4/25/2021

In Search of Darkness Part II (Review)

Writer/ Director: David A. Weiner
Cast: Nancy Allen, Tom Atkins, John Bloom, Doug Bradley, Clancy Brown, Lori Cardille
Year: 2020
Min: 263

This follow up to 2019's In Search of Darkness continues that documentary's deep delve into 80s horror. This time around it focuses on a bunch of genre movies from that decade that weren't touched upon in the previous film. The set-up is the same as previously as movies as certain movies are picked from each year (for example 1980 features Alligator, the criminally underdiscussed Altered States, etc.) and various people talk about them.

And, also like it, in between each year, there are focused segments on different topics within the genre. Some of them include: children in horror, horror comedies, and, maybe coolest of all, segments on horror icons of the decade like Robert Englund, Linnea Quigley, Nancy Allen, and more. As a matter of fact, the documentary opens with a look at the influence of the past on the decade. Driving it all are the interviews with actors from horror films (many legends) and experts, lovers, and critics of the genre. There are various returning stars and genre experts, from the preceding film, as well new ones.

Right off the bat, this one improves on one of my issues with the first one, as it actually talks about, quite heavily at that, Italian horror. There is even a segment all its own, on these films. And, among the flicks from Italy covered here are: Dario Argento's Inferno, double the Lucio Fulci with City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, Lamberto Bava's Demons, and motherfucking Cannibal Holocaust from Ruggero Deodato! Any and all discussions on these movies are major highlights, with the later film, having former WWE/ WCW and current AEW star Chris Jericho talking about that controversial classic, as well, as Faces of Death

And, we don't just get movies from Italy and, obviously, the US, but we also get movies from Australia (Razorback), New Zealand (Peter Jackson's Bad Taste), and Spain/ US with the wild classic Pieces! Plus, from Hong Kong we get The Seventh Curse, a film I never even heard about before this. But, now I have to see it! It has, in a small role, Chow (The KillerHard Boiled) Yun-fat, and it sounds absolutely wild! I also love that it embraces the darker and more extreme side of horror. As, decidedly non-politically correct movies like Humanoids from the Deep, The Beast Within, Nightmares, and more talked about. It also covers more obscure flicks like The Being, Nightbeast, and more. All of this along with the more mainstream, home grown horror like John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, Wes Craven's Shocker, etc. This really helps it in making it feel much more complete than the first one. 

There are countless of specific highlights that really made me love this film, further. For the segment on the excellent The Entity, Linnea Quigley gives much deserved praise to Barbara Hershey's acting in it. As well as, Matt Winston talking about his father Stan Winston's impressive work on it. Specifically, in reference to the ghostly hands fondling Hershey's breasts during one of the rape scenes. Garetta Garetta discussing the amazing FX of Demons. Corey Taylor saying that Nightmares is crap, which this critic mostly agrees with. Darcy the Mail Girl and Fangoria editor in-chief Phil Noble on the amazing Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, brining in their love and modern perspective on it. And, two of horror's loveliest and most awesome ladies, Barbara Crampton and Katie Featherston, discuss one of the best horror flicks ever in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. These are just some of many memorable moments containted in the docu.

Other amazing highlights come from the topic specific segments, Aside, from some of the aforementioned ones we get a cool on on 8-bit horror (horror video games). They talk about games like Halloween, Elvira, Monster Party, Alien (which I had never heard about and is apparently like fucking Pac-Man except with xenomorphs!), and more. The ones on various horror celebrities' are great, as well. Nancy Allen chatting about her career is incredibly honest, which I very much appreciated. Robert Englund is always great to hear in interviews, especially in terms of his movies and experiences, making his segment fascinating.  

But, it is Linnea Quigley's section on herself, that is my favorite of these. Like many, I grew up having a major crush on her, and she remains one of my personal favorites within our beloved genre. I love that she talks about Savage Streets, and that she even discusses Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout

I really don't have many complaints, beyond the fact that they still don't mention Aliens. But, so much was corrected here, in terms of covering genre material from other countries, that I think I can let slide this time around. Besides, I feel that there is enough material for a third entry. Maybe, along with James Cameron's superior sequel, they could also talk about The Hidden, Jaws 3&4 (how much fun would it be to talk about those shitty, fucking movies?!), Santa Sangre, Phenomena, and more.

