Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Sunday, December 28, 2014
It's 'every man for himself' in this post apocalyptic world, where a biological mistake has turned most of the population into animalistic eating machines. And that's just fine with R.J. - (Jack Nathan Harding) As a matter of fact, this proud hermit has adapted well to the new world order. He's even got heat, food, and a rare clean water source. For three years, R.J. has contentedly spent his days in a dark, cramped, and heavily barricaded room, drinking tea and reading paperback westerns by candlelight. One night R.J.'s routine is disrupted when he warily lets in a desperate young stranger - (Stephen Twardokus) He soon realizes the person he let in may be more dangerous that anything he's been trying to keep out.
Directed by Derek Cole
Here's another short film from director Derek Cole, who I'm quickly becoming a fan of. After reviewing his fantastic short film "Within Hindsight," it was great to have the opportunity to review "Let Me See Your Eyes." Just as I expected, this is another well-done short film from beginning to end.
Just as the audience gets introduced to R.J. (Jack Nathan Harding) and his nice little set up, an unexpected visitor (Stephen Twardokus) franticly begins knocking at his door. R.J. doesn't really want to, but he eventually opens the door saving the visitor from whatever is hunting him. After the tension of that moment settles, the two begin to talk and feel each other out. R.J. makes it clear that his visitor can't stay, and the visitor seems ok with that.
This is where the fun begins for the audience, as they wait to see which one of these guys makes the first move. Lets just say after a couple of twists, and turns one of these guys comes out on top. Jack and Stephen do a great job of hiding their character's intentions, and in what their characters do after their intentions are made. Just like "Within Hindsight," Derek does a terrific job of setting up a short film with a great twist. I certainly look forward to his next film.
Starring: Alexandra Grace, Riley Connor, and Kira Halling
Written and directed by: Michael Kehoe
There are certain situations horror fans have seen over and over again. Sometimes it's within a scene, other times it might be the outcome of the whole film. However that doesn't mean the result will always be the same. Creating something different is what horror fans are looking for, and the challenge for filmmakers.
In "Hush," Regan (Alexandra Grace) is downstairs watching T.V. when there's a power outage. As she's trying to figure what to do, a little girl, Irene (Riley Connor), from upstairs begins to yell for her. After a few yells, and responses of "hush," Regan makes her way into the girl's bedroom. By now horror fans are already thinking about what's coming next, and hoping they don't see more of the same.
This is where the challenge for the filmmakers kicks in, and they knock it out of park. Without giving it way, lets just say there's a terrific twist that ends this short film in frightening fashion. The two actors might not get a whole lot of screen time, but they are very natural as to give no hints at what's about to happen. Lost in it all might be the dark, and creepy background that's subtly created as Regan navigates her way upstairs. In the end, it's really easy to see why this film has been winning award after award at film festivals. If you see it listed at a film festival near you, don't miss it.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Daniel encounters something evil in his claustrophobic apartment.
Starring: Daniel Areas, Spike the Dog, and Angel Villegas
Written and directed by: Jonathan Cuartas
"The Pallor" is a short film that sets out to scare the audience, or in the least creep them out. It starts with Daniel (Daniel Areas), and his dog in an apartment doing every day things. Then it begins to go downhill for Daniel when noises wake his dog, and him up. If the audience isn't paying close enough attention, they just might miss the quick look at the evil that’s after Daniel.
The evil that haunts Daniel is definitely the star of the film. Being a short film, it doesn't appear much, but when it does it's very effective. It kind of pops up in a similar way to how some of the scares are done in movies like "Insidious," "The Conjuring," and "Annabelle." It may or may not have you jumping out of your seat, but it will definitely make you think twice about staying home alone.
What helps the evil do its job is the darkness in the apartment. It gets darker and darker as Daniel looks for a place to hide. One of the scenes is almost too dark, but it pays off in the end. Areas does a good job acting terrified, while not having many lines. In the end, "The Pallor" is a good, and creepy short film. I encourage you all to check it out on PromoteHorror.com's Sunday Scares.
A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, and Chris Pine
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Written by: James Lapine (screenplay), and James Lapine (musical)
"Into the Woods" is a movie that doesn't want the audience to ever forget its name. The opening scene mentions "Into the Woods" probably more than two dozen times. It doesn't end there, it continues throughout the movie as characters are constantly reminded about the woods, the danger of going to, or the danger of being in the woods. This is one of several things that stand out about "Into the Woods."
