Monday, October 30, 2017


Director - Ovidio G. Assonitis (Tentacles, Piranha: Part Two: The Spawning)
Starring - Trish Everly, Michael MacRae (Battlefield Earth, The X-Files), and Dennis Robertson (Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dark Night of the Scarecrow)
Release Date - 1981
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Many people visit, few ever leave the...madhouse"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

      Halloween is just a hand full of days away and I wanted to get deep into horror.  I wanted to check out something with some dark atmosphere, moody lighting, and bleak.  I searched through my review stack and nothing was jumping out at me until I ran across the Arrow release of Madhouse.  I knew Marc Shoenbach had designed the artwork for this release but that was all I knew about the film.  The film looked like what I was looking for so I tossed it in and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.  Sure, the film wasn't as dark as the artwork lead me to believe but it was still a damn entertaining watch.
         The film follows a young woman who teaches at a school for the disabled.  She is dating a doctor and her uncle is the local priest.  Life is great for her but she has a deep dark secret.  Her twin sister is terminally ill but she refuses to see her because her sister hated her because they had to share a birthday together.  Now, on her deathbed, she still haunts her.  With their birthday fast approaching her friends and family are going missing and she suspects that it is her sister and a family dog she trained to kill but it is her or someone else doing the killing in her honor?
     I didn't know what to expect from Madhouse.  The film looked like it was going to play out like a slasher or a giallo but looks can be deceiving.  The acting in this one is great.  Trish Everly is fantastic as the films lead and she brings out a lot of raw emotion.  You really feel the emotions she is trying to capture in her performance.  When she is sad you feel for her, when she is happy you can't help but smile, and when she is scared you want to sit on the edge of your seat.  She made the role her own and made the film so damn enjoyable.  Also, I really enjoyed Dennis Robertson.  He was great as the family glue that held everyone together and as the movie progressed you felt your skin crawl.  That is as far into that as I would like to go.  The story for this one is a slow burner but it does a great job at creating the mood and character development which is crucial for this story.  If you can suffer through the slow beginning then the ending will be well deserved.  The film could have been a lot darker but was not bad for what we did get.  Finally, the film has several death scenes.  These are rather lackluster with not the best practical effects but they still fit the style of the film.  Overall, Madhouse is a great late night watch not only during Halloween but anytime.  The film is genuinely fun to watch and has a brilliant cast.  Check it out.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Evil Ed

Director - Anders Jacobsson (Insane, Lost in Brainland)
Starring - Johan Rudebeck (Sleepwalker, Gunnar Rehlin), Per Lofberg (Frostbitten, LFO), and Olof Rhodin (Underground Secrets)
Release Date 1995
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "When his mind blows...anything goes"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     When I was in high school I got an amazon account and start working on my horror collection.  I grew up in McDowell County which is the southern most county in West Virginia and is known through out the country as being the poorest county in the U.S. with an average annual income of only 11K.  It is because of this I didn't have any stores, thrifts stores, or pawn shops to pick up cool horror flicks.  I had to rely heavily on the internet and after being burned a few times on ebay I decided to get an amazon account.  After ordering several classic horror flicks I came across the 1995 film Evil Ed.  It looked interesting but I didn't want to fire $20 into a movie I had never heard of.  I was an active member of the Upcoming Horror Movies forum and made a post about the film where I learned that a great deal of people didn't like it.  A friend of mine was able to snag a copy on VHS dirt cheap at the time and we gave it a go.  Personally, I didn't like it.  Not long ago Arrow Video released the film on blu and I was going to skip it but a friend of mine told me to give it another chance.  He knows my love of Troma and cheap horror flicks and was shocked when I revealed I didn't like it.  I reached out to MVD and Arrow and they were kind enough to send a review copy my way.  Good thing I decided to give it another chance because I absolutely loved it.

