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Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (2016)

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Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories

volumesofbloodStarring Barbie Clark, Warren Ray, Thomas Dunbar

Directed by Sean Blevins, John William Holt, Jon Maynard, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Justin Seaman & James Treakle


Give me a lesser known director (or directors, for this matter), and create a piece of work that is representative of the true love for the genre that only a horror fan can offer, and I’ll take it over a big-budgeted presentation any old day of the week. Now, that’s not to say that I won’t hold it to some lofty expectations – I mean not any piece of shat will get my approval, but if it’s ideally crafted and displayed admirably, then I’ll smile upon it, and the Volumes Of Blood sequel has captured my concentration once again.

The latest anthology piece, titled Volumes Of Blood: Horror Stories, adds 8 new gory-fresh quickies to its lineup, with a six-pack of directors at the helm, all generously giving their time and creative energy to this production. While it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for me to drone on about this film, let’s just delve into the stories and see if the viscera sticks to our skin, shall we? First up on the slab is the short, Murder Death Killer, and it gorily depicts a botched robbery and eventual slaughter by a man named Atticus Crowe, who was killed and put to good use as a scarecrow out in the field near his workplace – fun quickie, decent gore, and overall a nice introduction to this movie. The second tale is Haters, and in a nice twist, we see two opinionated horror fans (Milliner and Kevin Roach) watching the first short film in a theater when they’re given the boot by an overzealous usher. The dialog alone in this one is worth the price of admission, and it’s simply a fun add-on to the rest of the exhibition. The third fixture in this collection was Trick Or Treat, whereas a library security guard and his girlfriend are introduced to a slasher on Halloween night – quick, interesting, and a conducive piece to the rest of the stories – movin’ on!

Tale number four: A Killer House – a quickie about a real estate salesman plying his craft and unleashing some rather interesting historical nuggets about the home he’s attempting to push (ahem, sell) to a couple of prospective buyers. What this short starts off as quickly takes a sharp turn, but does provide some interesting viewing. Thanksgiving takes center stage in tale number five, and it’s called Feeding Time – a story of an insurance salesman under the gun to dish off a policy, and his last stop of the night leads him to a home where he’s got to do a bit of monster-busting – goofy, but entertaining. I honestly saw this as the weakest of the installments, but hey, there’s got to be one, doesn’t there? Gliding along to the sixth yarn, called Blood Bath, a simple hope of some sexy-time in the shower leads to eerie visions and a lot of the flowing crimson for a man who’s off his meds – fun stuff, but again, mildly memorable in a nutshell. Christmas Eve is on the docket with tale seven, called Fear, For Sinners Here, and this short will warn any holiday happy-pants about the dangers of opening your doors to carolers – one of the more entertaining shorts, for sure. Wrapping up this demented presentation was The Deathday Party, and it wrung out (perhaps to an exhausting level) the ups and mainly downs of the middle-age declaration. Seemed like a display that was a bit out of place, but still managing to find a niche in this movie. Overall, aside from the film being a tad on the lengthy side, I’ll admit that the work of all the directors, producers and writers added up to a labor of love that wears its heart on its sleeve, and a little on its pants, and some on its shoes. Any way you cut it, the second Volumes Of Blood was a decent follow-up to the original, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a third installment when the time comes.

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User Rating 2.78 (9 votes)

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 152 – Cloverfield Paradox & The Ritual

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Last week Netflix shocked the world by not only releasing a new trailer for Cloverfield Paradox during the Superbowl, but announcing the film would be available to stream right after the game. In a move no one saw coming, Netflix shook the film industry to it’s very core. A few days later, Netflix quietly released horror festival darling: The Ritual.

Hold on to your Higgs Boson, because this week we’ve got a double header for ya, and we’re not talking about that “world’s largest gummy worm” in your mom’s nightstand. Why was one film marketed during the biggest sporting event of the year, and why was one quietly snuck in like a pinky in your pooper? Tune in a find out!

Meet me at the waterfront after the social for the Who Goes There Podcast episode 152!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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The Housemaid Review – Love Makes the Ghost Grow Stronger

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Starring Nhung Kate, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan

Written and directed by Derek Nguyen


Vietnamese horror films are something of a rarity due largely to pressure from the country’s law enforcement agencies that have warned filmmakers to steer clear of the genre in recent years. The country’s exposure to the industry is limited, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a handful of filmmakers out there that are passionate and determined to get their art out into the world. IFC Midnight has stepped up to the plate to shepherd writer/director Derek Nguyen’s period ghost thriller The Housemaid in hopes of getting it in front of American horror fans.

Aside from a few moments that delve into soap opera territory, Nguyen’s film is full of well-crafted scares and some surprisingly memorable scenes that sneak up at just the right times. For history buffs there’s also a lot of material to sink your teeth into dealing with French Colonial rule and mistreatment of the Vietnamese during the 1950’s. Abuse that, if you’re not careful, could lead to a vengeful spirit seeking atonement.

