Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Black Spot - Byway to the Danger Zone!

You may recall back in 2012, I reviewed a short film by UK filmmaker Luther Bhogal-Jones.  A short fear flick that had me thinking twice about checking out that strange noise I heard downstairs.  Now Luther is back with a new tale of terror, this time ensuring that I'll never stop for another stranded motorist or car broken down again!  Damn!

Comin' at ya in Psychotronic 3D!!!!!!!!

The Black Spot is a six minute micro-budget shocker that was shot on a £28 3D camera not much bigger than your standard Blackberry.  Without even getting into plot, I can already tell you that this is AWESOME!  Not only do you get the 2D version...but you also get a choice between the good ol' fashioned Red/Cyan anaglyph 3D (which of course requires a pair of hokey Red/Cyan cardboard 3D glasses to enjoy!) and also a more modern stereoscopic 3D for viewing on modern 3D televisions!  I've watched it all three ways and I personally love the good ol' fashioned Red/Cyan.  I'm a sucker for nostalgia.  So sue me.  The stereoscopic 3D is also very nice and actually produces a much crisper 3D image.....like I said, it was purely nostalgia that won me over with the anaglyph 3D.  Of course if all else fails, there's nothing wrong with good ol' 2D, though Bhogal-Jones specifically made this film to be seen in 3D...so you should at least attempt to view it that way.

Okay, so what's the film about?

A guy named Paul is stranded on a lonesome road out in the countryside.  Having no other options but to walk for help, Paul wanders his way down the road....passing an usual amount of missing person posters as well as floral arrangements commemorating someone's roadside death.  He eventually comes across what appears to be another car broken down on the side of the road.  What happens from there is what will keep me from stopping to help another stranded motorist ever again!  To say any more would be to give away the twist and of course you know that's not how I roll.

That is NOT a safe way to shave......
What I will say is that this is a worthy follow up to Creak.  It is quite opposite Creak in a good many ways.  Where as Creak took place at night, The Black Spot's horrors unfold during the day....granted it's a dreary, rainy day.  Creak involved a supernatural danger.  The Black Spot's antagonists are quite human.  I think.  Hey, I could be wrong!  Creak was very subtle and it built it's scares on tension and fear of the dark.  The Black Spot is in your face 3D, baby!  Get some!

Once again, Bhogal-Jones has proven himself a capable director.  He uses the film's 6 minute run time very well.  At such a length, there is no time for lengthy exposition....or much exposition at all.  It allows the viewer to fill in the blanks themselves.

Judging by the look on Paul's face this car is more trouble than it's worth

The soundtrack is quite effective in this film.  Written and orchestrated by  Mikolaj Holowko, the industrial soundtrack is a long way from it's original conception, which was a horror themed take on Art of Noise's "(Close) To The Edit"!  Coincidentally after learning this, I decided to watch the film silently, replacing the soundtrack with said pop song on loop.  Let's just say that it's a totally different experience.  Not quite on the level with The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon....but still.....a fun little experiment!

The Black Spot is the second feature to fall under the Sincerely, Psycopath banner, which is reserved for horror fare from Faster Productions.  Next up is the short "Knock, Knock" which is currently in production (and I'm sure we'll get a chance to view here at Midnight Cinephile upon it's release!)

Luther Bhogal-Jones sets up a shot.

If you would like to watch The Black Spot, you can check it out here:


Final Thought:
The Black Spot is s tight little thriller that invokes a trashy grindhouse vibe in the best way, especially when viewed in Red./Cyan anaglyph 3D!  I can't wait to see what Luther comes up with next!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Horror Packs 2 - Support Charity While Getting Your Horror Groove On!

My good friend Brandon over at Movies At The Dog Farm alerted me to this great new package.

Horror Packs 2 is a horror bundle that is available in two different tiers.  You decide what you want to pay.  Some of the money goes to the filmmakers and the rest goes to charity.....not unlike that Humble Bundle packs that are available to gamers.

