Volumes of Blood review

volumes of blood

Volumes of Blood

Written by Todd Martin, P.J. Starks, and Nathan Thomas Milliner and directed by Jakob Bilinski, Nathan Thomas Milliner, John Kenneth Muir, P.J. Starks, and Lee Vervoort.

I am first greeted with the following screen:

Warning:

The following anthology was an experiment in fear.

Nearly one-hundred artists came
together to volunteer their talents to create
this project.

This is a true endeavor of independent cinema

VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Immediately, I was elated. I have said it before, horror needs more anthology movies! From the ABC’s of Death films, Creepshow, the V/H/S series, to the lesser, but still enjoyable effort, Tales from the Hood (A guilty viewing pleasure of mine from time to time). I have always found that the anthology style format suits the horror genre well. So when I had the chance to view an indie horror film anthology, I jumped at the chance. I have viewed many smaller budget independent films over the years, of all genre types. From every extreme end of the spectrum. Most times, I am left under whelmed and dissatisfied overall. However, I am very pleased to say, that is not the case with Volumes of Blood.

Terrified Linda

The first scene opens up with a subtitle that tells us that it’s Friday October 13th (18 days till Halloween). We see a knife wielding killer lurking in the shadows, watching a couple making out in a Corvette. When the couple began their dialogue, I have to admit, I was worried. Way over the top acting and quoting every 80’s film cliché cheese phrase imaginable. “I’ll be right back. It’s the Rodster, I’m no stranger to danger,” or “I’m no sucka emcee.” Following the “rules” of the 80’s slasher was front and center. I thought to myself, “Here we go.” So when the camera pans away and you see that it’s a movie, Murder Death Killer 3, someone else is watching on a phone, I had breathed a huge sigh of relief. I said it again, “Here we go.” But this time I didn‘t say it with disdain, I said it with delight because it was from that point that I knew I wasn’t in for the typically stale horror, by the book film, that can even come from the creative, outside the box, playing field that is the indie genre.

Bloody Shelby Bloody Face

What we have is a main story plot, 4 stories being told, and a sort of “frame story” plot that reveals itself towards the end and is executed brilliantly. Not one story held anything over the next. They were each memorable for their own charms. I literally had fun watching this film. It was evident the major focal point was to entertain the audience over taking itself too seriously. My favorite character had to be P.J. Starks himself, playing himself. This is where the real comedic value of the film came into play. It was refreshing to see a director take this stance of the stereotype. This was a very enjoyable and satisfying piece of independent film making. This is a must see for any fan of indie films, self referential films, fans of anthologies, or anyone just looking for something different and unique. I haven’t seen a piece of independent film making that I enjoyed as much as I did this film. At all times clever, crafty, and effective.

The Face Devil Mask 2 Librarian Screaming Masked Killer Sidney Terrified 2

My grade for this film: A-


This Week in “The Rotting Apple” Apr 18th – 24th

It’s the merry month of April and that brings out the BUDDING blossoms of Springtime.  And, from all that new GREENERY sprouts a bushel of film fests.  Indie Horror, Kung-fu, and shorts- Oh my!  How many things are there to see this week?… Four,..Twenty.,.  I’m not sure… just… cant.. remember, dude.

Gear up your glass

Grab a snack…

Cuz it’s that time of year.. and there be shows to see …

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

The annual Tribeca Film Festival begins screenings on Thurs Apr 18th and continues through Sun Apr 28th.  The Festival offers up a multitude of films from various countries around the globe, in all genres, both as features and shorts.  With so much going on you may need to plan ahead by perusing the films and their showtimes at THE OFFICIAL SITE FOR 2013.  There are tons of amazing new films for lots of different tastes, but here is a Horror Homework guide to the genre specifics that you sickos will want to check out.  There is a whole classification called “Midnight Movies” with Horro, Sci-Fi, Thrillers, and Action along with other major features.

A Single Shot-  When John Moon accidentally shoots a young woman and discovers a bag full of cash, the isolated hunter becomes the hunted. His struggle to conceal both the death and the money triggers a cascade of events and encounters that ultimately escalates into a battle for survival.  Returning to Tribeca following the release of his personally driven father-daughter fable Janie Jones, director David M. Rosenthal takes a different direction altogether in his strongly collaborative backwoods thriller. The stellar cast of indie stalwarts led by Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy and Jeffrey Wright inhabits a world that blends the ordinary, the classic and the singularly odd into a metaphorical place, one that is both familiar and also a guilty pleasure. Matthew F. Jones’s twisted adaption of his own novel and Spanish cinematographer Eduard Grau’s atmospheric colors and gritty landscapes help set the stage for a chilling film. A Single Shot is an engaging and suspenseful piece of work that is indie genre at its most spirited.

 

Big Bad Wolves-  A vigilante cop and a vengeful father capture and interrogate an accused serial killer. Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s brutal follow-up to Rabies (TFF 2011) examines a horror that most would not want to imagine: what would you do if someone hurt the one you loved most? A revenge thriller with teeth, Big Bad Wolves delivers on its raw tension with operatic drama.  The Israeli horror pioneers have stepped firmly out of the slasher genre with this deftly dark riff on unhappily ever after. An unsettling scenario of men pushed too far in the aftermath of a horrific crime against an innocent child, the film avoids cliché by delivering on its creators’ continued promise of unpredictability. The cast, led by award-winning Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi (Footnote), offers a slow-burning intensity that occasionally explodes in bursts of violence and shocking revelations. With a film built on powerhouse performances and tangibly gritty atmospheric touches, the duo is making a solid return to TFF filled with twists and turns.

 

Byzantium- Neil Jordan’s first exploration into the realm of vampirism began in 1996 with Interview with the Vampire. Now he immerses us in this lurid world via the plight of two willful women, perfectly played by Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. For the past two hundred years, Eleanor’s story has been held captive, silenced by her protective “sister” Clara. Demure Eleanor longs to purge the history that made them into nomadic sanguivores. When the gruesome past comes haunting, they are forced to move to a small seaside town. Clara quickly secures a haven for them in the dilapidated Byzantium Hotel, while Eleanor finds solace in the companionship of a local boy. The bond proves dangerous when Eleanor deems him trustworthy, revealing the truth of who she is and how she survives. As Clara and Eleanor become more exposed, the body count begins to rise, resulting in a wild hunt for blood.  Byzantium fuses the polished and alluring with the vicious brutality that accompanies all great vampire films. Jordan skillfully weaves romance with the gothic and gory, producing a seductive story with stunning spectral scenes.

 

Dark Touch-  In a remote town in Ireland, eleven-year-old Neve finds herself the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Suspecting a gang of homicidal vandals, the police ignore Neve’s explanation that the house is the culprit. To help ease her trauma, dutiful neighbors Nat and Lucas take her in with the supervision of a social worker. Neve has trouble finding peace with the wholesome and nurturing couple, and horrific danger continues to manifest. Haunted objects, an eerie score and a moody, oneiric look complement this intense and frightening peek into child abuse and the searing imagination of writer/director Marina de Van.  If you don’t know Marina de Van’s work, you should. She has written with Francois Ozon (8 Women), and her daring first feature, In My Skin, included her main character eating her own flesh. Her second feature, Don’t Look Back, screened at Cannes in 2009. De Van’s films are intense, intellectual and brutally honest. This newest film is a viciously drawn and taut supernatural thriller that adds to her growing body of bold work.

