Meow (2017)

Chris Jopp’s short horror film feels like a lost segment from “Cat’s Eye.” It’s a nice and fun horror tale about fate intervening and coming to rescue of someone who didn’t know they needed rescuing. Samantha just moved in to a new apartment in a new town and has to deal with an overbearing mother who insists in calling her every chance she gets. What worse, is that she also has to deal with a very intrusive and overly attentive landlord who insists that pets are not allowed in the building.

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The Axe Murders of Villisca (2017)

Two teenagers involved in ghost hunting plan to go to the Villisca house where, in 1912, a family was murdered by an axe wielding maniac.  When a charming female outcast joins them, the three of them decide to go into the house after hours and do their own tour and investigation where they discover something worse than the usual for this kind of house. Written and directed by Tony E. Valenzuela based on a story by Kevin Abrams and Owens Egerton. The story is based on a true case from 1912 which is still unsolved.  To bring it to modern day settings, they use the story as a starting point for teenage ghost hunters to go investigate.

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Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

After the dumpster fire that was 2014’s “Ouija,” it’s a most impressive feat to see Mike Flanagan follow it up with a damn good horror film that serves as a prequel. It’s also kind of shocking how Flanagan is able to deliver a truly creepy horror movie that also almost makes the original “Ouija” retroactively better; if just a little. While “Origin of Evil” is not a masterpiece and feels a bit like a pseudo-sequel to “The Conjuring,” director Mike Flanagan is able to do what the original film couldn’t. He involves us in an engrossing and interesting story about loss, death, and grief, and how evil can prey on our desperation to want closure in a world where very few of us can actually get it.

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Train to Busan (Bu-San-Haeng) (2016) (DVD)

If you hate zombie movies, and think there’s nothing left in the sub-genre, you’ll be surprised with Yeon Sang-ho’s “Train to Busan” and what it does with big budget zombie movies. Director Yeon Sang-ho practices the tradition of George Romero’s horror movies with thick social commentary, while also tapping in to the blockbuster crowds and proves you can have one without losing the value of the other. “Train to Busan” came completely out of left field for me back in 2016, and was not only the best horror movie of the summer, but one of the best movies of the year, easily. Yeon Sang-ho explores how a massive society is destroyed by flesh eating, rabid zombies, all of whom are relentless and charge rapid fire at their victims from around corners.

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Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2017)

Most horror fans agree by now that most creative minds have pretty much tapped the zombie well dry, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of filmmakers still trying to reinvent the wheel. “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” does not re-invent the wheel and probably won’t change anyone’s mind on zombie movies, but for devotees of the sub-genre, there’s a lot of fun to be had. There’s some good music, a brisk pace, and a different setting beyond the typical country farm house or city back drop. Two snowboarders head out to the Swiss Alps with their manager Branka to film a publicity video for their corporate sponsor. When snowboarder and slacker Steve botch’s the filming altogether, the trio are left on the mountain, stranded.

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Pitchfork (2017)

I can’t help but appreciate the inherent ambition behind the production of “Pitchfork.” Director and Writer Glenn Douglas Packard delivers a slasher film that offers the classic tropes, while also feeling like something completely different. He also manages to concoct a premise that’s actually original and doesn’t feature the same old idiot teenagers looking to party who get stranded or whatnot. He actually sets out to deliver a unique premise, and gives our characters their own motivations. It’s also not often we get slasher movies with final boys, but “Pitchfork” creates one who is not only genuinely heroic, and selfless, but facing his own dilemma when we meet him.

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We Are the Flesh (Tenemos La Carne) (2017)

Emiliano Rocha Minter’s “We Are The Flesh” is arthouse, horror, fantasy, surrealism, experimental. It’s also droning, boring, and at barely eighty minutes goes on way too long. “We are the Flesh” begins as something of a post apocalyptic tale where two wandering Mexican teenagers find a demented older man living by himself in isolation as a hermit in a humongous building. Everyday he forages for resources, and makes new resources which he trades for food by some unseen entity behind a wall. The minute the pair finds him, they’re taken in to his bosom, and are dropped in to demented world that is either Eden or Damnation. Quite clearly, Emiliano Rocha Minter seeks to take all kinds of imagery and use it as a sense of multipurpose provocative metaphor and symbolism, and pretty much all of it is a chore to sit through.

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Retro Puppet Master (1999)

While “Puppet Master 3” was a prequel to “Puppet Master” parts one and two, “Retro Puppet Master” is a prequel to the entire series. Rather than being chased by the Nazis, a young Toulon is facing off against mysterious undead agents working for a demonic force that wants his life serum. In “Retro Puppet Master,” the writers pay tribute to the original movies by re-casting Guy Rolfe as Toulon. Still running from Nazis, he camps out for the night in a cabin and regales his puppets with how he originally began his journey.

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