Movie Review: American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore (2015)

Extreme Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews

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The original Japanese ”Guinea Pig” series is regarded as a landmark achievement of extreme cinema, famously receiving notoriety after Charlie Sheen reported Flowers of Flesh & Blood (1985) to the FBI in 1991 because he was convinced that it was a real snuff film.  This led to an investigation, with the creators going on trial and having to prove that the atrocities being committed on screen were indeed fake.  Suffice to say, the film is now regarded as a cult classic as a result; if Federal authorities get involved, then your movie has achieved its goal.

”American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore” is the modern American reboot of the series, directed by first timer Stephen Biro, founder of Unearthed Films, a company which specializes in distributing movies made with the intention of making viewers physically sick.  From the moment I heard about this movie, I was intrigued:  These type of films aren’t usually my cup of tea by any means, but the hype surrounding ”Bouquet of Guts & Gore” was too great to ignore.  Deemed by many reviewers as the most unpleasant experience they have ever had to endure – in the good way, not the Adam Sandler way – I just had to check it out to see if it would break my threshold.  Unfortunately, it didn’t make me vomit; I’m the type of guy who can watch human beings getting butchered and not flinch, then go ball my eyes out watching ”Marley & Me.” However, ”Bouquet of Guts & Gore” impressed me as a visual spectacle: I was in awe at the gore FX, as opposed to sickened like many people will be. However, I was entertained for the duration, even though it’s not a movie anybody in their right mind would describe as ”entertaining.”  Thankfully, I’m not in my right mind.

Essentially, ”Bouquet of Guts & Gore” is the abduction, drugging, dismemberment and disembowelment of 2 females while a film crew record the vile acts.  It’s a faux snuff film with not much in the way of story or character development.  Shot on 16mm, it’s looks grainy and homemade; and is so unrelentingly cruel and mean spirited it’s sure to test the metal of most viewers.  There’s an audience for this type of film and anybody who watches it knows what they’re getting themselves into.  Enter at your own risk, because the butchering that takes place on screen is as authentic looking as you’re likely to see, outside of… you know… actual murder.

For me, the lack of attachment to the victims made it difficult to sympathize with their plight.  It’s very rare a film will make me feel sick or disturbed, so in those regards, ”Bouquet of Guts & Gore” didn’t succeed.  However, it will make a lot of viewers feel rotten to their core and in desperate need of a shower afterwards.  For gore lovers like me, they’ll sit and marvel at the FX courtesy of Marcus Koch, who, in my opinion, is the absolute best FX artist working in horror right now.

The score is another highlight of the film which will give viewers feelings of unease.  Orchestrated by Jimmy Screamerclaus, the weirdo genius behind psychotic fever dream ”Where The Dead Go To Die (2013)”, the ominous doomscape is sure to creep into the nerves of many a viewer and remain with them long after, when they replay the heinous acts they just witnessed over again in their head.

”American Guinea Pig: Bouquet of Guts & Gore” isn’t a movie I recommend, due to its content.  It was made for a particular group of horror fan; the ones who openly bask in the nasty pleasures of the abyss.  If you’re a fan of extreme, transgressive cinema of this nature then you’ve probably seen it already – or will soon.  However, for a guy like me, who isn’t a fan of pseudo snuff films usually, I wasn’t bored for a minute and it’s definitely a stand out little nasty I won’t forget anytime soon.  I can’t say I was blown away by it – minus the outstanding gore – but I was entertained for 72 minutes and I have no doubt it’ll be regarded as a classic of its kind, much like its predecessors.  Stephen Biro is a successful Jack of All Trades, and he can add director to his list of talents.  Overall, this is a movie that will offend people and undoubtedly get banned in many countries, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do and deserves plaudits.  7/10.

Fun fact: Biro named the victims after his ex-wives.  I thought that was funny.

