The Sand (2015)

I kind of appreciate what “The Sand” is going for. It tries to be a summer time survival movie that evokes “The Raft” from “Creepshow II” with a bit of “The Blob” for good measure. The problem is that it spends so much time on unlikable characters and ridiculous plot points that it feels like a sub-par prequel to a good movie. The film literally ends on a scene that made me think “That is the movie I want to see!” Set on the night after a graduation, a group of friends go out on to the beach for a night of drinking, and teenage antics. Little do they know that a small gooey ball they’ve discovered is some kind of substance that is alive, and has embedded itself in the sand.

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The Call of Charlie (2016) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

Charlie is a friend, so Mark and his wife help him out by setting him up with Maureen. As the evening goes along, with uninvited guests Virginia and Jay joining the 4 of them, things take an odd turn.

Written by Guy Benoit, John Simpson, and director Nick Spooner, The Call of Charlie is a horror comedy that works, and works great. It’s funny and uses a creature to the best possible result in terms of comedy and awkwardness. The film has witty dialog and flows really well throughout. The writing is on point and the directing supports it perfectly. The way this is short is build shows a good grasp of comedic timing and how to build a strong story with odd aspects and keep it simple to make it work the best possible.

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

A man slowly turns into a metal/man hybrid after killing The Metal Fetishist. His life changes at an alarming rate and so does he.

This piece of Japanese weirdness was written and directed by Shin’ya Tsukamoto almost 30 years ago and it still maintains its shock and awe. The film has a fairly simply story at its basis but is constructed and directed in such a way that it’s dizzying and purposefully messes with its viewer’s angle on it. The film is somewhat hard to follow but that’s part of how it works in the end. It is messed up and messes the viewer up. It’s one of those oddities that don’t feel like it was made just for the shock or just to disturb, but it still achieves both with flying colors. The way Shin’ya Tsukamoto tells this story is masterful yet filled with lunacy.

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Creatures of Whitechapel (2016) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

London, 1888, someone is killing prostitutes. At the same time, a mad scientist is putting together a creature.

In this mash-up of Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper, Igor is now a woman and on the hunt for body parts. Frankenstein’s creature is a touch different and the film gains greatly from it. Co-written by Jonathan Martin and Rebecca Martin, with the former directing as well, Creatures of Whitechapel takes two well-known stories, mixes them, and creates a story that works perfectly. The changes to the characters work and their new ways bring these stories some fresh air. The characters created this way are fun to watch and layered in a way that feels non-gimmicky as opposed to most film that pull the gender-swap card. The stories work well once merged into one and the mysteries they create are interesting. The film makes good use of known characters, locations, and stories, creating a short film with a ton behind it and a lot of interest for most horror fans.

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Night of the Living Dead (1968): 50th Anniversary [Blu-ray/Digital]

With the unfortunate death of George A. Romero this year, now is the best time to re-visit “Night of the Living Dead.” It’s hard to believe what one small mistake could have done to alter history, as Romero’s accidental omission of the copyright sign for “Night of the Living Dead” allowed his horror masterpiece to become public domain, and for his idea of the zombie to become open game for anyone and everyone with an imagination. Just imagine if Romero had copyrighted the concept of the flesh eating zombie and we probably wouldn’t have about eighty percent of the zombie movies we have today.

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Bride of Frankie (2017) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

While the Doctor is away, his assistant will play.  As the mad-scientist is out, his not-so-mad assistant works on getting his creation a friend.  As the friend comes to life, the assistant teaches her how to live and how to love.

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The Munsters’ Revenge (1981)

Even in 1981, “The Munsters” are still so damn funny. “The Munsters’ Revenge” is the monster family once again getting in to a misadventure and learning how to beat the bad guy with the help of their twisted magic and family unity. I laughed a lot during this TV movie featuring most of the brood from the original sitcom. Sure, the original three monsters are showing a bit of their age here, but the movie feels like an extended episode with sharp comic timing, some hilarious gags, and a great supporting cast. Best of all there’s Sid Caesar and Bob Hastings who derived the most laughs out of me. In fact, the latter had me bursting in to hysterics as uncle Phantom of the Opera.

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