Horror Reviews

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Witches' Night

Review by Matt

After being left at the alter at his Halloween weekend wedding, Jim's friends decide to take him on a camping trip to get away from reality for a bit. Booze, canoes and an unplanned meeting of four hot women seem to be doing the trick...at first. When the guys realize that these women aren't all that they seem, things start going very wrong.

I did really enjoy this film. It had a classic 70's horror feel to it and brought a few things back that aren't seen in mainstream horror these days: a good story and character development. There isn't tons of gore, but the suspense of what will happen next kept my interest through out the entire film. I would highly recommend picking up the special edition DVD with bonus features including 2 special making of Witches' Night featurettes, deleted scenes and a 'catching up with Evil Dead's Betsy Baker' interview. Visit
www.witchesnight.com for more information.

The Forest

Review by 42nd Street Pete

1983, Directed by Don Jones, Starring Dean Russell, Gary Kent, Stafford Morgan, and Corky Pigeon. Released by Code Red.

Now here's an interesting no budgeter that actually ran on the grindhouse circuit before they all bit the dust. In fact, you can see the wear on the print as its starts and as the reels run out. Not that this is a bad thing, it's shows what wear & tear these films suffered as prints were shuffled from place to place.

I had never seen this film in a grindhouse. I asked an old movie going buddy of mine if he had come across it. He said it did wind up on the bottom half of a double bill. He said the audience crapped all over it, but it was the kind of film you had to talk back to. He also said that nobody actually got up and walked out on it.

After seeing it last night, I'd have to agree. After opening with a knife in the guts and a throat slashing, it bogs down for a while, then picks up steam. Two couples decide to go camping. Of course the guys car breaks down and their wives get there first. Camping by the river, the women are shaken up by the ghosts of two children. They are the dead offspring of a cannibalistic madman who killed his cheating wife and is now living in the deep woods.

The children actually point out to the killer where the two women are. The killer( Gary Kent in a pair of ripped jeans, a torn T-shirt and a baseball cap) confronts one of the women and brutally kills her, stabbing her repeatedly in the back as she crawls away. Guess the guys who did Chaos saw this scene as it looks like it was copied almost verbatim for that film.

This film has some real inappropriate music. When things should be subdued, there is a driving ,late 70's type rock score. The two husbands, when lost in the forest, bicker back & forth like they are married to each other rather than the women. This your standard ,no budget stalk & slash film. It's an 80's time capsule that has to be seen to be appreciated. You could never get something like this released today. Some of it's lame while a lot of it is really twisted. In one scene the two guys take shelter with the killer and are fed one guys wife. When asked what kind of meat it is, the killer replies "it was a doe".
Extras include audio commentary by director ,Don Jones and the cast & crew reminiscing about how much fun they had doing the film.

St. Ives

Review by 42nd Street Pete

1976, Directed by J. Lee Thompson. Starring Charles Bronson, John Houseman, Jacqueline Bisset, & Harry Guardino Released by Warner Brothers

Charles Bronson was the action star of the 70's. After Death Wish, anything with Bronson was a guaranteed seller. This one, however was a departure from the ass kicking CB. Here he played ex crime reporter Raymond St Ives, a guy with a taste for gambling and misadventure. He is drawn into a web of mystery by John Houseman, who retains his services as a go in between to get back some documents that were stolen. This gets a price put on St Ives's head.

This is a great mystery thriller that harkens back to the days of The Maltese Falcon. John Houseman steals the show as Oliver Procane, a sinister criminal who's plans for a heist are stolen. Plenty of twists & turns in this one. Look for a young Robert Englund & Jeff Goldblum as a couple of hired thugs.


Review by Ray

When I pressed play to watch Dimension Extreme's latest Croc Gone Wild film, the first thing I noticed was the cinematography. This was the most lush footage I've seen in quite a while, and it made me want to go on a river tour of Australia myself.

