Enduring another year...

As the year comes to an end, I'm sure there are things we'd all love to do before the big ball drops, or maybe some things we wish we could have accomplished weeks or even months ago.  I know my own list of unfinished business is a lot longer this year than I'd have hoped, but next year will prove to be more  advantageous.
And much like my New Years Resolution to eat better and swear less, I'll be forgetting I even said that in about two weeks.

In the end, though, all that matters is you try to be good to one another and do the best that can be done at whatever it is you do...

Merry Christmas, everybody and enjoy the New Year!!
And all through the house...











Also, more reviews coming soon! I'm hoping to get more books, a few websites and a lot more disturbing movies out, so visit often and stay updated!

Slugs Review

Slugs (1988)
Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Phillip MacHale
Dir: Juan Piquer Simôn 

Slugs is a creature horror based off the 1982 book of the same name by Shaun Hutson. I haven't read the book yet, but it's definitely going on my list of stuff to read after New Year's.

But on that note, everybody loves creature features, right? From Man's Best Friend to Cloverfield, we all have a soft spot in our hearts for those movies that focus on something other than some psycho with an axe or a ghost with a grudge (no pun intended...). This is probably because they play on our multifaceted, zoophobic tendencies just enough. I mean, we're all a little afraid of animals sometimes, right? Dogs, spiders, birds...slugs?


For this film, if you don't already suffer from some form of Molluscophobia...you probably still won't afterward, but at the same time, you may want to double check your salad from time to time. I'm just saying...


Moving on to the "how it starts" stuff, a young girl and her boyfriend argue the context of the phrase "going fishing" just as he feels something slimy grazes his foot under the water. Moments later, she watches in horror as he is dragged into the dark waters, leaving behind nothing more than a bloody show. Next an old drunkard is devoured on his own couch after he returns from walking the dog, not noticing the slithering infestation in his basement and throughout the cluster fuck of garbage we're going to call his house.

That old man, Ron Bell (Stan Schwartz), is soon discovered eaten to the bone when Sheriff Reese (John Battaglia) and tag-along environmental worker Mike Brady (Michael Garfield) show up to carry out an eviction. While Reese takes his leave outside to try to gather himself, Mike decides to take another look back inside. This time he notices there's something not right about the scene, particularly the massive snail trail leading through the place, and thus his quest for the truth begins.

OMNOMNOM!!

It isn't long at all until more people begin to turn up dead around town, most of which are eaten alive or in one case, blown up in an accident. One truly unlucky man is eaten from the inside out as mutated blood flukes grow within him after eating a dinner salad prepared by his unknowing wife. I guess he didn't realize that wasn't sliced black olives he was eating...


Unfortunately, nobody wants to believe Mike when he advises the cause of these deaths is related to mutated slugs. It seems a hidden toxic waste dump and a massive amount of snail trails at the various scenes isn't enough to convince anybody of the goings on. Typical, right?

When it comes down to it, Slugs is a movie that at first glance seems ridiculous, but plays on the serious topic of pollution in a way that can really make you think. Carnivorous slugs may sound outlandish, but so far , we've seen mutated frogs and mice in the real world already as a result of pollution. Scared yet? o.O

Seriously, this movie isn't really scary, so much as it is disturbing. It's a gore fest of bloody bodies and worm blasting faces that plays on the concept of human ignorance. It gives an imaginative look into the changes a poorly managed environment can cause, giving us a first hand idea of what may be to come in the future. This is serious, people!


Of course I'm joking, but what's really serious is how goofy this movie can be. We're talking issues ranging from terrible acting to ridiculous concepts such as unexplainable exploding corpses and a cheesy sewer electrocution to this guy's horrible mullet...

That being said, there are a few saving graces that make this movie worth watching over and over. I felt the special effects were what truly made this movie stand out as a definite 80's classic.

Granted, at times they were hit or miss, the hits really outweighed the misses. A favorite scene of mine involves an old man who makes the mistake of putting his hand into a garden glove in which a couple of slugs have just recently taken up residence. One long, losing struggle later and he's not able to take the glove off, eventually getting pinned underneath a fallen cabinet after flailing around in pain. All the while, his wife is back in the home unable to hear the commotion. At this point he sees no other choice for escape, but to grab a nearby hatchet and do away with hand causing him excruciating agony.  Every chop will send chills down your spine as he tries to remove his hand in order to free himself. It's actually pretty gruesome for a B-movie.

For the mullet alone, this movie is worth a watch. Consider the disturbing gore and imaginative story a bonus of sorts. Either way, be sure to check your cole slaw for snails, You've been warned.








