Monday, January 31, 2011

February's Bleedfest Film Festival

Elisabeth Fies's Bleedfest returns this coming Sunday with a Women In Horror month inspired lineup of films. A blood drive supporting the event will also take place as well as some very special guest appearances including the one and only Kevin 'Witchboard' Tenney.

The event itself costs dinero and it survives on moola donated by kind folks like you. If you can spare some extra schillings, please donate a few to this fantastic event which has allowed for a brighter spotlight to be shown on independent filmmakers and their works.

The official press release, event schedule, and donation link can be found below.

BleedFest Hosts Blood Drive and Women in Horror Month Screening

Event January 26, 2011-- Los Angeles, California-- Monthly female genre film festival BleedFest is throwing an epic event February 6th, 2011 in honor of Women in Horror Month. There will be a Blood Mobile parked outside the CAP Theatre from 10:30am-4:30pm. Donation appointments can be made by clicking on this link: All donors are eligible for half off tickets to the BleedFest Film Festival until the event is sold out, in addition to a pint for a pint Baskin Robbins coupon.

The BleedFest Women in Horror Month screening event begins at 11am and ends at 4:00pm. There will be three red carpet opportunities with a dozen press partners and photographers from Getty Images and PR Photos. The event will feature an open bar with Bloody Marys. Screenings include short horror films written, directed, and produced by female filmmakers, including wunderkind Xstine Cook, international filmmaker Ana Almeida, tyro horror writer/director Tyrell Shaffner, festival stalwart Susan Bell, BleedFest co-founders Elisabeth Fies and Brenda Fies, Lori Bowen with a short and a music video, alumna Marichelle Daywalt with the world premier of THE MANY DOORS OF ALBERT WHALE starring Tara Cardinal and Kit Williamson.

The feature film is the US premier of SLAUGHTERED, a slasher whodunit by Australian writer/director Kate Glover. VIP guests include Lil Zane, award recipients Katt Shea and Stacy Title, genre journalist Nic Brown from Kentucky, underground filmmaker Lori Bowen from Florida, actresses Tara Cardinal and Michelle Tomlinson, and horror director Kevin Tenney. Carl Manes of I Like Horror Movies will reprise his popular horror trivia with giveaways. A showing of Dark Art and Fine Art will be available for purchase by internationally renowned horror photographer April A. Taylor.

The Awards Show will include the audience’s choice for best short in competition, and Elisabeth Pinto will receive the Best Producer Award. Horror icon Katt Shea will be given the Inanna Trailblazer Award. Stacy Title will be awarded the Inanna Best Social Statement Award. The Inanna Award was designed exclusively for BleedFest by amazing horror filmmaker and mask-maker Neal Harvery of Rubber Gorilla.

BleedFest sponsors are Film Radar, Werewolf for and B Movie Man, WriteWord PR, Burris Image, Monster Island Resort, Rubber Gorilla, Christina, Love That

BleedFest operates on donations, and is holding an IndieGogo Fundraising campaign at:


Date: 02/06/2011

Time: 10:30 am - 4:30 pm

Organization: BleedFest

Location: CAP Theater

Blood MobileAddress:

13752 Ventura Blvd.
Collection Goal: 20 pints with 2 donors per 15 minutes

BleedFest Film Festival


Sunday February 6th, 2011

TIME: 11am-4:00pm

Location: CAP Theatre

13752 Ventura Blvd.

Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

$10 cash at door for all day ticket and open bar

Special Appearances by Lil Zane, Katt Shea, Stacy Title, Lori Bowen, Tara Cardinal, Kevin Tenney, Michelle Tomlinson, Nic Brown. Schedule subject to change, personal appearances dependent on schedule.

