Tuesday, January 28, 2014

JUG FACE Retrospective part 1: Director Chad Crawford Kinkle Exclusive Interview

Hello cinema freaks, welcome to Part One of our Retrospective on Jug Face, the indie film that has taken the horror community by storm. To kick things off we have the writer and director Chad Crawford Kinkle to give us his exclusive interview.

GM :  What film inspired you to want to make them yourself?

CK: I can’t say that it was one particular film. I’ve always been into movies. I made shorts in high school with my parents VHS camcorder without any notion that I could pursue film making as a career. It wasn’t until College that I discovered I could learn to make movies.

GM : a. What was it about growing up in TN that inspired you to make Jug Face?

CK:Being from a small town was one thing. And knowing people who practiced their own version of Christianity was another; like snake handling churches.

b. How long was this story brewing inside your head?

CK: It had been in my head for about four years. I hadn’t worked on it hardly at all. I only had the concept.

GM: : Finding the right sculptor for the jugs was key for the film, how did you come to hire Jason Mahlke for the job?

CK: Once I started writing the screenplay, I read two books about face jugs and began collecting them. I have 22 now. But I knew I needed a current jade jug potter who could do portraits. I stumbled across Jason’s work on ebay.

GM:: Did Jason make a jug face of you?

CK: He did! We were testing out glazes and wanted to see what an actual throat slit on the jugs would look like. The slits was way too much. But we used my head.

GM : Did you always have Sean Young in mind for the role of the mother?

CK: I didn’t, but Andrew van den Houten, the producer, mentioned her. I was standoffish at first, but could see her doing amazing job with the role.

GM : Being your first feature film, did Young a seasoned actor teach you a lot about working with actors?

CK: I learned a lot from all of the actors. They each have their own different set of needs in order to perform properly. It’s about figuring out what that is… quickly!

GM:: As a director do you give your actors room to improve or is the written word gold as they say?

CK:I’m always open to something better than what I’ve written. We had many discussions.

GM: : Are you a fan of a lot of rehearsal or do you like to find the truth in the moment?

CK:Rehearsals are great, but I do like to just jump into a scene and see what happens.

GM::  One of the genius things about your film is you never see the evil in the pit, were you every pressured by outside forces to deliver on a seen monster?

CK:We did have a creature suit that we shot. I always figured we would use it sparingly because the concept for the creature was that it wasn’t totally a physical thing. We ended up using those shots as layers over Ada during her visions which worked perfectly. If you pause the film, you can see it.

GM:: Jug Face has a very serious dark tone, were things kept light on set? Any pranks pulled?

CK: I don’t know about pranks, but it’s best to keep things light and focused on the set no matter what type of material you’re shooting,

GM:: Have you chosen a follow up project?

CK I’m writing away at the moment on my next screenplay, another southern gothic horror tale.

GM .   What advice would you give fellow filmmakers reading this blog?

CK: Keep at it. The only way you can fail, is to quit.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

AMER: An Erotic Nightmare


First off let me start by saying never before has such a well crafted love letter to the seventies Gallio (in particular the films of Argento) been so masterfully weaved.  From frame one its visual style and pulsing score (very reminiscent of Goblin) sets the tone for what viewers have in store.  
  Before I go any further in this review I should note this film will not be for everyone. This is tailored toward the hardcore Italian horror/Gallio fans and casual horror film viewers might get frustrated by the lack of plot. Like the classic Argento films it’s about the visual journey that he takes you on not the actual plot, and fans of these types of films get that. Speaking of visuals this film out does even the trippiest of Italian films. The use of colors editing tricks and mind bending effects creates a beautiful and sinister world which is soaking wet with desire and dripping with an equal amounts of eroticism and nightmare logic. Seldom has a movie held me in such a hypnotic state and not let up till the end credits.  The filmmakers can take something simple day to day events such as a car ride and turn them into a sexy feast for the eyes. Normally editing is not something a mention in a review but Amer deserves a nod in this department. It’s got so many interesting editing choices; it really drives the film forward in its storytelling.

