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Heavy Metal (1981) Review

Heavy MetalReviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com

Heavy Metal (1981)
Director: Gerald Potterton
Writers: Daniel Goldberg, Len Blum, Dan O’Bannon, Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson, Angus McKie, Jean Giraud
Voice talents: John Candy, Eugene Levy, Richard Romanus, Al Waxman, John Vernon
Soundtrack artists: Sammy Hagar, Journey, Riggs, Devo, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Don Felder, Donald Fagen, Nazareth, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, Trust, Stevie Nicks

If you were a kid in a record store in the early 1980’s, you saw this poster. Our record store was poorly lit with carpet crawling up the walls where you could thumb through albums with provocative covers while your parents ran their errands. Ahh, innocence lost. I couldn’t recall an animated film like this before or since, but the most significant thing that I can remember about “Heavy Metal” is that it taught me that animation can have adult and horrific elements. This movie scared me a little. A perverted and distorted dirty and grimy version of all the stuff that I saw on Saturday mornings.

I’m stretching my reach here for More Horror, and you can call me out if this one as more science fiction than horror. I chose it because it is an anthology, it has horror elements, and for many, broke the seal on the premise that animation can be explicitly violent and frightening. Based on the classic magazine of the same name, it’s a close cousin of Creepshow. Both were based on publications that broke ground and established new creative boundaries, and both were usually read by flashlight.

Like most anthologies, it had an anchor scene to tie all the stories together. A mysterious glowing green orb called the Loc Nar is the centerpiece that is supposed to be the root of all evil in the universe. It unravels a tapestry of stories to one frightened girl detailing all the evil and chaos it has begotten all across the universe. I liked most of the segments, and it was nice to hear celebrity voices while not having to watch a Disney film. The animation was cutting edge back in the day, using live models and scale models for planes and spaceships that would later be traced over for the animation process. It reminds me how far we have come in 33 years. It still looks great from the perspective of what it is, a cult pulp fiction masterpiece.

Dark House (2014) Review

Dark House 2014 PosterReviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com

Dark House (2014)
Written by: Victor Salva, Charles Agron
Directed by: Victor Salva
Cast: Luke Keintank (Nick De Santo), Alex McKenna (Eve), Anthony Rey Perez (Ryan), Zack Ward (Chris McCulluch), Lacey Anzelc (Lilith), Lesley- Anne Down (Lillian), Tobin Bell (Seth)

Sometimes names affiliated with a film that have cut a legendary niche for themselves in other pictures can be a telltale sign of a mediocre film. After “The Devil’s Rejects”, Sid Haig and Ken Foree were everywhere, with some films not becoming of their legendary status. So I always take famous names in obscure films with a cautionary grain of salt. “Dark House” has Tobin Bell from “Saw”, elegant Lesley-Ann Down, and is helmed by Victor Salva of “Jeepers Creepers” fame. This could be a small scale project of exceptional quality and potential that the famous people that are in it believe in, or it could just be them phoning in a favor. “Dark House” is actually really good.

Nick De Santo has the ability to touch someone and see exactly how they will die. Unfortunately for him, and the other person, it doesn’t always work. Only if the person dies horrifically, will he be able to see anything. He wears “John Bender” style fingerless gloves so things like shaking hands doesn’t fill his head with visions of car crashes and house fires. He also has a mother in a mental institution that tells him cryptic messages about his father. When she passes, she leaves him an old Greek revival style house out in the sticks. The weird thing is that Nick has been seeing the same house in his dreams, and drawing it his entire life. Knowing he has to find out why, he takes his best friend and his very pregnant girlfriend on a road trip.

After talking to the locals, Nick finds out that the house got washed away in a catastrophic flood, but finds it down the river almost perfectly resting in a different spot. That’s the least of his worries though. When he attempts to go in the house, he is greeted with a pretty cold reception from Seth, a kind of mystical Joe Dirt with an army of unstoppable hatchet men. After narrowly escaping, Seth and his friends run across three county workers surveying along the same route. The rest of the film deals with everyone holding up in the house, and trying to survive.

'Natural Born Filmmaker' wraps Zombie Movie-Within-a-Movie

Natural Born Filmmakerby MoreHorror.com

Director Steve Oakley describes completed segment of "Natural Born Filmmaker" as "spectacularly Frightening."

