Sunday, 7 March 2021

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Zombies 'Outbreak' Mode News and Impressions


A week last Thursday kicked off season 2 of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and with that season there was a brand new mode for Zombies. Outbreak is different to the traditional experience in that rather than be wave based survival you are instead dropped into one of three large maps with up to three other people and then tasked with performing one of five different tasks.

In terms of the story this is the continuing adventures of the team that are up against the sinister Omega Group. This time you have headed to Russia's Ural Mountains in which the largest tear in reality yet recorded has occurred. The maps themselves are repurposed from the large scale multiplayer Fireteam modes and so they don't feel like they were designed with the walking dead in mind. Ruka takes place in a woodland forest, Alpine takes place at the top of a ski slope, while Golova has the feel of an Eastern European town. It is randomised which map you start on keeping things feeling fresh.

Upon starting Outbreak you are given a marker on the map to head towards which will be the level's objective. On the way you battle undead but never in the huge amounts you would get in a traditional Zombies map. Instead this is much more chill with you able to take potshots at the random ghouls wondering around. Taking some pointers from Warzone there are chests dotted around the maps that give you points to buy armour as well as grenades and the such. Each map also has a mystery box, armour stations, and a pack-a-punch machine. Upon opening the beacon to either exfil or head to a new level (in which the difficulty increases each time), you also get access to all these machines.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan (2019) - Horror Video Game Review


Until Dawn
was a very good looking horror adventure game that played out like a 'choose your own adventure'. I said back in my review of it that I wasn't sure how much replay value there would be. This was followed up with a couple of VR spin-off games. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood was a fantastic on-rails shooter, while the other spin-off, The Inpatient was a first person perspective prequel (that I really should get around to playing). I recall hearing from people on a podcast at a time that they would like any new game in the mainline series to feature its own separate story, with its own separate cast of characters. Brilliantly that is exactly what the developers, Supermassive Games have decided to go with, and they have gone big with intentions to have eight different games telling eight different stories of terror. The first of these was 2019's Man of Medan, the second in the series, Little Hope, came out towards the end of last year.

Four friends that include Alex (voiced by Kareem Tristan Alleyne - iZombie), his girlfriend Julia (Arielle Palik), his little brother Brad (Chris Sandiford - What We Do in the Shadows TV series), and Julia's brother Conrad (Shawn Ashmore - The Ruins) have chartered a small boat captained by Triss (Ayisha Issa - 12 Monkeys TV series) in order to locate a rumoured World War II wreck. They are successful and even manage to discover the coordinates while there for a treasure named as 'Manchurian Gold'. Before they are able to celebrate their find their boat is ambushed by a small band of pirates led by the sinister Olsen (Kwasi Songui - 300). He decides to head to the coordinates, enlisting the unwilling friends to help him gather the treasure. They arrive to discover a floating graveyard, a seemingly abandoned American warship, which in the games prologue was shown to be the place of an unfolding madness that tore the crew apart in the 1940s. Now the friends must evade Olsen and his men, locate an essential part the pirates took from Triss's boat to stop her escaping, and then flee the nightmarish vessel.


I quickly discovered upon my return to Until Dawn that despite seeming to have a variety of ways the game can play out, the actual story remained quite rigid. With Man of Medan purposely being a shorter length, and not needing to get replay value (as I played this via Xbox Game Pass) I decided whatever decisions ended up happening I would stick with, I wouldn't try and replay chapters to get the optimal outcome. Not counting the prologue set in the 1940's in which you play as two American soldiers, there are five characters you play as, which character you get to play as at any given point is dependent on where the story has headed. On my particular game one of these five characters I managed to get killed very early on in the story, it was interesting to read afterwards that that fate wasn't set in stone and they could have well survived the whole ordeal. As it was I finished the game after roughly three to four hours with three of my cast intact. Not bad, not great, but I felt it added to the authentic feeling of being in a horror movie by having main characters die.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Suicide Tapes - Horror Anthology Film News


Exploitation film director Wilhelm Müller (Neighbor No.9) has teamed up with fellow filmmaker Tony Newton (segments on Virus of the Dead, 60 Seconds to Die) to make a new anthology, Suicide Tapes, which the press release states is the first horror film of its kind. As the title might well indicate this is going to be made up of a collection of short found footage horror that each revolve around a suicide occuring on camera. Apologies for the censored cover picture, was a bit graphic!

