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Serial Slayer (2004)

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Starring Melanie (Heavenly Creatures) Lynskey, Sherri (The United States of Leland) Rappaport, Mary Lynn (Helter Skelter)Rajskub

Directed by Mark Tapio Kines


Now I know how The Foywonder must feel. You hear about a movie, maybe the studio offers you a preview copy of it or you come upon one, you decide to give it a chance…79 minutes later you’re that much stupider for having sat through the entire thing, wondering if maybe you’ve made the wrong career decision.

It’s movies like Serial Slayer that make me feel that much better there are movies like Chainsaw Sally and Hide and Creepin existence. This movie encompasses everything that’s wrong with indie films, and bores the viewer to tears while doing it.

How’s about a bit o’ plot, just to get this rolling? We start off through a ridiculously long credit sequence following around Grace (Rajskub) as she tries to find some location in the suburbs of L.A. Throughout it, a radio show is playing that tells us all about the mysterious “Crossbow Killer”, a psycho that’s been running from rooftop to rooftop, eliminating random people with a crossbow. Therein lies the only thing in this movie that comes anywhere close to inventive, and calling it that is quite a stretch, actually. It’s just…different, I guess. Not many psychos utilize crossbows in this day and age.

So anyway, she arrives and we discover she was invited to this house by a co-worker (Lynskey, showing the true meaning of “slumming it”), whose friend (Rappaport) doesn’t even like her. They were expecting more people, but it’s only the three of them all weekend, and the only thing they can seem to do is sit around and talk about the serial killer. Finally he strikes, but instead of just killing and moving on like he always does, he decides to continue to crawl around on the roof and make sure they’re all nice & scared before killing them.

The entire movie, short of the car at the beginning and some outside stuff at the end, takes place in this house, with these three boring women, doing a whole lot of nothing except sitting around and talking about how scared they are and how evil this killer is. And my good CHRIST is it ever boring.

Technically, the film has nothing going for it at all. They somehow managed to film the entire movie without the use of a single tripod from the looks of it, as everything is just shaky enough to be distracting. Not that you’ll mind being distracted from Serial Slayer, especially if it’s to find more things wrong with it. The acting is more or less atrocious, with Rajskub making a “someone’s pissing on me” face (my friend’s line, not mine unfortunately…) for 85% of the time she’s alive. And when the crossbow maniac does kill her? Well, let’s just say it’s more than a relief.

We have a killer that is revealed to be wearing a black sweater, a black ski mask, and black gloves in the middle of the summer. Fine, some people are just strange like that…but the problem is this killer is running around in the middle of the day! Why not just wear a big neon sign that says “Crossbow Killer” on it? I know, because that wouldn’t be quite a visible as a PURE BLACK OUTIFT in the middle of the goddamn DAY.

It’s obvious that not a single person involved with this movie had a clue what they were doing, and the “stars” had to be just doing it for a favor or something. I can’t imagine anyone sitting around brainstorming, coming up with this idea (which has every indication of being shot literally in one day), and actually convincing anyone it would be scary or even worthy of being called a horror film. What it is is a complete and utter waste of time, money (both yours if you rent it and whatever small amount the filmmakers spent on making it), and crossbow bolts, which I’m sure could’ve been put to better use hunting innocent woodland creatures or something.

Oh, and that cover? Pay no attention to it. The killer looks nothing like that, the film does not take place at night, the house doesn’t even resemble the one in the picture, and the crossbow he actually uses is about the size of a loaf of bread, not a rifle.


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7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here

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Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar

Directed by Kimble Rendall


If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?

Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.

We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.

All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.

  • Film
2.5

Summary

A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE

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Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.

What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!

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 DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic

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Starring Father Gabriele Amorth

Directed by William Friedkin


Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.

It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.

The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?

In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.

Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.

Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.

Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!

As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.

  • The Devil and Father Amorth
2.0

Summary

See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.

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