Friday, 31 August 2018

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for August 2018


I still haven't gotten used to doing a reduced number of blog posts each month, it always feels like I should be writing one; a feeling I can never really shake. However it has freed up time to do other things such as going to the gym, watching Netflix, and playing far too many video games! It is another busy month with lots to cover on the old news front.

I feel like I have mentioned this before but there is still a GoFundMe campaign running to raise funds for horror comedy sequel Slashening 2: The Final Beginning. 2015's The Slashening was a comedy slasher where a group of friends get attacked and killed by a killer wearing a sack on their head. The sequel picks up five years later where it seems a copycat killer is on the loose. The funds needed are so that the 'big bloody' finale can be made. A music video that is from a song used in the movie has been released. To contribute to the project go here.



Something else I have mentioned before with Throw Anything which is a cartoon like zombie survival VR game that has now came out of early access and received a full release on Steam. There is now a final boss "Mystery Scientist X", a new special mission, an updated lobby that has more interactive elements, new stages, and upgraded graphics and sound effects. The game is out on HTC Vive, SteamVR, and Oculus Rift and a PSVR release is due out later this year.

 

This next piece of news is pretty crazy in that a new film series is coming out...but all eight of the films in the series are coming out at the same time! The film series is called The Darkest Nothing and is said to cover "Modern cannibalism, extreme BDSM, the COPINE scale of pedophilia, vigilante hunters, trolling, snuff, chemical drugs, rituals, obsession with morbidity, red rooms, uncaught serial killers...". Basically a lot of taboo type subjects. The series focuses on psychiatrist William Jameson and his video studies of extreme behaviour. It seems each film has Jameson exploring a different type of taboo, in the second chapter Gynophagia for instance Jameson comes face to face with a cannibal, while third chapter Ideophrenia has him meet a man known as Butcher who acts in underground slasher movies. Currently Filip Halo and Incubofilms are looking for funding to complete this series of films, any suggestions can be left on their many Facebook pages (one for each film), more details can be found at their website here. I have included the trailer in a previous news post but it is a stylish one so I shall include it again.



Back in October last year I gave found footage horror Hell House LLC a solid 7/10, however it is a film that has really stuck with me, enough that if I were to review it today it would get an 8/10. Due to this I was very excited to hear a sequel was being made, it is quite rare in the genre for sequels outside of the main stream (Creep 2 is the only indie one that comes to mind). Hell House LLC was a mockumentary about the lead up to a horrific event on the opening night at a Halloween haunted house tour that was set in an abandoned hotel. Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel has journalist Jessica Fox (Jillian Geurts) travel to the infamous hotel to uncover evidence of murder and strange disappearances. Director Stephen Cognetti says of it "I made this film with the fans in mind in hopes that it would answer questions from the original while deepening the overall story". This is due for release on September 14th via Terror Films, for now check out the trailer.



Next, from Indican Pictures is news that 7 Witches has come out this August. Care and Cody are due to get married on an island they have rented for the occasion (someone's doing well!), unknown to them however their special day is the exact same day a 100 year old curse comes to pass and they find themselves fighting a whole bunch of witches (probably seven of them). I can't embed the trailer for this one, but if you head to Indican Pictures website you can check it out (here).

Another new horror now with Death of a Vlogger which is also a found footage horror. In this film a vlogger gains viral fame when one of his videos contains evidence of an alleged haunting. The film is a 'unique mix of documentary and real archive footage' and was filmed on a micro budget by BAFTA New Talent and Michael Powell nominated filmmaker Graham Hughes. It is to be released by Tartan Features. Check out the trailer.



Some smaller news now, first Bellator MMA fighter Steve Mowry has joined the cast of The Harvester, he is to be the titular Harvester itself. Based on a series of graphic novels this is about a hell-spawned killer tasked with harvesting souls for his father; the King of Hell. The film is set to come out later 2019/early 2020.
Meanwhile Michael Berryman (Devil's Rejects, Hills Have Eyes, Weird Science) is to star as Jed Bedford in Room 9. This is written and directed by Thomas Walton, the synopsis being 'life altering sins of the past revisit lost souls in a small town... 40 years later!'. This movie is currently being filmed, more details can be found here.

