Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Interior (2014) - Horror Film Review

For such a simple film haunted house movie Interior achieves a lot despite following quite a well travelled road in terms of what happens. It also impresses in how for the majority of the run time it is a one man show and yet rarely gets boring, helped in no small part by main lead Christopher Carullo whose likable nature means he entertains throughout. This is Zachary Beckler's first full length film as director so it is a great first effort (he also wrote this and features as a Pizza delivery guy bit-part character).

Filmmaker Sam (Carullo) is hired by an old film school buddy friend Allison (Piper Rae Patterson) to spend the night in her house as she believes the property is haunted by a ghost, one that her daughter Danyl has named Emily. The original plan is for them to set up cameras around the place and spend the night together monitoring them, but jealousy from her husband Drake about the fact her and Sam used to date leads to Sam staying the night alone. Initially sceptical, Sam soon comes to suspect there may be something to the story after all and as the night progresses he experiences more and more terrifying incidents...

This is a good film that is hampered by a bit of a frustrating finale, a case of the ball being dropped at the last moment. In theory this is very similar to Paranormal Activity or any such modern home haunting horror. This benefits by being shot as a traditional film for the most part, there are cameras dotted around the house, and at lots of points Sam walks around using a camera to record footage. This does indeed go to the found footage style at times, but that is only a small aspect of what is here. Technology is key with a variety of digital cameras, laptops and sound recorders being used in abundance, a lot of the horror at least in the first half of the movie is shown via these objects of technology.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Be Afraid (2017) - Horror Film Review

Be Afraid is an American horror that takes place in a small remote woodland town. I was hoping I would be as the title suggests but unfortunately this film never manages to get going and led to quite a heady dose of boredom. It is currently available to watch on Netflix if anyone feels the need.

Dr John Chambers (Brian Krause), his pregnant wife Heather (Jaimi Paige) and their young son Nathan relocate to a small town and are soon joined by older brother; college drop out Ben. Pretty much straight away Nathan starts telling his parents about a strange man who comes into his room at night, a story which is not only backed up by local grieving father Dean whose daughter went missing in strange circumstances a few years back, but which John should have reason to believe as he keeps glimpsing this figure also. It all seems linked to a mysterious abandoned railway tunnel near the Chambers's property as Nathan keeps finding himself mysteriously drawn to this place.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Nocturne (2016) - Horror Film Review

Nocturne is a film that continually impressed me, I went to it with no expectations at all and can happily say this is something you should watch with no forewarning of what it is about. I would go so far as to suggest if you want to watch this movie already then go see it and don't read this review as the less you know the better. This is a damn clever film that just goes to prove you really don't need the biggest budget in the world to make an effective horror.

Timid Jo (Claire Niederpruem) arrives at her friends house to attend a small party to celebrate the end of school. The guests include Vi (Melanie Stone), her boyfriend Isaac, Maren (Hailey Nebeker who looks very much like Lauren Cohan), Liam, and intellectual Gabe (Jake Stormoen). The group decide to perform a seance using a pack of cards and after getting some strangely accurate results decide to go on to other things such as hanging in the Jacuzzi, playing typical drinking games, and strip poker. However as the evening goes on more and more weird things start happening, mostly centring around Maren whose increasingly odd behaviour starts to worry the group. Is everything going on down to the fact their drinks were spiked with LSD or is something far more terrifying unfolding?

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Annabelle: Creation (2017) - Horror Film Review

To say I was disappointed with 2014's Annabelle would be an understatement and so I can't say I went to see this sequel; Annabelle: Creation with any degree of enthusiasm despite hearing it was a lot better. The best part of The Conjuring (of which these films are a spin-off) was hearing the tale about the supremely creepy doll and so I expected great things for a film based solely on the doll. Instead what we got was a by the numbers demonic haunting movie that not only wasted huge potential but did nothing new or interesting at all. For the prequel I expected more of a haunting than a Chucky style animated doll and so I think it was that knowledge, as well as a genuinely more entertaining film that I found some peace with this one.

The film starts in the 1940's and a doll maker (Anthony LaPaglia) has just finished work on a new doll, obviously the titular one. Not long after his young daughter dies in a tragic car accident. Fast forward 12 years to the 1950's and the doll makers house has recently become an orphanage. Six girls that include best friends Linda (Lulu Wilson) and polio afflicted Janice (Talitha Bateman) move in, along with Sister Charlotte. Samuel (the doll maker) still lives on the property, along with his bedridden wife and he informs the girl that a certain bedroom upstairs is to be out of bounds. One night Janice hearing strange noises is drawn to this room and discovers in a secret cupboard Annabelle. This discovery leads to an escalation in bizarre events and soon it appears that some sort of evil has it's sights set on Janice...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Fate (2017) - Sci-fi Film Review

There are two genres that get a free pass for review on my site despite not technically being horror, and they are post apocalyptic films, and time travel films, especially if they are done right. Reading the synopsis for Fate I was heavily reminded of Counter Clockwise that was released last year, both share a very similar story line yet both handle the concept of time travel in a different enough way that they stand apart.

Connor Hughes (Daniel Bonjour) is a brilliant quantum physicist who along with his friend Jonas (Jerry Hoffman) has a government grant to see if it is possible to create a time machine. One fateful night they finally succeed, before anything can happen though their project not only gets shut down but Connor's fiancee April (Anne Clare Lush) ends up killed in a car accident. A year later Connor discovers Jonas has been building a working machine in secret and still in grieving over his wife's death he decides he is going to use it to travel back and prevent her accident, however it can be quite hard to change fate...

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Massacre on Aisle 12 (2016) - Horror Film Review

Indican Pictures's Massacre on Aisle 12 is a horror comedy set entirely in a hardware store during one night of mayhem. Sometimes a film doesn't have to be good to still be enjoyable, and a decent bit of escapism from daily life, this is one such example. The humour nearly always fell flat, character motivations were schizophrenic and the main plot is bare bones yet I found myself getting into the crazy world despite the obstacles put in the way.

It is Christmas eve and Dave (Michael Buonomo) arrives at a large hardware store for his first day at his new job where he is introduced to the eclectic staff by assistant manager Jack (Chad Ridgely). These staff include a PTSD suffering janitor Otto (Jim Klock who also directs this), bitchy till operator Tara, camp manager Mr Kipper, and drug expert Pharms amongst other strange people. Everything is going as bizarre as usual until the discovery of a dead body and a duffel bag full of cash leads to the group dividing over whether to keep the money for themselves or if they should call the police. It is not long before everyone starts fighting amongst themselves on who gets the money and soon the body count starts to rise...

