One of the most scary, edgy and terror filled movies I’ve seen this year Clown has been released on DVD and Blu-ray. Most everyone has at least had trepidation about clowns since the sicko thriller TV Mini Series Stephen King’s “It”. The production created many nightmares and probably got a lot of kids parties canceled when moms and dads were frightened by the ugliness of the central character Pennywise. But that wasn’t the most dreadful film involving clowns that hit the small screen. A few years ago “American Horror Story: Freak Show” featured a couple of violent and sadistic clowns that made me cringe to the bone. Read more
Horrific, eerie, ghastly, grotesque, creepy, evil all the things that make a good horror film and The Other Side of the Door fits the mold. Nicely directed by Johannes Roberts who has several horror flicks under his belt, the film frightens with unique characters and a story that’s based on the mysticism of India. If you want to be entertained on a dark rainy night curled up with a loved one or popcorn and drinks for “friends” night, try this bloody tale on for size. Read more
Here’s an anthology of ghoulish flicks that are sure to make you gag or laugh depending on your mood. The eight short films are written and directed by different directors and provide their idea of what terror and even silliness has become. Most of the adult audience should be able to find at least one of the segment of Monsterland they can call their cup of tea, but remember this DVD is not for kids. Read more
Cunning and sinister the film Emelie comes to home video on DVD and Blu-ray. The film increases the level of emotion, fear, and chills as the haunting plot moves from one unconscionable scene to another. Totally beyond the scope of anything so despicable, the acting, cinematography and direction bring it all together as a very scary situation that’s a family’s worst nightmare. That said, I am bothered by the way they chose to end the film, but that’s something horror fans can deal with on their own. Read more
There’s been a rash of horror flicks this past two years as the followers of the genre have risen in numbers as indicated by the box-office. Opening today on DVD is the low budget thriller The Haunting of Alice D. Nothing remarkable, but yet a reasonable chance to gasp, gulp, cringe and shriek in the privacy of your own home. Not at the top of my list for good horror, the film lacks talented acting, a surefire scary plot and top notch direction that can bring a thrilling script to the screen. Read more
All right horror fans here’s the low down on The Hoarder a thriller being released on DVD and Digital Video this week. Up front the film’s got a very good monster in the vein of a Gollum looking character and even brought to the screen without CGI. The cinematography makes the film dark and sinister with some good scary moments, even though the sets are barren and boxy. Sadly beyond that however, the acting looks amateurish, the direction messy and the story very disjointed, especially in the finale. Read more
As if Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” needs another adapted storyline, then the release of the movie Frankenstein pops up. This past year even saw Victor Frankenstein with a story that shows the monster from the point of view of Igor. But, I guess it’s never to late to modernize the creature that has had a good run at the box office for many years. Well in this new edition we are treated to a present day view. Now on Blu-ray/DVD the film shows promise throughout the first two acts, but unfortunately has a lackluster ending. Read more
Very disturbing, unsettling and terrifying, the movie Hangman has come to home video on Blu-ray and DVD. The actors play out their roles as we see them on video tape much like films The Blair Witch Project and the hidden cams in Paranormal Activity. This one however brings with it a good measure of believability and possibility surrounding a mass murderer. The film claims to be based on a true story. Read more
This very disturbing movie does a fair job of sending chills through viewers, but doesn’t have the power to be considered top notch. After the first frightening three minutes Martyrs loses its punch, then tapers off into a psychological drama before getting into the real meat of the story. I kept hoping that it would keep my interest enough so I would not predict the awful farfetched ending, but that didn’t work. I also would have been satisfied with knowing why the main character would put herself back into the situation and have left well enough alone, but that’s the world of filmmaking. Read more
As horror films go, Howl does an above average job of scarring the pants off of its audience. Gross, ghastly and eerie, the film has moments when even the most hardened thriller fan will jump. The Blu-ray has excellent quality so even the night scenes where most of the film takes place are nicely visible, easy to identify and delightfully sinister. Topping it off, the make-up and costume creators are on their mark with some very ghoulish characters. Read more
The film Wrecker, now on DVD, may be quite familiar as it’s just a newer model of a long list of road kill films. Nicely made however the cinematography makes for entertaining viewing and the production value is a step up from other films in the genre. The acting by the main cast typify the characters and a tip of hat to director Micheal Bafaro for getting realistic performances. If you are a fan of the devil on wheels chasing innocent travelers in a dangerous game of cat and mouse, then this is your cup of tea. Read more
I really didn’t expect a gore festival more realistic than in the movie Bone Tomahawk, then up popped The Green Inferno taking me into the blood bath of cannibalism. Now on Blu-ray and DVD the film has excellent cinematography, good direction and a story that’s more a sick mutilation scare fiesta than a piece of cinematic art. If you like Eli Roth’s brand of filmmaking like the frightening Hostel 1 and 2, then this film certainly is up to your expectations. If you haven’t seen the aforementioned films then get ready for something really different. Read more
Now here’s a gem for those who like a thriller filled with good acting and a wild storyline. Now on Blu-ray/DVD it’s called Bone Tomahawk a dark western horror flick that will make your day if you like the genre. It may be a little long, but it sure has a big payoff with action throughout and a twisted ending. It’s not your usual horse opera and that’s a good thing. This review comes with a warning: There’s a very ghastly scene in the finale that looks so real it may make you squirm and turn your tummy. Read more
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, the low budget The Last House turns a horror flick into an insipid nightmare. Trying to be creative director Sean Cain uses a quick flash back technique that confuses his audience by chopping up scenes making the storyline a travesty. A waste of a good budget, special effects and make up, this horror film isn’t even that good on DVD. Read more
A native of Westport, Connecticut, actress/writer/director Tara Subkoff is known for As Good as It Gets, The Cell and All Over Me. In #Horror, which stars Chloë Sevigny and Timothy Hutton, a group of girls face a night of horror when the compulsive addiction of an online social media game turns a moment of cyber bullying into a night of insanity. In this one-on-one interview, Subkoff reveals the challenges and real-life experiences that shaped this film.
Why did you decide to make #Horror?
Tara Subkoff: I didn’t really decide to make it all in its entirety at once. Studios have groups and decide what they want to make. But artists don’t. They make what they feel. They have a point of view and they want to say something, and make it more clearly through the whole process of writing, shooting, editing, and all the art collaboration that was collaged in the film. At the end, I’m as surprised as you are as to where the film went. I think that’s the true nature of a good film, and one that evolves.
Sadly, there are way too many marketing and focus groups in filmmaking these days.
Tara: I completely agree with you. I’m very grateful that the film was independently financed, which allowed me to create a real director’s cut. I’m so grateful to IFC for distributing the film. I could have gone with someone else, but they wanted to re-edit and change things. It’s very rare that a filmmaker’s vision is honored. I’ve had some experience in Hollywood as an actor with features and directing several shorts, but I wanted to create a film that was really artistic.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Tara: Shooting in three snowstorms was pretty damn challenging. Nearly half my crew walked off, saying I was crazy. We couldn’t breathe it was snowing so fast. And this wasn’t CGI snow, but real snow. The other challenge was filming with minors, which was their first film experience. It was an 18-day shoot and we lost three days to bad weather. Another challenge was editing the film. My advice to all young filmmakers is to shoot as much as you can—before they take the cameras away. It really matters when you go into edit and you don’t have that other shot, or that snow that matches the other snow. I had to be very creative with editing. You really learn screenplay structure the hard way when you’re in the editing room. Hopefully, all this will make me a better writer.
It seemed like the isolated home with all its bizarre art was itself a character. Why did you choose that setting?
Tara: I really wanted to write about the 1% of the 1%–the people who have it all. We secretly all want to have it all, and we’re conditioned and brainwashed to want that. I wanted to write about the life we aspire to—what that looks like and what that feels like. I think art is very important; it holds a feeling, and if it’s good, it stands the test of time and communicates something that is abstract but important. The artwork came from my friends and it’s really another character in the film. I grew up in Westport so I’m familiar with that world, the importance of keeping up appearances, the possessions people have, and keeping up with other towns—rich vs. poor. I wanted to create a visual landscape that was very specific.
The film goes into a host of issues, including cyber bullying, parental neglect, infidelity. Why did you choose to include them?
Tara: I wanted to write about modern life and its many problems. I think they’re the same problems that we’ve always had, but they just look different today. And I wanted to be honest about what they look like.
Can you go into the actual events that inspired the film?
Tara: Many of my friends had 12-year olds who were severely cyber bullied at the time. And I was severely cyber bullied as a 12-year old on the bus. I was horrified by it, much more than any ghost in the woods. But in my day, I could go home and the bullying would stop. With the platform kids have today, it never stops, it’s relentless. You can’t just put the phone down and turn it off, it just keeps going. It’s a whole new level of cruelty and meaness. And it could follow you into your college application, your first job interview or first love interest. It’s out there for all the world to see. It’s so humiliating and disgusting. It’s very damaging when you’re developing as a person. So I wanted to write something that felt real in 2016.
The graphics were stunning, bold and a bit unusual for a film of this type? What was the thinking behind that?
Tara: I wanted to portray the feeling of going into their game world. It’s another life and you’re locked in it. If you play CandyCrusher, the colors and the world are so addictive. I wanted to convey what it feels like to get lost in your phone.