Monday, 27 October 2014

Captain Z & The Terror of Leviathan (2014)


 (Online Screener Copy)

Director by Steve Rudzinski

Written by  Steve Rudzinski, Zoltan Zilai

Stars: Zoltan Zilai, Madison Siple, Steve Rudzinski, Aleen Isley, Julie Alexander, Rebecca Amick.

After checking out and reviewing Steve Rudzinski's comedy slasher Everyone Must Die, I considered myself a fan and eagerly looked forward to his next project.  Steve was nice enough to ask me to check out an online screener of his newest film which is as wacky as its title: Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan.  Asked to direct the film by co writer Zoltan Zilai, Steve soon found himself cast as the lead character Glen, for those who want some background!

Starting off in 1714, Captain Z (writer Zoltan Zilai) manages to avert a bloody disaster when a group of possessed townsfolk almost raise the horror of Leviathan via magical amulet.  Fast forward 300 years and it appears that history is doomed to repeat itself when a ragtag group of hillbilly's get their grubby mitts on aforementioned amulet.  Its not long until they are too possessed and being led to raise Leviathan - but not to worry, the legendary Captain Z has been transported to present day too and he isn't going to take this lying down!

In a nutshell this movie is hilarious and entertaining. It absolutely does NOT take itself seriously if you hadn't already guessed that and this made me love it even more. It has some well written comedy and also a great separation of characters and their individual identities - something that is always important to me personally. 

The acting was engaging and worked well toward bringing the various characters to life. Steve totally shines in front of the camera so its no wonder he ended up playing Glen - impressive work. The hillbillies were all a lot of fun and local museum employee Heather (Madison Siple) also shone. Zoltan Zilai's performance as Captain Z is delightfully OTT - lots of laughs here.

Hats off to Steve and Zoltan for a fun movie which, refreshingly, is not in the slasher sub-genre (and I love slasher movies). It has good laughs and lots of adventure making for a highly entertaining hour and a half. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Varsity Blood (2014)

Screener copy courtesy of Aim Publicity

Directed by: Jake Helgren

Written by: Jake Helgren

Stars: Lexi Giovagnoli, Wesley Scott, Natalie Peyton, Blair Jackson and Debbie Rochon

Release: DVD, UK, August 18 2014, Image Entertainment
                DVD USA, August 19 2014Image Entertainment

Varsity Blood follows a group of teenagers partying it up on Halloween on the anniversary of a local tragedy. What they did not count on was a vengeful killer to arrive with the intent of picking them off one by one by one by - yeh you get the picture.

As the group of cheerleaders and jocks dwindles to next to nothing its up to new girl in town Hannah (well played by Lexi Giovagnoli) to unmask the maniac and try to escape with her life! Who knew moving would turn out so fun...

Varsity Blood is one of those films that sounds great on paper - an 80s style slasher film complete with costumed, mysterious killer. In fact the mascot costume worn by the killer is one of the most fun and interesting (if impractical) I have seen for ages.

Where I think this movie failed to hit the spot for me personally was the lack of imagination beyond the costume.  This kind of film will likely have slasher fans screaming out for some creativity in the kills and a more focused separation of the characters identities. Sadly both are fairly generic, and while I enjoy a good old fashioned generic slasher plot wise, I really enjoy well drawn characters and some offbeat kills even more.  It got a bit hard to really tell who was who while the arrows (points for the killer using a bow and arrow!) were flying all over the place and I ended up not really caring who lived or died sadly.

For those looking for a quick and easy slasher fix I certainty wouldn't deter you from this film, Its got the babes, the blood and the general chaos you would expect with a madman descending on a group of vapid teens. I would personally still be keen to see what Jake Helgren has up his sleeve next, its just a shame that Varsity Blood didn't deliver what I thought it might.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Doll Factory: Exclusive Poster Art and Premiere News!

Not too long ago I had the opportunity to interview writer/director Stephen Wolfe about his upcoming horror comedy Doll Factory a film I have been excited about ever since!

Now producer Carlos Tovar has very kindly shared details of the films upcoming premiere (why oh why do I have to be stuck here in the UK??)  and some exclusive poster art!

The poster has a fun 80s style to it which only endears me to this flick even more. It was designed by horror artist Nathan Thomas Millineand I am sure people will agree that it promises a fun ride.  Check it out below along with details of how YOU can see the film!

