In a time long past, an evil is about to be unleashed that will reignite the war between the forces of the supernatural and humankind once more. Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is a knight who had imprisoned the malevolently powerful witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) centuries ago. But now she has escaped and is seeking vengeance. Summoning her followers of every incarnation, Mother Malkin is preparing to unleash her terrible wrath on an unsuspecting world. Only one thing stands in her way: Master Gregory.
In a deadly reunion, Gregory comes face to face with the evil he always feared would someday return. Now he has only until the next full moon to do what usually takes years: train his new apprentice, Tom Ward (Ben Barnes), to fight a dark magic unlike any other. Man’s only hope lies in the seventh son of a seventh son.“
In RoboCop, the year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the centre of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilises their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.
Director Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) reimagines the tale of part man, part machine, all cop starring Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) as the title character, Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises) as the scientist who creates RoboCop, and Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers) as media mogul Pat Novak. Peter Weller played the character in the original and the 1990 sequel.
I, Frankenstein is a modern-day epic: Frankenstein’s creature, Adam, has survived to present day due to a genetic quirk in his creation. Making his way to a dark, gothic metropolis, he finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans.
Official: Set in a dystopic present where vigilant gargoyles and ferocious demons rage in a battle for ultimate power, Victor Frankenstein’s creation Adam (Aaron Eckhart) finds himself caught in the middle as both sides race to discover the secret to his immortality. From the creators of the hit supernatural saga, Underworld, comes the action thriller I, Frankenstein, written for the screen and directed by Stuart Beattie based on the graphic novel “I, Frankenstein” by Kevin Grevioux, and brought to life by a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, Socratis Otto, Mahesh Jadu, Caitlin Stasey and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein.
It’s 2014, has been for about a week now, and our look back at one of the more mixed years worth of games in recent memory continues with another best and worst roundup! I already took the plunge and chose my picks for the best and worst horror games of the year that was, and now it’s time for the rest of Dead Pixel’s contributors to do the same. Some of these you may see coming, others could be surprising. Check them out after the jump!
Yesterday, we took a look at the best horror games 2013 had to offer. That was the fun part. The easy part. The year that was brought us a bevy of fantastic games, and sadly, it also introduced a handful that were memorable for all the wrong reasons. After the break you’ll find my list of some of the worst games I had the misfortune of playing in 2013. Enjoy.
It’s no secret that I tend to play a fair amount of horror games. Between work and my undying love for the medium, I go through quite a few each year, so coming up with a list of my favorites has always been tough. To make matters even more difficult, in April I took over our YouTube channel, turning it into a channel for all things video games. This means I play even more now, and specifically those of the indie horror persuasion, because that’s where much of the excitement has been lately.
If you’re interested in joining me for a brief look back at the best horror games the year that was had to offer, read on for my picks (in no particular order).
With 2013 being such a good year for horror films it’s only natural that there are a few great performances to celebrate as well. From intimate and personal, to hilarious, to tragic – there was a wide breadth of choices that pushed at the conventions people normally associate with the genre.
Horror films aren’t always full of one-dimensional characters being sliced and diced, there’s real humanity on display and these performances remind us of that.
Head below for The Best Performances Of 2013! READ MORE
2013 was an absolutely killer year for horror films. There were so many movies that were on my mind while making this list that I had a genuinely hard time leaving a lot of them off. From amazing horror comedies like This Is The End to straight up brutal fare like Maniac.
In fact, there were so many great films I had to add a much longer honorable mention section than normal! I really feel like horror fans were blessed in 2013. With so many wonderful films that were amazing for totally different reasons, it felt weird to rank them in order from 1-10. So this is a list presented in no particular order.
Head below to check it out! READ MORE
It’s been all of one week since I’ve seen an exploitation film, and Chilean director Patricio Valladares has seen fit to remedy that with Hidden In The Woods, which is currently being remade by Valladares himself with Michael Biehn starring. The film has rubbed more than a few people the wrong way at various festivals, and is now available for your viewing pleasure. Those audiences weren’t lying. Hidden In The Woods‘ tale of drugs, incest, cannibalism and outright mayhem isn’t what you’d call a good time had by all.