11am-11:10am RED CARPET, MIXER


HORROR OF OUR LOVE by Dave Reda (7 minutes)


Inanna Award presented to Katt Shea

11:30-11:50pm AWARD: Best Female ProducerNIGHT OF THE HELL HAMSTERS Produced by Elisabeth Pinto (17 minutes)

11:50-12:00pm AWARD: Best Social Commentary

Inanna Award presented to Stacy Title

12:00-1:25pm SHORTS:

In Competition

SUCKATHUMB by Xstine Cook (10 minutes)

THE PATCHWORK MONKEY by Susan Bell (10 minutes) Q & A

ESSENGER by Lori Bowen (4 minutes)

AFTERSHOCK by Lori Bowen (3 minutes) Q & A

MIRROR MIRROR by Sophia Segal (4 minutes) Q & A

MEOW by Sarah Brown and Cyriak Harriss (3 minutes)

A NOIVA (AKA: THE BRIDE) by Ana Almeida (7 minutes)

THRENODY by Tyrrell Shaffner (12 minutes) Q & A

THE MANY DOORS OF ALBERT WHALE by Marichelle Daywalt (5 minutes) Q & A

1:25pm-1:45pm BREAK: Open Bar, Red Carpet, Mixer


HARD TO DO by Elisabeth Fies & Kit Williamson (8 minutes)

PSYCHOSEXUAL by Elisabeth Fies (8 minutes)

2:04pm-2:15pm PARTNERSHIP AWARD HOME by Cam McCulloch (11 minutes)

2:15pm-2:25pm AWARD CEREMONY

Award presented to Marichelle Daywalt

Award presented to Tara Cardinal

Inanna Statue presented to Cindy Baer (Audience’s Choice from December)

Inanna Statue presented to the Audience's Choice

2:25-2:35 BREAK: Open Bar, Bathroom Break

2:35-4:00pm FEATURE

SLAUGHTERED written and directed by Kate Glover (83 minutes) Everyone's getting slaughtered in the pub tonight!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Worm (2010)

Fear 2/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 5/5

From the mind of writer/director Richard Powell, comes a short film involving a highly disturbed and (very much) psychotic school teacher who's grip on reality may very well be slipping away.

Our film starts off in the thick of things, a Mr. Geoffrey Oswold Dodd (played brilliantly by Robert Nolan) standing before his classroom full of what he feels are spoiled, slacker, going nowhere kids. After addressing the class, we are treated to his inner thoughts as he scans the room, laying judgement on just about everyone there. A choice moment occurs when he surmises 'Bradley, I bet if we parted that greasy mop of yours we'd find a whole bunch of scars left behind by your mom's coat hanger. Too bad she didn't finish the job. You would've been better off.'

His internal passing judgment continues as he watches and interacts with other teachers in their lounge. His pure hatred just seethes as we learn of his thoughts on each person. Combined with a feigned concern verbal exchange with a coworker who's family member is struggling with cancer, we get the feeling that Mr. Dodd has just lost all sort of feeling for humanity.

Our film nears its end with two contemplations by our troubled teacher. One, a female student he deems is worth a damn (that he is also a bit obssessed with), he plots an idea to kidnap her. The other, with hand firmly gripped on a gun in his briefcase, he pushes himself to the brink of taking down each kid in the classroom. Instead, he's thwarted as the end of the day bell rings.

The conclusion to our film is left open ended and it honestly left me a bit frustrated. I wanted to see what the teacher did next. What happens next? Did he completely lose it the next day?

Regardless, Worm is a nice slice of psychological horror. The dark humored dialogue is outstanding and the performance of Robert Nolan keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout its short run time. And I liked how the film leaves you wondering: are there some teachers this disenchanted and on the verge of going off?

For more information about Worm and to check out a brief clip from the film, check out the production company's website:

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Possession of David O' Reilly (2010)

Fear 2/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 2/5

The Possession of David O’ Reilly starts off interesting enough. A husband and wife awake on their couch after spending a night indoors and falling asleep. Just before the wife does so, she’s heard muttering ‘Don’t open the door.’ Shortly thereafter, a knock occurs and the husband answers, finding a distraught friend (David) on the front doorstep. After he’s welcomed in, we learn that he recently found out that his significant other was having an affair with another man. Being the good friend that he is, the man of the house asks his friend to stay. But that's not his real reason for showing up.

That night, our distraught friend sees and hears things. We get brief glimpses of a creature in the backyard. Shuffling noises, thumps on doors and heavy breathing add to a slowly building atmosphere. At first, these actions are ignored so as to not disturb the good friends which have allowed him to crash. But each night, with the figures getting closer and closer to the home, it becomes too much for him to ignore and he partly reveals to his friends what’s been happening. It isn’t until a figure is seen in the light of day and David completely flips his shit does our couple become really concerned about what it is exactly that is troubling our now full-on paranoid and anxiety filled friend.

