Saturday, March 5, 2016

First Trailer for Upcoming Horror Film 'The Unbidden' Before it Hits the Festival Circuit

"The Unbidden" Conjures First Trailer

Quentin Lee's Female-Driven Asian Horror Film 
To Premiere This Spring



The Unbidden poster


Los Angeles, CA-- Margin Films is excited to summon the first trailer for Quentin Lee's The Unbidden. A quartet of longtime girlfriends come together in the hopes that a séance will protect them from a dark presence that won't rest until one of them is destroyed.

Quentin Lee ("White Frog," "The People I've Slept With") directed from a script by Narhee Ahn (Purity). Tamlyn Tomita ("Teen Wolf", "The Joy Luck Club"), Julia Nickson ("Rambo: First Blood Part II," "Half-Life"), Amy Hill ("50 First Dates," "UnREAL") and Elizabeth Sung ("Memoirs of a Geisha," "Lethal Weapon 4") star as the group of friends desperate to save one of their own from her dark secret. Michelle Krusiec, Akemi Look, Kimberly-Rose Wolter and Karin Anna Cheung appear as the women's younger selves, joined by Hayden Szeto and Jason Yee as the men at the heart of the deadly mystery.


The Unbidden still


"If you're a fan of the horror, psychological thriller, family melodrama or Asian American film genres, you're in for a treat, not a trick," director Quentin Lee expressed of his first horror film. "Our intention was to create a wildly original independent feature with an all Asian-American cast that aims to not only entertain with shocks and thrills, but bring on the debate about difficult emotional issues. This is a female-driven film that deals with domestic violence and the morality of retribution."

Mystery novelist Lauren Lee (Tomita) is haunted by the ghost of a tortured, bloodied man. She tries to forget the apparition's terrifying warnings and her unstable mental state by hosting dinner with her best friends (Nickson, Sung and Hill). Each of the women has her own idea and opinion to make Lauren feel better. In the midst of a séance that Rachel believes will exorcise Lauren's demons, a mysterious young man (Szeto) arrives brandishing a gun. He holds the women hostage in order to get to the truth of the whereabouts of his missing father.

"The Unbidden" is expected to premiere at film festivals this spring.

Xiaoming Yan executive produced. Producers are Charles Lei, Stanley Yung and Quentin Lee.



Read More »

Black Mama, White Mama (1973) - Blu-ray Review - Arrow Video

Pam Grier and Margaret Markov look more beautiful than ever in the women in prison film "Black Mama, White Mama" thanks to Arrow Video's Blu-ray!


Black Mama, White Mama Blu-ray cover


Released by: Arrow Video
Release Date: March 22, 2016 (US) / April 4, 2016 (UK) 
Production Year: 1973
Region Code: ALL
Running Time: 1:26:38
Audio: English LPCM Mono
Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio)
Subtitles: English SDH

 
Black Mama, White Mama screenshot


THE FILM - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

CHICKS IN CHAINS ON THE LAM FROM A PRISON HELL!

Before her iconic turn in Coffy, Pam Grier starred alongside Margaret Markov in a grindhouse spin on Stanley Kramer’s The Defiant Ones, fusing the Women in Prison film with the emerging Blaxploitation movement for a riotous romp of bullets, babes and blood!

Lee (Grier), a tough prostitute and Karen (Markov), a revolutionary, are admitted to a tough women’s prison where almost immediately (after some playful showering that prefigures Porky’s) they clash. Packed off to a maximum security prison, their transport is ambushed by Karen’s guerrilla friends and the two escape into the Filipino jungle. Chained together and with differing escape plans their clash intensifies as Lee wants to retrieve a stash of stolen cash to get her off the island and Karen wants to re-join her revolutionary group. Escape isn’t easy as they come up against a series of obstacles including a corrupt cop, a bounty hunter, a sadistic Drug Lord and guerrillas who threaten to turn everything upside down.

Chock full of girl fights, gun battles, nudity and humor, Black Mama White Mama, which was also known as Women in Chains and Hot, Hard and Mean, lives up to all its titles as well as featuring a brilliant Sid Haig ("Spider Baby," "House of 1000 Corpses") as a cowboy bounty hunter and Lynn Borden ("Frogs," "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry") as a lesbian guard from a script co-written by Jonathan Demme (Caged Heat) and a score sampled by Quentin Tarantino for "Kill Bill."


Well, where else to start when talking about a women in prison film but the women. This fun slice of exploitation is not lacking when it comes to beautiful women. You don't have to wait terribly long for an obligatory shower scene and thank you for that. Our primary stars are just two among a sea of beauties that some are sure to agree, we don't see enough of in "Black Mama, White Mama." Lynn Borden as Matron Densmore wore her prison guard outfit well as she looked very attractive. Maybe I'm going through Ilsa withdrawal. Anyhow, the prison setting doesn't last too long though as Karen's (Markov) revolutionary friends soon help take care of that after a prisoner transfer doesn't quite go as planned.

Soon our heroines find themselves on the run, which they do a lot in this film, as they cross paths with a number of unsavory individuals including among them Ruben (Sid Haig), a loathsome bounty hunter. Sid Haig did a terrific job in his role. Quite an unlikable character and Sid filled the role very well with no shortage of ballsy attitude. Another nasty individual was the disgusting and vile, Vic Cheng (Vic Diaz) who is a drug lord and pimp. He has no problem doing what it takes to acquire information including torture, as you will see. 

