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.

 

Kbatz: Phantom of the Opera (1989)

Frightening Flix

 

 

Freddy’s Phantom of the Opera a Mixed Bag

By Kristin Battestella

 

 

The 1989 version of The Phantom of the Opera adds a whole lot of gory to update the oft-adapted novel. Unfortunately, the convoluted changes to the source sully what could be a fine macabre rendition, leaving more crossed signals than scares.

New York singer Christine Day (Jill Schoelen) finds herself upon the stage of a past London opera house after discovering a lost Don Juan Triumphant manuscript by alleged murderer and composer Erik Destler (Robert Englund). Erik has paid a disfiguring Faustian price to have his music heard – the devil has scarred his face and now the Opera Ghost must use the flesh of his victims to mask his horrendous wounds. When he hears Christine sing, however, The Phantom seeks to dispose of diva La Carlotta (Stephanie Lawrence) and replace her with his muse. Will Christine come to love her musical benefactor or discover his murderous hobbies?

 

Director Dwight H. Little (Rapid Fire) starts this Leroux adaptation from writers Gerry O’Hara (Ten Little Indians) and Duke Sandefur (Dark Justice) with a satanic warning, ominous music, a creepy bookshop, bloody manuscripts, and then contemporary New York opera auditions before a Victorian London transition. Unfortunately, the framing added to The Phantom of the Opera is more than confusing. Is it reincarnation, time travel, or immortality? Are we watching a flashback induced by some demonic spell when Erik’s music is played? Memories from The Phantom’s point of view recalling his devilish pact further muddle this twist. Though Faust elements from the novel and scenes or characters not often included in onscreen adaptations are represented, purists will wonder why these frustrating bookends and superfluous changes were shoehorned in here. Thankfully, the murderous opera mishaps and quick pace move for the 93-minute duration – the tale remains familiar enough and there’s no time to fully question the additions or the unnecessary endings that just keep on going forever. Evil elements, plenty of brutality, and some supernatural hocus-pocus make for a decidedly horror mood. We’ve know doubt that this angle will be sinister, not romantic, and many Phantom fans will enjoy the outright villainous tone even if the execution of the inserted spooky is laden with plot holes and flaws. Ironically, despite its gory strides and fiendish aspects, The Phantom of the Opera is clearly trying to ride the coattails of the musical productions and includes a disclaimer declaring that this version is unaffiliated with Webber and company. Go figure.

Fortunately, the gruesome Phantom skin and make up designs for star Robert Englund work devilishly good. He stitches up his icky face, harvests fresh flesh from his victims, and remains strong and skilled with weapons as he slices and dices. For all its misguided vision, this Phantom of the Opera is not afraid to bloody it up and out rightly mention sexual context – be it accusing peeping tom stagehands, some nighttime prostitution, or would-be rapacious action. Erik has his needs! Through his Faust pact and filleting folks, The Phantom maneuvers diva Carlotta’s exit early before going out to the local pub or spa for some more kills. His interest in Christine, however, feels secondary, lame, and tacked on to the demonic upkeep as if elevating the full on, killer creeper is meant to make us forget the obsessive love plot. Compared to what usually is the source of Erik’s motivation, this Opera Ghost doesn’t have much reason to hang around the house when he could be getting his lust and hellish tendencies elsewhere. Broadway shade, crammed in horror – the lengthy skin peel reveals help The Phantom of the Opera doubly cash in on Englund’s Nightmare on Elm Street heights as well as the musicals. This Erik is obviously not a sympathetic soul, but he’s not a multi dimensional villain either. He’s The Phantom and he’s bad this time around, oooo. The would-be menacing spectacle doesn’t do Englund justice or give him the layers and depths he is more than capable of delivering.

