Film Review: Amulet

Review by Emerian Rich

Part love story, monster movie, creepy house terror, convalescent horror, and goddess/demon damnation story, Amulet is a masterpiece from an unlikely source: Period piece actress, Romola Garai.

Perhaps only Romola could’ve written such a strange mashup of romance, terror, and gothic horror. Being cast in period productions as the spoiled Gwendolyn Harleth in Daniel Deronda, the naïve sister in Nickolas Nickleby, and Miss Woodhouse in Emma, you might think she’s just a sweet, pretty face. She plays the innocent lamb quite well—check out Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights—but this fascinating, twisted script proves she’s got more skillz than simply looking great in a corset. As her first full-length directorial debut, Amulet is sure to put her on the radar as one of the great horror directors of the future. Courageously tackling several timely but taboo subjects under one umbrella, she weaves a story of revenge that I didn’t see coming.

**~spoilers ahead~**

This flick opens on what appears to be an outpost in the deep woods, manned by just one military gentleman. At this point, the viewer is not certain what time period, war, or location he is in. A woman runs into the net of his border patrol and he takes mercy on her, allowing her food and shelter when it is implied that his duty is to shoot her on sight.

Sometime later we join the soldier again. He is homeless and destitute in a city where a nun tries to help by setting him up in a house with a poor woman who needs some handiwork done. When entering the house, you are led to believe you are witnessing the real-time back-story of Nell in The Haunting. A homely girl without many resources is forced to live in squalor to take care of her ailing mother who lives in a locked room upstairs. But the noises and camera work leads you to believe there is something else going on up there.

Romola’s directorial style keeps the atmosphere uncomfortable and suspenseful as she jumps back and forth in time, with mixed steady and unsteady camera shots, leaving the viewer not quite sure where the plot is leading. The last twenty minutes had me on an emotional roller coaster experiencing a mix of shock, terror, revelation, and disgust that I have never experienced watching a film, ever. It left me sitting back stunned as I sewed all the pieces back together long into the end credits rolling.

This film is for the true horror fan. Someone who isn’t faint of heart, isn’t bothered by grotesque figures, and is craving a unique viewing experience. What I like most about this film is that it sets up a rather normal setting where the viewer believes they understand what’s going to occur, until you don’t. And then you REALLY DON’T.

The end of this movie has whispers of the surreal like you’ve stepped into a Dali painting or you’re trapped in the dream sequences from The Cell, 2000. It’s shot with a low-budget feel, but it delivers on so many levels, you’ll still be trying to piece the puzzles together days later.

An outstanding first-time venture, I am excited to see what else Romola has in that not just beautiful but supremely talented, head of hers.

Odds and DEAD Ends: Shutter – A curse defined by it’s country

I think we often assume such concepts as ‘curses’ or ‘evil’, and their representations in media, to be generic and similar wherever we go. I’d like to challenge that notion here.

Just under two years ago I was completing a module for my course entitled ‘Film Genre’, the focus example being horror. Due to a mix-up in my head and getting the date wrong, I went to submit my second assignment two days late. I had to resit the assignment (an essay eventually completed about Takashi Miike’s film As The Gods Will), but I’ve always wondered what my work on the original assignment would have garnered.

And so, in time for the finale of HorrorAddicts.net’s examination of curses in all their various guises, I’ve decided to bring out that original essay, redraft it, give it a little touch up, and present it to you for your enjoyment and, hopefully, education. It’s about one of my favourite horror films of all time, Shutter, and the direct influence of Thailand on its presentation, creation, construction, and identity. If you take nothing away from this article than an increased awareness of how a country can create a unique, different experience, perhaps a differing viewpoint and perspective than a western film might show, then that’ll suit me fine.

Enjoy.

“National specificity is often what is being ‘sold’ as a distinguishing quality in any film being offered for export in a world market.” (Knee, 2008, p. 125).

Thailand may seem an unlikely place for a healthy horror tradition, given western audiences’ tendencies to associate the genre with the USA and UK, from the Technicolor castles of Hammer Horror to the 1980’s American slasher era, but it thrives nonetheless. As Adam Knee notes, “Over the course of several months from late 2001 into early 2002, no fewer than four Thai horror films were released in Thai cinemas – a substantial enough phenomenon (given the dozen or so Thai films being produced annually in recent years)” (Knee, 2005, p. 141). The rich past of Thailand, with its prevalence of Theravada Buddhism, history of trading and cultural exchanges with neighbouring nations, and relatively accelerated technological advances and recent urbanisation, make it a perfect setting for horror. I shall discuss the influences of many of these aspects of Thai life and history on its horror films, focusing on the film Shutter from 2004, and the many influences that Thailand has had on its themes and formal construction.

The premise of Shutter is a simple one. A photographer, Tun, and his girlfriend, Jane, hit a young girl whilst driving home one night after meeting with the photographer’s friends, and drive off without checking to see if she’s alive. The girl’s spirit, Natre, haunts the pair, mostly Tun and his photographs, unlocking the secrets of Tun’s past, and the dark connection between himself, the ghostly spirit and the cameras he loves so much. Whilst this premise could seemingly be picked up and placed in any country, Shutter is nevertheless distinctly Thai.

I’ll begin with the fear of technology in the film as a symbol for the evils of Thailand’s rapidly developing urban areas. Thailand, and more specifically Bangkok, is one of the most quickly developed areas in the world. As noted in A History of Thailand, “In 1998, the economy shrank 11 percent – a dramatic end to the 40 year ‘development’ era during which the Thai economy had averaged 7 percent growth and never fallen below 4 percent,” and when discussing a man who had visited rural Thailand in the latter half of the 20th century in one decade and returned the next, he said that “Villagers who had described the local rituals to him only a decade ago now exclaimed that ‘the rice spirit is no match for chemical fertiliser.’” (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2010, pp. 259, 160). As Knee notes, “Bangkok, a city that, in an architectural sense, is haunted indeed – with the old and the new, the disused and the thriving often crammed into the same spaces,” (Knee, 2005, p. 147). This all illustrates that Thailand has changed dramatically over the past few decades leading to Shutter’s production and release, becoming almost unrecognisable from what it once was, complete with the invasion of technology into the home, including television; “By the mid-1990s, over 90 percent of households had one,” (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2010, p. 223).

This chaotic eruption of advancement gives the film the perfect backdrop to use technology, a symbol of advancement and modernity, as a vehicle for Natre’s spirit to conduct herself. Although not confined to the camera, it is photography, and the technology associated with it, that is her main medium of choice for her haunting. Not only does she use the camera to present herself (such as Tun seeing her through the viewfinder), or uses the photographs (she turns her head in a developed photograph in another scene), but she actively uses this medium to manifest as a physical presence. In the scene with Jane in the development room, Natre’s spirit manifests itself inside a sink covered with photographs, rising slowly out of it, as if emerging from the photographs themselves. Natre’s use of the camera therefore may not only be seen as a narrative link between her and Tun, but also as a warning of the dislocation from reality that technology can provide in a new and thriving Bangkok. “Bangkok, as an emblem or instantiation of modernity, is a key reference point… and often appears to engender an anxiety over foreign influence and the loss of traditional mores,” (Knee, 2005, p. 157)

This unease around technology is expressed as unreality, which the film discusses in Jane’s University lecture, “photography does not produce reality.” Tun’s obsession with this ability to capture an unreality means he is more easily pressured into photographing Natre’s rape; he is able to detach himself from the scene because in his mind photography doesn’t replicate reality, only an unreality. He is able to forget these events after Natre’s departure from Bangkok, to the ‘real’ world, until Tonn mentions it again; the Bangkok he lives in has become to him, through the influence of his photography, an unreality, the world of his photographs even more so, easily dealt with because they are not the true reality.

It is perhaps impossible to lead on from the evils of Thailand than to go to its religious good, and its prevalent religious beliefs in Theravada Buddhism. One of the key ways in which Shutter creates its terror can be seen in both the grounding, and eventual perversion, of this particular strand of Buddhism’s treatment of malevolent spirits.

In Buddhism, “Villagers view abnormal death with great fear, because the winjan may become a malevolent phi called a phii tai hoeng”, (winjan being a form of consciousness, phii  a spirit, and phii tai hoeng a vengeful and restless spirit of one who has come to an abnormal death) (Tambiah, 1975, p. 189). Suicide falls into this category of abnormal death, and so it may be correct to classify Natre’s vengeful ghost as a phii tai hoeng, according to Buddhist tradition, perhaps not too dissimilar to Japanese Onryō. Natre isn’t disconnected from Buddhist teachings either, as is displayed by the Buddhist funeral held for her. A Buddhist view and understanding of her spirit is a decent idea therefore, with Buddhist rules to follow in our understanding of the film.

When her mother initially denies the village’s wish to bury her, the villagers treat her afterward like an outcast; “All the villagers were scared. No one wanted to socialise with her.” Natre’s spirit is unable to rest, as she hasn’t been given a proper burial, and will return as a phii tai hoeng in due course. Her mother, however, may hold a clue as to why she did not return immediately. A short booklet called Thailand Society & Culture Complete Report, when discussing the belief of evil spirits arising from suicide, remarks that “the music and presence of loved ones generally keep the spirits at bay,” (Press, World Trade, 2010, p. 12). By this logic, the presence of her mother, living in the same house as her corpse, should have kept Natre’s spirit at bay, despite the lack of a funeral. However, several events may have led to Natre’s sudden appearance again at the beginning of the film.

At the house, as Tun and Jane proceed to Natre’s room to discover her body, they pass hundreds of bottles of liquid. On the DVD commentary, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, who plays Jane, says that “some people didn’t know what those bottles were,” to which director Parkpoom Wongpoom replies “the drunken mum.” (Shutter (DVD Commentary), 2004). This excessive drinking, an evil no doubt symbolically returning with Natre from Bangkok, would surely have an effect on the restraining of Natre’s spirit to her corpse, allowing her to escape at the right moment more easily.

Along with this, Tun, her former lover, is now with a new partner, and taking her on nights out with the group that raped her. It seems no coincidence then that she first materialises after Tun looks at Jane and remarks “beautiful you.” With no mother able to hold her back (she acts as if Natre is alive, and goes away when she says she will fetch Natre upstairs, proof she is in no fit mental state to able to contain Natre’s spirit), along with Tun’s display of affection for Jane, we see that the immoral, violent world of modern, Bangkok society overrides the Buddhist teachings and traditions that would hold Natre at bay. It is, of course, at a great hospital (probably in an urbanised area, maybe Bangkok), that Natre jumps from and commits suicide, and inside a Bangkok University where she is raped. Natre has become a product of the evils of the allure of the technological advancement of Bangkok, which might prevent the Buddhist teachings from keeping hold of her, and hold of morality as a whole.

