Thursday, June 28, 2018


Director - Kevin DeLullo (Edgar Allen Poe's Darkness, Cage in Box Elder)
Starring - Jeff Rector (Double Impact, Trump'd), Adam Smoot (Revamped, Fatal Kiss), and Rob Larsen
Release Date - 1999
Genre - Horror/Crime/Drama
Tagline - "Beware of the night"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):

     These last few days I have been hammering out review after review.  I may not have time to get them posted to the site but that hasn't stopped me from writing one and jumping on to the next.  I recently took a few days off from horror and review a few big budget theatrical releases.  After taking a few days for other genres I decided I needed some horror again.  I went to review some stuff that I was sent for review but realized Thursday was approaching so that means another Troma movie.  I'm still working my way through the Toxie's Blood Bank box set.  I'm halfway through and decided it was time to toss in the 1999 vampire crime drama Nightfall.  This was one of the films that I didn't have high hopes but I decided to give it a go regardless.

     The film follows two FBI agents who are working a cast involving a string of murders and the victims show puncture wounds on their necks.  One of the agents, the rookie, looks to unconventional means to gain leads and crosses paths with a psychic.  His partner doesn't believe in it so he follows the lead on his own only to uncover a vampire den.  He is unable to protect himself and dies at his hands.  His partner follows up on that same lead when he fails to show up at the office only to find his body.  Now he has a score to settle with the undead and is more open to the thought of supernatural forces at play here.   
     I went into this one expecting a shitshow but what I got was a fun crime drama with a vampire twist.  The movie had me sold just minutes in and I couldn't look away.  This film is up there with Death by Dialogue as my favorite film in this set.  The acting in this one is solid.  The cast works very well together and gets into their role.  Some of the minor characters actually sell it better than the film's leads which was fun to watch.  I really enjoyed the casting in this one.  The story for this one is straight forward.  At it's base it is a crime drama following two FBI agents working a murder case.  We then get vampires and boom...that's the film.  Nothing special but it flows well and holds the viewer's attention which is all you can ask for.  I actually really enjoyed the story.  Finally, the film has several on screen kills that you would expect from a vampire flick.  The effects for these are minor at best but there is a burned corpse gag that is fantastic.  I loved the look of it.  Overall, Nightfall is an underappreciated Troma release that deserves way more love.  Check it out!

The Strangers: Prey at Night

Director - Johannes Roberts (Storage 24, 47 Meters Down)
Starring - Christina Hendricks (The Neon Demon, Fist Fight), Martin Henderson (Devil's Knot, Smokin' Aces), and Bailee Madison (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, The Night Before Halloween)
Release Date - 2018
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Based on true events"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Most of the time I'm down for sequels, prequels or remakes but once in awhile I hear about one and struggle to wrap my head around it.  Recently I had that same thought when a sequel to The Strangers was announced.  Granted, I had never seen the original film but it looked like every other home invasion movie I had seen up to that point.  I was not interested in it whatsoever but Scream Factory released it which meant I had to have it for my collection.  After requesting a review copy of the first film I was able to get one for the sequel as well.  Now, after seeing the first film I was not looking forward to checking out Prey at Night but I had to...for science.
     The film follows a family who are leaving town for a weekend getaway before they send their troubled daughter to a boarding school.  They are visiting a distant uncle to stay in his trailer park but they leave too late and arrive after dark.  This innocent getaway soon turns deadly when three masked killer arrive and separates the group.  They expect to pick them to split up and become easy targets but they are wrong.  They fight back resulting in even more carnage.

     The first Strangers film was predictable and bored me to tears.  Several fans of the films had mentioned on social media that Prey at Night was a better film.  I wasn't necessarily looking for a better film but I did want something entertaining.  I'm glad I listened to them because Prey of Night was the better film.  The acting in this one is rather generic but so is the characters.  The characters are very flat and unlikable so the acting fits but no one really stands out.  The casting isn't bad but no one really feels convincing in their role.  I was especially disappointed in the masked strangers.  They were one of the few factors that made the first film watchable but they seem to have changed somewhat in this film.  A little bit of personality and emotion bleeds through which ruined the menacing tone they created in both films.  Their lack of humanity is what made the first film bearable.  Now that they have their humanity back its not as menacing.  The story for this one is a little less home invasion and more slasher which is why I can dig it a little more.  It does move slowly at times but there is far more action in this film than the first.  Some of you will argue the first did a better job at creating atmosphere and tension but I have to completely disagree with you.  Finally, this film is rather brutal.  We get several on screen kills.  Some are rather typical slasher kills while others are way more entertaining and visually stunning.  I loved the effects and how the kills were approached in this one.  Overall, The Strangers: Prey at Night is a superior film in the series.  The characters may be unlikable but you really enjoy watching them die.  I highly recommend this one.