They are currently seeking submissions and have set out a few rules for what they are looking for, which are as follows:
 'Create a short horror film in under 5 minutes. Each short film must include a death by suicide scene and can either include just the suicide or also a little story surrounding it. The tapes will appear to be found and can include the victim talking directly to the camera. Can be filmed using any camera or smartphone as long as the film is delivered in landscape orientation 1080p HD. You will need a title at the start and end credits. This is an Underground Horror anthology film and can feature graphic scenes of faux blood, nudity and gore but NO REAL SELF HARM. If there is dialogue, it should either be in English or with English subtitles. If you use music, make sure there is no copyright!'
Completed films can be sent via wetransfer.com or google drive to cerebralfilm@gmail.com or tony.newton.productions@gmail.com.

This type of thing really isn't something I get much enjoyment out of at all, I learnt that with Faces of Snuff! However I'm sure there are plenty of people who this will appeal to, fictional horror should be celebrated in all its various forms and genres whatever the particular perspective of this rotting blogger.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Dead Again (2021) - Comedy Zombie Horror Film Review


As you might have guessed from my blog's title, I am a huge fan of zombie films. I have said many times previously, but often you don't need to have much of a budget to make an entertaining one. Much like the blog posts I write, with zombie films it is quantity not quality that matters, so even with minimal make-up effects, sheer numbers can increase the enjoyment regardless. Steven M. Smith's Dead Again is a U.K comedy zombie horror film that despite being low on originality at all still is competent enough to be a middle of the road, yet enjoyable film.

PC Brody (Elliot Cable - Incubus, Scare Attraction) is fresh out of police training school and has been assigned to the small sleepy village of Little Pitchfield. He is teamed up with PS Cooper (Tony Fadil - Web Crawler) who informs the eager Brody that there hasn't been a single crime in the village for 17 years. It is Brody's bad luck then that his first day coincides with an outbreak of flesh hungry undead, something that could possibly relate to an incident from the village's past.


While this is described as partly a comedy that part of the movie is thankfully underplayed. The humour didn't really hit very well, but thankfully it is mainly restricted to Cooper, and mainly appears with him using classic movie references that Brody, born in the 90's doesn't understand. Outside of this the film felt a lot more serious than expected which due to the comedy failing isn't actually a bad thing. I had been concerned the humour would be distasteful or mean spirited. It wasn't, aside from the decision to use real life footage of world leaders talking about the Covid 19 pandemic as the film's prologue (to create the false impression they are talking about zombie apocalypse), I felt that was in poor taste. At an initial glance Dead Again looks like a lazy mash-up between Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. A small, sleepy village devoid of crime, an eager new transfer determined to uphold the law in all its forms, and the progression of the character arcs are all Hot Fuzz. Obviously it is the undead that echoes Shaun of the Dead, also that Cooper even looks a bit like Simon Pegg and shares his first name with that other zombie film protagonist.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Raise Her - New Single/Video from Kissing Candice - Music News


New York based masked band Kissing Candice have released their new single Raise Her. This track is described as 'depicting acts of fetishism, masochism, and other deviant dark fixations that linger at times in the dark recesses of the brain'. It was one of the first songs written for the band's new album which is due out at some point in 201. Vocalist Aunt Donna (Joey Simpson) says of the music video: "I want people to watch this music video and walk away saying "what the hell did I just watch?!? I think I like it..."

 

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Stylist (2020) - Horror Film Review


I heard a bit of buzz around Jill Gevargizian's short horror film, The Stylist back when it was released in 2016 but never got a chance to see it. Fast forward to present day and a feature length version of the story has been released, using the same actors, indeed it seems like the short itself is part of the feature, making up the prologue. While at a glance this can appear to be a female Psycho this is more of a slow paced horror that focuses primarily on the villian.

Claire (Najarra Townsend - Wolfmother) is a lonely and troubled hair stylist who is quite unsatisfied with her lacklustre life. She is envious of her clients and their life experiences, but more than anything she wants to be them. Unsuspected to all around her is that she carries a dark secret. She is a serial killer who kills and then scalps her victims. The scalps she keeps in her basement lair, where she wears them like a wig to pretend to be someone else, if only for a moment. After Olivia (Brea Grant - Dexter), a regular client of hers insists she do her hair for her upcoming wedding Claire begins to yearn for her client's special day. This twists into obsession and as the big day approaches she must fight against her instincts.


