Category Archives: Independent

The Elf (2017)

Director: Justin Price
Starring: Natassia Halabi, Gabriel Miller, Lassiter Holmes. USA. 1h 30m

I’m sure this film was intended to scare but it’s a new form of mental torture that I wasn’t quite prepared for when I sat down to watch this.

The not so credible story is centred on Nick (Miller) and his bodacious botoxed girlfriend Victoria (Halabi), opening in an old antique/toyshop that Nick has inherited the couple take stock of the contents while out shopping for Christmas gifts. Nick breaks away while Victoria take a pointless and long winded phone call, meanwhile he discovered a chest with handmade toys, the room begins to fill up with fresh snow as he discovers a creepy Elf toy holding a knife, attached to it is a curse/spell after reading this out he noticed that there’s a list of name at the bottom and they correspond to his family, meh nothing strange about this. Continue reading The Elf (2017)

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Satan’s Little Helper (2004)

Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring: Alexander Brickel, Kateryn Winnick, Stephen Graham, Amanda Plummer, Wass Stevens, Joshua Annex. USA. 1h 40m.

I found this lesser known gem in the bargain bucket, it came as one of those double sided discs with an equally bizarre b movie, Killer X (1999), it stayed on my shelf for years until I had a particularly shitty break up and I decided to settle down with a tub of ice cream and sob into it with a terrible movie to remind myself just how shit my life was at the time but this stunning movie really uplifted my evening.

Directed by Jeff Lieberman, a meistro who lives to live life on the edge with psychedelic and wayward classics such as Blue Sunshine (1977), Just Before Dawn (1981) and Squirm (1976) under his belt, but with this modern approach to horror, he seemed to not take any aspect of this movie all that serious but it still manages to be a creepy comedy horror with some very dark undertones, totally different from this retro classics but so brilliant in it’s own quirky rights. Continue reading Satan’s Little Helper (2004)

Howling VI : The Freaks (1991)

Director: Hope Perello
Starring: Michelle Matteson, Bruce Payne, Carol Lynley, Deep Roy, Brendan Hughes, Antonio Fargas . USA . 1h 42m

(Loosely) based on The Howling Series of novels by Gary Brandner especially Howling III Echoes.

Have you ever woken up from a hazy dream and tried to piece it back together to make a story..that’s kinda how this installment of Howling plays out. Loosely based on the third Howling book, it’s set around the life of a unusual drifter who stumbles on the wrong town. Despite his natural ability to look like Charlie Chaplin he actually has a much more dangerous and darker secret, being part of the Howling series it’s no surprise really but there’s more, just follow him down the rabbit hole… Continue reading Howling VI : The Freaks (1991)

Possum (2018)

Director: Matthew Holness
Starring: Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong  .UK. 1h 25m

There’s a place that some dark artist like to go, it often involves gloomy and eerie aspects from a fuzzy past that are easily recognised but often pushed back to those obscure corners of our minds, like a suppressed memory Possum manages from slither its way out of the dank interior of an old English home, and hides itself in the brown bag carried by a disgraced children’s puppeteer as he embarks on a journey to confront his stepfather and his own inner demons.

The film opens with Philip (Harris) wandering aimlessly around a remote area of Norfolk with his bag clutched tightly to him, after some atmospheric art house scenes backed by a heavy Radiophonic Workshop soundtrack. He spys a few teenage boys on a train he tries to talk with one but he runs away from the creepy man, Philip returns to his home, a dank rundown home with a disheveled garden, here he opens his bag and chucks the contents into a metal barrel with the promise to destroy the leggy creature, eventually we are made aware of Maurice (Armstrong), a sly and controlling character who seems to want to encourage Philip to keep his puppet, while constantly keeps asking if he’s going to burn it, which Philip agrees to but then never does. Little by little Maurice exerts control over Philip and suggests different places for him to visit, while the puppet is slowly revealed  and each time the effects on Philip get more disastrous. As a news story about a missing school boy flourish in the news, questions are raised over Philips possible involvement. Continue reading Possum (2018)

Tempus Tormentum (2018)

Director: James Rewucki.

Starring. Tyhr Trubiak, Darren Johnston, Dr. Rage, Paul McWhinney .Canada 1h 28m.