The Strangers

Director - Bryan Bertino (The Monster, Mockingbird)
Starring - Scott Speedman (Underworld, Dead Silence), Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Armageddon), and Kip Weeks (Glory Road, Totally Baked)
Release Date - 2008
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Because you were home"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     In 2008 my life changed.  My girlfriend at the time convinced me to go to college.  I was 21 at the time and was convinced that I would die in my father's garage.  That changed when I went to college and focused on a degree in education.  That year I changed for the better but I still remained a horror fan.  That year saw a ton of horror hit theaters.  We saw Let the Right One In, Midnight Meat Train, Quarantine, Trailer Park of Terror, Tokyo Gore Police, and Zombie Strippers.  This was a pretty solid year for horror.  The Strangers was another film released that year and I had no interest in seeing it.  Honestly, the film looked boring as fuck but so many horror fans loved it.  I see shirts, fan art, posters, and tattoos for the film everywhere.  Not long ago Scream Factory released the film on  blu.  Ten years is plenty of time to see it hanging around so I pulled the trigger and requested a review copy.  Thanks guys for sending this one my way!

     The film follows a couple who are in a rough patch.  While attending a wedding he proposed to her and she declined.  They return to a summer home for the night before going their separate ways but their night doesn't go according to plan.  Three masked individuals have set their sights on the couple in what would be a bloody game of cat and mouse.
     I hate when I get a movie in for review and I don't like it.  I always try to be open minded to the movie I review but sometimes they just don't strike a chord with me.  The Strangers was one of those films.  I wanted to like it but there wasn't enough story there to hold me over for the film's running time.  The acting in this one isn't the best but I've seen worse in a theatrical release.  People know me for my love of horror and exploitation but not many know I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan.  Star Wars and Star Trek are cool but my fandom is LotRs.  Liv Tyler isn't the best actress ever.  In fact, her range of emotion is equivalent to a celery stick.  She is decent in LotR because elves don't show emotion.  However, in The Strangers she completely ruins the tone set by the rest of the cast.  Scott Speedman tries his best to carry the film but he doesn't have the chops to be the leading man.  He shows emotion but he struggles to create a believable character.  With that being said, I loved the actors under the masks.  They act without showing facial expression which is difficult to do.  The story for this one should have never been turned into a feature length film.  A home invasion film centered around bland characters who attend an event briefly is a struggle to watch.  The attacks, if you want to call them that, happen in waves so we get random slow moments where they casually talk and attempt to act panicked.  The story has an issue with pacing and struggles to actually capture that feeling of dread.  Finally, the film does have a few gruesome moments.  The movie doesn't shy away from blood and has some fantastic practical effects.  I was not expecting that much blood and really enjoyed that aspect of the film.  Overall, The Strangers is one of the more popular films released in the last 20 years and I don't know why.  The film is predictable and rather boring.  We get some blood but nothing that stands out among other film released around that time like Haute Tension, Feast, and so on.  Scream Factory put together an awesome release of a rather flat horror flick.  If you like the film be sure to grab a copy of Scream Factory's blu.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Bad Samaritan Must Die

Director(s) - Andrew Leckonby (Fractured Boy, Air) and John Raine (Repercussions)
Starring - John Raine, Nikita Rachel Shepherdson, and John Scott (Electricity)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Action
Tagline - "Tonight we make history!"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I've been trying like hell to review a movie a day but sometimes that just doesn't happen with work and home life.  Lately, I've been watching horror flick after horror flick to get out of the rut I dug myself but I needed a break.  I looked at my review stack and found the Wild Eye Releasing film The Bad Samaritan Must Die.  I wanted something fun but wasn't much in a horror mood after spending the last two weeks knocking out review after review.  This one promised some brutality so I wasn't turning my back on carnage.  I just wanted something a little more story driven.  Thank you Wild Eye for sending this one my way!
     The film follows a town torn apart by the masked vigilante known as the Bad Samaritan.  Some people believe he is a menace and want him stopped.  They are extremely vocal about this and rally for his capture and arrest.   There is also a large number of people who support him.  Some support him so much they want to join him in his crusade.  His good intentions quickly spiral out of control and a vigilante cult is born.

     I really wanted to like this one.  I always go into a Wild Eye release with excitement but this one just didn't flow that well for me.  There was some things I really enjoyed but a lot of the film fell through the cracks with me.  The acting in this one is fun.  Typically the superhero steals the show but not in this film.  Instead, everyone brings the same intensity to their scenes.  They work well together and create fun atmosphere.  The story for this one is lacking.  It does a great job at establishing the characters and setting the scene but does forget about the overall story.  We get several scenes establishing who is bad and who is good with several other struggles but we never get a point to the vigilante.  We get some petty crime but nothing that warrants a vigilante.  There is no major struggle.  Finally, the film does have some blood.  We get some pretty violent beat downs but the choreography is rather weak.  Instead, we get a lot of camera tricks and cuts to get the desired effect.  There is blood but the effects we get are minimal and not really worth mentioning.  Overall, The Bad Samaritan Must Die has the right idea but falls short.  I could totally see this character becoming something more but this film just couldn't pull it together.  A stronger story is needed.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Web of the Spider

