Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. As I mingle like a zombie with the masses of SDCC this week, I made sure not to forget about this column. Last night we did a horror panel entitled “Reinventing Horror” and a ton of folks showed up to watch PROXY director Zack Parker, Black Mask publisher Matt Pizzolo, superstar comic writers Joshua Hale Fialkov and Brandon Seifert, and little old me talk about all things horror. I tried to get the whole thing filmed to share with everyone, but wasn’t able to do so in time. But there was one guy in the audience who was video taping the whole thing. If you are that guy and have the video, please contact me here so I can possibly post the panel on AICN some time soon. Hopefully, my plea will bear fruit and I’ll be able to share the awesome time that seemed to be had by attendees and panelists alike.
This week be on the lookout for two crazy stalkers, two horrific houses, a gaggle of zombie cheerleaders, more TWILIGHT ZONE episodes, and one hot werewolf! On with the horror reviews!
(Click title to go directly to the feature)
The Boo Tube: THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season 3 Episodes 7-12 (1961)
Retro-review: GINGER SNAPS (2000)
KILL THAT BITCH (2014)
HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (2014)
THE PERFECT HOUSE (2012)
COME BACK TO ME (2014)
ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2013)
And finally…Mitch Cohen’s SUPER-ZERO!
Collecting the entire series in a new Collector’s Box Set on DVD from Image Entertainment!
THE TWILIGHT ZONE SEASON THREE (1961)Episodes 7-12
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug
With the release of the Complete Season Collector’s Box Set of TWILIGHT ZONE on DVD from Image Entertainment a few months ago, I’ve been celebrating by checking out each episode and tossing out my two cents on a semi-weekly basis. Now that I’m also looking back at the MONSTERS TV series, which was just released in a swanky box set, I’ll be switching back and forth between the two series on a bi-weekly basis to cover both over the next few months. Image Entertainment is also releasing THE TWILIGHT ZONE ESSENTIAL EPISODES, covering all of the best episodes of the series including “Time Enough at Last,” “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” “To Serve Man,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and more! You can pick up the this collection by clicking this link here!
Now, let’s continue with THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season Three…
Episode 3.7: The Grave
Directed by Montgomery Pittman
Written by Montgomery Pittman
Starring Lee Marvin, James Best, Strother Martin, Elen Willard, Lee Van Cleef
Most of the time, when you come across a Western TWILIGHT ZONE story it’s going to be a winner as Serling seemed to have a soft spot for the genre given the amount of times he returned to it. This can’t be more exemplified than with “The Grave”, which features so much in so little time that you’re going to check your watch to see if it really is only a half hour episode. Here, Lee Marvin plays a lawman named Conny Miller who misses the opportunity to take down a dastardly varmint known as Pinto Sykes (great name, BTW). When the town does his job for him, in order to save face Miller accepts a challenge to go out into the windy night and place a dagger in Pinto’s grave. But before passing on, Pinto vowed to reach out of his grave and drag Miller into it if he gets too close, so the stakes are pretty high. James Best (better known as Roscoe P. Coltrane from THE DUKES OF HAZZARD) and Lee Van Cleef himself play scoundrels betting Miller he can’t do it. This one’s got a cast you won’t believe and is filled with performances that outdo ten other full length films. It’s also got a damn scary twist ending, making this one of the best of the week and one no TZ fan should miss.
Episode 3.8: It's a Good Life
Directed by James Sheldon
Written by Rod Serling, based on a story by Jerome Bixby
Starring Bill Mumy, John Larch, Cloris Leachman, Alice Frost, Don Keefer
I was only familiar with this episode from the TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE entry, so seeing LOST IN SPACE’s Bill Mumy as the creepy kid with the powers of a god was a lot of fun. Cloris Leachman and John Larch play two of many fearful folks who have to deal with the testy tot who plays with lives and souls as if they were toys. This one is a terrifying little tale, set up perfectly by Serling in the opening minutes. While I love the cartoon insanity that the film goes into, this less effects-heavy episode is just as effective and Mumy’s impish glare will give you the creeps for sure.