 Editing coupled with a fantastic cinematographer that brings out the gothic horror at the start of the film to the sexually charged second half. It also doesn’t hurt that the locations are as breath taking as its two lead actress`s. There is no doubt that Blank and blank who play mother and daughter are striking beauties but can that act? That’s an unfair question as there is very little actual dialogue throughout. Blank who plays the mother does have some very good acting chops as seen in the beginning of the film where she has a lot of lines.

Amer harkens back to the good old days when films like Bird with the Crystal Plumage,All the Colors of the Dark, Lizard in a Womans Skin were being made. A time when Argento was king of his castle and not making some rather poor directing choices he is today. With a blend of terror and sexuality this film is film buffs wet dream.  This for me is hands down the best foreign film of last year. I`m very exciting to see their next film “The Strange Color of your Bodies Tears” 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hair Band Horror Series Part 2 Terror on Tour

Hello and welcome back to another installment of hair metal horror. Today's film is Terror on Tour, a film that has been sadly maligned, lost in time, and having never seen release beyond VHS. Not everyone likes it,however, I happen to enjoy this film a lot. It's known for it's wooden and often cheesy acting, and super low budget. I should also note, it's the same director who did the infamous Ilsa films. Considering the budget and limitations of the film, I think it succeeds as a low budget 80's metal slasher. The film kind of falls into a grey area, at 1980 we weren't yet into the full swing of what became known as hair metal. The music falls somewhere between glam rock, 70's arena rock, and metal. But I feel it belongs amongst the ranks of other metal slashers nonetheless. One wonders at first if it was intentional how close the band looks like Kiss, but during the back story, you quickly learn it is no accident. The lead singer wants to leave, and perform power ballads,and we are treated to a performance of the Clown's verison of "Beth" that they call "Lisa" The movie starts off in the middle of a rock gig featuring the main characters of the film, the "Clowns" a rock band with a glam flair. They wear black and white clown make up, poofy black afros, white phantom masks, and black spandex jump suits with red capes. The suits are cut low to show off their hairy chests, and chain necklaces. Their gimmick is to dismember a mannequin and send the parts off into the audience, which apparently results in violent mosh pits. Additionally, they fake murder a woman from the audience, to the delight of everyone. The clowns are in fact a real live band called "The Names", a band that broke up and was brought back together for their first acting gig, starring in this 80s rock and roll slasher. I can't fault them for their poor acting, they aren't even actors to begin with, but they get the job done. While the music gig is going on, we are introduced to a sleazy producer and two guys whose purpose I dont fully understand, but one guy likes to wear the clown make up, even though he's not actually one of the clowns. The band is aware he does this, and says it's because it helps him hook up with the ladies. It's somewhat hard to follow what's going on, because everyone looks the same, in make up and out. Which is a benefit to the film when suddenly the real violence begins. It starts with a female drug dealer who is killed while waiting for her money. The film than quickly shifts focus to giving us a quick look into the band's "shag pad" complete with water beds, a pool table shaped like an octagon, and groovy 70's era furniture. The film is from 1980, and it wasn't quite yet time for pastel colors and shoulder pads. WHile the police try to solve the woman's murder, we quickly go into familiar 80's slasher territory, as the band unwinds by doing lots of dope, and having sex with lots of groupies. But, the killer clown appears, we can't tell who it is because he looks like every other clown, but he quickly begins to kill off naked groupie chick after naked groupie chick. The incompetent police, and their bait hooker fail to catch our killer, until it's too late for them all. Before the film comes to an end, we get bits and pieces of back story of various band members, as the film tries to make you think it's one guy, than another. But the film really points towards the guy who walks around in clown make up, and sets up a motive by his reading aloud a letter from Mom that urges him to resist temptation and not fall prey to Satan.Surely this has to be the guy, right? Well I won't spoil it, in case you happen to dig this up on VHS, butI felt the reveal was rewarding enough and not what I expected, although the ending was a bit abrupt, I didn'tthink it was a let down. If you can find a copy, it's worth checking out, I for one appreciate films where the ending is not spoon fed to you, and you have to work a bit to figure things out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

BODY BAG: Zip yourself in for a bumpy night!