Friday, 11 August 2017

Friday News Night: August Edition; Lycan, Effects and, Playing with Dolls: Havoc - Horror Film News and Trailers

I have plenty of proper posts I could be doing but I really need to tidy my house tonight and am exhausted from a long week of work. Due to this I shall be doing a news post that shall be as long or as short as the time I find this eve to do it.

Starting off with a werewolf film called Lycan. I was just saying the other day to a friend how I don't really get on with werewolf films, a wolf just isn't a scary movie monster to me. Anyway Lycan is the feature debut film from Bev Land and is based on the urban legend of the 'Talbot County Werewolf'. In this film six college students are assigned a history project that leads them to the Georgia backwoods to investigate the legend and I guess discover it is all too true. Lycan opened theatrically in select cities on August 4th. This is then to be followed by a disc, digital, and VOD release on September 26th thanks to MVD Entertainment, check out the trailer below...

Also from MVD Entertainment comes a release of a new 4K transfer of Effects. Now I had never heard of this film before but it actually sounds awesome so feel like I have been missing out! It was made in 1978 but didn't actually get an initial release until 2005. This low budget horror stars Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead), Joe Pilato (Day of the Dead), and John Harrison (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) and is about a group of filmmakers who gather in Pittsburgh to make a slasher titled 'Duped: The Snuff Movie', however it seems these men might unknowingly be the main stars in a different type of film altogether. Effects is to be released on Blu-ray on 22nd August and has special features in the form of a documentary, a couple of short films, liner notes, and an archival commentary track. Again, the trailer is below.

Finally (because the best things come in threes and I spent far too much of my evening playing Battlefield 1) comes news and a trailer for Playing with Dolls: Havoc. This is the third film in the series and truth be told I have never heard of it, I was ready to pass it off, that is until I saw the fantastic trailer. Be warned the trailer is very bloody and gory with intestines being pulled out of screaming people, faces getting mashed in, and appendages being cut off but it is all done with really fun looking special effects. It looks like it is a slasher that takes a lot of queues from other classic ones. The killer looks like Jason Vorhees fell in a blender with Leatherface and a healthy dose of barbed wire. The gist of this is that the killer (Havoc) has escaped prison and sets out to butcher not only his jailers, but also the local residents of an isolated wood. Playing with Dolls: Havoc became available to watch through VOD July 20th, it can be seen on Amazon and Vimeo. One last time check out the trailer below, as I said it is quite bloody though.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Alone (2017) - Short Horror Film Review

Alone is a short horror film, so short in fact that it is the slimmest one I have ever done a review of at just over 2 minutes long. A quick search reveals that 'Alone' is an extremely common name for a short horror with at least five coming out just over the past year, so this one would need to stand out.

This film was made by Tofiq Rzayev and is about a man who is relaxing at home seemingly on his own. However he glimpses something in the reflection of his TV screen. Obviously at such a short length this is designed merely to create chills and to a certain degree it does. The method of seeing an out of place figure or shape in a reflection has been done many times before so in terms of originality this doesn't do anything special. On the plus side it was an enjoyable two minutes even finding time to fit in a lights out sequence, though ends the same way as the vast majority of very short horror films do.

I enjoyed the filming, there was a good sense of isolation for the hapless man, I also thought he did a fine enough job as he reacts more quizzically than over the top frightened. Elsewhere the music by Gergo Elekes is fitting bringing to mind Ennio Morricone's The Thing theme tune and it was good to see the music wasn't constant during the short with some effective tension building moments of silence.

Overall there isn't much more to say, Alone is a decent enough horror short, though not one that will be anything you haven't seen before as it follows a template a little too closely. It is on YouTube and isn't private so I will include it below for your viewing pleasure and at just two minutes surely everyone has time to watch this?


Monday, 7 August 2017

Del Playa (2015) - Horror Film Review

Even before slasher film Del Playa was released it gained a lot of controversy. This was due to the fact that it apparently shared many similarities with the real life 2014 Isla Vista killings (in which an American student went on a killing spree near the campus of University of California). It turns out there was some truth to these similarities though writer/director Shaun Hart said his film is not specifically based on that tragic event but more a response to all the school killings that keep on happening. The film was actually shot at Isla Vista, and interestingly enough Hart lived on the street where the killer's rampage eventually ended. For me the similarities were for something far different, for this shares a lot in common with John Carpenter's classic Halloween series (and the remakes).

Del Playa starts in high school where loner Matthew is obsessed with Claire (Devon Barnes). His obsession comes to a head when during a Halloween party at the school he gets in a fight with Claire's boyfriend and ends up killing him. Five years later and Claire is now at university and is quite the mess. With Halloween looming she has began a descent into self destruction with drugs, alcohol and cheating on her boyfriend all in an attempt to gain control of her PTSD. This would be bad enough but to make matters worse Matthew (Brett Johnson) has returned and he is determined to claim Claire for his own, killing any who would get in his way...

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014) - Zombie Horror Videogame DLC Review (Playstation 4)

I reviewed the Playstation 3 version of post apocalyptic zombie game The Last of Us back in 2014 and thought it was amazing. Since then I have brought and completed The Last of Us Remastered which is even better, mainly due to the upgraded graphics making a great game look truly stunning, and that the single player expansion; Left Behind was included in the package (the expansion is now also available to buy as a stand alone game). I'm not planning to do a review for the remastered The Last of Us, though I will say if I had reviewed it I would have gave it a 10/10 due to the added inclusion of this.

In Left Behind you play exclusively as teenager Ellie with the game taking place across two different time periods that constantly swap places with each other over the roughly two hour game. The first story takes place midway through the events of The Last of Us after Joel gets impaled on a metal pole with Ellie taking him to an abandoned shopping centre where she sets out to search for medical supplies. The second story takes place a few weeks before the start of the main game and is set in the human safe zone that starts in. Ellie's best friend Riley reappears after vanishing six months previously. Having joined the Fireflies (a rebel group accused of terrorist acts) she wants to spend one last day with her friend before going away and so takes her to a large shopping centre outside of the safe zone to have some fun. However knowing that Ellie starts the main game with a zombie bite on her arm it is safe to assume things probably wont go swimmingly for the duo...

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Acid Sorcerer (2017) - Horror Film Review

I have a real soft spot for the types of films that Dakota Bailey directs and writes. I love the indie feel to these films and how coherent and consistent the scummy worlds he builds are. While My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence and American Scumbags both had their moments I feel like The Acid Sorcerer is a step up from those while still retaining the familiar style. I loved the trailer for this one and it is always good when a film does live up to it's trailer.

