Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Way of the Buffalo

Director - Shawn Burkett (Bludgeon)
Starring - Liz Wazenegger, Scott Gillespie, and Erin R. Ryan (Easter Casket)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror/Thriller/Suspense
Format - Streaming (Youtube Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I absolutely love short films.  These shorts, when done properly, can do in a matter of minutes what most films take hours to display.  Most features are filled with pointless scenes and even more pointless dialogue that has nothing to do with the story.  Shorts, on the other hand, get straight to the point and hit you with only the necessities.  Therefore, I was very surprised and slightly excited when Shawn Burkett sent me a link to watch his new film The Way of the Buffalo, which is as most of you have guess by now, a short.  Burkett's films have been very entertaining overall but they due struggle with keeping pace and are filled with filler scenes and dialogue which is something you never find in a short.  
      The film follows a stalker who is obsessed with serial killers from the 60s and 70s as he stalks a young lady.  He often reminisces of a time when serial killers were almost glorified by the media and is sickened with the fact that you never hear anything about them in the news.  He sets out to rape and kill the young girl he has been following even though he has a bad heart.  One evening he waits on her to arrive home and sneaks in her home while she is in the shower.  When she gets out of the shower he attacks and rapes her killing her in the act.  When he nuts he suffers a heart attack and dies himself.
      I personally find the topic of rape to be unnerving and one of the many real life horrors that many people suffer through on a daily basis.  I do not personally know anyone who has been raped but I could only imagine what it is like.  Anyway, I had no idea what to expect when I started watching this but right from the start Burkett creates the perfect atmosphere for a found footage film.  I typically do not like found footage films because they all lack that certain atmosphere that makes a normal horror film so enjoyable.  So it was nice to see Burkett do something so many others tried to do.  The acting is very well done even though the cast is very limited.  The actor portraying the serial killer does a great job in his role.  He plays a very convincing deranged killer and is very natural in front of the camera.  He should be cast in more films and it will be a crime if he is not.  The story is nothing special but works very well with the short and plays very well with the twist at the end.  If the film was any long the story would have turned boring so kudos to Burkett for keeping this one short.  Finally, we are not treated to special effects or amazing kills.  Instead, we get great atmosphere and a truly deranged serial killer.  The killer's self shot confession is truly the highlight of this film and makes this short worth watching.  Overall, this is a truly dark shocker that will leave you unnerved.  I highly recommended it.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

Director - Angel Gonzalez Jr.
Voice Actors - Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints, Blade II, The Walking Dead), Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Walking Dead), and Troy Baker (Resident Evil 6)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Format - XBOX 360 (Personal Collection)
Rating (out of 5):
      I first came across the glory that is The Walking Dead when I was a sophomore in high school.  At the time I had a substitute science teacher that was too a fan of everything horror.  There was no comic shops in my county but lucky for me he was from another county and drove over an hour to work.  He hooked me up with 30 Days of Night, Wake the Dead, and the first three issues of The Walking Dead.  I really enjoyed all three but The Walking Dead became a short lived obsession. I got the first 10 issues but they were extremely hard to come by (I did not trust my mail carrier at the time).  After I graduated I spent time at home working for my dad before heading off to college.  While at college I was able to get caught up on the series and I read up to issue 84.  Sadly, I have yet to read anymore.  When the television show premiered I almost wet myself and for most of the episode I'm sure I had a boner.  With season 3 just coming to a close I catch myself missing The Walking Dead storyline but the show itself has become rather dull and boring.  Que in this game here.  I completely dropped the ball and had no idea this game was coming out.  When I found out I had to have it.  
     The film follows Daryl Dixon as he struggles to cope with the dead rising from the grave.  After losing a close family member, Daryl sets out to find his older brother, Merle.  While searching for Merle, Daryl comes across other survivors and he has to choose to help them or leave them to die before reaching his asshole brother.
  I often dislike games based on television shows and movies.  None actually set out to deliver a decent game that is fun to play, instead they create below par games to cash in on the name's popularity.  Very few games are on the same level as the film/television series.  Therefore, I did not have much stock in this one but I did want to play it to see where the story took me.  The game's graphics are pretty shitty for the most part.  The zombies look decent but the survivors all look bad.  Saying they look bad may be a bit harsh because they don't actually look bad, however, they don't look as good as the other games that have been released as of late.  The story is really nothing new and does not really fill the void for those that are fans of the comics and show are looking for.  In fact, if you study the cover art and read the back panel then you get where this movie is going before you even play the game. Finally, the game play is horrible.  When I play zombie games I often compare them to Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead II, and Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green and this game is not even close to being as good as them.  The game play is not that fluid making it difficult to play.  I understand the game is trying to be realistic, however, when you have more than two zombies it is damn near impossible to come out alive.  I like to run around and kill the undead so that is a very big let down.  Also, the controls are very stiff and awkward making it even more difficult to play.  Overall, this is a lackluster game that is not worthy of The Walking Dead name.  I do not recommend this one and suggest looking in to the three games I previously mentioned.  

