Digital Review: The Dark Tapes (2017)

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Distributor: Epic Pictures (US)/Thunder Road Inc. (UK)

Directors: Michael McQuown & Vincent J. Guastini

Starring: Emilia Ares Zoryan, Danielle Baez, Katelyn Bailey, David Banks, Jonathan Biver, Layne Castro, Sara Castro, Heather Compton, Michael Cotter, Sherry Dargahi, Trey Everett, Denise Faro, Brittany Fisheli, Jo Galloway, Mary Rachel Gardner

The latest entry into the found footage game, The Dark Tapes, was written by Michael McQuown and directed by McQuown and Vincent J. Guastini and the one unique thing this movie has going for it is that it is also an anthology. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of found footage and anthology movies so this ticks two of my favorites boxes. Wraparound stories can be essential to the movie and can be funny like in Body Bags or of a more serious nature like in Continue reading

Digital Review: The Void (2016)

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The Void PosterDistributor: Signature Entertainment

BBFC Classification: 18

Directors: Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski

Starring: Aaron Poole, Ellen Wong, Art Hindle, Kathleen Munroe, Kenneth Welsh, James Millington, Grace Munro, Stephanie Belding, Mik Byskov, Daniel Fathers

This morning I read an article written by movie director Harrison Smith (Camp Dread/The Fields/Death House) bemoaning the “dumbing down of horror” for moviegoing audiences. I agree with Smith’s assessment, particularly in that horror movies need to make you think; sure, popcorn movies are good but we also need movies that work on another level. If one subscribes to the premise that cinema is art, isn’t that art meant to invoke an emotional response that is unique to the viewer? If we believe this then horror movies should also do the same. By accident, fluke, serendipity or whatever Continue reading

Short Film Review: Rainy Season (2017)

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Director: Vanessa Ionta Wright

Starring: Brian Ashton Smith, Anne-Marie Kennedy, Kermit Rolison, Jan Nelson

By way of introduction, Rainy Season was made as part of Stephen King’s Dollar Baby program. For those who haven’t heard of this, Stephen King provides filmmakers the opportunity to adapt his work for a dollar, albeit with caveats – these films can only be shown as part of film festivals and no money can be made from them. There are some other narrow times the film can be viewed and one of those is for review purposes. These are meant to help upstart filmmakers adapt a known work for a very low cost thereby allowing artists to hone their skills.

The actual short story, Rainy Season, is located in Mr. King’s compilation Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: C.H.U.D. (1984)

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Distributor: Arrow Video

MPAA Classification: R

Director: Douglas Cheek

Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist

C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is a near-perfect encapsulation of pure ’80s cheese, overacting, practical monsters, evil government agencies and off-the-rails monster story, and in late 2016 the US got a Blu-ray release from the wonderful folks at Arrow Video. The disc is packed Continue reading

Blu-ray Review: Afflicted (2013)

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AFFLICTED-dvd-art2Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

MPAA Classification: R

Directors: Derek Lee & Clif Prowse

Starring: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse, Michael Gill, Baya Rehaz, Jason Lee

Afflicted is a horror release in the found footage genre, a genre that is typically dismissed by horror fans as the badly-done shaky camera style of cinema. This genre certainly has its badly-made movies but it is still viable, so can filmmakers still make good, relevant films using this method?

Afflicted can hold its own with any of the better found footage films any day of the week and twice Continue reading