Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Galaxy of Horrors



Review: Galaxy of Horrors
By William Pattison, aka Eric Morse
For Horror Bob’s Blog

As a person who absolutely loves original anthology films I was excited to get my chance to see Galaxy of Horrors. It is really rare to find a horror/sci fi anthology. This one was created with the help of Rue Morgue Magazine and Unstable Ground Productions using shorts films from their Little Terrors Festival.
The wrap around story is about a man trapped in a malfunctioning life pod. Each segment is of him trying to figure out the password that will release him. Unfortunately every time he fails to say the correct password he is forced to watch a film, which cuts down his life
expectancy.

There are eight films in this anthology, all radically different.

The first film is titled Eden and the world it presents is far from that. It shows us a dystopian world where the air is so polluted you can’t breath without a mask. Also the government is corrupt and the rebellion is using children as freedom fighters. Finally the place also has what appears to be the beginning of a zombie problem.

Iris tells the story of an intelligent Smart Phone that is unfortunately in the hands of a killer for hire. What can a killer do when he has to face a phone with a conscience?

The next film, The Flesh Computer, introduces us to a half biological half mechanical computer that monitors a building. This story asks the question is this device conscious?

The story Pathos tells a story where people are hooked to machines to control their bodies. In order to advance in society you must pass a series of test which are simply to go to one side of the room you are in learn a code and punch it into a keyboard on the other side of the room. If you do it right you win prized that will give you a good life.  If you fail you lose a sense and eventually if you continue to fail you die.

Eveless tells the story of a male couple in a society where women have died and men must now carry children for the future of humanity.

They will all Die in Space tells the story of a technician that is woken up from hyper sleep to do repairs on a disabled ship but he soon learns that the two other men who are awake have horrific plans for him.

Entity tells the story of the survivor of a ship explosion who finds herself alone tumbling through space in a spacesuit until she come face to face with a strange space anomaly.

The final story is titled Kingz and tells the story of two drug dealers who go to drop off a bag of drugs to a night club owner only to find out he has been taken over by an alien entity and his security guards are now remote controlled drones.

Ok, well I found this to be an ok anthology, and I stress on the word ok. The stories varied from interesting to just plain boring. The writing varied as well. A couple of the stories were extremely weak. They had interesting ideas but the stories weren’t fully developed. Another problem was a couple of the films came from other countries and the viewer was stuck having to labor through a lot of subtitles. Also, the wrap around story was weak and did nothing to enhance the film at all.

So, in the end I have to say film was ok and I wouldn’t suggest you rush out and check it out. This is more something you might want to check out as a 99 cent VOD. It is definitely nothing I’d want to include in my anthology collection….

Keep on Creepin, Horror Bob’s Blog!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Ichi


Review: Ichi
By William Pattison
For Horror Bob's Blog

I just finished watching a wonderful samurai film from 2008 titled Ichi. It is a spin off of the incredible samurai series Blind Swordsman Zatoichi.
This film tells the story of Zatoichi's daughter whose name is Ichi. She is also blind. When she was a child Zatoichi left her in a home where they taught her to be a singer. Zatoichi visits on occasion and teaches the girl how to use a sword. When she grows up the head of the house rapes her and she kills him. She is thrown out of the house and travels the countryside of Japan looking for her father. It is during her journey that she runs into a samurai that has a tramatic condition where he can't pull his sword to fight. It is because of this that Ichi ends up getting in the middle of a conflict between a village and a group of bandits. I guess it runs in the family.
As a long time fan of the Zatoichi I royally enjoyed this film and highly recommend it....
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: Land of Smiles, aka Thai-Sanity




Review: Land of Smiles, aka Thai-Sanity
By William Pattison
For Horror Bob’s Blog


