Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Nobodies

Director - Jay Burleson (Unfinished Business, Feast of the Vampires)
Starring - Lane Hughes (You're Next, Halloween II), Bill Pacer (Jesus H. Zombie, Zombie Outbreak), and Jay Burleson
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror/Drama
Tagline - "Life imitates art.  Art imitates trash"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Every six months I pack my bags, tell my kids my family goodbye and then I drive 6 hours to Ohio where I can finally be myself.  Every April and October horror and cult movie fans gather in Ohio at Cinema Wasteland to talk movies and get properly drunk amongst friends.  It wouldn't be a Wasteland trip if I don't spend a few hours at the Troma table grabbing things I need for my collection.  This last October when I was at the Troma table filmmaker Jay Burleson and actor Bart Hyatt was there with the release of their new movie The Nobodies.  It had just hit DVD through Troma so I went ahead and grabbed a copy.  I intended on reviewing it but time got the best of me.  With April's Wasteland just around the corner I decided now was the perfect time to check it out.  I would also like to note that Bart can suck farts out of a New York City taxi. 
     The film is a hybrid of the 1993 horror film Pumpkin and a documentary around the director Warren Warner and his girlfriend.  The film follows a man who is abducted by an older man and a deranged clown who then remove his arm.  Sometime later another man abducts him to question him because he is on the hunt for the two individuals that took his arm.  Pieced throughout the movie is segments following the filmmaker and his girlfriend.  They are madly in love but when their movie career falls apart after premiering the film in rural Alabama they take their own lives as a final artistic statement to the community that turned their backs on one of their own. 
      The Nobodies is one I had heard about prior to purchasing.  I had received a press release for the DVD several months before but I had never got around to actually grabbing a copy so this was the perfect opportunity to get my hands on it.  I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this weird and unique approach to indie cinema.  Rather than let budget to prevent them from telling their story, they simply adapted it in a different manner and thought outside the box.  The acting in this one shows inexperience but the cast is dedicated to their characters.  Burleson is not after perfection but the exact opposite.  He wants memorable characters and their flaws over polished characters that are one dimensional and forgettable.  The story for this one is different when compared to other films like it but the way the story is told does create some confusion as the film progresses.  The movie jumps from the documentary to the film very sporadically which can catch the viewer off guard if he not paying close attention.  With that being said, I really enjoyed what the movie brought to the table.  Finally, if you want blood you will find some with very basic practical effects but this is not a gruesome gorefest that some of you may have expected. Overall, The Nobodies is that strange horror drama that you will want to check out.   This is a film that is perfectly nestled between the works of James Bell and Giuseppe Andrews.  Check this one out. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Abandoned Dead

Director - Mark W. Curran (Poe: In His Own Words)
Starring - Sarah Nicklin (Nun of That, The Witching Hour), Judith O'Dea (Night of the Living Dead, Hole in the Wall), and Christopher Parker
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Don't get left behind"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      I'm a huge fan of Wild Eye Releasing.  Friends and family hear me go on about them just as much as I talk about Troma.  Wild Eye has released some of my favorite indie flicks in recent years and has earned a loyal fan in me.  With that being said, Wild Eye has released a few films here and there that just did not go over well with me.  I understand the risks and challenges associated with not having a budget but sometimes this films just fall short because they lack passion or heart.  Sometime ago Wild Eye released the 2015 supernatural Abandoned Dead starring one of my indie crushes Sarah Nicklin.  I went into this one with high hopes but quickly realized that this one was not for me. 
     The film follows security guard Rachel (Nicklin) who is sent to work an abandoned medical facility that has long been rumored to be haunted.  Rachel is afraid of the dark but accepts the responsibility as part of her job.  Her shift doesn't go as normal as she would have liked when supernatural entities present themselves along with a knife wielding maniac that may not even exist.
     I wanted to like Abandoned Dead for several reasons.  I love Wild Eye and Sarah Nicklin is an amazing actress but the film failed to bring something to the table that I could enjoy.  The acting in this one is inconsistent among the cast.  Sarah is a one person show throughout most of the film.  She does the best with her character that she could but it is a very one dimensional performance.  Her character is very flat and generic.  The supporting cast suffers the same fate but on a much smaller scale.  Even the cameo from Night of the Living Dead's Judith O'Dea is very underwhelming.  The story for this one is extremely slow paced and uneven.  The more interesting parts do take place in the last 15 minutes but the movie is ridiculously long especially when you consider how drawn out the scenes are.  The story could be told in 30 minutes or less instead of the feature length running time we were given.  Finally, this is not a bloody one but the film does focus on imagery.  We don't get a lot of gore but the supernatural entities look fantastic along with superb camerawork.  The suspense is there but the story is lacking.  Overall, Abandoned Dead is a shot in the dark that misses the mark.  They are able to pull together a solid cast but the story just didn't go the distance.  Wild Eye has dozens of films I would recommend but this is not one of them. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blood Hook