From the official press release:

“Doll Factory” is an over-the-top horror comedy that centers on a small Texas town terrorized by evil possessed  baby dolls. Wolfe wrote and directed his second feature a year later. His second feature was produced by Andy Palmer, Carlos M. Tovar and Joe Grisaffi. It stars Nicole Elliott (Abel’s Field), Patrick Sane (Breaking Bad, Sin City 2), Deke Anderson (Army of Darkness, Green Lantern) and Larry Carrell (Jacob, She Rises). 

“For the Doll Factory key art, I wanted to go for a classic creature feature look and feel,” explains Wolfe, “so I reached out to a well-respected artist named Nathan Thomas Milliner. Milliner has created artwork for a wide

variety of classics including the Scream Factory anniversary DVD/Blu-Ray releases for Halloween 2, Halloween 3, The Howling, Terror Train and others. His unique blend of realism and eye for dynamic artistry elevated the key art well beyond anything we could have created in-house. It perfectly captures the spirit and tone of the film.” News and updates from “Doll Factory” can be found on the Official Facebook page ( 

The film is scheduled to screen in Houston, TX on October 29 before beginning a 2015 horror festival & convention run''

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Thursday, 25 September 2014

Legacy of Thorn (2014)

Legacy of Thorn Movie Poster Mem Ferda to Play Detective in New Horror Film Legacy of Thorn

Directed by MJ Dixon 

Written by MJ Dixon

Stars: Jade wallis, Mem Ferda, Paris Rivers, Craig Canning, Jane Haslehurst, Aaron Jeffcoate, Stephanie Jezard, Evie Constanti, Alex Tamaro, Dave Laurie and Richard Daniel Thomas Holloran as 'Thorn;' 

I doubt anyone was more excited than me (challenge me I dare you) when Mycho Entertainment announced a spin off movie from their original Slasher House featuring the colossal sized and colossally crazy manic 'Thorn'. Clad in black, face covered with steel, and wielder of HUGE blades, Thorn chased poor actress Eleanor James around the mysterious Slasher House in an attempt to claim her as his victim. However, there is far more to this mammoth maniacs story then we ever knew and Legacy of Thorn truly lets us into that bloody, twisted world.

The basic premise of LoT is a group of survivors from Thorns previous antics banding together to take him down once and for all, but there is even more to it then that. You need to pay attention to this film as it makes a number of time jumps in order for the audience to witness what has led all of these characters to this dark place (and it gives audiences a chance to see Thorn flex those vicious muscles).

For the majority of this film I felt swept up in what I'm going to call an action horror film as opposed to a slasher film - although there is plenty of slashing throughout mind! I hope that this is not offensive to MJ and co but I felt definite Terminator 2 shades in several parts of the film - a good thing obviously.

Now remind yourselves that this is an independent feature people - money is tight and resources are usually low. That besides there are some incredible scenes in this film that totally belie that fact. Not only are many of the death scenes done with a keen eye and impressive practical effects but there is an under water shot that had me on the edge of my seat. This particular scene was extremely well shot and creepy/depressing as hell and gives me great faith that MJ Dixon and his team may well have the UK horror scene by the nads soon.

Performance wise the group of survivors all do a great job of portraying wounded and angry people, their lives in ruins because of an encounter they never expected or wanted. Jade Wallis as lead 'Jess', Paris Rivers as 'Eric' and Craig Canning as 'Clark' are clear standouts and its easy to see why they where chosen as the core survivors. Special mention to Evie Constanti as school mean girl 'Sally Marsh' who producer Anna McCarthy assures me is a sweetie in real life. This is the kind of intimidating, spiteful girl that would have even had the boys running and hiding at my school! Great albeit scary character.  Not as scary as Thorn a margin....Richard Holloran plays the masked madman with a far more hulkingly creepy presence than many a horror icon. The thought of turning around to seeing that behind me blades and all is enough to make me stop watching horror films (well probably wont go that far but still...)

I completely recommend Legacy of Thorn and please don't be put off by my references to Slasher House you don't have to have seen it to enjoy this in the slightest - although I recommend it. The film has everything, horror, action, emotion and some laughs and to top it off a very intriguing ending that strongly suggests there is even more to explore in the world of Thorn. Thank you to the Mycho team for sharing this with, it was my pleasure to watch.

