Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time Out For A Talk - Julin

Time Out For A Talk - Julin

A couple weeks ago I did a review of the movie The Final (2010), and I couldn't get that movie out of my head. Everyone involved did such an amazing job, and I had to do an interview with one of the amazing actors. I chose Julin, and asked if she would be willing to do an interview, and she agreed! Her acting as Heather in The Final is amazing. She plays the stereotypical cheerleader bubblegum bitch, and from what I have heard, that is nothing like her in real life. To me, that is really great acting. From her starting horror performance as Miko in Sweatshop I was excited to learn about her future projects including: Killer School Girls From Outer Space, Spirit Camp, Boggy Creek, The Unseen, the lead in Cherry Bomb, and Vampire Diaries Renfield. Those are just the horror movies, she is also in Puncture, Up & Down, and the hugely anticipated comedy Mardi Gras with Nicholas D'Agosto and Bret Harrison. She is becoming extremely popular extremely fast, and food good reason. So without continuing to ramble like a stalker here is the interview:

Julin as Heather in The Final (2010)

R.D. - Sweatshop, The Final, Killer Schoolgirls From Outer Space, Spirit Camp, Boggy Creek, The Unseen, Vampire Diaries Renfield, and Cherry Bomb! Your profile is booming with horror movies galore. How do you feel about getting all these amazing roles? The title role in Cherry Bomb? You have to be excited about that.

Julin - I love them, I love to play all different kinds of Characters, with Killer School girls, I was an alien so that was fun, and with Spirit Camp playing a bitchy cheerleader is so opposite of me, it was also cool. Of Course I just got done playing Cherry in Cherry Bomb, so I was a little nervous about giving everyone a lap dance, but once the director said action I was in the zone, it was fun to kick some ass too!

R.D. - You have been thrown into so much acting in such a short time. What was it like before you started acting? What did you do before becoming an actress?

Julin - I played tennis for 10 years, I played a little in college, that was my life, but I'm always an artist at heart, so I would write, or sing, always something with performing, I never thought I would be an actress, someone suggested I try it, and I did and fell in love with it. I love being on set and playing in front of the camera trying to make the scene look the best and work on my craft, I still love learning and trying new things I just want to be at that level where the people I admire are, I don't know how they do it, that is why I am still learning.

Julin as Cherry in Cherry Bomb (2010)

R.D. - You have a natural talent for acting, and have even been labeled a Scream Queen. How do you feel about this title?

Julin - Thanks so much!Scream Queen I love it, who else can say that, lol, I want a shirt that says it on there. It's fun and I love meeting everyone that digs horror movies, everyone is so nice and supportive, it's great to meet the people that dig the stuff that you do.

Julin as Miko in Sweatshop (2009)

R.D. - What is the most memorable moment you have had acting on a horror movie so far?

Julin - Most definitely in Sweatshop I had to throw up some blood on another actor, and I aimed right for his face, it was the most gross stuff I had to put in my mouth, it was filled with coffee grinds, cereal, syrup, I don't even know, that was the most messy scene I have ever done, it was my last day too, I have some pics on my facebook,

R.D. - If you had to pick one role you have liked playing the most, what would it be?

Julin - Of course I would say Cherry, because she is a stripper and a killer, who wouldn't want to play that, it has been really challenging this past month, I hope all the hard work pays off. :)

Julin as Kay O'Brian in Boggy Creek (2010)

R.D. - Where do you see yourself going in the future? Do you plan to continue your current reign over the horror genre?

Julin - I'm looking into doing some more different kind of roles, I will always do horror movies, but also I have done a romantic comedy Up & Down, and also a comedy Mardi Gras. I would love to do comedy, romantic, and thriller and drama, and action, all of them! I'm going to be at the Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas coming up, and I have some more movies in the works, they can be checked out on Also I am still recording a second album, my first one is available on itunes.

R.D. - I know as a viewer, myself and others look forward to seeing more great movies from you in the future. That being said, what is your favorite horror movie?

Julin - I love "It", by Stephen King or Freddy Krueger, they are classic and I loved watching them when I was little and still watching them now. :)

I just want to say that was a great interview, and thank you to Julin for taking part in it. I look forward to whatever the future brings for her, and I'm sure everyone can agree, it will be big things.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quick Review - Deadgirl (2008)

Deadgirl (2008) Dir. by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel

Two high school boys discover an imprisoned woman in an abandoned mental asylum who cannot die.

This was definitely one of the most unique zombie movies I have ever come across. At first, it seemed more like it was going to be a porno, but after the characters begin to develop, it turns into a solid film. There are some parts that are generally disturbing, and I don't want to go too much into it, but you will understand. The effects of this movie were actually done pretty well, and the make-up was excellent. Jenny Spain as the deadgirl really got to me, and I felt for her character. The ending of the film was something I didn't expect, but in a good way, and showed the completion of one character's development. The acting by Noah Segan and Jenny Spain was extremely good, and I think they drove this film. I would recommend this movie as at least one watch, just to test the waters.

Entertainment Value: 7/10 Asylums
Cinematic Value: 6/10 Asylums

Quick Review - Repo Men (2010)

Repo Men (2010) Dir. by Miguel Sapochnik

In the future humans have extended and improved our lives through highly sophisticated and expensive mechanical organs created by a company called "The Union". The dark side of these medical breakthroughs is that if you don't pay your bill, "The Union" sends its highly skilled repo men to take back its property... with no concern for your comfort or survival. Former soldier Remy is one of the best organ repo men in the business. But when he suffers a cardiac failure on the job, he awakens to find himself fitted with the company's top-of-the-line heart-replacement... as well as a hefty debt. But a side effect of the procedure is that his heart's no longer in the job. When he can't make the payments, The Union sends its toughest enforcer, Remy's former partner Jake, to track him down.

Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber, and Alice Braga all perform very well in this movie. The futuristic sci-fi part of this movie is very interesting, and the action is great. There are so many great things going for this movie, including the plot, but why can't I get into it? There was some parts in the beginning that were good, but it dragged hardcore through the middle. There were some characters that were not whole-heartedly developed, and I found them unnecessary, like the wife. Other than Remy having to move in with Jake after the break-up, there is nothing to their story. The last thirty minutes of the movie kicked off with a bang, but the final ten minutes are pointless, and upsetting. It was like they wanted to have a huge twist on the film, and they did, but not in a good way. It made me feel like the last forty minutes of the movie were pointless,and I just wasted my time. I applaud everyone for effort, but in my book, this just wasn't as entertaining as it could have been.

Entertainment Value: 4/10 Artificial Hearts
Cinematic Value: 6/10 Artificial Hearts

Monday, March 29, 2010

Time Out For A Talk - Jenna Giovanni

Time Out For A Talk - Jenna Giovanni

Recently I decided I needed to add a bit more to my blog, rather than just the same old movie reviews(not that I don't enjoy them). I came up with doing some interviews with up and coming actors, directors, and writers involved with the horror genre . I wanted to make my first interview an important one. I knew Jenna Giovanni had to be my first interview. I met Jenna a few years ago when I was making a short film in my home town. She was such an amazing person to work with and the way she conducts herself professionally, even when dealing with an amateur like me, is inspiring. She has a couple horror movies that are supposed to be released soon: I Was A Teenage Demigod, and Resist Evil Part One: Dropping Evil. Both of those movies are directed by Adam Protextor. Jenna is a great person, and I great actress, and people need to know what she is about. I would also like to get people to see her films. Here is my interview:

R.D. - Your IMDB profile lists that you have only done three movies, but I know you have done more than that. How many movies have you been involved with?

Jenna - I have actually been in nine independent films since I began acting in 2003.

R.D. - It also lists that your first movie was a drama short, what made you decide to transition from a drama to horror?

Jenna - I think that I’ve probably had an equal balance between drama and horror throughout my film career. What draws me to both is the depth of character: the ability to show very strong emotions, which can be similar between the two genres.

R.D. - Having worked with you myself, I know how good you are at your job. Max Allan Collins (Writer of Road to Perdition Graphic Novel), when asked, refers to you as a professional, and says you work very well under potentially stressful conditions. What is your response to this?

Jenna - I am absolutely humbled and very appreciative. Working with MAC on the Iowa Motion Picture Film Association and Iowa Writers Guild Shooting Scripts Workshop was extremely intense. The short film was shot with a live audience and there were very strict time restraints. I had never performed in front of an audience before, other than film crew and other cast so it was a bit unnerving initially. MAC is a wonderful director and put me completely at ease.

The experience was a great initiation to working on tight deadlines and really prepared me for the film I did with Kent Abbott and Kerry Scram on a 48 Hour Film project, “Talkin to Loretta”. Again, very tight deadlines but also we had location and script changes so it was necessary to be flexible and to remain professional.

R.D. - A lot of the roles you seem to take on are smaller supporting roles. Are you looking to maybe do some larger roles in the future?

Jenna - Many of the roles I have taken on have been supporting roles, but I have had perhaps an equal share of larger roles. I love acting so the size of the role isn’t really something that I think of when taking on a film project.

R.D. - Do you see yourself continuing in the horror genre? If so, what do you really like about working on horror films?

Jenna - I imagine that I will continue working on horror films, as well as other genres. My favorite parts of working on horror films are the make-up and effects. Acting lets me appease my inner child who still likes to dress up and play pretend.

R.D. - As a proud mother of three wonderful children, do you find it hard to balance being a mom, and finding time to work on film? What do your kids think of their mom being and actress?

Jenna - As a single mother, I take great care in ensuring that my children come first. I have been so fortunate in every film that I’ve worked on to have directors and producers that are sensitive to my needs as a mother. They understand that for me to give my best performance, I need to know that my kids are okay. Everyone has been great about providing my kids a place to hang out on set…and then spoiling them to death! Each of my children has had a small role in at least one of my films, so they understand that it’s hard work. They even help me to prepare for films by reading lines with me.

I think it’s good for them to see the way that horror films, in particular, are made. I don’t believe that my children are as scared of ghoulish figures on the screen now after watching Mama sit through hours of makeup and seeing how the films are made. So, no, I don’t find it hard to balance. My kids are very proud of me, as I am of them. I hope that I’m a good reminder to them that we can do or be, anything that we dream.

