Sunday, 29 January 2012

Popularity Killer

Following on from their excellent and deservedly acclaimed previous short Teddy, Slasher Studios have now brought us another excellent short, Popularity Killer.  And excellent it is, especially if you love a good slasher.  Like their previous effort Teddy, there's a throwback feel to it, but also like Teddy,  it's more than a mere throwback and is great in its own right.

Popularity Killer is great in many ways, but there's a core element that many everyday people can relate to - high school.  High schools are like jungles, and we've all seen the people who only care about being popular.  Then there's always the odd person who dreams of killing them all.  Fortunately for me, I was an 'inbetweener' but I witnessed this daily at high school, so for me this makes Popularity Killer all the more hilarious.  It's got great dark comedic elements to compliment that compliment the horror well.  It's an awesome satire of high school, as well as a fun-filled slasher.  And may I add that the villain looks awesome and may even creep out those of you who are the opposite of me (ie, not rooting for the bad guy).

It's an awesome homage to slasher films of the 80's and 90's.  Watching it, I felt a Wes Craven vibe.  There's also a nice homage to Romero.  It wears it's influences while bringing it's own identity due to how intelligent, witty and fun it is.  The best way to describe Popularity Killer is fun.  I've showed it to a couple of my friends and they felt the same way.  I genuinely believe that Kevin Sommerfield is a supremely gifted writer and Steve Goltz is a great and very promising director.  They deserve a chance to do a full feature.  Let's hope this propels them into the limelight they truly deserve.  It's great to see horror made by obvious horror fans.  They know what the audience wants to see and they deliver.  So, watch POPULARITY KILLER, watch their other short, TEDDY: IT'S GONNA BE A BEAR, spread the word and show some support.  These guys really are talented and I look forward to their future projects.  So, without further ado - Popularity Killer.  Enjoy.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Fathers Day (2011)

You know how when people say, ''don't watch this if you're easily offended.''  Well, in regards to Troma movies this applies more than ever.  Even if you aren't easily offended, Troma movies might still offend you, whether it be the content within them or just the cheap, nasty presentation of their movies that some may call an insult to the art of film making.  Or maybe you're like me - SICK.  For those who love Troma, it's because we know not to take their movies seriously and not only accept them for the trashy fun that they are - we adore them for it.  Fathers Day is another twisted, fun addition to the Troma family.

The premise of the movie is a simple hunt 'em down revenge story.  A killer is on the loose and it's up to a wannabe Snake Plissken, a priest and a street hustler to stop the vicious murderer.  What ensures on this epic adventure is some of the most vomit inducing funny experiences put to celluloid.

So, the 'good' points?  Well, I don't condone real life necrophilia, evisceration and cannibalism - but when you get it all within the first minute a movie then you definitely have my interests.  It doesn't matter how horrible it's going to get, you just need to keep watching to see how far it goes.  And, you know... it's fun.  So within the first few seconds you know it's going to be disgusting, but anyone who's watched Troma movies in the past knows to expect OTT, politically incorrect, taboo behaviour.  If you're a viewer stumbling upon some of their catalogue for the first time without knowing what to expect, and you have an uneasy tolerance for the most degrading of subject matter then I don't envy you.  Well, maybe I do a little...  OK, so violence is aplenty, what else is good?  It's very Grindhouse in style, which for me, is one of the coolest forms of film to look at.  Personally, grindhouse looking movies have a much cooler look than the highest budget Hollywood blockbusters.  Fathers Day is as grindhouse as it comes in regards to modern movies.  It looks freakin' sweet.  Another great thing about Troma movies, and this one in particular, is how witty they are.  They don't set out to be taken seriously, but the comedy is genuinely funny.  It's not that 'so bad it's good' type of comedy here either.  Sure, it's goofy, but it takes a genius to write stupid movies without making them seem, well... plain stupid.  Smart stupidity is what I'm getting at.  The FX are also 100% here.  For a movie like this, you want as little CGI as possible.

The bad points?  Well, all the good points I listed are probably things that others will hate about it.  Not many will watch this through my eyes as a well made, low budget, highly ambitious masterpiece.  However, those of you I know read my posts will probably enjoy it.  If you've seen Troma movies before you know what you're getting yourself into.  Fathers Day won't be regarded in the same esteem as cinematic classics such as Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High, but it is just as much fun.  Give it a watch if you're wonderfully warped.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dawn of the Mummy

There's not much you can say about Dawn of the Mummy in terms of it being a cinematic masterpiece.  But it is damn good.  I mean, what happens to models when they travel to Egypt, meet up with some crooks raiding an Ancient Egyptian tomb that's been cursed?  They obviously awaken a Mummy and his army of the undead.

Dawn of the Mummy is just a lot of fun, but it has some strengths.  For a start, the cinematography and setting are amazing.  Second, it paces along just nicely with enough sub par acting to keep you entertained and laughing and thirdly, there is some pretty nice gore - especially at the end when the army of the undead are loose on the local town and are feasting upon everyone.

This is definitely one of the 80's forgotten gems, but it's one of many as the 80's was producing great, fun horror on a regular basis.  So grab a few cold ones, order a pizza and sit back and enjoy Dawn of the Mummy.  It's popcorn entertainment at its best.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just pop it on and enjoy the fun and thrills.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Botched (2007)

Horror comedy is a genre that is often frowned upon.  For a lot of people, they just don't blend well when they set out to do both.  For me, I've always been impressed with what I've watched of this genre, but I tend to only watch movies I know I'm going to enjoy.  Botched is a movie I enjoyed.  I wouldn't even call it a horror comedy, it's more of a dark comedy with lots of splat thrown in and performances so OTT you can't take it as anything other than comedy.  That's not to say it doesn't deliver on the blood and gore though.

Botched starts off as a crime movie, about a job gone wrong.  Ritchie (played by Stephen Dorff) has one last chance to redeem himself to the mob, and what seems like a routine theft and hostage mission turns into anything but, as the criminals and the hostages start getting picked off by a deranged killer, armed with a sword.  Even scarier though is the sadistic, overbearing, religious relative though who's making him kill so she can provide sacrifices to her God, but all the dude wants to do is play with his dead bodies he's collected.