Dead By Christmas is an upcoming feature film from Reel Nightmare Films that is due for release October 2nd and was filmed on location in Southeast Louisiana. As the title would suggest this is a Christmas themed horror, it concerns a group of friends raised together in a troubled orphanage that get stalked by a killer from Christmas past. Once again check out the trailer for this one, the Santa costume is pretty unsettling!



There is currently an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to letter and print Book 1 of a 2 part graphic novel series titled Graveyard Shift. It asks a question: 'what if The Universal Monsters were the X-Men?' This is a labour love from Jon Malin (Cable, Thunderbolts) and writer Mark Poulton (Savage Hawkman, Avengelyne). This is due for release in February 2019, it has far exceed it's target but can still be backed here.

Last but not least Jalbert Brother Studios have released their third feature film Terror Talk, it is now available on Amazon Prime. The synopsis sounds fun, a viral outbreak causes a doomsday prepper to retreat into his new house, but soon finds that while he might be safe from the deadly contagion outside he is trapped in a house that is haunted by evil ghosts. I would take my chances with the virus I think! If you want to check that out yourself follow this link.



Ok, so that wasn't actually the last post as I have some breaking news! Alex Noyer's short horror Conductor is to premiere at Horrible Imaginings on September 2nd before beginning a festival run. The seven minute short is about a musical engineer who mentors a young enthusiast through composing a beat for a special competition with horrific consequences.
The short is also to be shown in Provo, UT for the Film Quest Film Festival on September 7th at 9pm.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Wave of Mutilation (2015) by Sean E. Britten - Zombie Horror eBook Review


In May earlier this year I reviewed Sean E. Britten's Screamers which was a zombie novel with a difference and was also pretty great. After the review I realised I actually owned an earlier book of Britten's that to my shame I had not yet got around to reading. Staying true to form in reading slow I have finally finished this earlier book; another zombie novel, but this one a far more traditional read that swaps the remote Australian riverside for more well travelled America.

This time around we get to read about undead apocalypse from the very start. Cyndi Hong gets herself caught up in absolute mayhem while on route to work in New York. By a series of perilous adventures she first meets up with some gangsters, where she befriends Jules, and a lady named Jen, before then meeting up with a small boat of fellow survivors. Together they set out to find a safe place to try and survive zombie Hell.

So Wave of Mutilation is a far different beast than Screamers, and a far more predictable affair, though that is not to take slight against the quality of the writing here. It is only the individual components which are familiar, but the way these wild situations link up make for a real rollercoaster of a story with Cyndi thrust into insanity after insanity. The initial outbreak in New York was exciting with the undead waves described in great detail, like much of the book this part is quite vivid and cinematic, helicopter rides, shootouts, sieges and explosions punctuate Cyndi's journey to hoped for safety. Now gangsters are not something I find that interesting when it comes to zombie stuff (with the exception of the great Gangsters, Guns, and Zombies). I think this is due to Ian McCellan's novel One Undead Step from 2014 which gave me my fill of gangster related undead shenanigans. It is lucky then that due to the fast paced world of Wave of Mutilation this whole side bit is left behind at around the halfway point of the novel, something that I was quite surprised to see.

There are plenty of characters throughout though it is Cyndi who is the only constant. She's a likeable lead, someone who discovers a natural ability with handguns, and who has courage in spades. With the other characters it was good to see that no one seemed safe from sudden and swift death. There were people who I thought were dead set to be core characters that would last to the end only for them to be unexpectedly wiped out, this is of course a good thing. Not many characters get real plot development to them, and some are obvious odes to other characters in other media. Arriving at an army base ruled by a soldier named Rhodes it was very obvious where things were going to go, as this character pretty much acts the same as the infamous Rhodes from George Romero's great Day of the Dead. There are nods to other zombie media everywhere, from some characters discussing who would win in a fight between a zombie and a shark (that occurs in the film Zombi 2), to coming across the S-Mart that is of course a reference to the Evil Dead series. It makes for a fun read but at times it did feel like there were not a whole host of original ideas here, though tackling such topics as racism and sexism felt strangely relevant in today's world.