Sisters Anny and Ana are being raised in a shack by their abusive drug dealer father. He murdered their mother in front of them when they were younger, and later raped Ana, who produced her deformed brother, Manuel. When the cops come to investigate the happenings, Father decides to do away with them via chainsaw, but he’s soon captured and incarcerated. While things sound like they’ve turned for the better, the girls are now the target of their father’s boss, drug kingpin Uncle Costello, who thinks that they know the location of a big drug stash.
I’m always at a loss on how to describe the quality of a film of this type. It’s definitely exploitation to its core. The camera seemingly enjoys witnessing the misery and pain of male and female characters. Valladares has described the film as a comedy of sorts, but it’s hard to see that other than the film being so over-the-top that it’s absurd. Every male character in this film might as well have “rapist” or “murderer” stamped on their foreheads, while our two female protagonists suffer so much mental, physical and sexual abuse that it’s ludicrous. I’d be a fool if I were to omit the blowjob montage, which is twisted in a couple of ways. If that’s Valladares’ idea of comedy, I’d hate to see what his idea of horror would be. READ MORE
Let’s be honest: The original I Spit On Your Grave divided people more than Ben Affleck as Batman ever will. It was a brutal nightmare of exploitation that was either exploitation trash or the ultimate rape revenge fantasy. The 2010 remake was equally as divisive, especially since this was now the same world with films like Saw and Hostel. Now Steven R. Monroe, the same man who helmed the 2010 remake, brings us the sequel, this time with Thomas Fenton (of Saw IV fame) as one of the writers. Dig in?
Katie is living on her own in New York City, trying to break into modeling. In an attempt to update her portfolio, she accepts an ad for a free photo shoot by a man named Ivan. Things go okay at the start, until Ivan starts to push for Katie to show more skin. She declines and leaves. Later, Ivan’s brother Georgy meets with Katie to drop off the photos and to try and pick her up, to which she declines. Georgy doesn’t take no for an answer, and pays Katie a midnight visit and ends up violently assaulting and raping her. Georgy then kidnaps Katie and takes her to Bulgaria, where Ivan, Georgy and their brother Nicolay use her for the sex trade. After a stroke of luck, Katie escapes and begins to plan her vengeance.
The problem with a film like ISOYG 2 is what you can exactly say that you enjoy about it. Obviously, no sane person could enjoy the film’s rape scenes, which are predictably and honestly some of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch (and yes, I’ve seen Monica Bellucci’s rape scene in Irreversible). So it’s kind of by default that the revenge scenes get the praise, even if they’re just as hard to watch as the rape scenes. While I don’t exactly share that view, I will say that there was a sense of satisfaction on some level when Ivan and company got what was coming to them. Also, the effects are all practical, making things that much more real. Gorefans will be in heaven.
As far as the acting went, Jemma Dallender was pretty good as Katie, though being put through hell like that will have garnered sympathy from the majority of people. She did bounce into B-movie territory sometimes, but she at least kept things going. Predictably, Yavor Baharov, Joe Absolom and Aleksandar Aleksiev were scumbags as Georgy, Ivan and Nicolay. Simply put, you weren’t going to like them in the slightest, and there wasn’t anything redeemable about them. Achievement get.
This is again where the film gets tough. Obviously, you can’t say you hated the film because it was full of horrible rape and equally-disturbing revenge scenes, since that’s the whole purpose of this film. Oh wait, yes, you can. Truthfully, I didn’t hate this film, but compared to the first film, the original, and other torture porn entries over the years, it’s nothing new that we haven’t seen before. The film also carries some plotholes that were rather annoying, like why Katie didn’t just go to the embassy once she was able to escape. Then again, we wouldn’t have the gory revenge scenes if she did. *sigh*
So, I Spit On Your Grave 2 is just as mean, harsh and brutal as the first film. That’s a given. But is it worth your time? If you’re like me, however, it’s a one and done viewing. Everything about this film feels like a “been there, done that” deal, and largely, that’s what it is. You’ve seen the original and the remake, so there’s really no reason why you’d want to see this one. If, however, you’re still a fan of these types of films, then you can’t go wrong with this one. There’s enough disturbing and unflinching brutality to keep you going. I’ll leave enough hot water for the shower when you’re done.