The kills in this one are splatty, but what makes them even better is the musical scores that accompany them. Even better is the ridiculous Russian accents from a cast who aren't even Russian.  But that's the whole point of Botched.  It's supposed to be ridiculous and OTT, and it certainly doesn't let down in that aspect.  It also doesn't become a parody of itself either.  It has just the right amount of everything.

Pick this one up if you come across it.  It really is quite hilarious, with enough blood for the innrer splatter hound.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Crimewave (1985)

Honestly, what can you say about a film like Crimewave?  Well, for a start it's written by the Coen Brothers and Sam Raimi, as well as directed by Raimi.  It stars the legends Bruce Campbell and Brion James in key roles.  As to be expected, it's goofball, slapstick, dark comedy with elements of crime movies of the 40's and 50's, it's very inspired by film noir, big band musicals of the 30's and 40's and comic books.  Like much of Raimi's work, the humor is screwball and reminiscent of the Three Stooges, with some instantly quotable one liners.  In addition to all of the darkly comical, wacky and surreal moments, the heart of the film has a story of 2 people falling in love (in the classic rogue gets the lady kinda way).  So, one thing you can say about Crimewave is that there's no other movie like it.  At least none that I know of, but in many ways you can compare it to Hudsucker Proxy (the other Coen/Raimi collaboration).

The film starts with Vic Ajax being escorted to the electric chair for a murder he didn't commit, and along the way he's bumbling the true story to the guards in the hopes that they will let him go.  What unfolds for the next 90 minutes is the true story.  The story is intriguing, bizarre and hilarious with lots of classics moments that will have you rolling about with laughter.

Crimewave certainly isn't for everyone, but those of you I know for sure read my blog would really enjoy it. Or maybe you have seen it and didn't.  It's one that slipped under the radar in the glittered careers of Raimi and The Coens (they even dismissed it because it wasn't the way they wanted it).  It still is a remarkable movie though, that pays off in its ambition.  It also homages previous Raimi classic, The Evil Dead.  Just keep an eye on the newspapers and you'll know what I'm talking about.  Basically though, it references the portal that sucked Ash away in Evil Dead 2, which Raimi was writing at the time.

Please check out Crimewave.  It really is a lost gem.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The House of the Devil (2009)

Anyone who has a horror blog has probably mentioned this movie at some point.  There's probably nothing left to say about this one that hasn't been said before.  I have no doubt in my mind that the following review is going to be full of opinions you've read elsewhere if you've read the reviews for this film.  But I don't care.  I need to talk about this film.  This is the one of the movies of my generation I can see being heralded as a cult classic decades from now, if society has descended into a wasteland with no appreciation for the horror of the past.  This film made horror exciting and fresh just by taking a step back and simplifying things.  So let's get on to the review and me blowing smoke up the rear of a movie that probably just wants to cool down.

Set in the 80's, a college student is financially motivated to take a job babysitting the kid of a mysterious caller on the night of an eclipse.  As strange as the man on the phone is, Samantha really needs the money to pay for rent and basic living.  When she arrives at the house in the middle of nowhere, she's informed that she'll be babysitting an elderly lady and she was lied to because the couple needed a babysitter in such short notice.  Reluctantly, she accepts the job after being bribed with more money and it ends up being the biggest mistake of her life - the family are Satanists and they plan on using her in a ritual.

The House of the Devil isn't full of gore.  It isn't action packed.  It isn't full of scares.  So what makes it scary?  Well, it's the complete and utter helplessness of Samantha that makes it scary.  You really feel like you're in the movie with her and she's oblivious to everything that's going on - but we're not.  She's in the middle of nowhere with no transport and something terrible is about to happen to her.  The movie is effective because you just know something awful is about to happen, but it keeps you waiting and then when you don't expect it - BAM!!! - it hits you like lightening.

Ti West made a great decision setting this in the 80's.  There was no internet, no fancy phones and basically a complete lack of any form of communication technology.  All she has is the house phone, which was ultimately what got her into trouble when she ordered pizza from a number left by the Satanic family.  The lack of communication adds to the feeling of isolation and helplessness that Samantha is experiencing.  She's also oblivious as to what's in store for her.

Another great aspect of this movie are the settings.  They really compliment the film well.  The house is old and big, situated in the country, surrounded by woodland and away from the real world.  The night time setting outside also has a life of its own to it and you really feel like it's a special night.  It just doesn't feel like any other regular night and you get that 'there's something in the air feeling.'  The full moon, like other horror movies all throughout history, is a character in its own right.

Jocelin Donahue is the sole character for the majority of the movie and does an excellent job carrying it.  Even her simple mannerisms her character has to perform are intriguing to watch.  She makes the mundane and simple seem so interesting.  It doesn't hurt that she's friggin' perfect to look at as well.  She keeps this movie going on her own for the majority of it though and thoroughly deserves all the praise and more.

I believe this movie is a masterpiece of cinema and not just horror.  But unfortunately, it'll never be held in as high regard by anyone other than genre fans.  Although it may still be liked, it's more of a horror fans wet dream because we'd been waiting on a movie like this for some time.  It's a throwback in many aspects but also really fresh.  It's believable, it's authentic, it's engrossing and it stands out (head and shoulders above) most movies from the past few years (and there has been a lot of great movies in the past few years).

So, future horror classic?  I really hope so.  This really made Ti West a name and as a result I look forward to anything he does in future.

Movies That Are Generally Hated That I Like A Lot

After being inspired by my friends at SlasherStudios (, I've decided to share my thoughts and opinions on movies that are met with general disdain but I believe to be genuinely good or enjoyable.  So, feel free to criticise my tastes but here's hoping I can convince you to give these movies another chance - or a chance.  Period.

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever

The hate towards Cabin Fever 2 actually puzzles me.  I honestly do not understand why this is so disliked among horror fans.  Movies like this one are certainly not for everyone, but there is an audience for splatty, funny movies that intend to be exactly that.  This one does exactly that, doesn't try to be anything other than that and is very successful at what it intends to do.  It was made to be direct to DVD, on a small budget, so no one is expecting Citizen Kane (although most movies I regard as great are direct to DVD horror movies and I'm not a fan of Citizen Kane just so you know).  The sequel to the, in my opinion, classic that is Cabin Fever is a lot of fun, ambitious, splat-tastic and genuinely hilarious.  It's essentially just a high school sex comedy with lots of violence thrown in.  It's a 'popcorn' movie.  Maybe if this was made in the 80's it would be more warmly received as it's much like a lot of 80's horror movies.

