Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for October 2018 (Spooky Halloween Edition)

Another month and another chunk of horror news. In personal blog news I have screeners coming out my ears at the moment so I'm hoping my week off my day job next week will allow me to shift through some of those! Terrible, terrible news to start with news that the UK Festival of Zombie Culture is no more. That Leicester based zombie event held a special place in mine and my cankled besties hearts, we went 5 years in a row and so it is genuine heartache the cancellation of it brings. Zombie Ed (well, I guess just Ed now) who ran the event said that due to busy work and children to take care of he just doesn't have the time to run it anymore. Really really sucks, if anyone knows of a UK based zombies exclusive film festival then please let me know!

Trauma was released on Blu-ray, DVD, Cable and Digital HD on October 23rd thanks to Artsploitation Films. This Chilean horror is a cinematic depiction of the horrors committed by the Pinochet regime and the cycle of abuse that followed its fall. It concerns a group of woman who head to the countryside for a weekend getaway but find themselves hunted by the rageful victim of government torture.

Phoenix based dark alternative rock band The Spider Hole currently have a Kickstarter campaign running to help support their upcoming LP and graphic novel To The Monsters. Their third full length CD is an ode to Halloween, weird fiction and timeless horrors and will feature 11 new tracks. There is currently 5 days left on the campaign with the target surpassed. To contribute head to the page here.
Swedish cult movie maker Jonas Wolcher (Hermit Monster Killer, Cannibal Fog) has created his first music video which is A Life Pretending with Swedish duo Mechatronic. In the video a bored cleaning droid working at a theatre gets out in the night to discover the city.

Klayton has released 'two chilling tracks guaranteed to make your skin crawl'. Shadow of Death is said to have a classic haunted house feel, while Hell or High Water apparently will make you sleep with the lights on 'for weeks'. The tracks can be purchased and streamed here.
More music news with death-metal band Bloodbath who have released a horror themed music video for Chainsaw Lullaby. Their latest album The Arrow of Satan is Drawn is out now via Peaceville.

Filming has finished on Dark Resurrection: Keepers of the Force. This is the final chapter of the sci-fi saga that is loosely based on Star Wars, written and directed by Angelo Licata. Post production is due to start shortly. Once work is completed it, like the previous episodes will be free to view.
The Butcher Brothers A Beginners Guide to Snuff got a street release on 16th October, I gave this a grand 8/10 when I reviewed it last year and said "All in all I was impressed".

New horror film Trick has been announced, it is to be directed by Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine, Drive Angry, Terminator: Genisys). It is about an elusive serial killer who annually goes to a small town to do what he does best. The man hunting this killer known as Trick is Detective Denver who in the past shot and seemingly killed him.

Horror anthology Tales of Frankenstein premiered on October 24th theatrically, while it was released on VOD and DVD on October 19th. The film stars Mel Novak (Bruce Lee's Game of Death, An Eye for an Eye), Jerry Lacy, Ann Robinson (War of the Worlds), Jim Tavare, T.J Storm and Len Wein (the creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing). The anthology features four short films based on the short stories from the book of the same name by Donald F. Glut. These include My Creation, My Beloved, Crawler from the Grave, Madhouse of Death and Dr. Karnstein's Creation.

Next up is Tuftland which is a Finnish hillbilly thriller acquired by Subliminal Films for US distribution and is due for a theatrical release on March 1st. A head strong student accepts a summer job offer in the isolated village of Kyrsya only to find it full of sinister offbeat hillbillies. It has been noted for its 'controversial and provocative blend of feminist themes, arthouse refinement, and slasher tropes.

Horror/thriller D-Railed starring Lance Henrikson (Aliens, The Terminator) has recently been completed. A train derails into a river where the surviving passengers 'are faced with a grim challenge...die in the wreckage or face the unknown that awaits them in the murky waters below'. It has been coined with the hilarious genre name of Agatha Creature, check out the trailer below.

Andrew J.D Robinson's fourth annual 15 Second Horror Film Challenge has released a festival trailer. As the title suggests all the 500 plus films entered clock in at just 15 seconds long each. Judging takes place from November to December with two judge panels: a community panel and an impressive celebrity judges panel The list of celebrity judges is over 40 and features such people as Lloyd Kaufman (Troma), Jessica Cameron (American Guinea Pig: The Song of Solomon) and Jason Lively (Night of the Creeps). The final 20 last year were a lot of fun to watch and so I look forward to seeing what is chosen for this years contest winners.