Horror Pack 2 - Tier 1 - Pay  a minimum of $2

You receive two films and two music albums:

The films you receive in Tier 1 are:
(synopsis and descriptions direct from the website)

Blood Brothers (Short Film) - Michael and Lindsay have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, and the perfect life together. Little do they know everything is about to change. After coming home from celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary, the couple receive surprise visitors that will change both of their lives forever. Family ties run deep but, in Michael’s case, they run blood deep. Blood will be shed and secrets will be revealed that will keep you guessing until the final shocking moment.

The Bloody Pit of Horror:  When a photographer and a group of models choose what appears to be an abandoned castle for their next shoot, they stumble into the realm of a maniac intent on executing anyone that comes near the castle. Plenty of creative torture devices and general absurdity in this one!

The albums you recieve in Tier 1 are:

Ghoulshow - Tales from the Netherworld:  From Graveyard Calling Records comes Ghoulshow’s blood-drenched electronic album that combines the sounds of classic horror soundtracks with drum & bass and dubstep for a modernized touch.

“a beautiful love song to 50s B-movies via hard electronic dance beats! Ghoulshow has crafted his art and created an album that transports listeners to the worlds he creates digitally offering a highly visual sonic experience and comes highly recommended.”
- Mark Pidgeon, UK Horror Scene

The Panic Beats - Without Warning:  The third release from one man horror punk band The Panic Beats continues the trend of catchy pop-punk infused with a stark contrast of dark lyrics. Without Warning also has one of the coolest covers we’ve ever seen, with artwork by Rick Melton, who’s known for his Arrow Video cover artwork.

“The fact that the Panic Beats manage to make these songs so goddamn tuneful and memorable only makes them that much creepier. It’s disturbing to sing along to any album with a cover this depraved. That being said, you should totally get it.”
- Rock Star Journalist

Tier 2 is available starting at a minimum of $6

Tier 2 includes everything in Tier 1 PLUS:

from Apprehensive Films

When Jim Mathews, a sales rep for a genetic design firm, gets caught cheating on his wife she doses him with an experimental serum, causing his limbs to fall off and turn into a pack of bloodthirsty monsters. Thus forming a “Colony.” To satisfy his unnatural hunger, Jim preys on hot young women.

“Colony” was originally released in 1998 under the title “Colony Mutation” by E.I. (now Pop Cinema) on VHS. Shock Cinema Magazine called it “genuinely creepy” and it had a multi-page spread in Fangoria issue #161. The movie was shot on Super-8mm film, making for a truly gritty and unnerving viewing experience.

Tommy Creep - Vacant Tombs and Full Moons:  Tommy Creep’s style, aptly labeled horrorstep, is demonstrated perfectly in this hard-hitting album from Graveyard Calling Records. There’s more than enough quotes and references contained in this album to keep even the most dedicated horror fan guessing at times.

“…like a Prodigy album with John Carpenter as the front man.”
- Mark Pidgeon, UK Horror Scene

PC Game:
Enola:  Enola is a horror/adventure game about love, hate, and death. You play as a young girl on a mysterious place, looking for her missing girlfriend. However, as you explore this world, you find there is something dark and evil lurking in the shadows. You’ll have to be quick and cunning to survive. Do you have what it takes to save your loved one before it’s too late?

If you need even FURTHER incentive there are also another two mystery titles that will be unlocked later on when more of the packs have been sold.  All purchases support Child's Play Charity as well as The Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Microwave Massacre - Gourmet Murder in Minutes!

Microwave Massacre
Directed by Wayne Berwick
Written by: Thomas Singer (screenplay) Craig Muckler (story)
Starring: Jackie Vernon, Loren Schein & Al Troupe

Unrated - Runtime Approx 76 Min.


Alternate Titles:
La masacre del microondas (The Slaughter of the Microwave)  Spain
Γεύματα φρίκης (Meals Horror)  Greece

Mikrofalowe morderstwo  (Microwave Murder)  Poland

"M-M-M-May?  In the microwave?"

One of the classics of the VHS era, I don't think that there was a Mom & Pop video store around that didn't have this one in their horror section.  I can only imagine how many horror freaks like me saw this awesome Thriller Video box and imagined a visceral and gory romp.

