Movie Review: We Are Still Here (2015)

Horror, Movie Reviews

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We Are Still Here is proof that the good old fashioned haunted house doesn’t need refurbished, spraying the walls with copious amounts of blood is some much welcomed decoration.  In recent years, homages to horror of the 70’s and 80’s has provided some highly enjoyable tributes, but with We Are Still Here, we’re transported back to 1970’s New England, where the cold winter serves as a backdrop for something more sinister lurking in the dark.

In 2009, Ti West’s House of the Devil showed that sometimes all it takes to rejuvenate stale modern horror is a potent does of the old school.  In an era of remakes, unnecessary sequels and recycled trends, it proved that the tried and tested tales still had the ability to create fresh excitement.  We Are Still Here evokes the same feelings.

Like West’s gem, it treads familiar ground with a slow burn approach, effectively building character, mood and suspense to create dread through simplicity, before escalating into an explosive final.  However, We Are Still Here is a different beast entirely.  It contains all of the elements of a haunted house story; the floors creak, the dangers lurk in the shadows and the terror could spring out at any time.  Having been overexposed to these traits in other features of its kind, We Are Still Here takes its time to ensure it doesn’t fall into the pitfalls of predictability.  The simplicity is handled masterfully, the scares are surprising and the payoff is a blood spraying, splatter filled finale; the one we’ve been missing for quite some time.

Ted Geoghegan is a director with capable hands, content to take his time telling a story and ensuring everything available to him is extenuated to great effect.  The house itself is old and dusty, with an ominous air that hints at something sinister.  The small New England town is a snow capped blemish on the map, distant from the rest of the world, easy to forget.  The town harbors secrets; the type the townsfolk make sure are kept under wraps.  The type they’re more than willing to go to extreme, murderous lengths to protect.  Danger isn’t just within the house for our protagonists. It’s everywhere.

Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) are the main characters; a married couple grieving the loss of their son looking to start over somewhere new.  May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (Larry Fessenden) play their hippie friends, whose occasionally comic relief is welcomed in an otherwise bleak affair.  Monte Markham steals the show as Dave McCabe; a seemingly friendly old man who proves to be the biggest threat to their survival.  Such a stellar cast as they are, they deliver due to well written characters who are interesting to watch, regardless of what’s happening around them.  Naturally, the actors and actresses deliver.

Overall, We Are Still Here is one of the better horror movies in recent memory.  I’d even go as far to call it a modern classic.  It’s a prime example of how to tell an old school story with outstanding execution and finely tuned tampering.  A movie which delivers on all fronts if there ever was one, this will top many a ”Best Of” list in 2015, then go on to cement its place as a cult favourite for many years to come.  10/10

Written & Directed By:

Ted Geoghegan

Starring:

Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Larry Fessenden, Lisa Marie

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

84 mins

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Movie Review: Suspension (2015)

Horror, Movie Reviews

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The slasher sub-genre, more so than any other, is often considered the brittlest branch on the horror tree; critics such as Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel dismissed these flicks as ”dead teenager movies”, whereas many who appreciate them still often equate them to that of cinematic junk food.  I love them personally; sometimes I think the sleazier the better.  But then something like Suspension comes along; a movie that, while not straying too far from familiar ground, employs a traditional framework and fiddles with it occasionally to successfully subvert viewer expectations.  When that movie comes along, I appreciate it forever.

Suspension, first of all, ticks all the boxes when it comes to the visceral delights we all expect from a slasher film.  We have an imposing villain with an intimidating appearance who has no qualms about sticking his knife in the groin of an obnoxious teenager.  The kills are more than satisfying in terms of the red stuff and the type of people being slaughtered.  When it comes to building terror and unleashing it, Suspension gets an A+ for effort and execution.  So if it’s just a mindless good time you’re looking for, it will satisfy.  However, underneath the surface, claws gently scratch the tapestry, becoming louder as the film progresses.

