29 April 2012

3 Short Films from Jeremiah Kipp: CRESTFALLEN / EASY PREY / DROOL

CRESTFALLEN
(5minute short)

USA, 2011
Director: Jeremiah Kipp

7,5/10










"Crestfallen" is a stylish and visually stunning dialogue-free short film about a young woman recalling her miserable past whilst lying and dying in the bathtub after she slit her wrist.

Kipp and writer/producer Russ Penning created a hauntingly beautiful and quite impressive-looking film, filmed, presented and told in an incredibly unique way that almost make it look like a teaser for a big-studio feature. The cinematography is just outstanding (just look at all the outstandingly well filmed, outstandingly well-lit bathroom scenes), the editing is simply awesome and Harry "Friday The 13th" Manfredini's emotional and super-chilling score is jaw-dropping.


Only flaw: Deneen Melody's performance. She's a gorgeous and talented actress, but IMO she just didn't fit the role. A more experienced, more emotional actress would have been better.
Yet, apart from that, "Crestfallen" is a powerful and superbly made short. Recommended!

Imdb
Watch it here!



EASY PREY
(5minute short)

USA, 2011
Director: Jeremiah Kipp

9,5/10





I'm not sure if "Easy Prey" is a better-made film than "Crestfallen", but hell, I definitely enjoyed it a lot more! It's about an old man who wants to be/feel young again and a young (and probably money-hungry) vampire girl who is eager to fulfill his desire.

My goodness, it's amazing how complex and convoluted this little film is. The story is way more twisted than you might actually think, especially when we get to see various intercut scenes with 2 cheerful children. Who are this children? Is the whole thing only a child's play? Are the children a symbol for the re-gained youth?
Oh, and what's with all the close-ups of the vampire girl's feet? A symbolic connection between the adult-scenes and the child-scenes? A simple expression of youth? Or something completely different?


Despite all these fascinating questions, "Easy Prey" is also fun and highly entertaining, especially because of Pete Barker and Mackenzie Christine Hawkins' absolutely wonderful performances. The cinematography is terrific and the soundtrack is beautiful.
"Easy Prey" - easily awesome!

Imdb
Watch it here!



DROOL
(4minute short)

USA, 2011
Created by: Mandragoras Production (Jeremiah Kipp, Salinoch, Scott W. Perry, Laura Lona, Brian Uhrich & Agata Domanska)

10/10


"Drool" is a surreal and extremely bizarre dialogue-free experimental short; haunting and quite disturbing, but also highly atmospheric, strangely erotic and totally captivating.


A woman and a man in a steamy room, both sweating and drooling over each other with an oozy substance that looks like a mixture of hair gel, and lube. In the beginning it seems like the woman gets a kick out of drooling on the man who's lying on the floor, writhing and suffering - but suddenly the tables turn, and now it's the man who's making the woman suffer.

I have no idea what this all means, but it deeply impressed me. The whole thing could be a weird portrayal of an abusive relationship, or maybe it's simply about sadomasochism. Certain shots/scenes indicate rape or unwanted sex, others indicate a strange disease or sickness, or maybe even a drug addiction.


"Drool" looks stunning with all its beautiful black-and-white images and extreme close-ups, and the grim, doom-laden soundtrack reminded me a bit
of "SUNN O)))" or similar bands.
I can't help bit, I just have to give this a 10/10. It's terrifyingly excellent!

27 April 2012

"HORROR HIGH" (Cult Terror Cinema 12 Movies Pack, #5)

HORROR HIGH

Alternate Titles:
Twisted Brain / Kiss The Teacher... Goodbye!

German Titles:
Die Bestie / Die Teufelsbestie

USA, 1974
Director: Larry N. Stouffer

5/10




 "Horror High" is a weird but quite enjoyable low-budget teen-variation on the Jekyll & Hyde theme, written by J.D. Feigelson who was also responsible for the screenplays of the 80s classics "Dark Night Of The Scarecrow" and "Chiller".

Pat Cardi is cool and extremely believable as bullied nerd Vernon who transforms into a bloodthirsty humanoid monster after drinking a self-created serum. The rest of the cast is also pretty fun, especially Joy Hash as super-sadistic English teacher.
The kills are all pretty geat (papercutter decapitation, melted in a vat of acid, stomped to death with metal cleats) and the soundtrack is pretty funky.

