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Bone Sickness (DVD)



Bone Sickness DVDReviewed by D.W. Bostaph

Starring Darya Zabinski, Ruby Larocca, Rich George, Brian Paulin, and Kevin Barbare

Directed by Brian Paulin

Distributed By Unearthed Films

So, I get this DVD entitled Bone Sickness, and on the front of the cover is a blurb from a familiar name: Uncle Creepy. We all know him, the tyrant ruler of Dread Central, power mad horror fan, and pop culture icon. Above this mortal god’s name is a single word:


Did I spell that right? I guess so. That’s what it says on the DVD box. After giving up on finding its meaning in the dictionary, I decided to just take that single-word quote as meaning that the film was fun. Looking at the hordes of undead on the box, I knew why Uncle Creepy had used such a positive moniker:


A little secret to all of you kids out there: Uncle Creepy likes zombies. Actually, he loves them — in the states where it is legal to do so. I swear that if he could shoot himself in the head and be guaranteed that in five to ten minutes he would rise up, all pasty and blue, with an insatiable hunger for the flesh of the living…

Well, just be happy he has as of yet been unable to find someone who can guarantee that entire scenario to him.

Back on subject, I am the polar opposite. I have had it with the tales and triumphs of the undead. I tire of needless, endless hordes of bad makeup, blood that comes in tempera colors, and oodles of bad, bad, bad, bad, bad camera work. It seems like every horror fanatic in existence gets the idea, at one point or another, to try to be a new Romero or Fulci. They gather up a bunch of their friends, get some store bought makeup applications, and go to work.

I have a problem with all of this. I will not just walk onto a construction site and start working the controls of the heavy machinery. Pulling levers, pushing buttons, and creating total havoc. This would be as dangerous and stupid a thing as a person could do. I am not trained in this. I do not know what I am doing. I could hurt someone.


Bone Sickness shambles on!I feel the same way when it comes to “do-it-yourself” zombie films. With 97.3546% of d-i-y zombie fests being so bad they are possibly causing brain damage to those who are forced to watch them, there needs to be an immediate moratorium on all fan-made zombie films, or at least some sort of repercussions for those who make them. A fitting penalty served to the offender for insulting the genre may be a free copy of Strawberry Estates.

I was dreading having to watch Bone Sickness. The only hope for me came with the idea that maybe because he expressed such love for it in a single, indefinable word, our El Creepy Captain would horde this plight of the undead and want to cover it for himself.

Then I got the following email.

“Hey… You with the kids. I am STILL stuck in Haiti. Lousy blowfish! I demand that you review Bone Sickness. Don’t make me have to hurt you again. Love and smooches, U.C.”


So I was stuck. I had to cover the film. There was no way out. None of us want to incur the wrath of the Dread Central overlords. A few other Dread Central staffers did once, and now they cry during Zorro movies. I am not gonna find out why. Poor Foy.

I have to admit I was prejudiced against Bone Sickness. Nothing on the DVD box impressed me, but what was perplexing was the total package that Unearthed had done for it. Commentary, interviews, behind- the-scenes footage, outtakes; all of these things are standard for a DVD release, and a LOT of fan-made DVD’s carry them as well, but here we have Unearthed Films putting these extras on the disc. This was intriguing, as was Unearthed’s distribution to the film at all. Why were they so hopped up on it? Was there something special within the case?

I watched Bone Sickness in utter disbelief. Here was a film that could not be what it was purporting itself to be. Here was a film that had to be lying to us. There was no way this was a fan-made film by a first-time filmmaker who shot most of it in his house and garage. No fucking way.

Journalistic integrity keeps me bound to the truth, and with that I am happy to report that it is all true and that Bone Sickness is what each and every new zombie film fanatic with a camera should aim to create. The film is a wonderful mixture of homage, talent, and love. It is that middle word, talent, that a lot of people who try this sort of thing are missing, but not director Brian Paulin. This is a one-man-band-movie-making-dynamo. Not only did he star in, write, and direct Bone Sickness, but he also was responsible for the creation of the film’s special effects.

