Tag Archives: Horror

I’m Dreaming Of A White Doomsday – A Lesson For Indie Horror Filmmakers

I believe it was the comedian Lewis Black that said something to the tune of “I remember a time in my life when Halloween was Halloween and Santa wasn’t poking his ass into it.” I do not like to have my Halloween invaded by the cheerful round elf, he will sure as shit get his turn, but I think I may make an exception for today’s offering.

I was lucky enough to see a review screener of a little film that could called I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday helmed  by a man named Mike Lombardo, a sadistic, soulless filmmaker who wants to ruin everything you find cheery.

On a slim budget of around 10 grand, Lombardo and his crew have managed to pull of a once in a lifetime feat by taking a tired trope, that of an apocalyptic Christmas, spinning it around, placing it firmly on its head and then proceeds to kick it in the balls.

I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday is basically a one set piece, set just before Christmas in the fallout shelter of a young family. After the father leaves to forage for supplies the mother is left alone to care for her young child while dealing with the realities of the end of the world.

If that sounds like a thin as you can be plot, that’s because it is and that is all that the movie needs. However, with the powerhouse performance of Hope Bikle as our mother with no rope to hang onto, you get dragged into this deceptively dark and depressing movie kicking and screaming and you will not be able to look away.

If the word Indie scares you at all, or has a certain perceived notion in your head, just forget it. This movie looks and feels like it was shot by a group of Hollywood hotshots out for a good time. There was never a minute that I had the thought of “Oh, well, I see what the filmmakers were going for, but they had very little to work with, bravo  to them.” No, This is the movie that 10 Cloverfield Lane wished it could be.

And to top it all off, when you finally think that you know where this movie is going, it just turns around, gives you the middle finger and politely asks you for your guts!

The gang over at Reel Splatter Productions (click the link to check out their web site, you won’t forgive yourself if you don’t) have put together a movie that cruises in at around an hour and 10 minutes but will never let you forget the time you spend with them. They are hitting the festival circuit now and if you have the chance, make sure you go check them out! These guys will be going far, and I for one welcome their fresh eye to the genre! Well played, boys… Well played….

 

Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Retro Girl Jeannie

We’re back with another fun list of horror films to seek out this Halloween season with Retro Girl!  Jeannie has been a friend  for a long time and I’m glad to be able to share some of her tastes around here.

I’ve chosen 5 Unknown/Underrated films, most imports. Most modern American horror sticks too closely to a formula. They target a teen audience, so that narrows their story telling and limits the possibilities of a interesting story. I think a good horror/monster film features a cast that you are interested in hanging out with even if something doesn’t happen. Good enough to be a drama on it’s own. So the monsters and jump scares are just gravy. We can’t care about the peril of the characters if we don’t care about the characters.
1. “Train to Busan”
“Train to Busan” is a South Korean apocalyptic zombie film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. It’s a Zombie film, but more of a action thriller movie with some very touching and emotional moments.  In a world of zombies this one stands out. Kind of like “Snow Piercer” with Zombies. At it’s core, it’s a family picture. Just a Father and his Daughter on the train to see her Mother for her Birthday with a ton of fast moving zombies on board. The action scenes in this take me be back to films like “Die Hard” and “Speed”. The action keeps the viewer engaged and part of it. If you can’t focus on the action, you can’t appreciate it fully. YOU are on the ride. You feel every tense moment. Yes, take the “Train to Busan”.
2. “The Girl with All the Gifts”
“The Girl with All the Gifts” is adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Mike Carey. Also known to write comics for DC, Vertigo and Marvel.
Films about kids are great if the kids are good actors. This girl is talented and natural. Sennia Nanua holds your attention and never lets it go. Glenn Close plays a Very strong woman in this. She must have been impressed with this little movie and wonderful script to want to get involved. Glad she did. Like any Zombie film you need to put your own spin on it and this one does. They way it is spread makes it even more dangerous. Strong cast and concept. Interesting Zombie repellent used to keep them from getting too ‘bitey’.
3.  “Blood Glacier”
A Glacier in the Austrian Alps is covered in a strange Red liquid that has weird effects on the local wildlife. It pays homage to John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, but very much it’s own movie. It must be watched with the English subtitles so you hear the voices of the actors. One actress in particular is hilarious and a American dub would never replicate the sound of her voice with her accent. Something is pounding the doors trying to get in as one lady hold up there is eating a banana while crying in fear. My favorite part is the other lady yells at her, “Stop eating that banana while you’re crying!” Love these odd moments in horror/sci fi films. It’s like that nervous laugh when something really bad is happening and they give us ‘carte blanche’ to crack up.
4. “The Pack”
“The Pack” is a Australian horror film about a pack of wild dogs that terrorize a family. I think some of the best horror is coming from other countries. They let a scene breath, let the camera run on a random moment. Not cut up like a music video. They let the surroundings reflect the film. A crow just walks up to a lamb and kicks it. Random and wonderful. That would be cut out of most American horror, and that’s too bad. These moments give it charm. Of the moment, but maybe gives a feeling that it is a tough country side, even the crows are badass! So yes, it’s just rabid wild dogs, not werewolves. The sound of those sharp claws walking on that family’s floor in their house is terrifying. I love a good werewolf movie, but when you see the creature still wearing torn pants it takes me out of it a bit. These dogs are not wearing pants.
5.  “The Burrowers”
“The Burrowers” is unique just being a horror/western, and it just gets more interesting from there. It would be good enough to just be a great Western, that it is. It is also a very Unique Monster Movie. Creepy as it crawls along in the high grasses. The high plains grass hides a hideous creature and before you know it, it’s too late. It paralyzes, buries you in shallow ground and comes back for you when you are decaying and easier to eat. Gross!! This monster knows it’s strengths and uses it surroundings. I have Loved watching Clancy Brown since he was Viking in “Bad Boys”. Who doesn’t love Clancy? He makes a perfect cowboy.
Jeannie Schwartz a.k.a. Retro Girl, friend to Drunken Zombie and Geek Nerdery. I’ve loved Monster movies since I was a kid. I read and collect comics and toys. I’ve written movie trivia for Midway Games and have done movie and wrestling reviews on the local radio station. I moderated a panel on Women in Comics. I like Butterscotch way more than I should. Sing in a band and I still get up early on Saturday (& Sunday) morning to watch cartoons!