In Search of Darkness Part II is an excellent and superior sequel. It definitely tops the first and fills in many of the missing gaps. I love that it touches upon Euro and Asian horror, something that was painfully missing in the preceding movie. I also enjoyed the hell out of it digging into darker, more graphic, and more obscure horror. The opinions and words of horror stars, legends, and experts are welcomed, interesting, fun, sometimes, educational, and, above all, always entertaining. The segments on specific horror topics or stars on themselves are especially good. It's an all around great documentary and, when combined with the first one, paints an almost complete look at 80s horror. I say almost complete, cause there are still movies I would love to see covered. I do so hope that they make a third one. I know they want to do something on shot on video 80s horror, so bring that on, too! And, hey maybe they'll finally talk Aliens in a future sequel! In Search of Darkness Part II begins streaming on Shudder on April 26, 2021.



4/14/2021

Exciting Premieres for Shudder in May: FRIED BARRY, Neil Marshall's THE RECKONING, PSYCHO GOREMAN & More!

 New York – April 14, 2021 – This May delivers a packed lineup of new original and exclusive films and series to Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural.  Highlights for the month include the films Fried Barry, a wild and trippy horror film about sex, drugs and alien abductions destined to be a cult classic; acclaimed horror filmmaker Neil Marshall (The DescentGame of Thrones) returns to the genre with witch hunt thriller The Reckoning, starring Charlotte Kirk (Ocean’s 8) and Sean Pertwee (Gotham); and PG: Psycho Goreman, the latest horror-comedy from Steven Kostanski (The Void); as well as new episodes of original series Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs.  

 

Film and series details are included below. 

 

NEW SHUDDER ORIGINAL & EXCLUSIVE FILMS 

 

 

Fried Barry – Premieres May 7 (Please note, this is updated from the previously announced date, May 6.) **A Shudder Original Film  

View Trailer HERE 

(Available on Shudder US, Shudder CA, Shudder UKI and Shudder ANZ) 

Fried Barry follows the story of a drug-addled degenerate who, after yet another bender, gets abducted by aliens. Barry takes a backseat as his alien visitor assumes control of his body and takes it for a joyride through Cape Town. What follows is an onslaught of drugs, sex and violence as Barry’s alien tourist enters the weird and wonderful world of humankind.  


The feature directorial debut from award-winning music video director Ryan Kruger and starring newcomer Gary Green, the genre pushing, acid-washed, sci-fi horror has been praised by critics and embraced by fans around the world. 

 

The film is produced by James C. Williamson and Kruger and executive produced by Nicolai Fuglsig (12 Strong). Williamson shares a story credit with Kruger who serves as both writer and director. The expansive cast is led by Green alongside Bianka HartensteinSean Cameron Michael (ShooterBlood Drive), Chanelle de Jager (The WidowOutlander), Joey Cramer (Flight of the Navigator) and Jonathan Pienaar (Blood DiamondRoots). 


The Reckoning – Premieres May 13 **A Shudder Exclusive Film 

View Trailer HERE 

(Available on Shudder US, Shudder CA and Shudder UKI) 

After losing her husband during the Great Plague, Grace Haverstock (Charlotte KirkOcean’s 8) is unjustly accused of being a witch and placed in the custody of England’s most ruthless witch-hunter, Judge Moorcroft (Sean PertweeDog Soldiers). Forced to endure physical and emotional torture while steadfastly maintaining her innocence, Grace must face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind. 

 

Directed by modern master of horror Neil Marshall (The DescentDog SoldiersGame of Thrones), The Reckoning was written by Marshall, star Charlotte Kirk and Edward Evers-Swindell.  


PG: Psycho Goreman – Premieres May 20 **A Shudder Exclusive Film 

View Trailer HERE 

(Available on Shudder US, Shudder CA, Shudder UKI and Shudder ANZ)  

In PG: Psycho Goreman, young siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth millions of years ago after a failed attempt to destroy the universe. They nickname the evil creature Psycho Goreman (or PG for short) and use the magical amulet they discovered to force him to obey their childish whims. It isn’t long before PG’s reappearance draws the attention of intergalactic friends and foes from across the cosmos and a rogues’ gallery of alien combatants converges in small-town suburbia to battle for the fate of the galaxy. 

 

Written and directed by Steven Kostanski (The VoidThe DivideFather’s Day), PG: Psycho Goreman stars Nita-Josee Hanna (Books of Blood4teen), Owen Myre (NOS4A2Alternate Ground), Adam Brooks (The ReturnFather’s Day), Alexis Hancey (Silver Tongue), and Matthew Ninaber (Transference). 


Skull: The Mask – Premieres May 27 **A Shudder Original Film 

(Available on Shudder US, Shudder CA, Shudder UKI and Shudder ANZ) 

In this splatter-filled supernatural slasher, a Pre-Columbian artifact contains the spirit of Anhangá, the executioner of the god Tahawantinsupay. Whoever wears the masked is possessed by Anhangá and compelled to commit sacrifices to resurrect his god. It’s up to a museum assistant and a policewoman to stop the slaughter before the ritual is completed. A throwback treat for fans of ‘80s slashers and gory practical effects. 

 

Written and directed by Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman, who previously co-directed 2016’s Uptake FearSkull: The Mask stars Brazilian wrestling champion Rurik Jr., Wilton AndradeNatallia RodriguesIvo MüllerRicardo Gelli Guta RuizGilda Nomacce and Tristan Aronovich. 


NEW SHUDDER SERIES 

 

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs – New Episodes Every Friday **A Shudder Original Series 

The hit original series with Joe Bob Briggs premiered on April 16 and continues with new episodes every Friday. Briggs, the world’s foremost drive-in movie critic, presenting eclectic horror movie double features, interrupting the films to expound upon their merits, histories and significance to genre cinema. The show’s hashtag, #TheLastDriveIn, has trended in the top 10 on Twitter in the US during the premiere of every episode and special, often reaching No. 1. Guest stars to date include Anna BillerKelli MaroneyChris JerichoLloyd KaufmanBarbara CramptonJohn McNaughtonReggie BannisterAshley LaurenceDoug Bradley, Michael BerrymanFelissa Rose and Tom Savini 

 

NEW ADDITIONS TO SHUDDER’S MOVIE LIBRARY 

 

May 1  

  • The Wicker Man (1973; US) 

During a celebration of May Day, a puritan Police Sergeant arrives in a Scottish island village in search of a girl who the locals claim never existed.   

 

  • House on Haunted Hill (1959; US) 

A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife. The film is produced by horror legend, William Castle.  

 

  • House on Haunted Hill (1999; US) 

An amusement park mogul offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past. 

 

  • 13 Ghosts (1960; US, CA) 

A family inherits what proves to be a haunted house, but a special pair of goggles allows them to see their ghostly tormentors. The film is produced by horror legend, William Castle. 

 

  • Curse of the Demon (1958; US, CA) 

Directed by Hollywood great, Jacques Tourneur, American professor John Holden arrives in London for a parapsychology conference, only to find himself investigating the mysterious actions of Devil-worshiper Julian Karswell. 

 

May 4 

  • Frankenhooker (US) 

Directed by Frank Henenlotter, a medical student sets out to recreate his decapitated fiancée by building her a new body made of Manhattan street prostitutes.  
 

May 10 

  • Sator (US, CA) 
    Secluded in a desolate forest, a broken family is observed by Sator, a supernatural entity who is attempting to claim them. 

 

  • Climate of the Hunter (US, ANZ) 

Two sisters vie for the affections of a man who may or may not be a vampire. When the three come together for dinner it has all the makings of a lovely meal filled with desire, memories and blood. From indie auteur Mickey Reece comes a wholly original new vampire vision. 