     The film follows film editor Ed (Rudebeck) who is moved from the drama department to the "Splatter and Gore" department after their last editor committed suicide by grenade.  He is tasked with editing the very profitable and prolific slasher series Loose Limbs.  Ed is a very timid guy and family man who doesn't like horror films but the department head forces him to edit the series while locked away in his spare home that he uses for business.  Ed sets out on his task but slowly starts to fill himself slip mentally before he finally snaps and sets out to kill those that are not innocent and pure.
     When I first watched Evil Ed it felt like a film that was just all over the place.  The humor didn't feel right and the movie itself made me think it was just pieced together anyway they could.  However, after spending over a decade watching indie films made on less than $100 my tastes in films have shifted.  I've learned to appreciate certain aspects in films that I would have turned me off to a film years before.  After watching Evil Ed for the second time I have to say that it is extremely underrated.  The acting in this one is fun.  You can quickly tell the scenes are dubbed but that only adds to the absurdity that the film already has.  The characters are all over the top and insanely memorable.  The characters are cleverly written and the cast does a superb job at making them feel animated.  I especially enjoyed Johan Rudebeck's performance.  His is absolutely brilliant and bat shit insane.  My mind can't wrap around the idea that Ed isn't considered a horror icon.  The story for this one is written as a parody but is a real love letter to classic 70s and 80s horror flicks.  The story was originally written as a parody/satire take on the Swedish film censoring that was taking place at the time hence why the film follows a film editor who wants to wipe out all the bad people in the world.  The film does make fun of that aspect but it also does a great job at rolling in several other horror elements that horror fans really love.  The film really does have a lot going on that will hold the viewer's attention from scene to scene.  Finally, Evil Ed is a bloody one.  The kills are brutal and they don't go by quickly.  The film drags out each and every kills so the viewer can really enjoy them.  The gags have great practical effects and they really take advantage of this to get the most out of each and every kills.  Overall, Evil Ed is not perfect.  My review may paint that picture but it is not.  However, the film is so much fucking fun to watch that you wont care.  I highly recommend checking this one out!

Stranger Things (Season 1)

Director - Matt Duffer (Hidden, Eater) and Ross Duffer (Hidden, Eater)
Starring - Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands, Great Balls of Fire), David Harbour (Suicide Squad, The Green Hornet), and Millie Bobby Brown (Intrudes, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror/Sci-Fi
Tagline - "The world is turning upside down"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):

     Netflix has been killing it with their shows.  At first they had house wives all shook up with their show Orange is the New Black.  They then gave comics fans what they wanted with the shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.  Now, they are sending horror and sci-fi fans alike crazy with their amazing nostalgia filled show Stranger Things.  So many people told me to check the show out when it first aired but I decided to hold off.  After constantly being told to check it out over and over again I decided to give it a go.  I absolutely fucking loved it.  It was fantastic and I couldn't get enough of it.  With season 2 fast approaching Netflix and Target partnered for the DVD/blu release of the show.  It was released on my birthday and my wife surprised me with the amazing set.
     The film begins with a group of small boys playing dungeons and dragons.  When it gets dark the kids separate and head home.  The next day at school they realize that one of them didn't make it home.  His family and friends start searching everyone for him but have no luck.  They do cross paths with a strange girl named Eleven who has a special power that she uses to save them from the school bully therefore thrusting them in the middle of a government cover up and a creature from another dimension.
     This review isn't really for the show itself.  If you haven't seen the show by this point you are a fucking loser.  Plain and simple.  This review is mostly for the box set which is fucking amazing.  I will briefly review the show before going over the full DVD/Blu set.  The acting in this one is fantastic.  I've seen my fair share of movies and shows centered around children but the acting in this one is leagues above most.  I can see why Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard was cast in this years' smash hit It and an episode of Supernatural.  It was great seeing Winona Ryder again in the genre.  I grew up watching Edward Scissorhands so it was cool to see her in this amazing show.  She did a great job and I hope this reinvigorates her career.  The highlight of the show is Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, and Noah Schnapp.  This young cast is absolutely fantastic.  They show a range a emotions that most seasoned veterans in the industry still can't nail.  The story for this one is absolutely fantastic and can only be explained as E.T. meets The Goonies and tossed into the world of From Beyond.  The story does a great job at blending horror and sci-fi elements while giving a genuine 80s looks and feel.  This was clearly a project of love by the Duffers and every scene shows that.  Fans of 80s cinema, especially horror and sci-fi, will absolutely love this.  Finally, the film has some great practical and visual effects that really add to the aesthetics of the show.  There is some blood and a little gore that looks great but it is overshadowed by the amazing storytelling.

