Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Madame in Black (2017) - Short Horror Film Review

The Madame in Black (Sverta Madam in it's native Swedish) comes from indie filmmaker Jarno Lee Vinsencius who produced, wrote, directed, as well as did the cinematography. This 24 minute horror short is based on a true urban legend from Sweden, one that people from other parts of the world will see shares many similarities with the Bloody Mary urban legend.

Alex (Demis Tzivis) and his girlfriend have gone to the remote house of his sister Emma (Ida Gyllensten) and her husband to celebrate her birthday. As a gift Alex surprises her with an old mirror that used to belong to their grandmother, this reminds her of a game they used to play with the mirror as children; looking into it and saying 'madame in black' three times which a local urban legend said would summon the ghost of a woman who in the distant past supposedly murdered her husband and children. Though this resulted in young Alex suffering nightmares as a child, they decide to play the game again for a laugh, this time with quite horrific consequences...

Monday, 27 March 2017

Nier: Automata (2017) - Sci-fi Video Game Review (Playstation 4)

Though my memory of Nier is very patchy I do have a very fond spot for it. Over the years since it's release it has become something of a cult classic so I feel pleased that I fell in love with it long before that particular bandwagon was created. Nier was an offshoot of the Drakengard series of video games (that I have never played, though I do own the first one), it took place in the same game universe but was mostly unrelated. Nier: Automata too takes place in the same universe as those games, again it is only tangentially related.

Hundreds of years in the past aliens invaded Earth and brought with them a deadly robotic army. This army virtually wiped out humanity and in desperation the survivors fled the planet and headed to the moon. It is from the moon that an army of androids were created to head back and reclaim the Earth from the robot hordes, and drive out the aliens. The game begins with the war having continued in a stale mate for hundreds of years, you play as 2B; a YoRHa soldier android who along with her support 9S has been sent down to the planet to establish contact with a resistance group stationed in a large ruined city. To say much more would ruin the surprises so I will leave it at that.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Night Kaleidoscope (2017) - Horror Film Review

I first heard of Scottish horror Night Kaleidoscope back at the start of 2016. This indie film by Grant McPhee was filmed in the span of a week for a micro budget of just £4,000.  It is quite a bizarre and trippy piece, yet it is also an example of a film that proves lack of money does not mean you can't still make a compelling film with decent actors.

Patrick O'Brien stars as Fion; a Scottish alcoholic psychic who investigates the more stranger side of crime, stuff that the police won't concern themselves with. After a tip off about a series of strange and violent murders by his detective acquaintance Pollock (Craig-James Moncur) Fion discovers that there is a vampire type creature on the loose. This being soon becomes aware she is being pursued by the psychic. Teaming up with a woman named Isobel (Mariel McAllen) Fion becoems determined to hunt down and stop this danger.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

For We Are Many (2018) and Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising (2017) - Horror News Double Bill

Much like the classic cinema showings of old I have decided to combine the last two bits of horror related news I currently have into one blog post in this, my inaugural weekend blog day. In no particular order we have a new horror anthology film (they are usually always fun), as well as the release of a new digital zombie novel.

Hex Media founder Lawrie Brewster (responsible for the memorable Lord of Tears) and producer Alex Harron have announced a new horror anthology they are making called For We Are Many. The anthology is going to be created by a whole bunch of indie film makers as a way to get their names out there in the public mind. For We Are Many has daemonology and the occult as a central concept all the shorts must abide by, to put it in a better way: 'For We Are Many will feature a large selection of horror shorts, each based on a particular demonic entity or occult theme, with an emphasis on intense horror, imaginative practical effects and original stories.' Among the directors already announced are Liam Regan (Banjo), Brad Watson (Hallow's Eve) and Kate Bonham (Mindless). The film is set for release Spring 2018. If you are a filmmaker and want to get involved then head here for more details.

Next up horror novel Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising is now out on the Kindle. Personally I really really struggle with reading e-books, as my to-do list of e-books waiting for review will attest some of them I've had in a queue for five damn years! Think I am just old fashioned in that I want a physical paper based item if I'm going to read. Anyway Voodoo Child is written by William Burke (producer/director for TV show Hauntings and Horrors, Cinemax's Forbidden Science, and cult comedy Sweet Prudence and the Erotic Adventures of Bigfoot).

