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Motivational Growth (2014) Review

Motivational GrowthReviewed by Jesse Miller

Motivational Growth is the absurd horror-comedy by writer/director/editor Don Thacker that calls to mind other absurd films in a similar vein such as Return of the Killer Tomatoes or Little Shop of Horrors.

30-something Ian (Adrian DiGiovanni) is a recluse, hiding from the world in his brothel of an apartment where he watches bizarre shows on his ancient TV and contemplates suicide. Oh and then there’s The Mold (voiced by Jeffrey Combs) in Ian’s bathroom, a smooth talking entity that tries to get Ian to clean up his act. But The Mold is up to something sinister and its plans go beyond the quiet life of Ian in what ends up a battle of good and evil.

First things first about this crazy little feature – it’s quite energetic. It’s energetic in its cinematography, its energetic in its writing full of ideas, satire, camp and horror and it is energetic in the characters that inhabit the world and the actors who disappear into the characters.
The film has such an energy about it that watching it becomes so delightful and the energy in the production is just quite infectious that I couldn’t help but be caught up in tumbling down the rabbit hole with poor Ian and going along for the ride.

Adrian DiGiovanni is Ian and it’s quite the performance. He’s the loveable slob, equal measures comical and then heartbreaking and it’s the performance of DiGiovanni that sells the character’s transition from comedy to its more dramatic elements.

More so than that, it’s DiGiovanni’s perfect comic timing that helps make the role. The script is throwing gag after gag at the audience that the seconds in a scene are precious and DiGiovanni hits every note and every beat wonderfully, delivering plenty of laughs.

Jeffrey Combs voices The Mold and is an absolute blast in the role. Whether The Mold is bursting into villainous laughter or delivering sage-like advice, its clear Combs is the person to voice this eccentric fungus and it’s clear he himself is having a blast hitting the right beats to deliver the goods.

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012) review

Puppet  Master XReviewed By Chris Wright, Morehorror.com

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012)
Directed By: Charles Band
Written By: Charles Band & Shane Bitterling
Starring: Kip Canyon (Danny), Jean Louise O’Sullivan (Beth), Oto Benzina (Freuhoffer), Scott King (Moebius), Brad Potts (Seargent Stone), Kurt Sinclair (Major Collins), Stephanie Sanditz (Uschi), Paul Thomas Arnold (General Porter), Terumi Shimazu (Ozu)

Nothing says “Full Moon” like the “Puppet Master” franchise. I am always surprised they come out with a new film and we are already up to the tenth entry! I have had mixed feelings about this franchise and this movie is no different. While it is better than the ninth installment, it is lacking the magic the first films had. Charles Band returns to write and direct this entry.

The movie continues where the previous movie left off. Danny and Beth have discovered that the Nazis have Tunneler and want to extract the serum from him to create super soldiers. The Nazis create evil puppets in the experimentation process. A very random comment is that the plot about super soldiers immediately reminded me of the last season of the X-Files. I wonder if that is where Charles Band got the plotline from? “Puppet Master X” is more polished than the last one, which is an upgrade as the last installment did not have good cinematography.

Danny and Beth are alright protagonists but left a lot to be desired. I guess I miss Toulon as he was a much more superior character that you can actually like. Sadly William Hickey or Guy Rolfe is no longer with us so they’d have to find a new Toulon for a film in this time period for the future. The Nazis were, sadly, the more interesting bunch of characters mostly due to the entertaining over-acting. I did enjoy the evil puppets and their “cat fight” with the puppets.

'Welcome to my Darkside: Women in Horror Documentary' to release in November

Welcome to My Darksideby Seth Metoyer

Last Doorway Productions will be releasing Welcome to my Darkside: Women in Horror Documentary on November 18, 2014 in stores. The DVD features many of my favorite horror actresses, Scream Queens and other female horror people.

World Wide Multi Media will be releasing the DVD in Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon and more. Check out the official details below.

From The Press Release
Welcome to my Darkside has over 30 women including Brooke Lewis, Mo Whelan, Adrienne King, Christa Campbell, Lynn Lowry, Monique Dupree and many more. An array of females in the horror genre including Actresses, Film Makers, Radio Personnel, Horror Hosts and many more talking about how they feel about nudity, a male dominated industry and what it is about horror they can’t get enough of.