The official trailer for Human Hibachi has came out now. This found footage horror is due for release in 2019 and is about a Japanese man documenting his girlfriends 35th birthday from the moment she wakes up to the moment everything goes wrong. This is currently in post production.

Finally as a Halloween treat is the free online release of short horror Goodnight, Gracie. When I reviewed this last year I gave it a solid 8/10 and thought it was pretty special. You should definitely check this one out. That is all to say for this round-up, except Happy Halloween!

Sunday, 28 October 2018

An Hour to Kill (2018) - Horror Film Review

Another day and another anthology, this time the gangster themed An Hour to Kill that was directed and co-written by Aaron K. Carter (Dead Kansas). I'm a fan of anthologies so another one isn't bad news at all. While this one had its problems I still got some enjoyment out of this due to some spirited performances.

Taking place in Los Angeles two hitmen: seasoned veteran Gio (Aaron Guerrero) and rookie Frankie (Frankie Pozos) have been sent out on a mission by their boss Mr. Kinski (Mel Novak - Bruce Lee's Game of Death, An Eye for An Eye). Before they can start though they have an hour to kill, so to while away the time the duo tell each other stories about horrific events that are purported to have taken place in the area.

There are four stories here including the wrap around one with each one being different enough to stand out. The main story An Hour to Kill is not horror related in the slightest (it had a feeling of Reservoir Dogs), yet the ones the characters in this tell are. This created a weird divide between genres but with such casting for Gio and Frankie I didn't mind. Frankie in particular shined due to Pozos entertaining turn as the eager newbie who constantly likens himself to a snake. There was good chemistry between these two and their wrap-around plot actually went places with a decent finale and a nice little cast of characters such as the mohawk wearing bartender Vince (Vince Kelvin) and the crazy tattooed gangster Arash (Arash Dibazer).

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Trapped Within (2017) - Horror Anthology Book Review

So I definitely do not read as often as I used to as I started reading horror anthology Trapped Within on 22nd September 2017 and only finished it last week! I blame video games to be, seriously. So the sign of a good anthology is the topic that ties the stories all together and the concept is as the title suggests being trapped. I will start off by saying though that the most horrific story out of all these isn't even a story, it is instead the introduction by Debbie Bradshaw who describes the real life event that was her father having a stroke. I didn't really know much about strokes and so it was heartbreaking to read about how much this affected both this man and those who love him. All proceeds of Trapped Within go towards the Stroke Association so even if I were to give this a bad review (spoiler; I don't) I would still implore people to buy the book.

This anthology features twenty four different short horror stories that as stated go with the idea of being trapped. Some of the authors of these I had heard of (such as James Newman - The Wicked, Duncan P. Bradshaw - Class Three, and Adam Millard - Larry) but the majority I had not read any of their stuff before, as I said I really do not read as much as I should. Looking at the mess of notes I made over the course of a year I can't see that there was any one story that I didn't like in one way or another but there were certainly ones that really stood out for me. I was not too impressed with the anthology to begin with and I think that was more how the stories were set out. The first three; That Damn Slit (Newman), With Blackest Moss (Christine Morgan) and ChaGrin (Jonathan Butcher) were each good in their own right, but all used an abusive family member as the idea of being trapped, I started to fear that all twenty four would follow the similar idea rather than branching out and trying different things. It is when some variation starts that Trapped Within really comes to life.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Trick r' Treat (2018) - Short Horror Film Review

Trick r' Treat (no not that one) is the latest short horror film from prolific director/writer Andrew J.D Robinson that I have seen. Coming off the beauty of The Becky Carmichael Fan Club I was certain this would continue the improvements he constantly shows. This short was built around a few stipulations due to the fact it was created for the Jakob Owens Short Horror Film Contest. The rules for this stated the film had to be two minutes or less, feature no dialogue, have a maximum of 15 shots, and feature no more than five actors. With Candle Cove Robinson already proved he is able to make an effective horror in a short amount of time and so was interested to see where this one would go.

