Live Action Review by Crystal Connor: Diary of a Psychopath

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Plotline: A young psychopath chronicles the stalk, the hunt and the kill of his first victim.

Who would like it: Those who like found footage/self-documentary movies and fans of short films.

Overall: 3 Stars

Where I watched it: Facebook

I don’t particularly enjoy found footage/ self-documentary films, to be honest its more than not simply likely them, I don’t even watch them anymore. The sighing and eye rolling were of epic proportions when I was assigned to watch Diary of a Psychopath.

Now with that being said, what I immensely appreciate about Daniel P. Coughlin, besides his full length 2008 movie Farm House is his ability to tell a compelling short story. Clocking in at just under ten minutes Diary of a Psychopath is easy and interesting enough to sit through. The amateur camera phone recording coupled with main character Tyler Bentley’s youthful appearance lends itself to its authenticity.  In fact, it seemed so real for some that they left comments condemning his actions demanding and threatening that this footage be turned over to the property authorities. But with so many people filming every second of their lives, and others posting footage of themselves committing actual crimes it’s easy to understand the confusion.

Tyler is a super creepy kid, the things he says gets under the skin and his footage of him stalking women in the park strikes a chord. The twist is reminiscent of Scott Reynolds 1994 A Game with no Rules.

The verdict? I actually liked Diary of a Psychopath, which probably means you’ll love it. Check it out here Come for the STALK, stay for the KILL! and I would also recommend taking some time to explore Crypt TV as well.

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Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is a Washington State native who loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

When she’s not terrorizing readers she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen. The End is Now is the 5th book that has been unleashed by Connor’s awarding winning imagination.

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! audiobook from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!”

And They All Lived Happily Ever After!

Kbatz: Found Footage Scares

 

Found Footage Horror

by Kristin Battestella

 

Addicts, you make the call! Despite some fine performances, period or unusual settings, and interesting storytelling, I am split on these found footage styled scares thanks to that very discovered, undocumentary design that unites them – or fills them with plot holes.

 

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Apollo 18The website lunartruth.com is presented as the source for this 2011 footage recovery, and the faded lines, pops, and mixes of color or black and white seventies home movies design do nicely along with of the time gear and delightful early space program equipment. The cramped shuttle filming is a little too herky jerky and spastic camera flashes will be difficult for some, but opening interviews with the departing astronauts establish the mood, personalities, and secret situation quickly – perhaps too quickly. Sudden goodbyes, landing on the moon, and already being there for almost a week happen in the first ten minutes before some uneven, extremely slow moments with nothing happening and only the closed captioning to indicate the too soft “What was that?” eerie sounds. There’s no sense of awe, scope, or time to appreciate the possibility of this actually happening because the found footage must remain with onboard cameras and can’t allow for any clarifying movement or outside visuals. The choppy, innate presentation disrupts the intriguing conspiracy aspects – Radio Houston hasn’t exactly been honest but talk of the Department of Defense material is conveniently cut off by gaps in the video. Despite the PG-13 rating, there are some invasive bodily gruesomes and creepy contamination fears, but the chattering rock aliens may actually be unnecessary. With no scoring, the tiniest of spaces, lack of oxygen, desperate reliance on damaged equipment, and only three stranded people in foreign isolation, this should be scarier than it is. The bloody evidence of a Soviet lunar landing gone awry would have been the much more interesting antagonist. Paranoia builds nicely thanks to unexplained injuries, missing objects, and others listening in on the lunar frequencies, but need to know excuses, stupidity, and nonsensical turns can’t disguise the cheating found footage plot holes. The deadly hysteria and upsetting outcome would have been far more dramatic had the audience been able to just clearly see it happen. Whether this footage is being transmitted back to earth or later magically retrieved is never explained, but the end credits roll to the tune of We Three Kings of Orient Are. Say what?