Presented in 2.40:1 1080p widescreen, ISOYG 2 looks great. Colors are deliberately muted and the film looks very cold with its cool hues. Excellent detail, with no sign of artifacting or other anomalies.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track also excels. Corey Allen Jackson returns from the first film to score this one, and again his music delivers on the suspense. Ambient effects are also nicely replicated here, and dialogue is free from any distortion.
Apart from this being a Blu-Ray/DVD combo, the only extra on this set is five minutes of deleted scenes that were obviously cut for time. If you want to watch scenes like Jemma Dallender taking selfies and complaining about how she looks for a couple of minutes, then you’re in luck.
I know I’m not alone when I say that kids in horror films almost always annoy me. I know that I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Typically, they’re solely used for lame plot devices or side characters to advance the plot in some asinine way. Of course, I know that there are exceptions, but not everyone can be Linda Blair or Heather O’Rourke. So, being that Aberration appears to feature a kid dressed for a Misfits concert, my expectations for the film were off to a bad start. Needless to say, as I watched it, the film didn’t seem to want to improve those expectations.
Christy Dawson just wants to be a normal girl in high school. Unfortunately, amongst the typical struggles of a teen in high school, Christy has a bigger problem. Turns out she’s seeing the deaths of people in her dreams. She’s also being haunted by a young boy who warns her more deaths will happen and only she can stop it. The only person who believes her is Kyle, one of the stars of the school’s hockey team. Kyle soon becomes the prime suspect in the string of murders, despite Christy’s insistence that he’s not the killer. It’s up to Christy and her gift to figure out the killer before it’s too late. READ MORE
After waiting for what seems like forever, Scream Factory has finally unleashed their Collector’s Edition of George A. Romero’s Day Of The Dead. After having a joygasm from Anchor Bay’s old SE release ten years ago (yes, I’m one of those beloved “trolls” that Romero lovingly calls fans of this movie), I was stoked with the notion of seeing Romero’s underappreciated gem in high definition with a brand new transfer, complete with some new goodies. How good is it? Let’s chow down.
After the events of Dawn Of The Dead, zombies have pretty much overrun the US coast. Tensions are high between a scientific-military partnership formed to study and combat the disease. Sarah works alongside Dr. “Frankenstein” Logan and Dr. Fisher in hopes of curing the disease that causes the walking dead, while nutbar Captain Rhodes and his equally-deranged unit get closer to abandoning the group in their underground facility. Caught in the middle of the two groups are helicopter pilots John and McDermott, trying to stay out of the way. Tensions start to ramp up even more once it comes to light Dr. Logan’s work shifting towards zombie domestication and his prize specimen, Bub.
I admit that when I first saw Day Of The Dead all those years ago, I wasn’t immediately drawn to it as I was with Dawn Of The Dead. Then again, a lot of people were like that. Today though, I consider it one of Romero’s best efforts. It doesn’t surpass Dawn Of The Dead, but it’s still something that many people come back to, especially now. Whereas Dawn was a commentary on consumerism, Day is a commentary on humanity and values, and nowhere is this better represented in the conflict between the scientists and the army. It makes for a great story, even now.