In terms of the possible perversion of Buddhist traditions mentioned, it could be possible to understand Tun’s camera as a symbolic form of amulet. According to the World Trade Press, “The Thai people widely use amulets called khawng-khlong, which literally means ‘sacred potent objects’”, and “Amulet-wearers usually seek protection from diseases, witchcraft and accidents.” (Press, World Trade, 2010). The image of Tun using his camera as a means of profession, hanging by a strap around his neck, warding off the evils of poverty and illegal money-making, could be taken as symbolism for a Buddhist amulet. If we adopt this theory, we can see that Natre’s usage of this symbol of protection for her haunting is a direct attack on Buddhist traditions and beliefs. Even her eventual cremation and Buddhist funereal rites can’t stop her, with Natre manifesting at her own funeral by putting a hand on Tun’s shoulder, perhaps the biggest insult to Buddhism one could imagine.

As mentioned before, the Buddhist elements in the film are mainly associated with the rural areas outside Bangkok, which adds further reasoning to Bangkok being an immoral place removed from righteous, religious teachings. It is only in the rural areas that we see evidence of Buddhism, with the monks at the roadside as Tun and Jane are asking about Natre’s mother, and then again at the funeral and subsequent cremation. Whilst in Bangkok, nothing of these traditions are seen or mentioned. Instead we have the drunken ‘gang’ of Tonn’s raping a young woman in one of the city’s Universities, and the eventual madness and chaos brought about by her revenge. This can be no accident. Buddhism is firmly planted in the rural, whereas the urbanisation represents evil, both in life and after it.

Another key thing to note is the context of other Thai film in relation to Shutter, especially Nang Nak, released five years earlier in 1999. It tells a traditional Thai folk story of a woman who died during childbirth whilst her husband is away at war, whose spirit continues to dwell in their home and live with him after he returns, eventually being discovered by her husband, Mak, and exorcised and set to rest by the Buddhist monks. This film became a box office hit in Thailand, winning over a dozen awards. In considering Shutter, it is important to also consider the links to Nang Nak and the influence it had on the creation of the film.

Aside from the concept of a departed woman not being able to rest without her significant other, there are several places where the two films bear a striking resemblance to one another. The opening title sequence of Nang Nak has the titles appearing over paintings and murals depicting Thai history, as a way to enhance the film’s setting. This is not too dissimilar from Shutter’s opening sequence of what could almost be described as a photographic mural, a montage of images showing the main character’s past. Having the titles over images of the past, with the film so closely following Nang Nak, can’t be coincidence. Along with this, the sequence where Natre walks towards Tun outside his apartment along the ceiling is strikingly similar to a scene in Nang Nak where Nak stands on the roof of the Buddhist temple (this image being frightening and representative of an inversion and perversion of Buddhism, such as Natre’s spirit represents). Nak’s spirit is eventually contained inside a fragment of her skull made into a broach, just as Natre is contained initially inside the camera, and eventually in the hospital room with Tun at the very end. Added to all of these resemblances is the fact that Chatchai Pongrapaphan, who composed for Nang Nak, also composed the music for Shutter, providing yet another link between the two. Without a doubt, Shutter took inspiration from the 1999 film and, as the tale of Nak is a well-known legend in Thailand with dozens of adaptations, it is possible that Natre herself was even inspired by Nak.

The influences on Shutter however, are not merely restricted to Thailand. Many international considerations need to be made in order to understand it, perhaps the most important one being the emergence of the cycle of Japanese horror films kick-started by the release of Ringu, a 1998 adaptation of the 1991 novel of the same name. The film’s main antagonist, the vengeful spirit or onryō of Sadako Yamamura, became a cultural icon when the film hit theatres, becoming one of Japan’s top box-office hits of all time. The USA would commission a remake, The Ring, to be released four years later. In the wake of Ringu’s immense success, the image of a vengeful ghostly female character with long black hair became prevalent in films such as Ju-On: The Grudge (2002), One Missed Call (2003) and Dark Water (2002).

It wasn’t long before word got around that this was an almost sure-fire method to get people into cinemas, along with international interest. This is noted perhaps humorously in a blog post by Grady Hendrix on Kaiju Shakedown, “after The Ring, The Ring Two, The Ring Virus, Nightmare, Scissors, Ju-On 1 & 2, A Tale of Two Sisters, Dark Water, Kakashi, The Phone, Shutter, Unborn but forgotten, Into The Mirror, Wicked Ghost, Shikoku, One Missed Call, Horror Hotline… Big Head Monster, Pulse, R-Point, Three Extremes and on and on, this whole ‘long-haired-dead-wet-chick’ trope is dead.” (McRoy, 2008, p. 173) His association of numerous films on his list, including Shutter, with ‘J-Horror’, even when they aren’t from Japan, is perhaps telling of the cycle’s influence on Asian cinema. Everyone wanted to have their own ghost-girl film that was more terrifying than the others.

On a horror revival, with western eyes turning towards Asia for ghostly women to see on their screens, it’s not hard to see that Shutter took influences from Ringu and the like for its character of Natre, similarly a vengeful female ghost with long black hair. Thailand had been looking to Japan for influences for decades, especially when it comes to film; “the first permanent exhibition space for films in Thailand was built by a Japanese promoter in 1905,” (Ruh, 2008, p. 143). Added to this, Davis and Yeh state that “Japanese horror films have a long history, tapping ghost tales and Buddhist sermons in the Edo period,” similar to Shutter’s usage of Buddhist influences, as well as noting that, in their discussion of Ringu, “In this story, some of our most trusted devices inexplicably turn against us”, similar to Natre turning the camera on Tun (Davis & Yeh, 2008, p. 119). Also to note is in the DVD commentary, when Tun walks into the room before seeing Tonn jump to his death, remarking about the static on the television, Pisanthanakun remarks that “on the website they said we’d copied this scene from The Ring,” This remark clearly indicates that the filmmakers are aware of Ringu/The Ring and its influence on current Asian cinema, and whilst this is a denial that the scene is explicitly referencing the Japanese film, the general motifs and iconography of the film are so similar to the cycle that they cannot be ignored.

The cycle of horror at that time, especially the original J-horror as well, also loved to use technology as a means of manifesting the malevolent entity involved. In Ringu it is a videotape, Pulse (2001) uses computers, Suicide Club (2002) uses the radio and television broadcasting. Shutter, then, follows a long line of films in Japanese cinema by using technology as a focus point for its malevolence and evil, but added the influence of Bangkok for this technological evil.

A final point to note might be the inclusion of the number 4 in the staircase scene with Tun running away from Natre. On the DVD commentary, Wongpoom states that “Foreigners say that they know the number four means death for the Chinese… I was surprised they knew that,” and when asked if it was intentional, both he and Pisanthanakun replied “yes”. This use of numbers in Chinese culture and tradition specifically for foreshadowing events and themes of the action taking place shows a very nice cross-cultural connection between the Thai filmmakers and the neighbouring country that has had so much connection with Thailand in the past centuries through to the present day, with many millions of Chinese residents living in the country.

In conclusion, Thailand’s social and cultural history has led to its films becoming rich with remnants and depictions of its setting in both formal construction and through its themes and symbolism. In Shutter, Buddhism and its traditions are invoked and subverted in an attempt to portray the rural countryside as a place of tranquillity and peace, with the city of Bangkok a thriving haven of rape, alcohol abuse and evil. Bangkok’s malevolence includes its rapid industrialisation and technological advancement which can further enhance and continue to spread the evil, in a similar fashion (but different meaning) to Asia’s cycle of horror films inspired by the kaidan tales of Japan, with Thailand’s own film history in Nang Nak influencing its construction. China also shows its influence in its superstitions appearing in the film, knowledge of which is acquired via close national connections with the country. Shutter then, despite first appearing to be a standard ghostly horror movie, is in fact layered deeply with the social concerns and cultural influences of Thailand, with other Asian nations helping to create a rich, transnational horror film.

 

 

Bibliography

Baker, C. & Phongpaichit, P., 2010. A History of Thailand. Second Edition ed. China: Cambridge University Press.

Dark Water. 2002. [Film] Directed by Hideo Nakata. Japan: Oz.

Davis, D. W. & Yeh, E. Y.-Y., 2008. East Asian Screen Industries. London: British Film Institute.

Ju-On: The Grudge. 2002. [Film] Directed by Takashi Shimizu. Japan: Pioneer LDC.

Knee, A., 2005. Thailand Haunted: The Power of the Past in the Contemporary Thai Horror Film.. In: S. J. Schneider & T. Williams, eds. Horror International. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, pp. 141 – 159.

Knee, A., 2008. Suriyothai becomes Legend: National Identity and Global Currency. In: L. Hunt & W. Leung, eds. East Asian Cineams, Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. London: I.B Tauris, pp. 123 – 137.

Nang Nak. 1999. [Film] Directed by Nonzee Nimibutr. Thailand: Tai Entertainment.

One Missed Call. 2003. [Film] Directed by Takashi Miike. Japan: Kadokawa Pictures.

Press, World Trade, 2010. Thailand Society and Culture Complete Report: An All-Inclusive Profile Containing All Of Our Society & Culture Reports, s.l.: World Trade Press.

Pulse. 2001. [Film] Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Japan: Toho Company.

Ringu. 1998. [Film] Directed by Hideo Nakata. Japan: Ringu/Rasen Production Company.

Ruh, B., 2008. Last Life in the Universe: Nationality, Technologies and Authorship. In: L. Hunt & L. Wing-Fai, eds. East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. New York: I.B Tauris + Co Ltd., pp. 138 – 152.

Shutter (DVD Commentary). 2004. [Film] Directed by Parkpoom Wongpoom, Banjong Pisanthanakun. Thailand: Contender Films.

Shutter. 2004. [Film] Directed by Parkpoom Wongpoom, Banjong Pisanthanakun. Thailand: GMM Pictures.

Suicide Club. 2002. [Film] Directed by Sion Sono. Japan: Earthrise.

Suzuki, K., 1991. Ringu. Tokyo: Kodakawa Shoten.

Tambiah, S., 1975. Buddhism and the Spirit Cults in North-east Thailand. Cabridge: Cabridge University Press.

The Ring. 2002. [Film] Directed by Gore Verbinski. USA: Dreamworks Pictures.

 

Odds and DEAD Ends: Watching from below: Voyeurism in ‘The Cabin in the Woods’

Voyeurism in The Cabin in the Woods

Released in 2012, The Cabin in the Woods struck a chord in a genre dominated by ‘torture-porn’ and remakes of paranormal horror from Asia. By taking the formula of The Evil Dead film and using the codes and conventions as part of its narrative construction, it seemed to revitalise a genre that many felt had gone astray. I’m going to discuss the film’s use of cameras and the theme of voyeurism, to heighten the film’s tension by subtly shifting our allegiances and questioning our morality.

By default, massive spoilers if you haven’t seen the film.

The film is uniquely structured in that it follows two sets of characters. We have the teenagers on the ‘top floor’, unknown sacrifices to the gods below, and the crew on the ‘bottom floor’ to ensure their demise. Whedon and Goddard state on the DVD commentary that they were going to keep the second floor a secret until a way into the film, but eventually decided against it. This way, they set us up from the beginning with the fear of being watched.

By giving us this knowledge, we place ourselves in a position of power, having information that the main quintet of the piece doesn’t. This aligns us with Alfred Hitchcock’s theory of suspense; that the audience must know something that the characters don’t, be this a wallet about to fall from someone’s jacket or a killer in the closet, to create tension. You can watch Sir Alfred himself explain it in the video below.