The plot sounds bananas; Army pilot Maggie Child is shot down over Iraq where she is saved from certain death by a demon. Next she is abducted by a private military corporation conducting depraved experiments on their patients. Escaping this she ends up on a Caribbean island where a female dictator and a voodoo spirit are preparing to unleash a worldwide zombie plague. Sounds like one of those days! Check out the trailer for the book below...

Friday, 24 March 2017

CRUST - Horror Film News

Well finally tomorrow I shall be taking the time to watch a few films for review, my back-log of films to watch is getting somewhat daunting. However it being Friday and the end of a long work week a news post is in order. So onto the oddity that is CRUST...

Sean Whalen (The People Under the Stairs) has written and plans to star in a new horror comedy called CRUST. It is also to star Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween I and II). The movie is said to be a creature feature in the vein of Little Shop of Horrors, Gremlins, and Willard. The basic story for this crazy sounding film is that depressed former child actor Vegas Winters (Whalen) works at a laundromat and in his depressive state cries into a pile of socks one fateful night, this somehow creates CRUST; a sock monster. This creature wants to help Vegas improve his life, unfortunately it also happens to have quite a mean side to it. It sounds quite similar to a horror short I saw a long time back about a man whose disgusting fridge spawned a mould monster that wanted to help his creator, but who also had a violent streak. Annoyingly I can't recall it's title but my memory tells me it wasn't amazing, this would likely be bound to be an improvement.

Whalen states the idea for this film come from his real world struggles with depression after getting divorced, moving, and having his father pass away all in the space of a year. He says of it: "It's a horror comedy. It's fun, it's different, and it has a heart. The heart is CRUST, because I believe we would all love to have a little monster that would do anything for us when we are in our darkest times." CRUST currently has an Indiegogo Campaign going to raise funds to begin physical production, currently it has raised $3,776 of it's $60,000 goal, but with 22 days left on the campaign there is still time for it to be successful, I wish Whalen all the best. As always there is a variety of perks, check out the Indiegogo page here.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Chump (2016) by Duncan P. Bradshaw - Zombie Book Review

I set myself the aim this year of reading one book a month. Coming from someone who used to read fifty plus books a year this shouldn't have been a problem, yet here I am near the end of month three and I have just finished my second book of the year; Duncan P. Bradshaw's Chump which is a collection of zombie stories, a twelve chapter novella, and one poem. I fare badly at reviewing novels, even more so when it comes to compilations so bear with me as I stumble through this.

Previously I have read his excellent and clever zombie novels Class Three and Class Four: Those Who Survive and so knew at least I would enjoy the writing style in Chump. Bradshaw has a way of writing that seems so welcoming and inclusive and that is again in evidence here, as is his love of similes which as always are in abundance. From the bright and exaggerated zombie art throughout the book (drawn by Jon Dixon) I assumed these stories would all be quite humorous, but this is more of an eclectic selection with more serious tales sitting alongside ones of the farcical that cover both Pre-Apocalypse, Apocalypse, and indeed Post-Apocalypse.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Get Out (2017) - Horror Film Review

It is quite rare when a horror film gets into the public consciousness, so I was pleased to see Get Out achieve that. All my work colleagues had heard of it and appeared interested that I was off to see it, my favourite podcast did a big segment about it, and going into the cinema there was a broad section of both old and young people in attendance. If only all horror was this broad in its viewers, though if only all horror was quasi-original and socially relevant as this, rather than the same old tedious paranormal stuff that is so prevalent these days.

British actor Daniel Kaluuya (Black Mirror) stars as Chris; a twenty something black man who is heading away with his white girlfriend; Rose (Allison Williams) for the weekend to meet her parents. Worried how they will react to their daughter dating a black guy she puts his mind at ease explaining they are quite liberal, Things start off ok, the family are welcoming to Chris, though there is a sense of awkwardness around their interactions with him, while Rose's brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones who looked distractedly like a guy I used to know) comes across as a bit shady. With odd acting black staff, and a strange hypnotism incident at the house Chris becomes more and more convinced he needs to...get out.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Death Ward 13 (2017) - Horror Film News

I'm usually pretty busy every other weekend and so I find myself doing smaller blog posts. Today is another news post about an upcoming horror, this time a remake of the 1973 horror Don't Look in the Basement called Death Ward 13. Rather than a straight up remake this is more going to take the original idea as a basis and expand on it, the Edgar Allen Poe short story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether has also been cited as an inspiration.

