Sushi Girl – Raw Review

Sushi? Crime? Mystery? Naked Woman? Sounds Delicious!

Crime mystery thriller where sushi blood and death is available.

Sushi Girl is a crime thriller done ‘locked door’ style. When Fish is released from prison, after serving six years, he sits down with his old crew to clear the air, eat some sushi and spill some blood.

This film is inevitably going to be compared to Tarantino due to it’s dialogue driven screenplay, intermittent flashbacks and over the top violence. The characterizations are strong and well handled. Tony Todd (Candyman himself) leads the cast which includes Noah Hathaway (Neverending Story), Mark Hamill (who we didn’t even recognize!), James Duval (Go,  Donnie Darko), Courtney Palm (Zombeavers), Sonny Chiba, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Danny Trejo, etc etc. Lot’s of people in this film.

Things quickly get ugly and violent and crazy. The violence isn’t pervasive through the whole film but it is ugly when it happens. What do you expect, you’re watching a Tarantino-esque crime thriller.

sushi crime mystery tony todd mark hamill james duval noah hathaway

The story isn’t bad for the most part. The beats are well placed and it never gets uninteresting or flat out boring. The ending is interesting and rather unexpected, however it seems like there was more to the original story that may not have made it out of the editing room. The payoff at the end is lessened because it’s not set-up as well as possible. It’s almost as if the filmmakers wanted to ensure the ending would be a surprise so they remove as many of the clues as possible.

Does it mean the ending sucks? 

No, it’s just feels a little hollow because they didn’t truly earn it.

Do you recommend this movie?

Yes. It’s got enough intrigue, actors and story to make it fun and watchable.

Is it truly like a Tarantino film?

Sure. Look Tarantino created an entire subgenre of crime/gangster movies. Popular culture like to quantify and categorize. This movie is a crime/gangster/mystery/thriller with a lot of swearing, blood, death, etc. It’s an appropriate descriptor.

Why didn’t you recognize Mark Hamill?

Maybe he’s just such a good actor all we saw was the character…  Seriously, the character is interesting and wacky enough that we never once saw Luke Skywalker.

We didn't recognize Mark Hamill in his role of Crow in the movie Sushi Girl
“I don’t need the force, I’m a badass." – spoken in Joker voice from Batman cartoon.

Huge cast, do they all have decent roles?

There are six main roles, the rest are bit parts but everyone is great. Seasoned actors filling in the walk-on roles is one of the reasons the movie is better than it should be.

revenge is a dish best served raw sushi girl crime thriller

Date movie?

Eh…tread lightly. If you date enjoys this type of movie then so be it, but there’s nudity and torture. The torture isn’t overdone but it’s kinda gross.

Unnecessary Video of the Day!

 17 Seconds from 

Basket Case 2 

(you’ve been warned)

Need something a but tamer? 

Horror Movie Survival Tip #27

Fire Is A Weapon But Fire Is Not Your Friend

Using fire in a horror movie is problematic.

Fire is often touted as a potent weapon against all manner of evil. Seen as a cleansing agent, fire has been used in attempts to vanquish the big bad in more movies than I can count. Many of these movies show fire being used successfully. The villain goes down in flames – so to speak – the survivors go home, everyone’s happy again. Yay. 

Not so fast. Kill It With Fire often doesn’t work, or shouldn’t work. Fire is a dangerous element. So dangerous in fact our societies have an entire branch of civil servants dedicated to the eradication of fire. We teach fire prevention, keep fire extinguishers in our homes, and tell our children to never play with fire. 

So why is fire considered such a powerful weapon? 

Lies. Lies told by movies. You have to admit, and I will as well, that fire looks cool. Explosions look cool. Volatile gases mixing with oxygen is cool. 

There is also an entire encyclopedia of cultural, mythic and biblical reasons everyone loves fire but I’m not opening that can of worms. 

What’s the Reality? 

Reality is that fire won’t do the job against a serial killer, xenomorph, zombie horde, shark, or any number of deadly movie monsters. Allow me to explain.