As always there isn't really a central plot to be found here, instead it is once again a slice of life offering showing the day to day life of some true American scumbags. First there is Smoke (Dakota Bailey) who is a serial killer drug addict whose compulsion to kill comes from a shadowy being that follows him around. Then there are homeless drug addict couple Crawdad and pregnant Vermina who will do anything to get their next fix. We also get a glimpse into the life of the most crazy one; cross dressing serial killer and snuff film maker Nikki (Nick Benning) who might end up with more than he bargains for when a HIV infected prostitute becomes his next victim. These characters are all loosely tied together by drug dealer Eyevin (Brian Knapp).

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Dracula in a Women's Prison, Inner Demon and Islamic Exorcist news and trailers plus Gruesome Magazine launch details

I have been neglecting my inbox for The Rotting Zombie quite a bit lately, there just isn't enough hours in the day. So there shall be an assortment of random bits of news I have stored up there, I shall keep going until my dinner is ready! Firstly I have a very NSFW trailer for sexploitation horror Dracula in a Women's Prison. What's worse than being in prison? Being in prison where the guards are vampires and the warden is none other than Count Dracula (Robert Rhine). From the trailer it seems some of the inmates escape only to get a change of heart and return to free the rest. It seems full of very bad CGI, humorous horror deaths, and lots of nudity if that is your thing. This movie is now available to rent or buy from Vimeo now.

Terror Films's Inner Demon is now available on 'the Netflix of horror' Shudder. This award winning Australian indie horror (directed by Ursula Dabrowsky) is about teenager Sam (Sarah Jeavons) who along with her younger sister manage to escape from a crazy serial killer couple. They take refuge in a cabin they find out in remote woods but discover an even bigger terror there. Again, the trailer is included below.

From the creators of Horror News Radio comes Gruesome Magazine that is a quarterly magazine avaliable in digital format and coming soon to Print on Demand. The magazine is going to focus on independent horror films, horror film festivals and the future of horror (whatever that may be). The digital magazine is $3.99 while the print edition will be $9.99 and is 48 pages long.

In final news (for my dinner is nearly cooked) we go back to the world of horror film trailers and news with the announcement that Indian horror Islamic Exorcist was released by Cinema Epoch on 11th July on VOD and other Digital Platforms in the UK, USA and Canada. IBleedIndie will be releasing it on Vimeo for other parts of the world. I haven't actually put up the trailer for this before so will include that below for your pleasure.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Ghost Note (2017) - Horror Film Review

Finally today I have gotten back on track after a few weeks of pretty much only doing my own posts. I put this down to a double whammy of my day job being super busy (which equals overtime and tiredness) and a family wedding I attended last weekend. So director and writer Troy Hart's award winning Ghost Note on paper sounds good, I like the idea behind it, yet it falters when it comes to some quite bizarre story beats.

Teenager Mallory (Alicia Underwood) is left with her grandma (Allyn Carrell) at her large house in the country while her parents go on holiday. In the attic she discovers a strange guitar that turns out to have once belonged to an infamous blues guitarist; Eugene (Kenny Gardner) who went missing decades back and who it is rumoured had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his musical skills. Now Mallory has accidentally awakened the immortal spirit of Eugene and he is using both the guitar and the only record he ever made as a means to possess people in order to free his entombed body...

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Attack of the Radioactive Thing (2017) - Thoughts on the new map (PS4) and trailer for Call of Duty: World War II - Nazi Zombies

I have quite a lot of outstanding films and news I need to cover on this blog for various people so they are probably going to hate that once again I am doing one of my own blog posts. It has been a disjointed week though and so haven't had the time to be able to dedicate myself to that as much as I would have liked. Around a month ago the third DLC for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare dropped, there were the usual four multiplayer maps that are ok, none really leapt out to me, and the usual new Zombies map as well. Each of the previous maps has been focussed on a different time period in the world of movies and this is no different with Attack of the Radioactive Thing set in the 1950's and being a send up of low budget monster movies.

The frankly always underwhelming Zombies story continues with our four hapless actors finding themselves transported to another of Willard White's movie worlds after defeating the big bad in Shaolin Shuffle. Arriving in Sonova Beach, California they soon find themselves once again under attack by the living dead, while a huge monster wades through the sea in the background and occasionally launches its children at you. As always a famous person is also trapped in the film, this time it is Elvira who requires you to get her the ingredients to make a magic potion.

Friday, 28 July 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) - Post Apocalyptic Film Review

For reasons completely unknown to me I decided against giving a review for the previous film in this series; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I often review post apocalyptic films on this blog so it's strange I didn't in that case, maybe it was because I didn't really enjoy it that much, I felt it was far too bleak and lacking any sense of light. Yet with regards to the series as a whole it was actually much more viable than Rise of the Planet of the Apes that I did review here and was neither horror or post apocalyptic. Spoilers for the previous films obviously to be found here.

In the universe of the films a deadly disease has wiped out most of humanity, the survivors try to survive as best as they can. The same disease also had a strange effect on apes, it made them much more intelligent and they are fast becoming the dominant species. During the brief enslavement of a human colony by rogue ape Koba in Dawn a message was sent out to the remnants of the U.S army requesting aid. They sent a battalion of soldiers down that was led by a man known only as 'The Colonel' (Woody Harrelson) and over a few years these soldiers have battled the apes and attempted to locate the stronghold of their leader; Caesar (Andy Serkis). War starts with them finally discovering this place and the Colonel killing Caesar's wife and oldest child. Full of rage and wanting revenge Caesar sends his people to find a new home to live in while he sets out to find the Colonel...

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Ugly As Sin (2013) by James Newman - eBook Review

At the start of the month I reviewed James Newman's horror novel The Wicked which was a throwback to horror of the 1980's. I thought it was very well written if a bit similar to other books I had read, guess that was the point though being a homage. I went into Ugly As Sin expecting another similar style of book, instead this isn't even horror, it has a lot in common with pulpy crime novels though with a unique twist in the form of the main character.