The film features a few action sequences and even though the action isn't abundant, they are certainly entertaining and the level of action increases as the film goes on including a surprising finale. We are treated to a number of shots of the jungle and lush countryside which was a nice contrast to the drab prison surrounding. The assortment of oddball nasty characters is to me, really makes this film all the more enjoyable. They are not mere cardboard cutouts who just spew their lines. No, they carry their scenes with ease and do such a good job playing sleazy characters that you almost need a shower to get their greasy sweat off of you as it oozes off the screen. 

I had never had the pleasure of seeing this film until this Blu-ray arrived and let me say, thank you Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group. What a way to see this film for the first time. 
 
Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Pam Grier

AUDIO - [ 4 / 5 ]:

The Arrow Video Blu-ray includes an English LPCM Mono audio track. English SDH subtitles are included as well. The audio for the film sounded excellent. From the sounds of the women shrieking in the prison to the rapid fire sound of machine guns, the sound quality of this Blu-ray is very good and it is nice to have it in the form of original mono audio. Sound levels seemed to remain mostly even and consistent and the dialogue, score and sound effects which there are plenty of, all sounded good throughout the film. I did not encounter any problems such as hissing, pops or dropouts.
 
Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Lynn Borden

VIDEO - [ 4 / 5 ]:

"Black Mama, White Mama" escapes its SD prison on to Blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video. The film is presented in 1080p with a 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. Despite not being newly remastered, the film looks remarkably good with a strong amount of detail present. In the outdoor finale, the film looks even better. Colors are amazing and really jump off the screen. From the ladies yellow prison clothes to the colorful clothing of Ruben, primaries and pastels all look terrific and stand out. In brighter scenes the film truly shines and shows off its colors and level of detail. Film grain looked fine and never seemed to appear too heavy. Skin tones looked spot on. There are occasional white specks but they appear so seldom they are not very noticeable. 
 
Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Lynn Borden and Margaret Markov

SPECIAL FEATURES - [ 3.5 / 5]:

Audio Commentary - Filmmaker and Filipino film historian Andrew Leavold provides the commentary on the film. He served as associate producer on the documentary "Machete Maidens Unleashed." Mr. Leavold did a great job on this track at keeping me entertained with his vast knowledge of the stars in the film as well as commenting on what is happening on the screen at the time. You can easily tell that Mr. Leavold thoroughly enjoys the film which makes the commentary track even more enjoyable. From his comments about the prison shower scene to the colorful outfits of Sid Haig's Ruben, this was a fun and informative commentary.

White Mama (14:01) - In this interview filmed for Arrow Video in September 2015, Margaret Markov discusses her film career and home life leading up to becoming an actress. Miss Markov talks about working with Roger Corman and speaks fondly of her "Black Mama, White Mama" co-stars. She also talks about how she met her future husband on the set of "The Arena."

Sid Haig's Filipino Adventures (15:51) - In this interview filmed for Arrow Video in September 2015, Sid Haig discusses films he made in the Philippines including "The Woman Hunt," "The Big Bird Cage," "Black Mama, White Mama" and "The Big Doll House." He speaks about his time spent working with Pam Grier over the years including a couple stories from the sets of "Jackie Brown" and "The Big Bird Cage." As Sid talks about the amount of time he spent in the Philippines, he also talks about the often, terrible working conditions due to the environment such as snakes, spiders and the weather. 

The Mad Director of Blood Island (14:38) - An archive interview with "Black Mama, White Mama" director Eddie Romero as he discusses his career with filmmaker Andrew Leavold. They talk about some early films in his career such as "Blood Creature" where a stuntman (who later became a big action star) almost died when they set him on fire for the film. A very relaxed interview. It was nice to see Mr. Romero, who sadly passed away in 2013, having a good time with the questions and reminiscing about his films.


Trailer (1:54)

Gallery - Includes promotional images and the original press book.

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips.

DVD
 

Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Lynn Borden and Pam Grier

IN CONCLUSION:

This Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack has excellent audio and video quality and offers some great extras in the form of a commentary track and interviews. Pam Grier fans, this is a no-brainer and if you even think you might like this film, I'd buy it as it's an entertaining film, very reasonably priced plus it is a high quality release by Arrow Video. 


OVERALL RATING - [ 3.75 / 5 ]


 



Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Sid Haig

Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Vic Diaz

Black Mama, White Mama screenshot

Black Mama, White Mama screenshot Pam Grier and Margaret Markov

Black Mama, White Mama screenshot

Black Mama, White Mama screenshot

Read More »

Indie Horror Comedy 'They're Watching' Coming to Theaters and On Demand March 25, 2016

THEY’RE WATCHING

A film by Micah Wright and Jay Lender
(Creators of the Graphic Novel "Duster")
They're Watching poster


In Theaters and On Demand March 25, 2016



Starring: David Alpay (‘The Tudors”), Brigid Brannagh (“Army Wives”), Kris Lemche (“Haven”), Carrie Genzel (“All My Children”) and Mia Faith (“Dracano”)


Synopsis:
When an American home improvement TV show visits a remote Eastern European village, the young crew thinks the lack of mocha lattés and free wifi will be the worst of their problems. But after their filming interrupts the superstitious villagers' private religious ritual, the situation takes a turn for the homicidal… and when the blood starts flowing, that's when things get really weird. With THEY'RE WATCHING, noted graphic novelists and animators Micah Wright and Jay Lender turn a classic horror premise upside down to create a fresh, funny, eye-popping twist on the genre.

NOT RATED
94 minutes

For more information on the film or to follow them, visit Twitter, Facebook and the official website.

They're Watching stillAbout Graphic Novel ‘Duster':
Jo Baker is not your average housewife. As World War II raged in Europe, she was finally able to break free of the confines of the kitchen… but when the fighting in Europe comes to a close and the end of the war in sight, this war-widowed crop duster pilot feels her newfound freedom slipping away. Enter a planeload of escaping Nazis! When Jo brings their bomber down over her sleep West Texas town, she must fight to protect her neighbors, her friends, and her way of life in an action-packed story about the forging of the post-war American woman!

About Graphic Novel ‘Get Lucky':
Lucky 13 is a one-man Seal Team 6 in an Armani suit, a professional troubleshooter specializing in dangerous work outside the law. Good looking, wealthy, cultured, Fate has always smiled upon him because he’s a Luck Leech—he sucks the luck out of everyone nearby, using it for himself. Bullets sail past him, walls fall on his enemies, when he needs a getaway vehicle the door is unlocked, the keys are in the ignition and a beautiful woman is in the passenger seat. But it’s not all fun and games... Lucky once stole his own wife’s luck to defeat, causing her death—or so he believes. In fact, Lucky may have no “powers” at all, just a powerful desire to rationalize away his wife’s unfortunate death and his own self-destructive impulses. He now takes only the most dangerous missions hoping one will make him feel a momentary thrill, or if possible, kill him.

Read More »

It's Hunting Season in the Upcoming Indie Slasher 'Fox Trap' from Proportion Productions

It's Hunting Season in the Upcoming Indie Slasher "Fox Trap"


Fox Trap poster

FOX TRAP (2016)


Plot: 

After a terrible accident leaving a young girl disabled, eight years later the group responsible are invited to a remote manor house in the countryside for a class reunion. Little do they know, they are being targeted by a masked maniac hell bent on revenge.

 

Fox Trap still image


The cast includes Klariza Clayton ("Harry Brown," "Blood Money," "Skins"), Scott Chambers ("Chicken," "Blood Money," "The Hippopotamus"), Alex Sawyer (House of Anubis), Kate Greer, Becky Fletcher, Julia Eringer, Therica Wilson-Read, Richard Summers-Calvert and more.

 

Fox Trap still image


"Fox Trap" is Jamie Weston’s directorial feature debut and is currently in post production, having shot January 2016 on location in Somerset, United Kingdom.

Proportion Productions is a UK based feature film production company that hopes to make a modern wink at classic slashers such as "Curtains," "Black Christmas" (1974) and "House on Sorority Row."


There are a few interviews with some of the actresses from the film available on Proportion Productions Youtube Channel.


Fox Trap still image

Read More »

Hippity Hop... 'Easter Bunny Bloodbath' Comes with Goodies in Time for the Holiday

This is not the nice, fluffy bunny you were expecting.


Easter Bunny Bloodbath cover

I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for holiday themed horror films. Give me your Christmas, Halloween, Easter, 4th of July, etc. horrors, make them look at least halfway decent and I'll devour them. There's just something about watching something horrific unfold on what should be a happy occasion that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Ahh, the twisted outlook of a horror fan. Anyhow, below you can read about another Easter gone wrong film and I say, the more the merrier! 


Richard Mogg, who’s become a favorite director of SRS the last few years (see “Masssage Parlor of Death”, “Teenage Slumber Party Nightmare”, “Bangin’ Vengeance”), is back, this time with his first, and possibly his best, film, “Easter Bunny Bloodbath”. The movie, which has only been available on a very limited basis so far, hatches on limited edition Blu-Ray, DVD and VHS, with a VOD option in time for Easter viewing.

Synopsis:
“1967, young Peter McKay’s sister is decapitated by an ax wielding maniac dressed as the Easter Bunny. Peter never celebrates the Easter holiday again… that is until we flash forward to present day 1987. It’s here, in an isolated cabin deep in the woods, Peter and his five friends enjoy their weekend away. It’s a nice few days of partying, beer and water slides. But something white and fuzzy lurks between the trees this holiday season. And it’s hacking, stomping, slashing and hopping its way down a bunny trail of severed limbs and bleeding bodies…”

“Easter Bunny Bloodbath” begins pre-sales this Sunday night, 3/6/16, at 7pm EST. This will be for the advance sales of the Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray/DD combo, DVD, DVD/DD combo and VHS. Digital Download (DD) codes will be sent out approx a week before Easter. Blu-Rays and DVDs are limited to just 50, and VHS limited to just 25. Also, as an added bonus, the first 25 orders in any format will get this near bonus signed (by director Richard Mogg) Press Booklet from the movie!

Grab your copies like you’re hunting for hidden colored eggs at the following links once live:

BLU-RAY & BLU-RAY/DD HERE
http://srscinema.com/home/?page_id=178&catid=10

DVD & DVD/DD HERE
http://srscinema.com/home/?page_id=178&catid=10

VHS HERE
http://srscinema.com/home/?page_id=178&catid=1

An international (IE. unlimited) DVD/VOD/DD release won’t be available until 2017, and once these copies sell out it will be completely unavailable in all formats except VOD until then.



Read More »

16mm Indie Film 'I Fall Down' Available Now on iTunes

B&W modern Gothic drama inspired by silent monster movies
 
I Fall Down poster


Edmonton, AB - Ultra low-budget indie feature "I Fall Down" hit iTunes in North America and Ireland on March 1st.

The Prairie Gothic drama was shot over two and a half years around Edmonton, Alberta. Writer/Director Christopher White harkens back to the tragic silent monster movies from cinema's golden age, like "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

"In those films, the 'monsters' are nothing more than mistreated, unloved freaks," he explains. "It's not just the imagery that I borrowed, its their humanity and the audience's empathy for these outcasts". He credits the black-and-white reversal film for defining the tone and mood of the picture. "There's a grit to the image, it pops, fizzles and it isn't perfect. You get changing shades of grey which mirror the characters' conflicts and relationships."

Starring Emma Houghton and Tom Antoni, "I Fall Down" tells the story of Annessa (Houghton), a lonely teenage girl with a troubled past, hoping to leave her life behind. After a failed suicide attempt she meets Charlie (Antoni), a disfigured, child-like man who lives alone in a woodland shack. Although their mutual loneliness draws them together, their lives begin spiralling out of control when confronted by an intolerant world and Charlie's own violent, primal nature.

The film debuted at the 2015 Macabre Faire Film Festival (Hauppauge, NY) followed by the inaugural Censured in Canada Film Festival (Toronto, ON). Critics have hailed it as a "modern Gothic story" and "an adult fairy tale", praising Houghton for her captivating performance. She earned a Best Actress nomination at the 2014 Rosie Awards Gala alongside five other nominations for the picture, including Best Cinematography (David Baron) and Best Dramatic Production.

"I Fall Down" is available now across North America and Ireland for rental $4.99/5.99 (SD/HD) and to own $9.99/$12.99 (SD/HD) on iTunes.


Be sure to follow the film on Twitter as well as its director Christopher White and visit the official website for "I Fall Down."

Read More »

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Porthos Films Release 1st Trailer for Horror Film 'Blood Money'

Porthos Films have released the first trailer for the indie feature, Blood Money.


Blood Money poster


After a botched art heist in France, a group of friends are left with a body on their hands and the gendarme hot on their trail. They hide the body and make plans to sell the painting and return home. But as they wait for the chance to escape from their secluded holiday home, they soon realize the body has gone missing. Paranoia and fear sets in and the friends begin to turn on each other. Soon it is clear there's a killer in the house and the group must figure out who is responsible before they all suffer the consequences.

This British film which we previously wrote about here, was produced by twin brothers Luke White and Ed White and with a screenplay by Emmy award winner Rosy Deacon (Shards). The film was shot over a period of two weeks on location in Normandy, France.

The film stars Ollie Barbieri ("Skins", "Anuvahood"), Klariza Clayton ("Skins," "Harry Brown"), and Scott Chambers ("Chicken," "The Hippopotamus"), as well as debut performances from Sabrina Hansen and Nicholas Bourne.

Unfortunately, the film does not currently have a release date.


For more information on the film, please visit the following:

IMDB - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4594286/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/BloodMoneyUK
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/FollowBloodMoney/


Read More »

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Get 'Alienated' this March at theaters and On Demand

The late Taylor Negron (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Last Boy Scout) stars in the “explosive” (Sonic Cinema) Alienated, invading theaters and VOD this March via Gravitas Ventures.



Alienated poster


From writer-director Brian Ackley comes an intoxicating, edge-of-the-seat science-fiction chiller tells the story of a married couple that is forced to confront their fatal relationship issues while on the brink of a possible alien abduction.

A film that “deserves the long list of accolades it has had bestowed on” (Movie Marker), Alienated has won 12 awards, including three for Best Feature, several Best Actor awards (including honors for the late Negron), and Best Director for Ackley.

Taylor Negron, George Katt (TVs Unforgettable), and Jen Burry (Deadly Affairs) star in Alienated, released in theaters* March 25 and VOD March 31.

Alienated is produced by Princeton Holt at One Way or Another productions along with co-producers Cassandra Riddick and David Vaughn, in association with Fades 2 Black Media Group.

*Exact theaters to be confirmed



Read More »

Satanic Bikers Attack as 'All Hell Breaks Loose' Arrives on DVD and Digital HD March 22, 2016

All Hell Breaks Loose In This Insane, Bloody Homage 

To 70s Biker and Horror Films
Wild Eye Hits the Gas on March 22nd with the DVD and Digital HD Release


All Hell Breaks Loose DVD cover


Wild Eye Releasing is revving up for the March 22nd DVD and Digital HD release of Jeremy Garner's All Hell Breaks Loose. Featuring Ehren McGhehey ("Jackass," "Portlandia") and Casey Vann (Grimm), "All Hell Breaks Loose" combines classic elements of exploitation cinema: bikers, Satanism and gritty action. A murdered groom tries to save his wife's soul with the help of the local sheriff, a priest, and a cowboy who just might be God.

A story of love, leather ... and brutal violence! When the Satan's Sinners, a vicious biker gang, attack a bride and groom on their wedding day, they get a fight they never imagined. Now, armed with some divine intervention and firepower, the murdered groom is out to save his wife any way he can before she is sacrificed to Satan... even if it means dying over and over again until the job is done.

The DVD release of All Hell Breaks Loose (SRP $19.95) will exclusively include a feature-length commentary with director Jeremy Garner and deleted scenes.



Read More »

Interview with Filmmaker, Sean Donohue of Gatorblade Films


About a decade ago I made one of my usual runs to the local mom and pop and picked up a haul of horror films for weekend viewing. Among them was a film called “Murder Set Pieces”. Afterwards I jumped on IMDb to chat about the movie I saw, thinking the film was disjointed. Almost instantly I received a reply that the film was cut so that Lionsgate would distribute. Fast forward to a year later, when I finally got my hands on the unrated, uncut version, and man, I realized it was brutal... a whole different film, really. I've heard other horror fans telling the same story about the time they first saw “A Serbian Film” not realizing they were stuck with the abysmal cut version. What exactly are these distributors trying to shelter us from? Horror fans want blood, guts, gore and boobs. We live for that stuff. Let the tweenie-bops watch their “Twilight” and just let us keep our real horror the way it was meant to be seen.

