Friday, March 31, 2017

The Real Wolfman

Director - Claire Callahan (Nightmare Next Door)
Starring - George Deucher and Ken Gerhard (Monsterquest)
Release Date - 2009
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     When most people think about the classic Universal monster movies most immediately think about Dracula or Frankenstein and for good reason.  Both films are iconic and images from these two films are ingrained in pop culture and set the stage for most Halloween decorations.  They truly are classic horror films.  However, as entertaining as both films are I often find myself picking the Wolfman over these two films.  I just really enjoyed the characters and the lore the story was centered around.  When it was announced that the History Channel documentaries Frankenstein: The Real Story and The Real Wolfman was being released together I really wanted to see it.  Mostly because of the Wolfman doc.
     The documentary follows a retired police detective and an active cryptozoologist that travel to France to investigate the Beast of Gevaudan which is believed to be a wolf that killed over 100 people between 1764 and 1767.  The retired police detective sets out to prove that it was the work of a serial killer while the cryptozoologist attempts to prove the existence of werewolves or possibly a prehistoric hyena that secretly survived in the woods nearby.

The second I tossed this movie on and hit play I could tell exactly what type of documentary/show I was in for.  It was almost a play by play reproduction of one of my favorite television shows, Monsterquest.  Sadly, this was not as entertaining as most of the episode of that show.  The special was uneven and not properly planned.  The interviews conducted in this one are very one sided.  The only skeptic or person fully emerged in the myth is the police detective.  Sadly, this makes for a very uneven special.  When dealing with the paranormal, supernatural, and cryptid I prefer to see people from both sides of the coin.  Makes for a very informative documentary while showing the same topic from a different perspective.  The information given in the film is very biased as well.  The film follows two people trying to investigate a story that happened over 200 years ago.  This was a bit of a stretch and left no room for possibilities.  Finally, the special rolls just like a continuation of Monsterquest but not as entertaining.  Its more of a reality show than a documentary but that doesn't make it entertaining.  Overall, The Real Wolfman was a very disappointing experience.  The special was boring, disorganized, and a complete waste of time.  Skip it.

Frankenstein: The Real Story

Directors - Richard Brown
Starring - Rick Baker (The Strain, Michael Jackson: Thriller), Jeanine Basinger (A Better Way to Die), and Peter Bogdanovich (The Simpsons, The Wild Angels)
Release Date -1995, 1997, 2008
Genre - Horror/Documentary
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     There is very few stories that has left a lasting impression on horror like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Since the very beginning the story has captivated readers before leaving its mark on broadway and eventually film.  As impressive as the story is, the behind the scenes of the groundbreaking novel is just as impressive.  There is a shroud of mystery surrounding Shelley and the writing of Frankenstein.  Some believe that her husband, poet Percy Shelley, was responsible for writing the now infamous tale.  Not long ago I received a press release announcing the DVD release of Frankenstein: The Real Story and The Real Wolfman Frankenstein: The Real Story actually consists of three different documentaries centered around the fabled tale.  The three documentaries are In Search of the Real Frankenstein, Frankenstein, and It's Alive! The True Story of Frankenstein.  I was curious by these documentaries and reached out for a review copy and was lucky enough to have access to one.  Thanks for sending this one my way.
     These three documentaries follow three different aspects of the famous story.  The first documentary follows Mary Shelley and he fascination with electrical current and the human body that was taking place around the world by controversial scientists and doctors.  Most of which would steal corpses to perform their grotesque experiments on.  The second documentary follows the bizarre situations around Mary Shelley and her family starting with her sister committing suicide, to her future husband's wife taking her life, and her husband, who was said to be abuse, dying at sea.  The third and final documentary follows the original story from written form to broadway, and the various screen adaptions.  We also get a huge look back at Boris Karloff in his iconic role.
     It's been awhile since I reviewed a documentary let alone three.  However, I really enjoyed myself with this release.  Most of the info in these documentaries are common knowledge by this point but some it was very interesting with some new light shed on the novel and author.   The interviews we get in all three documentaries are very well informative and some cast a different light on Shelley and her husband that most never had before.  Some of the interviews are from experts in literature, science of the time, and even historians on Shelley.  Most had positive things to say but a few are able to paint Shelley in a different light.  This was very welcomed.  The three documentaries offer up a variety of different aspects that went into writing Frankenstein from the home life, to the technological advancements of the day, to Shelley and her demons.  Some of these facts were very eye opening and topics most of never thought of.  Finally, these three documentaries range in quality but all would agree that they are very well put together.  Each segment has smooth transitions and the editing is great.  Some of the segments have reenactments that were weird or awkward to watch but I get what they were going for.  Overall, Frankenstein: The Real Story is essential for any Frankenstein fan.  I highly recommend it.  

