Friday, June 27, 2014

Haunted House on Sorority Row

Director - Henrique Couto (Babysitter Massacre)
Starring - Joe Kidd (Awkward Thanksgiving), Erin R. Ryan (Easter Casket, Watch This), and Haley Madison (Bludgeon, Hunters)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "They wanted a fresh start...they got a sorority house from hell"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Supernatural films hardly get the indie treatment.  I, however, believe that is a good thing because not all filmmakers can pull off the suspense or create the atmosphere needed to pull the film off. I have seen several indie paranormal flicks and they all lacked certain elements that the older, bigger budgeted films were able to grasp.  Recently, I was able to catch Henrique Couto's supernatural horror flick Haunted House on Sorority Row.  Henrique is a filmmaker that has been making films for years now but I was not familiar with all his work.  Last year about this time I watched my first of his titled Bleeding Through.  I was not a fan of the film but that did not stop me from viewing Henrique's more recent endeavors...and I'm glad I did!
     The film follows a newly formed sorority as they move into a house with a horrible history. As the ladies, and some of the lady's fuck buddies, move into the home and unpack their things weird things start to happen around the house.  The first thing they all notice is the food instantly spoils once brought into the home.  Then they all start seeing things out the corner of their eyes or visions of things from their dark pasts.  Things turn from strange to deadly when people from their pasts start manifesting with homicidal urges.  Each member of the house has to confront demons from their former lives or die from the horrors they all thought they escaped.
     To me supernatural horror flicks are not that scary but they do have an atmosphere about them that make them just as enjoyable to watch as any slasher or zombie flicks. Classics like the original House on Haunted Hill, Nightmare Castle, and Dementia 13 are all prime examples of that.  These films know what it takes to make the film work and they refuse to let anything get in their way.  They have an end product in mind and will not settle for anything less. That is something Henrique had a strong understanding of and it clearly shows throughout the entire film.  The acting in this one is great and has a lot of familiar faces.  Erin R. Ryan and Haley Madison both have been under my knife multiple times for their contribution to films from Concept Media and Dustin Mills Productions.  These two beautiful young ladies have talent that can go for days along with the looks to melt hearts (and cause hand cramps).  The remainder of the cast is equally as talented and as beautiful.  I look forward to seeing more work from them all.  The story for this one is a fun mash up of several classic horror flicks from yesteryear.  The over sexual sorority flicks from the 80s is perfectly mashed up with the supernatural flicks of the late 60s and 70s.  Henrique is able to successful draw in the eerie atmosphere and tension of the classic ghost films which is something that is rarely done among indie flicks.  That was a huge concern of mine going into this film and he laid that concern to rest.  Finally, the film has some great practical effects, clever kills, and amazing cinematography.  The film's look is beyond it's budget.  Overall, Haunted House on Sorority Row is well crafted and superb.  This is easily one of the best films of 2014 and needs to be added to any horror fan's collection.  I highly recommend this one!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

100 Tears

Writer:Joe Davison
Director:Marcus Koch
Starring:Jack Amos, Raine Brown, Georgia Chris, Joe Davison
Availability:DVD Available from or

    Marcus Koch is a fucking god in the world of indie horror.  There is just nobody out there who touches him in the world of gore effects.  In a lot of ways, you could say he's this generation's Tom Savini, only much more talented and far less of a fucking asshole.  When he's not too busy raising the bar for cinematic bloodshed, Marcus also moonlights as a director, and he's pretty damn good at that as well.  His shot on video punk rock horror flick Rot is an absolutely essential part of any SOV library.  His 100 Tears follow-up Fell is an absolutely devastating character piece that shows he can do wonders even when the gore is kept to a minimum.  I've yet to see his early flick Bad Blood, but I hope to change that one of these days.

    This all brings us to the movie I'm reviewing tonight...100 Tears.  I first saw this bad boy some years back, and it's stuck with me ever since.  You see, I'm a sucker for killer clowns, but unfortunately, it's one of those concepts that so many movies fail to be able to capitalize on.  For every Killer Klowns From Outer Space, there's ten Jingles The Clowns.  There are a handful of killer clown films that do it right.  Aside from Killer Klowns From Outer Space, there's also Tim Curry as Pennywise in It (though I think this is an incredibly flawed film otherwise), Fear of Clowns, the last two Killjoy movies, Drive-Thru, Stitches, Klown Kamp Massacre, and this one.  Gurdy is one bad-ass motherfucker, and there is plenty of blood and gore here to satisfy everyone...even Grandma.

