Monday, February 28, 2011
This film played during a short theater run in my backyard of Dallas, TX last year but I never got a chance to see it. Many thanks to my wife's hairdresser for passing this along for my viewing pleasure.
Meet Emma Grashun, Rachel Slurr, Tipper Sommore, Bubbles Cliquot and emcee Pinky La' Trimm. All are performers at the local cabaret which specializes in serving your more alternatively lifestyled crowd. Bubbles being the only naturally born woman of the bunch (I think; my penis was confused on more than one occasion), laments to her friends before the show about her douchebag boyfriend and has the shiner to prove it. After the show, they convince her to go out for some much needed libations and girl talk.
At the bar, a Tarantino-esque dialogue scene ensues where the girls have a roundtable discussion about how they hide their man bits and the woes of being a tranny. Emma and Rachel notice some cute little Mexicano chicharrones eyeing them from across the room. After a bit of small talk, they convince the lovely ladies to come back to their place and guilt Bubbles into taking them there so they can get their freak on.
Arriving at the hang out, instead of getting some much needed action, they're instead ambushed by Bubble's asshole, homophobic boyfriend. And each are brutally beaten with a baseball bat. The girls survive though, with Bubbles inheriting a mean lisp in the process. So guess what happens next? Bitches be mad son!
The girls get all latex'd, make-up'd and strapped full o' knives. They then head out to turn the tables on the boys by luring them to Bubble's pad. After a game of card deck roulette, with the other girls waiting outside, the group is ambushed and then it's payback time! Anally inserted knives and guns, long Star Trek-esque knives that would make Rambo smile, and the shit hits the proverbial fan. It's bloody, it's gory, it's howlingly good fun.
I know we all need another retrosploitation movie like we need a hole in the head. But writer/director Israel Luna is genuinely gifted and he has a knack for both the comedic as well as the over the top insanity which is needed to make these types of films work. He is 2 for 2 now, with Fright Flick being a slasherifficly good time (review here). I can't wait to see what he does next.
Cortez the Killer
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This film had a lot going for it at the onset. Most notably, the premise. The Romans believed that at the time of death, one could capture a person's spirit as it left the person's body upon their last exhale. An ingenious doctor perfected the process of capturing it, selling the encapsulated essence to the highest bidder. The reasoning? When inhaled, the spirit cured the recipient of any current ailments as well as allowing them to prolong their life. The main problem with the film? Too much of a kitchen sink mentality with every genre trope thrown in for good measure. A seeing what sticks approach does not lend itself to making a particularly good film. And it painfully shows here.
The film opens with a montage (think Watchmen but nowhere near as epic) as we see a mysterious box pass from owner to owner over the decades and finding its way into the present and into the hands of a curio shop owner. The owner is a woman who's suffering from a terminal illness and only has months to live. A strange couple and an over zealous man both are looking for the box, the eager man winning out in the end as the highest bidder for it. And its obvious that he knows of the valuable contents that lie within.
What starts off as a seemingly well intentioned man as his own sister is suffering from a terminal illness itself, devolves into a sinister plot by him to expose everyone to the effects of the spirit dwelling vials. Why exactly do you ask? Well it seems that the good doctor, instead of using normal test subjects, actually used violent prison inmates and when someone inhales the spirit, along with curing them and prolonging their life, they are turned into violent savages. Wowsers!
So in order to keep his plot going and to 'take care of' anyone that stands in his way, the film moves from the supernatural to straight up slasher as he dispenses a couple of kids who could expose him. As the film progresses and the 'virus' gets out, guess what type of a terrain the film veers into next? It's boring, it's lame and it's a sad attempt to be all things to all people.
Look, I learned of a strategy long ago in marketing when I first started off in the corporate world that has served me well: make your focus narrow and your appeal will be broad; make your focus broad and your appeal will be narrow. I've seen too many of these types of films and they all end up being one jumbled mess. I could have looked past the additionally shoddy acting and find value in the really great concept that was there at the beginning. But when the film veered into other territory, it lost me and it just became downright silly.
I can't in good conscience recommend this film to anyone. Skip. Pass. Find something better to do with an hour and 40 min. of your life.