The Thrill of a Kill

Capture. Torture. Kill.

The notorious Norwegian slasher/ torture nasty available for the first time in the USA. Poor little Kim has a fight with her mother and runs off into the woods to escape, but she should have stayed home. A chance meeting with a local photographer's sons quickly dissolves into a living nightmare as Kim is captured and run through a series of gruesome tortures with a variety of tools and instruments of death, one worse than the last ... and she's not the only one in this killer's menagerie of pain. Will she be able to liberate herself and others? A graphic and disturbing exploration of punishment and pain - recommended only for the most depraved, experienced

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nigrum Corvis

Director - Roman Jossart (The Campground, Campground: The Requel)
Starring - Brady Myers and Adam Atherton
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror
Format - Streaming

Rating (out of 5):
     I owe a lot to indie director Roman Jossart.  Back when I was reviewing for my blog I was tagged in a post for on the Horror Society Facebook page about an opening for a writer on the site.  I immediately jumped at it and emailed them.  A few weeks later I was emailed back and asked if I would like to join.  Obviously I did.  The first few months I would review movies I picked up at local pawn shops, Wal-Mart, and online but another writer on the site suggested that I reach out to indie director for press releases, news, and exclusives that I could share on the site.  I did and one of the first people to actually take the time to talk to me was Roman Jossart about his first feature The Campground.  Since then I have reviewed several of his films and the next movie on the chopping block just happens to be his newest short, Nigrum Corvis.  Thanks for sending it my way, Roman!
     The film follows a plague doctor walking through the woods late at night by lantern light when he is paid a visit by an unexpected guest.

      I find it difficult to review films that are under a certain length.  Normally, I wont review a movie if it is less that five minutes because it doesn't leave much for me to talk about but because this one is from Roman I will break that one rule.  The acting in this one is more or less not there.  The two cast members do a decent job but, in truth, there isn't much to their role.  They have no real interaction with one another until the very end and even then it is so brief that no one can judge the acting accordingly.  The story for this one is paper thin but it works for the way the film was executed.  The ending was not expected but I feel as if something this simple could be stretched into a much bigger film in scope.  Make it happen Roman.  Finally, the film doesn't have the blood and gore most of you horror fans want.  Visually, the film is fantastic and I feel like Tim Burton may had some influence on the imagery.  With that being said, the visual effects at the end was out of place and displaced the tone of the film.  Skipping that would have made the film end on a perfect note.  Overall, Nigrum Corvis is a beautiful film and the perfect example as to how Roman as grown as a filmmaker.  Check it out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Director - Jack Mulvanerty (Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem)
Starring - Henry Crane, Johnny Dickie (City of the Dream Demons), and Jack Mulvanerty
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Horror let me down recently.  Not long ago I reviewed the horror short Flesh and Blood a Go! Go! and enjoyed it.  It could have used some work but the overall film was solid.  The next film up was the Ice-T fronted Bloodrunners set in the 30s during prohibition.  This film let me down.  So much so that I left horror for a bit and reviewed the newest Marvel flick Doctor Strange.  Now, its back to some horror with the new short from director Jack Mulvanerty.  The short, Piety, was sent my way from actor/director Johnny Dickie.  Thanks for thinking of Horror Society when you sent this one out.
     The film follows an inmate living a tortured past.  We follow the inmate as he dives deeper into madness after he is confronted by something otherworldly.

