Thursday, July 30, 2015


Author - Terry M. West (Turning Face)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Format - E-book (Review Copy)

Rating (out of 5):
     Reading was something I absolutely loved to do when I was in elementary and middle school.  I would often head to the library and check out Goosebumps, Fear Street, and the rip-off stories in Shivers.  As I got older I would pick up the occassional novel.  Sometimes they were about serial killers, some were autobiographies of Dimebag Darrel, and others were random fictional stories.  Reading became a chore and real life took over.  I would occasionally check out a Terry M. West novel but those were few and far in between.  I recently lost my job and found work at another company where I have an hour lunch with no internet access.  Without my beloved YouTube videos featuring Rhett and Link, Smosh, and Epic Meal Time I had nothing to occupy my time.  Then I remembered that I promised to read and review several stories from West.  After reading Turning Face I decided to set my sights to Dreg.  Thanks Terry for letting me check this one out too.  
     The film begins in the swamps of Louisiana as a father teachers his special, left handed son (Dreg) the ways of their religion which follows the moon that they believe is the eye of a great wolf named Le Loup.  Le Loup is the great hunter of hunters and wants blood the nights he shines.  They kill a tourist that was lost in the swamp and prepare parts of his body for a feast.  The boy becomes obsessed with Le Loup and files his teeth down to fangs to make himself even more wolf like.  His grandpa is the patriarch of the family who has a book in his possession that details their religion.  One day while looking though the book he comes across a demon that manifests when a baby is stillborn and is not burned.  Not long after that his baby brother is stillborn and his father, the leader of their pack, starts to bury the child in their front lawn.  Dreg tells him about the demon and his father refuses to listen.  Dreg fights him before ripping his throat out with his fangs.  His mother shoots his grandfather and forces Dreg to leave.  We then jump to present day, almost 50 years later, and we follow a psychic who is working for the police department.  They are trying to catch a killer known as the Keepsake Killer who is stalking a particular highway.  The psychic tries to reach the killer and when he gets close something happens and he almost dies.  His wife tries to force him off the case and succeeds after a wolf tries to kill him in a vision.  They decide to go on vacation and when her husband is shitting in a roadside shitter, Dreg kidnaps her forcing him back into the case to save his wife even if it kills him.
     West really is an exceptional author.  His stories are always unexpected and never fail to pull the reader in.  That is why he is one of my favorite authors.  His stories are so addicting and are easy to read.  The story for this one is so in depth with so much going on.  We have the crumbling marriage between the psychic and his wife before getting a very in depth back story on his wife and why she is a strong, independent woman.  We also get a look in the life of the detective that is helping him and how close he is to dying.  We then get a long look at two FBI agents that are fucking and their side story featuring a second serial killer known as the Optometrist.  The stories main focus is Dreg, his life as a follower of Le Loup, and his upbringing that lead to this point.  I absolutely loved how West was able to cram this much excitement into one book.  With that being said, this story pulled a Bible on us and only gave us Dreg's life as a child and as an adult before his death just like Jesus.  What happened during his young adult life?  Let us know what happened West!  This story is riveting and pulls the viewer in.  Finally, the writing in this one is fluid and easy to read.  West truly has a way with words.  Dreg is easy to follow, understand, and comprehend.  Overall, Dreg is another hard one to put down from a true master of horror.  The film is packed full of excitement and characters that you just can not stop reading about.  I highly recommend this one to anyone that enjoys a good horror novel.  Check it out!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Director - Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (American Horror Story, Glee)
Starring - Addison Timlin (Californication), Veronica Cartwright (Six Feet Under), and Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Fans of horror are stating that we are in a rut full of remakes and sequels.  First off, I love a good remake and sequel for obvious reasons.  They pick up where some of my favorite films left off or give a new take on a story I already love.  Those that bitch about this being a modern problem is a fucking idiot and clearly have no clue about horror from previous decades which is riddled with sequels and remakes.  Hell, one of John Carpenter's greatest film outside of Halloween (which has numerous sequels) is a remake of The Thing from Another World.  As for sequels, they have always been around.  Look at Romero's Dead series and the Universal monster films.   Sometime last years news spread across social media and the horror community alike about the upcoming Town That Dreaded Sundown and how the film was going to be a reboot/sequel.  Fans of the original were at arms with how the film does not need to be remade and "Hollywood" needs to start making more original films.  Like I said before, I love a good remake or sequel and when the chance arose to check out Town I reached out for a review copy and was kindly sent one.
     The film begins with the annual showing of The Town That Dreaded Sundown in Texarkana at the drive-in.  A young couple leaves and heads out to make-out lane for a little fun when a masked man forces them out of the car at gunpoint.  He then kills the young man and the young lady flees on foot to escape the madman.  The next day the town is in a frenzy over the murders and some are worried that the original killer behind the first murders is back at it again because the theater played the film.  The next night the masked killer brutally murders a returning solider and his girlfriend only sending the town further into chaos.  The young girl that survived the first attacks starts investigating while the police is at a lose.  More murders pop up prompting immediate action so the young girl starts chasing leads before she finally discovers that the killer was hiding right under her nose.
     Sequels traditionally pick up where the first story left off and continue down the character's path originally set forth in the first film.  We then have some sequels that do not take the traditional path and are only a sequel in title alone.  These films are usually released to cash in on the fame of the first film.  The Town That Dreaded Sundown is neither of these sequels.  Instead, it is a sequel to the the events that inspired the first film and takes place in the world where the murders were real.  Fucking brilliant.  The acting in this one is solid.  With that being said, it was actually a bit of a let down considering what it was.  I was expecting amazing performances from the entire cast.  Instead, what I saw would be considered mediocre and falls easily in to what I would consider Wal-Mart horror.  No one person's performance stood out to me and this was very upsetting.  The story for this one is more of the original but with a big twist.  The film takes place in the "real world" where the film was made to pay homage in a way to the murders that really did plague the small town.  Then when the movie was playing a killer starts killing in the manner that happened before.  This was bloody brilliant at making a sequel of sorts all while keeping the slasher vibe alive.  Sadly, this film falls short on character development which renders the story from reaching it's full power.  Finally, the film has several brutal kills.  These kills actually surprised me in it's ferocity.  Some of the kills actually pay homage to the first film which was pretty cool.  I only know this from fans of the original having never seen it myself.  With that being said, the kills are never shown thoroughly and we never get to see real blood and gore other than some bullet wounds and the like.  For a slasher, this is a huge let down.  Overall, The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a decent slasher that cleverly adds itself to the lineage of the first film.  The kills are intense but lack the gore that slasher fans crave.  It is definitely worth a watch so check it out.

