Zombie Smorgasbord: Feeds Six

While I was eating Thanksgiving dinner, I watched zombies eating brains…and legs…and thighs… So let’s see how this 6-movie marathon turned out for me.

ZOMBIE MASSACRE 2: REICH OF THE DEAD (2015)

zombie massacre 2 cover

Considering the first film, also known as Apocalypse Z, was more like a Resident Evil video game than the actual movie franchise based on the games, with army guys running around shooting up zombies and other mutations, it’s hard to believe this sequel takes itself so seriously. I mean, the first film even ended with a booblicious poolside zombie massacre.

Taking place during World War II, Zombie Massacre 2 might as well be Outpost 4. It pretty much borrows that franchise’s plot anyway.

zombie massacre 2 nazi

The difference is, this one is so heavy on the dialogue and war stuff that it doesn’t often feel much like a zombie film. And as intense as the zombies that do bother to show up are, there are so few of them and they are so easily mowed down with heavy artillery that I never quite felt the threat was as terrifying as the lead character made it seem.

zombie massacre 2 zombies

He eventually saves a woman who helps him find the hospital from which the zombie outbreak stems. The journey to the conclusion heads into even more cliché territory, especially if you’ve played all the Resident Evil games, proving that sometimes a good zombie film is about more than just a few cool looking zombies.

AFTER THE DAWN (2012)

 after the dawn cover

I’ll be very clear about this one – while there are a couple of high-intensity scenes with fast moving zombies plus quick, shaky, choppy editing, this movie is not here to scratch your zombie itch.

After The Dawn is a moody, stark film about one lone woman after the apocalypse who hopes to find the loved ones she’s been separated from.

after the dawn with boy

She connects with a boy, but spends most of the movie thinking in flashback form to her relationships with her brother and her boyfriend.

after the dawn boyfriend

As far as the few zombie scenes go, the zombies kind of look like rednecks with a bunch of veins on their faces running to a lynching of the lone black trans atheist in Trump’s America. They also make wildcat sounds. Seriously, they make wildcat sounds.

after the dawn zombies

The film take great care with its long homage monologue to Romero and Night of the Living Dead in a movie theater.

after the dawn theater

But the sole purpose seems to be to get to the big twist/reveal at the end, which is meant to have a much deeper, thought-provoking impact than the usual zombie movie. Does it? Depends on how many zombies films you’ve seen in your life, I guess.

E-19 VIRUS (2017)

e19 virus cover

E-19 Virus attempts a sci-fi plot that’s much loftier than its budget and production values—the dialogue and scenes between all the scientists in the film are pretty bad—but I have to admit, what saves it for me are the scene with the kids. Yes, the kids carry this film.

e19 virus face eat

The plot is so fantastical that it’s easy to mock it, but the truth is, if this idea came from Steven Spielberg film and had millions of dollars behind it, it would be a huge success. 3 kids in a town are quickly exposed to the realization that their friends and family have become flesh eating zombies.

e19 virus scientists

A scientist offers them a way to stay alive; he’ll inject them with a serum that will make them immune to the zombie infection, but in exchange they must transport a vaccine to a safe house.

e19 virus kids

Now here’s where shit gets weird. The stuff they get injected with not only gives them various super abilities, but it also gives them the power to teleport! So they spend the entire movie kicking zombie ASS as they travel to the safe house (why don’t they just teleport there?).

e19 virus gore

Oddly, the zombies are a blend of cop out “makeup” consisting of people simply smeared with fake blood, and some super gnarly rotting faces.

e19 virus zombie on stairs

And the teleporting effects look like old school 1980s state of the art technology. But the three boys really do have a fricking blast playing the heroes as they bash out the brains of endless waves of the undead, and I found that aspect ridiculously entertaining.

ZOMBTHOLOGY (2008)

zombthology cover

The title tells you everything you need to know; it’s a zombie anthology. There’s only one thing I hated about this movie—Tiffany Shepis in the wraparound, in which she plays herself being kidnapped by some dude who forces her to watch zombie films. Not because we only get the horror queen in the wraparound…because we get her at all.

zombthology tiffany

This is the only time I’ve ever despised Shepis in a movie. She screams, curses, and whines shrilly the entire time. It’s one of those moments when a female’s behavior makes me think, “I am so fucking glad I’m gay and don’t have to deal with that shit every day of my life.” Kind of like every time I watch any episode of The Real Housewives.

And speaking of being gay, as a gay guy who runs a gay horror site for gay guys, I can tell you gay guys love Tiffany. I can also tell you Tiffany knows that. So I have to say, it’s beyond my comprehension that most of Tiffany’s dialogue consists of anti-gay slurs. Yes, I know she didn’t write the dialogue, but here’s the thing. Tiffany pretty much has all the power when some indie director wants her to be in his movie to add some horror cred to it. Tiffany is playing herself in this movie. Tiffany can tell the director, “I’m not saying any of this. I’ll use every other expletive in the book, but not this anti-gay shit, because this is supposed to be stuff coming from the actual me, and the gays love me.” Still love you, Tiff, but you need to strap one on – one that includes a realistic set of big balls – when it comes to moments like this in your career.

As for the fucker who wrote all that brilliant dialogue, I’m going to show just how cool a fucking faggot I am by actually being totally objective and pretty much praising the rest of this damn movie despite the anti-gay shit.

zombthology water zombie

1st story – Specifically set in 1970, this looks right out of Leatherface territory, down to a bunch of hippies in a van that breaks down on a deserted road.

zombthology orgy

They have a sizzling hot orgy as rotten zombies from hell crawl out of a nearby lake…and the screaming and eating begin. The overused grindhouse effects make it feel like you’re watching on old VHS copy of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.

zombthology with sheriff

A Slinky even plays a prominent part in the story, so warm childhood memories came flooding back. Loved this one.

zombthology christmas tree

2nd story – This one has Christmas spirit, humor, gore, and unexpected twists. A dude gets the worst case of athlete’s foot ever in the gym shower, and soon craves raw meat.

zombthology feet

When his girlfriend comes home one night to discover him eating the hot bimbo next door, things don’t go as expected. Good tidings of fear.

zombthology carving

3rd story –It’s a sleazy, campy, gory sausagefest. Guys having a bachelor party are shocked when a smelly skank whore shows up at their door…but some of the guys are really turned on.

zombthology stripper at door

As she begins to take them into a bedroom one after the other, the guys conclude it’s some sort of bizarre kinky zombie fetish act.

zombthology stripper slime

Then things start to get really disgusting. One guy even makes a drug-induced confession about the great sex he had with a priest! Loved this one.

zombthology tongue

You heard right. I fricking loved every story in this piece of indie trash. I need this to hit DVD so I can add it to my collection ASAP.