 

Deadbolt: 8 Shorts-  In The Girl With the Mechanical Maiden, an inventor takes an unorthodox approach to childrearing after the death of his wife. A young girl who lives in a remote wrecking yard confronts the town bullies when they torment her father in Yardbird. It is 2021, and imprisoned journalist Joseph Michaels faces government execution and contemplates a desperate escape attempt in order to return to his young family in The Exit Room. Following a gruesome accident, a man finds himself stuck and injured on a remote road in the dead of winter waiting for first responders in AB-. As a young runaway heads to Harlem, where her father is a low-level drug dealer, she is assaulted by a mysterious creature and left for dead in Peanut Butter & Jelly. A special American guest is coming to a hotel in Beijing to stay in the Honeymoon Suite, but the new guest services manager soon learns that the visitor is not quite what he appears to be. A culinary connoisseur and a chef go on a hunt for a rare animal in Delicacy. Set in the candy-colored world of 1950s suburbia, The Root Of the Problem follows a reluctant young housewife who suspects that the friendly neighborhood dentist is hiding a horrible secret.

 

Frankenstien’s Army-  In the waning days of World War II, a unit of Russian soldiers finds itself on a mysterious mission to locate and rescue a missing team of comrades in a remote East German village. Arriving at an abandoned town, the soldiers notice strange and unusual clues: the corpses in the local graveyard have been exhumed, some lying scattered in the village, and now the team’s radio signal is being jammed. Stumbling upon what appears to be an abandoned factory, they unearth a terrifying Nazi plan to resurrect fallen soldiers as an army of unstoppable freaks and are soon trapped in a veritable haunted house of cobbled-together monstrosities.  Between its darkly comic voice and the inventive and elaborate set design, Frankenstein’s Army quickly proves to be a demented and delightful horror extravaganza. First-time feature director Richard Raaphorst, much like Dr. Frankenstein himself, brings to life his monster menagerie, at turns cartoony and grotesque, to terrorize his band of hapless soldiers in a nonstop adrenaline-fueled onslaught of utterly imaginative and terrifying creations. In sum, Frankenstein’s Army is the wild steampunk Nazi found-footage zombie mad scientist film you’ve always wanted.

 

Fresh Meat-  On the lam after a poorly executed escape from the police, a gang of bumbling criminals led by the Tan brothers flees to the suburbs for shelter. They get more than they bargained for when they crash-land in the upper-class home of Maori academic Hemi Crane, his celebrity chef wife Margaret and their teenage daughter Rina, fresh out of an all-girls boarding school: a family whose refined palates have a taste for human flesh. When the Tan gang discovers their hostages’ dark secret, the tables start to turn as the two groups of unlikely adversaries enter a deadly showdown.  Director Danny Mulheron channels Peter Jackson with a dash of Tarantino to produce a gleefully over-the-top action comedy, combining blood, guts, explosions and a healthy dose of cheeky social satire. The resulting splatter-fest is a gory tale of shifting alliances and basement butchery that pits a cast of dysfunctional characters against one another in a suburban battle royale.

 

The Machine-  Already deep into a second Cold War, Britain’s Ministry of Defence seeks a game-changing weapon and enlists brilliant programmer Vincent McCarthy to research and develop a cybernetic super soldier in a secret governmental lab. When a programming bug causes his prototype to run amok, McCarthy takes his obsessive efforts underground, far away from inquisitive eyes. Soon he has perfected the ideal marriage of human and machine in his ultimate creation, a beautiful and dangerous being that may be the key to ending the endless war, but a sentience stirring inside the machine puts everyone’s plans in jeopardy.  With rare vision, jaw-dropping special effects and Caity Lotz’s (The Pact) versatile and nuanced interpretation of a machine that may be the most human character of all, visionary director Caradog James fully realizes his unique future dystopia. The Machine is an entertaining, thought-provoking techno romance and the latest gripping sci-fi adventure to come out of the U.K.

 

Mr. Jones-  Scott is a filmmaker in need of inspiration. After he and girlfriend Penny move into a desolate house, hoping to make a creative breakthrough, their lives spiral downward. Then they discover their neighbor, the elusive Mr. Jones. Famous for his haunting sculptures, Mr. Jones has remained a mystery to the world. Scott and Penny, convinced that they have found the perfect film subject, sneak into his workshop, only to realize that their curiosity may have chilling consequences. Who is Mr. Jones?  With his debut feature, writer/director Karl Mueller has taken the found-footage fright film to a new dimension, introducing a completely unique labyrinth of terrors. Mueller is no stranger to the horror genre, having co-written Xavier Gens’s post-apocalyptic The Divide in 2011. Ominous and disturbing, this is a shining example of the new generation of indie horror. Mr. Jones weaves its reality with supernatural elements and a touch of mysticism. Imbued with ingenuity and vision, this film delivers good old-fashioned scares.

 

Raze-  Stuntwoman-turned-action-star Zoe Bell (Death Proof) headlines this sly subversion of the women-in-prison genre. When Sabrina is mysteriously abducted, she finds herself in an underground lair, forced to do battle with other innocents for the amusement of unseen spectators. Each of these reluctant warriors has something to lose, but only one will remain when the game is done. Violent and relentless, Raze takes its video game aesthetic to the deepest and darkest places, rarely surfacing for air.  After showcasing her amazing physicality and tough-as-nails persona in films and television, Tarantino muse Zoe Bell finally has a film to call her own, filled with bloodshed and mayhem of the highest order. With a cast of who’s-who genre favorites, including Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks) and a rare performance sans prosthetics from Guillermo Del Toro mainstay Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), Raze announces its extreme intentions from the very first frame. Director Josh Waller has created a terrifying world of savagery in which nothing is what it seems.

 

Taboor-  A frail, bearded man awakens in a foil-lined room. Equipped with a protective aluminum body suit and motorcycle, he rides through the vast and solitary megalopolis of an alternate-future Tehran at night. He travels between various scheduled appointments ranging from fumigating factories, experiencing virtual reality amusement rides and posing as target practice for a rich, blanks-firing dwarf. His experiences unfold organically as the night approaches dawn.  Director Vahid Vakilifar slowly and steadily creates a surreal yet minimalist world with strikingly composed long takes and an entrancing score. Amid a monolithic cityscape, the lone motorcyclist is small and solitary. Carefully framed architecture expounds on the man’s frailty in this atmospheric film. Using naturalistic lighting and sparse dialogue, Vakilifar constructs a new reality by simplifying rather than exaggerating his current one.

 

V/H/S/2-   Two investigators tracking the disappearance of a student break into an abandoned house to find a collection of VHS tapes strewn around an ominous, flickering AV setup. Each unmarked cassette reveals traces of the paranormal, the flesh-eating undead, evil alien invaders and an apocalyptic vision of hell on earth. Drawn closer to the warbling static, the obsessed trespassers fall prey to the unforeseen doom of the inhabited home.  This highly anticipated next installment to last year’s midnight sensation V/H/S features segments from contemporary genre film’s leading talents. Jason Eisener’s frenetic entry recalls ’80s pre-teen adventure movies as pranking adolescents run terrified from otherworldly visitors. Blair Witch Project innovators Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sánchez return with a singular slant on the perspective of gut-hungry zombies. Adam Wingard provides perhaps the most first-person viewpoint, capturing apparitional menaces via a cybernetic eye. With every turn of a corner, unimaginable satanic forces spawn to sounds of air raid sirens in Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans’s godless joint effort. Contained within Simon Barrett’s chilling wraparound segment, V/H/S/2 is an expansive portmanteau of clever unrestrained brutality and fun.

 

Whitewash-  The brutality of winter and the power of the mind are aptly portrayed in this dark comedy starring Thomas Haden Church. Bruce is lost. His wife has died and he lost his job. He is merely trying to survive a harsh Canadian winter when he meets Paul and only too late realizes the newcomer is more than he appears. When conflict leads to a death, Bruce finds himself even more isolated in the forests of Quebec, grappling with guilt and creating a prison from which he cannot escape.  Director Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais co-wrote Whitewash with Marc Tulin, creating an intense and entertaining one-man show centered on the landscape of a guilty mind. Against the harsh terrain, Thomas Haden Church delivers a wry, captivating performance, illustrating that where the mind goes, the body follows. When Bruce begins to comprehend the possible consequences of his actions, he flees. However, much to his chagrin, and as Whitewash cleverly reveals, the worst possible punishment is often the one we construct for ourselves.