 

As Above So Below – The disorienting, chaotic start to this 2014 found footage tale compromises the danger of all its tunnels, statues, catacombs, and artifacts because we can’t see much less appreciate them thanks to the sideways camera or off and on flashlights. Young and reckless Perdita Weeks (Lost in Austen) rattles off her credentials and always assures the documentary is paramount while risking harm to others. She heeds no warnings, argues with the more experienced, and audaciously accuses others while she destroys priceless discoveries for her own transformative gain. Instead of Dante food for thought, the wrongfully determined, spelunking hipster plot comes off ala National Treasure – complete with a first clue action start, a break in to inspect the back of a marker, begrudging allies who only want gold, going underground via a tomb, and following historical riddles through one hidden chamber after another. Our cameraman is also a wise cracking, injury prone, token black guy whom we hardly see. His future bodes so well! And hey, there’s no cell phone service underground, obviously. Parisians inexplicably speaking English instead French, obligatory claustrophobia, Indiana Jones rats and knights, and random cult worshipers add to the borrowed contrivances, and it’s tough to make the cliches and busy footage both work due to the increasing demands on our suspension of disbelief. The finest parts here are when the camera remains still with one person in panic. Creepy old phones and broken pianos below add to the dread and maze like inability to escape, creating enough forlorn without the gimmicks. Real cave interiors add to the Egyptian booby traps, however the jump scares, supernatural hell horrors, and a much too much rushed finale abandon the established rules. Was all the metaphysical worth it? Are we supposed to be glad that one got the rectification she desired at the expense of others? This is entertaining for viewers who fall for the frights in the Halloween fun house, but despite attempts at literary and historical allusions, longtime horror audiences and wise cinema fans will see everything coming.

 

The Last Exorcism This 2010 ‘discovered’ religious documentary is awkward and pretentious to start with contradictory interviews and a quack minister as its subject. Do we scoff or go with the unscrupulous trick crucifix? Perhaps the lip service narrations provide the desired fakery tone, but there’s no need to overtake the Louisiana visuals and local interviewees’ superstitious state of mind. Patronizing and preachy telling instead of showing may put off viewers, but the talk of demons, Lucifer, and exorcist history add a much needed edge. Bizarre humor and resentment of the camera add dimension as well – hidden filming or distant silent observation build secrecy as blame, suggested mistreatments, and apparent abuses mount. Do the investigation methods of this hack minister encourage superstition where medicine is needed? Is this crappy dog and pony show giving believers what they want helpful or risking a young girl’s life? Medical consequences, spooky circumstances, disturbing familial twists, and freaky camera witnessing escalate the possessed or crazy debate, but hysterical, herky-jerky visuals and swerving camera action are distractingly obvious, taking away from the well done demonic ambiguity because the viewer is overly aware of the confusing, frenetic film making. One too many twists, red herrings, and foreshadowing that gives everything away happen too many times in this frustrating 90 minutes, and like all people who don’t realize they are in a horror movie, no one ever simply leaves or goes for help. Ironically, I’m not sure this is really a horror movie but rather a backwater thriller with tacked on supernatural elements, and I don’t care to see The Last Exorcism Part 2 either.

 

The Quiet OnesThis 2014 nuHammer mix of science and supernatural has a great atmosphere to start. The isolated British setting, 1974 style, and on form, age appropriate cast lend a serious, mature tone. Cool, old time equipment and clunky cameras add to the grainy film feelings and harken toward a classic Hammer design. Where is the line between evil and mental illness? Do you seek a doctor or a priest for your affliction? These questions and a touch of kinky suggestion are smartly played instead of going for today’s depraved sensationalism. The PG-13 rating wasn’t as bad as I feared, but wise horror viewers can tell the editing is designed to toe the ratings line with near bathtub nudity, scandalous bedrooms, and only a few blood and gory scenes. Mixing the traditional shooting with found footage style designs also seems amiss – calling attention to this gimmicky effect is too on the nose, and the shaky dropping the camera moments feel more funny and annoying than scary startling. We’ve seen better crazed or disturbia elsewhere, so the debate on torturing a young patient in an experiment on possession or illness feels weak amid the series of loosely held together Ghost Hunters bumps and metaphysical double talk. The parapsychology possibilities and unfulfilled back-story on mental repression, evil channeling, and occult history won’t be enough for horror audiences expecting more scares, and the final half hour unravels into a mess of this twist, that twist, a ye olde library research montage, and another twisty twist. This is watchable for younger audiences today, but there is definitely a lingering, unfinished, or too many hands in the pot behind the scenes feeling overshadowing the potential here. I kind of feel like I’ve only seen half the movie and wonder where the rest of the footage is!

