PREVENGE film review! Unborn baby seeks revenge, mommy unhappy!



Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.


Director/Writer: Alice Lowe
Starring: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Tom Davis, Kayvan Novak, Gemma Whelan

Prevenge is, by the title alone, a worthy impulse watch. A pregnant woman is driven to kill by the voice of her unborn fetus? Sign me up! The good news is that Alice Lowe’s feature length directorial debut is both funny and unnerving, and she brings brilliant life to her own script in the title role, a task few have accomplished.

This is one of the don’t-miss films of this year, no joke. Check out my detailed review at HorrorNews.Net!

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THE LOVE WITCH review! Awesome Gothic throwback with Burlesque!



Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However, her spells work too well, and she ends up with a string of hapless victims. With a visual style that pays tribute to Technicolor thrillers of the 1970s, THE LOVE WITCH explores female fantasy and the repercussions of pathological narcissism.


Director/Writer: Anna Biller
Starring: Samantha Robinson, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Gian Keys

The Love Witch is writer/director Anne  Biller’s homage to the 60’s and 70’s Gothic romance films. We’re not talking Hammer or Amicus Productions, but the films born out of their successes from smaller production houses, such as Roger Vadim’s Blood and Roses (1960), or even Amando de Ossorio’s Malenka/Fangs of the Living Dead (1969). What those latter films had that Hammer and Amicus lacked is a sense of intentional awkwardness, a kind of self-conscious desire to hold camera shots extra-long for benefit of the melodrama, and at the expense of believe-ability. Luckily for the talented Biller, The Love Witch is all the better for this approach.

Check out the details on this awesome film at HorrorNews.Net!

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AWAKENING THE ZODIAC review! Serial killer + Unmotivated rage!


The story follows a down-on-their-luck couple who discovers a serial killer’s film reels. They decide to take the law into their own hands, risking everything for the chance at a $100,000 reward. It isn’t long until they find themselves in the killer’s lethal cross-hairs.
Director: Jonathan Wright
Writers: Jennifer Archer, Mike Horrigan, Jonathan Wright
Starring: Shane West, Leslie Bibb, Matt Craven, Stephen McHattie, and Nicholas Campbell


Awakening the Zodiac is the most recent filmic attempt to exploit the real-life serial killer known as Zodiac for a good thrill. The film has a clever setup—trailer park couple Mick (Shane West, ER) and Zoe Branson (Leslie Bibb, Trick ‘r Treat), along with pawn broker Harvey (Matt Craven, X-Men: First Class), uncover the snuff films of the never-caught Zodiac Killer in an auctioned storage locker. Eager to get the $100,000 dollar reward for the killer’s arrest, the trio begins hunting the madman who just so happens to have retired to rural Texas. Their prodding into the past does not go unnoticed, and none-other than the Zodiac Killer himself is soon on their tail.


The hunter-hunted back and forth promise of the plot is unfortunately not born out in Awakening the Zodiac, as the killer—wonderfully played by seventy-year-old Stephen McHattie (Orphan BlackThe Strain)—doesn’t have a role until the final quarter of the film. Rather, viewers are treated to a somewhat pedestrian detective story depicting West and Bibb digging through files and overreacting.

Get the skinny on the film with my full review at HorrorNews.Net!

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IBIZA UNDEAD review! Zombies and British and Spring Breakers, Oh My!



A group of young people head to Ibiza for the holiday of a lifetime – all the sun, sea and sex they can handle. If only there wasn’t a zombie outbreak getting in the way.


Director/Writer: Andy Edwards
Starring: Cara Theobold, Emily Atack, Algina Lipskis, Jordan Coulson, Homer Todiwala, Ed Kear, Matt King, Marcia Do Vales.

I do not have a soft spot for teen sex romps, and that’s why I wasn’t much looking forward to Writer/Director Andy Edwards UK zombie rom-com Ibiza Undead. It was all the more surprising, then, that I enjoyed it—laughed, even, at the off-kilter jokes and sophomoric content riddling the film. There are several reasons for this: Ibiza Undead’s got unexpected heart, plants its tongue firmly in its rotting cheek, and acknowledges the stereotypes of the genre that it could so easily lose itself to.