As time went on we were introduced to our key players, and I have to say they took the time to develop the characters enough to establish who you wanted eaten and who you didn't, maybe too much time. It was about 35 minutes until we got into any real action. I think this may be a little too long for the average horror fan to take.

Once we got into it and were ready for more, it slowed again. The Croc effects were awesome but I would have like to see more. The acting was above what I was expecting but overshadowed what I was actually wanting to see. A big ass crocodile ravaging tourists to the point of oblivion.

If this was the Unrated version, I'm glad I saw this first. The film had it's high tension moments but if your expecting a fast paced, high action blood fest you may want to go straight for Lake Placid.

13 Hours In A Warehouse

Review by Alyson
Five professional art thieves, one hostage, three ghosts and 13 hours in a warehouse make for a genuinely creepy horror heist film. Writer and director Da-v Kaufman marks his feature length debut with an original and captivating spin.

13 Hours in a Warehouse takes place almost entirely in an abandoned warehouse after a successful art heist. The thieves must wait overnight for their buyer to make the exchange. A hostage was collected after they needed to utilize her car for the getaway and is locked up in a separate room while the guys wait and banter. The warehouse was thought to be formerly the location of porno film shoots, while the actual history is more macabre.

The hostage is bound and gagged when an apparition of a large woman with a plastic bag over her head frees her and whispers a numeric code to her. The specter also tells her that the ghosts are not there for her. The narrative then unfolds with hints and clues and an ambiance reminiscent of a Silent Hill game.

13 Hours in a Warehouse was created and executed by Minnesota locals and really illustrates the talent that prevails in the state. Kaufman’s screenplay gives a creepy thriller an engrossing plot that is flushed out with natural dialogue. The thieves’ performances are quite realistic. The cinematography by DP Adam Olson is beautiful and each frame is an image that can stand on its own.

The fantastic makeup special effects by Christ Ballas give the ghosts a classic, good old days of horror feel – back when one didn’t rely only on CGI – but the ghosts have a current feel as well. There is a static effect to the apparitions that is somewhere between a Star Wars hologram image and J-horror technology ghosts.

While there is plenty of kills and blood in 13 Hours in a Warehouse for gore fans, the scares are presented in a subtle, truly eerie way. A way a lot of fans have been craving in these recent days of torture porn, poorly executed big-budget film and splatter flicks with lacking plotlines.

13 Hours in a Warehouse will be released on October 28th by Maverick Entertainment. Check back with SCARS for an interview with Da-v Kaufman. He’s sure to be a name you’ll hear more of in the genre.

Film Brawl

Review by J.C. Walsh

"Film Brawl: The Guide To Geek Cinema" by Brian Harris & Annie Riordan is a brilliant handbook of over four hundred pages jammed pack with reviews that are in alphabetical order, short, honest and right to the point. The sarcasm and humor make it a real enjoyable read. I actually found myself queing movies from my blockbuster account as I was reading the book. This impressive guide of what to see and not to see has every genre from classic horror, modern horror, B movies, sci-fi, action and much more. Get in the ring movie buffs, it’s time to Film Brawl!

Dark Delicacies II:Fear

Review by J. Travis Grundon

The follow up to the Stoker Award winning Dark Delicacies anthology, the second offering boast another roster that reads like a who's who of 21st century horror. Co-owner of the first and only store dedicated strictly to horror and co-editor, Del Howison, has pulled strings and tapped contacts to bring together group of the world's best horror writers. This cast includes masters of horror ranging from Peter Atkins and Max Brooks to L. A. Banks and Steve Niles.

This book begins with a powerful foreword by none other that Ray Harryhausen, The act of Creation, that sets the mood for this chilling anthology. With over 17 tales that will make your blood run cold, you will be afraid to put this one down. From Max Brooks' walking dead to Steve Niles' gut collecting abomination this book is guaranteed to include a tale that taps the fear of any horror fan.

The only down side to it all is that once you've finished this book and you are sitting there alone in the dark to horrified to move, your brain will still crave more “Dark Delicacies.” You will will remember these stories every night as you lie awake and wonder if and when the third installment will be released. I wish I could tell you that, but for now you'll have to live with words of Franklin D. Roosevelt said and the lesson Dark Delicacies II will teach us. “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself!”