UK and US viewers can show they support AND get their hands of a fantastic movie by heading HERE and preordering the official Legacy of Thorn DVD. If you like your movies digital then go HERE.  Go get this film folks!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ten (2014)

(Online Screener)

Directed by Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein

Written by Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein

Stars: Jade Sylvan, Molly Carlisle, Molly Devon, Karin Webb, Kerri Lynch, Leah Principe, Rachel Leah Blumenthal, Susannah Plaster, Porcelain Dalya and Sophia Cacciola

A wonderfully arty and creepy post modern slasher film with grin inducing offbeat performances. It's like Ten little Indians went to Twin Peaks to get offed one by one and for that this film gets a high recommendation from me!

A creepy opening scene involving a nice old fashioned horror movie chase complete with masked psycho and beautiful lady, leads the film moves towards it core plot. Ten woman arrive at the mansion where the aforementioned chase took place but in an intriguing twist  it transpires that these are all apparent strangers with no ties to one another.

As the women find themselves stranded for the night, a masked maniac begins taking them out one by one.... you have all heard THAT one before I know, however Ten has a refreshingly different tone to your usual slice and dice fare. There is a dreamlike quality to proceedings that may take the seasoned slasher fan out of their comfort zone but will certainly appeal to those looking for something a bit different and original. There are some funny scenes for sure - ten very different people all holed up together? Of course you should expect some fighting and squabbling! You may not, however, expect a musical number but that's what you get and it should raise a smile.

Please show your support for TEN and go and check out the official movie website.  I am excited to see what is next in store from this team that's for sure.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Dorchesters Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head (2014)

Online Screener Copy (courtsesy of Horsecreek Productions)

Written and Directed by Tommy Faircloth

Stars: Debbie Rochon, Jason Vail, Christian James, Kirsten Ray, Leah Wiseman, Elizabeth Mears, Gunner Willis, Nicholas A Sweezer, Cameron Turner

I wont lie - I was extremely excited when Tommy Faircloth of Horsecreek Productions, allowed me a sneak peak at his sequel to the campy cult classic Crinoline Head this weekend. Like, beyond excited.  I am a big fan of Crinoline Head with its 80s slasher tone, cool kills and bizarre assortment of characters, some with their very own unique lingo! Also it has a psycho wearing a crinoline skirt to cover his/her face know....!

The sequel focuses one of the two survivors of Crinoline Heads killing spree from 20 years previously, now a college teacher. Paul Donner (Jason Vail) doesn't like to talk about those events so it comes as a shock to him when two of his pupils,  David (Christian James) and James (Gunner Willis) wish to do their research project on local legends on the one and only Dorchester Stewart - the young boy who became Crinoline Head after a traumatic childhood event (if you haven't seen the original fear not, Dorchesters childhood is nicely covered at the start of this movie).  This brings back hideous memories for Paul who doesn't prevent his students from undertaking the project but is clearly affected by resurrecting his disturbing past.

David and James decide to camp out at the site of the murders and are joined by fellow students Shelby (Kirsten Ray) and Donna (Leah Wiseman) who ask to tag along. They are also trailed by several other students, meatheads Scott (Nicholas A Sweezer) and Reggie (Cameron Turner) along with slutty and spiteful Janet (Elizabeth Mears) who claim they 'are not' there to steal David and James' idea.  Another bump in the road is the shotgun wielding Betsy (an insanely awesome performance from Debbie Rochon) who lives on the property in her mobile home and isn't happy at the intrusion on the land.  Of course they all have FAR worse to fear as the present starts to mirror the past and the bodies begin to pile up. Is Dorchester Stewart really still alive after his ambiguous end back in the 90's....or is someone else responsible for this new blood shed?

There are a lot of great things to shout about with this long awaited sequel. Firstly its aesthetically great; really well shot and directed and comes off as 100% professional. Sometimes an indie feature can suffer, although not always, from sub par camera work but this isn't a problem in the slightest here. Secondly the writing is spot on, hilarious dialogue, some great one liners, and some excellent nods to the original film and other classic horror films..... "plug it up" being particularly  superb...

In terms of acting I was really really impressed. Scream Queen Debbie Rochon seems to be having a ball with her material in the role of Betsy. Gun toting, profanity spewing and oversexed, Debbie owned every single scene as this character. Explaining each and every one of her very obvious sexual innuendos had me in stitches. The lead teens played by Christian James and Kirsten Ray were great and had believable chemistry between them, Ray has some great chase scenes towards the end reminiscent of slasher films of their reigning era the 1980s. I LOVED Donna, played by Leah Wiseman, she had the most fantastic facial expressions whether it be disdain, sadness or fury (wait for THAT scene) and I hope to see more of her work in the future. Both Nicholas Sweezer and Elizabeth Mears play the teens you love to hate brilliantly and both individually have some great scenes...both meet Betsy in completely different circumstances and their interactions are just perfect. Jason Vail plays the haunted Paul Donner to perfection and it was great to have a surviving character return to add a sense of continuity between both scenes. Jason also has some great material later on in the movie which he really sinks his teeth into.

Tommy has written in some great gore gags into the movie, one of which made me squirm for a while after, its also hilarious but that doesn't take away from the eeeek factor of it! There are some nicely done scenes of murder and mayhem and you wont need to a fan of the original to appreciate them.

A perfect sequel to a cult classic, Dorchesters Revenge: the Return of Crinoline Head has it all; laughs, scares, blood, guts and some very very funny drag queens. Viewers with a good sense of humor and an interest in quirky slasher movies will LOVE this. Check out the official Horsecreek Productions website and also the official Dorchesters Revenge Facebook page to find out more.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Pieces of Talent (2014)

Directed by Joe Stauffer 

Written by  Joe Stauffer, Dustin Lewis 

Stars:  Kristi Ray, David Long, Nate Panning, Barbara Weetman, Jon Stafford, Taylor Kowalski

Release: DVD and VHS available HERE   (Enter 'Hacked' for a $2 discount from your purchase - due to the kindness of David Long!)

From the Official Pieces of Talent webiste:

Set in the small coastal town of Bright Leaf, North Carolina, “Pieces of Talent” centers around Charlotte, a disillusioned aspiring actress working a night job as a cocktail waitress in order to make ends meet. Charlotte catches a break when seemingly chance circumstances put her in contact with a local filmmaker, David Long. David and Charlotte form a quick friendship that leads to Charlotte landing the starring role in David’s newest project. David quickly becomes obsessed with Charlotte and begins building his bloody masterpiece. He films each encounter with the ultimate goal of filming Charlotte as his final installment. David is a happily obsessed individual willing to do whatever it takes to make “true art”. He utilizes his charm and skills to make something dark and deranged seem utterly beautiful and loving.
In a sense Pieces of Talent is a toughie to review - not because I did not enjoy it, but because I DID enjoy it. To those interested in owning a copy I highly recommend it, but would warn there are several disturbing scenes - these scenes are incredibly important in order to support the plot but I thought I would warn you anyway!

Anyway with the dull stuff out of the way, I have to applaud the director and writers of Pieces of Talent for creating a visually excellent, brilliantly written and acted, sometimes grueling piece of horror cinema with enough human drama to make you feel something for those involved. Don't expect any thinly drawn characters of whose deaths you are just foaming at the mouth for. This film gives us characters we either care about or dislike to the point you expect them to die but you are still not sure they deserve the fate that is likely coming their way. That's where David Long comes in.

David Long playing, well, David Long is a complete revelation in this film. No matter what he is doing good, bad, kind or outright atrocious, its incredibly hard to avert your eyes - a real raw acting talent which is carried to a high standard all the way to the movies grim conclusion.

Likewise Kristi Ray as Charlotte provides an amazingly natural performance and there are points in the film where I wanted to reach out and hug her, she is basically beaten down for having the audacity to have ambitions, ambitions which eventually guide her into the twisted realm of David Long. Charlotte's mother played by Barbara Weetman, one of the guilty parties for driving Charlotte's sense of worth deep into the ground is another fantastic performance. Unless Barbara was actually drunk off her face on set the whole time, I have to say, man can this lady play the bitter alcoholic to a fine art - a truly believable performance.

There are a number of grisly scenes in this movie, all brilliantly done and practical with a few being quite disturbing. The first two victims fates definitely had me wanting to cover my eyes and this was less about the graphic nature and more about Davids cheerful disposition throughout - watch and you will catch my drift.

Support indie cinema and grab of a copy of this film, Joe Stauffer is clearly a director to watch based on this film which has a wonderfully dreamy feel in among the expertly written and directed scenes of horror. I also predict bright futures for many others involved in the film, particularly the actors mentioned.