Nick Bullman was a wrestling superstar however one day he is kidnapped by two crazed fans who think his in ring persona of The Widowmaker was actually real and so set about torturing him. By the time he is rescued they have cut off his face and unfortunately for Nick in the confusion of his rescue it goes missing. Now Nick lives a life in shadows, with a hideously disfigured face and financially ruined (after assaulting his previous boss over his plans for Nick's new look) he just tries to get on with his life as best he can. A phone call from his estranged daughter leads him to travelling back to his home town where he discovers not only had his daughter had a child who was now in her teens, but the child has been abducted. Nick decides he is going to track down whoever took the girl and make them suffer the only way he knows how...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Walking Dead: Season 8 and Stranger Things: Season 2 Trailers - Horror TV Show News

A lot of really cool trailers dropped recently and I have plucked a few of the horror ones out the ether to put on my blog. Originally I planned to review Ghost Note tonight but due to overtime in my day job I am doing a far easier blog post. I literally do not understand the hate that The Walking Dead gets in its later series. Sure it isn't without its troubles yet I love the show, season 7 in particular was a real return to form. The trailer for season 8 has dropped and it looks like it is going to be another fantastic season. The trailer shows plenty of the war between the various factions with lots of shooting, explosions and impassioned speeches from Rick, Ezekial and Maggie, as well as more of Negan being terrifying. Interestingly it ends with a scene showing a bearded Rick laying in a bed, to me and my friend's mind this was him waking up from the coma he fell into in episode one of the very first season, I would actually find that awesome if the whole show had been in his mind, but I don't think it is ending soon and seems weird they would spoil the ending in a trailer so may well just be another dream episode, or maybe even have had Rick fall into another coma for a period of time. Sure I could just look to the comics for an explanation but I don't want to spoil things.

There was also a trailer for the second season of Stranger Things, that show blew me away and so I am very excited for season 2. With Will having been rescued from the Upside Down things should have returned to normal, however he keeps finding himself back there, while it seems the evil of that place is spreading into the real world. The trailer is full of 80's references such as Dragon's Lair, Ghostbusters, and Michael Jackson's Thriller and ends with the reappearance of Eleven. All in all it looks freaking amazing, cannot wait for it.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Burn (2017) - Short Horror Film Review

Burn is a short English horror film that is a debut collaboration between Slaughtered Bird Films and Dragon Egg Media and was directed by Judson Vaughan (Soul Breaker) and written by Chris Barnes (editor of The Slaughtered Bird). The whole film was made over just 3 days with a low budget of under £5000.

Peter (Max Cavenham) and Lou (Emma Kelly) are expecting their first child and in preparation Peter is making his unborn son a series of tapes talking about his life. There has been a series of brutal murders in the area and it is soon revealed that the perpetrator is none other than Max himself who commits suicide before being caught. Fast forward five years and Lou and her child Charlie have moved to a new area to try and carry on with their lives, yet a discovery of a hidden tape brings with it surprising revelations...

At a quarter of an hour long this doesn't have time to outstay its welcome and in fact is pretty decently paced. Initially I thought the film was leading up to the pretty obvious revelation that Peter was a killer and so was pleased to see that revealed early on. I would say Cavenham was my favourite of the actors, his camera sections had a great intensity to them. The other characters did fine enough jobs but he stood out the most. It was interesting exploring the aftermath of having found out someone you loved was not who they appeared to be, though it would have been good to see the initial aftermath rather than skip forward five years straight away. It is a lazy comparison to make but Dexter was what most come to mind watching this with a bit of Capture Kill Release mixed in too.

The horror is kept to a minimum but when it does come it has more impact and is pretty crazy in a slightly over the top way (who doesn't love a chainsaw?). It all ends on a bit of a question which is the best way to have finished this I feel. Burn is full of decent camera work and some nice cinematography, again mostly revolving around Peter. This is a psychological horror that does the job it set out to do and works mainly because of the self contained nature and natural flow that gives an entertaining insight into a troubled family. Burn is coming to film festivals in the near future so keep an eye out for it.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Seoul Station (2016) - Zombie Horror Film Review

Seoul Station (original title Seoulyeok) is the animated prequel to the best zombie film of 2016; Train to Busan. I was quite excited to see this film and while I knew it wouldn't and couldn't possibly be on par with that instant classic I still looked forward to watching it. To be fair it is pretty much what I expected, though sadly aside from taking place in the same city (one day before the events of the film) there is no link tying this to that one in a narrative sense.

Seoul Station chronicles how the zombie infection started in Seoul, however we don't see the actual cause, though maybe witness patient zero in the form of an injured homeless man staggering through the streets. It isn't long before this man has turned into a flesh hungry monster, and soon his ranks swell with those of the many homeless. The film focuses on two different sets of characters. After having an argument with her vile boyfriend a teenage runaway decides to spend the night with the homeless, however she gets caught up in the outbreak and with the help of a seasoned vagrant seeks to escape the carnage. At the same time in a different part of the city the boyfriend is found by the girls father who demands he take him to his daughter and in doing so they too get caught up in the unfolding apocalypse.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

George A. Romero (1940-2017) - The King of Zombies

I'm sure if you even have a passing interest in zombies you would have heard the awful news. The King of zombies George A. Romero sadly passed away on Sunday after a brief battle with lung cancer at the age of 77. Rarely can one person be credited with creating an entire genre, Romero was one of those rare people. Sure there were zombie films before he came along but up to that point they were kind of dull, and the zombies in question were nearly always the result of Voodoo magic, most the time not even dead, just under control of some nefarious person, such as can be seen with 1932's White Zombie.

It was Romero who created the zombie film as we know it today; that of undead flesh eating monsters. It is not an exaggeration to say his films influenced countless people, that his films captured the minds of so many people who credit him as the reason for their works. In books you have amazing horror authors such as David Moody and Duncan P. Bradshaw who both say if not for his films they wouldn't have written zombie novels. The creator of The Walking Dead cites him as the key influence for the comics and by proxy TV show. In videogames again everything from Dead Rising to Resident Evil to the Zombies mode in Call of Duty all exist due to this legend of film making, he even got a guest appearance as a zombie in the classic Zombies map Call of the DeadIn films the affect is felt even more keenly, pretty much every single zombie film released over the last 50 years exist because of one man's vision and that is just a mind blowing achievement. Even this blog you are reading exists because of him. I loved Michael Jackson's Thriller video as a child, I used to watch the zombie section over and over again, yet it was only after watching Romero's original sublime trilogy (that were the first, second and third zombie films I ever saw) that I found myself hooked on zombies proper.