 

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the movie theater…the Old School Kung Fu Fest is back! The New York Asian Film Festival’s wildly popular celebration of kung fu movies from the 70s and 80s that pop your lock, rattle your chops, and put the pain inside your brain has returned after a 10-year absence to send your kung fu knowledge back to school. This time the spotlight shines on some of the biggest stars in some of their rarest movies. We’ve got Gordon Liu (36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN), Sammo Hung (Jackie Chan’s “big brother”), Kara Hui (Lau Kar-leung’s female star of choice), Bruce Leung (KUNG FU HUSTLE), and even Bruce Lee (after a fashion). With prints loaned from the vaults of the American Genre Film Archive and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office New York, prepare to earn your Master’s Degree in Kick Ass-ology!!

THE ODD COUPLE-  There are 18 different weapons in Chinese martial arts, and in this flick someone’s gonna get stabbed with every single one of them. Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-wing play elderly martial arts masters who duel each year to decide whose technique is better, but they always end in a draw. Now they’ve each taken a student (also played by Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-wing) leaving it to the younger generation to duke it out. Problem: their students get kidnapped by an old enemy (played by the inimitable martial arts mimic, “Beardy” Leung Kar-yan). Solution: both masters team up to kick maximum butt with maximum weaponry. A face bomb of comedy kung fu as well as serious, old school action, it’s the opening and closing movie of the Old School Kung Fu Fest because it is, quite simply, the alpha and omega of martial arts movies. Truly unbeatable.
April 19 at 6:15 PM
April 21 at 9:15 PM

SHAOLIN AND WU-TANG-  The movie that inspired the Wu-Tang Clan’s first album is a blast of hardcore, old school mayhem. Gordon Liu (bald-headed brother of Lau Kar-leung) was ticked off that the sequel to his landmark 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN was played for laughs, so he headed to Taiwan where he directed, choreographed, and starred in this ‘real’ sequel. A brutally authentic ode to Shaolin Fist and Wu-Tang Sword, Liu plays a student of Shaolin, and his buddy, the charming Adam Cheng, is a student of Wu-Tang. Their masters refuse to teach the Manchu prince their moves, so the prince manipulates the two schools into combat, counting on killing the winner. Then: everybody fights! Shot with the scale and scope of a Shaw Brothers production, this movie is an avalanche of action with its stars unleashing the beast in scene after scene of blistering combat.
April 19 at 8:30 PM
April 20 at 2:00 PM

THE DRAGON LIVES AGAIN-  WARNING: Watching This Movie Will Destroy Your Brain!!!!! Four years after Bruce Lee died, everyone was cashing in on his legend with look-a-like films, but this is the most notorious Brucesploitation movie of them all. Bruce Lee is dead, but his adventures aren’t over. He arrives in Hell where he must fight Dracula, Clint Eastwood, and the Godfather in order to come back to life. Fortunately, Popeye is there to lend a hand. Bruce Lee is played by Bruce Leung (KUNG FU HUSTLE) but even his genuine skills can’t stop the madness. Beginning with the corpse of Bruce Lee getting an erection (Don’t worry – it’s just his nunchakus!) and ending with him flying away as the cast waves “Goodbye!”, you cannot unsee this movie. You will laugh! You will cry! And you will scream as the spirit of Bruce Lee kicks his way out of your stupid skull!
April 19 at 10:30 PM
April 21 at 1:00 PM

SHAOLIN TEMPLE AGAINST LAMA-  Print provided by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office New York.  Taiwan’s indie kung fu films eschewed slick sets and smooth camera movements to shoot on location with urgent handheld cameras wielded by operators who were constantly freaking out. In this flick, Tibet’s evil Black Lamas (you know they’re evil by the skulls in their hair) decide to wage war on Shaolin Temple while wearing costumes that would put Bootsy Collins to shame. The Lamas manipulate a righteous Tibetan prince to be their proxy face-breaker in a war with the hard-hitting Shaolin monks, and what ensues is a whirlwind of non-stop mayhem spiced with a whiff of funky incense. Never content to show two men fighting when it could show 20, this film is a psychedelic throwback to a time when kung fu movies were allowed to pull out all the stops and do absolutely anything as long as they kept your eyes glued to the screen.
April 20 at 4:00 PM
April 21 at 7:15 PM

ANGEL TERMINATORS-  B-movies always have to try harder, and this girls-with-guns flick gets an A++ for (intense) effort. Shot in 1990 but not released until two years later, it’s an undiscovered grindhouse joyride full of bare-knuckled stars: Lau Kar-leung acolyte, Kara Hui; the “lady Jackie Chan” Sharon Yeung, whose career never caught fire; Japanese back-breaker, Michiko Nishiwaki; the sultry Carrie Ng; angry white boy, Mark Houghton; and everyone’s favorite bad guy, Dick Wei. They all turn in blistering action work in this mile-a-minute rampage through exploitation heaven. Two lady cops and one gangster’s ex-girlfriend endure drug addiction, theme park shoot-outs, having their heads shoved in toilets, kicks to the face, terrifying high impact falls, and major concussions to prove that women are 10 times better than men. No subtitled prints of this movie exist, so we’re subtitling this one live in a twice-in-a-lifetime celebration of high caliber girl power.
April 20 at 6:00 PM
April 21 at 5:15 PM

SECRET SCREENING – ONE SHOW ONLY!!!!-  We can’t tell you the title of this rarely-seen martial arts movie, but trust us: you want to see it on the big screen. In the early 80s, big studios were trying anything to attract audiences, so this flick mixes three genres and then adds plenty of crack: you’ve got your wandering swordsman movie, your gore film, and a sexploitation shocker. The result is a whacked-out, hyper-gothic version of “The Monkey’s Paw”, full of occult dungeons, human face frisbees, wild plot twists, swinging swordplay, and naked demon ladies having kung fu freak-outs.
April 20 at 8:00 PM

RED SPELL SPELLS RED-  Career-minded Hong Kongers with no respect for tradition go to Borneo to shoot a TV segment and wind up violating the tomb of the Red Dwarf Sorcerer, who returns the favor by violating their bodies from beyond the grave with scorpions, killer trees, and even more scorpions. Scorpions attack! Scorpions get smashed! Scorpions crawl out of pustulent blisters! Never released on DVD, this unhinged rarity makes BOXER’S OMEN look like Walt Disney as it flings shovelfuls of objectionable content in your face, from busty women in see-through t-shirts, to the slaughter of a LOT of real pigs, to a slew of outrageously nasty deaths. Technically it’s not an action film, but there’s no way we could not show this gore-soaked hayride! Truly dangerous movies make you doubt the sanity of the people who made them. In RED SPELL SPELLS RED there is no doubt: these filmmakers are insane.
April 20 at 10:00 PM
April 21 at 3:15 PM

 

OPENING THIS WEEK IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Oblivion-  In this Big Ol’ Sci-Fi blockbuster Jack Harper is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack’s mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the skies from thousands of feet above, his existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.  What do you think?  You wanna see Cruise and Freeman doin some space shit?

Opens Fri Apr 19th in  most major theatres.  Check Fandango for theatres, tickets, and showtimes.

 

Lords of Salem-  Heidi, a blond rock chick, DJs at a local radio station, and together with the two Hermans (Whitey and Munster) forms part of the “Big H Radio Team.” A mysterious wooden box containing a vinyl record arrives for Heidi, a gift of the Lords. She assumes it’s a rock band on a mission to spread their word. As Heidi and Whitey play the Lords’ record, it starts to play backwards, and Heidi experiences a flashback to a past trauma. Later, Whitey plays the Lords’ record, dubbing them the Lords of Salem, and to his surprise, the record plays normally and is a massive hit with his listeners. The arrival of another wooden box from the Lords presents the Big H team with free tickets, posters and records to host a gig in Salem. Soon, Heidi and her cohorts are far from the rock spectacle they’re expecting. The original Lords of Salem are returning and they’re out for blood.  Here we go… another chance for Mr. Zombie and his wife to win back our affections, or further distance us.  I, for one, am excited and hopeful.