Director - Jim Mallon (Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Melon Drop 1987)
Starring - Mark Jacobs (Soul of the Demon, The Silent Lovers), Lisa Jane Todd (Playback, Whiteboyz), and Patrick Danz
Release Date - 1986
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "Fishing was never like this"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I've been a fan of slashers for as long as I can remember.  I remember enjoying slashers before my horror obsession.  I would often rent them on the weekend along with comedies and 80s action flicks.  Once I become obsessed with horror I found myself watching slashers and zombie flicks more than anything.  When I started collecting horror flicks I started collecting anything and everything Troma.  One of the films I picked up those first few years of collecting was the 1986 slasher comedy Blood Hook.  I never did get around to checking it out but I owned the release on several formats.  Sometime back Vinegar Syndrome released the film on blu with a pretty stellar slip cover.  It was finally time to check out what I'm sure is a classic slasher and a staple of the Troma table at cons. 
      The film follows a group of twenty somethings who visits the lake house of the missing grandfather of one their own.  The lake is host to a fishing tournament during their visit so there is several visitors and anglers there to compete.  What they don't expect to see is a murderous fisherman who is killing anyone they cross paths with at the lake with a deadly fishing lure.   The murderer may be connected to the young man's missing grandfather but will he survive to discover what really happened to his grandfather. 
     I went into this one expecting a funny slasher that would be easily forgettable but I was greeted with a slasher that actually stands out in the same way that Student Bodies does.  It doesn't take itself too seriously but doesn't quite lampoon slashers like Student Bodies which makes it stand out against the more serious slashers like Sleepaway Camp, Friday the 13th, and Slaughter High.  The acting in this one is classic 80s horror.  The characters are extremely clichéd to the point they almost feel like a parody of characters you would find in other slashers of the time.  With that being said, I actually liked how embellished these characters were.  The cast really got into their roles and delivers some fun, campy performances that fit the film perfectly.  The story for this one is great.  It took the standard slasher formula and made it funny.  The film incorporates the fishing theme which is completely absurd but still works for a horror comedy.  There is a few slower paced scenes but they are quickly forgotten with the oddball story.  Finally, the film does have some blood but if you are looking for gore you will not find it here.  The bright red blood fits the tone of the film but diehard slasher fans will be disappointed in the lack of gore.  Overall, Blood Hook is a slasher that you will not be able to call gruesome but you can't deny how entertaining it is.  I highly recommend checking it out on blu from Vinegar Syndrome. 


Friday, March 22, 2019

Body Melt

Director - Philip Brophy (No Dance)
Starring - Gerard Kennedy (The Lost World, Neighbours), Andrew Daddo (Ned, Trouble Down Under), and Ian Smith (The Jesus Spoon, Underbelly)
Release Date - 1993
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Tagline - "State one: hallucinations.  Stage two: organ failure.  Stage three: body melt"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     Ozploitation is something I just discovered a few years ago which is rather pathetic really.  There has been some quality horror films come from Australia that I am just now discovering.  This all started a few years back when I discovered Razorback and fell in love with.  This made me try other films like Wolf Creek, The Loved Ones, Wymwood, Daybreakers, and so on.  Sure, I grew up watching Mad Max but I never considered that part of Ozploitation until now.  A few months back Vinegar Syndrome released the 1993 horror comedy Body Melt.  I had never heard of this one before but after checking out the trailer for it I knew I was going to enjoy myself.  Thank you Vin Syn for sending this one my way!
     The film follows a group of people who are being used as part of a pharmaceutical experiment.  When they are first introduced to the drug they begin to hallucinate, then they start to die from the inside out and then their skin begins to melt off their body.  As the company tries to abort their experiments but the police get involved and matters get even more complicated when a disgruntled employee goes behind the CEO's back to conduct experiments of her own.
     I had no idea what to expect when I tossed in Body Melt but now I can safely say that Vinegar Syndrome has earned my undying respect.  They earned by heart with their Demon Wind release and they just continue to impress me with film after film especially their horror and exploitation releases.  Body Melt was a fantastic gruesome horror comedy full of slime and oddball characters.  I will be revisiting this one over time and I'm sure I will enjoy it just as much the next time as I did the first.  The acting in this one is very entertaining.  The cast is not going for any awards.  Instead, they bring to life some very colorful and entertaining characters that the viewer will not soon forget.  The story for this one is super fucking fun.  We get a pretty straight forward story following a pharmaceutical company that is experimenting on people but then we get these side stories connected to the main story.  This made for a very entertaining movie experience.  There is a few slow scenes that did not affect the overall film but did throw the pacing off.  Finally, this film is full of slime and gore.  The effects are top notch and fit the film perfectly.  In fact, I was very impressed by how amazing some of the gags actually looked.  I'm shocked I've never heard someone praise this movie in the horror groups considering how everyone is all up on other movie's dicks that don't look nowhere near as good as this one.  Overall, Body Melt is the Australian horror film you didn't know you needed.  I cannot recommend this film enough.  Check it out on blu from Vinegar Syndrome. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Blood Suckers from Outer Space