And they are special. Great gooey gobs of gore are thrown at the screen. Masses of worms are spewed and re-ingested, in one instance actually causing this reviewer to gag. A first for myself in a long, long time. This is not just a timid retread into the undead subgenre; this is a wrestling match in the middle of hell. I was in total awe.

First sign of Bone Sickness: Getting wet and sticky.Speaking of awe, mention must be given to the cast of the film. Where a lot of zombie pictures fall flat due to bad casting decisions, Paulin avoids this by using people who seem to get what he is doing. This is not the same clichéd mix of friends and family getting together to help Cousin Brian make a scary movie. These people deliver their goods with a fair amount of effort and respect. It may not be Academy Award fodder, but it is quite serviceable within Bone Sickness‘ framework.

I have to also mention the framework of a certain actress within the film. Darya Zabinski plays the lead female character, Kristen. She is effective and un-annoying, which sounds like a pretty meager judgment against her, but in light of the type of film that Bone Sickness is, she was wise to avoid those all too common pitfalls. She does a wonderful job and kept my attention in more ways than one. From the moment she entered the film, I was drawn to her more, um, ample features and realized that one of the bonuses of independent zombie movies was gratuitous nudity. Within 10 seconds of seeing Zabinski, I was begging for gratuity, lots and lots of it, and Paulin did not disappoint. For this, I thank him.

Beyond the blood and spectacular female flesh, Paulin has made a film that also encompasses more genre homages than any other film I have ever seen. Easily, one can spot nods at any of the Romero films, but then there are references to Fulci’s Zombie, City of the Living Dead, and The Beyond. A Carpenter’s The Thing reference is masterfully done, and I saw artistic hints spanning everything from The Crazies to Legend!

I have to mention the gore again here. I am just agog at the level of blood in the movie and the competency with which it is displayed. Thank the Elder Gods that the good folks at Unearthed Films got their bloody oven mitts on this film. They give it what it is due, and by doing so made me appreciate what Paulin and crew were able to accomplish all the greater.

Behind-the-scenes features are usually boring because they are the same stuff over and over. Especially for fans who know how the effects are done, it just gets muy tiresome, but not here. The footage of how Paulin and his crew were able to create sets in their garage, pull off stunts, and get the physical effects to play out are a textbook for anyone who plans to attempt the same thing. Make no mistake; this film may have a graveyard scene shot in a garage, but it doesn’t look like it. Paulin uses great angles, lighting, and effort to keep the scenes looking as good as they can. Sometimes impossibly so. As shocked as I was with the quality of the product, I was more amazed at its inception. I tip my hat to thee, Mr. Paulin.

A great addition to the Unearthed DVD is the “Scenes That Hurt” feature. This feature is the bastard child of indie filmmaking and MTV’s Jackass. The feature shows us how far the people in the film were willing to go to get the amazing stunt footage. Expect burns, slams, bumps, cuts, and a return to worm eating… Ugh.

If you are a zombie fan, if you are a Fulci/Romero/Carpenter fan, if you love gore, if you love independent film, if you love a great set of breasts… then you need to get this film. I will admit I was wrong. There does not need to be a moratorium on indie zombie films. There just needs to be more care taken with them, and Brian Paulin’s Bone Sickness is a guidebook to how it can be done — and done right. In an interview included on the DVD, our own beloved Creepy asks Brian a simple question:

“What the fuck is wrong with you?”

I believe the answer, for all of us genre fans, would be: Nothing. Not a damn thing.

Special Features
Director’s commentary
Behind-the-scenes footage
Uncle Creepy interviews Brian Paulin
Photo gallery

4 1/2 out of 5

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review



Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5


Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

User Rating 3.5 (14 votes)
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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 4.1 (21 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 3.95 (20 votes)
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