THE GATEKEEPER (2008)

gatekeeper cover

The Gatekeeper captures the vibe of late 1970s Euro zombie films in all its cheesiness. Its biggest issue is that it takes too long to get going.

There’s basically a 3-way car accident on a desolate road, and the various groups of people take cover in a small building they discover nearby.

gatekeeper group in shed

One couple goes off to get help, and within minutes some gnarly-assed, rotten as hell, throwback awesome zombies attack.

gatekeeper zombies break in

They also kind of screech like wildcats. What’s with the zombie movies with zom-cheetahs?

gatekeeper first guy eaten

Anyway, the group plots several ways to get out of their predicament, which gives us both occasional zombie confrontations and loads of downtime for a majority of the film, although there are some funny parts, some of them intentional, others funny based on sloppy comic timing. Luckily, it totally works in the film’s favor.

gatekeeper group outside

Meanwhile, one of the men seems to know all the answers about the zombies. And his story is a doozy about a gatekeeper responsible for giving the zombies the hit they need to keep them dormant in the mines from which they’re coming.

gatekeeper arm bite

I’d say forget the hokey storyline, but there’s actually a twist to it that I kind of liked. Plus, the climax is an old school zombie party, with dark woods accosted by exaggerated lighting and smoke machines as the cast struggles to fight its way out of the predicament.

gatekeeper outside attack

THE BOG CREATURES (2003)

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The Bog Creatures is the perfect film to pair with The Gatekeeper if you’re looking for a double feature throwback to late 1970s zombie flix.

bog creatures zombie woman

Basically see all my thoughts on that film above, just change the storyline to college kids sent by their college professor to an old castle to excavate bodies buried in a bog nearby. Legend has it those bodies were treated in a way that would keep them from truly dying…

bog creatures dig

The kids are cute and likable and there are some funny moments, including one guy eating a pair of panties he was checking out when the girl they belong to catches him in her tent.

bog creatures undie eat

But outdoing that is a bi girl who decides she’s going to teach a straight boy how to let go of his societal constraints and open his mind to sex with other guys…by letting him imagine that she’s a guy.

bog creatures girl and boy

bog creatures wig guy

As the 1970s rotten zombie/smoke machine/dramatic lighting kicks in near the end, Debbie Rochon shows up to give us a good dose of scream queen fun.

bog creatures zombie surround

This one instantly gets added to my DVD collection.

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A horror Thanksgiving main course, a side of Christmas, and a dash of gay

Amazon Prime comes through just in time to carve the turkey with some new Thanksgiving horror, and throws in a Christmas short as an added bonus. So I take a look at Buzzard Hollow Beef and A Christmas to Dismember, two more to add to the holiday horror page and die, gay guy , die! the page.

BUZZARD HOLLOW BEEF (2017)

buzzard hollow beef cover

Taking on the often-overlooked Thanksgiving, first time director Joshua Johnson breaks with the tradition of holiday horror. Rather than the usual holiday slasher, Buzzard Hollow Beef is trippy backwoo—…canniba—…home inva—psychological thri—… Seriously, this one defies labels as it totally sucks you into its mind fuck scenario. You end up feeling as delusional as the characters in the movie, and you never really know exactly what the hell is happening, or what is real or not.

buzzard hollow beef arrival

For a family gathering at their parents’ house in the snowy mountains, a beefy brother brings his…um…”buddy”, and a pregnant and single sister brings her BFF. The dynamics are immediately weird. The brother’s buddy seems to have a past with the sister…but also seems to be with the brother now!

buzzard hollow beef hug

At first I thought they were serious, then I thought they were joking around, but then there’s a scene involving the brother alone in the bedroom with his buddy that brought me back to them being serious again.

buzz hollow beef bedroom

Their sexuality is quite fluid. Just one of many compelling mysteries in this bizarre film.

buzzard hollow beef pumpkin

After a day of mass shooting vegans…I mean, target practice with pumpkins out in a field, the family hits up a diner and a big argument ensues about consuming meat, with the creepy hillbilly owners of the restaurant even getting involved.

buzz hollow beef diner

Another snag is hit when the buddy reveals he’s allergic to turkey, so they have to come up with an alternate plan for Thanksgiving dinner, which leads to a strange visit to the butcher.

All the while, the dad is defending the local weirdoes…

Back home, everyone begins to have reeeeaaaalllllly fucked up hallucinations.

buzz hollow beef faceoff

Gross. Sexual.

buzzard hollow beef family dinner

And when it comes time for the actual Thanksgiving dinner, let’s just say if you decide to watch this one on Thanksgiving day, well…do not watch it before…um…or after dinner. I highly suggest you save this one for Black Friday.

buzzard hollow beef beef

Sure, the film may derive its name from the meat theme, but I want to believe it’s inspired by the brother.

buzz hollow beef shower

I’d like to be stuffed by his beef on Thanksgiving.

buzzard hollow beef lick

Shit turns backwoods/cannibal/home invasion crazy…or does it? Buzzard Hollow Beef might not be about jump scares, it may not be the definitive Thanksgiving horror you need to watch annually, but it sure as hell is an atmospheric, fascinating contribution to the slim pickings.

