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What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Welcome to the darker side of AICN! Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Another hot batch of horror coming up right about now! But first…

Interested in something a little weird? I reviewed MADE IN MOSJOEN a while back and found it to be an addictive webseries of differing storylines interconnected to make a truly bizarre story. Here’s the brand new trailer for the series and if you like what you see, you can watch the whole thing here!

I also have the premiere of a new trailer for a film called THROUGH THE KILLER’S EYES. The official synopsis reads: Five vacationers at a remote campsite are stalked through the point of view of their predators. The film is directed by Keith Emerson and is currently in post production. Here’s the premiere of the official trailer.

AICN HORROR has a new sponsor: Things From Another World—also known as TFAW!
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On with the horror reviews!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)

Retro-review: I EAT YOUR SKIN (1964)
Retro-review: I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1970)
Retro-review: CHOPPING MALL (1986)
Retro-review: BUBBA HO-TEP (2002)
STALK HER (2015)
And finally…Light’s Out: Sub-basement!

Retro-review: Available with the I DRINK YOUR BLOOD Collector’s Edition from Grindhouse Releasing!


Directed by Del Tenney
Written by Del Tenney
Starring William Joyce, Heather Hewitt, Walter Coy, Dan Stapleton, Betty Hyatt Linton, Robert Stanton, & Don Strawn's Calypso Band!
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Added as a supplement with the I DRINK YOUR BLOOD Collector’s Edition released this week by Grindhouse Releasing, this film was made in 1964 and shelved until it was re-titled I EAT YOUR SKIN and paired with I DRINK YOUR BLOOD in drive-ins and double features. Since then the two films seem to have been linked for life as I rarely hear about one film without hearing the other. That doesn’t mean that these films are similar in any way aside from the way both films open with a sort of cultish ritual and the appearance of a goat. Other than that, the two films couldn’t be more different in tone and execution.

A brawny writer named Tom Harris (William Joyce) takes some time out of his busy schedule seducing ladies by the poolside by reading his novels to them to go investigate recent voodoo activity on a nearby island named…Voodoo Island! Upon arrival, they find bud-eyed zombies and more peril than you can shake a loa at.

I EAT YOUR SKIN is a lot of fun. The nonchalant way the lead immediately assumes he is god’s gift to women is amazingly politically incorrect, but fantastic to watch nevertheless. In the opening segment, Tom seduces a bathing beauty only to find she has a husband and Tom and his manager laugh as the cuckolded husband kicks Tom’s latest lay in the butt numerous times as he makes his getaway from the hotel to the island. While it might have come across as charming in the age it was made, it’s somewhat hilarious looking at it now in this sensitive age and seeing the man literally kick the shit out of his wife for sleeping with another man.

Political correctness aside, this is a fun little flick. The zombies with the caked on makeup are rather fun to see shambling slowly through the jungle. And on top of that, the rituals filmed are fascinating to see as they feel somewhat authentic. I also love the shades and Mardi Gras beads sunglasses the lead voodoo guy wears. It’s also interesting that the leaders of the Voodoo cult never get their comeuppance as the focus is mainly on escaping the island rather than good versus evil. In this film, it’s much more about good getting away from evil rather than conquering it.

There’s a kind of weird awesomeness to I EAT YOUR SKIN as it centers on the most stereotypical of macho leading men in Joyce. Though the storyline is pretty obviously veering Joyce’s character towards the virginal gal who is the target of the rituals, it is kind of charming the way it all plays out. There is a lot of fun to be had in this creature feature. Aside from the caked on horror makeup, the antiquated machismo and the high pitched adventure make this a true treat of a classic film.

Couldn’t find a trailer, but here’s the first couple minutes of I EAT YOUR SKIN!

Retro-review: New this week in a BluRay Collector’s Edition from Grindhouse Releasing!