The Stuff Review

The Stuff (1985)


Michael Moriarty, Paul Sorvino, Garret Morris
Dir: Larry Cohen

 Okay, so what's not quite white, kinda thick and your girlfriend can't get enough of it? That's right, cheesecake. But I also would have accepted The Stuff.

Yes, The Stuff. The delicious low calorie treat made of...um...yeah, about that...

Tasty, tasty.
The Stuff is a classic Larry Cohen vehicle about a mysterious white goop found bubbling from the ground that becomes a popular dessert treat. Unfortunately for the consumers, this sweet cream is actually controlling and consuming them from the inside out!

   
The Stuff is one of the first horror movies I remember seeing as a kid. It was always one of my favorites because of how ridiculous it was. Seriously, this stuff is "discovered" when some guy walks up to a random marshmallow hot spring in the snow, sticks his finger in and then proceeds to put said finger into his mouth. I'm sorry if that sounds like nit-picking, but can anyone tell me the last time they just randomly stuck their hand into a random substance and tasted it? Put your hand down, that was rhetorical...

Retreat!
 So, the movie initially follows young Jason as he wakes up for a midnight snack only to open the fridge and witness the creamy confection making a slow retreat to its opened container. As anyone would figure, his family doesn't believe him when he warns against eating the Stuff; even his mother only worries about staining when he flips out and tosses a carton as he rushes out the door. He's next seen running amok in a super market after stopping a small child from consuming the mystery cream. (Look closely and you can spot Eric Bogosian as one of the clerks that try to stop him)

As Jason is beginning to feel he's all alone against the Stuff, we are introduced to charismatic Southern gent (and industrial spy), David "Mo" Rutherford as he investigates the company that produces and distributes The Stuff. Why "Mo"? Because whenever his friends give him something, he always wants 'mo'. Mo has been hired to sneak into the company that makes The Stuff and destroy it from within. Simple.
"Yeah, so as I was saying, this kid throws an egg at me and calls me 'the 1%'"

Okay, so first off, my favorite part about the movie: Mo. This guy is as hilarious as he is suave and cunning. Planting bugs on his employers, wooing women, enjoying sweaty handshakes...yeah, good times. Easily the comic relief of the film, everywhere Mo goes, craziness follows. Next, I'd say this is probably a favorite of mine simply for the story. The creamy killer mystery food that assimilates its victims faster (...well, almost as fast) as crack and cigarettes. Why aren't there more movies these days like this? I don't think I had many complaints about this one. It has some good humor, some campy gore, a hot supporting actress (Andrea Marcovicci was kinda hot back then...sue me) and a lot of...Stuff.

Seriously, though, unless you have an irrational fear of marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, sour cream, cottage cheese or some other thick, white, dairy-type product, you should give this one a watch...it's mind rottingly good.

It's like Scary Movie...but scary!
Chocolate Chip Charlie and Mo

"Hello, sweaty palm!"

WTF?!

You can never get enough of...

ThanksKilling Review

ThanksKilling (2009)
Chuck Lamb, Lance Predmore, Lindsey Anderson, Wanda Lust
Dir: Jordan Downey


So, I was thinking since I didn't do a Halloween themed review, I may as well pick up the slack with a Thanksgiving theme. And for bonus points, this time we're taking it in a completely opposite direction from Wake the Witch.

ThanksKilling is an hour long holiday themed horror-comedy with a pretty straight forward story. 5 college student stereotypes (a jock, a smelly slacker, a slutty airhead, a nerd and a straight arrow) decide to camp out when their truck breaks down on the way home for Thanksgiving break. Unfortunately, not far away, an ancient, demonic turkey (voiced by Jordan Downey) is released from its resting place when the dog of some crazy hermit decides to relieve himself on the totem pole marking its grave.

Okay, here we have a B-movie that not only advertises "low-budget", but delivers with style and aplomb. The opening scene is set just after the first Thanksgiving (1621) where a busty, topless pilgrim (Wanda Lust) is fleeing from the sounds of screaming and mayhem. This flight plan is short-lived as she trips over a rock and is done in by the feathered fury after the most epic line ever in a movie is dropped: "Nice tits, bitch!" After that, this movie was automatically rocketed into "So bad, it's good!" territory as this is only the beginning for what could quite possibly be the most ridiculous bird in movie history.