Acting wise, the three major players are Richard Liberty, Joe Pilato and Sherman Howard. Liberty is amazing to see as Dr. Logan, putting love into the role and it shows, as Logan is completely immersed in the science of zombies as well as his pet project to domesticate them. Taking on the father role, it’s completely out of left field for him to be doing this with dead bodies, but it works! On the other side of the coin is Joe Pilato as Capt. Rhodes. Man, if there was ever an award for Biggest Dickhead in a Horror Film, he’d win it, hands down. It also helps that Rhodes is practically insane and played so over-the-top by Pilato. I love the stuff he spits out. Classic. Then there’s Bub. Before Fido, before Warm Bodies, there was this guy. Howard manages to convey a childlike personality and emotions without even speaking words. The scene with Bub and Dr. Logan interacting with each other is amazing to see.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a George Romero zombie movie without Tom Savini doing what he does best. And man, what’s here is bloody goodness. As mentioned in the documentaries (new and old) for the film, this is probably considered the height of Savini’s genius. Be it the Dr. Tongue zombie briefly seen at the start of the film, the exposed brainstem in Logan’s lab, the shovel gag and more, Savini wows and repulses with his craft. It’s especially unnerving when you find out about a certain scene where the guts used had, shall we say, “gone off”, and they were used anyways. It makes the scene more disturbing. Even today some of the effects still get me wincing. It’s all about that screaming that gets progressively higher as the guy’s head gets ripped off…
The film does have it’s flaws, some of which caused people to dismiss the film when it was released. First off, the film is bleak. It’s not the fun time that was had in Dawn Of The Dead, or the isolated incident in Night Of The Living Dead. It’s down in an underground mining facility while the rest of the world up above is crawling with zombies. It doesn’t make things any better when you boil the military characters down and you realize that they’re all one-note cutouts. Yeah, outside of our main protagonists, the antagonists aren’t given much in terms of development (save for Rhodes). The other thing is that the film feels smaller in scale when compared to Dawn. Mainly it’s due to the budget, but Romero still makes the best of it, which is still great.
While Day Of The Dead isn’t as revered as the previous film, it still holds up well, and delivers the entertainment and gore that we’ve come to know Romero’s zombie films. While it’s not flawless, there’s still more than enough here that the film is a worthy conclusion to Romero’s first trilogy. If you’re one of the people who years ago swore off Day after initially seeing it, you owe it to yourself to watch it again and see just how good it is.
Scream Factory presents Day Of The Dead in a brand new 1.78:1 1080p AVC transfer. Looking back, the old Anchor Bay transfer was good at the time, but was drab and lacked texture. Luckily, the new transfer improves on the old Anchor Bay disc immensely. Colours pop and there’s a healthy grain in the picture that had been wiped away in the old release. Unfortunately, there’s still not any improvement in fine details, but that’s more in line with the film’s low budget. But by far, this is the best that the film has ever looked on home video.
Some fans were displeased with Anchor Bay’s SE disc and it’s audio. Anchor Bay had used an alternate audio track, omitting some profanities and shortened a gunshot. It wasn’t noticeable for me, but some fans were miffed. Luckily, Scream Factory remedies it with a new DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono track, which retains all of the original sound effects and dialogue. John Harrison’s Caribbean-infused score comes through loud and clear, as do the moans and screams. Surrounds are adequate, given the monaural track, but overall matches the video in quality.
Fortunately, most of the extras from Anchor Bay’s SE disc have been ported over, starting with the two Audio Commentaries. The first features director George Romero, Tom Savini, actress Lori Cardille and production designer Cletus Anderson. The group spend their time catching up and talking about the fun times had on the set, what it was like working in the mines, the movie’s reception and other goodies. The second commentary has Roger Avary, a fan of Romero’s work. His enthusiasm is well-noted, but at times it feels like he struggles with things to say, and some of the anecdotes he uses fall flat. It’s like having a friend come over and talk about their favorite film while you’re watching it. Still an interesting track to listen to.
Also ported over is Behind The Scenes Footage from Tom Savini’s archives. This was shot on handheld, and features Savini working on effects and makeup, including applying Sherman Howard’s makeup for Bub, and the infamous rotten guts scene with Pilato. I love these types of extras, since it gives you insight into how stuff was pulled off, as well as the amount of skill and effort that goes into it all.
It’s official, I’m calling it. Outlast, the upcoming survival horror/stealth hybrid from developer Red Barrels is the scariest game of 2013. The only competitor that has a chance of dethroning it is Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and boy, has the bar been raised. You can look forward to my review and a playthrough of the first twenty or so minutes when Outlast comes to Steam on September 4th.
