Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MrParka Reviews: Mutantis

The Hornet's Sting and the Hell It Caused (2014)

(out of 5)

The Hornet's Sting and the Hell It Caused (2014)
directed by:  Dustin Mills
starring:  Joni Durian, Allison Egan, Minnie Grey, Dave Parker
Format:  Personal Collection NTSC:  Region 1 Client List Edition

         Dustin Mills is on top of his game.  He is probably the most creative and imaginative independent filmmaker out right now for many reasons but it's his style  of shooting and writing that grab me the most.  Yes he's a great innovative fx artist but the further he goes in this business the more and more I just love seeing his camera work and finding out what new story he has in store for his viewers.  Nothing Dustin does is ever boring or mundane or even repetitive.  From the titles of his films all the way through the dialogue his writing is just off the wall and never predictable.  Dustin takes ideas that have been done over and over and adds a twist of lime to make everything that much better. 
     Here we have the "A" typical torture porn movie which is a term I hate to use but it paints the picture pretty well so there you go.  I myself have waded through the many indie films of this kind and grew tired and bored of it long ago.  For some putting naked women up on screen getting tortured becomes boner footage for most of their viewers no matter how those viewers try and rationalize it and it makes a quick buck. I may be in the minority but you need much, much more than that to impress me when it comes to making movies of any kind.  And well here comes Dustin Mills to do just that.  When I found out the small details I did of Hornet's Sting I was on the fence waiting.  I mean Her Name Was Torment was definitely similar but in my opinion it was far more of an art film and this is definitely a torture and humiliation film.  I'd use the words "and nothing else" after that last sentence but with Dustin there is never "nothing else". 
     I will not get into a lot of spoilers here as I try and never do but let's just say the characters get tortured and photographed by a very cruel and merciless person donning a red skull mask forcing people to do a variety of things for a book of "clients".  Is there much to the story here?  Nope and neither does there need to be.  Mills brings us to the very brink of modern independent filmmaking and goes a step further by creating a pink madness I will never forget.  I watched this three times the weekend I received it.  It was that impressive.  The acting was on point in every case most especially with Joni Durian and Allison Egan.  In a lot of the torture films I have seen the case is the director did not care at all about the acting abilities of his performers just whether or not they had nice bodies for the viewers to look at amongst the blood.  Well in this case we have both which is what I always prefer.  Art isn't art in my opinion when it has no soul, no intelligence, and Dustin whether he realizes it or not always provides intelligent cinematic creativity. 
     So without babbling on too much more and ruining the whole thing my recommendation is to snatch this puppy up.  Dustin really has raised the bar with independent filmmaking, no one and I mean no one works as hard as this man.  Proof is in not just the quantity of his productions but for me the quality at which they are produced.  And to add to that no one is like him, the only filmmaker I can think of that is would be Frank Henenlotter.  If anyone deserves more credit and recognition in the indie business it's Dustin Mills.   So go get stung and enjoy it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Birth of the Living Dead

Director - Rob Kuhns (This Is a Game, Ladies)
Starring - George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Martin), Mark Harris (Moyers and Company), and Larry Fessenden (Stake Land, The Strain)
Release Date - 2013
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "1968: Peace, love, and the undead"
Format - Streaming (Netflix)