     Most of you may recall the name Jack Mulvanerty and Johnny Dickie.  Mulvanerty is the young man responsible for the no budget splatter flick Creeps: A Tale of Murder and Mayhem that I was lucky enough to review several years ago.  Dickie is a name most of you in the indie horror scene are familiar with after the release of his anthology film Slaughter Tales which he wrote and directed while he was a young teen.  Both of the young men have made great contributions to no budget horror and I'm fairly certain that they have yet to even reach the age of 20!  What's your excuse?  The acting in this one is not the best I've seen.  Dickie, Mulvanerty, and company show a lot of dedication to the film and their role but they have a difficult time making their performance feel natural instead of forced.  The story for this one is very intriguing and made very good use of the film's budget.  The film could have easily went the torture porn route and I'm very thankful that the team behind this one had enough originality and imagination to stay away from that.  With that being said, some of the scenes feel a little wasted as if their full potential was never reached.  Finally, the film has some blood and a tiny bit of gore but it isn't that impressive.  The effects are minimal and needed work but was not that unpleasant on the eye.  Overall, Piety was a solid short that has some eerie images and a unique story.  Check it out.

Faim De Mort Trilogy

The hunger for death can always leave one, starving.

A man lost between life and death confronts all sorts of events that turn him into real voracious cannibal. It is taken strange bloody hallucinations which push him to fill his hunger and to fight against demonic forces. Comes with the Making of Faim De Mort, Trailers for other Unearthed Films dvd's.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Doctor Strange

Director - Scott Derrickson (Hellraiser: Inferno, The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Starring - Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Z for Zachariah, American Gangster), and Rachel McAdams (True Detective, Sherlock Holmes)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Fantasy/Adventure/Action
Tagline - "The impossibilities are endless"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Marvel vs. DC.  This is one of the longest running battles of my life.  It all started when I was little.  I wasn't a comic reader but I loved cartoons and toys.  Most kids love Batman and Superman but I am the complete opposite.  I'll watch the movies or shows but I couldn't give two shits about either.  The only real DC heroes that I care about Green Lantern and The Flash which I can safely say are my favorite two heroes.  I love them above all else.  With that being said, I tend to like the entire Marvel universe.  It's difficult for me to pick a favorite from Marvel but if I had to it would be a tie between Star-Lord and Doctor Strange (Pre-movies).  When it was announced that Doctor Strange would get his own movie I had to see it.  When the movie hit blu I reached out to see if I could score a review copy and the rest is history.
     The film follows successful surgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) who is in a terrible automobile accident where both his hands are severely damaged.  He tries everything modern medicine has to over to repair his hand but is unsuccessful.  He then sets his sights on other forms of medicine and healing when he crosses paths with a man that was once paralyzed.  He is then sent on a path an unlikely path where he will learn not to heal himself but to bend space and time around him.  In doing so he places himself in the middle of a battle raging on between good and evil - light and darkness.
     I had very high expectations for Doctor Strange.  As I stated earlier, he is one of my favorite Marvel characters so I was expecting an amazing film.  For the most part is succeeded and knocked Ant-Man down as my second favorite Marvel film right below Guardians of the Galaxy.  The acting in this one is phenomenal.  Probably the best acted film in the entire MU.  Cumberbatch kills it as Doctor Strange.  He captures the arrogance and self-entitlement of Doctor Strange that we see in the animated movie so well.  Like I said, I never read the comics so all I have to go on is the animated film and his television appearances in different shows.  He then switches gears and shows a great deal of modesty and protects the masses like the Doctor Strange that everyone loves.  Cumberbatch killed it and easily gave my favorite performance from him.  The supporting cast is just as good but, lets face it, Doctor Strange is center stage throughout the entire film.  The story for this one is a bit of a slow build before exploding by the halfway point.  One expects to have a slow build when something as big as Marvel is establishing a character that will span several films.  This doesn't bother me and it help younger generations get to know the character the way I do.  Finally, the film is a visual feast.  From beginning to end you can expect the very best practical and visual effects.  I was astonished by what I saw.  Overall, Doctor Strange is another powerful film in the Marvel cinematic universe.  It may not knock Guardians from the top spot but it still gives it a run for its money.  Check it out.