A King’s Journey

Just about everyone that knows me knows how obsessed with Stephen King I am.  It’s not just that I enjoy his work but I obsess over it.  It probably came from the 4th Dark Tower book where we find out that everything he’s ever written is connected some how.

My mom was a big King fan back in the day.  She had a bookcase full of King books.  I’d pull them out and look at the covers.  I knew I’d always be too scared to read them, but they sat there and I’d stare at them.

It finally happened when I was 10.  The IT miniseries was on TV and even though it looked scary I still watched it.  I’m sure my parents regret that.  I couldn’t sleep without nightmares for awhile.  Then suddenly the urge came over me.  I had to read IT.  I needed to know more about this evil clown.  How I convinced anyone to let me buy a copy of IT I’ll never know but they let me.

I read it within 6 months.  I know but it’s over a thousand pages and I was 11.  Give me some slack.  From that point on I pretty much devoured every King book I could get my hands on.  My mom seemed encouraged by my interest and even let me borrow books from her collection.  Now the very books I used to get scared just looking at just the covers I was reading one after the other.

I give King credit for a lot of things with me.  I feel there is a point in every person’s life where they make the decision “do I keep reading for fun or do I just read because I have to for school and I move on to other things for fun?”  He kept me reading.  I would keep up to date on his current books.  Getting them for Christmas and Birthday presents from family members.  I read other authors  as well but nothing could bring me to a screaming halt like King.

Then I discovered within this collection of books The Dark Tower.  I had avoided it because I’m not really into fantasy novels.  But decided to give the first one a shot.  I enjoyed it enough I wanted to see where it would go so I got the second book.  Then the third.  After that the 4th book would change everything.

I was used to seeing references to other King works in his books. Castle Rock of course was a big nexus point but things like The Stand and some of his other short stories like The Mist (yes more a novella), The Jaunt, The Long Walk, etc. took place in worlds that there was no way could be in the same reality as Castle Rock.

In the 4th Dark Tower book a character whom I thought was a stand alone character told another character that he was trying to win over to his side “I once had a man that would pledge ‘My Life For You!'”  Everything changed.  Suddenly this quest for the Dark Tower now had resonance across every word King had every put to paper.  It all mattered.

I continued on the journey to the tower and was sad to say goodbye to the friends I had made in that world but never stopped making friends with his new characters.  Some books are better than others as that is with any story.  I never quit.  King has kept me reading and dreaming.  Most importantly King has kept me writing.