Director - Glen Coburn (Hollywood Deadbeat, Tabloid)
Starring - Robert Bradeen (Bloodsucker Reunion), Big John Brigham, and Glen Coburn
Release Date - 1984
Genre - Comedy/Horror/Sci-Fi
Tagline - "Nobody can escape..."
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I always come across movies I want to watch but can never make the time for.  When I was in high school the local video store went out of business.  They were selling tapes for a couple quarters a piece so I grabbed what ones caught my eye.  I remember grabbing Neon Maniacs, Frankenhooker, Monster Squad, The Gate, and Bloodsuckers from Outer Space.  I got to watch them all except Blood Suckers.  The tape had mold on it and I couldn't get it clean enough to work.  Several years ago I found the DVD super cheap and grabbed it but I had already begun reviewing movies so my spare time to watch whatever I wanted was behind me.  That changed recently when Vinegar Syndrome released the 1984 Glen Coburn film on blu.  They were kind enough to send a copy my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows a photo journalist and a woman he just met as they try to flee from a small, rural town that has been taken over by the locals who are turned into bloodsuckers by an invisible beam from outer space.  They must fight their way through the horde before a war hungry general launches a nuke on the town killing everyone in it's path.
     I knew this horror comedy was intended to spoof the invasion horror films of the late 70s but I had no idea how obsessed with it I would become after watching it.  I watched the film for the first time just a few days ago and now I've seen it over four times.  I absolutely loved it and I can't believe I've went this long before giving it a chance.  The acting in this one is far from perfect but I can't call it bad either.  The cast really embrace their characters but there was times where the acting doesn't work for the scene.  This does add to the cheese of the film which is something I always support.  The story for this one takes the story that was popular in the 70s and 80s and spoofs it while keeping the campy horror element very much alive.  The characters are very clichéd and the story is fun but there is several slow scenes that is a chore to make it through.  They do move the story along so they are not pointless but these few scenes could have been handled differently.  Finally, the film is a spoof of horror to an extent so there is several on screen death that are not meant to be taken seriously.   The effects are used in a comical way in some of the scenes and in others they are there to move the story along.  The gray paint on the infected was clearly done for comedic effect and the bright red blood only furthers the humor along.  Overall, Blood Suckers from Outer Space is a fucking fun 80s cheesefest that I can not recommend enough.  Be sure to check this out on blu from Vinegar Syndrome.  


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sunset Society

Director(s) - Phoebe Dollar and Rolfe Kanefsky (The Black Room, Party Bus to Hell)
Starring - Catherine Annette (Supershark, Noobz), Phoebe Dollar (Werewolf in a Women's Prison, Orgy of the Damned), and Robert Donavan (Paranormal Sexperiments, Cheerleader Massacre 2)
Release Date - 2018
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I recently had a metal horror film marathon when I decided it was time to finally check out the 1995 S.O.V. Todd Jason Cook flick Death Metal Zombies.  It was one that was on my radar for some time that I never had the chance to check out.  I decided to follow that up with a few more metal inspired horror flicks.  I checked out the surprisingly entertaining Death Rot before moving on to the Lemmy Kilmister lead vampire film Sunset SocietySunset Society was one sent to me for review from the folks over at MVD.  I'm a huge Motorhead fan so I couldn't wait to check it out.  Thank you MVD for sending this one my way. 
      The film follows a secret society of vampires known as the Sunset Society who is tasked with keeping vampires a secret from the human world.  When news of a DVD consisting of footage of actual vampires is announced the society springs into action to track it down before their nighttime world is revealed to the masses.

