Friday, December 28, 2012

The Haunted World of 42nd St. Pete: Reviews from the Grindhouse master!

I`m very pleased to announce that the grindhouse legend himself 42nd Street Pete is now reviewing for Gorehound Mike`s. 

Grindhouse Action Double Feature at The Rialto: The Wrath of God and Dark of the Sun

The Wrath of God 1972 Starring Robert Mitchum, Frank Langella, Victor Buono, John Colicos, Ken Hutchison and Rita Hayworth. Directed by Ralph Nelson(Soldier Blue)

Robert Mitchum was one actor who's star never faded. Here he is as Father Oliver Van Horne, phony priest, or is he? He carries a bag housing a Tommy gun and $53,000 in cash. He meets an Irishman, Emmett (Hutchison) who is running a truckload of liquor for a con man named Jennings (Buono). Emmett helps the good father ,who's car is stuck. He then delivers his goods, but finds out the person he is supposed to meet is now hanging by his neck in a store room. Realizing he's now in a world of shit, Emmett is about to leave when this crew of scum decides to rape an Indian girl. Emmett intervenes, but is jumped and about to taste the noose until Van Horne shows up with machine gun in hand . Blasting the patrons of the bar into the promised land, Emmett & Van Horne take off only to be captured by Col. Santilla's men. Seems the truck was full of guns, not booze and they are thrown in a cell with Jennings, who was also captured.

They are sentenced to die before a firing squad, blindfolded, the guns fire, but no one is shot. That was Santilla's way of saying he holds their lives in his hands. He has a deal for them. They have to kill a dictator/bandit, Thomas De La Plata,(Frank Langella) who is holding a town in a grip of terror. Jennings will pose as an official from a mining company, Emmett is his "mining engineer", and Van Horne is a priest. Real problem is that La Plata hates priests and has killed the last two sent to his town. If the threesome can pull this off, they get to split up Van Horne's $53,000 and go free. La Plata welcomes Jennings & Emmett, but warns Van Horne to get out. Van Horne , however, has an unexpected supporter in La Plata's mother(Rita Hayworth). 

Van Horne re opens the town's church. Jennings & Emmett go to the mine with Senora La Plata. A cave in traps the Senora and a couple of miners. Van Horne helps rescue her and stays to give last rights to a dying minor. Van Horne admits he was a priest. " I studied five years to become one" he says "but when I tried to do what I was taught, I was told that the poor will always be with us, but the rich fill the collection plates". So he went into business for himself. La Plata now knows the three are working together and leads an attack on the church. Santilla supplied the men with a couple of machine guns & grenades. They cut down most of La Plata's men and wound him in the process. La Plata has a group of people held hostage, including the Indian girl that is now smitten with Emmett. His segundo, Jurardo( Gregory Sierra) shoots Van Horne's alter boy down and tells Van Horne that all hostages will die unless he surrenders to La Plata. 

Van Horne agrees, but has a gun hidden in his bible. La Plata appears on a balcony, he makes sure Van Horne drops the bible. Van Horne takes his crucifix, which is a big switch blade, and puts it through La Plata's chest. But that La Plata is a double. The real La Plata has the now unarmed Van Horne tied to a stone cross with barbed wire. Jennings & Emmett lead the villagers to attack La Plata. Jennings was supposed to drive Van Horne's car through the front gates. He starts having second thoughts, but then charges the gates . Firing the machine gun he bursts though the gates mowing down La Plata's men.La Plata & Jurado mortally wound him, but Jennings, grabs a hand grenade and Jurardo. Jennings tell Jurado that life is full of little surprises, then pulls the pin. Emmett frees his girl, but not without soaking up some lead. La plata is just about to shoot Emmett when he is shot by his mother. Falling next to the stone cross, he is down , but not out. Van Horne makes the huge cross fall on La Plata, crushing the life out of him. 

This is one film that keeps your interest from start to finish. The guy to watch, however is Victor Buono as he shamelessly steals the show. This was Rita Hayworth's last film. She was thought to be having problems with alcohol, but was really suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Rumor has it that Mitchum pushed hard for her to be in the film. Mitchum, who started acting in the 40's and stayed on top until his death in '97, is a true legend. At the age of 14, he was arrested for vagrancy and escaped from a chain gang in Georgia. His marijuana bust & short prison term in 1949 would have destroyed any other actor, but it just seem to enhance his bad boy image that appealed to both women & men. By the 50's he was a true supper star and never lacked for work. He did a small role in Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man and his last film was a TV movie James Dean : Race with Destiny

Dark of the Sun 1968 Starring Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimiieux, Peter Carsten and Jim Brown Directed by Jack Cardiff ( The Mutations)

Rule of thumb with double bills was to put something that had proven drawing power with something new. That way, if the film on top sucked, the crowd wouldn't feel cheated. Jim brown was red hot in '72, so why not take a film that he was fourth billed in, put his name on the marquee and pair it with a western/action film? Well, it worked. Dark of the Sun is a violent tale of mercenaries in Africa. Curry (Taylor) and Ruffo (Brown) are contracted to get a bunch of people out of harms way. Seems the Simbas have been dicing up settlers and Curry needs a train to get them out. But he also has to get $25 million in diamonds out too. He has Captain Henlein pick 40 mercs for the job. Henlein is a former Nazi and he & Curry hate each other. That fact is driven home when he tries to slice up Curry with a chainsaw. Curry holds Henlein's head under the wheels of the train before Ruffo stops him. 

They get to the town, but there is a problem. The vault that the diamonds are in has a time lock and it won't open for three hours. Just enough time for the Simbas to get closer. As the vault opens, the Simbas attack in force. The train is getting away until a mortar shell hits the train, breaking a coupling and sending that part of the train, the passengers, and the diamonds to the Simbas. The Simbas slaughter, torture & rape the passengers in a violent bloodbath. Curry tries to get the diamonds back. Ruffo drags Curry into Simba central like he is a prisoner. Once inside they toss a few grenades and grab the diamonds. Henlein knows about the diamonds and kills Ruffo while Curry is away. Curry pursues Henlein into the jungle. They battle it out tooth & nail until Curry decapitates him. Curry return and places himself under arrest for Henlein's murder. 

