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Showing posts from July, 2017

REVIEW: Kuso (2017)

Kuso is being touted as the "grossest film ever made," but I don't know if I'd personally go that far. What is gross, anyway? Is puss and jizz gross? Are open, oozing sores and feces in the face gross? I suppose it's all about the viewer. I, for one, just thought it was a laugh riot.

Kuso means "shit" in Japanese vernacular, but it is also used to describe items of a "poor quality," and I'm sure this title was chosen specifically for that reason. The movie is certainly full of shit, as there's plenty of feces throughout. There's also lots of ooze, puss, spit, and semen, too. If it comes out of a body, it probably makes an appearance here.

The movie is a series of slightly interconnected stories, told through random televisions in what is, apparently, a futuristic Los Angeles after a devastating earthquake. To be fair, the only reason I know that is because that's what the description says on Shudder, where the film is currently, …

REVIEW: One Last Time (2016)

This one is a little different for me, because technically speaking, One Last Time is not a movie at all, but a web series. It's also not really horror, it's actually a superhero film...but with a bit of a twist.

This one comes straight out of Pennsylvania, the home of West 2nd Productions and writer/director Luke Ramer, who actually is normally a horror filmmaker, and is currently in production on his feature The Taxidermist. But before that film went to lens, Ramer and his crew went to work on One Last Time, which he release episodically to YouTube last year.

The story follows Brian (Brian DiBonaventure), a once superhero who has settled down to live a normal life in rural Pennsylvania. He has a home, a wife, and a baby on the way, and life seems pretty great...until one day he is driving through town and spots an enemy from a life he's tried to put behind him. That ensuing battle ends in a bloody mess courtesy of a speeding train, and the events of the series escalate fro…

REVIEW: The Plague 2: Biohazard Blood (2017)

Fox Trot Productions makes features faster than any company I have ever seen. Emir Skalonja, writer and director, is constantly putting out new projects, and the thing about the movies that sets them apart from a lot of people cranking things out is that these films are all actually good.

REVIEW: Door 1 Of The 5 Doors To Hell (2017)

Putting together a really good anthology is hard. I’ve done it myself, and it’s a daunting task. No matter what kind you’re making, no matter how long it is or how many segments or episodes, you’re always going to have hits and misses. Even the greatest anthology series and movies of all time have their bad moments. So when you’re sitting down to enjoy a new anthology film, you never know what you’re going to get; Then you put in Chuck Conry’s Door 1 of the 5 Doors to Hell, and the ride begins…
After an extended period staring at the shelves in an independent video store, two couples are given an old VHS tape by the proprietor. They’ve seen practically every damn horror movie in the place, but this one is different. It’s a shot-on-video style horror, he tells them. You know they’ve never seen anything like it. So they take it home, and the nightmare begins.
I’ll stop right there though, because it’s not just a nightmare. It’s also a damn hilarious, meta piss-take on horror movies, antho…

REVIEW: Beyond The Valley of Belief (2017)

Although we definitely love horror movies here, we also really like comedy films. And when you combine the two, and do it well, you are really tickling our fancy.

REVIEW: Blind Date (2017)

Cemetery Theater is a small outfit out of Northern Maine, but despite their size, they’re creating some incredible shorts and features – and in record time, no less. Currently following up their 30-minute short Sleep Eater with a feature-length titled Sleep Eaters, director Shane Grant had time to slip in the making of another short – shot over only a few days – called Blind Date.
A man named Matthew shows up for his blind date, finding that the woman, Claire, is literally blind. After a night out to dinner at a local diner and to a movie – where Claire talks about loving horror movies (and the pair watch Sleep Eater on the big screen, because what else would horror fans watch?) Claire seems to have entranced Matthew after a crystal necklace she wears begins to glow – he can’t look away. He starts to have visions of his childhood, and the violent and disturbing end that his Father meets…but was it all a dream?
Matthew drops Claire off at home, but realizes she left her necklace in his c…

REVIEW: Inhumanwhich! (2017)

I always wished that I was old enough to have lived through all the Atomic Age horror and sci-fi films, so that I could have spent my Saturday afternoons seeing creatures morphed with animals, insects, or other beings thanks to radiation or nuclear powers, terrorizing people and cities on the screen while I nervously ate my bag of fifteen-cent popcorn and nickel soda pop.
Thankfully, I am not the only one who has a love for these Golden Age horror-fests, because it is only with such a deep appreciation for those movies could someone have made Inhumanwich!, a film in which an astronaut is accidentally merged with his Sloppy Joe sandwich while in space, and crashes back to earth…hungry for flesh….as he slowly moves like a saucy Jabba the Hutt over the town, eating people and leaving their bones behind.
The movie is one of the funniest films I’ve watched in a long while. It is exactly like what I imagine a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 movie would be like if instead of watching a movie, tho…

