most agonizing murders, most of which involve some sort of forced trauma that has the audience reeling in pain. The playful competition between David Hemmings and Daria Nicolodi is charming and entertaining, making them one of the most likeable pairs of detectives in the genre. Just like Marcus, the audience is completely unsure of what they have seen in the confusion of the murder, and the reveal in the end is so shocking yet simple and equally effective. What also sets it apart are the highly imaginative clues that are laid out in the plot, which the characters have just as much fun deciphering as the viewer. DEEP RED is unmistakably one of the director's smartest scripts and greatest overall achievements, and it is an important milestone for genre fans.

Rating: 10/10.
Gore: 7/10.

If you liked DEEP RED, check out:
TENEBRAE, TORSO, ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Playing House (2010)

A FATAL ATTRACTION for the 2010's, PLAYING HOUSE follows young newlyweds Mitch and Jen who take in one of Mitch's friends to help pay the bills. Things are working out great until Danny's new girlfriend sets her sights on Mitch, and nothing will stand in the way of her happiness. This bland and predictable suspense thriller plays its cards right, but never breaks the mold for typical films of its type. The scripted dialog matches the staged acting perfectly, turning seemingly normal situations into awkward and unnatural occurrences. Paul Rudd' and Seth Rogan'(s Indie Horror look-alikes) share some mildly entertaining banter, but the sexy Mayra Leal is the only person worth watching for in her various stages of undress. The drawn out build-up of the characters leads to surprisingly sudden and unglamorous deaths, which cheapens their importance. If you have a CRUSH or a BASIC INSTINCT that points you towards films like THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, then PLAYING HOUSE will be right up your ally!

Rating: 6/10.

If you liked PLAYING HOUSE, check out:
THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, FATAL ATTRACTION, BASIC INSTINCT, PACIFIC HEIGHTS.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Press Release: Liberator Begins Principle Photography

“LIBERATOR” begins principal photography
in Los Angeles



LOS ANGELES, CA - June 19, 2011 - LIBERATOR, a 15-minute independent short film/presentation pilot, has begun production in Los Angeles. LIBERATOR stars Lou Ferrigno as a disgraced, washed-up ex-superhero whose secret black ops past comes back to haunt him as he tries to put his crumbling life back together.

LIBERATOR also features a jaw-dropping cast:

PETA WILSON (“La Femme Nikita”) as Marla Criswell
MICHAEL DORN (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) as General Pollard
DON “THE DRAGON” WILSON as Sidewinder
TARA CARDINAL as Gaia
DARWIN HARRIS as Duke
and EDWARD ASNER as President Whitlock

“Every one of our lead cast have starred in a hit TV show or movies,” says Executive Producer/Co-writer Jim Cirile. “Launching a brand-new superhero property without source material is death. That’s why it was crucial that we cast an actual superhero – Lou Ferrigno – in the title role, and also why we surrounded him with the best actors we could find. We want to see the continuing adventures of this character.”

Further grounding “Liberator” in comics mythology, former Marvel Comics bullpen artist Darren Auck is creating the film’s comic art prologue, and SyFy Channel’s “Hollywood Treasure” co-host Jesse D’Angelo designed the Liberator suit.

The film also features an original orchestral score by Tim Wynn, perhaps best known for scoring “Red Faction: Guerrilla.”

“The truly unique thing about Liberator,” says Director Aaron Pope, “is that, unlike other superhero flicks out there, it's based very much in the politics of now. This is a real person in the real world, dealing with, well, reality. He's a superhero, yes, but he's also a man and a father, dealing with the things that affect us all as humans. It's this personal, emotional element that really sets this character, and this project, apart."

LIBERATOR, a Coverage Ink Production, wraps principal photography 6/26 at Central City Studio.

Facebook.com/liberatormovie

www.liberatormovie.com
Read The Full Post HERE!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Short: Monomaniacal (2010)

Samantha wakes up gagged in the basement of a sadistic madman, but her daring escape leads her into even more trouble at the house of a seemingly friendly neighbor... MONOMANIACAL follows the typical pattern of the 80's Slasher, and follows it well. Michael Sharpe proves that he is just as competent as any feature-length director, delivering suspenseful scares and grueling gore in short order. The dialog between the killer's past and present victims explores the psychology of the dying and the soon to be killed. Alex Mauldin's fast-beat score matches the viewer's heart-rate while calling back to the classic composing of HALLOWEEN. If Sharpe had thrown in a distinctive mask, he could have had another Slasher icon on his hands, but it is all the better that he didn't, since MONOMANIACAL is just as effective without relying on any gimmicks. The turn in the end is the only moment that pushes too far after already winning the audience over in the build. A strong first-effort from first-time director Sharpe.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked MONOMANIACAL, check out:
MALEVOLENCE, BEREAVEMENT, BROKEN, HALLOWEEN.