I love cheesy low budget horror movies, not only do they often explore uncharted territory but they don’t have too much hype to live up to and they managed to stay true to what fans want. Tempus Tormentus is a strange chase horror about a drifter who  ends up in the wrong town, Directed by James Rewucki. and starring Tyhr Trubiak,  who also starred in a previous production Aegri Somnia (2008) also by Rewucki this compact and very likeable, but at times it can be a bit repetitive but all is forgiven for the WTF ending.

Don’t build your hopes up too much, this isn’t the “best B movie” ever, remember this is personal opinion and I have unusual tastes. The motives of the drifter are never explained, but he’s bumming rides until, late one night he end up at an unnamed town, checking into a cheap motel inspects his room which is equipped with a typewriter, and heads out to an all-night diner where he meets a trio of unusual characters who take special interest in him. After freaking him out, the bulky stranger returns to his room and settles down for the night but later on he awakes to find himself strapped to the bed and being injected with unknown fluids. Then the chase is on. The rest of the film sees Mr Mouse (Trubiak) being chased like wild prey, at times he’s literally the bunny in the headlights while the trio are chasing him through the town in their car. Continue reading Tempus Tormentum (2018)

Tank 432 (2015)

Director: Nick Gillespie. Writer : Nick Gillespie.
Starring. Gordon Kennedy, Michael Smiley, Rupert Evans,  UK. 1h 28m.

I saw a preview for this by accident trying to find details for the less than imaginative sci fi flick The Tank (2017), I am unsure how my mother knew about it and that I was totally oblivious, but these things do happen and thankfully she had the film on DVD and after seeing that Ben Wheatley had his fingers in this sticky pie so I got stuck in. Continue reading Tank 432 (2015)

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

Deborah Logan

The Taking of Deborah Logan  – (Horror, Supernatural,  2014) (18) D: Adam Robite W: Gavin Heffernan Adam Robitel  C: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay,  Michelle Ang, Ryan Cutrona. 1h 30m. USA.

Synopsis : What starts as a poignant medical documentary about Deborah Logan’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease and her daughter’s struggles as caregiver degenerates into a maddening portrayal of dementia at its most frightening, as hair-raising events begin to plague the family and crew and an unspeakable malevolence threatens to tear the very fabric of sanity from them all

Directorial debut from Adam Robitel in a dark and eerie independent supernatural horror mockumentary.  An ambitious project but the idea is based around a small student phd team who are making a documentary on Alzheimer’s sufferer Deborah Logan (Larson). Heading the crew is budding film student Michelle Ang (Medina). There is a premise that the team are almost bribing the broke Logan with offers of money to pay for her medical bills, but it’s never made clear why she is so important to them. Quite early on in the movie the team and Deborah’s daughter Sarah (Anne Ramsay) becomes more associated with the film crew and going to them for help as the mysteries surrounding her mother become more obscure and frightening.

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The story unravels slowly, picking through scraps of information found around and hidden in Deborahs home and the irrational and sordid outbursts from Deborah herself, hints are eventually dropped about a past client that was suspected of murdering children. Then things start to get weird and then go crazy. The team are on the search for this person who seems tied up with mysticism and the occult, while they try to unravel his motives and save Deborah.

For a low budget found footage film it neglects some of the rules (I’ll post them in a list at some point),  which is why it will be popular with the fans and slated by the critics. While being clever and brings something slightly fresher to the genre it does so in a slightly muddled way. It does have a well crafted plot and is backed by sterling performances especially by Larson as she was put through her paces and showed no signs of strain. I great instant favorite for me, this film is edgy and delivers the scares with shocking regularity. It can be slow at times but it scary without a dramatic build up, it doesn’t linger on these unsettling moments, it swiftly moves on leaving a trail of shock hurdles to get over before it’s onto another unexpected marathon.

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Rating –  7/10

V: I really enjoyed the film, but I’m giving it a seven as i feel it really has a bit more potential not in what it has done but what it could have avoided to cross all the t’s leave some unanswered questions and keep us guessing,  Silent Hill (the game) wasn’t scary because it was the unknown, not because we worked anything out. More details in the post discussion

R: Possession of Michael King (2014), Grave Encounters (2011), Angel Heart (1987)

 

Take shelter (2011)

Take shelter
(LofiSciFi, Drama 2011) D: W: 2h 1m. USA.