Until then, I suggest you turn off the lights, lock the door, crank up the volume and enjoy my 25 minute-long playthrough of the brand new demo that’s currently being shown off at PAX Prime. I’ll try and keep the screaming to a minimum, I promise.
Confession time: I’m not much of a drinker. Yeah, I know. It kind of goes against the whole thing about being a fan of horror, video gamer, writer, curmudgeon, etc., but I guess that’s me. College life sometimes involves drinking and partying, so why not throw some psychological horror into the mix? That’s what Ryan Gielen has done, adapting a stageplay called Dorm by Blake Merriman (who also stars in the film). Is it the perfect blend of indie horror and college?
It’s the last night of the fall semester, and half of Richard’s dorm has left. Determined to finish his paper before the night is out, Richard sits in his room, much to the dismay of his roommate, Shawn. Shawn’s in the mood for parting, and has brought along Noopie, a mysterious party animal who is currently passed out on their floor. After a blizzard seals them in the dorm with a handful of other students, Noopie wakes up and brings out the drugs, booze and sex. Eventually, Noopie manipulates the group to their physical and emotional breaking points over the longest, most dangerous night of their lives. Will it be their last?
In the transition from stage to screen, Drinking Games functions well, maintaining the same sense of isolation you’d get being in front of a live crowd, which in this case is a necessity. Playing more as a drama than a thriller, the story is effective in capturing the mundane college experience while weaving in a darker side that doesn’t rely on blood and gore to get one to pay attention. Rather, it’s the uncomfortable feelings that are released when partying breaks down into panic.
Given the isolated setting, it’s sort of an imperative that characters be fleshed out and interesting enough to warrant your time. Luckily, our three protagonists accomplish this nicely. Blake Merriman’s Richard and Nick Vergara’s Shawn function pretty well as the odd couple: Richard being the responsible one focused on his academics (though why he chose to finish his paper on the day the semester is practically over is odd), while Shawn is the partier and is more focused on getting it on with his girlfriend. The third man in all of this is Noopie (played by Rob Bradford), who is more than just Shawn’s enabler and sets the scumbag bar pretty high. Plus I guess it also helps that I’m not big on hipsters.
Hipsters aren’t the biggest problem facing this film. Rather, it’s the writing. Too often the conversations go around in circles and don’t accomplish much in the way of developing character motivations. In spite of Noopie being the master manipulator and terror for the rest of the characters (or is supposed to be), he comes across as pretentious, lacking in substance and overall being a shallow dick. If this was a clever jab at hipster culture, I’d be snickering with glee. Unfortunately, the pretentiousness is everywhere in the writing. Even the direction is full of it, with bizarre camera angles and shots that switch in the middle of the scene for no reason. All this combines to make the film more of an exercise in trying to figure out what exactly the filmmakers were trying to do.
Maybe it’s because I’m not one of “those” college students. Maybe it’s because I’m not a drinker. I don’t know, but I do know that Drinking Games didn’t gel with me. While the setup and initial characters were interesting, what followed was not what I’d call an effective thriller. The film felt like being stuck at a party where everyone is drinking, save for you. Had we gotten Noobie unleashing a psychotic side once the character had put everyone through the wringer instead of being a douchebag fratboy, it might’ve warranted a viewing. Instead, you’d best spend your time getting drunk and watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is what you’d expect from a low-budget film like this. About the only thing consistent between the low-light shots is the lack of detail. It sort of suits the film, giving it’s setting and financial origins. Just don’t expect anything above average.
Likewise, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track suffers from balancing issues, but is able to handle dialogue without any distortion. Again, it’s not going above and beyond what it’s budget constraints, but at the same time isn’t completely neglected.
First up is a commentary by the cast and crew. Unfortunately for those expecting an informative commentary, this track ends up consisting of jokes between everyone, while information about the film itself is negligible. This wouldn’t be so bad if the other extras picked up the slack, but regrettably this isn’t the case.