Directed by David E. Durston
Written by David E. Durston
Starring Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Jadin Wong, Rhonda Fultz, George Patterson, Riley Mills, John Damon, Elizabeth Marner-Brooks, Richard Bowler, Tyde Kierney, Iris Brooks, Alex Mann, David E. Durston, Arlene Farber, Lynn Lowry
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Most likely a response to the Manson Family hysteria, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD takes the fear of those dirty hippies with their drugs, lose morals, and Satan worship and then adds an outbreak of rabies to make for one hell of a bizarre film experience.

A group of Satanic hippies are just doing what Satanic hippies do. You know, chanting in the woods, killing chickens, and occasionally squatting in abandoned houses. After raping a young local, her father goes to confront the hippies and ends up beaten badly. In retaliation, his young son extracts blood from a rabid dog and spikes the hippies’ meat pies with the blood, causing them to become raving, foaming, blood-thirsty, lunatic, Satanic hippies!

As silly as the set up is, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD is a damn fun time of a movie. The over the top acting, the gratuitous nudity and massive amounts of gore make sure every minute is visually, though not very mentally, stimulating. In no way is this a good film. It’s all over the place, but it is depraved fun from the mock ritual at the beginning done by an Indian man (Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury) dressed as a Native American to the over the top way the townsfolk rampage across the countryside looking to eat, kill, and screw anything that crosses their path. At the very least, despite of how schlocky it all is, you can’t fault I DRINK YOUR BLOOD for being boring.

While the sensitive types might be a bit off-put by the sexuality and blatant rapes going on in this film, it serves as a reminder of the antiquated and dismissive way that brutal act wasn’t taken seriously in that day and age. In the opening moments, a woman witnesses the ritual and is captured by the hippies. We then cut to a scene where she is stumbling home, ripped dress and all. There’s no mention of an assault, but it’s obvious. The next day, she and her boyfriend (who is a part of the cult) end up having sex in a barn with no mention of the assault at all. The psychological ramifications of an assault like this really aren’t considered, which again speaks to the time it was made. Later in the film, a construction crew becomes infected with rabies after gang raping one of the hippies and they themselves become rabid, sex-crazed maniacs. I only mention this because a film of this sort really couldn’t be made today in this age of sensitivity, and despite the fact that these are horrible acts, it’s kind of ballsy to see a film do so in such a horrific manner. Not that I’m looking for this type of taboo horror, but it harkens back to the unsafe nature horror used to have compared to the jump scare horror we see too much of today. More than anything, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD gets under your skin for how callous it is with its violence.

This symphony of debauchery climaxes with an ending that really is chaotic brilliance as the rabies-fueled fiends go after the few survivors of the town. While the fact that they are afraid of water is goofy as hell, this film amps the insanity to a deafening level at this point. There’s a sort of mad genius at work with this film and the end pays off bombastically.

Packaged with I DRINK YOUR BLOOD is also a HORROR HYPO mock needle the kid uses to infect the meat pies. I pretty awesome little extra. Other extras include deleted scenes (including an even gorier ending than the one released in theaters), a commentary by director David Durston and actors Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Tyde Kierney, and Jack Damon, interviews with David Durston, Lynn Lowry, Tyde Kierney, and Jack Damon, a short featuring Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury performing the “Evil King Cobra Dance.” The disks also include I EAT YOUR SKIN (which was often paired with this film), as well as BLUE SEXTET (a porn film that I most likely won’t be reviewing since this is AICN HORROR and not AICN PORN), and more extras that makes this one full meatpie of a package well worth feasting!

Retro-review: New on BluRay from Vestron Video’s Collector Series from Lionsgate Home Entertainment!


Directed by Jim Wynorski
Written by Jim Wynorski
Starring Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller, Gerrit Graham, Angela Aames, Paul Coufos, Arthur Roberts, Angus Scrimm, and Jim Wynorski as the voice of the Killbots!
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

CHOPPING MALL is the second film from the notorious movie making machine known as Jim Wynorski—the man responsible for NOT OF THIS EARTH, MUNCHIE, SORCERESS, and more recently SHARKANSAS WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE. And while the man seems to be making films exclusively for ScyFy and Skinemax these days, CHOPPING MALL actually shows that, at one time, the guy really could make a fun film.