R.D. - Do you feel like living in the Midwest hinders your ability to find scripts and films to work on?

Jenna - I don’t feel that living in the Midwest hinders my ability to find film work at all. I feel that there is as much work as I am willing to take on.

R.D. - What does the future hold for you?

Jenna - I had taken a sort of hiatus from acting following my divorce but I plan to begin again, the process of getting my photos and resume updated and get back to work auditioning. I am hopeful that I’ll stay busy with film work this summer.

R.D. - What would be your favorite experience so far while working in film?

Jenna - My favorite experience working in film is my first, “On Account of Amber”. The role that I took on required me to become something that was horrifying to me, something that I hated and could not relate to initially. In this role, my character “Kat” was a drug addict who neglected her daughter. This was a challenge for me…both of my parents are addicts, so I had to overcome my hatred for who they had become to allow myself to slip into the despair they must have felt and finally, maybe, just a numbness to life. I finally felt that perhaps it wasn’t that my parents no longer cared for their children, but that they did not want to feel how badly they had let them down. I can relate to that. I hurt physically and wholly when I know I have let my kids down. I can’t imagine how they must have felt knowing that we were going hungry or filthy because the water had been shut off again.

Working on “On Account of Amber” was a tremendous experience for me for that reason.

R.D. - Last but not least, if you had to pick one, what would your favorite horror movie be?

Jenna - This is a tough one but I would say my very favorite is “The Amityville Horror”. The films that scare me the most are the ones that feel like they could really happen. I’m kind of superstitious and I believe in ghosts or “energy” that may be left behind after death so those films always freak me out the most.

I want to thank Jenna for participating in the interview. I look forward to more work coming out from her in the future, and maybe a follow-up interview after her upcoming horror movies. Thank you to anyone who is reading this, and I hope you get interested in the films of Jenna Giovanni.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Final (2010)

The Final (2010) Dir. by Joey Stewart

An unknown outcast, Dane, leads a small group of other outcast on a mission for revenge against the classmates who tortured them their whole lives.

I was perusing through some movies that had come out recently, and landed upon this torturous gem. I was looking for something fairly new to break into, and this definitely delivered. I could spend two to three paragraphs trying to compare this to a movie that I have seen before, but the fact of the matter is that it is pretty original. It pulls from alot of other revenge torture horror film, but not enough to copy any of them. Although the death count is really small, I felt this movie scared me in other ways. I have been the bullied. I know what these kids were going through, and I would be lying if I said I never thought of ways to get even. These kids, on the other hand, take it entirely too far. The themes on this movie are overwhelmingly simple, yet carry alot of weight through the film. One seems to suggest that bullying is wrong, and everyone knows that, and people still do it. This movie might scare the crap out of some bullies, and get them to think twice before screwing with Urkel. Especially ones that enjoy the horror film genre. Two wrongs don't make a right is in here, but the evidence of breaking points is probably the largest seen. Everyone has a breaking point. How much can one get picked on before they snap and give us a C-bine? How far is one person willing to go to insure their safety? How much revenge is too much? This movie made me think alot about all the times I was bullied, or watched others get bullied. If you think about it, this movie is probably pretty believable. I really enjoyed this film far more than I thought I was going to. The gore was enough to make me queasy, but not enough to make me vomit.

First time feature Director, Joey Stewart, keeps it simple but interesting. None of the shots were too terribly inventive, and as a first time Director I think that is the way to go. The way he wins with this is because of the actors he has, and the script he has been given. He just tells the story, in a classic and straight forward manor, he tells the story. He has been an assistant director for some time now, but I look forward to him taking the lead in many movies to come.

This movie has the youngest cast of veteran actors I have seen in a long time. It was a great casting job on their part. Even though most of the actors are mid 20's or younger, they have all been acting for very long time. There are only a couple of exceptions. Marc Donato blew me away with his portrayal of Dane, the teams leader. Essentially in a dual role, Dane plays both the nerd and the rage filled leader very well. Even at 21 years of age, he is still a seasoned veteran when it comes to acting. He has been involved in over forty different TV shows and movies since he was four years old. A lot of people might recognize Travis Tedford as Andy. He was Spanky in the Little Rascals movie. This list goes on and on. Another I was pleasantly surprised by was Julin, as Heather. She had not done a whole lot of acting up to this point, but she held her own. From the looks of her upcoming movie, she has established herself as a bit of a scream queen. The acting on this movie is what truly carries it, and I am still super impressed by the casting job. Then again, sometimes its hard to do a bad job acting when you have such a good script. Jason Kabolati delivers a superb script with a great plot, and deep character involvement.

The only bones I have to pick with this movie are the overused cliches of High School jocks and nerds. A lot of the time schools are nothing like it. They always have a bit of separation, but bullying on this level would never be tolerated. The other thing was that each of the outcast all had problems with their home life as well. This was a little much, but used efficiently to help build character, and sympathy for their roles. Also, the ending was a bit abrupt, but when you spend that much time building up the story, then it doesn't leave you a whole lot of room for a strong finish. In the end, I would recommend this as at least one viewing for everyone. I know I enjoyed it.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Bear Traps
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Bear Traps

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seven- guest movie review for Flaming Sneakers

Seven (1995) Dir. by David Fincher

I was aproached by a fellow blogger of mine over at Flaming Sneakers about doing a guest review for his top 30 horror movies of all time. I couldn't pass up the opportunity, and if anyone else would like to join the fun, they should head over to and see what movies are left for a guest spot on his top 30. It didn't take long after going down the list to pick out the movie I wanted to do. Seven holds sentimental value to me as a movie watcher. It was my first ever DVD, and suprisingly I have never lost it or had to buy a new one. So here I go with the review.