Dive into the world of why females in the horror industry love being sick and twisted and of course covered in blood. Reyna Young embarked on the journey of making this Documentary back in 2008 and even though it’s been quite a journey to get this film released, she cannot be thankful enough for World Wide Multi Media to love and want this film to be released.

New Horror film 'Desolation' from Ryan M. Andrews announced by Jessica Cameron

Desolationby Seth Metoyer

A triple horror feature has been announced by Jessica Cameron, including a new film from director Ryan M. Andrews (Save Yourself, S.I.C.K) called Desolation.

The film has been added to the upcoming three picture extravaganza that also includes feature film MANIA and the documentary Kill the Production Assistant. Read all the complete details below.

From The Press Release

Jessica Cameron and Jonathan Scott Higgins (Truth or Dare) are preparing for their triple feature cross-country horror project with the feature film MANIA and the documentary Kill the Production Assistant. They are pleased to announce their collaboration with filmmaker Ryan M. Andrews (Save Yourself, S.I.C.K) with his feature film, Desolation. Check out the new double-bill Grindhouse poster below.

MANIA was written by Higgins and will be Cameron’s 2nd directing vehicle. Kill the Production Assistant will be the feature-length documentary that catalogues the entire experience so that YOU can get a glimpse into the independent world of filmmaking. Cameron and Higgins will produce all three projects.

This November, Cameron, Higgins, and Andrews will load into an RV with other cast/crew and depart from Los Angeles to make back-to-back feature films while traveling cross-country. Read below for more information.

Filming will take place all over the United States, but the filming locations will be decided upon by fan participation. The top 6 cities and states with the most interaction and financial contributions through the project's website (killtheproductionassistant.com) will determine the route the filmmakers will take. The more people contribute, the more pins will be dropped onto a digital map on the project's website for the home city/state of the contributor.  Thus far, the top states are Arizona, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and California.

By visiting www.KillTheProductionAssistant.com fans can contribute to the project and get cool merchandise. Fans can contribute to the project until October 6th at which point the route will be finalized.

'Werewolf Rising' howls to DVD in October

Werewolf Risingby Seth Metoyer

It's time to howl because WEREWOLF RISING will be releasing to on DVD on October 14, 2014. The cast includes Bill Oberst Jr., Melissa Carnell, Matt Copko, Brian Berry, and. Irena Murphy.

Check out the full lycanthrope details below.

From The Press Release:
Image Entertainment, an RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand, announces the DVD release of the horror thriller film WEREWOLF RISING. Directed by BC Furtney and starring Bill Oberst Jr. (Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies), Melissa Carnell (Boggy Creek), Matt Copko (Dirty Laundry), Brian Berry (Hellspawn), and Irena Murphy (Bitter is Better), WEREWOLF RISING will be available on DVD for an SRP of $27.97 on October 14, 2014.

Desperate for a break from big city life, Emma heads to her family’s cabin deep in the Arkansas hills. As she settles in for some much-needed R&R, she learns that something unspeakable lurks in the surrounding darkness. As the full moon rises, a bloodthirsty werewolf emerges from the shadows, slaughtering everyone in its path and revealing a sinister underworld Emma never knew existed. Thrown into a fight for her life, and her very soul, Emma will need to escape these big bad woods before it’s too late.

Cursed (2005) Review

Cursed 2005 ReviewReviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com

Cursed (2005)
Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Wes Craven
Cast: Christina Ricci (Ellie), Joshua Jackson (Jake), Jesse Eisenberg (Jimmy), Milo Ventimiglia (Bo), Judy Greer (Joanie), Scott Baio (Himself), Craig Kilborne (Himself), Portia de Rossi (Zela), Mya (Jenny), Shannon Elizabeth (Becky), Derek Mears (Werewolf)

Here I am once more, potentially defending something that is much maligned as a catastrophic fail. I often find myself having to do that for films, (sequels especially) that did not find a collective acceptance among its target audience. Friday the 13th part 5, Halloween 3, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, just to name a few. “Cursed” stands alone, but still made a difficult road for itself by being part of a genre that has had its share of epic triumphs and hard disappointments. Werewolf films have broken new ground with “An American Werewolf in London” with its landmark special effects, and “The Howling” with special effects not to be understated, and social satire about a werewolf support group commune. Then we have “An American Werewolf in Paris”, “Wolf”, and “The Wolfman”. All had high expectations with talent in front of and behind the camera, but in the end had something about them that just didn’t quite work.