Technically May gave Donald crabs...heh heh....
Yeah, yeah, I'm immature.

May serves up some ungodly gourmet creation

What we get instead is basically a screwball comedy with some gore effects.  The film follows a construction worked named Donald (played by none other than Jackie Vernon who was the voice of Frosty the Snowman!) whose wife, May, has decided that she will only cook gourmet meals with her brand new top of the line microwave.  Poor Donald just wants something plain and easy to eat.

After their fight, May goes to pieces.
I wonder if he wants to hold the MAY-o
Jesus the jokes are bad this time around, aren't they?

A guy can only take so much and after coming home drunk one night and finding that May has yet again cooked an inedible conglomeration of so called gourmet ingredients.  After a fight and demanding a bologna sandwich, Donald kills May in a drunken rage.  When he wakes up in the morning he has no recollection of what he's done.  He's not all that distraught when he discovers that he's shoved his dead wife in her beloved microwave.  Trying to hide the evidence, Donald cuts her up and hides her remains in the freezer.

One night he accidentally eats a bit of her arm and finds her quite tasty.  He lets his work buddies try some of the May Meat and they love it, though they do say it tastes a bit "old".  Thus begins Donald's killing spree....finding young nubile women, bringing them home, banging them and then turning them into meat dishes!silly

Frosty...er...Donald puts the moves on his first meal....er...victim.


It is a little weird listening to Frosty the Snowman as he talks to his therapist, telling him how he can't get off unless he eats the woman afterwards.  Literally, eats her.  Other funny moments include Donald having dreams of making sandwiches out of naked women lying on his kitchen table, complete with giant slices of bread and giant knife with mayonnaise!

Dinner's Ready!

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  In total we've got five deaths here!  Not bad....not good, but not bad.

Nude O Meter:  We've got a good three pair of boobs to oogle here!

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  Donald the Cannibalistic Microwave Murderer!

Final Thoughts
To be perfectly honest, while it was good for a laugh I can't see myself going back to revisit this movie often.  It's got everything that I should love in a trash flick, boobs, body parts and a ridiculous premise (not to mention the voice of Frosty as a serial killer!), yet I found myself not having that much fun with it.  Definitely an all to typical case of the amazing box art outshining the movie, but hey, I'm still glad I saw it!

Final Rating
Two out of Five Pizza Rolls

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Woodchipper Massacre - Home Alone Hack 'Em Up

Woodchipper Massacre
Directed by Jon McBride
Written by Jon McBride (idea by Glen Skaggs)
Starring Jon McBride, Denice Edeale & Tom Casiello

Not Rated - Runtime Approx 80 Min

- How much flesh could a woodchipper chip, if a woodchipper could chip flesh?

Alternate Titles:

"Aunt Tess was right...once you start working with meat, it's not that bad!"
                                                                                                                      - Denice

There is nothing that I don't love about this!

Woodchipper Massacre is a fun little SOV horror flick that's played more for laughs than anything.  It starts with a little text scroll telling us about the amount of unsolved murders and disappearances in the U.S. and then kindly informs us that this is such a story.

Tom and Denice in all their 80's glory.  Rock that sweater Denice!

I really had a good time with this one.  It's got all the hallmarks of a great SOV horror flick.  The acting is absolutely horrendous;  the special effects are pretty wonky, yet still fun (though they are quite minimal for a film with MASSACRE in the title!); and there is a lot of regional charm shining through.

Dad shares some expository dialog with Jon

He must be going to an Ugly Sweater Party....

Jon (played by McBride) and his two younger siblings Denice and Tom are left in the care of their militant Aunt Tess for the weekend because their father is going on a business trip.  Right off the bat things are bad when Aunt Tess arrives.  She's a self righteous old pip who you would expect to see yelling at kids to get off of her lawn.  She completely takes over the house and regardless of whatever rules their father had in place, Aunt Tess had her own set of rules that will be obeyed at all times.....or else!

Ngyaaah!  RUN!  It's Aunt Tess!!!!!!!!!

