Tuesday, 28 February 2017
A Cure for Wellness is a pseudo horror film directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango) with a story by Justin Haythe (The Lone Ranger). I had no great desire to see this as the trailer didn't really excite me, however it is a horror of sorts and so I did my duty and gave it a view.
A young and ruthless American businessman named Lockhart (Dane Dehaan from 2012's Chronicle) is tasked by his bosses to travel to Switzerland to a remote mountain top sanitarium where a key board member is staying, in order to bring the man back to New York as he is needed to help complete a merger. However the car Lockhart is travelling in hits a deer and he finds himself a patient at the strange facility. He soon discovers it is one thing to get to the sanitarium but quite another to actually be able to leave...
Monday, 27 February 2017
A notorious serial killer is on the loose in the city, he gets his victims from online dating sites. During this media panic Jack Roper (Ben Kaplan) has arranged to go to the country for the weekend on a first date with Kristy Smith (Morgan Carter) who he met coincidentally on a dating site. They rent a cabin off a redneck family that includes Jesse Myers (R.A. Mihailoff from Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and Hatchet II), his wife Momma Myers (Jewel Shepard from The Return of the Living Dead) and their daughter Caitlin. All seems to be fine, that is until the new couple wake up tied to chairs in the basement of the Myers's house...
Sunday, 26 February 2017
The other day I put up the trailer for Face of 4; the directorial debut of muscian Alexander Azzi, and now thanks to the awesome Tracy George at TAG publicity I have had the chance to see the whole award winning short film (Best Narrative Film Award at the International Film Awards in Encino, CA).
Azzi has requested that no real plot details be revealed so my summery will be brief. Basically a man (William Galatis) awakes to find himself seated at a desk in a near pitch black room. He discovers he is chained to the floor, and he notices on the desk in front of him is a box that contains a series of dice with '4' being the only number visible on them. Instructions in the box state that if he rolls the dice and doesn't get a 4 then he will be able to escape the room. However, should he roll that number something truly awful will happen...
Saturday, 25 February 2017
'Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe' T-Shirt (2016) - Thoughts on the 'Fantastically Offensive' Walking Dead Merch
This past week The Walking Dead has gotten into worldwide news, this time around not due to complaints of extreme violence, instead due to an incident outside of the show. What it does share in common though is Negan and his infamous baseball bat Lucille. Don't worry about spoilers for the latest season of The Walking Dead as there are none to be found!
British clothing store Primark had a line of The Walking Dead t-shirts that simply featured a bloody baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire along with the rhyme 'Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe'. For even a casual fan of the show this is obviously all to do with the new psychotic antagonist Negan (played by Jeffery Dean Morgan) who uses this baseball bat and that rhyme to pick out which of Rick Grimes group shall be killed off. However for Methodist minister Ian Lucraft visiting Primark he and his wife's day was ruined when they saw this shirt, in his own words:
"We were shocked when we came face to face with a new t-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text. It was fantastically offensive and I can only assume that no one in the process of ordering it knew what they were doing or were aware of it's subliminal messages".
Due to this Lucraft felt compelled to write a stern letter to the store demanding that what he saw as an offensive shirt was removed. Primark of course immediately complied. This was totally reasonable, as with a world population of 7.5 billion people if just one of those people should personally find something offensive then by all means remove the offending item. While the minister has been getting a lot of the flack it is Primark's knee jerk response that is the real issue here, it was pathetic they bowed down to one person's wishes for fear of getting bad publicity (when I am sure they can't be thrilled with how that has turned out for them).
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Just last month I got the opportunity to read volume 1 of 'Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space!'. I was dubious going into it as to any level of quality over needless titillation and female exploitation, however the warmth that the main characters shared, coupled with over the top expressive art, and sunny bright colours meant that I came away having had a fun time reading it. Now volume 2 has came out, this is comprised of the final three issues of the seven comic arc.
Porn obsessed Ace and his lesbian ally Gwen once again get involved in a series of crazy capers whilst trying to survive the female focused zombie apocalypse sweeping their town. During this a familiar face appears and provides Ace with the knowledge he needs to defeat the plague. However to enact the solution Ace is going to have to travel into the heart of darkness to face the originator of the curse...
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Last month I put up a review of the first episode of The Z-Virus; a new zombie themed web series, and now I am happy to be able to review the second episode of this six part series, this one titled Uninvited Guests. Apparently this show has had over 303,000 minutes viewed on Amazon Instant Video alone which sounds impressive when you consider each episode is only around nine minutes in length.