Monday, July 27, 2015

House of the Living Dead

aka Curse of the Dead
Director - Ray Austin (Highlander Series)
Starring - Mark Burns (Count Dracula), Shirley Anne Field (These are the Damned), and David Oxley (The Hound of Baskervilles)
Release Date - 1974
Genre - Horror/Sci-Fi
Tagline - "What monstrous evil lurks..and feeds...and the attic of...House of the Living Dead"
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I've mentioned several times before that, largely, I am not a fan of most of the films that came out of the 70s.  With that being said, I do love the horror films from that were period pieces.  I was recently sent the vampire film Crypt of the Living Dead on blu to check out from the fine folks over at Vinegar Syndrome.  This was a great release for fans that love films from that decade or period piece horror flicks.  Vin Syn added a second film to the release as a special feature titled House of the Living Dead.  This 1974 film had the title later changed to Curse of the Dead before it was changed back to House of the Living Dead.  After checking out Crypt I had to watch this one and I'm damn sure glad I did.
     The film follows a young woman who packs up and moves across the country to be with a man she just recently met to live with him in his mansion with his family.  Before she leaves, a family friend and doctor tells her about the young man's brother that was horribly disfigured and left for dead by a black horse that roams the property.  What she doesn't know is that he is well and is experimenting on animals around their property until they become scarce and then he turns to the locals.  When she moves in her soon to be mother-in-law is cold to her and keeps telling her to leave.  She soon learns the dark secret of the family property and how the brother thought to be close to death is actually alive and is able to transport souls from person to person and took over his brother's body in order to trick her into moving in with him and the wild, black horse is actually his brother's soul trying to stop him.
     House of the Living Dead is a horror flick that I had never heard of before but I had high hopes for it considering Vin Syn paired it with Crypt which turned out to be a fun flick.  When I selected the film at the home screen I was very surprised by the story we got and confused as to why more people don't talk about this one.  The acting in this one does not stand out and, for once, I have to say is pretty bland for a film from this time.  The cast shows no conviction and just seems to be going through the motions to hit that payday.  This drags the film down substantially.  The story for this one is fucking awesome but doesn't fit in with the period piece.  Instead, it would have well if it was a science run amok flick set forth in a modern setting with a cliched science lab.  With that being said, the film still works very well as a period piece you just have to be open for the story.  Finally, the film does not really have that many on screen kills and when it does they are nothing bloody.  The point of this film is to tale a story and not spray blood.  Overall, House of the Living Dead is a fun film that one would not expect.  The story is very surprising and enjoyable if you allow yourself to take it for what it is.  Check it out in the Vin Syn release of Crypt of the Living Dead.