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Poor Billy Nighy (Underworld) is also totally wasted in The Phantom of the Opera as an angry, would-be manipulative but largely ineffective opera owner. He doesn’t have much to do except bitch, and late stage star Stephanie Lawrence as Carlotta likewise feels blink and you miss her rather than any sort of antagonist. So-called inspectors and other nondescript secondary players are forgettable, as-needed plot devices or set dressings. Without much beyond the Raoul name change for Alex Hyde-White (Reed Richards in the infamous 1994 Fantastic Four film) as Christine’s barely there paramour Richard, it’s tough to follow his supposed heroics in the hectic underground finale much less root for his success. Sadly, all of these players could be excised – no name police could have been called to the opera house for the shoot ‘em up showdown and The Phantom of the Opera would have been no different. Critical in the role as Christine Day, Jill Schoelen (There Goes My Baby) also misses the mark if you are looking for a strong period piece blossom. While she makes a capable eighties scream queen, Schoelen is a fish out of water at the opera. Christine should do more than go round and round with Erik in one slow motion battle after another, right? But say hey, its SNL alum Molly Shannon!

There is a new blu-ray edition of The Phantom of the Opera, which is nice since the bare bones DVD has subtitles but tough to see alleyways and dark fight scenes. Again, the head rolling gore is well done, but some of the violence also feels unnecessary compared to the atmospheric blue lighting, red reflections, and flaming effects. Askew angles, the tilted hat, and shadowed, one eye close ups of The Phantom also up the brooding. There is little of the actual stage spectacle here, but the Victorian interiors and layers of Old World feel intimate. As horror, this production design is more than serviceable even if it’s not all it could have been. The subdued palette, generic costumes, and low budget mistakes, however, won’t be as grandiose as some Phantom of the Opera fans may expect – Erik’s lair looks like a standard, commonplace cave set with some candles. Perhaps that’s realistic to what the underground living would be, but there isn’t enough to it for a film. Fortunately, the scoring provides the right gothic mood and melody. Sure, it’s not quite sweeping and will seem knock off inferior to the more famous Phantom musics, but it is the one part of this conflicted Phantom of the Opera that does what it is supposed to do. And oh my, shout out for the floppy discs and giant computer monitors!

 

The Phantom of the Opera suffers from its identity crisis as a horror film and a book adaptation just as it much as it proves a scary update of Leroux is possible. Had it abandoned the contemporary twists and devilish ties and simply played it straight while upping the sinister and gore, The Phantom of the Opera might have stood out from the crowd as more than a cliché Freddy or Webber cash in like those try hard, faux rip offs we get today. At times, this rendition feels like a bad edit, the audience test viewing that’s missing all its final bells and whistles. Are we still awaiting the real director’s cut with all the polish, clarification, and panache? The Phantom of the Opera is not the definitive adaptation of the novel, and ultimately, nor is it the best macabre rendition – I’m not sure anyone will ever surpass the Silent version in that regard. Mixed bag though it is, if spooky audiences, Phantom students, and Englund fans accept this late night tale for what it is, The Phantom of the Opera can be a fun, serviceable, gruesome good time – complete with the heads of divas in the punch bowl.

Inkubus (2011)

Robert Englund is a name that has become synonymous with horror since his days of playing Freddy Krueger in several Nightmare on Elm Street films.  As of late Englund has been found doing guest shots in films and movies but rarely has he had a full starring role. The film Inkubus puts Englund back into a starring role and front and center through much of the film.

Joining Robert Englund in Inkubus is another name that should be known to horror fans, one William Forsythe.  Along with these two actors the main cast is rounded out by Jonathan Silverman, Michelle Ray Smith and Joey Fatone.  There are two supporting cast members Horror Addicts should recognize and that being Dyan Kane and Tom DeNucci who were featured in an our previous season finale along with director Glenn Ciano.

The film Inkbus has a tag line that reads, “We all must face our demons.”  Those who take time to view the film should see that this is a very appropriate line.  Inkbus tells the viewer of the horrific events that take place, one seemingly quiet night, in a police station in the town of Wood Haven, Rhode Island.  The station is devoid of much activity, and personnel, as it approaches the date to shut down.

The precinct’s silent night is broken when a young man is arrested for supposedly killing his girlfriend.  The young man claims his innocence stating that out of nowhere someone was there attacking her and taking her head.  They do not believe him as his body is covered in her blood, but those doubts change soon enough.

