Evil Dead 2013: A Surprising Review

Okay, so before we get started, I should warn you. I came into the idea of remaking “The Evil Dead” with an absolute hatred for this movie from the get go. I despise…..no, really…..despise remakes. Even though most movies are a remake in some shape form or fashion, I usually cannot stand them.

This movie changed my mind. 

Now with the dramatic effects over with, I will continue. When I got the message from a friend today with a post about getting pre-screening passes for “Evil Dead” tonight, I was hesitant at first. But, I thought that if by any means I could convince you into saving your money for the movies, that I would. So I went ahead and called up my sister to see if she wanted to go. I had taken her to see “Warm Bodies” with me a few months back and she seemed to like it. So I ordered our tickets, headed out to see her, and we ventured into Nashville to check it out. We get into the theater and ordered at the concessions, headed to the screen, and stopped at the table to drop off our phones. I usually will get seats towards the middle back of the movie, but I wanted to watch her jump and squirm so we moved 4 rows from the front of the screen. We settled in, let the lights dim, and got prepared for whatever lay ahead.

The movie begins with five friends staying in a cabin out in the middle of nowhere. Some crazy things begin to happen, and they eventually search the cabin until finding a book who’s cover resembles that of sewn together skin. One of them becomes curious about it, opens it, and then reads from it, setting in motion for more things to happen. Demons come out and posses them all one by one until the last remaining person breaks the curse and sends the demon back to hell. Sounds pretty familiar, right?

I’m very happy to report that Evil Dead sticks very close to the original movie, with some major changes. I really want to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but one of the already-obvious ones is that rather than a male lead character being the hero…it is a female as our heroine in this revamp. But there is definitely one thing that I love about this movie. My slasher-loving side was very happy throughout this movie. There is so much blood in the movie. If someone you know is very faint at the sight of blood, or squeamish throughout kill scenes…keep them at home.

I’ve really got to give props to Sam Rami and Bruce Campbell for this. It’s almost restored my faith in some directors doing remakes. I can say with confidence, if the rumor of an Evil Dead 2 by these guys is true, I would 100% be behind them. They’ve, in my opinion, made a truly astounding film that is pretty terrifying, bloody, and scary. It’s well worth the price of paying for a movie ticket. I actually encourage you to watch it in the movies! Also….stay until the end of the credits. You’ll be happy that you did.

Nymphetamine’s Grade: A+

Early review of the Evil Dead remake, submitted by one of you!

Hi everyone! Biscuits here.
I know I have been a little slow on the posts this week, just been very busy with the awesome new T-shirts, the Clive Barker contest, a very distracting devil woman, and a few other top secret upcoming projects that you will definitely like…
In the meantime, I have something very special to share with you.
One of our long-time members of the site got a chance to attend a special preview screening of the Evil Dead remake, and I asked him if he would be interested in giving us a full report on what we can all expect to see when this thing finally opens next month.
So…what follows is a very nicely written, mildly spoilery look at the film from the one of the true fans, like yourself.
Thanks for sharing with us, Derek Jester!
This is a very nice report, and a nice Extra Credit touch at the end. You get a gold star.
Do you want a full time job?
Without further ado, here is a look at the Evil Dead remake from the true fan’s perspective.

***Review contains potential spoilers. Read on at your own risk!***


By Derek Jester

Praise the Deadites!
I can’t believe I scored two free passes to see an advance showing of the Evil Dead remake on March 12th! Christmas truly came early this year.
I’ve been waiting for this film to come out since I saw the trailer last October, and almost barfed from excitement when I printed the tickets off and actually held them in my hands. The screening was at Regal Cinema in the Valley River Center in Eugene, Oregon. Tri-Star Pictures has played and are still playing screenings in certain cities across the US. Check the Evil Dead Facebook page and see if there’s possibly a listing for your city.
I took my girlfriend to see it with me. She’s seen Dead by Dawn and Army of Darkness, but not the first Evil Dead, so I wanted her fresh opinion.
We made sure to arrive at the theater an hour early to assure our seats in case the line was too long. Surprisingly there were only like 15 people who actually came. They didn’t show any previews, which was disappointing, but I can’t complain since it was free to begin with.

I was literally moaning with happiness while waiting for it to begin. The film started out with a girl wandering in the woods, bleeding and obviously tortured. She gets bagged and kidnapped by two rednecks, then wakes up confused and frightened in a basement, bound to a stake. A group of even creepier rednecks stand against the wall while an old voodoo lady hangs dead cats from the ceiling. As the young girl pleads for mercy to her captors, one of whom is her father, she’s doused with gasoline. The old hag starts to read aloud passages from the Necronomicon. The girl then becomes a Deadite and starts screaming at everyone about eating their souls, so her father sets her on fire.
The main plot of the film then begins with David (Shiloh Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) driving out to his family’s old remote cabin to meet up with his sister, Mia (Jane Levy) and their old high school friends, Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), and Olivia (Jessica Lucas), who he hasn’t seen since he moved away from home a few years back. He left his sister to take care of their mentally insane mother who died in a hospital shortly after David ran out on them. Mia’s been addicted to drugs ever since, and they’ve all come out to the old cabin to be secluded and help Mia detox cold turkey. David and his friends make a pact that no matter what Mia says to get out of it, they won’t take her home until the drugs are completely out of her system.

They enter the cabin to find that it’s been broken into and trashed, so they clean up. As Mia’s withdrawal symptoms begin, she gets agitated and hypersensitive, complaining about the smell of death and rot coming from somewhere. The dog eventually leads the young adults to the cellar where they find the dead kitties we saw earlier still hanging from the ceiling. On a table in the cellar is a shotgun, next to a package wrapped in plastic and bound in barbwire. Eric decides to take this cool stuff they found upstairs and he eventually opens it to reveal a book, bound in human flesh, containing an ancient language and some awesome drawings that look like Cannibal Corpse album art. While David cleans up the dead cat mess in the cellar, Eric deciphers some of the text and reads it out loud, despite the crazed hand-written warnings scribbled in the pages by previous readers to leave the book alone. Mia’s pacing outside in front of the cabin when he says the words, and she immediately throws up. She looks up to see a creepy girl in the woods staring at her. Totally freaked out, she runs back into the cabin and tries to get them to take her away. Of course they refuse and tell her she’ll thank them later, so instead Mia steals one of their cars.