So in 1968 came the original The Night of the Living Dead. This was a black and white horror that stood out for many reasons. Romero was a genius in that he used horror as a means for social commentary. This film did so much that just had never been done before. The main hero lead was played by a black actor which was unusual in the 1960's, also the fact that he doesn't survive the events of the film due to being killed after being mistaken for a zombie by an all white hunting party at the films conclusion was not only shocking but was also a commentary on racial issues at the time. The fact that the human antagonist actually had the right idea all along was also something new, as was the fact that the attractive young white couple introduced end up getting eaten around the films midpoint rather than surviving. Watching it in modern day it is hard to find it as scary as it would have been but Roger Ebert summed up the feeling when the film first came out the best:

"The kids in the audience were stunned. There was almost complete silence. The movie had stopped being delightfully scary about halfway through, and had become unexpectedly terrifying. There was a little girl across the aisle from me, maybe nine years old, who was sitting very still in her seat and crying...It's hard to remember what sort of effect this movie might have had on you when you were six or seven. But try to remember. At that age, kids take the events on the screen seriously, and they identify fiercely with the hero. When the hero is killed, that's not an unhappy ending but a tragic one: Nobody got out alive. It's just over, that's all."

There are such classic scenes here, such as the survivors boarding up the farmhouse they find themselves trapped in whilst under assault by hordes of undead. Then there is of course probably the most iconic scene to come from the film; that of the little girl rising up to become one of the dead, eating her father and brutally butchering her mother with a trowel. NOTLD was the genesis for numerous tropes in the genre such as humans always being the real monster, how divisions within a group is always the cause for defeat, and of course the fact that anyone who dies can come back as a living corpse.

Next up came The Crazies in 1973. This featured a different type of zombie, here they were instead infected people, with the disease turning them into psychotic mad men. The army are swiftly called in and the town isolated. By the end of the film you realise the real crazies of this film are actually the faceless hazmat suit wearing soldiers who will stop at nothing to ensure the outbreak is contained, whatever the cost.

Five years later in 1978 comes what many consider to be Romero's finest work Dawn of the Dead. This one centred around a shopping centre that a small group of survivors take refuge in, thinking it will be paradise it instead leads to apathy and resentment between the group until human interference once again leads to the destruction of everything. This time being a commentary on capitalism with the zombies existing as metaphors for the Western worlds obsession with money. Correct me if I'm wrong but the classic 'open door and get swamped by zombies' trope originated with this movie. I have actually only seen Dawn of the Dead four times, and that is because my go to Romero film is Day of the Dead.

Day of the Dead arrived in 1985 and closes off the original trilogy. This is hands down my favourite zombie film of all time. Carrying on from the events of the first two films zombies now are everywhere, a group of what could be the final survivors spend their days in a claustrophobic underground bunker. Half the people there are army, half are scientists desperately searching for a cure. The rift between these two very different groups leads once again to death and destruction. Day of the Dead is the film that desensitised me to violence in films, I remember watching it as a teenager horrified, but too scared to look away as the bad guys got their comeuppance and were viciously pulled apart, one man having his head pulled off while still screaming, and fantastically nasty main bad guy Rhodes has the most iconic and classic death scene in any film ever as far as I'm concerned. Also who can forget Bub?

In 2005 the next instalment in Romero's world came to fruition; Land of the Dead and sadly I class it as the most disappointing film I have ever seen, I saw it at the cinema twice, on different sides of the world as I couldn't believe it was as bad as my first impressions were. I expected a worthy successor to the original trilogy but instead got a pretty bland zombie flick that seemed like it was trying too hard to make a statement (this time the divide between the rich and the poor) and I did not enjoy where they took the zombies. This one was set in a secured settlement where zombie hunters discover that the undead are changing and showing signs of intelligence. With expectations low I didn't really mind 2007's Diary of the Dead. There was a brief few years where zombie found footage films were the done thing and this followed suit. I may have only seen it once but I remember it being ok. Finally in 2009 was Survival of the Dead, another ok film, this one took place on a small island which two warring groups inhabited.

Despite the lukewarm reception I gave the later films there is nothing that can ever make me see the original three; Night, Dawn and Day as anything but stunning films, they are the foundation blocks for the entire genre that we know and love today. I shall most certainly be revisiting his legacy sometime very soon (and doing a new review to replace the awful original I did of Day of the Dead). R.I.P  George A. Romero the King of Zombies, The Rotting Zombie salutes you in classic Bub fashion!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Man Underground (2016) - Sci-fi Film Review

Man Underground is a strange film to pin down, at its heart it is a drama with some mild sci-fi elements to it. It is more a look at a group of three isolated loners brought together to achieve a goal of making a film. There is barely any horror here to speak of, and yet there are elements if you look for them, and with the sci-fi element never verified as real or fake there is scope for this to belong.

George Basil stars as conspiracy theorist Willem Koda who after an alleged encounter with aliens while working as a geologist for the US government is obsessed with getting the truth out there. He decides to make a film of his life in order to spread the truth and in doing so teams up with his geeky best friend Todd (Andy Rocco), and hires an aspiring actress working at a diner (Flossie played by Pamela Fila). As the three make this very amateur movie they start to form a bond of sorts but Willem's abrasive personality soon starts to cause rifts.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Simple Creature (2016) - Horror Film Review

Simple Creature is director/writer Andrew Finnigan's modern day retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Though I was worried this would be too literal a re-telling it instead carves its own path using the classic story as a loose template. It also melds modern technology with the mythos, so for example we have the 'monster' being made up of stolen body parts replaced with synthetic ones being used, and enhanced abilities the result of nanobots.

Em (Carollani Sandberg) is a student studying out in the country where she meets farm boy Seth (D'Angelo Midili) and soon they get together. On the way home to visit her father one holiday the bus she is on gets in a crash and she seemingly dies. However her Dad happened to be working on a human enhancement program at shady scientific research lab Singularity and chooses her as his next subject. Over two years she is enhanced with artificial organs and computer software but her desire to leave the facility, coupled with her lost memories returning sees her escape to reunite with Seth. However Singularity are not finished with her and will stop at nothing to retrieve their experiment.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

No.70: Eye of Basir (2017) - Horror Video Game Review (PC)

Turkish made (and set) No.70: Eye of Basir is a horror game that is set out in the 'walking simulator' style much like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Everybody's Gone to the Rapture. As such this features no combat of any type, or even enemies for that matter as is the normal way with this type of game. What it does feature is lots of walking and the occasional puzzle solving over the course of the roughly two hour play through time. I played this using an X-Box 360 controller and should state that the game ran at a very low frame rate...but my PC is not designed to play video games and so that is most certainly the reason why!