After this last occurrence, our homeowners don’t know what to believe in regards to what’s taking place. The husband is inclined to think that these events are really happening while the wife is hesitant to call it anything but a friend who’s in desperate need of psychiatric help. But later that night, we come face to face with what is haunting David as the presence makes itself known. A demon-like creature which looks like something straight out of the mind of Clive Barker, presents itself to David but you never really know if his friends actually see or come into contact with the creature themselves. What we do see is them reacting to the hysterics of their friend as well as further confusion developing as to what is actually going on. And confusion starts to develop within the viewer at this point.

This confusion grows as they come into contact with a woman that’s living upstairs. Our evil presence comes out again later the next day and all 4 of our story’s participants run upstairs and hole themselves up in her apartment. In the darkness of the apartment, we see different newspaper clippings which briefly reveal certain things which may have happened in the complex. And we see our demon as it’s followed them into the apartment. But nothing happens to them as they make a clean escape, back downstairs and into the home of our good Samaritan friends.

Here’s where things start to really unravel as the film heads into ‘I’m not sure where to take this next or how to end it' territory. After a series of more supernatural events, some of our onscreen characters meet an untimely demise. As the story concludes, no clear cut resolve is achieved. We see David blabbering on about what's happening. Our closing shot shows the lady of the house bloodied and on the floor. And then our film abruptly ends. Was David really possessed or just cuckoo nutsos? Did he transfer the demon to his buddy's wife? It would have been fine to have left the film open ended if there were larger themes being explored. But as is, its just one big resounding 'thud.' What a muddled mess of a film.

Cortez the Killer

Monday, January 24, 2011

Re-Cut (2010)

Fear 0/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 1/5

OK found footage films. You and I need a break. Nothing personal, but you've momentarily worn out your welcome. Your new car smell now reeks of baby vomit mixed with wet dog. I no longer have the time nor the patience to continue to watch uninventive and boring crap like this.

Two college filmmaking students drive out to a small town. They are fascinated by the thought of documenting the life of a former contestant on The Bachelor (I have not verified if she was in fact a contestant nor do I really care) who's now turned local news anchorwoman. The lead filmmaker had apparently been in contact with her via email and other means of communication. So she knew that they were on their way. But when they get there, she plays dumb and tells them to leave.

The dejected kids head back out to their van. But before they can leave, our news anchorwoman comes back out to tell them that she does not have a camera crew and that she needs them to help her out. So she suckers them into taking her and investing the murder of two local kids at the hands of their suspect father.

After being denied entry onto the grounds of the family farm by the local sheriff (who's obviously hiding something), the kids get a room at the local motel. What ensues for about the next 30 min or so is a bunch of research and playing Scooby Doo. Despite the creepy hotel clerk and the obvious that there is something this small town is hiding, NOTHING HAPPENS.

Finally, something interesting takes place as the former groundskeeper approaches the group and invites to take them to the farm to allow them to do some investigative work. They find that the house also served as a classroom where the father homeschooled them and taught them the ways of the good book. But hardly anything suspicious is found until one of our camera crew unearths a box filled with pictures of our groundskeeper and his buddy doing some unfathomable things to the two little kids.

The end sees the two child molesting hillbillies string up and torture the camera crew and anchorwoman. They free themselves and then it's hot pursuit time into the surrounding corn fields. Our group struggles with their pursuers and are eventually able to incapacitate them. The local police shows up and hauls them off. Mystery solved. YAY! Or is it.....but more importantly, who the fuck cares?

Getting to the end was a long and laborious process. After about 45 min or so of nothing really happening, all I wanted to have happen was for this film to end. And for a film that has a running time of about 1:20, that's really bad. And for a found footage film, there were a lot of cutaways to random scenes of someone sharpening knives and beating victims which made no sense. Not to mention, there were times that made you scratch your head and wonder 'Did the filmmaker's forget that they were making a found footage film?' For example, we see our lead camera guy as he wakes up one morning. Who was filming him? Was the camera on all night? Stupid things I could look past if the film was actually good. But as such, it just added to my annoyance.

Avoid this one at all costs folks.

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Very First Episode Of The Planet Of Terror Podcast!!

Yes indeedy fine ladies and gents. The Planet of Terror podcast is here and ready to take over the world, slappin' sucka MC's! Not really. Because as you'll see, the very first one has a few glitches. Namely:

1. A false start cuts into an awkward lead-in
2. Voices cut in and out sometimes
3. My extreme nervousness and
4. I forgot to signoff with a proper 'goodbye'

But it's all a learning process, and thankfully, my guests were here to save the day.

This will be a fairly regular occurance on the blog with me and my partner in crime trading off hosting duties. We'll talk with writers, directors, actors and lots of our fellow cohorts in the blogosphere world. And hopefully, at some point, we'll start doing these live and fielding calls from listeners.

For the 1st episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Writer/Director/Producer/Editor/Cinematographer/Caterer Adam Rehmeier and Actress Rodleen Getsic. Both were involved in the production of The Bunny Game. It's one of the most disturbing horror films I've ever seen (review here).

The interview was really interesting, going in directions I hadn't anticipated. Click play and learn how this nightmarish film came together. And hear Rodleen do a fine imitation of a death metal vocalist.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Black Swan (2010)

Fear 5/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 5/5

I once dated a girl in high school who was a dancer. She specialized in jazz/hip-hop but always wanted to try her hand (er, feet?) at being a ballet dancer. She never had the body for it she would tell me even though she was very slim and toned. But more importantly than that, she knew the grueling nature of the dance style. Not for a lack of dedication but more because ballet dancers (seasoned, professional, obsessive ballet dancers) are of a different kind. Rolling ankles, breaking them oftentimes along with toes and toenails, constantly completing and repeating the same dance routine over and over and over until absolute perfection is achieved. Its is the kind of dance style where not only are you physically dedicated, but emotionally as well, far more than any other. Losing yourself totally to the style and the music that accompanies it because the expressive nature of the dance demands that you do so. Why am I telling you all of this as a prelude to my review? I guess understanding that style of dance and the dedication needed for it lent itself to making my film going experience all that much more terrifying. But watching Natalie Portman’s complete immersion into her character as it unfolded onscreen did a brilliant enough job of conveying the crazy and obsessive nature that is so common with people that take up this style of dance.

From the start, a picture is painted of Portman’s character Nina: one of a young, innocent, sexually restrained girl. This picture is affirmed upon inspection of her room. She may be a young twenty something but her room cries of a 12 year old girl. It’s stocked with stuffed animals and all the pink frilly things you’d likely associate. It also doesn’t help that her mother still treats her like a child, putting her to bed at night, waking her up in the morning and constantly referring to her as ‘My sweet sweet girl.’

Nina happens to be a very talented and gifted ballet dancer. After putting in years of hard work with her dance troupe, she’s finally earned top bill as the White Swan in the production of Swan Lake. There's only one problem: she doesn’t have the seductive, alluring, alter personality that’s needed to effectively play the part of the character’s polar opposite, the Black Swan. It’s a dual role that she so desperately wants but her director doesn’t think she has it in her to play.

Arriving on the scene is another girl who immediately displays the necessary characteristics which Nina does not possess. She shows up late to practice, brazenly interrupts Nina’s dance, and later, she flirts with male cast mates and smokes. All of her actions eventually come under the judging and watchful eye of Nina to the point where Nina starts inventing perceived actions as a manifestation of her obsessive, at all costs, desire to play both parts. Nina comes to believe that she is a true threat.

Through the invention of these actions, a few sexual awakenings and a stand against her controlling mother (who’s overcompensating for her own shortcomings in the same profession), Nina becomes that other side, that other person she needs to become in order to successfully play the dual role. It’s difficult to put into words the transformation process (its hinted at throughout the running time of the film). Aronofsky does a brilliant job of blurring the lines of reality until our fateful finish. But the process she goes through in getting there is terrifying. The last 20 min. or so of our film, where she completely turns, rebels, and rids herself of the perceived threat, is some of the most terrifying I’ve ever witnessed onscreen. Accompanied by an incredible score, you'll be riveted all the way until the very bitter end.

And make no mistake. This is billed as a psychological thriller. But it is most definitely a horror film.

Cortez the Killer

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fright Flick (2011)

Fear 1/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5
T&A Factor 5/5

Fright Flick is a glorious ode to the slasher film, a sterling throwback to the era's heyday. And it has all of the fantastical components which makes films of this ilk so goddamn great. Let me list the ways:

1. Over the top gore- check

Exhibit A: a pair of garden shears to the eyeholes

2. Laugh out loud dialogue- check

Exhibit B: 'Christ on a Kosher cracker. I am over it. It is hotter outside than Rosie O' Donnell's pussy in the Sahara Desert.'

3. T&A factor amped to 11- check

Exhibit C: A woman grabbing her 'enhancements' while belting out a blood curdling scream.

4. A cast of goofy characters, which includes at least one 'D' list star- check

Exhibit D: Chad 'Our House' Allen.

Our story centers around a filming crew, getting ready to start production on what else, a slasher film of course! What's the name of the film you might ask? 'Fright Flick' doubly of course course! From an eccentric director to two bitter screenwriters to bimbo and ditsy actresses to an over the top, flamingly gay makeup guy, this cast of whacky characters fumble and bumble their way through the process of making the third film in their series. They also dupe a church going lady into being their financier by claiming it's a religious film. Oh what a low down dirty shame!

So of course, production begins and people involved start getting the axe. And garden sheared. And decapitated. And run over by cars. Who is it you might ask? The two horribly bitter screenwriters? The scheming camera guy looking to get into the knickers of one of the actresses with the promise of more screen time? An angry actress who's not getting enough screen time? I won't reveal the character but I will say the woman make's Pamela Voorhees look like a Sunday school teacher.

Fright Flick is a prime example of why we love these types of horror films: silly plot, over the top dialogue, and just a gorrifically good time.

The film is directed by Israel Luna who's fast making a name for himself in my backyard of Dallas, TX. He's also the filmmaker behind Ticked Off Trannies With Knives, of which, I've heard great things about. Hoping to review that for the site, ASAP.

Anywhos, Fright Flick will be available for purchase via Breaking Glass Pictures (linky here) starting January 25th. I believe it will also be available to rent via your cable's On Demand service around that time as well. I'll confirm that and post an update soon.

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Home Movie (2008)

Fear 5/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 5/5

A found footage, shaky cam styled flick, Home Movie centers on a mother, father and their two children: a son and daughter who are close in age. What starts out as daddy having some fun documenting their daily lives and usual family goings ons with his new toy, a revelation soon comes as we find out that something is not quite right with our pint sized youngins’.

Before we get to their bizarre behaviors, as we’re watching the initial events as they’re captured by the father (i.e. playing baseball in the yard), we initially take the kid's actions as being camera shy. Nothing more than two kids who view mom and dad’s actions as embarrassing. You know the ‘Ohhhh moooooooom!’ type of cry which usually follows an act wherein mommy licks her hand, applies it to your face, and scrubs off some dirt with a tissue? But when junior takes a baseball that dad’s throw to him, pitches it to himself and hits it out into the surrounding woods, you begin to think that maybe these kids are a bit antisocial. That notion is further reinforced when the father (in search of the baseball) comes upon their heavily secured clubhouse in the woods.

Things take a turn towards the severly odd when mom and dad find the two kids sleeping in the same bed one night. Without rhyme or reason, the little girl urinates on the floor when they’re caught in the act. Dad gets the kids back into bed and crawls in with them to tell them a bedtime story. After story time, with our kids now settled, dad leaves the room. And by this time, you just know it's only a matter of time before something else happens.

Of course, the troubling antics continue the next day. That night at dinner, the kids disruptively drop utensils and plates as dad (who’s revealed to be a pastor) attempts to get through saying grace at the dinner table. Despite multiple requests to stop, the kids continue. But the most shocking event comes when the parents awake the next day to find the family cat crucified in the hallway. Literally so, as it is seen tacked to a cross.

So what do you suppose the parents do next? Haul their kids off to the loony bin? Send them to their room and unplug their PS3? Both parents with their respective professions (the mother is revealed to be a psychologist) think that they can 'cure' the kids. Daddy performs an impromptu exorcism and mommy starts in on therapy sessions. When a combination of both efforts seems to have worked, the parents continue on with life as is. But are the kids really cured?

Home Movie is a classic entry into the creepy kid category of horror films. I particularly enjoyed the end as the kids turn the tables and we see them sit down to dinner, reenacting the bed time story the father told them earlier. And it's also a bit of a mind screw as you're left wondering, were these kids really possessed or were they just screwie louie en la cabesa?