Things continue on with Aunt Tess insulting and berating the kids, calling them stupid, ignorant, slobs and any number of other things.  Jon isn't allowed to go on a date with his girlfriend.  The kids aren't allowed to watch a horror movie on TV, forced to clean and do ridiculous chores, etc.  When Tom finally receives his official Rambo Survival Knife that he's been waiting to get for six weeks, Aunt Tess tries to take it away from him.  He defies her and in the struggle, Aunt Tess gets the business end of the knife and dies.

Looks like all work and no play is what Aunt Tess has in store for Jon.

Aunt Tess wags a knife at Denice as she shows her how to prepare meat.  Ironic, isn't it?

Aunt Tess show have just let Tom keep his knife.

Rather than telling anyone what happened, the kids decide to dispose of Aunt Tess in the woodchipper and tell their Dad that she left early before he came home.  This is where things start getting fun.  They decide that it might not work just throwing her in whole.  After all, she's all soft and the woodchipper is designed to chip up hard material like wood.  So what do they do?  Hack her up and put her in the freezer for a few hours, that's what!  With Aunt Tess freshly frozen solid, the three then proceed to toss her body parts in the chipper one by one.

"Oh no!  Aunt Tess is dead!  What do we do?"
 "To the woodchipper!"

"First we'll have to do some trimming...."

The last of Aunt Tess gets dropped in the chipper.....

Thinking that they've cleaned up their mess the kids go about their weekend.  Things are going fine until Aunt Tess' delinquent, druggy son shows up demanding money.  Well, clearly he can't stay around, so it's back to the woodchipper for another round of chew 'em up.

The fact that the whole thing is presented more as a straight out comedy is what makes the whole thing work.  The only thing missing is a canned sitcom laugh track.  Though the subject matter would be extremely dark in someone else's hands, Jon McBride infuses a real sense of fun into the film.  Watching the kids try to clean everything up and "beat the clock" before their father comes home brings to mind any number of teen comedies from the 80's.

Cousin Kim stops by for an unscheduled visit

I guess we'll see on the chipper handles soft flesh now!

Pretty darn well, apparently!

Woodchipper Massacre was shot on a SUPER VHS camcorder on a budget of $400 in Connecticut, with most of that budget going into the woodchipper rental.  The fact that a film literally shot in Jon's backyard with a consumer grade camcorder and some local theater folks found worldwide distribution is pretty amazing.  Films like this paved the way for others in the SOV field and to this day many a backyard filmmaker owes a debt to Jon McBride.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  Two!  Not exactly a massacre.....but hey who am I to nitpick?

Nude O Meter:  Not even the slightest bit of skin.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  I think Aunt Tess would fall into this category.  Good God that woman was a miserable clam!

Final Thoughts
As I said before, I had a lot of fun with this film.  Sure there's only two deaths and the story may run a bit slow at time, but you'll be see busy laughing at the scene chewing that is running rampant you won't notice.  Oh, I almost forget to mention, Aunt Tess is played by non other than Jon McBride's Mom!  How awesome is that?  If you've yet to see this one, do so immediately!

Final Rating
Four out of Five Pizza Rolls

Preylien: Alien Predators - The Polonia Alien Factor

Preylien: Alien Predators
Directed by Mark Polonia
Written by Alan Wyoming
Starring Tom Carpenter, Alan Caum & Kimberlee A. Gibson

Unrated - Runtime Approx 75 Min.


Alternate Titles:

"I just shot a one eyed dinosaur...."
                                                       -  Kim

 I've got to admit that I'm a fan of the Polonia Bros.  I admire their gusto and  DIY stick-to-itness.  Plus their films are just plain old B-Movie SOV fun!  I've been sitting on this 4-Pack DVD of Polonia Bros. films for a while now and it's finally time to crack it open and see what's what!

Preylien (which by the way is a pretty cool title!) starts off with a chase sequence on another planet.  Apparently everything is sepia tone on this planet, which was kinda odd.  Perhaps it's an atmosphere thing.  You know like Mars, with it's red dirt and sky.....anyway....an alien wearing a dirt bike helmet and brandishing a laser gun is hunting a demon headed Sasquatch thing wearing a vest.  The hunter finally catches the Squatch-Thing and takes it prisoner aboard his ship.  Apparently this dude runs and intergalactic zoo and is collecting various species to show off.