Driving recklessly in the rain, she crashes into a ditch. As she crawls from the accident through the rain and mud, the trees begin to come to life, tangling her arms and legs, binding her. She screams as a demonic image of herself rises from the mud and pukes up what looks like a slug made of old branches. The thing crawls up her leg and burrows into her vag. She manages to get free and escape back to her friends, but is completely petrified, saying the woods attacked her. She begs them to take her away, but everyone still thinks it’s just her detox symptoms or she’s lying to get out of it. David goes outside to dispose of the cats when he finds their poor dog beat to death with a hammer. Enraged, he rushes inside to accuse his sister. He beats open the bathroom door and finds Mia standing in the shower, burning herself with boiling hot water. That’s when Eric starts to notice strange coincidences between their situation and some of the drawings he saw in the book. David’s had enough and leaves to take Mia to the hospital, only to find that the bridge has been washed away by a flash flood. Back at the cabin, David tries to discuss with the group what they should do, when Mia comes into the room holding the shotgun and says, “You are all going to die tonight”.

Well we all basically know what happens after that. I don’t want to give away too much else that was new or done differently, but one by one, they all get taken over in fresh ways that will surely make you cringe a few times. There’s a nail gun, a crow bar, an electric carving knife, some broken mirror, a big needle, and a fucking defibrillator made from a car battery, some wire, and two syringes!
Oh, and of course the shotgun and chainsaw, can’t forget the chainsaw. I was grateful the CGI was kept to a minimum (from what I could tell). Except for a few short scenes, I was totally sold on the execution of the blood and gore, especially the bile vomit scene. I really liked the extra bit of back story added at the beginning, instead of reusing the monologue disguised in a tape recording from the first two films. This time we get to see what happened there, which makes room for more death scenes.

I like that it also keeps the characters from knowing even less about what they’re dealing with. I also enjoyed the bit of back story they gave the main characters. It’s easier to like them instead of just picking which one you want to die first.
I was a little disappointed that the Deadites talked like angry teenagers yelling obscenities at their parents. I also didn’t like that they had to put a person’s face to the evil that was released, as opposed to just making the camera the monster’s POV which worked so well and was such a big part of the three originals.
They threw in a few good nods and pokes from the first two films, like when David gives his sister a looking glass, also some of the lines they reuse, and if you listen closely when they’re pulling up to the cabin, you’ll hear a deep voice saying,  “Join us”.
Ash’s old car is still there at the cabin too, all beat up and junked, which doesn’t make sense after it got sucked into the vortex and sent to the past with him. It’s still cool to see anyway. I didn’t think the addition of a dog to the group was used to its fullest potential at all. Why put an animal in the story if yr not gonna torture and/or possess its body?
I was glad the male lead wasn’t named Ash. Without it, the story seemed almost more sequel than remake. I also liked that they didn’t feel the need to give Bruce Campbell a cameo. Cameos are always a reminder that you are, in fact, watching a remake.

I didn’t like that they changed the Deadites from being multiple demons to just being one demon that possesses multiple people at the same time.
I was also disappointed that some of the cool stuff from the trailer was either changed or left out entirely, specifically the part when the girl in the basement starts singing, “We’re gonna get you, we’re gonna get you.”
These are all very minor complaints though. I will definitely need to see it a second time to get a better idea of how I felt about it, but I say that from my first viewing, it’s a pretty awesome horror film. It was not scary at all to me, but they did a great job on the pain level and gross-out factor.  I bet that if the new Evil Dead wasn’t a remake, horror fans would love it immediately.
It’s no better or worse than the original, but rather a new chapter in a story I hold dear. Being a long-time fan of Evil Dead, Dead by Dawn, and Army of Darkness, I decided to embrace this project rather than shun it without question once I heard it was being made. A lot of my fellow horror fans seem to hate any remake that comes out before even seeing it.
Granted, most do end up sucking, but a lot of them are really good. I stopped thinking of remakes as attempts at making old movies better, but rather as a fresh view, or re-telling, of my favorite stories that I’ve grown up with over the years. I say give the new Evil Dead a chance before deciding to immediately hate it. Watch it knowing the whole “cabin in the woods” basis for a horror movie really is the best premise for good gory shit going down.

I think the director of the new Evil Dead, Fede Alvarez, puts it in the best way possible… “The way I personally like to see Evil Dead(2013), it’s a story that takes place 30 years after The Evil Dead ended. The car is there, the cabin is there (a family bought it and did some work on it more than 20 years ago) and the book has found its way back to the cabin… New kids will encounter it and suffer its wrath. Is Evil Dead a sequel then? Maybe. But the problem with the sequel theory would be that there are too many coincidences between the events on The Evil Dead and the ones on Evil Dead to have happened on a continuous story line […] But if you believe the Naturom Demonto can force these things to happen… then it could be a sequel… and I do believe in coincidences.”


For all the folks out there who blindly hate remakes, here’s a list of ten films (eleven actually) made based off of other films that you probably love and maybe forgot or didn’t know was a remake, or should re-watch pretending as if they’re the first of their name.


10. Friday the 13th (2009) – Okay, I admit, bad choice for a first example of good remakes. Producer Michael Bay is the cocksucker piece of shit that I hold responsible for the ruin of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Nobody could possibly mistake this film for the original. Everyone and their mom know it’s a remake, but I still think it kinda kicked ass (it does seem hard to fuck up a Jason flick), so it gets last place on this list. Come on guys, it was no different than any other Jason movie. They shoulda just called it Part XI, if you’re not counting Freddy vs. Jason.


9.5 Let Me In(2010) – I didn’t like that I picked the next one over this one so I added it anyway. This movie was great. I think of it as an American translation of the 2008 Swedish original. You guys like The Ring, right? Same concept.


9. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – it’s debatable that this is actually a re-telling of the novel, and not a remake of the Bela Lugosi classic. Regardless, it’s not the first attempt with the same title, but I think it’s the best one of its name.


8. The Blob (1988) – Way way way fucking better than that Steve McQueen piece of shit. If you haven’t seen this, shame on you.


7. Funny Games (2007) – This remake was written and directed by the guy who wrote and directed the original in 1997, so that makes it okay to like! That, and the fact that it’s pretty fuckin’ good. It’s torture for the sake of torture. There’s even a rewind scene that I think is meant to torture the audience. It takes away our control and gives it to the characters in the film.


6. The Hills Have Eyes (2006) – Wes Craven’s classic was redone by the awesome French duo that brought us the great ultraviolent film High Tension, Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur. It is brutal.

5. The Crazies (2010) – I think this remake was underrated. It is to the original what the Dawn of the Dead remake was to its, right down to the Johnny Cash songs. If you haven’t seen it, see it. If you haven’t seen George Romero’s original, I’m surprised you’ve made it so far thru this review.

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – I believe that this was the film that woke the zombies from their graves and caused the wave of undead fandom that’s become one of America’s biggest commodities. Everybody saw this fuckin’ thing, which means that it was good. 28 Days Later didn’t count, because they weren’t zombies.

3. Night of the Living Dead (1990) – Tom Savini’s version of Romero’s first zombie flick. This used to come on Joe Bob’s Drive-In theater on TMC late at night back when I was a kid. Highly recommend it. Tony Todd (Candyman) and Tom Towles (House of a 1000 Corpses) argue a bunch in it, and Bill Moseley is in it for a few minutes too!

2. The Fly (1986) – David Cronenberg’s awesome and superior version of the Vincent Price classic, starring the Hollywood super-couple Jeff Goldblum and Gena Davis, who gives birth to a giant maggot! Acid vomit rules! This movie is actually creepy.


1. The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter and Kurt Russell always make such a great pair. This is Rob Bottin’s masterpiece. It’s one of my top five favorite films of all time. I really couldn’t say enough good things about it. The exploding chest-mouth scene is just perfect. I expect you all have seen it. If not, do your homework.




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Cool As Hell

This week’s tasty visual treat is the movie “Cool As Hell“, a film by the awesome James Balsamo. I was lucky enough to have snagged this movie at Days of the Dead Atlanta last month and checked it out earlier today.

The movie begins with Rich, a comic book shop owner and his room mate, Benny. They’re trying to score chicks, but aren’t having much luck…especially Rich with his cheetah print hair and loud Hawaiian button up. After being kicked out of a strip club for smoking, Rich turns the corner and encounters a demon, with whom he burns with his cigarette. Little does Rich know that now the demon from the third and a half level of Hell, Az, is now indebted to him until he can collect a soul to fill his quota.

Pictured above are Benny, Az, and Rich at the bar. It’s a non-stop party until  a more evil demon inhabits the streets of New York and starts killing girls and sucking out their souls. Then, the three begin their quest to banish back the evil demon. I’m not gonna spoil the rest of the movie though, because this is actually a good movie and I want you to watch it. It has several guest spots throughout the movie that gave me the giggles, like Tom Savini, Andrew W. K., the band Three Inches of Blood, my buddy Shaun May from Customs From The Crypt, and so many more. Oh, and boobs…..there are a LOT of boobs in the movie, an awesome fight scene, and not to mention a few demon sex scenes. (Yes James, I am waiting for the demon porn ;) )

Oh and in case I forgot to mention it, “Cool As Hell” just got the green light with Netflix and you can now watch the movie there, as well as rent it from Blockbuster, or just go to their Facebook page and find out how to order the movie.

Grade: A

Hate Crime

I just watched Hate Crime, and I think I need a shower…

Combining the three worst trends in horror films right now, this found-footage/home-invasion/torture-porn flick is certainly not for the squeamish. I was asked to keep this review spoiler-free, but the set-up is simple.
A family that has recently transplanted into a new neighborhood are celebrating the birthday of the youngest child, when a group of masked men burst into their home. As is evident from the film’s title, the antagonists are misguided racists with an agenda.

I don’t believe it is a spoiler to say that you get exactly what you are expecting from a film called Hate Crime. For fuck’s sake, this is the official synopsis :

“A family is held hostage by sadistic home intruders.

And that is the film, in a nutshell. A lot of screaming and whimpering, barked orders, panicky pleading, and horrible acts of sickening violence and perversion. Obviously, it is an uncomfortable experience, which I assume is the goal.
The film seems to want us to believe they are holding a mirror up to society, at the same time asking us to get some kind of pleasure from the events we are watching.
A text scroll at the end exists as a way for the film-makers to claim they are trying to bring awareness to the many similar real-life hate crimes that happen every day, but I have to admit it feels a bit like a cop-out after sitting through an hour or so of unflinching brutality.
It’s as if they want us to be ashamed of ourselves for just watching their film.

I can’t help but wonder who is the intended audience for this film. What characters are we meant to relate to?

In the brief few minutes of the pre-invasion opening scenes, some delicate character work is quickly established only to be drowned out by the next hour of sadistic torture and unimaginative curses.

I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this movie to the average movie-goer, unless you want your whole day to be ruined…
However, those of you who seek out the extreme films might find some guilty pleasure in the gleefully chaotic and unpredictable nature of this project, but I think most audiences will be turned off by the events we are forced to stand by passively and witness.
If this film doesn’t make you squirm, you can finally be pronounced dead (or extremely racist).

The director, James Cullen Bressack, is young and talented, and if you look at Hate Crime as a testimonial to his technical talent and fearlessness as a film-maker, it shows great promise for the future.
About his film, he says :
Hate Crime is a labor of love from a dedicated group of people looking to make something different. Hate Crime is a violent, realistic portrayal of one of our worst nightmares, being attacked in our home. Despite being extremely well received by the horror community, this film has fought a lot of controversy due to its extreme content, almost being banned in the UK; has been pulled off the screens at festivals before even showing due to content and theatre management not willing to show the movie the festival booked; and has faced some trouble finding distribution since the shooting in Connecticut. We actually lost a distribution deal that was on the table due to that horrible tragedy.