Obviously the biggest thing that stands out is that this is a musical. The audience gets a big dose of this right off the bat. After that opening scene, the audience might have thought the whole movie was going to be singing, but it's not. They mix up musical numbers with regular dialogue, however there’s no rhythm to it. Just when it appears they will be singing the entire time, it moves to heavy on the dialogue. Then just as audience forgets that it's a musical, the singing begins again.
Another thing that stands out is how well they weave the tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel together. This couldn't have been an easy task because each story is very different. They cleverly do this by focusing the story on a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), and working in the tales around them. Basically the couple has tried to have a child, but unknown to them can't because of a witch's curse. Of course there has to be a witch (Meryl Streep) involved. The witch tells them about the curse, and sets them off on a mission to gather four items, one from each tale she needs in order to reverse the curse.
Another good thing about the story is how they lead everything up to what's suppose to be the happy ending, and then bring in a darker final scene. The movie really could have ended sooner, but if the audience is paying attention to the tales, they will know where the story is going. Without giving it away, lets just say certain characters develop a wondering eye, a life is taken, and the woods may never be the same.
Even though this is partially a musical, there are plenty of hilarious moments. The couple provides many of the moments early on as they try to collect the items. The characters from the tales bring their own humor, particularly Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) and the Wolf (Johnny Depp), and the two Princes (Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen). While the Princes have their looks, they aren't portrayed as the sharpest tools in the shed. They provide the funniest musical number, as they sing about the women they’re in love with on top of a waterfall.
There are several things that standout about "Into the Woods." With a strong cast, the acting and singing is on point. They do an excellent job of bringing back classic tales, and incorporating them into a new story. While they did a good job of mixing the tales together, they could’ve done a better job of mixing the music with the dialogue. The story does have a little bit of everything including drama, comedy, and even a darker final act. With that said, I give this movie 3 pools of blood.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
I had a blast Spooky Empire 2014, as I do every year. I got to meet more Horror Icons, watch some great panels, take cool pics, and score some awesome autographs. More than anything it's the little moments like Melissa McBride saying she liked my hat, Tobin Bell pointing out that he's taking a pic with a Horror Icon (of course I told him that he's the real Icon), and Bitsie Tulloch remembering my name hours later. Those kinds of moments are why I always encourage horror fans to attend conventions.
So below are some videos I took of the panels including the Halloween, The Walking Dead, Michael Rooker, Tobin Bell, and Grimm. Also, there's a video of some of the pics I took over the course of the weekend.
Spooky Empire 2014 Pics:
The Walking Dead Panel Pics:
Michael Rooker Panel:
Tobin Bell Panel:
Halloween Panel (Daeg Faerch Raps):
I hope you enjoyed that look at the convention. I’m already looking forward to next year, and hope to see you there!
Saturday, December 20, 2014
The Holiday Horror Wish List has become a tradition, so let me introduce it to those who haven't seen it yet. It's very simple, just imagine you are a little kid again, and are about to write a letter to Santa telling him what you want for Christmas. Except think of it as if you are writing to the Santa from "Silent Night," and are only going to be asking for things that are horror related. Basically I want all of you to come up with your own Holiday Horror Wish List. It could be something that you could really get like a DVD of your favorite horror movie of 2014, or an autograph from your favorite horror icon. Your list could also be something you would like to see happen in the world of horror for 2015 such as, a sequel to a horror movie, or no more remakes (not happening by the way)! To give you a few more examples, here's my Holiday Horror Wish List!
-More and more of brutal Rick! Oh, and hopefully the spinoff works out!
-I'll take all of the horror related Funko Pop figures out there please!
-The motherf***ing release of Jeepers Creepers 3 already! And yes this has been on the list before!-HorrO wants to be eaten by a shark in Sharknado 3! It just sounds like a good time in the making!
-Please don't let them screw up the Poltergeist remake! Also, hopefully Sinister 2 is good, and doesn't take away from how awesome part 1 is!
-More screenings of independent horror films, and horror conventions to come to Florida (specifically Miami)!
