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Birdemic: Shock and Terror (DVD/Blu-Ray)

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Birdemic: Shock and Terror DVD and Blu-RayStarring Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore, Janae Caster, Colton Osborne, Adam Sessa, and five seconds of stock footage of Tippi Hedren from a previous film

Written and directed by James Nguyen, Master of Romantic Thrillers™

Distributed by Severin Films


What are you gonna do with your fancy pants Blu Ray player? Test out your home theater system with a 3-disc Collector’s Edition of Avatar? Hell no! Who wants to watch that never-ending CGI hippy movie when you can have the exact same experience with James Nguyen’s cult hit Birdemic: Shock and Terror? Just like Avatar, it has bad CGI, stilted characters and a preachy environmental message – only done on 1/1,000,000,000,000,000th of the budget. So why is Birdemic superior? Simple: James Cameron’s movie doesn’t have giant exploding eagles.

First some backstory: Nguyen, a Vietnamese software salesman from San Jose, was so infatuated with love stories and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds that he decided to mash the two together and dubbed his odd cinematic concoction “the world’s first Romantic Thriller.” Acting as a one-man Robert Rodriguez, Nguyen armed himself with a prosumer video camera, a few local “actors” and a cheap computer program to create one giant self-financed birdocalypse. When his magnum opus was rejected from Sundance (!), Nguyen rented a van, covered it with blood, fake birds and “Bidemic” logos (misspelling his own title) and went to the festival anyway, blaring ungodly eagle screeches from a sound-system to the numerous patrons waiting in line. This caught the attention of the folks at Severin Films and the instantly snatched up the rights and groomed it into the next overnight cult sensation.

The “plot” follows Rod, the most wooden human being in the history of existence as he dates hot underwear model Natalie after stalking her in a diner. And…well…that’s about it. For the first half of the movie, absolutely nothing happens except a series of conversations – the kind usually reserved for alien pod people. After endless “flirting” and “romancing” at the local pumpkin festival, our intrepid hero finally unleashes his “Rod” but the couple’s post-coital bliss is interrupted when toxic killer eagles and vultures (a product of our environmental destruction) suddenly appear and wage war on humanity. Luckily, Rod’s sex-crazed buddy is in the same motel and brought his machine guns to the pumpkin fest, so their rag-tag group takes off through the countryside in search of safe haven.

Joining the ranks of Troll 2 and The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror is one of the most mind-melting experiences you’ll ever have. It’s a film so ineptly made that any description simply won’t do it justice (although Foywonder’s review pretty much nails it). It’s magical combination of non-talent somehow created the perfect bad movie storm – one that should be seen with a group of friends and a lot of booze (do NOT watch it alone).

And thanks to the wonder of high-def, you can now experience Birdemic: Shock and Terror the way James Nguyen intended: In full 1080p (!?!) glory. Never before have out-of-focus, blown out photography and fuzzy green screens been so lovingly mastered for state-of-the-art home video. If that weren’t enough, prepare to give your sound system the ride of its life: It comes with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track where you can hear every sound drop out and dialogue echo with crystal clarity!

Extra features wise, we get two – count em, two – audio commentaries. One is with filmmaker auteur James Nyugen, which is about as delusional and incomprehensible as you would expect. More fun is a snarky talk with stars Alan Bagh, Witney Moore, and moderated by comedian Bobby Hacker, and they playfully rip the film a new asshole. Then we have two deleted scenes (yes, Nguyen has the sense to cut something), and several featurettes. The Birdemic Experience Tour shows clips from the film’s midnight festival run with various audience reactions and Q&A highlights (I was lucky enough to be at one of them) while James Nguyen on Movie Close-Up is a half-hour interview with the director on a bad San Fran public access show (where the technical glitches rival the movie itself). Four trailers and an EPK kit round out the disc – but where is that Birdemic music video, Severin?

There’s something beautifully wrong about owning Birdemic: Shock and Terror on Blu Ray. Some naysayers have complained that giving such a heinous film this much attention is a crime against real filmmakers – but they’re missing the point. A truly bad movie transcends itself and becomes anti-art, which is, ironically, the most exciting of all art forms. Of all people, Nguyen best sums up why Birdemic works in the bonus features: When an audience member sarcastically asks why his film is so awesome, he responds with one word: “Sincerity.”

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director James Nguyen
  • Audio commentary with stars Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore
  • Deleted scenes
  • Birdemic Experience Tour featurette
  • James Nguyen on “Movie Close Up”
  • MOVIEHEAD: The James Nguyen Story teaser
  • Birdemic Experience 2010 trailer

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    Exploded EagleExploded EagleExploded EagleExploded EagleExploded Eagle

    5 out of 5 exploding eagles

    Special Features
    Exploded EagleExploded EagleExploded Eagle

    3 out of five exploding eagles

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    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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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

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    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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