Britten nearly reaches the dizzy heights of David Moody (the Autumn series of books) when describing crowd scenes, you get a real idea in your mind of what the characters are looking at. Also his zombie virus can infect animals as well which leads to some set pieces with zombie dogs, and even a zombie tiger. Zombified animals are always a nice touch and help inject some new situations into a typical story. I appreciated that children are not spared, all too often in zombie novels they are avoided, but here we get children and babies both appearing as undead. There are no end of descriptive violence to the zombies from all manner of tools and weapons, from shotguns to samurai swords and meat tenderizers these tools of destruction have a visceral sound to the damage they cause to the walking dead.

While Wave of Mutilation may not be the most original feeling story out there, the zombie genre is one where such things really do not matter. This a well written thrill ride of a story, while at times the destination may be very clear it is still fun to see how our characters reach their finish, it is hard to be too down on such a fun journey.

SCORE:

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Cleaning Lady (2018) - Horror Film Review


I always love when I receive a film for review and it turns out to be a good one. Thankfully that is the case for director Jon Knautz's (Still Life, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer) The Cleaning Lady that manages to tell a familiar story but with a female twist to it, making something that feels at once mature and impactful.

Alexis Kendra (Hatchet II, Infected, and who also co-wrote this film with Knautz) stars as Alice, a 'love addict' who is currently trying her best to end a relationship she's been having with married man Michael (Death House, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End). She has also taken a recent step of hiring a cleaning lady called Shelly (Rachel Alig - Ghostline). Shelly is a shy meek woman who has severe burns over much of her face, Alice feeling sorry for her begins an odd sort of friendship with the lady. This may turn out to be quite the mistake though as the cleaner has quite a severe moral code and isn't afraid to use it on those she judges needs her assistance...


From the very start when someone puts rats in a blender I could tell that The Cleaning Lady was going to be a good film. It has a dark vibe to it but one that feels very natural and unforced in the way it rolls out. With Alice you have a flawed protagonist, someone who knows that what she is doing is wrong but who is unable to take the proper steps to fix the bad situation she is in. Perversely with Shelly you have an antagonist who is unaware that what they are doing is wrong, the character seems to sincerely believe they are helping out even when the methods are brutal. While there are quite a few side characters it is the relationship between this odd couple which is really the meat of the film. Both are great in the roles they have, in particular Alig who manages to come across at once both pitiful, but also intimidating. The character doesn't speak much and has a habit of just appearing out of nowhere making the first two thirds or so have an air of creepiness to them. She felt at times like a female Norman Bates, a silent voyeur to the goings on of Alice, though one who wants to be her, rather than have feelings for her. This culminates in a scene where she secretly makes a latex mask of Alice so she can literally be this woman.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

The Meg (2018) Horror Film Review


Would I class The Meg as a horror? Yeah, I reckon so, after all Jaws which was one of the inspirations for this certainly is. I went into this not even having seen a trailer, so apart from the subject matter I didn't really know what to expect. I had heard this was so bad its good, and at times this does deserve that moniker. However the worst thing about this sea based creature feature is the truly terrible script, not really so much the plot or effects.

While on a deep sea expedition a team of researchers stumble across something big that attacks their submersible, stranding them on the ocean floor as a result.  Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham - Crank) is a disgraced ex-rescue diver that is called in to help, but the rescue while successful has the unintended effect of freeing a previously believed extinct species of shark known as a megalodon from its natural prison. Now the researchers, that include among them Suyin (Li Bingbing - Resident Evil: Retribution), Mac (Cliff Curtis - Fear the Walking Dead), Morris (Rainn Wilson - Cooties), and Jaxx (Ruby Rose - Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) along with Jonas must find a way to stop the murderous 20 metre long killer monster before it makes its way to a more populated area.