Check out why I actually like this film at HorrorNews.Net!

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THE HOLLY KANE EXPERIMENT Review! Brain-washing and moping around, hurrah!


In The Holly Kane Experiment (2017), the titular character (Kirsty Averton) is an isolated young psychologist who spends her time tweaking a do-it-yourself website about her subliminal mind-control techniques, and having beers with her chemist turned-drug-dealer friend. When she gets a call from the local hospital to help a patient manage surgery pain, Holly winds up with a malpractice lawsuit when the patient’s feelings fail to return.

This does nothing to brighten Holly’s daily routine of typing and submitting herself to drug-induced brainwashings, but things look up when she runs into the dorky yet charming post divorcee Dennis MacIntyre (James Rose.) Despite his overt fear of surveillance and clear history of mental problems, Holly takes a shine to Dennis. The two get along fine, until Holly’s professional idol, Dr. Marvin Greenslade (Nicky Henson), shows up to fund her research and make her malpractice charge disappear. Despite being several decades her senior, Dr. Greenslade comes on to his new protegee, and she accepts his advances, albeit with the vigor a sofa cushion exhibits when accepting the advances of an amorous puppy.

Check out my full review of this UK delight at HorrorNews.Net!


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Director: Mitesh Kumar Patel, Sam Son
Starring: Kacey Clarke, Yves Bright, Caite Upton, Raymond Forchion, and Eric Roberts.

Conventional wisdom suggests that all children need love, but Child of Satan has convinced me the Spartans had it right—there are some babies that need to be cast off the cliff, and this film is undoubtedly one of them. Harsh, yes, but let’s get into the nitty gritty of this addition to the devil-spawn genre before you chastise my judgement.

Check out my full review at HorrorNews.Net to see why Child of Satan makes The Room look like Citizen Kane.


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Review: THE GREEN INFERNO – Eli Roth brings us a 70’s cannibal flick, and it’s AMAZING!

the_green_inferno-2I had the pleasure of meeting Eli Roth briefly in 2010 at the Los Angeles Film Festival screening of The Last Exorcism, a film which he produced, and he came off as a really swell guy.  Because of that, and my love for his cameo as the Wet T-Shirt Host in Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D (2010), I swore to myself that I’d see his next flick in theaters.

So this weekend, after an hour drive, I hit up an afternoon showing of The Green Inferno in Orange, CA.  Was it worth it?

Yes. Sweet, terrible jungle god, yes.

I love jungle adventures and cannibal flicks, as a general rule, and I haven’t gotten many contemporary fixes except for Fabrice Du Welz’s Vinyan (2008, gotta love Rufus Sewell) and 2007’s Welcome to the Jungle, which was written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh (who helmed the unfairly maligned Punisher outing in 2004).  So I was excited to see my first theater-Roth

Lorenza Izzo really owns her role, and by the end of the movie, had me cheering ...

Lorenza Izzo really owns her role, and by the end of the movie, had me cheering …

and get my cannibal fix, all in one go.  I was not disappointed.

Roth thinks to string the picture through with a better-than-expected activist plot, which runs the first half of the film and a bit at the end, and the rest of the picture is clench-your-jaw, grip-your-armrest, horror.  No mere Saw fans have seen the level of atrocity on display here–eye gouging and claw-tooled virginity checks, to name a few–but Roth actually did an amazingly awesome thing; he left some gore to the background, and opted some deaths to be off-screen, allowing them to be used as excellent

Kirby Bliss Blanton turns in a strong performance, and has what may be the only explosive diarrhea scene to exist in the cannibal sub-genre ...

Kirby Bliss Blanton turns in a strong performance, and has what may be the only explosive diarrhea scene to exist in the cannibal sub-genre …

reveals to the characters later in-film.  By doing so, Roth effectively builds the tension to a max, and makes you actually care for characters who began the tale as generic and irritating cannibal fodder.

The acting in The Green Inferno is top-notch, as well, especially the uninhibited performance by Roth’s wife Lorenza Izzo as the lead character, who succeeds in losing her character’s youthful innocence without coming off as whiny. Both Izzo and Roth should also get credit (her, more so, for the position she had to be in) for their re-envisioning of the rubdown Ursula Andress got in The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978), turning it into a less sexual, yet more vulnerable and terrifying event. The

Lots of red body paint on this set ...

