All posts by Cthulhuwho

Slightly odd. Intrigued by creativity. Lover of cheese. Nothing beats a great movie. Few things beat a great book. Lot of things beat working for a living.

Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (2015) – Raw Review

Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse isn’t going to get anyone their film-making merit badge.

Scouts  is yet another offering in the zom-com genre, one that’s become saturated with lackluster and genuinely terrible films. Scouts doesn’t quite fall into the latter category but lackluster is an apt description for a film that for all purposes could have been much better than it was.

Starring Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan and Sarah Dumont, Scouts vs Zombies (original working title) follows three teenage ‘boy’ scouts who find themselves unknowingly thrown into a zombie outbreak during a camping trip. The film plays all the standard teen comedy, coming-of-age tropes you might expect but it does so half heartedly at best. Director Christopher Landon, whose writing career is prominent with films like Disturbia and all but the first film in the Paranormal Activity franchise, shows his lack of experience in handling Scouts comedy beats which come off silly and flat throughout most of the film. Much the way Cooties failed to hit the mark, Scouts suffers an even worse fate due to the lower caliber of acting from the cast. Tye Sheridan does a decent job, and silly but decent cameo by Cloris Leachman is a nice addition, but a pretty ridiculous recurring role for David Koechner will leave a lot of people scratching their heads.

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Zom-com films, when handled poorly, often enough go overboard on either the horror or the comedy. Scouts misses the mark on both, leaving horror fans wanting more fleshing eating zombie scenes and comedy fans stuck with the same ol’ stupid sight gags. I’ll give Landon credit for not relying on toilet humor, which one might expect for a movie of this caliber, but there are several boob and dick gags that do little in the way of laughs and nothing at all for story or character development.

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All-in-all, Scouts is a poor addition to the ever growing list zom-com films. For those who enjoy the genre there is little to find here that hasn’t been done exceptionally better in films like Cockney’s vs. Zombies, Shaun of the Dead, Zombeavers, Fido, Zombieland, Dance of the Dead, etc etc.

Demons (1985) – Raw Review

Heavy Metal Horror Done Italian Style

The 1980s horror craze wasn’t strictly an American phenomenon. Across the pond and to the south a handful of filmmakers were crafting their own vision of gore and mayhem. Their craft, vision and technique set them apart in many ways. Some good, some not so good.

One of the stand-outs is Demons. Released in 1985 it’s possibly the most popular and/or successful (in the U.S.) of Lamberto Bava’s work. Co-wrote and produced by Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red), Demons is a hard rockin horror in which moviegoers at a midnight premire get trapped with an evil force inside the theatre. It’s a zombie survival style movie done with possessed living humans rather than undead corpses.

The American version’s voice over (if Demon with long tongue tries to make out with couple.in fact it is voiced over) is pretty bad, adding a large dose of campy/silly to an otherwise fun over the top gore fest. Trust me when I say gore fest. It was the 80s and practical effects were cutting edge and horror movies were always trying to push the boundaries. Much like Evil Dead 2, this film has a ton of yellow, green, blue, and red fluids oozing out of every opening, socket, pore and membrane. Some of it’s is silly and some of it is done really well.

Face is ripped off by a demon and he decides to go home.

Adding to the awesomeness is the soundtrack. Bava those in songs by Motley Crue, Billy Idol, Rick Springfield, and Go West. Then he slathers on even more awesome sauce by having Claudio Simonetti write additional score for the film. Who is he you ask? He’s none other than the keyboard player for Goblin, the band who scored Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Argento’s Suspiria, and more!

This film is universally reviled as poor, but equally loved as a mainstay of 80s horror. When you consider the hero not only hacks away demons with a katana while cruising a dirt bike up and down the aisles how couldn’t this film be a keeper!

Demons prepare to assault the remaining humans

Resolution (2012) – Raw Review

Resolution is a fascinating film, having received a lot of credit for being “genre-bending.” I think that’s just a fancy way to say the movie turned out not to be what a lot of people expected. The movie originally wasn’t on my radar. Not until I saw Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead’s superior film Spring did I learned they had a couple other productions under their belts, including Resolution and the extremely enjoyable skateboard segment in V/H/S Viral.

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So what’s my opinion of Resolution?

 

Benson and Moorhead are skilled film makers, there’s no doubt. They have a very good handle on the concepts of suspense, slow-burn storytelling, and creepy undertone. The film really is quite different from conventional thriller-horror films. The primary narrative revolves around Michael Danube (played by Peter Cilella), a professional city dweller who heads off on a last crusade to help his best friend  Chris Daniels (played by Vinny Curran) kick a destructive drug habit. Not much to it for sure and in lesser hands the film probably would turn into a moopy commentary on the perils of addiction.

 

Not here.