     This was a film I was really curious about.  The late rock icon Lemmy is plastered all over the cover and promotional artwork for this.  Knowing the horror business and how cameos get glorified on the promo material I was curious how little screen time he would have.  Sadly, the film went the route I was afraid it would.  The acting in this one is far from perfect.  Some of the scenes have some of the most underwhelming performances I have ever seen in an indie production.  I'm used to seeing a cast with no experience give their performance everything they have and then some but it's rare that we get a solid cast that delivers some of the most boring performances ever to grace video.  The story for this one feels like it was tossed together as the filming progressed.  The scenes revolving around Lemmy you can tell were filmed at a different time with a different camera that was lacking in quality.  We then get the remainder of the film that wraps around those segments.  I suspect that they filmed Lemmy's scenes and then made the movie around what they had after he passed.  It is very boring and not very consistent.  Finally, This film has your typical vampire related films but there was a few scenes with some great gore and this has one of the best sex scenes in a horror movie that I have ever seen.  It truly has to be seen to be believed.  Overall, Sunset Society was a huge disappoint.  There is one scene that I think everyone should see but other than that this is one of those you should skip.  Wal-Mart horror at it's finest. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Death Rot

Director - Dominic Wieneke (Zombie Outbreak, Chaos Reigns)
Starring - Lena Howe (The Ink and the Willow), Jason Yapp, and Jason Hegg
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "Prepare to get shredded"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I'm obsessed with pairing films with other films.  A lot of times I will find similar movies to watch together because it does create a fun experience to see new movies.  A few days back I decided it was time to finally check out Todd Jason Cook's classic 1995 S.O.V. horror film Death Metal Zombies.  It was a fun but a very cheap metal horror film centered around a metal band that is using their influence to steal their fan's souls.  I decided to follow that up with what I thought was another metal horror zombie flick Death Rot.  I failed to read the synopsis but the title and artwork suggested that it was a metal horror flick centered around the undead.  I was wrong but the film was still a fun watch that worked with the theme I had going. 
     the film follows death metal pioneers Death Rot who break down on a rural road while on tour.  The band members go different routes while trying to find help when their cell phones fail to work.  Two of them venture down a dirt road in hopes of finding a home but cross paths with a homicidal local armed with a bow.  The other visits an old drive in before he crosses path with another local.  Those that are not slaughtered on the spot are taken back to their private slaughterhouse where they kill sinners and sell the meat to oversees buyers looking for exotic meat.  The surviving members of the band thinks their time is up until one of them is able to escape the last minute and save the others before they are murdered.
     Death Rot is one of those films that threw me for a loop.  I popped it in expecting a zombie flick but was greeted with a story more up my alley.  It did fall a little short but it was still a solid watch.  The acting in this one is not consistent.  Some of the cast delivers better performances than others and I think experience has a lot to do with that.  Just a very few number of the cast had other credits to their names on imdb but they all tried.  They were very dedicated to their role and it showed.  The story for this one is one that I am very fond of but there was some things I would have loved to see done differently.  I grew up in the poorest county in the U.S. and part of the bible belt.  Low income always breeds religion.  People have nothing to live for so they seek out a higher power.  I've always found religion to be a scary thing especially when dealing with small rural communities who take things too literally.  Kevin Smith's Red State is one of the most horrifying films I have ever seen.  The movie itself doesn't pack that much fear but the story literally gives me chills.  I've seen how far some of these extremist will go and Red State is not as ridiculous as it sounds.  Death Rot takes that religious family meets out of towners cliché one step further with the addition of the metal music.  Growing up I would often wear Slayer, Pantera, Black Sabbath, and Type O Negative shirts which would often put me in the center of hate among the church goers.  Even the teachers would join in on the bashing.  I know how much religious flocks hate it so it made sense to throw it in the movie.  My biggest gripe with the story is the religious figure in the family, the son I believe it was, is very underutilized.  The character is very intense and blind by his religion which makes him very dangerous but they never follow through with it.  Such a wasted opportunity.  Finally, the film has several death scenes.  The budget does dictate the effects we get but the film is able to work with what they had very effectively.  The blood and gore is a little underwhelming but this does not affect the overall film.  Overall, Death Rot may not be the film the artwork paints but it is still a damn fun watch.  Fans of religious horror and metal should really check this one out now on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Skeleton Cop