Fittingly set in 1973 Death Ward 13 takes place in a mental asylum days before it is due to close permanently. Four nursing students arrive to care for the last remaining 'harmless' patients in the near deserted facility. However they find themselves trapped and at the mercy of a group of vicious lunatics and must fight to survive within...Ward 13.

The plot sounds awesome, while I have never seen either the film, or read the book this tale is inspired by I hope it turns out to be good. Shooting is to begin sometime this year and is to be directed by Todd Nunes (All Through the House). Most interestingly Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein has been confirmed to play one of the lunatics in what will be his first starring role in a film, he said of the role: "It's time to release the beast on the big screen. Let the killing begin!". Doyle is also in talks to provide music tracks for the soundtrack. Death Ward 13 promises to 'deliver a thrilling grindhouse-inspired remake with a shocking collection of criminally insane patients: botched lobotomies, necrophilia, sexual deviance, and violent psychopaths.' The movie is also said to include an updated and disturbing twist ending.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Anders Manor (2017) - Horror Film News

I had to do overtime today so I wanted a nice and quick blog post to write. I have been a bit lax lately of keeping up to date with my inbox and so while rooting through it I found an email about upcoming horror Anders Manor. I don't have any news such as when this is actually coming out but I do have a general synopsis as well as cast members.

Amy (Christina Robinson from Dexter) is released from a mental institute on her 18th birthday. Her mum decides to take her on a family get away to Anders Manor so she can get used to normal life, however that's when the terror begins...

The film is currently in post production and has been made by Woodhave Media in partnership with 2 Cousin Productions. Joining Robinson will be Godsmack frontman Sully Erna, Rachel True (The Craft), Kevin Nash (The Punisher, John Wick) as Reverend Thomas, and TNA Impact Wrestling superstar Michael Bennett as a redneck called Darsaw. That's all the information I have at the moment so it is impossible to tell even what type of horror this is going to be. Still check out some stills from Anders Manor.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Kong: Skull Island (2017) - Fantasy Film Review

I had zero desire to see Kong: Skull Island when I first heard yet another King Kong movie was coming out. I've never really found the idea of a giant ape that appealing, in my opinion The Lost World: Jurassic Park did a much better job of a giant creature loose in a city. Well it turns out I really wasn't paying attention to the 'Skull Island' part, it was only after I accidentally saw the trailer that I realised this latest incarnation might not actually be that bad, an island full of giant monsters rather than an ape loose in city appealed far more.

Set during the 1970's a team of explorers headed by Bill Randa (John Goodman) head to a newly discovered island that is surrounded by a perpetual storm, with the Vietnam war drawing to a close they are accompanied by a group of soldiers led by Preston Packard (Samuel L.Jackson). Also included is survival expert James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston whose characters name seems to have been influenced by Heart of Darkness) and war photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). They go there to survey the lost world but secretly Randa has gone there in search of monsters. He soon finds what he is looking for when the intruders are immediately set upon and nearly wiped out by the beast that needs no introduction; Kong. With all their helicopters destroyed the survivors must cross Skull Island on foot within the space of a few days to get to the rendezvous point, otherwise they will be trapped there forever...

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Capture Kill Release (2016) - Horror Film Review

I never thought I would hear myself say the words but it seems lately that the much hated found footage genre is making a bit of a comeback. As usual when the film started my heart sank to discover it was found footage, yet Capture Kill Release is another watchable and interesting piece, even if it follows the current vogue of the footage being filmed by the antagonist.

Jennifer (Jennifer Fraser) has recently brought herself a new camcorder and has decided to film everything her and her husband Farhang (Farhang Ghajar) get up to. Things take a turn for the murderous when from dialogue the characters share it becomes apparent they are planning to kidnap and kill a random stranger just for the thrill of it. However when the plan is forwarded into motion by an impatient Jennifer, Farhang begins to get second thoughts on if this actually something he honestly wants to do...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse (2016) by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris - Zombie Horror Book Review

The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse is an adult version of the usual Ladybird children books, it is set out as if it is written for children and as such there is not much to it, each double page is made up of a picture and some simple text, usually not more than a few paragraphs, and usually under fifty words. There are a huge range of these types of books, it seems they have been quite successful as new ones are always being released.