In fact, his next project was recently announced, and sounds innovative and fantastic!
“To Jennifer” will be the first feature film to be shot, edited, and distributed all on the iPhone 5.

Here is the official press release and synopsis :

James Cullen Bressack makes a surprising return to the found footage sub-genre after his last film, Hate Crime, also a found footage film that has received critical acclaim and won several awards. He promises this new film, To Jennifer, will offer something different for the genre.

Details at this point are scarce, but Bressack promises the entire film will be available directly on your phone and will be one that you want to make sure you see EVERY second of and don’t ruin for others. “We are working in conjunction with some great companies to deliver the first film directly tailored to mobile devices,” Bressack states.

To Jennifer stars Chuck Pappas, Jody Barton (Hate Crime), and Bressack and features a cameo from American Mary’s Tristan Risk. The film is being produced by Bressack, Pappas, and Jarret Cohen under the Psykik Junky Pictures umbrella.

Joey suspects his girlfriend of two years, Jennifer, is cheating on him. He is so convinced that he enlists the help of his cousin Steven to create a video diary of his attempt to catch her in the act as well as to document the heartbreak she is putting him through. He intends to give this tape to her after catching her in an attempt to make her feel guilty.

I am looking forward to seeing what this interesting young director comes up with in the future, but in the meantime you can keep up with Hate Crime on their official Facebook page, if you are in to that sort of thing…
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


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“John Dies At The End” LA Premiere

“…the dark things lurking in the night don’t haunt old houses or abandoned ships. They haunt minds.”
— from the novel, John Dies At The End.

The book John Dies at the End is a great delicate balance of clever writing, delirious insanity and straight-faced absurdity. Clearly written in some kind of fugue-state by long time Cracked editor David Wong, the book began in 2001 as a webserial, then released as a paperback in 2007.

Who could possibly have the balls to direct this virtually un-filmable fever dream of “mindfuck fiction”?
Fearless director Don Coscarelli, best known for Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep, stepped up to the challenge. A true artist that has forged his own decades-long carreer path, Mr. Coscarelli brings the same manic intensity to the film as the author did with the novel.

The film starts off with a straight shot of weirdness, and the audience knows almost immediately what kind of film experience they are in for. We are introduced to the protagonists, John and Dave, and quickly learn that they have some kind of supernatural powers, and we are pulled instantly along for the ride.

In the opening sequences, John and Dave are enlisted to help a young girl whose dead boyfriend has been reportedly harassing her. Being the helpful (and horny) young gentlemen that they are, they agree to help the girl, and minutes later she turns into snakes, and this frozen meat monster materializes to challenge them.

So yeah, either you get it, or you don’t…
The framework of the film involves David telling his insane story to a shady reporter played by the great Paul Giamatti. A new street drug, nick-named “Soy Sauce” is spreading through the town of [Undisclosed] and it reportedly “opens doors, mon” and/or makes the user explode.

How could they resist it?
John incites the end of the world somehow through his use of the drug, and David is dragged along for the wild ride. After accidentally ingesting the drug, he begins enjoying his new powers and blatant weirdness. I have to admit, if such a drug actually existed, I would be as curious as the main characters.
With its non-lethal side effects like enhanced sensory perception and clairvoyance, and including the ability to go all Rain Man on your friends and interpret dreams, the drug seems ideal for college-aged men and party tricks.
Unfortunately, it can never be that simple with any drug, and this thing has a very dark side. While it grants you all of those cool powers, it turns out that the soy sauce is in reality a gateway drug that allows them to travel between alternate realities, including one that is under attack by by a Lovecraftian god named Korrok, whose godhood has not saved him from being totally retarded.

The film is great fun from start to finish, just the kind of refreshing original material that we, as horror fans, need to get out and support. Stop bitching about the latest remake, and seek out this film.
Let Hollywood know that THIS is what we want, not another generic rehash of a decades-old slasher franchise.
If you can’t find a theater near you playing it, RIOT in the streets!
Just kidding, it is available On Demand through whatever streaming service you prefer, and downloadable from Amazon here.
Whatever you have to do (legally), see this movie!
Grade : B+

Post Script :
I have not had a better time at the movies in quite a while, and was lucky enough to be at a screening where the director and majority of the cast were in attendance, including “The Tall Man” himself, Angus Scrimm (!).

The quick Q&A after the screening was fun and informative, and the cast seems to have great fond memories of the making of this film. The best part was when Coscarelli asked the girl how exactly she turned into snakes!
Sadly, I did not get to ask my burning question : When the hell are we getting Bubba Nosferatu???
Mr. Coscarelli, if you are out there…we need to see the sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep. Thanks in advance.
After the show, we attempted to got to the Star Wars art show but were told there were too many people there, so we had a few beers at Jumbo’s Clown Room and called it a night…
All in all, a great way to spend a Friday night in LA.
Cheers, freaks!

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An Exclusive Look at “Warm Bodies”

So who has two thumbs and went to an early screening of “Warm Bodies” last night?
This girl.
I won’t even lie, I was excited to see this movie and jumped at the chance to get the ticket. I took my two younger sisters and a friend with me as well so that I could get their takes on the movie. Let me tell you, they wanted nothing about this movie to leak out and with good cause. So after we all took our phones back to the car, we went inside and grabbed over-sized popcorn bags and drinks and stood in line to take our seats.
Already in line, I could hear the buzz from some of the other movie-goers comparing “Warm Bodies” to that one crappy movie based on books. Let me clear up one misconception before we continue. There are some similar parts, but “Warm Bodies” I could stomach, no pun intended of course. Sure, it is a bit of a chick flick, but it has a much clearer plot line than “Twilight” did, and this cast could actually act unlike whiny Bella and her creepy Edward.

