Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Murder University (2013)

Murder University (2012)
directed by:  Richard Griffin
starring:  Nick Apostolides, Samantha Acampora, David Adams Murphy, Dave Almeida, Jamie Dufault Michael Thurber

Format:  Personal Collection NTSC Region 1
Tagline:  "The Tuition Isn't the Only Thing That Will Kill You"

(out of 5)

    Nothing like having a bad day and sitting down to a good decapitation movie, or I mean slasher movie.  Richard Griffin's Murder University just really can't be described as solely a slasher film.  Yeah it had a guy in a mask running around killing people but this movie was much more than that story wise.  Well after the opening scene anyway I'm still a little confused on that and I rewound it a couple of times.  I just don't see how it fits in the movie.  Two couples investigating the Greensboro University murders go there to investigate.  Once at the house where the founder Charles Greensboro lived the two girls decide to murder the men and then the girls find the dead bodies get scared and get killed by the devil mask killer.  It was all very confusing but anywho on to the good stuff.
  One thing every independent movie must have in my opinion is a good story.  And here we have it.  Not going to go into a lot spoiler wise because frankly that's why I don't read reviews personally with few exceptions.  Anywho we follow Josh Greene (Jamie Dufault) who is picked on and beaten up at college especially by a bully named Loco played by Nick Apostolides.  Josh is part of the student body at Greensboro University a place with a bloody past involving the university's founder and the original house he lived in.  Now a series of murders much like those from the past have started up again and Josh has survived one of those attacks.  Only Detective Ray Forrester (Michael Thurber)can help Josh stay alive and figure out the case even after the Detective is taken off the case for being too crazy.  And crazy he is, by far my favorite character.  He and Josh bumble through murder after murder slowly picking up the pieces while Josh is trying to pick up Forrester's daughter who has
entered into the college as a student in order to investigate the deaths even further.  The twist ending for me made the movie.  I'd go into it but that's really not fair to the readers.  Let's just say it's not an overdone revenge slasher plot line.  Also the use of comedy for me was well done.  I really can't stand most indie horror comedies because to me it's easy to hide lack of talent writing wise and acting wise when you're being funny all the time.  Is that to say all comedies are that way.  Nope but I know that's why there are so many indie horror comedies.  It's easy to just say oh yeah I was trying to be funny.  However this was not the case here.  I found myself in stitches more than a couple of times.  
    The fx were great I really enjoyed the combo of practical fx and cgi fx.  The decapitations were a bit comical at times but the movie as a whole was a bit comical.  The kills looked real enough for the movie to be taken seriously.  So many indie filmmakers skip on the creation of good fx and try and pull off a good horror movie.  Well I don't think so and this movie certainly did not do that. 
     Acting wise people reviewed this movie as to having good acting.  Well it wasn't bad I'll go with that.  I really liked the old Detective and his daughter Meg played by (Samantha Acampora) also did a fine job but as far as the rest goes like I said not bad and I think that's all that needs said.  The main character for me was in and out.  One scene he would nail and the next well just kind of off.  
     Thanks to Mac Brewer for another great recommendation.  This movie had some really great things about it and nothing I really saw was bad at all.  Be looking for more from the director.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Taeter City