Cortez the Killer

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Bunny Game (2010)

Fear 5/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 5/5

Simply put, The Bunny Game is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. I'm still floored a couple days later after having watched it. By film's end, you'll have to do your best to pick your jaw off the floor. Completely disturbing and unsettling while at the same time having a point to all the onscreen madness, it will leave an indelible mark on your psyche.

Before I dive into my full review, I'd be remissed if I didn't mention the hand written letter that accompanied my screener copy of the review. I received a hand written list of explicit instructions which I needed to comply with before watching the film. The list is as folllows:

If you can't read it, click on the photo itself to big-ify. Interesting way to set the stage, right? But truthfully, I didn't need to do all of that prior to the start of the film. I was completely in awe and transfixed from the get-go.

For the first 20 minutes or so of the film, we follow the actions of a hooker as she gets through a day's work. A picture is painted of a life that's stuck in a vicious cycle: drugs, sex (which is oftentimes forceful), money, stop for food, continue to work, rinse and repeat. And as each act is performed, the camera doesn't pan or move away at all from any of it, putting you front and center to the mess that has become this young woman's life. It's the last act, the last straw if you will, that sends her completely over the edge. After a constant stream of drug use throughout the day, and with the man in her motel room having absolutely no problem with it, she passes out and he proceeds to use her limp body. She awakens later only to find all of her money stolen.

Distraught, she leaves the motel and walks down a road leading out of the city. A truck driver soon pulls up, calls her into his truck, and she obliges. Afterall, what else does she have to lose? They begin their interaction with some small talk followed by her sharing with him some of her white powdery stuff as its been a long day for him out on the open road. The man, old with a greyed beard and looking very Jeff Bridges-like, resists requests from her for sex. But after a couple more rebuffs, he smothers her with a cloth, drugs her and tosses her into the back seat.

He starts up and heads out of town in his big rig, the girl still zonked out in the back seat. He makes his way out to the middle of the California desert, settling off to the side of the road in a cleared and uninhabited area. When she awakens, she finds herself chained in the back of his truck. What ensues next, for the remainder of our film, is not so much torture per se, but a complete shaming of her. From spitting to slapping and then onwards to shaving her head and branding her, this woman is emotionally and physically made broken, even far more than she ever was before. But there is a point to all of this, one that I won't reveal but you will catch on to it if you pay attention and follow along closely.

A mention must be made about the style of the film itself as it's reminiscent of David Lynch and the aesthetics which he typically employs (i.e. odd images, camera angles and zooms). In fact, it would make for a great double feature alongside Nathan Wrann's Burning Inside. The cinematography is also stunning and really beautiful.

Overall, The Bunny Game is an engrossing but at the same time, disturbingly haunting film. It will be a challenge for some to get through this film. But if you make it all the way through, catch on to the intent and larger theme, you'll be left saying (like I did), 'Goddamn, that's a brilliant piece of filmmaking.'

The film is starting to make a name for itself, gaining notoriety and (hopefully) distribution efforts. Stay on alert for it and more from writer/director/freak-er out-er/ Adam Rehemier. And enough can't be said about the amazing performances of both leads, Rodleen Gestic (Bunny) and Jeff F. Renfro (Hog). They carry the film and it wouldn't be the hellish nightmare that it is without them.

Cortez the Killer

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shellter (2009)

Fear 3/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 3/5
Creepiness 5/5

Shellter is the type of film that reels you in, hook, line and sinker with both it's premise and lead characters. It's sick, it's twisted and it's delightfully demented. But just when you think you've got a perfect classic in the making, the rug is pulled out from underneath you as it falters at the end. It's like eating a bowlful of tasty soup only to find a dead fly at the bottom. It tarnishes the experience a bit.

Our story begins with a woman (named Zoey) who wakes up in a hospital bed. Only she's not in a hospital at all. The attending doctor (played maniacally well by William David Tullin) tells her that a widespread virus has infected the whole of humanity and it's his job, along with assistance from the military, to safeguard the uninfected in his underground research facility. We quickly come to learn that this isn't any normal research facility and we're exposed to the sick experimentations of one seriously deranged doctor.

