Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. This week we have a bunch of brand new horrors to enjoy. But first…
Just in case you missed it, I interviewed Oded Fehr about his new film SUPER HYBRID and reviewed the film hereearlier this week!
Lyzard also interviewed Glenn Duncan about his book THE LAST WEREWOLF and reviewed the book here under the AICN HORROR banner!
In the too creepy not to mention category, I got this email alerting me to the availability of this Andre the Giant mask. Not really horror per se, but it is damn creepy. Click on the image to the right and if you’re interested you can find out more about how to become your own 8th Wonder of the World this Halloween on the SikRik Masks website!
We’ve got some new poster art for some upcoming features on AICN HORROR. Here’s a poster for ZOMBIE DIARIES 2: WORLD OF THE DEAD and HELLRAISER: REVELATIONS (Both available on VOD on Sept 1 and in select theaters Sept 2nd!). Look for reviews of these two films soon on AICN HORROR!
And now, on with the new horror!
(Click title to go directly to the feature)
I SOLD MY SOUL TO SATAN (2010)
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON (2010)
THE CALLER (2011)
And finally…dooby-dooby doo!
New on DVD from Chemical Burn Entertainment
Advance Review: I SOLD MY SOUL TO SATAN (2010)Directed by David Gaz & Alex Vazart
Written by Michael Albanese, Kevin Poore & David Gaz (creator)
Starring Kai Blackwood, Jymie Darling and Father Mike
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
I usually hate reality shows. They represent the lowest form of entertainment to me. I’m sure there is some one out there with a passion for the shows who hates horror, so I guess that makes the whole world even. I guess I’m lying a bit, I do love GHOST HUNTERS and the paranormal shows like it, so I guess there are a few reality shows I can stand. Not necessarily a reality show, per se, I SOLD MY SOUL TO THE DEVIL could very well be one if a few tweaks were made to it. The show is a documentary featuring sad creatures that are willing to give up their very soul in order to attain success. Now there are those who would say that if you have to give up your soul to be successful, there really isn’t much talent in you in the first place. Then again, we do live in the day and age of noncelebrities who do nothing but flash their beaver and plop out a litter of kids to be called stars, so someone selling their soul to be a star isn’t something too out of the ordinary. I’m contradicting myself left and right today in this review…
Turns out, I SOLD MY SOUL TO SATAN is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a while. Following personable yet somewhat reprehensive sad sack Kai Blackwood, a singer in a metal band who is nearing forty and never attained the fame he wanted, the film follows him every step of the way as he consults an occult expert (a somewhat creepy yet very educated Jymie Darling) on how to do this soul-selling correctly.
Following Kai through this elaborate process was engrossing and as the day of the ritual approaches, directors David Gaz and Alex Vazart amp up the intensity culminating in a nighttime black arts ceremony. More of a comment on the sad state of our times and how everyone wants to be a superstar, I SOLD MY SOUL TO SATAN is a frightening documentary, more because of the people who are lining up to do the deed than the dark arts practiced in the rituals. This is a fantastic genre documentary that should be sought out with a nice ending that will leave you questioning whether the ritual was a success or not.
Advance Review: CLOSED FOR THE SEASON (2010)Directed by Jay Woelfel
Written by Jay Woelfel
Starring Aimee Brooks, Damian Maffei, Joe Unger
Find out when and where you can see this film via its Facebook Page!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON has a great deal of things going for it: creepy locale, creepy carnie caretaker, creepy monsters creeping around the surrounding woods. There’s a lot to like in this film and if anyone has ever been to one of the carnivals featured in this film, you know there’s an air of danger that lingers about it that is palpable to all who enter. Though the smiles on the clowns are big and red, there’s something disturbing going on behind it. And though the rides are sure to be secure, all it would take would be one loose bolt and catastrophe occurs! CLOSED FOR THE SEASON understands this air of terror and takes advantage of it in its occasionally confusing story.
While watching this film, all I could think about was CARNIVAL OF SOULS. Though not a remake, the dream within a dream-like atmosphere permeates the entire story. Most of the time writer/director Jay Woelfel does a good job of keeping the reader along for the ride, but occasionally this rollercoaster of a film skids off the tracks and becomes somewhat repetitive when it comes to the onion layers of reality it peels away. There are a lot of moments where someone wakes from a dream and even more moments of two of the same people talking and talking and trying to figure out this predicament they find themselves in. These are necessary, but the scenes become a bit tedious after a while.
Character actor Jon Unger does a great job hamming it up at the evil yet whimsical carnie who appears in different clown get-ups throughout the film. I remember the actor from LEATHERFACE: TCM3 (one of my favorites), but he’s instantly recognizable and offers up a lot of good to this film. In the end, it has a lot of good ideas with a somewhat decent execution. Nice use of atmosphere and some fun performances make up for some lulls and repetitious moments in story.
Advance Review: INCIDENT (2011)AKA INCIDENTE
Directed by Mariano Cattaneo
Written by Mariano Cattaneo
Starring Ezio Massa, Daniel de la Vega, Simon Ratziel, Galit Gurovich, Melisa Fernandez, Dany Casco & Andrés Borghi
Find out when and where to see this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
When INCIDENT begins you can’t help but think of REC, and in fact, it turns out to be a lot like that film the longer it goes, with one distinction. Whereas that film had a plucky protagonist screaming through the hallways and stairwells of a singular apartment running from possessed rabies infected monsters, INCIDENT is a much more elaborate film which has its own accomplishments and pitfalls utilizing a similar first person POV storytelling device. I’m a fan of these types of films, but after sitting through this type of film for the hundredth time, I can’t help but be a bit weary when I see the old shaky cam used yet again.
INCIDENT starts out in a truly effective and ominous scene as a police inspector says that what we are about to see if real footage, uncut, as it happened. The sincerity and fear in this man’s voice add a lot to the tension of the film as we cut to a series of silent security cams detailing a murderous rampage of one man as he kills an entire factory full of workers one by one. This scene plays out in real time, switching from one camera to the next, following one creepy man filled with blood lust. The final scene as the murderer walks across the screen followed by what appears to be an unearthly black shadow is nightmarish and absolutely terrifying.
Cut to some time later, and a television team returns to the scene of the crime with a reporter, a crew, and a spiritualist. Soon everything goes to hell again with folks becoming possessed by evil spirits unsettled by the spiritualist. What differentiates INCIDENT from REC, though, is that INCIDENT is more realistic. There is no reporter narrating the events as they go down. The cameraman gets separated from the group and a lot of the film is his harrowing journey through the labyrinthine corridors of this factory building, never knowing if he’s going to run into a possessed person. Much of the film is without dialog and though it might make for a difficult time viewing, a lot of the times, it seems the cameraman forgets he’s holding a camera and just balls-out runs from these creatures in real fear. Again, although this doesn’t make for the most clear shots, it’s a much more realistic take on this genre than the camera work often seen in these films set to capture the events as they go down.
Another check in the plus category for INCIDENT is that the possessed are truly gruesome looking and are less the infected REC/28 DAYS LATER variety monster and more so an homage to the looks of the EVIL DEAD with seemingly burned eyes and clear irises being their main trait. INCIDENT is a brutal and graphic found footage film that packs a lot of scares. Though not wholly original, there are enough surprises to make it stand out in the found footage sub-genre.
Advance Review: MORITURIS (2011)Directed by Raffaele Picchio
Written by Tiziano Martella & Raffaele Picchio (story), Gianluigi Perrone (screenplay)
Starring Valentina D'Andrea, Andrea De Bruyn, Désirée Giorgetti, Francesco Malcom, Giuseppe Nitti, & Simone Ripanti
Find out when and where you can see this on the film’s website and Facebook page!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Man, the premise of this one had me at “hello.” Gladiator zombies rise to inflict brutal death to a group of party-goers who stumble upon their burial grounds. Plus is an Italian horror film, none-the-fucking-less! Italian zombies! A new Italian zombie film and this time they are gladiator zombies? Hellz yes!
The opening credits of MORITURIS didn’t fail to impress, either, as a comic book-like rendition of the gladiatorial games with seemingly genuine old Roman music crashing and blaring in the background (click on the website her for a sample). I loved every gory second of it. The narrative slows a bit for a good portion of the film, though, as five party-goers make their way to a rave in the woods. Director Raffaele Picchio shows a lot of patience here as he lets these kids babble on for quite some time about seemingly nothing. But Picchio has something up his sleeve in this seemingly banal opener. I don’t want to give it away, but at about the 30 minute mark this becomes a movie I wasn’t expecting to see. This isn’t a bad thing, but some may be put off by the brutality of what transpired here. Again, I’m struggling not to reveal much, because this is an effective film, though some might become frustrated waiting to see gladiators who don’t show up until well into the latter half of the movie. That’s not to say that there isn’t some extremely brutal and twisted stuff going on until then, but there isn’t a zombie gladiator to be seen for a long portion of the film.
But when the zombie gladiators do attack, whoa nelly! Picchio takes full advantage of the gladiators’ arsenal of weapons to do away with the partygoers in brutal and sadistic fashion. Though one might wonder how these gladiators ever killed anything at the slow rate they move, they do prove to be formidable and evil bastards when they do catch up to their prey. It’s a face splattering, spear gouging, cat-o-nine-tails whipping, sword slashing, crucifyingly good time.
MORITURIS is definitely not what you expect. I’ll leave it at that. But in the end, it offers what you want out of a film about gladiator zombies: brutal kills and evil people. The less known about MORITURIS the better before going into it, but once in, gore and horror fans are not going to want this film to end!
In select theaters today!
THE CALLER (2011)Directed by Matthew Parkhill
Written by Sergio Casci
Starring Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Luis Guzmán, Ed Quinn & Lorna Reaver
For more information on this film, visit the website!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Let me pull on my old man pants for a second…
With the advent of ringtones and vibrate settings, I think the idea of how startling a telephone ring really is might be lost on today’s iPhone generation. It used to be pretty damn scary when dead silence was broken by the jangling clang of a rotary phone. THE CALLER takes full advantage of that jolt, one of many things the film does right.
Set in beautiful Puerto Rico, the story is about a woman getting out of an abusive marriage named Mary Kee (played by TWILIGHT’s Rachelle Lefevre) who moves into a new apartment to find a rotary phone already plugged in and functional. She thinks nothing of it until she starts receiving strange phone calls from a woman named Rose who seems confused at first, as she believes her boyfriend lives in the apartment. Mary writes the call off as a crank or a confused old lady until the phone calls persist and the person on the other line insists that her boyfriend lives in the apartment. Turns out Rose is calling from a different time--1979 to be exact. It also turns out Rose is pretty bent. What begins as a bonding period between two women wronged by men becomes an abusive relationship itself as Rose threatens Mary from across time. One wouldn’t think a call from the past would be dangerous, but when Rose is willing to rub out people from Mary’s current existence and alter history, it turns out she can do a lot of damage. What transpires is a cat and mouse game over the telephone with Mary trying to gain control of her life once again, this time from an obsessive caller willing to kill to be heard.
Though the plot involves time travel, director Matthew Parkhill and writer Sergio Casci do a great job of trimming away all of the unnecessary sci fi laden fat that usually makes my head ache when I watch stories involving time. But the filmmakers know their audience and trust them to know enough about this stuff to understand it all without lengthy explanations. In fact, how the phone is able to pick up calls from the past is never explained. It just is. And I love that. Way too many horror films go into too much detail as to the reasoning behind their films (see CLOSED FOR THE SEASON above, for an example). THE CALLER just is. And what it is is horrifying.
Constructed at a Hitchcockian level of suspense and skill, THE CALLER is like watching a pot of water, perched precariously over one’s head, slowly boiling over and you can’t do a damn thing about it. The film hits the ground running and never stops ratcheting up the chills until the very last second, though it takes its time to patiently allow us to get to know such rich characters as Stephen Moyer’s gentle turn as Mary’s new suitor, Ed Quinn’s ferocious ex lover, and the irreplaceable Luis Guzman as Mary’s landlord and close friend. The other member of the cast is Puerto Rico itself, which provides a unique backdrop for a horror film with it’s rich spiritual history and ageless streets and culture.
THE CALLER is a fantastic achievement in old school scares with none of the glossy bells and safe whistles you see in a typical Hollywood horror thriller, but plenty of terrifying rings. THE CALLER opens in select theaters today!
And finally…speaking of creepy calls, this commercial always creeped me out. And not just because it’s for Bud Ice…
See ya, next week, folks!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Mark is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and will be releasing FAMOUS MONSTERS first ever comic book miniseries LUNA in October (co-written by Martin Fisher with art by Tim Rees)! Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!
Check out NANNY & HANK’s Facebook Page
Check out THE DEATHSPORT GAMES’ Facebook Page
Looking for obscure, foreign, or hard to find DVDs & BluRays? Check out AH Digital: the source for international cinema!
Find more AICN HORROR including an archive of previous columns on AICN HORROR’s Facebook page!