Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Freddy Krueger Nikes



Good for slashing teens, then running away...
--J/Metro

Satan's Cannibal Holocaust

Satan's Cannibal Holocaust


Written by Scott D. Muck
Directed by Jim Wayer

Kelly Cauldwell...Sheila Thiele
Mr. Cauldwell...Mike Ketcher
Paul...Daniel Allder
Larry...Gus Stevenson
Kayla...Ashleigh Schremmer

You know what's even more exploitative than Cannibal Holocaust? Cashing in on that film's notorious reputation by exploiting its title and just adding a 'Satan' to it! Satan's Cannibal Holocaust? Sounds amazing!

Investigative reporter Megan discovers that a secret organization is killing off the homeless, and her investigation gets her too close to them for comfort. They carve her up pretty good and leave her in the bathtub, and only her cousin--and fellow reporter--Stephen, armed with Megan's cryptic notes, can get to the bottom of what's going on.

Do it for Megan, Stephen!

Oh, wait...never mind.

Stephen promptly gets disposed of too. How about we root instead for yet another reporter, Kelly Caldwell, who, while writing an article on her father the Mayor (isn't that a conflict of interest?), accidentally stumbles across the homeless story.

An evil anti-church of Satanists are kidnapping people and sacrificing them to their dark master. Because, as their (very talkative) leader says: "Satan teaches us that only through consuming the flesh of your victims can you absorb the power inside!" And then, of course, they perform mostly dull "acts of sexual congress" in the blood of the dead. Because nothing says lovin' like bloody boobs.

The pacing is horrible and the acting is atrocious. The special effects consist almost entirely of extras covered in Karo, except for the flesh eating which looks like it was achieved using Canadian bacon. Syrup and bacon? This may sound like breakfast, but it's going to do very little to quell your appetite for horror or gore. In fact, I was eating breakfast while watching, and I didn't gag on my Cinnamon Toast Crunch once!



Really, the only positive thing I have to say about this trash heap is that the sadistic, sexy schoolgirl Kayla steals the show--not that it was hard to do so. And it's certainly not because of her acting ability, believe you me. She does, however, have the best dialogue of the bunch (even if she doesn't know how to deliver it), and the fact that she enjoys torturing her victims with railroad spikes, piano wire, staple guns, etc. doesn't hurt either.

2007
Not Rated
70 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Satan's Cannibal Holocaust is currently ranked #154,084 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"I've tasted bat pussy. And I liked it."
--J/Metro

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Must...Have...Horror...Haikus...

Readers of my blog know that I have been trying to spread the word for the great horror web comic Haiku Comics for some time (see the banner on the right if you don't believe me!). Well, come October 17th-18th, creators the Brothers Olsen will be at the Alternative Press Expo (A.P.E.) in San Francisco, so if any of you out there are planning to attend, drop by to say hello and tell them that Jonny Metro sent you.  While you're there, why not drop $10 for their fresh-off-the-presses Haiku Comics book, which collects the first 100 strips?  It'll make a helluva gift for that macabre loved one in your life.

Oh, and what's that on the back?

(click to enlarge)


That's right.

It looks like I'm accredited.

--J/Metro

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oldies.com Warehouse Liquidation Sale

I'm not sure how many of you have ever heard of Oldies.com, but they have an AMAZING catalog of DVD's, CD's, books, and even vinyl(!).  I just received an e-mail from them today announcing their Warehouse Liquidation Sale, and a quick browse through the titles brought up a number of genre films that caught my eye.  Thought you might want to check them out.


2001 Maniacs $4.98
American Splendor $4.98
Amityville 3-D $3.98
Amityville Horror $4.98
Audrey Rose $4.98
Aussie Horror Collection Vol.1 (Thirst, Patrick, Strange Behavior) $4.98
Black Vengeance (Black Fist, The Black Six, Black Gestapo, Black Cobra 2) $4.98
Blacula $4.98
The Bloody Brood $3.95
Blue Velvet $4.98
The Brood $4.98
Bubba Ho-Tep $2.98
Caligula II: Messalina, Messalina $3.98
Caligula: The Untold Story $3.98
Carrie $4.95
Chalkdust Memories: 12 Classic Classroom Films $2.95
Don't Answer The Phone (Uncut) $4.98
Double Black Exploitation Show (TNT Jackson, The Black Godfather) $0.99
Double-D Avenger $4.98
Eastern Horror Double Feature (Magic of the Universe, Counter Destroyer) $4.98
Eastern Horror Double Feature (Robo Vampire, Devil's Dynamite) $4.98
Eastern Horror Double Feature (Satan's Slave, Corpse Master) $4.98
Extra Weird Sampler (Something Weird Video) $4.24
Frogs $2.98
God Told Me To (Larry Cohen) $4.95
House of 1000 Corpses $3.95
I Bury the Living $0.99
King Kong (Restored and Remastered) $2.98
Kinky Kong $4.98
Lisa and the Devil $4.95
Maniac Cop $3.95
Midnite Movies: Attack of the Puppet People/Village of the Giants $4.98
Midnite Movies: Fireball 500/Thunder Alley $4.98
Midnite Movies: Incredible Two-Headed Transplant/Thing With Two Heads $2.98
Midnite Movies: Invasion of the Star Creatures/Invasion of the Bee Girls $4.98
Midnite Movies: Mini-Skirt Mob/Chrome and Hot Leather $4.98
Midnite Movies: Morons From Outer Space/Alien from L.A. $3.98
Midnite Movies: Oblong Box/Scream and Scream Again $2.98
Midnite Movies: Voodoo Island/Four Skulls of Jonathon Drake $4.98
Midnite Movies: Killer Klowns from Outer Space $4.98
Mondo Balorado $3.95
Mummy's Kiss $4.98
Nude Cardiovascular Workout $4.98
Rock & Roll Frankenstein $2.95
Rollerball $4.98
Sleepaway Camp $3.98
Sons of Kong: 10 Full-Length Movies (with a kick-ass 3-D Pop-up Case!) $4.98
Squirm $3.98
Swamp Thing $4.98
Swedish Wildcats/New York Wildcats $4.98
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 $3.98
Welcome to the Grindhouse: Prime Evil/Don't Answer the Phone $4.98