Everyone has heard the back story regarding the production of this movie (if not you should check it out but I'll sum it up roughly - basically the director left and this was put together by the producers), but I honestly didn't spot the weaknesses.  It's a well put together movie.  What chance does it stand though when the original director (Ti West) refuses to acknowledge it as one of his movies though?  Me though, and Slasher Studios and a few others enjoyed it though.  We're in the minority and I honestly don't understand why.

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

First off, let me state that this isn't my favorite horror series of all time.  I do enjoy it, but I just prefer so much more slasher movies than the Halloween ones.  Next, let me contradict the previous statement and tell you that I'm the worlds biggest John Carpenter fan.  I'm just not a huge fan of the original Halloween.  I nejoy it but I don't love it like I love most other JC movies.  The sequels to Halloween are all much more suited to my tastes.  The sixth installment, often regarded as an abomination to the series, is my favorite of them all.

I've only ever watched the Producers Cut. but I really enjoy it.  How do you keep a series fresh and interesting that boasts a gazillion sequels?  This movie included aspects of the Satanic Cult sub genre and for me, it not only worked but it's the strongest element, for me.  I dig this movie.  I dig the kills, I dig the atmosphere and I dig the story.  I also love that Donald Pleasance was involved.  Easily my favorite along with H20.

From Dusk Till Dawn 2 (and 3)

Aside from Evil Dead and Re-Animator, the FDTD series is my favorite horror series of all time.  I love all 3 of them and if they ever make a 4th I'll be the first to see it.  The second installment is my least favorite, but it still kicks ass.  Once again though, I'm in the minority with this opinion.  I know the sequels are enjoyed by a lot of horror fans, but in my experience, the sequels are not appreciated on the whole, particularly this one.

I love it.  It's a heist movie with vampires.  There's blood, violence, lots of killing and a great cast involved.  Robert Patrick is a terrific lead, Danny Trejo is back on board and there's a cameo from the legend that is Bruce Campbell, as well as the super hot Tiffany Amber-Thiessan.  It's directed by Scott Spiegel, who's always been underrated, and it blends elements of horror, comedy and crime like it's predecessor.  It's on a much smaller scale but it still does the job and provides us with the goods

I may as well include the 3rd sequel here, which I believe to be not far off the first one in terms of fun.  It's set in the Old West and combines western and horror, which I think it's a horror sub genre that should be combined more.  The first part is a western, focusing on a gang of outlaws on the run and an author on his way to join the military (played by the best actor of all time, Michael Parks).  After the bandits, the author and the newlyweds cross paths and find the Old West version of the bar from the first movie, all hell unfolds and we're in for a fun, splatty ride.

Jennifer's Body

This one is an opinion splitter for sure.  I know there's a lot of people who enjoy it, and a bunch of people who utterly loathe it.  Me, I think it's a quirky, funny and original teen horror comedy.  Megan Fox is not an actress I would say I'm a fan of, but this role was made for her, but it was Amanda Seyfried that really impressed me both visually and performance wise.

Diablo Cody (Juno) wrote this one so you can expect similar traits to Juno such as quirky humor, strong female leads, sexuality and really clever wittiness.  It's in no way the perfect horror movie by any means, but it is pretty damn good.

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Only in the past couple of years have IO started to appreciate just how great the Blair Witch Project actually is.  It really is an original, remarkable horror film.  The sequel was never going to capture what the original did (probably because we all knew it was fiction by this point lol).  The first was believable and did a great job of not feeling like a work of fiction.  I used to be obsessed with the legend of the Blair Witch as a kid and I wanted it to be a real legend.  I even had all of the books by Cade Merrill.  The marketing scheme of the Blair Witch was not only great to promote the movie and make it a huge success, but they also did a great job of creating a legend.

The sequel is a good movie in its own right.  I like it because it shows you things (ghost girls etc), where as in the first almost all of it was in the mind.  This movie also had an intriguing mystery to it and the first time I saw it I had no idea what happened.  Add some strangely attractive women and some pissed off rednecks and you have yourself a good movie.  I like the Blair Witch sequel.  Again, I'm in the minority.

I could go on with all of these movies, but you'd probably get bored by the end.  What movies do you love that get tonnes of hate?

The Hole (2009)

Ever since I was a kid and all through growing up into young adulthood, I've always loved movies where kids are the heroes.  Jason Eisener calls the types of movies I'm talking about ''treehouse movies.''  Films like Monster Squad, The Goonies, The Lost Boys and movies along those lines, where the kids are the heroes and have grandiose adventures or need to save the day when the adults don't believe them.  One of the masters of these types of movies is Joe Dante, who has brought us classics such as Gremlins and the underrated Small Soldiers.  The Hole, like Small Soldiers, is also an underrated movie, and meets the criteria of the movies where it's up to the kids to save the day.

The Hole is about 2 brothers who move to a small town with their mother and find a mysterious hole in their basement.  It turns out that the hole is a gateway to hell and if opened, your deepest fears will manifest and haunt you.  So it's up to the brothers and the hot neighbor to solve the mystery and overcome their deepest fears in the process.

This is a horror movie the whole family can watch, but it still does deliver the goods.  It has all the classic horror characters we've all grew up watching - little creepy ghost girl, killer toys, clowns etc.  They aren't even used lightheartedly.  They really are horrific.  Joe Dante has really ensured that a lot of families will get a good ol' scare.  More impressive though is the character development.  The film really focuses more on the characters than they action and thrills (although it still has both of these and much more), but it's more effective as we get to know the characters and know what really frightens them.  Another thing I love about this movie is the fantasy of it all.  It really is an original gem in a genre where, in recent years, hasn't showed much in the way of fantasy and imagination (not that I don't like slashers, some remakes and zombies etc).  It's just nice to see a movie that goes that extra mile.  Most of all though, it's fun and the characters are ones I rooted for every step of the way.

Not a cinematic masterpiece, but a fun movie with plenty heart, originality and horror for the whole family to enjoy.  It really gave me that feeling I get watching the aforementioned movies.