A woman (Julie Landriault) returns to her car on Halloween to discover some flyers about missing children on her windshield. Later that day she gets a knock at the door and thinking it is trick or treaters goes to greet them...

The music choices used here I enjoyed, mainly as a sample for Night of the Living Dead was used, but I also liked the jolly song playing over the Halloween inspired end credits. it always impresses me how anyone can make anything effective with such a short space to play with but again Robinson is on form with 90 seconds that tells a concise story. The initial section filmed in black and white is basically used to set up the later horror element and felt slightly separate to the rest of this. When the house part comes it was a bit creepy, and manages to bring noise into the horror also with a buzzing noise that increasingly gets louder that plays out over the image. To be honest first watching this I honestly thought the buzzing noise was my damn tinnitus playing up as it sounds very similar to what I have constantly in my head. Regardless of that this was tense and suspenseful and leaves you wondering just what would have happened next.

Trick r' Treat was a fun little Halloween themed short that seemed far longer than its run time would suggest. It manages to create not only a feeling of unease by the time the credits roll but does so even with limitations placed against it. As always I look forward to what comes next from the mind of Robinson. Check out the short for yourself below.


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Butterfly Kisses (2018) - Horror Film Review

Erik Kristopher Myers Butterfly Kisses is a film that reminds me just how much I love horror. It is a found footage and at one point in time that would have filled me with the wrong kind of dread, but over the last few years the genre has been revitalised with a series of new ways of making these types of movies. First you had the trend of the antagonist coming front and centre (such as Capture Kill Release), then after that there has emerged a newer trend of having the found footage wrapped around a faux documentary such as with Hell House LLC. Butterfly Kisses also goes this route and is all the better for it.

Gavin York (Seth Adam Kallick) is a wannabe filmmaker who in 2015 thinks he has struck rich when he discovers a box full of DVR cassettes hidden in his wife's parents new house. The 40 tapes are literal found footage that chronicle two student filmmakers in 2004 (Sophia played by Rachel Armiger and Feldman played by Reed Delisle) investigating a local legend about a being known as 'Peeping Tom' that is said to materialise if you stare for an hour down a certain train tunnel without blinking at midnight. Thinking this will be his big break for his career Gavin decides to edit the footage together into a real found footage film. In order to dispel accusations of it being faked by himself he also hires a film crew to follow him around to show the process and research he has undertaken.

This is a special film that just straight up works. It is occasionally chilling, often mysterious, and while I never think jump scares are a fair way of getting scares the single one here made me jump out my skin even while watching this on my phone in a busy and brightly lit breakroom at my day job. Everything about this movie is designed to make things seem legitimate helped by the main protagonist Gavin. Usually you would expect the found footage to take centre stage but with a filmmaker who is not only a bit of an idiot but also quite narcissistic you end up with an entertaining story happening around this.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Halloween (2018) - Horror Film Review

The Halloween series is my very favourite horror franchise and so to have a new film in 2018 nine years after the last entry (Rob Zombie's Halloween II) was a very cool prospect. Aside from a few trailers I had avoided everything about this latest entry, I didn't even have an idea if it was any good or not and so I was both at once nervous and excited. This is a direct sequel to the original with this new timeline discounting Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch (that of course was unrelated to any other films in the first place), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, Halloween: Resurrection, and of course Zombie's reimaginings of Halloween and Halloween II. As you can tell from that list the titles are hilarious, don't worry, from here on out I will try not to write that darn word unless I have to!

So, it is 2018 and forty years since escaped psychiatric patient Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle - Halloween) went on a rampage in a bid to specifically kill Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis - Halloween, Halloween II) for reasons unknown, but was re-captured before he was able to do so. Suffering tremendously from that fateful night Laurie has dedicated her life to preparing for the day that the killer might return, at the cost of her nearly estranged family who see her excessive preparations as crazy. However while being transferred to a different facility Michael manages to escape the bus transporting him and he soon makes his way back to Haddonfield where he intends to finish what he started all those years ago. This time though Laurie is more than ready for him...