Unfortunately, the movie is way too slow, way too tedious and hardly ever thrilling. There are loads of scenes that are plain boring, and a few scenes that are just too long. Large parts of the dialogue suck hard, there are a few horribly annoying characters (most notably the janitor and the coach) and the ending is just disappointing.
Overall, nothing special but worth a watch.



"ESCAPE FROM HELL ISLAND" (Cult Terror Cinema 12 Movies Pack, #4)

ESCAPE FROM HELL ISLAND

USA, 1963
Director: Mark Stevens

1/10











"Escape From Hell Island", based on Robert Sheckley's novel "The Man On The Water", is one of the most boring movies I've ever seen. A ridiculous and pointless thriller/drama with no plot, absolutely no tension, weak acting, and a bunch of stupid and completely unlikable characters.
 It's basically 60 minutes of people talking and 20 minutes of a man who got thrown into the water, trying to get back on the ship.

My hopes were high when I read that the script was written by T.L.P. Swicegood, the man behind the super-hilarious "The Undertaker And His Pals" - unfortunately, his vapid and half-assed script is probably the worst thing about this turd.

1 word: AVOID!!!



26 April 2012

THE SHRINE

THE SHRINE

Canada, 2010
Director: Jon Knautz

4/10











I'm a huge fan of Jon Knautz' wonderful 80s tribute "Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer", that's why I was extremely excited for "The Shrine" since I first heard about it - unfortunately, this weird blend of "Wicker Man", "Exorcist" and "Evil Dead" completely disappointed me.

The movie is boring, slow-paced and predictable (I figured out the plot twist halfway through the movie). The acting is weak and the characters are so shallow and unsympathetic, it's absolutely impossible to like them. The special effects look terrible (the fog in the forest... almost SyFy level), the camera work is mediocre, many of the settings look cheap and the score... wait, was there even a score? I really can't remember.


At least the climax is pretty entertaining and action-packed, there's some great-looking gore, many creepy visuals and the superbly scary Statue-scene - but aside from that, "The Shrine" is just another forgettable DTV lamefest.

P.S. In the beginning there's some talk about dying bees and unpollinated plants - a plot point which was actually way more interesting than the rest of the movie...

LA CAMA

LA CAMA
(5minute short)

USA, 2012
Directors: Rudy Gold & Christian Guzman

6/10










"La Cama" is the first episode in an upcoming web-series called "Midnight Horror Show", directed by Rudy Gold & Christian Guzman.

It's about a guy (played by director Guzman) whose comic reading session gets disturbed by weird phone calls. There's loads of tension and atmosphere, the camera work looks solid and Steven Moreno's haunting soundtrack is just awesome. Unfortunately, there are way, waaaaay too many annoying grindhouse gimmicks (scratches, grain, frame drops etc.) and the ending is disappointing.

Hopefully, the next episode will be better!

24 April 2012

CHRONICLE

CHRONICLE

German Title:
Chronicle - Wozu bist du fähig?

USA, 2012
Director: Josh Trank

8,5/10








 Yes, one of my most-anticipated movies of 2012 turned out to be as awesome as expected: the absolutely amazing "Chronicle", a unique and incredibly original take on the stale superhero genre, and also a cool-looking and very, VERY well made found footage flick.


It's a brilliantly entertaining and highly enthralling movie, thanks to Josh Trank's tight direction and the fabulously written, fabulously paced script from Max Landis (son of John Landis) who created a fascinating story-concept around 3 deeply interesting young characters who acquire telekinetic superpowers, excellently played by the 3 newcomer actors Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan and Alex Russell.

Considering the low budget ($12 Million), the special effects look just excellent: loads of top notch CGI (all the pranks, the 'exploding' spider, the Lego game, the talent show, the uber-impressive climax), some stunning practical effects (the imploding car) and of course, the outstanding Flying-scenes, a combination of circular rigs (that simulate skydiving) and CGI.


Apart from the pointless and disappointing epilogue, "Chronicle" is a powerful and innovative film, a breath of fresh air to the found footage AND to the Science Fiction genre.

23 April 2012

THE GREY

THE GREY

German Title:
The Grey - Unter Wölfen
 
USA, 2011
Director: Joe Carnahan

8/10








"The Grey" (produced by Ridley Scott and Tony Scott) is a grim and powerful survival-thriller-drama, a bit similar to the 90s classics "The Edge" and "Alive". Director/writer Joe Carnahan ("The A-Team") fully succeeded in creating an intelligent, tense, emotionally stirring and even philosophical outdoor chiller


Well-acted, well-written and well-paced, the movie is entertaining and thrilling from beginning to end (aside from 2-3 mildly dull scenes). Most of the characters are interesting, believable and likable, and the acting is consistently great, especially "Mr. Badass" Liam Neeson who delivers another amazing leading performance.