I had heard about the nightmare of a production for “Cursed” with half of the film having to be reshot. It was high on the horror radar with Wes Craven at the helm as director, the millennial John Hughes Kevin Williamson doing the writing, and the great Rick Baker doing the werewolf effects. Not the first pairing of Craven and Williamson. They penned “Scream” that gets the credit for reviving horror in the mid-nineties buy making a slasher film that was self aware of all the token tropes. In turn, that pave the way for some WB horror type films of the late 90’s and early 00’s like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and even some slightly obscure ones like “Venom”. I can’t say that I enjoyed all of them, but most were pretty fun. So going into “Cursed”, I was pretty opened minded.

'Our Friend Jon - The Documentary' to begin shooting the week before Halloween

Our Friend Jon The DocumentaryThe week before Halloween will see the commencement of principal photography on Edward Payson’s next project: Our Friend John – The Documentary.

Our Friend Jon, a collaboration between Payson’s prolific production company, An AntiHero Production, and Maria Olsen’s MOnsterworks66, will document the story of how three friends will produce and shoot the short film, Rose Thorn, written by Jonathan Hernandez. What makes this story special is that Jon passed away from complications due to Sickle Cell Anemia while writing the script, and what makes it particularly poignant is that Jon’s three friends, Nick Saporito, Brandon Joyal and Garrett Payson, all lead extremely challenging lives...

What will make this film appeal to horror fans worldwide is that Rose Thorn is a horror film...it was Jon’s wish to become a horror filmmaker, and, by shooting his film and documenting the process, his family and friends will both celebrate his life and make his last wish come true.

In Edward’s own words:
“This is a project that really means a lot to my family and I. In August of 2013 our friend, Jonathan Hernandez passed away to complications from Sickle Cell Anemia. Before he passed away he was writing a script for a short film titled Rose Thorn. Upon his passing, his friends (all with disabilities of their own) decided to make his film and keep his memory alive forever. This is a documentary about three young men keeping their friend's dream alive.

We will be following Garrett Payson, Nick Saporito and Brandon Joyal over the course of one summer as they conceptualize and complete their fallen friend’s movie. The film will be an underdog story about these three boys making their friends film and in the process raise awareness for Sickle Cell Anemia.”

An American Werewolf In London (1981) review

An American Werewolf in LondonReviewed by Grace Fontaine

An American Werewolf In London (1981)
Written and directed by John Landis
Starring: David Naughton (David Kessler), Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman), Jenny Agutter (Nurse Alex Price), Don McKillop (Inspt. Villiers) and Paul Kember (Sgt. McManus)

I will be honest with all of you; I am not a huge fan of ‘The Howling’. I know, I know. One of the most revered werewolf films ever made with a huge base of fans and critics alike. By all accounts I should be among them, but there is just something about it I do not gel with. It’s not a badly made film and it boasts some really incredible visual effects (you don’t see a natural lady garden in this day and age, either) and Dee Wallace was very likeable in the lead role, but as a whole, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it wasn’t precisely to my tastes, maybe it’s because I set my expectations a little too high, but if it were the later that would probably be due to the fact that I had previously seen ‘An American Werewolf In London’ which single-handedly established and set the bar for the canis lycanis genre. Made by the openly affable John Landis, ‘An American Werewolf In London’ established itself as a horror genre icon not only because of its insane visuals and simple yet effective story but also because it was absolutely, positively FUNNY. I don’t mean slyly satirical or acerbically jabbing, I mean genuinely hilarious comedy that you could have easily seen in a National Lampoon flick.