MONOMANIACAL - a short film from Jodi Essex on Vimeo.


Read The Full Post HERE!

Short: The Familiar (2009)

Sam is obsessed with vampires, until one day, he is given the unique opportunity to become one's assistant. At first, finding victims and hiding corpses seems great, but after a few years of doing his taxes, cleaning his suits, and bathing his bloodsucking boss, the job begins to ware on him... The last several years have provided a breath of fresh air for the moldy old vampire film, with shorts like YOU ARE SO UNDEAD and now THE FAMILIAR revitalizing the genre with a hip young scripts despite the disastrous effect the TWILIGHT saga has had on Horror fans. Zimmermann's dry, witty writing playfully pokes fun at genre conventions while cleverly relating the unrecognized efforts of his protagonist to the disenchantment of the average white collar worker. Coombs and Hubbard are great together, in a brilliant cross between NOSFERATU and OFFICE SPACE. The special effects for the size and budget are also top rate, with a stylish mood and atmosphere that has a Modern Gothic appeal. THE FAMILIAR is a big win for first time director Kody Zimmermann!

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked THE FAMILIAR, check out:
YOU ARE SO UNDEAD, FRIGHT NIGHT, The Reluctant Vampire.


Read The Full Post HERE!

The Strangers (2008)

An unhappy couple returns to their vacation home after a failed proposal only to find that they have become the unfortunate victims of a home invasion lead by three crazed teens who plot to torture and kill them. THE STRANGERS belongs to a short-lived home invasion theme from the late 2000's, which included CACHE and THEM, along with the remakes of FUNNY GAMES and WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. Bertino's slowly-driven suspense is very much reflective of the style of Michael Haneke, with a creeping terror that builds on the ambient sounds of the house and the extremely subtle score. Where it differs and becomes much more like the standard survivalist film is that it lacks any inner meaning and it offers no consequences for the villains' actions, turning it more into an exploitative Slasher. The suspicious similarities in style, structure, and pacing even border on plagiarism when looking at Moreau and Palud's French thriller THEM from two years prior. Leaving these issues aside, there are still many advances in mood and atmosphere that make THE STRANGERS a frightening viewing experience.

THE STRANGERS is a depressing movie that only grows more upsetting as the plot progresses. Bertino has selected a somber color palette that feels drained of life and emotion to match the joint melancholia expressed by the characters. His tight filming feels uncomfortably close; almost voyeuristic. We do not feel like we should be listening in on the couple's drama, but we can't turn away. As sudden knocks and taunts from outside begin to break the silence, the viewer lives out the characters' terrors first-hand thanks to Liv Tyler's convincing performance. We jump as she jumps, reacting to her fear and shock as if it were our own. Her emotions on screen are pure and raw, which elevate the integrity of the picture. Although there are several bloody scenes, THE STRANGERS relies on edge-of-your-seat suspense and not excessive gore. The chilling masks that the teens wear as they silently pass through the house send shivers down the spine.

While it has been criticized for its loose plotting and derivative style, THE STRANGERS achieves its desired effect, and creates a believable real-world scenario without hampering itself down in unnecessary minutiae.

Rating: 8/10.

If you liked THE STRANGERS, check out:
FUNNY GAMES, THEM, CACHE, WOLF CREEK, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, WHEN A STRANGER CALLS.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut (2008)

Director Jack Messitt steps back behind the camera for a series of bloody reshoots in the re-release of MIDNIGHT MOVIE: THE KILLER CUT. In the tradition of DEMONS and ANGUISH, the unsuspecting audience members of a local theater become the film's next victims when the sinister soul of the director is unleashed upon them from within his possessed film reel! MIDNIGHT MOVIE joins HATCHET and LAID TO REST as one of the latest Revivalist Slashers with a purely 80's appeal. Although it is still stifled by its weak performances, this tighter, gorier version packs in improved special effects and adds a whole new dimension to the masked villain that was lacking in the earlier cut. Radford has a very distinct and menacing appearance, and his supernatural abilities to intercut between the 'real-world' and the 'reel-world' make him a terrifying new villain. The newly-revamped MIDNIGHT MOVIE is a fun and campy throwback to the early 80's that Slasher fans are sure to enjoy!