Midsummer Nightmares

Director - Ryan Stacy (Midsummer Nightmares II: Summer's End)
Starring - Chad Collard, Amanda Collins, and Stacy Freeders
Release Date - 2011
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "All they wanted was a killer party"
Format - Streaming (Youtube screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Concept Media is an indie label that I have began to respect tremendously.  I was under the impression that director Shawn Burkett was the only one to direct the films for the company but I was wrong.  Burkett has a partner in crime, Ryan Stacy, and he was the one responsible for this slasher flick.  After watching their films Bludgeon and The Sleeping Soul I was looking forward to the companies first venture in to film-making, Midsummer Nightmares.  I knew before hand that the film was indeed a slasher but I did not know what to expect.  In fact, I had heard no mention from any one about it.  Most companies hit with a solid film on their first outing and then keep delivering shit there after.  Due to the fact I liked both of their latter films I was very curious to see the film that helped start this small company.
     The film follows a group of twenty somethings as they prepare for a "Halloween in June" party.  The group start to notice strange occurrences as they prepare and plan for their party.  While two of the girls are talking on the phone one of them is stalked and then stabbed to death.  The other girl tells the group about what she had heard and they play it off to a prank done in bad taste.  As it gets closer to time to party another member of the group goes missing and the group chalks it up to a coincidence.  However, that night many members of the group are murdered before the killer is revealed along with his/her motive.
     My love for slashers is very well known by now.  I buy more slashers than I have time to watch.  Therefore, I absolutely love this new emergence of 80's style slasher throwbacks.  However, some attempt to make a throwback and lose sight of what it truly meant to be an 80's slasher.  After saying that, I honestly don't think Concept Media and the director Ryan Stacy set out to make an 80's style slasher even though the poster makes you think otherwise.  This movie is your typical slasher, however, it is a post-Scream slasher and that is blatantly obvious.  Now on to the actual film itself.  The acting in this one is not the best I have seen that has came from Concept Media.  I do not want to blame the cast because I honestly think the acting is bad because of the dialogue.  The film is very dialogue thick but it is not rich.  Many scenes are filled with extremely boring dialogue that makes the entire scene awkward and uncomfortable to watch.  Also, when the scene involves more than one female it feels like they both are screaming at each other which is very annoying, and once again, hard to watch.  The story is nothing original nor award winning but it does unfold very well on screen with no snags or hiccups.  Though it is not original it is very well written and a lot of thought and care was placed in to each scene in regards to story.  Finally, the film does not offer great special effects but we do get a good bit of kills and a lot of blood.  Overall, this film is not the strongest flick in the Concept Media arsenal but it does entertain.  You may not love it but you will not hate it.  Check it out and support Concept Media.       


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The House on Sorority Row

Director - Mark Rosman (Night Shadows)
Starring - Kate McNeil (X-Files), Eileen Davidson (Hell and Mr. Fudge), and Janis Ward (The Munsters Today)
Release Date - 1983
Genre - Horror
Tagline(s) - "Seven graduates of sorority sisters stalked as they hold a guilty secret" "Pledge Theta Pi... and DIE!" "Welcome to the Sorority of Your Nightmares" and "Sorority sisters... Sisters in life. Sisters in death."
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
      A few years back the film Sorority Row was released I kinda wanted to go see it.  I normally don't like theatrical horror but I liked the way this one looked.  I turned to the net to do a little research and discovered it was a remake of The House on Sorority Row.  I love slashers and I was slightly embarrassed I had no idea the original existed.  Growing up I saw a lot of slashers on VHS at the local ma and pa rental store and at one time there was three in town with each one offering up a different selection.  So I was a little baffled when i discovered this one's existence.  Anyway, when I discovered the film was a remake I decided to hold off until I saw the original so I could be like everyone else and bitch because it was remade.
     The film follows seven sorority sisters as they try to have the typical college experience while living under their tyrannical house mother, Mrs. Slater.  Slater is stuck in her old ways and refuse to let the girls have guys over passed a certain hour and absolutely no parties.  One night one of the sorority babes sneaks a man up for a little in out in out action when she catches them.  She stabs the young girls water bed with her sharp cane and runs the boy out.  The young girl vows to get her back and plans a prank involving a gun filled with blanks.  However, that prank goes horribly wrong and she shoots Mrs. Slater.  The sorority sisters try to cover it up all while hosting a graduation party in their sorority house.  In true slasher form the girls start to go missing one by one until they discover that the old bag actually had a son who is now providing his own brand of justice on those that harmed his mother.
     Sometimes you just can't beat a good slasher late at night.  That nostalgic feeling you get when your sitting around in the dark watching an 80's slasher you have never seen before  This reminds me of when I was younger watching the Sleepaway Camp and Friday the 13th series for the first time.  No other viewing experience compares.  I often grab slashers I have never watched and put them up for just when that situation arises.  This movie has a very well rounded cast with most having little to no experience in the horror genre.  No particular actor or actress sticks out but the entire cast did a very good job and helped make the film easy to watch.  The story is your typical slasher formula with the revenge subplot.  In fact, the film could be easily compared to Friday the 13th Part II with the child who is thought to be dead seeking revenge on those that killed his mother.  Though it is not original it is very entertaining and done in such a way it does seem original and very unique.  Finally, the film offers some pretty decent special effects to go along with it's pretty impressive kills.  Overall, this movie is a true definition of a slasher and I highly recommend it.