For my review this time a have a new film by Australian director Bradley Stryker, Land of Smiles.
The film centers on a girl named Abby (played by Alexandra Turshen). Abby has just gotten out of college and is ready to start her life. Her best friend, Jen (played by Jen L. Burry), wants to take Abby on vacation to purge her inhibitions, since Abby is a bit of the good girl type. Abby tells Jen she doesn’t want to go. This starts an argument. Abby tells Jen it has nothing to do with Abby’s boyfriend Brad. Jen walks off in a huff. Abby ends up going home to find Brad having sex with another girl. Abby shoots them both in the face with pepper spray. Then we see Abby on a plane alone to Thailand, not a good idea. Once she gets to Thailand Abby meets documentary filmmaker Ben (played by Keenan Henson) and his girl Jewel (played by Caitlin Cromwell, aka Caitlin Stryker). The threesome decide to travel around Thailand together because Ben has been all over the island and knows the best places. Then they add an Australian, Dale (played by Bradley Stryker) and Penny (played by Krista Donargo) It is around this time that Abby receives a video that is handed to her by a stranger. The video shows her friend Jen tied up and painted up in clown makeup. There is a man with her in a yellow jumpsuit and a disturbing clown mask. The man tells Abby that if she doesn’t play his game and do as he says that he will cut Jen to pieces with an electric saw. He tells Abby not to tell Ben or Jewel as well. Abby immediately goes to Ben and Jewel and shows them the video. Ben tells her not to worry because he figures it is Jen pulling a trick on Abby to help get her out of her shell. He backs this up by showing her a couple of videos of people pulling a similar trick. Abby doesn’t believe him and wants to get the police involved. Ben reminds Abby that the Thailand police are corrupt will only help if they are paid enough. He suggest she just go along with the game and that he is sure it’s all a big joke. The next day Abby is given another not from the clown masked man. He tells her that now that she has told Ben and Jewel they must play the game too and if any of them fail to go by the rules Jen will suffer. They decide not to tell Dale or Penny what’s going on, since they don’t want them involved. It is a little bit later that they find out this is all no joke when they find Penny, painted up in clown makeup, murdered in a motel covered in sheets with clown scrawl over them with blinking green, red, and blue Christmas lights as well. It is also soon after that they receive a finger in a package and a pendent Abby gave Jen. Now the game has become serious and the tension builds to the twist at the end.
I have to say that this is a very well done psychological horror film that also exploits the setting very well. You have an American tourist in a strange country where she can’t even count on the police for help. Bradley counters the incredible beauty if Thailand with it’s darker underbelly.
The actors give excellent performance, especially Alexandra Turshen and Keenan Henson as Ben. Bradley Stryker adds a lot to the film as Dale as well.
Of course, now we got the downside of the film. I honestly did not think the clown motif worked well with the setting. I know clowns have been the big thing the last few years with the clown sightings and attacks all over the globe. Also I understand that clown masks are the easiest thing to find, but I just don’t see clowns and Thailand as a good match. It all looked cheap to me and thrown in. The backgrounds in the videos of the clown who was supposedly keeping Jen in a secret place in Thailand didn’t match up with the rest of the film. Also, the big twist and reveal could have been done far better. I was less than impressed with the execution and it brought down a really good build up. Though I doubt Bradley Stryker is going to read this review, I hope he does a better job ending his next film.

Keep on Creepin’, Horror Bob’s Blog!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Commentary: What is in a Moniker?



