Its sequel is bigger in every way but muddled, overstuffed, and surprisingly hollow.Read More
In the case of Jason Tostevin's Hellarious — a telling title in this regard — it's an anthology compromised of horror films which feature primarily, a dark sense of humor.Read More
Heads are impaled, fingers severed, feet gashed, lungs burned, people melted and feelings are hurt (quite often) in this much more visceral, much more mean-spirited featureRead More
REVIEW BY JASMINE
A slow burn horror-drama—THE WIND, directed by Emmi Tammi and written by Teresa Sutherland, is set in the 1800’s midwest. Elizabeth and Isaac live isolated in a small cabin; when Isaac leaves for work for an extended period of time, Lizzy grows fearful and begins to suspect a malicious entity is inhabiting the land. Is something actually there, or is it all in "the wind"?
A plains-woman faces the harshness and isolation of the untamed land in the Western frontier of the late 1800s.
The setting and cinematography, together with the beautiful music and sound design, set an eerie, ominous tone. You’re never sure if all the odd occurrences are actually happening, or if it’s just all in Lizzy’s head.
The film is mainly centered around the two female leads, which is always refreshing, though I do wish the male counterparts were better fleshed out. One of the characters that fell flat and was almost non-existent was Gideon (part of the couple opposite to Lizzy and Isaac). He gets an introduction, and then sort of fades into the background as the story progresses. There is some spotlight on Isaac, but unfortunately he's played in a rather stereotypical manner. Personally I’m tired of seeing partners, particularly men, not believing their partners during moments of crisis. I’m not saying they have to believe every single detail of every single thing, but like in this case, Lizzy is obviously going through something troubling, and Isaac is detached and completely unsupportive. Which is weird, because any other situation and the film portrays him as warm and caring.
In spite of certain character development flaws, I must say that the acting is superb. Everyone does a fantastic job here, but the real MVP is Caitlin Gerard (Lizzy). Everything about her performance was amazing. Her facial expressions, her raw emotion, down to the movement of her body—that woman is destined for great things in her career. And selfishly, I really hope she continues to do horror and drama, because she is perfect for it.
Even with its flaws, The Wind builds up very nicely and packs a few scares. It doesn’t have a conventional timeline, and jumps back and forth between the past and present to tell Lizzy's story.. This really keeps the viewer interested and adds variation to the tempo. Unfortunately, the ending falls flat and almost ruins a bit of the experience. Nevertheless, The Wind is good, and if you're a fan of films that play similarly, such as The Witch, It comes at Night and The Witch in the Window, this is definitely one you need to see.
Thou shalt have fun
Review by Jeremiah
Nothing here should work. Nothing. Which makes the fact that is mostly does, even more mind bending than it otherwise would be. The Velocipastor is so low budget, and so aware of this fact, that it uses place holder text for what should be impressive (or given the budget here, unimpressive) visual fx sequences. A car explodes, and there's no fire. No lighting. Hell, no car. Just a reminder that all those things should be there (via placeholder text), and that you're an idiot for actually expecting them to be.
Very little in the film is played straight (thank god), but the few things that are, work simultaneously as a narrative counterbalance and tonal juxtaposition. Mainly, the relationship between the titular pastor Doug and his rescued hooker companion Carol. There's great chemistry between the two, which adds fuel to a budding romance and social justice proposition, so when they hook up for some fiery over-the-clothes dry humping, or take on a Chinese ninja clan (LOL) in the film's climax, you can't help but cheer them on.
Everything else is basically a gag on a gag always delivered rambunctiously, mostly landing, and usually referencing some other movie that Director Brendan Steere is likely a fan of — my favorite being the shameless wink-and-nod to 1987's sweatiest silliest Kung Fu film, Miami Connection. And just like that hilarious bit of B grade cinema, Velocipastor is concerned with having a good time first, making sense second. It's a priority that makes this an absolutely easy recommendation to anyone who's movie-watching priorities align the same.
Watch it for yourself, below:
Blu-ray notes - (Wild Eye Releasing)
Special features include:
TEXAS FRIGHTMARE CAST AND CREW Q&A
Video quality is solid, rendering the low budget video about as good as one would expect; details are sharp during day scenes, with colors coming across somewhat subdued (rare exceptions in certain sequences). No macroblocking to speak of. There is also no odd judder or stutter issues as a result of the transition to physical media.
Audio is flat and uneven. Stereo separation is weak. While sometimes distorting at the loudest points in the presentation, dialogue remains clear enough when it counts. Likely a fault of the recording process than it is any mastering to the Blu-ray format. Again, this is a low budget affair.
Highlights of the disc are the special features, especially the insightful Q&A sessions with cast and crew. The genesis of the film in particular, was funny to discover while watching them.
It's a nutty bit of low budget sci-fi that aims to please with displeasureRead More
They told me wrestling was fake…
Directors: Gigi Saul Guerrero, Luke Bramley
Screenplay: Shane McKenzie
Music composed by: Chase Horseman
Producer: Raynor Shima
Where do I even begin? At the time of release I had heard very little of Gigi Saul Guerrero or the production company she co-founded, Luchagore Productions, before coming across "El Gigante" (and subsequently the novel it's based on "Muerte Con Carne"). I knew I was late to the party. After all, you can't have a crew this talented, producing work as polished and compelling as what's on their resume, and remain under the radar, right? Right. And since then, we've made it a point to never miss a single thing put out by the team, lest we risk once more being late to the bloody fiesta.