Cortez the Killer
Monday, February 21, 2011
A colonoscopy. A root canal. A hot colonic. A brillo pad in place of a loofa whilst showering. All of these things I would gladly do or take if it meant not having to experience the steamy pile of dung that is Wake the Witch ever again.
Because the people behind this overly marketed to tweens, banal and cliche ridden crapfest really didn't make an effort to do a serious film or even anything resembling a coherent one, I'm going to take the easy way out and just post my running commentary which appeared on Twitter. Enjoy.
- Oh no, here we go. Angsty teens one of whom is wearing a Nirvana t-shirt. I know who this film is being marketed to. Tweens!
- 20 min in and not a single goddamn interesting thing has happened. Mallcore music + swoop haircuts = this is only going to get worse.
- Apparently, the production company thought I was 12.
- A dream w/ voices chanting 'Wake the witch, wake the witch.' wow, that's so new and original. Now cue indie hipster music! Rock out!
- OMG! Walking into the woods, loud ominous music, bloody noses, convulsing douchey teens! Get scaredzzz. Trixie's foaming out the mouth now!
- 'I told you not to go into that park'- horror cliche'd quip #10,978
- More angsty teens! Middle finger flipped by a girl wearing a Sex Pistols T. Ohhhhh, she means bidness.
- 40 min in and STILL nothing of note. I'm taking one for the team today kids!
- More angsty music and swoop haircuts! Yaaaaarrrrrggghhhh!!
- Have you ever been so angry while watching a film that you develop a case of tourettes? Yeah, that's me right now.
- Oh my god! Teenagers in hoodies acting all freaky! Run! They're probably going to start floor punching and spin kicking! *mosh*
- Of course, a knuckleheaded detective is on the case - horror cliche #55
- Exhibit A in the case of why people don't check out more nano budget horror films. Shoot me.
- 'I've got a fever...' and the only prescription is more cowbell.
- Man appears out of nowhere at a driver's side window- lame-o jump scare #24
- Convoluted urban legend time!
- This film has compelled me to drink more which is always a good thing. On my 3rd glass of ConCannon Pinot Noir. I'm a classy fucker tonight.
- Holy motherfuck! A boy with his back turned and facing towards a corner in a room. Where have I seen this before? Hmmm....
- This film really needs to end soon or I just might break out the tequila.
- 'We need to stay safe and figure it out' - horror cliche #1,573
- Wow, this filmmaker really went by the Horror Films for Dummies handbook.
- This movie was filmed in Nebraska. Well that explains everything.
- Wrap this shit up already! For fucks sake!!!
- Praise be to jebus! That shit stank is ovah!
Cortez the Killer
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Two new clips for the fantastic period piece horror flick Black Death (review here) are now available to check out with your ojos. See below.
Our friend Rondal Scott of Strange Kids Club has posted a fun and insightful interview with director Jason Eisener. Haven't heard of him? Have you heard of a little film we are all super duper excited about called Hobo with A Shotgun? Yeah, he's the mad genius behind it.
You can check out said interview here: http://www.strangekidsclub.com/?p=3937
And if you haven't yet, be sure to check out the zany trailer below. It's a doozy!
I know it seems like I post one of these about every week but I wouldn't do it if I didn't believe in a particular filmmaker's works and/or projects.
Elisabeth Fies, hot off the success of her last film The Commune is set to turn the slasher sub-genre on it's head. Using the film Maniac as a jumping off point, the film seeks to twist the gender norms that are associated with this style.
A brief run-down is as follows:
'The premise of PSYCHOSEXUAL is to reverse the gender roles of the prototypical slasher/detective movie. Everything will be the same...same erotic kills, same cheesy dialogue, same slovenly middle-aged detective with a bewildering pick of fantastic lovers...only the deaths are happening to men, the weaker species in this world. Puerile feminist exercise, or a big bag of awesomesauce? I'm not sure. I know everyone involved is having a heck of a lot of fun, and the resulting movie is still freakishly frightening and suspenseful.'
To learn more about the film and how you can help the project get off the ground, clicky here: http://www.indiegogo.com/PSYCHOSEXUAL-feature-film-by-a-female-needs-your-help
And lastly, the trailer debut for the film Insidious (original Saw writers/directors, producers of Paranormal Activity) aired last night on Syfy. Folks raved about this film when it was screened at last years South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX.