A CHRISTMAS TO DISMEMBER (2016)

christmas to dismember cover

There are so many horror lovers out there aspiring to make films just like the slashers they grew up on. It’s astounding how many of them, having absorbed so many films, still think it’s as simple as having a storyline, then filming people getting hacked up on screen by a guy in a mask. Rather than the obvious basics, it’s the many complex details that make particular slashers effective that should be what young filmmakers are studying and emulating, but that’s not often the case.

christmas to dismember santa

Hence we have A Christmas to Dismember. While there are some technical aspects here that are reminiscent of classic slashers (like practical kill effects of basic 80s low budget slasher quality), a sort of ode to The Breakfast Club, and some humor that gets a bit lost in the flat delivery, this is essentially 40 minutes of a gay guy and his fag hags sitting around and talking…and occasionally getting killed.

christmas to dismember classroom

christmas to dismember hall peek

Even the “storyline” becomes hard to follow because it’s virtually told entirely through dialogue. Two friends sit in the woods talking. The kids sit in an empty classroom and talk. They sit in a house exchanging presents and talking.

christmas to dismember girls

christmas to dismember tree

They play with a Ouija board and talk to their dead friend. They mention names of people we never actually see.

christmas to dismember ouija

Then there’s a disjointed hallucinatory dream segment that makes the film more confusing (there’s even a different killer costume) before we’re back in the house for the final twist—a twist that’s essentially given away in the first scene.

christmas to dismember dark axe

christmas to dismember other mask

It kind of feels like a school film project, so I wouldn’t discourage those involved from keeping at it and fine-tuning every aspect of the horror craft.

christmas to dismember santa stab

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I can never get enough of Rolfe Kanefsky’s sexy scary horror

What I love about director Rolfe Kanefsky is that his style has remained consistent since his first film There’s Nothing Out There way back in 1991. To this day his movies feel like sleazy direct-to-VHS schlock from that very year, and I can’t get enough of it. Plus, he gives guys as much naked screen time as the ladies.

While I covered a bunch of his films here, it’s time to look at two erotic horror flicks he made in the new millennium.

JACQUELINE HYDE (2005)

jacqueline hyde cover

Despite its rather campy title, this one doesn’t go for the humorous possibilities (you’ll have to stick to 1995’s Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde for that). This is a good old sexual reworking of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic work of horror fiction.

jacqueline hyde man booty

jacqueline hyde gramps corpse

A young woman inherits a mansion from the grandfather she didn’t really know she had (huh?).

jacqueline hyde mansion room

She soon discovers his lab, his research notes and tapes, and his test tubes full of glowing liquid.

jacqueline hyde potion

Not only is the stuff inside delicious, it makes her super horny and gives her the ability to turn into any kind of sexy woman she wants—or any kind of hunky man she wants! The possibilities are endless…

jacqueline hyde surprise stud

jacqueline hyde studly neighbor

There’s plenty of boobs, plenty of man bods and butts, and plenty of sex scenes, but the film also doesn’t skimp on the classic gore. As she begins to give in to her Hyde side, she uses sex as a weapon…literally.

jacqueline hyde morph together

She sexually assaults men and women and maims and kills those who resist. She pokes a guy’s eyes out with her tits.

jacqueline hyde titattack

Hell, she even licks a woman dry….

jacqueline hyde sucked dry

I can’t comprehend that this movie wasn’t made in 1991. They just don’t make them like this anymore. Actually they do, and Rolfe just did, with his latest film.

THE BLACK ROOM (2017)

black room cover

The Black Room is like a bad House sequel meets Hellraiser wrapped up in unapologetic, cheesy late 80s/early 90s throwback erotic horror. And in contrast to Jacqueline Hyde, the horny devil is a guy this time.

black room freak face

Natasha Henstridge, famous for playing Eve in the Species movies, moves into a new house with her hot hubby, and they immediately begin having sexual problems. They just don’t seem to be on the same schedule at all.

black room demon woman

That’s because there’s some sexual supernatural portal in the basement that is unleashing demonic forces to get the pair off when they’re alone. Awesome.

black room demon

Meanwhile, anyone who comes into the house—usually some sort of blue-collar worker—gets killed off.

black room hublick

black room hubbunbutton

And the husband begins acting very different…after he has a sexy encounter with the portal in the basement…

black room hubbutt

black room hubchest

But man, his demonic sex scene is even more fucked up.

black room throat

This wacky shit is Kanesky at his most fun, and includes appearances by Lin Shaye, Dominique Swain, James “Kea-no” Duval, and Tiffany Shepis.

black room lin

As far as I’m concerned, The Black Room is just the foreplay to his upcoming film Party Bus to Hell starring Tara Reid.

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Going to camp with the devil…and everyone’s pitching a tent

7 deadly roommates cover

As with its indie horror movie selection, Amazon Prime is a great platform for getting homebrewed serial material out there that would be overlooked by the more snooty streaming services. 7 Deadly Roommates is the latest to add to the list of campy gems I’ve discovered thanks to Prime.

The 8-episode series (most episodes running about 15 – 20 minutes long) finds seven sinful contestants involuntarily sharing a suite on a reality show hosted by none other than Satan himself.

7 deadly roommates cast

Each roommate quickly begins to demonstrate their deadly sin of choice – Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Greed, Vanity, Wrath, Sloth – as Satan relishes the debauchery in the house.

7 deadly roommates house

7 deadly roommates cast drink

And he’s even guilty of giving into his own power of temptation, provoking further naughtiness.

7 deadly roommates satanandqueen

This is pure quirky, campy fun, loaded with sexual and gross out humor, and the cast is absolutely perfect. This is how an indie production should be put together; the low budget isn’t a deterrent to creativity and talent.

7 deadly roommates cast confusion

The show is the creation of Kai Morgan, who plays ravenously bisexual “Lust,” and Mili Rakic, who could charm the pants off Lucifer in his role as Satan. Aside from being clever as hell (literally), these two little fuckers really bring out the daddy in me. I find them both ridiculously adorable, and the fact that they represent sex and Satan makes them even more delectable.

Kai’s lust oozes hilariously from his every orifice, tickling my funny bone and also tickling the latent top tendencies I keep bottled up inside.