Talking to Sean Donohue was refreshing. Not only is he fed up with film censorship for the purpose of distribution, he’s joining a growing trend of filmmakers doing something about it. He’s self-distributing. And now he is also distributing the horror films of others. One thing he will guarantee; he will never, ever distribute a mass-marketed PG-13 chopped-up abomination. Sean is a champion of the integrity of a film the way the director intends it to be seen, and he is raising his voice loud. 


Body Count Rising:
Which best prepared you to be a director: film school, working in a video store, being an AV tech, or just the experience of directing your first film?

Sean Donohue: In some way, all of my experiences have shaped me into the director that I am today. Of these, I would say directing movies has been the best experience. I have learned more making movies than I ever did in film school.

And I learn something new from every film I work on. I think that is why I like filmmaking so much; it keeps me interested. Any other job I’ve had over the years never seems to hold my attention for very long. But hey, (laughing) I gotta pay bills like everybody else!

I really think I still could have achieved all the things I’ve done without going to film school. However, if I didn't go to film school, become an AV tech, work at a video store, etc… I may not have taken the same path, met the people that that have helped me along the way and I might not have become a film maker. So, it’s a lot of luck, a little bit of chance and mostly hard work that has gotten me to where I am.


Body Count Rising: What is the best lesson you took away from shooting “If I Can’t Have You”?

Sean Donohue: The best lesson I took away from that movie is to always be prepared for the unexpected. “If I Can’t Have You” was my first official movie and the start of my career. It was also the first time I worked with director, Chris Leto. It was a learning experience for everyone on set. Most of the people involved with that production were first timers, both in front of the camera and behind it! (laughing)

Body Count Rising:
Plus you co-directed your first films. Any thoughts on that?

Sean Donohue: I think it really is more beneficial to be the sole director on a film. As a director you have a vision, and to keep a clear approach to communicating that vision, the project should be led by a single person who is appointed to be the director of that movie.

Body Count Rising: With that in mind, would you consider co-directing again?

Sean Donohue: Co-directing is a tricky business. At the time I thought it was a good idea, but looking back, I would not do it again. No matter how “on-board” you think you are with your co-director you are never truly going to think exactly alike. That seemed to cause a lot of discussions on set, rather than moving things forward. I don't regret co-directing because I learned from it, however I won't be doing it again.

Body Count Rising: How did your ability to think on your feet allow you to overcome obstacles?

Sean Donohue: Directing movies is all "thinking on your feet". No matter how much you plan and prepare there are things that happen on set sometimes that are out of your control. I always say "Have a plan B, and a plan C, D, E and sometimes a plan F!" And yes I have made it that far down the line to make a scene happen.


Body Count Rising: You co-wrote the acid-fueled trip flick, “Franklin: A Symphony of Pain” with Richard Anasky and Jeremy Westrate. How many versions of the story occurred until the piece evolved into what we see today, and was it a longer process by writing collaboratively, or did it actually save time?

Sean Donohue:
“Franklin” was a collaborative effort to say the least, and it was not put together like your typical Hollywood-style film. We actually shot improv-style scenes without a script for almost half of the movie. Jeremy and Richard sat down and were able to carefully weave what we had already shot into a tight knit storyline that made sense and flowed.

I basically had an idea for a psychedelic movie that I wanted to be like “A Clockwork Orange” meets “Pink Floyd's The Wall”. I contacted Jeremy about the idea and asked him if he would like to be the director, he accepted and the rest is history. The main parties involved in the early creative process were Jeremy, Richard, Nicholas Franklin, Dee Dee Seruga and myself.


Body Count Rising: Not only were you one of the writers and producers of the film, but you also brought out your camera once more as 2nd Unit Director. Which parts did you film; the psychedelic acid trips or the super groovy storyline?

Sean Donohue: The scenes I am most responsible for are a Lolita-esque scene with actor, Bob Glazier and actress, Amethist Young called "The Bus Stop". I also wrote the scene we shot in a hotel room called "Skinny Cut Hotel".

Note: These scenes referred to above are among the most depraved in the film. Just like we’ve come to expect and appreciate from Sean!

Body Count Rising:
That brings me to your philosophy on PG-13 horror. Boobs and blood are a staple of the 80’s horror film, a decade that you adore. Did your distribution company evolve so that you would not need to censor your films or the films you support to get a certain rating for distribution?

Sean Donohue: The PG-13 rating is everything that is wrong with modern cinema. I’m not saying this because I need to have gore and heavy nudity in everything I see. It’s because Hollywood censors, creates or re-makes movies and then stamps on the “PG-13” just so they can appeal to the widest possible audience. Films with this mark are tailored to the status quo. As a viewer, I just feel like I am being swindled in some way. I would never make a PG-13 piece of garbage.


Body Count Rising: A huge thank you to distributors like Gatorblade for being anti-mainstream and offering indies an emancipation of sorts where you don’t need to self-censor or allow your film to be chopped to get distribution. Porn actor, Evan Stone was a refreshing surprise in “Franklin: A Symphony of Pain” and he is now appearing in your latest film “Death-Scort Service”. How did you and Evan meet?

Sean Donohue: I met Evan Stone in a restaurant while working. I saw him sitting on the patio and introduced myself. He is a really nice guy! I never had a plan to include him in “Death-Scort Service” or “Franklin” it just worked out that way. I told him what I did and asked him if he would be interested in shooting some random footage that I could splice into my films for later use. We then shot a promo video for “Franklin” called by the original working name, “Sex With Devil: Feeding the Monkey”. Additional footage I shot with Evan also made the final cuts of “Franklin” and “Death-Scort Service”.