Written & Directed By:

Stephen Biro

Starring:

Eight The Chosen One, Scott Gabbey, Jim Van Bebber

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

73 min

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Movie Review: The Sky Has Fallen (2009)

Action, drama, Horror, Movie Reviews

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The zombie sub-genre, for me, got stale very fast.  While I enjoy a good zombie flick, my motivation for seeking out new ones out is pretty low at this point.  However, The Sky Has Fallen isn’t just another throwaway zombie film; there’s a lot more going on here than basic survival in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by the undead, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Winner of Best Feature at the 2009 Freak Show Horror Film Festival and Best Horror Feature at the 2009 Indie Gathering Film Festival, as well as  nominated for Best FX at the 2012 Maverick Movie Awards, Doug Roos’ The Sky Has Fallen is a feature deserving of its accolades.  Furthermore, the fact that it’s all practical effects is sure to make it even more appealing to horror fans.  However, as good as the practical effects are (and believe me, they’re good), The Sky Has Fallen’s main strengths lie in its characters and story; both of which are well-developed and interesting.

A post-apocalyptic love story which is heavy on both drama and horror, The Sky Has Fallen follows Lance (Carey McLaren) and Rachel (Laurel Kemper); 2 strangers who meet through unfortunate circumstance, who must battle their way through the wilderness against swarms of the undead. Sound too familiar?  Well, it isn’t.  These zombies are merely puppets used for killing by a more sinister force – a mysterious clan of shadowy figures with extraordinary abilities, which happen to include raising the dead and controlling them at their whim.

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The Sky Has Fallen is a beautifully haunting story, aided by a fantastic original score which enhances its emotional impact.  Of course, without characters to root, there would be no emotional impact whatsoever, and Kemper and McLaren do a great job playing the protagonists, while possessing an on-screen chemistry which makes their relationship and quest for survival one worth rooting for – and gives the story a very human core.  If that sounds off-putting to horror fans looking for blood and guts then fear not; the best thing about this movie is how refreshingly original it is, but it never shy’s away from being gruesome when the opportunity arises.  And it’s glorious.

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By stripping things back, The Sky Has Fallen goes far.  It’s a low-budget, character driven story, rich in texture and ambitious in its storytelling.  It applies the ethos of classic Kurowasa samurai movies to modern post-Apocalyptic horror to create a haunting, yet compelling story of mystery, violence, action, loss and love – with plenty of zombies, mysterious horrors and red stuff thrown in for good measure. This is a great piece of independent filmmaking I urge you all to support. You can find a copy HERE.  8/10

Written & Directed By:

Doug Roos

Starring:

Carey MacLaren, Laurel Kemper, Corey Knisely

Genre:

Horror, Drama, Action

Running Time:

73 min

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

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: 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

Movie Review: American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire (2015)

Extreme Horror, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire is the deranged brainchild of Flood Reed, who, according to his IMDB profile, is a circus performer and subconscious drifter who likes to appear in the nightmares of children and the occasional LSD-induced hallucination.  However, when he’s not scaring kids and enhancing trips, he sometimes acts in, writes and directs movies. One such movie is the topic of this review: a demented dose of backwoods debauchery that’s already received critical acclaim by winning Rue Morgue Magazines, ”Goriest Scene of the Year Award” and being nominate for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Editing at the 8th Annual Shockfest Film Festival.

A fitting way to describe American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire would be Deliverance (1972) meets Jack Ketchum’s Offspring (2009), although comparing it these films is only a brief indication of what to expect here. American Backwoods is a lethal concoction of hillbilly horror, cannibal caper and creature feature, infused with black humour and copious amounts of violent carnage to create one of the most gleefully gruesome movies you’re likely to see this year.

The story follows a group of 4 guys who set out for one last hurrah at a strip club before college life separates them for the foreseeable future.  They’re a fun bunch of miscreants who just want to see some boobs and find some loose women to engage in sexual acts with; very similar to groups of friends we’ve seen in countless other horror flicks.  Along the way they encounter a creepy professor, an unpleasant gas station attendant and a homosexual police officer who doesn’t appear to be who he says he is. After deeming their vehicle unfit to drive, the police officer calls a mechanic who takes them to his trailer – and prepares them for the hunt.

Up until they reach the trailer American Backwoods is an offbeat bro-comedy that wouldn’t seem out of place as a Harold & Kumar sequel. The strip club is their White Castle and on their journey they meet some oddball characters.  Kudos have to be given for leading the viewer into a false sense of security; just as we start to think it might be a lighthearted romp, it does a complete 180 and drags us by the teeth into the abyss.  Once it gets going it’s an unrelenting nightmare of inescapable danger at every turn – involving rapist yokels, cannibalistic cave dwellers and a mystical beast. With so many ingredients in the pot, it risks becoming a convoluted mess: I’m happy to report that it makes for a tasty treat, effortlessly shifting gears with unforced, natural ease.

More often than not, low budget independent horror suffers from the same pitfalls: bad acting, below par production values, paper thin characters, etc. In American Backwoods every actor is solid and convincing in their roles, with the majority of characters being given ample amounts of screen time to make an impression and flex their chops. Most of the characters are given enough of a backstory that they actually come across as people and not just bodies to be slaughtered.  Furthermore, the movie looks great: visually it’s clear to see what’s going on, and at times, it’s reminiscent of an Oliver Stone movie.  As for the gore, well that’s just outstanding: there’s one gag in particularly that’ll make you think twice about receiving oral sex in a trailer again anytime soon.  Let it be a warning to you hillbilly rapists out there.

All in all, American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire is a violent, visceral treat that takes a well-trodden formula and gives it some extra layers. This is a must see for those who like their horror unapologetic and sleazy, while creating some laughs at the expense of heinous acts without ever losing its horrific edge.  Excellent acting, a good script, an ambitious story and interesting characters provide a solid foundation for the mayhem to spray blood and spill guts all over, making it an unhinged, filthy little gem waiting to be discovered.  8/10

Pre-order American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire from Amazon HERE.  It will also be released on VOD at the beginning of June.  You can also keep track of it on Facebook and Twitter.

Written & Directed By:

Flood Reed

Starring:

Dayo Okeniyi, Shawn Thomas, Tyler Rice, Jeremy Isabella

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

104 min

Movie Review: Collar (2014)

Extreme Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews

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Ryan Nicholson has always been a director whose work I’ve been familiar with, but not until last night have I ever been brave enough to watch it. Recently I’ve come to the realization that extreme horror is something I can handle, and even enjoy.  Therefore I decided to go into Collar with a brave face and a strong stomach and I’m happy to report I came out unscathed. Despite my brain telling me otherwise, it turns out I’m not squeamish at all and I’ve really developed a fondness for horrors most brutal offerings, provided they’re not boring.  I’m happy to report Collar was a success.

From what I understand, Collar was somewhat a departure for Ryan into darker territory.  The lighthearted comedic aspects of back alley abortions and bowling alley rapes in his previous efforts were all for a good camp laugh; I’m of the view that no subject is taboo enough to laugh at, therefore I look forward to seeing Hanger (2009) and Gutterballs (2008) when they arrive in my mailbox.  Collar is a mean spirited, brutal affair indeed, but I’d be lying if I didn’t told you I didn’t chuckle at the cannibalism.  I have a twisted sense of humour.

Collar stars Nick Principle as Massive – the homeless Satanic serial killer with a hunger for human flesh and a penis that doesn’t take the word, ”no” or the gut wrenching cries of its victims for an answer.  Massive is an intimidating villain carried by force alone: no spoken words are needed to convey his evil intent.  By far the strongest character of the movie, Collar has a villain it can be proud of, and one that is sure to send a few chills down a spine or two.  That being said, the supporting cast are fairly unmemorable in comparison, despite all putting in a solid effort.

The plot to Collar is thin, but effective: a deranged homeless killer who was abused as a child kidnaps, rapes and tortures unsuspecting victims from the streets.  One night, after receiving a call, Dana – a female cop, sets out to investigate the situation, only to be taken hostage, strapped to a collar and subject to the abuse of Massive.  While this is going on, the heinous acts committed by the Satanic rapscallion are being filmed by 2 sleazeballs who profit from capturing peoples misery on their smartphones.