Rating: 6/10.
Gore: 7/10.

If you liked MIDNIGHT MOVIE, check out:
HATCHET, LAID TO REST, DEMONS, ANGUISH, POPCORN.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Press Release: Evil Things Creeps Onto DVD This August

Inception Media Group Proudly Presents
Evil Things

If You Think You’re Alone … Think Again!
A Pulse-Pounding, Twisting Game of Cat-and-Mouse On DVD August 9th

“Made my skin crawl … a disturbing view into fear!”
Horrorview

“Creeped the hell out of me!”
Midnite Media

“Downright frightening!”
Bloody Good Horror

“Tense, creepy!”
— The Film Reel


LOS ANGELES — August 1, 2011 — For Immediate Release — It’s a birthday celebration no one will ever forget in Evil Things, on DVD August 9, from Inception Media Group.

Five college friends plan a road trip to celebrate Miriam’s 21st birthday during a snowy weekend out of the city at a beautiful, remotely located country home. In the mood to party, Cassy, Mark, Tanya and Leo bring the beer, as well as aspiring filmmaker Leo’s new video camera.

But excitement soon turns to panic and 48 hours later, they’ve all vanished, leaving investigators without a single clue … until now. What Leo captured on video is no tranquil getaway but a sinister and nightmarish descent into terror.

From exciting new filmmaker Dominic Perez and in the tradition of Paranormal Activity and Quarantine, this riveting, critically acclaimed film – a pulse-pounding, twisting game of cat-and-mouse until its bone-chilling conclusion – will take you to the edge … and beyond!

Evil Things is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16x9 (1.78:1) and 5.1 digital surround sound.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: Stevan Mina's Bereavement Hitting DVD This August

“A downright terrifying experience.”
– Perri Nemiroff, Shockya.com

“The new gold standard in the ‘Psycho’ genre.”
– Black Saint, Horrornews.net

ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT
PRESENTS STEVAN MENA’S

BEREAVEMENT


Witness The Initiation August 30th on Blu-ray™ and DVD


BEVERLY HILLS, CA –June 16, 2011– There’s nothing worse than when a parent loses a child to kidnapping. But what if the kidnapper wants to be their new parent, and teach them everything they know about...murder? On August 30th, Anchor Bay Entertainment presents Stevan Mena’s Bereavement on Blu-ray™ and DVD. SRP is $34.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $26.98 for the DVD. Pre-book is August 3rd.

The highly-anticipated prequel to the 2005 cult hit Malevolence, Bereavement stars Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, The Rock, Tombstone), John Savage (The Deer Hunter, The Godfather Part III, Hair, The Thin Red Line, Do The Right Thing), Alexandra Daddario (Hall Pass, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, “White Collar”), and Brett Rickaby (The Crazies, The Assassination of Richard Nixon).

In 1989, six-year-old Martin Bristol (Spencer List) was kidnapped from his backyard swing in Minersville, PA. Graham Sutter (Rickaby), a psychotic recluse, kept Martin imprisoned on his derelict pig farm, forcing him to witness and participate in unspeakable horrors. Chosen at random, his victim’s screams were drowned out by the rural countryside.

Martin’s whereabouts would have remained a mystery, until 17-year-old Allison Miller (Daddario) comes to live with her Uncle Jonathan (Biehn). While exploring her new surroundings, Allison discovers things aren’t quiet at the farmhouse down the road. What started as an innocent exercise in satisfying her curiosity will soon disturb a hornet’s nest of evil and despair. For everyone involved, there can only be two outcomes: bereavement or death!

Like the critically-acclaimed Malevolence, Bereavement already wowed audiences during its theatrical run earlier this year. Michael Gingold from Fangoria Magazine gave the film “3-out-of-4 skulls,” saying “For fans of Stevan Mena’s accomplished, classical slasher opus Malevolence, his prequel Bereavement is worth the long wait,” while Mike Snoonian from All Things Horror called it “an intelligent in-depth look at a tortured killer.”

