Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hair Band Horror Series: When metal went horror!

Gorehound Mike here...Heavy metal and horror movies, they go together like a maniac and a sharp axe! In this series were going to take a look at some films filled with everything great about metal:devil worship,sex murder and BAD HAIR!! Maybe even a surprise interview or two! This serieMs is written by Marc Heller a talented new staff writer at Gorehound Mikes! So sit back, crank some tunes (backwards) and enjoy these cheese tastic metal gore wonders...

Title: Blood tracks
by Marc Heller

Blood Tracks, also known as "Shocking Heavy Metal" is a paint by numbers copy of Hills Have eyes, only they've replaced the family in the Winnebago with a Swedish hair metal band, their film crew, and a bunch of slutty models
I went into this expecting the cheese factor at the highest possible level, and the film did not disappoint. In the beginning of the movie, we see a woman defend her children from her abusive and drunk husband who tries to take what little money they have. He slices her throat, a superficial wound, she stabs him in the back, he dies. All this happens while a huge burly man who could have broken the whole thing up just stands there and watches, and yells "murderer !"after she's done the deed. She than runs off with her children.
Flash forward to 1985, 40 years later according to the deep voiced narrator. Who also indicates this family has lived in solitude, until intruders came. Those intruders would be the Swedish metal band Solid Gold, and their entourage. They have come to the snowy mountains to film their latest music video. Our rocking Swedes are also joined by models who dance poorly and wear make up like war paint. Initially, they try to provide the comic relief in the film by way of hilariously bad one liners. But eventually, they serve their true purpose, as exposed breasts are a staple of 80's horror.

Despite repeat warnings of avalanches, the group proceeds to move ahead and shoot their video on the mountain . Sure enough, after we are treated to a choreographed performance of a hair metal ballad, their performance appears to have triggered an avalanche. But not until they finish, and go back to a cabin to frolic with the models. We get treated to some avalanche stock footage, while everyone in a cabin pretends to react to the impending avalanche, everyone except the one band member who is having sex in a car with a model, who all the others must now save. Obviously, since this in 80's horror film, and someone has had sex, its time for people to die. While the rest of the band and the models dig out the band member and the model, the camera crew heads to an abandoned factory. Which of course has giant red signs everywhere telling people not to go in. In a scene before, it is established the family now lives in the factory, they are grotesque, and they kill someone who is inspecting the property.
Somehow, living in the abandoned factory has turned the family into mutants. The kids now have big scruffy beards, furry jackets, and a bad complexion. The eldest kid and mom speak, while the rest grunt and jump up and down like monkeys. For the remainder of the film, people keep going into the factory and get killed, until someone finally gets up on the mountain and starts offing the family. And than he takes an axe to the head. The intelligent brother attempts to stop the violence, we get some dialogue which is supposed to make us feel bad for the family. And than a lot of people die.
The film tries to disguise itself as an American horror film, but the horrendous dubbing is a quick giveaway. Clearly the studio dug from the bottom of the barrel when casting this film, as reading even the simplest of lines was a task too hard for most cast members. Still, I can't help but enjoy this film in some sick twisted way. If you can handle bad acting and 80's fashion, and you liked The Hills Have Eyes, this is at least good for a laugh. But is otherwise awful.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Theres an Eyeball in my Martini: Campy horror reviews by David Del Valle: CHRISTMAS EVIL

HELLO horror fiends, David here...Santa was good to me, he brought me he brought me some joints from CA!
 Since its Christmas, and this is Gorehound Mikes were going to be checking out my favorite Horrorday classic "YOU BETTER WATCH OUT aka Christmas Evil.

John Waters call this film "the greatest Christmas movie ever made" and with his sense of the absurd as a director I know he means it. This is a very strange film to watch with if you have any sense of conventional horror films whether they are about Santa Clause or not. This is not really a slasher film per say in the tradition of BLACK CHRISTMAS or SILENT NIGHT BLOODY NIGHT. Christmas Evil is more like psychological thriller with a nod to whimsical films like THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR T in that the central character is not so much a killer as he is a very disturbed man and all because as a child in 1947, he saw mommy kissing Santa Clause and more than that Santa was groping her leg and this shocked the boy so much he ran upstairs and cut himself on a snow globe flash-forward to 1980 to see just how much this now grown man( played to perfection by Brendan Maggart) has survived on all the Christmases yet to come. 