Saturday, 14 January 2012


Well, I sure did buy a helluva lot of horror (and others) this week and since I haven't had time to watch anything and write any reviews (damn exams!!!), I thought I'd share the movies I bought and intend to check out after my last exam this week.  I'll review some of these movies in the process.  So her's what I bought:

Phantasm 1-4
Feast 1-3
Ghoulies 1 & 2
Critters Collection
Alien Raiders
Hostel 2
Dance of the Dead
Small Soldiers
Killer Klowns From Outer Space 
WWE: Shawn Michaels: My Journey (I love wrestling guys)
Back to the Future 1-3
Creature (1980's one)
Red State
They Live
The Goonies
Top of the Food Chain
I Saw The Devil
Attack the Block
Troll Hunter
The Hole (Joe Dante one)
Wacky Races Volume 2 (this is for the big kid in me)
Jennifer's Body
Kick Ass
Assault of Precinct 13 (original)
30 Days of Night: Dark Days

Some of these are ones I've seen before but I didn't own.  Most of these will be first time viewings I'm really excited about.

Monday, 9 January 2012


Anyone who reads my stuff knows how I like to share awesome short films I come across.  I enjoy sharing the work of up and coming filmmakers.  Teddy is a short I've loved since I seen it late last year, and one I've always wanted to review and share with you all.

Teddy is a throwback to 80's slasher movies brought to us by Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield (be sure to check out the horror podcast for Slasher Studios and follow them on Twitter as it's great to listen to if you're a horror fan).  It's about a group of college kids who encounter a killer hellbent on revenge after the commit a hit and run.  The killer is armed with a hatchet and a teddy bear and he's out to get 'em.

Personally, I think the killer is great.  It's a great concept.  He's clearly disturbed and still childlike in many ways.  I love killers like that.  It's very reminiscent of some of the best killers from the 80's but at the same time he's fresh in his own right.  The addition of a teddy bear with a hatchet is genius in my opinion.  The college kids all do a great job as well with very solid acting, one of whom is a beer gulping legend who provides a great comedy outlet.  He's also the type you want to see get all cut up.  All the great slasher movies have a character that deserves what they get but they tend to be the ones you love the most.

Now onto the kills...

For a low budget short, the kills are actually awesome and very well done.  My personal favorite is both disgusting and hilarious and makes you think that ''no one should ever have one of those shoved up there.''  You'll know when you see it, I really don't want to spoil this.  The scene with the killer holding a severed head is another highlight for me.  It looked so awesome and twisted... Again, you'll see.

Teddy is 11 minutes of pure fun.  It's made in homage to a genre the filmmakers clearly love and that aspect shines throughout it.  It wears its love of 80s slashers on its sleeve without feeling dated.  The filmmakers have talent and I can't wait to see more from.  I really enjoy Teddy and I hope you do too.

Follow Kevin Sommerfield and Slasher Studios on Twitter and get details on some awesome podcasts here:!/slasherstudios

Friday, 6 January 2012

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis


I've done it.  I've completed my mission of watching the ROTLD in a matter of days, and because I still have flu, I might just watch another series.  If I do I'll review it here.  On to the point now though, what did I think of ROTLD: Necropolis?

I loved it.

After watching Rave to the Grave, I was expecting Necropolis to be the same trashy, mindless, fun crap.  But I was wrong.  This movie surprised me and proved all of my preconceptions wrong.  I thought it was a genuinely great movie that deserves a place in the series.  It may not be better than the 1st 3, but it does enough to deserve merit alongside them.  The only criticism I have is the slow moving zombies, but the strengths of the movie as a whole make that criticism irrelevant.

The film is about a group of friends who break into the headquarters of a corporation who are creating zombie super soldiers to save their friend.  It loosely follows the ideas put forward in Yuzna's predecessor.  But all Hell breaks loose when the zombies break out of their prison and start wreaking havoc on the place.  That's the basic summary of the plot, but as basic as the plot is, there's a lot of filler in this one to keep us fixated.

Unlike Rave to the Grave, the gore in this is pretty good and there's some neat special effects.  Also, like the 3rd one, it focuses more on horror than comedy.  I also loved the idea of Bio-Zombies.  Maybe this movie was trying to capitalise on the success of Resident Evil.  It doesn't matter though as Necropolis is good in its own right.  The acting was solid but not spectacular and more importantly, there was a robo zombie with a machine gun arm.

I honestly don't understand the criticism for this one.  I can understand for Rave to the Grave but not for Necropolis, as it was a genuinely good small budget movie with a lot going for it that kept me entertained throughout.  This doesn't rank with the 1st 3, but as I said, it does do enough to deserve a place in the series.

Return of the Living Dead: Rave To The Grave

So here I go taking a giant leap into Hell.  I'm taking a risk ruining a series for myself that I've fallen in love with by watching one of the sequels every fan of the series I know has told me to avoid.  Did I listen?  No... it just made it seem more appealing.  Surely no movie can be that bad...

And honestly - it really wasn't that bad.

Going into this I was expecting a cringe-worthy piece of crap that would be impossible to sit through.  So imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed it.  Now don't get me wrong, it is a piece of crap, but it's a fun piece of crap.  The only comparison it has to the 1st 3 ROTLD movies is the name and the zombies repeating the word 'BRAINS' over and over.  In no way whatsoever does it even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the 1st 3, but if you can take it for what it is then you might enjoy it like I did.  It's a fun, trashy popcorn movie and shouldn't be viewed any other way.

I'll start off with the bad points - there are a few.  First off, the zombies looked like crap.  There was no effort put into making them look like zombies at all.  The make up was weak and it came out looking like regular people with chalked faces and a bit of red around the lips.  There was only 2 cool zombies (one that died instantly after suggesting promise and the other just sorta stood by a highway trying to get a passer by to pick it up and drive it to a rave).  Now onto the gore.  It isn't the best, but it's cheesy and fun enough to enjoy.  There was a really nice death with a screwdriver (or a pencil, I can't be sure) and there was a couple of fun decapitations.  However, the zombies died as a result of these as well as gun shots.  Everyone knows that ROTLD zombies are trickier to kill than this.  The humor is another weakness, but it's also a strength.  By that I mean that the attempts to make us laugh are so unfunny that we end up laughing at how unfunny they are.  It isn't LOL but it helps remind us that we shouldn't be taking it seriously.

