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'Outbreak: The Hunger' by Scott Shoyer: A Review

Outbreak: The HungerBook review by Shannon Hilson

I'll admit it right out of the gate. At one point, I was pretty much the hardest sell there is when it came to anything to do with zombies. I flat-out didn’t like anything about the whole concept or the whole zombie craze that’s been in full swing for a while now. However, modern approaches to the zombie genre that think outside the box and approach things from a fresh angle have been changing my mind in recent years. As is the case for a lot of newer zombie converts, AMC’s The Walking Dead is partially responsible. However, Dead is far from the only approach to zombies I’ve experienced recently that has shown me the light.

Outbreak: The Hunger is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. When it comes to anything “zombie”, the first question on my mind is always: “How’s it all going to go down?” As the title may already suggest, a virus gone rogue is the culprit in The Hunger. However, this virus is capable of affecting and spreading via animals as well as it is people. The main storyline of the book follows the adventures of a father and his young daughter as they enjoy an ordinary day at the zoo that quickly becomes anything but. They are joined by a varied cast of supporting characters, each of whom is attempting to make sense of an increasingly disturbing series of events in their own way.

Newcomer Scott Shoyer has a real gift for storytelling and it becomes clear within the first couple of chapters that fast-paced action scenes and satisfyingly grisly kill scenes are his forte. He doesn’t shy away from getting really bloody with his kills either, but trust me when I say that it’s just bloody enough to blow your hair back. (Think of the way Stephen King or Quentin Tarantino would do things.) I’m normally a bigger fan of character building scenes and descriptive sequences when it comes to my reading material, but – even though this book does have those things -- it really was the action sequences that grabbed my attention here and kept me turning the pages. In fact, saying this book really sucked me in would be an understatement. I actually finished it over the course of a single weekend and found myself instantly looking forward to the promised sequels in the same series.

Heir (2015) review

HeirReviewed by Kevin Scott

Heir (2015)
Written by: Richard Powell
Directed by: Richard Powell
Cast: Robert Nolan (Gordon), Bill Oberst Jr. (Denis), Mateo D’Avino (Paul), Stacey Campbell (Kid), Ken Austen (Rotting Pedophile), Jane Pokou (Waitress).

If you have heard the buzz around Fatal Pictures’ new film “Heir”, you can rightfully get pretty excited about it. A convergence of two juggernauts actors of independent horror is what it is, plain and simple. Bill Oberst Jr. and Robert Nolan can masterfully wield the ability to take everyman creepy from an innocuous and subtle unsettledness to a menacing and baneful fever pitch right before your very eyes.

It’s only a natural progression that they would inevitably share the screen together. Every time I watch anything with either of them in it, I know that I’m not going to see the normal world in the same comfortable way for a little while after that. I’m going to be wondering what hidden rage or dark urges the guy sitting next to me on the plane may be suppressing, at least for the moment anyway.

Robert Nolan plays Gordon a family man who has a wife and a young son. At the beginning of the film, he is corresponding with someone via email about setting up a play date. Maybe not a play date in the conventional sense of the word. He brings his young son with him, and they drive to meet his old college friend Denis, played by Bill Oberst Jr. Their first scene together is in a diner where they meet up, and Denis chews up the scenery the same way he’s chewing up his plate of greasy diner food. He radiates an off kilter confidence that produces a strong cocktail of uneasiness when Gordon is visibly apprehensive and unsure of what is going to happen next.

'We Are Still Here' lands in theaters and on VOD in June

We Are Still Hereby Seth Metoyer

After an amazingly successful festival run, Dark Sky Films has announced the theatrical and VOD release of Ted Geoghegan's directorial debut, WE ARE STILL HERE.

The film features a dream cast of genre film veterans and hits theaters and VOD on June 5, 2015. Check out the full details and teaser trailer below.

Directed by Ted Geoghegan
Produced by Travis Stevens, Greg Newman, Malik B. Ali, Badie Ali, Hamza Ali
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie,
Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham

Film Synopsis
After the death of their college age son, Anne and Paul Sacchetti (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) relocate to the snowswept New England hamlet of Aylesbury, a sleepy village where all is most certainly not as it seems. When strange sounds and eerie feelings convince Anne that her son's spirit is still with them, they invite an eccentric, New Age couple (Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie) to help them get to the bottom of the mystery.

They discover that not only are the house's first residents, the vengeful Dagmar family, still there - but so is an ancient power. A primal darkness slumbers under the old home, waking up every thirty years and demanding the fresh blood of a new family.

'Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story' coming to VOD and select theaters

Always Watchingby Seth Metoyer

I'm a sucker for killer looking key art. I'm digging on the cover art for the upcoming horror film Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.

You can see a larger version of the poster art below the official details. Also, check out the trailer while you're at it. The film releases on VOD and in select theaters on May 15th.

From The Press Release:
Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story is a full movie continuation of the Marble Hornets YouTube series - a horror story chronicling the strange events and occurrences of a group of high school friends through about 100 entries over the course of 5 years.

The last entry for the series was 9 months ago, so it's about time for an update, right? With 80 million YouTube views and over 408k+ subscribers the cult-like following agrees.