Desperate and exhausted after walking for miles, an orphaned woman named Linh (Kate) seeks refuge and employment as a housemaid at a large rubber plantation in 1953 French Indochina. Once hired, she learns of the dark history surrounding the property and how her mere presence has awakened an accursed spirit that wanders the surrounding woods and dark corners of the estate. Injured in battle, French officer Sebastien Laurent (Richaud) returns to preside over the manor and, unexpectedly, begins a dangerous love affair with Linh that stirs up an even darker evil.

Told in flashbacks, the abuse of workers reveals a long history of mistreatment that enshrouds the surrounding land in darkness and despair, providing ripe ground for a sinister spirit that continues to grow stronger. Once it’s revealed that the ghost has a long history with Laurent before her death, the reasons she begins to kill become more and more obvious as the death toll piles up. Using the real life history of indentured servants during Colonial rule, The Housemaid becomes more than just a self-contained ghost story, adding a good deal of depth to a story that could have just centered around a love triangle among Laurent, Linh, and the specter of Laurent’s dead wife.

Powered by desire to avenge tortured workers of the past and the anger fueled by seeing her husband in the embrace of a peasant girl, the apparition is frightening and eerily beautiful as she stalks her victims. One scene in particular showing her wielding an axe is the most indelible image to take away from the film, and other moments like it are what make The Housemaid a standout. The twisted sense of romance found in a suffering spirit scorned in death is the heart of the story even if the romance between the two living lovers winds up having more screen time.

The melodrama and underwhelming love scenes between Linh and Laurent are the least effective part of The Housemaid, revealing some of Nguyen’s limitations in providing dialogue and character moments that make us connect with these two characters as much as we do when the ghost is lurking around the frame. What does help to save the story is a well kept secret revealing a connection with the housemaid and the apparition.

Honestly, if this was an American genre film, the limitations seen in The Housemaid might cause more criticism, but seeing an emerging artist and his team out of Vietnam turn out a solid product like this leads me to highlight the good and champion the effort in hopes of encouraging more filmmakers to carry the flag. Ironically, the film is set for a U.S. remake in the near future.

The Housemaid hits select theaters, VOD, and digital platforms TODAY, February 16th.

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Summary

Using the real life history of indentured servants during Colonial rule, The Housemaid becomes more than just a self-contained ghost story, adding a good deal of depth to a story that could have just centered around a love triangle.

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Scorched Earth Review – Gina Carano Making Motherf**kers Pay In The Apocalypse

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Starring Gina Carano, John Hannah, Ryan Robbins

Written by Bobby Mort and Kevin Leeson

Directed by Peter Howitt


Let me preface this review by stating right off the bat that I’m a huge Gina Carano fan, and will pretty much accept her in any role that she’s put in (are you going to tell her no), regardless of the structure and plausibility behind it, and while that might make me a tad-bit biased in my opinions, just accept it as that and nothing more. Now that I’ve professed my cinematic devotion to the woman, let’s dive headlong into her latest film, Scorched Earth.

Directed by Peter Howitt, the backdrop is an apocalyptic world brought on by the imminent disaster known as global warming, and the air has become toxic to intake, generally leaving inhabitants yacking up blood and other viscous liquids after a prolonged exposure, unless you’re one of the privileged that possesses a filter lined with powdered silver. Filters of water and the precious metal are in high demand, and only true offenders in this world still drive automobiles, effectively speeding up the destruction of what’s left of the planet. Carano plays Atticus Gage, a seriously stoic and tough-as-nails bounty hunter who is responsible for taking these “criminals” down, and her travels lead her to a compound jam-packed with bounties that will have her collecting riches until the end of time…but aren’t we at the end of time already? Anyway, Gage’s main opponent here is a man by the name of Thomas Jackson (Robbins) – acting as the leader of sorts to these futuristic baddies, the situation of Gage just stepping in and taking him out becomes a bit complicated when…oh, I’m not going to pork this one up for you all – you’ve got to invest the time into it just as I did, and trust me when I tell you that the film is pretty entertaining to peep.

While Carano’s acting still needs some refining, let there be no ever-loving mistake that this woman knows how to beat the shit out of people, and for all intents and purposes this will be the thing that carries her through many a picture. There are much larger roles in the future for Gina, and she’ll more than likely take over as a very big player in the industry – hey, I’m a gambling man, and I’ve done pretty well with my powers of prognostication. With that being said, the thing that does hold this picture back is the plot itself- it’s a bit stale and not overly showy, and when I look for a villain to oppose the hero, I’m wanting someone with at least a shred of a magnetic iota, and I just couldn’t latch onto anything with Robbins’ performance – his character desperately needed an injection of “bad-assness” and it hurt in that particular instance.

In the end of it all, I’d recommend Scorched Earth to fans of directionless, slam-bang wasteland pics with a touch of unrestrained violence…plus, Gina Carano is in it, so you can’t go wrong. If you’re not a fan of any of the above, feel free to skate on along to another piece of barren territory.

  • Scorched Earth
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Summary

Looking to get your butt kicked in the apocalypse with extreme prejudice? Drive on up, and allow me to introduce you to someone who’ll be more than happy to oblige.

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