Whats dos yous thinks?
Monday, February 14, 2011
T&A Factor 3/5
Poor Raymond. He's graduating high school soon but still can't seem to run with the cool kids or get into the knickers of a sweet girl for a finger bang or two. On top of that, he's fat, sporting a mean pair of bitch tits and he's slow (and I'm not talking about his lack of aerobic skills). His brother takes it as a chore for him to hang around with him and his friends. And when he does, he receives constant name calls of 'Re-re' and 'Sling Blade.'
On one particular weekend morning, he's reluctantly allowed to come out and play with the group, trailing behind as the kids make a mad dash for the local park. After meeting up with a friend of theirs who was desperately trying to get into the Underoos of a girl (seriously, they both looked like they were 13! kids today!!), they all hang out near a large tree in the middle of the park. It's not long before the uber bitchy girl of the group starts in on teasing Raymond. But Raymond fights right back. His brother steps in to try to mediate after she kung fu kicks Raymond in the face. But uber bitchy girl pushes him instead, which sends him reeling back, headfirst into a tree stump, killing him instantly. Frantically, the kids run away, leaving behind Raymond and the only girl in the group that's ever shown him any sort of kindness. The dispersed kids all proceed to make an I Know What You Did Last Summer kind of a pact and Raymond is sent to the local mental hospital.
Flash forward 6 years and our assbag teens are now semi-grown'd up and coming back on a college break for a reunion of sorts. They meet up at a backyard party where the requisite consumption of alcohol, drugs and other debaucherous activities occurs. After some 'What have you been up to?' talks, things become solemn as they remember what happened on that fateful afternoon a few years back. But instead of lamenting about Raymond and his poor situation that THEY threw him into along with the loss of their friend, they instead talk about boozing it up. What a bunch of douchebaggy ding dongs! Poor Raymond, even in the cuckoo house, he can't catch a break.
So of course, Raymond blows the popsicle stand and he's out for vengeance, using his retard strength to impale, smother, slice & dice and disembowel our dickheaded college kids. And boy does he ever let in on some utter brutal-ness, leaving one victim, as described by the friend that finds him 'a rotisserie chicken.'
After surviving a near death experience, Raymond continues on his brutal quest of retribution, sparing the only girl that was kind to him in the process. The end sees him wax uber bitchy girl and make his way home. But even dear ol' mom doesn't want to have anything to do with him (blaming him for his brother's death) as she pulls out her .44 Magnum and caps him. Our film fades out to the sounds of police sirens and Raymond's screams of 'All I ever wanted was my family.' One last ounce of hilarity is thrown in for good measure as he exclaims 'Dad?' and picks up an alimony payment addressed to the household on a nearby table.
Raymond Did It has everything you could ever want from a fun & silly slasher: gore, inventive kills, cornball and hilarious dialogue ('Jesus Tap Dancing Christ' is going into my everyday vocab.) and of course, an ample supply of boobage.
Raymond Did It is currently hitting the screening and festival circuit. For more information, check out the production company's website: http://raymonddidit.aegisstudios.com/
Cortez the Killer
Thursday, February 10, 2011
We talk about the production of the film, including the original idea to have a creature/monster. Just listen and let him describe it to you. I'm certainly glad it didn't go that route!
Anyways, we also talk about current films and the woes of independent distribution and on top of that, we get a couple of guest appearances from my dog Ozzy. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
I'm as giddy as a school girl who has the latest issue of Tiger Beat that one of my favorite independent horror films from the past few years has found its way on to VOD. From small festival runs to distribution purgatory to a run on IndieFlix (which is still ongoing), the fantastic In Memorium is now available on many OnDemand cable services for a limited time.
For a full list of providers, clicky here: http://www.inmemoriumthemovie.com/cable.html
I can't say enough about this film and I'll talk about it until I'm blue in the face and in subsequent need of resuscitation. See it. See it NOW.
Writer/Director Anne Norda, is currently in fundraising mode for her next feature. She won best trailer at Bleedfest recently and if watching it and rupturing my spleen in laughter is any indication, it'll be a hit!