I am a huge fan boy of the series and so I realise that I may be a bit biased when it comes to writing this review. Even at its worst (H20) the films have still been decent enough and so I had faith I would enjoy this even if it was bad. I don't know why but these latest entry has been getting a lot of buzz, it was really nice to see the general populace eager to watch this. Listening to conversations people were having as they left the cinema I didn't hear a single bad word said about the movie. This is a real love letter to the franchise with Easter eggs referencing past films all over the place. It was fun spotting all these various references, especially the ones concerning Laurie.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

3rd Night (2017) - Horror Film Review

3rd Night is an Australian horror that is the feature length directorial debut of Adam Graveley who also wrote and edited this. While this was nicely made with some great production to it I couldn't help but feel it wasted a bit too much of its run time trying to purport a red herring as fact, rather than focus on the horror at hand.

Meagan (Jesse McGinn) and her husband Jonathan (Robert Hartburn) have recently moved into a farmhouse deep in the Australian countryside in order to get away from the bustle of city living. Right away things start to seem amiss, with their cat vanishing on their first night, and then bizarre notes start appearing all over the large property. Is it as Jonathan suspects just bored kids trying to have fun, or is something far more sinister at work?

Aspects of 3rd Night work very well, it starts off strongly with a thrilling prologue that is seemingly unrelated to the main story and sets up the tone of the film well. Sadly after this the movie becomes a real slow burner with nothing really of note happening until the third act. As the title would suggest this takes place over three days with the horror occuring at night time. So concerned is this with setting up a twist later on that there is little substance. We come to know our protagonists a little bit, we also get scenes that revolve around a bizarre student/mentor relationship that outback poachers Cambo (Bruce Denny) and his teenage protege Rex (Connor Gosatti) have. While they didn't seem to have good intentions I never found these that intimidating. I expected terror to strike each time night came but it wasn't to be. Night one nothing really happens, the second night nothing that exciting really happens again. It is night three where the film finally gets going, but with fifteen minutes left out of the seventy two minute film it felt a little too late.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Heartless (2018) - Short Horror Film Review

Heartless is a 12 minute short horror film that is the directorial debut of Kevin Sluder who is one half of the award winning Sunshine Boy Productions. The short is based on Edgar Allan Poe's classic story The Tell-Tale Heart with the inspiration obvious, this also seemed to be inspired by American Psycho which a read of the press release after watching this corroborated.

Shelby (Stacy Snyder) is an overlooked associate who has gotten the chance to prove herself by giving an important corporate presentation. However it soon becomes apparent that the means by which she came to get this chance was not exactly innocent. Will she be able to hold herself together, or will the guilt of her actions ruin everything?

Thinking back over the past nine months there has been a hell of a lot of good horror shorts. When done well short films can be fantastic pieces of entertainment. I am glad to say that Heartless is yet another great short to add to that list. The inspirations are obvious and that does slightly impact on the story in that it is quite obvious what is going to happen, but the inspirations are so well implemented that my enjoyment wasn't tarnished. Of course there is the iconic sound of a beating heart that the guilt stricken Shelby keeps hearing, then there is also the entertaining role reversal with a female Patrick Bateman, Snyder giving a fantastically unhinged performance with her sanity constantly threatening to unravel at the edges. This is helped by a solid supporting cast who play their roles for comedic effect in a way that compliments the madness going on.

I liked how well paced this was, the way that the crime Shelby has committed is inserted throughout her presentation, how her view of reality and the actual goings on are blurred with a constant mix-up between what she sees and what everyone else is seeing. This is all helped in no small part by excellent blood effects and make-up effects, there is a large amount of gore here and it all looks great really adding a lot to the insane moments of brutality. Also I loved the music choices here, they are screaming metal/rock songs that at first I found really jarring as they seemed so out of place. Thinking about it though this felt purposeful, an audio version of the conflict between the turmoil going on in Shelby's head and the outward projection of herself she is trying to maintain to those around her.

Heartless is yet another great short horror that works due to a winning combination of good casting, editing, make-up, music and directing. The idea itself may be derivative but then that fact wasn't kept secret, and when it results in something this entertaining it can hardly be called much of a fault. Heartless had its UK premiere at the Mayhem Film Festival last Saturday.


Wednesday, 17 October 2018

American Antichrist (2018) - Exploitation Film Review

American Antichrist is the latest exploitation film from director Dakota Ray (formally Dakota Bailey) whose previous films include among them The Acid Sorcerer and The Rise and Fall of an American Scumbag. As always this follows the formula Dakota excels at: a series of interconnected stories that take place in a twisted version of America.

