Friday, January 27, 2012

Press Release: Microcinema Streaming Free, January 31 on the Horror Palace – The Ultimate Horror Network Website!

Though it is Friday it is however NOT Irrelevant Post Friday because this is far more than relevant. As an independent horror blogger rarely do I get the opportunity to post a press release, as so far this blog has been limited to dribble and my reviews. That being said Skip Shea, writer/director of one of my favorite horror short films Microcinema, sent me one today, for your viewing pleasure. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Microcinema is an exceptional horror film in the ranks with such like 28 Days Later. If you watch the film you'll understand the reference but don't expect such tame natures, think more like Hostel but with extremity. It's one of the most important horror films of our time, and its only seven minutes. So please don't be lazy and watch it, it's free.

Microcinema Streaming Free, January 31 on the Horror Palace –
 The Ultimate Horror Network Website! 

Massachusetts (January 27)  The Horror Palace - The Ultimate Horror Network in conjunction with Harvest Tide Productions will screen the cult hit horror short "Microcinema" on their site January 31.  "Microcinema" will be the focus of Episode 017 in the Grisly Zone.

The positive reviews keep piling up from around the world for "Microcinema" as the South African blogger the Killer Aphrodite says "The bad thing about Microcinema is that it’s not a feature film.  I wished that there was more to see!" 

The Big Gay Horror Fan blog says "Microcinema" is tightly directed, well acted and gleefully turns the predominance of misogynistic torture porn on its nipple hacked head."

Directed by Skip Shea and starring Alex Lewis and Aurora Grabill, “Microcinema” is the story of Peter Martell, a highly educated well-to-do young man with too much free time on his hands. He spends it watching snuff films. One day he makes the bold decision to cross the line from observer to participant, aspiring to bring a philosophical element to his own kind of snuff films. Ready to go to work, he tracks his first victim into a haunted New England wood, where the boundary between participant and observer takes a different turn.

“Microcinema” was originally a storyline for one of the episodes of Harvest Tide’s new horror web series “Longreach,” written by William DeCoff. “Longreach” follows the demise of Daniel Jedrek, the sergeant at arms for the Longreach Association, an ancient global charitable organization that takes charity to extremes. The Harvest Tide production team – Shea, DeCoff, Will Smyth and Emily King – agreed that “Microcinema” stood on its own in the burgeoning new online entertainment and media arena and delivers a brutal and gruesome tale to horror film fans. 

“Microcinema” quickly became a cult favorite and wowed critics and audiences last year at several horror film festivals and screenings within the few short months of its release. Screenings in 2011 included the 1st Annual Danish Horror Film Festival: THE TURBINE at Spinderihallerne, Vejle, Denmark; All Things Horror Shudder Fest at the Somerville Theater in Somerville, MA; Short Horror Films at AS220 in Providence, RI; the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival; and before Canadian horror film fans at Fright Night Theater presents: ABSENTIA & Microcinema at the Staircase Cafe Theater in Hamilton, Ontario.

It has also made several best of 2011 lists including Danielle Holman, The Bleeding Dead, writing for Truly Disturbing Horror, listed "Microcinema" as one of the five best horror films. Chris Conduit of The Conduit Speaks, put "Microcinema" as the best horror short of the year giving it his Conduit Award.


What the critics are saying about “Microcinema” 

"The film is brave and unrelenting. It is a breath of fresh air to a lot of the common horror tricks that are being trotted out time and again." -Alexandra West, Scare Tactics Blog.

"Skip Shea is an adept director with equal ability to write, his short film gets more across than most full length films.  4 out of 5 Stars" - The Bleeding Dead Film Reviews. 