As to be expected from a filmmaker with Nicholson’s reputation and amazing F/X skills, the gore is plentiful and it looks incredible; he’s a supremely talented man who’s worked on some huge movies and TV shows, so Collar is above most indie productions for the gruesome stuff. As sickening as you might find it at times, it’s hard not to view Collar and marvel at the effects work.  Here we’re treated to disembowelment’s, child birth and bodies being broken in half with back breakers (the wrestling move) – and much more.  Collar’s depravity, sleaze and violence ensures that it’s never boring for a second, unlike other movies of the ilk.

Collar is a nasty movie that doesn’t shy away from pulling punches.  In fact, it punches you so hard you might feel it in your gut afterwards.  The supporting characters and thin plot aren’t particularly strong, but with a short running time and constant supply of carnage, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. This is filthier than a dubstep bassline drop at a mud wrestling match between 2 STD riddled hookers with heroin addictions.  6/10

Written & Directed By:

Ryan Nicholson

Starring:

Nick Principe, Aidan Dee, Mihola Terzic

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

89 min

Movie Review: The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence

Body Horror, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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The final installment of Tom Six’s infamous ass-to-mouth franchise was met with critical scorn as soon as it entered pre-production: In all of my years as a horror fan who spends a lot of time on the internet watching movie geeks get their panties in a twist over everything, never have I seen a series receive as much scathing hatred as The Human Centipede.  Dismissed by many without even watching it due to its premise. it might just very well be the most offensive film to ever ingrain itself in mainstream pop culture. That being said, it’s not without its fans; those of us who are in with Six on the joke can’t help but laugh at the commotion.  And in The Final Sequence laughter is aplenty.

Is Tom Six a troll?  A cheap shockmeister?  A pervert with a poop fetish? He’s been called every name under the sun, but for us fans he’s a twisted mad genius with a knack for satire.  The first Human Centipede concept was born from a conversation Six had with a friend on how to punish pedophiles: he jokingly said their mouths should be attached to the arseholes of fat truckers, then realized it would make an interesting concept for a horror movie.  Whether you love or hate it, there’s no denying there’s been nothing else like it.  However, many horror fans were critical of the first movie for being too tame; therefore in the following sequel, he went to the extremes by giving them more than they could handle.  Was he punishing his audiences, or just shocking his way to the bank at our expense?  Either way, he made one of the best black comedies in recent memory.  With The Final Sequence, Six shows no signs of becoming family friendly anytime soon; there isn’t a distasteful topic that isn’t joked about and the centipede has multiplied by hundreds – and once again, Mr. Six has given his haters more reason to hate him, and his fans more reasons to love.  So keep on crying, you’ll only make his dick harder (his words).

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The Human Centipede 3: The Final Sequence takes place in a maximum security prison where a sadistic warden (Dieter Laser) – who feasts on dry clits from Africa and the castrated testicles of his own inmates – struggles to keep his prisoners in control.  The prison needs to cut costs and deter criminals from wanting to commit crime ever again; with an election coming up, Governor Hughes gives the warden 2 weeks to turn things around – or else he’s fired.  At the suggestion of his right hand man, Dwight Butler (Laurence Harvey), they eventually decide to conjoin the inmates in a 500 person centipede and let them eat each others shit for the duration of their sentence.  After consulting Tom Six to determine whether it’s medically possible (Tom Six himself), they go forth with the plan and set in motion the one thing that might just save America one day.

The warden, who goes by the name Bob Boss, is a vile creature; not only does he feast on genitalia, he also sexually harasses his secretary (Bree Olsen), undoubtedly giving every critic the ammo of misogyny to add to the films shit list.  Furthermore, he chews scenery in every frame he’s in, spouting off racist outbursts and rolling his tongue like a lizard.  It’s a mad cap performance; completely unhinged, with the volume turned Nic Cage loud.  There’s even a scene where Boss breaks the hand of an inmate played by Tommy Lister while calling him an ”ape nigger.”  It’s very in your face and every race of humanity gets a slur thrown in their direction at some point; but when the motto of your film is ”100% politically incorrect” then what do you expect?

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As for the gross out moments, we witness boiling water being poured over a man’s face, castration and a man’s guts being raped by an angry prisoner. Of course that’s me just scratching the surface: it might be a far tamer film than the previous installment, but it’s certainly not for the squeamish.

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Final Sequence proudly dwells in the gutter and if you feel like you’re above this vile excrement then so be it; we don’t need you to feast on the crap with us.  Once again Mr. Six has disregarded the boundaries of good taste to play yet another practical joke; so either laugh with it or accept that its laughing at your disgust.  8/10.

Written & Directed By:

Tom Six

Starring: 

Dieter Laser, Laurence Harvey, Bree Olsen, Eric Roberts

Genre:

Horror, Comedy

Running Time:

104 mins

Movie Review: It Follows (2015)

Horror, Movie Reviews

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David Robert Mitchell follows up his impressive debut coming of age drama, The Myth of the American Sleepover (2010), with the horror hit of the year that’s sure to discourage many a promiscuous teenager from engaging in pre-marital coitus after seeing it – at least until they’ve left the theater anyway – if they didn’t miss the movie due to being obnoxious twits. Regardless of the sexual habits and threshold for fear of pimple faced brats, It Follows is a movie that’s been garnering a lot of rave reviews from fans and critics alike, making it the must see horror of the year so far.  It’s the breath of fresh air us fans have been waiting for; the low budget indie feature that conquered the mainstream on its own terms.  It puts a fresh spin on old school horror curse lore, throws in a perceivable underlying message about sexually transmitted diseases and is effective in its simplicity to give viewers the Heebie Heebies.  It Follows is sure to go down as a cult classic for years to come, and in my opinion, it’s worthy of such an accolade.

Jay (Maika Monroe) is just your average 19 year old girl, whose only cares in the world are school, her friends, boys and weekend social life.  One night, while on a date with a guy she’s been seeing, she lets him bask in the fruits of her glorious lady garden of love – making sweet love in the backseat of his automobile.  Afterwards, cuddling is not on the cards as he kidnaps her, ties her up and explains how her life is going to change.  It turns out he was cursed and the only way to break it is to pass it on through sexual intercourse.  The curse is an entity that can take on any form, often portraying loved ones and friends.  If the current inheritor dies while cursed, It will move on to the previous victim and so on.  Now faced with the burden, Jay must stay one step ahead at the curse of all times until she finds out a way to stop it.

I’ve always found the curse concept to be one of the most effective a horror film can employ, due to the knowing that doom is inescapable unless it’s passed on to another hapless victim or something is done to appease the spook; when executed masterfully, these movies are high on tension, constant in dread and give off the impression that danger could strike at any moment.  In Curse of the Demon (1957) and Drag Me To Hell (2009), where comparisons can be drawn with It Follows, the curse would end once it claimed a victim.  Here, the curse never ends; if you want to live the rest of your life safe then you better hope that it gets passed down a huge line of fornicators with great survival instincts; or else it returns down the lineage until there is no one left.  My idea for breaking it was to have sex with a dead body, but the writer/director dismissed my theory when I mentioned it to him on Twitter.

The characters weren’t particularly likable for me, but I found them to be natural caricatures of teenage life.  I liked how they were written authentically and acted in a believable manner, despite some poor decisions in the final third.  But hey, teenagers make stupid decisions all the time.  Like having sex with guys you barely know and inheriting their supernatural death curse.

John Carpenter’s musical beats seem to be the heart of many a retro thriller of late and It Follows continues the trend with an excellent atmospheric and suspenseful electronic score from Disasterpiece; ominous industrial drones, pounding drums and haunting synth compositions contribute terror with great effect, ensuring no scene isn’t without an appropriate background noise.

Aside from a couple of sloppy moments in the final third, It Follows is a remarkable accomplishment; it’s directed with style, rich in atmosphere and suspense and filled with haunting imagery, as well as strange arthouse sensibilities.  The success of It Follows is a victory for indie horror; let’s hope it opens the door for more original low budget movies to get wide releases in future.  8/10

Written & Directed By:

David Robert Mitchell

Starring:

Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe

Genre:

Horror

Running Time:

100 mins

Movie Review: Society (1989)

Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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As a lifelong horror fan, I don’t think the genre gets the credit it deserves: when it comes to making statements about the world we live in, it’s rare you’ll see a horror movie praised for its themes outside of the community of us weirdos who love them so much.  The reality is: horror has always looked at society through a magnifying glass and created true-to-life social commentary as a result. Of course, many of the classics have garnered acclaim and legacies by the general consensus over time, but most of the time horror is dismissed as nonsense. The reason I’m bringing this up is because movies like Brian Yuzna’s Society don’t get the credit they deserve as more than camp, disgusting body horror.  Granted, when it’s all said and done you’ll sit there for 20 minutes afterwards wondering what the hell you just watched; some of you might even laugh out loud at its obvious intended humour; others might even feel sick to their stomach.  However, what Society does do is provide an excellent satire on the unfairness of social class structures and how the rich exploit the poor.  Whether our political or sociological views agree with this ideology is irrelevant; but there is no denying it gets its own point of view across effectively.  Intellectual Mumbo Jumbo crap aside, Society is a hilarious, twisted and downright bizarre 80’s gem.

Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock) lives in a Beverley Hills mansion with his rich family consisting of his 2 parents and sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings).  He has a hot girlfriend, he’s a star player on the school basketball team and he’s in the running for class president.  However, he’s never been able to shake the feeling that he doesn’t quite fit in.  In fact, he’s convinced that he’s adopted.  His sister is on the verge of adulthood, therefore she’s about to join the neighborhood society of the elite upper class; this sets off a series of bizarre events and Billy finds a disturbing recording of his sister and parents having an odd conversation to say the least.  Soon things start getting weirder – and Bill is about to make his contribution to the society.

Society is part coming of age drama, part suburban nightmare: as teenagers we all felt out of place occasionally, and here it plays on this idea to paranoid effect.  It also employs incestuous undertones between Billy and his sister, and overtones between his sister and parents, making for one of the most dysfunctional families in the history of cinema.  As Billy’s paranoia increases, so does danger.  He finds out the truth about the secret society his family, peers and neighbours are a part of – and it results in a climax I can promise you’ll never forget.

The core theme of Society, however, is the gulf in power between classes and how the rich exploit the poor.  Billy represents the working class and the sole reason he was adopted by rich parents was for the gain of their secret club.  That’s all I’m going to say about that because I don’t want to spoil the treats; just know that their plans are demented and unlike anything a movie has ever shown – or will show again for that matter.

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Society doesn’t offer much in the way of gore and splatter; but fans of the gruesome stuff need not fret because there’s enough disgusting melting and  grotesque body transmogrification to put you off eggs for a fortnight.  The special effects were courtesy of Nick Benson, who worked on classics such as Tremors (1990) and The Blob (1988).  Brian Yuzna movies are always good for beautifully disgusting imagery, but Society is his pinnacle.

If you want to see a movie that’s odd, sick, hilarious and fucked up, while being entirely unique at the same time, then Society is for you.  I think all horror fans should see it at least once, but those who fall in love with it will keep going back to it just for that final 20 minutes of… something else.  An underrated classic from the 80’s and one of my all time personal favourites.  It makes for an excellent triple feature with Parents (1989) and Pin (1988) for a night of weird family festivities.  10/10

Directed By:

Brian Yuzna

Written By:

Rick Fry & Woody Keith

Starring:

Billy Warlock, Devin DeVasquez, Evan Richards, Patrice Jennings

Genre:

Horror, Comedy

Running Time:

99 mins