Crowley LTD Poster

Directed By: Adam Green

Starring: Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz, Felissa Rose, Tiffany Shepis, Dave Sheridan, Krystal Joy Brown, Brian Quinn, Chase Williamson

Synopsis: Victor Crowley returns to wreak havoc on trespassers in his swamp.

Thoughts: Adam Green pulled off the seemingly impossible and filmed Victor Crowley, or Hatchet 4 in secrecy, and even debutted it with the crowd thinking it was an anniversary screening of Hatchet. Since then, Green announced a nationwide tour, with Green and guests in attendance in select cities.

I had the chance to catch Green in his stop in Houston, the 2nd city on the docket. Sadly, the theatre wasn’t sold out. It was a Monday, but I still thought the place would be packed! The crowd that was there had a lot of fun. There were laughs, groans, and a few screams throughout the night, which you would expect from Crowley.

Green spoke about a lot of things and is a very genuine and funny guy. First, he spoke about the genesis of his Hatchet series. Green likes to have fun and in the mid 2000’s, the horror genre wasn’t all that fun. Torture Porn, big studio remakes and PG-13 horror ruled. Green set out to make an over-the-top slasher flick that brought the genre back to where he thought it should be. While his on-screen kills are some of the goriest things imaginable, they illicit more laughs than stomach-churning winces.

The second thing that really resonated was how piracy affects him and his cinematic family. I know a lot of people don’t think twice about illegally streaming or buying bootlegs, but it’s detrimental to the genre. The saddest part is that a lot of people don’t realize it’s negative impact. Green mentioned that he often has someone brag about streaming his movies when he meets them! It’s because of this piracy that we are not likely to see a sequel to Digging up the Marrow.

There was also the option to buy some very cool merchandise at the show. I picked up the limited edition print and had Adam sign it, as well as a book that was featured in, and written specially for the movie. They also had replica prop Victor Crowley skulls and Hatchets that are made to order and even little dolls that are featured in the movie!

As far as the movie, Adam Green implored the audience to keep details to a minimum, so I’ll honor that request. Victory Crowley is very much a Hatchet movie. The kills are over the top, there is comedy throughout, and there are plenty of horror genre veterans throughout. I will say that this feels more like the first movie than the last one. By Hatchet III, there was so much on screen carnage that it was hard to keep up. In the 4th installment, there are fewer kills, but each is memorable, including one that belongs in the outrageous kills Hall of Fame!

I encourage Hatchet fans to get out and support Adam Green, Victor Crowley and the independent horror genre! You can find tour dates here, courtesy of Bloody Disgusting.

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Madness 2017

For the last seven years, I have taken part in one of the craziest, most fun movie marathon contests found on Facebook. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Halloween Horror Movie Marathon Madness, and to celebrate, the rules are a combination of the last 9 years (as voted on my group members), along with a tribute to James Harris, aka Doc Terror.

This makes for an interesting year, and allows contestants to craft unique playlists.  I foresee a great dose of Italian Horror, Video Nasties and the usual October suspects as I look to rack up points. I have no delusions of winning, as my day-to-day life (family, career, etc) prevent me from marathoning 100+ movies in the next 31 days, but two things are certain. I will have a lot of fun, and I will be a little less sane come November.

Check out the Madness Facebook group here, and look for updates, reviews and more this month.

 

Contamination_Poster
AKA Alien Contamination
Directed By: Luigi Cozzi

 

Starring: Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Siegfried Rauch, Marino Mase, Gisela Hahn, Carlo De Mejo, Carlo Monni, Mike Morris

Synopsis: Alien eggs are showing up everywhere, spewing goo that causes people to explode. How are they spreading, and who can stop them?

Thoughts:
Following his modest success with Starcrash, Director Luigi Cozzi set out to make another Sci-Fi film. As many Italian genre movies tend to do, eyes turned towards American success, settling on Ridley Scott’s Alien. Cozzi couldn’t match the budget that Scott worked with, so the film takes place on Earth.

