Friday, January 21, 2011

Worm (2010)

Worm (2010) Dir. by Richard Powell

A day in the mind of Geoffrey Oswald Dodd, a seemingly kind, gentle and sane high school teacher. As we follow Geoffrey through the course of a typical school day we gain an eerie insight into the darkest corners of his soul and beyond. Beneath the carefully constructed veneer of Geoffrey Dodd lies something wretched, insidious and foul rotting him from the inside out. Written by Richard Powell.

It might be the fact that I have little time to view feature length films these days, but I have really been on a Short Film kick lately. So I could not think of a better time for Worm to show up thanks to Producer Zach Green of Fatal Pictures. I know that I was interested from the start thanks to the extremely original ad/poster, so I was excited to see the film. Can't judge a book by it's cover? Maybe that applies to film as well? Actually I'm positive it does, as I have seen a lot of crappy films that had amazing artwork on the cover. Worm is not one of them.

Richard Powell's experience as a writer/director, at least according to, doesn't run terribly deep with this being his sophomore film to the previously released cannibalistic short Consumption (2008). With that being said, nothing about his work seems amateur by any means. The camera used isn't terribly crisp, but is very affective for this particular genre of film. It felt like an independent film, but in a good way. Besides, it was nice to see a movie that wasn't in 3D for a change. I wouldn't be surprised to see Powell doing larger budget films in the future.

Geoffrey Dodd (played by Robert Nolan) is a deep, deep character with many many issues, and this film doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg with them. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy character development in film, and I praise filmmakers when they do a great job with it. This is one of those cases, as Dodd is easily understandable right from the beginning of the film, and never really goes into that realm of confusion. Nolan is spot on with the acting, and gets you thinking about what your teachers were thinking about you when you were in high school. I knew I had recognized Nolan from somewhere else this year, and it struck me that he was in the (tv) movie Red: Werewolf Hunter with the ever so adorable gamer girl Felicia Day. His character wasn't too terribly large, but he has a face you can't forget. When watching him I kind of expect him to be a foreign criminal antagonist playing opposite of Bruce Willis or Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it hasn't happened yet... give it time. Pretty common for a short, but most of the rest of the characters are pretty forgettable, but the story isn't there to focus on them. It is all about Dodd, and his decent into madness as his day progresses on. Nolan plays him with precision accuracy, and basically drives the film from beginning to end. He sucks you in and keeps you there, and I'm sure a lot of that is because of Powell's above par direction.

The writing is about as good as it gets, especially with the continuous inner dialogue from Dodd. Time is almost perfect as he makes his quick comments to himself in between conversations with students and fellow faculty. Well timed close-ups and a light melodic score keep the theme; a steady building rage. At first I was a little confused as to where the film would progress, but it didn't take time for it to take off, and by that time I was just on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen yet. I would have liked to see a little more contrast in the lighting scheme and it surely would have added to the tone, but then again that might be the Hitchcock loving nerd in me speaking. The pacing in the film is pretty darn close to perfect, and I wasn't so sure it would do much more than be a short film, but the depth of character left room for expansion, and also brought me to my only issue with film. It may be an issue for me, but I'm thinking it was a cleverly placed ending on the filmmakers part, and I won't say what it is, but it left me wanting more. I WANT MORE. In the end, I put Worm up there in the top five Independent Shorts I have seen in the past year, and I have some questions I would like answered about Worm, so I look forward to seeing more in upcoming years from the same cast and crew. Go check out the info on Worm!

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Apples for Teacher
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Apples for Teacher

R.D. Penning of Dead End Drive-In says "WORM will get inside you!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Catfish (2010)

Catfish (2010) Dir. by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue. Written by Universal Pictures

How do I give a review without giving away anything about Catfish? We will find out I guess. I'm sure alot of people already know everything that goes on, or at least has their guess, as I know I did. I finally got to watch the film last night, but I didn't want to do the review until today. I really wanted to let it sink in as it is a very thought provoking film. Although it was never marketed completely this way, it is 100% a documentary. You may read articles or opinions out there second guessing the validity of the documentary, but there are NO actors in this film. I was a little let down at first, but mostly because the trailers and marketing material for the film lead me to believe it is a horror film when it is really a documentary. Don't let this discourage you, as there are some extremely disturbing events that happen throughout the course of the film. Since there are no actors, I can't really discuss how well the acting was, so I will skip right to the film itself.

