Movie Review: ReGOREgitated Sacrifice (2008)

Extreme Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews

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Lucifer Valentine’s ”Vomit Gore” is a series I have no interest in seeing. The only reason I watched this was because a friend told me the Soska Sisters were in it and I had to see for myself.  There is no record of it on their IMDB pages – which is understandable as no aspiring filmmakers with career ambition would want to associate themselves with what is essentially a fetish porn film.  And yes, Jen and Sylvia Soska were present.

The plot?  Well, much like the mind that created it, the plot was lost before it even began.  It’s an incoherent, hallucinogenic nightmare of sorts; where pissing, puking, sex and gore all enter the same blender to concoct a nuclear cocktail sure to kill a few brain cells and make most people physically sick.  But if I had to hazard an interpreted guess, it’s about the nightmares of a young woman as she enters Hell.

So, is this where I call ”ReGOREgitated Sacrifice” a pointless piece of trash not worth your time unless you’re a complete sicko?  Not quite.  Many have already and even though it’s not something I enjoyed, per se, dismissing it without acknowledging its merits would be dishonest of me.  It contained so many moments that left me questioning my own sanity for watching it that it deserves credit.  Furthermore, the gore effects are masterful; I’d go as far to say they’re the best I’ve ever seen.  Or the worst -depending on how you view it. They’re so well done they’re sickening: it’s not something I would describe as fun, like say, FX from a splatter movie – but they have to be commended.

The film also contains a strange, hypnotic aura throughout; it’s arthouse for the scathouse and it’s very successful in its bid to be as unsettling as possible. It’s an unrelenting assault on the senses which challenges the viewer with every segment.  I don’t consider this to be a good movie by any means, but Lucifer Valentine possesses a lot of talent and achieves exactly what he sets out to do.  I have no doubt in my mind that he has a potential good film in him somewhere, but whether he decides makes it is up to him.

Kudos to Lucifer Valentine for creating something so balls-to-the-wall and courageous; this trilogy has encouraged stalkers and death threats sent his way.  The gore is a triumph of FX and there’s plenty of insanity and WTF? moments worth noting – even applauding.  However, it has too much shameless piss/puke pornography within it for my taste.  4/10

Written & Directed By:

Lucifer Valentine

Starring:

Ameara Lavey, Lucifer Valentine, The Soska Sisters

Genre:

Extreme Horror

Running Time:

65 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.

Movie Review: Hotel Inferno (2013)

Action, Horror, Movie Reviews

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”Hotel Inferno” is yet another slice of gore filled, brazen lunacy from Necrostormthe Italian production company who brought us ”Adam Chaplin (2011)” which I reviewed here.  Now 2 movies into my quest to complete their back catalog, I have a basic idea of what they’re all about: gore, gore and more gore – splattered all across genre pictures inspired by retro movies, comic books and video games.

In recent years, ”retro” homages to B movies of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s has become the in-thing; some are genuine love letters to their influences, where as some are hipster parodies which fail to capture the spirit of the films they’re trying to imitate.  However, Necrostorm films don’t come across as homages whatsoever; they are authentic works of cyberpunk insanity born from forward thinking creative minds, as opposed to ones seeking nostalgia, which just happen to include influences from yesteryear.

”Adam Chaplin” was like a comic book come to life in movie form.  ”Hotel Inferno”, on the other hand, adopts another approach us geeks love – first person shooters.  The movie is filmed POV from the perspective of our protagonist as he slaughters his way through hordes of deformed baddies to try and escape from a hotel that poses as a front for an occult organization.  Furthermore, the scenes between slaughter are very reminiscent of video game cut scenes, which makes for some welcome exposition to inform us on the story and mythology behind it all.

The films ”hero” is Frank Zimosa (Rayner Bourton); a contract killer hired by an organization who call themselves the ”Luman Corporation”.  His task sounds routine at first: carry out a hit on a couple of serial killers holding up in a hotel.  Frank is equipped with a pair of special sunglasses, which are used to communicate with Luman Corporation’s owner Jorge Mistrandia (Michael Howe), as well as a recording device to film his every move.  Jorge is very particular with how the executions must be carried out – and soon Frank learns his mystery employer has greater, more sinister intentions in mind.

Once Frank abandons the mission, he must fight to survive.  Violence and mayhem ensues as he shoots, hacks and slashes his way through the hotels secret corridors, pursued by zombie-like henchman, with a supernatural demonic force lying in wait.  The demon demands specific violence to appease ”Her” – or else she’ll rise from her Hellish slumber. And nobody wants that.