Grunder-Oakley Productions has announced it has completed shooting on the first ‘movie-within-a-movie’ segment of “National Born Filmmaker,” at Polymedia Entertainment in Orange, CA.  Described by director Steve Oakley, the segment is a bloody zombie revolt—at once “spectacularly frightening” and also tongue firmly planted in rotting cheek.

Described as a cautionary tale as well as a spoof, "Natural Born Filmmaker" reveals what happens when there’s a mix of naive producers, shady investors and carefully calculated contracts. And it does it all with a wry sense of self-awareness that hasn’t been captured since “The Bad and the Beautiful,” a movie blockbuster which also depicts a Hollywood dream that turns into a nightmare.  Only "Natural Born Filmmaker" includes zombies and other horror tropes to echo the monstrous side of the business.

Actors featured in the zombie ‘movie-within-a-movie’ segment include horror favorites:  Guil Claveria, Dawna Lee Heising and Diane Chambers, as well as Stan Goodrich, Eric Schindler, Bear Sanchez, Leah Cohen, and John Granillo who also did the spectacular special effects makeup.  The executive producers were Melanie Grunder, writer and director Steve Oakley and Dawna Lee Heising; co-producers on the set included Diane Chambers and John Cox; the cameramen, production and lighting operators were John Cox and Gustave Whinnery; and Lori-An Ryan was the script supervisor.

The Babadook (2014) Film Review

The Babadook 2014 Movie PosterReviewed by Jesse Miller, MoreHorror.com

What can the power of grief do to a person? How could that possibly manifest in their lives in unusual and frightening ways? These are some of the questions posed to the audience in Australian Writer/Director Jennifer Kent’s debut film The Babadook, a tremendously effective and strikingly original psychological horror piece.

Recently widowed Amelia (Essie Davis) is exhausted. She’s lonely, has trouble sleeping and is troubled by the fact that now her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is utterly convinced that there is a monster lurking around the house. When Samuel finds a disturbing children’s book that goes by the title Mister Babadook, he is certain that this is the creature he has been sensing all this time – and a malevolent presence begins to make it known.

On the surface, The Babadook may come across as your regular spooky haunted house film but should you decide to scratch that surface, you’ll find that it has something more to say about the intensity of grief and the primordial fear of what can take shape in the darkness and come alive in the middle of the night. Better yet, it’s craft on display blows most generic haunted house films out of the water. There were scares here that didn’t take a page out of what has come before it and for someone who has been watching horror for years, it was refreshing to be surprised by the scare tactics on display here.

With this film, Jennifer Kent displays she has an understanding of how to make an effective psychological horror. It’s evident in her use of lighting similar to that of a 1920s horror film to convey mood, in the restraint she shows when building the tension and horror and in her use of her world’s soundscape to unsettle the audience and evoke images of the horrible things that could lurk in the darkness.

This film mixes the elements of dark fantasy-horror you’ll find in a Guillermo Del Toro film crossed with the surreal and dream-like quality of a David Lynch film. In fact, I’d go, as far to say that if either filmmaker caught this, they’d probably be kicking themselves thinking that they didn’t think of this story first.

As Amelia wanders the creaky household, is she dreaming or awake? Is this otherworldly guttural shrieking just a product of her increasingly unstable mind? The further The Babadook goes on, the further it’ll explore these questions as it slips into something wonderfully odd, psychedelic and surreal – almost as if you’ve uncovered a paranoid thriller gem from the late 70’s.

Forgetting The Girl movie review

Forgetting The Girl posterReviewed by Marcey Papandrea, MoreHorror.com

Going into a film with little to no knowledge about it is definitely something I would recommend, being surprised can be such a rare event these days, especially in cinema. Forgetting The Girl surprised me and I knew next to nothing about it aside from the title and one sentence summary. This was a good surprise, but also one that left me reeling as the credits were rolling. This is not a film that reveals all its cards straight away, it is a character study that unwinds and certainly keeps its audience guessing as to what is happening.

Kevin Wolfe (Christopher Denham) is a photographer who takes headshots of models and actresses, he's around women all the time and his experiences aren't generally all that positive. When he was a child he suffered the death of his sister and he struggles to remember what happened that day, and he wants to remember her, all the while he wants to forget about his experiences with the women he comes across. He wants to find that one girl who will make him forget everything bad, but how far is too far? What is the ultimate price to forget?

The film does have an interesting premise and it gives us a shy and awkward guy that immediately we feel sympathy for. His interactions with the women he photographs are hard to watch because we know once he goes for the question of asking them out, they will not say yes. He basically has lost before he even begins, his human interactions don't seem to come too naturally to him. Things don't always go bad, sometimes he gets somewhere but he still manages to shoot himself in the foot so to speak. How many of us can relate to those awkward human encounters? I am sure just about all of us, which makes Kevin such a compelling character to watch. He's clearly haunted by the death of his sister, an event that has made him the way he is, he can't handle the memories of anything bad and he wants to forget and 'get over it'.

'You’re Next' Film Review

You're NextReviewed by Jesse Miller, MoreHorror.com

You know how you can sit through a film and find that it’s just not mustering up enough tension or thrills, chills – you name it, it is lacking in it? Well, You’re Next is a slasher film that knows what to deliver. It gets in, it sets up the characters, the tension and from there on, it is a rip-roaring dash to the bloody finish and man, is it effective!

A family comes together for the first time in what we assume is quite a few years and instantly, they all bicker and carry on after a few hours together – as most families tend to do. The main focus in this large ensemble cast is the couple Crispen (A. J. Bowen) and Erin (Sharni Vinson), a spunky Australian that this family seems to dislike. The film wastes no time in introducing each member of the family and their personalities we will be looking further into when the going gets tough – then like the family, we are thrown into this hellish and unforgettable nightmare.

From then on, You’re Next spends the remainder of it’s running time showcasing it’s love for a good old fashioned creative kill as one by one, the ensemble cast has their time to shine in a few buckets of blood.

Though much of the material runs accordingly to the strange horror movie logic that needs to exist in order for the film to be pulled off, there’s a lot here that is refreshing to see in a slasher film.

Characters are fleshed out and explored - with the leading lady Erin being one well written female that, for me, will go down as one of the great ladies and scream queens in modern horror -  and I went through the film not feeling like you didn’t get to know a character’s background enough.

There’s some laugh to be had, thanks to the dark comedic edge in the script that works so well and the effects work here is some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Think Tom Savini-level-of-goodness.

Evangeline (2013) Film Review

Evangeline PosterReviewed by Jesse Miller, MoreHorror.com

Plot: A naive university student, Evangeline, is brutalized by a gang of thrill seeking killers. Left to die in the forest, she is 'saved' by an ancient demon spirit, she goes on to seek her revenge.

Evangeline is a stylish and brutal gothic horror revenge film that looks great, sounds even better and before you’ve made your mind up that it’s just another typical revenge film…well, you’d be half right but don’t let that fool you because this particular film has got a great deal going on upstairs that you’ll have to peel back and look into and digest after all is said and slaughtered.

Have I seen a revenge film that is better looking than this? You know what, I’ll have to double check that fact but regardless Evangeline is a gorgeous looking horror film and from the foggy forest to the vibrant college life, from the use of lighting here to convey mood and capture the moment, the cinematography here is top notch.

Writer/Director Karen Lam has a great eye for capturing the unfolding and unsettling horror and comes up with some wonderful little character beats here or there. Lam crafts not only an entertaining revenge tale – that surprised me by having a somewhat non-linear structure - but throws in some imagery that I was left chewing on after the story ended.

Kat de Lieva is Evangeline, the sweet and naïve college girl that goes through hell. Lieva plays the part beautifully, whether she be wide eyed with fear or fury and has such an expressive face that slays the role – and her victims. The same can be said for Richard Harmon, whose eerie and intense stare kind of gives him away but hell, we know what’s coming and he’s effective anyway.

Paranormal Thriller 'Dwelling' reveals first casting choices

Dwellingby Seth Metoyer, MoreHorror.com

Evil dwells in the upcoming paranormal thriller Dwelling. We've just been informed about two actresses that will dwell (yes, I did type that) in the film, and they are forces to be reckoned with.

Actresses Devanny Pinn and Erin Marie Hogan, two not so hard on the eyes 'Scream Queens' (with killer acting chops to boot), have been tapped for this production.

Check out all the details below as well as a teaser trailer and some head shots of the two actresses.