Now, I didn’t say a great film. That’s definitely not what I’m saying here about CHOPPING MALL, an often hokey and often fun kids in danger in a mall film. I don’t know about you guys, but back when I was a kid, hanging in the mall was the best thing to do. We would check out the toy stores, the arcades, Spencer Gifts, and the record stores, all the while scoping for cute girls and attempting (and failing miserably) to get laid. That was the culture of the eighties where it seemed everyone had expendable moneys and rushed out to spend it at the mall. It was a community of sorts where you would see your neighbor looking at magazines, that cute gal from school being embarrassed by having to shop with her mom, and your mailman buying bras or whatnot (very awkward, Postman Ferly). So of course, setting a horror film in such a communal place was a given. George Romero did it with DAWN OF THE DEAD, and much later, Wynorski took a stab at it with CHOPPING MALL.

The premise was pretty remedial. It’s ROBOCOP meets JURASSIC PARK with robots in a mall. A trio of robots are developed to take the place of mall security and in a pretty expansive display, they are shown incapacitating a robber with non-lethal force. When a rogue bolt of lightning hits the radio tower of the mall, this surge from the heavens fries the robots’ circuitry and everything goes to hell when a group of wild n’ crazy kids coincidentally pick that night to have an after hours party in one of the stores with booze, liquor, sexing, and scary movies! Sparks fly when the killer robots and the horny teens meet!

CHOPPING MALL is a veritable who’s who of genre films and that’s what makes it all the more fun. The legendary Barbara Cramptom plays one of the nubile teens and while she is usually the central damsel, she plays the hysterical gal here. Other classic horror greats like Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, an even Angus Scrimm (who is barely seen, but his voice is unmistakable) all have bit parts alongside the younger actors HEAD OF THE CLASS’ Tony O’Dell, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2’s Russell Todd, EVILS OF THE NIGHT’s Karrie Emerson, BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO’s Nick Segal, DEATHSTALKER II’s John Terlesky (who has a giant wad of gum in his mouth the entire film), and MIND TWISTER’s Suzee Slater (whose death scene is one of the horror highlights of this film).

But once again, as with any film she is in, the spunky fireball that was my schoolboy crush Kelli Maroney shines here as the lead teen who has what it takes to combat the killer robots when none of the other teens seem to. It’s rumored that Maroney did her own stunts in this one and after seeing the film, it’s pretty amazing that she did as she really goes through the ringer against the robots. With her explosion of poofy blonde hair and quirky delivery, this little beauty really does outshine everyone else in this film and Wynorski was smart enough to give Kelli the final girl role above the equally talented Crampton.

Even if Maroney wasn’t in this film, I’d recommend it as it is filled with cheesy lines and fantastic gore. Only during the eighties would there be a paint store right next to a pet store across the hallway from a store that sells machine guns. Seeing the teens unload fully automatic weapons that you can get next to the Gap is a hilarious bit of insight about what the 80’s is all about. CHOPPING MALL is campy fun with a cast you’ll recognize exemplifying a culture, if you lived through it, that will bring back tons of fond memories.

Retro-review: New on BluRay from The Shout Factory!


Directed by Don Coscarelli
Written by Joe R. Lansdale (short story), Don Coscarelli(screenplay)
Starring Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Heidi Marnhout, Edith Jefferson, Larry Pennell, Reggie Bannister, Daniel Roebuck, Daniel Schweiger, & Bob Ivy as Bubba Ho-Tep!
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Retro-reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

While Bruce Campbell will probably be best known for the role of Ash, it is nice to see the character stretch his acting muscles as an elderly Elvis in BUBBA HO-TEP, Don Coscarelli’s ode to growing older.

Imagine if Elvis got sick of living the life of a rock idol and traded places with an impersonator to live the simple life. That’s what Coscarelli and writer Joe R. Lansdale would want us to believe in BUBBA HO-TEP, a stab at revisionist history mixed with humor and the macabre. Teaming up with an elderly black man claiming to be JFK (Ossie Davis, a legend in his own right), Elvis must make his way out of the his sickbed in a convalescence home and battle an ancient mummy who is sucking the life from the rest of the retirees.