So the setting of this story is in a world where zombies walk the earth and uninfected humans have created a settlement. You know, the typical kind of thing. Julie is our heroine of the movie, and her father built the wall that surrounds their settlement of what could be the last remaining humans on the planet. Our hero of the movie, a zombie simply known as R, resides outside of the walls and roams the airport. Julie and R have a chance meeting while Julie’s team is out scouting for medical supplies, and he saves her life from the other zombies with him. He takes her back to the airport and keeps her safe on a plane where he shows her his collection of items and they begin to talk. Yes, zombies can somewhat talk in this movie.

After convincing Julie that she must stay for a few days, she decides to try and run away to return back to the human settlement. Which was a big mistake because the Boneys, which are another form of zombie, discover her. So R decides to go with her to keep her safe while the other zombies fight off the Boneys. Julie and R decide to stop in an evacuated neighborhood to let her get food and dry off. R somehow gets a guilty conscience and confesses to Julie that he was the one who killed her boyfriend and ate his brains. In the morning, Julie is gone and R decides to go back to his normal life. As R comes back to the airport, he finds that a group of zombies warn him that they Boneys are after them all, and that they must warn Julie that they are coming.

If you feel like I’m telling you too much, trust me, there is a ton of stuff I have not revealed in hopes that you will actually go watch the movie. It’s more than just a chick flick, which is part of the reason my boyfriend wouldn’t go with me. Guys, if you want to score with your girl….take her to see this damn movie. There’s a ton of funny parts that had me laughing throughout the film, as well as some scary parts as well. Well, not scary for me….I laughed as I watched my sister jump and scream at them. I even have to give “Warm Bodies” a prop for this little scene as well, even though I was probably the only person in the movie theater to do a small “YES!” at it.I won’t lie, I really enjoyed this movie. I think it is a funny date night movie that mixes in a horror subject with a little bit of romance and a ton of funny moments. I highly recommend that you go check it out when it comes out February 1st.

Grade for Warm Bodies:  B+

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There is definitely room in modern horror for some “Motivational Growth”.

Motivational Growth is a new project from Imagos Films, written and directed by Don Thacker. With a great cast, including the legendary Jeffrey Combs, and a truly original voice, this film should definitely be on every horror geek’s radar!

The film opens during “a very delicate time” in the life of our protagonist, Ian. He has spent six long depressing months as a shut-in, only opening the front door for pizza deliveries. In a bleak scenario that I could easily identify with, he has spent his days sitting around his filthy apartment, spending quality time with his only friend, an ancient wood-paneled television set affectionately named “Kent”, who has just kicked the bucket.
He makes the rash decision to join his dearly departed friend, and sets about to shuffle his mortal coil, by creating a toxic mixture of chemicals in his tub.

After failing at Death itself, Ian wakes up on his bathroom floor, and has a quick conversation with the grime in the corner of the bathroom. Disregarding the talking mold as an after effect of his failed suicide attempt, Ian returns to the all-important task of repairing his old friend Kent.

After a series of randomly weird encounters with some visitors, “The Mold” in the bathroom reveals that he has plans for Ian. Big plans. Referring to itself in the third person, The Mold begins pulling the strings for Ian and guiding his life in a new direction.
Voiced by the great Jeffrey Combs, The Mold is a major character in the film.
A completely animatronic creation, The Mold is a charismatic mound of fungus, and with the help of the perfect voice-acting, becomes completely believable in the context of the story.

Convinced by The Mold to eat a chunk of mushroom from its own disgusting body, Ian goes on a trip to “Successville”, which is more like an acid freak-out where Ian finds himself inside the television, a participant in the shows he constantly watches. The film really shines here, with some great tongue-in-cheek references to the best geek shows, and some classic 16-bit cut scenes, which add to the bizarre off-kilter mood.

He wakes up in the tub, gaining inspiration from his new “friend” The Mold, and begins to clean up his life and apartment. He shaves, bathes, and takes advice from the smooth-talking fungus, blissfully unaware that he is being used as a pawn in some strange fungal situation.

He begins watching his neighbor, a cute and sweet young lady named Leah (pronounced “Leia”, for us geeks!), through his peep-hole, and tries to work up the courage to speak to her. At the urging of the Mold, Ian attempts to kick-start his life, and his whole world-view begins to change. A parade of off-the-wall characters begins to barge into Ian’s world, from the hilarious landlord, to an assortment of oddball TV repairmen and a chatty delivery girl.
It all begins to spiral out of control, and the climactic scenes are a surprising mix of comedy and horror, all flavored with a loving touch of the strange and unusual.

With all the constant gripes us horror fans always have about the glut of remakes, prequels and re-imaginings that currently flood the market in an endless cycle, it is great to see an original film that is not afraid to be too weird for the mainstream.
Motivational Growth is a fun, bizarre mix of horror, humor, and subversive style that we need to see more of!
Grade : B+

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Texas Chainsaw 2013

Hello everyone, Biscuits here.
After looking forward to the newest installment of this iconic horror franchise for the past few months, I finally got the chance to check out Texas Chainsaw 3D last night. However, in my opinion, 3D is very seldom worth the extra five bucks and uncomfortable glasses, so after posing the question to our Facebook page I decided to head out to our local drive-in theater for this one.

First things first, we need to understand where this film fits in the notoriously scattershot series of Texas Chainsaw films. This one claims to be a direct sequel to the original 1974 classic to be set in 2012. After Platinum Dunes announced that they were abandoning their (surprisingly watchable) TCM remake series in 2009, an idea was proposed to create an all-new trilogy of films to  be released out of chronological order, with the second film coming out first and being set almost entirely in a hospital. The next film would be a prequel explaining the events that led up to the hospital scenario. The third film would complete the storyline. Fearing it was too ambitious and risky, the producers opted for a follow up to the original instead.
(Fun Fact : Marilyn Burns, who played Sally Hardesty in the original film, plays Verna in this. It is her first role in 28 years, excluding an uncredited Cameo in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.)

“Thanks for dinner! Laters!”