From The Press Release:
BeWILdered Media Productions & Mecca Pictures are pleased to announce the initial casting for their new paranormal horror film "Dwelling", written and directed by Kyle Mecca.

Scream Queens Devanny Pinn (Dead Sea, The Black Dahlia Haunting, Truth or Dare) and Erin Marie Hogan (Paranormal Entity, Axeman at Cutter's Creek, House of Manson) have been tapped to star in the film. The actresses are thrilled to be working together again, having both appeared in "Hold Your Breath" and the highly anticipated upcoming Charles Manson biopic "House of Manson".

"Dwelling" is being produced by Buffalo, New York locals, Brandyn T. Williams and Arlynn Knauff (Scope of Practice, A Grim Becoming). Principal photography is slated to begin this summer in Upstate New York.

Logline:
A young couple deliberately moves into a haunted house to contact the other side. Until their conduit, a painted black mirror proves to contain a malevolent presence hell-bent on bringing harm to their new family.

Exclusive: 'Reunion' trailer released

Reunion by MoreHorror.com

We are excited to show you all the first official trailer of the character driven horror/psychological thriller Reunion. Check it out below and keep checking back for more details about the release!

From the Exclusive Announcement:
ACH Reunion and MOnsterworks66 are proud to release the official trailer for Reunion through this exclusive with morehorror.com.

REUNION: Former rock stars Brad Norton and Grant Foley dream of their band's return to the limelight when a strange woman, Mia, shows up at their door. Trapped in their home during the heavy stormy night, the mystery unravels when Brad discovers Mia's obsession with him is guided by a sinister dark spirit.

She's convinced Brad kidnapped her long-lost son, and will stop at nothing until he confronts his painful past in this spine-chilling action filled, life-and-death drama.

Reunion is a character-driven horror / psych-thriller written by Bert Havird, directed by Shawn Chou, produced by ACH Reunion (Thelonius Alexander and Precious Hilton) and co-produced by MOnsterworks66 (Maria Olsen).

It stars Maria Olsen, Jack Turner, Sarah Schreiber, Reign Morton and Cara Santana supported by Ruth Reynolds, Christopher Wolfe, William Leon and Lucas Barker. Arielle Brachfeld, Leif Gantvoort and Matthew Jaeger also appear.

Godzilla (2014) Review

Godzilla 2014Reviewed by Marcey Papandrea, MoreHorror.com

There are many Godzilla films out there and it really isn't often when there is one from Hollywood. We did get the Roland Emmerich film from 1998, which proved that he really should have left it all alone, not only did it add nothing, it was just a very bad film. He really wasn't the right person and he didn't have the right team to make this happen for Western audiences. Thankfully Gareth Edwards and a new team have given a new take on Godzilla, a try that makes the 1998 feel extinct. It is proof the West can make a successful monster film and do justice to Godzilla and that world.

Godzilla 2014 takes place over the span of 15 years, starting off in 1999 (seems strangely fitting) where a disaster at a plant in Japan leaves a city destroyed and the truth of what happened is being covered by. This event is linked to something strange in the Philippines, where it seems a creature may have awoken. Fast forward to 2014 and the same type of events are being felt and this brings together Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his son Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who were both there in Japan and Joe thinks he knows what is going on. They both really have no idea the scale of exactly is going on, and several huge monsters are about to become unleashed.

I have left this synopsis vague on purpose, this is a film on an epic scale, with a story that does carefully unfold and it spends time to actually develop something credible and give the audience investment. Not knowing too much going in will definitely act in your own favour because seeing this all unfold is quite extraordinary. Not knowing where things will lead, what will happen, this is part of the intrigue of Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. We aren't treated to being fully in the know, we are right there with the characters trying to figure out what is going on.

Originally Godzilla from 1954 was a response to post world war too and the suffering Japan suffered with the devastating bombs. Godzilla represented devastation, he is a symbol of a holocaust, and he brings forth the same type of horrors that Japan faced in 1945. It is a symbolic film and with this version, Godzilla still is a symbol but he presents something different, something different entirely. Godzilla has changed with the times, and this film has a lot of interesting religious themes that you may miss if you aren't paying attention. The destruction here does not come from the famous monster, and he represents a completely different metaphor. I really have to give credit to the writers and those involved for really changing that around and bringing a different meaning to Godzilla.

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