Sunday, 14 July 2013

Morbid (2013)

Directed by Chuck Conry

Written by Chuck Conry

Stars: Olivia Hiers, Brandon Magouirk, Ryan Grooms, Jessi Grissom, Richard Chilton, Johnathan Cantrell, Kelly Carver, Michael Huffer, Ethan Willis, Kyle Quinn, Taylor Bonner, Maranda Faris, Craig Sanders, Jamie S. Braman, Jackie Offenbacker, Paul Myers, Reva Hagen, Cody Hagen, Laura Tucker, Steven Turner Jr, Devin Walls

Many of you have probably been hearing a lot about independent slasher film Morbid for some time now. If not for the promotion of the film depicting a maniac in a very cool mask going about his business then possibly for the guy behind the film. Chuck Conry, creator of the awesome horror website Zombies Don't Run, has stepped out of his writing shoes and made his own horror movie. Not only is this seriously impressive it's also extremely wonderful to see a fellow horror fan take the steps to create something for himself that is true to his passion. 

So the film itself has a nice simple plot as is the usual with many a slasher movie. Crazed killer stalks small town and a group of obnoxious teens are his prey. However there are many fun things thrown into the mix to spice things up such as a hugely entertaining debate at the start, over horror films that either had me nodding in agreement or yelling at the screen in disagreement. A great way to kick off the movie which also shows the breadth of Chucks knowledge of some of the horror greats and also highlights some of the more frustrating lacks of knowledge which you know will irk the most devoted of horror fan. It also plays with typical horror conventions such as having a young man take a shower at the start as the killer closes in rather than a large breasted female! 

As the film heads towards the end of its short running time (about an hour) the body count ratchets up with some hilarious kills (watch out for that arm stabbing) and our very obvious final girl must try to outwit the masked psychopath! 

Now please bear in mind that this is is very low budget movie. Therefore you can expect some ropy acting, cheap special effects an of course (purposeful mind you) cheesy dialogue. However you can also see that Morbid was made with a great big horror loving heart and I am sure that any fan of independent horror cinema will get a good kick out of it. Good job Chuck.

Please check out Zombies Don't Run to see just how much hard work and support this guy puts into the world of horror film and I will keep you posted on any news I hear regarding when you might be able to catch Morbid for yourself! 

Darkest Night (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Noel Tan

Written by Russ Williams 

Stars: DJ Perry, Anne Gauthier, Issa Litton, Nic Campos

Release: DVD, USA, July 16 2013 Courtesy of Brain Damage Films.
Found footage shocker The Darkest Night takes us on a nightmarish trip to the supernatural in the heart of the Phillipines. 

The film focuses on the creepy disappearance of 17 members of a family and their friends during a Christmas gathering. The film you are watching is a reconstruction of video tapes eventually found years later in the area where the mysterious events occurred which slowly lets viewers in on exactly what horrors transpired.

Young and attractive Susan (Anne Gauthier)  takes her daughter and her finance Ken (DJ Perry) back to her large family in the Phillipines for Christmas and as soon as they arrive strange events begin to take hold such as dead birds falling from the sky and a mysterious blackout.The film eventually builds to a heart pounding conclusion as the forces of darkness claims life after life and viewers are given the full truth as to what really happened to the previously missing people. Some of the horror scenes here are truly grotesque and shocking but I don't want to spoil them ...all I will say is keep an eye on the pregnant lady and an ominous box......

I really enjoyed The Darkest Night. It had plenty of genuinely creepy moments to keep you interested and a thoroughly interesting plot which keeps you guessing. Some of the performances don't always work but our leads Anne and DJ are extremely natural in their roles and have brilliant chemistry between them. The events are being filmed by a young, autistic family member and I don't recall any of those irritating moments in a number of found footage horror films where you just keep thinking DROP THE CAMERA! So definite points there also.

Find out more about the film on Facebook and head on over to Amazon to grab your very own copy now! 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Blood Slaughter Massacre (2013)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Manny Serrano

Written by Louie Cortes, Manny Serrano

Stars: Matt W. Cody, Danielle Lenore Calhoun, Mike Roche, Carmela Hayslett, Byron Howard

Back when I reviewed the Blood Slaughter Massacre DVD for film-maker Manny Serrano (Kind of a teaser for this feature movie complete with awesome faux trailers of the BSM series) I have been itching to take a look at the finished article. Well, as Manny so kindly promised, I have now had the chance to check out the full length feature of Blood Slaughter Massacre and how impressed am I? Let me count the ways...seriously.