Episode 3.9: Death's Head Revisited
Directed by Don Medford
Written by Rod Serling
Starring Oscar Beregi, Joseph Schildkraut
While I don’t want to minimize the heft and weight of the Holocaust, nothing kills the mood like someone on a soapbox and in this episode, instead of putting a former Nazi commander through any kind of torture we can see as he returns to the concentration camp years after the war, has him inundated with an onslaught of words and preachings. Yes, the whole thing was horrible, but most likely because of budget, none of it is seen here. Some ghostly images of Jewish prisoners do some good and Oscar Beregi does a great job of looking tormented, but it’s not scary or interesting to be talked to and told things. Show don’t tell is the rule broken with this episode, and as Serling is oft to do, most of the time in cases like this when the focus is on the pointlessness of war, Serling chooses to lecture and end the piece with even more over-explanation. Had he left the story to resonate on its own it would’ve been somewhat more redeeming, but to have it told to us that this story is important kind of kills all momentum it tries to make.
Episode 3.10: The Midnight Sun
Directed by Anton Leader
Written by Rod Serling
Starring Lois Nettleton, Betty Garde, Tom Reese, William Keene, Jason Wingreen
Now this was a fun episode. Watching Lois Nettleton get frantic over the sun’s approach towards the earth and the temperature rise and rise as the episode boils over the top was a treat from start to finish. Add some fun mass panic from everyone else in the episode and you’ve got a half hour of tension of the highest kind. This being THE TWILIGHT ZONE, of course there’s a twist ending, but even that is a classic one. This is the kind of down to earth sci fi tale that TZ was so good at, and it’s one of the better sci fi episodes of the season as it doesn’t resort to hokey science or goofy effects to work--just solid frantic acting.
Episode 3.11: Still Valley
Directed by James Sheldon
Written by Rod Serling, based on a story by Manley Wade Wellman
Starring Gary Merrill, Ben Cooper, Vaughn Taylor, Jack Mann
Another wartime tale, this one set during the Civil War, as a Confederate soldier attempts to track down a lost battalion to a small valley town and finds a wizard with a book of witchcraft instead. The lost battalion is frozen in their tracks, unable to move due to the geezer’s spell. The soldier is faced with a dilemma: win the war and sell his soul to the devil or take his chances against a growing army of Yankees. The story plays like a double-edged symphony as the Confederates must decide to fight on their own or with the devil on their side. The decision affects the outcome of the war itself. I guess since this one was set in a more historical time, a time further in the past, Serling didn’t feel the need to pontificate about his views against war. Instead he makes the tide of war determined by a crisis of conscience of one man and makes a much stronger episode because of that storytelling decision. The frozen army is a very unsettling sight, and both Gary Merrill and Ben Cooper offer up convincing performances.
Episode 3.12: The Jungle
Directed by William Claxton
Written by Charles Beaumont
Starring John Dehner, Walter Brooke, Emily McLaughlin, Jay Adler, Jay Overholts, Hugh Sanders
This simple but effective little tale about superstition is made so by Charles Beaumont’s always sharp dialog and understanding of just how much to pepper in at the beginning to cause an overall sense of unease. A wealthy businessman shuns the advice of his wife, who keeps African witch doctor items like a vulture’s claw, a human finger and such in order to ward off evil spirits which do not like their land to be plumbed by big businesses from other countries. When the businessman burns the protective totems, he begins to feel the predatory stare of the jungle creep into the concrete buildings and streets in the city. This is a patient episode that definitely amps the tension inch by inch until the final moments. Beaumont writes a pretty perfect thriller here with an ending that’ll definitely leave a mark.
In two weeks we continue into the third season. See you next week with more MONSTERS Season Three episodes!
Season 1: Episodes 1.1-1.6, 1.7-1.12, 1.13-1.18, 1.19-1.24, 1.25-1.30, 1.31-1.36
Season 2: Episodes 2.1-2.6, 2.7-2.12, 2.13-2.18, 2.19-2.24, 2.25-2.29
Season 3: Episodes 3.1-3.6
Season 4: Episodes 4.1-4.5, 4.5-4.8, 4.9-4.13, 4.14-4.18
Season 5: Episodes 5.1-5.7, 5.8-5.14, 5.15-5.21, 5.22-5.28, 5.29-5.36
Retro-review: New this week on BluRay from The Shout Factory!
GINGER SNAPS (2000)Directed by John Fawcett
Written by Karen Walton & John Fawcett
Starring Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, Peter Keleghan, Christopher Redman, Jimmy MacInnis
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug
A great modern werewolf story is pretty elusive. Sure, some say DOG SOLDIERS is worthy of the title, and there are a smattering of indie werewolf gems that have come out of their dens for a bite, but duds like CURSED sort of shot a silver bullet into the hopes that something big budget and wolfen would come out, despite the fact that they have been used as bare-chested fodder in the TWILIGHT and UNDERWORLD series. It’s sad to think that the last great werewolf film is showing up as a retro-review from 2000, but here GINGER SNAPS is. While I understand why DOG SOLDIERS gets a lot of acclaim, I prefer the sexy wolfyness of GINGER SNAPS any old day.