 

  • The Funeral Home (US, CA, UKI, ANZ) 

Bernardo is an undertaker who runs mortuary business in the same house where he resides. In the front he has his clients. And in the back, his dysfunctional family lives among coffins, wreaths and mischievous supernatural entities that visit on a daily basis. They attribute the paranormal manifestations to the dead bodies from their mortuary work but finding the real source of all this madness will be their quest, and what they might find is a terrifying truth. 

 

May 13 

  • Trickster –Full Season Binge Release (US)  

Based on the bestselling trilogy of novels by Eden Robinson, Trickster tells the story of the Indigenous Gothic, spirits, ancient magic and deadly rites of passage in a coming-of-age story unlike any you’ve ever seen. 

 

May 17 

  • American Mary (US) 

The allure of easy money sends Mary Mason, a medical student, into the world of underground surgeries which ends up leaving more marks on her than her so called "freakish" clients. 

 

  • Time Lapse (US) 

Three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures twenty-four hours into the future, and conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop. 

 

  • Found (US, CA) 

A horror-obsessed boy discovers his older brother is a serial killer. 

 

May 18 

  • Def by Temptation (US, CA, UKI, ANZ) 
    An evil succubus is preying on libidinous black men in New York City, and all that stands in her way is a minister-in-training, an aspiring actor, and a cop who specializes in cases involving the supernatural. 
     
  • Black Roses (US, UKI, ANZ) 

Demons hypnotize the general public by posing as a rock and roll band. 

 

May 24 

  • Werewolf (US, CA) 
    WW2: a group of children liberated from a concentration camp find themselves, aimless and hungry, stranded in an abandoned mansion in the forest, surrounded by vicious attack dogs. 

 

  • The Machine (US, CA) 
    In efforts to construct perfect android killing machines in a war against China, UK scientists exceed their goal and create a sentient robot. 

 

  • The Windmill (US, CA) 
    In a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, Jennifer joins a coach-load of tourists embarking on a tour of Holland's world-famous windmills. She and the other tourists are forced to seek shelter in a disused shed beside a sinister windmill where, legend has it, a Devil-worshiping miller once ground the bones of locals instead of grain. As members of the group start to disappear, Jennifer learns that they all have something in common - a shared secret that seems to mark them all for doom 

 

# # # 

 

ABOUT SHUDDER 

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit www.shudder.com.

4/13/2021

Emperor Announce Official Livestream Event "A Night of Emperial Wrath 2021" on May 23!


EMPEROR ANNOUNCE OFFICIAL LIVESTREAM EVENT "A NIGHT OF EMPERIAL WRATH 2021" TO MARK 30 YEARS SINCE THEIR FORMATION

"A Night of Emperial Wrath 2021" is set to take place on May 23 and will include guest appearances from ex-members Mortiis and Faust

Hosted by Munin Live, you can get your livestream tickets here.
 
"A Night of Emperial Wrath 2021" will take place on May 23, 2021 @ 2PM EDT/7PM GMT/8PM CET

2021 marks 30 years since the formation of extreme metal pioneers Emperor

Formed in 1991, their game-changing debut In The Nightside Eclipse (1995) set the template for symphonic, bombastic, melodic black metal, whilst their follow-up record, Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (1997) became an instant hit.

Emperor were a force to be reckoned with as underground, experimental, and extreme forms of music twisted expectations throughout the end of the 20th Century. 2001 saw the end of Emperor with their fourth album, the ambitious and labyrinthine Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise

Scheduled plans for a celebratory concert have changed shape to suit to the times; instead there will be an exclusive livestream event, aptly performed in the Notodden Theatre of their hometown, Telemark. 

The setlist will feature tracks from the entire catalogue, as well as very special guest appearances from original bass player Mortiis, who appeared on the Wrath of the Tyrant demo, As the Shadows Rise EP, and Emperor mini album, and ex-drummer Faust, who appeared on the As the Shadows Rise EP, Emperor mini album, as well as the landmark album In the Nightside Eclipse.