Rating (out of 5):
     In 2012 I started writing reviews and almost every review I write I am able to work in my love of slasher films. However, one of my favorite films of all time just happens to not be a slasher.  In fact, it is a member of a sub-genre that I have learned to hate in recent years with all the post-Walking Dead pieces of shit.  The zombie films before The Walking Dead had style and most tried to set themselves apart and not fit in the same mold as the others unlike the modern zombie movement we have today.  The first film to take zombies and turn them away from their voodoo back stories and make them flesh eaters was George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead.  This film forever changed the zombie sub-genre and the way the zombie would be seen in future films.  The last few months I have been buying up everything NotLD related to add to my collection.  After receiving a few documentaries about NotLD in the mail I ventured to Netflix for a few movies when I found this documentary here.  It looked fantastic so I had to give it a go.
     This documentary starts out with a little insight on George A. Romero and his film career prior to filming NotLD. It discusses his work with Mr. Rogers and the special with Mr. Rogers where he has his tonsils removed.  It then jumps to the filming of NotLD.  It goes into great detail on how many members of the cast and crew had to take on multiple roles and work long hours to get the film done.  We then finish the film up with a look back at the world in 1968 with the Vietnam Conflict, the race riots, and films of the time.  It then changes gears and shows how progressive and before it's time the film actually was and the cultural impact the film left behind that can be seen even today.
     Documentaries have the power to be informative and give the viewer an inside look at something they know nothing about or expand your knowledge on a topic that you know and love. When it comes to horror and horror films a documentary about the sub-genre has to really deliver or the fans of the genre will turn ravenous.  Well, it looks like the folks behind Birth of the Living Dead knew that and really fucking delivered.  Before I watched this documentary I thought I knew everything there was to know about the career of George A. Romero and the film Night of the Living Dead.  Instead, BotLD gave me more fun facts about the film than I know what to really do with all while giving me a great look at the time period in which the film was made. This is very insightful for those, like myself, that was not around during that time.  The film also flows very well and shows a lot of time and thought placed in the order in which the documentary flows. That is a tremendous help to the viewer so they can properly pull in the knowledge and in the correct order.  Finally, this documentary looks amazing.  The visual effects, editing, and animation is fantastic making it one of the best documentaries I have seen in recent years.  Overall, Birth of the Living Dead is an insightful documentary about one of the most influential horror films of all times that forever shaped the way we see zombies.  Check it out!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Director(s) - Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell
Starring - Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek), Alan Drake (Blackwood), and Clare Higgins
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "Jack's a writer with a dark secret. But now his demons are taking over, unless one man finds the courage to fight back."
Format - Streaming (Netflix)

Rating (out of 5):
      It is not often that I watch a movie and fall in love with the cast.  However, when it does I am a fan for life.  When I was in high school the world's first rom-com-zom was released.  That film was Shaun of the Dead and starred the comedic duo Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.  This was the first time I saw Pegg and Frost but it was damn sure not the last time.  After that I followed their career pretty closely grabbing every movie of theirs I could find but for some reason Pegg worked on a film in 2012 called A Fantastic Fear of Everything and the film was released without me knowing about it.  I was watching movies on Netflix when I came across the film.  I had to watch it and after I did I had to share this beautiful film with everyone!
     The film follows recluse Jack (Pegg) who is a writer.  He is mostly known as a children's author but this is something he plans on changing with his new book on serial killers.  However, his research on serial killers has made him more than paranoid. He now believes that a serial killer is stalking him in his apartment ready to strike any minute.  One day he goes out to lunch with a friend and learns that an American screen writer wants to meet with him.  This freaks Jack out because his name is funny.  Jack is excited and scared.  However, Jack decided to meet him anyway and decides to do laundry so he can look his best.  He is afraid of laundrettes and thinks he can wash his clothes in the kitchen sink and dry them in the stove.  While they are drying he panics and super glues a window shut and inadvertently glues his hand to a kitchen knife.  While trying to remove his hand from the knife he forgets about his clothes and burns them to a crisp.  He then dons a large coat to conceal his weapon and heads to the local laundrette where he meets a beautiful young woman but accidentally reveals his weapons to the patrons causing a stir and the police is called.  Once the situation is cleared he leaves to go prepare for his meeting and is knocked unconscious.  He awakens in a basement next to the beautiful young girl and learns that the cop is actually an aspiring serial killer with Jack set to be his next victim.  It is now up to Jack and his story telling ability to save him and the young lady from the half-wit murderer.
     I love when a film tries to be dark but is able to to keep a playful tone throughout.  The most common of these films are the ones made by Tim Burton in the late 80s and early 90s.  These films were dark in subject matter but filmed in such a light tone that any age could watch and appreciate them. His films Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, and even scenes in Pee Wee's Big Adventure demonstrate this.  These films have a rather dark subject but are so tame that a child could watch it.  That is one of the reasons I loved this film so much.  The film could easily be a horror flick or tweaked a little more to be a children's movie.  The film is also able to throw in some amazing animation that flows well with the film in the same style that we are accustomed to with Burton.  The acting in this film is phenomenal and Simon Pegg knocks it out of the fucking park.  Talent oozes from him in every scene and carries this film.  The remainder of the cast is good as well but no where on Pegg's level.  The story for this one is simple and very effective.  The film was definitely written to showcase Pegg's talent with a majority of the film taking place with just Pegg in his apartment.  One would assume it would be boring and claustrophobic but you would be dead wrong.  The film was fun, funny, and full of life.  Finally, this dark comedy lacks on screen kills and special effects but makes up for it with rich story and an amazing performance.  Fans of family oriented horror and Tim Burton films will love this film!  If you have Netflix then do yourself a favor and watch this film!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stabbed in the Face

Director - Jason Matherne (Attack of the Cockface Killer, Goregasm)
Starring - Eric Fox, Dana Kieferle (Goregasm), and Steve Waltz (Grimewave: Cockface III)
Release Date - 2004
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
    It is no secret that I fucking love slashers.  I love slashers of all varieties but that sub-genre has lead to much debate about the sub-genre's origins and which film was actually the first. Some argue that Halloween and Twitch of the Death Nerve is the first slasher flicks while some argue that the slasher sub-genre has it's bloody roots in several Universal films from the early 1940s.  Either way, I prefer my slashers 80 style with a side of camper tits and big hair.  Recently I have been on a sleazy bender with the films of Terror Optics.  I just finished the dirty slasher flick Attack of the Cockface Killer.  I decided it was the perfect time to follow it up with the second TO feature Stabbed in the Face.  This was supposedly a throwback to the golden age of slashers and that made me a little bit hard!
     The film is set in the 80s and a group of twenty-something visit an abandoned home to party it up and wreak a little havoc. They pick the worst time to party because a madman is killing the locals.  To make matters even worse is one of the men in the group is an aspiring serial killer who is using this little get together as a chance to raise his kill count.  In the midst off these two killers is a group of young adults who have to sober up to live.
     What I like about the other two Terror Optics films were their sense of humor and how the films had no fucking limits.  Nothing was off limits or too taboo for these films and that is something I will always admire. After just a few moments of watching Stabbed in the Face I knew this film was more of a serious flick.  I respect that because most of my favorite slashers skip on the humor.  The acting in this one is what I have come to expect from a Terror Optic flick.  They all try their hardest but that is just not enough.  The cast really needs more experience and this can be said about all the other TO flicks.  The story for this one is very complex when compared to the other TO flicks.  In fact, that last sentence is a serious understatement.  The story with two killers going at once is a pure stroke of genius.  I loved that plot point and it really made me excited once I figured that out.  Sadly, it was not executed that way and can confuse the viewer in certain scenes.  I feel a little better editing or writing would have helped this film out tremendously.  Finally, the film has a lot of great on screen kills and practical effects.  The film has some pretty impressive kills that showcase some decent special effects.  They are brutal, bloody, and great to watch.  Overall, Stabbed in the Face is a slasher that needs to be seen.  Sadly, the bad acting and confusing story will prevent this film from joining the normal slasher rotation.  Check it out but don't expect the world's best slasher.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nosferatu (1922)

(out of 5)
Nosferatu (1922)
directed by:  F. W. Murnau
starring:  Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Ruth Landshoff, Georg H. Schnell ,Gustov Box, Alexander Granach 
Format:  Personal Collection NTSC:  Region 1                         

        F.W. Murnau's chilling classic Nosferatu 1922 is hands down my favorite vampire film of all time.  I have seen it compared to Dracula (1931) and even it's remake but there are no "talkies" that compare at all in any way with the silent era.  The silent era and it's filmmakers gave birth to what we see today and for me just don't even sit in the same realm with anything else.  This was filmmaking when no one had any idea what "horror" films were.  It was filmmaking before big explosions and big time million dollar actors and directors.  Hell it was filmmaking before television.  

 Max Schrek plays the count in this silent classic and he plays it in my opinion the best of all Draculas or in this case Orlok.  The film was based on Bram Stoker's Dracula and was ordered to be destroyed by the courts because of copyright infringement by Stoker's widow.  But the film lucky for us survived unlike London After Midnight a silent film starring Lon Chaney that was destroyed in a film vault fire never to be seen again. 

            The shrill silent film music and grainy quality are so nostalgic to me I've watched old horror films since I was a kid and Nosferatu was the first silent film I ever saw probably around the age of ten and have been in love with it ever since.  Max Schrek is scary as hell or at least he was when I first saw the movie way back when.  The expressions, the old school effects of his teeth, ears, and fingers created quite the eerie looking vampire.  His shadow racing up the stairs is a classic shot and it was that moment during the film in particular that I remember being scared the most as a kid.  I kept seeing that image floating up the stairs in my childhood home. 