I'm a bit lost as to the details of the story but basically you play as Aras whose brother Erhan has gone missing in mysterious circumstances. One day you awake to discover strange doorways in your house that never used to exist, it is while exploring these new rooms that you find a room containing the ancient device known as the Eye of Basir. Using its powers you decide to head to where you first saw it as a child; your grandmothers house at No.70.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Hotel Camarillo (2014) - Horror Documentary Review

I'm not sure I have ever reviewed a documentary on my blog before, so this may be the inaugural review for this type of media. Hotel Camarillo is a 65 minute documentary about the Camarillo State Mental Hospital in California and it mainly focuses on what ghost hunters have documented about the place over the years. Currently it is a university (I believe) with the old wards of the notorious mental home slowly being changed into dorm rooms and other such places.

I do enjoy documentaries about haunted places but I have to confess I am a huge sceptic when it comes to real life cases of ghosts and other paranormal goings on, though to quote the iconic poster from The X-Files 'I want to believe' but until I see proof with my own two eyes I can't help but feel like an outsider. This didn't take away from my enjoyment of this documentary though, the many people interviewed, many of them ghost hunters all seem like they really do believe in the existence of ghosts. All the interviewees talk about what they experienced in a matter of fact way and there is the evidence they have recorded to back it up. I did love the sense of rivalry the different groups had with each other, such as one funny moment when someone is apologising for not cleaning up the flour they had spread on the floor in one of the rooms (to try and get evidence of ghostly footprints). It sounded like this type of rivalry would make for an entertaining film.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (2016-17) - Fantasy Video Game Review (Playstation 4)

It was my aim this year to stay more up to date with current horror themed video games, my plan was to buy one a month so I can give a timely review. It all started well with the excellent VR treat Resident Evil 7: Biohazard in January, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk was the game I brought in February but a series of constraints meant I had to wait until now to finish playing it. This was made by the people behind Dynasty Warriors and so it takes the form of huge battles against thousands of enemies in war like settings.

In the story mode you play as Guts who starts the game being forced to join a charismatic mercenary named Griffith and his group who are known as the Band of the Hawk. The game covers all three films showing Guts ascent through the ranks, and the ultimate betrayal that occurs during the iconic eclipse moment. I had expected the game to end at this point but it then goes on to cover the events of both season 1 and season 2 of the latest Berserk show, and actually finishes past the end of the second season of the anime. For someone who had only seen last years anime before playing this it was a revelation to me to discover how Guts came to be the cursed sword man, and also how little monster type stuff was in the world before the Eclipse event. It gave me so much insight on the show that it feels crazy now to think how much I was missing out on. This brought with it new issues though, I was halfway through the game when season 2 came out and I swiftly realised that the game was going to include (the then) new seasons events and so I had to make a decision to stop playing it as I didn't want the show ruined.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

WTF! (2017) - Horror Film Review

WTF! fits itself firmly into the slasher genre and has a decent dose of comedy to mix. It impresses on some fronts such as the special effects for the many kills, as well as the set-up, but it also fails in some important places also, namely in making the big twist far, far too obvious and by giving us a forgettable looking slasher villain.

Three years ago Rachel (Callie Ott) was the only survivor of a killing spree at a party that saw the deaths of all her friends. Now with a new group of friends that includes her jock boyfriend Sam, stoner Jacob, Bevan, Bonnie and Lisa, as well as her quiet brother Toby she hopes to conquer her fears about that night by heading to a remote house for spring break to party. However as the flash forward to an interrogation room shows history repeats itself and Rachel again finds herself seemingly the only survivor of another killing spree...

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Greener Pastures (2016) by Michael Wehunt - Horror eBook Review

Continuing my campaign to get through eBooks faster I have recently finished reading Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt. This is an anthology of 11 short horror tales that share a similar feeling of loss and the passing of time. Initially I worried I would not enjoy this book at all, the style of writing was a bit off putting, not in that it was badly written, more that it was a bit too well written with Wehunt content to let his words dance around the page with a lot of what he writes suggestive of events rather than simple to decipher.

So starting off we have Beside Me Singing in the Wilderness and Onanon both share a kind of vampire type vibe and so I wondered if that meant the entire book was going to be a collection of those sort of stories. Both the stories were pretty obtuse in what they describe with work needed on the readers part to work out what they are really about, I just wasn't feeling either of those ones. Next came the title story Greener Pastures which is one I got on a lot better with, it shares kind of a H.P Lovecraft style tone to it, but lighter and less foreboding. The suggestions of other worldly beings, and the setting of a remote and isolated diner gave this a good atmosphere that brought to mind The Twilight Zone. A Discreet Music follows this and was probably my least favourite, as far as I can tell a man turns into a swan for some reason? While the thought of turning into a bird is a noble passion I just couldn't really get on with it.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Altar (2016) - Horror Film Review

Nowadays the term found footage doesn't immediately install in me a sense of dread, there have been a load of great ones over the last few years such as The Dark Tapes, Capture Kill Release and A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex. However Altar takes a page right out of the original wave of found footage horrors, and while it doesn't resort to the hated shaky cam it does still follow tenaciously the tired tropes of the genre.

Maisy (Stefanie Estes) is going on a school reunion with a bunch of her old friends that is going to take the form of a camping trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. She has decided to take her young brother; painfully shy Bo (Jesse Parr) with her to try and get him out his shell a little bit, he has Aspergers and since the death of their parents he has become increasingly withdrawn. As Bo has recently gotten into film making she suggests he bring his camera so he can make a documentary out of the whole trip. On the way to the camp the car him and Maisy are travelling in gets lost and them and a few others end up in an isolated camping ground that just happens to be near to a creepy altar...

Friday, 7 July 2017

Friday Friday Friday - General News Post for July 2017: Trailers and Trailers

It's that time again when my inbox here at The Rotting Zombie HQ is over flowing with news requests and so I shall fling them out in the style of words on a page. I have no idea what news there shall be as I am going to work my way upwards until my rotting visage bursts out the proverbial mail sack.

Peelers; the zombie film set in a strip club came out on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S in time for Independence Day, followed by a Canadian release on VOD come July 11th. I said of this when I reviewed it last November: 'this certainly has its moments, and is worth watching for the zombie make-up'. It also has a ballsy ending that I appreciated. Another zombie film; Night of Something Strange also released recently...today in fact it came on on VOD worldwide. I reviewed this one also back in November and thought it was a funny and entertaining film that had great (and very gross) special effects, plus it features the legend in the making Wayne W. Johnson who is a delight to watch whatever role he happens to play. Now I saw both Peelers and Night of Something Strange at the UK Festival of Zombie Culture 2016 and in very sad news indeed I can report that festival is it not coming back in 2017. The tireless event organiser Zombie Ed put out a statement that said work commitments have meant he has not had time to organise it. I really hope the festival does return in 2018 as it is a legitimate highlight of my year, me and my best friend always have such an awesome time.