Being watched is always powerful in creating paranoia and fear because it is an invasion of our privacy, someone forcing their way into our innermost thoughts and deeds. When Marty says that the idea of the trip is to ‘get off the grid’, he highlights this need for privacy, which we know to be nothing but an illusion. If a metaphor is needed for this invasion of privacy, it is embodied by the two-way mirror in the cabin.

One of the ways this voyeurism is used is through its desensitisation those working below must undergo in order to protect the world. Consider the scene before Jules’ murder and the way in which she must be ‘the whore’ before she can be killed. Kirk says to her “‘we’re all alone’”, followed by a shot of everyone watching it happen. Though this is played for laughs, it’s a real fear that they will be discovered, something every teen couple fears. Later, when asked if Jules showing herself is necessary, we are told “‘we’re not the only ones watching’”, and that they “‘need to keep the customers satisfied’”. The teens are produce, goods to be shown, approved of, and then sold, and it requires such an extreme degree of desensitisation, of dehumanisation, that they must force themselves to do, that we begin to side with those below.

The teenagers are being spied upon from a functional point of view: people need to know what they’re doing in order to do their job right. The comedy Goddard extracts from the workforce means that we align our morals with them. This comes to a climax when the group is heading to the bridge and we get the call that it’s still intact. Who do we support here? Do we support the victims, trying to survive? Or do we support the men trying to kill them, trying to save the world? We are put in a moral quandary here which only adds to our tension.

As another note, not only is the floor below watching the top through their cameras and monitors, but they themselves are also being watched by their boss and the gods. Layers upon layers of voyeurism and the need to look over your shoulder are piled up here in a single film. We cannot get away from eyes everywhere, watching us, wanting us to kill or be killed.

Viewing them through the cameras perhaps helps those below deal with the situation. They don’t have to meet the victims; they can deal with the situation as if they were playing a video game. They are test subjects in a Saw-like game. And one shouldn’t think that this emphasis on viewing as a theme is coincidental. After all, co-writer and director, Drew Goddard, also wrote Cloverfield, one of the movies that re-vitalised the found footage genre along with REC and Paranormal Activity, a genre that emphasizes horror viewed from a first-person perspective.

The desensitisation that the workers go through in order to do their job is passed onto us. This presents us with questions of morality that arise with the film’s conclusion. We side with the heroes and yet also need them to fail. This places us in a tricky situation. Who do we support? The final act’s big dilemma would not resonate so much if we simply sided with the victims, and so we must watch them suffer, with as much black humour as we can get from it so that we also want those trying to keep the gods happy to succeed. It’s the only conclusion we can come to. But is this the right decision? What is the right decision?

In conclusion, the voyeurism displayed throughout the film aids the shift in our empathy just from the side of the victims into the centre of the two sides. We find ourselves in a world of moral greyness, where we aren’t sure who we should root for. We are between Scylla and Charybdis, with the pressure mounting, the clock ticking down, and no clue how to feel. Horror is comprised, at its core, of choices. Whether to run or fight, go up the stairs or out the front door, cut our leg off or not, we have to deal with choices. Goddard puts us in that point where we don’t want to have to choose, but we must. And that’s what makes The Cabin in the Woods, through its theme of voyeurism, just that little bit special.

Article by Kieran Judge (Paranormal Activity, 2007)

Bibliography

Cloverfield. 2007. [Film] Directed by Matt Reeves. USA: Bad Robot.

Institute, A. F., 2008. Alfred Hitchcock On Mastering Cinematic Tension. [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPFsuc_M_3E
[Accessed 20 09 2018].

Paranormal Activity. 2007. [Film] Directed by Oren Peli. USA: Blumhouse Productions.

REC. 2007. [Film] Directed by Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza. Spain: Filmax International.

The Cabin in the Woods. 2012. [Film] Directed by Drew Goddard. USA: Mutant Enemy.

The Evil Dead. 1981. [Film] Directed by Sam Raimi. USA: Renaissance Pictures.

 

FILM REVIEW: Pool Party Massacre

Floating Eye Films presents Pool Party Massacre, a 2017 horror-comedy written and directed by Drew Marvick. Runtime: 81 minutes.

The Plot

An unknown killer stalks a group of spoiled, rich girls during their pool party.

The Players

The cast features Kristin Noel McKusick, Margaux Némé, Alexis Adams, Destiny Faith Nelson, Crystal Stoney, and Jenifer Marvick as the pool party girls with Mark Justice and Nick Byer as the two guys who crash the party.

The Review

Pool Party Massacre is a 21st century horror-comedy shamelessly influenced by the raunchy comedies and bloody slashers of the ‘80s. The tagline says it all: Worst Pool Party Ever!

The result is a fun romp packed with cheesy dialogue and practical effects about six teenage girls methodically stalked by a faceless killer whose weapons of choice are literally any tool in the toolshed. The killer uses saws, a screwdriver, hammers, axes, a machete, and a weed trimmer to dispatch his victims.

Writer-director Marvick obviously loves the comedies and slashers of the ‘80s. The point-of-view killer wears a short-sleeve version of Michael Myers’ coveralls. The film’s opening scene is a funny twist on the classic neglected wife-pool boy encounter. There are lots of bikinis and sex talk. The closing credits song, “Pool Party” by Sam & Bill, is a lively ‘80s-sounding retro rocker. There’s even extended discussion about the Ferris BuellerFight Club theory.

Of the six girls at the party, four of them are rich friends of Blair, who’s hosting the party. The other is Blair’s not-so-rich friend Nancy. The girls are a combination of spoiled brats and airheads. The dialogue can be groan-inducing at times but it’s funny.

Troy and his brother Clay crash the girls’-only party. Byer brings the comedic energy, playing the goofy Clay as an overly enthusiastic loser who tries too hard to get the girls in the mood to party.

As for the murder mystery, there are enough red herrings to keep you guessing about the killer’s identity and motivation. I didn’t anticipate the twist ending.

What I liked most about the film are the quirky scenes such as the one when Blair’s parents are giving her the party lecture before they leave town. The conversation digresses into the parents sharing the fact that if it weren’t for threesomes, they would’ve never met. Awkward.

There’s also an odd outdoor tea party scene with an elderly neighbor complaining in German to her creepy doll about the loud music from next door. It’s just weird but in a good way.

Pool Party Massacre is an amusing, entertaining slasher that never takes itself too seriously.

So go ahead and jump in. The water’s fine.

 

Short Film Review: THE LAST SHOWING

Alone in the Dark Films presents THE LAST SHOWING, a 2018 horror short by writer/director Anthony DeRouen. Running time: 9 minutes, 45 seconds.

THE PLOT

A couple of movie theater employees are terrorized by an apparition after closing time.

THE PLAYERS

The cast features Lara Jean Mummert as Mary, Joseph Camilleri as Michael, and Max Troia as Steven.

THE REVIEW

THE LAST SHOWING opens with the final moviegoers of the night exiting the theater as employee Mary lets them out and locks the door. Mary and Steven are the only two employees left in the theater, and Steven agrees to finish up cleaning while Mary steps off stage to take a nap.

Steven hears a noise and finds a creepy stranger watching a torture film on the screen. When the stranger disappears suddenly, Steven radios Mary to tell her a stranger’s in the theater but assures her he can handle the problem.

The lights wink out, and Steven finds himself handling the problem in the dark with only a flashlight. Where’s the strange man? Steven initially searches the theater with a confidence belying the situation, but it only takes one more encounter for Steven to realize the stranger is not what he appears.

The second half of the story shifts to Mary after she wakes from her nap. The lights are off, and Steven is radio silent. It’s her turn to investigate, but what will she find?

I liked THE LAST SHOWING. Camilleri portrays the creepy stranger quite effectively, and DeRouen uses the empty theater to his advantage, alternating the eerie silence of the setting with the eerier music by Luigi Jannsen.

Check out  Derouen on Vimeo here.

AFTER THE CREDITS: Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame starred in a 2014 film titled THE LAST SHOWING.

 

Short Film Review: HE TAKES AND RETURNS

Alone in the Dark Films presents HE TAKES AND RETURNS, a 2018 horror short by writer/director Anthony DeRouen. Running time: 11 minutes.

THE PLOT

A family is terrorized by an intruder the night before its trip to Yosemite National Park.

THE PLAYERS

The cast features Joseph Camilleri as John, Nadia Latifi as Chrissy, Jeanne Young as Helen, and Germaine Gaudet as Kathy.

THE REVIEW

HE TAKES AND RETURNS is classic horror in the vein of HALLOWEEN. Like that seminal film, HE TAKES AND RETURNS portrays average suburbanites inside a normal home within a typical neighborhood and unleashes the horror on them.

DeRouen effectively sets the table, opening with dad John, mom Helen, daughter Chrissy, and family friend Kathy engaged in an intense game of Jenga before going to bed early in preparation for the Yosemite trip.

When Chrissy’s first scream shatters the night, John does what fathers do. He investigates his daughter’s bedroom and calms her rattled nerves.

After the second scream, John repeats the pattern but adds a look outside. However, this time, a strange mark appears on Chrissy’s doll, and the parents allude to a previous intruder incident during a private conversation in the kitchen.

The third scream’s the charm as fear officially escalates to crisis, and John and Helen realize the intruder isn’t in their daughter’s imagination.

DeRouen obviously knows horror, skillfully using shadows and suspense to chilling effect. The music by Michael Rodriguez is a strength of the short, perfectly capturing the building tension.

I enjoyed HE TAKES AND RETURNS. It’s a slice of old-school filmmaking with no special effects. It’s straight horror, no chaser, and scary enough for this Horror Addict to check out more shorts by DeRouen.

Check out the teaser on YouTube for HE TAKES AND RETURNS below.

Movie Review: Apocalypsis

Movie Review: Apocalypsis

Welcome to a world where every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard seems entirely real.

Apocalypsis introduces a world like our own, but which has followed a much darker path. The American government has implemented an ambitious project of surveillance and control. Most of the population is “chipped”—implanted with RFID devices that allow the government to monitor their activities. Cameras and drones are everywhere and AI tracks the population through facial recognition. Anyone who fights back is a target.

Evelyn and Michael are two such people.

Evelyn (Maria Bruun) is a deeply religious woman who draws her strength from her orthodox faith. She strives to help everyone in need, especially the downtrodden. In her quest for increased enlightenment, she experiences distressing apocalyptic visions while studying the book of Revelation. She sees the End Times in the world around her and becomes determined to act before it’s too late.

Michael (Chris O’Leary), a man with no faith, fights the increasing government control using technology and activism. He seeks to enlighten the populace and save them from themselves if he can. However, Michael knows he’s a hunted man and he wavers between going off the grid to save himself and risking everything to free society.

The film explores the relationship between Evelyn and Michael and their differing approaches to changing the world. Their common goals bring them together, but fundamental differences and deep-seated paranoia threaten to rip the friends apart. All of this take place against a high stakes background that keeps the audience guessing what the heroes can really do and what the final stakes will be.