The Strain Season 1 Collector's Edition

Series Creators - Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim) and Chuck Hogan
Starring - Corey Stoll (Ant-Man), David Bradley (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), and Mia Maestro (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Writing for Horror Society has opened so many doors over the last two and a half years that I have been contributing to the site.  I have met so many wonderful people in the industry and built up so many great friendships along the way.  It has also opened up a lot of doors in the way of reviewing and I have made so many connections through various media outlets and distribution companies that are kind enough to send me their films and television show to check out, sometimes before they hit the store shelves.  I recently made contact with the fine folks that released the new season one collector's edition of the FX show The Strain that comes with a collectible bust of The Master.  They were kind enough to send one of these over for review which is by far the coolest thing I have received to date to review.  Thanks so much!
     The show follows former CDC agent who is investigating an airplane liner when everyone on board dies.  He believes this is some virus but soon discovers that it is much more than that when he witnesses those infected turn savage and drain the blood from those not infected with a giant stinger that shoots out from their mouth.  He partners with his former CDC partner, a city health inspector, a lesbian artist, his son, and a former death camp Jew turned vampire hunter.  
     Now this review is going to be a little different than my other blu reviews.  Typically, I review the film and the release when I review a blu but with this being such an amazing release, and the show so well known, this is strictly going to focus on the release itself.  This release stands out in so many different ways.  First, the blu itself.  The film looks amazing on blu with the series using the same transfer (1080p) as the first blu release that hit store shelves back around the holiday season.  However, this blu is different in that it now has several special features including In the Beginning, A Novel Approach, He is Here, Setrakain's Lair, commentary on select episodes, deleted scenes, gag reel, and teasers.  These special features are all great and add a lot of value to the blu itself.  Now, on to the packaging.  The set comes cradled inside the packaging with clear plastic over the Master's face.  This is great for those of us out there that want to keep the bust in the packaging to protect it but still want to show the piece off.  The packaging has the design that can be seen on the Master's coffin that was hand made by the vampire hunter when he was in a death camp.  The box opens up easily from the back to avoid from damage during the initial opening and the bust can be easily removed and placed back in without damage.  I don't know how many box sets with busts I have got over the years and there was no way of taking it out without destroying the packaging.  This was a thoughtful design.  Finally, the bust itself houses the blu.   The stand the bust sits on has a secret compartment that pulls down in the back that the blu case just slides into.  The bust itself is made solid and is surprisingly heavy.  The piece is very detailed in the painting and does not feel cheap even though the price tag says otherwise.  Overall, this a great piece for any fan of the show or collector of horror memorabilia.  The price for this is not that steep considering the quality of this product.  Grab one now while you can!

Turning Face

Author - Terry M. West (Car Nex)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "A tale of horror, comedy. and wrestling"
Format - e-book (review copy)