    Jack Amos is absolutely brilliant as Gurdy, a clown who once sought revenge on the people who wrongfully condemned him.  Unfortunately, this act of vengeance triggers something inside of him, and now Gurdy is a non-stop killing machine.  Throw in a couple tabloid reporters, and the always gorgeous Raine Brown as Gurdy's daughter (who also has a thirst for blood), and you have all the ingredients you need for a bona fide modern body count classic!  The script from Joe Davison gives us a very eclectic group of characters.  These aren't your typical slasher cliche roles.  These are characters you like, that you care about, and goddamn it!  Why can't more slasher movies understand that the details are just as important as the kills.

    Marcus shows some mad skills behind the camera.  He fills the Gurdy sequences with a truly atmospheric sense of dread.  The film's low budget is never all that obvious, because Marcus has a real sense of style, and he gets some very strong performances from just about everyone here.  Georgia Chris and Joe Davison are a lot of fun as the reporters, and they give the film a sense of comic relief.  The gore effects, obviously, are absolutely top notch!  The kills themselves aren't always the most inventive, but who cares?  If there's a way to die, Marcus will find a way to exploit it!

    The new release from Stephen Biro and Unearthed Films finally gave me a reason to revisit this sucker.  This new release is fantastic.  Not only does it offer an extended version of the movie, but you also get a crap ton of special features.  The special feature that meant the most to me, though, were the childhood short films included on the set.  Sure, they're rough, they're amateur, and they're far from groundbreaking.  Still, though, they show a lot of heart, and I always love to see the humble beginnings of the directors I admire.  This is definitely an essential release for fans of this movie.

    So, there simply isn't anything I can say that hasn't already been said about this movie.  It's the ultimate killer clown movie, and since my first time seeing it, I've been a fan of Marcus's, and he's a man whose career I will continue to follow.  I mean, come on!  He uses a fucking Voltaire song in the closing credits, for fuck's sake!  If you don't know who Voltaire is, remedy that shit immediately.  He's fantastic!  So, buy this movie.  If you've never seen it, I envy you for having the chance to see this for the first time.  If you're already a fan, it's worth it for the extra footage and the bad-ass special features.

    Until next time, my fellow freaks and weirdos...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blood Widow

Director - Jeremiah Buckhalt
Starring - Danielle Lilley (The Incubus), Brandon Kyle Peters (Tastings), and Gabrielle Ann Henry (Intrusive Behavior)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Die in silence"
Format - Streaming (online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Slashers have always evolved since their conception in the 70s.  Though, it could take almost a decade for the formula to change, it still changes none-the-less. However, with all the changes over the years the modern slasher has decided to stop moving forward (due to fan backlash) and started looking back at a time when the slasher prospered.  Recently I was able to watch and review the modern slasher Axeman.  The film was a throwback to the slashers of the 80s but failed to capture that essence of the 80s.  I took a break from reviewing flicks for a few days but returned to Midnight Releasing with another slasher screener titled Blood Widow.  I knew nothing of the film before hand but the poster looked cool as hell so I was a little excited to see it.
     The film follows a young couple that purchase a secluded home out in a rural area.  As the couple unpack and get adjusted to their new home the man of the house has different plans and invite their friends over to party.  This upsets his wife but as the day progresses she becomes more and more open to the idea.  After everyone is ready to party they explore the property and discover an abandoned building nearby and decide to check it out.  A few of the people fuck around and bust the floor up before leaving.  This sets in motion a bloody killing spree when a white masked wearing starts stalking the party goers one by one in silence with deadly accuracy.
     Slashers are all about style but the style can vary.  Most slashers play out like a bloody mystery with unique kills and an even more unique killer.  Other slashers tend to be straight forward with a brutal killer with brutal kills.  These are the ones that have became popular in recent years and I am sure they will stay popular for several more.  There is a small amount of slashers that tend to be sleek and hits hard.  These are not that common but for the most part they tend to be poorly written and poorly executed.  That is the opposite of Blood WidowBlood Widow was sleek and fast but was not poorly written.  The film was actually fun and different when compared to all these other slashers with brooding killers.  The acting in this one is once again on the fence.  Some of the cast did a great job while others just seemed to not put forth much of an effort.  If the acting was straight across the board then the film would have been a little better.  The story for this one is just like so many other slashers.  Nothing really new or exciting but I did like the killer a lot.  The killer looks a little on the lame side but I loved how it was more of an assassin with fluid like movement instead of a hulking menace stumbling around slaughtering people.  Finally, the film has some great kills that are brutal but they were almost ruined with horrible CGI and visual effects.  The film also lacked practical effects to accompany the kills making that a bit of a let down.  Overall, Blood Widow is a fun little slasher that does not go down the beaten path.  This film, instead, carves it's own way into the slasher history book.  Check it out.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.

