Monday, October 24, 2016

October Horror Challenge 2016 - Days 16, 17 and 18

My plan to catch up by the end of the weekend was a failure but here we are with days 16 and 17 so lets get in to it...

First up was LEGEND OF THERE WEREWOLF which is an entertaining mix of werewolf horror, Peter Cushing, a wolf boy raised by carnies, and a brothel. Sadly it is not available on DVD or Blu-ray which I hope is remedied soon because this movie really is good. It's not Hammer or Amicus quality but this Tyburn Films production deserves a better legacy and preservation than VHS.

Next was RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and what can I say other than "Do you wanna party!?". This is one my top 5 favorite films of all time and possibly the movie I've seen more than any other.

CRUCIBLE OF TERROR was next and it was decent but the word "cock tease" comes to mind with it. It teases the viewer by promising exploits but it holds back on them never giving us the excitement  it could have. It's a decent "mad artist" type horror movie in the wax figure horror vein but it settles in mediocrity.

Then came NIGHT OF FEAR which is an Australian film that was originally intended to be the first episode in a horror TV series called Fright but the show was never picked up so NIGHT OF FEAR exists as a bit of an anomaly of Ozploitation history. It's well made and features virtually no dialogue but the tension is heavy and the filmmaking and direction creates a great sense of fear in this story where a pretty woman crashes her car and is terrorized by a crazed hillbilly and his dozens of pet rats.

Day 17 was a bit of a Hammer day that started out with RASPUTIN THE MAD MONK which stars Christopher Lee as a maniacal monk who can heal or take life by the touch of his hand. He's also quite the womanizer and drinker using his supernatural abilities to drink to no end and hypnotize women. The film has some memorable scenes and this is probably the craziest performance you'll ever see from Christopher Lee but it falls short of being great.

My feelings are similar for THE WITCHES. The finale is ultimately the most memorable scene of the film and it's certainly not bad but it is a bit uneventful and could have used another couple of scares to spice things up a bit.

Finally was THE PIT from 1981 which was a strange movie centered around a 12 year old boy named Jamie who is a complete and total creep. He has no friends and is in love with his babysitter. He also knows of a secret pit in the woods that houses carnivorous Troglodyte creatures that Jamie feeds his bullies and anyone he doesn't really like too. It's much more about how fucking weird Jamie is and it's pretty uncomfortable to watch him being potentially the creepiest child in film history. I can't figure out if I like it or hate it.

Day 18 started with INN OF THE DAMNED which is from the same direction of Night Of Fear but this film isn't as much of a success. INN is a horror western that would have been a fun and interesting watch at 80 minutes but at 2 hours it drags and drags and feels like two totally separate movies. The western parts are okay and the horror parts would have made for a fine little film on their own but thrown together it's messy and way too long.

In the category of great titles but disappointing results is INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS. Low budget 70s trash, even when it isn't very good, which is the case here, I still can find some entertainment most of the time and that is also the case here. I wouldn't mind a remake of this film to be honest.

And we close out day 18 with BASKIN which is a really good Turkish film from 2015. A group of police officers respond to a call and find themselves in the middle of a black mass in an old abandoned building and we get treated to some seriously gruesome visuals along with a story that has depth that lends this film to multiple viewings to pick up on everything. This is one of my favorite movies of the last two or three years.

Today's Rundown
Legend Of The Werewolf - 6/10
Return Of The Living Dead - 10/10
Crucible Of Terror - 5/10
Night Of Fear - 6/10
Rasputin The Mad Monk - 6/10
The Witches - 6/10
The Pit - 5/10
Inn Of The Damned - 4.5/10
Invasion Of The Blood Farmers - 4/10
Baskin - 7/10

Friday, October 21, 2016

BRIMSTONE - Momentum Pictures Press Release

Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce and Kit Harington Star in Western/Thriller Set to Release March 2017

LOS ANGELES – Oct. 20, 2016 – Momentum Pictures announced today that it has acquired North American rights to the western/thriller BRIMSTONE. The film, which first premiered in September at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews, is written and directed by Martin Koolhoven.  It stars Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire), Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential), Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”), Carice van Houten (“Game of Thrones”) and Emilia Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides).  Momentum Pictures will be releasing BRIMSTONE in theaters and on VOD in March 2017.  Momentum Pictures’ Senior Vice President of Content Ian Goggins made the announcement today.

“Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce’s strong performances truly capture the work and vision of filmmaker Martin Koolhoven,” said Goggins.  “We couldn’t be more proud to release BRIMSTONE so that audiences can experience this amazing piece of cinema.”

BRIMSTONE tells the story of a frontier woman turn fugitive when she is wrongly accused of a crime she didn't commit and is hunted by a vengeful preacher.