I had dreams of being a big novelist.  I also had dreams of being a big filmmakers.  Age has let me look at the realities of this world and I let myself be content to just write and make movies because I want to with no goal of hitting it big.  I’d actually like to avoid that if possible.  I just want to enjoy doing it.

This Friday I finally close a circle as I’ll be heading up to the Chicago area to see King and his son Owen talk about their new book Sleeping Beauties.  I’ve been holding out going to one of these because I always hoped there would be a chance to meet him at a signing so I could extend my hand and say “Thank you for everything you’ve given me.” It doesn’t look like he does many straight up signings anymore so this may be the only chance I’ll have to at least be in an event with him.  I’m going to take it and enjoy every minute I can of him and his son sitting on stage telling stories and talking about weaving stories together.  There are worse ways to spend a Friday.

Movie Break: The Scorned with Tonya, Trishelle and Steven Hill

We’re on hiatus from The Challenge, so the crew sits down to discuss the forgotten horror movie, The Scorned starring Challenge alum Trishelle, Tonya and Steven. No drama this time around, or challenges or eliminations, but we do discuss blood and gore and death scenes. That’s similar, right?

‘Alien:Covenant’ review: Is it more like ‘Alien’ or ‘Prometheus’?

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When I told friends I saw the most recent addition to the Alien family last week, the first question was always the same: Was it more like Alien or Prometheus? And my answer is always the same, Yes but it is also it’s own. Ridley Scott’s masterful direction is both a sequel to Prometheus and a gateway that is leading the audience to Alien. The film’s prologue begins with a young Peter Weyland introducing his latest creation David (played by one of the best parts and performances of this movie Michael Fassbender) to the world. This is where the elements of Prometheus begin, the religious overtones of creation/God making Man. When David asks Weyland, “If God made Man, who made God?”, you can see Weyland’s’s face shift to the realization that his creation has questioned him and asked what he himself would like to know.

Then, piece by piece, the opening title sequence takes you back to Alien and the tone is set of what the audience is in for.  It’s 2104, 10 years after Prometheus and 18 years prior to the original Alien.   The Covenant is carrying the frozen cryosleep crew of twelve and 2,000 other sleepy frozen passengers along with 1000’s of embryos on a 7 year journey to a distant planet Origae-6 when it is thrown off course by a burst of crap/space storm/neutrino shock wave that shreds this gold shield thing and nearly kills everyone. Luckily, the humanoid watching over the ship, Walter (also Fassbender) wakes up the crew and saves the day, except for (spoiler alert) James Franco. If you are not a Franco fan then this is the movie for you because his demise is not pretty. The crew mourns briefly, fixes the ship, hears a beacon on a seemingly perfect new planet and despite the fact that they have a course set to a destination I’m pretty positive some really smart people have done a ton of research on, they take 3/4’s of the remaining crew and go to this equally inhabitable planet to explore and shortly after that all hell breaks loose.

So here are the pros: Covenant is a dark, haunting, exhilarating exploration in space and bloodier than the previous films in the franchise that brings the scares Prometheus lacked.The Xenomorphs are magnificent in size and scare factor and the introduction of the Neomorphs (add that to your lexicon) are both terrifying and adorable. Plush Neomorphs and baby Groots may be THE gift for the kids this summer. There is also a POV from the Xenomorph that I don’t recall experiencing as an audience member before. As for the performances, the standouts are

DF-14740 – Katherine Waterston as Daniels in ALIEN: COVENANT. Photo Credit: Mark Rogers.

Daniels (Katherine Waterston despite her Floyd Christmas haircut) the female lead reminiscent of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley cautious, couragous and kicking ass. Faris (Amy Seimetz) the ship’s co-pilot who has the most believable performance from the moment she awakens from cryosleep to her encounter with an ill crew member and what transpires after, she is the only member of the team that follows protocol and her fear looks more than real. The standout and star is David/Walter (Fassbender) who is outstanding and entertaining especially in scenes where he acts with, himself. It is clear that writers John Logan and Dante Harper enjoyed writing the scenes between these two characters with a line like, “Watch me…I’ll do the fingering.”

Which leads to the cons: While practical effects were used, there is a quintessential scene where they were not and in my opinion missed the mark where it was an easy target. Award for worst crew in space goes to…. The Covenant. You have 2,000 lives on board your ship and you decide to go exploring? Last time I checked you had a mission and a destination but this shiny penny planet apparently means more than human existense. And who takes 3/4 of their remaining crew to “check out” a perfect uninhabited planet? Do they not show reruns of ANY television show set in space in 2104?