Why these three friends decided to make a film about their friend Nev is never completely talked about, but it works out really well since it feels like they have 3 different kinds of cameras, and it brings a original and unique look and feel to the film. I will admit that it starts off a little slow, and by a little I mean it really bored me almost to sleep, but that is just the first 15 minutes or so. After that it really starts to pick up and get interesting. I didn't really care much for any of the people involved in the film, but then again they aren't actors, they just feel like annoying people sometimes. Their curiosity to uncover the truth and document the whole thing was really what kept me glued to the screen. About half way through the film my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and it disturbed me, and even at times had me second guessing the lifestyle I have now. The last half of the film is so gut wrenching and riveting that it makes up for the beginning. I really enjoyed the unique way the film was edited and narrated using not just the people themselves, but using various online applications to describe where they were going, or who they were talking to on Facebook. Cleverly placed photos with unique comments, and Google Maps continued throughout the film, but they all served a distinct purpose. The thing that disturbed me the most I will say, and that was Nev's awkwardly placed tattoo, and it made me very confused. Overall, I really enjoyed the film, and I will definitely revisit it at a later time, but brilliantly made, and cleverly but deceptively marketed. I thought about the film all last night and this morning and it has my mind in a pool of jello right now. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend a viewing.

Entertainment Value: 9/10 Male Tramp Stamps
Cinematic Value: 9/10 Male Tramp Stamps

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kissing Some Major Ass!!!

I am pretty happy with the way my life is going these days. I have a lovely wife, two amazing, hilarious, and destructive little boys, and a the first job that I have ever truly enjoyed work at and that I am progressing along pretty fast at.

On top of that I have my short story RADIANT coming out in a couple months in Rhonny Reaper's Creature Feature Anthology. My Graphic Novel, DEAD ON EARTH: ALIENATION, is set for publication in a month or two, and I have "Crestfallen" slated to be released most like in the Fall of this year. Then I have multiple more writing projects I am working on and excited about, and then I have started going back to school for Computer Programming to hopefully work towards a job that pays more money. The thing is, I would not be doing any of these things if it weren't for the amazing people I have met in the past year, and the people I have known for many years for continually supporting me and the things I love to do. So this post is me thanking everyone for all they have done for me. There will be alot of plugging and it will be a lengthy post, but well worth it.

First and foremost I want to thank my wife. Without her putting up with my dumb ass I never would have started any of this. She continues to tolerate my stupidity and I thoroughly thank her for it.

Next up is Jeremiah Kipp. Without Jeremiah, my dreams of having one of my scripts turned in to a professional film would never have come true. While there isn't alot to see on Crestfallen yet, I leave you with these links to check out all the amazing things Jeremiah has going on, from his amazing shorts to his Directorial Debut starring Tom Savini!

The film production studio he just opened with Dominick Sivilli

Codebreaker Productions

and here is a trailer for his upcoming film The Sadist!

Next is the other man behind the Camera, Dominick Sivilli, who I truly believe is the best DP/Cinematographer out there! Without him, I don't think Crestfallen would look half as amazing. He is one talented individual. Here are his links, other than the Codebreaker Productions one from above.

His website where you can see some of his work

And continuing with the Crestfallen Peeps, Deneen Melody. I won't say too much about Deneen other than she is lovely, and an amazing actress. If you want more she is in several of my other posts. I am so happy she wanted to do Crestfallen, as she was the glue that held everyone together. Check out some of the other amazing projects she has going on!

Next up is a double whammy in Marv Blauvelt and Chris Jay. If it wasn't for Marv Blauvelt and the guys at Muscle Wolf Productions, I might not have had a film. He provided almost all the actors and locations in Indiana, which was a great central area between myself and New York, where Jeremiah and Dom are located. When I was unable to make it to Indiana, he stepped up into full on producer mode and made sure everyone got done the way it was supposed to and I thank him for it so very much. He is amazing. As for Chris Jay, I owe my ass to Chris Jay. When I was unsure of were I was going to be able to find equipment at the last second Chris Jay of Darkrider Studios popped out of the woodwork and offered to help. I was more than happy to give Chris an Associate Producer Credit on Crestfallen for his kindness and contributions to the film. They are both amazing guys!