There is also a documentary called “Composing a Symphony of Pain: The Making of Franklin” by The Lavender Handle Collective.


Jeremy and I wanted to have a company name that would be suiting for “Franklin”. I said the best way to come up with a company name would be to combine two things that have nothing to do with each other… like machetes and carpet cleaner. Jeremy looked at me and slowly said "Lavender-Handle?” I replied "That's it!" and The Lavender Handle Collective was born.

Body Count Rising: You’ve been a casting director for films that require some gorgeous women. Are you just the go-to guy when it comes to beautiful female talent?

Sean Donohue: I don't like being pegged as that, but yes, other directors in the area have hit me up about actresses for their films. I get asked a lot on how I get said actresses in my movies and how I get them to do the things that they do. My answer is always the same. I meet an actress online or sometimes in person and I just talk to them for a while, see what they are comfortable with and then I offer them a part. 


Body Count Rising: Not only did you cast and direct “Die Die Delta Pi”, but according to IMDb you had the prestigious role as “Hand Double”. (I’m getting visions of that leather-gloved hand that comes across the screen in “Boarding House”.) Can you please explain the part you played as a hand?

Sean Donohue: (Laughing) That is actually a mistake on IMDB, however I have a cameo in the film as a weight lifter. I try to do a cameo in all of my movies. It is an homage to my favorite director, Alfred Hitchcock.

Body Count Rising: And then you had FX master, Marcus Koch improvising lines as a mohawked suitor calling on one of the sorority sisters. This film must have been a blast to shoot!

Sean Donohue: “Die Die Delta Pi” was a lot of fun and grueling at the same time. It was my biggest budgeted movie and also had the biggest cast and crew I had ever worked with at the time. Shoots were long and hot. Sometimes we would shoot for 15 hours days only to be followed up by another 15 hour day only again to be followed up by a third 15 hour day! I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish with that film, and it was another learning experience to say the least! It still to this day has reached the widest audience out of all the movies I have been a part of. I Just recently got the movie streaming on Amazon Prime. I was pretty excited about that.


Body Count Rising:
Plus you’ve collaborated again in “Death-Scort Service”…

Sean Donohue: “Death-Scort Service” is an onslaught of classic gritty gore FX. I am a big fan of Italian horror and slashers from the 70's/80's and I wanted “Death-Scort Service” to be a nod to films like “New York Ripper”, “Tenebre” and “Pieces”. I don't want to give too much away, but there was a scene that we did with a baseball bat and some barbed wire that seems to be an audience favorite.

“Death-Scort Service” was a lot of fun to make. I teamed up with writer/producer Chris Woods of The Sleaze Box. And he also shares my passion for Italian horror. We joked around on set and called this our underground "Last House on the Left" because as you know, LHOTL was a teaming up of Sean Cunningham and Wes Craven. We worked well together and the actors and actresses all did a fantastic job. There is a scene (completely done on the fly) involving actress, Ashley Lynn Caputo and actor, Bob Glazier that seems to stick out with the viewers. I think it is my favorite scene in the movie.


Body Count Rising: Another success story from thinking on your feet! I love hearing it was done on the fly. I understand the majority of “Death-Scort Service” was shot in Florida, although the story is set in Las Vegas. Were you able to get in any filming or obtain footage for “Death-Scort Service” during your CES trip to Vegas, or was the film pretty much wrapped by then?

Sean Donohue: We actually bought some stock footage of Las Vegas and inner-cut it into the movie. It would have been convenient for me to shoot some exteriors on my trip but I was busy with other ventures.

Most of the movie was shot with interiors so it could have been anywhere. And honestly I don't think it is that convincing that the movie is shot in Las Vegas. That wasn't my main priority when making this movie. I wanted to concentrate more on the sleaze and gore, and that's what people will remember about it.


Body Count Rising: Your film “Death-Scort Service” will be showing April 2nd at Days of the Dead in Burbank. Where else can we find this film?

Sean Donohue: You can buy it on Amazon and anywhere that DVD's are sold. 

Body Count Rising: What’s next for you and your company, Gatorblade Films?

Sean Donohue: I don't have much free time anymore but that’s OK. Most recently Gatorblade will be releasing Nick Iway's film, “Androgynym”. I really enjoyed this film because it was just so unique. Nick is really cool too, and I hope to meet him in person one day. I just want to thank everyone that has helped me along the way. You know who you are. I am not going to name drop. Expect to see a lot from Gatorblade Films in the near future. I have a lot of projects in the works!


Keep up with Sean’s future projects on IMDb, the Gatorblade Films official website or follow him on Facebook
Read More »

Septic Man (2013) - DVD Review - Sharp Teeth Films

"He's About To Have One Crappy Day"

Septic Man DVD cover


Jack has a good if somewhat smelly life. He has a beautiful wife and a lovely home in a charming town, and if maintaining that life means occasionally being coated in goo, he s fine with that. Jack s a plumber. A good one. And so when his town is stricken by a contaminated water crisis, it s down to Jack to find and solve the problem while the residents are evacuated to cleaner pastures.

But things don t go as planned. Sure, Jack finds the source of the problem deep in a long forgotten sewage treatment holding tank, but he s not alone in the plant and the unfriendly denizens trap him within the fetid tank with no food or clean water. And so begins a lengthy and repulsive transformation.