The character development is abysmal. What angers me about this is the 4 minute teaser trailer released 2 months before of a Last Supper with the crew that establishes relationships, personalites, banter and makes you feel and at least know more than 4 of the charachters names. Why this was not added to the final film I don’t understand because this 4 minute addition would have been that touch the film needed.

Despite the lack of character development and storyline plotholes, Covenant is a gorgeous film that splits the feel of Alien and Prometheus. The Covenant ship is a dead ringer for the Nostromo while the landscape of the planet, both barren of life and beautiful is reminiscent of Prometheus.The production design department led by Chris Seagers will be, in my opinion, nominated and possibly winning many accolades during awards season because of their exquisite craftmandship.

Alien:Covenant is a transition film that is an equal mix of Alien and Prometheus with the horror and tension of the original and the ambition to answer the question of creation and life from the latter. While it did not leave me feeling, anything actually, I do believe it is a film with some misses but a film that should be watched and enjoyed in the theater. I guess my disappointment is that I know this is a an A movie that ended up being a B. This is not the end however, which makes me hopeful. Alien:Covenant opens in theaters May 19th.

 

Garden Party Massacre – A Review

Good god I love Indie horror. I grew up on a steady stream of Troma and Full Moon movies as a kid (Ask your parents). There is something about a movie that is shot on a shoe string budget by people who love what they are doing, its elevates the idea into an art form.

Garden Party Massacre is a low budget, indie send up of your typical horror movies. Imagine if you would The 3 Stooges taking on Sam Raimi and you get the idea behind Garden Party Massacre.

Written, directed and starring Gregory Blair, Massacre begins as typical get together of several friend but quickly turns into a comedic romp that had me  giggling throughout the film. Massacre doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should you.

One of the hardest things to do is nail horror comedy, and Garden Party Massacre hits all the bloody beats in its brisk 1:10 play time and it uses every moment it has to full effect.

The pros – There are a lot of chuckles to be had and when you think you have the movie figured out, you don’t.

The Cons – Its a low budget indie movie. Some of the acting is questionable, but  I still had a damn good time watching this flick.

Garden Party Massacre is currently making the round on the festival circuit and from what I have seen, audiences are eating it up.  Check out the trailer below.

 

DirecTV Drops Chiller TV

If I’m not watching WWE or The Walking Dead my television is always on Chiller TV. Don’t care if it’s a marathon of The X-Files or an heavy edited movie like Beyond Re-Animator I always found joy on that channel.

Two movies that I watched on Chiller and went out and bought was Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (2005) and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (2005). I didn’t even know there was more Return movies after part three. Slasher was a fantastic series Chiller aired in 2016. Lastly the Chiller and Scream Factory original movie, Fender Bender (2016) was a highlight for me when it came to horror movies last year.

Reason I’m writing all this is I found out that DirecTV-AT&T has dropped Chiller TV from their cable packages and or you gotta pay a higher cable package to get the channel back, that’s what the dirt sheets are saying and it’s disappointing. I guess SyFy will be my go to for light night horror at 3 a.m. It’s an end of an era in the Massive One’s household.

Source: Fierce Cable

American Horror Story To Tackle Trump

Never one to shy away from controversy, American Horror Story producer Ryan Murphy has announced that the next season of the beloved anthology series will take it’s cues from this years election.

During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Murphy let it spill that this season will be getting a tad political. When pressed if there will be a trump-esque character on the show, Murphy gave a very Trump like “Maybe”

Santa Clarita Diet – A Preliminary Review

Jesus-Jumped-Up-Joseph, Netflix! When the hell did you start going so right?

I admit that I bounce my subscriptions between Netflix and Hulu depending on the TV season, but with Netflix’s newest marathon-able sitcom, Santa Clarita Diet, it has earned a full time sub from me.

If you have been living under a rock, Santa Clarita Diet is the new Drew Barrymore half hour sitcom vehicle, but with a horror twist, and unlike Ash Vs Evil Dead, which, yes is very funny, Diet takes is subject matter with total heart, and human hearts.

Drew Barrymore stars as Sheila Hammond, a real estate agent who works along side her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant). One morning she wakes up dead, only to find out that, like a zombie is want to do, craves raw, human flesh. Olyphant is her doting husband who tries to desperately to keep his suburban life as normal as possible while dealing with the fact that he and his wife must now start killing people to keep her fed.

