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DVD Release List: Mega Transfusion

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Check out the horrific DVDs being offered up this Tuesday, March 4th, 2008…

Click to see it bigger!Army of the Dead (2007)
Directed by Joseph Contegiacomo

Back in 1590, a group of one thousand men were sent out to find the legendary “lost” city of El Dorado, but they never returned. Now an archaeology professor and his students are searching the Baja peninsula for an expedition and accidentally unleash the titular army, skeletal warriors who have no fear and only exist to stop people from finding the lost city’s treasures. Check out our “>Army of the Dead DVD review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Automaton Transfusion (2006)
Directed by Steven C. Miller

You’ve likely been hearing about this little zombie movie forever, be it from the sites out there who like to heap praise upon it for being so darn indie, or the sites “>like ours who call it out for what it is: a low budget zombie flick, and apparently not a very good one. But Dimension Extreme was happy enough with it, so that’s good for those indie filmmakers! Oh, the film is about teens in a small town overrun by zombies who decide, instead of hiding, they’re going to fight back. Mayhem ensues. The cover’s not actually that cool anymore; the “Unrated” label is over the severed torso, just FYI. Check out our “>Automaton Transfusion DVD review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Carver (2007)
Directed by Franklin Guerrero, Jr.

Wow, look kids, it’s Carver! And it’s unrated and grisly! Wow! Seriously, why would you care if it’s rated or not if you’ve never even seen the movie? The story, as it were, is about five friends (how original) who go camping and stumble on a stockyard owned by the titular family. They soon find out that the family is crazy and homicidal and blah blah blah. Check out our “>Carver DVD review for more! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Dead Moon Rising (2007)
Directed by Mark E. Poole

An ambitious film, from the sounds of thing, so I wonder why we’ve never heard of it before? Dead Moon Rising is about a mysterious disease that transforms those infected with it into cannibals, craving human flesh and all the complications that come with it. One man has to try and stop them all with the help of some biker gangs, over 1200 extras were gathered for some scenes, and a thousand-round a minute mini-gun. Sounds like it could be a good time, no? Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!The Deepening (2007)
Directed by Ted Alderman

When Gunnar Hansen is top-billed in your movie, I would be a bit concerned about what your real goal is as a horror filmmaker. When your movie is called The Deepening, one of the most ridiculous “serious” titles I’ve heard in a while, you might want to re-consider your career altogether. Oddly enough, the film is about a traumatized fire fighter who becomes a serial killer, though I think it’d be more interesting it if were the other way around… Who knows, though, maybe this is just an indie gem waiting to be discovered! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!The Forever Dead (2007)
Directed by Christine Parker

All right, here’s at least an interesting way to spread a zombie infection: a crazed rabbit that goes zombie in a small community, turning anyone it bites into the walking dead. Six people are, of course, fighting for their lives against the zombies while struggling with their own inner demons at the same time. Yawn. Ah, well, at least the zombie rabbit is interesting. Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!The Fun Park (2007)
Directed by Rick Walker

30 years ago, Bobo the Insult Clown (not making it up) was bludgeoned to death outside the Family Fun Park one night. Now he’s a murderous ghost clown bent on revenge. So of course, a group of high school kids show up to the closed-off amusement park, cause God forbid they tear it down, only there the disprove the legend of Bob the Insult Ghost Clown. Instead they find out how real it is… Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Horror From South of the Border, Volume 2
Directed by Various

All right, another collection of Mexican horror films that otherwise you would have likely never even known existed! Night of the Bloody Apes follows a dying man who transforms into a rampaging ape; Curse of the Doll People finds voodoo dolls come to life; Spiritism is a re-working of The Monkey’s Paw; Wresting Women Vs. The Aztec Mummy is pretty much what it sounds like; and Doctor of Doom finds a mad scientist who puts a new brain into a female wrestler to transform her into a superhuman female wrestler. Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Left for Dead (2007)
Directed by Albert Pyun