Anyway, following this meretricious opening, we're introduced to the main characters. And yeah, when I said they were stereotypes before, I mean they deliver in spades (it's even in the IMDb credits)

Billy (the hick) and Johnny (the jock)

Ali (I guess "slut" isn't applicable for IMDb listings) and Kristen (the good girl)

Darren (the nerd)

The Totem (...I felt it deserved mentioning >_>)


Okay, so beyond the hilariously one-dimensional main characters, the story itself is nonsensical, but strangely intriguing. After the first Thanksgiving, where he was conjured by a powerful priest as revenge for a pilgrim who had disrespected him, the demonic tom was to lie dormant, returning every 505 years to exact more revenge upon the contemptuous white man.

*gasp!*

"Nice tits, bitch!"


What I liked best about this film was the situational humor. The awkwardly exaggerated scenarios like the scene involving the turkey trying to hitchhike or the turkey hanging out with Kristen's dad made ThanksKilling stand out as a movie with a well-equipped sense of humor. The fact is the majority of the laughs your going to get from this movie are going to come from the turkey; the rest of the cast was easily out-shined by a puppet. I didn't have much to dislike as what I normally would have disliked about the movie, I found to be fitting for what was being delivered. The characters were so ridiculously overdrawn, while at the same time, they fit well for the feel of the movie.

In the end, if you're a fan of the big birds or if you just want a cheap laugh that doesn't stretch on forever, I'd say this is a movie worth checking out.

Wake the Witch Review

 Wake the Witch (2010)
Stephanie Tapio, Rachel Lien, Karis Yanike
Dir: Dorothy Booraem


So this latest movie was suggested to me by a friend, mainly on the merit of how bad it is. At first I thought it was an exaggeration, but lo and behold...here we go.

"Yeah, this story totally picks up after we play with this chain a little..."
Wake the Witch is a horror drama about 3 friends (Deb, Trixie and Karen) that bring about the wrath of a dead witch when they stumble upon her death site. The evil spreads, taking with it Deb's friends and family as she tries to figure out a way to the curse and save the ones she loves.

First off, this two hour titan starts with Deb and her friends as they happen to stumble upon a random chain while in the woods (it's actually a park, but woods kinda feels more appropriate for some reason) doing a pretentious, artsy photo shoot for Deb's portfolio. Normally, this isn't a big deal, but this just so happens to be the chain that supposedly leads to the tree where an infamous witch was hanged (don't feel too sorry for her, she killed kids, apparently). Because it's the cool thing to do, they follow the chain because as the story goes, the witch tells you your future if you walk around the tree and kiss your left hand...that or she kills you. Think of it as a backwoods Bloody Mary. Unfortunately, the chain leads to nothing, or more accurately it kinda just ends in the dirt. Figuring it's just a superstition, Trixie decides to walk around the spot where the chain ends and kiss her hand. Game On.

Bored or boring?
Okay, so that's just the first 10 minutes. Fair enough. The story presses on for another 20 or so minutes before the gang makes a return trip to the woods where they had previously tried to --wait for it-- Wake the Witch (yeah, I went there) and Trixie has a seizure or something. This is about where I had to make a conscientious decision to be optimistic that something interesting was going to happen...I was wrong.



Up to this point, the witch's curse is pretty much best summed up as a stomach flu that progresses to odd character behavior (read: makes you act creepy and stare at people). It gets even better when Deb's friend manages to obtain some documents about the park that could prove the whole superstition as just that. Curse or viral outbreak? Only way to find out is to watch the movie...but in my opinion, it's best just to not worry about it. This is one of those movies that starts off, stays and ends slow. Another way to put it is the story is pretty straight forward in the most possible boring sense. There's little to no action, the characters have no depth, the plot twists are a joke, the music is about as engaging as a Nora Jones cd on repeat and let's just say about the ending, I've been let down less by M. Night Shyamalan.

How I felt after watching this: screwed.

To be fair, there are actually a few scenes that give this movie a darkish feel, but they were either so few and far between (especially for a two hour movie) that it just didn't really help or they were overdone (see: final scene). In the end, it just feels like whoever gave this movie the green light to distribute was really just giving anyone that decided to watch it the finger.

Yeah, kinda like that...

...and don't forget to keep it creepy!!

Happy Halloween!!

Have a safe and scary night, everybody! And thank you to all who have stuck around thus far! Expect more reviews to come soon and don't forget to post your comments, opinions and suggestions below!

The Collection Review

The Collection
By Bentley Little

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if everything you said came to be? How would you react if you found out one of the nation's founding fathers was a murderous cannibal? These are only a couple of the scenarios presented in The Collection, a compilation of the early works from "the master of the macabre", Bentley Little. This book holds 32 short stories, each with their own introduction containing a short description of what inspired them or how they were conceived. One of the major appeals to this book is that just about any curious soul can pick it up and find at least a few stories to immediately pique their interest.