The intro blurb states: 'This delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books which have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.
As in the other books in this series, the large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. The subject of the book will greatly appeal to grown-ups.' What follows isn't a story as such, each double page deals with an entirely new situation and featuring new characters, nearly all are set up as jokes on the zombie apocalypse, and nearly all of them are actually pretty amusing. I don't know if the art was drawn especially for this as there are actually aren't any depicting zombies at all, some that are meant to feature the undead instead seem to have used art from a 'cowboy and indian' back drop.

There are 24 of these double page spreads, the artwork is realistic rather than cartoony which helps with the absurdity of what is being talked about on the text side of things. As an example one part in simple language describes how minor crimes such as looting can be easily dealt with by neighbours working together, the accompanying picture is of a man hanging from a post with a noose around his neck. Throughout there are references to not only zombie films but also other post apocalyptic situations. One describes a Mad Max style world not being likely with the picture alongside it showing a boarded up petrol station, another one mentions a vegetarian being blinded while looking for food in a green house; a reference to Day of the Triffids. There are a few which miss, either I didn't understand them, or they just were not funny, overall though it's an entertaining read.

On that note though it is possible to breeze through this in under ten minutes, with a RRP of £6.99 that is not great value for money. However this is designed as a micky take of Ladybird children's books and so it wouldn't work if it had been bigger. Also it is high quality with a nice thick cover and thick paper. Personally I love it, it is a unique addition to my library of zombie books, and as it was a gift the relative high cost doesn't bother me.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sadako vs Kayako (2016) - Horror Film Review

As I turned out to be one of only ten people who actually enjoyed Rings; the third film in the American remake of Ringu I felt that the newly released Sadako vs Kayako would be a good film to cast my eye over. Sadako of course is the antagonist of The Ring/Ringu series of films, while Kayako is the evil female spirit from The Grudge films. Villains of different franchises facing off has obviously been done before, both with the awful Alien vs Predator films, and more fittingly with 2003's Freddy vs. Jason. I figured this latest mash up would pretty much be that but with an Asian spin.

After buying a second hand VHS player at a store Yuri (Mizuki Yamamoto) and her best friend Natsumi (Aimi Satsukawa) discover there is an old VHS tape still inside it. Natsumi decides to give the tape a view and is horrified to discover it is the cursed tape spoken about in urban legends. She has just two days before Sadako arrives to kill her. Meanwhile Suzuka (Tina Tamashiro) moves with her parents to a house that is next door to an abandoned household that is said to be where a murder and then suicide happened, she soon finds herself drawn to the haunted place. After Yuri seeks the aid of a renowned spirit medium; Kyozo (played by Masanobu Ando from Battle Royale) he comes up with a plan to end both the curse of the videotape, and the curse of the house by pitting the evil spirits of both against each other.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Killing Floor 2 (2016) - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (Playstation 4)

I'm back! For the first two months of this year I was pretty pleased with myself on how many blog posts I had managed to do, sure it helped that in that time I had had two weeks off of my day job. A few weeks back I did begin to think it would be nice to take a small break from here as I was feeling slightly burnt out. Well it turns out the Gods, or maybe Demons were listening to me, and they were happy to assist me, but in typical Faustian fashion there was an unforeseen catch to my blog holiday, one which led my break to not be the happiest one. Still I have seen fit to return today and may I never wish for a blog holiday again anytime soon as the payment is too high a price.

With that preamble over onto the actual point of this blog post; a review of Killing Floor 2. I have often waxed lyrical about my love for the Zombies mode in the Call of Duty series of games, the wave based survival against hordes of undead is so much fun in co-op mode. Where that mode was just one section of the latest Call of Dutys in Killing Floor 2 for better or for worse that is all there is.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bloodrunners (2017) - Horror Film Review

Bloodrunners has a few things going for it that piqued my interest. Firstly it is a period piece set during the prohibition era of 1930's America, I was interested to see how this would be handled with a low budget film. Secondly it features vampires who while not my favourite movie monster (zombies obviously!) are usually entertaining when it comes to films. Lastly it stars Ice-T, I had a feeling this meant I would be in for a fun time.

Bloodrunners takes place towards the end of prohibition in 1933, in a small American town where the corrupt police take bribes from local businesses in order to turn a blind eye to their dealings with alcohol. One such cop; world weary Jack Malone (Michael McFadden) is suspicious about the activities of a newly opened speakeasy, he figures that the owner of the establishment (Chesterfield played by Ice-T) has more going on than simple boot-legging. His hunch turns out to be correct, but unfortunately for him it turns out that both Chesterfield and his staff are all vampires, and they don't appreciate his meddlings...