Opens Fri Apr 19th in  most major theatres.  Check Fandango for theatres, tickets, and showtimes.

 

Holla II-   “Holla” as in ebonics for “Scream”.  This looks like your basic predictable masked slasher, but blacker.  After narrowly escaping with her life at the hands of her mentally ill sister Veronica, Monica, with the help of her Mother, Marion, has taken great measures to ensure her safety, including changing her face and relocating to the South. Six years has past and now she finally believes she is safe from Veronica. Little does she know that death and betrayal still await her and her friends on the eve of her wedding at a southern plantation house rumored to be haunted by 13 murdered slaves. This time no one is safe and everyone is a suspect as killing becomes addictive.  I’m thinking nope on this one with a dash of white guilt.

Opens Limited on Fri Apr 19th.  Check Fandango for theatres, tickets, and showtimes.

 

STILL SHOWING IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

Evil Dead-  In the much anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit horror film, five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.  Just saw this one.  Not bad, but not as great as all the hype.  Lots of pain and grue, light on the fucks given for the recipients though. B-

Playing at most major theaters.  Tickets available through Fandango.

 

Trance-   A Goya painting, mind games, and money violently collide in Danny Boyle’s new psychological thriller, Trance.  “No piece of art is worth a human life.”  Simon (James McAvoy) is a fine art auctioneer who teams up with a criminal gang to steal a Goya painting worth millions of dollars. But after suffering a blow to the head during the heist, he awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. After physical threats and torture fail to produce answers, the gang’s leader Frank (Vincent Cassel) hires hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to delve into the darkest recesses of Simon’s psyche. As Elizabeth begins to unravel Simon’s broken subconscious, the lines between truth, suggestion, and deceit begin to blur.

 

It’s A Disaster-  IT’S A DISASTER is a fast-paced ensemble comedy about the worst brunch ever: the eggs are cold, the tensions are high, and the end is near. When eight friends meet for their monthly “couples brunch,” what starts as an impromptu therapy session and airing of domestic grievances takes a sudden, catastrophic turn when the city falls victim to a mysterious attack. Trapped in the house and unsure of their fates, these seemingly normal people become increasingly unhinged to hilarious, surprising, and revealing results. The hilarious ensemble cast includes Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan, David Cross, America Ferrera, and Julia Stiles.

 

Place Beyond The Pines-  The daring new film from the director of Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines is a powerful drama that explores the unbreakable bond between fathers and sons. Luke (Academy Award nominee Gosling) is a high-wire motorcycle stunt performer who travels with the carnival from town to town. While passing through upstate New York, he tries to reconnect with a former lover (Mendes), only to learn that she has given birth to their son in his absence. In an effort to provide for his family, he turns to robbing banks, a path that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious cop and a corrupt detective. A showcase for a stellar ensemble cast, this sweeping, multi-generational crime epic establishes Cianfrance as one of the most gifted filmmakers of his generation.  Musical score by Mike Patton.

 

Room 237-  Inhabiting the wacky fringes of cinephilic fervor, this subjective documentary sets out to unpack the multitudes contained in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining. Compiling the ultra-close readings of both scholars and fans, director Rodney Ascher rewinds, replays, and remaps the film in ways that will shock even the most passionate Kubrick lovers. Codes and conspiracies are patiently teased out from the most miniscule details, and in the process we learn as much about the psychology of the film’s rabid devotees as we do about its undying allure. One of the standout documentaries from this year’s Sundance, Room 237 is a haunting trip down the rabbit hole of movie fanaticism.  Just saw this one.  I thought it was well worth checking out.  B

IFC CENTER

Last Day Thursday Apr 18th!!  Antiviral 11:10 AM  Syd March is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Biological communion – for a price. Syd also supplies illegal samples of these viruses to piracy groups, smuggling them from the clinic in his own body. When he becomes infected with the disease that kills super sensation Hannah Geist, Syd becomes a target for collectors and rabid fans. He must unravel the mystery surrounding her death before he suffers the same fate.

 

Opening Friday Apr 19th- Errors of the Human Body 12:05 AM (changing showtimes) Seeking a new laboratory to pursue his controversial genetic research, Dr Geoff Burton takes up a position at the world-renowned Institute for Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics in wintry Dresden, Germany. His contribution to their most top-secret project – a human regeneration gene – has the potential to make something miraculous out of a personal tragedy that has haunted him for years. But when he uncovers a conspiracy amongst his colleagues, he finds instead something quite different: a terrifying new virus, with potentially devastating consequences for humanity – and for Geoff, who is not only its first victim, but its unwitting source.

 

Still Showing- Simon Killer Multiple Showtimes  Dark secrets are at the heart of Campos’s visceral neonoir thriller, the tale of a recent college graduate (a haunting Brady Corbet) who has fled to Paris after a bad breakup. Unable to shake his melancholy, he wanders the streets, until he meets a beautiful hooker who causes something troubling to stir in him. Tense, atmospheric and exquisitely crafted, SIMON KILLER marks a new triumph from the team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene and Afterschool.

 

Still Showing- The Shining Changing Showtimes  All work and no play makes blocked novelist cum hotel caretaker Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) a raging, murderous psychopath in Kubrick’s mordantly funny, genuinely terrifying riff on Stephen King’s bestselling novel–one that King himself disavowed, for so far did it stray from his decidedly more literal, straightforward text. Always an early adopter, Kubrick made extensive use of the newly developed Steadicam technology (and its inventor, Garrett Brown) to glide up, down and around the Overlook Hotel’s cavernous corridors, where the ghosts of caretakers and lodgers past rest uneasily, and the line between waking and dreaming ceases to exist. The resulting modern horror classic is still being analyzed and debated more than 30 years later, including in the soon-to-be-released documentary Room 237, a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

 

Fri Apr 19th and Sat Apr 20th-  2001: A Space Odyssey 11:30 PM  “A masterpiece… The film remains threatening to contemporary studiothink in many important ways: Its special effects are used so seamlessly as part of an overall artistic strategy that, as critic Annette Michelson has pointed out, they don’t even register as such. Dialogue plays a minimal role, yet the plot encompasses the history of mankind (a province of SF visionary Olaf Stapledon, who inspired Kubrick’s cowriter, Arthur C. Clarke). And, like its flagrantly underrated companion piece, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it meditates at length on the complex relationship between humanity and technology—not only the human qualities that we ascribe to machines but also the programming we knowingly or unknowingly submit to. The film’s projections of the cold war and antiquated product placements may look quaint now, but the poetry is as hard-edged and full of wonder as ever.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader


BAM

Sat Apr 20th- World Wide Weird  2:00 PM This shorts program features 8 films from around the globe, including 7 New York and US premieres. The films celebrate the extreme, the comedic, and the transformative.  Featuring a Q&A with a guest filmmaker and free popcorn.  El Desafio a la Muerte (The Challenge to Death)-  A powerful mystic subjects his body to extreme conditions in an attempt to reach the divine. After fasting for 50 days, the master fits his entire body into a blender on camera for the first time. Don’t try this at home (unless you’re a stop-motion animator).  Swing of Change-  This smooth computer animation tells a riveting tale of transformation. A racist barbershop owner in 1930s New York City prefers rote rhythms to swinging beats—until a busker outside his shop leaves a trumpet behind.  Alien Repair Guy-  What happens when Earth breaks down? Impressive technical effects illustrate an imaginative concept in this smart sci-fi film that entices us to ponder what might be going on in the universe.  Bisclavret (Werewolf)-  Vibrant animation brings this classic horror folktale to life. A noble lady notices that her husband, a baron, slips out some nights for mysterious reasons. When she confronts him to learn the truth, he reveals one of the most ancient versions of the werewolf tale.  Onion Skin-  Explore the layers not always seen on the superficial exterior of high school. A boy finds himself drawn to a girl, but rather than just text her, he writes an actual letter. A film that asks: When does technology get in the way of real connection?  Nasty Phantoms-  A town terrorized by mischievous spirits turns to a young bounty hunter to end their troubles.   A Love of TVs-  A fresh, quirky stop-motion short about love among the television sets.  True School-  Yi-cheng doesn’t fit in with the other preppy kids at his school where even the faculty labels him as a typical ‘bad student.’ Only Mr. Liu, a substitute teacher, sees there’s more to Yi-cheng than a label.

