Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dark Fields (2009)

OK, I have stayed away from the horror genre way too much this week as I covered the NFL Draft for Yes, I love football and the NFL, but 10 hours of coverage may have been way too much. Do not get me wrong, the Steelers had an amazing draft and interacting with fans is awesome, but the satisfaction is just not there in the same way that it is on here.  Fortunately, I had enough energy last night when it was done to find some horror to watch. My selection for the evening was 2009s Dark Fields (AKA The Rain).

Plot/ A farmer unearths an old top hat on his property and with it an ancient Indian curse that lays waste to all the farmers crops. All of the adults of the farming community are afflicted by a strange sickness that slowly dries them up until they are dust. It is only when the farmer communes with the hat does he find what it is that will save them all.

Let me start by saying this was not the best film I have seen lately, but there was something there that made it more interesting probably than it should be. As an anthology, it was definitely a different take and one that was possibly a bit too ambitious. There was a lot to like, the story was very heavy and eerie, the acting decent, some effects hit the spot and the scripting was solid. Yes, some of the effects were bad and the cinematography was all over the place, but that is somewhat expected from a low-budget flick of this nature. In the end, a decent horror anthology that is watchable. Now, I may not run out and buy it, but honestly, it could have been a lot worse.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lonely I Stand - From Zombie Epic Project

I guess all of this work my Steelers101 website has paid off... In all, I have finished one more chapter of my zombie epic. Here is another taste!

My every step a mystery
Only your scent draws me near
Yet, you are nowhere

These hours blur
Cascading like the sands in a bottle of tears
Only with every passing second my cravings mature
It has been far too long since I tasted your womb
Since your lips graced mine

Now, our future is clouded by this plague
So many things have changed
So many lives have been impaled by the darkness
By this growing hunger that drains our being
That fuels every desire

My skin
My thoughts
My veins
All of who I was has gone
All that remains is but walking flesh

Lonely I stand
Searching the horizon for one last embrace
For one last chance to dine on your divinity

Orca (1977)

If you have read the blog, you already know Jillian’s fascination with shark movies. Every once in a while, I have to change it up a bit, and give her a variety of man versun nature, animal creature features. My selection for her this time was the 1977 creature feature Orca.

Plot/ After witnessing his mate and child's death from Nolan's hands, Orca, the killer whale, goes on a rampage in the fishermen's harbor. Under the villagers' pressure, Nolan, Rachel and an Indian sail after the great beast, who will bring them on his own turf?

Yes, this is one of those man versus nature (or nature versus man) flicks that were all the rage in the 1970s, but this is a bit more than that. This has a heavy and dark feel woven into its fabric, it is full of atmosphere, the acting was solid, and the role reversal was a nice twist. More important, there was an intelligence factor in this one that is subtly at the heart of the story. Yes, there are some dated moments and some of the cinematography and storyline do not gel, but this is a decent flick that is often overlooked. If you get a chance, check it out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maniac (1980)

After a couple of days of different subgenres, I decided to venture deeper into horror with a classic 1980s display of violence and gore. For me, growing up during that era, I miss the look and feel of those classic ventures into terror. I hope that we can get back to that at some point. After some minor debate within my mind, I decided on Maniac from 1980.

Plot/ A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in NYC, kills young women and takes their scalps as trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in photographer Anna, and end his killing spree?

One of the best parts about the 1980s was the rise of Tom Savini and his incredible special effects, and this flick is the perfect example of that. Sure, it is not the typical slasher or gorefest, but it is a gritty, intense and realistic look at a true psychopath. Sure, it was a micro budget and some of the pacing was a bit off, but it remains on of the best from the era. The acting is solid (especially the late Joe Spinell), the story interesting and the atmosphere and effects are tremendous. In the end, it is one of the lasting classics that defined a generation of horror and should not be forgotten. If you have not seen it, what are you waiting for?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Violent Kind (2010)

Last night while pushing through the final defensive linemen profiles for, I decided to amp up the background scenery with something hopefully more intense and violent than The Bone Snatcher. My selection was from 2010, The Violent Kind.

Plot/ One night at a secluded farmhouse deep in the Northern California woods, a small group of hardened young bikers and their girlfriends are tormented when one of the girls becomes savagely possessed and a gang of "Rockabillies" seemingly from the 1950's descends upon them to collect what is growing inside her.