Apocalypsis takes place in New York, where there are a million places to hide, but no real assurance that any of them are safe. In the city, people are everywhere and it’s impossible to know which ones can be trusted. The setting suggests a near future, where America is a hairsbreadth from martial law and every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard is taken as absolute fact. You are being watched. You are in danger. The stakes have never been higher.

Michael takes the audience into the nooks and crannies of the city, where he hides like a rat and thinks like one too—survival always foremost on his mind. He showcases the modern side of the city, the underground tunnels and back alleys where he hides from sight, always in the dark, using his computer to fight for him.

Evelyn walks the streets of the most needy, reaching out everywhere she can. The moments of peace that she encounters are within the walls of her orthodox church. There she finds solace in something bigger than herself, a divine benevolent ruler at odds with the paranoid government that rules her on Earth.

Director Eric Leiser takes an artistic approach with the camera. Flashing imagery and overlaying shots create a surreal atmosphere. Evelyn’s visions of the apocalypse are animated, casting a sharp contrast from the rest of the film and heightening the feeling that they are unlike anything that she has seen before.

Apocalypsis delves into the question of religion versus action and what really creates a “good” person. What role does faith play in motivating someone to take action? Evelyn has her faith and good intentions, but is that enough? Does Michael’s single-minded purpose blind him to harm that he may be causing with his zeal?

Apocalypsis is a horror think piece, delving into dystopian and science fiction genres. There isn’t any overt gore or jump scares. Rather, the horror manifests as a lingering sense of dread as you wait to see what happens to the characters and their world. All the while, you question how far Apocalypsis really is from our world right now.

Movie Review: Wastelander

In a post-apocalyptic world, what remains of the human race clings to life in a vast, desert wasteland. A rampant slave trade, gangs of cybernetic bandits, and sinister warlords plague the land. Rhyous (Brendan Guy Murphy), a lone fighter, searches for Eden, where the remnants of civilization are rumored to remain. Taunted by incomplete memories of pre-war society, Rhyous fights the urge to succumb to savagery and greed, even as he must fight to stay alive.

Wastelander follows Rhyous in his search for Eden and takes us through the last dregs of humanity. The movie is an action filled romp, a la Mad Max. The overarching theme about finding humanity—whether by returning to the old or blazing a new way—ties rival groups together and pushes them apart. Greed and survival fuel ganglands style wars where the price of any misstep is death. Still, slivers of humanity peek through scenes of violence, as Rhyous shows the kind of compassion that seems to have gone extinct.

Rhyous is paired with tough-as-nails Neve (Carol Cardenas), a former slave who doesn’t back down in the face of a fight. Neve humanizes Rhyous in a surprising way, bringing out a protective quality, when Neve isn’t exactly a damsel in distress.

The fight scenes are creative and well choreographed, blending seamlessly into the violent landscape. A mixture of weapon types and fighting styles ensure that no battle is quite like the others.

Creators designed a full and engaging world for Wastelander . Pop culture advertisements linger in the most unlikely places long after the end of the world had come and gone, giving a fascinating look into the time before the wastes. The story has some creative high points when examining what it might mean for humanity to lose all knowledge of the world from before (“What’s ‘years’?”). The costumes offer a glimpse of how humanity would make the best of what resources were left. The film had a clear aesthetic style with regard to post-apocalyptic fashion. Creators merged functional items with a unique style that set the stage without saying a word. They did a lot with seemingly very little, using details to distinguish from the everyday.

The cinematography in Wastelander  fits well with the grim world it portrays. The desert landscape and lighting create a vision of stark lights and darks, much like the ‘rule or be ruled’ morality of the world portrayed. Any escape from the environment brings danger because if any resource is available, survivors can bet that someone else found it first. The film makes creative use of sets and props to find interesting ways to show characters interacting with their world.

Wastelander is a great blend of the action and science fiction genres, with elements of horror throughout. It has a violent edge, so it may not be for all viewers, but the concept and world building are worth experiencing.

Award Winning Horror

It’s awards season and, as Horror Addicts, that isn’t much to get excited about.

Film critics usually rank horror somewhere below stale theater popcorn, if they mention it at all. The only horror film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture was The Silence of the Lambs (over 25 years ago) and only four horror films made the cut for the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films (Jaws, Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Sixth Sense). But the genre pulled in upwards of $983 million last year and was responsible 10% of the market share. Clearly, horror resonates with the public psyche and the lack of credit isn’t from lack of interest.

Perhaps horror gets a bad name from pulp monster flicks created to sell children’s toys or from movies that capitalize on sex at the expense of actual fear. Of course, exploitative movies aren’t exclusive to horror, but it seems that whenever a frightening film is acclaimed, critics are quick to characterize it as a different genre—thriller or science fiction, most often.

Are times changing?

Eliciting true terror is just as difficult as drawing tears and there is great insight achieved through examining cultural roots of fear. Get Out was a box office smash this year, indicating that audiences are ready to use horror to look at the world from a new angle. With the public seeking more than slashers that trade shock for substance, film studios—particularly indie producers—seem poised to push the boundaries of the genre further than ever before. Directors are creating defiant films that plumb the depths of human nature. If you haven’t already, go watch Raw, The Bad Batch, or The Shape of Water for a glimpse at the new frontiers producers are exploring.

Guillermo del Toro just won a Golden Globe for his directing in The Shape of Water. Get Out was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture (as a Comedy, but still… Horror wasn’t a category). Maybe it’s a sign of things to come. We could be looking forward to some nomination nods when the Oscars come around.

Blood and gore movies filled with jump scares will never really go away, (then again, neither will the Transformers franchise). That isn’t bad—those things have their place. But a new generation of movies is emerging, ones that may earn a place among industry greats as the best films of all time.

Press Release: Selfie From Hell

SELFIE FROM HELL
“A film that will make you think twice about being so damn vain!” – IHORROR.COM

 

Since 2015 a Short video titled ‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ has been going viral, scaring literally millions with one well placed, well timed, jump-scare –  the jump-scare heard around the world. Youtube: 

A viral video scares millions, why? Because we are a generation obsessed with our image, we can’t stop even if we tried!  IndustryWorks Studios, the producers behind the horror cult-phenom ‘American Mary’ decided to give first-time director Erdal Ceylan a shot at his first feature film. With his jump scare shared by millions online, from its roots in Germany to Japan to Philippines and across the pond to the USA, seems like anyone between the ages of 13-35 with a cell phone, tablet or computer got a glimpse of what might be beyond our ‘selfies’, what technology has lurking in the dark corners of the internet and what the infamous ‘dark net’ has in store for us…

Enter ‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ the feature film.

 

Youtube Feature Film Trailer

So, this holiday season, as you’re sipping on your eggnog and taking selfies with friends and family members, be aware of what lies beyond that selfie.

‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ feature film to be released in 2018. 

Like our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/selfiefromhellthemovie/)  for more information about the feature film or post your scariest holiday selfie on the page to receive exclusive swag from IndustryWorks Studios.‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ Website: www.selfiefromhell.com

 

 

‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/selfiefromhellthemovie/

‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/SFHthemovie

‘SELFIE FROM HELL’ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sfh_film/

 

Press Release: Alpha Delta Zatan

Press Release: Alpha Delta Zatan

Frat-House Slasher ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ Coming to VOD this Fall, Reveals First Look!

Together Magic and Reel Nightmare Films have wrapped principal photography of their horror thriller ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ in Los Angeles. The new full-length feature film will be released worldwide on VOD this October 2017.

Starring an all-male cast of up-and-comers including Jeremy Winter, Jake Kidwell, Connor Field, Drake Malone and R&B singer Eleaze, ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ will deliver audiences with a fun, sensual spin on the “sorority massacre” sub-genre. “Alpha Delta is a treat for fans of horror and slashers, and for anyone who appreciates the male form.” – Says Armand Petri, Head of Operations and Marketing at Reel Nightmare Films.

The official synopsis reads: “A goofy but noble college kid is surprisingly invited to join his college’s most exclusive frat house, and he is about to discover there is something scarier than hazing in his future.”

Solidifying its status as a distributor of new and distinctive voices in the horror genre, Reel Nightmare Films will also release the horror-comedy anthology ‘The First Date’ and the paranormal documentary ‘Night Stalkers’ (from the director of ‘Hotel Camarillo’) this Fall.

Directed by Art Arutyunyan; ‘Alpha Delta Zatan’ will be available on the usual VOD platforms for Horror and on DVD this October.

Follow Reel Nightmare Films now to stay updated about Alpha Delta Zatan:

https://www.facebook.com/reelnightmare/

Add “Alpha Delta Zatan” to Your Watchlist on IMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6640214/

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor:Lavender

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kinds her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences 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 is so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

The Website

The Fanpage

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! 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

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Quarries

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she 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.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences 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.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! 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: Holy Terror

57cf40af81587f91801602bcea55The riveting first official teaser trailer for the new supernatural horror film HOLY TERROR was just released. This film is in post production via Cineridge Entertainment from the award-winning team who previously brought us SAMURAI COP 2: DEADLY VENGEANCE.

Written and directed by Rich Mallery (SOCIOPATHIA) and executive-produced by Gregory Hatanaka (who helmed SAMURAI COP 2 from a script co-written by Mallery), HOLY TERROR stars MEATBALLS’ Kristine DeBell, Bruce Lee’s GAME OF DEATH’s Mel Novak, Lisa London  (H.O.T.S., PRIVATE RESORT), Kelly Reiter (The Z Virus), Jesse Hlubik (MAY, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE), Nicole Olson, Scott Butler (WIENER DOG INTERNATIONALS), and Vida Ghaffari (THE MINDY PROJECT, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE).

Believing the strange disturbances in their home are their deceased son reaching out from the other side, Molly [Reiter] and Tom [Hlubik] ask a medium [London] to make contact. But instead of their child, the three accidentally invite a vengeful demon to cross over. After the demon violently possesses Molly’s younger sister [Olson], the couple enlists the help of a disgraced priest [Butler] and his mentor Sister Catherine [DeBell] to attempt a dangerous exorcism.

“There has been a resurgence of exorcism/possession-type movies, so it’s a little challenging to give audiences something they haven’t seen before. But we have a few tricks up our sleeve that are going to make HOLY TERROR stand apart from the crowd. Plus, we’re going for a real late-’70s/early-’80s feel. Films like THE CHANGELING, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and of course the original EXORCIST are huge influences on this project,” said Mallery.

“I’m really excited to be partnering with Gregory Hatanaka again; this is the fourth film we’ve worked on together,” Mallery continues. “It’s a little strange this time around, since usually he’s directing and I’m the writer/AD, and this time I’m directing and he’s the DP, but we’re totally in sync when it comes to the vision, so we’re like a well-oiled machine. We’ve brought back a lot of the cast of SAMURAI COP 2—Jesse Hlubik, Lisa London, Mel Novak, Kristine DeBell and Nicole Olson—and although this is a completely different type of film, it’s great to have a lot of familiar faces who are used to the way Gregory and I work. We’re both slightly insane, so it’s amazing to be surrounded by people who support our vision.”

“As Rich and I are both rabid fans of 70s AIP and New World horror pics,” Hatanaka adds, “it was only a matter of time before we teamed up to do a film in that tradition. HOLY TERROR works on deep psychological levels, and has an otherworldly, TWILIGHT ZONE-ish kind of feel.”