Get 'em while they're hot!
--J/Metro

Scarecrows

Scarecrows

Written by Richard Jefferies
Directed by William Wesley

Bert...B.J. Turner
Jack...Richard Vidan
Roxanne...Kristina Sanborn
Curry...Michael David Simms
Corbin...Ted Vernon
Kellie...Victoria Christian
Al...David James Campbell

A renegade military squadron hijacks an airplane with three million dollars on board, taking the pilot, his daughter and the family dog hostage. A dirty double (triple?) cross leads to an emergency landing, stranding them sans cash in the middle of farm country.



But not just any farm country. Farm country full of…killer scarecrows! Simultaneously hunted by the U.S. Army and the straw-filled slayers, they have to find the runaway money and head into the wild blue yonder in a hurry.

And that’s really about it.


Combining elements of Night Of The Living Dead with Predator may have seemed like a good idea, but this terribly dull and slow-moving creature feature is more shit than a hit. The characters are flimsy and ridiculous, the action scenes few and far between, and there are only a few decent moments of gore. The rest is comprised of inane radio chatter and cheap threats. The fact that we could hear the runaway Bert’s thoughts in voice over narration reeks of amateurism. The filmmaker was apparently unable to properly convey what was going on visually. Bert may as well have turned to the camera and Ferris Buellered it directly to the viewing audience.

And could they at least have attempted an explanation for the scarecrows? I’m all for ambiguousness in the genre film (i.e., Cube), but only in the right genre film. And this genre film was not the right one for ambiguity.

Not even the crows are afraid of this one.

1988
Rated R
83 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Scarecrows is currently ranked #15,961 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"If I were a crow, I'd be somewhere else..."
--J/Metro

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Entity by Frank De Felitta

The Entity


by Frank De Felitta

Carlotta Moran is a single mother of 3, existing on welfare due to her out-of-whack back, and attending secretarial classes in order to one day support herself. She has a boyfriend—a traveling salesman named Jerry Rodriguez—but he’s out of town on business. Still, she’s never alone. She has another lover, an unseen ghostly apparition that enters her bedroom in the still of the night and brutally rapes her, over and over and over again.

Seeking assistance, she initially attends therapy sessions with Dr. Sneidermann, a young resident with more heart and hope than experience. But when these sessions don’t cure her—in fact make things worse—she goes outside the box and brings in a pair of paranormal investigators. Only then does she feel at peace, but there is an unmistakable rising tension, not only on the supernatural plane but between both the psychiatric and parapsychological disciplines as well. Is it mental illness, a psychotic delusion? Or is the “spectral rapist” truly an independent entity? I won’t say, because hell, that’s half the fun.

The character of Carlotta initially seems rather two-dimensional and vague, like there really wasn’t much to know, but as the story went on and we glimpsed insights into her past, we realize why this is. Her son Billy comes across as the typical bull-headed youngster, forced into maturity at too young of an age. Only her young daughters seem like secondary characters here. And while Dr. Sneidermann (initially) comes across as immensely likeable, it’s the investigative team of Kraft and Mehan who really shine here, with their eagerness to find something to believe in.

The writing style at first seemed stilted and choppy, but either it really picked up steam as it went or I was just so intrigued that I no longer noticed. Only the constant italicizing of every he or him or his in reference to the titular entity seemed distracting, especially unnecessary when inserted into character’s dialogue.

Clocking in at more than 430 pages, it may seem a bit excessive as a ghost story, but closer inspection proves that it’s much more than that: It’s also a psychological horror, a love story, a tale about independence, faith and even campus politics. And it’s not just about poor Carlotta and her not-so-friendly ghost. It’s about the effect that she and he (as De Felitta would say) have on everyone around them. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always profound.

This disturbing and oft-times vulgar tale is supposedly based on true reports. Recommended to those looking for a bit more meat on the proverbial skeleton. Not for the casual reader, and definitely not for the kiddies.

The Entity is currently ranked #934,144 in books at Amazon.com.  Buy it today!

--J/Metro

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shadows of the Dead

Shadows of the Dead

Written & Directed by Carl Lindbergh

Jennifer...Beverly Hynds
John...Jonathon Flanigan

John and Jennifer, a young couple on a road trip, find themselves stranded on an unused back road. While attempting to repair their vehicle, they stumble upon what they think is a corpse, but in reality is something more. John is infected with a horrible virus that stops his heart and decays his flesh. If not for the fact that he were so obviously alive, he would be, well…dead. Under the spell of his growing hunger for flesh, he bites and infects Jennifer as well. While he sustains on a steady diet of unsuspecting campers, she has some strange aversion to murder. Go figure. These aren’t your typical mindless zombies. They still have hearts and yes, indeed, a conscience.