This time around there are three main stories going on, the first which takes place over four parts has a serial killer (Ray) dying from a heroin overdose, only to be brought back to life as the Antichrist. The second story Revelations - The Sickness of Immorality has drug addict Crystal (Meg Lacie Brown) on the hunt for her next fix only to find herself in some serious trouble. The last story The Beauty of Sin follows a religious serial killer (J.B - American Scumbags, My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence) who preys on the homeless.

I remember the early films of Ray and how they had good ideas to them but suffered from bad sound quality. Here it is easy to see how far he has come as sound was not an issue at all. American Antichrist is around fifty minutes in length with a fair bit of that focussed on singular characters. It is only really the section with Crystal that has characters interacting with each other, I don't know if it was due to that and the more simple story going on but I enjoyed this the best of all. It encapsulated everything that these films do well; grimy lowlifes, heavy drug use, and the ever present threat of danger. This cautionary tale was enjoyable though the character of Sid (Damien Rimmon) had criminally short screen time for what was a great new addition.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Crawford Road (2018) - Horror Film Review

Crawford Road is a horror film that chronicles the many murders that have taken place over the years on and around the real life road that can be found in Virginia. I was interested to discover after I had finished watching this that at least some of those murders shown are based on truth, the Crawford Road bridge which features prominently is in reality said to be the site of many paranormal experiences.

While there is a main plot going on this is almost an anthology of sorts with two different wrap around stories going on. The first has Detective Young (Ricky D'alonzio) attending a Murder Club where he is a guest speaker there to talk about the many deaths that have occurred on the notorious Crawford Road. The many short stories usually start with the detective mentioning an event before there is an (often) black and white flashback showing the lead up to the death. The other main story revolves around a local criminal named Vlad (Gordy Price - Music Store Massacre, who among other contributions also co-wrote, directed, and produced this with James Person) who ends up being shadowed by the local police after the car he had been travelling in is discovered crashed with two dead bodies inside.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Aliens with Knives (2018) - Sci-fi Horror Comedy Film Review

Aliens with Knives (co-directed by Nicole Steeves and Struan Sutherland) is a Canadian comedy sci-fi horror that features some very weird surreal humour rather than the more traditional silliness associated with comedy films. This more random style always works for me and while I never found this to be anything much more than inoffensive it did have moments of genius peppered throughout.

Dan (Bill Corkum who also co-wrote this along with Steeves and Sutherland) and his heavily pregnant wife Neila (Holly Stevens) have gone to live in the countryside until the baby is born, on the advice of Neila's doctor (Sharleen Kalayil). Before too long they find their house surrounded by alien creatures and so along with local oddball Scagnetti (Mark Palermo) must try and survive the siege until help arrives.

I found everything about Aliens with Knives to be low key. It was low on thrills, low on character development for the most part, and low on plot but rather than take this as a complaint it actually made this really easy to watch. The violence was kept to a minimum, there's no swearing, and there isn't really any horror to speak off but made this quite peaceful to have on. Aside from the many aliens there are only a handful of characters the best three being Neila, Dan and Scagnetti. The couple never seemed to have any chemistry between them, this seemed purposeful as many scenes are set up to show their division and does set up later plot twists. Both actors in the couple are great at delivering their stupid lines with the straightest of faces. Palermo is also great as the local oddball, he had such a weird role, helped by the facial expressions and mannerisms he brought to it.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Furry Nights (2016) - Horror Film Review

It was only last Tuesday that I first heard of Furry Nights and instantly knew this was one horror I just needed to see such was the greatness of the idea. Cut forward to present day and I have just seen it, despite some issues I had it really did live up to the expectations in my head.

A group of teenagers have headed out to woodlands in order to make a horror film for a student project. On the first night camping one of the group shoots and kills what he at first assumed to be a bear but instead turns out to be a man in a bear costume. It is soon discovered that they have chosen the same location that a bunch of psychotic furries live at, and now those furries, led by their leader Mr. Fox are looking to get some very violent and bloody retribution.

