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...