7 deadly roommates gotback

And Mili’s huge dimples, beautiful big mouth, and pretty boy lips are the perfect size to accommodate my fat ass.

7 deadly roommatessatan

I just need to avoid getting poked by those horns. Actually, quite the contrary…

7 deadly roommates satanhorns

No one is outshone here, with the entire cast delivering standout performances, including the bitchy gay boy Envy, food-loving Gluttony, trans-tastic Vanity, Sloth the stoner, “good” Christian girl Wrath, and straight but not narrow Greed.

7 deadly roommates gluttonstoner

In fact, what makes the show’s gayness so refreshing is that there’s no homophobia present at all. Satan himself is so colorful he wouldn’t allow it!

7 deadly roommates queens

Sure, Greed rejects Lust’s advances (mostly), but it’s never with anger, hatred, or anti-gay slurs. He fully embraces that Lust is a slut, as we all should. After all, every one of us lusts, and lust is just another way of saying slut.

7 deadly roommates kiss

7 deadly roommates drinking

7 deadly roommates guys in bed

The entire sinful group of roommates is nonjudgmental, which is what makes these 7 Deadly Roommates (and Satan) so damn lovable.

7 deadly roommates sleepover

Will there be a season two? I don’t know, but there is a devilish twist that makes it a distinct possibility. In the meantime, the show officially scores a spot on my homo hell-evision page.

7 deadly rooommates heel in head

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Treading familiar ground with this triple feature

A witch, a predator in the walls, and an unstoppable killing machine. You’ve been there and done all that…but is it worth doing again? A quick rundown of Don’t Knock Twice, Havenhurst, and Legacy of Thorn.

DON’T KNOCK TWICE (2016)

dont knock twice cover

The plot of Don’t Knock Twice seems to have been “borrowed” and split into two different films – NeverKnock and House of the Witch – to fill the SyFy channel’s October 2017 Halloween schedule. It also feels oddly familiar if you’ve already seen the full-length movie version of Lights Out. And it has been turned into a video game for the PS4.

A teen with a troubled existence knocks twice on the door of a supposed witch she believes is responsible for the disappearance of one of her friends.

In doing so, she brings the witch along with her when she returns home to her mom. Mom and daughter spend the rest of the film running around their house trying to avoid the dark, because it appears the witch only comes and gets you when you turn the lights out.

dont knock twice silhouetteHello? Who’s there? Lights Out, is that you?

What more can I say? It’s modern tween horror: simple premise, creepy witch, lots of jump scares and spooky shadows. At one point the witch pops out and literally yells “RAAAH!”

dont knock twice behind her

Okay, she might be saying “RUN!,” but it reminded me of when I was ten and me and my brothers would jump out at each other from around corners in our house—and of me now at 48 doing the same thing to my hubby. RAAAH!

HAVENHURST (2016)

havenhurst cover

Havenhurst might as well be titled Toolbox Murders 3. And I mean that in the most flattering way, because it’s just as much fun as the Toolbox Murders remake was, even if it does leave you with endless unanswered questions by the end.

The intro scene totally gets you in the mood for a classic “killer hiding in the walls” scenario.

havenhurst danielle harris_

Danielle Harris makes a brief appearance in this fast and furious segment, which ironically gave me flashbacks to the first kill in Rob Zombie’s Halloween.

havenhurst harris monster

Next, Julie Benz, Darla of Angel and Buffy fame, moves into her friend Danielle’s vacated apartment (Danielle’s character name is Danielle). We learn the entire apartment building is a “safe haven” for recovering addicts. Julie is determined to find out what happened to her evicted friend while struggling not to hit the bottle.

havenhurst julie benz

Pretty soon, her neighbors are being chased, brutally thrown around, and murdered in their apartments by a killer that looks like a leather daddy in the shadows, which makes sense considering it’s horror hottie Douglas Tait.

havenhurst monster behind her

With secret passages, trap doors, and fleeting glimpses of the killer, it’s all familiar territory, but what makes Havenhurst work is that it’s done right. It’s creepy and atmospheric, with just the right amount of gore, a menacing baddie, and a wild final chase and fight sequence. Julie Benz as the main girl is the icing on the cake. I totally added this one to my DVD collection.

LEGACY OF THORN (2016)

legacy of thorn cover

Whenever I get a chance, I check out one of MJ Dixon’s horror flicks, especially since the killers in each of his movies comes full circle in his film Slasher House. “Thorn” is one of my favorite killers in that film, so I was looking forward to this one.

legacy of thorn killer stance

I’d say it’s visually his tightest feature film so far, as it’s much more polished than the others. The killer is great, the action, kills, scares, and suspense are great.

legacy of thorn hall

The troubling part for me is that the timeline leaps back and forth repeatedly between the present and four years ago…”leap” being the operative word considering February 29th plays a crucial part in the film. Just don’t ask me why or what it means.

legacy of thorn lead male

Basically, a bunch of high school kids was stalked and hacked up 4 years ago. Now, the main girl and her friends are trying to lure the killer so they can off him. Either my sense of the timeline was totally off or no one died the first time, because the characters from the two time periods look the same to me–just in different tints.

This had me convinced the whole “now” is solely in the main girl’s head. Everything that happens in the past is essentially mirrored in the now, almost like the main girl is sort of “reliving” what she already went through but hoping for a different ending this time.

legacy of thorn stalk

The repetitive back and forth time jumps go on continuously through the whole movie, and we feel like everyone has pieces of information that are supposed to make the plot logical, they just never share it with us.

The other uber frustrating thing about the film is that every time, without a doubt, the characters just stand there arguing or whimpering as the killer approaches them instead of running. Forget frustrating. it’s infuriating.

legacy of thorn cheerleaders

The standout scene is the one that pretty much breaks the mold; the killer enters a gym and goes to town on all the cheerleaders. It’s the scene in the trailer that had me psyched about this one.

legacy of thorn mouth

The conclusion is as confusing as everything that happens before it…not to mention, the film almost seems to be paying homage to – or flat out stealing the plot from – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Engineered or evil organization-manufactured killers seem to be a thing these days. The film sort of reminded me of the Playing with Dolls franchise in that respect.