Holy Terror will be premiering this April on Amazon Prime.

More info at:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5924114/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

Please join their facebook fan page for updates:

https://www.facebook.com/holyterrormovie/

Kbatz: Lady Horrors!

Frightening Flix

 

Lady Horrors!

By Kristin Battestella

 

Because new, retro, foreign, zombies or witches – we all need some more ladies in our horror!

 

The House of the Devil – Creepy menus, cult statistics, and retro credits start this 2009 blu-ray featuring Jocelin Donahue (The Burrowers), Dee Wallace (The Howling), and Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000). Payphones, eighties rhythms, and old fashioned style add period flair alongside onscreen smoking, maps, feathered hair, and a big old cabinet television showing Night of the Living Dead. Even the giant Walkman and slightly corny music montage and dance about the house has a purpose in the narrative. Church bells, cemeteries, and an imminent eclipse lay the scary foundation, and rather than an opening scare fake-out, writer/director/editor Ti West (The Innkeepers) uses zooms and movement within the camera frame to create viewer intimacy, closing in from the chilly exterior and ominous windows as the suspicious phone calls lead to desperate babysitting jobs, desolate night drives, and a maze-like Victorian manor. Yes, our Samantha is at times very dumb and unaware she is in a horror movies thanks to plot holes a collaborator not wearing so many behind the scenes hats could have clarified. Mistakes and convenient contrivances in the somewhat tacked on final act also break the solitary point of view for the audience’s benefit. However, that finale free for all with ritual candles, hooded robes, and a sudden twist ending is in the seventies splatter spirit, and the simmering, silent build happens naturally over the film. Instead of hollow thrills a minute, the viewer is allowed time to suspect the scary attic, theorize on suspicious photos, and listen for every noise – we know something is supposed to happen but not when. Though this kind of approach may seem boring to some, this innate alone trickle let’s us appreciate the dark basement and the inopportune power outage for when the titular frights do happen. It’s nice to have something different from the mainstream horror trite, too – not to mention an $8 pizza! 

 

Hush – Writer and director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia) and his wife, co-writer, and star Kate Siegel place our deaf-mute author in a pleasant forest cabin for some writing, relaxation, and terror in this 2016 eighty minute Netflix original. Comfort cooking noise fades and unheard laptop tones switch to wild kitchen alarms – immediately establishing the common sounds taken for granted alongside subtitled Sign Language, feeling vibrations for sound, and hearing an author voice in your head brainstorms. Friends speak while they sign, breaking up the quiet for the viewer, and we must pay attention to writing onscreen such as book jackets and manuscript text. Understandably, phone technology and Facetime calls are important, but an over-reliance on gadgets in horror can be tiring and soon dated with wi-fi switches, lost connections, and cut power. Fortunately, the intimate home makes the audience accustomed to the hearing challenges before adding the muffled silence, unseen scares, unheard screams, and instant cyberstalking. Through windows or foreground focus and background action, we have the full perspective when the protagonist doesn’t. It is however a mistake to reveal the crossbow and Bowie knife wielding stalker so completely. We don’t need to know the sociopath motivation nor should the viewer feel for the killer or care if he has any personality, and removing his mask just creates limp assholery. The frightening unknown with footstep vibrations, hands at the window, and approaching shadows creates a better siege, and the mystery of who and why is lost in the contrived lulls and stupid mistakes while Maddie waits around for his taunts instead of fighting back. Why not set something on fire, smoke signal authorities? Having her inner monologue address the situation and the pros or cons in each course of action is also better than breaking Maddie’s point of view and using fake out possibilities. Although it’s a pity millennial viewers wouldn’t watch something that was all silent, the long periods with no dialogue, sound effects, and score crescendos do just fine in accenting these unique dynamics. While not perfect, this tale has enough thriller tense and innate woman alone in peril – and thus proves exactly why I must know where all the windows, entrances, and exits are in a given location and never sit with my back to any of them!

Hush_2016_poster

 

Maggie Sad voicemails, outbreak news reports, desolate cities, quarantines, and martial law immediately set the bleak outlook for infected daughter Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and her gray bearded father Arnold Schwarzenegger in this 2015 zombie drama. Wait – Arnold? In a drama movie? About zombies? No choppers?! Nope, this is not an action horror movie, and gruesome gurneys, gangrene encounters, and blackened decay are not played for scares. Here the body horrors and social breakdowns go hand in hand – science can’t put a dent into the virus fast enough, and loved ones must wait as the vein discolorations and white out eyes spread toward heightened smells and cannibalistic tendencies. Minimal technology, chopping wood, rustic generators, cassettes, and older horseshoe phones accent the isolated farmhouse as insect buzzing, infected neighbors, and animal dangers mount. Younger siblings are sent away, and step-mom Joely Richardson (Nip/tuck) struggles with her faith, strength of conviction, and the promises they’ve made despite the deadly risks. How does a teenager keep it together when she has nothing better to do but sit around and die? Do you call friends for a last hurrah? This flawed father won’t send his daughter to die in quarantine with strangers, but he can’t give the painful lethal injection at home or make it a quick end, either. Creepy doctor visits amplify the stigmas and paranoia regarding these in between infected, and nice teen moments soon give way to growls and necroambulist changes. Where is the line between siege removal authorities and family compassion? Someone has to take control and there’s no time for sympathy – just the inevitable breakdown of families desperate to stay together. Governator Arnold produced the film sans salary, and the off-type surprise provides heart wrenching results and must see performances. Granted, most audiences probably expected zombie action thrills a minute and there are unnecessary artistic shots, long pauses, and plodding direction at times. However, this is a strong story with hefty goodbye conversations, and it is surprising such realistically upsetting and horrible circumstances rather than horror went unnoticed. Without mainstream box office demands, indie releases are free to tell their story as it needs to be told, and this tearjerker delivers a great spin on the flooded and increasing derivative zombie genre. 

 

Picnic at Hanging RockThe Criterion blu-ray has almost two hours more features discussing this 1975 Australian spooky drama based on the Joan Lindsay novel about schoolgirls gone missing in 1900. The innocent white lace and valentine wishes are soon to be ill foreboding thanks to eerie music and budding whispers. These girls tighten each others corsets in parallel shots with mirrors, BFF poetry, latent suggestions, and repression abound. The seventies breezy fits the late Victoria ruffles, hats, and parasols – gloves are permitted to be removed for this excursion! Capable Aussie help and buttoned up British elite mark a strong class divide, and pretty mountain vistas, wild vegetation, and rocky mazes contrast the lovely yet out of place English manor. Straightforward, controlled camerawork captures the society at home, but surreal, swooning outdoor panoramas invoke Bermuda Triangle suggestions alongside dreamy voiceovers, rolling cloud rumbles, and red symbolism. Insects, reptiles, swans, disturbed bird migrations, fickle horses, watches stopping at noon – the metaphysical or transcendental signs imply something beyond mere coming of age and sexual awakening. Trance like magnetic lures radiating from the titular nooks and crannies stir these Gibson Girl naps, and askew slow motion reflects this layered beauty meets danger. The enchanting blonde, the nerdy girl with glasses, an awkward brunette, and the complaining chubby girl – standard horror stereotypes today – all talk as if they are up to something naughty with self-aware doomed to die chats before scandalously removing their shoes and stockings. A flirty French teacher, the severe math teacher in red reciting lava flow build up and volcano rising statistics with an uncomfortable kinky – we don’t see what happens. However, hearing the screams and watching the resulting hysterics make it creepier. Incomplete searches, Victorian speculation, and unreliable witnesses muddle the investigation, but most importantly, doctors assure the survivors are still chaste. Such delicate interrogations and polite society leave newspapers and angry townsfolk wondering while the school faces its own fallout with withdrawals, unpaid terms, drinking, and guilt. Yes, there’s some artistic license with absent families, poor forensics, and missing evidence ignored. Surprising connections, however, and good twists in the final forty minutes keep this damn disturbing – and it’s all done without gore or effects. The innate power of suggestion, period restraints, and our own social expectations drum up all kinds of unknown possibilities, and I don’t know how anyone doesn’t consider this a horror movie.

 

the-witch-2015

The Witch – We don’t get many Puritan period pieces anymore much less ninety minutes plus of simmering 17th century horror as seen in this 2015 festival darling. Big hats, white collars, thee versus thou court room arguments, and family banishments immediately establish the ye olde alongside natural lighting and authentic thatch buildings for a rural, simplistic ambiance. Unfortunately, such exile to these empty, harsh, unyielding lands turns devotions to desperation with gray crops, bloody eggs, abductions, and babies in peril raising tensions in the humble hovel. Spooky forests, fireside red lighting, blood, nudity, ravens, and primal rituals suggest a dark underbelly only partially seen with hazy splices, shadows, and moonlight. The screen is occasionally all black and certain scenes are very tough to see, but such visual bewitching adds to the folktale surreal. Personal, intimate prayers are addressed directly to the camera, and we feel for Anya Taylor-Joy (Atlantis) as Thomasin when she apologizes for her sin of playing on the Sabbath. The scripture heavy dialogue and religious names are fittingly period yet remain understandable as coming of age children question how an innocent baby can be guilty of sin. Both parents’ faces are shadowed with hats, dirt, and impurity, yet snapping mom Kate Dickie (Red Road) gives Thomasin all the difficult work. Increasing dog problems, ram troubles, and creepy rabbits contribute to the toughness – the young twins chant oldeth nursery songs to the goats and claim there is a witch at work, but dad Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones) isn’t totally forthcoming with his grief, hopeless trading, and family pressures. The isolated, starving couple argues, debating on sending the children away as the strain, zealousness, and fears mount. Ominous lantern light, alluring witchcraft, and almost ritualistic in itself bloodlettings stir the finger pointing hysterics while great performances hit home the wild bed fits and exorcism-esque prayers. Somebody has to be blamed. Where do you get help when evil would take advantage of such hypocrisy and social failings? It’s easy to imagine the fantastic or confuse apparitions of the dead as angels when the devil answers your pleas instead of Grace. Maybe one has to be familiar with Puritan history or Biblical texts to fully appreciate the struggles and references here. However, contemporary audiences should realize that there’s more to the horror film genre than today’s rinse repeat wham bam boo gore. Although a brighter picture would have been nice, the genuine designs here are much more pleasing than any digital overkill. Doubt, what you don’t see, and the power of suggestion escalate the horrors with maniacal laughter, screams, and one scary voice leading to a deliriously delicious finale. Why aren’t these niche indies that do film making right really the mainstream cinema?

 

Don’t forget you can read more of our Feminine Horror recommendations in the Horror Addicts Guide to Life!

Kbatz: Snowy Scares!

Scary, Snowy Romps!