From the filmmaker's website:
Stop, I’m Not Dead Yet! is a trilogy of comedic horror stories centered around relationships. This irreverent, sexy, satiric movie, which pokes fun at modern audiences’ obsessions with vampires, zombies, and all things “horror,” will appeal to men and women. The script is loaded with vivid, colorful, comedic characters that will attract stellar actors with name recognition. The surprising story twists and absurd situations will keep the viewer entertained, frightened and amused.The unique tone of Stop, I’m Not Dead Yet! hearkens to that of the highly successful comedy/horror features, “Shawn of the Dead” and “Zombieland.”
Just check out the trailer and rad poster art. How could this NOT be awesome? If you can spare some extra pesos, and live in or near Los Angeles, she'll be throwing a fundraising bash. The deets esta aqui: http://stopimnotdeadyet.weebly.com/
Last but not least, a funny short film sent to me by the mysterious emailer known only by the initials JR (Ewing?).
Further inspection of an IMDB page (you can't hide from me!) reveals the filmmaker to be LA-based writer/director James Ricardo. The short Guillotine Guys is a comedy about loss and attachment. Get it?
Clicky and enjoy!
Cortez the Killer
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Hello our dearest and well respected readers! I have a question to pose to you all. I hope you are aware and supportive of the fact that we have become more focused on shining a spotlight on the works of independent filmmakers. I'm not talking about those who are funded by a major studio posing as an indie one. I'm talking about the filmmaker who's essentially made him/herself bankrupt in the hopes of making just enough money in order to dump it into their next feature.
Now, I am not in the business at all of incrimination so I'm hoping you all share with me your open and honest opinion. Are you more likely to take a chance on purchasing a film and taking on the risk/reward that's inherent in such a venture? Or would you rather download the film for free first and then, if given the option, pay a nominal fee and have the opportunity to donate some coin to that filmmaker? I know, I know. Most people would rather download for free. I get that. But if given the choice between spending the money and having the high likelihood of it being crap and downloading it for free and then agreeing to throw a little coin in the direction of the filmmaker (regardless of quality), which option would you choose?
The question is important as I've engaged multiple filmmakers and I'm doing my all to get their phenomenal works out there to the masses. They are thinking about new and different ways to get their films out there instead of the traditional approach of selling and buying.
Cortez the Killer
Saturday, February 5, 2011
The first great horror film of 2011* is upon us folks and it is called Black Death. It's a period piece that's both dark and visceral (think Sauna). From Christopher Smith, the brilliant mind behind Triangle (it made my top 10 of '10), Black Death will leave you breathless with a swift punch to the gut that is administered by film's end.
Set to the backdrop of 1348 England during a bubonic plague, the film centers on a young monk who believes the plague is no act of God but instead the work of something far more sinister. A knight (Sean Bean) along with a band of mercenaries approach his abbot (played by genre vet David Warner), seeking a guide which will take them to a town by a marsh where it is rumored that a necromancer brings the dead back to life. The eager monk volunteers as he knows the area well and despite the dismay of his abbot, the knight chooses him to lead them.
They set out on their journey and along the way, come into contact with a group of people looking to take the life of an accused witch. The empathetic monk stops to urge the group to release the woman but his words fall deaf. The knight frees the woman but instead of surviving an unfair murder attempt, she instead falls victim to his knife. The monk, dumbfounded, is told by the knight that there is no time to stop for the dealings of others. A date with a far greater evil is forthcoming.
One morning, the monk wanders out into the woods while the knights are still sound asleep. He comes upon the dead body of his beloved, a woman whom he said goodbye to before he went out on his journey. She herself was looking to return to the village by the marsh, far away from the plague. After a moment of grieving, he notices that he is surrounded by heavily armed men. He races back to the encampment, the men in pursuit. A struggle then ensues in which our group of church commissioned investigators suffers a couple of casualties.
Beaten and wounded, our group finally makes their way to the village. From the get go, it's apparent that our villagers are under the influence of some force. With the appearance of a beautiful, enchanting, long haired blond woman, we instantly know what that force is. Our surviving group is welcomed by her into the village, invited to indulge in a feast that night and against their better judgment, they knock back a few. But instead of enjoying the nectar of the gods, they're made unconscious. The monk, having snuck away for a bit, makes his way out to a clearing in the marsh and comes face to face with the necromancer mid act.