  • Guy is burned to death in his boiler room. BURNED TO DEATH. What happens? He comes back more powerful than they could have possibly imagined. 
  • Nancy pulls him out of the dream and sets him on fire a second time. What happens? He follows her up the stairs then goes and kills her mother, THEN goes off to make six more movies. Seriously who are we kidding. 

Freddy vs. Jason

Jason is set on fire in the corn field, kills teenagers anyway.

  • After watching Jason kill his friend the drunk party guy throws a pitcher of high proof alcohol on Jason lights him up using a tiki torch. What happens? Not only does it not slow Jason down, it makes him more fearsome. The partygoers see a flaming Jason (eh..a Jason on fire) and lose their shit, scattering into the corn field. What’s more, when the beer keg cools him off his hockey mask isn’t even singed. 


Captain Dallas flushes the alien through the ship with a flamethrower. Doesn't work out so well.

  • Captain Dallas takes a flame thrower into the access tunnels to flush out the alien. What Happens? Dallas dies pretty damn quick. The Alien clearly doesn’t give a crap about his makeshift flamethrower. 
Ripley sets fire to the eggs in front of the queen in Aliens. Also shoots eggs for some reason.

  • Colonial Marines carry flamethrowers with them when they enter the hive in Aliens. Furthermore, the flame unit is the only one they are allowed to use. What happens? All but three marines die and that’s only due to three soldiers disobeying orders and using their guns anyway. To make matters worse, when Ripley the badass hero flames the eggs in the queens chamber she clearly feels compelled to use nearly an entire magazine of pulse rifle ammo just to be sure the eggs are dead.

  • One of the helpless victims in a last ditch effort to fend off attack sets the shark on fire. Not a great plan given shes in a boat…on the ocean, but she gets points for being bold. What happens? The shark ends up with a nasty burn scar on the right side of it’s head but is otherwise uneffected. It goes on to kill a bunch of teenagers and scare the shit out of the rest. 

  • At the end of the movie Dr. Loomis detonates a room full of explosive gas in an attempt to kill Michael Myers once and for all. What happens? Well Loomis and Myers certainly go out with a boom. As if to emphasize just how unnatural the Shape is, Lori sees him coming walking out of the room completely engulfed in flames. He stumbles, falls and dies. Or so we think he dies… Halloween 4 happens and it turns out not only did the fire NOT kill Michael Myers, it didn’t even kill Dr. Loomis! Hell, he looks pretty good for a guy engulfed in a fireball. 

  • Before you start screaming about how fire is the only thing that can kill The Thing let me point something out to you. Fire really doesn’t work consistently at all, throughout the entire movie. The slit-head corpse they bring back from the Norwegian Camp along with the burned dogs are the specimens Blair uses to determine their is still cellular activity. They burn Bennings, Palmer, Norris, and Windows. What happens? All of the burning seems to work until it quickly becomes apparent the situation is so hopeless. We never really know if fire is the end-all-be-all weapon against The Thing because no matter how many Things they burn more Things keep appearing. Furthermore, exploding and burning are two different things. Palmer and Blair both explode, we have no way of knowing if all those little pieces of them actually died. The only fire related death in the entire movie that we know for a fact works is Fuchs – and he most likely burned himself! 

Salem’s Lot (1979)

Vampires in Marsten house are set on fire after heroes fail to kill them all.

  • Ben Mears and Mark Petrie set fire to the Marsten house at the end of the movie in an attempt to cleans the town of the vampire horde. What happens? The wind catches the fire and sweeps over the town driving all the vampires from their hiding places. How is that a good thing? Now the vamps are homeless, pissed off and hungry. Mears and Petrie really didn’t think it through and as a result not only are they being hunted but a lot of people in their wake probably got butchered and turned who might not have otherwise.

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Beast from 20,000 fathoms attacks coney island and is nearly set on fire.

  • The military blast a hole in the beast’s throat releasing a prehistoric virus that kills a whole bunch of additional people. Next they plan to set the beast on fire. What happens? Fortunately they are smart enough to realize setting fire to the beast could release the contagion worldwide (awesome science) and instead use isotopes. Moral of the story – fire would have made shit worse.