The film’s producers were in the same office that cranked out Fulci’s Zombie 2, so Ian McCulloch was selected for one of the star roles. Cozzi wanted to add Caroline Munroe, but was over-ruled, which is too bad, as she is a great actress and absolutely gorgeous.

In typical fashion, the movie was filmed quickly over 8 weeks. Cozzi had different plans for the alien at the end of the movie, but budget ultimately overruled his vision, and what we saw on the screen was a poorly crafter animatronic puppet that Cozzi claimed didn’t ever work and he was forced to use clever editing as the alien was moved off-screen. Watching the movie, the alien is not impressive.

In the end, Contamination isn’t as big of an Alien rip-off as I was expecting. Sure, it has alien eggs that spell certain doom for people, but the similarities pretty much end there. I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the movie, but when they get to the alien at the end, they lost me to a degree. Even still, Contamination has a certain charm to it and I can see myself watching this again. There is a very nice Arrow edition available if you are looking at adding it to your collection.

How Nasty Is It? As far as Video Nasty’s go, Contamination isn’t that bad. There are loads of exploding people, but it just isn’t very graphic. It’s pretty obvious how the effects are pulled off, as the camera cuts away, then goes back to a dummy with an explosive pack on it. I think Contamination is one of those moves that made the list more on the thought of what is happening rather than actually judging what is on the screen.

The-Windmill-Massacre

Directed By: Nick Jongerius

Starring: Charlotte Beaumont, Noah Taylor, Patrick Baladi, Ben batt, Fiona Hampton, Tanroh Ishida, Bart Clever, Adam Thomas Wright, Kenan Raven

Synopsis: A bus load of tourists run afoul of a vengeful spirit in the Dutch countryside.

Thoughts:

Sometimes, it’s best to stumble upon a movie without hearing about it and without the hype that is often associated with it. While scrolling through Netflix, The Windmill caught my eye. I must admit, I’ve always been a huge slasher fan, so right after seeing the killer, and just as importantly, the first kill in The Windmill, I was all in.

I thought the storyline was unique, but at the same time, played off the familiar tropes of a slasher. The guilty must die, whether they are smoking weed, having premarital sex, or in the case of The Windmill, are running from past transgressions. There is plenty of foreshadowing to the premise, although the bulk of the character development is fleshing this out.

Now, I thought The Miller looked great, although they did manage to keep him in the shadows quite a bit. He looked like a cross between Cropsey and Victor Crowley and wielded a massive scythe and chains that reminded me of Ghost Rider.

The real star here was the FX. The kills were all creative and the pacing was enough to keep me interested in the movie. I was also impressed with the cinematography, especially when The Miller was brought into the scene.

I’d recommend The Windmill to slasher fans. I wouldn’t call it a hidden gem, but it was a pleasant surprise in the often terrible landscape of movies found on Netflix.

Absurd-1981-movie-3

AKA: Anthropohagus 2; Monster Hunter; Horrible; The Grim Reaper 2

Directed By: Joe D’Amato

Starring: George Eastman, Annie Belle, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Charles Borromel, Ian Danby, Ted Russoff

Synopsis: A psychopath with a healing factor escapes and goes on a killing spree.

Thoughts:   Absurd is short on plot, but goes the extra mile with the gore. Although it is often referred to as a sequel to Anthropophagus, there is very little tying the movies together. Both feature George Eastman as a homicidal maniac, both were written by Eastman and both were directed by Joe D’Amato. I’ve read that critics accused Absurd of being nothing more than a Halloween rip-off upon its release. The basic premise is the same, with a silent killer stalking his prey, being near impossible to kill, and both films feature a babysitter. As I was watching Absurd, I didn’t feel like it was a Halloween rip-off, or at least any more so than other slasher films from the 80s.