The film focuses on a pair of high school outcast sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins), who among their many eccentricities like to obsess about how they plan on killing themselves by the age of 16. Stuck in a suburban lifestyle, the girls encounter a monster of some sort in the woods behind their home and Ginger is clawed badly by the beast, which is later smashed into bits by a passing car. Miraculously, Ginger heals and becomes overly sexual in school, which is a-ok with the boys at school, but weirding Brigitte out. Ginger’s mother (Mimi Rogers) thinks this shift in mood is Ginger finally getting her period, but Brigitte thinks it’s something more lycanthropey going on.
Lycanthropy is often used as a metaphor for man’s animalistic side--the id let loose with nothing holding it back. Sure sex has always been a part of that, but when it’s shifted to a woman getting bitten by a wolf, it makes things a bit more complex. In GINGER SNAPS, the wolf becomes more of a metaphor for the changes a young woman goes through in puberty and delves into the edginess and mood swings a woman experiences during PMS and the monthly menstruation period. In doing so, GINGER SNAPS becomes much more layered than your average werewolf film thematically, and seeing Ginger and Brigitte deal with the werewolfism can be seen as a metaphor for the way they deal with the changes young girls go through as they become young women.
But aside from the Freud-ism, GINGER SNAPS is an entertaining film to boot. Taking a page from HEATHERS, the focus on teenage suicide and adolescent angst as seen through a blackly humorous lens is prevalent throughout the film. Ginger and Brigitte do not want to grow up and vow to kill themselves before they do so. When one of them is bitten and begins to act in a more “adult” fashion, it begins to stretch the bond of the two girls to its limits. This is some fun drama to see while following a pretty typical werewolf transformation story--that being someone is bitten and then spends the rest of the film dealing with the transformation from human into werewolf. The richness of theme is what sets apart a good werewolf from the rest of the pack, and GINGER SNAPS is full of it.
Another thing that makes GINGER SNAPS special is the transformation Ginger goes through. While hirsute women are some guys’ thing, I prefer the less hairy the better. That said, the filmmakers and specifically the fx folks behind the film have crafted a way of accentuating the sexuality of the film without giving Ginger a man beard. Sure she deals with hairy legs, but for the most part, Isabelle retains her sexiness all through her transformation…save for the worm-like tail growing out of her spine. Now that’s pretty bizarre. The final transformation, which looks to be a giant puppet, is most effective the less you see it and director John Fawcett seems to know this as he keeps things tight and choppy whenever we see it, never really showing it full on. While this is most likely due to making the thing look as scary as possible by obscuring what we see, it’s more likely due to the fact that it probably didn’t look too impressive in full light.
There are signs throughout that Isabelle was bound to be a star of some sort and as she has grown to Scream Queen status, GINGER SNAPS serves as one of the first horror films of note she appears in. Isabelle oozes sensuality as she transforms and makes every scene she’s in hard to look away. With a textured story, some fun gory effects, and a wicked sense of humor, GINGER SNAPS wins hands and paws down as the best werewolf film of the 2000s. Debate it if you will in the talkbacks, but for me, this is the one.
Available now from Dustin Wade Mills Productions!
KILL THAT BITCH (2014)Directed by Dustin Wade Mills
Written by Dustin Wade Mills
Starring Bloodcountess Bathory, Jessica Cook, Josh Eal, Elysia S. Gipson, Haley Madison, Mandi Monroe, Dave Parker, Erin R. Ryan, & Brandon Salkil as The Killer!
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
KILL THAT BITCH is a film that feels as if it were boiled down to its basic elements. Clocking in at just a bit over an hour, the story follows a man in a plague mask tracking down and torturing a group of women. But the film opens mid-story as these women seem to have survived one encounter with the madman before. As the plague masked madman calls each of the women, leaving texts and images of torture and threats, he whittles down their number to just one. And then the credits roll.
But that’s where the film truly begins. After the false ending, the film shows its cards and the reveal is a bit of a doozy. It turns the entire film on its ass and gives a brand new perspective to what is originally perceived as a torture/slasher flick. In doing so, the film switches subgenres completely and forces us to shift our expectations and perspective, making it all the more fun.