The most horror like parts of The Stylist are obviously the murder scenes, but these make up a small part of the overall movie. The focus is on Claire, and following around this main character can become exhausting. She's shy and unassuming, but also weird and kind of creepy, but everyone is so wrapped up in their own lives that this isn't really noticed by anyone. Townsend does a great job in this lead role, she displays a lot of different emotions over the course of the film, and despite her crimes there are moments where you do feel a bit sorry for what is blatantly a damaged person who cannot help themselves. The moments where the cracks begin to show in her wafer thin facade are where the acting felt at its best. At just over an hour forty minutes staying with the one character throughout means you get to know them quite well, even then though Claire is a bit of a blank slate, aside from inferring she is the way she is due to childhood abuse there are no details about her past.

Monday, 1 March 2021

The Connection and Dead Again - Horror Film News


Two bits of film news to mention on this double feature news post. First up, releasing on March 2nd from Midnight Releasing comes The Connection. This science fiction film was written and directed by Nicholas Naylor and stars Laura Stetman (Todd), Nicholas Naylor, Joel D. Wynkoop (Toxic Alien Zombie Babes from Outer Space) and Rod Grant (Illusions).
The synopsis for this is 'One night two people's worlds changes forever as a mysterious light in the woods connects the two in a way far beyond their understanding. As they set out to get their lives back to normal, they find the connection is the only normal they may ever know again.'

For something completely different there is Dead Again, a comedy zombie film that is already out, via ITN. This was written and directed by Steven M. Smith (Haunted series, The Doll Master).
In a crime free rural village a young recruit has arrived fresh from Police training. After a virus is released that transforms the village's peaceful population, the recruit teams up with a jaded police sergeant for what might turn out to be both his first and last day on the job. This sounds like an indie version of both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz mixed together, in a genre that is close to my rotting heart. I hope this one turns out to be ghoul-tastic. I have a screener of this to watch for review so look out for a review coming soon.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for February 2021


Another month has gone by and still in lockdown here in the UK. Outside of horror news I had a week off work as holiday the other week, spent the entire time sick with some sort of mild flu which actually wasn't Covid. It's nice to know traditional flu is still hanging out and that not everything revolves around that accursed thing. I feel one day I will be able to abolish this monthly news round-up, but a quick glance in my 'News' section of my inbox, and seeing that it has 41 emails there, it isn't quite the time to ditch this post.

First off some Bayview Entertainment news. They have released the official posters and trailers for their new releases, Red and My Dead Ones. In Red an unknown entity haunts a small town. Men are found dead, females found insane, and there are reports of something...red out in the woods.
My Dead Ones is about shy film student, David who hides a dark past. That one is in Portuguese with English subtitles. Both films are out now on DVD.

Also from Bayview Entertainment is Nothing Else which was released on 9th February on DVD and Digital. This comes from Timoth Conrad Kachumia and stars Hassan Ally Daffur, Brian Mrikaria, and Mohammed Mwikongi. The film is about two strangers who find themselves not only trapped in a room, but also trapped in a time loop. Time loop films usually always have at least a couple of good ideas to them.
As part of their HNN Presents label comes Buddy Bebop Vs The Living Dead. This takes places in 1956 in which the dead are rising from their graves due to sinister experiments. Love the title for this one and zombies are always cool, so hopefully the film matches the premise.



Yet more Bayview Entertainment news with The Devils Daughter and Unfacebook also now out. The former is a story about the daughter of the devil who heads to Earth in order to find a way to get God's forgiveness. The later is about a hypnotic priest who uses a strange new social media platform to induce a group of young men to turn into killers.
Giovanni Aloisio's Nuns - An Italian Horror Story arrived on DVD and Digital on 16th February. This is about three nuns living in an old convent with a mysterious past. This is said to be based on the style of the classics of Dario Argento and Mario Bava.


The Box came to Video On Demand on 2nd February from Midnight Releasing. This curious sounding movie is about a struggling actor who starts having recurring nightmares about mirrors. As he gets closer to landing a major movie role he discovers the plot of the film matches that of his nightmares.


SamHel has taken footage from the 2008 unreleased parody film Amateur Porn Star Killer 3D: Inside the Head by Shane Ryan and put together his own more serious film Erotophonophiliac: Documents of a Lust Murderer (say that ten times fast). This easy to say horror is limited to just 300 copies on DVD and can be purchased here.
The original Amateur Porn Star Killer films will be getting a 4th edition release on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing.

The controversial Human Hibachi is now on the Troma Now streaming service. This horror by Mario Cerrito is about a man who documents his girlfriend's ill fated 35th birthday on his phone. A sequel has already been announced with Human Hibachi 2 "Feast in the Forest" set to film later in the year. Also Cerrito is hard at work on his upcoming production The House in the Pines.