 

Sat April 20th- Never Before Scene 2:00 PM  A program of 9 New York and US premieres, these shorts feature characters who step far outside of themselves; they revel in destruction, and fantasize about love.  Featuring Q&As with guest filmmakers and free popcorn.  Missed Connections-  A guy spies his dream girl in the café and imagines their life together in lush, romantic animated detail.  Reloaded-  Combining the analog form of stop-motion animation with a digital sensibility, this film expands upon the intensity of the titular beat-filled track by Dutch electronic duo Baskerville in a story both alien and familiar. After an experiment goes horribly wrong, colorful clay critters transform into city-destroying monsters inspired by long-extinct species.  Those Who Can-  Oliver and Alexandra want to be normal for one perfect night: prom at their public high school. But “normal” can be a minefield for an autistic teen. This heartwarming dramedy gently explores the impact of autism.  Barry’s Ices-  An elderly ice-cream man serves the local children with care until an automated robot shows up to put him out of business.  Emily-  In a pristine, affluent household, a mother runs around collecting sharp objects. Her daughter, Emily, is returning home from the hospital after a suicide attempt. This film sets the stage for powerful emotions with a mix of drama and horror.  TaduFeu-  In the time of cavemen, a pack of violent Cro Magnon men accidentally discover fire, and comedic mayhem ensues.  Hai in Mano il Tuo Futuro! (You Hold Your Future in Your Hands)-  In a near-future fascist state, the population is subjected to daily testing of bodily fluids to “control” for everything from drugs and alcohol to licorice and honey. A bad situation makes for a great comedy in this unlikely romance.  Grzyby Burzy (Mushrooms of the Storm)-  Space mushrooms infest a traveler’s ship as payback and invade earth in this unique animation about interstellar warfare. With a smooth style reminiscent of Loony Tunes, and some totally unique characters and situations, this clever Polish animation seems both outlandish yet familiar.  Levi’s Horse-  In this dark drama from snowy northern Norway, a boy’s offbeat connection with a mentally disabled man raises an intense dilemma when his peers decide to make the man’s horse a target.

 

Tues Apr 23rd- Peeping Tom  Multiple showtimes  If anything deserves the “dark masterpiece” tag, this does: a brilliant satirical insight into the neurotic, pornographic element in the act of filming, more relevant than ever in the age of reality television and CCTV.—The Guardian  Seemingly nice English boy Mark (Böhm) has a dark fetish: murdering women and recording their deaths with a 16mm camera. Powell’s lurid, color-saturated shocker—which ruined the director’s career upon its release, only to be posthumously recognized as a masterpiece—“is the only movie that equates watching movies with killing and fucking” (Elliott Stein).

 

NITEHAWK CINEMA

Still Showing- Spring Breakers Multiple showtimes  A boldly experimental portrait of the Girls Gone Wild-inspired spring break, Harmony Korine’s gutsy mainstream breakthrough stars teen darlings Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Benson as a pack of college friends who rob a diner to fund their trip to Florida. A chance encounter with a gun-slinging wannabe rapper named Alien (a blinged-out James Franco in cornrows) leads them down a rabbit hole of sex, drugs, booze, and crime. By turns unabashedly absurd and disarmingly poetic, Spring Breakers is a razor-sharp satire of all-American debauchery—and the only film to ever combine Britney Spears, interpretive dance, and pink unicorn ski masks.  FOOD & DRINK SPECIAL:  Fried Chicken & Grilled Cornrows-  buttermilk fried chicken leg and thigh, grilled corn, herb butter.  Sex on the Beach-  Reyka Vodka, peach, cranberry, orange.

 

Fri Apr 19th and Sat Apr 20th- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas  12:20 AM  Spend 420 with us by taking a psychedelic journey into the heart of Las Vegas with a goofy journalist and his questionable lawyer.  “The possibility of physical and mental collapse is now very real. No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”  Things start of weird and only get weirder when Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp doing a spot-on impression of Hunter S. Thompson) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio de Toro at his heavyweight best) take a mescaline-fulled road trip to Las Vegas. Copious amounts of illegal drugs are consumed, hallucinations projected, and a sequence of oddballs met, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasbrings Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism onto the big screen (it is based, after all, off his culture defining novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream). While Raoul and Dr. Gonzo languish in their drug-induced haze they do have philosophical musings about chasing the American dream and questioning the failure of the counter-culture revolution.

 

Fri Apr 19th- Showgirls 12:10 AM  Nitehawk debuts its new sexed up series, NITEHAWK NAUGHTIES, with the ever-classic Showgirls. To celebrate, a star of Showgirls! The Musical! will perform “F*cking Underwater (The Pool Song)” live before the screening!  What lengths will a drifter-turned-stripper-turned-showgirl go to achieve her dreams of Vegas stardom?  To know this film is to love this film. What is it that can be said about Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls except that it is probably one of the most memorable films to come out of the 1990s. Elizabeth Berkley (from Saved by the Bellfame) plays Nomi, a young dancer who moved to Las Vegas to make it big. She gets her chance and trips, claws, and sleeps her way to the top only to discover that there’s a heart underneath that stripper facade. Gina Gershon is magical as the “aging” and manipulative Cristol Conner while Kyle MacLachlan moves from Lynch-weird to Verhoeven-weird status. You know what I mean.

 

Sat Aprt 20th and Sun Apr 21st- F for Fake 12:00 PM  Nitehawk’s new signature series ART SEEN launches with Orson Welles’ filmic documentary on fraud and fakery, F for Fake.  There is no other film quite like Orson Welles’ F for Fake. Based in the story of world-renowned art forger Elmyr de Hory and his infamous biographer Clifford Irving (author of the controversial and fake Howard Hughes biography), this pseudo-documentary is a magic trick all its own. Juxtaposing the real life narratives of these “fakes” with fictional montages featuring Welles, F for Fake is a devious exploration begging the audience to question: what’s real here?  Before the film: our “Artist Film Club” will be screening the video workUntitled #142 (Bob Coe from Wasco) by artist Josh Azzarella. We will also show Emily’s Video by Eva and Franco Mattes that was selected by Nitehawk as part of our partnership with Moving Image Art Fair.

 

Sat Aprt 20th and Sun Apr 21st- Spoons, Toons, and Booze: 420 Edition 11:45 AM  Spoons, Toons & Booze is giving back with some community service in honor of that notorious day that occurs every 20th of April. We’ll be providing drug awareness education with a special menu of anti-drug episodes including ThunderCats, Jem and the Holograms, The Flintstone Kids, Garfield & Friends, The Smurfs, Captain Planet, Tiny Toon Adventures, Bravestarr, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and lots more cartoon series featuring your favorite characters as they fight for truth, justice and a drug-free future for our children!

  • Over 80 cartoon series from the 1940′s through the 1990′s…and YOU get to choose what we watch!
  • Special menu of anti-drug themed episodes including the super rare “Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue”, the 1990 government sponsored anti-drug PSA that includes just about every cartoon character from your childhood! Only showed on TV once, we’ve got an exclusive copy smuggled from the Pentagon vault just for you!
  • Satisfy your munchies with our free all you can eat cereal bar filled with all the sugary, marshmallowy, fruity, chocolaty cereal you crave. Soy and regular milk available!
  • Cure your dry mouth with our amazing White Russian menu including “The Sonny”, a White Russian topped with Cocoa Puffs, and a special green “420 White Russian”!
  • Cereal Shots! Drop a shot of Baileys or Kahlua in to booze up your cereal bowl.
  • Compete in contests (including The D.A.R.E. Challenge) to choose which cartoons we watch and win sweet prizes from Nitehawk Cinema!