Having furries be the bad guys was such a genius move and works so well when applied to the horror genre with the crazy images that this idea brings up. No matter how they are lit, how scenes are shot having cute and cuddly, and not so cute and cuddly looking furries be the aggressors is ever mesmerising. In total there are six of them; Poodle, Bunny, Kangaroo, Lion, Bear, and of course the sinister Mr. Fox and rather than just be people in costumes they actually act like their counterparts babbling in high pitched voices and growling, but never talking. They stick to their roles tremendously, such as Bunny who seems to hop around everywhere, and Kangaroo who acts very distraught when the teddy joey in its pouch is taken away. This upped all the horror a lot as these felt like such odd antagonists with the comedy and horror blending usually together pretty darn well. With you never getting to see the faces of the people underneath these different animals they seem to get personalities of their own. The credits list of a bunch of different actors for each of the animals, so whether each one was played by multiple people, or names were added so as to keep their identity under the costumes a mystery I do not know but it works either way.

Friday, 5 October 2018

[Cargo] (2018) - Horror Film Review

I first mentioned James Dylan's [Cargo] back in September of last year when a trailer dropped for it and now I have had the pleasure of watching it. In some ways this is similar to Phone Booth, both feature a protagonist of questionable character who finds themselves restricted to the one location at the mercy of an antagonist on the other end of a phone. This one impressed me more though with just how it is all set out.

Anthony Peterson (Ron Thompson) is a businessman who wakes up to find himself locked inside a dark cargo container that is empty aside from a mobile phone. He soon gets a call from a mystery man who informs him that if he doesn't raise ten million dollars in ransom money within 24 hours him and his wife will be murdered. With just the mobile phone he must find a way to get this money using whatever means he can.

I said back in my preview of this that I wondered how interest could be sustained for a feature length run time when it literally is just one man in a featureless dark location. However not only was my interest sustained but on some parts I managed to be on the edge of my seat with a huge grin on my face. That this manages to get such emotion out of the viewer is pretty impressive, and is done by a variety of means. Rather than have Peterson speaking to a phone and not being able to hear the person he is talking to you instead get what feels like a radio drama play out. Not only can you hear the voices on the other end of the line but you also hear sound effects that do not sound natural but do add a lot of immersion. This would work equally as well as a play or a straight up radio drama due to the generic sound effects that include such things as punches, gun fire, dogs barking, and glass smashing.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Thing About Beecher's Gate (2018) - Short Horror Film Review

Earlier this year in June I watched Jeremy Herbert's fantastic short film The Childish Thing and so when he contacted me about his new short The Thing About Beecher's Gate I knew I would be in for a treat, especially seeing as how it again stars Morgan McLeod (who came up with the story along with Herbert). What these films do very well is make something that on paper sounds ridiculous and to be truthful pretty lame actually become something that is unsettling and creepy. Now the trailer itself avoids showing just what the horror is here and so I feel it would ruin too much of the surprise to actually mention much of what is going on here except in general terms.

Deputy Eli Stoker (McLeod) has recently transferred to the quiet town of Beecher's Gate and finds himself with an odd assignment. The Sheriff (Chris Cipa) has told Eli he must go to a remote barn out in the middle of dense woodland and spend the night there. To help with his mystery task he is provided with a flashlight and a shotgun, but no actual explanation of what he is to do there other than it being a tradition for new members to carry out. Eli figures it is some sort of elaborate hazing ritual and expects he will be pranked, however deep into the night he discovers himself caught up in something really quite horrifying and must do what he can to survive the night...

I expected I would like this and I did in fact like this. Due to the amount of films I have for review at the moment I watched this on my phone on my lunch break at work. It just goes to show what a great job Herbert did as I get genuine chills down my spine at times even in that most unsuited location. The director has stated that special care went into every aspect of this short to convey the message he wanted to impart, I admit I don't really know what that message was but I had a good time regardless. On the surface this is a survival film, the antagonists could be replaced with zombies, they could be replaced with gang members (an inspiration for this was John Carpenter's classic Assault on Precinct 13) and it would work. The biggest horror just comes from the most unlikeliest of choices, there is no explanation for what is going on or why it is going on, it is just tradition. This could be a commentary on traditions in general, especially small town ones where to outsiders they appear confusing and plain bizarre. I also feel it works as an analogy for rule following and thinking outside the box. Eli is provided with very basic rules to follow and by having the confidence to use his initiative proves that he can be a valuable team player who will be an asset to Beecher's Gate.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Terror Talk (2018) - Horror Film Review

When I first heard of Terror Talk a few months back I really liked the sound of it. It is the third feature film from the Jalbert Brothers (House Guest, Haunted Tours) and the second of their feature films I have seen. I was prepared to enjoy this and thankfully I did, while it falls into some of the pitfalls of the tiny 'man on own for entire film' sub genre of horror I felt it was a giant step up from House Guest and while at times felt a bit familiar it had a delicious dose of paranoia throughout.

