Monday, September 30, 2013

Tucker and Dale VS. Evil

Director - Eli Craig
Starring - Tyler Labine (Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)), Alan Tudyk (I, Robot), Katrina Bowden (Piranha 3DD)
Release Date -2010
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "This year Spring break is cut short!"
Format - Blu Ray (Personal Collection)
Rating (out of 5):

I have to be honest, going into this movie I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard a few people talk about this one a while back and gave it a watch. Since then it has easily become one of my favorites. It's just good, gory fun! The very beginning of the film is a reporter with her camera man at a crime scene. As they are looking for further clues they end up running into a disfigured man, and well, you can guess how the rest of that goes. Then you rewind a few days. Two hillbilly's are on their way to their vacation home. While on their way they run into some college students, who are on a camping trip, at a gas station. One of the hillbilly's, Dale (Tyler Labine) finds one of the college students, Allison (Katrina Bowden) attractive. In an attempt to talk to her he ends up scaring off the students. Finally Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale, also known as the hillbilly's reach their vacation home, and the students reach the area they're camping in. (Which ends up being in the woods near the cabin.). Next thing you see is what looks like a flashback. One of the college kids, Chad (Jesse Moss) is telling a story about his family who was "tortured" by hillbilly's. His father was killed and his mother managed to escape while she was pregnant with him. After the story is done, they decide to go swimming. As time passes Tucker and Dale decide to go fishing. Coincidentally the college kids are swimming in the same area. One of the Students, Allison is about to jump off a rock into the water when she sees Tucker and Dale which causes her to slip, fall, and hit her head. Trying to help out the hillbilly's take her in their boat. While attempting to tell the college kids that they have her, they think the hillbilly's have kidnapped her and run away.
The next day Allison wakes up inside the hillbilly's vacation home, terrified. Finally she realizes that they aren't scary nor out to kill them like the rest of the college kids think. While they are safe inside, the college kids are accidentally killing themselves outside in the woods. All in an attempt to "save" Allison. It finally reaches a stand off between one of the college kids, Chad (Jesse Moss) who is in love with Allison, and Dale, who is also in love with Allison. Dale manages to save Allison from Chad, who you find out is half hillbilly. While in denial he falls off the top of the barn and to his "death". The movie closes with Dale going to visit Tucker in the hospital. Tucker tells Dale that he needs to ask Allison out, so he does. The final scene is Dale and Allison at a bowling ally on their first date.

I don't know where to start with what I loved about this movie. Between the ad-libbing, the death scenes, the acting, it is definitely worth a watch. (Even if you aren't super big into horror, I just wouldn't recommend it if you can't handle blood.) I haven't had this much fun with a horror movie in a while. The casting of Labine and Tudyk was perfect. They had this innocence that was so fitting. You really start to feel bad for them when they start to wonder what they will do about all the college kids killing themselves. The movie is just flat out fun. This movie is definitely one of those hidden gems that deserves more recondition. If you're hesitant on it, it is on Netflix if you would like to give it a watch!