The bleak Alaskan wilderness was brilliantly captured by the aspiring cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi whose realistic camera work
is just stunning.
It's packed with impressive-looking (plane crash, exhausted Frank Grillo on the riverside), super-suspenseful (hiding in the woods, canyon wall) and touching scenes (opening, dying victim in the plane), the sinister soundtrack is terrific and most of the monologues/dialogues are plain awesome.


The ending was somewhat pretty disappointing, simply because I didn't got to see Neeson fistfight the shit outta that wolf - at least, the superb short scene after the credits softened that disappointment.
Overall, "The Grey" is a really excellent survival-film not to be missed. I wish they'd make more movies like this nowadays.

REMOTE (2010)

REMOTE
(20minute short)

Canada, 2010
Director: Marc Roussel

9/10










"Remote" is an absolutely excellent time-travel-themed horror-thriller (in the vein of "Frequency" or "The Caller") about a guy who tries to prevent the murder of a young woman with whom he is temporarily connected in time (via television).


It's a powerful and almost flawless short film, incredibly thrilling and highly suspenseful. The script is intelligent, complex and very well written, the direction is tight, and the plot (which reminded a bit of "Twilight Zone" or Patrick Rea's works) is simply cool - regular readers know that I love time travel stuff :)

The acting is neat and the 2 main characters are cool, believable and very likable. Christopher Guglick's piano/strings score is extremely haunting, Robert Scarborough's cinematography looks beautiful and Mark Sanders' editing is solid.
Highlights: every single plot twist, the super-gorgeous Sarah Silverthorne and a solid amount of gorgeous gore.


Hands down, "Remote" is an awesome and fascinating little chiller.
Top notch work, Mr. Roussel!

22 April 2012

YELLOWBRICKROAD

YELLOWBRICKROAD

Alternate Title:
Yellow Brick Road


USA, 2010
Directors: Andy Mitton & Jesse Holland

7,5/10







Nope, this is not your average backwoods-slasher, and no, this has nothing to do with Elton John or the Wizard of Oz - "YellowBrickRoad" is in fact a pretty unique and immensely unsettling psychological horror-movie that impressed / disturbed me a lot.

The movie starts out as weird and slow but pretty atmospheric and eerie non-mockumentary version of "Blair Witch Project" - a few researchers and explorers try to find a mysterious mountain trail where the entire population of a small community disappeared in the 1940s


At the 25 minute mark it gets pretty creepy as some old-fashioned 30s/40s music begins to fill the woods - the source is unknown.
At the 40 minute mark it gets quite disturbing when one guy rips off the leg of his sister with his bare hands (shocking scene).
And at the 50 minute mark it gets completely scary and frightening, right until the end: the music gets louder and wilder, every single character loses his mind and becomes insane, the atmosphere is depressing, people kill each other or commit suicide - I was a wreck when the movie ended!


Kudos to the directors/writers Andy Mitton & Jesse Holland who created a fascinating and intriguing horror film with great camera work and an unbelievably haunting soundtrack. The acting is decent (especially the gorgeous Anessa Ramsey) and the characters are all believable.

Apart from the disappointing, absurd and pointless ending, I totally fell in love with "YellowBrickRoad"!

Wiki ~ Imdb

21 April 2012

Chicago Fear Fest 2012 - Winners

Look at that: we have some winners!

Huge Congrats to PATRICK REA
NAILBITER - Best Feature & Best Director

Huge Congrats to RICHARD POWELL
FAMILIAR - Best Short Film

Huge Congrats to STEVE GOLTZ & KEVIN SOMMERFIELD
TEDDY: HE'S BEARY SCARY - Audience Favorite


20 April 2012

The HOSTEL Trilogy

HOSTEL

USA, 2005
Director: Eli Roth

6/10











"Hostel" is one of the most overrated horror movies of all time, directed by one of the most overrated horror directors of all time. Simple as that. It's not bad, but far from being 'the scariest', 'most brutal' or 'most important horror film of all time' as many critics and websites say.


 
The movie is quite funny and entertaining, with lots of funny dialogue lines and goofy characters. The 3 main 'heroes' are very likable, there's lots of gorgeous nude girls, and the acting is generally solid.
The gore / torture scenes are brutal and quite shocking (though not as shocking as some of the stuff Lucio Fulci or Ruggero Deodato did 20-30 years before), the Czech (not Slovakian) locations all look cool and haunting (Cesky Krumlov, the abanonded factory, the torture chambers), camera work and editing are pretty ace, and I love the crazy soundtrack.