Kenny (Sean Michael Gloria - Werewolves in Heat) is a doomsday prepper who is in a unique position of actually being able to put his planning into fruition after a deadly and highly contagious virus sweeps America. Having recently moved into a new property he has done everything as imagined; he has food and water and other essentials, he has power, and he has barricaded and blocked all the doors and windows. Unfortunately for him there was one thing he forgot to check, and that is to find out the history of the house he has brought. While he may be in one of the safest places in terms of waiting out the virus the location he has chosen turns out to be haunted. With leaving the property off the table he must instead try and find a way to survive inside, and try and avoid going insane...

Films that primarily feature just the one actor live or die by the casting choice for the main lead and with Gloria (who really reminded me of an older Ray Santiago)  you have someone who does remain compelling, though this is more to do with how underdeveloped the character is than anything else. After a quick prologue we get thrown right in with Kenny having already barricaded himself in, there is no back story to him, what sort of a person he is, what he does, or how he really came to be where he is. This works though as it makes everything all the more involving with the mystery of the character meaning you never really know what to believe. The meat of the film is Kenny talking to a variety of characters he meets on a ham radio that the previous owner left behind, each one he talks to suggests something slightly different about what is going on. The main one is Headhunter (Bob Glazier - Demon) who is a conspiracy nut, the other two being Social Sarah (Karleigh Chase) who has a belief in ghosts, and Papa Bear (Daniel Wachs) who leans more towards Christian views of Hell and damnation.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for September 2018

I seem to have received a ton of horror related news in my mail sack this month so this post may well not even go up in September (it didn't!), all depends on how much headway I make between now and later today (being the final day of the month). Before I start a bit of self publicity in that my humble blog got chosen as one of the 'Top 60 UK Movie Blogs' on the internet by Feedspot! I came in the 41st position which I am more than happy with, no idea how this came to be but I am honoured to have been one of the chosen 60. The list can be found here if you are interested in checking it out.

James Quinn (Flesh of the Void, The Temple of Lilith and Sulphur for Leviathan) has started work on his latest short arthouse horror Daughter of Dismay with principal photography that took place on September 22nd deep in Austrian woodland. While the previous films were made using 16mm this one is to be made with 65mm which Quinn states "(will) convey the most breathtaking and epic style the film could have, a style most people know from classic blockbusters, combining it with classic horror elements as well as those of gut-punch dramas."
Daughter of Dismay is about an emotionally broken witch who enters dark woodland in order to fulfil her biggest desire, but which requires extreme measures that will have terrible consequences. It is due to premiere on the festival circuit in 2019.

Horror comedy Valentine DayZ that was written and directed by Mark Allen Michaels has been released on 25th September on a variety of Digital platforms including Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo and X-Box. Its set during zombie apocalypse so hopefully will be entertaining.

American screenwriter Richard Humphries (Seize the Night) has released his debut sci-fi novella Therian Red on paperback and ebook. This is a creature feature that is told entirely from the perspective of the creature itself. The book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle as well as Barnes & Noble Nook. Humphries is currently working on his follow up SunChasers.

The first official trailer for Harley Wallen's Agramon's Gate has been released. The film is about a spirit medium at a party who has to deal with a demon named Agramon that accidentally gets summoned. Wallen stated that he "wanted to make a horror movie with a good storyline that had good plot and great characters".

There is a new American thriller named Noxious that apparently is being streamed over 1,500 times per day in the UK. No idea what the film is about, the trailer has lots of people fighting and arguing so could be about an abusive relationship...maybe?

Cynthia is a horror comedy from Girls and Corpses magazine creator Robert Rhine. In this film a desperate mother gives birth to a hideous child. Directed by Devon Downs and Kenny Gage this stars such iconic actors as Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween, Halloween II), Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects) and Bill Moseley (Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Devil's Rejects) among others. It came to Digital and DVD on September 18th thanks to Indican Pictures.