-For NBC to give Constantine more of a chance, and bring it back! Throw in another season of Grimm on top of that!-Would love a chance to give input in designing a haunted house next year! (Cough cough HHN)
-Already got to meet and get autographs from some of The Walking Dead cast, but now it's time to meet some AHS cast members!
-For the real life horror in the world to end!
-A chance to do a promotion for a blockbuster film, or major horror icon out (no offense to any film or icon already promoted)!-Continued support for HorrO's Gory Reviews, The Dog Days in Zombieville, PromoteHorror.com, and everything under HorrO's House of Horror!
Now it's your turn! Please post your Holiday Horror Wish List in the comment section below, and we will see if Horror Claus will make it come true.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Detectives are puzzled when a serial killer has killed 4 and has left no evidence and seems to have no motive. In their desperation they call alone Source, a well known psychic that has helped the police solve crimes with his incredible gift. Source will soon learn this killer is even a step ahead of him.
Starring: Stephen Twardokus, Jon Gale, and Wendy Haines
Directed by: Derek Cole
Written by: Derek Cole, and Stephen Twardokus
"Within Hindsight” starts off like the typical crime drama. Two detectives are trying to piece together clues at a murder scene. Apparently this isn't the first time this killer has struck, and the detectives need help finding the killer. They call in a psychic, and this is when things get really interesting.
The detectives fade away as the psychic puts himself in the room when the murder begins to take place. The audience gets to see the murder committed by a guy in an awesome silver mask. With a mask like that it's a shame the audience only gets to see him in action once.
After the murder is committed the killer does something strange. This is where the beginning of the twist happens, and no I'm not giving it away. Let's just say it puts an excellent exclamation mark on this short film.
It's always good to find a film that puts the audience in a familiar place, but is able to present the a nice new twist. "Within Hindsight" does exactly that. This short film really could have been part of a large movie, and hopefully it's something the filmmakers think about. It would be nice to see the killer in the great mask in action, and see where the story goes after the twist.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
No Walking Dead… no worries! Here’s another video that will hopefully make you laugh, and bring you back to some of the show’s finer moments.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Spooky Empire 2014 had some really good panels. As one might have guessed, "The Walking Dead" panel was one of the most anticipated panels of the convention. It was certainly worth the wait! It featured several popular actors from the show including Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, and Laurie Holden. Below are a few videos from portions of the panel, along with some pics. One of the videos includes a surprise appearance by Michael Rooker. Enjoy...
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
FEAR is a visually striking poetic film on the universal emotion that can hit us when we let insignificant little incidents spin wildly out of control.
Starring: Jessie Rabideau
Written and directed by: Steven Kahn
Appropriately entitled "FEAR," this short film shows audiences fear can hit us in many different ways. It starts off with a young woman in her bathroom, where strange things occur, as she does things like take a bath, and wash her hair. The film has the audience wondering what’s going to happen to her as she does these things. Is there someone in the house? Maybe a ghost is haunting her, or maybe fear is getting the best of her?
The film might seem odd at first, but curiosity, suspense, and tension will build as the woman moves from the bathroom into other parts of her home. It brings out these emotions as things get stranger and stranger, and the feeling that danger is getting closer sets in for the woman. They did a great job of coming up with creative ways for the woman to feel fear, and didn't do too many standard scares horror fans see all of the time. Add to that the wonderful way the film is shot. It really enhances the fear, such as a scene where the woman experiences a lightening storm in her kitchen.
From beginning to end, fear makes itself present. The young woman experiences different levels of it throughout the film, while the audience is fearful of what might happen to her. The film isn’t short on creativity, and is shot really well. Be on the lookout for "FEAR" at film festivals, and hopefully even one day at PromoteHorror.com.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
A sudden and mysterious inheritance brings Danny and his friends to Hobb Springs, a forgotten resort deep in the West Virginia hills. Hobb Springs is being looked after under the watchful care of Jackson and Sally.
Starring: Anthony Ilott, Chris Jarvis, and Aqueela Zoll
Directed by: Valeri Milev
Written by: Frank H. Woodward
Let's start this off by saying that I'm a fan of this franchise. Certainly not because they’re the best movies ever made. Horror fans could make complaints about any of the movies, and it probably wouldn't be worth the time to argue. So why am I a fan of this franchise? Well I think each movie has presents some quality kills, and I'm always in for some good bloodshed (yes I have issues).