Following the commentary are a series of interviews, which impart about as much information as the commentary. The first clip has Assistant Directors Ian Knoblauch and John Ferry acting as if they can’t remember the name of the film, and instead talk about, well, nothing. Next up are the production assistants, who too act the same way. The producers spend their time playing video games in their clip, and we also get a live performance of “Cocaine Save My Life” courtesy of Michael Pennacchio. The only saving grace for this piece is director Ryan Gielen, who actually talks about the film’s promotion and it’s shooting location. But at four minutes long, you would have hoped that the other interviewees would have put in as much effort.
Feel up to doing some wacky things while hammered? Drunk Sports can help you out. This extra consists of a selection of clips that show you the “awesome” things you can do while you’re drinking. Unfortunately, good games weren’t included. Some of the segments are mislabeled, however, giving you the idea of how much effort was put into this.
A Still Gallery rounds up the extras.
Kane Hodder returns once again for the third (and final?) time as the deformed, undead killing machine Victor Crowley in Hatchet III. While it’s not quite the same as Hodder in hockey mask mode (not much is), it was still quite the consolation, thanks in part to Friday The 13th: Part VII director (and Hodder friend) John Carl Buechler handling the film’s gory effects. While the first film was a blast with it’s creative kills and downright nastiness, the second film lagged with pacing and character issues (in spite of the gore). Now, with the previous films’ helm Adam Green leaving the director’s chair for the writer’s desk, and newcomer BJ McDonnell at the helm, what does Hatchet III hold? Other than gallons of arterial spray, that is. READ MORE
When someone mentions Troma, people generally either roll their eyes or have an eager smile spread across their face. It’s definitely an acquired taste, to be sure. Myself, I’m not big on Troma films, or those films that try to ape being Troma films. With Race War: The Remake, writer/director/producer Tom Martino has concocted a film based on an Alamo Drafthouse grindhouse trailer that might very well be mistaken for a Troma film, but it’s not. Did that change my initial impression of the film? No, but being that it wouldn’t be right to write a film off from the get-go, I persevered.
Baking Soda and his partner G.E.D. (Jamelle Kent) are crack dealers. Rival white dealers are trying to take over their territory with their own brand of otherworldly space crack. What are Baking Soda and G.E.D. to do but to arm up and with help from their friend Da Black Kreecha fight their way back to the top.
One thing you’ll almost immediately realize (that is, if one of our protagonists dancing in a forest behind the opening credits isn’t a clue) is that those involved didn’t take this seriously. That’s not a bad thing, mind you. A low budget affair like this isn’t going to be Citizen Kane, and as such everyone appears to have a blast just being goofy, which in turn comes across to the viewer as, well, being fun. Granted, not all C-level films have to be goofy, but when you have a story like this, you know what you’re getting.
In addition to the goofiness, there’s also a helping of over-the-top offensive stereotyping in the form of, well, almost anything you can think of. I know that some people will find this funny, and if you do, you’re in luck: the film is filled to the brim with it. For example, the local bar is run by an Arabic puppet that’s essentially a Lamb Chop puppet dyed brown with some other cosmetic alterations. Whenever the puppet talks, Arabic subtitles pop up on screen. I don’t know what the subtitles say, but it’s clear what’s going on. Then there’s Kreech da Black Kreecha from da Lagoon, a jive talking, half-black, half-movie monster character. His dad was blaxploitation hero Rudy Ray Williamson, while his mom is an alien who starred in an “old movie about a black lagoon”. Did I also mention that Rudy Ray’s head make appearances throughout the film, as well? Yeah. Throw in some over-the-top gore and various other bodily fluids, you get a pretty good idea of this movie’s target audience.
Obviously, I’m not part of that select group. Predictably, the script is painful, with the N word used by practically every character, regardless of race. The acting isn’t much better. As for the humour, it’s kept in the juvenile department for much of the film, and unless you don’t mind poop humour, you won’t find much of it very funny. It’d be a different story if the humour was clever, but you can’t get much out of jokes about things like balls. I know that this is some sort of weird send-up to blaxploitation films with a helping of gore and splatter thrown in, but it’s all lost amongst the offensiveness of everything else. To top things off, the film drags on for a little too long. It was a chore to sit through because of the obvious, but at 95 minutes, it could’ve stood to lose fifteen or so.