One of my favorite things about The Collection is the sheer chill factor in each separate story. Considering they were all penned at various times and stages in Little's life, they each hold their own flavor and appeal that keeps the experience fresh and with varying degrees of terror and macabre. Very early on, stories like "The Woods Be Dark" and "Lethe Dreams" both delve into odd and/or macabre family situations. Without trying to alienate the many other stories within the The Collection, I will be drawing my review from mainly these two stories as I would rather encourage anyone reading this to pick this book up and experience the many titles and tales within.

 In "The Woods Be Dark", which was written during the mid-80's and set in the South, we're given a story through the eyes of a young girl living with her family off a path that leads into a forest. Pretty much beyond this, nothing in the story is normal. From the eery return of "Robert" to the "ritual" our narrator endures. Without trying to spoil too much of the story, here is a small excerpt:

"The bad place looked just like I remembered it. The leaves of the trees was all black and brown and they twisted together to make a roof over the clearing and completely block out the sky. It was always night there. On the sides, small trees grew in between the big trees and made a solid wall except for the entrance where I was coming in. The middle of the clearing was covered with bones and skulls and the teeth of rats, all lain out in little rows, like crops. Dead possum skeletons hung from frayed old ropes in the trees, and they was swinging but there wasn't no breeze." -- "The Woods Be Dark", Bentley Little

Next we have "Lethe Dreams" which is a short that was originally published in 1987. In the paragraph preceding the story, Little states it was published in Night Cry, a digest-sized sister publication of Twilight Zone and that it was the turning point in his career. This story presents the couple, Marc and Cindy as they try to adjust to their new life as parents. While Cindy seems to be maintaining, Marc struggles with constant headaches brought on from exhaustion and broken sleep as well as wild, vivid dreams that plague him occasionally when he does actually get rest. Raising kids ain't easy.

"The images frightened him, made him afraid to get out of bed, made him want to fall back asleep, made him unable to fall back asleep. He could see them, or feel them, sneaking around the edges of the room, hiding in the shadows just out of range of his peripheral vision. He wanted to wake Cindy up, to have her comfort his nightmare fears the way his sister used to, but something held him back. Instead, he reached over and ran his fingers through the thin part in her silken brown hair, the part which remained perfectly straight and untouched even through the dishevelment of sleep She stirred under his touch, her back snuggling even closer against him, and he ran his hand down the soft flesh of her thin arm." -- "Lethe Dreams", Bentley Little

The Collection is the kind of novel that keeps you enthralled from one story to the next with unique and imaginative narratives and situations. Each story is a milestone on the road to the Bram Stoker Award earned with his first novel, The Revelation (1990). For a concise biography of Bentley Little, I would suggest visiting here as there really isn't much to be found on the internet besides fan sites and a Wikipedia posting. As a matter of fact, this little snippet would explain why that is:
"Bentley is one of those rare authors who prefer to be judged by the merit of their work and not through self promotion. That being said, he avoids going on-line and has no regular access to the Internet. Though he does occasional interviews to get the word out about his new books, he generally avoids getting involved in major promotional activities." -- The Horrifying World of Bentley Little

 As an added bonus, one particular story in the book, The Washingtonians, was adapted as an installment in the horror anthology, Masters of Horror. The trailer for this episode can be viewed below.

9 Dead Review

Nine Dead (2010)
Melissa Joan Hart, John Terry, Daniel Baldwin, William Lee Scott
Dir:  Chris Shadley


Okay, so here's a movie that took the concept of "ripping off Saw" and actually made something original and somewhat clever out of it. The story follows nine strangers who are abducted supposedly at random by a mysterious masked gunman. They are given a recurring 10 minutes to figure out why they have all been brought together; each rotation of the clock costs them one life.
First things first, like I said, this movie feels inspired by Saw (an abstruse kidnapper, a group of bewildered strangers, a crazy connection and a major life changing lesson taught at the expense of the life it was meant to change...yeah), except instead of focusing on the sensationalism and gore, Nine Dead builds around suspense and mystery. We're presented a scenario where these nine "victims" are sequestered in a door-less, windowless vault of a room and provided only chalk to do the one thing that can possibly keep them alive: communicate. Relatively early in the story we find each character has some serious skeletons in their closet and from there they begin to slowly connect the dots.

Let the games begin...