Rating (out of 5):
     Filmmaker, artist, and author Terry M. West has to be the hardest working man in the game.  It seems like almost monthly West is turning out piece after piece.  For those of you that love to read, this is fucking fantastic.  However, if you are a slow reader or don't have time for a good book. then this fucking sucks.  Especially if you are a fan of West and want to stay on top of all his projects.  Over the last two years I have read 4 novels and short stories from West and every one of them knocked me on my ass.  Among those stories were two characters that I really hope he continues to explore.  Those two are Bubba and Cecil and this is a plea to continue their misadventures!  Anyway, a few months back West hit me up with a review copy of one of his newest stories titled Turning Face which was a horror comedy about wrestling.  I am a huge fan of West and took the review copy.  My love of all things West made me greedy and I took the review copy knowing I had no time what-so-ever to review the novel.  That was until I started a new job where I have an hour for lunch with no internet access!  Thanks Terry for letting me check this amazing read out!
     The story follows Tojo Smith who is a demon who was conceived on Earth by two pit-born demons sent to Earth to corrupt as many innocents as possible.  At a young age he becomes hooked on wrestling and decides that he will use wrestling as a way to corrupt.  When he becomes old enough, he starts wrestling as a heel named The Crimson Demon.  This giant wrestler becomes a fan favorite which prompts a meeting with a demon that answers directly to Satan.  He meets with Tojo in order to create a game plan to help Tojo corrupt as many as possible and they conclude that Tojo will fake an injury and a pit born demon will take over.  While "injured" Tojo will train the pit-born demon to become a world class wrestler.  During the match, the demon changes it up and actually injures Tojo.  Tojo is now too old to start over and is forced from wrestling where is now sits in his trailer watching the nightly matches on his small t.v. until he learns that the new demon in the ring wants to hurt another innocent wrestler.  Tojo can not sit idly by and let this happens and steps in igniting a battle between heaven and hell.  
     West is a man that writes for the working man.  Some may see this as a compliment while others may see this as an insult but I mean no disrespect.  West is a wordsmith.  He is able to write stories that are entertaining while refraining from using words that are too complicated for the reader.  I don't know how many indie publications I have been sent over the years and each page is filled to the brim with words way too complicated for the simple story they are trying to tell.  However, West's stories are easy to read and easy to follow.  That is one of the many reasons I love his work.  His stories are always easy to read regardless of your reading level.  The story for this one is fun and takes me back to the days when wrestlers had gimmicks and their image was more important than their skill.  This takes me to the days of WCW with wrestlers like K.I.S.S. Demon, Vampiro, and so many more.  These horror inspired wrestlers were the reasons I watched wrestling at the time and this novel brings that fun back to life and tosses in in the fiery pits of hell.  The story boasts that it is a horror comedy but I, sadly, did not pick up on the comedy.  This could be because I'm a fucking idiot or it could be because the horror is tongue in cheek.  Either way, the jokes went over my head.  Finally, the story has some great characters that are easy to like and some that are easy to fucking hate.  West does a great job painting the characters and we really can see what they look like on the page.  That is something I have said about West before.  He is able to fully describe without wasting the reader's time.  Overall, Turning Face should be the main event in your horror library.  The story is a no holds barred story that delivers on the fun.  Grab yourself a copy of this one as soon as possible!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Crypt of the Living Dead

