Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its fifth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days that aren’t toothless remakes or watered down sequels. The theater just doesn’t seem to be the place where the horror is at these days, I’m sad to say. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2013 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked a list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth noting or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
#12: PIECES OF TALENT!
You can find PIECES OF TALENT on its website here. Below is my review of PIECES OF TALENT from August!
PIECES OF TALENT (2014)Directed by Joe Stauffer
Written by Joe Stauffer & David Long
Starring David Long, Kristi Ray, Taylor Kowalski, Barbara Weetman, Jon Stafford, Nate Panning, Joy Merrow, John Marchioni, Shaun O'Rourke
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
At face value, PIECES OF TALENT is your typical SAW-like stalker film with an obsessive killer who likes to videotape his kills falling for a woman and killing any obstacle between him and the woman he loves. PIECES OF TALENT’s story isn’t necessarily new or groundbreaking, but sometimes the simplest of stories make for the most interesting if shown through a particular lens. In this case, that particular lens means the stunning eye of director Joe Stauffer and the star-making performance by David Long who plays a serial killer and madman named…David Long.
, PIECES OF TALENT is one of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring looking films I’ve seen in ages. The compositions set up in this film, somehow managing to capture the beauty in some very despicable, filthy, and diabolical scenes, took my breath away and director Joe Stauffer deserves credit where credit’s due for filling this entire film with all sorts of scenes that could be set up conventionally, but instead seem to be painstakingly set up to make the scene memorable and iconic, almost like a still-life painting. The picture on the left where one of David Long’s victims drops from exhaustion just before making it to an open highway and the killer lounges with the victim playfully is something born from a nightmare, but look at how amazing everything looks in that shot. The film is filled with these types of nightmarish snapshots, confusing the eye to see beauty where horror is taking place.
The elaborate torture and hunting experiments we witness throughout this film are made more so by the diabolical and devious performance by David Long. Though he hasn’t been in a lot of films, this is a film that, if seen by enough people, will make the actor a star. Long struts around like a psychotic version of The Dude, acting mellow and cracking wise even while murderizing folks. Even though his lines are said with a smile, Long’s surfer boy attitude seems to shine through and we can understand why Charlotte, the object of his desire, might actually be charmed by him. Though he’s far from the ideal human specimen, he exudes a confidence and oneness that makes you instantly like him even after we’ve seen him hack a person to bits with an axe on camera.
Kristi Ray, who plays Charlotte, does a great job here as well, showing both a soft and hardened side with equal believability, Ray conveys a life hard lived and is easy to follow as the protagonist and apple of David Long’s eye. While there are a lot of hard edges to this titty bar waitress, simple scenes of her serenely looking out over a calm lake give you the picture of a misplaced princess in a world of horror. But the spunkiness comes out again when Long shows his hand and again, its believable when she fights back against him with such fervor.
PIECES OF TALENT has tons of bloody scenes of torture and dismemberment. It’s not for the squeamish, as David Long’s camera rarely cuts away from any of the horrors he inflicts on his victims, but the result isn’t as stomach-churning as one would expect since the images captured through the camera are often as beautiful as they are horrific. The few snippets we get to see inside David’s mind are unpleasant and terrifying, making Long’s happy-go-lucky exterior all the more frightening. PIECES OF TALENT is the perfect storm of a film. Made from basic story elements that most will find familiar, I guarantee the way this film looks is like nothing you’ve experienced before. Highly recommended.
Worth Noting: EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES!This one is worth noting because it is one of craziest films I’ve seen this year. I’m not saying it’s good. But if you’re in the mood for a movie that is so bad it’s good, EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES is it this year and pretty much any year. The twists and turns and back alleys this film takes during its runtime is totally unpredictable and I found myself endeared to this film by the end for having the guts to run with so many bad ideas at once. It’s basically a zombie apocalypse film, but this one flips through time occasionally and often cuts to a robed Billy Zane who acts like Obi Wan the whole time played in a manner that is beyond hammy.
Check out my full review of the film here and you can check it out here on Amazon!
#30: STALLED (worth noting: CHRYSALIS)!
#29: RIGOR MORTIS (worth noting: I AM A GHOST)!
#28: GHOST TEAM ONE (worth noting: HYSTERICAL PSYCHO!
#27: THANATOMORPHOSE (worth noting: CONTRACTED)!
#26: LIFE AFTER BETH (worth noting: EVIL FEED)!
#25: AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR (worth noting: THE DEVIL’S MUSIC) !
#24: CHIMERES (worth noting: THE RETURNED) !
#23: AFFLICTED (worth noting: DEAD WEIGHT) !
#22: TUSK (worth noting: BENEATH) !
#21: FOUND (worth noting: RABID LOVE) !
#20: DEVOURED (worth noting: CRAVE) !
#19: DELIVERY: THE BEAST WITHIN (worth noting: THE HUNTED) !
#18: THE MACHINE (worth noting: BLOOD GLACIER) !
#17: GRAND PIANO (worth noting: OPEN GRAVE) !
#16: WILLOW CREEK (worth noting: WOLF CREEK 2) !
#15: ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (worth noting: THE SEASONING HOUSE) !
#14: THE SACRAMENT (worth noting: HOLY GHOST PEOPLE) !
#13: CRAWL OR DIE (worth noting: BENEATH) !
See ya tomorrow, folks, as I count down the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since October 1st, 2013!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.
Be sure to tell your comic shop to order his new comic PIROUETTE (out now!) from Black Mask Studios!