"You will not be expecting to see the events that unfold in this shocking short film." - The Horror Spot

"The script itself deserves kudos for completely drawing your attention to the one aspect we would expect every horror film to contain and then suddenly shocks you with an element you rarely see in this genre."  The Scariest Movies Online 

"I figured I was in for one of three things:  a really solid work, a bite size film that left me feeling nothing, or one of those that makes me want to substitute rat poison for the salt on my dinner table.  Those are the three categories all art falls into for me, always.  Yet, when it was all said and done, Shea's vignette carved a whole new icky slot out just for itself. 9 out of 10 Stars" - The Conduit Speaks

"Brilliant. 8.5 out of 10 Stars" - The Gruesome Hurtzogg Horror Movie Review Podcast.

"4 out of 5 Stars" Char Hardin 

"What I find particularly interesting about Microcinema is its plot and how it seems to blend together torture, voyeurism, and a lot of other really weird horrific topics like snuff films." - Horror Society 

"Microcinema Doesn't Disappoint" - Victor Infante, The Worcester Telergram & Gazette

"The new indie horror romp Microcinema and it is a doozy." - Truly Disturbing Horror

"Interesting short that starts as your usual slasher/serial killer fare before taking a wicked little turn." Shaun Sjolin Cenobiteme Blog

"Unicornsblud Horror Review Stamp of Majestic Approval"  Unicronsblud's Horror Reviews

“Twisted and sick but with a new vision.” - The Dr. Chris Radio of Horror

You may read my review of Microcinema here, though its not as good as others. Then on Janurary 31st it's available for free on the Horror Palace. I'm really quite serious, if you've never taken into account anything I've ever reviewed, this is the one I ask you to listen to me about. Microcinema needs to be seen, it's a critique on our society's obsession with snuff films (to the less extreme viewer torture porn horror) and our expectations of the genre.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Black Sunday - Le Masque Du Demon (1960)

I'm starting a new feature to this blog. No it's not another post a week (that be the day) but a feature. At the last Thursday of every month I will be reviewing an Italian horror films. I realize my love of Argento is absurd but I haven't taken all the much notice to the other legends such as Bava and Fulci, I still haven't seen Zombi 2...please don't kill me. I'm going to be expanding my love of the Italian horror films at the very least once a month and my first is of Mario Bava's Black Sunday.

In sixteen hundreds Russia a witch, Princess Asa Vajda, and her servant are being executed for practicing the sacrilegious craft. Asa death is one of the most famous horror film moments as she is tied to a stake and a mask with nails lining the inside is hammered to her bare face. In an grisly moment, even for a black and white film, Asa dies but not before vowing revenge on her executor, who also happens to be her brother. Buried in a tomb with a cross sealing her coffin the Vajda family believes that they've seen the last of their shunned relative. Until two hundred years later that is when two doctors stumble into the tomb and break the coffin that encrypts Asa. Now awaken and intent on her revenge Asa seeks to posses the body of her descendent Katia, who eerily shares the same features as her. As Asa begins to gain strength the only person to save Katia is Dr. Andre Gorobec, one of the doctors who broke the cross and Katia's new lover interest.

A hint of Poe hidden beneath the surface Black Sunday takes to the macabre, surreal Gothic imagery and religious symbolism (the reoccurring presence of the serpent, the Griffith, etc). A witch with vampirism manners is a bit of controversy in the film as Princess Asa bites and drinks the blood of her victims only to offer them a trance in death where they're under her control. It sounds more in likes to the vampire myths than it does the spell casting witch myth, but in my opinion the film calls her a witch without so much of a hesitation on the other word in that it is a witch film, despite the similarities. The dialog is no more odd than an Argento script and the dubbing no better so be cautious of that. The effects probably outstanding at the time still work for now, the witch's transformation is subtle enough that I only noticed when it took full form. Bava as a director is stunning, and brave for the time. As said the first scene is the most horrific in the entire set but so effective in that Bava shows no fear in disporting the graphic execution, blood and all. Having been released the same year as Hitchcock's Psycho which also had a profound impact at exposing gore on camera.