This was one violent movie for it's time. It was Jim Brown's 3rd feature film as he debuted in Rio Conchos in '64, then the Dirty Dozen in '67. Rod Taylor started acting in '51 and his last film to date was Inglorious Bastards where he played Winston Churchill. His bar fight with William Smith in Darker than Amber set the bar for fight scenes in films. Director Jack Cardiff was better known as a cinematographer on over 80 films. Great double feature with two films that still pack a punch today.

Thanks again Pete! Looking forward to your next grindhouse masterpiece. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

MUM & DAD: A Real Yuletide Treat.

                                                                 Film: Mum & Dad
                                                                     Year: 2008
                                                               Director: Steven Sheil
                                                         Review by: Vincent Daemon

This twisted sick fuck of a film comes to us by way of the UK, and is the directorial debut of Steven Sheil. And I must say I was pleasantly surprised to have come across it.

Initially I had no interest in seeing this, as the poster art looks like, well, crap. It seems to represent your standard run of the mill "torture porn" (how I so loathe that misleading term - I much prefer survivalist horror) crapola. Still, my intuition was telling me to give it a go.

Polish immigrant to the UK, Lena, is working at the airport with a chatty, annoying girl named Birdie. They also work with Birdie's strange, dim/mute brother Elbie. Almost right from the get go it is established that Birdie has some quirks, as it were, when Lena catches her unrepentantly thieving from the offices they are cleaning. After Lena misses her bus home, Birdie offers the girl to stay the night at her house.

Bad idea.

Once at the house Lena meets Mum, who quickly injects her throat with some kind of numbing and tranquilizing chemical. The poor girl awakes in chains, and the roller coaster ride begins. You think you may know where it's going, but you have no idea.

Mum has a serious thing for both Birdie, but especially the new daughter Lena. This causes a severe jealousy in Birdie, who uses every spare moment of her time tormenting, or having torment thrust upon, Lena. When we meet Dad he is violently masterbating into some part of the human body (I think it was a thigh muscle), and finishes, slapping the sex-toy meat-slab onto the counter, whereupon we see his thick semen sluicing down out of the vaginal crevace. They watch porn at the breakfast table. Elbie is a shellshocked, PTSD addled, chronically masterbating trainwreck of learned cowardice and silence. They consume the flesh of past "family members" in disgusting strange meals. Then there is the other daughter, the one the vegetable they refer to as "the thing upstairs."

It quickly accelerates from there, as true colors show, and deception, abuse, murder, manipulation and molestation seem to be the order of the day, apparently every day, in this hell house.

The film climaxes on Christmas Day (which it really isn't, the lunatics just rip all the pages off the calendar until it says it's Christmas). As the family is gathered round the old human torso holiday tree (replete with a hideously push-pin decorated penis) all hell breaks loose, and the family unit collapses in an atom bomb explosion of violence, bloodshed, and confused psychological intensity.

There are some of the standard trappings of the genre, but the levels of perversion and intensity with which they happen are way fairly potent. What makes this film work is the in depth, bizarre psychological aspect to the cornucopia of madness. The characters are very well written and competently played. Dad is absolutely frightening, this violent and abusive slob-monster of a human being. Aside from Lena (who, by the way, is incredibly cute), there is absolutely nothing to like about any of these characters, and that's part of what makes it work. These people are dispicable and loathesome in every possible way imaginable.

There are a couple of other neat tricks the filmmakers use here, one of which being that there is no definitive soundtrack. The entire film, but for the climax, is played with nothing but ambient background sounds to accompany the whacked dialogue yelling and shrieking (of which there is a lot). Also, the film is very interestingly filmed. Most of the shots are up close on faces, on situations, and I mean intimate porno close. It all further adds to the constant terror of no one character ever trusting any other, as it truly is every monster for themselves in this household. The claustrophobia of the entirety of the situation is captured perfectly. Everyone sells everyone else out at some point, usually to avoid an abuse, gain a sexual favor, or just be sadistic and see another member of this "family" be punished.

Now also, keep in mind, that it is still an exploitation film. This is not high art we're dealing with, but it's not your average trash that is so common to this aspect of the genre on a consistent basis. It's brutally sick, sardonically twisted, erotically curious (yeah, I said it, just watch and you'll see what I mean, you fucking perverts) . . . I highly recommend this entertaining, shock-trash (I said it wasn't AVERAGE trash, but it's still trash) exercise in total human debasement.

Happy holidays, be safe one and all.

Stay sick, and watch out for Krampus turds.

---- Vincent Daemon's short fiction has appeared in over 24 publications, and he just put his first short story collection, Bury Me In A Nameless Grave: A Collection Of 11, together to eventually be published. He is also editor of the annual Grave Demand magazine, as well as a freelance editor for hire in his down time. He can be found on facebook, and at his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind , and contacted at ----


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gorehound Mikes 2012 Break down: The Good the Bad and the Rotten.

Yesterday staff writer Vincent Daemon`s Best of 2012...

 Now its your under lord Gorehound Mike`s Break down of the best of 2012.

Some of these films might have been made earlier but released in 2012 so im going with what was released this year...


Woman in Black
Hammer has made a recent come back with Wake Wood (see my full review) and scored big with me. Needless to say when the trailers for this came out, I was stoked. It did not disappoint. Danial Radcliffe plays a emotionally drained man and his stiff performance actually sells it quite well. He is great as the rest of the cast.  Woman in Black is a film that hearkens back to the Gothic vibes that made Hammer films so much fun.Its an old school spook-fest that will sure to please fans.

Piranha 3DD
This is one film that you get exactly what you expect. No false airs no pretension just good old t&a gore fest. The story line is actually not half bad The cast is great, Christopher Lloyd, Ving Rhames and a screaming funny cameo by David Hasselhoff playing you guested it himself. So if you like blood, tits and fish monsters then jump on in, there's plenty of female flesh, but mostly in bits and pieces.

The Very best of 2012:

Cabin in the Woods

Wow I, a lot of people were totally blown away by this film. It`s extremely well cast and i`d say the smartest and original horror script in decades. Even though this film is clearly aimed to the die hard horror fan, its broad enough for everyone to dig it. Since so much has been written about this film already i`ll spare you the long dissection but will say if you haven't seen it, please do so. Its already a genre classic.


