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Edinboro Meets the Spider

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Edinboro Meets the SpiderStarring Monster Mark

Directed by Monster Mark


When you first fall in love with movies, you do silly things because of it. Even the biggest names in film have some interesting cinematic beginnings to their works … from recreating Kong’s final moments on top of the Empire State Building to shoddy home movies with siblings in pajamas and capes. It is the prerequisite for all aspiring filmmakers:

You have to make something, anything to get started. Just be prepared to have it pop up on a DVD in the future as a bonus once you have hit the big time.

Such is the case with a small film I had the chance to see while doing my duties for the Eerie Horror Film Festival. In the wide field of films that I have been subjected to, I have seen a lot of things that try to do it but fall short for one reason or another. The most aggravating of all of these are the movies that fail out of an attempt to take themselves way too seriously. It is as if the film creators have fallen into a trap that only allows them to think that their 15-minute short is the equivalent of a film fest version of Passion of the Christ, a film that all film geeks will rush to see out of some mindless lemming need because it is just that good, that important, that one short film that will cause all of us to stop and say, “Wow, everything else is inconsequential!”

Trust me, that never happens.

But the mindset I have mentioned does happen, painfully all too often.

Thankfully we have guys like Monster Mark, a local student who has brought the torrid tale of a boy, his two roommates, and a pet tarantula to reality. The film, which is some 20-odd minutes in length, is a direct interpretation of 1950’s big bug bonanzas. I give the kid kudos for not making it a zombie film. Too often we see films from budding Romero/Fulci-ites who want nothing but to make their mark on the undead world. If anyone takes any advice from this review, it should be this: DO NOT make your first film a zombie opus. Few novices have the craft needed to wrangle this alluring vestige of the genre. More people need to follow Monster Mark’s example and go for something different. It was very ballsy material to try to undertake as a young student director, but even in light of its shortcomings, the film has some shining, promising things to say about the hands that crafted it.

Edinboro Meets the SpiderMonster Mark decided to go the honorable route when it came to the special effects. They are cheap and kept off camera until needed. Instead of falling victim to forcing things to happen, he allows them to. This is a great lesson to fellow film students out there. Keep it within your means. Do not try to go outside of where you can; it will only show in the end.

Next, instead of stereotypical archetypes, Mark seeded his world, with the notable exception of one character, with realistic, down-to-earth individuals. Granted, this proved to be a necessity as the cast is comprised of various folks from the Edinboro community, but the point is no less valid. Instead of filling your project up with things and people you are unfamiliar with, write and film what you know. There are lines of dialogue that made me laugh. Do you know how hard that is to do? I watch student films with a grain of salt the size of which Godzilla could not even lift, and here we have a kid who gets a guffaw out of me with the sheer ease of the scene’s delivery. Why? Because it was real, it struck a chord. Even though I didn’t think hitting the microwave made sense, I knew at some point in my life I had met a person who acted like that.

Lastly, it does not wear out its welcome. Just as things start to look like we are setting up to head outside of where the film’s construct can handle, it ends. We get no denouement, no big shoot-out; there is just an end. Closing with a hearty chuckle and a wink, this is the world that we have come to inhabit for the last third of an hour. It is well deserved and expected.

It does sadden me to think that most people in the horror community will never get to see Monster Mark’s film, for it is an example of an earnest attempt at developing one’s sense of cinematic self. I am anxious to see where Mark goes from here. In the hands of a lesser *ahem* reviewer, Edinboro Meets the Spider may have been panned completely, easily dismissed as one of a thousand similar types of films that are needlessly pumped out each year by aspiring wannabes. Folks, I am not here to kid you; this film is not the second coming of horror, but it does present an interesting discussion. One that I challenge our readers to take up the next time they are presented with the opportunity to watch the results of mixing love, imagination, and talent. Look closely, there is something hiding there. Just you watch.

3 out of 5

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Check Out the Opening 2 Minutes of Another WolfCop

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It was just earlier today that we brought you guys The Dude Design’s the newest poster for writer-director Lowell Dean’s horror-comedy sequel Another WolfCop.

And now we have the movie’s opening 2 minutes!

The clip showcases the new flick’s villain trying to sell us on his “Chicken Milk Beer” before losing his cool and taking it out the commercial’s crew. We then cut to a ragtag group of criminals, dressed as homeless Santas trying to outrun the cops.

A fun two-minutes if you ask me!

You can check out Another WolfCop‘s opening scene below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

The film is written and directed by Lowell Dean, produced by Bernie Hernando, Deborah Marks, and Hugh Patterson, and distributed worldwide by Cineplex.

Another WolfCop co-stars Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, and Serena Miller. The film also features special appearances from Canadian music icon Gowan and legendary filmmaker Kevin Smith. It was executive produced by Sean Buckley, J. Joly, Bill Marks, Brian Wideen, Michael Kennedy, and Michael Hirsch.

The film is slated for a wide Cineplex theatrical release on Friday, December 8, 2017, with the film seeing a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital home entertainment release through A71 and Black Fawn in 2018.

Synopsis:

A month has passed since the eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou into the crime-fighting hellion WolfCop. Although the Shape Shifters controlling the town have been extinguished, Woodhaven is far from returning to normal. Lou’s liquor-fueled antics and full moon outbursts are seriously testing his relationship with Officer Tina Walsh – the new Chief of Police. An old friend has mysteriously reappeared with a truly bizarre secret to share, and a homicidal new villain has emerged from the shadows looking to finish what the Shape Shifters started. To defeat this lethal adversary, it will take more than a lone wolf packing a pistol.

Prepare for the next chapter of WolfCop that will be more dirty and hairy than the original! Consider yourself warned.

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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – First Trailer and Artwork!

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As a fan of flicks like Mad Monster Party, I was surprisingly pleased with the last two Hotel Transylvania affairs. For my money you can put the classic monsters in just about anything, and I’ll watch it happily, and these animated features feel like a natural progression of the 1967 Rankin and Bass classic. Which is why I’m looking forward to Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, and if you are too, check out the film’s new trailer and poster.

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, who co-wrote the film with Michael McCullers, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation features the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, and Mel Brooks.

Look for it in theaters on July 13, 2018.

Synopsis:
In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, join our favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans.

But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind.

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