The king of lo-fi sleazy crime films Dakota Bailey (My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence, American Scumbags) has a new film coming out quite soon, it is titled The Acid Sorcerer and judging from the frankly awesome trailer is going to be filled with violence and horror. His style of film making may not be for everyone, and at times it seems he does go out his way to try and shock, but even if you have no interest in the film check out the trailer below as it is sublime (and I love that the psychedelic nightmare drug sequences are back).

Directer Jim Klock's 6.66 PM is a horror comedy that is getting its world premiere in November. In this film a group of fake ghost hunters enter the home of a dead serial killer to make a TV show, but to the fraudsters shock they discover the spirit of the notorious killer actually does live on, and he intends to start a new killing spree starting with them. It is hard to tell from the teaser trailer if this is going to be good or not, but check it out and see what you think.

In some more horror film news Woodhaven Media have launched a brand new website and merchandise store. Woodhaven Media are a motion picture production company that are known for horror genre movies. These films can now be brought from the website (here) as can t-shirts and more merch is to follow in the future.
I first mentioned Slashening 2: The Final Beginning back in September, this was to be the follow up to the comedy horror The Slashening but sadly halfway through filming Annum Films ran out of money and are currently trying to raise funds to complete it. To do so they have created a Go Fund Me page (that can be found here). As a sneak peak of what the final film will be like the first 12 minutes have been released fully edited, I shall include it below. The guy who plays the home owner in the clip is scene stealing every time and I loved how it makes a lot of reference to the events of the first film.

So a whole bunch of film info there, I will end by saying my new office is up and operational, it feels great to have a room dedicated to this blog and not just a corner of my front room! It's in the early stages still but as Caught in Joy sings; Rome Wasn't Built in a Day.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A Beginners Guide to Snuff (2016) - Horror Film Review

It was less than twenty minutes into A Beginners Guide to Snuff that I realised this was going to be a good movie. This is very much a black comedy, but one which mixes elements of pure horror with idiocy so well that I felt a strange mix of being both uneasy and having quite a bit of fun. This was made by the Butcher Brothers (Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores) who also made The Hamiltons (boring fact of the day; I own The Hamiltons but have never gotten around to watching it).

Dresden (Joey Kern from Cabin Fever) and his younger brother Dominic (Luke Edwards from Jeepers Creepers 2) are two aspiring actors whose move to L.A to become big stars hasn't gone too well. Out of money and with the prospect of having to head home with their tails between their legs they decide to have one last go. Discovering a competition to make a horror film with the prize being $250,000 the brothers decide to enter, but with only one week before the closing date they are forced to act fast. They plan to make a fake snuff film but auditions for the female star don't go well. Dresden comes up with a plan to make their film look really authentic, they are going to kidnap their top choice (Jennifer played by Bree Williamson) and pretend they really are going to kill her in order to get a realistic performance, later down the line they mean to let her in on the situation. However the plan starts to go wrong when Dresden begins to get a little bit too much into his role, that and the fact that they really have chosen the wrong women to mess with...

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

XX (2017) - Horror Anthology Film Review

I have a real soft spot for anthology films, I have said that many times before, and I'm sure I will many times in the future. The way I see it is that having a variety of short films means there is more chance there will be one you like, whereas watching a feature length that you can't stand is never pleasurable. So while Empire State of the Dead's linking theme were zombies, The Dark Tapes were found footage, and Holidays were...well holidays, with XX the linking concept is that each of the four films not only features a female in the lead role, but also that all four were directed by women. It was funny I was only saying the other day that Blood Hunters felt different due to a woman directing it, only for four more horror pieces to appear around the corner.

To be honest none of these four shorts are what I would class as essential viewing, each has problems of its own that gets in the way of making them amazing, yet neither are any of them completely without merit. Things start off with The Box that was directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, who also adapted Jack Ketchum's story into a screen play. Susan Jacobs (Natalie Brown) is on the train home after having taken her two children; Danny and Jenny to New York in the run up to Christmas when Danny notices a strange man holding a brightly decorated box. The boy asks the stranger if it is a gift and if he can take a look inside to which the man obliges. From this moment onward Danny changes, refusing to eat any food at all, eventually passing on this strange curse to the other family members. I loved the idea of the mystery of the box and what could have possibly been inside it, and I don't even mind too much that the viewer is never shown the contents, yet it is the Susan that I had issues with. There was a weird lack of emotion to her character, even as her children get seriously ill around her I never got the impression she actually cared too much, this become more of an issue as the short went on and really ate into my enjoyment.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Wicked (2007) by James Newman - Horror eBook Review

The more I read horror novels the more I realise I haven't actually read many at all, with the exception of the zombie genre that is. For me stuff feels fresh and new when I sometimes wonder if that is just due to my limited knowledge of general horror books. The Wicked is a novel that was written by author James Newman as a throwback to the style of horror being written in the 1980's. It is about a small town being taken over by evil forces and as such drew heavy comparisons to Day Rusk's Barkerton I read earlier in the year, the similarities are so close at times that in my head I started linking it unofficially to that one.

David Little, his pregnant wife Kate and their young daughter Becca move from New York to the quiet town of Morganville to start over after a tragic incident Kate endured. The small town had never been the same since six months previously when a childrens home was burnt down killing sixty people and in the weeks following the Littles arrival things start to get worse. An ancient demonic evil known as Moloch is insidiously corrupting the minds of the town folk, at first the most vulnerable fall under his spell but as his power increases the number of people that can stand up to him reduce, these few include David, the local sheriff, and an ex-marine called George...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Blood Hunters (2016) - Horror Film Review

Blood Hunters is the latest film from director Tricia Lee whose previous films included psycho drama Clean Break and the bloody Silent Retreat. Those two films were written by Corey Brown who returns to write this one as well. I have been doing news posts about this movie for years, originally hearing about it back in 2015 when it was still known as One Drop so it is nice to see it finally being released. This is a creature feature that had a captivating premise but which did settle into something more familiar within its genre.

Ellie (Lara Gilchrist from Battlestar Galactica) awakens in a strange facility with no memory of how she got there, or how she came to be heavily pregnant. She soon discovers that something has killed the entire staff of the facility with dead bodies littering the rooms and corridors of the vast underground place. Eventually she meets up with a handful of other survivors that include another patient (Benjamin Arthur as Henry), an intern (Mark Taylor), an I.T consultant; Marion (Torri Higginson from Stargate: Atlantis), and Father Stewart (Julian Richings known for Cube, The VVitch: A New England Folktale, and Wrong Turn). Together they must find a way to escape their prison which has become infested with lethal blood thirsty creatures..