                          Silent Night

Tis the season to suck!! Yes my exceptions were low but in the sprite of keeping an open mind I gave this a look at. Well this is just as bad as you`d expect and more. Where do I begin with this stocking stuffer of fail. The plot is terribly predictable as is the twist at the end, which when it finally comes I didn't care. We also get the cop cliques as well, like the female lead cop says " I choked alright, I choked its something i`ll have to live with the rest of my life." Yes folks shes going for the Oscar   And don't forget the hard ass Sergeant who doubts the well meaning lower ranking cop. Give me a break. I`ve also seen better acting in porno's. Its a shame McDowell a once well respected actor is doing schlock like this. His character is so annoying I couldn't wait to see his death scene.

I think this film took itself way to seriously with none of the fun of "Silent Night Deadly Night"

I wouldn't give this film to my worst enemy.

The Possession
Sadly this is just another exorcist film. As you can guess this film suffers the same pit falls of Silent Night as its filled with tired cliques.

There are plot holes that are so bad there funny. For example they exorcises the girl in a hospital conveniently a totally empty one. All hell breaks loose and no doctors or nurses are anywhere to be found. And the Jewish aspect of it was handled so badly it boarders on offensive. That is if anyone actually cared. Worst yet some the scary moments come off as funny, and I`ve heard a lot of screams- of laughter in the theater.
The creepiest moments in the film are shown in the trailer so save yourself the time and just watch it and not the full movie- or don't either way you`re good.


Ugh.. this is one awful mess of a film. Writing this is like trying to relive some horrible trauma.
This film suffers from the lack of coherency in its script. I mean the plots all over the place.  Also this has some laughably bad dialog. Ethan Hawke is a typical hammy self, I`m amazed this guy still gets acting jobs. He`s just terrible.

The demon begoul is more funny looking then sinister.
I have to admit the ending was somewhat cool but not nearly enough to save this confused film.

I wouldn't even recommend this as a rental.  Its just BAD...

Wicker Tree
Anyone who knows me, knows Wicker Man (70s version)  is one of my favorite films-ever. So when I heard the long awaited sequel was happening I was very excited. Wicker Tree tries to bring the same eeriness that W.M did but falls so short. While Man is a long creepy build to a brilliant climax Tree is just boring and unimaginative.

Wicker Tree however have something in common with Wicker Man, its hollow with no heart.


Bunny Games
Truly a dangerous film. I think I said it best in my full review "Makes Texas Chainsaw look like Mary Popins" -(come on guys use that quote someday!!) You have to give it credit for being so disturbing with out using any on screen blood or gore.which many filmmakers use as a crutch. Read my full review in the Archives. Its something you really have to see.

Bloody Bloody Bible Camp

A total must see!!-  I cant say enough great things about this flick. Its alot of fun and if you buy it you wont be disappointed. A full review is in the Archives as well as a interview with the Director.

DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2012- This doesn't necessarily mean i hated the film but just had high hopes that it didn't meet.

First off let me say I`m a fan of Ti West. He`s had far more hits then miss`s and I think many would agree House of the devil was a great film and already a classic of the genre. I thought the concept was strong but was a total let down. I`ve had many people try to tell me what a brilliant film this was.-I didn't hate it but it could have been better.  My full review is in the Archives.


Lords of Salem
Jurassic Park 3D
Evil Dead Remake

As always this is meant for fun- and i`m sure some people wont agree so when leaving comments please be respectful. After all this a blog and one persons opinion.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vincent Daemon's Top 7 Horror/Dark Films Of 2012

Hell-o all, and Season's Mistreatings. It's Doomsday's Eve everybody! As I was huddled round the ol Festivus Pole today, waiting eagerly for the opportunity to air grievances (and oh are there many), and for the poles to shift and Nibiru to smack straight into the earth (if only), my phone rang and it was Gorehound Mike. He wanted me to work up a last minute list of my top horror/dark films of 2012.

Now honestly, I was not completely overwhelmed with the output of 2012 in the way of our beloved genres. It just seemed like more of the same, for the most part, as every other year. Sequels, remakes. In fact, at first I pulled a complete blank as to what I'd even seen this year. I felt it was that bad. But slowly it came back to me.

There were indeed a couple of interesting flicks this year. Seven, that I thought rose to the top. Sad I couldn't even muster ten. Most movies suck and that's just how it is, a sad fact indeed.

Now, please keep in mind, this has been a quite hectic year for me, and i was not able to catch everything. In fact, I know there were some really decent flicks I just never got around to seeing, but sure as hell plan to when the next opportunity arises. so feel free to take this list with a grain of salt.

So enough bitching, let's get to what's good. Here they are, from 7 to 1, my personal top 7 horror/dark films from 2012.

                                                            Film: The Dark Knight Rises
                                                            Director: Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan brings us his third and final installment in his Batman Trilogy. A bit long and wordy, it's actually a pretty neat film, and a decent closer to the series. I'm not overly a superhero film or comics film fan necessarily. Quite honestly I tend to loathe the genre. But Nolan's films portray a darker and grittier world than the previous Batman efforts, blending the dark psychoses of both good and bad characters, the lines of many of which are never that clearly drawn. My only issue really is that Nolan seems to have taken the more magical elements out of the series and made it all so very earthbound. I always though Ra's al Ghoul was a preternaturally powerful wizard of some kind, but in Nolan's vision of the universe he's some kind of political freedom fighter or something. I was a little lost. That said, this film achieves a particular pinnacle of bleak terror towards the end of the film, and Bain was definitely interesting, being the  brooding, brilliant, addicted, confused, lovelorn brute he was.

                                                                Film: The Innnkeepers
                                                                    Director: Ti West

The Innkeepers is another crrepy, heavily 80's inspired film by Ti West. While nowhere near as slam-bang in it's intensity as West's previous House Of The Devil, but is still a fairly entertaining addition to his resume. An odd tale of ghosts and madness, there were enough twists and turns to help rise above a lot of the other crap-ass haunting and ghost movies currently flooding the market. Nothing spectacular, there's not a whole lot to say about it other than if you enjoy Ti West's work, check it out. There was much worse out this year.

