Friday, November 29, 2013

Vampire Camp

Director - Ray Nomoto Robison (Die Before I Wake)
Starring - Scott Ford (Four Daughters), Tamara Barrus (Sixes and the One Eyed King), and Robert Armstrong (Sixes and the One Eyed King)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     When people think of horror they immediately think of vile films that are coated in blood and guts.  Though this may be the case for most of them but the same can not be said for all of them.  I do love a good blood soaked horror flick but sometimes I just want to sit down and watch a horror flick that requires no thinking and has the possibility to make me laugh...multiple times.  I love brutal and violent horror flicks but some of my favorites are black comedies and when I cross paths with one I have to give it a shot.  That brings me to the vampire comedy Vampire Camp directed by Ray Nomoto Robison.  I was doing a little searching around on Facebook when I came across this flick.  I reached out to the page and Ray was nice enough to send me a link to an online screener.  Thanks Ray for hooking me up with that.
     The film follows vampire killer Professor Bartholomew Dubbs (Ford) and his assistants as he holds a vampire camp where he reveals all his secrets about killing vampires.  However, not all the people in attendance are there to learn to kill vampires.  In fact, they would prefer no one else knew because they are vampires themselves.  They are there because their leader has a score to settle with the good professor.  Long ago an ancestor of his killed the love of her life...or afterlife.  The vampires make their way through the camp attendees turning them into the undead while the professor is clueless.  Luckily, the professor has the help of his assistant, an aspiring female vampire killer, and a vampire who has a crush on his assistant.  When the vampires finally show their real intentions they all step in to save the professor and the world.
      I really like it when a movie goes against the mainstream and gives me something different. Sure, the films may not always be that original or inspired by films of the past but they are still going against the trends that are currently plaguing films.  That is what this movie did.  It went against the horror and vampire norms in more than one way.  The first was the style of film.  I have seen more horror comedies than I care to count.  I absolutely love horror comedies but the absurdity that they have still stops at a point.  However, this film just kept going with it which was extremely fun to watch.  The film was more humor than horror and I am completely fine with that.  The film also reminded me a lot of the works of Abbott and Costello.  I love how the dumbfounded lead was oblivious to the threat he was facing and the hysterical situations he found himself in.  The acting in this one in not that great but that only added to the charm this film had.  I wouldn't say the acting was bad but I did see a lot of room for improvement.  The story is nothing original but it is extremely fun.  I love all the dumb witted humor and how the film was able to take the sparkles out of vampires again.   Finally, those looking for great special effects and on screen kills will not find them here.  The point of this film is to make the viewer laugh and not cover them in blood.  Overall, this is a hilarious film that will make you laugh even after you have been drained of your blood.  I recommend this one.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Night of the Sea Monkey: A Disturbing Tale

Director - Michael S. Rodriguez
Starring - Lynn Lowry (Ditch Day Massacre), Joe Mannetti (The Summer of Massacre), and Sean Laguna (The Godchildren)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Comedy/Horror
Tagline - "Instant terror.  Just add water"
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I am sick of all these so called horror fans bitching about the current state of horror.  These people are the ones you see wearing A Nightmare on Elm St and Friday the 13th shirts at the theater standing in line to watch Paranormal Activity and then go straight to Wal-Mart to buy a few cheap horror movies.  This individual will then complain about the poor quality of horror he just spent his money on.  Now, do not take this the wrong way because I absolutely fucking love ANoES and F-13th but some people only watches popular films and they do not take the time to really get into the genre.  For the last few years the best horror has not been coming from Hollywood or Toronto but from some dedicated fan to the genre's basement.  The indie horror scene is so vast now that I am constantly discovering new indie flicks to watch and review.  That brings me to the short Night of the Sea Monkey: A Disturbing Tale by Michael S. Rodriguez.  I came across the flick on Facebook and reached out to them.  They were nice enough to send me an online screener and for that I thank you.
     The film follows a young boy who orders a pack of sea critters through the mail.  He waits patiently for them to arrive and when they do he throws them in a fish bowl. Sadly, nothing becomes of this and his mother pours the contents of the bowl down the sink drain.  The family tries to take the young boy's mind off the failed attempt at a pet when pure horror strikes.  The sea monkey is actually alive and is now mutated and blood hungry.  It makes it's way through the young boy's mother, father, and older brother before his grandmother steps in and destroys it.  However, things don't end there.  The beast actually raped his older sister who is now carrying his hellspawn.
     If people would step away from the main stream horror flicks that are controlled by production companies and pick up some real indie horror then the world of horror would be in a much better place.  Indie horror flicks are made by real fans of the genre and they make the films that they would want to see.  That is what Rodriguez set out to do and he accomplished just that.  The acting in the film is decent.  Most of the cast showed the experience necessary to make the film work but more practice would have went a long way.  Acting makes or breaks a film but this one rides the fence line for the most part.  The story is nothing original but it is still fun as hell.  The title obviously references Night of the Living Dead but that film actually involves a group of people who take refuge in an old farmhouse as the undead try to break in.  This flick actually involves humans in a home with a deadly beast trying to eat them which reminded me more of Deadly Spawn more than any other flick.  It may not be original but it was entertaining as hell.  Finally, this film does have a few on screen kills but the special effects are nothing special.  They do their job but nothing "aww" inspiring.  However, the creature looks great.  I would love to see a sequel with more of them in it.  Overall, this is a creature feature that does not take itself too seriously.  This film packs a bite and I would recommend it to anyone. 