Zombies get their own section for a couple reasons. 

First, the term zombie is used very loosely today. I’m not going to be picky here, I’m just throwing them all together.  Dead, slightly dead, brain dead, undead, and dead-alive. Rage zombies aren’t really zombies but since they act and hunt like zombies it’s easier to lump them into the group as well. 

Second, with such a broad group containing so many sub-classifications the examples begin to pile up quickly and I want to make it clear that use of fire against this group of monsters generally has the same effect on all of them. Or in this particular case the results could be explosive. 

The Walking Dead

zombies on fire over run compound and eat the living

  • There are a whole bunch of examples but let’s just go with the opening episode to season 5. Carol blows up the fuel tank as part of her master plan to free the group from Terminus, in the process setting numerous walkers on fire. What happens? The walkers don’t die. They walk right into the compound and start eating/attacking the living. Lighting zombies on fire while they are still mobile only makes them more dangerous, not to mention smell worse. 

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

zombie on fire in parking garage tries to eat living human in horror movie

  • While trying to start the emergency generator in the parking garage the group is attacked by ‘fast-moving’ dead zombies. After getting boxed into the cage around the fuel station they decide to spray gas on the zombies and light them on fire. What happens? Well, the movie cheats is what happens. It works for narrative purposes but they never actually show the zombies burn long enough to stop being a threat. The fact they are fast moving zombies means they should be 10x more dangerous once set ablaze. This is an example of the divine hand of editing, otherwise the movie would have been a helluva lot shorter. A drop-kick might have been more effective. 

Cillian Murphy running from rage zombie on fire after waking up to find world gone

  • In 28 Days Later Jim is pursued by a group of infected, Selena and Mark use molotovs to light them on fire. What happens? The infected don’t even slow down. They continue to pursue Jim until Selena and Mark blow the entire petrol station to hell. Considering the infected aren’t truly dead the fire probably would have worked, and much more quickly than if they were dead, but not until after they caught Jim. What’s worse than being attacked and infected? Being attacked by infected and set on fire all at once!
Army firebombs london to kill rage zombie infected but fails to contain and zombies kill everyone

  • In 28 Weeks Later the U.S military calls in the Air Cav to firebomb the secure zone of downtown London. What happens? They light London up like a Christmas tree and still fail to contain the damn infection. Seriously, it’s their first decision and it fails. We’re not even talking about undead zombies who could mill around for god knows how long while burning. The infected are still alive which means they would succumb to fire damage much more quickly, but once again fire fails and the world goes to hell. 


Unless you’re a pyro or have absolutely no alternative, fire isn’t a great option when fighting the big bad. It’s a tempting option due to it’s area of effect, especially when it’s weaponized in the form of a molotov, napalm, or flame thrower. Unfortunately it’s just too unreliable in most situations and too difficult to control. Lighting the bad guy ablaze you’re just as likely to set fire to other people, items or locations you never intended. 

Special note for zombie hordes – during a zombie attack fire is incredibly destructive. Once on fire the horde is likely to spread said fire to anything and everything in the area. This is how you end up with scenes in movies like this one:
horror movie city on fire as people die running from zombie hordes.

Nightmare Fuel

Happy Birthday!

Good morning!

Breakfast Time!

Zombies breaking their fast on a delicious human.
Didn’t your momma teach you to share?
Our zombies are ravenous early in the morning. It’s going to be a long day so make sure you have a hearty breakfast before heading into the day. 

Avenged – Raw Review

The butchered will be Avenged, the butchers will be Savaged.

Supernatural horror revenge movie where a deaf girl is brutalized and seeks revenge.

Avenged (originally titled Savaged) is a tightly crafted journey into the darker plains of the American Southwest. Clearly a labor of love for filmmaker Michael S. Ojeda, he’s credited with writing, editing, and directing the film, along with cinematography.

