Monday, 9 December 2013
The night was as dark as can be. A crescent moon hung in the sky like the scythe of Satan coming down to destroy humanity in one fell swoop. This night belonged to Watain. This was their third date in the U.K on their Black Death tour of Europe, and the atmosphere outside was one of darkness and anticipation.
The strangest thing happened outside while we were queuing for this show. There were regular looking (compared to the black t-shirt and leather wearing Watain fans) in the same line. My brother proceeded to tell anyone who asked if it was the line for Watain that it was actually the que for Subway, and all he wanted was a meatball sub. Then a couple of ladies in front of us asked who we were there to see. My brother replies "Watain. Who are you here to see". They then looked at each other and one of them said "we don't want to tell you incase you kick our heads in". We did manage to find out that Hanson were playing the same venue, after we explained to them that we aren't the sort of people who go around randomly kicking peoples heads in for not appreciating the same music as we do.
The support bands Watain had chosen were mediocre to say the least. Doom/drone band Coltsblood definitely had the volume to shock the audience, but the music just happened to be too repetitive, with a single riff repeated over and over again, time and again. While I understand that is a pre-requisite with doom/drone bands, it just didn't seem to work for me this time, and by the last song (luckily) I was discussing just how bored I was with their set. Just to let my readers know, I am a fan of Khanate, Reverend Bizarre etc, but for some reason, Coltsblood just didn't do it for me.
Next up to take the stage were Funeral Throne. I could not take them seriously. One of the guitarists looked like he was a rabbit caught in the headlights, constantly opening his eyes as wide as he could, and then attempting to snarl. It gave the impression he had something on the end of his nose, and was trying to focus on it. While the bassist exuded the most energy, my brothers girlfriend commented how it looked like he was making his "sex face". Cue smiles and laughter.
The music was well played though, but I couldn't put my finger on Funeral Throne's style. It seemed to be a mish-mash of black metal, death metal and even a hint of groove sometimes. Not something that I would choose to listen to, but there were a few people who seemed to enjoy it, and I suppose that is all that matters. They just didn't strike chord with me. Maybe it was the anticipation for the headliners. Maybe the support bands just weren't very good.
I was only there for one band though, and yet again Watain fail to disappoint on every level. While the blood, fire and death stage show has been toned down considerably, (no smell apart from incense, and no fire apart from three candles) the new backdrop, the pure sense of evil and frontman Eric Danielsson's spiritual performance made everything that came before instantly forgettable.
As mentioned, the stage show has been toned down, but this allows the audience to pay even more attention to the diabolical music Watain play, each song as perfect as the last. Through eleven tracks, Watain take the audience on a journey to hell, playing classic after classic. A number of the songs are taken from the new album, and it even surprised us that they played "The Wild Hunt", one of the slower and more melodic cuts from their new album of the same name. The band finish on "The Waters of Ain", a near fifteen minute journey that means they run nearly twenty minutes over the curfew. The crowd ate up the misanthropy, this little glimpse into the world of Watain. What they continue to show is that they will not be pinned down by musical restraints or conform to a certain expectation of their performance. Watain are a force unto themselves, and the sheer power they displayed with their presence and music made the night complete. This was only the third date in the bands UK tour, and for them to play such a blinding show is testament to just how powerful Watain are, both as a band, and as an otherworldly force breaking through the darkness into our world
The setlist for the show was as follows:-
1: Night Vision.
2: De Profundis.
4: Devil's Blood.
5: Reaping Death.
6: The Wild Hunt.
7: All That May Bleed.
8: Sworn to the Dark.
10: Holocaust Dawn.
11: Waters of Ain.
Thursday, 5 December 2013
The mighty black metal masters Watain have released a music video for their track "Outlaw" taken from their diabolical opus "The Wild hunt". Be sure to check the video by clicking HERE.
The video is produced by Watain and Johan Bååth who already directed the band's OPUS DIABOLI dvd in 2012.
26 years of blasphemy, hatred and ferocity have bought us to "In the Minds of Evil", the new release from the mighty Decide. Along with classic albums such as their debut, Once Upon the Cross and The Stench of Redemption, there have been a number of complete doozies released by the band such as Insineratehymn and In Torment In Hell. Where will "In the Minds of Evil" fall in with previous Deicide releases?
Well, after numerous plays over the past week, Deicide have yet again released a beast of an album. The one two beating of "In the Minds of Evil" and "Thou Begone" start the album off in an incredibly heavy and furious fashion, and the album looses none of it's ferocity throughout it's thirty seven minute running time. Each song hits you right where it hurts, and reminds the listener just how good, heavy and downright evil Deicide can be. Gone is the tired and lazy sound that was apparent on the two previous albums, to be replaced with a high energy performance in almost all respects.
The first thing that hits you is just how good everything sounds. From Steve Asheim's pummelling drums to Jack Owen and Kevin Quiron's leads and monstrous riffs, everything is so clear, crushing and heavy. Then the songs hit you. Each one drives the band further into the death metal maelstrom they create. The energy this album demonstrates is magnificent. Each track is filled with malice, hate and some of the heaviest riffs Deicide have ever laid down.
The only thing that bothered me about the album is Glenn's vocal performance. Gone are his screams of anguish, only to be replaced by his monstrous but monotonous growl. In every song. It just get's too much sometimes, although his pronunciation and phrasing have improved immensely since Deicide's debut., but that doesn't help his performance feel tired and similar in every song, but this is just a small niggle, because in the grand scheme of things, this is easily Deicide's best album since "The Stench of Redemption". The solo's are also worthy of a mention, moving even further away from the sporadic and Slayer-esque solo's of the Hoffman's, to more rock/blues influenced soloing that has been adapted to fit the death metal template.
"In the Minds of Evil" is Deicide's strongest release for a long while, and goes to show that Benton's hatred of religion is not being tempered with age. It is as strong as ever, and if Deicide carry on releasing albums with the power and fury of "In the Minds of Evil", I will follow them into the mouth of Hell time and again.