Director - Mike O'Mahony (Sloppy the Psychotic)
Starring - James Costa (Deadly Detour), D.M. Folger Jr. (Sloppy the Psychotic), and Lauren Ojeda (The Slut Always Rides Shotgun)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "When he's got to go... YOU got to go!"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
      A good title and artwork for a film is what really determines if the film will be successful or not.  Give me a moment to fully explain myself.  Films are determined successful by the money they make not the ratings people give them.  Therefore, when it comes to indie films the director and production team rely heavily on word of mouth to get their films out their due to the lack of funding for advertising and marketing.  The more absurd and ridiculous the title and artwork is means the more people are going to talk about it.  That brings me to I.B.S.  I have heard of this film a few months back and I was curious to see what it was about.  I heard various horror fans discussing it and with a title like that I had to see it.  A few months back I visited Fright Night Film Fest and a vendor there was actually in the film and I grabbed the DVD from him and finally had the time to watch it.
     The film follows Larry (Costa) who has uncontrollable shit fits.  He has tried various medications, doctors, and therapists and nothing seems to help.  When not shitting he works as a janitor in an office building where he is the butt of the office clerks jokes.  However, a beautiful young lady has a thing for him and longs for him to ask her out.  One day Larry snaps after living in a world of shit and is excited to discover that murder rids him of his irritable bowel syndrome for a shot period of time.  He kills a few more times and finally asks the girl out.  Sadly, while on his date he gets the shits and tries to kill a cat only to be caught in the act by her.  She runs away and Larry slips into insanity and goes on a killing spree.
     What really draws me in to indie horror is their no holds barred storylines and approach to film.  If you compare indie to big budget theatrical horror films you will clearly see that almost all indie films have a set of balls on them.  The filmmakers have no one to impress but have everything to lose so they tend to do things different.  They craft films that are crude, rude, sleazy, and completely unorthodox.  That is what I really enjoyed about I.B.S.  The film was crash and disgusting and I fucking loved that.  O'Mahony did not make a horror flick for the typical horror goer.  Instead, he made a film for the sick and perverse.  The acting in this one is very well done and can easily be called top notch for an indie production.  The entire cast did a great job.  The story is original and funny.  The film combines sick jokes and potty humor with a very twisted storyline and that is definitely praise worthy.  Finally, the film has some decent kills and special effects.  The film has a lot of on screen kills but they are not the pinnacle of the film.  This film was made to make the viewer laugh or make them sick not to showcase amazing kills.  Overall, this film is utterly disgusting and filled with toilet humor.  I highly recommend it. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The El Chupugcabra

Director - Aaron B. Koontz (Malevolence)
Starring - Jeremy King (Terminal Kill), Courtney Hans (Parkland), and Dashiell Smith (Beneath the Trees)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror, Comedy
Tagline - "They pug their own grave"
Format - Streaming  (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      I absolutely love short films.  When they are done right they can get to the point so much faster and cut out a lot of filler without wasting your time.  That is why I think horror shorts are so effective.  They establish characters, hit you with the humor if there is any, and then slaps you in the face with the murder and gore.  That is one of the few reason I jump at the chance to review a horror short.  Recently I was asked to review the short The El Chupugcabra and the name sold me on it.  I love cryptozoology and any humerus play on a cryptozoological creature is begging for me to watch it.  I had no idea what the film was about so I sat down to watch it only to be surprised.
     The film follows a picture perfect family as they head out to adopt a dog.  The young boy found a pug online and fell in love with it so they venture out to retrieve the pooch.  However, once inside the dog pound the family is warned by a crazy young lady with stringy hair that the pug will be the end of them all.  The family disregards the woman's warning and adopts the pug.  They take the happy little fella home with them and that night have a small family gathering and roast marshmallows.  Big mistake!  They mistakenly give the little tike a marshmallow transforming him into a man-sized pug.  El Chupugcabra goes on a murderous rampage killing the family and friends.
     Most shorts are able to accomplish what most features do but do so in a manner that it does not waste the viewers time.  That is exactly what this film did.  If gave me everything I really enjoy in a horror comedy in a fraction of the time.  This movie has some great humor and a storyline that left a smile on my face from beginning to end and then showed me it could be a real horror film and delivered some great kills.  The acting in this one is spectacular by the entire cast.  The cast consists of faces that are new to me but I would really like to see them in more horror and horror comedies.  The story is nothing detailed or compelling but it is fun as hell.  Sadly, the story could be extended to be one hell of a feature film and slasher.  It is a great short but I did not want it to end so I would love to see a sequel or turned into a feature.  Finally, the last half of the short is a blood bath that sports some decent special effects and great kills.  The special effects are nothing when compared to the great slasher kills seen in some of the best 80s slasher films but for this film they worked perfectly.  Overall, this film is ridiculous and fun as hell.  I highly recommend it. 


Satan's Little Helper (2004)

(out of 5)
Satan's Little Helper (2004)
Directed by:  Jeff Lieberman
Starring:  Alexander Brickel, Amanda Plummer, Katheryn Winnick, Stephen Graham, Joshua Annex
Format:  Personal Collection NTSC Region 1
Tagline:  "You'll laugh till you die!"