Two American college students, David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne), are backpacking across John Bull country (aka the Yorkshire Moors). As darkness falls, they decide to stop for the night at the inauspiciously named pub known as "The Slaughtered Lamb". Jack notices a pentagram on the wall. When he asks about it, the pub becomes very quiet and the pub-goers start acting very strange and hostile. The American boys decide to make a graceful exit, but not before the others offer them pieces of advice such as "Beware the moon, lads" and "Keep to the road." Whilst conversing with each other and wondering what they meant, they wander off the road, onto the moors. Back at the pub, the proprietors becomes distressed and suggests that they go after the pair. As she says this, a sinister howling is heard. The rest of the salty publicans, having barricaded the door, vehemently decline. Back out on the moors, Jack and David have also heard the howls, and they seem to be steadily getting closer. They start back to The Slaughtered Lamb when they realize that they have left the road and are now hopelessly lost on the moors. A full moon comes out from behind the clouds, and they remember the advice they were given earlier. The noises get steadily closer until the boys are stopped by a freakishly large animal. The beast attacks both of them, and slays Jack. The animal is then shot and killed by the pub-goers, who have had a change of heart, but it is far too late. The beast changes into the dying body of a naked man. David survives the mauling and is taken to a hospital in London to convalesce.

Don’t Look Now (1973) review

Don't Look NowReviewed by Kevin Scott, More Horror.com

Don’t Look Now (1973)
Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
Written by: Daphne Du Maurier (Short Story), Allen Scott (Screenplay)
Cast: Donald Sutherland (John Baxter), Julie Christie (Laura Baxter), Hilary Mason (Heather), Clelia Matania (Wendy), Nicholas Salter (Johnny Baxter), Sharon Williams (Christine Baxter), Renato Scarpi (Inspector Longhi), Massimo Serato (Bishop Barbarrigo)

There’s a term for a spinoff hybrid of country music that I really can appreciate. “Countrypolitan” is the label used for country music with lush arrangements, maybe some horns and unconventional stringed instruments thrown in. A refined version of an elemental thing that was good on its own, but elevated while retaining the same beloved and established characteristics of its genre. The thing that is so great about “Countrypolitan” is that it gave some culture to the masses in a palatable way so that they almost didn’t know it. My Dad would never have anything in his eight track that sounded like Charlie Rich, except Charlie Rich, if that makes any sense.

Horror in the 1970’s was a mixed bag. We had the visceral stuff like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” that played to our senses on the most baser level, religious horror that made us terrifyingly aware of the battle between good and evil that rages around us, and lastly “Horrorpolitan”. Yep, hopefully I just coined that term, but I bet it’s been used before somewhere else. “Horrorpolitan” films had studio backing, big name stars, and really high production values. Everyone in them happens to be dressed to the nines in loud sport coats, smoking a cigarette while pouring a glass of brandy from an ornate decanter. Most are really well shot with sweeping scenes and authentic locales typically in England or Italy. Some good scoring and foley work with orchestral music that swells to a crescendo when something scary happens, and a pace counted of as everyone’s hard soled shoes click a successful balance of substance and style. “Don’t Look Now” happens to be one of the standouts.

Camp Dread (2014) review

Camp DreadReviewed by Colleen Wanglund

Camp Dread (2014)
Directed by Harrison Smith
Runtime 94 minutes

Written and directed by Harrison Smith, Camp Dread stars Eric Roberts as Julian Barrett, a washed-up director of a trilogy of hit horror films who has a scheme for another “big” project. Barrett brings together a group of troubled twenty-somethings who were given the choice of jail or boot camp, and two of his former stars for a reality show. The camp is actually the site of Barrett’s original three films, a working summer camp in a small town overseen by Sheriff Donlyn, played by the lovely Danielle Harris. The “contestants” will have to get the camp ready to open, as well as take part in challenges, go to therapy sessions, and risk elimination. That elimination becomes all too real rather quickly.

For a B-movie, Camp Dread isn’t too bad, even though the plot has some implausible aspects to it. First, the star of Barrett’s horror “summer camp” trilogy, Rachel Steele (Felissa Rose) just happens to be an actual therapist now. Second, most, if not all of the young people have exhibited criminal behavior. Why would a judge allow them to participate in a reality show with a million dollar prize? I also found there to be too many characters, resulting in poor character development. How am I supposed to care about any of these kids when the bad stuff starts happening if I don’t like any of them? And most of them, I REALLY didn’t like. I liked Roberts as Barrett—Roberts always plays a fantastic sleazeball--but I was disappointed in Danielle Harris’ limited screen time, although I did enjoy what was done with her character.


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