REVIEW: Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute (2017)

They say confession is good for the soul, but what about all those souls the confessor has taken along the way? Writer and Director Emir Skolonja has released a crazy new film, Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute, a gore-fest with one of the most literal titles I’ve seen since Big-Ass Spider.
The film follows Lilith, the prostitute and title character, who is sitting down with a man to explain her violent lifestyle. You see, Lilith is a killer. She’s murdered her pimp, who she explains beats her and rapes her constantly. She murders Johns, because they’re married and they’re scum, and they talk about women like they’re nothing. What started out as an act of (almost) self-defense from a customer who liked it a little too rough, Lilith explains how she delved into killing. She’s remorseless and her conscience is guilt-free; after a while, the bloodlust becomes a turn-on.
I whole-heartedly enjoyed this movie. While being a bit rough around the edges in some areas such as the seemingly ner…

REVIEW: Ave Satanas (2017)

Writer and director Emir Skalonja puts out movies so fast that this site is rapidly becoming a FoxTrot Productions review page. The fact of the matter is, though, that Skalonja can put out films at a rapid-fire rate, and still produce some of the best movies the underground has to offer today.

His latest, a 13-minute short called Ave Satanas, is probably his most ambitious in terms of visual style. It’s so great as a viewer to watch a filmmaker to have several films, all fall into the same genre, yet all have such unique voices, looks, and styles. It’s actually refreshing that not only does Skalonja make films extremely fast and for extremely cheap money, but they come out fantastic.

Ave Satanas starts with a woman, Mary (Nicole Skalonja) in the woods. She is meeting with a Satan worshipping witch, Evanora (the stand-out Krystal Shenk) and explains that she has been raped by two men. She is asking for help. She seeks vengeance and, even though she may have to pay with her life, she is p…

REVIEW: A Twisted Fate (2017)

Sometimes even in a good indie flick, it’s easy for a filmmaker to lose focus or for the film to drag. That’s the best thing about the micro-shorts that are often put out by filmmakers between films. A Twisted Fate is the latest from Brandon Prewitt of Studio 605, the company behind The Campground and the upcoming The Wicked One.

The film is only ten minutes long, but uses every second perfectly. After coincidentally each receiving a panicked phone call from a family member about an emergency, a man and a woman are rushing to leave their office building when the elevator they are in shuts down. Left without cell service and with no hope of getting out, we are given their full stories, and wondering where the story will go.

I don’t think it’s much of a shock to say the film has a nifty twist – as soon as it began I realized there was one coming, but I was very surprised to find that it was not the one I had guessed. For that, I give the story an A+ off the bat, because even some of the m…

REVIEW: The Chunkblow (2016)

There is nothing I like more than being surprised by a new film. It’s extremely hard to be surprised by most mainstream films, because by the time you’re sitting down to watch one, you’ve probably been completely inundated by commercials, ads, trailers, and everything else big studios spend massive money on to get you in the theatre.

That’s one of the best things about extremely independent cinema, and underground horror movies in particular – I go into nearly every single one completely blind. When I sat down to watch the short film The Chunkblow, co-directed by Ben Shutts and Jamie Chimino, I had no idea what I was getting into, but what it turned out to be was pure gold.

The film runs at only 16 minutes, and takes place in two rooms of a house. Downstairs in the kitchen, mom is making a cherry pie. Upstairs, two head-banging teens are listening to loud music, waving a gun around, and moshing. When one of them breaks out a bag of (what they think) is cocaine, the real fun begins.

I was…

REVIEW: The Plague (2016)

The Plague is the second film in the last few days that I’ve watched from indie filmmaker Emir Skalonja, the first being Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute. While the latter was a dirty, violent look at the life of a murderous hooker, The Plague is less gore and more drama, following the story of a pair of killers-for-hire who team up with another couple to escape a small town in New York after an outbreak.

While the storyline isn’t groundbreaking, the movie is still a great watch. Beautifully shot in an off-color, slightly sepia tone, the actors all play their parts well, with special highlight to Emir’s wife, Nicole Skalonja, one of the lead characters and the stand-out of the bunch.