Septic Man screen shot


The opening of this movie is pure gross-out, if you have issues with vomit or bowel movements you may want to avoid eating your dinner around the time of watching. The movie itself is very sleek looking, great lighting work and excellent direction, this in itself takes what appears on the outset to look like your average Troma movie and raises the bar. I admit when I first got this movie to review I was expecting a modern-day Toxic Avenger, instead what I got was a movie that was more intelligent and slick than I originally gave it credit for.


Septic Man screen shot


The acting performances are surprisingly good and so are the make-up effects, the sound effects are the hidden gem within this movie, there is a particular scene which involves "teeth sharpening" the sound of which sent shivers down my spine. Yes the movie does have it's fair share of gross-out moments (well what do you expect from a movie called Septic Man), but it has a charm of it's own too. I have seen many reviews over the internet raving about this movie, saying how great it was and I can see what they mean. This movie is a cult classic waiting to happen, and once the audience discovers it I feel it will take off big time.


Septic Man screen shot

Septic Man is available now from Sharp Teeth Films in the UK. Sadly the DVD itself is a barebones release with only trailers for other releases on the disc itself. The presentation of the movie however is perfectly acceptable for a DVD release. As the DVD is in PAL format for the UK audience there is no signs of picture jitter (which can happen when an NTSC or FILM source gets encoded to PAL format), it's a smooth ride throughout. Audio is clear and sharp (especially the teeth sharpening noise *shudder*) and it is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen. All in all a beautiful image from Sharp Teeth Films. The only lacking is the extras.

Overall Rating: 3/5


Read More »

You're Killing Me! (2015) - Movie Review - Wolfe Video

#YouDontNeedIceForChardonnay

You're Killing Me cover


An intriguing mix of horror and romantic comedy, You're Killing Me demonstrates what happens when George, a narcissistic wannabe internet star, meets Joe, a monotone serial killer. George catches Joe's attention and they immediately begin dating. While all of George's friends agree that Joe seems a bit strange, George claims his new beau "isn't scary, he's gorgeous."

As George's friends start to disappear, the remaining group decides to take matters into their own hands.


You're Killing Me still image


I was looking forward to seeing this movie and I was not disappointed at all! Let me start off by saying that this movie is absolutely frickin' hilarious! The dialogue and humour is on point throughout, I laughed out loud many many times during this movie (at intentional points obviously). It's hard for me to write a review for a movie that I loved so much because you don't want to appear over eager, but this movie totally made my night.

This is a gay-themed horror comedy, I have seen many over the years being a gay man myself, but this one stands head and shoulders above any of the others. The wit and the actual tension at times is flawless. I identified mainly with the character of Barnes (who I might add I may have developed an extreme crush on but moving on), a quick witted says what he thinks guy. I also have had the same exact discussion about Sister Act 2 with my close friends so I feel his pain in that particular scene.

The true star of this piece tho is the wonderful, puppy-eyed, you just wanna cuddle him, Matthew McKelligon who plays our killer. Matthew has all the charm and good looks of a young Norman Bates in this role, there is even a few nods to Norman sprinkled throughout the script including an interest in Taxidermy,
He keeps the character fresh, unique and darkly humourous throughout and it was a pleasure to see.


You're Killing Me still image


The movie itself was penned by Jeffrey Self who plays George in the movie, and I have to say, I adore this guys dark humour that is so perfectly applied to this movie. Jim Hansen the director of this piece also does a superb job, the movie looks beautiful, especially with the quick flashes during murder and imagination scenes.

The other characters in this movie slot very nicely into their respected roles and no-one is a bit player, every single one of them has their own wit and style that was portrayed perfectly. As you can tell I really really enjoyed this movie and there is many reasons why, unfortunately I cannot tell you what they are in full as I don't want to spoil any surprises. I highly recommend you all search this one out, it's fun, it's creepy and has some of the most lovvable characters I have ever seen in a movie. I will be buying this myself on day of release, make sure you do too!

You're Killing Me is available on VOD and DVD on March 8th, and don't forget #YouDontNeedIceForChardonnay.

Rating: No surprise here 5/5!
Read More »

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Haunting in Cawdor (2015) - Film Review - Uncork'd Entertainment

Run by a failed Broadway director a Midwest work release program which rehabilitates young offenders as an alternative to jail puts a group of  teens through the mill when a pesky curse is played out.

A Haunting in Cawdor


To cut a long story short director/writer Phil Wurtzel’s Haunting in Cawdor is a rework of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with a ‘Venus in Fur’ touch about it. Now some horror fans reading this maybe be thing ‘eh, what?’ That’s because Friel Films’ Haunting in Cawdor is not a horror film per say, it’s more of a thriller with the associated Scottish curse, speaking the name Macbeth inside a theatre which will cause disaster.

The budget is clearly small, the camera work is crisp and the goings on are centred on one interesting and fitting location. Any work based on Shakespearian play is, as you might expect dialogue driven leaving the special effects waiting in the wing. Wurtzel clearly loves the source material. Pouting, innocent eyed beauty Shelby Young plays the deeply disturbed Vivian faultlessly. The acting is theatrical and fits its offbeat tone which suits Cary Elwes’ (secretive Lawrence O’Neil) acting prowess perfectly.

Haunting in Cawdor panders to the Twilight generation of teen angst but also covers suffering and graver abuse issues. Incidentally, Twilight star Michael Welch appears as rouge Roddy. As the curse increasingly starts to look like a reality there’s some jump scares, smidgens of blood and dream-like visions but generally it’s jammed with teen summer camp-tropes and Elwes pensively looking over his glasses. 