If this doesn't satisfy your taste for terror you can check out Dark Delicacies on the web at http://www.darkdel.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/dark_delicacies. and if you are in the California area head over to the Dark Delicacies store at 4213 W. Burbank, Burbank, CA. 91505 .

Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories

Review by J. Travis Grundon

For the first time ever in one volume Dark Horse Books has collected Steve Niles' entire Cal McDonald series in Criminal Macabre. This collection includes, the out of print Savage Membrane, Guns-Drugs and Monsters and Dial M for Monster all for the modest price of $12.95. In Addition to these three books, Criminal Macabre includes “All My Bloody Things”, originally only found in the first Dark Delicacies anthology.

While Niles is most recognized for his ground breaking 30 Days of Night, his Cal McDonald stuff is not to be overlooked. Die hard Niles fans can see that he puts a lot of himself into this character including his smart-ass sense of humor. McDonald is a throwback to the noir days with a modern supernatural twist. As a P.I., Cal Macdonald is a force to reckon with in the tradition of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer if they were tossed into the world of magic, madmen, and monsters.

Together a pill popping McDonald and his ghoulish parter Mo'locke go head to head with everything from alien zombies to backwards redneck cannibals in a book that is nearly impossible to put down. With its ability to keep you guessing and sharp wit, Criminal Macabre will entertain you in ways you won't even expect. Over all this book is an amazing read from cover to cover.

For more information on Cal McDonald or Steve Niles, you can find them both on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/criminalmacabre or http://www.myspace.com/steveniles. You can also find out more by visiting steveniles.com. So, what are you are you waiting for? Believe me you don't Cal to have to ask you the second time!

The Mammoth Book of Monsters

Review by J. Travis Grundon

For years people have marveled at monsters and loved countless classic creatures. They know our nightmares and dwell in the dark corners of our minds. Now multiple award winning editor Stephen Jones has collected all the greats and more into one book, appropriately titled, The Mammoth Book of Monsters.

Like the previous Mammoth books, the Mammoth Book of Monsters this monstrous anthology assembles twenty-two stories. rom the horror legends like Robert E. Howard and Clive Barker to great authors like Ramsey Campbell and. Some of these stories have been seen elsewhere but most are originals, featuring all types of monsters, including old favorites and new nightmares.

R Chetwynd-Hayes combines horror and humor to provide "The Shadmock," while in Ramsey Campbell's "Down Under" monsters lurk in an office buildings basement. The philosophical thriller"The Medusa", by Thomas Ligotti is a masterful piece of horror, focusing on man obsessed with the myth of the Medusa and all the terror surrounding it. In Scott Edelman's "The Man He Had Been Before" is post apocalyptic tale of world overrun with zombies, through the eyes of a teenager.

Are you ready to enter the world of monsters?

"Downmarket" by Sidney J. Bounds is a terrifying tale about an odd monster demanding human sacrifices and Robert E. Howard's "The Horror from the Mound" a classy, charming variation on the subject of vampirism.

By contrast, Brian Lumley's "The Thin People" constitutes a fine example of subtle horror fiction featuring unfathomable alien creatures who love privacy and hate cars.

Tanith Lee provides a new story, the outstanding, creepy "The Hill," possibly the best piece in the book, telling in a solid, fascinating narrative style how the house of a missing scientist becomes the center of a series of sinister events.

Basil Copper ("The Flabby Men") and Robert Holdstock ("The Silvering") contribute stories with a strong SF taste depicting alien creatures either malevolent and deadly or ready to love and be loved.

In the superb "Someone Else's Problem," written by Michael Marshall Smith in his usual extraordinary style, inexplicable, monkey-like monsters haunt a train running from London to Cambridge.

"Rawhead Rex" is vintage Clive Barker, one of his most scary creations, a memorable, ageless, ever hungry monster.