The best thing about this film, when watching back-to-back with Confessions, was how different it was. For me, it showed off exactly how great of a filmmaker Skalonja really is. Whereas many indie and and even Hollywood filmmakers make, essentially, the same movie multiple times throughout their career…

REVIEW: American Scumbags (2016)

This is the third film that I’ve reviewed for filmmaker Dakota Bailey, with his last film, My Master Satan being the first feature. His latest, American Scumbags, rings very much like the last, in that it features sketchy people doing sketchy things involving drugs and murder in what amounts to Anytown, USA.

The thing about Bailey’s films is that there as raw as you could possibly imagine. They have a heavy SOV feel, but are apparently shot digitally on a mini-cam. This might explain some of the technical issues, such as trouble with audio leveling and some shaking of the picture, although to be fair, the audio was much better crafted in this film than in his last, and the music that had a tendency to be off-putting in Satan has switched – from a dark metal to a more punk feel. Aside from those improvements, the movie feels very much like a spiritual sequel to his past products.

It’s hard to discern a real plot to the movie; Individuals who are pointed out as the movie goes on but ar…

REVIEW: Cherish (2016)

From the team that made the wrestle-fest horror flick Turn Heel, Cherish is about as far removed from their previous film as you can imagine.

REVIEW: My Perversion (2016)

Director Adrian Baez (Entrails and Amour) is one of the kings of arty-looking, underground flicks. Of the several shorts that I’ve seen from his MollyWalsh productions, I am always intrigued, from a filmmaker standpoint, in the look of his films. With My Perversion ramps up the gore, but still maintains a very specific, very talented look and feel.

Following through several weeks of a man who is killing because the very-literal voices in his head told him to, we are treated to his stalking and stabbing of some beautiful girls, and at least one unlucky man. At a run time of less than 15 minutes, this short packs plenty of brutality into its minimal running time, even while maintaining a story that feels fully fleshed out.

Andy Truong plays the killer, and comes across devilish and dirty, his perversion is the blood he’s spilling, and there’s plenty of it. Considering it seems that Truong’s real-life day job is modeling, his look still lends plenty of credence to the role here. Even whe…

REVIEW: Hunters (2016)

Whenever a new horror movie is released, whether it be mainstream, indie, or underground, that touts itself on being extremely brutal or over-the-top, my interest is immediately piqued. No, I’m not sure what that says about me exactly, but I tend to seek out the most extreme films I can find, because I’m a fan of horror, I’m a fan of gory special effects, and I’m a fan of intense movies.

So, naturally, when Adam Ahlbrandt announced a couple of years ago that he was going to be making a film called Hunters, I was intrigued. I am a fan of Ahlbrandt’s previous films, including The Cemetery and Cross Bearer, two movies I found to be quite entertaining, if lacking in extremes. With a tagline like “can you take the violation,” Hunters had my attention from day one, and now that I’ve had the chance to sit and watch it, I can honestly say, well…there are plenty of violations that happen in this movie.

It’s dangerous, dark, and yes, extremely violent – although it feels far from the sort of si…

REVIEW: Night of the Living Deb (2015)

I’m a sucker for any movie that is filmed locally, so I sat down last night to enjoy Night of the Living Deb, a fairly recently-released movie by director Kyle Rankin, which was filmed in the seacoast town of Portland, Maine, located only about 45 minutes from me. As it is an old stomping grounds of mine, it excites me to watch a movie where I can pinpoint locations (I’ve been there!) Okay, so call me weird, it’s just fun.

I was delighted to find, though, that I actually throughly enjoyed the hell out of this movie. Deb tells the story of, well, Deb, who hooks up with “the hottest guy in Portland, Maine” after a night of drinking, and wakes up the next morning to find the town overrun by zombies. It’s equal parts Night of the Living Dead and Shaun of the Dead, with a dash of romantic comedy thrown in for good measure.

Story wise, it’s just another road-trip zombie movie, but comedy-wise, it’s much more. Maria Thayer plays Deb, a camerawoman for a local TV news station, and her charact…

REVIEW: Turn Heel (2016)

Sometimes watching a movie where the filmmakers are clearly excited about their own work makes the enjoyment of the movie even more than you’d expect; their excitement becomes infectious, and it makes you really pumped about what you’re watching. The group, also known as Never Settled on a Name Films, takes what they refer to their “couch change budget” movie, Taken From Silence, and uses that no-budget nature to the max, bringing us something extra visceral and very brutal.

The film follows a man who experiences hyper-reality mental images, possibly flashbacks, of some very carnage-filled moments. These lead him to excessive drinking and eventually to murder, in a scene that Lloyd Kaufman of Troma tweeted will never make him look at hammers (or saran wrap) the same way again. I’d have to agree. Although very low budget with some minor production issues (audio leveling is a bit off, and dialog sometimes hard to hear, but the drudging drone musical score really grates the skin, as was …

REVIEW: Turn Heel (2016)

Wrestling and horror seem to go hand-in-hand, at least as far as fans go. I’m not saying every horror movie fan loves wrestling, of vice-versa, but there is an influx of people to whom both are near and dear to their hearts. Turn Heel is a love letter to both, following a Lucha-masked killer who stalks a group of campers in the woods.

Clocking in at only 20 minutes, I do wish that Heel had a bit more time to flesh out the story. Shot and edited as if we’re watching an old, grainy VHS tape, the movie opens on the masked killer in a room, staring intently at a TV that plays wrestling clips and gore, while a voice-over is heard, reminding him to never let “them” pin you down. Fast forward 20 years, and the killer is on the hunt, preying on three bros who are camping in what looks to me like the wettest, dampest forest there is.
The kills are fun, and ramp up in brutality through each. I was extremely happy, as a lifelong wrestling fan, to see one of the characters killed off with an actu…

REVIEW: Harvest Lake (2016)

If there was ever a movie that one could consider the rock supergroup of the indie film world, then Harvest Lake would be it.

Written and directed by Scott Shirmer, the man behind one of horror’s most thrilling features in recent memory, Found., Harvest Lake also was worked on by a whose-who of talented filmmakers, including producer/editor/cinematographer Brian K. Williams (Time To Kill), visual effects artist Dustin Wayde Mills (Her Name Was Torment), special effects gurus Shane Beasley and Arthur Cullipher (Headless), plus an incredible cast covering a large range of indie flicks.

So with a masterful of creative people behind and in front of the camera, I was well assured that Lake would not be a letdown. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. There’s something to be said for very independent movies that feel like they are major productions, and Harvest Lake delivers on all fronts.
Following four friends who are on a birthday trip to a secluded lakeside cabin, the movie could have jus…

REVIEW: My Master Satan (2016)

Last year I reviewed Dakota Bailey’s short film Satan’s Coming For You, an acid trip of visuals and violence. Now, Bailey has taken that short film and expanded it, turning Satan’s Coming For You into an anthology, My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence. 

This film, which starts with an altered version of the original Satan’s Coming then spreads into more segments, follows the story of drug-addicted serial killer Alister and his friends. In the first story, Alister helps to dig up his friend Bubba’s ex-wife, whom Bubba killed some time before. Bubba wants to dance with his bride again, and the ensuing tango with her skeleton was just as hilarious this time as it was when I first watched Satan’s Coming For You. The pair then drop acid and meet Satan – which may or may not just be a metaphor for man himself.

In the second segment, Alister and his friend Charlie commit a home invasion, busting in on a man who has having sex with a blow-up doll. This segment was actually my favo…

REVIEW: The Cemetery (2015)

Just like the last Ahlbrandt film that I picked up, Cross Bearer, I picked up his latest release, The Cemetery, with very little knowledge of what the film was going in. I had, at least, seen a trailer (something I hadn’t even done with Cross), but short of knowing that who made it and who was in it, it was going to be a ‘blind date’ of a film. To say that Ahlbrandt loves the gore is an understatement. Just like sister-film Cross Bearer, The Cemetery comes at you hard and furious with plenty of over-the-top kills and mutilations – hell, maybe even more so than Cross. The premise of the film – several people gather together in a certain area for a certain reason, before the shit hits the fan – is the basis of many film in the genre, but Ahlbrandt gives a decent reason, albeit it is an odd mix of characters that seem to be out there in the woods. The film follows the story of several reality TV filmmakers, who are in the woods at an ancient burial ground. A Ghost Hunters take, entitled…

REVIEW: Cross Bearer (2015)

This is the first movie that I’ve bought in a long time completely sight-unseen. As you can well imagine, I’m active in several underground and low-budget horror groups on Facebook, and this movie has been talked about endlessly for ages, so I knew I would be in for a treat. The initial run of the Blu-ray sold out fast, and sells for upwards of $100 on eBay. Fans of the film damn-near bow down to it, and treat it like the start of a new wave of horror. It was, pardon the pun, a second coming of underground horror, bringing to life a new legend of the genre. That’s what the fans were saying. That’s how they reacted to the film. I can’t quite say that, to me, it was the next great underground film, but I can definitely see why Ahlbrandt has developed a rabid following post-release of this film. Although clearly filmed on a limited budget, I didn’t get the sense that I was watching a lowbrow horror film, or a throw together piece of trash. The movie is a labor of love by someone who obv…

REVIEW: Manuer (2015)

If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I was going to like the latest movie from James Bell, because I wasn’t at all a fan of his first release – the weird, docu-style Dog Dick. That title alone was enough to pull me in, and I purchased a copy right away. Suffice to say, I wasn’t a fan, and that leeriness almost persuaded me not to plop down any money on Manuer (sic). I was right in ignoring my own negative predispositions, though, because Bell’s new film, Manuer, is a short film with an actual plot – and it’s a hilarious one. A bum, played by Bell himself, spends his days picking through trash looking for booze or money, while occasionally working odd-jobs for pocket change. While wandering, he stumbles across a 40oz bottle of clearly-marked FERTILIZER, which he naturally takes “home” for when he’s run out of regular beer. Enjoying a sip or two back in his shed, with his only friend (and sexual object), a severed pigs head, Bell’s vagrant immediately becomes ill, violently spewing moun…

REVIEW: The Woods Within (2015)

Lots of movies made on a shoestring budget will end up feeling like badly crafted high school film class crapfests – bad acting or bad scripts, horribly shot and with worse direction. Brandon Prewitt (co-writer, The Campground) made his most recent film The Woods Within  on a micro-budget of less than $10,000, but you wouldn’t be able to tell with the production he’s put together. Based on a classic ‘teens party one last time before graduation’ premise, a group of popular kids plan a night of drinking and debauchery in the woods around a relative’s farmhouse. Of course, tagging along is a younger brother, tormented endlessly by the popular crowd, and his equally detested best friend. After a night of drinking, trying (and failing) to score, and talking shit about each other, the group wakes up the next morning, groggy but somehow not hung over, to find one of their friends dead. Instead of banding together to find out what is happening, they are all instantly separated, accusations f…

REVIEW: Computer Hearts (2015)

When was the last time you remember being absolutely blown away by the visuals in a movie? Not the huge-budget explosions of a Fast & Furious movie, or the creepy blue CGI aliens of an Avatar, but the actual look of a movie? Today I had the absolute pleasure of watching one of the best short films I’ve ever seen. Turner Stewart and Dionne Copland’s Computer Hearts tells the story of Albert, a miserable man who hates his miserable job, his miserable fiancĂ©, and his miserable life – with the exception of one part of it: His computer. Well, more specifically, the computerized anime avatar on an adult website he visits. Sometimes a movie is perverse and filthy for nothing more than the sake of shock value. At the start of Computer Hearts, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It starts off moody, but innocent. Albert (played by co-director Stewart) and fiancĂ© Vanessa (Alix Miller) are having dinner, and appear to be arguing. It’s muted, and like the entire film, the music and sound during th…

REVIEW: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore (2015)

He slowly pulled the razor blade all around the woman’s arm, as she lay, drugged and sedated, motionless. Her blood rolls down, covering the white table. I know what’s coming. I get giddy with anticipation, because the gore-hound in me is waiting…They are getting ready to skin this poor woman alive… In 1991, Charlie Sheen made the world aware of the now infamous Guinea Pig movies (released originally in 1985), when he was given a copy and turned it over to the FBI, thinking he was watching real deaths being carried out on film. The new movie, American Guinea Pig by writer/director Stephen Biro (Bubba The Redneck Werewolf) may not be getting the Charlie Sheen treatment and a full-blown FBI investigation, but it’s no less a disturbing look at what many could easily mistake for a real-life snuff film. American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the casual horror fan. It’s not for movie lovers to watch and dissect, picking out the plot holes…

REVIEW: Die Die Delta Pi (2015)

In the spring of 1986, the year that Sean Donohue’s film Die Die Delta Pi opens, the filmmaker would have been just 5 years old, with dreams of making horror movies probably far from his mind. But, being so young at that point doesn’t mean that this movie, an homage to sorority slashers of the 80s, feels like it’s being told by someone who doesn’t know what the decade was all about when it comes to its gorefests – Donohue knows that it’s all about hot co-eds getting covered in plenty of blood! Delta Pi isn’t out to break new ground in the world of horror or slashers, but that’s perfectly fine – it’s not supposed to be. Instead, we’re treated to a fun story with a wink-wink homage and perfect throwback feel to all the great sorority slashers that came before; movies like Sorority House Massacre (1986) or House On Sorority Row (1983), about ditzy college girls who are stalked and hacked. In the case of Delta Pi, we have girls getting naked, girls drinking, girls getting paddled (serious…