Jim VanBebber. A legend in underground cinema, and his partners Stephen Biro and Scott Gabbey (collectively known as Team Gator green) are looking for seed money for launching their company, securing first rate legal representation to prepare an investor offering, create pre-production materials and to produce quality Gator Green investor parties to aid in the investment of the production of the feature film.
Team Gator Green are NOT after the films budget, and unlike some Hollywood crowd-funding projects, they really need your support.
Fellow film fans, let us all pledge what we can, or help to spread the word on what will undoubtedly be an incredible piece of horror cinema.
You can visit the Gator green Indiegogo campaign by clicking HERE.
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Amityville II: The possession is a tour de force of taboo breaking horror that, on my very first viewing, took me by surprise at just how chilling it is. The film has a deeply disturbing quality that is missing from many horror films, and everything is played straight, with not a joke in sight. This film has it all. Indiscriminate killing, child abuse, incest (yes, they even went there) demonic possession and all sorts of haunted house goings on to keep the viewer interested. The soundtrack compliments the crazy goings on perfectly, adding yet another dimension to the scares.
The Montelli family, which consists of mother Dolores, father Anthony, elder teenage daughter Patricia, elder son Sonny and two younger children, move into the house they always dreamed of owning. Things start off well, but after a tunnel is discovered, things begin taking a turn for the worse, as Sonny begins behaving differently, and the whole family is effected by a negative energy.
The first thing that can be said about Amityville II is just how hard hitting the film actually is. Child abuse, incest, spousal abuse, indiscriminate murder, this film pushes boundaries, and more often than not, it works to great effect. The family break down in this movie is everything Kubrik's The Shining dreamed it could be.
Of course, the majority of movie fans won't agree, but there is something about this movie that chills me to the bone every time I watch it. It's inexplicable. Perhaps it's because I was bought up in a religious household. The power this film holds really is undeniable.
While the film isn't gory in any way, shape or form, it certainly knows how to get under your skin, using P.O.V shots, typical haunted house scares and a brilliant exorcism to add the the demonic goings on.
If you haven't managed to view this film, I suggest you do as soon as possible. While The Amityville Haunting was a slow burn horror film, the sequel/prequel kicks off right away, and builds with scare after scare, breaking taboo after taboo, until it reaches it's unimaginable climax.
Go view what has to be one of the most powerful demonic possession/haunted house movies since The Exorcist.
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Bloodstock!!! The perennial pilgrimage for UK metalheads was underway at Catton Hall, Derby from the 8th to the 12th of August. an unmissable date on the calendar for anyone who cares about metal's history and future, Bloodstock is an important factor in helping to bring up and coming new bands into the public's eye, as well as hosting the gamut of fine, established metal from all subgenres.
That said, while Bloodstock is the premier metal festival of the UK, second to none in showcasing new metal talent, it still didn't go unnoticed that many of bands playing the mainstage were all on Nuclear Blast's roster. That reeks of payola. Yes, these were very good bands, but you'd like to think that what bands get booked has more to do with what the fans want and less to do with a lable's BOGOF incentives.
I have massive respect for the Gregorys, and the whole B'Stock team, so I sincerely hope that isn't the case, but I calls em as I see's em.
Moving on! I tried my best to watch as much as I could at Bloodstock. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, so what follows is what I managed to drag my sleepy fat ass to, in between stuffing my face with my stash of Hunger Breaks and napping from the sheer exhaustion of doing sweet F.A. It's hard being so metal. Anywho...
Thursday night is party night! Or at least, it should be. After putting up my oversized palace of a tent (it has a carpet!) in the blazing sun, I needed a lie-down, which turned into a full blown nap. Consequently, I missed most of the bands. But, not the most important one:-
Tragedy (9) are a metal tribute to the Bee Gees, and other disco legends of yesteryear, and boy howdy, are they awesome! As if their inception wasn't genius enough, they dazzle the crowd with their reworking of songs that are already timeless gems, transcending genres to get us all in the party mood and having megalolz to boot.
Highlights include It's Reigning Men (a la Reign In Blood), and the spectacular Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight), which in this context is about werewolves! Fan-bloody-tastic. Book them for your Bar Mitzvahs and box socials, immediately.
Gavin McInally, founder of Damnation Festival, did his damnedest to get Earthtone 9 (7) back in action by booking them for their 2010 lineup, and the band have enjoyed a resurrection of their career and much currency among fans new and old ever since. A lost gem of the late 90's, the Nottingham group have cultivated an enjoyable hardcore edge, similar to Feed the Rhino. There's aggression and melody in there, and it's a good thing. It's a hard job waking up hungover metalheads, but they do their best and get a warm reception for their efforts. They're in good form today.
Over to the New Blood Stage, then. It's always a challenge playing the New Blood Stage and clashing with big names on big stages. If you can pull in and retain a crowd, you're on to something.
The first band I see, Rezinwolf (6) is a bit disappointing in this respect. Their reputation precedes them, as is the case with a few of the Metal 2 the Masses winners. They're known for being an awesome band. To be honest though, they ain't all that and a bag o' Doritos. Their thrash pedigree is obvious, but it's fairly run--of-the mill thrash. It has to be said that the solos lack cohesion with the rest of the songs they're in. It's a shame, because the guitarist definitely has the chops to play great solos, they just don't fit in at all.
Sophie Lancaster stage next, to see The Prophecy (8). I LOVE these guys, and I make no secret of that. They're homegrown progressive doom that have been drifting slowly into the same territories as Anathema and Opeth by showcasing their melodic capability, juxtaposed with guttural growls and heavy guitars. They were characteristically excellent, handicapped only slightly by the fact that the guitarist didn't appear to be able to hear himself, and was out of time for the first couple of songs. Nonetheless, the crowd was at least 10 times larger than their last Bloodstock appearance, and deservedly so. Go check them out. Now.
Back on New Blood. Nocturna (6) are bordering somewhere on aggressive and melodic. The sound desk let them down a bit by not boosting the vocals enough. That's a shame, because they had a nice, thick, layered melodic sound. When you can hear the vocals, they are rich and powerful. I was going to recommend seeing them in another setting, but when I met them in the VIP area and told them I'd be recommending them, they didn't seem to give a rat's ass and were totally nonchalant. So, yeah. these guys are actually pretty douchey. I wouldn't bother. You can't even find their Bandcamp page if you Google them, so.... Meh.