Which brings us to Texas Chainsaw 2013 (3D). Starting off with a bang, and a quick run-through of the events of the original that we all know by heart, it brings us to just after Sally catches her lucky break and gets away as Leatherface does his frustrated dance. A squad of Texas police, accompanied by a mob of angry rednecks have arrived at the Sawyer home, prepared to make the family pay for what they have done.

The great Bill Moseley, who played Chop-Top in the “original sequel” ( and my personal favorite ) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, steps in for the late Jim Siedow as Drayton Sawyer as they shout back and forth with the police. After a lively debate, violence erupts and the Sawyer home is destroyed and everyone is murdered. Everyone, that is, except for a baby that the vigilantes inexplicably decide to rescue and ship away from all of this.

Cut to 2012, and this baby has either grown into a hard-bodied twenty-something or a really really hot 40-year-old. I am not really sure how it works out that she was a baby in 1974, and barely looks out of her teens in 2012, but this is just one of the many gaps in logic this film is full of. Either way, she is cute and personable, and looks great in a blood-splattered half-shirt.

This is 40!

The film quickly sets up her disposable friends ( as Cabin In The Woods taught us, we have here the whore, the athlete, the scholar, the fool, and the virgin/final girl ) and arbitrary reason for a visit to the house of horror. It turns out that Heather Miller was the baby in question, and she learns quickly that she was adopted by abusive step-parents years ago, and her last remaining blood relation has passed away, leaving her a mansion in Texas.

She easily convinces the stereotypes (I meant to say her friends), to abandon their plans for New Orleans to join her on a trip to check out the new digs. They pick up a handsome hitchhiker on the way, after running over him, and trust him completely, giving him free reign of the new mansion while going to the store to be ogled by drooling rednecks.

Good old Leatherface makes his appearance at last. In a shocking twist, it turns out he wasn’t really killed all of those years ago, just hiding!
The flick moves along at a quick pace here, hitting all the beats we came to see as Heather’s group gets whittled down to nothing, and she runs, screams and trips over stuff. She leads her pursuer through town and right into a street carnival full of bystanders.
“Oh shit”, I thought, “It is on now!”

To see Leatherface go completely wild in a crowd, committing a true massacre, flinging 3D body parts at the audience, this is going to be great! I was so wrong. He waggles his saw at a few passers-by, but is no more menacing than some jack-off jumping out of the bushes at Halloween Horror Nights.
In my opinion, this was the biggest missed opportunity of the whole ordeal. They should have gone wild with the film from this point, blood guts and carnage on a larger scale than ever before.
Sadly, no. Instead of jumping off like a madman raw horror flick should, the whole movie grinds to a halt here and never recovers.

Heather is taken into custody by the same sheriff that killed her whole family all those years ago. After reading through a huge file on the Sawyers conveniently left in front of her, she forgets about her freshly-murdered friends and joins Team Sawyer. The saw is family, as they say.

It goes on to get more depressing and ridiculous from here on out, as Leatherface continues his killing spree with Heather cheering him on now. The film-makers try hard to make us hate the mob-leading redneck vigilantes more than we hate the saw-weilding redneck cannibals, in a weird scenario flip that fails to connect at all.

In my opinion, this is the main problem with these remakes and prequels and re-imaginings that flood the current horror market. This generation is convinced that they want to understand the motivations of the monster, rather than just watching them be the monster. A note to film-makers : we don’t need to humanize the monsters, just let them be fucking monsters!
That is why the original film is such a success : it is about nothing. That’s right. No motivations, no back-story; just an unlucky group of kids that meet up with some crazy lunatics and try to survive. No frills, no explanations, only madness.

When we try to explain the monster, he ceases to be frightening.

This film was a mess, and not really what I wanted to see last night, but a few beers and a buzz at the Drive-In made for a good time. And the second half of the double feature was the surprisingly good “Jack Reacher”, so it was worth my seven bucks…
I just read that it unseated The Hobbit at the top of the box office this weekend, so I am sure we can look forward to more re-imagined sequels in the near future, probably featuring Heather and her good old “cuz” Leatherface teaming up to cause some good-natured tag-team chainsaw action.
If the “sting” after the credits is any evidence, that is what we have to look forward to next : “The Sawyer Family Vacation”. Ugh.

Grade : 3 D’s make a C.

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The Top Ten Films Of 2012 (Chosen by you!)

Well, 2013 is here, and it is sure to be the best year yet for all of us here in our demented little school-house of Horror Homework. The coming year looks to be filled with remakes, although it seemed like we were getting away from that trend this year.
The new year will get started off with a bang with Texas Chainsaw 3D, which is supposedly a sequel to the original not the remake. If this is successful, it could possibly weaken the remake trend and convince producers to go back to the source material. We will have to see. But, to have the chance for 3D in a Texas Chainsaw movie, I am sold!
The Evil Dead remake will follow in February, and although it seemed blasphemous in the beginning, the trailer is pretty convincing and Sam Raimi’s involvement as a producer is encouraging. As well as the fact that they committed to making the film the old school way, with NO CGI! Looking forward to it!
Then follows the Carrie remake in March, starring Hit-Girl herself as Carrie White and Julianne Moore as the crazy mom. I will see it, I am sure, but not exactly super-excited about it. If they wanted to get some attention, why not cast Sissy Spacek (the original Carrie) in the mom role this time? I would love to see that!
There are a lot more interesting new releases on the slate for the new year, including Mama and World War Z, but Rob Zombie’s Lords Of Salem might be on the top of this list next year. It will be nice to see Mr. Zombie tackle an original idea, and stop fucking with the classics. Only one way to find out, when the film releases in April!

Enough about next year, let’s take a look back at 2012!
This list is based on the poll we conducted on the Horror Homework Facebook page, which, at the time of this writing, has over 65,000 “likers”. I allowed everyone to add their own options, inane as many of them were, so that everything was covered and every one had their chance to say their piece. So, the lovely young “grammar nazis” and “genre police” that kept sending me messages about the things wrong with the list, wasted their fingers typing. This list was made and chosen by you, the students of Horror Homework, so if it sucks it is your own fault!
Without further ado, let’s count them down…

10) [REC] 3

A parallel sequel to the first two films, taking place before, during and after the first two excellent [REC] films. It was released in theaters in Spain on  March 30th, and on September 7th in the US. Taking a different direction from the originals, and with a much less serious and creepy tone, this chapter focuses on a gory and gruesome wedding party that gets wildly disrupted by the growing numbers of “infected”.

