I love my actors and actresses who sell their souls and careers to the devil. So this time I take on some of the indie horror of cutie Jeff Dylan Graham. This barely scratches the surface of his filmography, but it started to become clear to me that I actually have a whole load of his movies in my collection. Just the fact that he made so many films during the rebirth of the “direct-to-video” resurgence of the new millennium makes me want to see all his films! I begin with a couple that have him in the cast list…but I’ll be damned if I could find him in the movie….
BRYAN LOVES YOU (2008)
Jeff is not the star of Bryan Loves You and is barely in it. Blink and you’ll miss him. I missed him.
But I’ll talk about the movie briefly. It takes place in the 90s and a young psychiatrist (played by the director Seth Landau) believes that his town is being taken over by a religious cult that wears eerie masks and worships “Bryan.”
The movie is done found footage style and has a couple of creepy scenes (the one in which he goes into someone’s home with night vision is the best), but it takes a weird turn and becomes a movie about the cult’s attempt to lock him away and brainwash and convert him. It’s a lofty subject to tackle on a low-budget and using found footage.
Bryan Loves You features cameos you could also miss if you look away too fast, including Lloyd Kaufman and Brinke Stevens. Tony Todd opens the film with a very “William Castle” introduction, warning viewers that the footage is so disturbing some may need to leave the theater. That’s a big promise to make and it doesn’t deliver. There’s nothing particularly disturbing about the movie…the cult brainwashing scenario comes in too late and is too rushed to disturb or cause any sense of dread.
Jeff is listed on imdb as “The Greaser” in Stuck. I watched the movie then scanned it a second time and still have no idea where he is in the film.
Stuck looks like it’s going to be a women’s prison exploitation flick, but it’s so not. It’s not even campy. It’s a very depressing low-budget indie shot in black and white. The female cast is great, but the movie itself is almost entirely dialogue driven. It’s a tragic story of a young woman wrongly accused of shooting her mother while actually trying to stop her from committing suicide. We see the young woman’s existence unravel in jail as she tries to cope with her destiny knowing she is innocent.
Karen Black is the neighbor who saw the shooting through her window, so a portion of the movie is focused on her and what I assume is her doubt that she actually saw what she thinks she did. While her feelings are never expressed verbally, it appears she struggles with guilt for having testified against the girl.
Unlike most women’s prison films, the only foe in this one is the warden. All the cellmates (including Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s!) get along fabulously. While that gives Stuck a poignant “chick flick” vibe, it also makes for a pretty slow moving experience. I loved the irony of the last scene though.
Jeff seems to have had a working relationship with a director named Steve Sessions. They did quite a few films together. There’s something I really like about the movies of Steve Sessions. He has an eye for that classic horror look and feel. Cremains is one of the first films Steve made, and it’s a horror anthology! The low budget gives it that creepy shot-on-video feel.
The opening scene, which seems to be nothing more than an effort to grab attention, involves a naked chick in a gimp mask…and a guy doing something brutal to her.
After this initial splash of gore, we cut to the actual wraparound story. It involves a mortician being interrogated about his cremation practices and consists of quite a bit of boring dialogue.
The first story is all about tension and atmosphere but has a very anticlimactic climax. A woman driving alone at night gets stopped by local men on the road. They claim there was a robbery and they’re looking for red marks on the thief’s hands. But clearly they are looking for something more as they continue to terrorize her.
The second story stars Jeff! It has an almost homoerotic vibe. A hot baldy with a goatee offers young Jeff a ride, repeatedly swearing he doesn’t usually pick up strangers—but continuously eyeing Jeff out of the corner of his eye. While very short and a little heavy on philosophical dialogue about death, this story has a deliciously evil twist.
The third story is loaded with female nudity because it’s about lesbian vampires! Making me watch lesbian vampires is like pulling teeth…while making me watch lesbian vampires.
The final story is straight up slasher awesome. This is one freaky looking killer with a fedora, overcoat, and nasty looking face. There’s plenty of gore and a final chase scene.
Another Steve Sessions film, Malefic is black and white, which gives it a creepy old school vibe, as does the shot-on-video look. The opening scene is my favorite part, with a couple making out in a car and then taking it inside a cabin when they get spooked. As the chick gets naked, something moves towards the cabin in Evil Dead fashion. The atmosphere when the guy goes outside to check things out is great.