Dark Red Horror have launched a campaign for The Night Courier on Seed&Spark. Filmmakers Tabitha and Mason McDonald (the truly stunning September, By Sunrise) have put together a team that they believe are excellent. Their latest film is about a woman who feeds people to monsters. When one of her victims escapes things change into a nightmarish cat and mouse chase. For more details of the campaign check out here.

Werewolf mystery thriller Beast Within came out on DVD on February 23rd from Stonecutter Media. The cast includes Colm Feore (The Umbrella Academy), Ari Millen (Orphan Black), Holly Deveaux (Shadowhunters, The Mist), and Art Hindle (Black Christmas, Invasion of the Body Snatchers). The plot for this sees a new gaming app Werewolves Awaken being launched at a VIP event. After someone turns up dead the remaining guests get caught up in a deadly version of the fictional game.


Another Small Town Monsters documentary is in the works, this one titled On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Journey. This is a follow up to the miniseries On the Trail of Bigfoot and sees cryptid documentarian Seth Breedlove heading to the Adirondacks in search of the titular beast. This documentary is just one branch of the 'On the Trail of' series, with On the Trail of UFOs: Dark Sky coming in spring and On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Discovery also coming later in the year. There are even two miniseries on the way, On the Trail of Hauntings and On the Trail of the Lake Michigan Mothman.


Finally, some music news and Dark Rock musician Sharone has released a third single from her upcoming LP Morbid Illusion. Screaming Into Oblivion has had an official music video made for it that was directed by Kyle Lamar and Justin Purvis. Sharone says of the song "..is about depression. I wrote the song when I was feeling very alone" and she says of the video itself "I went with a 'Clue (board game) meets The Grudge' theme. The idea was to show different characters trying to figure out who it was who killed me".

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Alien Planet - Sci-fi Film News

Alien Planet is an upcoming sci-fi adventure film coming from Los Angeles based filmmaker Alan Maxson. This is to be the third for him as writer and director, with Maxson most known for his creature acting career. That career has included such highlights as being one of the performance capture actors for King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Blade in the great Puppet Master franchise, he was even a zombie in the opening sequence to Eli Roth's History of Horror show. He also has 14 years of post-production experience. 

Alien Planet is about two different and previously warring alien species that have both run out of a water supply for their people. In desperation these species team up and travel to a dangerous world in order to find the key to rejuvenating their planets. It is described in the press release as 'a meaningful story that mirrors struggles found within humanity'. The big difference touted for this film is that there will be no human characters, instead there will be practical effects makeup, monster suits and puppets to represent the aliens.

There is currently an Indiegogo campaign running to get funds to help get the movie made. As always there is the usual assortment of perks depending on how much you choose to help. Currently the film has raised over 100% of its goal with more than twenty days still to go. The Indiegogo page can be found here.
Maxson says about the film: "My years of experience as an actor and editor have prepared me for Alien Planet. I am extremely excited and passionate about this film and I can not wait for the world to see the finished movie! So if you love what we did in the trailer, please contribute to our campaign and help bring this bad boy to life. Thank you very much to everyone who helps us reach our goal!".


Friday, 26 February 2021

They Look Like People (2015) - Horror Film Review


Recently I watched the charming supernatural romance film A Ghost Waits and discovered the lead actor from that film, MacLeod Andrews was also in a film that had been sat in my Shudder queue for quite a while. They Look Like People, which was written and directed by Perry Blackshear (The Siren) sounded like it would be a spin on the familiar idea of the 'body snatcher', that of humanity secretly being infiltrated by an alien force. In a way it was, but there was a twist that made it work that bit better in a realistic setting.

One day Christian (Evan Dumouchel - Doctor Sleep) encounters an old best friend of his, Wyatt (Andrews) out on the street. It has been around a decade since they last spent time together, so wanting to make amends to Wyatt for them drifting apart, and seeing that his friend doesn't appear to be in a good place he insists he comes stay with him. Wyatt is troubled though, he has discovered that aliens have secretly been taking over human bodies and that a war is very close to happening. For reasons unknown he has the gift of being able to tell which humans have been taken over and which are still themselves. Part of him suspects this is all down to a mental illness of his own mind, yet he is unable to completely disavow the idea that maybe what he is experiencing is really happening...