Director - Giulio De Santi (Hotel Inferno)
Starring - Monica Munoz (Adam Chaplin), Riccardo Valentini (Hotel Inferno), and Santiago Ortaez (Adam Chaplin)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror/Sci-Fi
Tagline - "Take a tour in the city of cannibal dictatorship"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     There is always going to be a film that comes along and completely changes the game.  I'm not saying that these films will revolutionize the genre but they do bring about awareness forcing other directors to step up their games (and stop giving us shit). A few years back the Italian production company, Necrostorm, released the film Adam Chaplin.  The film was a blood soaked joyride that I loved from beginning to end.  They followed Adam Chaplin up with the horror/sci-fi hybrid Taeter City.  I loved AC but for some reason I never got the urge to order Taeter City until Necrostorm released their newest effort Hotel Inferno.  I ordered them both and after waiting forever I received them in the mail.
     The film is set in the futuristic city of Taeter City.  The city went through a "crisis" and a political figure known only as The Authority came in to save the day.  Now the Authority rules Taeter City with an iron fist resulting in a dictatorship.  The Authority is able to keep everyone in check by using technology known as the Zeed System.  The Zeed System targets murderers and serial killers and forces them to kill themselves instead of others.  They then use the corpse of the murderers as food at Taeter Burger.  However, the Zeed System backfires and mutates serial killer Trevor Covalsky (Giulio De Santi).  Trevor is able to use his vocal waves to kill people which he uses to build up his body count.  The Authority send in their version of a police officer, Bikers, to bring in Trevor but it looks like they bit off more than they can chew.
     What I liked the most about Adam Chaplin was that it did not try to scare the viewer.  No, not even once.  Instead, AC decided to try and make the audience throw up.  The film pumped more blood and gore than it did storyline and I fucking loved it.  Taeter City is very similar to Adam Chaplin in that aspect.  In fact, I believe Taeter City offers up just a little more blood and gore than AC did.  The acting in this one is the on the same level as AC.  The characters are over-dramatic and the dubbing is silly, however, that is half the charm these films have.  The story in this one is really fun and gruesome.  The film does have a lot of originality while paying tribute to the futuristic films of the 80s and 90s.  Finally, those looking for a film covered in blood, guts, and brain matter will find what they are looking for here.  The film has amazing practical and visual effects.  This film honestly rivals any film known for their great special effects and this is something I will argue with you for days about.  The film also offers up some great animation which was surprising considering I thought the film would be a straight forward gorefest.  Overall, Taeter City is an amazing film filled with everything vile that makes horror films enjoyable.  This movie honestly makes me excited for the future of horror...and it starts with this one.

Slaughter Daughter

Director - Travis Campbell (Mr. Bricks: A Heavy Metal Murder Musical)
Starring - Nicola Fiore (Bloodbath in the House of Knives), Leesa Rowland (Return to Nuke em High Volume 1), and Tim Dax (I Spill Your Guts)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Terrible daughter.  Perfect Killer"
Format - Streaming (Online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Lately I have met a lot of horror fiends through Facebook that have been reaching out to me with info on movies they think I should review. Most of the time these movies are right up my alley but sometimes these films miss.  That brings me to my next review for Slaughter Daughter.  Brain Damage Films was nice enough to send me a screener for the film but it was a new one to me.  A movie friend of mine finished this movie just a few minutes prior to me watching it and said that he personally enjoyed it.  I knew of the director, Travis Campbell, through his previous film Mr. Bricks.  I never saw that film but I was still rather excited to watch this one.
     The film follows the beautiful Farah (Fiore).  Farah was once a beautiful beauty queen but her mind has started to slip ever since she was stood up on her wedding day.  Her father has passed away and she now lives with her mother and aunt (who are secret lovers).  Her mother is very abusive to her and is engaged to her father's former best friend.  She often hides inside her mind to escape from the horrors of her real life.  It is here that she begins an obsession with serial killer Jackson Miles (Dax).  She cuts her finger off and mails it to him as a sign of her affection and this lands her a stent at the local mental hospital.  Upon her release she visits Miles on death row and offers him her body in return for a lesson in murder.  Soon she goes on a crash course in murder and her family are the ones who suffer.
     I always greet every movie with an open mind.  However, I may not always go into a movie with enthusiasm or excitement.  After hearing my horror friend brag on the film I was very excited to say the least.  Hell, even the poster art for the film sparked excitement.  However, once I started watching the film I quickly realized that this one did not fit my taste in movies.  The acting in this one is great.  In fact, I would call it top notch.  The entire cast did great and really submerged themselves in their roles.  This made the film a lot easier to swallow.  The story for this one is very fun but it moves at a snails pace.  The film has so much potential but it is ruined with the films running time.  Personally, I think this film would have went better if it was a short or edited to have a shorter running time.  Finally, the film has some decent special effects.  The special effects are not something I would call phenomenal or truly amazing but they do fit the film and the kills we get on camera.  Overall, Slaughter Daughter is a film with a great story but fell apart during production.  I recommend it to watch at least once but it has no replay value.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wild Justice