The film is paced like a bad dream in which nobody ever really wakes up. The toy factory where Brenden is overseer is called The JOLLY DREAM and I feel that is what we as an audience are having a joyful Xmas dream where Santa can be recreated by gluing on a beard and filling your van up with presents for all the good little boys and girls at the local hospital. There is so much going on if you can get behind this a bit as it is very slow for the first hour or so and the print I watched was with the Director Lewis Jackson in the audience. Mr Jackson never made another film after Christmas Evil and he was visibly moved by all the attention that night. He said he wanted his daughter to have the print we were watching and that it was in the kind of shape where it could not be run through a projector many more times in any case. This is really an indie classic with all the decor and lighting of an Ed Wood film yet made with love and care just the same. Most of the actors went on to have careers and this little sleeper of a film is now regarded as one of the very best of the evil Santa genre of films made during the 1980's and beyond. I mean this film starts out like a classic Argento with a child witnessing a traumatic situation this time sex instead of murder but then it takes its time allowing this character to show you just how around the bend he really is...I mean he keeps book on the good children as well as the bad in his neighborhood...nothing though will prepare you for what follows with a musical number with this bad Santa dancing like Rasputin in a Hammer film...only to warn the children at the party that if they are not good something "horrible" would come their way on Christmas this point some of the parents look a bit confused. 

Mr. Jackson spoke at length about how hard it was to ask for more money to finish the film as it began as a project with a budget of $500.000 and this quickly escalated into $800.000 he was saved by the mafia in New Jersey that came through with the much needed $300.000 more in funds. Now the film does not look like it cost a lot even by the standards of the day. The print was turning red by now but this can all be taken care of if a blu ray is done and Mr. Jackson believed there was for late 2014. If you have not seen this little gem of surreal yuletide then prepare yourself with a joint and a cocktail and watch Christmas evil like most normal film fans watch ITS A WINDERFUL really does have a fairy tale ending after all. The original title for this film was YOU BETTER WATCH OUT...and that was the title on the print that evening.

MORE ABOUT DAVID: David Del Valle is an author and film historian whose work has appeared in books magazines and dvd supplements. David has also curated several photo exhibits using THE DEL VALLE ARCHIVES a collection of several thousand images from cult fantasy and Horror films that has an international reputation. His awarding winning DVD VINCENT PRICE THE SINISTER IMAGE is now considered a classic of it's kind. In January a TV series based on The SINISTER IMAGE will be streaming on RAPID HEART TV featuring cult and horror films introduced by David.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jug Face: Make some Face time with it....IF U DARE!



Directed by: Chad Crawford Kinkle

When you watch a horror film set in the back woods your sure to get either deformed monsters or just twisted Ned Beatty rapers, if you`ve seen one you`ve pretty much seen them all. But JUG FACE wisely takes the high ground and does neither yet creates its own terrible mythos that will send shivers down your moon shine drinking spine.

Jug Face tells the story of a clan of people that must sacrifice certain members at the behest of an unseen force that dwells in "The Pit" How do they know whom to kill you may ask, well its quite simple. A choosen man (played brilliantly by Sean Bridgers) named Dawai makes the jugs in a sort of trance of its intended victim. Our heroin of the story Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) finds its her face in the latest jug.To make matters worse she has gotten pregnant to her brother all while she is to be joined to another member of the clan.  In order to save herself and the life inside her she quickly hides the jug thinking nobody will ever know. Things goes from bad to worse when people around her start to die, taken by the thing in the pit.

As I said before, Jug Face takes the back woods and instead of filling them with killer rednecks or mutants or mutant rednecks chasing after big breasted co-eds writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle goes a more powerful and chilling route and shows us just how scary the woods of Tennessee can be. Right away Kinkle draws you into his world of dark scary woods, an evil pit,magic and sacrifice all without being campy or silly but deadly and frighteningly serious. Its a unique world with its own set of rules yet its also very grounded in familiar settings and reality which is so cleverly pulled off. Less is more as we never actually see whats inside the pit. Yet thats not to say we dont see anything creepy that lurks within.

Much of the powerful punch is due to the extremely well written characters that unlikely most "Hollywood" horror films is rich with development. We really begin to care about the two main characters and there plight, we don't want to see anything bad happen to them. Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter and an guest star appearance by Sean Young rounds out this amazingly talented cast. Everyone is just fantastic and  breaths life and gives credibility to the script by Mr. Kinkle. Speaking of characters director of photography Chris Heinrich shoots the TN woods perfectly making it almost one of the players in the film. With a keen cinematic eye he really utilizes the ominous strange magical presents of the location. The visual scope of the film heightens the story the telling which is what a great D.P does. named this one of the best films of 2013 and I must strongly agree with them. It takes a familiar trappings of a horror film and makes it smart thrilling and down right chilling to the bone, all without being silly and relying on gross out gags (though gore hounds will be pleased) This is Kinkles first feature film and something tells me hes going to be the next huge name in horror. So pull up a jug of shine cause Gorehound Mike doesn't want HIS face to be next....