I won't lie, I really didn't think too much of this for the first two thirds of the run time, and that was predominantly due to the cheesy, wooden cliche filled script and the lack lustre performances. It's not often I really do believe that given time I could have come up with a better script myself. The lines are all so predictable that I thought on occasion it must be tongue in cheek. Maybe the joke is on me but I got the feeling this was just dumbed down to stupidity, my eyes rolled back so hard at times that I was left looking at my brain rather than the screen.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Bus Party to Hell (2017) - Horror Film Review


Bus Party to Hell (formally known as Party Bus to Hell) is a schlocky almost grindhouse splatfest that doesn't do too much to take itself seriously. While it features a bunch of one dimensional characters, plenty of bare chested females, and over the top ridiculous violence it is held together by some disparate ideas that keep things from ever feeling dull for too long; always something new just around the corner.

Lara (Stefani Blake) happens to come across a bus one day that is heading to the Burning Man festival. Told the trip will be free she decides she may as well tag along on the party bus that is full of young partying adults looking to have a boozy and sex filled time at the event. Their driver takes the bus off the main road out into the desert telling the group she plans to make up for lost time, but instead making an excuse she leaves the vehicle and vanishes, moments before everyone gets attacked by crazy demon worshipping cannibal cultists. The survivors barricade themselves inside the bus, but apparently one of the group is 'the chosen one' and the cultists are determined to get to this person...


A variety of ideas is the best thing that Bus Party to Hell has even if at times these become nonsensical. The whole prologue features a woman who has escaped from some sort of nightmare (played by Tara Reid - the Sharknado series) in which people's biggest fears manifest themselves in reality. This whole section was a load of fun but is false in that it doesn't relate to the rest of the film, aside from her character meeting with the bus her story is totally separate and so felt a bit disjointed no matter how very cool it was. The meat of the film is the bus siege that features some fun scenes of mayhem and violence. The cultists slicing off heads and limbs, eating entrails and bathing in victims blood. Aside from the initial meeting of these two groups though they mostly stay separated with the bus impervious to their attacks (aside from a neat kill or two). The focus of the horror morphs later on with the final third being almost a different type of horror entirely, again, the best part about Bus Party to Hell is its inventiveness, this is shown in the creature design, as well as one sequence in which the tattoos of a woman become real and attack the ever dwindling survivors.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Epidemic (2018) - Horror Film Review


Whenever I get a film about some sort of viral outbreak I can't help but wish there will be zombies of some sort. Well with Stephen Michael Giglio's indie horror film Epidemic (that was entirely shot in Philadelphia) I kind of got my wish, though not in the traditional sense you might be expecting.

It is Dana's (Amanda K. Morales) 30th birthday and on the advice of her boyfriend Mike (Joe Walz) she has invited her estranged father Rufus (Andrew Hunsicker) to the birthday party she is holding. She hasn't seen him in years due to some past falling out. Also invited is her stoner neighbour, as well as Mike's best friend Troy and his girlfriend Mandi. Shortly before going there however Mandi discovers a secret room in her new house, while exploring she accidentally smashes a vial whose contents quickly infect her with a lethal virus that causes hallucinations, and eventually violent death. Unknowingly highly contagious she arrives at the doomed party...


I did enjoy Epidemic, it was a decent enough little horror even if I did have some issues with parts of it. I think my main problem was that I didn't like any of the characters, they all seemed mean and so I couldn't root for anyone, or for that matter care about anyone's fates. Dana comes across as moody, her alcoholic father is a plain angry man, even side characters like a motel owner just seem unnecessarily grumpy. I guess picking a favourite it would be Dana's neighbour due to a comedic scene involving a big cake he brings to the party.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

The Rotting Zombie Interviews Billy Ray Brewton


It has been a fair few months since my last interview, but after being given the opportunity to interview writer, producer, and director Billy Ray Brewton I jumped at the chance. I reviewed his cleverly made horror film Show Yourself last week and loved it, so I was interested in getting some of his thoughts on the themes of the movie, as well as how he went about creating it.

While there are obvious horror elements to Show Yourself would you class it as more of a drama due to the protagonists issues he has to face?