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The dynamic between Cilella and Curran is impressive and I had absolutely no problem believing the two were long time friends pit in a life and death struggle over each other’s fates. This is key, considering the supernatural (if that’s in fact the correct way to phrase it) elements throughout the first two acts are extremely subtle. Without a solid piece of acting from our two protagonists this film would have been dead on arrival. Instead, we become engrossed in strange and fucked up house that Chris has come to inhabit on a Native American Reservation. Why does he have so many guns? Why do the local tribesmen warn Michael of helping his friend? Why is everyone obsessed with the idea of a beginning, middle and end? The mystery is compelling and revealed slowly enough to make the ending invoke a “Holy Shit, WTF… that was cool” response.

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Don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t going to be for everyone. Countless reviews compare it to Cabin in the Woods, and although I understand the similarities these two movies have regarding subversion of expectations, they really are completely different films. Don’t be expecting an underground complex full of nightmare creatures, campy one liners or Sigourney Weaver to arrive in the final moments with a full explanation of the film. Benson and Moorhead are much more subtle than that, doing a very good job with what must have been a tightly held budget. Resolution is a decent film for anyone interested in thriller with supernatural elements. Good acting, great direction and attention to storytelling pay off.

Looks Like Rob Zombie’s New Film 31 Will Be NC-17

Anyone who is a fan of Rob Zombie’s films knows they straddle the line between horror and outright torture porn. I’m not saying torture porn is a bad thing, but the more you ratchet up the violence and higher the chance a film won’t be accepted by the masses. Zombie sent out a tweet earlier in the week expressing his frustration on the matter.

Sure the theaters shouldn’t ban a film just because it has the tainted NC-17 branding, but let’s face it, when your entire industry is built on the backs of teenagers working part-time then policing the audience isn’t something theater managers want to get into. Not to mention ‘Bizarre Sexuality/Nudity.’ WTF does that mean?

Check out the images so far from 31. You can get additional info or updates from Rob Zombie’s Official Website.

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We Are Still Here (2015) – Raw Review

Anyone who enjoys small mystery, dark undercurrents and a shit-ton of gore will want to see We Are Still Here.

 

Set in the wintery fields of New England, a grieving couple purchase an old house that’s remained unoccupied for 30 years. A house that wakes up every 30 years to feed.

Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan has made a very good film here. A creepy and gore filled tale that has is extremely flavourful and engaging. What begins as a standard ghost story turns out to be a much darker and violent ride through the house’s history. There is a bit of set-up early on but the patience shown on the part of Geoghegan pays off in spades when the action kicks in.

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Exceptionally good performances by the veteran cast keep things interesting as the malevolent force works it’s way out of the shadows. It’s not surprising considering the amazing and genre savvy talent in the film. Barbara Crampton (You’re Next, Re-Animator, From Beyond), Andrew Sensenig (Upstream Color, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night), Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks!, Tales of Halloween), and Larry Fessenden (Stake Land, I Sell the Dead, Jug Face).

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What did surprise me about the movie is how economical it turns out to be. There isn’t a lot of extraneous dialogue or overly long shots. Either it’s very tightly scripted or was edited with some skill, or both. While watching We Are Still Here my mind kept drifting back to It Follows. Not because of similarities in story, but because both films use tightly filmed stationary shots of the environment to full effect. In this film, Ted Geoghegan’s superior cinematography is used to wrap this small but devious tale inside a beautiful landscape. A landscape that contrasts sharply with the boiling hot viciousness lurking within the film’s main location.

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Don’t go thinking this is a slow, boring ghost story. We Are Still Here packs a violent, blood and guts punch. Coupled with some really well handled visual effects, the gore does a fabulous job of relating just how horrible and cosmic the antagonistic force is, and what it is prepared to do to the souls who dare enter its house.

Highly recommended.

New Trailer for Lilin’s Brood

The new trailer for Lilin’s Brood has all the hallmarks of V/H/S while throwing in some deliciously sexy monsters.

Synopsis: A “New Media” news coverage team (W.H.I.S.T.L.E.) is stranded near a beleaguered brothel in the middle of nowhere; recovered footage will reveal what happens when they encounter a group of women with a terrifying secret.

The film is directed by Mansa Mojo Brothas and stars Martin Sensmeier, Maxine Goynes, Brent King, Melinda Milton, Alberto Barros, Catherine Paiz, James Wellington, and Sandra Hinojosa.

Look for the film on iTunes and Amazon this February 12, 2016.

 

Horror Movie Survival Tip #9

Listen to the goddamned Harbinger

The majority of us do not walk through life expecting to be accosted by the forces of evil, but a little common sense goes a long way in life. So if you’re trapped in a situation reminiscent of a horror film – possibly in the middle of nowhere or somewhere with an elevated creep factor – it behooves you to pay attention. Most of the time people in horror movies are their own worst enemy, and let’s face it, if they weren’t most horror movies would be over before they began, but it still doesn’t change the fact that people are really tone deaf to warnings that might save their lives.

When an eerie old codger advises you not to proceed down that dusty mountain road, or a lawman iterates how bad things best be left alone, or the creepy innkeeper tells you a story that freaks you the fuck out, my advice… turn around and go back home. The Harbinger is there for a reason and unless you’re trapped in a Scooby-Doo cartoon you should fuckin listen to them.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 (Nubbins Sawyer – The Hitchhiker)

So you’re out for a cross country excursion with your friends and decide to pick-up a hitchhiker. Okay, we’ve all been there, I mean the 1960s just ended and we are all trying to regain the peace love vibe. The problem is, when your hitchhiker begins to rant and rave, burn pictures with gunpowder, then cut himself up, you might want to go a little further than just boot his ass out of the van. The safety in numbers thing is an illusion so continuing on your trip in the direction the hitchhiker was going might not be the best course of action.

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Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Bloody Girl – The Hitchhiker)

Okay, this one is just common sense. You pick up a dazed and bloody girl who is rambling incoherently about danger and what do you do? You continue on your way, in the direction from whence the girl came. If that’s not enough the girl pulls a gun out of her woman’s purse and offs herself right in the van. What in the world compels you at that point to continue toward the town in which she came?

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28 Days Later (Scientist in opening scene)

If you’re going to break into an animal research facility there are a couple of cardinal rules you need to follow. 1) Know WTF is being used on the animals. 2) When a scientist at the facility tells you they are contagious and must not be released… listen to them! They ought to know, they’re the ones conducting the horrible semi-unethical science shit.

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28 Weeks Later (Wayward Boy in opening scene)

This one’s a little bit more difficult because, let’s face it, adults don’t listen to kids, That said, if you’re living in the zombie (rage zombie) apocalypse then you need to take all the sage advice and intel you can get. This one literally screams complacency and utter lack of situational awareness. When a young kid comes banging on the door of your (terribly) fortified and hidden refuge claiming ‘loads’ of infected are following him you might want to not wait till they begin breaking through the windows before taking some action.

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Sinister (Sheriff)

Sometimes the warning is more for the audience’s benefit than the characters. When a law enforcement official warns off our hero/heroine/sidekick/protag in the first few minutes of the story we all know things will not bode well, especially since the main character’s almost certain to stay the course of investigating the horrible monster/mystery/murder… etc.

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American Werewolf in London (Slaughtered Lamb Bartender)

This one is a bit problematic because as strangers in a foreign can be susceptible to extreme skepticism of local superstitions. Sitting in a secluded Scottish pub while the patrons insist you get the hell out doesn’t seem like the most enjoyable situation, but when the nice old lady working the bar says unequivocally and with genuine menace in her voice “You just can’t let them go!” You might want to ask “Why?”

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The Boogens (Greenwalt – The Old Man)

Working in a mine has got to be nerve racking. Reopening an abandoned mine has got to be even worse. Closed spaces. Old timbers. Unknown dangers around every turn. Just thinking about it makes me queasy. So when crosses and signs start popping up around your work sight trying warn you off you shouldn’t dismiss them as the work of vandals, especially when your employees stop coming to work and/or reporting from the road.

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Jurassic Park (Dr. Ian Malcolm)

Possibly the most classic and overt example of the harbinger is Dr. Malcom. Literally every single warning and horrible prediction he makes comes true at some point in the film. Of course we all know his warning will be dismissed, but that makes it so much more enjoyable when they do. Every. Single. Time. Hey, you can’t say he was vague.

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Harbinger Down (The Crab Boat)

A cute little play on the trope, here the warning is literally stencilled on the side of the boat. I just wish the movie had been better.

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Cabin in the Woods (Mordecai – The Harbinger)

This one’s included mainly because it’s a complete parody of the harbinger trope. It’s brilliant and hilarious.

So in closing, if you see something or hear something then…

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Horror icon Pandie Suicide releases debut novel, fantasy/paranormal Seraphim Song!

Seraphim Song is the debut novel from Pandie James it’s currently available on Amazon Kindle (with paperback edition to follow shortly) for only $2.99
Synopsis : An angel with a musical gift from the gods falls for a mortal woman. Left in limbo on earth, Will A. Is half angel and all rockstar. Doomed to walk alone each night after performing as the lead singer in the biggest rock band in the world, until he meets a young mortal woman that speaks to his soul. Is she the one that just might change everything?

Seraphim Song is the debut novel from New Zealand-born writer, actress and filmmaker, Pandie James. Written when she was a teenager, this lost novel was rediscovered on an old hard drive in 2015. Pandie James also models and acts under the stage name ‘Pandie Suicide.’ She is the writer, producer and plays the lead role of Marianne in the award-winning short slasher film Massacre, directed by Erik Boccio and starring Billy Morrison, London May, Jeff Hilliard, Katy Foley, Jeordie White and Rob Patterson.

Horror Icons Coming to Mortal Kombat X DLC

Looks like Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios aren’t done throwing awesome new characters into Mortal Kombat X. I’ll admit to be more of Tekkan fan than Mortal Kombat but with Leatherface, Xenomorph, Predator and Jason Voorhees I’m beginning to feel a need to play this game.

Check out the new DLC Trailer, it’s pretty badass.