Bonus features on the Bereavement Blu-ray™ and DVD include audio commentary by writer/director Mena, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

God Told Me To (1976)

The truly bizarre plot behind Larry Cohen's GOD TOLD ME TO involves a citywide epidemic that is causing the people of New York to savagely kill one another. When asked why, each has the same reply: "God told me to." Sounds crazy enough, right? Throw in an omniscient alien who is telepathically commanding the people to kill, and things begin to get a little more strange. With a great amount of influence coming from THE EXORCIST, Cohen similarly explores the subject of faith with a considerably deep and impacting screenplay. The correlations between the events in the film and biblical allegories such as the story of Abraham seem to have a cynical sense of humor depending on the director's intent, as it is never certain whether he is attacking or uplifting the Catholic religion. Tony Lo Bianco is admirable in the role of police detective Peter J. Nicholas, who often reflects Father Karras in his personal struggle of faith in the face of the killings. GOD TOLD ME TO is one of Cohen's most thoughtful films, but certainly not for everybody.

Rating: 7/10.

If you liked GOD TOLD ME TO, check out:
THE EXORCIST III, END OF THE LINE, THE NINTH GATE.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Press Release: The Serpent's Tongue

Bad Lemon Productions Completes
The Serpent's Tongue
A new psychological horror film by John Shade


LOS ANGELES, CA - June 14th, 2011 - Bad Lemon Productions, in association with Film On Fire, is pleased to announce the completion of principal photography on its new psychological horror film, THE SERPENT’S TONGUE.

The Serpent’s Tongue stars Nicolette LeFaye (President’s Day, The Chainsaw Sally Show), features Andrew Roth (15 til Midnight, Aversion & T.V.’s The Wire) and introduces Ashley DeVoe as Simone.

When Simone and her best friend, Star, discover an old chest, it reveals Simone’s secret family history, one of black magic and murder. Taking a necklace from the chest as her own, Simone soon realizes that a voice from the necklace is whispering promises that are too tempting to ignore and she finds that the choices of right versus wrong and good versus evil are not as clear as they once were. Succumbing to the seduction of the necklace, she must choose whether or not what she’s been promised is worth the price of betrayal and murder. As Star discovers the truth about the changes in Simone, she realizes that saving her friend may result in her losing the one thing she has always wanted.

The Serpent’s Tongue is Produced, Written and Directed by John Shade. It will be released in the SUMMER of 2011.

The Red Band Trailer can be viewed here:



A PG-13 Trailer can be viewed here:



More information about Bad Lemon Productions and The Serpent’s Tongue, including the original Teaser Trailer, can be found at our official website: www.badlemonproductions.com
Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: The Dead and the Damned

Inception Media Group Proudly Presents
The Dead and the Damned

Flesh-Eating, Undead Gun Slingers …
The O.K. Corral Was Never Like This!

Galloping Onto DVD July 26th


LOS ANGELES, CA — July 1, 2011 — For Immediate Release — It’s Dawn of the Dead meets High Noon in the bloody, action-packed film The Dead and the Damned, on DVD July 26 from Inception Media Group.

Hot on the trail of a renegade Apache warrior, gun-slinging bounty hunter Mortimer passes through an 1849 California gold rush town, where local miners direct him into the mountains to track his prey.

While he is gone, the miners unearth a meteor that has landed in their sleepy town. As they crack it open, an explosion releases toxic spores, which quickly infect the entire population, transforming them into blood-thirsty, mutant zombies.

Following a ferocious battle, Mortimer triumphantly returns to town with his Indian captive in shackles … only to find themselves surrounded by a ravenous horde of the undead. Now the two enemies must band together if they are to escape the horrors of The Dead and the Damned!

The Dead and the Damned is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16x9 (1.78:1) and 5.1 digital surround sound.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Press Release: LA Film Festival to Screen The Innkeepers

LA Film Festival to Screen Ti West's
The Innkeepers
June 19th and 22nd


LOS ANGELES, CA - June 14th, 2011 - Wonderfully toying with audience expectations, writer-director and Screamfest alum Ti West takes a slowburn approach to this ghostly blend of humor, suspense and scares. Quietly building the anticipation of frights to come, West and his cast disarm the audience with casual jokes and friendly banter even as the elements of the terrifying climax are put into place.

USA| DIR Ti West
CAST: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis

Sun., June 19, 9:50 p.m., Regal 10
Wed., June 22, 7:00 p.m., Downtown Independent

For passes, tickets and full Festival details, please call
1.866.FilmFest or visit www.LAFilmFest.com

During the final working weekend of a supposedly haunted New England inn, two lackadaisical desk clerks-cum-ghost hunters, armed with only a portable cassette deck and a couple of flashlights, search for proof of the supernatural. Of course, the problem is sometimes the thing you’re looking for finds you first.

Now in its 17th year, Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival, presented by Los Angeles Times, showcases the best of American and international cinema. The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival takes place June 16-26, 2011 in downtown Los Angeles. The Festival screens more than 200 features, shorts, documentaries and music videos from more than 40 countries. The Festival connects the movie-loving public to critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent in the heart of Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world.