If slasher lovers are not seriously impressed by the opening of this movie then, frankly, there is something wrong. The whole tone is nailed to perfection in terms of a good old fashioned 80s slice and dice picture, excellent score, group of people clearly being stalked by an ominous figure and an eventual massacre (off screen but the after math is damn chilling) where a young Officer Fincher ( Matt W. Cody) and Officer Cobb attempt to apprehend the masked murderer to no avail. I have to say the scene where Officer Fincher slowly climbs the stairs of the house in which the killings have occurred is so reminiscent of Laurie Strode's stair climb to doom in the original Halloween (1979).  Also the acting in the opening also really impressed me. Kayla Ferguson who plays the  character of Sally Lindberg really pulls off a great performance in her short time on screen and it would have been great to see her as a core character throughout the film. Really look forward to seeing her work in other films hopefully in the future!

Anyway....onto the plot of the film. Following the films opening massacre, we are transported ten years in the future where the sleepy town of Havenwood has yet again become the stomping ground to a crazed killer. Officer Fincher, now a Detective, takes it upon himself to rid this town of the maniac once and for all. It may prove to be quite the hard task though as Fincher is doing battle with his own personal demons at the same time and one false move could result in the deaths of even more people - or even his own. As the film progresses and the body count rises, its edge of your seat stuff as you watch to see if Fincher can stop the unfolding horror.

As the film progresses Fincher finds the search for the killer getting ever more desperate as things get horribly personal. The film nicely heads towards a total bloodbath at the home of young Danielle (a good final girl performance by Danielle Lenore) whose friends are unwitting lambs to a very nasty slaughter. History is most certainly repeating its self and only few will live to tell the tale.  

A superior 80s slasher film homage well worth your time. I strongly suggest the purchase of this movie once the DVD is released. Find out more about Mass Grave Pictures and Blood Slaughter Massacre NOW!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

HazMat (2013)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Lou Simon

Written by Lou Simon

Stars: Norbert Velez, Aniela McGuinness, Todd Bruno, Gema Calero, Giordan Diaz, Tom Stedham, Daniela Larez, Reggie Peters, Dennis Spain, Mario Nalini, Massiel Checo and Brandi Rudicil

Big thanks to Lou Simon (Writer and director of the creepy horror film The Awakened) for asking me to check out her new film HazMat. HazMat came completely out of the blue for me so it was a really nice surprise to hear from Lou and get the chance to check it out. One thing I can say off the bat is that the film is a tense, frantic slasher film with a brilliant streak of originality.

The set up goes like that - a trio of friends enlist the help of a prank TV show, Scary Antics (think candid camera with blood, guts and lots of screaming) to try to scare their friend Jacob (Norbert Velez). The main reason behind doing this to Jacob are claimed to be to help him get past his obsession with an old chemical plant that he is convinced is haunted. However it is very clear from the pre-show interviews with the friends setting him up, that there is much more to it than that - jealousies, rivalries and an underlying fear of Jacob are very much apparent and this helps to ensure that we are not dealing with your usual stock slasher movie characters with no identity. As the Scary Antic crew (including the charismatic 'Scary Dave' and put upon Brenda) set up station in the eerie old chemical plant, our trio of conspirators Adam (Reggie Peters) Carla Daniela Larez) and Melanie (Gema Calero) do their part by tricking Jacob to the location.

I don't want to spoil anything about this movie so I will keep the rest of the plot short and sweet. What I will say is that Jacob's so called friends should have really cared enough about him to notice just how disturbed he really is - I would like to have hoped it would have stopped them from going through with the prank! As Jacob realises what is happening his mind has already snapped...and his friends and the film crew are very quickly running out of luck.

I had to email Lou after watching this film to congratulate her. I was drawn straight in by the strong characterisation and enjoyed the teasing build up to the horror elements. Once the horror truly kicks off its pretty much edge of your seat stuff as the characters try to escape Jacobs rage. Cue some excellently executed jumps and some really nasty kills. I thought that Norbert did an excellent job as Jacob particularly in his enraged state and also thought Todd Bruno and Aniela McGuinness as Dave and Brenda had brilliant chemistry together. Brenda's scenes towards the end are also extremely well performed. The bitchy banter between Carla and Melanie is just great and amusing and both actresses did a great job as playing the backstabbing best friends - in fact I wish we could seen a bit more of that along the way.