As this is a prelim review, I am only up to episode 4 of the season, which is still early in the process but I have to say this. When it comes to comedy, im a silent laugher. Im a smiler, a chuckler and Santa Clarita Diet has had me laughing hysterically during each episode.

Barrymore is amazing as she begins to accept her new lifestyle contrasted with Olyphant’s put upon, neurotic husband who is trying desperately to control his wife’s impulses while being the supportive and loving husband and father.

And with a revolving cast of supporting characters and cameos, both love-able and despise-able, this is one of the best acted and tonally perfected shows I have seen outside of the Marvel/DC TV shows in a good long while. Netflix, you’ve scored a new winner!

 

Tremors 6 Confirmed

You just can’t keep a good man giant man-eating worm down. Michael Gross confirmed on his facebook page that, following the relative success of Tremors 5, Tremors 6 begins shooting next week.

Nothing is known about the plot, but it would be a pretty safe guess to say that it will be a direct continuation of part 5 as both Gross’ Burt Gummer and Jamie Kennedy’s Travis Welker will return and shooting will once again be in Africa under the guidance of Don Michael Paul who also directed part 5.

No release date has been announced, but I would wager that we will be seeing the Graboids once again sometime by the end of the year.

Nightmare On Elm Street: The Comics That Freddy Forgot – Innovation Comics Pt 1

You just simply keep a good slasher down. Throughout 8 movies, a shitty remake and a Tales From The Crypt-esque style syndicated television show, not to mention millions and millions of dollars worth of merchandise, Freddy Krueger has haunted the dreams of the world for more than 30 years.

Now that the movies are seemingly over, at least for the foreseeable future, I decided to take a look back at some of the other mediums that Freddy has dreamed his way into, especially in the world of Comics.

In 1991, the same year that Freddy’s Dead hit theaters, independent publisher, Innovation Comics, obtained the rights to publish a new line (pun intended) of stories featuring the Springwood Slasher. This would take the form of 3 story arcs.

The first 2 arc, published in Nightmares on Elm Street, take place between Nightmare 5 and Freddy’s Dead. While fairly run of the mill in the art work department, the stories massively expand on several ideas that were never fully fleshed out in parts 3 through 5, namely the physics, rules and realms of the dreamscape.

The first arc (issues 1 and 2) features an all new character, Cybil Houch, a Jack The Ripper researcher. Cybil has been having nightmares of The Ripper for weeks as he stalks her in her dreams.

Through Jack’s exposition we learn that he was also a Freddy like figure, possessing powers much like his, though the extent of them aren’t spoken of in much detail. That in itself could have been a very interesting comic in itself as it hints at dream monsters throughout mankind’s history.

We come to find that Cybil was a one time college room mate of Nancy Thompson. As Nancy’s home begins to appear in her Freddy induced nightmares she decides to hunt down her room mate, only to find out that she had died several years later.

Cybil tracks down Dr. Neil Gordon from Nightmare 3 who is currently working on dream therapy after his run in with Freddy. Neil realizes that Freddy is once again killing and rushes to Cybil’s aid after she falls asleep while on the phone with him.

Neil decides to take Cybil into the dream world and finds Nancy alive and well in what she calls “The Beautiful Dream”, a sort of Anti-Nightmare that Freddy can’t touch. Nancy has been protecting Neil for years from Freddy and growing in her powers as a dream protector, but not yet strong enough to take on Freddy.

Towards the end of the arc, we also discover that, aside from The Beautiful Dream and The Nightmare, there is a 3rd dreamscape. This plane is reserved for the dreams of the unborn, where babies, still in their mothers womb reside in their perpetual dream until birth.

The 3 face off with Freddy for a “final” showdown in what I am calling The “Babyscape” with an abrupt ending that  comes out of nowhere and leaves you confused as to what really just happened.

The story is finished in the following arc, but we as the reader don’t know that at first and until I was able to finally read the next four issues, I was seriously disappointed in what was clearly an end to that particular story.

The first two comics are interesting from a story perspective for a few reasons…

One of the biggest points of confusion for me with the Nightmare series was part 4. While one of the best of sequels, right behind 3 in my opinion, it always seemed like there was a bigger story that was left on some part of the cutting room floor. In particular the idea that was only hinted on of the Dream Gate Guardians when Freddy tells Alice that he has been guarding his gate for a long time after she assumes her mantle as The Dream Master. This idea however is central to the story in Nightmares as we learn that Nancy is the guardian of the Beautiful Dream while Freddy is the guardian of The Nightmares.