Wacky over and over the top describe the horror anthology Body Bags. Made by SHOWTIME network and hosted by John Carpenter himself as a Crypt Keeper type character. The frame device for the anthology is a lot of fun and its cool to see Carpenter act. (though dont hold your breath to ever see him do it again per the commentary.) The wrap around for the stories take place in you guessed it a morgue -with the aide of The Coroner (Carpenter) a screwy ghoul who helps set up the three segments. 
By Michael Vaughn

Ok, if anyone’s had to work 3rd shift at a convenience store/gas station this segment hits home. From personal experience you meet some mega creepy people on the grave shift at one of these places. This segment is the first of two directed by horror director (and host) John Carpenter. Right off the bat one of many inside film jokes we learn that a killer from you guessed it Haddonfield is on the loose so we know this takes place in the same universe as HALLOWEEN. Film buffs will also notice John steals a shot from Halloween (but hey he can its his movie) when the killer when thought to be dead rises for one more scare. The mayor fun of this whole anthology is the spot the cameo and I must say GAS STATION by far has the best of them. This segment features no less than TWO count`em two legendary horror directors who make cameos. First we have Wes Craven as a weirdo customer and later Sam Rami as a dead body. Also let’s not forget cult favorites Buck Flower and David Naughton pop up. 

Speaking of actors everyone is pretty solid in their performances. Main actress Blank takes her role seriously without over doing it. Robert Carrdine (best known for Revenge of the Nerds) plays a rather over the top character and yes it’s hammy but it’s a lot of fun as well. The plot is very by the numbers slasher but because of the cameos and quick pace and blood bath at the end it’s in my mind the second best out of the three stories.


John Carpenters second segment is Hair starring the always cool Stacy Ketch as a successful man that has it all, money a nice place and a hot girlfriend what’s missing in his life?  His hair of course. This is by far the best of the three.

 The actors are at the top of their game with co stars David Warner and Sheena Eastmen (as Stacys hot girlfriend) like the previous episode there’s fun cameos by Debby Harry and Greg Nicotro. As light on story as Gas Station was, Hair has a more interesting plot that is both goofy, freaky and in a strange way a morality tale on the dangers of men’s vanities.  Unlike the previous episode Gas Station and the following EYE gorehounds should not expect the same level of carnage but never fear there is some ghoulish special effects and make up so no need to wig out. Also Hair stands out in another way which is tone. This plays more for hair raising laughs which is no means a bad thing and I feel it adds a nice balance of the three, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was planned that way. While not as gory or serious as the other two Hair has a extremely well thought out story executed beautifully by its director and talented actors. Don’t just comb it over.

The last segment of the three is Eye directed by Tobe Hopper who of course directed such fims as 1974`s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Poltergeist etc. Eye for me is the weakest of the three. Mark Hamill (Luke SW`s) plays Brent a baseball player who is headed to the big leagues, but seeing how this isnt a Disney movie you know somethings gotta go wrong. While driving home one night Brent has a terrible auto accident and injures his you got it, eye. Luckily through the miracle of science doctors are able to transplant his eye from a dead man -i think you can guess where this is going. Soon Brent is seeing visions of horrible things through his new peeper.OK so let me get one thing out of the way first, whats up with Mark Hamill doing a cringe worthy accent. Its not necessary and distracts rather then adds anything to his performance. Its just terrible. Also body should have to see a naked Mark Hamill. Speaking of terrible acting model Twiggy plays Brents wife and gives a cardboard cut out job at it. Sure back in the day she was pretty but who ever thought to have her act. Bad acting aside the plot is sort of predictable to anyone whose seen any kind of transplant from a dead person who turns out ot be a killer, hell Simpsons did it before. The highlights are the cameos by legend and hero of mine Roger Corman and John Agar who play the doctors that fix Brent up.

This by far the bloodiest of the three, which makes it not a total lose. Its also  much darker in tone with heavy handed religious themes that felt like this story is taking it self wayyy to serious rather then trying to have some fun like the previous two. Overall is not horrible but just not very special in any sense of the word. The end of the film is fun with two surprise cameos that i wont spoil for you.