Lots of red body paint on this set …

heroine’s college roommate, played by singer Sky Ferreira (also in the upcoming Nic Cage vehicle The Trust), is the only one who gives a bit of a Kristen Stewart performance, but that may have come from trying to wrench a little too much from a small role. Regardless, while the film’s various factions–the governments, corporations, tribesman, almost everyone–come away smelling not too rosy, the cast and crew come off as the exact opposite, and deserve accolades.

Ultimately, I can’t believe I got to see a new jungle cannibal sub-genre flick in a big beautiful theater, and I’ve checked that box off my bucket list.  Eli Roth has again proven he’s well established in the New Godfathers of Gore trifecta, alongside Neil Marshall and Alexandre Aja, and I can’t wait to run into him again and see every flick he puts his thumbprint on.

You don't want to know what they use these for ...

You don’t want to know what they use these for …

Gore Rating: 5/5, so gore-hounds rejoice!

Sexy Rating: 1/5. Sure, Lorenza Izzo is a beautiful woman, but if this stuff gets your rocks off, I’m pleased not to meet you.

Thumbs: Two of ’em, way up!

Coincidence? Probably.

Coincidence? Probably.

P.S.–While it’s not related except very coincidentally by subject, I was intrigued to find in my pulp novel collection a re-titled copy of Marcos Spinelli’s From Jungle Roots called The Green Flames: A Novel of Incredible Violence. Coincidence? Yes, but interesting, all the same!

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BLACK MAGIC M-66 – From Shirow Masamune comes THE TERMINATOR!

Black Magic M-66_coverIn the manga and anime world, anyone worth their salt knows the name Shirow Masamune (or vice versa, depending your continent). His manga Ghost in a Shell would spawn one of the most successful anime films of all time, and sequels both on the page and the big and small screens. Our subject for today, Black Magic M-66 (1987), is an animated film based on a chapter from the first Shirow manga series that gained him some acclaim.

Best. Death Scene. EVER.

Shirow himself directed, along with Kitakubo Hiroyuki, and it shows. The Anime Encyclopedia (Clements & McCarthy) claim that M-66 is composed of over 20,000 animation cells, and it was worth it. The action is smooth and the movements top-notch, and it makes you really lament the state of most contemporary anime productions.  The painstaking attention to detail made this film, in addition to beautiful, costly and over budget.  That’s the reason the film comes in at only 47 minutes and ends pretty abruptly, and presumably why so much content from the original manga’s story was cut. Because the film feels a tad incomplete, Shirow has disowned it and refuses to have anything to do with any sequels or remakes.

A normal-proportioned woman in an anime? Must be from the 80’s.

This, to me, is a damn shame. Given it’s troubled production, I expected Black A normal-proportioned woman in an anime? Must be from the 80’s.Magic M-66 to be quite rough, and not worth watching.  It’s true that the story, indeed some of the scenes themselves, are ripped right out of The Terminator, but that’s not a bad source to cull from.  The movie’s killer androids–there are two, though there were apparently six in the comic–are accidentally unleashed with prototype instructions that include killing the inventor’s beloved and sexy niece (!) Why the good

Terminator, anyone?

Terminator, anyone?

doctor, who comes complete with crazy-eyed spiral glasses, would use that as a test-program, we’ll never know.

Vernon, just because Michael Bay drug you out of the cartoon graveyard for the TMNT movie doesn't mean you can cameo here ...

Vernon, just because Michael Bay dug you out of the cartoon graveyard for the TMNT movie, that doesn’t mean you can cameo here …

Enter tough-as-nails reporter Sybil, who will go any length for a scoop, even if her dorky comic relief assistant Leakey would rather run for the hills.  Sybil witnesses the androids demolish a military unit, the latter of which manages to destroy one of the bots in a great death scene, and then she heads to the city to warn the doctor’s niece.

The ensuing battle levels a building and has some really great moments, and you wind up wanting to follow Sybil on all of her scoops, which I’m sure likewise involve her taking a shower, blowing shit up, and winding up back at her apartment in underwear with a warm tea.

vlcsnap-2015-10-08-19h59m10s161Explosion Rating: 3/5

Sexy Rating: 2/5, but don’t expect much fan service.

