Skeleton Key 3 Part 2 (2016)

A sequel to the 2011 video release Skeleton Key 3, this new film is in no way shape or form related to the Kate Hudson starring film from 2005.  This film follows a man dealing with the (blue) zombie apocalypse while saddled with a demon sidekick/bully and a ragtag team of helpers. John Johnson, the man credited as the brain behind this film and the star of the film looks to be specialized in the anything goes/what the fuck type of horror films by the looks of his IMDB page.  As this particular film is not listed and this reviewer will not be watching it again to pull the credits, the little bits of credits available on Midnight Releasing’s website are all that will be used to identify the players here.

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Night of Something Strange (2016)

Jonathan Straiton’s “Night of Something Strange” seems to exist only to test the audience’s gag reflexes and nothing more. There is no story, no main character, the narrative is a mess, the pacing is uneven, the zombies that Straiton conceives are so poorly fleshed out, and in the end when Straiton throws out the script to deliver a non-ending, the joke falls flat. To prove how inept the movie is, after the prologue we enter in to the main narrative with character Christine delivering a heaping helping of exposition, narrating the set up for the movie as she writes in her journal. The latter portion of the movie reveals that, no, she’s by no means the central character and final girl. It’s just unfocused badly drawn out dreck that makes the movie such a chore to endure.

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Rabid (1977): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

David Cronenberg’s “Shivers” and “Rabid” are pseudo-erotic statements based around violent anomalies rooted in science fiction that are metaphors sexual elements of civilization. While “Shivers” was a lot about a parasite that unleashes taboos of human sexuality, “Rabid” is a very eerie metaphor for STD’s and what happens when a very promiscuous woman with a lust for blood begins spreading it around Canada. The late great Marilyn Chambers is enticing and alluring in the role of Rose, a buxom and beautiful young girl indulges in motorcycle riding with her boyfriend Hart. One day while riding the country side, the pair gets in to a vicious accident that leaves Rose deformed.

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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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The 10 Best Films of 2016

This is one of the first time in years I’ve had such a difficult period deciding which movies had to be cut from my top ten and which deserved to stay on. Of course I didn’t catch every thing I wanted to, as probably Manchester by the Sea and Edge of Seventeen may have been on the list, if I saw them. So while there are some omissions out of my control, this is the ten I ultimately stuck to. This is the ten best movies I saw in 2016, along with a big list of potential place holders I quite loved, just the same.

Movies in 2016 that almost made the list includes the moving science fiction thriller Midnight Special, the touching sequel Finding Dory, the elaborate and beautiful The Handmaiden, the fun Ti West western In a Valley of Violence, the superb and very scary sequel The Conjuring 2, the fun and moving Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the hilarious and raucous antithesis to the superhero movie Deadpool, the sweeping fantasy thriller Doctor Strange, the incredible crime drama Hell or High Water, the very fun Adam Wingard reboot Blair Witch, the moving and fun teen drama Sing Street, the teeth grindingly compelling 10 Cloverfield Lane, and the chaotic survival thriller Green Room. Kudos to everyone behind these top notch movies I plan to revisit again and again in the coming years.

Now on the Top 10…

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Miruthan (2016) [Ithaca Fantastik 2016]

miruthanIn the small town of Ooty, India, a toxic spill transforms people into blood-thirsty, fast running, wire-stunt performing zombies. Director Shakti Soundar Rajan takes a fairly typical zombie story, mixes in an unrequited love story, a dash of political observation, a Bollywood musical number, wire-stunts, and a good sense of humor about the whole thing to create a zombie film that doesn’t feel like it’s just hitting the tropes and its marks mechanically, it’s fast paced and fun while adding a special touch to its subject.  The idea of mixing Bollywood style film with zombies might not seem like an obvious choice but here it works of course, the humor being quite on point adds to this and to the enjoyment overall.

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Fetish Factory (2017)

fetishfactory_2In a private burlesque parlor in Hollywood, performers and VIP clients face off with a zombie attack. Directed by Staci Layne Wilson from her own screenplay based on a story by Lony Ruhmann, Fetish Factory mixes burlesque dances and performers with end of the world and zombie tropes for a fun result.  Staci Layne Wilson takes the zombies sub-genre that is all over the place lately and focuses it by bringing her personal touch to it and adding a varied group of beauties to fight them off. Granted, this in and of itself is nothing new (we’ve seen hotties and strippers fight zombies before) but her usage of actual burlesque performers and actresses adds to this in a way that changes from the usual boobs and blood route these films take.

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