The story, albeit a rather close clone of Return of the Living Dead III, is actually quite good. As with most low-budget fare, however, it suffers from the usual poor scripting, poor delivery and mediocre special effects. Still, fans of the genre may want to take a look if they’re willing to forgive the obvious shortcomings.

If Shaun of the Dead was the first romance movie about not becoming a zombie, then this is perhaps the first about becoming one.

2004
Rated R
92 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Shadows of the Dead is currently ranked #120,967 in DVD's at Amazon.com.  Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"We'll be together 'til the end."
--J/Metro

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Netflix Watch Instantly Top 5

Teeth
"When virtuous high school student Dawn (Jess Weixler) becomes the victim of a sexual assault, she discovers that she has an unexpected line of defense: a toothed vagina. But for Dawn, coming to terms with the power and dangers of her anatomical anomaly may be easier said than done. Director Mitchell Lichtenstein's provocative feminist horror flick also stars John Hensley, Hale Appleman and Josh Pais."

The Short Films of David Lynch
"A must-see for fans of the legendary auteur David Lynch, this collection features six short films from the master of the macabre. Spanning the director's career, from early experiments to more fully realized visions, also contains the shorts "Six Men Getting Sick," "The Alphabet," "The Grandmother," "The Amputee," "The Cowboy and the Frenchman" and "Lumiere." Each film is preceded by an introduction from the director."

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (Complete Series)
"Independent News Service reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) investigates the supernatural in this 1970s series. Kolchak has his work cut out for him as he tracks down Jack the Ripper, aliens, zombies, werewolves, vengeful spooks, Satanic dogs and a boogeyman from the Louisiana bogs. Guest stars include Richard Kiel, Phil Silvers, Keenan Wynn, Jamie Farr, Bernie Kopell, Tom Skerritt, Scatman Crothers, Dick Van Patten and Erik Estrada."

The Exorcist
"If this horror classic doesn't terrify you, maybe you need a shrink. Movie actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) realizes an evil spirit may possess her daughter (Linda Blair). Against formidable odds, two priests (Max von Sydow and Jason Miller) try to exorcise the demon. A superb meditation about the nature of evil, The Exorcist was created with adults in mind and isn't appropriate for youngsters."

American Zombie
"Part mockumentary, part unabashed gore-fest, American Zombie follows filmmakers Grace Lee and John Solomon -- both playing themselves -- as they infiltrate a Los Angeles zombie community in an effort to document the undead subculture. Finding that the reanimated aren't much different from the rest of us -- save for some patches of rotting flesh -- the moviemakers offer a comical look at their marginalized subjects."

--J/Metro

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Alive II: It Lives Again (1978)


 It's Alive II: It Lives Again


Written & Directed by Larry Cohen

Frank Davis...John P. Ryan
Eugene Scott...Frederic Forrest
Jody Scott...Kathleen Lloyd
Mr. Mallory...John Marley
Dr. Perry...Andrew Duggan

Frank Davis, father of the O.G. monster baby, returns in this sequel.  Since the finale of the first film, Frank has had a change of heart and deeply regrets the fate of his son.  With more and more of these mutant babies cropping up across America, the government has assembled a task force lead by the formidable Mr. Mallory to deal with the births as soon as they happen.

Enter Frank and his middle-aged A-Team of true believers who spirit the mothers, fathers and newborns across state lines via an intricate underground railroad to their secret medical compound in Los Angeles.


Eugene and Jody Scott are the latest happy couple to squeeze out a Mini-Nosferatu.  Upon their arrival at the hospital, they learn that there are two other infants there--Adam and Eve, natch!--and the good Doctor Perry is studying them to determine their true natures.  He believes that they are not sub-human, but rather super-human, the next great step in the evolutionary ladder.

Of course, Mr. Mallory and his government goon squad don't care about any of that.  They just want to play exterminator.  Talk about a late-term abortion!  And really, who can blame them?  Even if it is just a natural evolutionary jump, doesn't that entail the elimination of those who came before it, i.e., US?  I for one doubt that the Cro-Mags didn't at least put up a little bit of a fight when their time came.  So what if we've got guns instead of wooden clubs?  I say eradicate the cute little bastards!

I was thrilled to see the return of Frank Davis, and he was much more likable of a character this time around.  Although it seems like a great turnaround for his character, it seems plausible given the ending of the first film and the time frame between the two.  Mallory was a good enough foil, but it seemed like he never got his chance to shine.

You see more of the babies this time around, which would have worked against the original but works in its favor here.  We've already seen them once, so there's no need to confine them to the shadows.  They look a bit rubbery at times, but still pretty damn creepy.

With the fact that these babies are mutants with super strength and increased intelligence, that the hospital was based on the grounds of an old academy, and the Doc's talk about helping them "achieve their full potential, whatever that is", I couldn't help but be reminded of the X-Men, strange as that may sound.

Call it...Xavier's School For Gifted Preemies.


It's a testament to Larry Cohen's greatness that he can take a sequel to a presumably throwaway standalone film and make another great movie.  Maybe this is nostalgia speaking--I grew up with this movie on cable--but in SOME ways, I think this is superior to the original.  A bigger and stronger cast, sensitive examinations of interpersonal relationships, and even more action, violence and exploitative moments, and three--count them, THREE--mutant babies!