Unfortunately, Eli Roth wasn't able to create any tension or suspense. Ok, there are a few fairly tense scenes in the second half, but nothing that kept me on the edge of my seat. Especially the first half is often so slow and tedious, it's just annoying. Who's to blame? Of course Mr. Roth  for his weak style-over-substance direction and his half-assed script that can't decide between realistic shocker and over-the-top exploitation.


Overall, "Hostel" is a nice 00s horror flick and one of the better so-called "torture porn" movies - not more and not less.

Wiki ~ Imdb



HOSTEL: PART II

Alternate Title:
Hostel 2


USA, 2007
Director: Eli Roth

3/10








Part II is a horribly dumb, incredibly boring, completely unoriginal and extremely frustrating sequel that feels rushed and incomplete from beginning to end. I'd say it's more of a rehash than an actual sequel

The plot is way too similar to the first part, the main characters (girls and guys) are all quite unbearable, large parts of the scripts are completely stupid and make no sense, the plot twists are far-fetched and implausible, and apart from the intense hospital-scene, there's absolutely nothing thrilling or tense in here.
Furthermore, most of the torture scenes are pretty unimpressing, and scenes like the cut-off penis or the shot kid are just pointless.


At least, the opening is cool, the gory Bathory-scene is awesome and the camera work is once again wonderful. Nevertheless, I think it speaks for itself that Roth hasn't directed anything since Hostel 2

Wiki ~ Imdb



HOSTEL: PART III

Alternate Title:
Hostel 3

USA, 2011
Director: Scott Spiegel

5/10








It's hard to tell if Part 3 is a better movie than Part 2. It's obviously a cheap and totally unnecessary sequel but at least it's surprisingly quite entertaining and not as frustrating as its predecessor.

The movie has an awful low-budget straight-to-DVD look, there's some TERRIBLE-looking CGI, Roth-replacement Scott Spiegel's direction feels vapid and lifeless, the plot is weird and confusing, the script is muddled and way too predictable,  most of the acting is pretty bad and the character development is nonexistent.


Fortunately, the are a few highly suspenseful scenes in the first half, the torture scenes are all quite creative (face ripping, cockroach invasion), and the crossbow-wielding woman's costume looks creepy as fuck.
 There's also lots of cool kills in the otherwise lame climax, the opening is fantastic and the soundtrack is quite ace.

Hardcore Eli Roth fans - stay away. Everyone else - give it a try.

18 April 2012

"FLESHBURN" (Cult Terror Cinema 12 Movies Pack, #3)

FLESHBURN

German Titles: 
Fleshburn - Im Banne des Voodoo-Zaubers / Fleshburn - In der Hitze der Wüste

USA, 1984
Director: George Gage

3,5/10






Based on "Death Wish"-author Brian Garfield's "Fear In A Handful Of Dust", this really could have been an absolutely kick-ass outdoor/survival thriller. Unfortunately, untalented writer/director George Gage turned the promising story into a boring and hugely disappointing drama-thriller that never really gains momentum.

The first and the last 20 minutes are fairly tense and action-packed, but the 50 minutes in between are so incredibly dull and slow, it almost made me fall asleep. Countless scenes of people eating catusses, digging holes and complaining about the heat - yawn!

The characters are all stupid or annoying, but at least the acting is fairly solid. It's packed with idiotic plot points, the non-ending completely sucks, camera work and editing are mediocre and the soundtrack is lackluster. Skip!


17 April 2012

BATTLESHIP

BATTLESHIP

USA, 2012
Director: Peter Berg

9/10











Omg this movie is a miracle! I walked into the theater to see some silly alien-invasion trash, and walked out completly blown away by one of the greatest and most enjoyable action movies in a long time: "Battleship", an absolutely amazing summer popcorn blockbuster, directed by Peter Berg ("Very Bad Things", "Friday Night Lights"), written by the Hoeber Brothers ("Whiteout", "Red").


The movie has a wonderful 90s feel to it, comparable to stuff like "The Rock" or "ID4", and from the first to the last minute, it's fun and entertaining without ever getting boring. It's packed with terrific action sequences, visual stunning CGI effects and many incredibly thrilling scenes, but also full of hilarious moments and super-funny dialogue.

The character development is fabulous (I loved almost every single character) and the actors all delivered cool performances, especially Taylor Kitsch (very believable), Tadanobu Asano (simply cool), Liam Neeson (powerful as always), Peter MacNicol (lol) and Rihanna (pretty badass).
Steve Jablonsky's epic soundtrack is outstanding and the cinematography is just beautiful.


Highlights: the 'Chicken Burrito" opening, the cool-looking aliens, the uber-awesome alien spaceship, every single ship vs. alien spaceship scene, the awesome special effects, the Battleship game tie-in and, best of all, the uber-awesome scene before the final battle with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" playing in the background.

Hands down, "Battleship" is a kick-ass must-see action flick. Grab some popcorn, turn off your brain, lean back and enjoy - you'll have a blast!


Wiki ~ Imdb

16 April 2012

MEN RAPIST - A Pulp Series

MEN RAPIST - A PULP SERIES
(Episode #1)

Italy, 2012
Director: Giuseppe Piva

7/10






"Men Rapist - A Pulp Series" is an upcoming rape'n'revenge web series, consisting of 6 episodes, produced by a small Italian production studio called MyCity. I got the honour to watch the first episode and though my expectations weren't that high, I ended up pleasantly surprised.

"Men Rapist" is not some trashy "I Spit On Your Grave" rapefest, it's actually a stylish and visually stunning thriller about a mysterious creature in disguise that takes vengeance for raped women by raping the rapists. It's dark and gripping, but also quite entertaining.


The acting is terrific (especially the cool-looking Massimo Barberi), the dialogue is well-written, script and direction are tight. Fausto Mazza's camera work is awesome and looks just great, the settings all look beautiful, the rocking soundtrack is superb and the editing is pretty solid.

Ok, I haven't figured the whole thing because the plot is a bit confusing - but I'm sure the upcoming episodes will clear everything up. Overall, an interesting and well-made little film. Bravo, signore Piva!

15 April 2012

Jason & Freddy / IRON SKY review

Last Friday was fun. There was a wonderful little tribute to the 2 greatest horror icons of all time at the Filmcasino Vienna, Jason vs Freddy (as blogged here).
It was a long time since I last saw "Friday The 13th: The Last Chapter". I vaguely remember that I didn't like it that much - BOY, was I WRONG! Part 4 is just kick-ass. The audience was raving, the 35mm copy looked amazing - me & Mr. Stein enjoyed it a lot!
"Freddy vs. Jason" was also amazing. Already seen it on the big screen in 2003. Enjoyed it as much now, as I enjoyed it back then.
[Revised reviews for the Friday & Elm Street franchises later this year]

Only downer: the studios sent them the wrong Elm Street copy, so we got introduced to the horribly lame intro of the terrible 2010 remake. Fortunately, everybody protested and shouted from the top of the lungs towards the screen ("Boo!" / "The Original! We want the original!" / "Fuck you, Michael Bay!"). After a few minutes they stopped the screening, deeeeeply apologized and showed us "Iron Sky" instead, a nice trashy compensation (REVIEW below).
As far as I know, they'll show the real '84 Elm Street next month - yay!





IRON SKY

Alternate German Title:
Iron Sky - Wir kommen in Frieden!
 
Finland / Germany / Australia, 2012
Director: Timo Vuorensola

6/10








One of the most eagerly-awaited European movies of the last years is finally out - unfortunately it's not as great as expected: Timo Vuorensola's "Iron Sky", a politically incorrect Finnish low-budget nazisploitation-sci-fi-comedy about the Nazis coming back to Earth from the moon where they were hiding for more than 70 years.


The good:
The first half hour is absolutely hilarious: the Swastika-shaped moon base, the black astronaut who gets Aryanzed with an albino-serum, Sarah Palin as first female American president or the incredibly funny election-campaign scene that takes on the popular "Hitler reacts" Internet meme.

The acting is mostly great (highlight: Udo Kier as "Moon Führer" Kortzfleisch), the bombastic score from Laibach is excellent and the CGI effects look impressive. It's amazing what they special effects team was able to create with a budget of only about $8K.


The bad:
After the wonderful first half hour, the movie gets dull and boring for quite a while, due to the odd pacing and Michael Kalenisko's terrible screenplay. There's also loads of jokes that don't work at all, many pointless and uninteresting scenes, a few really stupid plot points and a rather disappointing climax.

If you want a Nazi-trash masterpiece, skip this and rewatch "Inglourious Basterds" - but if you want some silly Nazisploitation, then "Iron Sky" is your movie.

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