The acting has it's inevitable cornball moments. The priest actually stood out to me as the actor who played him in a calm and confident manner, despite not really having a contributing part in the film. Barbra Steel's career resulted as of this and its understandable. Though she tends to the chew the scenery as of Katia she has the creep factor for the witch. Her gorgeously large eyes when properly wielded can create a daunting stare. Even the professor notes how even eyeless they seem to bare into the soul. Not to entirely throw away the damsel of Katia she has her mysterious moments as well to probe whether she's in on the murders. John Richardson plays Andre and he's alright, there's not much to his character so there's not much to play. Though enriched in black and white film I was genuinely grossed out at moments. The human bodily fluids and the revealing of the witch still have a sovereignty over the films technical work and appeal to its lasting age.

I'm not sure what captivates me about Black Sunday as I'm even tolerant towards the melodramatic love between Andre and Katia. Its almost feels like an inexplicable phenomenon when I love a film at first viewing. Rarely does it occur as films have to sit and marinate, if you will, before I account them as exceptional. Black Sunday is the most recent of phenomenons. Back to being objective though, while this Bava's first piece and the one that crowned him as an Italian horror bravado not all consider it his best. And as mentioned if you hate bad dubbing why consider the country's genre films. I hate dubbing so I wish I was able to watch it in Italian with subtitles, but I'm able to take it as it is. The same goes for acting, its not great in all places but I'm more forgiving as I hold certain things over others. Black Sunday is a classic watch for Italian horror fans and a great introduction to those just starting in the sub-genre.

Monday, January 16, 2012

TDHorror Retro Review

I'm not sure how I feel about this review. I don't know if I like it or if it's awful...Also I'm not sure if I got my opinion across enough. Feedback would help, if you can. And please don't spare for my feelings, you couldn't possibly be as hard on me as I am on myself.

"BASKET CASE is a strange admixture of bizarre, funny, and distressing moments. Of cult classic fame, more to the likes of the Killer Klowns From Outer Space variety than the Near Dark type, the low budget B-movie was re-released by Something Weird Video, who revive us many underground classics like The Wizard of Gore and Blood Freak. The premise itself is abnormally intriguing and unique, with almost an abhorrent under note if you will. If done on a serious facade with a bigger budget this could actually qualify as a legitimate horror flick"

As usual you may read more here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Horror Short: Good Morning, Beautiful (2011)

Written and directed by Todd Cobery
Staring David Tufford
Director of Photography Bo Hakala

After the death of his baby daughter Dave becomes numb with the inimitable tragedy. His wife, just as broken, is distant and all Dave sees is ugliness. As Dave is getting perspective into the truth of the world the silhouette of reality falters and chaos awakens. Good Morning, Beautiful runs at twenty minute length and if a full feature it'd remind me of Let the Right One In (I'm sure this comparison is becoming tiresome) in that it takes the pace slowly and doesn't force feed you the horror, so to speak. Not exactly surrealistic in plot but more of a brutal metaphor in that monsters and obscene violent acts openly occur in broad daylight as Dave goes about common activities. Though Dave is seeing monsters the real fear is in the world he's living in where babies die, people get shot, and there is no sense of control any more.

David Tufford seamlessly handles the blurred reality of David, not missing a step from the depressed man to the feared individual he becomes. Todd Cobery script is developed in a further sense; it addresses the less attractive side of the world while presenting us with the horror. As well as adding moments of levity to lighten from the more macabre subjects as infant death and child murder. Cobery's direction also shows that of experience, his direction of Dave waiting in the doctor's office is great taking focus to the child's toy in the back to reflect the horrible wait and just the general inpatients to being there. I also loved the opening with the fast play around Dave as he lifelessly sits still in his chair hearing the news about his daughter. Bo Hakala's work as DP is nice, the lighting and angels being on key with Cobery's direction. Good Morning, Beautiful was my favorite short film at the Mile High Horror Film Festival. It's another that managed to speak more of society than most films as it takes focus to the general ugly on the world, even if it doesn't give us a solution to stop it.

Good Morning, Beautiful is going around film festivals. The film's website lists dates and upcoming news for the indie film.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

It's Friday the 13th so it's only appropriate that I post a Jason Voorhees photo on my blog...