Director - Julian Cheah (Killer Clown)
Starring - Rod Manikam (The Hired Killer), Simon Arblaster (Golden Gods), and Maggie Meyer (The Silent City)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Action
Tagline - "They chose the wrong man to hunt"
Format - Streaming (Online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I hate when filmmakers try to take on projects bigger than their budget. You need money to pull action and sci-fi off unlike horror and drama flicks.  Recently, I reviewed the indie action flick Gone Dark sent to me by the fine folks over at Midnight Releasing.  I appreciate every screener sent my way but this film was extremely horrible.  I was also sent a screener for the action flick Wild Justice by Midnight Releasing's sister company Brain Damage Films.  As much as I did not like Gone Dark I tried to be open minded for Wild Justice.  Who knows, it could be the next Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction (Quick update:  Its not!).
      The film follows former soldier Daniel Wilson (Manikam) and his beautiful wife Lisa (Meyer).  The two are in love and recently Lisa discovered she is expecting the two's first child. However, one night Daniel breaks up a potential rape and beats the gangsters ass.  This gangster tells the local crime boss about the incident forcing him to act.  He sends his thugs to kidnap Lisa.  Once he does so he holds her for ransom but when Daniel shows up with the money  the goon kills Lisa anyway sparking a blood fueled killing spree in the name of lost love.
     The first few moments made me think there was hope for the film.  The film looked great but as the film progressed my hope turned to sorrow as I watched more and more of this steaming pile.  The acting is not that great but I personally believe that is due to the horrendous dialogue.  Most of the scenes felt like they were written for a 70s and 80s buddy cop television show.  The character's interactions just did not seem real.  The story for this one is bad...and I mean BAD.  The story is unoriginal and the writing is bad.  The dialogue is horrible and the story shows no real effort from the writer to give the audience anything fun and entertaining.  I have seen my fair share of "pregnant wife getting killed" revenge flicks and this one is by far the worst.  Finally, the action in this one is the worst part of the entire film if you can believe that.  The gun fire effects and CGI are bad.  Not The Asylum bad but damn near close to it.  The fight choreography was also bad making the fight scenes almost laughable.   Now, my biggest gripe is how this film tried to rival the last fight scene from the Patrick Swayze classic Road House.  This last fight mimics many actions showcased in that fine film including the iconic throat ripping kill.  Overall, Wild Justice is unoriginal and bad on every level.  If you like bad movies then please watch SyFy channel originals instead.  Stay away!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Morris County