The Hunter on Planet Sepia!

This is the....erm....spaceship.

Something vaguely goes wrong en route to the zoo and The Hunter (as he shall be known forthwith) ends up crash landing on Earth.  When he crashes, all the creatures in his cargo hold are let loose on Earth, including Squatch-Thing (also known forthwith) and The Hunter is knocked out.  The other creatures that are released as well are pretty fun designs.  There's an hairy alien rat/crab thing (which apparently was made by gluing a head and some hair onto a monster glove or something!) that spins a spider like web.  There's a one eyed T-Rex looking thing (pretty nice hand puppet work!) and my personal favorite, a giant floating eyeball with tentacles.  There is also a little worm like parasite that the Squatch-Thing implants in people, which bursts out of them later....Alien style.



The Giant One Eye'd T-Rex shows his might!

"I've only got eyes for youuuuuuuuuuuu!"

This is the weird little parasite creature that Sqautch-Thing lays in ya via a tongue tube.  Gross!

The rest of the plot revolves around two friends who are lost out in the woods while trying (I think) to get up to the top of a mountain to go snowmobiling.  Their friend is already up on the mountain on his snowmobile waiting for these two.  Why they got out of the car and started walking, I have no idea.  They come across a young woman who was getting ready to blow her head off with a shotgun after loosing her husband to cancer.  Instead of killing herself, she blows away the one eyed Tyrannosaurus  and decides to live and help these two bumbling bozos.

These two knuckleheads wander around the woods....alot.

Knuckleheads meet Suicidal Chick with a Shotgun.

As it turns out, the hunter isn't very friendly towards humans either and tries to kidnap them and turn them into zoo attractions.  Lucky for them, Squatch Thing is nearby and makes short work of him.  The race is on to find a way to destroy Sqautch-Thing and rid the planet of the alien menace.

The acting in the film is uneven, some characters act as if they're in a stage play, which others are passable in their roles.  Let's be honest though, we're not watching films like this for people's acting chops.  We're watching because we wanna see goofy alien carnage!  In that respect, Preylien delivers!  I will say that while watching, I kept getting the feeling that I'd seen the film before....then it hit me:  This is essential an even more lower budget riff on the already low budget Don Dohler flick The Alien Factor!

The Hunter gets caught in RatCrab's web!

Squatch-Thing rips a dude's arm off.

I've heard of french kissing, but that is ridiculous!

If you are a fan of DIY and SOV filmmaking then there is some groovy stuff in Preylien.  Sure, it's got more holes in the plot than Bonnie & Clyde's Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan, but there's also a lot of inventiveness and heart.  If you can get past the occasional appearance of the cameraman's finger in the corner of the lens, or the almost constant appearance of a mirrored lens on the left side of the screen (broken lens?  I'm not sure) then you'll have a good time with this.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  5, I think.  My disc stops working before the end of the film, but I can't imagine that there's much more that I'm missing.....but I can't be sure.

Nude O Meter:  Sorry bud, you're gonna have to find your T&A elsewhere!

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  We've got a few nasty beasties on display here!  Squatch-Thing, RatCrab Monster, One Eye'd T-Rex and of the floating eye monster!  Even though The Hunter is nothing more than a dude wearing a helmet, he's supposed to be an alien so we can count him.

Final Thoughts
As I mentioned above, my disc cuts out right after the climax of the film so I'm not sure what happens afterwards...there appears to be about 10 more minutes of run time.  Still, I had fun with this one.  If you've seen any of the Polonia Bros. other films then you know exactly what you're in for here.  Had there not been the constant annoying "mirror" on the left side of the screen through 90% of the film then I may have given the film a higher rating....but that coupled with the aforementioned camera man's fingers in the screen...I've gotta knock it down a point for really sloppy technical work.  

Final Rating
Two out of Three Pizza Rolls

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sting of Death - Beware the Were-Jellyfish!

