My Blog Is Moving

Movie Reviews

Hello readers.

I’ve decided to move my blog over to Blogspot again because I prefer the layout and find it easier to organize, which helps my OCD.  All of my reviews and articles will be moved over there and I’ll be continuing to post there in future.  I hope you still keep me on your reading lists if you’ve been reading my posts.  I’ve found some great blogs here and met some great buds, so don’t think I won’t remain in touch.

Anyway, here’s my new blog:


It’s much more presentable.

Article: Halloween (1978) Vs Halloween (2007)



Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween is not only a prime example of a remake done right; it’s a prime example of how a remake can surpass the original.

Now before I go on to discuss why I much prefer Rob Zombie’s much maligned take on Carpenter’s beloved classic, I’d just like to clarify that I’m a huge John Carpenter fan.  I like most of his films, including some of his more scorned efforts.  In fact, I even defended ”Ghosts of Mars” here.  So understand that this isn’t a criticism of one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of American cinema.  This is merely my opinion and I hope you’re not upset if you’re part of the majority who are going to disagree with me.

Carpenter’s ”Halloween” was a revolutionary horror film that paved the way for the slasher boom that was to follow.  It’s one of the most influential genre films of all time and nothing will ever change that, especially not my opinion.  Rob Zombie’s version will never be held in high regard; even though it is a better movie.

The appeal of the original Michael Myers is his mystery.  He’s The Boogeyman: an unstoppable, supernatural force of nature who could pop out at any time.  He’s supposed to be an inhumane embodiment of pure evil.  I respect that and I can see why people find it effective.  Rob Zombie on the other hand, gave Michael a backstory of growing up in a broken home and being bullied in school.  I’ll be the first to admit that Zombie’s backstory doesn’t tread any new ground.  In fact, on paper it’s fairly generic. However, I’ve always loved Zombie’s depiction of Myer’s upbringing from a white trash background and feel it added meat to the bones of a story that was severely lacking in substance originally.

Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with backstories in horror films.  I like to see the origins and motivations of my villains and Zombie’s ”reimagining” of Myers is one of the best.  Furthermore, regardless of which version of Myers you prefer, did you want to see the exact same portrayal in both?  Aren’t remakes better when they do something different?  The original wanted us to fill in the blanks ourselves; the remake done it for us. It was the right approach to take in my opinion.  Some movies are bogged down by needless exposition; but if it wasn’t for Zombie delving into the life and psyche of Michael Myers he’d have remained one of the dullest characters in horror lore.

Dullness is my main issue with the original version.  Many fans I talk to praise it for being a prime example of Hitchcock’s pure cinema; this is where a story is told through visual composition, editing and the use of sound and images.  It’s very minimalist, and it’s been used to great effect in a lot of movies.  When done well, it can be awe inspiring.  However, ”Halloween” failed to build suspense, tension and that sense of dread we need to evoke a fearful response.  Fans of the film will counter my statement by saying it has all of these things, and who am I to argue?  It certainly aims to accomplish them, but for me it came out feeling flat.  For others, it’s the exact opposite.

Zombie’s also fails to capture the aforementioned characteristics.  He uses brutal violence as a substitute for suspense and creating a foreboding sense of doom.  Does this make it an effective horror film? I don’t think it does; horror needs more than blood and gore to be effective. However, I don’t for one second consider the remake to be an effective horror film.  The violence is just one aspect that makes it entertaining; the original had absolutely nothing happening and it was tedious.  Give me entertainment over boredom any day.

If your film isn’t going to scare us, at least make it engaging in other ways. Zombie has enough respect for the original and its fans to approach it from a new perspective; his fresh perspective just so happens to be an improvement on the original, where he takes it’s template and adds elements it was severely lacking – a story, interesting characters, entertainment and violence.  Of course the original wouldn’t have needed any of these things if it was successful in other departments – like causing the fear it tried to create.