Director(s) - Michael Herz (The Toxic Avenger, The Toxic Avenger II) and Lloyd Kaufman (Terror Firmer)
Starring - Rick Gianasi (Mutant Hunt), Susan Byun (Dead Connection), and Bill Weeden (Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV)
Release Date - 1990
Genre - Action/Comedy
Tagline - "Fatal Sushi ... Lethal Chopsticks .. And As American As Apple Pie!"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Troma is a company that always seems to take my money and not in a bad way.  Every time they release a new film or I come across one while shopping I have to grab it. I try to pick up all things Troma regardless if it is a Troma original or one they are simply distributing. I do tend to enjoy the originals a little bit more than I do the ones they just distribute but for some reason I have not watched two titles, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. and Terror Firmer.  That changed when I recently worked up a trade in a DVD/blu-ray collecting group on Facebook.  I was able to unload several Goosebumps books I had gathering dust for several Troma flicks that I did not have.  Among those films was indeed Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.  I was looking for any excuse to watch the film and lucky for me Demons of Celluloid's theme this month is Troma and I had finally give this film a watch.
     The film follows Seargent Griswold (Gianasi) who gets thrown in the middle of a gang hit from a mob boss on a group of kabuki actors. One of the actors grabs Griswold and kisses him transferring the power of Kabukiman to him before he dies.  This power can transform Griswold into the great Kabukiman at anytime which has turned Griswold into the laughing stock of the precinct.  That is until he starts cleaning up the city with his powers and becomes a hero.  However, things aren't all sunshine and sushi rolls.  The mob boss is actually an ancient evil that was trying to use the power of the kabukiman to summon The Evil One.  It is now up to Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. and the beautiful Lotus to stop this ancient evil before he can raise The Evil One.
     Troma films are always unique but the Troma originals are all in a world of their own.  These films tend to be over the top and spread more laughs than it does storyline and action.  I had no idea how the film would play out but I assumed that it would be a decent outing from Troma after seeing the Kabukiman appear in other Troma films and outings after the release of the film.  However, decent was an understatement.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film but I can tell that this is the kind of flick I would have hated or not appreciated as much if I was younger.  As much as I loved cheese as a kid this film is cheesier than I would have liked but as an adult I absolutely loved it.  The acting in this one is actually at the top of the Troma flicks.  Rick Gianasi was perfectly casted in his role.  He really made the role his own, and in turn, made the movie very enjoyable.  The story for this one is another one that has been told before but in new light.  Several films before this one centered around a powerful being becoming mortally wounded and transferring his power on to someone else to carry on the good deeds.  Now, that story has been ran through Troma and turned into something that lack originality but makes up for it with laughs.  Finally, the film has some great practical effects but skips on the deaths.  However, that is to be expected from a comedy and not a horror flick.  Overall, Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. is a great addition to any Troma fan's collection.  The film is off-beat, funny, and very unexpected.  I definitely recommend this one.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