                                                                       Film: Dredd
                                                                 Director: Pete Travis

This film was far more entertaining than I intially anticipated. I've been a huge Judge Dredd fan since my early teens, and this film essentially delivered everything that the 90's Stallone effort did not. Dredd is a take no shit sonofabitch, played to perfection by Karl Urban. There were some things I would have liked to see the film tackle from the comics but didn't, such as some of the more supernatural elements, Judge Death, etc. That said it was still an entertaining, faithful ride. And the 3D was phenomenal, easily the best I've seen. They worked it brilliantly into one of the subplots of the film, about the street drug Slo-Mo. A fine effort, and yes I know it's a superhero/comics film, but this is one of the rare few comics of that genre I really dig. So fuck off.

                                                                     Film: The Tall Man
                                                                 Director: Pascal Laugier

This is one of the few films I looked forward to seeing all year. Pascal Laugier previously directed on of my favorite films, the much maligned and misunderstood Martyrs, perhaps one of the grimmest, most violent films ever made. With The Tall Man, he uses a slightly different approach, foresaking a lot (though not all) of the physical violence aspect he's known for, to go more with twisty, intriguing head games, both for his characters and the viewer. Now, I was diheartened to see Jennifer Biel was in it, one of the many current reigning plastic and orange-skinned non-actresses mucking up film screens for what seems like more years than necessary. I find her repellant actually, and hesitated watching this film over it. However, I eventually caved, and was so glad I did. She actually plays far against type, and how this film ends is both gutwrenching yet wholly satisfying to the plot. Laugier's psychological shenanigans are just as potent as the visually repugnant dog-and-pony-show for which he's known. I can't wait to see what he comes up with in the future, and just how it will be delivered.

                                                                Film: Cabin In The Woods
                                                                 Director: Drew Goddard

There's not much that can be said about this film that already hasn't. And for those who haven't seen it I can't really say much (for fear of ruining it). Co-written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon (of whom I've never been a big fan), this was a real treat, especially for the true horror fan. A kind of play on and manipulation of classic archetypes in horror cinema, the films turns any concepts you've previously had of the genre, all the tropes with which you've been so battered into familiarity with, and turns them upside down, then does it again, and again, resulting in one of coolest monster mash-up finales to ever grace the silver screen.

                                                                      Film: Cosmopolis
                                                               Director: David Cronenberg

Cronenberg's return to the genre was well worth the wait. Classic Cronenberg in so many ways, socio-politically timely, sexually abberant, and rife with bizarre, consumed, obsessed and narcissisticly damaged characters, this is a grim tale for the modern times. Most of the film takes place in the back of lead Robert Pattison's limo, as he slowly self-destructs both his fortune and himself amidst the turmoil of violent economically charged riots on his way to get . . . a haircut. A fascinating study of both the overprivileged and the socially damaged (love the idea of rats being used as currency), this movie twists into the psyche of someone who really has no reason left to care. At points it reminded me of Crash in a way, seeming to perhaps take place in the same sort of universal lock as that film, at the same point in time even. This film leaves no hope, no room for a future of any kind, for anyone involved. Chilling, realistic stuff indeed. Cronenberg is one of the few "classic" directors left who can still deliver the goods, unlike Romero, Argento, Hooper, and most of the rest from that crew who long ago peaked and continue to try and make embarrasing replications of their past efforts. Kudos, Mr. Cronenberg, keep up the good work.

                                                                     Film: Prometheus                               
                                                                  Director: Ridley Scott   

Ridley Scott's long awaited Prometheus may not have been the film many were hoping for, but it was a visually fascinating, intellectually stimulating, epic slab of sci-fi/horror that never fails to deliver. The plot was a bit muddy, there were some things that happened that outright made no sense, and most of the characters were standard versions of a rehash of the characters from the original Alien. That said, the film plays into the concept well, if not completely faithfully, and leaves enough room for the viewer to both draw their own conclusions and try to figure out Scott's puzzle. He has stated that many of these questions will be answered in the proposed sequel to Prometheus, which I am looking forward to. I felt the films highpoint was the android David, played with a stunning clarity and unique series of quirks by Michael Fassbender. He is much different than the other androids in the series, and being the first run fully functional A.I. model, he maintains this odd sense of childlike wonder throughout the film. If you haven't seen it, you must, though keep an open mind while you do. This is not light sci-fi fare, this is a deep thought, think about the concepts for days afterward film. I was impressed, and really enjoyed this entry into the Alien saga. Fuck the naysayers. Can't wait to see where the sequel takes us.  

                                                                       Film: The Grey
                                                                 Director: Joe Carnahan 

My number one pick for 2012 is The Grey with Liam Neeson. This film blew me away, one of the most powerful, gut-punching films I've seen in years. I loved everything about it. Is it a standard horror film, in the typical genre sense of the word? Certainly not, but therein lies the beauty. This film is horrifying, everything about it. It tackles issues of loss, grief, identity, isolation (in every sense of the word), personalities, survival through all things, and the strength of will. What these characters deal with, internally and externally, is absolutely brutal. The scenery is stunning, achieving the feeling of true claustrophobia in wide open spaces. A few people have bitched about this fine piece of cinema, claiming it makes wolves look bad and that their behaviors are not wolf behaviors. Not in the standard sense, no, but do your research. Their behaviors completely fall into the category of yes, this is rare, but possible. Also, the airplane crash early on is almost shocking, and does not instill any further faith in me about those flying death machines. Though I did enjoy the severe turbulance last time I was on one, but that's neither here nor there. I digress. On every level this film got to me. Hell, I even think it's Oscar worthy, that ultimate travesty of Hollywood asskiss. So, no, let me backpedal that, this film is better than an Oscar. Please do yourself the favor of checking out the Grey, for something a bit deep and a bit different. Oh, and people bitched heartily about the ending as well, but I also thought that brilliant. To show what was implied would have thoroughly cheapened the affair, and I liked the openness of said ending. However, make sure you watch the short scene after the credits to make a further judgement.