I can't think of any strengths.  It was the weaknesses that made me enjoy it.  I wouldn't recommend this to someone who's expecting anywhere near on par with the 1st 3, but if you enjoy mindless, daft, immature fun with a bit of terrible zombies thrown in then you'll get a small kick from it.  Just think of it as just another zombie movie, because if you're a big ROTLD fan then this sequel might offend you.

Return of the Living Dead Part 3 (1993)

If you read my reviews on Return of the Living Dead Parts 1 & 2 then you'll know that I plan to review the entire series.  I'm currently on course to complete this task and tonight I got one step further with Return of the Living Dead Part 3, directed by the consistently great yet underrated director, Brian Yuzna (Re-Animator sequels and other greats).  Just like the first 2 movies, this one didn't disappoint me in the slightest.  As a matter of fact, it might even be the best in the series so far.  It takes a completely different approach from the comedy driven zombie action of the first two and instead focuses more on the horror and even more so - romance.

Curt and Julie are a young rebellious couple, completely in love, them against the world (you know the type).  Anyway, one night they sneak into a military base where Curt's dad works and witness an experiment where the military are trying to turn the undead into super soldiers.  Later on that night the young lovers decide to runaway together but an unfortunate accident kills Julie, and naturally Curt makes the mistake of bringing her back to life with the lethal 'Trioxin' that we've come to learn never ends up good for anyone when they're exposed to it.  Curt isn't ready to accept his girlfriend is becoming one of the undead, so he takes her on the run and they have to overcome obstacles such as the forces, the undead, a pissed of Hispanic gang looking for revenge and Julie's growing cannibalistic hunger.

For many fans of the series this was the movie that truly ended it.  I know the next 2 sequels are received with general loathing and contempt, but the 3rd of the series is a fan favorite often held in as high regard as the 1st (even more so than the 1st by some).  Brian Yuzna really switched it up with this one and put his own stamp on it.  If you've seen other Yuzna movies then you can tell it's one of his just by looking at the zombies amalgamated Picasso-like, appearances (Society comes to mind, only less f'd up).  Like his buddy and sometimes colleague, Stuart Gordon often does, Yuzna has presented a high concept idea on a small budget and made it look great. The only criticism I have is it's a shame Yuzna didn't do another sequel focusing on the zombie super soldiers going to war.

Return of the Living Dead Part 3 not only kept the series exciting, it kept it fresh.  Gone is the goofy comedy and in its place in more tense horror with a necrophelic romantic heart.  There is still a comedy outlet for the chaos going on though with the character of the River Man.  He's so insane it's hard not to have a giggle.  After watching this I don't know if I want to watch the next 2.  This was a perfect movie to round off a great series, and I haven't heard a single good thing about the next 2.  But I did promise you all that I would so I fully intend on doing so.  Who knows? I might even be one of the only people to enjoy them.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Silent Flute (1978)

The Silent Flute (also known as Circle of Iron) is an action/adventure/fantasy based on an idea of the legendary Bruce Lee before his untimely death.  The story follows Cord The Seeker, who is on a mission to find a mystical book known as 'The Book of All Knowledge' which is being held by a wizard know as Zetan (played by Christopher Lee).  On his journey for the book, he has to overcome a number of challenges.  Along the way he encounters unique characters, including a man bathing in oil and more importantly, his sort-of guide who is a blind flute player played by another late great, David Carradine.

This movie isn't a martial arts-fest from an action point of view.  Instead it explores the mythology of Zen.  There is enough action to keep the viewer occupied though if that's what you're looking for (not the best choreography though), but the concepts on display here are what really makes the movie interesting.  It's actually the concepts and mythology involved that keep the movie interesting throughout, as the acting isn't perfect and neither is the direction, but at the soul of it there's something special.

The movie is engaging as it offers Eastern philosophies to a Western audience.  I find this culture fascinating so this is where I get my main fill out of the movie.  However, if you just fancy a movie with a bare chested fighter with just the right amount of cheese then you'll enjoy it.  It has plenty of humor.

The remake is supposedly due out some time this year.  It'll be interesting how they approach it.  I suspect it'll be all action and lack of philosophy.  I'm usually all for giving a remake a chance, but I just feel this shouldn't have one.

Return of the Living Dead (Parts 1 & 2)

A little over a year ago I was in my most visited DVD shop when I came across a movie called Return of the Living Dead Part 2 for a mere £2.  The cover art was amazing and for that price I just had to buy it.  I took it home and watched it that night and loved every second of it.  I then done some research and found out that Return of the Living Dead was a cult classic of the 80's and compared to the first part, the second was supposedly sub par.  So I picked up the first, watched it and fell in love with that one as well.  I don't think the second part is sub par either, as I love them both.  They're ridiculously entertaining, funny and the zombies are a fresh concept to this day, let alone 1985 when the first movie was released.  So far I've only watched the first 2, but this week I intend to complete the series and review it right here.  My coursework can wait as horror is more of a priority than University.

Return of the Living Dead: Part 1

First off, I need to comment on that cover art.  You just don't get cover art like that anymore.  Sometimes it's a cool cover that lets me know instantly that I'm going to love a movie.  I hate that I didn't grow up in the 80's.  Definitely my favorite era for movies.

Return of the Living Dead is a hilarious comedy horror, with a terrific blend of both, albeit cheesy.  This movie pays homage to the Godfather of Zombie cinema George Romero, but it's a stand alone great in its own right and a cult classic which is held in as high regard as Romero's classics by many horror fans, including me.  Actually, I like it way more than Romero's Dead series (I like my zombies more trashy and goofy personally, but I do appreciate some Romero).  Return of the Living Dead has everything I love from a horror comedy zombie movie; graveyards and the dead rising from their graves, amazing FX, cheesy witty dialogue, punks, naked girls dancing in graveyards, storms and all round chaos overall.  On top of that the score is great and it really is visually stunning.  Some of the outdoor settings give it a great vibe in particular.  And who could forget the incredible tag line, ''They're back from the grave and ready to party.''  It really does some it up, and what a wild party it is.