The core of Suspension is, primarily, a character study of its protagonist Emily (Ellen MacNevin), a teenage girl with a troubled family history who’s bullied by her classmates when her father isn’t killing them before he gets to her.  The loner with a fractured psyche is nothing new in horror, but Ellen MacNevin brings an authentic humanity to the role it feels true to life.  She’s so sweet and innocent, which makes her inherently likable; she possesses mental instability and an underlying mania which makes her interesting; the world has been unkind to her, yet she continues to survive, and thus, we root for her.  For a ”final girl”, she has layers of depth, and if you took away the horror element, the movie would still be interesting to watch just to see her character unfold.

The supporting cast all do a great job as well: Emily’s classmates who bully her are spectacular douchebags, and knowing that will all get sliced up eventually is somewhat comforting.  My favourite supporting character was Deputy Jacobs (Sage Brocklebank), the clumsy police officer whose ineptitude provides some comic relief, without ever feeling out of context. Horror and drama take precedence, but comedy is blended in at opportune moments, adding an extra dimension of enjoyment to a movie that only hits high notes.

Visually, Suspension is stunning to look at, with cinematography boasting lush grey skies that adds a sense of dreamlike dreariness to the atmosphere, which is effective for the more surreal aspects of the film. There will be moments when you start questioning what’s real; expectations will be subverted just when you think you have it all figured out.  That’s all I’ll say about that, because the line between reality and fiction blurs often – and the imagery enhances that blurred line.

Calling Suspension a thinking persons slasher makes it sound pompously grandeur, which it isn’t; it’s generally straightforward and can be enjoyed as such.  However, twists and turns aside, should you choose to look for deeper meaning, you’ll find some. Themes such as self-deception and the effects of mental illness were my interpretation, but I’m sure others will be different and more expansive. One thing is for sure: Suspension is a horror film with substance to compliment its style which breathes new life into a worn out sub-genre with just the tiniest amount of CPR.  8/10

Directed By:

Jeffery Scott Lando

Written By:

Kevin Mosley

Starring:

Ellen MacNevin, Duncan Ollerenshaw, Sage Brocklebank, Taylor Russell

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

90 min

Movie Review: $kumbagz (2015)

Crime, Movie Reviews

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John Miller’s $kumbagz is my first time seeing a movie from The Sleaze Box, whose reputation I was aware of through Amerikan Holokaust (2013), a movie that’s received plaudits from some of my friends in the indie horror community.  Anyway, going into $kumbagz I was all set for a grimy exploitation movie which pulled me into a seedy underbelly, raped my soul and left me quivering like a broken shell with an inappropriate boner. Instead what I got was an entertainingly raunchy hip hop fever dream that’s unafraid to sprinkle its seedy debauchery with good old fashioned fun.

Kristal ”Pixie” Adams plays Stephanie, a 25 year old slacker still living at home and flipping burgers as a day job – until she gets fired for not inserting a cucumber in her bosses chamber of poop.  Down on her luck, she accepts a ride from a friendly stranger, who then drugs her and forces her into prostitution, until she’s discovered by 6’9 (John Miller); he offers her job doing the same for more money and better working conditions, which she accepts.  However, their new found success doesn’t sit well with a rival gang, who attack them and force Stephanie and 6’9 to take matters into their own hands.  Who will win and take control of the game?

$kumbagz embodies all of the sleaze, nastiness and degradation you’d expect from a feature where the main character spends most of the running time being used as a sex toy, often against her will and whose only hope for a brighter future is a better quality of prostitution.  There’s a sweet naivety about Stephanie that makes her plight uncomfortable to watch at times.  Not to mention she’s incredibly hot and deserves much better than the pieces of shit she has to hook up with.  However, $kumbagz presents the material in such a way that there’s comedy in it, albeit very dark and not for the faint of heart, easily offended or conservative in beliefs.

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Furthermore, $kumbagz has no problem flaunting the sex appeal of its attractive female cast to the full extent, gliding cameras over every inch of their naked bodies, and even throwing in an uncut lesbian sex scene for good measure.  I wasn’t complaining.  Your mom might.

What can I say about $kumbagz then to sum it up?  It’s ultra low-budget raunchy sleaze with colourful characters and a dreamlike quality in places it’s occasionally mesmerizing.  I was entertained throughout and with a 71 minute running time it doesn’t outstay its welcome.  The story moves along at a brisk pace, stopping from time-to-time to indulge in entertaining smut. It might disappoint those looking for gore, but it didn’t need it.  It’ll please the fans it was made for and that’s all that’s important.  This is pure debauchery drenched fun. 7/10.

Written & Directed By:

John Miller

Starring:

Kristal Pixie Adams, John Miller, Joe Makowski, David. A. Adams

Genre:

Crime

Running Time:

71 min

Article: My 10 Favourite Clown Movies

Article

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Who doesn’t love clowns?  Well according to a recent study, 12% of American adults suffer from coulrophobia, and that’s only including grownups that are actually scared of the rascals – bare in mind the percentage is probably higher with kids.   And that’s just one country.  Then of course there are people who aren’t afraid of clowns, but just flat out hate them and wish they were dead.  Well maybe that’s an exaggeration, but if you search Google you’ll find a few sites dedicated to clown resentment.  Clowns have always fascinated me, and the universal fear of them has made them great criteria for horror movie villainy; but the art of clowning has provided much entertainment across multiple genres.   Here are some of my favourites.  Enjoy.

10) Drive Thru (2007)

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Drive Thru is by no means a good movie: it borrows heavily from A Nightmare On Elm Street in terms of plot, litters itself with references to other 80’s slashers and presents itself as a tame, lame horror comedy for the MTV generation; yet there’s something oddly charming and mildly entertaining about it that it makes for a fun watch on a relaxing week night.  The characters are delightfully obnoxious brats, led by a pre-Gossip Girl Leighton Meester looking as cute as ever.  The killer clowns name is Horny and he’s so entertainingly dumb it’s hard not to find a soft spot for him in your little black heart. We know exactly where it’s going, but it’s fun to watch it get there.

With some more on-screen deaths and a surplus amount of added gore, Drive Thru could have been a classic.  The production values are surprisingly high and Horny’s costume is one of the best you’re likely to see in a clown horror flick.  It might not pull the trigger, but it pistol whips us enough to appreciate it.

9) Little Big Top (2006)

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Cult cinema icon Sid Haig plays Seymour, an unemployed clown who returns to his hometown to spend the rest of his days in a drunken mess.  After running out of money to buy booze, he accepts a job at the local circus teaching amateur clowns the craft; there begins a redemption story of a sad clown finding his smile once again.

Sid Haig might have found career rejuvenation playing a clown in Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, but Seymour is his peak clowning achievement, in my opinion.  Here, he gets to play a career best character, in a movie which has unfortunately floated under the radar since its release.  I strongly recommend checking this one out.  You’ll be one of the few people who gave it a chance.

8) Shakes The Clown (1991)

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Bobcat Goldthwait is an expert when it comes to crafting the perfect dark comedy.  In recent years, his pitch black humour has earned him rave reviews with movies such as World’s Greatest Dad, starring the late great Robin Williams, and God Bless America, a scintillating, scathing attack on modern society if there ever was one.  But way back in 1991 he brought us Shakes The Clown: an underrated cynical gem.

Described as the ‘’Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies’’, Shakes The Clown is the masterpiece of its criminally unexplored genre.  With a cast comprising of Robin Williams, a back when he still gave a shit Adam Sandler and Bobcat himself, this is a star studded treat that deserves more appreciation.

7) 100 Tears (2007)

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Marcus Koch might be known more for his F/X work than his directing, but with 100 Tears we get the best of both worlds in this mean spirited slasher, which boasts a higher body count than most civil wars.  The plot is thin, providing only an excuse to showcase splatter at its most splendid.

After being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, Gurdy The Clown sets out to exact revenge on those who condemned him – and everybody else who he comes into contact with.  Along with his psychotic daughter, they embark on a take no prisoners killing spree fueled with hate, and armed with a big fucking cleaver.