Kooky premise aside, BUBBA HO-TEP is about coming to terms with growing older, but never giving up. It’s kind of a beautiful little ditty that strummed the right heartstrings for me. I’m nowhere near as old as Elvis is in this film, but still, there are times when the melancholy feel of age sets in and I wistfully long for the simpler days of my youth. This film captures that sad feeling so masterfully and that’s why I think many view it as a classic. A lot of that has to do with Don Coscarelli’s way of communicating through film. With PHANTASM (reviewed here), he tried to show us death through the eyes of a child. With his most recent film, PHANTASM V: RAVAGER (reviewed here), Coscarelli deals with a lot of similar issues of the confusion and desperation one feels at the end of life. While RAVAGER didn’t really work in terms of realizing these feelings so potently, BUBBA HO-TEP does. Scenes where the days speed by as Elvis lays in bed watching motionlessly are entertaining, but are really impactful in communicating what it is like suffering from the wear and tear of the ages.

Coupled with that type of fun but meaningful direction and writing is Campbell’s performance. Campbell is often pigeonholed as the corny snark machine and plays that role well in the EVIL DEAD films and series. Still, in BUBBA HO-TEP, he shows a more soulful side you don’t often see. Sure the image of an elderly Elvis making his way through hallways in a walker is humorous, but Campbell adds a lot of dignity and soul to this performance through inner dialog as well as subtle facial movements that communicate a much deeper message and that’s another reason why this film is regarded so highly by geekdom. Ash gets all the glory, but dare I say, Elvis is Campbell’s finest role to date.

The stakes of this film are pretty low. It’s just a mummy walking around and killing old folks in an old folks home. The budget is equally low with most of it dedicated to making Campbell look like Elvis and some extra cash thrown into the mummy costume (which does look good, mind you, as well as iconic in design). Still simple things like a light behind a slow moving fan causing a swirling light effect behind the mummy is all that Coscarelli needs to make things look eerie. Going back to the PHANTASM films, he always was a director who could get a lot of bang for his buck. Full of campy fun, laugh out loud moments, and a soulful beating heart, BUBBA HO-TEP is one of those classic cult films no horror fan should miss.

The Shout Factory’s version, as usual, is loaded with features such as a new commentary with author Joe R. Lansdale, Don Coscarelli, and Bruce Campbell—both as himself and as “The King,” interviews with Coscarelli, Campbell, and effects artist Robert Kurtzman. It’s also got featurettes focusing on the Making of the film, the special effects, the costuming of Elvis, and the music of the film. Plus a music video, deleted scenes, and a reading of the original story by Lansdale himself.

New this week On Demand and in select theaters from Indican Pictures!


Directed by Mark Allen Michaels
Written by Mark Allen Michaels
Starring Carrie Keagan, Dallas Valdez, Danni Lang, Curt Lambert, Tony Snegoff, & Douglas Tait as Sasquatch!
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

There’s something to be said about the quality of the idea in a film even if the actual execution is rather rough. This is the case for THE FIANCE, which has one or two fun ideas and twists, while still lacking in real impact due to some bland direction.

In a story that juts back and forth through time, Michael (Dallas Valdez) an older businessman waits for his younger fiancé Sara (Carrie Keagen) to arrive. We see the first meeting between the two, the bargaining the soon to be groom makes with his fiancé’s father (a Russian scientist looking to make big money on an experimental medical process) for her hand, and the moment where the marriage question is popped. We also have flashes of campers in the woods running from what looks to be Bigfoot and reports of Bigfoot sightings increasing in the area. Turns out, though, these “Bigfoot” sightings might have something to do with that experimental process Michael and Sara’s Dad are working on.