Bottom Line: Is this the best anothlogy ever, no not by a long shot but this is a great flick to watch with fellow gorehounds on a Friday night. So Zip yourself in. SHOUT FACTORY has released a great blu/dvd combo of this and of course its packed with extras. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gorehounds End of the Year Round Up! The good the bad the fugly! PART 3

2013 was a pretty good year for DVD/Blu Ray collectors...Heres a look at what should have been on your shelf last year and a look at coming up goodies you can expect for this one!

Nosferatu Kino 2 disc

Runners Up: Repo Man Criterion Collection
Halloween 35th Anniversary collection with brand new features and commentary.

Universal Monsters: Finally all your favorite classic monsters in HD and even better Creature from the black Lagoon in 3D!

Runners up: Alfred Hitchcock collection
Corentto Trilogy: Shaun of the dead, Hot Fuzz and The Worlds End with great extras
Friday the 13th Collection

Hands down the two beauties from Synapse. Demons and Demons two spotting great artwork. This is a true collectors item.
Runner Up
Basket Case Trilogy Steelbook

Shout Factory sub division Scream Factory for rereleasing horror gems and genre classics with brand new commentaries and features with stunning new artwork. This company truly knows what fans want.

Runner Up
Olive Films


Stage Fright Blue Underground Release date not known
Last House on Dead End street is FINALLY getting a proper rerelease that wont cost you a left arm (the Barrel dvd is very pricey.)
Neckromatic- I believe the same company doing LH is also doing this, not sure yet what will be on it.

And anything from Shout Factory!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Gorehounds End of the Year Round Up! The good the bad the fugly! PART 2

Part 2 of the End of the Year Round Up.

Now for the stinkers of the year! And Boy where there many.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2013

This seemed to escape alot of peoples worst of list. Wow were does one begin with this stink fest. Its like the filmmakers said, hey everything logical yeah lets just throw that right out the window. Like a baby born in 1974 is magically a teenager um what? I think the filmmakers got a book of horror movie staples and tried to fit them in to one lame Hollywoodized pile of shit. Probably by far the worst reboot to date.

V/H/S 2

I have to admit, i was not a fan of the first film. Despite the hype I felt what could have been an awesome film So when VHS 2 was rushed out to a mass audience I was less then excited BUT I was willing to give it a chance anyways. The result was a even more lackluster affair then the first one. I`m sure there is already a prepackaged third film even more rushed and souless waiting for its rabid fan base. But hey I gave it a chance.

Carrie 2013

What can i say about Carrie? Its sums up everything wrong with Hollywood trying to cash in on a successful product and sucking the very life and soul out of it. Even the interesting lead actress Chole Grace Moretz in the title role could not save this lame clone of the classic Brian De Palma film. Lets not take this one to the prom.

Evil Dead 2013
I`m sure a lot of you disagree with me on this one, and i`ve seen this on many best of 013 lists but Evil Dead is D.O.A. I will admit I enjoyed the first half of the film. It was an interesting idea having the group of teens be there for a Mia a friend of theirs whose trying to get clean off of drugs. Its a nice departure from the standard retreat gone horribly wrong. What was even more genius is when things started getting weird for Mia its all chocked up to withdraw not supernatural happenings. However as smart and creepy as the first act is it soon resorts to the familiar slasher trappings like TCM3D and relying on gross out effects rather then suspense to scary the audience.  I`m all for gore but it takes more then that to make this a good film. The Conjuring was the best horror film this year and did not have a drop of blood or gore in it. Just goes to show you what makes a good horror films to some.
The acting in this is also terrible and the lead male actor Shiloh Fernandez bland and not very bright (but yet can make a home made defibrillator??) None of the charm and scare of the original Evil Dead. Lets hope we get a AOD 2.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Gorehounds End of the Year Round Up! The good the bad the fugly! PART 1

Another year has gone by and your ghoulish pal Gorehound Mike is going to break down the best and worst of 2013 Part 1

The Conjuring 
The sleeper hit is everything it promises to be and more. Right from frame one (of creepy Annabell) this film grips you and doesn't let up to the credits roll. This is truly a film that deserves to be called scary without simply relying on gross out splatter effects to terrify its audience. I cant stress enough how brilliant a screenplay this is and how well the characters are developed. Conjuring hits every horror supernatural note just right without feeling  trait, from the haunting score, the great acting and the nightmarish cinematography which sets the mood better then any film i`ve seen in recent years. As stated above this film really
 gets into the core of a innocent family that is being terrorized by unseen demonic forces and there so well written and acted that we the audience deeply care about what will happen to them. I`ll keep this brief as already so many things have been written about this movie and is already a classic in the genre. 