Still a Freddy girl, sorry.

Happy Friday the 13th/Irrelevant Post Friday/Follow Friday on Twitter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chillerama (2011)

Chillerama is set at a local drive-in's last night standing and the owner is showcasing four rare films; "Wadzilla", "I Was A Teenage Werebear", "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein", and "Deathfication" (the last which we thankfully don't get to view as it was bordering The Human Centipede territory)."Wadzilla" is the 1950s attack of the killer bug/monster film, only this time it's Mile's killer sperm mutated to an ungodly size that's terrorizing the city. "I Was A Teenage Werebear", a throwback to a mess of films including but not limited too Rebel Without a Cause, Grease, The Lost Boys, The Wolfman, and Cursed which takes focus as Ricky struggles with his homosexuality and his transformation into a werebear, all with song of course. "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" the 1970's exploitation flick where Hilter and Eva Braun use Anne Frankenstein's diary to create a monster. And the real fourth film "Zom-B-Movie" where the cinephile patrons of the drive-in become victim to an infection of horny zombies, in reference to the 1980's zombie films.

It's happened, Chillerama has made me officially realize there is such a thing as too self aware. The film that is a entire homage to the era of the bad but loveable drive-in double features films felt far to contrived at times, intentionally creating bad sets instead of naturally letting them happen. In addition, the humor tended to be strained in a sense where they were almost telling you to laugh at portions. Not all the stagey stuff was inefficacious though as the killer sperm was laughable bad as was the car accident in Werebear. I often wondered though if when I did laugh was it from the intentional throwback spur or was it rather from the sheer ridiculousness of it all? I don't condense it to a horror film at all as they don't try for any real scares so much as just parodying the sub genre, this is pure horror comedy.

Looking at each individual segment this is what I thought; "Wadzilla" I accredit for the technical merit in capturing the look and fell of the attack of the fifty foot bug films such as They or even Godzilla, but overall had a lack of interest, spare for a few humorous moments. "I Was A Teenage Werebear" likely failed the most, it didn't have a distinct decade, though I assume it was aimed for the 1960's and as a musical was a bit lack-luster. "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" was assuredly my favorite as I love exploitation films and have been denied Zombie's Werewolf Woman of the SS for sometime now. This segment had me laughing from the broken Germbbrish (German-Gibberish) to the end fight between Hitler and his creation. If I was to watch Chillerama again it'd be for this segment alone. "Zom-B-Movie" had the most character development as the cinephile patrons were present between the films and was good for the most part. I laughed at the overtly sexual zombies but it got excessive towards the end, as I can only watch so many zombies humping each other within a ten minute span.

Though we get a clear sense of him in the script, a shy man who's having problems with women, Adam Riftkin didn't put a lot into the character of Miles in "Wadzilla" Not to suggest he was bad he was just there for the most part, which could be attributed to his also writing/directing the segment. Werebear stars adult film star Sean Paul Lockhart, who doesn't have a bad signing voice but is camp acting the entire twenty minutes. It also has Gabby West of Scream Queens Season Two fame (or rather lack thereof, sorry) and Lin Shaye, who was also in "Wadzilla". Shaye is quickly renouncing her general absence from the genre for the past thirty years or so and embracing her status as a horror icon, which I love. Joel David Moore and Kristina Klebe standout as Hitler and Braun in Frankenstein, Moore's Hitler is by far one of the funniest take offs of the Fuehrer and though it borders the level of taste he's able to firmly keep it place. And I must not forget to give a nod to Kane Hodder as Meshugannah (the monster), who's a delightful presence in his role. The cinephile patrons are acted out fairly well by the mostly younger cast; as I said you get a lot more time with them so they develop more smoothly. Richard Riehle undoubtedly shines though as the owner of the drive-in, wielding a collection of guns behind his Orson Wells poster.