I've always referred to SHOW YOURSELF as a 'dramatic horror film'. I understand that the final 15-minutes sort of ascribes the 'horror' label to it, and that's okay, but if people go into it expecting a straight up horror film, they're going to be disappointed. I was far more interested in the character of Travis and his personal struggle than I was about the horror elements - UNTIL it's time for the horror elements to take the stage, and then it becomes ALL about that. I looked to THE DESCENT in terms of its structure, in that respect. 

Often when you have a movie focused on just the one character it can be hard to sustain interest for the run time. The use of laptop and the mobile to connect Travis with his network of people helped negate that issue. Was this a conscious decision to prevent the character from being completely alone which could risk the solitude becoming a negative?

Yes, it was a way of having him both be alone and absolutely not. I loved the contradiction of his going out to the woods to 'get away from it all' and finding every reason under the sun to stay connected with the outside world. This was also a way for me to buck the trope of phones not working and communication being blocked. In this world Travis has no trouble with any of that. I mean - it's 2018 - who doesn't have a phone charger?

While Show Yourself has a small cast there wasn't a single actor who felt ill suited to their role. Was it difficult to cast the roles, or did that come about easily?

Casting was a dream, but I set it up that way. Ben Hethcoat, who plays Travis, is my best friend, and I wrote the role for him, simply because I wanted to see what he could do with a lead role in a feature. As you're aware, he did not disappoint. The rest of the cast was built around him, made up of his close friends and people he'd worked with before. To get the sort of authenticity I wanted, I needed those relationships to feel 'lived in' and real. Stephen Cone was the only actor Ben didn't know, and that works for that relationship. I have always prided myself on strong casting, and that's 75% of your directorial battle right there.



From the inception to the finished piece how long did it take to make? What was the biggest challenge you had to face?

From the day I finished the script to the day we premiered, it was about a year and a half. Post-production was definitely the most difficult aspect, primarily because I had a hard time seeing the piece as a whole. Luckily, I had an insanely talented editor - Eric Ekman - who really helped shape the finished product. For example, the home video footage used was never in the plan - it was an idea Eric came up with that ended up changing the entire emotional tone of the film. Surround yourself with amazing people - ALWAYS.

I really enjoyed how the plot played out, how clues to the past are drip-fed to the viewer both by conversations and the video clips played. It leads to something that is shown to have layers to what initially seemed a straight forward situation. Why did you choose to tell the story in this way?

I don't like easy answers in film. I like some ambiguity. Not so much that it becomes a slap in the audience's face, but enough to maybe spark a conversation. I liked the idea of an audience thinking they knew what a relationship was about and then subverting it in small, honest ways. Nothing crazy or outlandish, but simple, subtle storytelling. Some people don't respond to that, which I understand, but it's what I felt this film needed to be.

Staying on the subject of the plot I liked that it was never 100% certain that what happens is actually real or conjured up from Travis's mind (at least that was the way I saw it). Do you have a definite answer on this or do you prefer to leave it up to the viewer's interpretation?

I have my idea, and I don't mind sharing it because I don't think it should inhibit anyone else from believing what they want. For me, "Paul" was a trickster - a spirit in the woods that was taking Travis's grief and negative energy and feeding off it, manifesting itself through Travis's grief. So, for me, it was never Paul, but was definitely something real Travis was facing.



The plot is quite personal to the character and is quite focused on the topic of grief as well as guilt. Where did you come up with the idea for the film?

Unfortunately, I've experienced my fair share of loss and grief over the years, and it always fascinates me. How people react. How it changes people, for the good and bad. A lot of what I deal with, as an artist, is laced with that sort of thing. But I wanted to write this because I saw THE BIG CHILL and thought it would have made an excellent horror film, and then started thinking about all the things I wanted to see Ben (who plays Travis) do in a feature. The rest just sort of spilled out.

I admit I haven't seen any of your previous work, but was impressed with the way Show Yourself was created. Do you have any plans for future films in mind?

Definitely. I've got a fun and bloody little script called SEASONS OF BLOOD which is ready to go if we can find the financing. It takes the characters from the musical RENT and places them in a summer camp in the 1980's with a masked killer on the loose. It's a musical horror comedy and a raunchy time. 


