Raw Review – Splinter (2008)

You Don’t Want To Get This Splinter Under Your Skin

Gas Station restrooms are usually horrific is real life. Why else do they require a potential patron to pick up a key from the front counter. A key usually attacked to some random object, often a broken baseball bat, or the handle to a window squeegee, or a cinder block. A wise man once said something to the effect of, “Once is coincidence, twice if happenstance, third time is enemy action.”

See, cinder block =  enemy action. Makes perfect sense, and it’s logic like this that makes the inciting event in the 2008 monster movie Splinter so damn scary.

So group of people, whom are together not out of choice (for some of them anyway), arrive at a gas station late in the evening. Car needs fixing, gas, what have you. Then all hell breaks loose.

Splinter follows the stripped down scary monster siege plotline. Monster traps people, people must escape. Doesn’t sound too interesting, has been done a million times before, why do you care? You care because Splinter works, and it works well. The formula is simple. Collect good actors, write a script that is smart but not over the top, hire a good FX team and viola! Simple monster movie turns into an hour and thirty-seven minutes of intense action dripping with blood and guts.

The film stars Paulo Costanzo, Jill Wagner and Shea Whigham.

Constanzo you’ll probably remember from Road Trip and  40 Days and 40 Nights. He’s currently imprisoned on the USA channel where he is doing hard time on the TV crapfest Royal Pains.

Wagner was in several things before and after Splinter, although spending the time to list them would be depressing so we won’t. She’s currently on the show Teen Wolf. Meh. Too bad really because she is very good in Splinter.

Whigham is the jewel of the film. He shines far above the rest of the cast (all 6 of them) but makes sure to temper his performance so as not to run away with the movie. He’s got chops and it shows in his filmography – Tigerland, Fast and Furious, Blood Creek (review coming soon), Silver Linings Playbook, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Non-Stop, on and on and on…

Q: So is the movie worth watching?
A: Definately. A tigh, simple plot is complemented by some excellent special effects and good chemistry between the cast members. A bonus is the script. Not going to win an award but it doesn’t make any of the silly over the top mistakes so many low budget horror films do. Granted this could be the director, but I like to credit the writers. So here writers, have some credit!

Q: So whats the monster?
A: No spoilers! It’s cool, you’ll like it.

Q: Is this a good date movie?
A: Yeah. Not too long, no nudity and/or excessive vocabulary.

Q: Is it graphic? Ok for my kids?

A: It actually isn’t too graphic in general, although there is one scene that gets a bit, um…nasty. Otherwise it’s fine, so long as your kids handle blood and guts and body horror.

Short Film – Black Sugar

In this short film by Hank Friedman, doing drugs isn’t just bad… it’s fucking horrifying. In a Lovecraftian sort of way.

Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.

Winner of Best Short Film at the 2013 New York City Horror Film Festival, Black Sugar shows what can happen to suburban teens when they decide to buy drug from a shady internet site. 

Kids these days. 

Checkout out Blacksugar.com for more info.

Short Film – Black Sugar

In this short film by Hank Friedman, doing drugs isn’t just bad… it’s fucking horrifying. In a Lovecraftian sort of way.

Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.

Winner of Best Short Film at the 2013 New York City Horror Film Festival, Black Sugar shows what can happen to suburban teens when they decide to buy drug from a shady internet site. 

Kids these days. 

Checkout out Blacksugar.com for more info.

Book Review – Southern Gods by John Horner Jacobs

Southern Gods is the kind of book that swims through your brain at night – after you’ve put it down and resolved to go to sleep. 

Horror Book with The King in Yellow, Hastur, Cthulhu Mythos, Southern mystery, radio, blues, awesome writing style. It swims around, kicking thoughts and ideas, poking tender bits a tissue, causally dragging it’s long cold greasy appendages across the soul. 

Many will say noir crime with Lovecraftian overtones. Many will be right, in a way, yet overly conservative in their description.
Southern Gods is a fascinating journey through the deep south in the early years after World War II. Following the investigation of a less than reputable private detective, the reader is lured into a world that is almost trapped in time. 

Fans of True Detective, which is everyone whose seen the show, will be left wondering if Jacobs isn’t in fact a time traveler playing a stories that predate the show. The common element being The King in Yellow. 

In the original stories by Chambers The King in Yellow is a stage play that corrupts the mind and drives people insane before they reach the second act. Usually this occurs when they read the play, let alone act it out on stage. 

In Southern Gods, the man of mystery, Ramblin’ John Hastur, moves about the state seeking out small single operator radio stations to play his signature southern blues music. As the song goes out on the airwaves, the fun begins. 