Anyway, as mentioned above, my introduction to Gigi's work comes by way of her short film, "El Gigante"; a horror story that takes place south of the border. The film opens with a desperate father (Armando) making his way towards the U.S. on foot in hopes of meeting up with the family he sent to cross ahead of him, with only the memories of their last moments together to keep him moving forward. Unfortunately, his trek through the unforgiving desert only serves to land him in a very disturbing situation. Not to give too much away, Armando will have to fight against much more than just harsh environmental conditions, rattle snakes and dehydration - as the hulking luchador appropriately named "El Gigante" stands between him and his freedom.
Family that slays together, stays together...
Living up to the production company's namesake, 'El Gigante' is chock full of gore, blood, giblets - all of it wrapped within the grimey, stank-filled walls of the lucha libre arena. Not like much of anything we've seen before either (which considering what the horror genre encapsulates, is saying a lot), 'El Gigante' comes across as the bastard child born of a disgusting cross between Tobe Hooper's 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Lucha Underground'. Yet as violent and grotesque as it can get, there is a lot of beauty to be had in this 13 minute tale. Excellent use of colored lighting, intricately designed wardrobe and environments all come together to create an interesting juxtaposition that works well for the film (reminiscent of the work done in Gigi's other short, 'Dia de los Muertos'). Of course, bringing it all together are the believably psychotic pack of...well...you'll see, played jubilantly by their respective actors - most notable being Adelita Rockhill and Nisreen Slim as "Mama" and "Alma".
Over far too quickly and ending JUST as it starts to hit a crescendo, 'El Gigante' has at the very least served to wet our appetites in anticipation of a possible feature film, adapting the rest of Shane McKenzie's novel. Hopefully, whatever other work Luchagore Productions puts out between then and now can tide us over, otherwise it'll be a long wait.
Check out the trailers below for both 'El Gigante' and the horror anthology 'Mexico Barbaro' which features Gigi Saul Guerrero's short 'Dia de los Muertos', and be sure to follow their work at the Luchagore Productions website and of course, on Twitter.
You can catch El Gigante on the Shudder video service:
Director: Drew Barnhardt
Screenplay: Drew Barnhardt
Producer: Guy Clark
Music composed by: Ryan Franks, Scott Nickoley
1 Hour 28 Minutes
REVIEW BY JEREMIAH
I've been struggling to write a review of Rondo since first requesting to watch it (I know it's been a while Artsploitation, but I'm really trying here), and it's mostly because Rondo is just so bizarre a film. Taking cues from pulpy crime thrillers, noir, 80s action films, and David Lynch (and some stuff in-between) there's just so much in the way of inspired componentry, wildly stitched together, that it's almost become a the cinematic equivalent of Frankenstein's monster (sort of reminding me of David Robert Mitchell's recent flick, Under the Silver Lake). And just like that wacky bit of movie exercise, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't,
To the former, Rondo is really strong when its moving at a high speed, with high energy, and high intensity—basically whenever it wants to get nasty, sleazy, and stupid; living up to everything its cool poster art (and its inspired sub genres) promises. Moments early on (and one astronomically ridiculous squibtastic moment at the very end) exemplified this best. At it's core, it's a story about secret sex clubs, secret societies, the very nasty—very secret—people who run them, and the unfortunate souls caught in the middle. A sordid tale that works better coming into it the less you know.
As to my issues with Rondo, it's basically anytime the film isn't found in those aforementioned pockets of crazy. Overlong moments of exposition, meandering narrative, and a finale that sits on its ass a little too long for my liking, are the main offenders. And while these lulls and misfires only make up a small fraction of the film's total runtime, other negative aspects unfortunately stretch across the entirety of it. Performances of non-lead characters for one, can be rather shaky—often times coming across as unsure or stilted, the voice-over narration is a cute—if ultimately distracting—novelty, and the visual stylistic flourishes are inconsistently used (only noticeable because when they're uses, they're pretty striking).
All said, for anyone looking to extract some base fulfillment from their cinema intake, or perhaps looking to indulge in some good old-fashioned sleaze and ultraviolence (and are willing to deal with some low budget nigglings), you should be served well by most of what Rondo has to offer.
If anything, it's worth it just for the knee-slappingly-violent conclusion (RoboCop, eat your heart out!).
A patient home invasion drama with a mean streakRead More
Crawl knows exactly what kind of movie it is, and absolutely succeeds in delivering. It’s a film as brutal, relentless, and satisfyingly simple as its gators.Read More
There’s a surreal horror to Midsommar’s most brutal scenes, to see nightmarish imagery imbued with such pleasantness and even twisted beauty.Read More
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Blue Spring is devastating. Amplifying the angst-filled emotion which propels much of the high school drama contained within, the film whiplashes the viewer from contention to contention, promising a dizzying and highly turbulent cinematic experience.
Hauntingly melancholicRead More
If the documentary (by the same director) wasn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, then I suppose you could do worse than this as a supplementary piece.Read More
The result of this collaborative effort is a thickly atmospheric Lovecraftian-flavored tale that's far-and-away from feeling low budget, or amateur in execution.
So if the idea of a dreamy, existentially moody character study, framed with ambiguity and set against the oppressive backdrop of a cosmic-horror apocalypse sounds like a good time (or a perfect bad time), Starfish is likely going to resonate well with you.Read More
...there's still some scuzzy pulpy fun to be had, some goodness to be taken away from the experience, just so long as you're willing to navigate past it's largest problem.
Jake Braden takes the ordinary and inebriates it over the course of it's runtime, slowly slurring the narrative, and twisting the presentation until you're left with something that's nearly incoherent and intensely uncomfortableRead More
Daddy issues, drug addiction, a cannibalistic grandmother, boobs, and unhealthy eating habits power a psychosexual fever dream. Sound messy? It is! But over the course of two midnight viewings (it's pretty long for what it is), Close Calls coalesced, and its disjointed narrative mostly worked for me.Read More