     I love Halloween films!  Good or bad I usually watch them every Halloween or at least most of them there are a lot these days.  One of my very fist every year is Satan's Little Helper for a few good reasons. 
     First good reason is director Jeff Lieberman who has brought us such awesome films as Blue Sunshine, Just Before Dawn, and Squirm all three of which are among the greatest films in horror.  I mean all three of those movies scared me when I first watched them for the first time and for me anyway the films still hold up with tension when I watch them today.  That all being said Satan's Little Helper is a mild step down.  It's not terrible, not by any means.  I get a good thrill out of this film every year.  And I love the mask.
     Second reason to love this movie is Amanda Plummer an actress whom I adore and she just does so well with every part she is ever given.  My favorite being Tales From the Crypt:  "Lover Come Hack To Me" from the old HBO series.  In this movie she plays the gentle but high strung  Merill the mother of Jenna Whooley (Winnick) and Dougie Whooley (Brickel) the main two characters in our story.  I must add that the little boy Alexander Brickel does very well in this movie his acting was as natural as any child actor I've seen.  Very much enjoyed that since I'm not usually a fan of child actors or child characters.
     Third reason to love this movie is the sense of the unknown.  Not done that much anymore but I at least found it to be a guessing game as to what was going to happen next and to this day we still don't know who "Satan" is.  I found that whole aspect of the film unique.  Everything is so straight forward in the American film industry these days.  We need more Frank Henenlotters and Stuart Gordons.  Well look at Jeepers Creepers everyone was so angry that the creature wasn't explained so 2 comes thanks I like it better sometimes when your mind has to wonder. 
     Satan's Little Helper is about Dougie really who loves video games, especially a game called, "Satan's Little Helper" but what he loves most is his sister Jenna.  Creepy younger brother crush on his older sister turns a little insane when Dougie meets up with, "Satan" himself from the video game and they start going around murdering people.  Well Dougie doesn't, for some reason the poor boy is oblivious to the whole thing.  Dougie is so jealous of his sister's boyfriend he wants Satan to kill him.  Satan kills a hell of a lot of people before Dougie figures out what's going on.  This movie delivers the laughs in a big way which is hard to do.  I usually either find horror comedies great or hate them but that's just me.  This I still laugh with to this day.  One thing I would have changed and the only thing I feel it really lacks is gore.  This movie is one movie that would have benefited from gore.  Maybe Mr. Lieberman ran out of money I'm not sure but some more complicated kills would have been nice.
 Then again maybe he was going for simplicity.  Another reason I enjoyed the film was that there wasn't a bunch of huge fx and what not.  Just would have been nice to see some more blood flying around.  I mean it's basically a slasher film except you never get to find out who the killer is.
I watch it every Halloween.

Frankenstein Created Woman

Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)
Directed by:  Terence Fisher
Starring:  Peter Cushing, Susan Denberg, Thorley Walters, Robert Morris
Format:  Personal Collection NTSC Region 1