Gorehounds rejoice: this is one entertaining trip to hack up heaven you don’t want to miss.

6) Clown (2015)

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Clown was initially a faux trailer, disguised as the next feature from Eli Roth.  After going viral and grabbing Roth’s attention, he was so in support of the concept he jumped on board as producer and helped turn Christopher. D Ford’s and Jon Watts’ prank into a reality; others would have sued them, but Eli is cool.

Clown has a fantastic concept: a father puts on a cursed clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to gradually transform into a demon with an appetite for children.  Clown is one of the better clown horror movies; although lacking in graphic on-screen child murder, which is disappointing, it makes up for it in story, atmosphere and the greatest failed suicide attempt ever put to celluloid.

5) Vulgar (2000)

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Vulgar is the debut feature from Kevin Smith alumni Bryan Johnson, and to this day it remains his only one.  It stars Kevin Smith regular Brian O’Halloran as a down on his luck party clown who gets gang raped by a father and his 2 sons.  Months after the rape, the clown becomes finds some good fortune as a children’s television personality; but this only leads to blackmail from his attackers, who threaten to claim to have a videotape of his assault and will make it public unless he pays them.

Vulgar was met with critical scorn upon its release and still isn’t regarded too highly to this day.  While retaining many of the traits of Smith’s other View Askew productions – cameos from the same actors, losers characters and similar dialogue – it has a darker, mean spirited edge which many will find tasteless.  Furthermore, it offers nothing in the way of resolution.  To me, that’s what makes it such a perfect dark comedy.  Be warned though: my love for this is in the minority opinion.  Most hate this movie, but if you find the thought of a clown being gang raped and blackmailed to have potential for comedy gold then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

4) Stitches (2012)

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Stitches is a British-Irish horror comedy starring stand-up comic Ross Noble as the title character; a clown who returns from the dead to exact revenge on the kids responsible for his death six years previous.  What ensues is a mixture of hilarity and creative kills, along with a wonderful spooky atmosphere, to create a horror comedy that finds an acceptable balance between laughs and scares.

Stitches is a gory delight, making wonderful gags out of the grue, including balloon animals made with human intestines.  This is a must see.

3) The Last Circus (2010)

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Alex de la Iglesia is one of the best directors working in cult cinema today, whose body of work consists of an array of masterfully done oddities which have to be seen to be believed.  The Last Circus, in my opinion, is his masterpiece; a surreal, violent black comedy about 2 disfigured clowns competing for the love and affection of a beautiful trapeze performer.

The film opens with a clown being recruited for battle during the Spanish Civil War by a militia.  After slaughtering an enemy squadron with a machete, the clown is taken captive to die in prison.  However, he has one final visit from his son, where he encourages him to join the circus and become a sad clown, because all he has known in his life is death.  He also tells him to find his happiness through murder and revenge.  Years later, his son has followed through with his advice and now competes for the love of the promiscuous trapeze artist – and he’s willing to kill those who get in the way.

The Last Circus is a deranged movie; imagine Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre and Tod Brownings Freaks, spliced with the gore and carnage of modern horror and action movies.  Even then it doesn’t do this movie justice.  It’s truly a one of a kind twisted masterpiece.

2) Clownhouse (1989)

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Unfortunately for Clownhouse, it will always be tainted by director Victor Salva’s unforgivable sex crimes committed against one of the leading cast members, who was only 12 years old at the time.  It’s difficult not to mention it when discussing this movie, which is appropriate considering it should never be forgotten.  However, judging it solely as a movie; a work of art from a director, who despite his transgressions, has a talent for making quality horror pictures, then Clownhouse is a gem.

It’s about 3 escaped lunatics from a mental asylum who murder 3 clowns, steal their costumes, and proceed to enter a house where 3 minors are staying for the night without parental supervision.  The premise is simple; the execution perfect and harrowing.

There are moments in Clownhouse which remind us of what went on; crotch shots of young boys in their underwear remind us of the sick human being behind the camera.  It makes it even more unsettling than it already is.  Other than that, it’s an impressive horror movie which would be considered a classic if it wasn’t for that horrible incident.

1) Killer Kiowns From Outer Space (1988)

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Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a quintessential B movie classic that’s regarded as a universal cult classic, outside the community of its target audience.  Everyone and their grandmothers appreciate this movie, and if they say otherwise they’re either lying or dead inside.

An homage to the alien invasion flicks from the 1950’s, presented in the form of the camp ludicrousness of 1980’s horror comedy, Killer Klowns is about a small town that is terrorized by extraterrestrial clowns, who traveled to Earth in a big top spaceship to unleash hilarious havoc.  There isn’t a circus gag that isn’t incorporated into the madness; these range from people eating shadow puppets, popcorn guns and much more I’d hate to spoil, because I want all of you who haven’t seen it to appreciate its splendour first hand.

To summarise: this is one of the very best things to ever happen to humanity.

Short Film Review: Steps (2015)

Arthouse, Comedy, Short Film Review

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Steps, a self-proclaimed ”staircase fetish art film”, is the latest short from Floridan avant-garde sleaze maestro Tyler Hosley; a polarizing filmmaker if there ever was one.  With a creative thought process that operates in defiance of good taste and normalcy, Hosley’s shorts up until now have been strange beasts to say the least, and you’ll either want to run from these beasts as fast as you can or stay and pet them.  With Steps, he’s delivered a delightfully perverse oddity of escalator erotica that’ll make you laugh as much as it’ll make you feel weird about watching it.  That being said, it might just motivate you to rub your genitalia all over a staircase, like you’ve always wanted to do.

Tyler’s shorts are all zero budget, homemade productions, but they demonstrate the raw potential of a filmmaker with unique ideas who deserve a chance to work with a substantial budget and show what he can really do. Steps is my favorite one yet and I hope it either entertains you as much as it did me.  Check it out below.  7/10

Written & Directed By:

Tyler Hosley

Starring:

Tyler Hosley, Andrea Hosley

Genre:

Comedy, Surreal

Movie Review: Eat (2014)

Body Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews

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Every so often I watch a movie that leaves me feeling flabbergasted; the impact being so overwhelming, my surprise, shock and awe makes it difficult to gather my thoughts, let alone articulately write them down.  Eat is a movie I feel all horror fans should see; the content might be too much for some to stomach, but writer and director Jimmy Weber has such an great mind for horror that he deserves to be on the radar for years to come. Like I said, Eat might not be for you, but one day he’ll probably make something that is.

Meggie Maddock stars as Novella McClure, a struggling actress in Los Angeles struggling to make ends meet as she chases an elusive dream. It’s been 3 years since her last role, she can’t catch a break without degrading herself to sexual objectification and she faces eviction from her apartment. Furthermore, she’s developed a nasty habit of eating her own flesh whenever she’s feeling stressed.  On top of that, her best friend Candice is an overprotective psychopath with an itchy trigger finger and her love interest also happens to be her therapist.  Novella is on the verge of self-destruction, and her hunger grows as her life deteriorates.

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On paper, Eat bares a strong resemblance to Starry Eyes (reviewed here): both were released in 2014; both protagonists are struggling actresses who can’t handle rejection, trying to find success on their own terms in a seedy Hollywood; both contain elements of visceral body horror.  Furthermore, both explore how damaging it can be to a persons well-being to pursue a dream.  Eat and Starry Eyes share some comparisons, which is coincidental and unfortunate; despite their similarities, they have very different stories to tell.  However, while Starry Eyes has gone on to receive recognition and critical plaudits, Eat has slipped under the radar.  All I’m trying to say is, don’t skip one because on paper it looks like the other.