Prosperina (8), on the other hand- wow! This power trio from Swansea are the tits! big and atmospheric, at once reminiscent of new Humanfly. They're hard to categorize, so perhaps we shouldn't. They've got tight, driving rhythm-propelled tunes, over which their guitarist-singer imposes compelling melodies. More concerned with big sound than technical finery, which is a good thing, like a warm but boring sweater your nan knitted for you and you secretly love. There's maybe a bit of a Tool/ A Perfect Circle influence in there as well. Very good. highly recommended.
King Diamond (8)
You know when you watch anime, when you wouldn't normally? Maybe a friend recommended it to you, and insisted that it was perfectly accessible, and the overdubbing wasn't that bad; the plot totally followable? So you watch that show/ movie your friend recommends and at the end you have no idea what was going on, why the story jumped around so much, why some characters were so very angry/ happy when seemingly unimportant things were happening, and you just chalk it up to "Maybe some things just get lost in translation"?
I've never seen or heard King Diamond before. I just didn't get it. Maybe it's my age; maybe I fail to grasp how groundbreaking it was when it first came out, maybe the lyrics are poorly translated into English, I'm not sure. But I'm afraid I didn't get it.
That 8 is because, even though I didn't get it, I can recognise the effort that went into the stage show, and the excellent musicianship of the actual band. Yes, full marks for showmanship, especially since the King himself recently recovered from having bypass surgery and was really very ill for a while. Kudos to him for coming back at it with such gusto. What a brave, strange little man. Bravo.
First band I make it to are 3" of Blood (8) on the main stage - these guys are a hoot! They waste no time in breaking out crowd pleasers like Deadly Sinners and Metal Woman, to rapturous glee from those in the know. Their obvious Judas Priest influences have been honed into something truly enjoyable, and still unique. They sound good today, too. I can't see how anyone could not like 3" of Blood.
I plod over to the New Blood Stage to check out Gethika (8), a band I have been aware of for a while but not actually seen yet. It seems they have picked up where American Nightmare left off, makeup and theatrics included. American Nightmare were a good band, so kudos. They're minimalistically theatrical, to be fair, and thoroughly brutal. this band have already made a bit of a name for themselves, and have recently appeared on one of those compilation CD's that comes with Metal Hammer- so, they're getting out there, and show promise to be able to achieve well-known status shortly.
there's an obvious and visible fanbase here. They're all wearing plastic bowler hats. Which is disturbing.
Next up are Scarab (9) in the Sophie Lancaster tent. Like Nile, but actually Egyptian. Brutal like Nile, too. I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics are about, but it sounds epic. These guys purport to be "Egypt's Black Metal Band", as in their only Black metal band. It's a fair claim, as they risk severe punishment for playing and expressing themselves as they do back home, which few would risk doing. That's how much they love and respect the power of metal.
They are obviously truly grateful to be playing here, to such a receptive crowd, and they make that known. Later I see the band members milling about in the festival crowds- hi-fiving people and stopping for pictures and a chat. They really are over the moon to be here, and they deserve it, because they played a blinder of a set.
The wife and I sit back to enjoy Gojira (7), who have the misfortune to have had all their gear lost in transit to Bloodstock. Quelle horreur! They had to borrow a lot of stuff, so couldn't offer their usual level of amazingness and presence, which you will have heard they have in spades. I have to give them the lower score, because it wasn't what it could have been, but Gojira are still amazing, and L'Enfant Sauvage still sounds the DB's.
Sabaton (9) follow Gojira. SABATON!!!! Love em. they have a slightly similar problem to Gojira, in that singer Joakim Brodén have forgotten something utterly quintessential to Sabaton's allure. He isn't wearing his vest. Not to worry though! He somehow spots a chap in the crowd of the exact same build wearing an identical vest, and asks to borrow it. I think the guy tore off a nipple ripping it off to give to Joakim, who is the absolute master of crowd banter, and vocal about how hard it is for him not to swear in English (the performance is streaming live, so subject to Ofcom's rules). He promises to swear when singing in Swedish, so no-one will know.
Brilliant set, the highlight of which is the massive, pounding anthem Panzer Elite, and part the way through he somehow coerces the crowd into chanting for Ikea... "Ikea! Ikea! Ikea!" Funny shit.
Ermahgerd! LERMEHGERD!!! Lamb of God (10) are tonight's headliner. Everyone, especially himself, is so overjoyed to see Randy Blythe free, following his detainment and court appearance in the Czech Republic. Randy has had a rough time, and he celebrates his freedom by throwing himself around like a madman and pouring everything inside him into the mic, washing over the crowd, who in turn give the same energy and joy back to him. The air is full of horns for LOG.
They aren't a technically complicated band, or a pretty bunch of guys, or a showy and theatrical band. They are honest, energetic, and consistently bloody good, and that's all that they need to be to give 100% tonight. They are the jewel in the Bloodstock crown this year.
Fans go ape for Walk With Me in Hell, and Black Label is a familiar friend. Yes, they brought the goods.
There were some big technical problems during the set, and they had to stop playing a few times when power failed. But, the crowd waited, patient and expectant, giving them the reverence they deserve. They finish up, and we all go 'home' happier for having seen them.
By crikey, it's already Sunday! Let's get going, then.
Gama Bomb (7) are good craik! Being of that party-thrash breed, like Municipal Waste, you're guaranteed to have happyfuntimes with the megging-clad Celtic heroes. a good and necessary edition to their year's thrash-festooned lineup.
Whitechapel (8) Have a difficult crowd to win over here. these young guns have enjoyed relatively mainstream success- something which can leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the old crusties, that had to play every dive and toilet just to get a glimpse of a look-in back when.
Whitechapel are the real deal, though. they are completely and utterly brutal- something which their neat little scene haircuts and drainpipe jeans belie. Singer Phil Bozeman clearly gargles with rocks every morning to achieve his guttural and fierce growl.