 A fun spooky thrill ride from start to finish, you`ll be hard pressed to find a better film this year!


I remember hearing the news about Elijah Wood, everyone's favorite hobbit tackling the the titular role in Maniac a role that made greasy Joe Spinell a cult film star. I`m sure i`m not the only fan to say this was a odd casting choice.   But once the trailer hit the web I like everyone else was totally blown away but the level of scary Wood had brought and I knew then he was up for the challenge. Let me start by saying while Maniac is a deserved cult classic its not by any means a great film and I was open to the idea of a reboot. The end result is a disturbing and all together different take on Bill Lustings film which regains what worked about the original and fixes what didn't. Sorry but in the original i never bought how a slime ball like Joes character could land a babe like Caroline Munore.

But like real life killer Bundy Wood is charming,good looking and dangerous. French director Franck Khalfoun (High Tension) shows the seductive charm of Frank then slowly peels back the layers to reveal his true ugly and destructive self. Frank`s characters though out the film has these weird ticks and as the film progresses they get work, a very nice touch the filmmaker added. What is kept from the original is the creepy mannequins which this time around serves the story as Woods character Frank restores them for a living,making him not so weird to the audience right away for having them around. Again its a welcomed departure from the 1980 film. 

With a tight screenplay and well paced action and a very talented cast Maniac is one remake not only delivers the goods but in many ways surpasses the original.
There is some great little inside jokes for fans of the 1980 film to enjoy.

Jug Face
A late addition to the end of the year was Jug Face, i film i rented and was totally blown away. See my full review in the Archives. 

Frankensteins Army 
When I was but a wee gore hound I was really into a old school computer game called
Wolfenstein 3D the granddaddy of all first person shooter games (Wayyyy before GOW and Halo) Now let me be totally clear this is not a official adaptation of Wolfenstein the game, however fans of the first person shooter will get why i draw the comparison. I admit I groaned loudly when I saw this film was in the over used documentary style but this format actually works well in the context of the story. 

A young Russian  solider armed with a camera films their team on their mission  during the end of the second World War. They see some strange things in a small village but things go from bad to worse when they stumble into a Nazi madmans lab full of horrible creatures. Frankensteins Army jolts new life into a monster that can easily be silly rather then scary. F.A sets itself apart from the rest by first setting its story during the end of WW2 and giving its point of view from the Russians.  Also the creatures in Dr.Frankensteins lab are very cool with well done makeup effects that reviles any fright film this year. There a cool steampunk monster fusion that is a visual treat for the audience.  The plot is paper thin but the above mentioned more then makes up for this.
Frankensteins Army takes a totally fresh spin on the legendary monster and delivers on great special effects

Curse of Chucky
When it was announced that the next film in the never ending Chucky series would be direct to dvd/blu ray I and im sure most jaded horror fans like myself wrote it off as another quick cash in that is recycled and shoveled out to the masses.(i.e Carrie 013)

But to everyone's surprise its actually DAMN GOOD! Like Freddy, Chucky over time beaome less scary then funny with quippy one liners before he kills his victim. Wisely director Don Mancini
(Childs Play writer/co creator) restores Chucky to his former scary self. Its interesting that Mancini takes a "OLD DARK HOUSE" approach which amps up the feeling of dread beyond just relying on ol Chuck for all the creepy vibes. The writing is very clever and for fans of the series ties everything up nicely. Not only did this surpass everyones expectations but is a real game changer with the way fans look at direct to dvd/blu ray films, it really raises the bar high.