I don't care what everyone says, Seven is hands down my favorite David Fincher movie so far. I don't think it was necessarily intended to be a horror, but it has always given me chills. The plot as described over at IMDB goes as follows: This thriller portrays the exploits of a deranged serial-killer. His twisted agenda involves choosing seven victims who represent egregious examples of transgressions of each of the Seven Deadly Sins. He then views himself as akin to the Sword of God, handing out horrific punishment to these sinners. Two cops, an experienced veteran of the streets who is about to retire and the ambitious young homicide detective hired to replace him, team up to capture the perpetrator of these gruesome killings. Unfortunately, they too become ensnared in his diabolical plan.... Written by

This movie draws you in from the very start by thoroughly diving into each character. You feel for them from the very beginning, as they seem like normal people. Fincher gives you what you want and keeps it coming. He doesn't take much time before going right into the seven deadly sins. Each death seems to be more disgusting and creative than the next. How you view this movie could technically depend on your level of faith. Everyone knows what he is doing is wrong, but he is killing people who have sinned. This adds to the horror, especially for someone of deep faith. You will never sin again after watching this movie, haha. Tension grinds on your brain as you count down the sins. You know the next one is coming, and you can't help buy wonder which one he will do next. I felt the hair stand on my arms, and I got the sick feeling in my stomach. Keep in mind, I have seen this movie multiple times, and it still does it to me. To me it would seem this movie is a major inspiration for the Saw series. The creativity, theme, and gore definitely matches.

Andrew Kevin Walker delivered a script that was as close to flawless as one can get, and it was perfectly brought to life by Fincher. The acting, specifically by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, was much better than I had anticipated. It's good to know that fifteen years after first seeing it, the film still holds its weight among the greats. The theme is so dark, and the film is shot just as dark. The scenes inside play out in dimly lit rooms, and dark damp areas filled with black and red colors. The scenes outside draw from depressing weather, and depressed extras. The veteran/rookie cop cliche got a bit old a couple of times, but I was surprised at how much they keep it hidden below the important aspects of the film. The side stories, or subplots, never seem to take away from the main case. Once the pace is set, it just doesn't let up, all the way to the riveting and shocking ending. This movie gets:

Entertainment Value: 9/10 Unmarked Packages

Cinematic Value: 9/10 Unmarked Packages

I'm really happy Seven made it into R.K.'s Top 30 Horror movies, and I am equally as happy that he chose me to do a review for him. If you haven't seen this movie, go buy it now, not rent, BUY!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I just spent a total of $40 on DVDs at a Movie Gallery in my hometown, because it was closing, and had to get rid of their movies! Here is what I got:

Behind The Mask
Dance of the Dead- Not Tobe Hooper's
The Hitcher- original
The Signal
Night of the Dead
The Devil's Highway
The Tomb
Zombie Nation
The Morgue
Wind Chill
A Perfect Getaway
Killer Movie
Lars and the Real Girl
Prom Night- the crappy remake my wife likes

ok, so the last four were for my wife, but that just makes me a good husband. I'm always willing to buy horror movies my wife likes. There are so few of them to choose from! Deal- is a poker movie, but I do like it. I have never seen Lars and the Real Girl, but my wife has always wanted to see it. I think I got away with some good ones, especially for $40! Since there are so many video places going out of business in Iowa, I am definitely going to keep my eyes open. If I get a few doubles, I might even have a few DVD contests on here! Wish me luck!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Predators Trailer

I just saw a trailer for Nimrod Antal's Predators, and I was pleasantly suprised. I admit when I first heard about this movie, I was bashing it beyond belief. I'm not saying I'm a 100% behind the film yet, but the trailer looked really cool. It is quite a combination of cast and crew, and that definitely keeps me interested. There is plenty of time to get hyped up, or to simmer down, as it doesn't come out until July 7th. I will say that everyone looks like they have beefed up quite a bit for the film. Here is the trailer for Predators, and I'd love to hear your own thoughts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ireland's Finest Horror!

Time for celebrating St. Patrick's Day is running out. I decided to do a quick list of movies catagorized as being Irish Horror films. I used my good friend the Internet Movie Database, and here are a few movies I managed to come up with:

Shrooms (2007)

Isolation (2005)

Boy Eats Girl (2005)

Rawhead Rex (1986)

Dead Meat (2004)

Legend of the Bog (2009)

Return to Glennascaul (1951)

Ghostwood (2006)

Shrooms is the only one I have actually seen, and as crappy of a film it is, I enjoyed it a lot. I recommend it, and if anyone else can think of one to add, please feel free to make a comment about it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Survival of the Dead (2009)

Survival of the Dead (2009) Dir. by George A. Romero

Two rival clans on a remote Island off of North America fend off zombies along with continuing a war with each other. One clan wants to kill all the zombies, and one clan wants to try to make them more human again.

Thanks to , I had the chance to watch this movie before it hit theaters. I'm glad I didn't wait to pay the ten dollars. First off, I fell asleep the first time I tried to watch this movie last night, and then I finished it today. The first half of the movie is anything but exciting, and the second half of the movie follows suit. If I had to place this movie somewhere in the line of Romero zombie film, I would place it as better than Diary and not quite as good as Land. It felt like an easy way out for Romero to get a paycheck. After watching Diary of the Dead, I was really excited for another comeback for Romero. Diary was such a worthless piece of garbage, and I wanted Romero to return to his roots. From the previews this movie really looked like it would be a return to the basics of Romero films. I didn't know the movie was going to be filled with sub-par special effects from the man who nearly wrote the book on zombie effects. Since when did overwhelming CGI blood spatters become acceptable? It felt like they didn't want to spend the time, so they used crappy CGI work. I've seen better work on SyFy channel movies. The one thing I did enjoy about Romero's new film was the western theme he had throughout the film. At first, I didn't care for it, and it seemed to make the movie dragged. It even made some scenes more cheesy than I am willing to accept. "This town isn't big enough for the both of us" really turned out to be a pretty good crack at a new style of zombie film. I didn't like how the first half of the movie was all about the two families, and not about the zombies. That's probably why I fell asleep, but I didn't really need that much backstory on the clans, nor did I really need to see every minor unimportant conversation between the two clans. Great idea, just could have been executed a little bit better.

The acting in this movie was definitely off, and I can't think only think of one person who did at least a half-ass job. That was Kathleen Munroe of TV fame. Her dual roles were the only thing that really carried this film, and she did well in both roles. The crossover from Diary of the Dead with Alan Van Sprang was pretty cool, but he is still a crappy actor.

The zombies in this film were far worse than any other zombies I have I have seen in Romero films. Most of the time time there wasn't any wear and tear on the zombies. They looked like regular people with white contact lenses. There was nothing scary about these zombies, other than one or two occasions where there was a mediocre jump scare. There was some dark comedy with them that was a miss. The zombie kills are too creative. It was almost as if they were trying to create the most rediculous death scenes ever, and they accomplished that. Some were even worse than the acid on the zombie head from Diary of the Dead.

All in all, this whole film was a great idea, just poorly executed. I think Romero's reign maybe coming to an end. I think it is time that someone else with a new idea comes forward and takes over. Romero will always be the godfather of zombie film, but it needs to be reinvented.

Entertaiment Value: 5/10 Headshots
Cinematic Value: 4/10 Headshots

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quick Review - Cruel World (2005)

Cruel World (2005) Dir. by Kelsey T. Howard

Reeling from his dismissal from a reality show, a deranged runner-up holds a group of co-eds hostage on the set of his own fictitious show, where losers suffer a deadly fate

I decided that some people are right when they say- some movies don't deserve a full review. This is one of those movies. This movie is complete garbage from start to finish. It is an interesting concept, but poorly written, filmed, and acted. A cast of enough b-list actors you can't count them on both hands, and they still couldn't do anything with it. Ed Furlong is mildly entertaining as the bad guy, but the kills are so dull, and lack any creativity (minus one awesomely bad decapitation). I could give this the full review and barely fill a paragraph with good things to say. This is a don't rent, don't buy, don't watch it at all costs. That is, unless you are a glutton for punishment.

Entertainment Value: 3/10 Decapitations
Cinematic Value: 2/10 Decapitations

Friday, March 12, 2010

Batoru Rowaiaru "Battle Royal" (2000)

Batoru Rowaiaru "Battle Royal" (2000) Dir. by Kinji Fukasaku

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

I know it is not technically a horror movie, but it has a lot of scary elements. When it comes to Fukasaku, I guess I'm going ass-backwards. This was his second to last film, only Battle Royal 2 to follow, and yet this is the first film of his I have seen. I have to say, I was pretty impressed, and after watching this, I definitely plan on watching more of his work.

The film starts off with a bang, and rarely lets up. I enjoy the way Fukasaku throws you into the action right away, and gives you back stories and characters to help with development in short five minute clips. Usually I don't care for the flashback method that much, but he does it so swift and straight to the point, you hardly notice. Long range external shots of beautiful landscape really doesn't hurt much either. Unlike The Condemned, America's version, this one was riveting and rarely predictable. They didn't waste time killing people off, and showing so by letting you see the names of the dead scroll across the bottom of the screen. The death toll was higher than most films, yet it never lost creativity in death sequences. The story itself is just crazy. 9Th graders forced to kill each other off. It never really tells you why it is happening, but throws you into the movie so fast you don't care.

I really enjoyed the teacher's character. He was a funny scary. He knows the stuff he is doing is wrong, but enjoys it and refers to it as a game. His obsession with one of the girls in the class is borderline creepy for sure. That just adds more tension. The student transfers introduced before the games definitely add a large amount of action to the movie. Once again I found a movie with subtitles that I find extremely easy to follow. I'm getting good at this.