That's it. Hope everyone has a safe Helliday, and let's hope that 2013 brings us some better entries in the horror genre. I already know I'm looking forward to The Lords Of Salem, oh so much. But, we shall see. As long as we don't all go up in a ball of endtimes flame come the morrow.

Stay Sick,

Vincent Daemon

---- Vincent Daemon's short fiction has appeared in over 24 publications, and he just put his first short story collection, Bury Me In A Nameless Grave: A Collection Of 11, together to get published. He is also editor of the annual Grave Demand magazine, as well as a freelance editor for hire in his down time. He can be found on facebook, and at his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind , and contacted at ----



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hitchcock Inspired Part 2: Road Games: Hitchcock down under!

Title: Road Games

Year: 1981


Hitchcock Inspired Part 2 By Michael Vaughn

Welcome to the second part of my series on Hitchcock inspired films. This time were going to a land down under with this interesting take on a Hitchcock classic.

The film follows Quid and his traveling companion dingo Boswell on the lonely roads of Australia. To fight the boredom of the road Quid plays games to keep his sanity but soon discovers there's another driver playing a far more deadlier game-preying upon young women. Along with the aide of hitchhiker Pamela  they must play a frightful game of cat and mouse. But can they stop the killer from making rib roasts out of more young women?

      Unlike BODY DOUBLE, Road Games isn't as literal in its homage, but its still has deep roots in the Hitchcock style and has been called REAR WINDOW on wheels.

Stacy Keach plays the quirky road weary trucker and really gives a great performance. He lets the audience really connect with his character and there for we want to invest the time in his plight. Keach also knows when to rein myself in and not go over board or "hammy".

Not to be out done is the scream queen herself Jamie Lee Curtis. Its very fitting that Curtis star in this homage to the master of suspense. Her mother Janet Lee met her fate in the all so famous "Shower" scene in PSYCHO. Curtis is of course stunning as always and does a great job. Like a good Hitchcock female she is very stylish. She brings a kind of playful innocence yet shes a smart female character that ultimately helps solve the case.  The two have wonderful on scene chemistry which is odd considering they seem like such an unlikely pair. But hey it works.

Besides the casting of Curtis there are a few other fun nods to the famed director. The most obvious one being Pamela the hitch hiker is given the nick name "Hitch" which has a great double meaning, hitch as in hitch hiker and you guested it Hitch as in Hitchcock. Even Hitchcock himself makes a sort of cameo.

Their is a great mixture of dark humor that Alfred himself would have enjoyed. For example Franklin takes gleeful joy in playing with the butchered meat theme and is echoed through out the film and its shocker ending. "Today's pig is tomorrows bacon..." as Curtis so brilliant puts it. Scenes between Keach and Marion Edward`s is also pretty funny.

This film uses its locations to there up most effectiveness. Its cold brutal isolated Australian wilderness serves as a great setting and it takes little effort to imagine all sorts of things to happen in the wild outback. Its everything a good exploitation film should be, down, dirty and gritty.

What Franklin has created here is a tight wire of tension that builds and builds and doesn't let up to the very last frame. And might I add without spoiling anything, the final scene will like you jump. It makes one wonder if this film semi inspired the film WOLF CREEK in its tone (yes i know its based on "true events")

ROAD GAMES is an endlessly enjoyable mystery thriller mixed with dark humor. It might make you think twice about taking the trip to Outback.

Trivia: Jamie Lee Curtis`s character is named Pamela. This is the name of Hitchcocks daughter.

Stacey Keach actually learned to drive an 16 gear semi truck for the film.

Things to look for: A Hitchcock book can be seen in the truck.

Monday, December 17, 2012

SHEITAN: More Holidays Should Be Like This One

                                                                   Film: Sheitan
                                                                   Year: 2006
                                                                   Director: Kim Chapiron
                                                                   Review by: Vincent Daemon

I absolutely LOVE this movie. It's just bonkers . . . completely off the wall.

Three friends are gathering right before Xmas in a rave club, one of which drinks way too much. They get thrown out, but manage to bring two girls with them. The one girl offers them to stay at her family's farm house.

Once there, their car get stuck in some mud when the stop to let sheep and goats cross the road. A strange man appears, Joseph (played by a hulking, almost unrecognizable Vincent Cassell). With piercing eyes, a goofy mustache, and a perpetual creepy smile, Vincent Cassell completely excels in this performance, and ultimately makes the film. His Joseph character is absolutely one of a kind in the analls of not just horror cinema, but the whole damn history of film altogether.

Josph the starts squirting fresh goats milk in everyones mouth, then dislodges the car himslef. He also takes an odd interest in the character Bart, a sullen and ill-behaved wannabe gangsta-tough guy drunkard.

Once at the house things only get increasingly bizarre by the second. They find out Joseph is a doll and puppet maker, and the house is filled with these odd and frightening toys.

Joseph incites them all to a hot spring. They go skinny dipping, and are eventually joined by a group of mentally challenged hooligans who proceed to jump in and creepily rough house. Another girl shows up and starts to jack off Marc's dog, then pulls a hanful of Bart's hair out. That hair is then later used on a doll by Joseph's wife.

The film progresses in this odd direction, as tensions between the friends (the males all fighting over the two chicks), the family, and the Xmas holiday all begin to unfold and play out.

At their Xmas dinner, a conversation about religion, and subsequently evil, erupts at the table, ending with a drunken, now raging Joseph going off on god, the devil, and a brutal racist tyrade.

From here on out all hell breaks loose, culminating in some of the funniest, most brutal climaxes I've seen in a while. I can't really go into too much without giving the whole damn movie away. I will say that it does feature one of the gooiest, (deliberately) laugh-inducing birth scenes I've ever seen. The film as a whole in fact is relentlessly entertaining and bizarre, and not really comparable to anything else. It continuously finds little ways to puch the limits, up the ante, and go a wee bit over top, whether it merely be through the acting or the strange plot that turns everywhich way you can think of and then some.

And as I mentioned, Cassell's character of Joseph is played with brilliant and intense creepiness. He never ceases to make you uncomfortable, whether he's being nice and trying to get Bart to have sex with his niece, squirting goats milk in peoples mouths, abusing his mentally challenged relatives, or playing with he and his sisters Xmas eve satan baby.