Eat, like all good body horror should be, is an endurance test that may induce vomiting; the scenes of self-cannibalizing aren’t pleasant to watch. Why should they be?  A woman eating herself isn’t supposed to be easy to stomach.  Even if it does make you a little hungry and want to try it home because biting your fingernails just isn’t cutting it anymore.  Moreover, those sequences are matched with an unpleasant industrial score and voice overs that remind us of the harsh words that drove her to it.

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The score deserves special mention: in moments of quiet it’s very soothing; sometimes even beautiful.  But when things take a turn for the bad, it changes to an audio sledgehammer to the senses that perfectly compliments the disgusting cannibal carnage on screen.  The movie ends with a track called, ”They See Me”, a beautifully haunting, dreamy piece of music that’s been on shuffle for me since the end credits rolled.  It’s a perfect piece to end the movie on, and one that plays in your head as you contemplate what’s just transpired over 90 minutes.

Eat is a gruesome and disturbing move; it’s also a movie with moments of beauty spliced through the grim.  On top of being a gory delight, it’s rich in social commentary and layered main character played excellently by Meggie Maddock, who, unlike her character, will never struggle to find roles due to her angelic beauty and undeniable talent.  Jimmy Weber, like I said earlier, has a mind for horror.  Eat is a well informed reflection of society with an original concept.  It’s a gem of a movie that deserves to be acknowledged, but right now I’m just happy I discovered it.  8/10.

Written & Directed By:

Jimmy Weber

Starring:

Novella McClure, Ali Francis, Maru Garcia, Jeremy Make

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

92 min

Interview: Jenz K. Lund & D.H. Shultis (Blood & Gourd)

Interview

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Blood & Gourd is a must read for those who like their horror injected with a large dosage of fun.  Want to know why?  Check out my review or head over to the opening link. order a copy and see for yourself.  For a comic book, it possesses a rare cinematic quality that feels like a lost classic from the 80’s; the days when horror was at its most vibrant and imaginative, in this reviewers humble opinion.  While retaining the spirit of that era and openly acknowledging its inspirations, Blood & Gourd is a high caliber of original storytelling that works as both a throwback to horrors heyday, and as something fresh for modern times.  Recently I had the opportunity to interview its creators, D.H. and Jenz, to discuss their work, influences and future plans for the series and other projects.  Enjoy.

1) Hello guys, how are you?

Jenz: We’re doing great! We’re a little road weary but energized after a successful weekend at Crypticon: Seattle. The reception’s been awesome.

2) To those who aren’t in the know yet (even though they damn well should be), how would you describe Blood & Gourd in a brief summary?

Jenz: Well, it’s the day before Halloween, and Seminal Chemical’s recently bought up the Henderson family pumpkin farm. There isn’t much time for the locals to grieve, though. Through a bizarre fusion of super science and Satanism, the sinister Mr. Pleasant has unleashed this massive, otherworldly demon; and with it, murderous hordes of gourds and goblins.

DH: We’ve tried to make the comic book fun, twisted, weird, and a fast ride. A glance at the cover and you’ll know that it is bright, horrific, & action-packed with a slice of drama and some nods to the horror legends of the past.

3) Originally, Blood & Gourd was intended to be a movie; which I could see happening because it has a great cinematic quality to it even though it’s a comic.  Do you still have aspirations to bring it to our screens?  

Jenz: Absolutely! Almost everybody who has read the first issue asks us about it. Blood & Gourd needs to be a film. Particularly, one with minimal CGI, Rick Baker style makeup, lots of practical effects and puppets! Everything’s better with a puppet in it!

4) There’s nods to Fred Dekker and Dan O’Bannon in the story, who are 2 of the most underrated talents to ever make movies if you ask me.  The spirit of their work is evident in Blood & Gourd; it’s like a lost horror comedy from the 80’s in the form of a comic book.  Who are your influences and what are some of the movies that inspired you to create Blood & Gourd?

Jenz: I have a million influences, we both do. ReAnimator, The Thing, Halloween 3, Fright Night; but certainly Night of the Creeps and The Return of the Living Dead were, for me anyway, two of the definitive influences behind making the series an amusement park ride. Both films are also very funny. Humor’s important to horror. People do hilarious things when they’re scared!