Last episode we followed a man leaving the safety of his bunker after an incident and discovering the undead now walk the Earth. This time around to spice things up...we again follow a man (this time played by Freddie De Grate) leaving the safety of his bunker. However this is a different man, and he has his wife and daughter with him, and the danger he discovers is of the human variety...
I was worried the potential shown in the first episode would be squandered, but Uninvited Guests again left me wanting more. The short length is frustrating, I guess in a good way as I really wanted to know more about what was occurring. What was great about the second episode is that it runs concurrently with the first, it was pretty cool how these crossed over with each other, showing the other perspective of episode one's cliffhanger. I actually enjoyed this one more. The man (AJ) has more of a character due to his interactions with his family, and the strangers he meets, while there is a nicely choreographed fight sequence. De Grate brings a quiet intensity to his role which adds a lot to the performance. It also felt novel that an explanation was provided for the state of the world, both visually and with on screen text explaining. If I had one complaint (other than sound issues popping up in places again, making it hard to hear dialogue) it would be that there were no zombies to be found here. However I didn't actually mind that as it is all setting up the continuing adventures of these survivors, obviously more are to come.
For a low budget, short length show there is potential to be impressed by here, this is something I would recommend. I do hope the rest of The Z-Virus manages to be as cohesive as this. The Z-Virus can be viewed at TheZVirusSeries.com, ScreenMagicTV.com, Amazon Prime, Vimeo on Demand and on the ScreenMagic TV Roku channel.
Sunday, 19 February 2017
Rave in the Redwoods is the second Zombies map to be released for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and was included in the Sabotage DLC pack. With regards to the multiplayer DLC I just have to first say the map Noir is great, it takes place in a city at night with the rain pouring down. Anyway onto the Zombies info. As always this is merely my first impression, I in no way have seen everything this map has to offer.
The intro sequence is set up once more as a cartoon, the style didn't impress me the first time around so left me cold once again. After the four characters (Andre, Sally, AJ, and Poindexter) defeat the undead hordes in Zombies in Spaceland a portal opens up that teleports the group somewhere new. They are dismayed to find that once again they are slap bang in the middle of a zombie outbreak, this time they are in the 90's, the location; a remote rave in the redwoods.
Scream was a revelation when it first came out, over the years the films had gotten more and more cliche ridden and ridiculous, yet here was a TV show that not only rebooted the plot, but also made it ever so slightly more realistic with it's vision. Season 2 of Scream while again pretty great did make me start to wonder how future tales could remain effective, and how often it could get away with the same group of characters finding themselves at the mercy of yet another killer. Some months after the second season aired, and in time for Halloween 2016 came a two part Scream special, mostly unrelated to the main show, but giving us yet another killer going after the unluckiest group of friends that ever existed. Warnings that there will be spoilers for the previous seasons, as well as a needed spoiler for the very start of the special.
It is some months since Kieran's reign of terror was brought to an end, and in fact the special picks up with his trial. After being sentenced to life imprisonment he is taken to a holding cell where a new mask wearing killer carries out his own sentence on the guy, albeit a more swift and brutal one. Meanwhile Noah and Gustavo who are now business partners are about to head to a place known locally as 'Murder Island' with their agent to carry out research for a new book. Emma wanting to get away from the media buzz surrounding her once again decides to tag along, with Audrey and Brook following for their own reasons. However the gang now find themselves at the mercy of a new psycho, one who is looking to meld together the Lakewood Killer persona with that of the 1920's based Murder Island persona...
Saturday, 18 February 2017
When dark fantasy RPG Diablo first came out in 1996 I ended up with a demo of it. The game took place in one huge procedurally generated dungeon under the town of Tristram, it saw you hack and slashing your way to the bottom where the demon Diablo awaited. Up until getting Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Ultimate Evil Edition that small demo was all I had played of the series. As such I went into this fully expecting barely any story, and just the one dungeon, much in the way Torchlight was. I was pleased to discover not only quite a big plot, but also that you travel to many, many different places.
The game takes place in a fantasy world where there are three layers of existence; Hell, Sanctuary (Earth) and Heaven. After choosing your character you arrive in the small town of Tristram to investigate reports of a fallen star that has caused the dead to rise from their graves. From this humble beginning you uncover a plot by the arch demons of Hell to once again try and conquer Sanctuary.
Friday, 17 February 2017
I first mentioned Davide Melini's upcoming short giallo inspired film Deep Shock back in 2013 where it was still in pre-production. Some years later and this is now in post-production with a release due for summer time. As the title itself is a homage to two well known examples of Italian giallo; Deep Red (by Dario Argento) and Shock (by Mario Bava) it is very clear what type of short this will aspire to be.
The synopsis is; Sarah is unable to come to terms with the deaths of her grandfather and older sister. This grief coupled with lack of sleep leads her to embark on a strange journey of apparitions and murders, seemingly conjured from her mind.
So it is written and directed by Melini, and is produced from some notable names that include among them Luca Vincenzo (Avengers, Thor), Alexis Continente (Thor), Vincenzo Mastrantonio (Titanic), Bobby Holland (Game of Thrones, The Dark Knight Rises), Ferdinando Merolla (Hannibal Rising), and Roberto Paglialunga. Giallo is a unique genre, something I have read much about but only seen a handful of films. Check out the teaser trailer below that was effective in making this seem like something to care about...
Thursday, 16 February 2017
Sometimes not reading up on what a film is about before viewing it can really bite you on the backside. It's funny thinking back to the start of award winning Truth or Dare that my thoughts were how nice it was to get a fun horror that didn't seem to take itself too seriously. Fast forward an hour and a half and I am there in my front room, sweating, clinging limpet like to my sofa, a grimace on my face, wishing for it all to be over. An ordeal! This film was most certainly an ordeal.
The Truth or Dare Devils are a group of six friends including Jennifer played by Jessica Cameron (who also directed and co-wrote this), and fellow scream queen Heather Dorff who plays Michelle, who make seemingly real extreme truth or dare videos on the internet. Their latest video; a twist on Russian Roulette becomes the most popular one yet and it seems their increasing fame is all but assured. However while in the midst of making their latest masterpiece at a remote house, a crazed fan (played by Ryan Kiser from House of Manson) gate crashes and takes them all hostage. Discovering that what they do is staged he has decided to force them to take part in a real truth or dare, a game that as the night goes on gets more and more horrific with each passing round...
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
It is that time again when my inbox has filled up with horror news, and so here is another combination post to siphon off some of it into the world of the internet. First off Johnny Macabre and The Blood Shed have announced a new horror based VOD site called I Bleed Indie. To picture it think of Shudder (a horror based Netflix), crossed with Vimeo. The site is focused on American indie and international horror films and so far there are over 100 films on there. The best part is that for indie film makers it offers a non-exclusivity deal where they get to keep 90% of any profit made. The films on offer are all dirt cheap to rent for 72 hours and include ones as Be My Cat: A Film for Anne, Killbillies, and Night of Something Strange. Check out the site here.
I have a trailer for Faces of 4. This is the debut short horror of photographer/videographer/musician Alexander Azzi. The synopsis is that a man finds himself forced to roll dice to determine his own fate and survival, and it has been described as having the minimalistic feeling of Saw crossed with the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock. The trailer looks intriguing, check it out for yourself.
Next up are a couple of upcoming releases from MVD Entertainment Group, the first being Child Eater that comes to North American DVD and Digital formats on March 28th. This is based on the short film of the same name and is director Erlinger Thoroddsen's debut film that is described as 'a creepy, stylish roller-coaster ride inspired by the classic horror's of the 1980's'. A small boy goes missing from his bedroom in the middle of the night and so his babysitter heads out into nearby woodland to find him. However these woods used to be the hunting ground of a child focused serial killer whose death many years previously doesn't seem to have stopped him. Child Eater won four awards at the Fantastically Horrifying Cinema Festival that included 'Best Film', 'Best Actress', and 'Best Cinematography'.
On March 21st comes a 2K restoration of cult horrors House and House II: The Second Story in one package that is limited to 5000 copies, this will mark House's Blu-Ray debut. I own all four House films on VHS, they certainly vary in quality. The main thing I recall is an evil talking pizza (I believe that was House III). In the first one a horror novelist inherits his aunts old mansion that is full of evil supernatural beings. In House II a boy moves into the mansion of his deceased parents where he discovers his mummified great-great grandfather as well as an evil zombie cowboy. Both films have audio commentaries as well as making of documentaries.
Lastly from MVD Entertainment is The Burningmore Deaths which actually saw a release on 14th February. This is inspired by true events (isn't everything these days?) surrounding unsolved murders caught on security cameras during a production shoot of a home improvement style TV show pilot. Former Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate plays James Parrish; a man who vanished after apparently killing his wife and three kids. It turns out the home improvement show is filming at his old house, and that he has returned to carry on the murder.
Last but not least is zombie comedy horror Peelers (that I'm happy to say I got to see last year) has now got distribution. It is getting a Canadian theatrical release on March 24th, while it is getting American VOD release on 28th March. To celebrate this fact there is a new trailer, I have to say it is a hell of a lot better than the original trailer, check it out below. That reminds me, I still need to watch Skew (the director of Peelers previous film).
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Reel Nightmare is an indie horror that was written and directed by Amand Petri (who also acts in the film). Upon starting this I recoiled in horror when on-screen text talked about some footage that had been found at a bizarre crime scene. Found footage is a very over saturated genre, thankfully it is mostly found footage in name only, while characters are shown to occasionally be filming, the majority of this is far more traditional in the way it is shot.
The intro features an online horror investigator who speaks about some footage hacked from the local Police showing what happened in the unexplained Goodwin Manor murders that took place three years previously. We then follow the exploits of a group of friends who have gone to a remote Victorian house in order to help Christian (Garrett Morosky) film his university thesis. These people include his older brother, cousin, best friend Sophia (Mary Elizabeth Winstead lookalike Madeline Heil), as well as video blogger Hassan (Petri) and a few others. A series of weird occurrences that include one of the group getting inexplicably sick, discovering the tyres on their car have been slashed, and the power to the house going off make the friends think that someone is messing with them, so they decide to hold up in the old house over night, so that they can get help in the morning. However the actual cause may be down to the spirits of three witches who once used to live in the mansion.
Monday, 13 February 2017
You play as the owner of a museum who has just received the body and artifacts of legendary pirate Captain Remington. However once you adorn the corpse with it's belongings it comes to life and kidnaps your teenage daughter. Sneaking aboard it's pirate ship ( with the living dead acting as crew members) you end up at his old fortress; Skull Island. Here you must seek out the golden doubloons that will return the undead pirate back to his mortal form so that you can rescue your daughter.
Sunday, 12 February 2017
Havenhurst is a Gothic horror set in modern day New York, more specifically an apartment building that shares the film's title. It is directed by Andrew C.Erin who also co-wrote this with Daniel Farrands who I know best for also writing Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (not the best entry in the series). Danielle Harris has a bit part here, still on the Halloween trail to me she is best known for portraying young Jaime Lloyd in that series.
Julie Benz (Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dexter) stars as Jackie; a recovering alcoholic who has just left rehab. As part of her programme she is to move into Havenhurst; a gigantic apartment complex that seems to be exclusively for recovering addicts. She is told by the matriarchal owner Eleanor (Fionnula Flanagan) that the rules are simple, stay off her addiction and she can stay forever, break that rule and she will be evicted. However the building has a dark side to it, evicted tenants are dealt with quite harshly, and while they have been forced out their apartment, actually leaving Havenhurst is a different matter entirely.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
I wasn't particularly looking forward to watching Deadly Virtues: Love.Honor.Obey, the cover featuring a naked woman in bondage ropes brought to mind Fifty Shades of Grey, while I have never seen that, it is with good reason I haven't. Despite that I am going to use a blanket term and say this is probably that film but done in a horror style (a most lazy comparison). Two random interesting facts; first this movie was filmed in Watford, UK, secondly the director Ate de Jong also directed the classic 90's comedy Drop Dead Fred.
A stranger (Edward Akrout) breaks into the home of married couple Tom (Matt Barber) and Alison (Megan Maczko) one evening. He ties up Tom and dumps him in a bath tub, and then tells Alison that for the weekend they are going to act as husband and wife, and that if she is believable enough doing this he shall leave her and her husband alone. Over the course of a few days Alison slowly starts to realise how broken her real marriage is, and that maybe this home invasion is the wake up call she needed...
Friday, 10 February 2017
Wicked Conclusions is a short horror film that was made by Fear Crypt Productions and directed and co-written by Phillip G. Carroll. I always love a good short horror, to me the short length means there really is no opportunity to get bored, while the tight time frame means usually a lot of thought has gone into each and every moment to create a piece that is as artistically great as humanly possible.
Amber (Chloe Hendrikson) accidentally discovers a young boy (Boy-yo Korodan) chained up in the basement of the house of the man she had been dating. Discovering this the man (Erik Searle) sees no option but to chain her up also. He tells her the boy is very dangerous and promises to release Amber once she has seen for herself what a threat he is. Is Ben completely insane, or does he know something terrible about the kid?
Thursday, 9 February 2017
I have long awaited Resident Evil: The Final Chapter which as the title implies is the end to the divisive series. I have always liked the films, while they have never been amazing (with the exception of the very first, 2002's Resident Evil) they have constantly been good, even the worst in the series such as Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Retribution had their fantastic moments. This final film loops around to complete the often disjointed and meandering tale. Spoilers for the previous films are bound to follow.