The change comes as a man in a dark jacket walks in carrying the head of the young man’s girlfriend. The police quickly arrest the man and have the young man sent to lockup.  This is where things in this soon to close police station go from weird to downright deadly.

As the movie progresses the story is told about whom this man is, and we find out about his origins.  This is not a normal person but a long lived demon that has a plan for a retired police detective. The problem is everyone in the police station is in danger and with the simple tricks that Inkubus will pull on those inside can turn deadly.

Inkubus makes great use of the actual closed police station that they were able to use to shoot the film.  This added realism to the film that may not have been provided on a sound stage.  The film also gives you a sort of claustrophobic feel just as the actors started to feel while shooting the film.  It allows you to possibly understand how Inkubus is able to easily manipulate those around him.

The film also takes time to explain the back story of Inkubus and how long he has been around humans.  We begin to understand his motives and what he is doing in that particular police station.  We find out that we are actually reliving the tale at points as we find head Detective Caretti (Fatone) is being interviewed while in a psychiatric ward somewhere.  His story covers the events of the night we witness and what happened to his wife and child.

Inkubus can be called a bit of homage to Englund’s past role as Freddy.  The main difference in this case all those who fall victim to his mind games are well awake.  Englund’s character also has a unique device that is utilized in some of the kills that are witnessed in this film.

Inkbus may be questioned by viewers who check the cast list and wonder how such an odd cast of actors can turn in a good film.  This comes from the way Director Glenn Ciano is able to get the best out of his cast.  Many, I’m sure will question the use of former N’Sync singer Joey Fatone in such a pivotal role of the film.  This was something I also questioned, but I found that Fatone did a great job in the role of the chief Detective. The fact he was featured in many of the films scenes along with Englund and Forsythe only helped to make his role even more believable.

Inkubus is not a big major motion picture movie, but fans of Englund will certainly enjoy the film.  There are other reasons to like the film as the setting, the look, and feel of the film add to the overall enjoyment.  We at HorrorAddicts.net were lucky enough to speak to some involved in the film and from their discussion of the film you can easily get the feeling the loved the film they made and the experience in making it. This is something that viewers should take with them when watching the film and enjoying Inkubus.

A Sneak Peek at Inkubus starring Robert Englund, William Forysthe

When people are asked to name some of the most prolific actors in Horror, the name that will come to many lists is that of Robert Englund. To many he will be best known for his role as Freddy Krueger.  However, Englund has stepped beyond this role and has been in many films since the Nightmare on Elm Street film series.  In the film Inkubus, he’s back to play the key character in the film.  Along side Englund is Horror icon, William Forysthe.

The rest of the cast is composed of individuals such as Joey Fatone, Jonathan Silverman, Michelle Ray Smith, and others.  Horror Addicts had that ability and fortune to speak with actor Tom DeNucci, actress Dyan Kane, and director Glenn Ciano.  In the interviews you will get to hear the passion they all have for their film and some of how the film was made.  Listen to these interviews on Episode #71 of HorrorAddicts.net.

Horror Addicts would like to thank those at Woodhaven Production Company for giving us the opportunity to speak with those in the movie and it’s director.  I hope fans will enjoy the discussions, but more importantly find a way to see the movie.

Inkubus will be in select theaters from Oct 28th-Nov. 3rd.

1. Providence Place Mall Cinema, RI
2. Warwick Cinema, RI
3. Showcase Revere, MA
4. Showcase Bridgeport, CT
5. Island 16: Cinema De Lux, Holtsville, NY
6. Multiplex Cinemas at Town Center Plaza, East Windsor, NJ
7. Springdale 18: Cinema De Lux, Springdale, OH
8. Valley Art, Tempe, AZ
9. Magic Lantern, Spokane, WA
10. The Dark Room Theater, San Fran, CA
11. The Times Cinema, Milwaukee, WI
12. Sanibel Island Cinema, Sanibel, FL

More information can be found at their Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/InkubusMovie?sk=info