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ridge War Z

Director - Alex Gearhart (Joker Rising)
Starring - Tyler Allen, Alex Gearhart, and Kyle Gordon
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The war against the undead is fought by soldiers"
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     When something is successful it spawns dozens of copycats trying to cash in on the success.  You can not blame the people behind these unoriginal material.  If people will pay for it then why not give it to them? So many great, and not so great, films have received this treatment.  The most recent is the flick World War Z that was based on the novel by Max Brooks of the same novel.  The novel was eye witness accounts to the war between humans and zombies.  However, the film starring Brad Pitt was a straight forward zombie apocalypse flick.  That film spawned the similar film titled Ridge War Z.  Before watching this flick I read that the film actually follows the accounts of three survivors of the zombie war.  So that actually made this film closer to the novel than the actual World War Z film.
     The film follows a reporter who is accompanying three vets who are returning to the ridge where a war was waged between the humans and the undead.  The war was waged by military personnel and the undead hordes.  The men were ordered to hold the ridge and kill the zombies.  A lot of great men lost their lives that day and the men return to the spot that caused them a lot of pain to tell their story to the reporter.
     I did not have much hope for this movie and it gave me exactly what I thought it would...nothing.  The film was clearly created to cash in on the World War Z fame but I'm sure people will see through the bullshit and skip this one.  At least, I hope they do.  The acting in this one is actually decent and the only redeeming quality I can find with this one.  The entire cast does a great job but it is a shame because I'm sure no one will see this one to enjoy that.  The story, like I said earlier, is more based on the novel World War Z instead of the film.  Not original but it is rather new to film.  Thought the story is somewhat original, it was very slow paced and the zombies did not make their appearance until the last 20 minutes or so.  Finally, the film does have a few on-screen kills but the camera work did not give us what we wanted to see.  If you are going to take the time to kill someone you should at least let the viewer enjoy the death.  The special effects are not that great either.  The zombies just have pale white, green, and grey face paint but are not that convincing.  Overall, this film offers nothing for the viewer other than a well rounded cast.  Unfortunately, this will not keep the audience entertained.  I would stay away from this one if I was you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sinister Visions