Marv's stuff -

Website coming soon
Chris's stuff -

I would also like to thank Kitsie Duncan, Michael Partipilo, Austin Dossey, Nikki Watson, Jason Hignite, Arthur Cullipher, Michael Watson, Leya Taylor and anyone else who helped work on Crestfallen. You guys rock!

Now on to non-film people, beginning with Mike "The Mike" Frohwein. He got me into the blog world, and it has payed off greatly. Stop by and show The Mike some love at

From Midnight, With Love

Rhonda Kachur, aka Rhonny Reaper is next on my list. She helped get the word out about my writing and even let me write for her first Anthology. If it weren't for her I would never have a Graphic Novel coming out in the first place, so thank you Rhonny!

Dollar Bin Horror

and her upcoming anthologies Rhonny Reapers Creature Feature anthology and Rhonny Reapers Roadkill Cafe

I could probably come up with a bunch of other people, and I'm sure I forgot a couple, but I have to get up in a few hours for work! Stop by and tell these people what an awesome job they are doing! Thanks again to everyone for all the have done for me.

Crestfallen Ads

Hello everyone!

I have just got the go to announce the first two Crestfallen Ads. The first one will be used in my upcoming book Dead On Earth: Alienation due out soon, and then it will alternate with the second one in future releases of Dead On Earth books. I hope you enjoy them, I know I do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Shortcut (2009)

The Shortcut (2009)Dir. by Nicholaus Goossen

Two brothers, new to town, come across a shortcut with a deadly past... and future.

The Shortcut really slipped in under the radar in 2009. I don't remember seeing anything about its release, so I'm guessing it was straight to DVD, but I don't remember even hearing anything about the DVD release. Who would have thought that Nicholaus Goossen's follow-up film to Grandma's Boy would be a horror. That might be the most horrifying part of the film, I'm kidding of course. The film has a real strong story about the youngest brother taking a bet from some new friends of his to go down this shortcut, where he runs into a dead dog. When he goes to poke it with a stick he is threatened by an old man (Raymond J Barry). When he runs home to tell his brother, his brother (Andrew Seeley) gets a young group of his friend together to investigate the old man, who they believe to be killing dogs.

The performances by everyone in the film is pretty above par. I was really impressed with Drew Seeley, as his acting experience isn't terribly full yet, but he was really impressive. Dave Franco (Superbad, and the upcoming Fright Night remake) adds his usual comedic relief, but it doesn't overwhelm the film. Katrina Bowden (aka Ms. Tasty in Sex Drive) adds the stereotypical hot girl the new guy is trying to get with, and Josh Emerson (Jennifer's Body) plays his role well of the Jock who happens to go along with the new guys because his dog is missing. The adorable Shannon Woodward (or Di Di from The Riches) just adds to mix with her nerdy girl who is friends with the New Guy, but seems to want more and won't tell him. The real winner here in the acting entourage is Raymond J Barry. I have been a big fan of his since Born On The Fourth of July, through Falling Down, and Sudden Death. He is just one of those guys that pops up everywhere, but he always seems to play an ass. He isn't far off with this performance, but it is definitely a different kind of character for him. He plays the creepy old guy to almost perfection. He alone makes this movie worth watching for sure.

The film starts off really slow, and I mean really slow. Aside from the initial run-in with the youngest brother and the old man, the first 45 minutes of the film is slow and almost mind numbing at times. Even with the slow start, once the film picks up it gets pretty intense for a while. I could have gone without flashbacks trying to explain the background of the old man. The are an essential part to the story, and the HAVE to be in there for the ending to work, but the were an inconvenience to the pacing of film. I could have used a little more gore, but that is just me. The story turns out to be crazy, and insanely good, until they try to do a extremely predictable and unnecessary M. Night-ish ending. I won't say much more about it, but it made me upset when the film could have had a perfectly good ending seven minutes earlier. Overall the film is a solid watch and if I ever saw it on DVD in the cheap bin I would pick it up.

Entertainment Value: 6/10 Links of a Chain
Cinematic Value: 5/10 Links of a Chain

Friday, January 7, 2011

The First Annual Drive-In Horror Awards!

The First Annual Drive-In Horror Awards!

Welcome to the First Annual Drive-In Horror Awards!