Director - Matthew Garrett (Beating Hearts)
Starring - Darcy Miller (Grimm), Marc D. Donovan (Boardwalk Empire), and Christian Davidock (Boardwalk Empire)
Release Date - 2009
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "This could be anywhere"
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      I've said it before and I will say it again, I love how tight knit the horror community is.  When I first joined Horror Society I would meet a filmmaker, actor, distributor, producer, etc almost weekly but now I meet someone in the horror game daily.  In fact, I meet multiple people a day and I fucking love it.  Most of these people want nothing more than for people to recognize all the hard work and dedication they had put in to their projects.  That brings me to my next review.  The next film I will put on the chopping block is Morris County.  The film was recently acquired for distribution by Beneath the Underground and one of the beautiful people behind that group was nice enough to send me an online screener for the film.  Farmer Vincent, whatever your real name is, thank you so much for hooking me up!
     The film is an anthology film that follows three poor souls in Morris County.  The first story follows a wayward youth, Ellie (Miller), who has drifted away from her parents and starts to party.  However, Ellie is not what she seems and her secrets coincide with the changing of her young body.  The second story follows a Jewish father who is trying to deal with his wife cheating on him.  He leaves his son home alone and goes out to the local video store where he picks up a man of the evening for a little knob slobbing.  Things do not go according to plan and the two get in a fight and arrested.  His wife bails him out and things go south from their for them.  The third and final story follows a kind elderly lady who loses her job and forced into early retirement with her husband.  However, her husband dies one night.  Not being able to live without him she leaves his rotting corpse in her home as if he never passed.
     I love anthology films but I fucking hate reviewing them because I like to take the time to give each segment the time and respect they deserve instead of just writing one generic review.  That sucks for me because I really enjoyed myself while watching Morris County for the most part.  Each story was very unique with each surpassing the next.  The acting in this film is surprisingly top notch.  Each cast member really brought their "A" game is it shown throughout each scene.  It would be a damn shame if I don't see each cast member in some other films.  The film has three great stories but some are naturally better than the others.  Story one, to me, was the weakest in the film.  The story was fun but it was just a little slow for my taste.  The second story was a little more faced pace than the first one and was surprisingly raunchy.  This story did, in fact, throw me for a few loops.  The third story is by far the the highlight of the film.  The story is shocking, disgusting, and a shear masterpiece.  I could never praise this story enough.  Finally, the special effects in this film are down right fascinating.  The first two stories do not put these amazing effects to use but the third proudly showcases it.  Overall, Morris County is one hell of an anthology flick that needs to be seen.  If you like good horror you will like Morris County.  Check it out!



Director - Adam Dunning (The Infected, Laughter)
Starring - Adam Dunning, Olivia Kuttrubis (The Infected), and Ronald Muir (The Infected)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Tagline - "Sleep is no what you should be afraid of..."
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      What I love about horror is that the genre is so wide and diverse.  Horror films have so many routes they can take and that route is only determined by the filmmaker and his budget.  I personally like the more straight forward horror flicks that hit me with buckets of blood and shear violence.  However, I am open to all films from the genre regardless of what kind of story they have to tell.  That brings me to the short Hypnophobia directed by Adam Dunning.  I knew nothing of this film before receiving a screener but that is starting to become the norm around here.  I do want to say that before watching the film I was really impressed with the film's artwork.  The artwork really got me excited to see the film so I threw it in and gave it a chance. 
     The film follows a female patient who refuses to sleep because when she does she sees another young female that haunts her.  She is locked away and under the care of Dr. Peters who tries everything to help her.  He can see the pain and torment in her eyes and believes he can help her but things start to spin out of control.  Before long we are then shown who the real patient is and who the doctor is...or isn't.

     Before I get too far into this review I want to say, once again, that I am a fan of straight forward horror.  I tend to stay away from the more psychological based horror films.  I usually don't have that much fun with them.  I feel they lack the action and violence that I crave and because I am too stupid to really appreciate them.  Now that I got that out of my system I can praise this film for what it is.  The acting in this film is not the best I have seen but it is also not the worst.  Most of the cast only had one or two films under their belts before Hypnophobia and it shows.  I'm not saying the cast lack the talent because they don't.  They do, however, lack the experience needed to make their roles even more believable.  The story is very bold and very impressive for an indie psychological flick.  I was honestly blown away by the story and twist ending.  However, the film had a lot of dry spots which took away from the overall film.  The twist ending also reminded me a lot of the horror classic Carnival of Souls.  I will not go any further in fear of spoiling the film.  Finally, those looking for great kills and special effects will not find them here.  This film relies heavily on story and atmosphere to get a rise out of the viewer.  This film also shows not all horror flicks need blood and guts to get noticed.  Overall, Hypnophobia is a strong attempt at the psychological horror sub-genre.  The film does have slow spots but fans of these films will really enjoy it.