This was an interesting spin on a well documented idea and it is to the credit of They Look Like People that it resists the urge to dumb down the ideas it is exploring. It is never a hundred percent clear what is actually happening but the movie leans in a way that makes it clear what the viewer was intended to think. The film succeeds mainly due to Dumouchel and Andrews whose on screen chemistry works very well. These feel like actual best friends, helped along by montage sequences of them goofing around. It was also a neat idea that both of them are hiding secrets about the type of person they really are under the surface. Wyatt keeps his thoughts of a secret invasion to himself, and makes excuses when he slips up. Christian appears to have really pulled his life around, he is outwardly full of confidence and success, yet as the film proceeds cracks begin to show, things that are presented to the viewer are later twisted to reveal they aren't exactly how they appear. That both the main characters have visible flaws makes them all the more likeable. Mental health has a poor record in films, especially horror, yet here the character maybe suffering from it is treated humanely, rather than presented as a monster.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Dead Bride (2021) - Horror Film News


Some images have been released for Francesco Picone's (Anger of the Dead) upcoming horror Dead Bride (which I first mentioned back in 2016), with a trailer for the film due to come out sometime in the spring. The film stars Jennifer Mischiati (Creators - The Past), Christoph Hulsen (Freaks Out, Twins), Douglas Dean (The Book of Vision), David White, Sean James Sutton (Onassis, Machination), Duné Medros (The Young Messiah), Michael Segal (Out for Vengeance), Francesca Albanese, Federica Bertoloni, Lorenzo Carcasi and Alena Mayuk.

The synopsis for Dead Bride is that a young couple (Alyson and Richard) have recently moved into a house that was left to Alyson by her biological father. She had been put up for adoption as a child due to her mother going insane. Now Alyson and Richard have a child of their own, but are experiencing financial and marital issues. With Richard out of town on a work trip, Alyson begins to explore the house but discovers some dark family secrets from her past.

Picone says of the movie: "Dark Bride is a dark and spine-tingling movie...offers exceptional acting performances, scary scenes and outstanding cinematography. If you enjoy ghost movies, this is a film you won't want to miss." This is currently in post production with a late 2021 release being aimed for.







Wednesday, 24 February 2021

The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018) - Horror Film Review


The Possession of Hannah Grace
is another entry in the unexpected subgenre of 'morgue horror' that includes such entries as The Corpse of Anna Fritz and The Autopsy of Jane Doe. In particular it is that last one that this seemed to be (perhaps) coincidentally similar to. Both feature a dark, dank morgue, a small number of characters, and a corpse that is not as lifeless as it first appears to be. As much as I enjoyed this movie, due to the similarities of the more effective Jane Doe I had to mark it down slightly. This was directed by Diederik Van Rooijen and written by Brian Sieve (Scream: The TV Series, Boogeyman 2 & 3).

Former cop and recovering addict Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell - Pretty Little Liars TV series) has recently gotten a job working nights in the Boston Hospital morgue, thanks to her A.A sponsor, Lisa (Stana Katic - Castle TV series). On her second night, there is an arrival of a corpse of a young woman, the titular Hannah Grace (Kirby Johnson) and from this point onwards things begin to take a turn for the dangerously surreal. It seems the corpse may in fact be a host for a demon, and that this demon has the power to regenerate its host's body by killing anyone who gets too close.

From the prologue showing a dangerous exorcism of Hannah that results in the violent death of one of the priests it is clear that the demonic angle shown here is very real. I felt that maybe that wasn't an ideal move as with Megan being a recovering addict, and still suffering PTSD due to an incident that led to the death of her former partner when she was still a cop it felt like those parts of her character could have been used to make the viewer question if what was going on was actually just all in her damaged mind. At times that is what attempts to happen, yet due to the prologue it is clear that isn't a factor. This was sometimes put to use in order to make Megan appear like she is crazy to other people she talks to, but as the demonic aspect is very real here it never becomes a focal point of the story.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Gabriel and the Apocalypse - New T I M E L I N E S pointTHREE Remix- Music News


Industrial rock band Gabriel and the Apocalypse have released the third of their remixes. pointTHREE from their soon to be released EP remix Alpha Transcendence that is due out on 25th February. Due to not currently being able to tour (for obvious reasons) the band decided a remix EP would be the best thing they could put out, while giving them time to write new material for 2021.

Jake LaCore (Guitar/Bass) says of the T I M E L I N E S remix "I really enjoy this take on the song "pointTHREE" which already had elements of a remix kind of sound in the original. T I M E L I N E S really captured a unique angle in this version of the song."