The tag is intriguing if you’ve been following Dixon’s movies, and it definitely makes you want to see his future films in hopes that this will all make sense at some point.

 

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An alien life form, infected crazies, and a demon walk onto a Prime watchlist

You’ve probably heard this one before, so I’ll make the coverage of three from my latest streaming excursion quick.

MAN VS. (2015)

man vs cover

The question with Man vs. is…how much one-man found footage can you put up with while waiting for the money shots closer to the end?

What kept me glued to the screen is the fact that star Chris Diamantopoulos is kind of beautiful.

man vs pit

It’s kind of ridiculous.

man vs. backpack open

It’s kind of impossible not to enjoy the fuck out of watching him talk to the camera for 80 minutes. It was like he was speaking right to me. Sigh.

Anyway, he plays a reality TV guy whose show has a simple premise – he’s dropped off in the middle of the wilderness and must survive for 5 days.

He spends a lot of time giving us lessons on survival. He sleeps. He catches animals. He prepares a rabbit for eating in a nasty, gratuitous butchering scene.

And occasionally, he gets signs that something is weird and he may not be alone in the jungle.

man vs dead fish

Really, it’s a lot of nothing to sit through, and the worst part is, he never gets naked. But he does get soaking wet and strips off his shirt briefly.

man vs shirtless

This moment of him getting wet is pretty wild and finally ups the tension. And I’m not just talking sexual tension. Shit gets crazy and he faces off against a hostile life form.

man vs cave

It’s CGI monster, but it’s definitely high-end CGI, so it looks pretty cool. There’s a sort of Predator feel to it. And our leading man does kick some monster ass as he loses his shit.

 24 HOURS TO DIE ( 2016)

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Take the popular theme of a group of strangers waking up in a room and learning they have to pretty much kill each other until only one remains standing, add a splash of Night of the Demons, and you have 24 Hours to Die.

24 hours to die stra#41B648

From the beginning, it’s made clear to the audience that there’s some sort of evil organization—perhaps the military or the government—putting the people through this hell. They are initially dragged into the room by guys in hazmats, and they regularly receive instructional calls from a robotic voice on a cell phone they find in the room.

24 hours to die phone

One by one, they begin to suffer from some sort of infection that very briefly turns them into white-eyed demons/crazies.

24 hours to die she demon

It’s almost comical when one character changes and simply chases the group in circles since they’re confined to one space.

24 hours to die man demon

There are a couple of cool transformation/attack scenes, but they can never be dwelled upon. Since there’s no way to escape these demonic freaks in the confined circumstances, each crazy has to be offed very quickly in order for the story to move ahead. Therefore, no chase scenes or surprise scares.

To propel the story forward, 24 Hours to Die is heavy on the dialogue, so even at 85 minutes long, it drags and leaves us with more drama than horror. However, there are plenty of hot guys!

24 hours to die guys

THE DEMON (2016)

demon 2016 cover

This one is basically an Asian indie version of Evil Dead that takes place on New Year’s Eve.

demon 2016 neck

A guy brings his friends to spend the holiday in his uncle’s house—a house the uncle abandoned after his wife died.

demon 2016 cast
They decorate a Christmas tree, ring in the New Year, and bicker over whether “Last Christmas” was a Wham! song or a George Michael solo track.

demon 2016 tree

Meanwhile, one guy goes off to surprise them dressed as Santa, sparking the demonic possession! Shit. Demons got something against fat guys with big white beards…

demon 2016 santa

While there’s some possession amongst the friends, it’s predominantly a female demon already in the house that does most of the terrorizing, including crawling on the ceiling and spider-walking down stairs.

demon 2016 demon ceiling

She’s super gnarly and terrifying at first, but eventually she pops up in front of the camera so much that even the actress behind all the makeup seems to lose interest in trying to be convincingly scary.

demon 206 demon behind

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Bonejangles jangled my funny bone

bonejangles cover

Half of my decision-making when tossing Prime horror movies into my watchlist is based on the poster art. So when Bonejangles caught my eye, I figured that with such a menacing image and a hokey play on words for a title, it simply had to be a really crappy, low-budget indie slasher. I immediately added it to my watchlist.

bonejangles behind kill

What I got was so much better than the piece of shit I was hoping for. The film just immerses itself in horror fun: a charming comic duo, cheesy and campy humor, loads of references to other horror movies, over-the-top characters that unapologetically poke fun at their stereotypes, gore, nudity, Reggie Bannister in a small role…and that’s just for starters.

bonejangles reggie

Bonejangles starts off with a classic 80s vibe. A night watchman hears a news report about an escaped killer on the radio…as he goes to check out a strange noise. When the ominous Bonejangles shows up and the brutality begins, I assumed I was in for a surprise slasher treat.

bonejangles killer

Next thing I know, we’re dealing with a burnout hipster cop and all-American virgin cop who are absolutely terrified because they have to go search the building for the killer. I did not see the comedy coming.

bonejangles duo

Joining the two as they are handed the responsibility of transporting the psycho killer to a facility in another town are a tough talking female cop and a very pretty, very queenie gay cop—who spends a lot of time in his undies. He also lands this flick on the die, gay guy, die! page.

bonejangles gay

When they reach the town, this foursome is pretty much split up for the remainder of the film…because shit gets CRAZY!

bonejangles chase

This is no ordinary slasher comedy. It’s midnight movie monster madness!

bonejangles witch

A psycho killer hunting down campers…backwoods hillbillies…a witch…a curse…a succubus…a shotgun wedding (literally, the hot groom has a shotgun)…zombies…WTF?

bonejangles zombies

bonejangles chainsaw head

Plus, there plenty of cute, shirtless guys.

bonejangles tent man

bonejangles chainsaw man

It’s the kind of madness my scattered brain needs. So I totally ordered the DVD after it was over.

bonejangles cast

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When werewolf fur needs a trimming

Watching a marathon of indie werewolf films over Halloween weekend, I realized pretty quickly that this might be one of the most challenging subgenres to take on with a limited budget. Just the fact that the directors of all of these films went for it impresses me.

Looking past financial restraints, the one thing I’d say could make these films tighter would be if—guess what I’m about to say—they were all shorter. In fact, I think what would have worked best is if most of these were actually short films in one single horror anthology! Let’s break them down.

WOLF HOUSE (2016)

wolf house cover

This one was high on my list of werewolf films to see because it is co-directed by one of its stars, Ken Cosentino. Ken directed the zombie flick Dead Inside, which features what I think is one of the all-time best gay protagonists in a horror film so far.

So not surprisingly, Wolf House actually did work for me as a full-length…especially since it’s only 70 minutes long (yet I’d still shave off 15 minutes).

wolf house paw

Appealing because it’s not your average werewolf movie, this is also a found footage film that, true to form, is visually frenetic. However, it reaches such a great level of WTFery by the end that I kind of adore the horror insanity of it all.

A group of friends heads to a cabin in the woods, but first, one of the opening scenes offers a mesmerizing clip of the camera just sitting aimed at one guy’s crotch while he’s talking. Found footage, indeed…

wolf house legs

This is not your usual group of 21st century horror assholes. They’re a charming, likable bunch. And this dude’s hairstyle is perfection…

wolf house cool hair

wolf house cool hair 2

The real fun begins when they find some dead animals around the place.

wolf house deadanimal

Before long they think they’re dealing with a Bigfoot situation.

wolf house basement sack

HOLY SHIT when the first dude gets taken by the monster. Fucking AWESOME. That’s when things just get wild.

wolf house attack

Hell, I don’t even know if we’re dealing with a werewolf, a pack of them, or something even more hellish, but by the end of the film, the place is crawling with freaks!

wolfhouse creature at table

As with most found footage films, things get dizzying, but for a change there’s actually some horrific shit all up in the camera.

SHEEP SKIN (2013)

sheep skin cover

A good cast, cute guys, male nudity and a gritty setting aren’t enough to keep this movie going for 80 minutes.

sheep skin masks

A small punk band kidnaps a white-collar dude and takes him to a warehouse because they believe he is a werewolf.

sheep skin cast

They try a combination of looking for signs that he’s indeed a werewolf (the strip search is a highlight) and trying to get him to confess to being one through physical assaults.

sheep skin hottie

The interesting premise just isn’t sustainable to carry a majority of the film. A few wrenches are thrown in their plan along the way, but not enough to keep the momentum going.

sheep skin main guy

It isn’t until the very end that a werewolf finally chases the group around the warehouse. It’s a cool monster (reminded me of Big Bad Wolf), but this moment in the film should have been at least 2/3rds of the running time. Instead, all the excitement is crammed into about 10 minutes.

PREDATORY MOON (2017)

predatory moon cover

Very clearly an indie film in terms of production, Predatory Moon is nonetheless kind of fascinating in its bizarreness. It reminds me of Stephen King’s Cycle Of The Werewolf in a way because it’s about killings in a small town that have the locals living in terror—while one animal expert is sure it’s the work of a werewolf.

predatory moon face slash

In this case, the expert focuses his attention on the town mess, who was on a hunting trip with his nephew when the boy was killed. To keep the werewolf from continuing its attacks, he tries to get close to the mess, which leads to a totally homophobic reaction.

predatory moon alky

The catch is, everyone seems to be going a little batty around town. Another major player in the insanity is a local policeman/crime scene photographer. This dude is my hero because he gives the werewolf genre what it needs: hairy man balls. He lets his nut sack – and everything that goes with it – just swing in the breeze several times throughout the film.

predatory moon nude 1

Make sure to stick around after the end credits roll for the great pendulum between the legs moment. It’s a tag scene that also adds a whole lot more twist to the already cool twist.

The film has some unnecessary filler in the form of lots of nature footage, which is one reason it could have worked better if it weren’t a 90-minute feature. Since it plays out mostly like a mystery, we don’t get any major werewolf action until the end. And with that comes more male nudity. Wahoo!

predatory moon main guy

predatory moon shower

Shortcomings of the werewolf costume are masked in darkness, so it does give this one a bit of a 1970s vibe, and it definitely threw in some curveballs along with the hairy balls, so I’m a fan of what the director/writer was going for here.

predatory moon wolf

BUBBA THE REDNECK WEREWOLF (2014)

bubba the redneck werewolf cove

I’ll make this one real fast. The title of this one, which is based on a comic book, should tell you all you need to know. A redneck in a small town accidentally makes a deal with the devil and becomes a werewolf as a result.

bubba the redneck werewolf bed

Bubba is pretty much Michael J. Fox’s Teen Wolf if he didn’t graduate high school—and fucked a farm animal on occasion. Bubba’s goal in the film is to vanquish the devil and save the town from evil.

bubba the red neck werewolf arm rip

Feeling more like a webseries that goes on longer than it needs to, the movie is cute in its own way and has some good old toilet humor, but the real highlight for me was the guy who plays the devil. He dazzles on screen and gets the funniest lines.

bubba the redneck werewolf with devil

SILVERHIDE (2015)

silverhide cover

Silverhide takes on an epic military conspiracy plot within the confines of an indie feature. As a result, it relies heavily on dialogue between minimal characters in a single location to tell its story. This is why it shouldn’t run 79 minutes long.

A small band of conspiracy theorists sets up camp on a military base and is soon being killed off one-by-one by a raging beast. The kills are always the same – some claws and a snout seen from over the person’s shoulder before it is ripped open.

silverhide attack

There are really no werewolf special effects to speak of here. We never see more than just the wolf’s head—a very inanimate head because it’s simply a model. But personally, I think the dark lighting that gives this a VHS tape feel does an OK job of covering up an inability to really deliver the goods.

silverhide face

The film also has an ominous atmosphere of isolation and some creepy scenes (the first kill tent scene is the best), but ultimately it turns into a film about two people trapped in a bunker talking while the creature that is outside tries to get in. Definitely would have worked better as a short.