From feeding his 'patients' feces and urine to survive, to feeding his nurse (who's had just about every orafice sewn or glued shut) through a tube inserted into her nose, to frontal lobe lobotamies and subsequent rapings, the mad doctor makes Dr. Hieter (from The Human Centipede) look like a choir boy. But it's not until a series of trials does it take for Zoey realize that she had better comply with this lunatic or her own fate might come into question.

Another woman soon awakens in the facility and the doctor hooks her up to a chair which is wired to a machine that administers electric shocks. He designs an experiment wherein Zoey must flip a charge switch and push a button to ignite it every time the poor woman answers a question incorrectly. It starts off easily enough and with a bit of nervous laughter. But when the woman begins to answer questions incorrectly and the resultant shocks become increasingly too much to handle, Zoey is pushed to the edge to continue on with the experiment. And she realizes that from here on out, completing actions such as this, will mean the difference between saving her own life or sacrificing someone else's. The point here being, (as the name of the title suggests with the addition of an extra 'L') that she becomes a shell of her former self with survival instincts and the will to do so completely taking over.

So after another series of infected make there way into the underground facility and are disposed of, you're left wondering 'why'? This doctor is obviously not there to find a cure or really safeguard those who aren't afflicted with the virus. I won't give away the 'why' of the film except to say that it fits within this modern, overly paranoid society we're currently living in. Plausible? Yes. But the way in which the doctor's (and his other cohorts) actions are justified comes off as awkward. The revelation is made in the midst of Zoey trying to escape her captors and the explanation comes off in haste, like the story needed to be wrapped up quickly with a neat bow. And as such, it feels clunky and dime store preacher-y.

A shame, because after the build-up and the genuinely disturbing trip taken thus far, the ending left the overall intent feeling flat when in fact, there was a greater point that was trying to be made a la Martyrs. A similar type of film that fared much better in conveying an overall message. Still, Shellter is worth a watch as it's more than just a senseless, torture porn type of a film. And the performance of Mr. Tullin is absolutely stellar.

You can rent the film for 30 days for a measly schmeasly $4.95 or you can purchase it for the price of a movie ticket ($9.95) over at IndieFlix:

Cortez the Killer

Shellter - Trailer
Uploaded by dreadcentral. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Night of The Punks (2010)

Fear 0/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 0/5

In this horror short, a 4 piece band along with their merch gal, pack into their tour van and head to that night's gig. But when they set up, plug in and play, they quickly find out that this isn't going to be any normal, circle pitted, mohawked and safety pin sporting show. They learn that they have to fend off another type of band: comprised of flesh hungry ghouls. WOWSERS!

After kick starting their set of oi oi oi tunes, their bassist having already been ripped apart by one of the ghouls in the bathroom, the hoodied ghoulish punkers start in on the group. Swinging their instruments, including an effective use of a corded mic which elicits a 'Nice Daltrey!', the band escapes and head into the back office of the joint.

So why is all of this happening? Did they get a Green Day, big label, sell-out kind of a contract deal, and now all of their fans are royally pissed? Or did the members give a case of the herpes surprise to an unsuspecting groupie? No, the owner of the joint tells them that the club was built over a gateway to hell and that every few years a sacrifice is needed in order for him to stay in business. Guess who's this year's offering?

The end to our film sees our surviving band members ward off the group and throw down with a 'super' ghoul. Do they make it out alive? Do they get to see the light of day and the promise of a new gig?

Night of the Punks is a total throwback to the high octane sleaze and cheese films of the 80's. Just pure, good ol' fashioned fun.

For more information about Night of The Punks including upcoming screenings, check out the film's site:

Cortez the Killer

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow, what an amazing year 2010 was. I married the love of my life (see pic over yonder <----), we bought our first house together, and I met some great friends and gained some new ones through this here blog. Not to mention, the absolutely rewarding feeling of supporting some great indie filmmakers and their works. I want to thank YOU for all the support you've given to those filmmakers and for making this the best year EVER for the blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

As we embark on our 5th year of doing this (holy effing eff!), we'll continue to spotlight the works of independent horror filmmakers and we'll sprinkle some old gems into the mix that maybe you've missed out on or have never heard about. AND, something I'm particularly excited about: I'll be starting film screenings here in Dallas.

Thanks again for a great 2010. We're looking forward to blowing the roof off of 2011!

Cortez the Killer