Reviewed by Melissa Bostaph
Starring SYN DeVil, Terry Jernigan, Paul Bugelski, Jonathan Rockett, Hollis Zemany, Laura Chaves, Charles Powell
Directed by Franklin Guerrero Jr.
Distributed by Anthem DVD
I have to admit that The 8th Plague was one of those DVD’s that caused a mild shudder of morbid anticipation to ripple through me as I slid it into the player. There was that sick feeling in the pit of my gut telling me that I was in for yet another journey into the inky abyss of wretched filmmaking. Reserved to the fact that I was about to sit through an hour and a half of mind numbingly inane horror flavored shit … I pushed play.
Yup, there it was, playing out like I had imagined. Sub-par acting, screwy framing of the shots, forced dialogue, certain effects with the slight essence of cheese like substance … I was yet again at the mercy of shit-wielding morons with a camera and a micro-budget.
Or so I thought.
What had started as simply another “plop in the bowl” to my DVD pile equivalent of a Roto-Rooter dream job with a huge paycheck at the end had actually started to gain momentum. It was neither the mild turn around in acting ability nor was it an amazing transformation to stellar writing; it was the change in special effects that caught and held my attention. The effects team behind this film, while being a bit amateur here and there, did an amazing job getting their gory point across.
With each scene came more and better make-up and effects. I found myself paying more attention to the set-ups just so I could catch all of the gloriously painful-looking payoffs. This crappy little indie film was making me cringe more with each buried axe and slit throat. More so even than a lot of the recent big screen Hollywood horrors.
The 8th Plague’s story is relatively straight forward and typical as far as demon/zombie films go, but it remains unique enough to hold its own. It goes as such:
When Launa’s sister doesn’t return from a camping trip in time for the sisters’ visit to their parent’s grave on the anniversary of their deaths she becomes obsessed with finding out why. Launa recruits a couple of friends to assist in the search, and the small group (along with an unwilling police officer and an even less willing ex-prison guard) soon finds themselves in an abandoned prison, surrounded by an ancient evil. A demonic curse has been unleashed and it seems there is no chance for escape.
The DVD has the standard theatrical trailer attached, along with a selection of deleted scenes that are about par for the course when it comes to deleted scenes. There is also a making of-featurette that showcases each lead character talking about the film and the casting process. Mainly the usual information you’d expect, but with a few surprises, such as the fact that one of the axe blows actually connected with the skull of the actress involved! I wouldn’t say that the brief featurette is worth setting aside time for, but if you’re interested enough in the film you may find it equally as intriguing.
All in all if you enjoy a decent gore effect then this movie may be right up your dark alley, but if you’re looking for a great story with way above average acting you may find The 8th Plague unable to provide the fix you’re craving. I will tell you this much though; I was pleasantly surprised when it was all said and done. My hats off to the effects crew behind the gooey, gory goodness delivered by The 8th Plague.
3 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here
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.
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.
Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE
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!
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THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic
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.
See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.
- Josh Gastronomicon Myers Sweet!
- Tarman_85 I just read that Bruce isn't interested in continuing on with the character. https://twitter.com/GroovyBruce/status/988510246829109249?s=17
- Steven Millan The most important question to ask Dario Argento during his HorrorCon UK appearance is what is the status of THE SANDMAN(his crowdfunded project),which once seemed ready to film until Dario had a...
- FortesqueX I bet there'll be a bunch of hillbillies.
- FlixtheCat You're very kind.
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