September/October Events

September 23rd / Cabaret Perilous! / San Francisco Ca / Live Burlesque  at the Uptown Club! Show starts at 7pm, performers include: The Shanghai Pearl, Bazuka Joe, Lola Martinet, Casey Castile, Shannon Vau De Vire, Chrissy Lux and many more. For more information go to:  www.hubbahubbarevue.com


October 6th / Funker Vogt / New York NY /Funker Vogt is a synth pop band from Germany, they will be performing with Life Cried and Die Sektor. This is an all ages show starting at 10pm at the Gramercy Theatre. For more information go to: www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241987649158352

October 14th-16th / Sci Fi Horror Weekend / Tulsa Oaklahoma / This convention includes a dealer’s room, a pajama party massacre, a brain eating contest, costume contest, scream queen contest, movie showings an appearance by Sid Haig, performances from Axis  and Pittersplatter and much much more. For more information go to www.scifihorrorweekend.com

October 14th-16th / Zombiemania / Conneaut Lake Pennsylvania / This is a fundraiser convention for the American Cancer Society. The events include a zombie contest and a seminar on ghost hunting by the Beaver County Ghost Hunters. All of George Romero’s zombie movies will be shown along with Q and A’s with John Russo and Nick Tallo who both worked on Night of the Living Dead. For more information go to zombiemania.org.

October 14th-16th  / Rock and Shock / Worcester Massachussetts / This is a horror convention and rock concert combo. Guests include Lance Henriksen, Robert Englund and guitar god Ace Frehley. Some of the bands performing include:  Insane Clown Posse, Mushroomhead, The Bones and Alesana. For more information go to: rockandshock.com.

August Events

August 5th / EKLECTIK / New York NY / Lady Nyx and Lady Zombie throw down the red carpet for the premiere of EKLECTIK which is a fusion of Rock and Roll, performance art and the underground cultures. Goth/fetish/Vamp attire is encouraged and there will be a costume contest with the winner getting a custom pair of fangs. For more information go to http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=103946999701174.

August 20th / Unnameable Blood Bath Film Festival /Dallas Texas / Featuring independent short and feature films based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. This is taking place on Lovecraft’s birthday at the historic  Texas theater in Dallas. For more information go to doabloodbath.com.

August 25-28th / Rue Morgue Festival of Fear / Toronto Canada / Special guests at this convention include John Waters, Robert Englund, Elvira, Doug Bradley and many more.  Some of the activities include a masquerade ball, a costume show, Q and A’s, movie screenings and special effect and make up seminars. For more information go to http://rue-morgue.com/rmp_fof.php

August 25th-28th / Horrific Film Fest / San Antonio Texas / This is an independent horror film festival which will include such movies as An Evening With My Comatose Mother, Psycho Killer Blood Bath, Get Off My Porch and others. There will also be a zombie walk and a goth queen beauty contest. For more information go to http://www.horrificfilmfest.com/

August 25th – 28th / Crypticon / Overland Park Kansas / This is Kansas City’s premier horror convention including appearances from Bill Mosley, P.J. Soles and makeup artist Tom Sullivan. There will also be a costume contest, movie showings and concerts from Hate Incorporated and Wrecking Day. For more information go to http://crypticonkansascity.com/

Episode 61: “British & European Horror” – Show Notes.

Here are links to all the people, places and events mentioned in the British & European Horror section of Episode 61 of Horror Addicts.

Emily Booth:

www.emilybooth.co.uk

www.horrorchannel.co.uk

Shock Horror Magazine:

www.shockhorrormagazine.com

Bram Stoker Horror Film Festival:

www.bramstokerfilmfestival.com

Village Of The Damned:

www.villageofthedamnedfilmfest.blogspot.com

Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival:

www.strasbourgfestival.com

Grossmann Fantastic Film & Wine Festival:

www.en.grossmann.si

Fancine Fantastic Film Festival:

www.fancine.org

Robert Englund to star in UK project Strippers vs Werewolves (via IMDb):

http://www.imdb.com/news/ni10626210/