Our group of truth seekers are chained and jailed in a contraption by the water front. One by one, they are asked to denounce their God in a test of faith. The necromancer strings up our noble knight, thinking it would get to our monk. If that wasn't enough, she's resurrected his lost love. Despite the temptations, our monk doesn't falter but our fearless knight meets his demise during the brutal act of being drawn and quartered.
The end of our film sees one of the mercenaries and the monk make it out of the town alive and back to church. Our monk takes up the task of hunting down our necromancer but you're left wondering, will he really find her? Has his faith and mission altered his perception of reality?
A haunting film, Black Death will remain with you long after the credits roll. I know it's early goings, but it's one of the best I've seen in 2011 thus far.
*The film was released in the UK in 2010 and is just now hitting stateside. It was made available to rent on VOD services on Feb. 4th. It will also see a limited theatrical release starting in March. Black Death is being distributed by Magnolia Pictures and at this time, DVD/Blu-Ray release info is not yet available. I will be sure to keep the masses posted when such news is ready!
Cortez the Killer
Friday, February 4, 2011
Hanger is a glorious slice of sleaze pie. Gross, disgusting, rancid, sleaze pie. It's a Troma inspired sleazefest as not only evidenced by the over the top gore and grue, but also from a couple of brief snippets shown from Class of Nuke 'Em High and the appearance of one Mr. Lloyd Kaufman doing his best tranny impersonation. It's sick, it's demented, it's gloriously outrageous.
Our film starts off with a pregnant lady of the night (played by genre star Debbie Rochon), sharing a moment with one of her most loyal paying customers: a truck driver who has an unrequited love for her. He just doesn't feel right doing the deed in her condition but instead, gives her a stuffed animal for the soon to be delivered baby. However, this doesn't bode well for the hooker, as she owes some major cash moniez to her pimp. He comes a collectin' and finds that she doesn't have the coin. He decides to make a withdrawal from the ATM of Vagina and Uterus, taking a coat hanger, ripping the baby out, and throwing it into a nearby dumpster. Mom of course, dies in the process.
Fast forward a few years and we see our discarded (and now horribly disfigured) baby now all growns up. And he's come under the care of an abusive homeless man. Our truck driver quickly arrives on the scene and rescues the boy. He claims that he is now on a mission of revenge against our mommy killing, vagina violating pimp. But before he gets down to bidness, he drops the boy off at a mongoloid retreat where he becomes friends with an Asian retard who has a penchant for making tea with women's bloodied tampons (yes, you read that right).
Our fearless truck driver sets out to avenge Hanger's (the name given to the boy, get it?) mom's death. But almost immediately, he's captured by the henchman er I mean henchwoman, who ties him up, strips herself down, and rubs his face with her stanky hoo ha juice. Gnarly.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, Hanger and Asian mongoloid get into a bit of trouble after run ins with drug dealers, a fat Jehovah's witness, some hookers (who love to furiously masturbate) and a visitor who likes to slip roofies and get down with some man on man butthole action. The most disturbing scene in the film as the dirtiest ass fucking this side of Deliverance is shown.
Hellbent on revenge truck driver manages to escape and catch up with our pimp just before he deals a fatal hand to our bumbling, sex crazed, roofied, miscreants. Hanger's mommy is avenged, the boys are saved and all is now right in our sick, twisted, demented, fucked up world. YAY!
Hanger rates about a 10 on my Richter Scale of fucked. But holy god is it funny and over the top. I can't wait to check out more from the sick and twisted mind of Ryan Nicholson.
Now excuse me while I go and vomit.
Cortez the Killer
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Long Pigs follows the exploits of one Mr. Anthony McAlistar, a serial killer and self-proclaimed connoisseur of human meat. In tow, are two documentarians who (at first) are disgusted by his habits. As they come to know Anthony and his philosophies on eating human flesh, they begin to accept him, not only continuing on as willing accomplices but also seeing the merits of his particular lifestyle.
From the get-go, we like Anthony. A completely unassuming yet charming character. That is, until he goes into serial killer and then subsequently, butcher mode. In addition to his philsophies, he is carefully methodical, precise in his cuts and portioning of his eventual eats. This is a man who is dedicated to his lifestyle no matter the risk because the reward, in his mind, is far greater.