Check out the trailer below. Actors include some familiar faces - Jake McDorman (Greek, American Sniper), Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead, American Horror Story), Chris Marquette (Freddy vs. Jason) and Doug Jones (Hellboy, Hocus Pocus, Buffy The Vampire Slayer).

The movie is available now on Video On Demand and reached top 3 on iTunes upon release. On May 15th, it will release in select theaters across the country.

Maggie (2015) movie review

MAGGIEBy Jonathan Weichsel

Maggie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, and Joely Richardson.

Like many guys who grew up in the 1980's, I have been a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger for as long as I can remember. His films from back then are exciting, gritty, oftentimes dark, and full of some of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. Schwarzenegger made a real impression on screen in the 1980's. Sure he was a power fantasy for young men, but he was also a symbol of everything that was either right or wrong about the 1980's, depending on who you ask; the decade's excesses, its arrogance, and its exaggerated sense of American exceptionalism.

Critics claimed back then that Schwarzenegger wasn't a good actor, but you just have to watch Predator in order to prove them wrong. Acting is living and doing under imaginary circumstances, and Schwarzenegger, compared to the rest of the cast in that movie, lives and does convincingly and with great conviction. When Schwarzenegger sets a trap for the predator, he looks like he is setting a trap. When he is in a firefight, he looks like a soldier in a firefight. The rest of the cast just looks like they are going through the motions, but Schwarzenegger really acts. And the ending of that film, when Schwarzenegger is a broken and shell shocked man staring off from the helicopter as it leaves the jungle, is the kind of haunting and effective moment that his critics denied he was capable of even though it was right up there on the big screen for anybody to see.

As huge a fan as I am of Arnold Schwarzenegger, his recent films since getting back into acting haven't interested me at all. I like the grit of his earlier films. Yes, he did act in some early experiments with CGI, but the CGI never took over and never displaced the grim, dirty reality of films like T2 and Total Recall, which has an awesome CGI scene of Schwarzenegger's skeleton as he walks through an x-ray metal detector.

'It Follows' movie review

It Followsby Grace Fontaine

You gotta love indie horror. There is something so warm and comforting about genre entries that fly under the radar, it's like a fluffy duvet while sitting on a couch drinking hot cocoa on a cold winters' eve when the snow falls outside, the rain drives against the windowpane and the wind whirls outside.

It Follows despite being made in 2014 has only recently been released after swimming around the depths for a while trying to find a distributor and thankfully, RADiUS-TWC took a chance on David Robert Mitchells' delicious bastard child of 1980s' supernatural horror with a taste of 1970s' grindhouse. In that could essentially be as PSA against unsafe sex and STDs. It Follows is a swift, loving piece of the throwback and an optimistic window into the future of potentially great horror fare and not a slap across the face with a mackrel.

The premise, simple as it is is as follows: boy meets girl, boy and girl have sex, boy gives girl a demonic STD that can only be escaped if the afflicted has sex with somebody else. It also just so happens the STD will follow its host EVERYWHERE he/she goes, no exceptions, no rules, thusly proving that unprotected sex is the reason why we can't have nice things.

Although It Follows is not really SCARY per se, it is incredibly tense, specifically when it comes to how the creature stalks its prey and how the film tends to rely more on the pleasures of the build up than the act itself. Like foreplay. The way I saw it, it was almost like the famous Mexican stand-offs in a Sergio Leone Western- the build up the the most dramatic and awe inspiring part, and the final result is swift, decisive and cruel. This somewhat rings true for It Follows, but given the nature of its plot and genre, nothing truly comes off as cheap, perhaps just a little rushed. Rest assured though, you will no doubt feel the paranoia and urgency seeping off the screen and you may very well find yourself casting a cursory look over your shoulder after you're done.

New poster art releases for Practical FX horror short 'HEIR'

HeirA killer new poster design for HEIR has been released. Looks pretty sick to us!

HEIR, the final entry in the "Box Cutter Trilogy" produced by Fatal Pictures in association with Red Sneakers Media is set to hit the festival circuit soon.

The final short in the trio of linked shorts each representing “different theories on the origin and operation of sociopaths” sports Practical FX, which should make horror fans cheer. Read our exclusive interview with HEIR Writer/Director Richard Powell and Producer Zach Green here.

Check out a larger version of the poster below as well as a couple movie stills and watch for a review on MoreHorror.com soon!

From The Press Release
FATAL PICTURES in association with RED SNEAKERS MEDIA is proud to announce HEIR - A touching tale of father & son from the filmmakers that brought you WORM, FAMILIAR, REMOTE & THE LAST HALLOWEEN. This practical effects horror short is a monster movie unlike any other, it is a bleak and fantastical examination of one of societies darkest taboos that aims to stimulate the mind and wrench the gut with equal power.