Director - Antonio Margheriti (Cannibal Apocalypse, Death Rage)
Starring - Anthony Franciosa (Tenebre, The Twilight Zone), Michele Mercier (God's Thunder, Black Sabbath), and Klaus Kinski (Crawlspace, Venom)
Release Date - 1971
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Total horror from beyond the grave..."
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     The works of Edgar Allen Poe has fascinated people for decades.  His foreboding tone, gothic atmosphere, and nightmarish twists has mesmerized readers for sometime.  It only made sense that his works would be adapted into films.  When I was growing up I remember watching several of the Vincent Price lead films that was adapted from Poe's work.  When I was in high school I watched the Dario Argento and George A. Romero anthology Two Evil Eyes.  Both segments in the film was adapted from Poe's work and they were phenomenal.  Several months ago I received a press release for the 1971 film Web of the Spider.  I fell in love with the bluray artwork and reached out for a review copy.  I was lucky enough to get a copy.  Thanks Garagehouse!
     The film finds Poe in England telling his stories of ghosts and a life beyond in a pub when the American journalist Alan Foster arrives.  The two speak for a moment before Lord Blackwood introduces himself and offers a wager to Foster.  If he can spend the night in his castle he would win a hefty sum of money.  Foster is reluctant to do so but when the wager is lowered he agrees to it.  The castle seems to be well maintained and soon he crossed paths with two beautiful women who live in the castle and a professor studying the afterlife.  But soon other residents of the castle make their presence known and Foster realizes that there is indeed ghosts and his life hangs in the balance.

      I had not heard of Web of the Spider prior to the press release so I wasn't expecting one of the best films to hit the horror genre since Night of the Living Dead.  However, I was shocked by how well made this haunted house flick was made.  The acting in this one is great.  The entire cast delivers amazing performances which makes me wonder why no one talks about this one in horror circles.  My only real complaint about the cast was Klaus Kinski was not in the film more.  I was under the impression that he was the star but he was only in the film for minutes.  The story for this one takes the standard haunted house tale and adds more to it.  The film incorporates romance a great deal which works well with the characters established and the jilted lover angle works so well with their backstories.  The film has perfect pacing which builds tension very well.  Finally, the film isn't really that blood.  We do have an on screen kill or two but they are done in such a manner that the viewer doesn't get the gruesome bits.  A little bit of blood and minor practical effects is it.  Overall, Web of the Spider is a great film.  The atmosphere isn't there like the haunted house flicks from the black and white era of cinema but it still works very well.  Check it out.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

True Love Ways

Director - Mathieu Seiler (Der Morgen, House of Orgies)
Starring - Anna Hausburg (Beck is Back!, The Last Cop), David C. Bunners (Full Moon, Short Term Memory Loss), and Kai Michael Muller (Jesus Cries, Harvest)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I'm mostly a collector.  I go out of my way to find movies to add to my collection.  My movie collection is my life and I couldn't imagine not having it.  My love for writing has opened up an amazing opportunity to review movies which brings together my hobby and passion.  Indie horror is vast and it's impossible to get every one released but reviewing has broadened that search to collect all horror movies.  I now get movies in to review that I had never heard of before.  Not long ago I got True Love Ways from MVD.  This was one I had never heard about before but when I shared a picture of it on Instagram I had several people tell me how awesome it was.  This excited me and I couldn't wait to check it out.  Thank you MVD for sending this one my way!
     The film follows a beautiful young woman who breaks up with her boyfriend and escapes to the country for a few days.  The boyfriend is distraught and goes to the bar where he meets a man that makes a deal with him.  Because she broke his heart she will be kidnapped by the man and his colleagues.  She finds herself broke down and finds her way to a house nearby.  No one is home so she forces her way inside but soon others arrive.  She hides and finds herself hiding under the bed while a group of men kill and rape a woman for the sake of entertainment.  Now she must escape before she finds herself suffering the same fate as the young woman they just butchered.
     I had a few people tell me this one was rather brutal but after checking it out I have to quickly say it doesn't live up to the hype.  The movie was very predictable and not that well put together.  The acting in this one is not that bad.  In fact, I actually enjoyed the cast and the characters they brought to life.  The cast do a fantastic job and make the film as good as they can.  The story for me is my biggest hang up.  A woman finds herself at the house of the people that want to kidnap her and use her to make snuff porn?  Come on.  And then we have the scenes where she is running away from the.  They have her right there and make no effort to grab her and then she runs into another room to hide under beds and tables.  Is this an episode of Looney Tunes?  The story might have looked great on paper but it was not executed that well.  Finally, the film has fantastic on screen death scenes.  The kills are brutal and the effects look fucking fantastic.  Overall, True Love Ways is goofy as hell without meaning to be but does offer up some great kills and gore.  If you want blood look no further but if you want something else you may want to turn it around and find something else.