 Sting of Death
Directed by William Grefe
Written by Al Dempsey, William Kerwin

Starring Joe Morrison, Valerie Hawkins & John Vella

Essen Productions Inc.
Thunderbird International Pictures
Unrated :  Runtime - Approx 80 min.

Special Singing Star Neil Sedaka!

Alternate Titles:

"Horrible....horrible things are running through my mind!"
                                                                                          -Karen Richardson

In my thirty plus years of watching horror flicks, I've seen all manner of Were-Cretures.  Werewolves running rampant through the foggy moors.....Were-Lizards, Were-Cicadas, Were-Birds & Were-Bears...the list goes on and on.  I have to say though that I never thought I'd see a Were-Jellyfish.  Well, I thought wrong because that is exactly what we're dealing with in Sting of Death!
This is Floridian regional horror at it's schlocky best.  Filmed (as mentioned several times on the packaging and in the credits) in the Everglades, I will say that the film benefits quite a bit from the beautiful marshy surroundings....but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The first casualty is actually kinda creepy!

What we've got here is your standard monster-on-the-rampage flick.  See we've got Dr. Richardson and his assistant Dr. Hoyt who are marine biologists.  Dr. Richardson's daughter, Karen comes to visit with some friends.  Dr. Hoyt has also invited over some grad students for a little shindig.  Also in the mix is the good doctors' man-servant, Egon.  Yep.  Egon.  I'm not going to lie...I thought that made that name up for Ghostbusters!  Guess not.  Egon's got some facial scarring....or a deformity...or....something.  It isn't very clear exactly what his deal is.  The make up kinda looks like putty smeared on his face and other than people gasping slightly when he sneaks up on them, no mention is made of it.  


It doesn't bode so well for Egon when the grad students arrive and run him off.  It's not much of a spoiler to tell you that Egon is the Were-Jellyfish.  He's got some kinda crazy underground/underwater lab get up where he's been doing some sort of experiments on Men of War.  By turning on some suspicious looking equipment, turning a few dials and sticking his hand in an aquarium with said poisonous beasties, he turns into the evil Jellyfish Monster. 

Doin' The Jellyfish!

The Monster goes on a "rampage" attacking a few party goers.  Dr. Richardson sends the partiers away on a boat to bring on of their friends to the hospital.  In one of the most hilarious animals on the rampage scenes ever committed to celluloid, the kids are all killed by a swarm of jellyfish when the boat sinks (thanks to Jellyfish Man giving it a good chop on the bottom with a hatchet!).  

That's a lot of dead kids in the water there....
Sting of Death is about as schlock as a low budget film can get.  The actors might as well be reading their lines off of cue cards and the special effects certainly are special!  The Jellyfish Monster is a dude in a wet suit wearing an inflated clear garbage bag over his head.  His little jellyfish minions and a couple of Portuguese Man-of-Wars are little more than inflated sandwich baggies with strings hanging down from them.  Please don't take any of that as a negative.  On the contrary, it's all part of the wonky charm of the film. 

Ever so quietly, the WereJellyfish stalks his prey.

Midnight Cinephile Tally

Death Toll:  I kinda lost count on this one.  That whole gaggle of kids getting stung to death in the water really threw me off...but I'm going to place my guesstimate around ten.  The very first death is actually quite effective as the WereJellyfish drags the dead girls body through the surf.....he limp limbs and hair just fluttering in the water as she's pulled along.....kinda creepy!

Nude O Meter:  Nope.  Sorry kids, there's no skin here.  Don't worry though, there are bikini babes dancing and doing The Jellyfish!(?)

Things That Go Bump In The Night:  The fearsome Were-Jellyfish!  Glub glub glub.....

Miss Karen wakes up in Jellyfish Monster's cave.  

Final Thoughts 
If you are a fan of campy films, then there is a lot to love here.  The aforementioned acting and special effects.  The use of The Everglades to try and ramp up production value.  The lack on continuity from shot to shot (which is especially fun when the monster is supposedly chasing a girl and keeps vanishing from one camera angle to another!) all add up to a fun late night film to watch with beer, pizza and some like minded friends.

Final Rating
Three out of Five Pizza Rolls!

The final fight to the death!