 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: The Taking of Deborah Logan

At 1:30 am on Aug 15th, 2015, Crystal Connor, wrapped in a fleece blanket, seated in front of the fireplace picked up her remote and clicked play.  For the next two hours her neighbors were subjected to screaming, crying, and expletive outburst…

This is the unedited journal chronicling the harrowing experience her neighbors were forced to endure as she watched, Adam Robitel’s The Taking of Deborah Logan

The Taking of Deborah Logan

Reader discretion is Advised

Entry 1: They even look alike

Entry 2: 8 minutes in and this seems promising

Entry 3: Wait a sec, what did she just to with the snake?

Entry 4: Now that’s an evil eye if I ever saw one.

Entry 5: Why would you show her that?! Are you kidding?

Entry 6: Come on…

Entry 7: I’m sorry, your just gonna walk around someone’s house riffle thru their sh*t and then throw their drawing all over the floor. I wish somebody would.

Entry 8: LOL, Galvin had the right idea!

Entry 9: And no one thought to call a priest at this time?

Entry 10: Hold the phone here … she is just a student so where is her supervising professor?

Entry 11: That doesn’t make any sense

Entry 12: Ok, now why are we digging in the dark?

Entry 13: How about turning on some lights?

Entry 14: LOL!! Movie quote of the night: “White people and their basements, attics …” lol

Entry 15: I’m over this. Everyone on earth knows what a rattlesnake sounds like when they hear one.

Entry 16: No, no go head, run blindingly thru the forest in the middle of the night

Entry 17: And still no priest

Entry 18: Since when do the police let a medical student turned paranormal team leader and the daughter of a suspect ride with them on the hunt for the fugitive? While filming?

Entry 19: Really? So now she has the super powers of a spitting cobra?

Entry 20: And still no priest

Plotline: What starts as a poignant medical documentary about Deborah Logan’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease and her daughter’s struggles as caregiver degenerates into a maddening portrayal of dementia at its most frightening, as hair-raising events begin to plague the family and crew and an unspeakable malevolence threatens to tear the very fabric of sanity from them all.

Who will like: Diehard fans of mocumentary and found footage films, people who love urban legends, folklore and demonic possessions.

High Points: There are some really good, subtle, creepy scenes that make the hair on your arm stand straight up. The concept was also very original, unfortunately like so many countless others, my family too is struggling to handle the mental stresses of a loved one suffering from dementia so I was curious to see where’d they go with it.

Complaints: Ok, now let me just say, that this is really and truly a case of it’s not you it’s me.

I loved The Blair Witch Project. I [CENSORED] LOVED it. But over the years I began to loathe this 1st person shooter, found footage, mocumentary film making technique.

But then my sister dragged me to see The Devil’s Due and I actually liked that movie! The ending was unexpected, original, and brilliant! Then I saw both The Conspiracy and The Sacrament and my faith was restored! Then, lo and behold, I watched the Europa Report and it blew me out of the water. And because of these four top-notch films I have waded back into the shallow waters of the found footage, mockumentary movies … and have been wholly disappointed.

The problem, in my opinion, is that in order for these movies to work certain markers have to be met, and this rigid form structure, coupled with the fact that the market is over saturated with this genre of film, the movies become repetitive and predictable.  The Taking of Deborah Logan started out really strong but about half way in I became disinterested and distracted and had to force myself to pay attention. From that moment on, I started mentally picking this movie apart, finding things wrong, and becoming extremely annoyed with the characters.