This one sounds really familiar, and I’m not sure why unless it’s just been on the list before or something. Anyway, Pyun apparently finds another gem in his cannon with this horror western about a tough-as-nails cowgirl out for revenge on a man who raped her, along with a group of drug-addled, crazed women who all have their own reasons for finding him; one of which is that he’s the father of her child. They track him to a town run by a preacher who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his own vengeance on those who killed him. Then things get really complicated. Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Mega Snake (2007)
Directed by Tibor Takacs

From the man who brought you Mansquito and The Gate comes Mega Snake, the film that makes your snake look small! The story follows a man who is terrified of snakes after his father was killed by a poisonous one. His brother is fine with them, apparently, but accidentally unleashes a rare mystical snake into their small town, which starts growing really big really fast. Terrifying, no? Read our “>Mega Snake review to learn more! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Satan’s Whip (2006)
Directed by Jason Maran

Did you know that there exists a secret society that is bound and determined to fight the forces of evil? Yep, there is. A guy named Claude really wants to become a member of this society, but he has to find a missing priest to prove his worth. He sets out on a path of horrifying adventure filled with witches, cannibalism and insanity. Sounds like a fun club; I hope I can join someday, too! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Savage Planet (2006)
Directed by Paul Lynch & Andrew Wild

After Earth has been over-polluted by our idiotic species, a new planet that we can inhabit and eventually destroy is sought out. They find something, for sure, but first they have to battle the planet’s indigenous creatures: a race of mutants that turn their search for a brave new world into a suicide mission. Now they’re facing something even more deadly than the dead plane they left behind. Who will survive and will anyone really care? Check out our “>Savage Planet review to learn more! Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Suburban Sasquatch (2004)
Directed by Dave Wascavage

The legendary beast finally makes his way out of the forest to wreak his revenge on those who have torn down his habitat to make way for their comfortable homes. A local reporter follows the trail of Bigfoot from one victim to another, each more horrifically mauled than the last. And what is it that the police seem to know that he doesn’t? Who can stop the brutal beast before he wipes out all of suburbia? Hopefully no one; suburbia has it coming. Buy it here!


Click to see it bigger!Torment (2007)
Directed by Steve Sessions

From the director of Dead Clowns comes yet another movie about a killer clown. I sense a pattern. The story follows a woman recently released from a psychiatric hospital whose husband takes her to an isolated cabin to help her recover. Isn’t that what the psych hospital was for? Once at the cabin though, she’s stalked by a psychopathic clown who makes her life a living hell. Buy it here!


Johnny Butane

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Thelma Is Fantastic and Now You Can Watch the Opening Scene

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One of this year’s most beautiful and subdued horror films is Joachim Trier’s Thelma (review), which opens in Los Angeles tonight. To give you a bit of what the film is like, The Orchard have released the opening scene, which shows a man and his daughter hunting in the bleak Norwegian winter. When they come across a young deer, the true intentions of this trip become apparent…

Having seen Thelma, I can tell you that it’s truly something special. It’s a slow burn, to be certain, but it plays out gorgeously, resulting in a film that has yet to leave my mind.

Related Story: Exclusive Interview with Thelma’s Joachim Trier

Locations and tickets for Thelma can be found here.

Synopsis:
Thelma, a shy young student, has just left her religious family in a small town on the west coast of Norway to study at a university in Oslo. While at the library one day, she experiences a violent, unexpected seizure. Soon after, she finds herself intensely drawn toward Anja, a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. As the semester continues, Thelma becomes increasingly overwhelmed by her intense feelings for Anja – feelings she doesn’t dare acknowledge, even to herself – while at the same time experiencing even more extreme seizures. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous, supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers.

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Award-Winning The Child Remains Playing Tomorrow at the Blood in the Snow Festival

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The award-winning supernatural thriller The Child Remains, which has been on the festival circuit, is returning to Canada to play tomorrow night at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival in Toronto. Tickets for the screening, which is at 9:30pm, can be found at the festival’s website.

The film has won awards in festivals across Canada as well as Best Foreign Feature at the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival in London, UK.