BRIMSTONE is produced by Els Vandevorst (Dogville) and Uwe Schott (Cloud Atlas).  Coproduced by Paul Trijbits, Antonino Lombardo, Manuel Chiche and Peter Hiltunen. The deal was negotiated on behalf of Momentum Pictures by Sejin Croninger, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Acquisitions for Entertainment One, and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.

About Momentum Pictures, an Entertainment One Company
Momentum Pictures is focused on distributing multiplatform film, television and special interest content in the U.S. and around the world.

For additional information, please contact:

Katrina Wan
Momentum Pictures

(323) 240-9996

October Horror Challenge 2016 - Days 14, 15

Late again - my apologies. I'm going to try and catch up by the end of the weekend -

Day 14 started with a really cool double feature that was totally unintended. SUSPIRIA was first - my favorite film of all time and every time I watch it I'm reminded why. I hope this is the last time I have to watch it before Synapse releases their Blu-ray edition.

That was followed up with my first time viewing of Bert I. Gordon's NECROMANCY which was a really atmospheric film set in an eery town that was full of devil worshippers working for Orson Welles. The film relies more on building tension and subtlety than relying on gore and effects and it really works. This ended up being a great witchcraft double feature with Suspiria.

Then came my first viewing of the Wizard Of Gore remake starring Crispin Glover in the role of Montag the Magician. Glover was fantastically weird and charismatic and every scene with him was better because of it. Unfortunately the movie isn't really centered around him but around a dull investigator character. Coupled with crappy effects which should be criminal when you're remaking a H.G. Lewis film (he's not called the Godfather of Gore for nothin') this one ends up being a stinker with a shining star hidden in it.

I decided to make this a double feature as well - a double feature of HG Lewis remakes with my 2nd viewing of 2001 MANIACS, a remake of Lewis' 2000 Maniacs. This film stars Robert Englund and is really an entertaining movie. Englund is great and you can tell he's having fun. It's a genuinely funny script with a high bodycount and lots of boob action. Not perfect by any means but as far as the H.G. Lewis remakes (or their sequels) are concerned it's the best.

I ended day 14 with a movie I'd only seen bits and pieces of on TV over the years and that happens to be yet another remake - John Carpenter's VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. Well, Carpenter is one of my favorite directors and this was one of the last films of his that I needed to see. It's a clunker pure and simple. It feels like it was made for television and it seems like everybody including Carpenter was phoning it in. It's a watchable movie but I wouldn't go too far out of my way to watch it again.

Day 15 was equally as busy with another five movies and they started off with DEMON KEEPER. I'll sum up the good and the bad in this movie in two words each. The good: Demon design. The bad: The rest.

Next up was a movie I feel like was destined to be something I could take or leave - THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR. Much like the first two films in the series the movie is just okay. There's interesting ideas that are used too sparingly and less interesting ideas put to the forefront. I think the idea of this series has always been better than the execution.

THE BOY was up next, the doll movie starring Maggie from The Walking Dead. Excuse me for not looking up her name but I just don't really care enough about this movie to take the time. I was surprised when I heard quite a bit of praise for this movie, at the very least calling it decent because the trailer looked like garbage and aside from the surprise twist at the end that I just couldn't give a shit about by the time it happened it was garbage. This one could barely keep my interest to finish.

And we've arrived at A HALLOWEEN PUPPY.... I've been both dreading and anticipating this moment since watching the movie. Let me tell you dear reader that this movie is a total fucking disaster. And it's also a magical experience. This is the result of a few friends watching movies together and not being able to decide what to watch so one joking puts this on via Netflix and the group watches in amazement at the complete train wreck in front of them. Three grown men watching a movie about Eric Roberts turning into a bulldog on Halloween because his girlfriend's son and his friend (not girlfriend because this fucking dork has no game) say a spell from the Necromicon - No I didn't misspell Necronomicon they mispronounced it in the fucking movie.

I could go on for days about this movie, about how it's called A HALLOWEEN PUPPY and the dog in the movie is obviously full grown, about how Eric Roberts brings donuts to the house in the morning and proceeds to lick the frosting off of each one, about how the movie has more establishing shots than any movie I've ever seen, about how mic packs are visible, about how there are scenes of the dog being walked by the mom but it's clearly and obviously not the mom doing the walking, about how the magic performed by Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) is nothing more than a puff of color that floats in the air for a second and it's supposed to be this incredibly fascinating and terrifying thing, about how a couple of bullies steal Halloween decorations from the main kid and he tells his mom it's okay because he switched out the decorations for moldy newspaper despite us seeing the bullies rummage through the box for several minutes picking up the same three or four deocrations to make it look like the box was full with no sign of newspaper in site (you little fucking liar), about how Harry Manfredini did the score (yes, Harry Manfredini that did the score to Friday the 13th) and how there is a song that clearly sounds like a song from the Brady Bunch which is further confirmed with the appearance of Susan Olsen minutes later, about how David DeCoteau directed this, about how they use the most obnoxious blue filter for night shots, about how... fuck it. I could go on and on and on. This movie was an incredible viewing experience. It's a complete and utter piece of shit and it will be rated accordingly but don't mistake that I had a total blast watching it and riffing on it.

And finally was SWEET KILL from 1972. Luckily enough time had passed so that I could focus on another movie. This one stars Tab Hunter as a sexually frustrated gym teacher who can't get aroused for sex because of mommy issues. That is until he accidentally kills a woman while trying to have sex with her and realizes the dead body gets him turned on so now he's setting up chances to kill women during sex. It's okay. It's handled sloppily and isn't a very tight film. It was cool to see Angus Scrimm just a few years before he'd become the iconic Tall Man in Phantasm.

Today's Rundown
Suspiria - 10/10
Necromancy - 8/10
The Wizard Of Gore - 3.5/10
2001 Maniacs - 7/10
Village Of The Damned - 5/10
Demon Keeper 3/10
The Purge: Election Year - 5/10
The Boy - 3.5/10
A Halloween Puppy - 1/10
Sweet Kill - 5.5/10

VAMPYRES (DVD Review) - Artsploitation Films

Directed By: Victor Matellano
Written By: Victor Matellano, Jose Ramon Larraz
Starring: Caroline Munro, Christian Stamm, Veronica P. Bacorn
Color/82 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1
Release Date: October 18, 2016

VAMPYRES is available HERE

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Trash Fire Premiere At Screamfest

Screamfest Horror Film Festival celebrated the Los Angeles Premiere of TRASH FIRE on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at the TCL Chinese Theatre.  Screamfest will be running from October 18th - 27th at the TCL Chinese Theatre. 

And here's a group photo of the cast and crew from the event and the film's trailer to get you ready for TRASH FIRE

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Horror Challenge 2016 - Days 12, 13

Day 12 gets underway with a film that I enjoy more each time I watch it. COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE gives ample time to disfigured vampires, beautiful women and Paul Naschy at the top of his game. It's a bit of a different take than most vampire films of this period but will satisfy gothic horror fans' appetites.

Next was BIKINI PARTY MASSACRE and all I can say is that there is no reason to watch this piece of shit other than to see some boobies. This is awful filmmaking. This isn't even filmmaking. This is using Windows 98 graphics for backgrounds and special effects. Fuck this thing.

Now for more disappointment...

HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5 is a weird mess of a slasher, haunted house, serial killer film but not weird enough to save the film from being a drag and somewhat difficult to make it through. There's a few scenes that kept it from being a total loss but I'm not a fan.

And from the same director comes HELLBENT - an equally weird, cough syrup fueled ride where a musician sells his soul to the devil... kind of. It's a bit more enjoyable than HHOH5 but equally disjointed and barely worth a watch.

The next few films all come from director Steve Latshaw who made his money doing straight to video junk in the 90s. This is fun junk however, total cheeseball camp type stuff. No it's not really good but it's entertaining and in the case of BIOHAZARD 2 it does have a cool monster just like the first one.

Then there's DARK UNIVERSE an Alien ripoff set in the Florida swamps. Again, it's shitty but in a good way. It even has some decent effects at times.

And the Latshaw films come to a close with the first movie of day 13 - JACK-O. I apologize that I'm not saying much about each of them but there really isn't a whole lot to say - They're 90s straight to video trashy fun. This one features a killer jack-o-lantern and Linnea Quigley shower scene. It's pretty terrible but oh so fun.

It had been a long long time since I last saw RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and I didn't know if I'd care for it at this point but I did. It felt like less offensive version of a Troma film with that same oddball humor and corny meta storytelling. This is great satire.

And we close on a down note with HOLIDAYS which is probably the least fun I've had with a horror anthology in a long time. It's not all bad but there's plenty of bad in it and even the better parts are just bland with a been there done that" feeling. The high point is the Easter story which features the a gross Easter Bunny. Oh and Fuck Kevin Smith and his fucking terrible Halloween segment.

Today's Rundown
Count Dracula's Great Love - 7/10
Bikini Party Massacre - 1.5/10
Horror House On Highway 5 - 3/10
Hellbent - 4/10
Biohazard 2 - 6/10
Dark Universe - 6/10
Jack-O - 6/10
Return Of The Killer Tomatoes - 7/10
Holidays - 4/10

Thursday, October 13, 2016

October Horror Challenge 2016 - Days 9, 10, 11

After this post I'll almost be caught up! Woohoo! Thanks for keeping up with me as always.