Starring Bill Oberst Jr (RESOLUTION, CIRCUS OF THE DEAD, TAKE THIS LOLLIPOP) and Robert Nolan (FAMILIAR, BERKSHIRE COUNTRY, SILENT RETREAT), Written and Directed by Richard Powell (WORM, FAMILIAR), FATAL PICTURES’ Zach Green and Richard Powell produced (WORM, FAMILIAR) in association with Marc Roussel and Ron Basch from RED SNEAKERS MEDIA (REMOTE, THE LAST HALLOWEEN). Associate Produced by Seth Metoyer (CELL COUNT, DEADLY REVISIONS, BALLET OF BLOOD), with Cinematography by Michael Jari Davidson (SAVE YOURSELF, BERKSHIRE COUNTY & THE LAST HALLOWEEN), Special Make-Up Effects by The Butcher Shop (FAMILIAR, THE LAST HALLOWEEN), Editing by John Nicholls (SEX AFTER KIDS, THE SWEETEST HIPPOPOTAMUS, THE LAST HALLOWEEN) and Music by Christopher Guglick (REMOTE, HOME, THE LAST HALLOWEEN).

Altar (2014) Film Review

Altar 2014by Jesse Miller

ALTAR, the new horror film written and directed by Nick Willing, starts off strongly as it introduces the location, the lavish house and characters all via some gorgeous cinematography and sweeping shots of the moors.

From there on, strange things begin to occur. It starts off with a rattling window, then continues with ghostly apparitions that haunt the kind family.

It's all very slow-burning stuff and rather effective, with director Nick Willing making good use of lighting and sound design to capture the atmosphere and conjure scares.

The whole film looks, feels and plays out as like a good old-fashioned haunting flick similar to The Amityville Horror.

The main problem with this feature is, aside from some strokes of genius that provide genuinely creepy moment’s, this is one horror that is mostly derivative of what has come before.

The key problem here is the story that loses its way in the last act of the film. Plot threads are left dangling and unresolved and themes of love and art that run throughout are sadly undeveloped. It's a shame when the film started so strongly.

This is not to say it's entirely a bad film, per se. The production on the display is superb and the cast of actors – particularly Olivia Williams, Matthew Modine and Antonia Clarke - breathe life into their roles and sell every line - it's just disappointing because this is something we've seen done before and a tad more effectively.

Knights of Badassdom (2013) review

Knights of Badassdom CoverReviewed by Kevin Scott

Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Written by: Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall
Directed by: Joe Lynch
Cast: Ryan Kwanten (Joe), Steve Zahn (Eric), Peter Dinklage (Hung), Margarita Levieva (Beth), Summer Glau (Gwen), Joshua Malina (Travis), Michael Gladis (King Diamond), W. Earl Brown (Randy), Brian Posehn (Gilberto), Douglas Tait (Abominog)

I’m pretty much going to watch any film called “Knights of Badassdom”. I just am, and probably if you are reading this, you would too. I’m absolutely astounded at how the social stereotypes are melding together little by little, and this film is definitely a testament to that. Remember being the weird kid and only having a handful of equally weird, but loyal friends. That definitely was me, and I couldn’t see it then, but I pretty much had it made. Being weird now is a little more tolerated that it used to be, but it still can be a bit of a struggle. Case in point would be our hero, Joe.

Joe is a car mechanic by day, and aspiring metal god by night. He’s deeply in love with Beth, who is own a career path that doesn’t seem to include him. When she breaks up with him all seems to be lost. Enter Joe’s friends. There’s Hung and Eric. Eric is an accidentally millionaire that uses his monetary gain to fund his and his friends passion for live action role playing games. He lives in an urban nouveau castle, that Joe crashes at as well, and has expendable income to buy really cool stuff on eBay. One of those things happens to be a really old book of incantations. There’s some exposition in the beginning about what this book is actually about, and it’s a great B movie callback to the most evil book in film, the legendary Necronomicon.

Preservation (2014) review

PreservationReviewed by Kevin Scott

Preservation (2014)
Written by: Christopher Denham
Directed by: Christopher Denham
Cast: Wrenn Schmidt (Wit Neary), Pablo Schreiber (Sean Neary), Aaron Staton (Mike Neary)

Read the simple synopsis on “Preservation”, and it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that teenagers fall by the blade of a masked killer or maybe even a crazed family of mountain dwelling inbreeds. Nope, way off. It does involve masked killers though. Instead of the wilderness excursions that are really excuses to indulge in the debauchery of alcohol, drugs, and unbridled and unprotected sex, this is more the camping trip that you would take in your late twenties after you have settled into marriage or couplehood. No sick house on the lake that doubles as party central. These are actual adults, intending to sleep in tents and actually kill animals. Mostly due to nostalgia, and what makes this even more like an actual adult camping trip, the idea of it is way better than the actual experience.

The Neary brothers are calling back to a simpler time when their Dad would take them hunting. They load up the same guns they used as boys into the truck and tear out to the old wilderness preservation they used to go to. It’s deserted and completely isolated. Two brothers couldn’t be any different. Sean is a cynical ex-military guy that pride himself on being the survival authority. He’s also suffering from some PTSD, and has a hair trigger both figuratively and literally. He seems to be the one that’s just a hot, dangerous mess. Drinking away his regrets as best he can makes him the most sympathetic character, even though he’s the most jaded.


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