This is a gory and sleazy film. Not only is the violence towards women intense, but it happens over and over again. But like the grindhouse films of old, this is a good old “girls fight back against the killer” flick, so these gals give their lumps as much as they take them. Still, the gore may offend and disgust those who are used to clean mainstream horror these days. There’s also a whole lotta nudity in this one for no real reason. For the most part, every woman in this film is in some form of undress at one point or another here. Misogyny? Sure. But what do you expect from a film called KILL THAT BITCH?
KILL THAT BITCH is a film that bends and twists expectations, shifting perspectives and turning out to be much more than what is expected by the very end. While some of the acting is spotty and the sound has its moments of mumblitude, there is a sophistication to the storytelling by filmmaker Dustin Wade Mills that cannot be denied. While I’ve been impressed by Mills’ low fi horrors of the past for their balls out craziness (BATH SALT ZOMBIES, ZOMBIE A-HOLE, NIGHT OF THE TENTACLES, THE BALLAD OF SKINLESS PETE), this film shows that the writer/director has a lot of creativity in terms of the way he tells his story. While some may tune out because of the copious amounts of horror and torture in the first hour, the fact that everything goes ass over elbows by the end gives it all a purpose. KILL THAT BITCH, even in name alone, is pretty misogynistic. And one can’t deny the prominence of violence and then nudity and then more violence towards women here. But even the title is a double entendre that is pretty ingenious. Take a chance with KILL THAT BITCH. It’s low fi horror with an unpredictable sense of storytelling.
BEWARE: Boobs and sleaziness dwell in this trailer! NSFW!
New this week on DVD from Independent Entertainment!
HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (2014)Directed by Henrique Couto
Written by John Oak Dalton
Starring Iabou Windimere, Haley Madison, Erin R. Ryan, Mike Hilinski, Tonjia Atomic, Marylee Osborne, Joe Kidd, Tara Clark, Chandra McCracken, Joni Durian, Eric Widing, Rachel Ritter, Brandi Baird
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Another low budget flick from my home state of Ohio is up for review here. HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is not going to please folks who look for big budgets or fantastic story and acting, but if you’re looking for a film with a decent amount of gore, some pretty effective scares, and more bare boobs than you can shake a bra on a stick at, this is the movie for you.
A group of college girls set up camp in an old house as the site for their new sorority. But as they move in, weird things start happening immediately. All food, like the potato chips and spaghetti, goes bad immediately upon entering the home. Someone carrying a pitchfork and a torch wanders around outside in the dark. And ghostly images of naked girls with enormous breasts and bloody faces appear everywhere. As this group gets picked off one by one with the house dredging up secrets from each of their pasts to torment them, we get closer to the house’s real intentions.
HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW is not innovative. This type of haunted abode tale has been told time and again. What makes this film stand out is the quality gore that occurs throughout and more than a few well-timed scares from director Henrique Couto. While none of the girls are fantastic actresses, they are all pretty easy on the eyes and look like actual normal girls rather than CW models in need of a sandwich. The standout performance is from actress Erin B. Ryan, who is also in KILL THAT BITCH above and did a fantastic job in THE BALLAD OF SKINLESS PETE earlier this year. While there’s less for her to do with this script, her presence elevates the performances of all around her. The fact that all of the girls in this film get naked is pretty sweet too, I must admit.
My one issue with this and many films like it is that it doesn’t bring a lot of new stuff to the table. The way the story wraps up is not that typical, but the trip to the end is with cardboard characters spouting clichéd lines and following every beat a million movies before it followed. While I really dig the low fi vibe of HAUNTED HOUSE OF SORORITY ROW and appreciate the real-looking girls in peril (which somehow makes everything more real since these are girls I could easily see walking down the street in my neighborhood), I hope the next time Couto and his writer John Oak Dalton offer up something a little more original.
New this week on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing!
THE PERFECT HOUSE (2012)aka A DEVIL’S INSIDE
Directed by Kris Hulbert, Randy Kent
Written by Kris Hulbert
Starring Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, John Philbin, Dustin Stevens, Monique Parent, Andrea Vahl, William A. Robertson, Kris Smith, Timothy Dugan, Alex Markousis, Michael Wagner
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
While not quite an anthology, THE PERFECT HOUSE gets points for being much more interesting that I was expecting. Every house has a history, and while a flirtatious real estate lady shows a young couple around a seemingly quiet home, we are treated to the diabolical history through a trio of vignettes all taking place within the abode.