 

An Evening of John Lurie-  After hosting a very special sold-out Fishing with John event with the estimable John Lurie last November, Nitehawk is thrilled to have Lurie back to present more Fishing with John episodes as well as the rarely seen film he directed called Men in Orbit (1979), his music video Big Heart, and an artist video featuring his paintings called First and Royal Queen. Please note that each night has a different program!  Lurie will also engage in a public discussion with Nitehawk’s Cinema Department and audience members to discuss everything from the mysterious narrator of Fishing with John to the appalling 2010 New Yorker profile to his interest in painting. As with last time, this Q&A is sure to be heartfelt, candid, humorous, and touching.

PROGRAM FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 20
Fishing With John: Tom Waits
Men In Orbit 
(1979), 45 minutes
Short film: Big Heart (1987)
Short film: First and Royal Queen (2012)
Q&A with Nitehawk’s John Woods

PROGRAM FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24
Fishing With John: Willem Dafoe
Fishing With John: Tom Waits
Short film: First and Royal Queen (2012)
Fishing With John: Dennis Hopper
Q&A with Nitehawk’s John Woods

 

LANDMARK SUNSHINE CINEMA

Fri Apr 19th- The Fifth Element 12:00 AM  Bruce Willis stars as a 24th century N.Y. cabbie and former Special Forces agent who joins “perfect being” Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) to save the world from imminent destruction. Astounding visual effects add punch to this quirky and fantastical sci-fi adventure. Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker and Ian Holm co-star. Directed and co-written by Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita).

 

VILLAGE EAST CINEMA

Fri Apr 20th- Cheech and Chongs Animated Movie 10:00 PM  For one night only, see legendary toker jokers Cheech & Chong as you’ve never seen them before —in their very first animated movie. Catch all the buzz as their most outrageously funny laugh–out–loud lines from their Grammy Award winning albums come to life, including “Dave’s Not Here,” and “Let’s Make A Dope Deal,” and more. With help from a trippy, bud–lovin’ body crab named Buster, Cheech & Chong “the masters of the smoking’ word“ deliver the ultimate comedy high and give you the munchies for more.

 

92Y TRIBECA

Sat Apr 20th- The Best of the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival 6:00 PM One of the world’s leading festivals devoted to short films, Clermont-Ferrand in France is a vital showcase and a market for shorts, attracting over 100,000 visitors each year. Often referred to as the ‘Cannes’ of short film, it is now in the fourth decade. Originally Clermont-Ferrand screened only fiction films and only on 16mm and 35mm. But with the arrival of new technologies, in 2002, a new competition called LABO (The LAB) was established. The LAB brings audiences films at the crossroads of different techniques and genres such as Fiction/Documentary, Experimental/Fiction, Animation/Documentary, etc.  Nightingales in December- This metaphorical surrealistic tale transports the viewer into an allusive voyage into the collective memory and today’s realities. What if nightingales were working hard instead of singing and flying south?  Sizígia- While waiting for the opening of the summer season, a zealous worker prepares the tides swimming pool for the arrival of the holidaymakers.  Solipsist- A psychedelic fantasy film about otherworldly beings whose minds and bodies converge.  A Story For the Modlins- After appearing in the film ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, Elmer Modlin fled with his family to a far off country and shut himself away in a dark apartment for thirty years.  Rauch und Spiegel- A trapeze routine is transformed into a stage trick, a music box automaton and a mesmerising carousel. Sleight-of-hand and spectacle are where cinema meets circus.  Mud Crab- Spike has just caught his first mud crab. Now he and Dadda have to remove it from the crab pot without losing a finger.  Nol King Ruter-  Nol King Ruter celebrates his 65th birthday with a grand banquet, inviting his closest family, friends and colleagues. Many join in to give him an unforgettable day. During the festivities, old quarrels flare up, new loves arise.

 

IN MUSIC

 
Clinic w/ The Cobbs– 4/19 @ Glasslands and 4/20 @ Le Poisson Rouge.  Singular, ambitious, revered by fellow musicians – forever sound like no-one else but themselves, because no-one else could even begin to sound like them. Since the tail end of the ’90s, they’ve beamed in other-worldly psychedelic-pop transmissions from their own parallel dimension (geographically, it’s in Liverpool, but…), each with a vibe and quality consistent with its predecessors, oblivious to passing trends.

 

Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Black Dice, and K-Holes 4/20 3:00 @ Secret Project Robot Space.  Best to just watch these videos and get an idea of how this show is gonna be.

 

Orange Goblin, KEN Mode, ASG, Kings Destroy, and Roadsaw 4/22 @ St. Vitus Bar  Heavy Metal is not just about music: it’s a way of life, a motivating mind-set, a positive force and an inspirational belief system. It’s the most exciting, life-affirming noise that exists on this planet of ours, and London’s indestructible masters of the furious form are Orange Goblin. Not just the UK’s reigning champions of balls-out, party-starting, booze-fuelled metal, but one of the very best live rock bands of all time, the mighty Goblin have been a permanent and universally admired fixture on the British metal circuit for the past 16 years.

If ya got a hankerin, leave me a message below, or follow me on Facebook for updates.  This oughtta be enough to keep you smiling till next week…


Level 7: Fresh New Blood for the Rotting Masses

Making a horror film can be a challenge, especially when you’ve never done it before and have only a shoestring budget at your command.

 

Lofthouse is a horror fanatic.

This couldn’t be truer for fellow horror film-geek Stephani Lofthouse, who within the span of approximately one year was able to produce a feature-length horror film. The product; Level 7– a zombie flick which takes place in her native North Carolina. Following the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, a virus breaks out which causes people to turn into flesh eaters. Simple enough, right?

Sure, it’s a jump on the zombie bandwagon, but it’s not without its merit or originality. And the feature zombies look fan-fucking-tastic.

Screenshot of the DVD case.

The film follows Felicia, a dingy, at-times annoying and ‘typical’ American woman, as she struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s a rude awakening for the protagonist, as she goes from valley girl consumerism to journeying lonely roads as she searches for sanctuary from the living dead.
The film asks the viewer many important, and existential questions; Is there a god? In the end, are we ultimately alone? How fragile is western materialism? Is humanity deserving of survival? Why am I checking out that Felicia character so damned much?

“It was definitely a challenge making the film,” said Lofthouse. “With what I had to work with to make the film, it was definitely a challenge and a lot of work. But it was fun.” Lofthouse attributed her small Western North Carolina community as a big part of making the production happen. “Everyone I know was willing to help out in some way and everyone was supportive. Who doesn’t love a zombie movie?” Lofthouse added that for her next film venture, she will improve on her planning, as that was the biggest challenge of the Level 7 filmmaking experience.

But why make an indie horror film?

Whether it was a way to preserve the memory of a friend who had passed away in 2011 (of which there are a few tips of the hat to the departed throughout the film), or the pursuit of a medium she had always wanted to pursue, or an homage to idol filmmakers such as Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Frank Darabont or Wes Craven–it is clear Lofthouse had numerous reasons to make the film, with no shortage of passion.

“Steph is definitely a spirited filmmaker and a very serious one at that,” remarked Davin Eldridge, a Level 7 contributing writer and comic relief character in the film. “She had a vision and she went ahead and made it manifest. We had a ball [making the film].”

So far, the film has made its rounds at a few horror conventions including Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Festival and Dead Winter Horror Convention. Over the last month, since it went to DVD, it has sold over 100 copies– a modest yield for a debut film.

Lofthouse begins shooting her next film in June of this year. Those interested in ordering the DVD ($10) may contact Stephani Lofthouse at level7movie@hotmail.com. For more information about the film, all you brainless flesh-eaters can go to facebook.com/level7movie.


