Showing posts with label indie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indie. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

HEREDITARY - Like a really good Rosemary's Baby



In the spirit of the season, I got special permission to write about a movie not featured on the Out There Movies channel, so I’ll be talking about what I consider to be the scariest movie of 2018: HEREDITARY.


Ryan’s Recommendations:

  1. Watch this in the dark, at night.
  2. Slam some caffeine before. Get tense and get focused.
  3. Don’t chat or chuckle to cover up the silences.  Let that uncertainty invade you.
  4. If you have a need for subtitles, please use them. If you can avoid them though, they add a lot of white light to scenes that otherwise might be fundamentally dark. Seriously, run an experiment in your bedroom when it’s dark, look at all the extra light on your ceiling when subs are on.

Let this be a genuine encounter with cosmic evil. There’s just a little glass between you and hell, like a trip to the zoo in your nightmares.




Hereditary is a modern horror movie with clear nods to classic horror throughout. Like many horror movies we all love, selective focus is an important tool. Watch the backgrounds.  If you like the soundtracks John Carpenter and Goblin made for some of my favorite horror movies, you’ll be familiar and comfortable with the threatening sequencer that accompanies some scenes in Hereditary.

Recommendation number three is listed here because I love the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. When we first encounter the bone room, we can’t see what she has found, but there’s a shot of Sally’s anguished face as she looks around the room and realizes what she has stumbled into.  It’s an effective tension builder in general, and in the context of a chase scene is a really clever choice. We see the same technique used multiple times in Hereditary, particularly with Peter, and it’s still an excellent tool.


I don’t want to address the plot specifically, so no spoilers, but part of what unsettled me so much about this movie was the suggestion of contaminated blood. If you can honestly claim to have zero family members whose behavior has made you worry that you might carry the capacity for malevolence, and that you might enjoy it, that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you. For everyone else, there’s the suggestion in Hereditary that despite your desires, for all the effort you have made, your future might not be in your control. This movie doesn’t say that a monster is coming to eat you, but that as you live and persist, moving toward what the story of your whole life will be, no matter how foul the destination, your arrival there might be inevitable.



Hereditary is also scary to me because it isn’t some far off location where these events could happen. It was shot where I live, in Salt Lake City.  I play in a death metal band called WINTER LIGHT, and the cover of our first demo is a photo I took of the tallest peak east of my apartment. That very peak is a part of the range you see behind this funeral scene from Hereditary.  Just a little south of where that body was lowered is the peak shown on the cover of Momentum. It is my city, and just as easily it could have been yours.




This was a strong year for scary movies in general, so if you’re keeping up on what people are buzzing about, this name has surely come up for you before.  If not though, and you’re in the mood to see how the other half (of yourself) lives, check out HEREDITARY.


Check out Winter Light's music here, and pair it with a scary movie on a dark night:
winterlightdm.bandcamp.com

Thursday, August 30, 2018

FIEND – Making Every Day Halloween Again



A demon takes over the body of a guy with a big mustache and goes on a strangling rampage. Another guy who also has a big mustache senses something isn’t right, and discovers the truth is his worst nightmare. That is FIEND in a nutshell. And in case mustaches don’t interest you – they don’t interest me – focus on the “demon” part, it’s way more exciting. A demonic entity takes over the corpse of a deceased person and reanimates it. To stay alive the fiend must kill living humans and take their life force.

Sweet.

Gary Kender suspects his neighbor knows something about the strangler...
More specifically, the plot revolves around Mr. and Mrs. Kender, a sweet young couple who live in a cute little neighborhood. Its a perfect family community until news of a strangler on the loose gets around, one that is targeting housewives and killing them in the middle of the day. Gary Kender suspects something is wrong with his cranky neighbor, and that this guy, Mr. Longfellow, may be up to some scary shenanigans. But what he doesn’t know is that Mr. Longfellow is really the reanimated corpse of a man who already died. The demon inside of his neighbor’s body must kill and feed on the energy of living human beings, and it has nothing stopping it from coming after him next.

FIEND is the work on Don Dohler, a Baltimore-area b-movie director with a career spanning from the late 70’s through his death in 2006. He created sci-fi movies by bringing together a few friends and a few thousand bucks. His films have homemade monster costumes and gore that really make you appreciate the world before CGI. These guys had an idea at home, wrote a script, then brought it to life with a few friends covered in blood or made to look dead with the cooking ingredients they had in their home. Pretty creative, I’d say. FIEND is not for you if you want flashy effects or trashy story lines. It is a serious, devious, tricky little story that has some depth to it if you know how to look for it. And most of all, its for those of us who love b-movies for their reality, their imperfections, and their charm.




...but how can he prove it?
One of the amazing things about all of Don Dohler’s movies is that he uses so many of the same people in each one. Friends, family, and local actors all get starring roles in his films. You see Mr. Frye (George Stover) in just about every single Dohler flick, and he stars in several, including 1988’s BLOOD MASSACRE. The character of Scotty is played by Greg Dohler, who we see in just about every movie also. His little sister Kim is in this one too playing the little girl who gets killed. Yup, Don Dohler killed his daughter in this film, and that’s really her under the sheet being pushed into the ambulance. Now that’s dedication to the craft!!! You see all these folks throughout Dohler’s movies, and you get to see them grow and change in front of the camera. You get to see the Maryland neighbors and friends become more confident, more sure of themselves, and more comfortable in front of the camera throughout Dohler’s catalog of work. FIEND is only the second Dohler film, so its a great place to start seeing some of these familiar faces and getting to know them in each of their roles. And it’s easy to develop a fondness for them as you watch them get better and better.

The legendary Don Leifert as Eric Longfellow







The one who stands out most as an actor is Don Leifert. We don’t watch him become an actor onscreen, he is fantastic in all his Dohler roles. Leifert was a teacher in Maryland and even had Shawn C. Phillips (AKA Coolduder, check him out here: www.youtube.com/user/coolduder) as a student. He gives some of the best performances in these films, and the fiend Longfellow is my favorite. He creates a creepy, mean, and pompous man who likes to hang out in his dingy basement and drink wine. Lots and lots of wine. But mostly it is the suspense and darkness he brings into the character that makes it soooooo creepy, and makes the movie what it is – AWESOME.

As always, let me tell you the music is awesome. But this one really is FANTASTIC – one listen and you’ll agree. The man responsible is Paul Woznicki, who in the comments on the movie in the link below says he completed it “in 3 days with no sleep.” 100% analog and creepy as hell.

Anytime is a good time to watch a spooky tale with mystery, graveyards, and ghastly beings. Or at least I think so. And if you agree, then anytime is a good time to watch FIEND.






Check out FIEND on the Don Dohler Entertainment Youtube channel at the link below.

For more creepy, fall, Halloween-y films check out our Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/OutThereMovies




And if you are in more of a goofy mood, check out the FIEND BLOOPERS!



Thursday, August 23, 2018

MICROWAVE MASSACRE - “The Worst Horror Movie Of All Time”



How can you tell a movie is going to be good? When it opens with shameless T&A shots, that’s how.

Ok, so that isn’t true at all. But that is how this movie starts out, and its pretty damn bad and good all in one. It’s sick, its twisted, its wrong and disgusting, and the acting is 98% awful beyond belief. The jokes are stupid, delivered with the assistance of 70’s porno music and a variety of interchangeable hookers and strippers. Why would someone watch this movie?


I watch it because it’s sick, twisted, wrong and disgusting, and I happen to really like 70’s porno music.



Jackie Vernon.  You may also remember him as Frosty the Snowman. 
We follow our star Donald, played by Jackie Vernon (AKA Frosty the Snowman in the old cartoon movie,) as he hones his newfound taste for female flesh, in more ways than one. His nagging wife is a horrible cook, and he would give anything for a bologna and cheese instead of her attempts at fine french cuisine prepared in their monster-sized microwave oven. Apparently this microwave is all the rage but, just like food prepared in them today, Mae’s cooking is awful. Donald tries to be polite for as long as possible, but he CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!! Thankfully, there is an incident and they break up, in a way. I will leave the details for the movie, but let’s just say Donald won’t have to worry about eating Mae’s cooking anymore.

So what is a free and single guy with a big appetite to do? He makes friends with two younger guys he works construction with, and they head out together in search of chicks. Donald is loving the new single life when he goes into the garage for a midnight snack. Forgetting that he stored Mae in the refrigerator he gets his first taste of HUMAN FLESH, and decides he likes Mae better this way. Mae was packing on the pounds in the later years of their marriage, but she still only lasts so long. So Donald goes out in search of women to screw AND eat. And because he is a nice guy, he also shares the spoils of his new love of cooking with his best buds. What a guy!


"I don't know how you do it, but it gets better every time"

Of course this can’t go on forever, its too perfect a deal. But whatever happens to Donald I will leave for you to find out. What I will tell you is that Donald is one of the most fun and sympathetic killers of any movie. He is a simple guy, and he wants a simple life. His wife wants to make things all fancy and complicated and nags him to no end for not going along with it. Who wouldn’t want to be free of that? Once he gets away from her he can be himself again; he tells bad jokes, never washes his car, sleeps with women with no strings attached; Donald lives a bachelor’s paradise.