The film is available for sale through Amazon here. Be sure and check it out if you missed it on it’s very limited theatrical release!

9) The Raven

Set in the mid 1800s and involves Edgar Allan Poe, the poet. A serial killer is on the loose and murdering people using Poe’s descriptions from his published poems. So Poe teams up with Detective Fields, a Baltimore policeman to try and catch the killer by using his knowledge of the descriptions. Even though the poems are fictional, they start to become reality and the killer is a step ahead of them. Then it takes on a personal note as Poe’s lover becomes a target.
John  Cusack as Poe, and the goofy plot-line made this one a bore to me. I will just stick with the original poem for my entertainment!

8) The Collection

A sequel to 200?’s The Collector, I will admit that I skipped this one.
In fact, I know that I saw the first one but I can’t recall a single thing about it…
But you guys voted for it, so here it is on the list.
One of the reviews I read said :
“There’s a bad movie every week, but it takes a special one to make you start anticipating the decline of Western civilization.” And another one called it “a pointless exercise in sadism”.
Wow. Now I am convinced to see this one!
What did you guys think of it?

7) Prometheus

This prequel to the Alien series was a huge disappointment for me.
I was, of course, very excited to see Ridley Scott’s return to the series, and was there on opening day for this one. Unfortunately I left unfulfilled ; the film just did not work for me. Full of admittedly gorgeous visuals, I think the movie just got weighed down by a bunch of lofty ideas jumbled together with some clumsy action sequences and a laughable “twist” ending.
Maybe I will pick up the Blu-ray and give it another shot. I want to like it…

6) Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

Well, here is another one I was psyched to see during the pre-release hype, but didn’t make it to. Is it worth it?
What did you guys think of this film?

5) The Woman In Black

This one was a real snoozer, I thought. Harry Potter put me to sleep.
Although, in retrospect, it had its creepy moments, and atmosphere to spare…

4) Silent Hill : Revelations 3D

This film was another disappointment to me. I love the Silent Hill games, and even really enjoyed the first film, but this thing was just poorly-done on every level. The acting, even from Ned Stark/Boromir himself was clunky and wooden and unconvincing. The plot didn’t even exist, and the over-all look of them film was such a computer-generated mess, that turned out to be not very satisfying, in my opinion.
Oh, that is, aside from this scene :

Now available on DVD here, but for a much better experience, check out the remastered original games, right here!

3) V/H/S

Finally, one I liked!
This list was starting to really depress me…
Although it is definitely not perfect, and the opening scenes and characters of the “wrap-around” story were a big turn-off at first, I thought that each of the short films included in this anthology each had their own merits. Read my full review here, and pick up the flick on DVD here, if you still have not seen this one!
Definite recommendation!

2) Sinister

A very creepy and well-done flick starring Ethan Hawke!
Some interesting things about the production :
Writer C. Robert Cargill’s inspiration for the movie came from a nightmare he experienced after seeing The Ring, in which he discovered a film in his attic depicting the hanging of an entire family. This scenario became the setup for the plot of Sinister.  In creating a villain for the film, Cargill conceptualized a new take on the Bogeyman, calling the entity “Mr. Boogie”. Cargill’s idea was that the creature would be both terrifying and seductive to children, luring them to their dooms as a sinister Willy Wonka-like figure. Cargill and co-writer Scott Derickson ultimately decided to downplay the creature’s alluring nature, only intimating how it manipulates the children into murder. In further developing “Mr. Boogie,” the pair had lengthy discussions about its’ nature, deciding not to make it a demon but rather a Pagan deity, in order to place it outside the conceptual scope of any one particular religion. Consequently, the villain was given the proper name Bughuul, with only the child characters in the film referring to it as “Mr. Boogie.”

1) Cabin In The Woods

While most of this list I could take or leave, in this instance I have to agree with the good people of the Horror Homework page! After being finished with production in 2009 and sadly sitting on a shelf for the past few years, Cabin snuck into theaters in Spring 2012, slapping a huge grin across the faces of many long-time horror fans.
You can read my review here, and since I was trying not to ruin it at the time I kept it pretty spoiler-free. Now I have seen the film several times on Blu-Ray, and have found more to love and discuss with my fellow horror geeks. So if you still haven’t seen this new classic, order it directly from Amazon here, and come back later to join the discussion (and thank me).

For a movie with this title and reported genre, one would tend go in with certain…expectations. Cabin In The Woods lets you know it is not exactly what you thought it was right from the get-go, with a charismatic opening scene that introduces us to a couple of white-collar guys getting ready to pull some overtime on a big weekend job. The casual dialogue between these characters pulls you right in, and the head-scratching begins.

Then, the film cuts to the group of young people we are to inevitably see slaughtered in some (hopefully) unique and satisfying fashion. We follow the well-written and likeable young characters as they prepare for a weekend trip to a remote cabin owned by Kurt’s uncle,  and get to know them as they settle in for their stay, after ignoring the warnings of Malakai, a rude old gas station owner they crossed paths with.
As the film starts to cut back and forth between the group in the woods, and the staff of the control room, a bigger picture begins to open up. Strange things are happening at every instance, and we, the audience, is being shown exactly why.
All of those questions people always ask about the cliche motivations of characters in this type of film has a clever answer from these subversive film-makers.

As I said, the characters are well-written and performed, and as the show continues, we see them being defined, even groomed, into the age-old archetypes of storytelling.
The whore, the athlete, the scholar, the fool, and the virgin.
Or a live-action Scooby-Doo gang, if you prefer…
Either way, the star of the show is Marty the “fool”, played to perfection by Fran Kranz. He is the guy nobody listens to when things go haywire and people start acting erratically. They all laugh at and mock Marty’s “cocoon of reefer” and his plausible conspiracy theories. Unfortunately he is right about what is going on, puppeteers are in fact pulling their strings and he proves that “just because your paranoid, it doesn’t mean they are not after you.”