     Hammer's version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is my all time favorite film Frankenstein story.  Sure Universal was first and Karloff was great as Frankenstein but one thing I never liked about those movies was the focus on the creature as the monster when the real monster is in fact it's creator.
     Peter Cushing is in my top 10 actors of all time and his inclusion in any film adds a bloody hand print just for that.  Yes I gave this film 5 bloody hand prints and I do this because as I've said Peter Cushing plays my favorite Dr. Victor Frankenstein and also because this film is directed by one of my top ten favorite directors of all time Terence Fisher who directed almost all the Hammer Frankenstein films.  The man was the best British director of all time in my own personal opinion he directed The Mummy, Curse of the Werewolf, The Curse of Frankenstein, The Horror of Dracula, and many more.  It was these films and the sequels and spinoffs they produced that saved Hammer studios in the 50s much like the monsters did for Universal studios in the 30s. 
     Frankenstein Created Woman once again follows the trails of Dr. Victor Frankenstein. While Frankenstein can no longer perform surgery from injuries caused in a previous sequel he does have Dr. Hertz to carry out his experiments.  The two of them embark on the ultimate experiment to cheat death this time.  They are trying to trap the soul and it's energy in a large machine they have created and are trying to use that soul to reanimate a dead body. 
     Frankenstein has tried many times in the sequels before and after this one to either clump together body parts or just plain re-animate a whole dead corpse but in this film he tries to take another alley, the soul.  I have always found this to be quite amazing.  Now Dr. Frankenstein sees the soul as some unexplained form of energy and not as a religious spirit of sorts but either way I just find the whole story very interesting.  The problem of course is he uses his experiment to take the soul of his dead helper Hans (Robert Morris) and throws it into the body of the boy's drowned girlfriend Christine played by the beautiful Susan Denberg...too bad she wasn't in more films I thought she did very well. 
 Christine was in love with Hans but Hans was put to death by the guillotine for killing her father.  So upon seeing his death by decapitation she ends her own life by jumping off a bridge.  A sort of horror version of Romero and Juliette if you will.  Of course it was not Hans it was 3 very disgusting rich young men who beat her father to death when he discovered them inside his tavern after hours.  The three young men had a habit of torturing the landlord and his daughter most especially because she had a deformity on her face and body.  However after Dr. Frankenstein is finished with Christine's body she has no deformity and now also has two souls, one of which is very vengeful and that's when the murders begin.  One by one Christine dispatches the three rich young men tricking them with her beauty.  "I'm Christina Clave," she says just before stabbing one of the fair gentleman to death.  And she does all this murdering while carrying around the head of her late lover.  My favorite sequel to the Hammer Frankenstein legacy.  Another notable addition to the film crew is director of photography Arthur Grant who photographed  other such Hammer productions as Paranoiac, Curse of the Werewolf, Plague of the Zombies, The Reptile, and many more his talents are appreciated by this reviewer.  Highly recommended to those of us who can enjoy the classics.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Halloween 3...The ONLY sequel to follow Halloween's original idea!

Halloween 3:  Season of the Witch (1982)
Directed by:  Tommy Lee Wallace
Starring:  Tom Atkins, Stacey Nelkin, Dan O'Herlihy
Format:  Personal Collection NTSC Region 1

Tagline:  The Night No One Comes Home

     Okay here we go, "Halloween 3 doesn't even have Michael Myers in it!  It sucks!  Worst of the series!  Like WTF?!"  Well anyone who knows anything about the Halloween franchise would just grin with these hateful words being tossed around about my favorite of the sequels.  Yes I do love Halloween 2, 4, 5, and H20 but here comes the franchise education which I got directly from Carpenter's lips at a convention.  Halloween 3 is the ONLY sequel to follow the original idea conceived by the producers and director.  A series of films was to be created all of which took place on the date of Halloween.  That's it!  No slasher series.  But because of the slasher film craze in the 80's the executive producer Moustapha Akkad continued the Michael Myers story.  That all being said I'm glad he did I love Halloween 2, it was scarier than one just not better.  Halloween 4 and 5 also have a place in my heart big time, but they are just kind of cheeseball.  6, well I think it's cool and all but I could, not see it on any given Halloween and not miss it.  H20 I fucking loved and in my opinion is the real continuation of Halloween 2 and end of Myers for good...hated the rest including my hero Rob Zombie's remakes.
Ok back to Season of the Witch now...we have Dr. Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) in search of a man who chased an elderly gentleman into his ER and killed him before setting himself on fire.  When the old man's daughter Ellie (Stacey Nelkin) comes to check out what happened to her father she and Dr. Challis head out to figure out the murder mystery.  I love Tim Atkins the guy just nails every part I've ever seen him in and this is probably my favorite of them all.