Described as The Shining meets Rosemary’s Baby meets The Orphanage, the film stars Suzanne Clément, Allan Hawco, Shelley Thompson, and Geza Kovacs. Directed and written by Michael Melski, who co-produced the film alongside Craig Cameron and David Miller, The Child Remains is aiming for a Canadian theatrical release in Spring 2018 and a US theatrical release in October 2018.

Synopsis:
An expectant couple’s intimate weekend turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and young mothers were murdered. Inspired by the true story of the infamous ‘Butterbox Babies’ and their macabre chapter in Canadian history, The Child Remains is a twisting supernatural thriller that emphasizes story and suspense over shock and gore.

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Tony Timpone’s Elegy – AFM: A November to Dismember

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It used to be that the toughest thing about visiting the global cinematic bazaar known as the American Film Market was squeezing in as many movies as humanly possible before your eyes exploded like Cameron Vale’s in Scanners. At this year’s 38th annual AFM, held November 1-8 in Santa Monica, CA, I watched 17 movies in five days. Don’t be too impressed. That’s a big drop from past years, where I’d see as many as two dozen films during that span.

This year marked my 21st AFM jaunt, and change has been in the air for some time at this industry confab. Two screening days have been shaved off the program, and theater screenings have lost the 5pm and 7pm slots. Much of the Z-grade schlock has been whittled away and there does seem to be a higher level of product on display. No longer does every other movie star Joe Estevez. Now it’s Nicolas Cage! Sales companies feverishly hawked Cage’s VOD-bound Primal, The Humanity Bureau and Looking Glass, in addition to a plethora of cute puppy and sappy Christmas cable-ready movies.

So where’s the horror, you ask? You can still discover it at AFM, but 2017 offered a disappointing allowance for the most part. To put it into perspective, the opening day of my first AFM in 1998 yielded John Carpenter’s Vampires and Spain’s Abre Los Ojos (remade as the mediocre Vanilla Sky in the US) back-to-back (not to mention The Big Lebowski from the Coen brothers). For 2017, I did not see one film as good as those (well, maybe one…). Not a total washout, mind you, as I’m sure you will add a few titles to your watch list after perusing my AFM 2017 screening report.


I Kill Giants:
A lonely teenage girl (Madison Wolfe) defends her coastal town from invading goliaths in this somber tale directed by Denmark’s Anders Walter and written by Joe Kelly from his graphic novel. Not exactly a feel-good movie, I Kill Giants deals with bullying, depression, isolation and terminal illness. It intersperses the somberness with some excellent FX scenes involving the giants, who emerge from the surf and dark woods to taunt our young heroine. Not only is I Kill Giants too downbeat for my tastes, last year’s underrated and underseen A Monster Calls covered many of the same emotional beats much more eloquently and movingly than here.

** 1/2



Errementari:
Spanish helmer Alex del la Iglesia (Day of the Beast, Witching & Bitching) produced this Terry Gilliam-esque dark fantasy, about a cursed medieval-age blacksmith and his battle of wills with a demon out to claim his soul.

Directed by Paul Urkijo Alijo, the movie is like a Hieronymus Bosch painting come to life. Its climactic trip to Hell stands out as a highlight, pitchforks and all, as do the superb practical makeup FX.

***


Bad Samaritan:
A parking valet (Robert Sheehan) at a ritzy restaurant borrows the patrons’ cars to rob their homes while they’re eating in this thriller directed by Dean (Godzilla) Devlin and written by Brandon (Apt Pupil) Boyce. As he rummages through the house of the arrogant Cale (former “Doctor Who” David Tennant, cast against type and looking like a less seedy Charlie Sheen), valet Sean discovers an imprisoned woman, the waiting victim of the rich serial killer. The cops don’t believe the robber, but the bad guy catches onto him and soon begins destroying Sean’s life and those around him. Though Bad Samaritan builds some good suspense and remains moderately gripping, Devlin (late of the embarrassing Geostorm, which Irishman Sheehan also appeared in) is no Hitchcock. And at 107 minutes, the movie overstays its welcome.