Verdict: They look like hipster scene kids, but they bring the pain 110%. Good stuff.
Sacred Mother Tongue (6) are not dissimilar to Fozzy. It's balls-out rock with strong vocal melody, so very acessible. The crowd has gotten noticeably smaller, though, which is probably because this isn't really heavy enough for Bloodstock. You can't please everybody, I guess- perhaps a good booking for Download, but not so much for this festival
Neon Halo (7) are another player in the New Blood showcase. They go for the grindcore jugular with gusto, which I am surprised about, given their name sounds like it may have been something more proggy.
Extreme metal pilgrims have been filtering in steadily, seeking shelter from the dulcet tones of Scared Mother tongue.
Song highlights include Penetration Trauma and Fucked Into Remission, love letters both to pioneers like Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and the like. Definitely worth a gander!
So, Fozzy (7), then. Not content with being a kick-ass wrestler, Chris Jericho has only spun himself a career as a kick-ass frontman as well! Again sporting that USA radio-friendly tunefulness that frightened off the death metal fans, Fozzy (like SMT) are arguably more suited to a Donnington crowd. But, it often depends on the mood of the day. t's sunny, the music is fun and sounds good. what's not to like, really? It is contrived, but it's not bad.
You can hear a power metal influence in there, too, and we likes us some power metulz, we does.
Plus- wrestling and music go together like peanut butter and chocolate. You might think it's a bad idea and shun it at first, but once you get a taste you realise it's so right! Drowning Pool, case in point, who were great without wrestling, but WWF endorsement made them a massive success
EVIL SCARECROW (11)!!! That's right! this review goes up to 11! There aren't words for how much I love Evil Scarecrow. they aren't just funny as balls, they are amazing musicians, and super nice guys. They have some kind of ability to bewitch and win over any crown- audience participation is almost certainly 100% at each show, as all are commanded to draw the robotic square box during classic Robotatron, and to scuttle and claw at the air during new hit Crabulon, and all comply. Not to mention that they distributed party popper to the crowd to be makeshift pyrotechnics during War- which was nothing short of hilarious.
The Sophie tent was absolutely HEAVING, as it was the last time they were billed. Bloodstock organisers need to take notice and not try to fit them in there again. they are mainstage material fo' sho'!
If you haven't seen ES before, you better do, or I'll find you and I'll hurt you.
Back on the thrash wagon, stalwarts Exodus (8) pulverise the crowd with unrelenting power and vitriol. People are so stoked when Rob pays tribute to UK soldiers, and they launch into War Is My Shepherd, which is greeted with a roar of appreciation. Bonded by Blood is dedicated to Jeff Hanneman, which also elicits approving cheers from the fans who mourn their loss at a seminal guitarist.
If you're going to have this much thrash at a festival, Exodus are a necessary ingredient.
I caught Betraeus (8) almost by accident while walking past the Jagermeister stage. I'm shocked that they aren;t part of the proper lineup, because they are excellent. No other word for it- they sound huge, tight and complex. they're proggy like Opeth, and you should look out for them.
Breed 77 (7), like earthtone 9, are a bit of a blast from my past. what are they? Not sure. they weren't nu metal then, and aren't now. they mix a range of cultures and styles into what they do. It's exotic and crushing at the same time. they're done a good job of mixing the sound for this set, giving the vocals a necessary boost- because they are what carries this band. They do the best cover of the Craberries' Zombie I've ever heard, as well.
So, the Sunday night headliner is Slayer (6). I want to tell you that they did their best, despite losing Jeff, and the reason I gave them a 6 is because they were so mournful it was hard for them to perform. The truth is, they were just a bit lacklustre, and didn't put the effort in that the other headlining acts did. They seemed distant and unwilling to interact with the crowd. They're Slayer. You know what they are supposed to sound like, and they are legends. If you love them bazillions, you probably would have enjoyed this performance regardless, but for me it wasn't enough for the slot they were given.
That concludes my summary of the Bloodstock experience. The uninitiated amongst you should seriously consider getting your sad ass over there for 2014, not least because the first big announcement had already been made- reuniting and playing their only known UK appearance in 2014 are.... EMPEROR!
I'm literally weeing with delight. Fucking fantastic!
Catch you later, scumbuckets!
Many thanks to Jess for taking the time to write up this fantastic review!!
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Getting Schooled is the second feature length film directed and produced by Chuck Norfolk and Lucky Chucky Productions. The synopsis given sounds right up any horror fans street, and if Chuck's previous film, The Haunted Trailer, is anything to go by, we are in for one hell of a treat!
In 1983, a group of High School students (A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal) in a day of detention must run for their lives when a teacher in a wheel chair turns out to be an ex black ops soldier having a murderous flashback.
Check out the Indiegogo page by clicking HERE to find out more info about the movie, the perks and just who is involved! Don't forget to share this where you can, as we need to get the word out so these amazingly talented filmmakers can make more movies!!!
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
The Tale of Nobody is a new short written and directed by up and coming filmmaker Derek Huey, who co-produced and acted as the level 74 wizard in Conjoined. It is going to be incredibly interesting seeing what Derek can come up with, and with him being under the wings of Joe Grisaffi and Chuck Norfolk, we can surely expect something truly great!
The synopsis is as follows. A guy wakes up to his girlfriend breaking up with him, and he spends his day isolated with nobody around. Only the phone to keep him company, even when he doesn't want company.
Having read the rough version of the script, the psychological descent is well handled, and you really manage to feel for the main character, even though he comes across as rather strange and off balanced.
The short is going to be shot next month in Houston, Texas.
Don't forget to go on over to Facebook and hit 'Like' on Tale of Nobody's page. You can visit that page by clicking HERE. Updates on the short will appear here, so be on the lookout!
Thursday, 15 August 2013
There have been many movies based upon Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs and Psycho are probably the most famous. Deranged is a little seen gem that manages to combine both deeply disturbing moments of insanity with darkly humorous situations to create probably the greatest film based on the exploits of Gein. Let's not forget that Deranged also features effects work from a young Tom Savini (Deranged is his movie debut). What you have here is a film that really should be much bigger than it is.
Ezra Cobb looks after his bedridden mother. When she dies, Ezra's world slowly falls apart, and his insanity and unbearable hurt at his mother being taken away from him makes him dig up her corpse. Soon, his insanity develops, and he steals bodies to "repair" the corpse of his mother, and then later using them to decorate his house, making belly drums and other household items from them. Eventually, Ezra begins taking the life of local women, and one by one, the body count grows.
This movie is incredible. I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing it before, but my mother had constantly sung it's praises, as she went to the cinema when she was younger. Thank god for Arrow Video, who have produced a beautiful dual format BLU-RAY/DVD for all of us horror/exploitation fans to salivate over. Not only do you get the brilliant movie, restored and fully uncut for the first time ever anywhere in the world, there is a plethora of special features for us all to get our gore soaked teeth in to.
To say the humor in Deranged is dark is a grand understatement. Every situation in the movie is rammed with darkness, but it is Roberts Blossom's performance as Ezra that fills the audience with laughs a plenty. That isn't to say the film isn't disturbing. It is. Almost to the point of being sickening. Ezra's descent into madness is played incredibly well, and has to be one of the most believable breakdowns I have ever witnessed in a film.
The movie only has one problem in my opinion. It is narrated by a newspaper reporter, and the narration doesn't only consist of a voice over. The narrator pops up in scenes, explaining what is going on, and this just becomes plain annoying after a while, but it is but a small gripe in a movie that is filled with madness and a slow, helpless descent into insanity. This film will shock you into submission, and will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. It manages to get under your skin very easily, and this is a testament to great filmmaking.
The dual format BLU-RAY/DVD comes loaded with special features. There is a commentary with Tom Savini, an introduction to the film by Savini, three featurettes, the original trailer, a stills gallery, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanael Marsh and a collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film by Stephen Thrower, an article from Rue Morgue on the legacy of Ed Gein, plus an archive interview with producer Bob Clark, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.
Deranged is released from Arrow Video on August 19th 2013.
You can purchase Deranged from the Arrow Video website by clicking HERE.
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Born from a short named Within the Woods, which was directed by Sam Raimi, and starred both Ellen Sandweiss and Bruce Campbell (who would both appear in The Evil Dead), The Evil Dead is a flat out classic of horror cinema. It's slow burn atmosphere and it's completely insane final act adhere this masterpiece to the hearts of many genre fans.
Shot over a year (the original shoot was proposed to last only six weeks) with a cast and crew of thirteen people, The Evil Dead is arguably the greatest low budget film ever made. The talent on display behind the camera is breathtaking, while in front of the camera, only Bruce Campbell and Ellen Sandweiss shine, but more on that later.
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, and after playing a recording that contains an ancient incantation from the Naturan Demonto (The Book of the Dead), insane demons are released and possess the friends one by one. This really is all I can give as a synopsis. Fleshing it out anymore would surely result in me posting spoilers, which is something I refuse to do in my reviews.
The first thing that hits you about The Evil Dead is it's slow burn atmosphere. Almost nothing happens for 25 minutes, and thereafter the fear the movie creates is punctuated by moments of pure insanity and unrelenting splatter, as well as some incredibly off-kilter camera angles and sound effects. The violence, while sometimes shocking, is also incredibly over the top, almost to the point of being cartoon-like. It really is a horror fans dream.
The characters are incredibly underdeveloped, but it doesn't matter, as they are thrust into a situation that had never been seen before, and one that manages to make you jump, laugh, gross you out and basically manipulate every sense you have, and before long you forget about their acting talent as you are bombarded with demented voices, jump scares, weirdness, over the top violence and blood letting. The acting is also rather wooden, but again, it blends in with the demented goings on in the movie universe, and helps the performances of the possessed teens to come across as completely insane.
The Evil Dead is also an incredibly noisy film, drowning the viewer in audio insanity, and again this adds to the demented goings on. The sound design works to put the viewer on edge, suffocating the viewer with numerous screams, growls and taunts, and is almost as unrelenting as the over the top violence.
What seems to be lost on many genre fans is the sheer inventiveness and blatant personal style Sam Raimi brings to this movie. He showed so much individualism, creating camera shots that had never been seen before and taking great pleasure in putting the actors through great amounts of torture to gain the perfect performance from them.
Since The Evil Dead, no film has even come close to capturing the spirit of true horror, nor has any movie ever shown the inventiveness, insanity or downright disregard for their viewers. The Evil Dead stands today as a classic of American horror cinema, yet to be rivaled or toppled from it's throne.
Monday, 12 August 2013
I have noticed a growing trend amongst internet reviewers. It seems people love to hate on every single new movie that comes out. Whether this is to attempt to buck the trend of good reviews a film might be getting, or just a way to troll fans of certain films, the internet movie reviewing community is becoming a generic mess of people that wallow in hate and disappointment at every single movie release.Now let me clear something up first of all. I am all for people being honest. In fact, that is a key point in all my reviews. But when every single sentence these people write consists of four letter expletives and them describing why they hit the fast forward button on their remote control, it really does become a little infuriating. How can anyone who skips forward on a movie give a constructive review. It certainly gives many reasons why these people include so many discrepancies if they can't even be bothered to sit through a film. Of course things aren't going to make sense if you are forwarding through parts of a movie.
I also feel these people get some sort of satisfaction from placing themselves "above" the fans of certain movies. Far be it for me to tell people how to think, but a movie is about entertainment. If it doesn't entertain you, so be it. Find something that does. Just because you hold the opinion something is bad, doesn't mean that the majority (or at least those that aren't mindless sheep) agree with you. Nor does it mean your opinions are fact. Differences in opinion make us who we are.It seems the majority of reviewers out there dismiss anyone whose views conflict with their own, which begs the question "Are our opinions really our own"? Does everyone agree with someone because of popularity? I am more than happy to read reviews which do not agree with my own feelings. All that I ask is they are constructive and intelligent. I don't want to read a review where everything is labelled as an expletive, where the actors are torn down because they are fresh faced, or the directors and cinematographers are blasted because they are not working with a big budget.
One thing I do know is that I myself, and a few other fellow bloggers/writers out there do give out valid opinions, and don't feel the need to belittle films, or fans of films because we feel they aren't up to scratch, or because they are independent, or a certain genre. The internet has given voice to anyone out there who wants to write about anything, and maybe that's why reviews have become saturated with people who like nothing better than to attempt to tear down every single thing they see. I really can't see any other explanation for it.
One last thing for all those people out there who spread continuous hatred.
Seeing as Evil Dead finally comes to DVD/Blu Ray in the UK today, I thought I would finally get around to writing my review of the film. I managed to catch this in the cinema, and enjoyed it quite a lot. It is a solid horror film, but I really don't feel it deserves much of the hype it seems to be getting. It certainly has none of the gonzo craziness or gore of the films on which it was based, but seeing as this is a re-imagining, and not a remake, I suppose some leniency must be given. That isn't to say it isn't gory. It certainly is, but it honestly features nothing fans of horror haven't seen before. Evil Dead is the first feature length film to be directed by Fede Alvarez. I am sure everyone knows the story, but I will still give a short synopsis, just in case.
Five friends journey to a cabin in the woods, and come across the Necronomicon (The Book of the Dead). After reading passages from the book aloud, the friends unwittingly summon demons who manage to possess them one by one. So begins the friends fight for survival against the Evil Dead.
I enjoyed Evil Dead. I am a huge fan of the original movie, not so much Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness, but I do still enjoy both of those films on occasion. After watching Evil Dead, it certainly gave me that post film buzz. I'm not sure whether it was the film, or seeing Bruce Campbell after the end credits (kudos must be given to one of my friends, who sat through the entire end credits with his legs crossed, desperately needing the toilet, but not giving in to the urge just so he could catch the cameo of Bruce Campbell). Nevertheless, after stewing over the film for a few months, many things became apparent.
The violence in the film is much more realistic, which should make it more shocking. Instead, I felt it fell rather flat, with each possessed teen mutilating themselves with anything they can get their hands on. There were a couple of scenes that nearly turned my stomach, and again, props must be given to the filmmakers for sticking to mostly practical effects, but the violence and demonic attacks felt too restrained. The film had none of the viciousness I had come to expect with all the hype the film was getting.
Another thing that left me a little disappointed was the look of the Deadites. They were nothing more than people with contact lenses in. After the gruesome look of them in past film, I would have thought more attention to detail would have been given to the look of the Deadites, but alas, it seems that the filmmakers weren't bothered about how they looked, choosing to focus more on the way they mutilate themselves. Again, this never came to me when watching the movie. It is only after looking back on it, and not really being able to remember any specific details about the movie that it becomes apparent just how easily forgettable this film is.
The film takes very little time to get going, and because of that, very little character development is given. Amazingly, this doesn't hurt the film one bit, as we are thrust into a demonic nightmare which leaves very little time for the viewer to catch their breath. Admittedly, the demons are relentless in their pursuit of the teens, and this does add something to the film. The ending was surprising, but again, the "Big Bad" just looked like a regular human. Not monstrous at all, which again left me disappointed. The fact it could lift a car, and yet be stopped by a chainsaw, sort of made it a hell of a lot less scary.
There are many nods to fans of the original, such as the aforementioned cameo of Bruce "The Chin" Campbell, and Sam Raimi's "The Classic", which is a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 buried amongst the trees among others. These certainly did manage to bring a smile to my face, as I am a sucker for nostalgia.
All in all, Evil Dead is a forgettable but fun ride, and a nice return to the violent cinema that we were treated to in the late 70's/early 80's, and has been absent for a long time. While it may not offer anything memorable, any crazy looking deadites or any memorable scenes of carnage (apart from the end), while viewing it, I loved every second. It's just a shame that nothing in the movie stuck with me. I am sure I will pick it up on DVD eventually, as the special features alone are worth the price of purchase, but I don't think it will be a movie I will be returning to again and again like I do with the original.
Sunday, 11 August 2013
'Red Horse' marks Early Graves first release since the unfortunate death of their front man Makh Daniels in 2010. Believe me, when you hit 'play', this album will blow you away in every way. Nothing could prepare you for the sheer visceral hatred, anger and an urgency unheard of from bands that have been around a good deal longer.
Whereas on earlier albums Early Graves sounded like a Frankenstein's monster of different sounds stitched together, on 'Red Horse', they have found how to make their tracks more cohesive. That isn't to say they don't meander through many different styles on this album, it just shows how much they have matured as a band, both in sound and in songwriting.
The album opens with Skinwalker, which begins with a soft acoustic lead, before heading into the bludgeoning sound this band are known for. The brutality doesn't let up, each song hitting you like a brick to the face. Every single track bleeds with a new found vitality that energizes the listener, as well as throwing them around the room with the velocity and sheer brutality of every single track.
Many genres are sped through on this album, and even doom rears it's ugly head, as well as the crust/thrash/death metal staples that the band have been plying for a while. It all works so well and leaves the listener breathless. Technicality comes second. Aggression and a sheer will to destroy the listener are what make this album such an incredible listen. The production is raw, and this helps amplify the bands aggression tenfold.
The vocals are so angry, so full of pain that they almost make the music look soft in comparison. A special mention must go to vocalist John Strachan, who had a lot to live up to, and believe me, he surpasses any doubts you would have within minutes. The guitarists do their jobs well, injecting melody where needed as well as thrashing like crazy. The drums are spectacular, and certainly make the listener bang their heads. The drummer sounds similar to ex Today is the Day/Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor, holding the bands monstrous riffs together with amazing ease, while driving the band forward.
This is one pissed off band, and they certainly make that apparent through every one of the eight tracks on offer here. If you are looking for a band to strip the flesh from your bones, then Early Graves very well might be that band. Unrelenting brutality is what this band offer, and they do it well. So well infact, that they are in a class of their own.Give 'Red Horse' a listen. It will leave you beat up, bruised and ready to go through it all over again.
Check out the official video for the track 'Red Horse' below.
Saturday, 10 August 2013
Not to be confused with the Michael Keaton family movie of the same name (which was released two years later), Jack Frost is a laugh a minute, entertaining low budget comedy horror movie that also boasts one of the first on-screen appearances from Shannon Elizabeth (Angela in The Night of the Demons remake). I agree that the plot seems incredibly stupid, but it is pulled off with such self awareness and twisted humor that it more often than not works incredibly well. It also helped that in the UK, the VHS was released with a lenticular cover that shown both a cute looking snowman, and a monstrous snowman with icicle teeth. I have to admit to being a little disappointed that the snowman in the movie didn't look anything like the one on the cover, but that is such a small problem with a film as crazy as this.
Jack Frost is a serial killer who has vowed a gruesome revenge on the small town cop who managed to finally capture him. On the way to Jack's execution in the middle of winter, the prison vehicle is involved in an accident, and Jack gets doused in a toxic chemical that turns him into a living snowman with the ability to melt at will. Jack returns to the small town to keep his promise of a gruesome and bloody revenge.
The film really is one that polarizes horror fans the world over. Many ignore it's charms, and write it off as another cheap film that has no watchable value whatsoever. I myself fall into the other camp of people, who think Jack Frost is a classic amongst horror comedies. The deaths in the movie are outrageous, and are sure to bring a smile to even the hardened horror fan. While the acting might not be that great, it certainly comes into it's own when Jack attacks, with fear being shown to great effect.
The special effects belie the movies low budget. When we see Jack covered in the toxic chemical, his body melts, and it easily looks as good, if not better than any of the melts in Street Trash (only a lot less colorful). There are a lot of close-ups of snow, which in reality is foam, but it still manages to work to great effect, showing the killers movement and managing to build up a little suspense within the movie.
Another thing that makes me love this movie, is that Jack seems only to be able to speak in one liners, and every one of them is fantastic. It is very apparent that the filmmakers made this film to tickle the funny bones of every horror fan out there. And amazingly, through the not so good acting and silly storyline, it manages to shine.
Jack Frost is hilarious, features some incredibly bizarre Christmas/snow-themed deaths and some of the greatest one liners since Army of Darkness. So what if the story is silly? This film works, and while it may not be Hollywood in any way,shape or form, no one can deny that Jack Frost is one hell of an entertaining movie.
Friday, 9 August 2013
This is a question I get asked with great regularity. I think people expect me to say "It's because I love seeing people get murdered" or something along those lines, but the truth of the matter is rather more deep than anyone would imagine. I can rule out the "I enjoy being scared" factor, because only one movie, John Carpenter's Halloween, is still the only movie which has ever affected me in that way. No other movie has managed to scare me even in the slightest. That feeling of fear is something I have been chasing after since my first viewing of Carpenter's slasher classic.
I love horror because it is a part of who I am. At it's most basic, that is the reason I give when asked that question that anyone who doesn't have an interest in the genre. The conversation never usually gets much further than me saying that, and then being met with the retort "you're weird". Here, I will go a little deeper as to why I find the horror genre so fascinating.
My love (some would call it an obsession) with horror movies began as a young child. As King Kong fell from the Empire State building, I began crying, asking my parents why people were so nasty to a creature who only wanted to go home. My mother told me "Man always destroys what he doesn't understand". For some reason, this made me identify with the monsters in movies such as The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, along with characters in Doctor Who (of which I was a huge fan of when I was a child). I didn't mind that they were evil, and I was truly fascinated with the way they moved, the way they behaved. It was truly entrancing. I looked for movies that featured a monster on the video cover, and ended up seeing such films as Deathstalker, Imp, Puppet Master, Ghoulies, Critters, Munchies amongst others.
My fascination with monsters is only a part of my love for horror though. Watching these films acts as a type of escapism from me. That isn't to say regular life is boring, monotonous or anything of the sort, but retreating into the fantastical and letting loose of all the worries life brings is certainly a therapeutic process, and one that is sometimes much needed. Seeing people in inescapable situations where their life is in danger, makes the worries seem that much smaller, and helps me focus and not sweat the little things so much. It acts as a release, a way to relieve stresses and worries, but again, this isn't the only reason I watch horror.
There are some horror films I watch to test myself, such as what many people consider to be the sickest films of all time. They also act as entertainment, but in an entirely different way. It took me three sittings to get through August Underground's Mordum (the vomiting scene managed to turn my stomach so much that I found myself reaching for the off switch again and again). Men Behind the Sun is the latest in a long line of movies that have had a profound effect on me, making me see just how valuable and delicate life is, and also just how despicable a race humanity can be. The feeling of accomplishment after sitting through these tests of endurance is both thrilling and enlightening, and although they may only be films, they are also a reflection of humanity, and the monsters that exist within our race.
Horror is like a drug. Horror fans crave the feelings a horror movie brings, whether it is just entertainment, or if it goes much deeper, helping them confront fears in a safe environment they would never confront otherwise, we crave what these movies bring. Weather that be blood, gore, violence or a fog shrouded castle, horror is one of the only genre of films that manages to mix so many emotions together in one film. What other genre would you find comedy mixing with drama with bloodshed? Fear mixed with love? Friendship mixed with death? As an all encompassing genre, horror is certainly at the forefront, beating every other genre hands down.
There isn't a particular kind of horror movie I would rather watch over any other. My collection consists of everything from The Wicker Man (the original, of course) to Men Behind the Sun. I will watch anything that takes my fancy, no matter what reviewers or bloggers have to say about it. Horror has such a wide spectrum and I am sure everyone has their own definition of what horror actually is. It doesn't affect my enjoyment if a movie contains humor, or if it is deadly serious. I don't care if it breaks taboos, or steers well clear of them. They are entertainment, and if they manage to entertain at least one person in the world, then the filmmakers have done their jobs well.