My issue with Chillerama is it wasn't what I wanted it to be, which there for it is mostly my fault and for that I cannot hold it against the film. I was aspiring for an Austin Powers like satire, not a Scary Movie spoof fest. It's hard because I know the directors do have a love for these sorts of films, as do I, but they just didn't capture their spirit as much as I had hoped.  With Chillerama each segment stands on their own and has to be judged on their own. If better tampered with (especially Werebear) the segments could be full length films. As a whole I love the idea but the execution wasn't good and therefor I ultimately didn't like it. I'm the most disappointed with this verdict as I really wanted to like this, if not love it, but it did not happen. But if you've read any other reviews you'll know that the film has been receiving those from all sides. Therefore I can't really tell you whether or not it's good, you have to watch for yourself and decide. Likely a two out of five from me, sorry.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year, New Blog

Kind of want to see this now.

There's quite a bit of self indulgence in the end of year for blogs that post about their favorite films and accomplishments, what have you. I'm here to thoroughly keep the self centered tradition in place. But not by much. As I've really only been true to heart blogging for five months now. Mostly this is just an update as to where this blog is going and my thoughts on certain matters. It's kind of like a New Years resolution but not. This was intended for last Friday but you know me if I was consistent or on time with anything the world would be at a loss. Basically what I was here to address was changes I hoped to make to the blog in addition to adding another weekly review. The latter won't be for a while but I'll briefly discuss it. Not to tease you too much. Or more like tease myself, since a good portion of you still don't read.

First off I apologize if I've been more snarky the past couple of weeks. My work has demanded me more giving me less time to write, less time to edit, and less time to filter the shit that seeps out of my head at times. Intentionally absurd reviews like Blood Freak are okay but when I make threats and start calling people stupid for not reading another blog you know I'm losing sleep, even if it is true. Basically I need to prioritize better. In addition to this blog and my job I need to make time for the TDHorror reviews, a review for another blog who I promised like back in November that I'd do, sleep, watch more movies, and attend to my chubby dog who needs to go on weekly walks.

TrulyDisturbing asked me to do a Top Ten Best and Worst list of 2011 for their site and I'm not going to lie I was thrown off. I don't watch a lot of newer films and I found myself short a worst candidate. But that didn't compare to some of the entries I put in. Chilerama probably doesn't deserve a worst place spot, that'll be next Thursday's review but I didn't hate it at all, I just didn't like it. But as mentioned I didn't have a large list to go off of therefor it suffered. Ultimately what I'm trying to say is that most of the list was premature (except Midnight Son, I loved that movie why has no one else mentioned it?!) and I apologize to the films that made it.

As a group effort we need more comments and views. Don't get me wrong I love all twenty seven of you, even the silent followers but a comment every now and then wouldn't hurt. Even if its to say that I suck. At least I know someone is reading. Even though my page views have drastically increased since last year a good portion of them, no like eighty five percent of them come from google images. Impressively The Crow review has shot up to the top most viewed posts in the three or so weeks it's been up, all from google of course. It currently has seventy some views, but no comments.

This is a picture I used when I posted my story online.
A more personal resolution is I need to get back to writing my own stuff. All my writing time is dedicated to this site and I've been neglecting my original work quite a bit. However as I mentioned I want to start doing two reviews a week, or at least on a temporary basis for this blog and I don't know how that and my own writing will get along. It's hazy as of this moment but we'll see where it goes.

And finally that picture of the naked chick you see above the archives is my button. You may use it if you'd like, you don't have to tell me but it would brighten my day severely if you do so. Also you will see an increase in your page views because I will, more or less, stalk your page at least once a day just so I can see it on something besides my own. So it's really a win for both of us if you ask me. Though this may be construed as bitchy I mean it in the most respectful way. If you do use my button to promote my blog on your site/blog it doesn't necessarily mean I will return the gesture. It's just that doing that tends to get out of hand and I especially don't care to be promoting a cooking blog on my horror blog because the author used the button on their site. Don't let that suggest though that I won't promote your blog on my site, because I will. But it has to be to my interest and to my liking.