Our couple heads out to Ellie's father's store and there they discover that the old man had an appointment to visit the Silver Shamrock factory who sold him Halloween masks for his hardware store.  Her father was gripping one of the masks when he was chased into the hospital and Ellie is just sure that's the lead to follow.
     Once the two of them arrive in Sana Mira the company town where Silver Shamrock Novelties is located they begin to get very nervous as it becomes apparent they are being watched.  "I feel like a goldfish.." Ellie says as they drive up to the hotel where they stay the night pretending to be husband and wife so as to throw off any suspicion. 
     At the hotel they meet Marge a woman who has arrived to fix a screwed up order and the Kupfer family who owns the company that sold the most masks in all of the United States.  Before the night is over Marge mysteriously dies in what is later described as a "misfire" from one of the masks.  You see these masks have been created to bring the destruction of man by way of a video commercial being played by Silver Shamrock on Halloween night and the Halloween masks which were designed by Silver Shamrock have a special chip that contains shavings from a stolen Stonehenge piece.  These shavings carry an evil power which when released will kill anyone around the masks.  It's all quite disgusting as the mask wearer dies first and then from his or her mask comes snakes, bugs, etc. all swarming whomever is near by.  The shavings have a sort of Celtic power to them and the evil owner of Silver Shamrock Conal Cochran is out to destroy the world.  The only thing in his way is...Tom Atkins.
     Loved the fx in this one the death scenes were fantastic.  From robot humans to rotting, disgusting masks with snakes and bugs crawling out of them to a very cool eye socket/bridge of the nose twist and tear not to mention the 80's light fx which I'm not really a fan of usually but they kind of worked in this one.  My favorite effect by far in the movie is the above scene with the pumpkin mask some really scary shit when I was younger.  Shit the robot humans scared the poop out of me when I was younger.  Regardless of anyone's opinion the fact is this film should have been Halloween 2 and has more to do with the original idea than Michael Myers but unfortunately it did bomb as number three so that really shut the door on making any more them.  I personally would have rather seen more separate ideas than a constant continuation of yet another slasher series.  I mean I love them but I can't help but wonder what the other Halloween movie ideas were if I liked this one so much.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dropping Evil

Director - Adam Protextor (The Rise of Gunhead)
Starring - Rachel Howell (Becky's the Boss), Zachary Eli Lint (Carlos Spills the Beans), and Tom Taylor (The Rise of Gunhead)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Take your last trip"
Format - DVD (Personal Copy) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Wild Eye Releasing is a company that has really impressed a lot lately.  Sometime ago I requested a few films to review and a few days later a big ass package arrived on my door step (well, it was the post office but you get the point). That package had a lot of films I had never seen and a few I had never heard of.  As I slowly made my way through them all I decided it was time to throw in Dropping Evil.  This movie was new to me.  I venture to a lot of horror related sites and when I come across a movie I have never heard of I get a little excited.  I love being surprised with a movie that has slipped passed me and once again I want to thank Wild Eye Releasing for hooking me up with this film to review!
     The film follows Christian nerd Nancy (Lint) and his friend who, along with two female companions, go camping for the weekend.  Nancy can not step down from his bible thumping pedestal and pisses everyone off before they reach their destination. The group stop at a gas station and drop some LSD into his apple juice in hopes it would calm him down.  However, the plan backfires and Nancy becomes a killing the name of the lord sending the group spiraling into a web of conspiracies with a huge corporation especially interested in the bible thumper and his righteous killing. 
     I tend to get more excited than I should when I cross paths with an unknown film.  Most films that are unknown are unknown for a specific reason and that reason is they suck.  However, every once in awhile you will come across one that it definitely worth your time and money and that was this film here.  This movie honestly shocked me.  I had no clue what the film was about before watching it but I was very pleased to discover that it was a clever throwback to the slashers of the 80s with an X-Files twist.  Sadly, I did not care for the science fiction twist but that is besides the point.  I am a little stunned and slightly upset that this film does not get the recognition it deserves.  Hell, it may get all the recognition it deserves and I was just unfortunate enough to not know about it.  Either way people need to see this one.  The acting in this is not the best I have seen in an indie horror flick but it is not the worst by far.  The entire cast really needed more experience and practice.  More experience would have kicked this film up another notch.  The story is by far the most complex I have ever seen in a slasher flick and personally that took away some of the fun.  Slashers should be a simple vehicle to get amazing kills out to the audience with a killer in an amazing mask or gimmick.  I loved the gimmick in this film with the killer being a total bible Nazi.  However, the entire corporation and conspiracy angle added way too much to what should have been a simple slasher.  Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills but not as much as I would have liked.  The kills look great but the film did not have enough to make it a slasher contender.  Overall, this film is a solid slasher that had what it takes to be one best.  However, it used a complex story and not enough slasher-esque kills preventing it from reaching the flicks true potential.  I highly recommend this one.