While the couple is taken through the entire house, for some reason most of the stories occur in the basement of the house. It would have been interesting to have them take place in different rooms and different areas of the home, but this film doesn’t really do that. I guess THE PERFECT BASEMENT doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it would have been a more apropos title.
Though there is definitely something evil going on, most of the horror in this film teeters on the brink of torture porn, which is not one of my favorite types of horror film. There are slight explanations that the house brings out the evil in people, but little of the mysticism is delved into. Most of the time when it comes to horror, it’s people being held and tortured, so those who don’t have a stomach for that might want to move on.
Still, while the subgenre isn’t my favorite, the stories are pretty twisted and strongly written. The first is about a madman who ties up a family and offs them one by one starring SLEEPAWAY CAMP’s Felissa Rose. The second features a nagging mother, jealous of her daughter’s relationship with her husband, who pushes her family to the limit as they take shelter in the basement during a storm.
The third is the best of the three, as a new prisoner arrives in a serial killer’s basement and has a conversation with another jaded prisoner and the killer himself about how he is to die. Some really black humor pops up in this third bit; the female prisoner explains to the new prisoner in the next cage matter of factly, “All I know is, I get fed on Wednesday and raped on Friday.” Something about the bland delivery and the shock of the words really struck me as fun in a twisted way. This segment is filled with this type of humor.
There is a ton of gore splattered all over the place in this film and a dark black streak of humor throughout. I’d love to see further installments of THE PERFECT HOUSE, exploring more nooks and crannies of this home which brings out the evil in folks. This tour through the basement was fun, but there are definitely more rooms to explore and with the writing, acting, and gore prevalent and of decent quality here, I’d like to see them.
New this week on in select theaters, iTunes, DirecTV, and on demand !
COME BACK TO ME (2014)Directed by Paul Leyden
Written by Paul Leyden (screenplay), Wrath James White (based on the book "The Resurrectionist")
Starring Nathan Keyes, Matt Passmore, Katie Walder, Maura West, Laura Gordon, Caroline Clements, Peter S. Williams
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
I knew little to nothing about COME BACK TO ME, and while there might be a set up for a pretty bland kind of stalk n’ slasher, this one takes some turns that were definitely ballsy and unexpected. So while on the surface this little thriller might appear to be something you might see on Lifetime, it is more like a sleeping tiger that rips your expectations to shreds once you get too close and comfortable.
Katie Walder plays Sarah, a grad student writing her thesis on the effects of internet porn on the modern relationship. Her husband Josh (Matt Passmore) is a bartender and both seem to be taking a decent stab at pursuing the dream, but even in the opening moments when we meet them, there is some kind of trouble percolating as Josh refuses Sarah’s sexual advances while making breakfast. It’s a subtle bump in the otherwise happy façade that the couple seem to show, but it’s something that definitely looks to be trouble percolating under the surface.
Secrets seem to be the main theme of COME BACK TO ME as the couple meet a new neighbor, the reclusive and awkward Dale (Nathan Keyes), a younger loner with floppy hair who we see in a different light during the opening credits when he witnesses the murder of his parents. In the odd opening scene, Dale is shown petting a rabbit (which is always a sure sign of mental instability); then after the bloody massacre occurs as his father stabs his mother to death and is then shot by police, it appears Dale resurrects his mother from the dead. Flash forward and Dale seems to take an immediate liking to Sarah, and while she doesn’t seem to be attracted to him, her mothering side definitely seems to feel sorry for the awkward kid.
What opens with a bloody nightmare cutting to a serene suburban dreamscape, commences with a whole lot of subtle weirdness. I don’t want to reveal too much more, but the depths to which this film goes are pretty deep and dark. Usually, in films, I find myself wishing the filmmakers would take the chance and “go there” to those uncomfortable places that house true horrors. COME BACK TO ME definitely sheds light on a few of those unspeakable horrors and really goes for it. There are quite a few scenes where I couldn’t believe they were taking the chances they did, especially in a breathtaking climax which occurs inside a small home but resonates for miles and miles.
Based on the book THE RESURRECTIONIST by Wrath James White—a book I have not read, I don’t know whether or not it’s faithful or not, but COME BACK TO ME is a fun and dark supernatural thriller you might overlook if you’re not careful. Like a tiger in the tall reeds, if you do cross its path, it’s bound to bare its claws and leave a mark on its psyche. With better than usual performances by the cast and a story with balls the size of boulders, COME BACK TO ME will surprise and scare you!