You’re probably wondering if I’m going to slam this film. Well, not really. Don’t get me wrong, Race War: The Remake is not a good film. But the fact that the people involved in this film had a genuinely good time working on it, and knew the kind of film that they were making wasn’t going to be the next great indie blockbuster(as opposed to being pretentious about it) makes you appreciate it on that level. With that said, it’s definitely not a good film. The mixture of gratuitous cheap gore with offensive humour, bad acting and a bad script will limit it to a very select market. It’s not my market (much like the majority of any film that tries to be or is a Troma film), but that won’t stop some of you from seeing this film. You may like it, but the rest of us will end up passing on it in favour of something that’s a little less blatantly offensive.
Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture is predictably not that great. Lighting issues aside, the transfer doesn’t boast great detail or contrast, and the post-production filters make everything look like a jagged, noise-heavy grindhouse mess. I can see that this was the intention in order to attempt to replicate a lower-than-low look, so on that level, they succeeded. Those looking to see stellar production values had best look elsewhere.
Audio-wise, the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track isn’t much better. While dialogue is for the most part clean and free of any distortion, you’re not going to be getting much in the way of panning or ambient effects. It’s a budget audio for a budget film.
First up is a commentary with director Tom Martino, who is joined by actors Howard Calvert, Jamelle Kent, Matt Rogers and a couple of others who I couldn’t make out. Seriously, when I say that I couldn’t make out who it was, I mean it. This is probably one of the worst recordings for an audio commentary that I’ve ever heard. I had to crank my volume up all the way in order to hear everyone, and even then I couldn’t hear half of what was said. I don’t know if they had a crappy mic setup or what, but this was hard to listen to. The group talk about various aspects of the production, but it’s so disorganized that it’s really just like having a group of friends getting drunk and saying whatever they want.
Following that is a Gag Reel, which amounts to guys corpsing, running into the sets, botched effects, practical jokes involving nudity and so on.
The Gore Reel & Behind The Scenes is self explanatory, with guys goofing off with effects or showing multiple takes of effects. All I know is that it must suck to have that much sticky fake blood on you at one time.
Rounding things off are trailers for other films, including an appearance by Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman in Cheeseballs.
Also included in the case is a mini poster for Race War‘s original blaxploitation onesheet.
In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) will stop at nothing to preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium – but that doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. Max (Matt Damon) agrees to take on a life-threatening mission, one that could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
Richard is sitting alone in his dorm room, writing a paper. It’s the last night of the fall semester, and everyone except him is in a partying mood. His roommate and lifelong friend Shawn wants to party in their room with his new mentor, the mysterious Noopie. After a blizzard seals them inside their dorm with a small group of other students, Noopie uses drugs, booze, and sex to manipulate everyone towards their emotional and physical breaking points. Noopie’s determined to party, but how far does he want the party to go?
We rounded up a few trailers for a handful of titles playing at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from September 5 to 15, 2013.
This year’s selections are beyond impressive, making a missed trip to Toronto all that much more painful. But, we’ll have Mike Pereira on hand, who started the festival review scene back when he was at the World Premiere of Alex Aja’s Haunte Tension. Can you guys believe it’s been 10 years?!!!
Now, Midnight Madness celebrates its 25th anniversary. Cake for everyone! READ MORE
With the month of July reaching its end and the Dead Days of Summer safely behind us, we’re now free to look forward to the deluge of video games that will barrage us and our wallets in the coming months.
After the break you’ll find every game that has a confirmed release date in 2013. Or, almost all of them. I’m human, and if my humanity led to a mistake, feel free to let me know so I can remedy it. Because I am absolutely in love with you all, I’ve also included the handful of conventions we have to look forward to this year. Enjoy.
A recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who murdered him.
Set in a future in which malevolent creatures threaten the earth, the planet must band together and use highly advanced technology to eradicate the growing menace.
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes-a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)-who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse.