How could you possibly go wrong?




View the trailer below!


1978
Rated R
91 Minutes
Color
English
United States

It's Alive II: It Lives Again (double-billed with It's Alive III: Island of the Alive) is currently ranked #11,181 in DVD's at Amazon.com.  Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"If you're human, you'll kill it!"
--J/Metro

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows

Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows



By A. Goldfarb

In all my years of reading and collecting comics, I had never even heard of A. Goldfarb, or his bizarre character creation Ogner Stump.  Nor have I ever seen anything quite like it.  But while browsing a used bookstore recently, there it was, standing out like a sore thumb amongst the TOR paperback originals and various modern day pulps.  The title of the digest lured me in immediately:  Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows.  How could one man fit them all in one slim volume?

Ogner Stump is, I suspect, an otherworldly incarnation of writer/artist A. Goldfarb--a greasy haired, slightly awkward nihilistic black-and-white philosopher with more than his fair share of melancholia.  The first portion of this book chronicles the first twenty-five of his thousand sorrows--I guess the other 975 will have to be found elsewhere--and they range from the 8-page "Disease" to the 3-panel "eggs".

That's right.  Even unhatched chicken embryos make this guy sad.

As for the stories themselves, they're so terribly surreal as to be almost incomprehensible at times.  But even when you can't understand them, you get the sneaking suspicion that it still means something.  And that's part of the charm of the surreal: it's open to interpretation.

The artwork is bizarre and obviously influenced by the underground comix of the 1970s, and is simultaneously beautiful and horrific.  All of this works together for a truly out-there experience that is instantly addictive.  You'll be craving those other 975 sorrows the moment you're done.

The second portion of the book is called "Assorted Mystifying Tales and Interesting Interludes," a series of longer tales which don't feature Mr. Stump as the lead.  They sometimes make more linear sense than their predecessors, such as the Charles Burns-esque "Dig Up Her Bones", while others come off like LSD-tinted versions of Alice in Wonderland and Dr. Seuss.  This section was a mixed bag in terms of quality, and overall it left me wishing that they had printed a second set of sorrows instead.

Imagine Zippy the Pinhead as done by Robert Crumb, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what we've got here.

Recommended to the freaks and the geeks alike.

Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows is currently ranked #2,758,889(!) in book at Amazon.com.  Visit the Ogner Stump website, or buy it today!

--J/Metro

Monday, September 21, 2009

Orphan (2009)

Orphan

Written by David Johnson
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Isabelle Fuhrman...Esther
Vera Farmiga...Kate Coleman
Peter Sarsgaard...John Coleman
Aryana Engineer...Max Coleman
Jimmy Bennett...Daniel Coleman
CCH Pounder...Sister Abigail

A couple recovering from the infidelities (his), alcoholism (hers), and loss of an unborn child (theirs) that rocked their marriage to the core have decided to adopt a youngster as part of their road to recovery. A visit to the orphanage introduces them to the 9-year-old Russian immigrant Esther, and after the proper formalities, Esther becomes part of the family.


But like the tagline says:  There's Something Wrong With Esther.

It's not just that she dresses like a Victorian era China doll, either.  The girl has a dark and spotted past that makes one wonder why every time there's some sort of accident, Young Esther was there.  A troubled child?  Perhaps.  A trouble chid?  Definitely.  And she's exhibiting a dangerous influence over her new sister Max, if not her suspicious brother Daniel.

I've seen Orphan twice now, once in the theater and once at the drive-in, and both times I walked away with the same dazed expression.  Just how the hell did Dark Castle--the yahoos behind such celluloid crapfests as Gothika and Ghost Ship--finally pull their heads out of their collective asses and explode upon the scene with such an expertly crafted thriller?  It hits all the right notes, is simultaneously heart-warming, heart-wrenching and heart-pounding, and equal parts creepy and sick.

 
The performances were dead on all around, even by the children (especially 11-year-old Isabelle Fuhrman in the lead, who was such a multi-faceted character that it was almost as if she was playing two roles; and Aryana Engineer as the deaf daughter Max, who is hearing-impaired in real life).

We've all seen the Killer Kid shtick before, from the Bad Seed to the Good Son, but what Orphan brings to the table is a mind-blowing twist ending that you honestly won't see coming (if it hasn't already been spoiled Sixth Sense-style by the time you see it.)

Call me over-zealous, but this movie is destined to become a cult favorite in the years to come.


View the trailer below!


2009
Rated R
123 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Read more about it at the IMDB, save it at Netflix, or get off the couch and go see it already!

"That's the story of, that's the glory of love..."
--J/Metro

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Joys of Toys

More of those wacky patents...









Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Through Road (2008)

No Through Road

Written by Sam Barrett and Robbie Studsor
Directed by Sam Barrett

Richard...James Helm
Samantha...Megan Palinkas
Ned...George Shevtsov
Toryn...Richie Flanagan
Chaz...Sam Barrett
Rob...Keagan Kang

You know that feeling that you get on those rare occasions when you discover a true hidden gem amongst all the trash in the horror genre, one that you had never even heard of? And you can't wait to go out and sing its praises to anyone who will listen? Well that's exactly how I feel, having just watched the screener to Cinema Epoch's nasty little nugget, No Through Road.