The storyline is fairly straight forward. When a deaf woman falls prey to a gang of evil men her body is inhabited by an apache warrior on a quest for vengeance. Sounds similar to any number of other films but what sets Avenged apart from the rest is style and attention to craft.

The film is visceral, both graphically and emotionally. There is brutality, rape, and quite a bit on screen gore, yet it never consumes the story. Every scene furthers the plot. Ojeda manages the film’s violence well, giving us a healthy amount when appropriate but never going over the top.

Horror movie kill, death by arrows, lots of arrows, apache warrior style.

Avenged’s screenplay is tight, well written and cleverly crafted. Things make sense. The characters are consistent and don’t suddenly decide to change personalities right when needed. Standard isolation tropes that even a majority of big budget tentpole films suffer from are avoided completely – cell phones have signal, local police are able to conduct crime scene investigation, government corruption doesn’t run all the way to the top.

Bar fight, zoe kills three men and pulls out one's intestines slowly, inches at a time.

Solid performances across the board from the troupe of actors . Amanda Adrienne is extremely compelling as Zoe. She handles both the action and dramatic scenes equally well and is quite frightening when in full combat mode. It’s nice to see another film where the female character kick the shit out of the bad guys.

West and Trey wait for Zoe to attack. Both men are going to die horrible horror movie deaths.

The villains are also much more complex than they seem. Throughout the film Ojeda deftly drops clues to their motivations, which as it turns out are built on more than just bad attitudes and intolerance.  Tom Ardavany puts in a solid performance as West, the sort-of second in command of the family responsible for all the horrible shit that happens. And Rodney Rowland… holy fuckin shit… he steals the show as Trey, the self-proclaimed leader of the gang. Trey is despicable in every way, as evil as them come, but Rowland’s handling of the character is so compelling he quickly becomes just as compelling as Zoe. A standout performance by Rowland that will hopefully see him land more starring roles in the future.

Apache medicine man finds Zoe and tries to save her spirit, unwittingly letting the apache warrior in.

Avenged is destined to become a classic within it’s genre. Raw and powerful storytelling combined with exceptional filmmaking turn what could have been a standard revenge film into a complex and powerful journey between opposing moralities. Attention to detail, solid acting, excellent cinematography and heavy action make this one of our favorite movies so far this year. Michael Ojeda is a filmmaker to an eye on.

Do you recommend this movie?

Absolutely. There is so much more to enjoy here than a simple supernatural revenge film.

Not sure I can handle rape and torture, is there a lot?

The story depends on certain horrible acts taking place. There is a brutal captivity scene but Ojeda doesn’t go full torture porn. He knows when to dial it back and what not to show. I think you can handle it.

Anyone I know in this movie?

Most of the cast have a long line of television and/or film credits. It doesn’t matter though because all the performances are well above what you’d expect. Bonus points for casting Joseph Runningfox as Grey Wolf (Seems Like Old Times, Geronimo, Ravenous).

What was your favorite scene?

There are three (minor spoilers):

  • The bar fight. Beer bottle, pool cue and intestines. Gave us Taken flashbacks, and that’s a good thing.   
  • The truck battle. Fucking fantastic set piece. Intense, physical and filmed perfectly. As good a set piece as we’ve seen in any movie.
  • Body repair. Wrist, guts, sand and duct tape. It’s a powerful scene that was unexpected.

Film poster for Savaged, supernatural revenge flick releasing at Avenged worldwide on April 21st.

Where did you see the movie?

We searched VOD through our provider but couldn’t find it so we went with a rental on Amazon Instant Video. The rental price is a bit steep at $6.99, basically the same price as a single matinee theater ticket. Given the quality of the film it ended up being worth the cost. The film is available in DVD format for pre-order through amazon. We highly recommend you pick up a copy.

Banshee Chapter (2013) – Raw Review

Cosmic Horror Done Very Very Well

The banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the

Banshee Chapter is cosmic horror movie based on concepts of H.P. Lovecraft. Things want to wear us.
The most overly used tagline in movie marketing nowadays is “Based on true events” or “Based on a true story” or “Inspired by true events” etc. It’s overused, misleading, and just plain unnecessary most of the time. Sure, telling people up front a film is “Based on true events” will increase sales and audience anticipation but in the end it can leave a bad taste in their mouths as well.