AKA Axeman at Cutter's Creek

Director - Joston Theney (Bleed 4 Me)
Starring - Joston Theney, Scot Pollard (Destination Planet Negro), and Elissa Dowling (Dahmer vs. Gacy, Borderline Cult)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "A vacation to dismember"
Format - Streaming (online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Slashers will always be one of my favorite horror sub-genres.  It is no secret that the slashers from the late 70s and 80s are by far my favorite but I am always open minded to viewing any slasher.  The last few years has saw a rise in slashers attempting to capture the essence of the slashers from the 80s.  Though this is a glorious thing we sometimes get films that are not so glorious.  Recently, I was checking out online screeners over at Midnight Releasing and Brain Damage when I came across the film Axeman which was formerly known as Axeman at Cutter's Creek.  The film supposedly was a throwback to the slashers of the 80s so I had to see it.  I went into this one with an open mind but deep down I was doubtful for the film.  
     The film starts out with three crooks as they discuss what they should do with the money they recently acquired from what I assume was by illegal means in a secluded cabin in the woods. However, before they could agree on how to cut the dough they are attacked and brutally murdered.  We then jump forward and a group of thirty-somethings are visiting the cabin to party in an attempt to re-kindle their friendship.  Over the years a girl in the group has bounced from one of the men to another forcing the two men to harbor a grudge.  The group tries to salvage their friendship as the hulking menace kills them one by one until they discover the bag full of cash and try to flee with their wealth...and their lives
      Slashers from the 80s are more than just a cool looking poster and a killer stalking the woods. They incorporate style, clothing, score, sets, and even the kills.  What made these films so special is, indeed, the fact they were made in the 80s.  That is why these films have such a hard time getting their films to look the part.  An attention to detail is needed to get a modern film to look as if it really is an 80s slasher.  Axeman was said to be an 80s throwback.  That is far from the truth.  In fact, at no point does the film make an attempt to be an 80s slasher.  Even if it did it wouldn't make a bit of difference.  The film was unable to give the viewer anything new or fun and instead went down in a blaze of glory as a generic slasher.  The acting in this one is down the middle of the road.  The cast had the experience necessary to give amazing performances but they failed to try.  It honestly felt as if they lacked the motivation needed to make their performances believable.  The story for this one is one we have seen hundreds if not thousands of times.  A group in the woods are being slaughtered for doing immoral things.  The downside to this one is the killer is not wearing a fucking mask which is a necessity for any slasher.  Finally, the film does several kills with most of them taking place on camera but they are ruined with horrible CGI and visual effects.  Overall, Axeman is a film that fails to really deliver on the goods.  It does have a few praise points but for the most part it misses the boat.  It does deserve at least one viewing but that is it.

Killer Legends

AKA The Urban Legend Project
Director - Joshua Zeman (Cropsey)
Starring - Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills (American Pickers)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Be careful where the truth may lead..."
Format - Streaming (Online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      Writing reviews for horror and sci-fi flicks is usually pretty straight forward.  99 percent of the films I review are for your typical film but that other one percent is the random documentary.  Most of the time the documentaries I review are the random alien conspiracy flick that is sent to me from time to time.  These are the documentaries I honestly don't care that much about.  On the other hand I do sometimes get the entertaining cryptozoological documentary that I do find interesting.  Rarely do I get the chance to review a documentary centered around serial killers and urban legends.  However, that time has finally come with the documentary Killer Legends.  This is a documentary I recently learned about through an email and I had to see it.  I reached out and was lucky enough to receive a link to an online screener.  
     This well written documentary explores four urban legends and the real life causes of them.  The first urban legend,The Hookman, explores the popular legend of an escaped mental patient or convict that has a hook for a hand.  He then stalks unsuspecting teens who are parked in their car trying to get a little action.  The teens get spooked and drive away only to discover a hook stuck to the door with a bloody nub still attached.  The second myth revolves around the candyman made popular by the film adapted from the work of Clive Barker.  This is the urban legend of a trick or treater dying from eating poisoned candy picked up during Halloween.  The third is an in depth look at the babysitter murders that has been the plot of several horror movies for the last 40 years.  This story is one about a babysitter who received a harassing phone call only to learn the calls are coming from inside the home.  Finally, the fourth urban legend is that of killer clowns and the famous serial killer John Wayne Gacy and his alter-ego Pogo.    
     Documentaries are films that hold so much power.  In fact, most documentaries can be even more powerful than a typical film.  These types of films can be overflowing with knowledge about a topic you may know nothing about.  Killer Legends takes several popular urban legends and instead of going into full detail on the popular legends, the documentary actually traces back to the instances that created this myth.  The research and information for this documentary is unparalleled.  The team behind this one really has a passion about the subject matter and it showed.  The documentary is also a true example of hard work and it shows.  The topic discussed in this one is one of interest and then the topics are looked at in a different light almost making them seem new.  Finally, the documentary and information is pieced together perfectly.  Each topic is discussed fully and flawlessly moves on to the next one.  Overall, Killer Legends is one hell of a film.  It is insightful and well put together.  I highly recommend this one!