Zombies can get pretty boring from time to time.  There's countless zombie movies out there.  What makes Return of the Living Dead stick out for me is it's very different from a lot of zombie movies.  First off, killing them isn't as easy as the traditional destroy the brain.  Nope, each zombie here gives you a time of it here.  Killing them actually has more in common with Deadites than zombies.  There's a lot of dismemberment here but even then they aren't truly dead, or even truly immobile either.  The way is to burn them, but how is it possible to burn an entire army of the undead?  Our heroes really have their work cut out here.  Second, the zombies here are fast, intelligent and still have traits of their humanity, with additional cannibalistic tendencies.  My favorite scene is when they interrogate one of the reanimated dead and she explains why they love brains.  For some reason, that scene blows me away.  Furthermore, the characters are endearing and react with logic to the situation they're in.  If you can't kill a zombie with a blow to the head, then cut it off, if it still comes at you, hack its limbs, if the limbs keep coming, incinerate them.  Sure, it's hilarious to watch, but it's very applicable and sensible to their situation.

I could go on and on and on as to why you should watch this movie, but I'd only spoil so much of its surprises and delights.  Those who have seen it will probably back me up when I say watch it asap!!!

Return of the Living Dead: Part 2

Once again, this one has some amazing cover art...

So, this one splits opinion among fans.  Personally, I love it.  Whether that's because I seen it before the first one I don't know.  But I've seen them both many times now and I still love them both.  The second part is different to the first part in many aspects, but it still has so many of the characteristics that made the first one so great.

This movie spices it up this time with kids finding barrels of the toxin which brought the dead back to life in the first one, and their childhood curiosity gets the best of them and they unleash it back into the world by accident.  This movie has a child as the main hero, which I love because it gives it that Goonies/Monster Squad idea of what Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun director) has described as a ''treehouse movie.'' I get where he's coming from.  Kids adventure where it's up to them to save the day.  Some of those movies remain a favorite of mine to this day.  We still have teenagers and adults here, but our hero is the kid.

The sequel is a fun zombie romp and I don't understand the criticism of it.  It offers some fresh ideas such as electricity instead of fire for a start.  I mean, no one really wants to see the exact same thing done again do they?  Like the first though, it's still funny and we have some returning faces.  The zombies look disgusting as well which is always a bonus.  It's cheesy, it's fun and it's everything anyone could want from a sequel to a widely regarded movie.  I still rate it as one of the best zombie flicks ever to grace the history of cinema, as I do the first.

I've yet to see the remaining installments of this series, but I plan to watch and review them within the next couple of weeks.

Treevenge (2008)

Before the best movie of 2011 (in my opinion), Hobo With A Shotgun, a young Canadian director brought us the violent and hilarious short Treevenge.  This one made quite an impression at festivals with its unique point of view coming from that of everyone Christmas celebrating families holiday staple - the Christmas Tree.

I look at Treevenge as a statement towards the attitude of humanity.  We have a history of taking and taking and killing living things for our own gain.  Personally, I like trees.  I love forests and woodland areas, so when I watch Jason Eisener's critically acclaimed short, I root for the trees all the way.

Eisener, on the back of the hype of his trailer of Hobo With A Shotgun for Grindhouse, created somewhat of an internet buzz and many film fans were excited to see what he would churn out in future.  And not many were disappointed with Treevenge, as it was met with instant approval at film festivals around the world.  So without further ado, I present to you the amazing short by my new favorite director, Jason Eisener - Treevenge.  You'll think twice before hanging up your trees next Christmas.  Enjoy.

Chris R. Notarile's Fan Movies

I was wasting some time on Youtube a few months ago when I came across a short film called Escape From New Jersey made by a fan called Chris R. Notarile.  Now, as I'm a HUGE John Carpenter fan, and in particular a huge fan of both Escape From New York and Escape From LA, I just had to check it out, didn't I?  I wasn't expecting much from a fan made film paying homage to the Carpenter classics, I just assumed it would be some mindless fun (which it is), but it's much more than that.  It's a well made short that makes the most of its next to nothing budget.  Chris R. Notarile is a filmmaker I'd love to see make a feature.

Now don't go into this expecting a masterpiece.  It's low budget but that doesn't mean it's bad.  It's a fun homage to a classic movie, set after the events of Escape From New York.  Personally, that's a feature I'd watch as I believe Carpenter and Kurt need to make one more sequel and give us a trilogy.  You can tell Notarile really loves these movies and he's put a lot of effort into providing us with lighthearted entertainment.

Another great short by him is Krueger: A Tale From Elm Street.  It's a lot of fun, as are his other tribute shorts to other legendary horror icons, including my personal favorite - Maniac Cop.

I recommend you watch these and show support for an unknown with a lot of talent.  Each view is more recognition, and you'll have some laughs watching them.  I recommend you watch the shorts where Freddy is pursued by Pinhead who has recruited other horror icons to do his bidding.  I hope you enjoy them.  I just thought I'd share them and let you watch them for yourselves.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Jimmy is a down on his luck class clown/pizza boy who's just been dumped by his girlfriend on the day of prom. To make matters worse she decides to go with the Class President/douchebag of the school.  On his way to the prom he gets a phone call from his boss saying he needs to work... like his night couldn't get any worse, right?  We also have a group of nerds who are members of the sci-fi club who couldn't get dates for prom in the first place so they decided to spend their night in the local cemetery. Then there's the rebellious garage punk rock band who refuse to go to prom because they're all anti-establishment, high and have a small case of the writer's block.  Could the night get any worse for anyone?  Well, that's where the zombies come in to put a further dampener on everyone's evening and it's up to Jimmy, the sci-fi club, the punks and a team of unlikely heroes, including a cheerleader and a psychopath who looks about 35 to save the day.