By Kristin Battestella

Well there’s nothing like ye olde killer neighbors, mountain monsters, and things going bump in the cold night to keep you cuddled by the fire, is there?


howawful
How Awful About Allan
Joan Hackett strikes again alongside Anthony Perkins and the late Julie Harris (The Haunting) in this Aaron Spelling produced and Curtis Harrington directed (What’s the Matter with Helen?) 1970 television film from writer Henry Farrell (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?). The suspense gets right to it with a fire, screaming, survivor guilt, resentment, and hysterical blindness. The intriguing, disorienting, blurry film focus and dark camera photography match Perkins’ sightless actions and mannerisms as his eponymous victim becomes obsessed with trying to prove his new, unseen roommate wants to do him harm. Yes, the Victorian house and post-institution, possibly crazy reclusiveness will seem too obviously Psycho to some viewers, but the increasingly angry tape recordings, crazy carness, heavy music, and scary whispers provide plenty of fearful spin. Retro décor and old, wintry styles accent the seemingly sunshiny household, but the nighttime paranoiaand scary inability to see intensifies the strange noises and point of view eerie. Why aren’t there more visually impaired horror protagonists? This tiny 73 minutes makes you love your glasses a little more! Though not billed as a horror movie per se and the end loses a touch, this taut thriller has all the suspense, lightning, creepy family implications, and desperation needed. 

Nightmare_1964NightmareOft Hammer compatriots Freddie Francis and Jimmy Sangster team up for this very moody and effective 1964 black and white thriller. Eerie music and smart uses of silence anddiegetic sound accent the sixties styles, snow scenery, and mysterious country estates. Excellent light and shadow, candlelight and silhouettes also push the insanity fears, paranoia, violence, murder, and creepy ladies over the edge. There’s a wonderful, scream-filled flashback adding to the mystery, and solid suspense filming works for both the nightmare bizarre and the askew real world, too. Is crazy inherited? What does childhood trauma do to the mind? Or is there something else at work entirely? Some of the screams might be a bit too much, and at first, one may think this is merely an extended Twilight Zone episode. However, some added kink keeps the audience wondering how far the terrors are going to go. The twists keep on coming for not one long Twilight Zone, but rather this invokes a lot of TZ-esque tricks woven together – and it works.

snowbeastSnowbeastOminous music and dangerous snowy slopes belie the sunshiny 1977 ski fashions, snowmobiles, and lush Colorado locales peppering this deadly bigfoot tale. Despite the faded public print, a slightly small scale made for television production, and some pathetically lame bloody ski jackets; lovely forests and mountain photography shine along with tracking zooms and killer camera perspectives. And the cast knows how to ski! The spooky atmosphere restarts slightly once Bo Svenson (Breaking Point) and Yvette Mimieux (The Time Machine) arrive, and a past love triangle is somewhat unnecessary, as is a skimpy Olympic flashback. However, these elements provide some unexpected for a horror movie of the week dialogue on how Olympians often have difficulty coming down to mortal levels and regular life after such glory. Womanly angst aside, this really is just a Jaws in the snow clone – one man believes in a monster after an opening attack, but pesky grandma Sylvia Sidney (Beetlejuice) dismisses it as an avalanche and withholds the news because the economically needed carnival must go on. Unheeding people take to the slopes, death ensues, and sheriff Clint Walker (Cheyenne) claims it was a grizzly attack by presenting a mistakenly shot bear. Contrived miscommunication and crap police action grow tiresome and the ski montages are a tad longer than necessary. Thankfully, the period lack of smartphones and natural snowy isolation remain effective. Shaggy Yeti arm appearances create scare toppers amid the more dramatic act by act pace, and the bigfoot gone wild is smartly only seen in shadows, dark windows, hairy flashes, or with quick, snarling teeth. Seeing what the monster does – over turned vehicles, logs tumbling, shattered glass – rather than what it definitively is keeps this watchable despite those Jaws comparisons and dated archetypes. The pace is uneven in the final act – switching focus on characters and coming to a somewhat speedily conclusion considering how we really just watched people skiing for 85 minutes – but this one remains fun for a summer cool down or a snowy night in with the family.

You make the call Addicts

Crawling_Eye_film_posterThe Crawling EyeThe true The Trollenberg Terror title actually seems like a better name for this 1958 SF gone awry tale, as highlighting the eponymous monster effect isn’t really a very good idea. Thankfully, climbing terrors, ropes fraying, men falling and natural fears of snow, cold, and mountains keep the pace interesting. Toss in a weird psychic chick (Janet Munro, the boy who’s a girl in Swiss Family Robinson), past radiation iffy, missing mountaineers, and local superstitions and you get plenty of peril. Great pulsing, heavy music and nice scares and violence increase as the suspicions and conspiracies get crazy. Unfortunately, the familiar premise would have been more interesting if not for the seriously hokey science equipment and faulty logic. The tone is too stuffy and British dry, and the mountain photography and poor backdrop designs are kind of, well, strange. All that might be a cult horror fan’s low budget or dated charm, granted. However, it is dang tough to tell who is who, and the deadly moving mists and that titular eye are too laughable for most viewers to take seriously, which hampers a lot of the campy fun.

Movie Review: Hidden

Hidden Reviewed by Lisa Vasquez

Directors:  Matt Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers) , Ross Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers)
Writers:  Matt Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers) , Ross Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers)

Stars:  Alexander Skarsgård, Andrea Riseborough, Emily Alyn Lind

What’s it about? (Short n Sweet)
A family takes refuge in a fallout shelter to keep safe from a dangerous outbreak.

imageOKAY — Let me start by saying that I skipped over this movie several times for other movies but when I finally gave this one a shot, I was blown away. How did this sneak by anyone? I didn’t hear much about this in theaters, or on blogs.

The first part of the movie starts off with us getting to know this quaint little family. Mom and dad are making the best of a horrible situation by trying to make life as normal as possible. Their daughter, Zoe-Zoe (played by Emily Alyn Lind) deals with as well as any kid her age. The entire family is a little hokey but considering what they’ve been through, I think they’re pretty relatable. They go out of their way to remember life as it was, and they use creative means to occupy their time.

Here and there, the movie uses flashbacks to give us teasers to what the hell is going on. After an outbreak that sends citizens running out of their homes leaves them quarantined, they are then denied access to leave their town due to a quarantine. As everyone stands there waiting in a traffic jammed highway, which happens to be the only way out of town, they see the military take action by blowing the place up.

Fearing for their lives, Zoe and her family run for cover and discover an old fallout shelter behind the school. Luckily for them, the debri hides the in ground door from the “breathers” of the outbreak who come to hunt them down. With enough food to last them awhile, Zoe’s family are confident if they just stay away from the surface (rule #1), everything will be ok.

That is until they find a stowaway thief taking their food!  Not even a good bombing by the military will get rid of all rats. That lil bugger makes his stealthy way through the cans of food and starts to deplete their stockpile. When they try to “wack” the dirty rat (see what I did there??) they knock over a lantern and set a fire.

Will the “breathers” find them? Will they run out of food? This movie’s climax will certainly give you all the answers, and more. Watch this movie. If you love dystopian type movies, you will not be disappointed in my humble opinion.

5 out of 5 skulls!

unnamed

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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: The Herd

Former Horror Addicts staff member Ed Pope’s short story The Herd which was first heard on episode 87 of the Horror Addicts podcast is now a movie:

The Herd: Brutal new horror with a purpose.

milkposterStarring Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman, Filth) and featuring a score by Laurent Bernard of Gallows, THE HERD is a study into the most unimaginable human suffering, yet it depicts a violence that is perpetrated every day on a massive scale.

THE HERD is written by Ed Pope (Transgressive Cinema) and directed by Melanie Light, and features the additional acting talents of Victoria Broom (ABCs of Death 2, Stalled), Jon Campling (Sleeping Dogs, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows) and Charlotte Hunter (Dungeons and Dragons, Vitality).

Imprisoned within inhuman squalor with other women; Paula’s existence and human function is abused as a resource by her captors.

Escape, on any level, is hopeless as the women are condemned to a life of enforced servitude at the whims of their imprisoners for one reason only – their milk.

Enslaved, inseminated and abused – every facet of their life is violated. At first the premise seems exaggerated and absurd; but is, in fact, disgusting in its stark normality.

Deliberately avoiding the lack of finesse associated with “torture porn” and sexploitation, THE HERD eschews these in favor of a vicarious descent into the visceral nightmare of relinquishing the most innate rights of existence.

http://transgressivecinema.com/

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Movie Review: I’ll Bury You Tomorrow

 I’LL BURY YOU TOMORROW. 2002. DIRECTED BY ALAN ROWE KELLY. STARRING ZOE DAELMAN CHLANDA, ALAN ROWE KELLY, JERRY MURDOCH, BILL CORRY, KATHERINE O’SULLIVAN, KRISTEN OVERDURF AND RENEE WEST.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

ibut 1Wow. Here’s something a little different for you horror fans out there. I found this film in an overcrowded little second-hand shop in one of Dublin’s most famous market areas. It’s the kind of shop I normally frequent because some of the best- and worst- horror films I’ve watched and reviewed on my horror film review blog (sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com) have come from just such places.

I’ve found some real gems in this way and for half-nothing too, so it’s little wonder I’m so often to be found browsing in them, ignoring the impatient stares and throat-clearings of the proprietors trying to get me the hell out of their shops at closing-time so they can go home, eat dinner, watch EASTENDERS, argue with the wife about whose turn it is to put the bins out and fall asleep in front of THE NEWS AT TEN.

This looks good, I thought when I first picked up I’LL BURY YOU TOMORROW, which from now on ibut 2shall be referred to asIBUT. It’ll be perfect for my blog. And it is good, but it’s also weird and off-the-wall and contains subject matter unlikely to make it suitable for viewing by all the family on Christmas Day between showings of FROZEN and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.God help us all, Granny Ivy would choke on her brussels sprouts and good old Uncle Albert might just have that coronary that’s been threatening ever since Auntie Betty ran off with the milkman in 1974.

This low-budget horror film was made in 2002 and transferred to DVD in 2006, but it has a much earlier feel to it than that. I watched it without first checking the DVD box for the year it was made and so I spent most of the film thinking I was watching something from the early ’80s. Most horror fans will know that this was a very tasty era both for great acknowledged classic horror movies like POLTERGEIST (1982) and AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION (1982), and also for really good bad horror films, if you get what I mean.

ibut 3I’m talking about movies like DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE (1980), for example, which would be another perfect example of Films Not To Watch With Your Family Over Dinner. DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE was actually classed as a video-nasty, in fact. Some viewers might think the same about IBUT, though nowhere online was I able to find the actual words ‘video-nasty’ in connection with it.

Dolores Finley is the film’s heroine, or maybe anti-heroine would be closer to the mark. She is a rather strange young woman who arrives at the American one-horse town of Port Oram with a trunk in tow, a trunk which clearly contains something she is not keen for others to see. She has come to the quiet little town in answer to an advertisement in the newspaper. It is an advertisement seeking someone to work in the town’s one and only funeral home, run by Percival and Nettie Beech.

Dolores gets the job with little difficulty. She grew up working in her parents’ funeral home, she’s a ibut 4personable enough young woman who also happens to resemble the Beeches’ murdered daughter Sharon, she was the only applicant for the position and so on and so forth. Percival Beech, her new employer, is hugely impressed by how comfortable she is around the corpses and how competently she handles them. Nettie Beech just cares about Dolores’s uncanny resemblance to Sharon and thinks that having Dolores lodging in their home will be just like having their darling Shazza back again. You can tell already, can’t you, that this is all going to work out wonderfully well…?