Director(s) - Henric Brandt (The Horror Vault 2), Doug Gehl, Andreas Rylander, and Kim Sonderholm (Supernatural Tales)
Starring - Toke Lars Bjarke (Those Who Kill), David C. Hayes (Death By VHS), and Kim Sonderholm (Escaping the Dead)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Nerve shattering horror stories that will make your bones freeze"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      Lately I have noticed that the indie movie world has had quite a few anthologies released the last few years and even more than usual have been released this year.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  I love anthologies.  Who doesn't want to watch a movie with several smaller movies wrapped inside?  Anyway, as much as I enjoy anthologies not all of them are worth watching.  Some are just downright terrible and should be avoided while others are so amazing that they have to be watched.  That brings me to Chemical Burn's Sinister Visions.  When Chemical Burn and Reality Entertainment send me films to review they usually send them in 3.  The batch that contained Sinister Visions had two other films that were not that great and left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  However, this film more than made up for it. 
     The film consists of 5 tales.  The first, Succubus, is about an archeologist who unearths an ancient artifact.  However, the artifact breaks open unleashing an ancient evil that possess her.  She now craves sex and whenever she get it she turns into a winged demon that kills those dumb enough to give her the ol' rod. The next tale, My Undead Girlfriend, follows a young man and his fiancee.  His fiancee was bit the day before by a stranger and dies sometime during the night.  However, their love story does not end there.  The young man, with the help of a friend, puts make-up on her to have a dinner with her family that goes horribly wrong.  The third tale, Mother Knows Best, is about a sheltered man in his thirties.  He has lived his whole life doing as his mother said.  This cost him his chance at love and now the young lady is back in his life and his mother disapproves.  Unfortunately, on one of his dates with her he makes a mistake and she leaves.  This sends him over the edge and he kills his mother and abducts her.  The fourth tale, A Woman Scorned, follows a woman who caught her husband cheating and abducts him and the whore for a little vigilante justice.  Finally, the fifth tale, Genital Genocide, follows a serial killer who is about to be executed.  He decides that his life is over and spills the beans about what all he did to those poor young ladies.
     There is several types of anthologies but you can separate them into two different kinds.  There are those that have segments directed by the same director and then there are those that are directed by different directors. Those that have the same director tend to be more consistent and that really goes a long way with the overall film.  However, those that have different directors can be hit and miss.  Sadly, that is what we have here.  The film as a whole was great but some of the segments did drag the film down.  The acting in this one is hit and miss.  Some segments had a very well rounded cast that was great to watch.  The segments Mother Knows Best and A Woman Scorned did not have that great a cast.  The scenes in these two tales are hard to watch.  The stories in this film is fun to watch but they are nothing original.  In fact, Mother Knows Best is taken straight from Alfred Hithcock's Psycho.  The rest of the stories can easily be compared to other films but that will just take too long to do.  Finally, this film is filled to the max with special effects and on screen kills.  Some shorts do have better practical effects than the others but none are what I would call bad effects.  They do their job and make the kills look great.  Overall, this is a solid anthology that has some great scares and amazing monsters.  However, the film does have some low points that does not render the film unwatchable.  I recommend this one.


Director - Jordan Pacheco (Dead Bounty)
Starring - Christopher O'Reilly (The Last Halloween), Nicole Lasala (Dark Minds), and Dan Liebman (10)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Don't anger the dead"
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I have avidly been watching horror movies for around 15 years or so and for as long as I remember I have always had an interest in ghost movies but very few were effective as a horror movie. We do get some that go on to become classics, however, most of them hardly have the necessities to pull of the ghost story.  Some lack the effects, others lack the story suitable for a ghost story, while others just lack the atmosphere needed to make it work.  However, every once in awhile you cross paths with a ghost story that was well worth your time but it is rare to come across more than one...but it does happen.  Recently, producer David Langill was kind enough to send me a link to an online screener.  Thank you David for giving me the chance to check this one out!
     The film follows a group of amateur ghost hunters as they prepare to investigate a home where a spirit has been violent with the residents. The group does there thing and turns up empty handed.  The group has been doing this for months and has yet to find proof of life after death and this pushes team member Matt (O'Reilly) to his breaking point.  He lashes out and provokes the spirit but nothing happens immediately.  He returns home to be with his wife and that is when things hit the proverbial fan.  At first small things start to happen all over his home.  His sinks mysteriously turn on and overflow and cabinet doors open by themselves.  Soon the spirit turns hostile and attacks him and his wife putting her in the hospital.  He is rather excited about the entire ordeal but his wife is not.  She leaves to go stay with her mother while he investigates the haunting but things do not go the way he had planned.
     After 15 minutes of watching this movie I was preparing myself to write a bad review.  The movie bored me and that is hard to do.  However, because I was patient and stuck with it I was able to actually watch a solid ghost story.  Don't get me wrong, this movie did have it's flaws but I have yet to watch a movie and think it was perfect.  The acting in this one was phenomenal with the exception of two scenes.  The entire cast did a great job but O'Reilly made me laugh unintentionally.  The first scene was when Tony Moran made his cameo appearance and he answers the door and the second is when he walks in to the bedroom and finds his wife on the floor.  Both scenes were was funny because of the "startled" face he makes.  The story is your typical haunting story but the spirit attaching itself to a specific item has been switched with the spirit benevolently attaching itself to someone that disrespected it making this one just a little different from the rest.  Finally, those looking for amazing special effects will have some to choose from.  The film does use visual effects that are not that visually pleasing.  The ghost itself is a black cloud and not that menacing.  Personally, I find actual people portraying ghosts to be far more terrifying.  The film also has some practical effects that looks great.  I would have loved to see more of that in the film.  Overall, this is a slow-burning ghost flick that goes from boring to spine-chilling.  In the end, this film will leave your blood running cold.  I highly recommend it.