The film makes more unpredictable turns, as the cleverly doped stereotypes are gently nudged in the right direction by the control room staff. Funny touches are aplenty, and when the cellar door blows itself open (?!) they unknowingly set the ritual into motion. The cellar is a detailed collection of well-placed  items, there to encourage the victims to choose their own object of demise.
Below, in the control room, the staff there is gleefully placing bets on what horror these kids are going to unleash.

A jarringly brutal scene follows, as the control room, believing their mission to be successful, celebrates with tequila and hugs and laughter, while the last remaining victim is being horrifically tortured on giant screens behind them. Not only does this scene work in the context of the plot of the film, but I believe it to be a statement about us, the fans of horror films, and the unique kind of joy we seem to get from watching horrible things happen to other human beings on a screen.
In fact, Cabin In The Woods has many levels to it, maybe some are only obvious after repeat viewings.

At this point, all hell breaks loose, since it turns out that the “fool” has fooled them all, and survived. He makes his way with Dana (the “virgin”) into an elevator beneath the grave of the inbred hillbilly zombie family that they unwittingly chose as their killers.
They descend into darkness, revealing the tools of this sacrifice, a ritual that has apparently been going on for a very long time. Here is where the film is at it’s most brutal fun, with all manners of monsters being gleefully unleashed upon the staff of the control room, as Marty and Dana fight for their lives. Writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard are clearly having a blast here, and tons of monsters are on display for our enjoyment, and chaos truly ensues.
There are literally hundreds of different creatures that were created for these scenes of madness, some barely glimpsed, some right in the audience’s faces. There is something for everyone here if you don’t blink, including nods to classics like The Shining and Hellraiser, to creepy clowns and a jarringly-bad giant CGI snake, all the way to a real live Merman!

After all of this bloody good fun winds down, we are left with an ending so bleak and unforgiving, I can’t help but wonder if it was part of the reason this great flick went un-distrubuted for so long. Sigourney Weaver explains it all, since she is (of course) the Director of this whole operation that is set on keeping the Old Gods satiated with the blood of the young and innocent.
I mentioned the levels apparent here before, and this is a great example. The film is not literally about “Old Gods” demanding sacrifice.
We, the people who enjoy this type of film, are the old gods in question, and the very desire to watch horror films is being called into question by this fun-filled gore flick.
All in all, Cabin is a great, fun and clever addition to modern horror flicks. Smart and funny, with references to the classics and a ton of blood and boobies, along with something to think about.
They have satisfied me, for now…

Well, that is it for the top ten list of 2012, as chosen by you, the students of Horror Homework. A few glaring omissions here are The Loved Ones (released in Australia in 2009 and finally in the US last year), Paranormal Activity 4, Beyond The Black Rainbow, and Antiviral.
And, just so you know, Django Unchained was my favorite film all year.
See you next year, freaks and geeks!

— Faithfully submitted by Darth Biscuits

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Spend your holidays with The Loved Ones…

The Loved Ones is an Australian horror film produced in 2009, and finally released in the US this past year. Essentially a “torture porn” flick with an influence by the new French extremism, The Loved Ones has one thing that most films in that sub-genre are missing : a sense of humor. While I did enjoy this film (even more on the second viewing), the same problems I have with most torture porn flicks (like “Hostel” and the later entries in the “Saw” series) were evident here.
That is to say, I had a problem connecting with any of the main characters. Not as bad as Hostel (where all I wanted to see is those douchebags get tortured), but the main characters in The Loved Ones are for the most part, unlikeable assholes.
Thankfully, there are other redeeming qualities to the film…

In the opening scene, young Brent is learning to drive with his father. He swerves to miss a creepy figure that appears in the road, crashing into a tree and accidentally causing his father’s death. Cut to six months later, where Brent’s guilt has effectively turned him into a mopey emo kid who spends his time smoking weed and cutting himself.
Despite his gloomy personality and apparent isolation, Brent has a devoted girlfriend named Holly who lovingly refers to him as an “emotional retard.” This sad sack also has the attention of Lola, the “weird” girl, who obsesses over him, and sweetly asks him to the school dance. He makes the huge mistake of rejecting this young lady, and heads out to an isolated spot in the woods to chill alone, just him and his dog, with his bag of pot and trusty razor-blade, of course.

It doesn’t take long for the obsessive Lola to find Brent and interrupt his “quiet time”. Her and her demented father show up, and cordially invite him to their own little school dance, located in an isolated living room, complete with streamers and disco ball. Brent slowly wakes up to see this, tied to a chair across the table from a zombiefied woman they refer to as “Bright Eyes”.

This is where the film is at its gleefully sadistic best. Lola proves herself to be an unapologetic psychopath, urged on by her lovingly deranged father. She treats him like a disturbed unsupervised child would terrorize an animal, joyfully teasing, harrassing and torturing him. She proudly shows him a scrapbook full of “Missing” photos and gory pictures of her previous victims. Dad jumps in at her requests to add extra force to her violence, but this is Lola’s game, and she goes about breaking her new toy with unapologetic glee.
This is the main thing The Loved Ones has going for it : the killer is the most charismatic character in the film.

In the meantime, the film cuts in and out to pointless minor characters, muddying the pace of the film. We see Brent’s girlfriend and mother moping around, a completely useless cop snooping into things, and Brent’s best friend going about taking a gorgeous goth girl to the real dance. None of these scenes really add anything to the film, other than run-time, and the chance to catch your breath in between the scenes as you wonder what the horrible family has in store for Brent next.

All in all, The Loved Ones is a great addition to this year’s pitiful list of horror releases, and gives us a subversively dangerous director to watch in Sean Byrne. The best thing to come out of Australia since Wolf Creek, be sure and check out this darkly comic gore-fest, and definitely watch it with someone special!

Grade : B

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