Emperor frontman Ihsahn says, "2021 marks 30 years since the formation of Emperor. With the current state of the world, it’s been impossible to go ahead with scheduled plans. We now welcome you to join us in an exclusive streaming event. The show will take place at Notodden Theatre, 23rd of May."


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4/12/2021

The Banishing (Review)


Director: Christopher Smith
Writers: David Beton, Ray Bagdanovich, Dean Lines
Cast: Jessica Brown Findlay, Sean Harris, John Lynch, John Heffernan, Adam Hugill
Year: 2020
Min: 97

It is 1930s England, and Marianne (Jessica Brown Findlay) and her daughter Adelaide (Anya McKenna-Bruce) move in with her husband and vicar Linus (John Heffernan). The previous family who lived there has mysteriously disappeared. But, Marianne is a free-thinking woman, while Linus is very much man of the cloth and the old ways. Bishop Malachi (John Lynch), who assigned Linus to live in this creepy old place, is an even bigger asshole and is definitely suspicious. Of course, said house has freaky shit happening including the family seeing and hearing various creepy occurrences. There is also a so called pagan named Harry Price (Sean Harris), who knows quite a bit about the old house and what is actually going on. 

The Banishing is a British, haunted house movie from cult favorite director Christopher (Severance, Triangle, Black Death) Smith. The movie first premiered in Spain's Sitges Film Festival in October 2020 and later that month in England's FrightFest Film Festival. In March of this year, it started streaming in the United Kingdom and will now be making its streaming premiere here, in North America, when it premieres this Thursday, April 15, 2021 exclusively on Shudder

The movie starts off creepily and tonally it remains fairly consistent. As there are a couple of chilling moments throughout it. It has a strong sound design, which works effectively in adding to the scares. The flick is a slow burn, with mostly quiet horror, that is broken up by a couple of decent jump scares. Said scares aren't ground breaking, but at least a couple do kind of work. There is little to no gore here, but that is to be expected of most movies like this.

Still, there are some tropes that are harder to overlook. The child acting weird and being influenced by the evil definitely falls under the category of we have seen this way too many fucking times. In fact, the flick lifts elements from The Shining, Poltergeist, and Insidious. At times, it might be too slow, but at least its run time is relatively short. This stopped me from complaining of it being truly boring. It also manages to be very intriguing in its climax. That being said, I am not sure if I actually liked the ending. This does serve to sum up my overall feeling of this movie quite well, as in, I like parts of it and others not so much. 

There is some very fluid camerawork throughout its run time. You see, I have nothing but praise for Smith's visual look for the movie. I love the framing of his shots. As his use of lots of medium and wide takes, makes great use of the widescreen format. 

The characters are quite well written and bought to life by excellent acting. John Heffernan believably brings Linus, a hard to like man, to life. This character is so religious that he doesn't even want to sleep with his beautiful wife, Marianne. But, it is John Lynch's Bishop Malachi that is the film's truest asshole with his strong performance. Our protagonists are quite likable, though. The most interesting of the male characters, by far, is Harry as played by Sean Harris. Meanwhile, Jessica Brown Findlay is excellent and very easy to get on her side as Marianne. She feels real, even if you wish she had made a better choice in a hubby, which is an actual central theme within the flick.

Speaking of which, its themes like this that add some depth to the more generic happenings. Among them is its not too subtle attacks on religion. This particularly true in its role of how sexiest against women these beliefs are. I also liked its very clear stance against Nazis and fascism. These aspects do help elevate the movie and make it feel suitably timely. Without these plot elements, the movie would certainly have flattered, and I would have thought considerably  less of it.

As a fan of Smith's work, especially the excellent Triangle, I found The Banishing to be somewhat disappointing. Though to call it a bad film would be wrong, as uneven is the better word to describe it. On one side, it features very strong acting, especially from both of its protagonists in the form of Harris and Findlay. The characters are well written and the themes it takes on are timely. These aspects really helps to elevate its quality. It also manages to have a few creepy moments. On the other hand, it is too slow, at times, and takes elements from other better, haunted house flicks. And, while it has an a climax that will catch your attention, its ending, like what before it, feels decidedly bumpy. But, with a run time that is just the right amount, at least it doesn't overstay its welcome.