DENSE FEAR: BLOODLINE (2012)

dense fear bloodline cover

Directed by and starring Tony Gardner, this is a self-admitted no budget film…but damn does it give you everything Silverhide doesn’t. There’s no telling what Tony could deliver if he did have money. It’s also a “sequel” to his first attempt at making a werewolf film – the original only ran 50 minutes long and focused on him dealing with his curse and attacking campers in the woods.

dense fear mess

The first half of this film (about 40 minutes) is predominantly focused on the law enforcement and military steps taken to find the werewolf after a brutal murder—to which I naturally say at least 20 minutes of it should have been cut.

dense fear face grab

Because once the military guys are out in the woods at night hunting down the creature, it is werewolf heaven!

dense fear closeup

Full practical effects, a good score, plenty of blood and body parts, a grainy atmosphere, shadowy lighting and mist, and a costumed creature right out of the 80s. and it’s delivered with an impressive sense of horror direction that builds tension, delivers some scares, and doesn’t skimp on the violent werewolf attacks.

Topping it all off…Tony Gardner is the sexiest fucking werewolf since David Naughton.

dense fear bloodline

dense fear tony

BEAST: A MONSTER AMONG MEN (2013)

beast monster among men cover

Beast: A Monster Among Men manages to feel like a found footage film even though it isn’t.

beast monster among men body

It’s a plus that it’s a 72-minute film, but even at that length, it’s mostly an entire film about a group of friends walking around the woods looking for their missing friends while suspecting that one of them is a killer.

beast monster among men cast

The focus is on how the lead guy hates a brooding dude in a hoodie who is along for the trip.

beasty among us hoodie

Eventually, it all comes down to what exactly the issue is between the two of them.

beast monster among men fight

The ending has a very found footage final segment feel…you’re left with the cheap thrill and the usual “that’s the end?” aftershock.

beast monster among men bodies

Frustrating to sit through over an hour of film to get to the point, but it’s still more payoff than The Blair Witch Project.

beast monster among men chase 

Finally, it’s important to mention that although beefy cutie Blake Farris keeps the clothes on in this film, he shows off the T&A in the director’s horror short “Manscaping.”

beast monster among men manscape Ts

beast monster among men manscape butt

 

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Hidden in the Woods…twice

For incomprehensible reasons (money?), the director of the 2012 Spanish language film Hidden in the Woods remade it two years later in English, starring Michael Biehn. This is the ultimate case of an English language remake totally watering down the original source material. So much so that the original could actually be sub-categorized as a horror film while the remake totally isn’t. Here’s why.

HIDDEN IN THE WOODS (2012)

hidden in the woods orig cover

I can’t say that combining a drug lord flick with backwoods horror will ever truly work for me, but this fricking movie definitely kept me watching just to find out how the hell it was going to turn into a horror movie. All the fucked up shit that happens along the way also helped keep my attention…while also making me hope this definitely was going to turn horror, because I had to sit through some horrible treatment of women before the payoff.

This sleazy psycho dude lives in the middle of nowhere with his family. He physically and sexually abuses the hell out of his two daughters and keeps his deformed male child locked up.

hidden in the woods orig brother

When cops show up on his doorstep and his abuses are about to be exposed, he whips out a chainsaw and shit gets goooory.

hidden in the woods orig chainsaw

He’s tossed in jail and the kids are on the run from his drug lord brother’s cronies. One sister, in an effort to make money to keep them alive, gifts us with a spit not swallow montage. Seriously, there’s a cock sucking whore montage in this film, and after every blow, the cum has gotta go, so she spits it out.

When the uncle’s baddies find the kids, the real horror starts…and makes it kind of annoying to see that these quite capable runaways didn’t just overpower their abusive dad years before.

hidden in the woods orig final attack

I won’t spoil the twist that has the kids in a fight for their lives in the woods, but I will say it’s definitely where the horror comes in…although not in a way you’d expect. But eventually, the movie reverts back to a drug lord flick for an absurd gun fighting bloodbath that would make Tarantino jealous.

HIDDEN IN THE WOODS (2014)

hidden in the woods remake cover

So much for unapologetic brutality. This remake is essentially the same movie—minus the fucked up details that served as a feeding tube for horror fans.

 

Biehn takes on the father role with great grit…the film just doesn’t grit down with him. Nothing here feels as intense or disturbing. The little boy isn’t even deformed, which vastly negates the gruesome backwoods angle later in the film.

hidden in the woods remake boy

The scene with the cops showing up is ridiculously re-enacted; one cop is holding her gun pointed right at Biehn as he approaches her in broad daylight with his revving chainsaw. Then the camera does a 360 around her and…she doesn’t know where he is any longer and he sneaks up behind her.

hidden in the woods remake chainsaw

NO. Seriously, NO. Nothing disoriented her, she wasn’t tricked by his fancy hiding games with a growling weapon in his hands, and she sure as hell didn’t experience the dizzying camera POV we did. There’s NO WAY she lost sight of him or afforded him the opportunity to sneak up on her. Shameful filmmaking…unless this was some sort of comment on how police will just never shoot a fucking white guy, in which case, awesome.

hidden in the woods remake cop small

A scene in which the girls hitch a ride with a pervy dude is reimagined—with a predatory bull dyke behind the wheel. And while the hard-working sister does score money by giving head, we get none of the eloquent spit jobs! I guess she swallows in this one. Hope she raised her prices.

And when the drug dealing uncle’s cronies catch up with them, pretty much all the brutal torture is totally absent, as is the gore when the kids fight back. Personally, it would break my heart to strip my movie of all its nastiness for an American remake. Although, I guess my heart would heal for a paycheck, because this definitely can’t be a case of a director being like, “If you’re going to remake my movie, I’m going to make sure you do it right.” Because he didn’t.

hidden in the woods remake ride

The absolute worst rewrite here is…one of the sister’s gets a love interest! Fucking America and its obsession with pandering to hetero storybook aspirations.