Babysitter Massacre (2013)

(out of 5)

Babysitter Massacre (2013)
directed by:  Henrique Couto
starring:  Erin Ryan, Haley Jay Madison, Marylee Osborne, Stephanie Coffey, Geoff Burkman, Tara Clark
Format:  NTSC Region 1 Personal Collection

     Kind of hard to write a review for a film you didn't like by an artist you to appreciate but here goes.  First let's just get it out of the way.  I did not like the killer in this movie.  White face has been done and done and I realize the filmmaker was possibly paying homage to Halloween and maybe even Scream but I just couldn't get into this movie directly because of it.  He also was at least to me not scary and much like one of my issues with the Scream franchise they created a slasher all too human I guess is the best way to put it.  The weird and whiney next door neighbor just wasn't working for me.  Every time I saw the panty face killer running around I laughed and maybe that was the desired effect but I was looking forward to a more serious tone and would love to have seen more creativity in the character design.
     Ok there now that's out of the way I'll go on to what I did like about the movie.  First off let's just go right into the acting abilities here.  I have no idea what to say other than Ohio filmmakers just have a real cream of the crop when it comes to actors.  Erin Ryan, Marylee Osborne, and Haley Jay Madison are all three top notch actresses and Couto obviously knows what to say and do to bring their talents through the screen.  Having been a fan of Couto for awhile now I can honestly say there are not a lot of indie directors out there whom pull in range of emotion like this man.  I mean Marylee was a mess playing Bianca the true victim of this movie that suffered a great deal of childhood pain over the murder of her friend back in the days of a Babysitter's Club.
     This murderer seems obsessed with the girls from the Babysitter's Club and may in fact be the same killer who murdered Bianca's friend from the past.  This film plays out like a classic slasher from the days of Sorority House Massacre and Slumber Party Massacre which are both favorites of mine and I loved this.  Couto spends a perfect amount of time throwing around the backstory and character development enough to care very much about our characters here.  Poor Bianca gets shit on by her friends who blame her for the young girls death when they were younger and thus we have the raw emotion Marylee just oozed right from her tears and screams.  Really can't go on enough about her part in this film.  Hit the part perfectly as did Miss Ryan who played the best friend slash girl next door type trying to make everyone get along and make sense of what was going on.  Then we have Haley Jay the third shining star in this Couto production that just played the bitch friend also to a T!  These girls really made the film for me and I will be re-watching for their performances.
     Second thing I liked about the film were the effects.  Every death, torturous as they were was gruesome and real looking.  Indie productions aren't always up to par with effects I mean the film My Pure Joy was a fine example of effects just ruining what could have been.  Not here I rewound a couple scenes just to see the artistry again and again.  Real blood or stage blood haha running down the chests of these fine young ladies and just plain well staged kill scenes.  Couto captures the suffering of each killer very well and as I said I'm a big fan of his previous efforts.  Mostly because of this reason.  Haven't seen his Bulldog For Christmas movie yet but it's on my shopping list.  Although I have a feeling the mood will be quite different for that one.  While I couldn't get into the slasher aspect of this movie my suggestion is to give this one a go.  I mean I don't regret purchasing it or watching it.