For passes, tickets and full Festival details, please call
1.866.FilmFest or visit www.LAFilmFest.com.

Read The Full Post HERE!

The Tingler (1959)

Doctor Warren Chapin has made an incredible discovery during his research into human fear. It seems that a giant parasite with astonishing strength is released into the body during moments of extreme terror, and it is this bug that is responsible for killing countless people! Chapin manages to remove one of these creatures after the death of a friend, but The Tingler escapes into a local theater and goes on a tingling rampage! William Castle's camp classic is as silly as it is utterly entertaining. It is filled with thrilling frights that still manage to shock and excite to this very day! In its original run, Castle hid electric buzzers throughout the theater to zap unsuspecting patrons during pivotal moments in the movie, a brilliant piece of showmanship from his long line of gimmicks. The cheesy rubber monster effects only function thanks to the dead serious handling of the material by the rest of the cast. Their professionalism lends more credibility to the script than it probably deserves, since several lapses in logic leave it to where no one ever questions how it is that a giant two-foot insect latching on to a victim's spine has never been seen before. A perfect pairing to watch with HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL!

Rating: 7/10.
Entertainment: 8/10.

If you liked THE TINGLER, check out:
ALTERED STATES, THE INVISIBLE MAN, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL.

Read The Full Post HERE!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Press Release: Win a Trip for Two to "Terror in Tinseltown"!!

FEARnet Gives Fans A Trip
To “Terror in Tinseltown”

Trip for Two to Los Angeles , Including Airfare, Hotel and
More at www.FEARnet.com


LOS ANGLES, CA –June 13, 2011– FEARnet.com, the web’s #1 genre site, is sending fans on a terrifying trip to the City of Angels as part of its quarterly trip giveaway. Lucky winners will enjoy a frighteningly good vacation in Los Angeles , one of America ’s most famously haunted U.S. cities, courtesy of FEARnet. Starting today at 10 a.m. PST, fans can visit FEARnet.com and enter the sweepstakes for a chance to experience “Terror in Tinseltown.”

Los Angeles, the city known for its celebrity sightings, glamour, palm trees and plastic surgery, has a dark side. Beyond the red carpet, the city is submersed in stories of hauntings, ghosts, and unsolved murders. Winners can see where the “Black Dahlia” murder took place and visit abandoned homes of terror. The horrifying “Terror in Tinseltown” vacation prize pack includes:

§ Roundtrip Domestic Airfare for Two to Los Angeles

§ $200 in Gift Cards

§ Hotel Accommodations for Four Days and Three Nights

§ Dinner for Two on FEARnet

§ Haunted Tour Ride of Los Angeles

§ And Much More

As of 10 a.m. PST today, fans can enter the vacation sweepstakes at: www.fearnet.com/winafearcation. The contest runs through June 22, 2011 at 5 p.m. PST, and is open to all residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older. One entry per person per email address per day will be allowed.

The “Terror in Tinseltown” sweepstakes is the second of FEARnet’s quarterly haunted vacation giveaways, which include trips to New Orleans , Philadelphia and San Francisco . The sweepstakes is the latest addition to FEARnet’s amazing collection of “Creepstakes,” which includes holiday-themed events such as its recent “Tainted Love” and “St. Patty’s Day” sweepstakes.

Follow FEARnet on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/FEARnet) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FEARnet) for all the latest news and updates on horror, thriller and suspense entertainment.

About FEARnet

FEARnet, the world's premier destination for horror, thriller and suspense, is a cutting-edge, multi-platform movie network available on linear, on demand, online and on mobile 24/7. Its unrivaled modern horror library unites Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) (NASDAQ: CMCSK), the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services with Sony Pictures Television (SPT: US) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), the two top studios producing and distributing the genre.

FEARnet has generated over 550 MM views, is the #1 Free Movie VOD network, and is available on AT&T U-Verse, Bresnan, Comcast, Cox Communications, Guadalupe Valley Systems, Insight Communications and Verizon FiOS. FEARnet launched its traditional cable channel in HD October 31, 2010 and is available on Verizon FiOS channel 197. www.FEARnet.com is the web’s #1 site for genre fans, and PC Magazine named FEARnet.com among “The 15 Best Websites for Movie Fans.” Users can explore the world of the macabre on a visually arresting video-rich environment packed with movies, news, interactive community features and fresh original content.
Read The Full Post HERE!