Robot Carnage: 5/5

Thumbs: Up

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NEW GLADIATORS (1984) – Lucio Fulci’s Death-Battle Epic!

NewGladiators_ItalianPosterWhile wandering the Huntington Beach Swap Meet, I usually come away with some great cult flicks for the chopping block.  And when those DVDs or VHS tapes aren’t scratched and ruined, or the wrong film entirely, it’s a true win.  That’s how I came to own my copy of Lucio Fulci’s New Gladiators (1984).

Not to be confused with the 2002-released New Gladiators documentary made famous because of Elvis Presley’s hand in the production, Fulci’s film is a Running Man-style outing that predates the Schwarzenegger vehicle by three years. Originally titled I guerrieri dell’anno 2072 (Warriors of the Year 2072), the movie takes place in a future Rome where television stations broadcast progressively more gruesome TV shows in an effort to rake in the ratings.

One of the more interesting characters on display ...

One of the more interesting characters on display …

One of these stations provides the flick’s necessary villain, while another briefly-touched on station rocks a future-version of Fear Factor, where a person’s brain is plugged into a VR machine and forced to endure their own horrific death; if they don’t flip out, they win a nice vacation! That concept, while a lot more fresh than the death-sport one was, (even back in ’84), is shown only once, and the film’s titular gladiator brawls are all fought on motorcycles ala Deathsport.

Hmmm, you may think, how can a film whose budget was likely taxed by the gas money it took to get to location manage to create engaging bike-fight scenes?

NG_pic01Short answer–it can’t. The bike-fights (excluding the kickass chariot race) are closer to synchronized dances than fights, with collisions only occurring by what I assume were true accidents. There are some staged skewerings and a couple of mannequin-decapitations, but they’re not as impressive as the throat-slitting death scene simulated in the aforementioned VR show. The lack-luster action proves that Fulci’s real interest wasn’t in the sci-fi elements this film is mainly made up of, but rather in his more typical gothic settings.  He does find a few opportunities to use his preferred locales even here, having his characters tromp through Roman gladiator dungeons and even a gothic church.  Still, the gore can’t compete with many of his other cinematic offerings; the laser face-melting scene is a perfect example, as it’s a rehash of the much better acid-melting scene in The Beyond (1981).

One of the truly stand out scenes involves an electric floor ...

One of the truly stand out scenes involves an electric floor …

The acting in New Gladiators is probably better than many of Fulci’s outings, with cult fave Fred Williamson (Black Cobra) playing the requisite tough-guy, and Jared Martin (Dallas) taking the lead as the nice guy that shouldn’t be on death row.

I’m a sucker for fight-to-the-death movies, and I’m not ashamed of it. However, New Gladiators actually has a plot, albeit one that doesn’t become apparent until the final half hour, and that plot has more in common with 2001: A Space Odyssey than Death Race. Perhaps that’s why the gore is low and there isn’t a nude scene in sight.  Perhaps the promise of an actual story drove Fulci and those involved to say: “We don’t need all that. The plot is what’s important here.”

Motorcycles and spears and sparkles, oh my!

Motorcycles and spears and sparkles, oh my!

Or maybe not.  There are a few cut’s that make you wonder what was edited out, until you realize your were just supposed to know who was killed and where they were.  The city, purportedly Rome circa 2072, is presented in HO scale and given the Blade Runner treatment, complete with ads on buildings and flying cars.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a quality enough print of the film to even read what those ads say, if we were ever meant to.  Even Troma’s apparent Director’s Cut of the film is grainy and washed out, especially on an HD display.

So, is it worth it?  If you want to see Fulci’s take on the death-battle genre, or you enjoy the likes of Bronx Warriors (1982), you’ll find the trip to Rome worth it. Personally, I thought it was great just to see an almost fully developed plot in a Lucio Fulci film, and recommend it to anyone that fact intrigues.

This is what it looks like when I close my eyes ...

This is what it looks like when I close my eyes …

Sleaze Rating: 2/5

Sexy Rating: 0/5, unless you find motorcycles designed by Liberace sexy.

Thumbs: Up

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