The things that really bothered me about the film rarely took away from me enjoying it. There were just too many characters to really give any of them some development. The only ones I seemed to care about were the handful that had flashback stories. Maybe he intended for me to not care about them, as it would be easy to watch them die. I'm not trying to be racist when I say, other than the teacher, the transfers, and the one crazy girl, all the people in this film looked alike. There really wasn't much difference in a lot of the character's appearance, maybe due to the school uniform. The other thing I could have done without is all the crossing love stories. One or two would have been fine, but I was having trouble remembering who was with who, and who had a crush on who. It was like watching and episode of As The World Turns. I feel like it really took away from the film, and they could have just stuck with the main romance subplot.

I am really going to recommend this film to anyone who is OK with subtitles. It is truly visually appealing, as well as a movie that makes you think a bit. The ending might have bin a bit off kilter, but I enjoyed it non-the-less.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Pot Lids
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Pot Lids

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My First Book Review: The Living Dead

The Living Dead (2008) Edited by John Joseph Adams

The Living Dead was released in 2008 by Night Shade Books, and it is a compilation of short stories from many authors. The stories all have something to do with zombies, or the living dead. Some of the authors include Cliver Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephen King, Kelly Link, George R.R. Martin, Joe R. Lansdale, and many others.

When I first started reading the book, I will admit, I was half expecting the usual zombie gore stories. I was wrong, but in a good way. The stories contained in this book are far more than I could have ever imagined. They are so diverse,and it is really entertaining getting everyone's take on zombies. The ones that really stood out for me were mostly obvious. The veterans Barker, King, and Martin pretty much made the book well worth purchasing just on their own. I believe Stephen King's short story Home Delivery, included in the book, is going to be a motion picture in a couple years. The two pleasant surprises that stood out to me in the book were Dan Simmons's "This Year's Class Picture," and Kelly Link's "Some Zombie Contingency Plans." Those two are right off the bat in the beginning of the book. That's a hell of a way to start, and from that point on I couldn't really stop reading. There were only a couple stories that didn't keep my interest, and for the sake of supporting good reading material, I'm not going to say which ones. There are 486 pages, 34 stories, and I only disliked two of them. I think its a good buy, and I've already gone back and reread a couple, just because I liked them that much.

I look forward to more from John Joseph Adams, including his The Living Dead 2 book, which he just turned in the manuscript. Every better hurry and read this on first!

I give this book 9/10 Decapitations It is definitely a buy, not borrow book.

The Ferryman (2007)

The Ferryman (2007) Dir. by Chris Graham

There are movies out there that have such an amazing story with such potential, and they ruin it with poor execution. This is one of those movies. It makes me even more angry when someone takes a great story from Greek Mythology and murders it.

The story starts as three couples have charted a yacht to take them from New Zealand to Fiji. This start to get all crazy after they pick up a drifter (John Rhys-Davies).

The story is loosely following the Greek Mythology of The Ferryman, or Charon. In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon (pronounced /ˈkərɒn/; Greek Χάρων) was the ferryman of Hades who carried souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on the mouth of a dead person.[1] Some authors say that those who could not pay the fee, or those whose bodies were left unburied, had to wander the shores for one hundred years.- wikipedia

In this story however, someone has found a loophole in the Ferryman's plan. He has managed to escape death for hundreds of years through the use of a body switching dagger. I know Greek Mythology pretty well, and nowhere do I recall seeing anything about the dagger. So the title, and small amount of the plot is where the similarities end. I do feel this is a great concept for a movie, but just not this one.

The first thirty minutes of the movie are dull, and filled with overwhelming unnecessary character development shoved down my throat. Don't get me wrong, character development is important, just gradual. Despite being a bit misplaced, the dagger is actually a pretty cool idea. The kills take place off screen, so no gore, and when you return to the two people involved they start convulsing like epileptics at a rave party. The whole body transfer concept is introduced way to early into the movie. It doesn't matter if the action happened behind closed doors. You know who the possessed killer is when they exit the room. This leaves no room for a tension build up, or anything scary for that matter. The other thing is how many times can you watch the same stabbing body switch situation before losing interest in it. You get to see the Ferryman once at the beginning and once at the end, which is lame as well, but his look is rather unimpressive.

The acting in this movie was horrendous, and I can't believe these people got paid to make this movie. The veteran John Rhys-Davies, and New Zealand native Amber Sainsbury are the only two people who give a worthwhile performance.

With everything I have said, there are some positives to come out of this heap of trash. The scenery shots, real or fake, boat on the water, fog filled sky, definitely added to whatever tension was there. It had a Dead Calm sort of feel for most of it. The epilogue for the film was pretty good as well, but I really hope they don't plan on turning it into a sequel. I hope someone decides to do their own version of the story, without the knife or other crap. Unless you still enjoy making macaroni art, finger painting turkeys, or licking windows, this is probably a skip for almost everyone.

Entertainment Value: 2/10 Danakes
Cinematic Value: 3/10 Danakes

Monday, March 8, 2010

Top 50 movies part 2

24. The Birds (1963) Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock

A wealthy San Francisco playgirl pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.