The synopsis for this film says it’s “Inspired by true events” but all that ends up meaning is the story incorporates historical references to secret government experiments from back in the 50s/60s/70s. Perhaps the studio was concerned audiences wouldn’t be aware or believe that MK-Ultra project existed. Possible, but marketing true stories is better for a films bottom line, and the bottom line drives the machine.

Fortunately Banshee Chapter, by writer/director Blair Erickson, is a decent enough cosmic horror film it doesn’t matter how it’s marketed. The movie is tackling fairly complex ideas that typically don’t translate well onto screen, but Erickson does a very good job in setting a dark and mysterious path for the characters to travel down while keeping the story at a solid pace.

Essentially Banshee Chapter is a mystery. When a journalist goes in search of her college friend who has gone missing after taking an experimental drug she finds something much more sinister than she could ever have imagined. Sound fun? It is.

The film style is done in hand cam and semi-hand cam. What I mean is there are recordings throughout the movie that provide clues to previous events which are entirely hand cam. The rest of the film is shot in third-person real time but the camera continues to follow the main character around as if the cameraman were standing next to her in the scene. For continuity purposes it works to keep the viewer feeling as if they are right alongside the protagonist. Then again, those who dislike hand cam will probably take issue with the semi-hand cam, finding it unnecessary. There isn’t a lot of shaky cam, other than in targeted places, so that’s a bonus.

Ted Levine pours some of the magical liquid that will allow them to see us.
“A little for you, a little for me…”
The main players in the film are Katia Winter and Ted Levine. Both  put 
Katia Winter hears something outside. Something that wat's to wear her.
“It wants to wear us…it wants to wear us!”
forth excellent performances from beginning to end. As some of you may know, Winter also played Katrina Crane on the show Sleepy Hollow. I promise she is much better in this than she was on the show. Levine you’ll remember from his iconic penis-tuck performance in Silence of the Lambs.

What made this movie far better than expected is the cosmic horror theme and homage to H.P. Lovecraft. The movie’s been out long enough that multiple articles and reviews have emphasized the connection, but Erickson cleary is a fan of Lovecraft’s work and drew considerable inspiration from the Lovecraft short From Beyond

MK Ultra test subject. Patient is about to see things, terrible things.
“Am I getting paid for this?”
The incorporation of the CIA’s MK-Ultra program creates an Area 51, Roswell conspiracy story well suited to cosmic horror concepts. If taking an experimental drug could allow you see things, things that can see you back what would you do? The concept and mystery is very nicely put together in this film, and some genuinely creepy moments will have a lot of people covering their eyes or just feeling uneasy.
Lovecraftian horror at your door. It arrives to wear the young man.
“Do you hear that?" 

Good movie?

Yes, it’s a good movie. Fans of horror, mystery, conspiracy, and even science fiction should find something about the film that resonates with their interests.

What if I don’t like hand cam?

You should watch the movie anyway. There is very little shaky cam, it’s only used where narratively it makes sense. Also, letting a filming style keep you from watching a movie at least once is kind of shallow and dismissive. Don’t be that fan.

Is this a good date movie?

First date…no. It’s too dark and if your date is unaware of cosmic horror tropes/concepts you’ll spend way too much time explaining the references. If your date is keen on those concepts or at least has an understanding then absolutely, you’ll have a lot to discuss in bed afterward.

What the heck is MK-Ultra?

Here is a link. Yes it was a real thing

Movie Meme Mashup

When an innocent garden gnome is kidnapped and taken on a world tour, a pit stop to a rural Pennsylvania town will become a matter of death and life.

Amelia gnome turned zombie wants to eat amelie for sending him around the world.

Tweet of the Day

Orson Galore tweeted a wonderful picture from The Exorcist. 

We’ve seen some crazy tweets but this one’s certainly a head turner!