Overall: I think watching horror movies should be an ‘interactive’ activity (which is why I watch them alone) and the more I yell at the people on the screen the more fun I’m having. I’m a tough customer and I can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to the myopic way in which I prefer to be entertained. And this is exceptionally true when it comes to these types of movies.

Stars: 1

I knew before reading other reviews and fan feedback that my opinion would be among the minority. The Taking of Deborah Logan scared scores of people to death, so take this review with a grain of salt. Just because I didn’t enjoy it, doesn’t mean that you won’t.

Where I watched it: Netflix

Books

Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags.She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Crystal’s latest projects can be found both on her blog and Facebook fan page at:

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! audiobook from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!”

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

Press Release: Infliction

Disturbing Assembled Footage Film “Infliction” to be released on DVD, VOD, & Digital HD on Tuesday July 1st in the U.S. and Canada by Virgil Films & Entertainment

unnamedNEW YORK, NY (June 17, 2014) – Virgil Films & Entertainment announces the upcoming DVD, VOD, and Digital HD release of the controversial film “Infliction” on Tuesday July 1st, 2014 in the U.S. and Canada. Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith, whose last feature film “Disorder” was released by Universal/Vivendi and Warner Brothers, “Infliction” is a dark and disturbing assembled footage film that documents two brothers’ 2011 murder spree in NC and the horrific truth behind their actions.

“Working on ‘Infliction’ left me troubled and haunted,” says Jack Thomas Smith. “It left me thinking about people’s actions or lack thereof and the inevitable domino effect. We all walk our own path in life, which shapes and defines us. What happens to us today, good or bad, will affect generations to come.”

“Infliction” will be available on Netflix, Walmart.com, iTunes, Amazon, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, CD Universe, Google Play, Vudu, Cinema Now, Vimeo OnDemand, and other online retailers.

Earlier this year, “Infliction” opened in select theaters across the country. Additional screenings have been scheduled this summer and fall due to demand in Washington, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; NYC; Gettysburg, PA; and the Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, NJ.

Follow us on Twitter at@InflictionTapes.

Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/InflictionTapes.

Follow Jack Thomas Smith on Twitter at @JackTSmith1.

For more information go to www.inflictiontapes.com.

About Jack Thomas Smith:

Infliction - Publicity Photo #1 (1)Jack Thomas Smith made his feature film-directing debut with the
psychological thriller “Disorder.” He was also the writer and producer of that
film. “Disorder” was released on DVD by Universal/Vivendi and New Light
Entertainment. It was released on Pay-Per-View and Video-On-Demand by
Warner Brothers. Overseas, it screened at the Cannes Film Festival and the
Raindance Film Festival in London. Curb Entertainment represented
“Disorder” for foreign sales and secured distribution deals around the world.

Born in 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Smith lived there until he was
eight when his family relocated to a quiet island community in Michigan,
which would later serve as the inspiration for his upcoming film “In the
Dark.” He began to write at a very young age after reading the Stephen King
novels “Salem’s Lot” and “The Shining.” By the time he was eleven, he had
written a 300-page novel and a number of short stories.

Smith’s family moved to Sparta, New Jersey when he was a teenager. It was there in that middle-class town that
he discovered the films of George A. Romero, Stanley Kubrick, Brian DePalma, and John Carpenter. Inspired
to make movies, he wrote and directed a handful of short films that were shot on Super 8mm and starred his
brother and friends in all of the roles.

As a young adult, Smith produced films for noted horror directors Ted Bohus and John Russo, co-creator of “Night
of the Living Dead.” From that point on, it was only a matter of time for his growth as a filmmaker to expand.
Smith’s current project he calls “Infliction” is a dark and disturbing assembled footage film that documents two
brothers’ 2011 murder spree in NC and the horrific truth behind their actions.
Smith’s production company, Fox Trail Productions, Inc., is currently developing the action/horror film “In the Dark”,
the drama “Illegals”, and the comedy “Ties that Bind.”

Film Details:
Title: Infliction
Running Time: 106 minutes
Language: English
Year of Production: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Horror
Website: http://www.inflictiontapes.com
This film is not rated.

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