Of course this also raises a question that, as Nightmare Guardians have been around throughout mankind’s history, has there also been a Beautiful Dream guardian as well, and what about the Babyscape? Is there a guardian for that as well?

The final panel of issue 2 also raises the question that, since Freddy is stuck in Springfield, are there other Nightmare Gate Guardians elsewhere in the world, possibly stuck in their respective killing fields, still haunting the dreams of those that live there. Questions we may never find the answer to.

Personally I loved that the books touched on things that were presented in Nightmares 3, 4 and 5. There was enough familiarity in the comics to make it seem like we were coming back to a world we were already familiar with while presenting new ideas and expanding on ones already presented.

All in all the first story arc in Nightmares On Elm Street does a wonderful job on expanding on the universe of the Elm Street movies and reunite us with some of our favorite Freddy survivors. The artwork, while certainly nothing special, gets the job done and, for an independent publisher, isn’t too bad.

If you are interested in these books, they are available on ebay and amazon, but can run on the slightly pricey side of things. If the price deters you, there are always ways to read them. The internet is a big, big place.

In Part 2 we will be taking a look at the next 4 issues of the 6 issue run of Nightmares, how it abruptly throws us into a new, yet familiar story and expands the universe even further, but until then, sweet dreams!

 

 

Why Horror Movies Are No Longer Scary – An Editorial

If it is one thing that fandoms like to do is bitch and moan about their particular obsessions, how it doesn’t live up to the experiences and the expectations one had when they were first introduced to whatever their fandom is and one of the most vocal and unapologetic is the horror community.

Their biggest complaint is that horror movies made today simply aren’t scary anymore. I personally love horror movies, as do, I am sure, a lot of you reading this. The first horror movies to scare the hell out of me were Return of the Living Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

I saw these at a very young age when home video was in its infancy and I still believed what the television had to show me was real. I mean, I still believed that some fairy came in the night and took the teeth that had fallen out of my face and traded it for money, so I was not the most logical of humans when I was 6 years old.

Now I go back and watch those same movies and I laugh along with the joke that they are laying out. It is well known that both of those movies are more comedy than horror with some wonderful gore elements thrown in for us hounds, but that got me to thinking, why don’t I find these movies scary anymore? What ever happened to that sense of foreboding and dread that circled my gut when I see something horrific on the screen and I came to the conclusion that I simply grew up.

That’s not to say that I lost the love for the genre. If anything it has grown since then because I understand the magic behind the scares. Also what scares me has drastically changed since that point of my life.

To me the slasher style killers like Jason and Michel Myers are just fantasy, but people like Sy the Photo Guy from One Hour Photo terrify me. I didn’t take my film to be developed for 2 years after I saw that movie.

Obsession scares me. Several years ago I had my own stalker and working in the news industry where I have watched my co-workers being stalked and have seen the less than stable public who flock to news personalities scare me more than some random knife wielding masked killer. It is the reality to the situation and I can see myself as the person being threatened.

If zombies scare you, I’m sure zombie movies will scare you, however if witches, tooth fairies, aliens and the like don’t scare you, it’s highly unlikely that The Blair Witch Project, Darkness Falls or Signs will do it for you. I don’t go to these movies to be scared, because I know its not going to happen. Gross me out, maybe, creep me out, sure, but not scare me. I’m an adult, not a child. Super natural threats don’t exist, so there is no fear to coincide with seeing such movies.

Also, one has to look at the underlying issue of the fear. If you are afraid of zombies, what about them scares you? You understand that it is someone in extensive makeup and effects, but what about the undead sends that chill up your spine? It is probably a fear of death, being consumed, or changed without your consent.

As an adult you have to look deeper at the fear, because as a kid we are so emotional to begin with that our fight or flight response gets triggered easier when we we are faced with these kind of images.

We as horror fans, ADULT horror fans that is, look at these movies through the wistful eyes of our child hood and pine over the time when these movies had power over us, because we believed what we were seeing. Return of the Living Dead destroyed several years of my life because it said “Based on True Events” at the beginning of the movie which has now been removed from modern releases, at least I have not seen one with that graphic since childhood except for screen shots of the original release. It was because I believed what I could see on TV and that it would not lie to me that I believed that zombies could happen.