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The last Horrrah of October 2017

Okay, it’s time for a bunch of modern horror quickies, from creatures to clowns, to ghosts and girls.

CIRCUS KANE (2017)

circus kane cover

It’s killer clowns, reality show horror, and haunted attraction horror all wrapped into one film. And it’s fast-paced and atmospheric enough to entertain.

circus kane cast

Plot? Simple. Internet celebrities score a chance to be on the reality show of a has-been horror personality making a comeback. The one to make it all the way through the haunted attraction scores a load of money.

Doesn’t take long for the group to realize that contestants are actually being killed, and orchestrating most of the horrors is a freaky clown. The clown handles some of the killings slasher style, but the place is also loaded with booby traps the group must avoid.

circus kane clown

Gore is good, guys are cute, atmosphere is nice and horroresque. Hell, just watch it to fill some down time with horror.

BE AFRAID (2017)

be afraid cover

Our boy Leo of Charmed stars, so you immediately feel at home with this horror flick. Brian Krause moves into a new home with his wife, young son, and teen son and they are soon being terrorized by ghosts or supernatural entities of some sort.

be afraid krause and teen son

The young son keeps seeing a “man” in his room, Krause has dreams of a big demon hand attacking him, and several locals start chipping away at the family, trying to warn them of some sort of danger. The kid is obsessed with an old train tunnel in the woods, shown to him by a ghost girl.

be afraid ghost

It’s all standard haunted house crap, but then the teenage son goes to a party in the woods and everyone starts getting slaughtered by a monstrous presence! That was an unexpected change of pace.

be afraid tub

The plot definitely become overinflated from there, but at least there’s a cool creature and some gore. My guess is this one will show up on SyFy at some point.

THE DIABOLICAL (2015)

 diabolical cover

The Diabolical is another easy one to digest since it stars horror fave Ali Larter .She’s a single mom with a young son and younger daughter. The young son complains of a man in his closet, and pretty soon the closet case is terrorizing them, showing in spurts before disappearing in a burst of light each time.

diabolical ali larter

While the creature man is fricking creepy as hell, I couldn’t help but be distracted by the fact that because he was bald and wearing a white shirt, he also kind of looked a lot like Mr. Clean. But there are some seriously nerve-racking scenes of him chasing the family that makes this fairly average haunted house/supernatural entity flick scarier than the usual.

diabolical washing machine

There’s also an undeniable theme about the absence of a male figure in the home that reminded me of The Babadook a bit, yet it’s better because there’s no screaming brat. The only thing that ruined the movie for me was a cheesy “spiritual” sequence near the ending.

PATCHWORK (2015)

 patchwork cover

This is a goofy fun horror comedy, in which several young women find themselves living as one being after their various body parts are sewn together by some psycho to create one perfect woman. The premise alone makes this stand out in the horror heap.

patchwork 3 girls

The girl(s) decides they must uncover the truth of who did this to them. Along the way, they have fun killing off various scumbags they had run-ins with the night they were all murdered.

patchwork axe

Pretty much in the tradition of teen horror spoofs like Idle Hands, Boltneck, and My Boyfriend’s Back, this one doesn’t have a lot of meat to it, but just takes you for a silly horror ride. The soundtrack rocks, with loads of modern new wave tracks from the likes of StaG., Corsica Arts Club, Shy Youth, and more. And this dude is hilarious…too bad he doesn’t last.

patchwork victim

EXTRATERRESTRIAL (2014)

extraterrestrial cover

OMG, it’s Emily Perkins of Ginger Snaps in an alien movie.

Well, that didn’t last. But still, this flick from the director of Grave Encounters is sort of a tongue-in-cheek, teenage version of alien abduction films like Altered or Night Feeders.

extraterrestrial cast

Gil Bellows of Ally McBeal fame is a cop in a small town where there have been various cattle mutilations. So it’s no surprise to the viewer when a group of friends comes to a cabin for a weekend getaway and sees a major UFO crash into the woods nearby…and footprints leading away from the craft. Uh-oh…

extraterrestrial ufo

Luckily, horror icon Michael Ironside is their crazy neighbor, and he knows a thing or two about aliens. Because these fuckers are relentless. It is alien insanity as the kids are chased and mutilated for over an hour of the film. But shit gets really trippy near the end, and there’s an anal probing of the hot guy in the film that puts some gay fisting porn to shame…

extraterrestrial probe1

extraterrestrial probe2

extraterrestrial probe3

THE SANDMAN (2017)

sandman cover

Hilary Duff may be the bigger star, but Haylie Duff has become the horror queen, so she gets my vote as the ultimate Duffster (although “Beat of My Heart” is still a kick ass Hilary song).

sandman haylie

Here, Haylie plays a woman who takes in her young niece after her brother’s death. Right from the start, some sort of supernatural force begins messing with shit in Haylie’s house. Her niece is convinced she has the ability to make “The Sandman” come to life from one of her favorite books.

How right she is.

sandman monster

There’s some good creepy atmosphere and a spooky Sandman for a while, complete with some kills.

sandman tobin bell

Then shit gets all Firestarter, with Tobin Bell playing the big bad head of the organization that wants to harness her powers. Amanda Wyss, Freddy Kreuger’s very first victim from way back when, has a cameo as a therapist. She’s the best part of the second half of the film, which takes a ridiculous turn after the initial setup.

STICKMAN (2017)

stickman cover

One of 2 Sheldon Wilson films that premiered on SyFy for October 2017, this is the one to skip. Go right for NeverKnock, considering the premise is essentially the same; a bunch of teens are chased around town by a creature. NeverKnock takes place on Halloween and has a cooler monster, so that would be my pick.

In this one, a young woman locked away in a mental institution for killing her parents when she was a child is transferred to an all-girl facility. She reads a poem with her new friends an unleashes the creature that killed her parents.

stickman finger bite

But she never expected Stickman to step outside her dreams. Yeah, there are some ElmStreet elements to the film, but as the girls spend the whole film running away from the creature while trying to figure out how to kill it, only one moment entertained me – Stickman attacks them while they’re in a car.

stickman gore

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