Richard is a photographer with refined tastes. While seemingly all the rest of the world is watching "footy" on the "telly", he's drinking red wine while listening to mellow jazz on the hi-fi and reading art magazines. He dozes off in his perfectly plush chair, only to be rudely awakened by a mysterious sound. A quick investigation of the property reveals Samantha, a badly frightened and brutalized woman, hiding in his closet. Richard asks her what she wants--that is to say, what is she trying to steal--but the answer is nothing.

She just needs a place to hide.

Three men, she says, chased her down in the park and raped her. And now, all three of them are outside of Richard's house. They ask politely to speak to Samantha, and when that fails, things escalate faster than the fight scene in Anchorman. With his car 'mysteriously' out of commission and his phone lines 'mysteriously' cut, Richard finds himself in the unusual position of having to fight to protect his home, his life, and his newly acquired--and frankly, unasked for--acquaintance.

And what a bloody fight it is.

The villains here are frightening and imposing in a very real sort of way. They're not psychotic, they're not mentally insane. They are just very bad, very dangerous people, and they know exactly what they are doing. Richard is the archetypal Man In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time, and then he is forced to become the Man Who Got Pushed Too Far. Samantha is the more complex character, a mysterious and morally-ambiguous woman who is more gray than black or white. You don't know whether to root for her, or to hate her for getting poor Richard into this mess.

The acting is mostly solid, the violence is shocking and brutal, and then tension is an absolutely tangible thing, all of this made even more so by a spot-on musical score that doesn't miss a beat. This film, overall, will leave you alternating between staring wide-eyed at the screen and turning your head in disgust.

I can't recommend this latest addition to the survivalist horror sub-genre enough. It's Straw Dogs in the suburbs! It's Wolf Creek in a cul-de-sac! Or, if you prefer, it's Home Alone for grown ups!

I don't care what you call it, so long as you go out and see it.



View the trailer below!


2008
Rated R
85 Minutes
Color
English
Australia

The Cinema Epoch release of No Through Road drops on September 29, 2009.  It is currently ranked #59,832 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, save it at Netflix, visit the official site, or pre-order it today!

"One Way In.  No Way Out."
--J/Metro

[Cryptopopology] Life Without Soul

Life Without Soul


Written by Jesse J. Goldberg and directed by Joseph W. Smiley, and starring Percy Standing, William A. Cohill, Lucy Cotton, Pauline Curley, and Jack Hopkins, Life Without Soul was only the second filmed version of the Mary Shelley novel, beating out the James Whale version by sixteen years! Its only celluloid predecessor was Thomas Edison's 1910 short film.

The synopsis:
The year is 1915. The place is Manhattan, New York. The man is Victor Frawley (Cohill), a renowned medical doctor who spends his spare time conducting experiments in order to discover "the chemistry of life". His sister Claudia (Curley), his best friend Henry (Hopkins), and his fiancee Elizabeth (Cotton) all urge him to cease his mad experiments, but he refuses, locking himself in his lab to redouble his efforts. During a break, he falls asleep reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Frawley dreams that he is now Victor Frankenstein, and his loved ones are their literary equivalents from the novel. Residing in Europe, he sculpts a man out of clay (much like the Jewish golem), and imbues it with life.

But it is a life without a soul.

Victor's creation is a lonely man, and he insists that the doctor creates for him a mate. He does so, but quickly destroys her out of fear. The creation strikes back at Victor by attacking and murdering his loved ones: Claudia and Henry. And on their wedding night, Victor discovers that Elizabeth has been murdered as well.

The creation boards a ship and crosses the Atlantic ocean, murdering the entire crew of sailors with Victor in pursuit. He finally catches up to the creation at the Grand Canyon, and lures him into a booby trapped cavern. Victor escapes, but the creature is caught in the ensuing dynamite explosion, very much alive but destined to remain the prisoner of rubble forever.

Or at least until the sequel.

Victor Frawley awakens back in Manhattan, and vows to never again tamper with God's work.
...or so one internet user would have you believe. His review at the Internet Movie Database is so astute and informative that it's almost as if he's actually seen the film. And yet, any number of other sources (Wikipedia, All Movie Guide, Silent Era, Scream of Reason by David J. Skal, etc.) states that this movie is lost. They all inform us that very little is known about this film at all, other than the cast and crew, the surviving lobby card, and the fact that it was based on Shelley's novel. Everything else, all other intricacies of the plot, are likely speculation or mere flights of fancy.

So what's the real story here? Is the film truly lost and the reviewer merely putting on airs, as a number of others have suggested? I have to admit that I initially believed this to be the case, but after a bit of (albeit limited) communication with him, as well as a little research into the man himself, my mind has been changed. A well-spoken--and more-than-slightly eccentric--author of science fiction (and other genres) by name of F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, I truly believe that he is legit.

I e-mailed him in attempt to verify his claims, and he responded back thusly:
I have indeed viewed a print of this film, slightly more than ten years ago. It was a nitrate print, partly decomposed; apparently a second-generation copy of a release print. The print is -- or was, at the time -- in the collection of a private collector who does not often grant access to his collection. I was permitted to view this film through a hand-held Steenbeck viewer in order to inspect the footage for decomposition, and to advise him on the feasibility of preserving the frame images. I have recommended that he have the nitrate print converted to acetate stock, and I have offered to put him in touch with some technicians who have done similar work for other collectors. I have only very limited contact with this collector, through his lawyer as an intermediary.