The film is a funny, off-putting, intense entry from the New French Extreme (of which I am a big fan) movement. At 90 minutes it moves with a lightning pace, and may leave you a bit winded with that "what the fuck did I just watch" feeling after the fact.

It's currently streaming on Netflix, and makes a great Xmas film. Go, seriously, check this hidden gem out. You won't be disappointed. It is in French and subtitled, just a caveat for those half-assed horror fans who may take issue with such minor frivloities.

And Joseph's piecring stare, silly moustache, and creepy smile, will stay with you for DAYS after you watch.

SHEITAN is a true Xmas treat.

---- Vincent Daemon's short fiction has appeared in over 24 publications, and he just put his first short story collection, Bury Me In A Nameless Grave: A Collection Of 11, together to get published. He is also editor of the annual Grave Demand magazine, as well as a freelance editor for hire in his down time. He can be found on facebook, and at his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind , and contacted at ----

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hitchcock inspired part 1: Body Double: Relax go to it, when you wanna DIE

Be it killer birds or psycho killers legendary director Alfred Hitchcock has made some of the best films ever to be put to celluloid and even though hes been dead and gone long ago his style and brilliance is still inspiring filmmakers to this day.

Hitchcock Inspired Part 1: By Michael Vaughn

Title: Body Double

Year: 1984

Director: Brian De Palma

To film buffs its no secret that Palma is largely inspired by Hitchcock and his "body" of work. Body Double and Dressed to Kill are his two most obvious love letters to master of the modern thriller. While I love  "Dressed to Kill" I believe this is the better film of the two, and sadly this is the one that's talked about the least.

The film follows Jack a down on his luck actor with a severe cause of claustrophobia. He comes home one day to find his wife is cheating on him and finds himself looking for a place to stay. Just when things seem like there the worst a old friend of his offers him a swank apt. with cable tv fully stocked bar and a hot tub. To top it all off, as an added bonus the view is to die for. With the aide of a trusty telescope Jack has a nightly show from a busty beauty that lives next door.  Things are really looking up for Jack. Almost right away Jack becomes obsessed with her and they soon meet in a fiery passion.  One night Jack witness`s a man break into her home and savagely attack her, and try as he did to stop it she died. Yet things are not as they seem and our hero soon finds himself en-boiled in a world of porn and mystery.

Hollywood and the falseness of it is perfectly summed up in the opening credits as the camera pans around a cemetery.  As the title even suggests "double" as in not the original- a fake. This theme will be echoed through out the film and ultimately foreshadows the heart pounding climax.

What makes this film stand out from the other Hitch inspired movies is the lengths De Palma goes to not only
make reference to his films but to almost make his own loose remake as it were. Actually coping some scenes shot for shot from Rear Window and Vertigo. Though it is given a modern twist it seems like it could have easily been a film done a few decades earlier. It has a timeless old Hollywood feel which is no accident. Even the look and the film is nailed down perfectly with fake looking back drops and mat shots all scored in a great theatrical manner. There is some very effective breaking of the forth wall that is both clever and humorous.

A great example of the Hitchcock style. Note all the mat job, very classic Hollywood. 

The acting is also done in a very Hitchcock style of at times very subtle wordless acting, a perfect example is when Jack catches his wife in bed with another man the scene plays silent only facial expressions doing the talking. Had it been any other director this would have been a big theatrical scene with yelling and throwing things. Yet Brian does allow himself to get carried away with very over the top old school Hollywood style scenes like the passionate scene between Jack and Gloria.

Sexual obsession is a driving force behind alot of Hitchcocks films and Body Double is teeming with it. My personal favorite scene is the Frankie Goes to Hollywood porno shot sequence. Its a great eighties song and a slick edited choreographed scene.

Our hapless hero of the film Jack is played by Craig Wasson. What Wasson does is play the duel roles of Jake the nice down on his luck actor and Jack the sleazy porn producer. The film hinges on his performance and he delivers. Gregg Henry plays the friend of Jack and also does a equally outstanding job and has a even more complex role then Craig.

Cast as the Hitchcock blonde is the stunning Melanie Griffith who gives a wonderful performance as Holly, the adult actress  There is not doubt that she steals the show and ranks up there with the hottest sex kittens of the nineteen eighties.

This film will really keep you guessing and just when you think you have it figured it out another twist is thrown at the audience. De Palma keeps you right where he wants you, and takes you along this dark road of sleaze sexual desire murder and mystery. I`m sure if Hitch was alive to see this film he would have been damn proud of this homage that is faithful to his films in ever respect yet with a eighties bite... Film lovers will not be disappointed in this taunt psycho sexual thriller.

Things to look for: A pre-Re-Animator Barbra Crampton makes a small cameo as the cheating wife.

Horror fans will recall Craig Wasson from Nightmare on Elm st. part 3. A fan favorite.

Baron Blood: He's No Munchausen.

                                                                   Film: Baron Blood
                                                                   Year: 1972
                                                                   Director: Mario Bava
                                                                   Review by: Vincent Daemon

For starters, let me say that there is not a whole lot more that can be said about Mario Bava. The man has had literally volumes of his work dissected and autopsied and pulled apart for all to see. Fans, reviewers, film scholars, and even the occasional detractor, have all written about him and his stylish films to hand cramping ad nauseum. And this is not one of his better films.

The film opens with a loungey-hip muzack style soundtrack (wholly indicative of the time period, and one of the many reasons my father always loathed Italian cinema) playing as we follow a montage of our hero travelling from the U.S. to Austria. He's travelling there to try and auction off some old family property, a castle, that apparently had been the home of one of his ancestors, a vile and twisted baron.

He gets to the castle and we meet the endearing (at least I thought so) Fritz, a leering, peeping dementedly cackling lunatic. He is caught peeping on and by our heros wife. This guy is great, really. You'd just have to see him.

Our hero and his wife decide to do some kind of incantation with a parchment they find to raise the ghost of the baron. They hear a strange sound and Hubby proclaims "I bet it was Fritz and one of his pranks!" Of course, blame the demented Fritz! Ya prick, ya. The next day, however, Fritz is nowhere to be found.