Basically though I did want to say thank you for reading as much as you do. Even if it's just a glance. You don't have any idea how much it means that someone is interested in what I have to say, despite it's lack of professionalism and bitter insight. Hope you stick with me.

- Bleeding Dead (Or Danielle, as my first name has now been leaked)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Graveyard Shift (1990)

Drifter John Hall has just gotten a job at a textile mill working the lonely graveyard shift. The mill job is basically no different than others except for the fact that carnivorous rats infectiously live there and aren't shy towards the humans while they work. A much bigger rat though assumes position of Hall's new boss, who is reputed and religiously practices being a prick which includes but not limited to hitting woman, blackmailing workers and in general treating his employees like shit. When Hall steps in during a fight and prevents Warwick from beating his mistress Hall makes the list of the cleanup crew in the basement, a job given only to those Warwick really dislikes. At surface value the side job doesn't appear so bad, another graveyard shift on a holiday weekend that pays twice that of minimum all just to do clean up. But when Hall and the rest of the crew head to the basement they find the horrors of what's been growing in the darkness and a answer to all the recently missing workers at the mill.

I'm a bit addled as to how it's possible to send a Stephen King short story into disarray. A full length novel yes, but a short story that's essential plot moment is the cleanup crew in a basement? In truth I'm not even sure what occurred for a good half of this film, as nothing was developed. Instead a shallow plot carries equally shallow characters into a well lit (I'll address that later) basement where a monstrous creature is eating the workers. Having read the short story part of the terror was the concept that the untouched areas of darkness could mutate horrors beyond conception, hence the legless rat at the end of King's story that brought more terror in its inability to move than this flying bat creature of proportions. The script was almost painful at times by how obvious it was that King didn't write it, the dialect being flaky and the skin deep story. The missing workers addition seemed so slasher in context that when contrasted against the monster sub genre it falls in the it didn't really work bracket. The small love story added to appeal to more audiences was needless and it went nowhere. I'm not sure I'll understand the obsession of making two characters of the opposite sex always being attracted to each other in films. Maybe why I seek out horror and not romance. 

David Andrews is alright as leading man John Hall, as said there's little character development and all Andrews has to do is essentially stand there and be the good guy. I actually don't mind that Hall's character direction went basically no where in the film, as in the story it seemed more of a Jack Torrance play off and was dispensable in what should of been the basic monster under the stairs story. Stephen Macht's Warwick was creepy but I'm not entirely sure if that was by default or from that accent he was attempting to do. I spent a good hour and a half waiting for a rat to gnaw his face off and for that horrid voice to be dead forever. All sarcasm and humor aside that accent was the scariest element about the film. If anyone was notable, and not for strange New England African Southern Drawls, Brad Dourif was hilarious as the offbeat exterminator and shows the only true bit of acting from the cast. From a cinematography point Graveyard Shift does have some nice shots of photography, particularly the opening credits in the graveyard but I had a huge issue with the lighting at the end. This may be a nit picking horror film critique (have I really come to that?) but why was the basement so brightly lit? King spent endless paragraphs and sentences describing the immense darkness that lye underneath the factory but everything was in clear view here. It took another fraction of horror from the story that was already limited in most respects.

At the end Graveyard Shift is just an inept film, with direction and writing being it's main faults. Hardly anything redoubtable, unless you have a fear of rats. This is not my favorite King story, by no means, and further adaptations have been much worse for him but turning the short story that didn't have much too it into a full length film seems inane. And again if your just going to change everything than why bother. Also I must point out the tagline inaccuracy which reads "Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Sematary. This time......he pushes you over", almost sad how untrue the statement is. If this is to attest for anything it's to not believe taglines. Graveyard Shift is not an entirely wasted watch, it does hold some interest in the rats and I love Brad Dourif with all my horror movie loving heart so it's always good to watch him be creepy. Likely a two out of five star film there's no need to watch the forgotten early 90's film unless you've had your eye on it.