Monday, 13 August 2018

Undertaker (2018) - Short Horror Film/Music Video Review


Two short films were created by creator/composer John Whitaker (1i2c) and cinematographer/directer Nicolai Kornum featuring music from 1i2c's latest album "It Should Be You". Yesterday I reviewed Umbilichord and today is the turn of Undertaker. This one has less of a real story to it, instead it is a marriage of visuals and sound that has a lot of nice cinematography to it making the black and white scenes nice to look at.

Whitaker stars as the titular undertaker who is discovered having just dug up a fresh grave and moving the body. What follows is a slow motion chase through corn fields as the music of 1i2c plays out. While Umbilichord was also a mashup of film and music this has less story to it. However this was beautifully shot with some really nice looking camera angles chosen, the standout shot for me being an over head one of a woman falling over into sheaves of corn.

As primarily a short film I don't think I would have enjoyed this as much, and while the music isn't really to my tastes it does blend in well with Kornum's directing. To be fair the video itself describes itself as a music video and in that respect it is successful. To view the other works of Kornum head here, otherwise check out the video for Undertaker below.

SCORE:



Sunday, 12 August 2018

Umbilichord (2018) - Short Horror Film Review


I have a glorious week off work and so it is a good time to catch up with some outstanding blog posts despite both my wrists being in some sort of demonic pain for reasons unknown. Back near the start of July I received two short horror films in an email which appear to be companion pieces seeing as how they were both taken off of a new album. The two shorts; Umbilichord and Undertaker are different to the norm as they play out like a cool mix of both short film and music video. This is fitting seeing as they were made by composer/producer John Whitaker (1i2c) and cinematographer/director Nicolai Kornum.

Umbilichord is dialogue free with just the music and visuals keeping things moving along. A countess (Emma Dark - Seize the Night, Frankula) pushes a Gothic looking pram around a park, people she passes by soon discover her pram contains within it a terrifying secret. This black and white footage is inter-cut by frequent colour visits to some sort of lab where a mad professor mixes chemicals.

The near six minute short was actually pretty decent, there is a fun payoff that I can say with certainty I was not expecting. The music was mixed well with the visuals that complimented each other in a cohesive way. Elsewhere I had no problem with any of the actors, they both looked and acted the part that was called for. I was unsure if there would be much plot to speak of so was nice that the horror aspect was evident. Umbilichord is taken from the new album by 1i2c "It Should Be You" that can be purchased here.

SCORE:



 

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Show Yourself (2016) - Horror Film Review


I'm always happy to accept any horror film for review here on my blog, but director and writer Billy Ray Brewton's Show Yourself stood out as the synopsis for it sounded damn captivating. This is a film featuring just the one main character, usually that is a real hard concept to get on board with as it takes a special type of actor to carry a film on their lonesome. However here there is an interesting technological concept that helps not have this get bogged down in solitude and silence.

Travis (Ben Hethcoat - The Walk of the Zombies) has travelled out to remote woodland in order to scatter the ashes of his good friend Paul (Clancy McCartney) who died unexpectedly a few weeks back. He is quite grief stricken still and has only travelled there due to it being a request of Paul's parents. Travis plans to spend a few days in the woods, both so he can work through his loss, and also so that he can prepare for a film role he has accepted. However he comes to believe that someone, or something is haunting him and soon comes to fear for his very sanity...


Show Yourself gets around the fact of just having the one character thanks to constantly using Skype on his laptop and on his phone. It's lucky that he is able to get a signal in such a remote location as a good chunk of the movie sees him talking through his experiences and his problems via the technology. This movie felt like an amalgamation of Unfriended, Silent Hill, and a little bit of The Battery, a unique blend that really did work wonders. The first due to the use of Skype that like Unfriended helps disparate characters talk without the comfort of physically being near each other, some of the assumed horror also takes place via this application. The Silent Hill aspect comes from the crazy time Travis is happening, in that video game series the protagonists are haunted by the manifestations of their subconscious guilt, with Travis we certainly have someone who is harbouring guilt. Finally it was both the woodland setting, as well as Travis's reliance on music to conquer his fears that brought The Battery to mind. Like that gem, here the soundtrack is perfect, mellow songs and tunes that give a rustic outdoorsy, almost hipster like feel that helps ground the horror.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Bad Timing: Season 2 (2017) - Zombie Web Series Review


Around a month ago I watched and reviewed the first season of web based zombie romantic comedy Bad Timing. Now that title was apt for many reasons, one being that I saw it just as my personal life got quite dark, and so it has taken me until now to get around to watching season 2. While I felt the 'third wheel' angle was getting a little bit stale by seasons end I was still interested to see where things would head next. Slight spoilers for season 1 to follow.

Bad Timing takes place shortly after zombie apocalypse has swept America. In season 1 awkward I.T guy Andy (Andy Goldenberg) ends up taking refuge in a remote desert house with the love of his life Eve (Aqueela Zoll), this idyllic set-up is ruined when Eve's perfect boyfriend Kevin ( Michael Wayne Foster) turns up. The season ended with the shock arrival of Andy's Mom Phyllis (Lisa Raggio - Monsters, Inc.) who Andy shoots after mistaking her for one of the undead, while Eve and Kevin flee the house. The second season picks up immediately afterwards and changes the group dynamic a lot. Fussy Phyllis brings with her Sam (Becca Leigh Gellman) 'a nice Jewish girl' who Andy's Mom plans to set up with her son. However still obsessed with Eve he sets out to try and catch up with her and Kevin. Unknown to him however while he is on a journey to find them they have themselves returned to the desert house, and finding it empty assume Andy is no longer among the living.


This season is longer coming in at 19 episodes with a combined total of around seventy minutes (again each episode is just a few minutes long). While this never felt as funny as before it had the benefit of meaning there wasn't as many jokes that fell flat either. I don't recall laughing out loud even once, yet still found this whole arc entertaining. I liked how the rom-com aspect changed tracks from Eve and Andy to Andy and Sam. Obsessed with Eve Sam helps him as best she can and soon subtly he unconsciously begins to get feelings for her. It would have been easy just to choose a bland or unattractive girl for the role of Sam but she is not only a nice and patient character but she too is quite easy on the eye.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Barn (2016) - Horror Film Review


The Barn is a passion project of director and writer Justin M. Seaman (10/31, Cryptids) who first conceived the idea for this when he made a series of comics about the topic as a young child. Despite a series of setbacks and issues plaguing the production the vision of a throwback to eighties horrors came to fruition. By so successfully aping the style of movies from that time period a lot of the issues that occurred are reduced and can be dismissed as emulation. While The Barn is not without its problems this singular goal of nostalgia means this holds a charm even when it is at its roughest.

This takes place in 1989 where Halloween obsessed Sam (Mitchell Musolino - 10/31, Cryptids) and his best friend Josh (Will Stout - Cronos) are determined to enjoy one last Halloween night before they finish high school. Hearing of a rock concert taking place in a nearby town the two decide to head on a road trip with some other friends. On the way however they get lost and end up at an old barn, during a game of truth or dare Sam in order to show his Halloween beliefs are childish is dared to perform a ritual that local legends say will summon three evil spirits. Unfortunately for all concerned it turns out the ritual is real and soon the group of friends, as well as the nearby town are all at huge peril by three evil spirits sent from Hell to collect 'treats' for their master...


Everything about this horror reeks of the 80's and that really is no bad thing, especially when so much love has been put in to ensure things seem authentic. The favourite part of that for me where the TV show segments from Dr. Rock's show (Dr. Rock being played by Ari Lehman who is perhaps best known as Jason Voorhees in the original Friday 13th!). Everything from the style of signs used to the whole way the program plays out just felt so familiar to me. This has everything you would expect a throwback film to have, there is even time for a brief montage when the two heroes are tooling up for the final third, and of course plenty of cheesy rock songs playing out over the action.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for July 2018


July has been a real tough month, I have been visited by an assortment of plagues, it seemed every other day something new and traumatic would rise up to beat me down. This all coincided with me deciding to reduce the amount of blog posts I did anyway. I had gotten into the habit of feeling the need to do at least twenty posts a month, but this was causing me no end of quality issues, going forward I have decided to just do three posts a week; I'm going to focus on quality over quantity. As a last note before I begin some of the more astute out there might notice that it is now August despite my header saying July, well that's all part of me taking more time to ensure quality of a moderate degree.