It’s easy to see why Absurd landed on the BBFC’s radar. It had the pedigree of Anthropophagus and Joe D’Amato and is filled to the brim with gory deaths. Other than that, I find Absurd to be unremarkable. There isn’t an overly notorious scene like one from Anthropophagus, the story is straight forward and the acting isn’t memorable. 88 Films released a good-looking version of the film in their Italian Collection if you want to check it out, and if you are a completest like me, you’ll pick it up because they numbered their releases.

Fans of the Video Nasty list will surely check this one out, as will people exploring the filmography of Joe D’Amato, but frankly, there are better examples of Italian horror and splatter films.

How Nasty is it? The gore starts from the very beginning here as George Eastman eviscerates himself climbing over a fence and his intestines are hanging out and doesn’t relent until the end.

ZombieCreepingFlesh_quad-1

 

Directed By: Bruno Mattei

Starring: Jose Gras, Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garafalo, Selan Karay, Joseph Lluis Fonoll

Synopsis: Government experiments lead to a zombie outbreak.

Thoughts: The success of 1978’s Dawn of the Dead led to many, many zombie movies flooding the market in the 80s. It just so happens that many of those zombie movies came from Italy. Bruno Mattei, already well on his way to becoming a master of Italian genre cinema, set out to make a film similar to Dawn, but lighter in tone. What was delivered was a bit of a mash-up of Italian action movie, cannibal movie and zombies.

The story, although basic in premise, is drawn out for a bit too long. The runtime, at just over an hour and forty minutes would have benefited from some tighter editing. The effects were also all over the place. In some scenes, the zombies and attacks were very well done and realistic. In others, it looks like some amateurs first attempts at creating zombie make-up.

The acting is also laughable, especially that of the team of commandos that are dispatched to deal with the outbreak. Unlike a lot of movies from this era of Italian horror, there aren’t any recognizable names here.

Even with Zombie Creeping Flesh being a bit too long and sloppy at times, and the acting being subpar at best, I had a good time watching this. It embodies the term “so bad it’s good.” If you want to watch the best of zombie cinema, stick with Romero and Fulci. If you want a movie that you can sit back and crack jokes about the acting and camera work, this is a great candidate.

How Nasty Is It?

This has some pretty gory scenes of gut munching nastiness, especially during the portion of the movie where the group encounters the cannibal tribe. It’s something that is seen throughout the zombie and cannibal genres, but you can see how it caught the eye of the BBFC.

living-dead-at-manchecter-morgue

Directed By: Jorge Grau

Starring: Ray Lovelock, Cristina Galbo, Arthur Kennedy, Jeannine Mestre, Jose Lifante, Giorgio Trestini

Synopsis: An experimental machine designed to kill insects is causing the recently dead to rise.

Thoughts:
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue is one of the first movies to follow Romero’s lead with the slow moving cannibalistic “ghouls” first unveiled in Night of the Living Dead. Although the origin of the zombies is unique for its time, the general storyline is familiar; an unknown source is causing the recently deceased to rise and feed on the living.

Even though the story is familiar, this is a damn good zombie movie. The story moves along and the I thought it was a smart move to make the zombies “recently deceased” so there wasn’t a need for excessive makeup.

George, the lead played by Ray Lovelock, was really a jerk, but for some reason, he really worked here. In a lot of ways, he reminded me of Ben from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which was really reinforced by the ending of the movie. Arthur Kennedy was also a standout, chewing through every scene he showed up in. Overall, the cast was really great here, which helped push this past the usual zombie fare.

In recent years, many foreign horror movies that were once considered cult classics have pretty much become mainstream. Most horror fans seem to know Fulci’s work, but this movie is one that flies under the radar. It shouldn’t. It’s one of the best out there. If this has somehow escaped you, make a point to watch it soon.

How Nasty is It?
As far as gore goes, this is pretty typical zombie fare.  There’s some gut munching and tearing flesh, but nothing we haven’t seen from Romero, Fulci or the rest of the zombie maestros.