Cut to 16 months later and a self-proclaimed dominatrix narrates the remainder of the movie—sounding very disinterested. She and her 3 friends drive to a cabin in the woods with the remains of a dead baby they plan to ransom back to the father! Sick! They’re not the most likable group, which makes this one drag a little in the middle, until they take out a Ouija board. This is how we learn about a big sluggish parasite that had entered the cabin from the beyond. Indeed, this is a big maggot monster movie!
Jeff is a young goth and proves to be the hero of the film; he gets chased by the maggot monster for a wicked long time at the end of the flick. For all its cheesiness and flaws, Malefic has a fun little horror ending. Edited down, it would have been a strong short to include in Cremains.
HELLBOUND: THE BOOK OF THE DEAD (2003)
Made the same year as Malefic, Hellbound: The Book of the Dead (aka: Cadaver Bay) reunites Jeff and director Steve Sessions once again. This incredibly odd film is part slasher, part The Hand, part Pet Sematary, part The Monkey’s Paw. It’s a little schizo as a result, but somehow it all works to make a spooky movie.
It opens strong with a classic stalker outside the tent sequence. After that, we meet a couple consisting of Jeff and his lady, who is struggling with the death of her sister in a freak accident; she was killed by a flying hubcap because she was too close to a car accident. Zany stuff.
Anyway, Jeff’s lady wants to do some sort of magic spell to bring the sister back. Before long, she has succeeded in resurrecting the dead, but it’s not her sister! There’s a nice dose of gore and a few humorous parts in this otherwise serious movie. There’s a funny scene involving a nasty looking daddy bear with a juicy booty seemingly forcing himself on a woman…until they are interrupted by a phone call. Look at that big bubble butt!
There’s an incredibly suspenseful scene of some random guy working on his car then being chased by a re-animated corpse. And the final monster is classic 1970s gruesome.
DEAD CLOWNS (2004)
Steve Sessions once again directs Jeff in Dead Clowns, a film about zombie clowns! Jeff plays a security guard in this one, which I blog about in full here.
DEAD & ROTTING (2002)
Dead & Rotting is a simple little witch revenge story that could easily have been shortened into a segment of an anthology film, but it’s still a charming low-budget indie. Three dudes go to the isolated home of a supposed witch in the woods and have a run-in with her creepy, inbred looking son. The witch isn’t happy, so she decides to get revenge on the guys.
The old hag turns into the beautiful Debbie Rochon! Awesome. She bangs all the guys and then slowly lures them to her place one by one with the help of three creepy scarecrow demons she summoned to do her bidding.
The lead dude in this movie is so hot, so the director smartly exploits his body. He’s often wearing nothing but his tight undies. And Jeff at first appears to have only a minor role in the film but ends up being a major player as it progresses.
The ending is good old monster movie fun, with fog, spooky lighting, and ghouls galore!
Troma film Zombiegeddon is LOADED with b-movie cameos: Brinke Stevens, Tom Savini, Joe Estevez. Lloyd Kaufman, Tina Krause, Linnea Quigley, Julie Strain, and Felissa Rose. And there’s Jeff as the leading man on campus when the zombies invade! See my full blog about Zombiegeddon here.
OCTOBER MOON (2005)
October Moon is a gay Fatal Attraction. Jeff’s partner is the one being stalked…by his own employee. See my full blog about October Moon here.
100 TEARS (2007)
Once again, Jeff gets in on the horror clown action. I blog about the film here.
BEYOND THE DUNWICH HORROR (2008)
Beyond the Dunwich Horror combines trippy Lovecraftian goth with gay horror director Richard Griffin’s twisted brand of sex and repugnance. While there’s some humor, it’s a fairly serious b-movie about one guy who teams with a reporter and good old Jeff Dylan Graham to find out what happened to his mentally ill brother in the town of Dunwich.
Loaded with flashbacks of what became of the mentally ill brother, this bizarr-o flick has a ghoulishly good soundtrack, yucky gore, super awesome neon horror lighting, straight and gay sex, maggot and worm eating, a club scene featuring an old school minimal dark synth wave song, eye worship and mutilation, satanic occult rituals, and a somber conclusion.