The individual who possesses this film print -- or at least did so ten years ago -- does not wish to be publicly identified as a film collector. He gave me very limited access to his private collection solely for the purpose of inspecting some nitrate prints for signs of decomposition. I respect his privacy, and his desire to remain anonymous.
--J/Metro

Friday, September 18, 2009

Don't Forget...

Faster Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill!  is on TCM tonight/early tomorrow morning starting "around 2:00 AM"!


Remmer

Remmer


Written & Directed by Ming

Sonny...Barnaby Hitzig
Addie...Beth Anne Garrison
Winter...Christine Lucas
Bob...Julio Hanson
Mick...Bruce McBurney

Despite the fact that the title sounds like an underground German porn flick, and the special effects look like the interactive thesis of a grad student majoring in Flash Studio, Remmer is actually an amateurish horror film that has the outstanding ability to make other terrible films seem Oscar-worthy by comparison!

Young couple Sonny and Addie are camping out in an abandoned storage shed near an old silver mine (apparently the cheap bastard couldn't afford a tent). Addie desperately wants to hear a scary campfire story, but Sonny tells her that he's forbidden to do so. Why? Because, in his words,

"i have a disorder...a disorder that strikes about one or two thousand. I have...narcolepsy." (Cue melodramatic soap opera organ score here)

Just like the rest of us, Addie doesn't get it, and still wants a story. When she threatens Sonny with those two words that work like a cattle prod against any self respecting horny college student--"No Sex"--he relents.

But then, he falls asleep in the middle of his tall tale, entering immediately into the REM cycle. And when this happens, he becomes THE REMMER, dragging the fictional characters of his story into the real world, where they threaten Addie and an unrelated trio of volunteers at a nearby Sleep Institute.

Kind of like a hokier revamping of Marvel Comics' Sleepwalker, Remmer is a hot mess of celluloid. With poor acting, a terribly obtrusive score, and a mindless and rambling script, you would think that it couldn't get much worse. But, amazingly, it does. Nonlinear storytelling is one thing, but when scenes are shown seemingly at random, that's another thing all together. I could get behind that if this were some arthouse attempt at Dadaism or Exquisite Corpse for the modern age, but I'm pretty sure it's just piss poor planning and over ambitious direction.

if Addie didn't look so good in her khaki shorts there'd be no discernible reason for this movie to exist. Still, she could be running around buck naked in a baby oil hurricane in below freezing temperatures, and I still don't think that I could recommend this movie with a clean conscience.



Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I could.

View the trailer below!


2004
Not Rated
75 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Remmer is currently ranked #220,544 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"Man! Pete's gone crazy!"
--J/Metro

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Orgies and the Meaning of Life (2008)

Orgies and the Meaning of Life

Written & Directed by Brad T. Gottfried

Baxter...Brad T. Gottfried

Allison...Lindsay Wray
Denny...Katherine Carlson


When I came home from a weekend in Wichita recently, I found three screeners waiting for me.  The first one, Methodic, has already been reviewed.  The second, No Through Road will be reviewed soon.  It's the third one, entitled Orgies and the Meaning of Life, that intrigued me the most.  And not just because of the title (although, who among us doesn't enjoy a good old fashion orgy, or the pondering of our pitiful existence?)  And although this isn't the type of movie that I typically review here--there's no horror to be found, except for perhaps an existential one--that isn't to say that this isn't the kind of movie that I enjoy.  And besides, a deal's a deal: You Send It, I Review It.  Simple as that.

Baxter is a nearly-thirty aspiring author with an unhealthy obsession with orgies.  He thinks about having them when he's alone, he fantasizes that he is having them when sleeping with a single woman, and, in his spare time, he writes about them in his troublesome first novel: a strange little tale about a stick figure in search of the doorway into a three-dimensional world.

His father is a writer as well, the very successful Christian author of Five Lessons on How to be A Good Person in the Eyes of God.  Offended by his son's choice in subject material, he uses his considerable pull to keep it from being published.  Of course, with Baxter's lack of any drive other than his sex drive, it's quite possible that it will never be completed anyway.

When he's not screwing, or fantasizing about screwing, or writing about screwing, Baxter mostly thinks about the Universe, his place in it, and the ever elusive One--his True Love that can make him whole--whoever that may be.

Sure, it's artsy, sometimes pretentious, and occasionally self-indulgent, and the story itself is mostly mediocre.  And yes, it over reaches and never fully realizes itself.  But it's the quirky and offbeat quality of this film that is so fascinating.  We're essentially being treated to not only the exterior life of Baxter, but the interior life as well--so we're treated to his daydreams, reenactments of his thoughts, and even scenes of him arguing with a younger version of himself.

The acting is sometimes stiff, and the direction and cinematography are nothing to get excited about.  But the soundtrack is quite good, and the dialogue has shining moments of poetry and irony spliced together.  More than once I felt as if I was listening to an episode of This American Life.

Between live action scenes, we're given glimpses into Baxter's book, as depicted through cartoon.  The script, coupled with this awesomely amateur-on-purpose animation is what makes this one worthwhile.  It's true that for a movie where sex is such an important aspect, there's very little skin to see.  But if you've ever wanted to see stick figures fuck--and you know you have--then this is the movie for you.