While doing some further investigation, Hubby and Wifey find an odd old painting with creepy eyes that seem to follow them. Like the obvious geniuses they are, this is when they decide to redo the incantation. And this time it takes.

Next we see a horrid ghoul in a graveyard, blood seeping in from under the door, and their magic parchment burst into flame.

The ghoul shows up at a doctors office, gets treatment, then kills said doctor with a scalpel. I found this scene fascinating, because how would a 300 year old ghoul know to go to a modern day doctors office, or even where the hell this office would be at? Really. This ghoul just marches on up to the door and knocks, just like that. Amazing.

Now this ghoul, the Baron, has a neat kind of visual aesthetic going on. His costume more than resembles Vincent Prices from the film Madhouse, with an odd hat and cape arrangement. His face is rotten and meaty-wet, really a not half-bad make up job. Most of the visuals with the Baron, especially the many chase scenes, are where this movie becomes interesting, as Bava and his notorious styling become the focal point. Unfortunately these all degenerate back into the lame Husband abd Wife acting like some kind of Scooby Doo team to find out what all this occult madness is about.

At this pint I'm beginning to miss Fritz. And then . . . FRITZ! The poor demented bastard comes across a body hanged by the Baron and decides to try and stael the corpses ring. I love this guy. The baron shows up, throws Fritz down the stairs, and drags him to a spike-lidded coffin. As he closes the coffin lid, there is a really nice but quick close-up of Fritz's face being punctured by the spikes. It seems Bava has a fetish for this way of death, as it is highly reminiscent of a similar scene from his Black Sunday.

Next we are at the auction, and the castle is won by the creepy and wheelchair bound Joseph Cotton. He immediately gets creepy with Elke Sommer, fondling her fur coat and her hand.

More unexplained chase scenes ensue, and these are essentially the film high points. Classic Bava: the colors and angle, the light-shadow-fog interplays, and the incredibly sexy Elke Sommer looking terrified and panting kind of hotly. All long shadows and twisty wide shots. These scenes repeat themselves over and over again, only in various locations (graveyard, the town, through the castle, etc.). Oddly, every time one of the chase scenes plays out, the song Plan 9, Channel 7 by the Damned seemed to play in the back of my head. If that were the soundtrack it would have been a hell of an improvement over the steady stream of hip loungey muzak jazz.

Did someone mention Fritz? Indeed they did. He is once again blamed as being the possible perpetrator of the crimes. Poor Fritz. Even in death he is mocked and accused.

Eventually our heros meet up with a witch (also incredibly sexy). She tells them that what they have done was foolish, says they need the parchment to fix this problem. However, they burnt it all up, initiating irritated mocking from the witch. She eventually breaks down and says she'll help them. So they go to conjure a ghost wwho speaks through the witch.

THIS IS THE HIGHPOINT OF THE FILM and a really neat set-piece. The spirit shows up in the midst of the almost neon technicolor fire, doing odd and sexy ritualistic gesturations and telling the husband and wife Scooby Doo crew exactly how to vanquish the Baron. This scene really stands out and fully displays everything Bava excels at in one fell swoop. Afterward the Baron and witch have an unseen face-off.

Long story short they end up back with Joseph Cotton, who rises from his wheelchair and we find out is himself now housing the spirit of the Baron. He traps Hubby and Wifey in the dungeon, and begins torturing Hubby. Wifey end up finding Fritz's corpse in the coffin, and drops the witches magic pendant on the corpse. Oddly, it is Joseph Cotton who begins to feel the pain, as Fritz rises up from death (YES!) to take his revenge on the Baron. Several more corpses show up to indulge in the vengeance, our heroes escape, and the witch's spirit can be heard tearing out the Barons heart. The end.

I must add that as usual the women Bava uses for the film are all absolutely stunning. Par for the course and something that really helped me keep my interest, honestly. Especially the witch.

Not a terrible film, but certainly far below other Bava classics in almost every department, I can only really recommend this for the Mario Bava/classic Italian horror cinema compeltist. While dull, with awful music, annoying characters, no gore at all, and the whole nonsensical Scooby-Doo style plot, the film does have its high points (FRITZ!), such as the few moments of classic Bava aesthetic and camera work.

If you've really got nothing better to do one late evening, or are one of the above mentioned completists, you could do far worse than to check this out. Otherwise, for the standard viewer, I'm going to have to recommend a pass.

This film is currently available streaming on Netfilx, along with a whole host of other Bava films, many of which are far better than this.

--- ---- Vincent Daemon's short fiction has appeared in over 24 publications, and he just put his first short story collection, Bury Me In A Nameless Grave: A Collection Of 11, together to get published. He is also editor of the annual Grave Demand magazine, as well as a freelance editor for hire in his down time. He can be found on facebook, his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind , and contacted at ----

Monday, December 10, 2012

What you'll find when: Megan Is Missing.

                                                                Film: Megan Is Missing
                                                                Year: 2011
                                                                Directed by: Michael Goi
                                                                Review by: Vincent Daemon

Megan Is Missing happens to be just about one of the most potent, creep-vibe inducing films I've watched in a long time. The last 22 minutes of goes into horrible places, visually and psychologically. It will drop your jaw and leave you uncomfortable and stunned, and your head filled with a couple of highly disturbing images you may not be able to shake for a few days.

This film will get to you.

A little slow to start, Megan Is Missing follows the exploits of a couple of best friends, party-girl Megan (14) and good-girl Amy (13). As unlikely as their friendship may seem, it ultimately makes sense. Amy is very much a nerdy type, bullied and put down by most of the popular kids, and Megan tries to curb all that and have her friend, the only person she can really trust, included. Really, either one can only understand each other.

The film is largely done using the whole first person P.O.V. methods of webcam, cell phone vids, chat room cams, and eventually news reports. I know many who loathe this style of filmmaking, but it works here, seems in fact almost necessary. The film wouldn't be able to accomplish what it does in quite the same way without it.