Commentary: What is in a Moniker?
By William Pattison
For Horror Bob's Blog

Ok, here is something I’ve wanted to get off my chest. It seems that a minority of people in horror have an issue with me using the moniker King of Splatter Punk. Well, whiney bitches here is what I have to say on this….too bad. A guy I knew years ago started calling me that. I was reluctant to take on the moniker, at the time because I was calling myself The Harlan Ellison of Friday the 13th, which I still do on occasion. Of course, I also call myself The Alpha Wolf of The Wolf Pack and Shogun of The Wolf Pack.
The point I’m getting at is monikers are meaningless. They are just cute little names people, especially in entertainment use with a tongue in cheek. Look around you people. How many tattooed girls with website that have been extras in films, or if she is lucky had a short speaking part, call themselves Scream Queens or Queen of Horror. How many Kings of Horror are there out there. My buddy Al Omega calls himself the Alpha and Omega of Horror. More power to him.
A few people say I can’t call myself on my shows The King of Splatter Punk because. David J Schow and some of his friends invented the sub-genre of Splatter Punk. I say if David wants to fly banners calling himself King of Splatter Punk more power to him too, but I really don’t think he cares. David is more interested in doing the work of writing and getting the pay than giving himself gray hair over a mere moniker. Nope, it is just a few narrow minded, petty, nitpicky jackasses out there that make a mountain out of a mole hill and waste their time writing page after page on how I can’t call myself The King of Splatter Punk. Sorry, this is William Pattison, King of Splatter Punk, The Harlan Ellison of Friday the 13th, Defender of Horror, Alpha Wolf of The Wolf Pack, and Shogun of The Wolf Pack saying get a life….

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Review: The Void



Review: The Void
By William Pattison
For Horror Bob's Blog


Man, I just finished watching The Void. I have to say I'm stunned. This is a beautifully ghastly horror film. It is Clive Barker meets H.P. Lovecraft. Excellent writing. Good character work. Great atmosphere. Tense as shit. This is the best horror film I've seen in years. This is my choice for best of the year. I doubt I'll find a film that will surpass this film. This film royally raised the bar on horror. You, got to see this. This is a grotesque masterpiece.....

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Review: Stake Land II



Review: Stake Land II
By William Pattison
For Horror Bob’s Blog

Well, I just finished watching Stake Land II. I have to say as much as I loved the first film I love this one better. In this film Martin (played again by Conner Paolo) and Mister (Nick Damici, who is also the writer of the film) are reunited when Martin's family is murdered by a female vampire with one eye. Martin finds out from Mister that this vampire is actually after him. It seems that this vampire is a new breed that can have babies and Mister had killed her baby and took her eye. Now Martin, Mister, a feral girl Mister befriended along with some vampire hunter friends of Mister must take on an army of vampires and the crazy cult the brotherhood from the first film, who are working with the vampires.
This is a great zombie apocalypse style film done with vampires instead of zombies. I highly recommend it.