Hitchcock does it again. Once again he shows off his ability to take a great original story by someone else, and take it to the next level, most likely making it better than the story itself. The man can make birds terrifying! This movie is a pulchritudinous and enigmatic film, a puzzle without an answer as they say. He gives you question after question, but never truly answers them, but does it with style and grace.

23. Arachnophobia (1990) Dir. by Frank Marshall

South American killer spider hitches a lift to the US in a coffin and starts to breed and kill.

There is a large percentage of the world that shares a fear of spiders. Arachnophobia being one of the leading phobias, this movie preys on that fear. Im sure there are millions of people who have never brought themselves to watch this movie, just because of what is holds. I agree, spiders are an admirable foe. They don't show emotion, they usually move at a terribly slow pace, and they can be more deadly than almost everything else on the planet, just with their fangs. They are a tiny version of Mike Myers, with eight legs. The conclusion is a bit rediculous but doesn't take away from the movie at all. This is a semi-realistic kind of horror, and I like it.

22. Rear Window (1954) Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock

A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Oh wow, another Hitchock movie in my top 50. Are you suprised? There is probably more to come. This one is so brilliant because it adds so many different fears together. Seeing something wrong, and the feeling of not being able to do anything about it. It's like being on an operating table, the knock out gas didn't completely work, and you feel every cut the doctor makes. Hitchcock's attention to detail and understanding of human nature can turn the simplist story into a freaky nightmare.

21. The Gate (1987) Dir. by Tibor Tikacs

Three young children accidentally release a horde of nasty, pint-sized demons from a hole in a suburban backyard.

This movie was essential to my childhood. One of the first horror movies I ever saw, and loved it. It still holds it weight today as well. Strong perfomance from the two kids, Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp, and extremely good special effects make this an exciting movie to watch on any occasion.

20. Alien series (79,86,92,97) Dir. by Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher, Jean-Pierre Jeunet

A mining ship, investigating a suspected SOS, lands on a distant planet. The crew discovers some strange creatures and investigates.

This series has always been at the top of my list. While the third one is clearly the worst of the series, I'll still watch it if it is on T.V. The creatures are about as amazing as you can get, R.I.P Stan Winston. The first one is clearly the best film, and probably Ridley Scott's best work, but the second is my favorite. Maybe it's just because it has more action.

19. Martyrs (2008) Dir. by Pascal Laugier

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Carl is going to yell at me for puting this on here, but I had to do it. While maybe it doesn't deserve to be this high, right now it is all I can think about. Amazing movie, but I won't go into great details since I just did a review on here.

18. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Dir. by Stanley Kubrick

The monoliths have been watching us. They gave humankind the evolutionary kick in the pants it needed to survive at the Dawn of Time. In 1999, humankind discovered a second monolith on the moon. Now, in the year 2001, the S.S. Discovery and its crew, Captains Dave Bowman and Frank Poole, and their onboard computer, HAL 9000, must discover what alien force is watching Earth.... Written by Tones {}

This movie set the standard for almost every science fiction movie to come along since. Some refer to it as a movie about everything, and they are probably right, but what I like about it is the way Kubrick tells the story. He doensn't overload the movie with dialogue. He just lets the scenery and his direction tell the story. He leaves it open for human interpretation.

17. Dog Soldiers (2002) Dir. by Neil Marshall

A routine military exercise turns into a nightmare in the Scotland wilderness.

Dog Soldiers revived a failing werewolf genre for me. It also managed to create some of the coolest looking werewolves the genre had ever seen. Great acting and great directing make this a must buy for anyone. Undoubtedly Neil Marshall's best film.

16. Nosferatu (1922) Dir. by F.W. Murnau

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. Silent classic based on the story "Dracula."

Max Schreck was the original Dracula. He is the vampire grandfather. Silent or not, this movie is brilliant and still scary. Schreck dives so deep into his character, it is hard to believe he is truly a man. Arguably the best vampire movie ever made.

15. Jaws series (75,78,83,87) Dir. by Stephen Spielberg, Jeannot Szwarc, Joe Alves, Joseph Sargent

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.

What do you expect from a book by Peter Benchley? This movie tore a hole in business for beach resorts for a while, haha. Everyone is already a little afraid of sharks, and this series made people terrified. It could scare people with barely showing the shart at all. When it did though, the shark look scary as ever. I don't feel like this series ever really lost its thunder.

14. Gremlins 1 and 2 (84,90) Dir. by Joe Dante

A boy inadvertantly breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

This movie scared the crap out of me when I was a little kid. It was almost embarrassing to grow up and realize its probably the funniest horror movie ever created. Joe Dante is brilliant with his work, and the way he sets up a scene gives each individual gremlin a full on personality.

13. Feast Trilogy (2005,2008,2009) Dir. by John Gulager

Patrons locked inside of a bar are forced to fight monsters.

This trilogy is absolutely amazing. It is rediculous, gory, mediocre acting, and completely unbelievable. With all that said, it is perfectly executed. It keeps you guess, and it takes pride in being a movie that is completely unpredictable, and it delivers. The second and third movie taper off a bit, but ramp it up in the shock department. One of the most entertaining trilogies I have ever seen.

12. Psycho (1960) Dir. by Alfred Hitchcock

A young woman steals $40,000 from her employer's client, and subsequently encounters a young motel proprietor too long under the domination of his mother.

