October Horrorshow: Bornless Ones

“Today is the day you pay for your consequences.”

That is the line from Bornless Ones, the magnum opus from writer/director Alexander Babaev, that I think about whenever I’m about to give this flick too much praise. It’s not as if mangled idioms aren’t commonplace in film, but it’s a useful reminder that this flick ain’t The Exorcist.

From 2016, Bornless Ones is a neat take on the cabin in the woods subgenre of horror. It’s not great, though. At times it’s not even that good. It’s one of those films that improves on a well-worn idea, but finds itself weighed down by some bad dialogue and weak reads. The second half is awash in blood and gore, so it has that going for it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Bornless Ones”

Shitty Movie Sundays: 2307: Winter’s Dream

I’m glad that filmmakers are still making flicks like this. It’s schlock from the ground up, and the only thing that harms its shitty movie cred is the fact it was filmed in digital HD. Pardon a short rant that is going to make me sound like the old man I am steadily becoming, but shitty movies in the age of celluloid had an extra sheen of cheapness that has been lost. In the past, shitty filmmakers had to rent cheap cameras and lenses, and buy substandard film stock and processing, to get their films made. The difference in visual quality was stark, compared to big time productions. These days, however, a movie can get made with a digital SLR that costs a few thousand bucks, or even a smartphone, and the visual quality is much closer to what one gets from proper, high-end digital cameras. Part of the joy of watching an old shitty movie is bad film stock, and that is gone forever. Too bad. Anyway… Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: 2307: Winter’s Dream”

October Horrorshow: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Is there anything creepier than a room made for the dead? Everything in a morgue or embalming room is cold, antiseptic, and hard. There isn’t a cushion in site on which to rest a corpse. Why would there be? It’s not as if the dead will complain. They’re just motionless slabs of meat and bone, gristle and organs. The difference between the living and dead is rendered stark in rooms like this, where no living person could tolerate lying on stainless steel tables, their heads resting on blocks. Everything about these rooms would cause intolerable pain in the living. But, again, the dead won’t complain. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Autopsy of Jane Doe”

October Horrorshow: The Belko Experiment, or, That Guy Battle Royale

I can’t recall seeing a film that had as many moments when I said to myself, “Oh, look. It’s that guy.” The Belko Experiment is chock full of that guys, and they all feature prominently. There’s that guy from Ghost, (Hollywood aristocrat Tony Goldwyn), that guy from Scrubs (John C. McGinley), that guy from The Killing (Brent Sexton), that guy from The Walking Dead (Michael Rooker), that guy from ER (Abraham Benrubi), budding that guy from The Newsroom (John Gallagher, Jr.), and plenty of other that guys and gals that have been featured in Hollywood films for a generation. Why has such an ensemble been assembled? To kill each other in bloody fashion. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Belko Experiment, or, That Guy Battle Royale”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Bunker: Project 12

Today’s shitty film is a rare one. As of this writing, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, despite there being two well-known actors in it. One of those actors, Eric Roberts, doesn’t even have the film listed in his filmography page on Wikipedia. Not even as a red link. That’s some impressive obscurity in the age of the internet.

From 2016, Bunker: Project 12 was released straight-to-video under the title Project 12: The Bunker. In fact, should one watch this movie, that is the title that shows in the opening credits. Where the slightly adjusted new title comes from is anyone’s guess. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Bunker: Project 12″

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyborg X, or, Press the Damn Button Already!

This shitty flick is a bit of a throwback. If it had not been for the bargain basement CGI, this flick could be mistaken by the shitty movie fan for something from the 1980s or the early 1990s. It has that feel.

From writer/director Kevin King, Cyborg X takes place in the aftermath of a war in which a sentient AI has wiped out most of the people on the planet. Think the Terminator movies, if all the scenes took place in the future and there was none of that time travel nonsense. In fact, this movie lives and dies on the ideas that it ripped from James Cameron, and that’s just fine. The first shot of this film is of such low-quality CGI that it lets the viewer know to dismiss any positive expectations they might have had. Who cares if the rest of it is a ripoff? Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cyborg X, or, Press the Damn Button Already!”

Empty Balcony: Officer Downe

Not all comic book adaptations feature superheroes and supervillains chasing down the one mysterious MacGuffin that can either save or destroy the universe. Sometimes, all a comic book hero wants to do is clean up the streets of the big city.

Part Robocop, part drive-in homage, and part splatterfest, Officer Downe is the cinematic adaptation of the comic of the same name from writer Joe Casey and artist Chris Burnham. Casey also penned the screenplay for Officer Downe, while directing duties were handled by Shawn Crahan. If that name is familiar to some of the Loyal Seven readers, that’s because Crahan’s day job is as a member of heavy metal group Slipknot. Other members of the band get in on the fun as extras and minor characters. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Officer Downe”

October Horrorshow: A Dark Song

Horror films work quite well when they embrace spectacle. Over-the-top gore and special effects are a hallmark of the genre. But splattering blood all over isn’t the only way to make a horror flick. Sometimes a filmmaker goes for the soul underneath the flesh, and makes something disturbing.

A Dark Song is the feature film debut from writer/director Liam Gavin. From 2016, the film tells the story of two people carrying out occult rites in an isolated house in Wales in order to contact a guardian angel. This is no lightweight ritual, either. As occult expert Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram) explains to the woman who hired him to carry out the ritual, Sophia (Catherine Walker), it will be months before they know if it’s working. During that time, the two will not be able to leave the house, nor will they have any contact with the outside world. Nor could they, as there isn’t any power in the house. Or heat. Did I mention this house is in Wales? Because one would not want to live in an unheated house in Wales. All of this makes the stakes quite a bit higher than something one would see in an old Hammer flick. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: A Dark Song”

October Horrorshow: It Stains the Sands Red

Back in 2011, The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz), wrote and directed Grave Encounters, which has become something of a yardstick by which all found footage ghost flicks have been judged the last few years. That film, while being largely unknown outside of horror’s Cul-de-sac, has been very influential, even more so than The Blair Witch Project — a film regarded by many as the definitive found footage horror flick (I disagree). All one has to do is load up the horror category on Prime or Netflix. There one will find dozens of found footage ghost flicks that use the same techniques and plot elements as Grave Encounters. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: It Stains the Sands Red”

October Horrorshow: They’re Watching

It just doesn’t feel like the October Horrorshow until the first review of a found footage flick has been posted. This year the honor goes to They’re Watching, the 2016 film from writing and directing duo Jay Lender and Micah Wright.

The film follows the crew of a home improvement reality show. They are going back to Moldova six months after the subject of an episode, Becky Westlake (Brigid Brannagh), bought and began to rehab a dilapidated house in the woods. The place looked like a total lost cause. It had been empty for decades. All the glass had been broken. Walls and floors had been exposed to wind, rain, freezing, thawing, vandalism, and everything else that causes an abandoned building to slowly fall apart. The best thing would have been to knock it down and start over. But, when the crew arrives on site, after a somewhat harrowing journey to the house, they find that Becky appears to have done a top-notch job. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: They’re Watching”