Attention Marilyn Manson: Please Piss People Off Again

Behold your Rock and Roll Great, but not too close. You might get infected.

“Rock is Deader than Dead”

By Merkin Muffley—HorrorHomework Instructor

I am still waiting for the resurrection of rock and roll.

That good ol’ fashioned, violent and defiant, instrumental and controversial music we Americans named Rock and Roll, baby. The music which not only reminded us we were alive, but that it’s okay to be angry.

Rock is Dead. In the wake of its demise, what we’ve been left with is the rotting concept of the rock and roll experience—a human institution. Marilyn Manson called that shit years ago, and he’s now as dead as the rest of them.

This thing called Rock and Roll is no longer heard at The Grammy’s, or on silly ol’ Mtv. It’s no longer some massive living thing that used to summon millions of congregants to arenas. It’s simply now a nostalgic, and at-times humorous relic. (See: Quiet Riot or Pretty Boy Floyd)
We now live in a culture where Rock is no longer as vital as it once was. The fervors conjured by the likes of Manson or Rage Against The Machine have nowadays puttered-out. Such is the nature of the beast, I suppose.

Religion, Government, Humanity and Society are no longer as musically-engaged as they once were.
Now we’ve taken a step down to the flashy dance floor, closed our eyes, and droned along to the mindlessness of Sex, Money, Fun and Swagga. (See: Lil Wayne, Katy Perry, Macklemore, Bruno Mars, etc.)

It’s like the seventies and eighties got together, ate some poor people, took a dump, blended the excrement, and served us one big pile of steaming ‘Hot 100’ zombie virus Pâté.

Behold your Rock and Roll Great, but not too close. You might get infected.

It’s clear to me this generation of Westerners elected the zombie as part of its pantheon. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the American zombification has infected the music of a nation with dead idols. They walk among us. They walk across our television screens and throughout the airwaves.

“But Merkin,” you say. “Rock isn’t dead. There are millions of people who still love the greats; Black Sabbath, Elvis, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jethro Tull! Rock isn’t dead, you ugly albino bastard!”

And I say to the silly fucker, “No, you silly fucker. Rock as it was originally known, is dead. It used to move people to causes. It used to grab that thing called The Establishment, or The Man, by its miserable throat and lash it with its tongue,” and I says to him, I says, “What we have now, are zombies. Sabbath, Elvis and those Jethro Tull bastards are being kept alive on a cocktail of contracts, dope, Viagra and tired media hype. How many times do we have to hear some asshole bring up Stairway or Bungle in the fucking Jungle when I bitch about the state of vitality in Rock and Roll?”

It’s the countercultural spirit that’s lacking. The humane act of embracing inhumanity or anarchy, of breaking social norms and the inherent shackles of spirit, is no longer a part of the musical experience for most listeners. It’s the will of the people to get behind songs like We Are Young by Fun, or I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift. I think this sucks, because we have a lot to get mad about as of late, and we don’t have a Marilyn Manson or Slayer or Rage to help us vent. Rock seems to be kind of dead in that respect.

Let me back up.

Rock is not dead—but it deserves to die. Maybe it needs to be put out of its misery so that it can be reborn (See: Reanimator). There are only a few true-blue rock bands left that keep the rebel soul alive and infectious. Rock bands that remain relevant and visible in the mainstream. (See: Tool, Mastodon, Opeth, etc.)

There is a multitude of other bona fide rock groups that are still noteworthy, still viable, to the music listener. (By the way, thank you internet.) But they do not serve the needs of the public the way they were intended.

The atmosphere of the music industry is to blame. It is ever-changing. Instead of receiving record deals or exposure, many of today’s great forthcoming rock bands (See: IWrestledABearOnce, Bring Me The Horizon, Ghost, The Bronx, etc.) are now seen as “independent” or “underground”.

Today we get to see the resurrected songs and dances of “the greats” serve the ever-present need to be angry or absolved. These same-ol’-song-and-dances are performed before the aging or media-bloated internet masses. It’s a crude sort of homeostasis.

Then again I am a Rock and Roll kinda albino, so this random rant is biased.

Here comes another Black Sabbath album. Everyone grab a shotgun and run to the hills.


Something Disney this way Comes

By Merkin Muffley–HorrorHomework Instructor

There is something more terrifying than Leatherface, a malevolent force that spares none with its unmatched accessibility. Something dreadful and abominable in the movie industry.

It’s Mickey Mouse.

As we all know, the Dark Lord himself recently bought out one of the most time-honored and renowned film studios of our time. A studio that brought us that blasted Star Wars shit I keep hearing about, which has apparently entertained generations of people in the western world, creating one big, fat bandwagon for everybody to jump on.

Look at him. That fat fuck just got fatter. Beware the staggering buying power of Disney. They’ll sell your souls to those who have none.

That bandwagon just got fucking bigger now.

On October 30 of 2012, it was official. Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in both stock and cash. The sixty-eight-year-old Lucas, who announced late last year that he would step down from Lucasfilm, is just the latest in a line of blood-thirsty acquisitions by Disney.

In 2009, Disney purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion as well, and in 2006 they bought Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion. Such acquisitions in recent years have rendered that Soprano-voiced rat a formidable beast in the fantasy-cinema game.

But what does this mean for Star Wars? Well, if the upcoming release of their highly-anticipated game, Star Wars 1313, is any indication, then Lucas may have one final battle cry before its coup de gras.

On May 31, well before Lucas’ ‘big deal’, it was announced that LucasArts would release a new internally developed videogame franchise, Star Wars 1313.

As players take control of a lethal bounty hunter in a never-before-seen dark and mature world, Star Wars 1313 introduces an integrated development approach by bringing together great artists across the Lucasfilm organization, including LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Animation Ltd. and Skywalker Sound.

A third person cinematic action adventure game, Star Wars 1313 will bring to life the Coruscant underworld, the most dangerous place in the Star Wars galaxy. The new game seems a darker, nitty-gritty project geared toward mature players. There are rumors that ABC (also owned by Disney) will be airing a television series based on the game already.

Named for Level 1313, a ruthless criminal underground deep below the surface of the planet of Coruscant, the game puts players in control of a deadly bounty hunter as he uses an arsenal of exotic weaponry to hunt down his marks and uncover the truth surrounding a criminal conspiracy. Star Wars 1313 emphasizes epic set pieces and fast-paced combat with a hero who uses human skills and gadgets, rather than supernatural Force powers, to make his way through this dangerous world.

Lucas seems to have set an example of its depth, one which will surely give Disney an earmark on a market they can’t afford to ignore–the adult Star Wars market. With a final breath, Lucas descends down a new path, bringing everything it’s got. 1313 seems a befitting and ominous name.

“We’re excited to share one of the projects LucasArts has been hard at work developing,” said Paul Meegan, LucasArts president last year. “Star Wars 1313 dives into a part of the Star Wars mythos that we’ve always known existed, but never had a chance to visit. We are committed to bringing the best gameplay experience and visual fidelity to life and I truly believe the work we are showcasing at E3 will speak for itself.”

But what about Marvel? Hasn’t Disney watered it down already?

Well, as a lifelong comic fan, I can say that much of the top works by Marvel have more or less stayed intact. I understand that even more Star Wars episodes are actually in the making now that Disney has taken over, but aside from that, there won’t be too much perversion of the Star Wars line.

The fact that Disney is moving toward the teenage boy demographic with such acquisitions should suggest to fans that Disney won’t want to ruin something they themselves had bought for a pretty penny.

It’s not so much the watering-down, or perverting of studio titles then that we at HorrorHomework laud as horrific. It’s the sheer level of corporatism at which Disney operates—All Heil that infernal Mouse. All of your favorite fictional characters may be intact, but they will know bondage in the form of new projects and films.

Maybe their acquisitions will help safeguard our favorite titles from the failing economies of our time.