Another LoFiSciFi that I couldn’t recognise as being science fiction immediately. You join this story at a time when Shannon life becomes prophetic with visions of an apocalypse. He is also experiencing deteriorating health which leads him to think he has a mental illness causing hallucinations. Lots of difficult scenes and powerful preformances from the main cast. Shannon plays the part quite well as he generally looks like he’s dying from something. Along with the main character your dragged between believing in a real apocalypse or that shannons mental health is at question which keeps the mini epic quite interesting.

T: Michael Shannon didn’t read up about mental illness before the movie as his character wouldnt have known about it. Q:

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Lo fi Sci Fi – My Introduction to the genre

I picked up Primer (2004)  several years ago and it spend a great deal of time on my “to watch” pile. I could tell from the blurb that it was going to be a movie I needed to watch with a clear head and to pay full attention to, so I gave it some special time.

I was severely confused from beginning to end but I blame the desperados.. So I watched it again. I liked the style, I adored how the film brought forward great ideas without having to blow a huge budget on effects.

It wasn’t until I found (by total accident) another film, Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) that I discovered a whole new genre.. Lo Fi Sci Fi. So I’m going to emerge myself in it for a while and see what I can discover about it.

It does seem to be the basic ideas that a student would bring to the table without the board room expensive lights show. A way of going back to basics with the prime ideas of science fiction without huge movie sets and monsters (although i think there might be monsters). From what I have seen there has been an emphasis on the human in the future and the fragility of how we can cope with loosing what we were in the past.

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A more precise definition comes from http://lofiscifi.com/

Movies that have more speculation than spectacular effects. More focused on big ideas than big budgets.

For now I have a few titles about 20 or so that I am working through, some I have already seen, others I am now searching for. Reviews to come.

list

The American Astronaut
Another Earth
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bellflower
Beyond the Black Rainbow
The FP
The Future
Holy Motors
The Last Winter
Mars
Monsters
Moon
Nightfur
Primer
Robot & Frank
Safety Not Guaranteed
The Science of Sleep
Sleep Dealer
Sound of My Voice
Take Shelter
TiMER
Wristcutters: A Love Story

These movies I have now seen so far!

30 Day Horror Movie Challenge!

Nightmare01

Day 1- your first horror movie- this would be Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), I was about 5 or 6 when i first saw it and it was an instant favourite (yes my mother was a bit oddball) but i handled it well BOYAKA!!

Day2- the last horror movie you saw in the theater – I think that would be Trollhunter (2010), certainly made me a bit icky. I absolutley love this film it really should be in my top 30.

 

Day 3- favorite classic horror movie – probably a hammer horror…Oh I dunno this will be a toughy how about Night of the Demon (1957). Night of the Demon

Day 4- a horror movie you thought you’d love and didn’t – most after dark movies….if I had to name and shame, maybe the Rite (2011). I made the fatal error of buying before I watched it, I thought with Anthony Hopkins, Exorcisms and a good supporting cast it couldn’t be bad.. *sigh*

Day5- favorite horror remake – is there such a thing? Oh yeah the Thing (1982)!

Day 6- favorite vampire movie – oh man! I really do detest vampire in general I’m much more of a werewolf kinda girl unless the vampire is Chris Lee. But there have been a few good Vamp flicks in the past.. and for this I’d have to choose the Lost Boys (1987) or Daybreakers (2009) for it’s alternative styling?!

Day 7- a horror movie you think no one has seenSkinned Deep (2004) and everyone should watch it. No I couldn’t recommend a movie, only give my opinion. I really did like the crazyness of it, like Killer X/Natural Selection/Monster Hunter(1999) it just tells a story and doesn’t care what anything thinks about the process.

rec spanish horror movie

Day 8- favorite foreign horror – I don’t like the term foreign movie, every movie is foreign to someone.. BUT I’ll go for non English speaking and side with Rec (2007).

Day 9- favorite super natural horror movie – I think I would have to choose Poltergeist (1982).

Day 10- horror movie every one loves but you don’t – this is hard because i love most horror.. or do I?

Dog Soldiers

Day 11- favorite horror/ comedy – I don’t do comedy.. but I do laugh a lot in horror movies, I gotta say House III/The Horror Show(1989) gives me the most giggles but it’s also quite annoying but my choice today goes to Dog Soldiers (2002).