What I liked about this film is the way it misleads one into thinking it’s a Bigfoot film, though it actually is more of a werewolf film as the bite of the “Bigfoot” causes the bitee to mutate into a feral beast as well. So while the film tries to convince us that this is a Bigfoot flick, it misdirects and then misdirects again, making it fun and unpredictable. The furry makeup is pretty good as is the gore sliced from the victims. The problem is that the film is that the relationship between the elder Michael and the much younger Sara is rather creepy and unconvincing. A few mentions of the difference in age are made, but the actors just aren’t quite up to snuff to make it convincing and the script doesn’t help out either. I know these relationships are out there, but still, seeing a 50 something year old man wooing a woman in her late 20’s-early 30’s is a bit jeebie-inducing. Call me a prude, but the choice of actors in this film and how they looked together is the biggest detractor for me. I know this is a Hollywood trope that has been going on forever, but for some reason, it was super evident and distracting the whole time for me here. So while the story is engaging and full of twists, the May-December relationship distracted me so much it kind of soured the film for me. Still, THE FIANCE has some fun action sequences, nice twists, and decent effects going for it if you can look past the age gap between the actors.

New in select theaters and On Demand (find out when and where here)!


Directed by John Jarratt, Kaarin Fairfax
Written by Kris Maric
Starring John Jarratt, Kaarin Fairfax, Alan Finney, Robert Coleby, Charlie Jarratt
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

While it is micro-budgeted, WOLF CREEK monster John Jarratt co-directed this little twisted love story with a lot of style, grace, and likability.

Jack (Jarratt) has been admiring Emily (co-director Kaarin Fairfax) for a while from afar at the hospital where he works and even attempts to make contact with the popular nurse to no avail. His frustration at its peak, he even has taken to stalking her outside her home and finally works up the nerve to enter the home with questionably intent. But Emily knocks him out and ties him to a chair in her kitchen. Still deciding what she should do with this intruder, Emily and Jack sit for a night, eating, drinking, and dissecting each other’s character and minds. The relationship grows with equal parts love and hate and the role of captive and prey switches sides numerous times before the explosive climax.

First off, I have to applaud this film for having two older actors in the lead. Sure they directed the film, which probably went a long way in casting themselves in the lead, but both Jarratt and Fairfax are really great as these amazingly flawed human beings. The film flips back and forth between Jack and Emily’s brief encounters leading up to this night nicely and the conversation the two have really does make you think that love works in very mysterious and downright depraved ways some times. Kris Maric’s script goes a long way to make us believe that this situation might actually occur, despite the fact that in most other cases an intruder would be met with a bullet or at least a call to 911. Yes, the relationship here is romanticized where in reality it is pretty deplorable the things Jack does, but it’s a movie and not a documentary and the strength of the performances and the writing made me buy it.

STALKHER also sports a pretty awesome soundtrack of sultry and fun rock tunes. This is definitely a film I would check out the soundtrack for as it utilizes music in a way I haven’t seen since the 90’s when every film was required to have a handful of alt songs for the MTV. It’s somewhat antiquated, but fun to see that Scorsese way of filmmaking done here. STALKHER is also stylistically shot and while this may be a case of style over substance in some areas, it makes the conversation between these two actors all the more fun.

A great character piece for two very talented actors, STALKHER may be light on scares, but it is creepy and the love that blossoms between these two definitely is built on the darkest of foundations. The film is a bit long in the tooth and sort of runs its course by the end. It might have been stronger as a short film, but still the actors are charming enough to keep me interested. STALKHER hinges on whether or not you invest in the two leads. I did and the film was fun for me because of it.

New On Demand and DVD from Artsploitation Films!


Directed by Byron C. Miller
Written by Byron C. Miller & Paul Morgan
Starring Tabitha Bastien, Jesse Lee Keeter, Conner Marx, Keiko Green
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

This low fi thriller shows a lot of ambition and guts as it lets the strong script and decently talented actors carry the film rather than effects and gimmicks. Because of this, ANATOMY OF MONSTERS is a film many who only like big budgeters will snub their snouts at, but if you do, you’ll be missing some cool ideas and nice deliveries in terms of thrills and suspense.