Horror/comedy gets mixed reaction from horror fans.  Movies like Shaun of The Dead have been great examples of how they can be both funny, yet stay true horror at the same time.  Then we have movies like Feast that just want us to have some bloody, gutsy fun.  Personally, I'm a huge fan of horror and comedy together, even if it focuses more on laughs than scares.  So if it's scares you're after then you won't find them in Dance of the Dead, as it's essentially a comedy with zombies thrown in the mix.  It's hilarious, and the dialogue is witty and fun.  The kills are a hoot as well (who knew that wrestling moves was an effective way to kill the undead?).  There's also zombie car theft and other weird and wonderful things going on.  It's understandable why this has become a movie with a strong cult following, and maybe in time it will become the cult classic it deserves to be.  I recommend it if you're a fun of goofball comedy horror like Todd & The Book of Pure Evil.  It's witty, it's funny, it has great kills, it has romance, it has car theft, it has wrestling and lots of other wonderful surprises.  Pick it up asap if you enjoy mindless fun.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

The Ti West Piracy Statement

Above is a link to the statement made by Ti West pleading with fans not to pirate his new film The Innkeepers.  Now, I'm not going to be a hypocrite and act like I haven't watched a pirated movie before, but I am proud to say that I buy the majority of movies I watch, whether it be in cinemas or on a physical format.  The only movies I've ever pirated are the ones that have never had a physical release, or are so rare it's impossible to find one.  I don't enjoy doing it but sometimes it's the only option in order to see certain films.  But Ti West's new feature, like many other independent films, will be released and I for one will pay for it.

Ti West's plea really touched me.  Honestly my heart goes out to the guy because it seems piracy has really affected him.  He talks about how he never made a dime off House of the Devil, which really is a shame considering the huge success of the film.  Being a fan of Ti West and other indie filmmakers, I don't mind paying a mere £10 to watch a film if it's going to help them put food on the table.  I also don't mind paying it because, like Ti said, if we show support for these movies then it means that studios will put more faith in interesting movies, instead of the run-of-the-mill, predictable movies we see these days, whether it be remakes or just standard movies we've seen over and over again before.  When it comes to studios it's financial gain they focus on, which is understandable as at the end of the day it's a business.  But if we showed more financial support towards guys like Ti West then perhaps we'd see a new era of original and interesting horror films, as well as other genres because studios would have the faith to fully back them with better budgets.

As soon as The Innkeepers is in theaters I'll be going to see it.  If it doesn't make theaters then I'll be buying the DVD asap.  I don't have VOD here in Scotland so it looks like I have to wait a month or 2.  As tempting as it would be to pirate it (because I really want to see it more than anything), I'm going to resist and wait until it's released here in the UK.  I hope West's plea catches on and affects others because it would be strong for the future of genre cinema.  It broke my heart that Roger Avary's script for a Phantasm sequel was rejected because the cost was too high and the studios didn't have faith in it.  Maybe with more financial support then we'd get to see these types of films without studios needing much convincing.  We know there's a market for them, but unfortunately we live in a world where money talks and movies are no different.

I'm not trying to preach or anything, just giving my thoughts on the matter.

Happy New Year

Happy 2012 everyone.  The Rapture is upon us and the world is at its nigh, some of us are trying to repent so the Kingdom of Heaven will accept us, and some of us just think it's all make believe.  Personally, I'm just looking forward to all of the fantastic movies that are coming to theaters, straight to DVD and the dark bowels of the Internet waiting to be shit out and left to die.  There's a whole bunch of movies I'm looking forward to seeing so I'll get right to it.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter looks like tremendous fun.  I just love the idea of Abe Lincoln taking on the bloodsucking creatures of the night.  The trailer and the posters are incredible.  Also, it has a 70 million budget so hopefully it'll hit UK cinemas so I can go watch it on the big screen.

The Innkeepers is one I've been dying to see for a few a while now.  Ti West is one of the most exciting directors in all of film right now.  All of his films have been great (even Cabin Fever 2 which he takes nothing to do with).  Like many others, my mind was blown away by House of the Devil and I can't wait to see what he has in store with The Innkeepers.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters looks amazing.  This is how I always liked to imagine Hansel and Gretel would have turned out after their ill fated run in with that cannibalistic old hag who lived in house fitting for a pedophile.  Anyway, the plot makes it sound fantastic but to top it all off it stars the delicious Zoe Bell, who's not only super hot but she's also super bad ass.  I'd let her kick me in the face any day and I'd hit the deck with cartoon love hearts pouring out of my eyes and my teeth spewing out of my mouth.

Django Unchained I cannot wait for.  Quentin Tarantino is my all time favorite director.  QT has always had a knack for casting the coolest and greatest names but this one is a dream.  I'm not the biggest DiCaprio or Foxx fan, but they are talented and will do a great job, but the supporting cast is unbelievable.  Every single one of them and to sweeten the deal, RZA may sign up as well.  RZA is my musical hero.

While I'm on the topic of RZA, this year we'll see his debut feature film as a director with The Man With The Iron Fists.  RZA knows good kung fu and I have every faith he'll provide us with it in his movie.  It's also co-written by the opinion splitting Eli Roth.  Me, I love Eli Roth, so the fact that he's tied to this makes it even more exciting.  I just wish he'd hurry up with Thanksgiving and Endangered Species.  Hell, I'd even take the kids movie he said he wants to make one day with Tim Allen.  In fact, that should be his priority because it sounds fucking A.

The Dark Knight Rises is going to be fucking HUGE.  I love what Nolan has done to the Batman franchise.  The same goes for The Hobbit.  That's going to be massive as well and I think it looks ace.  I love LOTR and just like LOTR, this means I don't need to read the book.

The Funhouse 3D is a remake I support.  I'm not against remakes. I do wish there wasn't as many of them and more original movies got made, but some remakes have been very good.  The Funhouse was a fun movie with a great carnival setting and a great villain, but it has potential to be better.  The remake will be fun and violent.  I'm OK with that.

The ABC's of Death is going to be a hoot. With names like Jason Eisener attached it's a must see for me personally.

Prometheus does look good.  I like Ridley Scott and most of his movies have been truly epic and I suspect this will be no different.

Hit Somebody: Home I await with both excitement and angst, because if Kevin Smith is serious then this is his last movie.  As a movie though it looks great.  I love sports comedies and it's been too long since I watched a hockey comedy (Mighty Ducks is a classic).  Alan Rickman, John Goodman and the greatest actor alive today, Michael Parks are also rumored to be involved.  I really hope he sticks Jason Mewes and Jason Biggs somewhere in there as well.

American Reunion is a film I've literally been having dreams about for years.  I watched American Pie as a teenager and I could relate to it.  I feel a strong attachment to these characters and I'm just not ready to say goodbye to them yet.  I really hope they make movies every few years just to show what stages they're all at in their lives.  Really glad Oz is back on board for this one.