Ok then, starting off with the ever reliable Reel Nightmare Films who have debuted their 'horror shorts' anthology on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S and the U.K. Horror Shorts is made up of five bite size horrors. These include Awake in which a newly undead couple must deal with a threat hiding in the forest. Pig Man is about a couple, again in the woods, but who encounter someone or something known only as Pig Man. The Last Showing is a ghost story set in a theatre, Tujunga Horror Story is about a woman who moves into a new house to discover it seems to be haunted. Finally is He Takes and Returns which is about a family whose evening is ruined when a creature takes them away one by one.
Reel Nightmare Films have also released an additional nine horror shorts, they are Relentless Scoundrels, Secret Satan, Don't Go Home! She Knows!, Dr. Mandaru, Play Day, Who is Beverly, Ghost Blunders, The Audition and finally #Victim 505.



I mentioned the incoming arrival of free DLC for virtual reality video game ARK Park back in May and can now report it has came out. Pterosaur Hill (which is built around the concept of flight) contains three new maps; Mountain Lake, Crystal Sky Lift, and Aviary. I fully intend to record a playthrough of these new areas, especially seeing as I haven't been back on the game since an update was released to improve the graphics on the PSVR version.



I read the almighty Knuckle Supper and Knuckle Balled earlier this year and so when I got an email from author Drew Stepek about further developments I just had to mention what he said. Knuckle Supper is now available in audio format on YouTube. It is the full unabridged version and is read by Jason Hill who has a great voice for this type of story. The entire book is now up to listen to, I gave the book 10/10 and so I feel this audio version is well worth checking out, and to do so click here.
Staying on the subject of books with the release of Nightmare Gallery that is now available on Kindle on Amazon. This is a new book of horror poems from Daileas Duclo and he says of it "I based this collection on some of the darkest thoughts I've had. I stared into the headlong abyss of horror, suspense, and science fiction to find these beasts dancing along the periphery of my mind's eye."

With A Kiss I Die is a horror film described as a Shakespearean vampire romance and which is due for release on 28th August on a variety of digital formats. Set up as a sequel to Romeo and Juliet this puts forward the idea that after her death Juliet was changed into a vampire. 800 years later she again falls in love, this time with a young woman, but her new vampiric family disapproves. It is directed by Ronnie Khalil and stars Ella Kweku as Juliet.



Horror anthology Welcome to Hell has been acquired for release by Wild Eye Releasing and is due to come out on DVD on 9th October. This film consists of seven short films; After Hours, Dead Therapy, Family Time, Lucid, Maternal Instincts, Narrative, and Slit. There are some known names among the confirmed cast,such as the ever prolific Kim Sonderholm (Harvest, Little Big Boy: The Rise and Fall of Jimmy Duncan) and the intense Bill Oberst Jr (DIS, Coyote). This anthology can be pre-ordered in the US and Canada.
Talking of Bill Oberst Jr. the great make-up artist Jeff Farley (whose work has featured on such things as Babylon 5, Demolition Man and Pod) has recently completed the sculpt for him of Ray Bradbury. This prosthetic transformation is for the authorized stage portrayal of the author known as Ray Bradbury Live (forever). Ray Bradbury was well known for his science fiction and horror story collections with most his work being speculative fiction.

 

Drew Marvick's Pool Party Massacre is set to release on 17th August via Terror Films, it will be coming to digital platforms. It stars adult actress Alexis Adams, Sally Burnswell (Do Not Disturb), Nick Beyer (Popcorn Kill) amongst others. A bunch of young socialites find themselves at the mercy of an unknown killer at a pool party. Check out the Red Band trailer below.

 

The news continues with Hex Studios channel that premiered Kate Shenton's new web series Netfl!x and Kill. This has been described as 'Gogglebox with a horror twist'. This tells the story of a psychopath and his victim who spend all day watching television. This 8 part series started today on Hex Studio's YouTube channel with a new episode screening each week.