MICROWAVE MASSACRE started as a story written by Craig Muckler (neighbor in women’s underwear) for a class taught by Irv Berwick, the classic b-movie director, who’s son Wayne would go on to direct the film. It is purposefully exploitative, low budget, and B-stock all the way. It never pretends to be anything else, and it never lets you down. The story is unique and witty, and add in a bit of cannibalism and you’ve got yourself something really special.

"I may have underestimated Mae's taste!"
This movie is full of bad jokes told by bad actors. By bad actors I don’t mean people who are trying hard and sucking, I mean people who have never acted before and, in most cases, never acted again. So they are telling it like it is, really. Corny puns told by someone without an acting lesson actually makes it funnier – you can see the joke coming, its presented, and when you laugh at it you might get a little embarrassed if anyone is watching. I would call these “Dad jokes” all the way. They aren’t cool, they certainly aren’t funny, but they are pretty clever and you have to give them credit for that. You end up really liking the person who tells the stupid joke awkwardly and, if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself quoting the lamest of them in public and giggling like a maniac, just a little.








So what is the moral of a sick, twisted, wrong and disgusting story like this? I think it goes something like – relax, chill out, and taste the finer things in life!




Check out this and other horrible, disgusting, stupidly amazing movies on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/OutThereMovies




Wednesday, August 15, 2018

EFFECTS - A Twisted Tale of Stalkers, Smut, and Snuff



Out of print until 2005, let me say THANK GOD this film is back! It is one of the creepiest and most unnerving stories I’ve ever watched, and its originality and craftsmanship has made it legendary in the horror community. Created by some of George Romero’s friends and colleagues outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this film brings together many familiar faces of movies to come, including Tom Savini, Joe Pilato, and more.

The film is a voyeuristic mix of sexy and scary as you watch a snuff film being made under the guise of a horror film. It really is 2 movies in one; the first one is a low-budget movie about a woman with a sort of demon possession issue, or a crazy husband, or something like that, but who cares? The second one, DUPED, is much more interesting as it is being filmed behind the scenes without the stars ever knowing it exists. And maybe they never will...

EFFECTS revolves around the idea of watching people in their most intimate moments – from the sexy to the most frightening. It is part Peeping Tom, part Deadly Stalker. And which you feel like each moment depends on your level of trust in the characters – sometimes you are rooting for them, watching for more. Other times you want it to go away, stop, change or cut scenes, and the camera stays fixed and you are forced to watch what you don’t want to know. The film is constantly messing with you like a nun’s twisted idea of punishment for peeping in the girls’ locker room.

The movie stars Pilato (Day of the Dead) as Dom, a special effects guy working on a movie for director Lacey Bickel, played by John Harrison (Tales of the Darkside). Let’s pause on Harrison for a moment here: he looks like Dan Ackyroyd’s twin brother with an Elvis hairdo and no sense of humor. He brings an unbelievably twisted vibe to the character. Celeste, played by Susan Chapek, is between the these two, Dom being her new fling and Lacey being her old. She is icy, cold and sharp, but you want to root for her. Sure, go ahead and try!
Dark shadows with low light outlines combined with bright, penetrating colors make the visuals of the film very Italian, a little Dario Argento-like but without much of the bright-ass red blood (but there is still some!) Instead the 70’s d├ęcor and the great wardrobe provide the brightness of color during the sunny fall days, but when night falls the dark is as black as they come. The film uses shadows like John Carpenter later in HALLOWEEN, but more often and more effectively, making you feel creeped out AF.

So, a quick mention of mirrors. Yeah, mirrors are one of the oldest statements in film. There are tons in this movie but used as a plot device, since Lacey is using them to film in every room of the house in total secrecy. Who knows they are there, and who doesn’t? I know they are there, but I still caught myself thinking we had privacy with the characters in certain rooms. Plus, the mirrors are also helping feed the crew their steady stream of coke, and without that none of the movies would be happening at all. So thank god for that.


Let me tell you, this movie is great. It feels like it is all around you, in surround sound, IMAX, and 3D all at once. A coked-up jerk-off can come up right behind you and startle you as a joke, or someone could be behind you waiting with the razor that keeps making an appearance. SHIT it is creepy as hell, and although you keep looking for people to trust or people you think aren’t in on it, your options keep dwindling. It is by far one of the most nerve-wracking stories I have ever seen.

But the creepiest part of all: you have to watch the snuff film, fittingly placed dead center in the movie. You won’t want to, but you’ll be rewarded if you do!



Check out this movie and other freaky slashers on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/outtheremovies