DH: I like the idea of Blood & Gourd being some time-capsule of lost ideas that have risen to the surface in 2015.  My top film influences for this project are the epic gross weirdness of Troma Films, late night USA network movies and shows of all kinds, John Waters’ movies, and pretty much any movie your mom told you not to watch. Other movies that came up a lot were Hard Boiled, Gremlins, Robocop, and Twin Peaks.

5) Evil corporate cultists.  Evil pumpkins on a bloody rampage.  Killer plant people.  These are just a few of the delights to be found in Blood & Gourd.  Although primarily all about the fun and entertainment, I picked up on some underlying themes in regards to the power of corporations and their destruction of nature.  Was that intentional?  If so, is preserving nature something you feel strongly about?

Jenz: Definitely. I think the best horror and science fiction stories have always done this. In many ways, we’ve all voted unanimously to ignore a myriad of pressing environmental/socio-economic issues that have already ensured a bleaker future for all of us. I think Blood & Gourd playfully nudges the reader to think about a few of these things, while reminding them that idle hands and apathy are just as dangerous as any diabolical demon or heartless corporation. Regardless of whether or not we decide to act, nature is indifferent. it can take us or leave us.

DH: In the words of John Trudell: “if we use our minds in a clear and coherent manner we will not accept the unacceptable.”  Blood & Gourd is my attempt to use my mind in a clear and coherent manner- to create something fun, engaging and it is my way of refusing to accept the unacceptable.

6) Blood & Gourd has drawn comparisons to EC comics; from myself included.  Are there any comics in particular you’re fans of?

Jenz: After watching Creepshow at a very young age, I quickly found myself picking up all the reprinted copies of Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Eerie, Creepy, etc. I could get my hands on. I’d also add Silver Age Marvel titles to the mix. There was such an acceptable goofiness that allowed for the most irreverent stories, heroes, and villains to be formed. I remember a villain that was a toe, for god sake! I miss that insanity. People play it way too cool these days.

DH: The Batman Knightfall series was my first serious foray into reading comic books.  I really dig Promethea by Allan Moore and a lot of Frank Miller’s works. I’d also like to give a nod to the Akira comics and the Lone Wolf and Cub series.

7) One thing I loved about Blood & Gourd was how the characters played it straight.  Despite the hilarious insanity going on around them, they keep the story grounded and give the reader people they can engage with.  Was it difficult to balance the wacky horror with everyday characters the reader can engage with.

Jenz: I think the laughs that came naturally while we were writing the story are the best. The rest of it takes some fine tuning, for sure. We generally go with a less is more attitude, and if it’s too forced we cut it out. I think you can throw any ridiculous thing at your characters, and as long as they’re convinced it can kill them, you’ve got something there. We’re not big fans of the self-aware horror- comedy (we’re all in on the joke) stuff.

8) From a storytelling perspective, Blood & Gourd is stellar.  But I’d also like to point out how it looks; the artists involved did a great job of bringing the story to life.  Was it difficult to acquire such a talented bunch?

Jenz: Yes and no. It took a few years to find the right artist, but once Dave Acosta agreed to draw the book, he opened a lot of doors for us.Through Acosta we met Juan Albarran, and through Juan we met Fran Gamboa, JC Ruiz, Rocio Canteros and Juan Antonio Ramirez. We all had a great experience and most of us will be coming back for issue #2!  I’d also like to add that most people don’t realize how small the comic book industry really is. I strongly encourage anyone planning on becoming a part of it to be friendly and respectful. Word travels fast!

9) What’s next for you guys?  What are your future plans?

Jenz: We’re in the preliminary stages of issue #2, Acosta will begin drawing it up in June. If B&G continues to be successful, we plan to branch out with a horror anthology and a secret sci-fi project we can’t wait to start talking about.

10) Any final words before we wrap up?

DH: Buy Blood & Gourd!

Jenz: What he said. It’s available for order now at bloodandgourd.com and deadpeasant.net

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