I have been hearing all this talk recently about the Oscars, and I think it is time I help take part in giving Horror fans a chance to vote for a couple horror themed categories! 2010 wasn't a large year for mainstream Horror, but there were some films that definitely were worth mentioning. I have made some polls that you can find on the right hand side of this site, and I will be taking votes up until February 2nd on the following categories:

Best Horror Actor

Best Horror Actress

Best Horror Director

Best Horror Film

and Best Indie Horror

I really hope people take the time to give their good honest votes. I chose the films/actors/directors based on their overall performances, word of mouth, other blogger reviews, and how well a film did. The Indie Horror category is based mostly on reviews by the rest of the horror blogger universe.

The only other thing I ask is that those of you who vote are kind enough to continue spreading the word, and even posting about it on your site as well. Thank you to all who participate, and please leave feedback on this page if you want to say something. I understand that some people aren't going to like all of the nominations, and I accept everyone's opinions! Also if someone has too much time on their hands and wants to make up a coole Drive-In Horror Awards Banner so this doens't look so boring let me know. :-)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Devil (2010)

Devil (2010) Dir. by John Erick Dowdle

When a group of random people find themselves trapped in an elevator, they slowly realize that a greater evil may be amongst the; The Devil.

Going into this movie I have been hearing a lot of mixed reviews. Some people absolutely love it and other extremely hate it. I have heard more good things said than bad, but I was still a little discouraged with M. Night Shyamalan being attached to it. With the exception of the amazing Lady in the Water, I haven't enjoyed an M. Night film since Signs. He has really fallen off the wagon lately, but with Devil he decides to sit this one out of the directing chair. In an interview I saw recently M. Night explained that Devil was going to be the first of a trilogy of story telling films. He had to want to direct it SOOO bad, before he would want it to be the first film of the trilogy. This is also why Lady in the Water is the only exception for me on the list of recent M. Night films. Lady in the Water had brilliant storytelling, and Devil follows along the same lines.

Another thing that got me more interested in the film was that it would be the first film of Dowdle's that I had seen that wasn't filmed on the handheld camera. With Quarantine and The Poughkeepsie Tapes being his last two features, which both I enjoyed even if on a minor level, I was ready to see what Dowdle had up his sleeve. I was not let down one bit. The level of storytelling Devil brings to the table is astonishing; with its believable characters, solid pacing on a lower running time, and a mood that leaves you on the edge of your seat. It brought me back to the days of watching who-done-it? films of my youth, such as the great Clue (1985). The narration of the film could be viewed as distracting but I thought it was the perfect setup for each step of the story. It was like starting a chapter of a book. It told you exactly what was going to happen, but you didn't know how it was going to happen or who was going to do it. It was brilliant.

This movie couldn't have been made without some above par acting from at least two of the main people in the elevator, and that is Logan Marshall-Green (Dark Blue(TV), Across the Universe) and Bojana Novakovic (Edge of Darkness,Drag Me To Hell). Their performance drive the film along with a good performance from Chris Messina (From a bunch of crappy chick flicks) and a surprise performance from Josh Vargas (Death Race,The Hills Have Eyes II). Even with the ridiculous overacting by Geoffrey Arend, Bokeem Woodbine, and Jenny O'Hara the film is still solid and it doesn't become a distraction.

I would say overall I really was surprised by this film, and in a good way. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and it takes alot from a movie to do that; especially when there is basically only one primary location in the film. The religious themes of the film definitely bring more depth to the story and acts like the glue that brings it all together. It is pretty much non-stop from beginning to end, and I look forward to the rest of the storytelling trilogy(as long as M. Night doesn't direct). This movie is a must see for at least one viewing. I loved it!

Entertainment Value: 9/10 Different ways to die in an elevator
Cinematic Value: 8/10 Different ways to die in an elevator

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stills from my upcoming film Crestfallen!!!!

Hey everyone! I just thought I would share with you what has taken time away from my blogging in the months leading up to September! Here are the first official stills from CRESTFALLEN. The film is Written and Produced by myself, in association with Muscle Wolf Productions and Marv Blauvelt. It is Directed by the soon to be Legendary, Jeremiah Kipp (Who's first feature starring Tom Savini called The Sadist comes out soon) with camera work from Dominick Sivilli (who I personally think is one of the best in the business, not just indie work). It stars the insanely talented scream queen Deneen Melody along with Michael Partipilo, Kitsie Duncan, Nikki Watson, Austin Dossey, Marv Blauvelt, and more! Here are the first stills: