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Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill! (DVD)

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Halloween Pussy Trap Kill KIll

Halloween Pussy Trap Kill KIllStarring Sara Malakul Lane, Richard Grieco, Demetrius Stear, Laura Parkinson, the voice of Dave Mustaine

Written and Directed by Jared Cohn


At first I thought I was watching the wrong movie. You don’t expect a film titled Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill! to open in the Middle East with American soldiers in combat against Islamic terrorists. This unexpected war movie opening sequence does set the stage for what’s to come – sort of.

Back in California, years later, a predominantly female punk band named Kill, Pussy, Kill! wastes no time making some of the biggest mistakes anyone can ever make in a horror movie.

Hold on a sec. First of all, if you’re a small time rock band trying to make it big and your vehicle breaks down while on a road trip you might as well accept that you’re going to die very shortly. Someone’s gonna kill you. It’s just how the world works. I’ve seen enough movies. I know this to be true.

And if you breakdown in the dead of night – on Halloween, no less – at a seemingly abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere and are immediately greeted by a white trash weirdo offering you a ride up the road to be reunited with a member of your group who has already gone missing, you might as well just go ahead and kill yourselves.

Actually, that’s kind of what ends up happening – sort of.

The band quickly find themselves taken captive inside the Honeymoon Saw Suite and forced to face their fears as they partake in a game of life or death orchestrated by an unseen madman referred to as The Mastermind, voiced by Megadeath frontman Dave Mustaine. Talk about 99 way to die…

The Mastermind is a mummy-wrapped, wheelchair-bound, psychotic ex-soldier who got his face chopped off by ISIS in the opening and now wheels around California looking and sounding like the deranged bastard lovechild of Darkman and Jigsaw with just a dash of Batman nemesis The Scarecrow. The Mastermind wants to teach you a lesson about appreciating your life and freedom or something like that. His negative reinforcement musings are so nonsensically loopy that with a little bit of tweaking to the script The Mastermind’s rants could have functioned as a sly parody of the santimonious empty moralizing that constitutes much of Jigsaw’s allegedly life-enriching torments.

I also don’t know why this band needed to be tortured into killing one another because given how quickly they’re ready to turn on each other it’s apparent they were destined to kill each other eventually, regardless. Wanna get out of this trap-filled room? One member of the band has to find a gun and shoot another. There’s not a ton of hesitation when she finds that firearm. This is record time for characters that are not complete strangers to turn on one another in a horror movie.

Heck; before they even get taken captive they’re giving one of their male bandmates the boot after he attempts to rape another. That guy comes back into the picture later on and displays such a sadistic streak of his own The Mastermind really should have just put him on the payroll.

Hard to get invested in any of these band members or feels much by way of suspense because none of them have any real personality. Two of them are lesbian lovers, that one guy I mentioned seems well on his way to being a sociopath as is, and another guy has big hair. That’s about the extent of their characterizations. I can’t even recall any of their names.

Nobody in the cast really stands out except for killers. Oh,how I really wish Cohn had focused more on The Mastermind and his family than his victims. The Mastermind has a wife attired in the cheesiest, most generic Halloween witch costume imaginable and they have a special needs daughter. When trick or treaters show up at their hovel in the middle of nowhere they murder them, too, in rather hilarious fashion. Nothing about them is every delved into. This is just who they are and what they do.

Then there’s Richard Grieco as the gas station attendant whose ties to the Mastermind are also never really explained. Is he a relative? A friend? On the payroll? Who is this guy and why is he part of this? Nor is it explained why he seems to be almost impervious to pain — and death! Or, for that matter, why he does most of what he does during the last third of the film. The focus shifts from The Mastermind’s game and more to whatever Grieco’s character feel like doing at that very moment, whether its playing his own mind games, getting in on the killing, or just just feeling rapey. It’s here that this train wreck of a movie finally derails and, believe me, it was already on the verge of jumping the tracks for much of its running time.

For all its fault, and there are many, I really was modestly entertained by Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill! until the third act when the bandmates-in-peril storyline mostly takes a powder in favor of a new set of even less likeable victims, and Grieco’s weirdo actively enters the trap rooms for no discernible reason.

“For no discernible reason” also summarizes most of why anything happens in this movie, taking one of the worst cues from Rob Zombie’s 31, thankfully minus that film’s smug sense of satisfaction believing itself to be far cooler than it actually was. Cohn’s microbudget production lacks the slickness of Zombie’s but isn’t afraid to revel in the sleaze of it all, somehow making it a bit more palatable in my eyes.

Why am I for the most part giving Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill! a pass? For mostly the same reason everything that happens in the movie occurs — for no discernible reason.

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IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

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Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light
5.0

Summary

IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

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The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

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Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

Directed by John Law


I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

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3.5

Summary

The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

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Before We Vanish Review – A Quirky and Original Take on Alien Invasions

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Starring Masami Nagasawa, Ryûhei Matsuda, Hiroki Hasegawa

Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa


During the J-horror rampage of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (aka Pulse). A dark, depressing, and morose tale of ghosts that use the internet to spread across the world, the film’s almost suffocatingly gloomy atmosphere pervaded across every frame of the film. Because of my love of this film, I was eager to see the director’s upcoming movie Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha (aka Before We Vanish), which follows three aliens who recently arrived on Earth and are preparing to bring about an alien invasion that will wipe humanity from the face of the planet. Imagine my surprise when the film turned out to be barely a horror title but was instead a quirky and surreal dramedy that tugged at my heartstrings.

Admittedly, I was thrown completely for a loop as the film begins with a scene that feels perfectly at home in a horror film. Akira (Tsunematsu), a teenage girl, goes home and we enter moments later to blood splashed on the walls and floor and bodies strewn about. However, the disturbing visuals are spun around as the young girl walks down a highway, her clothes and face streaked with blood, Yusuke Hayashi’s music taking on a lighthearted, almost jaunty attitude. From there, we learn of the other two aliens (yes, she’s an alien and it’s not a secret or a twist, so no spoilers there): Amano (Takasugi), who is a young man that convinces a sleazy reporter, Sakurai (Hasegawa), of his true form and tasks Sakurai with being his guide, and Shinji (Matsuda), the estranged husband of Narumi (Nagasawa).

What sets these aliens, and their mission, apart from other invasion thrillers is their means of gathering information. They’re not interested in meeting leaders nor do they capture people for nefarious experimentations. Rather, they steal “concepts” from the minds of people, such as “family”, “possession”, or “pest”. Once these concepts are taken, the victim no longer has that value in their mind, freed from its constraints.

While this may seem like a form of brainwashing, Kurosawa instead plays with the idea that maybe knowing too much is what holds us back from true happiness. A man obsessed with staking claim to his family home learns to see the world outside of its walls when “possession” is no longer a part of his life. A touchy boss enters a state of child-like glee after “work” has been taken. That being said, there are other victims who are left as little more than husks.

Overly long at 130 minutes, the film does take its time showing the differences between the aliens and their individual behaviors. Amano and Akira are casually ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to send a beacon to begin the alien invasion, no matter how many must die along the way, while Shinji is the curious and almost open-minded one, whose personal journey finds him at one point asking a priest to envision and describe “love”, a concept that is so individualistic and personal that it can’t be taken, much less fathomed, by this alien being. While many of these scenes are necessary, they could have easily been edited down to shave 10-15 minutes, making the film flow a bit more smoothly.

While the film begins on a dark note, there is a scene in the third act that is so pure and moving that tears immediately filled my eyes and I choked up a little. It’s a moment of both sacrifice and understanding, one that brings a recurring thread in the story full circle.

With every passing minute, Before We Vanish makes it clear that it’s much more horror-adjacent than horror. An alien invasion thriller with ultimate stakes, it will certainly have appeal to genre fans. That being said, those who go in expecting action, violence, and terror will certainly be disappointed. But those whose mind is a bit more open to a wider range of possibilities will find a delightful story that attempts to find out what it means to be human, even if we have to learn the lesson from an alien.

  • Before We Vanish
4.0

Summary

Before We Vanish is a beautiful, wonderful tale that explores what it means to be human when faced with the threat of extinction.

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