But if we find Wolverine or Anakin on Nick Jr., we’ll know whose office to sobbingly threaten to firebomb in the name of nostalgia and artistic integrity. #Fanboyssuck


Mama

By Merkin Muffley

Lookin’ creepy.

Oh mothers. How losing them hurts the very souls of their children.

A bludgeoning reminder of days they can never have back. Of youth they can never know again. Oh mother, whom is sought for sanctuary.

Oh mothers, how their children remember them, with throats full of tears for years. They think of all the things they should have said, but never said. All the things they should have done, but they never did.

The children plead to the deaf ears of life for the pain to go away. Oh mother, oh how they will die alone, and without the nurturing bosom that made them nearly strong enough to face this bitter fact. And as all children grey, oh as they wither away, they pray for those old moments back. Oh mother, just like you.

FUCK! Merkin you damned fool you’re supposed to give the students new review material.

Alright class, heads up!

Guillermo del Toro is at it again, but this time he’s wielding his fantastic mind for cinema differently, it seems.

Enter Mama, a film about two morose young girls whose mother dies, leaving them to spend five years in the woods only to be found by a young, sexy married couple who for some reason want to raise them.

So what does the class think?

Look cool so far? Let’s not forget what del Toro has been capable of in the past. He often makes great films that typically deal with the concept of lost children, coming to terms with the world they have inherited. Think Pan’s Labyrinth for instance.

Keep in mind, it will be directed by Andrew Muschietti–a fella with only a few titles under his belt. Oh, and Mama’s got Nicolaj Coster-Waldau co-leading. The guy plays a pretty bad ass Jaime Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Jessica Chastain (that hot wife from Take Shelter) stars as his spouse–a nourishing well of courage for this film. Oh mother.

Also, be sure and check out the short film that got the studio’s attention, right here on Horror Homework!

 

Buy advance tickets on Fandango!
Movie Poster Shop


Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw is the stylish upcoming video game starring zombie hunter and cheerleader Juliet Starling, who fights hordes of zombies in as the attempt to take over her school and town. She carries with her the severed, yet still living, head of her boyfriend Nick, who she decapitated after he suffered a zombie bite.

James Gunn, the writer and director of Slither,  has a hand in developing the game’s story and characters. He has said that many of the people he works with in his films and other projects are also working on Lollipop Chainsaw.

I am a big fan of James Gunn’s work and many of his gross and hilarious short films on his youtube channel here. If this game has his fingerprints on it, it should definitely be worth checking out!
Releases on PS3 and Xbox on June 12, 2012.
(Just in time for my birthday…hmm.)

 


Spartacus : Vengeance

Spartacus : Blood and Sand was a favorite show of mine last year. Coming highly recommended from a trusted friend, it quickly became an addiction. On the surface, it appeared to be a Gladiator wannabe, with some fancy 300-style jump-cuts and slow-motion sequences. It quickly backed off on some of the CGI blood-spatters and became an intense character-driven masterpiece, full of all kinds of spectacular treasons and glorious back-stabbing drama.

That is not to say that the show is easy on the red stuff. At least once each episode, the viewer is treated to a spectacular battle, with glorious gore splashing the lens of the camera and body parts flying. In the later episodes, things gets really serious, and there are so many jaw-dropping “Holy Shit!” moments, that it becomes difficult to stop yourself from watching just one more episode.

Sadly, the actor who played the main character in the first series, Andy Whitfield, died during the production of the 2nd season. His replacement, Laim McIntyre, is impressive taking over the role and continuing the story where season one left off.  Although John Hannah as Batitus is sorely missed, all the rest of the characters that weren’t brutally murdered are back for the new season, even one who I was really surprised to see.

If you haven’t checked out this great Starz original series produced by Sam Raimi, then you are truly missing out! Make sure to watch the first season and the prequel mini-series first before enjoying the new season.
Oh yeah, did I mention that you can watch the first episode of the new season right here at Horror Homework?

Yeah, check it out, weirdos :

Faithfully submitted by Darth Biscuits.


Homework Assignment : Most Wanted New Releases

First up : Juan Of The Dead

No release date set for US yet. It looks seriously out of control.

 

The Innkeepers.

Looking forward to this one.  Now available on DVD.

 

Next up : Berlin Undead : Rammbock

Looks like some hardcore zombie action! Now available on dvd.

 

[REC] 3

Looks fucking awesome! No US release date available yet…

 

One more for good measure : Sushi Girl.

No release date available yet. Cant wait for this one!

PS That is Luke Skywalker himself in the photo below.

 

Well, until next time, kiddies! Hope you enjoyed seeing what is on my wish list of upcoming movies. What a shame we have to wonder if these interesting flicks will even be released over here, while remakes and prequels and garbage fill up our theaters.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this, pop over to the chalkboard and join the discussion about any or all of these upcoming horror classics (possibly). I’ll be lurking for you.

Faithfully submitted by Darth Biscuits.

(PS, just a reminder that if you order any of these recommendations from Amazon.com, be sure and use the link below, thanks!)


Stake Land: a film about Vampires, Humans and the New Age

By Merkin Muffley—HorrorHomework Instructor
Vampire films seem more immortal now than ever before. The genre can’t be killed, even with bad films such as Twilight and Dracula 3000 having seen the light of day over the last decade or so.

Luckily, there are some flicks that have come out in recent years which make it easier for film freaks to separate the wheat from the chaff.

One such film is 2010’s Stake Land, directed by sophomore filmmaker Jim Mickle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLiZSQ3kUnM

The premise

Basically the film revolves around Martin (played by Connor Paolo, “Alexander”) an American teenager who is saved by the mysterious veteran vampire hunter Mister (played by film co-writer Nick Damici, “World Trade Center”), in a vampire assault which claims the lives of his whole family before his eyes.

After the attack, we find that a mass vampire epidemic has nearly destroyed North America. Martin and Mister make their ways north to Canada, to a place known as “New Eden”, where vampiric activity is nearly non-existent due to the frigid climate.

In this world, where life is rare yet disposable, our antagonists fight their way to an uncertain sanctuary in the north. Along the way, they collect comrades who share their need to survive.

Why you should watch it

Stake Land is a great movie for many reasons. First of all, it’s free of that teeny bopper vampire pageantry we have all grown to loathe. It was even produced on a relatively small budget of just $4 million, according to imdb.

Just gimme a small shot of vampire to go with my glass of estrogen.

Stake Land is a coming-of-age film set in a post-apocalyptic world where survival is the fabric of society.

There are no sexy and stylish vampires to woo the characters and audience. The film’s ever-present nocturnal blood suckers resemble zombies more than vampires. The premise doesn’t get too technical on these grounds—a breath of fresh air when compared to other vampire flicks.

They really Nailed what a vamp should look like in this one.

To compare, this film resembles a few acclaimed stories; Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and Mad Max, directed by George Miller.

What themes do these stories have in common with one another, class? And how are they different? What do such stories accomplish when considering the human condition?

As we follow the two characters on their adventure, Mister trains Martin in the arts of killing vampires and staying alive. The two encounter all manner of people who have survived along their way, in small towns in a barren and cold landscape.

Despite the dimly lit setting and the dun-colored patrons therein, the story is rich with religious and economic undertones.

At one point, we find that many survivors have taken to religion as their cornerstone for existence, meaning that all non-believers are just as killable as vampires. The towns which Martin and Mister make their way through come equipped with trade, entertainment, prostitutes, assholes and booze—all the facets of a functional society! It’s like a Western, on those grounds.

What this story does is comment on the human condition in a very unique way.

As Martin learns to assimilate into this new way of life, he grows and matures. The survival skills he learns open the door to an old but very important concept in human history: filial piety—reverence for those who can teach.

This film was not made with the “blockbuster” philosophy of film production, thankfully. It has something to say and show the audience. It doesn’t have to prove anything. It’s just bad ass.
For extra credit, what does the class think of this film?

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