4/08/2021

Horror Crush: Dedee Pfeiffer


 It's that time again, to induct another lovely and talented lady into this site's Horror Crush section. This time around, is the first sibling to a major Hollywood star, to inducted. In this case, she is the younger sister to the gorgeous and ridiculously talented Michelle Pfeiffer. Yes, dear friends and readers, today I induct the stunning Dedee Pfeiffer!

Dedee Pfeiffer was born in Midway City, California on January 1, 1964. She began her acting career in 1985 with an appearance in Simon & Simon and, that same year, her first movie role in Into the Night. But, her first horror movie appearance would be a year later in 1986, for the horror comedy Vamp. 

Vamp has vampire strippers and a cult following and might be best remembered for starring Grace Jones. I have actually never seen it, but I plan to change that, soon hoefully. Anyway, Pffeiffer clearly looked spectacular in it. As I have mentioned here in the past, I am a sucker for girls rocking 80s hairdos and overall look. I am sure there are Vamp fans out there reading. Tell me your thoughts about it and Pfeiffer's role in the comment section below.

In 1985, she appeared in the made for TV horror comedy called The Midnight Hour, which I never heard of before. Have any of you seen it?

Her next horror flick role came in 1989's The Horror Show. It was originally planned to be House III, but distributors felt that it was too tonally different to its predecessors. You see this flick was much more serious and intense. Still, in Europe it is called House III. And, if I can be honest, it's better than any of other House movies, a franchise, I generally don't care or like (especially the godawful second installment).

The movie deals with a serial killer, Max Jenke (the late, great Brion James), who gets sent to the electric chair, but isn't quite dead. He haunts and fucks with the life of the cop, Detective Lucas McCarthy (the always awesome Lance Henriksen), who arrested him. It's part of a this odd, short-lived, cycle of horror movies dealing with executed serial killers who come back to life to terrorize the guy who took them down. Other movies in this batch include Wes Craven's Shocker (which stars another Horror Crush inductee, Cami Cooper) and The First Power (which stars Lou Diamond Phillips and the gorgeous Tracy Griffith, who I think would be a great addition to Horror Crushes. What do you guys think?). 

The movie has some great acting especially from Henriksen and James (I love his evil laugh). Honestly, the whole cast is quite good. The movie also has some solid and graphic gore courtesy of KNB EFX. I don't know if its the best of the dead serial killer to life post-execution, but I could definitely some saying that it is (something I have seen, including, if I am not mistaken, by Fangoria, themselves). For what is it worth Shocker is my favorite.

Anyway, Pfeiffer plays Henriksen's character's teenage daughter, Bonnie McCarthy. She does a good job in it and is quite likable. She does appear in a shower scene, but the actual nudity is from a body double. That's something I didn't even know till rewatching the movie last month. Anywho, this is the movie I first saw her in and first crushed on her. 

She appeared in many movies afterwards but only two horror flicks. Both are direct to video, and I had never heard about them till writing this piece. They are: Blue Demon (2004) and AVH: Alien Vs. Hunter (gee, I wonder what movie that one wanted cash in on...) (2007). I ask you guys once again, have you guys seen these? Let me know in the comments section below.


Pfeiffer also appeared in two genre shows: two episodes of The Dead Zone (a show I watched sporadically) and one of my favorite shows of all time: Supernatural (both these pics are from said episode).

DeDee Pfeiffer may not have been in a ton of classics, but she has a decent amount of horror under her belt. Besides her work in Vamp, The Horror Show, and Supernatural alone seals her position as a beloved actress by horror fans. Always stunning, to this very day, this talented blonde beauty is now the latest induction into Horror Crushes! 

Are you fan of DeDee Pfeiffer? Let me know in the comments section and let me know which is your favorite role of hers?