Rob Zombie’s ”Halloween” isn’t a masterpiece of cinema.  It’s an interesting violent slasher with some layers the original lacked.  In comparison to Carpenter’s, it is a masterpiece.  The backstory is a white trash soap opera, but it’s handled in such a way you can see why it would turn Michael into a psychopathic killer.  In summary: the remake is a fine piece of entertainment and the original is a tedious bore which fails to accomplish the effective horror it tries for.

Zombies sequel, however – now that is a masterpiece.  But more on that some other time.

This is all just my opinion.  The consensus is I’m in the minority, but I can’t change how I feel, folks.  I state it with respect for the original as it inspired filmmakers and movies I love, but I don’t consider it to be a good movie. Feel free to berate me in the comments below or on Facebook.  These are 2 movies that always create some fun conversations when compared.

Movie Review: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews


When it comes to 21st century horror directors, very few have been as polarizing as Rob Zombie up until now.  The general consensus with his films tends to be a love them or loathe them affair; those who enjoy his work do so for the same reason his critics hate it, and vice versa.  But when a new Rob Zombie movie is announced, people pay attention and that’s all that matters.

I remember when ”House of 1000 Corpses” was first announced; it was anticipated with a mixture of hype and dread.  Rob Zombie’s music always had a cinematic quality and his love for all things horror and exploitation has been evident in his songs and music videos his entire career.  Like me, many believed this would translate well to film.  Others were more skeptical.  Regardless of preconceived notions, the hype surrounding ”Corpses” was huge.  However, for awhile it was looking like it would never see the light of day: Universal, who owned the rights initially, had absolutely no desire to release it due to its content being too ”immoral for their studio” and it lay collecting dust for over a year until Lionsgate picked it up. When it was released eventually, it was a critical failure, but a modest commercial success and has since gone on to develop a strong cult following throughout the years.  But it did set the tone for Zombie’s divisive career in film, which remains split down the middle to this day.

”House of 1000 Corpses” is a strange movie.  If there was an episode of ”Scooby Doo” where the gang stumbled into ”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and got brutally murdered then it would look something like this. It’s as camp and cartoonish as it is violent and deranged; another way to imagine it is as a retread of Tobe Hooper’s seminal classic – if it were directed by Oliver Stone.  When I first saw ”Corpses”, I had no idea what to make of it.  I wasn’t sure whether I loved it or despised it with every fiber of my being.  However, it possessed a strange allure which always made me revisit it – and I now consider it to be a heavily flawed masterpiece.

The story takes place on Halloween night, 1977, where a group of teenagers who are travelling cross country stumble upon a roadside freak show attraction run by a clown who goes by the name of Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig).  It’s here they learn about a local legend who goes by the name of Doctor Satan, a mad scientist who conducted horrific experiments on mental patients nearby and, according to legend, still lives.  Naturally, the foolish idiots demand to know where and Spaulding draws them a map to Dr. Satan’s supposed location.  On the way, they pick up Baby Firefly (Sherri Moon Zombie), a hitchhiker on her way home who just so happens to live close-by to where they’re headed.  When their car breaks down, she invites them into her home for Halloween festivities with her estranged cannibal family; this includes a living room pantomime with a musical number.  Long story short: torture and terror ensues.


With this being Zombie’s first film, he just threw all of his movies into a melting pot and this was the results.  A 70’s grindhouse movie throwback, with a ”Texas Chainsaw Massacre” template mixed with the surreal carnivalesque nature of Todd Browning’s ”Freaks”, sprinkled with Marx Brothers and baked in surreal fluorescent imagery.  Yet, despite his obvious odes and nods, this is a film only Rob Zombie could make and would set the benchmark for a style he’d go on to hone to and make grittier with his following efforts.  Zombie has always favored his villains and he makes his films mean spirited, nasty and uncompromising; ”Corpses” laid the foundations and offers insight into what was to follow.


The protagonists in ”House of 1000 Corpses” are overshadowed by the murderous and quirky Firefly Family.  Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sherri Moon) and Mother Firefly (Karen Black) are the stars of the show, but fellow family members include the rude and crude Grampa Hugo (Dennis Fimple), the human giant Tiny (Matthew McGrory) and the imposing Rufus (Robert Allen Mukes).  This is a film that not only presents its villains as strong, well written characters – it celebrates them.  They’re the main attraction and Zombie dares us to root for them as they torment, torture and slaughter innocent victims, who are portrayed as arrogant douches.  But did they deserve to die?  Absolutely not.  Was I happy when they did?  Well, I enjoyed watching it happen.