BegottencoverDay 12- your most disturbing horror film– I know a lot of movies that are widely accepted as disturbing and there are some which personally disturb me, some un-nerve due to phobias, childhood experiences etc, but it took me a few attempts to watch this film and it really digs deep the Begotten (1990)

 

Day 13- favorite zombie movie – I used to adore zombie movies but they are all kinda the same now. We are starting to get some diversity so I’m going to go for a crazy zombie film but one I keep going back to Wild Zero (1999).

wildzero

Day 14- favorite indie horror movie – I adore Independent films, but I don’t know of many horror ones, it’s usually too expensive to use the effects that replace good story telling and acting (JK) I think I’ll watch the Decent (2005).

Day 15- favorite monster movie – I’d like to say Trolljegeren (2010) but I’ve mentioned that sooo.. Lets watch Rogue (2007), it’s not the most dramatic monster movie but it was consistently brutal and Sam Worthington didn’t save the day! thanks giant Croc!

Day 16- horror film with a great soundtrack – I was never a big fan of any of the Underworld (2003) franchise but I picked up the soundtrack due to hearing what I thought was Puscifer and low and behold the OST was better than the films and introduced me to Genghis Tron!

Day 17- favorite 80’s horror – I was a wee bearn in the 1980’s but was regulary exposed to horror movies, for a huge run down on 80’s horror check out this website  80shorrormovies.com! My choice this challenge will be cult classic Waxwork (1988).

notldDay 18- favorite horror movie filmed in black and white – I’m going to be really obvious here and go with something really popular… Night of the Living Dead (1968). I believe that being an independent movie is the reason why this was shot in black and white, but no matter how many remakes this movies has the original shots from this are always the most iconic.

 

Day 19- best use of gore – Oh man, what is a horror movie without gore!? One of the first movies that comes to mind when gore is mentioned is Braindead/Dead Alive(1992).It has to have some of the best gore and for me the best mass zombie killing scene.. Lawnmover death!braindead

Day 20- favorite horror character –  For me it’s Ashley ‘Ash’ J. Williams from Evil Dead (1981).

Day 21- best horror franchise – There are so many but so many now, a lot of them have a let down movie, I’d like to go with Alien as I adore all of the movies in every way but there are only 4, do you need more for a franchise? also it’s more sci fi than just horror.. Okay it’s going to be a long night.. Omen get’s my vote.

pyramidDay 22-best death scene – NO!!! don’t make me choose one! FINE I’ll go for this one.. brilliant, unexpected and such a timeless classic.. Mr Pyramid Head skinning technique from Silent hill (2006). The only thing missing was him raping the corpse.

Day 23- a great quote from a horror movie – A little quote here from Devil’s Rejects

“Boy, the next word that comes out of your mouth better be some brilliant fuckin’ Mark Twain shit. ‘Cause it’s definitely getting chiseled on your tombstone.”

babyDay 24- horror movie character that describes you – I asked around  I was told by several people i am as annoying as Baby Firefly from House of 1000 Corpses (2003).

Day 25- favorite Christmas/ holiday horror movie – I love how festive movies are all really terrible like Die Hard 2 (1990) but as this is HORROR!! my vote goes to Gremlins (1984)

Day 26- horror movie for a chicken – Any comedy horror movie is really a good place to start for horror pussies  I’m going to chuck in a more recent movie that had no scares what so ever.. Creepshow 3 (2006)

Day 27-your guilty pleasure horror movie – I’m going to get slated for this, but I own House of wax (2005).

Day 28- horror film you’d like to see remade/ rebooted – Now this has got to be quite a passionate request for me, I couldn’t simply ask for a movie to be remade when I don’t really agree with remakes, but I personally would like to see Silent hill (2006) remade and more accurately to the original game, I’d like to see Harry Mason battling things out in the surrealist supernatural psychological survival horror that silent hill should be.

Day 29- worst horror movie – Oh man there are so many of these, I know everyone would probably pick Anaconda (1997) because it was famously bad but I think I’m going to not ruin my night with that again but try Parasomnia (2008).

Day 30- your favorite all time horror movie (or one of 🙂 ) – phhh.. okay just on.. Howling (1981). I love watching this film, I never get bored of it 

howling