     Now for the box set.  The Target exclusive box set comes in a pretty rad package that takes you back to the days of the ma and pop video stores and big box VHS.  The set is made to look like a vintage VHS with a warn look to the cover to simulate shelf wear.  When you remove the set from the sleeve it is inside a cardboard VHS which houses the DVD and blu along with a limited edition alternate poster.  The case and sleeve look amazing but I am concerned about long term exposure.  It is just cardboard so pressure on your shelf, especially if you are a collector, could make this collapse.  Also, the discs are subject of becoming dislodged and scratched up more so than normal cases. Overall, Stranger Things season 1box set is reasonably priced and looks fantastic.  However, it is cheaply made and lacks any special features.  With a show that has a fan base like this you would expect tons of extra goodies for fans to enjoy while they wait on the new season.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Baron Von Laugho's Halloween Spook-A-Thon

Director(s) - Jeff Everhart (The Karvers, On the Rocks) and Dylan R. Nix (The Hallowed Sin)
Starring - Dylan R. Nix, Jeremy Corso, and Dan Mahoney (Law and Order: SVU)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The scariest show on Earth!"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     We are just 9 days from Halloween.  Nine mother fuckin' days!  With it vast approaching I'm in full holiday spirit.  Got my stack of essential Halloween flicks by my television to check out.  Movies like The Midnight Hour, The Worst Witch, the Halloween series, Trick r' Treat, Mr. Boogedy, Bride of Boogedy, and many more.  Recently I was on Instagram and came across a post for the indie horror anthology Baron Von Laugho's Halloween Spook-A-Thon.  This one looked perfect to toss into my Halloween rotation.  I did some looking and was able to track down the director and secure me a copy of this fantastic throwback to Halloween specials of yesteryear.  I want to thank Dylan for hooking me up with a copy.
     The film follows television host Baron Von Laugho as he shows the viewer several short horror films.  The first, That's No Bear!, follows a hunter who is mistaken for a monster and is hunted by a master huntsman.  The second short, The Karvers, follows a classic American family with only one difference - the patriarch is a living jack-o-lantern that kills during the day and a father figure at night.  The third and final segment, The Hallowed Sin, follows a young and troubled babysitter who is visited by a devout Christian and they have a serious conversation.
     I love the look and feel of a Halloween flick especially if its authentic.  Several indie films have been able to pull this look off in recent years with movies like WNUF Halloween Special and There's Something Following Me.  These films really get you in the Halloween spirit.  You can toss these on and carve a few pumpkins.  Baron Von Laugho's Halloween Spook-A-Thon may not be as well written and put together as other Halloween films but it still delivered some quality holiday entertainment.  The acting in this one isn't the worst I've seen in an indie horror film but there was plenty of room for improvement.  The cast was given some pretty fun characters to bring to life and they did a pretty damn good job at that but there was a few scenes where the acting didn't feel natural.  The cast was great and I can't wait to see what they can accomplish after they gain some experience.  The stories for this one were fun and perfect for the Halloween season but they don't seem finished.  They all have a great beginning up until the middle and then just comes to a close.  I don't know if the film had bigger ambitions than they could pull off or something prevented them from finishing the way they wanted but the closing of each segment fell flat.  I really enjoyed where the stories were going and would have loved to see even more of that.  Finally, the film is extremely low budget so the few kills  we do get rely heavily on old school camera tricks that require very little effects.  This isn't a blood soaked horror film to watch late Saturday night.  Instead, it is an atmospheric piece intended to give the viewer that nostalgia feeling.  Overall, Baron Von Laugho's Halloween Spook-A-Thon is the gritty Halloween inspired film you want for your Halloween movie marathon.  It has that used VHS look and has some great stories.  Though the film does feel unfinished it still satisfies which is more than I can say about my ex.  Check it out.  

Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill

Director - Jared Cohn (12/12/12, The Hulk Blood Tapes)
Starring - Richard Grieco (A House is Not A Home, 22 Jump St), Sara Malakul Lane (Sharktopus, the Domicile), and Dave Mustaine (Metalhead to Head, The Drew Carey Show)
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Halloween.  Halloween is Christmas for horror fans.  It is one the one day a year that most major retailers indulge them with their monsters, mad men, and supernatural beings.  I love the decorations, mascots donning Halloween costumes to sell products, the shitty covers of classic horror scores and themes compilations for cheap, and all the horror movies scattered throughout most stores.  Halloween truly is a magical time of year.  With Halloween just 10 days away it was time to kick it into high gear and start on the Halloween flicks.  One film I was recently sent to review was Jared Cohn's new film Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill.  I had no idea Jared was working on this but I was excited that he tackled a Halloween flick regardless if I liked it or not.  I want to thank MVD for sending this one my way to check out.
     The film begins with an American solider as he is held hostage while fighting in the Middle East and has his face skinned.  Fast forward to now and an all girl rock band is playing a gig.  After the show one of the band members and her boyfriend get high and start making out before she cries rape.  The American solider, now wheelchair bound, intervenes and gets his ass kicked.  He then storms off leaving the solider to lay on the ground.  When the rest of the band hears the commotion they head out to see what is going on to hear the solider say he will get them back.  Later that night their band breaks down and they get a lift to their next gig when they are gassed.  They wake up in a room where the solider tells them they have to play his game or they all will die.
     Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill looked liked an interesting watch.  Jared is very vocal about his projects on social media so the fact I missed that he was working on this film baffles me.  I was able to meet him several years back here in West Virginia at the horror and sci-fi convention Shockacon where Eugene Clark introduced us.  Since then I've tried my best to check out all his films.  Some of them were hits but a few just wasn't for me.  Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill was entertaining for the most part but did lack originality.  The acting in this one is solid.  The cast is able to piece together some fun characters but it is difficult to tell which of the ladies is who.  You can easily confuse each of the characters as someone else.  All their personalities mesh together and there is no clear way of knowing who the strong and the weak are.  A little diversity in the cast would have made the film a little more interesting.  The story for this one lack originality but that doesn't make it a bad film.  It was entertaining.  The film is Josie and the Pussycats meets Saw.  A punk band getting kidnapped and forced to play a game is fun in theory but this film has a hard time setting itself apart from the look and feel of the Saw franchise.  In fact, Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine voices the mastermind of the sick game and sounds almost like the Jigsaw killer himself, Tobin Bell.  He is putting the band through a dangerous game to prove a point similar to Jigsaw who tortures and subsequently kills those that take life for granted because he is dying of cancer while they get to live.  The solider puts them through their trials because they don't know what true sacrifice is where he was willing to sacrifice it all for his country and flag.  The film relies heavily on torture devices and the gritty look that was made famous in the films previously mentioned.  Finally, the film uses a lot of practical effects and computer generated.  I normally dislike CGI but the film is able to blend the two to where they work as one to make the kills look even better.  We don't get any gore but there is a decent amount of blood.  The kills are pretty straight forward and mostly with guns.  Overall, Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill is a solid watch but does lack originality.  I would recommend this one if you are looking for something a little different this Halloween season.