THE THEATRE BIZARRE (2011)
2011 horror anthology The Theatre Bizarre is jam-packed with six stories plus a wraparound! See here for my full blog about the film. Jeff appears in the final story and it’s a total gross out about overeating for the fun of it.
BLOODY BLOODY BIBLE CAMP (2012)
Bloody Bloody Bible Camp is a comic homage to all the summer camp horror of the 80s, with special love for Sleepaway Camp. It’s has a pretty huge body count…including Jeff, of course! Read my full blog about the movie here.
If you’re a fan of sick and sexy schlock with a dose of dark humor and you also love men, then Sculpture will definitely satisfy. Scream queen Raine Brown plays a young female artist commissioned to create a male sculpture. So she turns to the local gym for inspiration. As she begins to lose her mind, the men (including Jeff) begin to lose their pants (wahoo!), and then their limbs (oh the humanity!). read my full blog about Sculpture here.
HOME SICK (2007)
Home Sick is deliciously gory, violent, and freaky, but I sort of had no idea what the frick was going on. Jeff only appears in the first scene and it’s pretty awesome. He watches two lesbians start to have sex. He kicks one out and tries to get the other to do water sports. She says no, so he leaves for a while. When he comes back he finds wicked gore in the bathtub….
The artwork used during the opening credits is great.
Now we’re at a house where a group of friends (including Tiffany Shepis) is having a party. Bill Moseley walks in with a suitcase full of razors and forces them all to give him the name of one person they want dead. One idiot ends up voting for everyone at the party.
There are brutal kills at the hand of a hooded killer, but the interactions and conversations between the various characters began to lose me. The movie is incredibly disjointed and convoluted. Is it a whodunit or are some of them in on it? Are they just turning on each other because they don’t trust each other? In the end, those remaining go to the father of the dude who wished them all dead. They want the dad to help them kill the killer they think Bill Moseley set loose on them (I think).
And that’s when the tone of the film totally changes. It becomes over-the-top dark humor. The dad is a chili fanatic. They sit down for dinner, he takes center stage, and then he reveals a room full of guns and confederate flags. It becomes all-out insanity as the gang grabs guns, people get shot, the hooded killer is revealed as a gnarly looking monster, and everyone turns on each other.
It doesn’t even matter that you are completely bewildered by everything at this point, because the movie just totally delivers on the horror, blood, and gore.
DORM OF THE DEAD (2006)
Two of my favorite b-horror actors bookend Dorm of the Dead. After some weird intro by some “crypt keeper” dude, we get a really good zombie scene of a hot stud leaving a girl’s dorm room and getting attacked by zombies—but doing some cool acrobatic moves to try to get away. Yeah…cool. That’s the word I’m looking for.
Then we get to the Tiffany action—lesbian action! After a long scene of her and some chick going crazy on each other, another stud walks in, fights with them because Tiffany is his woman, then chases after Tiffany…and right into the best zombie horror scene in the whole movie. Tiffany is scream queen perfection in this.
Unfortunately, that’s the extent of her appearance in Dorm of the Dead. I’m going to guess a majority of people in this film aren’t looking for an acting career. But the guy who plays the crazy college professor is hot as hell. Then we have two geek girls and the two hot blonde bitches who hate them.
The teacher talks in class about a vile of zombie blood he got in Haiti. So the bitches steal it and pour it in the mouth of one of the geek girls when she’s sleeping. She turns into a tinted face zombie and spends the rest of the movie claiming victims until she’s killed during a news report on television.
Jeff only appears in a totally random scene that comes on after the closing credits start to role. He’s sitting with a chick who’s hot for him, but he’s feeling himself up (squeezing his tits and stuff) babbling about tea bagging and liking balls on his forehead while the girl rattles on, oblivious to what he’s saying.
And there you have it. Those are all the Jeff Dylan Graham movies I have. There are others I want to see, including Orgy of Blood and Orgy of the Damned, both directed by Creep Creepersin. Jeff is the lead in the very heavy film Fell, about a mentally ill man who thinks he may be a homicidal maniac. He has even begun directing—he directs, writes, and stars in the film Psychosomatika.
And here is my vlog about Jeff’s films: