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It Waits (DVD)



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It Waits DVDStarring Cerina Vincent, Dominic Zamprogna, Greg Kean, Eric Schweig, Samaya Jardey,  Miranda Frigon, Tinsel Korey, and Fred Henderson

Directed by Steven R. Monroe

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Some of my favorite films of all time have starred an it.  Who could forget the genesis for the classic film Alien, It! The Terror From Beyond Space, or the 1956 classic It Conquered the World? Do I have to even mention Stephen King’s It? I don’t think so. Cinematically speaking for genre fans there is only one true definition of an it, and thankfully it usually turns out to be some kind of monster. Some have been hokey looking like the carrot creature from the aforementioned It Conquered the World, while others have been deadly and, dare I say it, pretty friggin’ scary. Well get ready, monster fans, because there is a new it on the block; and believe me when I tell you this latest creature is nothing short of a depraved and sadistic demonic force of nature.

Meet Danny St. Claire (Cerina Cabin Fever Vincent). After a grueling car accident that took the life of her best friend, she has decided to get away from it all by taking a job as a forest ranger in charge of a fairly isolated outpost deep within the woods. The poor kid has suffered some really tough breaks and just needs time to exorcise her own personal demons. Little does she know that a few months earlier some students on an archaeological expedition discovered and blew open a cave that had been housing a demon all its own. Needless to say, they ended up being meat for the beast, and soon Danny and her friends find themselves next on the menu. That’s the setup for It Waits, and sure it’s nothing groundbreaking, but hey, this is a monster movie, baby! We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we just need it to roll along a bloody path of carnage. It Waits does just that and winds up being a fairly fun ride, but be warned: There are a few minor bumps along the way.

For me, and I’m sure most horror fans, the scariest thing about It Waits will come before we even put in the DVD. Sure there’s a badass looking monster on the cover, but will that equate into the usual low budget CGI mess that we’re unfortunately used to? I bit my lip, said a quick prayer, and popped the flick in. Praise be the rubber-suited gods! There is CGI, but it’s minimal, and for the most part the creature of It Waits struts its stuff in full physical prosthetic geared glory. Let’s hang onto that thought for a moment, shall we? No lame cartoonish monster. Guy in a fucking cool monster suit. No lame cartoonish monster. Guy in a fucking cool monster suit. Ahhhh. What could make this better? How about some splatter? While not a blood bath by any means, It Waits does have its fair share of violence, but most of it takes place after the fact. In the end what we get are mangled bodies aplenty but little onscreen flesh-ripping mayhem. I attribute this mostly to the fact that a lot of the film’s budget went into making the monster as badass as possible, so I’m  completely cool with that. I’m sure you will be too.

Besides its looks, there are a few other things that set the creature apart from other recent monster films, the main of which is that this is no dumb bloodthirsty animal. The big bad here is not only cold and calculating, but it gets its rocks off while watching its victims suffer before they die. It studies its prey and finds out what will hurt them the most mentally. With knowledge in hand — or in this case, claw — it then exploits newfound weaknesses before bringing its crescendo of brutality down upon its victims’ skulls. Very cool stuff.

So, what about those bumps I mentioned along the way? It Waits does indeed suffer a couple of pitfalls. Truth be told, at times it gets a bit schmaltzy. While the movie is for the most part smartly written and competently acted, there are moments when the calmer situations in the film come off as whiney and unnecessary. Especially the sex scene. R-rated sex scenes can be about as stimulating to watch as checking out Barbara Eden as Jeanie prancing around in her silky outfit. You know, you want to rub the bottle to let her out, but once she’s there nothing really fun happens. Why bother? To make matters even worse, there’s not a single bit of nudity, and this scene and other more tame tidbits are set to some really ill-fitting warbling by director Steven R. Monroe’s wife. Don’t get me wrong; she has a beautiful voice and the music in and of itself is not bad. It just doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to be there. You have to see it to really get the gist of what I am saying.

On the DVD side of things we get your standard decent package. There’s an insightful yet brief making-of titled Blood on the Pines which explores not only the filming of It Waits but also the actual American Indian legend surrounding the demon’s origins. Couple that with a very lively commentary and of course a gallery of trailers, and voila! Instant DVD release. Considering this was the second in a list of films coming from IDT Entertainment and legendary producer Stephen J. Cannell (check out an interview and a review of the first film, Demon Hunter, in the Related To field below), I expected a bit more. Still, what’s here is good so long as you don’t expect anything above and beyond.

If you’re a big-time monster movie fan or just someone looking for a fun time, It Waits is a good bet to fulfill your needs. The monster rocks, the direction is pretty slick, and the acting all things considered is spot on. Just be sure to keep the DVD remote handy for the few eye-rolling sequences. You’ll know they’re coming as soon as you hear an angelic voice start singing. How’s that for a warning sign?

Special Features
Audio commentary with director Steven R. Monroe and star Cerina Vincent
Blood on the Pines making-of featurette

3 out of 5

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AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters



Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)


The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

User Rating 4.33 (6 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror




Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods

The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.


  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom


In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!



Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

Directed by Alan Lougher

The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

  • Film


Ultimately chilling in nature!

User Rating 3.31 (16 votes)
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