Friday, 30 June 2017

Geneshift (2017) - Zombie Action Video Game Review (PC)

Coming from Nik Nak Studios Geneshift is a top down shooter that was released on Steam Early Access on May 23rd this year. Its at first simple looking graphics belies the fact that this is a shooter that just becomes more and more addictive the longer you play. The game features 5v5 multiplayer combat, user generated maps, as well as a campaign that is playable with up to four friends. For this review I only played the campaign, and in single player as the other modes didn't appeal to me.

You play as a nameless scientist who has recently started working for HQ doing day to day science type stuff, a lot which is based around testing mutagens on zombie like clone test subjects. A large contingent of scientists rebel for reasons unknown and release the zombies from their cells and soon the undead are sweeping throughout the city. Teaming up with a partner named Knickers you must travel around the city to detonate bombs that destroy the machines that sustain the undead, and find a way to stop the rebellion and restore order to HQ. But everything may not be what it at first appears to be...

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Zombie Infographic: Zombies in Media: From Night Of The Living Dead to The Walking Dead

Sometimes it is nice to just do a nice easy blog post, and so today with The Rotting Zombie HQ still in the middle of being relocated I felt a quick post was in order. In theory infographics are pleasant enough things, they are usually visually appealing at least. I do really struggle to get the darn things to ever display correctly though and so you may need a magnifying glass to read this one that was kindly sent to me from Chamber of Horrors NY. They are Long Island's premier haunted attraction, check out their website for more details (here). I would love go to one of those haunted mazes some point in my life, they sound like they are full of potential.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Without Name (2016) - Horror Film Review

Without Name is an Irish horror film directed by Lorcan Finnegan and with a story written by Garret Shanley. It is the first horror in a heck of a long time that actually got me thinking about what I had just seen; what it all meant, and the unique cleverness of how the entire piece is framed. It works wonders in evoking a feeling of unsettled, subtle dread without actually doing too much to logically make you feel that way. There are no jump scares, visually nothing on screen should seem off, yet the way shots are framed makes the woodland scenery seem somehow alive with an energy all of its own.

Alan McKenna stars as forty something Eric; a land surveyor who is tasked with travelling to an ancient forest deep in Ireland for a developer. He is soon joined by his younger work colleague Olivia (Niamh Algar) who he also happens to be having an affair with. The longer Eric spends around the forest the more his mind starts to unravel with him becoming obsessed with the writings of the previous owner of the cottage he is staying at. This previous owner went insane after becoming convinced the trees were trying to communicate with him and it seems Eric is going to follow this path to madness. Is everything he is experiencing actually real, or is he suffering a genuine mental breakdown?

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Wake (2017) - Horror Film Review

The Wake is a slasher film that is directed by Faouzi Brahimi and Bryan Brewer. Both these men also play roles in the film, while Brewer also wrote the story for this. There are some good ideas here and a novel start yet it all too often falls down to the many slasher film tropes that it self reverentially pokes fun at.

Tyler (Brewer) accidentally kills a young boy while drink driving (well as accidentally as you can get while swigging from a hip flask) and so is surprised to find him and his friends invited to the child's wake by his grieving mother Mrs Stevens (Darla Delgado) at her house several days later. So Tyler, his girlfriend Casey (Allie Rivera), her best friend Ashley, plus couple Ben (Aaron Milligan) and Ginger turn up to pay their respects. It isn't too long into the event when all five pass out having been drugged. They (the) wake up to find themselves tied up in various places around the posh house, along with Mrs Stevens. Before they can even think about escaping they are confronted by a burlap sack wearing maniac armed with a huge knife...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Berserk: Season 2 (2017) - Fantasy Anime Review

I have absolutely no idea why I decided not to review season 1 of Berserk that dropped last year. The show is a mix of medieval fantasy mixed in with horror elements and so isn't like it wouldn't fit on my blog. Anyway season 2 has now finished and so a review of that is in order. I had a bit of a weird time with Berserk, I watched season 1 (which starts off in the middle of a huge story) with no knowledge of what had happened previously. Then back in February I brought the Berserk video game (Berserk and the Band of the Hawk) which filled me in on the story up to that point and made what seemed like trivial moments really important. Going in to season 2 I would say having previous Berserk knowledge is essential as this has a lot more to do with main antagonist Griffith (the Antichrist is how a work colleague would describe him). Spoilers for previous events in the time line are bound to follow.

Having rescued Casca from the Order of the Holy See Guts finds himself brought to the edge protecting her from the demons which assault the pair each night. This weakness is starting to manifest as a creature of evil that tries to possess Guts. Due to this he decides to accept help and soon teams up with Farnese, Serpico, and Isidro. Looking for a save place from danger the fairy Puck suggests travelling to his home town. Along the journey to reach this save haven the group get caught up in the affairs of a witch and her young student Schierke, and have more than one encounter with the agents of Griffith who seek to remove any threats to their leader...

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Guerrilla (2017) - Short Horror Film Review

Guerrilla is a short film that was directed and written by Shane Ryan (he is an actor appearing in Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance among others, and has a whole host of film making credits to his name). I didn't know what to expect going in to this but I was impressed by what I did find, even if this feels more like a 13 minute music video/trailer mash-up than an actual fully fleshed piece.

Set in 1989 a failed rocket attempt results in a strange virus being released over an American town. Everyone affected by this virus exhibits signs of extreme aggression and with the chemical air borne no one is safe. That is except for one small boy (Mars Mohamed) who is somehow immune. Getting tooled up with his Walkman, Nintendo Power Glove, and armed with a sword and a nun-chuck he sets out on his bike to see if anyone else has survived...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Jasmine (2015) - Horror Film Review

Jasmine is a Hong Kong based psychological thriller directed and written by Dax Phelan that to me was very reminiscent of the style of Hitchcock. While set in Hong Kong the majority of the film features English talking characters with much of the non English unsubtitled until towards the films end. It follows the singular viewpoint of the main lead with him appearing in every single scene. It works by giving us a plot that on the surface is easy to follow, yet creates such a miasma of doubt that you question whether what is unfolding on screen is actually as plain as it appears.

Leonard To (Jason Tobin) returns to his home city in Hong Kong a year after his wife was murdered in order to try and pick up the pieces of his life. A chance visit to her grave however results in discovering a stranger also there (Byron Mann) and soon Leonard becomes obsessed with finding out just who this man is, and more importantly if he is the murderer of his beloved wife...