New this week on DVD/BluRay from RLJ Entertainment!
ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2013)Directed by Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson
Written by Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson
Starring Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, Amanda Grace Cooper, Reanin Johannink, Tom Williamson, Chris Petrovski, Leigh Parker, Nicholas S. Morrison, Jordan Wilson, Felisha Cooper
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
While I haven’t seen the original ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE, I am a huge fan of the works of director Lucky McKee. MAY, THE WOMAN (reviewed here), hell I even liked RED and his installment in THE MASTERS OF HORROR series about the bug woman. This time, McKee pairs with Chris Silvertson who directed the original ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE in a mainstream style film with sharper teeth than most of the horror released broad these days.
The story has a large cast filled with interesting characters, but the central character is Maddy (Caitlin Stasey from TV’s REIGN), who tapes her childhood friend Alexis suffering from a freak cheerleader accident and then vows to socially destroy her asshole boyfriend and captain of the football team Terry (Tom Williamson) and his new girlfriend/Alexis’ best friend Tracy (the sizzling Brooke Butler). Maddy is also trying to distance herself from her ex girlfriend Leena (HUNG’s Sianoa Smit-McPhee), who happens to also be a Wiccan. When a party goes wrong, the football jocks run the cheerleaders off the road, wrecking their car and killing them, but Leena refuses to accept their deaths and brings them back to life. Now these undead cheerleaders want revenge, and nothing will stop them from getting it.
Though the story might seem a bit complex and convoluted, it’s reflective of the complexities of high school where people break up and get together on an ever malleable basis. McKee and Silvertson have crafted a script that is reminiscent of high school horror films like THE CRAFT, JENNIFER’S BODY, and HEATHERS, yet never does it feel like a rip-off or swipe. Because the cast is so large, the story bops around from Maddy to Tracy to Terry and back again, making it feel like there’s enough time for all of them to have a voice and a story. Yes, this is a mean-spirited movie, with everyone having dark motivations, but that plays right in with McKee’s previous films where no one is truly good and everyone is a little bit bad.
The fun here comes from the performances. The entire cast is strong. Stasey is phenomenal as Maddy, who makes you like her despite her dark motivations. Even the vapid Tracey is likable and relatable, with Butler giving her all kinds of spunk and fire. And Tom Williamson is amazing as the budding psychopath footballer who has the thousand yard psycho-killer stare down pat. I also have to mention how much I love the FREAKY FRIDAY swap between the resurrected sisters where the bible thumping bombshell switches bodies with her shy sister and the trouble this switch causes when a sexually repressed wallflower all of a sudden gets the body and the attention of a lead cheerleader. Fun stuff, but seen through the lens of horror, it makes it all the more interesting.
And that’s what I love about this film. More so than any other high school horror film, it takes interesting situations you’ve seen in other films and casts them on a horrific screen. In doing so, everything feels fresh and new. McKee and Silvertson keep everything moving at a frantic pace throughout, with a fun soundtrack and tight editing where we see a sex scene in a handicap bathroom one minute, then pop right over to a murder in a van the next. Unpredictable, unconventional, and utterly poppy in a good way, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE proves that McKee (with Silvertson) can do mainstream and he does it with the same dark flair he’s always had. Being a fan of McKee’s for years, I hope this film leads him to bigger and more mainstream things, as the mainstream could use some darkening up. I highly recommend ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. It’s bold and dark, filled with moments that’ll make you gasp and characters you’ll actually give a shit about when they meet their gory end. With the hint that this is only part one of what looks to be a series of ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE movies, I can only hope McKee & Silvertson are going to team up for the follow up capturing the same wicked magic that this film is permeated with.
All Cheerleaders Die by teasertrailer
And finally…just in time for Comic Con, here’s a short called SUPER-ZERO which is about a gamer geek who has the unfortunate luck to be a part of the zombie apocalypse during the San Diego Comic Con. I loved every second of this fun little flick which gets so much right that mainstream and movies twice its budget miss. If you like what you see here, follow SUPER-ZERO on Facebook here. Here’s Umberto Celisano, Giselle Gilbert, Al Bernstein, Tyler White, and Bobak Ferdowsi in Mitch Cohen’s SUPER-ZERO!
See ya next week, folks!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written comics such as THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be a feature film from Uptown 6 Films), Zenescope’sGRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13 & UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES – THE HUNGER and a chapter in Black Mask Studios’OCCUPY COMICS. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark also wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
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