Movie Review: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

Premutos

”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.

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”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.

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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

Movie Review: Conjoined (2013)

Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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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.

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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.

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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

Movie Review: Screamplay (1985)

Arthouse, Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Movie Reviews

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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.  

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”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.

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”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

Comic Book Review: Lesbian Zombies From Outer Space: Issue #2

Comedy, Comic Book Reviews, Horror Comedy

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Hold onto your crotches.  Don’t succumb to the charms of horny extraterrestrial bimbos in schoolgirl uniforms – no matter how hot they may look.  ”Lesbian Zombies From Outer Space” continues to warm our loins and fear for our groins, picking up where Issue #1 left off – with our heroes Ace and Gwen running for their lives as the dawn of the lesbian zombie apocalypse unfolds.  Will Ace get home in time to save his parents?  More importantly, will he reach the mom-and-pop store in time to save his prized Captain Hammer video tapes?

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In the first issue, we’re introduced to the characters.  Part 2 is all about action.  From the very first page it’s an unrelenting assault of cock munching carnage that further crosses the boundaries of good taste.  We see the formation of a sub-plot where Ace must find his treasured pornography – for when it comes to dealing with an invasion of this nature, The Hammer has the answers.   Furthermore, we explore that awkward moment when you walk in your parents being… intimate.  The gore sprays off the pages and no penis remains intact, but one.

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”Lesbian Zombies From Outer Space” is shaping up to be something truly special.  Unabashed cheese and debauchery it may be, but it’s one hell of a good time that does its inspirations proud.  It’s also a fresh original take on the zombie and alien sub-genres that reads like an animated television series and camp 80’s popcorn movie with lots of replay value.

Credit must be acknowledged to everybody who brought this story to life. Not only is Jave Galt-Miller a very funny and talented writer, but the artists who visualized this story did an outstanding job.  It takes real talent to make cartoon zombies look sexually appealing to real life grown men, but they manage it.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next issue has in store.  If it keeps up like this we’re in for some side splitting laughs, with possible leakage.

Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Action, Comedy, Movie Reviews

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It’s been awhile since we’ve had a great spy movie; not since Matt Damon’s previous incarnation of Jason Bourne in 2007’s ”The Bourne Ultimatum” can I say I’ve been particularly impressed by any that I’ve seen – and that includes the recent Bond films with Daniel Craig.  However, since that series became the phenomenon that it did, subsequent spy films have replicated its serious approach.  ”Kingsman: The Secret Service” injects the genre with some fun again: Ian Fleming’s iconic British agent and older film adaptations are the inspiration behind Matthew Vaughn’s caper; humour, flashy rodomontade and an eccentric villain hellbent on world extermination are all firmly present.  The spirit of classic Bond is alive and well.  However, much like Vaughn’s ”Kick Ass (2010)” was to superhero movies, ”Kingsman” takes the basic premise and throws in crude humour and sensational, bloody, R rated violence to crank a worn genre up a few notches.

Taron Egorton plays Gary ”Eggsy” Unwin, a down-on-his-luck petty criminal who is facing a jail sentence for stealing a vehicle from a local ruffian.  But thanks to having a father Harry ‘Galahad” Hart (Colin Firth) owes a debt to, he’s miraculously cleared of all charges and recruited to join a training camp for the shadowy secret service organization Kingsman, who are led by Arthur (Michael Caine) and his knights of the round table sworn to protect Britain (the organization members are all named after characters from the old tale).

Meanwhile, the lisping lunatic Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) – an eccentric billionaire who wants to destroy the world for its own good – is set to bring an end to mankind, because he believes people are destroying the environment.  With human existence in jeopardy, new recruit Eggsy is thrown in at the deep end to try and save the dead.

Valentine’s plan is quite brilliant: he uses sims in cell phones to trigger a satellite which turns human beings into homicidal maniacs.  It’s the type of ludicrous, out-of-the-box villain and scenario we’ve been missing for quite some time now – and it allows for the movie to break out into some scenes of over-the-top carnage.  There is one particular scene involving Colin Firth’s character, to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ”Freebird”, massacring a church full of people that’s sure to send shocks down the spines of the many middle aged housewives who’ll watch it just for him.  It’s a Colin Firth we’ve never seen before – a merciless cold blooded, killer who can more than capably perform action scenes.  Bridget Jones would soil her overgrown panties if she seen her man like this.

The movie does contain some not-so-subtle messages about Britain’s class divide, the danger of global warming and America’s role as a world domineering superpower.  Whether you agree with the political undertones or not shouldn’t derail your enjoyment of the film; it’s more parody and satire than preaching, but it won’t sit well with some.  For the entire 2 hour duration, ”Kingsman” is lighthearted fun that homages classic spy movies and throws in the crude humour and cartoon violence 21st century audiences are accustomed to. Some people may find the violence to be unnecessary to a story which didn’t need it to be enjoyable, but I loved it personally.  Despite it’s charms, it’s crudeness and occasional mean streak is a much appreciated delight. At least for me.  ”Kingsman” is one of 2015’s best thus far and I’m sure it’ll remain as such for the remainder of the year.  9/10

Directed By:

Matthew Vaughn

Written By:

Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goodman

Starring:

Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong

Genre:

Comedy, Action

Running Time:

129 min

Web Series: 20 Seconds To Live (2015)

Comedy, Horror Comedy, Web Series

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”20 Seconds To Live” is an anthology web series that is well worth your time.  Every Friday for the last month or so, I have sat down after dinner – my tummy full of the latest hapless victim – and enjoyed this hilarious and creative series of shorts about death.  One thing is for certain with ”20 Seconds To Live” and one thing only: SOMEBODY IS GOING TO DIE.

The series is directed by Ben Rock, who you might not know by name.  But you can bet he’s been the cause of nightmares of somebody you know.  You see, in 1999, there was this little movie called ”The Blair Witch Project” and it scared a lot of people.  Some of those people even thought it was real.  Anyway, one of the scariest things about it was the stick figure symbol, which I know for a fact haunted the dreams of my mother for a month after she saw it.  Ben Rock is the creator of that symbol, as well as subsequent Blair Witch spin-offs including the outstanding ”The Burkittsville 7 (2000)” – in my opinion this has always been the best entry to the Blair Witch saga and is well worth checking out if you’re into the mythology.

In addition to his work on an iconic horror film, he also directed ”Alien Raiders (2008)”, which, despite its silly name, is a criminally underrated gem.  Of all the people I’ve talked to who have seen it, not a single one of them had a bad word to say about it.  Go check it out.

Also on board is co-creator Bob DeRosa, whose previous writing credits include the Ashton Kutcher movie ”Killers (2010)”, and the impressive ”The Air I Breathe (2007)” starring an impressive cast which boasts the likes of Kevin Bacon, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia and Sarah Michelle Gellar.  From the work of his I’ve seen so far (I enjoyed both of those movies), this is by far my favourite due to it being so joyously twisted.

The series is short, sick and a laugh riot.  Catching up on the current available episodes won’t take you long at all and I guarantee you’ll be entertained.  Despite knowing death is inevitable in every episode, ”20 Seconds To Live” throws in little surprises you don’t see coming. Every episode puts a unique, creative spin on everyday situations, ranging from dinner dates to Satanic rituals.  You can watch them all for free HERE.  I suggest you get on it now.

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