Now I know that zombies aren’t real, dead girls won’t crawl out of my TV when I pop in a mysterious VHS and a I won’t be possessed by a demon in an old, scary house so there is no chance for these kind of movies to engage my fear response on a deep level and give me the thrills of my childhood.

That is why, I believe, that movies like the Chucky series, The Freddy movies and others began to emphasize the more comedic aspects to the horror. They are still doing grotesque things to innocents, but the same scares that their core audience (those that saw these movies when they were young) no longer worked, and comedy and horror are intrinsically tied to one another on a very base level in the primordial mind.

I do miss those feelings, that terror that crept up my spine when I watched Freddy Krueger stalk the dreams of teenagers, or watching Dracula bite deep into the neck of a virgin, but like so many things, that flood of terror from watching these movies are sadly lost to ravages of adulthood but I can still look back on that time and appreciate what it did to and for me and I can share that same feeling that I had at that age with my nieces and nephews when, against their parents’ wishes, I pop in a copy of Night of the Living Dead and scare the shit out of them.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×10 “Second Coming”

Season 2 comes to a close with the return of several characters we thought were dead, and the death of characters that were also already dead.

The thing I loved about the original series of movies was the continuous ramping up of the absurdity. The over-the-top violence and gore and comedy from Army of Darkness had its humble beginnings as a straight-up, serious horror movie in Evil Dead. Evil Dead 2 split the difference, offering straight horror with some absurdly bad-ass moments and lots of comedy.

The TV series seems to be continuing the same path. All season, we’ve seen the blood and gore continue to ramp up, as well as the gross factor. In this episode, we got a little too close to Henrietta. As a horror movie nerd, not a lot makes me recoil in disgust, but this scene did it for me. Bravo to the writer who asked themselves the question, “what if Henrietta breast-fed Ash?”

The finale certainly skated the line between nostalgia and wondering if the writers had gone through their entire bag of tricks. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but since we saw a fight between Ash and Henrietta nearly 30 years ago, do we need to redo the fight exactly? The answer, of course, is yes. As long as you can balance out the references to the original with a new take on it.

Ash and crew return to a hero’s welcome with a parade and cheerleaders. Just as Season 1 ended in victory, so did Season 2. But Ruby’s reappearance in the crowd means maybe we shouldn’t get too comfortable yet. Will Season 3 Ruby be friend or foe? We’ve got a long wait to see.

Overall, Season 2 is better than Season 1, and gives me even more hope for the seasons to come.

And if you watched the episode and didn’t hang on tight for the post-credit scene, I recommend you do that.

Is Evil Dead a ripoff of Equinox?

I’m an old-school horror nerd, and am especially obsessed with Evil Dead. I’ve loved Evil Dead for over 20 years, so imagine my surprise when I recently heard, for the very first time, that Evil Dead may be a ripoff of a movie called Equinox. With an open mind, I decided to watch this movie and decide for myself.

There are some definite similarities in imagery and plot. Those similarities cannot be overlooked. Remember how in Evil Dead, the evil was represented by a traveling camera? Well, maybe that wasn’t quite as original as we’d all thought.

equinox camera

Thematically, both movies involve an ancient book that is read from that unleashes evil.

evil dead equinox book

So maybe those things could just be coincidence, right? I mean, how original an idea is unleashing evil from a book anyway?

Oh, but there’s also flying demons that are very similar to the one in Evil Dead 2. There’s a professor who has the book and a group who stumbles upon it accidentally. There’s a necklace that is important to the plot and their salvation. There’s imagery involving clocks and reel-to-reel audio recorders. There’s even an ancient castle similar to the one that makes an appearance in Evil Dead 2.

evil dead equinox castle evil dead equinox clocks evil dead equinox creature evil dead equinox group evil dead equinox necklace evil dead equinox professor evil dead equinox recorder

Outside of some basic themes and imagery, there’s other similarities. Just like Evil Dead, Equinox was produced on a shoestring budget by near-amateurs with ambitious ideas. There is also an element of possession by evil, which leads the friends to lower their defenses and try to help their friends who have turned on them.

There are many differences, too. While Evil Dead is primarily demons and possession, Equinox is more monsters and the devil. Generally speaking, Equinox thinks ‘bigger’, with portals to other dimensions, evil beasts and the devil. Evil Dead keeps it simple with an unseen even force and friends turning on each other.