            The stop motion camera tricks are and always will be my favorite kind of effects hands down.  In this there are several including the count building coffins full of earth to be carried away by his team of horses.  Just makes me smile ear to ear.  The land scapes in the 20s and in the 30s era were spectacular and for me just magical.  Not to mention the inside atmospheres of the castles and buildings they shot in.  I just try and think about how things were then on set.  How they did lighting and dealing with the lack of sound as filmmakers.  Sound is such a big deal when putting together a movie the lack of it and the addition of a sort of narrating style of music and phrase cards would just be so different from the way things are done now.
 The story here pretty much follows the other film versions of Dracula.  We have Renfield the crazy slave of the count who gets locked up in an insane asylum and Harker follows up where he left off business wise with the count in Transylvania.  The outfits and hair styles of the time period are classic and Renfield was quite scary looking with his white crazy clown hair.  Makes me laugh now but at the time when I first saw it I was petrified that Renfield was going to break into my room at night and try and bite me.   Harker becomes a prisoner of the count and the count crates up some earth and heads off to London to seduce Mina.  While on the way the count kills off an entire crew of a cargo ship including the ship's captain who binds himself to the ship's wheel. 

Obviously I love this movie and to me it's the best vampire film of all time and the best silent picture of all time and I for one am glad Bram Stoker's widow didn't get her way by destroying this film.  It spawned a legion of great vampire films and directly influenced a remake as well as the film Shadow of the Vampire which was kind of a mockumentary of the original, plus the vampire design for Salem's Lot which was in homage of Max Schrek.   

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Attack of the Cockface Killer

Director - Jason Matherne (Stabbed in the Face, Goregasm)
Starring - Dana Kieferle (Hoodoo for Voodoo), Bill Heintz (Creepy Dean), and Jared Scallions (Goregasm)
Release Date - 2002
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I love when a horror movie is so ridiculous that it leaves the viewer screaming "what the fuck" at the television screen.  These Troma-esque movies tend to have over the top characters put in zany situations with a completely absurd killer.  Several months back I was able to review the fucking batshit crazy slasher flick Goregasm featuring everyone's favorite horny mongoloid.  This micro-budget horror comedy really surprised me and left me wanting more.  I reached out to director Jason Matherne about the film and he informed that Goregasm was actually a sequel to his 2002 flick Attack of the Cockface Killer. I had to have it.  No, not see it.  I had to have it in my possession and on my shelf in my collection.  Matherne told me to hold my horses because AotCK, along with another Matherne flick, would be released on DVD soon.  I waited, waited, and waited, until I finally received the demented double feature.  Thank you Jason for sending me the films to check out!
     The film follows a group of twenty-somethings who live in a small town where those that fornicate are slaughtered by a mental challenged man wearing a dildo on his chin. They refuse to think that the mongoloid will interfere with them and often party it up and end it with a little game of hide the sausage.  These sexually active young adults often find themselves on the business side of Cockface and his giant black dildo.  After the death of several friends, the remainder of the youths head out to the swamps to find the sex-crazed retard and they only find remains of his poor victims.  With most of his friends now dead, one young man with a normal job finds Cockface and the two have it out with samurai swords and dildos! 
     I love ALMOST every aspect of horror for various reasons.  I like the serious gore filled flicks, the light hearted horror flicks aimed towards kids, and so many more.  However, I am always looking for the over-the-top comical horror flicks.  That is why I am such a fan of Troma films and the Brain Damage flicks of the late 2000's. These films tend to make you laugh more than they scare or startle you.  That is the kind of flicks I can spend days watching.  I love how the characters are extremely exaggerated and the killers usually kill in ways out of the ordinary.  These films are usually made in a fun atmosphere and that fun work environment shows on screen making these flicks a one of a kind movie experience.  The acting in this film is on the low end.  However, several characters took their lack of experience and made their characters fun that takes the viewer's attention off their actual skill.  The other cast members, the ones that tried to make their roles more serious, lacked experience to make their roles believable and easy to watch.  More experience would have went a long way with this one.  The story for this one is fun but nothing new.  It is the classic slasher tale but with more sleaze and even more sex.  Jason Matherne has created something that I hope never ends!  Finally, the film has more death scenes than you can shake your dick at.  The kills are a plenty here but the special effects are nothing that special.  Some are decent that work great with the kill while others are on the bad side.  Overall, Attack of the Cockface Killer is one vulgar and vile flick that is fun as hell to watch.  If you have not seen Attack of the Cockface Killer and Goregasm then you are really missing out.  Check em out!