I want to see Tar because it has Bruce Campbell and Zach Braff.  It also has the lovely Mila Kunis.  I'd smash that like an Idaho potato like Mos Def would say.

Have you seen the trailer for The Devil Inside?  It's COOL.  It definitely sold me and I'll be going to see this one asap.  I've been appreciating exorcism movies a lot more in the past year.  I'd always liked them but now I love them.  This looks like it could be one of the better ones.

Zombie Ass looks ridiculous and in the same vein as RoboGeisha and Tokyo Gore Police.  It's going to be splatty, OTT and inappropriate.  I can't wait.  J-Splat is a twisted but endearing genre.

The Woman In Black sounds like The Wicker Man but I still want to see it.  I love a good horror mystery.  Plus it has Daniel Radcliffe - not Harry Potter.  He's a really good actor and it's a shame people will probably only ever think of him as Harry.  Don't get me wrong, I love Harry Potter.  I actually adore it, but I want to see Daniel branch out.

I can't wait for Ghostrider: Spirit f Vengeance.  I loved the first one and I completely welcome a series.  I really hope they do another sequel set in the Old West.

The Shrine is the latest film from director of the amazing Jack Brooks Monster Slayer.  It's available here in the UK early 2012 and I can't wait to see it.  It looks completely different from Jack Brooks Monster Slayer and it should hopefully help Knautz establish himself.

Piranha 3DD looks like mindless fun.  The first one was great and even better than the original.  Blood,, babes and mutated fish with teeth.  Sounds good to me.

The Lords of Salem finally arrives this year.  I've enjoyed all of Rob Zombie's movies to date and I think this is his best idea yet, with the exception of the yet to be made Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The main reason I want to see this is for Udo Kier.  I like a good witch movie as well, but I haven't seen enough great ones.

Tim Burton is hit or miss for me, but I really want to see Dark Shadows.  I haven't seen the original series but it looks awesome.  I also think the movie looks awesome and hopefully it'll do well and the original show will get a re-run for us young 'uns to check out.

I'll conclude it here because I could go on forever.  There's so much blockbusters I want to see and there's a tonne of low budget horror I want to see, and there's surely going to be more discovered.  I'll review them as I see them folks and hopefully you'll enjoy them or discover something new.  What movies are you all looking forward to?

The Stolen Wings

I'm not a filmmaker, but it's safe to assume that short films are essential to have on a CV for up and coming directors.  They're a great way to learn the art of film making for the filmmaker and the offer a few minutes of entertainment for the fan.  You don't always need a full feature to get your message across, and you definitely don't need one to entertain.  Up and coming Irish director Gerard Lough has made 5 shorts,, and they've all been amazing.  The above link is the full short for The Stolen Wings, and I strongly recommend you take 4 minutes 34 seconds of your time and watch it and if you like it then go on and watch all of his stuff, because quite frankly, he's amazing.  The Stolen Wings took 11 months to make and it's definitely paid off.

Surely it's only a matter of time before he gets the budget to make a full feature, and when he does I'll be the first to see it.  I really hope he continues down the path of making imaginative horror and fantasy.  In under 5 minutes, he manages to tell such unique stories.

Space Truckers (1996)

Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) is a wonderful director who makes wonderful movies.  Re-Animator is a horror classic held in the highest regard by the majority of horror fans.  However, since then he's went on to make a host of underrated gems.  He has always been a consistent director, as well as diverse with movies and TV shows ranging from horror (Re-Animator) to sci-fi (Space Truckers) to family comedy (Honey I Shrunk The Kids) to black comedy (Stuck) to thriller (Edmond).  He's also produced some lesser known gems that aren't often discussed such as King of The Ants and Fortress.  And who could forget the classic From Beyond?

The reason I'm telling you about Stuart Gordon movies instead of purely focusing on Space Truckers is because he's made so much great movies.  He's always been ambitious and has delivered interesting concepts on an often limited budget.  He is honestly one of the true masters of horror, but he's more diverse than that.  Critics have panned him more often than not, but within the realms of horror he's somewhat of a cult hero along with his friend - and sometimes collaborator, Brian Yuzna (a great director in his own right).  I urge you to watch the filmography of them both.  I plan on reviewing all of their work eventually and I look forward to re-watching the films I've seen and exploring the ones I haven't.  There's still a couple out there by both of them I haven't been able to acquire yet.  Now, on to Space Truckers...

The brilliant cast of the ever so great Dennis Hopper, along with the cool Stephen Dorff and the weirdly attractive Debi Mazar deliver fun performances as two independent transporters of shipment and a waitress who have been hired to deliver an unknown containment to Earth.  It's a long dangerous journey through space though and our gang of heroes have to tackle some unlikely obstacles on their way.  These obstacles include the law, ship malfunctions (or should I say space truck?), crooks (led by the show stealing Charles Dance as a self-rebuilt, half metal and extremely horny space pirate with a grudge), killer robots and the biggest obstacle of all - 2 guys in love with the same half naked chick.

Don't go into this one expecting a serious sci-fi because you'll be disappointed.  However, if you want an action packed thrill ride that delivers action, laughs and explosions, along with killer robots then pick this one up.  It's one that you can watch over and over again, as it invokes childhood-like space fantasies along with enough sex jokes to keep the inner teen alive and for the adult... well I dunno.  I feel like a big kid watching this one.  And that's partly why I love it.  There's also enough goofs to keep the critics focused, for example, all the gravity defiance for a start.  It only adds to the charm though.  It's in no way a bad movie though, and it doesn't fall into the category of 'so bad it's good.'  It makes the most of its limited budget and it looks visually sweet.  I'd also recommend it if you're a fan of Spaceballs, but it's not as goofy as Spaceballs.  Not many movies are really.

It's a shame that this film was the victim of production difficulties.  It never found a distributor to release it to theaters in several countries from what I understand.  It's the ultimate popcorn flick and it would have been wonderful to see on the big screen.  But at least we have the DVD, the luxury of television and the ability to make popcorn if we choose to, hell, we can BUY popcorn from any good supermarket or late night petrol garage.  So grab some snacks, sit back and prepare for a high octane, cheesy thrill ride, equipped with laughs o' plenty and lots of fire, robot erections and bewb cleavage from the starlet and even a little from Dennis Hopper (but his is through the t-shirt.  Sorry ladies).