When this started, I wanted to turn it off; it seemed like the typical indie horror flick. However, once you get through the opening sequences, this turns into one interesting, fun and decently gory flick. Honestly, for an indie horror flick this one delivers. It has solid acting, good effects, atmosphere and an in-depth storyline with some astounding twists. Yes, we could have done without the first 20-or-so minutes, but other than that, it is a sound flick and one that I was glad I watched. If you love non-mainstream flicks, check this one out!

Solitude - Part of My Unfinished Zombie Epic

This is going to be part of my zombie epic (if I ever get around to finishing it). Unfortunately, I am unsure which character is speaking to me with this one. I am sure I will figure it out in time...

It haunts me in times of solitude
A vague whisper of a dream I can almost remember
The lingering warmth of a forgotten touch
I sense it there, in the darkness
In the quiet moments of times I can barely recall
Resting on the limits of my reason
It calls to me, urging me to cry out
Only to have my voice echo into nothingness
It is a history that was written in stone ages ago
And every figure of it has faded away
To leave me here to live in the shadow of a wraith
A vision of what was and a lost wish of what may be
I know it, and I know it is there
It waits for me to discover it once more
To unearth the secrets it holds and find myself
Because without it I am but an undefined impression of possibilities
It becomes me as I have always been a part of it
A promise that has existed since the dawn of thought
A gift inherent in the very fabric of the soul
But it hangs shrouded by the hopes of man
Concealed in ghostly images of all that it should have been
Here in the silence I hear it through the veil of time
And its words reverberate in the core of me
I quiver, though in fear or anticipation I cannot be sure
All my knowledge of it is an amorphous conglomeration of confusion
To reach out, to grasp it, to understand
But it is the phantom that lurks over my shoulder
That dream I can almost touch
It visits the edge of my memories and lines them with silver
It comes to me while I am alone with the past
And its vanishing countenance stays with me

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Bone Snatcher (2003)

The last few days have been busy between trout fishing and working tirelessly on NFL Draft stuff for I cannot believe how much time pre-draft profiles take. Last night, I could not take it anymore and put on some horror for background scenery. The movie I chose was the 2003 creature feature The Bone Snatcher.

Plot/ After miners disappear in the Namib Desert, some scientists find their remains and the demonic creature that killed them.

When I turned this on, I expected the worst. Lately, I have been batting about zero with the random direct-to-DVD stuff, but I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it was far from perfect, with some of the characterization, tension and atmosphere feeling forced. However, there was a lot to like. The cinematography, aided by a tremendous location, was heavy and full of a desolate feeling that matched the background, the acting was competent and most importantly the creature and effects were awesome. In the end, the flick is definitely worth watching, it was different, interesting and best of all, free!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

Today is Friday the 13th, one of the days I look forward to every year. There is so much going on with different superstitions, creepy programming and of course, the ever popular visit from Jason Voorhees. When I was young, I can remember seeing the original Friday the 13th in the theatre. I truly believe that the moment Jason came from the depths changed my life and sent me on the path I am on today. I loved it. With that thought fresh in my mind, I decided to revisit the franchise with Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.

Plot/ Years after Tommy Jarvis chained him underwater at Camp Crystal Lake, the hulking killer Jason Voorhees returns to the campgrounds when he is released accidently by a teenager with psychic powers.

I am a huge Friday the 13th fan, and love every time it pops onto the calendar as it allows me a chance to revisit at least one of the flicks without hearing any crap. This entry, the seventh in the series, was probably the last one that did not go truly overboard. Yes, it is a typical slasher from the day featuring a low budget, unknown cast, some nudity and gore. But, it is an important entry in the series as it marked Kane Hodder’s debut as Jason, and a somewhat original idea coupled with some outstanding special effects. Hell, they even give Jason some power tools to play with… In the end, if you are a fan of the series, please revisit this one it is awesome. If you are not, or have not seen it, check it out for the first time. It may be dated and a bit campy, but it is a fun romp through Camp Crystal Lake.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Donner Pass (2012)

With a week consisting of Nude Nuns With Big Guns and Human Centipede 2, I had to come up with something different to watch last night. Tonight and tomorrow are already in the works with multiple entries from the Friday the 13th franchise as I prepare for the first day of trout season Saturday. My selection last night, Donner Pass from 2012, honestly, not what I expected at all. Oh, on a different note, a huge Happy Birthday shout out to Reverend Peyton (@BigDamnBand on Twitter)… That dude can make any instrument, cigar box or shoe box sound amazing! You Rock Rev!

Plot/ Donner Pass has a well-known and macabre history - the place where George Donner and his party got stuck in the winter of 1846 and were forced to resort to cannibalism to keep from starving. But what if it wasn't just history?

OK, this is nowhere near a great movie. In fact, it falls into that category of horror that is just there, nothing special, but nothing terrible. It was just not memorable in any way. The Acting was so-so, the script OK and cinematography all over the place. Sure, I can get past the historic inaccuracies in the beginning with a glimpse of the few gore shots, but really, I needed a lot more. In the end, there are a couple of decent moments, but it is not enough to keep it from becoming the typical slasher / thriller with a slight twist. If you need something to watch on Netflix, check it out, just do not spend money on it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nude Nuns With Big Guns (2010)

After watching Human Centipede 2, I decided I needed something mindless to get some of those visuals out of my head. Yes, there are many choices out there, but I needed something that had just enough sex, violence and nudity to clearly give me a new visual. After some debate, my selection was 2010s Nude Nuns With Big Guns.

Plot/ Upon taking her vows to become a nun, Sister Sarah is abused, brainwashed and drugged into submission by the corrupt clergy. On the verge of death from a lethal dose of drugs, Sister Sarah receives a message from GOD telling her to take vengeance on all those who did her wrong. Armed with God's will and an arsenal of big guns, she dispenses Judgment Day on her former tormentors.

OK, if you have read the title of this flick, you should already know what to expect. Nude Nuns with Big Guns, is exactly that, a mindless throwback to days gone by, full of all of the exploitation, grindhouse, and sexploitation sleaze that populated the drive-ins of my youth. Like the title says, there are boobs, guns, nude nuns, sex, violence and everything you could ask for in a classic revenge / exploitation movie.  Yes, the plot is unbelievable, the acting cheesy and too over-the-top and the film has extreme anti-catholic corrupt religion flair, but it is truly a fun trip into a different time and place. If you are religious (especially Catholic) and cannot take poking fun at your chosen faith, STAY FAR AWAY. However, if you love exploitation or nunspoitation flicks check this one out, it is a mindless and fun romp through a couple hours with boobs and guns galore.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011)

After taking a break from blogging last night so I could focus on, I figured it was time to finally sit down and write about this next flick, the controversial Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). While my review is below, let me start by stating that no matter what you feel about this movie (or type of movie) writer / director Tom Six must be applauded for his willingness to push the envelope in filmmaking. Too many times, films of today must fit into a cookie cutter, something neither Human Centipede movies do.  

Plot/ Martin is a mentally disturbed loner who lives with his mother in a bleak housing project. He works the night shift as a security guard in an equally grim and foreboding underground parking complex. To escape his dreary existence, Martin loses himself in the fantasy world of the cult horror film The Human Centipede (First Sequence), fetishizing the meticulous surgical skills of the gifted Dr. Heiter, whose knowledge of the human gastrointestinal system inspires Martin to attempt the unthinkable.

I am all about movies that are disturbing and applaud filmmakers that want to push the limits with their craft, in Human Centipede 2 that is what Tom Six does. Yes, it lacks character development, there is somewhat non-linear plot, and it lacks tension or scare. What is it you ask? It is one of the most disturbing and visually violent films I have seen in some time (maybe ever). The entire film is a journey into the dark depths of a psychotic mind, consumed with creating something that could scar the weak and squeamish. Honestly, it took me a while to grasp what I had watched and determine my real thoughts. In the end, yes some of it was truly gross, unexpected and visually intense, but it was also a far superior movie in compared to the first and the black-and-white cinematography is a perfect choice. It is definitely not for everyone and if you are in any way squeamish or cannot handle graphic violence for the sake of graphic violence stay far away. If not, it is a disturbing spiral that may be one of the more disturbing flicks I have seen.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Monsters in the Woods (2012)

After watching horror royalty with Robert Englund, I decided to venture into the depths of no-budget cinema for my next entry. My first flick for the evening was Monsters in the Woods from 2012.