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”House of 1000 Corpses” is an experiment of a new director finding his style and voice, while celebrating the movies that inspired him.  It might not be entirely original, but at the same time there really isn’t else like it either. Rob would follow this up with a much better sequel I consider a flawless classic, but ”Corpses” is a viciously camp masterpiece in its own right; albeit for those of an acquired taste.  9/10

Director: Rob Zombie

Writer: Rob Zombie

Starring: Sid Haig, Sherri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Rainn Wilson

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Running Time: 90 min

Movie Review: Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead (1997)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews


”Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead”, also titled ”The Fallen Angel” was the first fallen angel, according to legend in Olaf Ittenbach’s cult classic. Long before Lucifer had his little hissy fit, Premutos was rebelling against Gods decree because he wanted to rule the world with his army of the dead.  Throughout the ages, the son of Premutos has been reincarnated in different forms and through the dreams of a young man, we see the demon throughout different times in history slaughtering humanity.  When the young man finds a mysterious book, it turns him into the monster he was always destined to be and the son of Premutos is reborn once again.


”Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead” is a film with lots to admire, appreciate and enjoy.  For a start, it’s excessively violent and gory, with a body count that’s well past 100 – all of whom die in fun, graphic ways.  The special effects are cheap and charming and the aforementioned gore is top notch.  Furthermore, the plot, in all of its simplicity, is interesting – especially when it bounces between different eras of history, which includes World War II and the middle ages.  There is a lot going on which will keep you entertained for the most part, but the filler in between is tedious.


Splatter movies are at their best when they’re wacky, but so much of the humor in ”Premutos” is falls flat.  The moments madcap madness and bloody carnage are a joy, but waiting for them to come is tedious at times. Granted, when they do arrive it’s worth the wait; but movies like this need interesting filler if they’re going to run for 106 minutes, and ”Premutos” lacks in that department.  To put it bluntly: it gets boring.

With some trimming around the edges, ”Premutos: Lord of the Living Dead” could have been a trashy masterpiece of its kind.  Instead what we get is a film with a see-saw effect of highs and lows.  Pirates had to do some digging before they found the treasure; if you’re willing to stick around with this movie you’ll find gold in the end.  6.5/10

Director: Olaf Ittenbach

Writer: Olaf Ittenbach

Starring:  André Stryi, Christopher Stacey, Ella Wellmann

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Running Time: 106 min

Come Join Horror Mansion

Movie Reviews


Are you horror fan wandering aimlessly around the internet seeking sanctuary?  Do your real life friends think your weird because of your taste in film, television, literature and music, so you need a place where you can discuss your love for the macabre and the strange without being judged? Well over at Horror Mansion there’s a room for you, and once you check in you’ll never be able to leave – because we’ll kill you.

In all seriousness, Horror Mansion is the best forum online to mingle with other fans of horror, exploitation, fantasy, sci-fi and underground cinema, as well as other mediums of entertainment. It’s a troll free environment, inhabited by a friendly group of people who are knowledgeable and very good natured.  Not only will you have some really amazing discussions and discover some unknown gems, but you’ll laugh and meet some people who will become your friends.

As a blogger, Horror Mansion has been very helpful to me and others.  You see, it’s a forum solely set up out of love for horror and the members go out of their way to promote it, which includes personal blogs and sites of members and the online horror community in general.  Through the Mansion, I was sent my very first screener to review and they’ve kept coming my way ever since.  Those of you who blog will understand the majority of us do this out of sheer love for the things we write about; a vehicle to discuss our opinions and connect with like minded folks.  Being sent screeners and comic books for free because the artist has deemed you worthy enough of reviewing their work is gratifying and rewarding.  If it wasn’t for the Mansion putting in a good word for me, I may not be able to do that.