It’s a wordy, low budget character piece with at best creepy theatre shenanigans, dressing rooms and running through the rain. Don’t expect 100 minutes shock and terror and you may ‘break a leg’ finding some teen cinema charm in Cawdor.

Rating: 2 / 5


Read More »

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Flesh for the Inferno (2015) - DVD Review - MVD Entertainment Group

These Nuns Have a Little Bit of the Devil Hiding Under Their Habits


Flesh for the Inferno DVD cover


Released by: MVD Entertainment Group
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Production Year: 2015
Region Code: A
Running Time: 1:16:54
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Video: NTSC Anamorphic Widescreen
Subtitles: None Flesh for the Inferno screen shot

 THE FILM - [ 2.5 / 5 ]:

At a local Catholic school, the nuns have noticed that the priest is doing more than just leading his students in prayer. Not content to stand idly by as evil walks their halls, the Sisters decide to take action. Confronted by the nuns about his wicked ways, the priest retaliates. For defying him, the Father takes the Sisters hostage and bricks them into the walls of the school's basement. The sadistic and fatal punishment shakes the faith of the women, forcing them to renounce their holy vows in the moments before their demise. How could they continue to believe in a power that would allow them to suffer such a fate when they were merely trying to do what's right? 

Decades later, the school is now vacated and in a state of disrepair. Selected by the community as a building marked for urban renewal, a neighborhood youth group has volunteered their afternoon to come clean up the premises and prepare it for construction. However, when the motley crew accidentally uncovers the blasphemous tomb in the basement, the nuns return...and Hell follows. Trapped inside the building, the members of the youth group fight for their lives to flee the wronged nuns, who now lurk the halls as damned Sisters of perdition. All the while, the school itself starts twisting and distorting, becoming a mad nightmare that just may prove to be a gateway to a world beyond. With blood on their hands and revenge on their minds, the nuns won't stop until they have...FLESH FOR THE INFERNO!

"Flesh for the Inferno" was made in 2015 by Scorpio Film Releasing and you can learn more about them via Facebook and Twitter. It is a low budget indie film but don't let that scare you off. The film is better than most similar fare. No, you don't see the credits filled with big name cast or crew members but it is still a quality film. The film gives us some nuns who are hellbent after a deadly betrayal. This isn't a nunsploitation type film though as you won't find any voluptuous nuns busting out of their clothes. There are some pretty ladies in the film though so all is not lost. Just don't expect to see much skin. In its place we do have an assortment of blood, guts, Fulci-inspired eye gouging (via the crew commentary) and more to keep the viewers entertained. Along with a 76 minute run time, we have a film that moves along at a good pace.


I liked the way we get a little bit of information on the soon to be endangered youth shortly in to the film as they get to know one another after arriving at the derelict school. While it may not be an abundance of background on each character, it's something and in a genre of cannon fodder characters, I appreciated the effort. "Flesh for the Inferno" features some good quality practical effects as well. Early on in the film there was a bad CGI effect and I immediately said "ugh" aloud fully expecting the worst. Now the immediate practical effect didn't impress me a whole lot either but I was still reeling from the CGI. Thankfully the practical effects got better and were quite enjoyable.  
Flesh for the Inferno screen shot
AUDIO - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

This DVD comes with an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. Despite being a low budget independent film, I found the audio quality to be fairly impressive. Sound levels remain consistent throughout the film and it is fairly well balanced. I did not have any trouble hearing the dialogue as it was clear. The music and sound effects were represented well also. I particularly enjoyed the music that plays during the films title and opening credits. 

Flesh for the Inferno screen shot
VIDEO - [ 3.5 / 5 ]:

"Flesh for the Inferno" comes to DVD thanks to MVD Entertainment Group. The film is in the NTSC format with a 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio. The video quality is very good however it was processed to give it a film-like appearance with occasional white specks and some digital noise to appear like film grain. This is not to the degree of "Planet Terror" though, instead being very slight. At least one special lens was used as well, which is mentioned in the crew commentary, that helped to diffuse the picture. So while it still looks like a recently made movie, it does have a vague feeling of an older film. Color-wise, they look good and at times remind me of what the color of most 70's films look like as in slightly drab. At other times, as in the case of Claudette's outfit, 
some colors are quite strong. Skin tones and the black levels looked alright as well.  

Flesh for the Inferno screen shot
SPECIAL FEATURES - [ 2.5 / 5 ]:

Crew Commentary - The participants for this track are director/editor Richard Griffin, writer Michael Varrati, assistant director Mark Hutchinson and producer Ted Marr. One of the first things mentioned is that the film was shot at the brisk pace of nine days. A fair amount of the conversation is scene related as the cast, characters and crew members are mentioned. Listeners are able to learn a lot about the production of the film including some talk about effects, equipment, script, and locations. This was both an informative and fun commentary. 


Cast Commentary -  Director/editor Richard Griffin is joined by stars Jamie Dufault, Anna Rizzo and Jamie Lyn Bagley. Mr. Griffin sort of serves as moderator for this track asking the stars how the became involved in the film. He is definitely the dominant voice for this track which is kind of unfortunate only because it would have been nice to hear more from the actors other than comments or replies here and there. 

Trailer (1:22)

Flesh for the Inferno screen shot
IN CONCLUSION:

A fun indie horror film with some good looking practical effects and blood. The DVD features above average audio and video and includes a pair of commentary tracks. If you are a fan of indie horror, I'd suggest giving this one a spin.

OVERALL RATING - [ 3 / 5 ]

Flesh for the Inferno screen shot


 

Read More »