HazMat is a low budget slasher movie that I believe should be shown in the theatres. Its very well made, belying its budget and is excellently written and acted. It also provides, in spades, those elements horror fans want which is thrills, spills and some outright scares. A great job to all and I cant wait to see what Lou Simon comes up with next, she is one to watch in horror film, trust me!. Please check this film out on Facebook and show some love! 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Lucid (2013)

Directed by PJ Woodside

Written by PJ Woodside

Produced by Steve Hudgins and PJ Woodside 

Stars: Brittney Saylor, Bill Johnson, PJ Woodside, Michael Coon, Steve Hudgins, Felicia Stewart, Scott Cummings, Megan Jones, Craig Angel, Jim Foreman

I was so chuffed to receive my DVD copy of the brand new Big Biting Pig Productions movie last week - every summer for the past few years this amazing companies new horror/thriller film has premièred and subsequently been released immediately to DVD. This year was no exception. Sooooooo...what's the new one all about? Well Lucid works excellently as both a thought provoking insight into the more complex side  of sleep and dreaming as well as a shock laden thriller.  Written and directed by PJ Woodside (who also has a meaty role in the film) and co produced by PJ and Steve Hudgins, Lucid marks another win in BBP's growing slate of movies.

Monica (Brittney Saylor) is becoming increasingly distressed by her horrifying nightmares. As the problem continues to escalate Monica fears that it could end her relationship with Kevin (Michael Coon) not least because she fears she may end up killing him in her sleep! Yes, the problem is THAT bad. 

Clearly poor Monica needs some real help and it seems her therapist Faith (a scene stealing performance by PJ Woodside herself) isn't doing much to provide Monica with the support she needs. After hearing about a  programme ran by a famous sleep therapist (Scott Cummings) Monica becomes ever more determined to seek the help she needs. However Monica is going down a dark path and as the intensity of her dreams grow, the lives of those closest to her are placed in danger. 

I really enjoyed Lucid with its many twists and turns and ominous plot. You are never quite sure where the film is going to take you and whether you are witnessing a real event or one of Monica's many disturbing dreams. I also felt that it built to a fantastic climax and I for one was on the edge of my seat, eager to know how it would all end. 

The movie had some great performances with Brittney Saylor as the haunted Monica and PJ Woodside as the acerbic and untrustworthy Faith. Special props to PJ for releasing her inner demon for this role and playing a VERY different character to any I have seen her play before. I think the vivacious red hair also helped - just saying. 

Anothrr great film from this fantastic independent company. I would rank Lucid as an absolute must see and you can find out more about it HERE

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger (2011)

Directed by Brad Mills

Written by Brad Mills

Produced by Brad Mills, Jacquelyn Mills and Ryan Spence

Stars: Michael G. MacDonald, Joshua Demeyre, Bhreagh LaFitte, Colleen Macisaac, Stefanie Peters, Ricky Newtown, Samuel MacDonald Lemoine, Jeannine McLean, Gabrial House.

Release: Official DVD available from Black Fawn Distribution right HERE.

Now here's a movie that I have wanted to see since I first heard about it! Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger is a good ole' fashioned slasher flick right out of the 1980's and if the title doesn't spell it out to you then yes, its about a nutzoid Forest Ranger who hates people intruding in his woods.

The overall plot sees a group of stock characters (serious brunette, airhead blonde, joker and jock) head off for a weekend away. Running into car trouble they seek refuge in a nearby house and eventually run into a another group of teens who practically mirror them (a great touch). Soon, our resident crazy Ranger begins to take them out in all manner of mean spirited ways and as the group gets smaller and smaller you are left wondering who may survive - and it may not be at all who you think!

I know that the legendary Psycho Cop (1988) was a large influence on this movie and my word can you tell! I cant say enough how impressed I am (as a real fan of good old Officer Vickers) at how they NAILED the tone. Everything is just spot on, from the ominous music signalling the Forest Rangers arrival/stalking of victims, the cheese filled dialogue that  makes our hapless teens sound like programmed robots rather than human beings, to the crazy one liners spewed out by our killer as he merrily dispatches his victims. Its just perfect, I sat and there and just thought, 'this is like watching Psycho Cop for the first time!'. Maybe this will be something that puts some people off but if you just love a good old cheesy slasher film or you likewise cant help but love Psycho Cop, flaws and all, you will LOVE this movie. In fact its incredibly difficult to be critical of the bad acting and poor dialogue because well....that's kind of the point!

I had a a great time watching this movie, its hilarious, has some good gore and offbeat kills and the Forest Ranger is just a brilliant parody of some of the pun filled slasher greats of the 80s (Freddy, Officer Vickers, Angela Baker in her older years  etc). Looking very much forward to further work from Brad Mills and co in the future!

Check out the movies official facebook page HERE and be sure to head over to Black Fawn Distributions website to grab yourself a copy! Who doesn't want a DVD with that fantastically old school slasher art on their shelves!?