Our indie story opens as a young man (Jesse Lee Keeter) enters a bar and sits alone. Across the bar, a young woman (Tabitha Bastein) notices him and after a while she realizes that he is not going to come over to her, she decides to sit down next to him. As the two make small talk, the dialog is boppy and clever, never really lagging or missing beats as one often sees in films of the lower caliber. After some more drinks and chit chat, the two leave together and get a room. If one were to walk into a movie theater or watch this film without knowing the title, once might think that ANATOMY OF MONSTERS is a low budget rom com. Of course, when the man shows his hand and cuffs the woman to the bed, brandishing a knife, it’s pretty evident that this is a horror film.

What ANATOMY OF MONSTERS does well is pace the story in such a way that it unfolds slowly, but with each layer let loose, it leads to one fascinating revelation after another about these two people in this hotel room. These are two complex individuals and as they tell each other their stories as to how they both ended up in this room, you get to know the monsters underneath both of their seemingly harmless exteriors. This turns into a tale of who is the bigger monster, the woman or the man, as both reveal sides of monstrosity and humanity that usually isn’t seen in horror films, especially of the lower budget variety.

Have I stressed this is a low fi indie enough? I guess so and I don’t mean to harp, but I do want to give fair warning to those expecting a high body count or gratuitous gore or effects. This is a much more subtle horror film, delving deep into the brain of a psychopath and making them more relatable to you and me, which is scary in and of itself. ANATOMY OF MONSTERS isn’t an in your face horror film, but it is a subtle type of terror that slips into your mind and festers causing a great deal of unease and tension.

New on DVD/BluRay from MPI Home Video!


Directed by Benjamin R. Moody
Written by Benjamin R. Moody
Starring Akasha Villalobos, Danielle Evon Ploeger, Brian Villalobos, Laura Ray, Ryan Hamilton, Kelsey Pribilski, JD Carrera, Chad Warren, Christopher Alvarenga, Scot Friedman, Margaret Garza, Anny Ibarra, Rodrigo Lloreda, Shannon McCormick, Amanda Phillips, Fede Rangel, Aaron Walther, & Jason Vines as The Hunter!
Find out more about this film on here or on it’s Facebook page here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

Films like THE FINAL GIRLS, FINAL GIRL, HATCHET, and the SCREAM movies have tried to turn the expectations of what a slasher movie is and turn it on its ear to greater and lesser effect. LAST GIRL STANDING attempts to do this as well, but while the aforementioned films utilize comedy rather well, LAST GIRL STANDING takes things with a serious tone and offers up a natural continuation of the slasher that we rarely get to see, making it one genuinely unique slasher film.

Camryn (Akasha Villalobos) is the sole survivor of your typical stalk n’ slash scenario where only she was resourceful and lucky enough to live through the massacre. Five years have passed and Camryn is still haunted by that fateful night. Living a life of solitude and keeping to herself at work, Camryn is taken aback by an outgoing new employee at the Laundromat she works at named Nick (Akasha’s real life husband Brian Villalobos). But as soon as she opens herself to meet new people and form new relationships, Camryn begins suspecting that the killer who massacred all of her friends years ago is back to kill her new friends.

This is a script-flipper of a film that really is full of surprises. First and foremost, instead of following the masked killer from one massacre to the next, the film opens on the final moments of a slasher movie that never was and then flash-forward to what is very much like the first ten minutes of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 where we follow Alice as she tries to put her life back together after beheading Pamela Voorhees and being dragged into the lake by Jason. Stretch that those ten minutes of F13P2 a bit and you have a large portion of LAST GIRL STANDING. As much as this has been attempted in horror, I don’t think it has been done as successfully as it is done here with LAST GIRL STANDING as it really does illustrate how trauma can have a lasting effect to those who survive it.