Independent filmmakers and writers have benefited from the Mansion’s support as they have a forum to promote their projects, followed by the backing of a united social media campaign to get the word out there.  This is not limited to the artists who have joined the site either; every member is a die hard horror nerd and looks for projects to promote on their own accord.  It’s a Mecca for assisting artists in getting their work into the public domain and many will attest to how crucial its been to them.  From the perspective of a fan, you’ll become aware of projects you’d never know about otherwise.

If you’re looking for a place to find or discuss movies, then look no further. From well known classics to obscure floating head movies and everything in between, The Mansion is an encyclopedia of universal cinema and the members can help you find the most obscure oddities out there.  To make it even more fun, we have themed challenges where we try to watch as many movies from a region or genre within a certain amount of time, with the winner occasionally receiving a cool prize for their efforts.  If you watch a lot of movies, challenges are good motivation for expanding your palette.

The site has sections for everything and no topic is off limits.  The people are awesome and friendly.  We’re a family, but we welcome newbies with open arms.  I felt a part of the group within minutes and it’s been my go to forum for 8 months now.  New people are always welcome and appreciated as new faces keep things fresh and bring more content, so if you’re looking for a place to hang out that’s both insightful and fun then this is the place.

Movie Review: Conjoined (2013)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews


If you read my article on 5 Great Romantic Horror Movies, then you’ll know I’m a fan of a great love story – especially when there’s murder between hugs, smooches and coitus.  When it comes to relationships, you have to accept the baggage of your significant other if it’s going to work.  In a lot of cases, said baggage often involves imposing family members.  I’m sure you’ve accepted the faults of your other half by now, but if you haven’t then take a minute to compare yourself to Stanley – maybe you’ll feel better afterwards.

Stanley (Tom Long) is a lonely man; his only worthwhile friendship is with an online cam whore (Deidre Stephens) with amazing boobs, but he pays $2.99 per minute for her ears.  However, thanks to the miracle of online dating, Stanley meets Alina (Michelle Ellen Jones), she’s super cute, their love is real and Stanley is looking forward to spending his life with his potential soul mate, as is Alina. But there’s a problem: Alina has a Siamese twin sister who comes literally attached to her – and she just so happens to be a serial killer, with a drinking problem.

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”Conjoined” is offbeat and quirky, with some crude sexual humor and moments of gruesome violence.  It’s also very heartfelt and occasionally touching, as the budding romance between Stanley and Alina is a heartwarming tale of two outsiders is the core of the story.  Tonally, the combination of these ingredients might sound mismatched on paper; a splatter film, a sex comedy and rom-com is an unconventional mix that could easily turn into a mess. However, here every element blends together effortlessly to create a movie that’s unusual, but all the better for it.


A good way to imagine ”Conjoined” is like a very twisted sitcom.  For a start, every character – major and minor – has their own little quirks and traits which make them unique and memorable, even if they are only there for a short time until they become a murder statistic.  Every new victim of Alisa’s (Keefer Barlow) killing spree presents a new scenario for them to react to, which provides the bulk of the laughs throughout.  Furthermore, the sets are minimal and mostly consigned to one room, which is understandable due to budget constraints; but, again, it made it seem reminiscent of a sitcom.  I loved this aspect of the movie; it provided hilarious satire of America’s longest running and most beloved television past time, only extended to 90 minutes with some unhinged edge.

My one minor complaint is the subplot of Detective Waters (Sara Gaston), who is investigating the murders only for nothing to really come of it when it could have added an extra element to the story if she posed any real threat exposing the leads as killers.  However, that’s not to say that the subplot wasn’t entertaining; Waters’ inner monologues are the source of some of the films best laughs, so it’s not like it was pointless.  I enjoyed her character, but I wanted her to pose more of a threat to Stanley’s laundry list of problems.

I liked every single character in ”Conjoined” and the script by Chuck and Tim Norton gave them all memorable moments.  It’s a funny script, and the small cast all have their chance to shine, even those who only appear for a scene to have their genitalia bitten off.  As I mentioned earlier, there are some gruesome moments in this movie and it does crossover into some dark territory towards the end, but for the most part it’s an entertaining good time.

So, next time you think your girlfriends sister is annoying put yourself in Stanley’s shoes.  If you would like to enjoy his unfortunate situation, you can rent if from Amazon for $1.99.  Also check out their Facebook for more reviews and information.  This is a funny flick, with enough blood, boobs and severed dongs to cater to your visceral needs, and characters who you’ll remember fondly after the end credits have rolled.  Joe Grisaffi is a filmmaker worth watching.  7.5/10

Director: Joe Grisaffi

Writers: Chuck & Tim Norfolk

Starring: Tom Long, Michelle Ellen Jones, Keefer Barlow & Sara Gaston

Genre: Horror Comedy

Running Time: 90 min

Movie Review: Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015)

Comedy, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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”Dude Bro Party Massacre” is a beer soaked, blood drenched fever dream from comedy collective 5-Second Films, and it’s sure to please horror fans and hipsters alike with its satire.  Horror films posing as 80’s throwbacks and parodies have become a popular fad in recent years, as many filmmakers try to evoke the nostalgia of days gone by; some do it because they want to homage the movies that inspired them, where as others just want to make a quick buck at the expense of fans longing for a long gone heyday and looking for a modern fix.  The best ones display a genuine love and affinity for the genre, made by filmmakers who want to honor it, while lovingly lampooning it with copious amounts of absurdity; there is nothing worse than a throwback which thinks it has all the right ingredients, but fails to capture the essence.  Those are just empty and soulless, like Lindsay Lohan’s eyes.

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”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” falls into the category of parody: A slasher frat comedy posing as a banned sequel to non-existent predecessor films lost in the 80’s, it looks and feels like a relic from that era, with characters who could very well be the cranked up cousins of the goons from ”Porky’s” and ”Animal House.”  The plot is an over-the-top slasher revenge story, joined by a sub-plot of authority figures trying to put an end to a drunken frat house.  Throw in yet another sub-plot with a Satanic cult needing a virgin sacrifice and it becomes as convoluted and nonsensical as you’d expect -but, in this case, it is not to the films detriment.  Just roll with it, and the laughs will send you into a fit of hysteria for 90 minutes.

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”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” follows Brent Chirno (Alec Owen), a legacy who joins a fraternity to investigate the death of his twin brother, Brock (Alec Owen again).  After a prank goes awry, causing 2 commercial jets to collide over an orphanage, they boys are sent to a lake house as punishment, where a mysterious killer named Motherface lurks nearby, hellbent on punishing the boys for sins committed in the first 2 films, which we get a recap of at the start in classic 80’s flashback fashion. Her methods are brutal and she kills her victims by using their deepest fears against them.  Meanwhile, they are pursued by police officers, one of whom is convinced that the boys are a bag of oranges posing as drunken human beings who must be returned to their true form.


Where do I start?  The plot on paper doesn’t even begin to cover the insanity barely contained within this movie.  I can’t think of many films in recent memory that have made my sides split for an entire 90 minutes, which means I’ll need to watch it again as it’s a certainty that I missed a lot of gags from laughing so hard.  The humor is wonderfully distasteful; inappropriateness is turned up full volume as gravestones are humped and hookers are slaughtered – and that’s only scratching the surface.  ”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” is so out there that it resides on its own island of low brow cinema: It is so goofy and gleefully mean spirited, with not a single taboo subject free from a good ribbing.

The cast includes cameos from Larry King and a key supporting role from Patton Oswalt, who not only chews scenery – he devours it.  Having known, respected names on board doesn’t hinder the offensive content, however: the body count in this movie is through the roof, with every single one of them killed in creative, nasty ways.  My favorite was when one of the frat boys was looking for the cork to his beer keg, only to have it rammed into his skull and twisted as it poured into his cup to quench his thirst before his mortal demise.

”Dude Bro Party Massacre III” is horror satire done right and the best comedy of the year so far.  9/10

Directors: Tomm Jacobsen , Michael Rousselet & Jon Salmon

Writer: Alec Owen, Jon Salmon, Michael E. Peter, Ben Gigli, Timothy Ciancio , Michael Rousselet, Tomm Jacobse, Joey Scoma, Mike James & Brian Firenzi

Starring: Alec Owen, Peyton Oswalt, Brian Firenzi

Genre: Comedy, Horror

Running Time: 90 min

Short Film Review: Out of the Box (2015)

Horror Comedy, Short Film Review

out of the box

”Out of the Box” is a short student film from Canadian monster enthusiast and future horror bright spark Sebastien Godin, but if I didn’t know otherwise, I’d just have assumed it was a regular short film from an independent horror filmmaker.

The story revolves around 2 students who volunteer to take part in a psychological experiment for a food coupon.  All they are a required to do is sit in a room until one of them caves and opens a box, which sits in the middle of the floor minding its own business.  With starvation starting to kick in, one of them finally gives up and finds out the hard way that hunger is the least of his problems.

In 1996, psychology professor Roy Baumeister conducted an evil experiment where he used students desire to eat to deplete their willpower. In this case, the allure of chocolate was enough to make them lose control; the cruel part was they were given radish instead.  ”Out of the Box” contains another experiment where the willpower of hungry students is tested; only instead of chocolate the seduction lies in the mystery of a box, and the repercussion for giving into your appetite is truly sinister – even more sinister than radish.

What I liked most about ”Out of the Box” was the 2 lead characters: Brian and Vince, played by Ethan Dalton Clifford and Fabio Lopez, respectively. Both characters are hilarious in their own unique way:  Vince is the more outgoing and desperate – and he’s not very smart.  Brian is more reserved and dry, providing a perfect counterbalance to Vince’s hyperactivity.  The script is witty, providing them both with some great dialogue to work with.  Furthermore, their interactions are constantly entertaining: whether it’s discussing the gender of author Jules Verne or grappling over Granola Bars, there is never a dull moment between them.  Spending 12 boring hours in a room starving as part of corrupt experiment is something we all have to go through at some point in our academic lives.  Their experience isn’t like anybody else’s.

I said earlier that Godin was a ”future horror bright spark”, and I genuinely do believe that.  Having known him for some time now, I’m aware of how creative he is.  Not only are his ideas fun as shown here, but he appears to be an accomplished filmmaker.  ”Out of the Box” is short, but it’s well shot, easy on the eyes and boasts some fantastic lighting, special effects and gross out make-up.  I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll make movies one day that a lot of horror fans will love.

Another thing I loved about ”Out of the Box” was the music.  It was quirky, offbeat and fun and really set the tone for the entire film, which can also be summed up as a whole with these adjectives.  If you want to see it for yourself, let me know and I’ll arrange it.  8/10

Short Film Review: A Black Heart In White Hell (2015)

Arthouse, Extreme Horror, Horror, Short Film Review


”A Black Heart In White Hell” is the brand new short film from restless indie horror director Dustin Mills and Crumpleshack Films.  If you aren’t aware of Dustin’s work yet then you’re missing out on one of the most exciting and hard working independent filmmakers working today, whose body of work is of a consistent level of high quality and refreshingly original.  ”A Black Heart In White Hell” sees Dustin in full experimental mode, dragging the viewer into hell with the films victim and – if you dare stick around – forcing us to endure her plight with her.

”Not Sorry” are the words The Woman (Reagan Root) writes on the mirror before she takes her own life in the bath tub, assuming that she’s leaving this world unpunished for crimes we later learn she committed.  However – when she wakes up in a white room, a series of events unfold which force her to face the consequences of her sins.  What ensues is a bloody nightmare involving monsters and tormenting imagery as she’s punished in some gross, unsettling ways.

There were 2 movies which sprung to mind when watching ”A Black Heart In White Hell”: ”Eraserhead (1977)” and ”Begotten (1990)”.  My comparison is not based on the content contained within either of those movies, as they’re both completely different; what I’m getting at is they both share an ability to evoke a strong visceral reaction and psychologically pummel your senses at the same time.  ”A Black Heart In White Hell”, like those 2 movies, unsettled me through imagery, sound and it’s own original content.  I guess another comparison to those movies you could make is that it’s like nothing else out there, but that’s always been the case with Mills’ work anyway.  However, Lynch and Merhige’s movies are ugly experiences which suffer from too much self-indulgence.  ”A Black Heart In White Hell” is a visually stunning spectacle to look at, with an interesting story and additional fun factor.  Sure, it’s gross and distressing, but it’s also highly enjoyable and oozing with immediate rewatch value.

The film contains absolutely no dialogue, but the story is cohesive:  The nightmares of the lead and her crimes appearing on a television screen give us all of the information we need to understand what’s going on and why she’s being punished.  Credit must be given to Reagan Root for being able to portray a convincing character through actions, expression and body language alone.  She’d still be a joy to watch even if she wasn’t always naked.  The supporting cast consist of Dave Parker (with the awesome Youtube channel), Brandon Salkil and Jeremy Ryan, who serve as a reminder of why her soul is being ripped apart.

”A Black Heart In White Hell” is Mills’ best work to date and continues to showcase the evolution of a boundary pushing auteur making a name for himself in the world of underground cinema.  You can pick this up along with Dustin’s other movies over at Dustin Mills Productions, or stream it on VOD for pocket change.  Not only would you be supporting indie film by checking it out; you’d be treating yourself to some unique, original horror.

Writer & Director: Dustin Mills

Starring: Reagan Root, Dave Parker, Brandon Salkil, Jeremy Ryan

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 30 min

Movie Review: Screamplay (1985)

Arthouse, Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews


Troma, the company which is known for specializing in copious amounts of sleaze, nudity, low brow humour and shock value has been a household name for over four decades now.  So it’s to be expected that some of their releases will float under the radar from time to time.  One such release was ”Screamplay”, the one and only feature from Rufus Butler Seder, who wrote, directed, edited and starred in this offbeat murder mystery.  


”Screamplay” is a unique entry in Troma’s catalog and a one-of-a-kind movie if there ever was one.  Filmed entirely in black and white, with set designs purposeful recreations of films from the 1920-30’s, it’s all very artsy; especially compared to the trash the company is known and beloved for.  The story focuses on a young writer named Edgar Allen who moves to Hollywood with dreams of writing murder mysteries for the big screen.  But when the murders in his screenplays start happening in real life,  he must confront an odd array of characters ranging from washed up actresses, rock stars, the police and off-kilter tenants as the mystery unfolds.

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While watching ”Screamplay”, I drew comparisons to the early Sam Raimi oddity ”Crimewave (1985)”, as they both adopt the stylings of a classic era of film, with the similar over-the-top caricature characters and set pieces, dialogue and filmmaking techniques.  However, they use them in such a way that hasn’t been done before, to create darkly comic horror films ripe with manic energy and 80’s violence.  If someone told you this was a Sam Raimi creation without prior knowledge, you’d believe them.

Bob White as Lot in Screamplay

Taking inspiration from German Expressionist cinema, Hollywood’s silent films, Italian giallo, Gothic horror and the classic whodunnit?, it condenses them into the form of an 80’s B movie to create an engaging mystery that is also a satirical commentary on the dark side of Hollywood.  It chronicles the actors and actresses who are hot one day and but a memory the next; the aspiring artists who leave their normal lives behind with dreams of making it, only to find their hopes dashed and dreams broken; the greedy money men willing to exploit anything in order to make a quick buck and the madness that comes with it.  Every character has succumbed to madness in some way and they each provide strange melodrama between murders.


”Screamplay” is an oddity only a niche audience will enjoy, so if you appreciate the surreal, avant-garde, strange and experimental cinema you’ll no doubt find a special place in your heart – and on your shelf – for this weird little gem.  Rufus Butler Seder has never made, wrote or starred in another film since: let’s hope this isn’t his one and only, but if it is, what an innovative legacy to leave behind.  9/10

Director: Rufus Butler Seder

Writers: Rufus Butler Seder & Ed Greenberg

Starring: Rufus Butler Seder, Katie Bolger, George Kuchar

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Running Time: 90 min