Day 9 began with POD (no, not the band), a movie I found on Netflix that only had one real reason for me to check it out - Lauren Ashley Carter co-stars in it and she's been one of my new favorite actresses as she continually turns in great performances as I see more and more of her work. This movie centers around a man who has holed up in a cabin in the woods who has apparently lost his mind and is paranoid that the government is watching him because he has discovered a secret gov't experiment and has one locked up. His siblings go to try and help him but find that he's mentally broken and that they should have stayed away as he previously warned. The movie itself is okay, nothing special but the performances really carry the film and without above average performances the movie would be a total failure. It's not something I plan on revisiting but it was worth a single viewing.

I had a free Redbox rental to use so I decided to use it on THE SHALLOWS because there was very little of interest besides that. I'm not a big fan of shark movies, even the best of them have never done much for me but I figured if Robert Englund had good things to say about it when I met him a couple weeks back I figured it was worth checking out with a free rental. Well, Blake Lively is gorgeous and hanging out with her for 90 minutes in a bikini makes it all worthwhile. And as Robert Englund said it is beautifully photographed. The movie isn't bad a very passable horror thriller but the end gets a little ridiculous with the shark that is stalking Blake Lively and some of the CGI is questionable at those points.

Day 9 was apparently for films I was very lukewarm on because it rounded out with THE FINAL GIRLS which is an interesting love letter to the slasher film that has some really good ideas but fails to really capture the actual spirit of the slasher film. This is one case where I truly think the PG-13 rating dragged the film down quite a bit as it holds the film back from recreating the violent death scenes and gratuitous nudity that the 80s body count films were known for. I think without those elements you can't have a truly great homage and love letter to the genre. The film was also heavy in comedy but many of the jokes simply weren't funny.

Day 10 began with a viewing of THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake from 2006 which I had not watched in a long time, possibly since the DVD was originally released. The last time I watched it I remember thinking I liked it more than Wes Craven's original but having given this another viewing and fairly recent viewings of the original that feeling has certainly changed. I still think Alex Aja's remake is a damn good remake and one of the better horror films of the mid 2000s that makes great use of an interesting setting and is wildly violent and gory.

Next was another Ivan Cardoso film and it was the one I was most excited for, 2005's A WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON starring Paul Naschy and in a dual role no less! Well it was a messy film that you could tell was low budget and had questionable production values at times but damn if it wasn't fun. It's a total mashup of werewolf horror, sexy jungle adventure film with Amazon warrior women and a Dr. Moreau sequel all rolled into one campy Brazilian production. And hell, Naschy turned in a solid performance and the werewolf makeup wasn't half bad.

Rounding up the 10th day of the challenge was THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN which I had heard good things about including that it was one of the best found footage movies of recent memory. Those reviews aren't wrong, it was a pretty solid film though the further it went along the more unbelievable it got. It starts out with a documentary crew following a woman and her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's in their routine but the ladies illness quickly takes a strange turn and it's apparent that something demonic is going on. The parts of the film based in reality are the best and probably the scariest. You don't need special effects to show how scary it can be when the human mind betrays you and breaks down.

And onto day 11, the final day for this update.

Jim Jarmusch's ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a damn interesting film and a beautiful film and a brilliantly acted film. It's not really a horror film despite three of the four main characters being vampires there is really only one horror-esq scene and besides that there's not a lot going on in the movie but it's endlessly intriguing and engaging. The cast has incredible chemistry and watching them (Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Anton Yelchin and Mia Wasikowska) simply interact and live their lives while keeping their identities secret is endlessly mesmerizing.

KILLER'S MOON was next and I really really wanted to like this movie. Hell, I wanted to love this movie. Four men who have been tested with experimental drugs and dream therapy have escaped the hospital and are terrorizing a group of school girls at a small countryside inn after their bus broke down. The psychos are total sleazeballs, threatening the girls both sexually and physically and killing off plenty of people that get in the way of their drug induced frenzy. The problem is the film only teases us with the sleaze and violence never seizing the opportunity to turn this movie from something that's just OK and making it an infamous piece of exploitation film history.

Day 11 ended on a high note as the movie I was most anticipated in seeing finally hit US theaters - SHIN GODZILLA, the brand new Godzilla film from Toho. Words couldn't properly explain my excitement and I wasn't disappointed. SHIN GODZILLA features the most different take on Godzilla we've ever seen, possibly the most violent and destructive version we've ever seen and it's also an extremely stylish movie. Toho took some chances with this one but most of them pay off. If you're a fan of Godzilla do whatever you have to do to see this in theaters.

Today's Rundown
Pod - 4/10
The Shallows - 4.5/10
The Final Girls - 5/10
The Hills Have Eyes - 7/10
A Werewolf In The Amazon - 6/10
The Taking Of Deborah Logan - 6/10
Only Lovers Left Alive - 8/10
Killer's Moon - 4.5/10
Shin Godzilla - 8/10