Interspersed with some of the onscreen proceedings, are commentaries from local law officials and psychiatrists. The latter of which, attempts to put McAlistar into the same category as your garden variety serial killer. The type that wants to be 'recognized' and 'glorified' for their efforts. But the thing about him, even though he has a camera following him around, is that he isn't really interested in that. The way he presents himself and his lifestyle is no different than a vegan who ascribes to and abides by a healthier way of living. And therein lies the true horror of the film.
However, things begin to unravel for our filming duo as they begin to realize that Anthony's philosophies and past stories actually come into conflict with one another. This is most apparent in the revelation of a local girl who went missing and Anthony's admission that she was his first victim. This doesn't sit well at all with our filmmakers. They've had enough. But just when we think that filming is over, Anthony turns the tables on his documentarians.
Disturbing, disgusting with a bit of dark humor thrown in for good measure, Long Pigs is an instant classic for me. My favorite part of the film is a sped up, time elapsed, sequence in which Anthony strings up and strips the meat from his latest victim, all set to the sounds of The Nutcracker (although, I'm not a ballet expert so please, correct me if I'm wrong on the actual number). I wish I'd discovered this film sooner.
Cortez the Killer
Long Pigs Official Trailer HD 480p from http://vimeo.com/jordanent on Vimeo.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
One of the best zombie films in recent years is the short Alice Jacobs is Dead. Starring John Lazar (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) and Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing, The Fog), its not your typical zombie outbreak and survivalist film. Instead of focusing on a group of people dealing with an oncoming zombie horde, things are scaled back and a focus is instead placed at a much more human level. Namely, the enduring love that is shared between a man and his wife. The story is heartbreaking, touching and ultimately brutal. It's a refreshing zombie tale which makes you think that maybe this sub genre hasn't beaten a dead horse and it has new stories to tell.
After playing multiple film festivals over the past year (including the Crypticon horror convention in Seattle, presided over by yours truly), the film is now available both for rent via IndieFlix ($1.99) and for purchase via Amazon ($5.95). Both are priced for less than an extra value meal! How can you beat that? The film is a most worthy addition to your collection. Heck, it was even screened for George Romero himself. Here is what he had to say about it:
"Wonderfully macabre... a terrific contribution to the literature of the dead." - George A. Romero.
And if that's not convincing enough, Mr. Landis also had a viewing:
"A well made and somber look at how the world ends, not with a bang, but rather with a broken heart and a disembowelment." - John Landis
To rent or purchase the film at an incredibly cheap-o price, check out the links below.
Alice Jacobs is Dead - Trailer from Strange Case on Vimeo.
Women in Horror Recognition Month has officially kicked off. For all events, news and other goings ons, check out the following website:
If you haven't heard, the talented Soska sisters (the zany minds behind Dead Hooker in a Trunk) are working on a new feature called American Mary. They revealed the star of the film in a videotaped PSA in support of Women in Horror Recognition Month and a blood drive that they are sponsoring early this morning. But as of now, it has not been posted on their main site so I don't want to let the cat out of the bag. Let's just say that she is no stranger to genre film and that she's appeared in one of the best and most original werewolf films of the past decade.
Edit: I'm dumb. It was released noon PST not midnight. The actress is none other than Katherine 'Ginger Snaps' Isabelle. Here is the PSA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFKfZFlFmZc
For more information about American Mary, check out the film's production site: http://www.twistedtwinsproductions.net/
And for more information about their massive blood drive, clicky here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=206502983010&ref=mf
Speaking of werewolves and last but certainly not least, my good friend Geof Capodanno of The Man-Cave recently conducted a couple of interviews with Director Joops Fragale and Actress Jennifer Ward. Both were involved in the production of the fantastic short Simone. You can check out his interviews via the following links. Both are really great reads.
Interview w/ Director Joops Fragale: http://www.theman-cave.com/2011/01/man-cave-interview-simone-director.html
Interview w/ Actress Jennifer Ward: http://www.theman-cave.com/2011/01/man-cave-interview-simone-star-jennifer.html
Simone (Trailer) from Joops Fragale on Vimeo.