The characters are pretty diverse:
  1. a store owner who speaks no English
  2. a pedophile
  3. a sleazy loan shark of a club manager
  4. a district attorney
  5. an insurance agent
  6. a cop
  7. a small-time criminal
  8. an illegal gun seller
  9. and a priest
Each has their own messed up story to tell, with the help of a few flashbacks, of course. To be honest, I found the story for the most part pretty intriguing, almost in a Fight Club sort of way (every time you watch it you notice subtle clues you missed before). The trade off, though, is while the movie is pretty well written, it just doesn't hit the senses like a true horror film. Towards the end, as the pieces fall more into place, it seems to lose steam all at the same time. I guess if you liked the first, say, 25 minutes of Saw V, then be prepared to see that whole scenario repeated, ad nauseam to a somewhat diluted ending.

"I don't see what was so wrong with the ending..."

"You liked The Haunting of Molly Hartley! Your argument is invalid!!"




Splatter Review

Splatter(2009)

Corey Feldman, Tony Todd, Stuart Pankin
Dir: Joe Dante 

"So, here's a riddle for all my closest friends: Is it better to kill yourself or let your enemies destroy you? Answer: If you want a job done right, better do it yourself..."
Throw in some ritualistic chanting followed by a self-inflicted head wound and you've pretty much summed up the first minute or so of the movie. Not to mention an extreme close up of what could be mistaken for a transvestite. And after rocker Jonny Splatter (Corey Feldman) takes his own life, his closest "friends" (including Tony Todd and Stuart Pankin) gather for his video will, each hoping for something they feel they deserve. Unfortunately for them, they do get what they deserve, but it's not quite what they had in mind. 

Splatter is a 30 min horror short on Netflix, though it can be viewed as the interactive series it was intended to be here. It's kinda like a "choose your own adventure" book, but with a cheesy internet horror spin.

I found this series to be pretty good; being able to change the ending was a nice change-up from the average straight-on movie. Granted you can only change it so many times, it's still something different. I liked the cast, especially Spencer, Mortis and Fiona (Tony Todd, Mark Alan and Erin Way, respectively). It does bear mentioning each cast member did play their part well. One of my favorite scenes was definitely the casket scene with Spencer (you need to watch on Hulu for that one). The only minor issue I had with the series was the lighting. I enjoyed it in most of the scenes relating to Corey, but throughout a good deal of the show, it just feels a bit too bright over the actors. Actually, I lied. There was one more thing I didn't care for -- Corey's sFX gloves (can be viewed in the bottom pic of this post). I don't feel a real explanation is needed for this one as they're just corny. But still, this is only a minor issue and for the most part, superficial.

Fiona, Spencer, Mortis and Krule
Beyond these simple visual issues, the overall story is well told and each character's individual personality shows as they progress through the bloody ordeal. I would recommend this mostly to any hardcore fan of campy horror or Corey Feldman in general or if you want to just check out something a little bit different than the usual fare.


"You know you wanna say it; I look like an extra from Underworld or something."

"Yeah...I totally told him she said he looked like an extra from Underworld or something. Was that too 'Krule'?"


Infection Review

Infection (2004)
Michiko Hada, Mari Hoshino, Tae Kimura
Dir: Masayuki Ochiai






"Friday...Friday...Gotta get...down on..."
So yeah, I've been sick. And let's be frank--nobody likes being sick. Especially when it makes you go nuts and bleed like a stuck pig or liquify your organs. In Infection, that's pretty much what happens. In part one of a horror trilogy by Masayuki Ochiai, an incident of negligence causes a patient to lose their life. As the staff plot a cover-up, a new mysterious patient is rushed in and reluctantly accepted. If things weren't bad enough, the new patient eventually dies as well and soon, mysterious symptoms begin to pass between the staff.


 I feel the movie has done more than its fair share in capturing one's attention through both scenery and narrative. What's lacking in visual gore is made up for with the creepy overtones, the dialogue and a general sense of despair. The hospital seems to get darker and more dismal as things begin to crumble around Dr. Akiba (Kôichi Satô) and his staff. The origin of the disease contagion becoming more and more enigmatic as their newly acquired patient dissolves into a disgusting pile of nothingness. Soon each staff member slowly descends into a pit of madness as they are contaminated one by one.


Some elements, including some of the scenes with the deranged patient or the breakdown of the young nurse, as well as the lonely swing set, are particularly bone-chilling. They definitely let you know things aren't going to be alright in any way, shape or fashion for the remainder of the film. The always eerily calm Dr. Kiyoshi Akai (Shirô Sano)  also lends a hand in making you wonder what's truly going on. In the end, you're left with a stunning realization as to the truth of the disease, the reality of what is really going on at the hospital. I'll be looking for the subsequent parts to this story eventually. If this is only part one, it can only get worse...and that's a good thing!