Overall, it's an interesting idea with interesting moments, even if that doesn't necessarily translate into a fully interesting movie.  It feels like an unsuccessful attempt at translating a good book into the film medium, which is strange, because this movie isn't based on a book.  Which is too bad, because if it was, I have a feeling that I would love the source material, and it would fit right at home on my bookshelf between The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys and Choke.


View the trailer below!


2008
Not Rated
90 Minutes
Color
English
United States

The Cinema Epoch release of Orgies and the Meaning of Life releases September 29, 2009, and is currently ranked #46,358 in DVD's at Amazon.com.  Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, visit the official homepage, or buy it today!

"God was a lonely kid who never quite fit it..."
--J/Metro

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marebito (2004)

Marebito



Written by Chiaki Konaka
Directed by Takashi Shimizu

Masouka...Shinya Tsukamoto
F...Tomomi Miyashita

Imagine, if you can, a world that exists beneath our world, comprised of impossibly long systems of manufactured tunnels, hallways and doors. Imagine that here in this underground city, the dead and the vagabond can inexplicably coexist. Everyone down there lives in fear of some unknown race known as DEROs (Detrimental Robots), which are literally taken from the pages of a Richard Shaver article.

If that's not strange enough for you, I need you to imagine that beyond the architectural corridors lies a grand world of mountains and valleys, and if you were to travel these mountains you would find a beautiful naked woman chained to the wall, with sharp teeth and no vocal ability. She seems, in fact, as if she's barely human.

Now...what if you took her home with you?


That's what freelance camera man Masouka decided to do when he went off of his meds and stumbled across this hidden world while chasing a news story. His intentions were honorable. He thought that he was rescuing her, fully prepared to teach how how to play human. But it turns out that she's too far from human to play the part.

What is she? It's hard to say. But one thing is for sure:

That bitch is hungry.


Combining elements of Reality TV, urban myths, folklore and the half-cocked Hollow Earth theory may seem like a strange concotion--and it is!--but it works far better than it has any right to. It's sometimes confusing (the dream-like logic used in many Japanese horror films rears its head here, of course), sometimes graphic, often times disturbing, and there's a definite sexual undertone flowing quite freely here that is upsetting on more than one level. There's little person-to-person dialogue--most of it is voice over narration by Masouka--but that just puts us further into his head. It's easy for us to believe because he believes.

I highly reccomend this film to any horror fan with a taste for the surreal. If you'd like to whip up a batch of Marebito yourself, here's a very simple recipe.

In a Japanese finger bowl, add one part What Dreams May Come, one part Man Bites Dog, and one part Little Shop of Horrors. Add one cup of water and three drops of Owsley's Best LSD. Mix well and drink cold.

Enjoy!

2004
Rated R
92 Minutes
Color
Japanese (with English subtitles)
Japan

Marebito is currently ranked #40,953 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"They didn't see something that terrified them. They saw something because they were terrified. "
--J/Metro

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Methodic (2007)

Methodic

Written by Chris R. Notarile and Brandon Slagle
Directed by Chris R. Notarile

Nicholas Matthews...Stephen Muzzonigro
Melissa Matthews...Rachael Robbins
Lana Matthews...Niki Notarile
Colin McDermott...Brandon Slagle
Chief Speranzza...Charles Cyphers

Nine-year-old Nicholas Matthews becomes obsessed with a fictional character (apparantly of his own devise) called The Dollman, and then uses a hammer to beat his parents to death. Only a last minute intervention prevents him from murdering his sisters Melissa and Lana in similar fashion, and he's apprehended and placed in the Cedar Grove Sanatarium. And there he sits, silently drawing images of the Dollman, for the next 20 years.

Lana, who was just a baby at the time of her parent's murders, tries to reconnect with her unstable brother against the advice of Melissa. Her visit doesn't seem to get her anywhere, but a short time later, Nicholas beats the guards to death, frees the other patients, and escapes into the night.

Once free, Nicholas fashions himself an insanely creepy mask and goes after his two remaining sisters in order to finish the job that he started two decades before.

Sound familiar? You're probably thinking that the plot is a bit derivative of Halloween--and it is. But to be honest, what slasher film (or in this case, basher film--but we'll get to that later) isn't? But this is no mere Halloween copy, and the Dollman is no mere Michael Meyers clone. The set-up may seem all too familiar, but once you get beyond that, you'll see that this is a very different animal indeed.


Dollman is, for the most part, portrayed as a human killer, not as an inhuman killing machine. He runs, he doesn't walk only to appear beside you. He drives a car. He jumps off of roofs. All in all, he has to work hard to get his victims. But he does, indeed, get them.

This movie is billed as the first Basher film, and that may very well be true. Meaning that the Dollman doesn't use knives and machetes, he uses hammers and baseball bats and pretty much any blunt object that he can get his hands on. It may seem like a minor difference, but in truth it makes all the difference in the world. Not only is it something novel, but the bludgeoning of someone gets across the undying rage of the character much more acutely than simply stabbing them (which, as any good criminal profiler will tell you, is actually symbolic of sexual intercourse. So when Jason Voorhees stabs you with his machete, he's not just fucking you up, he's actually fucking you.)

Methodic has much higher production values and much better acting by the principals than we're used to in lower budget films. If there were more explosions, CGI bloodshed, stronger performances from the secondary cast, and at least one lead from the CW, I would guess that this was a Hollywood film.

Although they probably would have done away with the random lesbian sex scene, and that simply wouldn't do.



View the trailer below!