Most of all though, above the reasons I have given previously, I watch horror films to be entertained. That is my main reason for watching, and I am sure that is the main reason films are made. For entertainment. Low or big budget, it doesn't matter. If a film is entertaining, it is a winner in my eyes.I am drawn to the dark side of everything, be it music, art or movies. I cannot explain why this is, but it is something that has been apparent since an early age. Horror films time and again manage to show a dark side in both a fantastical sense, and a very real sense, depending on the movie. This keeps me coming back again and again to see what emotions these movies will stir, to see if they will scare me, or thrill me, or make me laugh, and only horror is capable of doing all of these things, and so much more, within one movie.
As well as discussing why you like horror movies here, you can also go on over to xsmarkthespot, a film review and discussion blog that posed the very question that this post covers. To see why this question was asked on xsmarkthespot, click HERE.
Saturday, 3 August 2013
I was shocked to hear that Vimeo, a video hosting site that seems to host everything Youtube deems unacceptable, turned down the opportunity to host the new video from San Diego Death/Grind band Cattle Decapitation. Then I got the chance to see the video, and understood completely why they refused. Bloody Disgusting.com have premiered the video, and I have to say it as every bit as brutal and twisted as the bands music. But don't let me ruin it for you. There is nothing like experiencing the video for yourself.
To view Cattle Decapitation's video for Forced Gender Reassignment, click HERE.
Don't say I didn't warn you. This is both the aural and visual epitome of horror, and believe me when I say, it works, and will take an awfully long time for anyone to top this.
Friday, 2 August 2013
Dominic Brunt is rather a big name here in the UK, and with time, I am sure he will grow to be embraced universally, especially by the horror crowd. He plays the loveable Paddy Kirk in the British soap opera Emmerdale. Amazingly, he is also a huge horror film fan and a self confessed zombie addict, and along with his friend and fellow Emmerdale actor Mark Charnock (who plays Marlon Dingle in the British soap, and is also a self confessed zombie addict) they conduct the Leeds Zombie Festival, which began on 20th April 2008. This year saw the sixth Leeds Zombie Festival, which saw such great films as Argento's cut of 'Dawn of the Dead', Cuban horror comedy 'Juan of the Dead', and Dominic Brunt's directorial debut, the amazing 'Before Dawn' (my review of this film can be found by clicking HERE). Dominic also played the part of the chainsaw wielding cross dresser 'Podge' in Alex Chandon's terrific splatter/horror film Inbred (my review of which can be found by clicking HERE).
Dominic was kind enough to give me a chance to ask about his directorial debut, and about the Leeds Zombie Festival amongst other things. What follows is the complete interview. Many thanks to Dominic Brunt for taking the time to answer the questions.
D.C:- First of all, could you please give my readers a little history lesson about your annual zombie festival and how it began?
D.B:- The festival came about after my trip to Romania with the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) to help raise funds and awareness about bears being captured and held for various reasons in rural zoos and restaurants. I wanted to repay them for the flight and hotel and also give towards the charity. Myself and my work partner/mate Mark Charnock watch too many horror films anyway so we thought we could combine our love of the genre with an event to raise money.
How did your interest in zombie movies, and horror in general, begin?
Like most horror fans of my age, I was bought up on what was known as "Video Nasties". There was no certification for home videos at the time so you could legally walk into a shop and hire anything. So we did.
Was it hard moving from acting to directing?
Not really. It should all be hard work and well planned but we were surrounded by professionals so we had an enormous amount of fun too. Plus the fact that the film we had been working towards for so long was finally being put together.
In Before Dawn, you managed to create an aura of fear unseen in zombie cinema since the days of Lucio Fulci. How did this come about?
Well that's very kind of you indeed. I don't know really. I think that's up to the individual viewer to experience and decide. We wanted the scenario to play out as if the situation were real and was happening to real people. I think the dialogue has a lot to do with that as it's normal, un-flowery and conversational and the characters react in a very normal and upsetting way without grandstanding or playing up to any style.
What do you look for when selecting a movie for your film fest?
We look for something that will entertain a cinema full of people for better or for worse. There is a certain element of quality control but some awful trash has gone down a storm, I can tell you. Plan 9 from Outer Space, Nights of Terror spring immediately to mind and I want to show Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead next year given half the chance.
How did you achieve the depressing nihilistic feel for Before Dawn?
Ha ha!! Well, I think all the death, violence, loss and regret mixed in with superb somber music and deadpan performances will do that. I honestly feel that ending is a glimmer of hope though. Maybe just me? It's that European cinema style we were aiming for though.
The zombies in Before Dawn were practically unstoppable, and the scene in the garage was incredibly tense. Was it difficult to get right?
It was an amazing amount of fun. Knackering but fun. The worse the violence is the funnier it was to shoot.
Before Dawn is an incredibly emotional movie, as well s being tense and scary. Are all of these elements important ingredients in a horror movie?
I think most horror films are scary for their own reasons. Some have a certain formula and become franchises but I tend to leave them alone. I am a horror fan for as many different reasons as there are films within the genre. I love being entertained by a "worse case scenario" which is what I think the best horror films are. Certainly this would be the case for our future projects.
What are some of your favorite zombie/horror movies, and why do you enjoy them so much?
Evil Dead, Sleep Tight, Midnight Express, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Demon, Colin, Inbred. I could fill so many pages. I don't enjoy the body horror side of things really as I'm not a fan of this spiteful need to show torture as entertainment without humor. I just love film and stories. I'm a massive comic book fan and I often feel the horror genre goes hand in hand with that obsession. For me anyhow.
Your portrayal of the lead character in Before Dawn was incredibly powerful. Was it difficult playing such a troubled character going through such a difficult time?
That's very kind of you. I'm an actor, and the script was a joy for me. Quite indulgent but that's food for actors. Also, I got to kill zombies in a feature film so I can now die happy.
Many thanks again to Dominic Brunt for answering these questions. His new short film 'Shell Shocked' will be shown at this years Film 4 Frightfest, which runs from 22nd to the 26th August 2013 at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, London.
You can visit the Leeds Zombie Fest official website by clicking HERE.
You can join the Leeds Zombie Festival Facebook group by clicking HERE.
You can 'Follow' the Leeds Zombie Fest on Twitter by clicking HERE.