The film really picks up when the two girls go to a huge party filled with drinking, drug use, cheap pressured sex and horrible, HORRIBLE overpriviliged high school kids. This is one of the more important scenes in the film, as it perfectly shows the bizarre, confusing dynamic of personalities at play, the complicated and volatile social non-structure wherein both these girls exist, yet on two completely opposite sides of the fence. They are both victims, and being constantly victimized.The innocent Amy is in no way whatsoever prepared, emotionally or psychologically, to deal with the party, it's attendees, and what it has to offer. Eventually she drinks too much, is groped and slapped, and catches her best friend fellating some scumbag. Amy eventually vomits all over two girls making out and leaves the party humiliated and sick.

On an im chat Megan tries to explain to Amy the sexual mechanics from her seriously skewered perception. Through Megan's opening up we come to find she's been treated like a toy of some kind by males since she was a young girl. It's heartbreaking to watch and listen to, with Megan in fact admitting that she will do anything a guy wants her to do, as long as she is told she is loved. Yikes.

Now enter Josh. He's an online entity with whom Megan has started up a flirtatious series of conversations with. He claims to be a 16 year old skate-rat, but is never seen by the girls as his webcam is supposedly broken, so his chats merely involve audio. Megan even arranges to meet this "Josh" but he is a no show.

Eventually however, Josh convinces Megan to meet him behind a local diner. She goes to do this, and is never heard from again.

Amy';s intuition is going haywire, telling her that something awful has happened to Megan, and that Josh may be to blame. So she contacts him online after security cam footage is released on the news, taken from behind the diner. It shows Megan being led away forcefully by an older man. Amy contacts Josh online and begins to ask him questions, to which his response is to merely insult Amy by calling her naive and degrading her horribly.

To make things even worse, all of Megan's friends also blame Amy for the disappearance.

The film cointues to follow this and goes to news footage searching for Megan. The film here goes into an interesting montage of footage from an awful, sensationalistic tv show obviously based on that of the interminably wretched Nancy Grace. The report is running a reenactment of the abduction that is tacky, really foul, and in quite poor taste. Much like the real life Nancy Grace herself, and her program.

Josh this time contacts Amy, admitting what he did to Megan without actually saying it, and threatens Amy in the process.

Next the film shows two photographs of Megan culled from a fetish website, horrific images of the girl being tortured with hard bdsm. Honestly, the pics are hardcore brutal and hard to look at. In fact, from this point on the film becomes an endurance test.

Amy, while looking for her friend and making a video diary, is inadvertantly stalked and taken herself. The last 22 minutes of the movie takes place with footage from Amy's video camera, found discarded in a trash can by police.

I'm not going to detail the rest of what happens, for spoiler reasons and a couple others. However, this is some of the most brutal, potent film I've ever watched. What happens to Amy is every parents, perhaps every human beings, worst nightmare. It is realistic, graphic, and will seriously get under your skin, staying with you long after the credits finish rolling.

In fact, there is an eyes-in-the-camera rape scene that makes the one in Irreversible look like something from Dumbo. Well, maybe not like that, but you get the idea I'm sure. But that is the nice part.

In summary, Megan is Missing is an interesting, psychologically grueling modern day reality fable about the particular difficulties of being young (and possibly) overpriviliged in our society, the damage that can be done from peers and adults alike. Last but not least a most cautionary tale about the dangers of the ease and anonymity of the internet, and all it's possible nefarious uses that reside withing the invisible cracks of the 1's and 0's.

If you're not into p.o.v. films you probably won't like this, but I would advise everyone to give it a chance. A little slow to start, it builds to a payoff that was wholly lacking from something like say A Serbian Film on an emotional/psychological level. And subsequently, emotionally levelled you will be.

Currently, this film is completely banned in New Zealand.

Harrowing and brutal, realistic and oozing with a serious creep-vibe, Megan Is Missing comes to you with both a recommendation and a caveat. This film is for the experienced extreme-horror fan only.

---- Vincent Daemon's short fiction has appeared in over 20 publications, and he is the editor of Grave Demand Magazine. He can be found on facebook, his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind , and contacted at ----

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Devils Rock-ed Me Right To Sleep

                                                                   Film: The Devil's Rock
                                                                   Year: 2011
                                                                   Director: Paul Campion
                                                                   Review by: Vincent Daemon

This low rent, snooze inducing piece of trash comes to us by way of New Zealand. And I gotta tell you, this was one of the hardest films I've ever had to watch. It seriously took three seperate veiwing sessions, as the first two lulled me into a horrid celluoid xanax-trance spiral of irrevocable slumber.

Yeah. It's that bad. Which is a shame because the idea is there, it really is.

The film takes place on the eve of WWII's infamous D-DAY. Two ally soldiers are walking along a beach, dodging landmines, when the come across a shadowy Nazi Bunker, from which horrid shrieks are emanating. The enter to find blood and bodies torn to pieces littering the joint. They also find a lone nazi occultist, telling them to get out. He shoots one of the allies and the next 45 minutes is a gruelingly dull verbal and physical face off between the captured ally and the nazi.

The nazi explains that they have summoned a powerful succubus demoness that will be able to wholly help their cause in world domination. Which is interesting, as they did get into the actual historical roots of the occultist nazi agenda a bit, and they were fairly accurate in doing so. However, that didn't last too long and lo and behold, the demoness arrives. Her boring, staid and plasticy make up job is nothing to write home about:

She mindplays the ally, appearing as his dead wife. There is more verbal back and forth. The nazi decieves the zzzzzzzz . . .

Sorry. Merely writing the review brings back some kinda ptsd, and I feel like I'm reliving it all over again. Long story short the film ends with the vanquishing of the "hell whore" as she is referred to throughout a good portion of the film, inducing a serious giggle everytime I heard it. But I don't like writing that because it may entice you to watch it. Really, it's not good-bad, it's bad-bad.

I was hoping, honestly, for some serious, down and dirty Nazisploitation as I have a sick fascination with that sort of thing. Hot chicks in SS Uniforms and bullied pen girls. You know, the good stuff.

Instead I get . . . this.

Like the title of the post says, The Devil's Rock literally rocked me right to sleep. Avoid this dud at all costs. Though if you must watch it you can find it currently streaming on Netfilx.

You have been warned.