We find out early enough what exactly Dolores is humping around in that lil’ ol’ trunk of hers. It’s actually her parents’ heads. Well, what else could it have been? Silly us, we should have guessed. It turns out that Dolores is as crazy as a loon, but not without reason. Through flashback, we see that her Mom and Pops used to tie her to a gurney and abuse her sexually in their own mortuary when she was growing up. That’s enough to turn anyone doo-lally, I suppose. Then, in another flashback, we see Dolores turning the tables on the loathsome pair. Guess whose turn it is now to be tied to the gurneys and horribly tortured…? You guessed it. Mom and Pops Finley. Poor old Dolores. With parents like that, she was never exactly going to turn out stable and well-adjusted, was she…?

ibut 5Any-hoo, after her arrival in Port Oram, Dolores decides to finally dispose of her parents’ decomposed skulls, probably to avoid detection and public exposure. She buries the heads in a nearby abandoned building, only to later find out that she was being watched the whole time by Jake, a fellow funeral home employee who’s got quite the little racket going on the side. With his transexual partner Corey (played by the director) who does the stiffs’ make-up at the Beeches’ place, he’s been selling the ‘closed casket’ bodies for their organs, and for big bucks too.

Jake blackmails Dolores into joining him in his evil scam, but Dolores is already as mad as a box of frogs and is actually not at all opposed to getting involved in something that will see her become a more powerful figure at the funeral home. Their agreement sets in motion a bloody train of events that sees nearly the entire cast of the film slaughtered and wallowing helplessly in their own blood. Hope that’s not a massive spoiler, tee-hee…

The DVD box promised me ‘murder, mayhem, body-snatching and necrophilia.’ There was murder, mayhem and body-snatching in abundance. Was there necrophilia? Well, it was strongly implied that Dolores likes to have sex with male cadavers. There was touching, fondling and even dancing- yes, dancing- all taking place while the gorgeous Ms. Finley was topless or dressed in sexy lingerie. I can’t really say that I saw any actual corpse-sex, as such, but the implications were strong. Strong enough to cause chaos at that Christmas dinner table we were discussing earlier if you were to stick IBUT in the old DVD player instead of A MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL or THE GRINCH THAT STOLE CHRISTMAS, anyway.

There’s a whole cast of weird, unpleasant or just plain ugly characters in the film that are great fun to ibut 6watch as they run around the place being as sick in the head and utterly dysfunctional as they know how to be. Check out crazy old religious nut Nettie Beech, Corey the transexual make-up artist to the stiffs, the local minister and, in particular, the receptionist at the morgue. Just what is up with that, y’all…? I’m f***ed if I know, haha. It’s the kind of film where you wouldn’t be surprised to have the notorious Divine cropping up doing something disgusting or illegal, or even disgustingly illegal. That’s how messed-up it is. But if you think that’s your thing, then you might just enjoy it.

I found IBUT to be bizarre and even a tad incomprehensible in places but, overall, it’s a terrific watch for fans of the horror genre. It really made me think, too. Like, about who exactly might be interfering with my earthly remains while I lie in my coffin in the funeral home clutching my rosary beads in my cold dead hands. If IBUT is to be believed, well, almost anything could be happening to my pimped-up corpse and I wouldn’t even be aware of it. That’s the real dirty rotten swizz, the fact that I’d be unaware of any sexy shenanigans taking place with regard to my deceased person. If I’m going out on a ride, I want to damn well know about it and enjoy it, haha…

Go forth now, horror fans, and find this film and watch it. Roll around in the foul-smelling vomit that pukes forth from its diseased pores and anoint thyselves with it good-style. Then put it back in its box, say: ‘Well, that was interesting,’ and make thyselves a nice cup of tea. It’s good advice. Thee should take it…

Movie Review: Repentance

Live Action Reviews!

by Crystal Connor

At 2:42 am on Aug 17th, 2014, 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, Philippe Caland 2013 Repentance

Reader discretion is Advised


imagesEntry 1: Did they hit someone?

Entry 2: I want a harp at my book signing

Entry 3: No! When someone says ‘I hear something’ get your ass up and go look.

Entry 4: Get out!

Entry 5: At $300/hr your only helping yourself

Entry 6: What the fuck is wrong w/you? He said he can’t.

Entry 7: If I tell you I’m afraid of the river and you stand up and start rocking the boat I would beat you to death with an oar.

Entry 8: This therapist is a crack-pot

Entry 9: A motha fucking séance? Oh hell no!

Entry 10: Yep. You should be scared

Entry 11: No she’s not!

Entry 12: You show up asking for money and when he offers it to you tell him to go fuck himself because you can’t be bought. Hmmm

Entry 13: You’re in a fucking bomb shelter, no one can hear you.

Entry 14: Once your tied up, the time for negotiation has passed

Entry 15: This Negro here.

Entry 16: “Your making things very hard on yourself.” The very last thing you want to hear from the man holding you hostage in his bomb shelter.

Entry 17: Your lying

Entry 18: You read/saw Misery just like the rest of us, you know that’s going to be that easy.

Entry 19: I told you

Entry 20: Sweet Jesus

Entry 21: So your husband is missing and its just biz as usual for you?

Entry 22: That’s a trap

Entry 23: In what world is that the reasonable choice?

Plotline: Successful author and spiritual advisor Tommy Carter takes on a troubled man as a client, completely unaware that the man’s fixation on his mother’s death will soon put his life in jeopardy.

Scariness Factor: There are a few good jump scares but its more startling than it is scary. From 1 – 5 we’ll give it a 2 ½

Gross-out Factor:  N/A

High Points: It was kind of exciting to watch a movie where the entire cast looked like me. None of the people on screen are there to fill in or reinforce the negative stereotypes, or to be the 1st one to die that we so often see when POC are in a movie or TV show. The setting and the soundtrack are amazing. Every time I see images of Louisiana it makes me want to book flight.

Complaints: Ok, so Ben, Tommy’s little brother is supposed to be a hardened criminal newly released from prison for the umpteenth time. His cussing and using all of this urban language but he doesn’t sound or look authentic. It’s jarring, and because of this he ends up looking like a whiney, it’s always-someone-else’s-fault little boy in a grown man’s body.

This movie had so much potential, but the entire movie is carried by just one actor: Forest Whitaker. These are all A-list actors so  I don’t understand the less than stellar performances.

With about  3rd left to go, you start to see, at least in part, how this movie will end.

Overall: I was so super excited to watch Repentance, but just like Colin Theys’ 2014 Deep Into The Darkness, what could have been something truly terrifying ends up being nothing more than a made for TV melodrama

Stars: 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.

This movie is classified as horror, but maybe a better tagging would be horror light. I would recommend Repentance as a good movie to show for a pre-teen slumber party or for someone who has a low tolerance for terror.

So despite 23 entries, I am going to give this one a 2 ¾ stars.

Where I watched it : Streaming

1795961_803788772983725_1553304502_o

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

 

Dating A Zombie Review by C.A. Milson

dating-a-zombie

Dating A Zombie

Movie review by C.A. Milson

Stars: Jack Abele, Claudia Andrejuk, Glenn Balli

Directed by: Jack Abele

IMDB Rating: N/A

Plot: Clarence operates a Zombie termination service in Zombie Town. Believing true love can never be found he feels no remorse when he dates Zombies. To him Zombies never complain, don’t nag or talk back and are extremely happy with the way you are. Of course Clarence’s biggest love interest is Princess Betty the owner of a pet cemetery now accepting humans at discount prices. In between his romances Clarence finds time to hunt and eliminate nuisance Zombies called A-Listers. This is a hobby he thoroughly enjoys because he gets to chop the Zombie bodies up in his kitchen and sell the meat as a sideline. The action and humor keep coming as Clarence and his assistant Doofus chase and “pop” Zombies while riding around in their golf cart. You just can’t have too many Zombies running around Zombie Town when the government keeps failing to pass a Zombie retirement plan!

IMDB Tagline: A Zombie Termination Specialist tries to find true love in Zombie Town

My Tagline: Carry On Zombies…

Review: I really do not know where to start on this. For one, I do enjoy a comedy horror/spoof if it is done right. Some films of the genre do seem to break the mold when it comes to defining comedy. Other films miss the mark completely. In this case, Abele has tried to shoot for a horror comedy and missed the whole meaning of the genre “comedy”.

The film starts off, in a town riddled with Zombies. It seems that from the premise of the film, some keep zombies as pets, others just dump off the recently deceased at a fly-by-night pet cemetery-cum –funeral home.

As the plot suggests, Clarence operates an extermination company, focusing on extermination of zombies at random, and trying to get laid with every woman he comes across, living or dead. In his spare time (which he seems to have a lot of) he delivers zombie meat in pizza boxes to unaffected humans (wouldn’t the meat be contaminated?), and again, off he goes to try and get laid, with cheesy one-liners that were taken from every bad pick-up line ever.

Romance? If one defines romance as a person desperate to get laid and carrying on like a testosterone filled teen with blue-ball syndrome, then this hit the mark with that. Other than that, this flick was absolute rubbish. I could feel myself slipping into a coma watching this.

The characters were very one-dimensional at best, the props (arms, legs, and whatever else) were very amateur, and the acting? The only thing I can say about the acting is that it was obvious that the actors had very little to go on, judging by how poor of a performance they were putting on.

This film could have been a lot better for the reportedly $85,000 they spent on production.

VerdictWatch Evil Dead 3 instead

My Rating: -5 out of 10

**************


C.A.Milson is an award winning horror author of 4 books (and counting); Founder of ASJ Publishing, and seldom film producer. He resides in Melbourne, Australia and likes to spend his time in his backyard hobbyfarm of 13 chooks, and draws inspiration from the horrors that lay in wait in the darkness. C.A.Milson can be found at: www.asjpublishing.com and: www.facebook.com/C.A.Milson.Author

Live Action Reviews by Crystal Connor: Devil

Live Action Reviews

by Crystal Connor

Devil

 

PDevil_film_posterlotline: Five strangers trapped in an elevator realize that one of them is the Devil in this thriller from director John E. Dowdle (Quarantine) and screenwriter Brian Nelson (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night). The first installment of “The Night Chronicles,” a film series in which up-and-coming filmmakers bring to life stories conceived by M. Night Shyamalan, Devil opens to find five Philadelphia office workers filing into the elevator of an inner-city office building. But a typical day at the office takes a  sudden detour into terror when the elevator becomes stuck between floors, and the passengers discover that the Devil does exist, and he’s standing right before them. As emergency workers work frantically to free them, secrets are revealed and the passengers realize their only hope for survival is to confront their darkest sins in front of the others. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi for Rotten Tomatoes

Scariness Factor: One a scale of 1 to 5 I would say 3. They’re mostly jump scares and for a connoisseur of all things horror, I can usually see them coming

Gross-out Factor:  N/A.