aka La Tumba de la Isla Maldita
aka Young Hannah, Queen of the Vampires
Director(s) - Julio Salvador (They Killed a Corpse) and Ray Danton (Psychic Killer)
Starring - Andrew Prine (The Lords of Salem), Mark Damon (Pistol Packin' Preacher), and Patty Shepard (Slugs)
Release Date - 1973
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Trapped on an island...doomed to die one by one, victims of the killer queen!"
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Vampires have always appealed to me.  When I first started getting into horror, around the debut of Goosebumps, vampires were one of my first loves with Fright Night, The Lost Boys, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie not the show) were some of my favorites to rent.  As I got older I slowly ventured into the Hammer Dracula flicks and various vampire films of the late 60s and 70s.  I loved the look and feel of these films when compared to their more modern counterparts.  Most were able to purely capture that gothic atmosphere that reminded me a lot of the literature that was being written around the time most of these films were taking place.  Recently, Vinegar Syndrome released the 1973 Spanish horror film Crypt of the Living Dead on blu.  This was one film I had never seen before so I reached out to them and they were kind enough to hook me up with a review copy.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows an American who travels to an isolated island after he hears news of his father's death.  When he arrives he meets up with an old friend and learns that his father discovered an old crypt and was accidentally crushed underneath it and his body was unable to be obtained.  He goes to the crypt and discovers that it is believed to be the final resting place for Hannah, queen of the vampires who was captured and placed inside the concrete several decades before.  They are able to rustle up some locals to help them lift the thing off his father but he decides to open it up in order to make it lighter.  When they open it up they find a young woman inside who does not look dead at all.  The locals panic as the young American attempts to find the logical explanation for this.  An old fisherman tells him that they need to seal her back up while she is weak.  She will hunt in the moonlight as a wolf until she is strong enough to hunt in her real form.  He goes back to the crypt and learns that someone has cut the rope that was holding the lid up.  He is now forced to fight the night demon or become one of her victims.
     I wouldn't say I'm a fan of 70s horror films but I really do enjoy 70s vampire films that take place during years forgotten.  When I comes across one that is a period piece I tend to want to check it out.  Most are crap, I have to admit, while others are actually pretty damn good.  Sad thing is, the ones that are worth a damn are rarely mentioned while the shitty ones fly from tongue to tongue.  Crypt of the Living Dead is a film I had never heard of before but once the release was announced I had to see it.  I was afraid it would be a film that was never talked about because it sucked ass.  However, once I tossed it in I was pleasantly surprised.  The acting in this one is hit or miss.  The film's lead, Andrew Prine, did a great job in his role and made the film worth watching.  Several other key characters pour their heart out on camera resulting in some great scenes.  Sadly, some of the cast members feel out of place which make several scenes feel awkward and out of place.  The story for this one is a little on the campy side and is very lackluster.  The story has a lot of atmosphere but lacks real horror.  There is very few horror elements until almost the end of the film which does pick up but leaves the first portion of the film feeling like a period drama.  The story misses it's point but is able to rebound during the second half.  Also, the film does not really have any on screen kills, not even the typical vampire bites.  This takes place off screen eliminating any little bit of blood we would be treated to.  Vampire films of this time were not known for being bloody gory flicks but they did have some bloody which this one is almost void of.  Finally, this release from Vin Syn is fucking great.  The film has been restored in 2K from the original 35mm negative.  The film does come with a bonus film, House of the Living Dead, but it does lack the special features we have come to expect from Vin Syn and their blu releases.  Overall, Crypt of the Living Dead is a worthy addition to any horror fan's collection that are fans of classic gothic horror films.  Vin Syn has done it again!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Director - James Bell (Dog Dick, Tantrum)
Starring - James Bell and Mae Bell
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     There are some things that fans of indie horror will hear on a regular basis.  One such term that is tossed around regularly is underground horror or underground filmmaker.  What exactly is underground horror and why does everyone feel the need to group themselves in with others?  When is an indie horror film more than just an indie horror film and when does it  become an underground horror film?  These are questions I have wondered for sometime now and recently director Adam Ahlbrandt, director of Cross Bearer and The Cemetery, posted a similar question on his Facebook page.  Why can't an indie film just be an indie film instead of trying to fit into a niche?  Anyway. last year I checked out the experimental indie flick Dog Dick from director James Bell.  This is a man that has been making a name for himself and is known as an underground filmmaker.  With that being said, I fondly believe that this young filmmaker is a true indie director in every sense of the word.  People may refer to him as an underground director but in my eyes he is the true embodiment of an indie director.  Late last year, early this year. Bell released his follow up film to Dog Dick titled Manuer.  This was a different direction that his debut film and actually followed a linear story line.  I ordered the film and waited until I had time to check it out.
     The film follows a homeless man (James Bell) that prefers a good drink over having a job and material things.  Running low on booze and desperate for more, he steals a lawnmower and a bottle of fertilizer along with it the impression that it is another bottle of alcohol.  He drinks a little and discovers that his explosive shits now has the power to grow flowers.  He cuts the grass of a young woman (Mae Bell) and then shits all over her yard before rushing back to his shack to drink a little more.  He downs the entire bottle.  His body soon starts to burn and melt until it is only the skeleton left.  As times passes a beautiful bouquet of wild flowers grows around his bones. 
      Bell is a man with a very unique vision and this has set him apart from so many filmmakers in the game.  His films are unlike anything you will see.  With that being said, though his films are very unique, they are not for everyone.  His films are very experimental and flirt with the fine line between experimental and arthouse.  The acting in this one is hit or miss but it is not the film's point of focus.  James is able to portray a convincing bum at times while at others he is whimsical and very fun to watch.  The film's only speaking role belongs to James' wife Mae who does a decent job the few minutes we see her on camera.  She tries hard and shows a lot of promise but her inexperience shows.  The story for this one is fun, short, and gets straight to the point.  Sadly, this is one of the many shorts I wished were just a little bit longer and had a little more substance to the story.  A little more story would have went a long way.  Finally, the film only has one real on screen death but Bell milks it for everything it's worth.  We get great gore, a unique death, and some great practical effects.  Overall, Manuer is a triumphant indie short that deserves to be seen.  The film has a story that develops quickly and some great gore.  I could honestly see this film playing at an Andy Warhol party.  Check this one out and support this brilliant indie filmmaker.