Plot/ A micro-budget movie crew treks into the wilderness to shoot horror scenes for their unsellable indie-drama. They soon find themselves in the midst of their own real horror movie, as a large group of creatures hunts them.

Anyone who read the description of this should have understood from the outset that it was destined to be a low-budget monstrosity. Sure, it is mired with flaws, but that is what I expected.  There were some decent points with the monsters, some of the acting was ok, and the effects were far from terrible. However, I do not know if you can count this as a good movie, as the script was choppy, the cinematography all over the place, the length was too long and some of the acting was very bad. In the end, it was nothing special. I would not spend a ton of money on watching it, and I will surely forget about it within a few days. If you love no-budget indie flicks and are searching for something check it out, if not, stay away.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Inkubus (2011)

After laughing at the hilarious parts of that little known comedy, Clown Hunt, I went to the video store in search of something different. With so many choices, it was hard to decide on something (so, I grabbed four flicks). My first flick for the evening was Inkubus from 2011.

Plot/ Inkubus tells the story of a skeleton crew working the final shift at a soon to be demolished police station. The night takes a gruesome turn when the demon, Inkubus, calmly walks into the station holding the severed head of a murdered girl. Inkubus toys with the crew, allowing himself to be restrained, and begins to proudly confess to his litany of crimes, some dating back to the Middle Ages. Why? Inkubus has a score to settle with the one detective that almost put him away some thirteen years ago. To their dismay, the cops quickly become pawns in Inkubus' brutal crowning achievement of murder, gore, and mayhem. They ultimately realize it is his world they only die in it.

To be honest, I am not the biggest Robert Englund fan, of course, that is because I was a slasher kid and Jason Voorhees fan, and never got into the Nightmare on Elm Street craze. However, I will say, that the more I see his work, the more I like it. Yes, this is not a perfect forum for his work, but he truly carries it to a different level. In this film, everything is hit or miss. The acting around him is uneven throughout, but his performance is good. The story is interesting, but rather undeveloped; the regular gore and effects are great, but the CGI is terrible, and the pacing seems a bit off (not to mention the plot holes throughout). In all, it definitely falls short of its potential and could have been A LOT better than it is. If you are a fan of Englund, check it out, if you are not, you should go a different direction.

Clown Hunt (2010)

I cannot believe I finished my first full week of being an independent instructor at PIA; great class, great week. Couple that with it being a holiday weekend and there is a lot to look forward to as we move forward (trout season opens next weekend-woohoo). Needing something different, and more lighthearted than my usual viewing, I watched something with more laughter and happiness. Yep, clowns and more clowns in the 2010 comedy Clown Hunt!

Plot/ In a world where clowns live in the wild and are harvested, a group of men gather for their annual hunting trip. However not all is right, Albino Willie, a rare albino clown, may be hunting them.

Every once in a while, movies come from left field and are so much better then anyone could imagine. That was definitely the case for this twisted comedy. Honestly, this was one of the funniest, most well written and well acted comedies I have seen in some time. Yes, there are some moments that are truly over the top (clown sex… really), but it is the seriousness of the actors that take it to a new level. Yes, the soundtrack was bad, but that is only minor. One thing is certain; unless clowns totally creep you out, you MUST see this one. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scourge (2008)

After taking a few days off from watching my normal Horror or Sci-Fi entertainment, I was definitely feeling some withdrawals. I had to find something mindless with blood to quench my needs. What did I find? I found the 2008 entry Scourge to keep my company.

Plot/ An ancient pestilence called The Scourge has been set free in a small town after being entombed in a church's masonry for a century and a half. As bodies rapidly pile up, nothing stands between the spawning Scourge and the rest of the town except our young heroes.

Scourge, hmmm, where to start. This movie was kind of a mixed bag, featuring a solid and creative concept, some decent cinematography, and blood. Honestly, everything that should make for an enjoyable flick, but it never truly delivers on its promise. The acting is uneven, the pacing is off, and the creative concepts in the idea fail by biting off too much in the scripting and losing its identity. In the end, it is not terrible, but not good either, it sort of sits in the middle of the road. If you are like me and were looking for something to pass some time, put it on for background fodder, but if you are looking for something you will definitely enjoy, go a different direction.