It’s hard to look at this movie I’ve loved forever and imagine that maybe, just maybe, it’s not as original as I’d thought it was. Overall though, I don’t care much about originality in horror movies. Zombies and slashers are my favorite sub-genres, and both of those sub-genres include very little originality. The most important part to remember is that, if Evil Dead truly did rip off Equinox, they did it in a way that improved the original. It’s lasted longer, has withstood the test of time better, and I still enjoy it even if they did take some cues from this other movie.

In short, even if it is a rip-off, who fucking cares? Evil Dead for life.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×09 “Home Again”

Just when I think I couldn’t love Ash vs. Evil Dead anymore, it turns out I was wrong. There’s always more love for me to give to the series.

I love the buddy/traveling aspect of the show, don’t get me wrong. But there’s nothing better than returning to the cabin and Ash going it alone for a while. So far each season has had a return to the cabin, and I hope this trend continues until the series ends. The cabin is where the story started, and it’s where the story should end.

Throwbacks galore in this episode. Enough for even those filthy casual fans to catch. They perfectly recreated the “Little Ash” scene from Army of Darkness with a new spin on it.

The cabin is so perfectly recreated, and we get another Evil Dead alumni reprising their role. This time it’s Ted Raimi as Henrietta.

One of my favorite aspects of this series is the perfect balance it carries between expanding the mythology but also revisiting old themes and throwbacks. This episode featured a lot of throwbacks, but also traveled back to the past to introduce us to Dr. Knowby, who previously we’d only seen in a few tiny flashbacks.

Next week is the Season 2 finale, so we’ll find out if this time traveling saves Pablo or undoes this evil. Will we see the old crew return to the cabin? Will Pablo come back? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

Horror Junk

Just a Drunken Zombie begat Geek Nerdery, Horror Junk begat Drunken Zombie. I think I’m using ‘begat’ properly there in that context.

10 years ago, 2 guys in their 20’s sat down, drank too many beers and discussed horror movies in front of a camera. The movie was then shared via YouTube and as a video podcast. It was popular for it’s time and a ton of fun to make.

As part of our 10-year-anniversary, here’s our very first episode.

The audio episodes were almost lost forever, but I managed to find most of them. If you’re feeling a bit nostalgic like myself and want to hear a hybrid of Horror Junk and Drunken Zombie, check out this episode.

For the others that I managed to recover, go ahead and grab them here.

Hold on tight for another Horror Junk surprise, coming soon.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×07 “Delusion”

After last week’s surprise cameo and non-stop action, we take a second to catch our breath and relax. For a second.

Is Ash losing his mind? Was this whole thing just a bad dream? Is he truly insane and imaging it all after killing his friends in the cabin that fateful night? I guess the only ones that know the truth are Ash and his puppet.

While Ash vs. Evil Dead circles across this internet are calling this a boring filler episode, they’re only 1/2 right. This set up Ba’al as a tough mofo and featured Lucy Lawless in a nurse’s outfit. I mean, how bad could that be?

Ash vs. Evil Dead 2×06 “Trapped Inside”

Oh baby, this review will contain spoilers.

I nerded out hardcore at Ash vs. Evil Dead episode 6. It had been spoiled for me that Cheryl would be making her return, so unfortunately I missed the fun of the big reveal. What I did not miss, however, was the amazing attention to detail paid by the amazing AvED writers.

First off, check above for the make up. They paid tribute to the original movie with the forehead bandage and cheek scratches, although maybe goring them out a little bit. After all, 35 years have passed so maybe they’re infected? She should try some antibiotics.

Another nice touch was the art desk in Cheryl’s room. Who could forget Cheryl’s clock masterpiece before the Book of the Dead took over her drawing hand to ruin it?

And I think “I’m gonna make like a tree and fuck you” may be the best quote from anything Evil Dead related. Movies and series combined.

Generally speaking though, I think this episode really encompassed the general feeling and tone I’ve loved from the Evil Dead movie series and continued into the TV series. Throwbacks and references to the original, bizarre and sometimes hacked together continuity, fun and silliness combined with “true” horror.

Cheryl was the original deadite and I, for one, was thrilled to see that same deadite reprise her role. Will we see more from other lost souls from the movie series? I’d love to see Scotty or the original Linda. How about Annie or Bobby Joe? Those may not have the same impact as Ash’s sister, but we fans would love to see them.

I was a bit worried that the TV series would not live up to the original movie series I’ve loved so much, but these last few episodes have put all those remaining worries to rest.