Keep it Creepin’, Horror Bob’s Blog

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: XX




Review: XX
By William Pattison, aka Eric Morse
For Horror Bob’s Blog

Gore and scares! For my review this time I have the new anthology XX. This anthology was done by four female filmmakers: Jovanka Vuckovic, Roxanne Benjamin, St. Vincent aka Annie Clark, and Karyn Kusama. The film is made up of four terror tales connected by a weird animated wrap a round featuring an odd doll house with a doll’s face.
The first story is an adaptation by Jovanka Vuckovic of the overly treaded Jack Ketchum short story The Box. Honestly when I saw that they were doing The Box in this anthology I figured this segment was going to be the weakest of the stories given the fact that The Box has had three previous short film adaptation as well as a feature film. For those who somehow missed this story, in Ketchum’s original story a man with a messed up side of his face goes to a couple who is having financial problems and offers them the chance to get a million dollars. The only catch is they have to push a button inside a black box which will kill a random person. They only have a week to decide. Well, Vuckovic does a total re-writing of the tale. She still has the mysterious man and the box, but this time the box is red and has a big red bow on it. Vuckovic’s version starts on a train with a mother and two kids. A mystery man with a messed up eye is sitting nearby them holding the box. The mother’s son asks the man what is in the box. The man opens the box and shows him. From that moment on the boy refuses to eat. His father in one scene gets so frustrated he starts yelling at the boy who breaks down in tears but refuses to eat. Eventually the boy tells his sister what he saw and she refuses to eat as well. Then at the end the boy tells his father and he stops eating. You can gather the end of the story. Jovanka Vuckovic is brilliant in how she handles this story. Seriously, the way she films the food in the scene makes you hungry. It looks so appealing yet the boy and later his sister turns their noses up to it. This adaptation is psychological horror at its best and is in fact the strongest of the tales in this anthology.
The second story is by filmmakers Roxanne Benjamin and St. Vincent aka Annie Clark. It is titled The Birthday Party. It tells the tale of a mother who is having a costume party/ birthday party for her adopted daughter. Unfortunately, she finds the girl’s father dead in his den. Now the mother finds herself trying to hide the body from her daughter and the arriving party guests. She ends up disguising the body in a panda costume and sits it at the party table. Of course fate hits in a predictable ending.
I have to say this was the weakest story of the anthology and suffered from an annoying habit that some female filmmakers have. That is they fall so much in love with style and costuming that they forget the story and focus solely on visual elements. This is an issue I have with the Soskas as well. For instance the mother spends the entire story in a dark green nightgown with a mauve silk bathrobe. The daughter is wearing a supposed handmade ghost costume. The distracting thing is it is made out of a white overly shiny vinyl material. Then the other kids costumes look like nothing a modern kid would ever, and I mean ever, wear unless they were forced to. It looks like a twisted school play. Then of course the parents costuming and hair styles were horridly off. I doubt that any man, even a gay guy, would wear an orange tennis shirt with a atomic yellow sweater and puke green colored pants. With all these distracting costume elements it royally takes away from the focus of the story, which is the mother and her husband’s body.
The third story is a definite improvement over the last installment. I was directed by Roxanne Benjamin and is titled Don’t Fall. It tells the story of a group of vacationers who set up camp in an area they are not supposed to be near a ancient cave painting. The cave painting shows a group of figures. The figure in the middle is bigger than the others and appears to have horns. The group does some rock climbing, have a campout, and settle in their RV for a good night’s sleep. Well, that is when the fun begins….One of the girls wakes up in the middle of the night. She somehow had been moved up the rock face and was laying beneath the cave painting. She ends up being possessed by the evil entity that lives in the rock. Now the vacationers must try to escape their friend who has turned into a monster set to rip all of them to pieces.
I loved this story. It was a no nonsense monster story that was gritty and nasty in the tradition of The Evil Dead. The possessed girl-creature was awesome and all the FX were gory practical effects. I have nothing but praise for this installment.
The final story is titled Her only Living Son. It was directed by Karyn Kusama and tells the story of Cora, who has a special son named Andy who she spends her days protecting. Cora has had to move constantly to protect her son because some “crazy people,” as she calls them, want to take Andy and use him for their own purposes. Well, Andy’s eighteenth birthday is coming up and Cora worries that he might have to make a frightening decision.
I really enjoyed this installment. Both the actress that played Cora and Andy both did fantastic performances. In fact all the performances are top drawer. There is a scene where Cora in having a conference with the dean of Andy’s school. Supposedly Andy had pulled a fellow student’s finger nails off. Surprisingly, the dean tells Cora that she isn’t going to discipline Andy because he is a special boy and needs to be encouraged. The look on Cora’s face speaks volumes. The most frightening scene is towards the end of the story after Andy tells Cora that a strange woman told him his real father was coming to get him. He orders his mother to kneel before him and while she pleads about how she has done everything to protect him Andy strokes her hair with his hand which has changed and has long sharp finger nails. The best part of this story is when Andy’s father finally arrives the camera doesn’t show him but focuses solely on Andy and his mother. Also, though the end is bloody it is done well and fits the feel of the story rather than being overly grizzly.
So, in conclusion, I have to say that XX is a really good anthology film. If I was to give it a number rating I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. The reason I would not give it a full 4.0 is because I felt the cryptic wrap a round took away from the film. Also, as I said, I wasn’t very pleased with the second story. But, I will say that this anthology surprised me and is one I will recommend….
Keep on Creepin’, Horror Bob’s Blog….