High Points: I am a huge fan of religious themed horror entertainment. I love all the hidden-in-plain-sight symbolism and the deliberate use of words. This was the 2nd time watching Devil and it was way more fun because I saw all the stuff  I missed when I 1st saw it.

One of the things I really liked was the scenes shot in total darkness. Just like those trapped in the elevator you can see anything but you can hear what’s going on which adds to the tension. I also loved the way the spoken narrative was woven into the movie

Complaints: Shyamalan takes us all the way to the edge but then kinda phones in the ending to give us a somewhat happy one. So instead of it being a thoroughly terrifying experience it’s just a highly startling one.

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 and Devil is really fun, like being on a roller coaster. Watching it again was like hanging out with an old friend I haven’t seen in a while.

Stars: 3 ½ Stars

~~~Diary Entries~~~

 

At 1:30 am on Aug 15th, 2014, 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, for the 2nd time M.Night Shyamalan’s 2010 Devil

 

Reader discretion is Advised

 

Entry 1: And they’re trapped.

 

Entry 2: Clearly he’s claustrophobic

 

Entry 3: Why does the engineer always look like that? We don’t look like that in real life. Come on!

 

Entry 4: HOLY SHIT! Lol that scared the shit outta me.

 

Entry 5: I told you, he’s claustrophobic

 

Entry 6: lol, a captive audience

 

Entry 7: What the fuck? You know better. See! Dumb ass

 

Entry 8: They’re already there

 

Entry 9: No its not and that’s not Jesus

 

Entry 10: What the fuck?

 

Entry 11: LOL

 

Entry 12: Fine then, don’t listen to him

 

Entry 13: Yeah you are cus your not listening

 

Entry 14: Stay your ass where you are!

 

Entry 15: No engineering in their right mind would do that without safety gear! Serously?!

 

Entry 16: And that’s why.

 

Entry 17: My dog is growling at the TV, even she knows better

 

Entry 18: The last thing I would want to hear at that moment would be prayers uttered in Latin

 

Entry 19: Oh my God the fire dept is tearing shit up

 

Entry 20: Oh for fucks sake!

 

Entry 21: Are you trained to do that? Then leave it alone.

 

Entry 22: DON’T!

 

Entry 23: I fucking told you.

 

Entry 24: Excuse me Captain-save-a-hoe but that’s not your job

 

Entry 25: You don’t.

 

Entry 26: Sweet Jesus

 

Entry 27: OMG that’s right!

 

Entry 28: That bitch didn’t just fix her hair.

 

Entry 29: And M. Night for the win

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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

 

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.

#

Nosferatu: The Vampyre 1979

NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE. 1979. DIRECTED BY WERNER HERZOG AND STARRING KLAUS KINSKI, ISABELLE ADJANI AND BRUNO GANZ.

by Sandra Harris

MCDNOPH FE005

This film doesn’t have a silent psychopath in a mask stalking half-dressed women and unsuspecting men with his butcher knife. It doesn’t have a Mother-fixated madman stabbing people to death in the shower, and neither does it have a well-spoken maniac who likes to eat people’s internal organs with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. In this sense, maybe, it’s not what some people automatically think of when they think of horror movies. What the film does have, however, is a lead character of such subtlety, cruelty and even human-like frailty that he surely deserves his standing as one of the creepiest and most notable horror icons of all time: Nosferatu The Vampyre.

 

The film was written, produced and directed by Werner Herzog, a German film-maker who made his first movie in 1961 at the age of nineteen and who now has more than sixty feature and documentary films to his name. It is one of five he made with German actor Klaus Kinski, with whom he enjoyed a well-documented relationship that was both productive and wildly tempestuous, given the intensely passionate nature of each of the protagonists. When people think of Nosferatu, their minds frequently conjure up an image of Max Shreck who played him so brilliantly in the silent production of nearly a century ago, and fair play to old Maxie, he did a cracking job but for me, Kinski is Nosferatu. He is the bald-headed, sunken-eyed, strangely melancholy creature of the night who resides in his crumbling castle in the Carpathian mountains and feeds off the blood of any humans unfortunate enough to cross his path.

 

The film begins with Jonathan Harker being told by his employer, the decidedly odd Mr. Renfield, that he must cross the Carpathian mountains to bring legal papers to the rich and reclusive Count Dracula who has decided to buy a house in their area, the pretty and picturesque town of Wismar. Jonathan’s wife, Lucy, played by the beautiful Isabelle Adjani, begs him not to go as she has had premonitions of the most profound evil but Jonathan disregards her fears and sets off blithely on his journey. The film is worth watching solely for the shots of the countryside through which he passes on his way to Count Dracula’s castle and also for the superb musical score by German electronic band Popol Vuh. As Jonathan nears the castle, he is warned by the locals to turn back and go home before he loses his soul but he has come too far to turn back now. Disquieted and edgy, he continues on his way. The music reaches a crescendo as he finally enters the courtyard of Count Dracula, then it fades away as the giant castle doors creak open to reveal… Nosferatu himself, standing at the top of the steps with a smile of quiet welcome on his colourless face.

 

For Jonathan, events take on a surreal appearance from this point onwards. Nosferatu begins to feed on his blood from the first night of his arrival. While poor Lucy frets and works herself up into a right old state about her absent spouse back in Wismar, Jonathan is trapped in Nosferatu’s castle of mould-stained, whitewashed walls and silent, dusty rooms, powerless to prevent the vampire from feasting on him nightly and gradually sapping his strength and will. There are some moments of genuine heartstopping horror in this part of the film, which incidentally is my favourite part. I dare the viewer not to jump when Nosferatu appears soundlessly in Jonathan’s bedroom in the dead of night, his claws expanding as he moves in for the kill, or when Jonathan pushes back the slab of rock in the dungeon to reveal a sleeping Nosferatu, claws folded and sightless eyes wide open, staring at nothing.

 

The latter half of the film sees Nosferatu travelling to Wismar by sea with his black coffins and the plague of rats. The scene where the ship of death sails silently up the canals of Wismar while the unwitting inhabitants of the town slumber peacefully in their beds sends a shiver down my spine every time I see it. In no time at all the town is overrun with rats and the plague. Mr. Renfield, who is revealed to be Count Dracula’s loyal servant, is beside himself with happiness at the arrival in the town of the ‘Master.’ These are trying times indeed for Lucy Harker, however. Jonathan has found his way home but he no longer recognises her and sits in his chair all day giggling and chattering nonsense, his mind and body destroyed by Dracula. The love-starved and lonely Nosferatu comes to Lucy in her bedroom and begs her to be his concubine and companion down through the centuries to come, but Lucy holds fast to her love for Jonathan and sends the Count away empty-handed.

 

Now we come to the climax of this gorgeously-shot film. The town of Wismar has been devastated by Nosferatu and his plague of rats. The scene where some of the townspeople gather for a grotesque parody of a ‘last supper’ in the town square while the rats climb all over them is a chilling one indeed. Lucy tries to tell the town physician, Dr. Van Helsing, that Nosferatu is the reason for all the death and destruction but the good doctor is a man of science and refuses to believe in the existence of such supernatural creatures as vampires. (Unlike in most other versions of the film!) When Lucy’s closest friend, Mina, is murdered by the Count, Lucy does the only thing left to her to do. She offers herself to Nosferatu, in the hope that she can keep him occupied throughout the night and make him ‘forget the cry of the cock’ in the morning, thereby causing him to be killed by the first rays of the morning sun.

 

The scene where Nosferatu comes to Lucy in her bedroom and finally feeds on her is erotic in the extreme. Lucy is dressed all in white, her bedclothes are white and flowers in shades of pastel sit on the night-stand. The Vampyre gently pulls back her clothing to look at her body, then rests his claw on one full rounded breast as he lowers his head to her neck and begins to softly suck. They remain locked together in a beautiful and moving sexual congress all night, and when the first rays of the sun begin to filter into Lucy’s bedroom the following morning, she pulls Nosferatu back down to her once more. The besotted Vampyre thus ‘forgets the cry of the cock’ and dies. Lucy listens to his death agonies with a smile on her face and then, knowing that she has saved the town of Wismar from the horror of Count Dracula, she closes her eyes and dies.

 

There’s a great little twist at the end which I won’t tell you about here. You’ll just have to go and watch the film for yourself, which I hope you will anyway. Personally speaking, if I had to choose only one film to watch for the rest of my life, it would be this one. I want to be buried with it. In the absence of Nosferatu coming to me in person in my flower-strewn bedroom and bending his head to my newly-washed neck, then I want to be buried clutching my copy of the film, the coffin lid closing for all eternity on the sight of my fingers laced around his deathly-white face on the front of the DVD box. And when you watch this film, I promise you that you will too.

 

sandra 1fixedSandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival. Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issue magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. She is addicted to buying books and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia, and would be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man.

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

Unreleased Poster For “INBRED” – World Premier at Frightfest 2011.

The World Premier of British horror director ALEX CHANDON’s new movie INBRED will be taking place at the famous London Empire Theatre during this months Frightfest 2011. The screening is taking place at 18:30 on August 29th 2011, and has so far sold more seats than any other film.

Ahead of this, Alex has sent us an as-yet unreleased poster for HORROR ADDICTS to see before anyone else. Enjoy!

HORROR ADDICTS will be attending the Premier, and will let you know if INBRED is as good as it looks!

#45 The Host Movie Review

The Host is a South Korean Horror Film that came out in 2006. The film saw its premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2006 before it was released theatrically in Korea. The film has won many awards and received numerous award nominations. Although the film has received all this acclaim, it only received a limited US release and many Horror Fans have paid the film little attention.

The Host opens with a doctor telling his lab assistant that he hates dust. He prefers a clean working area and after wiping the dust off the bottle of formaldehyde, orders the liquid be poured down the sink. The doctor is warned that the sink leads out to the Han River, but the doctor does not care about procedure or the river. The viewer gets to see the assistant, now wearing a mask, dump a bottle of formaldehyde down the drain. As the camera pans, we see that there are over a hundred empty bottles with more yet to empty.

The film then does some small time jumps to a more modern day Seoul, Korea. We are introduced to a rather dysfunctional family. It’s not long after this that we find the people along the bank of the river enjoying their day, when they notice something hanging from the bridge. As the watchers start throwing food out at the shape, the creature shows it true self and begins a run thru the crowds crushing and devouring people as it goes. Sadly, for one family, it takes their young girl with it as it leaves.

The movie follows the exploits of the family of Hyun-Seo as they try to find their little girl and get her back. The film is full of concepts that are not often seen in many horror films today. The film does an amazing job at investigating the family dynamic and the way they interact and think of each other. The father does his best to get his oldest children to see their slow-witted brother as a man.

The story takes off as we see the civil police agencies and South Korean government try to deal with the creature. It is decided by the United Nations that they are unable to contain the situation and even worse, the creature maybe carrying a virus.

The Host shows us that Horror can come not just from a creature, but from the feelings we may carry for others, and our environment. We watch as this family tries to save their little girl and at the same time has disconnection and tragedy hit them through their trials. The film has moments of shock not just from a sudden appearance of the creature but events that happen when the creature is not involved.

There is one big question that begins to show itself as you watch the film. Who is the real monster?