If you think you’ve seen the worst of the worst “Gremlins” knock offs, 1988’s “Hobgoblins” is the crème de la crème of the copycats. In the eighties, every single studio wanted their own “Gremlins” cash cow and very few were able to pull it off well. “Hobgoblins” seems to have absolutely no money to work with and tries to make out like a bandit with their own weak “Gremlins” wannabe. The problem is that “Gremlins,” despite the big budget, has competence, and depth, and magic, and an interesting mythology. Not to mention the monsters in the film do so much more than stand around cackling.
Following the 9/11 attack, a man in Texas decided to kill Arabs and Muslims in his community. This man, Mark Stroman, sits on death row when the viewer meets him. Through interviews with him and others, correspondence, and archive videos and images, the viewer gets to know who Stroman is, why he did what he did, and how he came to be forgiven by the victims of his crimes. Israeli director Ilan Ziv starts his documentary with footage of 9/11 showing the attacks from multiple angles, something that will hit many hard as they watch. Fifteen years later, it is still hard footage to watch for anyone who remembers the day and the events. Those images set what comes next. This being when Stroman decides that he cannot take this attack, and wants revenge. He then writes a manifesto and goes looking for Muslims to kill.
Taking off from classic teen revenge horror flicks like “Carrie” and, to a lesser extent “Urban Legends 3,” “Tamara” is yet another ho hum female fueled revenge horror entry about a brutally scorned woman coming back to strike at her killers. Young Tamara is a constant target for the jocks and popular kids in her high school and mocked on a daily basis, especially now that she’s written a controversial article about drug testing in the school which further gives them a reason. To get back at her, they play a very cruel prank which goes very awry giving her a bad case of death. And because she’s secretly a witchcraft practitioner, she comes back from the grave as one pissed off, undead, sexy avenging angel.
Gwilliam (USA) (2015)
This flat out gross short follows a recently released criminal looking to get off. From there it goes in an unexpected direction. Written by Victoria S. Cook, Brian Lonano, and Kevin Lonano and directed by Brian Lonano, this short is odd and aims to either gross out or make the viewer uncomfortable or possibly both. This is the kind of short that you just can’t look away from, you want to but you also want to see how far it will go.
For three years, David F. Sandberg’s short horror film “Lights Out” rocked the internet and became a viral hit. It was a very short and to the point film with excellent framing, brilliant editing, and a shocker of a surprise ending. After years as a viral hit, we’re given the full length adaptation of “Lights Out,” which is a pretty great extension of the terror that Sandberg spreads out for his audience. Thankfully while the spirit of the original film is kept in tact (with the original star making a welcome walk on appearance), “Lights Out” is transformed in to a complex and wrenching horror film about mental illness, abandonment, and family. I was a bit hesitant to believe “Lights Out” could be expanded in to a feature length film but while it isn’t perfect, it’s a damn good horror film with some genuinely dynamite moments.
A woman has a visit from her sister after their mother has passed away. As her sister listens, she unloads and unleashes on her. Written and directed by Heather Taylor, Stitched shows how the death of a loved one can affect someone about to snap. This short (4minutes) short shows how to have a good impact by keeping things short and simple. The sisters played by Jen L. Burry and Deborah Green both do well while giving a bit of extra emotions to their parts, which fits with the short for the most part.
Killbillies, also known as Idyll and Idila, follows a group who goes out to the mountains for a photoshoot and gets interrupted by the local hillbillies hell-bent on killing them. Writer/director Tomaz Gorkic takes the hillbillies in the woods tropes and transposes them to Slovenia. The story basis is one the public has seen a bunch of times before: city people trespass on hillbilly family land and suffer the consequences. The story is one that has been seen before, however its development and added details such as the alcohol the hillbillies produce and the fact that the group in danger is of varied adult ages gives the film an edge.
This American documentary shows what the Japanese think of the King of Kaijus, the big G, Godzilla. This documentary was shot using crowd funding to garner its budget. Director and uber Godzilla fan Kyle Yount went to Tokyo in July 2014 to film this fan love letter to his favorite monster.