The acting and dialogue is akin to that of a video game as well, with interactions kept brief and to the point when the chaos is having a breather; this is only enhanced by the dubbed voices, which are over-the-top and, quite frankly, too cliched to resemble real people.  Jorge Mistrandia speaks with a posh English accent that’s eloquent and sinister.  Frank Zimosa sounds like an ape who can only blurt out vulgar slurs and repetitive phrases.  It takes you awhile to accept the awful dubbing, but once the movie gets going you find it adds to its charm, as it does feel like you’re watching a video game progress through levels before climaxing at the big boss.

”Hotel Inferno” blends digital and practical effects perfectly, but it’s the practical effects which stand out out most impressively.  These include decapitations, spines being ripped out and countless other acts of frequent artistic butchering.  The crew know what us horror fans love, and they don’t take any shortcuts unless it’s completely necessary.  The digital effects are used to create fire and explosions mostly, but they never seem out of place.

Overall, ”Hotel Inferno” is another inventive gem from the Necrostorm team.  It’s as ultra violent, dark and demented as they come, but it does so in such a gleeful manner it maintains a sense of gleeful fun throughout.  This is a company worth following; much like Astron-6 they’re a company who share a connection with genre fans who seek more than your typical, run-of-the-mill fads.  If you like your movies left field, ”Hotel Inferno” is worth checking into.  7/10

Written & Directed By:

Giulio De Santi

Starring:

Rayner Bourton, Jessica Carroll, Michael Howe

Genre:

Action, Horror

Running Time:

80 min

Movie Review: Adam Chaplin (2011)

Action, Crime, Horror, Movie Reviews

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They say we fall in love when we least expect it – and after watching ”Adam Chaplin”, I can wholeheartedly relate to this sentiment.  Every once in awhile, you stumble upon a movie that caters so well to your tastes. you think it was made just for you.  That’s the feeling that overwhelmed me when watching ”Adam Chaplin”, the manic action-horror hybrid revenge story from Necrostorm – an Italian film production company who specialize in gore and insanity.  Inspired by Japanese manga and violent B movies of the 1980’s and 90’s, this self-proclaimed ”Italian gore extravaganza” is an amazing triumph of micro-budget cinema.

Set in the fictional country of Heaven Valley, the film tells the story of Adam Chaplin – a demonically possessed vigilante with superhuman strength hellbent on avenging the death of his wife, who was burnt alive at the hands of Denny, a sadistic mob boss who is impossible to touch.  With a corrupt police force and a hired killer on his case, Adam and his demon sidekick must slaughter their way through their foes before vengeance can be claimed.

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To compare ”Adam Chaplin” with other movies, I’d say it’s a combination of ”The Crow (1994)”, ”Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)”, ”Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991)” and ”Fist of the North Star (1986)” to name a few.  Essentially, it’s a comic book come to life: the story is a Faustian tale of revenge, with cartoonish characters in a city ruled by crime and corruption.  The villains are grotesque, maniacal and savage, whereas Adam is a trench coat clad killing machine who can punch through faces. Visually, it’s dark and grimy, with an ever present blue flair which further enhances its comic book aesthetic; this provides a stunning contrast to all of the crimson splatter, which sprays, splurts and slithers in gallons.

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Gore is the obvious appeal of a film like ”Adam Chaplin”, and it makes sure to bring it to the forefront whenever possible – which is often as the story was tailor-made to include as much visceral carnage as possible.  Blood sprays, limbs are torn and heads are bashed; eyeballs and brains are squished and allowed to pour out from skulls and lay with rotten carcasses.  However, the plot – as thin and simple as it may be – makes for an engaging story to be told.

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The film is a showcase of practical effects, which look absolutely outstanding considering the budget they were working with – which was less than the daily catering of a Michael Bay movie.  I imagine this will be very inspiring to any up and coming horror filmmakers.  At times it is a little rough around the edges, but the sheer ambition of the project – as well as the heart and effort put in – is so incredible it blurs out its minor flaws.

”Adam Chaplin” is the type of film many horror fans yearn for: a violent, frenzy of bizarre madness that’s so off the rails you wonder if it was even on track to begin with.  It’s a balls-to-the-wall splatter fest full of non-stop action at its most hyper and deranged.  It’s style over substance at its most entertaining and a sure fire cult classic of popcorn entertainment. Necrostorm are bringing Italian splatter back to prominence in the 21st century.  And they’re doing so with style.  8/10

Written & Directed By:

Emanuele De Santi

Starring:

Emanuele De Santi, Valeria Sannino, Chiara Marfella

Genre:

Action, Horror, Crime

Running Time:

84 min

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

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

Suspension-horror-movie-Lando-Mosley-1

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

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.

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