I know that I’m not the only one when I say that I miss Masters of Horror. Sure, not all of the episodes were spot on, and some of the selections were head-scratchers (William Malone and John McNaughton aren’t what you’d call masters of the genre), but it was still an entertaining ride for its two seasons. Thankfully, what followed were more entertaining anthologies that eventually gave rise to recent fare like The ABC’s of Death and V/H/S, both of which have subsequently gotten the green light for sequels. Hoping to replicate the success that Showtime had with Masters of Horror, NBCUniversal’s 24-hour specialty channel Chiller recently debuted the original movie Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear. Despite featuring a mix of directors like Eric England, Nick Everhart and Emily Hagins, this anthology aims high, but doesn’t quite hit the mark.
First up is Smell, directed by Nick Everhart. Smell has Corey Scott Rutledge as Seth, a guy whose life kind of stinks (no pun intended). Work sucks, he misses his ex and his confidence is in the crapper. One day a strange woman shows up at his door selling a cologne that she says will turn things around for him, so long as he doesn’t use too much of it. Soon after trying it, Seth’s life takes a turn for the better, including a promotion and adoration. Unfortunately, Seth doesn’t follow the directions, and the cologne’s side effects kick in. Despite some humourous moments from Rutledge and a twist at the end, the short is pretty predictable. Nevertheless, any time you get reminded of Rob Bottin’s makeup from Robocop, it’s worth a view for that alone.
Following Smell is See, directed by Miko Hughes. Yes, that Miko Hughes from Pet Semetary and Spawn fame. The short concerns an optometrist named Dr. Tom (Ted Yudain) who has a habit of stealing memories from from his patients through their eyes and collecting them in liquid form. Dr. Tom is then able to relive these memories by taking the liquid drops in each eye. Dr. Tom learns that one of his favorite patients is being abused by her boyfriend. In retaliation, Dr. Tom sprays the boyfriend’s eyes with bad memories. Unfortunately, things backfire and people end up quite dead. Despite some gory eye trauma and an appearance by former pro wrestler Ox Baker, the short is hampered by some rather goofy CG effects and some rather hammy acting by the boyfriend played by Lowell Byers. Overall, it’s nothing too earth-shattering.
I’m not sure if the next entry, Touch, can be seen as being a sign of bigger things or just an idea that’s half-baked. Directed by 20-year-old Emily Hagins (of Pathogen fame), the short involves a family of three geting into a car accident in a rural area. The parents are badly injured, so their blind son Henry goes for help. Henry eventually stumbles upon some abandoned buildings, and a killer who doesn’t like to be touched. Unfortunately, this short wasn’t great. The story drags in spite of it’s short runtime, and is generally a convoluted mess with things coming out of left field for story’s sake (where did the killer get firecrackers?) and generally nonsensical.
In Eric England’s Taste, Aaron is a hacker who is picked up by a limo and driven to a sprawling corporate campus. In spite of not knowing why he’s there, all the secretary can tell him is that Lacey Sharp, a head hunter for a company called Watershed, wants to interview him. At the interview, Aaron is presented an offer to lead a project and work with two teams to recover a “treatment”. Unfortunately for Aaron, he declines the offer. What follows involves some unique headgear and a lot of red stuff. Starting out as being a bit of a mystery, Taste ends with a bang of black humour and the next candidate.
Finally, in Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton’s Listen, we have a found footage motif that involves two guys hired to document and piece together a song that once completed, kills people. Again, the sense of mystery about the whole thing is what drives this short, along with the increased tension being given off by the two filmmakers as they realize just what they’ve gotten themselves into. Plus there’s a part about purposely rupturing eardrums that made me wince, as well as reactions from test subjects once they’re forced to listen to the song in its entirety.
Overall, the anthology’s weakest segments (the first three) really don’t make the entire package worthwhile. Between Smell and See‘s run-of-the-mill predictability and the mess that is Touch, you could literally watch Taste and Listen by themselves and get more out of those than you could watching the entire anthology. It’s a shame, since there’s an overarching theme that was kind of a nice twist when it was revealed. But for that to really get through, you’d have to sit though the first three segments, which threaten to ruin the experience before you get to the last two. Hopefully Chiller tries again, but next time gets more consistency from all of it’s participants.