2007
Not Rated
97 Minutes
Color
English
United States

Methodic is currently ranked #9,941 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it (or, rather, save it) at Netflix, visit the official homepage, or buy it today!

The Blinky Productions website even offers Dollman tee-shirts AND masks!  And who among us doesn't want one of those?
--J/Metro

Netflix Watch Instantly Top 5

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
"A self-promoting serial killer who dreams of being the most infamous slasher of all time hires a documentary film crew to follow him as he launches a reign of terror on a small town. Preparing tirelessly for his murderous debut, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) shares his bloody ambitions with director Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals) and her crew. Directed by Scott Glosserman, this quirky indie also stars Robert Englund and Scott Wilson."

Hatchet
"When Ben (Joel Moore), his friend Marcus (Deon Richmond) and assorted strangers embark on a creepy nighttime boat trip into the bayou, their journey takes them into the lair of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a freak of nature whose deformity has turned him into a bloodthirsty killer. Only Marybeth (Tamara Feldman), one of the travelers, holds the secret that may keep them alive. Horror legend Robert Englund co-stars in this comic gore fest."

Red
"When it becomes apparent that the three teenage miscreants who murdered his dearly loved dog, Red, won't be held accountable for their senseless deed, the normally reclusive and affable Avery Ludlow (Brian Cox) resolves to take matters into his own hands. Trygve Diesen and Lucky McKee direct this disquieting thriller that also stars Tom Sizemore, Robert Englund, Richard Riehle, Noel Fisher and Amanda Plummer."

The Lost
"Four years after 19-year-old Ray Pye (Marc Senter) murdered two women, Detective Charlie Schilling (Michael Bowen) and his ex-partner, Ed (Ed Lauter) -- who are convinced Ray is the killer -- decide to turn up the heat before the psychopath strikes again. But they'd better move fast. Ray's volatile relationship with bad girl Katherine (Robin Sydney) is about to explode, and the killer's also got his eye on Ed's girlfriend, Sally (Megan Henning)."

Tamara
"In a high school prank gone horribly wrong, an outcast named Tamara (Jenna Dewan) is murdered, but her tormenters get off scot-free. Now, as a sexy siren returned from the grave with an arsenal of superpowers, Tamara dedicates her afterlife to exacting revenge. Katie Stuart, Chad Faust and Matthew Marsden co-star in this teen horror romp from screenwriter Jeffrey Reddick, the mind behind Final Destination."

--J/Metro

Monday, September 14, 2009

Movie Review: Simon Says (2006)

Simon Says

Written & Directed by William Dear

Simon/Stanley...Crispin Glover
Kate...Margo Harshman
Zack...Greg Cipes
Ashley...Kelly Vitz
Riff...Artie Baxter
Vickie...Carrie Finklea

A group of cookie cutter teen archetyes (the All-American girl; her asshole jock boyfriend; the primadonna; the slut; and the stoner) are headed into the woods in their Grateful Dead Mystery Machine VW Microbus for a weekend camping trip. After a brief and pointless sojourn into the graveyard where William Bonney--AKA Billy the Kid--is buried, they pitch a tent or two near the river and prepare for the usual high school debauchery.

This being a horror movie, they happened to have set up camp right near an old crime scene where twin brothers Simon and Stanley murdered their parents years ago. And, as luck would have it, the twins are still in the area, and they've had many years to perfect their techniques.

The storyline is familiar, and the protagonists are exactly what you'd expect in a slasher film. But this movie has something that most others don't. Namely, Crispin Glover in dual roles.

That's right. It's two, two, two times the Glover!

Crispin Glover is a great, bizarre character actor that is under-appreciated and under-used...probably because a lot of filmmakers are afraid of him. He's not at his best here, but he's still pretty damned good as both Stanley (an idiot-savant killing machine) and Simon (the Leonardo DaVinci/Daedalus of backwoods murder), although I must admit that his whole "Simon Says" schtick wears thin pretty quick.

The violence here is wildly inventive, which sometimes translates into patently ridiculous. Still, there are deaths here that you're not likely to see anywhere else, and a scene with a poodle that will leave you completely speechless.

On the downside, I don't think that I have ever seen a group of victims that deserved to die more. I know that teenagers are practically always portrayed as obnoxious tools in slasher films, but this takes it to a whole new level. It makes me question my high school memories. Was I that big of a douchebag back in my younger days? If so, I'd like to hop in the DeLorean, travel back in time and give myself a Biff Tannen sized beating. I'd much rather believe that my friends and I participated in the unbelievably witty banter of the Buffy gang than the unbelievably obnoxious antics of the typical horror movie fodder.

All digressions aside, for Crispin Glover and the outre violence alone, I can whole-heartedly recommend Simon Says to slasher fans who feel like they have already seen everything. I'm here to tell you: That simply isn't true.


View the trailer below!



...and as a bonus, here's one of the reasons people are afraid of Crispin Glover.

2006
Rated R
87 Minutes
Color
United States
English

Simon Says is currently ranked #41,304 in DVD's at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!

"I've got two words for you: Threesome!"
"That's like... four words."
--J/Metro

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekly World News

Google Books has literally dozens of complete issues of this fine publication for you to read online, ranging in eras from 1981-2007. These are a few of the better headlines I found while browsing the covers, followed by a truly moving fairy tale. (It's there...you just have to read between the lines.)








Bigfoot Lives! And his name...is Kenny Rogers!


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