Director - Chad Knauer (Murder Clown 1985)
Starring - Richard Bauthier (Harvest of Blood, Beer Run), Chad Knauer, and Ronald Grimwood (Black Box, Rotten Harvest)
Release Date - 2019
Genre - Horror/Action/Crime
Tagline - "He's got a bone to pick...with crime!"
Format - Streaming (online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
      Everyone knows me for my love of horror.  At work and around town people often refer to me as the horror guy and I'm absolutely okay with that.  My movie collection is roughly 95% horror and about 99% of my reviews are horror but my original intent for my reviews was to review old exploitation flicks from the 70s and 80s.  That took the backseat when indie directors started requesting I review their films before Horror Society brought me on.  I love exploitation cinema and Blaxploitation flicks are where my true love lies.  A week or so ago I saw a post from director Chad Knauer in a horror group asking for reviewers.  I was curious and got in contact with him where he sent over info on his new short Skeleton Cop.  This short looked like it was everything I didn't know I was looking for and I couldn't wait to check it out.  Thank you Knauer for allowing Horror Society and myself the opportunity to see your new short.
     The film follows a rogue cop who happens to be a skeleton who is partnered with by the book detective.  The two must work to overcome their differences before their city falls under the control of an evil ninja gang. 
     I'll be honest here.  I went into this one with high hopes.  When Chad sent over the film's artwork I immediately fell in love with it and I needed this film to be just as awesome as the poster.  Lucky for me the short was amazing and provided me with everything that I love about independent cinema.  The acting in this one is campy but on purpose.  At least the cast makes it feel like they are overacting to make it feel campy and fun.  I absolutely love the characters and the amount of fun they had on screen.  The story for this one is every cult cinema fan's dream.  We have ninjas, a skeleton cop, more ninjas, and an octo-squirrel.  The short packs a lot of action and fun story into short a running time.  In fact, the film is just too damn short.  I would have loved to see how insane a feature length film would be.  Finally, if you want a gory flick you may want to go somewhere else.  The film is bloody and we have a great stop motion/visual effects scene near the end but that's about the end of it there.  I did enjoy how they did the skeleton scenes which not only looks great but it does add a little sense of humor to an already absurd film.  Overall, Skeleton Cop is a necessary watch for any grindhouse movie fan.  Fans of classic martial arts, crime, and any other late 70s exploitation will love what Knauer has brought to the screen.  Check it out.  


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Death Metal Zombies

Director - Todd Jason Cook (Evil Night, Demon Dolls)
Starring - Lisa Cook (The Dummy, Lisa's Nightmares), Bill DeWild (Rock Star, Zombiefied)
and Todd Jason Cook
Release Date - 1995
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The loudest, weirdest film ever made!"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
      When I was in late elementary school I started to find myself becoming obsessed with horror.  Goosebumps started the trend and before long Stephen King, cryptozoology, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? sold me on the genre.  When I hit high school I started collecting horror.  It was mostly on VHS then but I would still buy DVDs when I could.  I couldn't get enough.  This obsession took me to horror sites and forums where I would learn about more obscure titles.  This was the first time I had heard about Todd Jason Cook's 1995 S.O.V. classic Death Metal Zombies.  I was looking for a copy of Hard Rock Zombies on DVD or VHS and someone told me to check this out.  I didn't and over time I forgot about it.  Sometime last year I saw a DVD copy of the film pop up in a horror group on Facebook for sale so I jumped on it.  I was in a metal horror mood and decided it was time to finally check it out. 
     The film follows a metal head who wins a cassette tape from his favorite band.  However, this is not any normal cassette tape.  Instead, it is a magical tape that turns those that listen to it into mindless flesh eating zombies that do the bidding of the death metal band.  Now, his girlfriend must save their souls before the lead singer of the band, Shengar, uses them as pawns to take over.
     I knew this was a no budget shot on video horror flick from the mid-90s.  I wasn't expecting the best movie ever but I was hoping for something fun which is what I got.  The film is far from perfect but it does entertain.  The acting in this one is rough.  A decent amount of the cast has some acting experience but they are all no budget flicks where they are unable to really learn the craft.  They are fully dedicated to their roles but their performances do fall flat.  The story for this one is pretty fucking metal and 90s rich.  I was born on the tail end of the 80s so I grew up in the 90s and this film brought back so many memories.  The metal heads collecting rare, one of a kind cassettes and the whole death metal angle was great especially for the mid 90s.  I loved the zombie angle was well.  My only real problem with the story is the pacing in the film.  We get some very slow scenes that will put you to sleep.  Finally, this one has some gore.  The effects do reflect the films budget but I did enjoy the gore.  The zombies are not very convincing with their make up and no effects but the guts do work in the film's favor.  Overall, Death Metal Zombies is backyard fun.  The no budget and amateur cast makes this simple story work.  I highly recommend this one to fans of no budget or S.O.V. cinema.  Check it out.