It helps that this is a wonderfully acted film. Akasha Villalobos is a stunning actress, though does not look like the typical beauty. In fact, none of the actors in this film feel like they were taken from an underwear ad commercial and that’s what makes them all so believable and relatable (specifically both Villalobos and Camryn’s new friend Dannielle played by Danielle Evon Ploeger). Because these actors aren’t airbrushed and siliconed, it makes the danger feel more real. This is a twisted emotional journey Villalobos takes us on and to her credit, she really does carry this film with very little dialog and a lot of gruffness, especially when the killer shows up.

I love the loopy direction this story goes as Camryn and Dannielle set out to bury Camryn’s demons. There’s a twist or two to be expected with LAST GIRL STANDING that really does change the way one might think about slashers a bit. I tried to predict the ending and found myself surprised at where it ended up and I love the idea even though it does go against the iconic way movie monsters were established in the 80’s by focusing on the killer rather than the disposable cast of pretty people. In this film, though no one is disposable and LAST GIRL STANDING is one of the few slashers that has something new and interesting to say about the subgenre. Don’t miss this one.

New this week On Demand and on iTunes from XLRator!


Directed by Isaac Ezban
Written by Isaac Ezban
Starring Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Luis Alberti, Carmen Beato, Fernando Becerril, Humberto Busto, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Alberto Estrella, Pablo Guisa Koestinger, María Elena Olivares, Catalina Salas, Santiago Torres
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Simply amazing! Eight people; a rambling homeless women, a man rushing to see his pregnant wife in the hospital, a spastic paranoid man, a pregnant woman, the ticket seller, the cleaning lady, and a mother with a very peculiar child, find themselves trapped in a bus station with a raging storm outside and no buses or taxis running anywhere. News reports on the radio state that the storm is freakishly occurring around the world and causing a worldwide panic. Outside, people are beginning to act irrationally and it seems to be seeping inside the bus station. The group think they are safe from the tempestuous happenings outside, but something truly odd and unusual is happening to them one by one, turning them against one another in a deathly manner.

The premise of THE SIMILARS is something that feels like it was ripped straight from an episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE and I can think of two episodes in particular that this film reminded me of, but telling you the names of them will reveal way too much than I want to about this absolutely riveting descent into oddity and madness. The choice to film in black and white also makes the film feel much more like a lost episode of that classic series rather than something fresh and new. Still, despite its similarity to one of my favorite TV series ever, it manages to feel both relevant and thrilling from start to finish thanks to director Isaac Ezban’s quirky yet unsettling way of filming this movie. The look of this film feels like a stage play, but much of the decisions to the simple set the actions take place in seem intentional to give the viewer a sense of unease. Diagonal squares in the ceiling and floors sandwich our actors into this space causing a sense of utter unease. Ezban’s camera swoops and twirls around this set as the action unfolds making every scene feel vibrant and tension filled.

Films like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS are definitely going to come to mind as this film plays out. Every scene is steeped in paranoia and confusion as the madness begins to spread and those trapped in the bus station begin to form alliances and turn on one another in rapid succession. Without revealing too much, this is a film that at times feels rather ludicrous, but the performances are so good that you believe them. It makes you believe that, should the insanity that occurs in this film actually happen, you would probably react to this bizarre situation in the same way. It’s a film about lack of trust in your fellow man and how easily society can fall apart if something simply unexplainable happens.

Like TWILIGHT ZONE, THE SIMILARS is the type of science fiction that isn’t done anymore. It’s not laser swords and fantastic set pieces. It’s a sci fi that asks “What if?” and then sees how human nature reacts to the unnatural events unfolding. As a fan of TWILIGHT ZONE and old sci fi comics, I absolutely loved every tension-filled minute of this odd masterpiece of paranoia and horror. Ezban dazzled me last year with the movie ouroboros that was THE INCIDENT (reviewed here and inexplicably still not released yet). Here the writer/director proves that his first film wasn’t a fluke. Ezban is a fresh and talented new voice in cinema of the bizarre. His films seem to be both harkening back to sci fi stories of old, while reminding us why those stories were so good in the first place. All at once, THE SIMILARS is a throwback and a breath of fresh air in a genre that forgot that you don’t need a big budget to tackle big ideas.