Filmmaker Samantha Oci and industrial band Machine Rox have released a music video titled SEAWITCH that has been inspired by mythological subjects such as the Medusa and mermaids. The song was taken from Machine Rox's EP Siren's Spell that is due to be released sometime this month.

Luther Bhogal-Jones (Creak, Black Spot 3D) is currently working on a new fantasy thriller short called Goodnight, Halloween. The film has actually been in production for around 12 years! The short takes place in an alternate Detroit in 1986 where Halloween creatures have coexisted with humans for all of time but a right wing religious group cause the creatures to go into hiding. A scene setter video has been released with some elements of this due to make their way into the opener of the finished film. Luther describes Goodnight, Halloween as a cross between Clive Barker's Nightbreed
and The Diary of Anne Frank.


The ever interesting Dakota (The Rise & Fall of an American Scumbag, The Acid Sorcerer) has shared some news of his latest film called American Antichrist. As is his style this film will be made up of a series of short vignettes with characters including a serial killer (Dakota Ray) raised from the dead, a deranged religious fanatic (L.B), a sadistic drug dealer (Nick Benning) and a desperate drug addict (Meg Lacie Brown). This is due out sometime in October, for now check out the cool trailer.

The final news I could fit into September's news round-up is that of Freaky Fridays! This is a promotion by Terror Films who are due to release a new horror film every Friday in October. These will be released in North America exclusively on Amazon Prime. The line up is as follows...Friday 5th sees The Chair which is about a man on death row forced to confront his own terrible past. This one features the ever awesome Bill Oberst Jr (Coyote, DIS) and Roddy Rowdy Piper (They Live) in his final on screen performance.
Furry Nights is out on Friday 12th and sounds awesome. A group of teens head into the woods and accidentally kills a furry mistaking him for a bear, soon the rest of the furries, led by Mr. Fox lead a brutal attack on the group!
October 19th is the turn of Flesh Blanket which is a found footage about a morbidly obese director who becomes insanely angry with his cast while trying to make a cutting edge documentary celebrating freedom of speech.
Finally is What the Waters Left Behind that comes out on October 26th which is about a group of young filmmakers exploring a formally submerged village that turns out not to be as empty as they assumed.

Monday, 1 October 2018

The Predator (2018) - Horror Film Review

The Predator's reputation preceded it as everywhere I turned I seemed to see people going on about how terrible it was. This is the latest in the Predator series with previous film Predators being so forgettable that the only thing I can remember about it is a bunch of people diving out a plane at the films start, and a real life fight in the cinema that broke out, distracting me from seeing how the on screen final fight ended. Needless to say I'm not the hugest fan of the franchise but I did get some enjoyment out of this even if it is a film of two halves.

A lone Predator arrives on Earth, fleeing from an unknown pursuer. This alien creature happens to bump into sniper Quinn (Boyd Holbrook - Logan) who during the ensuring fight manages to knock it unconscious, while also managing to steal some of its tech. A shady government agency captures Quinn where he is set up to be seen as crazy and ends up on a prison bus of other 'crazy' army soldiers en route to a facility. Meanwhile scientist Casey (Olivia Munn - X-Men: Apocalypse) is recruited to study the captured Predator. Needless to say things don't go well, the alien escapes and a series of events leads Casey to team up with Quinn and his new found pals as they desperately try and get to Quinn's autistic son Rory (Jacob Tremblay) who just so happens to have the tech that was stolen and which the monster is homing in on...

The first half of this film was actually pretty darn entertaining, it felt almost weirdly like a comedy as there were lots and lots of jokes, a lot of these were quite funny and I even found myself laughing out loud during one which referenced an iconic line from the original film (embarrassingly I appeared to be the only person in the audience who found that funny enough to laugh out loud). The group of soldiers Quinn teams up with all have their own quirks and specialities and riffed well off of each other, it felt like a crazier version of the A-Team as they are hunted by the dodgy government agency wherever they go. The jokes were funny a lot of the time but a few about mental disabilities left the audience muttering amongst themselves I found. The second half things get a little bit more seriously, unfortunately this also means things get a little bit more dull. Most the second half takes place at night out in forests and got to be a little bit too generic at times with the humour mostly taking a backseat.