Of course that means the first thing I looked for “Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort” are the kills. As usual, the first one starts it off with a bang. The three crazy cannibals kill two unsuspecting, and unimportant characters in some heading popping fun. After the ceremonial first kills, I hoped for a few more quality kills that would keep this franchise going strong.
Unfortunately, they let me down this time. The kills in the opening scene turn out to be the best ones. I don't expect them to top the opening scene kill all the time, but they should try to come close. It never felt like they got anywhere near that first scene. Yes, there's still bloodshed as the cannibals go to work, but there needed to be more to it.
It almost seemed like they actually tried to put more thought into the story, (did I really just say that about Wrong Turn), and less on the kills. They spend a good amount of time setting up Danny’s (Anthony Ilott) storyline, which gets kind of boring since the audience can kind of already figure out what’s going on. Maybe they had something else on their minds like say… sex! In other sequels there's sex scenes, but this one seems to have more than the others. I might be wrong, but it just felt like this one has more sex scenes than the others. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but like I said I’m looking for the kills.
Being a fan of the franchise, I'm always excited to see another sequel. I enjoy the bloodshed, but sadly "Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort" lacks in any really creative kills after the opening scene. Instead, there's a good amount of time spent on the story, and several sex scenes. It's not a big deal, but not exactly what I'm looking for in this movie so I give it 1.5 pools of blood. And even with this rating, I’m still down for part 7 in case you are wondering!
Monday, November 17, 2014
In my final Halloween Horror Nights 24 post, I have some videos from the four scare zones for you to check out. Overall, the scare zones turned out pretty good. Each offered something a little different. After the look at the zones, there is a video with some pictures from the zones, and other things I ran into at HHN24.
The first scare zone is The Purge: Anarchy. This movie made for the perfect scare zone. It was total chaos as scare actors were everywhere looking to exercise their right to Purge. The first video shows that, including a look at the boss patrolling the area. In the second video, you get to see a two-part scene the scare actors played out every once in awhile. The boss rounds up victims in the truck, and they are later auctioned off. It was pretty cool to catch both scenes.
The second scare zone is Face Off - In the Flesh. While this wasn't that scary, it made for some awesome photo ops. Basically there were several featured creatures up on a set, and people would stand in front of them, if brave enough, to take pictures. Of course while you were looking at the creatures, they had other scare actors roaming the street trying to scare you. They did a terrific job creating these creatures.
The next zone is Bayou of Blood. This featured a kind of tight walkway to go through before ending up with the creatures on stilts. They are always cool to get next to. They do a great job walking around on those things. As for the walkway, even with the glowing lights, it was pretty dark, which made it fun to go through.
The final zone is MASKerade: Unstitched. Again, they had some scare actors on stilts. These scare actors were dressed like they wanted to take you to the ball, but I don't think that would be a good idea. The candles were pretty cool to look at; especially in the daytime next to rides they had nothing to do with.
As mentioned above, this video starts off with some pictures from all of the zones. It might give you a better look at things that might be hard to see in the video. You get to see things such as, scare actors from the Purge, the Face Off creatures, the entrance to the park, and bonus pictures from the front of the Dracula: Untold house. Oh, and of course this picture above, which is one of my favorites. It's from the behind the scenes tour that I mentioned in the other posts. We got to meet with the major people behind HHN24, and ask them anything we wanted to about the event. It's really great to get such insight about the event from the people who know better than anyone else. The guy on my left is T.J., who accompanied us on our tour in the houses. He likes the shirt, and is now a proud owner of one because he's been on the tour with us for several years now, and knows everything about the event from the beginning.
Overall, HHN24 was awesome. There was a great mix of houses. While I don't usually get scared in them, I always look at how they go about trying to scare you, and I thought they did a great job. The TV/movie houses were cool to go through because it put right in those worlds. Then there were the original houses, which turned out to be a lot of fun to go in. Sometimes I feel like they waste a house, but not this time. My behind the scenes posts (links below) have more of my opinions on each house.
I'm certainly looking forward to next year because it's the big 25th anniversary. Hopefully they will bring back some of their HHN icons, which all fans of the event would love to see again. I'll be there next year, and hopefully you get to go as well!
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Part of my Halloween Horror Nights 24 (HHN) adventures was taking the Unmasking the Horror Tour. This tour takes fans on a behind the scenes look at their haunted houses. Our tour took us into 6 of their 8 houses so I decided to break them each up into their own post in order to give you a better look at each of them. This is a behind the scenes look at the “Halloween” house.
The above video is a series of photos that I took while on the tour. What I will be doing now is describing some of the things you saw in the video, so you might want to read this and then go back and watch the video again.
The first several pics are of the outside of the house. Besides the pumpkin, it looks kind of dull. However, that isn't the case at night. At the end of the video, you might have seen the nighttime view of the house. You can see it says "Halloween" on the outside of the second floor wall. There is actually a small video that happens before that of a glass breaking while the Halloween music is playing. There's also an even more awesome video of Michael going from the room on the left to the room on the right, and killing someone. I got that on video (unlike the other scene...sorry), which is at the bottom of this post (WATCH IT). This is all done by a projector, which you can see in the first few pics.
When you walk into the house you see the staircase with a dead body on it. As you are checking out the body, there's a door on the left side, as seen in the video, where the young Michael scare actor pops out of.
Not far after that is this cool mirror trick. While standing there you can see yourself, but at night you can also see the young Michael again. He looks far away, but he's actually right around the corner to scare you.
You don't stay in the house long, as you make your way to the garage. As you step outside, there's some clothing hanging along the wall. At night there are scare actor kids jumping out saying, "Trick or Treat!" We definitely had fun with that on our second, and third trips into the house.
From there we move into the garage. You can't tell in the pics because it's really dark, but there's a dummy in the car. Also, at night there's a woman scare actor in the front seat. She's screaming because she's acting as if the dummy is attacking her. That was a cool scene to walk by.
Now we come upon this guy hanging on the wall. Want to guess what happens to him? Michael comes out of a door in front of the guy, and stabs him where you might be able to tell his shirt is torn. That's not the end of it. Michael then leaves the knife in the guy, and tries to scare people walking by. Another awesome moment.
This was another nice set up here. Everyone is busy looking at this, and Michael was waiting for you around the corner.
All right here's another cool scene. I hope you can tell I really liked this house. At night there's a woman scare actor sitting on the couch, and I bet you can guess what's going to happen to her. Michael comes into the room, and attacks her. Awesome!
Quick funny story about the cat picture. Someone who went through this house early on complained endlessly to the HHN Twitter account about not having a picture of the cat like in the movie. So to please this person, they had someone go out and get this cat picture for the house. Yes, they are listening to the fans!
Sorry for another pic of me, but here I'm actually pointing out something for you. Above me are Freddy's sweater, and Leatherface's shirt. They have placed these items in houses before. I would never have known they were there without going on the tour.
Now back to the awesome rooms. Here we have the tombstone of Judith Myers on the bed. As you lean in to take a closer look you better be ready for Michael hiding somewhere close by! In the video, you can see me helping Michael out by finishing her off!
So if you thought one Michael was bad how about a room full of them? Yes, those pics in the video are of different Michael's. At night this room was pretty dark, and you had to walk down the center of it to get out. On your left and right were a series of Michael's with their knives. Of course, there were some scare actor Michael's in there to really scare you.
Then we come into the final scene. In this room you have a doorway on one side, and a doorway to the balcony on the other side. If you were lucky enough to be in the room at the right time, you would be able to see a quick scene play out. Dr. Loomis comes into the room from the doorway, and shoots Michael who is standing by the balcony entrance.
Ok... I lied. That wasn't the final scene. Of course you are supposed to think Michael is dead, and you are safe as you walk out of the house. Well, you see that green fence? There was another Michael standing there to scare you one last time. They were playing on the theme that Michael never dies!
Overall, that was probably the best house. It was swarming with Michael's, which was awesome. They put you in so many scenes from the movie that you really felt the experience. I really liked the scenes were Michael interacted with other characters in the house. Again, it made it feel real. So that was a look at the "Halloween” house. If you have any questions about the house, or HHN24, please feel free to ask.
Now here's that video I mentioned in the beginning. Well worth watching! There's also another quick video to show what it was like outside of the house.