Advance Review: Coming soon from Invasive Image!


Directed by Kurtis Spieler
Written by Kurtis Spieler
Starring Bryan Manley Davis, Chris Viemeister, David Alexander, Kristen Seavey, Jon Gregory, Lauren Sowa, Kurtis Spieler, Robert Riggs, Lisa Meckes, Jes Almeida, Rebecca Behrens, Nancy Marlowe Gordon, Mark Resnik, Tony Del Bono, & Anne-Marie Mueschke as Karla Marks!
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug

People say they are sick of found footage films. But I think as a response to that type of criticism, those types of films have transmorphed recently into the shockumentary, a mock-documentary format that, in some ways, addresses a lot of the criticisms the found footagers receive. Similar in tone to the excellent LAKE MUNGO (one of the most underrated horror films in the last decade or so, which I reviewed here), THE UNEXPLAINED DISAPPEARANCE OF KARLA MARKS follows a more investigative, 60 MINUTES approach that bridges the gap between cinematically filmed and first person POV style films, and does so in a successfully creepy manner.

When Karla Marks (Anne-Marie Mueschke) goes missing after a paranormal investigation with her husband Bryan (Bryan Manley Davis), many feel that Bryan had something to do with it. But Bryan attests that he thinks something paranormal occurred in the rumored-to-be haunted locale dubbed "The Devil's Well" and masses together another team of paranormal investigators to return to the site and try to get to the bottom of the disappearance and prove something paranormal is going on.

Many questions come up while making a found footage film. Why are they still filming? Why is there so much boring lead-in and a rushed/obscured ending? Why should we care about these people who can’t even hold a camera steadily? Much of this is addressed in THE UNEXPLAINED DISAPPEARANCE OF KARLA MARKS and I found it refreshing that this feels like a post modern found footager because it learns from the mistakes of so many of the films of this kind have committed in the past. Why are they filming? While the team really want to prove the paranormal exists, there are skeptics in the group who think Bryan staged all of this or worse yet, Bryan did something to Karla, so they want to follow Bryan closely to get to the truth. There’s already a mystery here and in the way this film is presented as a 20/20 investigative sort of piece, it is understandable why the cameras remain rolling as well as why we should care about whether Karla is found or not. Bryan (Davis) does a great job of walking that line whether or not he is trustworthy, so the investment is established nicely here from the beginning with interviews from family, friends, and investigators on the case who both want believe in Bryan’s story, but also suspect something else is going on. The fact that Bryan and Karla’s website has blown up with hits is motive enough for them to stage this as a hoax. So all of these questions leading up to the investigation had me by the short hairs.

The cast also does a great job of not looking like supermodels and acting like real people, another essential component of a truly believable found footage film. The investigators are exactly what you think of them to be and we get enough back story on them to believe they could be the real thing. Each character feels lived in, even though the story doesn’t call for a lot of back story, it is peppered in to help the viewer understand why people are doing what they are doing and shows a sophistication to the writing that is not present in most found footagers.

There will be some who give this one a pass simply because it’s found footage, but you’d be missing a good one. THE UNEXPLAINED DISAPPEARANCE OF KARLA MARKS is a structurally sound and tightly written tale of paranoia, paranormal things, and missing people. The ending might frustrate some as there is no huge reveal of a monster or anything of this sort, but it does wrap things up rather creepily without throwing a slam-bang effects spectacular climax that wouldn’t fit with the modest budgeted way the rest of the films plays out. The final words saying that “People hearing a noise in the middle of the night think it’s a monster, when they should really be afraid it is another person. But people are going to believe what they want to believe.” is a fun capper on this film that says a lot about how the whole thing can be perceived. I definitely recommend this film to folks who are fans of the found footage subgenre.

And finally…here’s another episode of the old timey radio series LIGHT’S OUT. This one is a shocker called…Sub-basement!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 15 years & AICN HORROR for 5. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller and on his new website collecting posts for AICN HORROR as well as all of the most recent updates on his various comic book projects on

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