** 1/2


Anna and the Apocalypse:
Christmas, teenagers, music and zombies… Anna and the Apocalypse has it all. As the snow falls and Yuletide cheer builds, a living dead outbreak hits the quaint British town of Little Haven. Can teen Anna (Intruders’ Ella Hunt) and her friends make it to their high school auditorium for presumed safety? Well, they’ll try, singing and dancing (and bashing in undead heads) along the way. OK, so the movie’s cute and a raucous scene of zombie mayhem in a bowling alley scores a strike, but the problem with Anna is the songs just aren’t that memorable. Where’s Richard O’Brien when you need him?

** 1/2


Incident in a Ghost Land:
Writer/director Pascal Laugier took our breath away with his vicious Martyrs in 2008, but 2012’s underrated The Tall Man garnered little notice. Packing a ’70s horror vibe, his latest recaptures some of Martyrs’ uncomfortable female-inflicted brutality. Two young sisters and their mom head to a remote family house, which is soon invaded by two ruthless psychos. Though the story echoes Tourist Trap and High Tension, Laugier pulls the rug out from us at a key point and takes us down an even darker path. I wish the villains had a little more depth here, but In a Ghost Land has enough shock and thrills to satisfy fright fans.

***


Cold Skin

Cold Skin:
Laugier’s fellow extreme Frenchmen, Xavier Gens, terrorized us with his Texas Chainsaw Massacre pastiche Frontier(s) in 2007 and explored postapocalyptic horror in The Divide (2011). Now he tries his hand at a Jules Verne-style creature feature. In the early 20th century, a weather observer (David Oakes) arrives for a year-long assignment at an isolated island near the Antarctic Circle where he meets the misanthropic lighthouse keeper (Ray Stevenson). A race of pale-skinned fish people dwells in the seas and raids the island at night in several bravura action set pieces, their motive unknown. The real threat here may be Stevenson, who keeps one of the creatures as a pet/sex slave. Gens plays the story like a fable, but ultimately I had a hard time warming up to Cold Skin. Where the movie succeeds is in the creature FX and photography departments.

***


Let the Corpses Tan:
French directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani won over the horror arthouse crowd with their giallo tributes Amer and The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears. Their latest flashy exercise tackles the much-loved Italian Spaghetti Western genre, but relocates the story to modern day and a Mediterranean hilltop villa. A gold-robbing gang holes up in the scenic, sun-drenched location, with a woman artist and her friends get caught in the crossfire when two cops arrive. The filmmakers do a fine job of paying homage to Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone here, but we’re talking style over substance. None of the characters really pops, and the whole thing grows a little tiresome. Fans of Cattet and Forzani and arty shootouts will still dig it.

** 1/2


Downrange:
After the weekly US shooting sprees of Vegas and Texas, this was the last movie I wanted to embrace. A group of friends find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere after a sniper cripples their car. Said sniper then begins blasting away at the college kids in graphic fashion, brains splattering the asphalt in gruesome close-up. Director Ryûhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train, Versus) does some flashy camera things, but the movie is so damn mean-spirited that it just left a bad taste in my mouth. The lowdown on Downrange: the story’s not very plausible nor the characters very likable.

* 1/2


Ghost Stories:
Just when I gave up on AFM 2017, the last movie screening I attended turned out to be not only the best genre film of the market but one of the best of the year period (IFC releases Ghost Stories next April). Supernatural debunker Professor Goodman (Andy Nyman, who co-wrote and co-directed with Jeremy Dyson) examines three extreme hauntings which just might make a believer out of him. Adapting their successful London play, Nyman and Dyson riff on past British horror anthologies Dead of Night and the ’70s Amicus flicks, but with a modern sensibility. Ghost Stories achieves its scares with class and distinction, as well as terrific makeup FX and a memorable supporting turn by The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman.

This one will send you out singing too; the “Monster Mash” plays over the end credits!

*** 1/2


So even though this year’s AFM was a bust, you will likely spot me canvassing those comfy Santa Monica theaters (kudos for solid projection, luxurious seating and friendly staff at the Arclight, AMC, Broadway and Laemmle) again next fall. On the market and festival beat, hope springs eternal!

For more information on the AFM, go to www.americanfilmmarket.com.

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