Man could Hitchcock pick the movies he wanted to direct. He could make chocolate syrup dripping from a knife terrifying in black in white. Spawned a series of movies that weren't nearly as good as this one, but they were mildly entertaining.

11. The Blob (1958, 1988) Dir. by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., Chuck Russell

A strange lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.

The Blob and the remake are both amazing in their own ways. The first one had some of the best special effects of the time, and strong performances. The sequel had the same only a mullet. Read my review for the remake on here.

10. The Wolf Man (1941) Dir. by George Waggner

A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him can not possibly exist.

This is the original werewolf movie. Everything about this movie is absolutely amazing. Acting and Directing are virtually flawless. Read my review for more.

9. The Mist (2007) Dir. by Frank Darabont

A freak storm unleashes a species of blood-thirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole-up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.

Frank Darabont should be the only person allowed to make Stephen King adapted movies. His vision of King's short story is stunning. He was given permission by King to write a new, more complete ending for the film. He did so with a shockingly good bang of ending. I was almost in tears, it was so emotional. Not just to see how amazing movie of a movie it was, coming from my favorite author, but because how emotional the film was. The creatures aren't overwhelming at all. The movie focuses on the story and the characters instead of the creatures. Amazing acting on all parts, and Marcia Gay Harden deserved an Oscar for her supporting role in this film.

8. Night of the Lepus (1972) Dir. by William F. Claxton

Giant mutant rabbits terrorize the southwest!!

There are movies out there that are just so horrible they are great. This is one of those movies. I saw it originally on TNT Monstervision with Joe Bob Briggs, and instantly my obsession with monster movies about abnormally large creatures was born. The Trio, Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, and Rory Calhoun all give actually great performances in such a silly movie. My favorite part is the three ways they have for filming the rabbits. One- Film really close up to make rabbits look huge, two- film rabbits in a fake smaller scale model of a town to make them look huge, and three- my favorite, when a rabbit attacks a person, it is a guy in a rabbit suit, and you can clearly tell! I searched almost 7 years for this DVD and they finally did a large full release on it. It will always be one of my favorites.

7. 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later (2002, 2007) Dir. by Danny Boyle, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

These are two very different, but beautifully pieced together films, from two very different directors. I don't care what anyone says, this is a zombie film. I don't care if it is a virus, they are zombies. The first film was all about discovery, about what had happened, and how to survive. The survival aspect of the film was intense, and you felt like you were learning at the same pace as Mr. Murphy was in the film. The second one is an emotion filled explosion of an action film. Both deserve to be near the top of all zombie films.

6. Night Watch, Day Watch (2004,2006) Dir. by Timur Bekmembetov

A fantasy-thriller set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle.

Technically an action filled fantasy film. Timur is a brilliant man for bringing these amazing books to the big screen. Night Watch was made on such a low budget, yet when you watch the movie, it seems like a blockbuster hit. Perfect acting, and creative vision make this a movie to own. Watch it and you will be blown away.

5. Dawn of the Dead (1978) George A. Romero

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia SWAT team members, a traffic reporter, and his television-executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Probably the most entertaining of Romero's zombie flicks, this movie delivers everything you could want in a movie. The most important part of this movie is that Romero could have went a very different serious route with it, but this film carries a comedic undertone that cracks me up every time I watch it.

4. Night of the Living Dead (1969) Dir. by George A. Romero

A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

This movie is responsible for the unstopable flow of zombie movies being made today. Hell, even I have written a script for a zombie movie. This movie is legendary in every way imaginable. Romero owes his career to it. Scary to the end, forever a landmark in film. This movie deserves to stand on it's own.

3. Phantasm series (79,88,94,98) Dir. by Don Coscarelli

A young boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a mysterious arsenal of terrible weapons with him.

If you are looking for a horror that's got Balls... ITS FOUND YOU. The best tagline for a movie ever! I am the biggets fan of Phantasm you might find anywhere. The series is so brilliantly filmed and written. It's also one of the most bizarre, and complex stories I have ever seen. What impresses me the most, and something that no other series has ever done, is that through three decades of these movies, they still have the same cast. The only exception being Universal forced Don to pick a replace for Baldwin for the second film. Don got his way after that mistake, but Baldwin is still bitter about that. If Phantasm V gets pushed through finally, that will mark four decades with the same characters. Yes, they are all still alive.

2. Evil Dead Trilogy (81,87,92) Dir. by Sam Raimi

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

What can I say abou these movies without losing my breath? Pure genious, that is all I really need to say, and I hope Raimi doesn't taint them by a remake or a horrible fourth movie without Ash.

1. Moon (2009) Dir. by Duncan Jones

Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.

I know this movie is brand new, but it instantly jumped to my top movie of all time. It is as close as you can get to a perfect movie. Everyone should own AT LEAST one copy of the DVD. I could watch this movie over and over and never get bored. It is probably the most overlooked movie of last year. Sam Rockwell probably should have taken the Best Actor Oscar. I'm a little upset about it. Read my review for the full story.

I was going to do some honorable mentions, but there are just too many. If you want to know what my honorable mentions were, just email me or leave me your email addy.

I leave you with the remainder of the posters