Humanity's last stand at the White House in Washington DC turned out to be one huge trap set by Wesker (Shawn Roberts) to kill Alice (Milla Jovovich). However several weeks later and she emerges from the ruins of the once proud city, seemingly the only survivor. The Umbrella A.I named The Red Queen contacts Alice and tells her that there is an anti-virus to the zombie plague hidden back in Raccoon City, in the place the outbreak first occured; The Hive. Despite not trusting the devious A.I Alice decides to head back there to find it. However not only does she only have 48 hours to activate it before the last remaining bastions of humanity are wiped out, but she is being hunted by the leader of the Umbrella company; Dr Isaacs (Iain Glen) and his small army of deadly soldiers.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Cruel Summer is a dark British thriller that is realistic in it's portrayal of real world horror. I found this quite hard to watch as rather than monsters and psychos you have a scenario that plays out that seems like it could have happened. This movie is based on true events, but reading more into it, it is an amalgamation of different real life crimes rather than being based on one story.
After aggressive Nicholas (Danny Miller from Emmerdale) gets dumped by his girlfriend he heads to the house of his best friend; Julia (Natalie Martins) where in an effort to cheer him up she tells him his ex wasn't truthful with him so he's better off without her. As an example she happens to mention that his ex in the past had once slept with an autistic boy named Danny (Richard Pawulski) despite having told Nicholas she was a virgin. Enraged by this and looking to take out his extreme anger at the break up out on someone Nicholas initially decides he is going to find this boy and beat him up. Him and Julia get their friend Calvin (Reece Douglas) on board to help by lying that Danny is a paedophile. Meanwhile Danny has gone camping near some woodland, little does he suspect that the trio are on their way, and that they are going to do something truly awful to him...
Monday, 6 February 2017
BadLand Games are teaming up with The Vanir Project to bring the horror platform game Nightmare Boy to Steam, X-Box One, and PS4. In the game you play as the titular Nightmare Boy who enters a evil wizard's dreamlike realm in order to rescue the children of Donorok who have become imprisoned there.
The game is a 2D open world that sounds like it is Metroidvania in style. Each child you rescue grants you new powers from a double jump to explosives, and projectiles. There are also NPC characters you can talk to and hidden collectables which can change the ending of the game. The developers have stated that 16 bit and 32 bit games were used as an inspiration. Having seen the trailer it has some charming nostalgic and bright graphics to it, though no idea if it is fun to play or not. You can check out the Steam Greenlight page here, or watch the trailer below. Nightmare Boy is due out in quarter 3 this year.
Sunday, 5 February 2017
I was quite shocked when I discovered there was going to be a third film in the American version of The Ring series when I saw the trailer for this last year. I shouldn't have been though as this was made over three years ago in the sunny days before 2016. I always enjoyed The Ring films, all the rules that the curse had to adhere to, the seven day deadline, it all felt so fresh to me, as well as creepy. Some twelve years later, and with so many identikit films having followed the style would Rings manage to stand out?
Julia (Matilda Lutz) begins to worry about her away at Uni boyfriend Holt (Alex Roe) after she gets a bizarre video call from a panicking woman talking about Holt and a videotape. Not able to contact her boyfriend by phone she drives to his university to find him where she discovers he has watched 'the tape' and decides to move the curse onto herself to save him. However this sacrifice leads to a change to the traditional rules...
Thursday, 2 February 2017
From the team behind Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance comes Holy Terror, an exorcism film going for a 70's vibe. It is written and directed by Rich Mallery (Sociopathia), and stars Kristine DeBell, Mel Novak (Game of Death), Lisa London, Kelly Reiter (The Z Virus), Jesse Hlubik (All Cheerleaders Die), Nicole Olson, Scott Butler, and Vida Ghaffari.
Molly (Reiter) and Tom (Hlubik) believing strange occurrences in their house are the result of their dead child trying to make contact hire a spirit medium (London) to reach him. However instead the trio unwittingly summon a demon who possesses Molly's sister (Olson). A disgraced priest (Butler) and his mentor (DeBell) are then tasked with performing an exorcism to banish this dangerous being.
I have a lot of time for exorcism films, I enjoy the mix of horror with religious imagery, and the battle of wits, rather than strength that occurs between the evil force and the exorcist. Citing The Exorcist, The Changeling, and The Amityville Horror as big influences Mallery states:
"There has been a resurgence of exorcism/possession-type movies, so it's a little challenging to give audiences something they haven't seen before. But we have a few tricks up our sleeve that are going to make Holy Terror stand apart from the crowd."
Check out the trailer below and see what you think, hopefully it will turn out to be good. Holy Terror is going to premiere this April on Amazon Prime.