Q: Hastur? That’s Lovecraft right?
A: Yes, although Robert Chambers wrote the original King in Yellow collection just prior to 1900. Lovecraft co-opted some of his concepts, it wasn’t until August Derleth was bequeathed control over Lovecraft’s legacy that Hastur became properly associated with it all.

Q: What if I’m not a fan of noir crime, or blues music?
A: Jacobs is a formidable writer and this novel is a great read. If you enjoy intelligent supernatural horror you will enjoy this book.

Q: Has Jacobs written anything else of note?
A: Yes, yes, and yes. I plan on writing reviews of his other works, so read Southern Gods and by the time you’re done my next reviews of:

Zombie horror that is grittier and darker and more interesting than The Walking Dead or The Rising Horde.     and    might be done.

Update: It’s been seven months and no new reviews. I don’t read that slow, I finished the books a couple months ago. Thank you for your patience, review of This Dark Earth will be up shortly.  

Remember When Compilations of 80s Horror Movies Were Movies?

In the early 80s two movies were released that attempted to showcase and sort of dissect contemporary horror movies. Today this might seem strange to you kiddies, after all horror movies have been around since your parents were small children, telephones were still bolted to the walls of houses, cars were actually made out of metal, and the early 80s equivalent to email was a thing Hunter S. Thompson called a Mojo. 

Yes the world is much different place now than it was, and movies, horror movies in-particular are no exception.  So here are two horror movies that were quite entertaining in their own way, yet did almost nothing to create original content. They simply took excerpts from all the popular, and sometimes not so popular, films from previous years, threw in a connecting arc (one a move theater, the other a video store) and off they went. 

Terror on Tape
Released in 1983 and classified as a documentary (that’s a stretch) the story, if memory serves, is about random people who go into a video store looking for a movie to rent and end up being exposed to various clips by the wacky and insane clerk. 

Note for those born after 1990 – at one time people actually had to go into a store and browse through the selection when renting a movie. Don’t understand? It’s like Redbox only there isn’t a box, nothing is red, and there were no such thing a touch screens. 

Anyway…check out the picture above for the list of movies included in the compilation, oh sorry I mean’t to say documentary.
  1. Suicide Cult
  2. Alien Prey
  3. Frozen Scream
  4. Nightmare
  5. Scalps
  6. The Slayer
  7. Eerie Midnight Horror Show
  8. Cathy’s Curse
  9. Return of the Aliens Deadly Spawn (Awesome film!)
  10. City of the Walking Dead
  11. Color Me Blood Read
  12. 2000 Maniacs
  13. Blood Feast
  14. Vampire Hookers
  15. Madhouse Mansion
  16. Bloodtide
  17. To the Devil, A Daughter
and many many more… 

Terror in the Aisles 

This movie was released in 1984 and it’s pretty clear the filmmakers saw Terror on Tape and realized they could make a much better film in the same style with almost no effort whatsoever. 

The first thing they did was hire some actual talent in Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen. Not sure? Try Prince of Darkness, Halloween (the one Rob Zombie’s Halloween is based on) and Robocop. Oh and if you haven’t seen the shower scene in Dressed to Kill, you haven’t seen Nancy Allen. 

The movies used to compile the clips on this one are much better films, more widely known, and the arc story actually tries to emulate a documentary style. 
Movies included are:
  1. Halloween
  2. Cat People
  3. The Fog 
  4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  5. Night of the Living Dead
  6. Psycho
  7. Jaws 
  8. Jaws II
  9. The Brood
  10. The Fury
  11. Christine
and a whole lot more. 

It also has one of my favorite quotes of all time,
 “Don’t drop the knife…asshole.”     

Hard to find both films. VHS copies still exist in some strange out of the way corner of the world, and Terror in the Aisles is available on DVD, though out of print. So good luck, but it’s worth seeing them if you get an opportunity. 

Movie Review – Scanners (1981)

It may seem as if this site has a fetish for all things David Cronenberg, and maybe it does. I’ll need to ask it. 

The simple fact is Cronenberg is a talented film maker who in the 70s and 80s produced some fantastic and highly entertaining movies

Scanners is definitely one of his better films. A thriller with both political and spy undertones the movie is violent, gory, and has Michael Ironside. 

How can it be bad, it has Michael Ironside. There are no bad movies with Michael Ironside. 

Updated and remastered versions are now available either Blu-ray or digital, and although a tad bit expensive at around $34, it’s still a great movie to have in your collection. 

Q: You never said what the movies about?
A: Uh, scanners. Duh.      People with psychic powers. Telepathy, telekinesis, telephonosis, teleplayitis, tele… No, those last two aren’t real. 

Q: What is your favorite line from the movie?
A: “Alright, I’m going to suck your brain dry.”

Q: I heard it’s really gory. Is that true?
A: Let me put it to you this way….

You might lose your head over it.
funny gifs